|Four Beasts From The Sea
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| Daniel 2
The Vision Of The Wild Beasts
"I was looking in my vision by night, and then, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.
Lion. "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.
Bear. "And then, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, "Arise, eat much meat!'
Leopard. "After this I kept looking, and then, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
Terrible Beast. "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and then, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It engulfed and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (Daniel 7: 2-7)
Daniel saw four fierce and ferocious beasts march out of a raging sea. Wind, water and beasts are common symbols in Bible prophecy. Let us look at what they mean when used in prophecy:
Symbols In Prophecy. To understand prophecy, it is important to understand the symbols used. God's symbols used in prophecy are consistent. God does not use a symbol in one place and then change its meaning in another. So we will use Scripture to interpret Scripture: God often uses the principle of repetition and enlargement in unfolding the development of prophecy. That means the same history is repeated using different symbolism as the themes are enlarged and described in fuller detail. We learned the meaning of some important symbols. Let us review them.
The Interpretation. This is a repetition of the prophecies of Daniel 2. History reveals that there have been only four universal kingdoms since Daniel's day. Let us look at the historical picture revealed in the vision.
|1||Babylon||First Beast: Lion with Eagle's Wings (Daniel 7: 4)|
Seventy Years. Jeremiah prophesied that Babylon would rule the region for seventy years (25: 11-12).
Therefore, it would have the life span of a human (Psalm 90: 10). It would also be transformed from a beast to a human.
A winged lion was the official symbol of the Babylonian kingdom and the gates of the city were decorated with lions and dragons.
Lion. The king of beasts. Jeremiah 4: 6-7 refers to Babylon ("from the North") as a lion.
Eagle's Wings. The king of the vultures.
Wings Plucked. Progress was stopped and it would have no access to heaven.
Battle of Megiddo (609 BC).
Egypt was allied with the Assyrians and moved against Babylon in 609 BC.
The Egyptian army under Pharaoh Neco was delayed at Megiddo by King Josiah of Israel. Josiah was killed (2 Kings 23: 29-30) at the Battle of Megiddo. The Jews lost independence and came under the protection of Babylon.
» Battle of Carchemish (605 BC). Other delays caused Babylon to strengthen their army so that Nebuchadnezzar II defeated them when they finally met in 605 BC. The entire region was now controlled by Babylon.
The Battle of Armageddon (Future). At the final battle on the plains of Megiddo the people of God will again be trapped between the king of the north as they battle the king of the south. But this time the forces of good will defeat the forces of evil led by Babylon the Great as they become pawns in the great spiritual battle of the King of Magog.
|2||Medo-Persia||Second Beast: Bear (Daniel 7: 5)|
This is Medo-Persia under Cyrus the Great who conquered Babylon in 539 BC.
The conquest is prophetically represented as a lop-sided bear with three ribs in its mouth.
» The Three Ribs. The image of ribs crushed in its mouth points to the bear devouring other animals until they are consumed. A rib represents a nation or tribe. These are the three great conquests that brought the Persians to power. Egypt, Lydia and Babylon formed an alliance but were defeated.
» Raised Up On One Side. At first the Medes and Persians ruled jointly, but later the Persians rose to be the greater power over Astyages of Medes.
Daniel 8: 3, 20 repeats this picture as a ram, identified as Medo-Persia, with one horn higher than the other.
» Prophecy. Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus would deliver the Jews from Babylon. (Isaiah 45: 1-13, 13)
|3||Greece||Third Beast: Leopard (Daniel 7: 6)|
The leopard with four wings and four heads is Greece (331-168 BC).
The third of the world empires was ruled by Alexander the Great (330-323). Under his leadership, the Greeks quickly subdued the world in seven years.
Speed of Conquest. At speeds of 70 mph (112 kph) a cheetah (a spotted cat) is the fastest land animal in the world. So a leopard with four wings on its back represents the speed of conquest.
Four Divisions. The four heads are the division of the kingdom into four parts. On June 11, 323 BC, Alexander the Great died of consumption caused by drunkenness at age 33. However, he did not have a strong heir so the kingdom passed to the Diadochi ("successors") and was eventually divided into four pieces after several wars of succession (323-301 BC).
The Four Divisions of the Greek Empire. See a map.
|4||Rome||Fourth Beast: Terrifying Dragon (Daniel 7: 7)|
Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful,
with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet.
(Daniel 7: 19)
This is Rome (168 BC-476 AD) They conquered Palestine in 63 BC.
The dreadful, terrible beast, that is later symbolized as a dragon, represents the cruel, crushing power of Rome which ruled the world for five centuries. The crushing iron kingdom of the Ceasars is also symbolized in Daniel 2 by iron that "subdues all things."
