A Beast is an Empire
Here a beast. There a beast. Everywhere a beast beast!
By Craig C. White
We are going to identify every beast in the bible! The word beast simply means a wild animal. The bible uses wild animals to identify man ruled governments that are rebellious toward God. Beasts typically represent empires or unions. Ancient World Empires are identified by different wild animals in the bible. These animals were actually the symbols of these empires.
The bible also identifies future empires that are also symbolized by wild animals. Some of these empires already exist today. For instance Russia just formed a new economic Union. Everybody knows that Russia is symbolized by a bear. The bible identifies this end time Russian Union as a bear in Daniel 7:5.
There have been seven World Empires throughout history. These World Empires came to power one at a time. Each World Empire defeated the previous World Empire. Here is a list of them in order; Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Mede and Persian, Grecian, Roman, and Turkish (Ottoman). Some of these World Empires are represented by animals in the bible.
We are introduced to two animals that symbolize empires in Daniel chapter 8. These are the oldest World Empires that the bible symbolizes by animals. We are introduced to a ram and a goat. Dan 8:20 tells us that the ram in Dan 8:3 symbolizes the Mede and Persian Empire.
In the verses below; notice that the ram has two horns. Horns always represent rulers. The Mede and Persian Empire was a two division empire. The Medes are todays Kurds and Persia is known as Iran today.
Dan 8:3-4 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
When Daniel gave this prophecy these events were still in the future. Now we can look back in world history and recognize the ram as the Mede and Persian Empire because it conquered territory in exactly the same way that Dan 8:4 describes. In today’s terms Persia first conquered Iraq, Syria, and Turkey to the west, then Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the north, then Persia moved southward and conquered southern Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and also western India.
In Dan 8:5 we are introduced to another empire that is represented by a goat. Dan 8:21 tells us that this goat symbolizes the Grecian Empire. The goat came after the ram. In Daniel chapter 8 the goat fights against the ram and defeats him. The goat symbolizes the Grecian Empire. The Grecian Empire defeated the Mede and Persian Empire around 450 BC. In Dan 8:5 the goat has one notable horn. Remember that horns represent rulers. This one horn represents Alexander the great who quickly conquered the known world.
Dan 8:5-9 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
In Dan 8:8 above; after his death in 323 BC Alexander the great’s empire was divided into four regions or dynasties. These dynasties were the Antipater Dynasty headquartered in Greece, the Ptolemy Dynasty headquartered in Egypt, the Arsacid Dynasty headquartered in Parthia (north eastern Iran today), and the Seleucid Dynasty headquartered in Syria. These four regions constituted the Grecian Empire. So the goat represents the Grecian Empire.
In Daniel chapter 7 three kingdoms combine to form one World Empire. These kingdoms are represented by a lion with eagle’s wings, a bear, and a leopard. Daniel doesn’t tell us exactly who these animals are. A lot of bible teachers say that these animals represent ancient World Empires. They say that the lion with eagle’s wings represents the Babylonian Empire. The symbol of the Babylonian Empire was in fact a lion but not with eagle’s wings. It has also been widely taught that the bear and the leopard are the same as the ram and the goat in Daniel chapter 8. I don’t think so. First of all the animals in Daniel chapter 7 are different than the animals in Daniel chapter 8. Also the bear and the leopard were not the actual symbols of these ancient World Empires. Moreover Ancient World Empires existed one at a time but the empires in Daniel chapter 7 all exist at the same time. In Daniel 7:12 we are told that the first three empires (or beasts) outlive the fourth World Empire.
Dan 7:12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
Again, some bible teachers say that Daniel’s prophecy about the lion with eagle’s wings represents the Babylonian Empire. Keep this in mind. Daniel received this prophecy during the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon (Dan 7:1). Belshazzar was the last king in Babylon. The Medes and Persians overran the city while Belshazzar drank wine from the holy vessels that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from Israel’s temple in Jerusalem (Dan 5). So if Daniel identified the lion with eagle’s wings as the Babylonian Empire then his message was not prophetic at all. Daniel lived in the Babylonian Empire so he would know firsthand that their symbol was a lion (without eagle’s wings).
No, Daniel doesn’t tell us exactly who these animals are but the book of Revelation gives us a very good idea of when they exist. These three animals (or empires) combine to form the final man ruled World Empire that exists on earth during the Tribulation period. So the lion with eagle’s wings, the bear, and the leopard do not represent ancient world empires but instead future, end time empires.
