Vision of 4 Great Beasts
By Brian Pepper
chapter 2 we had presented to us the great image which represented the four great powers or universal empires. There
was the head of gold, the chest of silver, the thighs of brass, the
legs of iron, and the feet part of iron and clay.
Now in Daniel
chapter 7 we
read another amazing prophecy.
Daniel 7:1 says, "In the first year of
Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his
head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the
Daniel was now an old man,
past eighty years of age. He was only a youth, when he had the
vision of the great image.
Winds and Waters
2 says, "Daniel spake and said, I saw
in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven
strove upon the great sea."
WINDS in prophecy are a
symbol of war and strife.
Revelation 7:1, "And after these
things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth,
holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow
on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
The winds that Daniel saw
stirring up the great sea is none other than the tempests of war. At
first we would be inclined to think of the great sea as the
Mediterranean, as that was the most important sea in ancient times.
However this prophecy is highly symbolic and although Daniel does
not explain the exact meaning of the 'great sea', John in Revelation
Revelation 17:15 says, “And he
saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth,
are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”
In these two symbols, winds
and waters, we have a picture of what Daniel saw in vision. It is a
picture of strife among the nations.
Daniel 7:3 says, “And four great
beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”
It is not an unusual thing
for the Bible to use beasts as symbols of nations, we do the same
thing today, the lion is used to represent Great Britain, the eagle
the United States of America, the kangaroo Australia.
There is no need to
speculate or guess as to whom the four beasts represent for
verse 17 of this same chapter tells us, “These great beasts, which are four, are
four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.”
The whole thing is
becoming clearer for it is a picture of world powers arising from
the battle field.
A Lion with Eagle's Wings
Verse 4 says, “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 stand upon
the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.”
A lion with files wings!
That is a strange creature. The Scriptures leave us in no doubt as
to whom the lion might be, it is none other than Babylon that
mighty empire of antiquity.
Jeremiah 4:7 says, “The lion is
come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on
his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land
desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an
While we are in the Book
of Jeremiah we should notice
chapter 50:17. “Israel is a
scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of
Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of
Babylon hath broken his bones.”
This makes it very clear
as to the identity of the lion. The Bible says that it is Babylon.
However there is something unusual about this lion. It has eagle's
Jeremiah 4:13, “Behold, he shall
come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his
horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.”
The lion is the king of
beasts, the eagles is the king of birds. Having eagle's wings means
that the lion's conquests were carried out at a very rapid speed.
However we notice that the lion's wings are to be plucked, that it
was to stand upon its feet as a man, and that it was to be given a
To those who are familiar
with history will remember that King Richard of England was
nicknamed the “Lion-hearted” because of his great courage and
boldness. Just so, a "man hearted lion” would suggest cowardice
Belshazzar, the last king
of Babylon, was a weak king. Ad the great empire fell back from
its greatness under his rule.
Jeremiah 51:30 says, “The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to
fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed;
they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her
bars are broken.”
A Bear with 3 Ribs in its Mouth
The boldness of the
lion is gone, Nebuchadnezzar is dead, Babylon has lost its power.
Daniel 7:5, “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.”
What a striking description
of Medo-Persia. You noticed that it said that this beast would be
raised up on one side? It was the dual empire of Medo-Persia which
succeeded Babylon, and the Persians became the stronger power. This
beast had three ribs in its mouth; Babylon, Lydia and Egypt formed
an alliance against this power and the bear fought and defeated
Leopard with Four Wings
6 says, ”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
This remarkable creature is
a very accurate description of Greece. The four wings indicate the
great rapidity Of Alexander’s armies. Just think of it, in eight
years he marched his men over 5,100 miles and they went by foot
every inch of the way.
The four heads are the four
divisions of the Grecian Empire after the death of Alexander.
Dragon with Iron Teeth
7 says, “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
This beast resembled nothing
in real nature (except maybe a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur) so it is
often called the nondescript beast. Like the iron kingdom of Daniel
chapter 2 this beast has iron teeth. There can only be one
world power that fits this description and that is Rome which
verse of Daniel chapter 7 the prophet adds a little more, "Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the
fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms,
and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break
it in pieces.”
goes down in history as an extremely cruel nation. Some of the
Caesars were almost monsters in their bloodthirsty and fiendish
It is not hard to find out
who the horns might be, for Daniel explains this in
24, "And the ten horns out of this
kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after
them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue
Rome broke up into exactly
ten kingdoms, seven are still with us today, and the territory of
the ten kingdoms is still there.
8 says, “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.”
Another horn, a little one.
This means that this power was little in its beginnings, though we
notice that later on that it became a major power.
All students of history know
Rome has two phases: pagan and papal. Catholics, Protestants, and
all historians know that following the breakup of pagan Rome, the
Papacy or Papal Rome became the outstanding force among the ten
kingdoms of Europe.
The Papacy is essentially a
Roman power both in its origin and character. Its headquarters have
always been in Rome. That is why it bears the name Roman Catholic
Church to this day.
Plucking up of Three Horns
The plucking up of the three
horns symbolizes the overthrow of three barbarian nations which
stood in the way of the rise of the Papacy to political power.
Eyes of a Man
says, “…in this horn were
eyes like the eyes of man.” This power has eyes that are on
the lookout for its own interests. It is obvious that the eyes are
not kindly eyes for the prophecy describes this power as a cruel
Ancient of Days
9 says, "I beheld till the thrones
were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was
white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his
throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.”
