Dream of the Four Beasts

Posted: February 23, 2017 in Daniel, Uncategorized

Daniel 7, “Dream of the Four Beasts”

Dreams can be funny things.  If we’re troubled about something, the events often show up in our dreams.  If we start new projects, we might dream about them at night.  Occasionally we’ll have nightmares that we hope to soon forget, and other times wonderful dreams we wish we could remember.  Of course, most of the time a dream is just a dream.  People often look for deep meanings, but usually there’s not much to be found.  The things God wants us to remember, He’ll cause us to remember – and such was the case with Daniel.

In Chapter 7, Daniel receives the first of several dreams, of which he records in vivid detail.  These were no minor dreams; these were prophetic dreams about the future of world events, even leading up to the end-times and the kingdom of Christ.  Some of what Daniel saw was troublesome, but other parts were awesome!  What God revealed to Daniel in his dreams is that God is always God, and He always reigns.  No matter what happens within the world, God rules, and He has His sovereign plans in motion.  One day we will see Jesus ruling the world as King, and all the world will see the same!

Daniel 7
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

  • Notice the timeframe – the chronology jumps back several years to before the conquest of Babylon by the Medes & Persians.  Here, Daniel writes about “the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon,” the son of Nabonidus, during the year that Belshazzar assumed regency over Babylon while his father was out at war.  Thus this sets the timeframe around 553 BC, just a few years before Cyrus conquers Babylon & installs Darius the Mede as the new local king.
  • It was then that “Daniel had a dream.” He had interpreted dreams of others (two from Nebuchadnezzar, and would soon interpret the writing on the wall seen by Belshazzar); now he had his own.  This serves as a bit of a transition in the overall narrative of the book.  To this point, Daniel has (writing in the third person) recorded various events that occurred to him and his friends.  From Chapter 7 onward, he will write (mainly in the 1st person, changing back to the Hebrew language in Chapter 8) about visions, dreams, and oracles he received.  The dream of Chapter 7 serves somewhat as a bridge.  The content of the dream applies mainly to the Gentile kingdoms of the world, with a bit of attention put upon the people of Israel, whereas Chapter 8 starts to truly focus on the impact of world events upon the Jews.  (Which possibly explains the switch back to Hebrew at that point, rather than in Chapter 7.)
  • Please also note that although Daniel recorded what was important for us to know, he didn’t record everything.  He included “the main facts,” but didn’t necessarily give a comprehensive account of every single detail.  That’s OK – he wrote down what was needed to at least communicate what he saw.
  • The four beasts (2-8)

2 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

  • He saw the four winds from the four points of the compass (north, south, east, west) stir up the Mediterranean Sea, causing “four great beasts” to arise from within.  Technically “the four winds of heaven” could be translated “the four spirits of heaven,” but the idea of wind far better fits the context.  After all, the focus isn’t on the spirit/wind, but upon the beasts that arise.  All the wind does is churn up the waters, and out of that chaos (where the Hebrews believed much chaos dwelt) came these four strange animals, which he soon describes in detail.  It should be noted that although three out of the four can be imagined rather easily, the fourth cannot.  Ironically, we have both the most and least detail given about the fourth beast – it simply defied description. (So take any graphic image of it lightly.)
  • Later in the chapter, it is specifically said to Daniel that these four beasts represent four kings/kingdoms (7:17) – and with that in mind, it becomes fairly easy to see parallels between Daniel’s current dream and the dream he interpreted years earlier for King Nebuchadnezzar.  Thus, we’ll look at the beasts hand-in-hand with the statue previously envisaged by Nebuchadnezzar.

4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

  • Knowing what Daniel has already written about Nebuchadnezzar, there is little doubt that this first beast is a reference to the kingdom of Babylon, and specifically to him.  Just as Nebuchadnezzar had seen a head of gold, so did Daniel see a most noble beast: a lion, having two wings like an eagle.  It was a strong, proud animal until the point that it was humiliated, having its wings removed.  Yet even here, there was a demonstration of grace as the humiliated lion was “lifted up” and given “a man’s heart.”  Undoubtedly this is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation resulting from his pride, as God caused him to be insane for 7 years before finally restoring to him his mind and his kingdom.