» Bronze Claws and Iron Teeth. Rome had characteristics of Greece in it. This beast has iron teeth that represent the cruelty of Rome, and bronze claws representing the culture and language of Greece, which Rome adopted.
» Bronze Belly and Iron Legs. This symbol of bronze and iron is taken from the prophecy of Daniel 2 in which the bronze belly and thighs were the Greek empire and the iron legs were the Roman empire.
» Bronze and Iron Bands. The bronze claws and iron teeth are the same as the bands on the stump of the great tree in Daniel 4. This stump had a band of bronze and one of iron.
At the time Babylon was cut off it was replaced by Greece and then Rome, the bronze and iron kingdoms. It would return at the end of time as Babylon the Great, a copy of ancient Babylon. It has the roots and vestiges of Ancient Babylon. And, like the feet and toes of the image mixed with clay in Daniel 2, the roots would be subdivided and mixed with the clay of the earth.
» The Roman and Greek Church. Even the spiritual arm of Rome was part Greek and part Roman. In 1054 there was a schism which separated the Greek Orthodox from the Roman Catholic church. It seems as if they will be cooperating or united in the end with the Roman teeth and the Greek claws.
Daniel 7: 24 says that "The ten horns are ten kings that shall arise."
These symbolic horns forecast, 1000 years ahead of time, the break up of the Roman empire into exactly ten parts like the ten toes in Daniel Chapter 2.
These divisions laid the foundation of the modern European nations.
This power is different from anything ever seen on the face of the earth.
The Evolution and Transformation of Babylon. Successive prophecies show the evolution of Babylon into Babylon the Great.
Unlike other kingdoms which continued to act like wild animals, Babylon was different.
Babylon would transform itself from a wild beast to a human who would eventually try to transform itself to God.
» Stands Up on Two Feet. It would be more human, walking on two feet instead of four. (Daniel 7: 4)
» Mind of a Man. It would even have human intelligence and reasoning. (Daniel 7: 4)
» Eyes and Mouth. The creature further evolves and develops the eyes and the mouth of a man. (Daniel 7: 8, 20)
» Penis. It would be symbolically represented as a little horn coming out of the loins. But it is sterile. There is no life. (Daniel 7: 8)
» Wings and Power. It could now fly to the heavens and dominion was given to it. (Daniel 7: 6)
» Blasphemes God. With its mouth it would challenge God and take the place of the giver of life, the Christ. (Daniel 7: 25; 8: 11)
» Law Giver. He will make his own laws and set his own times and seasons. (Daniel 7: 25)
The Theory of Evolution (Beast becomes Man). The first three beasts were based on real animals, but the fourth seems like a creature from mythology or an extinct animal. During the reign of the fourth kingdom, a beast that could be the inspiration for the fourth beast was found. In 1822 dinosaurs were discovered, directly leading to the theory of evolution.
One wonders if the current domination of the theory of evolution as a direct rival to the primacy and claims of God were also being prophesied in this ghastly transformation of a beast to a man who thinks he can become God. People now believe that they can become Gods and are masters of their own destiny and architects of their own values. When this theory matures, the beast man who opposes God will also mature and embrace this theory. In October 1996 the pope declared that the theory of evolution was accurate. In this time of the reign of beasts, Babylon the Great will rise again as a transformed empire, the beast master who has come of age.
The New Creature of the Heavenly Transformation. When God takes away the yoke of sin and makes a man walk erect so that he is a new creature who no longer behaves like a beast but a man, this is what God expects.
Humans Walking Erect. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. (Leviticus 26: 13)
The Spirit of God and a Transformed Mind. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)
He creates a man in the image of God who does the will of God, not a beast who wants to overthrow God.
The Little Horn
Little Horn. "While I was contemplating the horns, then, another horn, a little one, came up among them,
Three Plucked Up. and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and then, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. "I kept looking Until thrones were set up,
Judgment. And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His clothes was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. "A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him. The court sat, and the books were opened. (Daniel 7: 8-10)
So far, the prophecy has been a repetition of the dream in Daniel 2 with additional details. We will identify the little horn power in another lesson.
Three Powers Removed
And as to the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall arise ten kings; and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the former, and he shall subdue three kings. (Daniel 7: 24)
The ten horns are equivalent to the ten toes of Daniel 2. However this little horn is a new element. Daniel saw the next important development in Europe after the break up of the Roman Empire in 476 AD. Another power arises which removes three of the original ten kings. Or rather, three were removed to allow it to rise up.
