Bible Study Guides – The History of Nations Foretold

October 2, 2004 – October 8, 2004

Memory Verse

“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.” Daniel 7:27.

Suggested Reading: Prophets and Kings, 547.


“As Daniel clung to God with unwavering trust, the spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While receiving instruction from man in the duties of court life, he was being taught by God to read the mysteries of the future and to record for coming generations, through figures and symbols, events covering the history of this world till the close of time.” Prophets and Kings, 485.

1 When did Daniel have the vision that is recorded in the seventh chapter of Daniel? Daniel 7:1.

note: “This vision was given to Daniel in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, about 540 b.c. The mere giving of this view bears the strongest testimony to the results of Daniel’s education when a youth, to his steadfastness of purpose, and his growth in spiritual things.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of Daniel the Prophet (1904), TEACH Services, Inc., Brushton, New York, 1995, 89.

2 What two symbols are used in Daniel 7:2? In prophecy, what do winds symbolize? Isaiah 21:1, 2; Jeremiah 25:32, 33. What are symbolized by the sea or waters? Isaiah 8:7; 17:12, 13; Revelation 17:15; Jeremiah 51:42.

note: “The great kingdoms that have ruled the world were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts of prey, rising when ‘the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.’ Daniel 7:2. In Revelation 17 an angel explained that waters represent ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.’ Revelation 17:15. Winds are a symbol of strife. The four winds of heaven striving upon the great sea represent the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which kingdoms have attained to power.” The Great Controversy, 439, 440.

3 What did Daniel behold, as the result of strife and commotion among the nations and peoples of earth? Daniel 7:3.

note: “To Daniel was given a vision of fierce beasts, representing the powers of the earth. But the ensign of the Messiah’s kingdom is a lamb. While earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendancy of physical power, Christ is to banish every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion. His kingdom was to be established to uplift and ennoble fallen humanity (Letter 32, 1899).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1171.

4 What was symbolized by these four great beasts? Daniel 7:17.

note: “The great kingdoms that have ruled the world obtained their dominion by conquest and revolution, and they were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts of prey, rising when the ‘four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.’ [Daniel 7:2.]” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 277.

5 What was the first kingdom? Daniel 7:4.

note: “Babylon, the first of these kingdoms, was represented to Nebuchadnezzar as the golden head of the great image. To Daniel the same power appeared as a lion, having eagle’s wings.” Haskell, 90.

6 How does the lion compare with the other beasts of prey? Proverbs 30:30. How does Babylon compare with other nations? Isaiah 13:19. Compare Habakkuk 1:6–10. What other characteristic of Babylon was symbolized by “eagle’s wings”? Deuteronomy 28:49; 11 Samuel 1:23.

note: “Instead of being a protector of men, Babylon became a proud and cruel oppressor. The words of Inspiration picturing the cruelty and greed of rulers in Israel reveal the secret of Babylon’s fall and of the fall of many another kingdom since the world began.” Education, 176.

“The gratification of unnatural appetite led to the sins that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God ascribes the fall of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness. Indulgence of appetite and passion was the foundation of all their sins.” Counsels on Health, 110.

“Before Babylon was known as an independent kingdom, while it was still a subject province of Assyria, Habakkuk, a prophet of Israel, had been given a view of its work which shows the force of the symbol of a lion with eagle’s wings.” Haskell, 90.

7 What change did the prophet see come over this symbol? Daniel 7:4. What change in the kingdom of Babylon was thus indicated? Jeremiah 51:30; Isaiah 21:3, 4.

note: “Toward the close of Daniel’s life great changes were taking place in the land to which, over threescore years before, he and his Hebrew companions had been carried captive. Nebuchadnezzar, ‘the terrible of the nations’ (Ezekiel 28:7), had died, and Babylon, ‘the praise of the whole earth’ (Jeremiah 51:41), had passed under the unwise rule of his successors, and gradual but sure dissolution was resulting.” Prophets and Kings, 522.

8 What two kingdoms united in the conquest and overthrow of Babylon? Isaiah 21:2. [Elam is but another name for Persia.] What was symbolized by the bear raising itself up on one side? What was symbolized by the three ribs in the mouth of the bear? Daniel 7:5.

note: “The marginal reading of verse 5 says, ‘raised up one dominion.’ Darius, the Mede, and Cyrus, the Persian, were associated together in the conquest and overthrow of Babylon. As an act of courtesy on the part of Cyrus, the rulership of the newly-formed kingdom was given to his uncle, Darius. But in a short time the Persian became the ruling element in the kingdom. Thus the dual kingdom represented by the bear is said to have exalted one branch above the other.

“The bear is a bloodthirsty animal, and that bloodthirsty disposition of the Medes and Persians is supposed to have been further stimulated by the overthrow of the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.” International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, California, January 1, 1904, 8.

9 What special characteristic does the leopard possess? Daniel 7:6. What then would be symbolized by four wings added to this swift-footed beast? What is symbolized by the four heads upon the leopard?

note: “The Grecian kingdom, which followed the Medo-Persian, is compared to the sprightliness of a leopard in its natural state. This not being sufficient to represent the rapidity of the conquest of Alexander, the first king, the leopard had on its back four wings of a fowl. It also had four heads, which symbolized the division of Alexander’s empire after his death, when his four generals took his kingdom and dominion was given to them.” Haskell, 92.

10 What is symbolized by the fourth beast? Daniel 7:7, 23, 24, first part. Concerning what did Daniel especially desire further information? Verses 19, 20. What information did he receive? Verse 24.

note: “It is clear from history that the world power succeeding the third prophetic empire was Rome. However, the transition was gradual so that it is impossible to point to a specific event as marking the change.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 823.

“The successive invasions of the Roman Empire by numerous Germanic tribes, and the replacement of the empire by a number of separate states or monarchies, are well established facts of history. . . . The following list is representative: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Alamanni, Anglo-Saxons, Heruli, Lombards, Burgundians. ” Ibid., 826.

11 What did Daniel behold on the part of the power symbolized by the little horn? Daniel 7:21. How long was the oppression of this power to be felt by the saints? Verse 22.

note: “The little horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 439.

“ ‘Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.’ [Revelation 13:5.] . . . The forty and two months are the same as the ‘time and times and the dividing of time,’ three years and a half, or 1260 days, of Daniel 7,—the time during which the papal power was to oppress God’s people. This period . . . began with the establishment of the papacy, a. d. 538, and terminated in 1798.” Ibid.

12 What will certainly follow the kingdoms represented by these four beasts? Daniel 7:26, 27.

note: “The kingdom of God’s grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world. ‘The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,’ is to be given to ‘the people of the saints of the Most High.’ Daniel 7:27. They shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them ‘from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34. And Christ will take to Himself His great power and will reign.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 108.

These lessons are adapted from International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, California, January 1, 1904.