Realization of Prophetic Visions

By Philip Mark Ames

THE LEOPARD

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 and Switzerland. 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 leopard.

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 and Denmark 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 Leopard.

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.

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Written by: Philip Mark Ames - - - 1975 Philip Mark Ames. All rights reserved.