Live to Win in the End
Tom J. Nettles
In verse 1-7,
Daniel sees a vision of four kingdoms, the fourth of which was the most
dominant. This kingdom would endure for a lengthy time giving rise to ten kings,
after which, apparently an eleventh would arise that would exert more power
than the others. Another view might be that this fourth kingdom would envelop
ten other kingdoms as did the
I. The power exhibited by earthly potentates can appear formidable, but we must remember that they are only men who “arise out of the earth.” – 7, 8, 17
A. The fourth beast represents a kingdom that will have some remarkable longevity and amazing power – “Terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong.” Was it Rome, or the Turkish empire, or the earlier Syrian empire with the cruel Antiochus Epiphanes as the little horn that was three times as powerful and cruel as any of the other kings.
B. Perhaps it will have an advanced technology and ability to destroy those that oppose it, “Great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet.” It could refer to how well-equipped was the army of this fourth beast.
C. This beast (a secular state based on a desire for dominance, power, and wealth) had a succession of kings, or rulers, with the final ruler usurping authority from others in some way.
D. Though he boasts of great things with great threats and takes
action particularly against the saints (21, 25), it must be born in mind that
he is just a man. A similar vision is give to the apostle John at
II. All of the powers of earth rule only for a while and are all being judged in righteousness before the throne of God. 9-11
A. The thrones were placed, that is, already in place even while the changes in power were occurring on earth between all the kingdoms of beast seen in Daniels’ vision.
B. The one that “took his seat” was the ”Ancient of days, an eternal one not given to the changes brought about by the passage of time. In Isaiah 6, the prophet saw him already seated on his throne, Here he took his seat. This does not indicate that he was not ruling before, but that a special intervention in the affairs of men is about to take place in the exertion of a mighty act of judgment.
C. This eternal being is seen as awesome in power and purity. Personal holiness and absolute purity in judgment seem to be indicated by the images of whiteness and fire.
D. Though the world may not acknowledge him, and may seek to vaunt themselves above any worship of him. Daniel sees that in heaven ten of millions of glorious beings serving him and standing in absolute readiness to do his bidding. Enoch, the seventh from Adam had also seen a vision of the ungodliness of worldly powers and the final judgment by divine power and glory. “Behold the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14, 15)
E. This Ancient of days knows all events, has them all recorded, and will allow nothing to escape his judgment. We may be sure that the holy God will defend his cause, his Law, his righteousness, his purpose and his people.
III. The loudest power, with the most outrageous claims, will be destroyed in a moment by the power and purpose and justice of God. – 11, 12
A. This most powerful of all the beasts that has given rise to this loud-mouthed little horn will be destroyed in the midst of its speaking.
B. The other beasts, and perhaps remnants of their kingdom and
people will continue to exist, but no power will be theirs. This could refer to
IV. The one through whom righteous rule will be established is a righteous redeemer fully pleasing to and equal in power and glory to the Ancient of Days, 13, 14
A. Daniel’s vision now focused on one like a “son of man” coming to the Ancient of days. He is presented before him. This, in light of future events, manifestly refers to Jesus Christ, of the same essence as the Father but also taking to himself our nature in the flesh.
B. This scene if fleshed out in more detail in Revelation 5 in the
vision of John. He sees God on his throne with a book, completely sealed that
no one can open. When the Lion of the tribe of
C. An eternal kingdom is given to him to rule all “peoples, nations, and languages.” This is pictured also in Philippians 2 where “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
D. It is most gloriously a redemptive kingdom for “the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever, and ever.” (18) This is given greater detail in the vision in Revelation 5, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, . . . and they shall reign on the earth.” This corresponds with the scene of Daniel 7:27 “And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. Their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”