Daniel - Lesson 11

Daniel 7

Daniel had a vision of four beasts that were frightening in appearance. An angel explained the significance of the beasts in terms of historical kingdoms but didn’t say specifically which ones.

Lesson 11
Watching Now
Daniel 7

I. Daniel 7

A. The vision 1-14

B. Meaning of the vision 15-28

II. Comments on the Vision

A. Year of the vision

B. Four winds blowing on the sea

C. Four beasts

III. Divine realm

A. Image of God

B. Ancient of Days

C. Son of Man

IV. Possible Correlation to Historical Nations

  • Join distinguished scholar and professor emeritus Dr. Tremper Longman for a study of the book of Daniel, a fascinating and inspiring part of the Bible. In this class, you'll explore six stories and four apocalyptic visions that all demonstrate God's control and ultimate victory, even in the face of evil and difficulty. Don't miss this opportunity to be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you study the powerful messages of the book of Daniel with Dr. Longman.

  • Daniel is written in two parts. The first six chapters is history written in the form of a story. Chapters seven through twelve are apocalyptic literature. In the English Bible, it’s with the major prophets. In the Hebrew Bible it’s in the Writings. The Apocalyptic section has similarities to the book of Revelation. One of the main messages in the book of Daniel is that even if you are living in a culture that is toxic to your faith, living by faith can help you not only survive, but thrive.

  • By the time Daniel was written, the nation of the Jewish people was divided into the tribes of Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC. Babylon overthrew Assyria in 612 BC then Judah in 605 BC. Daniel. Daniel and others were taken to Babylon and chosen to be trained as royal advisors.   

  • Daniel and his friends were willing to learn the language, literature and divination practices of the Babylonians even though it was potentially toxic to their faith. They temporarily chose to eat vegetables and water rather than the food and wine that the other officials in training were eating. The performed at the top of their class.

  • Nebuchadnezzar summoned the royal magicians and sorcerers and required them to tell him what his dream was and give him an interpretation of the dream. Daniel is able to do this because of the wisdom God gives him.

  • Daniel reveals the dream and the interpretation because God revealed it to him. The parts of the statue represent different worldly kingdoms. The stone that crushes the statue represents God’s rule over the kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar recognizes Yahweh as being powerful.

  • Daniel and his friends were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment for not worshipping an image of Nebuchadnezzar. God miraculously saved them and Nebuchadnezzar promoted them to positions in the royal court.

  • This is a story of a contest between Daniel and his friends and the Babylonian wise men. A major theme is the pride of Nebuchadnezzar and how that affects the outcome. Some of the story is narrated in by Nebuchadnezzar in the first person. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. The Babylonian wise men don’t give him an interpretation, but Daniel does. Nebuchadnezzar experienced judgment but God restores him.

  • As we read and study the Old Testament, we can gain insights into redemptive history and see examples of how we should live. It can sometimes be a challenge to determine the continuity or discontinuity of a passage. A major theme in Daniel 4 and throughout the Bible is how pride can hinder your relationship with God. 

  • Belshazzar was a ruler in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar died. During a banquet he hosted, he used the goblets from the temple in Jerusalem for his guests to drink out of. In the middle of a banquet, a hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall. Belshazzar called Daniel to interpret the message.

  • When Darius gave Daniel a position of authority in his government, the administrators underneath him were jealous. They devised a plan to trap Daniel and force Darius to execute him. God rescued Daniel and the administrators suffered the fate that they had planned for Daniel. The story shows that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and it’s important to live a life that is faithful to him.

  • Daniel had a vision of four beasts that were frightening in appearance. An angel explained the significance of the beasts in terms of historical kingdoms but didn’t say specifically which ones.

  • Daniel and Jeremiah both had messages from God but the way God communicated to each of them was different. The word “apocalypse” comes from the first word in Greek in the book of Revelation which means to reveal or uncover something. Some characteristics of apocalyptic literature are visions, dreams, a binary point of view, highly figurative language and the theme of hope based in confidence in God’s control over people and events that seem chaotic and overwhelming.

  • In this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of the book of Daniel, focusing on its themes, historical context, and preparation for spiritual battles in a challenging cultural environment.
  • You gain a deeper understanding of the Book of Daniel, its historical context, literary features, key themes, and significance within the Old Testament, while focusing on God's warfare against evil.
  • John the Baptist described Jesus coming as a warrior but the ministry of Jesus was different than what he expected. Since we live in phase 4, God gives us the power to fight spiritual battles. The God who led the people of Israel into battle in the Old Testament is the same God described in the New Testament who came as God in human form as Jesus.

