Daniel 7

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Daniel's Vision of the Four Beasts

1 In the first year of 1Belshazzar king of Babylon, 2Daniel saw a dream and 3visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.
2 Daniel declared,[a]"I saw in my vision by night, and behold, 4the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.
3 And four great beasts 5came up out of the sea, different from one another.
4 The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it.
5 And behold, 6another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, 'Arise, devour much flesh.'
6 After this I looked, and behold, another, like a 7leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and 8dominion was given to it.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, 9terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; 10it devoured and broke in pieces 11and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and 12it had ten horns.
8 I considered the horns, and behold, 13there came up among them another horn, a little one, 14before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and 15a mouth speaking great things.

The Ancient of Days Reigns

9 "As I looked, 16thrones were placed, and the 17Ancient of Days took his seat; 18his clothing was white as snow, and 19the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; 20its wheels were burning fire.
10 21A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; 22a thousand thousands 23served him, 24and ten thousand times ten thousand 25stood before him; the 26court sat in judgment, and 27the books were opened.
11 "I looked then because of the sound of 28the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, 29the beast was killed, and its body destroyed 30and given over to be burned with fire.
12 As for the rest of the beasts, 31their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion

13 "I saw in the night visions, and 32behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the 33Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
14 34And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all 35peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; 36his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel's Vision Interpreted

15 "As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me[b] was anxious, and 37the visions of my head alarmed me.
16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things.
17 38'These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.
18 But 39the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.'
19 "Then I desired to know the truth about 40the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet,
20 41and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions.
21 As I looked, this horn 42made war with the saints and prevailed over them,
22 until the 43Ancient of Days came, and 44judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when 45the saints possessed the kingdom.
23 "Thus he said: 'As for 46the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.
25 47He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to 48change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for 49a time, times, and half a time.
26 50But the court shall sit in judgment, and 51his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed 52to the end.
27 53And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of 54the saints of the Most High; 55their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.'[c]
28 "Here is the end of the matter. 56As for me, Daniel, my 57thoughts greatly alarmed me, 58and my color changed, but 59I kept the matter in my heart."

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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 59

  • 1. See Daniel 5:1
  • 2. [Daniel 1:17]
  • 3. ver. 15; Daniel 2:28; Daniel 4:5
  • 4. Daniel 8:8; Daniel 11:4; [Ezekiel 37:9; Zechariah 2:6; Revelation 7:1]
  • 5. [Revelation 13:1]
  • 6. [Daniel 2:39]
  • 7. [Habakkuk 1:8; Revelation 13:2]
  • 8. [Daniel 11:5]
  • 9. ver. 19, 23
  • 10. ver. 19, 23
  • 11. ver. 19, 23
  • 12. ver. 20; [Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 17:12]
  • 13. [ver. 20, 21, 24; Daniel 8:9]
  • 14. [ver. 20, 21, 24; Daniel 8:9]
  • 15. ver. 20; [Revelation 13:5, 6]
  • 16. Revelation 20:4; [Matthew 19:28]; See 1 Kings 22:19
  • 17. ver. 22; [Psalms 90:2]
  • 18. Matthew 28:3
  • 19. Revelation 1:14
  • 20. [Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 10:2]
  • 21. [Psalms 21:9]
  • 22. Psalms 68:17; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11
  • 23. Psalms 103:21
  • 24. Psalms 68:17; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11
  • 25. [Zechariah 3:4]
  • 26. ver. 22, 26; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 20:4
  • 27. Revelation 20:12
  • 28. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 29. Revelation 19:20; [Revelation 20:10]
  • 30. Revelation 19:20; [Revelation 20:10]
  • 31. [ver. 14, 26]
  • 32. Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 14:14
  • 33. [See ver. 9 above]
  • 34. Psalms 110:1, 2; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Revelation 11:15
  • 35. See Daniel 3:4
  • 36. See Daniel 2:44
  • 37. See ver. 1
  • 38. [ver. 3]
  • 39. ver. 22, 27; Matthew 25:34; [1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 20:4]
  • 40. ver. 7
  • 41. ver. 8
  • 42. [Daniel 8:24]
  • 43. ver. 9, 13
  • 44. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 45. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 46. [See ver. 19 above]
  • 47. [Daniel 11:36]
  • 48. Daniel 2:9, 21
  • 49. Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:14
  • 50. See ver. 10
  • 51. [ver. 12, 14]
  • 52. Daniel 6:26
  • 53. See ver. 18
  • 54. See ver. 18
  • 55. See Daniel 2:44
  • 56. ver. 15; [Daniel 8:27; Daniel 10:8, 16; Jeremiah 23:9]
  • 57. Daniel 4:5, 19; Daniel 5:6
  • 58. [Daniel 5:6, 10]
  • 59. [Luke 2:19, 51]

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Aramaic answered and said
  • [b]. Aramaic within its sheath
  • [c]. Or his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him

Chapter Summary


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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.