The Fall of Babylon - A type of End-time events
Daniel chapter 5 describes the fall of literal Babylon which was a type (an illustration) of the coming fall of end-time global spiritual Babylon.
There is a transition in the prophecies of Daniel 2,7,8 and 11 from the literal and local to the spiritual and global so that while the names remain the same the meaning attached to the names take on a new interpretation. Literal Babylon, the head of Gold of the Daniel 2 image becomes spiritual Babylon in the book of Revelation. See chart below
Recall that the fourth kingdom (legs of IRON) of the Daniel 2 image was the literal local pagan Roman Empire of the Caesars. This Rome has passed on and transitioned to the Rome of the Popes, a union of church and state represented as the feet of IRON & clay of the image. The iron is present in the feet hence is still ROME but a different type of Rome, one which has CLAY added to it. Clay represents religion - Papal Rome is thus represented in the feet of iron & clay - see Daniel 2 study. Revelation 17 tells us that this church state union is identified as "Babylon the great", hence the feet of iron and clay represents not only Papal Rome but Spiritual Babylon.
The transition in the Daniel 2 image is from the literal local Babylon of King Nebuchadnezzar (head of gold) to spiritual and global Babylon of the Popes in the feet of iron & clay.
Daniel in chapter 2 had interpreted the King's dream as follows:
Three Kingdoms were to follow Babylon with the second that of the Medes & Persians. Daniel chapter 5 is the literal fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel 2.
2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
2:41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
150 years before Daniel, God, through the prophet Isaiah, foretold the manner of Babylonʼs overthrow, and even named the king who would capture the city (Isa 44:27-45:1; Jer 50:38; 51:13, 36). Babylon sat on (was built over) the waters of the river Euphrates. (See map). While Belshazzar was celebrating, the Medo-Persian armies led by Cyrus crept under the city walls via the river bed to capture the city by surprise.
God had foretold this event in Jeremiah 50:38. “A drought [is] upon her [Babylonʼs] waters; and they shall be dried up: for it [is] the land of graven images, and they are mad upon [their] idols.”
God even promised to open the internal city gates (See Isa 45:1). The ancient historian Herodotus recorded how Babylon fell: “[Babylon had] stored provisions enough for very many years; so they cared nothing for the siege; and Cyrus knew not what to do... whether, then someone advised him in his difficulty, or he perceived himself what to do, I know not, but this is what he did... drawing off the river by canal... he made the stream to sink till its former channel could be forded. When this happened the Persians who were posted with this intent made their way into Babylon by the channel of the Euphrates... and brought them to a miserable end.” Herodotus, Book 1, sec 191; A.D. Godley, Loeb Classical Library, p239
Cyrus, who came from the east, (Isaiah 41:2, 25; 46:11) typified Christ who will likewise come from the east (Matt 24:27). The spiritual Euphrates will be dried up, Christ will overthrow spiritual Babylon and liberate His people. Rev 17:12-17 enlarges upon the drying up of spiritual Babylonʼs support. Rev 16:12 (6th plague) says this drying up prepares the way of the “kings” of the east. Cyrus also led other kings when he overthrew Babylon. “Many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.” “The kings of the Medes...Prepare against her [Babylon] the nations with the kings of the Medes...” Jer 50:41; 51:11, 28.
The fall of literal Babylon in Daniel's day is a type or illustration of the fall of spiritual Babylon in our day as portrayed by John in the second angel's message of Revelation 14:8 and of that other angel of Revelation 18:1-5 which joins it.
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.
18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.