Daniel 7: The Angelic Explanation, Part 2
Jun 17, 2015
In Daniel 7:19-22 the prophet “desired to know” more about the fourth beast and its horns, by which it waged “war with the saints” until the Dominion Mandate was passed to the saints. The answer’s response begins in Daniel 7:23,
23 Then he said, “The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.”
It is plain that “the earth” is not to be understood as the entire planet. In those days there were many lands that were unknown to the West. Neither did ANY of the four beasts conquer the whole planet. Alexander the Great went as far as the northern part of India but never tried to conquer lands west of Greece. Rome went as far as Britain, but seldom controlled lands that were farther east than Armenia.
This restricted definition of “the earth” is carried into the book of Revelation as well, where most of the prophecies were not intended to speak of events around the globe. This is especially true of the earlier prophecies, which speak largely of Roman history, such as Revelation 6:8, where “authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth,” meaning a fourth part of the Roman Empire.
Even so, when we consider the extension of the fourth beast (the little horn), papal Rome eventually extended its influence and dominion around the globe. But this occurred only after the explorers brought news of those other lands to the West. The latter part of the book of Revelation, then, more easily includes the nations of modern history, unlike the earlier chapters.
How the Fourth Beast was Different
What made the fourth beast “different from all the other kingdoms”? The angel implies that it is their ruthless desire to devour, tread down, and crush the earth wherever they conquered. But all of the beasts were quite ruthless in their conquests. War is about killing and has little to do with military strategy. Likewise, once lands were conquered, the people were subjugated, rather than slaughtered. In general, all four beasts were alike in this way. But Rome did something that the others did not do.
Recall that Daniel’s focus of attention was the war with the saints. Babylon, Persia, and Greece did not make it a policy to persecute those of other religions and beliefs, but normally allowed freedom of religion. Of course, there were always conflicts between religious groups, but the political authorities did not normally single out any of them for extermination. But Rome certainly did.
In fact, in the latter part of the Greek era (168 B.C.), Antiochus Epiphanes—who was an Epicurean—made it his policy to convert the temple in Jerusalem to a shrine to Zeus. This can be seen as the beginning of persecution, though the book of Daniel gives them no such authorization. This caused Judea to revolt under the leadership of the Maccabees. The revolt succeeded in overthrowing the Greeks and gaining independence for a hundred years from 163 B.C. until Rome took control of Jerusalem in 63 B.C.
We may learn from this that God brought judgment upon Greece for overstepping its boundaries, whereas Rome later was able to wage war with the saints without divine intervention, for it was part of the divine plan. The believers were called to share in the sufferings of Christ, identifying with Him in His work as the first dove in Leviticus 14 and the first goat in Leviticus 16.
The Angel Explains the Little Horn
In Daniel 7:24, 25 the angel continues,
24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Verse 24 gives us little new information from what we already learned in Daniel 7:8. The only new information is that the little horn “will be different” from the ten horns.” So not only is the fourth beast itself different from the other beasts, but likewise the little horn is different from the other horns.
The fourth beast differs from the other beasts in that it persecutes the saints. The little horn differs from the other horns in the same way, for “he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints.” It appears that since the horn is an extension of the beast, in practice it continues this war against the saints but also extends the war to “the Most High” as well. In other words, not being content to persecute the saints of the Most High, this horn brings the war to the very gates of heaven in the attempt to overthrow God from His throne.
Of course, one may argue correctly that to persecute the saints is to persecute Christ. This revelation was given to Saul as he persecuted the church. When Saul was struck down on the Damascus road, Jesus appeared to him and said, “Saul, Saul, why are persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4).
The angel’s explanation to Daniel reveals the intent behind the earlier statements in Daniel 7:8, 20 about the little horn’s “great boasts.” The little horn boasts that it has overthrown God Himself and has replaced Him on the throne in heaven. Hence, John interprets this further in Revelation 13:5, telling us that these “boasts” were actually “arrogant words speaking blasphemies.”
Daniel 7:24 (above) also tells us that “he will intend to make alterations in times and in law.” We have already shown how this was done by Justinian when he changed the calendar and the laws of Rome before subordinating his civil authority to the spiritual authority of the Bishop of Rome. His accomplishments marked the start of the “time, times, and half a time” that is mentioned later in the same verse.
