Daniel 9 – Article #27

Contrary to some who have a basic grasp on the Book of Daniel, the “70 weeks” mention in this chapter has only some to do with the 70 year captivity of the Judeans from Judah. Once again be very cautious about trusting misleading information found on Wikipedia per almost anything scriptural.

Example: Here is what this “supposed authoritarian resource” says:

“The consensus among critical scholars is that chapters 1-6 of the Book of Daniel originated as a collection of folktales among the Jewish diaspora in the Persian/Hellenistic periods, to which the visionary chapters 7–12 were added during the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV in 167–163 BCE. The authors of the tales apparently took the name Daniel from a legendary hero mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel, and the author of the visions in turn adopted him from the tales.”
[From Wikipedia, Daniel 9, the free encyclopedia; emphasis mine]

Wikipedia uses dogma and misleading “authorities” trying to make a point that the Bible is A BOOK OF STORIES. Fundamentalists do a major disservice that inadvertently supports this Wikipedia philosophy by also identifying historical Bible events as “stories.” Call scripture for what it is…FACT, not a series of cute religious bedtime and Sunday school stories.

When speaking to true believers, those who strive to BE and LIVE (believe) a Christian life, we understand. But to the unbeliever, the unequally yoked church attender, or the church-only so-called Christian, the word story leaves much territory to wonder, rationalize, and justify wrong personal actualities.

Now to Daniel 9:

Daniel 9:2 is very specific about who the author is. Not some distant or future “add-on” to this incredible book. “I Daniel, understood the number of the years by books, which came of the Word of Jehovah to Jeremiah the prophet,…” [NKJV]. Daniel is a student of scripture. He is well read, especially of Jeremiah. In Daniel 9:2 he is probably referring to the passages found in Jeremiah 25 (*11 & 12) and chapter 29 (10-12).

*…this whole land shall be a ruin and a waste. And these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. [NKJV]

Daniel is specifically referring to the 70 year captivity of the Judean Jews. At the end of this chapter, we get a beginning glimpse of s future Jerusalem even today has yet to be fulfilled as a promise of God the Father.

At this point, Daniel goes deep into a prayer session with God. His prayer content and context references other bible scriptures (*future outcomes contained in past conditions put upon Israel by God) but that is not the discussion goal of this Daniel 9 article. Let’s look at Daniel’s prayer specifics. It is something we should learn to pattern. Not a prayer life of the Lord’s Prayer quoted in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In these passages we are specifically instructed to go into our prayer closet, alone; not to stand or sit and pray aloud yet alone in unison. This would make for a very crowded prayer closet.

*EXAMPLE: Leviticus 26:40 – 42 This is a specific precondition for the redemption and return of Israel, not just the Judean Jews, but include from the “four corners of the earth” where Israeli Tribes and offspring now live. Most of these folks have lost contact with their chosen people identification given to them by God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Gabriel

If we jump forward to 9:21 we read that Daniel’s prayer was so earnest and intense that God sent the angel Gabriel to speak with Daniel…directly! But, let’s not stray. In Daniel’s prayer he includes…

  1. Fasting
  2. Persistence
  3. Israel not listening to God’s Words
  4. The unrecognized shame of Israel. Note that Daniel is not praying about the Jews of Judah but of his entire family of scattered Israeli Tribes.
  5. Rejection of the prophets sent by God to both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
  6. He calls Jerusalem “the city that bears HIS (God’s) name.”
  7. Daniel pleads for God’s wrath against Israel (Jerusalem) to cease
  8. It is not a request (petition) owed to Israel but it is for the sake of God’s name.

We so often miss one of Daniel’s major prayer points. He is not asking this for the sake of Israelis, but according Daniel 9:18b…”For we do not present our prayers before You on account of our righteousness’s, but because of Your great mercies.” [NKJV] . Note the “WE” in Daniel’s prayer. He is not praying for himself but for his entire people of Israeli descent.

In verse 19 Daniel lists priorities…

  1. “For your sake (God);
  2. …on account of your righteousness;
  3. …for your city (Jerusalem);
  4. …for your people called by your name.”

Let’s back up for a moment to verse 19. Daniel says and pleads with God that He answer his prayer petition for “the city Jerusalem AND for ‘those who carry His name’.” Give serious consideration for those who call themselves Christian today. There are many who identify as Christian but do little to “carry His name” in his or her daily walk in public and in worship.

From verse 23 forward (Daniel 9:23+) we arrive at a fork in the road of prophecies; two roads (context) but the same content. This is somewhat scriptural speculation but consider this. We know that the Tribe of Judah (Jews by a shortened inference name) was in their 69th or 70th year of captivity in Babylon. It was about to end and King Cyrus of Persia (modern day Iran) would release them to return to their original homeland. Verse 25 no longer is talking about the 70 year Babylonian captivity but of a future yet to be completed return and building of Jerusalem; i.e. Daniel’s 70 7s.

The future of Jerusalem is now identified in Daniel’s prayer to be “built unto the Messiah the Prince.” God is never identified as the Messiah; Jesus is. God is never referred to as a Prince. Only Jesus is. So the parallel or fork in the road of prophecies is obvious. Judeans would be release after 70 years of Babylonian captivity but Jerusalem is destined to be the Kingdom of the Messiah Prince; Jesus. This is a reference to the future millennial reign. We will discuss that in part, in our next Daniel article. Prior to this verse, the Jerusalem under discussion was for the right of the captured Jews of Judah to return home.

Daniel 9:25 in the ESV puts it this way:

Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.

The very next verse identifies (anti-Christ) as one who will destroy the city and the Temple. Bear in mind, Nebuchadnezzar had already done this several decades earlier.

The prince identified in verse 26 is lower case; not Prince as written earlier in chapter 9, but as prince of the people. We will pick it up at verse 26 in the next article. It is a discussion in and of itself.

Article #26 Daniel 8

“Bible History IS Secular History when given the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Following is a quote from Wikipedia; a reference source ahabiblemoments.com seldom encourages and often discourages as a reliable source for knowledge, total truth and research information. They are obviously changing their historical perspectives at the expense of bible facts. In some resource reference they go so far as to simply call the bible a book of stories that at best are half-truths, not historical reports. In this case (below quote) the reader is initially given historical facts and future reality perspectives on history and theology. Keep in mind that the bible is not a religion and history is not the truth, whole truth and nothing but the complete truth. The Bible is part of secular history; not separate to or removed from the annals of history.

Daniel 8 (the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel) tells of Daniel‘s vision of a two-horned ram destroyed by a one-horned goat (a possible allegory for the transition from the Persian to the Greek eras in the Near East), followed by the history of the “little horn”, which is Daniel’s code-word for the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes.

Oppression

The subject of the vision is Antiochus’ oppression of the Jews–he outlawed Jewish customs such as circumcision, Jewish monthly/Lunar calendar, dietary restrictions, and Sabbath observance, made ownership of the Torah scroll a capital offense, and built an altar to Zeus in the Temple (the “abomination of desolation“). His program sparked a popular uprising which led to the retaking of Jerusalem and the Temple by Judas Maccabeus (164 BCE). [Wikipedia, opening paragraphs]

Note: Beginning in this chapter through the end of the book, Daniel is written in Hebrew… TO THE HEBREW (Israelites) people. Daniel 2:4b – 7:28 is written in the language of Babylonian Gentiles at that time; Aramaic sometimes called Chaldean. The reason for the switch from Aramaic to Hebrew is a modern day marketing rule-of-thumb. “Write to the intended target market even at the expense of those not part of the targeted market.” From here to the end of Daniel it is all about Jerusalem, Israel, Israelis, anti-Christ and the second coming of the King of kings; Jesus. Also often missed is the fact that up until now, Daniel was involved in dream interpretation (Chapters 24b-7:28). This chapter is called a “VISION”…a view into the future. Daniel had a dream (7:1). Within it was a vision.

What was this vision? It was of a ram (two horns) and a goat (one horn). There is an abundant amount of historical evidence for these animals being representative of Greece and Persia. Most simply is the fact that the Ram “did not touch the ground.” This refers to the rapidity of Alexander’s army conquests. The ram had two horns; i.e. the Medes and Persians. The goat had but one horn; i.e. Alexander’s Greek/Macedonian army. It moved with the speed of a leopard. Daniel 8:3 states:

(NIV) I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer. than the other but grew up later.

