Interpretation of the Vision

Open Your Bible

Daniel 7:15-28, Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 1:15-20

Deadly beasts, a boasting horn, a heavenly courtroom… what is happening? Are you bewildered by the strange details like me? If so, we’re in good company. Even Daniel was overwhelmed by his own vision. Daniel, the faithful Israelite. Daniel, the brave exile in Babylon. Daniel, the interpreter of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But even he couldn’t interpret this one. (Glad I’m not the only one confused.) Feeling terrified and exhausted, he asks an angel within the scene for an explanation. 

Woven into this account of Daniel’s vision is God’s reminder that it’s okay not to have all the answers. He gives us freedom to wonder and be uncertain. God invites us to prayerfully ask for help (Philippians 4:6–7) and to search for clarity (Psalm 119:12–16). However, the humbling reality is that we just won’t understand it all. For example, most scholars interpret the four beasts in Daniel’s vision as the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, yet there is debate about which kings the horns represent, how the little horn specifically attempts to dominate, the timing of it all, and so on.

There’s a lot we don’t know, but there’s a lot we do know, too. We see these mighty empires puffed up with pride and self-sufficiency. They devour, crush, and trample as they oppress and conquer their neighbors (Daniel 7:19). What a picture of how humans behave like beasts when we reject our Creator! Individuals and societies disintegrate when we refuse to believe that every human is made in the image of God and deserves dignity. Seeking “my will be done” instead of “God, your will be done” diminishes our humanity. The ruthless kingdoms rise, then, inevitably crumble.

The angelic interpreter also tells Daniel that the ten horns represent kings who will rule after the fall of the brutal fourth kingdom. Daniel is especially horrified by another little horn that rose up to overtake the others. It represents a tyrannical leader who arrogantly rejects God, wages war against God’s people, and positions himself as a tyrant over all creation.

Yet, all is not lost. Horror gives way to hope as Daniel watches the ultimate reckoning unfold. A heavenly court convenes and God Himself, called the “Ancient of Days,” takes the judgment seat. The Judge rules; the verdict is in. All who have set themselves up against the authority of God are sentenced to eternal death. Then, one who looks like the son of man joins the Judge to accept the rule and reign of God’s kingdom of eternal life.

While Daniel strained to see and understand this hope, we can look to Jesus, who called Himself “the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Even though we don’t have all the answers, we can rest assured “that the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and possess it forever, yes, forever and ever” (Daniel 7:18). World without end, from horror to hope… Amen!

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22 thoughts on "Interpretation of the Vision"

  1. Casey Evans says:

    Wow, Daniel 7 and these visions are just incredible. We have such tough times ahead and need to prepare our children and children’s children – but we have the end of the story too – the Kingdom of God forever ruling. So incredible for a human to have glimpsed this, wow

  2. Emily Everest says:

    I am starting to understand the distress of Daniel… how awful to feel like all the life and goodness he is living for is going to be destroyed by arrogant kings. I bet he wonders “will it ever get better?”

  3. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord i seek you during this time of uncertainty but lord i love you and i trust you! You got me!

  4. Aly Groover says:

    I’m way behind on commenting on this, but thank you so much for sharing this!! It’s a true encouragement to me!

  5. Victoria Castaneda says:

  6. Lydia RV says:

    Dear single ladies, keep doing what you do, trust in Him en keep the hope. I know the struggle very well, meeting my husband when I was 37 and receiving my son at almost 40. However I also have good friends well into their 40s who remained single and still struggle with it. Even so, they testify, our God is good and he loves us all and has a good plan for our lives, whether single or married. If you love reading biographies, read Corrie ten Boom: The Hiding Place. She longed to get married but the Lord used her singleness mightily

  7. Brittany says:

    I’m usually not one to leave comments, but reading these today really hit home with me. I am a recently single (again) woman. I’m 34 and I, too, have seen all my friends get married and raise children. Some of my closest friends have children as old as 16. While I cannot relate to some of the things they face each day with their children and families, I know that because of my singleness, I can pour more love into their children. And I have the time to pour more love into the children I teach. I spent many years in my late twenties and early thirties pondering “what’s wrong with me?” because I didn’t date very much. Ladies, there’s nothing “wrong” with you. You are beautiful. You are made in God’s image. Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. He met Ruth in the field. He comes to us wherever we are. I still sometimes ponder “why?”. But instead of focusing on why my time hasn’t come yet, I focus on serving. If we can learn to take our eyes of off our future and how WE expect it to turn out, and turn our eyes on God and what we can do to serve Him and His people, then I can tell you from experience, your heart will be so full, that when all the other stuff comes along, it’ll just be an added bonus. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep serving. Love God. Love people. Simple as that.

  8. Allison Maurer says:

    Taylor and Sarah- Seeing all the comments of support and encouragement for all of you made me go back to find your comments. Know this: it seems to me that you have your heads and hearts in the right place. All of this, you being single at this time, is for your good and God’s glory! I can give my story, which sounds very similar to yours, but know that the ending is not necessarily going to be the same. I struggled so much with being single. I had a male friend that I was obsessed over (and now can admit that it probably an unhealthy obsession at times), but I also grew out of that struggle. I learned to turn to God, looking to Him to be complete. I failed so many times and returned to that struggle- I know how hard it is. I will keep both of you in my prayers (and Jennifer, too) as you struggle with these feelings of uncertainty, wondering if or when it will happen. By the way, that friend that I was obsessed over? Turns out that I did marry him. After five years of struggling with my attraction to him and what seemed to be an impossibility, he asked me out. I was 28 when we started dating. And I honestly would not trade that time in my mid-twenties being single, and able to continue to get my Master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, for the world! God knew what He was doing!

  9. Jennifer Martin says:

    Taylor and Sarah D., I know how you feel with being single while your friends are getting engaged and married and not knowing how long you’ll have to wait to meet your husband. I’m in that boat as well, and I pray that we will all focus on God during this time and remember that His plan for us is better than what we can ever imagine.

  10. Tammy Dill says:

    Today’s reading was difficult and scary. I want to understand, but there is no way to understand. I’m thankful that in the end Jesus comes to make things right.

  11. Kelly says:

    Sarah and Taylor- I feel your pain so much. I didn’t meet my now fiance until I was 30. There were some agonizing years in my late 20s as i wondered why and analyzed every interaction with men for potential! But there were some very sweet times as i lived with roommates, moved across the country, and traveled, which your friends who are married at 22 are less likely to do. There is nothing wrong with you, and there is so much to be proud of! To everyone else reading – there is way more to a person than their relationship status, and a good way to love single friends is to celebrate their whole lives rather than asking “are you seeing anyone?” all the time. Speaking from experience!

  12. Mari V says:

    Agreeing with Churchmouse. God is always good! I often say to my kids. Bad things happen to good people. But the reality is who is really consider good. I often tell my kids that as long as we are living on this earth, we will face trials, hurt, unanswered prayers but that’s OK because our hope is in Jesus and He is coming for us and hopefully soon.

  13. Maura says:

    Daniel’s vision disturbs him greatly and as Patti illuminates it shows him horror of this world’s kingdoms, but we have hope in Jesus Christ the hope and salvation who overcomes the world. Jesus who as someone pointed out is in the fire with us, who shuts the mouths of lions, is in the storm unafraid and commands the winds and waves to be still. HRT pointed out that we know we will have suffering in this world and right now we see it all around us, but we know Him who has overcome and who walks with us in it all. How amazing we get to be His hands and feet and speak of our Lord. I hear Jesus in your stories, thankful you are all out there seeking His will speaking His hope.

  14. MARTHA HIX says:


  15. Rhonda J. says:

    I talked yesterday about my fears sometimes when I think of the end times and what comes before. Sometimes our world seems scary with the news and fear stories everywhere! But once again, the song that was playing (always perfect in God’s way of speaking!) said perfectly “My fear doesn’t stand a chance, When I stand in YOUR love.” Great song and lyrics by Josh Baldwin.

    Happy Friday to you my sisters in Christ and great encourages!

  16. Sherrie says:

    Praise God that we don’t need to understand everything! He is our Hope! Love this insight today.

    For Taylor & Sarah D., when your Hope is in Jesus for today (and tomorrow) He will deliver the mate He has chosen for you. My husband was in his early 30’s–I in my early 20’s–when we met and married. Our daughter (who is very near your ages) attended a private Christian university. She lived in a house with 5 other young ladies who were either getting engaged or getting married. She wondered what was wrong with her? She questioned her worth while measuring herself with the others. But she kept her heart on Christ. She focused on her purpose and graduated in 3 years. She found a job that allowed her to begin her adult life. She dated and came up pretty empty. One day, while waiting to meet a friend from work, a young gentleman asked her for her breakfast recommendation that turned into an hours -long conversation. They dated, married and have a beautiful daughter within about 18 months! Keep your heart on God. Wait on His direction and Trust Him to lead your heart to the right mate. It may take more than a few dates, but the wait/sifting is SO worth it!

