A condensed study of the Lion of Daniel 7:4
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The Lion with Eagle’s wings in Daniel’s vision is an important Bible prophecy representing the nation of Judah and clearly showing both the first coming of Jesus Christ in humility and His second coming in glory.
A Lion with Eagle’s Wings
Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. (3) And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
(4) “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” —Daniel 7:2-4
Daniel had a dream that is filled with mysterious images. We may think it is impossible to understand his vision, but the Bible can explain all these symbols.
Here we are going to see the Bible’s clear explanation of the first Beast of Daniel’s vision—the Lion with Wings of an Eagle.
Daniel understood this lion. So can we.
A Great Metal Statue
Every student of Bible prophecy knows about King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. God gave the king a vision of a great image with a golden head, silver arms and chest, bronze belly and thighs and legs of iron. Nebuchadnezzar saw the image in his dream, but by morning, he had forgotten the dream and all that he had left was a lingering sense that he had seen something important.
The king issued a decree to all of his mystics to reveal to him both the interpretation of this dream, as well as the dream itself, or be put to death. God used this vision in a special way to introduce the king to Daniel, a captive taken from the royal family in Jerusalem and recently brought into the Babylonian capital city of Chaldea. (Daniel 1:3, 6) Daniel prayed to the true God of Heaven to reveal the meaning. From that moment on, Daniel was given the gift of being able to interpret all dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17).
Nebuchadnezzar had gone to bed that night with thoughts in his head about what would happen to the kingdoms of the world after him. (Daniel 2:29) God gave him a view of the progression of worldly kingdoms all the way down to the Second Coming of Christ. Daniel explained to the king that the head of gold represented both Nebuchadnezzar and his marvelous kingdom there in Babylon, but that his kingdom would be succeeded by kingdoms of dwindling magnificence until a great Stone would smash the image on its feet and all the kingdoms of the world would be dissolved. That stone represented God who would bring all earthly kingdoms to an end before He turned the kingdom over to the Saints.
We have the benefit of both Daniel’s interpretation, as well as world history, to see the kingdoms that were represented by the great metal man of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s View of the Succession of World Kingdoms
|Features of the Image||Represents Which Kingdom of the World?|
|Head of Gold||Babylon – “You are this head of gold” (Dan. 2:38)|
|Arms and Chest of Silver||Media and Persia – “A kingdom inferior to yours” (Dan. 2:39)|
|Belly and Thighs of Bronze (Brass)||Greece – “Will rule over all the earth” (Dan. 2:39)|
|Legs of Iron||Rome – “As strong as iron” (Dan. 2:40)|
|Feet of Iron mixed with clay||Which major world power followed Rome? USA – A kingdom strong as iron, yet divided (Dan. 2:41)|
|10 Toes||A kingdom with 10 kings, part strong and part weak – “In the days of these kings” “the kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile” (Dan. 2:42, 44)|
|Stone, cut out without hand||The God of Heaven – “shall break in pieces all these kingdoms” (Dan. 2:44)|
|Great Mountain||Kingdom of the Saints – “A kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44)|
But where in all this sequence of kingdoms is God’s nation of Israel? Why are they left out of this list? And what kind of a vision did God give Daniel when he lay awake at night with thoughts about what was going to happen in the world arena? Daniel, there in Babylon, a captive from Jerusalem, turned his mind to thoughts about his own people.
It is no coincidence that Daniel’s own vision came to him in the first year of King Belshazzar. Nebuchadnezzar had acted as God’s servant in taking Jerusalem into captivity. (Jeremiah 27:6, 1-11) He continued acting as God’s servant when he set Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in key positions within the government. Here we see Daniel’s promotion. The names of his companions have been changed by the king.
“Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.” Daniel 2:48-49
But when Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar, began to rule, everything changed. Babylon was no longer a safe haven for God’s people. It can be seen in Daniel chapter 5 that Belshazzar did not show any respect for God. In fact, the wickedness of Belshazzar’s rule is used as a model for the final kingdom of the earth when Revelation says, “Babylon the great has fallen … and has become a dwelling place of demons….” Revelation 18:1-8
So with a wicked king on the throne, and all the children of Israel still captive in Babylon, Daniel began to seriously contemplate the end of the captivity of Judah. One night he had a dream of four Beasts rising out of the great sea. The first of these beasts was a lion with the wings of an eagle. In that instant, Daniel knew that the hope of freedom he had weighing on his heart was going to be answered by God. Remember, “Daniel had understanding in all dreams and visions.” (Daniel 1:17)
The understanding of the symbols in Daniel’s dream was given to him by God. And God has also provided understanding for us by revealing these symbols to us in Scripture. Here we are going to look to Scripture to show us symbolism and history that will reveal the part played by the nation of Israel in world events, all of which will ultimately show us a glorious picture of Jesus as the world’s Redeemer!
The Four Winds of Heaven:
Wind = the Hebrew ruach.
[Strong’s H7307 Hebrew and H7308 Aramaic]
This same word can mean:
- God’s Spirit (Genesis 41:38-41; Daniel 4:8, 9, 18; Daniel 5:11, 12, 14)
- The Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10-11)
- Breath, including the “breath of life” (Genesis 7:15)
- The whirlwind that surrounds God’s throne (Ezekiel 1:4)
It is used seven times for the Four Winds of Heaven: Jeremiah 49:36; Ezekiel 37:9; Daniel 7:2, 8:8, 11:4; Zechariah 2:6, 6:5 [which says “four spirits”] There are other mentions of these Four Winds in the New Testament in Greek: Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; Revelation 7:1.
But one of the most profound places that this word “ruach” is used is in Ezekiel 37:1-14. We find it there 10 times as “breath,” “wind,” “Spirit” and the “Four Winds,” beginning in verse 1 where it is the “Spirit of the Lord.” The context of this chapter is a prophecy of the Lord bringing some dry bones back to life. This story is a parable that represents the Tribe of Judah coming out of its captivity in Babylon. Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel who was also captive in Babylon. Daniel was familiar with Ezekiel’s vision of the restoration of Israel. Daniel knew that the Four Winds in Ezekiel’s vision meant that:
It was God’s Spirit that would bring the Nation of Israel back to life.
The Nation of Judah did not appear in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision because they were captives with no country of their own. But the promise from God that their nation would be restored was shown to Ezekiel as it was to Jeremiah, another contemporary of Daniel. (Jeremiah 29:10)
The first clue we have about the meaning of the “Four Winds of Heaven” is that they are directed by the Spirit of God and would be instrumental in restoring the nation of Israel. Would these Four Winds also provide for the rise of other nations? That question is answered by the fact that Daniel sees 4 distinct Beasts arising when the Four Winds of Heaven Blow.
We get another clue about meaning of the Four Winds of Heaven in Zechariah.
“For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord.” Zech. 2:6
Scripture uses the “Four Winds of Heaven” to show that God would scatter the children of Israel across the globe. The number “four” shows that they spread out and encompass the whole world. This is also seen in another place in Scripture. In the Garden of Eden, God divided the river so that it would spread out into the four directions of the compass. (Genesis 2:10-14) “The four corners of the earth” is a common saying today and it gets its origin here from Scripture.
The Great Sea:
In verse 3 we read that “Four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.” The Beasts arise out of the Great Sea, yet when the angel gives Daniel the explanation of his vision, he tells us the Beasts arise out of the earth. (Daniel 7:3)
“Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.” (Daniel 7:17)
This means that the “earth” and the “sea” are the same. But we still don’t have an explanation of what this “earth” and “sea” are until we look to Revelation. There we again find this Great Sea where it is called “many waters.”
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.…
“‘The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.’” Revelation 17:1, 15
“Peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” describes the inhabited places of the earth. At last we are given a definition of the symbols of the “Sea” and “Earth” that are used in Daniel. And these tie in seamlessly with the Four Winds of Heaven.
“Daniel spoke, saying, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. (3) And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.’”
The Bible shows that:
The Spirit of God will blow over the whole face of the earth and raise up Beasts out of the mass and population of the earth.
This will make more sense when we learn more about the meaning of the “Four Beasts.”
