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Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 Pt 4

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Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective

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Getting back to Daniel 13 and Revelation 7 with this article brings us a closer look at the 7 heads of the beast (which also has 10 kings and ten crowns), of Revelation 13. My goal is to make these articles easy to understand without getting so bogged down in minutiae. I mean, let’s face it, either of these two books – Daniel or Revelation – can create situations where we are digging into every small aspect presented in the text. That’s great for deep textbooks but for our purposes, I want to provide overviews as much as possible with detail where needed.

In order to delve into and hopefully uncover the identities of the seven heads (if possible), we need to backtrack just a bit by going back to Daniel 2. But first, let’s reference the biblical text from Revelation 13:1-4 (NKJV).

1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

The overall picture here is John is standing on the sand near the ocean/sea. As he does, he sees a beast rising out of the sea in front of him. This particular beast has:

  • seven heads
  • ten horns
  • ten crowns on the ten horns
  • blasphemous name on the seven heads

What this beast actually looked like is anyone’s guess. It seems clear that John was having a very difficult time describing it and likely God presented the vision in a way that would make some sense to John. I believe in this particular vision, John actually saw a beast that had the seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns on the horns, along with a blasphemous name. It must have looked extremely odd to him.

Obviously, the beast represents something as all symbols in Scripture represent something. Our job is to figure it out. This is done most effectively by looking to other parts of Scripture if the meaning of a symbol is not given in that text that highlights the symbol itself.

The first four verses provide clues as to the meaning of this beast. It is a metaphor, symbol or picture that allows John to remember and describe. Bearing this in mind, does this mean that the coming “beast” will actually be some type of horrible-looking ferocious animal that has seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns on the horns? Obviously no, that cannot be, due to the fact that the verse 2 describes this beast as part leopard, part bear and part lion. The seven heads and ten horns makes it strange indeed; a weird looking creature isn’t it?

So if every symbol used in Scripture is either explained in that text near the introduction of that symbol or somewhere else in Scripture, then we can find the meaning. Ultimately, regardless of the individual human being that God chose to write down specific parts of God’s Word, we need to remember that God wrote all of it. In essence, the Bible is God’s Book to humanity and it doesn’t matter if we are reading Genesis, Daniel or Revelation, if we allow the Bible to interpret itself based on the entirety of God’s Word, we will rarely go wrong.

So the leopard, bear and lion – where have we seen those particular animals with reference to specific beasts before? From Daniel 2, which we’ve already discussed in this series, but it is helpful to remind ourselves. The lion in Daniel 2 represented the Babylonian Kingdom. The bear represented the Medo-Persian Kingdom and the leopard represented the Grecian Kingdom. Now we know that John is referring to the same beast(s) that Daniel originally referred to, but with the addition of several facts. God, through John, is providing additional information but first reminds us of those previous “beasts” that represented various kingdoms.

Just as Daniel saw in his visions and interpretation of the dream presented to King Nebuchadnezzar, the “beasts” were not real beasts, but merely representative of the Kingdoms that God would allow to come into fruition (from Daniel’s perspective), and then get gobbled up by the next kingdom. Recall that the final kingdom that Daniel saw was terrifying. He noted it was a mix of iron and clay, but there was no specific animal associated with that particular empire, which ultimately became the Roman Empire.

So it is clear that John is referring to the kingdoms first made known to us by Daniel in Daniel 2. Later in Daniel 9, we read about the “times of the Gentiles,” which is the length of time these (Gentile) kingdoms would reign. Notice verse 3 above says, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed.”

In my view, this is referring to the last “head” of this beast, which is the Roman Empire. Here is where it gets a bit interesting. There are seven “heads” that John sees when this “beast” comes up out of the sea. When Daniel saw this beast, it did not have seven heads, but it did have 10 toes. This specific beast now has seven heads and ten horns with a crown on each horn. Therefore, in my view, these seven heads all belong to the final beast, which is representative of the various stages that Rome went through as it began to grow into an empire until it will become the final, revived Roman Empire.

