FACTUAL REPORTS ON TWO SPECIAL PROPHETIC
[Without explanations of meanings.]
DANIEL CHAPTERS, 2 & 7... Part I.
STUDYING THE CLEAR DIFFERENCES IN THESE IMPORTANT VISIONS
NOTE: This is the first Study from Daniel's Biblical Book, comparing TWO separate visions, reported on only in this first part by God's Prophet, Daniel, as written in the Tanakh, [Hebrew Bible.] Meanings given later.
1. While this is an in depth study of the Scriptures, we are actually considering some serious spiritual issues, which we need to approach prayerfully, as they will effect many people in sad and difficult ways!
2. Please note: that we use the NIV translation of the Bible, and when we quote the Word of God, we use purple bold Italic as a mark of reverence for it. [5 other visions are described in Daniel's book.]
3. It is also very important to remember: the Tanakh, especially ~ was written by Jews, for Jews, so it relates especially to God's messages to the Jewish People, and mostly as a nation.
4. Daniel and a group of Royal sons and High officials were forcibly taken from Jerusalem, 605 BCE [Daniel1: 2-4.] hundreds of miles away to Babylon a different country, and different language and religion, and where (inspite of hard experiences, like being made into eunuchs), they stayed true to God.
They were 'Captives' of a heathen nation and any hope for Israel's future as a nation, under God, seemed "an impossible dream"! But Daniel knew God and stayed faithful to Him, even when as an old man he was put in the Lion's den, as punishment for praying to his own God, - not the King. [Ch. 6.]
5, The people of Babylon liked studying astrology, magic, and dreams, and also loved big statues and carvings of 'royal' animals!
[The 'Magi' who went to see baby Jesus, were 'Magicians' from there.]
6. So God allowed Daniel to know about these things, so he would gradually understand their thinking.
He wrote these visions down, first for the Jewish People, from then on, and even for us Jews and Non-Jews, in the 21st Century, 2,500 years later.
We must notice carefully what exactly was written!
OF TWO CHAPTERS IN DANIEL’S BOOK.
as almost every aspect of Eschatology has different
interpretations and even strongly held views, the very reason
that there are differing beliefs on these subjects seem to demand
that we should still consider them. [Even pictured diagrams as in the
NIV study Bible may NOT be accurate and true.]
> As we have said elsewhere, the fact that we are not given all the details we would like, perhaps means that we should be even more dependant on God’s “Spirit of Truth… He will guide you into all the Truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative but will say only what He hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future. He will glorify Me, because He will receive what is Mine and announce it to you.”
These are Jesus’ own words in John 16: 13 & 14, Father, Son and Holy Spirit agreeing!
[Our prayer: Thankyou Loving LORD, we humbly accept Your faithful promises.]
> So we also offer these studies not dogmatically, but with the hope, that even though we offer a different perspective from even the NIV Study Bible, and many teachers, we feel we simply have to be true to the way God has shown it to us. Your own careful study with prayer is important!
COMPARING and SEPARATING THE TWO VISIONS, OF DANIEL CHAPTERS 2 and 7.
It is best that you read the long 2nd chapter of Daniel first please, as it is too long to retype here.
BRIEF NOTES ON NEBUCHADNEZER'S VISION IN DANIEL
First: You will read the well-known descriptions of the 4 idolatrous kingdoms in chapter 2: 31 – 43, and the 5th Righteous Kingdom, verses 44 & 45.
A. HERE ARE THE PLAIN, MAIN FACTS OF CHAPTER TWO ~ SUMMARISED.
parts of one big Statue.
1. The head of Gold represented King Nebuchadnezer and Babylonia, around 605 BC
2.The chest of Silver was for the Kingdom of the Medo-Persians 539 – 330 BC
3. The thighs of brass depicted Alexander’s kingdom of Greece – aprox. 330- 250 BC
4. The two legs of iron were a good picture of the Roman empire holding wide power over 3/4 of the previous Middle East kingdoms, from about 63B.C until the early part of the next millennium, 476 A.D.
By contrast the
fifth 'Kingdom of the Rock', is set up by the God
We quote from chapter 2: vs. 41 to 45, about this 5th, different, last, but real Kingdom.
“Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. (42) As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle… so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. In the time of those kings, the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to other people.
We'd call that total destruction, wouldn't we? Yet the 'Rock' is now described:
It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end. This is the meaning of the vision of The Rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands – a Rock that broke the iron the bronze, the silver and the gold to pieces.”