5 “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’

  • NKJV says “suddenly,” but the word could just be translated “behold.”  There isn’t so much an emphasis on a shortness of time, but of something new to see.  We’re not told that the first beast disappeared, though it is certainly implied.  The second beast was a deformed bear of sorts, having one “side” larger than the other.  This corresponds to the statue’s chest of silver, with its two arms, i.e., the empire of the Medes and the Persians.  Why was one side “raised up”?  Because one of imperial powers had more authority and influence than the other.  Under the reign of Cyrus, Persia had far more power than Media, thus the bear seems to be stronger on one side than the other.
  • In addition, this bear had “three ribs in its mouth,” seemingly as a result of the command it had received to “devour much flesh.”  When the Medes & Persians conquered the ancient near east, they conquered three main kingdoms: Babylon, Lydia (which held most of modern-day Turkey), and Egypt.  Although scholars debate it, it seems likely that the ribs represented the kingdoms already devoured by the Persians.

6 “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

  • The third beast is typified by speed.  A four-headed leopard, with “four wings of a bird.”  This parallels the belly & thighs of bronze, the Grecian empire, specifically that of Alexander the Great.  Speed is a most accurate description of this empire, as Alexander conquered the known world within ten years, completed by the time he was 30 years old.  That the leopard had four heads is emblematic of the fact that after Alexander’s death, the Grecian empire split into four factions, much of which is discussed in later chapters of Daniel.
  • Keep in mind that Daniel is witnessing all of this in a dream several years before the Babylonians ever lost power.  And yet he is seeing future world events with incredible accuracy.  To critics, this is proof that someone other than Daniel wrote all of this several years after it happened.  To those who rightly acknowledge the early date of Daniel (indeed, Daniel’s own authorship), it is evident of the omniscience of God.  The God who transcends time and space can surely reveal intimate details about the future if He so desires.  After all, God knows the future just as well as He knows the past – He reigns over it all.
    • How comforting it is to know that we know (and are known) by the all-knowing, all-powerful God!  This God is our Heavenly Father, and He holds our lives in His hands.  This is the God we know through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is a God we can trust!

7 “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

  • The final beast was much more disturbing to Daniel, as it was one that could not be easily described, at least in comparison with other earthly animals.  Daniel described the characteristics of this fourth beast, but words failed to do much more than that.  This one was “dreadful & terrible, exceedingly strong” – it was vicious & violent.  It had the power and will to cause incredible destruction, devouring whatever was in its way, and pound it into the dust.  The fact that it had “iron teeth” and “ten horns” is an indication that this parallels the iron legs & feet with ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision: Rome & the nations that endured after the Roman empire.  Every empire preceding it was brutal, but Rome was exceptionally known for its strength, and at its height commanded a kingdom that not only stretched over much of the ancient near east, but also all of Europe and north Africa.  The Roman empire held its iron grip for nearly 500 years as we normally imagine it (and continued on for another 1000 years as the much weakened Byzantine empire).  Truly, this was a kingdom unlike the world had ever previously known!
  • The interesting part of Daniel’s vision is that this beast combines the legs & feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, when Nebuchadnezzar had initially seen them as two separate things.  The legs were made of iron, whereas the feet were a mixture of iron and clay.  Obviously the feet were related to the legs, but there was a weakening as well.  In Daniel’s dream, it is all one & the same, perhaps indicating a greater emphasis on the feet (ten horns/ten toes) rather than the legs.  It was the set of horns that truly caught Daniel’s attention…

