Bible Study: Daniel 7 – Vision of the Four Beasts

The book of Daniel is one of the most prophetic books in the old testament. It has been sealed until the time of the end. Undoubtedly, now is the time of the end. Therefore, let us not be hypocrites without discerning this time and let us unseal the book of Daniel.

(Dan 12:4) “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?

The seventh chapter of Daniel is the vision of the four beasts, the four kingdoms before the kingdom of God in Earth.

Introduction

(Dan 7:1) In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

Belshazzar was Coregent of Babylon, governing the country after his father, King Nabonidus, went into exile in 550 BC which is based on Wikipedia. This suggests clearly that the time when this vision appeared to Daniel is 550 BC.

(Dan 7:2) Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.

The most important fact which we often overlook is the location on which this prophecy is set. The Great Sea is the Mediterranean as per the Bible.
E.g.,

(Num 34:6) ‘As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea for a border; this shall be your western border.

Hence, the prophecy is centered around the Great Sea or that which symbolizes the Great Sea.

(Dan 7:3) “And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

Sea or waters represents peoples and nations.

(Rev 17:15) Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 

(Dan 7:17) ‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. 

It seems as though the 4 beasts are the kingdoms that follow immediately during or after Daniel’s time namely the Babylonian Empire for the first beast, Medo-Persian Empire for the second and Macedonian for the third and finally the antichrist empire. But after careful consideration of the interpretation given in this chapter itself, this does not represent kingdoms during or immediately after Daniel’s time but during the end-times just before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Dan 7:11-12) “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

Because these nations or kingdoms are to be existing in end-times, we can only speculate what these beasts might be assuming the second coming of the Lord is very soon (which is of-course a fair assumption). Please do understand the drawbacks in identifying the beasts without having a reference point in the timeline. The only reference point with is our Lord’s second coming is something no one knows.

First Beast – British Empire

(Dan 7:4) “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

Based on the description provided by the above verse, the following characteristics apply to the first beast.

  • Like a lion
  • Had eagle’s wings but later plucked.
  • Stood on 2 feet like a man and a heart of a man was given.

What does it mean to be like a lion?

(Judg 14:18) So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down: “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them: “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have solved my riddle!” 

(Ps 7:2) Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver. 

(Ps 10:9) He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. 

(Prov 28:1) The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 

(Prov 30:30) A lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any;

The Bible identifies what it means to be a kingdom like a lion:

  • Stronger Kingdom
  • Tears the enemy nations. 
  • Secretly waits until the right opportunity.
  • A bold Kingdom
  • It is mighty among all nations

There is one nation, undoubtedly identified as a lion in modern times by all the world nations. It is the British Empire.

The Empire Needs Men!, 1915 (Ref: nam.ac.uk)

The above picture is how the British Empire identified itself.

World War II (Ref: italianmonarchist.blogspot.com)

The enemies also identified Britain as a lion.

What does eagle’s wings mean and what does it mean to be plucked?

(Isa 40:31) But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. 

(Ruth 3:9) And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”

(Ruth 2:12) “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Side by side – Britannia! Britain’s Day Dec. 7th 1918 / James Montgomery Flagg 1918
American Lithographic Co. N.Y. (ref: loc.gov)

Eagle’s wings are compared to renewing of strength who run and not be weary, who walk and not faint. In general wings are symbolic representation to refuge and protection. The bald eagle is the symbol of US. Britain had eagle’s wings which can be identified as US since it was a British colony. The New world is a place of refuge and new beginning for many Britons who migrated there. It was plucked in July 8, 1776. US also identified Britain as a lion based on the above picture.

What does it mean to have a heart of a man?

(Dan 4:16) Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him.  

(Dan 4:34) And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation.

The heart of a man is about having understanding. Instead of behaving like a lion which tears the enemies into pieces and does not turn away, it stood on two feet and behaved like a man. It is possible it could symbolize the abolition of slavery and eventually giving freedom to all nations, rather than devouring and tearing them into pieces.

Second Beast – Soviet Union

(Dan 7:5) “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!

Based on the description provided by the above verse, the following characteristics apply to the second beast.

  • Like a bear
  • It raised up on one side
  • It had 3 ribs between its teeth
  • It was instructed to devour much flesh.

What does it mean to be like a bear?

(Prov 28:15) Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over poor people. 

(Isa 59:11) We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for justice, but there is none; For salvation, but it is far from us. 

(Lam 3:10) He has been to me a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in ambush.

A bear charges, growls and will lie in wait. The world identifies Russia with Bear.

Punch magazine, 1911 (ref: Wiki)

The Russian Bear is a widespread symbol (generally of a Eurasian brown bear) for Russia, used in cartoons, articles and dramatic plays since as early as the 16th century, and relating alike to Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union and the present-day Russian Federation (Ref: Wiki).

Ref: kontrmaidan.ru

While Britain is no longer referred as a lion, Russia however, is referred as a bear. Even the Russians themselves refer Russia as Bear.
E.g,

  • ‘Russian Bear’ Will Show Turkey Its Place (Ref: sputniknews.com)
  • Western nations want to chain ‘the Russian bear’ – Putin (Ref: rt.com)

What does it mean to rise up on one side?
Unlike the European colonies, Russia did not have such or not widely known. Instead, it grew slowly from one side adding territories to it. The below visual is a good representation of how Russia grew from one side.

What are the three ribs in the mouth of the bear and what does it mean?

(Hos 13:8) I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, And there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them.

