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Daniel

June 3, 2009

Background

I. Faith for the Present Daniel 1:-6:28

  1. Faith Brings Wisdom and Understanding                     Dan. 1:1-21
  2. Faith Exhibits Humility, Boldness, and Honor to God   Dan. 2:1-49
  3. Faith Announces Hope and Salvation                          Dan. 3:1-30
  4. Faith Requires We Acknowledge God                         Dan. 4:1-37
  5. Faith Discerns the Hand of God                                 Dan. 5:1-30
  6. Faith Sustains the Meek, Removing Fear                    Dan. 6:1-28

II. Hope for the Future Daniel 7:1-12:13

  1. Daniel Dreams of Four Beasts                    Dan. 7:1-28
  2. Daniel Dreams of a Ram and Goat              Dan. 8:1-27
  3. Daniel Prays                                              Dan. 9:1-19
  4. Daniel Learns of “Seventy Times Seven”     Dan. 9:20-27
  5. Daniel’s Revelation and Vision                    Dan. 10:1-11:1
    1. Battles in the Near Future     Dan. 11:2-35
    2. Battles in the Far Future       Dan. 11:36-45
  6. Daniel’s Hope, Our Hope                            Dan. 12:1-13

Background

Daniel is a popular book among the prophets because it offers detailed prophecies
concerning the near future and beyond. Its’ prophecies near term, that is with
in the next 500 years, were so accurate that critical scholars do not believe
Daniel authored the book bearing his name. They do not believe that God, who
created all things and who is sovereign over all He created, would know, let
alone reveal, the future in this detail. They prefer to “dumb down God”
in favor of man when the Bible clearly teaches that God is sovereign, omnipotent,
and omniscient and that man’s purpose is to acknowledge and worship God as such.
While mentioning accuracy, there are two schools of thought regarding the beginning and end of the 69 weeks.  1.) God through Daniel predicted exactly when the Messiah
would begin His ministry, 27 AD accounting for the changeover from BC to AD [the Lord’s baptism/commissioning] or 69 X 7 = 483 years after the decree in 457 BC by Artaxerxes. 2.)  69 X 7 X 360=173,880 Jewish lunar calendar days from Mar. 5, 444 BC to March 30, 33 AD to when Jesus had His triumphal entry into Jerusalem [based on the decree by Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem in 444 BC].  Note also that some scholarly writings will vary 1 year based on historical evidence.  For a concise discussion of these two views refer to The NIV Expositor’s Bible Commentary by Frank Gaebelein and Things to Come by J. Dwight Pentecost.

As stated in the outline, Chapters 1-6 tell of the present and chapters 7-12
tell of the future. It is a book of miraculous happenings in the life of Daniel
and in the lives of nations. Daniel, Revelation, and Christ’s Mount Olivet Discourse
in Matthew 24-25 complement one another. Other prophets and Paul’s writings
should be included too but these are the “Big Three”. Note there is
one unique phrase used by Daniel and Jesus in discussing End Times and that
is “the abomination that cause desolation”. That phrase defines a
critical and important milestone marker for our perspective of “End Times”
independent of your particular school of thought regarding Eschatology.

Daniel is written in two languages and it too was one of the Dead Sea Scrolls
of Qumran. Chapters 1 and 8-12 were written in Hebrew and Chapters 2-7 were
written in Aramaic. Why? The best explanation is not multiple authors but the
fact that Chapters 2-7 pertain to Gentile nations and Chapters 1 and 8-12 pertain
to the people of God, Israel.

We know very little about Daniel, the person. It’s obvious he has a strong
faith in God, contrary to those living in Judah at the time of her exile. He
most likely was nobility and educated, one of Judah’s rising stars, because
he was in the “cream” exiled first in 605-604 BC.  Note that Judah’s two major exiles to Babylon took place in the years 597BC and 586 BC.  There was another minor exile in 582 BC.  We assume then, that he was born around 620 BC and lived during the reign of Cyrus [537-535 BC] and perhaps retired and/or died about 530BC. Therefore, he lived approximately 90 years. He was a contemporary of Ezekiel, even mentioned in Ezekiel 14 and 28. They both prophesied to Judah in exile but they also lived during the time
of Jeremiah and the other minor prophets during the final days of Judah and
Jerusalem.

Faith for the Present                                                      Daniel 1:1-6:28

Faith Brings Wisdom and Understanding                      Dan. 1:1-21

Verses 1-2 define the date as 605 BC, the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign
and King Nebuchadnezzar’s first siege of Judah and Jerusalem. Note that some,
not all, of Israel’s temple articles were taken back to Babylonia and placed
in their temple. There are two ways of looking at this plundering. The first
is that Babylon is mocking the true God and desecrating the consecrated worship
vessels by placing them in their temple in worship to a false god. The second
is that these vessels were preserved from being destroyed in later sieges and
were able to be returned to Jerusalem and be consecrated again when their exile
ended. In other words, what is bad God makes good through His sovereignty. The
most valuable asset plundered is defined in verse 3-4, the young, intelligent,
educated, and physically fit men from the families of Judah’s nobility. They
were brought to Babylon to learn their culture and be schooled for three years.
Babylon had a first class education system for those who had an aptitude of
exploring beyond man’s current knowledge. It would be like taking the top high
school students and giving them a full scholarship at the best university. These
men were to be future leaders in Babylon in liaison with their own people to
help integrate their two cultures into a single nation. Daniel and three others
were among these young men. They were given new names and a free education in
one of the best universities. They were treated as nobles.

The food provided to them was the best. The only problem for Daniel and his
three friends was that the meat came from the altar of the Babylonians’ false
god. Daniel and his friends said “thanks but no thanks”. So they enter
into a negotiation with their “dorm supervisor”. Note that Daniel
shows respect, restraint, steadfastness, and offers a solution where it’s a
win-win for all parties. Definitely God’s hand is involved but a win-win means
everybody is happy, involved, and motivated for success. And success was quickly
evident in just 10 days, a miracle. Because of Daniel’s and his friend’s faith,
they received the gift of knowledge and understanding from God. In addition,
God gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams. The understanding
of dreams and visions was important in the Babylonian culture and it still is
today in the Arab-Muslim world.

These four young men became the best of the best. They had 10 times the wisdom
and knowledge of anyone else, including the magicians and enchanters. They possess
knowledge in multiple disciplines. They were special in God’s sight and in the
King’s sight. They were special to God because of their steadfast faith. They
were special to King Nebuchadnezzar because of their wisdom.

