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PROPHECY

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF DANIEL

DANIEL

According to the Westminster Bible Dictionary:

The celebrated Jewish prophet at the Babylonian court. He sprang from the princely family of the tribe of Judah (Daniel 1:3-7). When a youth, he was carried off with other captives by Nebuchadnezzar, in the 3rd or, reckoning accession year as 1st year, the 4th year of Jehoiakim, 605 B.C. (Daniel 1:1; Jer. 25:1).

At Babylon the boy was selected with other young captives of good birth and parts to be trained for the state service. He and three companions obtained leave from the master of the eunuchs, under whose charge they were, to substitute simple foods for the kings meat assigned them by the king which were likely to be contrary to the Mosaic Law and defiled by heathen rites (Dan. 1:8).

In Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year, 603 B.C., doubtless toward its close (compare vs. 5 and 18), Daniel interpreted the king's dream of the great image (See Dan. 2:1-45). This success led to the prophet's being made ruler over the province of Babylon, and head over its wise men (See Dan. 2:46-49). He afterward interpreted the vision which revealed the approaching madness of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. chapter 4). About this time Ezekiel cited Daniel as a notable example of righteousness and wisdom (See Ezekiel 14:14; 28:3).

In the 1st year of Belshazzar Daniel himself had a vision and saw, under the figure of animals, 4 successive empires reaching to the time when the ancient of days would sit, and one like a son of man came with the clouds of heaven to set up a spiritual kingdom which would endure eternally (Compare Daniel 7 to Revelation 19:11).

The scene of the vision of the 3rd year of Belshazzar was at Shushan (See Daniel 8:2), the Elamite capital, and residence of Cyrus, king of Persia. The prophet himself was probably at Babylon (for a similar case, compare Ezekiel 8:1-3). In this vision he saw a ram trampled by a goat, and from the head of the latter, when its power was in turn broken, 4 horns appearing, from one of which a little horn sprang and wrought proudly, especially toward the glorious land and its sanctuary; whereby were symbolized the Persian and Macedonian empires, the division of the latter into 4 kingdoms, the rise of a fierce king and his desecration of the Sanctuary (See Daniel chapter 8).

On the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Darious the Mede appointed 120 satraps over the new kingdom, with 3 presidents over them, Daniel being one of the 3 (See Daniel 6:1,2). Jealousy of Daniel on account of his ability and eminence led to a plot against him, and he was cast into the den of lions (See Daniel 6:3-23).

In the 1st year of Darius, Daniel concluded from the statements of Jeremiah (See Jeremiah 25:11,12; 29:10) that the Captivity was approaching its close (See Daniel 9:1,2). He humbled himself, confessed the sins of the nation and prayed. In consequence there was revealed to him the prophecy of the 70 weeks (See Daniel 9:24).

In the 3rd year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he had a vision of the final conflict between the powers of the world and the kingdom of God (See Daniel chapters 10-12). Westminister Dictionary.

Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic (or Chaldee), while the latter portion, Daniel 8:1-12:13, is written in Hebrew. This is to teach us that the HISTORIC portion is in the Gentile language, because it is concerned with the "times of the Gentiles", and with Gentile supremacy in relation to Israel; while the PROPHETIC portion is in Hebrew (the language of Israel), because it is concerned with "the time of the end", and with the events which will lead up to the time when God will "restore again the kingdom to Israel" (See Acts 1:6)

THE TWO LANGUAGES OF DANIEL

Aaramaic Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic (or Chaldee), while the latter portion, Daniel 8:1-12:13, is written in Hebrew. This is to teach us that the HISTORIC portion is in the Gentile language, because it is concerned with the "times of the Gentiles", and with Gentile supremacy in relation to Israel.
Hebrew The PROPHETIC portion is in Hebrew (the language of Israel), because it is concerned with "the time of the end", and with the events which will lead up to the time when God will "restore again the kingdom to Israel" (See Acts 1:6

THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL

1:1-21 THE CAPTIVITY OF JERUSALEM Historical Events Connected with its Beginning.
2:1-49 THE DREAM OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR. The Beginning and Duration of Gentile Dominion
3:1-30 DANIEL'S COMPANIONS The "Fiery Furnace". Angelic Deliverance
4:1-37 THE FIRST KING OF BABYLON Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the "Great Tree"
Revealing his Temporary Deposition
5:1-31 THE LAST KING OF BABYLON Nebuchadnezzar's Vision of the "Hand"
Revealing his Final Doom.
6:1-28 DANIEL HIMSELF The "Den of Lions". Angelic Deliverance.
7:1-8:27 THE DREAM AND VISION OF DANIEL. The End of Gentile Dominion
9:1-12:13 THE DESOLATIONS OF JERUSALEM. Prophetic announcements connected with their end.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM

Scripture Reference   Read Daniel Chapters 2,7,8 and Revelation 13.
    1. Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
    2. Daniel's vision of the four beasts.
    3. Daniel's vision of the ram and the he-goat.
    4. The rise of the Antichrist to power over ten kingdoms.

The Dream

Head of Gold
Daniel 2:38
The lion with eagle's wings
Daniel 7:4 & Daniel 4:16,33,34
Brest and arms of silver
Daniel 2:39
A bear with three ribs
Daniel 7:5 7 Daniel 8:3
Belly and thighs of brass
Daniel 2:39
A leopard with four wings
Daniel 7:6 & Daniel 8:5
Legs of iron
Daniel 2:40
A non-descriptive beast
Daniel 7:7
Feet of iron and clay mixed
Daniel 2:41-43
A ten horn beast
Daniel 7:7,8 & Revelation 13:1-4

Here in the seventh chapter of Daniel we have the beginning of the vision in symbols. The interpretation is given in Daniel 7:17-27. The vision concerns the same kingdoms as symbolized by the great image found in Daniel 2, with some additional facts. In Daniel chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar is shown the Gentile world kingdoms from his day to the 2nd advent of Jesus Christ (if you believe in a futurist outlook). They are pictured there, from man's standpoint, as a great and beautiful metallic image. In Daniel chapter 7 God show's Daniel the same kingdoms from God's standpoint as ferocious wild beasts (Dan. 7:17). Notice the devaluation of the metal from Gold to part iron and clay.

THE HEAD OF GOLD

"You are that head of gold." Daniel 2:38

This was the first monarchy, begun by Nimrod about 2233 B.C, and ending with the death of Belshazzar, in 538 B.C., after having lasted nearly seventeen hundred years. In the time of Nebuchadnezzar it extended over Chaldea, Assyria, Arabia, Syria, and Palestine. He, Nebuchadnezzar, was THE HEAD OF GOLD.

THE BREASTS AND ARMS OF SILVER

"After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours." Daniel 2:39

The Medo-persian Empire; which properly began under Darius the Mede, allowing him to be the same with Cyaxares, son of Astyages, and uncle to Cyrus the Great, son of Cambyses. He first fought under his uncle Cyaxares; defeated Neriglissar, king of Assyrians, and Cradsus, king of the Lydians; and by the capture of Babylon, in 538 B.C. terminated the Chaldean Empire. On the death of his father Cambyses, and his uncle Cyaxares in 536 B.C., he became sole governor of the Medes and Persians, and thus established a potent Empire on the ruins of that of the Chaldeans. He, Darius the ruler of the Medes and Persians, was THE BREASTS AND ARMS OF SILVER.

THE BELLY AND THIGHS OF BRASS

"Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth" Daniel 2:39

The Macedonian or Greek Empire, founded by Alexander the Great. He subdued Greece, penetrated into Asia, took Tyre, reduced Egypt, overthrew Darius Codomanus at Arbela, on Oct. 2, 331 B.C., and thus terminated the Persian monarchy. He crossed the Caucasus, subdued Hyrcania, and penetrated India as far as the Ganges; and having conquered all the countries that lay between the Adriatic sea and this river, the Ganges, he died in 323 B.C.; and after his death his Empire became divided among his generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus (the four wings of the Leopard of Daniel 7). He, Alexander the Great, was THE BELLY AND THIGHS OF BRASS.

THE LEGS OF IRON

"Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay." Dan. 2:40,

Some think that this means, the KINGDOM OF THE LAGIDAE, in Egypt; and the KINGDOM OF THE SELEUCIDAE, in Syria. And secondly, the Roman Empire, which was properly composed of them.

LEG ONE Ptolemy Lagus, one of Alexander's Generals, began the new Kingdom of Egypt in 312 B.C., which was continued through a long race of sovereigns, till about 30 B.C.; when Octavius Caesar took Alexandria, having in the preceding year defeated Anthony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium, and so Egypt became a Roman province. Thus ended the Kingdom of the Lagidae, after it had lasted two hundred and eighty-two years.
LEG TWO Seleucus Nicator, another of Alexander's Generals, began the new Kingdom of Syria about 312 B.C., which continued through a long race of sovereigns, till about 65 B.C., when Pompey dethroned Antiochus Asiaticus, and Syria became a Roman province after it had lasted two hundred and forty seven years.

NOTE: UP TO THIS POINT BOTH THE FUTUREST AND HISTORIC VIEWS AGREE.

FEET PARTLY OF IRON AND PARTLY OF BAKED CLAY

"As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay."

THE HISTORICAL VIEW

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS
1. The First Persecution Under Nero, A.D. 67
2. The Second Persecution Under Domitian, A.D. 81
3. The Third Persecution Under Trajan, A.D. 108
4. The Fourth Persecution Under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, A.D. 162
5. The Fifth Persecution Commencing with Severus, A.D. 192
6. The Sixth Persecution Under Maximus, A.D. 235
7. The Seventh Persecution Under Decius A.D. 249
8. The Eighth Persecution Under Valerian, A.D. 257
9. The Ninth Persecution Under Aurelian, A.D. 274
10. The Tenth Persecution Under Diocletian A.D. 303

To the early Christians a ruler called Constantine, who saw a great brightness in heaven, appearing in the similitude of a cross, giving this inscription, In hoc vince, that is, "In this overcome." and who in his sleep, Christ appeared to him with the sign of the same cross which he had seen before, bidding him to make the figuration thereof, and to carry it in his wars before him , and so should he have the victory.

Constantine so established the peace of the Church that for the space of a thousand years we read of no set persecution against the Christians, unto the time of John Wickliffe.

So to the early church Constantine was the stone that struck the Image's feet and filled all the earth. Fox's Book of Martyrs

THE FUTURIST VIEW

It would seem best to view this Roman empire as a continuous development from its form at the time of the first coming of Christ until its final form at the second coming of Christ. It would seem, then, the problem is not so much the revival of the empire, as the recasting of the continuing sphere of power into its final ten-toed form. A example would be the United States of Europe or the revived Roman Empire.

Concerning the end of the Gentile world power, Daniel reveals several things in this prophecy in Daniel 7.

(1) As in the former prophecy, it is revealed that the final form of Gentile power is to exist in a union of ten kings and their kingdoms (Dan. 7:7).   The singular thing about this fourth beast was not its strength, nor its ferocity, nor the fact that it destroyed all the other beasts that preceded, but that it had ten horns. (See Dan. 2:41)
(2) These horns would be the final form of the empire. The ten horns appear on the beast which is alive....The beast does not die and come to life again in its ten horns. Rather, these horns grow out of the live beast. They must, therefore, represent a second phase in its history, and not a  revived form of the beast's existence.

 

So The Ten Toes Represent:

A. The ten Roman Rulers who Persecuted the Church (Historical)
B. The ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire was afterwards divided.
C. Yet Future fulfillment. (Futuristic)

THE KEY TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF SYMBOLIC PASSAGES

1. Winds In symbolic passages denote WARS, STRIFE, and JUDGMENTS from God (Daniel 7:1-3; 8:7-13 with Jeremiah 25:32,33;  Revelation 7:1-3)
2. Seas In symbolic passages represent peoples (Daniel 7:3; Revelation 13:1; 17:1,15).
3. Beasts In symbolic passages represent kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23,24;  Daniel 8:20-23; Revelation 17:8-11) and their rulers (Revelation 11:7; 13:18; 17:8).

NOTE; YOU WILL NEED THIS KEY FOR YOUR NEXT LESSON

In St. John 5:39 Jesus say's, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

The reason why God gave the dreams and interpretations in Daniel was to show to the nation of Israel the time that their Messiah should come and to suffer for their sins and also the sins of the whole world.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    HEAD    Daniel 2:32

    Note the five parts:

        1. The Head    
        2. The Breast and Arms
        3. The Belly and the Thighs
        4. The Legs
        5. The Feet.

These five are preserved distinet throughout. Compare vv. 34,35, and 38-44, and 45.

    IRON, THE CLAY, &c.     Daniel 1:35

    Note the order differently given to distinguish the five (not the four), answering to
    the five parts of the image in v. 32, and the five kingdoms:

vv. 32,33 v. 35 v. 45
gold iron iron
silver clay brass
brass brass clay
iron silver silver
iron & clay gold gold

    A KINGDOM    Daniel 2:37

The Old Testament is not designed to be a compendium of "ancient history". It is the history of Jehovah's People, Israel; and other nations are referred to only as, and in so far as, they come into connection with Israel. Babylon was the most ancient of kingdoms (Gen. 10:10). Compare Deut. 32:8. Nebuchadnezzar was not the first king; but he was the "head" or beginning of Gentile dominion in the earth when Israel had been "removed" (according to Jer. 15:4; 24:9; 29:18). These successive kingdoms are reckoned only as they obtained possession of Jerusalem. They existed before that; and each, in turn, was absorbed in the one that succeeded.

    INFERIOR    Daniel 2:39

As silver is inferior to gold, in value and in specific gravity so the second kingdom was inferior to the first. The successive kingdoms are marked by evolution (or rather, devolution). In the first (Babylon) the king possessed absolute power ("whom he would he slew" 5:19); the second (Medo-Persian) was a government by law which was superior to the king (6:1,14). The third (Greece) again was "inferior", as being less despotic.

    THE FOURTH    Daniel 2:40

Rome (Luke 2 and 3). Observe that it does not say there were "four, and no more," as alleged; but "the fourth". An ordinal number, not cardinal. The Chald. is rebiaya' =fourth. Not the Chald. word 'arba' , which = four. The fifth is revealed in vv. 41-43. The power which was to succeed Rome in the possession of Jerusalem was to be the Mohammedan power, which was still future when our Lord referred to it in Luke 21:24; but the Lord does not name it, because the condition of Acts 3:18-26 could not be anticipated, assumed, or forstalled.

    AND WHEREAS    Daniel 2:41

The fifth power is now to be described (the "feet and toes"). It came into possession of Jerusalem in A.D. 636 (Rome having held the city for 666 years: from the battle of Actium, 31 B.C. - A.D. 636. Its character as described in v. 41 is exact; and, as represented by the "feet", Jerusalem has indeed been "trodden down" (Luke 21:24) as was never done by any of the other four powers.

Forward to the Next Section:  Daniel's Vision of the Four Beasts

Bibliography

 


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