First Beast: A Lion With
Pamela Ayn Austen
4. The first beast was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and given the mind of a man.
The lion is King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, because the lion with eagle's wings correlates to the head of gold in Daniel 2, and Daniel states, "You, O King [Nebuchadnezzar], are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given sovereignty, power, strength, and glory. Wherever the sons of men or beasts of the field or birds of the air dwell, he has given them into your hand and has made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold." Daniel 2:37-39
God used Babylon to discipline and punish Israel and other nations for their sins. "Babylon, you are my war club, my weapon for battle. With you I shatter nations; with you I bring kingdoms to ruin." Jeremiah 51:20
A lion symbolizes the Avenger of Truth, and God used Babylon to avenge himself against sinful Israel and other pagan nations.
Birds represent influence, or an influencer, and the larger the bird, the greater the influence; and the wider the wing span, the further the influence goes; and the bird that can fly the highest is the one that influences the upper echelons of society. An eagle is the pinnacle of influence in the world, and so the lion, Babylon, was given world-wide influence with it's eagle's wings.
As long as God was using the king of Babylon to do his will and crush kingdoms, the wings remained on the lion. But when the king finally took rest from all of his works, he looked around at his accomplishments, and he gave himself all of the glory for it, without acknowledging God, (even after having been warned by Daniel not to do this), so God tore off the far-reaching wings of Nebuchadnezzar, and God turned the king's mind to that of a beast of the field. Daniel 4:16
For seven years, the king acted like an animal, eating grass in the field with the oxen, and he thought and behaved like an animal.
The mind of an animal symbolizes ignorance of God, and it also symbolizes the human pride that is the result of not understanding that God is the giver of all things. Jude 1:10 says, "These men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed." And 2 Peter 2:12 says, "These men are like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be captured and destroyed. They blaspheme in matters they do not understand, and like such creatures, they too will be destroyed." And Psalm 73:22 says, "I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you."
However, the king came to understand the sin of his pride due to the punishment God sent against him, and he afterward said, "My sanity was restored to me, and my honor and splendor returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. . . Now, I Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, for all his works are true, and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble." Daniel 4:36-37
Notice, the king said he was restored for "the sake of my kingdom." The spreading eagle's wings of his world-wide influence were not given back to the lion, but this is what God gave the lion instead to finish out its days. He allowed the lion, which had been down on all fours like a beast (conquering the nations), to stand up like a man and have the understanding and dignity of a man. This happened when Nebuchadnezzar came to understand that God is in control, and the king was given knowledge of, and faith in, God.
When one comes to understand their sins, and when one comes to know God, pride begins to diminish, and humility begins to reign, and so the wingless lion walking on two back feet could no longer be the world-wide terror that it had been.
As long as King Nebuchadnezzar lived, he was the lion standing up like a man, but once he died, Babylon's days were numbered.
Lifted Up on One Side
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