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

By Jay Rogers
Published August 15, 2019

Are the beasts meant to symbolize kingdoms or individuals?

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

A frequent criticism on the preterist interpretation of the Beast of Revelation 13 is as follows. 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.


In the Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

This comprehensive work offers a fascinating look at the book of Daniel in preterist perspective. Great attention is paid to the writings of ancient and modern historians and scholars to connect the dots and demonstrate the continuity of Daniel’s prophecy with all of Scripture.

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The symbolism of Daniel 7 and 8 sheds light on how the images in Revelation ought to be interpreted. Daniel has beasts and horns as symbols that are fluid rather than static. 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 are as follows.

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) — Antigonus, Cassander, Ptolemy and Seleucus, the successors of Alexander, who divided his empire among them.

Daniel 8:9 — And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

A little horn — This refers to Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The “little horn” – like the “notable horn” – refers here again to an individual, but we can also understand that it refers to the whole Seleucid Empire from the strongest successor of Alexander, Seleucus, all the way down to Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

The “beasts,” “horns” and “kings” can refer either to a line of kings or a king individually. This shift between denotations is necessary to understand in order to interpret Daniel 7; 11:36-45 as well as Revelation 13 and 17. The “beasts,” “heads,” “horns” and “kings” refer to Daniel’s Fourth Kingdom, the Roman Empire. They also refer to the line of Caesars, and sometimes specifically to Julius Caesar, Nero and Vespasian.

Whenever there are static or fluid symbols that allude to another source within Scripture, they sometimes mean the same or sometimes the opposite. For instance, Peter warned his hearers, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), while the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) turns out to be Christ. There is only one lion in Revelation; but this image is taken from Genesis 49:9, “Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?”

Sometimes symbolic images throughout Scripture are fluid. Sometimes they are static. The lion is a fluid symbol as it can be good or evil. The dragon is Satan in Revelation 12, just as the serpent is the devil in Genesis 3. This image is static. The woman in Revelation 12 is virtuous, but the woman in Revelation 17 is a harlot. This image is fluid. For the most part, allowing for a few exceptions, if a symbol is found in the Old Testament, we can assume that it represents the same thing in Revelation. If there is a large degree of correspondence between the Iron Beast of Daniel 7 and the Beast of Revelation 13 and 17, then we should use this correspondence in our interpretation. It is important to gain a full understanding of allusions to symbols in earlier books of the Bible before locking into a static interpretation.


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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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In the Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

This comprehensive work offers a fascinating look at the book of Daniel in preterist perspective. Great attention is paid to the writings of ancient and modern historians and scholars to connect the dots and demonstrate the continuity of Daniel’s prophecy with all of Scripture.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!

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.

By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).

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