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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

Chapter        1      FOUR YOUNG JEWISH CAPTIVES IN BABYLON

Chapter 2 (1)      NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM IMAGE

Chapter 2 (2)      THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Chapter        3      NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S GOLD IMAGE,

                              AND THE FIERY FURNACE

Chapter        4      NEBUCHADNEZZER’S PROCLAMATION

      AFTER BEING RESTORED FROM HIS AFFLICTION 

Chapter        5      BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST

Chapter        6      THE POWER OF DANIEL’S GOD

Chapter        7      THE FOUR GREAT BEASTS

Chapter        8      THE RAM AND THE GOAT - ANTIOCHUS AND ANTICHRIST

Chapter        9      DANIEL’S PRAYER AND THE “70 WEEKS” PROPHEC Y

Chapter      10      MICHAEL AND THE  ANGELIC CONFLICT

Chapter 11 (1)     EXPLOITS OF THE KINGS OF PERSIA, GREECE, EGYPT & SYRIA     

Chapter 11 (2)     THE ANTICHRIST – THE KING WHO “WILL DO AS HE PLEASES”

Chapter      12      GREAT DISTRESS, AND THE END OF THE AGE

 

     Introduction

THE book of Daniel is probably one of the most controversial books of the Bible. Written during the sixth century BC (approx 535 BC), it contains amazingly detailed prophecies concerning future empires and world events.

History has shown that so far these prophecies have been 100% accurate leaving non-believers in a quandary. Either this book was indeed written by Daniel under God’s leading or, as many skeptics argue, it was written after many of the events had already taken place.

However, the authorship of this book has been verified by Jesus Christ Himself. In Matthew 24:25 Jesus said:

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet….”

Jesus would hardly have sanctioned this book if it had not indeed been written by Daniel.

The human author, Daniel, is arguably one of the most amazing and Godly men that we know of in the Bible. He is, as far as I know, the only man in the Bible of whom nothing bad or negative is said. The Bible records some of the faults of all of the great men of God from Abraham to the apostle Peter yet no records exist of any flaws in Daniel’s character.

The book of Daniel is unique because, along with the New Testament book of Revelation, it is the first of the two major prophetic books of the Bible. Yet not even Revelation gives the extraordinary detailed prophecies of world empires and events that are found in Daniel.

Chapters 2:4 to 7:28  were written in the Aramaic language, whilst the rest of the book was written in Hebrew. Why would Daniel, a Hebrew, write a large part of his book in the Aramaic language? The simple explanation is that during Daniel’s time, Aramaic was the international language of business and government and was understood by both Gentiles and Jews. As these particular chapters deal with Gentile kings and kingdoms and God’s dealings with these Gentile nations, it was written in a language that Gentiles could understand.

As we study these prophecies we will begin to under-stand the awesome nature of our God. A God who foretells events centuries and even millennia before they are to occur. Even the date of the entry of His Son, Jesus, into Jerusalem just before His crucifixion is foretold, along with the events surrounding His yet future triumphant return.

We will read of amazing details of world empires which were foretold to arise after Daniel’s day and which history shows were accurate in every detail. We will read of the detailed prophecies concerning kings and battles, all of which have been verified by history. It’s no wonder that critics find it impossible to believe that this book was written before the events!

Writers of horoscopes, clairvoyants, etc, are thriving as people seek answers to the chaotic world around us. Mankind desperately wants to know what the future holds yet they search everywhere except in God’s Word. The so called prophecies of Nostradamus are often quoted, yet these are non-specific and can be interpreted to mean almost anything.

Whilst it is true that no human being could have the ability to foretell so much detail of future history, our God, who knows all future events, has exactly that ability. God’s prophetic Word is specific and accurate.

Daniel is told to ... “conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”                     (Daniel 12:4)

 Is it coincidence that now in our generation this book has been “unsealed” and “opened up”? Does this mean that we are at the “end of time”?

Whilst the detailed prophecies of what to us are now past empires are amazing, and faith inspiring, what is even more relevant to us in this generation, are the prophecies dealing with events leading up to the return of Jesus.

Why has God caused these prophecies to be recorded?

“Remember the former things, those of long ago: I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known THE END FROM THE BEGINNING, from ancient times, WHAT IS STILL TO COME. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”  (Isaiah 46:9-10)

“Therefore I told you these things long ago; BEFORE THEY HAPPENED I announced them so that you could not say, ‘My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.”  (Isaiah 48:5)

“He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms.”  (Luke 24:44)

As we study the prophecies of Daniel in our future chapters, our faith in our God who foretells all things, will be strengthened as we understand that no false god, idol or image could possibly have foretold such detail regarding future events.

Our understanding and longing for the “blessed hope,” the return of Jesus, will also be  strengthened as we read of the events leading to His return and which seem to be underway in our generation.

What a mighty God we serve!

 
 

CHAPTER 1

 

FOUR YOUNG JEWISH CAPTIVES

             IN BABYLON

                  PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 1

Chapter one of the book of Daniel is essentially an introduction to the historical setting in which this book was written and an introduction to the central characters, namely Daniel and his friends.

In 605 BC, the Babylonian army led by Nebuchadnezzar over ran and took control of the Hebrew city of Jerusalem. Within weeks, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, King Nabopolassar, died resulting in Nebuchadnezzar having to rush home to claim his throne.

Nebuchadnezzar took with him some of the sacred vessels from the Jerusalem Temple and the best of the Jewish youth. Daniel and his friends were among these captives. This fulfilled a prophecy recorded in Isaiah 39:7 that future offspring of the Royal family of Judah would be taken captive to Babylon where they would become officials in the palace of the King of Babylon.

The sacred vessels were placed in the temple of Marduk, the chief Babylonian God, no doubt because Nebuchadnezzar wanted to express his thanks to his god for the victories he had just experienced. To his way of thinking the fact that he had conquered Israel showed that his god was more powerful than the god of the Hebrews. By placing these articles in the temple of Marduk he was ridiculing Yahweh by saying that Yahweh was subject to Marduk. However verse 2 clearly states that it was Yahweh, not Marduk, who was responsible for delivering the nation of Judah and the temple vessels into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands.

Subsequent events would show the King that the God of Daniel was indeed the sovereign King, and that it was He alone that was responsible for his victories.

Following his coronation, Nebuchadnezzar, commanded Ashpenaz, his chief official, to bring the cream of the Jewish captives into what must have been a type of Royal training College.

Amongst those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah who were just teenagers. They were young, handsome and in excellent physical condition. 

For three years they were students of the Chaldean teachers who were the elite wise men of Babylon. The kings of Babylon belonged to this class of men who were among the most educated men of their day.

Daniel and his friends were probably taught astronomy, astrology, mathematics, natural history, agriculture, architecture and the Chaldean language to prepare them for service to the King.

These four young men had names that honoured Yahweh, their God, and the first thing that the chief official did was to assign them names that honoured Babylonian gods. (1:7)

To Daniel, whose name meant Yahweh (El) is gracious, they gave the name Belteshazzar which meant Bel (a chief Babylonian god) protected his life. Hananiah, meaning Yahweh is gracious, was assigned the new name of Shadrach (command of Aku,) after the moon god Aku. Mishael (who is what God - El - is?) was renamed Meshach (who is what Aku is?) and Azariah (Yahweh has helped) was given the name Abed-nego (servant of Nebo) after the god Nebo.

No doubt the reason behind the name changes was to help wipe the memory of Yahweh from the young men’s minds. By the end of their training it was no doubt intended that they would no longer be thinking like Jews loyal to Yahweh but would be thinking like Babylonians loyal to Babylonian gods.

The pressure for these young men to conform to the pagan culture of Babylon and the teaching of the Chaldeans must have been immense to say the least. These youth had been uprooted from their families, who had no doubt been killed or sold into slavery, and from their friends and their familiar culture and way of life.

Right from the start these four young men faced a dilemma. As was the custom in those days, the king had ordered that these new officers of his Royal court were to receive food and drink from his own table.  (1:5, 8)

As young impressionable teenagers all this must have seemed like a blessing. They had survived the slaughter in Jerusalem and were now being elevated to privileged positions as students which would eventually result in them being given powerful government positions. All they had to do was obey their new masters.

The king’s food would have been the best available but this was food that Mosaic law said that the people of Yahweh were not to eat. In addition the king’s food was offered as a sacrifice to the Babylonian gods before it was eaten.

What would we have done faced with this decision? Surely it wouldn’t hurt to partake of the blessings from the king’s table. Hadn’t God himself put them into this position in the first place? They could have made many excuses which would have seemed plausible, but they did not, and as a result, God saw to it that their stand was honoured by causing them to be healthier and better nourished than those who did indeed partake of the King’s food. (1:8-16)

God gave these young men a gift of knowledge and understanding that enabled them  to learn their subjects well and no doubt, to be able to distinguish true knowledge from the false. To Daniel He gave the additional gift of understanding visions and dreams.  (1:17)

At the end of the three years of training, Daniel and his friends were brought before the King who tested them and found them to be ten times superior to his existing officials. What a witness to God. (1:18-20)

At the end of this chapter we read that Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus. This king was the king of Medo-Persia, and some have seen a contra-diction between this verse and chapter 10, verse one, which talks about Daniel receiving a message in the third year of Cyrus. However verse 21 does not say that Daniel died in the first year of Cyrus, but is simply saying that Daniel continued as an official during the entire reign of the Babylonian kingdom until they were succeeded by the Medes and the Persians under King Cyrus.

 

Chapter 2 

(PART 1)

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM IMAGE

              PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 2

UP TO this point the wise men of Babylon had had an easy job with regards to royal dreams. Once the king had related the contents of his dream to them they could give any explanation that seemed appropriate and it would please the king.

Archaeologists have discovered that these ancient wise-men actually possessed manuals to help them interpret dreams. Lengthy volumes recorded dreams and the events that happened afterwards. The job of the wise men was to hear a new dream then after conducting a study of past dreams they could arrive at a likely meaning.

However, Nebuchadnezzar had awoken from his dream in no mood for speculation and guess work. He was troubled by the dream and he demanded answers. Humanly speaking his demand was unreasonable. Not only were the wise men to interpret the dream but they were also ordered to describe the contents of the dream. Their objections to this demand fuelled the king’s anger and so he issued a decree that the wise men should be slain.  (2:1-12)

As members of this elite band of wise men, Daniel and his three friends were also under sentence of death. When Daniel heard about the king’s order, he requested the king to grant him time to accomplish the task. (2:13-16)

The first thing Daniel and his friends did was to turn to prayer asking God that they might be shown mercy and be spared from the king’s execution order. As a result, that night, God gave Daniel a vision revealing the dream and its interpretation. Daniel’s immediate response was to utter a prayer of thanksgiving emphasizing the power and sovereignty of God. (2:17-23)

We again get a glimpse of Daniel’s character, for instead of immediately rushing off to the king, his first thought was to stop the execution of the wise men. Having accomplished this, he was brought before the king where he immediately made it clear that what the king had demanded was humanly impossible to fulfil and that only God in heaven could do it. Daniel made it very clear that it was God who had given the king his dream, and that it revealed future events. Daniel made sure that no credit could be given to himself for fulfilling the king’s demand but that all the credit belonged to God.

Daniel also wanted to make it very clear to the king that it was the God of heaven who had made Nebuchadnezzar the ruler of the then-known world and not the Babylonian gods. This took courage on Daniel’s part, but he was obviously determined to make sure that the king could not give any credit to his gods for the interpretation of his vision. Daniel made repeated reference to Yahweh as the God of Heaven, not just because that was indeed God’s dwelling place, but because the Babylonians believed that their gods came from the earth. Daniel wanted to make it very clear that Yahweh was not one of their gods. (2:27-30)

Having made this clear Daniel then proceeded to interpret the vision.

