Book of Daniel
The book of Daniel is for the future. Its symbols are prophetic. If we can understand what Daniel is telling us, we can understand what’s coming very soon to this old world. I like J. Vernon McGee’s explanation of the characteristics of prophecy from Daniel. He said,
“Daniel gives us the skeleton of prophecy on which all prophecy is based. The image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2) and the beasts (Daniel 7) are the backbone of prophecy; the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9) are the ribs which fit into their proper place.”
In studying Daniel we will understand the entire Bible, especially the Book of Revelations far better than we do now. It will show us many of the predictive writings, or prophecies, have come to pass already. We will see the forces of good overcoming evil. We’ll see how Jesus is the ultimate Victor over all. We will understand better that Jesus is the Deliverer of God’s people.
Another thing we will become familiar with is the fact that prophecy is not of man, but comes from God through man. Let’s read II Peter 1:20, 21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” We must also allow the Bible to interpret the Bible.
I have found information to dispute the fact that the author of Daniel is Daniel. It depends on which school of thought you maintain. The conservative Christians say that Daniel wrote this book sometime after his captivity in 605 BC, and Jesus concurred that Daniel wrote it in Matthew 24:15 when He said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet…” Another Scripture that is pretty telling is Daniel 12:4a, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end…”
The liberal Christians point out several facts that dispute the authorship of this book. We will not cloud the message of this book with all the controversies. We will study Daniel traditionally as it has always been taught, as sound Bible given to us by God for building us up in wisdom and knowledge. Some people have declared that John simply rewrote Daniel. That’s not true. John was given his own vision to confirm Daniel’s vision. God always confirms His Word by two or three witnesses.
The prophecy contained in this book covers Daniel’s life from his teenage years to his death when he was at least 85 years old. It, therefore, covers the entire 70 years of captivity. The name Daniel means “God is my Judge.” Daniel lived his life in excellence before God proving that he believed what his name declared. No matter what came against this man, he remained loyal and steadfast in his love and devotion to God. To demonstrate His approval, God said of Daniel, “And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved…” (Daniel 10:11).
One fact of Daniel’s life that I want us to see and remember is that Daniel was a man of prayer. He prayed to God in spite of the fact that he knew it would land him in the lion’s den, which it did. But his faith was so purified by prayer that he knew God would save him out of the den, and God did!
Daniel referred to God as “the Most High” or “the Most High God” 9 times in the first half of his book ( 3:26; 4:2, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34; 5:18-21) and four times in the second half (7:18, 22, 25, 27). Would you agree with me that Daniel reverenced God deeply?
Daniel was taken captive around 605 BC, along with many others, during the first attack on Jerusalem by Babylon. He had been born into a middle class family of the nobility. The capture of royalty was prophesied by Isaiah to Hezekiah in Isaiah 39:5-8. Daniel spent the rest of his life in service of the royal court of Babylon.
When this first wave of people was taken to Babylon, so were the treasures of God’s temple and Solomon’s palace. At this same time the Babylonians had overcome all the provinces that were under Assyrian authority and incorporated them into the Babylonian empire. The empire now covered most of the Middle East. In order for Nebuchadnezzar to rule this multicultural, multiracial, multilingual empire, he needed people who were skilled in administrating. He enlisted the slaves who were educated and had skills he needed to place in positions within his government.
The book of Daniel contains two distinct types of literature.
1. The Historical, accounts about Daniel’s day.
2. The Prophetic, which points to end times.
There are three specific sections in the book of Daniel.
Section 1 is Chapter 1 where we see Daniel’s display of character before Jeshua. It also tells us that it was during this time that Daniel developed his interpretive skills (V 17).
Section 2 is Chapters 2-7 where Daniel receives visions which allowed him to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and reveal future kingdoms and events.
Section 3 is Chapters 8-12 where Daniel is revealed to be a key book for understanding the rest of the Bible, especially Revelation. A serious Revelation scholar always uses Daniel to compare, reveal, and confirm what John saw and wrote.
One thing is for sure. In order to understand “end-time” prophecy, we need to study and understand Daniel. In Matthew 24:25, Jesus said, “See, I have told you beforehand.” Also read II Thessalonians 2.
“End times” are what we are in now. It’s the sin nature of the former world before the flood and of Sodom and Gomorrah that’s prevalent in this day. (See note.) “End times” should not be confused with “the end of time.” When Jesus makes His second coming the heavens and earth will be done away with. That will be the “end of time.”
In this study, we will come to understand some key mysteries. Some of these are: The antichrist: The Great Tribulation: Israel: The man of sin: The Second Coming of Christ: The times of the Gentiles, and future resurrections and judgments. What we will not see in Daniel is any reference to the Church. We will see subjects like the kingdom to come, the Millennium, and our eternal future.
If there is any one thing I’d like you all to glean from this study, it’s the importance of setting yourselves apart unto God. When Daniel and his friends refused to eat from the Gentile table of un-kosher foods, it wasn’t because they didn’t like what was on the king’s table. It was to keep themselves undefiled before God and man. When Daniel refused to bow to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar when the special music played, it was not in defiance to the king but in honor of God. Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael, (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-Nego) maintained their purity before God allowing for His power to be displayed on their behalf. The Gentiles saw the power of their God and many were turned.
This is the lesson. We must also have courage to maintain our testimony before the “Gentiles” so that they too will see the power of God in our lives, turn to Jesus for salvation, and escape the “end of time” judgment and punishment.
Note: The reason I believe in the “rapture” or “catching away” of the saints is because of these two previous examples the Bible gives of God rescuing the righteous before He rained down destruction. You can find the reference to this in Luke 17:26-30. Also read II Peter 2.
Rev. Suzanne L. Taylor
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