B1: Daniels Four Beasts

(1) Four Great Nations Today

Daniel 7 records a vision of four beasts that represent four great nations which we will examine in detail, because they are NOT the same nations as the statue nations of Daniel 2, which is the usual interpretation.

Four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse from one another” (Daniel 7:3).

The first beast was like a lion with two eagle’s wings, the second beast like a bear, and the third one like a leopard with four heads and four wings. The fourth beast is never actually described except that it has large iron teeth and 10 horns.

The text of Daniel 2 clearly said the head of gold is Babylon, and the other kingdoms will come after Babylon, but in this chapter there is no mention of Babylon or Nebuchadnezzar. Here in Daniel 7, it merely says that four beasts come up out of the sea, so there is no reason to force these beasts into the same identification. But that is the easy way to do it, right?

The text actually says that all four will exist on Earth at the same time at the return of Christ, therefore, this vision relates to today, because we are in the end-time years. Daniel says that the fourth beast will be killed at the return of Christ, but that the other beasts will be allowed to live:

Then I watched because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking. I watched even until the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. (Daniel 7:11-12)

Four beasts come to power, the fourth one is destroyed, but the other three are allowed to live, therefore, all four must exist at the same time at the return of Christ. This is yet more proof that there will not be a one-world government ruled by the Antichrist. At the end of the GT, the body of the fourth beast will be thrown into the blazing fire; this likely refers to being destroyed by the fire that hits planet earth during the Wrath of God, and includes massive asteroid impacts.

The other beasts are allowed to live, but will be stripped of their authority and power. This means they will suffer loss of their military and economic strength because of the destruction they receive during WW3 and the Wrath of God. Therefore, they will not be totally destroyed, but will have survivors, even if their governments mostly collapse.

(2) Lion and Eagle: British Empire & United States

Since Daniel 7 shows that the four nations must be on Earth today, as you read the following verses, take careful note of all the symbolism, and think about what nation it could represent:

The first was like a lion and had eagle’s wings. I watched until its wings were plucked and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. (Dan. 7:4)

The NIV says, “wings were torn off.’ The lion is the symbol of England, or the British Empire. When the wings of an eagle are torn from the lion’s back is when the American colonies gained their independence in the Revolutionary War; therefore, the eagle’s wings represent the United States. The word “plucked” or “torn” is significant, because the separation did not happen through peaceful negotiation, but through war.

(When I first figured out this interpretation I thought it was totally my own, but a few years later I remembered that a fellow had come to my church in the late 1960s, and spoke about the lion being England and the eagle being the U.S. But I had forgotten it. So, whether I figured it out for myself anew, or pulled it out of my memory, I will never know. This is the only part that may go to someone else. I do not remember the man’s name, but I think he had red hair and lived in Texas.)

The British Empire once ruled a large part of the world. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire because it was so large, the sun was always shining on part of it. Britain invaded many nations to exploit the people and natural resources.

Among the nations it once ruled, or still rules, are: South Africa, Pakistan, India, Burma, Ceylon, Dominican Republic, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Swaziland, Nigeria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Fiji, Honduras, Bermuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others.

In the Opium War of 1839-1842, England fought with China to because it wanted to sell opium freely in China. This is how England acquired Hong Kong. A present-day equivalent of this war would be if Columbia fought a war with Brazil to force them to legalize the unlimited importation of cocaine. No wonder the Bible portrays Great Britain as a beast.

However, the verse also says, “it was lifted up from the earth and . . . a man’s heart was given to it.” This passage tells us that England will stop being a beast, and so it has. Britain remained a beast well into the 20th-century when it stopped invading nations, and allowed most countries in its empire to have independence. It is now a modern civilized nation, so far as unprovoked military aggression for profit is concerned.

(3) Bear: Russia

Another beast appeared, a second, like a bear, and it raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said to it, “Arise, devour much flesh.” (7:5)

This bear is Russia that became the Soviet Union in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. It is impossible to say with certainty what the three ribs represent; three wars, or maybe three regions that Russia conquered. Russia has conquered many peoples and land as it enlarged itself in all directions.

Russia was the bear before it became the Soviet bear, and the fighting in Chechnya in 1994-96 to keep control over land it acquired when it was a monarchy, is evidence that Russia is still the bear, and will remain so.

We should keep in mind that one verse of Scripture cannot possibly detail the entire history of a nation. We are only given enough information to identify these beasts. Notice also that the bear came up after the lion, and Russia became powerful after Britain.

(4) Leopard: Saudi Arabia

After this I looked and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a fowl. The beast also had four heads. And dominion was given to it. (7:6)

The identity of this beast is much harder to ascertain, so I am not 100% certain of my analysis, but it is the best I can do. This beast is probably Saudi Arabia. Notice that it does not say that this beast will eat much flesh like the bear, but merely that the beast has power to rule its own land.

The leopard was once common in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It is quick, fierce, likes to hunt at night, and takes its victims by surprise. The Saud dynasty began in the fifteenth-century Arabia, but was unimportant until the mid-18th-century when Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with Muhammad ibn-Abdul Wahhab; who preached a strict form of Islam known as Wahhabi. Together they spread Wahhabi with the sword. By 1805, the Saudis and Wahhabis controlled most of Arabia, but foreign invaders and tribal disputes shrank the holdings to the central Najd region.

In 1867, family feuds weakened the Saudi’s hold on the Najd, resulting in civil war among the tribes. When Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was born in 1880, his father held only the city of Riyadh. Then in 1891, the Saud family was forced to flee into exile. In 1901, ibn-Saud returned, and easily captured Riyahd in a surprise night attack. His father then formally proclaimed him Governor of Najd, and leader of the Wahhabi. With the help of the Wahhabi, he spent the next several years fighting for control of Arabia. In 1913, he proceeded to take the eastern region of Hasa:

Resorting to his favorite surprise tactics, he marched on Hofuf with seven hundred picked camel cavalrymen who crossed the moat, scaled the wall, killed the sentries, stormed the main fort and had the Governor captured– all within six hours. (Saudi Arabia, by K.S. Twitchell, Princeton U. Press, 1947, p. 96)

In 1921, after taking the region of Hail, he was proclaimed Sultan. After many victories against tribal uprisings, he captured the western region of Hijaz in 1925. This region had recently been freed from the Turks by King Husain, with help from Colonel T. E. Laurence of Britain; “Laurence of Arabia,” and includes the cities of Mecca and Medina. In 1926, the region of Asir was annexed into Najd. At an assembly presided over by his father, ibn-Saud was asked to be King. Then in 1932, the four regions of Najd, Hijaz, Hasa, and Asir, became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Therefore, the four wings on the body of the leopard are likely the four regions that became modern Saudi Arabia. Without Islam, Saudi Arabia would not exist; it would be a totally different nation, having a different character, laws, boundaries, etc. The country is also the place where Islam began, so the four heads could represent the four men who helped establish Islam after Muhammad, known as the four Rightly Guided Caliphs, which were the first four caliphs.

So, the leopard most likely signifies Saudi Arabia. You can see from the history of Arabia how the symbolism of the leopard fits the character of the Saudis and Wahhabis. About the leopard in this verse, Barnes’ Notes says:

The proper idea in this representation, when used as a symbol, would be of a nation or kingdom that would have more nobleness than the one represented by the bear, but a less decisive headship over others than that represented by the lion; a nation that, was addicted to conquest, or that preyed upon others; a nation rapid in its movements, and springing upon others unawares, and perhaps in its spots denoting a nation or people made up, not of homogeneous elements, but of various different people.

Saudi Arabia is made up of many different tribes. Even though modern Saudi Arabia does not send armies to conquer and prey on others, it is the home of the religion that has, and does, and will continue, to conquer and oppress others. But Saudi Arabia is also spending billions to finance the spread of terrorism and oppression worldwide. They even have Wahhabi schools in America. Notice also that this beast came into existence after the bear, so these beasts in Daniel are all in succession.

Now we move on to the fourth beast, which is supposedly the Roman Empire and the 10 horns coming from that region.

(5) Ten-Horned Beast

After this I saw in the visions at night a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and exceedingly strong. And it had great iron teeth. It devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the rest with its feet. And it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. . . .

Thus he said: “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be different from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth and shall tread it down and break it in pieces. (Dan. 7:7, 24)

Many people teach that the fourth beast was the Roman Empire, so then the 10 horns will be ten modern nations that will be a Revived Roman Empire, and will rule the world with the Antichrist. But the verses never say that the 10 horns will rule the world, but only the fourth beast from which the horns come! This is not splitting hairs. Let me say that again to let it sink into your brain: Only the fourth beast is said to rule the world, not the 10 horns that come from it. Therefore, whoever the 10 horns are, they will never rule anything close to the world, because it never says they will.

But not even Rome actually ruled the world. No nation or empire has ever ruled the whole planet; it is using hyperbole, as previously explained.

