1 “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. 2 Daniel spoke, saying, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.’”
Daniel now turns to a vision of the future of world governments in chapter seven. This chapter is the most comprehensive and detailed prophecy found anywhere in the Old Testament. It gives more detail of world governments than chapter two – Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman. This vision reveals four consecutive world empires. The fifth empire is that of Jesus Christ.
The vision of chapter seven is the first of four visions to Daniel in chapters seven through twelve (also 8, 9; 10-12). This chapter occurs chronologically between chapters four and five. Whereas the first six chapters of Daniel mainly set forth historical ideas, chapter seven introduces the prophetic division of the book (7-12).
Chapter seven is apocalyptic literature and must be interpreted apocalyptically. There are three apocalyptic books in the Bible: Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. Apocalyptic literature expresses its ideas in symbols. There are three pictures in chapter seven:
1) four beasts rising out of a raging sea,
2) the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment on Gentile nations
3) the Second Coming of the Son of man.
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.
Daniel received direct revelation by “dream and visions” while he slept, fifty years after Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. This came to him in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, king of Babylon (553 B.C.). After waking, Daniel recorded the dream.
Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.”
The “Great Sea” here is the Mediterranean Sea. The sea in Near Eastern symbolism represents the mass of humanity. God used the “four winds of heaven” to put humanity into turmoil. There was great instability among mankind when these blasts of wind came along.
God uses nationalism for evangelism.
God uses national entities to protect citizens who live in those entities. Nationalism tends to balance the powers of the world. Nationalism allows those who herald the gospel to carry it to the maximum.
There is no countervailing balance in internationalism. That is why internationalism is always satanic. We will see this as we study Daniel.
God concurs with the rise and fall of nations. He is sovereign over all. The nations of the world are unstable. Satan is the prince of the power of the air, but he does not have absolute control over the world. God uses dissonance among the nations of the world to accomplish His purposes in the world. He brings instability to the nations of the world as He chooses. God uses international insecurity so that people will take note of the person and work of His Son. It reminds people of their need to trust in the work of Jesus Christ.