Daniel 7

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
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.
3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.
12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

The Interpretation of the Dream

15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.
16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:
17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth.
18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.
20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them,
22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.
24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.
25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.[b]
26 “ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.
27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
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.”

Daniel 7 Commentary

Chapter 7

Daniel's vision of the four beasts. (1-8) and of Christ's kingdom. (9-14) The interpretation. (15-28)

Verses 1-8 This vision contains the same prophetic representations with Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The great sea agitated by the winds, represented the earth and the dwellers on it troubled by ambitious princes and conquerors. The four beasts signified the same four empires, as the four parts of Nebuchadnezzar's image. Mighty conquerors are but instruments of God's vengeance on a guilty world. The savage beast represents the hateful features of their characters. But the dominion given to each has a limit; their wrath shall be made to praise the Lord, and the remainder of it he will restrain.

Verses 9-14 These verses are for the comfort and support of the people of God, in reference to the persecutions that would come upon them. Many New Testament predictions of the judgment to come, have plain allusion to this vision; especially ( revelation 20:11 revelation 20:12 ) . The Messiah is here called the Son of man; he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was found in fashion as a man, but he is the Son of God. The great event foretold in this passage, is Christ's glorious coming, to destroy every antichristian power, and to render his own kingdom universal upon earth. But ere the solemn time arrives, for manifesting the glory of God to all worlds in his dealings with his creatures, we may expect that the doom of each of us will be determined at the hour of our death; and before the end shall come, the Father will openly give to his incarnate Son, our Mediator and Judge, the inheritance of the nations as his willing subjects.

Verses 15-28 It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians. St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point in the first place at Rome, has plain reference to these visions. Daniel had a joyful prospect of the prevalence of God's kingdom among men. This refers to the second coming of our blessed Lord, when the saints shall triumph in the complete fall of Satan's kingdom. The saints of the Most High shall possess the kingdom for ever. Far be it from us to infer from hence, that dominion is founded on grace. It promises that the gospel kingdom shall be set up; a kingdom of light, holiness, and love; a kingdom of grace, the privileges and comforts of which shall be the earnest and first-fruits of the kingdom of glory. But the full accomplishment will be in the everlasting happiness of the saints, the kingdom that cannot be moved. The gathering together the whole family of God will be a blessedness of Christ's coming.

Cross References 60

  • 1. S Daniel 5:1
  • 2. S Ezekiel 40:2
  • 3. S Daniel 1:17
  • 4. Psalms 4:4; S Daniel 4:13
  • 5. S Jeremiah 36:4
  • 6. S Ezekiel 37:9; Daniel 8:8; Daniel 11:4; Revelation 7:1
  • 7. Revelation 13:1
  • 8. S 2 Kings 24:1; Psalms 7:2; Jeremiah 4:7; Revelation 13:2
  • 9. S Ezekiel 17:3
  • 10. Daniel 2:39
  • 11. Revelation 13:2
  • 12. S Ezekiel 40:2
  • 13. S Daniel 2:40
  • 14. Daniel 8:10
  • 15. Daniel 8:7
  • 16. S Revelation 12:3
  • 17. Daniel 8:9
  • 18. Revelation 9:7
  • 19. S Psalms 12:3; Revelation 13:5-6
  • 20. ver 22
  • 21. S 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Matthew 19:28; Revelation 4:2; Revelation 20:4
  • 22. S Matthew 28:3
  • 23. Revelation 1:14
  • 24. S Ezekiel 1:15; Ezekiel 10:6
  • 25. Psalms 50:3; Psalms 97:3; Isaiah 30:27
  • 26. S Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:17; Jude 1:14; Revelation 5:11
  • 27. S Exodus 32:32; S Psalms 56:8; Revelation 20:11-15
  • 28. Revelation 13:5-6
  • 29. Revelation 19:20
  • 30. S Ezekiel 1:5; S Ezekiel 2:1; Matthew 8:20*; Revelation 1:13*; Revelation 14:14*
  • 31. Isaiah 13:6; Zephaniah 1:14; Malachi 3:2; Malachi 4:1
  • 32. Matthew 24:30; S Deuteronomy 33:26; S Revelation 1:7
  • 33. S Matthew 28:18
  • 34. Psalms 72:11; Psalms 102:22; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22
  • 35. S Isaiah 16:5
  • 36. S Daniel 2:44; Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 11:15
  • 37. S Job 4:15; S Daniel 4:19
  • 38. Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:22; Zechariah 1:9
  • 39. S Psalms 16:3
  • 40. S Psalms 49:14
  • 41. Isaiah 60:12-14; Luke 12:32; Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 20:4
  • 42. Revelation 17:12
  • 43. Revelation 13:5-6
  • 44. Revelation 13:7
  • 45. Mark 8:35
  • 46. S Daniel 2:40
  • 47. Revelation 17:12
  • 48. S Isaiah 37:23; Daniel 11:36
  • 49. Revelation 16:6
  • 50. Daniel 2:21; Mark 1:15; Luke 21:8; Acts 1:6-7
  • 51. Daniel 8:24; Daniel 12:7; S Revelation 11:2; Revelation 12:14
  • 52. Revelation 19:20
  • 53. S Isaiah 14:2
  • 54. 1 Corinthians 6:2
  • 55. Genesis 14:18
  • 56. S 2 Samuel 7:13; Psalms 145:13; S Daniel 2:44; S Daniel 4:34; S Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 22:5
  • 57. S Psalms 22:27; Psalms 72:11; Psalms 86:9
  • 58. S Isaiah 21:3; S Daniel 4:19
  • 59. S Psalms 13:2
  • 60. S Job 4:15

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. The Aramaic phrase "bar enash" means "human being" . The phrase "son of man" is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.
  • [b]. Or "for a year, two years and half a year"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 7

This chapter contains Daniel's vision of the four beasts, The time, place, manner, writing, and declaration of the vision, Da 7:1, the rise of the beasts, and the description of them, Da 7:2-8, the judgment of God upon them, especially the last, and the delivery of universal monarchy to his Son, Da 7:9-14, the interpretation of the vision at the request of Daniel, being greatly affected with it, Da 7:15-18, a particular inquiry of his about the fourth beast, concerning which a full account is given, Da 7:19-27, all which caused in him many thoughts of heart, and reflections of mind, Da 7:28.

Daniel 7 Commentaries

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