The Daniel Blog is now complete but I will leave it here for those of you who want to research various passages. We do have specific articles on The 70th Week and The People of the Prince as well as an entire e-mail course on The Seventy Weeks Of Daniel
Aug 18/05 - Dan. 12:11-13
This is confusing in English but in the original there is nothing to show which of the events came first. The abomination [invasion of Israel by Rome] came and 1290 days later the daily sacrifice was stopped. Forty-five days after that [1335 days from the beginning of the war] Titus unexpectedly captured the Temple and the War as officially over. Blessed were the people who came through it.
Aug 17/05 - Dan. 12:8-10
Daniel was confused but the vision was sealed. During this time many would turn to Christ [be purified] and there would be great testing i.e. the Jewish War and the persecution under Nero. The most wicked act possible would be committed during this time - the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The wicked did not understand what they had done and thought God was really on their side right to almost the moment the Temple was destroyed. But the wise understood and were protected.
Aug 16/05 - Dan. 12:7
The answer to yesterday's question is 3 years and a part of a fourth. When the Jewish nation was destroyed, Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled. This, of course, means it is not prophetic of our times or the end of the world itself but of the events of the Jewish War which climaxed in AD 70. It was the end of the Old Covenant era, the end of the world as it had been known before the coming of Christ.
Aug 15/05 - Dan. 12:5-6
How long until the end of the Jewish nation?
Aug 14/05 - Dan. 12:1-4
These verses are the conclusion of this prophecy. Michael the Archangel would be working on behalf of the true believers.
- time of trouble - same as Jesus alluded to - the Jewish War from 66-70AD - and yet not one Christian is known to have suffered in that war.
- This verse leads some to think we are talking about the second coming but that is not the context. The context is the time of the end of the Jewish nation. For 400 years there had been no fresh word from God. John the Baptist prepared the way and Jesus woke Israel from its spiritual slumber, some would accept His message and enter eternal life, others - knowing Who He was - would choose to reject Him and earn everlasting contempt. The wise - those who accepted Jesus - would shine and many would turn to the way of righteousness - see the Book of Acts - as the gospel is spread around the world.
- Daniel is told to seal up the book because it wasn’t for his time but for the time of the end of the Jewish nation. A look at the book of Acts and what tradition says about the movement of the apostles and others shows they went to and fro over the known world. For the first time since before Abraham the knowledge of the True God increased around the world.
Aug 13/05 - Dan. 11:44-45
Now we move back to Herod specifically
- tidings out of the east - the wise men - tidings out of the north - his son trying to turn Caesar against him.
-destroy many - children of Bethlehem, his own sons, and others.
-plant the tabernacle - Herod had two palaces in Jerusalem - one in the temple area and one in the upper city - between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas
- he died of a horrible disease, tormented with guilt, and yet unrepentant. None could help him and he knew the people would celebrate his death so he locked up the leaders of Israel and gave orders that they were to be killed on the day he died so that there would be mourning. The order was not carried out.
Aug 11/05 - Dan. 11:40-43
From 40 to 43 we have a related break from the general line. We have been looking at The king, now we look at what the kings of the south and north are doing at this time. The south [Cleopatra and Mark Anthony], aided by Herod, made an attack on the north - Syria had now become a Roman province. During the war each side had large numbers of infantry but these were not used at all. The decisive battle [Actium] was a navel battle and the ground forces used in combat were calvary.
-whirlwind - war lasted less than a year.
- enter many countries - Augustus [the north] overran regions of Africa, Upper Cilicia, Paphalagonia, Thrace, Pontus, Galatia, and other provinces from Illyria to Armenia. He also entered the glorious land [Israel] for he invaded Egypt via Palestine - Herod had already switched sides.
- Edom, Moab, Ammon - Augustus sent his general, Aelius Gallus, to attack these nations. He was defeated and then left them alone. Egypt would not escape though. Cleopatra’s treasure was famous and Augustus was able to seize it.
Aug 10/05 - Dan. 11:36-39
THE king [and a king] is Herod the Great - he is the only one referred to in the Gospels as the king and he was the only one with the rank and authority of king in the latter days of Israel. Some make the mistake of looking for this king in Rome, Egypt, or Syria. But the subject of the prophecy is how each of these nations affected Israel so The King would be the King of the Jews.
Prosper to the end - Herod and his dynasty ruled until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. In spite of all the political upheavals and reversals they always came up on top.
- according to his will - rose from a low position and secured despotic power for himself and kept it spite of sometimes supporting the wrong person - supported Julius Caesar, then Mark Anthony and Cleopatra against Augustus, then switched to Augustus. He began building the temple on a grand style, total control over people having his own wife and children murdered etc. Whatever he want he seemed able to do.
- above every god - he was over every ruler and authority in Israel - appointed his brother-in-law to be High Priest - later had him murdered.
- not regard God of fathers - Herod was an Idumean [Edomite] but they had become basically one with the Jews. Herod used the term ‘our fathers’ when speaking to the Jews, the Herodians considered him so much a Jew that they thought he was the Messiah - so in introducing and promoting the worship of Caesar he did not regard the God of the fathers.
- desire of women - it was the desire of every Israelite woman to be the mother of the Messiah - Herod did not regard Christ but tried to have Him killed and, in another sense, each murdered baby was the desire of its mother.
- god of forces [or fortresses] - the Caesars established and grew their power by forces and fortifications. Herod would send costly gifts to them [sometimes to each side in civil war]. He also rebuilt and fortified many cities in Israel - i.e. Caesarea [Caesar] and renamed Samaria to Sebaste in honour of Augustus [Sebastos is another form of Augustus].
-strong holds with a strange god - he rebuilt the temple making it the most famous building in the world for its dimensions, magnificence, and the size of the stone used to make it. On one side of the Temple he built a strong fort called the Tower of Antonia [after Mark Anthony]. Whoever controlled the tower basically controlled the temple and the nation. He also put up images of Caesar for worship around the land including a golden eagle placed in front of the temple itself.
- divide the land - Herod gave important and strategic land to his friends so he could control it when he need to.
Aug 8/05 - Dan. 11:33-35
The raise of the Macabees. They remained faithful to God and revolted against the oppressors. With few men they defeated vastly superiors forces but not without, at times, heavy losses on their own side. They used surprise attacks and guerilla warfare successfully. For the next 130 years the Macabees [or Asmonean Princes] ruled in Judea. Vs. 35 brings us to the end of the Macabees period.
Aug 5/05 - Dan. 11:28-32
Antiochus Epiphanes launched a second campaign against Egypt but the Romans were in an alliance with Ptolemy and forced him to withdraw. He took out his frustrations on Israel defiling the temple with pig’s flesh, entering the Holy of Holies and taking some of the sacred furnishings. He persecuted the Jews forcing them into heathen practices and worship. Under the pressure many Jews apostatized and embraced the new religions turning away from God. He made them stop offering the daily sacrifices. Apostate Jews built a great arena to promote the heathen way of doing things - many attempted to disguise their circumcision as they competed in the games.
Aug 4/05 - Dan. 11:25-27
Antiochus’s Egyptian campaign - much deceit and intrigue. He defeated Ptolemy Philometer partly by hiring Ptolemy’s advisors [they that feed of his meat] against him. They sat down to work out a peace treaty that neither expected to keep.
Aug 3/05 - Dan. 11:24
No king before had ever interfered with the Jewish way of life or religion. Nor had any since Nebuchadnezzar plundered the temple. As we will see, he did it all.
Aug 2/05 - Dan. 11:21-23
The vile person is Antiochus Epiphanes under whom the Jews suffered more than under any other king to that point. He went to make war on Egypt and using flattery and pretending peace got possession of Jerusalem. He was a treacherous man.
Aug 01/05 - Dan. 11:20
Antiochus’s son [Seleucus Philopater] had to raise the taxes even higher to pay the tribute [and extorted money from the temple in Jerusalem] they now owed the Romans after having been defeated by them. He was poisoned by one of his servants.
July 29/05 - Dan. 11:18-19
After that he tried to make war against the Romans, was defeated, and returned to his own land where he was killed by his own people for the heavy taxes he put on them to support his wars.
July 28/05 - Dan. 11:17
In his attempt to control Egypt he gave his daughter, Cleopatra, in marriage to Ptolemy Epiphanes. This plan backfired as she sided with her new husband against him.
