THE GOD OF HEAVEN SPOKE THROUGH DREAMS CONCERNING THE FUTURE …
(Based on Daniel 1-2 and 7, New International Version and BibleGateway.com)
In the past 4 studies, we’ve looked at the “future past” that was foretold through a dream experienced by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This happened shortly after a majority of the Jews from Israel’s southern kingdom of Judah were given into captivity by the Lord God, due to the people’s collectively rebellious behavior and prideful attitude toward the commands that God had given Moses centuries earlier.
Daniel was also taken into captivity, but he was considered superior to the others in physical appearance and intellect. And Daniel had a God-given ability to determine the meanings of dreams. All of that is detailed in Daniel 1-2. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream foretold the existence and domination of five great kingdoms that would arise upon the earth: the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, and finally “a kingdom the God of heaven will set up; a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
Prophecy was historically fulfilled with the rise and fall of the first three kingdoms and with the rise of the Roman Empire. That fourth kingdom, arguably, was never literally conquered. And it has influenced the scope and direction of the global political landscape involving ALL KINGDOMS that have come into play into modern times.
Obviously, the final kingdom, which will be established by the Lord God, has not yet arrived. But, it was foretold a second time in the Book of Daniel! And though many Bible scholars agree that these four beasts also represent the first four kingdoms made known in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, others say, “Not so fast!” I’m among those who believe that the four beasts represent four more kingdoms that would appear on the stage of world history.
Let’s start with the first seven verses of the passage of scripture where this prophecy is found:
Daniel writes: “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
Daniel said: ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, “Get up and eat your fill of flesh!”
After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.'” (Daniel 7:1-7)
Daniel’s FIRST Beast
A Lion With Eagle’s Wings
by Ken Raggio
Daniel 7:4 – “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”
Again, the million-dollar question is this: “Where is a modern empire symbolized by a lion?” Here is the answer: Great Britain. Now there have been many nations that have utilized the lion as a symbol. But in modern times, the lion is most clearly associated with Great Britain – the largest empire in modern times. In recent memory, it could be said that “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” The British Lion is universally recognized. It has appeared on the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom since King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne in 1603. It also appears on several national emblems and flags. Another British symbol, lady “Britannia,” is depicted riding the back of a lion. The lion symbol is depicted behind Britannia on the British fifty pence coin and a lion is shown crowned on the back of the British ten pence coin. A lion is also used as a symbol on the non-ceremonial flag of the British Army.
What about the eagle’s wings that were plucked?
Again, there are few symbols more easily recognizable in the world today than the American Eagle. But how can the American Eagle be associated – connected with – the British Lion? That is an easy answer. The United States of America was originally a colonial territory of Great Britain. But IT WAS PLUCKED UP from the British Empire when the citizens of the thirteen original American colonies wrote and signed The Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring their independence and BREAKING AWAY FROM the British Crown – King George III.
Herein is a most wonderful fulfillment of ancient Bible prophecies. TWO-THOUSAND FIVE-HUNDRED YEARS AGO, the prophet Daniel envisioned the Declaration of Independence, which any educated person knows is one of the most important documents ever written in the history of mankind. It was the founding document of what is arguably the greatest nation that ever existed! And Daniel saw it!
After the wings of the eagle were plucked from the British Lion, “it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it,” Daniel 7:4. After 1776, and the rise of the United States of America, Britain became the largest empire in history.
While I’m not sure about the truth in ALL of Raggio’s statements on his website, I do agree with this portrayal of the first beast prophecy. It makes the most sense in context with the progression of Daniel’s writings and their historical representations.
I think that Bible scholars who have taught and still believe that the four parts of the statue and the four beasts both represent the first four kingdoms have not factored in events that came along later on the historical timeline.