God's Sovereignty: Daniel Study (Part 7)

In the first 6 chapters of Daniel, we've seen God's miraculous provision for His people during the time of the exile (if you missed the blogs on the first 6 chapters, you can find them here). This month, we're going to see a dream that God sent to Daniel (instead of Nebuchadnezzar) which has some similarities to Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2 addressing the Babylonian Empire and the kingdoms to follow. We will see through this chapter study how God is sovereign over everything.

The beginning of Daniel 7, we see that God gives Daniel a divine perspective on human evil through a nightmare he had. The main point of this dream is to demonstrate that God sits on his throne above ALL human kings and human kingdoms. In his dream, the world's kings are described as four mutant animals.

The first animal was a winged lion (lion with eagle's wings). A lion is traditionally the king of beasts while the eagle is the monarch of the skies. The mixture of the 2 illustrates the power and speed of the Babylonian Empire. In Jeremiah, this same depiction is used to describe Nebuchadnezzar (see Jeremiah 49:19-22). It then says that the wings were plucked off and transformed into a man – think about Nebuchadnezzar's humbling and restoration in Daniel 4.

The second animal was a bear with ribs in its mouth. This beast was used as an image of Medo-Persia (co-rule of the Medes and Persians). The Persians ended up surpassing the Medes, which describes the "raised up on one side" to become the Persian Empire. Furthermore, the ribs in its mouth represent the 3 countries they defeated: Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.

The third beast was a leopard with four wings (part leopard, part bird) which represented the Greek Empire – under Alexander the Great. His conquest was fast, which is what the wings represented (leopards are also known for their speed). After his death, the Greek Empire was split into four: Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt – illustrated by the four heads.

Finally, the fourth beast was one that couldn't be described as an earthly animal. Words such as terrifying ,dreadful, and exceedingly strong were used to describe this beast – there was an emphasis on the destructive qualities. This beast represents the Roman Empire. While this beast already had 10 horns on it, another horn grew in and overtook 3 of the original horn. The new horn was thought to refer to the Antichrist.

Daniel's vision now shifts from the four kingdoms to heaven preparing for the Day of Judgement. The "Ancient of Days" is God sitting on his throne and the fiery flames represent God's wrath that will come upon Satan and his followers on judgment day. Everyone will eventually face God, which is what is meant by "ten thousand times ten thousand." On this judgment day, Daniel saw the beast was slain (the "little horn" of the last beast) and the other three beasts weren't slain; however, their days are numbered and fate in the hands of God. A time will come when all human governments will be defeated and replaced by Christ's eternal kingdom.

"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 everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." - Daniel 7:13-14

Now in Daniel's dream, he's seeing the final triumph of Jesus. You can see some of the descriptions used are seen in New Testament passages (see Matthew 16:27 and Mark 14:62). It describes how this kingdom will be eternal and shall not be destroyed like we've seen with the earthly kingdoms.

The final section of Daniel 7 goes into the interpretation of Daniel's dream. As mentioned earlier, the beasts represent the kingdoms (or potentially their rulers): Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon), Cyrus (Persia), Alexander the Great (Greece), and the "little horn" as the Antichrist. The beasts show the ongoing issue of a lust for power that will continue to be seen throughout history until the return of Christ and God's eternal kingdom.

Daniel describes the fourth beast a little further. One thing mentioned is how the Antichrist ("little horn" on the fourth beast), will wage a war against the saints (followers of Christ); however, he will only prevail temporarily until Christ returns. We've seen this today as Christians are in "battle" and will face oppressions until the return of Christ when believers will enter the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity.

While we might face persecution while on earth, we must remain strong knowing that God is sovereign and we will receive our eternal reward in the end!

This chapter was different from the other chapters we've covered through Daniel. While we might be left somewhat confused on Daniel's vision and its meaning, here is what we can take away from this chapter:

  1. God is in complete control over human history. Just like God was sovereign in the moments described in this chapter and throughout the Bible, he remains sovereign over our world today.
  2. Every person will one day stand before God. This can't be avoided. Everyone will eventually be judged by God.
  3. The devil deceives people away from God's truth. From the beginning of time, we have seen Satan's deception (starting in the Garden of Eden). [See John 8:44 and 1 John 2:22 for more on Satan.]

While there are still 5 more chapters in the book of Daniel, I'm actually going to skip going through them in these blogs. I encourage you throughout July to finish reading through Daniel as it continues to describe visions Daniel saw of the future and how in spite of exile and persecution, God remains in control.

Cornerstone Impact Update

For the first 5 months of 2024, we went through a mini-series: Objections of BRI. If you missed this series, you can find all the blogs here.

BRI Objections - SEM Trader’s Blog

For the remainder of 2024, we are going through a new series, Invested with Purpose. This series will be going through a book by Arthur Ally on the birth of Biblically Responsible Investing. We will find that it wasn't (and isn't) smooth sailing for BRI; however, it is so important to have investing options for Christians. The first part of the series was published last month.

Invested with Purpose (Part 1)
For the first part of 2024, we took you through a series called BRI Objections. We spent some time explaining how we respond to the reoccurring objections we receive about Biblically Responsible Investing. If you missed that series, you can find all the posts here: BRI Objections - SEM Trader’


Inspire recently launched a new faith-based ETF (ticker: PTL)! As a celebration, they were able to ring the NYSE closing bell on Monday, July 1st. Our Portfolio Manager, Jeff Hybiak was able to be on the podium as well with other's from Inspire's team. You can watch the video here:

This was an incredible opportunity for not only Inspire but for Biblically Responsible Investing as a whole!

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West Point, VA
Courtney is SEM's Marketing Manager. She joined SEM full-time in 2016. Outside of SEM, Courtney enjoys hiking with her golden retriever, Mya and volunteering at LifePointe Christian Church.