Daniel 7:4
The first beast was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and given the mind of a man.
A Vision of Human ViolenceJ.D. Davies Daniel 7:1-8
Brute RuleH.T. Robjohns Daniel 7:1-12
Daniel's First VisionE. B. Pusey, D.D.Daniel 7:4-28
The First Two Visions of the Book of DanielT. R. Birks, M.A.Daniel 7:4-28
The Four BeastsOutlines by London MinisterDaniel 7:4-28
The Symbolical BeastsW. White.Daniel 7:4-28
The Vision of the Four BeastsWilliam M. Taylor, D.D.Daniel 7:4-28
Vision, of Four Wild BeastsT.Kirk.Daniel 7:4-28

Four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another (ver. 3). We remark the transition here from history to prophecy; the date, the first year of Belshazzar, that is, before the fall of the first of the world-powers about to be described; the form, a dream, - before this Daniel had interpreted others' dreams, he now dreams himself; the fact that it was at once committed to writing, i.e. not set down after fulfilment; and that the prophecy is only an outline, so that we must not expect too much detail. All this in ver. 1. The nature of the prophecy rebukes dogmatism. It may be well to call attention here to the fact that all these expositions and homilies are written independently of each other; there may be, then, possibly some diversity of critical judgment; this, however, will be no disadvantage to the student. For our own homiletic purpose we treat this chapter under three sections - in the first, we have a vision of brute rule; in the second, of Divine sovereignty; in the third, of a great rebellion.

I. ITS CONDITION. "The great sea" is distinguished from all inland seas. The ocean. The image of our troubled world (Isaiah 17:12-14; Revelation 21:1). Out of the commotion and confusion of troubled peoples the four forms of brute rule arose.

II. ITS CAUSE. "The four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea." As the wind plays on ocean, so do supernatural powers (in this case evil) lash into fury the passions of a troubled world; and out of revolutionary confusion emerges oft mute despotism.

III. ITS GENERIC NATURE. "Four beasts." Four great empires. Same as described in ch. 2. Why the different form? That vision gave the external glory; this the inmost nature. They had life in them, but it was a life less than human. Man sinks below the human when the πνεῦμα is no longer animated by the Spirit of God. As with man individually, so collectively, so with nations, governments. Government is of God, but may lose the Divine in it, and so become brutal. A boast may inspire terror; but its look is not heavenward, but earthward; hears no Divine voice; has no conscious relations with God. "Four beasts," but "diverse." All brutal.


1. The lion-form. The Babylonian empire. Dominant, like the king of the forest; swift and reaching far, like the eagle. Then came deteriorations. The deteriorations developed slowly. "I continued looking" is the sense. Swift energy was crippled. Not even with the speed of a lion walking did the empire advance; but painfully, slowly, as a beast marching on hind legs alone. Then instead of the lion-heart at the centre of government, the timid heart of a man. Here we have the glory of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon, its gradual decay under his successors, until it fell before one mightier than itself. So do governments without God go down.

2. The bear-form. The Persian empire. Less noble than the lion; fierce, heavy, slow. Of these characteristics, the most striking illustration would be the cumbrousness and slow advance of the Persian armies; e.g. the invasion of Greece by Xerxes (see the histories). Note the accessories of the symbol. Raising itself on one side, and perhaps striking out with its right forearm. This indicates the combination of Mode with Persian - the latter the stronger and more aggressive. The three ribs devoured stand for Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, subdued. "Devour much flesh" suggests the awful waste of life incident to Persian progress. How many of the two millions returned from Greece?

3. The leopard-form. The Greek empire, specially under Alexander. Characteristics: insatiable appetite for blood, swiftness, subtlety. "Four wings." "Four heads." The Greek dominion essentially one, but with four centres. Trace the analogy. Alexander's determination to conquer the world. Swift movement, equalled only by Napoleon I. The subtlety of his genius. The division of his empire into four.

4. The nameless form. The Roman empire. So terrible is this power, that no one creature can represent it, nor the combined attributes of many. The eminence and importance of this empire are apparent from:

(a) Its prominence in this chapter.

(b) Daniel's anxiety to "know the truth of the fourth beast."

(c) Its collision with the Divine kingdom.

(d) Its successive historical aspects.

(1) Its first aspect. (See ver. 7.) All this exhibits the utterly destructive energy of Rome. What it did not devour, it destroyed for destruction's sake. A contrast with the other powers. They ravaged, subdued, extorted tribute; "but their connection with the states which they subdued was loose and disjointed." Rome conquered all, kept all, assimilated all

(2) Two developments.

(a) "Ten horns. Horn is the symbol of power. The ten were on the head from the beginning, to manifest the unity of the Roman empire plus the European nations. Their development, however, was not at once.

(b) The one. Small at the beginning. Displaces a third (nearly) of existing powers. A development of the Roman domination. Eyes" for a certain intelligence. Pride and blasphemy out of its "mouth"? What can this be but the papacy?

