Daniel 7

Daniel 7 Devotional
Pastor Lawrence Bowlin

In chapter seven, the book of Daniel transitions from the more well-known historic narratives to the more enigmatic prophecies reminiscent of the book of Revelation.  In fact, the book of Revelation is almost impossible to understand without having some familiarity with the book of Daniel since much of the imagery in the last book of the Bible is taken from these latter chapters in the book of Daniel.

The first vision that Daniel sees in this particular chapter actually take place chronologically sometime between chapters 4 and 5, since it occurs during the first year of King Belshazzar, and it addresses the same theme as the vision that King Nebuchadnezzar saw back in chapter two of the image of a man with the head of gold, chest and arms of silver, middle and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron.  At that time, Daniel told the king that these parts of the image represented different kingdoms that would rule over all the earth.  Likewise, the vision of the four beasts represents the same four kingdoms with the lion signifying the Babylonian empire, the bear being identified as the Medo-Persian Empire, the leopard representing the Hellenic or Greek Empire, and finally the four beast pointed to the ancient Roman Empire.  Each of these empires would stir up the great sea of peoples in their day and cause much havoc and consternation throughout the land of Israel and the surrounding regions.

But after the dominance of this fourth kingdom, there would come one like a son of man, to whom would be given an everlasting dominion and glory, and whose kingdom would never be destroyed.  And the saints of the Most High God would somehow share in his kingdom and possess it with him forever.  Clearly this is a reference to the coming of Christ, for even Christ Jesus uses this title, “the Son of Man,” in speaking of himself on numerous occasions.  Of course, the Ancient of Days would be a reference to the everlasting God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who hands the kingdom over to his son, the messiah.

Keep in mind that this vision was given to Israel, a defeated and demoralized people, who would remain exiled for quite some time, so this vision was meant to encourage them to be patient under the yoke of these mighty empires and to have hope that their savior would soon come.  And Jesus did come during the reign of the fourth beast, just as Daniel had foreseen hundreds of years prior.

It would not be easy for the Israelites prior to his coming, though, nor would it be easy for believers in later times, between the time of his ascension into heaven and his second coming to earth.  Even during our time believers are subject to harsh regimes and tyrannical abuses where kings, in league with the spirit of the anti-Christ, speak boastful words against the Most High God as they make war against the saints of God.

Again, the encouragement to believers is that this time of tribulation is very brief, only a time, times, and a half a time, or three and half years, a symbolic number that represents the same period of time that the wicked Jezebel ran roughshod over the saints in the Old Testament.  But eventually, just as the dogs licked up the blood of that wicked woman, so God will bring his holy judgment upon all those who oppress and destroy God’s people.