The Book of Daniel, Chapters 7-10
The Book of Daniel is one of the great prophetic books of the Old Testament. As Daniel looks down through the corridor of time, and through the halls of history, he sees the future before it happens.
Daniel Chapter 7 opens a new and different section of the Book of Daniel. The first six chapters contained the emphasis of the historical. The last six chapters will be on the prophetic.
God gives Daniel several visions of four beasts which are quite remarkable. God has provided for us a broad scope of prophecy, into which we can fit even the things which are happening in our generation today.
When we come to the seventh chapter of Daniel, which we are studying today, which has been called by some, the most comprehensive and detailed prophecy of future events that you will find anywhere in the Old Testament, this is a chapter of pure future prophecy. It is the record of God’s incredible and unchanging plans for the nations. It is no wonder that the critics have worked so hard to destroy this Book for the prophecies that were given in the 7th Chapter of Daniel, which have been literally fulfilled in history and promises us that the prophecies that are yet unfulfilled will be fulfilled in the future.
These creatures symbolize four great empires that will emerge in the days ahead, and ultimately rule the future for years to come.
Before we look at the actual prophecies of this Book, and have just barely gotten started in the prophetic part of Daniel, beginning at the seventh chapter, I need to clarify some matters about the structure of the Book of Daniel and so these are sorta’ introductory thoughts as we begin this second section.
First of all, I need to tell you that Daniel is not a book like the other books of the Bible. It does not follow consecutively in its message.
I want you to notice the first nine verses of Chapter 7. It says:
1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream and told the sum of the matters. 2Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 5And 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. 6After 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. 7After 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. 8I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. 9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
We know there’s something different here, for we thought we had finished with Belshazzar. Remember when he was having this party and he had taken the holy vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple of God and was using them at this wild party and the handwriting came on the wall and the Persians were coming in under the wall and it was going to be all over for King Belshazzar? That’s the end of Chapter 6 and here we are in Chapter 7 and here Belshazzar is mentioned again, and we think: what’s his name doing here in Chapter 7, when he has already died. We know that these chapters do not come in chronological order.
In verse 7 of Daniel 7, the beast with 10 horns represents the Roman Empire just as the legs of iron of Nebuchadnezzar’s image did. More attention is given to the fourth beast than to all the other three put together. This Scripture is very important to us because we are living in the time of the fourth beast. There will be a time when the 10 toes and 10 horns begin to manifest themselves.
The fourth beast is altogether different from the others and he is presented in a separate vision. We all have seen a lion, or a bear or a panther, but we have never seen a beast like this on land or sea or in the air. This is an unusual beast. It is described as dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly. It has great iron teeth. The vision of this fourth beast is made even more important to us because it is yet unfulfilled. The vision of the three beasts has been fulfilled.
In Verse 8 of Daniel 7 our attention is directed to the 10 horns. Notice that they do not represent a 5th kingdom. They grow out of the head of the fourth beast described in Daniel 7.
Rome fell apart because of internal corruption. Drugs, alcohol, deceit, lying, immorality and murder: this is also the picture of America in the dark hours in which we live. Our nation is going down the same path today. Rome is going to be put together again and it is interesting that men are looking for someone who will be able to do it.
In verse 8 of Daniel 7 another little horn becomes the key to the entire situation. He uproots 3 of the 10 horns and establishes himself over all. In this horn were eyes denoting an intelligence and genius, a mouth speaking great things, denoting the blasphemy of this man.
In Verse 9 the scene shifts to Heaven and the Throne of God is revealed. This is the same scene described in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation. It is the preparation for the judgment of the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ to the Earth:
• The “Ancient of Days” is the eternal God.
• “Whose garment was white as snow” refers to His attributes of holiness and righteousness.
• “The hair of His head like the pure wool“ speaks of His infinite wisdom.
• “His throne was like the fiery flame” speaks of judgment.
• “His wheels as burning fire” speaks of the energy and power of God.
In Ezekiel 1:10-21, verse 10 is not the Great White Throne Judgment which occurs after the Millennium, but is the setting for the return of Christ to establish His Millennial Kingdom here upon Earth.
10As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 11Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. 12And they went everyone straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. 13As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. 15Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. 16The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. 18As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. 19And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21When those went these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
This is not the Great White Throne Judgment which occurs after the Millennium but is the setting for the judgment of the Great Tribulation and the return of Christ (Revelation 19:11-14) to establish His Millennial Kingdom here upon earth. Christ will reign a thousand years on the earth under heavenly conditions. After that period, Satan will be released.
