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In Daniel 7, the fourth beast had ten horns, but then an 11th horn came up and uprooted three of the other horns, leaving 8 horns.

In Revelation, there are three beasts with seven heads and ten horns each (12:3; 13:1; 17:3). Seven is equal to the total number of heads in Daniel 7. (The leopard had 4 heads.) Ten is also equal to the total number of horns in Daniel 7 (at least before the 11th horn showed up).

There must be some relationship between the seven heads and ten horns in Daniel and Revelation. The seven heads and ten horns are explained in Revelation 17. So, my question is, what is the significance of the similarity of the number of heads and horns? Are these exactly the same 17 entities, or do the numbers indicate that the beasts in Revelation are a continuance (descendants) of the beasts in Daniel 7, or perhaps something else?

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6 Answers 6

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The dragon with seven heads and ten horns is the same beast as the fourth beast mentioned in Daniel's vision in Daniel 7:7-8.

“After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured, crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.”

Daniel does not mention the seven heads but focuses rather on the ten horns which were ten kings.

a. Seven heads

“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while,” 17:9-10.

Thus, the seven heads are the seven hills of Rome which had become the symbol of the imperial city. The woman is Jerusalem.

b. The ten horns

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast,” 17:12-13.

 These ten horns are Roman kings who derive their authority from the beast.

 The time of their power is limited as they receive authority “for one hour.” In other words, for a short period of time.

 These kings serve Rome for they “give their power and authority to the beast,”

2.

“And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

Their power has been taken away. This suggests the power of the Roman empire over the nations.

3.

“And the dragon stood before the woman (Israel) who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child.”

Satan attempted to kill Jesus at his birth. This was a prophesied event. “Thus, says the Lord, "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 32:15.

Matthew records in Matthew 2:16-18 that Jeremiah's words were fulfilled in the attempt to kill Jesus after his birth.

“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.”

In Daniel 7:24 we are also told that these ten horns are ten kings of the sea beast.

“As 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.”

In chapter 13, we see this scene.

1.

“Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.”

a. The then horns are still the ten kings of Rome; this is why they are wearing crowns.

b. The seven heads are still the seven hills of Rome which had become the symbol of the imperial city;

“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while,” 17:9-10.

  1. The appearance of the beast is presented as that of a composite predator.

“Like a leopard, his feet were like those of a bear, his mouth like the mouth of a lion;” This beast is a devourer of nations. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”

Satan is the power behind the throne and his prey would be the Christian and Jewish communities.

  1. The wounding of the beast,

“I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound (no hope for survival) was healed.”

a. Which head was wounded?

The wound is seen on only one of the heads of the beast, not one of the horns. Since, according to chapter seventeen the seven heads were the first seven emperors, this wound was received during the reign of one of these seven rulers. Since five of them had already come and gone, and one had not yet come, this only leaves the one who was reigning at the time – the sixth who was Galba. This means that the Empire of Rome suffered a fatal wound during the time of its sixth emperor, and had God not healed the wound, Rome would have destroyed itself. From the time of Galba to Vespasian the empire was in a state of political chaos with three consecutive emperors within the space of eighteen months. During this time, Rome was also plagued with civil war and bankruptcy. It was not until Vespasian came to power in AD 69 that Rome began to recover from the brink of collapse. From this sprang a resurgence of emperor worship that was enforced under penalty of death.

b. What was the 'fatal' wound?

 As verse fourteen tells us, the wound was the result of warfare “the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.” The fact that he came to life simply means that the Empire regained its stability and position of world dominance and power under Vespasian.

 The wound was “healed.”

This has to be the result of divine intervention. The head did not simply recover from the wound over time. Action was taken in response to the wound. The fact that it was healed speaks of divide intervention on the part of God. Without an act of God, the wound would have been fatal. Rome still had a role to play in its global spread of the gospel. The Roman persecution was largely responsible for the spread of Christianity.

 The seeming indestructible nature of Rome drew a response from the nations.

“And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?'”

They praise the strength and power of the beast rather than God who healed the beast.

  1. The blasphemy of the beast

a.

“There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies.”

Should it be ‘him’ or ‘it’?

 This is dative case and both masculine and neuter gender. Since the antecedent is the beast representing not a person but a nation, it would seem to be more appropriately rendered in the neuter rather than the masculine. In fact, it is so rendered in a number of English translations. Thus, “There was given to it....” Since however, the “head” is referring to a specific ruling person, for “the seven heads are kings,” it would certainly seem appropriate to use “he.”

