New Defender's Study Bible Notes
7:2 four winds. The “four winds” are seen in vision as striving for mastery over the waves of the great Mediterranean Sea, not one after the other, but all together.
7:3 up from the sea. The interpretation in Daniel 7:17 tells us that the sea is the earth, or land, and the beasts are four kings, or kingdoms.
7:3 diverse one from another. These kingdoms do not represent successive historical kingdoms, as in Daniel’s image (which would be redundant), but contemporaneous kingdoms striving with each other (like the four winds) in the last days. This follows clearly from the fact that all four kingdoms were still future in Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:17), whereas Babylon was about to fall at the time and Persia would take over. Furthermore, the beast representing the fourth kingdom was slain before the first three (Daniel 7:11-12).
7:4 eagle’s wings. Nations commonly are represented as symbolic animals. Of the nations currently prominent, one thinks immediately of the British lion and the American eagle in connection with the first beast. The plucking of its wings, and its transmutation into a man are not explained and evidently are events yet to be fulfilled. It may be that the wings (ability to mount aerial invasions or defenses) will be somehow prevented from use by the Anglo-American alliance. Perhaps, also, the eventual destruction of the fourth beast (Daniel 7:11) will coincide with spiritual revival in the first beast—but these are only speculations.
7:5 bear. If the lion and eagle represent an Anglo-American alliance, possibly in association with other western nations, then the “bear” would seem to depict Russia and its allies. This colossus has, indeed, “raised itself up” more in its western side than in the east. It did (and does) “devour much flesh,” in terms of its baleful influence and control over so many other nations (at one time, almost half the world).
7:5 three ribs. The “three ribs” are enigmatic in prophetic meaning, but may possibly refer to the three Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), still under the strong influence—if not domination—of Russia.
7:6 leopard. The leopard, yellow with dark spots, could possibly represent an alliance of the pantheistic nations of the East (China, Japan, India, Indochina, perhaps suggesting the four heads, with all insisting on equal authority). Revelation 16:12 speaks of “the kings of the east” marching toward Armageddon from the other side of the Euphrates. The “four wings of a fowl” are of uncertain meaning, but may simply denote that other Oriental nations are involved, in addition to the four heads. A strong union of these far-eastern nations would surely pose a serious threat.
7:7 fourth beast. This powerful nondescript beast will gain control over the others and assume the characters of all. It is probably the same as the beast of Revelation 13:2, which will be like a leopard, a bear, and a lion, but with the nature of the old Dragon. It may also be the same as the final phase (feet and toes) of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image. For a very brief period, this beastly federation will control the whole world (Daniel 7:23; Revelation 13:7).
7:7 before it. The word “before” is not a chronological term. The other three nations are not “before” the fourth chronologically, but confrontationally. Note use of the same word in Daniel 7:10,13,20.
7:8 little horn. This “little horn,” suddenly appearing among the others, is the one called “the beast” in Revelation 13:11-13, to whom “ten kings” (Daniel 7:24) will give their power and honor.
7:8 mouth speaking great things. These “great things” are both “flatteries” of men, and “marvellous things against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:32,36).
7:9 Ancient of days. The “Ancient of days” seems to be the Father (Daniel 7:13) receiving the Son of man, yet His appearance is like that of the Son of man as described in Revelation 1:13-15. This phenomenon emphasizes the doctrine of the Trinity—one God in three persons, but not three Gods. “The “wheels” associated with the throne may suggest the cherubim (Ezekiel 1).
7:12 prolonged. The fourth beast kingdom, led by the Beast, who is the man of sin, with all who have received his “mark” (Revelation 13:18; 14:9-11; 19:20), will be cast into the lake of fire. The other three beast kingdoms may have enough sheep left among their citizenry (Matthew 25:33-34) so that their nations will be able to continue as distinct nations during the millennial period that follows.
7:14 given him dominion. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he saw a mountain which would fill the earth, and Daniel explained this as a kingdom set up by the God of heaven (Daniel 2:35,44). Now, in Daniel’s vision, the king of this everlasting worldwide kingdom is seen to be the Son of man (Daniel 7:13), the title assumed for Himself, and frequently used by the Lord Jesus Christ. The presentation of the kingdom to the Son of man by the Ancient of Days is described more fully in Revelation 5:6-14.
7:22 Ancient of days. See also Daniel 7:9,13. This unique title occurs only three times, all in this chapter.