8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

  • If the beast itself wasn’t monstrous enough, surely this horn was!  Out of ten horns came another one, supplanting three of the previous horns, and this one was grotesque in its growth.  It had the “eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.”  Literally, the Aramaic states that the mouth spoke “great words/things,” though the context later shows that these things were great insults and blasphemies against God.
  • The question then becomes: what is this horn?  If horns typically represent powers or kingdoms in the Bible (which they do), what power and/or kingdom does this monstrous blasphemous horn represent?  Antichrist.  It should be noted that scholars debate this, depending on their theological viewpoint of end-times theology, but the weight of the Scripture from the New Testament argues very strongly for this horn to be representative of the kingdom of Antichrist.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians of a “man of sin…son of perdition” would promote himself above God and proclaim himself as God (2 Ths 2:3-4).  More specifically, John wrote of seeing a vision much like Daniel’s, and the language he used was incredibly similar (no doubt, written that way intentionally). [Revelation 13:1-8]  Notice that this beast also had ten horns, was physically a compilation of the other beasts of Daniel’s vision (leopard, bear, lion), spoke “great things” and blasphemies against God, and was given authority to rule the nations for a time while he persecuted the people of God (something which will be seen later in Ch. 7).  As Scripture is by far the best interpreter of Scripture, it seems evident that John envisaged Daniel’s fourth beast as Antichrist, as John used the same language to describe the beast he knew to be Antichrist.
    • All that being said, Christians need to be careful.  There is a very real tendency among those who study end-times to be always on the lookout for Antichrist.  People try to identify him, and point to signs of his soon approach.  Nowhere in the Bible are we told to do so.  We’re certainly told to be aware of the times in which we live, but the Person for whom we’re to watch is Jesus Christ.  We’re to look for Him & His coming, always ready to see Him face-to-face by either death or rapture.  We need to know the truth about Antichrist, but we’re not to obsess about him.  We’re to listen for the trumpet of our Savior, and prepare ourselves to meet Him in the air!
  • In fact, that’s what Daniel’s vision went on to do.  After all of the turmoil of the beasts came the calm serenity and pure power of God.  Vs. 9…
  • The Ancient of Days (9-14)

9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.

  • No longer looking upon a churning sea with raging beasts, Daniel sees the heavenly throne room of God.  Of all the thrones that are present, only one matters: the one on which “the Ancient of Days was seated.”  Why is God the “Ancient of Days”?  He is the eternal one.  God the Father, Son, and Spirit has no beginning, nor any end.  He stretches back into infinite past, predating time itself.  To refer to God as the “Ancient of Days” is not far removed from referring to Him as “I AM,” the ever-existent One.
  • The Ancient One is the Holy One.  His clothing and hair is described as “white as snow…like pure wool.”  Although we might associate white hair with age, contextually this seems to be a symbol of God’s holy righteousness (being that it is paired with His clothing).  There is none more righteous than He – His very presence exudes holy glory, such as was is shown as His throne as a “fiery flame.”  Seated among fire, with “a fiery stream” (Lava? Lightning?) issuing forth from Him, this is a God unlike any other.  The false gods of Babylon were nothing in comparison with the true Ancient of Days.  Mythological gods have beginnings, sin, and limitations; the True God has none of these.  He is beyond time, totally righteous, and infinite in His power.
  • Even the throne room was unique.  God’s throne seemed itself to be a fiery chariot (not unlike the vision Ezekiel received of God’s throne), and multitudes of angels “ministered to Him.”  The various beasts may have commanded large kingdoms of men, but they were nothing compared to the millions upon millions of angels who served Almighty God.  This was God’s courtroom, with the Ancient of Days presiding as the Judge, and the time had come for court to be in session.  “The books were opened,” as judgment began.  Who is the first to be judged?  Antichrist.  Vs. 11…

11 “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

  • No matter what blasphemous words this horn spoke about God, it was not enough to prevail against Him, and “the beast was slain,” with its body “given to the burning flame.”  Contextually, it seems that Daniel saw the flame from God’s throne consume the beast – but this is no doubt paralleled in the book of Revelation when John sees Antichrist and his false prophet cast into the lake of fire (Rev 19:20).  The beast has power for a time, but his power is temporary.  Everything he has is subject to the will of the Almighty God of justice.
  • Of course, it was not only the fourth beast that was destroyed, but the previous three beasts were also left powerless, though they were allowed to continue for a while.  How exactly this aspect of the vision ties in with Antichrist’s judgment is unknown.  It’s possible that it’s unrelated and instead refers to the influence of these other empires within world history.

