Many believe that the prophetic books of the Bible cannot be understood. They teach others the falsehood that the words and books of these prophets are sealed, keeping them from learning the truths God would have them know before His Son’s return. But today, we’re going to show you that this is not the case. “Those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…” (Deut. 29:29)
We’re going to increase your understanding of the book of Daniel by applying a prophetic principle called “repeat and enlarge.” This principle relates to a prophecy in the Scriptures that is repeated and further detailed in later chapters or books.
Through a brief review of the prophetic book of Daniel, we are going to use our prophetic principle to identify the four global kingdoms it describes and acquire additional insight into them as we review successive chapters. You will certainly need your Bible and the Holy Spirit for this brief study. Pray for understanding and then begin!
Be sure to read this chapter before continuing to read. It is going to be the foundation of our brief study. Once you have, review the observations below.
|Head of gold||Chest and arms of silver||Belly and thighs of brass||Legs of iron/ feet of iron and clay||Stone cut without hands|
|Represents the kingdom of Babylon.||Represents the kingdom of Medes and Persians
|???||???-Represents a kingdom as strong as iron. The ten toes refer to ten kings over ten kingdoms.||
Represents the kingdom of God.
Observations: Firstly, Daniel gives King Nebuchadnezzar an accurate and precise interpretation of a dream he doesn’t even remember. This did not come by cunning or craft, but through the prayer and supplications of Daniel and his friends. Secondly, Daniel expressly tells the king that he is the head of gold. This tells us that the metals on this image are prophetic symbols of earthly kingdoms. But not just any kingdoms.
Daniel 2:37, 38 make it clear that Babylon is a global power, a kingdom ruling over the then-known world. Each of these latter kingdoms has had/will have rule over all the earth. Lastly, the dream’s interpretation makes it plain for those who seek an earthly kingdom (a.k.a. “a one world government”) in the last days: God will not give man such authority over the world again. God Himself will set up His kingdom through His power. It will not be brought about by the authority and laws of men.
Daniel 2 gives us the broad picture of the time from Babylon to the end of the world. Every dream or vision Daniel has after this, according to our “repeat and enlarge” principle, will repeat it and give us greater detail. We can see this through reviewing Daniel 7. Be sure to read it before continuing below.
|Lion with eagle’s wings||Bear raised up on one side with three ribs in mouth||Leopard with four heads and four wings||“Dreadful and terrible beast” /ten horns||The kingdom of the Son of Man|
|Represents the kingdom of Babylon.||Represents the kingdom of Medo-Persia.||???||???||
Represents the kingdom of God.
Observations: Daniel 7 makes it clear that these beasts represent kingdoms, not literal animals. We also know from Daniel 5 that Belshazzar was the last ruler of Babylon before it was given to the Medes and Persians. His reaction to the writing on the wall helps us understand the symbolism of this proud lion losing his wings and being given the heart of a fearful man rather than keeping the heart of the courageous king of the jungle.
We also know that the bear symbolizes the Medo-Persian Empire because it comes directly after the lion (Babylonian Empire). This kingdom devoured many nations, as foretold in Bible prophecy. Daniel 8 will tell us more about the leopard with the four heads and the four wings, so we will cover it later. But an amazing amount of attention is given to this dreadful and terrible fourth kingdom. Let’s look at the many details it covers.
Particularly, the fourth kingdom:
- would be dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong.
- had huge iron teeth and nails of bronze.
- would devour and destroy the whole earth.
- would be different from all the beasts (kingdoms) before it.
- would have ten horns. Ten horns = ten kings. These ten kings rule over ten kingdoms.
- would have a “little horn” that would rise up from among these ten horns and uproot three of them. The little horn:
- would be stouter than his fellows.
- will speak “great words” against Most High.
- persecuted God’s people for a specific period of time (we will discuss this in a later post).
- will try to change times and laws.
- would speak these great things, even on the day of its judgment.
When we compare this fourth kingdom with the prophecy of Daniel 2, we can see that it corresponds to the legs of iron. It is a strong kingdom and it has iron teeth, teeth by which it would devour the earth. We can also see that the ten toes of the first vision correspond to the ten horns of Daniel 7. We’ll also learn the identity of these kingdoms as we continue in our study.
When you read Daniel 8, greater detail is given to our founding vision, but the prophet Daniel only receives light on three of the parties in the vision. Read the chapter before you continue.
|Represents Medo-Persia; corresponds to chest and arms of silver in Daniel 2 and the bear of Daniel 7.||Represents Greece; corresponds to belly and thighs of brass in Daniel 2 and leopard with four horns and four wings in Daniel 7.||
??? –Represents fourth kingdom; blending of legs of iron and feet iron/clay (a.k.a. fourth beast and ten horns)
Observations: Note that this kingdom (Medo-Persia) wars in three separate directions: westward, northward, and southward. Babylon is no longer mentioned because this vision pointed to a time when Babylon would no longer exist as a global kingdom.
Through the angel Gabriel, we know that this third kingdom is Greece. This means that the first king of Greece overthrew the kingdom of Medo-Persia. Historically, we know this to be Alexander the Great. After his death, his four generals divided his kingdom. This is why the leopard of Daniel 7 has four heads and why four horns came from the broken horn of the he-goat.
The little horn of Daniel 8 obviously corresponds to the fourth kingdom of Daniel 7. Moreover, the prophecy provides additional insight into the time when this power arose.
From here, one can read Daniel 10 – 12. At this point, Gabriel reveals to Daniel further details of the fall of the Medo – Persian kingdom, the events pertaining to the rise and fall of the kingdom of Greece, the rise and fall of fourth kingdom, and the coming of the kingdom of God.
As you see, Bible prophecy can be understood. Prophetic understanding is as close to God’s people as Jesus’ ministry for all mankind. In each case, man needs the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Through studying the prophecies in His way and setting our hearts to understand them, God will bless our studies.
I encourage you to continue this study by seeking out the identity of the fourth kingdom. When you do this, you will have discovered the key to identifying the Antichrist in the last days. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. Until then,