|THE BOOK OF DANIEL---GOD'S PROPHET
1. D- aniel favored by Nebuchadnezzar
2. A- nswer to king's dream
3. N- ebuchadnezzar's furnace of fire
4. I- nterpretation of tree vision
5. E- vents at Belshazzar's feast
6. L- ions den of Darius
7. S- cenes of coming kingdoms
8. F- eatures of four beasts
9. A- ppointing the seventy weeks
10 I- nterpreting the final vision
11 T- error of the king
12 H- orror of end times
AN OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET DANIEL
|I. TRAINING & TESTING THE REMNANT (CHAPTER 1)
A. Captivity of the hostages by Nebuchadnezzar (1-2)
B. Training of the Jewish youth for the king's service (3-7)
C. Daniel's first test of obedience, his challenge of faith (8-16)
D. Consequent reward: attainment in wisdom, promotion (17-21)
|II. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM & GOD'S PLAN (CHAPTER 2)
A. Enigma of the dream beyond the wisdom of this world (1-13)
B. Daniel's understanding to interpret (14-23)
C. Daniel's call to interpret the dream (24-45)
D. Resultant glory to God & promotion (46-49)
|III. GOLDEN IMAGE & THE FIERY FURNACE (CHAPTER 3)
A. Erection of the image & compulsory state religion (1-7)
B. Accusation & trial of the steadfast three (8-18)
C. God's sanction of a sentence & execution (19-23)
D. God's miracle of deliverance (24-27)
E. Nebuchadnezzar's second submission to God (28-30)
|IV. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S WARNING DREAM & SUBSEQUENT HUMBLING
A. The alarming dream, unexplained by worldly wisdom (1-7)
B. Daniel's recognition as interpreter (8-18)
C. Daniel's interpretation & warning (19-27)
D. The king's great humiliation (28-33)
E. The king's repentance and acknowledgment of God's might (34-37)
|V. BELSHAZZARS FEAST AND GODS JUDGMENT (Chapter 5)
A. Belshazzar's arrogant misuse of holy vessels. (1-4)
B. Handwriting on the wall and the king's terror (5-9)
C. Request of the helpless world ruler to the man of God (10-16)
D. Judgment of God against the proud king, (17-28)
E. Honoring of Daniel and the slaying of Belshazzar (29-31)
|VI. IN THE LIONS DEN (Chapter 6)
A. Conspiracy of envy: the decree forbidding all prayer (1-9)
B. Daniels detection at prayer and the enforcement of the decree (10-17)
C. His miraculous deliverance and the punishment of foes (18-24)
D. Darius' testimony to God's sovereignty (25-28)
|VII. TRIUMPH OF THE SON OF MAN (Chapter 7)
A. Beasts: lion of Babylon; bear of Medo-Persia; leopard of Greece; terrible beast of Rome (l-8 & 20)
B. The Kingdom of God & The Messiah's enthronement (9-14)
C. Angel's interpretation of the dream (15-28)
|VIII. CONQUEST OF PERSIA BY GREECE & THE RISE OF ANTIOCHUS (Chapter
A. The vision of the ram; the he-goat; and the little horn (Antiochus) (1-12)
B. The interpretation of the vision by Gabriel (13-27)
|IX. VISION OF THE 70 WEEKS (CHAPTER 9)
A. Daniel's persistent, promise-based prayer (1-9)
B. Gabriel's appearance with the answer: 70 heptads of years for Israel. (An accurate prediction of the
interval between the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem and the crucifixion of Christ) (20-27)
|X. TRIUMPH OF PERSISTENT PRAYER (CHAPTER 10)
A. Angel's encouragement of Daniel, promising further revelations (15-20)
B. Angel's appearance with the answer despite satanic opposition (1-14)
|XI. PROTOTRIBULATION UNDER ANTIOCHUS, A TYPE
A. From the Persian Empire to the death of Alexander the Great 323 BC (1-4)
B. Wars between the Polemic and Seleucid empires up to168 BC (5-20)
C. Persecution of Israel by Antiochus IV. (21-39)
D. The analogous war of the antitype of Antiochus in the last days (40-45)
|XI. TRIBULATION & FINAL TRIUMPH Of GOD'S PEOPLE (CHAPTER 12)
A. Great tribulation (1)
B. Resurrection & Judgment (2-3)
C. Sealing of those prophecies for future fulfillment (4)
D. Angels and the man clothed in linen (5-7)
E. Final commission to Daniel (8-13)
DANIEL - Introductory notes
|The book of Daniel presents many problems to the reader. It has much "symbolic" material which is difficult to understand without some idea of the time and the circumstances under which the book was written. This section will tell us what some of these circumstances were and how the situation played into the form which Daniel used to write his book.|
THE TIMES OF DANIEL
|The first issue which we must confront in studying Daniel is the times in
which he lived, This issue is a hotly debated issue in current studies of the Bible. The
main problem of those who debate the issue is whether Daniel lived when the book says he
did, or whether he lived at a much later time.
The first position, the position that Daniel lived at the time the book says he did, involves a period of history in which the world was in a state of great upheaval. The period involved the end of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of the Babylonian empire which is about 600 BC
The Assyrian Empire had been an empire that was based upon brutality. The Assyrian Empire was one that loved to slaughter for slaughter's sake. They had taken the Northern Kingdom, Israel, into captivity some 100 years before the time we now discuss, The Assyrian Empire was one which had many internal problems. The empire finally fell about 612 BC to Nebuchadnezzar, whom we shall meet a bit later. The Babylonian empire which replaced the Assyrians as the world power at Daniel's time, began its life by rebelling successfully against Assyria. In 612 BC Nebuchadnezzar entered the capital of Assyria and destroyed it. He chased the escapees from that capital to their other capital and destroyed that capital as well. Nebuchadnezzar then had to deal with the Egyptians, He defeated them at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC The people of Judah seem to have attempted a revolt about 606 BC and were crushed, thus the story of Daniel unfolds. This is the first portion. It is the position we will adopt in this class.
The other position about the times of Daniel tells us that Daniel lived during a much later time. According to this position, Daniel lived about 100 BC This era was also one of political upheaval. This period of time is also the period of the Maccabees who ruled in Palestine. The rule of the Maccabees was anything but pleasing to the Jews, Thus, a group of self-exiled Jews went to the wilderness. They lived around the Dead Sea. Their writings included much of an apocalyptic character. Since Daniel is so closely paralleled in this type of literature, they assume that Daniel lived at that time. Daniel became an apocalyptic legend, set in Babylon, to answer the purposes of the people who lived about 100 BC. This position is held by many liberal scholars today.
|Daniel 1:1-2 The Setting of The Time of Daniel.
The first verse of this section tells of a siege of Jerusalem. This siege likely took place in 606 B.C, Jahoiakim was crowned king in 609 BC thus his "third year" would be 606 BC. The person said to have laid siege to the city of Jerusalem is Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar was a great Babylonian general whose father was the first king of Babylon. He had been on campaigns since 612 BC. He returned to claim his throne in 605 BC. He was one of the greatest kings in the ancient world. He finished the building of Babylon during his reign. He was the sole force that held the Babylonian Empire together. Following his death, Babylon fell apart rather rapidly.
The reason for the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar is a mystery. We may easily posit a rebellion, however. Judah had a history of such rebellions. Thus, the siege is entirely plausible. The siege led to a pillaging of the Temple and the carting away of its contents to Babylonian temples. Jehoiakim was also taken in the siege, Jehoiakim died in Babylon some years later.
|Daniel 1:3-5 Nebuchadnezzar was a wise king. He ordered the cream of the
young men of Judah brought to Babylon. Charles Pfeiffer remarks that this was a wise
decision for two reasons. First, this removing of the young men would weaken Judah by
removing its future leaders. The second was, by making these young men loyal to
Nebuchadnezzar, the king would take away one of the greatest future sources for rebellion
in Judah. The man entrusted with this job was the chief court official of Babylon.
Once brought to Babylon, the Judean young men were not to be left in their own culture. To have done so would have hurt the loyalty to the king. These men were to be trained in the Babylonian culture, The greatest problem for these men would be learning the Babylonian writing system. The men would be trained in Babylonian religion and be asked to accept it as their own. This would fully train them in the Babylonian culture into which they had been brought. The training was also to include a daily allotment from the rich food the king ate. Again, this would divest the men of their own culture in which some foods were forbidden.
|Daniel 1:5-7 These verses set the scene for the later events of the book
and introduce the major characters of the book to us. They note that among the men
selected, there are four that stand out; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azaraih.
These names reflect the name of God. Daniel means "God is my judge." Hananiah means "The mercy of YAHWEH." Mishael means "Who is like YAHWEH." Azariah means "YAHWEH helps." The names of these men had to be changed if their new culture was to have any effect on them. Thus, the names were changed to reflect the Babylonian gods. These gods were some of the most popular gods in Babylon. Daniel, then, became Belteshazzar.
A NEW NAME
|Daniel's new name Belteshazzar means "Marduk, protect his
life." The name of Hananiah became Shadrach. This names meaning is debated. It
can either be "The command of Aku" or could simply be a corruption of the name
of the Babylonian head-god Marduk.
Aku was the Babylonian moon god. The name of Mishael became Meshach. This name is a take-off on his Hebrew name and means "Who is like Aku?"
The name of Azariah became Abed-nego or Abednego. This name means, "Servant of Nego." Nego was a corruption of the popular god Nebo which also appears in the name Nebuchadnezzar. This title, "servant" was a common title for someone who worshipped a god. How do we use this today? Can you think of a prophet whose name used the Hebrew word "Obed" (servant)?
|Daniel 1:8-10 As you will remember, Daniel and his friends were deported
from Judah to Babylon following a rebellion in 606 B,C. They were taken to the royal court
where they were given training as citizens of Babylon. The verses in this section and in
the following sections tell of what happened in the early days of their training.
One of the first things, if you remember, that Nebuchadnezzar did, was to change the diet of the captives. All of the other things that he did, Daniel and his friends went along with. It is interesting that they did refuse to comply with the food requirements of king Nebuchadnezzar.
The great question one would ask in the situation of Daniel and his friends is, "Why didn't they go along with the food requirements?" The requirements would have seemed minor when compared to the other things which had been done, it would seem that Daniel and friends could easily eat the food without qualms.
