This is a vision of 4 beasts. There are two different ways to interpret this timeline regarding what kingdoms the first three beasts may represent. But it does not matter which viewpoint is correct because the actions of the small horn on the forth beast is what is critical to understand.
We are introduced to the first three beasts coming out of a sea. As we will see, it does not matter if these beasts represent world powers in a streaming timeline or if they coexist as powers in the time of the end of the Gentiles. But one thing is for certain, the forth is mightier then all. It’s the identification of the fourth beast and the small horn that displaces three horns – That is crucial.
This may sound unusual but I have personally found that in identifying the king of the north mentioned at the end of Daniel chapter 11 and identifying the small horn on the 4th beast in Chapter 7 was easier by following the timeline backwards. It all fits. So hang in there with me as it may sound strange at first.
The four beasts:
Daniel 7:4 “The first one was like a lion and it had the wings of an eagle. I kept on beholding until its wings were plucked out, and it was lifted up from the earth and was made to stand up on two feet just like a man, and there was given to it the heart of a man.”
Could this describe king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon or perhaps Britain of our day? It doesn’t matter.
Daniel 7:5 “And, see there! another beast, a second one, it being like a bear. And on one side it was raised up, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and this is what they were saying to it, ‘Get up, eat much flesh.’ ” (This is NOT the small horn that displaces three horns, as mentioned later)
Could this describe the Medo-Persia world power that conquered Babylon or perhaps Russia today? It doesn’t matter.
Daniel 7:6 “After this I kept on beholding, and, see there! another [beast], one like a leopard, but it had four wings of a flying creature on its back. And the beast had four heads, and there was given to it rulership indeed.”
Could this “leopard” describe Greece alone, in this instance? However, in Daniel 8:5-9 Greece and Rome are depicted to both be part of the same beast which is described as “a male of the goats” – Rome came from one of the four horns of Greece (vs.9). Or perhaps it could represent France today? It doesn’t really matter.
Daniel 7:7-8 “After this I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! a forth beast, fearsome and terrible and unusually strong. And it had teeth of iron, big ones. It was devouring and crushing, and what was left it was treading down with its feet. And it was something different from all the [other] beasts that were prior to it, and it had ten horns. I kept on considering the horns, and, look! another horn, a small one, came up in among them, and there were three of the first horns that were plucked up from before it. And, look! there were eyes like the eyes of a man in this horn, and there was a mouth speaking grandiose things.”
Daniel himself asks for an interpretation of this starting in verse 16. The interpretation is important as it adds clarification as to the three horns and the small one.
This fourth beast represents America. America is by far the most powerful nation to ever exist. The ten horns plus the small one that comes up and gets bigger are Middle East powers that America has struggled to control through assistance whether financial or military aid. This would not include Israel because it would not be part of the beast as they are Jews. But can you imagine how America has tried to control the Middle East over the years? It’s like a crown of achievement! America displaces rulers that they do not want with rulers that they do want. Currently as of this writing (Jan.25, 2016), they are working to get rid of Assad as president of Syria. Although America has given assistance to the country before.
Check this web site out! It shows how America has primarily assisted ten Middle East countries in the past. The data is from 2010. ISIS did not exist then. But they came about by America’s will to have “moderate rebels” trained in the Middle East to do their bidding. Well ISIS (IS or ISIL) has become a little monster speaking grandiose things such as conquering Europe, America, and the entire World. They have even mockingly claimed that they will kill Christ’s followers “until he returns.” They also have their sites upon Israel – Especially Jerusalem. They shout that they will not leave one Israeli alive. I would not doubt that they would destroy the remaining foundation wall (the wailing wall), if they captured the old city. So far, for many reasons, ISIS fits the description of the “little horn” in chapter 7 and that “little horn” is also “the king of the north” in the later half of Daniel 11 for our time. Time will tell who really is the little horn.
Daniel 7:9-10 “I kept on beholding until there were thrones placed and the Ancient of Days sat down. His clothing was white just like snow, and the hair of his head was like clean wool. His throne was flames of fire; its wheels were a burning fire. There was a stream of fire flowing and going out from before him. There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened.”
- The word translated here as “Court” is also literally translated “The Judgment” (Ref. footnote). This helps explain why “the horn” (the king of the north for our day) is destroyed in verse 11. It is Judged by Jehovah’s “Court” as being unworthy to continue on existing. (Remember the lesson from Daniel 4:17) This happens at the end of the three and a half year period. See also comments on Daniel 11:44-45.
- This “Ancient of Days” is Jehovah, the Almighty. (See Daniel 7:13,14 and compare Daniel 4:17)
Daniel 7:11 “I kept on beholding at that time because of the sound of the grandiose words that the horn was speaking; I kept on beholding until the beast was killed and its body was destroyed and it was given to the burning fire.”
See comments for verses 7:9-10; 19-25; 11:44-45.
Daniel 7:12 “But as for the rest of the beasts, their rulerships were taken away, and there was a lengthening of life given to them for a time and a season.”
Daniel 7:13-14 “I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! With the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.”
- This describes in detail Jesus receiving rulership from Jehovah and with that authority received he “stands up” when he is ready to exercise that authority upon the earth – Daniel 12:1. See Revelation 5:5-10; Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:1-5,10; Jeremiah 23:2-6; 33:15; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 34:23-30; 37:15-25; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12,13
- Concerning “with the clouds of the heavens” – compare Matthew 24:27
- Concerning “And to him there were given rulership…”, compare Psalms 110:1
- Compare verses 22 and 27.
