Daniel 7:6 Index
"After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it."
Research Material

"...like a leopard..."

  • Alexander the Great met Darius on the plains of Arbela in 331 B.C. The leopard and the bronze of the image of Daniel 2 depict the kingdom of Greece. The four wings represent the swiftness with which Alexander conquered the world. By age thirty, Alexander had nothing else to conquer. Returning from his campaign, suffering from malaria and drunkenness, and knowing he was dying, he called for his four generals. They asked to whom he wold give the empire. He responded by saying, "to the strongest." At his death his kingdom was divided among his four generals. This is why the leopard has four heads. The Goat of Daniel 8 expands on the explanation of this beast and leaves no doubt as to its identity. (KC 79)
  • The leopard is a fierce, carnivorous animal noted for the swiftness and agility of its movements. (Habakuk 1:8; Hosea 13:7). (4BC 821)
  • The power succeeding the Persian Empire is identified in Daniel 8:21 as "Grecia." This "Grecia" must not be confused with the Greece of the classical period, inasmuch as that period preceded the fall of Persia. The "Grecia" of Daniel was the semi-Greek Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great (Daniel 2:39), which inaugurated what is called the Hellenistic period. Not until Alexander's day could reference be made to the "first king" (Daniel 8:21) of a Greek empire who was "a mighty king" with "great dominion" (Daniel 11:3).... In 336 B.C., Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedonia, a semi-Greek state on the northern border of Greece. Alexander's father, Philip, had already united most of the city-states of Greece under his rule by 338 B.C. Alexander proved his mettle by subduing revolts in Greece and Thrace. After order had been restored in his own kingdom, Alexander set himself the task of conquering the Persian Empire, an ambition he had inherited from his father. Among the factors that spurred the young king on in his plans were personal ambition, the need for economic expansion, the desire to spread Greek culture, and a not unnatural animosity toward the Persians because of their past relations with his countrymen.... In 334 B.C., Alexander crossed the Hellespont and entered Persian territory with only 35,000 men, the meager sum of 70 talents in cash, and but one month's store of provisions. The campaign was a series of triumphs. The first victory was achieved at Granicus, the next at Issus in the following year, and the next at Tyre in the year after that. Passing through Palestine, Alexander conquered Gaza and then entered Egypt virtually unopposed, Here in 331 B.C., he founded the city of Alexandria. He declared himself the successor to the Pharaohs and his troops hailed him as a god. When he set forth again that year he directed his armies toward Mesopotamia, the heart of the Persian Empire. The Persians took their stand near Arbela, east of the junction of the Tigris and Great Zab rivers, but their forces were defeated and routed. The fabulous riches of the world's greatest empire lay open to the young king, 25 years old. (4BC 821)
  • After preliminary organization of his empire Alexander pushed his conquests to the north and to the east. By 329 B.C., he had taken Maracanda, now Samarkand in Turkistan. Two years later he invaded northwest India. Soon after crossing the Indus River, however, his troops refused to go farther, and he was forced to yield to them. Returning to Persia and Mesopotamia, Alexander was faced with the stupendous work of organizing the administration of his territories. In 323 B.C., he made his capital in Babylon, a city that still preserved reminders of the glory of Nebuchadnezzar's day. In the same year, after a round of hard drinking, Alexander fell ill and died of "swap fever," which is thought to be the ancient name for, or counterpart of, malaria. (4BC 821-822)
  • After the Medo-Persian kingdom arose and fell, there came forth another kingdom of an entirely different nature from that represented by the bear. In the explanation of the vision of Daniel 8, the angel plainly states that the nation following Media and Persia is Grecia. The Grecian kingdom, which followed Media and Persia, is compared to the sprightliness of a leopard in its natural state. This not being sufficient to represent the rapidity of the conquests of Alexander, the first king, the leopard had on its back four wings of a fowl. It also had four heads, which symbolized the division of Alexander's empire after his death, when four of his generals took his kingdom and dominion was given to them. Alexander's power is represented by the goat with the notable horn, which stamped all beneath its feet, as described in Daniel 8. (SNH 105-106)

"...upon the back of it four wings of a fowl..."

  • Although the leopard is itself a swift creature, its natural agility seems inadequate to describe the amazing speed of Alexander's conquest. The symbolic vision represented the animal with wings added to it, no two but four, denoting superlative speed. The symbol most fittingly describes the lightning speed with which Alexander and his Macedonians in less than a came into possession of the greatest empire the world had yet known. There is no other example in ancient times of such rapid movements of troops on so large and successful a scale. (4BC 822)
  • The third kingdom, Grecia, is here represented by the symbol of a leopard. If wings upon the lion signified rapidity of conquest, they would signify the same here. The leopard itself is a swift-footed beast, but this was not sufficient to represent the career of the nation here symbolized. It must have wings in addition. Two wings, the number the lion had, were not sufficient; the leopard must have four. This would denote unprecedented celerity of movement, which we find to be a historical fact in the Grecian kingdom. The conquests of Grecia under Alexander had no parallel in ancient times for suddenness and rapidity. His military achievements are summarized by W.W. Tarn in The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. VI, pp. 425, 426:
    • "He was a master in the combination of various arms; he taught the world the advantages of campaigning in winter, the value of pressing pursuit to the utmost. He marched usually in two divisions, one conducting the impediments and his own [division] traveling light; his speed of movement was extraordinary. It is said that he attributed his military success to 'never putting anything off'... The enormous distances traversed in unknown country imply a very high degree of organizing ability; in ten years he had only two serious breakdowns...." (US 108-109)

"...the beast had..."

