I want to ask about four beast from Book of Daniel. The popular view is that these beasts are ancient Babylon, Medio Persia, Greece, Rome and Europe but in Daniel 7:17 “The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth” we learn that this kingdom will arise but Babylon during that time already existed and also Medio-Persia. How to understand it? Could it be that the popular interpretation is wrong and this dream was about future kingdoms that will resemble these ancient kingdoms? Maybe someone read Hebrew Bible and can see the original text. Moreover, Gabriel many times says to Daniel that these kingdoms are in end-times (Daniel 8:17). Thank you

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    You are mixing two different prophecies of Dan 7 vs Dan 8. Which do want to ask about? The "End times" of Dan 8 does NOT occur in Dan 7 with reference to the four beasts.
    – Dottard
    Jul 10, 2023 at 10:08
  • Further to my answer, a clear explanation of the historical events, and their order, is given in the answer starting "It would be useful to begin..." here: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/96158/…
    – Anne
    Jul 12, 2023 at 10:03

3 Answers 3


It may be a popular view that the 4 beasts of Daniel chapter 7 represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and Europe, but there are other popular views. One I am familiar with makes no mention of Europe. However, your question raises a difficulty you perceive as follows:

The verse in question says that the four kings will rise from the earth. You say, "Given that the prophecy spoke of Babylon during that time already existed and also Medio-Persia. How to understand it?" You wonder if that dream was about future kingdoms that would resemble these ancient kingdoms.

It is true that the great Assyrian empire not only wielded power before Daniel was taken captive to Babylon, but that Babylon had also been subject to it much earlier on. However, the father of Nebuchadnezzar II began a revolt against Assyria in 626 B.C. This resulted in the downfall of Assyria, at that time. In 612, the Babylonians captured its capital city of Nineveh. They defeated the Assyrians again at Haran in 609. By the time of that battle, Nebuchadnezzar was Crown Prince and Commander of the Babylonian armies. In 605, he defeated the remnant of the Assyrian army at Carchemish. That same year Nebuchadnezzar's father died, and so he began to reign as king of Babylon. Shortly after that, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, and Daniel and his three friends were deported to Babylon (circa. 605).

The point here is that the Assyrian empire had fallen before then, with Babylon beginning to arise as the new world power.

It was in the first year of the next king's reign when Daniel got that dream recorded in chapter 7. Verse 1 sets the scene, saying it was earlier, in the first year of king Belshazzar's reign, that Daniel recorded that dream. So, when the angel interpreted it for him, Babylon had already arisen, but Cyrus the Mede would not suddenly triumph over Babylon until about 14 years in the future - October 539, to be precise. The swiftness of the Medo-Persian overthrow of Babylon was breath-taking, and nobody saw it coming (except in that dream, understood by the angel, but awaiting time for humans to see it.) So, the angel was quite in order to use future tense for all four world powers, even though the first one had already arisen. It had not arisen long. Nor would it stay on top for long! The Medes saw to that, taking revenge for the humiliation of their Persian forebears.

After the Medo-Persian empire gave way to Greece (circa. 330 BC), it in turn gave way to the Roman empire from circa 63 BC. This means that the last three 'beasts' had not arisen at the time of the interpretation of the dream, and the first 'beast' had only recently risen, it's initial task being the downfall of Assyria (which is not to be mistaken as being the second 'beast', Medo-Persia, even though historically connected.)

I hope this helps you see that there is nothing problematic about the angel saying "the four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth."


The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the Kingdom and will possess it forever--yes for ever and ever!

Popular Opinion? The modern "popular opinion" expression does not necessarily equate with the truthful, or orthodox, opinion. It is best to go by the interpretation of the Angel (7:15-18)

The Four Beasts Amazingly, the description of the "Four Beasts" fits perfectly the aspects of the four ancient empires leading up to the establishment of the KINGDOM OF GOD (HEAVEN) by Jesus, the Son of Man! (1) The first empire was the Neo-Babylon Empire which was wealthy (gold), but not militarily as strong as (2) the Medo-Persian Empire (bear eating flesh). (3) the third beast (leopard) represents the Grecian Empire that conquered the world swiftly (by Alexander the Great). The "four heads represent the Diodochi, four generals who divided up the Grecian empire. (4) The forth Empire was stronger them all, and conquered the whole Mediterranean area! The "ten horns" represent the ten emperors leading up to the time when Rome attacked Judea and destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. [Vespasian, who first attacked Judea, took over the empire because three previous ones were killed within one year. (7:8)]

Different Emperor The angel accurately described Vespasian. He was "stout", that is bull-necked prominently, not handsome-ish like the previous ones (7:20). He was a Flavian, a different household than the previous line of emperors (7:24). It was during this era, during the first century, that the Kingdom of God was set up (7:22). And the old Mosaic covenant system destroyed.(Hebrew 8:13)

