After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, 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.
In describing the third beast image, there is a great similarity to that of the kingdom under Alexander the Great. We must keep in mind that these beasts from the sea are not successive, coming after one another but arriving at the same time. These verses describe characteristics of these future kingdoms which will arrive in the last days. There is a picture here that strongly resembles Alexander’s kingdom. Such a picture in a historical frame makes it easier to visualize what those kingdoms will be like and maybe that is why they are presented this way.
First, the leopard; He is the smallest and also the swiftest of them all. Alexander was the youngest yet accomplishing more than each.
Second, there are the wings symbolizing swiftness. (Double wings equaling double swiftness.) The wings are true in the case of Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander.
Third, there is the four heads illustrating four kingdoms arising out of Alexander’s that also took place after his death.
Fourth, dominion was given to Him. Alexander had the greatest area of conquests and for a short time they were under his control. His successors did not lose that control for a long time after his death. The leopard would symbolize swiftness and dominion.
Although it appears to be more than coincidental, this third kingdom, though yet future, shall exhibit these characteristics. Our part is to be watchful and faithful as these signs emerge.