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Is the Rev. 13 Sea Beast a Composite of 4 Kingdoms?

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Is the Rev. 13 Sea Beast A Composite of Four Previously Existing Kingdoms?


There is an idea which postulates that the sea beast of Revelation 13 is a kingdom that has absorbed four other previously existing kingdoms. This is based on the following facts:

  1. The body of the sea beast appeared to John to be like a leopard, had feet like the feet of a bear, and at least one of the mouths of the heads was that of a lion. The description is reminiscent of three of the four beasts of Daniel 7.

  2. The sea beast of Revelation 13 can be shown to be symbolic of the Roman Church in combination with the nations during the 1260 symbolic days or 1260 literal years that began in 538 AD and ended in 1798 AD. Thus, this came out of Rome, so they propose that it absorbed Rome also.

They do this because the body of the sea beast in Revelation 13 shows parts from the beasts of Daniel 7 and they are trying to explain the presence of these body parts on this beast. They also note that the order of the Daniel 7 beasts' body parts listed in Revelation 13 is the reverse order of the list of beasts found in Daniel 7. On the basis of these facts, they propose a connection between them.

The assumption is that the three body parts from the beasts of Daniel absolutely must indicate that this beast is a composite of the three kingdoms (lion - Babylon, bear - Medo-Persia, leopard - Greec) plus Rome, out of which this beast came. The combination is then used as a foundation for saying that the four kingdoms from Daniel 7 that they believe are absorbed into the sea beast of Revelation 13 must be incorporated into the heads of the Revelation 17 beast and that those heads then occur in sequence.

The rational behind this is that the leopard beast of Daniel 7 had four heads on it, which represented four kingdoms that derived their power from the body they were on, so likewise the seven heads on the Revelation 17 scarlet beast must derive their power from the body they are on and are described as being kingdoms in sequence. While this fails to accurately reflect the conditions given in Daniel 7 and requires huge leaps of logic (in other words, large assumptions) that are not founded on any connecting statement in the Bible, it sounds logical to people, so they believe it.

On this web page, the idea that the sea beast of Revelation 13 is a composite beast made up from the four previous kingdoms of Daniel 7 will be referred to as the "absorbed kingdoms hypothesis".

The authors of this web site believe, for very good reason, that the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is not the interpretation intended by God. The purpose of this web page is to demonstrate that there is little evidence supporting the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis or its connection to the seven heads of the Revelation 17 scarlet beast, and instead show that there is strong Biblical evidence demonstrating that the body parts of the Daniel 7 beasts that are on the sea beast of Revelation 13 are used solely as indicators of behaviors of the sea beast, and nothing more than that. A much stronger case can be made for these body parts being symbolic of behaviors of the sea beast as opposed to a much weaker case for absorption of the corresponding kingdoms.

This may seem trivial to the reader and if so, perhaps the reader should read another page. But the reason this point may be important for some readers it that the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis leads the believer to improperly interpret the scarlet beast of Revelation 17. Thus, it does take on importance under certain circumstances. If nothing else, this web page should help the reader better understand how to understand the use of the rules of interpretation.


What Pattern Did God Demonstrate in Daniel?

In order to know what God intended us to understand from the presence of body parts from three of the beasts of Daniel 7, it is necessary to go back and understand what was actually done in Daniel 7 and 8. Carefully consider that if we are deriving meaning in Revelation 13 from the beasts of Daniel, then the rules of interpretation present in Daniel should also be used in Revelation, especially where parts of the beasts of Daniel 7 and 8 show up. This is only logical because God is the ultimate author of the visions from which both books were written. You cannot have the beasts of Daniel 7, or parts of those beasts, without the rules of interpretation of Daniel 7 for they are inherent to the vision of Daniel 7. Thus, to transfer the rules of interpretation of Daniel to Revelation under such circumstances is only logical. To deny this is to destroy the obvious similarity between the prophetic beasts of Daniel 7 and 8 and Revelation 12, 13, and 17, and to deny God as the common author behind both books.

