Babylonian Lion

As some may have already discovered, over the years people have offered various interpretations to the prophecies in Daniel. Being a difficult book in places, it creates a perfect environment for fanciful, false and distracting interpretations.

I was recently asked by a friend to give my view on the interpretation of a prophecy of Daniel that he came across. This post is my response to this view which, despite being in the fanciful category, appears to be popular. What I have written is by no means comprehensive, but I hope it says enough to show the interpretation that I was asked to comment on to be very misleading.

This is the MISLEADING INTERPRETATION as I received it:

There are now FIVE PARTIES forcing Israel out of its Promised Land…

These are the VERY SAME BEASTS that the Prophet Daniel saw:

LION – Britain
EAGLE WINGS – United States
BEAR – Russia
LEOPARD – European Union
(Principally, 4-head German “Leopard” with “wings of a fowl,” French Rooster)
DREADFUL BEAST – World Government – U.N.

Let’s consider this in the light of the book of Daniel.

Here are the scriptures that this bad interpretation is based on:

Daniel’ vision:

“Daniel declared, ‘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 out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns’” (Dan 7:2-7).

The angel’s interpretation of the vision:

“‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever’” (Dan 7:17).

Daniel asks about the fourth beast:

“Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Dan 7:19-22).

The angel’s Interpretation of the 4th beast:

“Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth…” (Dan 7:23-27).

Probably much more could be said, but I will respond to just a few things here:

Firstly, the Lion with the wings was one beast and was synonymous with the Babylonian Empire, a world empire that directly ruled over Israel and its people. There is archeological evidence of this type of lion with wings being associated with Babylon.

Also, in the context, Daniel and his people, the Jews, are in exile in Babylon and their land, Judah and Israel, is part of the Babylonian Empire. Daniel was given something to write that was applicable both to the Jews then, who were undoubtedly wondering about their future, and also to the next generations who would be in the hands of subsequent empires. In the light of what the next hundreds of years were going to entail, a beast representing Babylon was the most appropriate 1st beast in the list.

The article goes about dividing the Lion from its wings to depict two separate nations (kingdoms), Britain and the USA. This goes against the interpretation that the angel gives in the Book of Daniel. In Daniel 7:17 the angel says, “These four great beasts are four kings (or kingdoms) who shall arise out of the earth” and also that in Dan 7:23 he says, “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth…” From the angels interpretation we can see that each of the beasts represents a singular kingdom.

Now, some may argue that if the Bear “raised up on one side,” that is traditionally considered to be the Medes and the Persians, were two nations acting as one, why can’t the Lion with wings be two countries. To begin with, the Bear has a parallel prophecy in Dan 8:3 with the Ram corroborating the picture of one kingdom of two nations, with the words “had two horns…one higher than the other.”

Furthermore, the nature of the union of the Medes and the Persians was such that they acted completely in unison. It was a strong alliance through marriage, with the Persians being stronger and bigger in their unity. In the manner that the word “kingdom” was used, used loosely, we can see that many modern “kingdoms” as a union of “kingdoms”. The USSR, with Russia the dominant member was an example. In a sense, even South Africa is a “kingdom” made up of many “kingdoms”. But, the USA and Britain can’t be called a “kingdom” simply because they agree on some issues.

Another thing is if we look at Dan 7:23, the word “shall” has a sense of the fourth beast being part of a line of consecutive kingdoms, and not simultaneous ones. Also, these kingdoms parallel the statue vision in chapter two, where clearly the kingdoms are depicted as coming one after another. In the article that you sent me the beasts are shown to exist simultaneously.

Then, it seems that the need to make prophecy fit the occasion has made for the dubious claim of the Leopard with 4 heads being linked to the EU and to Germany, a key member of the EU. While some frail connection can be found to Germany and the use of a leopard as a symbol, it isn’t convincing at all. Surely their main symbol would be used to avoid confusion!

Then “the wings of a fowl” on the leopard being France, in my mind, only weakens their view further, because, although they and Germany are part of the EU, they are nevertheless independent “kingdoms”. Also, it’s debatable equating the EU into the mold of a “kingdom.” Surely this view is far less convincing than the traditional one that proposes that the Leopard with 4 heads was the Greek Kingdom that was later divided into 4 among 4 generals because Alexander the Great had no heirs. The traditional view is supported in the book with other parallel prophecies and by the outcome of history.

The article claims the following:

But ALL FOUR of Daniel’s Four Beasts are said to be IN POWER – IN EXISTENCE – when Jesus returns!

These Four Beasts CANNOT be the ancient kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome – as most Bible commentators and teachers assert. Here is why:
At Armageddon, Daniel saw that the OTHER THREE BEASTS “had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. (7:12)

Is this true?

Daniel does not say that all four beasts are in power at the same time. Daniel 7:12 reads, “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” In context, “As for the rest of the beasts” is Daniel’s commentary on what had happened in the meantime to the other beasts that preceded the 4th beast. It’s not a view of what happens at one point in time as the interpretation above implies. Rather, what Daniel is saying is that at the end of each successive kingdoms’ period of dominion, their dominion was “taken away”, but they were still allowed to exist, only without the dominion that they had previously had.

The 4 beasts are 4 kingdoms that would for the most part have control over the land of Israel and its people from Daniel’s time to the coming of the Messiah. They are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.

Rob Morley

  1. […] Fanciful Interpretation of the Beasts in Daniel Refuted– part 1 Follow Blog via Email […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s