Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition of Daniel the Prophet's vision of the four beasts and the four historical world empires they represent.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the opportunity to study again and the Scriptures, we thank Thee for the Prophecy of Daniel, for the light that it sheds upon the progress of world history. We thank Thee for the magnificent panorama of the divine dealings with mankind that seems to be the one of the preeminent themes of the great prophet, enable us Lord to profit from the things that we study tonight. May the truths that we, by reading come to understand in our minds, become the truths that affect us in our daily life as well.
We know that prophecy is not given simply to make us curious or satisfy our curiosity concerning the future, but is designed to be a means by which we may more effectively serve thee. We know that there is a moral aspect to the prophetic truth that is extremely important, and so able us Lord not only to learn the things that are to come to pass upon the earth, but also order our lives and light of the great principles that are found within the prophetic word.
We ask Lord to give us anticipation of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and may that hope and that anticipation and expectation be of significance to us in the daily life that we life, whether in the home or in the office or in the school. We ask Lord that blessing upon us in this hour now.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Returning tonight to Daniel chapter 7 and our subject is “The Four Beasts of Daniel.” When we turn to the prophetic world, it is only natural to ask ourselves the question, what does the future hold? Is there any way for wayward, stumbling man to know? And of course the answer is, apart from the divine revelation, there is no way for wayward stumbling sinning man to know the future. Only God knows the future, but fortunately he knows the future perfectly, he knows the end from the beginning.
We are very proud at times of the magnificent advance that we have made in scientific things and when our space scientists enable us to plat across to the moon and make it to the moon missing our direction only by relatively few feet or yards, we are very proud of that fact. But we forget that God and all of His activities is absolutely perfect, he doesn’t miss by even two or three feet. So, if we want to know anything about the future, we have to turn to the word of God, he is the only one who is able to give us insight into what lies ahead of us.
Daniel chapter 7 has been called by a commentator, “The most comprehensive and detailed prophecy of future events to be found anywhere in the Old Testament.” And it is the conclusion of the first major section of the Book of Daniel, which has to do with the prophecies concerning the nations of the world that is the Gentiles, primarily. Remember, way back in the beginning of our study, a couple of times I mentioned the fact that beginning in chapter 2 verse 4 and going through chapter 7, the prophecy is written in the language of Aramaic, or the language of the Babylonians. Then in — after the first chapter through the first three verses of the second chapter and from the eighth chapter through the end of the 12th chapter of the Book of Daniel, we have the prophecy written in Hebrew or the language of the nation, the Nation Israel. And that fact is a clue to the primary thrust of these prophecies, so that that section from chapter 2 verse 4 through chapter 7 is designed primarily for the nations of the world. Prophecies have to do with the Gentiles, primarily, not entirely, but primarily. When we come to chapter 8, we will see that the emphasis will turn again to the nation Israel as the language changes from the Aramaic to Hebrew.
Now, there is an obviously relationship between chapter 2 and chapter 7, and anyone reading chapter 7 after having read chapter 2 would surely notice it, because remember in the vision of chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar saw this jarred image of four metals. In chapter 7, Daniel is given a vision of four great beasts that come up from the sea, different from one another. The very fact that there are four metals in chapter 2 and four beasts in chapter 7 and both of them speak about the coming kingdom would give you the clue that there is some connection between them.
Now both of these chapters give a panoramic sweep of Gentile history. Chapter 2 is a panoramic sweep of gentile history and we look there, remember at the four great world empires. The Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the great final world empire, the name of which is not give anywhere in the book of Daniel. We can make some inferences and arrive at a fairly reliable identification, but it is not mentioned anywhere. And we read back in the chapter 2 some of the things that we have more explicitly stated in the latter part of Daniel chapter 7.
For example, we did have in chapter 2, Daniel saying, thou art the head of gold, as reference to the king of Babylon. So we know where to begin, but we have a great panoramic sweep of Gentile history in both chapters. Four great world empires; there is a climax in each of the chapters and then reference is made to a world kingdom in each of the chapters. In other words, succeeding each of the four kingdoms there is one final all embracing world kingdom, but there are some differences, and the differences are important in understanding the difference between the two chapters.
