Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "DANIEL"
Part 1 of 2
Daniel 1:1-7:28

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

The Book of Daniel


  1. The moral preparation necessary for receiving and understanding prophecy 1
    1. The deportation of Daniel 1-2
    2. The purpose of the king 3-7
      To train government officials in the palace university. Here are the meanings of the Hebrew and Babylonian names respectively:
      Daniel = "God is my Judge"
      (Belteshazzar = "A Prince of Bel").
      Hananiah = "Jehovah is gracious"
      (Shadrach = "Inspired of Rak"--the Sun).
      Mishael = "Who is as God?"
      (Meshach = "Who is as Aku?"--i.e., Venus).
      Azariah = "Helped of Jehovah"
      (Abed-nego = "The Servant of the Fire-god").

      Thus, God's name was "blasphemed among the Gentiles" because of Israel's sin (Rom. 2:24). The divinities after which they were named were the Babylonian trinity (ether, earth, and fire) and the female moon-good (perpetuated in the false teaching concerning the virgin Mary).
    3. The purpose of Daniel 8-16
      "Purposed in his heart not to defile himself" = separation from evil. (c p. Acts 11:23).

      NOTE: "To eat unbled flesh was forbidden to the Jew. Further, to drink the king's wine was to have fellowship with idolatry, for the Easterners always consecrated the wine by pouring out a libation to the idol. (See 1 Cor. 8:7, 10; 10:27-28.)" (Williams)

      "Pulse" -= vegetable food of all kinds.
    4. God honors Daniel's separated walk 17-21
  2. The forgotten dream  2:1-3

GENTILE WORLD EMPIRE ("The Times of the Gentiles") 2:4-7:28 (in ARAMAIC)

  1. The great colossus: A prophetic panorama of the world's entire future 2:4-49
    1. Nebuchadrezzar's dream, demand, and decree 4-13
    2. Nebuchadrezzar's consent to Daniel's plea for an extension of time 14-16 "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
    3. God reveals the dream to Daniel 17-36a
    4. God reveals the dream's interpretation to Daniel 36b-45
      The "terrible" image--both feared and regarded with admiration by men.
        "Numbered in this way and with the first of the kingdoms so plainly designated as Babylon in the days of Nebuchad­rezzar II, the student of history can find no difficulty in the interpretation. Further, we have every needed help furnished by the Scripture itself. " (Urquhart)

        NOTE: The image was increasingly inferior as to the metal and position in body:

I.  Vv. 37-38 Head Gold Absolute Monarchy Babylon 625-539 BC (2:37-38)
II. Vv. 39a Breast & Two Arms Silver Constitutional Monarchy Medo-Persia 539-331 BC (8:20)
III. Vv. 39b Belly & Thighs Brass Oligarchy Grecia 331-32 BC (8:21)
IV. Vv. 40-45 Legs & Feet (10 Toes) Iron & Potter's Clay "The State" : one ideal in various forms. Rome 32 BC to Present (9:24, 26*)

*Daniel 9:26 says "the people of the 'prince -that-shall-come' shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (temple). " Rome did this in AD 70. Hence, Rome is the fourth empire. History tells us Rome succeeded to the number 3 empire that Alexander founded and left to his four trusted generals.

THE IMAGE (Dan. 2) emphasized the pomp and splendor of world empire as MAN sees it, with bands playing, flags flying, etc.

THE BEASTS (Dan. 7) emphasized world empire as GOD sees it, established and maintained by force of conquest, characterized by wild beasts of the jungle, devouring one another in savage battle to the death. The four beasts are;

LION (Babylon); BEAR (Persia); LEOPARD (Greece); and COMPOSITE BEAST with 10 horns (Rome), cp. Rev. 13:1-3.

THREE PERIODS OF ROME (the FOURTH and FINAL Gentile World-Empire) 2:40-43

FIRST: The two legs of IRON (2:40) = THE ORIGINAL EMPIRE (2:33a)
Iron, uniquely associated literally (iron weapons, etc.) and figuratively ("the iron kingdom") with Rome. "Iron" indicates strength (v.40). Rome subdued and broke in pieces all its enemies.
Two legs, the eastern and western parts of the empire. In a basic sense we can say with Kipling:

"East is East and West is West
And never the twain will meet."

