"The first was like a lion, and had eagle's
wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was
lifted up from the
earth, and made
stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it."
<1>This first beast is the first king or Nebuchadnezzar.
"Lion" is the symbol of kingship, and eagle's wings are the symbol
of high ideals and also egotistical ambitions. <2>This
first beast's wings would be plucked. It would be humbled, and
its ego would be destroyed.
After its wings were plucked, then it would be exalted and would be
"lifted up." It would go to his higher nature from his lower nature
<3>After it went to its
higher self, he would be "made [to] stand upon the feet as a
man." He would become a man with true higher human qualities, "and a
man's heart would be given to it."
<4>This is a description of King Nebuchadnezzar,
was the head of gold of the metal image. This first beast was
humbled and was given a "man's heart" (his egoistical pursuance is
described in chapter 3 of Daniel, and how he was humbled and
eventually accepted the
God of Daniel is told in
chapter 4). <5>He overcame his lower nature and became a just
king. As in the image he was the best part (head) from the best
quality metal (gold), here also he is described as a beast with a
heart of man and with good qualities.
"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)
<6>This second king also had a dominating characteristic as a
bear, which is a great ruling animal in the forest and usually is
not as blood-thirsty as the leopard (next beast). As the second
kingdom in the image (from the spiritual-values point of view) was
symbolized as silver which is inferior to gold, so is the bear to
<7>Also it did not have a "man's heart," but it was given
authority to devour much flesh, "...and they said thus unto it,
Arise, devour much flesh." It was not "lifted up from the
earth" as the
first one, but "it raised up itself on one side." He never became as
high as the first one, and he was much lower in nature.
"After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had
upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four
heads; and dominion was given to it." (Daniel 7:6)
<8>This third one was even
more savage than the second, "like a leopard." In chapter 8 of the
book of Daniel,
he will have another vision in which it is revealed that the second
and third kingdoms after the Chaldean Empire would be the Persian
and Greco-Macedonian Empires.
<9>The Persian Empire is symbolized as a ram with two great
horns (as two great kings), and the Grecian Empire is symbolized as
"an he goat" with one "notable
horn" as its first great king (Alexander the Great).
<10>Also in the interpretation of that vision it is predicted
that the Grecian Empire would be divided into four after Alexander.
<11>This third beast is also the third kingdom or the Grecian
Empire. Here in this vision this division of the empire into four is
symbolized by the "four wings" (symbol of the protective force) and
"four heads" (symbol of kings or heads of state).
<12>All these things happened later on exactly as the vision
said. Also it is important to notice that as the different parts of
the image were different in quality and as the later kings arose,
they lost their fineness (from gold until iron).
<13>So these beasts also became more savage as the
later kingdoms arose. This shows that they became more intellectualized
and lost their fine qualities and
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth
beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had
great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the
residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts
that were before it; and it had ten horns." (Daniel 7:7)
<14>As the two legs of the image were from iron -- a symbol
of losing all its spiritual values and becoming inflexible but
strong and tough (like the
intellect) -- this
fourth beast also is more dreadful than all the previous three. It
was "dreadful and terrible" and was "strong exceedingly," as iron is
also stronger than gold, silver, and brass (used as the symbols for
the three kingdoms preceding the fourth of iron in the case of the
image of the dream of the king).
<15>"And it had great iron teeth": It was even stronger in
destructive and savage qualities than the previous three beasts. "It
devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet
of it": All the spiritual values and greatness were taken away from
this beast. It had no "man's heart."
<16>It had its domination purely by its own strength. It
destroyed whatever good had been left, "residue."
<17>As it was described, the first kingdom is the Chaldean
Empire, the second the Persian, and the third the Greco-Macedonian. <18>Also as it was revealed in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar
about the image made of different metals, the fourth kingdom was
symbolized by the two legs of the image, which means it would be
divided. The great empire that came after the Greco-Macedonian
and was divided into two can be none other than the Roman Empire
which was divided, with Rome and Constantinople as the two capitals.
So this fourth beast is also related to the Roman Empire.
<19>The Romans also were intellectually superior to the
in comparison to spiritual quality is like comparing iron to gold.
Gold is precious and flexible like a true spiritual person, while
iron is dry and inflexible, like intellectuals who want to find set
rules and regulations, in order to fix everything and solve all
problems or explain the unexplainable. <21>In fact, when
spirituality becomes intellectualized, then it loses its flexibility and
truth, and becomes a burden on humanity and a source of suffering.
<22>"And it was diverse from all the beasts that were before
it": As the other three previous kingdoms tried to dominate by their
might, this one tried to dominate not only by its might but also by
<23>The Roman Empire was the first to constitute a national assembly
and senate, and brought democracy, which is from an intellectual
mentality, as the Renaissance also was led by intellectuals.
<24>"And it had ten horns," as the image in King
Nebuchadnezzar's dream had ten toes. As the toes emerged from the
legs and feet, the horns also emerged from the head of the beast. <25>So the ten horns or the last kingdom (fifth king) will have
a very close relationship with this fourth kingdom (Roman Empire),
or the last of this kind.