What does the beast with three ribs in the mouth represent? 

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Introduction

The prophecy of the beast, with three ribs in his mouth, is mentioned in the book of Daniel chapter 7. This prophecy covers basically the same period of history as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel chapter 2. Both prophecies extend from the prophet’s day to the time of the setting of God’s eternal kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar saw world powers represented by a huge metallic statue; Daniel saw them as symbolic beasts and horns and saw also features of history linked to the experience of God’s children and the unfolding of His plan.

Daniel Chapter 2 deals greatly with political issues. It was given, also, for the teaching of Nebuchadnezzar, to ensure his collaboration in God’s plan (Daniel 2:1). The relationship of the children of God to the change of political powers was not the focus of this prophecy.

The prophecy of Daniel 7, like those of the rest of the book, was given uniquely for God’s children to teach them their role in His plan through the centuries. The divine preview of development was given to show the great controversy between the Son of God and Satan. The attempts of Satan to destroy God’s people were revealed and the final triumph of truth was also affirmed. 

Daniel 2

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2), the king saw the multi-mineral image. In this dream, God outlined for all future millenniums the rise and fall of the empires that would have a direct influence on His people. The great image was made of the following mineral elements: 

The head was of gold. It represented Babylon, which ruled the world from 605-539 B.C. 

The breast and arms were of silver. They represented the Medes and Persians, which ruled the world from 539-331 B.C.

The belly and thighs were of brass. They represented Greece, which ruled the world from 331 B.C.- 168 B.C.

The legs were of iron. They represented Rome, which ruled the world from 168 B.C. – 476 A. D. 

The feet were of iron and clay. They represented Papal Rome and the modern nations of Europe, which rule the world from 476 A. D. till the second coming of Christ. Check out the following link for a full explanation of Daniel 2.

The Second Beast of Daniel 7 

In Daniel chapter seven, the prophet was shown a dream of beasts.” Check out the following link for a full explanation of all the beasts of Daniel 7.

Concerning the beast with the three rib resembling a bear the prophet Daniel wrote, “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh” (Daniel 7:5-King James Version). In the NIV it has a slightly different translation, “… 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!’”

The bear beast represents Medo-Persia (539 B.C.) under Cyrus the Great. The Medo-Persian Empire, corresponds to the silver of the image in Daniel 2:39. As silver is inferior to gold, so, in some aspects, the bear is inferior to the lion. The bear is, nevertheless, cruel and predatory, these qualities are characteristics to the Mede kings (Isaiah 13:17, 18). At the beginning, the Medes and Persians ruled jointly, with the Medes being at the lead. However, the Persians later became considerably the greater power over the Medes. This is depicted as the bear being lifted on one side. 

The fact, that the beast like a bear that is raised up itself on one side had three ribs, points to the bear’s ability to eating much flesh. “The three ribs” in the mouth of the bear, have been understood from the time of St. Hippolytus to mean three nations that were conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire: the Babylonians, the Lydians, and the Egyptians.

  • 539 B.C. Babylon is occupied. Nabonidus captured.
  • Lydia. 547 B.C. Croesus of Lydia taken prisoner.
  • 568 B.C. Amasis II of Egypt suppressed. In 605 B.C., Egypt at first conquered in the battle of Carchemish.

The Judgement

Daniel writes, “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated…A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9,10). Daniel was shown the final judgment in both its phases, investigative and executive.

In the investigative judgment, the records of all who have at one time or another confessed loyalty to the Son of God will be checked. The investigation is not done for the information of the Father or the Son, but for the information of the universe at large—that God may be justified in accepting some and rejecting others.

Satan claims all humans as his rightful subjects. Those for whom Christ defends in judgment, Satan accuses before God; but Christ shows their repentance and faith. Consequently, the judgment will decide those who will be citizens of the eternal kingdom of Christ. This decision includes the names of people from every nation, tongue, and race all through the ages (Psalm 76:8,9).

A Message of Hope

Daniel chapter 7 ends with the victory of God over the powers of darkness. All earthly kings and governments will vanish, but the kingdom of the Creator of heaven and earth will last forever. The misrule of the sinners may last for a time, but soon it will come to an end. Then, this earth will belong to Christ the rightful Owner, who will give it in turn to His faithful children. Those who have long been crushed and persecuted by men will soon be glorified by God (Daniel 7:13, 14). Thus, God’s children will be delivered from the tyranny of mystical Babylon (Revelation 18:1–4; 19:1, 2; 21:1–4).

The Lord declares, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). The redeemed will live forever in peace and happiness. And they “shall return, and come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11).

The vision of a new and better world gives hope and courage to Christians today as they face the hardships of the present life. And they are admonished to encourage each other as they see the second coming of Christ at the door (Hebrews 10:25).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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