Daniel 7 Prophecy
On this page, we’d like to clarify further the meaning of the Daniel 7 prophecy. To understand this prophecy, like many other prophecies in the bible, you must look at the second half of the chapter first. It is in the second half that the angel explains to Daniel what the signs and symbols of the prophecy mean. It will also help you to look at the “Bible Timeline” page PDF of this site. Here you can zoom in closely to see how historic events have played out, and how they are relevant to this prophecy. Many denominations of Christianity discount the importance of understanding prophecy in the bible, yet the bible tells us that it is important for us to know and understand the scriptures so that we are not deceived by any man. In Revelation, the most difficult to understand book of prophecy, we are advised:
“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”~ Revelation 22:7
We are “blessed” for keeping the sayings of prophecy and striving through prayer and discernment using the Holy Spirit, to understand God’s message. Let’s start by finding the meanings of the symbols used by the angel in the Daniel 7 Prophecy. To find these, we must look to the second half of the chapter first.
Daniel 7 KJV (Second Half):16-27
“I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.”
To Summarize the meanings of the symbols:
Great Beasts = 4 kings/kingdoms that arise out of the earth
4th Beast = fourth kindom upon the earth (the last kingdom)- It is diverse from all other kingdoms, devours the whole earth, breaks it into pieces
10 Horns– Ten kings that arise out of this kingdom (another shall rise after them diverse from the first and will subdue three kings)
The One that Subdues Three Kings– He will speak great words against God/Jesus, wear out the saints of God, think to change times and laws, and the saints will be given into his hand for “time and times and the dividing of time”/1,260 years (day=year principle)- Explained- Time and times and the dividing of time = 3.5 years = 42 months = 1,260 days = 1,260 years. (See “Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy” page for explanation of the day=year prophecy principle)
Now we can read the prophecy and understand. We will break the prophecy up to include explanations using the meanings above.
Daniel 7 Prophecy Explained:(First Half) 1-15
1-4:In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 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.
EXPLANATION- This first beast described, or first great kingdom is described as “like a lion and had eagle’s wings that were plucked and made stand upon feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. Looking to the bible, (Isaiah 5:29, and Jeremiah 4:7, 50:17, 44-46), the Kingdom of Babylon was referred to as a lion. The bible also compares Babylon to an Eagle (Jeremiah 48:40, Ezekiel 17, Habbakuk 1:6-8), indicating that they swiftly conquered territories. King Nebuchadnezzar eventually went insane from his many conquests, but then became sane again realizing he was just a mere man, not a God. This may explain why “A man’s heart was given to it.”
5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
EXPLANATION- This second beast is characterized by brutality, as it devours much flesh. After the fall of the Babylonian Empire, came the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire. Notice the bear is “raised up on one side”. This can be explained in the fact that the Persians of the Empire were much stronger than those of Medes. It was a noticable difference in strength according to history. This bear also has “3 ribs in the mouth between the teeth of it.” This kingdom was larger than Ancient Babylon in that it covered all of the previous Kingdom of Babylon, Egypt, and Lydia, the 3 ribs in her teeth. These are the three main areas that they conquered and made a part of thier kingdom. This empire was notably known for cruelty in war, thirst for blood, robbery and spoils (Isaiah 13:16-18, Jeremiah 51:48-56).
