Summary: Part 3 of a series on the prophecies found in the book of Daniel. Daniel’s vision of the four wild beasts.
The Prophecies of Daniel
Part 3: The Four Wild Beasts
This morning we have reached part three of our teaching series on the prophecies found in the book of Daniel. The book of Daniel is sometimes called the Apocalypse of the Old Testament because the prophecies it contains parallel the prophecies found in the New Testament book of Revelation and they deal with the Gentile nations of the world and the times of the end.
The last two weeks we’ve studied the first vision given in the second chapter of Daniel. It was given in the form of a dream to the ancient Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. The giant statue of a man in his dream was a visualization of the Times of the Gentiles. This is a period of time when the Jewish people will be without a king and the Gentiles will rule over them. It began in 606 BC and will last until Christ returns to set up His earthly kingdom at the end of the Tribulation period.
Today we are going to start looking at the second vision concerning the Times of the Gentiles found in Daniel chapter seven. This is the vision of the four wild beasts. [I hope you had a chance to read this chapter before this morning so that you are at least vaguely familiar with what we will be talking about today.]
So, let’s begin with Daniel 7:1, “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as He was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.”
We know by the date given in this verse, (the first year of Belshazzar’s reign), that Daniel is about eighty-five years old when he receives this second vision. Almost sixty-two years have passed since Nebuchadnezzar’s dram of the Colossus that we examined last week and the week before.
I. The Winds and the Sea
Let’s continue reading with verses two and three which begin the description of this vision.
Daniel 7:2-3, “Daniel said: ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.  Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.’”
Before we take a look at the four beasts, there are two things found in verse two that we need to take note of.
A. The Four Winds of Heaven
The first thing I want you to look at is the phrase “the four winds of heaven.” This is something that I’ve skipped over while reading this passage many times before. But God doesn’t put something in His Word if He wants us to skip over it or ignore it. So upon taking a closer look at this phrase, I found greater insight into what is happening in Daniel’s vision.
I looked up the phrase, “the four winds of heaven” in the Hebrew/Greek Key Study Bible and found that the word translated, “winds” in verse two is the Aramaic word, “ruha” which could mean, “wind, mind, or spirit.”
Many times in Scripture you will find the word “ruha” or its Hebrew equivalent, “ruah” interpreted as “spirit,” “breath,” or “life.” It can be used to refer to the spirit of a man, the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, or spirits such as angels or demons.
In Zechariah 6:5 an angel is interpreting a vision for the prophet Zechariah and uses the same word “ruah” that is used in Daniel 7:2, only in Zechariah, instead of saying the four winds of heaven it says, “… these are the four spirits of heaven.” It’s the same word just translated differently.
So with this knowledge, I think it is safe to say that these four winds of heaven are actually spirits or hosts of heaven.
Now, if you do another word search on the word translated “heaven” you’ll find it could mean “the dwelling place of God,” or “the air and the sky.” Depending on which heaven is being referred to these spirits could be angels of God or forces of Satan, because Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan, “…the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” And Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
I have done a little bit of further study and haven’t been able to come to a conclusion about whether these are spirits from God or part of Satan’s army. I have found several places in Scripture where God uses evil spirits to fulfill His ultimate purpose, (Judges 9:23, 1 Kings 22:22, 2 Thessalonians 2:11.)