11And I (John) saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The unregenerate human heart, still in rebellion against God, rallies to Satan’s leadership and in the book of Revelation he assembles them to make war against Christ.
In the second half of the Book of Daniel we have four visions that Daniel had himself and the first one is in the 7th Chapter and we’ve already discovered that this vision took place in the first year of Belshazzar.
In Daniel 7: 9-14 let’s continue reading Daniel’s dream and vision that he recorded.
Daniel 7: 9-14
9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
As the dream of the image troubled Nebuchadnezzar, this dream/vision disturbs Daniel. He approaches one of the Heavenly creatures for an explanation, as read/recorded in
15As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. 16I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’ 19Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 20and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 21I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. 23Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ 28At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.
(* Reminder: Daniel 2:4 through Daniel 7:28 were in Aramaic.)
Referencing Daniel 7:18 . . .
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Sometimes we hear that one denomination assumes that they are the saints and no one else will be there, in heaven, but God has a big family. God saved people before Pentecost and He is going to save people after the Rapture. God is in the saving business. Maybe the churches are failing to reach people with the Gospel but it sure isn’t God who is failing. He never fails.
It should be remembered that Rome will again be a world power under Antichrist.
Daniel’s Vision of the Ram and He Goat
Coming to Daniel the 8th chapter we read . . .
1In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. 2And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. 3Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beast might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. 5And as I was considering, behold an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. 9And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them. 11Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 12And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.
That tells us WHEN that vision fits in.
Then in Chapter 9 we read that Daniel prays for the restoration of Jerusalem:
1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 2In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 4And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 5We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: 6Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. 8O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. 9To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 10Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. 12And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
13As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. 14Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. 15And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. 17Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. 18O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. 19O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
The angel Gabriel then informs Daniel of the “seventy weeks”.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans . . .
We know where the fourth vision appears chronologically.
Now we come to the10th chapter of Daniel and there’s the last vision, so what you need to do to understand the Book of Daniel is to understand that Chapters 7-12 give us visions that literally took place during the period historically that is described in Chapters 1-6.
Daniel Chapter 10 – Daniel 12
In the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia, Daniel sees a vision that is interpreted to Daniel by an angel named Michael. (For vision details read Daniel Chapters 10, 11, 12.)
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
(For all these people we thought we were done with, they’ll continue to pop up in the second half of the Book of Daniel.)
Now Daniel’s four dreams took place over a period of some twenty-two years. In Daniel Chapters 1-5 we see Daniel interpreting dreams for others. (Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?) Notice that we see an angel interpreting Daniel’s dream.
Daniel Chapter 7 is both the end of the first section and the beginning of the second. If you go back through the Book of Daniel, you’ll discover that Chapters 1-7 reveal the destiny of the nations of the world and Chapters 8-12 reveal the destiny of the nation of Israel.
When you get to the end of the 7th chapter, you’ll find there’s no more Aramaic language or Chaldean language. The recorded Aramaic language began at Daniel 2:4 and continued through Daniel 7:28. In Daniel Chapter 8 we deal with Israel. We’re back in the program with Israel.
Now I want to talk just a minute about the significance of this 7th Chapter because without these introductory remarks, we’re not going to understand what’s going on and it’s going to be a challenge even with these introductory remarks.
Daniel Chapter 2 is a dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, and interpreted by Daniel. Daniel Chapter 7 is a dream, given to Daniel, and interpreted by an angel. Daniel Chapter 2 and Daniel Chapter 7 go together. Daniel Chapter 2 uses a beast to convey its message. Daniel Chapter 7 uses live looking beasts that come out of the sea.
Daniel Chapter 2 describes 10 toes growing out of the feet of the single great statute and Daniel Chapter 7 has 10 horns growing out of the head of the last beast. Daniel Chapter 2 shows history from a pagan king’s viewpoint, from Nebuchadnezzar’s viewpoint: this gigantic beast with a head of gold, Daniel Chapter 2.
Daniel Chapter 7 gives you God’s viewpoint about devouring one another. That’s the way God sees the nations of the world. The four beasts that arise out of the sea of people represent the moral character of the four kingdoms. The beast in the first part of Chapter 7 tells us what God thinks of the nations of this world, and of its kingdoms.
In essence, the character of those beasts is symbolized in two events that we read about in Daniel Chapters 1-6.