God blesses those who have a steadfast faith in Him today too. We need not
let our culture dictate our faith. Faith should have priority in all our activities.
Ask God for wisdom in dealing with conflict. Look for ways to resolve conflict
with a win-win solution while not compromising ones’ principles. Consider the
facts and objectives so as to remove emotion and opinion from the equation.
Most conflicts are a result of different opinions overriding our focus on the
greater good. Experimenting provides the best solution but then accept the results
and proceed on facts. When working, we engineers would often disagree on the
approach or solution to a problem. We had different opinions based on our knowledge
and/or experience and/or educational discipline. I resolved many be getting
people to agree on the objective and then sorting out what were true facts [what
we know] versus our opinions [what we thought]. The list of facts was always
shorter than the list of our opinions. Once we agreed on what we knew we could
always proceed to resolve our disagreements on opinions so as to design experiments
to increase our facts, remove wrong opinions, and solve the problem. It works
in both technical and non-technical areas. Sometimes we are just too lazy to
work within a logical approach, preferring to argue until we get our way. But
we should never sacrifice our faith and what’s right, ethical, and moral for
the sake of our culture. Be steadfast, show respect, practice restraint, and
ask God for wisdom to produce a win-win solution. He will. He has done it for
me on many occasions. God is sovereign over all things, big and small. Just
trust Him. Daniel and his friends did. Remember, faith leads to wisdom and understanding
and faith is essential for having outstanding character.

Faith Exhibits, Humility, Boldness, and Honor to God                  Dan 2:1-49

In the second year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, the King has dreams [plural].
This is right after Daniel’s graduation [3 years or 602 BC]. King Nebuchadnezzar’s
father ruled before him and Nebuchadnezzar became sole ruler in 604 BC. Nebuchadnezzar
was a co-ruler in 606-604 BC. Nebuchadnezzar had the same dream over and over
and, therefore, became troubled. We learned in Chapter 1 that Nebuchadnezzar
had great intelligence in that he was the one personally quizzing Daniel, his
friends, and the other students to determine what they had learned [same as
passing your orals]. Nebuchadnezzar summons his “wise men” to come
and tell him what his dream means. He not only asks them to interpret his dream
but they must tell him what he dreamed. Perhaps he had forgotten the dream as
is often the case or perhaps he decided that the best way to learn if the interpretation
was accurate was to have them also reveal the dream. I prefer the later. His
“wise men” realize they have been asked to do the impossible. They
are wise but they can not read another persons mind. They pressure their King
to tell them the dream. He refuses because they could concoct an answer and
no one would be the wiser. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar promises them death if they
cannot tell him the dream and interpret it too. The “wise men” realize
they have been given an unreasonable request by an unreasonable king. They cannot
fulfill the King’s request so he gives the order to have all his “wise
men” executed. This is another unreasonable request because it would destroy
his leaders and his educational system which are necessary if he is to remain
powerful. Daniel and his friends are included in the decree of execution. Daniel
intercedes with wisdom
and tact and asks King Nebuchadnezzar to give him time
to try.

Daniel and his friends begin praying asking God for mercy and to reveal the
King’s dream and its’ interpretation. God gives Daniel the answer and he proceeds
to praise God immediately
acknowledging God’s sovereignty, omnipotence, and
omniscience. Daniel closes his prayer thanking God for the gifts He has given
him.

Daniel asks for an audience with Nebuchadnezzar so he can save the lives of
all the “wise men” of Babylon. He begins by praising His God, the
one true God, as the only one capable of revealing such mysteries [vs. 28].
He also acknowledges the King’s importance because he has been privileged to
see the future from the true God [vs. 29].

In verses 31-35, Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as a statue having
a head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of brass, legs
of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. A large boulder struck and smashed
the feet of iron and clay and the rest of the statue crumbled into dust and
blew away. All that remained was the rock which became a mountain and filled
the earth.

Daniel begins his interpretation of the King’s dream in verse 36 by acknowledging
the greatness of King Nebuchadnezzar [wisdom and tact] as revealed by God in
his dream. Babylon [Nebuchadnezzar] is the head of gold. Another kingdom will
follow, silver, and be inferior to Babylon. A third kingdom, bronze will follow
and rule over all the earth and a fourth kingdom, iron, will follow them. This
fourth kingdom will crush all the others but be divided. The iron mixed with
clay indicates parts will be strong and other parts will be weak. During that
period, God will set up His eternal Kingdom as represented by the rock. It will
crush all the other kingdoms and last forever. Thus, the sovereign God has shown
Nebuchadnezzar the future.

Nebuchadnezzar bows before Daniel acknowledging his God is greater than any
other god. He gives Daniel gifts and a high position, ruler over the province
of Babylon and over its “wise men”. Daniel requests his friends help
him [a favor for their support and prayers] administer Babylon while he remains
in the royal court. God has truly blessed Daniel for his steadfast faith.

Daniel’s life was at risk so armed with his faith he risked his life for the
sake of others by going boldly to the King asking him to let him do what only
God could do. In much the same way, Jesus Christ risked His life that we might
have life. Daniel became the savior of the “wise men” just as Christ
became the Savior of all men. God honors all who humbly come before Him and
place their faith in Him.

God gifted Daniel with wisdom and Daniel used that wisdom to bring glory to
God. Note that Daniel went humbly before God, asked His mercy, praised God with
a thankful heart, and went boldly before the King giving God the glory. The
King responded positively, bestowing much honor on Daniel. This is a good model
to follow in any situation; pray, praise, give thanks, be bold, and give honor
to God. Second, always use wisdom and tact when interfacing with people. Then
God will mature our faith and bless our obedience to Him.

Faith Announces Hope and Salvation                                            Dan. 3:1-30

It appears that these first six chapters of Daniel are in chronological order.
Nebuchadnezzar has just recognized the supremacy of Daniel’s God, the Lord God
Almighty and then his ego takes over [perhaps because Daniel identified him
as the gold head] and he builds this huge gold image to be worshiped outside
the city of Babylon. There evidently are two different groups of advisers for
Nebuchadnezzar. The magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers or “wise
men” were the educated and the educators of which Daniel and his friends
were associated with after their graduation. This account mentions the satraps,
perfects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, and magistrates or “government
officials”. These “government officials” were summoned to the
dedication of this gold idol and were instructed to bow before it in worship
when the music started. Daniel, being head of all “wise men” in addition
to governing Babylon, evidently wasn’t required to be present. But his friends
whom he appointed to help govern the province of Babylon are present and refused
to bow before the idol. Some of Babylon’s “wise men” noted that some
Jews, Daniel’s three friends, did not bow to the idol and informed the King.
He had already made a decree that any who did not bow in worship to the idol
would be placed in the blazing furnace. Nebuchadnezzar [Babylon] seem to follow
the format that any disobedience of the King’s orders resulted in death. Daniel’s
three friends are brought in before a raging Nebuchadnezzar and make a profound
statement of faith in God [vs. 17-18]. God will rescue them and even if He doesn’t, they still refuse to worship the idol.
The threat of death by fire will not
change how or who they worship. They are committed to worshiping God and Him
only. Thus, they are thrown into the furnace which was so hot that it consumed
the soldiers assigned to toss in the three friends.

