I’ve been doing some sermons on Revelation and it obviously intersects with Daniel 7.  I’ve been reading some of your Q/A, and I have a few thoughts to offer regarding the following section of Daniel 7.  “After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.”  We understand this to be referring to Domitian.  I’ve noted that you interpret the latter part of this passage to be reference to Domitian’s activity to undermine previous emperors Vitellius, Galba and Otho.  However, in some of my own research I’ve come across some information that sends me in a different direction.  I believe this may be referring to Domitian’s own military campaigns while he was emperor.  Domitian is recorded as having personally engaged in military campaigns, as he was hungry for personal military glory which had eluded him.  This was an unusual thing for the emperors to do while they were emperor; they typically had their military glory prior to their imperial careers.  My research tells me that Claudius was the only prior emperor to do so before Domitian.  Thus Domitian was in a way “different from the earlier ones” – particularly hungry for personal glory in military conquest.  More specifically, the Romans had a formal way of acknowledging and celebrating military victories with ceremonies called “triumphs”.   Interestingly, Domitian was credited with (I believe) 3 “triumphs” by the Senate.  His first “triumph” was recorded against the Chatti in 83AD.  He then celebrated another “triumph” in 86 over the Dacians, and then a third  in 89 AD (this was a “double triumph” over the Germans and Dacians together).   (The Emperor Domitian, Brian Jones, p.139).   If we understand the prophetic reference to “subdue 3 kings” to indicate 3 formally recognized “triumphs” over kingdoms, it fits well.  The term “melek” translated “king” in the Daniel 7 passage can apparently also be inserted in place for “kingdom” in prophetic language.


I like your interpretation.  I find it to be interesting.  I certainly agree that the word “king” in Daniel 7:24 can mean “kingdom” in prophetic language.  In fact, in Daniel chapter 2, Daniel speaks of Nebuchadnezzar, referring to the king, not the kingdom, then saying that after him another “kingdom” will rise.  Here king and kingdom are used nearly synonomously.  If I were writing a general commentary, rather than the exposition I wrote on Daniel, I would include your theory in that commentary.  However, I feel that it is less likely than the theory that I use in my book on Daniel (Daniel, Prophet to the Nations,  I will explain why, but let me say first that I certainly am not married to my personal theory and I recognize that it is merely a proposal and certainly very far from the final answer.

But let me go to Daniel 7.  In Daniel 7:8 the “little horn” which is presumably Domitian (about which I will have to say I am nearly certain that it is Domitian and you seem to agree) is described as uprooting three of the ten horns which came before him.  Given that the ten horns are almost certainly ten kings, ie. literally kings, it is likely that the three uprooted are three of those ten kings and therefore are not kingdoms.  I say that the ten are almost certainly literal kings because Domitian was literally the eleventh emperor of Rome.  He is the eleventh horn in Daniel 7:8 and he was the eleventh emperor of Rome.  The interpretation of actual kings (not kingdoms) fits the historical detail so beautifully that I am loathe to see it any other way.  Now, in Daniel 7:24 it does say that he will subdue three kings, which, as you say, could in principle be three kingdoms.  And in the interpretation of the dream in v. 24 it does not specify that the three kings he subdued are among the ten “who will come from the kingdom”.  This appears to allow for your interpretation, which is why I think might be right.  However, if I go back to the original vision in Daniel 7:8 I find myself returning to what I said earlier, which is that the interpretation I have given in my book seems more plausible.  In the actual vision, not the interpretation given to Daniel later, it seems to be quite definite that the three subdued are among the ten horns.

On the other hand, the fact that Domitian had three triumphs does lend some credence to your interpretation, so I will just say that it is possible and I certainly would not rule it out, but it is not the one I would put as my top likely interpretation of the prophecy.

Let me know if you feel this is not a sufficient response.

John Oakes

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