Article The Four Great Beasts

Ray Faircloth

Oct 16, 2020

The Four Great Beasts


This was the first of Daniel’s visions when he was about 67 years of age and therefore many decades after the dream had by Nebuchadnezzar. However, Daniel’s vision was the first of the apocalyptic visions and so containing many symbols for which Daniel seeks angelic help to understand their meanings and their place in the scheme of things.

The Lion, the Bear, the Leopard and

the Terrifying Beast​

DANIEL 7: 2-8:

“I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up, different from one another. 4The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ 6After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.”


No doubt, what Daniel actually sees is the eastern Mediterranean Sea which was biblically always called “the Great Sea.” However, because we later learn in Daniel 7:17 that, “the four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth it is evident that in this apocalyptic picture “the sea” must be viewed symbolically as representing the wicked of mankind as Isaiah notes, “…the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud” (Isa. 57:20).

Analysing the Beasts​


Lions are exceptionally strong and they hunt prey. However, this lion-like creature with its “eagles wings” pictures invading armies. It had those wings plucked and was, “lifted from the ground and made to stand on two feet and given a human mind” (Dan. 7:4). This picture is very similar to the events that happened to ancient King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon when he spent seven years acting like an insane beast and then was restored to normal human mental health (Dan. 4).


“Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!” (Dan. 7:5 NLT).

Obviously, bears are terribly destructive and maul their prey (2 Kings 2:23-24). In fact, in Proverbs 28:15 wicked rulers are likened to a “rushing bear.” This bear in Daniel 7 was shown to be, “rearing up on one side” which is better rendered as, “it raised up one dominion” according to S.P. Tregelles. So, this bear may be “rearing up” or “standing on its hind legs” as if attacking and ready to pounce on its next prey so that it may “devour much flesh” and so to start a significant war. So, this more likely picture is rendered as, “The second beast looked like a bear standing on its hind legs. It was holding three ribs between its teeth, and a voice said to it, “Go on, eat as much meat as you can!” (GNT. Also see CEV).


Leopards are both swift and ferocious in their attacks upon their prey. The four wings of this leopard indicate the swiftness of its invading armies. Indeed, the most unusual feature of this beast is that it has four heads and so showing that it arrives from the sea already as a confederacy of certain Middle Eastern powers.


This Beast is not shown to be like any particular creature, as are the other three. The features of the Terrifying Beast are:

It is “terrifying and strong” and so showing its ruthlessness in terrorizing people and has ample resources to do so.

It has “large iron teeth” which it uses to tear to pieces those who oppose it.

It “devours the whole earth” and so showing that nothing can stand in its way i.e., it consumes everything in its path.

It “crushes and tramples down” in the same way a modern-day threshing machine would operate.

It has “claws of bronze” (7:19). This again indicates and emphasizes its power to be destructive.

It has “ten horns.” These correspond to the ten toes of the statue image described in Daniel two. So, these picture the ten nations (Rev. 17:12) that ally themselves with the fourth Beast.

The Reasons These Beasts Represent

Modern-Day Nations​

In the vision, the beasts all come out of the Mediterranean (The Great Sea) successively but at one tempestuous time (7:2) and so exist contemporaneously, this is unlike the image of chapter 2 which maintains its downward continuity and whose ancient kingdoms did not all arise in a single tempestuous time.

All the features of the statue in Daniel 2 are destroyed in one go, but after the destruction of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 “the three remaining beasts are granted an extension of life” (7:12).

In contrast with the original kingdoms of the statue image (except for the feet), the Daniel 7 vision of the creatures is totally in the future because verse 17 says: “four kings will arise.” However:

  • Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian empire already existed at the time of the vision and was close to its demise.
  • The leopard cannot be the ancient Greek Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empire because this leopard arrives complete with its four heads; whereas historically, after Alexander’s death, the empire split into many parts and finally became the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires only rather than four empires under Alexander’s four generals.

Because all four beasts are pictured as coming out of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, we are provided with a clue concerning which part of the world they would arise from. Indeed, Turkey, Syria, and Egypt are at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. A further clue comes from the fact that these four beasts “will rise from the earth and so include Babylon (Iraq), Persia (Iran), and Seleucid Greece (Turkish confederacy).

The Beasts Are Future Versions of

the Kingdoms of the Statue in Daniel Two



Kingdoms of the Past Modern-day Nations

(Gold) Babylonian Lion = Iraq

(silver) Medo-Persian Bear = Iran

(bronze) Seleucid Greek Leopard = Turkish Confederacy

(Iron) Ottoman [until 1923] Terrifying = Revived Ottoman


(Iron/clay) feet/ten toes = Ten horns = Antichrist’s Empire

Indeed, the gold head of the statue represents the ancient Babylonian Empire; whereas the lion is only like the ancient Babylonian Empire. It is therefore modern-day Iraq.

