Welcome again to another broadcast. This is once again Dreamwalker1960. As a reminder you can read the transcripts of all my podcasts at dreamwalker1960.com. Also, you do not need to download podbean if you wish to listen. You can use Listen Notes, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music or Audible, Google Podcasts or Apple Podcasts.
Today we begin a look into the book of Daniel. This was originally published on my blog site in 2016, and once again contains references to the John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries, which I once again recommend.
The main challenge that the book of Daniel encountered. Came from those that believed the book was not first written by Daniel and in turn was not written in 540 to 530 B.C. Many imply the book was written in the 200 B.C. time frame.
Why is this so important? Why must we accept and understand that the Book of Daniel was written by Daniel and was complete before his death which is stated to have occurred in 530 B.C.?
This is the dilemma.
First off you need to understand that this book was not just written for the Jewish people as all the other book of the Old Testament (OT) were originally written for. This book was also written for the Gentiles and signaled the beginning of the rule of the Gentile nations over the world. This is seen in the way Daniel wrote this book. The beginning and the end of the book is written in Hebrew. As all other books of the OT were written, with the exception of Ezra. The middle of the book though is written in Aramaic (2:4 – 7:28). This is the common tongue at the time throughout the Middle East. It also stayed this way well into the time of the Roman Empire. It is still used in some form by many Middle Eastern Christian Churches. This also foreshadows the fact that the entire book, we now call the Bible, would come to be, and designed for all of humanity. That were and are willing to learn and listen to what is within it.
These parts of the Book of Daniel that were written in Aramaic deal specifically with Gentile nations within the Middle East. For the focal point is the nation of Israel, so it deals only with those nations that will have an effect upon it, which included Greece and the Roman Empire. This is something that really needs to be understood. Many in today’s Christian culture reject in some part the Judaism of the OT. They feel that only Christianity is the focal point of the Bible. This is the furthest thing from the truth.
Abraham is the father of the Jewish and as well as the Islamic nations. Jesus, the Son of God, was born to a descendant of David. Both Joseph and Mary have a direct lineage to David, the first king of the united tribes of Israel. Christianity came from Jesus Christ who was raised upon the books of the OT. At the age of twelve His knowledge of these books, which included Daniel. Far exceeded the understanding of the Tanakh by the Pharisees and Sadducees at that time and was noted as such in Luke 2:46-47. So Christianity is the “grandchild” of Abraham. And the Bible teaches that we must honor our fathers and mothers, even to the point of the source of our faith. So any that deny Israel, and the Jewish people, deny God.
This non-focus on Israel as the focal-point has led to many misinterpretations of this book by those that have not taken the time to truly study the Bible and history itself. This is why it is extremely important to study the Bible. Not just read it. As is the case of the book of Daniel, knowing history is extremely important as well. For within the book of Daniel is facts related to not only Israel, but Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Roman Empire. Without knowledge of this history of these nations, misunderstanding the book of Daniel comes into play and so causes the rise of false teachings and teachers, which is predicted by Jesus Christ in the Olivet discourse.
First we need to understand the four Gentile world dominant kingdoms. As mentioned before these are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The last of these is the most complicated to understand, but when taken in context with the statute of four layers you come to a better understanding, and once again see that Israel is the focal point as well.
Babylon is the first major Empire of any true note that affected the Middle Eastern area. Many times this empire changed hands, but the one that dealt with Israel was the Assyrian rule which began in 911 B.C. and ended during the book of Daniel in 619 B.C. This version of the empire at its apex, which is approximately 671 B.C. reached from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean and down into Egypt itself. The boarder cities were Susa, Ecbatana, Musasir, Tushpa, Kanish, Tarsus, and Dumah and reached down to Jeb in Egypt. To give you a more up to date imagery, the eastern boarder would conform, for the most part, to the border between Iraq and Iran. Its northern border went from Van, Turkey to the Lake Tuz just south, southeast of Ankara. The western border starts at the north at this lake down to between Silifke and Adana, along the entire eastern coast of the Mediterranean. It then extended into Egypt just west of Al Hammam down south to Mut and then met the Red Sea near Halaib. Its southern border extended from the Gulf of Aqaba in a near straight line to the Persian Gulf.
Why have I went into so much detail describing this area? Is due to the fact that this area is all the land mass that the book of Daniel deals with. Even though Greece and Rome are not in this area today. At one point during their conquests they held domain over this area, which is why they are a part of the prophecies within the book of Daniel. The land mass within these prophecies never changes. However the effects to each of these empires especially the last does constitute the overall lands, and cultures they have affected, due to their existence within the Gentile world. So to make this clear. The prophecies within the book of Daniel deal exclusively within the lands of the Middle East, that deal with the original boarders of the Babylonian/Assyrian Empire. In today’s terms that means Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait and parts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. So when a direction is mentioned within the prophecies it conforms to an area within these boundaries. In the book of Revelation this area also conforms to the boundaries of the city of New Jerusalem.
In the prophecy of the statue. Four nations are given reference to, but not truly identified. The head however, is shown to be Babylon. Yet the others, even though described, are not given identity. This changes in chapter seven. Here the nations are given identification for those that have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
So let us start to explore this part of the book of Daniel and see if we can start to work our way through the dilemma this book has caused throughout the centuries. So we shall look at the four kingdoms that are first shown in the Statue dream of Daniel chapter two.
Daniel 7:4 – The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind.
At the time of this prophecy the royal palace had statues of winded lions at its gate, which was one of the factors in agreement that this is a representation of at the least Nebuchadnezzar and the most an imagery of Babylon itself. To quote the commentary by John F. Walvoord:
“In spite of the power indicated in this symbolism, Daniel saw the beast become man-like. This is most commonly interpreted as the symbolic representation of Nebuchadnezzar’s experience in chapter 4 when he was humbled before God and made to realize that, even though he was a great ruler, he was only a man. His lion-like character, or royal power, was his only at God’s pleasure. The symbolism is accurate and corresponds to the historical facts.”
So in all scholarly studies of this verse. It is agreed that this is an image of Babylon and the first empire of the Gentiles. Then the next verse should describe the next empire in the chain.
Daniel 7:5 – Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!”
The imagery suggested by this verse shows a strong yet less refined empire that has one side stronger than the other. The Persian side being stronger than the Median part which the former had taken over from the latter before its move against other kingdoms. This is shown in the imagery of defeating and devouring three kingdoms, thus the three ribs. That being Lydia, Babylon and Egypt. The bear is also known to be a more ferocious animal than other animals in the animal kingdom as seen within biblical times.
Daniel 7:6 – Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast.
Starting with the image of a leopard. It is an imagery within the Bible of something not as grand as the lion, but is known for its swiftness. This is amplified by the four wings upon its back. The four heads indicate a division into four parts but of equal power and control. The conquest of Alexander was extremely swift. Upon his death at thirty-two the Greek Empire was given to his four top generals and their power was divided equally.
Daniel 7:7-8 – Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.
One of the main tendencies of the Roman Empire was to remove the cultural from those it dominate. This was accomplished through death, destruction and an insistence of following Roman law. In some areas they tried different tactics, but in the end it resulted in their mainstay as mentioned above. This is clearly seen in 70 A.D. when the last temple was destroyed and the Israeli nation scattered throughout the Roman Empire and then the world.
A great debate still continues into the description as to who or what the little horn is that replaces three of the ten horns. Has it happened or will it happen? At this time it is still open for debate. What is made clear is that it is not the little horn of chapter eight.
That little horn has been identified as Antiochus Epiphanes. He is called this due to his representation of the little horn still to come, that being the antichrist. What is known for sure is that Antiochus IV Epiphanes did abolish the worship of God by the Jewish people and he did defile the temple in the 160s B.C. by establishing the worship of Zeus within the Temple and the sacrifice of pigs upon the alter. Antiochus Epiphanes is described by many to be an image of the antichrist that is yet to come during the time of the Tribulation.
In recent times another foreshadowing of the coming antichrist appeared. That being the Obama presidency of the United States. This image of the little horn came to power and brought devastation to this Christian nation, by making it possible to fulfill these words of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 24:10-12 – And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.
Again a fore image of the true antichrist yet to appear.
As you ponder what you just heard. We will end this week’s study of the Daniel dilemma.