Daniel’s Dream | Introduction to Daniel 7
One night, Prophet Daniel has seen a night dream later referred to as “The Four Beasts of Daniel”. Daniel could not interpret this dream, so he approached one (interpreted to be an angel) for an explanation. He told him that these beasts are four big cruel kingdoms that will control the world. However, God will establish a new powerful kingdom that will destroy these evil kingdoms and spreads God’s wisdom on earth. He said:
“Then the sovereignty, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the saints of the Most-High.” (Daniel 7:27)
The biblical text of Daniel 7:
I will summarise here the interpretation mentioned in the text and avoid repetition:
“Then four great beasts came up out of the sea, each one different from the others
4 The first beast was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle …
5 Suddenly another beast appeared, which looked like a bear. It was raised on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth …
6 Next, as I watched, another beast appeared. It was like a leopard, and on its back, it had four wings like those of a bird. The beast also had four heads …
After this, as I watched in my vision in the night, suddenly a fourth beast appeared … it had ten horns. 8 While I was contemplating the horns, suddenly another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. …
So, he told me the interpretation of these things: 17‘These four great beasts are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most-High will receive the kingdom and possess it forever—yes, forever and ever.’ …” (Daniel 7:1-28)
We deduce from Daniel’s dream the following:
- Four evil kingdoms (I will identify them late) will rule the earth.
- A New divine-based kingdom will take over them all together and establish the kingdom of God on their remains.
Daniel 7 Commentary
Here, I will recommend the best candidates of the four beasts mentioned.
- First, the winged lion refers definitely to the Babylonian kingdom in which Prophet Daniel lived. This kingdom has taken winged lion as their slogan.
- Second, the second beast with the three ribs in its mouth is most probably the Persian kingdom that took over after the Babylonian kingdom, and the three ribs symbolize its possession of the three continents, as its conquests extended until it reached the Adriatic Sea and Ethiopia.
- The third beast with the four heads is undoubtedly referring to the kingdom of Alexander the Great, where his death divided his Kingdom into four small empires (Ptolemies - Antigonians - Seleucids - Greek states) = the four heads.
- Daniel's dream refers to a fourth beast with ten large horns and a small horn (that uprooted three other similar horns).
- This beast with the ten evil horns refers to the Roman Empire with its ten cruel emperors who persecuted the early Christians, and that is why it is called in the ecclesiastical term "the early Christian persecutions". They started with Nero (54-68 BC) and ended with Septimus Severus (193-211 BC) in which the early church (and the real followers of Jesus) suffered the persecution of the Roman emperors.
- The small horn refers to Constantine who indulged in war with the other three contemporary Roman rulers Maxentius I, Maxentius II, and Licinius (the other three small horns) and he finally defeated them (uprooted the three horns); leaving Constantine alone as ruler of the large empire.
So the fourth beast was none other than the ancient Roman world and Constantine Empire.
Who is the Son of Man in Daniel 7? Prophet Muhammad?
Daniel's prophecy says that after these evil kingdoms will come, God will establish his own Kingdom by sending what the Bible calls "Barnasha", later translated as the son of man. This later kingdom will be given the power and authority to crush these kingdoms:
"I saw One like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. … 14 And He was given dominion, glory, and kingship, … His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away." (Daniel 7: 13-14)
Daniel’s Son of Man or Barnasha was none other than Prophet Muhammad and his nation after him, for the following reasons:
- Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his nation were the ones who overthrew all these empires and built God’s Kingdom on their remains.
- Whereas Hebrew and Arabic are cousins, the meaning of the son of man in Hebrew literally means "the blessed one", which is derived from the name of the Prophet Muhammad (the literal meaning of the name Muhammad is the blessed one).
- Islam means peace, which is what exactly this new divine kingdom shall establish. In addition, the rules of Isalm tend to establish justice, humiliate injustice, demonstrated honesty.
- No other empire came into existence and overthrew these empires except for the Islamic Empire that was led by the Prophet Muhammad and his nation after him.
- This empire shall be eternal i.e till the end of the World. However, the Islamic Kingdom has been alive for fourteen centuries (the time when those empires were toppled by Muslims) to the present time, and Forever.
Is Daniel's prophecy about the birth of Christ?
While it is clear that the son of man or the Barnasha is Prophet Muhammad (as he came after Constantine unlike Christ who came before him), many Christians argue the prophecy refers to Christ. I could argue against this notion with the following:
- Jesus (PBUH) came into existence -unlike Muhammad- after Constantine, and his followers -unlike Muslims- were part of the nations mentioned in the other kingdom.
- Jesus and his nation, unlike the Islamic nation, did not destroy the rule of Constantine, they rather became a part of it.
- Christ in the Christian term is god and a person in the divine trinity. So, how God would be a man or a son of man.
- Christ himself did not seek to destroy these empires, even when a conflict happens between his followers and the rulers, he used to say “give the money of Caesar to Caesar”. So, he was an obeying citizen who is not willing to displace the kingdom.
Conclusion | What is the meaning of Daniel's Prophecies?
After going through all the candidates that could interpret the prophecy in Daniel 7, we concluded that the four beasts are the four successive kingdoms (Babylonian, Persian, Alexander the Great, and the Roman kingdom ended with Constantine). They are the kingdoms that represent the forces of darkness and how they persecuted the early Jews, and the early Church of Jesus (PBUH).
These four brutal kingdoms were destroyed by the kingdom of God that was established by Prophet Muhammad (Barnasha or the son of man) and his nation. The Islamic nation was the only entity that overthrew those kingdoms and established divine justice on their remains and it has been there for 14 centuries and will last until the end of the days.
For a full and expanded discussion of this prophecy and many of the prophecies of Prophet Muhammad in the Bible, I would urge you to read the book written by the former Roman Catholic priest, Professor David Benjamin (later Abd al-Ahad Dawood) under the title: "Muhammad in the Torah and the Gospel". Click here and check it now!