  • The vision in Daniel 8 describes animals that represent kingdoms and individuals. While Daniel was seeing the vision, Gabriel came and explained its meaning. Antiochus Epiphanes fits the description of one of the horns in the vision. His persecution of the people of Israel and his desecration of the temple is similar to the way the anti-Christ is described in Revelation.

  • As Daniel is reading Scripture, he comes to the realization that what he is reading in the book of Jeremiah may actually be taking place at the time. His response is to begin by praying. He includes himself in confessing the sins of the people of Israel and appeals for God to rescue them from exile.

  • As Daniel is reading Jeremiah and praying, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel to explain the vision to him. The numbers in the vision are symbolic but demonstrate that God has a plan and a time frame to accomplish it.

  • The final of Daniel’s four visions described in chapters 10-12. There is an introduction to the vision, description of the vision and instructions to Daniel. The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed because of spiritual warfare.

  • This vision covers the events surrounding the Persian and Greek rulers in the 3rd and 4th century BC. They are described in such detail that some people think it was written after they took place, not as a prophecy.

  • The righteous and the wicked have different fates in the after-life. Throughout Scripture there is progress of revelation. God is in control and he will be victorious. The prophecy that God gave Daniel describes events that will happen in the future. Celestial sources give final words to Daniel that are also addressed to readers of the book of Daniel. A theme that is emphasized throughout the book of Daniel is, in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory.  This is illustrated both in the stories of Daniel and his friends and in the visions of future events that Daniel has.

  • Daniel informs the imagery and message of the book of Revelation. They are the two books of the Bible with primarily apocalyptic themes. Daniel’s encounter with God and angels is similar to what John records in Revelation. Daniel is commanded to seal his prophecy and in Revelation, the seals are opened. The references Revelation to the beasts and three and a half years is also similar to Daniel.

Living in a toxic culture can be dangerous and risky, but when you live by faith, God can give you opportunities to thrive, succeed and be a testimony to God's power and love for people. A primary message of the prophecies of Daniel is that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory. God has not provided us with a precise date on the calendar for when that will happen, but he will accomplish his plan on his timetable.