V. ITS JUDGMENT AND OVERTHROW. Not for ever and for ever shall the brutal reign. How sublime the contrast ushered in by ver. 9! Below, the ocean, lashed by powers of evil; out of it the brutal, its last developments the worst. Now heaven opens. Thrones were set (not "cast down"). A central throne. On it the Eternal The throne the source of all splendour, the fount of energy (Revelation 4:5). Judgment proceeding. Not the last judgment. But the continuous judgment of men and nations. The Roman empire, and all that came of it doomed - annihilated. The other empires long gone, though for a while they lingered. Learn:

1. The eternal supremacy of God.

2. The righteousness of his judgments.

3. The certain doom of all that is alienated from his own Divine life.

Individuals and nations are human and. humane only as they live in him. The reign of the brutal in any form cannot be eternal. Animalism in all its ugly, cruel, sensual forms, must go down; for God in Christ "must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." - R.

And four great beasts came up from the sea.
Outlines by London Minister.
I. THE ELEMENT OUT OF WHICH THE WORLD-KINGDOMS CAME INTO EXISTENCE. "Four beasts came up from the sea." The sea, when looked at in some of its aspects, is a most fit symbol of the means by which human kingdoms without godliness have made progress in the world.

1. There is the element of treachery. The sea is at one moment calm, and apparently harmless; and the next, sending a nation into mourning by overwhelming her vessels and casting their crews into the depths of the ocean.

2. The element of restless change. From its creation to the present moment its waters have not been at rest for a single hour.

3. The element of destructiveness. The sea is a terribly destroying power. The Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman empires were destructive rather than constructive forces in the world.

II. THE CREATURES WHICH ARE USED AS SYMBOLS OF THE WORLD-KINGDOMS. "Four beasts." The characteristics of these kingdoms were animal rather than human. There is no true humanity where there is no divinity. These kingdoms of the parabolic vision are symbolised by beasts of prey noted for their strength, and cruelty, and treachery; no animal of a gentle, peaceful nature is found among them; denoting the entire absence of these characteristics in kingdoms without godliness.

III. THE KINGDOM THAT AROSE LAST OUT OF THE SEA OF TIME, EXCEEDED THOSE THAT HAD GONE BEFORE IT IN CRUELTY AND POWER. No mere animal could set forth all its destructive power; it had "iron teeth" and "ten horns." The longer wickedness goes on unchecked the more its evil tendencies develops themselves, and the more it spreads desolation in the world.

IV. A TRULY HUMAN KINGDOM CANNOT ARISE OUT OF ANY ELEMENT OF EARTH, IT MUST COME FROM ABOVE. "The Son of man came with the clouds of heaven." The head of every kingdom except Christ's Kingdom has been a mere man. But the Son of man was from above, and He came to be the head of a kingdom of true humanity. The subjects of His Kingdom become partakers of the Divine natural, and, therefore, this kingdom exhibits none of the characteristics set forth by the beasts. It is a human kingdom because it is a Divine kingdom. Therefore, it is an everlasting kingdom. This vision teaches us:

1. The knowledge of the eternal in relation to human affairs in the ages to come.

2. That God has stretched a measuring line across the bounds of every kingdom. He has appointed the bound of their habitation.

3. Human kingdoms form a dark background to reveal the beauties of the Kingdom of Christ.

(Outlines by London Minister.)

