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In these times, we find ourselves on the final borders of the prophecies of the Bible for this Dispensation except for the Climax of the Ages, very little remains of that which the Great Prophets prophesied concerning Jesus Himself and his Apostles. All the highways of Prophecy which led us throughout the ages over mountains and through valleys are at the verge of merging together on the brink of Eternity. The moment of the very last events has dawned upon us.
For us living in these times, it is of the utmost importance to examine these things to know exactly where we stand. The Psalmist said, ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path’ - (Ps. 119:105). In his Second Letter the Apostle Peter wrote:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy, unto which ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shined in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” - (2 Peter 1:19).
The Prophecies of the Old Testament, especially those of Daniel predicted the exact time when the First Coming of Christ would occur. In like manner both the Old and the New Testaments warn us of His Second Coming. Through the Prophet Daniel God even predicted the exact year in which Jesus would be baptized and would start with his ‘ministry’ under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The exact time of his crucifixion was also fore told. If those people in that time had adhered to God’s Word, they would have expected the Messiah, and they would have been prepared to receive Him.
John The Baptist Announced With Great Concern
“ - - - - Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” - (Matthew 3:2).
He knew that the hour had come when Christ would appear. Likewise, our Lord Jesus, after John had baptised Him in the Jordan, immediately began to preach and say:
“- - - - The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the gospel” - (Mark 1:15).
In that time there was a small minority who indeed looked intensely for the fulfilment of the prophecies and were ready for their fulfilment, but the greater majority were not watchful; they did not expect Him and neither did they receive the Christ. It will be exactly the same in these last days when
Christ returns for the Second time. Scripture declares that this Great Event will appear as a snare and as a thief in the night. For the nations of the world, it will come as an immense surprise. But there will be those who will not be taken by surprise; they will be ready and alert. Jesus said: ‘There shall be signs’ - (Luke 21:25). He said that when the fig tree and all the trees will start to blossom, you must know that summer is nigh, likewise also the Second Coming, when you see these things happen. We are standing at the threshold of the greatest and majestic of events that will change the course of the world for the better until the end of the ages and for evermore.
The book of Daniel casts a great flood of light upon the unveiling of these immense changes. This book should therefore be studied together with the Book of Revelation. I quote from the General Index to my book, The Book of Revelation: “The books of Daniel and Revelation should be read together; the book of Revelation is the obvious successor to Daniel just as the New Testament succeeds the Old Testament, the one completes the other”. Concerning the past 2520 years, more or less, we can say that Daniel attends to the first third of this period in detail, and the other two thirds in outline only. Revelation puts more emphasis on these last two-thirds.
The Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory text says the following: ‘Purpose and meaning of the Book: Daniel lives in a very serious crisis time of the reign of God on earth. The theocracy in the form of an independent Israel under a Davidic king ended with Zedekiah, and the big question is: Will the powers of the world triumph over the reign of God? The book of Daniel indicates that the powers of the world are destined to fail and that the eventual triumph belongs to the Messiah and his kingdom, nevertheless, the people of God will go through times of great tribulation.
The book of Daniel highlights the period from the first destruction of Jerusalem, 587 BC, until the first coming of Christ, although certain prophecies were not totally fulfilled in the first coming; whilst the revelation of John in symbolic language, draws the great lines for the period of the second destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD) up until the Second Coming of Christ.
Daniel is specifically the Prophet of “The times of the Gentiles” - (Luke 21:24). His vision extends across the entire course of World-government (such a familiar term again in our day and not without the greatest significance) of the ‘Gentiles’ up until its disastrous chaos, and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom on earth.
These ‘times of the Gentiles’ are important. Without going into too much detail at this stage, we can say that these “Times of the Gentiles” are a period of ‘seven times’ which spans across 2520 years, and coincides more or less with the time of punishment for Israel, of which she was fore-warned if she disobeyed God.
Read it in Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28.
