The Fascinating Relationship Between Daniel 7 and the Great Commission

Daniel 7 begins with the prophet’s description of a vision that he had in the night. In his night vision, he saw four beasts. These four beasts represent the four great kingdoms that immediately preceded the coming of Christ; His death, burial, and resurrection.

The first beast that Daniel saw was of a winged lion. Its wings were plucked off and the lion-like beast was given the mind of a man. This beast represents the Babylonian empire. The plucking of its wings and receiving the mind of a man represents the humbling that Nebuchadnezzar experienced during Daniel’s lifetime.

The second beast was of a bear. One side of the bear was much larger than the other side. This beast represents the Medo-Persian empire that ruled much of the known world after the Babylonians. The stronger larger side of the bear represented the Persian component which was much mightier than the Medo component. The bear’s mouth was full of ribs corresponding to the nations and kingdoms devoured by the Persian empire.

The third beast was of a winged leopard with four heads. The leopard represents the Greeks led by Alexander the great. The four heads correspond to the four generals ( Lysimachus, Cassander, Ptolemy, and Seleucus) who ruled the empire after the death of Alexander. Daniel reported that to this third beast was given great dominion.

The fourth beast was a great and terrifying one that could not be described in the likeness of any creature in nature. It was huge. It was terrifyingly horrible. It had a mouth full of iron teeth. It trampled and devoured everything in sight. This horribly terrifying beast represented the great Roman empire.

Next, he saw “The Ancient of Days,” the personification of God Himself, come and take his place on a judgment seat in the midst of the four beasts. He was clothed in glory and majesty. Fire issued forth from the throne upon which He sat and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him in service.

As He sat in judgment, the fourth mighty and terrifying beast was speaking great and boastful words. In an instant, fire proceeded from the throne which violently and decisively consumed the beast. At the same time dominion was stripped from the other three beasts.

Then, Daniel saw something truly awe-inspiring. “One like a son of man” came on the scene with “the clouds of heaven” and was presented before the Ancient of Days. Now, the prophet describes Him as being “like a son of man” because He appeared as a man, but was obviously divine which was evidenced by the clouds of glory that accompanied Him. We have to conclude that this was the God-man, Jesus.

Jesus was presented before the Ancient of Days. He immediately received three gifts from the One on the throne… glory, dominion, and a kingdom without end. The Ancient of Days also bequeathed to the Son of Man all peoples of every nation and language that they should serve Him.

What set Jesus apart from the beasts was that He was given “an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away… which shall never be destroyed.” He was crowned the eternal King of every nation.

In Matthew 28:18, when Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,” He was identifying Himself as the Son of Man in Daniel’s dream. He was communicating to His disciples that all other kingdoms had been brought down. His was the only kingdom left standing, thus all peoples of every nation now belonged to no other kingdom besides His own.

This was the driving force behind His command to “go and make disciples of all nations.” The political boundaries had disappeared from the world map due to His victory over the cross and the grave. At that moment, there existed only two types of people—those who had heard, and those who had not heard. The ones who knew Him were commanded to go and tell those who had not and to make them aware that their King had come.

The day is coming when all people from every nation will confess King Jesus as Lord of all heaven and earth. In ideal circumstances, all people would believe on Him in their earthly lifetime. But they cannot believe in a King of whom they have never heard. And they cannot hear unless His ambassadors go and tell them.