Daniel’s Vision of 4 Beasts

Daniel’s Vision of 4 Beasts

Daniel’s disturbing dream in chapter seven of his book has sparked so much interest among Bible readers. Who are these four beasts that Daniel saw in his dream and visions?

In Daniel 7:1-7, God communicated with Daniel while he was asleep by giving him a disturbing vision in a dream. What’s interesting is that, during this vision, Daniel was also part of the event. We know this because he was able to approach an angel and ask for an interpretation.

Daniel did not explain how he could be asleep in his bed and yet be able to speak to an angel standing before the throne of God. Perhaps like Paul, he didn’t know if he was in the body or out of the body (2 Corinthians 12:1-3).

Daniel 7:1-2 NKJV

What Daniel Saw

In his vision, Daniel observed the sea being stirred up into a raging storm by the four winds of heaven (Daniel 7:2). The churning (stirring) sea is a frequent biblical image for the nations of the world (Isaiah 17:12-13; 57:20; 60:5, 9; Ezekiel 26:3; Revelation 13:1; 17:15).

Just as the ocean is sometimes, so the nations of the world are sometimes in confusion or even at war. Just as the waves and currents of the ocean are unpredictable, so the course of world history is human ability to chart or predict.

God stirred up the sea, and from its foaming, raging waters came forth four horrifying beasts. These beasts, each different from the other, are described in Daniel 7:4-7.

“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.

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!’

 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. 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.”

Interpretation of Daniel’s Vision

Daniel’s vision troubled and terrified him. So, he approached one of those who stood by (possibly an angelic being) to ask for the interpretation of the things he saw and was given to him (Daniel 7:15-16).

The four beasts were four kings and their kingdoms, who will arise from the earth (Daniel 7:17).

The First Beast: The Babylonian Empire

Daniel describes the first beast as one like a lion with eagle’s wings.

It is generally agreed that this beast represents the Babylonian Empire and king Nebuchadnezzar in particular. While God does not specifically tell Daniel that this represents Nebuchadnezzar He does reveal that the “head of gold” in the vision of the great statue was Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:36-38).

Since the head of gold seems to describe the same king and kingdom as the first beast, it may not be too far afield to conclude that Nebuchadnezzar is the king represented by the first beast.

The Second Beast: The Medes and Persian Empire

The second beast looked like a bear that was rearing up on one side and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. This beast symbolized the empire of Medes and Persians who defeated Babylon (Daniel 5) and parallels the arms of chest and silver in the great image (Daniel 2:32, 39).

The bear was raised up on one side because the Persians were stronger than the Medes. In Daniel’s later vision of the ram with two horns (Daniel chapter 8), the higher horn represented the Persians (Daniel 8:3, 20).

Interpreters do not agree on the meaning of the three ribs that the bear carried in its mouth. But the best explanation is that they stand for Libya, Egypt, and Babylon – nations that the Medes and Persians had conquered.

The armies of the Medo-Persian Empire did indeed “devour much flesh” as they marched across the battlefields.

Understanding Daniel's Vision of 4 Beasts
Photo Credits: Neverthirsty.org

The Third Beast: The Kingdom of Greece

The third beast looked like a leopard with four wings and four heads; it represented Alexander the Great and the swift conquest of his army, resulting in the incredible expansion of the kingdom of Greece.

This beast was identified with the number four: four heads and four horns (Daniel 8:8, 21-22). Alexander’s untimely death in 323 BC left him without a successor and his kingdom was divided into four parts and assigned to his leaders.

Israel and Egypt went to Ptolemy I; Syria was ruled by Seleucus I; Thrace and Asia Minor were assigned to Lysimachus, and Macedon and Greece were governed by Antipater and Cassander.

The Fourth Beast: A Fourth Kingdom

This fourth beast is a fourth king different from the first three. It receives greater attention and is of the most interest to Daniel. It seems more terrifying, dreadful, more powerful, and much more hostile toward God and His saints (Daniel 7:23).

Daniel describes this beast to have huge iron teeth, crushing and devouring its victims, and trampling their remains beneath its feet. It has the distinction of ten horns. And as Daniel was looking at these horns, suddenly a small horn appeared 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 (Daniel 7:8).

