Lion with Eagle’s Wings Daniel 7
Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 25, 2009
KJV Daniel 7:2-62. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4. 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. 5. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6. 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.
The first step in any Bible study is to pray for guidance. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. KJV 1 Corinthians 2:12-14. We need the guidance of the Spirit to understand the Bible.
The next step is to look at the physical aspects of the text. It may be helpful to write the text out in your own words.
Daniel saw a vision where four winds, or winds from every direction blew on a great sea. Out of this sea came four beasts. Each beast was different from the others. The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings that were plucked off. Even though it no longer had wings it was lifted up from the earth. The lion stood on its feet like a man and was given a man’s heart. The second beast was like a bear and it raised itself up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. Someone said to it, arise, eat much flesh. The third beast was like a leopard which had four wings like a bird. The beast had four heads and dominion was given to it.
We can now identify the key words within the text. Since this text has already received extensive study we will identify the critical words for the first beast that will lead us to the quickest and simplest solution. There are other key words that may be studied in detail but this method will lead to a conclusion identifying the first three beasts.
The key words are lion, eagle and heart.
The first place to look for the interpretation of key words is within the same chapter. In verse 17 we find a major trait of these four beasts explained in detail.
KJV Daniel 7:17
17. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
The Bible shows these four beasts represent four kings, which will rise up out of the earth. This may indicate these kings are to come at a future time.
The next location to examine texts that may explain the key words is the book of Daniel. In chapter 4 we find a story about a dream Daniel interprets for king Nebuchadnezzar. Remember, we are trying to identify four kings. In this dream king Nebuchadnezzar has feathers like an eagle. The beast had wings like an eagle that were plucked off. The feathers were removed from Nebuchadnezzar. He was also given the heart of a beast. It would be reasonable to assume Nebuchadnezzar was given the heart of a man after he confessed his sin against God.
KJV Daniel 4:33
33. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles‘ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
KJV Daniel 4:16
16. Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
A summary of this event is repeated in chapter 5.
KJV Daniel 5:20-22
20. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: 21. And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. 22. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
Is this evidence enough to conclude Nebuchadnezzar is the first king? We have found spiritual evidence he had eagle’s feathers, walked on all fours and was restored upon his two feet to walk like a man. There is one more word to investigate, lion. The word lion is used in the book of Daniel but none of the texts gives a clear spiritual definition fitting the text in question. We need to look at other books of the Bible to find a spiritual interpretation for the word lion.
KJV Jeremiah 50:17
17. Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
Jeremiah provides clear evidence Babylon is represented as a lion. Only the Bible has the ability to bring a clear interpretation of this first beast to light. There is never a reason to rely upon any other book, thought or opinion to spiritually interpret key words.
Now that the first beast has been identified how do we identify the other two beasts? There may be many ways we could approach this matter. We could attempt an investigation of the remaining key words. We can also take what we have learned and build upon it. Since we have been shown Babylon is the first king we can follow the history of Babylon through the Bible.
KJV Daniel 5:28
28. Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
KJV Daniel 5:30-31
30. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
The book of Daniel provides the evidence we are looking for. From these texts it is clear Darius the Median conquered Babylon. Isaiah and Jeremiah confirm this fact.
KJV Isaiah 13:17-22
17. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. 18. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. 19. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 21. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and Satyrs shall dance there. 22. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.
KJV Jeremiah 51:10-12
10. The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. 11. Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple. 12. Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the Lord hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.
KJV Jeremiah 51:28-30
28. Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion. 29. And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant. 30. The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.
Now that we have identified the second king as Darius king of the Medes we can use this information to identify the third king. Once again we will look for information in the book of Daniel.
KJV Daniel 8:20-21
20. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
The Bible clearly identifies the third beast as the king of Grecia or Greece. We can verify this information through the use of history books but that does not set a precedent giving us the right to prove the Bible with the use of any other book.
Now that we have identified the three beasts we can paraphrase by substituting the names of the kings into the text where we find the descriptions.
Daniel 7:2-6 Paraphrased
2. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4. The first was Babylon: 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. 5. And behold another Media and Persia, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6. After this I beheld, and lo another, Grecia; and dominion was given to it.
There are other key words we could investigate in this text but the intent of this lesson is not to come to a full understanding of the prophesy contained in this chapter of Daniel. This lesson has shown the Bible has the ability to interpret itself. This is the rule for all Bible interpretation. God has arranged this lesson for a reason. This study has shown established rules of interpretations taught throughout the Bible.
The Book of Daniel could be termed the book of knowledge. We are told, “God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” KJV Daniel 1:17. Daniel tells us, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” Daniel 2:20-22. Daniel also confirms this knowledge is not given for his benefit. “This secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. To the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” KJV Daniel 2:30 ,KJV Daniel 4:17.
The book of Daniel was designed to contain controversial texts not easily understood by the casual reader. This was done with the purpose of teaching lessons required to interpret other areas of God’s word. “I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” KJV Daniel 10:21, Daniel 11:32-33, Daniel 12:3-4.
The lessons we have learned from this study include the follow: Visions use symbols that can be properly interpreted only by the word of God, the Bible. These symbols are often explained in the same chapter and book. Biblical interpretations are often easier when one symbol is brought to light, allowing us to build upon that knowledge to interpret other symbols.