Daniel 7:1-28 (Part 1) – Dreams: Where We Have Come To Expect the Unexpected

Posted: June 16, 2016 in Book of Daniel

Daniel 7:1-28

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

Have you ever had a dream but cannot remember it the next day? You spend the whole next day kind of spooked by this feeling that you had an ominous or fearful dream the night before but you remember none of it. You feel like something bad has happened but you cannot remember why you feel that way. That’s happened to me many times. They, you know “they”, the experts on everything, say that the only way that we remember anything about our dreams is when we wake up in the middle of our dreams. Otherwise, they remain locked in our subconscious with simple residues of emotions left in our conscious thoughts. Would it not be amazing though if we had clarity of thought enough when we wake up from a dream and go run to our desk and write down on paper what we remember of our dreams. That would be pretty cool. My thought has been would it not be pretty cool to have the ability to record our dreams in some way for later playback? Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever? To be to peak into our subconscious and see our dreams on our TV screen later. To see all the rich colors, the characters, the monsters, the reliving of past experiences, the creation of altered states of past experience or dreams about our future that our minds can create. It is all pretty amazing when you think about what our brain can do while we are sleeping. Dreams themselves are difficult for scientists to explain. Why do we dream? The scientists can give you neurological, physical explanations of how dreams are created by the brain but not the reason for it, but not the what of our dreams. Psychiatrists can give us reasons from personal experience that dreams play out in our mind, but not why we dream. Dreams are one of the miracles of life that are attributable to our Creator. Sometimes, He gives us dreams of our future and we do not realize it until we get that feeling that we have been in this same place, having this same conversation, with the same people before. Ever had that feeling?


Sometimes, too, have you ever noticed that people who have been suddenly taken from us in a tragic accident have done some odd things right before they died. They have told people that they loved them when they have never done that before. They take care of certain affairs of their life that normally you would not have expected them to do otherwise. Some may accept Christ as their Savior in a matter of weeks before their accidental death. All of these things may be perceived by some as random and unconnected coincidences. I have seen these very instances happen in people’s live right before a tragedy took them from us. To me, God often operates at a subconscious in our minds to provide us with input that we would not recognize or accept in our conscious mind. He does give us messages in dreams, in thoughts that appear out of nowhere, and sometimes through the thoughts, actions, and words of others. He can speak to us in our dreams. In our dreams, we suspend disbelief. In our dreams, the laws of physics and nature are often suspended to allow us to understand messages that we might otherwise reject. In dreams, nothing is what we normally count on in our wakened state of reality. Scenes shift without warning. We are in one place one second and in another the next. Dreams can change characters and subject matter in a split instant. So, each of us, have come to expect the unexpected in our dream. We accept the unexpected as the norm in dreams. Why cannot God speak to us in these moments? We are already open to the unexpected in our dream states of sleep. Dreams free us from our predispositions. Is not most often that devout Muslims living in a Islamic country have had dreams, visions if you will, about Jesus Christ coming to them in a dream and making them understand who He is and leading them to become a Christ follower. God can speak to us through our dreams. He created the landscape of our minds after all!


So, to say, that Daniel’s dream is just some fiction made up by an author trying to explain historical events or was borrowed from some other society’s mythological genre is just plain meanness by someone who is predisposed to bashing the Bible rather than being open to the possibilities that God did, indeed, speak to Daniel in his dream.


We begin the last half of the book of Daniel today, the prophetic half (chapters 7-12). We will dive into the meat of Chapter 7 beginning tomorrow. But I wanted to open up this journey through Chapter 7 by talking about dreams. We all accept that we dream (whether we are believers or not). We all accept that in dreams anything is possible (whether we are believers are not). If we accept those things, then we must be open to the concept that God can give us visions in our dreams. We must be able to accept that because of the unique nature of dreams that dreams are God-given anyway and then that He can speak to us in this manner. He is God. He is God.


So, let’s just read Chapter 7 today. No thoughts of application to our daily lives. No thoughts of what the chapter means in the prophetic future of mankind. Just read the words and allow them to conjure up images in your mind that match the words. Let the words create the dream images. Be a witness to the imagery that Daniel is creating about His vision from God. Then, let that ruminate in your mind all day. Tomorrow, then, we get into the guts of this chapter. But, I think it is important to allow yourself to dream today. Let the images become vivid in your mind today. Meet me back here tomorrow. Here is Chapter 7 below:



7 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.


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.”


May God grant us the ability to see these images in full detail today and let these vivid images in our mind help us to discuss this passage over the next few days. Amen and Amen.


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