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Daniel 7: 3 “And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4 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. 5 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!’ 6 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.”

 

 7:3

And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

The “four beasts” represent four kings (v.17).  Kings personify their kingdoms.  This vision is about a panorama of the rise and fall of four kingdoms.  With each kingdom comes turbulence, disorder uncertainty and insecurity. 

7:4

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.

The first beast appeared like a lion but it had the wings of an eagle.  Something plucked its wings, made it stand on two feet like a man, and gave it a human nature.  This figure represents Neo-Babylonia.  The cropping of its wings may refer to the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar. 

7:5

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!”  

The second beast was similar to a bear.  This bear “was raised up on one side.”  This may allude to the superior power of Persia over Media.  The “three ribs in its mouth” may refer to the three nations that the Medo-Persian Empire conquered: Babylon, Lydia and Egypt.  It could refer to Media, Persia and Babylon. 

The phrase “Arise, devour much flesh” may refer to future subjection of nations.  Medo-Persia ruled for two hundred years.  Alexander the Great conquered it in 331 B.C. 

7:6

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.

The third kingdom was like a leopard.  This is Greece because Greece overthrew Medo-Persia.  A leopard is cunning, swift and strong.  The four wings emphasize speed.  Alexander conquered Persia in twelve years.  Therefore, Alexander the Great conquered the world with great swiftness.  He moved with lightning speed from Macedonia to Africa and eastward to India (334-331 B.C.). 

This leopard also had “four heads.”  The empire of Greece divided into four parts.  After Alexander’s defeat at Ipsus in Phrygia in 301 B.C., his four generals divided the empire among themselves.  Casander took the home territory of Greece and Macedonia.  Lysimachus governed Thrace and a large part of Asia Minor.  Seleucus ruled over Syria and much of the Middle East.  Ptolemy ruled Egypt. 

Daniel wrote this prophecy at the zenith of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  There was no possibility for this empire to fall at the time.  This was long before Persia, Greece or Rome.  Clearly, this is prophecy in its pure form. 

PRINCIPLE: 

God will ultimately destroy bestial power of national entities. 

APPLICATION: 

Man looks upon the great kingdoms of the world with awe and pride but God looks on them as wild beasts that play by brute power.  God will ultimately destroy these brute beasts because they live by might and blood.  They are bestial but God will tame them. 

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