The “Ancient of days clearly
describes who presides at the judgment. Not that God is a very old
person who is slowly getting closer to His grave. God is eternal and
10 says, “A fiery stream issued and
came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment
was set, and the books were opened.”
Unnumbered hosts of angels
stand before the throne of God. They perform a very important part
in the judgment, especially the guardian angels.
The Books were Opened
The books were opened:
nothing can be kept secret from the heavenly intelligences.
There is the Book of Life,
where the names of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their
personal Saviour have been inscribed.
The Book of Remembrance in which is recorded the
acts of kindness, words of comfort, acts of love, acts of faith.
In the Book of Sin every
evil deed that has been committed, every selfish act, every
rejection of heaven sent warnings and wasted opportunities to help
How important it is that
every sin should be repented of, confessed and covered by the
precious blood of Jesus.
A Mouth Speaking Great Things
Verse 11 says, "I beheld
then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I
beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and
given to the burning flame.”
Once more attention is
focused on the Little Horn.
Verse 8 tells us that it had
a "a mouth speaking great things"
Verse 11 says, "…the great
words which the horn spake.”
Verse 20 says, "....a mouth
that spake very great things.”
It is very clear that the
Little Horn is the Papacy, but what are the "great words" that the
prophet Daniel mentions.
Great Words Against
the Most High
Verse 25 says, "And he shall speak great
words against the most High, and 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
He shall speak great words
against the most High.
Dr Adam Clarke, author of
the famous 'Clarke's Bible Commentary' has this note on
"He shall speak as (if) he were God.”
It was Pope Leo XIII who
declared, "We hold upon this earth the
place of God almighty.”
Ecclestical Dictionary says, "The Pope is of so great
dignity and so exalted that he is not a man, but as were God, and
the vicar of God...
The Pope is called most holy
because he is rightfully presumed to be such...
He is likewise the divine
monarch and supreme emperor and king of kings.
Hence the Pope is crowned
with a triple crown as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower
This power claims the very
heavens as its own.
A Blasphemous Power
In Revelation where it
speaks of his same power the prophet goes a little further and says
that it would be a blasphemous power.
Revelation 13:5 says, “And there was given unto
him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was
given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
And how true that is! Listen to this statement,
"The Lord our God no longer reigns, He has resigned all power and
authority to the Pope."
Daniel chapter 7:25 we
read, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and
shall wear out the saints of the most High…”
No power on earth has
persecuted the people of God as this power has done.
Wear Out the Saints
The phrase “wear out the
saints” of the most High suggests continuous and relentless
persecutions. No reader of history will
deny that the Papacy has fulfilled this part of the prophecy.
Verse 21 says, “I beheld,
and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against
How true! Literally millions
of martyrs were killed during the Dark Ages.
Think to Change Times
verse 25 latter
half, “…and think to change times
The laws mentioned here
would hardly be laws of earthly governments for they are being
changed all the time. Seeing that the Little Horn
is pitting himself against God it can only be God’s laws he is
thinking of changing.
Notice Ferraris E.
Dictionary, "The Pope is of so great
authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even
There are many statements of
this nature but here is one worth noting from Decretals of Gregory Book 1,
title 7, chapter 3 "For he can dispense with the law, he can turn
injustice into justice by correcting and changing the law, and he
has the fullness of power.”
It is quite apparent to
those who have studied the Holy Scriptures that “time and laws” have
been changed. Sunday has been substituted for the Bible Sabbath of Jehovah
Notice this statement by
Mgr Segur in ‘Plain talks About the Protestantism Of Today.’ “It was the Catholic
Church which by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred
this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our
Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an
homage they pay in spite of themselves, to the authority of the
Another similar statement
in the 'Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine'
Q. Which is the
A. Saturday is the Sabbath
Q. Why do we observe
Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church
transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
People have assured me
that it was Jesus who changed the day but I have never found that
in the Bible. The only change that I have read of is right here in
the Book of Daniel. And God said that the Papacy would do it and
what is more, they freely admit it and proudly boast of it.
And now let us examine the
last part of
verse 25, “…and they shall be given
into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
All commentators are
agreed that this is symbolic or prophetic time.
A time = 1 year or 360
Times = 2 years or 720 years
Dividing = ½ year or 180
3 ½ years = 1260 years
Established in 538 A.D.
the Papacy continued in undisputed sway for 1260 years. This is
the period known to history as the Dark Ages. In 1798 the pope was taken
prisoner by the French general Berthier.
This loss of political
power of the Papacy is referred to as 'the deadly wound' in
Revelation 7:21,22 says, "21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and
prevailed against them;
22. Until the Ancient of days came, and
judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time
came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”
Milestones in Time
Daniel brings to our
attention three important events which stand out as mileposts in
the stream of time.
Firstly, the coming of the
Ancient of Days is the beginning of the investigative Judgment.
Then that (judgment) to be
given to the saints of he most High. This is the judgment spoken
of by St Paul in
1 Corinthians 6:2,3. "2. Do ye not know that the
saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by
you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3. Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that
pertain to this life?”
This is the time when God's
people sit with Christ during the 1,000 years assisting in
determining the punishment of the wicked.
Thirdly, the time when God's
people possess the kingdom.
Verse 26 says, “But the judgment shall sit,
and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it
unto the end.”
The judgment passes sentence
on the Little Horn that it should ultimately be destroyed.
Verse 27 says, "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
The prophecy of Daniel
chapter 7 paints a dark and dismal picture of church oppression but
it ends with a picture of triumph; the ultimate victory of
people over the forces of evil that they will be rewarded for their