August 21, 2004 – August 27, 2004
“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: The Great Controversy, 439–446.
“The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message. We have no time to lose; God calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, ‘the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.’ [Revelation 22:16.]” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 118.
1 Of what were revelations given to Daniel? Daniel 7:1.
note: “Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that ‘at the end of the days’—in the closing period of this world’s history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place.” Prophets and Kings, 547.
2 What was represented by the four beasts that rose up as a result of war and strife? Daniel 7:2, 3, 17.
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 Name the four great empires symbolized by the four beasts. Daniel 7:4–7.
note: “The fourfold division of human history in this vision is the same as in Daniel 2. Babylon, the lion (606-538), was succeeded by Medo-Persia, the bear (538–331). The next empire, the Greco-Macedonian, the leopard (331–168), had in turn each of its four divisions, or heads, subdued by the terrible beast, the Roman power (168 b.c.–476 a.d.). This ruled all civilization until the barbarians from the north came and divided its dominion among themselves.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1918, 23.
“Every nation that has come upon the stage of action has been permitted to occupy its place on the earth, that the fact might be determined whether it would fulfill the purposes of the Watcher and the Holy One. Prophecy has traced the rise and progress of the world’s great empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with the nations of less power, history has repeated itself. Each has had its period of test; each has failed, its glory faded, its power departed.
“While nations have rejected God’s principles, and in this rejection have wrought their own ruin, yet a divine, overruling purpose has manifestly been at work throughout the ages.” Prophets and Kings, 535.
4 What part of the vision riveted Daniel’s special attention? Daniel 7:19, 20.
note: “The three preceding powers were symbolized by three of the mightiest beasts of the earth, but when the fourth beast was considered, there was no animal with a character to represent its terrible nature; so a beast without name, having iron teeth, brass nails, and ten horns, was presented to the prophet. . . .
“When the fourth kingdom appeared, those principles of government which were the counterfeit of heaven’s underlying principles were so strong that no natural beast could symbolize even pagan Rome.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of Daniel the Prophet, TEACH Services, Inc., Brushton, New York, 1995, 91, 93.
5 What was represented by the fourth beast’s horns? Daniel 7:24.
note: “The barbarians who established themselves on the ruins of the Roman empire are the ten horns. They became the ruling factors in Europe. Several of the leading nations in the Old World at the present time trace their origin back to those times.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1918, 23.
“This fourth beast is identical with the legs of iron in the image shown to Nebuchadnezzar, and the ten horns correspond to the mixture of iron and clay in the feet of that image.” Haskell, 93, 94.
6 What other power was to develop among the ten kingdoms? Daniel 7:20. Compare Revelation 13:1–10. While occupying temporal dominion, what authority did this power assume and hold different from the other temporal kingdoms? Daniel 7:21. Compare Revelation 12:17; 13:1–10.
note: “In [Revelation] chapter 13 (verses 1–10) is described another beast, ‘like unto a leopard,’ to which the dragon gave ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’ This symbol, as most Protestants have believed, represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman empire. . . . This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the little horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 439.
“Every man who transgresses the law of God places himself on the wrong side. His nature changes, and he becomes evil. All such will assuredly oppress their fellow men. God’s people will suffer persecution from those who, if they had the Spirit of the Master, would manifest the same pitying love. But they are moved by a power from beneath, and they teach for doctrine the commandments of men. They do battle against God in the person of his saints; but God would have us remember that we are not to retaliate under provocation.” Review and Herald, November 7, 1899.
7 In what power are the specifications of the “horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake” met? What would he do against the Most High? How would he treat the saints of God? Daniel 7:25.
note: “The Roman papacy meets the specifications, because it arose among the nations of Europe; it has held, and claims, temporal power; it claims oversight over all Christians,—‘eyes like a man’; it has spoken ‘great words against the Most High’ in claiming power to forgive sins and in assuming titles belonging only to God; it has sought to change God’s law, and has certainly persecuted His saints.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1918, 23.
8 What was to be this power’s attitude toward the times and the law of God? Daniel 7:25.
note: “Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to ‘think to change times and laws.’ Daniel 7:25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.
“The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still further disregard of Heaven’s authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as ‘the venerable day of the sun.’ ” The Great Controversy, 51, 52.
9 By what name is this same system designated by the Revelator? Revelation 17:5, 6.
note: “In Revelation 17 Babylon is represented as a woman—a figure which is used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church.” The Great Controversy, 381.
“The woman (Babylon) of Revelation 17 is described as ‘arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness: . . . and upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots.’ Says the prophet: ‘I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.’ Babylon is further declared to be ‘that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.’ Revelation 17:4–6, 18. The power that for so many centuries maintained despotic sway over the monarchs of Christendom is Rome. The purple and scarlet color, the gold and precious stones and pearls, vividly picture the magnificence and more than kingly pomp affected by the haughty see of Rome. And no other power could be so truly declared ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ as that church which has so cruelly persecuted the followers of Christ. Babylon is also charged with the sin of unlawful connection with ‘the kings of the earth.’ It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation.
“Babylon is said to be ‘the mother of harlots.’ By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world.” Ibid., 382, 383.
10 How will this power finally be destroyed? Daniel 7:26.
note: “Of the fourth beast Daniel says, ‘I beheld till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.’ [Daniel 7:26.] Thus at the end, instead of being conquered by some power arising on earth, this one goes into the lake of fire. The other beasts which represent kingdoms, had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a time and a season; that is they were merged into the succeeding kingdom. But not so with the fourth kingdom; its destruction is complete.” Haskell, 102.
11 What will then be given the saints? Daniel 7:27.
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.
12 How long will this kingdom endure? Daniel 7:18.
note: “The great plan of redemption results in fully bringing back the world into God’s favor. All that was lost by sin is restored. Not only man but the earth is redeemed, to be the eternal abode of the obedient. For six thousand years Satan has struggled to maintain possession of the earth. Now God’s original purpose in its creation is accomplished. ‘The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’ Daniel 7:18.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 342.
These lessons are adapted from Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1918.