Scholars universally agree that this vision parallels the four kingdoms from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two.
Whether earthbound or through mystical ascension to heaven, apocalyptic visions serve as means to encourage God’s people that the kingdom of God will certainly come.While there are alternate interpretations, postulating Babylon, Median, Persia, Greece, I believe that only those bent by anti-supernatural bias relegate the vision to the Maccabean era by late dating the text and ascribing pseudepigraphical status.They must violate the historical record by splitting Medo-Persia into two separate empires.They then proceed to violate holy inspiration by assigning the fourth beast to the Greek Empire. Because Jesus himself authenticated Daniel as the author (Mat. Due to my own first principles, I dismiss such biased conjecture outright. Ironside, who commenting on the parallel with the chapter two statue dream writes, “In what we have already gone over we have been chiefly occupied with prophetic history as viewed from man’s standpoint; but in the second half of the book we have the same scenes as viewed in God’s unsullied light.” Daniel’s vision is illustrative of God’s view of imperialism.However, I will demonstrate that the traditional view is coherent with prophetic symbolism and the historical record, while the liberal critic’s position appears ad hoc and disingenuous. Contemplate the kingdom values expressed by Christ in His sermon on the mount.However, in this second vision additional details make for an apt description of Nebuchadnezzar himself.
In view of chapter four’s events, the tearing off of the beast’s wings seems to symbolize Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling.
If one accepts the inspiration of scripture, an apocalyptic vision should be interpreted as what the prophet actually saw not merely a genre of literature.
Daniel chapter seven begins with the prophet lying in bed and seeing “a dream and visions of his head” (v.1).
The liberal view that this beast is Median singular fails in this regard.
Furthermore, the bear is divinely commanded to devour three ribs, corresponding nicely with the major three conquests made by King Cyrus and his son Cambyses: the Lydian (546 BCE), Chaldean (539 BCE) and Egyptian (525 BCE).
One would be hard pressed to find a more fitting symbol.