(last edited 10/17/21)
Daniel is counted among the books of prophecy, yet he did not prophesy to his people Israel as the other prophets did. He did not speak to the ones alive at that time in the usual format “thus saith the Lord,” but much of his message is to those who would come later. Jesus referred to him as a prophet, Mat. 24:15. Daniel served in the political realm rather than the spiritual one, and is a good example of how a believer can witness by living his faith in whatever his position in life. Daniel stayed true to God and was an effective witness in a pagan society. The prophet Ezekiel held Daniel up as an example to the captive Jews, Eze. 14:14,20, 28:3; his righteousness and wisdom were widely known. Daniel was a young man, possibly a teenager, when he was taken to Babylon in the first wave of the captivity. After serving under Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Cyrus, he would have been at least 85.
The Bible speaks of many things in the future, and we are encouraged and excited to know that God wants us to know His big plan. Yet some Christians don’t think you should spend much time studying or talking about prophecy. One fourth of the Bible is prophetic, and much of that prophecy has already been fulfilled. When you read and study the Bible straight through, not skipping over or leaving anything out, you automatically give each verse and topic the proper amount of emphasis. Prophecy can’t be fully understood without looking at the entire Bible, so that motivates us to read the whole book. Prophecy sometimes involves symbolism, but when the Bible uses symbolism it interprets much of the symbolism for us. Some think the study of prophecy should only be for mature Christians, but in II Thes. 2:5, we find that Paul had taught the new Christians in Thessalonica about the rapture followed by the man of lawlessness (the beast/antichrist) and the tribulation (the day of the Lord), even though he was only there less than a month.
This book has come under much attack from liberal Bible scholars. They claim it was written at a much later date, or that it was written by someone other than Daniel himself. There is no evidence for these claims. Liberals do not believe in the supernatural, so fulfilled detailed prophecy like Daniel has given is flat out rejected. They think it must have been written AFTER these events happened, by someone later. But the manuscript evidence is strong for Daniel, and Jesus referred to “Daniel the prophet” (Mat. 24:15, Mar. 13:14), so if Daniel is a fake, Jesus was confused or a liar. Even if you don’t know about the manuscript evidence, you can trust what Jesus said. Whenever you question one part of Scripture, you cast doubt on other parts of Scripture. For example, if you believe God used evolution to create, then you have a big problem: death then came BEFORE sin, not as a result of it, which means that the whole Bible is wrong, Christ did not need to die for our sin to save us from eternal death, and God is a liar.
In this book we find: believers living godly lives in a pagan society; God’s faithfulness to His people and His covenant, even though they were currently being disciplined for their disobedience; God’s sovereign authority over Gentile nations--all the nations other than Israel; the outline of “the times of the Gentiles,” which is when Israel is being chastened by means of the Gentiles. Luke 21:24 points to this period beginning in II Kings 25:1-12.
1-2 The historical setting, going back to when Nebuchadnezzar first besieged Jerusalem. This was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. His first invasion of Judah took place about a month after his father died and he received the crown. Where so we first read of Shinar? Gen. 10:10, 11:2. It is the country of Babylon, and is known to secular archaeologists as Sumer--the land of the Sumerians for about 2000 years, before they were conquered by the Babylonians. They were the first Mesopotamian civilization, the creators of civilization as we know it--culture, science, industry, and government.
So Nebuchadnezzar’s reign virtually begins with this interaction with Israel. Who caused this—God or N? What words in 2 set out the conflict and theme of this book? The Lord, his gods. The rest of this book addresses and answers the question raised here—who is the true God, and who has power? Could we say this is one of the themes of the Bible?
A review of the context for this book will help us make more sense of this book and see how it fits with the rest of the Bible. It will help us understand the rest of the Bible, especially Revelation. We first read of Babylon in II Kings 17:24. It was not yet an empire but but was under the rule of the Assyrian empire, who took captive the northern kingdom of Israel. Later Babylon overthrew Assyria and became the leading empire of the world, under Nabopolassar. Twenty years later he died and his son Nebuchadnezzar became the king, in 605 BC, the year this book begins.
God punished Israel by sending them into captivity to the Assyrians, never to return. 100 years later Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, is punished by being sent into captivity to Babylon for 70 years. Jeremiah the prophet warned them of this but they refused to repent, and it happened. He also told them that when the Babylonians came (also known as Chaldeans), they should not resist but go with them and serve the king of Babylon. Many of the people thought that idea was ridiculous and refused; Jeremiah said it would not go as well with them. Jer. 25:8-12, whose plan was this? Is the king of Babylon obeying God, or did he do this of his own free will? So why will God later punish Babylon for this, 12? At that time, Babylon will be overthrown by the Medes and Persians. What can we learn from this about how God operates in the world? We will learn more about that in this book.
3-6 What else was taken besides items from the temple? I wonder why Daniel chooses to mention the temple items before the captives? What kind of families were these captives in the first of the three deportations, 3? Being the cream of the crop, they were to be given a college education and choice foods. What "w" word is a key word in this book? Be on the lookout for it, concerning Daniel and others.
Who was over them, 3? The NASB says chief of the “officials” but the KJV says “eunuchs,” as it is usually translated, because officials were generally eunuchs. What is a eunuch? Why was this done? Castration would remove temptations, especially the lust for sex and power, that could complicate and compromise their service; now they will be loyal trusted servants (kind of like why we geld stallions). This was probably done to these young men. II Kings 20:18, Isa. 39:5-7, Mat. 19:12. What two eunuchs do we read about in the Bible? The eunuch in Esther who was in charge of the king's harem, and the Ethopian eunuch who Philip led to Christ, found where? Acts. t
7 Might these name changes have significance to the story? In Bible days, names were significant. Daniel: God is my judge. Hananiah: the Lord’s beloved. Mishael: who is as God? Azariah: the Lord is my help. What clues might these give us about these boys, their parents, their upbringing? Since these were taken in the first siege (so possibly their families too), perhaps their parents were not among the faithless but believed and obeyed Jeremiah the prophet and had gone out of the city to the Chaldeans, Jer. 38:2,17-1. All their names are about who? Why might N want to change them? We have a clue in 2. They are renamed after pagan gods. Belteshazzar: Bel was their chief god. Shadrach: illumined by Rak. Meshach: belonging to Shak. Abednego: a servant of Nego. (N's name: may Nebo protect the crown.) How might this renaming have affected these four? Does being put in an ungodly environment challenge or corrupt the faith of a Christian?
8 Who comes up with this? All four of them are involved. What might have been the issue? Unclean food under the Law, or food offered to idols? Is Daniel hostile, impudent, demanding, confrontational? Does he have respect for the authority that is over him? He doesn't come across as a crazy Christian but what?
9 Why was the commander favorable to them rather than unbending? Lots of things in our lives seem to just happen, good or bad. Is God’s hand active in everything that happens? That is one of the truths the Old Testament brings out, and this book in particular. Things don’t just happen. God is in control of everything; the theological term is what? Sovereign--God's sovereignty over all. About only big events? Can we know, at the time, which insignificant events in our lives are truly insignificant, and which will end up being a factor in something bigger, later?
10-13 Daniel diplomatically proposes a test. "Vegetables" in NASB is "pulse" in the KJV; it contrasts with flesh, meaning things grown, so could include grain, therefore bread. Is God honored when Christians are belligerent to others or uncooperative with authority? Some people call this a fast or type of fast, even a model for us; was that Daniel's purpose? What WAS his purpose, 8? The Old Testament also speaks often of being defiled by sexual immorality and by idolatry. So what defiles us today? Sin!
14-16 What made the difference--avoiding meat and wine? Or God's favor? Is the overseer willing to let them continue? What is the lesson for us? Daniel faces temptations we constantly face. Does he seem to care if following God made him stick out in the crowd, about consequences? Is his obedience to God's Word filtered through concerns about possible negative outcomes? Does he ignore or re-interpret God's Word to suit his circumstances? Are these temptations Christians face? I Cor. 10:13.
17-21 Again we are told of these qualities, and what W word, twice? In 20 it is now mentioned first. Didn't 1:4 already say that they possessed these qualities? We all have certain qualities; might God enhance those qualities even more for His purposes? I think many people think of spiritual gifts in this way, rather than how the Bible speaks of them in I Cor. 12 and 14 as supernatural manifestations.
In 20 we are introduced to what group of people important in this book? They are described in various ways--how in 2:2? 2:4? 2:10? After that this group is called what in 2:12,14,18,24,27,48? We meet them again in chapters 4 and 5 in two other incidents. Don't wise men sound like very smart and studious men, seen here as counselors to the king? But what kind of wisdom is it referring to? Occult. What is another W word for this type of person--a word related to "wise"? A wizard is a male witch.
In the story of Jesus, what do some translations call them? Magi. A magus, singular, was a member of an ancient Persian clan specializing in occult activities, followers of Zoroaster. Pronounced "may-jus" and "may-jiy." The three magi in Mat. 2 were not kings, as is often said but not in the Bible, but were more likely occult priests. From this term comes what common word today, that all kids are interested in? magic.
In Dan. 2 these men are sometimes just referred to as Chaldeans--an early southern Mesopotamian people, conquered by the Babylonians. Chaldeans were noted for: astronomy, astrology, star-worship, interpreting of omens, horoscopes, masters of reading and writing, obscure knowledge, incantations, sorcery, witchcraft, and the magical arts. So now we look back at 1:4 and see that Daniel and friends were not merely being assimilated into Babylonian culture and government, but, more specifically, were being trained as what?
King Balak of Moab summoned Balaam, a well-known diviner, all the way from Mesopotamia to curse Israel when they camped by the Jordan, preparing to enter the land of Canaan. Now we have more insight into the story of Balaam. He was apparently one of the Chaldeans. He had occult wisdom and power, Num. 22:6 and 24:1, but he learns that who has the true power? Yet he does not come to believe in the true God. King Balak offers to pay him handsomely to say what Balak wants him to say, but Balaam finds that he can only say what God gives him to say, and he keeps telling this to Balak. As in Daniel, and as in Pharaoh's court in Exodus, we see what contrasted? Surprisingly, Balaam also gives some amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah, 24:15-19, which later magi will study and look for His star. Knowing of Daniel, the God of Israel, and the One with the scepter who is coming who "shall have dominion," these wise men seek to worship the true God; perhaps they represented a group of the magi that had become followers of Daniel's God? We also see how God uses Balaam's free will in disobeying God and going to Balak, to accomplish God's sovereign will! Which takes us to Matthew and illustrates this prayer--"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
What other Bible character was originally a Chaldean, Gen. 11:27-31? This gives us some clues about his religious background. So God called the one whose line would become Israel out of the land that would later become Babylon, to a land that He promised to give to that nation. After the captivity, in Daniel's day, the faithful of Israel would again leave Babylon and return to the land God promised them. Babylon often represents man's corrupt godless kingdom, beginning at what incident? Babel, and culminating in Revelation; what does God say in Rev. 18:1-4? Babylon is another sub-theme of the Bible.
So now in the introduction to Daniel's story, we are given two contrasting kinds of wisdom. Does the Bible have much to say about wisdom? YES! We might even say that wisdom is one of many sub-themes of the Bible. J. Vernon McGee often points out that first mentions in the Bible are important, and often set a precedent for understanding and interpreting. Where is the first mention of wisdom? Gen. 3:1-7. What did Eve desire--just to be extra smart? Since God had created Adam and Eve perfect, wasn't she already wise? But when she was presented with the other kind of wisdom, she desired it--and who had what she wanted? Which kind of wisdom did he have? What was the end result of that wisdom, 7? So in the introduction to the big story of the Bible, we are given the same set-up we see in Daniel; then in the rest of the story, we see how it plays out.
Where do we read about Satan's wisdom? Eze. 28 starts out addressed to who? The prince of Tyre, which was the center of trade at that time; it often was used to represent commercialism, greed--kind of like speaking of Wall Street. Then in the middle of the chapter, 11, it changes to speaking of who? The king of Tyre, and looking at the next few verses, who IS that? Satan. So the prince of Tyre was either symbolic of Satan or empowered by him. How is he described in 3, 4, 5, 7? What was Satan like in the beginning, before he sinned, 12? What happened after he fell, 17? So are these the two kinds of wisdom contrasted for us?
The next mention is Gen. 41:8,33,39, again contrasting the two kinds of wisdom for us. Where do we find the next wise men? Exodus--Pharaoh, Moses, and the plagues. What do we know about those wise men? They had occult power--like God's power? Who was the wisest man in the Bible? Which kind of wisdom did he have? He wrote much about wisdom, in which books? Proverbs, Ecclesiastes.
What is the first mention in the New Testament? The wise man did what? What does that mean? What about young Jesus, Luke 2:40,52? Acts 6:3,10, who gives wisdom? In I Cor. 1-2, Paul contrasts two kinds of wisdom, speaking here not of the occult but of wisdom apart from God. James 3 contrasts two kinds of wisdom, and what does he tell us in 1:5?
These four young men stood out far above Nebuchadnezzar’s own people. Do you think that made them popular? What might it cause instead? resentment, even hatred? We shall see. Does living for God make you popular? 21 tells us that 19-21 are an overview of the entire time they were there. The author (Daniel) has given us the characters, the setting and the background, and set up the theme and the conflict; now the plot begins to unfold. As we often see in the Old Testament style of writing, the big picture which we are first given will be followed by a more detailed account of some events during that time period. 20 sets us up to understand the following accounts. 2 and 7 point us to what God was doing in the lives of the Babylonian leaders they served. God was giving these pagan leaders the opportunity to ask and answer what question? So was God's plan just about Israel? How should knowing this affect our thinking?
What a unique opportunity God had given them to be an influence of godliness as they serve in secular positions of power in this pagan kingdom. Will they, like many Christians we see in the news, eventually give in to the temptation to water down their beliefs in order to protect their positions or their lives? We will find out in the next few chapters. Does God only use intelligent, wise, and rich people, like Daniel, Job, Solomon, Moses, Abraham? Do we also read about poor, average, uneducated nobodies? How should knowing this affect our thinking? No matter who we are, God is working in us and through us, to increase our own faith and to influence others.
1 When does this next incident take place? Daniel and his friends were to be educated for how long? So apparently they are still in training. Or it could be that the dreams, or this recurring dream, began in his second year, and some time elapses before verse 2, or the confrontation with the wise men takes place over a period of time. At the conclusion of this incident, in 48, Daniel is promoted to something like prime minister, so it seems a few years may pass after 1.
How did this dream affect Nebuchadnezzar? Shortly into the reign of this Gentile king, God intervenes in his life very insistently--we wonder why? Why him and why now? The end of the chapter gives a clue.
2-3 Who does N look to for help? Apparently they are his trusted source of usual advice. What does that tell us about these "arts"? Do they have above-ordinary wisdom and power? What is the source of their wisdom and their powers? So what do we learn here about Satan? Is there power in the occult? Do you see how this incident relates to the theme set up in the first chapter?
4 The first section of this book was written in Hebrew, the language of the Jews, but beginning in 4 it is written in Aramaic, the language of the Gentile nations at that time, continuing through the end of chapter 7. Daniel's fluency in the language of N's court is one of the strong evidences of the authenticity of this book and against a later writing, as skeptics claim. Beginning in Daniel 8, the language is Hebrew again. Why? In this Aramaic section are several extended passages describing the Gentile empires of the world, spanning the time from Daniel’s day (the beginning of the Babylonian empire) through the final kingdom, which will be that of the yet-to-come Antichrist. The rest of the book deals with how Israel fits into that picture. Can the wise men tell the dream?
5-6 What does this reveal to us about N? Does this seem irrational? We will see more that builds on this first impression. Someone has suggested that perhaps they had deceived him in the past and so he gave them a test of their true abilities, or perhaps as a younger king just coming to power, he was looking for an excuse to get rid of the "old guard." Or is N very astute and trying to determine if what he has grown up with is real? Is he searching for truth?
7-11 Even with this incentive, can they do it? Do they understand that the powers they posses are limited? What does N suspect about his wise men? He must have already been having doubts about them. He is calling their bluff; if they are what they say they are, could they do this? Isn't this actually the perfect test? 11, what do they recognize? Interesting.
12-16 Was N's reaction reasonable? On the one hand, he could be irrational, but on the other, he is merely demanding his wise men do what they claim to do, and setting up incentives and consequences. Who comes into the picture? How are his actions described? Just like in the food incident. Why is he confident?
17-23 What was his plan? What results? God answers. Daniel does what, 19. What does that mean? Other than singing that in a few songs or reading it in Psalms, we don't tend to speak of blessing God. The answer is in 20-23. At first it sounds like he is just talking about God, to someone, but then he is talking TO God. So apparently he is saying it all to God. So what does this tell us about what it means to bless God? When God blesses us, He does things for us, gives us things. When we bless God, we give him glory and praise and recognition, as He deserves.
Here he is particularly recognizing things about God that have to do with this situation. As we have been seeing, and as this dream points out, who is calling the shots? He speaks of changes of times and epochs; this is what the dream is about. What are epochs? So are changes of times about clocks, calendars, and how different people tell time? This phrase is interesting because it is also used of who else, later in Daniel, in 7:25? Change times, make alterations in times--not time, but times. The word speaks of transforming, especially for the worse, to be other, different. So this passage sheds light on the meaning of that passage. What does Daniel recognize about the wisdom he has received? Does Daniel seem to have pride issues? Is that a temptation as God uses people?
