Daniel 7 – 12

The Four Beasts and the Little Horn

The prophet Ezekiel described Daniel as one of the three most righteous men in history.

In Daniel 7, Daniel saw a vision of four great beasts rising from the sea. “The Great Sea” was the Mediterranean, which bordered Israel. It was ruled by four great “beasts” or powers from the time of Daniel in 600 B.C. until the Reformation.

The first beast was a lion, which we know as Babylon.

The second was a bear with three ribs in its mouth, the Persian Bear as it is still called today. It had “three ribs in his mouth”: the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire, and the Babylonian Empire.

The third was a leopard with four wings and four heads. This was Greece. The map of the Greek Empire looks like a leaping leopard. Greece was divided into four territories governed by the four generals of Alexander the Great.

The fourth was an exceedingly dreadful beast with ten horns. A “little horn” came up among the ten horns. It had the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke pompous words. Daniel said the saints would be given into its hand for “a time, times, and half a time.” After Rome fell, its power continued through a relationship between the bishop of Rome and the ten horns, ten states of Europe.

Speaking of this little horn, Jesus said, “When you see standing in the holy place the one spoken of by Daniel the prophet, let him who is in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Daniel watched until this beast was slain. “As for the rest of the beasts – the lion, the leopard, and the bear – they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” Here, we understand that a “time” is a year. A season has three months and a “time” has 365 days—in total 455 days or years, from the first year of the reign of King Belteshazzar until 95 B.C., when the Greek Empire fell to the Romans and the dominion of the first three beasts was taken away.

The Little Horn

The four beasts in Daniel 7 were described as “four Kingdoms” and “four Kings.” The identities of the first three kings are well known, but the fourth is more mysterious.

The first beast was Babylon, and its king was Nebuchadnezzar the Great. In Chapter 2, Daniel said that he was the image of gold.

The identities of the next three kings were revealed in Chapter 8.

First, Daniel saw a ram with two horns. In Verse 20, these two horns were identified as the kings of the Medes and Persians. One horn was greater than the other. The greater horn represented the power of Cyrus the Great and the lessor horn represented the power of Darius the Mede. Daniel said that the ram became “great”

Then a goat appeared and rushed at the Ram in the fury of its power. The goat became “very great.” Its large horn was broken and replaced by four other notable ones. In Verse 21, we are told that the goat was the kingdom of Greece. We know that the large horn represented the power of Alexander the Great and the four horns that replaced it represented the power of his four generals, who set up four kingdoms. These four horns went up to the four winds of heaven.

From the four winds or spirits of heaven came a little horn. It caused the stars to fall to the Earth. Daniel said that this little horn “became exceedingly great.” From the Book of Revelation, we understand that this little horn was the power of Satan, who swept away a third of the stars with his tail. But why would the power of Satan be described as a “little horn?” Simply because Satan’s power is only the power to lie. Verse 24 tells us, “His power shall be mighty but not by his own power.”

This little horn made the place of God’s sanctuary desolate when it exalted itself as high as the Captain of the Armies, as high as Christ. In Verse 17, an angel told us that this vision relates the time of the end, which he described as 2,300 days.

The Desolation of the Sanctuary in Daniel 9

In Daniel 8, an angel explained that God’s sanctuary would be desolate for 2,300 days. The apostle John called this sanctuary New Jerusalem—it was the spiritual city of the saints.

In Daniel 9, the desolation of New Jerusalem was explained by the desolation of Jerusalem. Daniel confessed the sins of Israel that caused the desolation of God’s temple in Jerusalem:

Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keeps covenant and loving-kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments … we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled…. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws … Cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.

After Daniel’s prayer, the angel Gabriel told him that 70 sevens were decreed for Israel to put an end to its transgressions, to make amends for its iniquities, to anoint the most Holy, and to end its sacrifice and offerings.

The angel said that the people of the Prince to come would destroy the city and the sanctuary. This was the desolation prophesied in Chapter 8. Satan would desolate the Sanctuary of God when he exalted himself as high as Christ, as high as the Captain of the Armies.

The angel said, “At the Holy Place shall be the one who makes desolate.” Jesus quoted this verse of Daniel when He said, “When you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let those in Judea flee to the mountains.” The power of Satan would stand in the holy place—the place that should have been occupied by God.

Finally, the angel concluded, “Desolations are determined until the end of the war, until the consummation is poured out on the desolator.” These desolations are to continue until the sanctuary is fully cleansed, when the power of Satan, which John called “the beast,” is cast into the fire, which, we shall discover, is after 2,300 years, not 2,300 days.

