The 70 Weeks of Daniel – Daniel 9:24-25

 

Summary:

These “weeks” are weeks of years (Gen. 29:27; Lev. 25:40).  So Gabriel is telling Daniel, “It will be 490 years until something happens to your people (Israel) and your city (Jerusalem).”

Then God will “finish the transgression.”  Transgressions are sins, but sins against a specific law (Rom. 4:15).  The transgression is the same one Isaiah spoke about (53:8).  The Lord died for all their transgressions, of course (v. 5), so the transgression must be the same one Isaiah said would cause the earth to fall and not rise from (24:20).  Since the earth will fall due to all her transgressions, Isaiah is summing up their transgressions as the transgression.  That means Gabriel is saying God will make an end of the sum total of all transgressions.  He’ll make an “end of sins” of any kind as well (Dan. 9:24).

But to do that, God will have to “make reconciliation for iniquity” first.  We need reconciliation because our sins separated us from Him when Adam fell (cf. Isa. 59:2).  But to make it, someone had to atone for it.  Israel’s priests made reconciliation with animals (II Chron. 29:23, 24) which were a type of the ultimate atonement Christ made (Rom. 5:11).

Paul says we have His atonement “now,” but the nation of Israel didn’t, so they had a “day of atonement” every year (Lev. 25:9).  But just as their feast of passover was a type of the ultimate passover (I Cor. 5:7), their day of atonement was a type of an ultimate one.  And just like the typical feast of day of atonement, it’ll come right after the feast of trumpets (Lev. 23:23-27).  The ultimate feast of trumpets will gather saved Jews into the kingdom (Mt. 24:31), and that’s when they’ll get their ultimate day of atonement (Rom. 11:26, 27).

Individual Jews were saved and had their sins atoned for (John 5:24; I Jo. 3:15, etc.) but they were part of “the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph. 2:12), so they needed an ultimate day of atonement as a nation.  And when that day comes, Gabriel says God will bring in the “everlasting righteousness” of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

That’s when God will “seal up the vision and prophecy.”  When Daniel was finished describing his visions about the kingdom in the book of Daniel, God told him to seal the book (12:9).  But when the kingdom he wrote about actually comes, all the visions about the kingdom will also be sealed up.  It almost happened 2,000 years ago (Mt. 4:17; Acts 3:24) but was interrupted by the mystery.

When it finally comes, God will “anoint the most holy,” i.e. the most holy place (Ex. 26:34).  Anointing was done with oil, a type of the Spirit (I Sam. 16:13).  When the temple is rebuilt in the kingdom, God will anoint it with His Spirit.

“Seventy” years wasn’t a number God picked out of a hat.  Israel’s history is divided up into four 490-year sections.  Daniel was standing at the end of the third one, and when he learned he was about to be released from captivity and allowed to return to Israel, he thought the kingdom would start.  God sent Gabriel to tell him that it would be another 490 years until the kingdom.

First he was told it would take 7 weeks to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25), and then 62 more weeks until Messiah.  He was told to start counting the weeks of years when the command went forth to built the city (Neh. 2:1-8), not from the command to build the temple (Ezra 1:2, 3).  This works out to the day when the Lord rode the donkey into Jerusalem.

It works out if you don’t use our 365-days-a-year calendar, that is!  God taught the Jews to use a 360-days-a-year calendar with each month having 30 days (Compare Gen. 7:11, 12, 24; 8:3, 4 and see Rev. 11:2, 3).  It’s why the Lord spoke to the Jews about “this thy day” on that day (Lu. 19:42).

This is how the wise men knew it was time for Messiah to be born.  They knew that He’d be a priest (Zech. 6:13), and priests had to be 30 (Num. 4:1-3), so when they saw Balaam’s star (Num. 24:17) they compared Daniel 9’s timetable for His presentation to Israel and subtracted 30 years and knew it was time for His birth within 3 years.

Only the true God could have made a prophecy like this!

A Necessary Evil – Daniel 9:14-23

 

Summary:

The “evil” God brought on Israel (v. 14) isn’t the sinful kind.  It’s war, the opposite of peace (cf. Isa. 45:7).  When God’s people persisted in sinning against Him, He allowed Baby-lon to make war with them and conquer them.  Daniel said God was “righteous” to bring it (v. 14) because they’d sinned.

In bringing up their escape from Egyptian bondage (v. 15), Daniel was praying, “You got renown (i.e., fame, [Num. 16:2]) by ripping Israel out of the clutches of the most powerful king on earth (Neh. 9:7-10), and it will make Your name great again if You free us from Babylonian bondage.”  For 70 years, God looked like He couldn’t protect His own people from bondage, so Daniel is making a persuasive plea!

But God didn’t rip Israel from Babylon, He just quietly convinced her king to let them go.  How would that make His name great?  It takes more power to overcome human nature than the forces of nature.  When God did it, it got Him a greater name than the Red Sea crossing did (Jer. 16:14, 15).

