As much as I avoid reading prophecy/revelation this seemed the passage that I was to look at more closely this morning. Prophecy tends to be, i find rather hard to figure out. But this one has been figured out for me. :) well....sorta :)
"I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, 'Arise, devour much flesh.' 6After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
Rather weird eh...seeing four different beasts that are basically there to rend and destroy, that have dominion given to them. Just strikes me as odd pictures to put in someone's head. From what I know though of prophecy, these pictures usually tell of different kingdoms that will arise. And they are, which kings? We are not told. But if you want read about which kingdom's they are thought to be, go here: Christian Ethereal Classic Library.Anyways, The vision continued:
"As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
11"I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time
13"I saw in the night visions,See...even I can figure this one out. Those kingdoms, as hard as they will be on believers, will not last. :) God reigns! His son will be given dominion! YEAH!!!!
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.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
And so this was also was Daniel was told:
These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.'
The rest of the chapter goes on to explain that the fourth beast will be very hard on believers
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
BUT the end result is the same.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment,So as scary as these vision are, the thing I can carry away with me is the certain knowledge that regardless of how hard things might get, GOD is still in control. He will retain ultimate dominion over all the earth. I have to admit.... I like that!
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.'