Nebuchadnezzar expects to see three men bound together burning. Instead, he
sees four men walking around. The fourth man has a brilliant ambiance like the
Son of God. Nebuchadnezzar asks them to walk out of the furnace and proclaims
they serve the Most High God. Nebuchadnezzar and his officials are amazed that
these three men are not even singed by the fire, neither their hair or their
clothes. Nebuchadnezzar then makes another decree that anyone who says anything
against the Jew’s God is to be killed. Then he proceeds to promote Daniel’s
three friends; Shadrock, Meshach, and Abednego.

Thus, we have another miracle of God performed in favor of His people while
living in an ungodly culture. God is still performing these miracles in the
lives of His people today. Some are this miraculous and some are subtle. But
they are all miracles. As a believer in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, look
for them in your life and the lives of other believers. They are happening more
often than not.

One of the questions this story raises is “Couldn’t the three friends have
bowed down before the idol in non-worship since they really believed in God
and not in the idol?” In other words, fake it. The answer is probably yes.
But consider this:

  1. What alternatives to worshiping God am I encountering?
  2. By pretending today am I proceeding to forfeit my faith tomorrow?
  3. What is God’s Will and purpose for me?
  4. Is what I’m doing bringing glory to God?
  5. Am I truly serving God and acknowledging Him as God of my life?
  6. What would Jesus do?

One possibility to question #1 is your boss; the head of your company, organization.
country, etc. Have you ever been asked to act inappropriately, unethically,
immorally, color or spin the truth, lie, fudge reports, etc, and fear for your
job if you did not follow through? In today’s culture of gray instead of black
and white, it comes up more often than not. We do everything possible, including
the bending of rules, to present ourselves as acceptable, in a good light, outstanding,
etc. Think about it. What is the truth? I know I faced some of these decisions
from time to time and my company prided itself on being ethical.

Remember, there is no need for us to compromise our faith in God. He is a
God of Hope and Salvation. Our purpose is to do His Will and witness of His
behalf. Do it without fear and with the Hope of Salvation as provided by Almighty
God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Obey Him and experience His blessing. Practice
your belief, practice your faith like Daniel’s three friends, and God will bless
your obedience.

Faith Requires We Acknowledge God                                   Dan. 4:1-37

This chapter was written by King Nebuchadnezzar and tells of his journey to
real faith in the one and only Almighty God. Nebuchadnezzar has acknowledged
the power of God at least twice already. Once in the previous chapter upon seeing
the salvation of Daniel’s friends from his furnace and, before that in chapter
2, after Daniel was the only person able to tell him his dream and interpret
it. Therefore, we know that God is targeting King Nebuchadnezzar’s heart as
He does all hearts, to acknowledge Him as the one and only true God. Nebuchadnezzar’s
journey is recorded for all people living under his rule. It is his personal
testimony about finding God Almighty. He has seen personally the mighty acts
of God through Daniel and his friends [vs. 2] and there could have been more
that were not recorded. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that God’s Kingdom rules
over his kingdom; that God’s Kingdom is eternal whereas his kingdom is temporal
[vs. 3].

Nebuchadnezzar then proceeds to tell his story, about his terrifying dream,
about how his “wise men” could not interpret the dream, and about
calling Daniel in to interpret it for him [vs. 9-18].

Daniel knows the interpretation, is terrified, and is considering what to
say and what not to say. King Nebuchadnezzar senses this and reassures Daniel
that his request is honorable and carries no malice [vs. 19]. Daniel begins
tactfully to explain that the tree in his dream represents Nebuchadnezzar himself.
He is about to lose control of his kingdom, being driven into a state of insanity
and living like an animal. His kingdom will be restored after 7 years when he
acknowledges God as the Sovereign One over all [vs. 20-26]. Daniel advises Nebuchadnezzar
to acknowledge God now by renouncing his sins of wickedness and oppression [vs.
27].

Another person, probably Daniel, writes what Nebuchadnezzar can’t recall [vs.
28-33]. Twelve months later when Nebuchadnezzar was boasting about his greatness,
God’s plan was enacted.

Nebuchadnezzar continues his narration in verse 34 telling of his restoration
when he looked to heaven in praise and worship of the Most High God. He acknowledges
that God is eternal, that God is sovereign over all things, and that God is
Almighty [vs. 34-36]. At that time, his sanity, honor, and kingdom returned.
He concludes that God blessed him and again worships God with praise and adoration
because He is Righteous and He is Just. God alone is able to humble the proud.

What a great testimony about the miraculous works of God Almighty. The faith
of Daniel was used by God to reveal His plan to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar’s
acknowledgment that God is the one true God brought forth restoration and blessing.
Acknowledge God. Worship only Him, removing all other gods. Praise Him and thank
Him. Acknowledge that God is sovereign over you and that His righteousness and
justice reign forever. And then look forward to His special blessings.

Faith Discerns the Hand of God                                  Dan. 5:1-30

Belshazzar is now ruling Babylonia. Nebuchadnezzar died in 563 BC. He was
replaced by his son, Evil-Meradoch, who was assassinated two years later [561
BC] by his brother-in-law Neriglissar. He reigned four years before his son
replaced him and he was killed 9 months later [556 BC]. Nabonidus ascended the
throne and is believed to be a son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar was
his son and most likely a co-ruler at the time of this story. Belshazzar, then,
is a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar and the date is 539 BC.

Belshazzar throws a huge banquet inviting about a thousand of his nobles.
The wine was flowing and Belshazzar asks for the gold and silver vessels taken
from Jerusalem’s temple in 605 BC and/or 597 BC, when Jewish citizens were first exiled. The result is a banquet hall of drunks drinking from sacred sups while praising false gods
[vs. 1-4].

The king sobers quickly when seeing a hand write on the wall where he is sitting.
He turns pale, is frightened, and faints. He calls his “wise men”
in and promises to give anyone gifts and be promoted to 3rd in line to rule
if they can interpret the writing. None can. All are baffled and their terror
increases.

The queen hears the commotion, comes into the hall, and advises Belshazzar
to call Daniel because he was able to interpret the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar.
The queen is either Nebuchadnezzar’s wife [queen mother] or Nabonidus’ wife.
I believe she was Nebuchadnezzar’s wife because she is very familiar with Daniel’s
history whereas Belshazzar seems to know nothing about Daniel. Daniel was probably
about 80 years old and no longer a working member of Babylon’s “wise men”
otherwise he would have already been called in.

