The visions of Daniel are spectacular. Your imagination can run wild as you envision the kingdoms of the earth figuratively represented by the animals. The first creature Daniel sees is a lion with wings. The wings are plucked off and the beast is given the heart of a man. This represents the kingdom of Babylon in which Daniel lived. The second creature was a bear which was noticeably dominant on one side. This creature represented the Medeo-Persian kingdom. The third creature was a leopard with wings. This was a fast moving creature. In fact, in another prophecy, Daniel sees this same kingdom represented by an angry goat with one enormous horn which moves so quickly it never touches the ground. This third major kingdom is the Grecian empire lead by Alexander the Great.
Throughout the descriptions of these kingdoms, there is one central theme—aggressive domination. These kings will rule the world at the expense of conquest and slaughter. You are then introduced to a new King who is different in so many ways from the previously mentioned kings. This King would be “cut off” (Daniel 9:26). Instead of leading a rebellion, he would sacrifice himself for a greater kingdom. A kingdom which he would share with the “people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:27). This sacrificial King does not overthrow kings through rebellion. He merely lays claim to what was His from the beginning of time. As the Ancient of Days, He is the obvious ruler of this world. His infinite power will only be revealed against those who rebel and seek to overthrow His rule, but his kingdom is an “everlasting kingdom” which will “make an end of sins…and bring in everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 7:27; 9:24).
We are subjects of another King, and we should live according to the character of such a citizenship. As a follower of the Messiah, the Prince of princes, you can live according to His example and know the secret to greatness. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Whoever humbles himself as a little child, “the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1, 4). Our Savior’s example is our pattern: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).