READER NOTE: Today we begin a four or five-part series of commentary identifying Daniel’s chapter 11 pronouns by naming the persons, places, and things he prophecies but only gives generic identities. We do this by parallel research of secular history. History that parallels the same time periods of Daniel’s chapter 11 prophecies. The reader will read the scripture and then see the who’s who. This first article covers background for a better understanding of the time and events of Judah’s Babylonian captivity with the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies.
There is as much prophecy in the book of Daniel as there is controversy over its prophecies. Recall that Daniel was one of the first from the Kingdom of Judah to be removed from Judah by Nebuchadnezzar and then taken to Babylon. He was a cohort of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego of the fiery furnace fame; Daniel 1-3. Their Hebraic names were Hananiah (חֲנַנְיָה), Mishael (מִישָׁאֵל) and Azariah (עֲזַרְיָה) in the same order as just mentioned.
AHAMOMENT: Following, we play a bit with Bible Code name meanings. Please be reminded: Hananiah (Shadrach) means “God who is gracious”; Mishael (Meshach) means “Who is like God”; and Azariah (Abednego) means “God is our help, or God has helped”. BONUS: Daniel means “God is my judge.” Stating these four meanings together reveals a New Testament message: God is gracious; who can be like God; God is my help/salvation; God is my judge. This is what the New Testament is all about.
Just as contrasting as it is interesting are their Babylonian name meanings: Shadrach means “command of Aku”, Aku being the name of the Babylonian god of the moon; Meshach means “who is what Aku is?“ Abednego means “servant of Nebo,” the Babylonian god of wisdom.
While studying the Book of Daniel, we should also note that the name Babylon is used within prophecy but does not always mean the geologic location. The use of the name Babylon is often symbolic or analogous to events characteristic of end-time prophecies. One cannot look at the Book of Daniel without including some references to Revelations and a few other helping or supportive scriptures. This Daniel – Revelation comparison will be a near-future article right here on ahabiblemoments.com
In a broad sense, the Book of Daniel prophecies can be defined under four categories:
- Prophecies of things in the distant future (End Time)
- Prophecies of imminent events soon to happen at or shortly after Daniel’s time
- Prophecies of intermediary or mid-time events
- Words of support and encouragement helping one remain in the faith during the Tribulation
There are only 12 chapters in the Book of Daniel unless one includes Susannah (c13) & Bel and the Dragon (c14). These two chapters are found in the apocrypha. Much is relevant to current events at the time of Daniel; prophecies of things to shortly happen with a look into the future, our modern times, and a distant future, all in one book of the Bible…Daniel
It will be our honor, and one of the greatest challenges, to translate Daniel 11 by inserting the actual historical character names instead of the generic place/descriptive names found in this scripture. Chapter 11 is probably the most controversial chapter in this great Old Testament book. The contentiousness of chapter 11 is not so much over what it contains, but its pinpoint accuracy. It is so accurate, some theologians and secularists insist some parts of Danial had to be written “after the fact” by others authors, then inserted into the Book of Daniel.
[JIV] Unfortunately, some Christians have difficulty understanding that our sovereign Lord is the Aleph–Tav; knowing the beginning and the end; the Alpha–Omega.
One will find a general overview outline of the Book of Daniel on the next page(s). Then a by-name, place, and event translation of unnamed persons, places, and things in Daniel 11. If there is an error when inserting names and place identities, as mentioned in chapter 11, we accept full responsibility. One can only be sure if s/he looks things up for him or herself. If God or Jesus says it… don’t question it. This translation took months of research.
As a wonderful teaching method, it helps when one can put an event or series of events into perspective within other historical events in secular history. Remember that the bible does not need to prove itself according to history. History needs to place itself within the bible.
- King Pekah of the Northern Kingdom of Israel along with his ally King Rezin of Aram, threatened Judah and the capital city of Jerusalem. Ahaz, the king of Judah, called upon King Pul [aka Tiglath-Pileser III] of Assyria to intervene. King Pul of Assyria did defeat Israel; executed King Rezin of Aram (AKA: Damascus).
