Daniel 7 Commentary
Summary: Read Daniel 7 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
 
 

Daniel 7 KJV

Commentary

1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

7:1 This concludes the narrative of Daniel’s life and begins the account of his visions and prophecies. In chapter 2 we saw the image of four metals symbolizing the four great world empires from Daniel’s day to the end of time; in this chapter we have four beasts that represent the same kingdoms in more detail.

2Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

7:2-3 In verse 23 the angel says: “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth.” Even today we portray nations with animal symbols (US: Eagle, Russia: Bear, England: Lion, etc.).

Winds in Bible prophecy depict war, strife and bloodshed. See Jeremiah 25:31-33. The “Four winds” indicates that the strife is coming from all directions of the compass. See Matthew 24:31. The “sea” and waters symbolize many people. See Revelation 17:15. So beasts arising from the turbulent waters symbolize nations arising from wars among many peoples.

4The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

7:4 Babylon is fitly represented by a “lion.” See Jeremiah 4:7; 50:17, 43-44. Just as gold is supreme among the metals so the “lion” is king among beasts and the “eagle” is king of the birds. Babylon’s rise from a basal state of Assyria to ruler of the known world was breathtakingly swift. In the 21 years after Babylon gained its independence from Assyria, it had conquered the surrounding nations, and become the most powerful empire in the region; thus the “eagle’s wings” portray speed. See Habakkuk 1:6-8.

Later, this nation ceased to expand and conquer, represented by the wings being “plucked” off. After the death of Nebuchadnezzar the succeeding kings of Babylon chose to ignore God’s low and mock him. See note on Daniel 5:22. Then Babylon lost its lion-like nobility. It was given a “man’s heart” and made to stand upon its “feet as a man.”

5And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

7:5 The next kingdom, corresponding to the chest and arms of silver from the image of Daniel 2, is Medo-Persia. Persia was dominant over Media; which is represented by the “bear” “raise up” “on one side” The “three ribs” in the bear’s mouth likely represent the major kingdoms which Medo-Persia conquered—Babylon, Lydia (in Turkey), and Egypt. At the height of its power this empire has conquered more than six times as much land as had its predecessor Babylon. It did “devour much flesh.”

6After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

7:6 Medo-Persia was defeated by Macedonian Greece, represented as a “leopard” with “four heads” and “four wings.” The “four wings” represent unprecedented swiftness. See Habakkuk 1:6. The conquests of Macedonian Greece under Alexander the Great were more rapid than even those of Babylon. In just three short years, from 334-331 BC, he conquered the entire Persian Empire. The leopard is more agile and swift than a lion or bear, yet more frail. Alexander died in 323 BC at the age of thirty-two. His four strongest generals (Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucas), divided the kingdom amongst themselves, symbolized by the leopard’s “four heads.”

7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

7:7 The previous empires were represented by some of the most ferocious animals of prey; but this “beast” is represented by a frightful monster. This is a fitting figure of the Roman Empire which dominated the world with its iron legions. The “iron teeth” of this monster give it a direct parallel to the iron in the image in Daniel 2:40.

It was Rome that ruled the Mediterranean world when Jesus lived on earth, and it was the Roman governor, Pilate, who set Him to the cross, where he died for the sins of all mankind. The “ten horns,” like the leopard’s “four heads,” show a splintering of the kingdom into multiple parts. See notes on vss. 24-25.

8I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

7:8 Verse 24 tells us, “The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings.” So this horn is a little kingdom. See notes on vss. 24-25.

9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

7:9-10 In Daniel 2 we saw a stone crush the statue to powder, then fill the whole earth, vividly portraying the time when these nations will be judged and destroyed. At that time God will set up His kingdom and reign forever.

This chapter adds the fact that God will “sit” for a solemn day of judgment before He sets up His “everlasting dominion.” See vss. 9-12, 22 and 26. His verdict will be both just and merciful, because He commits the judgment to His Son, who gave His life for us. John 5:22, 27.

11I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

12As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

7:11-12 The territory and subjects of the three previous kingdoms were not destroyed even though they ceased to exist as separate empires. In contrast, the fourth kingdom ends in the lake of fire and has no existence beyond. See Revelation 19:20.

13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

15I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

16I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

17These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

18But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

19Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

 

20And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

21I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

22Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

23Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

25And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

7:20-25 “The ten horns” of the beasts, like the feet of iron mixed with clay in Daniel 2, predicted that the Roman Empire would fragment into ten parts. Barbarian tribes invaded the empire’s territory from the north and east and eventually became the nations of modern Europe.

26But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

27And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

28Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

7:26-28 The climax of this prophecy is God’s final judgment. The beast and the little horn power are judged and their kingdom is taken away; at the same time the verdict is made in favor of the saints and dominion is given to them.

These same events were portrayed in Daniel 2 when the stone crushed the statue of power and filled the whole earth.

God will set up His everlasting kingdom full of love, joy and peace; there will be no sickness or death. Revelation 21:3-4.

 

Ahead to Daniel 8 with commentary

This commentary is adapted from Amazing Prophecies, © 2010 Family Heritage Books.

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