However, this fourth beast, in actual fact, does not refer to the Roman Empire, because as we have seen, all these beasts represent nations that exist today. And it is worth noting again, that in Daniel 7 each of the nations have come to power after the other, with some overlapping. The beast with 10 horns was born while Arabia was in the process of becoming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; it became very powerful, trampling down many other nations. What kingdom is it?

Notice that the text says that the fourth beast is different from the other beasts; it is different because it is not an actual nation, like the other beasts, it is the beast of Communism! The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in December 1847 in London. In 1917, Russia became the second country to become Communist when it became the U.S.S.R. (the 1st was Portugal, in 1910, but it did not remain Communist very long).

The U.S.S.R. spent 70 years trampling over many other nations, until it dissolved and left Communism in 1991; then ten of the fifteen U.S.S.R. nations formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). They are: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. They are the 10 horns that came “from” the beast of Communism.

You might suppose that if these 10 horns are the CIS, then the beast would have to be the U.S.S.R., but additional information is given to us later in Daniel 7:

Then I watched because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking. I watched even until the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. (Dan. 7:11-12)

The 10 horns are not on the beast, they come from it, which means they are now separate from the beast. However, the wording requires that the body of the beast continue to exist even after the 10 horns come from the beast. Since the beast continues to exist after the 10 horns come from it, and is not slain until the coming of Christ, then this beast represents Communism that will be destroyed in the Wrath of God. The 10 horns did not only leave the U.S.S.R., they also left Communism. How could the body of the beast be the old Roman Empire? Has it lasted more than 2,000 years? No.

But you may say that Communism has not ruled the whole world, that is true if you still insist on taking everything at 100% face value; which I have already shown is not the proper way to interpret the Bible. The whole world does NOT mean every nation on the planet. Communism has ruled several powerful nations and several weak nations on both sides of the planet. China is communist, and is one of the most powerful nations in the world, and its tentacles reach throughout the world. It became powerful last among all powerful nations.

It may be argued that the 10 horns must also be in the fire since they appear to be attached to the beast; but if they clearly come from the beast, and the beast is Communism, and they are no longer Communist countries, then it is not required that they also be in the fire. Nowhere does it say that the 10 horns are thrown into the fire, but only the body of the beast from which the horns come.

And since Russia is one of the 10 horns and was the main country of the U.S.S.R., if the body of the beast were the U.S.S.R., then Russia would surely be destroyed. But it clearly states that the other three beasts previously mentioned, are not killed, and Russia is one of those beasts. Russia will be badly wounded, but not destroyed. China will also not be destroyed, because during WW3 it will likely have a revolution and the communists will be defeated.

Only Communism and the Commonwealth of Independent States fit the description given us in Daniel 7. But where are the other five nations that were part of the U.S.S.R. that did not become part of the CIS? They are not mentioned because only ten of the fifteen nations formed an alliance together.

However, since the original formation of the CIS, two of the other five nations have joined; they are Georgia and Azerbaijan. The addition of two nations does not void the above interpretation, because only ten came up together. The symbolism is not specific enough to detail every event that will take place during the existence of the CIS. But beyond that, the wording of verse 8 actually infers that other horns will come up besides the first ten:

I considered the horns, when there came up among them another little horn before whom three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. . . . (Daniel 7:8a)

I have often wondered about the wording of this passage; why did it say “three of the first horns,” why not merely say that it uprooted three of the horns? It indicates that other horns may join the ten, and that when the little horn comes to power it will uproot three of the original ten.

We cannot suppose that the only event that will happen among the 10 horns is for a little horn to uproot three. Even though we only see three being uprooted in this vision, there could be many changes as the years go by. It was not possible to detail an extended history in a few verses. Since the creation of the CIS, Georgia and Ukraine have withdrawn from it because of conflict with Russia.

(6) The Little Horn

Daniel’s vision he sees another horn come up among the ten:

I considered the horns, when there came up among them another little horn before whom three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. . .

Thus he said: “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be different from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth and shall tread it down and break it in pieces. 24 The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall rise after them, and he shall be different from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 He shall speak words against the Most High and shall wear out the saints of the Most High and plan to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. (7:8, 23-26)

The NIV words it this way: “. . . a mouth that spoke boastfully. . . . speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people.” It is impossible to know all the details until they begin to happen, but the most likely interpretation is that the little horn, which is “different from the first” ones (7:24), also refers to an ideology the way the fourth beast was different because it was Communism. The verse says that three of the horns will be uprooted (7:8); then verse 24 says the little horn will “subdue” the three horns.

