God’s Plan For The Ages – 7 – Daniel’s Prophetic Outline

The prophetic outline to the book of Daniel

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Daniel 2 (Read verses and MacArthur Study Bible Notes. Everybody should own a MacArthur Study Bible.)

Ten Toes – Revived Roman Empire – The Kingdom to come before Messiah

2:36–45 we will tell the interpretation. Five empires in succession would rule over Israel, Machere pictured by parts of a statue (body). In Dan. 7, the same empires are represented by 4 great beasts. These empires are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the later revived Rome (cf. Introduction: Background and Setting), each one differentiated from the previous as indicated by the declining quality of the metal. A stone picturing Christ (Luke 20:18) at His second coming (as the Son of Man also does in Dan. 7:13, 14) will destroy the fourth empire in its final phase with catastrophic suddenness (2:34, 35, 44, 45). Christ’s total shattering of Gentile power will result in the establishment of His millennial kingdom, the ultimate empire, and then continuing on eternally (2:44; 7:27).

2:39 inferior. This probably means “lower” (lit. “earthward”) on the image of a man as Daniel guides Nebuchadnezzar’s thoughts downward on the body from his own empire (the head) to the one that would succeed it. Medo-Persia, though lacking the glory of Babylon (silver as compared to gold), was not inferior in strength to Babylon when its day of power came; it actually conquered Babylon (7:5). Also in the case of Greece, bronze is less glorious (valuable) than silver, but stronger. rule over all the earth. Alexander the Great became the ruler of the world, including Israel, from Europe to Egypt to India.

2:40 strong as iron. This metal fittingly represents the Roman Empire which would be characterized by the description predicted. It did have armies in iron armor known as the Iron Legions of Rome, and it had strength and invincibility.

2:41 toes. Ten toes represent the same kings as the 10 horns in 7:24. They will rule in the final time of the Gentile empire, which Christ destroys in violent abruptness at His second coming.

2:41–43 clay and…iron. The iron in the 10 toes (kings) represents the Roman Empire in its revived form, prior to the second coming of Christ, as having iron-like strength for conquest (cf. Rev. 13:4, 5). But the clay mixed in depicts that the union (federation) of kings and nations would have fatal flaws of human weakness, so that it is inherently vulnerable.

2:44 stand forever. God’s kingdom ruled by Messiah is the final rule, never to be replaced. It has a millennial phase and an eternal future, but it is the same king who rules both.

2:45 stone…mountain. The stone is Messiah (cf. Ps. 118:22,23; Is. 28:16; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6; esp. Luke 20:18). The mountain pictures God’s all-transcending government that looms over weak earthly powers (4:17, 25; Ps. 47:8; 103:19; 145:13;Rev. 17:9). Messiah is “cut out” of this sovereign realm by God, which accords with the Son of Man coming (7:13, 14); “without hands” denotes that the Messiah comes from God and is not of human origin or power (cf. the same idea in 8:25). The virgin birth and the resurrection, as well as the second coming, could be encompassed in this reference to supernatural origin.

Daniel 7 (Read Verses and Mac Arthur Study Bible Notes)

Ten Horns – Old Roman Empire – Revived Roman Empire

Little Horn – Anti-Christ – Man Of Lawlessness – Satan’s Blasphemous Leader

7:1 first year. This represented a flashback to 553 B.C., 14 years before the feast of 5:1–3. Chapters 7, 8 occur after chap. 4, but before chap. 5. The dream of Dan. 7 moves far beyond Daniel’s day to the coming of Israel’s king to end all Gentile kingdoms and to establish His eternal kingdom (7:13, 14, 27; cf.2:35, 45).

7:3 four…beasts. These beasts represent the same empires as the individual parts of the image in chap. 2. Christ the King, the Son of Man from heaven (vv. 13, 14), corresponds to the Stone in 2:35, 45.

7:7 fourth beast. No such animal exists; rather this is a unique beast pointing to the Roman Empire, already represented by iron in 2:40, devastating in conquest. Roman dominion fell apart in A.D. 476, yet it lived on in a divided status (Europe), but will be revived and return to great unified strength near Christ’s second coming. Then it will be comprised of the 10 parts under kings (vv. 7, 24), as well as an 11th king, the Antichrist (vv. 8, 24; 2 Thes. 2:3–10; Rev. 13:1–10).

7:11, 12 the beast was slain. Reference is to the fourth beast (i.e., the Roman sphere), headed up by the “little horn” or Antichrist (vv. 7, 24). He will be destroyed at Christ’s second coming (cf. Rev. 19:20; 20:10); cf. the smashing by the Stone,Dan. 2:35, 45.

