The Fourth Beast

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #8

The Fourth Beast

A fourth beast  —  The Roman empire.

No descriptive name given, because it was so ferocious and hideous that none of the beasts of the earth could be compared with it.  The same as the dragon of #Re 13:1,2.

“1  and he stood upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns, and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority.” (Re 13:1-2 ASV)

Stamped the residue  —  Nothing could withstand its power.

It had ten horns  —  The ten divisions of the Roman Empire.

Kingdoms. R318:5 200318 R3359:4* 203359

Babylon is represented as being divided into ten different wards, each of which represents one of the kingdoms of Christendom, and which corresponds to the ten horns of the symbolic beast.

Compare Rev. 11: & #Da 7:7. SM405:4 Corresponding to the ten toes of the image of Dan. 2. PD50/61 210211 OV83:7; HG20:4; R3359:4* 203359

“7 After this I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, a fourth beast, terrible and powerful, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I 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.” (Da 7:7-8 ASV)

The American clergyman and writer Albert Barnes wrote: (Bible quotes inserted by us)

#Da 7:7,8 After this I saw in the night visions The other beasts were seen also in a dream, {#Da 7:1 } and this probably in the same night, though as a subsequent part of the dream, for the whole vision evidently passed before the prophet in a single dream. The succession, or the fact that he saw one after the other, indicates a succession in the kingdoms. They were not to be at the same time upon the earth, but one was to arise after another in the order here indicated, though they were in some respects to occupy the same territory. The singular character of the beast that now appears; the number of the horns; the springing up of a new horn; the might and terror of the beast, and the long duration of its dominion upon the earth, attracted and fixed the attention of Daniel, led him into a more minute description of the appearance of the animal, and induced him particularly to ask an explanation of the angel of the meaning of this part of the vision, #Da 7:19.

“ Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was diverse from all of them, exceeding terrible, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet;” (Da 7:19 ASV)

And, behold, a fourth beast This beast had peculiar characteristics, all of which were regarded as symbolic, and all of which demand explanation in order that we may have a just view of the nature and design of the symbol.

As in reference to the three former beasts, so also in regard to this, it will be proper to explain first the significance of the different parts of the symbol, and then in the exposition {#Da 7:19, following} to inquire into the application. The particulars of this symbol are more numerous, more striking, and more important than in either of the previous ones. These particulars are the following: {#Da 7:7-11 }

“7 After this I saw in the visions by night, and behold, the fourth beast was fearful and terrible and very strong. It had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces and stamped the residue under his feet: and it was unlike to the beasts that were before it: for it had ten horns. 8 As I considered the horns, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked away: and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking presumptuous things.

9  I beheld, till the thrones were set up, 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. 10 A fiery stream issued, and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand thousands stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books opened. 11 Then I beheld, because of the voice of the presumptuous words, which the horn spake: I beheld, even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning fire.” (Da 7:7-11 GenevaBible)

(a) The animal itself: {#Da 5:7 }

“a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly.”

The form or nature of the beast is not given as in the preceding cases — the lion, the bear, and the leopard — but it is left for the imagination to fill up. It was a beast more terrific in its appearance than either of the others, and was evidently a monster such as could not be designated by a single name. The terms which are used here in describing the beast —

 “dreadful, terrible, exceedingly strong,”

are nearly synonymous, and are heaped together in order to give an impressive view of the terror inspired by the beast. There can be no doubt as to the general meaning of this, for it is explained {#Da 7:23 } as denoting a kingdom that

“should devour the whole earth, and tread it down, and break it in pieces.”

As a symbol, it would denote some power much more fearful and much more to be dreaded; having a wider dominion; and more stern, more oppressive in its character, more severe in its exactions, and more entirely destroying the liberty of others; advancing more by power and terror, and less by art and cunning, than either. This characteristic is manifest throughout the symbol.

(b) The teeth: {#Da 7:7 }

“and it had great iron teeth.”

Not only teeth or tusks, such as other animals may have, but teeth made of iron. This is characteristic of a monster, and shows that there was to be something very peculiar in the dominion that was here symbolized. The teeth are of use to eat or devour; and the symbol here is that of devouring or rending — as a fierce monster with such teeth might be supposed to rend or devour all that was before it. This, too, would denote a nation exceedingly fierce; a nation of savage ferocity; a nation that would be signally formidable to all others. For illustration, compare #Jer 15:12 Mic 4:13.

“ Shall the iron break the iron, and the brass that cometh from the North?” (Jer 15:12 GenevaBible)

“ Arise, and thresh, O daughter Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thine hooves brass, and thou shalt break in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their riches unto the Lord, and their substance unto the ruler of the whole world.” (Mic 4:13 GenevaBible)

As explained #Da 7:23, it is said that the kingdom denoted by this would “devour the whole earth.” Teeth — great teeth, are often used as the symbols of cruelty, or of a devouring enemy.