July 27/05 - Dan. 11:14-16
In this second campaign Antichus was helped by reprobate Jews [robbers of thy people]. These Jews welcomed him in “the glorious land” [Israel] but he would later turn against them.
July 26/05 - Dan. 11:10-13
Later on Antiochus the Great of Syria became more powerful and attacked Egypt with some success  but this stirred up Egypt who counter-attacked and defeated him [11-12a] but not permanently for later Antiochus raised another army and attacked again [12b-13].
July 24/05 - Dan. 11:7-9
Ptolemy Philadelphus’ brother Ptolemy Euergetes successfully attacked Syria to revenge Bernice’s murder. He returned to Egypt to quell a sedition.
July 23/05 - Dan. 11:6
Ptolemy Philadelphus [south] gave his daughter, Berenice, in marriage to Antiochus [north] to form an alliance on the condition that Antiochus divorce his current wife, Laodice. The alliance did not last as Ptolemy died soon after and the Antiochus divorced Bernice and remarried Laodice who then had him and Bernice murdered.
July 22/05 - Dan. 11:5
At the beginning Egypt [south] was stronger than Syria [north].
July 20/05 - Dan. 11:3-4
Alexander the Great [336 BC began his rise to power] swept across the ancient world with tremendous victories although often greatly outnumbered. No one was able to stop him. Alexander died at the age of 32. He complained that there were no more worlds to conqueror. He died childless and his kingdom was divided between four of his generals: Cassander ruled Greece; Lysimachus ruled Asia Minor, Seleucus ruled Syria and Babylon, Ptolemy ruled Egypt. Only two of these kingdoms concerned the Jews Seleucus of Syria [king of the north] and Ptolemy of Egypt [king of the south]. The following verses detail the wars between these two with the Jews ["your people"] in the middle.
July 19/05 - Dan. 11:2
The three following Cyrus were Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius. The fourth was Xerxes. Xerses had an army of at least 800,000 men which required great riches to maintain. His wealth was famous and even Greek authors take note of it. He sent his great army against Greece and was defeated.
July 18/05 - Dan. 10:20-11:1
Again we have a glimpse behind the curtain of the angelic although we certainly cannot build a dogmatic doctrine on a few verses. It is interesting to note that even Darius the Mede had a guardian angel.
July 16/05 - Dan. 10:14-19
It is important that we understand that the vision of Daniel 11 & 12 was going to be about "your people." It was going to be about the nation of Israel that Daniel knew. This was two years after many of the people had returned to the land to rebuild their nation. The vision was going to begin in the Persian period but show in detail the future of the nation until it would once again be destroyed. As we will see, there is absolutely no reason to apply these prophecies to the Israel of today. The greatest event of human history was the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which ushered in the New Covenant. These prophecies build to that tremendous event.
July 15/05 - Dan. 10:13
Scripture does not give us many details on what happens in the angelic realm. We have glimpses here and there [like this verse] but not specific teaching. There are a lot of fanciful ideas around but obviously it is not important for us to know or God would have revealed more about it in His Word. We know the angels have their missions and place but we should not get so caught up in trying to figure it out that we neglect our own mission. We focus on Jesus Christ.
Also, these events happened before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which impacted every facet of creation. How have things changed since then?
July 14/05 - Dan. 10:10-12
Daniel was a humble man. He was a servant of the Most High God but still a servant. The angel could tell him that he was a man greatly beloved without fear that it would bring pride instead of encouragement. For many of us, such an announcement would bring pride. Pride is the great destroyer of our relationship with God. The humble God Himself will lift up. He can trust them to do His will.
God heard Daniel the first time. Daniel's prayer wasn't a prayer spoken quickly and without much thought - like many of our prayers. It was serious seeking after God accompanied by self-denial in order to learn the purposes of God. God hears us the instant we pray in faith from the heart. The answer isn't always immediate - we need to be persistent and press on - but God has heard. He will answer in His time if we faint not - i.e. give up. Sometimes we simply give up before the answer comes and then blame God for not answering! We need the backbone to keep at it until we have a definite answer, even if that answer is, "no."
July 13/05 - Dan. 10:7-9
God reveals Himself to those who seek Him and are ready. Everyone around Daniel knew something was going on - they felt the fearful presence of God - but they did not receive the revelation. It is like the children of Israel who saw the thunder and lightning on the mountain but only Moses saw God. Many Christians are like that. The majority stay on the fringes. They are involved to a certain extent but they do not go all the way. God is looking for people, like Daniel and Moses, who are will to pay the price to press into all that He has. The price is your life.
Even for Daniel, the presence of God through the angel was overwhelming. We take the things of God much to lightly. We have lost the fear of God. We have turned fear into respect [and often there isn't even respect] but the fear of God is more than that. It is not a whimpering, cowardly fear but; nevertheless, there a real fear when we really come into the presence and majesty of the Almighty King of the Universe or His angelic messengers.
July 011/05 - Dan. 10:3-6
Angels often seem to take human form. In some cases people have not been able to tell the difference. In this case; however, there was no doubt.
Gold represents divinity and so show that this angel is on a divine mission. His appearance shows the purity, judgment, and speed of God. His voice of authority was not to be questioned. What a fitting messenger to bring Daniel the details of world events up to the time of Christ.
July 08/05 - Dan. 10:1-2
When Daniel first went to Babylon - as a captive - he refused meat and wine. Apparently he did not remain a vegetarian. If he was not now partaking of meat and wine going without them would not have been a sign of mourning.
As a captive he was in a period of mourning and also he had no control over how the meat was prepared, so he refused it. Later, as a leader, he would no longer be in mourning, and also he would be able to direct his servants in the correct way to prepare the meat. Daniel never compromised his righteous stand but he knew there were different seasons in life.
We also go through different seasons. We have to adjust and move on. We cannot spend our entire life in mourning or in wishing things were different. We have to move forward with a trust in God. Yes, there is a season of mourning when tragedy strikes, but there is also a season of joy and celebration.
July 07/05 - Dan. 9:27
Some had confused the "he" of this verse with the "prince" of the previous one. This is wrong on two counts. First, even if were referring to that it would be "people" not prince it was talking about. "Prince" is in a prepositional phrase and not a subject for the pronoun "he" - as any English student knows. Second, the subject of the entire revelation is the Messiah not the prince or the people; therefore, the "he" of this verse is referring to the Messiah.
Did this actually happen? Jesus confirmed the New Covenant with the Jews only during His ministry [3 1/2 years] and then through His apostles for a further 3 1/2 years before it went world-wide. The Jews had a seven-year [the seventieth week] window to be the first into the Kingdom of God - which many of them accepted. In the middle of week, when Jesus was crucified, He caused the animal sacrifices to stop as far as God was concerned. After His death they were no longer needed or accepted.
The judgment of the Jewish nation for their rejection of the Messiah was the abomination of the Roman armies destroying their nation and their capital for a very long time. But Rome, who made Israel desolate, would not itself escape the judgment of God for the part it played in the death of Christ.
July 06/05 - Dan. 9:26
After 69 weeks [7 + 62] the Messiah was to be "cut off" or killed. We know a week is 7 years so in the middle of the seventieth week - after 3 1/2 years of ministry - Jesus was cut off or crucified. Yet, it wasn't for Himself for He had no sin of His own. It was for all who would believe on Him.
The subject of this revelation was the Messiah and His work. It is important [especially in understanding the next verse] that we see this context. The last half of this verse is a side comment on what would happen as a result of the Messiah being cut off.
Because of the crucifixion of Jesus the people of the prince would come and destroy Jerusalem and the temple. Did this happen? The Jewish War of AD 66-70 was the judgment of God on the Jewish nation for their rejection and murder of His Son. The people of the prince would then be the Romans and the prince was the son of the emperor, Titus, who was the commanding general at the fall of Jerusalem. Both Jerusalem and the temple were totally destroyed. The end came as flood in that the final result was that the Jewish nation was no more.
July 05/05 - Dan. 9:25
Cyrus' decree that the Jews could return to Israel marked the end of the seventy years of captivity and it also marked the beginning of the seventy weeks.
Jesus is the Anointed One and He was anointed for ministry at His baptism. Therefore, Daniel knew that from the decree of Cyrus to the public ministry of the much longed for Messiah would be 483 years. As we saw yesterday, this means that the ministry of the Messiah would fall within the seventieth week. [We look at this and the rest of Daniel in much more detail in the Seventy Weeks course.]
July 04/05 - Dan. 9:24
Seventy weeks is "weeks" of years, i.e. 7 years is one week. Therefore, Daniel is told that from a certain point in history [defined in the next verse] to the completion of the the six things listed in this verse would be 490 years [70X7]. This is an exact timeline - nothing vague about it. Either it happened - or God lied to Daniel. The Holy Spirit was able to use this Scripture as one of the confirmations to Jesus that He was the Messiah - i.e. He was born at the right time in history.
By the way, none of these things happened in the first 69 weeks [483 years] so they all had to be accomplished in the last - the seventieth - week. Now some people try to disconnect the seventieth week from the sixty-ninth week. Read through these verses carefully - there is no break. The only reason some separate them is to make Scripture fit with a pet theory. In fact, if the seventieth week does not follow immediately after the sixty-ninth week it not only destroys the timeline but also shows that God deceived His friend, Daniel. That may be your God but it is not mine.
Verse 27 [ as we will see later] tells us that the seventieth week was when the Messiah walked the earth. Let's take a quick look at these six things and see if they did indeed happen during the ministry of Jesus.
1. To finish transgression. Remember Daniel had been praying for his people - Israel - because of the great sins they had committed which led to the Babylonian Captivity. It is now revealed to him - much to his sorrow - that they have yet to commit the greatest sin. Did they fill up the measure of their fathers during the ministry of Jesus? There could be no greater sin than the betrayal and murder of the Son of God. It is the climax of a long history of sin and rebellion.
2. To make an end of sins. During the Old Testament period sins were "covered" by the death of sacrificial animals. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross brought forgiveness and put an end to sin once and for all.
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity. Again, Jesus by His death on the cross reconciled us to God.
4. To bring in everlasting righteousness. And once again, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus we stand in His righteousness not our own. We are covered forever by His blood.
5. To seal up the vision and prophecy. Jesus is the center of all Scripture. When He came the vision and prophecy of the Old Testament was fulfilled in Him. He is the Alpha and Omega of all prophecy. [And within 40 years of His ministry all the Divinely-inspired books of the Bible had been written.]
6. To anoint the most Holy. Does any Christian doubt that Jesus is the most Holy representative of God and that He was anointed to do His ministry on earth?
To separate the seventieth week from the sixty-ninth week is to degrade the wonderful work of Christ on the Cross and apply it to someone or something else. Since Jesus is the Beloved of the Father, I doubt the Father is pleased with such interpretations.
July 02/05 - Dan. 9:20-23
It is very important we understand the context of Scripture. There are many interpretations of Dan. 9:24-27 which ignore the context. As we look at these verses in the coming days, keep this context in mind:
Daniel was in deep intercession for his people [Israel] near the end of the Babylonian Captivity. He was seeking national forgiveness and the fulfillment of the promise that they could return to the land when seventy years had passed. It was as he was praying and thinking about the sin, punishment, and restoration of his people that Gabriel came with a further explanation of what was going to happen.
July 01/05 - Dan. 9:15-19
After taking responsibility, confessing sin, and declaring the greatness and righteousness of God, Daniel asked God for forgiveness and mercy. Daniel realized that we don't get forgiveness [or anything else] from God because of who we are but solely because of who He is. If you study the lives of great people you will discover that the closer they got to God the more unworthy they felt. When we have a great opinion of ourselves we are swimming with sharks...
June 30/05 - Dan. 9:13-14
God had told them way back in the law of Moses what the consequences of disobedience were. In spite of all that they continued on their own way. The Babylonian Captivity - as terrible as it was - was only a small picture of the suffering in AD 70 which came as a result of the rejection of the Son Himself.
Things haven't changed. Hell is real and it is eternal, yet people continue on their rebellious ways. All the suffering in the world is but a small picture of an unending Hell. It's warning largely goes unheeded.
June 28/05 - Dan. 9:7-12
Next Daniel recognized that God was righteous and just. Everything that had happened to them was deserved. God was merciful and forgiving but they had repeated rejected His ways and thrown His Words back in His face.
When we sin we should never come before God to defend our actions. We should never make excuses. To do so is to imply that God might not be so righteous - He doesn't understand why we did what we did...we had a good reason. In our eyes we are actually becoming more righteous than God and that adds arrogance and pride to our other sins. Instead, we take responsibility for our actions, in humility come before God - without defense or self-justification - and ask for His mercy and forgiveness, and then in His strength abandon the sin. If the sin is a stronghold in our life it may be a war to overcome. God knows the difference between a person who loves Him but is struggling in an area and a person who wants the benefits of Christ without giving up sin.
June 27/05 - Dan. 9:5-6
Although God considered Daniel one of the three most righteous men of the Old Testament, Daniel identified with the sins of his people. He did not have a self-righteous or stand-offish attitude. He took responsibility for the sins which had caused the Babylonian Captivity.
If we look around the world today and see sin increasing who are we to blame? Satan? Humanism? No, we (Christians) are to blame. Darkness only triumphs in the absence of light. We have allowed darkness to increase in our lives by chopping up the Word of God into different eras, by abandoning the law of God, by seeking fleshly and sensational doctrines, and by demanding to have our own way like spoilt children. In short, we have followed the example of ancient Israel and we are reaping the same results.
The good news is that if we will take responsibility, repent of our sins, change our ways, and return to the entire Word of God, God will restore us. Things which we thought were impossible can change over night if God's people will be right before Him.
June 25/05 - Dan. 9:4
Daniel was a great prayer warrior. He began his prayer with worship. Sometimes we just barge into the presence of the King of kings with our troubles or "wish list." We have lost our sense of awe and respect. Yes, God wants to hear about our problems [and joys!] but there is a proper order and time. We need to approach God with honour, respect, and worship before other things. Now, of course, in the case of an emergency we may go directly to the problem. When your car is headed for the ditch at 60 MPH you may only have time for a "Help!'
June 24/05 - Dan. 9:1-3
Daniel was not only a man of prayer but he loved and studied the Word of God. In studying the book of Jeremiah, he discovered that the Babylonian Captivity was to last 70 years. He knew the time was almost up.
Notice Daniel's reaction. Many of us would have been fatalistic - i.e. God said He would do it so we can sit back and let Him do it. We have an ungodly "what will be, will be" attitude. As soon as Daniel realized the time for the return to Israel was near, he went into serious prayer and fasting.
In some way God has designed it so that our actions are important. We cannot be lazy and expect God to work. On the other hand, we know it is God's work not ours. God has designed a partnership with us. It is through this working partnership that we come to know God intimately.
June 23/05 - Dan. 8:26-27
Daniel, who was living at the end of the Babylonian Captivity, was overwhelmed by the knowledge that his people were going to suffer worse things in the future than they had in the past.
Notice that Daniel was to seal up the prophecy because the majority of it was not for his own era. This contrasts with John in the Book of Revelation who is specifically told not to seal his prophecy. This is strong evidence that the Book of Revelation was predicting things to happen in John's lifetime NOT the distant future. For more details take the Book of Revelation e-mail course.
June 22/05 - Dan. 8:20-25
The angelic explanation of the dream confirms what we have said in the comments previously. The king of fierce countenance, Antiochus Epiphanes, tired to destroy the Jewish nation by murder, making it illegal to obey God's law and offer sacrifices, and by tempting many into the heathen Greek culture. He was a master at both deceit and violence.
June 20/05 - Dan. 8:15-19
God did not give these visions to Daniel to confuse him. As with most visions/dreams, it was given in picture language - but God also provided the explanation. When God reveals something we need to trust Him to give the answers.
These visions came as a result of Daniel's deep relationship with God. God loves to communicate with those who live righteously and spend much time with Him. They also served to instruct the people as to events during the 400 silent years. In addition, Jesus - enlightened by the Holy Spirit - studied these prophecies to gain insight into His mission and the events of His life.
Some people grab the words "time of the end" and "the end shall be" and arrogantly assume it is talking about our era as if our era is the only thing that has an end. There are multitudes of "ends" in history: end of the Babylonian Empire, the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, the dark ages, the middle ages. The "ends" of history are limited only by the events of history. If we are to truly discover what "end" is being referred to we must ask the question: "The end of what?" To answer that we must consider the context of the prophecy.
Beyond doubt the Bible identifies the Ram as Media/Persia and the Goat as the king of Greece [i.e. Alexander the Great]. It would be very strange for the prophecy to suddenly - and without comment - leap thousands of years into the future to our era to talk about the end of the world [which may not be in our era anyway]. It must refer to something which was coming to an end close to that time frame. I submit for your consideration [and we'll go into more detail in later prophecies] that it refers to the end of the Old Covenant/nation of Israel. This is what would have been the most important and dramatic concern of Daniel...and it impacted world history as well.
