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Daniel Bible Walk
Theme: Israel in the Times of the Gentiles
1. Theme: Israel in the times of the Gentiles. Daniel, a statesman who had a prophetic gift and not office, wrote to Jews in exile about the individuals, nations, and events that will dominate Israel from his time until Jesus the Messiah returns to earth to rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (2:28; 10:14). Daniel’s prophetic view chronicles the rise and fall of these leading Gentile powers. Jesus called period is called the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21.24). Israel’s Messiah, the Son of Man (7:13) will destroy the Gentile powers and replace the times of the Gentiles with his everlasting kingdom in which Israel has central blessing (7:14; 8:23-25). He left out the church age because God had not revealed the coming church age to anyone. Daniel’s message is a warning to Gentile nations and a message of hope and encouragement for those Israelites in Babylon: 1. Israel’s God has history in his own control and Israel is a central part of that future history, and 2. since Israel is God’s people the people should be encouraged by God’s promises and should stay faithful to God.
2. Key Verses: Daniel 2:20-22, 44; 3:17-18.
Daniel 2:20-22, 20
Daniel answered and said,
“Let the name of God be
blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong
Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
Daniel 3:17-18, 17
“If it be so, our God whom we
serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will
deliver us out of your hand, O king.
3. Author and Date: Daniel wrote about 530 BC (Daniel 7:2,15,28; 8:1-2, 15, 27; 9:1-3, 22; 10:1-2, 7, 11-12; 12:4-5, 8-9; Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 28:3; Matthew 25:15; Mark 13:14).
a. He wrote chapters 1 and 8-12 in the Hebrew language, the language of Israel. Daniel wrote chapters 2-7 in Aramaic, the international language at that time.
b. Why the insertion of Aramaic? Because in chapters 2-7 Daniel was highlighting the Gentile rule over Israel. In those chapters he covered the four Gentile powers, the persecution as a result of that, and he encouraged Jews to stay faithful to God.
4. God and history.
a. God works progressively through history. The KJV call these periods of history dispensations (Greek oikonomia dispensation, economy, administration).
b. Charles Ryrie wrote “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose” (Dispensationalism. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995. Page 29). “Thus, the central idea in the word dispensation is that of managing or administering the affairs of a household” (25).
c. Roy Zuck wrote “The word "dispensation" occurs nine times in the New Testament (Luke 16:2-4; 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2, 9; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4). Oikonomia, a combination of oikos, "house" and nomos, "law," means "administration, stewardship, or management." The verb oikonomeo, "to administer or manage," is used in Luke 16:2, and the noun oikonomos, a steward or manager, occurs ten times (Luke 12:42; 16:1; 3, 8; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; Gal 4:2; Titus 1:2; 1 Pet. 4:10). These words refer to the human administration of a house, property, state, or nation, or to God’s administration of the human race or part of it. Thus dispensationalism views the world as a household or administration run by God. So while the word "dispensationalism" is not used in the Bible, the concept certainly is…. While the word "dispensation" itself does not designate a time period, the very nature of differing stewardships suggests a beginning and ending in time for each of the dispensations. (“What Is Dispensationalism?” found at http://www.scofield.org/historical/dispensationalism.htm)
d. The word “dispensation” is the King James Version translation of the Greek word oikonomia means 1. management of a household, direction office (Luke 16.2-4; 1 Corinthians 9.17; Colossians 1.25; Ephesians 3.2; 2. arrangement, order, plan (Ephesians 1.10; 3.9) 3. training (1 Timothy 1.4). (BAGD 559) Another word that has been translated age, world, and dispensation is aion aiwn (Matthew 13.39,40,49; 28.20; Hebrews 9.26; 11.3). (BAGD 27)
e. Dispensations are God’s distinguishable and chronological economies or administrations of human history during which he progressively reveals (gives written new revelation—The Old and New Testament) and accomplishes his plan. God has divided human history into basic administrations or economies. These are called dispensations. God gives revelation, privilege, and responsibility for each administration, some of which is different from the previous economy or administration. Each dispensation has unique doctrine, people, administrators, and events. Eternal salvation in every dispensation is always by God’s grace and through faith (Ephesians 1.10; 3.1-12; Genesis 15.6; Galatians 3.6-9; Ephesians 2.8-9).
