Dreams and Visions

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Daniel 7:1-3, Daniel 7:15, Daniel 7:28

The visions . . . terrified me. (v. 15)

The first half of Daniel is comparatively easy to understand, even though the message—that God is the true ruler of all—may be difficult to accept. These chapters are rooted in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. The last six chapters are more difficult because they contain apocalyptic visions of the future that most people find too weird to figure out or just ignore. But they too are part of God’s Word, so we expect to find challenges here and food for our souls as well.

Three principles will help as we try to learn from Daniel:

1. Scripture is its own best interpreter. The Holy Spirit is Scripture’s author (2 Peter 1:21 and 2 Timothy 3:16) and does not contradict himself.

2. Interpret the hard bits by the easy ones—and if in doubt, stick to the easy bits! Augustine said that in the Bible there were shallows for lambs to paddle in and depths that elephants could swim in. Don’t get out of your depth.

3. Scripture was written first for the people who lived then, so it had a message for them that we may not fully understand. But “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us” too (Romans 15:4, niv). So get the main picture. Daniel’s message for believers facing evil is that God’s power will ultimately triumph.


Lord, help us to read, mark, and inwardly digest your Word.