“ Then he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom in the earth, which shall be unlike to all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces.” (Da 7:23 GenevaBible)

Thus in #Pr 30:14:

“There is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth are as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.”

So David uses the word to denote the cruelty of tyrants:

#Ps 3:7, “Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly”; #Ps 57:4, “whose teeth are spears and arrows”; #Ps 58:6, “break their teeth in their mouth; break out the great teeth of the young lions.”

(c) The stamping with the feet: {#Da 7:7 }

“it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.”

That is, like a fierce monster, whatever it could not devour it stamped down and crushed in the earth. This indicates a disposition or purpose to destroy, for the sake of destroying, or where no other purpose could be gained. It denotes rage, wrath, a determination to crush all in its way, to have universal dominion; and would be applicable to a nation that subdued and crushed others for the mere sake of doing it, or because it was unwilling that any other should exist and enjoy liberty — even where itself could not hope for any advantage.

(d) The fact that it was different from all that went before it: {#Da 7:7 }

“and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it.”

The prophet does not specify particularly in what respects it was different, for he does not attempt to give its appearance. It was not a lion, a bear, or a leopard, but he does not say precisely what it was. Probably it was such a monster that there were no animals with which it could be compared. He states some circumstances, however, in which it was different — as in regard to the ten horns, the little horn, the iron teeth, etc., but still the imagination is left to fill up the picture in general. The meaning of this must be, that the fourth kingdom, represented by this beast, would be materially different from those which preceded it, and we must look for the fulfillment in some features that would characterize it by which it would be unlike the others. There must be something marked in the difference — something that would be more than the common difference between nations.

(e) The ten horns: {#Da 7:7 }

“and it had ten horns.”

That is, the prophet saw on it ten horns as characterizing the beast. The horn is a symbol of power, and is frequently so used as an emblem or symbol in Daniel {#Da 7:7,8,20,24 8:3-9,20-22 } and Revelation. {#Re 5:6 13:1,11 17:3,12,16 } It is used as a symbol because the great strength of horned animals is found there. Thus in #Am 6:13, it is said:

“Ye that rejoice in a thing of nought, That say, Have we not taken dominion to ourselves by our own strength?” (Hebrews horns.)

#De 33:17:

“His beauty shall be that of a young bull, And his horns shall be the horns of a rhinoceros: With these he shall push the people to the extremities of the land: Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim, Such the thousands of Manasseh.” — Wemyss.

#1Ki 22:11, we find horns used in a symbolic action on the part of the false prophet Zedekiah.

“He made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith Jehovah, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.”

#Zec 1:18, the four horns that are seen by the prophet are said to be the four great powers which had scattered and wasted the Jews. Compare Wemyss on the Symbolic Language of Scripture, art. “Horns.” There can be no doubt as to the meaning of the symbol here, for it is explained in a subsequent part of the chapter,

{#Da 7:24 } “the ten horns are the ten kings that shall arise.”

It would seem also, from that explanation, that they were to be ten kings that would “arise” or spring out of that kingdom at some period of its history.

“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise”;

that is, not that the kingdom itself would spring out of ten others that would be amalgamated or consolidated into one, but that out of that one kingdom there would spring up ten that would exercise dominion, or in which the power of the one kingdom would be ultimately lodged. Though Daniel appears to have seen these horns as pertaining to the beast when he first saw him, yet the subsequent explanation is, that these horns were emblems of the manner in which the power of that one kingdom would be finally exerted; or that ten kings or dynasties would spring out of it. We are, then, naturally to look for the fulfillment of this in some one great kingdom of huge power that would crush the nations, and from which, while the same general characteristic would remain, there would spring up ten kings, or dynasties, or kingdoms, in which the power would be concentrated.

(f) The springing up of the little horn: {#Da 7:8 }

“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn.”

There are several points to be noticed in regard to this:

(1) The fact that he “considered the horns”; that is, he looked on them until another sprang up among them. This implies that when he first saw the monster, it had no such horn, and that the horn sprang up a considerable time after he first saw it — intimating that it would occur, perhaps, far on in the history of the kingdom that was symbolized. It is implied that it was not an event which would soon occur.

(2) It sprang up “among” the others yBe — starting from the same source, and pertaining to the same animal, and therefore a development or putting forth of the same power. The language used here does not designate, with any degree of certainty, the precise place which it occupied, but it would seem that the others stood close together, and that this sprang out of the center, or from the very midst of them — implying that the new dominion symbolized would not be a foreign dominion, but one that would spring out of the kingdom itself, or that would seem to grow up in the kingdom.

