Animals and Horns


Animals and Horns
Daniel 7:1-8, 15-17
We come now to the second major division in the prophecy given to the prophet Daniel. For the most part, the first six chapters had to do with personal matters relating to the life of this man Daniel. As a young person, you will recall, he was carried away captive into the land of Babylon. There he was trained to be a specialist in Jewish affairs in the government of the Babylonians. For all of his life, through a series of transfers of power, Daniel had served in the administrations. 
We have seen some tremendous exploits on the life of Daniel. We have seen the power of God in and the miracles which God has wrought in his life through all six chapters that we have studied. With one exception, the second chapter, the early chapters have to do with personal matters relating to Daniel's life.   In the seventh chapter through the conclusion of the book, we have the prophecies which God gave to this man, Daniel. We have God revealing to Daniel matters that are going to come to pass in the future. The things which Daniel saw and wrote down, we're going to study. These are events that would take place beyond the lifetime of Daniel himself. It places us squarely in the middle of Bible prophecy. 
A lot of the Bible has much to do with prophecy. As you study all through the Bible, you will find these different predictions and prophecies which are made. 
In fact, some of the greatest prophecies, I would say the primary prophecies given to us in the Old Testament and then into the New Testament, have to do with the first and second coming of the Lord Jesus. 
Someone has said there are over 300 prophecies having to do with Christ. Every one of those prophecies, which were predicted about the first coming of Jesus Christ, was predicted in detail when He came. There are now other prophecies which have been made about the second coming of our Lord. If all of the prophecies concerning His first coming have taken place, we can be confident that the prophecies concerning His second coming will also take place.
We study prophecy because it shows us the fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. It also gives us confidence about the promises God makes to us concerning the future. 
When we look to the past and see what God has done and how He fulfilled His promises, then we can look with confidence to the future. Every promise which God has made to us, we can believe that one of these days it is going to come to pass!
Another reason we study Bible prophecy is to see the tremendous power of God and to see that what He says He will bring to pass. God is an omnipotent God. He's all powerful. God is an omnipresent God. He is present everywhere. But God is also an omniscient God. God knows everything. 
In Isaiah 46 there are some verses that have to do with the subject of Bible prophecy. In verses 9 and 10 it says, "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I shall do all my pleasure." 
Do you see what it says? It says that God is able to declare the end from the beginning. It also says that God is able to declare the things that are not yet done. The Bible makes prophecy, and it is God who can predict the future. That is exactly what we're going to find in this seventh chapter of the book of Daniel.
I.       The Burden.
It is in the opening two verses of this chapter that God gave this revelation to Daniel. He did it in a dream and through visions. In Hebrews 1, verse 1, the Bible says that God, in the old times, did many times reveal Himself through the medium of dreams. God has spoken in these last days, Hebrew 1, verse 1, says, in the person of His Son. 
We don't rely on dreams today because God has given us the completed scroll of scripture, the completed revelation of the Bible. But God gave to this man Daniel some visions and some dreams. The result of that is going to be Daniel writing down scriptures. He's going to be writing down the Word of God. The truth of the matter is, Daniel wrote some things he himself didn't even understand. 
In the fifteenth verse of the chapter, when Daniel has had this vision, it says, "I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all of this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of things." 
Daniel wrote more than he could understand. Many times the Bible writers wrote things which were mysteries to them. They spoke some things and God gave them some things beyond their ability to understand.
Daniel didn't just come up with this vision himself. God gave this vision to him. God revealed this to him. Though he didn't understand all that was involved, what God gave to him and what we have in our Bible, is God's inspired, infallible, Holy Word.
In Daniel 12, verse 4, God said to Daniel, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." 
God said to Daniel close this book and seal it until the time of the end; and then the implication is, in the time of the end, this will be understood. The way to study the book of Daniel is to constantly refer to the last book of the Bible, Revelation. You will find that there is a very close connection between what Daniel predicted and what Revelation has to say. We're going to be going back and forth as we look at the vision that God gave to Daniel.
Daniel says in verse 1, "I had a vision." In the second verse of the seventh chapter he says, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven and strove upon the great sea."   The four winds are a picture of the providence of God. We see the winds of God are blowing upon the waters of history. We see the providential methods and providential will of God as it moves in human history.
We refer to history sometimes as "His" story, because God is in charge of history. God is sovereign over all; and as Daniel has taught us all through this book, there is a God in heaven and God is ultimately in charge. That gives me great comfort when I look at turmoil in the world situation. The four winds of God are blowing on the sea.
When Daniel says that he saw the great sea, probably the primary reference is to the Mediterranean Sea. What God is going to reveal to Daniel about the future of world powers is that all of the powers are gathered around the Mediterranean Sea. Here is the burden: the four winds of God on the waters of human experience.