f. What really distinguishes dispensational theology from reformed and covenant theology? First, dispensational theology is based upon a normal or plain interpretation of the Bible. Normal or plain interpretation means to read the Bible as any other book; the author means what he says; the Bible uses figures of speech; it uses parables; it talks of ideas, people, places, and events; when the author names a person or group of people or promises something to a person or group of people or predicts a specific event, one using a normal or plain interpretation will take the people, places, events, and predictions at face value unless there is something in the context to indicate a different meaning. From a plain interpretation we see that God, throughout human history, distinguishes between Israel and the Church. This is the second hallmark of dispensational theology. Israel and the church are two prominent groups of people through whom God works. Since Pentecost, God has been working through the church, the body of Christ (Ephesians 1.22-23). After Christ removes the church, God will resume working through Israel. The third hallmark of dispensational theology is that the primary purpose of God is doxological, that is, to demonstrate God’s glory. The salvation of people is a prominent way to glorify God, but that is not the purpose of history
g. The current events of Daniel occur in the dispensation or age of Israel. The end time prophecies that Daniel records will take place in the end of the age of Israel, what Matthew calls the tribulation (Daniel 9:27; 12:1; Matthew 24:15-29), and in the Messianic or millennial dispensation (Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:13-14).
5. History Overview for Daniels’s time.
a. The events of this book begin in 605 BC (Daniel 1:1). The last date notice is 536 BC, the third year of Cyrus (Daniel 10:1). The chief Babylonian gods included Bel and Marduk (Daniel 4:8).
b. In 605 BC the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and Assyria at the Battle of Carchemish (May-June 605 BC). He chased Egypt out of Syria-Palestine. While he was away his father, Nabopolassar, died. Nebuchadnezzar hurried back to Babylon. He became king and Babylon became the leading power of the day (2 chronicles 35:20; 2 Kings 24:7; Jeremiah 46:2).
c. Israel, the northern kingdom, had been conquered by Assyria in 722 BC. The northern kingdom was no longer a political entity at this time. Assyria had broken up the northern kingdom and had deported many Jews from Palestine. The southern kingdom, Judah, was still a nation in her homeland. Jehoiakim (609-598 BC) was the vassal king placed in power by Egypt. When Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and Assyria he allowed Jehoiakim to remain king of Judah. He was an evil king and eventually rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar in 598 BC.
d. The kings of Judah during this period were
e. Josiah (640-609 BC), who instituted reforms. He was killed at the Battle of Carchemish by archers of Pharaoh Neco of Egypt (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35).
f. Jehoahaz (three months in 609 BC), whom Neco replaced (2 Kings 23:31-33; 2 Chronicles 36:1-3; Jeremiah 22:11-12).
g. Jehoiakim (609-598 BC), Judah’s 17th king, was an evil king. He destroyed Jeremiah’s writing. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and asked for help from Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar took him captive to Babylon (2 Kings 23:34-24:7; 2 Chronicles 36:4-8; Jeremiah 22:18-19; 36:27-32).
h. Jehoiachin (December 598-March 597 BC) was king when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in March 597 BC. He was taken captive to Babylon along with Ezekiel and 10,000 others (2 Kings 24:8-26); 2 Chronicles 36:9-10).
i. Zedekiah, also called Mattaniah (597-586 BC), was installed by Nebuchadnezzar. He followed the anti-Babylon faction and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah had warned against this. He also tried to get Egypt to help him, but Egypt was too weak. Nebuchadnezzar marched on Jerusalem in 588. He captured the city and destroyed the temple in 586. Nebuchadnezzar captured Zedekiah, killed his sons, blinded Zedekiah, and took him to Babylon (2 Kings 24:17-25:21; 2 Chronicles 36;11-21; Jeremiah 39:1-10).
j. Gedeliah (586 BC) was appointed governor by Nebuchadnezzar. Ishmael’s faction assassinated him (2 Kings 25:22-30; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Jeremiah 40-44).
k. Nebuchadnezzar was the second and the greatest king of the Neo-Babylonian empire. His father, Nabopolassar, was the founder and first king. The kings were Nabopolassar (626-605 BC), Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC); Evil-Merodach, Neb’s son (562-560 BC); Neriglissar, Neb’s son-in-law (560-556 BC); Laborosoarchad, Neb’s son (few months in 556 BC); Nabonidus, Neb’s son-in-law and husband of Nitrocris who was Neb’s daughter; and Belshazzar, son of Nabonidus and Nitrocris (556-539 BC).
l. Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire (559-530 BC). He conquered Media in 550 and Babylon in 539. Ugbaru, governor of Gutium and under Cyrus’ authority, conquered Babylon on an October night in 539 BC, while Belshazzar was celebrating a festival (Daniel 5). The city welcomed Cyrus. He incorporated the Babylonian empire under his rule. Cyrus signed the decree in 538 BC that authorized the Jews to return to their land (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Daniel 1:21; 6:28, 10:1).
m. Darius the Mede (Daniel 5:31 and 6:1) became governor of Babylon soon after the conquest by Cyrus. Darius the Mede was most likely the Gubaru, also named Gobyras, of the Nabonidus Chronicle and the Babylonian Contract Tablets.
6. Overview outline.
a. Section 1, Daniel Enters Babylon, Daniel 1.
b. Section 2, Nebuchadnezzar’s Period, Daniel 2-4.
c. Section 3, Belshazzar to Cyrus Period, Daniel 5-6.
d. Section 4, Daniel’s Visions about Future Kingdoms and Rulers, Daniel 7-9.
e. Section 5, The Angel Teaches Daniel about Events in the Last Days, Daniel 10-12.
7. Chapter titles of Daniel
i. Chapter 2, Dream of the gold, silver, bronze, iron, and iron and clay statue.
ii. Chapter 3, The gold image and the fiery furnace.
iii. Chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony about the tree vision.
c. Section 3, Belshazzar to Cyrus Period, Daniel 5-6.
i. Chapter 5, Belshazzar’s party and the handwriting on the wall.
ii. Chapter 6, Jealousy and the den of lions.
d. Section 4, Daniel’s Visions about Future Kingdoms and Rulers, Daniel 7-9.
i. Chapter 7, the four beast dream, (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome)
ii. Chapter 8, The ram and the goat (Medo-Persian and Greek empires)
iii. Chapter 9, National confession and the 70 weeks.
e. Section 5, The Angel Teaches Daniel about Events in the Last Days, Daniel 10-12.
i. Chapter 10, Introduction and the angelic conflict
ii. Chapter 11, Future rulers and wars.
iii. Chapter 12, Resurrection, three and one-half times, and the end.
8. Trace the theme of Daniel.
a. Chapter 1, The Hebrew captives pass the test. Nebuchadnezzar, a Gentile king attacked Jerusalem, captured King Jehoiakim, removed the wealth from the temple which demonstrated his conquest of Israel’s God, and took young aristocrats to Babylon as hostages (Daniel and the three included, Isaiah 39:6-7) with plans to turn them into Babylonians. Gentiles now controlled Jerusalem, and will continue to do so until the Messiah returns to reign. Daniel and the three decided against going “Babylonian.” God granted them favor from the commander so he allowed them a 10 day test. They passed the food test. God also provided for the four so that they graduated in 3 years (1:5) at the head of the class and so were promoted into the king’s service. The times of the Gentiles had begun, yet in the middle of all the struggles these young men trusted Israel’s God and remained faithful to him and his word. They showed wisdom, courage, discipline, and faithfulness.
b. Chapter 2, Dream of the gold, silver, bronze, iron, and iron and clay statue. This chapter relates Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the giant image that pictured the four ruling Gentile kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome) that would dominate Israel before God destroyed Gentile rule of Israel and set up his everlasting kingdom (Messiah’s kingdom, 2:44-45). God’s favor and preparation of Daniel and Daniel’s faithfulness showed. When Arioch was on his way to kill Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors, Daniel offered to interpret the dream. First, he and his friends had a prayer meeting. What does that tell us about them? It reveals spiritual courage, dependence upon God and faith in him to work his will. It also reveals that Daniel, a faithful Jewish young man, had a very good testimony in the royal court. Daniel interpreted the dream. Nebuchadnezzar recognized that Daniel’s God was the God of gods and Lord of kings. Nebuchadnezzar begins to learn about God.