- Assyria was a Semitic [Hebrew] nation, but not Israeli, before and up to 608 B.C.E.
- During this time, Damascus was not yet the capital of Syria. It was itself a large city-state.
- Assyrians attacked the Kingdom of Israel (ten northern tribes). They first dispersed the east of Jordan River Israeli tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh in 732 B.C. [2 Kings 16:9]
- 720 B.C.: Assyria invades the remaining tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel including a few cities within the northern borders of the southern Kingdom of Judah. Many of the captives are exiled to unsettled lands of the middle to far east including some *north of the Caucus Mountains.
*NOTE: This is an amazing historical study in and of itself. Look up Khazar Empire.
- Daniel is a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men originated from the southern Kingdom of Judah. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed about 120 years earlier by the Assyrians.
- Daniel lived during the time of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, father and (grand)son kings of Babylon, and the Medo-Persian ruler Cyrus (King Darius the Mede).
- He lived in Babylon during the entire 70-year Judean captivity including a few years beyond.
- Daniel never left Babylon once taken there. He continued in the service of their Persian conquerors.
- Sequence of nations:
- Israel was a nation under kings Saul, David, and Solomon. During their reigns, Israel co-existed with Assyria for 120 years before Israel divided into the Kingdom of Israel to the north [with ten tribes] and the Kingdom of Judah to the south with 2 tribes plus stragglers from the northern kingdom who were faithful to Judaism and worship in Jerusalem.The ten tribes to the north are eventually conquered then dispersed [around 740 B.C.] over a period of 20 plus years [720 B.C.]. First by Tiglath-Pileser III [sometimes called King Pul], then Shalmaneser V, and finally by Sargon II; each a king of Assyria; each king mentioned in scripture. The Kingdom of Judah continues to exist for another 120 plus years; until about 605/597 B.C. Babylon rebels against and overthrows their Assyrian overlords between 637 B.C.E. to around 612 B.C.E.
- Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invades the Kingdom of Judah and begins to bring Judean Jews, including Daniel, to Babylon. [Daniel 1:1-4]
- 605 B.C.; 597 B.C.; 586 B.C. [three periods of dispersion for Judah]
- Daniel becomes an advisor and dream interpreter for Nebuchadnezzar [Daniel 2:1-49]
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego face the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:1-30]
- Nebuchadnezzar goes insane and eats grass with the wild animals of his kingdom [Daniel 4:1-37]. Daniel may have unofficially acted as the overseer of Babylon during this time.
AHAMOMENT: Daniel chapter 4 was narrated or written by King Nebuchadnezzar. Read Daniel 4:1,2 (especially verse 4) to better understand. It appears that by this time in history, Nebuchadnezzar has accepted Daniel’s God as his own God.
- Daniel interprets for *King Belshazzar the writing on the wall from the finger of God [Daniel 5:1-31]
- *Belshazzar was the son or the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. He was overthrown by Medo-Persians (King Cyrus of Persia with General Darius the Medes leading the forces). As Daniel had told him, Belshazzar died the night he was overthrown.
- King Cyrus, the first Medo-Persian ruler over Babylon, signs a decree releasing all Israeli captives within his newly conquered empire; [538 B.C. – Ezra 1:2-4; also 6:2-5]; 70 years after being taken captive by the Babylonians.
- Cyrus was King of all Persia. In alliance with the Medes, Babylon fell. The lead General of the invading forces, a Mede named Darius, temporarily ruled Babylon [about two years].
- Daniel and the Lions’ den under the Medo-Persian ruler Darius [Daniel 6:1-28]
- The prophetic future according to the dreams of Daniel
- Daniel foresees the future and end times (aha article “Are We There Yet”?) [Daniel 10:1 – 12:13]
Part 1 of 4 or 5 Daniel 11 articles. Part two next week