VII We come now to the prophetical part of Daniel, in which are many things hard to be understood. In this chapter we have, The vision of the four beasts, ver. 1-8. The vision of God's throne of government and judgment, ver. 9-14. The interpretation of those visions, ver. 15-28.
Verse 1. In the first year of Belshazzar - This prophecy is written in Chaldee, to be a monument to him, of the reverence his father and grandfather shewed towards God, who had done such mighty works for them. Then he wrote - These visions were recorded for the benefit of the church, to rectify their mistake: for they thought all things would succeed prosperously after they returned out of their captivity.
Verse 2. The four winds - Probably by the four winds of the great sea is signified commotions of contrary nations, striving together by wars, and producing these four beasts successively.
Verse 3. Four great beasts - That is, four great monarchies, great, in comparison of particular kingdoms; beasts for their tyrannical oppressions.
Verse 4. The first - This was the Chaldean, or Assyrian; whose seat was first at Babylon, afterwards at Nineveh, and then at Babylon again. Eagle's wings - They were swift, over-running many countries, and brought their monarchy to a prodigious height in a short time. The wings were plucked - Which was first done in stopping the career of their victories, and afterwards in casting them out of their kingdom. A man's heart - They lost their lion- like courage, and became faint and cowardly like other men.
Verse 5. Another beast - The Mede's and Persians, a fierce, ravenous creature. On one side - The north side; for the Mede first arose and sent to Cyrus the Persian to come and assist him against the Assyrian. Three ribs - Several of the Babylonian subjects revolted, and all these made the three ribs.
Verse 6. Like a leopard - This leopard was the Grecian monarchy; a leopard is less than a lion, so was this monarchy at first, but yet durst fight with a lion; so did Alexander encounter Darius with an inferior force. A leopard also for his swiftness; therefore described with four wings on his back. Four heads - He was succeeded by four of his chief commanders, who divided that empire into four parts.
Verse 8. Another little horn - Probably either the Turk or the Romish antichrist.
Verse 9. The thrones - The kingdoms of this world were destroyed by God the king, and judge of all, called the Ancient of days, because of his eternal deity.
Verse 11. Destroyed - This cannot but be meant of the ruin and judgment of antichrist.
Verse 13. A son of man - That is, the Messiah, he came with the clouds of heaven, gloriously, swiftly and terribly. And came - This relates to his ascension, at which time, he received his royal investiture, for the protection of his church, and curbing of their enemies.
Verse 16. Unto one - That is, to an angel, that ministered. The truth - The true meaning of this vision.
Verse 18. But the saints - Jesus Christ being their king, they shall reign with him, and possess the kingdom for ever. 24. And another - This seems to mean the Romish antichrist.
Verse 25. Until a time and times - The numbers of Daniel and John seem to agree. Daniel was certainly prophetical in these things, and his prophecy reacheth to the end of times, even of antichrist's reign.
Verse 28. Of the matter - Of the vision, and the angel's interpretation.