Chapter 2 was given as a vision to a pagan king to Nebuchadnezzar. In chapter 7, the image is given to a Daniel the Prophet of God. In chapter 2 we have a great image, a very remarkable image that must have been extremely impressive to Nebuchadnezzar and to Daniel, and I am sure that the prophet and the king and seeking to describe it to others must have stressed the impressiveness of this great image. Now in the case of chapter 7, we have not a great image, but great beasts. One is outward and human; that is, one is an outward and human portrayal of the history of the nations. And I think we could add it is an outward and human portrayal of the world history as man sees it. Man sees world history as a great accomplishment of man, he thinks of world history as something that he is responsible for and for him the portraying of world history as a great impressive image would suite his exalted view of his own nature.
But now when the prophet of God is given in chapter 7 a view of that same thing panoramic sweep of gentile history, the picture is entirely different. The prophet is given a picture of four wild beasts and if one is the outward and human portrayal of human history the other is the inward and divine portrayal of human history. In chapter 2, we have history as man sees it, but in chapter 7 we have history as God sees it. While man sees human history as an impressive accomplishment of natural man, God sees human history as a collection of wild ferocious beasts who prey on others and on one another. Now that I think is important, it gives us an insight into the way in which the God looks down from heaven upon the things that are happening here on the earth. chapter 2 does not say anything about a final wicked world ruler, but that’s not surprising because in the Book of Daniel we have as we read through the chapters expansions of that which has been given previously. Here in chapter 7 we are introduced to a wicked world ruler. Later on we shall identify him as the antichrist as the one of the beasts of the Book of Revelation, but here we have expansions of and details given of things that shall happen in the later stages of human history. So, chapter 7 then begins an illustration or an expansion of some of the things that were implicit in chapter 2.
Now let’s turn to Daniel chapter 7, and again I am going to just read along a make a few comments as we go along. First of all I would read verses 1 through 4. Beginning with verse 1 now,
“In the first year Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. Daniel said, I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.”
The first three verses are something of an introduction, and so let me just make a few general comments before we look specifically at the fourth verse. Now we have an indication of time here. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, that would be 62 years after the time of the vision of chapter 2, it would be roughly 555 BC. He mentions also that he saw four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea. Now we would assume since it is clear that this chapter is full of epileptic symbolism that the four winds of heaven have to do with heavenly powers. We will just have to leave it that way, because I don’t think we can make a closer identification than that, unfortunately it is not the most important thing in this chapter.
Now he also mentions that the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. Now many have identified the great sea as the Mediterranean Sea and have made the suggestion that these great world powers are all in one way or another connected with the Mediterranean Sea; that is at one point of time they extended to the Mediterranean Sea. So, far as I know that may be justified, I did not make an attempt to check that out in detail and it is possible that that is true. It is however a more unlikely interpretation. In the Old Testament, in the Book of Isaiah chapter 17 verses 12 through 13 and then in the New Testament and Revelation chapter 17 and verse 15, some of the symbolism of the prophecy and the epileptic, the term “the sea” or “the sea or the waters” is used as figurative of nations, and so the restless tossing to and fro of the sea and its waves is suggestive of the nations of the earth in their restless tossing to and fro.
In chapter 17 of the Book of Revelation is a chapter that has a great deal to do with this whole prophetic program we have a vision of the harlot and in the interpretation of it. We read, “And he said to me the waters, which you saw where the harlot sits, are people and multitudes and nations and tongues.” Then in Isaiah the same kind of identification is made. So, we will just say then that when we read that the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea, that this is a reference to the stirring up of the nations of the earth.
And we read in verse 3 the final one of these symbolic statements and four great beasts were coming up from the sea different from one another. Now that the beasts are symbolic is indicated by verse 17 of this chapter in the interpretation. We will not be able to look at the interpretation tonight; that will be our next study. Notice verse 17. These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. So we have no doubt about that the fact that the beasts are designed to be representative of the kings or kingdoms or kings and kingdoms. So, that is a kind of introduction and with that in mind, let’s look now at verse 4 where the read of the first of the beasts.
The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. If we just simply knew what transpired in chapter 2 of this book, we would guess that the lion was a reference to the Babylonian kingdom; in other words, the lion of Daniel chapter 7 is parallel with the gold of the head of the image of chapter 2. Now we have some support for that that is significant because the national symbol of Babylon was a winged lion and figures of the winged lions were very common and none of them which at onetime was capital of the Babylon Empire and the Babylon. So, the winged lion would have been understood by those who knew of those things as a symbol of Babylon.
