Daniel 1:9 Brought into Favor
What would be said of our times and our lives if things would be evaluated from Jehovah’s perspective? He had given Judah’s king into the hand of Nebuchednezzar (v.2) and He ordained that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah be taken to Babylon as captives. These young men were apparently made eunuchs and were trained to serve the wishes of the Babylonian king but only insofar as allowed by God Who was always ultimately in control (v.9). Probably the favor gained (2:48&49) in this foreign court by the events in their lives greatly affected the treatment of their country men who were essentially prisoners there Ezek. 1:1, though we are not told anything about it here.
The favor won by Daniel reminds us of other stories in a similar vein such as Joseph’s spectacular rise to power in Egypt (Gen 41:41) and Mordecai’s influential position in the court of king Ahasuerus (Esther 10:3). Not a clue did any of these people have as to what God intended to do through them when they like Saul were “little” in their own eyes (I Sam.15:17).
So far as we know Job was never told why he had been subjected to the trials he experienced as
Satan was allowed to test his mettle. Gideon had no idea that God considered him to be a “mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12) when he was informed of that fact by the angel.
What we are saying is this; we cannot measure the importance of who or what we are in God’s sight. He loves to use the humble servant when he least expects it or turn the lowliest prayer into some momentous occasion of bringing glory to His name. Think of David quietly and faithfully doing his best to be a good shepherd lad being called out from among his seemingly more qualified brothers to be Israel’s greatest king and a forerunner of the Messiah.
Some simple prayers that we have prayed at a time when we least were aware of it may turn out to be one of the greatest works we have ever done and could remain hidden to all but God until some moment in eternity when God unfolds the facts of how He rewarded the faith of that humble request. Rahab, Ruth and Mary are each a special treasure in God’s great house though little did they realize it in their earlier days. So let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may use us if He so chooses. We just never know what He is up to.
Daniel 2:44 The God of Heaven
This is such a wonderful chapter that it is difficult to know how to handle it in order to bring the most honor and glory to the God of Heaven. This term is used five times and thus is certainly the theme of our text. He is indeed working marvelously in the life of the heathen king Nebuchednezzar to say nothing of the amazing experiences that are taking place in the lives of four Jewish young men who are moving into center stage in the king’s life. Look out O king , Jehovah’s arsenal of fireworks is about to be unleashed and things will never be the same in your world again! To think that it all started with a dream. Well, not really, it all started when Nebuchednezzar ran up against the God of Heaven Who “changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and setteth up kings...he revealeth deep and secret things, etc” (v.28).
Little did he realize it, but the victories over his enemies were all due to the God of Heaven Who gave him his kingdom along with power, strength and glory (v.37). He was indeed the “head of gold” (v.38) in the dream but the brain in the head was jello. He will learn before it is over that the real brain behind everything is the God of Heaven Who is beginning to reveal to us His great plan of the ages which will culminate in the setting up of His kingdom that “shall break in pieces” all of the world’s kingdoms and in their place “shall stand forever” (v.44). Hallelujah!
We shall see in the next chapter what is going to happen to “old jelly brain” but first we see him worshiping Daniel which in itself is foolish but has its benefits for the four young whippersnappers who end up in this chapter in charge of everything. Which shows us that we never know when we get out of bed in the morning what might happen before night, so be ye ready. Last night they were dead meat and today they rule the kingdom. It sounds like passing from death to life! (John 5:24).
Daniel 3:1 Nebuchadnezzar
What difference between the thinking of a man like Daniel who was in love with his God and that of an egocentric, addlebrained, capricious individual like king Nebuchadnezzar. To become a world leader among men must have required him to be a brilliant strategist and who could ever imagine what might come out of that fertile mind of his. Yet it is one thing to have a wild dream every now and then but to mull it over, to plan, to be obsessed with such a scheme for nearly twenty years is hard for normal people to grasp. Great victories in the field had supplied him with the wherewithal to make it happen but who could imagine such a megalomaniacal asinine way to use his wealth and power. A ninety foot gold statue of himself was rising on the plains of Dura. And what is even more Machiavellian, the leadership of his whole realm would be required to worship him by bowing down to it at a given signal.
This brute would have murdered those choice young men had not God intervened. I apologize for using so many rather unfamiliar words to describe this crazy dictator, but I just felt the need to put an old story into some new language so that we don’t miss the point. (Check your dictionary-I did).
