Wild Animals of Daniel Seven
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
Daniel chapter 7 describes four of the great world powers that would rule the then-known world before they are all replaced by God’s Kingdom. And the reason why only these world powers are mentioned is made clear at DaniEl 7:18, where we read:
‘They will [each] take to themselves the kingdom of the holy ones of the Most High, and they will control it though the ages and into the ages of ages.’
So, what makes them so important is their special dealings with ‘the kingdom of the holy ones of the Most High.’
Note how, in Daniel chapter 7, these world powers that dominated IsraEl (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) are pictured as wild animals:
1. The empire of Babylon (especially under King NebuChadNezzar, who was humbled by God) was depicted as a female lion that had wings, but lost her wings and was given the feet and heart of a man.
2. The empire of the Medes and Persians was depicted as a bear that had three ribs sticking out its mouth, likely picturing their conquests of Babylon, Asia Minor, and Egypt.
3. The third wild animal that looked like a leopard and had four wings and four heads pictured the fast-moving empire of the Greek king, Alexander the Great, followed by the rule of his four generals who divided the kingdom between themselves after his death.
4. The fourth wild animal that was so large and unusual was obviously Rome, which was a new form of government that crushed and devoured the then known world.
What do the horns picture?
One theory is that its ten horns likely picture the many governments that sprang from it, including France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and others; But the little horn that grew and pushed out three of the other horns likely pictures the empire of Great Britain (including its former colonies) that ‘pushed’ the other major powers (such as France, Spain, and the Netherlands) out of their prominent colonial positions.