Hello Beautiful People!
Its amazing to see so many of you on board with the #DanielChallenge! Even those that haven’t done the previous Bible Challenges ( #EstherChallenge , #RuthChallenge, #JamesChallenge and #LWChallenge.) we welcome you! For those that still don’t know what it is, don’t worry! The Daniel Challenge is a 12 day challenge, where we read the 12 chapters in the book of Daniel in the Bible! It is not just about reading, I would love for us to share our understanding of what we have read with each other, so as you read, feel free to hashtag #DanielChallenge if you have twitter. In addition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your notes for each chapter, or a summary and I will put it up on this blog page! The book of Daniel really focuses on our character and identity, especially in the area of being CONSISTENT and LOYAL which I believe is so key in really getting the most out of our Christian walk and abiding in God’s will for us! Some points I haven’t touched on in my summary are covered in everyone else’s contributions, OR I have purposely left out to encourage you guys to touch on! 🙂
Day Seven- Chapter Seven
Thank God for the visions and dreams given in the book of Daniel! As part of the #DanielChallenge, this is our first encounter with the prophetic chapters of Daniel. We saw that in Chapter 6, that the episode of the Lion’s Den was parallel to the scenes leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus (See video for explanation). So there has been a lot of foreshadowing and chronological history in the previous chapters (1-6), now we are getting into the prophesies (7-12). I’m no expert, so I had to do a substantial amount of research in order to understand the visions shown to Daniel in this chapter. I will include some links to the sources I’ve used in the blog!
Quick Summary: Daniel, a godly prophet and a man of unshakable faith, has been steadfast in his fellowship with God throughout the first six chapters of the Book of Daniel. Nothing has caused him to panic or depart from his faith and practice as a godly Jew. Peer opposition or the new law passed by the king fails to disturb Daniel. Daniel’s first distress occurs in chapter 7. A revelation from God in his sleep brings his first great distress, for the revelation discloses future events Daniel finds most troubling.
The message of this prophecy is really quite simple and may be summed up this way. Before the kingdom of God is established on the earth, four earthly kingdoms will rise and fall. These kingdoms go from bad to worse. Arrogant, boastful, and even blasphemous kings will reign over the nations, opposing God and oppressing His saints. All of this is by divine design. During times of oppression, it may appear the saints are being defeated and that God’s kingdom is but wishful thinking. When the sin and oppression of evil men reaches a predetermined point, God will remove them and establish His promised eternal kingdom. Then the saints will receive the kingdom which will never end.
Disclaimer // Guidelines for interpretation
Interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies differ widely. Liberals reject all prophecies, because they require a sovereign God and a miraculous revelation of future events AND despite conservative, evangelical theologians believe the prophecies in Daniel are true, their interpretations differ greatly. Whether liberal or conservative, our conclusions largely develop from our assumptions and the product of our interpretation. For this reason, I wish to state the foundational assumptions and principles for when we read this chapter and subsequent prophetic chapters.
- The Book of Daniel is a part of the Holy Scriptures, and is inspired by God, accurate, and trustworthy.
- The prophecies of Daniel must be understood in relationship to and in light of the other prophecies of Daniel.
- These prophecies must be understood in light of their historical background as provided in Daniel.
- Prophecies not completely fulfilled cannot be fully understood until after their fulfilment. At least the final portion of chapter 7 has not been fulfilled. Even those portions which some believe have been fulfilled, peoples understanding differ about how they have been fulfilled.
- Above all, the prophecy in this chapter means precisely what God says it means in this text, nothing more and nothing less. We should not spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy trying to fill in the blanks God has left. Our attention should be given to what is clearly and emphatically said. In our passage, Daniel asks for and receives an explanation. What God determined to reveal to Daniel should be enough for us.
KEY POINTS FOR ME
Fear: The humanness of Daniel
What I loved about this chapter is that it showed the humanness yet spiritual nature of Daniel. Daniel was fearful of the dreams and visions that were shown to him by God (Daniel 7:15), just like many of us are scared of certain dreams that we have or even reading the book of Revelation in the bible which speaks of things to come. I guess his fear was not the ‘worldly’ kind of fear that can paralyse one, but it was the ‘fear of God’, fear of his power, reverence and respect for His sovereign authority.
The NEED for prophesies
Prophecy is necessary because God has chosen to settle His ‘beef’ or separation with man slowly. God is eternal, and so is His plan for all creation. God is in no hurry to fulfil His promises, whether His promise of the eternal kingdom or the promise of eternal destruction and judgement for sinners. Prophecy is necessary then so that we are reassured of divine deliverance and blessing, as well as divine judgement
Prophecy is not written as hype but revealed to produce the hope of glory and endurance in present tribulation. Prophecy is not a pep rally, which generates a great burst of short-term enthusiasm but does little to inspire faith and endurance in the midst of suffering. Neither is prophecy written to make us happy or to feel good. Daniel’s response is testimony to this reality.
