Study Notes

Daniel 7:19-28


For the last two weeks, we've been in Daniel 7, looking at the prophetic vision Daniel was given in a dream. The first week, we looked at the four beasts in his dream. These represented kings - the world empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. But Rome, the fourth beast, was unique. Daniel wrote,

Dan. 7:7-8 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 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.}

It was a strange and terrifying sight Daniel was beholding. But then, in our second study, we saw that the Ancient of Days took His seat, and a river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him. God was about to bring judgment. And Daniel wrote,

Dan. 7:11 "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.

Someone in the vision explained to Daniel what these things meant, but not in enough detail for Daniel's taste. Thus, as we pick up in verse 19, we find Daniel questioning further.

7:19-20 The Fourth Beast

Daniel wanted to know exactly what the meaning of the fourth beast was. Why was it different than all the others? What made it so horrifying, and what was going on with the horns?

We covered many of these details in our first study of Daniel 7. The fourth beast was the Roman Empire - an empire which devastated all who stood against it. Ultimately, it was never destroyed as we see it in this chapter. It simply degenerated and disintegrated from the inside out. Today, it is an empire which has been awakened and is once again emerging as a world power.

You see, the same nations which made up the Roman Empire continue to exist today. Fifteen countries of Western Europe have come together to form the European Union, which has quickly become a powerful political and economic force. By 2004, they are hoping to have twice as many countries signed on, forming what has been called "a United States of Europe."

The EU also plans to become a formidable military entity. They are currently in process of developing a European army - 60,000 troops forming a rapid-reaction force.

Now, an interesting development in this scenario is the anti-American sentiment that is quickly growing in these European nations. Considering this fact, along with the alliances that the EU is forming with our strained friends and outright enemies, things are beginning to look quite grim for the USA. Talks are underway with Russia for a strategic military alliance. Last year, the EU reached a ground-breaking trade deal with China. And the Middle East Arab nations of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria are also working with the EU, because the Europeans are much more sympathetic to the Arabs' hatred of Israel than the United States is.

As you can see, this fourth beast has not died - it is rapidly awakening again and growing stronger by the day.

The Ten Horns

What are the ten horns of this beast? Originally, when the European Union was in its infancy, Bible prophecy students were dead-set on the premise that the EU would be comprised of only ten nations. When more were added, it seemed to mess up the whole deal. Now, many teach that ten of them will rise to prominence. But while that is possible, I see it a bit differently. Notice what is said down in verses 23 and 24...

Dan. 7:23-4 ...‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the {other} kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.'

The fourth beast, this revived Roman Empire will eventually dominate the entire earth, and it is out of this kingdom that ten kings will arise. It seems to me that this is not speaking specifically of ten European nations, or ten nations from the former Roman Empire. I believe it is more likely referring to ten regional kings. I can see that a united world kingdom would be comprised of regional kings over North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Asia, etc. Divide the world into ten parts, and there you have ten kings, horns on the head of this beast of a world empire.

We see this repeated in Revelation, when an angel explained to John,

Rev. 17:12-13 "And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast."

This beast who recieves their authority is the antichrist. In Daniel's vision, he is the little horn that is raised up.

The Other Horn

This horn that came up among the ten pulled three of the horns out by the roots. The antichrist will rise to power over all the kings, subduing three of them, and ruling over the rest. He is a man with such power that, in spite of his small beginnings, he appears larger in the vision than the other kings.

7:21 Overpowering The Saints

The horn waged war with the saints and overpowered them. This doesn't sound encouraging, does it? And to confuse matters, there is a portion of Scripture found in Matthew 16 that seems to say this is impossible.

You recall the story: Jesus had asked the disciples what the crowds were saying about Him - who did they think He was? They shared the stories they'd heard. And then He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Matt. 16:16-18 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal {this} to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it."

They are overpowered in Daniel's vision, but Jesus said they cannot be overpowered. Both cannot be true. Is this a contradiction in the Bible? No. It is just a misunderstanding of who we're talking about.

You see, the word "saints" is used in the Bible to describe the church (Acts 9:13; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1; etc.). But it is not an exclusive term. It is a word that simply means "holy ones." Long before the church was born, it was used to refer to those Israelites who placed their faith in God (Psalm 16:3, 34:9; etc.). And it is used again in Revelation to describe those who will place their faith in Christ during the tribulation period, after the church age is over. And this is the group Daniel is talking about. As a matter of fact, the apostle John was shown the same thing. He wrote,

Rev. 13:7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

7:22 The Saints Took Possession Of The Kingdom

God's holy ones during the tribulation will be overpowered. That is, until He comes and brings judgment. After that, God's people will be given the kingdom.

