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Sunday, July 14, 2019

posted Jul 15, 2019, 12:54 PM by Site Administrator





Daniel 7:1-28

Key Verse 7:27


Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ 


First, “The Four Beasts” (1-8). Look at verse 1. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. The book of Daniel can be divided into two parts: Chapters 1 through 6 – historic events that happened in and around Daniel and his friends, and chapters 7 through 12 – prophetic visions Daniel had. Today's passage is about Daniel's first vision. He saw this vision in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, 553 B.C. Daniel was already in his seventieth. How did it start? In verses 2 and 3, he says, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.” The great sea here refers to the earth or the world; it was churning, showing that it was stirred up, and many things were happening; some people become successful while others fail; some companies earn a lot of money, while others go out of business; wars happen, and countries are destroyed; earthquakes occur in various places and many areas of the earth have terrible flood or drought due to the global warming. The great sea was churning. But it was churning because of the four winds of heaven blowing on it, indicating that the direct cause of the great sea churning was the will and purpose of the heaven; simply, God was in control of the world history, and he was guiding it according to his will and purpose. As a result, the four beasts came up out of the sea. 


In verse 17, we see a heavenly host giving an interpretation of the four beasts. He says, “The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.” Based on this, now we understand the nature of this vision: God was showing Daniel of how the world history would flow; according to God's will and purpose, in human history in the future, four kingdoms would rise, and play certain roles. Then, when will this happen? The traditional understanding of this passage is that these four kingdoms are the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire – just the same vision Nebuchadnezzar’s statue showed. So, when you go and check out books on this passage, you will see this kind of interpretation. But that’s not correct. When you check out verses 11 and 12, you see that even when the fourth kingdom is destroyed and gone, still the other three kingdoms will exist in the world, even though they are not dominant in the world any longer. So then, according to the traditional understanding, even after the Roman Empire was gone in 476 A.D., there should still be the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire and the Greek Empire. So, we should not see it that way. The heavenly host’s interpretation of the fourth beast in verse 25 gives us the hint. It reads: “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” Here, “a time, times and half a time,” refers to the 3 and a half years' persecution of the Antichrist during the last days. So, this vision is about the end times. According to the record of the book of Revelation, the Antichrist will persecute the Jews and Christians during the second half of the 7 years' covenant he made with the Jews; then, after this, Jesus Christ will come again and destroy the beast's kingdom; the Antichrist will be thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, and the Millennium will start. That’s what God shows us in the book of Daniel. That’s how the world history would flow, and in order to fulfill God’s plan, four countries during the last days would play certain roles, and through Daniel, God shows us the key characteristics of these four countries so that, even 2,500 years later, today, we can identify them. 


Let's check out the beasts one by one. Look at verse 4. “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.” The first kingdom was recognized as the lion. When we check out national animals online, we see several countries using the lion as their national animal. Among them, one nation that can fit to the description in verse 4, is England – Great Britain. The lion had the wings of an eagle. The lion is the king of the animals, and the eagle is the king of the sky. What a great animal it must be – the lion with eagle's wings. Originally, the eagle's wings were attached, showing the coalition between the lion's kingdom and another kingdom known with the eagle, and later, it was detached, indicating the termination of their coalition. By the way, the eagle is the national animal of the USA. When America belonged to England, the British Empire was indeed the lion with eagle's wings. But on July 4th 1776, America declared independence from England, thus, the eagle's wings were torn off from the lion, even though the lion never wanted it. But even after that, the lion's situation was not weakened at all. Instead, its situation became more glorious. “It was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man.” Right after America's independence, the steam engine was applied to power machines (1780s), and soon, the industrial revolution began in England and it changed everything for ever; with this, England grew very powerfully as a great empire, and until 20th century, England had built a vast empire, the largest empire in history – the British Empire. It is said, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” But that's not all. “The heart of a man was given it.” We remember how human sanity was restored in Nebuchadnezzar when he raised his eyes toward heaven and acknowledged God's sovereignty. Here, the expression, “the heart of a man was given it,” shows the England people coming back to God in repentance. From 1740, John Wesley's Methodist movement spread throughout England; in 1853, Hudson Taylor went to China as a missionary, and soon following him, 800 missionaries went to China; he is the founder of China Inland Mission; then, in the late 19th century, there were 7 Cambridge students who pledged to be missionaries in China after graduation – it was a great sensation and it stirred up the England churches for the world mission – England church woke up for God's world mission. 


