The book of Daniel divides neatly into two parts. The first six chapters are biography, telling the story of Daniel’s deportation to Babylon and his adventures in the courts of its kings. The last six chapters describe four visions given to Daniel that center around the nations and empires of the world, especially as they relate to God’s plan for Israel.
The first vision is found in Daniel 7. One night Daniel had a vision in which he saw the four winds of heaven whipping up the waters of the sea. Without warning four beasts emerged from the sea: a lion with wings; a ferocious bear; a leopard with four wings and four heads; and finally an unidentified beast more terrible than the first three. The fourth beast had iron claws and ten horns on its head. As Daniel watched, a new, smaller horn came up from among the ten horns and conquered three of them. Then this “little horn” began to boast of its power and to blaspheme God. The Ancient of Days (God) then came to judge the world. The little horn and the fourth beast were destroyed and cast into burning flames. Then the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) came in power and glory to set up his kingdom on earth.
Daniel’s vision shows the nature of every human kingdom: earthly, brutal, destructive, and ultimately temporary. Nothing made by the human hands lasts forever. One kingdom falls, another rises only to fall and have its place taken by yet another kingdom. This is the history of humanity until the end when Jesus Christ comes again and all earthly kingdoms are finally replaced by the kingdom of God. And that kingdom will last forever.
- Daniel 7:1 - 1
- Daniel 7:9 - 10
- Daniel 7:23 - 27