If you carefully study Daniel 7 and 8, you will discover that the details of the animals that represent each kingdom are reflected in the story that is told about them by the angel that explains the vision and the parts of the beasts and the sequences of beasts will be reflected in actual history. Also, the beasts of Daniel 7 and 8 parallel the kingdoms presented in Daniel 2 in the dream of the image. The stories are the same in general, though Daniel 7 has more details and omits the eastern half the Roman kingdom after the split between Eastern and Western Rome. To understand something of what this means, consider the 4 headed leopard of Daniel 7 and the goat of Daniel 8.

The leopard with 4 heads, presented in Daniel 7, is the third in a series of four kingdoms that arise, beginning with the kingdom of Babylon. Daniel 8 shows the same sequence of kingdoms as those found in Daniel 7, except that Daniel 8 skips the kingdom of Babylon and begins first with the Medo-Persians. In Daniel 8, the goat that comes upon the ram (a male sheep) and attacks and destroys it, represents Greece, led by Alexander the Great. The Ram represents Medo-Persia. The goat attacked the ram on his own ground, just as Alexander the Great attacked the Persians and destroyed them on their own territory. When the goat first appeared to Daniel, it had a large horn coming out from between his eyes. After the goat destroyed the ram, the large horn broke off and was replaced by four horns. The angel explained to Daniel that the first horn represents the first king (of the new empire) of Greece and the four horns represent kings who would come up out of that kingdom after the first king.

Because of the sequence of events and the fact that the goat ended up with 4 horns on its head, we know that the goat of Daniel 8 and the leopard of Daniel 7 represent the same power - the empire of Greece formed by Alexander the Great. The angel explains the details of the kingdom of Greece sufficiently that one should not mistake the interpretation.

History shows that after Alexander the Great died, his generals (known collectively as the diodachi) placed a regent on the throne for his unborn son along with Alexander's half brother, who apparently was mentally deficient. This went on for some time but it became apparent that it would not work, so the generals eventually struck out on their own, claiming for territory the areas that each of them was governing. Initially there were five such claims by five of the diodachi group, but after a battle in which four of them ganged up on the fifth, there were only four remaining. They negotiated and signed a treaty or a decree settling their differences and claims of territory. Thus, a treaty or decree determined the beginning date of the start of the four heads, which is why there were not five heads shown upon the leopard beast. There was no decree before the four leaders settled their differences with a decree or treaty. God sometimes marks major prophetic events of Daniel and Revelation with a decree of earthly rulers so we can date things properly or mark when prophetic events start or end.

In the case of the dreadful fourth beast of Daniel 7, there was a body with one head and 10 horns upon the head when Daniel first saw it. Then, later, another horn came up among the 10 and removed three of the previously existing horns, becoming very powerful eventually. The dreadful beast and its one head and 10 horns came out of the waters as the fourth beast in the sequence of four kingdoms, which means this beast represents pagan Rome. The ten horns upon its one head represents the ten largest or most important tribes that took over Rome's territory after it fell and broke up in 476 AD. There were some twenty tribes, but only ten were really significant. The Talking Horn (also known as the Little Horn Power sometimes) represents Papal Rome that came out of Pagan Rome after the ten horns arose.

There are several general important things to understand about this:

  1. The details of each beast's body and heads or horns of Daniel 7 and 8 reflects both the explanation of the angel AND the actual events of history. This is named by the author as the Beast Story and History Reflection Principle. Conversely, if an interpretation is stated for a beast by someone and there is no corresponding explanation in the Bible and little or no match between the body parts of the beast with history (specifically the progression as is done in Daniel 7 from the body to the multiple heads to the multiple horns or from one phase to the next phase in the history of a power), then the explanation given is very likely not true. In that case, further examination of the Bible facts might yield the more correct explanation.

  2. Heads are always concurrent with one another. The heads of the leopard beast of Daniel 7 all occurred together and were not in sequence. This is called the Concurrency Principle by the author.