Dr. Tremper Longman III
Daniel ot666-11
Daniel 7
Lesson Transcript

Tremper Longman III [00:00:00] So after looking at six chapters of stories, we transition now to Daniel Chapter seven through 12, which presents four apocalyptic visions that Daniel receives. And, you know, Daniel went through six extremely interesting. We learned a lot, especially when we pay close attention to how the stories are told. But when you contrast the first six chapters to the second six chapters, we're entering into a whole new realm of complexity because of the change of genre and also because we're not used to this type of literature in our everyday reading. And so we'll have a lot more discussion and explanation that will be needed along the way. But one of my contention is that it's precisely because we're historically distanced from Daniel seven through 12 that we find it hard to understand that that part of the problem is that we're not familiar with ancient near Eastern images and metaphors that are being utilized in Daniel seven through 12, many of which have earlier Old Testament in a scene. So I'll point those out along the way. That would me that doesn't mean that everything is going to be perfectly clear to us or that every detail can be readily explained. But I do think that we can have a really good, solid, adequate understanding of what God is communicating to us through Daniel at this point. And what I'm going to do is, first of all, lecture on Daniel seven. We'll take a close look at Daniel seven Then I'm going to pause and talk a little bit about the nature of apocalyptic literature, because that's what we're now going to be reading. We're going to be reading apocalyptic literature, but I think it's really a better way to proceed if we have a concrete example of an apocalyptic vision before us. Before I start generalizing about the genre of apocalyptic, and when I do compare it with a prophet like Jeremiah, that though both Daniel and Jeremiah are speaking about things that are going to happen in the future, that there's a pretty significant and important difference to understand between the way God speaks to Jeremiah and how Jeremiah communicates God's message to God's people and how God communicates His message to Daniel and how He communicates that message to his people. I think you'll find that different. And you'll also see that it's connected with the purpose of this type of literature. So let's turn to Daniel seven. I'm going to do something a little bit different and previous, as we looked at earlier chapters, we read a section, I commented on it and then we read a section I commented on. And I'm going to begin by actually reading the entirety of Daniel seven and then going back and coming out on it, partly because I'm I want you to observe that the first half of the chapter in the first part of the chapter, I'm not sure it's literally numerically half of the chapter is a description of the vision that Daniel receives. And then the second half of the chapter or second part of the chapter is an interpretation of the vision provided by an angel to Daniel. And then when I go back and read it, what I'll do is then read the vision again, but incorporate the insights provided by the Angel in the second half. So let me go ahead and read this interesting chapter. In the first year of Belshazzar, King of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions pass through his mind. As he was lying in bed, he wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel said. In my vision at night I looked and there before me were the four winds of heaven, churning up the great sea. Four great beasts each different from the others came up out of the sea. The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and was lifted from the ground. So there stood on two feet like a human being in the mind of a human was given to it. And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, Get up and eat your fill of flesh. After that, I looked and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads and it was given the authority to rule. After that. In my vision at night I looked and there before me was a fourth beast. Terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth. It crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the other beasts and it had ten horns. Let's think about the horns. There was before me another horn, a little one which came up among them. And three of the first horns were uprooted before it. The horns had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully as I looked. Thrones were set in place and the ancient of days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow. The hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze. A river was a river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him. 10,000 times. 10,000 stood before him. The court was seated and the books were opened. Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing pyre. The other beasts had been stripped of their authority but were allowed to live for a period of time. In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son, a man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the ancient of days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power. All nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away. And his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. This is the first part of the chapter one through 14 where Daniel describes his vision. And now in the second part, verses 15 to 28, we're going to hear Daniel receive an interpretation from an angel. I. Daniel was troubled in spirit, and the visions that pass through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things. The four great Peace are four kings that will rise from the earth, but the holy people of the most high will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever. Yes, forever and ever. Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, and most terrifying with its iron teeth and bronze claws, the beast that crushed and devour its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also want to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up before which three of them fell. The horn that looked more imposing than the others. And that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched this, Horne was waging war against the holy people and defeating them until the ancient of days came and pronounce judgment and favor the holy people of the most high. And the time came when they possess the kingdom. He gave me this explanation. The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on Earth. It will be different from all other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come after this kingdom. After them, another king will arise different from the earlier ones. He will subdue three kings who will speak against the most high and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half at time. But the cord will set and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the most high. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all rulers will worship and obey him. This is the end of the matter. I Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale. But I kept the matter to myself. Okay, So with that reading of the whole chapter, let's go back and reread the vision and incorporate the insights of the interpreting Angel into our exposition, while also explicating the nature, origin and significance of some of the other images that the angel doesn't specifically comment on, but would have been, I believe, naturally recognized by the original audience. So in the first year of Belshazzar, King of Babylon, we've talked about that chapter. We've talked about his relationship to Nabonidus. He's the king who saw the writing on the wall. And and so it's during this time period toward the latter part of the neo Babylonian period that Daniel receives this vision and. He wrote them down. We wrote down the substance of his dream, Daniel said. In my vision at night, I looked, and there before me were four winds of heaven, turning up the great sea. Well, let's pause there for a moment and imagine this in your mind. And imagine standing on a seashore and having the four winds of heaven coming from every direction, whipping up this sea so that it's a matter of chaos. Now, right here, we know we're dealing with a symbol that denotes chaos and evil. The sea is often used that way symbolically. And and this is true, first of all, in the broader ancient memory. So it's not just true in Israel. The anomalies that Babylonian creation account that I mentioned the other day as being part of Daniel's curriculum describes the creation of the cosmos and of human beings, beginning with the conflict between the Creator, God, Marduk and Tiamat. And we didn't refer to an earlier occasion of a conflict with Observe, but Tiamat and OBS who represent the primeval waters. So in this creation account, Babylon, the idea is that there are waters that are eventually subdued and are pushed back for the creation of land. So Marduk defeats the sea in combat. The Canaanites had a similar myth surrounding their God, Bayle, who is often mentioned in the Bible, of course, as a God that Israelites were sometimes or even often tempted to worship. We have a similar story written in another ancient language called Ugarit, which sounds more like a disease than a language, but it's named after the city of where these tablets were called Ugarit on the Mediterranean coast in what is today, northern Syria. And these eukaryotic texts there have written on clay tablets. They're written and can form script, but an alphabetic script. So it makes it easier than Akkadian. There are only 30 letters, but but in one of their main mess, there's an important episode where the God Bale fights a God named Yam Yam being a Hugo Redick name. Our word even it's a name, but Yam means sea. He's also called Prince River. And so, so so again, there's this ancient idea that the sea represents the anti creation forces, forces of chaos, forces that the creator, God needs to defeat and subdue. And and so this theme of the sea is picked up in a number of biblical texts. I mean you think of the Psalms. Well, often refer to how God subdues or defeats, controls the sea. My mind is brought to some 29 as an example. Psalm 29 says, Ascribe to the Lord You heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory. Do His name, worship the Lord in the splendor of His Holiness, The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, the Lord breaks in pieces. The cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Syrian like a young wild ox. The voice of Lord strikes with flashes of lightning voice a large shakes the desert, the Lord shakes the desert of Kadesh, The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forest bear, and in his temple all cry Holy. Now notice verse ten The Lord sits on throne over the flood, the largest enthroned as king forever. The Lord gives strength to his people. The Lord blesses His people with peace. Interestingly, Psalm 29 has a lot of echoes of Bale language. Bale Well, first of all, in Psalm 29, Yahweh is being described as the storm thunders over the waters and bale is a storm. God, Yahweh is God of everything, including the storm. But here in what I think is a purposeful jibe at Bale worship it saying, Yeah, yeah, Bale's not the force behind the storm, it's Yahweh. Bale's not the one who controls the waters of chaos. It's Yahweh. Why would you waste your time worshiping a God like Bale when you have Yahweh? There's kind of a similar theme. Even though the sea doesn't feature in First Things 18 in the combat between Elijah and the Prophets of Bale, if you remember that Bale is a storm God, and that the contest surrounds the idea of who can throw fire down from heaven to light the altar. Fire on top of Mount Carmel. You can see that it's actually Yahweh taking on Bale in the area of his specialty. So. So there's a lot some 29 just one example of. Passages, particularly in the Psalms and in the prophets, which talk about God controlling, subduing, defeating the waters. Another, I can't help but show you another interesting example that relates to the crossing of the sea in some 77. I won't go into the whole Psalm. It's a lament. The psalmist is upset because he thinks God has not followed through on his promises to take care of him. So he, as is typical lament, will honestly accuse God of letting him down. But at the end, and this is also typical, a muslim man sent returns to a trust or celebration of God. And in particular, what leads the psalmist and some 77 to move from lament to confidence is his remembering of God's great past may be deeds. Verse 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. So Bear 16 then focuses in on one of those mighty deeds, one of the mightiest of those mighty deeds, namely the crossing of the sea at the time of the Exodus. And as I read this, I want you to notice how the waters of the sea are being personified. They're being personified. And they are seen as in conflict with Yahweh, who defeats them. The water saw you. God, The water saw you. And. The very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water. The heavens resounded with thunder. Your ears flash back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the world when your lightning lit up the world. The earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea. Your way through the mighty waters. Though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses. An errand we might even think of. The later building of the temple, which included a huge labor of water. That if you do the computation, I think it says it's 11,000 base. I'm not a mathematician, but I'm told by others who are that it basically has an equivalent water to an Olympic swimming pool. So this is a big flavor of water that's out in front of the temple. The water would have been used for ritual lacerations and removable water carts that are also described. It's in the shape of a water lily, which fits in with the garden imagery of the temple, which as you have garden imagery at the temple of garden imagery at the Tabernacle, it's reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, the tabernacle in the temple that replaces that is the place where God makes his presence known to human beings on earth. And it reminds one of heaven, but it also reminds one of the Garden of Eden when human beings were could be in God's presence. But the name of this labor of water, this big basin of water, is Yam in Hebrew, its Eucharistic yam and Hebrew yam. And what it symbolizes because the sea, the temple is built and replaces the tabernacle after David subdues all the internal enemies of Israel. And then according to Deuteronomy 12, that's the trigger. When God gives you peace from all your enemies, where God will choose the place to make His name known. And it's at that place and only that place you can offer sacrifices. And David can't build it. Why? Because he's a man of blood, which doesn't mean he's ethically unqualified. It means that he's the one God used to conquer the internal enemies. And so it's up to his son. Shlomo, a peaceful one is what his name means. Who inherits a subdued kingdom to build the symbol of establishment within the land. So. So that's yet another example. And there are many, many of where the sea is symbolic of chaos or even evil. So right here in the initial setting, where it's a very kind of ominous beginning, not only the sea but also the creatures associated with it, as we'll see for beasts arise out of the sea are also symbolic of of chaos, at least if not evil, that are subdued or controlled by God. Now, Leviathan isn't in Daniel seven, but Leviathan is a good example of a sea creature that is controlled according to the end of Job, but defeated in Psalm 74 by Yahweh. So. So turn with me to Psalm 74. It's a fascinating passage. It's reflecting on