The ancient land of Babylon is now called Iraq and the connection of a lion with Babylon is seen in Jeremiah 4:7. So, it is likely that this lion-like beast represents modern-day Iraq which was under the control of power-mad Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when he invaded the Iranian province of Khuzestan and triggered the eight-year war with Iran. Then in 1990 he invaded Kuwait after which he got his nation’s “wings plucked” by the US led coalition during the Iraq wars. Indeed, his lion-like roar was because of the illusion he created of having weapons of mass destruction. At the end of those wars Iraq was forced to become a democratic system. Perhaps there will be further events in Iraq that will connect it with the lion-like beast. Clearly, for a lion to be made to stand on two legs and have the mind of a man is completely unnatural for a lion and so the imposed democracy in Iraq is unlikely to remain because of the Muslim mindset of the country.

The silver chest and arms represent the ancient Medo-Persian Empire; whereas the bear is only like that ancient Medo-Persian Empire. It is therefore modern-day Iran.

This bear-like beast comes out of the sea already having “three ribs in its mouth,” and showing that it had already stripped bare three nations so that the ribs represent their carcasses. However, these three lands or kingdoms had not yet been incorporated into its kingdom. As with the silver second layer of the Daniel 2 statue, namely, ancient Medo-Persian this second creature represents modern-day Iran. Certainly, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has the objective of subjugating the Middle-East to its Shia Islamic rule and to export its Islamic Revolution along with gaining control of all of the Gulf oil fields.

The bronze belly and thighs represent the ancient Greek Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires (now called Turkey (Javan), Syria, Iraq, and Egypt), whereas the four-headed leopard is only like that ancient Seleucid/Ptolemaic empire. It is therefore the future confederacy of those same modern-day Islamic countries.

Many commentators view this as a picture of the four conspicuous horns who took power after the death of Alexander the Great (the broken great horn) of chapter 8 and who supposedly formed four kingdoms. However, because this is a yet future power rather than the ancient Greek Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms the four heads here are not the same as those four generals who took over the empire, but are the modern-day countries within that ancient empire. The connection between the bronze kingdom in the image and the leopard is that “dominion” (Dan. 7:6) was given them to “rule over the whole earth” (Dan. 2:39). This empire included the countries of Turkey (Javan), Greece, the Balkans, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Arabia. So, this beast represents the early stages of a modern-day Turkish Confederacy, which will involve four of the above countries as a confederacy. Currently Turkey has a very large army.

Further reasons showing that a Turkish confederacy is the correct application of the leopard comes from the book of Ezekiel (chapters 38 and 39) concerning Gog of Magog as the Antichrist who either originates from Turkey or begins his empire there. Furthermore, In the Revelation to John one of the Christian churches spoken to by Jesus is that of Pergamum in Turkey “where Satan’s throne is” (Rev. 2:13) and so showing the likelihood of this being the place of Antichrist’s origin or the centre of his activities.

The iron legs represent the Ottoman Empire as the Islamic Caliphate from A.D. 1453 to 1923; whereas the terrifying beast is only like that defunct Ottoman Empire. It is therefore the Revived Islamic Caliphate which later becomes Antichrist’s empire because he “will rise to power” (Dan. 8:23) “and seize the kingdom” (Dan. 11:21).

This terrifying beast is unique as were the various Islamic Caliphates of the past eventuating in the Ottoman Empire that conquered the Eastern Roman Empire in A.D. 1453 (the capital of which was Constantinople). That Ottoman Empire is yet to be revived.

The ten toes represent the ten nations which eventually constitute Antichrist’s Empire. However, the ten horns are fully parallel to the ten toes in being those ten nations which eventually constitute Antichrist’s Empire.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that there are five empires represented in the statue, because the feet and ten toes simply transition from the iron legs and the ten horns are already present on the terrifying beast when it arises from the sea.

This Terrifying Beast complete with its ten horns is a revival of what is represented by the iron legs of the statue image, namely, the Ottoman Empire which went out of existence in 1923. This Terrifying Beast is taken over by the Antichrist as shown by the fact that the feet and toes are an extension of the iron legs. It really pictures the completed development of human evil in the form of empire.

After this fourth beast as Antichrist’s empire is “slain and its body destroyed,” the remaining beasts are given “an extension of life for a...period” (Dan.7:12). This cannot, therefore, refer to the ancient empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece or Rome, but refers to modern-day kingdoms swallowed up by the various kings of the North and South. So, this vision reveals the inner, essentially beast-like character of final human rule from God’s viewpoint. Indeed, these beasts show the political movements of the end-times kingdoms.

More is revealed about this terrifying beast in Revelation chapters 13 and 17.




Well-known member
Dec 3, 2022
The harlot city, that great city, killed the prophets,the beast allows a third Jewish temple to be built, the two witnesses are slain in the great city, where Jesus was crucified. Cannot be the Ottoman Empire. How about the 2 legs on the image are the divided Roman Empire. The west fell in 476 ad , the east, Byzantine fell in 1453. Do you think Satan will deceive by using Islam. The ten toes are a mix of 5 nations from the east and 5 from the west, this is not a revived Roman Empire. The empire of the beast will be a little horn that came up later with a look more stout than his fellows. The beast in Revelation 13 once was , is not but is again, it involves the daily sacrifices a temple and prophet. Muhammad was Islams last prophet, how could the false prophet be of Islam.