Daniel 7:2 Index
"Daniel spake and said, 'I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.'"
Research Material

"...I saw in my vision by night..."

  • In Old Testament usage the term prophet had several shades of meaning and included various functions. These functions involve not only foretelling but forthtelling as well -- guiding and counseling, admonishing and warning, as well as predicting. A prophet is one inspired, or instructed by God, to speak in His name, often to announce future events. His office is to deliver a message. The word prophet is derived from Hebrew words meaning "a seer" or "speaker." (Froom 26)
  • This involved visions from God, conveyed through prophetic symbols and other appropriate and adequate means. A prophet, then, is primarily one who "sees," who "pierces through the veil that hides the world of Divine things, or one for whom this veil is lifted occasionally so that he obtains an inner knowledge of the realities beyond." And what the prophet sees, of these divine realities, is to be declared to others. This further part of the prophet's responsibility is expressed in the most common Hebrew word for prophet, "nabi," literally to speak fort. So, a prophet was a man of inspired speech, one who "giveth forth" words from God. The difference between these two Hebrew words is thus clear and consistent. One expresses the manner of receiving his message; the other, the transmission of the message he has received. Prophecy is therefore a divine idea imparted by God to men through His chosen instrumentality. (Froom 27)
  • The two thoughts involved in the two Hebrew words unite in our one English word "prophet," which is itself taken from the Greek, meaning not only "foreteller," but "for-speaker," or "forth speaker" -- i.e, one who speaks for God. Hence the word "prophet" has the twofold meaning of "seer" and "proclaimer" (Ezekiel 3:17, 18), or the proclaimer of a revelation. These two distinct phases of the prophetic gift are clearly set forth in the experience of the prophet Daniel.... (Froom 27)
  • Daniel was a prophet. The Lord appeared to him in a vision and spoke to him in a haven-born dream, and what he saw and heard he wrote in a book. In this way he made known what was revealed to him, and functioned as a prophet. This central idea, therefore, of the word "prophet," is clearly one to whom God reveals Himself and through whom He speaks. This revelation may or may not relate to the future. The prophet is a forthteller, not a foreteller. The essence of prophetism is "immediate intercourse with God." (Froom 27-28)
  • The prophet is consequently one who is lifted up by the Spirit of God into communion with Him, so that he is enabled to interpret the divine will and to act as a medium between god and man. He is a channel of communication, and not the source thereof. He is a speaker, or spokesman, for God. His message is not his own, but comes from a higher source. He is a seer, seeing things outside the domain of natural sight; a hearer, who hears things beyond the range of the natural human ear. He is a chosen messenger, who communicates the revelation he has received from God. God's declaration is specific: "I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." (Numbers 12:6).... The prophet was the mouthpiece of God, His ambassador to man, informing him of the divine will not ascertained by human wisdom or experience. (Froom 28)
  • All Scripture language is to be taken literally, unless there exists some good reason for regarding it as figurative. All that is figurative is to be interpreted by that which is literal. That the language here used is symbolic, is evident from Daniel 7:17, which reads, "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth." That kingdoms are intended, and not merely individual kings, is clear from the word, "But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom." (Daniel 7:18). In explaining Daniel 7:23, the angel said, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth." These beasts are therefore symbols of four great kingdoms. The circumstances under which they arose, as represented in the prophecy, are also stated in symbolic language. The symbols introduced are the four winds, the sea, four beasts, ten horns, and another horn which had eyes and a mouth and which rose up in war against God and His people. We have now to inquire what they denote. (US 105)

"...the four winds of the heavens..."

  • God uses water in Bible prophecy to represent people, nations, and tongues. "And he saith uno me, 'The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.'" (Revelation 17:15). In Jeremiah 49:35-37, wind is used to symbolize war and strife.
  • When used in symbolic vision, as here, the word seems to denote activity or energy of some form, the particular form to be determined by the context. For example, the "winds" of Ezekiel symbolic vision, which revived the dry skeletons, were representative of divine energy reviving the lifeless nation of Israel (Ezekiel 37:9-14). The "winds" of Daniel, which strove upon the great sea, causing four beasts -- or empires -- to emerge, represented those movements, diplomatic, warlike, political, or otherwise, that were to shape the history of the period.... The "four winds," being from the four points of the compass, doubtless represent political activity in various parts of the earth (Jeremiah 49:36; Daniel 8:8, 11:4; Zechariah 2:6, 6:5). (4BC 820)
  • In symbolic language winds represent strife, political commotion, and war, as we read from the prophet Jeremiah: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth." Jeremiah 25:32, 33. The prophet speaks of a controversy which the Lord is to have with all nations. The strife and commotion which produces all this destruction is called "a great whirlwind." (US 105-106)
  • That winds denote strife and war is evident in the vision itself. As the result of the blowing of the winds, kingdoms arise and fall through political strife. (US 106)
  • God said by the prophet Hosea, "I have spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." (Hosea 12:10). The kingdoms which have ruled the world were represented before Daniel as beasts of prey, which arose when the "four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea." Winds are, in prophecy, a symbol of war and strife. The after-scenes of war and revolution, by which kingdoms come into power, are represented in Daniel 7 by the four winds of heaven which strove upon the great sea. Sea or waters denote "people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." (Revelation 17:15). The beasts referred to represent kings or kingdoms. (SNH 103)

"...strove upon..."

  • The form of the verb suggests continual action." (4BC 820)

"...the great sea."

  • No specific body of water, such as the Mediterranean Sea (called the Great Sea), need be inferred. The sea is here symbolic of the nations of the world -- the "great sea" of humanity in all ages (Revelation 17:15; Isaiah 17:12; Jeremiah 46:7). (4BC 820)
  • Seas, or waters, when used as a Bible symbol, represent peoples, and nations, and tongues. Said the angel to the prophet John, "The waters which thou sawest... are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15. (US 106)