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Particulars of Christianity:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)

Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 8 (Part 2)

Prophetic Symbols: Introduction
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 2
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 7 (Part 1)
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 7 (Part 2)
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 8 (Part 1)
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 8 (Part 2)

Articles 7-12
Articles 13-18
Articles 19-25
Articles 26-29

With the exception of the kingdom of clay, we now know what the succession of empires is starting with Babylon in Daniel 2. As we have said, there are four empires that we have identified. And there also happen to be four beasts depicted in Daniel chapter 7, which we have not identified. We will now go back and compare the details that we know about the four empires we have already identified with the description of the four beasts depicted in Daniel 7 to see if there are any similarities.

In particular, what we are looking for is twofold. First, we're looking for similarities or correspondences between the traits of each kingdom. Second, we're looking for those similar traits to occur in the same order as the already established succession. This will become clearer once we begin our comparison. However, if we find similar traits occurring in the right order of the succession of kingdoms, then we should assume that Daniel 7 simply depicts the same succession of the same kingdoms but simply employs different imagery to do so. And, in reality, we already have one major clue that this will be the case. As we have already seen, the vision of Daniel 7 concludes in the exact same manner as the dream in Daniel 2, with the last kingdom in the succession of empires being brought to an end by the arrival of the kingdom of the Messiah. Thus, since both visions conclude with the same event and both describe the succession of kings and kingdoms, we already know that there is some overlap between the two visions.

Also, we know from Daniel 2 and Daniel 8 that the same entities can be described using different imagery. In Daniel 2, Media-Persia is represented by the arms and chest of silver. In Daniel 8, Media-Persia is represented by the two-horned ram. In Daniel 2, Greece is represented by the belly and thighs of brass. In Daniel 8, Greece is represented by the goat.

We'll start by restating the order of succession for the first four kingdoms as established by Daniel 2:38-39, Daniel 5:30, and Daniel 8:20-21.

Succession: The kingdom would pass from 1) the Babylonians to 2) the Media-Persians to 3) the Greeks to 4) the Romans (which exists in both the legs as well as the feet and toes.)

We know from Daniel 8:8-9, 21-22 that Greece is associated with four horns, which signify the division of the Greek empire into four contemporary successors who will come from it. Remembering our two criteria, we are looking for traits and for those traits to occur in the proper order of succession. So, we have seen from Daniel 8 that one primary trait used to identify and depict Greece is its split into four entities. And we know that Greece is the third in the succession.

When we compare this to Daniel 7, we not only find a beast that is associated with a very prominent four-faceted trait, but we find that beast is the third in the succession of beasts depicted. The leopard with four heads is indeed the third of the four beasts of Daniel 7. So far, it seems that this beast shares both a primary trait used to describe Greece in chapter 8, but it also comes in the right place during the succession.

However, if the other beasts don't line up with the rest of the established succession and traits, then we will probably just have to accept this as a coincidence. Let's see how the rest of the beasts compare to what we know already.

In Daniel 8:3, 20 we find that Media-Persia is depicted using two horns, one of which is higher than the other and comes up last. So, Media-Persia is associated in Daniel 8 with the trait of having a two-fold power base that is higher on one side than the other. And we also know Media-Persia is second in the succession. Therefore, if the same succession of empires is being depicted in chapter 7 as we see in chapters 2 and 8, the second beast of Daniel 7 would have to fit this primary description of Media-Persia.

Well, in Daniel 7, there is a bear that is described as having "raised up itself on one side." So, again, similar to the horns of Daniel 8, here in Daniel 7 we have the depiction of an empire that is raised up higher on one side than another. And not only does this detail of chapter 7 correspond to the depiction of Media-Persia as higher on one-side than the other, but again, it comes at just the right point in the order of succession. Like Media-Persia, which comes second in the succession and is higher on one side than the other, this bear is the second animal depicted in the vision and is also said to have one side raised higher than the other.

So far, the descriptions of the second and third animals fit perfectly both in terms of their primary traits and their order of occurrence, with what we already know about the succession of kingdoms. If the other two beasts of Daniel 7 likewise correspond to the other visions, we'll know for sure that this is not coincidence, but Daniel 7 is merely depicting the same succession of kingdoms found in chapters 2 and 8, simply using different imagery. Let's continue.

In Daniel 2, the iron kingdom exists in two time periods, the time period of the legs BEFORE the clay is introduced into the statue and the time period of the feet AFTER the clay is introduced into the statue. Chapter 2:41 specifically mentions the toes as part of the feet. So, the toes are also somewhat a part of the latter existence of the Roman empire. And we know that Rome comes fourth in the succession of kingdoms.

In Daniel 7, the fourth beast is depicted in verse 7 as having teeth of iron and iron is the substance used to represent Rome in the legs and feet of Daniel 2. Both the iron in Daniel 2:40 and the fourth beast with iron teeth of Daniel 7:7 are depicted in terms of their crushing brutality. In fact, in both Daniel 2 and 7, the particular phrase "brake in pieces" is used respectively of the both the iron legs and the fourth beast. Daniel 7:7 tells us that this fourth beast is also defined primarily by its 10 horns. And these horns are said in chapter 7:24 to represent 10 kings who will arise out of this kingdom. And we already know that the statue depicted in Daniel 2 is human in form, so how many toes would it have? It would have 10.