c. Chapter 3, The gold image and the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar, motivated by pride and power demanded that all people worship the image, and so honor him above all gods. The kingdom of man challenged the kingdom of God; Gentile idols challenged the God of Israel. In the middle of a pagan society Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego remained faithful to Israel’s God—the only true God—regardless of whether he saved them from the fire or not. God delivered them; Nebuchadnezzar saw that Israel’s God was real and ruled that no one was to speak against God. Nebuchadnezzar saw the faithful witness of the three.
d. Chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony about the tree vision. This chapter teaches God’s greatness and God’s rule over the greatest contemporary human ruler and kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar had another dream. He was not able to understand the dream and Daniel came to the rescue. The dream was about the greatest tree on earth. This tree was cut down, yet the stump was left for seven years with a metal band around it. The tree represented Nebuchadnezzar in his power and pride. Nebuchadnezzar would be removed from his rule until he recognized that God rules over mankind and has the power and right to raise and lower rulers (4:25). At the end of seven years Nebuchadnezzar realized that God was greater and more powerful. Because he repented, God restored Nebuchadnezzar to his rule. The chapter is Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony about Israel’s God. God has a plan for history and for Israel in particular. No Gentile power can stop God’s plan. Israel ought to be encouraged to know this.
e. Chapter 5, Belshazzar’s party and the handwriting on the wall. Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus and grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. He was the second in power, and ruled in Babylon in his father’s absence. The events occurred on October 12, 539 BC. Daniel’s theme is repeated. Though Gentile powers rule Israel, God controls history. Kings may challenge God and rule for a time, but God holds history in his hand. Belshazzar toasted his own greatness using cups that were stolen from the Jerusalem temple. God’s message was written on the wall of the banquet hall: mene (number), mene (number), tekel (weigh), upharsin (and divide). Belshazzar’s days as king were numbered because he had been weighed in God’s balances and failed and his kingdom was going to be divided. While the bragging and toasting were going on the Median army diverted the Euphrates River and was invading Babylon. That very night Belshazzar and Babylon fell to the Medes who were ruled by Cyrus the Great.
f. Chapter 6, Jealousy and the den of lions. This took place at the beginning of the Medo-Persian Empire 539 BC. Daniel was one of three administrators over 120 regional rulers. Daniel was that “Jew” who was favored by the king. The regional rulers resented him. This bred jealousy, conspiracy, and entrapment. Daniel’s faithfulness to God was their point of attack. In the middle of all the chaos Daniel continued his fellowship with God and he continued serving God. Darius had to honor his decree, so Daniel was put into the den full of lions. God again delivered his faithful servant. God honored Daniel’s faith (6:23). Darius then decreed that those in his kingdom fear Daniel’s God. Daniel was a great witness to God’s plan, power, and faithfulness.
g. Chapter 7, The four beast dream. On a night in 553 BC Daniel saw a vision of four great beasts: a lion that had wings; a bear with three ribs in its mouth; a leopard with four wings on its back and with four heads; and a terrible unrecognized and unnamed beast with iron teeth, ten horns, and a little horn that grew up among the ten horns. This little horn had human looking eyes, was a braggart, and he destroyed three of the previous horns (7:1-8). These will be interpreted in 7:18-28. Daniel’s vision takes a turn in verses 9-14, where he sees one called the Ancient of Days (God the Father) sitting in judgment. The fourth beast, now dominated by the little horn, was judged. The first three kingdoms simply failed (11-12). This agrees with history. Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece were taken over by succeeding powers, but the fourth has remained in some form to our time. Note that “one like the Son of Man” came to the Ancient of Days. To the Son was given everlasting dominion (authority and rule) that included all peoples, nations, and languages. His dominion and kingdom will be everlasting. This kingdom of the Son comes on the scene after the destruction of the fourth Gentile kingdom and its ruler, the little horn. When the Son of Man comes to rule the times of the Gentiles are stopped. The interpretation follows in 7:15-28. It highlights the destruction of the fourth beast kingdom and the little horn king at the very time the little horn king was viciously warring against believers (21-26). Following the judgment on him, the kingdom of the Son of Man will begin. It will be an everlasting kingdom (27-28). Gentile dominion of Israel has ended.