7:12 rest of the beasts. These are the 3 earlier beasts (empires of chaps. 2, 7). Each successively lost its chief dominance when it was conquered in history. Yet each was amalgamated into the empire that gained ascendancy, and survived in its descendants. As the second advent draws near, all 3 empires in their descendants will be a part of the Roman phase in its final form (Rev. 13:2). Survival will not be possible for the final and revived phase of the fourth empire after Christ’s second coming, for catastrophic devastation (cf. 2:35) will utterly destroy it, and Christ’s kingdom will replace it.

7:13, 14 Son of Man. The Messiah (cf. 9:26), Christ is meant; He often designated Himself by this phrase (Matt. 16:26; 19:28;26:64). “The clouds of heaven” are seen again in Rev. 1:7. Here He is distinct from the Ancient of Days, or Eternal One, the Father, who will coronate Him for the kingdom (2:44). The picture of old age is not that of being feeble, rather it highlights eternality and divine wisdom to judge (cf. 7:9, 10).

7:13, 14 Son of Man. The Messiah (cf. 9:26), Christ is meant; He often designated Himself by this phrase (Matt. 16:26; 19:28;26:64). “The clouds of heaven” are seen again in Rev. 1:7. Here He is distinct from the Ancient of Days, or Eternal One, the Father, who will coronate Him for the kingdom (2:44). The picture of old age is not that of being feeble, rather it highlights eternality and divine wisdom to judge (cf. 7:9, 10).

7:18, 22, 27 saints. These who trusted God possess the kingdom headed up by the Son of Man, the Messiah, of vv. 13,14. All serve Him in vv. 14 and 27, the latter verse clarifying that the one served is actually God the Most High. Just as the 4 Gentile empires have individuals as kings (cf. 2:38; 7:8; 8:8), so the final kingdom has Christ as King.

7:18 the Most High. God is referred to in this book as above all gods (2:47; 3:29; 4:35), as He was for Melchizedek and Abraham (Gen. 14:19, 20, 22) as well as Naaman (2 Kin. 5:17).

7:19 fourth beast…different. This may refer to the empire’s far greater diversity than previous empires, and its breadth of conquest (v. 24). It branches out into two great divisions (cf. “legs,” 2:33, 40), then near the end into 10 horns (a confederacy of 10 nations), and even an 11th horn (Antichrist’s kingdom) lasting until Christ’s second coming.

7:25 time and times and half a time. This obviously refers to the 3½ years which are the last half of the 7 year period of Antichrist’s power (cf. 9:27), continuing on to Christ’s second coming as the Judgment Stone (2:35, 45) and glorious Son of Man (7:13, 14). Cf. Rev. 11:2, 3; 12:14; 13:5 for reference to this same period.

7:26 the court. God will have His court session to judge sinners and sin (vv. 9, 10). He will remove the Antichrist’s rule, and destroy him and his empire in eternal, conscious hell (Rev. 19:20;20:10).

7:27 the kingdom…given to…the saints. God’s kingdom in both earthly (Rev. 20:4) and heavenly phases (Rev. 21:27; 22:3,4, 14).

Daniel 9 (Read verses and MacArthur Study Bible notes)

Rapture Of The Church

Tribulation – Revelation 4:2-19:10 (Be sure to see a detailed discussion of the tribulation in the following post)

2nd Seal Judgment

Second Coming Of Christ

9:2 seventy years. Daniel’s study of “the books” (OT scrolls) focused on the years prophesied for the captivity by Jeremiah in Jer. 25:11, 12 and 29:10. Since the end of that span was near, he prayed for God’s next move on behalf of Israel. Cf. 2 Chr. 36:21, where it is indicated that the 70 years of exile were intended to restore the Sabbath rests that Israel had ignored for so many years (cf. Lev. 25:4, 5; 26:34–43).

9:11 the curse. This refers to the judgment that God brought, as promised, for Israel’s disobedience in the Land (Lev. 26:21–42; Deut. 28:15–68). This is in contrast to the blessings associated with faith and obedience (Lev. 26:3–20; Deut. 28:1–14). God had given the promise that even in a time of judgment, if Israel would confess their sin, He would bring blessing again (Lev. 26:40–42).

9:24–26 Seventy weeks…from…until. These are weeks of years, whereas weeks of days are described in a different way (10:2, 3). The time spans from the Persian Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem, ca. 445 B.C. (Neh. 2:1–8), to the Messiah’s kingdom. This panorama includes: 1) 7 weeks or 49 years, possibly closing Nehemiah’s career in the rebuilding of the “street and wall,” as well as the end of the ministry of Malachi and the close of the OT; 2) 62 weeks or 434 more years for a total of 483 years to the first advent of Messiah. This was fulfilled at the triumphal entry on 9 Nisan, A.D. 30 (see notes on Matt. 21:1–9). The Messiah will be “cut off,” (a common reference to death); and 3) the final 7 years or 70th week of the time of Antichrist (cf.v. 27). Roman people, from whom the Antichrist will come, will “destroy the city” of Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70.

