Outlines by London Minister
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…
I. THE ELEMENT OUT OF WHICH THE WORLD-KINGDOMS CAME INTO EXISTENCE. "Four beasts came up from the sea." The sea, when looked at in some of its aspects, is a most fit symbol of the means by which human kingdoms without godliness have made progress in the world.
1. There is the element of treachery. The sea is at one moment calm, and apparently harmless; and the next, sending a nation into mourning by overwhelming her vessels and casting their crews into the depths of the ocean.
2. The element of restless change. From its creation to the present moment its waters have not been at rest for a single hour.
3. The element of destructiveness. The sea is a terribly destroying power. The Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman empires were destructive rather than constructive forces in the world.
II. THE CREATURES WHICH ARE USED AS SYMBOLS OF THE WORLD-KINGDOMS. "Four beasts." The characteristics of these kingdoms were animal rather than human. There is no true humanity where there is no divinity. These kingdoms of the parabolic vision are symbolised by beasts of prey noted for their strength, and cruelty, and treachery; no animal of a gentle, peaceful nature is found among them; denoting the entire absence of these characteristics in kingdoms without godliness.
III. THE KINGDOM THAT AROSE LAST OUT OF THE SEA OF TIME, EXCEEDED THOSE THAT HAD GONE BEFORE IT IN CRUELTY AND POWER. No mere animal could set forth all its destructive power; it had "iron teeth" and "ten horns." The longer wickedness goes on unchecked the more its evil tendencies develops themselves, and the more it spreads desolation in the world.
IV. A TRULY HUMAN KINGDOM CANNOT ARISE OUT OF ANY ELEMENT OF EARTH, IT MUST COME FROM ABOVE. "The Son of man came with the clouds of heaven." The head of every kingdom except Christ's Kingdom has been a mere man. But the Son of man was from above, and He came to be the head of a kingdom of true humanity. The subjects of His Kingdom become partakers of the Divine natural, and, therefore, this kingdom exhibits none of the characteristics set forth by the beasts. It is a human kingdom because it is a Divine kingdom. Therefore, it is an everlasting kingdom. This vision teaches us:
1. The knowledge of the eternal in relation to human affairs in the ages to come.
2. That God has stretched a measuring line across the bounds of every kingdom. He has appointed the bound of their habitation.
3. Human kingdoms form a dark background to reveal the beauties of the Kingdom of Christ.
(Outlines by London Minister.)
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.