The “wind” (7:1) is often a type of unseen spiritual activity. It indicated the Holy Spirit was at work in Acts 2:1-4, but unholy spirits tried to sink the Lord and the 12 (Mark 4:39). They don’t try that when we cross a lake. Instead, they try to sink us doctrinally with “every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).
We know these “winds” (7:2) are unholy spirits because Daniel had this dream at night. Daytime is symbolic of the time the Lord was here (John 9:4), but as He said, the “night” of the Tribulation was coming. The mystery interrupted it, but it will come in the night (I Thes. 5:2-5). When He returns He’s called a “Sun” (Mal. 4:2) and His saints are likened to suns (Mt. 13:43) in the day of the kingdom. But Daniel says three times this vision came to him at night (v. 2, 7, 13), telling us that this is a vision about the Tribulation. In that day, those 4 unholy spirits will strive upon the sea, a type of the Gentiles (cf. Isa. 60:5). “The great sea” (7:2) is the Mediterranean, and Daniel’s dream is specifically about unholy spirits stirring up nations that border that sea during the night of the Tribulation.
The “four beasts” (7:3) “are four kings” (7:17). They can’t be the same as the four kings in Daniel 2, for he said they “shall arise” (7:3), and he said that in the first year of Belshazzar (7:1). That means the kings of Babylon and Media-Persia had already arisen. These are four kings that will arise in the Tribulation and produce the antichrist (8:22, 23). He too will rise out of the “sea” of the Gentile nations (Rev. 13:1) and will be a Jew born in a Gentile nation.
The first beast (7:4) sounds like when Nebuchadnezzar went mad and acted like a beast 7 years, but we’ve seen it can’t be him. The second beast (7:5) doesn’t fit Media-Persia well, so some figure it might be Russia, but Russia is nowhere near the Mediterranean. The next beast (7:6) is thought to represent Greece because a “leopard” is among the fastest of animals—and this is a leopard with wings—and Alexander took “only” 7 years to conquer the world. But that’s not fast! The next kingdom (7:7) sounds like Rome, but this kingdom will produce the antichrist (v. 8), and Rome didn’t. We know this little horn is the antichrist because he ends up conquering the lion, the bear and the leopard and assimilating them (Rev. 13:1, 2). He will have “seven heads” after devouring the lion’s head, the bear’s head, and the leopard’s four heads. His 10 horns are 10 kings that rise with him (Rev. 17:3-12).
Since Hosea 13:2-8 says God will be like a lion, a bear and a leopard to Israel, that means God will be using antichrist to chasten Israel just as He used Nebuchadnezzar, whom he called “My servant” (Jer. 25:9). The “great things” antichrist will speak (Dan. 7:8 cf. 7:24, 25; 11:36) will come out of his mouth when he claims to be God (II Thes. 2:3, 4).
The “thrones” (Dan. 7:9) of those ten kings are “cast down” by the Lord at His 2nd coming, called “the Ancient of Days” here. His clothes and hair are white because that’s associated with how He looks in judgment (Rev. 1:12-15). It’s why British judges wear white wigs. “Fire” (7:9) is also associated with judgment (Heb. 10:27). The Lord’s throne has “wheels” because it must be mobile to judge those kings.
He’ll come with a “fiery stream” (Dan. 7:10 cf. Ps. 50:3; Isa. 66:15). Angels will be in those Isaiah 66:15 chariots (Ps. 68:17), the millions of angels who will return with Christ (Jude 1:14) and then witness the Great White Throne judgment when the books will be open (Dan. 7:10 cf. Rev. 20:11). Daniel sees that judgment as coming when the beast is destroyed at the 2nd coming (7:11) because the millennial aspect of the kingdom wasn’t revealed to him. Daniel 7:11 describes Rev-elation 19:19, 20. The beast is cast into the lake of fire, but the lives of those 10 kings are “prolonged” in hell (Isa. 24:21, 22) for 1,000 years, then “visited” with judgment at the Great White Throne and join the beast in the lake of fire.
The Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13 is God the Father. He and His Son are both called “the first and the last” (Isa. 44:6 cf. Rev. 1:13-16) as well, because of the oneness they have as members of the Trinity. Only “clouds” of angels could escort the Lord to the Father (Dan. 7:13). Clouds are angels in Psalm 104:1-4, where they are also called chariots, which explains the wheels in Daniel 7:9. Daniel 7:14 describes the culmination of the ages (cf. I Corinthians 15:24).
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: Daniel’s Flashback – Daniel 7:1-14