the creation, and it's actually utilizing that ancient near Eastern idea of the conflict between the Creator, God and the Sea monster. So some 74 verse 12 says, But God is making from long ago. He brings salvation on the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power. You broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads. Notice the plural there of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. As you opened up springs and streams, you dried up the ever flowing rivers. The day is yours. And yours is also the night you establish the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth. You made both summer and winter. So God here is pictured as crushing the heads of Leviathan. Now, what's interesting about this reference to Leviathan, again referring to the other materials, is that Leviathan is mentioned in these Eucharistic texts. The, you know, the read like Hebrew has no vowels, but the vowels that refer to it are these. And and for a specialist, I'm not a specialist. I studied for four years. You know that this is equivalent Leviathan in Hebrew. And in the cigaret tax leviathan is described as a seven headed sea monster. Right. And Psalms 74 refers to its its many heads. And by the way, you know, I don't think Leviathan in job refers to a crocodile or, you know, what kind of crocodile breathes fire. It's referring to the most powerful sea creature imaginable. And job is. May God is making the point to Joe. To me, Leviathan is like a little rubber ducky in the bathtub. You know, I control Leviathan. And, yeah, seven headed sea monster remind you of something else. And yet another apocalyptic book, maybe Revelation 13, the 700 beast that is found there. Those ideas are still current in first century. Near East in Leviathan and seven headed sea monsters. Wow. There's more you could be say. But I think I've said it enough. Oh, maybe one more passage concerning Leviathan. Isaiah 27 first one. In that day. So Isaiah is looking forward to a future day The Lord will punish with his sword his fierce, great and powerful sword. Leviathan. The gliding serpent. Leviathan, The coiling serpent. He will slay the monster of the sea. So as Isaiah looks forward to the future destruction of evil, he imagines that, like Yahweh slaying the sea monster Leviathan. Just very tantalizingly, there is a passage in the eukaryotic tax that's virtually exactly the same, except for rather than having Yahweh slaying Leviathan, it's male saying Leviathan. So you might see that there is this what we we call it, evangelistic or apologetic argument going on in many biblical text that we sometimes miss that by taking attributes and actions that are attributed to Bale and saying, No, no, it's not Bale the TR way. It's trying to appeal. Probably not so much to Canaanites as much as to as much as to those Israelites who are deeply tempted to worship Bale rather than Yahweh. Okay, so now back to Daniel, Chapter seven For Great Beasts, each different from the others came up out of the sea monsters that interpreting Angel will tell us represent well kings. But then he goes on to describe them as kingdoms as well. The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being. And the mind of a human was given to it before making any attempt to try to identify specific reference to these beasts. Let's just reflect on the way this beast is described. It's a hybrid, what the Germans call a mesh base and mixed essences. And. And when we do that, we should we should also take note of Israelite attitude toward hybrids. Okay. That is. Israelites. If you go back and read the Leviticus, there are these what to us are strange laws like don't make clothing out of two different types of material. Don't you know? So a field with two different types of seed behind these laws, I believe and most people agree, is a teaching about, you know, God's people keeping separate from the from the other peoples, particularly the Canaanites. And not that there's anything inherently wrong with wearing polyester or using two types of seed in the same type of field. So once, you know, the wall of hostility comes down between Jews and Gentiles, things like those laws are accomplish their purposes accomplish, we no longer observe them, just like with the food laws. Because the purpose of the food laws too, by the way, is simply to keep Israelites from eating with Gentiles. It's really hard to eat with people who are observing food laws. As I know from entertaining Jewish scholars in my house who keep kosher, it's very, very difficult. Or even taking them out to a restaurant. I remember taking Jim Kugel out to a restaurant in Philadelphia, and there are only two kosher restaurants in the whole city of Philadelphia, which is surprising. And I took him to one and he opened the menu and started laughing. I go, What's wrong? He goes, This is Glatt Kosher? I said. What's Glatt kosher? He goes while the rabbis argue over whether you can eat meat from animals that have smooth lungs, which is what I guess the Yiddish word lot means. And I said, Bottom line, Jim can eat the food. He goes, Oh, yeah, super kosher. But but yeah. So so the point is that this beast, which partakes of the essences of different types of animals and transfer transformed from a beast like state to a human state would be considered repulsive to an Israelite. And there before me was a second beast which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, Get up and eat your fill of flesh. Now, this beast is not a misrepresent, but rather it's nonetheless horrifying. A predator in the midst of eating its prey, raised up on one side, it looks its very dangerous and threatening. After that I looked and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. Again we have a mish Faizan. This piece had four heads and it was given authority to rule after that. In my vision at night I looked and there before me was a fourth beast. Terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth. It crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot. Whatever was left. It was different from all the farmer beasts and it had ten horns. So the most horrifying of all is this fourth beast, a kind of. Referred to it occasionally as robo beasts. Not that the Israelites had any concept of robots, but the idea that. The only physical description we give is iron teeth. And then later in the interpreting, Angel Speech, Bronze Claus just again underlines the horrifying nature of this fourth beast that represents a kingdom. And then it has ten horns. The thing about horns is that they are symbols of power, particularly political power, but power in general. They the symbol emanates, of course, from that of of an animal like a bull that has horns. And so if some of these horns are raised up there, it's a symbol of pride and strength. And if it's the horns are in the ground, as it's described in one, some at least it's a symbol of subjection. But here, having ten horns, ten being a symbolic number, which essentially means a whole bunch of them, it it is con attaining its power, though, of course, the interpreting angel as well as the vision itself suggests that the ten horns also represent kings. So while I was thinking about the horns there before me was another horn, a little one which came up among them, and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This fourth had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. So the final focus of this vision is on this little horn horn that has eyes and a mouth and speaks boastfully. We'll come back and talk about what this symbol might ultimately represent as well. Okay. So in the first half of the vision we have. Evil human kingdoms. Being. Represented by. Various types of beasts. Now, in the second part of the vision, we're going to have the divine realm represented by human figures, particularly two figures, namely ancient of days, and one like a son of man riding a cloud. So make a brief comment here about the appropriateness