Nebuchadnezzar having died, the kingdom was passed to his son Nabonidus who in due time elevated his own son Belshazzar as co-ruler and second ruler of Babylon after himself.
Belshazzar was a co-ruler with his father Nabonidus for several years before the fall of Babylon and because Nabonidus was often away on military campaigns Belshazzar was often left in full charge in Babylon itself.
The end of Belshazzar (Dan 5); must be understood in light of the dreams and experiences of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, which Belshazzar would have been well aware of.
Daniel 7 is dated in the first year of the co regency of Belshazzar and so should be placed before Daniel 5 which deals with the end of Belshazzar..
Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
Daniel had a dream during the first year of Belshazzar’s co rulership of Babylon with his father Nabonidus.
7:2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
The great sea represents the people and the winds are the empires of the statue of Daniel 2; the image was of the complete Babylonian system and the various empires that would constitute Babylon.
The four winds are then likened to four beasts that came up out of the sea of people. This shows that these four beasts are a part of the Babylonian system.
7:3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
The first beast
The first beast corresponded to the head of gold of the statue of Daniel 2; the first manifestation of the Babylonian system.
7:4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings [the winged lion was the symbol of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon]: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
The second beast
The bear represents the ancient Persians; the bear is the animal figure of the silver breast that replaced the gold head in the Babylonian mystery system.
The Persians rose up to defeat and then ally with the Medes, and together they defeated the Babylonians and Egypt; the three empires typified by the three ribs [the Medes, Egyptians and Babylon in the mouth (in the power of) of the Persians] in its mouth and the power to conquer many nations [devour much flesh].
The Empire of the Medes had been allied with the Babylonians in 612 B.C. overthrowing Assyria and leading to the rise of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar about 604 B.C.
In 553 B.C. (a second report puts the event in 550 B.C.) the Medes were defeated by “Cyrus, king of Anshan” the Persian, and separated from their Babylonian alliance. The Medes then joined with the Persians, beginning the rapid rise of the Persian Empire.
Cyrus the Persian was the first king of the Persian dominated Achaemenid Empire followed by his son Cambyses 2. Then Darius a Mede became the ruler of the Persian empire about 522 B.C.
This Darius the Mede also called Gobryas by the Greeks, was the Mede general who had captured the city of Babylon for the Persian emperor Cyrus in 539 B.C.
Note: There was no such person as Darius the Persian, Darius was a Mede; this misunderstanding that there was a Persian Darius comes from the fact that Darius [the Mede] later became the ruler of the Persian Empire.
7:5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh [conquer many nations].
The third beast
Now comes the leopard the symbol of Greece, which replaced the Persian part of the great statue of Babylon. The third beast had the agility and strength of the leopard and was very fast in actions as if it had wings, picturing Greece and the lightening conquests of Alexander.
The leopard of Greece typified by the brass in Daniel 2, had four heads picturing the dividing of the successors of Alexander into four kingdoms.
7:6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
A fourth part of the Babylonian system is then revealed as having teeth of iron. This is the fourth part of the statue of Daniel 2 which was the legs of iron of Rome.
The fourth beast
7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
The fourth beast is the Roman Empire, the two legs of the Daniel 2 statue, which took over the Babylonian Mysteries governance form and religion from the Greeks. This Roman Empire was to be stronger than the other beasts; and have ten successive revivals.
The seat of the Babylonian Mysteries was transferred to Rome
The Greeks had moved the center of the Babylonian Mystery religion to Pergamos
Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is:
Attalus III Philometor Euergetes, king of Pergamum from 138 to 133 B.C. died in 133 B.C. bequeathing his domains to Rome ended the history of Pergamum as the last Greek King of the North; and Babylon/Syria the King of the North and the Babylonian Mysteries, were absorbed by Rome.
The ten horns on the fourth beast represent the Roman Empire
7:8 I considered the [the explanation begins in 7:20] horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn [an eleventh horn, the papacy], before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
Daniel 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first [ten], and he shall subdue three kings.
After its collapse the Roman empire was for a time ruled by Gothic tribes. The Visigoths took Rome in 410, the Vandals in 455 and the Ostrogoths in 493. Not only did the kings of these tribes rule over Rome in their time but they also set up kingdoms in areas that had formerly been part of the empire; the Visigoths in southern Gaul and Spain, the Vandals in North Africa and the Ostrogoths Italy, Sardinia and Sicily. These three Gothic kingdoms are represented by three of the ten horns.