Numerous historians and biblical scholars believe the Roman Empire went through a variety of stages before it came to its zenith during the time of Jesus. Even after Jesus, the Roman Empire continued to morph and change. Eventually, it divided into two parts – the east and the west. That was the first major crack in its unity and eventual fall. But let’s take a moment to consider the possible meaning of the seven heads of Rome. While there are some who take this reference as an allusion to the seven hills upon which Rome was built, I tend to agree with Dr. Arnold G. Fructenbaum [1] who labels the individual seven heads in the following way to show how the Roman Empire developed over a period of time.

  • First Head: The Tarquin Kings (753 to 510 BC)
  • Second Head: The Counselors (510 – 494 BC)
  • Third Head: The Plebians or Dictators (494 – 390 BC)
  • Fourth Head: The Republicans or Decimvers (aka Oligarchy of Ten; 390 – 59 BC)
  • Fifth Head: The Triumverate (59 – 27 BC)
  • Sixth Head: The United Stage (actual Roman Empire; Imperialism, Strong as Iron; 63 BC – AD 285
    • The Two-Division Stage – East/West Balance of Power; AD 364 – Present)
    • One World Government Stage – Toes of Iron & Miry Clay (Future)
    • Ten Stage Kingdom Stage – (Future)
      • ten horns (kings)
      • 3 uprooted
      • 7 remaining who submit to Eighth Horn
  • Seventh Head: Antichrist Stage/Absolute Imperialism
    • Little Horn is the 11th Horn
    • Becomes the 8th after uprooting 3 of 10

Let’s not forget that Antiochus Epiphanes IV came out of the remaining, four parts of the Grecian Empire. During Epiphanes IV’s career, Rome had taken on quite a bit of strength so that they could warn Epiphanes from trying to conquer Egypt (in roughly 168 BC). This would have been at the Republicans or Decimvers stage in Rome’s development. Rome was becoming a force to be reckoned with at that point.

All the above heads, according to Fruchtenbaum (and others), all deal with the Roman Empire. As I’ve previously mentioned, the Roman Empire which went out of existence as far as the history books tell us, but will be resurrected in some form by the coming Antichrist (in the Seventh Head stage). What is interesting about the Roman Empire is that, unlike the previous three kingdoms; Babylon, Medo-Persia and Grecian, the Roman Empire went through a long, convoluted development before it had become the Sixth Head/United Stage of Imperialism, with its fiercely strong “iron” type of description. Rome’s “fall” took many centuries.

As the Roman Empire began its very long decline, certainly longer than the previous three “beasts,” it morphed into other things, then weakened into “death.” However, it is very interesting to note that today’s European Union covers much of the same geographical area as the old Roman Empire did. Though the EU is dealing with internal pressures from individual countries, so that we do not know what the final result of this will all be, it seems clear to me that once Antichrist takes his place, 10 kings will already be in their place of rule. Their rule will be relatively short (which is why the Scriptures tell us they will rule for “a little while”), and their places will be usurped and swallowed up by the Antichrist.

Please note there are numerous other opinions as to what these “heads” in Revelation 13:1-4 represent, but to me, this makes the most sense. In the end, does it matter? Not really. Ultimately, the Bible will be fulfilled in the way God intends it to be fulfilled. I believe that the final global kingdom highlighted in Scripture will be a revision and strengthening of the old Roman Empire, taking advantage of all of today’s modern technology. If we can imagine what Rome was able to accomplish without modern technology, imagine what “new Rome” will achieve today? The various stages of Rome’s development (as seen in the seven heads above), seems to adequately explain what John is seeing.

Let’s also not forget that the Vatican is the headquarters of Roman Catholicism. Understanding what the current pope is busy pushing makes one wonder if this (or another pope), will become the false prophet spoken of in Revelation 13?

In the end, when Antichrist resurrects the ancient Roman Empire in all its absolute imperialistic ferociousness, is it any wonder that the entire world will “marvel” and follow the head of this “beast” (v 3)? The head at that time will be Antichrist. Though many have tried to recreate Rome in modern times, no one has been successful. The EU is the latest version of this attempt and it doesn’t appear to be coalescing that well, with some countries wanting out, others want it, still others do not want to follow all the EU’s rules. There is a disproportion of sentiments between members of the EU. It is not fully united, but in some form, will be once Antichrist comes on the scene and is allowed to gain his place in future history.

We will consider more of Revelation 13 in our next segment.

[1] See Footsteps of the Messiah, pages 45-46

Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective


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