We might wonder how such a young man got so wise, humble, spiritually mature at such an early age? How does this usually develop? painful experience? What may he have experienced before being taken from his family? What might it have been like growing up in a godly family struggling to be faithful and cope with Israel’s gross falling away from God? If their parents were of the faithful minority, might they have faced scorn, ridicule, and pressure from other Jews? So they might have already experienced and learned quite a bit at their young age.
24-26 Is his plea, "don’t kill me and my friends?" Wouldn't he see this as the perfect opportunity for God to take these pagan occultists out of the picture? Or maybe he sees this as an opportunity for what instead? The plot thickens--he now comes to N's attention and comes before N himself, who was just beginning his 43-year reign; he could have been quite young, not much older than Daniel. After dealing with the others, I wonder if he was surprised and intrigued by this young Jew.
27-30 Does Daniel draw attention to himself? that God gave this knowledge to HIM, that HE was a follower of God? He points N's attention where? The dream was in response to what? his desire to understand the future. Our picture of who N was is rounding out. Like the old commercial (about the National Enquirer) said, "Enquiring minds want to know!" Apparently he was a thinker and took his position seriously. History tells us of his great accomplishments--military, culture, roads and buildings, irrigation, making his city the most beautiful in the world and his kingdom the pinnacle of greatness. 28, what time period is referred to?
Don’t you wonder why God decided to let N know these things, and not an Israelite, or a prophet--why THIS man? Why does He give it to the Gentile leader of the current world empire? So here we see Daniel functioning as a prophet, revealing God’s message, foretelling future events, but in a different way then God spoke to Israel. Why would Nebuchadnezzar believe Daniel’s interpretation? Because of the miracle of Daniel telling him what he dreamed. Daniel’s long-range message is validated by this miracle in the here-and-now. What was the purpose of miracles, of signs and wonders, in the Bible? To validate the message and the messenger.
We see an example of witnessing in a very natural way--giving credit to God. Is this a way we can witness? Giving God credit for events that happen in our lives, for this world He created, for abilities we have that someone compliments us on--something that person can relate to. He points out God’s interest in Nebuchadnezzar.
31-35 The dream. God is revealing Himself to a Gentile, a pagan, and He uses language that a man like N can relate to. An image, kingdoms, valuable metals. God is not limited in His means of speaking to different kinds of people! Is God revealing spiritual truth to this Gentile, or merely political information? What is the statue? Which metal is the most valuable, and which least? Which is strongest, and which weakest? So what do the metals tell us about the kingdoms? What does that tell us about the Babylonian empire and Nebuchadnezzar as a ruler? 34, what else besides a statue? Did it strike the whole statue? What did the stone become? Is a mountain bigger or greater than a statue?
36 How do you think Nebuchadnezzar is feeling at this point? Will he accept Daniel’s interpretation? Why?
37-38 Nebuchadnezzar finds out that HE is represented in this dream, and that HE is the head of gold! What else does he find out? HOW did he get this position?
39 Now he learns the future: two later kingdoms.
40 Even later, a fourth kingdom. This kingdom especially interests us because it appears to be future; it has not yet been. It could be in the distant future or immediate future.
40-43 The statue represents what? Four kingdoms, each one a metal, and the final kingdom (toes) is a continuation of the fourth (legs), still iron but mixed with what? What would the TWO legs indicate? What would the TEN toes indicate? The final kingdom, in every description in this book, is not like the other kingdoms. It is made of two elements; do they combine well? 43 tells us HOW the two elements will be combined; the seed of men, something having to do with reproduction, genetics, descendants. (Most commentators only touch lightly on this, whatever it means.) However, if this kingdom is the kingdom of the Antichrist, described elsewhere in Daniel and Revelation, it will only last seven years, so it can’t be talking about their descendants. Rev. 13 describes the leader of this final kingdom.
The four kingdoms are not identified here by name, but we know the first is Babylon. Elsewhere in Daniel, the next two are identified by name, as Media-Persia, and Greece. We believe the fourth to be what? Why? Why two legs? The West and the East; the West disintegrated into what era? the Dark Ages, the medieval times. The East lived on for 1000 years as what? Byzantine or Ottoman empire. The Catholic church followed this split, in what two locations? the Vatican in Rome, and the Eastern Orthodox church centered in Constantinople.
What happened to the Roman Empire? Was it conquered and destroyed? No. So in some way, it (the legs) will be part of the final kingdom (the 10 toes). This is why we call this future kingdom “the revived Roman empire.” History tells us of these four great kingdoms. There are no kingdoms mentioned between the Roman empire and the 10 toes/10 kings. Where are WE, time-wise to these kingdoms? in that in-between period. This fourth kingdom is spoken of much in Daniel and in Revelation, yet somehow many think that we shouldn’t think/worry/study about this fourth kingdom that the Bible talks so much about.
These kingdoms are obviously not all the great civilizations of the world. Is the Bible written as a textbook of world history? What people is it primarily concerned with? Israel, and the peoples that have to do with them, that interact with them. Why does the statue begin with Babylon? Up until now--the Babylonian captivity--God had been dealing directly with Israel, beginning with Abraham--where is that found? Gen. 12. 100 years before Daniel, the northern kingdom, Israel, was taken away into captivity by Assyria, just as God warned would happen if they did not return to Him. Judah, the southern kingdom, was warned of the same fate but did not repent either. In this book, in several scenarios, God lays out His plan between the captivity and the time of the end. The statue He shows N is one; where does Israel fit in? Does Daniel have any idea how far in the future that might be? In Dan. 7-12, God gives Daniel three visions that cover that same time period but speak of those Gentile kingdoms intersecting with Israel.
44-45 The Bible often uses the symbol of the stone or rock for what? When does God’s kingdom come--the kingdom promised to Israel, ruled by the Messiah, as prophesied by Isaiah? After these four kingdoms. 44, what is this kingdom like? How long will it last? What does the stone do, 35? Rev. 19-20 tells how that happens. Who does Daniel focus N's attention on? Pointing out that He did what, 45?
46 Does N recognize that Daniel has performed a miracle? Can you imagine a king falling on his face before ANYONE? Especially a young man, perhaps even younger than himself--a foreigner? What different reaction might he have had, when confronted with God's power? What was Pharaoh's reaction when confronted with God's miraculous power? So what do we learn about N?
47 What is his reaction to Daniel’s God? Does he say this is now his God? or the only God? Is this incident the end of God's dealing with N? Has God got his attention? The next few chapters show how the seed of faith was planted and watered.
48-49 What happened because of this incident? Daniel, the young Jewish "wonder boy," is instantly the prime minister! What is Daniel's first move? How do you imagine this is all accepted by those currently in power? Are the wise men grateful for Daniel saving their lives and now loyal to him? Or now resenting his sudden rise to power over them? This sets up the background for the next chapter.
We had much drama in the previous chapter; the entire book is full of mind-blowing drama.
1-2 Who is this incident also about? Why might he do this? Maybe because of the dream? Is this statue like the dream? Is it a likeness of himself? We don't know. A lavish display of wealth, of pride? How is this like Rev. 13? World ruler, Babylon, image, rebellion against God, one world religion, punishment for those that refuse, sixes, and an interesting "w" word that is coming up.
By now our "prophecy meter" should be beeping and flashing with red lights! At the beginning of this book, Babylon was presented as the kingdom God used, and had warned Judah of prophetically, to punish their continual disobedience. Then we observed the statue in the dream, and Babylon as the first of a number of kingdoms, yet our attention was drawn to the fourth kingdom. Now we observe N looking suspiciously like the beast in Rev. 13. We realize that Babylon in the Bible is more than this historical interlude; it spans from what event to what event? Where are those found in the Bible? From the tower of Babel, Gen. 11, to its final destruction in Rev. 18 just before what major event? The return of Christ. We are seeing a theme that runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and a connection between Daniel and Revelation, which will build throughout this book. These observations will help us understand Rev. 18 when we get there.
2 Is this the same group of men we have been reading about?
3-5 What do these people worship? Idols. What are they now to worship? The Egyptian Pharaohs were known for emperor worship as also other later cultures; some believe Nimrod, in Gen. 10-11, was the first. What had N said in 2:47? Has he forgotten? Or maybe his ego is threatened by that knowledge and he is asserting himself over God? Who else in the Bible did that??
What was the important "w" word we've been observing in this book? Here is another; it is the theme of this chapter, and is found here more than any other place in the Bible, so we want to look closely at this repeated term. Where did we find the first use of this word, which also showed us its true meaning? Gen. 22--what happened there? What term is used synonymously with it? Here, as in many places, the Bible defines worship for us. Is it singing, warm fuzzy feelings about God, and telling Him how much you love Him?
6-7 If they were already idol worshippers, why would such an extreme threat be needed? A display of power? There were large beehive-shaped brick kilns just outside the city, for N's great road-building project as he expanded his kingdom. Again we see what phrase, twice? They do this when they hear the music--might this be one reason the church has come to associate worship with music? Is that the meaning here? Men of every nation and language: what do we learn here about the kingdom of Babylon? It had conquered and consolidated many nations besides Israel. Would they likely have worshipped different gods? So what is N doing here? Consolidating religion, creating a one-world religion that he controlled, while displaying his power over life and death?
8-12 How many times do we find the "w" word here? The third time, what different synonym is used with it? Again, helping us understand what the Bible means by this term. They are turned in by who? And they represent what group? Why might they have done that? Resentment, hatred, revenge? Were they there and seen to be the only ones not bowing, or had they refused to even attend? Why is Daniel not turned in? What is his position, 2:49? So why might he have not been present?
13-15 How is Nebuchadnezzar’s mood described? He was obviously an intelligent, gifted, powerful ruler, but what kind of a personality is being painted for us in this book? He calls them before him. What synonyms are used with worship in 14 and 15? End of 15, why would he say this after what he said in 2:47? What does he believe about himself?
16-18 Are they being smartalecks, like "we don't have to answer to you"? KJV, "we are not careful"--they are not full of “care” in giving their answer, they will let the chips fall where they may. A commentator says "we" in 16 is emphasized in the Aramaic, saying that who will? So in 17 they would emphasize "our God" and "He." Is this a showdown between N and God? They are saying, regardless of the outcome, who will NOT win?
Did they say God would deliver them? IF. He is ABLE. And what if God chooses not to? Do WE know He can, but don't know if He will? Is that why we have fear? Do they seem to be in a panic? Should we be? Here is the crux of this story. This has to be one of the most amazing statements of faith in the Bible.
What about just saying "we’ll bow outwardly, but God knows our heart, and that we don’t really mean it"? Are our earthly lives more important than being a true, and public, witness to God? How did these young men come to such strong faith? So are long years of spiritual growth and life experiences the only way to a strong faith? Can we KNOW it is God’s desire to save from danger, heal, provide more money, fix a relationship, elect the best president? Why might it not be God's will? So the question always is: can we, do we trust God's goodness and sovereign plan?
Do you think God allowed them to experience doubt and fear, even though He was going to deliver them? Why does He allow us to experience pain, doubt and fear? Why did He allow Lazarus to experience death and Mary and Martha to experience pain, doubt and grief, when He knew what He was going to do? Why did He allow Abraham and Isaac to experience doubts, fears, and emotional pain, when He knew He would stop the sacrifice at the last moment?
19 What do we see about Nebuchadnezzar’s emotions here? His face is what? Because he was filled with what? The furnace was already hot enough to kill; his orders imply an insane vengeance on those who dare to defy him! Comparing his callous pronouncement of death to the wise men earlier, and things we will read about him later, we might conclude that this man’s personality is emotionally volatile, his temper is quick, he is ruled by his emotions, perhaps he is even mentally unstable, even borderline insane. Yet he is obviously a man of high intelligence and great ability, or he would not be the king of the greatest empire on earth--great even in God's estimation, humanly speaking. Comparing what we observed in 1-2, about the beast in Rev. 13, who at that point is empowered or possibly indwelt by Satan at that point, what do we learn about Satan? He has an insane desire for worship, to steal the worship due to God, to have a showdown with God, and has an insane rage against those who refuse to bow to him.
Psychology tells us that we should let our feelings dictate our decisions--to be true to ourselves. The Bible says be true to who? What does it say about feelings and Self?
20-23 They are tied up and thrown in. So this is worship? So how do we worship--with words of love, or rather? with actions that demonstrate it? What parable is this like, when Jesus spoke of loving your neighbor? Love shows itself in what not what? Actions not words. What happens to those who carried them?
24-25 Nebuchadnezzar comes face to face with God’s power, and how does he respond? He can’t believe what he sees, he is quite excited. Who is the fourth person? We are not told; we are only told what Nebuchadnezzar sees and says. The fourth person is obviously different; he is LIKE a son of the gods because he appears to be god-like. We can safely conclude that this is? the pre-incarnate Christ, or as the Old Testament often identifies Him, the angel of the Lord.
26-27 Should we assume that this is the way God will always answer our prayers? Aren't there many martyrs? and many deliveries, even miraculous ones? Why does God do differently?
28-29 Is Nebuchadnezzar now a believer? We see recognition that they have a powerful god, more powerful than any of the other gods. What other words are used with the "w" word? They even yielded their what? We read of this with Abraham and Isaac; where do we read of this for the church? Rom. 12:1-2.
This historical event points prophetically to what future event? Believers in the final form of Babylon, under a one-world-ruler, who demands what? worship. As here, why are those who refuse seen as a threat? Who will be the real ruler of that Babylon? Is N's insane rage a picture of how that ruler will feel and act toward those who refuse to worship him? What if the government commands us to do something, or refrain from doing something, against our belief? If we are ever subjected to persecution, this story is an example for us. When all possible hope or help is gone, God can still act, although He may leave us in our situation for His own reasons. Either way, He will keep us. What does that mean, if He allows the bed thing to happen--keep us from what? Satan? fear?
If worship means to fall down before God, to yield, serve, and put your trust in Him, as said in 28, how does that relate to Sunday morning--corporate praying, singing, and teaching? Can it if those activities point us to true worship, help us to worship in our daily lives? Is the gathering of the church to be a meeting where some do activities and the rest listen and watch and decide whether we got something out of it? Is there any such thing as a worship leader or worship team? What terms might be more accurate? Is it telling or singing how much we love God, what we will do for Him? Does H want to hear us tell Him that, or rather show Him by doing that?
In the epistles (the directions to the church), "worship" is never used in connection with a gathering of believers. What ARE we to do as a church gathering? Acts 1:14, 2:1-47, 15:35, 18:11, 20:7, Rom. 12:4-8, I Cor. 16:2, Gal. 6:6, Col. 3:16 (group singing is to be done, but is not presented as worship).
Worship is never presented in the Bible as a group experience. One reason people associate worship with church may be the numerous Bible references to coming to the temple to worship. Many people equate the temple with the church, the Sabbath with Sunday, Israel with the church; are these synonymous? In the Old Testament, Israel did meet with God at the temple only, Ex. 20:24, 25:21-22, 29:42-43, 30:6, 36, Lev. 1:3. That was the only place that their sacrifices could be offered--their required act of worship. So for Israel, the temple and the altar were necessary for worship. In the New Testament (the church age, the age or dispensation of grace), the individual believer comes to God through Christ, and what is the temple? our body, because that's where God's presence is, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The church is not the temple or even the house of God, it is just the place of gathering of the fellowship of true believers, for teaching, prayer, breaking of bread, the public reading of the Word.
The Sabbath was given to Israel as a day of what? rest, Ex. 20:8-11. Is Sunday now the Sabbath? the day of rest? Are we commanded to worship on Sunday? We do it why? To remember the resurrection, which was on the first day of the week. Later the Jews did begin to assemble on the Sabbath at the local synagogues, as well as visiting the temple to bring their sacrifices. For the believer, the Sabbath was fulfilled in Christ, Heb. 4:9-11. We exercise faith in Christ and we rest from works; in the Old Testament they were to fear God and do what is right, but now salvation is no longer about doing. What day is our day of rest now? Every day!
1-3 Who is speaking? Apparently Daniel has included an account N had written of this experience he had with God. What is different here from how he spoke of God in 2:47 and 3:28-29? what God has done for HIM, not "your" or "their" God. What might this make us wonder about N? In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, preferred by the early church), these verses are part of chapter 3; chapter 4 begins with verse 4.
4-9 Why might we be told 4 as prelude to the dream? Twice now God has sent him an unusual, meaningful dream. I wonder why this time he tells the dream to his wise men? They have powers, but from who? Why can't that power interpret dreams from God? Does Satan understand or have insight into the things of God? What does N remember about Daniel? What two phrases in 8 reinforce the conflict we have seen so far in this book? Why might both names be used? 9, is Daniel now one of these, or is this saying that he is over this group of people? What does N see as different in him? Something different about his gods.
10-18 The dream. What do trees often symbolize? Nations, powers, rulers: the fig tree referring to Israel (Hos. 9:10), the olive tree used of Israel and the Gentiles (Rom. 11), the mustard seed that becomes a tree used to represent the institutional church or Christianity throughout history (Mt. 13:31-32), and others. What in 12 is sometimes also used symbolically? to symbolize what? So we wonder if that idea is in view; not every time a tree or bird is mentioned is it used symbolically--so how can we know? Context; does the context allow for the possible idea of evil lodging in the branches of the great tree?
Who is the messenger? an angel, watcher, holy one. What do we learn from these names? Apparently one of the roles of angels is to be watchers here on earth; some of the angels are assigned to be involved in the affairs of earth. In 14-15, "it" changes to what? So, a kingdom or a man?