The major problem with the food given to Daniel and his friends, however, was one that still faces the Jews today. Put simply, the problem was the observance of the Jewish laws of food choice and preparation as found in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Babylonian cooks would not have observed these laws. The diet could well also have included some items which God had told the Israelites were unclean. Can you think of any of these? The wine was not drunk because the four men were observing a law known as the Nazirite Law, which forbade any wine or alcohol and called for fasting. Thus, asking for the vegetables was a religious action to keep the men pure before God.
We may also note in this passage that the steward is fearful of letting the young men eat as they wished. He wasn't entirely unwilling to let the men do as they wished, but the king could be very angry if any less development was found in the four as opposed to the other men in training. The steward could lose his head for this.
|Daniel 1:11-14 Since the steward had to prove the wisdom of his judgment in the case of Daniel and his friends, Daniel proposes a ten day test. If, after ten days, the men are found worse than the other men being trained, then they will eat the royal diet. Otherwise, they will be allowed to continue on their vegetarian diet. Daniel was able to convince the steward of this test. The men were allowed to eat only vegetables for ten days. The outcome of the test would show who was correct.|
|Daniel 1:15-16 Now we hear the results of the diet test. The results surprised everyone except Daniel and his friends. The four men are far healthier and more fit than the other trainees. The battle of food is won by Daniel and his friends. This is just the first of many tests that will come Daniel's way.|
|Daniel 1:17-20 Now that Daniel and his friends have won in the matter of
diet, they are ready to complete their training. One may safely assume that the three
years of training have passed between verses 16 and 17. The results of the training must
now be brought before the king. Each trainee must be tested to show his progress.
The note our author makes in verse 17 is important because it shows the results of the obedience of the four men to God's laws. The verse tells us that all of the men had the ability to learn the language, the letters, and the culture of the Babylonians. But God gave Daniel a special gift, the interpretation of dreams and visions. The terms "dreams" and "visions" are roughly the same.
The final comment that the author makes is the comment on the excellence of the four men of God as opposed to the other trainees. None in the kingdom was found who could equal the accomplishments of the four men of God. In fact, there was none in the kingdom who was even close. Even the men who tried to interpret the world by way of magic were able to outdo Daniel and his friends. Thus, the position of God was shown as above the position of the other gods who were worshipped in Babylon. God had won. The other gods had lost.
|Daniel 1:21 This short section tells us of the length of Daniel's service in the court of king Nebuchadnezzar. In history we know that Cyrus took control of Babylon in the year 539 BC. Thus, Daniel's service was close to 66 years. The length of this service is often debated, since the amount of time would have made Daniel older than many think he could have been when he died. The verse can easily stand if one considers Daniel was a teen at the time he was taken to Babylon. In that case, he would have not reached an age much older than that of many people today.|
THE KINGS OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL
|Nebuchadnezzar||605-562 BC||Cyares||625-585 BC|
|Neriglissar 560-556 BC||560-556 BC|
|Nabonidus||556-539 BC||Astyages||585-550 BC||Cyrus||550-530 BC|
|Behshazzar||549-539 BC||(Defeated Astyages)||Cyrus captures Babylon 539 BC|
|Darius I||522-486 BC|
|Xerxes I||486-465 BC|
|Artaxeses I||465-424 BC|
|Darius II||423-404 BC|
|Artaxexes II||404-358 BC|
|Artaxexes III||358-338 BC|
|Darius III||336-331 BC|
|Macedonia --GREEK KINGDOM--LEOPARD|
|EGYPT - Alexander the Great -336-323 BC SAMARIA
|The Ptolemies||The Seleucids|
|Ptolemy I-Lagi||325-246 BC||Seleuous I||312-280 BC|
|Ptolemy II-Philadelphus||385-246 BC||Antiochus I||280-261 BC|
|Ptolemy III-Euergetes||246-221 BC||Antiochus II||261-246 BC|
|Ptolemy IV-Philopator||221-203 BC||Seleuous II||246-226 BC|
|Ptolemy V-Epiphanes||203-181 BC||Seleuous III||226-223 BC|
|Ptolemy VI-Philometer||181-146 BC||Antiochus the Great||223-187 BC|
|Seleucus IV||187-175 BC|
|Antiochus Epiphanes||175-164 BC|
|The Roman Emperors (Iron) followed--there were ten of them as Daniel's prophecy predicted.|
|Note: Beginning with Chapter 2 and continuing through Chapter 7 we have a scenario of the development of world powers. It begins with the troublesome dream of king Nebuchadnezzar.|
|Nebuchadnezzers dreams reveal what will happen to those kingdoms
and empires controlled by man. They are doomed to a drastic overthrow.
When Judah was overthrown by Babylon, it marked an important victory. When the Jews were deported to Babylon the fate of Judah as a nation was sealed. It was a lose of it's identity.
God had reasons for revealing to heathen kings the futility of building kingdoms on the principle of might makes right. Their exploitation of the people they conquered was not to go unpunished.
|2:2-3 Nebuchadnezzer seeks to have his dream interpreted
To set his mind at ease, Nebuchadnezzer summons four classes of dream interpreters: scholars, enchanters, sorcerers (astrologers) and Chaldeans. The Chaldeans seem to be the spokesman for the other groups.
With the group before him, Nebuchadnezzer tells them he has dreamed a dream--significant construction--singular. He pleads with them to tell him what the dream means.
|2:4 The Chaldean spokesmen offer to explain
"O King live forever!" is an oriental courtesy, almost like our "Mr. President, Sir." They often used elaborate introductions and greetings. They are confident given a chance, that they can interpret "Nebuchadnezzers" dream.
|2:5-6 "Nebuchadnezzers" threat if they fail: Promise
if they tell his dream
Nebuchadnezzer demands that the Chaldeans reveal both the dream AND its interpretation. Typical challenge of an oriental despot.
|2:7-9 The Chaldeans Try To Wiggle Their Way Out
They try to "buy time" but the king doesn't buy it. He replies firmly, "I mean business--speak up or else!"
|2:10-11 The Chaldeans back off
Its never been done before!" they reason; they don't want to irritate Nebuchadnezzer. They confess that only "the Gods" know and admit it can't be done by human intellect.
|2:12-13 Nebuchadnezzer doesn't accept their theory
He becomes angry and issues an edict to have ALL the wise men put to death. Even though Daniel and his friends were novices in the trade, they are included.
|2:14-16 Daniel comes to the rescue
Daniel tells Arioch, the chief executioner to let him have a chance to explain the dream to Nebuchadnezzer.
No doubt the Holy Spirit had prompted Daniel to make such a bold and confident statement. Arioch makes the necessary arrangements which enable Daniel to have an audience with Nebuchadnezzer.
Daniel Seeks Prayer Support From Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego. Inspired as he was to believe that God had called him and his companions for this emergency, Daniel knows the power of prayer.
The term "God of the Heavens" is used in opposition to the Babylonian and other views that the influence
of the stars, sun, moon, determine mans destiny. Astrology then, as today, was an intriguing pastime. Today, people spend millions of dollars on books, charts, etc.
The petition of the prayer is that they not perish. This isn't selfish, but a prayer of necessity to preserve the messianic line from being snuffed out!
|2:19 "Nebuchadnezzers" dream is revealed to Daniel
It comes in the form of a "night vision" rather than a dream. These visions were common among God's prophets.
|2:20-23 Daniel's dream
These verses show us how well versed Daniel was in the Scriptures. A study of parallel passages shows how Daniel adapts material to which he has access.
The major theme of the Psalm is God's mighty revelation which Daniel has just received. Daniel acknowledges that it is the only true God who gives wisdom; who controls time; who determines who shall rule & who shall be deposed; who reveals hidden things; and who knows what is in darkness.
|2:22 "And Light Dwelleth With Him"
Jews interpreted this passage as meaning a reference to the Messiah, You have to stretch the Aramaic and Hebrew to use this as a proof passage of the Messiah. Although He who is to come is indeed the light of the nations, we see other passages clearly showing the Messiah.
|2:23 "Thee, God of My Fathers"
Daniel implies that he is having an experience of God's mercy like that of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Hebrew mind--the Hebrew experiential faith concept. Daniel also acknowledges the part his friends had in the prayer for which an answer was received in the vision.
|2:24 Daniel asks for the audience with Nebuchadnezzer
Tentative arrangements had already been made, But Daniel checks back with Arioch, the chief executioner to assure he had not begun the systematic slaughter of the wise men. Daniel assures Arioch that he is able to interpret the troubling dream of King Nebuchadnezzer.
|2:25-26 The great confrontation
Arioch tries to claim credit for having "found" Daniel rather than tell Nebuchadnezzer that Daniel had come to him. He wanted to gain favor in "Nebuchadnezzers" eyes.
The irony is that it is not one of Babylons seers but an exile from Judah who claims to have the ability to interpret "Nebuchadnezzers" troublesome dream.
|2:21-30 Daniel uses the opportunity to give witness to his God. He makes
it plain that his God had given him the answer. The parallel of Joseph in Egypt in Genesis
41:16 is worth noting.
To rebuke the king for his unjust edict, Daniel asserts that no wise man of any sort, including the astrologers can answer the kinds of questions like those Nebuchadnezzer asked.
|2:31 The dream told and interpreted
Nebuchadnezzer was gazing at a statue--entranced by sight--unable to take his eyes off what he saw. The size of the statue was immense--it had extraordinary splendor--because it was so huge it was foreboding.
|2:32-33 Significant details
The head was of pure gold; the breast plate and arms of silver; the abdomen and upper half of legs were of bronze/brass; lower half of legs were iron and the feet were a mixture of iron and clay.
|2:34-35 The statue moves
A stone is cut loose or detached from a mountainside. The stone begins to roll down the mountain--the statue is directly in its path. It strikes the statue's feet and they are "demolished", crushed.