In verses 31 to 35, he reveals to the king the contents of his dream, then in verses 36 to 45, he interprets the vision.

“You, O king, were looking and saw a great image. This image was enormous; it was standing in front of you, and its appearance was extremely bright and awesome. This image - its head was made of fine gold; its chest and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing-floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (2:31-35)

“This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all - you are this head of gold. But after you another kingdom inferior to yours shall arise; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

“And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things; so, like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. As for the feet and toes which were partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, this is a divided kingdom; it will have some of the strength of the iron in it, even as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.

“And as for the toes of the feet which were partly of iron and partly of clay; some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be fragile. As you saw iron mixed with muddy clay, they will combine with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

“In the time of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed - a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold - the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is true, and its interpretation is sure.’” (2:36-45)

What a remarkable passage! In 603 BC, six hundred years before Jesus Christ lived on earth; 540 years before the Roman Empire was a reality; 270 years before the Greek Empire controlled the world; and 70 years before the Medo-Persian Empire would over-throw this Babylonian Empire, Daniel says, “God … will show King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.”

Click on Chart to Enlarge
 

THE FIRST EMPIRE

Daniel interprets the golden head of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as being Babylon, a great city built on the same location where the tower of Babel had been built much earlier by Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah.

Babylon was formed in a perfect square, 15 miles on each side. It contained 50 streets 150 feet wide with the Euphrates flowing through the city, giving the impress-ion that the river flowed from the throne of the king.

On both sides of the river there were elevated terraces with hanging gardens - one of the seven wonders of the world. The main street, Paradise Way, was paved with pure gold plated bricks and led to their main temple. The city itself was surrounded by a wall 200 – 300 feet high and 87 feet thick with a moat around it.

The Babylonians are credited with dividing hours into 60 minutes and the circle into 360 degrees. 600 years later,  three wise men (Chaldeans) from this area followed the star heralding the birth of Christ.

This head was depicted as being of gold which was an appropriate representation. Marduk, the chief god of Babylon was called the god of gold, and gold was used extensively in Babylonian buildings, images and shrines.

Herodotus, who visited Babylon ninety years after the era of Nebuchadnezzar, was astonished by the amount of gold there. Even the walls and buildings were over-laid with gold.

THE SECOND EMPIRE

The vision foretold that Babylon would be succeeded by a second kingdom, represented by the image’s breast and arms of silver. In 550 BC two distinct peoples, the Medes and the Persians were united together under the same king, to form one great power - two arms coming together to form one breast.

The Medo-Persian army laid siege to Babylon, but Babylon had prepared for such a siege by storing sufficient food within the city walls to last the population for 20 years. This, combined with the fact that they had ample water from the river and that they had such formidable defences, made them feel that they were impregnable. However, God had decreed that they would fall, so fall they would.

The Persian king, Cyrus, learned that in spite of being under siege, the Babylonians were still planning to celebrate an approaching festival during which they would give themselves over to a time of partying.

Cyrus decided that this was the day he would attack, and that he would accomplish this by damming up the river under cover of darkness. As the river level dropped to a sufficient depth he sent men in from both the entry and exit points of the river into the city.

Under normal circumstances, even this method of entry into the city would have accomplished little, as the river was lined on each side of its course through the city with walls that could not be climbed. However as the inhabitants of the city celebrated their festival and lapsed into a drunken state, they left open the gates, giving access from the city to the river, and thus their fate was sealed.

The night’s revelry cost the Babylonians their kingdom and their freedom. In 539 BC, this part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was fulfilled as the Babylonian Empire was succeeded by the Medes and the Persians.

It is fascinating to read Isaiah 45, in which God promised Cyrus that He would open gates before him, and that he, Cyrus, would restore Israel to their land and permit the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. History and the Bible record that both of these events did in fact occur.

Again the choice of the precious metal silver was an appropriate metal to use as a symbol for the Medo-Persian Empire. In ancient times silver signified money and was the standard of value and the medium of exchange. Medo-Persia became noted for basing its power on money which was collected through an extensive tax system.

Daniel stated that Medo-Persia would be inferior to Babylon. Obviously it was not inferior in military strength, for it conquered Babylon. And it was not inferior in size, as it was a much larger kingdom than Babylon. It was inferior in one respect, and that was that being a partnership, it lacked the absolute unity that Babylon had enjoyed.

THE THIRD EMPIRE

Medo-Persia was to be succeeded by a third Gentile kingdom, represented by the image’s belly and thighs of bronze.

This was the kingdom of Greece led by Alexander the Great and his successors. One belly divided into two thighs was again an excellent way to portray the Grecian Empire ahead of time.

Alexander battled against the Persian King Darius to overthrow the Medo-Persian Empire. As Alexander and his army closed in upon the remnants of the Medo-Persian army, three of his own people took Darius captive in an attempt to trade him to Alexander in return for their own lives. However, as the Greek army closed in upon them they brutally murdered Darius and fled for their lives.

They left the body in a cart, and when Alexander was led to Darius’ bloodied corpse, the sight of this Persian king who had just a short time before sat on the throne of a great Empire, moved this great general to tears.

Alexander covered Darius’ body with his own cloak and ordered that the body be given to the previously captured ladies of the Persian Royal family, and that they were to give him a royal funeral which Alexander himself paid for.

Eventually however, absolute power went to his head, and Alexander, like many rulers before and after him, started to claim that he was a god. He became involved in drunken parties during which, it is recorded, he would even murder his own friends.

Legend has it that after one long drinking session he toasted each one of his 20 guests, then completely emptied the Herculean cup which contained 6 quarts of alcohol. He then fell ill with a violent fever and died 11 days later at the age of 32.

Following his death his kingdom was divided among his four leading generals, however, only two of the divisions endured to play important roles in history. These two divisions were headquartered in Syria and Egypt and are depicted by the two thighs of the image.

The Greeks developed and highly valued bronze which they used extensively for their weapons of war. Thus their kingdom was characterized by bronze.

Daniel said that the Greeks would rule over all the earth, referring to the world then known to Daniel and his contemporaries. It is an historical fact that Alexander’s kingdom ruled considerably more of the earth than did the preceding Babylonian and Medo-Persian Empires.

This part of the dream was fulfilled when Greece conquered Persia in 331 BC.

THE FOURTH EMPIRE

Greece was to be succeeded by a fourth Gentile kingdom represented by the image’s legs of iron, and feet and toes of iron and clay.

At the time of Nebuchnezzar’s dream Rome was nothing more than a village on the banks of the Tiber River, but it was destined to become the fourth World Empire.

In 65 BC the Roman general, Pompey, overthrew Syria, and by 30 BC Augustus had overthrown Egypt and taken authority over Jerusalem. He proclaimed himself as the first Emperor of Rome.

The Roman armies conquered the remnants of the previous empires as well as expanding into previously unconquered nations.

The religions of the previous empires were mixed up in the new empire, creating an even greater mixture of paganism. Eventually the Roman Emperors began to demand worship of themselves.

By the time of the Christian era this empire ruled an area comprising the whole of South Europe, France, England, the greater part of the Netherlands, Switzerland and the South of Germany, Hungary, Turkey and Greece as well as parts of Asia and Africa.

This was the Roman Empire, the fourth empire of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. God’s portrayal of Rome with two legs was again very apt for the ancient Roman Empire ruled extensive areas of both the western and eastern divisions of the world. In fact, in 364 AD the Roman Empire was divided politically into two divisions - the Western Empire with Rome as its capital, and the Eastern Empire with Constantinople as its capital.

Iron was an excellent designation for Rome as ancient Rome was noted for its use of iron, especially in its weaponry, and its iron swords shattered the inferior swords of its foes. As Daniel noted in verse 40, just as iron is able to crush gold, silver and bronze, so would Rome crush and shatter the ancient world.

This aspect of the prophetic dream was fulfilled when Rome conquered Greece by 146 BC.

Let us now look at the future world empire which will be in place at the time of the return Jesus Christ.

 

CHAPTER 2 

(PART 2)

THE ROMAN EMPIRE

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 2

LAST chapter we looked at the first part of Daniel’s vision Daniel chapter 2. In that study we looked at the Gentile world empires that were foretold by God, through the vision of a large statue that He gave to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Almost without exception scholars agree that the empires referred to were:-

     BABYLON – The head of gold

     MEDO-PERSIA – The chest and arms of silver 

     GREECE – The belly and thighs of bronze

     ROME – The legs of iron 

History has borne out the fact that these four empires did succeed each other just as God foretold.

However, now the interpretation of the dream becomes a little more complicated, and as a result there are a number of differing opinions as to the nature of the empire that succeeds Rome.

But the Bible is clear, for verse 40 states that the fourth kingdom, Rome, is the final kingdom of the vision - a kingdom which will be as strong as iron and smash everything in its path.

Verse 41 and 42, however, carry on to say that the kingdom will be like the image’s feet of iron and clay - a mixture of strength and weakness.

“As for the feet and toes which were partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, this is a divided kingdom; it will have some of the strength of the iron in it, even as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. And as for the toes of the feet which were partly of iron and partly of clay; some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be fragile. As you saw iron mixed with muddy clay, they will combine with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.”  (2:41-43)

This seems to be a contradiction – how can this empire be as strong as iron yet then be weak and brittle. The answer must lie in the fact that the original Roman Empire was indeed as strong as iron overcoming all opposition. However, the Empire eventually deteriorated from within and indeed became divided and weak.

The Roman Empire as such was never superceded by another empire as the previous three empires were. In fact, in a sense, the Roman Empire still exists today. Much of the Western world today bases its structure, political and civil, around that of the Roman Empire.

Nebuchadnezzar’s vision stated that this weakened stage of the fourth and final kingdom would continue until such time as it is smashed by a rock (Jesus), and the God of heaven sets up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.

As the previous parts of the image, such as the two arms and the two legs, had significance with regards to the particular empires they portrayed, so to does the final portrayal of feet and toes. Most scholars interpret this to mean that the final remnant of the Roman Empire will consist of 10 kings or nations (the toes). Just as clay will not mix with iron, so these different groups of peoples will form an uneasy alliance in the last days.

This interpretation is strengthened by a reading of Daniel 7: 23-24 which is the interpretation of the vision that Daniel was given of this same fourth and final kingdom.

“He gave this explanation: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom that will appear on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth, treading it down and crushing it.  As for the ten horns, they are ten kings who arise out of this kingdom. After them another king will arise. He will be different from the earlier ones; and he will subdue three kings’.”  (7:23-24)

In these verses, the 10 kings or nations forming the final world empire are symbolised by 10 horns rising from within the final form of the Roman Empire. It is stated that at the time of these kings, the saints will suffer for a set time, following which all the world’s rulers will worship and obey God. As this has not yet happened in our history it must be a future event!

Further clarification is obtained by a reading of Revelation 17:12 in which John received a vision of things to occur in the “last days.”

“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.” (Revelation 17:12)

In his vision John is also shown ten horns which he was told signify ten kings (kingdoms) who will form an alliance with The Beast (The Antichrist). He is also told that at the time of this vision this alliance had not occurred, and history again bears witness to the fact that such an alliance has not occurred in the centuries between then and now. This is further confirmation that this alliance must still be a future event.

Both Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapter 17 give clear evidence that the 10 nation confederacy will come into being when an eleventh king rises, and rules over them. We will study this further when we come to it chapter seven of Daniel.

The final stage of the fourth kingdom is a future superpower which will be a revival of the original Roman Empire, or at least a part of it.

Sometime in the future this revival will occur, and many Bible scholars believe that the forming of this ten nation alliance could be very near especially as we see the developments in the European Union.

The Bible is clear that the final ten nations will come out of what was the old Roman Empire, so before we can look at who may be part of the final kingdom, we must first ascertain which nations were originally part of the old empire.

The following schedule lists those nations which formed a major part of the Roman Empire in bold print. Other nations which only saw a minor Roman occupation or had some frontline outposts in them are shown in light and underlined.

MODERN DAY COUNTRIES IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Portugal         Spain Andorra          France         Luxembourg

Monaco          Belgium          Netherlands          Germany

Switzerland          Liechtenstein         Italy          San Marino

Vatican City          Malta          Austria         United Kingdom

(Scotland was occupied only up to the Antonine wall while Ireland never formed part of the Empire.)

Czech Republic.  (The initial conquest of German territories up to the river Elbe under Emperor Augustus may well have included a small part of the Czech Republic. Also the campaigns of emperor Marcus Aurelius most likely conquered a considerable amount of Czech territory, though these gains were abandoned by his son Commodius without ever being recognised as a province.)

Slovakia(Slovakia was home to several forward positions of the Roman frontier system. Also the campaigns of emperor Marcus Aurelius most likely conquered considerable parts of Slovakia, though they were abandoned by his son Commodius without ever being recognised as a province.)

Slovenia          Croatia          Hungary         Bosnia-Herzegovina Yugoslavia             Albania          Greece         Macedonia

Romania                   Bulgaria          Turkey             

Georgia.  (With the annexation of the ancient kingdom of Armenia by Emperor Trajan part, if not all, of modern day Georgia may have become part of the empire.)

Armenia.  (With the annexation of the ancient kingdom of Armenia by Emperor Trajan, all of modern day Armenia became part of the empire.)

Azerbaijan.  (With the annexation of the ancient kingdom of Armenia by Emperor Trajan part, if not all, of modern day Azerbaijan will have become part of the empire.)

Lebanon    Syria                Jordania          Iraq                

Kuwait.  (If any part of northern Kuwait was part of the short-lived province of Mesopotamia, created by Emperor Trajan, is unsure; though it may well have been.)

Israel          Cyprus              Egypt          Libya

Saudi Arabia.  (With Emperor Trajan’s annexation of part of the kingdom of Nabatea as the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, a small part of the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia became part of the Roman Empire.)

Sudan. (To what extent the Roman province of Aegyptus extended into Sudan is unsure; though it must have extended some way into this country to border on the kingdom of Nubia.)

Tunisia          Algeria              Morocco

Palestinian Territories.  (Not yet an internationally recognised nation, “Palestine” is situated on recent Jordanian and Egyptian territory, and was part of the Roman-occupied province of Judaea.)

For many years students of Bible prophecy have looked to the Western Nations as the most likely location of the ten nation confederacy. This was fueled first by the founding of The League of Nations following World War 1, and then by the forming of The United Nations. However, in recent years focus has turned to the European Union.

In January 1957, six nations signed a treaty on the site of the ancient Roman Capital and brought into being the European Common Market, which became the European Union. This treaty has become known as “the treaty of Rome.”  Coincidence?

 

  The EU flag was designed as a circle of 12 stars inspired by the halo of 12 stars that appear around the Madonna in Catholic pictures. Revelation 12 describes a woman (Israel) who has a crown of 12 stars, however, the Catholics have always claimed that this figure represents the virgin Mary.

 

An amazing poster was issued a few years back by the EU which showed the tower of Babel with the slogan “Many tongues, one voice.” Above the tower were shown the Euro stars, but inverted, as in witchcraft, with the central points downwards.

 

Another demonic symbol is being used in conjunction with the EU. Revelation 17 describes a great harlot riding a beast.

For some strange reason this symbol is being used to represent the EU. For example, Britain issued a stamp to commemorate the first European parliament elections in 1979.

The picture on the stamp was a woman riding a beast. The new EU parliament building in Brussels contains a dome with a colossal painting, three times life size, of a woman riding a beast.

In France, the rival parliament building features a mural of a naked woman riding a beast, and the Brussels’s headquarters of the Council of Europe contains a bronze statue of a woman riding a beast – and the beast is depicted riding on waves – just as in Revelation 17. 

 
   On January 2nd, 2002 a single European unit of currency,

the Euro, came into being.

This could eventually become the catalyst that destroys the might of the USA as some nations move to make the Euro the means of payment for oil instead of the US dollar. Should this happen the US economy could fall into turmoil, taking many other economies with it.

Is it coincidence that last year this community formed its own fighting force? Although Britain’s Tony Blair insists on calling it a “Rapid Reaction Force” it is really an army of considerable size. It consists of 60,000 front line troops, 400 assault aircraft and up to 80 warships. This force which will be used to represent the European Community, has been drawn from the strongest of the nations in the community. The number of nations involved in the force – 10 !!!

Today the EU consists of more than 25 nations and is still growing. The EU is on the march as never before, despite its family feuding. What Napoleon, Hitler and many others failed to do by violent means – unite Europe – is now being accomplished by more or less peaceful means.

The future president of the EU will have power which will rival, or even exceed, that of the American Presidents.

While the European Union is most certainly a prime suspect for being the final form of the Roman Empire it has a major stumbling block in that it is difficult to reconcile the fact that this Last Days Empire will consist of only 10 nations, not the growing number that at present comprise the EU.

A small, but growing, number of Bible prophecy students are now starting to wonder if we have in fact been looking in the wrong direction and that this 10 nation union may in fact arise from nations that formed part of the Eastern leg of the old Empire rather than the Western division; in other words, the Eastern Moslem nations.

This view is being fuelled by the growing hatred from radicals within these nations against Western (Christian) countries.

We know from the Bible that this 10-nation revival of the Roman Empire will hate God’s people, both Jew and Christian, and will persecute and kill them.

Some prophecy students are looking at King Abdullah of Jordon and watching developments surrounding him with interest. As the 43rd generation direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad this king would be held in high esteem by other Moslems as the standard bearer of Allah.

It is interesting to note that even the Israelis trust this king as they have appointed him (Jordon) as the keepers of the Temple Mount. King Abdullah is even courting the Vatican, and in late 2000 Pope John Paul II visited Jordon and received an enthusiastic welcome.

The Bible is not specific about just who these 10 nations are and we Christians may not even see the final formation of this confederacy as many believe that the Rapture will occur before the Antichrist, the leader of this union, is revealed.

However as we watch and see an alliance growing, be it from Western or Eastern nations, we can be assured that the return of our Lord and Saviour is drawing very near indeed.

 

chapter 3

 NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S GOLD IMAGE,

AND THE FIERY FURNACE

                 Please read Daniel chapter 3

IN chapter 2 we read how Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a giant statue, and now, in chapter 3 we read of the King erecting a statue of his own.

This statue measured 90 feet high by 9 feet wide and was either made of gold or overlaid with gold. Interestingly there is today, a mound resembling the pedestal of a colossal statue, on the Plains of Dura. This mound stands 20 feet high and measures about 46 feet square at its base. (3:1)

Although the dream image was some years earlier, there can be little doubt that Nebuchadnezzar got his idea for this statue from his earlier vision.

The reason for Daniel’s absence from this chapter is not given. It is possible that he was away on business. Did the king take advantage of Daniel’s absence, or even arrange it, so as to take the opportunity to erect this statue unhindered by a prophet of God?

Was this the king’s way of now renouncing any regard for Daniel’s God? Was he now trying to say that he was the whole statue, not just its head, and that as such his kingdom would never be superseded by another as Daniel had foretold?

Nebuchadnezzar demands total allegiance and proclaims death to any who do not worship him by bowing to the statue.

“Then a herald loudly proclaimed, ‘To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, psaltery, bagpipe in symphony with all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship will be cast immediately into the midst of a blazing fiery furnace’.”  (3:4-6)

History tells us that Nebuchadnezzar was almost fanatical in his determination to bring retribution on those who did not obey the laws.

However, there were three Hebrew men who refused to obey the law to worship the image of Nebuchadnezzar.

To his credit the king does not just accept the accusations of others but insists on making sure of the facts for himself. This may have been because Nebuchadnezzar himself had set these three men into high government positions and would have held them in high regard.

When he meets with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego the implication is that because of their past relationship, the King would have given them every opportunity to back down and conform to his command. However, their continuing refusal to bow to his image, puts the king in danger of losing face and his anger is fueled to such an extent that his attitude towards the three changes.  (3:12-19)

These three men are in no position to defend themselves as their guilt is clear. In obeying God’s law they have broken the King’s law, and as such are prepared to suffer the consequences.  These men had all stood firm when they were first taken to Nebuchadnezzar’s court and were ordered to eat food and drink from his table. They disobeyed that order in favour of God’s law, and now they were standing firm again. God often teaches us as we learn to firstly obey him, in small ways, then in bigger ways.

The three were thrown into a furnace so hot that it killed the guards who threw them in. The king must have been so angry with the three that he came close enough to see into the furnace, no doubt relishing the prospect of witnessing the death of these men who dared to disobey him.  (3:20-22)

But what Nebuchadnezzar saw was not three men being burnt to death, but four men walking around, untied, in the midst of the flames! Jesus, the Son of God, was with these men in the midst of their trials, just as He promises to be with us. Presumably the three men could see Jesus walking with them; but more often than not, in times of trial, Jesus’ presence with us is invisible, but no less real.  (3:23-26)

“Nebuchadnezzar responded, saying; ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God’.” (3:28)

This chapter is often seen as a type of the Last Days.

Nebuchadnezzar is seen as a type of the Antichrist who forces the world to worship his image. The furnace is the Great Tribulation, and the three Hebrews are a type of Israel which will be preserved during the Tribulation. The absent Daniel is seen as a type of the absent church - the true church that will be raptured before the Tribulation events unfold.

 
chapter 4

  NEBUCHADNEZZER’S PROCLAMATION

AFTER BEING RESTORED FROM HIS AFFLICTION 

Please read Daniel chapter 4

IT IS interesting to note that chapter 4 is the only chapter in the whole of the Old Testament that was written by a Gentile! These are not the words of Daniel but of Nebuchadnezzar, in the form of a Royal Proclamation.

As well as having verse 4 written in the first person that “I Nebuchadnezzar, was at home…” archeologists agree that the literary style of this chapter resembles the style of Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient inscriptions and that the character of the king revealed in this chapter agrees with ancient descriptions of the man.

So why then did the king write this proclamation? Could it be that he did it in order to teach all his people the lesson which God had taught him – that man and his kingdoms were nothing compared to the God of the Jews?

In the latter half of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign the kingdom was at peace, the country prospered and the king had yet another dream. Again the king called in all his wise men. It’s difficult to understand why he didn’t just call for the one and only man who had interpreted his earlier dream, but the fact is that he didn’t, and again it wasn’t until Daniel appears that the king finally gets his dream interpreted.

This time even Daniel was so shocked by the meaning of the dream that he expressed the wish that the events portrayed by the dream would actually fall on the king’s enemies instead of the king. He did not want to tell the king the meaning, but Nebuchadnezzar insisted.  

“This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king; you will be driven away from mankind and your dwelling will be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like oxen, and drenched with the dew of heaven.

‘Seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognise that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and gives it to whomever He wishes. And the command to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognise that it is Heaven that rules.

‘Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity’.”  (4:24-27)

God’s representation of the king as a large tree that provided food and lodging for all was very fitting. Archeologists have discovered inscriptions in which Nebuchadnezzar boasts about the peaceful shelter and abundance of food that he provided for his subjects. In some of these inscriptions the king talks of the mighty trees of Lebanon and talks of his fascination with mighty trees.

This king who boasted of his might that he had personally cut down these mighty trees, was now to be cut down himself. Just as the stump in the dream was bound with a metal band, so now God would bind the king with a form of mental illness. This illness would cause the king to act like a wild beast and be driven outdoors to survive in all kinds of weather. His hair would become long and matted, his nails would grow long and like claws and he would eat grass like a wild animal.

Skeptics have scoffed at this account of Nebuchadnezzar’s illness. However, a Greek writer named Megasthenes, who lived from 312 to 280 BC related an interesting story that had been told to him by the Chaldeans. According to this story, after he had completed his military conquests, Nebuchadnezzar was “possessed by some god or other,” whilst on the roof of his palace.

It is also interesting that between 582 and 575 BC, Nebuchadnezzar’s name disappeared from the historical and governmental records of Babylon. It reappeared again for a time before the king died in 562 BC. Records also indicate that Nebuchadnezzar’s reign became more enlightened and less violent towards the end  –  after he had acknowledged God as sovereign?

After giving the dream’s interpretation, Daniel urged the king to repent of his ways, but this king was on an ego trip!

Although there were a number of palaces in the city, it is most probable that the king was standing on the roof of the palace that housed the famous hanging gardens on the night he was afflicted with this illness.

No doubt his heart was full of pride as he looked out over the city that he had made the greatest city in the world at that time. In the British museum there are six columns of writing recovered from Babylon which describe the huge building projects of Nebuchadnezzar. A total of forty-nine building inscriptions of this king have been uncovered to date, and most of the bricks recovered from ancient Babylon bear the inscription: “I am Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.”

This king rebuilt the old palace of his father, and then built two more palaces. He built seventeen religious temples and completed the huge outer walls that surrounded the city.

One of his most splendid projects was the magnificent Ishtar gate. This was a double gateway through the walls of the city and it was covered with bulls and four-legged dragons in high relief. The approach to this gate was between strong fortress walls on which were rows of lions in relief and covered with brightly coloured tiles.

However, his greatest feat, and the one for which he is best remembered, was the hanging gardens. One of his wives, the Princess of Media, grew homesick for the mountains of her homeland. In order to satisfy her, the king had mountains built on the roof of the palace complex. These mountains were planted with trees and other kinds of plants which were watered by an ingenious hydraulic system which lifted water from the Euphrates River up to the elevated gardens.

Humanly speaking Nebuchadnezzar could have been said to have had reason to be proud of his accomplishments. But even as the boastful words left the king’s mouth, God fulfilled His promised judgment upon him.

The illness that Nebuchadnezzar was stricken with is an actual illness known as Lycanthropy, an illness which causes the sufferer to act like a wild beast yet allows the victim to retain an inner consciousness. This explains how it was that eventually the king was able to change his attitude even whilst suffering from this madness.

When the king finally recognised that he was in a situation that he could not control, a situation which would have been unbelievable to this once powerful king whose every wish was instantly obeyed, he finally acknowledges a higher Power than himself.

As soon as he had repented and started praising the one and only true God, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was restored to him.

“‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honour the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways are just; and He is able to humble those who walk in pride’.”  (4:37)

While we are quick to condemn Nebuchadnezzar for his faults and pride, there may be a lesson here for many of us, for we too are often in danger of taking pride in our work and accomplishments, instead of giving the glory and thanks for what we have been able to do, to our loving God and Saviour.  

 

CHAPTER 5

BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 5

KING Nebuchadnezzar died on October 7th, 562 BC, after a 43 year reign. His son, Merodach who succeeded him, was an evil man who is described in 2 Kings 25:27-30 and Jeremiah 52:31-34. His reign lasted for only two years when he was assassinated by his own brother-in-law, Neriglassar.

Neriglassar who is referred to as Nergalsharezer in Jeremiah 39:1 & 13, died a natural death after reigning for 4 years. His son, Laborosoarchod who was only a child and had limited mental capacity was beaten to death after ruling for only 9 months. The murderers appointed one of their number, Nabonidus, to be king, and he reigned until the Persians under King Cyrus conquered Babylon.

This chapter has in the past given fuel to those who had stated that the book of Daniel was historically in-accurate, as history records that Nabonidus was said to be the last king of Babylon, not Belshazzar, his oldest son. Previous Babylonian records mention no king named Belshazzar.

However Babylonian documents discovered early in the 20th century solved the mystery. The documents showed that Belshazzar was in fact the son of King Nabonidus. But this in turn created another problem. If Nabonidus was king during the events described in chapter 5 then why does one verse call Belshazzar “king”? This question was in turn answered by other Babylonian documents which revealed that in 555 BC, Nabonidus marched with his army to subdue rebels in the west who had risen against Babylonian rule after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. Before he left, Nabonidus placed his son, Belshazzar in temporary rulership of his kingdom.

After subduing the rebels, Nabonidus eventually built a royal palace in a distant town of Tema located in the Arabian Peninsula and he settled there. Whilst he kept the title of King of Arabia, Belshazzar retained the kingship of Babylon, creating a co-regency.

Belshazzar put on a huge feast for 1000 of his friends and officials, and while reading the description of the festivities it is easy to picture the scene! The wine ran freely and the hall was filled with the king’s wives and concubines.

Probably to impress them and his nobles the king remembered the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, and commanded that they be brought before him.

(Note that the term “father” does not mean that Belshazzar was the immediate son of Nebuchadnezzar. In ancient Oriental custom the word “father” was used loosely to refer to any male ancestor.)

In drunken bravado Belshazzar filled the temple vessels with wine and toasted the heathen gods. The king could not have chosen a more brazen way of showing contempt for Yahweh, the God of the Jews - a God who hated the worship of false gods.

Immediately the hand of God pronounced judgment on the king!

Obviously the king immediately sensed that this writing on the wall did not contain a good message for him. This same king, who just moments before had been filled with his own power and importance, was now reduced to a quivering wreck.  In his terror he called for his wisest men and promised them a huge reward if they could read the writing on the wall and tell him what it meant.

The rewards he offered were first purple clothing, which was only worn by royalty, secondly a gold chain which in Babylonian custom could only be given by a king, and thirdly, the opportunity to be the third highest ruler in the land. As we saw previously the highest two positions were taken by Nabonidus and Belshazzar.

After the queen reminds Belshazzar about Daniel, the king finally calls on the one and only man in his kingdom who could interpret the writing on the wall.

Daniel promptly tells the king to keep his rewards. How different this was from the time when Daniel interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time he accepted the rewards being offered although he took great pains to point out that it was not his doing but God’s that enabled him to perform this task.

Belshazzar is reminded by Daniel of the time when his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, became arrogant and was reduced, by God, to living like an animal. In verse 22, Daniel points out that the king knew this but has allowed himself to fall into the same sin of gross arrogance.

King Belshazzar would have been a teenager when Nebuchadnezzar died, so he would have seen how God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar.  He would also have known about the dream of the statue and its prophecy that Babylon would fall to the Medo-Persians.

Now as Daniel interprets the handwriting, the king hears that his reign is at an end and that the prophecy given to his ancestor is about to be fulfilled.

“At that moment the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the form of the hand that did the writing. Then the king’s face changed and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together ….

“Now this is the inscription that has been written out: MENE, MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN. (Numbered, numbered, weighed and divided.)

“This is the interpretation of the message: MENE - God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. TEKEL - you have been weighted on the scales and found wanting. PERES - your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”  (Daniel 5:2-3, 25-28)

The King and the population of Babylon considered their city impregnable. Some historians believe that at the time of King Belshazzar’s death, the city had in fact been surrounded by Medo-Persian troops, under the leadership of King Cyrus, for up to four months. The fact that they could party whilst surrounded by hostile troops showed just how safe they thought they were.

BELSHAZZAR’S DOWNFALL

“That very night Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was slain.” (5:30)

The city of Babylon was a fortress. Its walls were thick enough to withstand the largest battering rams, and even if the enemy could succeed in getting past this first wall, there was a second wall built with fortress towers and ramparts.

The River Euphrates ran right through the city giving the inhabitants all the water they needed and historic records indicate that the city contained enough food in stores to last the people more than 20 years. No wonder they considered themselves safe.

But King Cyrus outsmarted them. He damned up the river and waited until the water level had dropped sufficiently to allow him and his men to simply wade into the city via the dried up river bed. However, even now the attacking army had a problem as the sides of the river, as it wound its way through the city, were huge stone walls with gates that allowed access to the river during daylight but were securely locked at night.

But Belshazzar caused his own downfall. The attacking army was causing such a noise that they could be heard even above the din of the festivities in the palace. King Belshazzar ordered his guards to investigate and as they opened the gates to discover the source of the noise, the Medo-Persian soldiers poured in through the now open gates.

As they advanced into the palace itself they found the king ready with his sword drawn, and during the ensuing fight the king and many of his officials were slain. In spite of Babylon’s seemingly impregnable defences, it fell in less than a day.

God’s prophetic warnings were fulfilled to the letter. The initial vision of Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom would be felled by another had come to pass, and the message of the hand writing on the wall had also been literally fulfilled with the death of Belshazzar, and the end of the Babylonian Empire.

At the end of this chapter we are faced with another historical puzzle.

“So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.” (5:31)

Who was Darius the Mede? Historical documents make no mention of this person.

(Note that the people we know as the Kurds are the descendants of the Medes)

Various explanations have been brought forward, the most favoured of which is that the name “Darius” is actually a title rather than a personal name. Darius means “Holder of the Scepter.”

It is known that King Cyrus divided his kingdom into 20 provinces and appointed a governor to manage each province. Thus this Darius the Mede could well have been the ruler placed in charge of this particular province, a man by the name of Gubaru.

 

CHAPTER 6

  THE POWER OF DANIEL’S GOD

               PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 6

THE Babylonian Empire had been overthrown by the Medo-Persian alliance and now Darius the Mede ruled the land.

Remarkably we now find Daniel, who had been one of the highest placed “non-Royals” in the Babylonian Empire, still alive and still holding one of the highest positions with the new rulers.

By this time Daniel must have been in his eighties, yet the King planned to place him in overall authority of all his dominion. What a man Daniel must have been! Not only was he one of the most Godly men mentioned in the Bible, but his character and abilities were such that he could find favour with almost all men.

That is, except for those who coveted Daniel’s favour and influence with the king, for themselves. I am sure that Daniel’s character was such that he would have treated those under him with wisdom and compassion, yet jealousy and anti-Semitism made those same men eager to topple Daniel from his position.

The fact that Daniel’s enemies could not find a single instance for which they could bring charges against him is remarkable. How many of us could say with full confidence that we have never committed a single act that could be held against us? 

By now Daniel’s religious belief must have been known by all and the officials would have known of Daniel’s custom to pray regularly to his God. So they resort to trickery to achieve their aim.

The kings of the Babylonian Empire were powerful men, and their word was the law. Whatever they decreed had to be done, but they were free to make whatever laws and decrees they wished.

However, the Medo-Persian Empire was different. Once a King had made a law, even the king could not change it. The Persian kings were believed by their subjects to be divinely inspired by the god Ahura-Mazda, and therefore any law made by the king was divine will. As such any attempt to alter the law would be seen as a direct offense to their god.

“Then these commissioners and satraps assembled before the king and spoke to him as follows: ‘King Darius, live forever! All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects, the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. Now O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.’

“Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.”  (6:6-7)

Once the officials succeeded in tricking the king into signing a decree, they knew that it could not be changed. To the king’s credit, once he discovered that he had been tricked, he did indeed try everything in his power to save Daniel, but to no avail.

Daniel could easily have saved himself by simply not praying for the next 30 days, but as we have come to expect of this man, he refused to take the easy way out. Many of us, I am sure, would have reasoned that God would not want us to die, and so He wouldn’t mind if we just stopped praying, or prayed in secret, for just a few weeks! But no, Daniel did what he had done all his life. He continued to do what he knew to be right, and trusted in God.

In the end Darius had no choice but to order Daniel thrown into the lions’ den, but even as he did so, he expressed the wish that the God whom Daniel served would save him.

The lions’ den was probably a cave, or something similar, the mouth of which was sealed by a stone. The stone was then sealed with both the King’s and his officials’ rings. This was probably because neither party trusted the other. The King’s seal meant that the officials couldn’t open the den to assist the lions in making short work of Daniel, and the officials’ seals ensured that the King could not open the den to release Daniel.

Darius must have really been close to Daniel because he spent a night of anguish hoping against hope that Daniel would indeed be safe. He must also have had some belief in the power of Daniel’s God, for at the crack of dawn the next morning, he went to the lions’ den and called out to Daniel, with at least some hope that he would receive an answer. When he did Darius was overjoyed.

“When he had come near the den where Daniel was, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king called to Daniel; ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’

“Then Daniel replied to the king, ‘O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also towards you, O king, I have done no wrong.’

“Then the king was overjoyed and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was lifted up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”  (6:20-23)

 

Daniel records how the officials who had plotted his death were in fact themselves devoured by the lions. This proved that the lions were indeed wild and hungry and that it was only by God’s mighty power that Daniel had been saved.

Darius was so in awe of what had happened that he issued a proclamation throughout his kingdom that all his subjects were to fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land:

‘May your peace abound! I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men are to reverence and tremble before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God; He endures, and is steadfast forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever. He delivers and rescues, He performs signs and wonders in Heaven and on earth,

for He has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions’.”  (6:25-27)

This was an amazing decree from a King and a nation who worshipped many false gods, and all because Daniel had not given in to fear, but had trusted his God.

 

CHAPTER 7

THE  FOUR  GREAT  BEASTS

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 7

THIS chapter is the last of the chapters written in Aramaic – was it therefore the last of Daniel’s writings to be addressed particularly to the Gentile nations?

Daniel states that this dream was given to him during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign as King of Babylon. As we have studied previously, this was a co-reign between Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and his father Nabonidus, and is believed to have been around the year 553 BC.

Many scholars believe that Daniel in fact received the dream of this chapter between the events of chapters 4 & 5.

The first thing we notice in this vision is that Daniel is shown the sea churned up by the wind. In the Bible the sea is often used as a symbol of the nations of the world, thus a sea churned up would represent the nations (the world) in turmoil.

Out of this stirred up world Daniel saw four great beasts emerge; beasts which Daniel is told represent four future kingdoms.  Even today we often refer to nations by symbols such as the Russian Bear, the Chinese Dragon, the American Eagle, or the New Zealand Kiwi.

Although little is said about the first three kingdoms in the interpretation that Daniel received, most scholars believe that they are the same kingdoms represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a giant statue in chapter 2.

BABYLON

The first beast is described as a lion with eagle’s wings. (v 4). This image portrays the kingdom that existed at the time of Daniel’s dream, the Kingdom of Babylon. Interestingly, statues of winged lions were almost always found at Babylonian Palaces.

Daniel watched as the wings were plucked off this lion. It was then made to stand on its own two feet like a man, and a human heart was given to it.

In chapter 5 we studied how Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God - his wings were plucked off. After spending 7 years living like an animal and eating grass, the king was restored to his kingdom. But the experience had changed him. History records that towards the end of his rule he stopped waging war against other nations and treated his subjects much more humanely – he had received a human heart.

MEDO-PERSIA

The second beast is described as a bear raised up on one side and holding three ribs between its teeth. (v 5). This beast represents the Medo-Persian Empire which succeeded the Babylonian Empire.

As we saw in chapter 2 this kingdom was a partnership between the Medes and the Persians. The fact that the bear was raised up on one side more than the other is believed to represent the fact that over time the Persians became the stronger one of the partnership, overshadowing the weaker partner, the Medes.

The three ribs in the bear’s mouth are the subject of some debate amongst scholars, however the majority suggest that this represents the three largest kingdoms that were overrun and conquered by the Medo-Persians. These kingdoms were Lydia, Babylon and Egypt.

In Daniel’s dream the bear is told to “get up and eat your fill of flesh.”  In spite of the kingdoms and countries that they had already overrun, history records that the Medo-Persian Empire seemed to have an insatiable desire for war. They continued to conquer nation after nation – they continued to eat their fill of flesh!

GREECE

The third beast of Daniel’s dream was a leopard with four heads and four wings. (v 6). This beast represented the next world empire, the kingdom of Greece.

Leopards are noted for their swiftness in attacking prey and the four wings of this beast are believed to represent even more speed. Again history records the truth of these prophecies. Under Alexander the Great, Greece’s conquest of the then known world was achieved at an amazingly fast pace for that period of time. Alexander’s army moved so fast that in the space of just 8 years they had marched, and conquered, an area stretching more than 11,000 miles from Greece in the West, to India in the East.

The four heads are symbols of the four leading generals of his army who divided Alexander’s kingdom into four after his early death at the age of 32.

ROME

The fourth beast, which represents the Roman Empire, is so different and so frightening that Daniel can find no living creature to describe it. (v 7). This beast is so dreadful, so terrifying and frightening that Daniel specifically asks to be told the true meaning of this fourth beast.

We know from history that in fact this beast represents the Roman Empire which, because of its military strength and its iron swords, was able to crush and shatter the then known world like none other before it.

THE TEN HORNS

Ten horns rose from this beast’s head, and while Daniel watched, an eleventh, smaller horn, rose from among the ten, and on its way this horn uprooted three of the ten horns. (v 8).

Daniel is not left puzzled for long as God gives him a clear interpretation of the meaning of these horns. He is told that they represent 10 kings (or nations) which arise from within the fourth, Roman, Kingdom. From among these ten kings, an eleventh king arises who subdues three of the ten before taking his place as the ruler of the ten kingdoms. This ten nation confederacy corresponds to the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.

Since the ancient Roman Empire never consisted of a ten nation confederacy, we can conclude that this form of the fourth kingdom has yet to appear on earth. This understanding is further reinforced when we read that the ruler of this confederacy, the eleventh king, will be defeated and when he is, the nations of the earth will be handed over to the saints (the people of God) and that this will then be an everlasting Kingdom. Again as this has not yet happened, it must be yet future!

Sometime in the (near?) future the Roman Empire will be revived in the form of a ten nation confederacy. Many believe that we are seeing the initial stages of the forming of this alliance in the developing the European Community, now the European Union. Although this union consists of more than ten nations at this time, there are fractures occurring and it is yet possible that it will itself splinter into two or more groups, one of which may consist of ten nations.

THE PRINCE OF ROME

The leader of this revived Roman Empire is obviously not content to be just part of this confederacy; he wants to rule it. On his way, he subdues three of the ten who, it would seem, oppose him. Once in control this king “speaks out against the Most High,” and as we see in Revelation 13:5-6, he is “given a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies…” He will claim that he himself is God, and he will try to speak with the same authority as God, and demand that he be worshipped as God.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul writes that the Man of Sin (the Roman leader) “…opposes and exalts himself above every so called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”  

In Revelation 13:4, 8, 12, 15, John states that this man will be worshipped by many people, and in Revelation 20:4 we find that many saints who refused to worship him were martyred.

Daniel is told that this king will wage war against the saints, (v 21), and John confirms this in Revelation 13:7 where he writes that “it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”

The question many ask is, who are these saints that the king has been given power to wage war against? Some argue that they are the church (true believers) while others believe that they are Jewish believers who are saved early in the tribulation period.

As the Rapture of the true believers, the Bride of Christ, has already occurred before the Tribulation, the reference to saints in this context must refer to Tribulation saints - both Jews and Gentiles, who become believers after the Rapture.

THE ANTICHRIST

This “eleventh horn,” the Prince of Rome, whom we often refer to as the Antichrist, is given power to persecute these saints for a specific period of time - a time, times and half a time. From Revelation 12:14 and other references we know that this represents a period of three and a half years. This period is also known as the time of God’s Wrath - a period that we know from other Scriptures, occurs during the last 3  years of the seven year Tribulation period.

THE MESSIAH

At the end of these 3 years the court will sit, thrones will be set in place, the Ancient of Days will take His seat, and the books will be opened. This can only refer to God Himself sitting to administer judgment. This judgment corresponds to the crushing of the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue by the Stone, which represents Jesus and His kingdom.

“In the night visions, I kept looking, and then there was One like the Son of Man, coming in the clouds of heaven. He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. Then He was given authority, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”  (7:13-14)

This dream of chapter 7 reinforces the dream Daniel portrayed in chapter 2, and outlines the course of Gentile world dominion from the time of the Babylonian Kingdom until the Second Coming of Christ. The dreams chart the period of human history during which Israel is subjected to the supremacy of the Gentile nations. This is the period that Jesus Himself referred to as “The time of the Gentiles.” (Luke 21:24)

It has been said that in Daniel chapter 2, the Gentile nations are described as they appear to man - brilliant, glorious images of precious metals, while in Daniel chapter 7, they are described as they appear to God - as wild, ferocious beasts!

In view of world events around us that seem to indicate the imminent prospect of the Rapture of the Saints and the start of the Tribulation period, many Christians today believe that there is a strong possibility that this “eleventh king,” the Antichrist, could be alive and well on planet earth today. Indeed he could be biding his time, and ready to take his place in history. He awaits only the event, possibly the Rapture, that would give him the opportunity, amongst the ensuing chaos, to take his place as ruler of the revived Roman Empire.

If you are reading this article and you do not yet know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, then friend, I urge you to come to Him before it is too late. He is still waiting for you to ask Him into your life; just accept the fact that Jesus, the Lamb of God, died for your sins to deliver you from the condemnation and punishment that would otherwise be yours.

Only God knows the timing of the events portrayed above, but we are to be aware of the signs heralding the return of Jesus. And friend, those signs indicate that His return is imminent, even at the door. Don’t delay – you might be the last one to come to Him before the Rapture!

 
chapter 8

  THE RAM AND THE GOAT -

ANTIOCHUS  &  ANTICHRIST

Please read DANIEL chapter 8

THE previous chapters of Daniel were written in Aramaic and addressed the future Gentile world kingdoms. In the next five chapters God reveals to Daniel the future of Israel and thus he now writes in the Hebrew language.   

Daniel states that this vision was received during the third year of Belshazzar’s reign over Babylon which makes it around the year 551 B.C.

Verse 16 tells us that the angel Gabriel was instructed to explain the meaning of this vision to Daniel. A reading of The Bible tells us that Gabriel often seemed to be the angel that God used to carry important messages to earth. He announced John the Baptist’s birth to Zacharias and Jesus’ birth to Mary. This angel’s appearance must be magnificent as even Daniel, who had encountered heavenly beings before, was so terrified of this being that he fainted and fell to the ground.

Gabriel began the interpretation by declaring that the vision pertained to “the time of the end.” (v17), “the time of wrath” (v19), and “the appointed time of the end” (v19). To understand this chapter we must first see what period of time these statements refer to.

Similar statements in God’s Word indicate that Gabriel is referring to times when God chastens Israel, usually at the hands of Gentile nations. This “time of the end” began during the 730’s B.C. and will continue until the second coming of Christ - a period of time that the Bible also refers to as “the time of the Gentiles.” 

Many scholars believe that in fact two “times of the end” are referred to here. The first being the end of the Grecian Empire climaxed by the evil rule of Antiochus Epiphanes (the little horn of v9), and the end of the time of the Gentiles during which the Antichrist will arise (the little horn of chapter 7). Many of the events that Antiochus perpetrated against Israel and the Jewish temple will be repeated by the Antichrist on a greater scale just prior to the return of Christ.

Daniel’s vision took him from the time of the Babylon Empire to a future time when the Medes and Persians would be the dominant world empire. They would make this city of Susa, to which Daniel was transported, their eventual capital. The city was located approximately 230 miles east of Babylon and 120 miles north of the Persian Gulf. It was located near the junction of two rivers and a fortress was built at the junction to protect the city. To one side of the fortress a 900 feet wide canal was built to connect the two rivers. This was the Ulai canal.

the ram with two horns

In Daniel’s vision he is shown a ram with two horns standing beside this canal and is told by Gabriel that this creature, and the one that follows, represent kingdoms that will (future tense) arise from the earth. This first beast represented Medo-Persia and corresponded to the arms and breast of silver in Nebuchadnezzar’s statue in chapter 2, and to the bear in chapter 7. The ram was seen as the guardian spirit of the Medes and Persians and the Persian King actually wore the head of a ram on his head as he led his army.

The two horns of the ram are seen to represent the twin nature of the Medo-Persian kingdom. History shows that later in their alliance Persia became the dominant partner, portrayed in Daniel’s vision by the fact that one horn became longer than the other. This is a parallel prophecy to that shown in chapter 7 where the bear had one side higher than the other.

The ram butted its way towards the west, north and south overpowering other animals at will. Coming from the east, Medo-Persia’s army conquered one kingdom after another, primarily towards the west, (Babylon, Syria, Asia Minor) north (Armenia and regions around the Caspian Sea) and south (Egypt, Ethiopia).

THE GOAT WITH THE PROMINENT HORN

Suddenly a goat with a prominent horn is seen coming from the west attacking the two horned ram. This goat represents Greece as did the brass belly and thighs of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of chapter 2 and the leopard with four wings in chapter 7.

Greece was situated west of Medo-Persia and history again records the truth of God’s vision to Daniel. Alexander the Great did move his army from the west and so rapidly did his army move and conquer that “his feet did not touch the ground.”

This goat is portrayed with a great horn between its eyes, representative of Greece’s first and most powerful king, Alexander. He was only 22 years old when he attacked Medo-Persia yet even at that youthful age he amazed the ancient world with his military genius.

As soon as this goat became exceedingly powerful, the large horn was broken and four other horns rose up to replace it. Greece had hardly reached the peak of its power when Alexander died and four of his generals divided his kingdom among themselves.

General Ptolemy took Egypt, Cyrene, Cyprus, several cities on the coast of Asia Minor and Palestine.

General Seleucus took Syria, Babylon, Southern Asia Minor and the Iranian Plateau.

General Lysimachus ruled Thrace and Western Asia Minor and,

General Cassande settled for Macedonia and Greece proper.

As Daniel watched, from out of one of these four horns or kingdoms another fifth horn arose. It started small but grew in influence and power towards the South, (Egypt) East (Armenia) and the Beautiful Land. (Israel)

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES

It must be noted here that this horn differs from the little horn of chapter 7. This horn rises from the four kingdoms into which the Grecian Empire was divided. The little horn of chapter 7 arises from the 10 horns into which the fourth, Roman Empire is to be divided in the last days. However, without doubt the little horn of chapter 8 is a type of the little horn, Antichrist, of the last days.

History records that a fifth horn or king did arise from one of the four divisions of Alexander’s kingdom. The eighth ruler from within the Seleucid division was a man known as Antiochus IV or Antiochus Epiphanes. This king did start small as he was not the rightful heir to the throne. He resorted to bribery and flattery to become king but once he had his crown, his true nature showed as he tried to enforce new religious and civic polices upon the Jews in The Beautiful Land, and attacked Egypt to the South, and Armenia to the East.

“And in the latter period of their rule,

when the transgressors have run their course,

a king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue.

“He will become very strong, but not by his own power.

He will destroy to an extraordinary degree

and prosper and perform his will;

He will destroy mighty men, and also the holy people,

“And through his shrewdness,

he will cause deceit to succeed under his hand;

And he will magnify himself in his heart.

He will destroy many while they feel secure and are at ease.

He will even rise against the Prince of princes.

But he will be broken without human agency.”   (8:23-25)

After Antiochus became king, some Jewish leaders, rebelling against God, made a covenant with the Greeks. They built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, forsook the covenant of God, practiced Greek customs, regarded themselves as Gentiles and worshipped false gods.

As a result God allowed this most evil of kings to rule “the Beautiful land.”

Antiochus forced the Jews to worship pagan idols. He ordered them to forget the law, to profane their Sabbaths and feast days, to stop the practice of circumcision, to offer the flesh of pigs and other unclean animals as sacrifices and to defile themselves with all kinds of evil practices.

He had copies of the law burnt and decreed that all Jews who kept copies of the law, obeyed the law, or practiced circumcision would be executed. He even had circumcised babies hanged, and put many righteous Jews to death.

THE REVOLT AND MASSACRE

Once following the spreading of a false rumor that Antiochus was dead, Judea erupted in a revolt against his reign. However, when he returned, alive and well, he was so angered by the Jewish insurrection that he had 80,000 of them murdered, and another 40,000 sold into slavery. On one occasion he attacked Jerusalem, destroyed buildings and the city walls and burnt large parts of the city down to the ground.

Another time he was so angered by a Jewish priest who refused to eat pork which had been offered to the Greek god, Zeus, that he had him tortured, and seven of his sons dismembered whilst their mother was forced to watch. He then killed her also.

Antiochus arrogantly entered the Jewish temple and removed all its furniture and valuable ornaments. He ordered the sacrifices to end and the worship of Yahweh to be replaced with the worship of Greek gods. He had coins produced with the inscription “Antiochus Theo Epiphanes” – “the god made manifest.”

This was an evil man indeed! He set himself up to be “as great as the Prince of the host.” (v11) and without doubt was supernaturally empowered by Satan. (v24)

6 YEARS OF DESECRATION

Daniel heard one angel ask the other how long would this little horn be allowed to carry on this horrible transgression against the people of Israel and God’s temple. The answer given was that this period would last for 2300 days.

Scholars debate the exact meaning of these 2300 days. Some believe that it means 2300 “year days.”  William Miller who founded the Seventh-Day Adventists calculated that these 2300 years would end in 1844 at which time Jesus would return!

However the most logical answer is to take the meaning as it reads and that it does refer to 2300 days which is just under six and a half years. History records that Antiochus did indeed persecute the Jews and desecrate the temple for a period of around six and a half years. (from 171 to 165 BC)

Gabriel declared that this man of evil would meet his end by supernatural means – without human agency. History is vague on just how Antiochus met his death. Some reports say that he died from grief in the city of Babylon as the result of his army being defeated in battle.

Another report says that he died in Persia of epilepsy and madness. The second book of Macabees records that he died with incurable pain in his bowel and that because of the pain he fell from his chariot and his body was broken. Living for a brief period after the fall his body became so infected that flesh fell from his bones and produced an intolerable smell.

Whatever the manner of his death, God’s judgment did catch up with this evil king who persecuted His people. Following his death the temple was restored and Judas Maccabeus re-instigated full temple worship.

preseRve the vision

Gabriel instructed Daniel to “seal up the vision.” An alternative interpretation of the word “seal” is “to preserve,” so Daniel preserved, or recorded, this vision, which would occur 380 years into the future, for future generations.

In this chapter we see God’s dealings with the Jews, but we also see a foretaste of things to come in the last days when an evil man (Antichrist), again indwelt by Satan, will mirror much of what Antiochus did  - but even more so. 

Is that man alive and well in our time, waiting only for the appointed moment to rise to power?
 
CHAPTER 9

  DANIEL’S PRAYER & the “70 WEEKS” PROPHECY

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 9

THIS IS one of my favorite prophecy chapters in the whole of the Bible. It does something that no human can possible do, and that is give the exact time when events will occur far into the future. It foretells the precise time when The Messiah will appear on earth and can thus be used as one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy and that He must therefore be the awaited Messiah!

It was the first year of the reign of Darius, and as we would by now expect, Daniel was studying the Sacred Writings. As he studied what had been written, he came across an amazing prophecy by the prophet Jeremiah. This prophecy declared that the Jews would be punished for their sins, and they would be taken into captivity by Babylon.

This of course had come true as Daniel himself was part of that captivity. However, what excited Daniel was the rest of the prophecy which stated that this captivity would last for a period of 70 years.

“‘And all this land shall be desolate and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. Then, when the seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ declares YHWH, ‘and I will make it desolate for ever’.”   (Jeremiah 25: 11-12)

As it was now 538 BC and their captivity had begun in 605 BC, 67 years had passed leaving only 3 more of the 70 to run.

Daniel immediately entered into a period of fasting and prayer confessing that the Jews had indeed sinned and deserved God’s just punishment. He then petitioned God to have mercy on His chosen people and to restore them as a nation, and to also restore His holy city of Jerusalem. Even though God had foretold that He would do just that after the 70 year period, Jeremiah 29:10-14 also declared that this would only take place when Israel called upon Him in prayer and searched for God with all its heart.

“For YHWH says: ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfil My promise to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares YHWH, ‘plans for peace and welfare, and not for evil and calamity, to give you hope and a future.

“‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,’ declares YHWH, ‘and I will bring you back from your captivity and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares YHWH, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile’.”   (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

Daniel began to do the very thing that would fulfill this requirement and subsequently bring their captivity to an end. He sought the Lord God with all his heart. (Daniel 9:3-19)

GABRIEL’S VISITATION & MESSAGE

Again Daniel is visited by the angel Gabriel (9:21-27) who interrupted his prayer time to give him insight and understanding. Insight and understanding of what you might ask?  Daniel was praying for something which needed little insight or understanding as Jeremiah’s prophecy was fairly explicate and straight forward!

The answer must be from the previous chapter (chapter 8) which ended with Daniel admitting that he was appalled by the vision he had seen, and acknowledging that it was beyond his understanding. Although 13 years had passed since that vision, Daniel must have remained confused by the fact that the Jews were now in captivity, a captivity which was prophesied to last a specific period of 70 years, yet in the vision of chapter 8, God had shown Daniel that Israel would be punished yet again.

Daniel was now being told that their captivity was near its end, yet he had also been shown that they would go into captivity again. I’m sure that he sorely needed the insight and understanding from Gabriel!

Note that this prophecy relates to “your people” and “your holy city.” It is a prophecy for Israel and Jerusalem!

“So know and discern this: From the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah, the Anointed Prince of Peace, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens’ and sixty-two ‘sevens’. The street and the moat will be built again, but in times of distress.  Then after the sixty-two ‘sevens’ the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the (endtime Roman) ruler who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood. To the end there will be war, and desolations have been decreed.

