Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Read Daniel 7

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

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.

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.

“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.

“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!’

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.
10 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, 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 kingdomis 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 hornson 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 hornsare 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.

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 worshipand 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.”

Go Deeper

We all might feel a bit distressed after reading today’s chapter. Daniel 7 is an amazing blend of history and prophecy all at the same time. One can understand Daniel’s highly charged emotions after experiencing these “dreams and visions.” In verse 28 Daniel himself even says, “I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.” A closer look will help us understand his deep concerns, but, also, the glory and power of God.

The first three beasts described here resemble in order a lion, bear, and leopard. All are fast, strong, and aggressive meat eaters and are leaders of their respective food chains which gives clarity to the metaphor. Then, the fourth beast appears unlike any animal having iron teeth and is described as “dreadful” in appearance and boastfully arrogant. Biblical scholars explain all these beasts as representing, in order, the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecian, and Rome. This chapter focuses on the dreadful beast in the latter verses referring to the prophesied Roman empire that was responsible for killing thousands of God’s people. It is also a prophecy for the coming antichrist described as the ‘lawless one like a wild beast” through Revelation 13. 

Daniel makes clear his fear and for good reason. Verse 9 gives us all hope like the sound of a cavalry trumpet coming to the rescue. It says, “as I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat.” What a glorious sight to see our God be on His throne ready to save the day! Always remember that God is in control no matter what we feel, think, believe, or see in turbulent times in our world, and in our personal lives.

Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remains then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” We see God’s message to us now that we can rest in Him even when the world around us is crumbling. Second, He is on His throne, and we must know and believe He is sovereign. Thirdly, we must abdicate our personal thrones to Him. All the strength and power of heaven in these verses becomes ours as we let Him lead us. 

Verse 11 gives us Daniel’s thoughts, “I continued to watch because of the boastful word of the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and thrown into the fire.” In scripture, fire represents two important attributes of God. First, it is a manifestation of His splendor. Second, His all-consuming power and judgment. Rest assured that, again, God is in control, and His fiery judgements include destroying the devil and all his works forever.

Verses 13-14 tell us of Daniel seeing the “Son of Man” and God giving him everlasting dominion of heaven and earth. What comfort, praise, and shouts of victory this demands from us both now and forever! This is the only place in the Old Testament where the “Son of Man” is given divine personage as the coming Messiah in Christ. In Matthew 24:30, Jesus says, “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. All the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” 

He is coming again to redeem the world. As His saints, we must grow in expectation of the second coming of Jesus. This changes us as our hope must be in Him and this ultimate redemption of the world.


  1. Why was Daniel so distraught after his dream and vision?
  2. Which verse gives you hope in the chapter, and why?
  3. Have you abdicated the throne of your personal life to God? Why is that important for you?

Pray This

Reading this chapter reminds us of the establishment of the Kingdom of God that Jesus references in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-10. Pray the beginning of that prayer over your day today:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”

Live today prepared for His coming because in Christ, we have rest, hope, and ultimate victory!

Leave a Comment below

Did you learn something today? Share it with our Bible Reading Plan community by commenting below.

Join the Team

Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email

4 thoughts on “Daniel 7”

  1. Daniel was distraught over his dream and I am distraught over this world. BUT GOD almighty is on His throne now and forever. The Ancient of Days is working even as our time on this earth is in turmoil, God is our strength. The evil one has a time limit and may win some battles but I know that he has lost the war. Being faithful, strong and of good courage is what we need to do/be and together fight for that strength to fight the good fight. God reigns!! He rules!! He wins!!!

    God help me to focus on You at all times. Even when I here the “news” of this world. I know that I know that You are God almighty and You are on Your throne! Thank You for helping me keep my eyes focused on You. Thank You for words of encouragement coming out of my mouth in Jesus name amen

  2. Diane Frances Rogers

    Daniel had a vision of four great beasts, each representing a world empire. This was similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream covered the political aspects of the empires. Daniel’s dream depicted their moral characteristics. These nations, which would reign over Israel, were evil and, cruel, but Daniel also saw God’s everlasting, indestructible kingdom arrive and conquer them all.
    We all must stand before almighty God. We should live each day with a full awareness that we must appear before God to give account for how we used our lives. Tremble, yes trembling, but Jesus! All Glory to God! Amen!

  3. Ella Snodgrass

    There is a recurring theme in what I’m reading and hearing lately—JUDGMENT DAY:
    •The Awe of God, chapter 13 “Three Images”
    Luke 8:17 “For all that is secret will eventually be
    brought to light and made known to all.
    •Nate’s message from Psalm 1–the judgement of life
    is sure.
    •Daniel 7 as The Ancient of Days pronounces judgement
    in favor of the holy people.
    Clearly it’s important that I ponder, meditate and prepare for this coming day. Matthew Henry said, “ It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.