Some believe this creature represents the Roman Empire, a mighty kingdom that indeed crushed all its foes.

The Small Horn

The ten horns represent ten kings who will emerge out of the fourth kingdom. But then, an eleventh king (small horn) rises to power, different from the others, replacing three of the previous kings (kingdom (Daniel 7:24).

The “small horn” (Daniel 7:8, 11, 24-26) represents the last world ruler, the man called Antichrist. The Greek prefix anti can mean “against” and “instead of.” The final world ruler will be both a counterfeit Christ and an enemy who is against Christ.

The mention of his eyes suggests that he would have remarkable knowledge and skill in planning his exploits. He would also be a man skilled in using words and able to promote himself so that people follow him (Daniel 7:11, 25; Revelation 13:5-6).

He would also blaspheme God and ultimately convince the unbelieving world that he is a god (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12). He would become the ruler of the world and would not only control the economy and religion but would also seek to change the times and the laws.

But while this king appears to be successful in his plans against God and his saints, we read that the Lord would grant him success only for an appointed time of three and a half years (Daniel 7:25-26). God would permit the Antichrist to rise to power, rule the world, and even allow him to make war on the saints and temporarily win the victory (Daniel 7:21)

But when the court shall be seated, his dominion is taken from him and he is destroyed forever. The greatness of the kingdoms under heaven and its dominion shall be given to the saints of the Most High (Daniel 7:27).

Final Words

This prophetic vision of Daniel was fulfilled and these four kingdoms represented by the four beasts have already come and gone. However, Daniel 7:12 indicates that each kingdom continues to exist in some way within the succeeding kingdom that “devoured” it.

Daniel saw in his vision something that hadn’t been revealed to Nebuchadnezzar: the last human kingdom on earth would be a frightful kingdom, unlike any of the previous kingdoms, and it would even declare war on God (Daniel 7:8-12).

This is the kingdom of the Antichrist, described in Revelation 13 through 19, an evil kingdom that will be destroyed when Jesus Christ returns to earth (Daniel 7:11-12, 21-26).

What a comfort to know God wins in the end. And we, His saints, will be there with Christ our King to celebrate the greatest victory.

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Recommended Resource:

Daniel: The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries bJohn Walvoord and Charles H. Dyer

A Commentary on the Book of Daniel The book of Daniel is key to the entire Old Testament prophetic revelation.

Who better to help you understand Daniel’s stories, prophecies, and dreams—and give you a brighter hope for things to come—than John F. Walvoord, one of evangelicalism’s most prominent leaders, and Charles Dyer, a Bible professor and expert on Israel?

In this second work of a renewed series of commentaries, Dr. Walvoord addresses alleged historical inaccuracies and considers past and future fulfillment of specific prophecies. At key points, different views and approaches to interpretation are explored.  

Walvoord devotes special attention to textual and doctrinal issues while avoiding technical language.

Refined, updated with the English Standard Version (ESV), and streamlined, this classic text is set to help you understand and interpret the book of Daniel and gain a better grasp of what the future may bring.

4 Replies to “Daniel’s Vision of 4 Beasts”

  1. Please Test & consider what the Spirit says to me:-

    Daniel 7 & 8 little horns are one & the same in Binyamin Netanyahu who when he came to 1st office as 11th king [male Prime Minister] & 8th head [male – of Government – 3 repeat twice]; 5 were fallen [dead], one is Shamir d.2014, one to come & did as caretaker king on the fatal wound of the 7th head-Rabin.

    Then as Pres. Perez. … also like a leopard – native born Palestine, different to ALL before .. feet like a bear – parents from USSR [Lithuania] one of the ribs torn out of the bear, speaks like a lion – arrogantly bellows Hebrew & English – lion languages.

    N.B **** These are the seven ‘mountains’ on which the Harlot sits; Zion, Moriah, Ophel, Bezetha, Gareb, Acre & sacred bloodied Golgotha ……….. He [Antichrist] – supplanter will magnify himself equal to the ‘Commander of the Host’ – Jesus Christ – Who is Matthew 27:37- ‘king of the Jews.’

    So is there one man of sin who has made himself a modern 11th king [Prime Minister]? & 8th head [male; of Government 7th head fatally wounded-Rabin]? The answer is YES! Does he fulfill ALL Prophecy? YES!

