Question: Does Daniel 7:4 indicate a prophetic role for America, as represented by the eagle, and as represented by the chapter / verse designation 7:4 (analogous to July 4: Independence Day)?
Daniel 7:4 reads: “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.”
The lion with the eagle’s wings in Daniel 7:4 represents Babylon, not America. Here’s why:
Daniel 7 re-introduces the prophecy of four great empires from Daniel chapter two. The rise and fall of these empires is represented by four “beasts,” beginning with Babylon, where Daniel lived as a Jewish exile. Babylon is followed by Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome (Dan. 7:16-17). The Roman empire in Daniel’s prophecy is revived in the form of a ten-nation confederacy ruled by the Antichrist in the Last Days, until the coming of the Son of Man (Dan. 7:19-22).
The lion in Daniel’s vision was the symbol of Babylon under king Nebuchadnezzar, and for centuries later. The Ishtar Gate entrance in Babylon was decorated on both sides with a long procession of yellow lions carved in high relief on blue-glazed brick. The eagle’s wings plucked from the lion’s side symbolized how powerful king Nebuchadnezzar had been humbled by his seven-year period of insanity for not acknowledging the sovereignty of God (Dan. 4).
Chapter seven, verse four
Finding a prophetic connection between a particular Bible chapter and verse number and a particular calendar event (or whatever) is simply bad biblical interpretation on so many levels. Here are just a few reasons why:
• Chapter and verse separation was not part of the inspiration process, but a study aid added long after the canon of Scripture as God’s inspired Word was completed. The Old Testament chapter and verse system was developed by a Jewish rabbi in 1448 A.D., and the New Testament equivalent was completed by Stephanus in 1555 A.D.
That means that for more than 1500 years the prophetic meaning of Daniel 7:4 would have held no meaning—because there was no Daniel 7:4 chapter and verse number!
It also means that interpreting chapter and verse numbers is not biblical interpretation at all…it is interpreting a Bible study system!
• Even if it were argued that God accounted for the chapter and verse study system in advance, who is to say that 7:4 must refer to America’s Independence Day? July 4 is also National Country Music Day and Sidewalk Egg Frying Day.
In fact, who’s to say 7 / 4 refers to a date at all? Perhaps it refers to the seventh planet (Uranus) and its fourth moon (Cressida), or perhaps it refers to England’s seventh King (Eadwig) and the fourth year of his reign (963 A.D.).
There is no biblical reason for interpreting 7:4 as July 4th (American Independence Day).
Correctly interpreting the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) recognizes that the Bible is the revelation of God’s will to mankind, not a mysterious puzzle to solve or code to break. We are not left to relying upon our own imaginations. The Bible means what it says and says what it means. Even when highly symbolic language is used, God supplies the meaning of those symbols in His Word, so that Scripture interprets Scripture.