7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: a then he wrote the dream, [and] told the sum of the matters.
(a) Whereas the people of Israel looked for a continual peace, after the seventy years which Jeremiah had declared, he shows that this rest will not be a deliverance from all troubles, but a beginning. And therefore he encourages them to look for a continual affliction until the Messiah is uttered and revealed, by whom they would have a spiritual deliverance, and all the promises would be fulfilled. And they would have a certain experience of this in the destruction of the Babylonian kingdom.
7:2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon b the great sea.
(b) Which signified that there wold be horrible troubles and afflictions in the world in all corners of the world, and at various times.
7:4 The first [was] like a c lion, and had eagleís wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a manís heart was given to it.
(c) Meaning the Assyrian and Chaldean empire, which was most strong and fierce in power, and most soon to come to their authority, as though they had wings to fly: yet their wings were pulled off by the Persians, and they went on their feet, and were made like other men, which is meant here by manís heart.
7:5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a d bear, and it raised up itself on e one side, and [it had] three ribs in the f mouth of it between the teeth of it: g and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
(d) Meaning the Persians who were barbarous and cruel.
7:6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a h leopard, which had upon the back of it i four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and k dominion was given to it.
(e) They were small in the beginning, and were shut up in the mountains, and had no strength.
(f) That is, destroyed many kingdoms and whose hunger could not be satisfied.
(g) That is, the angels by Godís commandment, who by this means punished the ingratitude of the world.
(h) Meaning Alexander the king of Macedonia.
7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a l fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great m iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped n the residue with the feet of it: and it [was] diverse from all the beasts that [were] before it; and it had o ten horns.
(i) That is, his four chief captains, which had the empire among them after his death. Selencus had Asia the great, Antigonus the less, Cassander and after him Antipater was king of Macedonia, and Ptolemeus had Egypt.
(k) It was not of himself nor of his own power that he gained all these countries: for his army contained only thirty thousand men, and he overcame in one battle Darius, who had one million, when he was so heavy with sleep that his eyes were hardly open, as the stories report: therefore this power was given to him from God.
(l) That is, the Roman empire which was a monster, and could not be compared to any beast, because there was no beast that was even comparable.
7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little p horn, before whom there were q three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn [were] r eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
(m) Signifying the tyranny and greediness of the Romans.
(n) That which the Romans could not quietly enjoy in other countries, they would give it to other kings and rulers, so that whenever they wanted to, they might take it again: which liberality is here called the stamping of the rest under the feet.
(o) That is, various and different provinces which were governed by the deputies and proconsuls: and each one of these might be compared to a king.
(p) Which is meant of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, etc., who were as kings in effect, but because they could not rule, except by the consent of the senate, their power is compared to a little horn. For Muhammad did not come from the Roman Empire, and the pope has no vocation of government: therefore this cannot be applied to them, and also in this prophecy the Prophetís purpose is chiefly to comfort the Jews until the revelation of Christ. Some take it for the whole body of antichrist.
7:9 I beheld till the s thrones were cast down, and the t 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.
(q) Meaning a certain portion of the ten horns: that is, a part from the whole estate was taken away. For Augustus took from the senate the liberty of choosing the deputies to send into the provinces, and took the governing of certain countries to himself.
(r) These Roman emperors at the first used a certain humanity and gentleness, and were content that others, as the consuls, and senate, should bear the names of dignity, so that they might have the profit. And therefore in election and counsels they would behave themselves according as did other senators: yet against their enemies and those that would resist them, they were fierce and cruel, which is here meant by the proud mouth.
(s) Meaning, the places where God and his angels would come to judge these monarchies, which judgment would begin at the first coming of Christ.
7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand u times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the x books were opened.
(t) That is, God who was before all times, and is here described in a way such that manís nature is able to comprehend some portion of his glory.
(u) That is, an infinite number of angels, who were ready to execute his commandment.
7:11 I beheld then y because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld [even] till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
(x) This is meant of the first coming of Christ, when the will of God was plainly revealed by his Gospel.