Simply put… The Medes had been an empire far longer then had the Persians. However, the Persians turned on their Mede allies after defeating Babylon, conquered them, and with combined powers of both became the larger (longer) of the two horns. Verse four describes its growth as a power…until it bumped up against the Greek city-states (Sparta and Athens) and Macedonia (490’s B.C.). It was with regards to this history in which Aristotle taught his student Alexander, son of Macedonian King Philip; i.e. Alexander the Great. He grew up and was well trained as a military leader. He sought revenge on Persia but had to conquer many other kingdoms while in-route.

JIV NOTE: Xerxes, son of ‘Darius the Great’ is one of the Persian kings identified as Ahasuerus in the biblical Book of Esther. In contrast, the 62 year old Darius who initially conquered Babylon was “made king” over Babylon, not the Babylonian Empire. That ruler was Cyrus, king of Persia. He appointed Darius as a satrap-king over Babylon, but not the entire Persian Empire.

Ray C. Stedman wrote back 1969:
[https://www.raystedman.org/old-testament/daniel/the-great-propagandist]

The eighth chapter of Daniel contains a different kind of little prophecy than any we have seen before. In the other prophetic sections of the book we have had a more or less direct view of future events brought before us Chapter 2 was a long-range telescopic view, looking down the whole range of time beginning with Daniel’s own day and running on down to the end beyond our own day. Part of it is now fulfilled and part of it is yet unfulfilled. In Chapter 7 we had what we might liken to a zoom camera approach, which moved in to the events of the last days before our Lord’s return, wherein we saw the condition of the earth politically, and especially centering around the Mediterranean Sea. We were stirred to note that events of our own day were perhaps beginning to produce the final shape of things.

But now, in Chapter 8, we see events which were future as far as Daniel was concerned but have and have yet to be fulfilled in history. Some three hundred years after the prophet Daniel uttered these words, they were, for the most part, fulfilled….we have an historic fulfillment which in turn becomes a prediction of another event. That is exactly what we find in the eighth chapter of Daniel.

Now that we have identified the ram with two horns and the leopard-like speed of the goat with one pointed horn…out of the west (8:5), consider another unique factor per Daniel 8.

(ESV)”…a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes.” This verse begs the question: might this also represent a missile fired from across the Atlantic? The one horn perhaps between the eyes of the missile guidance or painted on the missile itself? “…across the face of the whole earth???? Hmmm? Fired from afar across the FACE OF THE EARTH!

Let’s pause here for a moment and look more closely at verses 5-9.

We use the YLT [Young’s Literal Translation] in the following as it is very close in context, content and verbiage of the original Hebrew. Note the highlighted text.

Dan 8:5 `And I have been considering, and lo, a young he-goat hath come from the west, over the face of the whole earth, whom none is touching in the earth; as to the young he-goat, a conspicuous horn is between its eyes.

Dan 8:6 And it cometh unto the ram possessing the two horns, that I had seen standing before the stream, and runneth unto it in the fury of its power.

Dan 8:7 And I have seen it coming near the ram, and it becometh embittered at it, and smiteth the ram, and breaketh its two horns, and there hath been no power in the ram to stand before it, and it casteth it to the earth, and trampleth it down, and there hath been no deliverer to the ram out of its power.

Dan 8:8 `And the young he-goat hath exerted itself very much, and when it is strong, broken hath been the great horn; and come up doth a vision of four in its place, at the four winds of the heavens.

Dan 8:9 And from the one of them come forth hath a little horn, and it exerteth itself greatly toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the beauteous land ;

In the time following Daniel’s vision and in verse 8 we read that the GREAT HORN of the goat was broken off being replaced by “four horns.” Alexander the Great had many Generals. After his death and after some infighting, the Alexandrian conquered lands were divided between four of his generals; eventually becoming the empire of the Seleucides (Kings of the north) and Ptolemy’s (Kings of the south primarily Egypt). Judah, today’s Israel, became the battle ground of these wars and conflicts between these kingly empires and future leaders of the north and leaders of the south [study Daniel 11]. Armageddon? The valley and lands of Megiddo is only 60 some miles north of Jerusalem on today’s modern maps.

Daniel 8:9 begins a transition from a historical time to a future prophetic time that closely relates to the yet unfulfilled time of times with anti-Christ; the small horn that comes up from one of the four. He throws down the worship and sacrifices in Jerusalem and sets himself up to be the center of worship. Verse 14 tells us this will be 2,300 evenings and mornings. Angel Gabriel, in 8:14 – 26, explains to Daniel precisely what this vision means and that it has a double interpretation; one that followed in the next 300 to 400 years of history and one that refers to End Time. The final verse assures us that this is a spiritual battle with earthly subjects. The rise of the “power” against God is not defeated by human hands. Verse 25…And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. (emphasis mine)

As we move through the remainder of Daniel, keep in mind this has to do with Jerusalem. Not Washington D.C., Moscow, London or any other center of power. They, as was Nebuchadnezzar, may well be the pawns that play out a history yet to happen, but this boils down to the original problem on earth that began with the fall of Adam and Eve. It is between God and Satan.

Daniel 7 Article #25

Aha Moment –

Chapter 7 is a major switch for several reasons therefore we will also switch from a verse-by-verse article discussion to an analysis of the recorded historical events that follow in the remaining chapters of Daniel.

  1. It is the last chapter in Daniel that was originally written in Aramaic (yup…not Greek or Hebrew)
  2. This is the beginning of Daniel having the visions instead of those in charge of Babylon where he is asked to interpret.
  3. We switch to a narration and prophecies designated to the world of believer but specifically to the Hebrew people; i.e. Israelis and Jerusalem.
  4. We are getting very close to the end of Judeans’ 70 year captivity in Babylon.

Introductory Note: Daniel describes four beasts coming up from the sea. What did Daniel’s vision represent, and what does it mean for us today? No, this is not a sequential chapter according to history playing out, but this is the order in which the Book of Daniel is recorded. How do we know this? Regent king Belshazzar (555B.C.?) was discussed and ended back in chapter 5. This dream or vision of Daniel came to him during the first year Belshazzar’s reign. Why isn’t it recorded back in chapter 5? Daniel 7:28 tells us that at this time Daniel “kept this matter (vision) to himself” (Daniel 7:28).

This vision of Daniel “while he lay in his bed (ESV) appears to parallel chapter 2 when King Nebuchadnezzar had his statue dream made of gold, silver, bronze, Iron legs and feet toes of Iron and clay mix. Daniel saw in chapter 7:3 “four great beasts that came out of the *sea.”

*SEA: This word has been translated differently by commentators. Two transliterations are thal’-as-sahandyawm. Without going into a deep theological discussion, the word sea can refer to a body of water OR a body of people; i.e a sea of people.

Dan 7:4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till its wings were plucked; and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon two feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

Dan 7:5 And behold, another beast, a second, like unto a bear, and it raised up itself on one side; and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and they said thus unto it: Arise, devour much flesh.

Dan 7:6 After this I saw, and behold, another, like a leopard, and it had four wings of a bird upon its back; and the beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Dan 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and exceeding strong; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the rest with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Dan 7:8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another, a little horn, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Take note that the 4th beast (7:7) is not given an identity, only a description.

The lion in verse 4 represents a description of an historical event which had already been prophesied in Daniel’s earlier life in Babylon. This verse (7:4) is a brief referring to King Nebuchadnezzar. He was a mighty and unchallenged KING OF BABYLON and his conquered lands. He lifted himself up above all his court and subjected peoples. Then his “wings were plucked off.” This explains when he was reduced by God to a common beast. As we studied in chapter 4, and in Nebuchadnezzar’s own Chaldean words, he became like a beast of the wild (insane). Time pasts before Nebuchadnezzar regains his sanity, stood up like a man, is restored to his throne and accepts the God of Daniel as the only true God.

Daniel 7:5 says, “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’” This event will parallel text from the next chapter of Daniel but not today. Some commentaries suggest the three ribs are conquered lands; the Lydian Empire of Asia Minor, the Chaldean Empire being Babylon itself, and Egypt (525 B.C.). This author respectfully disagrees. The bear (Persia) being turned on its side (7:5) had turned on its Mede ally after the Babylonian conquest thus uniting the two Empires into one kingdom.

Since Daniel mentions THREE RIBS in the mouth of the bear and before the bear is instructed to “rise up and devour much,” the three conquered territories or empires had already been conquered; three ribs in his mouth. At this time, Egypt had not been conquered by Persia and it didn’t happen until the rule of Darius I also known as Darius the Great.

To keep historical/biblical records straight, the Persians tried unsuccessfully to conquer Greece around 490 B.C.; i.e. parts of Macedonia. They failed. This was also an event that Alexander the Great, son of King Philip of Macedonia, was taught not only by his father but by his tutor Aristotle. Alexander had it in mind to “pay back” the aggression of the Persians; i.e. Darius I doing so in 331 B.C. Alexander is represented in Daniel’s vision as a Leopard; quick and agile. The four wings and heads of this Leopard represent the four empires that evolved out of Alexander’s empire; i.e. (1) Greece and Macedon, (2) Thrace and Asia Minor, (3) Middle East-Asia and (4) Egypt-Palestine.

From this we get the two dominant kingdoms back then and in prophecy representing the King of the North and the King of the South; Ptolemy’s of Egyptian fame and the Seleucids of Assyrian/Syrian fame. We would roughly identify Seleucus’ kingdom as modern day Iraq, Persia, and Afghanistan. The Ptolemy’s and Seleucids battled each other over and over. We have discussed this in other articles written for ahabiblemoments.com so will only touch upon it at this time due to space limitations.

JIV NOTE: For the aha wonderers and New Testament buffs, the capital of the Seleucid empire was the Antiochus of New Testament Apostle Paul fame.

The 4th beast of unknown name or identity is a two-fold prophecy. First it is the Romans. They swept through all of the territories of Alexander’s divided empire.

ANTICHRIST

Second, it represents a picture of the yet to come antichrist of End Time and the battles between him (Norther Kingdom Europe?) and the Southern Kingdom (Arabs and Muslims). A simple consideration is that the antichrist will demand he be worshipped and Muslims will not easily, if at all bow to a non-Muslim “king.” The antichrist is represented by the “little horn” that sprouts up amongst the ten original horns of the unidentified 4th beast.

THE ANCIENT OF DAYS (Daniel 7:9-14) https://biblehub.com/commentaries/gray

“While these events are culminating on the earth others are transpiring in heaven. A great judgment scene is before us (compare Psalms 2; Matthew 25:31-46, and Revelation 19:19-21). “The Ancient of Days” is identified by some as the first and by others as the second person of the Godhead (Revelation 1:12-14; John 5:22). The slaying of the “beast” (Daniel 7:11) means the destruction of the world-powers are represented in their final form of the revived Roman Empire”…but there is no peace on earth. I believe the northern nations and ¼ of the earth’s land mass dominated by the king of the south are still at battle with each other.

In verses 21-22 and 25, this little horn makes war against the saints, speaks pompous words against God, intends to change times and law, and persecutes the saints for a “time and times and half a time” (literally three and a half years, but using the day-for-a-year principle of Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, 1,260 years); https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy

Article #22 of the Daniel Series

Belshazzar is slain by the Medes (Persians) and Darius is set to rule of the conquered Babylon. Do not confuse bible facts with nay-sayer historians who claim Cyrus was the ruler. Yes he was at this time; Asian ruler along with the more loosely knit confederation (of sort) Medes. Cyrus ruled the empire. Darius, for a very short time, ruled Babylon. The Bible gives us facts we often miss the reason for why. Things like proper names and places; in this case the Bible specifically gives us the age of Darius in the very last verse of chapter 5. He was 62 years old.

We should ask ourselves since such information is seldom given if it is given for a reason? Darius ruled for a short time then either died or stepped down into retirement. He is NOT the King Darius on the throne of Babylon 40 years later. However, the Book of Esther comes within the next 40 years.

CHAPTER 6
Daniel 6:1

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

As mentioned at the end of our study of chapter 5, there is some debate over the identity of Darius. Critics have pointed to Daniel’s assertion that Darius the Mede was king of Babylon as proof that the book of Daniel was not an eyewitness account, but rather the work of a much later author who was confused about the details of this period. Critics are quick to make bold assertions that are based on biased opinions rather than objective facts. Professor Robert Dick Wilson who spent a lifetime studying these things states: “This confusion is a matter of evidence. With all due deference to the opinion of other scholars, I am firmly convinced that no man today has sufficient evidence to prove that the author of Daniel was confused. There are no records to substantiate the assertions of confusion. Neither is it clear to the critics nor can they make it clear to others, that the author of Daniel either did not understand the facts with regard to Darius the Mede, or clearly express himself about them.” (Studies in Daniel)

Among the various opinions put forward, the ones favored by most scholars are as follows:

  1. Darius was not the name of a person but simply a title meaning “holder of the scepter”. Certainly there are five later Persian rulers with the same name, which lends some support to this argument.
  2. Donald J Wiseman of the British Museum puts forward the idea that Darius was indeed a title and our character in question was in fact Cyrus himself. Scholars have noted that the closing verse of this chapter could also be translated in such a way as to imply that Darius is Cyrus. (JIV: It is translated this way in the footnotes of the N.I.V.)
  3. Another view is that Darius was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, although his age as revealed at the end of chapter 5 would seem to discount this; as would the fact that this would then leave a gap of approximately four months with no king over Babylon from the death of Belshazzar until Cambyses was eventually appointed as king of Babylon in 538 BC. However, it is wise to take note that Daniel even mentions his age at his ascension to the throne of Babylon. There is often a reason why God leads writers of scripture to make such statements.
  4. Finally, the view that seems most consistent with what we know from the Bible and history is that Darius the Mede was Gubaru, the general of Cyrus’ Mede army who had taken Babylon on the night of Belshazzar’s feast, aged about 62. Cyrus rewarded Gubaru with a regional governorship for capturing the capital of the Babylonian Empire. What we do know from the ‘Nabonidus Chronicle’ and Josephus is that on October 12th 539BC, Gubaru entered Babylon at night, killing Belshazzar and conquering the city without a fight since the Babylonian army was not even there.

On October 29th Cyrus entered the city, being met at the gates by Daniel with a scroll of Isaiah in his hand. Over 150 years earlier Isaiah had prophesied:

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: *That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: **even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of (Belshazzar) kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel….” (Isaiah 44:24 – 45:6)

Note that Isaiah even mentions the access of the Medes and Persians into Babyloon; the river that has been dried up (diverted) so the troops simply walked in under the water gates of the river that flowed into Babylon.

**This is the prophecy of Isaiah almost 200 years earlier that the “captive” Judeans would be released to return to Jerusalem by a king named Cyrus.


Only a few weeks before, Cyrus had instructed Gubaru to take the ‘impenetrable’ city of Babylon by diverting the river Euphrates into a canal upriver so that the water level dropped “to the height of the middle of a man’s thigh” (Herodotus). Thus the city’s flood defenses were rendered useless and the Persian army was able to march right into the city through the river bed. As Cyrus is now reading this portion of Isaiah he must have been ‘blown away’. Not only does this Jewish prophet, who had been dead for 150 years, mention him by name, but the passage describes how the city would be taken and the fact that Belshazzar’s loins were loosened – something that was no doubt common knowledge by now.

Cyrus, approximately one and a half years later in 537 BC, went on to sign a decree allowing the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple all by Daniel’s beckoning of him. This decree is recorded at the end of 2 Chronicles and at the beginning of Ezra: “Now in the first year of *Cyrus king of Persia [NB: 539 to 538 = Ascension year, therefore 538 to 537 = first year of reign], that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled [see Jer 29:10], the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourned, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-4)

*King of the Persian Empire therefore over the appointed King Darius of Babylon.

In addition to this decree recorded in the Bible the above is a cylinder, now known as the ‘Stele of Cyrus’, which now resides in the British Museum. On the cylinder are the words:

“…without any battle, he entered the town, sparing any calamity:…I returned to sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris [river], the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time… and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations”

The ‘Stele of Cyrus’ – British Museum, London

Returning to the ‘who is Darius?’ question: From archaeological discoveries we know that Cyrus was known as ‘king of lands’ (i.e. ruler of the empire), and because the empire was so vast, it was normal to appoint kings over districts or regions. Thus it is reasonable that Cyrus would have appointed someone he trusted to be king of Babylon, and who better than his trusted general Gubaru who had just taken the city for his king? This starts out as a plausible theory but is soon confirmed by rereading the closing verse of chapter 5:“And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Initially we read ‘and Darius became king…’ but that is not what this verse states. What we are told is that ‘Darius the Median took the kingdom…’ The word translated ‘took’ is ‘qebal’ (Aramaic) meaning ‘to acquire’, also translated elsewhere as ‘receive’ or ‘take’. As we have already mentioned, it was Gubaru (AKA: Darius) who acquired the kingdom on behalf of Cyrus, thus this verse would seem to identify Darius the Mede as Gubaru. This is also consistent with Daniel 9:1 where we are told that Darius was ‘made king over the realm of the Chaldeans’ (made = ‘malak’ (Aramaic) ‘to induct into royalty’).

(Gubaru is also sometimes written as Ugbaru or Gobryas [Greek])

Daniel 6:2

And over these, three governors of whom Daniel was first: that the satraps might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

Continuing from verse one, Darius had 120 governors with three presidents or governors overseeing everything. Daniel was the chief president, second to the king himself.

Daniel 6:3

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes….

Not only did Daniel outrank all the other government officials, we are told that he was preferred above them all. Now, human nature being what it is, you can almost hear the murmuring in the background already ‘who does he think he is…?. He was just a captive Jew from Judah.’ Daniel continued his government ranking from Nebuchadnezzar to Darius.

…because an excellent spirit was in him;

Daniel’s whole life seems to be an example of what God can do in a life that is yielded to Him. We are called to be salt and light in this world, that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matt 5:13-16). We are to be an example in word, conversation, charity (love), spirit, faith, purity and work (1 Tim 4:12). We are to work hard for our employers (Colossians 3:23) so that the name of our God and His doctrine are not blasphemed (1 Tim 6:1). We are to allow no corrupt communication to proceed from our mouths, but only that which is helpful and will build others up (Ephesians 4:29).

…..and the king thought to set him (Daniel) over the whole realm.

This did not go down well with the other non-Judean [Jews] officials. No doubt Darius had enlisted some of the best men of Babylon and added them to his own Persian staff, probably people that had served with him in the army. Now this ageing Jewish exile is almost being made king! This hate for the local, once captive Judeans reveals itself once again in the Book of Esther some 40 years later. Mordecai was set up for death as he was a Jew hated by the royal court; Haman. (King Ahasuerus, commonly identified as Xerxes I, reined 486–465 BCE). Esther was his queen.

Daniel 6:4

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Jealousy is a powerful motivator. It overrides common sense and logical thought.

Proverbs 6:34-35 says: “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.”

Once the ‘ball of jealousy’ is rolling, nothing will stop it. But notice again, despite trying to find fault in Daniel there was nothing in his life that he had to hide, no secret sins, nothing to regret.

Next article we discover the events that followed. It picks up in verse 5 of Daniel 6. This reminds me of a gospel Chorus/Song back in the 60’ with words that go something like this…

IF YOU WERE ARRESTED FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN;

WOULD THERE BE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CONVICT YOU?

Article #21 of the Daniel Series

JIV NOTE: This article is rather long and for which I must ask the reader’s persistence. This section of Daniel is or has no natural break-point without breaking the context of verses 9 – 30. The website editor of this webpage article may opt to break it into two articles. We now pick up at the point King Belshazzar sees the writing on the wall; a phrase we often use in our modern culture. This is even true of agnostics and bible critics. They too use this phrase.

Daniel 5:9

Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

In verse 6 Belshazzar was troubled and his countenance changed. Now he is really worried (Aramaic = exceedingly terrified) and it is obvious. It would appear from the word ‘astonied’ = shebash (Aramaic), that his lords were ‘perplexed’ because of the king’s reactions. Wasn’t this the king who had thrown a party to demonstrate his invincibility? Now he has not only wet his pants in public, but has turned white as a sheet because no one can explain what this writing means.

We have seen the king make four major mistakes:

  1. Overconfidence Pride (verse 1)
  2. Open defiance of the God of Heaven (verse 2)
  3. Drinking to excess (verse 3)
  4. Worshipping false gods (verse 4)

Seldom do people in such open rebellion not know why judgment has come upon them. The king’s conscience had already convicted him before a word had been spoken. People are wise after the event, but arrogant before; thinking to avoid being caught is their only real concern. Just like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:15 “and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands” all of Belshazzar’s actions were an open taunt to God. We see that same incredible attitude with Antichrist in Rev 13 where he blasphemes the God of Heaven (Rev 13:6). There is HUGE parallels between Daniel and End Time.

Daniel 5:10

Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

The person referred to here as the queen is what we would understand as the queen mother, and from the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, it would appear to be Nitocris, wife of Nabonidus and daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, whom Herodotus mentions as a woman of extraordinary prudence. However, this could have been Neb’s now elderly and widowed wife.

Daniel 5:11

There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

Having heard of the king’s problem she makes her way to the banquet hall and suggests Daniel as the man to interpret the writing. As Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter [grandmother?] either would have been well acquainted with Daniel and his exploits during her father’s reign, and seems to put in a public ‘dig’ saying that Nebuchadnezzar had learned his lesson late in life. You never listened to him in ‘your’ life yet alone learn the lesson he did.

LEARN

Daniel 5:12

Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Maybe because Daniel cared for her father for the seven years of chapter 4, she seems to be fond of Daniel and presents a brief resume´ that is bound to impress. She acknowledges (in verse 11) that the spirit of the ‘holy gods’ is in him and boldly declares that he will shew the interpretation. This shows her faith not only in Daniel but in his ‘Gods’ – plural: Father, Son & Spirit, OR, perhaps she herself had not learned the same lesson of ONE GOD.

Daniel 5:13

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

Daniel would have been around 80 plus years old by now, and it is clear from this verse that his reputation had preceded him. JIV: He also had not returned to Judah/Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, Ezra, or Nehemiah. The few Judeans that left Babylon upon being released was less than one percent. There are millions of their descendants remaining in Iran and Iraq today but most of them have since intermarried and forgotten their DNA.

Daniel 5:14

I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

Notice the pride once more of Belshazzar “even I have heard of you, so you must be something!” The question could well be asked, why Daniel wasn’t called to start with if he had such a reputation. My guess? Possibly for the same reason that is mentioned in the comments on Daniel 4:6, 7 – see also Ephesians 5:13.

Daniel 5:15-16

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

So the king explains the predicament that the other ‘wise’ men couldn’t solve and offers Daniel rewards including to be made third ruler in the kingdom. The reason that third ruler in the kingdom was offered is that, as we have noted, Nabonidus was king, Belshazzer was appointed king of Babylon while Nabonidus was away, thus the #1 and #2 spots were already filled. This is additional evidence that this is a historically accurate record. Critics and ‘so-called (Wikipedia) scholars’ scoffed for years claiming that Daniel was wrong and must have been written many years after this time because no record had been found of Belshazzar being king of Babylon. However, competent research and archaeological discoveries have now completely vindicated Daniel and in fact have demonstrated that Daniel had to be an eyewitness of these events.

Daniel 5:17

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.”

Daniel, now much older and less concerned about political correctness, basically tells the king where to put his gifts! He will explain the writing and give the interpretation anyway. All through the book Daniel demonstrates that he doesn’t work for man but for God.

Daniel 5:18-19

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy [grand] father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:

19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would, he put down.

Before Daniel starts to read the writing and interpret the message, he gives this self-edifying little king a history lesson about a real king who had real authority! Read on….

Daniel 5:20-21

20 (…) But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointed over it whomsoever he will.

Daniel explains to Belshazzar what happens to those who are proud before God and underlines the ultimate lesson: that the most high God rules in the kingdom of men, and he appoints over it whomsoever he will. Either Belshazzar already knew of the happenings to Nebuchadnezzar or he missed the history lesson per his family passing it on.

Daniel 5:22

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

The stage is set. Daniel knows by this time tomorrow all would end but feared not for his own life. Daniel already knew this was not about him but the end of this kingdom to which he had been brought as a captive teenager.

Daniel 5:23

But hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

Just picture this situation: In the middle of his big party, with a thousand of his lords present, a hand ‘out of nowhere’ writes on the wall. The king has an ‘accident’ and turns as white as a sheet. The best men of the land are unable to help him. By now word was out about what has happened. His mother hears about it, comes in and embarrasses him yet further; eventually an 81-year-old man is called who, in front of a thousand lords, criticizes him openly. We haven’t even gotten to the interpretation of the writing yet!

This is a classic case of God resisting the proud, and should serve as a graphic example that pride is an abomination to the Lord (see Proverbs 16:5).

Daniel 5:24

Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

Daniel now interprets the writing no longer delaying the preponderance of evidence. Time is short and even shorter for Belshazzar.

Daniel 5:25

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Rabbinic tradition says that this writing was in the form of an encrypted Hebrew code called ‘Atbash’.

This is not the only time that encrypted words are found in the Bible. In Jeremiah 25:26 there is another example of Atbash (the word Sheshach is an encrypted form of ‘Babylon’), and in Isaiah 7:6 there is an example of another form of encryption called Albam (there the word Tabeel is an encryption of Remaliah). Both of these forms of encryption are fairly simple forms of transposition, where one letter is consistently used to replace another.

JIV SPECIAL NOTE: Hebrew & Aramaic reads right to left – all languages flow toward Jerusalem! If we look at a globe with Jerusalem in the center, countries west of it write left to right, those east write right to left; this may be a coincidence, but then again..(?).

It would appear that Daniel was familiar with this form of encryption, as he has no difficulty in interpreting it before the king: (of course, he also had the eyes and help of God)

Note: Initially this may strike us as simply interesting, however when we stop to consider who the author of scripture actually is, the fact that God has placed hidden codes in the Bible is staggering. This is what the ancient Rabbis would call a ‘remez’ – a hint of something deeper. In a previous study we found ‘Bible coding’ by using names and their definitions to read as a paragraph and statement. This Bible Code is true of Daniel’s name along with his three compatriots.

Bible coding? What a powerful deterrent to adding or subtracting to a portion of scripture because it is difficult or unpopular, when, by altering the surface text (as many liberal and politically correct ‘Christians’ are wont to do) they may in fact corrupt the bible code. Subtracting from the Bible one inadvertently removes the code itself; perhaps even their name from the Book of Life! This gives me a personal and different understanding of predestination. If one is predestined to become a son (child) of God that is one thing. But… if one is predestined BE a child of God; that is something quite different. The same is true of translations. An incorrect translation will corrupt any Bible code hidden from the eyes of the casual reader.


Proverbs 30:5 states thatEvery word of God is pure. Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar”. Also read Revelation 22:19

David echoes in Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning.” If it is pure and true then there is nothing that we can add or subtract to improve it. We should simply fall before our God who has given us His Word, which we are told in Psalm 138:2 He has exalted above all His name! If blasphemy – the misuse of His name – is to be judged, how much more the misuse of His Word!


Daniel 5:26-28

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Thus king Belshazzar’s worst fears are realized, his time of playing games with the God of Israel is over, and in the most dramatic fashion.

JIV NOTES:

From this verse come two phrases that are still used today ‘you’re number’s up’ and ‘weighed and found wonting’. It is incredible the number of words and phrases that people use every day that originate from the Bible, yet most people have no idea, and worse still, no regard for this most incredible book.

There is a play on words here as well with the word ‘PERES’. In both Hebrew and Aramaic there are no vowels so the word would have been written as ‘P R S’ with the vowels inferred. However without the vowels the sound and meaning can alter. Take for example the words CaT and CoT. Without the vowels all we would read is C_T. And so it is here with Peres; if the ‘e’ (which makes the word mean ‘divided’) is replaced with an ‘a’ we get the Aramaic word for ‘Persians’! Surprised are you???? So was I during my studies.

Daniel 5:29

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Not that Daniel was bothered; the kingdom only had a few hours to go! Besides, Belshazzar’s grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had already put him in charge of Babylon many years earlier [Daniel 2:48] Also, several years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:48 had already made Daniel the ruler over all things pertinent to the running of Babylonian.

Daniel 5:30-31

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

So Belshazzar, as all proud people will be, is cut down. David said in Psalm 7:9 “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins.” Recall that Belshazzar’s father was away with the army of Babylon. We have little information as to what happens to him and his missing forces, but they were not there to defend Babylon. Some historians suggest he had already been defeated in battle with the Medes. This is likely to be why it was the Mede Darius who was made ruler in Babylon.

Psalm 37:7-13 says:

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the just, and gnash upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming.” How true this was for Belshazzar who was made a public spectacle in front of his one thousand lords yet was humiliated by the God of heaven whom he had rejected.

God sweeps aside the mighty Babylonian kingdom, the head of gold (cf Dan 2); and in comes the Medo-Persian empire – the chest and arms of silver (Daniel 2). He did this in part as the Babylonians did not treat the captive Judeans with dignity or mercy.

There is some debate over the identity of Darius the Mede. We will deal with that in chapter 6. What we do know is that he was about sixty-two years old when he became ruler of Babylon in 539 B.C. It should be noted, that the first actual year for a Babylonian king was reckoned as their ascension year. What we would consider their 2nd year would therefore be their first regal year. Thus 539-538 = Darius’ ascension year; 538-537 B.C. = Darius’ 1st year.

Article #20 of Daniel Series

CHAPTER 5
Daniel 5:1

Historical Note: In chapter five we jump ahead in time (see the opening paragraph).. The previous chapter was the end of the life and reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Though Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar through his mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, he only ruled as co-regent with his less-than-royal blood father, Nebo nidus.

Doubts about Belshazzar (website Creation.com writes…)

Is this (hi)story just a legend, or does the Bible preserve accurate history? Years ago, some skeptics denied that there ever was a king of Babylon named Belshazzar, claiming that his name and story were invented by someone unfamiliar with true Babylonian history. But just when it looked like all the evidence was stacked against Scripture, a series of archaeological discoveries showed that Belshazzar did exist after all, and the details given about him in the Bible are profoundly correct.

https://creation.com/archaeology-belshazzar

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

In chapter five we find that Belshazzar is now king (not to be confused with Beltshazzar; i.e. Daniel). About 23 years have passed since Nebuchadnezzar died and the kingdom of Babylon has gone through a turbulent time. Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Evil-Merodach, succeeded his father and reigned for almost three years (2 Kings 25:27 / Jeremiah 52:31). His younger brother, Neriglissar, then reigned for about five years being succeeded by his son, Labashi-Marduk. He was but a child-king, who reigned for just a few months before being murdered.

Finally, Nabonidus, who had married Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, became king. History records that Nabonidus did not relate well with the people of Babylon, especially with the priests of Marduk (the Babylonian god). As a result of this, after three years, Nabonidus appointed his son Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, as king of Babylon while he himself took an army to Arabia, presumably to build sandcastles and keep out of the limelight! All of this political turmoil was just the invitation that a brilliant young military leader by the name of Cyrus needed. The Meads and the Persians were two great adjacent empires that had been steadily growing in power; however when Cyrus came along with one of his parents, one Persian and the other a Mead, it was the smoothing oil that was required to unite two fairly strong empires into one all-conquering one.

Belshazzar would have been aware that the newly formed Medo-Persian Empire was in the ascendancy and no doubt well aware that Cyrus’ army (under the command of his general – Gubaru (later to be crowned Darius)) was heading toward Babylon. So what do you do when you’re the king of Babylon and an invading army is approaching? Throw a party! Evidently Belshazzar was so sure that Babylon was impregnable that he simply shut the gates of the city and gave a great feast to a thousand of his lords to demonstrate his undeniable, if not foolhardy, confidence and incredible wealth. After all, he was the king of the great Babylon, Excellency of the Chaldeans and capital of the known world. If overconfidence was his first mistake, his second was soon to follow. P.S.; Recall that his father, Nabonidus, had taken the army with him into Arabia “to build sand castles.” The huge city of Babylon had but castle or palace guards for defense.

Daniel 5:2

Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his [grand] father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Cf. 2 Kings 20:14-18; Daniel 1:2

Openly defying the God of Israel has never been a good career move – United Nations; European Union; PLO; Hezbollah; Hamas, Syrian; Iran, [USA?] etc. take note!

The United Nations

Daniel 5:3-4

3Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Proverbs 31:4 states that it is not for kings to drink wine or strong drink; how much more so when that drink is combined with idolatry. This is begging for trouble and taunting God.

Daniel 5:5-6

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

This would be enough to ruin anyone’s party! This writing didn’t just appear on the wall in any old place; it appeared by the candlestick, the brightest spot in the room so all would see. It is easy to understand why the king’s face and continence were changed. Indeed why his thoughts troubled him. However, in case the reader is unclear as to the King James phrase ‘his loins were loosed’ – JIV: let’s just say he needed the bathroom but didn’t make it in time!

There is an undeniably humorous side to this situation as we look on; imagine being the only man in scripture of whom it is recorded that they wet themselves (or worse)! What makes this even more incredible is that this event was even foretold by the prophet Isaiah 200 years beforehand! “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut” (Isaiah 45:1)

No doubt this applied to Belshazzar as his knees buckled and let loose of all muscle control.

Daniel 5:7-8

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

As we saw in chapter two with Nebuchadnezzar, people are quick to turn to ‘religion’ when problems arise and seek answers from the ‘professional’ religious leaders. However just as we see here, they can seldom give or find the answers. Much is made in our day of ‘ordained ministers’ and so often these are the ones the world will turn to in the event of a tragedy or problem, even if only to seek their opinion. But is it not also true that so often these are the ones we see undermining the word of God and compromising in order to be seen to be politically correct? This should come as no great surprise, for those ordained and appointed by men will be answerable to men. In God’s kingdom it is very different. We read nothing in scripture of being ordained by the Bishop, but rather we read: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!

For any believer in Christ, it is the Lord Himself who has ordained us. We are answerable to him. Paul tells us: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” and why is this so? “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

Early in the book of Acts we read of the boldness of Peter and John, yet they were unlearned and ignorant men (see Acts 4:13). They did not have their theology degree from a ‘Bible’ college or seminary, accredited by a secular university that is rooted in humanism and evolutionary thinking. These were just two simple fishermen who would have struggled to get a job in many churches today, yet we read that they had been with Jesus – and that was all the qualification that was necessary!

A personal ordination from the King of kings rates immeasurably higher than anything that manmade institutions purport to offer.

We continue our Daniel series next beginning with Daniel 5:9. …”his countenance changed him.” Now THAT is a significant understatement.

Article #19 of the Daniel series

Daniel 4:32-33

32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

There is a condition known as Lycanthropy, coming from the Greek ‘lykos’ meaning ‘wolf’ and ‘anthropos’ meaning ‘man’, from which we identify ‘Wolf-Man’. Very few recorded cases exist yet extensive mythology has originated by the belief that a person could change into a wolf; this has led to legends of werewolf’s etc. that are found around the world.

A variation of this disease is Boanthropy where, rather than believing oneself to be a wolf, one believes oneself to be an ox or cow. It is this illness that most likely fits this situation. Myth and legend aside, there was a case recorded in England just after the Second World War. A man in his early twenties was admitted to a mental institution with all the symptoms consistent with Boanthropy. In his commentary on Daniel, Dr John Walvoord, one with whom I have a great respect, offers the following: “Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with a modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar which he observed in a British mental institution in 1946. Harrison writes: ‘A great many doctors spend an entire busy professional career without once encountering an incidence of this kind of Boanthropy described in the book of Daniel. Harrison therefore considers him-self particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of Boanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946.

The patient was in his early twenties, who had reportedly been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well developed on admission and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight, with a good physique and he was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors in the grounds of the institution. His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns, of the hospital. And it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of grass all day long.

On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds. On enquiry from the attendant, Harrison was told that the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from the hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with other inmates, and his only drink was water. The writer was able to examine him curiously, and the only physical abnormality noted, consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse thickened condition of the fingernails. Without institutional care the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33. From the foregoing it seems evident that the forth chapter of Daniel was describing an accurate and attestable mental affliction.”

Of course the critics of the Bible say that this could never have happened, however Eusebius refers to a Greek historian called Abydenus who sites a case in 268BC of a man with almost identical symptoms to Nebuchadnezzar. Josephus also quotes Berosus, a Babylonian historian, who documented the case of a Chaldean priest at the time of Alexander the Great, who once again appears to have suffered from this disease. In the East India Company Museum in London there is a cuneiform tablet that has been discovered that is inscribed with details about Nebuchadnezzar’s illness. Yet further evidence to support the Biblical account was the discovery of what has become known as the ‘Prayer of Nabonidus’ found in cave #4 at Qumran (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls found between 1947-1956). There is little doubt that the author is none other than Nebuchadnezzar himself. The scroll reads:

The words of the prayer that (Nabonidus?), the king of Assyria and Babylon, the [great] king, prayed [when he was smitten] with a malignant disease by the decree of the [Most High God] in [the city of] Tema. I was smitten for *seven years and from [men] I was put away. But when I confessed my sins and my faults, He [God] allowed me (to have) a soothsayer. This was a Jewish [man of the exiles in Babylon. He] explained (it) and wrote (me) to render honor and great glory to the name of the [Most High God]…” (JIV NOTE: Soothsayer was most likely Daniel himself.]

*Some bible scholars believe this to be written as 7 seasons or periods of time. In this geographical area there are only two recognized seasons; summer and winter. If this is correct that would mean the translation would then read 3 ½ years.

Daniel 4:34

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:”

How often do we take ‘seven years’ to learn the most basic lesson that God is in control? So often our pride exhibits or unveils itself as worry, which is a declaration that we and not God, are in control. Oswald Chambers said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. (see Matt 6:25-34 & Phil 4:6-7) Worry is simply a lack of faith in the one whose dominion is an everlasting dominion. What will be will be as “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

Daniel 4:35

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What makest thou? The post has no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9) In short, we try to make God into something that fits our heart’s desire and will. Genesis 1:1 does not read in any translation…”in the beginning Man created an image of a god to fit his and her wishes in life.”

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me [like] thus?” (Rom 9:20)

Daniel 4:36-37

36 At the same time my reasoning returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Amen!

Nebuchadnezzar lived for about one year after returning to his Babylonian throne. The Jewish Talmud records that Daniel was the one who looked after Nebuchadnezzar throughout the seven years, and then saw him restored to his throne. However this time the king knew that ‘his’ throne was really only on loan! The Bible does not explain or define who cared for him but we do suspect Nebuchadnezzar was kept within the palace grounds.

Also we should remember the admonition by Paul: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all
godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
Who will [wills that] have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

(1 Tim 2:1-5)

Do not misunderstand this verse. ALL MANKIND will not be forgiven at the end of time, but all mankind will be judged. God wills that all mankind would follow him and be saved but man has a free will to choose.

Belshazzar.

JIV NOTE: In our next article (#20; chapter 5) we jump forward several years into the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar. Some translations identify him as “the son of Nebuchadnezzar.” However we know two other kings ruled for some time in Babylon. One of those short term rulers was a son-in-law, Nabonidus, from whom came Belshazzar. Belshazzar never was the actual king but was left to rule Babylon while his father, King Nabonides, ventured around the Middle East and Egypt with his armies. Odd as it may seem, Nabonides was defeated by the Medo-Persians and allowed to live. Very shortly thereafter, his son Belshazzar was killed in his palace in Babylon by the Medes.

Ruler Reigned Comments
Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar) 626 – 605 BC Took control of Babylonia from Sinsharishkun of Assyria, ejected Assyrian armies from Babylonia in 616 BC. Entered into alliance with Cyaxares and destroyed the Assyrian empire.
Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II) 605 – 562 BC Chaldean king. Defeated the Egyptians and Assyrians at Carchemish. Is associated with Daniel in the Bible.
Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 562 – 560 BC Released Jeconiah after 37 years in captivity.
Nergal-shar-usur (Nergal-sharezer/Neriglissar) 560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II. Murdered Amel-Marduk.
Labashi-Marduk 556 BC Son of Neriglissar. Murdered after being deemed unfit to rule.
Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus/Belshazzar) 556 – 539 BC Last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, originated in Harran in Assyria. Was not a Chaldean, often left rule to his son Belshazzar in a co-regency arrangement. He married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

Article #18 of Daniel Series

The Tree Dream

We just came off of Article 17 where Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream (Daniel 4:10-17). The dream was one that 400 Babylonian advisers to the king would not or could not interpret. Verse 4:18 the king is asking Daniel (Belteshazzar) to give him the meaning of this “TREE” dream.

Daniel 4:19

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was *astonied (stricken dumb; ASV) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

*Astonied means stunned or hesitant. Daniel was not stunned at the question or who asked for the interpretation, but at what he already knew was the meaning of the dream.

Once again, Nebuchadnezzar uses Daniel’s Jewish name, and then confirms Daniel’s Babylonian name so all would know to whom the king is referring.

Back in verse 9 the king confidently asserts that nothing troubles Daniel – that is, up until now! We will see in chapter nine that Daniel was familiar with Jeremiah’s prophecies in chapter 27:“And now have I given all these lands unto the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.” (Jer 27:6-7) This is another remarkable prophecy that accurately foretells that after Nebuchadnezzar (whom God calls ‘My servant’), his son [Evil-Marduk] and then his grandson [Belshazzar] will rule Babylon until their time is up. As for Daniel’s thoughts, if God had raised up Nebuchadnezzar for a purpose (that of bringing judgment on the house of Judah), what was to happen to him now? No wonder Daniel was ‘astonied’ [astonished, dazed]. And then there is the question of how exactly do you break this information/news to the king?

This hour must have been one of the longest of Nebuchadnezzar’s life; eventually he says to Daniel ‘Don’t let the dream trouble you (as well)’. If Daniel is troubled this is not good. Finally Daniel says in effect ‘If only this dream were about your enemies; but alas…it is about the king himself.

Daniel 4:20-22

20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;

21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:

22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

Thus what Nebuchadnezzar probably feared is confirmed, he is the tree. After all some time earlier he was the head of a huge statue, why not also the tree? It is the next bit that is of most concern to both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar…

Daniel 4:23

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Cut the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

The ‘watcher’ from the context is an angel who comes down from the Holy One in Heaven. The important points in this verse are that the tree is to be cut down but the root is to remain. However the root or base of the tree stump is to be bound with iron and brass. (JIV) At the beginning of the verse the vocabulary refers to ‘it’ i.e. an impersonal pronoun, but by the end of the sentence the vocabulary changes to use the personal pronoun ‘his/him’. Thus this verse could be seen to have a double reference; firstly to king Nebuchadnezzar who is already identified as the tree in verse 22; and secondly the reference may be to Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion i.e. the kingdom of Babylon; will it rise again?

The reference to seven times is seen by most Bible commentators to represent seven years. In Daniel 7:25 and Rev 12:14 we read of time (singular) times (plural) and half a time. From the context we understand that this is referring to three and a half years (specifically the last three and a half years of the Tribulation), where time = 1 year, times = 2 years and half a time = 6 months. Thus Daniel is saying that Nebuchadnezzar is going to be cut down for seven years, during which time he will be covered with the dew and have his portion [food] with the beasts of the field. Some translations use the word “seasons.” This would mean the time of Neb’s insanity would be 7 seasons; i.e. 1 ¾ years. By traditional measures.

Is there a problem with their ‘seasons’ theory? YUP! The Babylonians only counted summer and winter as seasons. This would make 7 seasons or 3 ½ years. 3 summers and 3 winters PLUS one additional summer or winter seasons. I write (teach) but YOU Decide.

Daniel 4:24

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

King Nebuchadnezzar was all too familiar with issuing decrees; now one had been issued against him by the highest authority that there is – the Most High God and he knew it. This had to be stunning to him. He was the supreme and is now discovering he isn’t. “The most HIGH…” Daniel calls recognition to God; not the gods of Babylon.

Daniel 4:25

That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Daniel explains to the king exactly what will happen to him, how he will be humbled until (whenever you see an ‘until’ in the Bible take note!), [until] he finally realizes that it is the most High who rules in the kingdom of men, and He will give it to whomsoever He chooses. This is the third time this lesson had been taught to the king (two warnings and then this pronounced judgment – see Daniel 2:37-38 & Daniel 3:28-29), on the previous two occasions he completely missed the point – this time he will finally get it.


Daniel 4:26

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

Throughout this period Nebuchadnezzar did not lose his throne, an incredible fact in itself. And yes, he will learn his lesson this time. The obvious but not addressed is who is the “THEY”? What is even more amazing, he Nebuchadnezzar continued as usual for another 12 months.

We have free will but God has more than one option to convince us of something. This does not mean we will finally do it God’s way but it does show a merciful God who offers many chances or opportunities.

Daniel 4:27

Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.

Here Daniel pleads with the king to repent of his pride and iniquities in the hope that these events will be postponed or not occur. There was no immediate consequence to Daniel’s prophecy of 7 years. This gave the king plenty of time to forget what had been told him; perhaps even the dream itself. This is far too often the case with new Christians. Once a new born Christian prays for forgiveness, some wain in their initial joy. Psalms 51:12: King David pleads for exactly the same thing; a return to his initial joy in God.

Daniel 4:28

All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

…however, as king Neb himself records here, all this happened as Daniel had interpreted. Recall that this review of Nebuchadnezzar’s life and struggle with the One God is recorded by Daniel but from the mouth of Neb himself.

Daniel 4:29

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

We know from 2 Peter 3:9 that God is longsuffering toward us; here we find that God gave Nebuchadnezzar a year to repent, but as Jeremiah records in 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” So one evening the king is out for a stroll looking at his kingdom and feeling invincible…

Daniel 4:30

The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?

Oops! Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Notice what is top of the list? A proud or haughty look; the look at the “me syndrome.”

Again we read: “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23)

In a nutshell, God hates pride. Pride was the sin of Satan (1 Timothy 3:6 see also Isaiah 14:13-15 & Ezekiel 28:14-17). Both James and Peter tell us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. It is not wise to put one’s self in a position where God is resisting you ‘cuz you ain’t gonna’ win!

Daniel 4:31

While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is [now] departed from thee.

The terror of this is almost unimaginable. However God through Daniel and a dream had warned him of this judgment a year before, so the king was without excuse. The same is true for the people in this world; God has given ample warning through His two witnesses; the law and the prophets (also see Luke 16:31) and has foretold the coming judgment ‘so they are without excuse’. Revelation 11 also warns of a time two witnesses in Jerusalem will preach 24/7 for three and a half years about turning to God and away from the antichrist.

The speed which this judgment fell should be a wake-up call for anyone ‘dabbling’ in sin.

Daniel Article #17

CHAPTER 4
Daniel 4:1

Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

The first thing to note is that it appears that it is Nebuchadnezzar who is now doing the writing! It is the ONLY chapter of the Bible written by a Gentile king; be it by his hand or the hand of Daniel we do not know. It may have only been a decree that Daniel is quoting verbatim, but Nebuchadnezzar’s words.

Daniel 4:2

I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.

Something has obviously changed in this man’s life – “What about the life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change?” – Steven Curtis Chapman.

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs! How mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

This is being said by the most powerful ruler on the earth at that time! What a contrast to chapter 3 where Neb’s image of gold suggested that his was an everlasting kingdom; a total misunderstanding of his previous dream as interpreted by Daniel of a statue of gold, silver, bronze, iron and iron with clay mix. This most likely is written by the hand of Daniel by translating what Nebuchadnezzar says in the aftermath of these events.

Daniel 4:4

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

On the surface he was flourishing – like so many in this world, thinking that they have it all, not aware that it can all disappear like that.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to store my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21; Matthew 6:19-21)

How challenging is Daniel 4:4 when compared to Luke 12:16-21. What does it mean to “lay up treasures? It does not mean to be foolish and squander. It does not mean to be fruitful. It does not mean to preserve for today but it does mean the future is not in one’s possessions.

Daniel 4:5

I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

God has a way of getting our attention. Even the hardest, most unreachable people in our eyes are never beyond the reach of God. I suspect that Daniel had been praying for his king and friend for some time, believing that God was able to get through to him. If there is no god why do so many atheist, agnostics, cynics, and politically correct societies spend so much time trying to disprove him by their statements, actions, writings, and positions?

Daniel 4:6

Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

Daniel was well known to the king by now, so why not just call him? I think that Neb realized this dream was not good and wanted to hear a sugar coated interpretation rather than the truth. We see exactly the same with Ahab, king of Israel in 1 Kings 22:6-8 “Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat

said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides these 400 men, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat (King of Judah), There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” So the reason that Ahab didn’t ask is basically because he told the truth – and sometimes the truth is hard to take! I think that is why king Nebuchadnezzar didn’t first call Daniel.

This is why we often go to the wrong places for advice or sympathy. The “Oh woe is me” syndrome, but don’t tell me it is my fault. Just give me some more of my self!

Daniel 4:7

Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

This tells a story! In chapter two the Chaldeans were straight with their ‘dummies guide to interpreting dreams’. This is what they were famous for as we mentioned in chapter two. And this time the king even tells them the dream so it should be easy for them – but then again, they have had their fingers burnt by a certain Daniel too many times by now; even if they did interpret the dream, Daniel was bound to come along and tell them they’d got it wrong! They just were not going to take that chance. Notice they ‘did not make known’ not ‘were not able’. It appears that they didn’t even try!