Daniel arrives and is offered a reward and the position of third ruler if
he can interpret the writing. Daniel says he doesn’t want the rewards but will
interpret the writing anyway. Daniel begins by telling the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s
rule so he can point out to Belshazzar that his grandfather acknowledged God
Almighty and His sovereignty over all things. Then he proceeds to chastise Belshazzar
for his pride, for desecrating the Lord’s vessels, and for worshiping idols.
Belshazzar has refused to honor the Lord God Almighty. Therefore, the days of
his kingdom are numbered and will soon end [Mene]. His rule has been oppressive
and unjust [Tekel]. His kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians
[Peres].

Daniel is rewarded but that very night Belshazzar was killed and Darius the
Mede took over the kingdom of Babylon.

We, as God’s children, may not have the ability to interpret writing on the
walls as did Daniel but we do possess the same faith. This faith enables us
to view the world from God’s point of view and interpret the signs, good and
bad, that He has told us to look for in His Word.
The end will not surprise
true Christians. It will be obvious to them. Rewards will not matter because
Christ’s coming will be our reward just as Darius came as a reward to the Jewish
remnant. We who have been called to faith in Christ must read His Word and know
His Word. We have been chosen to reveal Christ to others, to reveal God’s Word,
and to discern the Hand of God Almighty. May we be faithful in fulfilling our
responsibility to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Faith Sustains the Meek, Removing Fear                            Dan. 6:1-28

Darius now controls Babylon and is putting his new administration in power.
He picks 120 satraps to rule over the country who report to three administrators.
Daniel caught the attention of Darius and became one of the three administrators
even though he was considered old, in his 80’s most likely. He was so competent
in carrying out his responsibilities that Darius planned to put him in charge
of all his kingdom. Those younger became jealous and began looking for ways
to discredit Daniel. What they discovered was that Daniel was trustworthy, honest,
and competent so they began to consider his personal life, how and who he worshiped.

The administrators, minus Daniel, and the other officials go before the King,
play up to his power and ego, and convince him to make a decree in writing that
all must worship the King for the next 30 days. Daniel hears about the decree
but does not change his habits. He continues to pray to God three times a day,
thanking Him for all He has done. Daniel’s enemies witness his disobedience
of the King’s order, remind the King of his decree, and accuse Daniel before
the king. Darius has no choice but to follow through and administer justice
even though his heart is not in it. Darius probably researched all their laws
looking for a loop-hole but could not find any that would save Daniel.

Upon being thrown into the lion’s den, Darius asks Daniel to pray that his God
would save him. Darius returns to his palace sick with sadness over what has
taken place. He could not even sleep so he gets up early and goes to the lion’s
den. He calls out to Daniel to ask if God has indeed saved him. Daniel answers
positively, that God sent His angel to shut the lion’s mouths because he was
innocent [without sin] in God’s sight and had not wronged Darius, his earthly
king. Daniel was saved because he had placed his trust in God, the heavenly
King over all kings.

Upon hearing Daniel’s voice and testimony, Daniel’s accusers and their families
are tossed into the lion’s den to die. God’s justice has now ruled over man’s
injustice.
Darius immediately issues another decree that the people must honor
Daniel’s God. He declares God to be alive and eternal, to rule over an everlasting
Kingdom, and to perform great signs and wonders in the heavens and earth, including
the rescue of Daniel.

Daniel becomes the chief ruler under Darius and through the reign of Cyrus
even though he was considered old.

There is much we could learn from this story so let me briefly state some
lessons.

  1. God is faithful to save those who place their trust in Him.
  2. God honors those who honor him.
  3. Never cease praying and worshiping God; always with thanksgiving.
  4. When laws are passed which are contrary to God’s Word, pray consistently
    until they are overturned.
  5. The meek have complete confidence in God Almighty and do not fear their enemies.
  6. One’s enemies will attack your character and/or your belief’s when they can
    find no wrong in the performance of your duties.
  7. A strong faith in God attracts persecution.
  8. Our performance in the workplace is one of our greatest and loudest ways we have to express our faith in God.

As I review these lessons, I find them to be true for all theses first six
chapters of Daniel. It is because of our faith in God that:

  1. We are given wisdom and understanding from God.
  2. We can be humble, bold, and give honor to God in times of stress.
  3. We can testify of our Hope and Salvation in Christ Jesus.
  4. We can acknowledge God as the one true Almighty God eternal.
  5. We can discern His Will for our lives and in the lives of others.
  6. We can have complete confidence in His Sovereignty and live for Him without fear in the face of persecution.

In closing, let me make something perfectly clear. God always rescues and
protects those who place their faith in God, who are called by His Name, His
children. But His rescue and protection doesn’t always mean a continuation of
life on earth. He may be calling you to a new life with Him. We all have a purpose
for which we have been called and we don’t always know when our work is done.
In the case of Daniel, his wasn’t. God had more for him to do.

Hope for the Future                                                  Daniel 7:1-12:38

This final section of Daniel is like a different book having little or no
connection with the first six chapters. The first six chapters are historical.
These next six chapters are futuristic.

Daniel Dreams of Four Beasts                              Dan. 7:1-28

In the first year of Belshazzar’s reign [553 BC], Daniel had a dream of several
visions which he remembered and recorded. He sees four winds churning up four
seas such that a different beast rises out of each sea, one vision with four
pictures.

The first beast was like a lion with wings of an eagle. Its’ wings were eventually
torn off so it could not fly. The second beast was like a bear. It lay on its’
side holding 3 ribs and was told to get up and eat more. The third beast was
like a leopard with four wings and four heads. Each head had authority to rule.
The fourth beast was different, terrifying, and didn’t resemble any known living
creature. It had 10 horns. Another little horn emerged uprooting 3 of the original
10 horns. It had man’s eyes and boasted much.

Daniel sees a fifth picture of thrones and the Ancient of Days [God] taking
His seat. He, God, is described as white, sitting on a throne of fire with fire
surrounding Him [see also Rev. 1:9-18]. People come before Him by the thousands.
He is holding court and the books are opened before Him. The beast with the
boastful horn was slain and tossed into the fire. The other beasts had lost
their authority but were allowed to live for a time.

Then Daniel sees the Son of Man coming in the clouds before the Ancient of
Days to receive power and authority over all people and nations. He was worshipped
by all and His Kingdom reigned forever.

Daniel, being troubled with these visions, asks one of the angels in the vision
for an interpretation [vs. 15]. Daniel is told the four beasts are four kingdoms
that will rise from the earth. The multitudes of people are saints belonging
to the Most High God waiting to receive their possession in God’s Kingdom forever.