In verse 14, Daniel admitted God was righteous to allow them to be enslaved when they disobeyed Him.  But in verse 16, he asks God to be just as righteous to release them according to “all” His righteousness, now that they’d served their 70 year sentence.  He wasn’t being irreverent in holding God to His Word.  God delights in being held to His Word!

Jerusalem is called God’s “holy mountain” (v. 16) because a mountain is a type of a kingdom (Isa. 65:25), and God’s kingdom was centered in Jerusalem, a city on a mountain (Mt. 5:14).  Israel’s sins had made the light of the world a “reproach” (v. 16), a laughingstock among the nations, as God predicted (I Ki. 9:6-9; Jer. 24:9).  Daniel was asking God to turn His anger away to get the Gentiles to stop reproaching them and start looking to them for spiritual light instead.

The “sanctuary” (v. 17) was the temple Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed.  It had been lying in ruins for 70 years, but Daniel knew the way to get God to fix that was to ask Him to do it “for the Lord’s sake.”  They didn’t deserve to get their temple back, but God deserved to get His home back, of course!

But if they ignored the land’s sabbath 490 years, and God punished them with 70 years in captivity, that was justice.  But Daniel asked for “mercy” (v. 18) because if they got what they deserved they’d never have been released (Ezra 9:13).

Football fans know to “defer” (v. 19) means to put something off till later.  Daniel was asking God not to defer releasing them (cf. Ps. 102:12).

Daniel was confessing his sins because, even though the captivity was only supposed to last 70 years, getting released was contingent on confessing. This is a type of Tribulation saints who will know the Tribulation is only supposed to last 7 years, but release from Antichrist will depend on them con-fessing, which is why John wrote I Jo. 1:9 to them—not you!

God responded to Daniel’s prayer by sending Gabriel with an answer (v. 20, 21)—all because Daniel prayed “in truth” (Ps. 145:18).  The truth Daniel knew was that God would answer him if he confessed his sins.  But God won’t answer you if you pray for manna (Mt. 6:11) because rightly divided truth says we have to work for our bread in this dispensation.

Gabriel could “fly” (v. 21), but that’s no proof he had wings.  He had to fly across outer space to deliver messages from God (cf. Lu. 1:19), and there’s no air in space, so wings would be useless.  A seraph could fly to Daniel in heaven (Isa. 6:1-6) because there is air in heaven.

An “oblation” (v. 21) is just another word for an offering (cf. Lev. 3:1).  The Jews offered 3 a day, the last in the evening.

Daniel is said to be “greatly beloved” (v. 22, 23) because he was so sinless even his enemies couldn’t find sin in him (6:4).  John was the disciple Jesus loved, and God showed him the future too in Revelation.  God wants His beloved children to know the future, and we are “beloved” in Christ (Eph. 1:6), so God has given us a complete Bible, including some specific information about the future called the Rapture that neither Daniel nor John had.

Gospel Power

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost…” (1 Thes. 1:5).

On Paul’s second apostolic journey, Paul, Silas, and Timothy had communicated the truth of the gospel of the grace of God to the Thessalonians. However, Paul recognized that it wasn’t their eloquence that had brought people to faith in Christ. The gospel had come to the Thessalonian church in word, but “not… in word only.”

“John Stott shares the following story from 1958 when he was leading a university outreach in Sydney, Australia. The day before the final meeting, Stott received word that his father had passed away. In addition to his grief, Stott was also starting to lose his voice. Here’s how Stott describes the final day of the outreach:

“‘It was already late afternoon within a few hours of the final meeting of the mission, so I didn’t feel I could back away at that time…. When time came for me to give my address… I had to get within half an inch of the microphone, and I croaked the gospel like a raven. I couldn’t exert my personality. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t use any inflections in my voice. I croaked the gospel in monotone.

“‘…I’ve been back to Australia about ten times since 1958, and on every occasion somebody has come up to me and said, “Do you remember that final meeting in the university in the great hall?” “I jolly well do,” I reply. “Well,” they say, “I was converted that night.”’

“Stott concludes, ‘The Holy Spirit takes our human words, spoken in great weakness and frailty, and he carries them home with power to the mind, the heart, the conscience, and the will of the hearers….’”1

The truth of the gospel has power. It is by grace that the Holy Spirit uses our words and our proclamation of the gospel to save souls. He does so, even when the words are spoken in weakness, when we stumble over the words, when we don’t answer questions well, and even when we’re sure that we blew it.

The conversion of souls does not depend on slick salesmanship techniques, powerful rhetoric, or convincing logic on our part. The power is in the truth of the gospel and the Holy Spirit. We are simply called to make the gospel known, and the Holy Spirit works through our faithfulness to share His truth. Even if it feels like we’ve failed when we share the gospel, we actually never do. According to God’s way of looking at it, we “always… triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14) when we make known the knowledge of the Savior and the good news of His finished work.

1. “John Stott Discovers God’s Power in His Weakness,” Preaching Today, accessed April 30, 2021, https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/march/7030711.html.