 The source of this arrogance and blasphemy is the dragon. He is the one who empowered the beast in verse two. Satan is the one who influences the minds of the emperors.

 The arrogant words and blasphemies

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Paul writes,

“...that son of perdition an adversary who exalts himself above every so-called god proposed for worship, he who seats himself in God's temple and even declares himself to be God.”

This is blaspheming the name of God. It would seem that this is directed at this particular persecutor.

b.

“And authority to act for forty-two months was given to him (it).”

The authority is to execute destruction against Jerusalem.

c.

“And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.”

How does he blaspheme the name of God? He assigns the title of God to himself.

 The church is here intended as the co-recipient of this king's blasphemies. He blasphemes God “and his tabernacle, those who dwell in heaven.” The tabernacle or house of God is “those who....” The Church is the tabernacle of God whose dwelling place and place of origin is heaven. We will see this more clearly when we get to chapter twenty-one. “Those who dwell in heaven” stands in contrast to the beast that rises out of the sea – Rome, and the best in verse eleven that came “out of the earth” (the place of the nations) is Jerusalem. Those who dwell in heaven represent the saints.

 The blasphemies are associated with persecution. The persecution of the saints is an affront to God himself.

5.

“It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.”

Nero persecuted Christians irrespective of nationality. Jerusalem is no longer Nero's only object of assault. Late in AD 64, Nero began his persecution of Christians. This persecution was not limited to Jewish Christians but encompassed Christians of every ethnic group – those of “every tribe and people and tongue and nation.”

6.

“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”

a. This is directed toward those who were the subjects of the three woes – those in Jerusalem, because it speaks of those destined for captivity and those killed by the sword. When Titus sieged the city in AD 66 it was on the Sabbath day during the Passover. This means the city would have been crowded with people. Josephus estimated the population of Jerusalem to be about 2,500,000 at the time the siege. When the city eventually fell, the accounts of the dead were estimated to be between 600,000 to over 1,000,000, thousands of which were crucified. Josephus placed the number 1,100,000 but the conqueror Titus believed it to be around 600,000. 95,000 captives were taken as prisoners and sold into slavery or killed in gladiatorial games. The rest died of starvation and disease.

b. These are those whose names are not written in the book of life. These are said to worship the beast – Rome.

Jerusalem despised Roman rule and fought against Roman domination yet, they are said to worship the beast. This seems paradoxical, but the fact is, that prior to the Roman Jewish war, Jerusalem was in league with Rome. Palestine was one of the tributary provinces and was ruled by king Herod Agrippa who who's allegiance was to Rome. If you do not worship the Lamb, you worship the beast. There are no other options.

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  • Hi old hermit! (I am probably older than you.) Thanks for your answer. I find it a bit difficult to see what the answer on my question is. Just two questions to you: (1) If the seven heads are successive (Rev 17:10), how can they be the seven hills? (2) If the number of horns in Daniel is 11, why do you equate them to the 10 horns of Revelation?
    – Andries
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 15:42
  • Perhaps it would be better to discuss this in the discussion room. Some answers will require more room than are afforded here.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 17:07
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Many jump to unwarranted conclusions about the relationship(s) between the beasts of Rev 12 & 13 and those of Dan 7. The antidote to this "rush to conclusions" is to examine all of the facts. Here is a list of the characteristics of the various players:

4th Beast of Daniel 7

  • V2, 3 - comes out of the "great sea" (ie, from the Mediterranean Sea)
  • V7 - terrifying—dreadful and extremely strong
  • V7 - large iron teeth
  • V7, 19, 23 - It devoured and crushed; then it trampled underfoot whatever was left over the whole earth
  • V7, 19, 23 - different from all the beasts before it
  • V7, 20, 24 - it had 10 horns who are 10 kings who will arise from the fourth beast
  • V8, 20 - it had another little horn that came up after the ten horns (see below)
  • V19 - bronze claws
  • V17, 23 - It is a great king/kingdom who/which will arise on the earth

Little horn of Daniel 7

  • VV8 & 20 - arose from the 4th beast
  • V8 - came up after the 10 horns
  • V8, 24 - uprooted 3 of the earlier horns/kings
  • V8, 20 - eyes like a man
  • V8, 20, 25 - mouth that spoke arrogance/blasphemies against the Most High
  • V20 - more imposing than the other 10 horns
  • V21, 25 - waged war against (persecuted) the saints and prevailed against them
  • V25 - intends to change times and law
  • V25 - saints given into his hand for time, times (dual = two times) and half a time