June 18/05 - Dan. 8:13-14
Two thousand and three hundred days is six years and three months. This represents the time of Antiochus Epiphanes persecution of the Jews until the time the temple was cleansed and the daily sacrifices restored. These events happened with the "400 Silent Years" when there was no prophetic voice heard. The Jews going through this persecution could look back to this prophecy to know there was an end coming to the terrible times in which they were living.
June 17/05 - Dan. 8:10-12
The little horn was a man called Antiochus Epiphanes. He expanded his Syrian kingdom through violence and deceit opposing and casting down some of the hosts of heaven [i.e. great rulers or authorities]. He was especially cruel to the Jews forcing them to stop offering the daily sacrifices. He defiled the temple by offering pig sacrifices and entered into the Holy of Holies. Many Jews at this time abandoned their faith in favour of Greek culture and those who did not were persecuted or killed.
June 16/05 - Dan. 8:9
Out of the four kingdoms which developed from Alexander the Great's conquests one would grow in power. This was the kingdom of Syria. The power to the South refers to Egypt and their struggles. The east looks to Rome which was fast becoming a power to be reckoned with. Many nations would rise or fall depending on whether they had Roman support or not. The Beautiful Land is talking about the land of Israel - considered beautiful or glorious by every Jew [including Daniel].
June 15/05 - Dan. 8:8
Alexander the Great conquered the known world with lightening speed. Yet he died at an early age...childless. He had a great empire and no one to inherit it. On his death it was divided between his four generals.
June 14/05 - Dan. 8:5-7
The he-goat is Greece. The Grecians were called “Aegeadea” which means goat people. The goat not touching the ground again indicates the speed with which the Persian Empire would be conquered. The notable horn was the great Greek leader - Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great with 30,000 men attacked the Persian Empire with armies of over 600,000 men and within 6 years had it on its knees. The Persian Empire crumbled under Alexander's onslaught never to rise again.
June 12/05 - Dan. 8:3-4
The ram is the kingdom of Medo-Persia represented in other visions as the torso of silver and the bear. It's powerful horns were the kingdoms of Media and Persia and yet one was to be greater than the other until finally it was simply known as the Persian Empire.
Persia pushed out in all directions, conquering Babylon, and adding territory after territory to its lands. Like Babylon, this ram did whatever it wanted and began to think of itself as invincible.
June 11/05 - Dan. 8:1-2
This was the last year before Babylon fell. Daniel had seen the pride of Babylon. She thought she was invincible. Daniel knew differently although he may not have known how close the end really was. We never know what the future holds. Empires and nations can crumble overnight. Often it seems that God allows a long time for repentance but when judgment must come, it comes quickly and decisively.
Physically Daniel was in Babylon serving Belshazzar. In his dream he is taken to one of the royal palaces of Medo-Persia. It is there that he again sees a vision of the future. Note: the Bible is plain, we are not to see after the future; however, if God chooses to reveal it to us that is a different matter.
June 10/05 - Dan. 7:7-28
The fourth beast is the Roman Empire, conquering everything in sight, included the British Isles. There was no satisfying or stopping this beast. As mentioned before, it was different in its style of government than all the beasts which had gone before.
Now I must confess. I think I have a good understanding of Chapters 8-12 but I do not understand the details of what is being shared here in the rest Chapter 7. I have found very little of any value written on the subject. The respected commentators of years past tend to relate parts of it to the Pope and Catholic Church. Current expositors relate much of it to the future. I believe both views to be in error for the simple reason that verses 14 & 22 specifically relate these events as happening before the Son of Man and the saints received the kingdom and the kingdom was received at the resurrection and Pentecost respectively. Whatever the details may mean they MUST have happened before or during the ministry of Christ.
I must agree with Mr. Mauro that it is better to have no explanation for a Scripture than to rush into a wrong one - for once we have grasped an opinion it is hard to give it up. I have much research to do before I turn this blog into a course.
Nevertheless, I will give you a general idea of where my thoughts are. You can judge for yourself.
As I said above, the fourth beast is the Roman Empire. This fits with the four empires of Nebuchadnezzar's image. It is possible that it is the Seleucidae Kingdom which rose in Syria after Alexander the Great and had great impact on Israel. The little horn is, I believe, Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a terrible man who forced the Jews into Greek culture, murdered any Jews who remained loyal to God, defiled the temple, changed laws [vs. 25] making it illegal to worship God, and committed many other atrocities. His "war against the saints [i.e. true believers]" caused the Maccabees to revolt. For a period of time the Maccabees were able to restore Israel to almost the same boundaries they had enjoyed under King David.
What the Scripture says is plain but I need to expand my knowledge of the history of that period before I can say confidently how the details were fulfilled. I hope you can accept this.
June 9/05 - Dan. 7:6
The third beast was a leopard, not as powerful as the first two yet extremely quick. Speed is also emphasized by the face that it had four wings. The mighty Babylonian Empire only had two wings. This beast represented Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire. In 6 years he had defeated the Persian Empire and in another 6 years he had conquered the known world right to the borders of India. According to legend, when he reached India he wept because there were no more worlds to conquer.
The beast had four heads. Alexander died childless and his Empire was divided among his four generals.
Alexander the Great was given dominion. God allowed him his victories for His own purposes. Alexander conquered the world with 30,000 men including defeating the Persian army of 600,000.
This is just another example that God rules in the Kingdoms of men for His own purposes and He gives the kingdoms to whomever He will. The government of nations is determined more by the prayer closet than the voting station. Heathen nations often recognize this and persecute the Church. Even "Christian" nations try to control the power of the true church with zoning, tax laws, opposition to Christian schools, and intimation.
June 8/05 - Dan. 7:5
The second beast is the Medo-Persian Empire. It is like a bear and raised itself up on the side of Babylon in order to conquer Babylon. The three ribs show that although it had conquered Babylon, in many ways it was the combination of three empires: Babylon, Media, and Persia. Medo-Persia was noted for its cruelty but it did not reach the dominion level of Babylon.
June 7/05 - Dan. 7:4
Babylon - even today - is famous for being represented by the lion with eagle's wings. This verse describes the experiences of Nebuchadnezzar. He thought he was a god but the real God plucked his wings and taught him some painful lessons. In the end, he knew Who was God and who was man.
As we look around the world today there is no nation so powerful that it cannot fall. In fact, every nation or group/organization which opposes King Jesus and His law will one day fall. Christians who live in persecuted countries can take comfort in the fact that their suffering and sacrifice are not in vain. Victory will come. Christians who live in deteriorating, formerly Christian countries are the only reason these nations have not already collapsed. A mighty reformation is the only thing that can save these nations from destruction. Either way King Jesus will reign supreme.
June 6/05 - Dan. 7:2-3
Daniel saw the rise of four world empires. The four beasts represented the same empires which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream of the image.
In prophetic Scripture "seas" often speak of the sea of nations. Out of the sea of nations four empires were going to arise. Each one was different, but each was also a violent animal. The price of empire-building is blood. Even today would-be empires shed much blood in trying to establish themselves.
The Kingdom of God is itself built on blood. Most importantly, it is built on the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily shed on Calvary. There is also the blood of the martyrs who down through history have given their blood to expand the Kingdom of God. The soldiers of the Kingdom of God do not shed the blood of others - they give up their own blood.
June 4/05 - Dan. 7:1
The book of Daniel is not written in chronological order. This chapter happened in the first year of Belshazzar before the writing on the wall and the fall of Babylon. From all appearances Babylon was the empire to last forever. Daniel knew from his dreams that there would be three other major empires to follow.
Daniel had a dream. He was in a relaxed state of mind and God was able to speak. I suspect one of the main reasons we don't hear from God more often is that we are too busy to relax and listen. Our noisy [does anyone know what silence is anymore?] rush-rush world has dulled our hearing. Many times we need to take time out to be alone with God - no music - no preaching - no reading - just you and God.
Daniel wrote his dream down. That is good advice for us as well. Write down dreams and impressions you think are from God. This will give you time to review it, judge it according to the Word of God, and it may become a source of encouragement in the future.
June 3/05 - Dan. 6:25-28
Nebuchadnezzer learned the hard way that God rules. Darius learned the same lesson much easier. One day everyone is going to bow before God. It may be voluntary [if they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour] or it may be with hatred [if they die in their sin], but it will happen.
