Daniel 7 gives a very important prophecy denoting what the last of the end times will look like regarding the power of the nations right before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Daniel 7’s rich symbolism, we see four kingdoms represented by four creatures: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a monstrous beast. Do an Internet search or research in a library on this prophecy and you will find that most scholars will say that the lion is the Babylonian Empire, the bear is the Medo-Persian Empire, the leopard is the Greek Empire, and the fourth beast is the Roman Empire.
In some ways, that scenario makes sense, but I’ve acquired a different perspective on Daniel 7 given world history up to our time since those ancient empires. It could be that Daniel 7 is a parallel prophecy that can be applied truthfully to more than one scenario that makes both scenarios correct. The different scenario it may apply to today is that the lion is Britain, the bear is Russia, the leopard is Germany in alliance with France, and the fourth beast is still a Roman-like Empire in a new form.
I don’t presume to know every single symbolic detail in Daniel 7 so I will stick with what I do know. I believe it applies to the modern empires because Daniel 7:9-14 says that the four kingdoms would be around and would have their dominion taken away only by the Ancient of Days himself–aka the Son of man, aka the Lord Jesus. Daniel 7 also speaks as if all four kingdoms would exist simultaneously or would overlap. The other prophecies in Daniel about the ancient empires talks about them succeeding each other, being overtaken by a successor kingdom.
The Lion as Britain
Britain has undoubtedly been represented as a lion on the many coat of arms it has had over the centuries. If you do an Internet image search for “winged lion” or “lion with eagle’s wings”, many of those images will be of places throughout the UK or tied to the UK that have sculptures depicting the UK as a lion with wings, just as Daniel 7 does.
Daniel’s prophecy tells us the lion had it’s eagle’s wings plucked, then it was lifted up from earth to stand up like a man afterwards. The eagle’s wings give us the only clear-cut prophecy that can be tied to the United States, since the U.S. is the most prominent nation associated with the eagle. When the U.S. was plucked from Britain upon the Declaration of Independence in 1776 with the Revolutionary War to back it up, Britain continued to be a powerhouse of a kingdom, reaching its peak of power in the 1920s. It was lifted up from the earth because it holds the record for being the largest empire in human history.
It’s influence still spans the globe today because of all the territory it once held in its power, which it gave up in mostly diplomatic ways. In Revelation 13, the beast will have the mouth of a lion, a symbol that may reference how Britain will be a spokesperson for the Antichrist in the future as they are in subtle ways for one world governance today.
Harry A. Gaylord