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Mistaken Identity

 

Many people mistakenly assume the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the leopard-like beast in Revelation 13 are the same beast. This understanding is incorrect for five reasons:

 

  1. The leopard-like beast does not exist prior to 1798. When the leopard-like beast rises from the sea, John saw that one head on the leopard-like beast “seemed to have had a fatal would, but the fatal wound had been healed.” (Revelation 13:3) For reasons that will be presented later, this head represents the Roman Catholic Church. History records that the Catholic Church lost its authority over the kings of Europe during the French Revolution (1789-1799). The pope was exiled to France in 1798 and the authority of the church was badly wounded. Now notice that when the authority of the church was badly wounded. Now notice that when the leopard-like beast rises from the sea, the deadly would is healed. This specification forces the appearing of the leopard-like beast after 1798 because the fatal wound cannot be healed before the deadly would is inflicted!

 

  1. Earlier in this study we learned that various parts of a beast’s anatomy may or may not be functional when a beast is introduced. This feature exists with both the ten horns on the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the seven heads and the ten horns on the great red dragon in Revelation 12. Even though Daniel saw ten horns on the fourth beast in Daniel 7 when it rose out of the sea, history verifies that ten horns did not function in a prophetic sense until 600 years later. The leopard-like beast has a similar feature. John describes the leopard-like beast as having seven heads when it rises to power and “one of its seven heads seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.” (Revelation 13:3)

 

Some people read Revelation 13:3 and conclude that the leopard-like beast must have existed prior to 1798 because one of the heads on the beast was wounded in 1798, but this is not the case. Read the specifications carefully! When the leopard-like beast rises from the sea, it comes up from the sea with a head that “seems to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.” Did you notice the past perfect tense? The past perfect tense means action completed in the past. For example, suppose I saw a new automobile roll off the assembly line and I said to you, “The car had a bad tire, but the tire had been repaired by the time it had rolled off the assembly line.”  Does my statement require the auto to be complete and functioning before the bad tire was discovered or does my statement mean the bad tire was discovered and repaired before the auto rolled off the assembly line? The latter meaning is the intent of my statement.

 

The papacy existed before 1798, but the leopard-like beast is not the papacy. The papacy is only one part of the leopard-like beast. The leopard-like beast has seven heads – seven religious systems, not one! One head is described with precise language that eliminates any wiggle room on its identity. Daniel 7 indicates that the little horn power was empowered for 1,260 years (A.D. 538-1798). Daniel 7:11 states that the little horn power would recover from its wound, and again speak boastfully after 1798. History confirms this prediction and recent history affirms the recovery of the papacy. Today, the Roman Catholic Church is again a respected world power. The church has diplomatic relations with 170 nations! God used precise language in Revelation 13:3 for two reasons. First, God wants everyone to know that the wounded/healed head represents the Roman Catholic Church. If we can identify that one head is a religious system, then the remaining six heads must be religious systems, as well. Second, God wants everyone to know that the rise of the leopard-like beast has to occur after 1798, because the language specifically states that the wounded head is healed when the beast rises from the sea.

 

3.      Notice that the leopard-like beast has body parts that belong to a lion, a bear, and a leopard, and it so happens that the first beast in Daniel 7 are a lion, bear, and a leopard. Furthermore, the fourth beat in Daniel 7 has ten horns when it rises from the sea and so does the leopard-like beast! Many people have noticed these similarities and then make a big mistake. They leap to the conclusion that the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the leopard-like beast in Revelation 13 are the same beast even though the “head count” is different – one in Daniel and seven in Revelation. This leap in logic is not supported by the facts or the specifications. The fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the leopard-like beast in Revelation 13 are very different beasts, and even more importantly, they live at different times. Even though they share certain similarities, they are separate and distinct entities.

 

Consider the similarities between the two beasts: Both beasts persecute the saints of God for a specific amount of time. The fourth beast in Daniel 7 persecuted the saints for 1,260 years. (Daniel 7:25) The leopard-like beast will persecute God’s people for forty-two months during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 13:5) These two time periods cannot be the same time period. If they were, then the leopard-like beast would have to rise to power along with the fourth beast in 168 B.C. Of course, this is not possible because John documented that when he saw the leopard-like beast rising out of the sea, the deadly wound had been healed! 

(Revelation 13:3)

 

4.      The Bible predicts, “All inhabitants of the Earth will worship the [leopard-like] beast….” (Revelation 13:8, insertion mine) There has never been a historical time when “all inhabitants of the Earth” worshiped the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and there never will be a future time. The fourth beast in Daniel 7 was given power to rule over Europe for 1,260 years. The leopard-like beast will be given power to rule over the whole world for a literal period of forty-two months. If the forty-two months in Revelation 13:5 and the time, times and half a time in Daniel 7:25 represent the same time period, then an insurmountable problem is created. It would mean that both beasts are powerless during the Great Tribulation because their empowerment is limited to the Dark Ages (A.D. 538-1798).

 

5.      Finally, the fourth beat in Daniel 7 and the leopard-like beast in Revelation 13 have ten horns, but they are not the same ten horns. The ten horns on the fourth beast in Daniel 7 represent ten tribal nations divided and conquered Rome by A.D. 476. The ten horns on the leopard-like beast represent ten kings who will be alive at the Second Coming! (Revelation 13:1; 17:12-14; Daniel 2:42)

 

Consider the math: The Bible predicted that three of the original ten horns on the fourth beast in Daniel 7 would be uprooted and destroyed by A.D. 538. History affirms the fulfillment of this prediction. Then, the little horn (the papacy) became the eighth horn and it ruled over the remaining seven horns until it received a deadly wound in 1798. Therefore, the fourth beast in Daniel 7 ended up having eight horns for 1,260 years.

 

Notice the difference. When the leopard-like beast rises to power during the Great Tribulation, it will have seven heads and ten horns – not eight horns! The ten horns on the leopard-like beast represent ten kings who will be alive at the Second Coming! The angel told John, “The ten horns you saw [on the leopard-like beast] are the ten kings who have not received a kingdom, but for one hour will receive authority as kings with the [great red dragon] beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the [great red dragon] beast [the devil]. They will make war against the Lamb [at the Second Coming – Revelation 16:14-16], but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:12-14)

 

Bottom Line: When we synthesize these five issues, it is impossible for the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the leopard-like beast in Revelation 13 to be the same beast. There are too many similarities between them, but they are two different creatures living in two different ages. They share several parallels, which helps us understand the future more clearly because the behavior of the leopard-like beast will mirror the behavior of the fourth beast in Daniel 7. For example, consider these parallels between the two beasts: both beasts persecute God’s saints; both beasts are empowered for a specific amount of time; both beasts will be destroyed with fire at the Second Coming; both beasts are blasphemous; and both beasts emphasize the role of the papacy (that is, the papacy derives its ruling power from each beast). Papal power will soon flourish during the forty-two months granted to the leopard-like beast just like it flourished during the 1,260 years given to the fourth beast.            


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