3. Beasts, Heads, and Horns

Both Daniel and John are given important information concerning the identity of various symbols employed in the book of Revelation. In his night vision, Daniel sees four beasts, one of which has ten horns (Dan. Dan. 7:1-28). In John’s vision, he sees two beasts, one of which has seven heads and ten horns (Rev. Rev. 13:1+; Rev. 17:3+, Rev. 17:7+) and another which has a single head with two horns (Rev. Rev. 13:11+). Although the fact that both Daniel and John saw beasts and horns does not necessarily mean their visions are related, there are a number of other characteristics concerning their visions which indicate that God was showing each of them different aspects of the same kings and kingdoms related to Gentile dominion throughout history and the final form of Gentile power at the return of Messiah (Dan. Dan. 7:13-14, Dan. 7:26-27; Rev. Rev. 19:11-20+). Perhaps the single most difficult aspect for interpreters of passages involving the beasts, heads, and horns is accounting for their differences while at the same time appreciating their similarities. In various passages, all three symbols—beasts, heads, and horns—are said to be “kings” (Dan. Dan. 7:14, Dan. 7:24; Rev. Rev. 17:10+). In addition, sometimes kings represent sequential rulers and their representative kingdoms and other times contemporaneous kings within a single kingdom (Dan. Dan. 7:6; Dan. 8:8; Rev. Rev. 17:10+). And if that were not enough, the distinction between an individual king and the kingdom which he represents is not always readily discerned.