  • BEAST: Another term, common to symbolic Bible prophecy, is that of "beasts." Nations were effectively cartooned or portrayed by various well-known or unknown beasts, just as some are today: the British lion, the Russian bear, or the American eagle. In Daniel's day a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a fearful monster without an earthly replica appeared in Daniel 7, and the ram and he-goat of Daniel 8 are expressly explained by the prophet as symbols, respectively, of "Media and Persia" and "Grecia" (Daniel 8:20, 21). Similar "beasts" are pictured in the Revelation. These terms are not epithets of derision; they are simply the divine method of cartooning nations and their careers through the centuries. So a prophetic "beast" merely means a kingdom or nation, no more and no less. (Froom 32-33)

"...four heads..."

  • Obviously parallel with the four horns of the he-goat, which represented the four kingdoms (later reduced to three) that occupied the territory of Alexander's short-lived conquests (Daniel 8:8, 20-22). For some years, however, Alexander's Macedonian generals attempted to preserve, in theory if not in fact, the unity of the vast empire. Alexander died without arranging for the succession to his throne. First his weak minded half brother Philip and then his posthumous son Alexander were the titular rulers under the regency of one or another of the generals, and the empire was divided into (fifty) provinces, the most important of which were controlled by about six leading generals as satraps.... But the central authority -- that is, the regency for the two puppet kings -- was never strong enough to weld the vast empire together. Through some 12 years of internal struggle, during which control of various sections of the territory changed repeatedly, and during which both kings were slain, Antigonus emerged as the last of the claimants for central power over the whole empire. He was opposed by a coalition of four powerful leaders, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, who were bent on dividing the territory among themselves. In 306 B.C., Antigonus declared himself king (jointly with his don Demetrius) of the entire empire, the successor Alexander. Thereupon the four allies, abandoning their subordinate tiel of satrap, declared themselves kings of their respective territories.... The long life-and-death struggle over the question as to whether the empire should be united under Antigonus and Demetrius or divided by the four generals was settled by the Battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. Antigonus was killed, Demetrius fled, and their territory was divided. This left, with the exception of the small fragments four independent kings in place of the huge empire that Alexander had won but had not been able to consolidate. Ptolemy had Egypt, also Palestine and part of Syria; Cassander had Macedonia, with nominal sovereignty over Greece; Lysimachus had Thrace and a large part of Asia Minor; and Seleucus had the bulk of what had been the Persian Empire -- part of Asia Minor, northern Syria, Mesopotamia, and the east. Demetrius, reduced to control of a navy and a number of coastal cities, had no kingdom, though he later displaced the heirs of Cassander and founded the Antigonid dynasty in Macedonia.... it is significant that at the critical time -- when the last hope of holding Alexander's empire together failed, and the division was inevitable -- the whole territory, with the exception of minor fragments, fell into four kingdoms as specified by prophecy (Daniel 8:22). (4BC 822-823)
  • Alexander's empire , even in its divided phase, was still a continuation and embodiment of its founder's ideal -- a Greco-Macedonian-Asiatic world of diverse peoples united by Greek language, thought, and civilization. Except for political centralization, the Hellenistic work constituted as much a unity as it had been under Alexander, and more so than had ever been achieved before. It was aptly represented by a single beast with multiple heads (or, in Daniel 8, with multiple horns). (4BC 823)
  • The Grecian Empire maintained its unity but little longer than the lifetime of Alexander. After his brilliant career ended in a fever induced by a drunken debauch, the empire was divided among his four leading generals. Cassander had Macedonia and Greece in the west; Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and the Bosphorus in the north; Ptolemy had Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria in the south; and Seleucus had Syria and all the res of Alexander's dominions in the east. By the year 301 B.C., with the death of Antigonus, the division of the kingdom of Alexander into four parts was complete by his generals. These division were denoted by the four heads of the leopard.... Thus accurately were the words of the prophet fulfilled. As Alexander left no available successor, why did not the huge empire break up into countless petty fragments? Why into just four parts, and no more? -- For reasons that the prophecy foresaw and foretold. The leopard had four heads, the rough goat four horns, the kingdom was to have four divisions; and thus it was. (US 109)