The Book of Daniel

 

The book of Daniel as we know it today dates from about 165 B.C. It document his activities as an interpreter of dreams at the royal court under King Nebuchadnezzar and extending into the subsequent Persian reign of Darius the Mede, around 520 B.C.

Daniel's prophecies were ordered sealed by the angel of God until the time of the End. For this reason, the recent understanding of his words in our time seems certain proof of the meaning of the age we now occupy.

A major subject of his writing involves the Persian overthrow of Babylon, which he predicted by interpreting a mysterious handwriting that appeared on the king of Babylon's palace wall the night the overthrow occurred. Other essential subjects of his work include the celestial coronation of Jesus, the erection of the abomination that causes desolation, and the final destruction by God of the army of the Medes together with its leader, the great "Wretch" of the end.

Earlier, Daniel forecast from the king's dream, the golden statue with two clay feet that Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar would later erect to wickedness. We also see reference to the construction of this statue in the writings of the prophet Zechariah and later see it re-structured into a verbal icon by the beast of the last days in the Book of Revelation.

The golden statue's two clay feet represent the fatal Achilles' heel in the two manifestations of Babylon. First, in Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom, and second, in the global empire that his kingdom actually symbolizes. It is this second foot that turns out to be of vast importance to Christ's ministry and to all future prophecies relating to the end of the world.

Our own relationship to the golden statue can be seen in Daniel's decription of Shadrach, Meschach & Abednego. Refusing because of God, to obey Nebuchadnezzar's order mandating all the people of the world to worship his idol, they were sentenced to the flames by the king, but were saved by an angel from heaven who came down in the middle of the furnace and protected them from it's fire.

Daniel's remarkable verses stand with the Book of Revelation in their importance. The two books go hand in hand. His words document many visitations by an angel of God, and even by Jesus, Himself, as each relate to him the sobering details of what is to come.

In a dramatic vision, Daniel describes not only the heavenly coronaton of Jesus Christ as He is brought into the presence of God and given kingship of the new creation, but also the last judgment when the great court is held and all the books are opened.

Largely as a result of Daniel's coronation sequence, Jewish interest in the book as prophecy plummeted with the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth. Daniel's mysterious references to a "son of man" obviously both divine and messianic, and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jesus Christ froze Jewish enamor of his work

Barely surviving the Jewish purge of its scripture at Jamnia at the end of the first century A.D., the book was relegated by Jews to fairy-tale elements like the lion's den, and his slaying of the dragon, and set aside for children's reading.

Christians have puzzled over the book for 2000 years. Sealed by the angel, its details remained secret across the breadth of the millenia. That veil is not in place forever, however. According to the angel, the book is to be opened at the end of time when the circumstances of its visions begin to shape into the reality of history. That is the time we find ourselves in now, and why it's details are suddenly pouring out to us.

Early Christian prophets saw in the book only Jewish details: the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, for instance, and Jewish sacrifices performed there. As the seals fall, however, we discover that the book is predominately Christian. It is about Christ, not Moses.

The rebuilt temple, we discover, is the spiritual structure of Jesus Christ erected by the Holy Spirit in Christian hearts, the true "Holy of Holies". And the perpetual sacrifice is the communion sacrifice offered in the Christian Church.

Jesus referred His apostles to Daniel's words when they questioned Him about the grandeur of the Temple in Jerusalem. He told them, of the buildings they were looking at, that not a stone would be left on another, and that in the end, even the foundation of its sanctuary (i.e. the rock that is Peter) would be overthrown and the daily sacrifice there desolated by sacrilege.

Daniel's prophecies center on a period of "70 weeks", defined for him by an angel, and corresponding to the Christian millenium (i.e., to "the time this message went out: 'Return and rebuild Jerusalem"). God decreed that this was the period Daniel's people and their city had for putting an end to transgressions, ridding itself of crime, introducing everlasting integrity, sealing all vision and prophecy and for cleansing the true Holy of Holies, (the soul) by baptism into Christ.

Daniel has provided vivid details of the impending Christian era in its relationship with the four kingdoms of Persia. It is he who introduces us to the pivotal concept of a beast with ten horns. Those ten, wrapped almost seamlessly into a Persian empire to come, not only destroy Babylon, but decide to annihilate both houses of Israel as well, Christians and Jews alike. The final stages of that heinous ambition brings the armies of the world to Jerusalem.

Daniel's words define in almost chronological order the activities that lead to the end of the world, including two back-to-back wars pitting East against West at the Euphrates river that launch those activities into motion. Daniel forsaw in these two battles troops crossing the entire earth without touching the ground.

Another image reflective of the United States is brought into the prophecy under the symbolic veil of "the ships of Kittim" (an image familiar to us today in the U.S. 7th Fleet now militarily positioned in the waters of the Middle East) as world forces are brought into the fray, insuring that all the nations on earth will be represented as they gather around Jerusalem for the final battle.

At the end of the 69th week, after the squares and ramparts of the holy city have been restored and rebuilt, but in a time of trouble, Daniel indicates that the "anointed Prince", Michael the Archangel, will rise up in human form (Dn.9:25; 12:1).

Michael is shown by Daniel to be a predominate figure in the activities of the final war (the war of the 70th week) when the world is virtually destroyed and the power of the Church is severely tested and brought almost to the point of extermination by the "Beast". Just before that happens, however, God is shown to intervene cosmically, destroying both the man of evil and his forces (no human hand intervening), as He rules in favor of the Christian community.

As Daniel watched, a court was held and the beast's power was stripped from him, consumed, and utterly destroyed. The beast was killed, and its body destroyed and committed to the flames. After that, sovereignty and kingship and the splendors of all the kingdoms under heaven were given to the people of the saints of the Most High.

His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away, nor will his empire ever be destroyed.





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