The Prophecy of the Messiah’s Coming

In Daniel 9, after Daniel confessed the sins that caused God’s temple to become desolate, an angel told Daniel that Israel was taken into captivity for 70 years because of its sin.

The angel said that 70 weeks (“Seventy sevens,” שבע) would be decreed to put an end to sin and iniquity. In other words, it would take seven times longer to “end sin and iniquity.”

Know therefore and understand,
that from the going forth of the command
To restore and rebuild Jerusalem
Until the Messiah the Prince
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.

As recorded in Ezra 4 and 7, the command to restore and rebuild the streets of Jerusalem came from King Artaxerxes, in the “fifth month of the seventh year of the king.” Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered the law of gravity, studied this date and determined it to be 457 B.C., which he wrote in the margin of his 1707 King James Bible. Adding 69 weeks (483 days as years) to the year 457 B.C. brings us to A.D. 27, when Christ was anointed in His baptism. According to Luke 3:1, this was in the 15th year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Tiberius was granted the authority to govern the provinces soon after his military celebration on October 23, A.D. 12.

Here, we learn that the days in Daniel’s prophecies are really years. In fact, the Hebrew word for days often has the meaning of years. In Daniel 10, Daniel said that he fasted for “three weeks of days,” emphasizing that these days were real days.

The Prophecy of the Messiah’s Crucifixion

An angel told Daniel that the Messiah would come after 69 weeks, or sevens, and that He would be cut off in the middle of the next week, or seven—that is, after 3 ½ years.

From Luke’s gospel, we understand that Jesus began His ministry in A.D. 27, the 15th year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius.

The apostle John mentioned four Passovers, which prove that Jesus had a 3 ½-year ministry, ending in A.D. 31.

The first Passover is in John 2:13. It is followed by an unnamed feast in John 5:1. In John 4:35, Jesus said, “You say there are yet four months and then comes the harvest.” The next feast was the Passover, which cannot have been later than the feast of John 5:1. The third Passover is mentioned in John 6:4, and the fourth is the Passover that ended Jesus’ life, in A.D. 31. The sudden jumps in time to the three Passovers of the first six chapters were all introduced by the Greek phrase Μετὰ ταῦτα, “change afterward.”

We can also prove the day of Jesus’s crucifixion, which can only have occurred in A.D. 31. According to the rules set out in the Old Testament, the Passover is held on the 14th day of Nisan. From the moon record of the U.S. Navy Observatory, we can see that the 14th day of Nisan in the year A.D. 31 was on a Wednesday.

However, Luke 24:21 and Matthew 28:1 tell us that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday. This is because the Jewish festival rules do not allow the Passover to fall on a Wednesday. For example, in 2000, 2002, and 2003, the Passovers were all moved to the 15th day of Nisan.

In the year A.D. 31, the Passover was also moved to the 15th day of Nisan. This fulfilled the Targum of Hosea 3:2, which said, “I redeemed them by My Memra (My Word) on the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan.”

The Targum prophesied the day, month, and year of Jesus’s crucifixion.

The King of the North

In Daniel 9, an angel told Daniel that Satan, “the Ruler of the people to come,” would make a covenant with many before crucifying Christ. However, Satan, as the “Ruler of the Covenant,” will make his first appearance in Chapter 11, as the captain of the armies of Rome.

In Chapter 10, Daniel saw a vision of a Glorious Man, the same vision of Christ that John saw in Revelation 1. Daniel was in great distress, wanting to know the meaning of the vision, and after three weeks of prayer and fasting, an angel came to explain the vision to him.

The angel’s explanation began with King Darius in the year 539 B.C. and ended with the appearance of the angel Michael on the Lord’s Day. It is the longest single prophecy in the Bible.

Before explaining the vision, the angel said he needed to return to fight the captain of Persia, and indeed, the captain of the armies of Greece would then come, “but,” he said, “no one upholds me against these except Michael, your captain.” These “captains” were all captains of angels, who fight the conflicts of men.

Then, in Chapter 11, the angel said three more kings would stand up in Persia, and then a mighty king would arise whose dominion would be broken up toward the four winds. We of course know that the mighty king was Alexander the Great and that the four dominions were the four kingdoms of his four generals. From here, the angel prophesied all the conflicts between the Seleucid kings and the kings of Egypt. The angel described this with so much detail that many atheists want to deny that the prophet Daniel even existed! The angel said that Antiochus IV Epiphanes would be a vile person. His wickedness went up to the four spirits of heaven in Verse 22, when Satan, the “Ruler of the Covenant,” was swept away by his attack. In Verse 31, Satan became the king of the north, who set up the abomination of desolation and defiled the sanctuary.