Daniel asks specifically about the fourth beast, the beast that crushed and
devoured its’ victims and trampled over everyone; the beast with the 10 horns
and the one who boasts. In asking, Daniel sees another vision of the little
horn attacking and defeating the saints until the ancient of Days pronounced
judgment in favor of the saints and they came to possess His Kingdom. The angel
explains that the fourth kingdom will indeed be different. The 10 horns represent
10 kings from this kingdom. From them, another king arises subduing 3 of the
kings, speaking against God, and making war against the saints. That king even
believes he has the power to change the orbits of our earth and moon and other
laws governing our solar system [solving global warming?].  Or perhaps the changing of the times and seasons has to do with changing the format/timetable of Jewish worship practices. God’s saints will endure him for 3 ½ years [vs. 25], after which his power will be taken away and his kingdom destroyed. Any remaining kingdoms will be given to the
saints of God. God’s Kingdom remains forever and all rulers will worship and
obey God.

Scholars agree that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2 and Daniel’s dream
in Chapter 7 represent the same four kingdoms, that of Babylon, Medo-Persian
Empire, Greece, and the Roman Empire. The Rock that crushes the toes in Nebuchadnezzar’s
image could be the rise of the Church or it could represent the judgment of
God over the little horn as indicated in Daniels vision. The phrase “time,
times, and half time” is considered to mean 3 ½ years by those in
the Dispensational Theology discipline. I would assume Amillennialists interpret
that same phrase to mean an era of infinite length. Personally, I prefer the
Dispensational view.

The little horn is generally thought to be the rise of anti-Christ or the
beast from the sea in Revelation 13 because their characteristics are very similar.
The interpretation of the fourth beast as Rome causes some difficulty in that
the Roman Empire is gone. Some scholars believe it is a revival of 10 nations
like the former empire and others believe it is like the old Roman Empire but
encompasses the whole known world as did the former empire. See my notes on
Revelation 13 for further discussion and analysis. According to the angel, the
four empires are quite clear. The final judgment of the nations by God is clear
too. The little horn of the fourth beast is evil, destructive, boastful, and
wars against the saints before his kingdom is destroyed. It is highly probably
that the king represents anti-Christ or certainly the leader of a kingdom with
an anti-Christ philosophy and influence. These are all facts. The scenarios
developed from these facts become opinions. We must be grounded in what facts
have been revealed and then keep watch as history unfolds. The end of time will
be terrifying but we who put our trust in God will be victorious and reign with
Him forever. We are called Saints and are members of His eternal Kingdom. Praise
God and thank Him for revealing His Son and His Truth to you so you could accept
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Daniel Dreams of a Ram and Goat                               Dan. 8:1-27

This dream/vision came in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign, the same year
Babylon fell to Darius [see Dan. 5]. Daniel was SE of Babylon in Elam beside
the Elai Canal at Susa in his vision. He sees a ram with two long horns beside
the canal. The one horn emerged after the other horn but grew to be longer.
The ram charged westward, northward, and to the south, controlling everything
wherever he went. Then Daniel sees a goat with one horn coming from the west
charging the powerful ram, shattering its’ two horns, and defeating the ram.
At the height of the goats’ power, his lone horn fell off and four horns grew
in its place. One of the four horns produced another small horn which grew in
power to the south and east. It attacked angels, trampling over them, and became
great enough to remove the daily sacrifices. Truth was no longer practiced or
required.

Daniel overhears two angels wondering how long it would be before this vision
was to be fulfilled and, in particular, the time of the “rebellion that
causes desolation” to occur. The answer was 2300 days.

Daniel senses the presence of God before him telling the angel Gabriel to
interpret the vision for him. Gabriel approaches a prostrate Daniel, raises
him to his feet, and tells him this vision relates to the “End Time”.
The ram represented the Medo-Persian Empire. The goat was Greece and its’ king
[Alexander the Great], the large horn. Greece is then broken into four kingdoms
and is no longer as powerful as it once was. During the later part of the reign
of the four kings, another rebellious, wicked, and deceitful king will come
into power and be devastating and successful in all that he does. He comes into
power because of who he admires, not from what he has done. He wages war and
defeats other armies including the people of God. He has a large ego and deceit
reigns. The people will feel secure but he has destroyed many and begins to
attack God Himself. This king, the small horn, will be destroyed by the hand
of God. The time of 2300 days is true but concerns the distant future.

Daniel has been privileged to see a glimpse of the future but has been instructed not to be concerned because it is way far in the future. Daniel is exhausted, ill, and still doesn’t completely understand what he has been shown. Finally
he lets go and goes about the king’s business.

This vision is amazingly accurate for the near future. After the death of
Alexander the Great, Greece eventually became divided into four areas but weakened
because these kings were all trying to get the upper hand with each other. The
little horn which gained power among the four kings is thought to be Antiochus
IV Epiphanes who made war with the people from Egypt to Greece including God’s
people living in Israel. He pretended to be Israel’s protector but then attacked
them after being stymied in Egypt, desecrating their temple by erecting the
idol Zeus and sacrificing a pig on its’ altar.

The time of 2300 days is subject to two interpretations. Taken as literal
days it means approximately 6 1/3 years, or perhaps the time Antiochus was in
power. But if we consider verse 17 that this vision has to do with the end time
and the escapades of Antiochus reflect that of the coming anti-Christ, then
the 2300 days would represent a significant portion of the 70th week prior to
Christ’s reign. Some believe it means about 3 1/3 years because there were two
sacrifices a day, morning and evening. The second interpretation has the most
credibility for the near-future because it was about 3 years from the time the
temple was desecrated by Antiochus [168 BC] until Judas Maccabaeus rededicated
the temple in 165 BC. The first interpretation has the most credibility for
representing the end time.

The history in this time period is quite confusing in that there are many people
fighting with many other people. Two good secular sources are The Encyclopedia
of World History by William Langer and The Macmillian Bible Atlas. Both give
a detailed history of this time period. Another source is The Expositors Bible
Commentary edited by Frank E. Gaebelein. It gives an excellent condensed version
of the historical happenings.

Remember, the little horn of the fourth empire in Chapter 7 is not the same
as the little horn of the third empire in Chapter 8 but it is a “type”
relating to the future which this vision is about. This vision in Chapter 8
is an indication of things to happen near the end of time. If we were to speculate
based on the world today [1990-2010], we would say Europe [or a world entity]
would raise up and defeat the Arab countries of the Middle East, divide the
total area into four parts [or 10 parts] from which another ruler would rise
using deceit and oppression to bring unity once again. Upon agreeing to defend
and protect Israel, he would attack her, declare himself as god, and have the
people sacrifice to him at the temple of God. This little horn, a type of Antiochus
IV Epiphanes, represents the anti-Christ.
He rises to power for 2300 days or
about 6 2/3 years before the wrath of God comes and defeats him [Trumpet and
Bowl Judgments of Revelation] during the 7th year OR he remains in power as
god for about 3 years before God’s wrath is poured out and he is defeated at
the end of his 7th year and Christ re-consecrates the temple as His throne room
for His millennial reign. Either interpretation works but I lean toward the
2300 days as meaning 6 plus years, the whole 70th week.