The impact of the stone reduces the entire statue to a consistency of "chaff which the wind comes and carries away." The wind continues until the last speck of dust is cleared from the site. No trace of the statue is found. The stone which wrought this damage grows to gigantic size and becomes a huge mountain, filling the whole earth.
|2:36-38 The dream is interpreted
Nebuchadnezzer is the head of gold meaning "Nebuchadnezzers" kingdom. World empires originated with the Babylonians. Although the empire founded by Nebuchadnezzer was relatively small and only lasted about 100 years. Leupold, a commentator, suggests "Babylon always remained the animating soul of imperial designs" By this he means that the empire originated by Babylon which was superseded by the Persians, then the Greeks, then the Romansendured for nearly two thousand years. The idea for the "empire" came from the head of Nebuchadnezzer not from his heart. Leupold cites another commentator, McCurdy who says of Nebuchadnezzar, "Now what is conspicuous in Nebuchadnezzer is the purity and self-abandonment of his adoration, as contrasted with the self-laudatory grandiloquence of the Assyrian kings." This means that Nebuchadnezzer was not surrounded by a cult of king worshippers.
|2:39 The Coming of three Kings
The kingdoms that would supersede the Babylonian empire would be "inferior" which doesn't mean lesser in size, but lesser in unity and organization. The Persian Kingdom under Cyrus was a two part empire consisting of Media and Persia, but the two never fused so thoroughly as to become one undivided whole.
Daniel indicates that the fourth power would be inferior to the third as the second (Persia) was to Babylon. Even though Alexander the Great ruled a kingdom which ruled over all the ancient world, when he died, so great was the fight for power that divisions took place--suggesting the third might represent Syria and Egypt which remained at odds when the last empire (Rome) appears on the scene.
|2:40-43 The Fourth Kingdom--Rome
The Fourth Kingdom is given more treatment than the previous three. The reason, suggests Leupold, is that it was in the future and is treated extensively lest its distinctive features be lost sight of.
The mark of the fourth empire is strength-"Strong as Iron." This is not referred to unity or organization, but rather to the destructive power the kingdom would possess. The Roman legions were noted for their ability to crush all resistance with an iron heel. The destructive power of the Roman empire is far more significant than the contribution of Roman Law, Roman roads, and civilization.
It would be "fragile" because it would lack inner unity. This is symbolized by the mixture of patter's clay and iron, The iron and clay will not fuse. The combining of these two materials is meant the weakness that would come about by the intermarriage of Romans with their conquered peoples.
The stone that smites the most vulnerable part of the statue symbolizes the decline of the Roman empire. Although sovereignty passed down from the Babylonian, to the Persian, to the Greek, to the Roman empires, when the last empire (Rome) was destroyed they ceased to be dominating forces in the world. When Rome is crushed, they are all crushed.
The reference to the toes, according to many sources, may well refer to the independent kingdoms into which the Roman empire broke up when the disintegration set in. Since ten is the number of totality, the ten toes represent the sum total of these kingdoms.
|2:44-45 The Interpretation concluded
The kingdom that shall endure eternally is the kingdom of God.
1. IT SHALL ETERNALLY NOT BE DESTROYED.
2. IT SHALL BE RULED BY THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
3. IT SHALL OVERCOME THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD.
4. IT SHALL STAND FOREVER.
Daniel concludes the interpretation by explaining that the stone that was loosened from the mountainside would have an everlasting effect on the kingdoms of the world. Daniel never spoke with uncertainty or hesitancy. This gives us certainty that every word that Daniel spoke came from God!
|2:46-49 The results of the interpreting of the dream
Nebuchadnezzer now reacts to Daniel s interpretation of his dream. One marvels at the honors bestowed on Daniel here, It was unusual for a king to bestow such honors. The honors are two-fold:
1. Nebuchadnezzer does what amounts to an act of worship to Daniel. The commentators have much fun with this! The point usually comes down to how Daniel could have accepted such worship. The answer is simple. Daniel accepted this worship as worship to God. The entire idea is of Nebuchadnezzer doing just that.
2. The elevation of Daniel to prefect of the province of Babylon. This was also made as an honor to Daniel. It was a very responsible position. Daniel was made "head of all men." This too was an honor not usually bestowed upon foreign men. The whole idea is that of faithfulness and its reward.
Daniel also makes a request. Simply, the request is that his three friends also receive honored positions. The king is happy to grant these and makes the friends minor officials in his kingdom. They, too, reap the rewards of faithfulness.
|3:1-7 The incident related to us in this chapter is one of the most
famous in all of scripture. The text of Daniel dates this incident in "the eighteenth
year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzer. This would place the date at about 588 BC or about
one year before Jerusalem was totally destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer and the Babylonian exile
was to begin.
The image which was erected was probably a pole of some ninety feet by nine feet. The actual image sat atop the pole. The whole structure was probably plated with gold. Perhaps the image was a bust of the king. The image was dedicated along with a temple. The instruments are seen here identified by their Greek names. All but the last instrument seem to have been either brass or strings. The last instrument seem to have been of the percussion family. The purpose seems to have been, at least in part, a mock of the ROSH HOSHANNA celebration of the Jews. The whole idea was one of blasphemy.
The assemblage of worshippers for this solemn occasion was the leaders of the various nationalities under the rule of Babylon at the time. The Jews were only one of these. The most significant thing in these verses, however, is the command that all worship this image. Failure to do so is considered a capital offense and is punishable by execution in a fiery furnace!
The furnace mentioned in the text may well have been a lime kiln. The structure probably had a perpendicular shaft from top to bottom with an opening at the bottom. 'The bottom was probably where Nebuchadnezzer looked in.
|3:8-12 After the decree was issued, some jealous fellow-professionals of the three men came to see Nebuchadnezzer. They told him that the three men had not honored the decree and were still worshipping their "god". The whole purpose was to eliminate the three so that the others could take their jobs. The die is cast! The king must act to show his royal power.|
|3:13-18 Upon hearing of the breach of his decree by the three men,
Nebuchadnezzer has a royal temper tantrum. He is in a rage that the three whom he has set
up in such high positions refuse to obey this simple demand. Nebuchadnezzer does something
unheard of here however. He gives them another chance because of his respect for the job
that they do for him.
The king calls the three and asks how they expect their God to save them from the almighty "N." The question, in and of itself is pure blasphemy. Nebuchadnezzer has just taken the position of one which is only reserved for God! Nebuchadnezzer thinks that his power is above God's. The 3 reply with a confession which would make any person proud. They answer that God can save them if He wills. Even if He wills not to do so, these men will not fall down and worship any god made of wood and gold. The men have spoken their piece.
|3:19-23 The next act of Nebuchadnezzer shows how much effect the confession has on him. In fact, the confession made him even more enraged. The furnace was to be heated to 7 times its normal temperature. The men were to be bound and carried to the furnace by the strongest men in the Babylonian militia. These men were to throw the three into the furnace. We see also the results of the order. All of the strong men are killed by the heat of the flames. The situation is now set for the miracle to take place. Now it is up to God Himself to step in and save the three men.|
|3:24-29 Nebuchadnezzer reconsiders his rash actions. He goes out to the
furnace to see what has happened to the three men. He expects them to have perished. Upon
his arrival at the furnace, Nebuchadnezzer looks inside. He sees not three men, but four.
The fourth man is an angel. This is also all we can say about him. The fourth man was not,
as some would say, Jesus. Nebuchadnezzer now orders that the three be brought up out of
the furnace. He has brought a crowd of officials with him. All are able to see that the
fire has not harmed the three men. Nebuchadnezzer shows great respect for the three men
because of their devotion.
The final act of respect that Nebuchadnezzer does for these men is to issue a decree. The decree states that anyone caught blaspheming the God of the three is to be cut into pieces and his house razed. This punishment was also severe, but was deserved. Nebuchadnezzer also acknowledges that no other God can act as the true God.
|3:30 The final results of the incident are seen. The three are promoted. As in chapter 2, the faithful man is blessed by God. This can be seen as encouragement to ALL under troubles!|
|This section appears to be an edict issued by Nebuchadnezzer. It is
possible that Daniel was the scribe who recorded what Nebuchadnezzer wanted to express.
The critics contend the section is Daniel speaking with no input from the king. They try
to prove Nebuchadnezzer was not the author. One of the critics (Montgomery) states:
"as an edict, the document is an historical absurdity; it has no parallel in the
history of royal edicts nor in ancient imperial edicts". This argument says,
"Since there are no other parallel references in secular history, it is an
impossibility", However, we should note that there are a number of events recorded in
the Scriptures that have no parallel in secular history and we believe them to be
historical events (One such event is the killing of the innocent children in Matthew 2).
Another critic, Farrar, suggests that this section is a 1'Midrash"--a form of Hebrew
legend and that it is based on a Babylonian legend.
Lutheran scholarship takes the section at face value--it is an edict of King Nebuchadnezzer and must be interpreted in the context of the events of the book!
|4:1-3 The superscription identifies the author as Nebuchadnezzer and
specifies to whom it is directed "...all peoples, nations, and tongues that dwell in
all the earth". The fact that Nebuchadnezzer wants the edict to be distributed
throughout the land indicates the importance he attaches to his experience.
The critics contend that the inscription proves Nebuchadnezzer wasn't the author because of the Biblical language used. Nebuchadnezzer says he saw "signs and wonders". Signs and wonders usually mark an experience that is for the good of many people."SIGNS"-in Scripture are usually regarded as "pledges of Divine presence or interposition" signifying that man is dealing with a God whose power far exceeds that of man.
"WONDERS" are usually regarded as "a specific display of God's power which causes men to marvel. (cf. Deut. 6:22; 7:19; 13:1-2; Isa.8:18)
"Nebuchadnezzers" reference to the "most high God" shouldn't be taken to imply that he acknowledged the God of Abraham as the only God, but simply that Daniel's God was in the category of the Babylonian high Gods such as Marduk, Eel, and Nebo.
|4:4-16 Nebuchadnezzer tells of his dream
Nebuchadnezzer sees a huge tree that captivates his mind. A loud voice from "a holy One who came down" commands that the tree be hewn down, but although it seems the tree is to be totally destroyed, it turns out that the stump and roots will be left and that a band of iron and brass would be fastened around the stump. The interpretation seems to fit in with the image as we shall see, since Nebuchadnezzers downfall was dramatic and his malady held him bound. "And he shall be moist with the dew of heaven" fits in with Nebuchadnezzers wanderings outdoors in the night without cover.
