Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
In Daniel 2, God gave the vision of man’s world governments to Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of one of those governments (Babylon), as a beautiful image of gold and silver. Though the image was deteriorating from gold to clay, it still looked pretty good.
However when He gave a vision of man’s governments to His own prophet Daniel, who could be trusted with the way God looks at the governments of man, He pictured them as cruel, ravenous, and horrible beasts!
This very interesting beast vision of Daniel 7 explains what we’ve already covered in Daniel 2, but with more detail. The vision deals with four great beasts which rise up out of the sea, the fourth beast having ten horns. These four great beasts, plus the ten horns, are identically parallel to the five great empires envisioned in the image of Daniel 2.
The main emphasis of the vision is on additional revelations concerning the last world empire, and gives us a brand-new piece of the puzzle of the endtime by introducing the madman dictator of this last regime of man. As we did in Daniel 2, we will first give the vision and follow it with its interpretation and explanation. (The vision is covered in verses 1–14, and the interpretation in verses 15–28.)
Vision: “I (Daniel) saw … four winds of the heaven (which) strove upon the great sea” (Daniel 7:2). “And four beasts came up from the sea diverse one from another” (Daniel 7:3). “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings … the wings were plucked … and a man’s heart was given to it” (Daniel 7:4).
Interpretation: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth” (Daniel 7:17). In verse 23 it says, “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom.” These verses show that a beast here is symbolic of a king and/or kingdom.
The sea is representative of the masses or the people of the world. “The waters which thou sawest … are peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues” (Revelation 17:15).
The four winds “are the four spirits of the heavens” (Zechariah 6:5), spiritual forces that God uses to manipulate the physical world to do His will. “For the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will” (Daniel 4:25).
This first beast or kingdom to arise in Daniel’s vision is a lion. This is the same as the head of gold in the image and it represents Babylon. Its wings being plucked represent Nebuchadnezzar’s abasement as a beast for seven years (Daniel 4:29–33), and “a man’s heart … given to it,” his subsequent salvation (Daniel 4:34–37; Ezekiel 36:26).
Second and Third Beasts
Vision: “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” (Daniel 7:5).
Interpretation: In this vision, as much as in Daniel 2, the vision finds its fulfillment in world history, which is really all we need for the first four beasts. Since we know from history that the kingdom following Babylon was Medo-Persia, we know that the bear represents Medo-Persia.
Notice that the bear is a little higher on one side than the other because the Persians were a little more powerful than the Medes. The Medes conquered Babylon, but it was Cyrus, the Persian king, who actually ruled. This symbolism is also borne out in the vision of Daniel 8, which pictures “a ram which had two horns … but one was higher than the other” (Daniel 8:3). It then says, “The ram … having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia” (Daniel 8:20).
The three ribs the bear devoured were the three nations which were conquered by the Medo-Persians. The primary nations were, of course, Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon.
Vision: “After this I beheld … another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads…” (Daniel 7:6).
Interpretation: The leopard (world’s fastest animal) with four wings represents the kingdom that followed Medo-Persia, Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire, which swiftly conquered the civilized world in only ten years. This beast had four heads because after Alexander’s death, his kingdom was divided into four parts among his four generals. These four kingdoms were basically Egypt, Assyria, Macedonia (Greece), and Thrace (Turkey). (Daniel 8:21–22). This division is very important to the understanding of the near future, as you will see later in our study of Daniel 8.
Fourth Beast and Ten Horns
Vision: “I saw … a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly: and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces (the whole earth, v. 23), 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” (Daniel 7:7).
Interpretation: This beast with the “great iron teeth” corresponds to the legs of iron in the Daniel 2 image and is, of course, Rome. This great and terrible beast of force and power “devoured and brake in pieces” all the known, civilized world of its day. And yet so magnificent was the Roman concept of law, so noble their ideas and ideals, so learned their language and literature, that they were to influence all cultures and civilizations to come. This truly diverse beast literally “stamped the residue” of civilizations with the imprint of its culture.
The ten horns are the final ten kingdoms which evolve out of or from the breakup of the Roman Empire, and are just the same as the ten toes of the image.
Vision: “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8).
Daniel now begins to question the angelic messenger who brought him this revelation.
