Four Beasts, Four Kingdoms

Q. In Daniel’s vision he saw in Daniel 7:2-3 the four beasts came up out of the sea. In Dan. 7:17 speaking of the same four beasts, says they arise out of the earth. What do you make of that?

A. The four beasts that Daniel saw coming out of the sea in his vision symbolized four gentile kingdoms that would rise up on Earth. Coming out of the sea is thought to be a reference to Isaiah 57:20, “the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.” Gentile kingdoms are inherently wicked, being opposed to God’s purpose.

This is a companion to Daniel 2:31-33 where the four gentile kingdoms were symbolized by parts of a giant statue. In both cases they represent Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Some say Daniel 2 symbolized the gentile kingdoms from man’s view, shiny precious metals. Daniel 7 presents them from God’s perspective, voracious beasts who devour the Earth.

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