Dan 7:2 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.
Daniel saw four beasts representing the four empires before His last days' judgement.
Lion – Babylonian Empire
Dan 7:3-4 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.
The lion, the first beast represented the great and powerful Babylonian empire started by King Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered the whole of the Middle East. He was so proud of his succes that he boasted of his great ability and might. God humbled him to live like an animal for seven years and his hair was like eagle's feathers. After his repentance God restored him back to his kingship.
Dan 4:33 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.
Bear – Mede-Persian Empire
Dan 11:1-2 “Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen. And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece."
This bear, the second beast will be the powerful and fearful Mede-Persian empire, which will replace the Babylonian empire. After King Darius, there will be four more kings. The fourth king will attack Greece. Its defeat will destroy all the wealth, prosperity and power accumulated by the previous three kings.
Dan 7:5 “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ "
Leopard – Grecian Empire
Dan 11:3-4 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.
The leopard, the third beast known for its speed, will represent the Grecian empire, where Alexander the great conquered Turkey, the whole Middle East, Egypt and part of India in a very short period. After the death of Alexander, his empire was broken up into four kingdoms ruled by his four generals.
1. Greece and Macedonia
Gen. Cassander took control of Greece and Macedonia;
Gen. Lysimachus took control of Thrace and most of Asia Minor;
3. Southern kingdom
Gen. Ptolemy took control of Egypt, Israel and Petra.
4. Northern kingdom
Gen. Seleucus took control of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon (former Persian Empire).
Dan 7:6 “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it."