by Tad Lindley
Grab your Bible and turn to Daniel chapter 7. The time of the writing is about 553 B.C. Daniel is in Babylon. As a young man he was taken captive in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon (modern day Iraq). Now he is an older. He has invested his life in becoming a man of God. In turn the Lord has revealed many things to Daniel concerning the future.
In case you do not have a Bible handy, I will provide the scripture for you. Daniel spoke saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 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.
“And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear…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.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” (Daniel 7:2-8 NKJV)
Let’s run through it quickly. Daniel had a vision at night. In his vision he saw four beasts. 1. A lion with eagle’s wings.
2. A bear.
3. A four-headed leopard with four bird wings on its back.
4. A beast with iron teeth. It had ten horns. An eleventh horn rose up on it and plucked out three of the other horns. This eleventh horn had human eyes and a mouth that spoke. (This little horn is the antichrist. I will show you that in another week).
What are the four beasts?
Fortunately the Bible tells us what these beasts represent. They are either kings: These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth (Daniel 7:17), or they are kingdoms: thus he said, “the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces” (Daniel 7:23). We do not need to read Bible commentaries or look at what various preachers think about this issue, the Bible clearly states that these beasts represent world leaders (kings) and nations (kingdoms).
When do these four kings/kingdoms arise?
The Bible also tells us when these nations will be on the earth. They will all be on the earth at the second coming of Jesus Christ. I watched till the thrones were put in place and the Ancient of Days was seated; his garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head was like pure wool… (Daniel 7:9 NKJV) Daniel literally saw Jesus returning to earth! I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn [on the fourth beast] was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain [see Rev. 19:20], and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time (7:11-12 NKJV).
If we are to determine which nations these beasts represent, we must understand when they will be on earth. Many have taught that they occur one after another. That the lion came first, and was taken over by the bear, which was later in history destroyed and replaced by the leopard. The Bible clearly shows that all of these nations will be prominent at the second coming of the Lord. This means that they are on the earth at the same time. These nations will have their power taken away when Jesus comes again, but they will continue to exist for “a season and a time”. This means that these beasts are either nations that are on the earth right now or soon will be.
Watch next week for part two of Is the Fourth of July in the Bible?
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.