Remember, Daniel didn’t understand or comprehend his vision even after hearing
Gabriel’s interpretation. Most likely we don’t understand or comprehend it either
except that we have the words of Jesus and the visions of John to add to our
understanding. But this is true, God has given us enough information so that
we can watch and wait for His coming with intelligence and anticipation. Praise
God.

Daniel Prays                                               Dan. 9:1-19

This is the first year in the reign of Darius the Mede, son of Xerxes. Darius
is an unknown in secular history and there is much speculation as to exactly
who he is. There are several possibilities. Cyrus is the overall ruler of the
empire and, I presume, Darius is the same person who captured Babylon in Daniel
5 and is now appointed ruler over this newly captured area as stated in Daniel
6:1. Depending on his appointment, the date is 537-538 BC.

Daniel either remembers Jeremiah’s prophecy or has a copy in his possession.
Since about 67 years have passed since he was exiled, Daniel realizes their
exile is about to end. Daniel is humbled by this thought and begins to pray
in earnest.

Daniel begins by praising God for He is great and awesome. God is also sovereign
and faithful, keeping His covenant with all who love and obey Him. Daniel concludes
this section in verses 5-6 by confessing Israel’s/Judah’s sin. They have been
wicked and rebellious, turning away from God’s will and laws. They refused to
listen to God and His prophets. Daniel acknowledges God’s righteousness and
all Israel’s shame because of her unfaithfulness. Daniel acknowledges God’s
mercy and forgiveness even though all Israel has turned away in sin and disobedience.
They have justly deserved God’s curses and judgments. God has been faithful
in keeping His Word, punishing them because of their unfaithfulness and disobedience.

Daniel returns to acknowledge God’s redemptive act in bringing Israel out
of Egypt. They, Israel, continued to rebel and do wrong and are responsible
for God’s righteous acts of anger and wrath.

Daniel petitions God to end His anger and wrath [vs. 16], to hear his prayer,
and to look with favor on His Temple in Jerusalem once again [vs. 17]. Daniel
acknowledges their unrighteousness and asks for

mercy and forgiveness [vs. 18-19]. Daniel asks the Lord to act for His sake,
to raise His Name among men once again in Jerusalem.

Our prayers ought to be patterned after Daniel’s prayer. We must always address
God praising Him for His righteousness, faithfulness, goodness, love, and mercy.
Perhaps we confess our own sins, which is right, but we should also confess
the sins of our nation, for failing to listen and obey God’s laws. Our purpose
for confessing all our sin is to let God know we are truly repentant and want
His mercy and forgiveness such that He will honor our change of heart and provide
us with a new and bold opportunity to glorify His Name before others. God’s
Will is to make His Name known that men may place their faith in Him, the God
Almighty who is righteous and just. God’s testimony of who He is best comes
from those who humble themselves before his throne like Daniel.

Daniel Learns of “Seventy times Seven”                             Dan. 9:20-27

Gabriel visits Daniel while he is still praying to give him further insight
and understanding to his visions. This message is specific relating to Israel
and Jerusalem. The “seventy sevens” relate to:

  1. Finishing transgression and putting an end to sin.
  2. Atoning for sin.
  3. Bringing everlasting righteousness.
  4. Eliminating visions and prophecy.
  5. The anointing of God.

In other words, the “seventy sevens” relate to the “end times”.

To begin, their will be 69 seven or 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem
until the Anointed One comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt after the first “seven
times seven” or 49 years. Then after 62 more “sevens” or 434
years, the Anointed One will be cut off or discarded. “The people of the
ruler to come” will destroy the city and the temple. This most likely refers
to Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The “end like a flood”
most likely refers to Jerusalem’s destruction but it could refer to the very
end when God’s wrath is poured out to destroy sin. Regardless, war will continue
to the end and until all desolations have been decreed [Trumpet and Bowl Judgments].
God establishes a new covenant for the “70th seven” in which sacrifices
end in its’ middle [3 ½ years] when the “abomination that causes
desolation” is established and until God’s wrath ends the reign of anti-Christ
[the little horn of Daniel’s visions].

This passage, clear as it is, has a variety of interpretations. However, most
agree on the first 69 “sevens” and that each 7 represents 7 years.
This whole passage begins with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. There are three
possibilities; 537 BC, 457 BC, and 444 BC. The first, Ezra 1:2-4, only refers
to rebuilding the temple. The second, Ezra 7:12-24, by Artaxerxes is more
probable because Ezra’s prayer in Ezra 9:9 implies the inclusion of rebuilding Jerusalem’s
walls, making the rebuilding of the city viable. The third, Nehemiah 2:5-8,
came in 446-444 BC and is the most definitive regarding Daniel 9:25.   Only the last two, 457 BC and 445 BC meet the criteria. Both dates would fulfill the rebuilding of Jerusalem within 49 years, the first “seven sevens”. Using the 457 BC date and adding 483 years brings us to 26AD, the presumed date Jesus’ ministry began. Using the 445 or 444 BC date and adding 483 years exceeds the time of Christ’s ministry but if we assume a 360
day prophetic year or lunar year we can achieve a date of 33 AD which is close [within dating errors] to Christ’s crucifixion [some scholars hold to a 30AD date for Christ’s crucifixion].  The verification used for this dating assume the decree was issued March 5, 444 BC and adding 173,880 days would equate to March 30, 33 AD for the time of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Further verification is accomplished noting that there are 476 solar years between 444 BC and 33 AD equaling 173,855 days.  So they add another 25 days to get 173,880 days and March 30 so as to match the lunar and solar calendars. The advantage of the 457 BC date as the beginning of the “seventy sevens” is consistency and there is no need for manipulation.  The advantage of the 444 BC date is clarity for the start of the “seventy sevens” or 69 weeks of years.

When we use either the 444 BC start date or the 457 BC start date, it is easily understood that verse 26, the cutting off of the Anointed One, would happen within 3 ½ years or soon after the 69th weeks has been completed. Either explanation fits both the Amillennialist and the Dispensationalist theologies.  The big difference in these two schools of thought has to do with when the 70th week starts. The Amillennialist believes it begins with Christ’s crucifixion when the sacrifice for sin once and for all has been fulfilled and the New Covenant begins. The Dispensationalist believes there is a gap, a period of time for
gentiles [see Rom. 11:25] known as the Church Age before the 70th week begins.

Allow me to simplify.

The Amillennialists must assume:

  1. The middle of the 70th week happens within 3 ½ years using the 457BC
    date or the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by Rome.
  2. The last half of the 70th week does not conform to the same time criteria
    as the first 69 ½ weeks.
  3. The little horn represents the rise of Satan’s power and influence in the
    world.
  4. The Church replaces Israel as God’s chosen people.
  5. The Millennial reign of Christ is actually the Age of the Church, the age of Grace.