  17. Tiffany C says:

    Although we are uncertain of things in our life or even the interpretation of the Word, let us be certain of our hope in Christ! We are limited in our understanding, however we can trust God as He is infinite in His Wisdom. Christ will return.

  18. Nancy Singleton says:

    Yes—Come Lord Jesus, come.

  19. Taylor says:

    It all comes down to pride. I love Patti’s statement in the devotion that says “Seeking ‘my will be done’ instead of ‘God, your will be done’ diminishes our humanity.” I know I struggle with trying to control my life and trusting God enough to take a back seat and let Him work and move in my life. Lord, rid me of my prideful spirit and bring me to a place of surrender that I may trust you over myself or anyone else. I claim the promise of Romans 8:28 “And we KNOW that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I surrender Lord.

    Also Sarah D., I TOTALLY know where you’re coming from. It is so hard to be single at a Christian college and watch all your friends around you get into relationships/engaged. It is so easy to feel jealous and ask “why can’t their season also be my season?” If it offers you any encouragement I’m still single at 24 and as much as I miss being at a Christian college surrounded by believers, going to grad school really showed me that I’m not alone and NOTHING is wrong with me. I’m in a life group at my church in Philadelphia with other single young adults and it has been such an encouragement. When I was in college, I found that connecting with other young women who were single was really helpful to encourage one another in God’s truths and His faithfulness. I truly empathize with your situation and still find myself thinking “could he be my husband?” when meeting men :)

  20. Angie says:

    Maura – Thank you for your thoughts and prayers regarding my MRI. It was especially helpful for me to hear that it was painful. I know that sounds weird but, my ankle/foot had pain during and after. I felt confused as to why that would be, however, it was held in odd positions for long amounts of time. Thank you. I should have my results by Wednesday.

    Jene – I lift your husband and others on the front line of this COVID situation before the Lord. The hospital was so different when I went for my MRI. Empty. Quiet. Heavy. Lord, it is my prayer for Jene’s husband that your will be done in his life. This illness and the questions that go with it seem like a mountain – I pray that you will help him as he crosses it. If it is by your plan that he contract COVID, may his symptoms be light and doable. Give him air to breath and moment by moment comfort Lord. Strengthen his body to fight as You have created it to. Give Jene wisdom and discernment as to how best help him. And Lord I pray for others in the medical area. There is a cloud that hangs over of insecurity and perhaps even fear. That same cloud, although I think at a lesser degree, hangs over us in education also. Empower your people Lord to be Light during this time. May we pour forth the hope in Jesus and may this turn out to be a wonderful blessing of salvation and redeemed souls. I do not pray that this would be over and we would go back to the way things were. I pray that this would be over and we would be found deeper in love with You, that the multitude of your children would have grown and that the end result would be that You, Lord God, would be honored and glorified and that your children would live with a new hope. Much like these scary beasts in Daniel’s vision, this can be a scary time. Help us to remember that our God wins and we can trust Him/You. Amen.

    Sarah D. – Good for you that you recognize your distraction right now and are praying for God to draw your focus to Him. May you be able to rest in His timing and relax in His family to the point that when He does bring the person who is His plan for you, you are pleasantly surprised and awed by God’s great love that was and is enough for every step of the journey.

    Rhonda Wood, Lara Castillo, and other fellow teachers – perhaps it was exactly for you that God laid the burden on my heart. Rhonda – I cannot imagine 45 online students representing two different grades, and I am a veteran teacher. I have things I have created that I wish I could share with you (as I teach 3rd grade). May the Lord empower, strengthen, and guide you fully. May your rest be sound and peaceful. We are never alone. Lord, battle for her and every child of yours as they seek to live and instruct with an integrity that honors and pleases You. The battle is the Lords, take courage sister in the fight!

    Taylor – You my dear are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your love and joy as you go through clinicals. I can only imagine the blessing you are to the workers at the hospital right now. Thank you for getting up early to start your day with Jesus. You are an inspiration. We appreciate you.

    Be blessed as you go into the weekend Sisters. Our loving and faithful God has a plan for us for such a time as this. May we bring honor and glory to Him as we trust His goodness and faithfulness. Amen.

  21. Churchmouse says:

    Daniel’s vision and the interpretation of it raises more questions than they answer. I’m ok with that. God’s ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. He is always bigger and better. When the end comes and Jesus splits the eastern sky I will not argue with Him on how, why or when He did what He did. He is the King of Kings and my opinion, no matter how well informed, doesn’t matter. There are times, many times, when we must accept the mysteries of God. Accept, and remember that He is always good. That is enough for me. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

    1. Jennifer Yarbrough says:

      Yea this is so true. There are some things we will member understand not in this form. Amen