1. Who had a dream in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon?
Daniel: “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters” (Daniel 7:1).
- Dreams were one vehicle wherein God spoke to prophets (Numbers 12:6 and I Kings 3:5).
- God used a dream to speak to Joseph (Matthew 1:20 and Matthew 2:12-19).
- When speaking of visions, we must always remember that all things to these men were not always clear (II Corinthians 12:1-4).
- The interpretation was not up to them (II Peter 1:20-21), as this context clearly will declare.
- Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 5:2).
- When we think of God’s promise to Israel about captivity, they would be in captivity under Nebuchadnezzar and his two sons after him (II Chronicles 36:20-21 and Jeremiah 27:1-7).
- The “sum of the matters” (Strongs # 7217) is the essential content, the head, the chief. Therefore, Daniel wrote the essential content of the dream he had. The things that stuck in his head.
2. In this vision, what strove upon the sea?
The four winds of the heaven: “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea” (Daniel 7:2).
- The language, in another context of a Scriptural vision, of four winds of heaven (Revelation 7:1).
- Jeremiah used the language in reference to judgment upon Elam (Jeremiah 49:36).
- Ezekiel prophesied unto the wind (Ezekiel 37:9).
- Daniel will mention such again (Daniel 8:8 and Daniel 11:4).
- It is used to describe vastness (Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27).
3. What came up from the sea?
Four different beasts: “(3) And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. (4) The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. (5) And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. (6) After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. (7) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (Daniel 7:3-7).
- As this context continues we learn that these four beasts are: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth” (Daniel 7:17).
- Note the word “LIKE” throughout this. Daniel is saying these images were “like…”
- The imagery is descriptive to a point (i.e. Numbers 23:24, Deuteronomy 28:49, Jeremiah 5:6, Hosea 5:14, Hosea 13:8, and Habakkuk 1:6-8).
- The visions of John had imagery with horns, like a leopard with feet of a bear (Revelation 13:1-10) and another beast with horns and spake as a dragon (Revelation 13:11-18).
4. In this vision, what arose speaking great things?
Another little horn among the horns: “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8).
- The Horns were the kings of the fourth beast (Daniel 7:17-24).
- “A mouth speaking great things” should not be understand as good things (Jude 1:16 and Revelation 13:4-5). The context bears that out (Daniel 7:25).
5. In this vision, what happened to the beasts?
One was slain and the others had their dominion taken away: “(9) I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (11) I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. (12) As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” (Daniel 7:9-12).
- These details should draw our minds to Daniel 2:31-45. The imagery is different, but the message appears to be the same.
- This message is also similar to show us that the final kingdom, as will come through in the remainder of this message, is the Roman empire. It is consistent with what we read in the first century and the overall message of the book of Revelation written to the seven congregations in Asia (II Thessalonians 2:1-12 and Revelation 1:1ff.).
6. In the night visions, what was given to the one like the Son of man?
Dominion, glory, a kingdom, etc.: “(13) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).
- Daniel sees imagery that appears LIKE the Son of man. Judgment scenes (not the final judgment either) have language like this (Matthew 23:37-24:34).
- The son of man can be in reference to Christ (Mark 14:61-62, Luke 19:1-10, and John 3:13), but is not only in reference to Christ (Psalms 146:3, Ezekiel 2:1-3:25, Ezekiel 31:2, etc.).
- Since this prophesy is about dominion given to this one, like the Son of man, that would not pass away and His kingdom not destroyed; the only possible conclusion is that this is about Christ (Matthew 16:28; cf. Isaiah 9:1-7, Luke 1:32-33, Colossians 1:12-13, and II Peter 1:11).
- It is also Jesus to whom all people, nations, etc. were/are serving (John 12:25-26, Romans 1:1, Romans 14:18, II Corinthians 5:14-16, Galatians 1:10, and Colossians 3:23-24).
7. What did these visions do to Daniel?
“I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me” (Daniel 7:15).
- The prophets that saw these things and had to reveal them, did NOT understand them. These mysterious things were not revealed until the New Testament (Romans 16:25-27, I Corinthians 2:6-7, Colossians 1:26-27, Ephesians 3:1-11, I Timothy 3:16, and I Peter 1:1-12).
- The prophets were sometimes troubled by these unclear revelations (Habakkuk 3:1-2; 3:16).
- Even when something was known or understood, the reality of destruction is troubling (Romans 9:1-3). Even Jesus went through that (Luke 19:41-44).
8. How did Daniel come to know the interpretation of these things?
“I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things” (Daniel 7:16).
- It may be and is even likely, that one of them that stood by was [in the vision] one of the thousands (Daniel 7:10).
- When you consider that this one “made know the interpretation of things” it is apparent this is an angel. It also fits another vision Daniel is going to have (Daniel 8:13-16; Genesis 31:11, Psalms 104:4, Acts 8:26, Acts 10:7, and Hebrews 1:7).
9. What is the explanation of these visions?
“(17) These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. (18) But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (19) Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; (20) And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. (21) I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; (22) Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (23) Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. (24) And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. (25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (26) But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. (27) And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:17-27).
- As stated in question 5, this is the message given in Daniel 2:31-45.
- His saints are given the kingdom (Hebrews 12:28).
- Jesus is the only one in whom all power was given for all people (Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 1:19-23, Colossians 1:16-29, and I Peter 3:21-22).
- His kingdom is not an earthly kingdom (John 18:36 and Hebrews 12:22-23).
10. What did Daniel do with his thoughts after this occurred?
“Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:28).
- Troubling thoughts for Daniel (Daniel 8:27 and Daniel 10:8).
- Like Mary, he kept the matter to himself (Luke 2:8-21; 2:41-51).
- It is wise to remain silent in this situations (Proverbs 10:19, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 18:21, Proverbs 29:11, Amos 5:13-15, James 1:26-27, Colossians 4:5-6, James 3:1-18, I Peter 2:21-23, and I Peter 3:8-17).
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.