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Stuart Chase - 3 April 2022

Kingdom Come (Daniel 7:1–28)

Readers who find themselves either perplexed or frightened by the strange visions of Daniel 7 are in good company: Daniel was both! Nevertheless, careful and level-headed study can both clear some of the confusion and lift some of the fear that readers might feel when approaching the text—if we will but lift our eyes from the beastly waters to the heavenly thrones.

Scripture References: Daniel 7:1-28

From Series: "Daniel"

A sermon series in the book of Daniel.

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Iain Duguid begins his commentary on Daniel 7 with these words: “The end of the world is a remarkably popular subject these days.” He points to several evidences of this claim and suggests several reasons for it and concludes, “Wherever it comes from, however, it is undeniable that there is more interest in the end of the world these days than there has been for a while.”

At the risk of calling Dr. Duguid’s “undeniable” into question, I wonder if that’s true—if there is more interest in the end of the world than there has been for a while. I wonder if there has ever been a time in human history when people haven’tbeen obsessed with trying to unravel future mysteries and end-time prophecies. Entire ministries have been and are devoted to unravelling prophecy. Few things cause heated discussion like differing interpretations of end times events. Perhaps even fewer things cause people to throw their hands up in despair and profess ignorance.

When it comes to speculations about the future, perhaps three sections of Scripture rise to the top of the pile: Revelation, Daniel 7–12, and the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24–25; Mark 13; Luke 21). These are some of the most hotly debated sections in all of Scripture. Any teacher approaching these texts is naïve to imagine that his entire audience will be fully on board with his interpretations.

For all the debate, however, we must surely agree on one thing: These hotly debated texts are more interested in showing the victory of Christ than satisfying our curiosity about future events. If we do not walk away from texts like these settled in our hearts that Christ reigns, and his saints through him, we have missed the burden of the writers. Speaking particularly of the vision before us in Daniel 7, George Schwab writes, “Empires and nations of this world … pass away, and the saints … receive the kingdom forever. This is a good summation of both halves of the book of Daniel.”

We will spend the next several weeks digging into these closing chapters of Daniel. Before we begin, however, I need to say a few words by way of broad introduction. The first thing has to do with the genre of the text before us.

Approaching Daniel 7, nearly every commentator addresses the genre of these closing chapters. Scholars refer to these chapters as “apocalyptic” literature and many draw a distinction between “apocalyptic” and “prophecy.” The distinction, however, is difficult to uphold. For one thing, there are varying opinions as to exactly what is the distinction between apocalyptic and prophecy. Working through commentaries in preparation for this study, I came across at least six ways that different commentators distinguish apocalyptic from prophecy. There is simply no agreement on how to distinguish one from the other. Furthermore, while Revelation, which is the other major section of extended “apocalyptic” literature in the Bible, refers to itself as apocalyptic (1:1) (“revelation” translates the Greek word for “apocalypse”), it also refers to itself as prophecy (1:3; 22:18). Revelation, then, is both “apocalyptic” and “prophecy.” Simply put, if there is a distinction between “apocalypse” and “prophecy,” it is not easy to determine what the distinction is and there is definite overlap. Ultimately, I agree with Allan Harman: “There is, then, no clear break between prophecy and apocalyptic, because they share some common features.” Certainly, it is impossible to categorise books like Daniel and Revelation as one or the other.

One more word of broad introduction is pertinent. Readers who find themselves either perplexed or frightened by these chapters are in good company. Daniel was both (see vv. 15, 28). Nevertheless, I do believe that careful and level-headed study can both clear some of the confusion and lift some of the fear that readers might feel when approaching the text. I hope to do some of that in our next few studies.

Daniel 7 can be naturally divided into two broad sections. First, Daniel recounts his dream (vv. 1–14) and, second, an angel interprets his dream (vv. 15–28). While this division is simple enough, we will, in our time together, jump between these sections as we juggle the symbolism of the dream with its interpretation. For our purposes, I want to consider the contrast between the beasts (vv. 1–8) and the Son of Man (vv. 9–14).

The summary of the dream and its interpretation is found in vv. 17–18: “These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.” As we consider the dream together, therefore, we will consider the distinction between the evil empires (vv. 1–8, 15–25) and the righteous ruler (vv. 9–14, 26–28).

The Evil Empires

We saw previously that Daniel 6 was set after the fall of Babylonia. The Medo-Persian coalition had overthrown Babylonia and Darius the Mede had taken a position of authority in Babylon. Chapter 7 now rewinds the clock to reveal a dream that Daniel had “in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon.”

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.