The second beast looked like a bear. The bear was a symbol of the Soviet Union, and even today, the Russians identify themselves with the bear. “It was raised up on one of its sides,” showing that there was imbalance, maybe, in power, or in wealth. The Soviet Union was a communist's country that claimed equality, but ironically, its unique characteristic was imbalance or inequality – in the Soviet Union, Russia always was dominant, and in that communist's country, only few elites took possession of all its wealth and power, while the absolute majority of people lived in poverty. Its description in verse 5 says, “it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’” Here, the three ribs in its mouth means three countries devoured by the bear, but actually, they are just some residues between its teeth, showing that the bear already had eaten so many other countries, but even after that, still its strong appetite did not subside that it wanted to eat more – Get up and eat your fill of flesh. Spreading the communism, the Soviet Union captured many countries and ruled until the Perestroika (1985-1990) of Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-).


Look at verse 6. “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.” There is no country that uses a leopard as their national animal. But one nation known for leopard is Germany. Germany is famous for tanks. In the 1950s, France and Germany started designing tanks together, but later, France gave up and Germany continued; then in 1965, they started production of the tanks, called, “Leopard,” and soon, the Leopard became a standard of European forces, and eventually became the Main Battle Tanks in over a dozen countries worldwide. Another key characteristic of this country is: “On its back it had four wings like those of a bird.” Actually, KJV translates this as “four wings of a fowl.”A fowl is a domestic hen or rooster - chicken. So, this description shows the coalition between the leopard country and a country known with a fowl. There is only one nation that is known for a fowl or rooster – it is France. In its history or as a nation, France is known as a Rooster; France' national animal is a Rooster. Historically, there was enmity between Germany and France. Actually, the Germany's national animal is an eagle. So, often, the enmity between France and Germany is described as a battle between a Rooster and an Eagle. But strangely, nowadays, we see these two countries in deep coalition. France and Germany sponsored the European Coal and Steel Community, and this evolved all the way to the forming of the European Union. Another key characteristic of the leopard is that ithad four heads. In Revelation 13, we see the beast, the Antichrist's kingdom, coming out of the sea and it has seven heads and ten horns, and in its interpretation, we see that the seven heads refer to seven kings, actually, seven kingdoms that have been in the history of the beast kingdom, of which, as of the time of the apostle John, 5 had fallen (the Egyptian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Medes and Persian Empire, and the Greek Empire), one was (the Roman Empire), and one was not yet come (the Antichrist's kingdom). So, here, four heads refer to the four kingdoms that appear in the history of the leopard nation. Indeed, Germans identify their history with four Reichs (four kingdoms). The first Reich (800-1806) was the Holy Roman Empire (962-1806), featuring Charlemagne the Great (742-842) as the forerunner. The second Reich (kingdom) was from the unification of Germany to the defeat in the First World War (1870-1919) under the diplomatic statesmanship of Otto Von Bismark, the Iron Chancellor. The third kingdom was Adolph Hitler's Nazi government resulting in the division into East and West Germany (1933-1945). Nazi called themselves as the Third Reich (Kingdom). The fourth kingdom is from 1951 to present as the key member of the European Union in the coalition with France. Another key characteristic of the leopard is: “It was given authority to rule. It shows that this third beast is going to be pretty dominant in the world. If our understanding of the third beast as the coalition between Germany and France is right, then, the European Union will be dominant in the world for a while, maybe, so that it can prepare the coming of the Antichrist, according to God's plan. 


Look at verses 7 and 8. “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” This is the last kingdom that will be dominant in the world before Jesus Christ comes again. The beast's ten horns refer to ten kings or ten kingdoms forming this beast's kingdom. So, the Antichrist's kingdom seems to be a union or confederation of ten countries. Also, here, another horn refers to the Antichrist. Before he becomes the Antichrist, already the kingdom is established; then, he comes by uprooting three kings or subduing three countries, and he quickly comes to have the control of this kingdom. This passage does not describe specifically how the beast will look, but just how horrifying, powerful and merciless it will be. But the book of Revelation gives us its description. Revelation 13:2 reads: 2The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.” The Antichrist's kingdom is directly related to the other three kingdoms – the leopard's body, the bear's claws and the lion's mouth. This means that the Antichrist's kingdom will be formed up with the help and support of the other three kingdoms. By the way, the main body is a leopard – this is really terrifying. If the leopard refers to Germany, then, the Antichrist's kingdom will be mainly of Germany; when we think about how Germany under the leadership of Adolph Hitler killed several million people in the Holocaust, we are only scared. If the three beasts refer to “England, Russia, and Franco-German Alliance,” then, as many Bible scholars suggest, the Antichrist's kingdom will be of the Europeans, maybe, more specifically, Germany.


