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Dan. 7:4

Lesson # Dan. 7:4
Study Material - Dan. 7:4

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Dan. 7:4

4 '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.

The first beast in the struggle for power across the earth, is the Babylonian empire. It was fierce as a lion. Symbolizing conquest, fierceness, power, courage and so forth. The Babylonian Empire began with Nebopolassar and aggressive attacks against the Assyrian empire. The Babylonians feared nothing and were successful in battle.

Nebuchadnezzar next came to the throne and took off with the speed of an eagle and quickly conquered many nations throughout the Middle East. So far this is all historical to Daniel. This dream took place in the first year of the reign of the last king of Babylon or the Chaldean Empire.

But then something happened. When Belshazzar came to power, and after Nebuchadnezzar left power, the lions fierceness of the kingdom went cold. Its wings were clipped and the military power began to fade. The eagle fell from its heights to the ground and rose up as a man, but not with the heart of a lion, the empire now has the flawed heart of a man. Not soaring in the clouds, but confined and restricted to the two legs of a man and therefore limited.

A lion dares, a man dreads. A lion attacks with courage, a man retreats in a cowardly fashion. This is now prophecy of future events. For the remainder of the reign of Belshazzar, the empire suffered defeat after defeat until he was surrounded in Babylon and the feast was his priority rather than the saving of his nation. Belshazzar turned white with fear when the hand appeared and gave him his last notice of doom. A notice which he did not even understand, or refused to accept as he ignored the words of Daniel thinking to give him a reward perhaps in return for a little different outcome, but of course man cannot bribe God and Belshazzar died that very night as the Mede-Persian army entered the city after digging a lengthy canal to divert the Euphrates River and then were able to get under the wall of the city. The river flowed through the city and the diverted water lowered the height of the river which exposed the underside of the wall and therefore access into the city. No one was watching apparently. The feast must have been a good one, that is until the hand appeared.

A couple of things are important to note. First the wings were plucked. They di not fall off or grow weak through age or lose their usefulness by some natural means. They were plucked. God controls history. The empire was allowed to expand to a point and then it was shut down. Through the succession of reigning kings, through the succession of leadership in the military, through the succession of generations of peoples in the kingdom, the empire collapsed from within. Enemies rose up from both within and without the kingdom. The plucking is Gods work in deciding when peoples would live within the kingdom and who they would be. God knows the thoughts and decisions of peoples and so controls history through the voluntary actions of people. God does not coerce, nor force decisions. The expansion of the empire had gone far enough and it was better for all concerned, that the empire's time was to come to a close. Our underlying assumption here is that God does what He does all for the good of everyone. Giving everyone their best opportunity in life to come to know Him.

And second, the lion and man are herein contrasted as we have mentioned above. The power of man on his to feet falls far short of the ability of the lion. Both exist in the jungle and the jungle has rules. Remember that the beasts being described here are rising out of the sea, a churning sea and the winds of heaven are directing the flow of that sea and thus the history of the beasts that are fighting for their place within the jungle. Man may think he has control over his destiny, but he really does not when it comes to his function within the jungle of this world.

There are going to be four empires described in this chapter and a fifth which has not yet occurred. When John comes along to write Revelation he will state that the last empire, the ten horns, have not come into being yet. And from our perspective, they are still future. They will rise up within the period of the Tribulation, which follows immediately the Rapture of the Church. We will probably be able to guess whom they might be, but we will not actually see them. We will be gone with the Rapture if it occurs in our generation, or we will be gone by means of death, if the Rapture is going to occur in a future generation.

The first empire of the prophecy has come and gone, the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar was told he was that head of gold in the image he saw. The next empire will be the Mede-Persian empire which is future from the dream of Daniel and therefore prophetic.

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End Of Lesson

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