(Daniel 7:1–8)

The record before us is a summary of what Daniel saw. The ESV speaks about “the dream” and “the sum of the matter” (v. 1). In other words, what we have here is merely a “highlight reel” of Daniel’s fuller dream. He saw in 3D technicolour what we read in black and white. However frightening and perplexing this is for us, how much more must it have been for Daniel! Duguid suggests that “spending a night in a den of lions would be a comfortable prospect compared to the prospect of confronting these outlandish and dangerous beasts!”

In his dream, Daniel saw “the four winds of heaven … stirring up the great sea.” The “great sea,” in his vision, was in utter turmoil. “The four winds” were blowing simultaneously, causing utter chaos on the water. Geographically, “the great sea” should be equated with the Mediterranean Sea, which was the western border of the Promised Land. Symbolically, a raging sea portrays the raging of Gentile political powers (Isaiah 17:12; Revelation 17:15). The angel’s interpretation later explicitly identifies the beasts as political powers. The imagery here, then, seemingly communicates that political power was beginning to shift westwards, from Babylonia to Persia and Greece. This was some nine years before the events of chapter 5.

“Four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another” (v. 3). The angel later interprets these beasts as “four kings who shall arise out of the earth” (v. 17). The beasts stand for kings, who stand as representatives of their kingdoms (v. 23). We have already been introduced, in chapter 2, to these four kingdoms: Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2, Babylonia was portrayed as a golden head. Here, Babylonia is represented as the first beast, which was “like a lion and had eagles’ wings.” Nations throughout history have used these animals as symbols to represent them, for the lion is frequently considered the king of the beasts, while the eagle is frequently considered the king of the birds. Ancient Babylonian inscriptions have uncovered this precise imagery (a winged lion) as representative of the nation. Furthermore, Nebuchadnezzar is portrayed symbolically by the prophets both as a lion (Jeremiah 4:7) and an eagle (Ezekiel 17:3–4, 11–12). As we think about the beast’s wings being removed and the mind of a man being given to it, we cannot help but think back to the experience of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. The imagery, as commentators universally agree, points to the winged lion as representative of Babylonia.

The second beast had the appearance of a lopsided bear with three ribs in its mouth. In chapter 2, the silver chest and arms represented the Medo-Persian Empire. In chapter 8, the Medo-Persian coalition will be represented by a goat with horns of unequal length. The imagery here appears to communicate the same kingdom. The bear is lopsided (and the horns of the goat of unequal length) because, historically, while the Medes and the Persians came together to form a coalition, it was a lopsided coalition in which the Persians quickly assumed ascendancy. The three ribs likely represent the three major political powers that the Medo-Persian coalition conquered on its way to ascendancy: Babylonia, Egypt, and Lydia.

The third beast resembled a four-headed, four-winged leopard. Leopards are swift cats, and the four wings heighten the sense of speed. The midriff and thighs in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represented the Greek kingdom; so, here, the third beast represents Greece. Alexander the Great, famed leader of the Greeks, conquered the known world with immense speed. Within twelve years, he had defeated every major world power, before he died at the age of 33. At his death, the kingdom was divided into four parts, portrayed here by the four heads, each ruled by one of his generals.

Verses 7–8 portray a fourth, indescribable beast. This beast represented the Roman Empire, which was the only one of the four kingdoms that was not yet a recognised power when Daniel received his vision. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the Roman Empire was portrayed as legs and feet, partly of iron and partly of fired clay. The ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image correspond to the ten horns of Daniel’s vision.

According to the angel’s later interpretation, this beast would be “a fourth kingdom” that would be “different from all the kingdoms” (v. 23). Unlike the earlier kingdoms, the Roman Empire was a republic ruled by a senate rather than a king. The beast’s ten horns represent ten kings (v. 24). It is likely, when we compare this text with Revelation 13 and 17, that these “kings” (horns) were the governors of Rome’s ten provinces (e.g. “King” Herod).

Particular attention is drawn to “another horn, a little one,” which arose among the ten horns. A fair amount of attention is given to this “little horn” (v. 8). We are told that it had “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things” (v. 8). Its eyes and mouth are again given attention in v. 28, where it is added that it “seemed greater than its companions.” Furthermore, this horn is said in vv. 24–25 to be “different from the former” horns, to “put down three kings,” to “speak words against the Most High,” to “wear out the saints of the Most High” for “a time, times, and half a time,” and “to think to change the times and the law.”