The arrangement of Justinian with the bishop of Rome also resulted in the birth of the papacy as dominating the emperor; which is represented by the little horn that came up among the ten horns.
When emperor Justinian resolved to restore the Western Roman Empire his armies conquered these three Gothic kingdoms and with his arrangement with the bishop of Rome he established the first of seven empires that would later become known as the Holy Roman Empire.
The three Gothic tribes had brought their laws, culture, traditions and religions to Rome and to the lands where they established their kingdoms. Many Goths had been converted to Arian Christianity before their conquests of Rome and this belief became widespread in their kingdoms. Arianism was a heresy in Roman Catholicism as it contradicted the Nicene creed so the bishop of Rome, set up by Justinian as pope, set about removing all traces of Gothic culture and beliefs from the empire. This is what the little horn [the Papacy] plucking up three of the horns before him represents.
We are also told that the little horn would speak great words against the Eternal [by teaching people to obey the traditions of men instead of living by every Word of God] and seek to change times and laws and wear out the saints. The popes through the ages have done all these things and the coming miracle working false prophet will be the culmination.
The entire system will end at the coming of Messiah the Christ; who will crush this Babylonian Mysteries system and totally destroy it (Daniel 2).
Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit [in judgment], whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
Jesus Christ will cast the final political leader of the New Europe and the final miracle working false prophet who deceives humanity into rebellion against God, together into the lake of fire.
Daniel 7:11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn [the little horn, the papacy] spake: I beheld even till the beast [the whole Babylonian Mysteries system, including the political leader and the final false religious leader] was slain [destroyed], and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Daniel 7:12 As concerning the rest of the beasts [the other three beasts, not the fourth Roman beast of ten successive dynastic horns], they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
A prophecy of dominion being given to Jesus Christ
7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
The everlasting kingdom of God will be given to Jesus Christ and it will replace the Babylonian Mystery church state system of Daniel 2-3, Jesus Christ will come to smite the last revival of Babylon and smashing it.
7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Then Daniel was upset and longed to understand the prophecy
7:15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 7:16 I came near unto one of them that stood by [an angel still in the vision], and asked him the truth of all this. . .
The explanation from God
. . . So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings [or national empires; Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome], which shall arise out of the earth.
These four are each a part of the Babylonian system represented by the whole statue of Daniel 2-3.
The system of Satan, the Babylonian Mysteries, which will climax in a seventh revival of the Holy Roman Empire; will be destroyed by Jesus Christ at his coming with God’s chosen resurrected elect; and those faithful to God in this life will receive an eternal kingdom.
7:18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
The explanation of Rome the fourth beast
7:19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
7:20 And of the ten horns [which are ten successive Roman dynastic systems] that were in his head, and of the other [the little horn, the papacy] which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
7:21 I beheld, and the same horn [the final religious leader of this system] made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;7:22 Until the Ancient of days [Jesus Christ in this context] came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High [that God’s faithful should be resurrected to spirit and receive their inheritance]; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
Rome is the fourth beast, the legs and feet of iron of the statue of Babylon.
7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom [Rome] upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole [the known earth at that time] earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom [the ten successive kingdoms which come out of Imperial Rome] are ten kings[dynasties] that shall arise and another [little horn, the papacy] shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first [ten], and he shall subdue three kings [the three Gothic kingdoms].
7:25 And he [the little horn, the papacy] shall speak great words against the most High [saying that we must obey him as our ultimate moral authority in place of obeying the Word of God, just like the leaders of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia also teach], and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they [today’s apostate Spiritual Ekklesia] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
This entire Roman [Babylonian] system of ten successive dynastic systems and its final political ruler and the final false prophet will be destroyed by the coming of Messiah with his chosen!
7:26 But the judgment shall sit [is sure], and they shall take away his [Jesus Christ will destroy the dominion of the revived Holy Roman Empire Babylonian Mysteries] dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
7:27 And the kingdom God’s kingdom will be established over all the earth, after this abomination is destroyed] and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
7:28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.