    Sadly, you do not understand as you have only some Prophetical Insight! Please read on as HE has given me much…

    Daniel 2; The feet & ten toes – the divided kingdom under Rome from which the stone – Jesus Christ – is cut is Judah to the South & Israel to the North – both scattered in the Diaspora 70 AD to 135 AD. It had ten toe foundations as only 10 of old Israel’s sons took up land in the Promised Land.

    Joseph died on the journey his family settled with Benjamin’s & Levi took none settling with ALL as Rabbis. They were part Rome & Jewish – St Paul the example … Jesus was not cut from the divided Roman kingdom as it did not exist.

    The modern king/horn/man of sin also magnified himself by changing his surname to make himself WHAT Jesus Is by name definition; ‘the right-hand son’ – Hebrew: Binyamin & ‘God’s Gift’ – Heb. Netanyahu [was Mielekowsky – from out of the sky? – Deuteronomy fallen angel.

    This new name adds to 666 in old Hebrew Gematria ……

    If I have piqued your interest please read more of what the LORD’s spirit says:

    I write because those that mislead many will pay a heavy price – so BEWARE.

    A little more you SHOULD know; Daniel 7 – picture talk explained – in 1947 the Jews, mainly from USSR, approached the new United Nations to annex Palestine for the nation-state of Israel.

    The Lion [United Kingdom] with eagles wings [USA] as one after their WW2 alliance was torn off when the USA sided with the Bear [USSR – with three ribs torn out-Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia] who wanted to get rid of their troublesome Jews against the Lion – UK’s wishes to talk the [Arabic] Leopards four wings; Lebanon, Jordan Syria & Egypt into this Motion which when put before the U N was passed with one dissenting vote, the Lion; UK who was then made to walk on its own two feet as a policeman until nationhood 1948 being repeatedly bombed by the Stern gang forerunners of Mid – East Terrorism.

    So traveling in the S.E direction out of the nations [Lithuania-USSR] the BEAST that comes out of the [Mediterranean] Sea was born treading down ALL around it – i.e. the 4 Leopard’s wings.

    So the BEAST is reborn that murdered by demanded Roman Crucifixion God’s Messiah Son sent to redeem them. It comes out of the [Mediterranean] Sea. God has turned His Face from them since letting ALL that has befallen them until they recognize Jesus his ‘anointed one [Christ]’….. only a remnant will be saved sadly! Those that repent.

    Pray for a large remnant!

    1948-1996 Ten kings/horns [P.Ms – male sons] that are 7 heads [of Govt]:- Gurion [x2 office], Sharett, Eshkol, Shamir [x2], Begin, Perez, Rabin [x2] killed in 2nd office by rumored minor MOSSAD agent who would only operate under instruction by Head? – was Binyamin Netanyahu’s new incoming king- 12th P.M – one queen – Golda.

    Why would I say my family Judah [now calling itself the lie of Israel-united] is the BEAST country? Simple; we murdered God’s Messiah Son sent to Redeem us! [Matt27:25] of the murders of the Prophets whose blood was mostly shed in the Great City Harlot Babylon where also is the place where Jesus Last Two will be murdered outside satan’s [BIBI’s] ABYSS [Revelation 11:7-8].

    Synagogue [Ezekiel 8] under the Dome of the Rock. – JERUSALEM. where also the first Saint Phillip was murdered setting the pattern for the evil false Prophet Popes …. the Bible says even the elect [Christians] will be fooled & worship the BEAST & the Harlot ….. which many do now!

    We are currently in the DELAY of the Last Week [Revelation 10:6] I believe……

    You might think me anti-Semitic for what I say but I tell you this unless they repent & recognize our Messiah Jesus they will not survive what will shortly come to pass – that is my aim to have them realize for a large Remnant!

    Your prayers for my family would be appreciated by me & more especially by my LORD Yeshu ha Moshiach…..
    HE Lives … HE Speaks …the servant listens … in Christ .. old Messianic Jew.

    Shalom … just a very ordinary old man ….. with a mission to save! I have been cursed threatened & hated for HIS [Jesus] views.