Even when united, Rome was, as represented by the two legs, still East and West, so that the eventual division into Eastern and Western empires is but in harmony with the basic viewpoint of the Scripture picture. (The division began in AD 286, when Diocletian associated Maximian with himself. Constantine (306-337) united the empire again, but paved the way for its final division by establishing in 330 "Constantin­ople" (city of Constantine) as a second Rome. The empire was again divided at his death among his three sons (337), was united in 353 under Constantius (the only survivor of the three), but the long impending and final division took place when Valentinian I, in 364, turned over the East to his brother Valens, reigning from Constantinople.


SECOND: "Feet.. .of iron and clay" (2:41) = THE INTERVENING PERIOD (2:33b)
The eventual division of the empire into two parts is predicted by the two legs, as explained above, but that does not explain why each half of the empire fell before its enemies (West, before Odoacer in 476; East, before Turks in 1453, with the fall of Constantinople); nor does it explain the persistence of Rome in the interim without any definite seats of authority, i.e., clay mixed with iron is essential to under­standing the fall of the "iron kingdom."

The verse before us (41) says that "the kingdom shall be divided" because it shall be composed of iron and clay. It was because the iron of Roman imperium militaristic force (as seen today in totalitarian systems) was mixed with the brittle weakness of clay (the popular will, fickle, and easily molded, as seen today in communistic appeals to the common man) that West and then East fell (because of lack of internal cohesion). And Rome has continued "divided" into many parts by these two diverse principles, but the important thing to see is that Rome has continued.

Rome has persisted in the unsatisfactory and weak condition of inward division, but she has perished! "The whole of Western Europe adopted the language of the Romans, and its inhabitants Looked upon themselves as Romans. The laws and institutions of Rome acquired such a power and durability that even at the present moment they still continue to maintain their influence upon millions of men. Such a development is without parallel in the history of the world. " (Urquhart) Rome persisted in the "Holy Roman Empire, " with all of its weakness, but attesting the truth of verse 41, and especially has the Roman (Catholic) Church perpetuated the language, spirit, idolatries, and culture of Rome.

Thus, the feet "period" of the fourth kingdom is the period between the dis­ruption of old Rome and the revival of Rome in its final form.


THIRD: "Toes (ten) ... of iron mixed with potter's clay" (2:42-43) = REVIVED ROME FOURTH EMPIRE
There have never been at any time in Rome's history ten distinct divisions. This final form of the empire has not yet arrived.

For the details of this final form of the fourth empire, compare Daniel 2, 7, 9, 11 with Revelation 13, 17, 18. The "deadly wound" of the dismembered empire will be healed (Rev. 13:3), and Satan's "Man of Sin" will be successful in heading up the western world politically and religiously in himself (with the help of the Jewish false prophet).

Charlemagne sought to regroup the southern European nations of the old Roman empire in AD 800 in a union which later became known as the Holy Roman Empire. This persisted through medieval times until after the Reformation. A period of nationalistic emphasis, with antagonism heightened by colonial expansion jealousies, characterized the further history of Europe from that time into the modern period. Bitter national envy and hatred carried on into the 20th century and had a real share in projecting World Wars I and II. This was especially true of Germany and France (War of 1870, World Wars I and II).

But the decline of colonial power (in order: Spain, Portugal, Holland, Denmark, Germany, and now Belgium, France, and Britain), the unexpected and growing-menace of the crushing weight of the Russian bear, the economic bleeding-white resulting from two world wars, sandwiching a depression and deflation, and chiefly the ideological menace of communistic influence with the masses within each nation, have all led to an inevitable trend of enforced unity of Western Europe and the Western Hemisphere, all of which is the projection of the remnant of ancient Rome as it came out of the middle ages. As Benjamin Franklin once said of the need of foregoing jealousies in favor of union and safety for the American colonies: "Gentlemen, we must hang together or we shall hang separately."