"His portion shall be with the beasts in the grass of the earth." Likewise squares with Nebuchadnezzers behavior when he ate grass like an animal.
"His heart shall change" doesn't mean literally in physiological change but psychological, into the heart of a beast. This may refer to a psychological phenomena called "lycanthropy" which is a condition in which a person regards himself to be a wolf or a dog and acts out behavior like the animal he things he is.
This demented state would continue until God had time to finish his specific work on the man. The length of time is stated "until seven times shall pass over him". The length of time is of no consequence, the important thing is that God has time to accomplish his purpose.
"By the decree of the wakeful ones is the command and by the word of the Holy Ones is the demand, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules over the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever He will and setteth up over it a lowly one among men"
The wakeful ones and the Holy ones are angels and when taken in context (verse 24) in the final analysis makes sense. We read of heavenly councils elsewhere in Scripture (cf. 1 Kings 22 & Job 1). What part do angels play in such assemblies? Is their participation meaningless? Hardly, if they are being of a higher order. They do what God decrees and desires.
The truth of the statement "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" is the meaning of verse 18 (Cf. 1 Sam.2:7-8; Lk.l:52).
In his concluding statement, Nebuchadnezzer implies that there was no more to the dream than what he had just told. He again asks for an interpretation as he did in verse 9. He again notes the failure of the official dream interpreters and suggests that Daniel display his superior wisdom as he has done on the previous occasion.
|4:14-27 Daniel's interpretation|
|5:1-4 The first problem we confront is who is King Belshazzar? Since the
text seemingly jumps from King Nebuchadnezzar to King Belshazzar we need some reliable
information. From secular history we find that Belshazzar ruled as a co-regent with King
Nabonidas after Nebuchadnezzar's departure. Little is known about him aside from this
impious feast. He was a poor ruler and was soon driven out of power.
The banquet we have described in our text is a royal feast. We discover that Belshazzar liked his liquor and it is the consensus of commentators that it was while in a drunken stupor that he commanded that the holy vessels of the Temple of Jerusalem be brought to the hall where "the feast was in progress."
According to Jewish law, it was sacrilege to remove the sacred vessels from the temple and even a greater sin to use them for other than holy purposes. To compound the sacrilege he commanded that all who drank from the vessels worship the images of the gods who were displayed in the hall.
The only other ruler ever to be as sacrilegious was Antiochus Epiphanes, when he marched into the temple in 167 AD.
Little did Belshazzar realize, but this act would bring down judgment upon him!
|5:5-9 The incident recorded in these verses has become part of a common
question of our day, namely, "he should have seen the handwriting on the wall!"
Note that the handwriting was in the plaster which enabled all to see it clearly. The message was not only for the king, but for all who participated in the sacrilege.
The message brought a Look of horror on the face of Belshazzar. The language used to describe Belshazzar's physical reaction is very descriptive. He is scared. He calls his royal soothsayers. Again, as Nebuchadnezzar did with the magicians and astrologers in Chapter 2, Belshazzar attempts to do here.
|5:10-12 The drama unfolds rapidly! The queen mother enters and instructs Belshazzar to call for Daniel. No doubt she remembered what Daniel had done to solve Nebuchadnezzar's problem.|
|5:13-16 Belshazzar speaks to Daniel and asks for the interpretation. He makes the same offer to Daniel as he made to the other soothsayers. He is also forced to acknowledge that Daniel was being assisted by His God, the true God.|
|5:17-23 Daniel answers the king, but refuses to accept the reward he offers. He recounts how God had made Nebuchadnezzar great. He also reminds Belshazzar about Nebuchadnezzar's downfall because of his pride. The reminder is followed by a rebuke--he would receive punishment because he refused to humble himself before the True and only God.|
|5:24-28 Daniel tells the king the meaning of the handwriting on the wall.
The phrase-- "MENE, MENE, TEKL, PHARSIN," is made up of three Aramaic words.
These words mean: "Numbered," "Weighed"
and "Divided." Daniel tells Belshazzar that this means Belshazzar's days are numbered. From secular history we learn that the Persians killed Belshazzar, when they overtook Babylon.
The second word referred to God's judgment of Belshazzar. The idea of weighing things often has the meaning of judgment. Our courts of law use the symbol of the balance scale to show this concept. Belshazzar's deeds were weighed and were found to be wanting and lacking. This called for punishment.
The third word, "divided" referred to the fact that Belshazzar's kingdom would be divided between the Medes and the Persians.
It is interesting to note that the three Aramaic words linguistically are all puns on weights used in this time.
The point of this particular episode was to warn Belshazzar of impending doom. Since he refused to repent and to turn to the True God, his kingdom would come to an end. This, again is the judgment of God upon hard-hearted sinners.
|5:29-31 Belshazzar gives Daniel royal clothes and proclaims him as a third co-regent of Babylon, but alas, the reign of king Belshazzar ended abruptly that very night! The Persians attacked and Belshazzar died in the battle. He was 62 years old.|
|6:1-2 Daniel's position in the realm of Darius
Some scholars are confused over who Darius really was in this period of time. According to chapter 9:1, Darius is by some thought to be Cysxares II; although he only reigned over the Chaldeans. When we look at the entire hook as a whole, we note that reference is made at the close of the last chapter of Gobyras of Gutium. This seems to fit with the context of Daniel's record. Commentators seem to agree that at this particular time the Medes were well known compared to the Persians and for that reason he is referred to as Darius the Mede. The country of Gutium was a nation of undefined extent but probably included the territory between Babylonia on the one side and the mountains of Armenia to the North and Mount Zagros to the northeast.
|6:3 Daniel's narrative is not concerned about details of a historical nature. He reports the developments which led to the decree described in the following verses.|
|6:4-9 The Decree for Daniel's Overthrow
Jealousy leads Daniel's peers to hatch a plot to get rid of this foreigner. They seek ground for bringing charges against Daniel.
|6:5 The plotters meet in secret to plan for Daniel's overthrow. They decide to focus on Daniel's religious practices since they cannot find fault with the administration record.|
|6:6-8 The plotters gain audience with Darius. They flatter the king and
present their plan, The decree seems at first preposterous and improbable because it might
be violated by thousands of subjects many times during the day without the king knowing.
The plotters appeal to the king on the basis that the decree would protect the king's honor. They knew all along that once a decree was signed by the king it could never be rescinded. This was the same that applied to the conviction in Esther 1:19 and 8:8. in secular history there are also examples of this concept which is called the "Law of the Medes & the Persians."
|6:9-15 Daniel's courageous prayer|
|6:9-10 When Daniel hears of the decree he goes to this house and stands before an open window then falls on his knees and prays aloud as he had done before.|
|6:11-12 The plotters were watching Daniel. They immediately tell the king and demand that Daniel be cast into the lions den as the decree required.|
|6:13-14 King Darius is very troubled at the report and he gave serious thought for the rest of the day as to how to save Daniel.|
|6:15 The plotters remind Darius again; "It is the law of the Medes and the Persians that no inderidct or status which the king has established may be changed!"|
|6:16-18 The Reluctant Sentence by the King Darius encourages Daniel and expresses his desire that somehow Daniels God would deliver him. Daniel is carried to the lions den, a stone is set to seal the entrance so that no one could tamper with it (like the sealing of Christ's tomb). King Darius goes back to the palace and spends the rest of the day fasting. He had a restless night with little sleep.|
|6:19-23 Daniel's deliverance
Early the next morning the king goes to the lions den and calls to Daniel. "Daniel, servant of the living God, thy God, whom you serve without fail, was He able to deliver you from the lions?!" He waits for an answer and then is astounded to hear Daniel's clear voice. "My God has sent His angel and has shut the lions mouth, and they have done me no harm. Daniel is hauled up from the lions den.
|6:24-28 The King's reaction to the deliverance
Darius calls for the men who had brought charges against Daniel, and their families, and orders that they be case into the lions den. The hungry lions devour the prey so quickly, indicating that they were indeed hungry. This punishment seems harsh. According to Mosaic Law the wives and children of guilty men were exempted from sharing in the punishment.
Darius then writes a proclamation to all the people of his kingdom to honor and respect the God of Daniel as the living God, and to acknowledge that His kingdom was one that would not be destroyed. Some commentators claim this section contains too much scriptural language to come from a pagan king. It is worth not even arguing since we know Daniel was the author and evidently had a lot of influence on the king.
The closing verse tells us that Daniel prospered for the remainder of Darius' reign and also in the reign of his successor, Cyrus the Persian.
|This section has posed some problems for people who have tried to interpret it over the years. The major problem is just where this chapter belongs in relation to chapters 2-6. Two schools of thought have arisen. One says that chapter 7 belongs with chapter 8-12 because it contains a vision. The second school says that it belongs to chapters 2-6 since its language and basic contents resemble the language and contents of chapters 2-6. We believe the second school is correct, since it is better harmony with the rest of Daniel.|
|7:1-3 THE FOUR BEASTS AND THE HORN WITH EYES AND A BRAGGING MOUTH
|The chapter focuses on the reign of Belshazzar. The time is the fourth
and the last year of Belshazzar's reign. This places the vision in the close proximity
to" the events unfolded in chapter 5. The important thing to note is that the vision
takes place in the final year of dominion by the Babylonians.
The vision is Daniel's and it is first. Up to this point it was the kings who had the visions and dreams and Daniel was their interpreter.
The dream is one of foreboding. The doom and gloom it portrays is one of far greater consequence than the fall of Babylon. The details are vivid to Daniel, and as we shall see, it revealed what was the fate of Babylon and all future powers who attempted to imitate the power-grabbing methods of the Babylonians.
The critics have made much ado about the language in this chapter, but no conclusion has been universally accepted, It stands as Daniel's recounting of a dream he had when he was receptive to the influence of God.
The first image is that of the four winds of heaven. This is interpreted as meaning that the divine influence was going to be involved in the events prophecized. in other words, God is about to speak.
The winds seem to indicate a movement of human history and human activity apart from God. The sea is merely a large sea. Any insistence that it is the Mediterranean Sea is not defensible! The number four (4) is the number of the earth.