The 3 ribs mentioned here is a result of the bear deprived of her cubs. It is possible that the Soviet Union is deprived of her cubs when it broke and the three ribs could be it’s involvement in other countries and tear them open. Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation is a good example for 1 rib. Are we yet to see the other 2 ribs?

Devouring much flesh could represent huge casualties. Could Russia’s involvement in Syria represent this?

Just like the British Empire which lost it’s dominion, Soviet Union also lost its dominion. It broke up into 15 nations. However, Russia still exists but without the dominion.

Third Beast – League of 4 Nations

(Dan 7:6) “After this I looked, and there was another, 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.

Based on the description provided by the above verse, the following characteristics apply to the third beast.

  • Like a leopard
  • It had 4 wings of a bird
  • It had 4 heads.
  • Will have a dominion

What does it mean to be like a leopard?

(Hos 13:7) “So I will be to them like a lion; Like a leopard by the road I will lurk; 

(Hab 1:8) Their horses also are swifter than leopards, And more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat.

A leopard lurks and it is swift.

What does it mean to have 4 wings of a bird?

(Ruth 3:9) And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”

(Ruth 2:12) “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

As we saw earlier, wings are symbolic representation of refuge and protection. Hence, these 4 wings can be colonies or territories under the rule of beasts where people can get refuge or protection.

What are the 4 heads?

(Rev 17:9) “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 

(Dan 2:44-45) And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

The 4 heads are 4 nations. Hence, the third kingdom is a group of 4 nations.

Based on the above description the third kingdom will be a league 4 nations and 4 conquered lands or colonies where people can find refuge and protection. This beast is not yet arisen and we can expect this beast in this century if the assumptions are correct.

Fourth Beast – Final Caliphate

(Dan 7:7) “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

Based on the description provided by the above verse, the following characteristics apply to the fourth and the final beast.

  • Dreadful, terrible and exceedingly strong.
  • Iron teeth
  • It was devouring, breaking in pieces and trampled the residue with its feet.
  • Different from all the beasts that were before it.
  • It had 10 horns.

What does iron teeth mean?

(Ps 124:6) Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. 

(Dan 2:40) “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

Iron teeth represents the crushing power on their conquered lands and enemies.

What are the 10 horns?

(Dan 8:20) “The ram which you saw, having the two horns–they are the kings of Media and Persia. 

(Dan 8:21) “And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. 

(Rev 17:12) “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 

Horns in the book of Daniel and Revelation represents kings. This future kingdom will be exceedingly strong and crush their conquered lands and enemies. The trampling of residue could represents a complete annihilation of the defeated army or genocide on the conquered lands. It will have 10 kings. Based on the the clues in Revelation, the final beast before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,  as mentioned in Revelation 17 is the final Caliphate. The final Caliphate will have 10 kings which is 8th and is of the 7th kingdom.

Little Horn

(Dan 7:8) “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

The little horn mentioned here is the man of lawlessness or the antichrist. He will come as one of the 10 kings or rulers and before him 3 will be plucked out by the roots. He speaks pompous words and has a eyes of a man.

(2Thess 2:3-4) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 

(1John 2:18) Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

In the final Caliphate, of the 10 kings, 3 will be plucked out by roots before the antichrist and he will speak pompous words.

Judgment of God

(Dan 7:9-12) “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. “As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

The above verse is a clear indication that the beasts will continue to live as sovereign countries but without dominion.

Second Coming of Christ

(Dan 7:13-14) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

The second coming of our Lord and savior is mentioned in various places in Scriptures.

(Rev 19:11) Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 

(Mark 13:26) “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 

(1Thess 4:17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

This is the time of the sounding of the seventh angel.

(Rev 11:15) Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

Truth of the 4th Beast and the Little Horn

(Dan 7:15-18) “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’

Daniel, wanting to know the truth of the interpretation and asks one of those who stood by and he reveals that the four beasts are four kingdoms and the saints of the Most High will receive and posses the kingdom forever.

(Dan 7:19-22) “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

Daniel then wished to know the truth of the fourth kingdom. Daniel watched the antichrist from the final Caliphate making war against the saints of the Most High and prevailing against them. The saints of the Most High God don’t wage war. This is clearly not the message of Christ.

(Eph 6:12-13) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

What it means is that, the saints of the Most High God will be persecuted and even the elect will  be deceived. This is not the saints of God waging war with the antichrist as we read the truth of the vision.

(Dan 7:23-24) “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.

The final beast will devour the whole earth while the remaining beast will co-exist, either as a vassal of a subdued and trampled nation.

What does it mean to change times and law?
The law is the law of God, given to Israelites through His servant Moses. The intend to change times refers to disprove prophecies. A good example can be found in the below verse:

(Dan 2:9) “if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

The spoke in the above verse, referring to the magicians, soothsayers who speak lies until the time has changed. Hence, the phrase intend to change times refers to changing the prophecies mentioned by God to His prophets.

(Dan 7:26-28) ‘But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

As we saw earlier, at the sound of the 7th trumpet, all nations, tribes and kingdoms will become His. This is referring to the Millennial Kingdom and not the New Heaven and New Earth because the old earth along with it’s kingdoms are reserved for fire until the day of judgement. The judgment mentioned here in this chapter is not the final judgment but the judgment of the beast before His second coming as we say in Revelation 19 – Marriage of the Lamb.

(2Pet 3:7) But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The real question is, will we be part of His Kingdom?

(Rev 21:27) But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Let us therefore not defile ourselves with any uncleanness or abominations or lie but let us separate ourselves to live holy before God and our Lord Jesus Christ.