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Why do so many biblical dreams contain animals in them?


Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle.”  Daniel 7:3-4
            In the Bible, dreams are like mysteries.  These dreams (or visions) get the attention of the person because of their power and wonder.  The animals are monstrous and magnificent, their purpose full of meaning.
            God used animals in these dreams just like we use metaphors – strong as an ox, confident as a lion, as free as a bird.  Instead of just saying what He wanted to say, God showed the person through images with meaning.  It left a greater impression on a generation of people who didn’t have television or watched animal documentaries or Godzilla movies. 
            We might say today after a vision, “Oh yeah, I saw that on National Geographic.”  Back then the response was “I have never seen anything like that.”  
            God got the attention of the person receiving the dream because He had something important to say about the future of the nations, the transfer of power and the coming of the Messiah.