The next thing Daniel sees are FOUR GREAT BEASTS coming out of the sea. We believe the meaning of this is that the beasts are created by men, of man, and for the glory of man. The chaos represents mankind's sinful condition. The drama has begun!
|7:4 THE BEAST LIKE A LION: (Babylon)
The first beast is described as looking like a lion. This represents the predator-like way in which Babylon has taken over the people which it ruled. The symbol corresponds with the "Head of Gold'' in Chapter 2. Babylon was the first nation to attempt imperial domination. Nebuchadnezzar had been a good leader, but after him the kingdom fell apart.
The beast also has wings like an eagle, which probably symbolize the rapid way in which the Babylonians had conquered the various nations. Daniel sees them shorn from the beast which tells us that the main power of Babylon was soon to be taken over by a greater power.
|7:5 THE BEASTS LTKE A BEAR: (Medo-Persian)
There are several places where a bear follows a lion in the Bible. The bear was the beast regarded as the second most dangerous. The word "another" means that this beast would be distinct from the first beast.
"Raised up on one side" probably refers to the two halves of the kingdom that overcame Babylon, The Medean half of the kingdom was the more passive of the two. The image of the bear raised up refers
to the destructive nature of the Persians.
Three ribs are in the bear's mouth. It is an indication that the new kingdom would reach beyond the borders of the Babylonian empire. The number three has no bearing on the vision other than to point
out the greatness of the beast. Medo-Persia did indeed conquer a great deal of area. Thus, the ribs merely refer to a great conquest.
The final part of the verse is a command of the bear to do much devouring. The beast needed no command. The Medo-Persian empire never satisfied its appetite for conquest. It was greedy!
|7:6 THE BEAST LIKE A LEOPARD: (Greek)
The march of kingdoms continues, The next kingdom we see has the image of a leopard. This kingdom is characterized by the speed with which it will overtake the earth. The leopard is a swift animal. it also is vicious enough. Thus, the next kingdom will be marked by the swiftness of its takeover, as well as its viciousness.
Another important feature of a leopard is its fur. The leopard is a beautiful animal. its fur is used to make expensive coats. The leopard may look beautiful, but its speed and viciousness are also a part of its nature. Thus, this third kingdom would appear beautiful but would be no less vicious than its predecessors.
The last feature of this leopard is the fact that the leopard has wings, It had four bird's wings attached to it. This kingdom would begin as one, but would end up as four. This would happen rapidly, The kingdom of Alexander the Great fits this description perfectly!
|7:7 THE BEAST WITH TEN HORNS: (Rome)
This beast is the most terrifying beast of the group. One would quake if he saw iron teeth and ten horns coming at him. This beast symbolizes the last kingdom. It will be worse than any kingdom. It will yield power like has never been seen before.
The first feature of this beast is its teeth, The teeth are of iron. This would give the teeth the ability to tear just about anything caught in them to pieces. This is a fearsome power. Only one empire ever possessed this power. This empire was Rome. Rome ruled with an iron hand for centuries and kept its subjects under sway by sheer force. if anyone got out of line, the Romans came in and stepped all over them, That is shown by the feet of this beast.
The final symbol of this beast is the symbol of the ten horns. This symbol stands for the ten emperors of Rome. These men had immense power. The little horn is the papacy, which displaced the rest of the horns.
|7:8 The little horn with eyes like a man and a mouth speaking great
There seems to be no significance to the three horns, it is simply a number used to indicate a large measure of success. The rule is that if one replaces three, it becomes larger than any others. It does not grow, however, as strong as the whole empire represented by the ten horns (Rome).
The eyes and mouth of this horn have presented a problem for interpreters of Scripture. They seem to indicate a human personality. Verse 24 clarifies the fact that the horn is indeed a symbol for a human being. The many eyes are so grotesque, says Leupold, that they draw attention away from the other beasts.
The loud talking from the mouth also serves to focus Daniel's attention on what is coming after Rome.
|7:9-12 The judgment by the Ancient of Days and the Consuming of the
Beasts and the Horn
This section gives us a glimpse of a glorious judgment scene in which good overcomes evil by the power of God, The awesome stature of the Ancient of Days-God Almighty Himself--appears to set up a courtroom. The description of God is one of the grandest word pictures painted by the prophets. "Such is one is our God who redeemed us and who has conferred on us His verdict of justification"
|7:10 A magnificent scene! "A thousand thousands ministered to Him,
and ten thousand times thousand stood before Him"
The court was now in session and the books were opened.
|7:11 Daniel notes that the horn with eyes and a mouth is still present.
Daniel simply reports he watched until the beast was slain--not any details were
given--and until the beast's body was cast into the fire.
God speaks and it is done! "What a lesson for God's people to learn and take to heart. Should He speak our world would be consumed instantly by His wrath, yet for the sake of the elect, the people of God, He lets us go on living."
|7:12 Daniel notes that the rest of the beasts are stripped of their power, although "length of time was given them for a season." What this means is that the influences of the former kingdoms and world powers would still be part of the world's culture, but they would not have any power.|
|7:13-14 The Sun of Man Receives Everlasting Dominion
This is the climax of the night visions of Daniel. Here we have the goal of all human history. This is the victory of the kingdom of Christ over all the kings and emperors that aspire to rule the world.
A figure emerges, not particularly resplendent by appearance. He appears in the "clouds of heaven." Clouds have many times been an indication of God's presence. (cf. Ex.13:21ff; Ex.19:1 ff;
Isa.19:1 ff. Ezek.10:4; Psa.18:10)
The New Testament writers all describe Christ as returning to Judge the world as coming from the clouds,
There can be no doubt that the figure is Jesus Christ, God's promised deliverer. He is "like a Son of Man" which refers to His human nature.
In the vision, this modest Figure proceeds to the Ancient of Days. This is the GREAT DAY prepared for from the foundation of the world. For this Son of Man has been chosen, that in His triumph over sin, death, and the power of the devil, all history, even the history of the kingdom of God would reach its consummation.
|7:14 At this point, Daniel's vision gives place to reality as he beholds the majestic ceremony in which Christ is given domination.|
|7:15-16 Daniel summarizes the overwhelming vision.
Daniel's report was very objective. He steps back and the impact of what he has just seen begins to affect him. He was "shaken" and "disturbed." Put yourself in Daniel's shoes and you will begin to imagine how emotional the experience must have been.
The critics have a field day with these verses, since they contend Daniel's visions were not objective at all, just a bad dream from having eaten too much rich food!
The critics also attempt to use this passage to substantiate the later date for Daniel's prophecy.
|7:14-28 In this summary we will cover what has been presented in the above comments.|
|With Daniel, Chapter 8, we begin a new section of the book of Daniel. This section is marked by a change in language from Aramiac, the language of Chapters 2-7, to Hebrew, One might wonder why this change, but the idea of changing language is really only a device to appeal to the specific group of the Jews. This section deals more specifically with the fate of Israel after the Exile, thus the section is written in the holy language of Hebrew not the world language.|
|8:1-4, 19, 20 The. Ram With Two Horns- Medo-Persian Kingdom
The time of the dream this chapter contains is told us by the first verse. This time was about a year before the fall of Babylon to the Medes and the Persians. The dream occurred about two years after the dream of the Four Beasts which we studied in Chapter 7, thus the reference to the dream "which had appeared to me formerly."
|Verse 2 begins to tell us about the dream itself. We see that the vision
unfolds in Susa. This city, which is also called "the Castle" here, was the
summer capitol of the Persian Empire. The district mentioned is not the Babylonian
district, but the Persian district. Still, the district serves as a further clarification
location of the city in which Daniel is standing. The river mentioned here is the subject of much dispute. It is later called by several names, thus the exact name of the river is hard to discover for themodern reader. It does serve to further describe the location to the reader of Daniel's day.
As the vision begins to unfold, we are told that the prophet looked around him. The first sight he saw was a RAM . The ram was standing on the same side of the river as Daniel. The ram had two horns which stood out prominently from his head, Both are large, with the last horn taller than the first. The ram was firmly standing on the ground where it could butt someone. Thus, we see that the first animal in the vision is an animal which was known for its ability to butt and to harm other animals.
|Verse 19 begins the section about the INTERPRETATION of the dream. This section explains what the first verses discuss. Thus, for this lesson we will combine the dream sections with their explanations. The idea of this verse is that God is about to show Daniel what is to occur in the future kingdoms and how that history will fit into God's plan for His people.|
|In Verse 20, we are told the meaning of the ram. This verse tells us that the ram represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia. It can also mean that the kings of these two nations are represented. In either case, the meaning IS the Medo-Persian Empire. This empire was a good one to represent this way because it was a kingdom which used its might to destroy peoples and to ruin them. The Medo-Persian Empire was the first kingdom to follow Babylon.|
|8:5-8 21-26 The Shaggy He Goat and his Horns --GREEK KINGDOM
This creature is another of the beastly symbols Daniel saw and then used to paint a picture of a world empire. This symbol is described as a "startling" appearance. Daniel also records here that he was paying close attention when the he-goat came forth.
The first thing that we notice about the he-goat is that this creature comes from the west. This direction was the direction of the sunset for the Jews. The Hebrew makes note of this fact is using the word for "sunset" as its description of the place of origin for the he-goat.
The next major thing we see about this creature is that he is "over the face of the entire earth." The course of this creature was not so well defined that it went from west to east, but it was a weaving path. Eventually, all of the world would fall under the rule of this creature. Its empire would be greater than any empire before it. The course he would also be woven in such a way that he would never touch the ground. We will see how this idea is interpreted later.
The horn is the main point on the he-goat. When he begins, there is only one horn. The horn is thus made very prominent on the he-goat. The symbolism of this horn will be seen later.
The he-goat begins his march by turning on the ram. When the he-goat sees the ram at the riverside, he charges the ram with a vengeance. The result of the charge and the butting which followed the charge was that the ram's horns were broken, thus rendering the ram powerless. The powerless ram is then hurled to the ground and trampled by the goat. The poor ram was so helpless that none even tried to help him. He was finished.
The final observation Daniel makes about the he-goat is the observation of the he-goat's success. The goat was extremely successful. This success, however, was short lived,
The later scene involving the he-goat is the breaking of its one horn. This horn is broken and one expects the he-goat to meet his doom. Not so! The one horn merely splits and four new horns grow up to replace it. These four horns point in every direction of the compass. This does not finish the goat. The goat will be seen again later.
