As a teenager, I worked directly opposite a fast food shop. They were not attached to any chain, they just did their own thing. Their lunch special was an egg, bacon, ham, tomato, cheese and lettuce sandwich. It was cheap and it was tasty. The interpretation of Daniel’s vision / dream / words from God is like that sandwich. There is the top slice of bread (v18) and the bottom slice of bread (v28) with all the ingredients in between. As you look at these two verses you see two words that show the experience of the vision was extremely concerning to Daniel.
Da 7:15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.”
Da 7:28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
I have spoken to many people who have had dreams and quite often their dreams left them distraught. They were upset. I am aware that there are so many “online helps to assist people to interpret dreams and find their meaning”, but for me, I do not believe God uses dreams and visions and words the way He did in Daniel’s (and other Bible characters) time. There are other explanations for today such as exhaustion, emotional disturbance, stress, sleeplessness, fear, anxiety, etc. With Daniel you observe that God gives him the interpretation whilst he is still having the vision … and he is conscious of whom he is. He says in both verses “I, Daniel.” He is “troubled in spirit” (v15) before the interpretation and after the interpretation he is “deeply troubled by my thoughts” to the point where he lost all color to his face … the blood drained from his face. It was not the sight of the “figures” he saw because after the explanation he is still troubled … in fact, more so … “deeply troubled”. Rather the meaning that these figures symbolized is what troubled him. Daniel asks for help.
Da 7:16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things”
This is one who attends the Throne of the Ancient of Days. Daniel wants the “true meaning”. Even though in the dream / vision he is aware that many sought to interpret matters in his day, like the satraps, and were wrong. He needed to have the Truth! He received what he wanted. Instead of reading an interpretation into any passage of the Bible, it is a good practice to enquire from someone who has been schooled in the scriptures correctly. (By this I mean someone with a reformed and evangelical understanding of Scripture received from a credible university or college. Far too many have been led into “weird, wonderful, exciting and frightening” ways and experiences through enthusiastic, well meaning, yet totally ignorant “teachers” of the Word.) We have already identified the beasts, yet the interpretation is important.
1) The beasts are kingdoms.
Da 7:17 ‘The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.
Remember, the kingdoms are represented by kings. This means that the king embodies the characteristics of the kingdom he represents. See verses 3 to 7 for the explanation. The concept of “earth” is to remind us that we are dealing with earthly kingdoms here. Some think these are all in the future but, the Babylonian Empire existed at the time. We are not provided with much information about the first three kingdoms. The focus and concentration is on the fourth. 2) The saints of the Most High. Firstly we need to establish who a saint is because there are unbiblical suggestions that a “church” makes their members who served well saints. According to the Scripture, a “saint” is a person, male or female who have been made spiritually regenerate. The New Testament uses the concepts of “Born Again” and “New Birth”, yet whether from the old or the new dispensation, including up to now and until Jesus returns, the Spirit through grace makes the believer, giving the person faith to receive “Messiah”, be they in the past, present or future, as their Lord. In other words, a saint is a person who trusts God for forgiveness of sin, spiritual awakening and being made a child of God.
Da 7:18 But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’
(1) The saints belong to God;
(2) God gives them a Kingdom.
(3) This Kingdom is their forever home.
When you think of Biblical Theology, starting with Abraham, God promised he would be a “People”, then God gave Him a “Promise” and lastly God gave him a “Place”. Essentially these are fulfilled in Jesus Christ where God “Promises” us that we are His “People” and that He will give us a “Place”. That place is “Kingdom”. Although this Kingdom is an Eternal one, it is existent and all God’s people from the first one saved in the Old Testament until now are already in this Kingdom (Place) and all those saved until Jesus returns will also be in this Kingdom (Place). It is always delightful to find the Old fulfilled in the New, such as
Ex 19:6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
What Daniel sees is a Kingdom in existence, wherein all believers dwell, irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity. Their inclusion is based solely upon faith in Messiah.
(a) Although God is dealing with pagan nations who hold Israel in captivity, this vision looks beyond the present to the future where the Messiah’s Kingdom includes people, whoever they are and wherever they are from, as long as they have repented and believe in God’s Messiah.
(b) The inclusion in this Eternal Kingdom of Messiah started long before Daniel or even Israel was.
Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Here we see our inclusion into this Kingdom started in eternity past.
(c) Once we are redeemed, we enter the Kingdom for a purpose and that purpose is not just to go to heaven! Whilst we wait for Jesus to arrive for the second time, we need to be His servants. He said
Jn 13:14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Washing feet, the most menial task was Jesus’ example of servanthood.
Kingdom people serve the Lord and serve each out of gratitude to Jesus. Amen.