“Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

“The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.

“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.” Daniel 7:2-7

The third was like a leopard . . .

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.”   Daniel 7:6

I believe this refers to India.

Although the Scripture verse says that the beast looked like a leopard, my understanding is that the terms lion and leopard can be used interchangeably.  At any rate, the original word in this verse, that is translated ‘leopard’, is used only one time in the entire Bible–and it is used figuratively.  This may leave some room for interpretation.

British heraldry (the art of designing and interpreting coats of arms, based on a formal system of rules) may offer some insight.  In fact, just before India became a nation, it was a British colony–so I don’t think it is too far fetched to assume that British symbolism may be relevant.

Wikipedia has this to say:

“The heraldic leopard differs from the real-life leopard (Panthera pardus). It does not have any spots and often has a mane. In heraldry, the leopard is also generally similar to a lion. The reason for this lies in the fact that in the Middle Ages leopards were thought to be a crossbreed between a lion and a panther. This was retained in heraldry.

The difference between leopards and lions passant guardant is scant, if any, and the two terms are generally interchangeable. The beasts on the Coat of arms of England are generally referred to as lions.

Some countries use the leopard in heraldry, which dates back to the colonial rule of the British.”

Symbolically, a leopard can be viewed as a smaller version of a lion–which could explain the significance of British colonies using leopards in their heraldry.

The four wings (two pairs) on the back of leopard represent Pakistan and Bangladesh, which broke away from India and became independent nations.

‘This beast had four heads’ . . .

Lion Emblem of India

India's Four-Headed Lion Emblem

‘and it was given authority to rule.’

August 15, 1947 Britain granted India its independence, giving it the authority to rule.

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.”   Daniel 7:6

Interpretation given in Daniel 7:17 is that each of the four beasts in Daniel’s vision is a kingdom ‘that will rise from the earth’.

We are also told that [the first three] beasts, at some point, were ‘ stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time’.  Daniel 7:12
Daniel’s Vision At Night: ‘The first was like a lion’

Daniel’s Vision At Night: ‘a second beast, which looked like a bear’

The Fourth Kingdom–Iron And Clay

Advertisements