Four Winds Blowing
Chapter 7:1-14 ESV
I’ve had some very disturbing dreams and visions in my lifetime, but none so disturbing as Daniel’s dream of the four winds blowing and the four beasts.
I have told others who have the gift of dreams and visions that there’s nothing quite like having a word of the Lord visualized and forever etched in you mind.
Since I was fourteen my dreams and visions have been a foretelling of what is to come in my own life. Allow me to describe it…when someone or something is going to hurt me deeply I see it in living color before or as it’s happening. Imagine if you will seeing a partner or a very close friend betray you before or as it was happening.
It changes everything.
Think of what that did to Daniel.
Chapter 7:1-In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
The vision of the four beasts was vivid and it would have been frightening for anyone in any age. In this case we need yo remember Daniel’s personal history.
Daniel was born of a noble family and he lived the first fourteen years of his life in Jerusalem.
When Nebuchadnezzer II of Babylon marched on Jerusalem they stripped Jerusalem of all able bodied men and boys. Daniel was one of those taken. Daniel lived the rest of his days in Babylon. He never returned to his homeland.
In Chapter 7, Belshazzar was now king of Jerusalem when Daniel saw the four winds of heaven that stirred up the great sea. In Daniel’s vision of the night. Four beasts (great beasts) emerged from the sea.
The creatures were all powerful but vastly different than the others:
The first was like a Lion that had eagles wings
The second was like a bear that devoured flesh
The third was like a leopard that had four heads and four wings and a bird on its back
The fourth was terrifying and it had iron teeth and ten horns; it was different from the other beasts. Another horn was emerging and it changed; this beast spoke.
The four beasts represented four kings/kingdoms
The first kingdom was the Babylonian Empire
The second represented the Medo-Persian Empire
The third represented the Grecian Empire
The fourth terrifying beast represented the Roman Empire
Daniel lived around 620 BC to 538 BC, but we need to remember that their main source of obtaining information was by word of mouth, their main source of transportation on land was by horse or camel, and overall history of the world was not readily known.
In other words they were not living in the age of information. We don’t even have context for a world like his.
The next section in Daniel 7:9-12 can be entitled, Ancient of Days:
“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat;his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool;his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued and came out from before him;a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
“I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.
As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”
The ancient of days is God seated on the throne in heaven.
Then in Daniel 7:13-14 the prophet shifts to talk of the glorious day of the Son of Man:
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
What a glorious prophecy AND a wondrous site for Daniel to behold in a vision of the night!
Due to the age Daniel lived in where kingdoms arose and fell and nothing seemed to be stable and sure, seeing that there would come a time when there would be one glorious kingdom for all people and all nations would have certainly blessed the prophet.
While we know the story of Jesus and we understand and believe in the everlasting kingdom that will not pass away or be destroyed, those are things Daniel saw and and held onto with Hope!
Spiritual Practice: Hope
The kingdom yet to come gives us great hope. Consider what that means for you.
In God, Deborah