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Do any nations, empires, or unions exist today that are symbolized by a lion with eagle’s wings, or a bear, or a leopard? Yep. You probably could guess which nation uses the lion with eagle’s wings as their national symbol today. That nation is England. Can you think of a nation that uses the bear as its national symbol? Of course Russia is symbolized by a bear today. Is there a kingdom today that is represented by a leopard? No not yet but in December 2014 Turkish President Erdogan announced his plans to form a new Islamic Union that could span northern Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia. Will it choose the leopard to be its symbol? I think that it probably will.
The first three kingdoms in Daniel chapter 7 are symbolized by specific animals. There is also a forth kingdom that is not symbolized by one particular animal but in Daniel chapter 7 as well as Revelation chapter 13 it is simply called a beast. In Dan 7:17 we are told that these four kingdoms are ruled by four kings.
Dan 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
I think that four world leaders will conspire together to create this next World Empire. I think that most of those leaders are already in place today and well known. They include one ruler of England (possibly representing the entire European Union), one ruler of Russia (probably representing the newly created Russian Union), and possibly one ruler from a new Islamic Union. The forth king rules over the next World Empire and is most likely the Antichrist. But remember that Dan 7:7 tells us that the forth beast (or next World Empire) will initially be ruled by ten kings. So the forth beast in Daniel chapter 7 symbolizes the next World Empire. Israel will suffer under its rule but Jesus Christ will destroy it at his second coming.
I want to give one more beast in Daniel chapter 7 an honorable mention. In Dan 7:4 the lion gets its wings plucked off! We all know that the United States’ national symbol is the eagle. The US separated from English rule in 1776. The plucked off eagle’s wings could possibly indicate that the US will assist England in the formation of the next World Empire.
There is another beast mentioned in Revelation that appears after the next World Empire is formed. It is symbolized by a lamb and a dragon.
Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
This beast has two horns which represent two rulers. These rulers are like a lamb. Jesus Christ is called the Lamb of God. Since the two rulers of this beast are like a lamb but they speak like a dragon it is thought that this beast represents a false Christian-like World Religion. Pope Francis is campaigning for Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim unity so I think that this two headed beast may be a Catholic and Muslim hybrid religion.
Here are four different kinds of beasts. They are not wild animals. These beasts do not represent empires. Four beasts sit around the throne of God in the book of Revelation. The word translated beast in Revelation chapter 4 and chapter 6 is a different word describing a different kind of beast. These beasts are not wild animals. The word translated as beast here means a living being. These beasts are not symbolic. They are actual animals created by God to worship him. These living creatures are also described in Ezekiel chapter 1.
Rev 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
There is one more beast in the bible that represents a kingdom on earth. This kingdom is the final World Empire. Ancient World Empires didn’t actually cover the entire world but this kingdom will. Ancient World Empires didn’t last forever but this one will. This empire isn’t symbolized by a wild animal but it is symbolized by a meek and gentle one. This empire is symbolized by a Lamb!
Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus Christ is the Lamb that pours out his wrath on the kings of the earth (Rev 6:16). Jesus Christ is the Lamb that will sit on the throne of the kingdom of God forever!
2 thoughts on “A Beast is an Empire”
I had a thought while reading “A Beast is an Empire.” The flood in Geogia released some beasts, so maybe a flood in Mosul will release some empires.
Great article, and as you said a few days ago, the media is starting to chatter about a possible coalition in Turkey. The Leapord is lurking in the shadows.
Over the last 39 years, I have read commentary on the beasts of Daniel and Revelation. Your commentary is written in such a way as to create a very contemporary view of this vision. As a teacher of 5th and 6th Graders, I have learned to look for common denominators, that attempt to make concrete abstract and conceptual texts.
Here are some concrete conclusions I think even my youngsters could agree upon.
All of the beasts exist today. Yes, even the leopard, nearly every piece of military equipment Turkey owns has displays of an Anatolian Leopard on it.
All of the beasts have their eyes fixed securely on the Middle East.
Israel is smack in the middle of the storm that is rising.
All of the beasts are turning away from Israel and isolating her to stand alone against the rising threat. Even the US is turning it’s back on Israel.
All of the Muslim nations hate Israel, even so called moderate Muslims. I have a fifth grade boy from Palestine in my class. He is a very funny, charming, and a smart young lad, but in our history lessons he is quick to cheer for Palestine and berate Israel.
None of the beasts are exalting Christ as their surpreme commander. Sorry to say that those who think Putin is in Syria crusading for Christians, they are mistaken.
There is little, if no evidence to refute that we are living in the end of days.
Well, as I often say to my youngsters with my tongue in my cheek “Is that clear as mud?”
Let me finish by saying to the critiques of the Bible, and sound commentary such as yours. Are you smarter than a fifth grader?