1st Beast of Rev 12

  • V3 - great red dragon
  • V3 - appears in "heaven" (ie, not on the earth or sea)
  • V3 - has 7 heads and 10 horns
  • V3 - has 7 "diadema" (royal crowns) on the heads
  • V4 - tail sweeps one third of stars from the heaven and tossed them to earth
  • V4 - stood before the woman who was about to give birth, ready to devour her child as soon as she gave birth
  • V7 - fights Michael in heaven
  • V8 - not strong enough to win war in heaven
  • V9 - hurled down to earth
  • V9 - identified as ancient serpent, devil, Satan, deceiver of the whole world
  • V13 - peruses/persecutes the woman
  • v14 - woman protected from the dragon for a time, and times, and half a time
  • V15 - spews water to kill woman
  • V17 - enraged at woman and goes "away" to make war against the woman
  • V17, 13:1, 11 - dragon stands on the seashore and calls up two more beasts, one from the sea, and one from the land

This final act creates the well-known beast trinity of Rev 12 & 13.

2nd Beast from the Sea, Rev 13

  • V1 - comes from the sea
  • V1 - has 7 heads and 10 horns (just like the dragon)
  • V1 - has 10 "diadema" on its horns
  • V2 - body of a leopard
  • V2 - feet of a bear
  • V2 - mouth of a lion
  • V2 - received power and authority from the dragon
  • V3 - one head was mortally wounded (Lit: "ritually sacrificed to death") but was healed
  • V3 - whole world marveled at this beast and followed it
  • V4 - this causes people to worship the dragon
  • V4 - appears invincible
  • V5, 6 - mouth spoke arrogant words and blasphemies against God and heaven
  • V5 - acts for 42 months
  • V7 - waged war against the saints and overcame them

3rd Beats from the Earth, Rev 13

  • V11 - arises from the earth
  • V11 - 2 horns
  • V11 - like a lamb but speaks like a dragon
  • V12 - exercises all the authority of sea beast
  • V12 - caused the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed
  • V13 - does great signs (miracles), eg, causes fire to come down from heaven
  • V14 - these signs are used to deceive people
  • V14 - orders the construction of an image to the (sea) beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet had lived
  • V15 - gives breath/spirit to the image of the (sea) beast
  • V15 - causes all who would not worship the image to be killed
  • V16 - administers mark on forehead and hand
  • V17 - only those with mark can buy and sell.

CONCLUSION

Several things are immediately apparent from this survey:

  • the sea beast of Rev 13 has a composite description combining aspects of each of the four beasts in Dan 7
  • the sea beast of Rev 13 has a description most similar to the little horn of Dan 7

This analysis makes no comment about what or how these prophecies are/will be/have been fulfilled. It is based entirely upon the descriptions found in the Bible as listed above.

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  • Hi Dottard, Your conclusions seem right but it is a bit difficult to link these conclusions to the huge number of facts you listed. Also, I do not think that you answered my question: What is the significance of the similarity of the number of heads and horns?
    – Andries
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 15:22
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    @Andries - that would require a book. You will need to narrow your question. I have written such a book but cannot condense it much more than I have.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 20:02
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Both Daniel 7 and Revelation mention seven heads and ten horns. The question is, what is the significance of the similarity of the number of heads and horns?

I propose the answer consists of two parts:

Firstly: What this similarity DOES NOT mean. Namely, the seven heads and ten horns in Daniel are not the same as the seven heads and ten horns in Revelation. For example, In Daniel 7, the ten horns are followed by an eleventh horn which is described as the Antichrist and uproots three of the ten horns as it came up (Dan 7:8). Therefore, there are not really 10 horns in Daniel 7. For more examples, see The Beast.

Secondly, what this similarity DOES MEAN. This is only one of several allusions in Rev 13:1-2 to Daniel 7. Another allusion is that the beasts in Daniel 7 and Revelation all come up out of the sea. For a discussion of other similarities, see the article above. These allusions imply that the beast is part of the series of animals and horns in Daniel 7. In other words, these allusions were provided to allow us to identify the beast relative to the beasts and horns of Daniel 7. The same applies to the other seven-headed beasts in Revelation.

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The fourth beast in Daniel 7, only had 10 horns, didn't mention how many heads, obviously was not the same beast in the Revelation. However, it does not prevent us to think what kind of 'other' connection it may have, that the scripture had explicit description in their appearance.

Let's review the dragon/beast as described in Revelation 12:3; 13:1;17:3)

12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.

13:1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

17:3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.

