4 Beasts, an Arrogant Little Horn, and the Day of the Lord
Daniel 7:1-8; 23-28
Daniel 7:1–8 (NLT): Earlier, during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon, Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and this is what he saw.
2 In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction. 3 Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others.
4 The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind.
5 Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!”
6 Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast.
7 Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns.
8 As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. (Underline mine. This is written in Aramaic as milallil rabreban which means “talking big”.)
- Beasts = Nations
- Horns = Kings or Rulers
- Daniel’s vision has a big beef with the “little horn who talks big! This beef continues in 7:23-28
Daniel 7:23–28 (NIV): 23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
26 “ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
- time, times and half a time = 3 ½ years
- that arrogant horn = Antiochus IV Epiphanes
- Daniel 7:27 means Daniel and the other faithful ones in their community. Think back to Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego.
- There are other apocalyptic books written around the same time as Daniel was (167 to 164 BCE) like the 4 Ezra (Esdras) and Enoch at the beginning of the 1st Century (AD)
- These writing led to Civil uprisings against foreign governments. One group was called Zealots.
- By the way, if Daniel was written in the years given, it is smack dab in the middle of what is called the Hasmonaean Dynasty (167 to 141 BCE) or the Maccabean Revolt (167 to 160 BCE).
- The Maccabees led a revolt against the Seleucids who king was… Antiochus IV Epiphanes
- This revolt is remembered by Jews during Hannukah.
Daniel’s vision ends with…GOD IS COMING TO MAKE THIS RIGHT!