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  • Writer's pictureSharon


Updated: Dec 12, 2022


Daniel 8 begins within a framework for the time the vision was given. This is important because the events of Daniel 8 were on the verge of commencement. World kingdoms were about to switch hands. The reigning world kingdom of Babylon was to be deposed and a new world kingdom would reign. The Jews were still captives of Babylon. Other prophecies in Scripture were about to be fulfilled regarding God’s chosen people.

God says He will do nothing without telling His prophets first.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

God was about to do something. Israel had been a captive of the kingdom of Babylon for almost seventy years. But God had promised through the prophet Jeremiah that this captivity would only last seventy years. The prophet Daniel, who was a youth when he was taken captive by Babylon, was now nearly seventy years older (Daniel 1:3-4). We can estimate that he was close to eighty years old when the Lord gave him the vision of Daniel 8.

“Belshazzar, Neo-Babylonian Bel-shar-usur, Greek Baltasar, or Balthasar, (died c. 539 BC), coregent of Babylon who was killed at the capture of the city by the Persians.

Belshazzar had been known only from the biblical Book of Daniel (chapters 5, 7–8) and from Xenophon’s Cyropaedia until 1854, when references to him were found in Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions. Though he is referred to in the Book of Daniel as the son of Nebuchadrezzar, the Babylonian inscriptions indicate that he was in fact the eldest son of Nabonidus, who was king of Babylon from 555 to 539, and of Nitocris, who was perhaps a daughter of Nebuchadrezzar. When Nabonidus went into exile (550), he entrusted Belshazzar with the throne and the major part of his army.

During his coregency Belshazzar administered the government, his own estates, and those of his father, though, according to the Book of Daniel, famine and economic setbacks occurred late in his rule. According to the accounts in the Bible and Xenophon, Belshazzar held a last great feast at which he saw a hand writing on a wall the following words in Aramaic: “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.” The prophet Daniel, interpreting the handwriting on the wall as God’s judgment on the king, foretold the imminent destruction of the city. Belshazzar died after Babylon fell to the Persian general Gobyras without resistance on Oct. 12, 539, and probably before the Persian king Cyrus II entered the city 17 days later.”

The Bible is telling us that this vision of Daniel 8 was given to Daniel just before commencement of its events. The third year of king Belshazzar’s reign would be around 547 BC, just 8 years before the Medes and Persians were going to take over the kingdom of Babylon which was then being ruled by Belshazzar.

To give context to the commencement of the prophetic fulfillment of Daniel 8 read below the story of the fall of Babylon to the Medes and the Persians from Daniel 5.

This story is significant because the events of the vision of Daniel 8 do not begin until this story takes place. Daniel 5 is the fall of literal Babylon. History teaches us about prophecy. An example is the literal application of the following words spoken of spiritual Babylon, as foretold in Revelation 14:8, long after the scenes of Daniel 5 took place. This is an example of how studying Bible stories can give us the spiritual significance of Bible prophecies.

Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

King Belshazzar, as ruler of the world, literally invited all nations to drink wine from the sacred golden cups from the temple of God. Belshazzar showed blatant disregard for God and the sacred things of God even though he had Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony regarding his experience with God.

The two kings of Babylon experienced their fall due to pride. A spiritual fall is preceded by self-exaltation. The Bible tells us prophetically that the king of Babylon represents Lucifer who experienced a fall from heaven. Just as the fall of the kings of Babylon was related to their pride, so was Lucifer’s. The devil desired to be first in heaven, equal with God. He fell because of his pride but also because of the power of Christ at the cross. The cross was about the humility of God to come and save a lost world. At the cross we see the mind of God as revealed in His humility in contrast to Satan’s pride. Paul through the inspired Word of God tells us we should have the same humble mind as Christ did. Christ was obedient unto death even the shameful death of the cross. His words were, “not My will but Thine be done.” He died to self to obey the will of God to save the sinner. This was in total contrast to Satan’s pride. Reader, how is the state of your mind? Do you see pride there or humility? Take some time today to pray ask God to give you the humility of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

History teaches us about prophecy. The prophecy, in Revelation 14:8, written almost 600 years after Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians points us to study the history of the fall of ancient Babylon to learn what will happen in the future.

In the future, spiritual Babylon, represented by a woman in Bible prophecy, would fall when she would convince the kings of the world to drink the wine of her abominable disregard for God and the sacred things of God and to drink the blood of Christians like wine by persecuting the followers of the true God.

But before we look at a final repeat performance at the close of history, let us look at how it all started as we continue our study of Daniel 8 from the starting point of ancient Babylon’s fall.

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