LESSON: The first words of Daniel 7 inform us that his God-breathed vision came in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon. That would equate to the year 553 BC when the reigning king of Babylon, Nabonidus made his eldest son, Balshazzar, his co-regent in Babylon. Nabonidus then departed with most of the Babylonian army for Temâ in the deep western recesses of the Babylonian Empire to build a temple of worship to a moon god he called Ehulhul and whose symbol was an eclipse of the moon – the crescent moon. The full Old Testament-based historical account can be found at Livius.org.
The text begins with Daniel explaining that he saw the “four winds of heaven stirring up the Great Sea.” This is a metaphor meaning that God would throughout history of the “times of the Gentiles” bring forth (giyach: stir up) great nations from among them. These great gentile nations are the four great beasts which rise from the sea of gentile nations, each one different from the one which follows.