Daniel’s dream of four beasts
In the book of Daniel, chapter 7, we read about Daniel that had a night vision where he saw four beasts that rose out of the sea. The four beasts are described in some detail and then the interpretation is given.
Remember that the Bible must be its own interpreter and that the symbolism given in each prophecy can therefore only be interpreted by the Bible itself.
Before we proceed with this study, let’s first refresh our memories on Biblical symbolism and their respective interpretations;
Trumpet, wind = war (Jer 49:36, 37)
“And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.
For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them:” Jer 49:36, 37
Water, sea = nations
“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.“ Rev 17:5
Beast = kingdom (Dan 7:17)
“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Daniel 7:17
Horn = kingdom, king (Dan 8:20)
“The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” Daniel 8:20
Let’s start this study by reading from Daniel 7:2;
“…I saw in my vision by night, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea”.
Note: The biblical meaning of wind is war, and that of sea is nations. Meaning: there where war between the nations.
“And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”
Note: Four kingdoms came up from the nations, different from each other.
“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”
Note: In the previous study we dealt with the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The head of gold represented the kingdom of Babylon, and interesting to note is that the kingdom of Babylon was most often represented by a lion with eagle’s wings. Still today, thousands of artifacts and stone sculptures can be found with lions with eagle’s wings dating back to the Babylonian era.
This beast was standing upon the feet of a man and given a man’s heart. The meaning of this is that this beast is a system that exalts the human above the divine, which, in God’s eyes is the ultimate apostasy against Him.
In Revelation it is noted that spiritual Babylon will grow to power in the latter days and much of the same apostasy will once again prevail. We also noted in the previous study regarding the statue that the feet of iron and clay will be struck by a rock and shatter to pieces, which will make the whole statue to crumble and break in pieces. Even the gold, silver, bronze and iron broke into pieces.
This means that Babylonian mysticism, Greek philosophy and Roman reasoning where inherited by the feet of iron and clay (current European nations), and thus dissolved all together at the second advent of Christ. For ancient mysticism, philosophy and reasoning to be inherited and to be able to in practice until the end of time, it has to be present in our lifetime. In future studies, you will learn that those exact schools of thoughts are the building blocks for secret societies which govern the world of today
Just like Babel of Babylonian times, which means portal or door to God, this end time Babylon will present another way to God.
Back to the prophecy; this lion with eagle’s wings is therefore paralleled to the head of gold of the statue as depicted in the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon reigned from 605 – 539 BC.
Let’s look further at another passage in the Bible that refers to a lion as Babylon.
“The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.” Jer 4:7
This prophecy is speaking to the house of Israel telling them that a lion will destroy their land. Jeremiah referred to the kingdom of Babylon which destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jewish nation into Babylonian captivity, of which Daniel was one.
“And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. “
Note: Another kingdom will come and devour much flesh, that of Babylon. In the previous study, we learned that the Medo-Persian Empire defeated the Babylonian armies in 539 BC, so this beast again, is directly paralleled to the chest and arms of silver in the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
This beast was raised up on one side, referring to the Medes that formed the stronger basis of this empire and only later on the Persians became equally strong, and even stronger.
The three ribs in the mouth of this beast represent the three major wars in their conquest. These conquests where made into Lydia, Babylon and Egypt, conquering the whole Babylonian Empire.
The Medo-Persian Empire reigned between 539 – 331 BC.
“After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.”
Note: The next kingdom to rise to power after the Medo-Persians, were the Greek kingdom. In 331 BC Alexander the Great’s armies finally conquered the Medo-Persian Empire after years of brutal wars.
This beast is said to have four heads, which represents the division of the kingdom into four headquarters, each part under the authority of a general. This happened when the Greek Empire were at the head of its power and Alexander the Great died suddenly. The four divisions of the Greek Empire were ruled by Generals Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus.
The four wings and likeness of a leopard of this beast is representative of the swiftness of the armies of the Greeks.
The Greek empire reigned between 331 – 168 BC.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.”
Note: The last kingdom to come to power is the Roman Empire, which destroyed the Greek Empire in 168 BC. Notice the presentation of teeth of iron, which correlates with the legs of iron in the previous prophecy studied.
The Roman Empire where renowned for its brutality and merciless behavior as it conquered its enemies and that is clearly depicted in the brake in pieces, stamped the residue with its feet description.
Also note that this beast is said to be diverse from all the beasts that were before it. The Roman Empire was therefore different from the preceding empires.
This kingdom is said to have ten horns and we already know that a horn in prophecy is a kingdom. In other words, ten kingdoms will arise out of the Roman Empire.
If we quickly jump to verse 24, we read:
“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
The ten kingdoms will come out of the Roman Empire when it is divided, and another one shall rise after them. The last kingdom that will arise after the first ten is also said to be different from all the others and shall defeat three kings.
Rome ruled from 168 – 476 AD and then divided into ten kingdoms, as depicted by the ten horns of this last beast but also as depicted by the parallel prophecy of the legs of iron that goes into the feet of iron and clay, which have ten toes altogether.
We studied that the Roman Empire divided into ten Western European empires after 476 AD and as iron and clay does not mix so too, these kingdoms will never be united again, until the Ancient of days come to judge this world.
In the next verse that we look at, we see Daniel explaining a little more of what he has seen:
“Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;” Daniel 7:19
“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” Daniel 7:23
Note: Interesting to note is the element of brass, or bronze that is depicted in this forth beast which shows elements of the Greek Empire within in. The Greeks were known for Greek philosophy which was incorporated into, or inherited by, the Roman Empire when the Greek Empire where incorporated within the Roman Empire. Greek philosophy became the very basis of the Roman Empire.
Daniel considered this forth beast in verse 19 and then in verse 23 he continues to describe how this beast, the Roman Empire will devour the whole earth, tread it down and break it into pieces.
Did the Roman Empire conquer the whole world? Did it conquer China and Russian and all the known nations of today? The answer is no, but it did conquer the known world of the time. This prophecy makes it clear that the Roman Empire will devour the whole earth and break in into pieces, and that can be still fulfilled in this context as we read that another kingdom will arise after it and he will reign until the Ancient of days come, as we read in Daniel 7: 21, 22
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”
This little horn, which is said to arise after the first ten will make war with the saints and prevail them until the Ancient of days come at His second advent. This little horn is a little kingdom that is in this world today as he is said to rule until the very end.
In the next study, titled The little horn power, we will be investigating who this little kingdom is that make war with the saints and prevail them until the very end. We will also discover in another study that this little horn is described in great detail in Revelation 13.