In 16, what part of him will change? This word "change" is variously translated: changed, altered, made different, violated, damaged, same word for Daniel's face "made pale" when he has the disturbing visions later in the book. So not like you change the color of your hair or change your clothes. It changes to become like a what? Daniel will later have visions about kingdoms pictured as various beasts; how is this term used in Revelation?
We use that word to mean a large or dangerous animal, but it was often used simply of animals, a term that distinguished animals from humans. How is this term appropriate for kingdoms? Do they become dehumanized? What is the difference between an animal and a human? This term is applied especially to the final kingdom and ruler; what clue might this give us as to what is so different about that kingdom and its ruler? Today we read of plans to change the brain with a chip or implant, to supposedly improve it; if it changes our DNA, might this cause humans to not be fully human any longer? Might this be why no one who takes the mark of the beast can be saved?
"Periods of time" means what? years. In 7:25 and 12:7 we read of "time, times and half a time," so what would that be? Again our attention is drawn to the role of angels in the world; do angels play a major role in Revelation? and in the last few chapters of Daniel? What do we learn about God in the last half of 17? And about men? 18, what name is again brought to our attention? So is 13-17 a picture of the final Babylon and its ruler, as we see in Revelation? Why don't the wise men offer something--doesn't this dream seem fairly obvious?
19-23 The two names again, seeming to reinforce the basic conflict! Does N realize why Daniel hesitates? What does the description of the tree tell us about N and Babylon?
24-26 It sounds like Nebuchadnezzar will experience some sort of mental illness or insanity. There is a mental illness where someone believes they are an animal, or they act like one. There are known cases just like N. Did God cause him to act like that, or could this be naturally-occurring and God used it in His sovereign plan? Does this come out of the blue, or what have we already seen as possible pre-disposing behavior? Might God use mental as well as physical issues in our lives for His purpose?
Can a true understanding of God and the Bible, and the diligent and consistent application in one’s life, bring healing to mental, emotional, and behavior issues? (unless we are talking about structural or physical issues). The Bible and psychology both deal with guilt, anxiety, depression, bitterness, self-esteem issues such as egotism or worthlessness, living by and being controlled by feelings, past experiences. Why does psychology appeal to Christians looking for help with their problems? What IS the source of most of our problems? Sin, Self. Does psychology require you to deal with sin? Psychology focuses on and exalts Self, and seeks to remove personal guilt, not deal with it. Just get rid of relationships that are holding you back from fulfilling your true self. Don't let anyone make you change. Might Satan encourage our efforts to try other things than the Bible? God's psychology: Mat. 6:9-13, 25-34, John 3:30, Rom. 8:1,28, Phil. 2:14, 3:8-14, 4:4-7,11,13,19, I Thes. 5:16-18, I John 1:9, and many more!
27 WHY were these things about to happen? When people are told of hell, of judgment to come, do they immediately turn to Christ? Why not? What might God do if people repent when warned of judgment?
28-30 Roofs in those days were flat, and maybe like our patios. The phrase "Babylon the great" is used only here and one other place--where? Revelation, in 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2, and similarly, 17:18, 18:10,16,17,19,21. So would this be an important clue in interpreting Revelation? And especially the much debated identity of Babylon the great in Rev. 17 and 18. What other interpretation clues are in 30? This city and kingdom are in the past, so is Revelation speaking of the literal ancient city or kingdom, or using that name symbolically of something else? When the Bible uses symbolism, it gives us the clues to interpret it, so Babylon the great in Daniel would be a clue. Another clue is the first use of the name, in what place in early Genesis? Babel, the first city and kingdom recorded for us in the Bible after the flood, ruled by whom, that is also a type of the beast/Antichrist? Had God graciously warned him and given him time? Was God's purpose to punish or to change him? Same in our lives? Babylon truly was a great marvel; N was known more as a builder than a warrior. Why do you think God spoke to him just as he said those words? So it would be clear to him why.
33 Are all God's promises fulfilled? Literally? What does that tell us about prophesies not yet fulfilled? For seven years he doesn’t even know who he is. The opposite of how he was before; his ego was huge. Wouldn't it seem his enemies would take advantage? Who might have been key in protecting his kingdom for those seven years?
34-35 He looks to God, THEN his reason returns. Note the order. What does he recognize about God? Did Nebuchadnezzar now “know that God is the Lord” (a phrase we find over and over in Ezekiel)? Blessed, praised, honored: these words indicate an ongoing action, not a one time action. So does this mean the final one-world ruler will turn to God? How do we know? The Bible tells his fate. What DOES it picture? How God will humble who or what? the Gentile nations of the world, over what period of time? so that they will what? recognize who is God, who is the Messiah.
36 What impact do you suppose these events had on his counselors and nobles, and many others in his kingdom? Do you suppose they may have come to recognize the true God just as Nebuchadnezzar did?
37 Has he become a believer, or is he just giving the nod to Daniel's God? Would God include in His Word a chapter written by an unbeliever? 34 and 37, he blesses, praises, honors, and exalts the God who is true and just, he knows that God is sovereign over all. Does it sound like he repented of his sin of pride? Had God been working on him all along, confronting him with truth? Isn't it amazing that God was interested in reaching the leader of the world's greatest empire? Isn't it amazing how God took four young men in a "bad" situation (being taken captive) but used them to influence the most powerful man in the world? Can we always know if God has used us to influence someone else?
There is no secular historical confirmation of this incident in N's life, but historians have noted a seven-year period where there was no recorded military activity, perhaps when he was about 50.
1-4 Who is king now? That’s all we are told of Nebuchadnezzar. He died, and several sons ruled for short periods. Belshazzar is the son of Nabonidus and grandson of Nebuchadnezzar; remember that family terms were used loosely. This is the story of the final day of the kingdom of Babylon. He is giving this banquet as the city is being besieged by the Medes and Persians, 31; he is showing his contempt for them. The area around the city had already been taken, but the city was secure, having supplies for 20 years and massive walls, 300 feet high and 75 feet wide. The city was 13 1/2 miles square, with the great Euphrates River running through the middle of it. The city was so secure that the walls were not even guarded.
What activity are they involved in that is mentioned in each of these verses? While doing this, Belshazzar is also being defiantly sacrilegious to who, in 2 and repeated in 3? What contrasting word in 4 points us to the same conflict that has been playing out throughout this book? God vs gods. Does he sound like the higher-ups on the far left in our day? Mocking, flaunting, condescending, substance abuse, wealthy, not engaged in protecting the country? We are not told if this was an unusual event or not, but it seems likely that this was his lifestyle. Was flaunting the Jewish God a regular happening, or is it recorded here as the blasphemy that brought judgment?
5-6 Whose hand appears? God is always represented as a man, never a woman or an “it.” Is the Holy Spirit an "it"? A thing or person? Many do say "it" like just a force or spirit within us; He is God, in the Spirit. The feminists want to see God as a woman, so they have written their own version of the Bible to reflect that. Is God whoever we imagine Him to be? This is what many believe. How should this affect our conversations with someone who says they believe in God? Ask what they mean by that. When confronted with a supernatural manifestation of the true God, how does Belshazzar react? Is this how all will react at the great white throne judgment?
7-9 In an instant, from drunken mocking to abject fear. Wow. What did he promise anyone who could read and interpret this? He is called king, and rules with kingly authority, but he was only second in command; he ruled with his father Nabonidus, who was absent quite a bit. Do the wise men even make a stab at it--after all, who could disprove whatever they claimed it meant? What is God showing him, even before he knows the message? Are his gods real or not? Whose God has power? In our day, is the question, which god or belief, or is it God vs. no God? Or, who has power--man or God? Or, all of those?
10-12 What two repeated words in 11 again point to the basic conflict in this book? And all his qualities, in contrast to what group of men? What two names are again contrasted in 12? Same story, different king. Does B seem to know or know about Daniel? How does the queen know about Daniel? Is she B's wife, 2? She was the queen mother, either his mother or grandmother, so either the daughter or widow of N.
Here is another person we are told nothing about, but who certainly has a story of her own, yet these three verses are all we know of her. Why might she use those repeated words in 11? May she have become a believer, as Nebuchadnezzar apparently did? Had she been at the banquet? We might wonder why not. Is she recalling distant events, or might she as a possible believer have an ongoing relationship with Daniel? We wonder about her, from what little is told here. How many others were influenced by Daniel and his friends and by Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences?
13-16 Daniel is called; had he not retained his high position after Nebuchadnezzar’s death? Or was B just completely out of touch with those managing the kingdom? What words point to the ongoing conflict in this book? The "w" words, you/they, you are able/they could not. He is offered power just under B.
17-23 Is Daniel influenced by the same same things all political people crave? What two things did we read about Satan in Eze. 28 that he uses to corrupt man's kingdom? Money and power. B assumes Daniel is like this. Instead of giving the interpretation, what does Daniel speak of that is even more important than the message in the writing? What is the theme of this book--who is in charge, who has all the power? And what happens to those who are proud and arrogant against God? Even in today's government and business world? Up to 22, it sounds like B was ignorant of the earlier events of this book--was he? So Belshazzar had knowledge of God? How had he responded? All through this book Daniel uses his position to be a bold witness to the true God in high places, being a good steward of the abilities and opportunities God has given him. What is the lesson for us? Be faithful in using and developing our abilities and opportunities, no matter how small or insignificant, Col. 3:23-24.
24 How does Daniel use the hand to connect his confrontation of B, to the message on the wall, 24? Does it say this is God's hand? Does God the Father have a hand? If God is Spirit, He has no physical, visible body; sometimes the Bible speaks of His body parts or other human characteristics. What is an anthropomorphism? A literary device, a figure of speech, describing something non-human in human terms--for what purpose? If God is Spirit, how does He appear to people? as the second person of the Trinity, the pre-incarnate Christ, the angel of the Lord. God the Father never appears to anyone. Compare John 1:18, John 4:24, I John 4:12, Gen. 18:22, Gen. 22:11-18, Ex. 33:11, Judges 6:14-15,22, I Tim. 6:16.
25-28 Does it say these things “will” happen or have already happened? So even though the Medes and Persians take over his kingdom, who is really behind it? Are the Medes and Persians acting obediently on some message from God? Or exercising their own free will, oblivious of God? What do we learn here about God's will and His sovereignty? Is everything that happens, even bad things, divinely orchestrated to fit into God's plan for the ages? Is everything that happens, made to happen or allowed to happen? When the Lord's prayer says, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," what does that mean, in heaven?
29 Does Belshazzar punish him for the negative message? Amazing. Might his response to Daniel possibly indicate a humble accepting of his message--conviction of sin? We are not given any words of repentance or evidence of change in his attitude toward the true God, as we were of N. He might have thought this would be off in the future yet, a warning, or why bother making Daniel a ruler?
30-31 Daniel did not rule with Belshazzar/Nabonidus. Why do you suppose God didn’t give Belshazzar a year, like He did Nebuchadnezzar, before judgment fell? Belshazzar had already had chances; he knew of N's experience. Prov. 29:1. Did God know Belshazzar wasn’t going to respond? Did He know N was?
A channel of the Euphrates River ran through the city. The Persian army had diverted it by building a canal to a nearby lake. When the water receded, the army came under the sluice gate, entering the city of unguarded walls without a fight, Jer. 27:6-7 literally fulfilled. Isa. 21:1-10, prophesied before Babylon was even a kingdom, literally fulfilled. The banquet of that night is described. Elam = Persia, just east of Babylon, where the city of Susa was located, and Media, north and east. "Wilderness of the sea" (21:1)--Babylon was on a desert plain by the Persian Gulf, watered by a series of canals from the Euphrates River. This story and these prophecies parallel Babylon the great harlot of Rev. 17:1. "Who sits on many waters" is interpreted for us in 17:15; literal waters of the original Babylon picture the nations of the world. Waters/sea/coastlands often speak of the Gentiles--the nations of the world.
How does this new rule by the Medes and Persians fit into Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue? This is the second kingdom, the arms of silver; Babylon was the head of gold. Just as Babylon was corrupt and was overthrown, so the final corrupt Babylon, the final world empire, will be overthrown when Christ returns, Rev. 18:2,10, 19:1-21.
Most people think of this as the story of how God protected Daniel from the lions. I think the story is even more interesting if you see it as the story of Darius.
1-3 Who is king now? What kingdom is in control now? What is the king’s opinion of Daniel? How old might Daniel be now? Nebuchadnezzar was king for 43 years, and Daniel was captured in his first year. Satraps are princes; commissioners are like administrators, presidents.
4 Why would they do this? Political maneuvering, jealousy, power struggle. Daniel must be one of the few political figure in history that was not guilty of some type of negligence or corruption! We have no record of overt sin in Daniel’s life. Was he sinless? Compare 9:20, II Chron. 6:36, Rom. 5:12. If the Bible doesn't record someone's sins, does that mean they are sinless? If someone is "good" by human standards, are they "good" according to God's standard? Is. 61:6, Rom. 3:10-13,23.
5 A conspiracy hatches. They think they have found a way to trap him. They know he is innocent, and certainly the most worthy candidate for the position. They are willing to plot the murder of a just man. Have you ever been the innocent target of people who want to hurt you? Does the Bible promise that believers will never be mistreated by others?
6-7 Why don't they make the law permanent? It only needs to be just long enough to trap Daniel. They wanted Daniel dead; they could have made a less vicious law to trap Daniel and remove him from consideration for this high position. Also, their statement is a lie; have all consented? Was Daniel consulted? One small word makes a big difference; are we careful with our words? Is an exaggeration a lie? Especially if it is for the purpose of manipulating someone's opinion? Do Christians ever engage in this type of thing?
8 The laws of the Medes and Perians can’t be changed. We see this same thing in the book of Esther, where the king has trapped himself by signing a law that someone has designed against the Jews. Are man's schemes ever able to thwart God's purposes? Are Satan's? I John 4:4.
9 Why did he do it? Did he stop to think of any reason why it might not be a good idea? Does he wonder about the motivation of these men, what they might be trying to accomplish? Flattery massaged his ego, so he didn’t look too hard. When people play to your ego, be on guard. Satan also uses this trick.
10 What is Daniel’s response? What are some other possible responses he might have made? Why do you think he chose this path? What do we learn about Daniel from this verse? What characterized his prayers? Frequent prayer was part of his life, and perhaps the secret of his great ability as a statesman; he wasn’t a “closet” believer. His faith was visible to others but he didn’t do it to be seen; he knew what they were trying to do, but didn’t let that change anything in the way he lived his life before God. He didn’t do it now in a MORE visible way, to antagonize, to create an issue. He didn't start doing something he hadn't been doing before, just to provoke a confrontation. The consequences of his decision appeared to be a death sentence, but he seemed willing to accept that possibility. Shouldn’t he have just continued to pray but in a more hidden way? Would that choice have been “wrong”? How might this example teach us? (Why would he pray toward Jerusalem? We read this in Solomon’s prayer of dedication. II Chron. 6:36-39. God’s presence was there, in the temple, in the Holy of Holies. Is God's found today in a church building? Where is God's presence found? I Cor. 6:19)
11 They plot to come together and catch him in the act. Do they warn Daniel that his life is in danger if he doesn’t change his ways? Apparently not.
12 Instead, they go straight to the king and turn him in. Have you ever know someone with the "turn-in" mentality? They are more interested in seeing you get caught than in stopping you from doing whatever it is they don't like. Have you ever been guilty of this attitude toward someone you dislike? The Bible tells us that in the last days this attitude will be prevalent toward believers, apparently when there is persecution under the final world ruler, the Antichrist. Mt. 10:21-22, 24:9-10. Perhaps people at that time might be motivated by some sort of reward or penalty.
13 Daniel is turned in.
14 Is the king enraged? Why did he react like this? What does this tell us about the king and Daniel?
15 They again confront the king, perhaps fearful that he might find a way around the law, or that he may ignore the law. Don’t you suppose by then that the king knows why they got him to make that law? Knowing how he feels about Daniel, how do you suppose he is feeling about himself now? When we see Self for what we really are, we may even feel disgust and loathing about our own Self. Compare Paul's feelings about himself in Rom. 7:15-24.
16 Apparently that same day, the law is carried out. Who brings up the idea of God delivering Daniel--Daniel or the king? What does the king’s remark tell us about him? He knows about Daniel’s God, and has at least some idea that He is powerful enough to save Daniel. He doesn’t say he “hopes” it will happen. Does Daniel appear to be very concerned about the outcome?
17 The awful deed is done.
18 What does this tell us about Darius? I suspect he is feeling extremely guilty about his vanity, how it caused him to use bad judgment, and about Daniel’s God that he believes will deliver him. Perhaps he is experiencing conviction of his sinful actions, his sinful self, and the consequences of that sin? Sin can cause in us deep feelings of fear when we have set in motion circumstances that appear bleak. Just as we had the story of how God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar, now we see God dealing with Darius. We will see how Darius responds. He appears to have repented of his sinfulness and now chooses to trust God, not knowing what God will do, but knowing He can do the impossible.
19-20 All he can think about is Daniel. By giving in to his weakness, has he killed his good friend?
21-22 Good news!! God’s angel was probably the same one in the furnace, probably the angel of the Lord--the pre-incarnate Christ.
23 Daniel is removed to safety. Why was he safe?
24 Now the king has things straight. He now knows the others are corrupt, immoral, self-serving and back-stabbing, not the kind of men to run his kingdom. He needs men like Daniel. Unless there were a few who came as representatives of the rest, it sounds like he did away with all those men, the leaders of his kingdom, and their families.
