Purple - The Dragon, Satan
Daniel 7 Describes the four beasts that have risen up. Initially, in Daniel 8 we saw that there were four horns vying for power in the power vaccuum when the original horn got broken. However, as we read the descriptions of these four powers it is easy to see that they are not equal. The first three beast do not do anything on their own power. They are controled by the fourth power and they are little more than pawns or puppets. The fourth power is most likely the power that the other three follow because we can see that it is different from all the rest.
Also we can see that it is the dragon, or Satan who has given this fourth beast its great power over all the earth.
Satan makes sure that this power is worshipped by the people of the world. It seems that the main purpose for this power is to persecute the righteous to the point of death.
Quite a bit of description is present on the terrible beast attacking the righteous.
Revelation 13 has the four beasts as a single beast but with all the attributes of the four beast of Daniel 7. Count the heads and horns. They all come out the same. In addition, the same animals are mentioned when describing body parts.
Only after the actual activities described in these books actually start happening, will we be able to fully understand what is happening and how bad it is going to be.
The four great beasts coming out of the sea could be a response to the up-side-down conditions Satan has brought on the world.
A beast in prophecy usually represents a power; a nation or kingdom. Since we seem to be looking at a world-wide scenario "the Great Sea", we could be seeing some system of government that might be set up in order to reverse the trouble that is on the earth.
This closely parallels our understanding of what will happen in the last days. We know that because of the trouble in the world, people will blame the people of God, who keep the commandments of God in their hearts, for the troubles that are on the earth. In reality, this world government system is set up by Satan to bring on persecution to God's people. Especially will the Sabbath be attacked at this time.
The first beast is the lion with eagle's wings, the second beast is like a bear. The third beast is like a leopard having four heads and four wings, and the fourth beast is a terrible beast.
Many associate these four beast with the great image described in Daniel 2. So they apply the four beast to Babylon, Medo-persia, Greece, and Rome. It is important to realize that, Daniel 7 does not fit the description of Daniel 2.
In verse 11 of Daniel 7 we see the fourth beast destroyed and given to the burning flame, but the first three beasts, described in verse 12, are allowed to survive for a while longer.
This scenario is not the same as is found in Daniel 2 where Daniel interpreted the image as describing a series of powers on the earth. First Babylon rules before Medo-persia takes over the city. Then after Medo-persia rules for a while, it is destroyed by Greece which is eventually replaced by Rome.
Daniel 7, on the other hand, describes a very different scenario. Four beast come out of the Great Sea, but the last beast, the terrible beast is destroyed first while the first three beasts are allowed to survive for a time.
It seems reasonable to surmise that the four powers represent four parallel powers that exist at the same time.
On close examination of the beast we see some strange things going on. The first three beast don't seem to have any mind of its own. The lion with eagle's wings has its wings plucked and is lifted up. It is made to stand on its feet like a man, and a man's heart is given it.
Notice that the lion doesn't do anything. If it really was a great power than why isn't it doing anything or making any decisions on its own? It seems that this power is a pawn. A power controlled by some other organization. (Its interesting that we are seeing a similar situation today with the new world order where the New World Order dictates what other nations are to do.)
Lets look at the bear which is the second beast. If we only look at the King James version, we see that the bear is told to arise and devour much flesh.
If we look at another version of the Bible such as the New King James, we see that bear is raised up on one side. It looks like the bear doesn't even get up on its own, it is raised up by others. The third beast is said to have dominion given to it. It looks like the leopard like beast is a kingdom that is set up by others. So it looks like the first three beasts represent three kingdoms that are either set up and controlled by someone else or it is taken over and controlled by someone else.
The fourth beast is very different from the first three beasts. Suddenly we see a beast that is doing everything itself rather than being told what to do. In addition we see that it is doing terrible things: it has huge iron teeth, and it devours the residue with its feet.
It would seem reasonable that this terrible beast is the power that forces the other three to act. The four beasts are actually a single system. In Revelation 13 we actually see this same system as a single beast but it has all the parts of the four beasts found in Daniel 7.
It is very possible that these four beasts represents a world system that much more powerful than today's New World Order. It could be that the New World Order might evolve into the power described by these four beasts.
The terrible beast is a multifaceted power with 10 horns which are eventually broken down to 7, and a great horn that speaks great things against the Most High.
The great horn seems to do the direct work of Satan in killing and persecuting the saints. From Satan's perspective, the four beasts are the framework from which Satan, which could even be the identity of the great horn, works.
More will be said later in this chapter.
The beast rising out of the sea is described elsewhere in prophecy as is seen in the harmony. However, there are specifics found here that are not found anywhere else.
Chapter 13 can also be seen as a parallel to chapter 12. Both cover the activities of Satan during the 1260 days (42 months or three and a half years). In addition, both concentrate on the activities of Satan to kill the saints.
The difference between chapter 12 and 13 lies in the way Satan's activities are seen. In chapter 12, Satan's position and loss in heaven is the concentration. Because he was ousted, he returned to earth really angry and decided to really attack the woman and her offspring because he knows his time is short. The prospective is of the great controversy between him and heaven.
Chapter 13 on the other hand specifically centers on the manner in which he is able to persecute the righteous.
This beast rising out of the waters represents a great system of government that will rule over the people of the world. It could very well be the New World Order that today is slowly gaining strength.
This power very specifically is given power to blaspheme God's name and to overcome the saints.