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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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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

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In the Days of These Kings (Book)

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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).

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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.

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

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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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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

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