Category Archives: Daniel

Daniel 12

This reading is Daniel 12. It is a fairly short chapter so I pasted it below the commentary as well.

There are many references to angels in the Bible. They are typically described as doing one of three things: Worshiping God, bringing messages, or protecting people (plus the occasional slaying). I’m not sure precisely how angels work in our spiritual realm, other than that they are real and have probably protected us more times than we think.

Verse 2 is a direct teaching of the resurrection of the body and that we will all face a final judgment from God. Verse 10 notes that “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.” It is interesting that we “will be” these things, not that we accomplish them ourselves.

I can relate to Daniel when he says, “I heard, but I did not understand.”

The Book of Daniel closes out powerfully with Michael the archangel comforting with the knowledge of God’s sovereignty. Like Daniel, we will most likely “rest” (i.e., die) then arise at the resurrection.

This concludes our study of Daniel! The next reading is an overview of Mark.

Daniel 12
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Daniel 11

This reading is Daniel 11.

There are some general descriptions in Daniel 11 about war and leaders that could have applied to many situations, but there are many specific prophecies that accurately predicted the course of various countries over a couple hundred years. The close of the chapter addresses some events that took place before Christ but also some predictions of the future antichrist.

If you are a history buff you recognize some of these kingdoms, battles and wars listed in this chapter.

Antiochus Epiphanes was the ruler described in verses 31-32 and preceding. He set up “the abomination that causes desolation,” which included erecting an altar to Zeus at the temple in Jerusalem, and had a pig sacrificed on the altar. This was an extreme insult to the Jewish people.

Verses 33-35 are reminders of the challenges Christians may face. We don’t experience these as much in the U.S., but many fellow believers around the world do.

For those of you more well versed in prophecy than me, please feel free to chime in!

The next reading is Daniel 12.

For those of you who want to get ahead, the next study will be the Gospel of Mark.

Daniel 10

This reading is Daniel 10.

The messenger isn’t identified by name, but he appears to be Gabriel, the angel who has already appeared to Daniel. Some think it may be Christ, but that would mean Daniel’s vision was of Christ and that a messenger came as well. For Christ would not have been hindered for 21 days as the messenger was (v. 13).

This passage shows how real, serious and active spiritual warfare is. It reminds me of Ephesians 6:10-12:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Daniel was obviously exhausted, anguished and fearful. The angel calms his fears and sets up the prophecies to be given in chapters 11 & 12.

The next reading is Daniel 11.

Daniel 9

This reading is Daniel 9.

The Israelites were captive in Babylon because they had repeatedly rejected the warnings that God had given them through various prophets. God had given his usual Old Testament message: Obey him and receive blessings or disobey and receive consequences. Daniel knew that God had promised to return the Israelites to Jerusalem after 70 years as Jeremiah had written:

Jeremiah 25:11-12 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever.”

Daniel prayed wearing “sackcloth and ashes,” as those were signs of grief and/or repentance. Note that Daniel’s passionate prayer for mercy was answered as soon as he began to pray (v. 23). Feel the passion in v. 19: “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Regarding the prophecy of the seventy ‘sevens,’ it is typically understood that each item represented one year. Therefore, this would have been 490 years. Some believe that the first 69 ‘sevens’ represent the time from Daniel to Christ’s crucifixion and that the final ‘seven’ is part of the great tribulation that is still to come. Therefore, it would predict Jesus’ first and second coming.

The next reading is Daniel 10.

Daniel 8

This reading is Daniel 8.

The prophecies in Daniel 8 occur two years after the visions from chapter 7. Again, the vision is described in the first part of the chapter then explained in the second. The prophecies are absolutely stunning in their clarity and accuracy. Stop and think about how Daniel was able to predict 200 years ahead of time Alexander the Great’s reign, death and the fact that his kingdom would be split into four pieces:

Daniel 8:21-22 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.

Greece was not a world power when this prediction was made. Who can predict what will happen in world events next week, let alone to identify something that specific that far ahead of time? Only the one true God.

The king referred to in verses 9-12 and 23-26 is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was a truly evil ruler. He took over, looted and desecrated the temple in Israel (“the beautiful land”). He was also a foreshadowing of the Antichrist (more on him later).

The next reading is Daniel 9.

Daniel 7

This reading is Daniel 7.

These events actually takes place before chapter 5. The first half of the book was history and the second half covers visions Daniel received from God. The typical pattern is that Daniel has an unusual vision, then it is explained to him. I am not strong on symbolism or prophecy, but I will rely heavy on my Life Application Study Bible notes and do my best to offer some thoughts on these passages. Please add your comments if you have additional insights (or corrections!).

The lion represents Babylon, which was in power at the beginning of the Book of Daniel. The bear represents the Medo-Persian empire, which overtook Babylon. Greece is represented by the leopard, which represents how quickly Alexander the Great conquered much of the world in only four years. The fourth beast appears to be a mix of the Roman empire and an empire yet to come. If you are a history buff you will really enjoy this section.