The time came when the saints possessed the Kingdom...The sovereignty, power, and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven ill be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His Kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him. (7:22, 27)

Son of Man When Jesus ministered for 3 and 1/2 years in the first century under the Roman occupation of Judea, he repeatedly called Himself by the title "Son of Man" (over 80 times!). He was trying to make the point that He was the fulfillment of this prophetic chapter. (7:13-14) Jesus put His imprimatur on this interpretation! Jesus began His ministry with the declaration that "the Kingdom was at hand." (Matthew 4:17) And at the end of His ministry, He declared Now is my Kingdom from another place...You are right in saying I am a King! (John 18:36-37) He told the Jewish Elders that From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the Mighty God. (Luke 22:69)

The Kingdom was surely going to be established. But it would involve "birth pangs." The time between 30 and 70 A.D. would see a lot of tribulation (and eventually involving the tenth emperor, Vespasian (Daniel 7:19-25). [Interestingly, the Jews believed the Messianic Age would be introduced by "birth pangs" as well as the announcement of Elijah---both which Jesus talked about! Mathew 11:14, 24:8]

Saints Possessed the Kingdom That this transition would transfer the Kingdom of Heaven to the saints was announced by Jesus at the Last Supper:

I confer on you a Kingdom, just as my Father conferred one n Me, so you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29-30)

The Apostles repeatedly confirmed their membership in this kingdom: To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood,and has made us to be a Kingdom and priests to serve His God and Farther... (Revelation 1:5-6)

Future Fulfillment? Since history has proven these prophesies to be true, AND FULFILLED, there is no justification for looking into the nebulous future for a fulfillment. We have Jesus's own interpretation to go by. He is the "Son of Man." He came in the first century during the Roman era to set up a Kingdom...which He has conferred on the saints as well. The "birth pangs" tumultuous transition (Destruction of Jerusalem) happened as Daniel prophesied, so now the Saints go throughout the world with the Everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom! We have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son! and Go into all the world making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)

{For an in depth interpretation of the BEASTS and the Ten Kings rising out of the the Fourth Beast with iron teeth and bronze claws, see Question # 43812}


One needs to read just a little farther in the passage to reach a fuller answer to this question.

Reference Text (KJV)
Dan 8:19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
Dan 8:20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
Dan 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
Dan 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
Dan 8:23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
Dan 8:24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
Dan 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

It's not difficult to follow this in the annals of history.

Obviously, Babylon was already in power, so the explanation for Babylon was not needed, nor given. The kings of Media and Persia, Darius and Cyrus respectively, conquered Babylon and took power as a new kingdom. Their kingdom was followed by Greece when Alexander the Great conquered and took over a huge empire. Alexander did not leave his kingdom to any progeny of his own--he was still rather young and had no son; so his four generals replaced him upon his death, which is why the prophecy speaks of "four kingdoms" replacing the one--but this did not last, as it soon reduced to just the two strongest ones of the four (which is detailed further in Daniel 11).

Following this, a new kingdom comes in, one foretold to destroy "the holy people" and to even stand up against "the Prince of princes" (Christ). Which kingdom crucified Jesus? Yes, Rome. This fourth kingdom is none other than Rome, and Rome destroyed many of God's people, "the holy people."

The prophecy is paralleled by the dream of the image in Daniel chapter 2. The image had a head of gold, which Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar represented his kingdom of Babylon. The chest and arms were of silver, representing an inferior kingdom that would come afterward. The belly and thighs were of brass, representing a kingdom inferior still. Finally the legs were of iron--strong and long-lasting, but inferior to brass.

The countries of Europe are represented by the feet of that image of Daniel 2 and by the ten horns mentioned in Daniel 7.

The kingdom of Rome, including both "pagan Rome" and "papal Rome," reigned for nearly two thousand years. The long legs of the statue well represent this kingdom. During the dark-ages, including the period of time leading up to the Reformation, many saints were persecuted and killed as martyrs for their faith by this kingdom; fulfilling the prophecy of this kingdom destroying "the holy people."

More specifics about this fourth kingdom are presented in prophecy in the book of Revelation--but perhaps those are beyond the scope of this question.

There is no clear Biblical evidence for these kingdom-related prophecies being repeated with a new set of kingdoms. These prophecies have already been fulfilled, and according to the prophecy of Daniel 2, the iron and the clay would never mix again, i.e. there will never again be a kingdom that unites all of these nations (which would be necessary to have a second application of this).

People have tried. Hitler tried to unite Europe via military force. Politicians have tried via more diplomatic means to create a European union. We know, of course, that it did not succeed (consider e.g. Brexit). If there can never again be one united kingdom joining all of Europe and Western Asia, it would be impossible to see a second literal application of these four kingdoms.

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