Dear Pastor Ron: Continuation of Daniel 7. Pt. 2
We read in the previous article that Daniel saw four beasts (kingdoms) arising out of the sea. And we saw in Daniel 7:23 that the fourth beast was the fourth kingdom that reigned on earth. We read in the previous prophecy of Daniel 2 that that fourth segment of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, legs of Iron, was Rome, the iron monarchy that ruled the world.
We came to this conclusion because Daniel 2:37 told us that of the four segments in Nebuchadnezzar’s image, the first, the head of gold, represented the Babylonian empire. Historically we know that the Babylon empire fell to the Medes and Persians in 539 BC; they in turn fell to the Grecian empire in 331 BC, and finally Rome conquered the Greeks in 168 BC. This would mean that the first beast in Daniel 7, a lion with four wings, coming up out of the sea represented the Babylonian empire; the second, a bear with three ribs in its mouth would be the Medes and Persian; historically the Medes and Persians defeated the Babylonians, the Lydians, and the Egyptians, as they rose to world power; the third beast, a leopard with four wings and four heads represented the Grecian empire. The speed with which Alexander conquered the world up to the Indus river was nothing but amazing; thus the four wings were an appropriate symbol of this fact. Also, when Alexander died suddenly his empire was carved up among his generals and by 301 BC there were left four generals with the empire carved up among them. Thus the four heads fittingly represent this prophetic description of Alexander’s empire.
Next, the fourth beast which the angel says represents the fourth kingdom or empire (verse 23) must be none other than that of the Roman empire.Working backwards from this fourth empire, historically, we can only arrive at the three empires mentioned above. The prophetic description is this empire is also fitting. It was fierce, strong, devoured and broke (destroyed) all kingdoms. And it was different from all the other kingdoms before it. Friends, when we read of these biblical prophecies and their historical fulfilment we should be filled with awe and joy to know that God has given us strong evidence of the veracity of His Word; and this in turn should lead us to love Him more and look forward to His return to earth for those that love and follow Him. As we continue reading the prophecy of Daniel 7 we find that it says in verse 7 that this fourth kingdom was different from all the kingdoms that preceded it. In what way was Rome different from the preceding empires? In my next articles we will see how Rome was different from all the other empires that preceded it. Note this as we conclude this portion of the prophecy: in Daniel 2 we have a straight historical pageant of world history from Babylon to the second coming of Christ. In chapter 7 of Daniel we have a repetion of the empires, but with the fourth kingdom, Rome, the prophecy goes into more detail of events that will take place before the return of Christ for His faithful and obedient people. In the details that follow in my next articles we will see God’s concern for humanity and for those that love and follow Him, giving them enough evidence of a guidance Hand in earth's history. This should strength our trust and walk with God, and also confirm the accuracy of His Word. May God richly bless you as you contemplate the book of Daniel.
Pastor Ron Henderson is a retired SDA (Seventh-day Adventist) pastor. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments. May God bless you.