Now the fact that the Babylonian kingdom is like a lion is designed to stress the outstanding characteristic of that kingdom which was cruelty, while the lion is that kind of animal. Now you will notice that there is a distinct change made however, for we read he kept looking until the wings were plugged and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man. That’s is very suggestive of the experience of Nebuchadnezzar who for a time had a disease that made him think that he was an animal, but then as a result of the working of God came to have tremendous transformation in His own reason. So, probably then we may safely say with some sense of thought that the first of the animals, the wild beasts, the lion is a representation of the Babylonian kingdom.
Now let’s look at the second in verse 5. And behold, another beast – incidentally, in the New Testament these beasts are called wild beasts since we are to think of them as wild beasts, not living creatures. [There is] another term for a beast in the Book of Revelation in the Authorized Version, but these are wild beasts, these are wild animals. “And behold, another beast a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’.” Incidentally something that I didn’t put in my notes but which just came to me as something that I ought to say to you, you will notice from the study of the prophecy of Daniel that it is of some significance for you to be acquainted with the history of the human race. In other words, a great deal of light is thrown on this prophecy by knowledge of history itself. Now it is not determinative but it is confirmatory of the things that we find in the word of God. Therefore, every student of the Bible ought to be a student of human history; it will be of help to you. It should now determine our interpretations, but it is confirmatory and very helpful in understanding the Bible.
Now we have here in verse 5 reference to the bear and it was raised upon one side and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth. This is according to almost all of the students of this part of the Book of Daniel, a reference to the Medo-Persian Empire the dates of which would be something like 539 BC to 331 BC. The characteristic, now this of course would correspond to the silver part, the silver breast of the image of chapter 2. The outstanding characteristic of the bear is its voracity. And that was the characteristic of the Persian conquest; incidentally the reference to the three ribs is probably a reference to the Persian conquests of Babylon, of Libya and Egypt by the huge armies of Cyrus. These are the three ribs and the fact that it was lifted upon its side is a reference no doubt to the preeminence of the Persian part of that empire, the Medo-Persian empire, because the Persian aspect of it became the dominant one in the Medo-Persian empire. So the second wild beast, the bear is a reference to the Medo-Persian Empire.
In the 6th verse the read of the third. “After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.” Now this — the third of the wild beasts corresponds to the third of the metals of the statue of chapter 2, which was you remember the metal brass. The outstanding characteristic of this leopard is its agility. And if you know something about the Grecian Empire you know that characteristic of its greatest conqueror Alexander the Great was agility, the dates for the Grecian empire may be listed roughly as 331 to 63 BC. The leopard is swift, cunning, cruel, and it has an insatiable thirst for blood. That was characteristic of the Grecian empire.
Now we will see in the next chapter this is identified, this particular kingdom is identified as the Grecian empire. But I want you to look at the end of the verse 6 and we read and dominion was given to it. You notice it does not say that dominion was grasped by it, but dominion was given to it. You can see that Daniel was a man who believed in the sovereignty of God, he perceives of these world empires as being world empires that are noted for their cruelty and their sinfulness, but at the same time there is a divine purpose in their coming upon the stage of human history and playing out their particular part. So, it was no accident that there was a Babylonian empire, a Medo-Persian empire, and a Grecian empire, no accident that Alexander should have worldwide authority, it was given to him.
In the New Testament when we read about the Beast of the Last Days, that’s one of the great characteristics of him. His authority is given to him and over and over again and the Book of Revelation in chapter 13, stress will be made upon the fact that authority and power was given to him, we tend to think of him as one who grasps it, that’s true but fundamental and even under that and determining it is the sovereign power of God because is carrying out His plan in human history. Dominion was given to him.
