Daniel Overview: Godless Kingdoms and God’s Kingdom

9th Century Prophets 8th Century Prophets 7th Century Prophets Exilic Prophets Post-exilic Prophets
Obadiah
Joel
Amos
Hosea
Jonah
Isaiah
Micah
Nahum
Zephaniah
Habakkuk
Jeremiah/Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

Introduction

1. Name

The book is named after its principal character, Daniel, whose name may be translated “God is my Judge.”

2. Theme

God’s kingdom will conquer and outlast all godless kingdoms.

3. Purpose

To assure the exiles and early returnees to the land that God was in control of history and that his prophet Daniel spoke the truth about prolonged troubles before the final stage of God’s kingdom.[footnote]Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 1374.[/footnote]

4. Key verse

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase (Dan.4:37).

5. Key truths

• Daniel and his friends were loyal to God during their time in exile.
• Daniel could be trusted to tell the truth because he never compromised with his captors.
• God is in absolute control over all of history.
• Israel’s exile was extended until four kingdoms ruled over God’s people because of their continuing sin.
• Trials would come in Israel’s future, but the Anointed One, the Christ, would come and bring salvation.[footnote]Ibid., 1374.[/footnote]

 

I. Author

1. Defence of Danielic authorship

The traditional view is that the book was written by its principal character, Daniel. He was its principal author (Dan.9:1; 10:2). The fact that Daniel speaks in the first person in the second half of the book (for instance, Dan.7:2, 4, 6, 28; 8:1, 15; 9:2; 10:2) provides the internal evidence for Danielic authorship.

However, most critics regard Daniel as a work of historical fiction written about 167 BC to encourage opposition against the oppression of Antiochus Epiphanes. The critics’ case is set out below together with a refutation of their arguments and a defence of the traditional evangelical view

Although the Septuagint, Josephus and the Syriac version placed Daniel among the prophets, Jewish scholars (100 AD) placed Daniel in the “Writings” Kethubhim rather than among the prophets. There it has remained. Critics use this to argue that the book must have been later than all the prophets. However, some of the Writings were composed long before the prophets (Job, Song of Solomon, etc).

The Masoretes may have been influenced in this reassignment by the consideration that Daniel was not appointed or ordained as a prophet, but remained a civil servant under the prevailing government throughout his entire career. Second, a large percentage of his writings does not bear the character of prophecy, but rather of history (Dan. 1–6 ), such as does not appear in any of the books of the canonical prophets. Little of that which Daniel wrote is couched in the form of a message from God to His people relayed through the mouth of His spokesman. Rather, the predominating element consists of prophetic visions granted personally to the author and interpreted to him by angels….It was probably because of the mixed character of this book, partaking partly of historical narratives and partly of prophetic vision, that the later Jewish scribes relegated it to the third or miscellaneous category in the canon.[footnote]G L Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

Certainly the book of Daniel has affinity with the literary prophets: while no immediate national crisis occasions the visions and predictions and no conditions are specified within which judgment may be avoided, there is the concern shared by all the Hebrew prophets with the long-range destiny of God’s people and the same stress on the individual Jew’s responsibility to conduct himself or herself appropriately during times.[footnote]L Ryken and T Longman III (Editors), The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1993), 325.[/footnote]

b. Jesus ben Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), writing in 170 BC, refers to all the other prophets but not to Daniel. However, neither does he mention other important figures like Job or Ezra.

c. Alleged historical inaccuracies are also used to argue that the author lived much later than the events he describes. However, many of these “inaccuracies” can be explained by different methods of counting among the Jews and among the Babylonians.

d. Critics say that Nabonidus was the last Chaldean king and say the author of Daniel got his facts wrong by saying it was King Belshazzar (Dan. 5). However, there is evidence that Belshazzar was made co-regent by Nabonidus over Babylonia, a fact confirmed when Belshazzar offered Daniel the third (not the second) position in the kingdom (Dan.5:16,29). Critics usually then point out that Belshazzar was Nadonidus’ son, whereas Daniel says he was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. However, the term son often referred to a successor in the same office whether or not there was a blood relationship.

e. “Darius the Mede” is alleged to be evidence of historical confusion. Critics say that the author confused him with Darius the son of Hystaspes, the third successor after King Cyrus, and who was actually a Persian not a Mede. However, there is evidence that Daniel was not referring to this Darius (Darius the Great) but to one of Cyrus’ sub-kings who were permitted by him to rule certain areas and given the throne title of Darius the Mede. John Whitcomb has argued that the “Darius” of Daniel was a Mede called Gubaru who was made governor of Babylon and given the honorary title of “Darius” which acts in a similar way to Pharaoh or Ceasar (see “Darius the Mede” below).

f. The presence of Persian words is supposed to prove a later date. However, Daniel served for some years under Persian rule and would have been familiar with Persian terminology in his civil service. If Daniel was composed late we would expect to see some of the Greek political vocabulary used as the liberal critics tell us that this had been used for 160 years by the time of Daniel’s writing. However, no single Greek political term can be found.

g. The discovery of the Elephantine Papyri (which date from the fifth and fourth centuries BC) showed a close relationship with biblical Aramaic and forced scholars to backdate at least some of Daniel.

h. The fact that Daniel 2-7 were written in Aramaic does not prove that Hebrew had lapsed and, therefore, the only option was common Aramaic.

If Ezra can be accepted as an authentic document from the middle of the fifth century, when so many of its chapters were largely composed in Aramaic, it is hard to see why the six Aramaic chapters of Daniel must be dated two centuries later than that. It should be carefully observed that in the Babylon of the late sixth century, in which Daniel purportedly lived, the predominant language spoken by the heterogeneous population of this metropolis was Aramaic. It is therefore not surprising that an inhabitant of that city should have resorted to Aramaic in composing a portion of his memoirs.[footnote]G L Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

i. Supporters of a late date emphasise the alleged evolution of Israelite religion and claim that Daniel contains elements which closely resemble the apocryphal literature of the inter-testamental period. The four elements they point to are the prominence of angels, the stress upon the last judgment, the resurrection of the dead, and the establishment of the final kingdom of God upon earth with the Messiah as the supreme ruler of the world.

Doubtless it is possible to make out some kind of progression in the development of these doctrines during the history of God’s revelation to Israel, but it is a mistake to suppose that Daniel contains anything radically new in any of the four areas under dispute. Moreover, these precise doctrines were most appropriate for Israel’s comfort and encouragement during the time of captivity and on the threshold of their return to the promised land.[footnote]G L Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

j. Many of the late date champions cannot conceive of predictive prophecy, especially the detailed prophecies of Daniel. The real issue is whether God can predict the future with accuracy.

j. The critics theory requires the separation of the Medo-Persian empire into two empires in their interpretation of chapter 2. However, author of Daniel clearly regarded this Empire as one. In Dan. 6, Darius is said to be bound by “the law of the Medes and Persians.” Also, Daniel’s translation of the inscription is “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

k. In the following passages of the New Testament, there is at least an indirect approval of the genuineness of the book of Daniel, Matt.10:23; 16:27ff.; 19:28; 24:15; 24:30; 25:31; 26:64.

l. The author of Daniel shows an accurate knowledge of sixth-century events and places.

The author gives evidence of having a more accurate knowledge of Neo-Babylonian and early Achaemenid Persian history than any known historian since the 6th century B.C.[footnote]John C. Whitcomb, “Daniel, Book of” in New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed; Wheaton, IL: InterVarsity, 1982), p. 263.[/footnote]

2. Personal History

Daniel, a young member of the Jewish nobility, was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in the first wave of deportations in 605 BC. In Babylon he was trained in royal service, eventually becoming a trusted advisor to Nebuchadnezzar. Although he was not so prominent after Nebuchadnezzar died, he rose to prominence again under the Persian King Darius. He was able to interpret dreams and was given symbolic and figurative revelations of God’s future plans.

 

II. Date

Daniel’s ministry began under Babylonian rule and continued after Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BC. Daniel lived and ministered until at least the 3rd year of Cyrus (536 BC; Dan.10:1). The book was probably written by the end of that decade. Judging from the eastern type of Aramaic and the use of the Babylonian calendar system, the book was most likely written in Babylonia.
 

III. Historical Analysis

1. Chronology

Date Event
609 Josiah dies at Megiddo and Judah is dominated by Neco of Egypt
605 Babylonians defeat Egypt, Judah is dominated by Babylon and Daniel & co taken in captivity (Dan.1:1)
604 Nebuchadnezzar dreams and Daniel interprets. (Dan.2:1)
598/7 Nebuchadnezzar moves against rebellious Jerusalem and more are taken in captivity
587-6 Final fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar and final transfer of people to captivity
562 Death of Nebuchadnezzar
556 Nabonidus/Belshazzar is king of Babylon.
553 In first year of Belshazzar Daniel has a dream. (Dan.7:1)
539 Belshazzar’s banquet
539 Fall of Babylon and Cyrus the Persian takes control (Dan.6:28)
536 In Darius’ third year Daniel receives revelation. (Dan.10:1)

2. The importance of history

From the very beginning of the book we are confronted with historical narrative and claims. We cannot deny the historicity of Daniel and still get spiritual benefit from it.

We can allow that the spiritual merits of the book can, to some extent, be ascertained by those who deny its historical basis, but a book that reputes to be of a historical nature and seeks to teach spiritual realities based in its historical premises cannot be put on an equal footing with the book that lays no such claim to history. History and spiritual reality are like body and soul, to use a metaphor inappropriate to the Old Testament, but one that we understand. On the one hand, it is no great concession to hypercritical scholarship to acknowledge the nature of the historical problems related to Daniel and his book. Nor is it, on the other hand, any infringement of scholarly integrity to seek to establish the historical nature of the material.[footnote]C H Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

3. Philosophy of History

Rushdoony wrote a book entitled, Thy Kingdom Come.[footnote]1 Rousas J. Rushdoony, Thy Kingdom Come (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn, 1970), pp. 1–10.[/footnote] In a chapter entitled “The Offence of Daniel” he explained why Daniel is “one of the most explosive books in all human history” as it sets forth a view of history which is completely opposite to modern views.

First, Daniel underscores the Biblical concept of God. Daniel’s God is totally self-sufficient, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is willing and able infallibly to reveal future events. He is far above anything man is or could ever hope to be. Second, Daniel sets forth unvarnished predictive prophecy—blunt, unmistakable, confident and specific. The God of Daniel uses history and is not used by it. Third, Daniel unapologetically narrates miraculous events. Fourth, Daniel asserts the total government of God. Modern man prefers the anarchy of chance and a god who can be manipulated. Fifth, Daniel reveals the fundamental discrimination which exists within the human race between the saved and the lost.[footnote]J E Smith, The Major Prophets (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

4. Darius the Mede

Darius was a Mede who received the kingdom aged 62 (Dan.5:31). There is no record of his name in extra-biblical sources. There have been a number of proposed explanations of this.

a. A fictitious person

Some critics have argued that Darius the Mede was a conflation of Darius I–Hystaspes (521–486 B.C.) and Cyrus the Great (539–530 B.C.). This argument is based upon Daniel’s placing of Darius’ reign before Cyrus and so inverting their reigns. However, any Jewish author writing in the second century would have had Ezra’s history of the kings to guide him and so would hardly have made such an elementary mistake. The statements in Daniel 5:31 that “Darius the Mede received the kingdom” and in Daniel 9:1 that “Darius . . . was made king indicate that he was made king by his overlord, Cyrus.

b. Cyrus the Persian

Some scholars, like Wiseman have proposed that Cyrus was himself Darius the Mede. This is based upon Daniel 6:28, where Wiseman interprets the Hebrew conjunction vav (“and”) as appositional, thus “Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Also, the Babylonians may well have called Cyrus a Mede because he incorporated the Medes into his empire around 550 B.C. However, Daniel calls Darius the son of Ahasuerus (Dan.9:1), whereas the historical sources reveal that Cyrus was the son of Cambyses.

c. Gubaru

We have mentioned this possibility above under “Authorship.” Gubaru was appointed governor of Babylon by Cyrus. It is thought that this person was given the honorary name of Darius the Mede. Nowhere is the equation of Darius and Gubaru explicitly presented. However, the function of the two is certainly, according to Whitcomb, parallel.

d. Conclusion

The Bible says Darius existed. Perhaps further archaeological excavations will solve this puzzle to the critics satisfaction, much like the discovery of the cuneiform documents confirmed that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’ son.

 

IV. Literary Analysis

1. Comparative Outlines

Baldwin Collins Pratt Murray

Stories
(Dan.1:1-6:28)

Visions
(Dan.7:1-12:13

Tales
(Dan.1:1-6:28)

Visions
(Dan.7:1-12:13)

Stories of Daniel
(Dan.1:1-6:28)

Visions of Daniel
(Dan.7:1-12:13)

Faithful living in evil times
(Dan.1-6)

Forward looking in evil times
(Dan.7-12)

a. Faithful living in evil times (Dan.1:1-6:28)

Events in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (Dan.1:1-4:37)

Daniel and friends vindicated (Dan.1:1-21)

Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream (Dan.2:1-49)

Daniel and friends delivered from the fire (Dan.3:1-30)

Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream (Dan.4:1-37)

Events in later reigns (Dan.5:1-6:28)

Judgment on Belshazzar (Dan.5:1-31)

Deliverance from the den of lions (Dan.6:1-28)

This first section contains six narratives dealing with the experiences of Daniel and his companions under Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius the Mede. In each chapter the Gentile king confesses that the God of the Hebrews is truly God. The stories show how God’s people should react to oppression by faithful living.

Each chapter of the historical section opens with a specific problem that finds resolution as the narrative progresses. Often the problem threatens the faith or life of Daniel or his friends. But always, the problem is resolved through the faithfulness of a servant of God faced with chal-lenging circumstances. In chapters 1, 3, and 6, the religious faithfulness of Daniel or his friends is directly attacked. In each case, loyalty to God and faith in his holy character bring deliverance. In chapters 2, 4, and 5, Babylonian kings receive mysterious messages from God that they are un-able to understand (two are dreams and one is an esoteric inscription). In all three cases, the problem is resolved because God grants to Daniel the interpretation of the divine communication.[footnote]B Arnold and B Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 430.[/footnote]

b. Forward looking in evil times (Dan.7:1-12:13)

Visions in Babylonian period (Dan.7:1-8:27)

Vision of four beasts (Dan.7:1-28)

Vision of the ram and the goat (Dan.8:1-27)

Visions during Persian period (Dan.9:1-12:13)

Vision of the seventy weeks (Dan.9:1-27)

Vision of future of God’s people (Dan.10:1-12:13)

The second section contains a dream and three visions which Daniel received under Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus. These chapters offer a broad perspective on human history from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the end of the world. The focus, however, is on events which would occur during the last centuries of the Old Covenant age. God revealed to Daniel that four major kingdoms would control Israel and persecute the Israelites. These chapters prepared an exiled Israel for the long delay of restoration and the trials to come under foreign powers. They also encouraged the people of God not to give up hope that God’s kingdom would come at the end of these trials.

2. Original Meaning

There are two parts to the original meaning of this book, corresponding to the two parts of the book. Chapters 1-6 have the message: “Be faithful in evil times.” Chapters 7-12 have the message: “Be forward looking in evil times.”

J E Smith has highlighted four adjectives that sum up the original purpose of the author.

First, the author had a polemic purpose. He intended to place in sharp contrast the omnipotence of God and the impotence of the deities of Babylon. Second, the book has a didactic purpose. It teaches the valuable truth that God frustrates the designs of the mightiest monarchs but defends the servants who remain faithful to him. On a third level, the author intended his book to be consolatory . Believers through the centuries have taken comfort in Daniel’s revelation that the course of history is determined by a divine plan. In God’s own time the trials of the saints end. One day oppressors will be destroyed, and the saints shall inherit the kingdom. Finally, the book is obviously predictive . Here the Holy Spirit intends through Daniel to outline the course of world history as it relates to the people of God.[footnote]J E Smith, The Major Prophets (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

3. Language

Daniel used two languages – Hebrew and Aramaic. The book begins and concludes in Hebrew (Dan.1:1-2:4a; 8:1-12:13). The middle portion is in Aramaic, the international language of the sixth century. Aramaic was used in those portions of the book which deal with the future of Gentile empires while Hebrew was used where the text is more relevant to the Israelites.

4. Genre

Parts of Daniel are narrative (Dan.1-6) and parts are apocalyptic in form (Dan.7-12). Apocalyptic sections appear in Isaiah 24-27, Ezekiel 38-39 and Zechariah 9-14. Apocalypse may be translated “revelation,” and that is what it is. It is an unveiling of the secret purposes of God, especially as they concern world events leading up to the end. Though it is difficult to define, certain characteristics do recur:

Some of them are: the presence of heavenly messengers or interpreters; cosmic disturbances designed to bring about the kingdom of God; a definite pattern in history that is aimed toward the consummation of God’s reign over the world; transmission of heavenly secrets about the future to human beings; use of highly symbolic language; and visions and dreams as media of communication. That Daniel qualifies for several of those characteristics is evident even to the casual reader.[footnote]C H Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

Apocalyptic literature is the product of an oppressed society or an oppressed class within society. Daniel reflects the period of the Babylonian exile and the following domination by the Persians. It prophetically anticipates the threat of Hellenism, particularly the ruthless behavior of Antiochus Epiphanes. The book of Revelation, the prime New Testament example of apocalyptic, was composed by John who was exiled on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9).
Oppression explains in large measure the grotesque pictures of evil and the anguished cries for salvation that we encounter in apocalyptic literature. Hope is in the distant future. The major function of apocalyptic literature in general and of Daniel in particular is to comfort the oppressed. A (overly) neat distinction between prophets and apocalypticists is this: a prophet afflicts the comforted; the apocalyptic seer comforts the afflicted. One of the most commonly recurring themes in apocalyptic literature is the picture of God as a warrior. Apocalyptic prophets anticipate the violent intervention of God to result in their deliverance and the judgment of their oppressors.[footnote]R Dillard and T Longman III, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 343.[/footnote]

 

V. Thematic Analysis

1. God is Sovereign

This theme is found in both parts of the book. In the first half of the book, we see God intervening in the historical circumstances of the characters and delivering them from danger and even using their distress to fur-ther their own careers and power. The stories are a tract directed to the people of God on how to act in times of oppression. Daniel is the prototypical wise man who knows how to handle himself in front of potentially hostile kings.

The second half of the book of Daniel also addresses the people of God as they live under oppression and even persecution. However, here God’s deliverance is more a future hope than a historical reality. Even in the first half of the book, Daniel and his three friends realize that their salvation and vindication may not take place immediately (Dan.3:16-18). However the empires will come and go, but God’s kingdom will be established forever.

The basic theme of this work is the overruling sovereignty of the one true God, who condemns and destroys the rebellious world power and faithfully delivers His covenant people according to their steadfast faith in Him.[footnote]G L Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

The book of Daniel, written as the Exile was fading into the historical past, was the greatest prophetic declaration of the sovereignty of God. It was no longer a theoretical matter, but rather it had been manifested in the great events of history. First, the Lord brought Judah to his knees at the hands of the Babylonians, chosen and used as His instrument of judgment. Second, the Babylonians had been wrestled to the ground by the sovereign work of God in history, and the new age, predicted by Jeremiah, was dawning.[footnote]C H Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

2. The Pride of man

The pride of man confronts God’s sovereignty in the Daniel narratives. In such confrontations, there can only be one winner. Pride, arrogance and egotism are consistently and graphically condemned. In chapters 1-6 the problems are all caused by obstinate and stubborn human arrogance. In chapters 7-12 this same aggressive arrogance is the enemy of God and His people. In both parts of the book God acts or promises to act to shame and disgrace the proud and arrogant. Proud leaders of nations and empires are humbled and rendered helpless in reality and prophecy.

3. Miracles

Miracles are not evenly spread throughout the Bible. They come in clusters for specific purposes. This was the third of four Biblical periods of approximately forty years each in which God powerfully intervened in human affairs. Each time God was demonstrating His superiority to the idols of men. First, at the time of the Exodus, then at the time of Elijah, here in Daniel’s experience and then finally at the events surrounding coming of the Lord Jesus.

Miracles were needed in Daniel’s time because the destruction of the Temple and deportation of the Jews to Babylon had shaken their faith in God. So another mighty outpouring of the miraculous was in order. Four young Jews were given supernatural health despite only eating vegetables. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were preserved in the fiery furnace by the presence of a heavenly being. A detached hand wrote a message of doom on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace during a drunken party. The mouths of lions closed so as not to touch Daniel. Daniel predicted the future course of world kingdoms.

4. Visions

The visions predict times when the Jews would be persecuted beyond anything they had hitherto experienced. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175-164 BC tried to eradicate the Jewish religion. Daniel’s book was written to prepare the Jews for this time and to encourage them through that persecution by holding out the prospect of Christ’s everlasting kingdom.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
(Dan.2:1-49)
Vision of four beasts
(Dan.7:1-28)
Emphasis on 4th
Vision of four beasts
(Dan.7:1-28)
Emphasis on 4th
Identifications
Key passage: Dan.8:20-21
Head of gold (Dan.2:32,27,28) Lion (Dan.7:4,17) Babylon (Dan.2:37-38)
626-539 BC
Chest and arms of silver
(Dan.2:32,39)
Bear
(Dan.7:5,17)
Ram
(Dan.8:3,20)
Medo-Persian (Dan.8:20)
539-330 BC
Belly and thighs of bronze
(Dan.2:32,39)
Leopard
(Dan.7:6,17)
Goat
(Dan.8:5, 21-22)
Greek (Dan.8:21)
330-63 BC
Legs of iron, feet of mixed iron and clay
(Dan.2:33, 40-43)
Terrifying and frightening beast
(Dan.7:7-8,23-25)
Rome
63BC to 70 AD
Rock and Mountain Saints of Most High,
Ancient of Days,
Son of Man
(Dan.7:9,10,13,1418,22,25,27)
Prince of Princes
(Dan.8:25)
Kingdom of God

Whatever may be the detailed interpretation, the overall message is clear: evil powers as symbolized by wild beasts will be destroyed and another kingdom represented by human beings (the Son of Man) will overcome and endure forever.

5. Seventy Sevens (Dan. 9)

The 70 years of exile prophesied in Jer.25:11-12 were fulfilled in 539/8. In Daniel 9 it is 539/8 and Daniel is saying: “Is it not about time for the restoration? We have not fully repented, but still, please restore Israel for your sake (Dan.9:1-19).

Gabriel’s response is that Israel’s punishment has been extended seven times more than Jeremiah warned (Dan.9:24a). 70 times 7 = 490 years. This was a Mosaic covenantal punishment. Recalcitrance meant “seven times more” (Lev.26:18, 21, 23, 27, 28). This is approximate and symbolic and takes us roughly to the time of Christ who fulfilled these prophecies in the seventieth seven. The prince of Daniel 9:26 is Titus, destroyer of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD; and the “he” of Daniel 9:27 is Christ, whose death removed the need for further sacrifices under the old covenant.

6. Resurrection

The theme of life from the dead is threaded through the book. The three men are restored to life from the fiery furnace. Daniel is restored to life from the lion’s den. Finally the clearest old Testament prophecy of the resurrection is found in the last chapter (Dan.12:1-3).

 

VI. New Testament Analysis

1. Son of man (Dan.7:13,14)

The “Son of man” in Daniel was a great Davidic king raised up by God to represent Him on earth. This was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of Man (Mat.9:6; 20:23; 12:8). He will come again with clouds (Dan.7:13-14). The Lord Jesus identified himself with this prophecy (Mat.26:63-64).

He appears in theophany with the three men in the fiery furnace (Dan.3:24-25).

Similarities between the prophet Daniel’s visitor by the River Tigris and the apostle John’s visitor on the Isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:12-16) would suggest that this is an appearance of the Lord in human form, in other words, a Christophany. Here is another example of the Lord, the Son of God, controlling all things for the good of his church (cf. Eph. 1:22-23).[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 615.[/footnote]

2. The abomination of desolation (Dan.9:27; 11:31; 12:11).

This anticipated the defilement of the temple by the Greek Antiochus Epiphanes. This foreshadowed the defilement of the temple by the Roman general Titus in AD 70 (Mat.24:15; Mk.13:14). Both incidents foreshadowed the antichrist whose spirit is already at work in the world and will come to full development near the return of Christ.

3. Defeat of evil

The great indestructible kingdom (Dan.2:44) which was to defeat all foreign empires, the rock which was to become a huge mountain filling the whole earth (Dan.2:35), is the kingdom of Christ which began at his first coming and will reach its consummation at his glorious return (Matt.16:18; Heb.12:28)

The book of Revelation, which deals with this future victory, frequently alludes to the book of Daniel, drawing a close connection between them. For instance, the image of ultimate evil in the book of Revelation is the beast that arises out of the sea (Rev. 13), reminiscent of the four beasts that arise out of the sea in Daniel 7. Even more striking is the picture of Jesus Christ as the Divine Warrior who comes to finally end and completely defeat the powers of evil (Rev.19:11-21). Right at the beginning of the book (Rev.1:7), he is described by a quotation from Daniel 7:13 as the one who rides the cloud war chariot. The characteristics of the Ancient of Days are also ascribed to him (Rev.1:1-16).[footnote]R Dillard and T Longman III, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 351[/footnote]

The Book of Daniel has moved from the saints in chains to the saints triumphant. Its theme has been the survival and vindication of the people of God in the face of mounting world opposition. In this great struggle between the two empires involved, the kingdom of God will prevail. History is firmly under divine control; and if it seems not to be, we are to take heart from what we know to be the case, from this revelation from behind the scenes. God is working all things out, the Son of Man will come, dominion will be given to him, and he will reign forever and ever. Of course, we recognize that in the ministry of Jesus, the advent of that Son of Man indicated the beginning of the end, with judgment announced by the very fact of his coming. The world and its structures have been judged by his ministry and by his death, but his resurrection has assured us that his second coming to enter into dominion will sum up history and ensure our final salvation.[footnote]W J Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 310.[/footnote]

 
VII. THE MESSAGE OF DANIEL
Original message: Israel must live faithfully and look forward in hope while waiting for God to bring down the godless kingdoms of this world and establish an everlasting and godly King and kingdom.
Present Message: The Church must live faithfully and look forward in hope for God to bring down the evil kingdoms of the spiritual world and establish Christ as His everlasting king over His everlasting and godly kingdom.