Let us first attend to the place from which these beasts seemed to issue. It appeared to the prophet that they came up from the sea. We are not to interpret this literally. The sea, here, represents or symbolises something else, and, in a subsequent verse, we are told that it signifies the earth. "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." Now the word earth is often to be understood, not of this material globe, but of its inhabitants, as in that passage of Jeremiah, "O earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord." And that in Psalms, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice and sing praise." In this passage it is also to be understood of the inhabitants of the earth, or human society. When, therefore, these kings are said to rise out of the earth, this signifies that they would rise up out of the social state. But these beasts did not simply come out of the sea, when they rose out of it the sea was in a very marked condition. The four winds were striving upon it. Since the sea is the emblem of society, the sea, with the four winds striving thereon, is to be understood of society in a state of very great and violent commotion. Now, whereas the sea is represented as being in this state, when the several beasts came out of it, this clearly intimates that these kingdoms would arise amid great commotions, and that, compared with what was to follow, society might be said to continue in this state, and the earth to have no rest, until this extensive prophecy was fulfilled. In particular, we find the great empires, here predicted, rising to ascendancy amid the hurricanes of civil commotion, and convulsing the world by the shock of their fall. The four beasts which came up out of the sea signified four kings. "These four beasts are four kings that shall arise out of the earth." In this passage the word king is of equal significance with the word kingdom. This is evident from verse 22, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms." Here the fourth beast is called the fourth kingdom, which undoubtedly implies that the three preceding beasts were three kingdoms. Whereas these kingdoms are symbolised by beasts, this was probably intended to describe the qualities by which they would be distinguished. It seems to intimate that all these governments, as to their principles and aims, who would be more characterised by what was common to man with the inferior creation than by those principles which connect, and ally, and link him to creatures holding a higher place in the ascending scale of existence. They are not simply represented by beasts, but by beasts of prey, by the lion, and the bear, and the leopard, and another beast which was dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly. Now beasts of prey are principally distinguished from ethers by two things, they are strong and fierce, they take by violence and use with cruelty. And do not these symbols prove their own divinity? For what has been the character of all the great monarchies since the time of Daniel, as developed in their public character? May not a great part of their history be summed up in this, that they were strong and fierce, that they acquired dominion by violence, and used it in oppression? When brought to the test have not all governments accounted might to be right? Have not nations, up to this date, been known to one another principally as military establishments? Is not the history of empires a history of wars, murders, rapine, and desolation? If there be any variation in these murderous annals, it is when force gives place to policy and intrigue; it is, however, the wild beast still, though crouching in concealment, in order that he may spring unexpectedly upon his unprepared victim. Violence and fraud have been characteristic of every government that has risen hitherto upon the earth, even when individual rulers were personally of good character, and arts, commerce, and science were encouraged. There never was an instance of a government acting steadily on the great principles of truth and holiness. These beasts were four in number, and represented four kingdoms that were to arise upon the earth. That these were the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires is evident from a variety of considerations. In the first place, the symbols, here employed, will be found inapplicable to any other connected chain of history. An individual king may be found to whom some of the symbols apply, but a succession of four monarchies rising after one another will nowhere be found to which these words can with any plausibility be referred. In the second place, the application of the symbols to these four empires is so easy and natural as to show that the former were designedly employed to represent the latter. In the third place, this will appear from a comparison of the seventh with the second chapter of Daniel. These two chapters evidently refer to the same subject. Four kingdoms are symbolised in the second chapter, four kingdoms are symbolised in the seventh. In both chapters these kingdoms are represented as extending down to the period when God would erect His kingdom on the earth. In the second chapter the fourth kingdom is represented as being one of irresistible strength. In the seventh chapter it is described as being dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly. The fourth kingdom, in the second chapter, is represented in its latter stages by ten toes. In the seventh chapter its last form is symbolised by ten horns. There cannot remain, on any mind capable of weighing evidence, the faintest doubt that the second and the seventh chapters relate to the same subject. This being ascertained, it is easy to prove, from the second chapter, that the four kingdoms must be understood of the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires. In the second chapter the head of gold denoted the first monarchy; but Daniel said unto Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art this head of gold"; the Babylonian empire was, therefore, the first of these kingdoms. Now, in the second chapter, the four empires are symbolised by one image. They must, therefore, have come after one another in the order of immediate succession. The other three kingdoms, then, must signify the three great empires which immediately succeeded that of Babylon. But it is matter of undeniable and immutable fact that the empire of Babylon was succeeded by those of Persia, Greece, and Rome; the Babylonian having been overthrown by the Persian, the Persian being overthrown by the Grecian, and the Grecian being overthrown by the Roman. Notwithstanding of certain minor exceptions that have been stated against it, we regard this theory as one at which we have arrived by the sound and simple exposition of the sacred text itself, and which has been tested by time and proved to be genuine. But while the fate of empires is concealed from man, it is naked and open to the eyes of God. Kingdoms rise and fall by Divine ordination: "Surely their days are determined, the number of their months is with God, he hath appointed them a bound which they cannot pass." And, from the book of His immutable decrees, it is easy for Him to transcribe any page of the future with as much exactness as the historian can describe transactions that are past. But why, it may be asked, are only these four empires pointed out the prophecy? Why does the Holy Seer confine His revelations to this limited district of the world? Beyond it were myriads of the human race, and old and mighty dynasties, were then existing, elsewhere, or were afterwards to arise. Why in this symbolical representation of empire are not India and China included? Why are the two great continents of Africa and America wholly omitted? For this limitation we may venture to assign two reasons, not indeed drawn by exposition from the Scriptures, but drawn by exposition from the oracles of Providence. From what we see of His actual doings by means of these empires, we are perfectly safe in asserting that they occupy the sole place in these predictions on two accounts:

1. Because they were to exercise the greatest influence upon the church during the period to which this prophecy refers.

2. Because through them God intended to civilize and Christianize the whole earth. It is a fact which will not be denied that these empires have had the principal effect upon the church for good or for evil In the days of Daniel, the church existed only within the limits of the Chaldean empire. Afterwards, we find it within the Persian empire. Then we find it principally connected with the Grecian monarchy, favoured by the great Alexander, and persecuted by more than one of his successors. In the latter days of the Jewish dispensation, we find the Old Testament church connected with the empire of Rome. It was by Rome that Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews driven into exile. The place of their dispersion, and the scone of their sufferings, during a period of nearly eighteen centuries, has been almost exclusively within the limits of the four prophetic monarchies. Within this district the Son of God became incarnate and was crucified. Here the fires of persecution blazed most fiercely against His devoted witnesses. Here the great apostacy from the truth was generated. This district was the battle-field between Christ and anti-Christ during many generations. It is the centre still of all the contests between light and darkness, between God and Satan. It is thus a fact that these four empires have had most effect upon the church for good or for evil; and, therefore, we seem warranted in concluding that they alone are mentioned in these predictions, because of the influential connection in which they were to stand to the church. And it is not less true that these four empires have had the principal effect in the Christianization and civilization of the other districts of the world. Beyond the limits of these monarchies, the four winds have striven on the great sea. There have been wars, and changes, and conquests, but, unless we greatly mistake the matter, there is a very marked difference between the political commotions and changes which took place within the territorial limits of the four empires and those which occurred elsewhere. Beyond this district, we will see one great conqueror after another sweeping over the earth in the same murderous career. But we see no permanent current of civilization following these commotions. We see no advancement amid all these changes. We see the nations living in the same barbarous, or semi-civilized, condition in which they were in the times of Daniel. But the commotions which have occurred within the limits of the four monarchies have had a civilizing tendency in the issue. Not to ascend higher, wherever the Romans carried their arms, they carried their noble literature, and left a seed of it behind. Their later conquests were preparatory to the dissemination of the gospel; and to the fourth empire, as the Divine instrument, may be traced the whole of European civilization. Look beyond the limits of these four empires, and wherever we see civilization it will be found to have come from them. Civilization and religion went from them to America, to Greenland, Australia, the isles of the Pacific, and to many spots in Africa. And there can now be little doubt that by means of the fourth empire, in its last form, and of the church within it, God intended to originate those movements which shall result in the Christianization of the world. How thankful should we be unto God that we have been born within the limits of these four monarchies, not merely because the currents of civilization flow there, but because of the streams of life by which they are watered and fertilized. How great and glorious does God appear in connection with this prophecy! How low should we lie in the dust before Him, under a profound feeling of the nothingness of our intellects, when we see His omniscient eye piercing the vista of ages and generations, and unfolding the end from the beginning! When we survey the long and dreary domination of the four predicted beasts, we are apt to be seized with a feeling of despondency. Why has wickedness been permitted to exult so long? But when we remember that the Lord reigneth, and that the past stages of the world are merely preparatory to its future glory, a prospect opens on our view delightful beyond all description. If rays of the Divine glory are seen sparkling out amid the eras that are past, we are prepared for the announcement that, when the work is completed, "the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."