“…Four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.” Dan. 7:3
The angel talking to Daniel explains that these Beasts in his vision represent “kings.” Later he clarifies that they are “kingdoms.”
“Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” (Daniel 7:17-18)
“The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms.” (Daniel 7:20)
We now know these facts about Daniel’s vision:
The angel’s brief explanation reveals that there is a succession of unique kingdoms which will arise on the earth. Being raised up by God for His purposes, these kingdoms will have a marked influence in world events. These “kingdoms” are not to be confused with the rise and fall of mere nations. (read more)
Jesus separated the two, NATIONS and KINGDOMS, when He described last-day events. He explained how nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there would be wars and rumors of war. But the rise and fall of nations and their wars are not considered as signs of the end. He said,
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.“ (Matthew 24:6-7)
When He spoke of kingdoms rising against kingdom, He was showing the changes in the world powers as shown here in Daniel. At some point, this change in world powers will signify the beginning of the end. Exactly which kingdom will be the last, and will signal the end, is explained by understanding which kingdom is represented by the lion of Daniel’s vision.
Since it is the first in a succession, this lion kingdom will help establish the timeline for the appearance of these other kingdoms. And there will be further information about the timing of these kingdoms when Daniel’s vision continues in Chapter 8. And as a third test of the timing, a look back at history will firmly establish the identity of all of these kingdoms that are represented by the Four Beasts in Daniel’s vision. So it is important for us to understand this first kingdom of the lion if we want to follow the timeline down to today’s events.
The Bible also tells us that God is responsible for the rise of these kingdoms. As we saw, it is the Four Winds of Heaven that bring them up from the sea. These kingdoms are going to end with the kingdom being given to the saints of the Most High. This is the “good news of the kingdom” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:14. He said that this would be the last message to go to the world.
The first was like a Lion:
In this vision, Daniel received the answer to his question about the fate of his people Israel, just like the king did when his dream revealed the metal image. The Bible shows that the lion represented the Tribe of Judah. Loosely, this includes the entire nation of Israel.
Let’s go back and look at an ancient prophecy in Genesis.
“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies. Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
“Judah is a lion’s whelp. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him?
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
“Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.
“His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.” Genesis 49:8-12
Genesis tells us Judah is a lion’s whelp. Bible scholars, both Jewish and Christian, have long agreed that “Shiloh” is the Messiah. Already in Genesis we are beginning to see a story about how the nation tribe of Judah will bring forth the promised Messiah.
Ezekiel also had a vision about a lion who represented God nurturing the nation of Israel. Ezekiel 19: “Who is your mother? A lioness.” She raised up one cub who was taken captive in Egypt. So she raised up another cub who was taken captive in Babylon. This parable is another way of showing God in His work of raising up the nation of Israel and setting it among the other nations of the world.
Both Ezekiel and Daniel are captive there in Babylon at the time of their visions. Daniel is from the Tribe of Judah, from the king’s seed (Daniel 1:6) and Daniel had understanding in all dreams and visions. (Daniel 1:17) With this information, the Bible shows that Daniel knew the lion represented Judah. Another Bible scholar stated it well,
“The Lion, king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of this tribe, from which came David, and the Son of David, Shiloh, the true ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ to whom all powers shall finally bow and all nations render homage.” E.G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 236.
Daniel also knew that the eagle’s wings represented God when He carried His nation out of captivity. God Himself declared this during the Exodus from Egypt.
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you unto Myself.” (Exodus 19:5)
Judah is the lion. The eagle’s wings on its back show God delivering it out of the captivity in Babylon just as He had done when they were captive in Egypt. Here we find Judah currently in captivity and Daniel is longing for their deliverance. When Daniel saw the lion being carried on the wings of the eagle, he knew this was a prophecy about God delivering them out of their captivity. Daniel never questioned this part of his vision.
