Summary: Who are the beast in the book of Daniel
Great Sea-The term “Great Sea” is applied to the Mediterranean in scripture.
Numbers 34:6-7-As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea for a border; this shall be your western border. And this shall be your northern border: From the Great Sea you shall mark out your border line to Mount Hor
Four Beast-The reference to these four beasts is their involvement with Jerusalem and the Jewish people. This does not represent all the kingdom that have rose and fallen in the worlds history.
Each Beast Different-characteristics of the these beasts described gives us insight into type of kingdoms these beasts represent.
The First Beast: Babylon
First Beast-The Lion here represents the Babylonian kingdom.
Eagle’s wings: The Eagle is king of the sky and is the picture dominion. This beast has characteristics of the lion and the eagle. The eagle controlled the air, completely dominating its opponents.
Man’s heart: Adding credence that this beast is Babylon is the description of a man’s heart given to the animal.
In fact, Nebuchadnezzar is described as having hair like eagle’s feathers in Daniel 4:33. Here the Lion has the heart of a man and stands on two feet.
The Second Beast: Medo-Persia
Suddenly ..another... The second animal pictures the Medo-Persian Empire headed by Cyrus the great. The sudden transformation of kingdoms is pictured in Daniel chapter 5, as the Persian armies marched underneath the walls of Babylon.
The city fell with virtually no deaths, it was sudden.
Like a bear: Persia after conquering Babylon extended the territory beyond that of Babylon. The armies of Cyrus were made of two main groups, Persian and Medes. Today the Iranians are descended from the Persians and the Kurds are of Median descent. These two people unified to defeat Babylon in 539 B.C.
Raised up: The raising to the one side pictures the one sided strength of this kingdom. Median power was subject to Persian rule.
Three ribs: Most view these ribs as the conquests of Egypt, Lydia and Babylon by the Medo-Persian Empire.
Devour much flesh: The territory of Medo-Persia was greater then that of Babylon.
The Third Beast: Greece
Leopard-If any kingdom is like a Leopard, it would be Greece.
Alexander the Great succeeded his father after his death. Alexander was 23 years old when he became King of Greece, Alexander set out to destroy Greece’s old enemy, Persia. With lightening speed the armies of Greece quickly defeated Persia, Alexander then defeated the Phoenicians. Palestine/Judea surrendered and he conquered Egypt. In the ancient city of Nineveh he again met Darius III and defeated him again. Alexander then continued east all the way to the borders of India where his men refused to go any further, they then began the march back.
Alexander the Great died at the age of 33. He had stretched the Greek Empire from Macedonia to India defeating the most powerful armies of the world in 10 years.
After his death, his kingdom was divided between his four generals.
Four wings: Babylon was described with two wings, here the leopard has four wings. Wings in the scripture denote power and protection.
This beast has four wings, two more then the first beast. Alexander was able to accomplish in 10 years time what took other kingdoms generations.
Four heads: The four generals who took over the parts of Alexander’s kingdom at his death continued the Greek culture. This is why the New Testament is written in Greek, the result of the Greek influence left by Alexander the Great and his succeeding commanders.
Dominion was given: God is the source of these nations’ power and territory. Territory or dominion was by God, not taken by men.
The Fourth Beast: Rome
In 63 B.C. the Roman general Pompey conquered the city of Jerusalem, killing 12,000 Jewish holdouts on the Temple Mount. He then installed a Roman puppet government, thus ending the independent Jewish Maccabean nation. In 70 A.D., the Roman armies would destroy the city of Jerusalem, the Temple and over one million Jews would die at the hands of Rome. The Jewish people would be scattered throughout the world.
Dreadful: Daniel identifies this beast as dreadful. In contrast to the other three beasts, the
Jews were affected most by Rome. Within 107 years, after Rome came to the assistance
of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jewish people would be nearly destroyed.
Not until 1948 A.D. would a Jewish nation come back into existence.
Iron teeth: Iron is also used to describe the fourth kingdom in chapter 2. The legs were made of Iron and the feet of hon and clay. The huge iron teeth made this beast different from the other beasts. The beast had a particular cruelness, trampling all its victims, crushing and devouring them.
Following the seesaw baffle for Judea/Palestine by the successors of Alexander the Great, the Seleucids under Antiochus Epiphanies in 163 B.C. decided to turn Judea into a Greek border state after he was humiliated by Roman power in Egypt. Antiochus attempts to destroy the Jewish religion as recorded in the book of I Maccabees.