The description of the he-goat is seen through the destruction of the four horns. These four horns are to be replaced by one horn. This is a small horn which grows and enshrouds the Holy Land. This horn follows the four horns and is greater than they were in power and authority.
This dream of the he-goat is interpreted by verses 21-26. The interpretation would have us note that the he-goat is the symbol of the Greek Empire. Historically, we can see how this is true. The first horn is Alexander the Great. He did move Greece along the road to world conquest. Despite his great conquests, however, he died in a drunken stupor at the age of 33. His kingdom was divided among his four generals. One general was given Egypt, one was given Palestine, one was given Greece, and one was given the Eastern half of the Arabian Peninsula.
None of these men ever amounted to much when compared to Alexander. There was petty feuding and fighting during this entire period of time. The kingdom Alexander had worked so hard to put together had fallen apart!
The final horn in the vision is of greater significance than the four horns. This horn, according to the text, was to begin as a tiny horn and to grow in all directions until It had its own great empire. Not only is its empire important, though. This horn was also to be like the bragging horn we discussed in Chapter 7. It would arrogate to itself all sorts of power and authority. It would profane God's name and ruin His temple. In short, it would have no respect for God or the things of God. It was bent on itself. It would be loud and rancorous. This king would be the epitome of what would later be called "The Antichrist."
This section is taken by most scholars to refer to the Greek king named Antiochus Epiphanes... This man was the height and picture of arrogance. He claimed himself to be a god. He forced his culture and ideas upon all who he conquered. He desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem and showed contempt in other ways. He even sacrificed pigs on the altar in Jerusalem and threw their blood all over the Holy of Holies. He replaced the altar of God with the altar of Jave his god. He arrogance made him the most hated ruler of his time. He conquests of other areas of Greek domination made him second only to Alexander in importance. He is also the ultimate symbol of the AntiChrist. The Jews still hold him so to this very day!
The final point to be taken up in connection with this vision is the vision of the days and the idea of AntiChrist. These two issues are two of the most common debated among students of Scripture today. They have more ink spilled on them than perhaps any other single issues in Christendom.
The first problem with both of these parts of Daniel's vision is to remember that they are merely symbols of God's choosing to put across His point to readers in the day which they were written. The interpretation of these symbols today must take into account the culture and the people to whom this book was written.
The second thing that we must remember with these symbols is that they are universal symbols. They are symbols which were given that people understood the point of the writing. Any correlation then with modern events is coincidental, since the real point of these symbols is to say that such people will exist until the Lord comes again. The idea of trying to calculate anything by these symbols is, then, silly and totally against the intent of the text.
The vision of the weeks, is the first issue here, basically is the same sort of a writing as the part of Revelation which deals with time. It merely means to say that the people of God will have to endure trials, persecution, and chastising for a short period of time, They tell us that God will end the time when He feels that Israel has returned to Him and to His faith. Thus, the entire idea of the weeks is no more than a symbol of the short duration of the trials and persecutions which God sent to His people for their faith's sake.
The issue of the AntiChrist is also of importance here, since many groups wish to make exact correlations between this he-goat and some current world figure. As stated earlier, the AntiChrist is merely a universal picture of those who use their power and might to thwart the purposes of God. They will only succeed for a short time before they, like Antiochus Epiphanes, will be crushed. This is meant as comfort, not as precise language. Thus we may speak of one AntiChrist, and many AntiChrists, who have come and gone throughout time.
|8:15-18 Gabriel Begins to Explain the Vision
Notice who gets the job of explaining the vision to Daniel. This angel Gabriel is the same angel who appears to Mary when Jesus is to be born. He is one of God's special messengers to people. Daniel reacts as anyone would in the presence of God and angels. The designation "Son of man'' here is not connected to Jesus' title. It merely shows who Daniel is Ezekiel is also called by this name.
The purpose of Gabriel's trip to Daniel is one of explanation. First, however, he must make certain that Daniel may see things. He tells Daniel that the things he has just seen are not things to be presently occurring. They will happen, but in the end, not now!
The angel also makes Daniel stand upright. After he tells Daniel that the events are of the end, he puts Daniel to sleep with his face to the ground. Now the explanation which we have discussed before is to be given.
|8:27 Daniel's Exhaustion and Illness
The final comment in this chapter shows the effect the vision had on Daniel. The revelation of these things left him so exhausted, that he becomes ill. The illness lasted for days! Still, in spite of the effects of the vision, Daniel still wondering what he has seen, carried on his daily labors. This vision, despite Gabriel's explanation was still unclear in parts to him. So it is with God's revelation. The more we hear explained, the more questions we have about the rest of it! There is always room for more study, meditation and prayer!
|9:1-3 The Circumstances
We have already settled the question about the identity of Darius, the Mede and found enough evidence for regarding him as the "Gobryas of Gutium" in other literature. Here we are told Darius was the ruler over "the kingdom of the Chaldeans"
|In verse 2, we understand that it was plain that Daniel wanted to mark
the year (538 BC)as an important one. Babylon had fallen. This was prophecized by Isaiah
chapter 13. Daniel was moved to investigate this prophecy. This led him to take in hand
"the books" that deal with the prophecy. It is Leupold's contention that these
books contained the book of Kings; Isaiah; and Jeremiah. Jeremiah 25:17-12 and also 29:10
seem to be passages concerning the prophecy.
How shall we deal with the "70 years? The Scriptures don't provide us with a "starting date" so different calculations are formulas are used. We need not explore all the theories in this study. All Daniel is saying is that he considered or marked the period spoken of. To him other considerations were more important.
Daniel had a premonition that a crisis was impending. He had confidence that God would deliver him as He promised. Being a man of prayer Daniel uses external means to aid in his devotion, namely then putting ashes on his head as a token of grief, since Daniel grieved over his and his people's sins.
|Daniel's Confession 9:4-14
The entire prayer deserves to be ranked with the best of the Psalms. It is often overlooked because of the vision of the 70 weeks that occurs in 9:24-27 There is a parallel in Nehemiah 7 Daniel's prayer discloses that Israel's spiritual unreadiness stood in the way of having God do for His people what He had promised. Israel, as a nation, was largely impenitent, She had not humbled herself under the mighty hand of God. Daniel is obviously emotionally carried away. It's a touching prayer. It has a spirit of deep humility that springs from a true and living faith.
|9:4-6 "I made confession Daniel is impressed with the power and majesty of God; for he uses the name "el" The Strong One. which we translate "GOD" Daniel remembers God's faithfulness. In verse 5, the confession begins. It is straight forward without reservations and offers no excuse. The Hebrew verbs- used are interesting. "Missing the mark," "turning from the right way", "becoming weak as a result of loosing hold" Israel's plight is contained in the last word, which traces all these manifestations of sin to their actual root, which traces all these manifestations of sin to their actual root, which is departure from God's Word, which is designated as the "commandments" and "ordinances," which speak with authority. Departure from God's Word in the beginning of all moral disorders! The people did not listen to the prophet who expounded God's Word. This was the downfall of the nation.|
|9:7-l0 Having confessed the sinfulness and disobedience of Israel, Daniel goes on to confess that Israel's sins should bring her shame. The confession proceeds to indict all who belong to God's people, without regard to rank or station, but according to their geographical location, He calls attention to the fact that those who lived in Judah had the advantage of having more good kings than those in Israel. In referring to the dispersion that took place during the Babylonian captivity, Daniel is careful to remind the people that God had a right to dispossess them from their land, but had promised to be near them. "We are the ones who must be ashamed" speaks of the embarrassment Daniel feels for the sins of the people. He calls a spade a spade...SIN is the cause of it all, yet God was merciful. In vs.9 Daniel changes to the third person and seems to reflect on the majesty of God more fully.|
|9:11-14 The confession becomes more specific. It intensifies. Daniel reminds the people that their lot in life was their own doing, since God had clearly foretold the consequences of turning away from the covenant promise with Abraham. Israel as a nation had transgressed, turned away from the counsel of God through His prophets. The reference in verse 11 to the "curse and the oath" reminds us of passages like Lev.26:14-29 & Deut.28:15-68, where God solemnly assured Israel that her persistent iniquity would have dire consequences. "Because we have sinned against Him" is the cause of the curse.|
|9:12 A deeper point is expressed here. Daniel reflects again on the majesty and power of God's Word which accomplishes that which He sets it out to do. The leaders and rulers are mentioned again because theirs is a double responsibility. The outstanding feature of Israel's experience is the great "disaster" and "humiliation" suffered when they lost their land. The Assyrian assault on Israel involved brutality that is too gross to describe.|
|9:13 "exactly as it is written in the law of Moses." Yet Israel has failed to recognize her iniquity and has not done anything to appease God. Nothing pleases God more than to have a sinner repent and return. Departure from sin is necessary for returning to faith.|
|9:14 God's faithfulness demanded that He punish disobedient Israel. The expression of Daniel indicates he is convinced the punishment is deserved since God's righteousness is unimpeachable.|
|9:15-19 Here we have Daniel's petitions. He appeals to God's righteousness which he knows will do the right thing. He appeals to God to remember that Israel's capital city of Jerusalem was His city. Daniel mentions the site of the temple, since at this time the Temple itself was in ruins. Daniel reflects that all the miseries that had befallen Israel were the result of her infidelity to God. The nub of the petition is in verse17 where Daniel prays, "Cause Thy face to shine upon Thy Sanctuary which is desolate". This expression is familiar to us. It simply means letting the face radiate benevolence and good will toward someone.|
|9:18-19 Since God's people are grounded in Scripture no matter how sinful they become, Daniel seeks to piece together in these verses familiar concepts that sound very Biblical.|
|9:18-19 Daniel's prayer is a MODEL PRAYER -humble and based on promises
God has given for situations as the one previously described. Our commentator, Leupold
says, "Some prayers of this sort are like Scripture mosaics, pieced together out of
many Scripture passages, yet not in all dull or mechanical fashion, but as fresh creations
of the Spirit of Inspiration (the Holy Spirit) who guides such men to incorporate familiar
and inspired utterances into their pleas."
Our commentator spends considerable time and space tracing the concept of prayer through the books of Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and the Psalms.
