The Beasts of Daniel

6 Nov

Recently I have been thinking a great deal on the many prophecies that have been given and recorded in the scriptures; particularly those that deal with the last days. So I have decided to write some short posts addressing a few of these prophecies. Some have been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some we are still waiting to see. I will draw from all the standard works, and in each post I will address only one prophesy.

Daniel 2: 31-33, 38-41; 7: 3-8, 17-24; 8: 3-9, 20-23

In my last post I spoke of the prophecy concerning the Ancient of Days in Daniel chapter seven. I will now address three different prophecies in Daniel. In chapter two there is the all too familiar statue that Kind Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. In chapter seven we read of four beasts. In chapter eight there is a ram and a goat. Each of these prophecies contain similar elements, and it is those elements I will be focusing on.

So, let us look at the prophecies themselves.

“This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.” (Daniel 2: 31-33)

“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings…a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side…another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings…and behold a fourth beast…strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth…it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns…there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots…” (Daniel 7: 3-8)

“…a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last…behold, an he goat…and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram…and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him…Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” (Daniel 8: 3-9)

In the above quotes the boldface is what I consider the important elements of each, and if we look closely we see some similarities. For instance, the two arms of the statue are mentioned, the bear raised up on one side (having two), and the ram had two horns (one larger than the other). Also note that the Leopard in the second had four wings and the goats horn split into four parts. Note also the iron legs of the statue and the iron teeth of the fourth beast. When we look at the interpretation of these we will see the reason for these similarities.

Now, Daniel actually gives us an interpretation of all three of these, but only uses names in the third, so let us start with that one.

The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. (Daniel 8: 20-23)

So, the ram represents the Media-Persia empire and the two kings. History tells us that these two kings formed an alliance, but that the Persians were the more powerful. Thus we have two horns, one larger than the other, which came up last, because the Persian came after the Medes. The goat represents Greece, which was the nation to conquer the Persians under the great king Alexander. However, when he died his kingdom became divided between his four generals. Thus we have the great horn (Alexander) splitting into four which did not have the power of the first. When they became weak a new king arose; but let us look at the other interpretations.

“These great beasts…are four kings…The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms…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.” (Daniel 7: 17-24)

Now we are speaking of four kingdoms, but let us not forget the similarities that we saw. The repeating pattern of four tells us that the leopard with its four wings represents Greece. Thus the bear, which raised one side, is Media-Persia. The lion then must be the kingdom that was before Persia, or Babylon, whose symbol in ancient days was the lion. Moving forward the fourth beast is then the kingdom that came after Greece, or Rome. This is in agreement with the statue, whose interpretation is as follows.

“Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass…And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron…the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron…” (Daniel 2: 38-41)

Remember that Daniel was interpreting the dream of the king of Babylon, and thus the first Kingdom is Babylon, the second Media-Persia (the arms), the third Greece, and the fourth Rome. Of course, in this one we are taken past Rome with the ten horns. These ten kings represent the European kings that would rise up after the fall of Rome. I will speak more on them and the little horn in a following post.

In three different visions that Daniel recorded the future Kingdoms were laid out. History has already proven the accuracy of these visions as concerns these visions.

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