6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
The empire of the “Leopard” that came next logically would be the Kingdom of Greece lead by Alexander the Great. Notice that it has 4 wings, and 4 heads. This beast has 4 wings, compared with the 2 wings of Babylon indicating that it conquers with speed, much more swiftly than the Kingdom of Babylon had conquered. This was true with Alexander the Great, in that he swept through the territory with frightening speed. At the height of Alexander’s power, he died suddenly (some say to poisening) as he was very young, and the following 40 years would be a struggle for power between 4 of his generals. 40 years later in 281BC, the Kingdom of Greece was divided into 4 notable territories led by the 4 generals. These 4 territories can be seen in the map above. This explains the 4 heads of this Leopord beast. Keep in mind, shortly after the split, Rome would defeat the Greek City-States of Italy as they begin to flex thier muscle as the next and upcoming massive kingdom. They would go on to defeat Macedonia making it a Roman Province and identifying Rome as the next or fourth beast of the earth that would devour the earth. Rome would eventually be controlled by the Roman Catholic Church.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
EXPLANATION- This fourth beast is dreadful, terrible, strong, diverse from the beasts before it and had 10 horns. The kingdom of Rome met these characteristics in that their cruelty was unmatched in comparison with the prior kingdoms of the earth. In the map above, you can see how Roman influence swallowed up the entire known civilized world and then some. Remember from the symbol interpretations of the second half of the chapter, that the 10 horns are ten kings that arise out of this kingdom (and another shall rise after them diverse from the first and will subdue three kings). When looking to the history of the Kingdom of Rome, around 500AD, 10 kingdoms were born out of this Kingdom. They are the Visigoths, Saxons, Burgundians, Suevi, Huns, Franks, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and the Herult. These distinct kingdoms made up what is today called Europe. If you look at the “Bible Timeline” page of this site, you can see thier emergence clearly.
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
EXPLAINED- Remember from the explanation- that another horn (little horn) would rise diverse from the first kingdoms, and would subdue three kings. This is the little horn that is spoke of in verse 8. When we look to the history of the 10 Kingdoms of Europe that came out of the Kingdom of Rome (which can be seen in map above), 3 of these Kingdoms were subdued by Emporer Justinian, who would soon after establish the Roman Catholic Church as the first political/religious superpower in the world. The 3 Kingdoms that were subdued were the Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Herult. With these three Kingdoms subdued, and the beginning of the political rule of the Roman Catholic Church- came the rise of Antichrist- speaking great things against God, changing the laws and times of God, and trampling the saints under foot (See “Identifying Antichrist” page for much more detail). This little horn/Rome/eventually the Roman Catholic Church through the Papacy would go on to remove God’s second commandment, replace God’s Holy Feast Days with Christmas and Easter, both rooted in Ancient Babylonian idolatry- and move God’s Holy Sabbath Day to Sunday rather than the Lunar Sabbath as established by God. They would go on to persecute true Christians that remained true to the bible, killing millions by persecution and torture, all while claiming they posessed the power of God. They did this and prospered for the entire prophecied 1,260 years of their power, from the 500’s to the late 1700’s when the Pope was removed from political power by Napolean. Through the Kingdom of Rome, all of the territories of the previous three kingdoms were conquered, along with all of the lands of the known world. The Roman Catholic Church would go on to have power and influence even in the Americas as well. We can conclude with the fact that European influence now runs the world stage and world politics as we know it, and it all began with this “little horn” Kingdom of Rome, as you can see here in this prophecy.
9-11 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
Explanation- This is a prediction of the fate of Antichrist at Judgment Day, jumping to the end of the age. The man they are describing is Jesus sitting on the thrown, with wheels of burning fire. Daniel was able to witness when the beast/Antichrist was slain and his body thrown into the “burning flame” or the lake of fire as described in Revelation.
12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
EXPLAINED- This indicates that the prior beasts, which would be the Kingdom of Babylon, The Kindom of Medi-Persia, and the Kingdom of Greece did not last forever, but rather only lasted for a “season and time”. These Kingdoms would not be relevant in the end of the age. We know that this is true in that these three prior Kingdoms did pass away. Rome however throughout time and through the Roman Catholic Church maintains political influence over all of the leaders of the world today. There is no other place honored by all world leaders, other than The Vatican where the Pope has his estate.
13-14 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
EXPLAINED- This is speaking of the second coming of Christ, when he returns upon the clouds of heaven. It gives insight that Jesus will return and establish a “Kingdom that will not be destroyed”, also indicating that the fourth kingdom will be destroyed at His coming.
15- I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
We hope that at this point you are able to more clearly understand the Prophecy of Daniel 7. As you continue to study other prophecies, you will see how they all tie together in some form or fashion. In Daniel 12, it tells us that the meanings of these prophecies would be sealed up until the end time- which of course is the time that we find ourselves in now. We encourage you to continue to study and search the scriptures, so that no man may deceive you and that you are a worker for God, ready and capable to accomplish any good work through Jesus Christ.