Now we also read in the sixth verse that this leopard had on its back four wings of a bird, and the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. This is probably a reference to the division of the empire of Alexander. One amillennial interpreter has written this. This is Edward J. Young. Dr. Young has written, “The four heads represent the four corners of the earth, symbolizing ecumenicity of the kingdom.” But that interpretation of Dr. Young, an amillennialists, ignores the historical fact that on Alexander’s demise his vast kingdom was actually divided into four quarters by his four principle generals. Alexandra’s mother, his wife, his son and brother were all killed, but Cassander assumed control of Macedon and Greece, Seleucius took Syria and upper Asia, Lysimachus became ruler of Asia minor and Thrace, and Ptolemy took possession of Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia. It is much more likely then that we have here up that broad symbolism that Professor Young has suggested but rather we have here a reference to the division of the Grecian empire following the death of Alexander the Great, the founder of it.
And finally now we come to verses 7 and 8 and the description of this fourth empire. There is nothing here that identifies it for the moment; we will call it Roman, but there is nothing in the particular verses that we shall read that describe it, and so in my note, I just have it listed as the non-descript beast, which doesn’t say anything, except that is not described, not identified.
“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.”
You remember that the vision of chapter 2 was a vision of a giant human-looking being who had ten toes, and reference was made to the ten toes, but here the beast is said to have ten horns, you can see the toes and the horns undoubtedly correspond to one another under the different forms of symbolism.
“While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, (this is important) came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and that is the little horn was responsible for the pulling out of three of the others, and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great things.”
Now, the New American Standard Bible has great boasts and that’s all right because that’s undoubtedly what was meant by mouth uttering great things. This beast corresponds to the fourth metal, which was iron, remember. Now we commented upon the fact the Roman empire was notable for its strength as well as for its cruelty and I think in this case since it is a non-descript beast reference is made to the fact was it was dreadful and terrifying, extremely strong and it had large iron teeth, that reminds us of some things does it not? It was outstanding for its brutality — Idi Amin would be an angel for — as far as the leader of this particular kingdom is concerned, Rome was outstanding of its brutality and its strength and we are probably safe in making the identification that this is a reference to the Roman empire, but since it goes on to the time of the end we affirm that the Roman empire is an empire which began following the Grecian empire but has continued even down through to the present time and will continue having a great revival in the later days just preceding the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a question that we must talk about for just a moment. You will notice that verse 7 begins “after this” and then verse 8 says — well verse 6, I should have said, “after this I kept looking” and then verse 7, “after this I kept looking.” Now some have suggested that perhaps this fourth empire is an empire of the future only, and consequently there is a nondescript period of time; that is an interminable period of time and indefinite period of time — that would be a better adjective — an indefinite period of time between the third or Grecian kingdom and this fourth final world empire.
But the Aramaic expression after this argues against that, because this expression, bafer dinah [phonetic], is an expression that means literally “in place of this.” In other words, there is a very close connection made between the fourth of the beasts and the third that precede it, and that would seem to suggest that fourth kingdom follows immediately after the third kingdom.
Now we know from the study of world history that the Roman Empire succeeded the Grecian empire, we do have some indication that this is true to the Book of Daniel because if you turn over to chapter 9 and verse 26 we read this. This is probably the greatest prophecy of the Book of Daniel, we will spend some time on it down the way a little, but in the midst of that prophecy we read, then after the sixty-two weeks, Daniel 9:26, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And I will seek to show and I think I can do it successfully that the prince who is to come in this verse is not the Messiah but rather the antichrist.
Now when we read here, “the people of the prince who shall come” shall destroy the sanctuary, we are saying that the people from whom the antichrist shall come are those these destroyed the sanctuary. Now we know from history that it was the Romans who are responsible for the destruction of the temple. So, therefore we can say that the antichrist is a ruler of a Roman empire. Since he is a man of the future it must be therefore a revived form of the Roman Empire, the people of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city. The Romans did that; that makes the identification between the prince who is to come and the Roman Empire.
Furthermore, when we turn to the New Testament, in history, we discover that when our Lord comes on the scene it is the Roman Empire that is dominant over the face of the earth. So from the standpoint of biblical history itself, the fourth kingdom succeeding the third kingdom of the Grecian is the Roman. We read in Luke Chapter 2 verse 1, “Now it came about in those days that our decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited our earth.” In other words, the Bible in its own unfolding of history makes specific reference to the fact that our Lord was born under the Roman — in the Roman Empire — and the Roman Empire succeeded the Grecian Empire. Therefore, I think its safe to say that this non-descript beast described here is an attempt to put into symbolic form the Roman Empire. The ten horns then are equal to the ten toes, they are later said to be ten kings, and so we have identification of the ten toes of the first image. So we look forward then from this to a future of the Roman Empire in which there shall be ten dominant nations.