  3. Exceptions to the rules do occur, but the previous rules always apply in history as it unfolds for a power until the exception occurs in the prophecy. This is called the Exception Principle.

  4. God uses several patterns to represent different kingdoms AND different stages or eras of the same kingdom. The primary patterns are:

    • Where more than one phase or era of a kingdom exists (such as the leopard beast of Daniel 7 representing Greece and the four heads representing kingdoms it subdivided into in the next era of that kingdom), each new phase or era can be shown by either of two methods, which the author collectively calls the Miller Principle and are::

      • There is a progression forward on the body of a beast from the tail end towards the horns, so that the pattern is that the history of this beast begins with the body (which does not include the heads or horns but does include the tail, legs, and feet), representing the first era of a kingdom. Where there are multiple heads, the heads will represent the next era, and where there are multiple horns, the horns will represent the final era in the history of a kingdom. This can be referred to as the body-heads-horns progression pattern.

      • Horns may come up AFTER other horns to indicate that they occur AFTER the previously existing horns on the beast. This is a simple method to indicate progression forward in time for different eras of the same power, even when broken up into several smaller kingdoms that are derived from the previous power.

    • Each kingdom arising and developing here on earth and operated by people is normally represented by a separate beast. Each beast is one kingdom. No more, no less. You don't have multiple earthly kingdoms upon the same beast. This means that when a kingdom is conquered by another kingdom, the conquering kingdom is represented by a completely different beast. The kingdom that conquers the previous kingdom is not shown with any body parts of the previous kingdom (or kingdoms), thus indicating that each of them is to be considered separate. The fact that each kingdom is obviously represented by one beast is something that the author refers to as the Singularity Principle. In Daniel 7, each beast that came up after the previous was completely finished represented a succession of kingdoms, so this is referred to as the Succession Principle.

Heads and horns represent different successive eras of the founding kingdom from which they are derived, but may also represent kings or kingdoms or powers as well. No other body parts are used to represent earthly kingdoms other than the beasts as a whole and the individual subdivisions of their bodies, heads, or horns. The heads and horns may occur as several subdivisions into separate kingdoms (the four heads of the leopard beast of Daniel 7) or as separate powers within the same kingdom (the horns of the earthbeast of Revelation 13).

There is a final pattern that is very relevant to a proper understanding of this issue. In Daniel 7, God shows us a sequence of four beasts. The first beast represented Babylon, the second represented Medo-Persia, the third represented Greece, and the fourth represented Rome. But what is of significance is that each of these beasts was of a different species, each of which represented the characteristic behaviors of the kingdom it represented. The Characteristics Principle says that the species chosen, the colors used, or added features of a beast such as the ribs in the mouth of the bear of Daniel 7, or the wings on the leopard beast of Daniel 7, all tell the reader about the behaviors of a beast.

For example, Babylon, being represented by a lion, did in fact act somewhat lion like. But it also had eagles wings, which means it would soar above the rest of the kingdoms of that area. Wings could also suggest rapid conquest, but since there are only two, perhaps the conquest would not be as fast as that done by Alexander the Great. The Bible makes this symbolism of the eagles wings more clear in these verses about the Chaldeans (Babylonians):

Hab 1:6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs.

Hab 1:7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.

Hab 1:8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.

Thus, the wings primarily represented the rapid conquest of his troops.

Nebuchadnezzar practiced a scorced-earth policy of warfare and was undefeated in battle except when he tried to invade a certain part of Egypt. Thus, he soared above the rest of the kingdoms in that area like an eagle, built up his kingdom within his lifetime so his conquest was rather rapid, and was lion-like in his behavior because he was mostly undefeated and virtually eliminated opposition. He used "suffocating" techniques to stifle opposition. It does not hurt this symbol that winged lions are also found on the walls of Babylon in a few places. Do remember that the lion represented the Babylonian kingdom, not the lions chiseled into the walls of Babylon. Symbols normally are associated with something else, not themselves, so the winged lions on the walls of Babylon help improve the strength of the association, but nothing more.

