Empires of Bible Prophecy
Lesson 11

We live in a world of uncertainty. 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 have 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 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

2. To whom does God reveal His secrets?

Amos 3:7

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

2 Chronicles 20:20

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

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.

5. Why are all these stories recorded in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 10:11

Note: From their experience we understand that there is a blessing and security in following the light given us by God through His prophets.

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. The vision recorded in chapter 7 is a parallel to the vision given to Nebuchadnezzar in an earlier chapter. In this vision, 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, and with more detailed information than was presented in the outline given to Nebuchadnezzar.

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

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.

7. What did Daniel see?

Daniel 7:2

8. What does water represent in prophecy?

Revelation 17:15

While there is no text in the Bible that tells us as plainly what wind represents, such as we found to explain what was meant by water, there are quite a number of places that talk about wind. One of these is Jeremiah 49:35–37. When we compare these texts, we find that wind is often used to describe the effects of war and strife. When we apply this meaning to the verses in Daniel 7, it makes perfect sense. Almost without exception, it is by war and force of arms that one nation is overthrown, and another takes its place as a ruling power. Clearly, the wind stirring up the sea, represents war among nations, and this results in the rise of new nations as ruling powers, as is represented by the various beasts coming up out of the sea.

9. What resulted from this strife?

Daniel 7:3

Since four universal kingdoms were introduced in chapter 2, covering all the time from Daniel to the time that 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.

10. What beast represented Babylon, the first kingdom?

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

11. What was taken from this beast?

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.

12. What was given to this beast?

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 that had been taken from the temple at Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and drank from them in honor of the gods of Babylon.

13. What beast followed, representing the second kingdom?

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.

14. What was the third beast like?

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 brief 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 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.

15. What did the fourth beast represent?

Daniel 7:23

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

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

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. Its fall was complete in A.D. 476, and Europe was divided into various sections, each ruled by a different barbarian tribe.

Many people today wonder what will happen in our world. At times men have feared that life, as we know it, would end in a nuclear war. At other times, they are hopeful that all nations will be able to unite and establish a world free from fear and oppression.

God does not want His people to be left wondering how things are going to turn out. He does not leave us to fear annihilation by nuclear war, nor to be disappointed because of unfulfilled hopes for world peace. In His Word, He has drawn the curtain aside and shown us the future.

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