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The Fourth Beast

The Fourth Beast

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The Fourth Beast

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  1. The Fourth Beast Daniel 7:15-28

  2. Review • Daniel had a vision of four human empires • Babylonian – Lion with eagle’s wings • Medo-Persian – Bear • Greek – 4-headed Leopard • Roman – the beast of Dan 7:7-8 • During this fourth empire God, the Ancient of Days, would set up a kingdom ruled by the Son of Man who is also God • Daniel wants to know more

  3. Seeking more information • Dan 7:15-18 • Daniel is grieved in his spirit and troubled by the visions he saw • Asks for the truth (certainty) of the visions • The angel confirms the certainty • Explains the four beasts as kings/kingdoms • Explains the final kingdom, God’s kingdom, as one which would belong to the saints forever • This should be good news • Same outcome as prophesied in Dan 2:44

  4. The fourth beast • Dan 7:19-20 • What is bothering Daniel isn’t the outcome, but the description of the fourth beast • Exceedingly dreadful (devours, tramples, and breaks the whole earth) • Ten horns on its head • The little horn • Before which three horns fell • Which had eyes and a mouth speaking pompous words • Whose appearance was greater than his fellows

  5. A more detailed vision • Dan 7:21-22 • The little horn making war against the saints, prevailing against them • Until the Ancient of Days came • With judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High • And it was time for the saints to possess the kingdom • But what does it mean?

  6. The interpretation • Dan 7:23 • The beast represents a fourth kingdom – Rome • It will be different than other kingdoms • Roman laws, government, and armies were different than any of the preceding kingdoms • It will devour, trample, and break the whole earth • Rome conquered • “earth” means “land or ground” • Not the globe

  7. The interpretation • Dan 7:24 • 10 horns = 10 kings • Little horn is the eleventh king who knocks down 3 preceding kings • A lot of fanciful interpretations are made about these kings • But the simplest is probably the best • After all, God is trying to explain the vision, not complicate it

  8. The interpretation • Therefore, the Roman empire would have 10 kings, then an eleventh king who removes 3 predecessors • The only complication would be to know from what point in Roman history to begin numbering the kings • Could start from when Rome conquers the land of Israel (63 BC – the first triumvirate) • Could start from either the first practical emperor (Julius Caesar) or acknowledged emperor (Augustus Caesar) • Or could count backward from the emperor who killed 3 predecessors in what is called “the year of four emperors” (AD 68-69)

  9. The interpretation • 11- Vespasian (AD 69-79) – the little horn • 10- Vitellius (AD 69) ] • 9- Otho (AD 69) ]- the three fallen horns • 8- Galba (AD 68-69) ] • 7- Nero Caesar (AD 54-68) • 6- Claudius Caesar (AD 41-54) • 5- Caligula Caesar (AD 37-41) • 4- Tiberius Caesar (AD 14-37) • 3- Augustus Caesar (30 BC – AD 14) • 2- Marcus Antonius (2nd triumvirate) (44-30 BC) • 1- Julius Caesar (1st triumvirate) (66-44 BC)

  10. The little horn • Not like the preceding horns • Vespasian was a Flavius, not a Caesar (though he took Caesar as a title) • Dan 7:25 • He shall speak pompous words against the Most High • He shall persecute the saints of the Most High • He shall intend to change times and law • Into whose hands the saints shall be given for a time, times and half a time

  11. The little horn • Vespasian • Led the army against the Jews in AD 66 • The army (under his son Titus) eventually sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple • Jewish War actually lasted 7+ years • Killed hundreds of thousands of Jews including many Christians who did not heed the warning of Lk 21:20-24 • Declared himself to be the Jewish Messiah, as well as various prophesied demigods from many nations and religions • Ordered Titus’ army to hunt down and kill all descendants of David • Rewrote large sections of Roman law • Claimed he was becoming a god

  12. The eternal kingdom • Dan 7:26-28 • Although Vespasian (and the Roman empire) thought he was triumphing over God • In reality God’s kingdom triumphed over the empire • The vision returns to the same scene already noted (Dan 7:13-14) • God’s court seated • The dominion of earthly empires judged and condemned • The kingdom belongs to the saints, led by the Son of Man who rides upon the clouds

  13. Conclusion • Daniel had been granted an extraordinary vision of a time more than 500 years in the future • A time when the kingdom of God and the Roman empire would come into conflict • But God and His kingdom would triumph • His kingdom continues even now • Won’t you become part of God’s kingdom?