The fourth beast of Daniel 7 might have been a dragon, which was a common Roman symbol, but we don't know that because Daniel never identified the species of the fourth dreadful beast. However, he does describe the behavior of the beast itself, from which we know that the beast's behavior and its appearance matched.

A second example of this is the leopard beast of Daniel 7. The leopard had 4 heads and 4 wings of a fowl on its back. The leopard is very cunning, smart, fast, and carefully studies its prey before attacking. It also could symbolize the very logical thinking that was noted for the Greeks, which has influenced Western thinking for 2,000 years. Alexander the Great was known for all of these characteristic behaviors. The four wings suggested that he was going to conquer very rapidly, something that he indeed did. History records that he conquered most of the then known world in just a few short years. But note that the wings were upon the back or the body of the leopard and not upon the heads. Thus, we can know that the behavior the wings represent applies ONLY to the body and NOT to the heads.

So, to boil this down to a simple principle, aspects of a beast such as its species identification, colors, or things added on such as wings (or losing them as the lion did), tell us about the BEHAVIORS of a beast. Of course, to be certain of our identification of each of these kingoms, the sequence of beasts must be compared to actual history. Lion like characteristics can apply to a number of kingdoms and empires that have existed on earth throughout history. Some have proposed, for example, that the lion of Daniel 7 refers to the Jews because of Genesis 49:9 (Judah is a lions cub), but this is incorrect because it is out of sequence with the kingdoms that arise in Daniel 7. Thus, these characteristics don't tell us a kingdom's identity in and of themselves, but we can learn their identity because the sequence of the beasts in relation to the starting point in time (Babylon) does that for us.

But what is very important for our discussion is this: when we see body parts of the Daniel 7 beasts on the Revelation 13 sea beast, we know from Daniel 7 that we should not say that this represents those kingdoms, but rather represents their characteristics. This should be abundantly clear. Leopard characteristics of the leopard beast of Daniel 7 should be what we think of when we read in Revelation 13 that the sea beast resembled a leopard. The same should be true of the other beasts body parts that appear on that beast.


How Do These Principles Enligten Us About the Revelation 13 Sea Beast?

The sea beast of Revelation 13 was described by John in this way: "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion:...." (Revelation 13:2). These descriptions are metaphors, language which is figurative and used to describe a likeness or analogy between two different things. This tells you that John is NOT telling you the body of the sea beast was literally a leopard but appeared similar to one. Thus, one cannot with absolute certainty say it is literally a leopard. But it does seem reasonable, based on the description of its likeness to a leopard, that leopard-like characteristics are present on the body of this beast. Because these are metaphors, it should be obvious that they are intended to convey that these are characteristics of these powers that are being described rather than representing actual, separate absorbed kingdoms. This leads us back to the Characteristics Principle discussed above.

When John tells us that the beast was like a leopard, what characteristics of this beast was God trying to tell us about? Likening this power to a leopard tells us that this power will be cunning, smart, fast when it attacks, and very carefully consider its prey before attacking. It plans its moves very carefully in advance. In addition, the Greeks, which the leopard in Daniel 7 represented, were known for their logical thinking, which to an extent the Catholic Church portrayed itself as doing things very logically. This is a reasonably accurate description of the activities of the combined Roman Church and nations power that the Papacy ran during the 1260 literal years that spanned from 538 AD to 1798 AD. That is not to say it is a perfect representation, but roughly it is accurate.

It is impossible for the Papacy to have absorbed Babylon or Medo-Persia. Rome itself might be considered to have absorbed Greece but could not have absorbed Babylon or Medo-Persia. Now you might ask why this is so when there are those who argue that Medo-Persia absorbed Babylon and passed on Babylon to Greece when it was itself absorbed by Greece. The problem is that this argument does not fit much with the facts of history.

