The first beast of Daniels night vision: The first was like a lion, and had eagles 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 mans heart was given to it (Dan. Dan. 7:4). This beast appears to correspond to the head of gold in Nebuchadnezzars dream (Dan. Dan. 2:32, Dan. 2:38). Interpreters of the book of Daniel, whether liberal or conservative, generally have agreed that chapter 7 is in some sense a recapitulation of chapter 2 and covers the same four empires. Likewise, there is agreement that the first empire represents the reign of Nebuchadnezzar or the Neo-Babylonian Empire. . . . Daniel in his vision sees the wings plucked and the lion made to stand upon his feet as a man, with a mans heart given to it. This is most commonly interpreted as the symbolic representation of Nebuchadnezzars experience in chapter 4 when he was humbled before God and made to realize that, even though he was a great ruler, he was only a man.1 The lion beast is the third of seven kingdoms which oppressed Gods people through history. Dominion is taken from this beast, but its life is prolonged for a season and a time (Dan. Dan. 7:12). This is reflected in the contribution of its attributes to the final Beast who is the eighth head [#9-#16] (Rev. Rev. 13:2+). See Symbols of Kingdoms.
1 John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), Dan. 7:4.