    P.S. Bibi’s 3rd? act of Parliament 1996 was to try to [but failed] ban the teaching of Christianity in Israel & for the last 2 years, Bibi has tried to pass into LAW [but failed] marking ALL the children of Israel on the hand with his Teva Biotec r/hand micro-chip system as he already in India & China where you can not trade without it.

    Something else you may or may not consider but I hope you do. Daniel 9:27 took place in the Great Synagogue Rome in January 2016 between the false Prophet Pope Francis & the man of sin Netanyahu & the agreement made that day was broken 3.5yrs later when Bibi opened in June 2019 his false satan’s ABYSS [Revelation 11:7,8].

    Sacrifices started on April 16th, 2016 … Synagogue [Ezekiel8] under the Dome of the rock [where I believe will be placed the Abomination weapon he brought back from the USA as Special Ambassador early 1980s] consecrated with Pure Red Heifer sacrifice Mt of Olives September 2019.

    I’m sure you missed it! Also, concealed until the Time of the END.

    NOW [Daniel 12:9 – ALL other old values false! i.e 42 months, 1260 days, 3.5 yrs Totals….’

    Time [‘the time of trial’ – Jesus & HIS 2 Prophets Ministry – last half of the Final Week = 3.5 yrs] Times [x3.5
    yrs] & a half a Time [+1.75 yrs] ‘ = 1 4years TOTAL. Daniel 7:25 – “they [Israel] will be given into his [antiChrist’s] hand.”

    BIBI’s reign WAS in 1996 .. NOT 1999 [subdues 3 kings per Dan 11]. WAS AGAIN from 2009 until April 2019 election fail – powerless caretaker king until May 2020. Gantz coalition until election fails March 2021 & removal June = 14 years TOTAL.

    Prophecy fulfilled – now watch for Daniel 7:26 ‘court will be called to judgment’ so he will never be able to return by a popular vote [no honor of kingship] to the throne but he will return by unholy political alliance or Coup d’etat for his final 42 months from when sworn in.

    During this time the New Temple will be built & the Last Two Prophets will come measuring & battling the antiChrist. His unholy followers …. Baruch Hashem …… called Israel …. nothing is hidden except the Time of the Return.

    Shalom …. who controls the World’s Money & Trade – my family Judah [modern Israel]. When the evil one has his last 42 months when sworn in, I believe things will rapidly escalate.

    Watch for his attempt to introduce his Teva Biotec microchip worldwide.

    Shalom …. old Messianic Jew …… servant of Jacob!

    1. Thank you for sharing your insight .. errrr … interpretation.

      It’s always nice to know what others think and believe, especially as it relates to end-time prophecies.

      Correct me if I’m wrong; did you just say that Bibi Netanyahu is the AntiChrist? If so, then that’s absurd! He’s not even liked by many Jews, how much more are the other powerful nations??? The Antichrist will be someone that many nations would look up to as a leader. Clearly, Bibi does not have that charisma ☺.

      While I do not agree with your take, I respect you for letting us and our readers know where you stand.

      Reading in context Daniel’s vision, we see that the interpretation was given to him. I do not see any reason why we have to make up our own interpretations. The interpretation of what Daniel saw remains as is until today.

      Shalom, God bless you!

      P.S. You’re right; the nation of Israel has to accept Jesus as their Messiah to be saved. There is only one name under heaven for which man will be saved (Acts 4:12).

      While waiting for the return of Christ and the fulfillment of all His promises, let us continue to serve Him and provoke the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11:14).

      We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of the Jews!

      One more thing, you may want to follow Amir Tsarfati (Behold Israel) and his ministry. He is also a Messianic Jew who travels around the world to share the good news of salvation.

  2. This is so off-base. It is ridiculous.

    First, the beast comes out or rises out of the sea. Sea does not mean “many nations.” The Whore of Babylon is not related to the woman.

    Get my book The Truth about the Devil, and The Man With Ten Horns, due out soon.

    1. Off base and ridiculous, huh?

      So, you don’t think the beasts (the first, second, third, and fourth) are kingdoms? But that’s what the Bible said, eh?

      You see, when the Bible uses symbolism, it also gives an interpretation. One of the rules in hermeneutics is to let the Bible interpret itself. So, if you want to give your own interpretation, that’s up to you. ☺

      And why should I trust your book when there are other more reliable sources and authors such as John Walvord?

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