Rome conquered Greece, but the sea beast, which came out of Rome several hundred years after the last Greek kingdom fell, did not itself conquer Greece. Yet it is true that in Danel 7, the Talking Horn, which is the same power as the sea beast, was counted by God as being the final stage of the Roman Kingdom. So, one might argue that the Talking Horn, being an extension of Rome, did conquer Greece. However, this is really stretching things, for it was Pagan Rome that actually did the conquering. Papal Rome, as the Talking Horn, came along hundreds of years later. So, factually, Papal Rome cannot truly be considered the conquerer of Greece. Moreover, since Greece had been conquered hundreds of years before the Catholic Church really got going (probably about 300 AD when it was legalized by the Roman Government under Constantine), much of the Greek culture that was taken over by Rome would have long since disappeared or merged with other cultures that the Romans constantly imported. It is extremely unlikely to have been distinguishable from any other cultural things present in the Rome of its time or even a significant part of it.

History itself provides ample evidence that the culture that Papal Rome absorbed was not that of Greece or Medo-Persia, but rather that of Babylon in the form of its religion. And it certainly did NOT absorb any of those kingdoms. History records that the Babylonian religion was taken into Rome by Babylonian priests who migrated there from Pergamum and began teaching the Babylonian religion to the Romans. The Romans were great lovers of anything new, so took up this new religion with great interest. It continued to increase until Rome became known as the New Babylon. Thus it is that the Bible labels the woman of Revelation 17 as "Babylon". It is this culture of the Babylonian religion that was actually absorbed by Papal Rome, not the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, or Greece, or even the cultures of Greece or Medo-Persia. Babylon is the central focus of it all..

Catholic Historians themselves openly admit that Babylon was a symbol of Rome.  Cardinal Gibbons in his book, Faith of our Fathers in the 1917 edition on page 106 says that "The penetration of the religion of Babylon became so general and well known that Rome was called the New Babylon.". It is this culture of the Babylonian religion that is the center of what the Catholic Church absorbed from the past.

But there are more important reasons why it is that Babylon's culture, but not the kingdoms of the beasts of Daniel, were absorbed. First, the fact is that Greece was the conquerer of Medo-Persia, not Rome. Rome had absolutely nothing to do with the conquest of Medo-Persia, an event that was done before Rome became an empire. By the time Rome conquered the Greek kingdoms that remained of Alexander the Great's empire, the conqueste of Persia was several hundred years in the past and its culture was largely gone. The Greeks, to an extent, imposed their own culture upon the empire and mostly dismissed the Persian culture as irrelevant. After all, the Persians were a conquered empire. The victor gets to write history, not the conquered. One needs to consider that the Greeks were somewhat respectful of other cultures, but they did have their own ideas. This process of imposing their culture upon other cultures has been referred to by historians as Hellenization. While the extent of this has been debated among historians, there is evidence that it actually occurred. Thus, we cannot say that much of Persia remained in the Greek empires that the Romans conquered. With most of Persia gone by the time of the Romans, why try to argue that Rome absorbed Persia? And that certainly precludes Papal Rome from having absorbed Persia by the time it came around.

When Rome conquered the Greek empires, it did not take over most of the territory of old Persia. By the time Rome conquered the Seleucid empire, which was the remaining part of the old Persian Empire, most of the rest of the Persian Empire had previously broken away and become the Parthian Empire to the east in what is today Iran, and other countries broke off of this as well farther to the east of Iran (Afghanistan and India). Rome fought a number of border battles with the Parthian Empire over a long period of time and finally settled the dispute with a treaty setting the boundary between them as the Euphrates River. This treaty was not always respected by either side, but it did cut the amount of friction between them. But this fact of history shows that Rome absorbed very little of the territory of old Persia, let alone its culture. Thus, it is illogical to say that Rome absorbed Persia through its conquest of the Greek empires. For all practical purposes, it simply didn't happen.

