Nebuchadnezzar was not the only one to have a vision of the future course of world history. After Daniel was given the interpretation for the king’s dream, he went on to have several prophetic visions of his own. Each of these predictions adds considerable detail to what was first given in the prophecy of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. In the seventh chapter of his book, Daniel records how he had an unusual vision while he slept one night, many years after the king’s original dream. The experience was terrifying for him and much different than the one he saw before. The opening verses set the scene:
“I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
“And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”
Daniel’s vision begins with a raging, dark sea of ominous character—the wind roaring upon it and the waves tossing with angry intent. The very sight of this terrifying ocean would be enough to send nightmarish shivers down anyone’s back, especially in the middle of a dark night. But the vision did not end there. As he continued to dream, suddenly out of the sea arose four great beasts or animal-like, mutant creatures one after another. As they ascended from the raging depths, each of them was seemingly more frightening than the one which came before. This is the way Daniel described them:
“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings; I beheld till its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man; and a man’s heart was given to it.
“And, behold, another beast, a second, like a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between its teeth; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, another, like a leopard, which had upon its back four heads, and dominion was given to it.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.”
Can you imagine what it might be like to have a vision from the Lord as dramatic as this one and have it take the form of a realistic dream of horrifying imagery? It’s one thing to have a typical nightmare and become frightened because of its realism, but it’s another thing altogether to be the recipient of a intense vision from God…[more]