h. Chapter 8, The ram and the goat. Daniel received this vision in 551 BC. It unfolds the coming second and third beast kingdoms of the previous visions. The vision is in verses 1-14, and Gabriel interprets the vision in verses 15-26, while verses 26-27 show Daniel’s astonishment at what he learned. The ram with two horns (3-4) is Medo-Persia (20). The goat with the horn (5) is Alexander the Great’s Greece (21). These two consecutive Gentile kingdoms or empires that follow the first (Babylon) will also dominate Israel—more times of the Gentiles. Note the accuracy of the prophecy. When Alexander died in 323 BC, his kingdom was divided among his four leading generals (21-22). Out of these four parts of Greece, Syria arose. Antiochus Epiphanes IV was the Syrian king who desecrated the Jerusalem temple between 168-165 BC. He is the prototype of the coming ruler whom Messiah, the Son of Man, will defeat (8:23-25).
i. Chapter 9, National confession and the seventy weeks. Daniel, in 538 BC, was reading Jeremiah’s prophecy (9:1-2). He came to the section that told about Israel’s 70 year captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 29:10). Because of what he read he began to pray a prayer of confession (9:3-15) and intercession for national deliverance (9:16-19). The angel Gabriel came to Daniel with God’s message in response to Daniel’s prayer. God had determined to take, in the future, 70 weeks of years (490 sabbatical years of 360 days each) to conclude his judgment on Israel (9:24-27). This time clock will begin with Artaxerxes’ decree in 444 BC that gave Nehemiah the authority to return to Jerusalem and restore the city, gates, and walls (Nehemiah 2:1-8). This decree was dated March 5, 444 BC. There were two other decrees: by Cyrus in 537 BC to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:2-4 and 6:3-5); and by Artaxerxes in 458 BC to provide money and supplies for the temple (Ezra 7:11-26). Neither meets the requirements of Gabriel’s message to Daniel. The first seven weeks, 49 years, refer to the troubles of Nehemiah’s time. After the conclusion of the sixty-two weeks “Messiah the prince” will come, followed by “Messiah will be cut off” which means he will die, and following that “the people of the prince who is to come” (Rome) will destroy Jerusalem and the temple (9:26). Between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week we have at least a 40 year gap; this gap has now extended past AD 70 into the twentieth-first century. Verse 27 concludes the prophecy about the seventieth week. “The prince who is to come” (the little horn, anti-Christ, dictator) will make and then break a covenant with Israel. This final seven years is the tribulation period of Matthew 24. Daniel now knows the future course of the times of the Gentiles.
j. Chapter 10, Angelic conflict. In 536 BC Daniel received revelation from God after praying for three weeks. An angel delivered the message (10:1-9). The message was about “what will happen to your people in the latter days” (10:14 and 21) and is found in Daniel 11. This angel had duty in Persia. He had wanted to visit Daniel at the beginning of Daniel’s prayer, but a demon stationed in Persia prevented him from coming to Daniel. The angel apparently served many kings of Persia over a long period of time (10:13, 20-21). We learn from this chapter that there is a great unseen spiritual battle raging in the capital of Persia and likely in capitals throughout the world. Demons attempt to control governments, while angels attempt to serve God in those capitals. The demonic power is enormous, since Michael had to come to the angel’s aid.
k. Chapter 11, Future rulers and wars. This chapter is a continuation of chapter 10. In 538 BC the angel helped Darius (or possibly Michael). The angelic interventions in centers of power may partly explain Daniel’s good ministry with Darius (Daniel 6).The angel gave the message that astounded Daniel. Verses 1-35 predict the successive empires from the time of Darius through Antiochus Epiphanes IV (538-164 BC). Verses 36-45 move to the final dictator of the last Gentile empire which is revived Rome during the seventieth week of Daniel 9. Antiochus Epiphanes IV is the prototype for this dictator-antichrist. The three Persian kings (11:2-3) are Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, and Darius I Hystaspes. They ruled from 530 BC until 486 BC. Xerxes, of Esther’s time, is the fourth (ruled 486-465 BC). Alexander rapidly rose to power (ruled 336-323 BC) and just as quickly fell (11:3-4). He is the male goat of Daniel 8:5-8 and 22. Alexander’s kingdom divided at his death into four parts (8:5, 8, 21-22 and 11:4). Ptolemy I Soter (Ptolemies) took Egypt; Antipater and then Cassander took Macedonia and Greece; Lysimachus took Thrace and Asia Minor; and Seleucis I Nicator (Seleucids) took Babylon and Syria. Daniel 11:5-20 emphasize the activities of the Ptolomies (Egypt, south) and Seleucids (Syria, north). Out of Syria “a despicable person will arise.” This is Antiochus Epiphanes IV—Epiphanes means the illustrious one, but he was nicknamed Epimanes which means madman—who ruled 175-164 BC (11:21-35). Daniel 11:36-45 gives details about the end time “prince” predicted in Daniel 9:27. He is “the king” of 11:36, and the little horn of Daniel 7:8, the last king of the fourth beast empire of the times of the Gentiles. Paul called him the “lawless man” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Jesus predicted these events in Matthew 24:4-28. Antiochus Epiphanes IV, the little horn of Daniel 8:9-12, 23-25, foreshadowed this future ruler-dictator of the Revived Roman Empire in Daniel 11:21-35. God will defeat him at the end of the Tribulation (11:45).
