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.