Daniel 7:1-28 (Part 3) – The End of the World As We Know It…

Posted: June 19, 2016 in 27-Daniel

Daniel 7:1-28 (Part 3)

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

 

When I began thinking of today’s blog, a song that jumped into my head was the song, “The End of the World as We Know It” by the alternative rock band of the 80’s and 90’s, REM. It was a catchy little tune. Some of the lyrics went like this:

 

Team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped

Look at that low plane, fine, then

Uh-oh, overflow, population, common group

But it’ll do, save yourself, serve yourself

World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed

Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right

You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light

Feeling pretty psyched

 

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

 

It was a fast paced song that was unusual for the era in which it was released. That was what made it popular I guess. Preoccupation with the end of the world as we know has been an obsession of man throughout the centuries, practically since the beginning of recorded history. In every society, we have some form of end times reckoning. Some type of closure to the existence of the world and mankind as we know it now. Some conjecture that the Judeo-Christian Bible simply has borrowed from pre-existing cultural notions about the end of the world as we know it. However, it is my conjecture, based on what Paul says in Romans 1:18-25, that we have all known of the one true and we are without excuse. We are all created by God to worship. We often chose and have as entire societies turned away from what is the One True God. But that does not take away the fact that He designed us. Therefore, we are all wired to understand that there is an end to all things. As Rachel Green once said on Friends, “…and that my friend is cloooosure!” So throughout history, man has created his own ideas of the end times.

 

In this increasingly complex political, economic and cultural climate of the 20th and 21st centuries there are many who believe that we are end the end times predicted in biblical prophecies. Even though who are far from God are intrigued by the prophetic end times messages of Daniel, Revelation and other end time prophecies in the Bible. As Americans, we see ourselves as a never ending world power and thus many of the prophecies of end times out there involve the United States being a central part of the end times prophecies and it might be true. Who knows? According to Jesus Christ, only the Father knows. Only the Father aspect of the triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) knows. However, it does not stop us from conjecturing what the role of our nation will be if the end times are upon us within the next few generations of human existence. Here are some the ideas out there. From www.endtime.com, I found that the four beasts represent:

 

By examining this prophecy, we know this vision of the ten-horned beast hasn’t come to full fruition and that the other beasts represent nations that already exist.

 

 

 

  1. Daniel’s lion = England, whose coat of arms carries three lions. The eagle’s wings removed from the lion represent the United States, which we know separated from England during the American Revolution.

 

  1. Daniel’s bear = Russia, whose national symbol is a bear.

 

  1. Daniel’s leopard = Germany, whose Leopard tanks have been used predominantly in European armies since their introduction in the 1960s.

 

    We can understand the four heads of this leopard by remembering that Germany’s Third Reich historically attempted to gain world dominion during World War II, and that the Fourth Reich is emerging in our time.

    The leopard Daniel saw also had bird’s wings, which represent France and its national symbol of a rooster. France and Germany have not only collaborated on the design of Leopard tanks, but both countries are also founding members of the European Union.

 

But what is the fourth beast? It must be some form of world government, the last kingdom to be established upon the Earth. In Revelation 13:1-2, the Apostle John depicts Daniel’s four beasts again, now combined into one: a beast that is part leopard, part bear, and part lion, with ten horns.

 

 

  1. Daniel’s conglomerate beast = a world-dominating kingdom that will include Germany, Russia, and England. Since Daniel sees that the leopard is given dominion, we may also surmise that Germany will be the dominant nation in this world government. The new horn that emerges and dominates three others tells us this government will be controlled by the Antichrist.

 

Since the United States is not mentioned in the future prophecies of the Bible, we can assume that we will be one of those kingdoms that comes and goes that are mentioned in the Bible. We will become less of a world power at some point and maybe even become one of the ten kingdoms that is ruled by the rise of a charismatic Anti-Christ figure who will consolidate the world’s fragmented power when the end times do come. One thing is for certain, we are destined to become less influential than we are now and there will arise a new world power. There may be many new world powers before the end times come. There may be coalitions of world powers. There may even be complete chaos caused by groups like or similar to the radical anarchist group, ISIS, in this generation. Disruption of anarchist groups around the globe may lead to the consolidation of power under a single world government predicted in Revelation. This will be brought about by a smooth talking, charismatic leader who will be the Anti-Christ, when the end times are truly upon us.

 

Daniel’s dream is ample evidence that the end times will come. And, yes, man is obsessed with the end times. We have movies about end times. We have books about end times. These movies are so prolific, they are a genre unto themselves. There are whole sections of the bookstores dedicated to end times literature. We have seen many man over the centuries predict the end and we are still here. But that does not stop the obsession with it.  Let’s re-read the story with an eye to the modern, long-ranging arc of prophecy. Do you see the United States as part of it? Do you see the United States as being one of the specifically named beasts or one of the horns?:

 

 

7 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

 

2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

 

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 human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

 

5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

 

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.

 

7 “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.

 

8 “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 human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

 

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.

10

A 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.

 

11 “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. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

 

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples 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.

 

The Interpretation of the Dream

15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

 

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

 

19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about 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. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

 

23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.[b]

 

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

 

28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

 

The takeaway for me though is that I believe our world and our culture’s obsession with the end times is like the kid left home by himself for the weekend while his parents are away. We are obsessed with the signs of the end times so that we can clean up the mess of our house before our parents get back home. Risky business that mentality is! Jesus tells us that we do not know when He will return to end and judge all things. We must remain every ready for the end times as they will come like a thief in the night, unexpectedly. We obsess with signs of the end times so that we can quickly get right with God. Why do you think that people have to spend so much time and paper and video to justify behaviors that are against God’s Word. We are trying to make right in our minds what we are wired to abhor. We have to justify it to make it right. End times are a coming. We want to know the signs so we can make right with God. We want the party to last right up until we see the signs and then we can get right. We are like the song by Prince called “1999”, “I want to party like it’s 1999. Two thousand zero zero, party over, whoops, out of time!” We want to indulge ourselves til we see the signs. When the signs come though we will rationalize them away so that we can continue the party like it’s 1999.

 

If you are right with God, though, through a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then the end times are of no matter, no great worry. Our place is secured. We do not have to obsess over the signs. We know our place. We know that Christ will return and that He will take care of us. We may die before He returns but we will be with Him. Through Jesus Christ, we are victorious. Through Jesus Christ we can say, “It’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s the end of the world as we know…AND I FEEL FINE!”

 

Amen and Amen.

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