Friday, March 2, 2018

The timing of the judgment of the 4ᵗʰ beast of Daniel 7.

Dear in Christ,

Instead of being a comprehensive study on Daniel 7, this note is an extremely simplified introduction to the ongoing studies on Br. Adam Maarschalk's website. The focus of this note is on the on the activities of the 4ᵗʰ beast, the events that happened during the time it was active and the timing of its judgment.

Daniel 7 is a slightly complex chapter with two parallel sections.
  1. Dan 7:2 - 14 is the vision that Daniel saw.
  2. Dan 7:17 - 27 is the interpretation of the vision, given by someone who was standing by.
For the most part, we will be focusing on the first section. We will be reading the passage in the exact order in which it's written.

① The activities of the 4ᵗʰ beast before “the judgment was set”.

Dan 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
Dan 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

② The setting up of the judgment.

Dan 7:9 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.
Dan 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
While most of the scholars agree that “the Ancient of days” mentioned here is the Almighty God, we see a compelling reason to agree with them as the following scripture matches with Dan 7:10:
Rev 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

③ The judgment of the 4ᵗʰ beast.

Please note the difference between the "judgment" of the 4ᵗʰ beast and the rest of the three beasts.
Dan 7:11 I beheld then 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.
Dan 7:12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
  • Though the first three beasts lost their dominion, they were allowed to exist for quite some time. (Vs 12)
  • Isn't it obvious from the above statement that the punishment of the 4ᵗʰ beast was final and comprehensive and it wasn't allowed to live or exist beyond the carrying out of the judgment?
  • From the expression "I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, etc," isn't it obvious that there was a short interval between the pronouncement of the sentence (losing of its dominion) and its carrying out?
  • Also, the period between the pronouncement of the sentence and the carrying out of it can't be longer than “a season and time”, which, obviously, can't be 2000+ years, as none of the first 3 beasts continued to exist that long.

④ the Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days.

Dan 7:13 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.
Dan 7:14 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. (See also: Dan 2:44)
Many misconstrue “the one like the Son of man coming with the clouds” to be talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ. They have a reason to believe so: we get to read about the LORD’s (earthwards) coming in the clouds for judgment, several times in the Bible.

Please note the direction of the Son of Man’s “coming”

He came to the Ancient of Days and he was brought to the Ancient of Days (Dan 7:13). (He was coming ⇒ to God and he was NOT coming away ⇐ from God)
  • If the talk here were about the second coming of Our Lord, doesn’t the passage necessitate that the Ancient of Days (God) be present here on earth before Our Lord’s coming? Is it even a remotely likely scenario?
  • As noted by many scholars, the talk here is about Jesus’ ascension to heaven. We need to remember that Jesus ascended into the heavens with clouds (Acts 1:9).
  • (A third, and inane scenario could be: Christ approaching the Ancient of Days to bid farewell before making his second coming with the clouds of heaven.)
So, if Dan 7:13 is about Jesus’ ascension and approaching the Ancient of Days (the Almighty God):
  • isn’t it obvious that “the judgment was set” before his reaching there? (Dan 7:9, 10)
  • isn’t it obvious from the statement “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (Dan 7:11) that the 4ᵗʰ beast was judged before his reaching there?

Isn’t it imperative that the entity identified as the 4ᵗʰ beast should have been existing at the time of Jesus’ ascension, if it were to be judged then? This disqualifies any entity that came into existence after the ascension of Jesus Christ as the 4ᵗʰ beast, be it the Pope or the President of the United States of America or the head of one of the Islamic nations.

Again, the statement “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” (Dan 7:12) implies that the 4ᵗʰ beast couldn't have continued to exist much after the pronouncement of the sentence against it (or its losing dominion). This disqualifies Rome or Roman Empire (which continued to exist for several centuries after the ascension of Christ) as the 4ᵗʰ beast.

In short, the 4ᵗʰ beast should have been an entity which existed at the time of Jesus' ascension and ceased to exist not much later.

Dominion lost, Dominion gained.

In the second (or interpretation) section of Daniel 7 it's said:
Dan 7:26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his (the 4ᵗʰ beast's) dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
We know from Dan 7:9-14 that the sitting of the judgment had to happen before Jesus' ascension.
Dan 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion[G1849, based on the Septuagint], 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.
Please note that Dan 7:27 is part of the interpretation given to Daniel. This verse is the interpretation for Dan 7:14. In other words, the people of the saints of the most High receiving dominion is exactly the same as the Son of Man receiving dominion.

Now, let us see what Jesus has to tell us on this topic:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power[G1849] is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
In short, Mat 28:18 is the fulfillment of Dan 7:14 and Dan 7:27. Please note that Jesus said this before his ascension.

So, the 4ᵗʰ beast was someone who was judged before Jesus uttered these words. This takes us to Jesus' pronouncements before he was arrested:
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (Joh 12:31)
And when he (the Comforter, the Holy Spirit) is come (on the Pentecost), he will reprove the world of sin...of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (John 16:8-11)
Please note the usage of the perfect tense (judged) in John 16:11, implying that the judgment would be done by the time the Comforter is come on the Pentecost. It's pretty obvious from the above scriptures that the entity that was judged between Jesus's arrest and ascension was “the prince of this world”, which has been identified as the Jewish religious leadership. I propose that the Jewish religious leadership was the 4ᵗʰ beast. (Adam Maarschalk calls the Zealot-led Israel as the 4ᵗʰ beast.)

If you are a Preterist, you may ask me: Wasn't 70 AD the Jewish religious leadership? Though I don't know legal terms, I believe that
  • the pronouncement of sentence happened some time between Jesus' arrest and His ascension.
  • the carrying out of the sentence happened around 70 AD.
As I said earlier, this is an introduction to Daniel 7 and watch out for scholarly studies on website.
Expecting your valuable feedback,

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal