Decoding Daniel – Part 1

               An In Depth Classroom and Home Bible Study

DEEP


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Week- Decoding Daniel Part 2


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

Jeremiah – Chapter 33

Book of JeremiahAssurance, insurance, warranty, guarantee. What more can one ask of God? We can add His personal word to this list. This is precisely what Jeremiah 33 is all about. This is the assents and absolutes of chapter 33. It is all about a time in history that has yet to happen. This is true God sanctioned covenant-prophecy.
We begin this article by starting with the final two verses in chapter 33:

Jer 33:25 Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,
Jer 33:26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” (ESV)

We have two very profound issues in these closing verses of Jeremiah 33.
1. God establishes his “Red Line” by stating what it will take to cause him to reject his chosen.
2. This explains why in Daniel 7:25 we find that the anti-Christ will try to change the seasons, time, and day and night.
This chapter comes through Jeremiah while he is still imprisoned; “shut up in the court of the guard.” God begins by reminding Jeremiah that it is HE who created all that is created (John 1:1-3). Meaning: it is all in HIS (God’s) hands and wishes. In the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) God uses his name Jehovah three times in one verse. Jehovah is the Jewish national name for God. He is underscoring that this is HIS to do and it will be done.

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“…(secrets) which thou knowest not” (KJV)… God wishes to reveal secrets (knowledge and understanding) but man must first ask. This is another example of the “If you____, then I will____.” These are secrets that no one has yet understood and cannot without the help and insight of Jehovah-God. There is a key word in this promise from God to reveal secrets yet unknown and answer a request from any of God’s chosen. It is the word “IMPORTANT.” (ERV) “I will tell you important secrets; You have never heard these things before.”

Not only is it important to God, it is a secret that no one has any knowledge of up to this point. Oddly, we do not read specifically what that secret is since God continues his monologue with Jeremiah. Jeremiah does not pray or ask for incite in this chapter. He only continues to listen and record.
Regarding Jerusalem’s and Jeremiah’s current circumstances, Jeremiah 33:4 even explains how Nebuchadnezzar will invade and conquer the cities of Judah; specifically Jerusalem. Then immediately in the next verse, God changes the tone of his anger to a future prophecy of total security for both Israel and Judah; i.e. all 12 Tribes of Jacob (Israel). The CEV (Contemporary English Version) puts it …”Then someday, I will heal this place and my people as well, and let them enjoy unending peace.” Three covenants in one sentence:

1. Jehovah-God will heal this place;
2. heal his people;
3. and give them never ending peace.

That someday has yet to occur. There is no recorded history that reveals this has already happened even to this very day. This makes it an End Time event. From verse 7 forward to the end of the chapter God reveals what it will include. Most importantly to keep perspective, God specifically identifies both Judah and Israel in these covenants of a future yet to happen. Keep in mind that the Old Testament is about a nation; the New Testament is about individuals. One can present a valid argument that God is over Israel well into the End Time and millennial reign just as Jesus is over his church or body of believers. Every covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be fulfilled. The covenants with Israel as a twelve tribe unit of Gods’ chosen is unambiguous.

Jeremiah 33:9 makes a point that too many theologians want to ignore, spiritualize, or otherwise cast doubt upon it.

When that happens, all nations on earth will see the good things I have done for Jerusalem, and how I have given it complete peace. The nations will celebrate and praise and honor me, but they will also tremble with fear. [CEV]

A simple reading of this verse renders it exclusive, not inclusive of the *church or the world. The argument is a question… when will this happen? The answer is relatively easy to conclude. It is the millennial reign of Christ and God in Jerusalem after the Tribulation and Jacob’s Trouble. Satan is bound for a thousand years and cannot influence world events one way or another. Let’s look at it this way. During the 1,000 year Kingdom on Earth with Jerusalem being the focal point, there will remain other nations but since the verse includes that “**people will tremble with fear” we can also conclude that Satan may be bound but we still have a free will; choices.
*Church: If it has been raptured pre or mid tribulation, it is no longer in anticipation of some additional blessing or assurance or redemption.

**People: this identifies other nations since the Hebrew word goy refers to Gentiles or people outside of the chosen of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

When Israel under the guidance of Joshua entered the Promised Land, it was identified as a land flowing of milk and honey. The word “desolate” in V11 means “parched, dry, a wasteland.” We know from recent history that when the land was given back to the Jews in 1948, it was sparsely unoccupied, barren, and considered a wasteland. At that time even the Arabs didn’t want it. God (Jehovah) promises to return it to the original fertile grounds with an abundance of crops, grazing herds, and HIS chosen people living there in total peace. There will once again be bride and bridegroom, children, elderly and middle aged, exchanging of goods and services, and much to the surprise of far too many theologians, animal and grain sacrifice will be offered up once again at the alter in Temple; offered by those by those of Levite DNA.

dna
The end of verse 14 once again reiterates that this is exclusive and not inclusive. We read: when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This is all a covenant yet to be fulfilled to those descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We find (read) more evidence of its ‘targeted to Israel’ scenario in verse 15 through 17. King David’s lineage is once again mentioned as a ruler or branch that will once again sit on the throne over Israel. One should note that it does not say David himself will be resurrected to do the ruling, but a branch from the lineage of him will now sit on the throne. Jesus is of the lineage of David; i.e. the Tribe of Judah.
Verse 18 is where we get cries of fowl or spiritualizing the exclusiveness of this time. WE read from the ESV:

“…the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

Did you read that? Offer burnt offerings!!!! No longer will the burnt offering be a sign of repentance and forgiveness of sin, but it will now be a sign of homage or reverence. Yes, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the worlds’ sins however the burnt offerings by those of the Levitical line will be a sign of honor to God.
Jeremiah 33:24 is where modern day Arabs point to as evidence that the land in Palestine no longer belongs to Israel. Israel lost their stolen birthright, so they say, due to not honoring God and their being scattered thought the four corners of the earth. They surrendered it just as did Esau when he sold his birthright to Jacob. He states to Jeremiah that others point out that God-Jehovah has rejected his first choice and it now reverts to the Arabs. This can be found in almost any dialogue in modern day news or political jockeying.
The final two verses present an opportunity for the anti-Christ to change the seasons, day and night time hours (Daniel 7:25). It is only under the (impossible) probability that God will turn his back on Israel if and only if the “TIMES” and “SEASONS” can be changed. So much for global warming changing the seasons. This is not supported in scripture.

(ESV) Jer 33:25 “Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,
Jer 33:26 [only] then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…”

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
August, 2017