In verse19 the prayer becomes "more eager" the words "hear, harken, act, do not delay, hear for Thine own sake, O my God". These expressions apply equally to all the petitions of the prayer.
Some critics have attempted to question the integrity of this section of Daniel's prophecy (9:4-19), claiming that this section of Daniel's prophecy was later added by an editor with his own interpretation. You either come to the conclusion that the prayer is asking for forgiveness or for enlightenment. The contest seems to be in favor of enlightenment.
|9:20-21 Gabriel's Reply
Daniel was "speaking and praying and confessing" his sin and the sin of his people Israel. He says that while he was "yet speaking" Gabriel touched him at the "time of the evening sacrifice."
The answer to Daniel's prayer is given even before the prayer is concluded. When Gabriel touches Daniel, the feeling of weariness overcomes him. Again, the emotional experience of being in the presence of an angel from God was quite an event.
|9:22-23 Gabriel announces that the reason for his return was to grant Daniel "deep insight". He tells Daniel that the beginning of his prayer resulted in his being sent by God to help Daniel understand the troublesome vision. What is about to be revealed is of the greatest importance.|
|9:24-27 The Vision is Interpreted!
This is Scripture's grandest prophetic passage, yet it contains one of the most perplexing problems in interpretation. Leupold spends time and space tracing the development of the major schools of interpretation. The three major ones are as follows:
THE CRITICAL SCHOOL
This school of thought uses a starting point at Edict of Cyrus that permits the Jews to return to Jerusalem, and contends it reaches its conclusion at the time of the Macabees, which therefore rules out any Messianic meaning to the 70 weeks or as Leupold prefers to call them the 70 "heptads"
THE TYPICAL SCHOOL
This school begins the counting at the time of Daniel and contends it covers the whole period of time until the consummation of all things on the Day of Judgment. It regards the numbers as being simply symbolical. You can not place any meaning to an actual period of time in the reference to the 70.
THE TRADITIONAL SCHOOL
This school interprets the arithmetic to begin at the time of Cyrus' Edict and ending when Jesus began his ministry.
This would make the passage Messianic!
A question here is raised. Does the 70 weeks Daniel talks about have a relation to the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah in his prophecy? (Jer.25:ll-12; 29:10) It is easy to answer this. Jeremiah was offering hope to the exiles, The 70 years were fulfilled when the Jews in exile were granted freedom by Cyrus to return to Palestine and rebuild the temple and city walls.
The "seventy weeks" of Daniel's prophecy relate to more than the restoration of the temple at Jerusalem as we shall see.
Leupold suggests that what is being said is this: "Yes, Daniel, as you rightly discern, the seventy years you read about in Jeremiah are at an end. There now being another period of time within which I shall bring my work to a successful termination; and this is the manner in which events shall follow upon one another in this remaining period"
The arithmetic is explained as follows...70 weeks amounts to 490 days, a little more than a calendar year as we know it. If you use straight literal arithmetic, you can't find anything that happened a year after the prophecy that squares with the explanation given by Gabriel, so, a longer time period must be meant.
Naturally, we reason if not a week of seven days, he must be talking about a week of years. Leupold contends, however, that here we have an "exception" and for that reason, he prefers to translate "seventy heptads" which means seventy-sevens in a symbolical sense. "Since the week of Creation, "seven" has always been the number of divine work in the symbolism of numbers. Since "seventy" consists of "seven" multiplied by ten (which is a round number), this signifies perfection, completion, therefore, the "seventy heptads" is the period in which the divine work of the greatest moment is brought to perfection.
|THE INTERPRETATION OF THE PASSAGE thus becomes that in this period of
seventy heptads (symbolic number) is included all future time from the days of Daniel to
the end of time-the time fixed in God's counsels for perfectly achieving His holy work.
Leupold goes on to state that this interpretation is most probable in light of the six
statements that follow which describe what is to take place.
In 9:24 we see that when the 70 heptads have concluded the following will happen.
1. TRANSGRESSION WILL BE RESTORED
The Hebrew word here has the meaning of "shutting up, restraining, holding". The second verb means "to make an end of, to finish." The transgression" referred to is strong, it is a term for sin and covers all forms of disobedience. Gabriel is saying that when prophecy is fulfilled after 70 heptads, sin is going to be brought under control and will no longer have growth and flourish.
2. SIN WILL BE SEALED UP
Two meanings are possible. One is to seal in the sense of affixing a seal for the purpose of attestation. A second possible meaning is that the word refers to a fastening or securing in order that something can be held secure. Cross references are given to Isaiah 8:6 and Deut.32:34. What is meant is that when that time comes, the sins of the world would be "securely kept" "locked up" as it were, and not permitted to roam about at random and do evil work.
3. RECONCILIATION WILL BE MADE FOR INIQUITY
This is the next concept and this refers to sins committed involuntarily due to the basic nature of mankind. The canceling of the guilt of the children of God will be consummated.
4. EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL BE BROUGHT IN
This is without a doubt an "imputed" righteousness and not found naturally among the human species. God is the only one who brings in this much sought treasure!
5. VISION AND PROPHECY WILL BE SEALED UP
This simply refers to the fact that when the end of time comes, all prophecies will be fulfilled and no further events will come to pass.
6. THE HOLY ONE WILL BE ANOINTED
The concept here involves conservation by the pouring of oil on one's head. Who is this referring to? A person or a thing? One school of interpreters are convinced that it refers to the altar of burnt
offerings that had suffered the most flagrant desecration by Antiochus. it's reconsecration is reported in 1 Macabees 4:4ff (about the year 165 BC) But Leupold says this is a "hasty conclusion."
|9:24 Leupold traces the concept of the "Most Holy", He agrees it speaks of the most holy part of the sanctuary, since the Holy of Holies represented for the people the presence of God in their midst. Leupold finds resolution for the interpretation in Revelation 21:3, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and HE shall dwell with them." Leupold says that is realized to perfection only in the consummation of all things, therefore the Most Holy One is the Christ who dwells among His own.|
|9:25 We have to make sure we take note of the fact that we have changed gears. Here we are dealing with figurative language. A very complicated explanation of the most probable interpretation of this passage comes to the conclusion that this is a reference to the Antichrist.|
|9:26 The season of successful building of the city and sanctuary is at an end. As far as the world's concerned, the cause of the Anointed One will seem to have failed, The agent that shall bring about this seeming setback is a "people of a prince". The objective of "these people" is to destroy the city and the sanctuary, the very things which the preceding verses said would be built during the sixty-two heptads. Leupold suggests a good analogy is what happened to the Russian Orthodox Church.|
|9:27 The "HE" is the AntiChrist. The idea is that the
AntiChrist would try to take the place of Christ by imitating Him in some way. AntiChrist
will seem to dominate the situation for a time because so many people follow him, but it
is only for the last "one heptad" that this domination prevails. AntiChrist will
then "cause sacrifice and oblation to cease". Leupold suggests here that the
conveys the thought of the rising of schisms and factions in the church which lead to
disharmony and controversy. The reference to the "wing of the larar" is thought
by some to refer to the act of desecration when Antiochous placed a statue of Zeus in the
temple at Jerusalem, however, Leupold suggests this is probably figurative language and
could include the altar of material possessions and comfort.
The "destroyer" is naturally the same person who was before designated by the title--"the AntiChrist". The "destined destruction of the destroyer" refers to the final victory over Evil by the promised Deliverer.
An arithmetic problem crops up again when some commentators say that the end of the seven heptads occurs seven years after Christ's Resurrection. Unfortunately, no event can be discovered in that time period that fits the description.
|Leupold's concluding remarks on Chapter 9 include a warning that to make
mathematical computations is foolhardy, since the Scripture tells us that when Jesus comes
again He will come without warning, as a thief in the night. We are simply to observe the
signs of the times in which we live and reflect on our personal preparation to meet Him
when He comes.
Leupold remarks, "And so ends our study on Chapter Nine, one of the most "dark" chapters as far as coming up with an interpretation that receives unanimous approval". The key is to consider the references as symbolic, not numerical. Leupold's conclusions are in keeping with our Lutheran theology and principles of Biblical interpretation.
|With Chapter 10 we begin the set of visions known as "The End Visions." These visions were the last to be seen by Daniel before he died. They were seen during the reign of Cyrus, King of Persia. This means that the visions occurred both during and after the return of the first exiles from the Babylonian Captivity. The visions are no less complicated and difficult to understand than were the visions of the preceding nine chapters. Again, liberal commentators have a distorted interpretation of these symbols which have confused people.|
|10:1-3 Daniel's Unintentional Preparation for the Vision.
Again, we see a specific date attached to Daniel's vision. The date is "the third year of Cyrus". This places it about two years after the decree by which the first exiles were allowed to return home to Israel from Babylon.
We first of all note that in addition to the year of the vision, it is called a "WORD". The "WORD" concerns suffering of a large proportion. Our commentators take it to mean the suffering of the Jews while they were in exile and also after Cyrus' decree.
Daniel was in a very "pious" mood. The intent of his actions is not revealed, but we do know it was a time of some length, Daniel as a devout man of God often fasted in order to show his penitence.
|10:4-9 The Vision of the Glorious Angel
We learn that the vision occurred on the 24th. day of the month. It is possible that Daniel fasted for 21 days.
The place of the dream is also noted. The River Tigris is one of the two great rivers of the Arabian Peninsula. it is the western river of the two. Why Daniel is there is not known.
Daniel sees a man. He is dressed in splendor-gold for his loin cloth a stone of great value-only a person of noble rank could be dressed as was this man.
The mans face is described as "flashing as lightning." The look of his eyes also are of note. They look like torches which are brightly burning. Even the mans feet and hands glow! His feet and hands are described as looking like polished bronze. A dazzling appearance. (Like Liberace in concert!!)
The man speaks and it sounds like a roaring. We are told that the men who were with Daniel fled and hid themselves.
The final two verses in this section should like an instant replay of Daniel's other visions. Daniel is again overwhelmed. He falls to the ground.
|10:10-17 The Angel Announces His Mission and Strengthens Daniel.
