of Prophetic Visions
Philip Mark Ames
The third beast of Daniel's
vision was like a leopard, and it had on its back four bird-type wings. And it
had four heads. Since a leopard is somewhat similar to a lion, you can find its
identity in a religion which bears some resemblance to Catholicism. History
emphatically proclaims that this is Protestantism. Even in its many sects of
different sizes it is aptly pictured by the many-spotted leopard. Daniel saw
this beast rising up, out of the windwhipped sea. The third of the four
powerful angelic spirits caused this to take place in the sixteenth century.
The Protestant Reformation began simultaneously in Germany
The leaders were Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli.
In Zurich, Switzerland,
certain associates of Zwingli went further than he himself in religious reform,
insisting that infant baptism was of no avail and that therefore only adults
should be baptized; also, that any who had been baptized as infants should be baptized
again as adults to become true Christians. Thus they were called Anabaptists
(re-baptizes), though they preferred to call themselves Baptists, After much
debate with Zwingli, they were condemned by him and by the city council. At
least One of their number was executed for heresy; they were generally
persecuted and so fled to other countries where their numbers greatly
increased. Then, several years later, they were almost completely wiped out by
religious persecution all over Europe, only a
few, such as the Mennonites, surviving. However, their main precepts have been
revived, especially by the Baptists and Quakers of America. So the ideology advocated
by those Anabaptists has proved to be one of the four heads of the Protestant
Most of Zwingli's early
followers remained faithful to his teachings. And, after his death in 1531,
they found a new leader who had independently developed a theology very similar
to that of Zwingli. John Calvin began teaching his ideas of reform in France. Then,
while passing through Switzerland,
he was invited to remain in Geneva
as pastor, Soon his teachings became widespread. They were enough like
Zwingli's to be reconciled. Thus developed the Reformed Church, variously known
as Zwinglianism, Calvinism, Presbyterianism, and, in France, the Huguenots.
Meanwhile, Martin Luther had
been very active, Thousands of persons had begun to follow his leadership. The
Lutheran form of Protestantism became firmly established, especially in
Northern Germany and Scandinavia.
The leopard's fourth head
was that religion which was established in England as a result of King Henry's
divorce. Henry VIII not only divorced Catherine, but also divorced England from
the Roman Catholic Church. Thereby was formed the Church of England or
Anglicanism, This new religion became even more Protestant in theology during
the reign of Henry's daughter, Queen Elizabeth I.
So, the four heads of the
leopard are the four major branches of Protestantism which emerged in the
sixteenth century. These four, the Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and
Anglicans, are still the largest denominations of the Protestant ideology. The
doctrines of the many other Protestant sects are shared with one or more of
these four original Reformation groups. And the great leopard which Daniel saw
includes them all.
The four wings which Daniel
saw on the leopard represent the support and protection of certain kingdoms,
even as the eagle's wings on the lion had been a picture of Catholicism's
kingly sponsor. One pair of wings was the protection and support received from Scandinavia. The kingdoms of Sweden
both made Lutheranism the state religion, while affording protection for the
other forms of Protestantism.
The second pair of wings
would be the royal backing Protestantism accepted from Great Britain's ruling monarchs.
Britain and Scandinavia were the only Protestant Monarchies in the sixteenth
century, They are Still the kingly backers, the four wings, of the Protestant
Daniel goes on to report that
dominion was given to it. Certainly this has proved to be no exaggeration. The
Protestant British Empire became so extensive
that it was truly said that "the sun never sets" on it, Protestantism
has ruled millions of people in many other countries as well.
Written by: Philip Mark
Ames - - - © 1975 Philip Mark Ames. All rights reserved.