Prophecy is written to wake us up! Prophecy speaks not only of the joys and glories of God’s kingdom to come but of the suffering and tribulation preceding the eternal blessings of the kingdom of God.
Prophecy is revealed, not to give us the particulars of things to come, but to change our perspective.
Prophecy is necessary because God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. We could never predict the goals God has determined, nor the means He has ordained for history to reach them.
Prophecy reveals that which we would not and could not expect apart from divine revelation << just like it did for Daniel. In God’s economy, things are not what they appear to be. We do not walk by sight, but by faith. We do not act on what we see. We act on what God has said! Abraham and Sarah were elderly and childless. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for them to have a child. And yet God said they would. And they did! Abraham had to believe and behave on the basis of God’s promises, rather than on the basis of his perception.
I love how the bible overlaps, re-emphasises and foreshadows!
Daniel was given a prophetic dream that consisted of four beasts arising out of the sea. The “sea” or “waters” are used prophetically in the Bible to speak of the gentile nations (Isaiah 17:12-13, Revelation 17:1,15). So this vision is of four kingdoms that would arise from out of, and dominate, the gentile nations. Now, if you’re saying ‘I think I’ve seen these nations before’ then you would be correct. The same four kingdoms were presented to us in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2. The link between chapters 2 and 7 can be seen in the following table:
|Chapter 2 Image||Chapter 7 Image||Interpretation|
|Head of Gold||Lion with eagles wings||Babylonian Empire (606-538 BC) – Known for its use of gold and the swiftness of its conquests (eagles wings) until its wings were torn off and the heart of a man was given to it (Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion).|
|Silver Chest and Arms||Bear raised up on one side||Medes and Persian Empire (538-331 BC) – The Persians were more powerful than the Medes and were known for their use of silver|
|Thighs of Bronze||Leopard with four wings and four heads||Greek Empire (331-168 BC) – Emphasizing it’s swift conquests and the split between four generals after the death of Alexander.|
|Legs of Iron||Powerful beast with iron teeth||Roman Empire (168 BC – 476 AD) – Known for their use of iron and the iron represented their immense strengthSource: http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/Daniel7.htm|
I noticed that the number four was used a lot in this chapter, so I found a website that explained the biblical and prophetic associations and meanings of the number four! (Source: http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/4.html)
I wish I could go a lot deeper with this, but my knowledge in the area of prophesy is limited! If anyone has anything to share, please send an email! Remember The Bible, Holy Spirit and Google are your buddies when it comes to studying! God bless you!
What you thought:
- Daniel had yet another dream. In Daniel 7:1, Daniel wrote down his dream, which means it must have held some importance. I think it’s important for us to write down our dreams if we feel that it is a warning from God.
- Daniel said he saw ‘Four Great Beasts’. From the research, the Four Great Beasts represent for 4 Kingdoms.
- The first beast, which is LIKE A LION, having the WINGS OF AN EAGLE represents BABYLON
Lions are known to represent a KING, who is known to have POWER and STRENGTH. This interlinks with King Nebu’s dream in Chapter 2. However, this lion will have its wings plucked off and it will stand on its two feet like a human being. In other words, it will lose its courage, power and strength. (Jeremiah 4:7 – A lion has come out of his lair, a destroyer of nations has set out, He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.)
- The second beast is one which LOOKED like a BEAR, represents MEDO-PERSIA. A bear signifies strength and is known for its ability to be fierce. The ribs are known to represent other Kingdoms. (Isaiah 13:16-17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children.)
The third beast is one which looked like a LEOPARD, but it had four wings like those of a bird. It had four heads and it was given the authority to rule. This is known to represent GREEK.
Lastly, the fourth beast is the most fearful one, which terrified Daniel the most. It had large iron teeth, it crushed ad devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. This represents the ROMAN EMPIRE.
Before the Kingdom of God is established, the 4 earthly Kingdoms will RISE AND FALL.
The Ancient of Days (God) will overcome this Kingdom and will WIN.
The last beast is described to be arrogant, boastful and proud. (Daniel 7:11).
“4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,[a] that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.[b] And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.
When it gets to a certain time, God will establish His promise.
The dream obviously troubled Daniel and he asked the angel what the dream meant.
– When we dream something that troubles us, we should ask God for guidance. We must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly the interpretation.
This is a prophetic chapter, and I think there maybe someone who may understand it much better than I. But I tried my best with the research, and my own interpretation of it, it helped me understand quite a bit. – Chansa Mwenya