What does Daniel 7:23 mean?
ESV: "Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
NIV: "He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.
NASB: This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth and trample it down and crush it.
CSB: "This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, different from all the other kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, trample it down, and crush it.
NLT: Then he said to me, 'This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path.
KJV: Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
NKJV: “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.
Verse Commentary:
In Daniel's prophetic dream (Daniel 7:1), he was shown images of creatures which mostly resembled animals (Daniel 7:2–6). The fourth and final beast, however, was terrifying and strange (Daniel 7:7). Daniel observed a small horn emerging from ten others (Daniel 7:8) to make war on God's people (Daniel 7:20–22). Daniel has been asking for an explanation of his vision (Daniel 7:16, 19). In this verse, an angelic interpreter gives insight into the meaning of these symbols.

The fourth beast represents a unique kingdom on earth. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the fourth kingdom (Daniel 2:40) was Imperial Rome. However, that empire did not control the entire world or all people. Unlike Imperial Rome, the nation represented in Daniel's vision will bring conquest and devastation to the entire earth. This worldwide government will be under the rule of the beast that rises from the sea (Revelation 13:1). Revelation 13:7– 8 says, "And authority was given [to the beast] over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it." According to that passage, the only people who refuse to worship the beast are those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. According to Revelation 12:11, those who become believers in the tribulation will overcome the Devil who empowers the beast.
Verse Context:
Daniel 7:15–28 offers a detailed interpretation of Daniel's dream and visions (Daniel 7:1–14). The interpretation deals mainly with the fourth beast with teeth of iron and claws of bronze. It ends with the prediction that God will judge this fourth beast and give an everlasting kingdom to the Messiah. The New Testament reveals that this Promised One is Jesus Christ (Acts 13:23).
Chapter Summary:
Daniel experiences a troubling vision in the form of a dream. He sees animal-like beasts representing successive kingdoms. The last of these is uniquely powerful and led by a mysterious figure. This person, depicted as a "little horn," will be known for usurping power, blasphemy against God, and intense persecution of the saints. Yet his time will be short and it will end in God's successful judgment.
Chapter Context:
This chapter is the intersection of two different divisions in the book of Daniel. This is the last passage written in Aramaic, the common language of the world at that time. It is also the first segment focusing on prophecy, shifting from a record of events in the past to show a glimpse of the future. This passage connects to other descriptions of the end times, such as those found in Revelation chapters 13, 19, and 20.
Book Summary:
The book of Daniel contains famous Old Testament stories and prophecies. Daniel was taken from the Israelite people and made an advisor for a conquering empire. He demonstrates faithfulness and wisdom during many years serving in this role. Though Daniel does not deliver a public message, Jesus refers to him as a "prophet" (Matthew 24:15). The first portion of the book mostly describes Daniel's interpretations of dreams and other events. The second portion looks ahead to the end times. Daniel is classified in English Bibles as a "major" prophet, meaning the book is relatively long and the content has broad implications. The book of Revelation echoes and expands on many of the same themes.
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