Now, we must not think that this has anything to do with the Common Market. In my opinion, this is my opinion of course and I freely admit that I differ from some very well known prophetic teachers whose teaching I respect. Many have made a great deal over the Common Market and the fact that it one time there were ten nations in the Common Market. And seeing ten toes and ten kings and the fact that there were ten kingdoms in Western Europe who had this form of economic community, they began to say, ah, you see we are having the fulfillment of prophecy.
But I think if you look at this Empire and look at in the light of what the Bible says about that last days, when I am talking about a Western Empire, we are talking about a worldwide empire, and consequently we are talking about ten kingdoms over the face of the whole of the earth. There is a group of ten nations that meet right now not in the common market, I think they are called something like the Group of Ten. I didn’t have this in my notes this time, I am going to say something about it later, so I am just doing this off-the-cuff, even though I don’t wear any cuffs tonight. [Laughter] This is off-the-cuff, but there is a group of ten of the important nations of the earth economically, and the chances are of this were a reference to anything that we know now it would be a reference to them. In other words, nations like Japan which form part of that would be there, because they are much more powerful than a nation like some of the little nations that are members of the European economic community.
So we read here then about ten horns and we are told that there are ten kings they equal to ten toes, so we look forward them to a time when the Roman Empire shall have revival, shall be revived, it should be a worldwide kind of empire and at one stage there will be ten great nations over the face of the earth. Now we know that this is future, because in chapter 2, we saw that prophecy there which is parallel with this was said by Daniel to be the things that are going to take place in the later days, so we look forward then to the future for the fulfillment of these great events that are referred to here in symbolic form.
Now that is the unfolding of the four of the wild beasts I’ve called it in my own notes “The rise of the beasts”. Now we look at verses 9 through 12, where we read in short fashion of the ruin of the beast. Verse 9, I kept looking by the way you’ll notice that Daniel used that expression two, three times here. I kept looking until thrones were set up, and that word the set up means to set up on something of a special basis. He is not talking here about the eternal throne of God, he is talking about a throne for the exercise of specific judgment and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
“His vesture was like the white snow and the hair of his head like pure wool, his throne was a blaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire, a river of fire was flowing” you needn’t come up and ask me the meaning of some of these clauses, I don’t know the meaning of some of these clauses. “Thousands upon thousands were attending him and myriads upon myriads were standing before him; the court sat, and the books were open.” Some of these things are very easy for all of us to understand. Some of the symbolism is a little difficult for me; come up and enlighten me if you wish – I’d welcome some light. “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn (that’s that little horn.) The little horn was speaking, I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. And as for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”
The later part of the chapter will be an interpretation of this, so we are only interested in the major features tonight. You see what Daniel has seen is a vision of four beasts; he is really somewhat like a man looking at a TV screen with a double picture. You know you’ve seen this in tennis matches and which on one part of the screen will be one aspect of the tennis match and on the other will be another or a football game in which you see part of the game here, another here. So its very much like this, and we have the scene shifting now, we’ve been looking at things on the earth.
It’s almost as if we have a double screen and on the lower part of the screen we have the things that have been happening down on the earth but now he points us to the top part of the screen and we are going to see the things that are taking place in heaven. So he kept looking until the thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took his seat. So he is looking now at things in heaven. Who is the Ancient of Days? Why the Ancient of Days is one to whom the Son of Man will come, notice verse 13, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold with the clouds of heaven, one like a Son of Man was coming and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.” So we can assume from this I think without a great deal of doubt that the Ancient of Days as a reference to the first person of the trinity or the Father for the Son of Man is surely a reference to the Lord Jesus. Now that’s definite because in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus applies this to himself. So we know that the one like the Son of Man is the Lord Jesus, the second person of the Trinity.
Incidentally someone has said, this is the only verse in the Bible in which the Father is depicted in human form. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but that is the claim of one the interpreters, the only place in the Bible in which the Father is depicted in human form. Most of the other human representations of the Godhead are references to our Lord Jesus Christ such as the theophanies which we’ve had.
