The concept of a world empire would have meant the civilized world of the Mediterranean basin plus Persia to the ancient readers of Daniel. So an empire that conquered the whole world could be perceived as Rome. However, the nature of the last empire in Daniel seven shows a scope that envelopes more than the original writer could have known. In these days we see the possibility of a world governemnt as literally taking control of the whole world. We know the world to be round, we know of the Americas, and we know that The League of Nations and The United Nations have been two attempts to extend law and order around the world. This is why End Times books often use the United Nations or something like it as the housing for the Beast’s government. Some see the Roman connection in the European Community, and that the Beast will manipulate the world from Europe.
In times of economic trouble and religious confusion we can see that someone can come and restore econmoic stability and quietly start attacking a religious group. Hitler did this in the 30’s in Germany. If Christians were scapegoated like the Jews were, you could imagine the same course of events occuring again. As long as people can trade and feel financially secure they will praise the Beast who brings them that security.
Some people, like Charlie Brown in the Christmas special of 1965, will see that commercialism is shallow and realise that the world is wrong side up. They will be sacrificed to the Beast, but finally a new world order will arise that is neither consumerist or self-interested. The Ancient of Days will use the globalized structures to rule justly on Earth. A Second Advent. Peace on Earth and goodwill to men.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12(The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
The Interpretation of the Dream
15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.
“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.[b]
26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
- How is the final beast’s fate described?
- How are God’s people treated in the last beast’s empire?
- How might a single ruler claim authority over all the Earth in today’s environment?
- How do you view the present trend to globalization?
- How could you use the present changes in the world to communicate to others that God is incontrol?
- If you are a Teaching the Bible in the Classroom student, you are not required to continue posting but you may choose to do so if you wish.
- How does daily Bible reading affect a course?
- Was the reading better when it was titled by chapter and verse (e.g. Daniel 7:6,7) or was it better when it was titled by topic (e.g. God Looks ofn the Outside)?
- Why do you think many students who claim to be Christian do not read their Bible in a daily fashion when going through Elementary and Senior School?
- How are parents key in establishing the value of the Bible in their home?
- Would you require daily Bible study from students? How might this vary with grade?
- How would you respond to a parent (this happened) who complained that doing 7 days of reading each Sunday because it is due on Monday is just too much for her child (she was asking for the load to be removed)?