Once again, interpreters differ on the identity of the little horn. Since the fourth beast is representative of Rome, it appears evident that this “little horn” was someone in authority in the ancient Roman Empire. He was “different from the former” horns, which suggests that his authority was not the same as theirs. If the ten horns represent the governors of the ten Roman provinces, the little horn likely represents a “different” kind of authority—an emperor, perhaps, rather than a governor. The New Testament recognises these different types of authority in the Roman Empire (1 Peter 2:13). While we may not be able to neatly tie up every detail given, perhaps the best candidate to fulfil these qualifications is Nero, who was a supreme emperor rather than a subordinate governor (and thereby different from the others). Nero was not in line to become emperor but rose to that position when the three emperors who preceded him were assassinated to make way for him. Nero started as a good leader but eventually grew to hate and to persecute Christians—the saints of the Most High. He spoke great blasphemies against Christ and his people and viciously persecuted them for about three-and-a-half years (“a time, times, and half a time”) before his untimely death.

While I have just sketched how I understand the prophecy in the text before us, I have already said that the prophecy is hotly debated among Christian scholars. There is room for such debate and even for amicable disagreement. In fact, since Daniel and his original readers could not have known the identity of this “little horn” and were yet able to draw encouragement from this vision, we, too, can draw encouragement, even if we cannot ascertain with certainty the identity of the “little horn.” I am not suggesting that accurate interpretation of Scripture is unimportant, but there is a moreimportant principle to understand here than figuring out exact timelines and tying every minute detail to a particular interpretation. Whatever interpretation you settle on, you must come away from this text persuaded that, as dreadful as the evil before us appears, each of these empires was little more than a pawn in God’s hands. Each of these kingdoms was given authority for a limited time and would crumble before the kingdom of Christ, which would be given forever to the very saints that these kingdoms so viciously persecuted.

Daniel was “greatly alarmed” when he awoke from his dream and his face was drained of its colour (v. 28). “Greatly alarmed” means to be terrified (CSB). Remember that we have recorded for us only a “summary” (v. 1, CSB) of what Daniel saw. The summary was, however, horrifying. The dreadful, hybrid beasts—with particular reference to the fourth beast—had one goal: to oppress the saints of the Most High. These evil empires were intent on destroying the people of God.

And yet, pay close attention to what is said of these empires. Each of them claimed ultimate supremacy, but Daniel’s vision gives us a truer picture. The winged lion was “given” the mind of a man (v. 4). The lopsided bear was “told” to “devour much flesh” (v, 5). Dominion was “given” to the winged leopard (v. 6). And even RoboBeast with its little horn was “given” the saints that he wore out (v. 25). Each of these empires was little more than a puppet in the hands of the true Sovereign.

We easily grow distressed when human power oppresses the saints of God. In a country like South Africa, in which we are accustomed to government respecting the Christian church, we think that we are hopeless if we lose political favour. Just recently, we were told that government’s draft health regulations constitute a “severe threat to our religious freedom” and that, over the last two years, there has been “unfair discrimination against the religious community.” Our government has been described as “tyrannical” and every effort has been expended to fight for our religious rights and overturn the “unfair discrimination” against religious liberties.

I am thankful that we live in a constitutional democracy in which we have opportunity to object to threats to religious liberty. I think we should take advantage of the opportunities we are legally afforded to minimise disruption to our religious freedoms. At the same time, we should be careful of thinking that our only hope in God’s work is for our freedoms to be respected by government. Christ is not somehow unseated when his enemies oppose his people—even when those enemies appear to prosper for a time. Any power that Christ’s enemies display to oppose the church is delegated authority. And that authority can be removed as easily as it was given.

When the war broke out in Ukraine recently, I read the comments of a Ukrainian pastor who was asked what his church would do if Ukraine was subsumed by another Communist power. Without hesitation, he responded, “We’ll go underground again.” He made the point that religious liberty is such a new thing in Ukraine that Ukrainian Christians know what it is like to worship underground. Stripping religious liberties will not stop the church from worshipping and working for the advance of the kingdom. How can he have such an optimistic outlook? Because he knows that no authority—tyrannical or otherwise—can stand over the church that has not been granted by God.

It is perhaps significant that, while we can look at history to try and identify the beasts, the angel did not explicitly do so. This suggests that a proper application of this text is not contingent on correctly identifying which beast represents which kingdom. The reality is, world empires have not changed in their nature. As Duguid says, “The beasts of the present world order may change their shape as the centuries pass, but their violence and lust for power continues.”

However, the beasts are not the central focus of this dream. Standing—or, more correctly, seated—at the centre of this chapter is the Ancient of Days and, with him, one like a son of man. As Daniel’s vision was drawn from the monstrous beasts, so our attention should turn to the heavenly thrones and those seated on them. That brings us to the central aspect of the text.