It would scare us to death if we knew what is in the heads of a great many of our national leaders even today. Those, for example, who have swallowed the philosophy of Jean Paul Satre (1905-1980), the Marquis de Sade, (Sadism, 1740-1814) or Saul Alinsky. If conditions would allow or warrant it, they wouldn’t hesitate to throw all Christians into such a fiery furnace if they could get away with it politically. The day will come when they will once again be able to do so. It will be called the Great Tribulation (Rev.6:9-11). I don’t plan to be here, what about you?
Daniel 4:26 The Heavens Do Rule
“Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus – reaching the most defiled... making him God’s dear child” etc. so the hymn writer describes what the scripture here portrays. “The basest of men” warned by Daniel to repent (v.27) given a final year to do so, judgement comes at last upon this self-centered king and while the words of exaltation fall from his lips, a voice from heaven says “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee” (v.33).
We may hope for his sake that the words that praised the most high God came from a truly repentant heart and that Nebuchadnezzar did indeed break off his sins and turn from his iniquitous ways. We hope that his humiliation produced more than accurate words and, though we are not told it, he would be found at the feet of Daniel learning from him the way of life.
What this and the story of Manasseh (II Chr.33:13) teach us is we are not to lose hope when we pray for the hardest of hearts among our own loved ones. It seems so impossible to us that the proud and stubborn hearts would ever melt. We cannot conceive of it but who would ever have thought of such a thing as finding the likes of either of these two bowed in humility before the “the King of heaven”extolling Him and honoring Him and declaring His works to be true and His ways just. Certainly we can agree that “those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (v.37).
What can we do better than close this chapter with the wonderful words spoken of Jehovah by one so recently classified as “the basest of men,” “he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth: and none can stay his hand or say unto him, what doeth thou?” (V.35) Hallelujah!
Daniel 5:22 Thou Knewest All This
Chronologically this episode takes place over 30 years later then the previous chapter during which several rulers had been in power and now Belshazzar the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar was the king though a subordinate under Nabonnedus (hence a probable explanation as to the making of Daniel the third ruler in the kingdom v.14).
With Cyrus at the door, as it were, threatening to vanquish the city of Babylon, Belshazzar brazenly celebrates his false security by conducting a great feast in which profanely they use temple articles taken in the capture of Jerusalem to toast their false gods.
It is at the very height of the revelry that the miraculous appearance of a man’s hand writing a strange warning on the wall stuns and unnerves the king. At the failure of the so-called wise men of the realm to make sense of it all the queen saves the day by reminding Belshazzer of the service Daniel had been in earlier days. He is summoned, deciphers the message, is promoted as promised but that very night Babylon is captured, Belshazzer is slain and Darius takes possession of the kingdom.
The highlight of the chapter is, of course, the rendering of the meaning of the supernatural writing by Daniel who not only gives the explanation but takes the occasion to deliver a short but powerful sermon on the pride, judgement and repentance of Nebuchadnezzar. He ends it with a strongly worded application to Belshazzar in which he chides him for not humbling himself before the Lord of heaven since “thou knewest all this” (v.22).
He makes a telling point over the fact that our very breath is in God’s hand and we should seek to glorify Him in all our ways. So be it!
Daniel 6:1 Darius
There were several called Darius in history. It is a term meaning Lord-king. This one is called by heathen authors Cyaxores II. In Egypt it would be Pharaoh or in Rome, Caesar. This Darius was sensual and weak and his energetic nephew Cyrus led the battle against Babylon and won the victory for the Medo-Persians. Xenephon calls him Cyropaedia. He diverted the Euphrates River which flowed through Babylon and marched his troops into the walled city via a dry river bed in a surprise attack the very night of the hand writing on the plaster.
Our hero Daniel managed by the grace of God to be in a high position of authority with the leadership of the nations which ruled the earth during the 70 years of Israel’s captivity which we now see drawing to a close. In Ezra 1:1&2 Cyrus, now classified as king of Persia in his first year proclaims their freedom and arranges their return to Jerusalem.
But being a friend of those in high places is not without its drawbacks and Daniel’s enemies are jealous of his favor in the court. This chapter tells us of their plot against his life and how it backfired. Most every child knows the story for it is one of the best known in the whole Bible.
Daniel, like each of us who will be in heaven some day, had a personal body guard in the form of a mighty angel (Heb.1:14) whom God personally sent to “block up” (Gr.) the mouths of the hungry lions so they could not eat Daniel though they scrupled not to make short work of his accusers which they caught in midair on their way to the bottom of the den.
Let us dare to be like Daniel who served God continually.
Daniel 7:9 The Ancient of Days
John Walvoord indicates in his commentary on Daniel that conservative scholarship recognizes this great chapter of the Bible as a panoramic view of future events revealed to Daniel in the 6th century B.C.
