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Lesson # Dan. 7:5
Study Material - Dan. 7:5
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5 'And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!'
Just a quick note here. We know that these beasts represent empires or kings, because that is disclosed in verse 17.
Ok, now on with the second empire. The first beast which rose up out of the sea was the Babylonian empire. The sea does not represent the Mediterranean per se, but it represents the gentile nations rising up in the world. These are the four great empires that will rise up in history through the time of the Second Advent. The fourth empire being the most unique since it will rise, be broken up and then reassembled in the times just prior to the Second Advent. The sea is the earths concept where power rises as in contrast to heaven where true power originates.
Just as the first beast rose and then fell, so too the second beast will rise and then fall away. All nations, all empires have beginnings and they will have their termination dates. There are limits set on the nations of the world. At the Second Advent all earthly nations will finally cease to exist, having been defeated by Christ upon His return. Despite any successes that any nation might have in history, all nations will eventually fail through their negative attitude toward God. I know. It is difficult to think that ones own nation will eventually turn negative and thus fall into gross corruption, but that is the future of all nations in history.
The second beast is the Mede-Persian Empire. The Persians were the greater portion of the alliance between the two. The Persians extended into India and to the east, while the Medes extended to the western portions of the Middle East.
Described as a bear, slow to get up, but rising on one side first, then followed by the other (not mentioned but presumed - if a bear rises first on one side, then the other side has to follow otherwise the bear cannot rise). This beast is also described as a ram with two horns in chapter eight, and in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, as the silver arms and chest portion of the image. The two arms and the two horns representing the two segments of the empire - the Mede's and the Persians.
Daniel does not distinguish between the two, but sees them as one empire. The two rising up as one dominion in a mutual agreement of rulership.
The bear does not rise up so quickly as the eagle, nor most as swift, but it does have power and can cover a wide range of ground in time. It conquered the entire area of the Middle East to the west into Egypt and to the east toward India, and to the north into some of those border states along the region where the southern Russian border is and into Greece.
The ribs in the teeth are the three great regions which were conquered - Babylon in the east and center, Lydia in the north as far as Greece, and to the west and south into Egypt. The beast rose and conquered and devoured most of the 'flesh'. The Persian Empire had most of its control, but did not devour all of the territories. Thus the bones stuck in the teeth. Bones in the teeth are an annoyance. Some times they are difficult to get out of the teeth even though the object which used to own the bones is not defeated, it still has some residual stumbling blocks which cause problems for the empire. The Persian Empire lasted a little longer than the Babylonian Empire, But Greece is just over the horizon. The Persian empire did not have a lengthy period of peace or prosperity as did Babylon. Thus the reference to silver in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The gold head are far more valuable and the lion and eagle are far more noble than the bear and ram reference of the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire did occupy much more territory than the Babylonians though.
The dates of these empires are roughly Babylonian Empire 612-539 B.C., the Persian Empire 539-331 B.C., the Greek Empire 331-146 B.C. And the Roman Empire beginning around 146 B.C. and continuing until the fourth century A.D. or there about.
'they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!', is a reference to divine control. The winds of heaven the plural of the directing powers send history into the direction it need to go in order to produce the best result or mankind. If man were left to his own devices, then we would have all ceased in the Garden and history would not have ever happened. So do not be so arrogant as to remark that God has no right to dictate where history goes or to presume that God causes historical events. God does not cause evil in society. man does that. God merely gives enough rope of freedom for man to mess up, then he reels in the rope and sends more people along to straighten things out. All the while everyone who has ever been born and breathed their first breath is given their best opportunity in life, to have a great life and eternity with God. This is Gods desire for all, but He does not coerce anyone to choose for Him.
Remember that man rises up out of the sea, but God ultimately directs the traffic all the while giving mankind free reign in making up his own mind. Many take advantage of this and abuse their authority and position and take advantage of others. History is full of examples of mans inhumanity to man. Remember too that God causes suffering or allows suffering due to three reasons. First we are messed up in our spiritual life and need discipline. Second we need suffering to help us focus on our faith and grow up in our spiritual life, and third to judge those who have had all their chances. In all cases God gives us plenty of warning, then He intensifies the suffering, then He brings us to the ultimate dying suffering phase if we continue to ignore Him in our lives. As long as you have breath in you, then you can recover and get with a spiritual growth program, regardless of what you have done in your life. Yes, you can be sitting on death row because you were a despicable scum bag at some point in your life, but now you have time to study Gods Word and you have opportunity to grow up spiritually. Obviously you do not have any freedom to come and go at will, but your mind is free to grow up spiritually. The only thing standing between you and spiritual maturity is your attitude. God keeps us all alive so that we can advance spiritually. When we die, then that opportunity stops.
The second empire stretched out even further than the first. With it went Gods Word. Darius knew Daniel and there is every indication in his remarks that he knew of God. This information was spread throughout the Empire as we saw in chapter six. Empires do not exist to serve their own lusts, but to serve the will of God which is the spreading of His Word to all peoples.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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