The Four Beasts
In the first year of Belshatstsar sovereign of Babel, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, giving a summary of the matters. Daniel spoke and said, “I was looking in my vision by night and saw the four winds of the heavens stirring up the Great Sea. “And four great beasts came up from the sea, different from one another.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:1-3
Daniel had a vision at the time of Belshazzar, the last king of the Babylonian Empire. In Scriptural prophecy beasts symbolize empires or kingdoms (Daniel 7:17). Today we can still see this symbolism. Britain is symbolized by a lion. Russia by a bear. The United States by an eagle. Etcetera. The four beasts came up from the sea. In Scriptural prophecy the sea symbolizes foreign peoples and nations (Revelation 17:15, Isaiah 17:12, Psalms 72:8). The empires of the world ruled over God's people because God's people turned their backs on Him. In the Old Testament the "four winds of heaven" symbolizes God's power to scatter His unfaithful people all over the earth (Jeremiah 49:36, Jeremiah 18:17, Zechariah 2:6) as a consequence of their misbehaviour (Leviticus 26:14-46). Revelation 7:1 speaks of the "four winds of the earth" which symbolizes God's power to cause great calamity on the earth.
The First Beast
“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I was looking until its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and it was given a man’s heart.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:4
In ancient history the first beast likely represents the Babylonian Empire which lasted from 626 BC to 539 BC. The lion of Babylon is an ancient Babylonian symbol. The winged lion is another symbol coming from that region. Its wings symbolize the swiftness with which Nebuchadnezzar raised his empire. That its wings were plucked off symbolizes humiliation. At the height of his power king Nebuchadnezzar had been brought low by God because of his pride (Daniel 4). Pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 18:12).Let his heart be changed from man’s, let him be given the heart of a beast, and seven times pass over him.(Daniel 4:16). Afterwards the king regained his understanding and recognized God and the curse was taken away from him so he could rule the Babylonian Empire again (Daniel 4). Interestingly,it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and it was given a man's heartmight also parallel the complete image or statue of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream which looked like a man and had Nebuchadnezzar's head. In Revelation 13 the image of the beast is given spirit by the false prophet and the number of the beast is also the number of a man.
The Second Beast
“And see, another beast, a second, like a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said this to it, ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’
TS2009 - Daniel 7:5
In ancient history the second beast likely represents the Medo-Persian Empire, or Achaemenid Empire, which lasted roughly from 550 BC to 330 BC. It was raised up on one side which means that the Medes conquered Babylon. Later the Persians became stronger than the Medes. The three ribs between its teeth likely represent the three empires that the Medo-Persian Empire overtook: Egypt, Lydia and Babylon. The bear is a powerful animal (2 Samuel 17:8, Proverbs 28:15). The Syrian brown bear used to be common in the region.
The Third Beast
“After this I looked and saw another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and rule was given to it.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:6
In ancient history the third beast likely represents the Greek Empire which began in 336 BC. A leopard symbolizes swiftness or speed (Habakkuk 1:8). Wings represent speed. Alexander the Great conquered the Medo-Persian Empire and much more in a few years time. The heads of a beast symbolize kings or kingdoms within the beast empire (Revelation 17:9-10). The four heads of the beast represent the four kingdoms after Alexander's death which were ruled by Ptolemy Ptolemaic Kingdom), Seleucus Seleucid Empire), Cassander Kingdom of Macedon), and Lysimachus Thrace, Asia Minor). These kingdoms were inside the territory of the Greek empire founded by Alexander. Interestingly, in Hosea 13:8 God uses the symbolism of a lion, leopard and a bear to punish the Tribe of Ephraim for turning its backs on God.
The Fourth Beast
“After this I looked in the night visions and saw a fourth beast, fearsome and burly, exceedingly strong. And it had great iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the rest with its feet. And it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:7
“Then I desired for certainty concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, very fearsome, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, crushed, and trampled down the rest with its feet,
TS2009 - Daniel 7:19
In ancient history the fourth beast likely represents the Roman Empire which officially began in 27 BC. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream we saw the image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. The legs of iron represent the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire conquered the Greek Empire. Iron is stronger than all the other metals but less valuable.
“This is what he said, ‘The fourth beast is the fourth reign on earth, which is different from all other reigns, and it devours all the earth, tramples it down and crushes it.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:23
Just like in Nebuchadnezzar's dream we see that the Hebrew word "ara" used here means "land, earth, soil". The Roman Empire was in control of Judea at the time when the Messiah walked the earth. The Roman Empire transformed into the Roman Catholic Church by which the Roman elite maintained religious and political power over more and more parts of the world. From this fourth beast will eventually emerge the future Global Empire or world government.
The little horn
“I was thinking about the horns, then saw another horn, a little one, coming up among them, and three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots before it. And see, eyes like the eyes of a man were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great words.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:8
And the ten horns are ten sovereigns from this reign. They shall rise, and another shall rise after them, and it is different from the first ones, and it humbles three sovereigns, and it speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:24-25
At the time of the Messiah Pontius Pilate was the governor of the Roman province of Judaea under emperor Tiberius. We know that the emperor was called by the imperial title "Caesar" (Luke 20:25). Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified. The first ten rulers or Caesars after the end of the Roman Republic are known: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian. Titus was the son of Vespasian and the first emperor who inherited it and established the Flavian dynasty which produced three emperors: Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. In 69 AD the Year of the Four Emperors took place in which Vespasian replaced Galba, Otho and Vitellius. From 66 to 73 AD the First Jewish–Roman War took place. In the middle of this seven year period, in 70 AD, Titus besieged and captured Jerusalem and destroyed the city and the Second Temple. From 70 AD the Jews had to pay the Jewish tax. Titus was general and heir to his father and emperor Vespasian when he destroyed Jerusalem. So that's why Titus was different from all his predecessors and that's why he is called a "little horn". Then time and times and half a time equals a period of 3.5 years. A time and times and half a time also refers to a time period of 3.5 years in the time of the end (see Ram and Goat and Seventy Weeks). Interestingly, Titus died of a fever in 81 AD, so he was destroyed "without hand" as will also be the case with the future "little horn" of the final Global Empire or world government. So very likely Titus serves as a foreshadow of the future little horn. This is also insinuated by Daniel 7 verses 9 to 14 which talk about God's Kingdom being set up, because we know from other prophecies that God's Kingdom is set up in the time of the end.
It hasa mouth speaking great words. In Matthew 15:18-19 the Messiah saysBut what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and these defile the man. For out of the heart come forth wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, whorings, thefts, false witnessings, slanders.
The Kingdom of God
“I was looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like clean wool, His throne was flames of fire, its wheels burning fire. “A stream of fire was flowing and coming forth from His presence, and a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him, the Judge was seated, and the books were opened. “I was looking. Then, because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking, I was looking until the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given to the burning fire, and the rest of the beasts had their rule taken away. But a lengthening of life was given to them, for a season and a time. “I was looking in the night visions and saw One like the Son of Enosh coming with the clouds of the heavens! And He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. “And to Him was given rulership and preciousness and a reign, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His rule is an everlasting rule which shall not pass away, and His reign that which shall not be destroyed.
TS2009 - Daniel 7:9-14
At that time God's Kingdom is being prepared. God is seated on His Throne to give His Judgement. Then the final global empire is destroyed by God. "The rest of the beasts" will have no absolute power but are allowed to exist or function for some time, likely they are organizations that are needed to maintain some kind of order on earth for the time being. The Son of God inherits the Kingdom of God and will rule it forever together with God's people. The "Son of Enosh" refers to the Son of God. When Enosh was born people began to worship God Genesis 4:26).