When the Romans abandoned their capital and moved it to Constantinople, the Barbaric tribes that threatened the region were conquered. The Heruli, Vandals and Ostrogoths were removed so that this power would rule in Rome. They were "plucked up by the roots" and they no longer exist.
» Seven Horns and the Eighth Horn. So seven horns remained and become the type of the seven heads on the dragon. The eight horn (Little Horn) becomes a type of the future eighth head who usurps the power of the Trinity just as this eighth horn usurps three others.
» Boastful Mouth. We will learn that the tendency to boast and magnify himself, is the act of taking the authority to change the times and laws of God.
... and he will intend to make alterations in times and laws ... (Daniel 7: 25)
» Eyes of a Man. Eyes are a symbol of the omniscience of God. This is the man who thinks he can evolve the attributes of God. He knows everything and he can change even the laws of God.
A Judgment Scene
Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. "I kept looking in the night visions, and then, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. "and to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7: 11-14)
The Day of Atonement (Judgment for the Righteous). The Ark of the Covenant, which is the throne of God, was in the Most Holy Place where the high priest entered on one day each year to pray for the removal of the sins of Israel. Therefore, this judgment scene must be located in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary and it must be the great Day of Atonement. This judgment scene in Heaven is occurring after the appearance of the little horn. The judgment is in favor of God's people and their possession of the kingdom (verses 21-22).
Books of Judgment. They are used by God to discern between the righteous and the unrighteous (Malachi: 3: 16-18).
Daniel 7: 11 - The Little Horn Removed From Power
We see the destruction of the Little Horn power or beast destroyed by fire from the throne of God. It was judged in Heaven and removed from power on earth through the trials of the French Revolution.
Daniel 7: 12 - Power Restored
As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. (Daniel 7: 12)
|Babylon||539||Persia attacks Babylon||2520 Years||Babylon (Iraq) attacks Persia (Iran)||1981||Babylon the Great|
|Great Tree||Tree Cut Down for Seven Periods of Time||The Appointed Time|
|Babylon||Medo-Persia||Greece||Pagan Rome||Papacy||Communism||1981||Iran||Greece||Rome||Babylon the Great|
|-||Dominion taken away||Extension of Life|
|Babylon||539 BC||Babylon Loses Power for 2520 Years||Restoration|
Daniel 7: 13-14 - Judgment by The Son of Man
The New Testament identified Jesus as the "Son of Man" about seventy times. According to John, the Son of Man presides in the judgment. This is the same authority described in verses 13-14.
For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself. and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. (John 5: 26-27)
Here we witness a very important ceremony before the Second Coming. Christ formally receives the kingdom from the Ancient of Days in the judgment. Christ comes to the throne room and takes His kingdom back from the little horn as He rescues His church from that power. So, Jesus comes in to the Father, and receives the following:
Christ judges the little horn and takes away his kingdom. Then Christ gives the kingdom to His saints.
Daniel 7: 15-27 - The Vision Explained
Daniel asks the meaning of this vision, and like the dream of Daniel 2 God gives us an interpretation. This interpretation gives us the meaning of one symbol that it would be impossible to discern on our own.
» A Mouth Uttering Great Boasts. This is the times and laws that it changes.
Repetition and Enlargement
Daniel has a vision about the same empires in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the metal statue. But Daniel's vision includes more detail about the subsequent divisions and partnerships in the empires. It also introduces a new power (the little horn) and new information about the judgment.
In addition, Daniel uses different symbols, wild beasts that were unclean animals. To the Jew, the symbol of an attack on the nation by wild beasts would lead them to think of the curses of the covenant.
|Power||Daniel 2||Daniel 4||Daniel 7||Additional Information||Extension of Life|
|Metal man||Tree||Wild beasts|
|Babylon||Head of gold||Leaf, fruit||Lion||Two wings||Babylon the great|
|Medo-Persia||Chest of silver||Stump, axe||Bear||Higher on one side, three ribs in mouth||Iran|
|Greece||Belly and hips of brass||Brass band||Leopard||Bronze claws||Four heads and four wings||Greece joins EU|
|Rome (pagan)||Legs of iron||Iron band||Terrible beast||Iron teeth||The terrible nature||Italy joins EU|
|Rome (papal)||Little horn||A different type of political power||Religious power|
|Europe||Ten toes. Iron and clay feet||Roots in clay||Ten horns||Three horns removed by the little horn||European Union|
|Kingdom of God||Rock||Holy ones||Judgment||A judgment scene||Eternal|
|Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2: 15||Time: 40 minutes
Print: 7 pages
Updated : January 29, 2004. July 2009
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)
Original observations: Evolution of Babylon. Multiple 70 year captivity. Parts of the tree