II. The Beasts.
In verse 3, we come to the beasts. God gives to Daniel a vision of four great beasts that come out of the sea. In the second chapter God gave a vision to Nebuchadnezzar. God gave a vision of world power to him, and it was in the form of an image with a head of gold going all the way down to the toes, which were made of part iron and part clay. 
God gave to Nebuchadnezzar, in that image, the four major world powers under the symbol of an image. God is going to give to His man Daniel a vision, and it is going to be a vision of the same world powers, but it is going to be a vision of these world powers as great beasts coming out of the sea. 
In chapter 7, verse 4, the first beast is a lion and the identity of that beast is very clear. It is a reference to the kingdom of Babylon and the Babylonian Empire.   The lion was a frequently used symbol in the life of Babylon. Archeologists tell us that on the gates that guarded the city of Babylon were winged lions that were inscribed. The lion was a national symbol of the people and the kingdom of Babylon. He said that it was a lion that had eagle's wings. 
The Babylonian Empire was indeed a mighty empire. It was indeed like a lion crushing its foes. He says his wings were plucked, a prediction that one day the empire was going to fall. "And it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it." This is probably a reference to the experience that Nebuchadnezzar had. God drove him from his kingdom into the thickets of the Euphrates for a period of years, and then God restored his mentality to him and gave him the mind of a man once again. The first beast is a reference to the Babylonian Empire.
The second beast is in verse 5. We are told that beast is like a bear. The reference is to the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians.  When the Babylonian Empire fell, it was replaced by the kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians. Contrary to a lion that devours its foes, the bear is a clumsy, stalking beast that crushes its foes. 
From secular history, we know about the Empire of Medo-Persia. They were known for their massive armies. They were the first nation in the history of the world that gathered together great armies in the field of battle. Some say they had as many as two and a half million soldiers at times that would go to battle. They came to battle against Babylon, and it says that it raised up itself on one side. Persia was the stronger in the coalition. There were three ribs in the mouth. Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt formed a coalition against the Empire of the Medes and Persians. And yet it says, "It had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it, and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh."
They absolutely devastated everywhere they went and they devastated the armies of the Babylonians. They moved through like a clumsy, cumbersome bear, devouring everything in their path.
In verse 6 is the third of these beasts. The third of these beasts is a leopard. This is a reference to the kingdom of Greece. It is a fascinating thing to study the kingdom of Greece. The reference here is absolutely astonishing when compared to what we know in secular history. 
For instance, it says that this leopard had upon its back four wings of a fowl. The thing that was so characteristic about the armies of the Greeks was the swiftness with which they moved. Here was the lion that pounced upon its enemies. Here was the bear that stalked its enemies and moved over them. But here is a winged leopard. This is a picture of swiftness and lightning attack. The Greeks developed a very devastating aspect of military war. They put on their chariot wheels razor sharp swords. The king of Persia came out to witness the battle between the Greeks and the Persians. He had an army of a million people. The Greeks had an army of only sixty thousand. But the massive army was no match for Greeks in those chariots with the razor-sharp swords. The king of Persia sat and watched his army of a million people chewed to pieces by the lightning-fast attack of the Greeks. 
The great general of the Greeks was Alexander the Great. We don't know if this is absolutely true, but the tradition is that when Alexander the Great had conquered the known world of his time that he sat down and wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. We do know that he was a man of great dissipation, that he abused himself tremendously, and that he died at an early age. It says in verse 6: "The beast had also four heads; and dominion was given unto it." When Alexander died, his Grecian Empire was divided among four generals. The accuracy of the prophecy is astonishing to see. 
The first is the lion, which is Babylon. The second is the bear, which is the Medes and Persians. The third is the leopard, which is the Empire of the Greeks. 
Then Daniel sees a fourth beast, and it is such an astonishing and cruel and beastly kingdom that he doesn't even give a name to it. He says, "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it."  
This is the fourth kingdom. The historical fulfillment of this prophecy, which God gave to Daniel, was none other than the Roman Empire. 
God revealed to Daniel the successive world powers right down to the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was characterized by iron. We're told it had "great teeth of iron and that it brake in pieces." The Roman Empire dominated the world of its time and was very, very strong. When Jesus came into the world, even the land of Israel where our Lord was born, was dominated by the Roman Empire.
Daniel sees something that goes a little beyond what we have seen in secular history of the Roman Empire. 
As you look at the end of verse 7, he says that this fourth beast, that is the Roman Empire, had ten horns. What is the meaning of these ten horns? In verse 17 it says, "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings." 
In verse 19 it says, "Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse," and then it describes that beast again. In verse 20 it says, "And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up." He described those horns. Those ten horns represent ten kings. There has been no fulfillment of this particular part of the prophecy of Daniel. 