The Righteous Ruler

We have been told repeatedly that the beasts were given the authority that they had, but the source of that authority, at least as far as the text has spoken thus far, has remained a mystery. That mystery is cleared in vv. 9–14:

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.


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.

(Daniel 7:9–14)

The next part of the dream unfolds in two acts. In essence, these verses parallel the little stone in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which broke off from the mountain without human intervention and rolled down to destroy the statue.

In Act 1 (vv. 9–12), Daniel sees God the Father—“the Ancient of Days”—seated on his throne. The one seated on the throne is not a mutant beast. He is a dazzling judge from whom the fire of judgement proceeds. His radiant clothing, “white as snow,” represents his utter purity, in contrast to the vile wickedness of the little horn. His white hair, “like pure wool,” represents his perfect wisdom. The fire surrounding and issuing from his throne represents his consuming judgement.

It is significant that there is no war described between the beasts or the horn and the Ancient of Days. He merely sits in judgement of them. He has all the facts in his “books” of judgement and the sentence he passes will be beyond dispute. He has both the wisdom to judge and the power to enforce the sentence. The boastful little horn was silenced, and the fourth beast killed, with its dead body given to the consuming fire (v 11).

Verse 12, which describes the removal of the first three beasts, seems initially out of place. How is it that the fourth beast is destroyed before the first three? But it is simply a matter emphasis. The emphasis of this vision is the fourth beast, even though the first three lose their positions before it comes on the scene. Carl Friedrich Keil translates v. 12 to give its sense. If you are wondering about the fate of the other beasts, “the first three beasts also had their dominion taken away one after another, each at its appointed time; for to each God gave its duration of life, extending to the season and time appointed by him.”

Again, don’t miss the fact that the time given to each beast was appointed by the Ancient of Days. He appointed their rise to power and their fall from power. None of this was outside of his sovereign control.

Act 2 (vv. 13–14) shifts the focus from “the Ancient of Days” to “one like a son of man.” These verses describe both the means by which the fourth beast was destroyed and the result of the beast’s destruction.

It is important to correctly identify who this “one like a son of man” was. In the vision before us, he is pictured as both God and man. He is “one like a son of man.” There was something distinctly human about him. Since the Ancient of Days also appeared in human form (v. 9), there is something more to Christ’s humanity than a mere human body. He was distinctly and unmistakably human. At the same time, he was seen riding the clouds, an action ascribed explicitly to Godin the Old Testament (Psalm 68:4, CSB; Isaiah 19:1). The one given authority, therefore, is one who is both God and man. And who is the one who is both God and man? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verses 13–14 are a prophecy of Christ’s ascension, when he came with the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days. At his ascension, he 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.” Paul concurred that, at his ascension, God “seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20–21). Peter likewise taught that Jesus ascended “into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him” (1 Peter 3:22). With the little horn and the fourth beast destroyed, authority was given to Christ. The permanence of his kingdom stands in stark contrast to the temporary nature of the puppet empires.

Christ’s ascension, of course, cannot be spoken of apart from his death and resurrection. As Paul would later write, “In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:9–10). In other words, Christ’s ascension means nothing apart from his life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection. In his life, he fulfilled all righteousness on our behalf. In his death, he took the penalty for our sins upon himself. In his burial, he carried our sins to the grave. In his resurrection, he proved that he had conquered sin and death. In his ascension, he openly displayed his conquest over every other claim to authority as he ascended to take his throne at the right hand of God.

Significantly, in the angel’s interpretation of the dream, the Son of Man’s authority is mediated through his people. “And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (v. 27). Christ’s authority is gospel authority, which is mediated through his church as believers and churches are obedient to the Great Commission. It is, in the new covenant era, through the conquest of the gospel that Christ exercises his reign in this world. One day, he will sit in final judgement against all who resisted his authority, but now he sends his emissaries into the world to carry the good news of eternal salvation to all who will believe in him.

The Important Implications

Having thus considered the dream itself, and its inspired interpretation, how do we bring this chapter to bear in our own lives? Let me highlight three crucial implications for us as we embrace the text before us.

Transformed Fear

First, this dream and its interpretation should transform our fears.

I was in a Bible study recently in which a church member told me that, years ago, reading the book of Revelation frightened her. The vision of the dreadful beasts in this chapter might instil in us a similar sense of fear. Certainly, if we were exposed to the dream in the same way that Daniel was, it would provoke fear in us, as it did for Daniel. But as we shift our focus from the raging, beastly waters, to the radiant, heavenly thrones, it should transform our fears.

