by Michael D. Fortner
(1) Four Great Nations
Daniel 7 records a vision of four beasts which we will examine in detail; “Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea” (Daniel 7:3). They represent four nations. The first beast was like a lion with two eagle's wings, the second beast like a bear, and the third one like a leopard with four heads and four wings. The fourth beast is never actually described, except that it has large iron teeth and ten horns.
The standard interpretation says these four beasts represent Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and the ten horns that come from the fourth beast are supposed to be the Revived Roman Empire. But the text never makes mentions Babylon or Nebuchadnezzar or makes any reference to the nations in Daniel’s vision of a great statue. The statue dream clearly said the head was Babylon and the other kingdoms will come after Babylon, but here in Daniel 7 it merely says that four beasts come up out of the sea, so there is no reason to force these beasts into the that identification.
The correct interpretation relates to recent history and the end-time years, because Daniel plainly says that all four beasts will exist on Earth at the return of Christ, and the first three will live beyond that; but the fourth beast will be killed:
“. . . I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)” (Daniel 7:11-12)
The New King James says:
“. . . As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” (Daniel 7:11-12)
All of these nations will be in power at the return of Christ, which proves conclusively that there will not be a one-world government ruled by a dictator during the GT. At the end of the Great Tribulation, the body of the fourth beast will be thrown into the blazing fire; this could refer to nuclear destruction or to an asteroid impact. The other beasts are allowed to live for more than a year (a season and a time); therefore they are not killed. If they are not killed but are allowed to keep living, then it means they will exist here on Earth at the same time as the fourth beast.
Four beasts come to power, the fourth one is destroyed but the other three are not, they are still alive; therefore, all four must exist at the same time in the last days. But the three beasts will be stripped of their authority and power during the trouble of the Great Tribulation, World War 3, and Wrath of God. This means they will suffer loss of their power and strength because of the destruction they receive, but will still be alive. Therefore, they will not be totally destroyed, but will have survivors and at least some governmental functions.
(2) Lion and Eagle: British Empire & United States
Since Daniel 7 shows that the four nations must be on Earth today, as you read the following verses, take careful note of all the symbolism and think about what nation it could represent:
“The first was like a lion, and it had two 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 man, and the heart of a man was given to it.” (Dan. 7:4)
The lion is the symbol of Britain, and here it represents the British Empire. When the wings of an eagle are torn from the lion’s back is when the American colonies gained their independence in the Revolutionary War, so the eagle's wings represent the United States. The word “torn” is significant because the separation did not happen through peaceful negotiation, but through war.
The British Empire once ruled a large part of the world. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire because it was so large the sun was always shining on part of it. Britain invaded many nations to exploit the people and natural resources. Among the nations it once ruled or still rules are: South Africa, Pakistan, India, Burma, Ceylon, Dominican Republic, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Swaziland, Nigeria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Fiji, Honduras, Bermuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others.
In the Opium War of 1839-1842, England fought with China to force it to allow England to sell opium freely in China. This is how England acquired Hong Kong. A present-day equivalent of this war would be if Columbia fought a war with Brazil to force them to legalize the unlimited importation of cocaine. No wonder the Bible portrays Great Britain as a beast.
However, the verse also says, “it was lifted from the ground . . . and the heart of a man was given to it.” This passage tells us that England will stop being a beast, and so it has. Britain remained a beast well into the 20th-century when it stopped invading nations and allowed most countries in its empire to have independence. It is now a modern civilized nation, so far as unprovoked military aggression for profit is concerned.
This is just one of several direct references to the United States that is found in both the Old and New Testaments. There have been whole books written just to declare that America is NOT found in Bible prophecy, which just shows you how blind the so-called "experts" are. See my other article here on the Statue of Liberity in Bible Prophecy.
This article was adapted from the author's book, Discoveries in Bible Prophecy. Ask for it at your local bookstore or order it online.