244. And the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. This symbolizes the Divine truth of the Word in respect to its concepts and the understanding they afford.
Eagles have various symbolic meanings, but flying eagles symbolize concepts which lead to understanding, since when they fly, they recognize and see. They also have sharp eyes so as to see keenly, and eyes symbolize the intellect (nos. 48, 214).
To fly means, symbolically, to perceive and teach, and in the highest sense, which has the Lord as its subject, it means to foresee and provide.
That this is the symbolic meaning of eagles in the Word is apparent from the following passages:
Those who wait on Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles. (Isaiah 40:31)
To mount up on wings like eagles means to be raised into concepts of truth and goodness and so into intelligence.
Does the hawk fly by your wisdom...? Does the eagle mount up at your command...(and) spy out its food? Its eyes observe from afar. (Job 39:26-27, 29)
The eagle here describes a faculty for recognizing, understanding, and foreseeing, and the fact that this does not result from one's own intelligence.
(Jehovah,) who satisfies your mouth with good, so that you are renewed in your youth like an eagle. (Psalms 103:5)
To satisfy the mouth with good means to give understanding by means of concepts. Thus an analogy is made with an eagle.
A great eagle with large wings and long pinions... came upon Lebanon and took from the cedar a little branch... Then it took some of the seed of the land and planted it in the field of a growing crop..., and it grew and became a vine... But there was another great eagle..., to which the vine bent its roots... (Ezekiel 17:1-8)
The two eagles here describe the Jewish and Israelite churches, each in respect to its concepts of truth and consequent intelligence.
In an opposite sense, however, eagles symbolize false concepts, by which the intellect is corrupted, as in Matthew 24:28, Jeremiah 4:13, Habakkuk 1:8-9, and elsewhere.
(References: Revelation 4:7)