At this point we have switched to the second half of this book, the first, part 1-6 being the stories and the second part, the visions 7-12. The stories show Daniel achieving status as a great prophetic statesman, the visions are Daniel’s and he is usually overwhelmed by them and their interpretations.
It should be noted in case you missed it that the visions of this chapter correspond to the parts of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, there Daniel was the interpreter, here it is an angel. In both it is the revelation of the four Gentile world empires from his day unto the present and future, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome to be followed by a fifth, God’s kingdom on earth for eternity. The four, arising out of the sea of nations, are depicted by horribly fantastic creatures, the fourth being different in that it is described as destroying the earlier kingdoms and as extending to the time of its destruction in the future.
The accuracy of these visions is remarkable and therefore this book is hated by the critics. Take for example verse six where the rapid conquest of Alexander the Great is depicted by the swiftness of the leopard and the four heads the subdivisions of his kingdom after his early death.
References to the Ancient of days (vs.9,13 and 22) and the Son of man (v.13) bring before us the portrayal of the final kingdom which will involve us, “the saints of the most High.” This includes the millennium and “the everlasting kingdom” (v.27). It was a bit much for Daniel to deal with and most of us feel the same way but we can hardly wait. Even so come, Lord Jesus.
Daniel 8:19 At the Time Appointed
There is a return to the use of the Hebrew language with this chapter, the Aramaic having been used by Daniel in all but the introduction. It was the language predominately used in Babylon during his time there. Material particularly directed to the Jews is in Hebrew.
As to chronology the opening verses of both chapters 7&8 indicate that these dreams and visions of Daniel occurred before chapter 5. In this vision he was transported to Shushan, an experience similar to Ezekiel’s (8:3).
“This chapter is concerned with the prophecies of the rise and fall of Medo-Persia, the rise of (Greece) on its ruins and the four-fold kingdom of Alexander the Great’s successors.” (J.F.B.)
In verse 16 we are introduced to the angel Gabriel and apparently Jehovah tells him to make known this vision to Daniel. Here we learn about the man who is called by Faucett, “the Old Testament anti-Christ.” His name was Antiochus Epiphanes who appeared in the Maccabean Period during the 400 silent intertestamental years as one of the greatest enemies the Jews had ever known, “a king of fierce countenance” (v.23), who would “destroy wonderfully” the holy people (v.24).
Most fundamental Bible teachers believe this little horn of Daniel (v.9) to be a type of the actual anti-Christ (II Thess.2:4) equating him with the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Matt.24:15).
It was no wonder poor Daniel was deeply troubled to the point of being sick over this vision which he must have discussed with his friends but no one understood it. Reference to “the last end of the indignation” and to the Prince of princes and being told to “shut up the vision for it shall be for many days” must have confused him greatly.
Daniel 9:24 Upon Thy People
There is a period of about fifteen years between the last chapter (8) and this one. Daniel realized, based on his awareness of Jeremiah’s prophecies, that the seventy years of captivity when Israel would be forced by Jehovah to dwell “in a strange land” (Ps.137:4) were about to end and that it was time for his people to take down their harps from the willows and begin to again sing the songs of Zion.
This educed in the prophet the powerful prayer which appears herein the pattern of which may be commended for all such supplication directed to our heavenly Father. “O Lord, hear; O Lord forgive; O Lord hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”
While speaking, the answer flew in response. Gabriel, again the holy messenger, with words of understanding would enable the “greatly beloved” Daniel to see some of the intricate details of the vision he had of the future. Clearly, he had not understood it (8:27) but this time he would be given special skill to understand it and consider it (9:23).
Prophetically, verse 24 is a star of greatest magnitude. Most Bible teachers in fundamental circles believe the seventy weeks are weeks of years and total four hundred and ninety (7x70) which would bring us all to the events already announced back in 7:27. However, the remaining verses of this chapter reveal that though the 62 & 7 weeks led to the very date of the death of Messiah Jesus, there would be a gap of an unknown length of time between the 69th and the 70th weeks. This gap or period of time is what we call the church age, a subject not made known to the Old Testament prophets not even Daniel, and the final week of seven years is spoken of in verse 27 which we know as the 7 years of tribulation when the Anti-Christ shall cause the sacrifice and oblation of the Jews to cease in the middle of the week (Mk.13:14).
Of course, as pre-tribulation rapturists we are very confident that the events of that last week will be proceeded by the rapture of the church (I Thess.4:13-18) otherwise we would be looking for the coming Anti-Christ rather than the Lord Jesus. It is just that simple. The rapture of the church did not relate in any way to the Jews so Daniel was not told a word about it, but it was pretty important to the Apostle Paul!
