Decoding Daniel – Part 2

research

RESEARCH

When doing research I am always personally open to the possibility of what I set out to discover and validate ends up changing my mind or position in some way, major ways, or affirm my position. It is called UNDERSTANDING. I leave my doors of new knowledge open to these possibilities. This position is also steeped into reasoning out why Daniel is written in Syriac/Aramaic (non-Israelis) and in Hebrew (to the Tribes of Jacob and the Old Testament Covenant).

Much of Daniel’s chapter 8-12 prophecies are exclusive to the Israelites (12 Tribes) with particular attention given to the Tribe and Kingdom of Judah then dispersed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. to a 70 year captivity; i.e. better said not allowed to return to Judah/Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel meaning the Northern Ten Tribes were dispersed by Assyrians in 732 B.C. and again in 720 B.C. In 605 B.C. and again in 586 B.C. the Kingdom of Judah went into their 70 year exile. Gentiles (the church) can safely consider that we are not in the same river or current of future events as those promised to God’s chosen People. Christians; i.e. The Church of believers may NOT be the primary target in some of Daniel’s prophecies, but could be caught up in the vacuum of events in Israel as Christians if the Church is not a pre-tribulation rapture event. If the Tribulation is targeted to Israel alone, the church body of believers will already be missing due to the Rapture (the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial view).

My sources represent a mix of liberal and conservative scholarly theologians who hold diverse views. These will be listed separately at the end of this work-in-progress study of Daniel. In no-way can I conclude or offer possible insights to all of the meaningful sources until they have been added to this work-in-progress. I will attempt to weed out that which is purely speculation, one-sided denomination planks, tickling ear syndrome not supported by scripture.

In this initial commentary, it is my goal to begin the awareness and some loose understanding of the prophetic blend and practical teachings of the Book of Daniel. God the Father ultimately controls every nation, having determined the times set for them and the exact places where these events will unfold. For that reason, I have structured Decoding Daniel upon God’s Sovereignty in the Rise [and fall] of *Four Hebrew, Five World Empires, and their Princes. These men and nations are but a methodology used of God to fulfill his covenants with Old Testament Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and the Church established in the early pages of the New Testament. *Four Hebrew powers: 1) the Judges; 2) the Nation of Israel; 3) the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah; 4) the Covenant with His people to bring them back to a Promised Land but yet to be fulfilled; i.e. a work still in progress.important-

IMPORTANT JIV NOTE: We should conclude by the end of this Bible study that politics is nothing more than an earthly tool of Satan to distract, derail, confuse and hide the fact that the real issues is between Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and God’s creation giving mankind, made in HIS own image, the opportunity to share in Satan’s destiny or God’s preferred destiny.

The importance of the Book of Daniel

  1. It is an indispensable introduction to New Testament prophecy.
  2. It bridges the gap between Israel’s historical books and the New
    Testament.
  3. It reveals details about the *comings of the Anointed One, the Antichrist and other princes.
      1. The coming of Christ, anointed Son of God
      2. The Rapture of the Church
      3. Jesus on the Throne during the Millennial reign from Jerusalem
  1. It tells of the Tribulation, followed by the Lord’s return to rule from the Throne of David in Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
  2. It speaks about the resurrections and the judgments of God.
  3. It covers “the Times of the Gentiles.”
  4. It shows that God is sovereign in the affairs of man.
  5. It provides compelling evidence that there is a God in heaven who rules history.
  6. It uncovers a great spiritual warfare among the angelic and demonic forces.
  7. It illustrates what true dedication to God means, and what God is willing to do through and for those who are committed to Him.
  8. It provides a solid basis for comfort in the midst of adversity.
  9. It discloses Godly principles for politicians and officials.
  10. It offers hope for God’s people so they will not fall away.
  11. It challenges God’s people to faithfulness and perseverance.
  12. It contains an unusual amount of practical truth that is applicable to Christians today.
  13. It predicts an everlasting kingdom ruled by the Son of Man.

During the Olivet Discourse Jesus directed our attention to the prophet Daniel (Matthew 24:15). By referring to Daniel, Jesus was drawing our attention to some of the most amazing last day prophecies of the Bible. Daniel’s prophecies were written during the sixth century BC, after the Babylonians had conquered Israel and taken them into captivity. Secular theologians state it was written in the first century BC due to its accuracy. Daniel received several visions and prophecies during this time, beginning when he was a youth under king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Olivet Discourse didn’t happen until several hundred years later; about 30 A.C.

The Apocrypha adds three additional moments to Daniels’ life in Babylon. These events are found in Bel and the Dragon found in the Vulgate as Daniel 14; Susanna found in the Vulgate as Daniel 13; *The Song of the Three Children; Vulgate, Daniel 3:24-90. The standard Evangelical Bible typically stops after chapter 12 in the Book of Daniel.

* This passage includes the sorrowful prayer of Azariah (Abednego) in Babylonian while the three youths were in the fiery furnace. It is a brief account of a figure who met them in the furnace and was unburned (an angel, or interpreted by fundamental Christians as a pre-figurement of Jesus Christ, in the same vein as Melchizedek); and the hymn of praise they sang (with the refrain, “Praise and exalt Him above all forever…”, repeated many times, each naming a feature of the world) when they realized they were delivered.

AHAMOMENT: The history of Hanania, Misheal, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego) was under Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian King. The historical reference to Danial in the Lion’s Den was over 70 years later under the new Medo-Persian Ruler, Cyrus. These are NOT stories. They are history that ss to some degree mentioned on the *Black Oblisk and other written tablets of ancient Babylon and Persia.

* Black Obelisk of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III

 

Rev. Dr. James Stark
original copy 3/20/2013
Revised March 2, 2019

 

Decoding Daniel – Part 1

               An In Depth Classroom and Home Bible Study

DEEP


The Book of Daniel reveals God’s sovereign control of history from 605 B.C. to the Second Advent of Christ. This prophetic writing contains hundreds of predictions that revolve around five basic themes.

1. The Rise and Fall of Four Empires
2. The Coming of the Everlasting Millennial Kingdom
3. The Coming Princes
4. The Time of Israel’s Distress
5. The End Times

My objective in Decoding Daniel is to show history revealing prophecy and prophecy revealing history. Yahweh is the Lord of time and history. They are one and the same; not one a story and the other facts of history. They are both part of the same historical facts.

He is sovereign over the world, though considerable power and freedom of will have been given to human and angelic beings. Because of this freedom, a great conflict within the physical and spiritual realms is revealed in the Book of Daniel as humans, angels, Satan and God strive to control the future. Today they are cloaked in what man calls politics. Do not be swayed, That is a farce of Satan in his attempt to confuse facts. (Recommended reading: Satan’s Confusing Counterfeits by Joe Crews)

God elects to relate to humanity in such a way that humans become a factor in His life and He becomes part of our lives. Paul is strong on this point in his Philippians letter. Because of this interaction, prayers, dreams and visions play a significant role in the events of this book (Daniel) as God reveals the rise and fall of future empires and princes.

Although biblical history shows that God changes in the way He feels, plans, and acts in response to our response to Him, there are boundaries to His change. The LORD responds to human actions without compromising His revealed, unconditional plans and purposes. In addition, He never violates His legitimacy, righteousness and holiness. The future God has mapped out in the Book of Daniel will occur. His prophecies we find in history textbooks of the secular world proving many of these prophecies have already happened.target

Interesting side note… The fact that Daniels accuracy is so on-target, secularists and even some religious sophisticates claim the Book of Daniel had to be written after the fact of history itself. In other words, it was and remains too accurate to be true. Hmmmmm?

From the beginning, man’s history has been the story of rebellion against God. Instead of developing morally, humanity continues to head down the slippery slope of decadence, declension and destruction. For this reason alone, God is able to foretell the future with absolute accuracy as He overrules evil for His plans and purposes. Although in some of Daniel’s prophecies evil may appear to be victorious, God is working behind the scenes for good [Romans 8:28]. Joseph characterized God’s sovereign rule over evil for good in this same way in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Prophetically, the Book of Daniel is the key that unlocks eschatology; the study of the last days. It is indispensable for understanding Christ’s predictions and the Book of Revelation. Many of its symbols are employed in diverse ways in the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. [Recommended web site: http://www.biblestudyhour.net/Apocalypse.html] Below is an extract from its pages.

God’s plan for the world is unfolded in amazing detail in Daniel. *Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the Great Image, Daniel’s dream and visions of the Four Beasts, and the Ram and Goat, along with Gabriel’s unveiling of the Seventy ‘Sevens’ provide the framework for prophetic history from 605 B.C. to the second coming [Advent] of Christ.

Daniel is written in prose and it differs from other prophetic books of the Bible which often have their oracles written in poetry. Consequently, it appears in the Hebrew Scriptures among “the writings” and not “the prophets.” Nevertheless, Daniel cannot be read like a narrative or novel since it contains images and symbols that need to be understood before God’s plan for the future can be understood. One cannot grasp its prophecies without first knowing a great deal about the rest of the Bible and the secular histories in which it is founded.

The kinds of predictions in the Book of Daniel are twofold:

  1. There are “types” or “foreshadowing’s” concealed within the narratives themselves;
  2. There are revealed dreams and visions of future events, people and places.

 

The prophet has deciphered the dreams and visions with the help of the Spirit of God. Herein a significant part of the outline of God’s plan for “the times of the Gentiles” has been decoded by the prophet. However, translating the details of this period is often left to the readers. My hope is to aid in this task by:

1. Connecting the symbolism decoded by Daniel to historical events, people and places.

2. Interpreting and connecting the symbolism that belongs to yet future events, people and places based on other prophecies contained in the Scriptures.

3. Discovering and interpreting the “types” in the narrative sections.

4. Explaining the words that have been closed up and sealed until the time of the end. In no way is it within my knowledge and study to open what has been sealed by God but we can possibly determine WHAT has been sealed. Someday the hidden will be revealed to all creation.

Practically, the Book of Daniel abounds with personal applications. Daniel himself models a godly life, blessed by God from teenage years through old age. A question section appears at the end of each chapter and will be discussed in our Bible Study containing a few applications gleaned from Daniel and others mentioned within that chapter. These questions can and will be an active ingredient for gaining knowledge and understanding. What we desire to do with gained understanding is an individual’s call. We will add secular historical evidence supporting Daniel’s incredible incites of wisdom and understanding of the times.

Chronological dating of Old Testament events varies slightly among church and secular scholars. Many variations arise from the Biblical writers themselves. Some count the ascension year as the first year of a king’s reign, others do not. Earlier scholars date the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 B.C. I have opted (JIV) to follow the scholars who date these events as 586 B.C. and 444 B.C. Not a biggie considering it is only a give or take of one year. None the less, it is my hopes to self-explain as we progress through this great study and grasp understanding while offering convincing evidence this is the true Word of God and true history all in one.

Somewhere during our study will be a chronology of Daniel with supporting facts. We can divide Daniel three ways: 1) Take it as it is presented in most evangelical Bibles; look at it through its chronological order; 2) divide it between the two languages that it is written in: 1-2:4a (Hebrew), 2:4b – 7 (depending on how one looks at tense, voice and whether Daniel is being quoted or is his own quote) is written in Syriac/Aramaic. 3) Chapter 8 – 12 is written in Hebrew.