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Daniel and the Book of Books – Daniel 9:1-14

 

Summary:

We know the “books” Daniel was reading (v. 2) were the books of the Bible, for he mentions the Book of Jeremiah. He may have been hearing from God directly in visions, but he still made time to read the Bible, even though he was busy “in the first year of Darius” (v. 1) being head over two presidents, 120 princes, and the entire kingdom of Babylon (5:31—6:2).  Shouldn’t you make time for it?  It gave Daniel the courage to face the lion’s den in the rest of Daniel 6, and it will give you courage in your life’s biggest challenge to faith too—and all your little daily challenges to faith as well!

Daniel had obviously been reading Jeremiah 25:8-12 and 29:10, where God said that Israel would be released from captivity in Babylon after 70 years, and 70 years were up!  He no doubt rejoiced, all because he knew exactly where he stood in the program of God. We do too! That’s what “right-ly dividing the word of truth” is all about! (II Tim. 2:15).

But if he was happy, why did he act sad (v. 3 cf. Esther 4:3), and begin to confess his sins (v. 4, 5)?  It was because he knew from another book of the Bible that Israel’s release wasn’t an automatic thing just because time was up.  They had to confess their sins (Lev. 26:27-42) and admit they deserved to have spent 70 years in bondage to Babylon’s king for ignoring God’s warnings in His Word, and His prophets (Dan. 9: 6).  That left God no choice but to do what He said and judge them 70 years.  He’d have been unrighteous if He didn’t, and as Daniel pointed out, righteousness belonged to Him (v. 7).

“Confusion of faces” means shamefacedness (cf. Ps. 44:15), so Daniel was saying, “God was righteous to judge us, and we should be ashamed of ourselves.”  When he mentions Jerusalem, Judah, and “all Israel” near and “far off,” that can’t mean Gentiles, for they didn’t need to be ashamed for breaking a law God never gave them.  But many believers teach that those “afar off” in Acts 2:39 are Gentiles because they think the Body of Christ, made up of Jews and Gentiles, began there, instead of later when God sent Paul to the Gentiles.  But if it did, we should preach the same “baptism for salvation” message that Peter preached there.  We know it didn’t, because Peter mentions a “promise” God made those afar off, and He never made any to Gentiles (Eph. 2:12)

“Seventy years” of captivity wasn’t an arbitrary number.  There were lots of ways Israel’s “fathers…rebelled” against God (Dan. 9:8, 9), but one specific way caused God to judge them exactly 70 years.  They were to let their farmland rest every 7th year (Lev. 25:2-4; 26:33-35), but they ignored that law for 490 years, just like they ignored the prophets.

That means the punishment fit the crime perfectly.  God’s judgments always do!  When unbelievers say God is unrighteous to punish men in hell for eternity, that just shows they don’t know that a sin against an eternally holy God demands an eternal punishment.

The “curse” of Daniel 9:10, 11 is the last of five courses of curses God outlined in Leviticus 26, each one of which got more severe if they ignored the first judgments.  And they ignored them all, as they ignored the law and the prophets.

“Confirmeth” (Dan. 9:12) means to do what you say you will do.  God’s people in Israel said they’d obey all the law (Ex. 24:6, 7), but when they didn’t confirm their words by doing them (Deut. 27:26), God “fulfilled” or confirmed His Word by punishing them as He said He would.  And when He was faithful to His Word, I doubt they were singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” But Daniel was, as was Jeremiah (Lam. 2:17).  The reason Jeremiah could say that, and then say “great is Thy faithfulness” (3:22, 23) is—as he points out there—because it was of God’s mercy that they weren’t consumed instead of enslaved for 70 years.

Daniel said the captivity was the worst thing that ever happened to anyone (9:12), and Ezekiel added it was the worst that that ever would happen to anyone (5:7-9).  So why’d the Lord say the Tribulation was (Mt. 24:15-21)?  The captivity was a type of the Tribulation, so many of the things said about it were types of the Tribulation, just as many things said about the fall of Babylon will have another fulfillment in Antichrist’s Babylon.  That’s why Daniel told the Jews to “turn” (9:13) or repent, just as John did (Mt. 3:2; 4:17).

The Angel Gabriel Lends a Hand – Daniel 8:15-27

 

Summary:

The “man” here (v. 15) is identified as the angel “Gabriel” (v. 16 cf. Lu. 1:26), and “the man’s voice” must have be-longed to God, for only He can order angels around.  But here we have a dispensational difference.  Under God’s program for Israel, He taught His truth to angels and used them to teach the people of Israel, as Gabriel is about to do here.  Under grace, He teaches us His truth through His Word, then uses us to teach angels (Eph. 3:10).

Now the reason God used a man’s voice is that His own voice thunders (II Sam. 22:14; Job 37:4, 5; 40:9, etc.), and thunder can be scary. And God knew Daniel was about to be frightened by the mere presence of Gabriel (cf. v. 17).  Angels usually say “Fear not” when someone sees them (Mt. 28:5; Lu. 1:13, 30; 2:10) because they are so awesome looking!  If someone tells you they saw an angel, and doesn’t mention fear, you know he didn’t see one.  We have Paul’s word on it that they are “not seen” in this dispensation (Col. 2:18).

People in the Bible always fall on their face when they see an angel or the Lord (v. 17).  Only God’s enemies fall backward in the Bible (Isa. 28:13; John 18:3-6), yet they often fall backward when touched by modern “healers”!

Evidently Daniel fell on his face because he fainted (v. 18).  That means he couldn’t hear what Gabriel said!  He could tell us what he said, for he wrote by the Spirit, and the Spirit heard Gabriel.  That’s one of the many proofs we have that the Spirit wrote the Bible.  Gabriel could lift him with just a touch because of his great strength (v. 18 cf. 10:10).  He then repeated what he said when Daniel was passed out (v. 19).

“Indignation” is anger caused by something someone did that you find extremely offensive (Mark 14:3-8; Lu. 13:14).  Antichrist will do something extremely offensive to God (v. 19) when he speaks against Him (Dan. 11:36) by claiming to be God (II Thes. 2:3, 4), making God righteously indignant.

The ram Daniel saw in 8:1-3 is here identified as Media-Persia (8:20), and the goat he saw in 8:5-7 is identified as Greece (8:1).  “The first king” of Greece, Alexander, was “broken” when he died drunk (cf. Jer. 23:9).  So he didn’t  give His “four” generals (8:22) his kingdom “in his power,” but rather in his weakness.

That’s when the antichrist was supposed to rise (8:23), and transgressions were to have “come to the full” in the Tribulation.  When that happened, God was supposed to judge Israel (Mt. 23:35, 36) in the Tribulation.  “Understanding dark sentences” probably means he’ll be something of a genius.

Antichrist was supposed to rise out of “one” of those four kingdoms (Dan. 8:8, 9, 11), but the mystery interrupted things.  But after the mystery ends at the Rapture, he will rise out of the Syrian branch to the north, for he is often called “the Assyrian” (Ezek. 31:3-7; Micah 5:2-6).  The “dragon” (Rev. 20:2) will give him his power (8:24 cf. Rev. 13:1, 2).

The mighty and holy people he’ll destroy (8:24) is Israel.  They’re called mighty because God multiplied them (cf. Ex. 1:7) and holy because He set them apart from the world.  Antichrist will “prosper” by all the things his church in Babylon will buy and sell (Rev. 18), including the “craft” (8:24) of idolatry (cf. Deut. 27:15; Hos. 13:2; Acts 19:24-27).

The beast will also destroy many by peace (8:25), because in the beginning he’ll be a peacemaker (11:21).  But when they say “peace and safety” the “sudden destruction” of the last half of Daniel’s 70th week will fall on them (I Thes. 5:3), followed by the Lord’s “sudden” coming (Mal. 3:1,2).  But he’ll be broken “without hands” (v. 25), i.e., without human instrumentality (cf. Col. 2:11).  The Lord won’t need human help to defeat the Antichrist and his armies (Isa. 63:1-4).

That all sounds pretty unbelievable, so Gabriel told Daniel it’s all “true” (8:26).  He mentions that Daniel had an evening and morning vision because “the evening and the morning” were the first day, etc. (Gen. 1), and his vision was about the dawn of a new day—the day of the Lord.  But it wouldn’t be “for many days” (8:26 cf. 10:14).  Finally, after seeing such stupendous things, Daniel just went back to work (8:27), just as we must after seeing them in Scripture.

The Prophecy at the Palace – Daniel 8:1-14

 

Summary:

Daniel wrote Daniel 2:4-7:28 in Syriack so the Gentiles nations could read their future in their language.  But beginning here in Daniel 8:1, he resumes writing in the Jewish language of Hebrew, for He is about to start revealing clues as to who the antichrist will be and where he will come from.  That’s information that Jews will need in the Tribulation, so God had Daniel write it in their language.

“Shushan” (8:2) is where they hanged Haman and his 10 sons (Esther 7:10; 9:13).  He was a type of Antichrist and his ten “toe” kings (Dan. 2:41).  In giving Daniel this vision of the antichrist in Shushan, that’s God’s way of assuring Tribulation Jews not to worry about Antichrist and his 10 kings, for God will slay them as He did Haman and his 10 sons.

The “ram” (v.3) was Media-Persia (8:20).  One horn represented Media, the other Persia.  The reason the one that came up last was “higher” is that eventually Persia became the dominant kingdom.  That’s why Media gets top billing at first (Dan. 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15), but later Persia did (Esther 1:19).

The reason no nation could stand before Media-Persia (8:4) was that God helped the king of Persia become powerful (Isa. 45:1-3).  Babylon destroyed God’s temple and He wanted “vengeance” on Babylon for His temple (Jer. 51:11).

The “he goat” (Dan. 8:5, 6) is Greece (8:21), which is “west” of Media-Persia.  He “touched not the ground” in that Greece conquered Media-Persia in 3 short years, seeming to fly against them.  The “notable horn” is “the first king” of Greece (8:21), Alexander the Great.  When he was “strong” at age 33 he got drunk and died, “broken” of a fever (8:8).  When he died, “four notable ones” took his place and divided up the kingdom of Greece (8:21, 22).  History says Alexander’s four generals fulfilled this prophecy.

The “pleasant land” (8:9) is Israel, a land filled with milk and honey, and the “little horn” that rises against it is thought by many commentators to be Antiochus Epiphanes, who attacked “the holy people” of Israel as Daniel 8:23, 24 says this little horn will. But he didn’t “stand up against the Prince of princes” (8:25).  He died before Christ was even born.

So the little horn must be the antichrist, who was supposed to rise up from among those 4 generals, but didn’t because the mystery interrupted this prophecy.  But after the rapture he will, and “wax” (8:10) or grow great (cf. Gen. 26:13).  He’ll start out small and insignificant-looking, but magnify himself against “the host of heaven” (8:10), e.g., God’s heavenly host of angels (cf. Lu. 2:13).  Antiochus didn’t.

The “stars” (Dan. 8:10) Antichrist will cast down from heaven are the fallen angels of Persia and Greece (10:13, 20).  When they see him conquering the earthly kingdoms of Persia and Greece, they’ll object and try to defend them.  Satan’s kingdom is one of envy and strife and hatred.

Antichrist will magnify himself against Israel’s Christ (8:11), the prince of God’s host (cf. Josh. 5:13, 14) by claiming to be Israel’s Christ (II Thes. 2:3, 4).  When he does that, he’ll take away the daily sacrifice (Ex. 29:29, 30, 38) by dying and rising again (Rev. 13:4) and claiming he died for their sins, fulfilling the type of those sacrifices.  That’s how he’ll take away those sacrifices.  That’s the abomination the Lord warned about (Mt. 24:15, 16), and Daniel 11:31 says it shall take away the daily sacrifice.  The only seat he can “sit” on in the temple (II Thes. 2:3, 4) is the mercy seat.  Sitting where the blood of the daily sacrifice was usually sprinkled is how he takes those sacrifices away.

That will get his people so excited they’ll cast down the sanctuary of the temple (8:11 cf. 9:26), causing a “host” of people to follow him (8:12 cf. 11:31-35).  For him to claim to be Christ, he’ll have to cast down the truth that Jesus is their Christ (John 14:6).  They will “practice” (8:12) their religion, that of enforcing the mark of the beast, without which many will be hungry and thirsty (Isa. 32:6).  That will cause believers to suffer financially when they lose their businesses, which will cause their oppressors to “prosper” (8:12).  It will take 220 days for the temple to be built (Dan. 8:13, 14 cf. Rev. 11:2, 3), but it will finally be cleansed by the Lord’s coming.

The Trouble With Daniel – Daniel 7:15-28

 

Summary:

Daniel’s vision “troubled” him (v. 15) so he asked a bystander what it meant (v. 16).  His vision took place in heaven (v.13,14) so this bystander must have been part of the “cloud” of angels that brought the Lord to His Father (v. 13).  He interpreted the vision, as another angel did in Zechariah 1:8,9.

The four beasts (v. 17) were kings who appeared 2,000 years ago (8:21, 22) and were supposed to produce the antichrist (7:8).  “The first king” of Grecia was Alexander, who was “broken” when he died and four kings took over Greece, as history also affirms.  But the mystery interrupted this prophecy and four more kings will arise in the Tribulation.

Verse 17 says these kings would “arise out of the earth,” making them human kings as opposed to angels who would descend from heaven.  But 7:3 says they’d arise from the sea, a type of the Gentiles, so they’ll be Gentile human kings.

The “kingdom” that those Jewish kingdom “saints” will “take” (v. 18) is the kingdom of the four beasts.  That’s when an angel will cry what we hear in Revelation 11:15.

After the angel gave Daniel an abbreviated version of his dream, Daniel asks for more information about the fourth kingdom (v.19), the one that will produce the antichrist (v. 20).  One of the reasons that kingdom will be able to “stamp” the others is that the antichrist will be more “stout” than them.  “Stout” means strong.  King Saul was a type of the antichrist, and he was big (I Sam. 9:2) and strong (II Sam. 1:23).  “Stout” can also mean proud (Isa. 9:9), and pride will be Antichrist’s fall, just as it was Lucifer’s.

After Antichrist conquers those kingdoms, he’ll begin to persecute the saints (Dan. 7:21 cf. 8:23, 24). We know this will begin mid-Trib, for that’s how long he lets the two witnesses preach (Rev. 11:3-7) as he tries to appear to be Israel’s Christ.  This persecution will end when Christ returns (Dan. 7:22).

Judgment was “given” to the saints in the sense that they’ll be made the world’s judges (Rev. 20:4 cf. Mt. 19:28), judging the earth while we “judge angels” in heaven (I Cor. 6:3).  Of course, they could only righteously “possess” the kingdom (Dan. 7:22) if it were given to them by the rightful possessor of heaven and earth, and that’s God.  That’s what that phrase “the Most High” means in Scripture (v. 22 cf. Gen. 14:18-20).

The angel adds (v. 23) that Antichrist will be able to subdue “the whole earth” by subduing three of the ten kings (v. 24 cf. Zech. 11:8-17), after which the other seven and the world are intimidated by him.  We know this because he begins his career with only one crown (Rev. 6:2) but later ends up with ten (Rev. 13:1), after which the world is intimidated (13:3, 4).  After that he’ll speak “great words against the most High” (7:25) claiming to be God (II Thes. 2:3, 4)

He’ll “wear out the saints” (7:25) or weary them by issuing his mark and making it impossible to buy food or water (cf. Job 22:7).  God will increase their strength with “eagle’s wings” (Isa. 40:29-31).  That’s what God did in the wilder-ness (Ex. 19:4) by giving them manna from heaven and water from a rock, and that’s how He’ll “nourish” them in the Tribulation as well (Micah 7:14; Rev. 12:13, 14).

Antichrist won’t weary or wear out the saints just to make them tired, but to make it easier to kill them, as Amalek smote them when they were “weary” (Deut. 25:17, 18) after they thirsted for water (Ex. 17:3-8).  A type of the antichrist named Absalom did the same to David (II Sam. 17:1-3), who was on the run from him, and David was a type of these persecuted Tribulation saints who’ll be on the run from Antichrist.  Antichrist will also wear out the saints with his sorcerers (Isa. 47:13 cf. Rev. 18:21, 23).  Satan always tries to wear us out, so we must keep Galatians 6:9 in mind.

Judgment will be given to those saints (Dan. 7:26) and the world will be theirs (v. 27).  The times of the Gentiles will end and the time when God’s people in Israel are back in charge of the world will begin again and never end.

Daniel didn’t understand it all, so he did what Mary did when she didn’t understand it all (7:28 cf. Lu. 2:19, 51).

Daniel in the Lion’s Den – Daniel 6:1-28

 

Summary:

“Darius” (6:1) conquered Babylon (5:31) and set up 120 princes. That doesn’t contradict Esther 1:1-3, for that took place 17 years later after they conquered 7 more provinces.

How is “Daniel” alive (6:2)? He refused to be a ruler in Babylon (5:17), knowing the city was about to be conquered and her rulers slain. But the king insisted (5:29). Well, they probably didn’t kill him because they heard he predicted Babylon’s fall and figured his God must God. That’s also why he was the “first” president set over the 120 princes (6:2) so the king would receive none of the financial “damage” kings get when princes steal tax money (cf. Ezra 4:13).

The princes were jealous that he was about to be made ruler over the whole realm, so tried to find a fault in Daniel “concerning the kingdom” (6:4), i.e., in his management of it. But they couldn’t find any fault of any kind, making him a type of Christ. Israel’s rulers tried to find fault with Him because they knew He too was about to be head over the
whole realm of Israel (6:4 cf. Lu. 20:19, 20), but failed (23:13, 14).

Daniel’s also a type of Tribulation saints. They will be rulers in the kingdom (Mt. 5:5), so Antichrist’s followers will try to find fault with them (Ps. 37:11, 12). Psalm 10:49 calls them lions in a den (Ps. 10:4, 9). That’s why Peter tells Tribulation believers to obey the king so they can find fault in them concerning the kingdom (II Pe. 2:12-15). The Spirit will help them be as sinless as Daniel (I Jo. 3:9).

So the princes knew they had to find a way Daniel’s religion broke the law (6:5). That’s what the Lord’s enemies charged Him with too (Lu. 23:1, 2). But Daniel’s religion didn’t break any laws, so they proposed a new law (6:6, 7). Daniel would have to break that law because his law said he had to pray thrice daily (Ps. 55:17). By the way, prohibiting prayer to any God or man (6:7) makes this a type of the Tribulation, when a man will claim to be God.

The king signed the law, making it unchangeable even by the king himself (6:8, 9). This established a state religion, one men had to accept or die, like Rome had for centuries and Antichrist will have. He’s called a lion (I Pe. 5:8) and his “many” antichrist’s (I Jo. 2:18) made up a den of lions. On the cross, the Lord prayed to be saved from the “lion” of the devil (Ps. 22:1, 20), and so will Tribulation Jews.

Daniel refused to stop praying to God because his prayers took the place of the offerings that God’s law said he had to bring (Ps. 141:1, 2), and because while in captivity he was supposed to pray “toward Jerusalem” (I Ki. 8:44-50 cf. Dan. 6:10). His 3 friends weren’t caught praying because Daniel is in his 80s and they were probably dead by then.

