Daniel relates the vision that caused him to turn “pale with fear” and keep it all to himself (Daniel 7:28, CEV). Four winds (indicating uncontrollable forces) each from the four compass directions were stirring up the great sea (signifying chaos and rebellion against God). Four great beasts (symbolizing four great kings or kingdoms) came up out of the churned sea. The lion represents Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar whose wings were torn off representing his humiliation and restoration (Daniel 4:28-37). Many scholars believe the bear is the Medo-Persian Empire and the three ribs are the three countries they conquered (Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt). The leopard’s four wings and four heads imply he could move swiftly and see in all four directions. Alexander the Great, the ruler of Greece, was the leopard who conquered the known world by the time he was 32. Verse 6 states the beast was “given authority to rule,” implying God was controlling this beast. The fourth beast was a monster described as terrifying, frightening, and very powerful with iron teeth whocrushed, devoured, and trampled its victims. This beast had ten horns with a little horn uprooting three of the other horns. This horn spoke arrogantly and is thought to be the Roman Empire that lasted longer than the previous empires and ruled ruthlessly.The little horn may also be the Antichrist.
At the center of Daniel’s vision are thrones with the Ancient of Days (God) taking his seat. His white clothing designating purity and white hair implying wisdom suggest His ability to distinguish right from wrong and to judge. The fiery flames, burning fire, and stream of fire show his ability to destroy his enemies. The “ten thousand times ten thousand that stood before him” represent all the individuals and kingdoms of the earth that will stand before God.
In verses 13-14 we see the “son of man,” the term Christ used to refer to himself more than any other, and the one to whom we are introduced in I John 1. “We saw him with our very own eyes. We gazed upon him and heard him speak. Our hands actually touched him, the one who was from the beginning, and Living Expression of God. The Life-Giver was made visible and we have seen him” (I John 1:1-2a, TPT). John experienced Christ with his own eyes in his physical life and resurrection life.
I John 1:1 refers to an ancient Hebrew prayer called the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.” John heard the One Israel was commanded to hear.
The word “touched” is a poetic word meaning “to pluck the strings of an instrument.” This could be interpreted as, “We have plucked the chords of his being and felt what motivated him, his melody within” (The Passion Translation Footnotes).
By experiencing Christ, John knew he was the Life-Giver, the One who was presented to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13. He is the One who will also return in the “clouds of heaven.” At his trial, Christ referred to Daniel 7:13, “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 14:62).
The Godhead is not only in control of the nations in Daniel’s dream, but Christ will return, destroy the evil one, and rule us for eternity. This is worthy of pondering as Daniel did.
Question of the day: What in your life indicates your anticipation of Christ’s return?
Father, I am amazed at how your Word pulls all concepts together. Thank you that we can know the “chords of your being” and anticipate your return in the clouds. Amen