And of course, in regards to the old Babylonian kingdom, it had been conquered by Medo-Persia. The Persians had their own religion and practices and did not adopt most of the Babylonian culture. The fact that the Babylonian priests left Babylon testifies to this fact. The Persians were tolerant of other religions and did permit religious freedom to an extent, but they evidently made the Babylonian priests feel not at home or they would not have left Babylon for Pergamum and Egypt. Thus, it seems unlikely that one could say that Medo-Persia absorbed the Babylonion kingdom or even its culture. It was a conquerer and imposed its own way upon the Babylonians. However, the movement of the Babylonian priests into Rome did bring the religious aspects of old Babylon into Rome. It can be accurately said that this much was done.

Logically then, we should ask, what is God trying to tell us about the sea beast by saying it appeared to have feet similar to those of a bear? Obviously, historical facts indicate that this beast did NOT absorb Medo-Persia, so there must be another reason why this metaphor is used by God. The Persians were known for bringing huge armies against their enemies so as to provide overwhelming force, something that the church-nations combination often did against the people of God during the 1260 literal years during the dark ages.

A bear can be a forceful animal and uses it paws with large claws to kill and destroy. The fact that the feet of the sea beast have feet similar to those of a bear suggests that it is a deadly beast and uses a great deal of force against its enemies.

Just as Persia treaded down its enemies, so the sea beast treads down its enemies as symbolized by the bear feet.

Moreover, Persia had a system of government in which the head of that government, the king, was an absolute ruler. Their word was law. In some respects, the pope is like that also.What is interesting is that the Persians also had a concept that once the king created a law, it could not be changed by him (see Daniel 6:8, 12, 15).

The Persians also had a hierarchical system of government. The facts of history show that the church-nations combination that made up the beast during the 1260 years was largely ruled by the head of the church, the pope, and his word was considered law because he was considered God. They also had a hierarchical system of government that supported this. This system is similar to the Persians way of governing for they too had a hierarchy to their government, but their kings were not considered gods.

Another reason Rome cannot have absorbed Persia or Babylon is that IF this idea that the sea beast absorbed Greece through Rome were true, then we should very likely see this plainly demonstrated by the beasts of Daniel 7 on their bodies and heads and horns. God almost always shows more than one example of a symbol so that you have a precedent for it being done that way AND so the reader can deduce the meaning of a given symbol from the context or history itself. Alternately, He may provide a verbal explanation of the symbol if it is needed so that the symbolism is clear. The problem with the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is that there is only one such example where a beast physically appears to consist of a composite of other beasts, and no verbal explanation of the interpretation is given. Thus, the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis remains just that - a hypothesis and unproven.

How can we truly know what it means? The answer to this question is that we do have an explanation of this in the Bible, but most have never noticed it or refuse to accept the explanation given, usually because they don't like it. The Bible plainly shows us that characteristics other than the body itself, or the heads and horns, are characteristics that describe the behaviors of a given power. The fact that in the case of the sea beast, it has the feet of a bear and the body of a leopard, tells us that during the time represented by the body, it would have the characteristics of those powers. The fact that there is a mouth present that is like that of a lion tells us that during the time of the heads, one or more of the heads would speak like Babylon did. This makes use of the Characteristics Principle. Having the characteristics is NOT the same as having absorbed those kingdoms.

Those who believe that the sea beast contains four absorbed kingdoms, also believe that these kingdoms are those of Daniel 7. If that is so, then this principle should be demonstrated where it counts most - in Daniel 7. This is only logical because God usually provides several examples of a symbol in order to make the meaning clear. The only problem is, there is no other example of this type of symbolism present in either Daniel or Revelation. But just suppose God had demonstrated this absorbed kingdoms hypothesis. The logical place to demonstrate this symbolism is in the book of Daniel, so how would He do that?