June 2/05 - Dan. 6:24
These lions were half-starved, cruelly-treated beasts. The fact they didn't touch Daniel was indeed a miracle as is shown by what happened to the plotters and their families. The lions were on them before they even reached the bottom of the pit.
These men had plotted to destroy Daniel; instead, they are destroyed. The wicked plan, plot, and fume. The righteous are not to be worried. God laughs at the wicked, takes their plans, and turns them into good for the righteous.
We also see one of the differences between heathen law and Biblical Law here. In Biblical Law each person was responsible for themselves and suffered the consequences of their own actions. Judges were specifically forbidden to punish other members of the family unless they were accomplices. In pagan law - as in this case - entire families [sometimes clans and tribes] were often wiped out because of the actions of one member. The innocent along with the guilty were punished.
June 1/05 - Dan. 6:19-23
As early as possible the king went to check on Daniel. Was his God powerful enough to protect him? What a relief to discover that Daniel was fine.
Even through Daniel had been cast into the den of lions as an innocent man, he remained respectful in his reply to the king. There was no bitterness or anger, although there was rebuke for injustice. Daniel had trusted in God and done what was right. God protected him. When we do the same God will protect us as well. It may not work out the same as Daniel. Jesus trusted God and was crucified because God had a higher purpose. When we walk with God we can be sure that He allows whatever happens for our ultimate benefit and the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
May 31/05 - Dan. 6:17-18
The king may have been tricked and many not have enjoyed his duty, but when it came time he did it completely. There was no legal way to deliver Daniel and the king saw to it that there was no secret rescue mission. The integrity of the legal system had to be maintained or all law and order would begin to break down. This is one reason why operating under a pagan legal system is still better [in most cases] then no legal system at all.
The king undoubtedly heard the stories of the three Hebrews and the fiery furnace. He knew Daniel served a powerful God. But could or would He protect Daniel from the lions? Darius spent a troubled night wrestling with that question.
May 30/05 - Dan. 6:11-16
Of course, Daniel was reported to the king for breaking the law. Darius was really fond of Daniel. He saw that he had been used as a tool in an evil plan to destroy Daniel. He looked for a way out but the web had been woven too tight. At last he had to give the order.
We need to distrust flattery - it almost always has hidden motives. We need to guard our mouths. As Darius discovered, once the words have flown they are impossible to recall even with bitter weeping.
May 27/05 - Dan. 6:6-10
These evil men, in their desire to destroy Daniel, preyed on the king's pride. The king thought they really were interested in him. He failed to see through their deception until it was too late. Pride in an effective blinder.
Daniel continued on with his spiritual routine. Nothing could detract him from his primary duties and relationship with God. He undoubtedly knew it was a plot against him. He could have prayed in secret but he knew he would be caught since that was the whole purpose of the law. [He did not even consider the option of stopping prayer for a month. Nothing was going to interfere with his relationship with God.] Instead he, in effect, went boldly out to meet his enemies. He refused to change or to hide. In other words, he did what was right and trusted the consequences to God.
May 24/05 - Dan. 6:4-5
As mentioned before, Daniel was a faithful man of integrity [as all Christians ought to be]. This doesn't mean everything goes smoothly. In fact, when we do what is right we may end up with enemies just became we are right. People may be envious of our success or our hard, diligent work may - as a by-product - show up their lazy or dishonest ways. For whatever reason, there may be people who make it their goal to destroy us. This is not to discourage us, but be aware. God is still in control.
In Daniel's case they looked for anything they could use against him - and found nothing. I wonder how many of our lives could stand such an examination - I'm afraid my couldn't...yet. Since Daniel always operated in the king's best interest, they knew they would have to create a conflict between the king and God. They would have to put Daniel in a position of having to make a choice. [If you have been following the Genesis Blog, you will recognize this as the same strategy Satan used against Adam.]
May 24/05 - Dan. 6:1-3
Darius apparently did not killed Belshazzar's top officials but decided to put them to his own use. Daniel, because of his reputation for integrity and wisdom, was made one of the top three. Wise rulers [and employers] will recognize integrity and honour it.
As we have looked at the book of Daniel we have noticed that Daniel earned his reputation by his uncompromising commitment to God. He wasn't riding on someone else's reputation or the reputation of his people. Sometimes we think we deserve to be treated better [by employers] if we are Christians, or we think we must treat Christians better [if we are the employer]. Such is not the case. Christians ought to be the best employees/employers [unfortunately the opposite is often the case] but they need to earn their place by hard and honest work. They should not expect to ride on "Christian" reputation. They should develop their relationship with the Lord and allow Him to build in them His reputation.
May 23/05 - Dan. 5:29-30
In spite of not seeking reward, Daniel was given all that Belshazzar had promised. This may have put his life in danger. To be a high official in a falling empire is not necessarily a good thing.
That very night Belshazzar stood before his Judge. He had though the walls of Babylon were invincible. But where there is a will, there is a way. Darius had temporarily diverted the Euphrates River which flowed through Babylon and marched under the wall. No matter how secure we may feel, our day before the Judge is only a breath away. We will all stand there.
May 21/05 - Dan. 5:24-28
Belshazzar was weighed and found wanting. God passed judgment on him. Again we see that the nations of the world are in the hands of God. He can and will give them to whomever He pleases. That is why prayer - more than politics - determines the course of nations.
Each of us stands in Belshazzar's shoes - or sandals as the case may be. God watches and weighs our actions throughout this life and He brings judgment in time and eternity. If we are born again, we cannot lose our salvation but we can experience discipline and loss of reward. Satan's greatest deception - if he can't keep us from God - is to lead us into useless, empty lives that produce nothing for the Kingdom of God. One of the ways he has done this in modern times is through certain "end times" theories which waste countless time and money on unproductive speculations.
May 20/05 - Dan. 5:18-23
Daniel fearlessly gave Belshazzar a history lesson and rebuked him for not learning from Nebuchadnezzer's example. Even through the king had the power of life or death over his subjects, God held the king's life. Just as the king's subjects trembled in his presence, so the king should have trembled at the presence of God and not been proud.
In the present day there is a tendency to forget the power and majesty of God. We come casually into His presence, whining, demanding, or just with an air of disrespect. Yes, I know God is our Father. Yes, I know we are the bride of the Divine Lover. Yes, that is an intimate relationship into which we enter fearlessly because of the Blood of Christ. The danger is that we allow the closeness of our relationship to breed familiarity and contempt instead of motivating love, respect, and honour.
May 19/05 - Dan. 5:13-17
The king knew of Daniel. He also knew there was something different about Daniel - in his heathen mind he credited it to the "spirit of the gods." Daniel wasn't uptight [as many of us would have been] about the misunderstanding, although he did correct him later.
Belshazzar offered great rewards and honour to Daniel for interpreting the Words of God. Daniel couldn't be bought. Daniel's eyes were on God and he was not going to allow the rewards of the king to give the appearance of swaying him.
It is not always wrong to accept reward [Joseph did] - in fact, the treasures of the wicked are stored up for the righteous - but the will of God needs to be found. In Daniel's case, to accept the wealth would have given the king the idea that he was buying or manipulating Daniel's God the same way he did his gods. In Abraham's case [after he delivered Lot], it would have allowed man to take glory for the work of God. We need to walk with wisdom, not greed.
Also notice that Daniel was offered the position of third ruler of the land. What a great opportunity...and he turned it down. Often we are so quick to grasp for power and position. We think we will do great good with it. If it doesn't come from God, then it will only destroy us. I love David for this reason as well. Although he knew that God had anointed him king, he never rebelled against Saul or grasped for the position. He patiently let God work it out. Those who fight for power are usually those least able to handle it.
May 18/05 - Dan. 5:9-12
The queen heard what had happened and came to offer her advice.
Daniel had a reputation as a man of wisdom and integrity. He was not in the popular scene, involved in the partying and evil, but they knew where to find him when they needed him. Sometimes we think we need to compromise to get ahead or to stay on top. Daniel gives us the example. He maintained his relationship with God first of all and was available when he was needed.
We too need to be people of wisdom and integrity. Many times this may mean we are pushed to the back and forgotten for a season. If our eyes are on God, then we will be available when He wants to move us into the foreground and no one will be able to stop Him. This, of course, doesn't mean we are self-righteous which is a sure way to go nowhere...ever.
