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prophecies of Daniel are mysterious and foreboding; or, at least they were in
Daniel’s day. In looking back in history from the perspective of the present
day, these prophecies are remarkably clear and precise. However, the historical
accuracy of these prophecies is largely ignored today because a chiliastic view
of eschatology attempts to see glimpses of a millennium and events leading up to
it as the object of many of the things revealed to Daniel almost 1500 years ago.
Criticism acknowledges the accuracy of the prophecies but it cannot accept that
Daniel was indeed the prophet and writer of the Book of Daniel. The argument is
that the information contained in the prophecies is so accurate that it is
impossible for Daniel, who lived some 300 years before much of what is recorded,
to have written the book. Obviously, it must have been written much later in
the 1800s the Adventists reached into the prophecies of Daniel to learn when
Christ would return to “cleanse the sanctuary.” Through their efforts,
October 22, 1844 became known as the Great Disappointment. Other groups,
particularly those with a primitive church orientation, have discerned in the
prophecies of Daniel events that led up to, and possibly identify, their
specific movement or time in the Christian era. The little horn of Daniel
chapter 8 has been identified by many Bible commentators and writers as the rise
of Papalism and an apostate church.
The First Principle
concept of first principle is very important to understanding the prophecies of
Daniel. The Oxford Dictionary defines first principle(s) as the
fundamental concepts or assumptions on which a theory, system, or method is
based. The concept of first principle sets the parameters which govern the
interpretation of Daniel’s prophecies and these parameters must be followed
without derivation to ascertain the true meaning of each prophecy.
first principle of the prophecies is revealed in God’s first communication
with Daniel via the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar. In this dream was a
succession of four kings or kingdoms that is ended with the coming of a stone
cut out of the mountain without hands. The succession shown in this dream
remains constant throughout all the prophecies. Not all the prophecies deal with
all the kingdoms, but where they appear, the kingdoms involved appear in the
order first revealed to Nebuchadnezzar.
Kingdom of God is the intended purpose of God for mankind. It began in the
Garden of Eden but man rebelled against God’s rule over his life. It is picked
up again in the Abrahamic Covenant later to be squandered by Israel. The
prophecies of Daniel reveal the temporal kingdoms of man that have opposed the
Kingdom of God in the Old Testament and lead up to the Book of Revelation. The
Book of Revelation is not specifically the history of the church; it is the
continuing history of the Kingdom from the time of the stone cut out without
hands to the end of time. In short, the prophecies of Daniel must not be
confused with the prophecies of the Book of Revelation. The prophecies of Daniel
end with the coming of Messiah and the establishment of His rule in the Kingdom
concise statement of the first principle of Daniel’s prophecies is that they
concern the four world-wide kingdoms, or empires, from the time of
Nebuchadnezzar and the first advent of Messiah. Within this first principle is
the obvious impact these kingdoms have on the Jews living in Judea (Palestine).
The impact in some cases is so catastrophic that Daniel was struck with illness
because of what he learned.
About This Book
prophecies of Daniel were prepared and presented as Bible studies during Sunday
evening services. Inasmuch as a normal congregation is not filled with academics
and Bible scholars, the material was prepared for a general audience without the
formality of an academic work. Those lessons are contained within this book,
formatted for printed publication, but still with a general audience in mind.
prophecies concern ancient history and who knows how many text books have been
written on ancient history over the centuries. Some authors research scores of
texts to learn what they already know in an attempt to show that what they know
is really so. Several sources have been used for this book and, undoubtedly,
academic critics would criticize the small list of resources used. But, inasmuch
as most people that have gone through high school did study, or at least had to
take a course in, ancient history, it was assumed that the audience (and the
potential reader) will remember some of what they learned in school. It was felt
that an abundance of footnotes would be utterly useless as anyone who would
question a fact presented in this book will research that question on the
are some difficulties with ancient history that remain even today. Most of those
difficulties have to do with names and dates. Different authors will show
different dates for the same events. This is done, not with the purpose of
confusing readers and researchers, but because of differing opinions,
differences in the sources used, and different calculations in determining
ancient dates that have been used over time. (For example, it is now known
Christ was born in 4 b.c., not 0 or 1 a.d.) Within this book you may find a date
assigned to an event that is different from chapter to chapter. Also, names that
are unpronounceable to the average American tongue have different spellings
depending on the time in history which various books were written. Another
factor is that ancient names appear differently or even as different names
because of the country in which the name is used—a king called by one name in
one country is called by another name in another country. Another thing that is
confusing is when reading about the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, it seems as if
they all have the same name: it is either Ptolemy, Seleucid, Antiochus, or
Epiphanes. So, when reading in the prophecies that concern these rulers the
reader may want to pay special attention so as not to get confused.
are several examinations of Hebrew words in this book. This does not imply that
the author is an expert in ancient Hebrew or has even studied Hebrew. Many
wonderful works by very knowledgeable scholars exist to make up the deficiency
in those of us that have never had the time or opportunity to study that ancient
primary sources used for this book were Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the
Whole Bible and Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible. Additional
information was gathered mostly through wikipedia.org.
quotations are acknowledged and, for the most part, they are contained in
indented paragraphs; however, footnotes are not used because the information
quoted is either contained in a commentary for the verses concerned, or the
history involved is considered to be “common knowledge” and can be verified
quickly by looking in an ancient history textbook or by doing a web-search.
are five prophecies recorded in the Book of Daniel. The first prophecy was
actually a dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. The dream was a
mystery that none of his wise men could interpret for him. God gave Daniel the
interpretation of the dream, which was actually a prophetic vision of the four
world-wide kingdoms from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the coming of Christ.
are four prophecies which were given directly to Daniel. The topics of these
prophecies include a recapitulation of the events in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
and the advent of a mysterious little horn, the coming conflict between Persia
and Greece, a prophecy of the coming Messiah, and a prophecy concerning the
conflict between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Dynasties.
five prophecies of the Book of Daniel are:
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream. Chapter 2. 604 b.c.
The Four Beasts. Chapter 7. 553 b.c.
The Ram and the Male Goat. Chapter 8. 551. b.c.
The 70 Weeks. Chapter 9. 539 b.c.
The Kings of the South and North. Chapters 10–12. 536 b.c.
is a great deal of interest in the prophecies of Daniel spurred on by an intense
interest in dispensational premillennialism in evangelical churches. This book
rejects any association of these prophecies with a rapture, a tribulation, a
future establishment of an earthly Kingdom of God, and any other tenants of that
approach to eschatology. Having said that, no offense is meant or intended to
any or all who hold to that line of thinking. We all have our opinions on that
subject and we all know we are right and the other guy is wrong. In any case, we
will know what the end is when we get there.
names of groups and individuals are used in this work in a context that might be
considered negative or adversarial by some, such naming is not intended to
offend, criticize, or discredit those named, but merely for the sake of factual
Scripture references are from the New King James Bible published by Thomas
Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, unless otherwise noted.