Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

O.T. Tuesday: Vision of the Four Beasts

The first six chapters of Daniel were a brief rundown of the history of Daniel's life. Now we are going to see the prophesys that God gave Daniel. The first one we see is in chapter 7 which chronologically falls between chapter 5 and chapter 6. In his sleep Daniel was given a vision which he describes as: 
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. 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; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 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. 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. (Daniel 7:2-9)

The coolest thing about this vision is that it's similar to the one given to Nebuchadnezzar years ago in Daniel 2:31-36, now Daniel is seeing it himself, but it's presented in a whole new light.

Nebuchadnezzar saw a great statue with a head of fine gold, Daniel saw a beast like a lion with eagles wings. Both symbolize Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar's statue had a chest and arms of silver, Daniel saw a bear with three ribs in its mouth, both symbolize the Medo-Persian empire. Nebuchadnezzar's statue had a belly and thighs of bronze, Daniel saw a four headed leopard with wings, these both represent the Greek empire. Nebuchadnezzar's statue had legs of iron, Daniel saw a dreadful beast, these both represent the Roman empire. Nebuchadnezzar's statue had feet of Iron and Clay mixes, while Daniel saw a little horn among the ten horns. These are called the Mixed Empire or the Revived Roman Empire. This is explained in Daniel 7:17-27

And what of the 10 horns? Like politicians, if you line up all the eschatology experts end to end, they'd all point in different directions. I've seen where the horns are the first 10 Roman emperors, I've seen studies where the horns are the 10 divisions of the fallen Roman Empire but that's hard to pin down because when did the Roman Empire fall? Common knowledge is that it fell in 476 AD, however that was just the western part of the Roman empire that fell then, the seat of government had moved centuries before to Constantinople, and eventually the east retook the western part of the empire under Justinian in 532 AD.

So in reality the Roman empire didn't fall until 1453 AD when Constantinople fell. HOWEVER - many in the Empirical government fled north and set up a new capitol far to the north, they took their architecture, flag, religion, customs, alphabet, and royalty with them and survived for another 460 years and only fell when the last Caesar (Tzar)  died in front of a execution squad, a Roman (Romanov) to the end. Following the history of Rome, Byzantium, and the Romanov dynasty as one unit, Rome lasted much longer than you were lead to believe. Let's file this under "History Is Cooler Than Your High School Teacher Ever Knew" and watch as the end times unfold.

Back to Daniel - we've only looked at the first part of his vision so far. The best, most wonderful, part is yet to come. 
“I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 10 “A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9-10)
One of the more interesting things in this passage was pointed out to me by an elderly lady at our local church and it even took the pastor by surprise, but it's true. God's throne is a wheel chair. Daniel watches the last beast being slain and it's body destroyed in fire, but the other beasts were allowed to live for a while after their dominion had been taken away. Then Daniel looks back to the throne
 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.14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
Daniel saw Jesus. Keep in mind that "Son of Man" was Jesus favorite name for himself. And if this scene sounds familiar it's because you peeked ahead at the end of the Bible (That's ok, God doesn't mind. Spoiler Alert: Our side wins) What Daniel is seeing is what John saw, this is Jesus judging the dead which John wrote about in his vision in Revelation 20:11-15.

Daniel couldn't understand the vision he saw and turned to someone standing next to him, (an angel?) and asked about the beasts he saw, especially the fourth beast which was different from the others and it trampled the earth. The angel explained that the fourth beast would be a fourth kingdom on earth that would devour the whole earth and crush it. Daniel's description of the last, smaller horn, is terrifying
 20 ... that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and was larger in appearance than its associates. 21 I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. (Daniel 7:20-22)
Daniel sees this horn, which eventually is revealed to be the Anti-christ, waging war against the saints. These are real saints, not the Roman Catholic version. A real saint is a living human being, dedicated to God living as holy a life as possible. (A Roman Catholic saint is a title given by people to a dead person for varying reasons) Daniel sees the Antichrist attack and win over the saints. He sees the Antichrist oppose God and speak pompous words against Him. God allows the antichrist to wage war against the faithful for "a time, times, and half a time" (Daniel 7:25) which is three and a half years, then God strips the antichrist of his power. At this point Daniel's vision ends with
27 Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ (Daniel 7:27)
Again, if you recognize any of this from the Book of Revelation it's because it's the same vision given to two different prophets. You can't study the Book of Revelation with the headlines in your other hand, you study the book of Revelation with the Old Testament in the other hand, this chapter is a good explanation of why. 

Sudden silly thought - in Daniel 7:16 Daniel mentions turning to someone who was standing by and asking that person about what he was seeing. Daniel never explains who that person was, maybe an angel? But a thought passed through my cerebral cortex and has been rattling around for a while. What if these other people were other prophets called to see the same prophesy? Maybe Daniel was there in God's theater watching with the Apostle John. Probably not, but it's cool to think about.

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