The End Times – Daniel 12

Read the Text: Daniel 12

Prophecy (12:1–3)

As we noted in the previous chapter, Daniel’s vision that began in chapter 10 of this book has dual fulfillment. While the vision largely concerns events that would transpire before the end of the Old Testament era, as the vision progresses it becomes increasingly about events that are in the future, even today. The last section of this vision, which is recorded in Dan. 12:1–3, seems to be entirely prophecy about the future. In this passage we learn that in the end times, when evil appears to overthrow all good, the angel Michael will be sent to deliver God’s people—specifically, those whose names are “found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1). Continue reading The End Times – Daniel 12

Vision and Prophecies – Daniel 10–11

Read the Passage: Daniel 10-11

The Glorious Man (10:1–9)

This chapter begins in “the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia” (Dan. 10:1), which was 536 BC. Chronologically, this is three years after the prayer and prophesy recorded in Dan. 9. Two years had passed since Cyrus’ decree to let Israel return to Palestine (cf. Ezra 1:1). As Ezra 1–6 and Neh. 7:4–73 reports, Zerubbabel had already led a group of roughly 50,000 Israelites back to the Promised Land. Here in Dan. 10:1–3 we learn that Daniel had not returned with the exiles. Continue reading Vision and Prophecies – Daniel 10–11

Prayer and Prophecy – Daniel 9

Read the Passage: Daniel 9

Confession of Sin (9:1–15)

Daniel’s prayer in this chapter was in “the first year of Darius,” which would have been around 539 BC. This means the events recorded here occurred roughly twelve years after chapter 7, nine years after chapter 8, but at the same time as the events of chapter 6. The revelation Daniel received came from a study of the book of Jeremiah (the only time Jeremiah is mentioned by name in this book and the last time he is explicitly cited in the Old Testament). Jeremiah had actually twice prophesied about the restoration of Jerusalem (cf. Jer. 25:8–12; 29:10–14). Continue reading Prayer and Prophecy – Daniel 9

The Ram and the Goat – Daniel 8

Read the Passage: Daniel 8

Vision (8:1-14)

In this chapter, which begins the Hebrew portion of this book, we read of a second vision given to Daniel, two years after the vision recorded in Dan. 7. This vision is similar to Daniel’s previous vision, as well as the dream of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Dan. 2. A notable difference in this chapter is that Daniel’s vision came in the day, whereas his earlier vision, as well as that of Nebuchadnezzar, were at night. Perhaps it is more accurate to call the earlier visions dreams. Continue reading The Ram and the Goat – Daniel 8

Vision of the Four Beasts – Daniel 7

Read the passage: Daniel 7

Daniel’s Dream (7:1–8)

Daniel notes that he received a dream “in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon,” which was 553 BC. Chronologically speaking, the events of chapter 7 occurred after those in chapter 4 and roughly 14 years before the events of chapters 5–6. The dream that Daniel had, which is remarkably similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream (cf. Dan. 2:1–13), consisted of a vision of four beasts which parallel Nebuchadnezzar’s four-tiered image. Continue reading Vision of the Four Beasts – Daniel 7

The Lion’s Den – Daniel 6

Read the Passage: Daniel 6

Daniel’s Character (6:1–9)

Although Daniel had served faithfully under Nebuchadnezzar for many years, he appears to have fallen into anonymity under Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Belshazzar. Perhaps Daniel was deemed to be too old to serve the king, or maybe his ideas seemed old fashioned. Upon the death of Belshazzar in 539 BC, however, and given the ascendance of Darius the Mede to the throne, Daniel—perhaps around age 85 at this point—was appointed to be one of the three highest rulers in the land. Continue reading The Lion’s Den – Daniel 6

Belshazzar’s Pride – Daniel 5

Read the Passage: Daniel 5

God’s Revelation (5:1–12)

Since the book of Daniel is only twelve chapters long, yet covers 70–80 years of time, the chronology between chapters can be unusual. There are four kings who appear by name in Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar (chs. 1–4), Belshazzar (ch. 5), Darius (chs. 6–9), and Cyrus (chs. 10–12). The events in today’s passage involve Nebuchadnezzar’s son (or, perhaps, his grandson) and successor Belshazzar. Continue reading Belshazzar’s Pride – Daniel 5

Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream – Daniel 4

Read the Passage: Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (4:1–18)

Given Nebuchadnezzar’s contact with Daniel and his friends, as well as his confessions (cf. Dan. 2:47; 3:29), one might think the king was on the verge of salvation. Yet, contact with believers alone does not convert. Nebuchadnezzar had been convicted, but not converted. He had been charmed, but not changed. However, the king’s retrospective confession in Dan. 4:1–3, 8 signals that a change had occurred, which he describes in this chapter. Continue reading Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream – Daniel 4

The Fiery Furnace – Daniel 3

Read the Passage: Daniel 3

Construction of the Idol (3:1–7)

This chapter recounts the story of King Nebuchadnezzar constructing a giant statue of himself for his subjects to worship. The statue was made of gold, likely depicting the dream that was recorded in Dan. 2. There, Daniel told the king, “You, O king, are a king of kings . . . you are this head of gold” (Dan. 2:37–38). While Daniel’s interpretation entailed the fall of the Babylonian empire, the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold appears to have filled the mercurial king with pride. Continue reading The Fiery Furnace – Daniel 3

Nebuchadnezzar’s First Dream – Daniel 2

Read the Passage: Daniel 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (2:1–13)

Chapter 2 contains a narrative “in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign” (Dan. 2:1). Since chapter 1 occurred in the first year of his reign, and Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Daniel to a three year enculturation program (cf. Dan. 1:5), this chapter is likely anachronistic and contains events that transpired before the end of events in chapter 1. The narrative tells us of a dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Continue reading Nebuchadnezzar’s First Dream – Daniel 2