Daniel questions: “I (Daniel) would know the truth of the fourth beast … and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things” (Daniel 7:19–20).
Angel replies: “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth … and the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise … and another shall rise after them … and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High” (Daniel 7:23–25a).
We’ve already seen that the fourth beast was Rome. These ten horns that come out of that beast are a literal revival or continuation of the old Roman Empire after the passage of some time. They give a little more detail about the final ten united nations of the Antichrist than was given in the ten toes of the Daniel 2 image.
We are told here that another, an eleventh horn, rises up among the ten and overthrows three of them, thereby evidently gaining power over all of them.
An eleventh horn rising after the ten represents a young world power. The “eyes like a man” and “a mouth speaking great things” show that the ultimate fulfillment of this little horn will be personified in an individual—the Antichrist, or beast, as he is called in Revelation 13:3–7. “All the world wondered after the beast … And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies” (Revelation 13:3,5).
Daniel: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came … and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Daniel 7:21–22).
Angel replies: The little horn “shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of times” (Daniel 7:25). “But judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end” (Daniel 7:26).
Here we see that the Antichrist will make war and overcome or “prevail against” the saints—until the Ancient of days comes. This shows us that the Coming of Christ is after the Antichrist reign.
“The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … shall not come except there come a great falling away first (from Christianity), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (“perdition” here in the Greek means “devil”—the son of the Devil—the Antichrist) … whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:1–8).
And when He comes, “every eye shall see him” (Revelation 1:7), and “all the tribes of the earth … shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). When? “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29).—Those days of anti-Christ Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).
This “little horn” will try to change everything and make it rough on God’s true church for how long? For “a time, times, and dividing of time.” We know that this is 3½ years, from the frequent references in the Bible where it is given as months: “42 months” (Revelation 11:2; 13:5); days: “1260 days” (Revelation 11:3; 12:6); and “time, times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14, also Daniel 12:7).
I believe the reason for the length of time for the Antichrist reign of terror being made so exactly clear is for the encouragement of God’s children who will be there. We will know that it’s got a very definite, set, limited time, which will be quite a help, because his reign is going to be a time of great persecution, of “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
It’s only going to last so long and then it will be over and we won’t have anything to worry about after that. Praise God! You have something wonderful to look forward to, even if you have to die as martyrs, when you think about what’s to follow. For after this little horn and the united nations of this little horn, we have the throne scene and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, covered in verses 9–14, 21–22, 26–27.
Second Coming of Christ
Vision: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of days did sit … thousand thousands ministered unto Him … the judgment was set and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9–10). “I beheld even till the beast was slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (Daniel 7:11).
Interpretation: Here we have all the thrones (kingdoms) of man cast down and God sitting in judgment until the beast which bears the little horn is destroyed and given to the burning flame. (See also 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)
For “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven … in flaming fire taking vengeance upon them that know not God.” “For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–8; Isaiah 66:16).
Vision: “Concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time” (Daniel 7:12).
Interpretation: These men’s powers were taken away, but their lives were prolonged when we rule with Christ for a thousand years on earth (Revelation 5:10 and 20:4). Their lives prolonged for a “season and a time” may be the time at the end of the thousand years when Satan, who has been bound for this period, will be loosed for a “little season” to again deceive the same ungodly people, who will then be destroyed by God. (See Revelation 20:7–15.)
Vision: “I saw … one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him” (Daniel 7:13).
Interpretation: Two distinct individual personalities: the Son of man, who could only be Jesus Christ, and the Ancient of days, God the Father.
Vision: “And there was given Him (the Son of man, Jesus) a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him: and His kingdom … shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
Interpretation: The Antichrist is going to persecute God’s children and prevail against them until it looks like he’s won, but “the judgment shall sit and they (God’s children) shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:26– 27).
“And they that overcome and keep His works to the end shall rule and reign with Him (Revelation 2:26). On such the second death (spiritual death) hath no power. But we shall be as priests of God and of Christ (Revelation 5:10) and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4, 6).
Are you ready for these great days ahead? Are you one of God’s children who will be helped to be His true witness during these times of great trouble? Will you be among those saved by the Lord out of Great Tribulation?
Copyright © March 1981 by the Family International