Therefore, the little horn most likely represents radical Islam that will cause internal revolution in three nations of the CIS. The three horns will then likely join together to become among the first nations of the new Islamic empire with Afghanistan. The mouth and eyes on the horn most likely represents Muhammad, because he founded Islam.

When you look at the original ten nations that became the CIS, you will notice that several of them are predominately Muslim, such as Tajikistan (80% Muslim), Turkmenistan (87%), Uzbekistan (88%), and Azerbaijan (95%). In 1998, Kazakhstan (47%) was accused of selling nuclear weapons to Iran that were left over from the U.S.S.R. Newsweek magazine said in 1996 that Tajikistan was already “teetering, as 40,000 Russian troops try to shore up a shaky secular government” (Powell, “A Religious War?”, 14 October 1996, p. 52).

One mullah said, “We will take Kazakstan, then Uzbekistan and then,” he roared, “we will take Moscow!” (Clifton, “The Islamic Nightmare”, Newsweek, 14 October 1996, p. 51). Those are very boastful words.

Martin Luther and the early Protestants were well aware of hate that Muslims have for Christians. Timothy J. Wengert, in Harvesting Martin Luther’s Reflections on Theology, said Luther believed:

Muhammad and his faith was the little horn of that arose in the midst of the ten horns. The eyes of the horn are Muhammad’s Qur’an with which he rules. “In whose law there is no divine eye, but mere human reason without God’s word and spirit.” The mouth that speaks blasphemous things is Muhammad exalting himself over Christ. The statement that the little horn will oppress and rule over the saints was clearly true of the Turks: “For no people are more the enemies of the Turks than the Christians; the Turks fight against no one with such bloodthirstiness as against Christians.” (page 201)

The “time, times and half a time” means 3.5 years (time=one year, times= two years), and refers to the 42-month rule of the beast of Revelation. They either have civil war and are taken over by the Taliban, or will be invaded, thereby uprooting them from the CIS.

I beheld, and the same horn was warring with the saints and prevailing against them 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21-22)

The NIV says, “this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them.” The little horn will wage war against Christians and Jews. Many Christians in the nations that get taken over by the next Islamic empire will be murdered or imprisoned. The same thing happened recently in Syria and Iraq by ISIS, so we know what to expect. Islamic countries have always persecuted and killed Christians and Jews, so we should not be surprised when the persecution increases with the revived Islamic empire, which Muslims are working hard to establish (complete details are given later).

It is important to notice that it says the little horn will wage war against Christians; that is also what Revelation 13 says the beast will do. Notice that it said nothing about the little horn rising to power by bringing world peace, or world government.

Again, these 10 horns are not the same as the 10 horns in Revelation because the text clearly states that the ten in Rev. are in full agreement. Rev. 17 says this about the 10 horns:

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom yet, but they will receive authority as kings for one hour with the beast. 13 These are of one mind and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will wage war with the Lamb . . . 17 For God has put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast . . . (Rev. 17:12-14, 17)

The NIV says, “agreeing to give the beast their power to rule.” All 10 horns “agree” to give the beast their power to rule. Which means they join together to form an empire, with the the final Antichrist as the ruler. It says, “These are of one mind.” They are all in agreement, there are NONE that rebel and are forced to submit. Once they get taken over by radical Islam, then they will joyfully join the empire.

The 10 horns mentioned in Daniel 7 are NOT all in agreement, or three would not be uprooted from the ten by the little horn. Therefore, the horns in Daniel are different from those in Rev. 13. Revelation repeatedly mentions 10 horns, and makes no mention of three that are not in agreement or are uprooted; all ten are in full agreement. No information is missing from Revelation.

The Taliban have taken over Afghanistan; guess which three nations border it on the north: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan! How many Taliban troops did it take to conquer Afghanistan? Only about 75,000, a very SMALL number. Are the Taliban the little horn? If they cause three of the nations that are north of them to become taken over by radical Islam, and therefore get removed from the CIS, then Afghanistan is the first horn of the future 10-nation beast of Rev. 13, and the Taliban are the little horn of Daniel 7! They plan to establish a Caliphate, so I suspect we are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes.

You might say, “But I thought the beast is going to be the Revived Ottoman Empire?” Yes, Turkey will be one of those 10-horns, and since it is a much more modern and developed country than Afghanistan, the headquarters of the next Islamic empire will likely be in Turkey. It does not require that Turkey be the first horn of the beast; it will merely be the most powerful horn.