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The setting for Daniel Chapter 7 is the ancient city of Babylon. This chapter also takes place during the "Babylonian captivity" of the Hebrews. Daniel Chapter 7 has great prophetic significance, in that it helps to further explain the earlier Daniel prophecies, providing more crucial details about four of the six world empires (beasts) that would eventually follow the Babylonian Empire in history. We learn more information about this chain of empires (kings, or beasts), that were destined to oppress God's people in future centuries:
DANIEL CHAPTER SEVEN:
In the first year of the reign of King Belshazzar great king of Babylon, Daniel the prophet had a dream and a night vision as he slept. And Daniel wrote down the dream and all its details. Daniel wrote "I saw this vision by night and behold the four winds of the heavens strove upon a great sea. And four beasts came up out of that sea, each one different from the others. The first beast was like a lion, and had eagles wings. I beheld it until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand upon its feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it. Then I beheld a second beast and this second beast was like a bear and it was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth held firmly between its teeth, and they said unto it "arise, and devour much flesh." And after this, I beheld a third beast, and it was like a leopard and had four wings on its back like those of a fowl and this beast had four heads and great dominion and power were given to it. And after this I saw in my vision a fourth beast. It was dreadful and terrible and exceedingly strong. And in its mouth it had great iron teeth, and it devoured, and broke into pieces, and stamped the residue of the others beneath its feet. And it was different from those before it because it had ten horns. And I beheld these horns, and behold there came up among them a little horn (1st antichrist), before whom three of the first horns were pulled up by the roots. And the little horn had the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things. And I beheld until all these thrones were cast down and the ancient of days did sit, whose garments were as white as snow, and whose hair was like the purest wool. His throne was like a fiery flame, and his chariot's wheels like burning fire and a flame issued out from before him. And a thousand thousands ministered to him and ten thousand times ten thousand before him. And the Great Judgement was set, and the books were opened. And then I listened because of the sound of the great words that the little horn spoke and I listened until the little beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given unto the burning flame. And, as for the rest of the beasts, they also had their dominions taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a short season. I then saw in my night vision one like the son of man (Christ), who came with the clouds of heaven and he came to the ancient of days and they brought him near before him. And there was given to him dominion and great glory, and a kingdom, that all people and nations and languages should serve him. And his dominion was an everlasting dominion that shall never pass away. And his kingdom is a kingdom which can never be destroyed.
Then I Daniel was grieved in my spirit and in my body and the visions of my head troubled me. So I Daniel came near unto one (angel) of them who stood nearby me, and asked him the meaning of these things. And he told me and let me know the meaning of all these things. He told me that these four beasts were four kingdoms which shall arise upon the Earth (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome), but the saints of the most high will take these kingdoms and possess them for ever and ever. Then I Daniel asked the truth of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and nails of brass which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue of the others with its feet. And of the ten horns (i.e. Rome 1800) which were on its head, and of the little horn (1st antichrist), that came up, before whom three fell. This little horn (general) with eyes and a mouth speaking great things, whose appearance was more stout than his fellows. And I beheld and this horn who made war with the saints (Church) prevailed against them, until the ancient of days came, and judgement was given to the saints of the most high, and the time came when the saints possessed his kingdom. Then he said that the fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom (Rome) that will appear upon the Earth, and it shall be different from all those before it, for it shall overcome the entire Earth and tread it down and break it to pieces. And the ten horns which will come up out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise, and then another little horn (1st antichrist) will rise after them and he shall be diverse from them and will subdue three of them. Then he shall speak great things against the most high, and shall wear down the saints of the most high, and he will think to change times and laws. And the saints (the Church) shall be given into his hands for a time, times, and a half (42 months). But the judgement shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion and shall consume and destroy it until its end. And the kingdom, the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole of heaven shall be given to the people of the most high, whose kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom. And all dominions shall serve and obey God. And this is the last of the vision. And as for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed within me, but I kept the matter in my heart and this is the end of the matter."
In this reading of Daniel Chapter 7 he receives a night vision of events that shall occur in the future. Daniel is unable to understand the vision. But with help from an angel, Daniel learns his vision concerns the Babylonian Empire and three empires (beasts) that will eventually follow it in history (Persia, Greece and Rome). The vision is similar to an earlier vision of King Nebuchadnezzar's that leads along a similar path and includes the coming of the exceedingly powerful Roman (iron) Empire. Daniel's vision however, takes us one step further and tells us that the ten kingdoms resulting from the eventual breakup of the Roman Empire (Italian peninsula circa 1800) shall give rise to a "little horn" (antichrist) who will take captive the "saints of the most high" (Church), and seek to change "times and laws." All these kingdoms in Daniel's dream will rule over God's Hebrews sometime during their reign, and together form a continuous chain of world conquering empires, each one conquering the one before it, which allows us to accurately track the chronology, history, and destiny of the Hebrew people through the centuries.
THE GREAT EMPIRES OF HISTORY
1. The Kingdom of Egypt
2. The Babylonian Empire
3. The Persian Empire
4. The Kingdom of Greece
5. The Roman Empire
6. The Holy Roman Empire
7. Empire of the 1st Antichrist (the little "horn", or military leader)
8. Empire of the 2nd Antichrist
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