When we think about this passage carefully, we are only amazed at how God sees the world history. It seems that there are many things happening in the world, but simply in God's eyes, it is like a Beast War – nothing good or glamorous, but barbaric, cruel and vicious. There is nothing desirable in the world. Without faith in God, all people are in this Beast War; have nothing to do with them.  


Second, “The Ancient of Days took his seat” (9-14).Look at verses 9 and 10. Let's read these verses together:

9“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,

and the Ancient of Days took his seat.

His clothing was as white as snow;

the hair of his head was white like wool.

His throne was flaming with fire,

and its wheels were all ablaze. 

10A river of fire was flowing,

coming out from before him.

Thousands upon thousands attended him;

ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

The court was seated,

and the books were opened. 


Now the vision shifted from the beasts on the earth to the courtroom in heaven. While the world was going on with many kingdoms rising and having authority and influence, even while the Antichrist's kingdom was dominant, in heaven, the court was open to judge all the kingdoms and their peoples. While the kingdoms and their peoples enjoy success and prosperity, while many companies are being developed into entrepreneurs, they never imagine that in heaven, God is ready to pronounce his judgment on them. Don’t be deceived by the world’s beauty, for they stand already condemned. The heavenly court Daniel saw was indeed awesome. He saw that thrones were set in place: These thrones were not yet occupied, waiting for their rightful owners – worthy saints who produce great fruits as we see in the parable of talents. 


Then, the Ancient of Days took his seat: He is the Judge; he is God the Father, Jehovah Elohim. He is described as “the Ancient of Days,” showing that he has been involved in human history for so long; he is the one who has been watching since the creation of the world; so his judgment is not instantaneous, but well thought, arranged and figured out – his judgment is right; what a suitable name it is for the Judge of all; whatever decision he makes is right and just. To each of us, our God is the Ancient of Days. He has been watching you all the time, and whatever he does to you now is not from an instantaneous decision, but from his well-thought out decision – he shows mercy on you and blesses you and such an action of God is based on his long observance of you. So, enjoy God's blessing freely. The judge taking his seat at the court means that the court is in session; while the kingdoms in the world struggle to have power and influence, actually, God is ready to pronounce his judgment on them. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool: The color white shows His innocence and purity; in the past, and even some judges today, at the court, wore white wigs representing their innocence and purity as the judges; but their white color is fake; the white color God shows is genuine and real; his judgment is right and just; nothing impure or no favoritism with God in his judgment. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him:Here the fire represents his power; “Flaming with fire,” “all ablaze,” “a river of fire flowing and coming out from him,”all these expressions show how awesome the Judge is and how fearsome his judgment will be; all creatures, all peoples must fear Him and his judgment; we must live with his judgment in mind; live your life with a fearful and trembling heart. When you fear God, you know what to say and what not to say, what to do and what not to do. When you fear God, you will be cautious in your words and actions, instead of saying or doing what you feel like saying or doing. Indeed, the fear of God is wisdom. In the left hand of wisdom is life, long life, and in the right hand of wisdom are wealth and fame. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: thousands upon thousands mean several million people – his attendants as servants; ten thousand times ten thousand is one hundred million people – those who stand before him. These people show their absoluteness and loyalty toward him; these so many people standing before him while he conducts his business as the judge represent his glory. We are simply few of them. 


The books were opened: In these books, everything has been recorded – what each person has done, why, in what situation. This book is like a super computer, with super fast CPU, and world's best Security Cameras that records everything, not only the events and facts, but even what's going on in your hearts,... Everything has been recorded, and his judgment is based on what has been recorded – everything will be exposed as naked, and no one can hide anything; it will be the time of shame for many people, and at the same time, it will be the time of great joy and victory for many others when all their good deeds that have been hidden will be exposed; they will be recognized by God as good and faithful people. Whatever you do is recorded – when, where, what, why, and how. We must live our lives before God with a fearful and trembling heart.