(3) It was a little horn; that is, it was small at first, though subsequently it grew so as to be emblematic of great power. This would denote that the power symbolized would be small at first — springing up gradually. The fulfillment of this would be found, neither in conquest nor in revolution, nor in a change of dynasty, nor in a sudden change of a constitution, but in some power that had an obscure origin, and that was feeble and small at the beginning, yet gradually increasing, until, by its own growth, it put aside a portion of the power before exercised and occupied its place. We should naturally look for the fulfillment of this in the increase of some power within the state that had a humble origin, and that slowly developed itself until it absorbed a considerable portion of the authority that essentially resided in the kingdom represented by the monster.

(4) In the growth of that “horn,” three of the others were plucked up by the roots. The proper meaning of the word used to express this yrqta, is, that they were rooted out — as a tree is overturned by the roots, or the roots are turned out from the earth. The process by which this was done seems to have been by growth. The gradual increase of the horn so crowded on the others that a portion of them was forced out, and fell. What is fairly indicated by this was not any act of violence, or any sudden convulsion or revolution, but such a gradual growth of power that a portion of the original power was removed, and this new power occupied its place. There was no revolution, properly so-called; no change of the whole dynasty, for a large portion of the horns remained, but the gradual rise of a new power that would wield a portion of that formerly wielded by others, and that would now wield the power in its place. The number three would either indicate that three parts out of the ten were absorbed in this way, or that a considerable, though an indefinite portion, was thus absorbed.

(5) The eyes: “and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man.” Eyes denote intelligence, as we see objects by their aid. The rims of the wheels in Ezekiel’s vision were full of eyes, {#Eze 1:18 } as symbolic of intelligence. This would denote that the power here referred to would be remarkably sagacious. We should naturally look for the fulfillment of this in a power that laid its plans wisely and intelligently; that had large and clear views of policy; that was shrewd and far-seeing in its counsels and purposes; that was skilled in diplomacy; or, that was eminent for statesman-like plans. This part of the symbol, if it stood alone, would find its fulfillment in any wise and shrewd administration; as it stands here, surrounded by others, it would seem that this, as contrasted with them, was characteristically shrewd and far-seeing in its policy. Lengerke, following Jerome, supposes that this means that the object referred to would be a man, “as the eyes of men are keener and sharper than those of other animals.” But the more correct interpretation is that above referred to — that it denotes intelligence, shrewdness, sagacity.

(6) The mouth:

“and a mouth speaking great things.”

A mouth indicating pride and arrogance. This is explained in #Da 7:25, as meaning that he to whom it refers would

“speak great words against the Most High”;

that is, would be guilty of blasphemy. There would be such arrogance, and such claims set up, and such a spirit evinced, that it would be in fact a speaking against God.

We naturally look for the fulfillment of this to some haughty and blaspheming power; some power that would really blaspheme religion, and that would be opposed to its progress and prosperity in the world. The Septuagint, in the Codex Chisianus, adds here,

“and shall make war against the saints”;

but these words are not found in the original Chaldee. They accord, however, well with the explanation in #Da 7:25.

“ And shall speak words against the most High, and shall consume the Saints of the most High, and think that he may change times and laws, and they shall be given into his hand, until a time, and times and the dividing of time.” (Da 7:25 GenevaBible)

What has been here considered embraces all that pertains properly to this symbol — the symbol of the fourth beast — except the fact stated in #Da 7:11, that the beast was slain, and that his body was given to the burning flame. The inquiry as to the fulfillment will be appropriate when we come to consider the explanation given at the request of Daniel, by the angel, in #Da 7:19-25.

“19 After this, I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was so unlike to all the others, very fearful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass: which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue under his feet. 20 Also to know of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, before whom three fell, and of the horn that had eyes, and of the mouth that spake presumptuous things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made battle against the Saints, yea, and prevailed against them, 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the Saints of the most High: and the time approached, that the Saints possessed the kingdom. 23 Then he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom in the earth, which shall be unlike to all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten Kings that shall rise: and another shall rise after them, and he shall be unlike to the first, and he shall subdue three Kings, 25 And shall speak words against the most High, and shall consume the Saints of the most High, and think that he may change times and laws, and they shall be given into his hand, until a time, and times and the dividing of time.” (Da 7:19-25 GenevaBible)

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Preceding

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #1 Introduction: What is Prophecy? – Prophets, fortune-tellers and Prophecy

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #2 Shiloh

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #3 Job’s Redeemer

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #4 Judah — Gods Battle Axe

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #5 Evening Morning Period

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #6 Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

Answers Concerning Prophecies and things future #7 Toes of the Image

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