13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.

  • The vision returned to the throne room of God, and Daniel sees someone else: a person “like the Son of Man.”  Daniel sees Jesus!  Again, considering the fact that the Bible interprets the Bible, there can be no debate that this Son of Man is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are only three major instances in the Old Testament where this phrase refers to a particular individual: (1) throughout the book of Ezekiel, referring to Ezekiel himself, and (2) here in Daniel 7:13 in reference to this incredible Man in the vision approaching God, and (3) later in Daniel 8:17 as a brief reference to Daniel himself.  That being the case, and knowing that “Son of Man” was (far & away) Jesus’ most common title to refer to Himself, to whom would He refer?  Certainly not Ezekiel or Daniel…it must be the Man of Daniel 7:13.  This is no ordinary man – this is the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ!  This Man comes “with the clouds of heaven,” referring to the weighty clouds of God’s glory, just as what was seen over the ancient tabernacle, or in the wilderness leading the children of Israel.  Additionally, this Man has the right to be brought “near” to the Ancient of Days – something that would be unheard of for any “normal” man.  This is Jesus, and Daniel sees the day that He is recognized as the King of kings.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

  • The other beasts had dominions & kingdoms, but they didn’t have anything like this!  The kingdom of the Son of Man encompassed the entire earth.  It was universal in its scope, and eternal in its longevity.  To say that “all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him” is not to say that all people in all history are saved.  It simply means that there is no corner of the world where the reign of Jesus’ kingdom stops.  When Jesus rules in power and glory, He will rule over all the earth.
  • Question: Will all peoples & languages serve Him?  Absolutely!  This is no prophetic hyperbole.  This is something emphasized in Old & New Testament alike.  As Paul wrote, Philippians 2:9–11, "(9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Jesus will rule over all the earth, and all the earth will see Him for who He is!
  • The interpretation (15-28)

15 “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16 I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. …

  • All of what we read sounds pretty amazing.  Why was Daniel troubled & grieved by it?  Probably because although he understood some parts of it, he didn’t understand all of it.  We have the benefit of having the completed canon of Scripture on which to rely – Daniel did not.  This was all brand-new to him, and he didn’t know what to make of it.  Thankfully, he recognized he wasn’t alone, so he asked one of the angels standing near him for help.
  • Apparently in his vision, an angel was just hanging out, and Daniel was able to walk up to him and say hello.  As fun as that may be, we have something far better: 24/7 access to God the Holy Spirit.  We have Almighty God as our Teacher, and He illumines the Scripture to us. (1 Jn 2:27)  When we have questions, all we need do is ask.  He may immediately provide the answer, or He may lead us to another godly teacher for help, but one thing is for certain: we’re never alone.

…So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’

  • The angel (unnamed here, though Gabriel is specified in Ch 8-9) said that the four beasts represent “four kings which arise out of the earth.”  This would have confirmed that Daniel’s dream mirrored that of Nebuchadnezzar years earlier.  Yet what Nebuchadnezzar didn’t have were the details of what would happen after those kingdoms arose.  He knew that they would be destroyed by a coming Rock, and God’s kingdom would last forever (2:44-45), but that was all.  Now, Daniel could be assured that he received more information to the events of how it would take place.
  • Interestingly, the angel also said that “the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom,” rather than the Son of Man Himself.  Is this saying that the imagery of the Son of Man = the Saints?  No.  The saints of God belong to God, and are a part of the kingdom of the Son of Man.  In Christ, we are co-heirs with Him.  We share in His inheritance, and we are given thrones in His kingdom.  Thus although Jesus is the ultimate Ruler, we do in a very real way “receive the kingdom.” 
  • All of that had probably made sense to Daniel, and (notably) he doesn’t ask any details about the first three beasts.  It was the fourth beast that bothered him, and that’s what he went on to ask the angel about…

19 “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.