These three dragons/beasts did not have the same description, again they were not the same. However, Revelation 12:9 had explicitly indicated the dragon was Satan. So what would the other two related to Satan? The next beast coming out of the sea in Revelation 13 received power from Satan. Therefore my observation is, from time to time, Satan exercise his power in disguise. Though it appears in different forms, but the devil is the same.

Back to the beast of Daniel 7, the four beasts in general were interpreted as

  1. Babylon - lion with wings is found to be Babylon emblem. His wings were torn off and later the mind of a human was given to him, this was told in Daniel ch4 that Nebuchadnezzar had once been punished by God, and later he was restored.
  2. Persia - the cripple legs represent the diverse strength of Persia and Media, and the three ribs represent the fall of Babylon, Lidia and Egypt.
  3. Greece - the four heads represent the four divided kingdoms after Alessander the Great died
  4. Rome - the fourth beast, who mastered the earth with their mighty army.

Question is, did Rome had any connection to Satan? This is uncertain. The scripture only told there were God's intervention in Babylon and Persia, but didn't mention about Greece and Rome. So it is up to individual thinking. However, the ten horns of the fourth beast was an allusion of its mighty power, that for sure is similar to the dragon/beast will have in Revelation.


As question had been modified, let me address to the newly edit.

There is an interpretation that the total heads and horns of the four beasts came to 7 & 10 matching the dragon in Revelation. However, I found this interpretation create more questions than answers. In order to rationalize the idea, the dragon was said to have the consolidated characteristics and powers from all four beasts. Then the induced questions are

  1. What were the difference in characteristics of these four beasts?
  2. What were the difference in power of these four beasts?
  3. Why would the later Islamic Empire, which was as powerful and extensive as Rome, didn't involve in the prophesy?
  4. How to justify the dragon in Revelation 12, which seemed to be a heavenly subject, had the characteristics and power of the four earthly subjects (beasts) combined.

"Satan" has the meaning of "accuser" or "opponent" who may not specific to one entity. It is what I believe Satan exercised its influence to the four kingdoms (4 beasts in Daniel 7) and come to its peak during the end times. The seven heads and ten horns may not exactly refer to its literal meaning, for seven and ten both have a meaning of fullness, completeness, and "ten" essentially equivalent to God's authority.

Therefore in the mean time, I still prefer the understanding that it was Satan, who exercise its influence to the world in disguise, from the past into the future until the very end.

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  • Hi Vincent, Thanks for the contribution. I would not limit the dragon to Satan. The dragon is also identified as Satan (Rev 12:9), but that is in a specific context. Revelation 12 uses “dragon” as a symbol for Satan’s forces during a series of wars. The identification of the dragon as Satan in 12:9 is appropriate for that context, for that verse describes the war in heaven. But, in other wars, "the dragon" also symbolizes the authorities on earth through which Satan works, for the dragon has seven heads and ten horns, and both the heads and horns represent kings (Rev 17:9-10, 12).
    – Andries
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 15:28
  • Perhaps it would be easier to discuss this on the discussion site. Some answers will require more space than afforded here.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 16:29
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Yes, the seven heads and ten horns in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation are the same. In both books, these symbols are used to represent a powerful political empire. In the book of Daniel, the seven heads and ten horns are described as representing a monstrous beast that emerges from the sea. In the book of Revelation, the seven heads and ten horns are associated with the seven-headed, ten-horned beast that is described in the 13th chapter of the book. Both of these beasts are thought to symbolize the same political power, though the exact identity of this power has been the subject of much debate and interpretation.

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I think it prudent to look at books that were once included in the KJV bible, but later removed. 2 Esdrus from the Apocrypha is one such book.

See here; Why is 2 Esdras shown with the King James Bible? https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Apocrypha-Books/

Specifically, we should look at 2 Esdrus chapter 11.

Chapter 11 describes a 3 headed eagle.

Chapter 11 :1 Then saw I a dream, and, behold, there came up from the sea an eagle, which had twelve feathered wings, and three heads. *(from here the vision expounds)

After this vision is shown to Esdrus, later, in chapter 12 the following is revealed.

2 Esdrus 12:11 The eagle, whom thou sawest come up from the sea, is the kingdom which was seen in the vision of thy brother Daniel. 12 But it was not expounded unto him, therefore now I declare it unto thee.

So if one were to include this along with the other descriptions, then we can see there is more than just the two examples originally questioned by the OP.

Here is what is shared in Daniel 7 and pay attention to what is said at the end of chapter 7.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

Verse 23 and verse 28 of Daniel 7 aligns with what 2 Esdrus 12:11 shares.

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