2007-07-08 - Daniel
Installment 58 ~ Chapter 6
The second beast, the bear, is the parallel to the breast and arms of silver, the Medo-Persian empire. As Wood notes,
"Just as a bear is more massive in size but slower moving that a lion, so Medo-Persia became much larger as a kingdom than was Babylon, and the Medo-Persian army was noted for its huge size but slower movements." 3
The bear is raised up on one side, because the Persian side of the partnership was the stronger of the two. Showers speculates the three ribs picture were:
"Lydia, Babylon and Egypt-three other great kingdoms that were conquered by Medo-Persia." 4
And the kingdom, like the bear, had an insatiable appetite for additional conquest.
The third beast was a winged leopard. This parallels the belly and thighs of bronze, and most likely represents the Greek Empire in general, and pictures the disrupted empire after the death of Alexander - when the nation was divided into four kingdoms under his four generals. Therefore we have the four heads. 5
The fourth beast though, is the one that draws Daniel's attention. It apparently was unlike the others, in that it didn't relate to any known creature. We can assume this, because it is not described in the same way.
The beast itself is best understood as the Roman Empire and, as with the legs of iron, it eventually falls into a loose confederacy of ten nations, ten horns, a restored empire. Scripture identifies horns as symbols of power of some sort or another. In this case, the horns speak of political power. And out of the midst of the ten horns, that is the restored Roman Empire, springs up a small horn, which overthrows three of the other horns. This confederacy does not yet exist.
This horn is a individual ruler who will be at war with the people of God, that is the Hebrew people, and he will be winning. The fact that the horn is described as having eyes and a mouth seems to support the position that it represents not a government, as much as it does a specific ruler. This being the case, the individual is identified elsewhere in Scripture. This is most likely the Antichrist. (Again, remember: we are not to be dogmatic here. The primary focus of these visions is the sovereignty of God and the coming of the Messianic kingdom.)
"Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
4 Showers, p. 76
Comments or Questions?