Second Vision

September 21, 2020 

Daniel 8:1–8

1In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. 2And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. 

3I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great. 

5As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. 

7I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. 

8Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. 

Daniel once again has a vision. The vision, as we will see, was remarkably similar to his first vision years earlier. His previous dream represented the Medo-Persian empire as a bear, one side raised up higher than the other side. The Greek empire was represented as a swift leopard with wings and four heads. In this new vision God is repeating the story, but with a few added details. 

The Medo-Persian empire is now a ram, with two horns. The two horns are two kings, one became greater than the other. Their empire did whatever it wanted and no one could stand against them. 

But then we see a goat with a single horn. Again, this goat like the leopard in the previous vision was swift and powerful. His feet did not touch the ground as he flew to fight against the ram. And when they met, the ram was defeated, and the goat became “exceedingly great.” 

The swiftness of the armies of Alexander the Great are a fact recorded in history. Daniel had no idea such an army existed. These things were to take place after Daniel. So why is God repeating himself in this vision? Why does it matter if Daniel knows or even understands these events? He will not be around to confirm them. 

Repeating the vision is God’s way of confirming the event. Pharaoh, at the time of Joseph had two dreams, both about a coming famine. Nebuchadnezzar had two dreams, both confirming the same coming event. Daniel’s previous vision has now been confirmed. It wasn’t bad pizza; God was conveying a great message to us through Daniel. 

When Jesus says, “Verily, verily I say to you…” he is repeating the word amen. Amen, amen, what I am about to say is true. Two dreams, both true, confirm for Daniel the coming events. God is telling us things beforehand so that when it happens we will know it was God who is in control.

 



The Little Horn

September 18, 2020 

Daniel 7:21-25

21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.

24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. 25  He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

26 But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

There is nothing more alarming to us as the people of God than the prophesy of the tribulation period. It is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” elsewhere in scripture and it speaks of the judgement of God upon Israel, upon the nations who disobey God and upon Satan and his armies who have defied the authority of God.

For Daniel. The prophesy is all rolled up together in the fourth beast. The other kingdoms were represented by animal that Daniel could recognize, but this fourth beast appears to be some kind of mongrel, a terrible overpowering beast, even more terrifying than the previous empires. It would appear that this empire will continue until Christ returns to earth, but Daniel does not see this kingdom in the light of the divisions we now understand from history.

Daniel was right to be alarmed. The Roman empire came to power as the four Greek generals were battling each other for control. The history of Rome fills volumes of books in the libraries of the world. Stories of great conquest, overwhelming cruelty, political intrigue and sexual immorality all mixed with idolatry and paganism. This was Rome. Rome was the most overwhelming, most powerful, and most industrious empire the world had ever seen, but even Rome came to an end… or so it seems. In the fifth century Rome ceased to be a world power. They collapsed as an empire, maybe even more than they were overthrown. The barbarians from the north invaded and civil wars ensued and the empire was fractured. No other world power came into existence following the demise of Rome, the German armies fell apart and the eastern Roman Empire held on to some of that power but mostly the empire was broken into individual nation states.

Daniel saw the beast and out of the beast emerged ten horns (ten kings) who shared power until another king (the little horn) defeated 3 of these kings and came to power.

The focus today is on this “little horn” of Daniel, the final King who will create a global empire, not just a Mediterranean empire. He will unite all nations into a system of government that unites the world’s economy, the world’s religions and the world’s political structure. He will make war with the saints (Israel) and will be defeated at the return of Christ.

Daniel saw all this, and his color changed. There are so many things we don’t understand, but like Daniel we understand that even this is within the control of almighty God. We can do nothing to bring it about and we can do nothing to stop it. But we can ready ourselves for the return of Jesus by sharing the gospel with the people around us and pray like John the beloved prayed; “Even so come quickly.”



Four Beasts

September 17, 2020 

Daniel 7:9-18

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions.

Even though Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and had understood the handwriting on the wall, he could not understand his own vision. He turns to the angel Gabriel for help. Daniel says, “he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things.” This was God’s word to Daniel.

It seems simple enough, but when we are faced with something that we don’t understand about God’s word… do we ask God for help? How strong is our desire to know the truth? God has placed things in his word he wants us to understand, but we are confused and troubled and often shrug our shoulders and wonder… but we don’t ask God for help understanding.

Remember, as believers we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us and we are to call on him to reveal the things of God to our minds and to our heart. Often, we don’t understand because we don’t ask.

The four great beasts represent four kingdoms. Babylon, represented by the lion; Medo-Persia, represented by the bear raised up on one side; Greece, represented by the winged leopard with four heads; and Rome, represented by the mongrel beast.

Daniel seems to have no problem understanding the first three kingdoms, or at least he understands the way kingdoms operate. Babylon, the lion, had been overthrown by the bear, Medo-Persia. The bear had one side raised up higher than the other side, meaning the Medes were declining and Persia was gaining power in their empire. It would eventually be Cyrus the Persian who would gain ultimate control.

Another kingdom would overthrow the Medo-Persian empire, and this kingdom was represented by the winged leopard with four heads… Greece. A winged leopard represented the swiftness of Alexander the Great’s armies as he swept in and soon controlled all of the Mediterranean world. The time of the gentiles began with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and would continue until the son of man takes his place on the throne of God at the end of the age. Alexander caused the whole Mediterranean world to take the Greek language as the standard of communication for all nations.

We can see God at work. Even within evil empires God’s ultimate decrees will be accomplished. The stage was set for the word of God to be translated into Greek (the Septuagint) and dispersed throughout the known world. After the death of Alexander his kingdom was divided amongst his four generals (the four heads of the winged leopard.)

The world would then be prepared for the fourth beast. Daniel saw all these things and was troubled about this fourth beast.




Daily Devotions 2020