What are the four beasts in Daniel chapter 7?


Clarify Share Report Asked December 18 2015 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
In Daniel 7 the prophet records a night vision that God gave him concerning four world empires, symbolized as four beasts (Daniel 7:1-14). The four empires are the same as Nebuchadnezzar saw in his...

December 18 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
The great image of Daniel 2 depicted the empires ruling over the Holy Land during the times of the Gentiles. The four beasts of Daniel 7 depict four types of anti-Semitism which arise from specific empires also during the times of the Gentiles, but weventually exert a world-wide influence wherever Jews reside. 

The first was a lion, mistakenly thought of as the Babylonian Empire. There is no beast associated with the Babylonian Empire, since the head is the least bestial part of the human body. Babylon is never described as a beast in scripture, rather as the “lady of kingdoms” (Isa 47:5), and “a golden cup in the LORD’S hands” (Jer 51:7). The Jews were carried away to Babylon as a punishment for their grievous sins; they actually tended to flourish there, perhaps initially due to the high positions of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego within the government. Daniel’s vision occurred under Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, and pertains to the future experience of the Jews, not past experience. Biblical prophecy doesn’t include past experience as part of any prophecy.

The lion arose from Persia. Images of lions with wings can be seen in both Persia, and in Babylon, but Babylon was incorporated into the Persian Empire. After the defeat of the Persians by the Greeks, the lion became oppressive under the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Empires; it finally provoked the Maccabean rebellion and the resulting Jewish Hasmonean Dynasty. The lion transferred to the Roman Empire after the defeat of the Greeks. After the western half of the Roman Empire fell in 476 BC, the lion subsequently travelled further into Western Europe (Italy, Spain, France, Britain, Netherlands, etc.) ultimately winding up primarily in the British Isles. After the colonial empires of Western Europe reached their furthest extent the lion’s wings were removed and the lion’s domain began to shrink, but persecution continued. The lion was raised up to walk like a human and given a human heart after World War II and the Holocaust, meaning that oppression due to the lion had ceased. Today the lion is mainly found in the United Kingdom, USA, and some former colonies of the UK such as Australia and New Zealand.

The second beast, the bear, arose from the Byzantine Empire. The emperor Diocletian divided the Roman Empire into two parts in 285 AD. The Eastern half was governed from Byzantium. When Constantine came to power he legalized Christianity in 313 AD and moved the capitol of the Roman Empire to Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople.The bear arose from the Byzantine Empire and with its decline it migrated north to Russia, and west to Central and Eastern Europe, mainly where the Roman Empire had not been established. Oppression was mild initially, but gained in intensity over the centuries.

The 19th century pogroms in Russia and eastern and central Europe marked the beginning of increased oppression and persecution of Jews at a time when the lion’s oppression was beginning to wane. The bear reached its apex with the Holocaust by the Germans in the 20th century. Since then the bear has been raised up to walk on two feet, mimicking a characteristic of humanity, and losing a significant amount of its prior ferocity, but anti-Semitism still exists within that part of the earth.

The third beast arises from Islam. Islam is known for the quickness of and appetite for conquest of Northern Africa, Southeastern Europe, and Southwestern Asia, as suggested by the four wings of the leopard. Exceptfor the time of Mohammed when significant numbers were slaughtered in the battle for control of Arabia, the Jews generally fared better than those in Europe, especially during the Middle Ages. When Jews were expelled from Christian states, they frequently found refuge in Islamic lands. This might be due to the recognition of Jews in the Koran, and also because the Christians (of the lion) during this time were mercilessly against both Jews and Muslims. (continue in comments)

April 01 2016 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining