The traditional interpretation of Daniel chapter 2 and 7 is that they are dealing with the same empires. In Chapter 2, we know that the empires were that of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.
But here are the reasons why the four beasts mentioned in Daniel chapter 7 cannot be referring to these same ancient empires :
- Daniel 7:12 mentioned that the first 3 empires will survive the destruction of the empire of the Antichrist. Babylon and Medo-Persia no longer existed.
- When Daniel received the interpretation of the vision, Daniel 7:17 clearly stated that these 4 beasts are empires which will arise in the future. So Babylon could not be the first beast as Daniel was already living under the Babylonian empire at her height of glory.
- Daniel chapter 8 mentioned that the ram represented the kings of Media and Persia and the goat represented the kingdom of Greece. So the Bible will be terribly mixed up if the bear and leopard are used to represent these 2 same ancient empires.
- All these 4 beasts are apparently mentioned in Rev 13 and it is a single vision starting from Rev 12 to 14. The vision starts from the birth of the Messiah to His defeat of the last beast. When the Messiah came, 3 of the ancient empires of Babylon, Persia and Greece had already come and gone.
What are the four empires in the end times ? Were some already here and have lost dominion ? Do we have enough evidence to make conjecture about the existence of these empires now ?
I have read of some conjectures made by several ministers and theologians. But this is the conjecture I believe in :
- The first beast, lion, was the British Empire. The modern day symbol of the British Empire is a lion. It ruled some 23% of the world’s population or 412 million at its height. It was the largest empire in history. The eagles’ wings were plucked off the lion and America gained her independence from Great Britain in 1776. The symbol of America is an eagle.
- The second beast, bear, was the former Soviet Union. The socialist empire, consisting of 15 republics, existed from 1922 to 1991. It was governed centrally by one single Communist Party from Moscow, the capital of the largest republic, Russia. The modern day symbol of Russia is the bear. The bear has 3 ribs in its mouth which may signify that Russia may try to retake 3 other republics again. It has ambition to retake Ukraine and possibly another 2 states.
- The third beast, leopard, may be Germany. Germany had always tried to unite Europe. The reign of Hitler from 1923 to 1945 was referred to as the Third Reich. Hitler imagined his dictatorial regime was the successor to two great German empires. The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire ruled by Charlemagne. And the Second Reich was the German Empire under Otto Van Bismark who ruled from 1870 to 1919. Though the symbol of Germany is not the leopard but during World War 2, she fought ferociously like a leopard. Their most formidable weapon was the leopard tank. Presently Germany is already dominating the European Union. Is this the Fourth Reich ? Or will a political union of 4 European nations arise with Germany as the leading state in the very near future as signified by this leopard beast with 4 heads and wings of a bird ? The unofficial symbol of France is a rooster.
If the third beast is already here, then the coming of the final beast, the Antichrist, is very near. Will the European monetary union break up to cause a global economic collapse, and a new political cum monetary union arise under the Antichrist ?
All thanks be to God for the opportunity to fellowship and share a message on the coming economic hard times with the Riau provincial leaders of GBI, a denomination of some 20,000 churches, and pastoral leaders of churches in Batam on 12 April 2019. We were hosted by GBI Tabgha church, Batam. (GBI Tabgha church is the largest church in Batam with some 20,000 baptized members.)
The night before, I shared with fellow pastors Ramil, Christy, Sirivuth, Sambo, Vibol and Peter Wanyonyi whether an earthquake would happen to give urgency to the message I would give this very morning. As we returned from Batam at about 7 pm and before we took the train back to the hostel, a 6.8 earthquake happened in Sulawesi, Indonesia triggering a tsunami warning at 7.40 pm. Of course I hope and pray for God’s mercy that there will be no casualty, but yet I have to take God’s warning seriously to expect an exponential increase of earthquakes in this beginning of the birth pains. All glory and praise to our sovereign God that there was little or no casualty.
(I cannot help but to notice the slim odds of such regular occurrence. When I first shared this message on 10 March 2011 in Batam at Alfa Omega, the massive 9.0 earthquake triggering the worst tsunami occurred in Japan the next day. In Nov 2018, I went to share the same message in General Santos, Philippines and a 6.9 earthquake happened just 120 km from the city two or three weeks later.)
By the grace of God, JC’s Manifesto was able to sponsor some egg incubating and roasting oven equipment to scale up the production capability of the farms of her ministry partners and also allow these farms to offer further value added service such as roasted chicken to supply restaurants directly, in case there is market demand.
All thanks be to God for the opportunity to bring the ministry partners together to share of their experiences and to teach each other new productive development. And also to teach the use of the above equipment.
JC’s Manifesto also took this opportunity to invite potential ministry partners from other regions. I gave thanks to God for sending Pastor Peter Wanyonyi from Kenya to come for the agricultural enterprise training at Alfa Omega Ministry. Praying that God will bless his hands when he returns to Kenya, and in turn, be a blessing to fellow ministers and churches there.
It is sad to note that certain evangelical denominations practise double standards in opposing one issue while approving or condoning another when the reason given in the Scripture for the commands concerning the two issues is the same or is very straightforward and clear.
In this article, I am not arguing for or against the issues per-se but I am saddened by the double standards practised at such respectable evangelical denominations. Such practice of double standards will rubbish their moral authority of upholding truth. It may also convey the wrong message that their own upheld biblical views on the side of pragmatism take precedence over the obedience of straightforward commands of Scripture.
Here are 2 examples.
1. The reason Scripture gave for opposing homosexuality as sin, and forbidding women to teach or have spiritual authority over men, is the same – it is simply God’s designed order. 1 Tim 2:12-14. Scripture is not implying that one gender or one type of relationship is considered more superior than the other. All men and women are created equal and all the saved men and women will be like angels in eternity. We have several examples of the excellent ministry of women in Scripture such as how Timothy was brought up in godliness by his godly mother and grandmother. So we cannot trivialize the excellent and necessary ministry of godly women in the kingdom of God other than teaching and exercising authority over men. (Scripture gives the qualification of overseer and deacon starting with the criterion of being husband of one wife. If it applies to both gender, such qualification ought to be specific knowing the confusion will happen in the future.) On the other hand regarding homosexuality, I am sure it can be argued that homosexual relationship can also exercise fidelity and faithfulness in the union. So I see no reason to continue to debate the merit of any held position; since it is simply God’s designed order which should settle such issues.
2. Some of these churches may judge the sin of non Christians in the world by taking up action such as organizing political protest petition or event, but not judge the sin of believers in the church. And end up violating God’s direct command in 1 Cor 5:9-13.
1 Cor 5:9-13
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”