And so this has come to pass in the western world, spurred on by the military and ideological threat of Russia and her satellites (to be identified by prophecy's reference to the northern confederacy, Dan. 11:40). Meanwhile the revivified nations of the Far East are shaping into the confederacy of 'the kings of the east' (sun-rising, Rev. 10:12) and the fast-forming nations of Africa are becoming a very real preparation for the activity of the "king of The south" (Dan. 11:40). The western world (all. that was Rome and all that came out of Rome) is also heading toward union (Dan. 7:7-8; Rev. 13:1-3). It is tills regrouped entente of the western world winch will make His covenant with Israel for one "week" (seven years) permitting the restoration of temple worship at Jerusalem (Dan. 9:27). With monumental Arab-Jewish hate dramatically rising, to accomplish tills will take some doing! But even this will be accomplished through the suave diplomacy of the leaders of the western empire in Rome and Jerusalem, and a temple will supplant the mosque.  Israel's victory in the Six-Day War has not removed the problems involved, but illustrate how quickly things can happen. Also, every victory Israel has gained has made her enemies hate her more and long for revenge!

Events which have characterized the trend away from nationalistic disunion and toward a restoration of a unified western world are such things as: (1) The defeat of Turkey in World War 1, the freeing of Jerusalem and the opening of the way, slowly but surely, for Jewish emigration back to Eretz Israel; (2) The rise of Zionism with a tremendous assist from the famous "Balfour Declaration" (1917), resulting from Britain's gratitude to Dr. Chaim Weizmann for the discovery of TNT, which helped the Allies win World War I. The declaration said: "His Majesty's Government (British) view with favor the establishment IN Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people ... " (3) As result of this, Britain took care of Palestine as a mandate under the League of Nations and favored Jewish immigration, despite Arab objection, until an impasse was readied at the close of World War II, and Britain relin­quished her mandate, which situation the Jews seized to form the sovereign state of Israel in May, 1948. (4) The first to suggest the re-establishment of all-that-was-once-Rome, at least in the European area, was David Lloyd-George at tile close of World War 1 in 1918. This farsighted English prime minister saw the only hope of survival was "a United States of Europe," as he called it.

Others took up the cry: Briand of France urged it, The League of Nations was an obvious attempt in this direction. Although it included other nations, its main thrust was for peace in Europe. The United States did not join the League of Nations, but was becoming more and more involved in Europe. What happened there deeply affected us. Isolation slowly but surely gave way, and World War II catapulted us into the arms of Western Europe.

On the way, there was a detour in the attempts of Mussolini and then Hitler to unite whole areas of Europe by the sword, rather than voluntary political action of the sovereign nations. Indeed, despite his poor performance militarily, Mussolini did much to revive the dream of a return to the glories of the fourth empire of ancient Rome. In fact, after his conquest of Ethiopia,

Mussolini proclaimed the restoration of the Roman Empire after 15 centuries on May 9, 1936. Hitler's dream likewise turned to a nightmare in a Berlin bunker after making all of Europe and America tremble, as had Kaiser Wilhelm, Napoleon, the Turks, the Mohammedans, and the Tartars before him. No world empire has succeeded the fourth empire and cannot; there must -- according to prophecy -- be a revived form of the FOURTH empire. The fifth kingdom will be, not of human, but of divine origin -- the kingdom of Christ, established by Christ's return like a smashing, smiting stone.

Before that time, however, the western world must get together, so that a treaty can be made with Israel. Growing out of the Russian threat, the exhaustion of men and money, the need for togetherness became even more apparent. First came Benelux in 1944 (a working agreement between Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg).

Moving spirits in this drive were Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium, Jean Monnet of France, and Winston Churchill of England. Following Benelux came Western European Union in 1948; NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in 1949 -- this is where we of the United States came in; the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952; and the aborted European Defense Community in 1954, defeated only by the weakness of a pre-De Gaulle France. Finally steps were taken in December, 1957, which led to a six nation trade agreement (France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg).