The Book of Daniel has been a battleground of “higher criticism.” For instance, liberals view this book as Pseudepigrapha, written to inspire the hopes of the Jewish victims during the Seleucid persecution of 170-165 B.C. I (JIV) believe it was written by a prophetic Daniel at the time of the 70 years Jewish (not Israeli) Babylonian exile, perhaps into the rule of Cyrus of Persia. One’s beliefs and interpretation of Daniel can be a litmus test of conservative or liberal orthodoxy. The interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies sharply divide pre-millennial views from a-millennial views. The reader should find that the explanation in this commentary is conservative and (JIV) pre-millennial Tribulation. Enough evidence and scripture will be provided to validate this position. My basis is that the covenant made between God (pre-Jesus’s N.T. times) is not yet fulfilled and the covenant with the Church (body of Christ) is under a New covenant… the church.

Next Week- Decoding Daniel Part 2


Rev. Dr. James Stark
original copy 3/20/2013
Revised March 2, 2019

Intro to the Book of Daniel

Daniel and the Lion’s Den

The book of Daniel is one of the best-loved books of the Bible; it gives us the events of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams of a great nation (statue), and is the setting for the Book of Esther – stories that many of us learned and loved at Sunday school. However the years have come and gone and we so often tend to just skip over those quaint little histories without them having any real impact on our lives. I believe that once we have completed a serious chapter by chapter, topic by topic putting all into a historical context and the study of this amazing book, we will never be the same. This book gives us real perspective, it helps us to see things the way that God sees them – the way Daniel saw them AND the way we will see them as we near total social and political correctness per global opinions but all without God.

Daniel, whose name means ‘God is my judge’, was just a teenager, perhaps about 14, when the Babylonian army, led by king Nebuchadnezzar, came and took him, his friends and about 10,000 others of the brightest and royalty of Judah away from all they knew. They were carried them away into a distant land to a culture and language they did not know. It’s hard for us to imagine the feelings and emotions of a 14 (or so) year old young teenager being taken from the security of a family, not knowing if he would ever see them again.

Although we are told that there was not a righteous man in Jerusalem at that time (Jer 5:1; Jer 8:5-6), (hence the reason for God bringing His judgment), it would seem that there were still some God-fearing mothers, for Daniel and three of his teenage friends were brought up to know and fear God and even their names were a continual reminder of the God of Israel. But would that be enough? After all, how many young people today, after seeing all that Daniel saw, and enduring all he endured, would make a stand for God in the midst of a pagan culture?

Would YOU Stand Out?

How many of our young people leave home and go to the University of ‘Babylon’, where secular humanism rules, and find their once and hope filled faith destroyed as they become ‘free’ to do what they want? The moral constraints and stability of a home family (church and/or home) become just memories? And how many of us can truly say, as we back into the world every Monday morning, that we desire purity more than worldly pleasure?

Do we really fear God and shun evil as did Job? (Job 1:8). Do we run from temptation like Joseph? (Gen 39:12). Do we find ourselves dropping the odd expletive (Col 3:8), telling a ‘funny’ course joke to our colleagues so that we will fit into the crowd (Eph 5:4), maybe telling the occasional little ‘white’ lie (Col 3:9). “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:10-11). Were you in church praising God this past Sunday then blending right back into the world on Monday? (Romans 12:1) I heard of a man who went up to a Christian once and asked: “You’re a Christian aren’t you?” The Christian replied “What makes you think that” It should be obvious to all around us. Too many Christians act as secret agents, never wanting to blow their cover.

Daniel wasn’t in Babylon long before the Babylonians could tell what was the most important thing in his life. It is my earnest prayer and desire that by the time we reach the end of this study, we too can say along with Daniel that we have ‘purposed in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves’ – no matter what the cost. No this is not the Nike-Colin Kaepernick “no matter what the cost” appeal. Their purpose is just another example of a degenerating America and profiteering. What Kaepernick, a multi-million dollar man is protesting is against the very institution that allowed him opportunity to become a wealthy man with the right to protest.

Our Christian stance at “no matter the cost” is talking about eternal things, not check book balances, TV spotlight time or fifteen minutes of camera attention. It does suggest that within Mark 8:36…”to gain the whole world but lose one’s soul” there is a deep meaning most today wish to ignore or deny…perhaps never had a clue.

Rev. Dr. Jstark