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…
Two emblems are here used to describe the corruption of human states in past ages, the great image and the four beasts of prey. False religion and worldly ambition, with its natural fruits of cruelty and crime, are vividly portrayed by this twofold emblem. The redemption of man from this twofold fall must begin with their separate members. Let us, therefore, trace, from the emblems themselves, the bright and holy contrast which is waiting to be realised in the coming Kingdom of God.
1. Man, in his state of nature, is dead in trespasses and sins. In the symbols of the prophecy he is an atom of the dazzling, but lifeless image; a member incorporated in the wild beast of prey. The first work of redemption is to deliver him from this state. The bestial nature is then crucified and done away; and he becomes a living member of the body of Christ. He is no longer a lifeless atom of clay in the feet of the image. The breath of a new life has been breathed into his nostrils, and, like Adam in the day of creation, he stands once mere erect in the image of God.
2. The prophecy leads us to contemplate the true character and blessedness of a righteous nation. The closing part of those visions teaches us:(1) The intense reality of God's providence here below.
(2) The true standard of national excellence and honour. Not wealth and riches. Not military ambition. Not the cold and heartless theories of political ungodliness; but ordinances of royalty and righteous dominion.
(T. R. Birks, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I saw until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand on two feet as a man; and a man's heart was given to it.