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The analogy of a row of Dominoes that are knocked down sequentially has been useful, as we’ve learned that each “domino” that obscures your view of the future, usually holds a clue about the next wave of knowledge.
In our last installment of Dominoes, we sought to summarize what the prophet Daniel understood, as we hope to use his visionary experiences to provide a clue as to what the text says he did not understand.
Part IV showed how Daniel built on the foundation of understanding, that arrived with the sweeping “statue” prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar. You’ll recall this “dream” imaged the four successive Gentile kingdoms that were to dominate the Jewish people.
The dream was interpreted by Daniel, who gradually became aware of these kingdom’s identities, which ranged from the Babylonian Empire, through the Persian Union, Alexander the Greats’ Grecian state, and the kingdom that was prophesied to be in power when the Lord set up the kingdom of God.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44)
We also saw that Daniel knew the first two kingdoms were the Babylonian and the Persian Union, but he did not learn the 3rd kingdom’s identity – Greece – until the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson.
This tells us that a lengthy period of time elapsed between the two events, as Daniel “sought for the meaning” and identification of the kingdoms (Daniel 8:15). The series has briefly touched on the additional prophetic dream which Nebuchadnezzar experienced in between the two events (the “statue” dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and the identification of the Grecian power in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar, his grandson).
That second dream of Nebuchadnezzar imaged a gigantic tree, which reached all the way to heaven. It gave sustenance and shelter to the whole world, but then it was cut down by an angelic visitor.
“The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof” (Daniel 4:12).
In that dream, an angelic “watcher” descended from heaven, and announced the tree was to be cut down, the beasts were to flee from it, and the birds were to leave its branches:
“The [angel] said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches” (Daniel 4:14).
The “watcher” continued, and said the stump of the tree would remain, and it would have a “band” of brass and iron.
Daniel said the imagery meant that Nebuchadnezzar was allegorically pictured as the tree, and the cutting down meant the king would lose his dominion. However, the fact that the metaphoric tree was preserved with a band of brass and iron around the stump, led Daniel to predict the king would see his dominion restored after “seven times” (Daniel 4:16).
“Leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass…to the extent that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Daniel 4:17).
The text itself tell us the interpretation came true, and Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind for an unspecified time period, but “at the end of the days,” his sanity returned, and the kingdom was restored.
“[Then] was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men…And at the end of the days, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes to heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me” (Daniel 4:33, 34).
The king ended up praising the LORD who restored him, as his great pride was broken through the tremendous trial.
“I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34).
It was this prophetic event that Daniel recounted to Belshazzar years later, when Babylon fell to the Persian Union at the episode of the handwriting on the wall. Obviously, the entire episode profoundly affected Daniel. We’ll come back to the great tree that is cut down in a little while.
There is one prophetic event in Daniel that is decidedly different from all the others, and it involves “a dream and a vision” (Daniel 7:1). This one occurred in the first year of Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson.
Unlike the other dreams and visions, in which Daniel interpreted the image with details and specificity, the particulars of the recorded account in the text demonstrate the fact that Daniel did not fully understand the vision.
“I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me” (Daniel 7:15).
Similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of four consecutive kingdoms, Daniel saw four beasts rising out of the sea.
“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings…A second, like to a bear, and it raised itself up on one side…after this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard...[finally] I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible” (Daniel 7:4-7).
Since this dream had very precise details, and in the Spiritual realm Daniel was told by an observer that just like the “statue” dream of Nebuchadnezzar, it involved four kingdoms, it is very important to note the text does not identify any of them. After all, it was two years later (in the third year of Belshazzar), that Daniel even learned the third kingdom in the original dream of Nebuchadnezzar is “the king of Grecia” (Daniel 8:21).
In fact, at the time of the dream/vision of the four beasts coming out of the sea, Daniel had long known the first two of the four kingdoms imaged as the composite statue – head of gold, silver arms, brass belly, and iron legs – were Babylon and the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. Yet the text says Daniel did not link these kingdoms to the earlier four, nor did he identify the characters in the vision in any way.
“As for me, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:28).
Clearly, this dream was very different from all the others. Furthermore, the dream continued with far more activity after the initial sequence of the four beast kingdoms described in Daniel 7.
After the fourth beast was introduced, Daniel noted that it was “diverse” from the three that preceded it. Further, the vision then proceeded to describe ten horns on the head of the fourth beast.
“It had great iron teeth: It devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it…and it had ten horns” (Daniel 7:7).
For many years, Christian expositors have assumed this “beast” vision of four kingdoms is another version of the four “statue” kingdoms, but they have all missed one key element – and it’s in the text itself.
In the New Testament, when JESUS CHRIST spoke of when He would return from heaven, He said in the end He would send His angels to gather His “elect” from the Spiritual realm, where their eternal life is already underway in the “four winds.”
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds” (Matthew 25:31).
Back in Daniel in the vision of the four beast kingdoms, we also see that the “four winds of heaven” are also mentioned, and they affect the course of human history.
“Behold, the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea” (Daniel 2, 3).
It is widely known that in the Scriptures, the word rendered “wind” (as in the four “winds),” is the same word that is used for Spirit, and well as breath.
It is the Spiritual “wind” of heaven that blows upon the “sea,” which we have repeatedly shown is also a prophetic metaphor for the realm of the Spirit.
In the prophet Ezekiel’s writings, when the prophet is shown the Spiritual death that had overtaken Israel through the imagery of a “valley of dry bones” (Ezekiel 37:9), the LORD promised the Spiritual Life He was going to give to Israel through the Saviour is imaged as the four winds.
“Thus saith the Lord God; come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live” (Ezekiel 37:9).
Therefore, when the “four winds of heaven” blow – where the New Testament tells us the Spirits of the Christians are at Christ’s return, we can only conclude that the kingdoms that rise in response to this Spiritual power from heaven are Christian era kingdoms.
Further, the LORD did not direct Daniel to identify the kingdoms that would count down to the end, neither did he identify the Ten Kings or the subsequent Little Horn, as that knowledge was to be revealed much later, so the generation that hears it would have the opportunity to accept or reject the truth when they encounter the truth.
-- James Lloyd
To Be Continued
The Rage Of Nations
The Perdition Engine
The Shadow And The Substance
War In Heaven
Deja Vu DVD
I'm Not Alone
The Baal Bible
The Revolutionary Role Reversal
Image Of The Beast
You're In The Army Now
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