  • Most of this is a repetition of what came earlier, with a few details added.  Not only did this beast have teeth of iron, but also “nails of bronze.”  The little horn that grew eventually took a place where it’s “appearance was greater than his fellows.”  Every time Daniel thinks upon this creature, it is more & more terrifying – and understandably so!  Antichrist will not be someone to be toyed with, when he does finally rise to power.  Anything of the devil is evil, and should be treated as such.

21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

  • In addition to the physical description of the beast, Daniel witnessed a bit more action from it.  The beast made “war against the saints,” even to the point of “prevailing against them.”  Again, Revelation 13 prophesies how Antichrist will “make war with the saints and overcome them.” (Rev 13:6)  This man of sin will rise to power seemingly making peace with the Jews, but will turn on them in a massive way, persecuting both those of Israel and those of the Gentiles who by this point had come to faith in Christ, and multitudes of people will be killed in martyrdom. (Rev 7:14)  There is a reason why the Great Tribulation is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” (Jer 30:7) – people will truly suffer in horrendous ways.
  • Yet that time of suffering is limited.  How long did Daniel watch it happen? “Until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High.”  As bad as the Great Tribulation will be (and it will be bad – Jesus specifically said that there would be no time like it ever before, Mt 24:21), it will be temporary.  The forces of Satan may rule the earth for a while, but not for forever.  The everlasting rule belongs only to the Lord Jesus.
    • In a very real way, what’s true of the Great Tribulation is true of all tribulation, at least in the case of born-again Christians.  We will face bad things in this world – we will suffer in very difficult ways.  But all of our suffering has an expiration date.  Eventually we will see our Lord Jesus face-to-face, and we will never suffer again!  Judgment has been made in His favor, and we will forever dwell in His presence.
  • This is what Daniel saw of the fourth beast and the horn, so the angel explained it to him…

23 “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. 24 The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings.

  • The kingdom of Antichrist will be different.  From what?  “From all other kingdoms,” i.e., from all the kingdoms that preceded it.  The empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome conquered many nations & incorporated much of the known world – but the kingdom of Antichrist will involve all of the world.  It will “devour the whole earth.”  Generally speaking, the remains of the Roman empire has certainly influenced the entire planet – after all, what nation is there that has not in some way been touched by a survivor of Rome, be it Britain, Germany, France, Italy, etc.?  The United States of America was born out of the surviving cultures of the Roman empire, and has been the predominant influence on the globe (for good or bad) for the past 60+ years.  Even so, the angel seems to refer to more than mere influence, but to an actual kingdom itself – especially when referring to the “ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom,” with Antichrist himself arising from among those ten, specifically putting down three during his rise to power.  Are those ten kingdoms currently in existence?  Quite possibly, yes.  Efforts are periodically made to identify them, but considering how rapidly borders and alliances change, it’s rather futile to guess.  Again, Christians are not to be looking for Antichrist, but for Jesus Christ, so it’s best to keep our efforts on spreading the gospel rather than spreading rumors.

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.