Look at verses 11 and 12. Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) The Antichrist's kingdom was destroyed; this will happen when Jesus comes the second time; after this, the millennium starts. When we look at the world, it seems that these powerful nations (beasts) are dominant and have real influence in the world. But Daniel's vision shows that they are not the main figures in history or they are not the history makers in the world, but eventually they will be destroyed, and the authority and glory and power will be given to the saints.


Look at verses 13 and 14. Now we see another Holy One who looked like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power. Right before his ascension, the Risen Christ proclaimed, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...” (Mt 28:18,19) At this, all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. When the kingdom is like this, then, there is no more anxieties, no more defeats, no more worries or no more fears; in this kingdom, there will be no more tears; instead, all people in this kingdom can enjoy deep sense of security, peace and happiness; they can rejoice freely. No more worries, no more fears, no more anxieties, no more defeats – this is what all mankind have dreamed about; this is the true hope of all mankind. Jesus' eternal kingdom is the focal point of all mankind's struggles and hopes. Jesus is the one who fulfills our true hopes. How thankful we are that we are called into this eternal kingdom!


Third, “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints” (15-28). Look at verses 15 through 18. “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever. The heavenly host's interpretation was short to the point. There are so many things happen each and every day – many people weep while some people laugh; many businesses and kingdoms rise and wane; there have been many wars. But in short, eventually through all those struggles, four kingdoms rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High receive the kingdom and possess it forever, yes, for ever and ever. Maybe, this is the shortest description of the world history – four kingdoms rise on earth, but the believers of Jesus Christ possess the kingdom for ever and ever.  


Now Daniel wanted to know about the fourth beast and the ten horns and the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As he watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. The fourth beast refers to the fourth kingdom that will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise; he will subdue three kings. He will have the 7 years' covenant with the Jews, but during the second half of the covenant, he will change his mind and persecute the Jews and Christians. At that time, those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. If anyone is to who go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. It will be the time when everything will become clear and everyone will have a chance to make their clear cut decision – either stand on God's side and die, or stand on the world's side and live a little longer. Despite the pains and sorrows of watching their family members dying - sons or daughters or fathers or mothers, there is no room for comprise. Through this fierce persecution, many Christians will be purified, while so many fake believers reveal their true identity as those who belong to the world.  The believers must endure patiently until the end of the seven years. Those who stand firm to the end will be saved. 


Look at verses 26 and 27. Let's read these verses together:


26“‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ 


 After the 7 years’ covenant is over, the Antichrist’s government will be darkened quickly. At Jesus’ second coming, it will be destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. This is the promise of victory in Christ Jesus. The saints will possess these nations of the earth. What does it mean? In his parable, Jesus described it as the property of your own. Practically, it means that you will be assigned as the city mayor of Torrance, or other cities and you will be given authority to design and operate your city however way you desire – zonings and codes and districts, hiring those whom you want; you will be assigned as the president and administrators of ECC, LAHC, SMC, CSULB, CSUDH, CSUF, USC, and UCLA – so that you can kick out all those unbelieving and liberal professors from your schools and assign shepherds and shepherdesses as professors, and of course, for English 1a, the textbook will be, “Pilgrim's Progress,” written by John Bunyan. It will be really cool and fantastic to be given sovereignty over our schools; it will be really cool to be given sovereignty over cities, states and countries – you are given a chance to use all your creative ideas and desires unlimitedly. And there will be no more re-election; your positions will be secured for ever and ever. We will reign with our Lord Jesus Christ forever, yes, for ever and ever. We give great thanks to God who has granted us such a promise of victory in Jesus Christ. In this hope, we can endure all challenges in the world and live as Jesus' disciples to the end of our life. Our hope in Jesus Christ is the real hope. 


Today's passage shows us to what direction the history is flowing. This passage helps us have the right view of what's going on in the world and of the world history – anyway, no matter what, the world history is about Beast Wars – nothing good comes from it; so, don't be enticed or deceived by it. All good things are stored for us in Jesus Christ – eventually, the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, to us, and we will reign the world with Jesus Christ forever, yes, for ever and ever. With this hope in mind, let's give ourselves fully to the work of God, for we know that our labor in Jesus is not in vain. 


One Word:All Kingdoms Will Be Handed Over To The Saints