25-27 Now here is the part we want to really focus on, the outcome of this story, and the purpose of this chapter. What can we conclude about Darius now? This is why I think that the night before, he was struggling with conviction of his own sinfulness, that as evil as those men were, he was no better himself! But Daniel’s sterling character and consistent life had pointed him to the true God. Idol worshippers did not have gods like this. Again we see God dealing with pagan nations and kings; His desire is that all men will know that He is God. We have no reason to think He only did this with a few mentioned in the Bible; I believe this is teaching us that God has been doing this throughout history, and still is. What an exciting thought! Actually, He is doing this with all men, not just kings; everyone has access to some knowledge of God, and will be held responsible for as much light as they had.
27 "Deliver" and "rescue." 16, 20 and 27 speak of delivering. 14 and 27 speak of rescuing. Neither the king nor God rescued Daniel; he was not kept from, or taken out of, the lions’ den. But he was delivered from the lions, IN the situation. Compare Dan. 3:8. There are several references in the Bible to people being rescued. The people rescued Jonathan, David rescued his two wives, someone was delivered by an army. 27 says God does both. When we are in a situation, sometimes God snatches us out of that situation--rescues us from it. But it seems that more often, He delivers us, leaving us in it and working in that situation to keep us from being overwhelmed. Why do you suppose He does that? We are faced with fear, and the decision of whether or not to trust God in the face of such great fear. God desires to build our faith more than He desires what? (to make everything feel nice for us)
28 There is some disagreement over the identity of Darius, and one view is that this verse can be translated “even” instead of “and.” Perhaps Darius was another name for Cyrus, as sometimes they went by different names. It is also thought that Darius ruled a portion of the kingdom under Cyrus. Others think that Darius ruled for two years, followed by Cyrus. There are other views also. But Dan. 1:21 says Daniel served until the first year of Cyrus.
Does Daniel ever plead for his life, to the king or to God? Does he express fear or concern? Of course we don't know his thoughts or feelings. But perhaps the explanation is found in the next two chapters. According to 7:1, the vision he records was given to him 14 years before the incident in the lions' den. The vision in Dan. 8 was given two years after the first one. I would imagine that after receiving those visions, Daniel was a changed man. After being given such insight into God's plan for the future, he may have been so humbled that he now saw himself, his life, and his problems as rather insignificant in the big picture. Surely he recognized that God was all-powerful and sovereign over all, and would do whatever He wished. Perhaps his attitude reflected Job's attitude in Job 13:15.
This begins the second section of the book of Daniel. The first six chapters are historical, dealing with incidents, and with how God was dealing with Gentile kings. The second section is prophetic. The prophetic elements in the first section were prophecies given to Gentile kings, who came to Daniel for their explanation. These next prophecies are given to Daniel himself, at different times in his life. But he has grouped them together in this section of his writings. Read the whole chapter first for context.
1 Daniel wrote this down.
2-14 is the dream, 17-27 is the interpretation. We don’t have to wonder what it means. 2, what brings about these things? In several other places--Jeremiah, Zechariah, Revelation--we read of the four corners of the earth and the four winds. Since we know there are not four literal corners, what can we take this to mean? The sea, waters, coastlands, the isles: all these are frequently used to speak of the nations of the world. So what might be happening in 2-3?
4-6 mention three beasts--a lion, a bear and a leopard. Does he actually see creatures? How do we know that? "Like" is a key word in symbolic passages. What do the creatures represent? Might the lion, bear and leopard match the gold, silver and bronze of the statue in Dan. 2? What did they represent? Babylon, Media-Persia, and Greece. The winged lion has been the symbol of Babylon. What might be pictured by the wings being plucked, then made to stand with a human mind? Nebuchadnezzar's years existing as a beast, then returning to himself and receiving his kingdom back? What is the next most powerful animal after the lion? Its two sides, one stronger than the other, might picture what? One half of Media-Persia being more powerful, which Persia was. The three ribs were Babylon, Lydian and Egypt. The next kingdom is what? The leopard lacks the strength of the first two but has what instead? Speed. What else about it speaks of swiftness? Who was the famous leader of Greece? Alexander the Great. He was indeed known for the swiftness of his conquests. The four heads represent the four divisions of the Greek kingdom following his death.
In 7, does it just crush the previous one? So might all three be in power at the time of the great tribulation? Some think these three beasts could represent possibly British empire/USA, Russia, and a coalition of eastern or Arab nations. Could the vision even speak of both interpretations? Bible prophecy often speaks of more than one layer of meaning, none of which contradict the others.
7 Is the fourth beast likened to any known animal? Nothing like it has ever been seen. How is it described? Destructive, frightening. How does it relate to the statue in Dan. 2? legs, toes. We saw that iron represented the Roman Empire, and the coming revived form of the Roman Empire. What three body parts are mentioned here? The teeth are described as iron, relating it to the statue and the Roman Empire. What do we know about its feet from the statue? So it has ten what and ten what? Could be related? It devours, crushes and tramples who? Who is the remainder? The other three beasts? The third beast? The remaining world powers? It is "different" in some unexplained way from all the other kingdoms before it. Which beast is given the most attention?
8 So there are ten horns and ten toes; then what happens? Now we are given three important pieces of information: a little horn shows up, something happens to three horns, and the little horn is not a creature but a what? a man? So we have a fourth kingdom and the one who will rule that fourth kingdom (interestingly, he is never referred to here as a man but he has eyes like a man: horn, king, prince, a despicable person, "he"). This person is also talked about in Ezekiel 28, Revelation and II Thessalonians 2. Here he is a "horn" which would be a king or power. In comparison to the other horns, he is described as smaller. What might that mean? Smaller in physical stature than other men? Or from a nation that is smaller in size or power than others? Or appearing at first to be a nobody, or someone coming out of nowhere, someone non-threatening? Or because he comes on the scene after the others so for a shorter duration? Perhaps all of these?
What two parts of him are important? What could that mean? Something is different about his eyes--physically? Why are they "like" the eyes of a man if he is a man? Apparently his eyes will distinguish him. What do eyes do? He or his kingdom have a particular ability to "see"; thinking about today's technology, what could this be referring to? Satellites, spying cameras everywhere, cell phone tracking? Satan's counterfeit Christ will counterfeit God's all-seeing and all-knowing Holy Spirit, who is omnipresent and omniscient.
What do mouths do? A controlled media that speaks for him? Making great claims?
Compare some passages in Revelation where the beast is described. 12:3, who has seven heads and ten horns? 13:1-2, who has seven heads and ten horns? Daniel mentions ten heads and three fall; how many does that leave? So what must happen? The beast of Revelation has characteristics of all the three beasts of Daniel 7; what does that tell us? And what role does the dragon play? Read Rev. 17.
We see a kingdom pictured as a beast and its leader going by several different names in various passages. In Rev. 13 John calls him the beast. I John says antichrist as coming, then speaks of antichrist as a spirit of deception, of false teachers, of those who deny the Father and the Son, of those who were already plentiful in John's day, who will be present throughout the church age. So in Daniel we are introduced to the kingdom as a beast, and in Revelation also as a person called the beast; the false prophet is described as another beast.
Here in Dan. 7, a beast is another word for a what? Animal, creature. In Rev. 4:6-8 who do we see in heaven? Compare them to the seraphim described in Isa. 6:2, the cherubim in Exo. 25:17-22, and the "living beings" in Eze. 1 and 10 (the entire chapters). The KJV calls them "beasts" in Rev. 4 while the NASB calls them "living creatures," which is the meaning of the Greek term "beasts." The word could also be translated "animals." This is apparently a term used for some sort of angelic creatures. Who comes on the scene in Rev. 13 who is referred to as "a beast" and "the beast"? Will he be a man or an angelic/demonic creature? Eze. 28, which speaks of Satan in 12-19, calling him the king of Tyre, first speaks of someone like him, under him, called the prince of Tyre, in the beginning of the chapter, which could be describing the beast; there, twice he is said to be a man and NOT God. This is interesting because Satan wants to be like God; God is a trinity, one person of whom is a man but also God--is the beast going to be Satan's "god-man"?
9-10 Who is pictured here? Note the word “like” again. Where else do we read about wheels around or under God’s throne? Ezekiel 1 and 10, where they represent what? the cherabim around the throne. Compare this description to Christ in Rev. 1:14-16. The Father and the Son are described the same way. Who are the thousands and myriads? Angels; might it include saints? Court, books, fire speak of what? So what time period? The day of judgment.
11-12 Is the beast here the person or the kingdom? What fire is this? Rev. 19:20. So the term “beast” is used both here and in Revelation to refer to that kingdom and to refer to its leader. The others lived for a short time after; what could that mean? Perhaps they were conquered but continued to be separate powers, or they were subjugated by the beast, but would continue to exist as nations in the millenial kingdom? Perhaps because after each dominion ended, elements of their culture lived on into the next empire? But not the fourth kingdom; it is completely destroyed, and no element of it remains to be an influence in the Messiah's kingdom.
13-14 Who is this? Christ, His kingdom on earth. It is clarified that the Father is on the throne and the Son is Christ, receiving His earthly kingdom. Christ is referred to as God's Son. How long will this kingdom last? Rev. 21 speaks of the new what, what, and what? Heaven, earth, Jerusalem. These will go on how long?
15-16 What is Daniel’s reaction to this vision? Whatever he saw was terrifying to him. He knew of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and he knew that God had promised Israel a kingdom that would rule over the world and a Messiah to rule that kingdom. He has probably been wondering how this will all work out. He must have figured out that Israel is not going to receive that kingdom following the captivity; other world kingdoms must come first. So now, who does he ask? Was Daniel, the interpreter of dreams, able to interpret this vision? So if we have trouble understanding it too, is that OK? The rest of this chapter is the angel’s explanation, interpreting the vision to Daniel.
17-18 Do we have to guess what the beasts picture? Hosea 13:7-8. The saints/holy ones/Israel finally receive their promised kingdom, promised throughout the Old Testament through God's prophets. I would guess that as Daniel saw the end of the 70-year captivity approaching, he had been wondering about the kingdom, if NOW they would receive what God had promised. So this vision is about HOW and WHEN that promised kingdom will come to Israel. We in the church age are living in what part of the vision? These two verses are a brief summary of the vision and its interpretation; here is this chapter in a nutshell. If we can't understand anything else from this chapter, we can understand this. Here is God's plan for the future. How could we restate these two verses in our own words? Understanding this, how should we feel about God, about the Bible, about our problems, about what we see happening in the world?
Who are the saints/holy ones? IS the church found in the Old Testament? When did the church begin Acts 2. Those who believe Israel and the church are one group--the same in God’s plan--see the church here being given the kingdom and all the promises of the Mosaic Law (but for some reason, not the curses, and not being required to keep the sacrifices, rituals, or carry out the required stonings). Since they don't take the Bible literally, they don't believe that each individual word has a specific meaning. But the Bible uses various terms to describe believers. What are some terms that refer specifically to Christians and are used only in New Testament? the church, in Christ, the body of Christ, indwelt by the Spirit, the bride. Before the cross, those terms were not used, nor are they used of believers following the rapture. Saints are spoken of in the Old Testament, New Testament, and tribulation. Here they cannot be the church because Daniel does not speak of the church at all, nor do we find the church anywhere in the Old Testament. He has been speaking about who? These saints are believing Jews. What does the Catholic church teach about saints? They are are special Christians who are on a higher plane than other Christians, who could perform miracles, and who are to be prayed to in heaven.
19-22 Like us, Daniel wants to know more about this fourth kingdom. Again we are told it is "different" in some unexplained way; it is more vicious and destructive than all the earlier ones. Like us, he wants to know more about the ten horns and that one horn in particular, before whom three fall. In 7:8 he describes it as a little horn, but here he says it is larger in appearance than the other horns; compare what we read in the next vision, 8:9. Is it speaking of the man or the kingdom? KJV says “whose look was more stout than his fellows.” Strong's also gives these terms: captain, chief, great, lord, master. Sounds like his role rather than his physical appearance.
Some think eyes are thought to refer to his knowledge or intelligence; might this be describing the man himself, or the capabilities of his kingdom? (think about how the computer, satellites, and implantable chips could be used to track us and everything we do) Or could there be something unique about his eyes? similar to human eyes but different? He is described here and elsewhere as boastful, arrogant, blasphemous. Interestingly, there are already known "creatures" that fit this description--demonic spirits or fallen angels that currently masquerade as "aliens," with unusual eyes. Do wicked angels--demons--play a big part in the end times scenario? Revelation speaks of much angel activity during the tribulation, of both good and bad angels. Might demons appear as aliens?
Unbelievers generally think "aliens" are highly evolved beings from elsewhere in the universe desiring to unselfishly help earth's inhabitants evolve to a higher form of humanity, and that they bring knowledge of higher technology. But their channeled messages, which you can read on many New Age websites, contradict that of the Bible, and echo New Age beliefs such as: we are all one, "god" is in all of us and in everything, we are all becoming god-like, we all have access to "the christ" or "the christ-consciousness" within us. They may speak of a Jesus, but specifically and vehemently deny the Jesus of the Bible; what was Satan's first lie, Gen. 3:1-5? This is parallel to the New Age belief that also specifically denying that the Jesus of the Bible was THE Christ, saying he was just one of many enlightened teachers, prophets, gurus. In Mat. 24:5, Jesus tells His disciples, inquiring about the end of the age, that the first thing that will happen is that "many will come in My name, saying, 'I am Christ.'" Might the beast be accompanied and affirmed by aliens?
The channeled demonic messages speak of a soon-coming time when there is going to be a change, a "shift" of massive proportion. They say that there are millions of people on earth who are holding back the arrival of the aliens and the age of Aquarius in which we supposedly will evolve to a higher state of consciousness--the "fifth dimension." These people are dark forces and have bad vibrations and must be cleansed from the earth. The aliens claim that they will levitate these people up to waiting UFO's and transport them to another place. Does this sound somewhat like what the Bible reveals will happen? How can these demons know this? What does this tell us about Satan and his strategy? Does Satan believe in the pre-tribulation rapture? YES! Might this be the beast's explanation for the disappearance of many people when the church (all true believers) are caught up to meet the Lord in the air? Many unbelievers have already been prepared to expect such an event.
Mat. 24:24, II Thes. 2:9, the Great Tribulation will be characterized by lying signs and wonders. II Thes. 2:11 speaks of the unbelievers during that time believing "what is false" (NASB), "the lie" (KJV). What might "the lie" be? the identity of the beast, the source of his power, the explanation of the great disappearance? What does John 8:44 say about Satan?
21-22 What does this man, or this kingdom, do? Until when? Who is the Ancient of Days in 13? Who is He in 22? Christ = God. Is this the great white throne judgment? How do we know it is not? Compare Rev. 20, the kingdom first, then the GWT. So it must be speaking of when the beast meets his fate, which is what? found where? Rev. 19:20. Who are the saints? Believing Israel. After the church has been removed, those who believe are persecuted and many are killed before Christ returns for His kingdom. Are only believing Jews killed? found where? Rev. 7:9-14.
23-25 Again it is emphasized that the fourth kingdom will be "different." KJV: diverse. Strong's: altered, changed. The word "different" is emphasized in this chapter, four times; his eyes are mentioned twice. We wonder, in what way will this kingdom and this man be different, altered, or changed from all that came before?
In this chapter we see a time line. We see the final kingdom, referred to as a beast, as were the three previous kingdoms. It includes ten kings, which seem to come on the scene AFTER the fourth beast appears. Then the little horn appears--a man. Then three kings fall before him--he subdues them.
We see the final kingdom, the ten kings, and the little horn. As it said in 20, what political move does he make? What does he say about God, 25? We see persecution of Jews, or believers. He tries to change what and what? What might that mean? This first phrase is interesting because it is also used of God in 2:21; many think he will try to change the calendar, but does it speak of time or of times? Perhaps both? The word speaks of transforming, especially for the worse, to be other/different. Also, law or laws? What might be the difference? Don't all leaders change the laws? This seems to speak of something more significant. Does he actually make these changes or just intend to? We wonder what that might mean.
Who will be given into his hand? For how long? A time = one year, times = two years, half a time = half a year. How long is that? Where else have we read about that time period? This would be the last 3 1/2 years of the seven year tribulation period. Apparently during the first 3 1/2 years, he is a powerful person, but not having TOTAL power like he does when he requires people to take the mark (Rev. 13-14). What happens to him at the end of that time? Where did we just read about this court? (7:10) His dominion taken away: Rev. 19:15,19. Destroyed forever: Rev. 19:20. When we see how every detail of the Bible dovetails, should this impact our confidence in the Bible? This is something we can refer to when pointing others to the Bible.
When we study prophecy, some future events are clear but others are more obscure from our vantage point in time. Sometimes the Bible gives us interpretation clues, but what if it does not? Why does God's Word speak of future events? Isa. 42:9, 44:8, 48:3-7. Might some obscure details only become clear to those alive at that future time? What effect is that to have on them? What effect is prophecy to have on those reading it before the time it comes to pass? When we read of events that were foretold long before they took place, and have already been fulfilled, in every detail, what effect is that to have on us?
26-27 How does it all turn out? Israel finally receives the kingdom promised by God through the Old Testament prophets; they will be the primary nation, Deut. 28:13. During Christ's earthly reign, all the nations of the world will do what? Does that mean all will believe and be saved? or give outward obedience? Does His kingdom end after the thousand years? It goes on forever. So do we sit around in heaven for eternity, just singing and praising God? What was God's original plan for man--to sit around and sing praises? Instead, to do what? Will God have work for us all to do, just like His original plan for Adam and Eve? He created them perfect and put them in a perfect environment--might this be His ultimate plan for us?
28 Do you think Daniel is relating this vision to the statue in chapter 2? Why the strong reaction now, which was not the reaction then? Because of the disturbing details about the fourth kingdom? What would you say to someone who finds prophecy scary and upsetting? Many Christians fear this knowledge of the future because they fear we will be here for the tribulation, as many teach; this is our incentive to study about the rapture and be confident in what the Bible actually teaches. If we don't learn about future prophecy, might we instead think God's plan is basically about our salvation and how we should live our lives today? Is that OK if that is all we know? Do we have to understand all the details of prophecy--what about just realizing that God HAS this big plan for the ages--how might that change our outlook on life? Wouldn't we then trust Him even more, knowing He has the future in His hands? Does our worldview affect our daily decisions, our family life, our finances, our goals and expectations, how we respond to our trials? But can we walk with the Lord just as well if we have no knowledge of prophecy or interest in it?
Now the language used is Hebrew; the preceding section, about the Gentile nations, was written in Aramaic, the language of the Gentile nations. The rest of Daniel has specific reference to Israel.
1-2 Daniel records another vision, how long after the vision of 7:1? Both were during the reign of what king, during which kingdom? Susa would become the capital of the Media-Persian empire, just east of the city of Babylon. This would be where Esther was queen under King Xerxes, and where Nehemiah was cupbearer to King Xerxes. Why does the vision take place in this specific location, at the palace of Susa, when Babylon was the capital city of the kingdom of Babylon at this time? The next few verses answer that.
3-4 The ram, in this particular location, represents what, 20? The ram was the symbol of the ancient Persian empire, with ram's horns worn on helmets into battle. Persia was represented in the zodiac by Aries, the ram. What do the two horns represent, and why is one longer and coming up later? Persia arose later than Media and was stronger. What is this like in 7:5? So what has happened to Babylon at this point in the vision? It is out of the picture now, conquered. 4 is exactly what MP did.
5-6 What is the goat, 21? What is unique about him? His great speed; his one horn, unlike other goats--why? Greece is led by a single ruler. So again we see that in the Bible, horns often symbolize what? In the zodiac Greece was the goat, Capricorn. We are given some very specific information about what Greece will do in the future. And why here--what is the place where Daniel is standing? The future capital of MP; Greece comes against MP.
7-8 Who was this famous king of Greece? Alexander the Great. As a youth he was educated by Aristotle. When his father died and he became king of Greece at 20, he began his conquests and was undefeated; after Babylon, he expanded into India. His next goal was Arabia but he died before that happened. His army was characterized by great speed. When he died in his early 30's leaving no heirs, four generals divided the kingdom. The goat is like the leopard in 7:6--speedy/wings, four horns/four heads.
9-12 Out of one of these four horns will come a small horn. The NASB says "small," the KJV says "little"; both use "little" in Dan. 7:8. He is not the little horn of Dan.7; two different Hebrew words are used. What is the "beautiful land"? Beautiful, prominent, glorious, splendor: the land of Israel in God's assessment. Dan. 11 will give greater detail about this period and this small horn, which was a historical figure, Antiochus Epiphanes, who ruled Syria from 175-164 B.C. The future little horn will arise out of the ten horns/ten toes of the final kingdom. But this small horn has similarities to that little horn, which we will see more of in Dan. 11.
Is 10 speaking of angels--host, stars? These terms do often speak of angels. Does the context of 10-12 fit with angels? What else could it be that fits the context? Host: a great number, organized as for an army. In Exodus we read of the hosts of Israel leaving Egypt. Also Gen. 22:17, 37:9-10. They are given over to him and trampled by him--it was a time of severe persecution for the Jews.
He magnified himself to be equal with whom? He was boastful and blasphemous. He gave himself the name Epiphanes, which means "God manifest"--he claimed to be the human manifestation of God. Antiochus set himself up as Israel’s king. He placed an image of Jupiter in the holy place of the temple and offered swine on the altar; this was known as the abomination of desolation. Why will Israel be given over to this man Antiochus? What has always been the cause of God using their enemies to punish them? Because of their disobedience--on account of transgression.
So Daniel's vision is speaking prophetically of a historical figure, Antiochus Epiphanes, who would appear several hundred years later and fulfill these prophecies exactly. But doesn't he also sound like someone else the Bible speaks of, in a more distant future time period the Bible speaks of? So Daniel prophesies of a historical person who is also presented here as a type of who? We often see prophecy as being given on two levels--partially fulfilled in a historical event in the near future, picturing a distant event at which time there will be complete fulfillment. How does AE picture the beast who will appear at the time of the tribulation, at the future day of the Lord? Because of what we know about the beast and how he will be empowered by Satan, what might the host of heaven and the stars be a reference to? Compare Rev. 12:7-9, Eze. 28:2 (the prince of Tyre is also a type of the beast).
13-14 Daniel hears two angels speaking. The transgression that causes horror: the abomination of desolation. There will be 2300 days, then a restoration. This was fulfilled in the days of AE. Sacrifices could not be offered from September 9, 171 BC until the Maccabean revolt and rededication of the temple on December 25, 165 BC. Hanukah is the commemoration of this event.
15-16 Could Daniel, who can interpret the dreams and visions of others, understand this vision? We see two angels here. Do we ever see angels as women? or having wings? Only the seraphim and cherubim do. Besides Daniel, where else do we meet Gabriel? Luke 1:19. The rest of this chapter are his words.
17-18 What was Daniel’s response? This was not Mary's response, so why might Daniel react like this? Fright or horror about the vision--about what is ahead for Israel, the temple of God, the time of the end.
Since we are living after the time of AE, can "the time of the end" refer to the days of AE? That time has passed, and was not the end for Israel. That prophesied time was fulfilled, and was very bad, but was also a picture of an even worse time yet to come. This section of prophecy clearly teaches us that prophecy can have more than one level of meaning, more than one time period in mind (both being equally true), that a near future prophesied event can picture a distant future complete fulfillment. God has shown Daniel deep truth that completely overwhelmed him.
19-22 The angel now explains what we read in the beginning of the chapter. What two phrases in 19 again take us from the historical context to the future?
23-25 What time words do we see, 23 and 26? How is he described? Does this describe AE or the beast? Who are they both empowered by? So does this describe HIM also? Insolent: strong of face, vehement, harsh, fierce, greedy. Intrigue: ambiguous speech, puzzles, tricks, riddles. Deceitful: what is one of Satan's names? Father of lies. Are his lies easy to spot or resist? He is an accomplished liar; his lies are very believable, attractive, desirable. Vain, wanting to be and thinking that he is like and even above God. Some think AE was demon-possessed. His rise to power, and his great power, will come from where?
He will destroy to an extraordinary degree; like 7:7,23, 2:40. Destroy can also mean or include: corrupt, decay, mar. What are we already hearing of today that can change humans at the genetic level? all humans, because it could be mandatory for all? A Covid19 vaccine. We see how easily something like that could happen. In Revelation we talked about how those who take the mark will all be damned, and how one possible reason why might be that something about the mark changes them at the DNA level, making them no longer fully human. The Covid19 vaccine brings up the possibility of this technology.
Will anyone be able to stop him? Who would be the saints or holy people? Israel is his special target, and Christians. Daniel does not speak of the church, nor does any of the Old Testament, but God uses language here that can foreshadow and include the church. He could have said "Israel" here but it's interesting that He says "the holy people."
Will wars be the main cause of mass death? Who is the Prince of princes? Against/anti Christ. But what will happen to him? Where do we read about this happening? Rev. 19:19-21.
There was none to "explain" it, 27; what had the angel in 18-19 done? Previously Daniel had been given knowledge of future events, but now he had been given what kind of information about Israel's future, 24? Daniel knew God's promises to Israel; see Deut. 28:1,9-10,13-15,47-50 (I wonder if Daniel thought about the "yoke of iron" in 48?),58-67. So as Daniel contemplates this final kingdom and ruler who will destroy even God's people, can we see why he is so sick about it, and confused? WILL Israel stay faithful to God after this seventy-year captivity ends? Under kings David and Solomon, Israel had been the primary nation, strong and undefeated; now her future looks bleak. Hadn't God chosen Israel to be His own people, and Jerusalem--Mt. Zion, the holy mountain of God--to be His habitation, to be the location of His holy temple? How could these things be?? Prophets were often given bleak information about coming judgment for Israel along with a warning to repent, yet Daniel was not to warn his people but keep this knowledge to himself, so he just wrote it down. Daniel had already seen the first two of the four kingdoms; might he assume that the next two might happen in a similar time frame, and then Israel's Messiah and kingdom would come? Had Daniel been given any information yet on a time frame? But the next vision, in the next chapter, WILL address a time frame.
Might we too feel confused and upset when we think about what the Bible reveals about the end times? Why does God want us to know these things before they happen? This knowledge made Daniel so numb and sick that he was unable to work for days. The angel, 16, came to give Daniel understanding, but all he understood was that this was for the future. We are able to understand better than Daniel, because we have the rest of the Bible to shed further light, plus history. He did not know about God’s plan for the church or how this fit with God’s plan for Israel; we do. God has a plan for Israel, for the Gentiles (the “nations”), for the church, and for each of us as individuals; they are all intertwined in God's sovereign plan.
This information is not necessary to your daily Christian walk, if you find it too overwhelming to think about. Some people think it is unnecessary or inappropriate to study about the end times, or that we can't understand it or figure out what the Bible really means, and shouldn't waste our time on it. According to Acts 17, Paul was only in Thessalonica for less than a month, but according to his two letters to the Thessalonians, he had taught them about the rapture, the day of the Lord, the beast, the tribulation, and the second coming of Christ. Paul considered this subject important for new believers.
We look forward to being caught up, as the New Testament tells us to, but what comes after that and before the glorious kingdom is truly frightening. It is the time when God uses frightening events and frightening people to pour out His wrath on the earth, as He judges man's evil and purges and purifies Israel in preparation for them to finally recognize and receive their Messiah. Does the church need to be frightened by these frightening events? Why not? We will not be here for them, although we may see disturbing stage-setting as the day approaches.
Jesus tells us to pray "Thy kingdom come." The rapture and the tribulation must first come before that can happen, so when we pray "Thy kingdom come," we are actually praying what, Rev. 22:20? II Pet. 3:12 says we are to be "looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God." Jesus tells in Luke 21:24, "Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled," which began with Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 1 and will end at the end of the tribulation. Paul says in Rom. 11:25 that we ought not to be ignorant (KJV), or uninformed (NASB), "that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." When the church age is completed, God will once again deal with Israel, and complete the plan laid out for us in Daniel. We will read more details of that plan in the next four chapters. God's promises to Israel of the kingdom must and will be fulfilled.
1-3 When does this take place? Darius was "made king"--so, by someone over him. He ruled the province of Babylon called Chaldea, just one part of the greater kingdom of Mesia-Persia, which was ruled by Cyrus. This would be 67 years after Daniel’s captivity. Daniel's visions in chapters 7 and 8 took place during the reign of Belshazzar, Babylon's final king. Then a couple years later, chapter 5 took place, and Daniel saw part of his first vision, as well as part of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, fulfilled as Babylon was conquered by Media-Persia. This chapter takes place in the next year. Chapter 6 also took place in this year, but we don't know if it happened before or after this vision.
Daniel had served in one world empire; now the second has come into being. God had told of four kingdoms that would come to power before Israel's promised kingdom. Might he be thinking the next two would have a similar timeframe, and Israel's kingdom is not that far off? The dream and two previous visions had not spoken of a timeframe, but this vision will.
Why was Daniel praying--what was on his mind? He was familiar with the prophecies of Jeremiah, who was somewhat Daniel's contemporary, but older; were his writings already recognized as Scripture? Many Christians today claim to have a vision or prophetic word from God; are those considered Scripture? Why not? If it truly is from God, must every detail of it come true? Daniel's concern is not for the people's captivity, but for 70 years of what?
WHY had they been removed from their land, and why for 70 years? Lev. 25:1-7, II Chron. 36:15-21. Had they obeyed that law? Why not? So the land would now rest all those years to make up for its lack of rest; they were removed from it. Was it still their land? Deut. 28:15,32-36
Why did Israel have such a love and reverence for that Jerusalem? God had chosen that place on earth to be where His presence dwelt, where He met with man, in the temple, in the Holy Place. Jeremiah's writing were the context of Daniel's prayer--what had Jeremiah said? Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10 (briefly review Jer. 25-33).
How does Daniel pray, 3? Why like this--what does this reveal about his state of mind, his approach to God? Outward signs of mourning. Is this a model for how we should pray? Why not? Do we, the church, approach God in outward signs of mourning, hoping to gain His favor and forgiveness? Do we pray with inward mourning? Maybe if we are confessing sin? What is to be the Christian's approach to prayer? Heb. 4:16, I Thes. 5:16-18, Mat. 6:9-13. Come boldly, pray without ceasing, rejoice not mourn. Why is prayer any different before and after the cross?
4-6 Daniel begins his prayer. 4-19 is his prayer of confession on behalf of Israel. Notice how he begins--typical of what we have seen in the Old Testament. What do we usually see first in these prayers? Humble recognition of who God is, praise, then recognition of sinfulness, and repentance.
God’s blessings reserved for those who what and what? Could we say this defines for us what love for God is? So is it a warm joyful feeling that makes us want to sing to Him? What if we have loving feelings, and tell Him and sing how much we love Him, but don't really obey Him? Is love and obey an Old Testament concept? John 3:36 equates what two things?
5, do these all mean the same thing? No: evil deeds, rebelliousness, missing the mark, failing to do what should have been done. What is the difference between saying, “forgive me my sins" and naming them? Is he speaking of all Israel or himself? What specific sin was Israel guilty of, 6? So today, this sin would be what? Ignoring God's written Word. Where have we read anything about Daniel's own sin? Can we confess someone else's sin? Why would he confess the nation's sins?
Were the blessings or curses for the nation Israel or for individuals? Does that mean God did not also deal with individuals and work in individual lives? Where in the Old Testament do we read about how God deals with righteous and unrighteous individuals? Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Do we ever see individuals confessing their own sins and saying, punish those other Jews but not me because I am obeying? We see them praying and confessing for their nation as a whole because they realized they would stand or fall together. Does God deal with the church the same way? We need to keep this difference in mind as we read about Israel and try to apply what we read to our situation.
7-14 What belongs to God? And what to them? Was this the attitude Adam and Eve had toward their sin? Does Daniel pass the buck or blame others? Does he whine, explain, justify, or ask God WHY He made us like He did? Doesn't that put the blame on God? He mentions Judah, Jerusalem, and Israel--who would be those nearby? A few Jews were left there to take care of the land--and the rest?
Daniel recognizes the captivity as the fulfillment of the curse written in the Law, and that they deserve this curse. Is this prayer a model for our nation or any nation? Only Israel can respond to God as a nation, because Israel is the only nation God chose as a nation and put them under His rule. Only Israel was meant to be a theocracy. Some American Christians--dominionists, kingdom now theology--believe America is now God's chosen nation, that He has cast aside Israel, and that all these things should and do apply to us, that we ought to be a theocracy, under the Law of Moses. Some are prominent Christians and some are prominent in government. These often talk about how America needs to repent; what is the verse they always use? II Chron. 7:14. They say that the church is included in "My people, who are called by My name." To see why that verse doesn't apply to the church, and to understand the context of Daniel's prayer, read II Chron. 6 and 7.
If this is not a model for prayer today, where DO we find instructions for the church? in the epistles. We learn how Paul prays for the church, for himself, and how we are to pray. Do we find mournfulness, groveling in our sinfulness or in the church's sinfulness? Why not? Do we ever see one person praying and confessing on behalf of the entire church? What DID we see one person do on behalf of the entire church? Again we notice differences in Israel and the church, and differences before and after the cross. God dealt with Israel as a nation; the sins of some had repercussions for all.
Is that how God deals with the church? Does God see the church as sinful? Rather, as what, II Cor. 11:2, Eph. 5:27? Why? Because He sees us through Christ. We now have an intimate relationship with God through Christ our Mediator, and are to be in constant communion with Him. The church is His bride, His body, and we are to be rejoicing in everything. Were things different before Christ, under the Law? Is everything in the Old Testament written "to" us (the church)? But is it all "for" us? For our learning, for our understanding of the Bible, of what God is doing, who He is.
15-20 "And now, O Lord": now that he has confessed, he begins his petition. What is his first request, 16? Is it about freeing or helping the captive people? No--the city! He refers to it as what, 16? We see this terminology elsewhere. He is concerned about the city and the what? End of 16, the city and the what? 17, the what? Why were these two things so important to God's people? Is this the way we are to feel about our church building? Why not--what is the difference?
18, does God not always see or hear--do we need to remind Him? When they pray like this in the Bible, or when they ask Him to remember them, they are asking God to act. What important truth in 18 DOES apply equally to the church? Do we have anything to offer, any ground to stand on, any bargaining power? 19, he asks God to do what two things? Does he suggest what action God should take? What is the basis of his concern? How many of our prayers are asking God to fix or improve things for our sake or someone else's sake, that we are so tired of this situation--how much do we realize that as sinners we are not even worthy of God doing us any favors? Does God delay? Why does it seem that way to us?
19 speaks of "your/thy" what, what, what and what? How does this remind us of the beginning of the Lord's prayer, Mat. 6:9-10? Thy what, what and what? What does this aspect of both these prayers teach us?
20-21 He says, "my sin." Do we have any record of Daniel’s sins? Can sin even be stuff that doesn't looks bad to others? Is it true that the closer you get to God, the less sinful you become? Or do you become more aware of your sinfulness, pride and self-centeredness? Daniel appears to be as godly as any man in the Bible or more so, but he humbly includes himself in Israel's sinfulness, because He is part of the nation. We see that Daniel's prayer has been grounded in a knowledge of God's Word and God's will.
The plot thickens--what happens during this prayer? Why might Daniel be weary? We see again that angels appear as what? NASB: "came to me." KJV: "being caused to fly swiftly, touched me." The angel touched Daniel in the precious vision, although not in the first one, and will also in the next one. Has Daniel even finished his prayer? Compare Isa. 65:24--have you ever had this happen? Can offerings be made now, without the temple? He refers to a particular time of day.
22-23 So do we need to seek an angel when we need insight or understanding? Why not? When was he sent? Did he get there instantly? In the next chapter we will find out why. KJV: "beloved," NASB: "greatly esteemed." The Hebrew word is not translated "beloved" or "greatly beloved" anywhere else, so it seems "esteemed" may be more accurate. Does it say he is esteemed by God, or could it be referring to Daniel's standing with men, to his role in the kingdoms God has been telling him about? Are WE greatly beloved? Why? Because we are lovable? Because we are IN CHRIST, the Beloved.
24-27 These four verses are key to understanding God’s prophetic timetable. 24 gives the overview of the prophecy, in terms of 70 weeks/sevens. 25 speaks of the first 69 weeks or sevens--a decree, and two time periods from the decree until the Messiah. 26 speaks of what happens between the 69th and 70th weeks or sevens--the Messiah cut off, the people of the prince who is to come, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. 27 speaks of the final week or seven--a covenant, the abomination in the middle of that seven. First we will talk about the 70 weeks; then we will see how this passage fits with the rest of Scripture.
Could this be referring to 70 literal weeks? Context: Daniel has been thinking about 70 what? Years--the captivity. We are to begin counting from what historical event? When was this decree? Neh. 2:1-8, this was 445 BC. If literal weeks, then the six events listed in 24 must have already happened--have they? When WILL they take place? Who do these events concern? So their nation's rebellion against God must end, their sin against God will stop; how will iniquity be atoned for? The Messiah, the cross. When will everlasting righteousness come? Starting with the millenial kingdom, which comes on the heels of these 70 weeks. At that time, everything will be fulfilled that has been promised through the prophets. And if the most holy place is anointed/consecrated, that tells us it has been rebuilt and is functioning. Since these events clearly have not taken place during the 69 days, weeks, or even months following that decree, we wonder if it could mean years. Years fit with the time of the decree until the time the Messiah presented Himself to Israel as King at the triumphal entry to Jerusalem.
There are charts and graphics that explain this passage, but it will be easier to understand if we make our own graphic. This information can be easily organized and pictured as an algebra equation, which we all did in school, where we had to solve for "x" and rewrite and simplify the equation till it was solved. If you are taking notes, leave many lines open under this equation because we will be rewriting it a few times and adding some labels; it might be good to just write your equations on a separate page.
First write what we know from verse 24:
How many is a week? So add to this equation so it says:
70 weeks = 70 (weeks of years) = 70 (7 years) = 490 years
This is the time period the angel speaks of. So we could read 24 as: "490 years have been decreed for your people and your holy city...etc"
Under that, write what the angel says in verse 25:
7 (weeks of years) + 62 (weeks of years)
How many is a week? Seven. So under your equation, rewrite it, substituting 7 for "weeks of":
7 (7 years) + 62 (7 years)
Under that, simplify and rewrite your new equation, removing the parentheses, and solve, so:
49 years + 434 years = 483 years
Does 483 equal 490? How many are we missing? The last seven years. So here the angel tells Daniel about things that will happen to Israel before that last seven years. We see several time periods here--a shorter one, a longer one, then the last seven years.
Write a new equation, leaving a big space before and after the last plus sign:
7 (weeks of years) + 62 (weeks of years) + 1 (week of years) = 70 (weeks of years)
The first 49 years takes us from the decree in 445 BC to the end of the book of Malachi, which is the end of the Old Testament. Under the 7 weeks of years (the 49 years), write this information.
How much time passes between the Old and New Testament? 400 years--the 400 silent years; God did not speak through any prophets during this time. The New Testament Gospels are about what? So the 434 years takes us from the end of the Old Testament through what? Through Christ's coming and His life, to the day He presented Himself to Israel as King, at what event? The triumphal entry into Jerusalem the Sunday before Easter, just days before His death, Luke 19:14. Does Israel accept Him as their Messiah? So what happens to Him? He is crucified. The Messiah is what, Dan. 9:26? "Cut off" referred to what penalty in the Law, "cut off from your people?" Meaning what? Put to death. The angel is foretelling that Israel will reject her Messiah when He comes.
Under the 62 weeks of years (the 434 years), write SILENCE, followed by an arrow pointing down to show Christ came from heaven to earth. Then draw a cross. (Different scholars come up with slightly different dates; there are books available that explain the details of figuring this time period, taking into consideration the Jewish calendar years of 360 days, leap years, etc.)
Have the first 69 weeks of years taken place? Yes. Have all the events of 9:24 been completed? No, but do we have 70 weeks of years yet?
26 Now let's look at what happens after the 69 sevens. The Messiah is cut off, and what else happens? What people destroyed the city and the temple in 70 AD? The Romans--not with a flood of water, so "flood" must symbolically speak of what? An army. What part of Nebuchadnezzar's statue were they? The legs. 26 describes these people how? Who would this prince be? He has been spoken of in both Daniel's previous visions. Remember that Daniel's big concern was Jerusalem and the temple, so here he finds out what happens to them. How must he be feeling here? Devastated?
27 Who does "he" refer back to? So what do we learn about the identity of this prince--the little horn of the first vision, the small horn of the second vision? He goes by many names; he is the beast of Revelation, the man of sin/lawlessness of II Thes. 2:3,8, the prince of Tyre of Eze. 28:1-10. What is the first thing "he" does, 27? Depending on your translation, he will either make a firm covenant or he will confirm a covenant, for how long? What will he do next? The abomination of desolation. When does he do that? This is also spoken of in Mat. 24:15-22. How is that time period described in 21? Great tribulation. In comparison to what term in 9? TRIBULATION.
The middle of the week = the middle of what? Seven years. So at what point does he do this? After three and a half years. Under our equation, under the final week of years, write (spaced out so we can label under each part) 3 1/2 + 3 1/2. Just before the first 3, draw an arrow down and under the arrow write PRINCE/COVENANT. Under the first 3 1/2 years, write TRIBULATION. Under the plus sign write AOD. Under the last 3 1/2 years write GREAT TRIBULATION. This period of time, this final 3 1/2 years, is also mentioned in Dan. 7:25, 12:6, Rev. 11:2-3, 12:6,14, 13:5.
Now let's look at the plus sign and the big gap in our equation. How do we know to leave a gap there? The angel separated the 69 weeks from the 70th, but Daniel was not told of a gap of time. Or was he? In 26, what happens to the temple? When? After the 7 and 62 weeks, so after the 69 weeks of years. In the middle of the last seven years, 27, sacrifice is stopped; what does that imply about the temple? It is back in place. Could that happen that fast? There must be a gap of time.
The length of the time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks was not revealed. We speak of a "gap" although the Bible doesn't use that term; neither does it use the terms "trinity," "original sin," "rapture," or "the fall," but that doesn't mean it doesn't contain and teach those concepts. The Bible does refer to this "gap" in various places. Let's look at those.
Hosea 3:4-5, when was their last king? When will they next have a king? After an indefinite period, “for many days,” until when? When will that take place? After the close of the church age, which lasts how many years? an unknown period of time.
Luke 4:16-21, where He read from Isa. 61:1-2, but stopped in the middle of the verse and said that these things have been fulfilled. Why did He not read the rest of the verse? He was indicating that there is a time gap in the middle of that verse; when will the last part be fulfilled? At His second coming, at the end of the seventieth week.
Luke 19:11-15. How does this parable speak of the unknown time period, the time gap before the final seven years?
Acts 1:6-7, Jesus is leaving and the disciples ask about what? the beginning of the kingdom. The kingdom obviously can't begin until He returns--the second coming. What does Jesus say about how long that will be? We are in the time of the church age; are we told how long it lasts? There is an unknown time gap between His leaving and His second coming, at the end of the seventieth week.
John 14:3, does Jesus say how much time will pass between His leaving and His return? What do we call this time period--the age of what? grace, or the what age? church age. Do we know how long that period is? It is an unspecified gap of time in which we are now living.
Under your plus sign in the gap, write CHURCH AGE. What event ends the church age? So after those words draw an arrow pointing up, to picture the RAPTURE. Finally, draw another arrow pointing down, to show the SECOND COMING of Christ--where? After the last 3 1/2, after GREAT TRIBULATION. And after that, draw a K, for KINGDOM. The angel in this chapter does not speak of the second coming or the kingdom, but we read about the kingdom of God that followed man's kingdoms earlier in this book, where? 2:44, 7:13-14.
Your diagram might look something like this. If you like, you could add a couple symbols: a cross above CRUCIFIXION, an arrow pointing up above RESURRECTION, an arrow pointing up above RAPTURE, an arrow pointing down above SECOND COMING.
49 yrs + 434 yrs + 7 yrs = 490 yrs
7 (weeks) + 62 (weeks) + 1 (week) = 70 weeks
AC 3.5 + 3.5
Decree 400 C R Church R P T A G S K
445 BC silent R E Age A R R O R E I
to end of yrs + U S P I I D E C N
Malachi life of C U T N B A O G
end of OT Jesus I R U C U T N D
F R R E L D O
I E E / A T M
X C C T R C
I T O I I O
O I V O B M
N O E N I
N N N
So here in 27 we have the final week of Daniel's seventy weeks--the final seven years of our equation. We will learn more about it in the next few chapters. As we saw in our diagram, Daniel gives us an important timeline of endtimes events. He tells us how people will recognize the day the tribulation begins, that it is seven years in length, and what happens at the midpoint. Daniel also presents two important doctrines that are not spelled out but are clearly taught here: the fact of dispensations, and because of that, the fact that the rapture must take place before the tribulation. The church cannot be here during any part of the final seven years; the seventy weeks of years are God's plan for Israel. The church age takes place in the gap of time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week of years. The seventy weeks of years must all take place for God's plan for Israel to be completed, which will result in the second coming of the Messiah to put into place His prophesied earthly kingdom. The church age does not overlap with Israel's seventy weeks of years; the various dispensations in the Bible do not overlap. The church MUST be removed before the final seven years. So we see that Daniel clearly teaches both dispensationalism and the pre-tribulation rapture of the church.
The seven-year tribulation comes after the church is removed, but some people are confused because the Bible also speaks of us having tribulation; does this mean we, the church, will go through the seven-year tribulation? No. This term can also mean trials--distress, trouble, affliction, oppression--as well as persecution. These things have happened to Christians throughout the church age. The Old Testament saints were promised physical blessing, safety, and deliverance if they obeyed God; the church is not promised this, but rather, spiritual blessings, Eph. 1:3. We are told to expect trials, John 16:33, Acts 14:22, Rom. 8:35, II Cor. 1:5, Phil. 1:29-30, I Thes. 3:3, II Tim. 3:12, I Pet. 4:12-19.
Did Daniel know about the church and this period of time? The church was not revealed in the Old Testament, nor was the time period we call the church age. We can see hints and foreshadowings, but it was not foretold. The New Testament calls this a “mystery,” Eph. 3:8-11. In the Bible, a mystery is not something we can’t figure out, like a whodunnit, but rather, as what? Something in God's plan which was not previously revealed and now is. The church age and the rapture are not mentioned in Daniel or the Old Testament but we can see how and where they fit in.
We have seen that God uses specific time periods when dealing with Israel. Has God given the church any specific dates or time periods? The church age will end when what happens? The rapture--when the church is caught up to meet Christ in the air. Review I Cor. 15:51-52, I Thes. 4:13-5:11, II Thes. 2:1-12.
The seventieth week will begin when what happens, according to Dan. 9:27? The rapture does not begin the seven years; we are not told how much time elapses between the rapture and the signing. Even though the church age and the rapture are not overtly spoken of here or anywhere in the Old Testament, we see that the timeline of these four verses supports the teaching of II Thes. 2 that the church age ends at the rapture, which must happen before the last seven years of God's plan for Israel can begin. Israel is in the dispensation of the law. The church age is the dispensation of grace. The dispensations do not overlap; the church cannot be present on earth during the final seven years. The rapture must take place before the tribulation begins: the pre-tribulation rapture. Nor does the Bible support the teaching that only some of the church will be raptured--only those watching, or only those walking with the Lord, or only those good enough. The church age must end before the tribulation begins.
Who is the seven-year covenant made with? We see the making (NASB) or confirming (KJV) of a seven-year covenant/treaty with "many" (KJV) or “the many" (NASB). Most seem to think this means Israel, although it doesn’t say that specifically; it could mean a number of nations including Israel. However, the phrase “the many” is used several more times in Daniel and each time seems to refer to Israel, 11:33, 11:39, 12:3. In the middle of the seven he breaks the agreement, and things go very badly for Israel.
Rev. 12:13-17 tells of the great persecution of Israel for three and a half years, which would be the second three and a half years of the tribulation--the great tribulation. Isa. 28:15-18 is a description of this time; the covenant being with death and Sheol are further evidence of the satanic power behind this man. Falsehood and deception will mark this period and this man. Compare Mat. 24:4-5,11,21-24.
Dan. 9:27 tells us he will end sacrifice and offering, so what must have already been built? Has this happened yet--is there a temple today? So we know from this phrase that the temple and the offerings will have been restored by that time. This is why we assume that permission to build the temple is part of the covenant he makes with Israel, and this takes place during the first three and a half years. This prince begins as a political world ruler, but after the first three and a half years, he assumes the role of world religious leader also. Compare Rev. 13. We see a global government and a one-world religion. Why is he called the "prince" who is to come--why not king? Who is the king that he rules under?
"On the wing of abominations" he "makes desolate", or causes horrors: a time of great persecution and unprecedented horror follows this event. There are a number of Bible references to the abomination of desolation in the middle of the seven years. "Wing" can have several connotations. The Hebrew word doesn't seem to be about birds or flying, but rather: an edge, extremity, corner, end, border, pinnacle or uttermost part (perhaps of a building, as the temple), or overspreading like a wing does. "Abomination" speaks not just of sin, but something disgusting, filthy, idolatrous.
Here is a comparison of the last half of this verse in several translations.
NASB: and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
KJV: and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
CSB: and the abomination of desolation will be on the wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.
NIV: and at the temple he shall set up the abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
The NASB speaks of "he" in the first half of 27, then says "will come one who"--almost like it is speaking of someone or something else? In Rev. 11:7 John tells of the beast that comes up out of the abyss (the abode of demons, not men), apparently at the midpoint of the seven years, even though he has already introduced the Antichrist as the rider on the white horse, 6:2, at the start of the seven years. What is going on here? We find clues that make us wonder if the Antichrist becomes the beast at this point, and being Satan's imitation Christ, also takes on a dual nature, imitating the God/man, for his three-and-a-half year reign of terror?
So the angel combines a number of terms that speak of desecration of the holy temple to an extreme degree, and horrors to follow to an extreme degree. The Jews, and Daniel in particular, seemed to be more concerned with God's city and the temple than even with their own welfare as a people.
God sent Gabriel to answer Daniel’s questions about when Israel will come into her kingdom; will it be right away? These periods of times and these events must take place first. We see how important it is to read and study the whole Bible before attempting to interpret and understand prophetic passages. The Bible interprets itself if we compare and contrast passages. We see that our understanding of endtimes prophecy comes mainly from merging Dan. 9, Mat. 24, I Cor. 15:51-52, I Thes, 4-5, II Thes. 2, and Revelation. There is also much in Psalms and the prophets about the beast, the tribulation, the second coming, and the kingdom.
1-3 A third vision, to who? Why both names here? Did we see this said in the other vision accounts? It could be a reminder of what the renaming represented; it could be clarifying the identity of the writer, just as he also gives the date and location of this vision. This is the last time both names are used.
Was chapter 9 a vision? That term was never used; how was it described? A visit by an angel. When does it take place? Compare to 9:1. This is several years later, so Daniel is even older now, in his 80s.
Was he able to understand this vision? The vision itself is recorded in Dan. 11 and 12; in this chapter, we learn what went on before the message of the vision was given, behind the scenes in the unseen world of spiritual warfare, of angels and demons. We also have Daniel’s response to the vision and to the angel. He will be given details about conflict, warfare--in this chapter, heavenly, and in the next chapter, earthly, involving his people's future.
Was Daniel fasting? That word is not used. Fasting was a way of showing mourning; how did Daniel express his mourning here? Not indulging in pleasing foods--subsistence eating, denying self of normal pleasures. Tasty: same word for "highly esteemed" (KJV: greatly beloved) in 11, 19, as well as 9:23. Isn't this the same way his eating was described in 1:8-16? Was that about mourning? So we see differing motives.
4-6 His first vision happened when he was in bed, the second we are not told where--the angel visit happened while he was praying. We are just told the year of those. Now we are given what time details? We wonder why he was mourning then--there seems to be some significance to the date, that his three-week mourning ended on the twenty-fourth day of the first month on the Jewish calendar.
On the Jewish calendar, the first month was Abib, or April. The new year began with a two-day celebration of the new moon. The feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread took place from the fourteenth to the twenty-first of the first month, although the Jews did not observe these during the captivity. Daniel seems to have mourned from just after the new moon celebration through Passover and until three days after the feast period ended. Why?
What had happened in the first year of Cyrus’s reign? Ezra 1:1-4. Israel’s 70 years of captivity were ended; had they all returned to their land? Only a small percentage returned. Why might such a devout Jew as Daniel not return? His advanced age? His responsibilities in Babylon? Is he sad he could not return? Is he sad because he is contemplating what he has learned about Israel's future?
The Bible often mentions the Euphrates, often called the great river, but this is the only reference to the Tigris other than Gen. 2:14, which tells of the four rivers in the garden of Eden; the Tigris is also a great river. The city of Babylon was located between those two parallel great rivers, and just above Babylon they were only 35 miles apart.
Someone appears to him in a vision; an angel? Or Christ--the angel of the Lord, the one who had been with his friends in the furnace, and perhaps with him in the lion's den? Gabriel was not described like this in 8:15-16, but compare Rev. 1:12-16. "A certain man" is sometimes used in parables in Luke to refer to God; other descriptions of angels don’t use this term.
7-9 If this was Christ, this is similar to Paul seeing Christ on the road to Damascus; those who were with him heard a voice but could not see Him. Daniel’s response to being in his presence; what will it be like when we find ourselves in God’s presence? Deep awe, fear, humility, awareness of our sinfulness, no strength left? But at the rapture, when the Bridegroom comes for His bride, can this be our reaction as we rise to meet Him in the air? Perhaps what we see in the Old Testament, before the cross, is not the same for the church, the bride, after the cross? Yet we do have Rev. 1:17. Might our response to Christ be different than our response to the Father on the throne?
10-11 Someone touches Daniel. If the certain man was Christ, this seems to be an angel, because of what he says in the rest of this chapter. He may be Gabriel, who spoke to Daniel in the last chapter, but this angel is unidentified. We will learn a number of things in this chapter about angels, like what in 11? God sends them; might He send them to us? Those who have no interest in prophecy say, don’t concern yourself with a “morbid” desire to know the future; does God want us to have some understanding of future events, of His ultimate plan and purpose? Would this be important to know in an important relationship such as with a spouse or business partner--what their plans are for the future? Everything God has revealed to us are things He wants us to know.
Daniel was highly esteemed, or greatly beloved--an important, valuable man. Is this saying, in the eyes of those around him, or in God's eyes? Should we take this to mean some are more highly esteemed or beloved by God than others? And if so, among believers? Or is this another way of setting him apart from the pagans he lived among? Or is this how God feels toward all believers? Should we take this to support the Christian self-esteem teaching prevalent today that God loves us because we are desirable, worthy, that He is "in love" with us? But we do know God is pleased when we obey him, and we should strive to be pleasing to Him.
12-14 Why do God's angels often begin by saying, "fear not," yet Satan and his demons don't? Apparently God's angels have some of God's glory, which overwhelms those to whom they appear, perhaps causing instant awareness of their sinfulness and mortality? Satan and his demons not only don't have God's glory but disguise themselves and come to deceive.
His mourning and self-denial included what other two things? Humbling himself before God, and prayer for understanding what God had previously showed him about the future of his people. Many teach that fasting ought to be part of our prayer life; if so, what is our purpose in fasting? Mourning? Self-abasement? To get God to answer our prayers? To feel like we are doing something to make us more worthy of getting our prayer answered? Do the epistles--the directions to the church--teach us to pray this way? Does Paul fast and pray, or tell us to? What is different now? We live after the cross; we are to pray how? Without ceasing, with rejoicing and thanksgiving, boldly, praying and believing, trusting God. Compare Col. 2:16-23. Whether or not you choose to fast or deny yourself some foods, what does 2:16 say about that? We shouldn't judge those who choose differently than us. What did Daniel desire to understand, 14? Does God want US to have an understanding of the future? Why? Even if we, like Daniel, find it disturbing? The angel speaks of another vision--Daniel's third vision. But does God want us to know our immediate future, as individuals--what will take place today or tomorrow or in our future? Why not?
How many characters do we see in 13? Would this be an angel speaking, or Christ, who seemed to be the one in 5-9? Sounds like an angel; he speaks through chapter 12. What do we observe about the term "prince"? What do we learn about the unseen spiritual realm? Does this mean that every prince spoken of in the Bible is a supernatural being? Obviously not; how can we know? Context, comparing Scripture with Scripture. We find similar terminology in the New Testament, John 12:31, Jesus calls Satan “the ruler of this world.” Eph. 2:2, Paul calls him “the PRINCE of the power of the air.” Might that mean "the power of the air" refers to the fallen angels and their realm? In Rom. 8:38, Paul speaks of angels, principalities, and powers, so those terms are all related. Eph. 6:12, who is our struggle against?
If the princes here are angelic beings, who would the kings be? So the angel distinguishes between the actual human rulers and the spiritual forces at work in human kingdoms. Why would the demon in charge of Persia not want him to come to Daniel--what was he coming to do? He was about to reveal some hidden information about what? The future of Persia and Satan’s agenda. Does Satan want us to have this information? Does God? Michael is one of two angels who are named in the Bible; the other is Gabriel. He is an archangel; does it sound like he is the only one? Are all angels and demons equally powerful, of equal rank? Jesus speaks of unclean spirits in Mat. 12:43-45; are they all equally wicked?
What two princes did we read about in the previous chapter? The Messiah is frequently referred to as both Prince and King. What might this say about the Antichrist--the beast? There is more evidence in the Bible to support this possibility, which we will examine at the end of this chapter.
It's not clear if Daniel planned to mourn and pray three weeks and it had come to an end, then the angel showed up, or if he showed up three weeks into Daniel's time of praying and mourning. Who is the vision about? And what time period is it about?
15-17 Why might Daniel react like this? Overwhelmed with his sinful humanity in the presence of an angel? Physical weakness due to his age? Fear and dread, remembering the previous two visions and how that knowledge affected him? When we see Jesus, will we fall on our faces? This is before the cross; do you think that will make any difference? Where will we meet Him? So how could we fall on our faces when we meet Him? We are the bride of Christ; how might a bride react? a bridegroom? Might it be different in the presence of the Father on His throne? Interesting choice of words: no strength in me. Isn't this what the New Testament teaches about the flesh, Self, the old nature--what we are to come to recognize?
18-21 What is apparently one thing angels do for us? We have other instances in the Bible of angels ministering in this way, to Elijah, to Jesus. What things does the angel remind him, that strengthens him for what is coming? We see some things that God supplies for us; how does He do that? He sends experiences into our lives which allow us to develop those qualities. Does He sometimes supernaturally supply those qualities in time of need? Daniel is now strong enough to do what? Just to listen!
Might this mean that these two demons are actually in charge of these two kingdoms--ruling them through a human king they control or possess? Or might it mean that they are assigned to them, to try to manipulate people and events to fit Satan's goals and strategies? Might we wonder from this if there are demons assigned to every kingdom? Or might these be key kingdoms in God's plan and so are of special concern to Satan? Just as we have seen God dealing with kings--that they might know that He is God--so we see Satan at work.
So in spite of the opposition, he WILL tell Daniel--tell him what? It's already written down, and God's writings are what? The Bible claims, in many places and many ways, to be God's TRUTH; if any part of it is not, then it is a book of lies, and mo part of it should be trusted. Don't many pick and choose what parts to believe? Why do some people actually believe they have the ability to discern what parts are true and what parts are not? Michael is "your" prince--the angel of the nation of Israel. Where else do we read about Michael? Dan. 12:1 (again, assigned to Israel), Jude 9, Rev. 12:7.
This passage tells us of unseen spiritual warfare that is taking place, which is important for us to understand. But it is NOT the same as today's unbiblical SW movement that teaches that, based on this passage, our prayer is integral to angelic victory. Was Daniel praying for angelic victory in this struggle? No, his praying had nothing to do with that, nor are we told that was a factor in Gabriel and Michael gaining the advantage over the demon. Nor is there biblical teaching about Christians speaking to or rebuking or casting out Satan or demons, praying against territorial demons, taking cities for God, prayer walks, declaring or "pleading the blood" that Satan or demons cannot touch you or your house or someone else, that Christians can have demons, that sins or illnesses are evidence of demons that need to be named, spoken to, and cast out. Jesus spoke to and cast out demons as part of His healing ministry, which was not for the purpose of bringing universal healing but as part of the signs and wonders that proved He was God in the flesh. He gave that same authority to the apostles to perform signs and wonders, again for the purpose of authenticating their ministry. We do not read of this being done in the church or by the church. What ARE we told to do? Eph. 6:11-13, put on/take up, stand, resist, stand firm. II Cor. 2:12, don't do what? so do what? I Pet. 5:8-9, do what, what, and what? Jam. 4:7, do what and what? and he will do what? We are not told to speak to him, rebuke him, bind him, or cast him out, yet many teach this. When will he be bound, and who does that, Rev. 20:1-2?
As we saw from the use of the term "prince," it is very possible that the beast and the false prophet will be demonic or partly so--some sort of angelic demon-human-hybrid. There are several passages that seem to imply this.
When God curses the serpent in Gen. 3:15, He speaks of "enmity between your seed and her seed"—Satan’s seed (so not only Satan himself) and the woman’s seed. The woman’s seed would be human, with the implication of virgin birth (since it doesn't refer to man's seed)—Jesus, fully man, born of a woman, but at the same time fully God, Col. 1:19. We might wonder if Satan’s "seed" could be all unbelievers, John 8:44, Acts 13:10. Or perhaps it could be his demons--the angels who followed him--or, because "seed" seems to speak of offspring, perhaps demonic offspring like that resulting from the evil reproductive and genetic experiments that "alien abductees" have reported, or like the evil offspring in Gen. 6 of wicked angels mating with women. Or, since the woman's seed refers prophetically to one future individual, it could be referring to a future individual--the beast specifically as Satan's seed and Satan's attempt to usurp Christ through the person of the beast. In contrast to the seed of the woman, he will not be human or fully human.
Dan. 2:40-43 speaks of the final earthly kingdom before the Messiah returns, "partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron," and "they will combine with one another in the seed of men." This is an unnatural mixture. Clay would refer to man, made of the dust of the earth. Something will be combined with mortal man, something hard and tough, something that will crush, break and shatter. Dan. 7:19-24 adds that this kingdom will be "different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful," and will devour, crush and trample the whole earth; this ruler will be "different from the previous ones" and will "destroy to an extraordinary degree," 8:24. Something very different is going on in this final evil kingdom. Compare Rev. 9:1-11 where the bottomless pit is opened. Again, "seed" seems to point to an unnatural mixture in relation to reproduction, genetics, DNA.
Mat. 25:41 tells us that the eternal fire was "prepared for the devil and his angels," not for man. No one is yet in the lake of fire; the beast and his false prophet will be thrown alive into the lake of fire when Christ returns at the end of the great tribulation, Rev. 19:20, and Satan is thrown in the lake of fire at the end of the millenial kingdom, Rev. 20:10. Unsaved mankind is later thrown into the lake of fire following the great white throne judgment, Rev. 20:13-15. If the beast and the false prophet are human, it seems unbiblical that men are the first to be thrown in the lake of fire before the great white throne judgment, and before Satan, for whom it was prepared. But if the beast and the false prophet are demonic, this would seem to line up with God’s purposes.
If the beast was true mortal but possessed or inhabited by demons (which is not what the Bible says), he does not fit the biblical portrayals of those who are demon-possessed; he does not act insanely out of control, suffering from seizures or being deaf/blind/mute, needing help and deliverance. Instead, he is smooth, suave, cunning, and very much in control. And again, we would have a man thrown into the lake of fire before the devil and his angels. If he was a mortal indwelt by Satan (which many teach happens at the three and a half years but which the Bible does not say), then again we have a man thrown into the lake of fire first. And if Satan was indwelling him, Satan would also go into the lake of fire at the same time, but that does not happen until the great white throne judgment after the millenium. Nor do we have any hint that Satan is a being that can, or desires to, inhabit a human body. Besides being called "Satan" and "the devil," he is referred to as "the dragon" or "the serpent." He does not seem to be a spirit like the Holy Spirit who can indwell humans.
The KJV uses the term "beast" to refer to heavenly beings, Rev. 4:6-9 and other passages. (The NASB uses the term "creature.") The word in Strong’s Concordance means: living thing, animal, creature. The Antichrist is also referred to as a beast, but with a slightly different Greek word that according to Strong's means: wild, venomous creature. The implication is a wicked heavenly being, which would encompass Satan and demons.
Finally, in Rev. 11:7 this individual is described as "the beast that comes up out of the abyss" and 17:8, "the beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss..." The abyss is the abode of demons, not men.
1-20 The chapter and verse divisions were not in the original, so we have a continuation of the narrative from 10. Who is speaking? The angel from Dan. 10. Who is the “him” at the end? Probably Darius, or could be referring to Michael from 10:21. In what way was Gabriel an encouragement and protection for Darius? Compare the timeline of Dan. 6:25-27 to II Chr. 36:20-23. Dan. 6 apparently took place in Darius' first year, as part of the setup for this declaration by Cyrus. Also Isa. 44:28, 45:1-6. So Gabriel encouraged him to do what? And protected him from whom? 10:20-21. 2, "the truth" is what? God's Word; he has come to reveal God's words to Daniel. Daniel, unlike the other prophets, does not say, "thus says the Lord..." but describes his visions and records his conversations with angels.
Verses 2-35 have been literally fulfilled in history, according to every detail in this chapter. Briefly, 3 refers to Alexander the Great. 4, he died, leaving no heirs, so the kingdom was divided among four generals. Two of those lines are discussed in this chapter--the Seleucids that ruled Syria (the kings of the North) and the Ptolemies that ruled Egypt (the kings of the South). Directions in the Bible are from Israel; being in the middle, it was invaded by both. 14, your people is who? 16, the beautiful land is what? 20, glory or jewel of the kingdom? Israel or Jerusalem.
This chapter is a detailed prophecy of events that will impact Israel under the second and third kingdoms: Media-Persia and Greece. It was fulfilled literally in history; this is the reason critics reject the authenticity of the book of Daniel. They don’t believe in miracles or the supernatural, so they just flat out reject it, saying it must have actually been written after those events, which would make Daniel, and therefore the Bible, false, and Jesus, who referred to Daniel as a prophet, a deceiver or Himself deceived. But they have no evidence to date Daniel after these events. This is the same reasoning used by evolutionists, who reject the possibility of a God, so therefore, supernatural creation cannot be true, so regardless of the lack of scientific evidence, evolution must be true; there is no alternative view.
This detailed prophecy that has been literally fulfilled is strong evidence that the Bible is supernatural, authored by God. It should strengthen our faith and help us witness to unbelievers and skeptics. If prophecy in the past has been fulfilled in detail, how likely is it that future prophecy will be also? What are three important theological "i" words about the Bible? Inspired, infallible and inerrant. What do those words mean? Unfortunately, many Christians differ on definitions; even Baptists include many who say they believe these terms but define them VERY loosely, believing the Bible contains errors or human opinions.
21-35 Now one king in particular is discussed, a “despicable person"--Antiochus Epiphanes, 175-164 BC. He is not the little horn of chapter 7 but he is the small horn of 8:9. The little horn of Dan. 7 will not arise until the 10 kings/kingdoms of the final empire. But he is like that little horn; everything mentioned about him through 35 has already taken place. As we have already noted, he is a type of the Beast that is to come. You can read the historical details in various commentaries.
21, he usurps the throne; after his father's death, two others were in line before him to inherit the throne. 22, in 172 BC he ordered the murder of the high priest, the “prince of the covenant," Israel being the people of the covenant; the high priest at that time served as the head of the theocracy. 23, he makes a what with them? NASB/alliance, KJV/league, other versions/agreement, promise. How does this foreshadow the Beast and the tribulation? Besides later breaking that covenant, he will be characterized by what?
24, do his gains take place through war? Does his power last long? Schemes. 25, more schemes. The king of the South, military activity--is military might the main factor? 26, who will destroy him? What might that mean? 27, birds of a feather. Pretend friends, deception, double-crossing. 28, is he the friend and deliverer of the Jews as they thought? He wants to wipe them out; why might Satan inspire him to do that?
29, at the what time? What does that remind us? All is in God’s plan and under His control--even when it looks like man and Satan are at the controls? 30, disheartened, enraged--at who? Do they all stand firm against him? Why might some change sides? 31, he declared himself to be God, stopped the daily sacrifice, set up an image of Jupiter the sun god in the holy place, and offered swine’s blood and broth on the altar. What future event does this point to? Is there a temple today? So we know from this phrase that the temple and the offerings will have been restored by that time. This is why we assume that permission to build the temple is part of the covenant he makes with Israel, and this rebuilding takes place during the first three and a half years.
32-35 We see what two kinds of Jews at that time? Ones who are faithful to the covenant, to the Law, and ones who aren't, who are hypocrites. He rewarded Jews who turned against Israel. Might this be the situation in the tribulation? This was when the famous Maccabean revolt took place; this story is not recorded in the Bible but is found in other writings. He killed many thousands, and many more thousands were sold into slavery. When Daniel recorded this, it was all future prophecy, but everything up through 35 has now been fulfilled in history. What two phrases at the end of 35 speak of things yet to come?
What three words in 35 (and also in 12:10) do some Christians try to apply to the church, telling us this is why the church must be present through the tribulation? Does the church need this? Eph. 5:25-27. Does that mean that individuals in the church are spotless? In God's sight? Yes, why? He sees us through Christ and His blood. In reality? What are we to do about our sin, I John 1:9? We are to grow and mature and become more Christlike, Rom. 8:29.
