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Daniel 7:9-10; The Ancient of Days

03/27_Daniel 07:9-10; The Ancient of Days ; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220327_dan07_9-10.mp3

Today we move into Daniel 7:9-14; the center, the very heart of the book of Daniel. We saw that chapter 7 is the center, the hinge of the book; linked linguistically and structurally to the Aramaic section of chapters 2-7, but linked by its apocalyptic style to chapters 8-12. Daniel 7 is the center of the book, and Verses 9-14 are the center of this chapter, and everything hangs on these verses.

The first 8 verses relay Daniel’s vision of the four great beasts, representing future kingdoms, parallel to the four kingdom statue of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2. The last 14 verses (15-28) give details and answer questions about the final beast, its ten horns, and the little horn. This center section is the heart of the chapter, the very heart of the book of Daniel, the inner sanctuary, the throne room.

We are just going to look at the first part of this center section today, verses 9 and 10, the description of the Ancient of Days. We are going to look at the symbolism, to see what it says about him, to see him in his glory. He is high and lifted up, seated on his throne, worthy of all worship, and our pursuit in gazing on this One must result in our being drawn to fall on our faces in worship of this One who is seated on his throne.

Daniel 7:9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. 10 ​A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

The Throne Room

The scene has shifted from the four great beasts, these four kings who will arise out of the earth, to the heavenly courtroom. Daniel sees thrones placed for judgment. There are multiple thrones, but one lone figure is the focus of all attention. The scene is more fully depicted in John’s vision in Revelation 4

Revelation 4:2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Ancient of Days

In Daniel’s vision, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. The Lord is referred to three times in this chapter (9,13,22) and nowhere else in Scripture as the Ancient of Days. Other titles in Scripture call him the eternal, the everlasting one (Deut.33:27); the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, who is and who was and who is to come (Rev.1:8; 22:13); he is the one who lives forever and ever (Rev.4:9;10:6); who has neither beginning of days nor end of life (Heb.7:3). In Isaiah 43, God says:

Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11 I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.

This is the Lord, the one and only, the eternal God, the Ancient of Days.

White as Snow

His clothing was white as snow. White clothing throughout scripture is symbolic of purity. Angels are clothed in white (Mt.28:3); the saints are given white robes (Rev.3:4-5; 6;11); ironically the saints ‘have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ (Rev.7:9,13-14).

David, in Psalm 51 asks for the Lord to ‘Purge me… and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Ps.51:7).

The Lord says in Isaiah

Isaiah 1:18 …though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

We are like Joshua the high priest in Zechariah’s vision; he was clothed in filthy garments, and Satan was standing before the Lord to rebuke him. The command was given “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments” (Zech.3:4).

We are like Joshua and David, sinners in need of cleansing, needing to wash our filthy garments in the blood of Jesus, needing to be clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ.

Jesus, in his humiliation, took the form of a servant (Phil.2:7), but on the mountain his disciples were given a glimpse of his true glory.

Matthew 17:2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

Mark describes:

Mark 9:3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.

Or, as Luke puts it, ‘his clothing became dazzling white’ (Lk.9:29). Jesus ‘committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth’ (1Pet.2:22).

This one seated on the throne is intrinsically pure; as in Isaiah’s vision of the Lord seated on his throne, the train of his robe filling the temple, the seraphs never cease to cry out ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ (Is.6:1-4).

Hair like Pure Wool

The hair of his head was like pure wool. In the Proverbs,

Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

We are to show appropriate honor to age and wisdom. God’s people were commanded:

Leviticus 19:32 “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

Job said:

Job 12:12 Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. 13 “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.

In John’s vision of Jesus, he saw

Revelation 1:13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

The Ancient of Days is eternal, intrinsically pure, infinitely wise.

God’s Chariot Throne

Daniel 7:9 …his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. 10 ​A stream of fire issued and came out from before him;

God’s throne has wheels. The image here is of God’s war chariot, his chariot throne. In Exodus, God instructed the Israelites to make the ark or box containing the covenant with the lid or mercy seat, made with gold cherubim, to be placed in the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle.

Exodus 25:20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

This was God’s symbolic throne, from which he would instruct his people. It is interesting that 1 Chronicles, describing Solomon’s temple, uses the word ‘chariot’;

1 Chronicles 28:18 …also his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.

In Psalm 18, in response to a cry for help to the LORD, it ssys:

Psalm 18:6 …From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9 He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. 13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

The Lord rode on a cherub. Ezekiel was given a vision in Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10 of living creatures or cherubim, fantastic creatures that each had a wheel within a wheel, that could move in any direction without turning, and:

Ezekiel 1:22 Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. …26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.

Ezekiel 10:1 Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne. 2 And he said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the whirling wheels underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” And he went in before my eyes. …6 And when he commanded the man clothed in linen, “Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,” he went in and stood beside a wheel. 7 And a cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and went out.

The Fire of Judgment

Three times Daniel describes the chariot throne of the Ancient of Days as ‘fiery flames, burning fire, and a stream of fire’. God’s throne is fire, its wheels were burning fire, and a stream of fire came out from before him. We see this element of fire in Ezekiel’s visions, and in Psalm 18, where because he was angry devouring fire from his mouth and glowing coals flamed forth from him, hailstones and coals of fire and lightnings broke through his clouds, Fire is symbolic of the just judgment and righteous wrath of the Lord God throughout the Bible.

All the way back to the judgment of the first sin in the garden,

Genesis 3:24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

In response to the idolatry of his people, God says:

Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled by my anger, and it burns to the depths of Sheol, devours the earth and its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Isaiah 66 says:

Isaiah 66:14 …the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies. 15 “For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.

It is Isaiah 66 where Jesus gets his image of Hell (Mk.9:43, 47-48):

Isaiah 66:24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

2 Thessalonians tells us of a day

2 Thessalonians 1:7 …when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

This passage makes it clear that Jesus is pouring out justice only on those who do not know God, those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Do you know him? Have you submitted to his good news?

The Books and the Book

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. …15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

God is absolutely just. God keeps accurate books. Every sin will be punished. Either you will pay the price in full for every sin you have ever committed, or the record of debt that stood against you was nailed to his cross (Col.2:14) and he paid your price in full. You will either experience his justice or his mercy. Fly to him for mercy!

Notice that the just wrath of God is grounds for worship. Jesus inflicting vengeance on all who have rejected him is right and good and glorious. God’s grace is glorious and sweet, and his justice is awesome and terrible and righteous and good. When we see God’s wrath poured out on unbelievers, when we see sinners receiving what they deserve, we will remember what we deserve, we will savor his grace which we do not deserve, and we will marvel and we will worship. Remember,

Exodus 34:6 …“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

A Thousand Thousands; Ten Thousand times Ten Thousand

The Ancient of Days is seated on his flaming chariot throne to pour out judgment on the nations.

Daniel 7:10 A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

God is absolutely just, but he is abundantly gracious. Jesus said ‘whoever comes to me I will never cast out’ (Jn.6:37). God is slow to anger, eager to forgive, keeping steadfast love for thousands.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

***

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

March 31, 2022 Posted by | Daniel, Knowing God, podcast, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introduction to Daniel

04/25_Daniel_intro; Introduction: Background and Context; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20210425_daniel-intro.mp3

Sojourners and Exiles

We are going to dive into the book of Daniel in the coming weeks. Daniel’s central message is that God is sovereign over the nations. Daniel was written under persecution, in exile, when God’s people lived as strangers in a foreign land, and it teaches us how to live with integrity, how to honor God even when the world is against us.

Peter urges us,

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

‘Our citizenship is in heaven’ (Phil.3:20). We are to live as sojourners, strangers, exiles. And Daniel teaches us how to be in the world but not of the world (Jn.17:14-16), not conformed to this world (Rom.12:2), to live as citizens of the heavenly kingdom in our time here on this earth.

God the Hero

But Daniel is not really about Daniel. It is not about the three Hebrews Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael. They are not the heroes of the story. It’s not about Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar or Darius or Babylon. The name Daniel means God is my Judge. The hero of the story is God, who is sovereignly moving history in the direction he intends, establishing kings and removing kings. It is God who crushes the proud. It is God who preserves and protects the humble, who delivers his people, who can even grant repentance to

sending his sinful people into exile and watching over them even in exile. God is getting glory among the nations.

Saints On Mission

Daniel and his three friends were probably no more than 14 or 15 years old, when their city came under foreign control, they were torn from their homes, uprooted, transplanted to a distant land with a different language, different customs, different culture, different beliefs, different gods. Their lives were in danger. They were under extreme pressure from all sides. They likely never saw their parents again.

And yet God was using them to write history, to change history. God was sending them on a mission to infiltrate the enemy of Israel, not to conquer the enemy but to win them, to bring them good news about the supreme and sovereign God over all. He was sending them out, out of their comfort to be a light to the Gentiles (Is.42:6).

Dependence on God in Prayer

And Daniel teaches us to depend on God. Daniel teaches us how to pray. Daniel models the discipline of prayer, consistency in prayer even in the face of opposition, persistence and perseverance in prayer, emergency prayer in terrifying situations, prayer for wisdom and understanding, prayer of worship, prayer of confession and claiming the promises of God, prayer of intercession for others. We have much to learn from Daniel about dependence on God in everything.

Background of Israel

To understand Daniel, we need to understand some of the background and context of the events we will read about.

God delivered his people from Egypt to be his people, so that he could live among them, be their God with them. He commanded them to build him a tent so he could dwell in their midst. He promised to give them the land. Under Joshua (1406 BC), God brought the people in to possess the land of Canaan. Under David (1010-971BC) he gave them victory over their enemies. David desired to build God a house, but instead God promised to build David a house; to establish his dynasty forever. David’s son Solomon (971-931BC) was the one who would build the permanent version of the tabernacle; the temple in Jerusalem. God said to Solomon:

1 Kings 9:4 And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ 6 But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 9 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the LORD has brought all this disaster on them.’”

But because of Solomon’s idolatry,

1 Kings 11:11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. 12 Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.

In 931 the kingdom was divide between North and South; Israel and Judah under Jeroboam and Rehoboam. The northern kingdom of Israel lasted 209 years under 19 evil kings ruling from the capital of Samaria, until God brought the nation of Assyria to destroy them.

The southern kingdom of Judah endured 345 years under 19 kings, 8 of whom at least attempted to follow God.

Pharaoh Necho defeated Judah’s army led by godly king Josiah at Megiddo in 609 BC. Josiah was killed in this battle, and his son Jehoahaz became king of Judah (2Kings 23:29-34). Three months later Pharaoh Necho deposed Jehoahaz and appointed his older brother Jehoiakim as king of Judah (2Kings 23:34-24:6).

King Nabopolassar of Babylon had been struggling with Egypt over control of the Middle East for several years; in 605 BC Nabopolassar was ill and forced to remain behind in Babylon; his son Nebuchadnezzar won a decisive victory over Egypt in May/June of 605 BC at the battle of Carchemish and then at Hamath. After defeating the Egyptians, he quickly traveled south to assert his authority over Jerusalem, demanding plunder; he was given some of the sacred objects from the temple and some young men of the royal line as captives. Daniel and his friends were taken in assertion of Babylonian authority over Jerusalem. Nabopolassar died August 15/16 of 605 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to be crowned king on September 6/7, 605 BC.

Jeremiah

Daniel and his friends would have been familiar with Jeremiah, who had been prophesying from around 627 BC through the time of the fall of Jerusalem. Part of Jeremiah’s message was that the prophets who said that God would deliver Jerusalem were false prophets prophesying lies (14, 23). Jeremiah even sent a letter to the captives in Babylon, saying:

Jeremiah 29:4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

We will see later in this book that Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 years became precious to Daniel, and a matter of prayer. Daniel and his friends became shining examples of seeking the good of the pagan city, praying diligently for its blessing, seeking to be a blessing to the nations (Gen.22:18), seeking the Lord with all their hearts, and holding on to the hope that God is in control and he will be their deliverer.

Ezekiel and the Second Deportation

Daniel and his friends were deported in 605 BC. Some years later, because Jehoiakim had rebelled against Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s troops marched against Jerusalem and besieged it. Jehoiakim died, and in March of 597 BC, his son Jehoiachin who was 18 years old, surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, who took him and his mother, his court officials, all the warriors, the metalworkers, 10,000 captives, along with all the treasures from the king’s house and all the treasures of the temple (2Ki.24:10-17). Ezekiel was captured in this second phase of deportation to Babylon; the Lord called him in Babylon to prophesy to the exiles there. Although Ezekiel may have been a few years older than Daniel, Daniel had already been promoted to a place of honor by the time Ezekiel came to Babylon. Ezekiel mentions Daniel by name 3 times in his work; in chapter 14 predicting Jerusalem’s destruction:

Ezekiel 14:14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD. …16 even if these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate. …18 though these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be delivered. ..20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.

It speaks strongly of Daniel’s character to hear Ezekiel associate his own contemporary with godly men who lived thousands of years earlier.

Again in Ezekiel 28; in an oracle against the prince of Tyre:

Ezekiel 28:3 you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you;

Daniel is held up as the standard of wisdom.

The Destruction of Jerusalem

In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar took Ezekiel and some 10,000 other captives to Babylon, and set up Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah as a puppet king in Jerusalem. Zedekiah reigned 11 years in Jerusalem, but he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. In his 9th year, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, and in 586 BC, Jerusalem fell. Zedekiah’s sons were slaughtered in front of him, then his eyes were put out and he was taken to Babylon in chains. The walls were broken down, the city and the temple were burned, and all but the poorest inhabitants were carried off captive (2Ki.24:18-25:17). They took the remaining gold, silver, and bronze from the temple as plunder.

6th Century Date, Prophecy and Jesus

The book of Daniel spans the timeframe from the first deportation of Nebuchadnezzar in 605BC in to the reign of Darius who came to power in 522 BC. Daniel, who was deported about age 14; advised multiple foreign kings and survived a transition of empires. He likely played a role in paving the way for the decree of Cyrus to release the exiles to return to Jerusalem in 538 BC. He was thrown to the lions because of his faithfulness to God at age 83 and was preserved.

Both Jews and Christians have held that Daniel was a real historical person, who wrote this book in the 6th century BC. But Porphyry, an extreme critic of Christianity in the 2nd century AD wrote 15 books ‘Against the Christians’. In his 12th book he sought to discredit the book of Daniel. Looking at the precise details of his prophecy, specifically in chapter 11, which chronicle with surprising precision major events of history from 539 BC to 165 BC; assuming there is no such thing as predictive prophecy, he concluded that the accuracy of the account meant that Daniel was written after the events took place, sometime around 167-165 BC.

Anti-supernatural critical scholarship of the 19th century has taken up the cause of Porphyry while attempting to retain their Christianity. But their argument hangs on the unbiblical and anti-Christian presumption that there cannot be accurate and detailed predictive prophecy of future events. But if this is the case, what do we do with the accurate and detailed prophecies of Jesus Christ?

And Jesus was not silent on this issue. He said in Matthew 24:15

Matthew 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), (Dan.9:27;11:31;12:11; cf. Mk.13:14)

Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a real historical person, that he wrote, and that he wrote accurate predictive prophecy long before its fulfillment. In fact, Jesus informed his hearers that they were to look for the yet future literal fulfillment of this specific prophecy of Daniel.

Jesus’ favorite title for himself ‘the Son of Man’ comes from Daniel 7:13, as does his answer to the Jewish high priest under oath;

Matthew 26:63 ..And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The testimony of Jesus ought to settle the issue for any follower of Jesus.

Outline

The book splits neatly in half, with the first 6 chapters containing stories about Daniel, and the last 6 chapters recording the visions of Daniel.

But there is more to the structure of the book. Chapter 1:1 to 2:4 is written in Hebrew, the language of the Jews. 2:4 to the end of 7 is written in Aramaic, the language of Babylon, and chapters 8-12 are written in Hebrew. If we take the languages as indicative of the intended audience, we recognize that while the book is addressed to Jewish exiles and deal with issues that primarily address the Jewish people, the middle Aramaic section has a broader scope, and brings a message of warning and hope to the nations.

We also see a mirror structure in these middle chapters; chapters 2 and 7 both record dreams, the kings of a 4 kingdom statue and Daniel’s of the same 4 kingdoms pictured as beasts. Chapters 3 and 6 show that while persecution comes from refusing to worship false gods, the true God rescues and restores his faithful people. Chapters 4 and 5 record the beastly pride of the kings, one is granted repentance which leads to worship of the one true God, and one which leads to a fall.

The final section looks at the future of Israel to the end of time. Throughout the book, we are pointed to the coming of the one Righteous Ruler who will reign forever and ever, who will receive the worship of all peoples, nations, and languages (7:14).

***

Timeline (approximate):

931 BC division of northern and southern kingdoms

722 BC Samaria (North – Israel) falls to Assyria

612 BC Nineveh (capital of Assyria) falls to Babylon

609 BC Josiah defeated at Meggido by Egypt (Pharaoh Necho)

605 BC Nebuchadnezzar defeats Egypt/Assyria at Carchemish

—1st deportation of Judah (Jerusalem – South)

597 BC Jehoiachin surrenders to Nebuchadnezzar

—2nd deportation; (2Kings 24:12-16)

586 BC July 18, Jerusalem captured; destroyed

—3rd deportation; (2Kings 25:2-3; Jer.39:2; 52:5-7)

Daniel Outline / Structure:

1-6: stories about Daniel

7-12: visions of Daniel.

Hebrew/Aramaic/Hebrew:

1 Prologue; exiled, undefiled, exalted

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2 The King’s Dream -4 kingdom statue

–3 The Fiery Furnace -refusal to worship; divine rescue & exalted

—-4 Nebuchadnezzar’s Beastly Pride – repentance -> worship

—-5 Belshazzar’s Pride & fall

–6 The Lion’s Den -refusal to worship; divine rescue & exalted

7 Daniel’s Dream -4 kingdom beasts

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8 Daniel’s 2nd Vision; the end prefigured

9 Daniel’s Prayer & God’s Answer; in mercy end the desolations

10-12 Daniel’s 3rd Vision & the End; how long?

***

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

April 27, 2021 Posted by | Daniel, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment