Day 12

Interpretation of the Vision

from the Daniel reading plan


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

BY Patti Sauls

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!

Post Comments (20)

20 thoughts on "Interpretation of the Vision"

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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