In 1967, after 10 years, trade had risen 238%. In some categories of import and export of certain common market partners, the percentage of increase was as high as 436%. Undoubtedly Britain will yet join despite the delay caused by De Gaulle's intransigence, when problems involving commonwealth nations are solved. The United States has had to adjust her tariffs (by the Kennedy Treaty) both to defend her interests as well as cooperate for the common good. Eventually the United States will no doubt join.

Thus, first we have MILITARY union (NATO's common uniform, weapons, command), followed by the Common Market's ECONOMIC union (making trade as free across Europe's national boundaries as it is across state boundaries in the U.S.). The final step will be POLITICAL union. First steps have already been taken in a framework plan for representation in a parliament of the western world, agreed upon early after World War II.

This latter is as inevitable as the tide coming in. The western hemisphere will be part of this revived fourth empire. Not a fundamentalist preacher, but none other than Chet Huntley, noted NBC commentator, said in a broadcast on May 2, 1956: "By treaty, by past, by tradition, by promise, by sentiment, by civilization, heritage, language, custom, and purpose, we are today bound to Europe. A loose coalition of states will not do. The formation of an Atlantic Community is the logical conclusion. This reporter can recall most vividly the debate when the

European Defense Community way almost a reality. I have only to recall. the speeches of Monnet (of France), Henri-Spaak (of Belgium), and Dedasperi (of Italy) through which ran the steady premise that a federated Europe could alone become a reality when it is joined by Britain and the United States in an Atlantic Community. "

Therefore, a United States of Europe must come, and indeed a United States of (the Western World. This is the ultimate of prophecy and the clear trend of recent years. One of the most significant little bits of news a few years ago (lost in a small article of the newspaper) was the fact that West Germany was invited by France to train her troops on FRENCH soil! Knowing the galling pain and hate that came out of 1870's Franco-Prussian War, and World Wars I and II, this is nothing short of a miracle. As late as 1955, any such possibility would have been scoffed at. It became a reality. The world is moving toward the end prophesied by Daniel and other prophets!

Just how far this trend will go before the Lord returns for His Church we cannot know. The cycle could swing the other way. But if it should, it will return again. At any event, the western world, as revivified Rome (it matters not under what name) will make a treaty with Israel for one seven-year period.

The final form of the revived empire will be a ten-divisioned form pictured by ten toes (Dan. 2) and ten horns (Dan. 7; Rev. 13, 17). Some think the actual ten-divisioned form will not come till about the middle of the 70th Week, when the Jewish leader will traitorously double-cross his people and break the covenant (Dan. 9:27), by desecrating the sanctuary through setting up an image in the temple of the political leader of the western empire (the one with headquarters in Rome, Mt. 24:15; Rev. 13:14-15). He will persecute with devilish cruelty all who refuse to worship the image (Rev. 13; Mt. 24:16-22, esp. v.21). This period is called THE Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob's Trouble, Jer. 30:7.

The latter half of the week will be the occasion for the hellish, Satan-inspired form of empire, which will specialize in persecution of believers and blasphemy of heaven and its Christ. These ten kings (kingdoms) will give their power to the beast "for one hour" (i.e., one agreed period), Rev. 17:12-14.

This final form of the empire will continue till Christ returns to earth as the smiting stone. (See b below.)

Now, back to our outline:

          FIVE things about THE STONE:
          (1) The stone -- "cut out without hands" -- a supernatural stone which becomes an avenging, smiting stone. This refers to Christ, who was supernatural in His birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming again. The last is the emphasis here.
          (2) The stone--"smote the image upon its feet"--at the toes! Thus, Christ destroys world empire in the final era of the final (fourth) empire (Rome revived).
          (3) The image is seen standing INTACT when the stone strikes the feet. Each of the four kingdoms did not obliterate the previous kingdom(s), but absorbed their qualities and proficiencies. Each kingdom passed this on to the succeeding kingdom.
          (4) The image is entirely "broken in pieces." Tills is total destruction of total Gentile world power at the close of the Times of the Gentiles, spoken of by Christ. The total image emphasizes that Gentile world power will last until the coming of Christ.
          (5) "The stone ... became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." Messiah's kingdom shall not only be supreme over all the earth, but it will be a universal kingdom on the earth (an answer to the amillennial idea of spiritual rule merely over the earth).