(W. White.)

The first of these is the Babylonian empire. In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar its symbol was the head of gold, and in the dream of Daniel, the first wild beast which was like a lion and had eagle's wings. The superior excellence of the head of gold to the silver, brass, and iron of the colossal image corresponds with the superior excellence of the first wild beast, which had the body of the king of beasts and the wings of the king of birds, to the three other wild beasts which came up afterwards out of the sea. A royal dignity belonged to the Babylonian empire which was lacking in its successors. It is true that when Daniel had his dream the Babylonian empire was near its end; but as the stand-point of Daniel in the dream was before the wild beasts came up out of the sea, the interpreter justly spoke of then to Daniel as "four kings which shall arise out of the earth." In the dream the Babylonian empire was yet to come; but in point of fact it had already come, and was on the eve of passing away. In the plucking of the wild beast's wings, which deprived it of its soaring ambition, and in lifting it up from the earth and giving to it a man's attitude and heart, which deprived it of the voracious nature of the wild beasts, there seems to be a reference to the madness and restoration of Nebuchadnezzar. The Judgment which humbled and ennobled the great king, paved the way for the overthrow of the first great world-power. The empire after the restoration of Nebuchadnezzar had never been so glorious; but the change wrought in him had deprived it of the conquering and destructive power of the wild beast. The lion-like ferocity and eagle-like swiftness in pouncing upon the nations had given place to the kindliness and consideration of a brother man. And when the great king died the glory had departed. None of his successors had either his genius or his strength and nobility of spirit; and in twenty-three years the Babylonian empire had ceased to be. The second world-empire is the Medo-Persian. Three reasons seem to place this opinion, which has been common in all ages, on a solid and immovable foundation.(1) It is historically true. It is admitted on all hands that the empire which succeeded the Babylonian was the Medo-Persian. To suppose, as the higher critics generally do, that the kingdom meant in both dreams is a kingdom of the Medes, is to ascribe to them a grave historical blunder, since the kingdom of the Medes lost its separate existence and became a part of the dominion of Cyrus eleven years before the downfall of the Babylonian empire.(2) It is the empire meant in the sacred narrative. This seems clear from the following facts. In his interpretation of the mysterious writing which portended the doom of Babylon, Daniel says of one of the words which suggested the Persians: "Perez: thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians" (v. 28). It is no doubt true that Darius the Mede is mentioned as the first king; but then it is to be noted, not only that Darius the Mede "received the kingdom," but that he and his councillors regarded the edict as unalterable, "according to the law, of the Medes and Persians" (Daniel 6:8, 12, 15).(3) It is the only empire which fits the symbols. The symbol of the second empire in Nebuchadnezzar's dream is "the breast and arms of silver." The symbol is emblematic of its inferiority to the first empire, represented by the head of gold, and the two arms are the two people who composed it. Its symbol in Daniel's dream is the second wild beast, "like to a bear, raised upon one side, with three ribs between its teeth, to which it was said, Arise, devour much flesh." The Medo-Persian empire, like the bear, was powerful and destructive; one of its two people, the Persians, like one of the sides of the bear, was more prominent than the other; it had in its grasp, like the bear with the three ribs in its mouth, the three kingdoms of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt; and it was sluggish, like the bear, and needed to be stimulated in its destructive voracity. The Medo-Persian empire fits exactly both symbols, while the empire of the Medes fits neither. On these three grounds it seems certain that the second empire symbolised in the two dreams was the Mede-Persian. The third world-empire is the Greek or Macedonian. Its symbol in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar is "the belly and thighs of brass"; in the dream of Daniel, a leopard with four heads and four wings. The leopard is a fierce animal, remarkable for its swiftness and agility. When the prophet wished to impress his fellow-countrymen with the exceeding swiftness of the horses of the Chaldeans, he described them as "swifter than leopards" (Habakkuk 1:8). This quality of swiftness is here intensified by the leopard "having the four wings of a bird." The lion, the symbol of the Babylonian empire, had only two wings; but the leopard, the symbol of the Macedonian, had four. The exceeding swiftness of such a wild beast is an emblem of Alexander the Great in his conquering career. The rapidity of his military movements was not only superior to those of Nebuchadnezzar and of Cyrus, but perhaps unexampled in the history of the world. The four heads of the leopard represent the four kingdoms into which the Macedonian empire was divided after Alexander's death. The third wild beast seems in every, respect an apt symbol of the Macedonian empire. The higher critics generally, on the other hand, take the third wild beast to be a symbol of the Persian empire. I have already given three reasons for thinking that the second wild beast must be intended for the Medo-Persian empire. After the Babylonian empire there was neither a Median nor a Persian empire, but only a Medo-Persian empire; and if the second wild beast refers to the Medo-Persian empire, then the third wild beast must refer to the Macedonian empire, which immediately came, after it. But in addition, the third wild beast is not an apt symbol of the Medo-Persian empire. The four-winged leopard might be looked upon as a fit symbol of Cyrus, though not nearly so apt as a symbol of Alexander the Great, either for rapidity or ferocity; but it is altogether inappropriate to the general character of the Medo-Persian empire. Instead of being like a four-winged leopard, it strikingly resembled the awkward, slow-moving bear. Again, the four heads are not satisfactorily explained of the Medo-Persian empire by supposing that they refer either to its universal dominion — the four heads being understood as the four points of the compass towards which the empire spread — or to four of its rulers. The heads naturally suggest kings or kingdoms, and the four heads being on the beast at one and the same