Daniel is lifted up on his hands and knees. He is told to "mark the words" and to stand in this place for a further message. Daniel trembles . The dazzling being refers to Daniel as "Beloved "--special to-God. As Daniel rises, we hear the beginning of the message, it begins with a note of reassurance. Daniel is told that because of his faithfulness, God was going to answer Daniel's prayer.
The Angel tells Daniel that "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" would take precedence over the angel for 2l days. Who this angel is we are not told. If he is a historical character, we have no evidence as to whom he might be. Our commentators take this to mean a force of evil behind the kingdom--the struggle between the forces of good and of evil.
Daniel beholds another person with the radiant visitor. It is Michael, often referred to as an "archangel." He is an angel of high rank. The presence and work of Michael and their other angel was to prevent the Persians from destroying the remnant of God's people.
Next, the angel refers to the days following Persians dominion. Our commentators believe this refers to the Messianic Age.
Daniel receives his strength back, but is first deaf and dumb. The angel raises Daniel up and gives him strength to do his work. "The Word of the Lord must go out"
|10:18-11:1 The Angel Restates His Mission and Strengthens Daniel
Daniel regains his full strength. Daniel is again "at peace" through a proper relationship with God.
THE KEY TO THIS PASSAGE
An overview of history is to be revealed. Evil will keep rising up. Good will keep him and aid in the battle. This is often the nature of the battle against evil--God often stands alone--Evil usually has plenty of company.
The statement in 11:1 merely looks back to a time when the angel had stood by before to help Daniel. It belongs to chapter 10 and not to chapter 11.
|Chapter 11 picks up where chapter 10 left off. In chapter 11 we have a description of what will befall the people of God from the time of Daniel onward, The description takes the form of a symbolic telling of history. The visions stretches from Daniel 11:2 to 11:45.|
|11:2-4 The Historical Background for what is to come
The same angel who spoke to Daniel at the end of Chapter 10 continues his interpretation of the vision. He here goes into further detail of what the vision means. The view of history in its entirety is presented. Accuracy for the centuries immediately following Daniel is very good.
The first item we see in the background is that Persia is to continue as a world power for a while to come. Three more Persian kings will reign. They will be of little significance, A fourth king, however will be the one to watch. He will become wealthy and powerful. He will become greedy for more wealth and power and this will lead to his downfall. Greece will be the power which will defeat him.
After the fall of the Persian King to Greece, a great hero-king will arise. This king is undoubtedly Alexander the Great. He, of course, died at an early age, although his conquests were truly remarkable. Because of his untimely death, there was no heir to assume leadership.
After Alexander's death the kingdom would be split among his four generals.
|11:5-35 The Rise of the Kings of the North and the South
After Alexanders death his kingdom was divided between two generals, Ptolemy and Seleucus. Ptolemy became ruler over Egypt and became known as the "King of the South"; Seleucus became king over Syria and was known as the "King of the North". The battle for control of these two large regions lasted for several hundred years.
Israel became a political football, at times controlled by the Ptolemies and at times by the Seleucids.
The story of these two men is one of intrigue. The problems began when a queen set up her sons who were not rightful heirs, by killing the real heirs.
The Seleucids hold power until by political marriages the Ptolomies end up in control.
By political intrigue the Seleucids regain control, The Ptolomies were lovers of fine living and were often inept administrators of their kingdoms.
The next king to ascend the throne signals the beginning of trouble for the Jews, He demands exorbitant taxes to be collected. The Jews resist the oppression and although successful in overthrowing the king and the tax collector they do not succeed in gaining any power.
The last Greek king is Antiochus Epiphanes. He and the AntiChrist are the two who cause God's people the most grief. For this reason Daniel spends more time on them than the other kings.
Antiochus is "contemptible!" He was not a legitimate heir but usurped the throne from the rightful heir while the heir was in a Roman prison.
Antiochus uses oppressive harassment to bring the people under his control. When the Jews resist, he personally goes to Jerusalem and murders the High Priest. He is notorious for not keeping the treaties he entered with neighboring nations.
Unlike the other Seleucid kings, Antiochus takes spoils and delights in plundering towns and villages.
As Antiochus plotted to overthrow the Ptolomies of Egypt he was helped by treachery within the Ptolomey regime.
Antiochus' infamy reached its high point when he desecrated the temple at Jerusalem. He walked into the Holy of Holies and proceeds to splatter the blood of pigs all over the sacred sanctuary!
|11:36-45 The Coming of the AntiChrist and its results
The final ten verses of Daniel, chapter 11 are often interpreted to refer to Antiochus, however, our commentators take the position that the verses refer to the AntiChrist.
This seems plausible since the details given do not fit any acts committed by Antiochus.
The first statement about this king is one we have heard before. He is a person who thinks that he is better than a god. Luther used these verses to describe the Papacy. He says: "The Pope does as
he pleases, not always according to what God has set up. He also arrogates himself to great honor. His very title "Vicar of Christ on earth" is living proof of the majesty he arrogates to himself.
The next point is that this king has no regard for the gods of his fathers. This could refer to any ruler who rejected the religion of his father in favor of godless seeking after his own pride.
The papacy, in replacing the doctrine of justification by faith with the doctrine of work- righteousness, showed its contempt for the faith of the Fathers.
The very idea of having no regard for the desire of women also fits the papacy. The papal insistence on celibacy is given as proof that the king spoken of is the pope.
For those who remain unconvinced of the nature of the papacy, we next see that this king has no regard for any god and exalts himself above anything. While this could fit any man or group, the papacy scores another point here. For the papacy calls itself "Pontifex Maximum." Talk about arrogance. As for the lack of regard for gods, the pope can establish his own "god" by establishing "saints."
Next we learn that this "king" worships a god of his own making.
The next description is of the king worshipping a god of warfare. This means the king uses warfare and oppression to silence his opponents.
Finally, the last fortunes of this monster are shown. Although he is attacked by both the kings of the north and south, he still prevails. The two kings here are symbols--meaning great powers will not be able to stop the plots of this arch-fined when he gets started.
Then we are told AntiChrist will enter into the Church. We will gain power and riches greater than any other government has ever known. By gaining power over the great treasures of the earth, AntiChrist will deceive good people.
Suddenly the king will hear rumors from the east and west which will alarm him. He will go on a rampage trying to suppress all who stand in his way. He will pitch his tent between the Mediterranean and Mount Zion. This is interpreted to mean the king will make an assault on the Church.
When he does he will be doomed!!!
The purpose of showing the end of this AntiChrist king is to show people that God's people ultimately will "inherit the earth" and overcome evil people. This is the real comfort of Chapter 11.
We have reached the end! The end is actually two-fold. The first end is that we have reached the end of our study of the book of Daniel. This has taken us quite some time to accomplish.
The second end we reach is the END OF ALL THINGS. We, ourselves, have not reached this physically, but the 12th chapter of Daniel will tell us some of the things that are to come between today and the final day of our world's existence.
|12:1-4 The Consummation of All Things
The time is the same as in the closing verses of Daniel chapter 11. The time of "great tribulation" is described. It will be one of unexprecedented agony for the world. Jesus described it in the closing
chapters of Matthew and Luke, John describes it in the Revelation which is in more detail than that of Daniel. The point is that it will take God's intervention to save anyone from perishing on that day.
Michael is the main personality in this section. He is the one who deals with AntiChrist in chapter 11. As a high-ranking angel, he supervises the defending of God's people from the assaults of the powers of evil.
Michael is pictured as a warrior who comes to stand and fight for God's cause and His people. The "Thy People" reference is to the elect chosen ones of God--all who have had faith in God from the earliest people of Old Testament times to the last people alive on the Day of Judgement.
Their names are written in "the book" because they have responded to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the same as the "Book of Life" in Johns Revelation.
Next comes the resurrection. Some find in this passage a teaching of two resurrections. Scripture nowhere teaches this! On that Great Day when all the dead are raised, those who have "slept in faith" will rise to eternal life, reunited with their spirits which have been with God since the moment of their death.
The results of the resurrection to live are clear. Those who are wise, will shine like the sun. Some contend this refers to teachers of the Word, but it can easily be applied to any one who gives a witness of the faith that is in them.
Daniel is told to seal the book, The meaning of this is to preserve the document so that when the "great tribulation" begins, the visions of the book will be of value to the believers of that day.
The seal is not to hide anything from anybody. The book's purpose was to enable believers to increase their personal relationships with God.
|12:5-13 The Last Attempt to Determine the Time of the End
Naturally, Daniel was curious about all these visions and no doubt wondered if it would be possible to determine when the end would come. But Daniel soon discovered, that God alone knows the exact time of the end. Our business is to be about the preparation of people for that GREAT DAY! We should expend energy on telling the Good News about Jesus Christ and by disciple making, not by calculating when the end of that time will come, or exactly how it will come.
Two angels appear. A "man in white linen stands above the river. The other man is also seen, but no major importance is connected to their appearance in the vision in these positions.
The man in white linen is asked when all the things told in the document will come to pass. The other angel raises both hands, to indicate the absolute truth he is about to impart. We still raise our
hand when we take an oath today.
The amount of time until the end is the same figure of speech that we encountered in Daniel 7:25--a time and a time and the dividing of time. The interpretation--For a time the enemy will have great strength. This strength will increase dramatically and then be reduced dramatically. After the final reduction the end will come.
The angel is white and responds to Daniel's question (verse 9) by telling him (verse 11 from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days...) 3 ½ years plus one month.
It is absurd to try to determine what the time of the daily sacrifice is taken away and when the AntiChrist will reach his peak of power, and count literal days on a calendar. The numbers are symbolical and simply mean a fixed date has been set by God. Daniel is to go about doing God's work and not worry about specific details-the numbers are given to comfort believers that a specific date has been chosen by God and Me alone knows it!
|12:12-13 "Blessed are they who wait and remain for the 1,335th
Why the 45 day difference? (3 years and 8 months) possibly: After the 1,290th day, this period of 45 days is a period when the blessed people of God will be involved in the final struggle and see with their eyes the overcome of evil with good.
|The final verse is one we should all take to heart.
What comfort--we live out the days of our lives and when our last hour comes we are at rest until the Day of Resurrection when we shall be reunited with our glorified bodies and take our place to see the spectacular radiance of our God on that last Great Day!
+ Soli Deo Gloria +