The “son of man” in v. 14 is Jesus. This was his favorite nickname for himself.

The phrase “time, times and half a time” in v. 25 appears multiples times in Daniel and Revelation. It is generally thought to represent 3.5 years (time = 1, times = 2, half a times = .5), though perhaps it just means that the time the saints (believers) will suffer will be limited.

While there is some mystery to the end times prophecy, we can rest assured that v. 27 will come to pass: “Then the sovereignty power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.”

I appreciate Daniel’s very human reaction in v. 28: “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

The following section is from our Daniel overview, but I thought it was worth repeating:

The most amazing thing about Daniel is the accuracy of the prophecies. Even most liberal scholars agree that Daniel accurately describes the reigns and activities of several empires covering several hundred years – they just think Daniel was written after the fact and is pretending to be prophecy. I think the evidence is on the side of the early writing and that all the critics issues have been well addressed. You can read more about the dating of Daniel here (Warning: it is a little dry).

Jesus obviously viewed Daniel as the real author, as shown in Matthew 24:15-16 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel . . .” That is a pretty good trump card regarding the dating debate, assuming you are talking to a Christian. It is encouraging that God shows us through his Word that He knows everything that will happen. Psychics can’t predict what will happen next week, yet God predicted the specific course of many countries covering hundreds of years with 100% accuracy. This is one of the proofs showing the reliability of the Bible. No other Holy Book contains confirmed prophecies like this. There are also some very specific prophecies about Jesus.

The next reading is Daniel 8.

Daniel 6

This reading is Daniel 6.

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This passage is the famous story of Daniel in the lion’s den. This is one of those stories that seem to be told mostly to kids, so much so that you might start to think it is an allegory. But it was real. Read it carefully.

I couldn’t resist putting a couple lion photos in from my post-mission trip safaris in Kenya the last two summers. I think the one lion is yawning, but you can pretend he is roaring if you like. As Daniel’s friends found out in v. 24, you do not want to be in a den full of these things.

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Daniel continues to prove his excellence as a leader and administrator under King Darius. He was even asked to be over the whole kingdom. This made his peers quite jealous, so they conspire to have him killed.

Daniel had such integrity that his enemies said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

In the Medo-Persian empire, once a law was made even the king could not change it (also see Esther 8:8 for an example of this). Darius’ pride led him to approve the law the government officials proposed.

We are instructed to obey our governments, except when the law of God conflicts with the law of man. In this case, Daniel would not stop praying.

Darius regretted his decision to ban prayer but couldn’t change it. The king made every effort to save Daniel and didn’t eat or sleep that night. He knew enough about Daniel’s God to realize his power. I like Daniel 6:16:

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

Those who tried to have Daniel killed were then killed themselves, and King Darius exalts the one true God. When we live as Christians outside the world’s system, especially when under trials or temptations, people will notice the difference.

Not everyone who stands up for God like Daniel did will prosper in this lifetime. But we can rest assured that God will judge and reward perfectly.

The next reading is Daniel 7.

Daniel 5

This reading is Daniel 5.

This passage addresses the son (or grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar. The king showed contempt for the Israelites by using the gold and silver goblets that had been plundered from the temple in Jerusalem. Then a most unusual thing happened:

Daniel 5:4-6 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.

Once again Daniel is called on to interpret something. The gifts represented royalty (the purple robe), wealth (the gold chain) and power (being made the third highest ruler in the kingdom). Daniel recounts where Nebuchadnezzar went wrong and what the consequences were, then highlights Belshazzar’s offenses.

Daniel 5:22-23 “But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.

Belshazzar lives up to his part of the agreement and gives Daniel what he promised. Belshazzar loses the kingdom that night. Note that the fall of Babylon was also prophesied in Isaiah 47.

Trivia fact: Two famous sayings come this passage: “The writing on the wall” and “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

The next reading is Daniel 6.

Daniel 4

This reading is Daniel 4.

King Nebuchadnezzar praises God in the beginning of the chapter, but as it unfolds it is clear that he did not worship and trust in him as the one true God. There is a distinction between profession (saying you believe) and possession (truly believing).

One would think that Daniel would consider the king to be an enemy, but Daniel was clearly upset at the interpretation of the dream and what it meant for the king.

The king was the most important man on the planet, but he held no power compared to God. Everyone should keep this passage in mind when criticizing God or acting as if the universe would run better if we were in charge:

Daniel 4:34-35 . . .At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

Kings would often practice “Russian history,” which means to modify historical records to leave out the embarrassing parts. Notably, the Bible does not do this. Even the most revered figures such as King David have many embarrassing failures documented. Still, one can infer from Babylonian historical records that for a period of time Nebuchadnezzar did not rule.

The next reading is Daniel 5.

Daniel 3

This reading is Daniel 3.

Near the end of chapter two, King Nebuchadnezzar said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” We don’t know how much time elapsed between chapters two and three, but Nebuchadnezzar obviously had a change of heart somewhere in between. He apparently liked the statue concept and decided that his should be gold from head to toe.

Shardrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow down before the statue and this enrages the king (We’re not sure where Daniel was . . . presumably out of town, as it is hard to imagine him bowing to the statue). They make a stunning witness to the king in verses 16-18:

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

What faith! They could have come up with many excuses to worship the statue, but they held firm. Are we bold enough not to worship the world’s idols, especially when it costs us money, prestige or safety? Think of how our society worships gold in the metaphorical sense – money, possessions and status. I don’t think we can stand up to such pressures with our human wills, but we can pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen us for these challenges.

Who was the fourth person in the furnace? It could have been an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ or perhaps and an angel.

The next reading is Daniel 4.

Daniel 2

This reading is Daniel 2.

Nebuchadnezzar was onto something when he challenged the psychics to not only interpret his dream but to first tell him what his dream was! This should be a standard challenge to all of the world’s psychics.

Daniel exhibited very strong faith in the face of the death threats from this obviously temperamental king. Daniel spoke to the commander of the king’s guard “with wisdom and with tact” and trusted that God would provide. Then he was quick to give credit to God for the visions he received. This is a beautiful passage:

Daniel 2:19-23 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Each part of the statue in the dream had special meaning. Trivia fact: The message about the statue is where the saying “feet of clay” originated.

  • The head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar.
  • The silver part represented the Medo-Persian empire that conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.
  • The bronze parts were Greece and Macedonia under Alexander the Great, who conquered the Medo-Persians around 334-330 B.C.
  • The iron part is the Roman Empire, which conquered the Greeks in 63 B.C.
  • The iron and clay represent the break up of the Roman Empire.

Gotta love my Life Application Study Bible footnotes! They are invaluable for information like this. More prophecies on these empires will occur later in Daniel. It is stunning how the Bible writes history hundreds of years in advance.

The next reading is Daniel 3.

Daniel 1

This reading is Daniel 1.

The book begins in roughly 605 B.C. when the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took over Jerusalem. God had warned Israel through his prophets that He would give them into the hands of their enemies if they did not repent, but they didn’t obey. When the Babylonians took over a country it was a common practice to take the best and brightest people back to Babylon. Daniel was roughly 16 at the time, and he was one of those chosen.

Daniel 1:6-7 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

Daniel’s character immediately shines through when in v. 8 he “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine . . .” He and his friends took a huge risk by doing this, but God provided for them and the King found them to be “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the whole kingdom.” God blessed their resolve throughout their time in Babylon. This reminds me of the story of Joseph in Genesis, where God helps take him from being a prisoner to eventually running the country of Egypt.

Daniel 1:17-18 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel and his friends weren’t belligerent with the officials. They acclimated to the culture where it didn’t violate God’s laws.

Thought for the day: The Bible teaches that Christians are aliens and strangers in this world. Do we stand out like Daniel and his friends, or do we completely blend into the foreign culture of this world?

The next reading is Daniel 2.

Daniel overview

This reading is Daniel.

Just scan the headings in the Book of Daniel and read any bits that stick out to you.

Daniel was written by . . . Daniel. There are twelve chapters. The first six cover Daniel’s life and the last six cover visions he was given and the prophecies (predictions) they contained. The last half is apocalyptic literature, which means an unveiling or a revelation. Some other books with apocalyptic literature include Revelation, Zechariah, and parts of Ezekiel.

Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians when King Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem’s wisest men and most beautiful women back to Babylon. He was probably 16 or so at the time. Even though he was in a strange land with constant challenges to his faith, he remained steadfast in his loyalty to God.

Daniel contains some stories you may have heard many times (Daniel in the Lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace). Chapter five contains the origin of the saying “the handwriting is on the wall.” It also contains many things you have never heard of if reading it for the first time.

The most amazing thing about Daniel is the accuracy of the prophecies. Even most liberal scholars agree that Daniel accurately describes the reigns and activities of several empires covering several hundred years – they just think Daniel was written after the fact and is pretending to be prophecy. I think the evidence is on the side of the early writing and that all the critics issues have been well addressed. You can read more about the dating of Daniel here (Warning: it is a little dry).

Jesus obviously viewed Daniel as the real author, as shown in Matthew 24:15-16 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel . . .” That is a pretty good trump card regarding the dating debate, assuming you are talking to a Christian. It is encouraging that God shows us through his Word that He knows everything that will happen. Psychics can’t predict what will happen next week, yet God predicted the specific course of many countries covering hundreds of years with 100% accuracy. This is one of the proofs showing the reliability of the Bible. No other Holy Book contains confirmed prophecies like this. There are also some very specific prophecies about Jesus.

Hope you enjoy the study!

The next reading is Daniel 1.