Islam from a Biblical Perspective VI
The Four Beasts
In Daniel chapter 7, we see the same picture of four successive historical pagan empires succeeded by one final, last-days empire. This time, however, instead of using the imagery of a metallic statue, the story is told through the symbolism of four beasts.
He then inquired of an angel for a fuller explanation.
A Winged Lion
Nebuchadnezzar himself was referred to by the prophet Jeremiah as a "lion from the thickets of the Jordan".
More than 120 lions, fashioned out of colorful glazed ceramic brick, decorated the processional way of the ancient capital city of Babylon. The comment "and a man's heart was given to it" is often understood to refer to the humbling of King Nebuchadnezzar as recounted in Daniel 4.
The Lopsided Bear
The lopsided bear represents the Medo-Persian Empire, of which the Persian portion was much stronger than the Median portion. The three ribs are symbolic of the three provinces of Media, Persia, and Babylon. A Four Headed
Nearly as quickly as Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East, his life came to an end in 323 BC. After his death, Alexander's vast empire was divided up by his generals, friends, and family. What ensued were roughly fifty years of wars between these various successors, known as the Diadochi. by the third century, Alexander's kingdom was largely controlled by four dynasties.
1. The Ptolemaic Dynasty ruling over Egypt
2. The Seleucid Dynasty ruling over the region extending from modern-day Turkey to Afghanistan and Pakistan
3. The Lysimachean Dynasty ruling over the modern region of Bulgaria
4. The Cassandrian Dynasty ruling over the region of Macedonia or modern-day Greece
A Fourth Beast
The fourth beast correlates with the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2. The descriptions of the fourth kingdom fail to match up with the Roman Empire, but perfectly align with the description of the Islamic Caliphate. The Ten Horns represent a revival of the fourth kingdom Out of the beast grows ten horns. These ten horns represent the revived Islamic Caliphate and correlate to the feet of iron and clay in Daniel 2.
The ten horns represent ten kings, or kingdoms, that together, will compose the coming Antichrist's empire.
The little horn is the Antichrist
Then from the among the ten horns, Daniel saw another horn emerge. This eleventh horn seemed to uproot three other horns and then take complete charge over all ten.
This introduction of the "little horn" is where this vision extends beyond the information revealed in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Whereas Daniel 2 revealed the coming four empires, this portion of Daniel's revelation introduces us to the leader of the final kingdom.
After watching the destructive power of the Antichrist and his kingdom, Daniel was "greatly troubled".
The Jewish Position
The following is from Ezekiel, A Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic Sources: "The Midrash comments that these ten horns symbolize ten kings of the Fourth Kingdom, and the eleventh horn is the final king whom Israel will confront. All these kings, the Midrash stresses, are to be descendants of Esau. The implication is that the king and initiator of the campaign against Israel will be from Esau-Edom". They are not saying that the other three kingdoms would be contemporaries of the final, anthichristic empire. The point is to simply contrast the nature of the final empire's destruction, which will be sudden, utter, and complete, with the destruction of the previous empires, which, though conquered, often lived on to a degree in the empire that subjugated them.
The Messianic kingdom is reiterated throughout the entire chapter.
This is the meaning of the passage. There is no reason to see it as proving that these other empires all coexist as contemporaries.