New Defender's Study Bible Notes
7:4 eagle’s wings. Nations commonly are represented as symbolic animals. Of the nations currently prominent, one thinks immediately of the British lion and the American eagle in connection with the first beast. The plucking of its wings, and its transmutation into a man are not explained and evidently are events yet to be fulfilled. It may be that the wings (ability to mount aerial invasions or defenses) will be somehow prevented from use by the Anglo-American alliance. Perhaps, also, the eventual destruction of the fourth beast (Daniel 7:11) will coincide with spiritual revival in the first beast—but these are only speculations.
7:5 bear. If the lion and eagle represent an Anglo-American alliance, possibly in association with other western nations, then the “bear” would seem to depict Russia and its allies. This colossus has, indeed, “raised itself up” more in its western side than in the east. It did (and does) “devour much flesh,” in terms of its baleful influence and control over so many other nations (at one time, almost half the world).
7:5 three ribs. The “three ribs” are enigmatic in prophetic meaning, but may possibly refer to the three Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), still under the strong influence—if not domination—of Russia.
7:6 leopard. The leopard, yellow with dark spots, could possibly represent an alliance of the pantheistic nations of the East (China, Japan, India, Indochina, perhaps suggesting the four heads, with all insisting on equal authority). Revelation 16:12 speaks of “the kings of the east” marching toward Armageddon from the other side of the Euphrates. The “four wings of a fowl” are of uncertain meaning, but may simply denote that other Oriental nations are involved, in addition to the four heads. A strong union of these far-eastern nations would surely pose a serious threat.