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Revelation 13:1 & Daniel 7:1-4 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 38 secs

The Kingdom of Man: Traced through History; Revelation 13:1

 

In the first part of Revelation chapter thirteen deals with the Antichrist who is there called the first beast, and then starting in verses eleven goes to the second beast. Some may wonder why in the world spend so much time on the Antichrist. There are some great things to learn about human viewpoint thinking and the way people respond to charismatic, human viewpoint, demonic leadership. It is not just political, it happens in corporations, in businesses, and the more pagan a nation becomes the more this kind of leadership rises to the surface. It is operating on a complete fantasy of how life works. If we watch the news we see evidence of this every day. The same dynamic occurred in the Old Testament with Pharaoh. Pharaoh rejected God and sold himself and his thinking completely to the paganism of the Egyptian religion. As God gave him ten opportunities to change his thinking but each grace opportunity just hardened him further in his rejection of God.

 

We are going to see this a lot in the coming years. We will see the people who have rejected truth become more and more mired in their hostility to truth, and as they network on the internet and in other ways they realize that there are a whole lot more of them than there are of us, and so we will become demonized more and more by the culture. It is those people who just have such a view of truth, that there is just one truth, that are viewed as the most horrible people in the world. This kind of thinking is not new but it is new in our nation. It is going to dominate more and more, and this is the same kind of thing that we are going to see in the Tribulation: dominating the Tribulation, dominating the thinking of the leaders, and it is encapsulated in the thinking of this one person, the Antichrist. So there is an interesting psychological study, we may say, of evil and evil leadership in the study of the Antichrist. We need to be informed believers and not as Paul would say in some letters, "I don't want you to be ignorant, brethren."

 

So as we get into Revelation chapter thirteen it focuses on this first beast. As we have seen, there is a textual issue in the first verse and it should read "and I," not "and he" or the dragon as seen in the NASB. "I" is referring to John as he stands on the sand of the seashore. The "beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns" is, as we have seen, a representation of the kingdoms of man and its final form in the ten-nation confederacy of the Antichrist. The beast comes out of the waters, the nations, and is of Gentiles origin, for the Antichrist. The Antichrist doesn't have a Jewish base. The false prophet comes out of the land, a term in reference to Israel, and he will be Jewish. We have the emphasis on the kingdom of man as a beast, and this is a picture of a ravenous, destructive beast that is hostile to humanity. So we now get into a study of the beastly kingdoms of Daniel chapter seven.

 

The context of Daniel seven is in the context of a section of Daniel beginning in 2:1 and going to the end of chapter seven where Daniel is no longer writing in Hebrew, he is writing in Aramaic. That is important because there are only a few other verses written in Aramaic. It was the language of the Babylonians and the Persians later on, and it is a Gentile language. It is important to note that the Bible now is no longer written in a Jewish language but is written in a Gentile language in these six chapters, 2-7, which focus on the rise of the Gentile kingdoms in history and their dominion over Israel and over Jerusalem.

 

Chapter two of Daniel states that God is in control of world empires. That is the chapter where Nebuchadnezzar has the dream and see the statue with the head of gold, etc., and he sees this stone that demolishes the statue. The point of the chapter is that God is in control of history, and the statue is a depiction of the flow of history. Chapter three deals with the results of loyalty to God and His authority. It is the chapter which describes the three friends who take their stand for the Word of God. Even though it will cost them they refuse to bow down to the statue that Nebuchadnezzar builds after he has seen this big statue in chapter two and finds out that he is the head of gold. He builds a statue and makes everybody in the kingdom worship him. In the fourth chapter we see the results of pride and arrogance, the results of rejecting God's authority. God strikes him down and he becomes like an animal. Chapter five deals with the same issue and it focuses on the whole situation with Belshazzar. Chapter six deals with the plot against Daniel and the incident of the lion's den. Again there has been a power base shift; the Persians are now in control. Chapters seven and eight are no longer in chronological order. In chapter seven we see that God is in control of world empires; He oversees the flow of history.

 

Think about this from a Jewish aspect. You are an individual Jewish believer, have lost everything, have been taken out of the land God has promised you, and now you get this information. This shows you that if you continue in your pride and arrogance, Israel; if you continue to have a stiff-necked rebellious attitude toward God, then God is going to continue to deal harshly with you in discipline. But those who are loyal to God and trust Him are going to be blessed. These are the chapters that are written in Aramaic, focusing on what God is doing among the Gentile nations now in contrast to what He did with Israel. To understand Daniel chapter seven we have to understand that it comes out of an understanding of the message in Daniel chapter two.

 

As we look at chapter seven the animals we see are animals that represent empires. Babylon is represented by a winged lion, Medo-Persia is represented by a lopsided bear that has three ribs in its mouth, Greece is represented by a four-headed leopard that has four wings. These are not normal animals. Then Rome is represented by a creature that is indescribable. The attributes of those same animals are what show up in Revelation chapters thirteen and seventeen; they have the same characteristics. We have to understand this to understand where the future is headed. What is fascinating about this is that there is a historical flow from the Babylonian Gentile empire through to the future where characteristics from each empire, what they contribute to "humanism," to man's view of man and man's ability to rule himself apart from God, and he develops different things technologically that contribute then to the next empire. These things continue from empire to empire and that is why at the end of Daniel chapter seven there is a statement that these kingdoms have not really ever ended, they are just different manifestations of the same empire.

