The Bible tells us in chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel, that God gave Daniel a vision of four beasts rising from the sea. In addition to very clearly depicting the modern nations of the world, Daniel’s vision also foretells of the events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. If we are to understand signs of the end time, we must recognize the fulfilled prophecies found in this important piece of the Scripture, as well as the signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. To do so, we take an in-depth look at the four great beasts of Daniel’s vision and what they represent.
In Daniel’s vision, beasts were rising from a great sea.
First beast: like a lion with the wings of an eagle, but the wings were plucked so that it could no longer fly
Second beast: like a bear holding three ribs
Third beast: like a leopard that had four wings and four heads, “and dominion was given to it”
Fourth beast: had ten horns, and was notably different from the other beasts and “exceedingly strong”. Three horns were plucked to make way on the fourth beast’s head for a new horn that speaks pompously.”
Then God appears on a fiery throne, the beast with ten horns is destroyed, the other beasts’ lives are “prolonged for a season and a time” and dominion passes to the Son of Man. (Daniel 7:2-13)
Daniel prayed to understand the meaning of his vision and it was interpreted to him that the four great beasts were a representation of earthly kings. The fourth beast was a kingdom dominating the entire Earth, its ten horns representing ten kings. The new horn that supplants the three that were plucked represents a new king that overpowers three of the ten kings and then makes war with God’s followers. This evil king will be supplanted by the Son of Man, who is Jesus Christ. Hence, the final horn represents the Antichrist and his world government, which precedes the Second Coming of the true Christ. (Daniel 7:17-27)
Who are all of these kings? How does this relate to the current world order?
By examining this prophecy, we know this vision of the ten-horned beast hasn’t come to full fruition and that the other beasts represent nations that already exist.
1. Daniel’s lion = England, whose coat of arms carries three lions. The eagle’s wings removed from the lion represent the United States, which we know separated from England during the American Revolution.
2. Daniel’s bear = Russia, whose national symbol is a bear.
3. Daniel’s leopard = Germany, whose Leopard tanks have been used predominantly in European armies since their introduction in the 1960s.
But what is the fourth beast? It must be some form of world government, the last kingdom to be established upon the Earth. In Revelation 13:1-2, the Apostle John depicts Daniel’s four beasts again, now combined into one: a beast that is part leopard, part bear, and part lion, with ten horns.
4. Daniel’s conglomerate beast = a world-dominating kingdom that will include Germany, Russia, and England. Since Daniel sees that the leopard is given dominion, we may also surmise that Germany will be the dominant nation in this world government. The new horn that emerges and dominates three others tells us this government will be controlled by the Antichrist.
Remember that in this Bible prophecy, the eagle’s wings represent the United States. In Daniel they are removed, and in Revelation they are not included at all. So what will be the role of the US before the Second Coming? An uncooperative force? A destroyed world power? An Israeli ally? This is still unclear.
What is clear is that our purpose upon the arrival of Jesus Christ is yet to be determined, making prayer and a continued examination of the Bible impertinent. Lesson 1 of our Understanding the Endtime DVD series includes an in-depth explanation of the United States’ presence in the beasts of Daniel’s vision. To see and learn more about the prophecies being fulfilled in current events around the world, tune in our daily podcasts of Politics & Religion Radio.