When we looked at Daniel 2 for these commentary posts I did not spend any time unpacking the content of the vision and its interpretation because I wanted to save that discussion for our exploration of the similar vision of Daniel 7. You can find here a pdf of some parallels between Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 and then the interpretation of the matters involved in the third column.
I have not yet had time to fully outline Daniel 7, however some preliminary remarks can be made. First, there is an obvious inclusio opening and closing the chapter as usual. Here the inclusio begins by telling us the head/beginning of the matter (ESV translation says ‘sum of the matter’): רֵ֥אשׁ מִלִּ֖ין(Daniel 7:1). And here the inclusio ends by telling us of the end of the matter: עַד־כָּ֖ה סוֹפָ֣א דִֽי־מִלְּתָ֑א(Daniel 7:28). And furthermore there appears to be an inclusio marking off the second half of the chapter telling us that Daniel’s spirit was anxious and the visions of his head alarmed him (Daniel 7:15) and that Daniel’s thoughts alarmed him and his color changed but he kept the matter in his heart (Daniel 7:28). No matter what the exact outline of this chapter might be it is clear that in the center is the vision or its interpretation since that is what comes between Daniel 7:1 and Daniel 7:28. This you will remember is quite different from Daniel 2 where the content of the dream and its interpretation is not actually the focus of that chapter.
Now in order to benefit from the handout offered above, I suggest that you actually read the verses referenced. And the more that you think about these things the more sense the conclusions offered in the third column will be. You might note as well that Daniel 7:4 sounds an awful lot like what we saw happen to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 and that the reason the bear is raised up on one side is that the Persian empire has two major tribes but one is stronger than the other: the Persians and Medes. You might listen to my sermons on these matters for more details. But I also want to mention one major observations that I made while teaching the handout offered to you above that I do not have in circulation this clearly elsewhere. It is this: that the Hebrew Scriptures often lump together the first and second comings of Christ. This is one of the reasons that the Roman empire in these visions is not only the Roman empire but all the empires from Rome until the return of Jesus Christ. The prophets simply telescoped together the first and second comings. But additionally, the kingdom of God while not here yet fully is nevertheless among us because it broke in during the Roman Empire due to the work of Jesus Christ. Too bad I didn’t record this session of teaching because there was so much more good stuff that you might have learned. For those who live locally — Bible class is on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m.