The Visions Of The Prophet Daniel Part 2 - Gentile World Dominion

by Joseph Hunting

" . . . no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21).

There are many parallels between the life of Joseph and that of Daniel. Both were taken by force into a strange land in their youth. Both had visions of future events. Both had the God-given gift of interpreting dreams. Both were falsely accused. Both were elevated to the highest position in the mightiest empires under their jurisdiction.

During the reign of Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, the king made a sumptuous feast in which he used the sacred vessels that had been taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. The desecration of these holy items was bad enough, but the feast developed into a drunken orgy in which "they drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone" (Daniel 5:4).

At this juncture Belshazzar and those present were petrified as they saw a man's hand writing on the wall. The king's astonishment turned to sheer terror as "his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another."

There must have been something about the writing on the wall that not only struck terror into the heart of the king, but he was unable to read it. In a state of panic he called for the astrologers, the Chaldeans and the soothsayers saying, "Whosoever shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom" (5:7).

They were just as puzzled as the king and this further added to his consternation. It was then the queen told Belshazzar that there was a man in the realm who had interpreted a dream of Nebuchadnezzar and who had been greatly honoured because of his wisdom and power to interpret dreams.

When summoned before the king, Daniel refused to accept the royal gifts and then related how that when Nebuchadnezzar's heart was lifted up with pride his kingdom was taken from him until he realized that "the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men" . He then told Belshazzar that although he was aware of God's dealings with his grandfather, his own heart was lifted up with pride. Furthermore he accused the king of defiling the holy vessels taken from the Temple by drinking wine from them and at the same time praising gods of gold and silver, etc.

This denunciation of Belshazzar's actions called for great courage on Daniel's part, nevertheless he then interpreted the mysterious handwriting: MENE, MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN as follows: "MENE; God has numbered your kingdom and finished it. TEKEL; you are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting. PERES; your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians" (5:25-28).

The death sentence on Belshazzar pronounced by the handwriting on the wall was swiftly fulfilled. He was slain that very night and Darius took over the kingdom.


Now it was in the first year of Belshazzar's reign that Daniel had a vision of four beasts that represented four world empires. The first beast was like a lion with eagle's wings, the second was like a bear, the third like a leopard, whilst the fourth was "dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly . . . and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns" (7 : 7).

The clue to the identification of the four beasts in Daniel's vision is to be found in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The lion represented the world empire under Nebuchadnezzar, the bear the Medio-Persian empire, the leopard the Grecian empire under Alexander, whilst the fourth beast "diverse from all the beasts that were before it" was represented by the Roman empire, the ten horns being ten kings which will emerge from it. Whilst Daniel pondered the significance of these ten kings he noted that a little horn also emerged and destroyed three of the ten kings.


Only a few mortals have ever been privileged to behold the Lord in all His heavenly splendour and glory. This is how Daniel described what he saw: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him . . . I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (7:9-14).


The revelation which Daniel had received troubled and disturbed him greatly. Not only had he been given a foreview of the four great world empires that would shape mankind's history, but he had also witnessed the coronation to end all coronations when the Messiah establishes His earthly kingdom.

Daniel then sought and was given greater revelation as to the fourth beast* which was diverse from all the others and the ten horns, as well as the little horn before whom three of the ten kings fell.

The remainder of Daniel's vision describes the course of history during the end times. The little horn is identified in Revelation as the Beast or the anti-Christ. During the latter days of this age ten kings or rulers shall emerge out of the area once dominated by the Roman empire. Three of these will be defeated by the Beast, "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws, and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and dividing of time (3 ½ years)" (7:25).

Daniel's vision concluded with the destruction of the Beast, "his body destroyed and given to the burning flame . . . And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him (the Messiah) " (7:11,27).

*See WATCH OUT FOR THE BEAST by George F Spall THE VINEYARD February 1990