Daniel 7:3,4

There has been more than one ‘beast’ in history.  Daniel 7 contains four great beasts.  We can see them as a description of great and proud empires that set themselves up as world powers.  In this light Britain could be seen as a beast of the 18th – 20th centuries, and America and Russia could be beasts of the 20th century.  Each world empire is different, but each one is the same.  It takes the order of creation and it twists it and exploits it.

For the original reader the beasts’ rising from the sea would show that they are rising from forces which try and undo God’s order in creation.  The sea is chaos.  These beasts, then, are not part of the natural created order but like horrific orcs created from beautiful elves, the beasts in the Daniel narrative are mutations.

There is a grandeur to these aberrations and that is nowhere more apparent than in the first beast which takes the form of a lion crossed with an eagle.  Both beasts are swift and both beasts are beasts of prey.  However, because of their beauty and grandeur both beats were frequently used as national symbols.  Judah ascribed greatness to God by calling him a lion and an eagle at various times.

This beats is Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.  It starts as proud and ravenous but finds humanity with Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling experience.  It is transformed from a mythological symbol of terror to a compassionate and rational human being as God created humans to be.  In other words the empire of Nebuchadnezzar is redeemed in this narrative.

Daniel 7:3,4

3Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

 4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

Questions

  1. What does the sea show us about the beats that follow?
  2. Describe the first beast?
  3. How does the first beast change?
  4. What empires in history have developed power that led them to be destructive of people and God’s creation?
  5. How could you make an argument for or against America being a beast like those in Daniel 7?
  6. How can an empire redeem itself like Babylon?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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10 Responses to Daniel 7:3,4

  1. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. They are cause chaos just like the sea can symbolize chaos.
    2. The first beast looked like a lion and had the wings of an eagle.
    3. Its wings get torn off it is lifted up to stand on two feet like a human. It is also given the mind of a human.
    4. Hitler’s government, communists governments.
    5. I think in some ways America is like the beasts in this chapter. Sometimes they go into a country in order to help and instead produce chaos.
    6. An empire can redeem itself by realizing that it is not God and is not in control. It needs to bend the knee to Christ and in this way it can be redeemed.

  2. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) like the sea, the beasts that followed were powerful and different.
    2) Originally, it looked like a lion and had wings like an eagle, but then it looked more like a human.
    3) It changes from looking like an animal to having human form.
    4) The Nazis and warring Muslims.
    5) America has the power described in these visions, but has not used that power for evil destruction.
    6) By turning back to the Lord.

  3. Moon Jung Kim says:

    What does the sea show us about the beats that follow? The sea implies chaos and great power and it shows us that the beasts coming out of the sea is also like chaos and powerful like the sea
    Describe the first beast? like a lion and it had the wings of an eagle
    How does the first beast change? its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground, so it could stand on the ground like a human
    What empires in history have developed power that led them to be destructive of people and God’s creation? Greece-Rome, the Nazism, terrorists of Muslim, Soviet Union vs America
    How could you make an argument for or against America being a beast like those in Daniel 7? America has had and still has the great power like those beasts of Daniel …
    How can an empire redeem itself like Babylon? realize there is God who is the highest and almighty and follow Him

  4. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. they both represent chaos.
    2. like a lion and had wings of an eagle.
    3. its wings were torn off, and it could stand on two feet like a human being.
    4. Nazism, communists, and muslims.
    6. Turn back to God and know that God is God.

  5. HyeJin Lee says:

    What does the sea show us about the beats that follow?
    – Chaos and great power
    Describe the first beast?
    – It is like a lion and has wings of an eagle
    How does the first beast change?
    – It becomes like a human.
    What empires in history have developed power that led them to be destructive of people and God’s creation?
    – Nazis, Communists
    How could you make an argument for or against America being a beast like those in Daniel 7?
    – I think America is somewhat like the beast described in this chapter because it is such a super-power country among all nations.
    How can an empire redeem itself like Babylon?
    – Repent and turn to God

  6. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. The beasts cause chaos like the sea.
    2. The first was like a lion, with wings like an eagle.
    3. It’s wings get torn off and it morphs into a human-like being, standing on two feet.
    4. Germany developed power and used it against the Jews, The Iraq government gained power and used it in abusive ways within their own country. The US has hained so much power throughout the years and at times used that to in greedy ways that have harmed or taken advantage of other nations, from the beginning with slavery.
    5. You could make an argument for America being an empire like the one in Daniel 7 as it started started out so strong and valient but as it has gained more power it has become self destructive by abusing that power and creating a government known for lying, and manipulating the system.
    6. An empire can redeem istself by humbling itself before God.

  7. Grace Yoo says:

    1. The sea shows us that the beasts cause great chaos.

    2. The first beast was like a lion and had wings like an eagle.

    3. The human mind was given to it.

    4. I am not sure.

    5. America is like the beast in the way that we do have a lot of power.

    6. An empire can redeem itself like Babylon by turning and trusting in God.

  8. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. What does the sea show us about the beats that follow?
    It is like the sea: chaotic
    2. Describe the first beast?
    a mix between an eagle and a lion
    3. How does the first beast change?
    Its wings were torn off and it stood up like a man and got a human brain.
    4. What empires in history have developed power that led them to be destructive of people and God’s creation? Germany, America, Rome
    5. How could you make an argument for or against America being a beast like those in Daniel 7? America bombed Japan and killed many people. but it also has been a peacekeeper. I guess it could go either way. It certainly did have destructive power.
    6. How can an empire redeem itself like Babylon?
    By doing good or by conforming to the Word of God.

  9. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. Chaos and power.
    2. It is a cross between a lion and an eagle.
    3. It’s wings are ripped off and it is stood on two legs, like a human, and given a human mind.
    4. Germany, Russia, America.
    5. America could be seen as a beast because there are many times when America invades other countries and tries to make them like America, whether the other countries want it or not.
    6. By recognizing God as in control and not just being destructive and invasive for its own selfish gain.

  10. aaron wright says:

    1. its very chaotic
    2. it had parts of a lion and parts of an eagle
    3. the creatures wings were torn off and it stood up like a man and got a brain too!
    4. Ninevites in the Bible and when Hitler controlled Germany
    6. A nation can redeem itself by bowing down before God and putting Him in control.

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