Having dealt with the historical environment, Daniel now turns to what many will call “apocalyptic literature”. The Book of Revelation is also called The Apocalypse. The word simply means “revelation” and in Daniel and Revelation its target is “eschatological events” or if you like, the Doctrine of the Last Things. Also note that Daniel does not stick to a strict chronological sequence of events. In other words, the visions are not a continuation of chapters 1-6. In chapter 7 we have a king’s name … Belshazzar. This gives us a date. 1) Something extremely important as we progress in “Dare to be a Daniel” is that the Book is not an official Babylonian Document. It is prophecy … a word from God for the Church of God.
Da 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
(1) The date seems to be 550 BC when Belshazzar became king. At this time the exile had endured already for some 55 years when Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar became king.
(2) Daniel had a dream. He was asleep and whilst in this state he had a dream. God used this method of communication from early in the Bible. Until the New Testament was completed it was a common method God used. We read:
Da 7:1 “Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed.”
The word “visions” also means “word”. He had a dream and as he did, words from God passed through his mind.
(3) When he woke up he wrote down the important or main parts (substance) of the dream / vision / words he had received from God.
2) The content of the revelation (dream / visions / words from God). We need to remember that these words are not a product of Daniel’s subconscious or imagination. This is from God.
Da 7:2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.
The vision was at night. This is normally when people go to sleep. If he held the position he had in the king’s office, he would not have taken morning or afternoon naps. The four winds he saw were commonly known as the south wind, the north wind, the east wind and the west wind. The impression is that four winds are blowing from the four “quarters” or “regions” of the earth. Many have commented on what these winds represent, yet it is difficult to determine what they are. However, if the “great sea” of verse 2 refers to mankind, then God is stirring mankind up in some way by the “four winds”. The picture is of the four winds coming from the four corners of the earth, stirring up the great sea. This imagery is invading armies overrunning a country or kingdom without control. Here we see a world of nations in a tumultuous state. See …
Isa 17:12 Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples—they roar like the roaring of great waters! 13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. 14 In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.
Rev 17:15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.
Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Where Daniel is seeing a massive disturbance amongst the nations of the world, aggression … raging against God and His Kingdom, after the Day of Judgment there is the New Heaven and New earth … no sea! No war, no fighting … only perfect peace!
3) Diverse kingdoms, common cause.
Da 7:3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
Their common cause is they all arise from the “sea”. They are great beasts. Pagan nations are often referred to as beasts in the Old Testament. The word “great” can also be “monstrous”. The picture is one of lethal human forces that arise with a common cause. The beasts represent kingdoms arises out of the seas … out of the masses of humans on the earth. Before we try to understand each beast, it might be an idea to consider a few things first.
(1) Evil forces stand together against God and His Church even though they can differ so much. Think of the gravity of the race in Genesis 6 when God’s wrath was boiling.
Gen 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
Ge 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.
Then there was the Flood … did man learn? No! He demonstrated to God at Babel that if man stood together (in all his wickedness) there would be no force to conquer him.
Ge 11:3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
In unity man defied God’s command to inhabit the earth but God confused their language forcing them to move away and fill the earth. This is one example of unity for evil.
(2) God’s forces for the Gospel can accomplish so much for His Kingdom.
Ps 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Ro 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel unity has one objective … the glory of God!
Dear Lord, grant us Gospel Unity so that together we might bring You pleasure and advance Your Kingdom. Amen.