of the divine realm being represented by a human being, based on the fact that as we learn in Genesis one, human beings are created in the image of God. And of course there's been lots of. Discussion about what does it mean for human beings to be created in the image of God. But my point will be, and I'll come back to give you what I think is the best answer to that question. The point is that since we're creating the image of God, therefore human figures can well reflect by way of analogy, the divine realm, particularly when we rightly understand why the image of God means. It's interesting that this is such an important concept that is rarely talked about, particularly in the Old Testament and not explained. I mean, nowhere in the Bible does it say image of God means such itself. And I think the reason why, again, is that the original readers would have had an immediate apprehension of what is meant there. But since we don't since we're not the original readers, neither were the readers through the Middle Ages into the Reformation and so forth. I think wrong ways have been used to try to answer the question What does it mean to be made in the image of God? And one of those wrong ways is simply by rather than studying, saying the Hebrew words for image and likeness, it is to ask, How are human beings different from every other creature? And various theologians have suggested things like reason or language. As we learn more and more about the animal world. I you know, it's not quite the case that we can actually identify any particular quality that makes us different in kind from other animals. Other animals have forms of communication that we can call language. Other animals have an emotional life. Other animals have forms of reason and so forth. So. So by the way, let me be quick to say the human capacities in these areas are so far above those of the animals that it looks like a difference in kind, but it's likely not a matter of fact. Ultimately, when that comes the question what makes humans distinct in kind from all other and from all other creatures? I would say it's because we're created in the image of God, not because we have an attribute that makes us different from other animals that we call image of God. So. What is image of God? Me? Well, you know, actually, we just read a passage that helps us understand that. That the word image seldom is used. The Aramaic equivalent, at least in Daniel. Chapter three to describe. The image that Daniel raises up that and other things, including a very interesting statue that in the past 20 years was discovered in Syria at a place called Tel Korea. It's a statue of a king that has an inscription on it. And the inscription says and I'm paraphrasing here, I don't have the text right in front of me because this is the image of King. This is the likeness. So it uses those two words to refer to the statue. So the majority of biblical scholars today. Believe that the best understanding of image of God is the representational view that is the image of God. It's not so much an attribute as it is a status. God has conferred on human beings the status of being His representatives on Earth. That that status comes with the Commission to subdue and rule the Earth as God's. Sort of base King's his representatives on earth. And that and that passage of subdue and rule has been, of course, horribly exploited to give or where people have used it to have excuse to exploit the creation because we rule and subdue it. But, you know, we reflect our benevolent creator. This is actually the very origins are core foundation of what should be a Christian or biblical environmental ethic. You know, why we should be good stewards of our creation. So. Well, two fascinating topic, but I'm just wanting to make a small point in relation to chapter Daniel seven that that here and many places in Scripture God is described in human terms because, you know, he made us in such a way that we reflect who he is. And the first figure, as I looked around, were set in place in ancient of days, took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow. The hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze. A river was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him 10,000 times. 10,000 stood before him. The court was seated and the books were opened. Here. God is described as ancient of days, which is a dignified way of saying a really old guy. But it's dignified because. Because this age does not come with senility or, you know, dotage or whatever we want to call it, this, this. Age comes with wisdom and power and authority. It's God sitting in a courtroom, ready to judge. Ready to judge. And then he's being attended by thousands upon thousands, which clearly is a reference to his angelic servants. It really gets surprising when read in its Old Testament context when we. Here about one. Like a son, a man. Then I continue to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing pyre. The other beasts have been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time. In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. Okay. Now we need to explore this picture of one like the Sun, a man riding the cloud. Riding the cloud. And just like the symbol, the symbolic value of the sea. So the cloud writer is an ancient near Eastern image as well. The God build that we have talked about before the storm. God, his most frequent epithet in the Eucharistic taxes. Writer on the clouds. Writer on the clouds. This is storm guard imagery again. And so if you're tempted to as you picture this scene, to think of this cloud as a white, fluffy cloud, I ask you to reconsider and know that there's this storm God imagery. This is a dark. A dark cloud and. That's, I think, promoted by one of the previous uses within. The Bible, namely Psalm 18, which is a Thanksgiving Psalm. And I'll pick it up in verse three when he's describing the troubled the pharmacist, describing the trouble he was in and God's rescue of him. He remembers when he called to the Lord who is worthy of praise. And I have been saved from my enemies. The cause of death and tangled me. The torrents of destruction overwhelm me. The cords of the grave coiled around me. The snares of death confronted me. In my distress. I called to the Lord. I cried to my God for help from his temple. He heard my voice. My cry came before him into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook. They trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils, consuming fire came from his mouth. Burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down. Dark clouds were under his feet. He is the cloud writer here, coming to the psalmist rescue. He mounted the cherubim and flew. So the cloud is seen as his war chariot. Associated by his terribly, terribly murder, essentially the SEAL Team six for an American reference to God's heavenly Army. They are his bodyguards that are always near to him. He made darkness is covering his canopy around them. The dark rain clouds of the sky out of the brightness of his presence. Clouds advance with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven. The voice of the most high resounded. He shot his ears and scattered the enemies with great bolt of lightning. He routed them the valleys of the sea. Now we're getting the sea image again. We're exposed. And the foundation of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. Or we might think of some 68, which is a interesting and somewhat complicated song. But I think that in the final analysis, it should be thought of as a post battle victory song. And as we turn to some 68, as it ends, it says, Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to Him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens who thunders with mighty voice, Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens. And at the beginning of the Psalm it says, Sing to God. Sing in praise of His name. Extoll him who rides on the clouds, rejoice before