The Bible says “seven times”. What is remarkable and very important is that these ‘seven times’ of Israel’s punishment always coincide more or less with the “Times of the Gentiles’, or the times when these nations had supremacy and Israel under their oppression.
In Prophetic Language one day represents one year.
In Ezekiel 4:6 we read:
6 “- - - - - I have appointed thee each day for a year.
In Daniel 7:8 he speaks of ‘a little horn’ in which ‘were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things’.
Daniel said he would have dominion “ - until a time and times and the dividing of time - (Dan. 7:25) in other words, for 3½ years.
In Revelation 11:2, 11; Rev. 13:5 which speaks prophetically of this same period: they are ‘forty and two months’, ‘three days and a half’ and ‘one thousand two hundred and threescore days - - - -” - (Rev. 11:3).
The ‘three days and a half’ are thus 1260 years and the seven times are 2520 years.
Therefore these times can be used as a measuring rod to ascertain certain important events in the Book of Daniel and the entire Bible.
In Luke 21:24 the Lord Jesus said:
24 “- - - and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’.
In the year 1917, exactly 2520 years after Nebuchadnezzar had sieged Jerusalem for the first time, in the year 603 BC, the Allied forces of the first World War under the command of General Allenby, again liberated Jerusalem from the Gentiles.
In this study we will see how world peace had ended with World War 1. This in preparation of the Last Battle, The Battle of Armageddon, which will necessitate the intervention of God from heaven by the Second Coming of Christ. It is also in this Period from 1914/18 up until Armageddon, in which the “Times of the Gentiles”, that began with Nebuchadnezzar, experience
their final dismantling. These Political, Economical and Religious systems with which this ‘Babylonian System’ has kept the true Israel and the world in slavery will be totally dismantled in this interim period. The forces which God would use to carry out this dismantling, and then also finish them off at the end, will be Communism under the leadership of Gog, Magog, and Tubal, the Gog of the land of Magog; none other than Russia – and her allies, as we see them before our eyes at this present time (14 Feb. 1978).
There is of course immense difference in opinion concerning the question whether Daniel wrote the Book. We won’t go into that. The fact alone that so many of Daniel’s Prophecies and his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had already been literally fulfilled, is proof enough of the authenticity of the claim that Daniel wrote it - (Read Deut. 18:21,22). Furthermore, Daniel is also affirmed by the Bible itself. By the Prophet Ezekiel, God affirms that a man such as Daniel had lived:
Ezekiel 14:14, 20;
14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
In Ezekiel 28:3 the prophet addresses the arrogant Prince of Tyre:
3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee.
Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, and lived in Babylon whilst Ezekiel prophesied over the House of Israel. Ezekiel was familiar with the wisdom and work of Daniel, and thus he spoke of him from personal experience. But our greatest proof of the authenticity of Daniel is the testimony of our Lord Jesus himself.
In Matthew 24:15 He says:
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :).
Jesus confirmed that Daniel had prophesied those words, and not an imaginary person.
According to the Explanatory Bible (Afrikaans); this book is written in Hebrew and Aramaic (a Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew and gradually substituted as the spoken language of the day).
The Hebrew portions are:- 1:1-2:4a and 8:1; 12:13;
The Aramaic 2:4b – 7:28.
Although there has been a lot of speculation in order to explain the bilingualism, no clarity on the matter has been found. It remains an enigma. Compare the comment in the paragraph on the contents and introduction of the book.
When we read the Book of Daniel, we must keep in mind that Christ is the centre of all the decrees of God. He is the heart of every thing. His glory and majesty and victory is the focus of all God’s dealings with this earth. Second to Him we find God’s ‘Chosen Nation Israel’, all Twelve the Tribes. The Bible also speaks of other nations, but only as far as they are connected to Israel. Thus here in Daniel we will see the rising up and then again the disappearance of the heathen nations, as well as systems in enmity with God. But again, only as far as Israel is involved. God makes an end to those nations and systems, but not to Israel. Here it must be strongly emphasized, not even all Israel, but only a remnant. There will be a great sifting at the end of this dispensation. The disobedient and profane in Israel will perish together with the heathen nations.
The Book of Daniel begins in Babylon, and ends with an indication of the New Jerusalem. It starts in time, and ends on the borders of eternity. Daniel and John in the Book of Revelation unite in their warnings that this present time is the time of the end, and that there are those who are living at this moment and who will certainly take part in the Rapture to meet the Coming Christ in the air.
Daniel’s Personal History.
He and his friends qualify for service to the Kings court and Daniel becomes the head of the guild of wise men.
Verse 1 and 2: ‘In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.’
2 Kings 24:1-2; 2 Chron. 36:5-7; Jer. 25:1; Jer. 52:12-30.
Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, reigned in Jerusalem, and it was in the third year of his reign, that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came against Jerusalem and sieged the city. But he could not finish his campaign until the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign, because he first had to fight against the king of Egypt. He defeated him in the battle of Carchemish in the year 605 BC.
The heathen kings considered it a great honour when they brought the holy vessels, meant for worshipping the Living God of Israel, into the temples of their gods. Thus it was obvious that these holy vessels of the house of God were one of the first claims Nebuchadnezzar made. Some years prior to that, Hezekiah had already showed these precious vessels to messengers from Babylon.
In Isaiah 39, Isaiah warned that the day would come that Babylon would come and take them by force. This was fulfilled by them being partially carried off and then in total in two later phases of captivity which was completed in the years 597 and 586 BC. Nebuchadnezzar’s inebriated and brawling grandson Belshazzar would later desecrate these holy vessels by using them in one of his drunken parties in a gesture of blatant scorn towards the Living God from whose temple they were removed - see Dan. 5:1-4.
May this be a lesson to us, not to allow our bodies which are made to be a temple of the Holy Spirit - (1 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20), to fall into the hands of Satan, who will certainly humiliate us and thereby dishonour God.
In Jer. 25:9 Nebuchadnezzar is called the servant of God. He was God’s instrument to punish the House of Judah for her sins. In like manner God is allowing Soviet Russia and her allies to rise up against the Christian West, as a rod in his hand to chasten us for sinning against Him.
Read: Ezekiel 38:16-17; Ezekiel 19:23-24.
‘And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand.’ - Dan. 1:2.
This is an indication that God is still in control of the affairs of this world, in spite of the fact that Adam had given it over into the hand of Satan. The first transference of Israel’s sovereignty into the hands of the Chaldeans, ‘that bitter and hasty nation’ - (Hab.1:6), starts here, which coincides with the beginning of the ‘time of the Gentiles’ to which our Lord Jesus referred in Luke 21:24.
It is of the utmost importance that we should see the hand of God in the rise and fall of nations. Daniel recognised this, and boldly addressed the first head of a line of heathen supremacy that would follow. He acknowledged God’s sovereignty - (Dan. 2:37-38) in the presence of the first head of this line of Heathen Supremacy.
The Lord GOD revealed Himself to Israel in a way that He did not reveal Himself to the world. The Lord established Himself in Israel forever. He will keep his hand upon Israel forever. But it is not so with the heathen empires. To them He is ‘the God of Heaven’ - (Dan. 2:37). This is not only because of a special favour to Israel, but as the result of her peculiar birth and preparation; and throughout the millennia in more and lesser ways having walked in the conscious presence of God. But when we look at the heathen nations and their birth (here the fact of the seed comes to the fore again) and their way of life, which they preferred, with no awareness of the ‘Presence’ of God, nor of the light his ‘Presence’ could bring. Then we can understand why the prophets and God fearing men in Israel always endeavour to bring Israel closer to God, but those under pagan influence, strive to draw them away from the ‘Presence’ of God. This is so clearly seen when comparing the warmth and endearment of the Bible, to the coldness of the secular writings of those who do not know God.
3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and
whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
What we read in verse 3 has already been foretold by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 39:7 and 2 Kings 20:18 as a punishment upon the House of Judah. But that which was meant as punishment, God had changed into a blessing. And this is exactly how wonderful God works in the life of Israel and in the lives of individuals. Now, because we have sinned, God has to punish us as well, nevertheless when it is over, we must realise that although it was very hard while it lasted, it worked together for our good. The punishment that was foretold for the House of Judah came to fulfilment when Daniel and his companions were taken to serve a heathen King, while they were from the royal seed of Israel. But through that punishment, a great blessing came, which resulted in the wonderful Book of Daniel, a real source of wisdom and revelation from God. It is all so true that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God’ - (Rom. 8:28). The same happened to Joseph.
Daniel and his companions had to be educated in the script and language of the Chaldeans, in the wisdom, and knowledge of the science, of this totally strange nation. Remember how Moses was also educated in the wisdom and knowledge of Egypt.
Babylon had great knowledge, science and learning in those days. Modern excavations are proof of the cultural standard, the refinement of civilization and learning Babylon had reached. In Isaiah 47:10, the Prophet Isaiah refers to this learning when he pronounces the judgement of God upon Babylon. In Daniel’s time, Babylon was the centre of learning and knowledge of the world, just as Egypt was in the time of Moses. May this be a lesson to us as well, that although we might have all the knowledge and learning of the world and we do not know the true and only God, and his Son whom He sent - (see John 17:3) we will be lost and lead astray by our own wisdom and knowledge.
It is very significant that sorcery and witchcraft went hand in hand with all the knowledge in Babylon, exactly the same as in Egypt in the time of Moses. In my book, “The Book of Revelation”, I explained how this knowledge of sorcery and occultist powers gradually moved from the City of Babylon to Rome, and in a subtle way became so interwoven into the Babylonian System which has ensnared the world in its political, economic, and religious phases. And now in our time, at the wake of the final destruction of this entire system, knowledge and science have advanced to the peak of openly defying God; even sorcery and the occult are becoming very prominent and sought after. In truly understanding the narration of the
Bible, we see it is Satan against God, the Antichrist opposing Christ, each one with their different representatives on earth. This will unfold more and more to us as we read the Book of Daniel.
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
This food which was presented on the king’s table, was of the highest quality, but was also sacrificed to idols. Food plays a very important role in the lives of people, and when used correctly, there is nothing wrong with it. But in the lives of the heathen their everyday food went hand in hand along with their religion. We have a very good example of this in the Epistles of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians.
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 8.
Among these foods there would be many unclean things which God forbade in his laws. Daniel was very young when he arrived in Babylon, approximately 17 yrs old, just as Joseph when he was sold as a slave by his brothers and as David when he conquered Goliath. Daniel was in a foreign country, separated from his parents, but not from God. On the contrary, now he would cleave to the Word more than ever before, because it would be a lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his path - (Ps. 119:105).
And wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? “by taking heed thereto according to thy word” - (Ps. 119:9).
He would have remembered that God had said in:
44 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
In Leviticus 11 we will find the entire list of clean and unclean animals, and also the pig. Daniel remembered this in the foreign country in which he found himself, and intended to keep these laws; although he was far away from the temple, and away from his parents and priest (minister or pastor) where they couldn’t see him, he knew God could see him. God was a reality to him, as to the men of God who preceded him, who could declare before friend or foe.
1 Kings 17:1;
1 “ - - - - As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand - - -”.
This was Daniel’s secret.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
In this changing of their names, we again see the rebellion of Satan against God: their Hebrew names all contained the Name of God in them, but their heathen names each had a name of some or other Babylonian god incorporated.
That was common custom in those times that the conqueror would change the names of the conquered, thereby portraying his rulership and power over the conquered. One of the biggest examples of this, with the most far reaching consequences, was the changing of the name of the Ten Tribes when they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. This is the reason that they became ‘lost’ in the annals of secular history, directly after this captivity.
You will find a complete exposition of this in our series:
“The ‘Lost’ Ten Tribes of Israel”.
The element ‘el’ in Daniel and Mishael, is one of the Names of the true God, and the element ‘ya’ in Hananiah and Azariah is a shortened version of Yahweh which is also written as Jehova, another of the Names of God.
Daniel means ‘God is my Judge’, and his new heathen name Belteshazzar the treasurer or treasure of Baal.
Hananiah means “Ya or Yaw”, is merciful or mercifully given by Ya, and his new heathen name Shadrach means messenger of light of the sun-god.
Mishael - who is like God? His new heathen name Meshach means - who is like Aku, the moon-god.
Azariah means “ya”, God is my help. His name is changed to Abed-nego which means servant or worshipper of Nego.
In the changing of their names to heathen names, the name of God which is contained in each of their names, and which means the protection of and communion with the God of Israel, was taken away from them. Their new names brought each of them in connection with the false gods of Babylon, and was the first step in the direction of educating Daniel and his friends in
the heathen religion and learnedness of the ancient Babylon. In this way these young men were placed in a position of their greatest trial and temptation right from the start.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.’
It is important to notice that Daniel and his friends stood on their principles right from the start. Often when people are confronted with error and corruption and false teaching, they are inclined to compromise at first, and then cannot get back to the correct position. It is of the utmost importance to take the correct standpoint right from the beginning. Daniel and his friends did this and God honoured them for it. He will do the same with everyone who obeys Him and gives Him first place in their lives.
10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
It was Daniel and his friends’ decisiveness to keep themselves to the precepts of God’s Law that made them stand out above all the other young boys. Christians, who think that we don’t need to keep God’s food laws today, because it isn’t applicable anymore, have not taken sufficient notice of God’s reaction to the stand that Daniel and his friends took.
18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
So, we can see that it’s truly worth serving God diligently. He never changes and what He does for the one He will do for the other. He is no respecter of persons. All these things are written down for us for instruction, for us on whom the end of the ages has come. Daniel received greater learning and wisdom from the LORD than any Chaldean could have taught him.
The Babylonian astrologists and soothsayers controlled the lives of their people through their dreams and omens of which were mostly false. A lot of it was directly from Satan and controlled by evil spirits. Take heed of these things, for in these times when Babylon draws closer to the final point of swaying before the kingdom of God, all these things are surfacing again, even as a foaming pot of which the sediment of the ages of evil have been stirred up. Therefore, let us be careful not to compromise with this Babylonian World System on any level.
Read 1 John 2:15-17.
Through instability we could easily exchange the wisdom and inspiration of the Holy Spirit for a false spirit and false wisdom, without even noticing it. God gave Daniel something far better than Babylon could give. He gave to him true and real dreams and true wisdom and knowledge. God still speaks in dreams and visions. May we become so filled with the Holy Spirit that we can truly distinguish between that which is from God and that which is from Satan. Let us pray for the true gift of discernment of Spirits.
21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.’
These are very simple words, shortly said but with great significance as all the words in the Bible: ‘And Daniel was there until’. He remained throughout the entire term of office of the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar. He often rebuked the king for his arrogance and pride. He lived through the invasion of Babylon and experienced the fall of Belshazzar. He lived throughout the time of Darius the Mede, in spite of all the intrigues and plots of his enemies. His faith was often tested to the limit.
Daniel remained standing and survived the tyranny of the Babylonian and Persian kings. He outlived great and important historical events in his lifetime. There was the 70 years of captivity of the House of Judah, as prophesied by the Prophet Elijah and all the punishments over the whole Israel for their sins. At the commencement of the Book we find him to be a young and faithful young man with definite principals, in the middle of the Book, in the ninth Chapter he is an old man who laments the sins of his people, and passionately prays for the restoration of Jerusalem. At the end of the Book he is still holding “on and up” until the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia who made a decree for the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.
Let us follow Daniel’s example of faithfulness until the end, and after finishing all, to keep on standing.