          Here we have the final world dominion of a King true to God; hence, it is a kingdom which "shall never be destroyed." "Hereafter" -- this is prophecy, not history, as some skeptics claim.
      2. Nebuchadrezzar exalts Daniel to be prime minister ("sat in gate") 2.46-49

PARENTHESIS: Chapters 3-6

These incidents illustrate: (1) the character and tendency of the Gentile world in its exaltation of man; (2) the attitude of Gentile government toward God's people (God's own, not simply godly Jews), especially in the last era of Roman power, i.e., the Tribulation; (3) and the final doom of Gentile world power.

      1. Enforced worship of the image 3 (See New Scofield notes)
        The pride of man and exaltation of man is illustrated by the great image. Satan's exaltation of man against God in his final "Man of Sin" is also illustrated by the image. The incident is typical of "the abomination of desolation" and a faithful remnant who will not bow to it and are miracu­lously preserved in the fiery trials of the Great Tribulation in the time of the end (Rev. 7:1-4).
        1. The golden image (all gold from head to toes!) 1-7
          The king has missed the message that his empire is only the first of four! He makes the image all of gold.
        2. The courage and confidence of three real believers 8-18
          Note: God's "Life Insurance" for His own (v.l7) 15-18
          (1) Our God is able to deliver (faith) 17a
          (2) He will deliver us (confidence) 17b
          (3) But if, for some reason beyond our ken, He does not deliver (18), "we will not serve thy gods” (which are false), trusting HIS wisdom for the unexplained.

          Armed with this kind of "Life Insurance Policy, " a believer is invincible to fear.
        3. The furnace (of testing) made harmless by the presence of the Son of God 19-27
        4. The convinced king's decree 28-30
          Note: Nebuchadrezzar recognized God's power hut did not humble himself; hence, the experience of chapter 4. He was convinced, but not converted.
      2. An account, (in retrospect) of Nebuchadrezzar's humbling (told by himself) 4
        1. The conclusion to which the king came (after events of vv.4-36) 1-3
        2. The kind's troublous "tree vision" 4-27
          (1) The dream and the Chaldeans' failure 4-7
          (2) The king's confidence in Daniel 8-18
          (3) Daniel’s concern for the king  19
          (4) Daniel’s comments to the king 20-26
          (5) Daniel’s counsel to the king 27
        3. The coming to pass of the vision  28-33
        4. The consequent conversion and restoration of the king  34-36
        5. The conclusion (cp., 1-3)  37

          Note:  This chapter illustrates the pride of Gentile world power, how God deals with it (how He has throughout the centuries), and how He will abase Satan’s Super-Man who shall exalt himself above all that is called God (2 Thes. 2:4).
      3. The doom of Belshazzar and the first world kingdom 5
        Typical of the impiety and sudden doom of Gentile world power in the time of the end.
        1. Belshazzar's blasphemous feast 1-4
        2. The hand which wrote on the wall and its effects 5-9
        3. Daniel called from obscurity at the counsel of the elderly "Queen Mother" 10-16
          (Nebuchadrezzar's wife?: This would only necessitate her outliving Neb. by 25 years; this would not require her to be over 90, probably less--not at all impossible.)
        4. Daniel interprets the writing of doom 17-28
          The kingdom to be given to the Medes and Persians because of Belshazzar's pride and blasphemy. Each of these three Aramaic words has a double sense.

          "MENE" (from mena = to number) is repeated for emphasis. God has numbered the days of the Babylonian kingdom and says they ha\e run out.

          "TEKEL" (from tekal = to weigh) indicates the kingdom has been spiritually evaluated by God and "found lacking" in a moral right to continue. (Nations do not have souls and must be judged in this world in time, not eternity.)

          "PERES" (from peres = to divide; "Persians" comes from paras) is a prediction that the kingdom is to be divided and given to the Persians.