Our Conclusion on Nebuchadnezer's Vision in chapter two, so far.
We believe the four parts of the Statue, were all ‘ancient’, literal kingdoms, yet while the fifth One is real, it is like ‘the fifth column’ – in the Second World War, (‘under-ground’ - or almost invisible), in other words, very real, but largely unseen!
ends our brief summary of the first vision in a dream, in chapter 2 -
of King Nebuchadnezer.
We will give our understanding of the MEANING of this whole experience in Part 2 Study:
"DANIEL EXPLAINS NEBUCHADNEZER'S VISION OF CHAPTER 2."
BRIEF NOTES ON DANIEL'S OWN VISION, CHAPTER 7,
QUITE DIFFERENT FROM CH. 2!
Different 'Beasts' or 'Monsters' seen, first, then a Royal Court Scene.
Please read the whole of Chapter 7, for yourself, first.
C. HERE ARE THE PLAIN MAIN FACTS OF CHAPTER SEVEN, SUMMARISED.
of Daniel chapter 7.
Vs 3. “Daniel said; ‘In my vision at night, I looked and there before me were the four winds of Heaven, [from all ‘corners’ of the Earth], churning up the great sea, [of people]. Four great beasts, [monsters] each different from the others, came up out of the sea.”
Our Note: They were not called ‘kingdoms’ and are more likely to be ‘Power Blocks’ of united countries or similar States. [Not the same but can be illustrated by the concept of 'the Americas', 'Europe' or 'Asia'.]
These are just the very basic descriptions –
1. “The first was like a LION, and it had the wings of an EAGLE.” Vs. 4.
2. “There before me was a second beast, which looked like a BEAR.” Vs. 5.
3. “… there before me was another, [third] beast – one that looked like a LEOPARD... and on it’s back it had four wings, like those of a bird… it had four heads.” Vs. 6.
4. “… there before me was a fourth beast … it was DIFFERENT FROM all the former beasts. Vs. 7.
We will be coming back to learn about each of these later.
5. But note, the Fifth Kingdom also features in a special way in this vision, as the ‘Kingdom of the Saints’ which is very important for us to notice as we progress through this study.
The last Kingdom that features in this chapter 7 vision, is not numbered as the fifth, but clearly is separated out for very special mention, in verses 18 & 21-22, & 27 as the ‘Kingdom of the saints’!
NOTE: The explanations of the possible meanings of Daniel's Vision are in Part 3.
A Special Note. Where Daniel is referring to 'Jews' in his book, he writes 'Jews', but when he refers to 'Saints' -(though he didn't know exactly who they were, as this was before the N.T. time), he refers to ALL worshipping people of his God, the Most High, [vs 18 & 22], we believe, Jews and Non-Jews
THE NEED FOR US ~ IS TO CAREFULLY COMPARE THE 2 SETS IN ~ TWO DESCRIPTIONS.
> It seems God never wastes words in the Bible!
> There are so many places where we would long to have just a few more words of explanation - (like what the risen Yeshua/ Jesus talked about to the travellers on the road to Emmaus! Luke 28:13 –32.)
> So we would find it difficult to believe, (as many people do), that these visions would be repeated in two places but mean the same thing?
> We seriously doubt if the four kingdoms in the visions given to King Nebuchadnezzar, (of the Metal Statue) and interpreted by Daniel’s God, for him, in Daniel chapter 2, are the same as those (of the four ‘monsters’), described in chapter 7. We need to look at the differences.
Are the TWO Visions the same? We believe they are NOT.
> When God repeats a message it is almost exactly the same, and leaves no doubts. (See Ezekiel chapter 3 and 33, or Isaiah ch 2, and Micah 4.)
> The only things that are the same in these chapters, (2 & 7) and they have in common are that there were 4 kingdoms and four beasts, and Daniel wrote about them both, plus God's Kingdom.
> However, both chapters and both visions assure us of the Victory of God’s Kingdom power, extent and indestructibility!
This is what really matters, don’t you think?
the differences between chapters 2 and 7 are very significant!
Would you look for them?
If our conclusions are right, the second vision of Daniel is very important for us 21st C. Believer, to know about!
OTHER INTRODUCTORY PERSPECTIVES ON THE TWO VISIONS.
The circumstances are different. God allows no confusion or vagueness in His Word.
THE DREAM IN CHAPTER 2 WAS GIVEN ONLY TO
THE HEATHEN KING NEBUCHADNEZER.