May 17/05 - Dan. 5:5-8
In the midst of this drunken party a floating hand appeared. That sobered them up - worked better than black coffee! The ruler of the mightiest empire on earth was reduced to jelly as the hand wrote. God knows how to make a point - and no one stands before Him!
Once again a king tried to solve one of God's riddles by his own methods. It can't be done. God's riddles are only solved by God's methods - human effort never works.
May 16/05 - Dan. 5:1-4
Nebuchadnezzer may have learned his lesson but he failed to pass it on to his descendants. Belshazzar held a party and used the holy instruments of God taken from Solomon's temple. By doing this he was declaring that he and his gods [demons] were more powerful than this God of the Hebrews. He also was about to learn a lesson - but for him it would be too late. This was his last night on earth.
I pray that God keeps me from pride. It is a common temptation but the lessons are hard. I would rather learn from someone else's example.
May 14/05 - Dan. 4:34-37
For an appointed time God humbled the proud Nebuchadnezzar. When the time was up Nebuchadnezzar knew Who was God. Only God rules and does whatever He wants. Sometimes we, like Nebuchadnezzar, look only at how things appear to the natural eye. We need to have the vision to see beyond the natural and see that God is in control.
May 13/05 - Dan. 4:28-33
Sometimes we expect God to act instantly and when He doesn't think He has forgotten or has failed to keep His Word. But God has His own timing. In mercy, He gave Nebuchadnezzar a full year to change his ways. God's delay is not God's forgetfulness and after the year God came in judgment to fulfill His Word.
We can easily fall into the same trap, especially if we have been successful in life. It is easy to think that it is because of our strength or intelligence that we have a good job, family, home, possessions, whatever. The fact is the ability and the opportunity comes from God and He deserves the credit. We are but servants/disciples under Him. There are many people who are stronger, smarter and/or greater but have less. It is the grace of God on our lives that have we have what we have. We are, of course, responsible for taking and using what God gives us to its full potential and not be lazy.
May 12/05 - Dan. 4:27
Daniel respected the king and did not want harm to come to him. However, he did not withhold the truth from him neither was he afraid of the most powerful man on earth. Like Joseph, when he had finished interpreting the dream Daniel went on to give counsel. Giving counsel to a king unasked for - especially when you point out his sin and wickedness - was a dangerous thing. Daniel was a faithful man of courage. Maybe that is one reason why God considered him one of the three most righteous people of the Old Testament. [Know who the other two were? Hint: it wasn't Moses or Abraham.]
May 11/05 - Dan. 4:20-26
If Nebuchadnezzar thought the dream was terrifying I wonder what he thought about the interpretation!
He had grown proud and God was about to teach him a serious lesson in humility. Although God, in mercy, wasn't going to destroy him. It is always much better if we will humble ourselves rather than waiting for God to do it.
Verse 25 is especially important in light of what we said yesterday. Humanism looks to politics and civil government as the almighty instrument of change. True Christianity looks to God as the One Who brings change. More changes are brought about by prayer than by the voting station - although that doesn't do away with our responsibility to vote for Godly people. If we don't like the shape of our nation, are we repenting and seeking God on its behalf? How serious are we? The Throne Room of Heaven is where the ultimate decisions are made.
May 10/05 - Dan. 4:9-19
We will begin looking at the dream tomorrow when we look at its interpretation but two points to consider today.
Humanism looks at politics at the saviour of mankind. The civil government is often their "god" as they try to make the laws which will save mankind. It is a power religion and attempts to dethone God. God's own perspective is that He often allows the "basest of men" to rise to the top in politics. He laughs at the god of humanism and often allows them to have corrupt and foolish leaders - the blind leading the blind.
Christians are often swept into this concept that politics is where all the power is and then attempt to seize it in order to bring change. That is a humanistic concept. Politics and civil government - like all legitimate areas of life - are indeed valid areas of Christian involvement. Everything is to be brought under the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Politics is one of many areas, it is not the all-important powerhouse that humanism makes it out to be. We look to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and "Powerhouse." It is His degrees which are fulfilled and last.
Even through Nebuchadnezzer was a cruel and temperamental king, Daniel did not take delight in bringing him bad news. He was troubled, not because he feared for his own life, but because he respected the authority God had placed over him and indeed over the known world.
Sometimes we are so quick to judge and criticize. We take a wicked delight in the downfall of others. God help us. We all deserve judgment. Daniel did not hide the just judgment of God from Nebuchadnezzar but his heart, like the heart of God, was for repentance. God is a just Judge and judgment will come for sin, but we should be doing all we can to reach people with the good news that, if they will repent, they can move from the judgment of God to the blessing of God.
May 9/05 - Dan. 4:4-8
Nebuchadnezzar was at peace in his home but it was a false peace. Life is fragile. Things can be going smoothly one moment and then plunge to disaster the next without any warning. I'm sure we have all been hit with something "out of a blue sky." As Christians we don't live in fear of what may happen - for we know God is in control - but we don't take people or things for granted either.
Again Nebuchadnezzar had a terrifying dream. I would have thought - based on past experience - that Daniel would have been the first to be called. Instead he was one of the last. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar was hoping his own gods could provide comfort and wisdom instead of having to be humbled before this God of the Hebrews again. Even when help is needed, it isn't always appreciated.
May 7/05 - Dan. 4:1-3
As we saw in Chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar was still a proud man. This "head of gold" acknowledged God from time to time but still he was in control or so he thought. He was about to learn another lesson. In these verses, written after the fact, Nebuchadnezzar introduces us to what he learned - Who really is God.
May 6/05 - Dan. 3:26-30
When the three Hebrew men came out of the furnace there wasn't even the smell of smoke on them. When God does a miracle, He does it all the way!
So when is the church in the West really going to make a difference and stop the onslaught of humanism? When, like these men, they learn to trust God and are willing to go to poverty or death instead of compromising.
May 5/05 - Dan. 3:24-25
Even Nebuchadnezzar in a rage could count. He threw three men into the furnace but his eyes told him there were four men walking around unhurt in the flames. God knows how to get attention.
The fourth man was God showing up to support His faithful men. When we are obedient God always shows up - not always in the way we except but He is there. Even those who have had to experience great pain for the cause of Christ often testify that they felt a special presence of the Lord.
May 3/05 - Dan. 3:19-23
Because of these men's stand for righteousness, things when from bad to worse. The king was furious at them, the fire got hotter, they were bound, and the strongest men in the army pushed them into the flames. Sometimes we think that if we take a stand for God everything is going to be roses. No, you may make enemies in high places, you may lose your spouse, kids, or job. In some countries you might be thrown into prison, beaten, or even killed. Things may go from bad to worse, often they do. But God has not lost control. He will bring good out of it. Sometimes it comes quickly, as in this case, sometimes it takes a long time, 13 years in the case of Joseph, and in rare cases, we may not see the good until we get to eternity - that is a real trial of faith.
May 2/05 - Dan. 3:16-18
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were men of integrity and bravery. Their eyes were firmly on God, it did not matter what man did to them. They knew and declared that God was able to deliver them; however, they did not know whether that was God's will for their lives or not. Only one fact stood out: They must obey God. The results or consequences were in God's hands, not their hands.
We need to have the same unwavering obedience. What happens is up to God. Our job is to obey. We can let fear drive us but we need to keep our eyes on God and be willing to accept anything He sends our way.
April 30/05 - Dan. 3:13-15
Nebuchadnezzar was an emotional person hung up on his own ego. [Ever work for one of those?] His unreasonableness had probably cost many a man his life. Certainly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were put under incredible pressure to conform to an ungodly act. They are given a second chance to compromise. How many of us would have taken it?
April 29/05 - Dan. 3:2-12
In the old days a king had absolute power. You did not think of disobeying the king unless you were willing to put your life on the line. We talk about "King Jesus" but often we have the modern "figure head" type of kings in mind. When we say King Jesus, we are saying that He is the absolute and unquestioned authority. Whatever He says we will obey. Many Christians have their "figure head" and continue to live how they choose to live. Disciples - those who know what a King really is - know that the entire Bible is the unquestioned command of King Jesus. They don't judge it, they order their lives according to it.
As the three Hebrew children show us, we can do what it right and still get in trouble. There are those from jealousy, envy, or just plain maliciousness will try to make us fall. They take an evil delight in destruction. However, whatever they may do, we do not waver from our course of righteousness.
