Study Notes

Daniel 7:9-18


Last week, we saw that Daniel had a vision of four beasts arising from the Great Sea, presumably the Mediterranean. We saw that these four beasts represented kings' empires - Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

We looked at the symbolism of the first three beasts, but decided to leave the total interpretation of the fourth for another night, when we would have the time to look in greater detail at the antichrist and his kingdom.

But before we look at the antichrist next week, it is important to take a good look at Jesus Christ this week. So let's jump in at verse nine, when Daniel begins to describe what he saw after the four beasts arose from the sea.

7:9-10 Thrones Were Set Up

We are being prepared to see judgment take place. First, we see that thrones were set up. When we think of thrones, we think of ruling as kings. But the king does not sit on his throne all the time. The throne is the place that he sits on when he judges. In other words, thrones are the seats from which judgment is made. Remember, David wrote, "In Jerusalem,

Ps. 122:5 ...thrones were set for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

Now, in Revelation 20, John wrote,

Rev. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them...

These are the same thrones of judgment that Daniel saw. This is not "the great white throne judgment that we discussed at length on Sunday morning in our study of Hebrews 6:2. No, this judgment is called, "the judgment of the nations." The judgment of the nations comes when Christ returns to earth. The white throne judgment takes place a thousand years later, after His millennial reign.

The Ancient Of Days

After the thrones were set up, the Ancient of Days took His seat. Now some commentators mistake the Ancient of Days for Jesus Christ. Actually, we only need to read down to verse 13 to see that this is not Jesus. No, this is the Father Himself. He is called in the Bible "the Ancient of Days" only in this chapter (verses 9, 13, & 22), a title that refers to the fact that He is "the eternal God" (Deut. 33:27).

His Description

Daniel describes the Ancient of Days with just two details. The first being that His vesture (His garments or clothing) were like white snow. The other description is that His hair was like pure wool. Both of these descriptions refer to the purity of God.

But notice too that they are also very much like those of Jesus when He appears in His glory. You recall that up on the mountaintop with Peter, James, and John,

Mark 9:2-3 ...He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

And, in Revelation, when John saw Jesus, he wrote,

Rev. 1:14 And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow...

It is no wonder that some mistake the Ancient of Days for Jesus. But after all, it should come as no surprise that these descriptions are similar. Don't we see them in the Scriptures "like Father, like Son"? Jesus Himself said to Philip,

John 14:9 ..."Have I been so long with you, and {yet} you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father..."

I believe there is a strong resemblance in this divine Family!

His Throne

Daniel also gives us descriptions of His surroundings. His throne is ablaze with flames. There are wheels on His throne that are also a burning fire. And, a river of fire is flowing out from before Him. Fire in the Scriptures is a symbol of judgment. It is quite clear that He is ready to judge.

A River Of Fire

This river of fire interests me. Certainly it speaks of judgment flowing from the throne, but this is the only mention of a river of fire in Scripture. As I studied this out, I began to wonder, "Lord, what does this mean." And, whether it was divine inspiration or just plain old deductive thinking, I thought to myself, "Where would a river of fire flow? Where would it end?" You guessed it: at the lake of fire.

You see, at the same judgment that Daniel saw and is about to describe to us, the antichrist was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). I believe that very literally, this river of fire is flowing down to create the lake of fire. And although it has been seen prophetically, that would mean that the lake of fire does not yet exist. If this is true, it really has no theological bearing on anything, but I find it interesting nonetheless.


Standing before the throne was a countless number. Who are these? We don't need to guess. Revelation 5 & 7 tell us that they are angels, the cherubim, the 24 elders and...

Rev. 7:9 ...a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and {all} tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches {were} in their hands

The Court

The court sat, and the books were opened. Who sits on the thrones that were set up? The simple answer is that they are the 24 elders shown to us in Revelation.

Rev. 4:4 And around the throne {were} twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones {I saw} twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.

If you remember our study from Revelation 4, you know that I believe these 24 elders represent the church). I believe that it is we who will be in the court sitting in judgment. After all, didn't Jesus tell His disciples,

Matt. 19:28 ..."Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And didn't Paul the apostle rebuke the Corinthians by saying,

1Cor. 6:2-3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent {to} {constitute} the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?

I firmly believe it will be us judging at the end of the Great Tribulation.

7:11 Boastful Words Of The Horn

We read last week back in verse eight,

Dan. 7:8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great {boasts.}

Next week, we will see how the Scriptures tell us this is the antichrist - the man who will rise to power in the final human empire on earth. One of the most notable things about him is his big, blasphemous mouth. These two verses tell us that he utters great boasts. Again, in Revelation 13, we see...

Rev. 13:5-6 And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, {that is} , those who dwell in heaven.

The words from the mouth of the antichrist are especially offensive to God, and the Lord will burn them up when He throws him into the lake of fire. Revelation shows us the scene:

Rev. 19:19-20:5 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut {it} and sealed {it} over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I {saw} the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

Daniel saw the same event that John did. Daniel 7 and Revelation 20 are showing us the same thing: At the end of the Great Tribulation, God will judge the nations who thought that they could "wage war against the Lamb" (Rev 17:14) and win. The devil , the antichrist, and his false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire.

7:12 Extension Of Life

Although the dominion of the other three beasts was taken away, they were allowed to live for an appointed period of time.

There are two main interpretations of this verse. The first, is that although the empires each lost dominion, they continued to exist, even to the present day. Babylon exists in Iraq, Persia in Iran, Rome in Italy, etc. It would seem that, connecting it with Nebuchadnezzar's dream in chapter two, they were all allowed to cointinue until being totally destroyed along with the fourth beast. As Daniel told the king,

Dan. 2:34-35 "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

This is, I believe, the accurate interpretation.

But the other interpretation is also intriguing. You see, when satan is released at the end of the millennial reign, there will be those who join with him.

It is possible that these former world empires will once again join the wrong side. Revelation 20 tells us of this:

Rev. 20:7-9 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

Gog and Magog are mentioned specifically, but what about the other nations that form this innumerable army?

7:13-14 The Son Of Man

Now we see the Son of Man, as Jesus referred to Himself about 80 times in the gospels. It is time for the Father to officially give Him the kingdom.

Given A Kingdom

Daniel saw the dominion of the earth given to Jesus Christ. Psalm 2 gives us God's perspective on an earth that rebels against His rule, and the giving of its dominion to His Son.

Ps. 2:1-12 Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed: "Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!" He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the {very} ends of the earth as Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'" Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish {in} the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

And remember, although Jesus' reign on earth may only last for a thousand years, His dominion and His kingdom will never pass away - it is eternal.

7:15-18 A Simple Interpretation

Although we've been interpreting as we go, Daniel didn't know what any of this meant, until he asked one of the angels in the vision what was going on. Next week, we will see the antichrist in detail as Daniel asks for specifics regarding the fourth beast and the meaning of his horns.

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