Remember the parable that Jesus taught in Luke 19. "A nobleman was going to a distant country to receive a kingdom, and then return. He gave each of his servants ten minas to do business with. But the citizens of his land hated him, and sent a delegation to say, 'We don't want this man to reign over us.' When He returned, He rewarded the servants for investing the minas wisely."

Luke 19:16-19 "And the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.' And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.' And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.'

And after entrusting the faithful servants to rule over cities, He said,

Luke 19:27 "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence."

In that day, the saints will be rewarded, and the antichrist will be judged.

7:23-25 Alterations In Times And Law

The angel from whom Daniel had asked for answers began to explain to him these things that we've been discussing.

But there is another detail given about the antichrist in the angel's explanation.

Dan. 7:25 ‘...he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

What sort of alterations will be made in times? I think that if I hated God and came to world power, I would begin by changing the dating system of the years. After all, the reason we call this year "2001 AD" or a date in history "900 BC" is because of the birth of Christ. "BC" is the abbreviation for "Before Christ," and "AD" is the abbreviation for the Latin "Anno Domin," meaning "in the year of our Lord." Jesus is the very focus of our calendar!

Oh, many people are now using "BCE" (Before Common Era), trying to erase the fact that the birth of Christ is the central point in time of all history, but whether you add the "E" or not, the year still points to Jesus Christ! I can picture the antichrist doing away with that system altogether.

The other thing he alters is the law. Right now, our society's laws are based on a Judeo-Christian moral standard. Things such as adultery, incest, rape, child pornography, and murder are illegal. But why are they considered illegal? Because God said that these things were sin. When the church is removed from the world, and the antichrist is no longer restrained, what will be the point of having laws based on morality? Society's mind will be warped beyond our imagination, just as we see happen in individuals who reject God.

Rom. 1:28-32 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; {they are} gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

I believe that under the rule of antichrist, the world will no longer have laws forbidding wicked behavior. Much of that behavior will be given hearty approval.

Time, Times, And Half A Time

The antichrist's full power will be in his hand for a time, times, and half a time. Does that sounds too cryptic to understand? Remember, we have seen in chapter four that a "time" seemed to represent a year. Under that standard, a "time" is a year, "times" (which is dual) is two years, and half a time is six months. So this would refer to a period of three and a half years.

In the book of Revelation, we see that this same period of time, known as the Great Tribulation, is described the same way.

Rev. 12:14 And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

The same phrase is used to describe this. Fortunately, we get clarification and confirmation by simply looking eight verses earlier, when we read,

Rev. 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

The time is there numbered as 1,260 days - exactly three and a half years. Now, maybe you're doing the math and saying, "Oh no it's not! Three and a half years totals 1,277 and a half days!" Actually, to be accurate, three and a half years is 1,278 and 3/8 days on our calendar. But remember, Daniel was not on our calendar. Daniel was on the Babylonian calendar, on which a year was 360 days. And we see that Bible prophecy always uses that 360-day year. And 3 1/2 times 360 is in fact 1,260.

There are still 12 months in that calendar, however, so whichever calendar you're using, you'd still count 42 months in 3 1/2 years. Thus, Revelation says,

Rev. 13:5 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.

The last 3 1/2 years of mankind's reign on earth will be a terrible time, as the antichrist is given all power to dominate the earth.

7:26-28 I Kept The Matter To Myself

As we saw last week, all of this horror will finally come to an end. God will judge the antichrist, casting him into the lake of fire. We will be given the kingdom to rule and reign in righteousness.

But in spite of how glorious the outcome will be, there is a chasm of terror between now and then. What Daniel saw made him greatly alarmed, and the blood ran out of his face.

Saints, we can glibly talk about the judgment of God. We can educationally learn about the end times scenario. But the truly righteous person is horrified at these events, because millions will die without Christ.

I wonder how many of us desire others to be saved as much as the apostle Paul did the Jews. He told the Romans,

Rom. 9:1-3 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, {separated} from Christ for the sake of my brethren...

May we live our days on earth with the same fervency, becoming pale when we consider the future that lies ahead for those who do not receive Jesus Christ.

Go to next study

Go to previous study