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Notes on Daniel: The Beasts and the Horns as fluid symbols

By Jay Rogers
Published April 27, 2008

The symbolism of Daniel 7 and 8 sheds light on how the images in Revelation ought to be interpreted.

Are the beasts meant to symbolize kingdoms or individuals?

Are the horns of the various beasts to be interpreted as kingdoms or individuals?

There has been some criticism on the preterist interpretation of the Beast of Revelation 13. In one place, the preterist interpretation has the “beast from the sea” as Nero, and in another place it is the Roman Empire as a whole. Yet this use of a “beast” as a fluid symbol is a frequent feature of Daniel as well.

Daniel has beasts and horns that are fluid rather than static symbols. Sometimes they symbolize individuals and sometimes they symbolize kingdoms.

A beast can symbolize any Gentile nation. For the most part, the beasts mentioned are unclean animals according to ceremonial law. Horns are the crowns of the beasts; just as the king is the crown of the kingdom.

Some examples

Daniel 8:3 — Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

A ram which had two horns — The Empire of the Medes and the Persians.
The Medes conquered and destroyed Babylon, but the Persians ruled
over the kingdom in the end.

Daniel 8:5 — And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on
the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat
had a notable horn between his eyes.

A he-goat — The Empire of Greece and Macedonia

A notable horn – Alexander the Great

Daniel 8:8 — Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward
the four winds of heaven.

The great horn was broken — Alexander died an untimely death at a young age shortly after conquering much of the known world.

Four notable ones (horns) — Seleucus, Antigonus, Philip and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander, who divided his empire among them.


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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification

In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

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Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

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Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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