And behold, another beast, a second beast, one resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth, and thus they said to it, ”Arise, devour much meat.” (Daniel 7:5)
This second kingdom presents some difficulty in trying to interpret because the information is not as clear as the other two. The best way, is to try and decide how bears operate. From that we can draw some characteristics of this kingdom.
So what can we learn from bears that will give us some understanding of this prophecy.? The first thing I remembered is that bears hibernate in the winter so they usually start later than the other animals but make up for it in what they accomplish when they are active. Some may think that the bear is slower, but if you ever were chased by one you would think differently. We may then conclude that the bear symbolizes strength and efficiency.
We also notice three ribs between his teeth. This could represent his success in devouring his prey. The ribs signify success, and evidence that the victory was complete. The command to devour much flesh was the admonition to continue on with his mission. Perhaps here is a prophecy that unlike the lion, its mission would continue with success.
Some have compared this kingdom to Medo-Persia because it follows Babylon and has some bear-like characteristics. Although this may be true, the prophecies we are examining will be yet future. We conclude by saying that this future kingdom may not start to become powerful until later, but it will not diminish in strength and purpose and this strength and steadiness will attract others to it.