The Dispensationalists must assume:

  1. The 70thweeks time is the same as that of the first 69 weeks time, a consistent
    7 years for all weeks.
  2. The Church, a majority of which are gentiles, replaces Israel until either
    the Church loses its’ influence, is raptured, and/or Israel recognizes Christ
    as their Messiah.
  3. The little horn of Daniel’s vision is a type of Antiochus IV and rises out
    of a coming world empire similar to that of Rome. He is the anti-Christ ruling
    with the indwelling of Satan and desecrating the Lord’s temple.
  4. A new Israel and a third temple is required.
  5. The Millennial reign of Christ follows His second advent.

The Dispensational point of view was dominant during the apostolic era believing
in what we refer today as a pre-wrath or mid-tribulation rapture of the saints.
Israel would eventually realize their error and turn to worshiping the Christ
they helped crucify.

The Amillennialist point of view dominated the reform movement because Israel
had never returned to power as a single entity since their exile. Their historical
perspective was that the Church replaced Israel completely.

When Israel became a nation again in 1948, theologians began to reconsider
Dispensationalist theology [this actually began in the late 1800’s]. A majority
adopted a pre-tribulation rapture point of view believing the Church would be
raptured enabling Israel to return as God’s sole witness of His Glory on earth.

It’s highly probable that I have misrepresented all viewpoints in my condensation
and interpretation of each. Bias might also enter in. At the time of this writing,
I prefer the traditional early dispensational interpretation with the rapture
of believers happening between the middle of the 70th week when the anti-Christ
can be positively identified by his actions and policies and before God’s wrath
in the Trumpet and Bowl judgments are implemented to crush the influence of
anti-Christ against the people of Israel. I think this viewpoint offers a solution
for knowing who the anti-Christ is and also recognizing the principle that we
do not know the time God has chosen for the Second Advent of His Son. And I
believe it is the more logical and the most consistent view when considering
all of Scripture.

Regardless of your point of view, Christ has exhorted us to keep watch and
be ready. That is excellent advice.
See my comments in Lessons 102-106 on Jesus’
Mount Olivet Discourse in my New Testament Commentary. Remember He is coming
again. Halleluiah!

Daniel’s Revelation and Vision                                       Dan. 10:1-11:1

The date is approximately 536 BC. Zerubbabel has already returned to Jerusalem
to begin work on rebuilding the temple. Daniel has decided not to go back, probably
because of his age. He receives a revelation about a great war followed by a
vision to explain this war. This war is described in much detail in Chapter
11. Daniel’s revelation caused him to go into mourning and fasting for three
weeks. It was after this period of mourning and fasting that he received his
vision of explanation.

Before learning the details about his revelation, he sees a vision of a man
dressed in linen having a gold belt, a body that is somewhat like translucent
gold, a face like lightning [bright], eyes like torches, arms and legs of bronze,
and a loud voice. Daniel sees a vision of God, the Son of Man, similar to what
John saw and recorded in Revelation 1. Some believe this is an angel but Daniel
reacts to it just like Paul and John when they met the Lord God in a vision.
Daniel saw the vision but the men with him did not. Yet they were so terrified
by the voice that they went and hid. Compare this with Paul’s conversion recorded
in Acts 9. The man in the vision speaks to Daniel who is weak, pale, falls to
the ground, and sleeps.

A hand touches Daniel, who is still trembling, and encourages him. This is
an angel similar to those sent to help Daniel interpret his dreams in Chapters
7 and 8. Daniel learns he has been privileged to see something very few, if
any, have seen before. He is not to fear. God has honored his prayers, his fasting,
and his humbling himself seeking to understand this revelation of war. God had
sent His angel earlier to explain Daniel’s revelation but he was detained fighting
an angel of Persia. The archangel Michael came and helped him defeat the other
angel and now he has arrived to explain what the future holds for Israel [vs.
14].

It is uncertain if it is the angel or the man [God] in the vision who touches
Daniel and gives him strength to speak. I presume it is the angel since Daniel
references the vision in verse 16 which caused him to lose strength in the first
place. Daniel’s revelation of the war disturbed him but his vision of the Lord
caused him to lose his strength.

The angel has come to encourage Daniel and to explain the truth about the
future. Once done, he will return to fight the evil of Persia and then the evil
of Greece when that arrives. Thus, we are given insight into the spiritual warfare
happening as it relates to the physical warfare happening between people on
earth.

Before proceeding on with the interpretation of this great war, we must remind
ourselves how important it is for us to pray and humble ourselves before God
in order to learn of His wisdom and understanding. We constantly are in situations
or experience things we do not understand. As Christians, we continually wonder
why God tolerates the evil we see around. Never cease praying and seeking God’s
guidance. God honors our prayers and will give us wisdom and understanding as
we walk with Him. Our experience is more apt to like Daniel’s in Chapter 1 but
God is there for us never-the-less. I also believe the closer we are to God,
the more He reveals to us. What we know about Daniel indicates he was highly
esteemed by God. Seek God. Humbly bow before Him and seek His forgiveness, mercy,
and grace. Seek God’s Will and obey Him. Ask for God’s wisdom. LISTEN to God,
LEARN from God, and LOVE God.
Live your life like Daniel lived his.

Battles in the Near Future                                         Dan. 11:2-35

As stated earlier, I believe the angel revealing the details written in this
chapter and the next is Gabriel. He was the angel who interpreted Daniels’ visions
in Chapter 8 concerning the fall of Persia to Greece. This Chapter, then, gives
a more detailed account of that near future event, particularly relating to
Greece. This prophetic vision is so accurate in its detail that some refuse
to believe it was given to Daniel before it happened historically.

From the time of Daniel’s vision, the third year of Cyrus, three more kings
will rule and then a fourth, Xerxes I, who was the wealthiest and attacked Greece.
He did not prevail over Greece and this began the decline of the Medo-Persian
Empire. Alexander the Great comes to power in Greece and succeeds in conquering
the known world very quickly but he dies of a fever at an early age. His kingdom
is divided into basically four quadrants: west or Macedonia-Greece, east or
Asia Minor, south or Egypt/Ptolemy’s, and north or Middle East/Seleucids. Alexander
had no descendants due to the assassinations of his son and half-brother, both
who were not capable of ruling.

