“Daniel spake and said, 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 7:2-3
The dream and visions of Daniel in this chapter are some of the most studied as it regards Bible prophecy, and what is yet to come, used in comparison to what is written in the book of Revelations. While the focus is always on the beasts and the interpretation of the dream regarding kingdoms and such, I found inspiration at the very beginning.
For days, I have read others discussing their own personal trials and tribulations. Universally, the discussion was edifying to all involved, and brought glory to God. The point was always well made that God allows all things, because He knows what we need to be enabled and encouraged to turn to Him and seek His Face. Examples of this very principle were utilized from the New Testament, and occasionally from Old Testament books where God specifically said the He would use heathen kings and nations against Israel for their disobedience to Him. The principle was (and remains) soundly argued through all of those means, but I particularly enjoy seeing the Lord’s holy righteousness and sovereignty displayed by non traditional examples, such as right here.
Regarding this particular passage of scripture, Matthew Henry says in his commentary, “Mighty conquerors are but instruments of God’s vengeance on a guilty world.” We know this is true, so, how can we see it in this scripture?
The four beasts rise up from the great sea. This is the Mediterranean Sea, which tells us the area from which they arises, but it is also representative of the earth created by God, as given in the interpretation. It shows how even these heathen kings were first created by God. They, as men, chose the paths they chose but they were created by God nonetheless, and God knew the paths they would choose, and He uses them to do His will.
We see that God is involved by the means of the winds. In Genesis, we see that it was the Holy Spirit Who moved upon the face of the waters and began all creation. So, we know that the wind represents Him, moving upon the waters. This is reinforced by the sea being used to represent the earth instead of just showing them in the dream arising from the earth.
Since the winds were four, and the beasts were four, we can discern that each beast was stirred up by one each of the winds, meaning one wind per beast. Now, in the interpretation given in scripture, which is to say given by The Lord, each beast represents a separate king and kingdom, one raised up behind another, and therefore, at different (diverse) times. Daniel writes and speaks as though they all rose from the sea at the same time, and then he describes each one in the order in which they would gain dominion. The fact that we know they are in different times, and yet they all seemingly arise from the sea at the same time, show us another principle of God, in that He stands outside of the constraints of time. This further reinforces what Matthew Henry said in that the great kings were God’s instruments, because we can see more of His involvement.
God not only uses these kings, but He restrains them. We know that each kingdom comes to an end, as it is overtaken by the next. Even the fourth, as it gives rise to the antichrist, has an end after the three and a half years of war against the saints. God’s judgment shall sit, and his kingdom removed, given to the saints forevermore. So, if He we see God on both sides of the time constraints upon each of these four kingdoms. He stirred up each king who conquered, allowed by Him, for Israel was under His protection otherwise, and allowed their kingdom’s to arise. He brings and end to each, in turn, keeping them from going too far.
God is the King of kings, ruling over them with total sovereignty. Nothing that happens happens without His consent. We know from the book of Job that Satan must ask God permission to go after His children, and that has never changed. So, like those others who have discussed this time and again, may I reinforce upon each of you, and upon myself, that God knows what we’re going through. He knows all about it. He knows your name because some spirit has come before Him to gain permission to afflict you. He knows all of the details of the affliction, because He has set the boundaries, including the trial’s duration. He, in fact, knows the end already, because He is there. He is, right now, with you as you go through your trial, but He is also, right now, with you at the outcome.
Know that all things are worked for good for those who believe in Him. He knows every trial that will come upon you, as He is there, right now, hearing the request of the spirits who wish to place you in each one. He knows the outcome of those trials, too, being there, right now. We see that the fourth kingdom has yet to come, and we are given the outcome of that, so believe it. He knows.
God is for us, after all, therefore, who could really be against us? Trust in Jesus. Look to the Cross. He’s got this.