time suggest four contemporaneous, and not four successive kings. The fourth world-empire is the Roman. The fourth wild beast, as it appeared to Daniel in the dream, is said to be "terrible and powerful, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns." There are two striking points of resemblance between this symbol and that of the fourth empire in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. One is, that both have iron as a characteristic feature. The fourth wild beast had great iron teeth, and the fourth or lowest part of the colossal image was iron; and as iron was an emblem of a breaking and subduing power, it strikingly shadows forth the Roman empire. The other is, that both were marked by the number ten. The fourth beast had "ten horns," and the iron portion of the image "ten toes." The ten horns and the ten toes represent the ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire would be divided; and here, as elsewhere in Scripture, the definite number ten seems to be used in an indefinite sense for a great many. But while an apt symbol for the divided Roman empire, the number ten seems totally inapplicable to the Grecian empire, which is the favourite view of the higher critics. We come now to what is said about the Little Horn. "I considered," says Daniel, "the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." He says also in the 21st and 22nd verses: "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 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." The general opinion of the higher critics is that the little horn is a symbol for Antiochus Epiphanes, one of the Grecian kings of Syria ( 175 B.C.-164 B.C.), and the arch-persecutor of the Jewish people. But this empire cannot be correct if, as we have already tried to show, the fourth world-empire is the Roman. Ahtiochus Epiphanes belongs to the third world-empire, and not to the fourth. Besides, there are two things in the symbol which show that it could not refer to Antiochus Epiphanes. One is, that the little horn canto up after the ten horns, and was distinct from them. Antiochus, on the other hand, was one of the ordinary kings of Syria. His kingship was not distinct from those of the divided empire. The other is, that the little horn rooted out three of the ten. There is nothing corresponding, or approaching to, this in the history of Antiochus Epiphanes. The little horn means, I have no doubt, Papal Rome. In the fifth century of our era the Roman empire was broken up by the invasion of northern hordes; and amongst the kingdoms into which it was divided the church in Rome, with its bishop, sprang into existence as one of the kingdoms of the empire. This took place in , when Pepin, king of the Franks, granted to the Pope for a temporal dominion the Ex-archate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, and the Duchy of Rome; and so, according to the prophetic dream, the new kingdom came up after the other ten. It was also a little horn, whether you look at the church in Rome as an ecclesiastical body or at the temporal dominion with which it was invested. The States of the Church, even with the Dukedom of Spoleto, which Charlemagne added in , formed only the central part of the Italian peninsula. In 1870 these States were lost to the Church of Rome, and in 1871 formally annexed to the kingdom of Italy, while the Italian parliament agreed to allow the Pope to live in the Vatican as a sovereign, not subject to the laws of the land, and to grant him an annual appanage of nearly three and a quarter million of lires. So far, then, as temporal dominion is concerned, the Pope has always been a little horn. Again, Papal Rome, like the little horn, is diverse from the other horns of the empire, inasmuch as the spiritual power is combined with the temporal, the ecclesiastical with the political. Another thing noted of the little horn is, that "before it three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots." This also is true of Papal Rome. Of the various opinions as to what the three extinguished sovereignties were, I am inclined to adopt that of Sir Isaac Newton, that they were the kingdom of the Lombards, the Ex-archate of Ravenna which represented the dominion of the Byzantine emperors, and the Duchy of Rome. Gibbon, in the forty-fifth chapter of his great work, says: "during a period of two hundred years, Italy was unequally divided between the kingdom of the Lombards and the Ex-archate of Ravenna." And there can be no doubt that it was the Pope, by means of Pepin and Charlemagne, who put down these two sovereignties in the empire. The Duchy of Rome, which he also plucked up by the roots, though small in size, was yet, on account of its prominence and importance in the empire, well entitled to be represented as one of the ten horns. And it is a memorable and suggestive fact that the Pope, alone of all sovereigns, wears a triple crown. Again, Daniel says of the little horn: "Behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows." The eye is the symbol of intelligence, and the eyes of a man in the little horn imply that it would be distinguished amongst the kingdoms of the world for its subtle and astute diplomacy. Its intelligence would be that of a man as compared with that of a wild beast. And such extraordinary intelligence has been a distinguishing feature in the worldly policy of Papal Rome. Its diplomacy is unrivalled for duplicity and craft. And no worldly power ever approached it for speaking great swelling words of vanity. This is what is said to the Pope at his coronation: "Receive the tiara ornamented by the three crowns, and know that you are the father of bishops and kings, the earthly governor of the world, the vicar of our Saviour Jesus Christ to whom be honour, world without end." Another feature of the little horn, which belongs also to Papal Rome, is its persecution of the people of God. "I beheld," says Daniel (v. 21), "and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them." In interpreting this, the angel said to Daniel (v. 25): "And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time." There is no need to enlarge upon the persecutions of the Papacy, as there is no land in Christendom whose soil has not been stained with the blood of the martyrs which she has shed. Happily its power to persecute is for the present, at least to a large extent, taken away. The next thing in the dream is the doom which was to befall the little horn. First of all, there is the sitting of the Heavenly court on the conduct of the little horn (v. 9, 10). There are judgment days in Heaven continually occurring with regard to human affairs. After the destruction of the little horn, the world-wide empire of the Messiah begins. Daniel thus continues his dream (v. 13, 14).