In Revelation 13:5, John interprets this allotted time as “forty-two months.”
5 And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
The angel’s vague “time, times, and half a time” is thus clarified by John. A “time” is twelve months, or one prophetic year of 360 “days.” The unspecified “times” is precisely TWO “times,” or twenty-four months, or two prophetic years (720 “days”). The “half a time” is six months, or 180 “days.”
12 24 6 = 42 “months”
360 720 180 = 1,260 “days”
In his treatment of the prophetic “woman” being persecuted by the little horn, John treats the 42 months as the equivalent of 1,260 days. Revelation 12:6, 13, 14 says,
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
John gives us far more information than we find in the book of Daniel. Daniel saw an overall view with few details. John enlarged upon Daniel’s prophecy but focused mostly upon the events occurring in the time of the fourth beast and its little horn extension. Because of this, he reveals many more details about the little horn’s “war with the saints” and the final overthrow of the beast nations.
This war with the saints has been ongoing for many centuries. It is plain that the 42 months, or 1,260 “days” are really 1,260 years. In fact, this is half of the full “seven times” (2,520 years) of God’s contract with the beast nations, when He raised them up to bring judgment upon Jerusalem.
This time frame was first revealed in the laws of tribulation in Leviticus 26, where we are told many times that God threatened to punish Israel “seven times.” (See Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28.) The time frame is related to their refusal to keep their Sabbath land rests (Leviticus 26:34, 35). They were to be judged for seven long Sabbaths of 360 years each, that is, 2,520 years.
The law says nothing about dividing the “seven times” into two halves. Neither does it define a “time.” We must go to Daniel to confirm that a “time” is an unspecified length of time, and we must read John’s revelation to define it as 360 “days.” Finally, we must look at the witness of history to see that these “days” are to be applied in years according to the “day for a year” principle found in Ezekiel 4:6.
The 1,260-year war with the saints (or the “woman” of Revelation 12) brings up the question of timing. When did this time begin? When did it end? As we see so often in prophecy, there is more than one beginning point and thus also there is more than one end point. Prophecy often seems to phase in and then phase out.
The first cluster of beginning points is in the early part of the reign of Justinian when he altered times and law. In a sense, “times” are also rooted in law, because when a calendar is changed, all legal contracts are impacted. Contracts must be dated to have legal force. So we focus on Justinian’s project in changing the laws to Church law.
As we showed earlier, the first draft of his new set of laws came out in 529 A.D., followed by a revision in 530. They were published on November 16, 534 and came fully into effect on December of 534. These are the main starting points to consider, because 1,260 years later brings us to 1789-1794, the French Revolution.
The French Revolution essentially killed the Roman Church. France was known as “the first-born of the Church,” the foremost “Christian Nation.” The French Revolution overthrew the Christian monarch and replaced it with a Republican form of government. It also secularized the nation, wresting it out of the pope’s spiritual hegemony. Out of this revolution arose Napoleon, who was sent to make war on Rome. He took Rome and took the pope captive in 1798, imprisoning him until his death.
John explains this event in Revelation 13:3 as a “fatal wound” of the “beast coming up out of the sea.” But John also prophesies that the fatal head wound would be healed, and this occurred in 1804 when Napoleon reinstated the poped in order to have someone to crown him as emperor.
Then, as Revelation 13:11 tells us, a new beast arose from the earth to be an ally to the beast from the sea. This second beast is described as a financial (banking) beast, and so we see that the creators of the modern banking system (the Rothschilds) arose to a position of financial power at the same time. In fact, Nathan Rothschild arrived in London in 1798, the same year that Napoleon took the pope captive in Rome.
We must reserve a fuller explanation of those events for our study in Revelation. Meanwhile, our point is to show that the 1,260-year cycle had two beginning points: 529 and 534 A.D. Those dates correspond to their endpoints in 1789 and in 1794. Between these dates the French Revolution violently “killed” the first-born son of the Church.
There is also a second fulfillment of this 1,260-year period from 754-2014, which we will cover next time.
This is part 34 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Daniel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones