Building upon Daniel’s previous vision in chapter 2, this prophecy reveals more detail about the world empires. A horn on the fourth beast becomes the focal point, which is explained as a very unique power that is pompous and prevails against the saints. A court scene with the Ancient of Days is also introduced, which brings an end to the Stout Horn’s power and enables the saints to possess the kingdom.

Bible Reference: Daniel 7

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The Symbols

Daniel 7:2-3 - "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."
Daniel's vision was about four great beasts. As we study the characteristics of each beast, it becomes apparent that they parallel Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the image.
Daniel 7:17 - "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth."
The angel tells us that each beast represents a king (or kingdom). Later, as we study Daniel's third vision, the names of the second and third kingdoms are provided by the angel, leaving additional evidence that the third vision also parallels the first.

This vision can be read in Daniel chapter 7. It will help to read the chapter before continuing the study.

The Lion

Daniel 7:4 - "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."
The lion is thought of as the most powerful animal (king of the beasts), just like Babylon (also the head of gold) was the greatest kingdom. Giving the lion a man's heart symbolizes the change in Babylon's character after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonians launched attacks swiftly, as symbolized by the eagle's wings. “Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven” (Lam. 4:19). However, the advancement of their conquest was stayed, as represented by the wings being plucked.

The Bear

Daniel 7:5 "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."
The second beast was like a bear. It represented Medo-Persia and was raised on one side, symbolizing an imbalance of power (Persia was stronger than the Medes).

The three ribs in its mouth represent the three main entities it conquered:
  • Lydia (546 BC),
  • Babylon (539 BC) and
  • Egypt (525 BC).
Cyrus the Great, of Persia, conquered the entire middle east. His son, Cambyses, extended the kingdom, also capturing Egypt.

The Leopard

Daniel: 7:6 - "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 third beast was like a leopard. It's four wings represent the legendary extreme swiftness with which Alexander the Great conquered the mighty Persians and united Greece.

The four heads of the leopard symbolize the four divisions into which Greece was divided after Alexander died (more information on the four divisions are provided in the study on the "2300 Days").

The Dreadful Beast

Daniel 7:7 - "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."
The fourth beast was dreadful and different from the others. The kingdom that followed Greece was Rome, which was strong, like iron, and caused great fear and persecution.

The Dreadful Beast's Horns

Daniel 7:23-24 - "Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth...And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:"
As the great Roman Empire fell, it divided into 10 kingdoms or tribes, represented by the 10 toes in Daniel's first vision and also by the 10 horns on this fourth beast in his second vision. The kingdoms these horns represent are shown here.

The Uprooted Horns

Daniel 7:8,20 - "...there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots...whose look was more stout than his fellows."
Three of the 10 Kingdoms (nations of Europe) fell from power and were replaced by one that was more powerful. The three kingdoms and the dates they fell from power are shown here. These tribes gradually faded out of history.

The Stout Horn is Different than Other Beasts

Daniel 7:24 - "...and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings."
The Stout Horn power was different than the others because it was a religious power instead of a state power.

This religious power was the Church of Rome (Papal Rome), which history shows became the dominate ecclesiastical power in the realm. It's influence was greatly hindered until emperors from the east broke the power of the three kingdoms who dissented from the church's beliefs. The last of these dissenters was finally uprooted in 538 AD (when the Ostrogoths withdrew from Rome).

The Stout Horn's Length of Power

Daniel 7:25 - "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."
The length of time mentioned in this text is an important time frame in the Bible. It is referenced again in Daniel and a number of times in Revelation. The chart on the next page shows how the time frame is calculated.

The Stout Horn (Papal Rome), beginning in 538 AD, would be allowed to rule for a certain amount of time. The Church of Rome did many good things for society during this time period, but as foretold in this prophecy, it also did some blasphemous, hurtful and terrible things.

The Stout Horn's Length of Power

The Stout Horn would rule from 538 AD to 1798 AD. The 1260 days is an important and repeating time frame in the Bible, revealing that many prophecies parallel each other. Compare the listing below of all the instances that the time frame is mentioned and how it is calculated in each.

Characteristics of the Stout Horn

The Bible provides many identifying characteristics of the Stout Horn. The very influential and prominent Church of Rome in the Middle Ages fits all of them exactly. No other power in history meets all of the criteria.

1. It rises out of the fourth beast (Dan. 7:8,24).

The fourth beast (kingdom) was Rome, and the Stout Horn (Church of Rome) was based in Rome.
2. It appears after ten other horns (Dan. 7:24).
3. Starts out little, becomes greater than fellows (Dan. 7:8,20).
4. It puts down three kings (Dan. 7:8,24).

As previously discussed, the Stout Horn (Papal Rome) grew to dominant power after 3 of the 10 existing horns were eliminated (through it's influence).

Papal Rome definitely became "more stout than its fellows". It became the most powerful force in Europe. By the time cardinal Hildebrand became pope in 1073AD, he was affirming that the leader of the church, should not only be the universal head of the church, but also the ruler of the world.
5. It has eyes like a man and speaks great things (Dan. 7:8,25).
6. It speaks words against the Most High (Dan. 7:8,25).

Papal Rome, led by popes (eyes like a man), did speak "great things" (Hebrew = huge, domineering), unfortunately even against God, such as styling the pope as God on earth, claiming infallibility and teaching to confess sins to a priest on earth instead of to Jesus, our high priest in heaven (Heb. 8:1).

Characteristics of the Stout Horn


7. It wears out the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:25).

Persecution and harassment were common occurrences during the Middle Ages as the church forced its will upon all those who did not agree with its teachings. Tens of thousands, who were only seeking to follow the word of God, were harassed, tortured and killed.

The power of the popes was based on the theory of apostolic succession. The ordained clergy were said to be conveyed with the power to make Jesus present in the mass. Because of this, and other claims, they were able to maintain a tremendous influence over the laity, spiritually and politically for centuries to come.
8. It thinks to change the times and law (Dan. 7:25).

Changing civil laws occurs often and is necessary in order to accommodate changing cultures and technologies. All kingdoms modify laws, however, special note is made about this power changing law. This is noteworthy, not because Papal Rome tried to change earthly laws, but because it tried to change God's laws. Indeed, the Papacy believed it could add to, and even change God's law. A future presentation examines the specific claims of the church and the actual changes it has tried to make to God's law.
9. It has powers for a time, 2 times and 1/2 a time (Dan. 7:25).

As previously discussed, "A time, 2 times and 1/2 a time" equals 1260 years. With the uprooting of the 3 horns, ending with the Ostrogoths in 538 AD, the Church in Rome gained preeminence, culminating in 1798 when the pope was taken prisoner by Berthier, a French General, and the papacy was considered at an end. The time from 538 to 1798 is exactly 1260 years.

The Beasts' Dominion Is Taken Away

Daniel 7:10 - "...Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
After the saints have been in the dreadful beast's hand for the 1260 years, a judgment/court scene is portrayed, which finally takes away the dominion of the dreadful beast.
Daniel 7:26 - "But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
Through all the misuse of power by leaders, persecution and trials, God's people can be secure in their hope of righteous judgment, deliverance and an eternal kingdom.
Daniel 7:13 - " like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days...and there was given him dominion..."
When the Son of man (Jesus) comes to the Ancient of Days (God the Father), the judgment occurs, at the end of which Jesus receives the kingdom.

The Dreadful Beast is Slain

Daniel 7:11 - "...I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame."
The beasts are eventually destroyed. Revelation refers to this same burning flame as the "Lake of Fire" (Rev. 20:10).
Daniel 7:27 - "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."
Also, as a result of the judgment, Jesus receives the kingdom and then shares it with the saints. The judgment descriptions (Daniel 7:9-14, 22-27) show not only the beasts' condemnation, but the justification of the saints. Unlike modern concepts of judgment, in Biblical times, judgment always involved both parties, resulting in vindication of one and punishment of the other. This concept is expanded in Daniel’s next vision of the sanctuary being cleansed, which is from the Hebrew word “tsadaq,” meaning “ to be right, clear self and justify” (see presentations on the "Israelite Sanctuary" and "The 2300 Days").

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