          "UPHARSIN" (u is Aramaic for and, as in Hebrew) is merely the plural of "PERES."
        5. Daniel promoted to third ruler of Babylon 29
          With Nabonidus (No. 1) and Belshazzar (No. 2). Daniel was king (No. 3) for a night!
        6. The king (Belshazzar) and kingdom of Babylon fall before Darius the Mede (Gubaru/Gobryas) 30-31
          See explanation on p. 3 of syllabus and notes in New Scofield Bible. The syllabus gives latest information.
      4. Darius's decrees and Daniel's deliverance from a den of lions 6
        Typical of the False Prophet's decree to worship image of the Roman Beast and of the Lord's care over an Israelitish remnant who, refusing to bow to the image, will become special objects of the wrath of Satan, that roaring Lion (1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:7-17; 13:4,7).
        1. Daniel's preeminence 1-3
        2. The diabolic plot against Daniel 4-9
        3. The fearless devotion of Daniel 10
        4. The decree's execution 11-17
        5. The deliverance of Daniel 18-23
        6. The doom of Daniel's enemies 24
        7. The decree of Darius 25-27
        8. The denouement 28


    1. Daniel's vision of the four world empires--"The Times of the Gentiles" 7
      The first vision (chapter 2) was Nebuchadrezzar's, and fittingly illustrated the splendor and pomp which mere men of the world see in any great world empire.

      This second vision (here, chapter 7) is Daniel's, and fittingly illustrates what God and an instructed believer see in world empire, i.e., "wild beasts, " "the law of the jungle, " the philosophy that might makes right; the heartless, cruel barbarism of military' pride, conquest, and expansion.

      The vision is essentially the same as chapter 2, but with added details, and--as already remarked--an entirely different viewpoint.

      "Four" is the number of universality (vv.2-3) and "sea" is the unorganized mass of humanity, out of which leaders and empires are developed.
        1. The symbolic dream 1-16
          Introduction 1-3
          1. The four great Gentile world empires 4-8
            (1) LION (cp. Head, 2:27-28) BABYLON, v.4
            Winged Lion = national symbol of Babylon
            Wings = swiftness
            "Stand upon feet, " "man's heart" = decay through luxury and licentiousness of vicious power which made con­quests possible.
            (2) BEAR (cp. chest, 2:39a) MEDO-PERSIA, v.5
            One side (Persia) higher (superior) to other (Media)
            Three ribs = either the three portions of empire: Media, Persia, Babylon, or more likely the three chief cities of the Chaldean empire conquered: Babylon, Ecbatana, and Borsippa; or possibly: Lydia, then Babylon, then Egypt:--the kingdoms ("much flesh") devoured by the Medo-Persian Bear.
            (3) LEOPARD (cp. belly and thighs, 2:39b) GRECIA, v.6
            Four wings = swift conquest of Alexander's four generals Four heads = division of empire among four generals following Alexander's untimely death.
            (4) COMPOSITE BEAST (cp. legs and feet, 2:40-43) ROME. vv.7-8
            Compare with chapter 2: "terrible" "iron" "devoured and broke in pieces" "ten horns." The viewpoint of Rome here is basically of the empire in its final form in the last days: ten divisions, with one arising out of them--"a little horn"--who nevertheless speaks "great things"; the first beast of Rev. 13:1-10; cp. Rev. 17. The near view fourth empire fulfillment was the Caesars.
          2. The kingdoms of this world given to the Son of Man by the "Ancient of Days" 9-14
            "beheld till the (last) beast was slain"... THEN
            Messiah is given "dominion over all people!"
          3. The effect of the vision on Daniel 15-16
        2. The straightforward interpretation of the symbolic dream (with special emphasis on last phase of Roman Empire) 7:17-28
          1. Four beasts = four kings or kingdoms, v. 17
          2. The saints' kingdom supersedes these kingdoms, v.l8
          3. The fourth beast or kingdom, w. 19-27
            Diverse from previous kingdoms, especially in end time.
            "Little horn" = absolute, outbroken opposition to God and His plan.
            God's saints victorious nevertheless--"given the kingdom. "

            Note: "Little horn"--he is the same as the one called "the prince that shall come" of Daniel 9, and is the "Roman" political leader over the final ten-divisioned form of the fourth world empire, (Rev. 13:1-10).

          4. The effect on Daniel 28


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