l. Chapter 12, Resurrection, three and one-half times, and the end. This chapter continues on from chapter 11. “That time” is the time that the “king” of 11:36-45 does his evil work during Daniel’s seventieth week—the Tribulation. He will come to his end by the victory of Messiah. Tribulation martyrs and Old Testament believers will be resurrected and rewarded (12:2-3). The unbelievers will also be raised to judgment, but apparently this will not occur until after the 1000 year kingdom (Revelation 20). When will the final defeat of the “king” and the “everlasting dominion…and “kingdom” of the “Son of Man” (Daniel 7:13-14 and 12:6) happen? Daniel did not know all the details (12:4, 8-9), but the last part of this “time of distress” (12:1) will last three and one-half times or three and one-half years (12:7). This will be a time of severe testing and purging. Unbelievers will not understand God’s ways, but those who pay attention to the prophecy will understand what is happening (12:10). The messenger angel concludes his warning by giving a timeline. There will be 1290 days from the public installation of the “abomination of desolation.” This is 30 days longer than the 1260 days of Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 11:3 and 12:6. The 30 days is probably for judgment by Messiah on those raging against him. Then another date is given—1335 days (75 days longer than 1260 days) from the time the abomination appears. This is probably the time needed to install King Jesus and for him to begin his kingdom. Those surviving the Tribulation will enter the kingdom in their physical bodies. Tribulation martyrs and Old Testament believers will enter the kingdom in their resurrection bodies. It is significant that the angel messenger concludes his message by telling Daniel to live out his life and that Daniel will arise by resurrection at the end of the age, which in context is the end of the Tribulation or seventieth week.
9. Key People
a. Ancient of Days is God the Father (Daniel 7:9 and 13).
b. Ashpenaz, (1:3, 8) chief of the king Nebuchadnezzar’s officials.
c. Belshazzar (5:1) son of King Nabonidus and coregent with him, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.
d. Daniel—Belteshazzar, Hananiah—Shadrach, Mishael—Meshach, Azaria—Abednego (1:7), The names were changed to help assimilate the captives into the Babylonian culture. These were noble Jewish young men whom Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylon as hostages. Nebuchadnezzar attempted to remold them in the Babylonian image. He failed. The remained faith to God. Daniel became very valuable and trusted by the rulers, and was an outstanding testimony for Israel’s God.
e. Darius (5:31), was most likely Gubaru, also named Gobyras (Archer, “Daniel,” pp. 76–77; Whitcomb, Darius the . . ., p. 35; Robert Dick Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel, pp. 128–29). Wiseman prefers Cyrus (D. J. Wiseman, “Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel,” in Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, pp. 12–14.). Cyrus appointed Darius governor of Babylon.
f. Gabriel (Daniel 8:16 and 9:21), the heavenly messenger (angel) whom God sent to explain to Daniel the meaning of his visions. He also told Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, of John’s coming birth (Luke 1:11-20) and announced to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
g. Michael (10:13 and 21), the archangel and guardian of Israel. He is also called the prince of Israel (10:21) and the great prince (12:1). He is also mentioned in Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7.
h. Nebuchadnezzar (1:1) second and greatest king of Babylon.
i. Son of Man is God the Son, Jesus Christ (Daniel 7:13).