Let us attempt to get at the practical and permanent principles which underlie this remarkable prophecy, and which are at once profoundly suggestive and exceedingly important.

1. The terribly significant truth, that earthly power, in and of itself, degenerates into brutality. The appropriate symbol of a great empire is a wild beast. The kingdoms of the earth have stood on military conquest. Might has taken the place of right. The sword has been the arbiter of imperial dynasties, and the struggles between rival powers have been as fierce and destructive as the contentions of wild animals in the jungle.

2. The tendency of this brutality is to increase. Note the order in which the four beasts are set. Bad as the Babylonians were, they were outdone by the Persians; these were exceeded by the Greeks; while the Romans were the worst of all. Note that all this while the nations were growing in what has been called culture and civisation. This was a merely superficial thing, and served only to veneer the rottenness and cruelty which were beneath.

3. The restoration of man to humanity must come, not from himself, but from above. He who introduced the healing salt which is yet to purify thoroughly the bitter fountain of our earthly life was sent forth from "the ancient of days." There are few more striking arguments for the Divine origin of the Gospel, and the deity of its author, than that which may be drawn from the contrast between the character of Jesus and that of His age. Surely, the hope of the world lies in the diffusion of the Gospel of Christ. Wherever the Gospel goes in power, it restores men to humanity by bringing them back to God. Civilisation without the Gospel is only a veneered brutality.

(William M. Taylor, D.D.)

This first vision of Daniel is confessed on all hands to be an expansion of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar's dream had represented human empire in its intelligent, well-proportioned might. It was man's power as formed, in some measure, in the image of God. The substance, the strength, the character of the several empires were different; the form was one. Daniel's vision exhibits them on another side. The four winds of Heaven are driving upon the great sea, that representative, throughout Holy Scripture, of our troubled world, and out of it there arise forms of more than human strength. The terrific and wasting power of the world-empires is exhibited under the symbol of brute force. A sort of unity is given to them, in that they are all exhibited at first to the prophet's eye at once. God shows them to him first, as He Himself sees all things, at once; then, as they arose in fact, succeeding one another. Nor did they arise of their own power. "Not without being acted upon by the winds of Heaven does the sea send forth those beasts; not without being set in motion by the powers above, does the heathen world form itself into those great empires" (Hoffmann.) As the Babylonian empire had been exhibited to Nebuchadnezzar under the symbol of the richest metal, "gold," so now to Daniel under that of the solid strength of the king of beasts of prey, with the swiftness of the royal bird, the eagle. Jeremiah and Ezekiel had likened Nebuchadnezzar to both. The second beast, the bear, corresponds with the solid, heavy, chest of Nebuchadnezzar's statue. The twofold division and the relative strength of the two sides recur in this symbol also. It lifts itself heavily, in contrast to the winged rapidity of the Chaldean conquests. The "three ribs in its mouth" correspond accurately to the three kingdoms which the Medo-Persian empire swallowed up, the Lydian, Babylonian, and Egyptian. It is bidden, "Arise. devour much flesh," in conformity with the greedy character of the animal: waste of human life was a characteristic of the Persian empire in its heavy aggressiveness. Heaviness was, after Cyrus, the characteristic of its wars. Of the third empire, the characteristics are insatiableness of conquest, and swiftness, and fourfold division. The panther, an animal insatiable above every other beast of prey, gifted with a swiftness which scarce any prey can escape, is represented yet further with four wings. The subdivision of the empire is indicated by its four heads. Its colour corresponds to the brass of the image, its swiftness to the activity of the loins and thighs of the image. Probably the multiplication of the heads was a symbol of circumspection, of manifold, versatile intelligence. But, again, the chief object of interest in the vision is the fourth empire. For the living creature which can represent it there is no name. "In the former beasts," says , "there are single tokens of terribleness, in this, there are all." Of this last empire Daniel sees not only certain characteristics, but a history. Intervals of its history are marked. It embraces a long period. Its characteristic is stupendous strength. Permanent subdual characterised the Roman empire, but it had not the power of consolidating into one the disjointed materials of its greatness. The period after the destruction of the whole fourth kingdom is indicated by the words: "And the rest of the beasts, the other kingdoms, had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time" (v. 12). This sentence seems to relate to a time after the destruction of the fourth empire, but this, being still future, we cannot explain certainly. The chief object of interest, that chiefly expanded, is that in which all the kingdoms end — the Kingdom of God victorious over the evil of the world... It is a sublime picture; man, with his keen intellect, a look more stout than his fellows, overthrowing kings, doing his own will, speaking against God, placing himself over against Him as His antagonist, having, for a set time, all things in his hand; and above, out of sight, God enthroned in the serenity of His majesty, surrounded by the thousands of heavenly beings who serve Him; and near Him, One in human form, born of a human birth, yet, like God, above in the clouds of Heaven, the darkness shrouding Him from human eye, but reigning and to reign for ever, His Kingdom neither to pass away by decay, nor to be destroyed by violence. "God is patient, because He is eternal." Below, all is tumult; above, all is tranquility; the Heavenly King over against the earthly potentate, until the last blasphemy draws down His lightnings upon him, the voice of his great word ascends, the judgment, of God descends.

