The empire of Alexander the Great was established with lightning rapidity. This could be why the next beast is a fast animal like a leopard. Like other beasts in this unhloy list, this beast proceeds from the forces of chaos (the sea) that are opposed to creation. The animal itself is unnatural, having four wings on its back. These wings may illustrate the increased speed when compared to the winged lion, but may also refer to the four subsequent, Greek kingdoms that grew from the conquests of Alexander the Great. Generals and family faught to be rulers and they are collectively known as the Diadochi. Four of the Diadochi formed empires that lasted.
Many people have heard of Cleopatra, but they do not realise that she was the last in a line of Greek rulers of Egypt. The line of Greek rulers in Egypt were part of the Ptolemy line. Below you see images pulled from coins minted by the Ptolemies.
The Seleucid empire was founded by Seleucus who was a great administrator. He literally organised his way to power by rallying the administrators of the Persian heartland and also forming an army that combined the strengths of Greek infantry and Persian cavalry. The extent of Seleucus’ empire is shown on the map below:
The final two large sections of the Greek Empire were divided between Cassander in mainland Greece and Lysimachus in Macedonia and around the Aegean. Although the following map is in German it shows the ‘four wings’ of the third beast.
The accuracy of the prophecy is one of the causes that skeptics say the book of Daniel was written after these kingdoms were stablished. Of course, the other position is that God knew what would transpire. Even though the murder and intrigue of the hellenistic period was worth the bloodshed to those fighting for power, to God it was the rise of another beast who would leave the stage when the right time arose.
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
- How is the third beats described?
- Why is that appropriate for the Greek empire?
- Why would God allow the hellenization of the Ancient Near East?
- What empires in history have risen quickly and then disappeared?
- How do people worship speed and power today?