The wings being plucked off indicates a time when God will no longer carry them but will allow them to stand on their own feet as a nation. This shows that Judah will eventually have autonomy. In world history, this time of Judah’s independence is shown during the time of the Maccabees. The Bible shows this time by the absence of Bible authors from Malachi to Matthew. This is the same time granted to to them as their 490-year probationary period outlined in Daniel 9:24-27. “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” (9:24)
“Even when Judah was a subject state it had a measure of local autonomy, and was for the most part governed by Jewish administrators. These were governors such as Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah under the Persians, high priests under the Ptolemies and Seleucids, and later the native Hasmonaean priest-kings [like the Maccabees], under whom Judah was temporarily independent. Then the Romans replaced the Hasmonaeans with the local king Herod the Great, who was of Idumean descent but Jewish by religion. Finally in A.D. 6 Archelaus, Herod’s successor in Judea, was deposed, and Judea for the [first] time became a mere province, administered directly by a Roman governor. By this time Christ had been born.” (SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 8, pg. 1003, “Shiloh,” Review & Herald Publishing Assoc., Washington D.C., 1960.)
“I watched until . . .” (Daniel 7:4)
Time passes. Eventually this lion with eagle’s wings will undergo a transformation and will take on a different form.
God’s Promise to David to Hold the Scepter:
The reason this lion kingdom is going to transform, dates back to a promise that God made to King David. This promise is the reason behind many historic events in Israel’s past.
The ten tribes of Israel did wickedly according to the sin of Jeroboam when he caused all Israel to sin. It was because of this sin that God allowed the ten tribes to be taken away by the king of Assyria. (1 Kings 14:16; Ezekiel 23:9)
Judah’s sin was worse (Ezekiel 23:11) but God continued to keep them alive until He sent them into captivity in Babylon. (2 Kings 20:6) He did not allow Judah to be destroyed as He had done to the 10 tribes of Israel because of a promise He made to David. He told David that he would not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel forever. (2 Samuel 7:8-16; Psalm 89:33-37)
And so the tribe of Judah is allowed to continue until God can bring from it this final ruler who will hold David’s scepter. This promise points forward to the coming of the Messiah who would come out of David’s lineage, take over all the kingdoms of this world and rule in righteousness and justice for eternity. So, when this lion kingdom reaches a certain point in its history, it will fulfill this promise to David and will bring forth the long-awaited Messiah. The fulfillment of this promise is found in Revelation 12:1-5 where we see a “woman” who gives birth to a male child. This woman is the nation of Judah and when she gives birth, the male child will be the Son of God coming in the form of humanity. Jesus of Nazareth, coming through the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David, will take the final kingdom on earth and hold the scepter forever. (Isaiah 11:1-10; Ezekiel 37:24; Revelation 11:15)
Made stand on two feet like a man:
So Daniel continues to observe this Lion with Eagle’s Wings until its amazing transformation takes place. The wings are plucked off and it stands on its feet as a man. The nation of Israel, specifically the tribe of Judah, has been carried out of captivity in Babylon on the wings of the Great Eagle. It is restored to its place among the nations of the world. But eventually, it will transform into the picture of a man, standing on two feet and given a man’s heart.
When the woman of Revelation 12 brings forth her man child, Judah makes that transition from existing as a nation with God’s protection, into the promised Messiah—the Son of God in human form. In order to be our king, and to redeem us, Jesus, the Prince of Heaven, took on the humble form of humanity and became our brother. (Deuteronomy 17:15; Leviticus 25:25; Revelation 5:9)
Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Matthew 1:20-25: “But while he [Joseph] thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (21) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ (22) So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: (23) ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ (24) Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, (25) and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”
Deuteronomy 18:15, 18: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”
Isaiah 52:14: “Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men.”
Hebrews 2:14: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
Philippians 2:6-8: “[Jesus] being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” [Note: This word “robbery” means, something to be grasped or held onto. This means He was willing to let go of His divine form and take on humanity. This physical form of mankind is the true definition of “human nature,” not as we use the term today to mean feelings and impulses.]
A Man’s heart is given to it:
Jesus took on the form of humanity so that He could redeem us. Only a blood-relative could buy back our rights to our estate on earth that Adam had relinquished to Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. But Jesus was so much more than just a man. He came to earth in the degraded form of sinful man and was tempted in every way that we can be tempted, yet He lived His life without sin. In this way He was also able to show us that we cannot claim our sinful birth as an excuse to continue on in sin. We too can lead the life that He led if we would submit ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit as He did. He is able to sympathize with all our infirmities. This is why we see this lion given the heart of a man.
