Sabbath, April 30, 2011
“… That horn … had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.” Daniel 7:20.
Four symbolic beasts
1. What did Daniel experience in the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign? What did he see in vision?
Daniel 7:1-3 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
2. What do wind and waters signify in the Bible’s symbolic language? What did the four beasts represent?
Jeremiah 25:32, 33 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.
Revelation 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Daniel 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
“Seas, or waters, when used as a Bible symbol, represent peoples, and nations, and tongues. Said the angel to the prophet John, ‘The waters which thou sawest … are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.’ Revelation 17:15.
“The definition of the symbol of the four beasts is given to Daniel before the close of the vision: ‘These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.’ Verse 17. With this explanation of the symbols, the field of the vision is definitely opened before us.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 106.
Identification of the beasts
3. What kingdom was represented by the first beast? Looking at the second beast, what did the three ribs signify?
Daniel 7:4, 5 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 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, devour much flesh.
“In the vision of Daniel 7, the first beast seen by the prophet was a lion. For the use of the lion as a symbol, read Jeremiah 4:7; 50:17, 43, 44. The lion as first seen in the vision before us had eagle’s wings. The symbolic use of wings is impressively described in Habakkuk 1:6-8, where it is said that the Chaldeans should ‘fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.’
“From these symbols we may easily deduce that Babylon was a kingdom of great strength, and that under Nebuchadnezzar its conquests were extended with great rapidity….
“As in the image of Daniel 2, so in this series of symbols a marked deterioration is noticed as we descend from one kingdom to another. The silver of the breast and arms is inferior to the gold of the head. The bear is inferior to the lion. Medo-Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth, magnificence, and brilliance. The bear raised itself up on one side. The kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and the Persians.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 107, 108.
4. What did the four wings and four heads of the third beast denote? What did the fourth beast look like, and how many horns did it have?
Daniel 7:6, 7 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
“The third kingdom, Grecia, is here represented by the symbol of a leopard. If wings upon the lion signified rapidity of conquest, they would signify the same here. The leopard itself is a swift-footed beast, but this was not sufficient to represent the career of the nation here symbolized. It must have wings in addition. Two wings, the number the lion had, were not sufficient; the leopard must have four. This would denote unprecedented celerity of movement, which we find to be a historical fact in the Grecian kingdom.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 108.
The fourth beast and the little horn
5. What occurred to the fourth beast? What was of special interest to Daniel? What explanation did the heavenly messenger give of the fourth kingdom?
Daniel 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
Daniel 7:19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.
Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
“Inspiration finds no beast in nature to symbolize the power here illustrated. No addition of hoofs, heads, horns, wings, scales, teeth, or nails to any beast found in nature will answer. This power is diverse from all the others, and the symbol is wholly different from anything found in the animal kingdom.
“The foundation for a volume is laid in verse 7, but for lack of space we are compelled to treat it briefly here. This beast corresponds to the fourth division of the great image–the legs of iron. In the comment on Daniel 2:40 are given some reasons for believing this power to be Rome.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 110.
“In chapter 13 (verses 1-10) is described another beast, ‘like unto a leopard,’ to which the dragon gave ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’… This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the little horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the papacy.” –The Great Controversy, p. 439.
A peaceful kingdom of love
6. What great event took place during the time of the fourth kingdom?
Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.
“The germ in the seed grows by the unfolding of the life-principle which God has implanted. Its development depends upon no human power. So it is with the kingdom of Christ. It is a new creation. Its principles of development are the opposite of those that rule the kingdoms of this world. Earthly governments prevail by physical force; they maintain their dominion by war; but the founder of the new kingdom is the Prince of Peace. The Holy Spirit represents worldly kingdoms under the symbol of fierce beasts of prey; but Christ is ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29. In His plan of government there is no employment of brute force to compel the conscience. The Jews looked for the kingdom of God to be established in the same way as the kingdoms of the world. To promote righteousness they resorted to external measures. They devised methods and plans. But Christ implants a principle. By implanting truth and righteousness, He counterworks error and sin.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 77.
“To Daniel was given a vision of fierce beasts, representing the powers of the earth. But the ensign of the Messiah’s kingdom is a lamb. While earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendancy of physical power, Christ is to banish every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion. His kingdom was to be established to uplift and ennoble fallen humanity.” –(Letter 32, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1171.
7. What did Daniel want to know more about? What was the explanation?
Daniel 7:20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
Daniel 7:24, first part And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:…
“… Enough has already been said respecting the fourth beast (Rome) and the ten horns, or ten kingdoms, which arose out of this power. The little horn now more particularly demands attention. As stated in comments on verse 8, we find the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning this horn in the rise and work of the papacy. It is a matter of both interest and importance, therefore, to inquire into the causes which resulted in the development of this arrogant power.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 119.
For personal study
• The Great Controversy, p. 439.
• Prophets and Kings, p. 547.