  • Antichrist’s blasphemies are mentioned once again.  Technically, the adjective of “pompous” is assumed by the NKJV translators, but the context certainly warrants it.  This horn will speak words against God, and considering he spoke of “great things” earlier, these will surely be pompous blasphemies against God as Antichrist attempts to persuade people that he is God.  And not only will he speak, but he will act.  He’ll act in violence towards those who believe in Christ (as already seen), trying to wear them out & wear them down in exhaustion, and he’ll act legally within his earthly authority to “change times and law.”  If we think the legal system is biased against the saints of God today, that’s nothing compared to what it will be during the Great Tribulation.  During that time, anyone refusing to worship the beast or take his mark will be hunted down (Rev 13:15-17).
  • But again, this time is temporary – the rule of the beast is limited.  How long?  “For a time, and times and half a time,” or 3½ years.  This fits perfectly within the schedule listed elsewhere in Daniel and the book of Revelation, as the general Tribulation period is to last seven years, with the bulk of the trouble & persecution taking place within the latter half (Dan 9:27, Rev 12:14).  After that, it will be over.  The Lord Jesus will return in power and glory, Antichrist and his kingdom will be overthrown, and Jesus will reign on high forever!

26 ‘But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’

  • Amen!  All peoples everywhere will see Jesus, and they will know His “greatness.”  The saints will rule with Christ as the Millennial Kingdom fulfills every promise God ever made to David & Israel, and will continue into the eons when finally the new heavens and new earth come.  It will be glorious!  John received a bit of a preview of it as his own visions began: Revelation 5:13–14, "(13) And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (14) Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever."
  • I wonder sometimes if we truly grasp the reality that our Lord Jesus is King who reigns forever.  Not “might be” King; He will be King.  Actually, He is already the King today…we just await the consummation of His kingdom.  And when He rules, it will never end…ever.  Do we truly believe that?  We get so caught up in the affairs of this life – be it politics or debates or materialistic junk that is all going to rot & decay away.  Nothing of this world will last; it’s all going away.  The only things going into eternity are souls and Jesus, and His eternal rule will never waver or be in doubt.  That ought to radically alter our priorities. Those who know and understand the eternal kingdom of Jesus will spend our limited time in this life preparing for our eternal life, hopefully doing what we can to take as many people with us as possible.  That’s the stuff that really matters.

28 “This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

  • Question: we can understand why Daniel was troubled in his lack of understanding, but why now?  Shouldn’t he have cheered up after the interpretation?  After all, he saw some pretty glorious things!  Keep in mind that this is pretty weighty stuff.  Daniel didn’t have a church with whom he could share these things.  He had to bear all of this by himself.  Additionally, he just received a vision guaranteeing future trouble for his people.  Even knowing the ultimate victory of the Son of Man, the suffering is still bad news.  There was much to look forward to, but it was still a long road ahead.

Conclusion:
Our God reigns!  What Daniel saw in visions and dreams troubled him, and it’s easy to understand why.  There was much trouble ahead, and even with as much as was explained to him, he didn’t understand it all.  Even so, there is at least one truth that stands head & shoulders above the rest: our God reigns!  He is the Ancient of Days, and He is Supreme.  The Son of Man is the Anointed King, appointed by God the Father to rule over all.  The kingdoms of the earth may be powerful, but they are miniscule in comparison with the Lord Jesus.  Antichrist will be the most powerful world leader yet known in history, but even he doesn’t stand a chance next to Christ Jesus.  When the appointed time has come, the Son of Man / Son of God / Lord Jesus Christ will be shown as supreme over all & every knee will bow before Him.

What does that mean for us today?  (1) It means our trials are temporary.  Again, remember that all of our suffering has an expiration date.  There is nothing we personally face today that will still be a difficulty in 100 years.  When we’re with the Lord Jesus, all of those things will be gone, and we will be suffering-free for the next 1000, 1 million, 1 billion years & more!  (2) It means we’re on the winning side.  When we believed upon the Lord Jesus for our salvation, we were brought into the family of God & made to share in the inheritance of Christ.  And that’s not in doubt.  The spiritual war we face is not one where we have to guess the outcome.  God knows exactly what will happen, and God has already determined the end: Jesus wins.  That ought to give us confidence & faith!

So let’s live like winners!  Not being arrogant or proud, but being confident in the victory of the Lord Jesus.  We need not live in fear or dwell in anxiety.  We can be anxious for nothing because we belong to the Most High God.  Our confidence is in Christ, because He is King.

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