him. His name is the Lord. Or notice also the opening of Psalm one for Praise the Lord, My soul. Lord, my God, you are very great. Your clothes, the splendor and Majesty. The Lord wraps himself in light. As with the garment, He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their chariot. He makes the clouds, his chariots and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds as messengers, flames of fire, his servants. And then one more and there are others. Nahum. Chapter one Nahum. This minor prophet, whom I mentioned in an earlier lesson, anticipates the fall of the city of Nineveh, begins with a with a hymn that talks about. The Divine Warrior and then applies that to the ultimate destruction of the Assyrian city of Nineveh. So it says the Lord is a jealous and avenging God. The Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and fancies wrath against His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power. The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm and clouds are the dust of its feet, of its feet. And then in verse four, he rebukes the sea and dries it up. He makes all the rivers run dry. So there we have the combination again of these two images or symbols that underlie Daniel Chapter seven. But what about this language of like us on a man like us on a man? After noting that if the ancient days is clearly a reference to God and only God rides the cloud. What does that tell the ancient audience who may not have? A developed Trinitarian understanding of God. Well, one like a son, a man riding a cloud. Son, a man in the Old Testament, always and without exception, including here, means human being. Ezekiel, for instance, is frequently referred to as son of man. God address the son of man human being. But notice, it's not a son, a man riding a cloud, but one like a son. A man riding a cloud. And and and that is intriguing, isn't it? And it's so intriguing that the New Testament authors in places like Mark 13 and its parallels as well as Revelation one. Pick up this language of Daniel 713 and 14 and apply it to Christ who is fully God, fully human. And so so at a minimum and against many of my scholarly peers, I say this must have been suggestive even to the ancient audience of a future deliverer like Jesus. And indeed, we will see that. Daniel Chapter seven. And matter of fact, Daniel seven through 12, along with other passages that will take a look at Zachariah 14, Malachi three all will raise the expectation of a future deliverance by God. From their oppressors. So. So back to Daniel. Seven. He approached the ancient of days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, glory and sovereign power. All nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Okay, before making some comments about the question, can we identify specific reference to the beasts that Daniel sees arise out of the sea? That is specific more than the general comment that these represent kingdoms, evil human kingdoms. Let me point out that that theme that we've been working with throughout the course is clearly demonstrated here in spite of our present troubled situation. The bees are can seem like they're in control of us. They are dominating us. One after another will dominate us in spite of our present troubled situation. By ah, I mean God's people's troubled situation. God is in control and He will have the final victory here being symbolized by the one like the son of man exercising the judgment of the ancient of days and bringing an end to the creatures that represent. These evil, oppressive foreign kingdoms. Now, let me talk a little bit about what many people are most interested in and I don't think is central to the to the message of Daniel seven, nor do I think we can be dogmatic about it, though. I. I. I do have a problem with the so-called Greek view. So just like we discussed with Daniel, chapter two, what did the various parts of the statue represent? And there were two main scenarios. One of which said that that metals represented first Babylon. Second, the Medes. Third, the Persians fought the Greeks. And. And here, the same kind of argument is made by a number of scholars that the first beast represents Babylon. The second beast represents the Medes. The third beast represents the Persians. And the fourth beast represents the Greeks. And the horns that emanate from the head of the fourth piece are various Greek kings, and that the boastful little horn represents a ruler. That will be important, particularly for Daniel. Chapter eight named Antiochus and Daniel. Chapter 11 Antiochus Epiphanies. The Fourth will tell more about the story of Antiochus epiphanies when we come to Daniel. Chapter 11 by Daniel Antiochus Epiphanies. The fourth is a Greek ruler. A solution Ruler. Post Alexander ruler of. With the headquarters in Antioch. That. That vies with the Ptolemy's to the south over control of Jerusalem and is a particularly egregious, horrific, horrific person who persecutes the Jews on occasion and is an Antichrist like figure. I fact my argument is going to be that that the anticipation of Antiochus epiphanies in the Book of Daniel, like in Chapter eight, becomes a model for the future and time Antichrist. So that's one view. There are the symbolism of Daniel seven, even though I don't ultimately accept it actually fits better with the traditional view that goes like this that again, the first beast, the one like a lion that had wings of an eagle that turned into a human being is Babylon. And some people suggest that the story we read about Nebuchadnezzar turning into a beast and restoring to humanlike status might be suggestive of that. Second beast is not the Medes, but the combined Medo-Persian empire. And perhaps that is suggested by it have by the attention drawn to the two sides of the beast and the fact that it's raised up on one side, which would be the person side, I guess, as the traditional interpretation goes, and that maybe the three ribs represent those three Persian conquests under Cyrus that I mentioned earlier of the Medes themselves, then Lydia and then Babylon. After that I looked and there before me was another beast. One looked like a leopard that had four wings that may symbolize speed, that could be suggestive of Alexander the Great's rather rapid victories of Persia in the 330 B.C. and the four wings, and the four heads might symbolize the fact that after Alexander's early death, the kingdom was divided among his four generals, and then that would leave the Roman Empire as the as the. As the fourth and most terrifying beast. And then, you know, the ten horns being some kind of either kings of the Roman Empire, emanations from the Roman Empire. And this view usually then goes on to identify the little horn with the future Antichrist. And as I say, while that is a to me, a more persuasive reading. That presumes that actually Daniel was gifted by God to talk about truly about the future, which is one of the reasons why a number of people opt for the Greek view, and then also for the idea that the Book of Daniel was written in the second century B.C. after these events that it predicts for the most part, a topic that I will also come back to later. I'm still more persuaded by the idea. As I said in the lecture on Daniel, chapter two, that we're dealing here. Not with a kind of specific reference to four and only four kingdoms. But what I think these visions are suggesting is rather that there will be one oppressor after another of the people of God until the final intrusion intervention of God that is being pictured by the one like the sun, a man riding the cloud and defeating these creatures. So. So that's where I am on that topic. There will be disagreement about that for sure, but I'll pause here to to ask if there are any questions about my interpretation, and then I'll follow that up with a discussion of the nature of apocalyptic literature using Daniel seven as an concrete example. And. And yeah, so I'll stop there. 