“And he (the endtime Roman Antichrist) will confirm a covenant - a treaty - with the many for one week (lit. ‘seven’), but in the middle of that week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering; and on the wing of abominations he will make desolation, (alt. reading, on the pinnacle of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation), until the complete end that is decreed is poured out on the one who makes the desolation.”  (Daniel 9:25-27)

Gabriel explained that a period of 490 years (seventy sevens) had been decreed by God for Israel and Jerusalem. God had divided the Jewish calendar into seven year time periods with every seventh year being a sabbatical year. Because they had ignored the requirement to keep the sabbatical years over the course of 490 years (2 Chronicles 36:21) they were to be chastened for the years they owed God.

The reasons given for this 490 year period were:-

q  “to finish the transgression.”

q  “to make an end of sin.” 

q  “to make an atonement for iniquity.”

q  “to bring in everlasting righteousness.”

q  “to seal up vision and prophecy.”

q  “to anoint the most holy place.”

Gabriel said that the starting point for the 490 years would be from the time of a decree which would be issued to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” This statement has raised some degree of debate amongst scholars as a number of decrees were issued by Medo-Persian kings allowing the Jews to rebuild various parts of Jerusalem. The first decree was issued by Cyrus in 538 BC; the second by Darius in 519 BC; the third by Artaxerxes in 458 BC and the fourth by Artaxerxes in 445 BC. So which one of these decrees was Gabriel referring to?

Note that Gabriel was specific in that the decree would permit the rebuilding of streets and moat (trench). This would indicate that to be able to build a moat, the city walls must already have been restored. History tells us that the city walls were still in ruins for some time after the issuing of the first 3 decrees, therefore the 4th decree issued in 445BC must be the one referred to by Gabriel.

69 “WEEKS” UNTIL MESSIAH

The prophecy tells us that from the issuing of that decree until the Messiah, the Anointed One, comes a period of sixty nine “sevens of years” would pass. In other words, 483 years (69 x 7) after 445 BC, the Messiah would come.

A number of scholars have calculated the date on which this 483 year period would end and usher in the Anointed One. Using the ancient calendar of one year equaling 360 days (as told in the Bible) and starting from the known date of the issuing of the fourth decree, namely March 14th, 445 BC, they have arrived at a fulfillment date of April 6th, 32 AD.

So what happened on this date? This was in fact the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey proclaiming publicly for the first time that He was in fact the Anointed One, the Messiah!

Note that Gabriel stated that after this 483 years Messiah would “be cut off and have nothing.” The word translated “cut off” was used for the death penalty and often referred to a violent death. As we know, a week after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem the Messiah, Jesus, was indeed “cut off” by the cruelest of deaths on a wooden cross.

The prophecy also foretold that after the Anointed One had been “cut off,” the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary (Temple) would be destroyed. In 70 AD, the Romans completely destroyed both the city and the Temple. Gabriel said that the people who would then destroy this city would belong to a coming prince. A reference to the future Antichrist who would arise from amongst these Roman people.

Gabriel carried on to say that there will be war until the end. History shows that the world has been at war in some form or other ever since and will continue to be so until the end when the Messiah returns.

The prophecy concludes by stating that he (the Antichrist) will confirm a covenant (treaty) with many for a period of 7 years. There has been a gap of time between the end of the first 483 years, ending in 32 AD, and the beginning of the last 7 year period of the prophesied “70 sevens of years.” (490 years) but we can be assured that God’s timetable will be outworked.

Many other prophetic verses in the Bible inform us of just what will occur prior to, and during, this 7 year period, but we are told by Gabriel that a 7 year treaty will start the period. We are also told that at the midpoint, three and a half years into the treaty period, the Antichrist will break the treaty and show his true colours. He will put an end to the Jews worshipping their Messiah and will set up an abomination on a wing of the temple. This will continue until the end that is decreed for the Antichrist occurs, when Jesus returns.

An interesting fact gained from this last part of the prophecy is the implication that the Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem to enable the Antichrist to desecrate it. Just how close we may be to the commencement of that preparations for the rebuilding and the recommencement of worship in the Temple are well under way by a number of Jewish organisations.  Many scholars believe that the rebuilding could commence within days of a treaty being organised which would enable Israel to build on the Temple Mount. Could this rebuilding form part of the 7 year treaty issued by the Antichrist? Only time will tell! 

 

chapter 10

MICHAEL AND THE ANGELIC CONFLICT

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 10

The year was 536 B.C. and Daniel is still in Babylon despite the fact that Cyrus had allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. We can only conjecture as to why Daniel did not return with them. By this time he was over 80 and may have been too frail to make the journey or possibly his important position may have made it difficult to leave. Whatever the reason we can be sure that this Godly man was exactly where God wanted him to be.

Chapters 10 to 12 contain the last vision received and recorded by Daniel. Chapter 10 introduces the new revelation and in so doing also introduces us to the role that both good and evil angels play in human affairs.

The revelation is of a future great war both between nations and behind the scenes war between angelic beings. We are shown in this chapter how both God and Satan use powerful angels to influence rulers and nations.

Daniel received this vision on the 3rd day of the first month (about April) of the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia. The vision was such that Daniel immediately entered into a time of mourning and humbling himself before God as he sought to gain understanding of the vision. (v12)

For 21 days he continued in this manner until on the 24th day of the month whilst he was standing beside the Tigris River, probably on Government business, an angelic being appeared to Daniel.

“I lifted my eyes and looked, and I saw a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.”   (Daniel 10:5-6)

Because the description of this heavenly being corresponds exactly with the description given in Revelation 1:13-17 and 2:18 of the Glorified Christ, most scholars believe that he was in fact Jesus Himself.  However there are also those who believe he was a superior angel.

Those who believe he was an angel argue that no evil angel (the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia) could hinder the progress of the Son of God for 21 days. Although we can indeed be sure that no angel would have the power to hinder the progress of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, it is also possible that God would allow this if it suited His purpose.

Secondly we have the statement that the archangel Michael came to help this heavenly being. Some ask the question, would Jesus need the help of one of His created angelic beings? The answer is, of course, no.

 Jesus would not need the help but again He could chose to accept it if it suited His divine purpose. Remember how Jesus did in fact accept the help of angels after His temptation by Satan (Matthew 4:11), and during His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  (Luke 22:43)

So, although there are arguments against this being actually being Jesus Christ, they are not conclusive. In either case this heavenly Being was wonderful to behold and brought strength and understanding to Daniel.

Daniel had been privileged in the past to have been in the presence of mighty angels and even God Himself, yet he was still overawed at the presence before him. So much so that his knees gave way and he fainted, falling to the ground.

If this could happen to such a spiritual giant as Daniel can you imagine what it will be like one day soon when each of us experiences our Lord’s awesome Presence? Maybe this is why most of us never get to experience such an event in our earthly bodies? It is only in our spiritual and renewed state that we will be able to withstand such a glorious and wonderful event?

The man, be it The Lord or a mighty angel, revived Daniel by touching him and raising him to his feet. He continued to speak soothing words to Daniel reassuring him that he was held in high esteem and proceeded to give Daniel the strength he needed. God will always give us the strength we need to face all situations, if we will only let Him!

OPPOSITION IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM

Daniel is told that the response to his prayers had been delayed by the fact that the Prince of the Persian Kingdom had detained the messenger for a period of 21 days at which point the mighty archangel Michael intervened allowing the messenger to proceed.

We know from other Bible references that Michael’s task seems to be fighting Satan and his evil angels so there is no doubt that this Prince of Persia was an evil angel assigned by Satan to influence the Persian Kingdom. However Satan’s evil hordes are no match for God’s mighty warriors! Be assured that God’s power is far above that of Satan.

Daniel is then informed that the purpose of this vision was to inform him of a great war (v 1) which would take place at a future time. (v 14).  He is then told that after the vision had been revealed the messenger and Michael would return to fight against Satan’s prince of Persia again.

He also stated that when he was gone the Prince of Greece would come. It is a fact of history that many years later Greece did come and replace the Medo-Persian Empire.

Chapter 10 opens our eyes to the role of angels that most humans are totally unaware of - that is, the influence they have for both good and evil in the affairs of men and nations. It is clear from this chapter that both God and Satan assign powerful angels to influence the leaders of this world. Some scholars believe this is particularly so in relation to the decisions nations make for and against the nation of Israel.

The battle is being waged in the spiritual world as much as on the earth, but our GOD WINS!

 

CHAPTER 11 

(PART 1)

EXPLOITS OF THE KINGS OF PERSIA,

GREECE, EGYPT AND SYRIA

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 11: 1-35

This chapter of Daniel reads like a history lesson. A history lesson that was given in advance and one which has proven by history itself to be 100% accurate!

Because of the wealth of historic detail given to Daniel in this chapter, critics insist that this chapter could only have been written after the events and not by Daniel. Off course they have to believe that as to believe otherwise proves that there must be a God for only God could foresee such events way into the future.

King Cyrus was still the ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire in the year 536 BC when Daniel received this vision. He was told that there would be three more rulers after Cyrus then a fourth more powerful ruler would arise.

As we would know by now history proves the truth of God’s prophetic word. The three kings were Cambyses who ruled from 529 – 522 BC,  Pseudo-Smerdis from 522 – 521 BC, and Darius I Hystaspes from 521 – 468 BC. The fourth King was Xerxes I (486 – 465 BC) who became very wealthy and amassed an army large enough for him to believe that he could invade Greece. He did so in 480 BC with  disastrous results for Persia.

It is true that there were several more Kings after Xerxes, however it is clear that Daniel’s vision was only up until the time that Persia invaded Greece. After that point in time the vision carries on to describe the future “mighty King” of Greece. This King was of course Alexander the Great who led the Greek – Macedonian army to attack the Medo-Persian Empire in 334 BC and who eventually ruled the then known world.

History confirms that Alexander’s empire was indeed “broken up” and his kingdom was indeed divided into four parts. Alexander died at the young age of 32 and as his sons were murdered (“it did not go to his descendants”) the kingdom was divided between his four generals (“parceled out toward the four winds of heaven”). (v 4),

The Southern division, Egypt, ruled by the Ptolemies and the northern division, Syria, ruled by the Seleucids became the most prominent of the four kingdoms. Years later Ptolemy II of Egypt forced Antiochus II of Syria to divorce his wife, Laodice, in order to form an alliance when Ptolemy’s daughter, Berenice, who then married Antiochus. (“The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance.”) (v 6).

Just a few years later however Ptolemy died and Antiochus promptly discarded Berenice and took back Laodice who was so bitter that she then had her husband, Bernice and Berenice’s baby murdered along with all the people that had come with Berenice from Egypt (“she will be handed over, together with her royal escort …”). (v 6).

Ptolemy III, Bernice’s brother, succeeded his late father as the new King of Egypt and to avenge his sister’s murder he successfully invaded Syria and put Laodice to death. (“One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the King of the North …”)  (v 7).

Some years later a new king, Seleucus Callinicus, reigned in Syria and his two sons gathered a huge army to retake their land occupied by the Egyptians. By 219 BC they had successfully regained control of Syrian territory and had in the process gained parts of Israel and Transjordan. Although one of the sons had been killed early in the conflict the other, Antiochus III, reigned supreme. (“His sons will prepare for war …”)  (v 10).

Eventually the king of Egypt retaliated and in 217 BC the two armies met on the battlefield. Egypt won a great victory and Antiochus retreated to lick his wounds. (“Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North …”)  (v 11).

“After several years” the King of Egypt died and was succeeded by his 4 year old son. Antiochus seized his chance and after enlisting support from the Macedonians as well as Egyptian and Jewish rebels (“the violent men among your own people will rebel…”), (v 14), he successfully attacked Egypt.

Antiochus now ruled over Israel (“He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land …”) (v 16), and at first, treated them well.

However a new threat was arising for the Syrians. The Roman Empire was growing and to combat this rising power Antiochus decided that he would be better off if he formed an alliance with the Egyptians rather than fighting them.

Consequently he married off his daughter, Cleopatra, to the ten year old Egyptian king, Ptolemy Epiphanes. (“He will make an alliance with the King of the South. And he will give a daughter in marriage …”) (v 17).

He had an ulterior motive however as the plan was that his daughter would work against her husband to ruin Egypt from within. However Cleopatra sided with her husband rather than her father (“but his plans will not succeed or help him”). (17)

From then on Syria lost battle after battle with Rome as the Roman Empire grew in strength and size. Antiochus retreated to his home land with his power gone.  (“After this he will turn back towards the fortresses of his own country …”) (v 19)

Antiochus was succeeded by his son who was in turn succeeded by Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled Syria from 175 – 164 BC. This king was not the rightful heir to the throne but took it by means of trickery and deceit. He was so evil that he became known as Epimanes (madman). (“He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty.”) (v 21)

Antiochus’ rule was based on flattery and intrigue at which he excelled. He played the princes and nobles of Egypt off against each other thus weakening them from within and did the same with the Jewish High Priests. (“… he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power.”) (v 23)

Hearing rumors that Antiochus had been killed the Jews rebelled against Syrian rule. However Antiochus was alive and well and when he heard of the rebellion he slaughtered many of the Jews, sold many others into slavery and stole the temple treasures. (“… his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it …”) (v 28)

“At the appointed time” Antiochus invaded Egypt again However the Romans sent ships which prevented him from taking Egypt. (“Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him …”) (v 30)

His anger and frustration were now turned in full upon Israel (“He will vent his fury against the holy covenant”) (v 30), and his army occupied the Temple. (“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple …” (v 31)

Antiochus attempted to eradicate the worship of the Jewish God and he erected an altar in the temple upon which he sacrificed pigs to the Greek god, Zeus. (“Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”)  (v  31)

The existing high priest, Menelaus, turned to the service of Zeus so that he could retain his high position. The people were forced to worship Greek gods and those that refused to do so were put to death. (“… but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”) (v 32)

A temple priest, Mattathias Maccabeus, along with his five sons refused to forsake their God and killed Antiochus’ representative and thus started the Maccabean revolt. Several of Mattathias’ sons were killed as were many of their followers.

Verse 33 – 35 tell us that this happened in order for God’s people to be refined that they might better serve him. We are also told that this would continue to happen until “the time of the end” which would come “at the appointed time.”

Many prophecy students believe that verses 2 – 35 record past historic events fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes and history certainly supports this view. However the prophecies beginning in verse 36 and continuing on through chapter 12 are believed to relate to future events which will be fulfilled by The Antichrist in the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Antiochus was in fact a “type” of the Antichrist to come.

 

CHAPTER 11

(Part 2)

  THE Antichrist –

THE KING WHO “WILL do as he pleases”

Please read DANIEL 11: 36 to 45

As we saw in the previous issue, verses 2 to 35 of chapter 11 were fulfilled in past history. However many Bible students believe that verse 36 through to the end of chapter 12 have yet to be fulfilled.

The reasons for this belief are that firstly, the events detailed up to verse 35 can be proven by history to have occurred precisely as foretold. However there are no recorded historic events corresponding to the events beginning with verse 36.

More evidence in favour of this view is that verse 12:1 states that at the time of this king “there will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.”  In Matthew 24:21-22, Jesus Himself indicated that this time of distress would occur during the time period immediately before His return. 

Further support for this view is that the description of the king, beginning with verse 36, corresponds exactly with the description of the Antichrist of the last day’s given in other passages relating to the return of Christ.

Consequently it is believed that the prophecies given in chapter 11:21-35 were fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes whilst those given from verse 36 onwards will be fulfilled by the Antichrist prior to the physical return of Christ.

This king, the Antichrist, “will do as he pleases” which surely means that he will be in a position to do so. To achieve this he will need to be a dictator demanding sole allegiance to himself. Daniel 7:25b tells us that he will even “try to change the set times and the laws.”

He will “exalt himself and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.” Revelation 13: 5 - 7 states that he will “blaspheme God, and slander His name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He will be given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” God will allow him to succeed in his lust for power but only “until the time of wrath is completed.”

Not only will this dictator deny the one true God but he will also show total contempt for any and all gods, both those worshipped by his ancestors and by the gods worshipped by women in particular. Instead he believes himself to be the all powerful God.

Some students interpret the phrase “the gods of his fathers” as referring to the pagan gods worshipped by the Jewish peoples during times when they departed from worshipping the true and only God of Israel, and therefore conclude that the Antichrist will in fact be of Jewish origin. Whilst he may indeed be Jewish, I find it difficult to prove this based upon this one verse.

Verse 38-39 tells us that instead of worshipping God he will worship “a god of fortresses.” Although this is a difficult verse to interpret with any certainty the implication seems to be that he will enjoy making war - something which he will be very successful at doing until the time of the end.

In fact verses 40 – 45 give us prophetic insight into a series of battles that will be waged in the end days. The King of the South (Egypt) will attack the Antichrist at the same time as the King of the North (Syria) brings both their army and Navy against him. (11:40)

Bearing in mind that at this point of time (The Tribulation period) the Antichrist will have a peace treaty in place with Israel. It is therefore a possibility that Egypt and Syria in fact attack Israel and that because of this the Antichrist will see this as an attack upon himself.

He therefore rushes his army to the Middle East invading many countries in the process, conquering Syria and Egypt and it would appear also taking the opportunity to break his covenant with Israel (“The Beautiful Land”) and invade them also. (11:41)

It would appear that in his hurry to retaliate against the invaders, Egypt and Syria, he bypasses Edom, Moab and Ammon, and they are delivered from his hand. (v 41). Although the exact boundaries of Ammon in particular are unclear evidence seems to confirm that in fact all three of these nations’ territories now form part of the nation of Jordan.

Although he takes this opportunity to extend his power over many other, unnamed, countries, it does not all go his way. Whilst no doubt enjoying his victories in the Middle East he hears that nations in the east and north are rising against him and he sets out again to put a stop to this new threat. (v 44). Some students believe that this new threat is the invasion of Israel foretold in Ezekiel 38 -39 when Russia (the land of Magog) and her allies attack from the north, and Iran (ancient Persia) attacks from the east. But there is no reference given in Daniel 11: 44 as to the identity of these nations from the east and north.

This prophecy describing the Antichrist and some of the battles he will be involved with ends with the promise that in the end (at the return of Jesus Christ), he will be stripped of his power and will meet his end alone. (12:45).  Revelation 20:10 also tells us that “he will be cast into the lake of fire where he will be under divine judgment forever.”

 
CHAPTER 12

  GREAT DISTRESS,

AND THE END OF THE AGE

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 12

In chapter 11 part 2 we learnt of the rise of an evil king that other passages in the Bible refer to as The Antichrist and The Beast. We also studied some of the battles that will occur when this king is in a position of power.

Now chapter 12 starts by stating, “At that time.” In as much as the previous prophecy referred to events that have not yet occurred, events that we understand will happen just prior to the return of Jesus Christ, so this reference fairly obviously is referring to that same period of time.

The Jewish people have suffered unbelievably down through the ages, yet Daniel is told that even worse is to come during these last days.

“At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over the sons of your people, will stand up. And there will be a time of distress such as has never happened from the beginning of the nations until then. But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered.”  (Daniel 12:1)

Satan knows that the Saviour of the world is returning at the appointed time, and that His physical return is intrinsically woven around Israel and its people. Therefore if he, Satan, can wipe out this tiny nation and its people, he can forestall the return of Christ!

But God sends the archangel Michael to protect the remnant that will survive. This “distress” will be a terrible time for Israel, as other prophecies in the Bible tell us that two thirds of those in the land of Israel will perish during the last half of the seven year tribulation period. But “those whose names are found written in the Book – will be delivered.” 

Pray for the salvation of Israel and its people.

In verse 4, Daniel is now told to “close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end ...”  I am sure that Daniel could not understand all that he had been shown, but he was being told to preserve the revelations he had been given so that future generations, and in particular the last generation, would be able to read God’s warnings of events in the last days.

Verse 4 concludes with the statement that,

“Many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”

Surely this implies that at that time, knowledge and understanding of the Bible, and especially events leading up to the return of Jesus would be understood – much as they are today! Who can doubt that knowledge has undergone an expediential growth in the last 100 years. From aircraft to rockets visiting the planets, from adding machines to computers, from the finding of medicines and drugs to cure diseases to the implanting of new body organs, the list goes on and on. For some of us the majority of this knowledge increase has occurred in the space of a single lifetime. Surely this prophecy must have almost reached its fulfillment?

I am sure that after being told to seal this information up until the appropriate time, Daniel would have had a question in his mind of just when would this time be. But God beats him to it!  The angels voice the question for him – “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” And then they answer their own question by saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time.” (v 6-7).

At first glance it appears that the angel was asking for a date when these things would occur, but the answer shows that he was in fact asking how long the “distress” would last. The answer was that it would last for a period of 3  years – a time (one year), times (2 years) and half a time (half a year.)

And at the end of that period of time the “power of the holy people will be finally broken.” (v 7).  In the Bible the “holy people” are the Jewish race, so it would seem that this verse is a reference to the fact that it will take all of this terrible time of suffering to break the pride of the Jewish people, at least those that are left, and to bring them to a point of recognizing Jesus as the Son of God and their Saviour.

Daniel, understandably was puzzled. He could not get his mind around what he was being told. I am sure that if he had fully understood it all he would have been heart broken with grief because of what would one day happen to his people. Instead he was told to seal up all that he had been told until the world reached “the time of the end” when it would then be understood. (v. 9-10).

Many Christians believe that we now understand these prophecies. If this is true then we can conclude that the return of Jesus Christ is indeed drawing near!

Verses 11 and 12 are the subject of some debate and conjecture. 

“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!”  (Daniel 12:11-12)

We know from other verses (Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 13) that the “abolishment of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation” occurs at the midpoint of the seven year tribulation period.

This second half of the Tribulation consists of 1,260 days (3 Biblical years of 360 days each). Yet Daniel 12:11-12 refers to 1,290 days and 1,335 days.

The Bible gives us no explanation as to the significance of these two sets of days, but by the very fact that they are recorded means that they are important.

These figures may indicate that there are 75 days beyond the Tribulation (that is, 1260 + 30 + 45 making 1,335), before Messiah’s kingdom begins to function.

Daniel is now told to “go his way” and that he will soon find rest (die). But at the end of the days he will be raised to reap his rewards in Heaven. (v 13).

What a dept we owe this mighty man of God. Through Daniel comes a large part of our knowledge and understanding of events leading up to and surrounding that wonderful event we look forward to so much – the return of Jesus Christ.

Many of the events Daniel was shown have now occurred yet many more have yet to be fulfilled. Are we the generation which will see the final working out of God’s plan culminating in the return of Jesus Christ for His Bride? Oh how I hope and pray that we are!!

As we go to sleep tonight, let us ponder the possibility that we may awake in heaven, having taken part in the Rapture. Or maybe there are still some years to go to the Rapture!  Only God knows - but we are exhorted to be ready and watching for that glorious imminent event!

Friends, let us live each day as though it might be our last, looking forward to our eternal reward, and striving to take as many people with us as possible.

May God bless you, and may we meet one day in heaven.

BOB HINES’ EMAIL AND WEBSITE

Email:   bobhines@paradise.net.nz.  

Website: www.mannaministries.cjb.net

 

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