Summary: The prophetic dream of Daniel in the 7th chapter of his book applied to our security in changing times.
In chapters 1-6 of his book Daniel revealed the past. In chapters 7-12 he reveals the future. Keep in mind that the future has already taken place in the mind of God since He is an eternal being. The basis of Bible prophecy is the fact that God has no future.
The terms, "past", "present", and "future" are really for our benefit. With God, everything is present tense. Occasionally He chose to reveal the future to man. Daniel is a prime example of the blessings of the gift of prophecy - God revealing His knowledge of the future to mankind through a man.
Unfortunately, many Bible readers often skip over Bible prophecy. But since approximately 28% of the Bible is prophetic we miss a lot that God has to tell us if we ignore prophecy.
Insider trading is illegal when it comes to the stock market but not when it comes to God’s truth. The prophets were given "inside information" by God because He intended for us to use it.
We’re not going to attempt to unveil every tidbit of knowledge revealed in Daniel’s prophecies. Our purpose is in keeping with the theme of this sermon series, "Reinventing Your Life". Daniel and his friends had to reinvent their lives when they were taken captive in Babylon. From time to time we also need to adapt to the changing world around us. One of the blessings of adapting God’s way is it gives us security. Neither the present nor the future need worry us if we follow God’s revelation.
As a matter of fact this is how we’re going to take a look at Daniel chapter seven. The dream of Daniel keys us in on where to find security.
The first eight verses of Daniel chapter seven teach us that THERE IS NO HUMAN SOURCE FOR OUR SECURITY.
Dreams and visions were often the way God revealed Himself and His will through the prophets. Numbers 12:6 - "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams."
So it was not at all unusual for Daniel to receive God’s Word in this manner.
In Daniel’s dream he envisions a great churning sea. (Verses 1-2) The sea is often used symbolically in the Bible to represent the world of nations. (Isaiah 17:12-13; Revelation 17:1,15) So a sea in the chaotic state as Daniel envisioned it represents the nations of the world in turmoil.
Four great beasts come up out of this unstable sea, representing four great Gentile kingdoms. This was also the message of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter two.
The first beast, a lion with eagle’s wings, represented Babylon. (Verse 4) It is interesting that the Bible compared Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest king of Babylon, to a lion (Jeremiah 50:17) and an eagle (Ezekiel 17:3,12). Eagles and lions are known for their swiftness in overtaking their prey. Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar exhibites just such swiftness in conquering her enemies. When the beast stood up like a man in Daniel’s dream, it probably represents the more humane treatment Nebuchadnezzar exhibited after his bout with insanity. (Daniel chapter 4)
The bear in Daniel’s vision represented the Medo-Persian kingdom. (Verse 5) A bear is slower moving and larger than an eagle or lion. The army of Medo-Persia was known for its huge size and slower movements than the army of Babylon. One side of the bear was higher than the other in Daniel’s dream, representing the fact that the Persians wielded more authority than the Medes in the merger of their two kingdoms. The three ribs in its mouth probably represent the three other great kingdoms conquered by Medo-Persia: Lydia, Babylon and Egypt.
The leopard with four wings and four heads, the third beast in Daniel’s dream, represented Greece. (Verse 6) Four wings illustrated an even more swift conquest than two wings would have. That, added to the already swift leopard used to represent this kingdom, illustrates the way that Alexander the Great conquered the known world faster than any other ancient ruler did. After his death his kingdom was divided among his four generals - hence the four heads of this animal in Daniel’s vision.
The fourth beast was nondescript and represnted the Roman Empire. (Verse 7) It was such a dominant kingdom that no animal could be used for comparison. The military might of Rome is illustrated by the iron teeth and crushing power of the beast.
Interestingly Daniel attributes ten horns to this beast. While he was thinking about the ten horns an eleventh "little horn" rose up among them. (Verse 8) In turn, this little horn uprooted three of the ten horns. This horn had human characteristics such as eyes and a mouth.
The interpretation of the ten horns was given to Daniel and is recorded in verses 23-24. He was told that the ten horns represented ten kings and their kingdoms. The "little horn" most likely represents the Antichrist - the epitome of a man trying to rule the world apart from God.