Darius was mad at himself because he knew the princes envied Daniel and tricked him into passing the law. He knew Daniel was innocent so tried to save him (6:12-14). That’s a type of how Israel’s rulers envied the Lord and delivered Him to Pilate (Mark 15:10), who knew the Lord was innocent so tried to save Him (Mt. 27:11-26). Since Darius could have no power against Daniel except it were given him of God, he’s a type of God, who anthropomorphically tried to figure a way to save His Son from the lion at the cross. But He too had a law that couldn’t be altered, and it said sin had to be punished. He’d like to save His sons in Israel in the Tribulation too, but they broke His law and will have to be punished.

Darius sent Daniel into the lion’s den with an assurance he’d be delivered (6:15, 16), a type of how God sent Christ to the cross with the same assurance (Pr. 16:10). Being sealed in the lion’s den with a stone was a type of Matthew 27:57-60.

Darius found out Daniel was okay “early in the morning” (Dan. 6:19), picturing how they found out the Lord was okay “early in the morning” (Lu. 24:1, 2). God raised Daniel out of the den because he served God continually (Dan. 6:20), and that’s why God raised  Christ out of the tomb too.

Daniel 6:23, 24 proves the lions weren’t drugged or overfed, and typifies what will happen to the unsaved Jews who accused the Lord, and the ones who will accuse Tribulation Jews. Darius knew what Daniel taught in Daniel 2, that God’s kingdom would never end (Dan. 6:25, 26), so if he wasn’t saved then, he was well on his way!

A Feast Unfit For a King – Daniel 5:1-31

 

Summary:

Nebuchadnezzar was actually Belshazzar’s grandfather, not his “father” (v. 2), but Daniel was writing in Chaldean, and there was no Chaldean word for grandfather, nor any Hebrew word for it (cf. II Sam. 9:6, 7) or Greek word (cf. Mt. 1:1).

Belshazzar asked to drink out of the vessels from Israel’s temple (v. 2, 3) to show his contempt for Israel’s God.  So God allowed him to be conquered by the Medes and Persians (Jer. 51:37-39; 51:57, 58) later that night (Dn. 5:30, 31).

Daniel 5:5 mentions the hand’s “fingers” because back then “the finger of God” was a figure of speech that meant God must have His finger in something (Ex. 8:18).  But in the Bible, “the finger of God” was a symbol of “the Spirit of God” (Mt. 11:28 cf. Lu. 11:20).  God’s Spirit wrote the law (Deut. 9:10) and the rest of the Word of God (II Pe. 1:20, 21).

The Spirit wrote on the wall by “the candlestick” (Dan. 5:5) the king probably also got from the temple (Jer. 52:12-19). God predicted the king’s fear 100 years earlier (Isa. 21:2-4).

Belshazzar could only offer his wise men “third” place in the kingdom because his father Nabonidus was actually the king; he was just out of town.  That made Belshazzar himself second in the kingdom, so he couldn’t offer that position as a reward as Pharaoh did for Joseph (Gen. 41:42).

Belshazzar’s wise men couldn’t interpret the writing (cf. Isa. 44:24, 25) for it was God’s Word, and unsaved men can’t understand the Word (I Cor. 2:14).  Only a man with the Spirit can, something we see symbolized by the way God laid out the temple.  The bread on the table of showbread had two rows of six loaves (Lev. 24:5, 6) to represent the Bible’s 66 books, for man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth.  God parked that bread under the candlestick that represents the Spirit to symbolize that only He can shed “light” on God’s Word.

The queen heard the king’s fear and came in (5:9, 10).  She must have been his mother, for “all” his wives were already at the party (5:2).  She told him to call Daniel in to interpret the writing (5:11-17).  Daniel refused the king’s offer to be Babylon’s 3rd ruler, even though he accepted a reward from his grandfather (Dan. 2:48), because he knew Babylon would fall that night and most of her rulers would likely be killed.  Besides, he had all the “chains” (5:16) he needed (Pr. 1:7-9).

After Daniel reminded the king that pride had been his grandfather’s downfall (5:18-25), he began to interpret his dream. “Mene” (v. 26) means numbered and, being a prophet, Daniel amplified it to mean God had numbered the years of his kingdom to be 70 years (Jer. 25:11, 12), and his number was up!  “Tekel” (Dan. 5:27) means weighed, which Daniel amplified to mean he’d been weighed and found wanting.  “Peres” (v. 28) was a form of “upharsin” and meant his kingdom would be “divided” to the combined kingdom of Media-Persia.  God predicted this 100 years ealier and said they couldn’t be bribed to not conquer them (Isa. 13:1, 17).

Daniel eventually had to accept a position as 3rd ruler because the king “commanded” it (Dan. 5:29), and God’s people are supposed to do what the king commands.  Besides, he just got done acting like the 3rd person in God’s kingdom, the Spirit, when he interpreted the Word of God.  Joseph was a type of Christ, the 2nd person in the Trinity, so God allowed him to be made the 2nd ruler in Egypt.