April 28/05 - Dan. 3:1
I find it interesting that in the chapter right after Nebuchadnezzar has the dream of the statue, he builds one himself. Not only does he build a statue/idol 90 feet high and 9 feet wide, but also he covers it with gold. Was this a rebellion against the dream? The dream had placed him as the head of gold but predicted other empires to follow. Was he declaring, in his own strength, that his kingdom would be the one to last forever?
How often to men rebel against the declared will of God? How often to do we the same? We know what God wants but determine to try and have our own way instead. Rebellion is buried deep within the human heart and we need to be continually coming to God for cleansing and forgiveness.
April 27/05 - Dan. 2:46-49
When Nebuchadnezzar heard the interpretation of the dream he knew he had been given the correct one. The mightiest man on earth bowed before Daniel because he recognized the power of Daniel's God. We never know what may happen when we follow God but God is to receive all the glory.
God received the glory and Daniel got many bonuses and promotions. Daniel did not forget his friends who had stood by him either. He asked the king for promotions for them as well. We know that they were all capable men so they were well able to fill the positions they were given.
April 26/05 - Dan. 2:45
The stone cut out without hands is the kingdom of God. Cut out with hands reveals that it is of Divine origin - no human made this or maintains it.
Notice that this "stone" grows until it fills the whole earth [vs. 35]. Now that is a program for victory. We really do get to win. All the Satanic kingdoms will be smashed by the Kingdom of God which grows to fill the earth "as the waters cover the sea." This is one reason why I feel that the Roman Empire was the last world-wide satanic kingdom. Others may [and will] try, but they will not succeed. No "last days one world government" which is the fear of so many Christians. The Kingdom of God is the "last days" [if you want to use that term] government on every level. And it doesn't require a single physical government but the various governments of the world coming under conviction, repenting, and ordering their individual countries according to the Word of God.
April 25/05 - Dan. 2:44
In the days of the Roman Empire God said He was going to set up a kingdom. It was going to be an eternal kingdom, no one would every be able conquer it, and it would destroy all the previous kingdoms. Did this happen? Some Christians don't believe it has which is why they have to insert a non-Biblical "gap" near the bottom of this statue.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven/God is at hand*." Jesus told His disciples that some of them would not die until they had seen the kingdom of heaven come. [In fact only one died before the kingdom came - Judas.] Either the kingdom came during the days of the Roman Empire - as God told Nebuchadnezzar - or Jesus lied to His disciples. Who are you going to believe?
The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom which was established upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has withstood and destroyed [or is in the process of destroying] every force which has come against it - including the Roman Empire, Nazism, Communism, and Materialism. It impacts this present world but it is not of this world. Any "delay" of the Kingdom to some future era is a dangerous misunderstanding of Scripture which belittles Christ's victory on Calvary and robs the current Christian of Christ's power, authority, and vision now.
* Some make a difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God but a comparison of Scriptures reveals it was the Holy Spirit through different authors describing the same thing.
April 22/05 - Dan. 2:40-43 [***]
The fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire which marched across the known world trampling all the other kingdoms underfoot. The Roman Empire had a different political system than the proceeding three empires. Their system had advantages but also weaknesses [iron and clay]. Rome suffered from strife among its leaders and civil wars. There also developed ten provinces of Rome [toes].
Now I want you to look at these verses closely. You will see something very interesting. Did you find it? Did you see where the statue was cut off between the legs and the ankles with the top part floating on nothing? No? Better read it again. Many Bible teachers of the modern prophetic school have found it and convinced millions it is there. In fact, I have a good study Bible which has the above scene illustrated [which serves as a good reminder that Bible helps are not inspired].
If the Bible doesn't place a "gap" between the legs and the ankles, why do Bible teachers? Did God forget to mention it? Seems like a pretty big oversight to me. Or perhaps we should take the Bible as God wrote it and realize that there is no gap. The legs, ankles, and toes are all one unit showing the Roman Empire as it existed in the ancient world.
Why do sincere Christian and Bible teachers/students insert a gap here? The simple reason is they have accepted a prophetic theory and then must twist Scripture to make it fit with the theory. Many do this innocently and it is a danger for all of us. We all have ideas and theories when we read Scripture. The key is to be willing to let go of them when Scripture shows them to be wrong rather than try to twist, add to, or subtract from Scripture to make it fit the theory.
I'm afraid the "gap" is like the evolutionist's "missing link." It simply does not exist.
April 21/05 - Dan. 2:39
No earthly thing lasts forever. The great empire of Babylon would come to an end. Probably not what Nebuchadnezzar wanted to hear. The next kingdom - silver - would be the Medes and Persians who would conquer him. The brass kingdom was the Greeks who swept the world with Alexander the Great at their head. Each kingdom looses some of the glory of the former one.
April 20/05 - Dan. 2:36-
Babylon was the greatest world empire. Babylon was the head of gold. Daniel reminds Nebuchadnezzar that God has placed the world at his feet. He didn't come to this position through the strength of his armies or his own wisdom but by the will of God. As he would learn later, God could take it away just as easily.
As I have said before, God is in control of the nations. If we have evil rulers and our nations seem to be coming apart, it is probably because we, as the people of God, are in unrepentant sin. We need to repent and follow God whole-heartedly and without compromise. When we get our act right God is able and willing to handle the rulers. Evil, like darkness, only exists because of the absence of Light. The best way to fight darkness is to turn on the light.
April 19/05 - Dan. 2:29-35
Notice that this was not just a "random" event. Nebuchadnezzar was thinking about the future. His mind was working in that direction and God decided to reveal the future to him. If he had merely been day-dreaming about his harem he never would have been granted this dream. If we want to hear from God we have to be thinking about the right things.
We will begin looking at the dream tomorrow when we start on the interpretation.
April 18/05 - Dan. 2:23-28
Daniel acknowledged that the wisdom to know and interpret the dream came from God. In fact, as you read through this entire chapter you will find that many times Daniel emphasized that the knowledge came from God. Even before the most powerful man in the world, Daniel did not hesitate to point to the God in heaven.
The idea of the supernatural was, of course, nothing new. Daniel didn't have to fight though all the unbelief we have today. In his time everyone believed in the supernatural...usually in the form of demon gods. Now the fact that there was one God above all gods to Whom he had to submit may have been unpleasant news to Nebuchadnezar, but the fact that there was someone who could actually tell him what he had dreamed was a powerful convincer. Also, Nebuchadnezar would have been impressed that this God was going to reveal secrets of the future to him.
By the way, the Bible forbids all our attempts to seek knowledge of the future. All such attempts enlist, in some form, the occult and should be avoided as sin. On the other hand, if God chooses to reveal something from His own initiative that is entirely another matter.
April 15/05 - Dan. 2:20-22
When Daniel received the dream and its meaning he didn't go rushing into the king but took time to give glory to God. Sometimes when God shows us something we are in such a hurry to get at it that we forget to pause and give God the glory. Without Him we have nothing and are nothing.
It is God Who puts rulers in their positions of authority. In countries where people are allowed to vote they have the responsibility to support Godly men and women [if there are any] for office because God often uses "natural" means to accomplish His will. Nevertheless, ultimately it is God who sets up a ruler or brings him down. We need to realize that, although politics has its place, it is not the all powerful institution the humanists think it is. God is in control. Even unGodly rulers must bend to His demands.
There is nothing hidden from God and He reveals what He chooses to whomever He chooses. That is why our focus must always be on God not on politics or trying to turn the majority to our opinion. God has never needed a majority to accomplish His will. In fact, He often delights in using a minority or even just one person to accomplish His will. Is that person you?
April 14/05 - Dan. 2:17-19
After getting a little more time from the king, Daniel went to his three friends and together they turned to God in prayer. United prayer is powerful. Of course, they had good motivation for united prayer - their lives were on the line.
This may be one reason why people in persecuted countries seem to be more serious than many western Christians. Torture, pain, and death can make one very serious about what they believe. In the west we make it so easy to "come to Jesus" without hardly talking about His total Lordship. But we can't have one without the other. All of us are to have "everything on the line" all the time. To fail to present the entire picture is a] dishonest, and b] is to encourage people to think they are Christians when they have had no commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and no heart change. Ultimately it is to give them a false confidence as they continue to on their way to Hell. The devil is pleased.
Dreams and visions are one of the ways God will speak to us. Daniel received his answer in a night vision.