 

No matter how great a nation is, ultimately it is going down just like every other nation because every human nation is part of the kingdom of man. We are not going to get away from it and it has been the target of Satan since the beginning to destroy any nation that promotes freedom, promotes the Word of God, and protects Israel. That is what we can expect.

 

We will see how the image of Daniel chapter two fits into chapter seven. First we have the winged lion of Babylon representing the gold head of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar. Then the Medo-Persian empire. This isn't guesswork. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, you are the head of gold. In Daniel 8 the interpreting angel says that the shaggy goat with the two horns, one higher than the other, represents the Medo-Persian empire, and we will see that that is the same as the chest of silver in Daniel two. Next is the rise of Greece, a rapid rise out of nowhere—Alexander the Great and his rapid conquests. Then the rise of Rome from 68 BC to 476 AD, and then in the future, represented by the iron and the clay of the statue will be Rome II. The legs of iron represent the indescribable beast, Rome, and then the revived Roman empire represented by the iron and clay, a mix of previous elements and new elements. What is interesting about this is the shift between the statue that is made of these precious and semi-precious metals and these ravenous, violent animals that are hostile to mankind. They are man-eaters; they destroy human beings if they can.

 

H.A. Ironside's commentary on Daniel: In the second chapter of Daniel he makes the observation about the Gentile kings; the division in Daniel chapter seven is given to Daniel, a prophet, a man of God. The image of man given to the Gentile [Nebuchadnezzar] king depicts these empires by a stately and noble figure that filled him with such admiration he set up a similar statue top be worshipped as a god. But in the opening chapter of the second division, Daniel the man of God has a vision of those same empires and he sees them as four ravenous wild beasts of so brutal a character and so m0onstrous withal that no actual creature could adequately set them forth. 

 

This is an unflattering picture of mankind. It is a picture of the human race as voracious, as violent, as taking advantage of people, destroying people. It is the last thing that we think of when we think of all of the great empires in history. What we see in the contrast between Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 is that in Daniel 2 Daniel interprets world history from man's viewpoint. Man looks at what man produces and thinks it is wonderful and great. But Daniel 7 is a picture that depicts human history from God's viewpoint that these kingdoms of man are not very good. They are hostile and antagonistic to God and they are destructive of humanity.

 

We will see that there are three basic divisions at the beginning of chapter 7, there is a setting described in the first two verses, then the beasts are set forth in verses 3-7, then there is a description of this boastful horn that comes up among the ten horns of the fourth beast. Daniel is not left to guess as to the meaning of these images. Daniel has seen everything by verse 15, he doesn't understand it but it has weighed heavy on his soul. Daniel 7:15 NASB "As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. [16] I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:" Angels here are used to teach the Word of God to the prophet; they are explaining what these symbols refer to. God doesn't leave things up in the air for us to just guess about. The last part of the chapter deals with the explanation and the interpretation of the first part. It pretty much repeats the same information that is there but it adds a few things.

 

We are told in verse 1 that this occurred in the first year of Belshazzar, about 553 BC. Daniel 7:1 NASB "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind {as he lay} on his bed; then he wrote the dream down {and} related the {following} summary of it. [2] Daniel said, 'I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea." The sea is the symbol of unstable human society in the kingdom of man. It is the instability that results from man trying to rule himself apart from God. Human history is at best chaotic and unstable. And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. The wind is a picture of the spiritual forces at work which blend with the human powers to create the flows of history, and we see this combination of the demonic with the instability of man. [3] "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another." These are each depicted as man-eating animals each more dangerous as the one before carrying on the same characteristics. They show these kings and kingdoms to be oriented to various world philosophies, cosmic philosophies of the kingdom of man, and depict these kings and kingdoms as destroyers of humanity, they don't build humanity. So Daniel's vision is of the beastly nature of human kingdoms and we see a deadly combination when we take fallen humanity plus satanic and demonic influence. It results in animal behavior, man becomes inhuman.

 

Verse 3 talks about the three beasts that come up out of the sea, and if we compare that with verse 17 where we have the interpretation, the interpreting angels says, "These great beasts, which are four {in number,} are four kings {who} will arise from the earth." The word "kings" can also mean kingdoms. The first creature is mentioned in v. 4 NASB "The first {was} like a lion and had {the} wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it." It is interesting to watch what Daniel says about each one of these beasts and how it works out in history. There is something that changes the bestial nature of this kingdom from the normal human kingdom to being more manlike as God created human beings to be. So he is made to stand on two feet and a human mind was given to it. The plucking of the wings is what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. This was fulfilled when God smacks him down and turns him into an animal for several years. The irony is that after seven years of being a beast he becomes a genuine human being. He trusts the Lord, he is no longer arrogant, he recognizes that he is under the authority of God. This is when a human mind was given to him and he becomes a more genuinely human leader. The head of gold is now the two-winged lion. Lions were also used of Babylon.

 

Illustrations