Now this particular judgment here is a different kind of judgment. There are lots of judgments in the Bible. There is the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. What is the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ? Well, we are told as believers in this present age that we shall one day every one of us shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. The Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ is not a judgment to determine whether we belong to God or not. That judgment is already taken place by virtue of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ and the faith to which we have been brought in him, that settles that judgment. We therefore shall never be judged concerning our relationship to him.
In fact in John chapter 5 and verse 24, it’s stated, “We have been judged in Christ already,” so we don’t face that judgment. But every believer faces the experience of the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ, and Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and also 1 Corinthians chapter 3 makes it plain that at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ we shall be judged concerning our service as believers — everyone of us. Won’t you be interested to see what the Lord says to me there? You’ve been listening to me all these weeks and years, why he is going to say to Dr. Johnson? Well I am interested in that too. [Laughter] I wish I knew. If I knew it, might have changed some of my actions, too. But we all, it’s specifically stated, we all must stand before the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. Now that of course is not the setting up the thrones here. That’s something different.
We know too from the Bible that the living nations shall be judged at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus. We read about that in Matthew chapter 24 and 25 in the Olivet Discourse, when the nations, the sheep and goat nations, are arranged before the Lord. So there is a judgment of living Gentiles.
We know too, the Bible speaks about the judgment of the Great White Throne in Revelation Chapter 20. Every unbeliever must appear before the Great White Throne Judgment. I will not be there. You, who are believers in the audience, you will not be there, there may be some unbelievers in the audience and if you do not come to faith in Jesus Christ, you must stand before the Great White Throne Judgment, and no one succeeds in escaping judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment. Everyone is judged eternally, so you must stand there, and this I think is not any of these things. This is a reference simply to in symbolic form of the giving over of the kingdom to the Son of Man by the Ancient of Days and a reference to the judgment of the Beast. It is the ruin of the Beast. It is the destruction of the fourth kingdom that is referred to here.
So, we read in verse 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.” So what we have here then is a picture of four great beasts, four world empires and then the final form being great and terrible and dreadful a beast which in another parts of the Bible we will read, represents a kingdom that is worldwide and to which all are subjected.
But we read here that God has determined that that kingdom shall meet its downfall in the future. And as a climax to its downfall, the kingdom shall be given to the Son of man. Now you remember in chapter 2, there we had the great image destroyed by the rock or the stone that was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet, dashed into pieces, so that it disappeared like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the stone grew and became a great kingdom that fill the earth. That’s the same kind of thing expressed in other symbolic words.
In verses 13 and 14 we have the rule of the Son of Man. “I kept looking, Daniel says, in the night visions and behold with the clouds of heaven, one like a Son of Man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion.” Now you see he comes as a Messiah, but a God-man and consequently the dominion is given to him. And to him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom that all the people’s nations and men of every language might serve Him. Is dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom is one, which will not be destroyed.
You know there is an interesting verse in the Psalms in which the father speaks to the son, its in the second Psalm at about verse 8. And the father speaks to the son and says, “Ask of me and I shall give thee the nations for than inheritance and the outermost part of the earth for thy possession.” Now so far as we know, the Son has never prayed that prayer yet. He has never asked up to this point. But the time is coming in the future when he ask the Messiah, the Son of Man, shall ask for the nations of the earth as his possession and the Father will give them to him. So, in the future he will simply say father give me my inheritance that you have promised me, the nations of the earth. And by virtue of the cross work of the cross of Calvary by which he has regained for a sinful man authority over the earth that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, the Lord Jesus will assume authority and all who are in him shall rule and reign with him. The New Testament makes that they are plain.
Let me conclude by just making a few observations. My observations are intended to stir up some of you who may be wondering about whether the Book of Daniel teaches pre-millennialism, post-millennialism or amillennialism. I like for you to notice first of all that the Messianic kingdom follows the Gentile kingdoms. In other words, we read about the establishment of the kingdom of God after the overthrow of all of the other world kingdoms. Now it’s a fundamental plank of amillennialism that the kingdom has already been instituted at the present day. I suggest to you that the prophecies of Daniel dispute that. In other words what we have are four great world empires, at the conclusion of which God introduces His Messianic kingdom.