Here is how the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis logically should have been demonstrated in Daniel were the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis right. Since the lion was the first animal to come up in Daniel 7, it seems logical that when the bear came up next, it should have had the mouth of a lion on it, or maybe a lion tail or lion feet. Think about it. This is an ideal opportunity for God to show us that He wants things to be understood this way when it is seen in Revelation 13 on the sea beast. If a previous kingdom was swallowed by the next succeeding kingdom and each of them absorbed the previous kingdoms, then each of the characteristics absorbed from previous kingdoms (the parts as shown in Revelation 13) should have showed up on each of the succeeding beasts. So, if the bear had been shown with the mouth of a lion, then the leopard should have been shown with the feet of a bear AND the mouth of a lion. Does this make logical sense? But this was not shown in Daniel 7. Why? The answer to that is very likely because this is NOT the intended meaning of this type of symbolism in Revelation 13 with the sea beast. Instead, the behaviors and characteristics of each of those kingdoms, which is demonstrated in Daniel, is the intended meaning of this form of symbolism. Go with what is demonstrated, not a hypothesis for which there is no evidence to support it.

In addition, the Bible tells us directly that the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is not the intended meaning, for it said that each of the kingdoms of Daniel 7 were diverse from one another (Daniel 7:3). This is direct Biblical proof that these kingdoms did NOT absorb the previous kingdoms, for if they had, they would not be said to be diverse from one another and they would show absorbed parts of the previous beasts. Is this clear enough?

Anther reason to doubt the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is true is that each beast represents one and only one kingdom in Daniel 7, a principle (the Singularity Principle) that is generally true of all beasts that represent only earthly kingdoms. Why would it change for the sea beast of Revelation 13? There is no precedent for such a change and no explanation telling us that this is so. Because the whole idea of the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is based on the idea that the body parts of the beasts of Daniel indicates that the sea beast absorbed these kingdoms and there is no scriptural support backing up this idea, the entire idea is founded on guesswork, unfortunately. Though it is a good-faith effort to explain a difficult problem, it fails to consider all facts and so arrives at the wrong conclusion.

Some might argue that the dragon represents the devil and pagan and Papal Rome, so is a composite beast. But that is not true for the devil did not "invade" pagan Rome and conquer it, nor did he invade Papal Rome and conquer it. He gave them power, controlled them, and instigated their behaviors, and for that reason is said to also represent them, but that is not the same as saying he absorbed them. The concepts are different.

There is no evidence for precedence for absorbed kingdoms being shown as body parts of a conquering kingdom, let alone one that didn't conquer the previous kingdoms. The only exception to this is the heads and horns of the dragon, which represent the eras of the heads and horns of Papal Rome. The sea beast did NOT conquer Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Each of them was conquered by the succeeding kingdom. And the Papacy did not conquer Rome but rather simply came out of it when it fell apart. Maybe the reason the explanation the angel could have given to explain this is missing from the Bible, and the precedence for it elsewhere in the Bible is also missing, is because this hypothesis of the sea beast absorbing the previous kingdoms is wrong? Factually, the Papacy didn't absorb the kingdoms themselves (something that clearly is NOT explained in the Bible) but instead adopted some of their characteristics (which IS explained in the Bible).

Another reason to doubt this hypothesis is that there is no connection by scripture between the body parts of the sea beast, specifically that is, the feet of a bear, the mouth of a lion, and the body of a leopard, with the heads of the scarlet beast of Revelation 17. To the contrary, more logically one could say that the heads and horns of both beasts represent the same powers since they are at least corresponding body parts and are equal in number. That is a long way from claiming that the parts of the body of one beast are the same things as the heads on the other when there is no scripture tying them together. Where is the missing evidence of this? There needs to be an actual verse to make this solid. Otherwise, it is speculation.

Anther reason to doubt the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is that in Daniel 7, there is evidence that heads are always concurrent with one another and horns are always concurrent with one another, which is the Concurrency Principle. If one were to assume that there is a connection between the body parts of the sea beast and the heads of the scarlet beast of Revelation 17, then one should first check with the rules given by example in Daniel 7 and 8 to be certain that the assumption that the kingdoms occur in sequence is true in Revelation 17.

