Four Great Monarchies
Lesson 18

We live in a world of uncertainty. Much as everyone strives to attain a degree of security, changing circumstances and unfolding events prove all too truly that certainty and security are very illusive things. Looking back in history, we see that nations that once dominated the world’s political scene, seemingly secure in their position of strength, have vanished, leaving almost no trace of their once proud existence. Others, while remaining, are but a shadow of their former greatness.

Amidst the uncertainty of this life, God would not leave His people confused or misled. He has spoken to us through His prophets, giving us waymarks, like road signs, illuminating the way before us. As we observe how all things work according to God’s great plan, and recognize that He has planned all the events long before they took place, we gain a great deal of comfort and strength. We can rest in the knowledge that because He is in control of our world and our lives, He has made provisions for every situation.

1. What is God’s Word to His people?

Psalm 119:105
Psalm 119:105

2. To whom does God reveal His secrets?

Amos 3:7
Amos 3:7

3. How did these men know what to write?

2 Peter 1:21
2 Peter 1:21

4. What promise is made to those who believe God’s prophets?

2 Chronicles 20:20
2 Chronicles 20:20

5. By what means was Israel kept safe (preserved)?

Hosea 12:13
Hosea 12:13

Note: Moses the prophet was God’s instrument through whom He showed His love for Israel by bringing them through many trials to the Promised Land. When Israel followed God’s instructions, as given through Moses, they were successful, but when they did not, they met with many failures and problems. From their experience we understand that we will be blessed and kept from eternal loss when we follow the light given us by God through His prophets.

6. What experience did Peter point to as proof of Jesus’ Kingship?

2 Peter 1:16–19
2 Peter 1:16–19

Note: This experience is recorded in Matthew 17:1–8.

7. As great as was the evidence of this experience, what could Peter point to as being even more certain evidence of the power and coming of Christ?

2 Peter 1:19
2 Peter 1:19

Note: Even though he saw with his own senses tremendous evidence of Jesus being the Messiah, Peter assures us that the words of prophecy are more certain and are, therefore, more to be trusted than are the senses.

Picture cartoons are a very popular and effective method of communicating a thought or an idea that, in most cases, could not be said as well in words, or if it could be, would require many words to do so. We are familiar with some of the symbols that are used. Frequently animal symbols are used to represent either political parties or nations. So it was with some of the visions that Daniel was given. In the vision recorded in chapter 7 the Lord showed him the future of the world, representing the various world powers as animals with characteristics that revealed something of the nations they represented.

8. Who was king at the time Daniel received this vision?

Daniel 7:1
Daniel 7:1

Note: At the time of this vision, much of the glory that had been Babylon’s under the able leadership of Nebuchadnezzar had faded. But a short time would pass before Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, would be slain and Darius the Mede would sit on the throne.

9. What did Daniel see?

Daniel 7:2
Daniel 7:2

10. What does water represent in prophecy?

Revelation 17:15
Revelation 17:15

11. What does wind represent in prophecy?

Jeremiah 49:35–37
Jeremiah 49:35–37

Note: Clearly, in speaking of the fate that is about to befall Elam, the idea of winds equates with strife and war. In a sense, it also represents God’s judgments as He works through strife and war, as well as natural disasters, to accomplish His purpose among the nations. See Isaiah 17:13; Jeremiah 18:17; Job 21:17–18.

12. What resulted from this strife?

Daniel 7:3
Daniel 7:3

13. What were represented by these beasts?

Daniel 7:17
Daniel 7:17

Note: That the word kings represents kingdoms and is used interchangeably, is explained in verses 23 and 24 (King James Version). Since four universal kingdoms were introduced in chapter 2, covering all the time from Daniel to the time Christ will establish His universal kingdom, we may know that these four beasts, or animals, represent the same kingdoms, telling the same story, but from a different perspective, so as to give other details.

14. What beast represented Babylon, the first kingdom?

Daniel 7:4
Daniel 7:4

Note: The wings with which this kingdom began, represented the speed with which Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar conquered nations. See Habakkuk 1:6, 8.

15. What was taken from this beast?

Daniel 7:4
Daniel 7:4

Note: The lion shorn of its wings represented Babylon at the time of the vision; its strength was gone, it was abandoned of God, and Belshazzar, an eighteen-year-old youth and a very weak king, stood at the head of government.

16. What was given to this beast?

Daniel 7:4
Daniel 7:4

Note: A human heart is synonymous with deceit and corruption, and corresponds with the fact that under the kings who followed Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon sank ever lower in the scale of moral worth. Finally, during a feast held his last night as king, in a display of heaven-daring insolence directed at the authority of the God of heaven, Belshazzar called for the sacred vessels taken from the temple temple at Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and drank from them in honor of the gods of Babylon.

17. What beast followed, representing the second kingdom?

Daniel 7:5
Daniel 7:5

Note: Some have interpreted the three ribs represented three nations which were treated particularly harshly by the Persians: Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.

18. What was the third beast like?

Daniel 7:6
Daniel 7:6

Note: Just as one pair of wings represented the speed with which Babylon moved, the speed with which Alexander the Great moved his armies could only be represented by two pair of wings. In an amazingly short period of time he had conquered the whole then-known world. No sooner had he accomplished this feat than he died, leaving no successor to his throne. For the next twenty years the nation was involved in a war to determine who would ascend to the throne. Finally a solution was devised whereby four of the generals, represented by the four heads, divided the empire between them, each retaining a portion. The northern was taken by Lysimachus, the eastern by Seleucus, the western by Cassander, and the southern by Ptolemy.

19. What did the fourth beast represent?

Daniel 7:23
Daniel 7:23

Note: At the battle of Pydna in 168 B.C., Rome replaced Greece as the dominant world empire.

20. What were represented by the ten horns coming up from the fourth beast?

Daniel 7:24
Daniel 7:24

Note: The breakup of the Roman empire was not a sudden event. For over 100 years the barbarian tribes swept down from northern Europe, striking blow after blow. Slowly the government was broken, the cities were sacked, and Rome sank into decay. It’s fall was complete in A.D. 476, and Europe was divided into various sections, each ruled by a different barbarian tribe.

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