Now it is possible for a person to argue, and I wouldn’t object to this. It’s possible to argue that the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father and He has by virtue of what he has accomplished at the cross, assume the place of king. But the manifestation that kingdom awaits the future. And so far as we can tell it will be a kingdom of a similar kind to that which has preceded. In other words, it will be an historical, earthly kingdom. Reasons for that we’ll talk about later on. So, I would like to suggest to you that the stress of the Book of Daniel rests upon the futurity of the Kingdom of God, and not upon the contemporanity. How did you like that word? A new word like that, did you? The contemporanity of the kingdom.
Now another thing that we notice here is that in this fourth kingdom, the additional matter that we shall study in our next study, is characteristic of this fourth kingdom. In other words, it is this fourth kingdom that is the prominent kingdom, the future form of this worldwide empire given over by God to man, and so we will have more particular and more detailed treatment of the future. So if you are curious then you should be interested in the interpretation that will be given. It’s an inspired interpretation fortunately, and I will try in an uninspired way to expound the inspired interpretation — not next Wednesday, because we will not meet next Wednesday, will not have any meeting. I think next Wednesday night those of you that saw the Calendar of Concern probably noted that. I have found my holster and my 45 and I am going to be in Dodge City [laughter] for next Wednesday night that’s where I will be. So, we will not have a study of Daniel, but in the following week we will deal with the interpretation of the vision.
Now let me say one last thing. Don’t want to keep you too long. You’ve gotten used to only 45 minutes and that’s bad. Notice the Son of Man is in heaven according to this particular part of the prophecy. Now that suggests to us that according to the teaching of the word of God, the Son of Man is one who has accomplished successfully His ministry and therefore all who are in him have hope.
May I ask you a question are you in him? Are you in the Son of Man? Have you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you by grace been brought to faith and trust in Him? If you have then being in the Son of Man, you have hope not only for now, but also for eternity. And for that reason you are safe and secure. Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse in one of his studies in the Epistle of the Romans tells of an interesting incident that happened in the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City.
In the small loan department there was a GI, an ex-GI who was making a loan of $600. The first day that he was there asking for the loan he went to the small loan department. Dr. Barnhouse made reference to the fact that you might not think that in the Chase Manhattan Bank, one of the great banks of the world, that they would have a small loan department, but according to him they do have. And this man made a loan or filled out some forms for the loan and then had to come back the next day.
And he was standing in a line before a teller evidently seeking to get his money, and when he came to the teller, the teller looked at him and looked at what was before him and hesitated a little bit and then said, wait a minute and made him wait for about 10 minutes. And finally the President of the bank came to the man and announced to him that they had said that when the person came to the small loan department with the loan that put them over $1 billion in small loans, that that person would get his loan free, and so he was given, unfortunately his loan was only $600 [laughter], he was given a receipt for the $600 and then Dr. Barnhouse went on to say that that’s a good illustration of imputation of righteousness. In fact he suggested that we might well say all the blessedness of the GI to whom the Chase National Bank will not impute, debit his loan.
Well, when we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ our sins are not reckoned to us, they are reckoned to the Lord Jesus and His righteousness is reckoned to us. J.H. Jowett is one of the great preachers of his day. He was preaching once on the incident and which our Lord Jesus was touched by the woman with the issue of blood, and was healed, and he concluded his message by calling upon his audience to touch our Lord. He was using it as a kind of figure. So, he concluded with a very earnest appeal. Touch him, touch him reach out in your sin and touch him the sin bearer and receive the forgiveness of sins. And then on a burst of insight, he said, but suppose you say within your heart, I don’t know how to touch him. And then he said well tell him you don’t know how to touch him and that will touch him. And that’s true. So, if you have any question about your salvation come to the Lord Jesus who has offered the sacrifice, which is for sinners and receive by imputation the righteousness of God. Let’s close on a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are so grateful to Thee for these marvelous words that have to do with the future. Enable us Lord as we have studied the word to profit from the things that we read, give us insight into the prophetic word, enable us to understand some of the things that are rather difficult. The symbols of the prophetic and apocalyptic word are very confusing at times. Give us insight Lord. Enable us to understand and then enable us to order our lives by Thy grace through the power of the Sprit and a way that will please Thee.
For Jesus sake, Amen.