Daniel 7:17-18 “” ‘As for these huge beasts, because they are four, there are four kings that will stand up from the earth. But the holy ones of the Supreme One will receive the kingdom, and they will take possession of the kingdom for time indefinite, even for time indefinite upon times indefinite.’ ”
Any remaining of any kingdoms will pass their glory and submission to “the holy ones of the Supreme One”. This starts when Michael stands up – See Daniel 2:44; 12:1; Psalms 2
Daniel 7:19-20 “Then it was that I desired to make certain concerning the fourth beast, which proved to be different from all the others, extraordinarily fearsome, the teeth of which were of iron and the claws of which were of copper, which was devouring [and] crushing, and which was treading down even what was left with its feet; and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other [horn] that came up and before which three fell, even that horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking grandiose things and the appearance of which was bigger than that of its fellows.” – See verses 7 and 8
- See comments for Revelation 13:16,17; 16:14; 17:12-13. It also helps to identify it as the king of the north for our time – See comments Daniel 9:24,25; 11:36-39.
- Compare the thought of “and he will carry on deception and actually come up and become mighty by means of a little nation.” (See Daniel 11:23 comments)
- The word “fell” here is Strong’s number of 5308 which can mean “to lie down.” – See verses 24, 25
Daniel 7:21 “I kept on beholding when that very horn made war upon the holy ones, and it was prevailing against them, ”
Compare Daniel 11:21-24, 33,36
This is not “Har-Magedon” – The “holy ones” mentioned here are the second group of witnesses to be fully put to the test and “conquer” Satan’s kingdom as Jesus did – See Revelation 17:14
Daniel 7:22 ” until the Ancient of Days came and judgment itself was given in favor of the holy ones of the Supreme One, and the definite time arrived that the holy ones took possession of the kingdom itself.”
This “very” horn makes war upon the holy ones and was depicted as “prevailing against them” just before judgment was given in favor to the holy ones. See Daniel 11:21-45. This action against the holy ones does not necessarily start in the “time of [the] end” (Daniel 11:40) but could start a little before it – That is, a little while before the the conquering of Jerusalem (see Daniel 11).
The “judgment” most likely occurs once they “come to life” (After the three and a half year period) and are accepted and forgiven by Jehovah (Revelation 11 “two witnesses”). Then it shows that “the definite time arrived that the holy ones took possession of the kingdom itself” – This is the time period of and after “Har-Magedon” (Revelation 16:13-16) when Michael stands up (Daniel 12).
Compare Zechariah 3:1-10 to see how it is Jehovah who makes the decisions on who will rule with Jesus. This account deals with the first group of the “two witnesses” mentioned in Revelation 11:1.
Daniel 7:23 “This is what he said, ‘As for the fourth beast, there is a fourth kingdom that will come to be on the earth, that will be different from all the [other] kingdoms; and it will devour all the earth and will trample it down and crush it.”
See comments for verses 7 and 8
Daniel 7:24-25 “And as for the ten horns, out of that kingdom there are ten kings that will rise up; and still another one will rise up after them, and he himself will be different from the first ones, and three kings he will humiliate. And he will speak even words against the Most High, and he will harass continually the holy ones themselves of the Supreme One. And he will intend to change times and law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, and times and half a time.”
- This is an elaboration of Daniel 7:19-20 and it tells us the time period of the three and a half times. Compare Revelation 11:1,2 and Daniel 12:7,11
- This term, “rise up” is critical to understanding the relationship between the horns and the unusually strong beast that they were upon. This word is often translated to the Strong’s number of 6966. This word is also used in 7:4 “made to stand”; 6:15 “the king…establishes”; 6:3 “to elevate” or “to appoint.” There are many areas in Daniel where this word is used. It is true that America elevates leaders for Middle East countries – Even starting ISIS. If correct, ISIS would be the 11th horn.
- The interpretation of the three horns being “plucked up” or “fell” is given here as humiliation which is Strong’s number 8214. It is found in Daniel 4:37 “and he able to humble..”; 5:19, 20 as “humbled.” So it is could mean that the little horn doesn’t have to conquer three kings, he just has to humiliate them. If ISIS is the king of the north in the later part of chapter 11, they already have humbled three kings. The kings of Iraq and Syria gave way a lot of land to ISIS. Now ISIS is loosely established in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. They are also in Libya but Libya really doesn’t have a king right now. But if they are the king of the north, they are much better poised to strike at Israel – Especially the old city of Jerusalem where it would hurt the most. Whoever takes the old city away from Israel and occupies it, they are the king of the north. See Daniel 11:31. When that happens, there will be a little over 3.5 years until the kingdom of God arrives in power to rule the world!
- ISIS does try to conquer all other faiths and if they don’t die, they make life hard under their rule. They have threatened to make Palestine the graveyard of the Jews.
- I am not stating that ISIS will end up becoming the king of the north of our time. It is one of many possibilities.
Daniel 7:26 “And the Court itself proceeded to sit, and his own rulership they finally took away, in order to annihilate [him] and to destroy [him] totally.”
See Daniel 7:9-10 comments. This king of the north is judged and comes “to his end” (Daniel 11:45)
Daniel 7:27 ” ‘And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them.’ ”
Remember the lessons from earlier chapters of Daniel. Chapter two tells of God’s kingdom ruling the earth. Chapter four tells of Almighty God giving rulership to whom he wants – Compare Matthew 6:9,10; 20:20-23; Luke 22:28-30
See Revelation 11:15 comments.