In Old Testament prophecy there is no prediction made concerning the church. The apostle Paul said that the church was a mystery of God that was revealed only in the days of the apostles. When you go to the Old Testament you will find sometimes there seems to be a gap in the history of it. 
Here is a prediction that the Roman Empire is evidently going to be revived in the end time and it is going to be gathered around these ten horns, or these ten kings. Bible teachers for many years had looked at the events taking place in Europe, the federated states of Europe in early days, and today, the European Union.
There are many Bible teachers who believe that this is a fulfillment of the end time prophecy concerning the revival of the Roman Empire. If you know anything about what's going in the European Union right now, you know that there are more than ten states involved in the European Union. That says that you need to be careful and don't be too dogmatic when you come to these kinds of things because indeed it may not be so at all that the European Union is a fulfillment of this prophecy. 
It is all together possible that it is. We don't know at what stage we are in God's prophetic calendar or where we are in terms of what God is doing. There may be more than ten states right now. There could be combination of states. There could be a gathering together of states. Before it is all over, it is entirely possible that there will be ten states.
Be that as it may, here is the prediction from Daniel, that there will be these ten horns, theses ten kingdoms, these ten states, these ten powers. An amazing development will take place.
III.    The Blasphemer.
In verse 8 it says, "I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots." In other words, here comes another ruler, another dictator. It is described as a little horn. 
Why in the Bible does God describe early power in terms of beasts? When God revealed the image of gold with a head of gold to Nebuchadnezzar, He was revealing it to a worldly man. Now He is revealing to Daniel, a godly man, these world powers, and He does it under the images of the beasts. 
Nebuchadnezzar saw it from the viewpoint of how people see earthly powers. Daniel sees it from the viewpoint of how God sees earthly powers. Nebuchadnezzar saw it from the viewpoint of a political revelation. Daniel sees it from a viewpoint of a moral revelation. 
In Psalm 49, verse 12, it says, "Nevertheless, man being in honor abideth not, he is like the beast that perish."   This is talking about the moral behavior of man and how men treat one another. Is it not true that when you look at the nations of the world and study human history and see how nations have related to one another, that many times their behavior to one another is beastly in nature? 
As I watch the television and see some of the things taking place in our world, I am stunned all over again and saddened at the unbelievable savagery of human beings, and how they can kill people and burn their bodies and how inhumane people can be one toward another. Apart from the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, human life can degenerate to the level of the animal kingdom. 
What is the meaning of this little horn and who is this little horn? In the last part of verse 8 it says, "Behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man." The implication here is this personality is going to have unusual insight and intelligence. It says, "And a mouth speaking great things." 
He's going to be a powerful communicator. In verse 20 he picks up the description again, and he talks about the horn that had eyes and a mouth. It says in verse 21, "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them." This is a strange revelation, a strange picture that God gives to Daniel.
I told you that a great deal of the book of Daniel can be understood only as you tie it to the book of the Revelation. In Revelation 13, it relates what God revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos to what God revealed to Daniel in the land of Babylon. In verse 1 it says, "And I (that is John) stood upon the sand of the sea (there we have the sea again), and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads, the name of blasphemy." 
In verse 2 it says, "And the beast which I saw (this is a composite beast) was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion." He mentions three of the same animals that Daniel mentions in the Old Testament, but there is a difference in the order in which he gives these animals. 
When Daniel saw them he said, "I saw a lion, a bear and I saw a leopard." Then he saw that fourth beast. John says, "When I saw this beast out of the sea, I saw a leopard, a bear, and a lion." Why is it written that way? When Daniel saw that, all of that was in the future. It was predicted prophecy to Daniel. When John was given this revelation, he is looking back at completed history. He sees Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon, and all of it is fulfilled prophecy. But John in the Book of the Revelation said he saw a composite beast, having all of these characteristics, and it was a beast out of the sea. 
In verse 5 we can discover who this beast is. It says, "And there was given unto him (talking about this beast out of the sea) a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months (3 and a half years). And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."  
In other words, this beast is going to have a mouth, the ability to communicate in scintillating, fascinating, and drawing ways. When you put it together, here's what you have. The little horn of Daniel and the beast out of the sea in the Book of the Revelation are one and the same. It is none other than a predication of the coming Antichrist. The Bible predicts that there is going to come a one-world ruler and that the Antichrist is going to come; and when he comes he will be a scintillating personality, a brilliant individual. He will have mesmerizing powers of communication. In the end time the Bible says the old Antichrist is going to come. It comes right down to where it always comes. The decision that people have to make is still the same. The decision is this, will it be Christ or the Antichrist. Will it be heaven or hell? The decision is always made by the individual heart.
Let's bow our heads and pray.
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