Daniel 4:8

But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

So finally king Neb gives up and accepts the inevitable. But who does Neb say came in? Aha moment – DANIEL! – that is his Hebrew name, yet king Neb chooses to use this in telling us the history of these events, adding his Babylonian name just in case anyone else didn’t know who Daniel was. How amazing that after all this time in Babylon (Daniel would have been about 50 years old by now), with so much pressure to blend into their culture (when in Rome do as they do ‘syndrome’) that Daniel retains his Jewish identity and the name that glorifies his God. But also not that Nebuchadnezzar still confesses his god by saying “according to the name of my god”; not the God with whom by now he was well aware.

Daniel 4:9

O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. Neb still gave credit to his gods…

This is an interesting verse because Nebuchadnezzar informs us that Daniel is ‘chief of the Magi’. Now the Magi [Bethlehem? Christmas Maji?] were essentially a Persian religious sect specializing in the mystical; so what was Daniel doing in charge of them? The Magi are a tribe that settled in Mede to the east of Babylon; i.e. Medo-Persia.

We will find out in chapter 6 that it was not something that was happily accepted by some of his contemporaries; but it appears that Daniel had converted this group (Tribe of the Magi) and told them about the prophecies regarding the coming Jewish Messiah. How do we know this? Because just over 500 years later, a group of these Magi travelled for miles across the middle eastern deserts to Israel to celebrate the birth of a baby that had been born King of the Jews! These Magi didn’t go to the stable but to Joseph and Mary’s house in Nazareth – we have been duped by tradition into thinking that there were 3 wise men, or 3 kings and they went to the stable. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! [Mark 7:13].

Also in this verse we have confirmed that king Neb knew that Daniel could and would be able to interpret the dream. What a testimony Daniel has: ‘no secret troubleth thee’, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

The Dream – Daniel 4:10-17

10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;

14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Daniel 4:18

This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

So Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret the dream to him, and reiterates that the best of Babylon were unable to answer. It is interesting to note that even before Daniel has spoken on this occasion, Nebuchadnezzar concedes that ‘the spirit of the holy gods’ is in Daniel. Obviously he remembers the events of chapter two but has forgotten or refuses to admit he acknowledge “the God of Daniel”.

Article 5: Daniel 1:1

From this point on these articles will be verse or section by section. Historical perspective will be included to help understand what was going on in the lives of God’s chosen people and other nations at this time.

Jstark

CHAPTER 1
Daniel 1:1

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

The book of Daniel opens with an historical statement. Critics of the Bible and of the book of Daniel in particular have questioned the historical accuracy of this statement on two counts; firstly, they say, there is no record of the siege other than this verse, therefore, they conclude, it could not have happened. Secondly, they say that in the third year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar was not yet king, yet Daniel declares him ‘king of Babylon’.

As regards to the siege; we know from Daniel chapter two that Daniel was in Babylon by the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, and that by then he had been there for three years; so how else did he get there if this siege is supposed not to have occurred? The truth is that these objections have now been thoroughly refuted by archaeological discoveries and competent scholarship. The writings of Berosus and Josephus, along with the accounts in Kings, Chronicles and Daniel all support the fact that Nebuchadnezzar did come into Palestine early in the reign of king Jehiokim; Berosus and Josephus also agrees with the Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles and Daniel in affirming that captives were taken from Judea to Babylon during this time.

Regarding when Nebuchadnezzar became king, it is true that Nebuchadnezzar did not officially become king until after he had laid siege to Jerusalem. Josephus records that Nebopolassar died while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine (606B.C.), thus by the Babylonian way of reckoning, Nebuchadnezzar’s first year would have been 605 B.C. (the year of ascension was not counted, being the final year of the previous king). So was Daniel wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar ‘king of Babylon’ before he was in fact crowned king? Of course not, Daniel was not writing a running commentary and in all likelihood did not start writing immediately when he was taken captive as a teenager to Babylon. Thus for Daniel to write about events that had taken place and refer to Nebuchadnezzar as ‘king’ would be no different than us talking about what Queen Elizabeth of England did as a child, when in fact she was an adult before she actually received the title of Queen. If this were not a satisfactory answer (which it is) then appeal can be made to the manor and custom of the time, of which we now have ample evidence, to show that the king designate could also be properly referred to as ‘king’ while his father was still alive and reigning (another example of this occurs with Belshazzar in Daniel chapter 5).

Critics of the Bible are much like a man who cannot do a crossword puzzle so he blames the puzzle or the designer of the puzzle. It would be foolish to claim that the puzzle was in error simply because of a lack of understanding. There is a beautiful simplicity in the Bible when one trusts it. Paul suggests that God does this on purpose to trap the so-called wise in their supposed wisdom: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

It is a fool who fights against a two edged sword with nothing more than convincing words” (Anonymous)

Whenever you meet a supposed contradiction in the Bible, don’t just reject it, search for the answer and, more often than not, it will reveal a fascinating insight. “It is the glory of God to conceal things: but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).

Daniel 1:2

And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand ..

This is an incredible statement of faith on the part of Daniel. Israel had been living in fear of the Babylonians, fueled mainly by Babylon’s conquest of the surrounding nations, but no doubt added to by prophets like Jeremiah and Habakkuk who repeatedly warned that God was going to use the king of Babylon to judge Israel. God told Habakkuk “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans 9aka Babylonians), that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs.” (Hab1:5-6). Jeremiah prophesied:this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (Jeremiah 25:11) When Habakkuk and Jeremiah prophesied this, Babylon was nothing more than just a city state of the then great Assyrian Empire. This is partly why so many false prophets had risen up who didn’t want to bother with all this ‘doom and gloom’ prophecy stuff; who takes prophecies literally anyway? That’s just for the fundamentalists, right? – Sound like today’s religious institutions?

Well Daniel was a fundamentalist and he believed that prophecies should be taken seriously; God says what He means and means what he says! As a matter of fact Jeremiah was a fundamentalist as well! He even spoke out against the liberal theologians of his day – no wonder he was unpopular, he obviously didn’t know that it’s not politically correct to criticize others in public – he said:Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'”

And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:13-15).

The parallels with today’s church are uncanny. In Jeremiah’s day the great spiritual leaders were going around telling everyone ‘peace, peace’ but as Jeremiah said: ‘there is no peace’ (Jeremiah 6:13-14). Today on God TV and TBN (not that I have found on SBN) it’s the same; we have spiritual leaders telling countless viewers that we are heading for a time of peace and prosperity, a great revival is coming and the church will win the world! Apparently we will unite with our Catholic and Muslim brothers and sisters and there will be peace and unity! – I don’t think so!!! Fact is…I KNOW so.

TAKE CLOSE NOTE: Just as in Jeremiah’s day, judgment is coming: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). Jesus warned us in Matthew 13 that prior to the wheat being gathered into His barn (a picture of the Rapture), the tares in the church (false prophets and deceivers) would be gathered together into bundles to be burned.

Thus we see here an incredible model. Jeremiah had told the people that they would be safe if they trusted God and left Jerusalem when the time came. Those who despise, reject, or deny the prophecies would be destroyed. Today, those who are trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation and are ready and waiting will be taken to His Father’s house where they will be safe (John14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Those trusting in their church attendance or *denomination, or 5-step peace program by which they hope to gain the world ‘saying peace, peace when there is no peace’ – these will be cast into tribulation, where there will be no spiritual light, just anguish and pain. This is just scratching the surface of a vitally important topic. Consider seriously the ancient collapse of the Jewish nation, divided into two kingdoms, then gone. It was brought about by compromise and idolatry, and compare it to the church in the days we are living in; i.e. the time of the Gentiles. If God judged Israel as we read; do we honestly expect the God who is the same yesterday, today and to turn a blind eye to a church that openly embraces things that are an abomination to God?

*This will undoubtedly infuriate many but here is the asterix parallel. Today’s denominations, a dividing of “the church” puts each denomination at odds. Simply put (and here comes the anger) denominations put themselves above or the equal to the only church as Jesus intended. Since it comes before the church Jesus intended, it is now a idol to which affiliates cling and bow at the knee defending to the hilt his or her “denomination.” Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4: 4 & 5

Despite how it seemed on the surface, because he trusted God’s word through the mouths of the prophets, Daniel knew that God was very much in control and so he says: “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand”. This was no accident or haphazard event.

Nubuchadnezzar…..” with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god”

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Another example of the literal fulfillment of prophecy in this verse is the fact that Nebuchadnezzar carried away the vessels of the Temple. About 120 years before this, the son of the then king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and was given a guided tour by King Hezekiah. We read in 2nd Kings: “Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. (2 Kings 20:14-18).

To be continued next week – Rev. Dr. Jstark