Does Israel need purified, refined, purged? Why? Is Israel a nation of all saved people--are they all righteous? Because we Christians, the church, are spoken of in the New Testament as chosen by God, does that mean all Israel were saved, because they were God's chosen people? He chose them to be the nation through who He would do what? Was each Jew saved, righteous, because they were born a Jew? They all knew of the God of Israel but didn't each have to choose to believe and obey? We have their history in the Old Testament--did they all believe and obey? Isn't this why God was always calling them, as a nation, to repent and return to Him and put away their other gods and their evil deeds? After the cross, after Israel rejected her Messiah, God is temporarily no longer dealing with them as a nation but is calling out a new group--who? The church, the Gentiles. Is the church made up of all believers? Yes! It is a completely different type of group than Israel. Because of that, do the things God said to Israel ALL apply to the church?
Many Christians do not see or understand the difference between the dispensations of Israel and of the church, or understand the difference in God's plan for each. Many believe God has rejected Israel for their unbelief, and His future plans only revolve around the church, that Israel's promises all now apply to the church. We often see the "Christian America" thinking, often quoting II Chron. 7:14. Many of these believe the church has a "cultural mandate" to make the world righteous: the "kingdom now" theology, "dominionists" who believe that the church is to take dominion, "reconstructionists" who believe the church is called to restructure society. They do not see the kingdom as something Christ brings in following the second coming, following the seven years of the Beast's rule during which God pours out His wrath on evil. Have you wondered why so many Christians are not looking for the rapture, the Antichrist and the tribulation? They are looking for the consolidating of the church and its power now, under the leadership and authority of apostles and prophets--the only way a diverse church could be brought together into a powerful unified force. This is why you see so many churches who claim that apostles and prophets ARE for today; many churches with charismatic leanings believe this. This is not one denomination or group but is found many places under many different names: NAR (New Apostolic Reformation), Latter Rain, Joel's Army, Manifest Sons of God, Word/Faith, the Purpose Driven movement, the signs and wonders movement, the spiritual warfare movement, Third Wave, Bethel, many who are speaking of a great revival that "God has revealed" is about to happen, those who say God is doing a "new thing" (as revealed not in Scripture but through new messages He is giving through these latter day apostles and prophets). Unfortunately, many of President Trumps's spiritual advisors are in this movement. How can we keep from being deceived by these things? Scripture!
From 36 through the end of the chapter, we have events that have not yet been fulfilled, so they must be future. It appears to still be talking about this king, but he sounds amazingly like the little horn, the Beast of Revelation, the Antichrist. We see Antiochus Epiphanes presented as a “type” of that final ruler--a small fulfillment in history picturing a future greater fulfillment of prophecy (typical of Bible prophecy). So by looking at him, we can learn more about this future king--what he will be like, what he will do.
36-39 What two phrases at the end of 36 take us to the end times, restating and emphasizing what was just said in 35? How powerful will he be? This is not said of him until after what event, 31? He will be the world leader but things will escalate dramatically at the AOD. He will particularly speak out against what? Not only every god, but especially who? the true God.
What kind of things? NASB/monstrous, KJV/marvelous. This is an interesting word in the Hebrew, not what we might think. Strong's: to do or be or show oneself marvelous, wonderful, surpassing, extraordinary, to separate by distinguishing, to be beyond one's power, be difficult to understand. A boastful arrogant mouth, making himself equal to God, demanding worship--all of this sounds very much like what major Bible character? Satan. Because Satan is a deceiver, he does not show his true nature at the first, but particularly when? In the middle of the seven years of tribulation, at the AOD. Did Satan show his true nature to Adam and Eve in the garden? When he tempts us with things that seem good, does he show it then, or only after he has set the hook?
Because Satan desires to take the place of Christ, he desires to rule the earth as the Messiah, so at the first he must present himself, and his man, not as Satan but as the Messiah, who can unite the world and solve whatever global crisis has enabled him to step forward, come to power, and be accepted by the world in that role. Bible-believing born-again Christians have just been raptured, so the Restrainer--the indwelling Holy Spirit, who empowers the church--is no longer restraining evil. Surely many become new believers right after the rapture as they realize what has happened, but the spiritual power of the church is gone. We know that a one-world religion has been the desire of globalists since there can be no global unity without removing religious intolerance. Have we been seeing the move toward uniting religions? By what means? Moving away from the Bible, downplaying doctrinal truth? Are we seeing a growing intolerance of Christianity and Christians? Even in the US--supposedly the bastion of religious liberty, whose Constitution was based on Christianity?
Many believe there will be an apparition of Mary which will convince everyone to unite, possibly even identifying the Beast as her son, the Messiah. This could happen at the beginning of the seven years or in the middle at the AOD, or both. There have been many Marian apparitions over the years, where she supposedly appears in the sky, kind of like a ghost or spirit. Since we know this not Mary, what are they? Demonic manifestations, very convincing to many. It is interesting that a movie came out in August 2020 on the Marian apparitions, called "Fatima the Movie." Is it preparing people for something to come? We are told there will be false signs and wonders at this time.
Desire of women: some think he will be homosexual, or just not interested in women (a temptation to many in high places), or some think it refers to the desire of all Jewish women to be the mother of the Messiah, especially since this is mentioned in the context if a sentence speaking about religion.
He honors some sort of god, a god that previous men did not know, and he has no use for any other god. Some suggest "god of fortresses" (KJV, "forces") is military might, but did his fathers did know that god? What kind of non-religious, non-military power do we see today that can be used to rule the world, stronger than the strongest of forces, that was previously unknown? Technology? How will he honor this god, and how might it help him? Might this help him to do things like Mat. 24:24, Rev. 13:3? Does Satan have the power of resurrection? Does it say the Beast died and came back to life? But after three and a half years, somehow he imitates Christ's death and resurrection. If he has technology to do this, might he then offer similar "eternal life" to those who will worship him? Might this technology be in the mark, whatever it is--a chip, an implant?
As we discussed in Dan. 7, some think he could be some sort of alien/demon or hybrid. Several terms in this chapter seem to mesh with the idea of demonic or Satanic power: a despicable person, seizing control by intrigue, deception, will accomplish things that previous men never did, speaking "monstrous" things against God, the "indignation," no regard for any god--something different. Technology could explain some of this, but we know that he will be motivated and empowered by Satan. Satan has always desired what? To take God's place, to take His power and His worship. This seven years is Satan's attempt to finally accomplish those things. Might Satan make use of technology for his deception?
40-45 Political and military events prophesied. We don't read of "kings of the west"; the only major country to the west is in North America--the US--the major world power today. This is one reason why many think that the US will no longer be a major power at that time.
We see his kingdom pictured in Daniel as a world empire--the little horn, arising out of the ten kingdoms, then uprooting three, and now who is against him here? So he has global authority, but does he rule unopposed? Does Rev. 13:4 hint at this? There will be military conflict during those seven years, but his power is not due to wars. Just as Antiochus Epiphanes in 24, so in 43 will this ruler have access to hidden wealth, whatever that is--oil? 45, between the sea: the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean, so at Jerusalem, where the Messiah is prophesied to rule. End of 45, but will he succeed? This won’t go on for long.
1-4 This is a continuation of the vision mentioned in Dan. 10, that began in Dan. 11. Who is speaking? Still the angel. We are told several facts in 1. Michael is identified as a what? Which confirms that he is a what? What kind of prince is he? He is very high-ranking, an archangel--where is this specified? Jude 9. Just as wicked angels are assigned to various nations, Michael is over what nation? At what time? The time period the angel has been telling Daniel about, which is called what in the next phrase? So how bad will it be? How does Jesus describe it, Mat. 24:21? What is the last thing we are told in 1? Which Jews will be rescued? How are they rescued? Rev. 19:11-21.
The Bible often uses sleep as symbolic of what? Does it always mean that? How can we know? Context, and comparing Scripture with Scripture. Who will be resurrected at that time? All the dead? Only Israel. All Israel? So is there one general resurrection, when all believers and unbelievers appear before God and go to either heaven or hell? Because these two resurrections--of the righteous and the wicked--are mentioned in the same sentence, does that mean they must happen at the same time? Similarly, what two events are mentioned in Isa. 61:1-2, separated by a long period of time? Many believe this is next on the agenda--no rapture, but rather the second coming, a general resurrection, the final judgment, and eternity.
Who was resurrected first? I Cor. 15:23. Who are those "in Christ"? Christ, then the church at the rapture, then Israel, following the second coming, so that they may inherit the kingdom that is the next event. What about Old Testament saints prior to Israel? Mat. 8:11, who will be present in the kingdom? Eze. 37:12-14. So they must also be resurrected at this time. Who else is still asleep, awaiting their resurrection? The unsaved dead. When is their judgment? Rev. 20:11-15. When does that take place? At the end of the millenium, Rev. 20. Are they punished, then annihilated, as some teach?
So who will be present in the kingdom? The resurrected church? Resurrected tribulation martyrs (both Jew and Gentile)? Resurrected Old Testament saints, both of Israel and prior? Will there be mortals--any left alive at the end of the tribulation? Jews, Gentiles? Will they begin to reproduce? For how long? The church will rule and reign with Christ, I Cor. 6:2-3, Rev. 2:26-27, II Tim. 2:12, as will the tribulation martyrs, Rev. 20:4. So the kingdom will be righteous, not only because Christ rules (with a rod of iron) but also those who help administer the kingdom are in their sinless immortal state.
3, at the time the angel is talking about, who might be those who have great insight (margin: the instructors), and will lead many to righteousness? All believers during the tribulation? Maybe the 144,000 witnesses of Rev. 7? We are not told much about them in Revelation, but this could be a little more information about them. Or is this just speaking of reward to come for all believers?
4, are these prophecies for Daniel and the people of his day? Seal: preserve, close up, validate. Some think this means we can't know what this book is about or shouldn't study prophecy. The understanding of it is for when? The distant future. We are getting close to that time, and, unlike Daniel, we now have God's complete written Word. Compare Rev. 22:10 and 1:3. What must happen first, or will be happening at the end time? Is this speaking of Israel, or the world in general? We don't know. Knowledge of God and of these things (as the rest of the Bible is completed?), or knowledge in general? Have both those happened? Back and forth, to and fro, as in travel, or as in seeking knowledge? Perhaps increased travel and knowledge in our modern world, perhaps missionary activity, all as signs we are approaching the time of the end??
5-7 Two more angels appear; who is the one above the river? Christ says it will be how long? What does that phrase mean? We see this time period specified several times in both Daniel and Revelation. At the end of it everything described will be completed. The Bible doesn’t tell a lot about the first three and a half years of the tribulation but much about the last three and a half.
Shatter--elsewhere in the Bible we learn that the kings of all the earth are coming against Israel at the end of the tribulation. Why does God allow this--what is His purpose for Israel that is being accomplished during these awful few years? Israel will not come to the end of its power and recognize the Messiah until when? Is this kind of like how we must come to the end of Self and trusting in Self? Usually through what kind of process?
Again, many see the church as being spoken of here; is this God's plan for the church? Does Paul corroborate this in his teachings on the church? It is so important to recognize the difference in God's plans for Israel and for the church in order to rightly divide the Word of God. Yet many deny the fact of dispensations. This is one of the main sources of confusion and misinterpretation.
8-13 Does Daniel understand any of this? Is he supposed to be concerned about that? Are they for his time? So why did God tell him? God told him that understanding would not come until much later. When things in our lives don't seem to make sense or fit into what we thought God was doing or should be doing, can we accept that that it might not be God's plan that we understand why, right then? Why is God like that?
As in 4, we see that these things, at that time, were sealed, concealed--forever? What important time word is used in 4 and 9? Compare John's revelation in Rev. 10:1-11, now John is given permission to reveal what is in the book; it is unsealed. So when does the time of the end begin? James 5:8, I Pet. 4:7, I John 2:18. It began with the church age. What are God's two purposes in pouring out His wrath during the tribulation? One is clearly stated in 10 and in 11:35; what is the other, which is elaborated on in other places? Judging and bringing an end to man's evil rule. What are we told about the wicked? But don't some of the wicked eventually repent and get saved? Apparently this is not talking about those, but about who? What phrase did we see repeatedly in Revelation that spoke of this group of people, first used in Rev. 3:10? How are those people described in II Thes. 2:10? and 11? and 12?
In 11-12 we have another reference to the abomination of desolation. We saw that 1260 days equaled three and a half years, so what are these two numbers indicating? Apparently some things have to happen in between the end of the seven years and the beginning of the kingdom reign of Christ, like maybe what? The judgment to show who will enter the kingdom and who won’t? Not all will "attain" to this day, but those who are allowed to enter the kingdom are truly blessed! Mat. 25:31-46, Mat. 13:40-43, 47-50, Dan. 7:21-22. We do not need to know now, but at that time people will know that God said these exact numbers thousands of years before it happened just as He said!
What three things or times are spoken of in 13? Daniel's remaining life--these things don't concern him. His death--entering his rest (Abraham’s bosom, Luke 16:22-23). His resurrection, at what time? At the end of the church age/age of grace; at the beginning of the next age/dispensation--the kingdom. The angel reaffirms that he will have a part in these events at that distant time. Isa. 26:19-21. The Bible clearly teaches that Old Testament saints will be resurrected for the beginning of the kingdom, to inherit all the promises about the kingdom on earth, when Israel is the head and not the tail, and Christ rules from Jerusalem.
Daniel is a key book of prophecy, even though Daniel himself was not called to be a prophet in the sense that the other prophets were. We do not find him saying "thus says the Lord" or "the word of the Lord came unto me, saying..." as do most of the other prophets. His messages were not for the purpose of chastising Israel for their idolatry and disobedience, as were most of the other prophets, but were about the Gentile kingdoms. God gave him prophetic information in dreams and visions, which he recorded. God gave him some very specific information in advance, concerning all the people of the world and far distant events, as well as some timetables for these events. These timetables mesh exactly with everything else the Bible records about future events. Besides Daniel, we find this information particularly in Mat. 13, 24-25, I Thes. 4 and 5 and II Thes. 2, and Revelation. Studied together, they give an outline of future events.
In Daniel, we read of God speaking to people through dreams and visions, of performing signs and wonders. Some today teach that we should look for dreams and visions, for signs and wonders, for new and continuing revelation from God; should we, and why or why not? How does the answer come from context, who/when/where, comparing and contrasting Old and New Testament, understanding the difference between dispensations? Where do we find directions for the church? the Epistles. Do they tell us to look for dreams, visions, or further revelation from God--that that is how God speaks to us now in the church age, in this dispensation? How does He now? Heb. 1:1-2, Jesus has spoken, the Bible is the completed record of what He said and taught.
In Bible days--both Old and New Testament--did believers have the complete written Word of God? Is that why we see God speaking to them in such ways? Does God continue to speak today in such ways now that we have His complete written Word? This is a big divide in the church today. Many teach dreams, visions, revelations, prophecies, signs and wonders, and that we can hear God's audible voice. In the Old Testament, God did speak that way. In the Gospels, Jesus is present and speaking. What happens when He leaves? The indwelling Holy Spirit comes--where in the Bible does that happen? We are told to be led by the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, that He teaches us. Do we read anymore about dreams and visions, revelations and prophecies, signs and wonders? Yes, in two places, so we want to look at those.
One is the book of Acts. Is Acts a book of doctrine or of history? Is it directed to the early church in the way the Epistles are? It is history, a narrative, the story of the transition from God's dealing with Israel to the birth of the church through who? the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the establishment of the church through who? the apostles. We interpret it in the context of that time and place.
As God was doing this new thing, He made things clear by speaking audibly, on such occasions as the salvation of Paul, the delivering of the apostles from prison that they may continue to preach, salvation including the Gentiles, the taking of the gospel to Macedonia, warning of what awaited Paul in Jerusalem, delivering him from shipwreck that he might stand before Caesar. He authenticated the teaching of the apostles with signs and wonders. Nowhere are we taught or led to believe that these things were to be the normal experience of believers, as charismatics teach.
The other place is the discussion of spiritual gifts in I Cor. 12-14. See those notes at http://jansbiblenotes.com/1corinthians.html
Daniel is one of the outstanding believers in the Bible account. His life span covered a crucial time in Israel's history. He held high positions in several very powerful empires, because of his own unique abilities, his obedience to God, and because of God's providence. He had no visible failings but was true to God under difficult circumstances. He is truly an example for all believers.
Daniel is also an important book for our understanding of the whole Bible. Because of the literal fulfillment of the detailed prophecies of Dan. 11, we have historical evidence of the truth and accuracy of the Bible. Fulfilled prophecy is one of the best evidences for the inspiration of the Bible. The Bible is inspired, infallible and inerrant. People say you can't prove the Bible is true, but fulfilled prophecy, and the book of Daniel in particular, does indeed prove that the Bible is true. There is no human explanation for fulfilled prophecy.
The Catholic Bible, which includes a number of non-canonical writings, includes at this point a thirteenth chapter to the book of Daniel, about a supposed Susanna, a married Jewish woman, who was spied upon in a garden while bathing by two lecherous Jewish elders who tried to get her to have sex with them; when she refused, they tried to have her executed for supposedly meeting her lover and lying with him. She was saved by Daniel, who exposed their lies in court. It is completely out of character with this book and does not even read like any part of the Bible. This is why apocryphal writings are not included in the Bible; they do not meet the criteria of God-breathed Scripture.
Copyright 2020 Jan Young
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