10. Key Words and events
a. Dream. God reveals something to a person while sleeping. Nebuchadnezzar had two dreams (chapter 2, his vision of the 90 foot high image and chapter 4, his 7 years of insanity).
b. Gold head refers to Nebuchadnezzar and his empire; Silver refers to the Medo-Persian empire; Bronze refers to the Greek empire; Iron refers to the Roman empire of our Lord’s time; Iron and clay refer to the Revived Roman empire which will reform as a dominant power in the last days, and which Jesus Christ will destroy when he returns to earth.
c. Latter days (Daniel 2:28 and 10:14), time of the end (Daniel 8:17), end of time (Daniel 12:4), end time (Daniel 11:40, 12:9), and end of the age (Daniel 12:13) refer to the tribulation time that comes before Messiah returns to earth to set up his promised kingdom. This end time is different from the last days of the church age.
d. Mene (number), mene (number), tekel (weigh), upharsin (and divide). Belshazzar’s days as king were numbered because he had been weighed in God’s balances and failed and his kingdom was going to be divided (Daniel 5).
e. Satraps were the highest political officials in each province. The prefects (princes) were military chiefs. The governors (captains) were heads of sections of the provinces. The counselors (advisers, judges) were high-ranking judges. The treasurers were superintendents of the treasury. The judges (counselors) were secondary judges, and the magistrates (sheriffs) were lower level legal officials. The rulers (officials) were subordinates of the satraps. These groups represented all the administrative government officials of the wide-ranging empire, and they spoke many different languages (v. 7).” (Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible (Daniel 3:3). Galaxie Software)
f. Stone (2:34-35 and 45) refers to the Messianic kingdom headed by Jesus the Messiah.
g. “Times of the Gentiles” is not named in Daniel’s book, but it is a central part of Daniel’s theme. Jesus refers to it in Luke 21:24. This is the period of time during which the Israeli people and Israel’s promised land are controlled by Gentile powers. During the times of the Gentiles Israel has no rightful king of David’s line ruling. It began in 605 BC with the rule of Nebuchadnezzar and will end when Messiah comes to earth at his second coming and rules the promised Messianic Kingdom as king over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9).
h. Week (one) is 7 years of 360 day years, and 7 weeks equals 490 years (Daniel 9:24-27). Time, times, and half a time equal three and one/half years (Daniel 7:25 and 12:7; Revelation 12:14). A time is one year of 360 days. Times equal two years. Half a time is 6 months or one-half a year. The book of Revelation also has similar time notations. Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 mention 1260 days which equal three and one-half years. Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 mention 42 months which equal three and one-half years.
11. Key Doctrines
a. Angels, demons, and governments.
b. Character counts.
c. Daniel’s seventieth week.
d. Faithfulness to God and to his will.
e. God is the ultimate sovereign over kings, nations, and people.
f. God’s faithfulness to his people.
g. Messiah King
h. Resurrection of Old Testament believers.
i. Testing that believers go through.
j. Theocratic program and dispensations.
k. Times of the Gentiles.
l. Tribulation, second coming, and millennial kingdom.
12. Lessons for Us Today
a. During the times of the Gentiles, Gentile nations and rulers dominate Israel. We presently live in the times of the Gentiles.
b. God has history under his control and history is moving toward God’s goal. Be encouraged by God’s plan for history and by God’s promises. He is stronger, smarter, and possesses higher authority than any earthly ruler.
c. Be encouraged because God has infinite ability to deliver his people from testing if and when he chooses. God has not lost or forgotten about his people in any period of history, though he often allows severe testing of his people. Our part is to remain believing and faithful to God.
d. Our ability to resist temptation is related to our love for God and our faith in God and his word (Daniel 3:17-18; James 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:3-4).
e. Just as Nebuchadnezzar had to admit that God was ruler of earth and heaven, so all people and rulers will bow before God’s king Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9-11).
f. Personal biblical character in a pagan society witnesses to the reality of God and his will. But this character will be tested (Daniel 1 and 3 are good examples).
g. Daniel does not emphasize any campaign to change Babylon. He and his Jewish friends learned and applied God’s word, remained faithful to God, and trusted God throughout their lives of service in a pagan government. We should do the same. Regarding bringing biblical standards into American government, we need to remember that the USA began with a strong biblical basis. We ought to resist departure from that.
h. Angels and demons work in the capitals of the world, and apparently especially concerning Israel. Angels work to restrain evil and to further God’s plan. Demons work to oppose God’s plan.
“But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”