Bible Ballistics: Location, Location, Location? Vol. 6#19
We’ve all heard the old “Real Estate” adage, “What’s important in buying or selling Real Estate (property)? It’s ‘Location’, ‘Location’, ‘Location’! In other words, the important thing is LOCATION, where it’s located! What does that have to do with Bible study? Well, more than you might think, because the most important thing in Bible study is “CONTEXT”, or “Location”!!! Where is it in the scripture, who wrote it, who was it written to, what is the immediate context of the passage, what kind of literature it is (or what kind of writing: history, narrative, doctrine, poetry, prophecy or a combination of several of these things)? So we must remember that in Bible study, we must, must, must know that “CONTEXT IS KING”. Keep it in its ‘LOCATION’ and let scripture interpret scripture, for we must keep all of scripture in the context of the ‘Whole Counsel of God’!
I’ve belabored this point because we are about to embark on a great adventure into the second half of the book of Daniel. And to do that with integrity we must look at each of the last 6 chapters by keeping them in their immediate context, in their historical context, and in their perspective as it relates to and connects with the whole Word of God, particularly the whole counsel of scriptural prophecy. I just ask that we understand and remember that scripture NEVER contradicts scripture. If there is a seeming contradiction, we must realize and agree/admit that we either don’t understand the passage fully (which is true for a lot of scripture), we don’t have all the information yet, or that God is simply not ready to reveal a particular portion of scripture to us at a particular time. Apart from the revealing work of the Holy Spirit we cannot clearly comprehend the truth/truths of God’s Word!!! So with that said, let’s jump into Daniel 7!
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. 2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. 9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:1-14
We see that the book of Daniel has 2 major divisions: first, chapters 1-6, which are a chronological account of events in the life of Daniel and his friends. These 6 chapters are in chronological order and take Daniel from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and his conquering of Judah and Jerusalem to the reign of the co-rulers of the Medo-Persian Empire that conquered Babylon, Cyrus the Persian and Darius the Mede. In these chapters, Daniel interpreted no less than 3 dreams and/or visions that were experienced by the pagan kings of Babylon. Daniel did not have the dreams himself, but rather interpreted the dreams that were sent from God to Nebuchadnezzar of the statue and the tree, and the vision of the hand that wrote on the wall which Belshazzar saw on that last night of his life and kingdom.
The second division begins with chapter 7, where we once again have a chronological account of Daniel’s life and dreams, but not in a continuing chronology from chapter 6. As you look at verse one today’s passage you notice that our second division backs up to the realm of Belshazzar. If you remember when we looked at chapter 5, I mentioned that while Daniel was still in the “Civil Service” of Babylon, he was apparently not in the high position of leadership that he held under King Nebuchadnezzar. It would seem that Daniel had a bit more time on his hands than in earlier days, and we also know that Daniel has served for almost 70 years, probably in his 80’s, and God has a different task for him now. He will now receive from God, some of the most significant prophecies in all of scripture. In fact, you might call these prophecies of Daniel the ‘backbone’ in the skeleton of all Biblical prophecy. Upon these prophecies of Daniel hang every other prophecy in scripture, from Genesis to the Revelation!
Today in chapter 7, we find Daniel in the rule of Belshazzar, and he records for us the first dream that God sends to him. We’ll simply cover the elements of the dream today and then next week we’ll jump into the interpretation that Daniel receives and how it fits into the other prophetic scriptures that we want to consider!
“Daniel had a dream
and visions of his head upon his bed:
then he wrote the dream,
and told the sum of the matters.”
Daniel had this dream and he recorded it for us, yet Daniel was troubled by what he saw. He understood the words he heard but not the significance of what this dream would mean in the future:
“Hitherto is the end of the matter.
As for me Daniel,
my cogitations much troubled me,
and my countenance changed in me:
but I kept the matter in my heart.” Daniel 7:28
So let’s take a look at the dream. I encourage you to make a list of all you learn about each beast in your own study this week, and then we’ll see how scripture unfolds next week. I’ll just list the major things from the passage above:
The four winds of heaven stirring up the sea—
Four diverse beasts come up out of the sea—
The first-Like a lion–
then lifted up—
made to stand up as a man—
given a man’s heart.
A second-Like a bear—
raised on one side—
three ribs in it’s mouth—
told to arise & devour/much flesh.
After this another—Like a leopard—
w/four wings of a fowl on it’s back—
and four heads—
dominion given to it.
After this a fourth—(unlike)
dreadful and terrible—
great iron teeth—
broke in pieces—
and stamped the residue with/feet—
diverse from all/beasts before it—
had ten horns—
the ten horns—
a little horn comes up—
3 torn/roots up by the little horn—
eyes like a man—
mouth speaking great things.
Then Daniel beheld and:
the thrones were cast down (what thrones?)—
the Ancient of Days sits—
garment white as snow—
hair pure as wool—
HIS throne like a fiery flame—
HIS wheels as burning fire—
a fiery stream from before Him—
thousands minister to Him—
millions stand before Him—
the judgment was set—
the books were opened.
Then Daniel beheld (like looking back?):
the voice of the horn spoke—
the beast was slain (which one?)—
his body destroyed—
given to the burning flame.
the rest of the beasts—
had their dominion taken away—
lives prolonged for a season and time.
Then Daniel beheld:
One like the Son of man—
came with clouds of heaven—
came to the Ancient of Days—
brought near to Him—
and a kingdom—
That: all peoples–
should serve HIM—
Is an everlasting dominion–
which shall NOT pass away—
will NOT be destroyed.
Whoa??? Is that a boat-load or what? A great deal of information, and I pray that you will ponder this week on what you observe in these verses. Pray as you read over them and ask God for understanding. We will see what the interpretation reveals to Daniel and to us next week, so please remember to keep the verses in their natural and normal context. Also don’t’ forget the historical relevance of where Daniel is, how he got there; who’s Word declared the circumstances that Daniel has endured.
In closing, where are you living? What difficulties are you facing? Is your God able to deliver YOU, or see YOU through the valley you may be in? We have observed in Daniel, a determination to faithfulness, a man whose confidence is in his God, not shaken in his circumstances! May we not forget that this man who is now in his later years, set his mind on God in his youth and has faithfully served his God through every valley and mountain experience of his long tenure in Babylon. Can the same be said of us? I pray that we will learn from Daniel how to reflect the character of our God.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8
A young man devoted to his God, knowledgeable of and dependent on Him! How about you? Do you know HIM? Are you depending on God or self? It’s your choice!!!
“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said,
Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:
for wisdom and might are his:
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons:
he removeth kings,
and setteth up kings:
he giveth wisdom unto the wise,
and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things:
he knoweth what is in the darkness,
and the light dwelleth with him.
23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:19-23