(E. B. Pusey, D.D.)

Two emblems are here used to describe the corruption of human states in past ages, the great image and the four beasts of prey. False religion and worldly ambition, with its natural fruits of cruelty and crime, are vividly portrayed by this twofold emblem. The redemption of man from this twofold fall must begin with their separate members. Let us, therefore, trace, from the emblems themselves, the bright and holy contrast which is waiting to be realised in the coming Kingdom of God.

1. Man, in his state of nature, is dead in trespasses and sins. In the symbols of the prophecy he is an atom of the dazzling, but lifeless image; a member incorporated in the wild beast of prey. The first work of redemption is to deliver him from this state. The bestial nature is then crucified and done away; and he becomes a living member of the body of Christ. He is no longer a lifeless atom of clay in the feet of the image. The breath of a new life has been breathed into his nostrils, and, like Adam in the day of creation, he stands once mere erect in the image of God.

2. The prophecy leads us to contemplate the true character and blessedness of a righteous nation. The closing part of those visions teaches us:(1) The intense reality of God's providence here below.(2) The true standard of national excellence and honour. Not wealth and riches. Not military ambition. Not the cold and heartless theories of political ungodliness; but ordinances of royalty and righteous dominion.

(T. R. Birks, M.A.)

Belshazzar, Daniel
Beheld, Caused, Eagle, Eagles, Eagle's, Ground, Heart, Human, Kept, Lifted, Lion, Man's, Mind, Placed, Plucked, Pulled, Seeing, Stand, Stood, Thereof, Till, Torn, Watched, Watching, Wings
1. Daniel's vision of the four beasts,
9. and of God's kingdom.
15. The interpretation thereof.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Daniel 7:4

     4690   wings

Daniel 7:1-7

     7735   leaders, political

Daniel 7:1-18

     1469   visions

Daniel 7:2-7

     1670   symbols

Daniel 7:2-8

     4627   creatures

Daniel 7:3-7

     4609   beast, the

Christ's Own Testimony Concerning Himself.
THERE is but one rational explanation, of this sublime mystery; and this is found in Christ's own testimony concerning his superhuman and divine origin and character.[49]49 This testimony challenges at once our highest regard and belief from the absolute veracity which no one ever denied him, or could deny, without destroying at once the very foundation of his universally conceded moral purity and greatness. Christ strongly asserts his humanity, and calls himself; about eighty times in the Gospels,
Philip Schaff—The Person of Christ

The Christ of the Gospels. By Rev. Professor Schaff.
THE life and character of Jesus Christ is truly the Holy of Holies in the history of the world. Eighteen hundred years have passed away since he, in the fullness of time, appeared on this earth to redeem a fallen race from sin and death, and to open a never-ceasing fountain of righteousness and life. The ages before him anxiously awaited his coming as "the Desire of all nations;" the ages after him proclaim his glory, and ever extend his dominion. The noblest and best of men under every clime hold
Philip Schaff—The Romance of M. Renan, and the Christ of the Gospels

The Apocalypse.
1. The word Apocalypse (Greek Apokalupsis) signifies Revelation, the title given to the book in our English version as well from its opening word as from its contents. Of all the writings of the New Testament that are classed by Eusebius among the disputed books (Antilegomena, chap. 5. 6), the apostolic authorship of this is sustained by the greatest amount of external evidence; so much so that Eusebius acknowledges it as doubtful whether it should be classed among the acknowledged or
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Captivity of Judah.
Eze., Dan., Lam. The Ten Tribes Lost. After the fall of Samaria we hear but little of the ten tribes. They were carried off into the regions of Ninevah by the Assyrians. All effort to locate them has failed and no doubt will fail. Sargon, in an inscription found at Ninevah, said that he carried away into captivity 27,290. These were perhaps leaders of Israel whom he thought might lead a revolt. He sent others back to take their place and the Israelites seemed to have mingled with the races about
Josiah Blake Tidwell—The Bible Period by Period