Isaiah 53:4-5: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 63:9: “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” [Note: He “bore them and carried them” on Eagle’s wings. Deuteronomy 32:9-12]
Hebrews 4:14-16: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 2:17-18: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
“In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character the opposite of the character of Satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. ‘Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ Philippians 2:8. As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.’” Isaiah 53:5. (E.G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 25)
Lifted up from the Earth:
Being “lifted up” refers both to Christ’s ascension into Heaven and being restored to His former glory. Isaiah 33:10: “‘Now I will rise,’ says the LORD; ‘Now I will be exalted, Now I will lift Myself up.’”
Isaiah 52:13: Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.”
John 8:28: Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.”
John 12:31-32: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
John 3:14-15: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Acts 1:9: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
Revelation 12:5: “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
We see this exact same scene right there in Daniel 7:
“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.” (Daniel 7:13)
This same “lifted up” ties back into the prophecy from Genesis 49. Put these two texts together:
John 12:32: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” (KJV)
Genesis 49:10: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.” (KJV)
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah
The Bible shows that the Lion of Daniel 7:4 is a prophecy about the first coming of Jesus who was promised to arise through the lineage of David. This is the same Jesus that we see called “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah” soon after He is lifted up:
“But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’” Revelation 5:5
This scroll, sealed with seven seals, here in Revelation is the Book of Daniel which only Christ Himself is able to unseal. Only as a Man could He accomplish this work of progressing the world events until at last He can take on the Kingdom and give it to the Saints. Only as a Man could He become our King.
The story found here in this Lion Beast of Daniel’s vision, is the deliverance out of captivity for the nation of Judah so that it can fulfill God’s promise to David to bring forth the Messiah out of his lineage. This nation of Judah is delivered from their captivity on the Eagle’s wings, just as they were delivered out of Egypt. They continued on for the probationary period given to them in Daniel 9:24-27. At the end of this time, Jesus had come. The kingdom of the Lion in Daniel 7:4 spans this gap of time between the deliverance of Judah out of Babylon until the nation brings forth the Messiah at the first Coming of Christ.
This chapter of Daniel 7 is one of the few places in the Bible that clearly shows both the first coming of Christ in humility and humanity, and also His second coming in glory when to Him will be given “dominion and glory and a kingdom,” and “the saints of the Most High receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” These two comings of Christ were misunderstood by the Jewish scholars, causing them to miss the first coming of Christ in humility. This misunderstanding will also cause future generations to be misled by the appearance of the antichrist in the last days. Let us pray for wisdom in all those who heartily seek truth.
“The Jews [of Christ’s day] were unreconciled to their bondage, and looked forward to the triumph of their nation through the Messiah, the powerful deliverer foretold in prophecy. Their views were narrow. They thought the Coming One would, at his appearing, assume kingly honors, and, by force of arms, subdue their oppressors, and take the throne of David. Had they, with humble minds and spiritual discernment, studied the prophecies, they would not have been found in so great error as to overlook the prophecies which pointed to his first advent in humility, and misapply those which spoke of his second coming with power and great glory. . . . They could not distinguish between those prophecies which pointed to the first advent of Christ, and those that described his second, glorious appearing. The power and glory described by the prophets as attending his second advent, they looked for at his first advent.” (E.G. White, Selected Messages, Volume 2, pg 13.2)
Daniel’s Succession of World Kingdoms
The true understanding of this Lion in Daniel sets the time frame for all the beasts that follow after the Lion. This brings the book of Daniel down to the very end of time when it will rekindle as a light shining on last day events. This portion of Daniel’s vision has been sealed until today as explained in Daniel 12:9, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” If God has chosen today to unseal this vision, He must know that the time is at hand and we have a need for this information.
May God bless all who study this prophecy and may He give us understanding of what this timely message means to an end-time people.
“By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man, but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.’ John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. ‘Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.’ God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the ‘Son of man’ who shares the throne of the universe. It is the ‘Son of man’ whose name shall be called, ‘Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,’ is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:25; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.” E.G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 25.