Audience Member  [01:02:41] Yeah. Some Jewish scholars look at some man as a representation of the entire Jewish population.  And they reject the idea that there could possibly be a single person or a messiah. Can you address that a little bit? 

Tremper Longman III [01:02:57] Well, I'd have to see the nature of their specific Chechen cause. Son of man, in the case of Ezekiel does refer to a single individual Ezekiel. There's nothing in the phrase son of man that suggests that it has to be a group of people. There are, you know. Other explanations that are out there. I just find the one that I offer not only the most persuasive, but also the one that's picked up by the New Testament. 

Audience Member  [01:03:35] Second question You mentioned that the gospel writers attributed the Son of man to Jesus. Are you suggesting in any way that Jesus did not call himself Son of man? But that was something guided by the gospel writers? 

Tremper Longman III [01:03:46] No, actually, what I was referring to is that the gospel writers, first of all, have Jesus or tell us that Jesus referred to himself as Son of Man and specifically Daniel. 713 and 14. I didn't address the issue of the title Son of Man. And, you know, again, this is also a much debated topic. I had a professor in college. I don't know whether I told you this bell roll up Roland Kerns, who wrote his dissertation. He's American, but he wrote his dissertation in Germany somewhere. Five volumes on the question what a son of man means. So it's but to me, in the light of day and seven, 13 and 14, son of man seems to connote actually if anything, Jesus's divine status where a son of God is. Yeah, we're all sons of God. So that's kind of my understanding when Jesus I'm not sure how much his contemporaries. Really understood because a man can mean human being too. But I think he's reflecting specifically about Daniel. Chapter from Daniel, Chapter seven.