Communion Again Broken --Restoration
Cant. v. 2-vi.10. The fourth section commences with an address of the bride to the daughters of Jerusalem, in which she narrates her recent sad experience, and entreats their help in her trouble. The presence and comfort of her Bridegroom are again lost to her; not this time by relapse into worldliness, but by slothful self-indulgence. We are not told of the steps that led to her failure; of how self again found place in her heart. Perhaps spiritual pride in the achievements which grace enabled her
J. Hudson Taylor—Union and Communion

The Ecclesiastical Trial
Over the Kedron, up the slope to the city, through the gates, along the silent streets, the procession passed, with Jesus in the midst; midnight stragglers, perhaps, hurrying forward from point to point to ask what was ado, and peering towards the Prisoner's face, before they diverged again towards their own homes.[1] He was conducted to the residence of the high priest, where His trial ensued. Jesus had to undergo two trials--the one ecclesiastical, the other civil; the one before Caiaphas the
James Stalker—The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ

Jesus at Capernaum.
Beset by an idea, gradually becoming more and more imperious and exclusive, Jesus proceeds henceforth with a kind of fatal impassibility in the path marked out by his astonishing genius and the extraordinary circumstances in which he lived. Hitherto he had only communicated his thoughts to a few persons secretly attracted to him; henceforward his teaching was sought after by the public. He was about thirty years of age.[1] The little group of hearers who had accompanied him to John the Baptist had,
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

The Danger of Deviating from Divine Institutions.
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." St. Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles. The care of the churches gathered among them devolved particularly on him. At the writing of this epistle he had no personal acquaintance with the church to which it is addressed.* Epaphras, a bishop of the Colossians, then his fellow prisoner at Rome, had made him acquainted with their state, and the danger
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

Jesus Stills the Storm.
(Sea of Galilee; Same Day as Last Section) ^A Matt. VIII. 18-27; ^B Mark IV. 35-41; ^C Luke VIII. 22-25. ^b 35 And that day, { ^c one of those days,} ^b when the even was come [about sunset], ^a when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. { ^b he saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side.} [Wearied with a day of strenuous toil, Jesus sought rest from the multitude by passing to the thinly settled on the east side of Galilee.] ^a 19 And there
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A vision of the King.
ONE of the most blessed occupations for the believer is the prayerful searching of God's holy Word to discover there new glories and fresh beauties of Him, who is altogether lovely. Shall we ever find out all which the written Word reveals of Himself and His worthiness? This wonderful theme can never be exhausted. The heart which is devoted to Him and longs through the presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be closer to the Lord, to hear and know more of Himself, will always find something
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

The Situation after the Council of Nicæa.
The council (a) had testified, by its horrified and spontaneous rejection of it, that Arianism was a novelty subversive of the Christian faith as they had received it from their fathers. They had (b) banished it from the Church by an inexorable test, which even the leading supporters of Arius had been induced to subscribe. In the years immediately following, we find (c) a large majority of the Eastern bishops, especially of Syria and Asia Minor, the very regions whence the numerical strength of the
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

A Treatise of the Fear of God;
SHOWING WHAT IT IS, AND HOW DISTINGUISHED FROM THAT WHICH IS NOT SO. ALSO, WHENCE IT COMES; WHO HAS IT; WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS; AND WHAT THE PRIVILEGES OF THOSE THAT HAVE IT IN THEIR HEARTS. London: Printed for N. Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, over against the Stocks market: 1679. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and "a fountain of life"--the foundation on which all wisdom rests, as well as the source from whence it emanates. Upon a principle
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Birth and Early Life of John the Baptist.
(Hill Country of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke I. 57-80. ^c 57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her [mercy in granting a child; great mercy in granting so illustrious a child] ; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass on the eighth day [See Gen. xvii. 12; Lev. xii. 3; Phil. iii. 5. Male children were named at their circumcision, probably
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Second visit to Nazareth - the Mission of the Twelve.
It almost seems, as if the departure of Jesus from Capernaum marked a crisis in the history of that town. From henceforth it ceases to be the center of His activity, and is only occasionally, and in passing, visited. Indeed, the concentration and growing power of Pharisaic opposition, and the proximity of Herod's residence at Tiberias [3013] would have rendered a permanent stay there impossible at this stage in our Lord's history. Henceforth, His Life is, indeed, not purely missionary, but He has
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

History of the Interpretation.
1. AMONG THE JEWS. This History, as to its essential features, might, a priori, be sketched with tolerable certainty. From the nature of the case, we could scarcely expect that the Jews should have adopted views altogether erroneous as to the subject of the prophecy in question; for the Messiah appears in it, not in His humiliation, but in His glory--rich in gifts and blessings, and Pelagian self-delusion will, a priori, return an affirmative answer to the question as to whether one is
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

His Future Work
The Lord Jesus Christ, who finished the work on earth the Father gave Him to do, who is now bodily present in the highest heaven, occupying the Father's throne and exercising His priesthood in behalf of His people, is also King. To Him belongeth a Kingdom and a kingly Glory. He has therefore a kingly work to do. While His past work was foretold by the Spirit of God and His priestly work foreshadowed in the Old Testament, His work as King and His glorious Kingdom to come are likewise the subjects
A. C. Gaebelein—The Work Of Christ

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