Daniel 7:1-3

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Daniel 7:1
  • Daniel 7:2
  • Daniel 7:3

Daniel sees a vision in his sleep. He watches four beasts rise out of a stormy sea. Each beast represents a kingdom that will rise and fall. The first beast is a winged lion (Babylon), the second is a ravenous bear (Medo-Persia), and the third is a leopard with four heads and four wings (Greece). The fourth beast (Rome) is more bizarre and terrifying than the others; it has ten horns on its head and teeth of iron. This final beast grows a horn that is boastful and blasphemous, likely representing the ruler called the “beast” of Revelation.

A courtroom with many thrones appears. On the judge’s throne sits the Ancient of Days: God. His throne is surrounded by fire and shoots fire out from it, representing God as the ultimate judge. He judges the beast with many horns, specifically the boastful horn. God kills the beast, destroys its body, and throws it into fire. The other beasts are spared, even though their power is taken away. An angel explains to Daniel that the beasts are different kings and kingdoms that will rise and fall. The boastful horn on the fourth beast is a king who will wage war against God’s people, but will be destroyed by God. Then, the kingdom of the earth will be given to a divine Son of Man to whom God grants glory and power. He will rule, and God’s people will reign with Him, and His kingdom will last forever.

Daniel has a vision of a stormy ocean. Four strange animals rise from the water.

Daniel 7 steps backward in time. This chapter deals with a prophetic vision Daniel experienced in the first year of Belshazzar, who was king of Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar’s reign (and life) ended in Chapter 5, and Darius the Mede took over governance of Babylon after the Medes and Persians conquered and assumed rule over Babylon. The episode with Daniel in the lion’s den occurred during Darius’ reign, in Chapter 6.

Daniel’s vision occurs at night, during his sleep, as he lay on his bed. He sees a dream and visions in his mind. When he wakes up, Daniel writes the dream down in a summary. This chapter is Daniel’s written account of that dream.

The vision begins with a stormy scene: the four winds of heaven are stirring up the great sea. A chaotic, dark, rolling ocean kicked from all sides by four winds. The vision becomes even more eerie; Daniel sees four great beasts rising from the sea—each one different from one another. Huge, grotesque monsters climb out of the water onto the land.

Daniel describes them in the following passage.

7 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. 2 Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.

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