So, let's review. In Daniel 2 we have Rome depicted using iron, breaking in pieces, and brutal strength. In chapter 7, we have a beast also associated with iron, breaking in pieces, and brutality. And, in Daniel 2, we have Rome associated with a ten-faceted entity (the iron in the toes) and in Daniel 7 we have a beast associated with 10 kings. And, Rome is the fourth kingdom in the succession of empires and this beast with 10 horns is the fourth in the series of beasts in Daniel 7. Therefore, once again this fourth beast of Daniel 7 corresponds directly both in its traits and in its order of occurrence with what we already know about the succession from Daniel 2 and 8.

Now, in Daniel 7:19 this fourth beast is said to have nails of brass, which according to our model would associate it with Greece as well, which is depicted using brass in Daniel 2. Does this negate that the iron in this fourth beast corresponds to the iron in the statue? Not at all. In fact, the opposite is the case. During the reign of Constantine the Great, the capital of the Roman Empire was moved from Rome, Italy to Byzantium in modern-day Turkey. The name was then changed from Byzantium to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul.) Well, Byzantine was originally a Greek city, which came under Greek control during the reign of Alexander the Great and his father Philip of Macedon. And, after the death of Alexander, it remained a Greek city under the control of one of Alexander's successor's, Lysimachus and later Seleucus (another successor of Alexander's.) So, we can see from history that the association of the Roman empire with the Greek culture through the brass in the nails is not only acceptable, but it is strikingly accurate. Far from destroying our model of interpretation, it further corroborates it.

There is one other very significant point that needs to be made about the fourth beast of Daniel 7, which we have established represents Rome. We have looked in depth at the historical details surrounding the fulfillment of the prophecies regarding Greece in Daniel 8. In Daniel 8:8, 21-22 and 11:2-4, Greece is described as having four horns representing kingdoms that arise after the death of Alexander.

However, as we can plainly see from history, the two strongest of these kingdoms were the Ptolemaic dynasty and the Seleucid dynasty. What is interesting to note is that neither of these two kingdoms had their power base in Greece. The Seleucids first ruled from Babylon and then moved up into Syria. And the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled from Egypt. Thus, we can conclude that any kingdom represented by a horn will not necessarily be seated in the same geographic base as the empire from which it arises. Two of the horns from Greece were Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Babylon and Syria.

Therefore, just because the 10 horns arise out of a beast representing Rome in Daniel 7 does not necessitate that those 10 horns will be situated geographically in the same basic area as Rome. Just as the horns of Greece migrated East and South, the horns of Rome could migrate as well, perhaps even toward the East and South. And we know that in the fourth century, even the capital of Rome itself was moved to Byzantium in modern-day Turkey, where it came to be known as Constantinople (Istanbul.) So, we should not necessarily assume that the 10 horns that arise out of Rome will be situated about Rome, Italy, or even Europe. Greece is in Europe, but the horns of Greece were situated in the Middle East and North Africa.

The only beast left from Daniel 7 that has not been identified is the lion, which is the first beast. Now, the only place that Babylon is described in these visions is as the head of gold in Daniel 2. Other than the fact that Babylon is the first kingdom depicted in chapter 2 and the lion is the first beast being depicted in chapter 7, there is little detail about Babylon, which correspond to details about this first beast and could be used to connect the two.

However, there is one other peculiar detail that helps corroborate that this lion is Babylon. In chapter 7:5, the second beast is commanded "Arise, devour much flesh." Of all the four beasts, only this second beast is commanded to arise. Why is that?

Well, as we stated earlier, Daniel 5:30-31 tells us that Belshazzar was the last king of the Babylonians and after him the kingdom passed to the Medes under the rule of Darius the Mede. And Daniel 7:1 opens by telling us that this vision was received while Belshazzar was still in power over Babylon. Since we have already identified the correspondence of the second beast to the known descriptions of Media-Persia in both primary traits and order of occurrence in the succession AND since only this second beast is commanded to "Arise," we might well conclude that the vision is depicting the calling forth of the Media-Persians to claim the kingdom since Babylon's time was about to end with the death of Belshazzar.

This word "arise," of which it is said to the second beast "arise and devour much flesh" is used elsewhere in Daniel. It first appears in Daniel 2. It is Strong's No. 6966, "quwm."

Daniel 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up (6966) kings:

Daniel 2:39 And after thee shall arise (6966) another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up (6966) a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people

In each of these cases from Daniel 2 this word "quwm" is being used to discuss the passing of dominion from one national power to another, from one kingdom to the one that would come to power after it. In the case of Daniel 2:44 it is used of the Messianic kingdom, of which it is said, in contrast to the kingdoms, which preceded it, that after being set up, it will not pass to another people. This reinforces then the use of the word "quwm" to speak of the transfer of imperial power from one kingdom to its successor.