We are all prone to fear and fear is a powerful motivator. Politicians are experts at weaponising our fears against us. If you don’t vote for their party, they insist, you have much to fear. Opposition parties are coming for your children, your churches, and your finances. The only hope is to vote for us: We will protect you against these threats. If we give into our fears, we find ourselves easily manipulated.

We frequently approach fear in one of two ways.

On the one hand, we flee from our fears. In Christian circles, this often looks like seeking homogenous community, where everyone looks like us, thinks like us, and behaves like us. We isolate ourselves from unbelievers and do not tolerate nonconformity. We exclude anyone who doesn’t look, think, and behave just like us. We idolise “safety,” and so we create subcultures of Christian music, Christian film, Christian business, and Christian clubs. We refuse to interact with anyone unlike us, which isolates us from the world.

On the other hand, we fight our fears by openly attacking our “enemies,” rather than praying for and doing good to them. We dehumanise anyone who is on “the other side” because it’s far easier to mistreat them when we dehumanise them. Sometimes, in our quest for power—because power equals safety—Christian ethics becomes a distant priority: We are willing to compromise to entrench our power.

Both of these approaches to fear are geared toward control. We are afraid and our only hope is to control our fears. Somehow, Christians have forgotten that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). And Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). When we fear God, lesser fears will seem irrelevant. The beasts of this world pale into insignificance when we behold the Ancient of Days and the fiery river that flows from his throne.

What is your greatest fear object? Do you fear God and keep his commandments, or do you fear other things and keeptheir commandments?

Transformed Focus

Second, this dream and its interpretation should transform our focus.

Verses 9–14 form the central section of this chapter. The vision of the heavenly thrones drew Daniel’s attention from the beasts and the little horn. The little horn, who spoke “great things” (v. 8) did not at any point stop with his blasphemies (v. 11), but the vision of the Ancient of Days was so glorious that the little horn’s “great words” became insignificant.

When we grasp the glory of the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man, it will shift our focus away from the things and the fears of this life. Stuart Olyott is correct: “We shall be the poorest of people if we spend all our time thinking about the beasts and the horns, and fail to see the other things that were revealed to the prophet that night.” Bob Fyall adds that Daniel

must not be distracted by the remorseless procession of beasts so as to fail to look at what is set high above the beasts and the sea. It is from this throne that these monsters are being controlled…. When Daniel takes his eyes off that throne the world itself is in a state of turbulence; but let him look up and there is the glorious peace of an unshakeable throne.

From his perspective, God’s truth may have appeared to be consigned to oblivion in Babylon, but he needed to remember that God remained seated on his sovereign throne. The beasts were real and terrifying, but they were leashed. God was still at work. God was still accomplishing his purposes.

Too often, we allow the beasts of our age to distract us from the work to which God has called us. We need to remember that Christ has been given dominion (v. 14) and that he mediates that dominion through the gospel ministry of his saints (v. 18). We are often told that we live in a “post-Christian” world in which God’s truth is increasingly sidelined. For centuries, powerful opponents of the Christian gospel have threatened to wipe the Christian faith from living memory. But Christ has never left—and will never leave—his throne. The gospel will prevail. Christ will build his church and the gates of hell—and the beasts of the world—will not prevail against it. We must look to the heavenly throne and maintain a confident focus in the gospel work to which we have been called.

Transformed Faith

Third, and finally, this dream and its interpretation should transform our faith.

There is a great deal about the dream in this chapter that is open for debate. But there are also a great number of things that are certain. God is on his throne and human power will succumb to his authority. The evil beasts of this world willpersecute and seek to overpower the saints of the Most High. In the end, Christ’s kingdom will triumph. These certainties are beyond dispute. They are not vague, religious hopes and dreams but realties that are worked out in living history—internationally, nationally, communally, and personally.

But the certainty of the final outcome requires us to approach life with faith. “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). The beasts of our world so often seem to mock and undermine the promises of Christ’s victory, and if we walk by what we see we will be easily discouraged. But understanding this vision should enable us to walk by faith, not by sight so that we trust Christ both for what we do and do not see.

This vision, with the rest of the book of Daniel, was recorded to enable the people of God to live faithfully in their time of exile. There is a sense in which Christians today still live as exiles in a land that does not belong to them. The only way we will live faithfully in our Babylon is if we root our faith firmly in the Son of Man, to whom has been given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and, languages should serve him (v. 14). May we be driven by such faith today.