The World's Nations As God Sees Them
Daniel Chap. 7 - Chapters 7-12 in Daniel are the apocalyptic writings. The word apokalupto gives the meaning to remove a cover to expose what was hidden. God had sovereignty over kings and kingdoms in the past as we learned in the first 6 chapters of Daniel. This present time isn't out of control, but rather, preparing for the capstone event (the 2nd Coming). Daniel had a dream in this chapter from the time of the 1st year of Belshazzar. This was about 50 years after Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and about 14 years before the party Belshazzar had when his kingdom was given over to the Medes/Persians.
Daniel was given the ability to interpret dreams, but he wasn't able to understand this dream of his own. Four winds of heaven were churning up the sea (maybe this was referring to the Mediterranean Sea or the people of the gentile nations). Four beasts came. The first was a lion with eagle's wings (Nebuchadnezzar). It's wings were plucked off. It rose on its hind feet and was given a man's heart.
The second beast was a bear (maybe the Medo/Persian Empire). It had 3 ribs in its mouth. It was inferior to the lion. The Persians were greater than the Medes.
The third beast was a leopard with 4 wings on its back. It had 4 heads (Grecian Empire). This would have been 200 years before the Greeks came to power. Alexander the Great died at 33 as an alcoholic and the kingdom went to his 4 generals. God had worked with Alexander to give him dominion and successes in his battles.
The fourth beast was not one that could be easily recognized. It was not like any known animal. It had teeth of iron and 10 horns (the Roman Empire). One small horn had eyes and a mouth speaking boastfully. This horn uprooted 3 of the others. (This part of the dream may not yet have been fulfilled and may have had something to do with the Anti-Christ.) The scene shifts to heaven where there were thrones set in place, the Ancient of Days was dressed in white and his hair was as white as wool. He was attended by thousands. The beast is destroyed. There is a river of fire coming from the thrones and the judgment books are opened, and God will create an intervention in our world.
This chapter covers a lot of details of Daniel's dream and leave a lot to the imagination, but the main thing to remember is that God is the one in control, and we want to be included in His Book of names.