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 (6966), devour much flesh.

Daniel 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise (6966) out of the earth.

In Daniel 7, we see this same word spoken to the second beast in verse 5. Furthermore, verse 17 of this same chapter also attests that this interpretation is sound, wherein it states that these four beasts are four kingdoms, which shall arise (again "quwm") out of the earth. In keeping with the use of this word in the rest of the book of Daniel, when speaking of kingdoms, we must understand that a transfer from one succession to another is in view.

From all this we can see that Daniel 7:5 is recording the transfer of imperial dominion to this second beast, this second kingdom, from its predecessor. And this is completely consistent with history since it was during the reign of Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, that Daniel recorded this vision and sometime afterward Daniel did see the transfer of imperial dominion from Babylon to the Media-Persians, under Darius the Mede as chapter 5 records.

Daniel 5:30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

In particular, since we know from Daniel 2:21 that it is God who ultimately orchestrates the removal of kings and the setting up ("quwm") of kings, what is depicted here in Daniel 7:5 is that God is essentially removing the kingdom of the lion and setting up ("quwm") the kingdom of the bear, which correlates to the removal of the kingdom of Babylon upon the death of Belshazzar and the transfer of that kingdom to the Media-Persians under Darius the Mede.

In conclusion, the main similarities that lead us to identify the lion as Babylon is that 1) both come first in the order of succession and 2) the rest of three beasts in Daniel 7 correspond both in primary traits and in order of succession to the three kingdoms following Babylon. On the other hand, there is nothing in the depiction of this lion that disagrees with what we know of Babylon and thereby would prevent us from concluding that this lion represents Babylon.

Therefore, we can safely conclude that Daniel 7 is merely depicting the same succession of kingdoms that we see depicted in chapters 2 and 8, while simply using other imagery to do so. In Daniel 2, 7, and 8, we have a depiction of the succession of imperial rule from Babylon, to Media-Persia, to Greece, and to Rome (as well as one other entity represented by the clay in Daniel 2.)

As a side note, since we have equated the four beasts of Daniel 7 with four out of the five substances mentioned in Daniel 2, that leaves only the kingdom of clay from Daniel 2 without a corresponding beast representation. We will have to wait and see if the rest of this study bears any additional evidence regarding this "missing beast" to represent the kingdom of clay that coexists with a remnant of Rome in the last time period.

And one last point that is of extreme significance to our symbolic map legend is that since we have determined that the four-headed leopard of Daniel 7 represents Greece and the four kingdoms that will arise out of it, we now have precedent for what a multiple-headed beast represents. Just as Daniel 2 represented the series of historic empires using a single symbol to depict them all as collective whole, Daniel 7 represents the four kingdoms that arise out of Greece using a single symbol, the four-headed leopard. So, to our map legend we can add that as a matter of precedent, a beast with multiple heads represents an overarching political entity and the political powers that arise from it. This will become quite significant when we come to Revelation 13.

The last issue to note from Daniel 8 is something we've already touched on briefly earlier. The little horn of Daniel 8 shares more than a few similarities with the little horn of Daniel 7.

Daniel 7:21 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.

Daniel 8:19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. ...24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

Among the similarities between these two horns, of particular note is the fact that both make war against the saints of God. And both are destroyed at the time of the end by God himself when the Jesus Christ comes as the Prince of princes and the kingdom passes to Jesus Christ and the saints of God. This strongly suggests that these two visions of the little horns are describing one and the same individual. But we will comment more on the "little horn" in detail after we have examined Daniel 11 and Revelation 13 and 17. For now, we will move on to Daniel chapters 9 and 10.

At this point we have established the following from Daniel chapters 2, 7, and 8:

1. A series of unfolding historic empires can be represented collectively using a single, symbolic entity (such the statue.)
2. The phrases "out of the earth" and "out of the sea" are used interchangeably by Daniel and, therefore, no great significance should be attached in the effort to distinguish between them.
3. Daniel 2, 7, and 8 all depict the same succession of empires starting with Babylon, then Media-Persia, then Greece, then Rome (along with another nation represented by the clay), and finally the coming of the kingdom of God, when the saints possess the kingdom.
4. Something of the Roman kingdom exists in two time periods, the time period of the legs before the clay is introduced into the statue and in the time of the feet and toes after the clay is introduced into the statue.
5. Beasts represent two items, both kings and their kingdoms.
6. Horns also represent kings and, unless specified by the text, horns represent contemporary kings, not a succession or line of kings.
7. A beast with multiple heads represents an overarching political entity and the political powers that come from it.

Related Images

Historic Map Series
(Maps 1-12)

Relevant Maps

Lexicon Excerpts

Comparison Chart

7 Heads of the
Beast Chart

Illustrations of
Symbols Series
(Illustrations 1-7)

Correspondence of
Visions Diagram