God sketched out how Babylon would fall (Isa. 21:4-9), but didn’t give the full story that history gives us.  History says the Medes and Persians dammed up the Euphrates River that ran through Babylon, allowing them to sneak in under the massive walls.  Belshazzar and all his rulers were too drunk to fight them off, or even believe the initial reports that the wall had been breached.

Why wouldn’t God include that great story in the Bible?  Because Babylon will rise and fall again, and this fall is a type of that fall, and God didn’t want you to think future Babylon will fall the same way, for it will burn (Rev. 18).  Future Babylonians will be saying “peace and safety,” just as they did in ancient Babylon, but destruction will fall on them just as suddenly (I Thes. 5:3) “in one hour” (Rev. 18:10).

An Attitude Adjustment – Daniel 4:1-37

 

Summary:

In an official proclamation to his people, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon told how the signs and wonders he saw in Daniel 2,3 made him realize that Daniel’s God was God, and that he was only king of the world because God made him king of the world  (1:1-3).  But a lot of years had passed by Chapter 4, and he’s gotten pretty full of himself (v. 30), so God gave him another bad dream (4:4-7).  He consulted the wise men who couldn’t interpret his last dream because he was still calling Bel “my god” (v. 8), so still believed in them.

Trees (v. 10) in the Bible often represent men (Mt. 7:15-17), and this one represented a man that got big and powerful (Dn. 4:11, 12).  The mention of birds and beasts may have had the king wondering if the tree represented him, because of what Daniel had told him back in Daniel 2:37,38.

The “watcher” (v. 13) was a holy angel.  God sees all, but chooses to use angels to see (cf. Gen. 18:20, 21 cf. 19:1; II Chron. 16:9).  That means if the king thinks the tree represents him, he knows he’s being told he’s about to lose control over the world (Dn. 4:14).  But he also knows he won’t die, for if you leave a tree’s stump (v. 15) it will grow back.  He learns this man’s heart will be turned into the heart of a beast (v. 16) for “seven times,” or seven years (cf. Rev. 12:14).

The watcher’s decree (v. 17) came from God (cf. v. 24), the same God who made a “base” man named Pharaoh king of the world (Ex. 9:16), and now Nebuchadnezzar.  “Base” means lowly.  Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar probably thought a lot of themselves, but God didn’t.

Daniel told the king that his dream was good news for his enemies (v. 18, 19) because it meant he was about to go mad for seven years (v. 20-25).  That explains Daniel’s astonishment (v. 19), for Nebuchadnezzar probably quit worshipping idols after Chapter 3, so Daniel probably couldn’t figure out why God would do this to him.  But the watchers saw the pride in his private life that Daniel couldn’t see.  All that being said, the preservation of the tree’s stump meant the king would live to get his kingdom back (v. 26).

Daniel went on to tell the king that if he’d mend his ways he could avoid all this (v. 27), and for awhile it seems he did, But then his pride got the best of him (v. 28-33).  Becoming like a “beast” for seven years makes him a type of the Anti-christ in the Tribulation, aka “the beast.”  An “ox” is associated with Satan.  God created him a cherub (Ezek. 28:14), and cherubs were oxen (Ezek. 1:4-10 cf. 10:14).  That’s why Satan was cursed “above all cattle” (Gen. 3:14).

We see more proof that the king was a type of the Antichrist when Daniel told him that he’d have bird claws, for birds in the Bible are not good things (Mt. 13:4, 19).  They are associated with leaven (Lu. 1:18-21), a type of sin.  Antichrist’s kingdom will be full of devils called birds (Rev. 18:2).  This symbolic type is telling us that after the Rapture, the world is going to be under the dominion of a bird-like beast for seven years, and ruled by a madman.

 But how can Nebuchadnezzar be a type of the beast if he ends up blessing God (Dn. 4:34, 35)?  Well, there will be “many” antichrists (I Jo. 2:18) called “natural brute beasts” (II Pe. 2:12; Jude 1:10).  If they don’t take the beast’s mark they can be saved and end up blessing God like Nebuchadnezzar, who typifies those antichrists in his conversion.

 We can’t be sure, but I think Nebuchadnezzar gets saved here (Dn. 4:36, 37) by doing what Daniel told him to do: being merciful to the poor (4:27).  The poor in Babylon would certainly involve the Jews.  And blessing Jews is what Gentiles had to do to be blessed by God with salvation (Gen. 12:1-3).  That’s also what Gentiles and Jews will have to do in the Tribulation to get saved, as the Lord told people who were heading into the Tribulation—the Tribulation that would have come if God hadn’t interrupted Daniel’s prophecies with the mystery (Lu. 18:18, 22).  If Nebuchadnezzar did get saved, someday you’ll get to ask him how much weight he lost on The Oxen Diet, and you ladies can ask him how he kept those long nails from breaking for seven years.

Pride can be your undoing as well, for “pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).  Don’t let it undo you!