THE SEA BEAST AND THE WILD ANIMALS OF DANIEL 7
The vision of the wild animals in Daniel 7 builds on the vision of Daniel 2, which was of a huge multi-metal image of a man. The different metals represented the world empires that dominated and oppressed God's chosen people from the time of Daniel until the time of the end. The image had a head of gold that symbolized the Babylonian empire, a chest of silver that represented the Medo-Persian empire, a belly of brass that represented the Greek Hellenistic empire, iron thighs that symbolized the pagan Roman empire, and legs of iron mixed with clay that represented the powers of Europe bound together by the Roman Catholic papacy. See Appendix 11 for more detailed information.
The vision of Daniel 7 presents the same picture but fills in more details about the empires that persecuted God's people. The prophet saw four wild animals rising from the “
|Image of Daniel 2||Animals of Daniel 7||Empire Represented|
|Head of Gold||Lion||Babylonian Empire|
|Breast of Silver||Bear||Medo-Persian Empire|
|Belly of Brass||Leopard||Greek Hellenistic Empire|
|Legs of Iron||Terrible Beast|| Pagan
|Feet of Iron and Clay||Ten Horns and Little Horn|| Papal
The wild animals of Daniel 7 had a total of 7 heads and ten horns and were the same animals that comprised the beast that rose out of the sea in Revelation 13. This implies that he seven heads of the sea beast symbolize seven major characteristics that derive from the ancient empires represented by the animals. John said that the sea beast was “like a leopard” (Revelation 13:2), in other words, it most resembled the characteristics of the leopard of Daniel 7, which symbolized the Greek Empire. The leopard had 4 heads, representing four major characteristics of the Greek Empire: the pantheon of Greek gods, highly advanced Greek philosophy, the pervasive Hellenic culture, and the unity of church and state. The sea beast had the “feet of a bear.” Feet (paws) symbolize executive power, and the
Appendix 11 provides a detailed analysis of the characteristics of these ancient empires, and shows how they are also the basic characteristics of the medieval papacy. This is not surprising, because the visions of Daniel found in chapters 2,7,8 and 11 all focus on the papal Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church of the Middle ages had the characteristics of the ancient empires: a pantheon of "gods” (the saints), a theology based on Greek philosophy, a pervasive Catholic culture, the union of church and state, a hierarchy with the pope at the top creating infallible laws, a system of priests performing “magic” rituals. and the powerful military forces of the European nations at its disposal.
Why is there such a focus on the medieval Papacy in both Daniel and Revelation? This identification is important because the papacy of the Middle Ages is the prototype for the final persecuting power of the last days. We will see later in this chapter and in chapter 17 that it is very similar to the beast that John saw rising ot of the sea. The final enemy of God's faithful followers will not be communism, secular humanism, atheism, or neo-paganism. It wil be legalistic "christianity," which, like the medieval Papacy, will use coercive force to impose its version of "God's will."