Daniel 10:12 A Man Greatly Beloved
“The final three chapters of the book of Daniel record an extensive revelation of the prophetic
future which is without parallel anywhere else in Scripture” (Walvoord). He also quotes Leupold as expressing it, “there is hardly anything in the Bible that is just like these chapters, especially like chapter 11.” Chapter 10 along with 11:1 is actually an introduction to chapter 11.
As to this chapter, it is helpful to realize that there are probably several beings in this picture inter-reacting with the prophet. The first was no doubt an appearance of Christ and is quite similar to that of the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:13-15, whereas the one who spoke with him later telling of super natural encounters must have been another angel messenger more limited than He.
In any case, Daniel here receives information that goes a long way in helping us in some aspects of spiritual warfare. Who would ever have imagined the battle between angelic and demonic forces that was going on over Daniel’s prayer? Demon power kept the answer from getting through for 21 days!
On the subject of demonism, Merrill Unger in his book, Biblical Demomology writes, “Believers who would be spiritual and live victoriously face a tremendous conflict with Satan and demons who vehemently oppose true spirituality and Christian usefulness (Eph.6:11-12).”
The concept of a shadow government composed of evil spirit entities behind and energizing the world powers of the day as we see here in Daniel seems too much like a fantasy to us, but most of the fundamental Bible commentators believe that this is exactly what is being played out here in verses 13 and 20.
Perhaps in our modern society demons have grown more sophisticated so as to pass unobserved in their machinations, but the Lord Jesus was not deceived by them in His day and by His grace we shall succeed in not being ignorant of them in ours, God helping us.
Daniel 11:45 His End
Walvoord suggests a two-fold division of this chapter, 1-35 giving the major rulers of the Persian Empire, the Greek and Roman periods with reference to Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes respectively, the second part taking us to the future and the Anti-Christ.
This material is difficult and if one should wish to study it more carefully I would recommend getting a good commentary on Daniel such as one by John H. Walvoord or by John Whitcomb, both being dispensational in their approach.
Commentators are very impressed by the detail presented here and there has been great controversy over it for that reason. Either it was written after the fact (the liberals say) or it demonstrates some of the best evidence of Jehovah’s prophetic power. We who know God have no difficulty with any attributes He wishes to display and to whatever degree.
There is no reference here to the period of the Church Age, which is consistent with the rest of the Old Testament, God having reserved the revelation of that “mystery” for the Apostle Paul (Eph.3).
Walvoord says that the expressions “God of his fathers” does not necessarily indicate a Jewish background for the Anti-Christ because the word Elohim is used rather than Jehovah and could mean simply “gods.” In this same verse the term “desire of women” is used. The construction in the Hebrew supports the view that this is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ as being the One that Jewish women desired to be born of them.
Other passages that should be read in connection with this last section, 36-45, would be Zech.14:1-4; Matt.24:9-22 and Rev.19:15-21.
“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zech.14:9), thus the Stone has destroyed Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Dan.2:34) and has become a great mountain that fills the whole earth (v.35). Hallelujah!
Daniel 12:9 The Time of the End
First we note in this chapter that the opening three verses seem to belong with the previous one as they complete the picture of the great tribulation. It is evident that this event relates primarily to Israel as also indicated in Jer.30:7 where it is referred to as “Jacob’s Trouble.” In verse one, reference to “thy people” is to Jewish people to whom the archangel Michael (Jude 9) has evidently been assigned.
It is thrilling to read here that among these people there is an election of grace and that their names are “found written in the book” just as ours (Rev. 20:15).
In closing his commentary on this book which he calls “the greatest and most comprehensive prophetic revelation of the Old Testament”, Walvoord suggests that as we who are believers see what is happening in Israel today, as we view the worsening conditions in the world and as the various political powers seem poised to formulate the one world government that will ultimately serve the purposes of the Anti-Christ, we can see that “time of the end” spoken of by “the man clothed in linen” (verses 6&9) as coming on very soon. There is no doubt that there has never been a time when it was any nearer!
J.A. Seis, Voices From Babylon, pp 310-311, has put together a list of verses that speak about the last half of the tribulation. They are, Dan.7:25; 12:7; Rev.11:2, 12:6,14 and 13:5. Each measurement refers to 3 ½ years. It is suggested that the few days difference between the two figures (vs.11&12) and the 3 ½ years is needed to “mop up” so to speak as the stage is set for the kingdom age. Of this I am certain when the trumpet sounds I am out of here and I think I will be too busy to much care about a few days while our LORD is taking care of things like the judgement of the nations, etc. (Matt.25:31-46).