A REIGN OF BEASTS WEBCOMIC EPISODE 05
Adaptation of Daniel 7:9-10
Commentary by Jared Boggess
After the appearance of the 4th beast, Daniel’s dream takes a turn. We are suddenly introduced to an ancient being (Daniel 7:9) who will demonstrate power over the beasts. It is here where the dream becomes apocalyptic — in the original sense of the word, revealing God’s design and sovereignty over the cosmos. In these few short lines, there is a wealth of visuals both written and implied that are easy to skim over. For this scene in our comic book adaptation of Daniel 7: A Reign of Beasts, Anderson and I had the challenge of depicting the heavenly courtroom and the ancient one himself, God.
As in typical dreams, with no spatial context Daniel suddenly finds himself in a throne-courtroom with a massive crowd of onlookers. When imagining the setting for this scene, Anderson and I took cues from Biblical mountaintop motifs. It is on Sinai that Moses receives the law, on Horeb that God renews Elijah’s calling and up on a mountain where Jesus is transfigured. The temple was built upon the highest point in Jerusalem, as are altars found consistently on “high places”. So then following the influence of classics like “Castle in the Sky”, it wasn’t a huge leap for us to imagine this cosmic palace floating above a mountain.
The old man himself is called “The Ancient of Days” in most translations, giving us the sense that this is a being that existed before all things, before history began, and certainly before these beasts wreak their havoc. Purity is indicated through luminescent hair and robes. Justice manifested by fire. Ultimately, this scene leads to the phrase “the books were opened”. To the relief of mankind, the judge takes account of the beasts and issues his verdict — the destruction of the fourth beast and the taming of the first three.
You might be left wondering, why are there multiple thrones? The original text is plural, so we carried that into our adaptation. Some scholars conclude that this courtroom scene would have been populated by the Divine Council, as described in 1 Kings 22:19-23 and likely how ancient Hebrew readers understood Genesis 1:26-27. Still other scholars anticipate the upcoming segment of Daniel’s dream (7:13-14) where a human-like character is given kingship and often interpreted as the Messiah. But that only accounts for a second throne, so who then is meant to take the other throne we depicted? Perhaps it’s the third representative of the Trinity, or perhaps the vacancy was created by the tragedy of Eden. Mankind was created to “have dominion” and rule the earth (Genesis 1:26) just as this Son of Man is given “dominion” (Daniel 7:14) over the nations. With those vacant thrones, we wanted to lead you to these questions: Is this Son of Man assuming the role that mankind has long failed to fulfill? And is Creation still waiting for mankind to be the good rulers we were meant to be?
BUY THE COMIC BOOK
Well-known for surviving a lion’s den, Daniel's apocalyptic visions recorded in the latter half of the Book of Daniel are often overlooked. A Reign of Beasts is our adaptation of chapter 7 – a nightmare of four vicious Titans waging war with all Creation where we are introduced to the prominent biblical figure known as the “Son of Man”.