Many people came to know about this dream but Daniel alone, with God's help knew it's meaning.
> The four ancient kingdoms of chapter 2, (the Statue) are known from reliable HISTORY!
They are clearly documented, and dated by reliable historians to have actually existed in the order given, and in decreasing states of wealth and means of influence, over the subsequent 800+ years.
> They were 'world powers' at that time in History, limited in size, even though vast - not 'world-wide'.
> None exist in a similar form now except for remnants of archaeological finds, and idolatry. [See later.]
> Many people were involved in the awareness of this first dream, and the interpretation!
Vs.48; “The king… made [Daniel] ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.”
The first 4 parts, of one big statue.
> 1st, as to the Head of Gold, as stated above, this was Nebuchadnezer's own Babylonian Kingdom, vss 36 -38, but Daniel made sure that the King knew it had been given to him, by "The GOD of Heaven."
> 2nd, the chest and arms of Silver, is given barely one line in ch. 2:39, but is in another vision, just for Daniel (8: 1 - 4 & 7.) Though the Medo-Persian Kingdom is not named, it is represented as a Ram.
> The 3rd, of Bronze is the Kingdom of Greece under 'Alexander the Great', is only given the rest of verse 39, and is also given more space in Daniel's vision in ch. 8, where its depicted as a powerful Goat.
> The 4th Iron Kingdom of Rome is commented on further on. But in no way relates to the 4th 'Beast' that Daniel saw in his Vision in chapter seven!
Though powerful "it was blown away leaving no trace."
THE DREAM AND VISIONS IN CH. 7, WERE ONLY
GIVEN TO DANIEL WHO KEPT IT QUIET.
The contrast here is only Daniel saw the vision, and was shocked about it's meaning for God's People, the Jews!
1. Not only did Daniel only see the visions alone, he felt he could not share it with anyone, then.
2. Yet it affected him greatly, "I, Daniel was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself," [vs 28]. No wonder! As we consider later, they were very significant for God's People, the righteous Jews and Believers like us and very far-reaching in 'Time'!
3. The differences in chapter 7 are clearly seen when considered carefully.
> It seems a little insulting to Daniel's God -and presumptuous to assume they are the same as chapter two! There must be a reason for two different 'pictures' so close together, in this inspired Word of God.
> There are real differences in details given, or omitted. [See point c, below.]
Ch. 2, were ANCIENT kingdoms.
Chapter 7, Future ENDTIME 'WORLD POWERS'.
WHAT THE DIFFERENCES IN THE ACTUAL VISIONS ARE, BY KNOWN HISTORICAL FACTS.
The lion with the eagle’s wings
do not match Nebuchadnezzar's Neo-Babylon kingdom,
which was not ‘divided’ but was overtaken and eclipsed by
the Medo-Persian Empire with the silver chest and arms.
b. No ancient kingdom had the emblem of a bear, or of a leopard as far as we can determine. Greece was depicted as a goat, and Medo-Persia as a ram, in chapter 8: 3 -8 and all the details given in those verses happened between 334 and 323 B.C. [See notes in the N.I.V. study Bible for chapter 8, please or other commentaries.] This is an example of knowing History, realising some prophecies are past!
c. Although Alexander the Great’s (Greek) kingdom was divided in 4 parts under 4 rulers, the picture of four heads and four wings in Daniel's vision, would seem to have a very different significance.
The last metal Kingdom is well understood to be Rome, but
as we are here emphasising the differences between Nebuchadnezer's
Vision and Daniel's own Vision in chapter 7, we believe it mainly
does not really match the fourth Beast or Monster he
describes. We discuss this in Part 3 study.
~ Perhaps this emphasises that it is only with God's help these, (or other visions in Scripture) can be understood, and often NOT until events have actually happened. So we must be humble.
INFORMATION: RE -THE TIME [During] THE BRONZE KINGDOM OF GREECE,
330 - 250.
[This was after 'Alexander the Great' suddenly died, ~ after he had conquered the previous vast kingdoms, so his kingdom still continued on as the 'Bronze Kingdom of Greece'.]
BUT! For 3 years of that time ~ 168 - 164BCE ~ ISRAEL came under a cruel Domination, by one of the Syrian Leaders that emerged, over ONE of the FOUR parts that it had divided into.
TIME OF 'ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANIES' ~ a time not mentioned in
chapter 2 of Daniel's book - but very significant!