NOTE: The following verse (24th) explains the reason for the tribulation, which leads to the Battle Of Armageddon. It is very important for God’s people to understand the reason for the tribulation, and why it does not apply to the born again people of God. All of this prophecy is God’s plan. God is not merely an onlooker. He is the designer and orchestrator of the greatest tribulation that the world has ever experienced, and will ever experience (Matt 24:21).

9:24. This highly complex and startlingly accurate prophecy answers Daniel’s prayer, not with reference to near history, but by giving the future of Israel in the final end of the age. God promises 2 sets of 3 accomplishments each. First, those related to sin are: 1) finish the transgression, i.e., restrain sin and Israel’s in particular in its long trend of apostasy, as in v. 11; 2)make an end of sins, i.e., to judge it with finality (cf. Heb. 9:26); and 3) make reconciliation for iniquity, signifies to furnish the actual basis of covering sin by full atonement, the blood of the crucified Messiah who is “cut off” (v. 26), which affects the first two realities (cf. the fountain, Zech. 13:1).

Second, those accomplishments related to righteousness are: 1)bring in…righteousness, the eternal righteousness of Daniel’s people in their great change from centuries of apostasy; 2) seal up vision…, i.e., no more revelation is needed and God will bring these anticipations to completion by their fulfillment in Israel’s blessing as a nation; and 3) anoint the Most Holy,consecrate the Holy Place in a temple of the future that will be the center of worship in the millennial kingdom (cf. Ezek. 40–48). Clearly this must be understood to sweep to the end of Gentile power and the time of Antichrist right before Christ’s return. Summing up, the first 3 are fulfilled in principle at Christ’s first coming, in full at His return. The last 3 complete the plan at His Second Advent.

NOTE: The events of the 70th week Of Daniel (the Tribulation) are explained in the next verse (27th).

9:27 Then. This is clearly the end of the age, the Second Advent judgment, because the bringing in of righteousness did not occur 7 years after the death of the Messiah, nor did the destruction of Jerusalem fit the 7 year period (occurring 37 years later). This is the future 7 year period which ends with sin’s final judgment and Christ’s reign of righteousness; i.e., the return of Christ and the establishment of His rule. These 7 years constitute the 70th week of Daniel. he shall confirm. “He” is the last-mentioned prince (v. 26), leader of the Roman sphere (cf. chaps. 2 and 7), the Antichrist who comes in the latter days. The time is in the future tribulation period of “one week,” i.e., the final 7 years of v. 24. He confirms (lit., causes to prevail) a 7 year covenant, his own pact with Israel for what will turn out actually to be for a shorter time. The leader in this covenant is the “little horn” of 7:7, 8, 20, 21,24–26, and the evil leader of NT prophecy (Mark 13:14; 2 Thes. 2:3–10; Rev. 13:1–10). That he is in the future, even after Christ’s First Advent, is shown by 1) Matt. 24:15; 2) by the time references that match (7:25; Rev. 11:2, 3; 12:14; 13:5); and 3) by the end here extending to the Second Advent, matching the duration elsewhere mentioned in Daniel (2:35, 45; 7:15ff.; 12:1–3) and Rev. 11:2; 12:14; 13:5. middle of the week. This is the halfway point of the 70th week of years, i.e., 7 years leading to Christ’s second coming. The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel (v. 27a), which has resumed its ancient sacrificial system. Three and a half years of tribulation remain, agreeing with the time in other Scriptures (7:25; Rev. 11:2, 3; 12:14; 13:5, called “Great Tribulation,” cf. Matt. 24:21) as God’s wrath intensifies. abominations…one who makes desolate. The Antichrist will cause abomination against Jewish religion. This violation will desolate or ruin what Jews regard as sacred, namely their holy temple and the honoring of God’s presence there (cf. 1 Kin. 9:3; 2 Thes. 2:4). Jesus refers directly to this text in His Olivet discourse (Matt. 24:15). See note on 11:31. the consummation. God permits this tribulation under the Antichrist’s persecutions and ultimately triumphs, achieving judgment of the sin and sinners in Israel (12:7) and in the world (cf. Jer. 25:31). This includes the Antichrist (11:45; Rev. 19:20), and all who deserve judgment (9:24; Matt. 13:41–43).

Chapters 11 and 12 will be discussed in the next post, and will include a deeper study of the tribulation.

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