JULY 16 - Nº 197 Daniel 7 – 12
Daniel had interpreted many important dreams for others. But one night, he had a troubling dream of his own. It was very similar to one that had frightened King Nebuchadnezzar several years before. It depicted the same four kingdoms the king had seen (see #190 - July 9). But instead of seeing a statue made of four different kinds of metal, Daniel saw four strange beasts. There was a lion with wings, a lop-sided bear, a leopard with multiple wings and heads, and a large terrifying beast with horns and eyes. The lion represented the majestic Babylonian Empire. It was humbled when its wings were torn off—just as Nebuchadnezzar was humbled when he was kicked out of his palace (see #194 - July 13). The bear represented the Medo-Persian Empire that defeated the Babylonians (see #195 - July 14). In this alliance the Persians were the dominant nation, which explained why the bear was lop-sided. But as a united force, they crushed and devoured their prey. History shows us that the leopard represented the rising Greek Empire. With its multiple wings and heads, its invasion would be swift and smart. (Alexander was only 28 years old when he conquered the civilized world, and he did it in less than 12 years!) The terrifying fourth beast represented the mighty Roman Empire. It became the biggest and most vicious of all the beasts. Its ten horns represented its immense power. Three of the horns were replaced by a smaller horn that had eyes and a mouth. As Daniel’s dream continued, God showed up and sat on a throne of flaming fire. It had blazing wheels and a river of fire flowing from it. Books were opened and a scene from a courtroom began to play out. The beasts were on trial. Their power was stripped away. But the smaller horn that had grown on the terrifying beast opened its mouth and began to boast. Suddenly it was killed. At that point, a person described as the ‘Son of Man’ showed up. All the power of the beasts now belonged to him. Daniel was told that once this took place, God’s kingdom would rule on the earth forever. Daniel had other dreams and visions that continued to fill in details as God showed him events that were to take place. One day, he was reading through the scroll Jeremiah had written. He read the prophecy that the city of Jerusalem would lie in ruins for 70 years (see #183 - July 2). Daniel realized that the 70 years were almost over. He prayed that God would forgive the Jewish people and send them home. While he was still praying, God sent an angel named Gabriel to explain what would happen next. He said, “A decree will be given to rebuild the Temple.” This meant God really was going to send the Jewish exiles home! They would once again have their own Temple! But then Gabriel added, “Exactly 483 years after that decree is given, an ‘Anointed Ruler’ will come to Jerusalem. But he will be put to death and the city will be destroyed again.” This prophecy was precisely fulfilled when Jesus came and died for us! And in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed once again—this time by the Romans. Gabriel also predicted a later seven-year period when an evil ruler (represented by the little horn on the fourth beast) will make a peace agreement with Israel—then suddenly break it. This will initiate a time of chaos and calamity. After that, God will do away with evil, set up His eternal kingdom, and rule on the earth forever!
The fact that so many strange prophecies have already been fulfilled so precisely gives us a solid basis to believe that the rest of God’s promises about our future will be fulfilled! We can be certain that one day God will do away with evil and set up His eternal kingdom. Do you know for sure that you will be a part of it?