Daniel’s Vision of the Beasts by Gustave Dore
Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
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 to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
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.
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.
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…
There are several different versions concerning how this prophecy is supposed to be interpreted. The original view was that this was just a repeat of the Statue Vision (Daniel chapter 2) and that this is Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece and Rome respectively. However, the Word of God is not needlessly repetitive, and, upon closer inspection this view can not be sustained.
Firstly is that all these Beast Nations are contemporary with each other and after the Fourth Beast is destroyed by the returning Son of God, these three beasts “continue for a short season.” If this were the same nations as the kingdoms mentioned in the Statue Vision then they would perish along with this fourth Beast, as they do under the statue vision all of which are destroyed by the Stone Kingdom.
Further, the symbolism of each beast is the primary clue given by the Word to identify these nations (other than their chronological and sequential rise from the sea), and, though Babylon may have used a Lion as one of its symbols, it did not have any wings, nor was it Rampant. Nor, as far as I know, did the Medes use a Bear, or the Greeks a Leopard. And, finally, the Romans used a Two-Headed Eagle, if I am not mistaken, for their symbol (and possibly a Lion) but certainly not a ten headed strange beast symbol.
The main reason for the original view is simply because some people do not believe that the future is revealed to anyone and, therefore, they prefer a historicist interpretation. But, just as soon as one accepts that God knows the future and communicates it to his prophets then the vision become crystal clear – exactly as with the Vision of the Eagle from the Sea of II Esdras.
Now, with this in mind, it is a fairly easy process to see who these nations are by noting the symbology used and the chronological rise of the beasts especially when all of these contemporary modern beasts are pictured, as such, in an Editorial Cartoon from Puck on the Boxer Rebellion.
The real trouble will come with the wake by Joseph Keppler
The Lion is the symbol of Britain, and the Eagles Wings plucked off is referring to the American Revolution. This dates the rise of this first Beast to the time of the Glorious Revolution in England when they put the straight jacket on the Monarchy and which spread the Nationalistic Spirit to both France and America; itself symbolized by the Four Winds blowing on the Mediterranean Sea.
This Lion is shown Rampant as is Britain’s and I would remind the reader that this is a precise term in the science of Heraldry which is admissible in a court of law in cases of identification for purposes of inheritance – which science originated from these same Scriptures. Further, it stood up on its feet like a man and another symbol of Britain is John Bull (similarly to Uncle Sam in America). Thus, the Lion is emblematic of the British Empire and Isles, with the Eagle that of America and its Territories.
The Bear is unanimously (and singularly) recognized as referring to Russia and that would include all its Territories. The three Ribs that it has in its mouth are the three Baltic Countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Also, notice that the Russian Empire began its rise after England and America, as predicted by the Word.
The Leopard (lower left in the cartoon) is the only one of the three that is debated by people who take this view, however, when we consider the Symbol and the Chronology we can rule out all other views other than the Arab countries.
First is that the Leopard actually is a symbol of the Arab countries and is mentioned as such in the Scriptures where it asks, “can the Leopard change its spots or the Ethiopian his skin color.” Further, the Four Wings would be referring to the Spiritual aspect of the Nation and the Muslim world is divided up into exactly four major religious branches (according to Funk and Wagnal) of the Shi’ite, Shun’i, Sufi and Wahabi, which also follows, precisely, the four main books of the Islamic world which guided those four denominations (Koran, Tawrat, Zabur, and Injil source Al Injil online article Kalimatullah).
The Four Heads would be the four political factions that have ruled Islam through the years and they can easily be identified by the four capital cities they have had through the years – Mecca, Medina, Baghdad and Istanbul – also according to Funk and Wagnal.
You will actually see the number four stamped on the Arabic World if you look through the News and History (such as the fact that this is the most wives a Muslim is allowed to have according to the Koran).
Note, also that most of the Arab countries proclaimed their independence in the 50’s after the rise of the Bear in the WW II era, exactly as the Word states, and this is possibly what our Lord was referring to when he said, “when you see the fig tree and all the trees“. The Dominion that is “given it” is assuredly the result of the Oil Rich Arab Nations and their prominence, via OPEC, in the UN Council of Nations.
The Fourth Beast is obviously the revived Roman – Babylonian Empire which is also described here as having Iron Teeth (geographical territory of the Roman Empire) and Nails of Brass (geographical territory of the Grecian Empire).
The Dragon of the Ishtar Gate by Vorderasiatisches Museum
Further, this same beast is described by John in Revelation 13 as having the Feet of a Bear, the Mouth of a Lion, the Body of a Leopard and this is a very accurate description of the Ancient Babylonian Dragon, which was described as a Spotted Dragon that had the forefront of a Lion with large feet, like the Bear.
The fact that it has parts of the other three beasts (but not the Eagle) in its description is indicative that some of the territory of those first three beasts that used to be the Old Roman Empire will find their way into this fourth beast empire in the last days (Ukraine would be from the Bear, England from the Lion and Turkey from the Leopard – this is tentatively speaking) because it is seen trampling the first three beasts underfoot (i.e. “residue“) and which are lacking from the Three Headed Eagle even though it also had, to a certain extent, trampled these three beasts underfoot which , then, also implies that the Eagle is a separate ‘fourth beast’ that passes off the scene before the rise of this fourth beast.
Of special notice is that this fourth beast will tread down “the residue” and this must be referring, in context, to the previous three beasts, which is what propels the fourth beast to the position of world ruler.
This concurs exactly with my view of Y’shua’s words that described the “beginning of sorrows” otherwise known as the first half of the tribulation with, “there shall be wars and rumors of wars with nation rising against nation and Superpowers against Superpowers,” which, really, is about the only way you can translate the word Kingdom today, in that context which statement, itself, assuredly originated with the Apocalypse of Ezra.