The moral character of the kingdoms is symbolized in Belshazzar’s party: the drunkenness, the impurity, the debauchery that symbolize what goes on in the kingdoms of the world today. And the other event in the first part of the Book of Daniel is when Darius demanded that he be worshipped by all of the people: the idolatry and the humanism of the kingdoms of this world.
Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.”
The great sea:
There is a meaning of the word sea which is everywhere evident in the Bible. The “great sea” in the Bible context is also used to refer to the Mediterranean Sea. In the Bible, the sea is also used for great masses and multitudes of people.
Then He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.
The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
What are they like? The troubled sea
12Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! 13The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
He’s saying that the waters, the great seas, are like great seas of humanity, great seas of people.
Now Daniel sees the great sea of people and he says that in his dream the four winds were blowing upon that sea.
The number four is often a number that stands for the world, and Daniel is picturing literally a gigantic sea with winds from all of the four points of the compass, blowing in upon that sea. The picture that he has in mind from the prophetic application is a picture of the world’s condition.
Thus saith the Lord of host, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
The picture that Daniel sees in his dream is a gigantic sea, and the winds blowing upon the sea, so that it is turbulent, and it’s filled with commotion and turmoil.
If you need more references to the wind and its relationship to the sea, read Revelation 7:1-3 and Luke 21:25:
1And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Luke 21:25 (Jesus speaking)
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring.
The striving of the wind upon the sea denotes political strife and uprisings and wars and bloodshed among the nations.
Daniel sees the nations in unrest as we have already discovered their nature to be. Now the third thing that Daniel sees, according to the third verse, is that out of that turmoil of sea people, four great beasts rise up out of the water. That’s kinda’ frightening. So many times in the Scriptures animals are used to represent kingdoms.
3Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. 4But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales. 5And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.
In Ezekiel 32:2 we read of Pharaoh, the young lion and whale.
Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.
In Psalm 74:13-14, we read about Egypt and she is compared to the whales.
13Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. 14Thou breakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest them to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
I want to give you a couple of illustrations. In Ezekiel 29:3-5, we read of the dragon of the Nile, representing Egypt and Pharaoh. The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel saying,
Ezekiel 29:3-5 (The LORD is speaking)
3Speak now and say, Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers, that has said, my Nile is mine, and I myself have made it. 4I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your rivers cling to your scales. And I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish of your rivers will cling to your scales. 5I will abandon you to the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; you will fall on the open field; you will not be brought together or gathered. I have given you for food to the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the sky.
In Ezekiel 32:1-2 we read about Pharaoh, the young “lion” and “whale” (monster in the seas).
1In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him, You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations, yet you are like the monster in the seas; and you burst forth in your rivers and muddied the waters with your feet and fouled their rivers.
In Psalm 74:13-14 we read about Egypt and she is compared to the dragon and the leviathan, meaning a sea monster.
13You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters. 14You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
In ancient nations, generally speaking, animals were used as symbols of kingdoms and even today the lion represents Great Britain. The eagle represents the United States. Almost every nation has its own animal representative.
We learn later on in the chapter that these beasts that are “coming up out of the sea” are literally kingdoms that have existed in the world. These beasts come up one after the other.
In this 7th chapter we see it from God’s viewpoint. The kingdoms are like beasts/animals devouring one another. The first animal was like a lion, but had eagles’ wings.
The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I beheld till its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand upon its feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
Now the lion is the king of the beasts and the eagle is the king of the birds and this animal symbolizes the Babylonian Empire, which was in Daniel Chapter 2, symbolized by the head of gold and the head of gold “animal symbol” has becomes a lion.
If you would go to a study of archeology in that region, you would quickly realize that the national symbol of Babylon was a winged lion. There are replicas of a winged lion in the British Museum.
At the main gates of the city of Babylon there were two lions that guarded the gate. They were winged lions. People of Babylon automatically knew that the winged lion stood for Babylon. The wings indicate the swift, strong, cruel kingdom, so this first beast combines the majesty of the lion and the strength and the power of the eagle.
In Jeremiah 49:19-22 we see the eagle and the lion, both used to describe Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 49:19-22 (The LORD is speaking)
19Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? For who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? And who is that shepherd that will stand before me? 20Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them. 21The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea. 22Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
Jeremiah 4:7 (The LORD is speaking.)
The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.
Daniel Chapters 10-12 reveal one vision given to Daniel, explained by the angel Gabriel to Daniel in response to Daniel’s prayer.
Daniel 10:14 (spoken by Gabriel)
Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.