Verses 5-20 detail the wars between the Seleucid’s in the north and the Ptolemy’s
in the south. These were the two strongest “kingdoms” of the four.
Their areas of control were important because both the north-south and east-west
trade routes passed through the land occupied by the Jews. Ptolemy I is the
first king of the south [vs. 5] and Seleucus Nicator is the first king of the
north. Bernice is the daughter of Ptolemy I given in marriage to Antiochus in
the north and who succeeded Seleucus Nicator [vs. 6]. The Ptolemy’s have the
upper hand in the beginning but the power shifts to the north under Antiochus.
The daughter of Antiochus given in marriage [vs. 17] to Ptolemy V is none other
than Cleopatra. For an excellent blow-by-blow historical account, refer to the
Expositor’s NIV Bible Commentary edited by Frank Gaebelein.

The next important historical person to rise is Antiochus IV Epiphanes in
verse 21. These verses, 21-35, add detail to verses 23-25 of Chapter 8. They
detail Antiochus’s rise to power and his battles with the king of the south.
His character is contemptible and he practices deceit. You can not believe anything
he says. Evil reigns in both the north and the south [vs. 27]. After showing
favor to the Jews, Antiochus IV returns from an unsuccessful war with the South
and desecrates the temple, abolishing the daily sacrifices, and setting up the
“abomination that brings desolation”, believed to be a statue of Zeus
in the image of himself in a wing of the Temple of the Lord God. He is resisted
by those devoted to serving God but they will be martyred for their faith along
with other Jews. This refers to the Maccabean revolt and those of the Qumran
sect who hid what we now know as the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is not the end but
it is coming [vs. 35].

Battles in the Far Future                                         Dan. 11:36-45

These verses are more general in nature and seem to be a transition from the
“near future” to the “far future”. What transpires here
is the changing focus of Antiochus IV to the anti-Christ or little horn that
rises to power in the future Roman Empire as represented in Daniel’s vision
of the Beasts and its’ interpretation [Dan. 7:24-25]. This king blasphemes God
and will reign until the time of God’s wrath [vs. 36]. Thus we have the basis
of Dispensational theology’s belief that Antiochus IV is a “type”
of the anti-Christ of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. He doesn’t believe in any
god other than himself [vs. 37]. He believes in a god of powerful military defensive
and offensive might [vs. 38-39] and a god of great wealth [vs. 38, 43]. He masses
power, wealth, and loyalty [vs. 39]. He battles people from the north and the
south. The south is conquered but armies from the north and east will be his
end.

This concludes the interpretation and explanation of Daniel’s vision by the
angel. What he saw was terrifying and troubling because he didn’t’ see God,
who he served and worshipped, as the victor. This is no different that what
we as Christians see in today’s world. We see evil reign and the good and righteous
persecuted and destroyed. We ask “Is there any hope?” Is God sovereign?
Is God real? Is God the victor? The answer is “YES” and it is found
in Daniel 12.

Daniel’s Hope, Our Hope                                       Dan. 12:1-13

In some ways verses 1-4 are a continuation of Daniel 11:36-45 but yet it has
a different emphasis. The focus of the previous section is on the anti-Christ,
his wars, his rise to power, and his desire to be god and sovereign over the
earth. The emphasis in Daniel 12 shifts to Israel and their deliverance from
anti-Christ. Chapter 11 closes with the end of anti-Christ. Chapter 12 opens
discussing what happens to Daniel’s people, Israel [vs. 1] during that time,
the time of anti-Christ, during Daniel’s 70th week, or at least during the last
half of Daniel’s 70th week.

Michael, the archangel and Israel’s designated protector, begins to take control.
I believe this happens during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week because Jesus
referenced this same time in Matthew 24:21 and it follows His reference to the
“abomination that brings desolation” which takes place at the midpoint
of the 70th week. During that time Israel and all those found written in the
Book of Life will be delivered. This includes the Church, all believers in Christ.

This miraculous deliverance will take the form of a resurrection. Verse 1
may refer to the rapture of saints prior to the pouring out of God’s wrath during
the last half of the Tribulation. Verse 2 then refers to the resurrection of
both believers and non-believers in a general sense. According to verse 3, believers
will be “bright spots” in God’s universe [Kingdom]. Daniel and all
who believe are special in God’s sight. They are of great value to God. This
is the Hope Daniel and I, in fact all believers, look forward to happening,
our resurrection to eternal life with our Lord God. Non-believers will be resurrected
too but to everlasting shame/death. The believer’s hope is life eternal. The
non-believers curse is eternal death and shame. With that message of Hope, God
chooses to close His revelation to Daniel and instructs him to seal the scroll.

Daniel now sees the man in linen he saw according to Chapter 10. This time
He is accompanied by two men, one on each side of the river. My guess is that
one was Gabriel and the other Michael but both were angels. One asks the man,
the Lord God, when all these things will happen. The answer is two-fold:

  1. “For a time, times, and half time”. Or we believe during a 3 ½
    year time period.
  2. “When the power of the holy people has been broken”.

The first answer could refer to a long undefined period of time instead of 3
½ years. The second answer could refer to the breaking of Satan’s hold
upon Israel and their repentance and return to God or it could refer to the
increasing control of Satan over God’s people. In the context of the remaining
verses, I favor the 3 ½ year time period and the return of Israel to
acknowledging God and Jesus Christ, their Messiah. This seems to fit best with
the other prophetic writings, Jesus’ words in Matthew 24-25, and Revelation.

In verse 8 Daniel asks for clarification but is told “no more questions”.
He is told in verse 10 that many will be purified and become righteous. I take
this as a general statement concerning all believers, Jew and Gentile alike,
the Church, all those who belong to the Kingdom of God and are written down
in God’s Book of Life. Until the end of time the wheat and weeds will be together,
the righteous and the wicked will live together. Many will turn to God but others
will continue to ignore Him.

Verse 11 is also subject to many interpretations. It seems like God is defining
the times, times, and half time as definitely 3 ½ years, in fact the
last 3 ½ years in that sacrifices end and the abomination that causes
desolation happens in the middle of the 70th week. There is also much speculation
as to the 45 day extension. Perhaps this is the Bowl Judgments, perhaps it is
a time for cleansing the earth and reestablishing its’ orbit to that before
Noah, or perhaps this is the time needed for Christ to put His Millennial government
in place. It also seems to indicate that God’s grace is available to the very
end for it is His Will that none perish. God tells Daniel not to worry [vs.13]
but to continue to do what he was called to do. He will rest with God when he
dies and he will be resurrected to life eternal and receive his inheritance.

In other words, don’t worry Daniel because you are Mine and you will be Mine
forever. Now go in peace and receive My Peace because your Hope is secure in
Me.

Yes, Daniel’s Hope is also Our Hope when we place our faith and trust in God
and in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died that we may be resurrected unto life
eternal in God’s Kingdom.

Remember, God keeps His promises.

Hope for the Future begins and ends with God.

Hope for the Future was given to Daniel and God offers it to all of us.

Hope for the Future is promised to all who believe in God and acknowledge
Jesus Christ, His Son, as Savior and Lord.

Hope for the Future strengthens our Faith for the Present.

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