Yet ~ HISTORICAL records include the short but unhappy years of Jewish domination 168 - 164 BCE.
the time of the 'Bronze' Greek Kingdom and before the 'Iron' Roman
Kingdom, Israel was (briefly) a semi-independent nation.
This was part of the time of “the Maccabees” and the only time, for about 100 years that the Jews won some territorial freedom. The time of restoration has since been remembered in the candle lights of 'Hanukkah’ ~ with the re-dedication of the Temple, but life continued to be unsettled for Jews from then on. Indeed the time of Roman rule was also a very cruel and difficult time.
The fact that this last period of time (that we have described) was omitted in chapter 2 emphasises that Nebuchadnezer's dream in Daniel 2 was about ‘world kingdoms’ ~ (not about Israel), although it was from God’s perspective!
Our Conclusion: "Prophetic Visions" are not only or always to Godly People! For God even showed the future to a wicked king, to show him God was greater than he was. Ch.2: 45 -47! But it took a wise, very prayerful, humble Man of God ~ DANIEL ~ to make the meaning clear.
How humble, prayerful and godly ~ teachers about the future must be in our day. We notice that several times Daniel refused rich rewards!
IMPORTANT CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE LEGS OF IRON, AND THE CRUMBLING IRON AND CLAY FEET.
studied, the description and roles and historical facts about
the legs of iron, (believed to be the Roman Empire), which
spanned the time before and after the birth of the Church, does
not really match the description of the ‘Fourth Beast’
of chapter 7. Rome had many rulers, and did not span the Globe. We
offer more in-depth views in our Part 3 study of 'Daniel's Vision'.
> The weakness, pictured in the mixture of the iron and clay does not match either. We will see other important comparisons, as we study more in our next article with more details. Please try to see that!
> How can 10 toes equate with 10 horns as in Daniel 7: 7? [‘Ten’ in Scripture, means ‘completeness’ or a period of a time of testing, which just may apply here but as separate periods of testing, centuries apart!]
WHEN 'THE 'FIFTH ~ KINGDOM' ~ GOD'S 'KINGDOM OF HEAVEN' BEGAN ON EARTH.
can be no doubt that the ‘Fifth Kingdom’ – the
'unseen' Kingdom of Heaven - was established during the time of the
Roman Iron Empire!
In fact as a video narrated by Leonard Nemoy shows, it was the cataclysmic events surrounding the “Fall of Jerusalem” climaxing in the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Roman Titus, that was an event that changed the character of Judaism in a big way. From then on, God did not want the focus to be on even a beautiful Building, but on Him alone.
Yet that great event, also caused the spread and growth of Christianity from that time. The Visible form of Christianity degenerated, in worldly Orthodox Churches' of outward 'rites', regulations and rituals, but the true Body of Messiah, or the 'Christ', (to use the Greek form of His Yeshua/ Jesus’ title) has become great in it’s mainly invisible but growing form.
It is made up of repentant, believing Followers of Yeshua/ Jesus / Yasuo, in their Hearts ~ all over the world ~ ever since!
True Believers, many willing to die for this inner, Spiritual Faith, [Matthew 10:38]
Yeshua talked about the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ many times, and died to win the right to rule it!
CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT THE COMPARING OF THE TWO VISIONS.
It is a very serious thing for us to put forward conclusions rather different from many other Teachers, so we would value your prayers, or conclusive alternative interpretations, based carefully on the WHOLE tenor of the Scriptures, and Historical facts. ** Yet we can only be true to the Biblical and Historical evidence we now, as Endtime Believers are privileged to have!
closing this Part 1 study, we remind ourselves that God’s Word
is meant to
* Challenge us to a more total devotion to God, * and Comfort us in every circumstance.
This is even more important than a ‘correct interpretation’ of the prophecies.
So this is the main reason for writing these studies ~ with much prayer.
It is because we have a great concern for many faithful Believers to remain true to their Saviour and God, even under bitter persecution, we offer these explanations. Perhaps the very fact that we are ~ in what many Bible students agree ~ are 'the Last days', with talk of a 'One World Government', increasing disasters and fulfilments of signs such as given in Matthew 24, and Revelation chapter 6, ~ it is important to consider our future... carefully.
“Jesus Himself asked: 'When the Son of Man comes,
will He find faith [in Him] on the Earth?' ”
Our prayer is, that He will, through readers like you!
We now invite
you to see our next Study:
'DANIEL EXPLAINS THE CHAPTER TWO SPECIAL VISION'. Part 2, of the Series of 3 Studies.