Dan 7:2-3 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other."
These four beasts represent the four empires (kings) affecting the Israelites, because the culture of one empire is different from another.
Dan 7:15-17 “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: ‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.'"
Dan 7:4 "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it."
This first Empire was likely the Babylonian empire, where King Nebuchadnezzar was judge by God for his pride. He was insane and he was like an animal walking on all fours and eating grass for food. His hair became like feathers of eagles.
Dan 4:31-33 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Daniel 4:34, 36 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
After seven years of suffering as an animal, God gave King Nebuchadnezzar his sanity. In humility, he glorified the Lord God Almighty and he was restored back to be the great Babylonian King.
Heb 12:6, 11 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”... Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a faithful servant of God. Because of his pride, God chastised him, after which, he produced the fruit of righteousness – his repentance and humility).
Brethren, rejoice when God chastises us. It hurts Him too when He sees His children suffer for their sins and stupidity. Though it may be painful but it is for our good. Amen.