April 13/05 - Dan. 2:12-16
Nebuchadnezzar was not a patient man. Working around him - as with many ancient kings - was a high pressure job. A moment's displeasure could spell the end of a life. Daniel lived with this for most of his long life - and he survived at least three different kings and two different empires. An impressive record in those days.
In this case Daniel and his friends were sentenced to death without even knowing what was going on. They had been placed in the general category of "wisemen" and so were ordered killed.
Once again, in the face of great personal danger, we see Daniel acting calmly and with wisdom. Too often we panic or are hasty in situations and then wonder why they blow up in our faces.
April 12/05 - Dan. 2:2-11
The king called all his wisemen and made a unique and impossible demand. They had to tell him the dream and then the interpretation! It would appear the Nebuchadnezzar was much impressed by the dream but the details had escaped him in the morning. Also, by demanding they tell him the dream he could be sure they were not "faking" an interpretation. He wanted to be sure he got the right meaning. And he gave them no time to scheme their way out of it. "Tell me now or die!" No stalling.
This was a good test. Demon powers were at work in the magicians and astrologers but not even they could know the contents of Nebuchadnezzar's God-given dream. This would seem to indicate that although demons can observe us and so know the intimate details of our lives [they use this information to deceive the unwary] they cannot read our minds.
April 11/05 - Dan. 2:1
We have all had dreams that troubled us. Dreams are one way that God can speak to us but many times there is no "Daniel" to make it known to us. Sometimes God simply wants us to learn to wait on Him in order for Him to communicate with us. So many times we are just too busy to hear from God in any way.
April 10/05 - Dan. 1:18-20
So after three years of training in the culture and knowledge of the Babylonians, Daniel and his friends are brought before the king. For three years their faith had been tested as they saw the "advantages" of the world in the greatest empire on earth. Not only did they come through still strong in the faith but they were able to satisfy the king that they understood the Babylonian law and culture. By applying Biblical principles in an "unChristian" setting they were wiser than all the others.
The Bible and its laws are not just for a Christian setting. They are a declaration of how life works. They are the only God-honouring way of living anywhere and in every circumstance. We need to correctly understand and apply Biblical Law in our world. Then we too will be wise.
Some may be tempted to say, "See Daniel had a secular education and he did OK so there is nothing wrong with sending my children to humanist public schools." To which I would point out, a] Daniel and his friends were had an unwavering faith which is sadly lacking in many families today. b] Since the day they were born there entire life was centered around a Biblical lifestyle, including at an early age memorizing books of the Bible starting with Leviticus. c] It wasn't to about the age of 15 that they were subjected to Babylonian training - and that was not by their choice. d] Of all the Jewish boys taken in this first captivity on four are recorded as making it through with their faith intact. Not very good "odds."
April 8/05 - Dan. 1:17
Here we have a balance. These four young people were trained, in other words, they studied and worked hard but ultimately their success came from God. We have to do our best but the bottom line is that God must crown our efforts with success or they will fail. All wisdom comes from God.
Daniel also had the ability to understand dreams and visions. We will see this skill in operation as we move through the book of Daniel. In the next chapter this ability even saved his life.
April 7/05 - Dan. 1:15-16
...and they passed the test. Melzar now had nothing to lose so he was able to grant them their request.
The number ten in Scripture often represents human responsibility. So while they were tested for ten literal days we can also see a symbolic reference as well. Human responsibility was shown in that Daniel and his friends were responsible to stand up for what was right. God did not automatically line up all the events to flow smoothly. They had to stand on Truth in Faith and Trust that God would work it out.
We have to be willing to do the same. "Trust in God and do the Right." Sometimes God may not work it out to our perceived benefit right away. Sometimes we have to go through the Job experience but in the end it will work out. God is still in control but we have the responsibility to stand for what is right regardless of consequences.
April 6/05 - Dan. 1:10-14
This was a big step for the prince of eunuchs. His head was on the line. Nebuchadnezzar was not a understanding and forgiving man - as we can see from his treatment of his wisemen when they failed to interpret his dream. If he disobeyed and Daniel and his friends his friends grew weak then it was life over. From his point-of-view, it was a foolish request to make anyway. After all, everyone knows "real" men eat meat and drink wine.
Even though he was favoured, Daniel did not try to force his way or threaten a hunger strike, etc. His was respectful of the man's position and the difficulty that his request was placing him in. His faith in God was such that he offered a simple test. The risk to the prince of the eunuch was minimum - what is ten days out of three years? Daniel further increased the eunuch's confidence by allowing him to be the judge after ten days as to whether they had passed or failed the test.
As Christians we need to use wisdom and consideration in our dealing with people of the world. There are times when we do have to be confrontational but there are also times when the softer approach is best. Jesus was harsh with sin and evil men who deceived the people [ironically, religious rulers] but kind to sinners caught in a trap. The average ungodly person liked Jesus! Can we say the same?
April 4/05 - Dan. 1:9
God gave Daniel favour with the prince of the eunuchs. This shows that Daniel was not bitter, resentful, disrespectful, or a complainer. Daniel had such a spirit about him that even this man who had "processed" many captives before Daniel was drawn to him. By love they will know we are Christians. This love and good attitude is shown strongest in adversity. We can fool ourselves and others but pressure reveals the truth.
April 2/05 - Dan. 1:8
In spite of the terrible situation in which Daniel found himself, he purposed in his heart to be pure before God. He not only did not blame God but also he confirmed his desire to follow God regardless of the cost.
Daniel is placed in the ultimate "no one will ever know" situation. Here he was far away from his family and homeland in a negative, high-pressure position. Who was to know or even care if he broke the dietary laws? After all, it's not like he had a choice. It was being forced on him. To refuse might even mean his death... surely that couldn't be God purpose...
But Daniel determined in his heart that he was going after God no matter what the cost. This did not make him arrogant, confrontational, condesenting, or self-pitying. He proceeded with wisdom, discretion, respect, and consideration.
March 31/05 - Dan. 1:6-7
Daniel was about 15 years old when he was taken to Babylon. This was the first of three times Nebuchadnezzar subdued Judah. Daniel may have witnessed his parents being killed or taken captive. He was torn from his homeland. His dreams for his future were forever dashed on the rocks. They even attempted to change his identity by changing his name. Yet we don't find him bitter against God as many of us would be. His faith in and relationship with God grew.
March 30/05 - Dan. 1:3-5
We see that Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have brightest people in his palace. He thought 3 years of indoctrination would be enough to turn them into loyal subjects who would serve him faithfully. No wonder the humanists are so effective - they indoctrinate our children for 12+ years...and we pay them to do it!
March 29/05 - Dan. 1:2
The evil of Israel had reach such a point that judgment had come. Notice that God gave the king to Nebuchadnezzar. Rulers are in God's hand and He does with them as He wants. God is always in control.
Israel had thought of the Temple as a "good luck charm." They figured that as long as they had the temple God was for them no matter how they lived. They figured wrong...and God allowed some of the vessels of the temple to be captured.
Some Christians today have the same false concept. They think as long as they have said or believe the right things they can live however they want and God is still on their side. In some circles it is called "greasy grace." I believe in grace but such a careless attitude will lead to judgment.
Also notice that God was not worried about His reputation. He allowed His holy vessels to be put into a heathen temple. He allowed the heathen to think that they had overpowered this God of the Hebrews - although He later corrected that idea with the hand-writing on the wall. We are so concerned with God's reputation...God is concerned about having a holy and righteous people. He will "blow" His reputation if necessary to bring correction and disciple to His people. Many "secret" sins have been exposed because God cared more for righteousness than for His reputation. There are a lot more references in the Bible to "righteousness" than there are to "faith."
March 28/05 - Dan. 1:1
Here we have the historical setting of the Book of Daniel. Judah had sinned and refused all God's attempts by His prophets to turn them from a course of evil. They had sunk lower than the Canaanites they had replaced. They were involved in all kinds of sexual sin, fraud, murder, oppression, and even human sacrifice. It was a totally corrupt society and the time of judgment had come.
They had violated the Blood Covenant God had made with them [see courses The Making Of A Blood Covenant and Covenants]. The penalty for breaking a Blood Covenant was death. God raised up the Babylonians to be His executioners, to see justice done.
Side note: Western civilization is sinking fast to the level of ancient Israel. Some say we are living in what will, in the future, be known as the fall of western civilization. Destruction will come when we reach a certain point of depravity. God will not be mocked. Nevertheless, although our guilty is great, it can be turned about through genuine individual and national repentance.