In Revelation 17:10, it is said that five kings have been. Now does this say these kings are concurrent or in sequence? It does not tell you, does it? No, of course not. Now, in Daniel 7, a rule governing how a beast is to be interpreted remained in effect UNTIL an exception was stated, after which point in time the stated exception took over governing the interpretation of the beast. So, knowing this, we know that the five kings are concurrent because that is the normal rule from Daniel 7 governing interpretation of heads on a beast. But in Revelation 17:10, if one reads farther, there is a change. It speaks next of a "one is". in context, it says that five have been and "one is", which means the five kings are in the past relative to the "one is". Thus, the "one is" appears to come after the five. Then it says that one more is yet to come. That clearly makes it evident that this one comes after the "one is". Hence, we know that the "one is" and the "one more yet to come" are in sequence, not concurrent. Hence, with the "one is", there is an exception stated. From that point forward, the kings are in sequence.

One cannot say for sure that the five that have been and the "one is" are necessarily in sequence because there is a way to explain this without them being in sequence and they only give the appearance of being in sequence. But whatever one does with this, one cannot prove by context or otherwise that the five that have been are in sequence with one another, but you can prove that the "one is" and the one after that are in sequence. Lots of people have insisted in e-mail to the author that the five are in sequence because of context, but that is wishful thinking. The context does not say that. Previously existing rules clarify the condition of the five that have been. They are concurrent.

But now that we know this, what does it say for the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis? It says it is not right. The absorbed kingdoms hypothesis says that the kingdoms all occur in sequence, but that is not a provable condition in Revelation 17:10 and the Daniel 7 rules of interpretation clearly show that cannot be true. They must be concurrent at least until the end of the five that have been, which leaves only 2 kings that are in sequence. This means that at least 5 of the 7 kingdoms MUST be concurrent and cannot be in sequence. That clearly rules out the kingdoms represented by the beasts of Daniel being symbolized by any of the heads of the scarlet beast because all four of the beasts of Daniel 7 are in sequence, yet only 2 of the heads of the scarlet beast can be in sequence. Can this get any clearer?

There are no examples of heads in Daniel on any beast where they occur in sequence, and it is only provable that 2 of the heads of the scarlet beast are in sequence. Without precedent, how can you simply assume that ALL the heads are in sequence? Logically, you cannot. Thus, to do so is to engage in wishful thinking, all the while claiming it is absolute truth. But, it isn't.

Because the sea beast of Revelation 13 follows the same pattern of the beasts of Daniel 7, it should show a progression of three phases. So far, the sea beast has shown two such phases and one more will happen soon. But this also shows that the sea beast follows the same pattern in Daniel 7. There is the body first, then the heads, and finally the horns occur last. The parts of the body have no bearing one way or the other because they cannot represent absorbed kingdoms.

It is unfortunate because of the effort expended in defense of the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis, but after careful study, the author has concluded that the absorbed kingdoms hypothesis is wishful thinking and not based on sound Biblical interpretation.


Final Conclusion

It should be clear to the reader that there is neither precedent nor explanation in the text showing that the sea beast is a composite of the four kingdoms of Daniel 7, but rather the correct explanation of these is based on demonstrated methods of interpretation found in Daniel, which shows the characteristics of those four kingdoms in its behavior. Clearly that is not the same as being a composite beast. The sea beast is one kingdom and no more, just like any other beast representing only earthly powers of Daniel and Revelation.

The sea beast shows a progression through three phases, two of which have already happened and the third is about to happen. Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 show that the sea beast, like the Talking Horn, comes out of Rome only, not Babylon, Medo-Persia, or Greece, and it didn't conquer any of the previous kingdoms, which is required to absorb them. The kingdoms that actually did conquer each other don't show acquisition of the previous kingdom by having body parts of the previous kingdom on them. From history we learn that each kingdom simply conquered the previous kingdom and thereby eliminated it. The sea beast did not even engage any of these kingdoms in conquest, so why should the sea beast be any different than the beasts of Daniel?

It is better to stick with the explanation the Bible actually gives for the presence of the body parts of the previous kingdoms for it gives the correct explanation of the matter. Those body parts reflect the characteristics of the sea beast. Nothing more and nothing less. And that is the final word that the author can say about this matter for it sums it up.