(y) Meaning that he was astonished when he saw these emperors in such dignity and pride, so suddenly destroyed at the coming of Christ, when this fourth monarchy was subject to men of other nations.
7:12 As z concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
(z) As the three former monarchies had an end at the time that God appointed, even though they flourished for a time, so will this fourth have an end, and they that patiently wait for Godís appointment, will enjoy the promises.
7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, a [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and b came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
(a) Which is meant of Christ, who had not yet taken upon him manís nature, neither was he yet the son of David according to the flesh, as he was afterward: but he appeared then in a figure, and that in the clouds, that is, being separated from the common sort of men by manifest signs of his divinity.
7:14 And there was given him c 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.
(b) That is, when he ascended into the heavens, and his divine majesty appeared, and all power was given to him, in respect that he was our mediator.
(c) This is meant of the beginning of Christís kingdom, when God the Father gave unto him all dominion, as the the Mediator, with the intent that he would continually govern his Church which is here on earth, until the time that he brought them to eternal life.
7:15 I Daniel was d grieved in my spirit in the midst of [my] body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
(d) Because of the strangeness of the vision.
7:16 I came near unto e one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
(e) Meaning one of the angels, as in See "Dan
7:18 But the saints of the f most High shall take the g kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
(f) That is, of the most high things, because God has chosen them out of this world, that they should look up to the heavens, upon which all their hope depends.
7:19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was h diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth [were of] iron, and his nails [of] brass; [which] devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the i residue with his feet;
(g) Because Abraham was appointed heir of all the world, (Romans 4:13), and in him all the faithful, therefore the kingdom of him is theirs by right, which these four beasts or tyrants would invade, and usurp until the world were restored by Christ. And this was to strengthen and encourage those that were in troubles, that their afflictions would eventually have an end.
(h) For the other three monarchies were governed by a king, and the Roman empire by consuls: the Romans changed their governors yearly, and the other monarchies retained them for term of life: also the Romans were the strongest of all the others, and were never at peace among themselves.
7:20 And of the ten horns that [were] in his head, and [of] the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even [of] that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose k look [was] more stout than his fellows.
(i) Read (Daniel 7:7).
(k) This is meant of the fourth beast, which was more terrible than the others.
7:21 I beheld, and the same l horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
(l) Meaning the Roman emperors, who were most cruel against the Church of God, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles.
7:22 Until m the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
(m) Until God showed his power in the person of Christ, and by the preaching of the Gospel gave unto his own some rest, and so obtained a famous name in the world, and were called the Church of God, or the kingdom of God.
7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom [are] ten kings [that] shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue n three kings.
(n) See Geneva
7:25 And he shall speak [great] words against o the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to p change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a q time and times and the dividing of time.
(o) That is, will make wicked decrees and proclamations against Godís word, and send throughout all their dominion, to destroy all that did profess it.
7:26 But the r judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy [it] unto the end.
(p) These emperors will not consider that they have their power from God, but think it is in their own power to change Godís laws and manís, and as it were the order of nature, as appears by Octavius, Tiberius, Calligula, Nero, Domitianus, etc.
(q) God will allow them to rage in this way against his saints for a long time, the time and times, but at length he will soften these troubles, and shorten the time for his electís sake, (Matthew 24:22), which is here meant by the dividing of time.
(r) God by his power will restore things that were out of order, and destroy this little horn in such a way that it will never rise up again.
7:27 And the s 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 t dominions shall serve and obey him.
(s) He shows why the beast would be destroyed, that is, so that his Church might have rest and quietness, which though they do not fully enjoy here, yet they have it in hope, and by the preaching of the Gospel enjoy the beginning of it, which is meant by these words, "under the whole heaven". And therefore he speaks here of the beginning of Christís kingdom in this world, which kingdom the faithful have by the participation that they have with Christ their head.
7:28 Hitherto [is] the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my u cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
(t) That is, some of every type that rule.
(u) Even though he had many motions in his heart which moved him to and fro to seek out this matter curiously, yet he was content with that which God revealed, and kept it in memory, and wrote it for the use of the Church.