Daniel’s Prophecies

Daniel’s Prophecies

My study of Alexander the Great required my understanding of
the book of Daniel. Daniel’s description of the four empires includes
Alexander’s as the third.

Dan 2:36-40 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. 39 “After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron — for iron breaks and smashes everything — and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.

Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander and then the Roman Empire
“and in the days of these kings” “a stone was cut out without hands” would be
the beginning of the kingdom that would last forever, the kingdom of God.
We find this in Dan 2. The Jews before Christ would read this and get a sense
that sometime during the time of the fourth kingdom, the Roman
Empire; the Messianic kingdom would begin, with the stone being
the Messiah. During Roman times a man did come, who claimed to be that Messiah,
who we know as Jesus, the Son of God whose kingdom shall endure forever.

Chapter 7 of Daniel again describes four kingdoms with the
third reminding us of Alexander.

Dan 7:6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was
another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four
wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given
authority to rule.

It is the fourth beast, the Roman
Empire, which catches Daniel’s attention. In verse 8 he sees a
beast within a beast. Immediately he is transferred to the place where the
“books were opened” or the time of judgment. He can not shake the image of the
beast. This beast that speaks “pompous words” is mentioned twice and then in
verse 11 we see it slain and given to the “burning flame” which can’t help but
take us to the beast of Revelation being thrown into the lake of fire in Rev
19:20.

Now Daniel inserts a meeting between the “Ancient of Days”
already described and “one like a son of man” who is given a dominion that is
to last forever just as the “stone that was cut without hands” which is the Man
who referred to Himself as the Son of Man, Jesus.

Daniel cannot shake the details of the fourth beast and he
gets further clarification. It is the little horn with eyes and a mouth that
will come from the 10 horns that come from the original Roman
Empire that gets all of the attention of this clarification. The
time frame is established in Dan 7:21-22

21 “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with
the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment
was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when
the saints took possession of the kingdom.

This takes us to the end of the tribulation period where the
beast of revelation has been persecuting the saints and the time of deliverance
includes the time of the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom where the Saints
rule with Christ for a 1000 years here on earth.

We are reminded with the phrase “time and times and half a
time” of the three times in Revelation where this time period is used:

Rev 12:6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared
for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Rev 11:1-2 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was
told, “Go and measure the temple
of God and the altar, and
count the worshipers there. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it,
because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city
for 42 months.

Rev 13:5-8 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words
and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. 6 He opened
his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and
those who live in heaven. 7 He was given power to make war against the saints
and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people,
language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast —
all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb
that was slain from the creation of the world.

Daniel 7 ends when the “court shall be seated” and “then”
the kingdom “shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.” It is
difficult to not read chapter 7 and not be transported to the book of
Revelation and the end times.

Daniel 8 again includes a prophecy of Alexander’s kingdom.
He sees a goat with a single horn attacking with “furious power” a two horned
ram. Gabriel explains the vision to him:

Dan 8:19-25 He said: “I am going to tell you what will
happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed
time of the end.  20 The two-horned ram
that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy goat is the
king of Greece,
and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that
replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge
from his nation but will not have the same power. 23 “In the latter part
of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king,
a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his
own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he
does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause
deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel
secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.
Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

We are immediately troubled with the time frame. We see
Alexander conquering the Persian Empire, we
know his kingdom was divided, and thus weaker, up into four sections under his
generals and we know during this time one king will arise that gets special
attention from Daniel. The confusion of the time frame is because he was real
in the past and he is a foreshadowing of the anti-Christ to come.

Daniel in chapter 8 introduces us to Antiochus Epiphanes the
son of Antiochus the Great and a true enemy of the Jews. So Dan 8 11-12
describe the assault upon the Jews by this man which led to the desecration of
the temple and stopping of the daily sacrifice. These were historical facts and
verse 14 concerns the time of this disruption. The Book of Maccabeus gives us
the time of the cleansing of the temple and going backwards 2,300 days takes us
to the beginning of Antiochus’ struggle with the Jews who had decent
relationship with his father Antioch
the Great. We meet him again in Chapter 11 so we will withhold the reasons why
until then. First we need to see the foreshadowing on this man in Daniel 8.
Daniel 8:23 -26 have to be considered a dual description of the deceitfulness
and power of Antiochus as well as the anti-Christ. The key phrase is that this man
shall “rise against the Prince of princes”. Once again Antiochus is opposing
God and His people but you can’t help but to see the beast of Revelation
opposing the Prince of princes of the New Testament. Here are the New Testament
verses that link up to Dan 8:11:

Dan 8:11 It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of
the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his
sanctuary was brought low.

2 Thess 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over
everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in
God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thess 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom
the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the
splendor of his coming.

Rev 17:14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb
will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him
will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

Chapter 9 of Daniel give us the famous, or infamous, prophecy
of the seventy weeks. You find it in Daniel 9:24 -27. This prophecy give us a
date for the coming of the Messiah. The seventy sevens are divided up into
three sections: 1) seven sevens with the rebuilding of the temple and the city
of Jerusalem 2)
and at the end of the next 62 sevens the Messiah shall come 3) and a final
seven that holds some question marks for us.

Historians can quibble about the exact dates involved here
but there can be no question about the actual time frame given for the coming of
the Messiah. All the Jews knew this prophecy pointed to the time of the
preaching of Jesus Christ. This is why they wondered if John the Baptist was
the Messiah (Luke 3:15). It was the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Pick your date. One date takes us to the beginning of John’s ministry, another
to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry or the choice of choices takes us to Jesus’
entry into Jerusalem
fulfilling other OT prophecies. (Zech 9:9) The point is that this is why the
expectation of the Messiah was so high at the time of Jesus. I need to add two
quick verses:

Isa 44:28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will
accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and
of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” ‘

We get the “who” of who will order the temple rebuilt.

Hag 2:6-9 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a
little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the
dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come,
and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver
is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.   9 ‘The glory of this present house will be
greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in
this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

We get a prophecy that all Jews prior to 70AD took to mean
that the Messiah would enter the second temple giving it a “greater glory”. It
rather happened with Jesus Christ entering the temple or it was a false
prophecy.

In Daniel’s seventy sevens we see the work of redemption
through Christ’s blood. After the 69 sevens we get the word “after” in Dan.
9:26
. We might assume as many excellent scholars do that the cutting off of the
Messiah (more debate among the Jews) takes place in the 70th seven.
The problem comes with the remaining portions of the description of the seventy
sevens. The Messiah is cut off, or Christ is crucified (for the Jews the
Suffering Messiah of Is 53), then a prince comes and destroys Jerusalem and the temple (Titus in 70AD), and
then we have:

Dan 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one
‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and
offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that
causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on
him.”

This verse describes the 70th seven yet nothing
in it can be related to the ministry of Jesus Christ. So we naturally look into
the future. The “abomination” could be pointing to the time of the destruction
of the temple in 70AD, but the Romans really didn’t set up a standard over the
temple as much as in the heat of battle, some say against Titus’ wishes, the
temple was destroyed by fire and afterwards further destroyed by the Romans.
Dan 9:27 links to:

Matt 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place
‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel
— let the reader understand—

2 Thess 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over
everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in
God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Rev 13:5-8 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words
and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. 6 He opened
his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and
those who live in heaven. 7 He was given power to make war against the saints
and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people,
language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast —
all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb
that was slain from the creation of the world.

This is not a Roman standard that made it to the temple
while it was burning down but a solid event that takes place in the temple for
all to see and ponder. So I think that the last seven takes us to the seven
years of tribulation and in the middle of the tribulation period the
abomination takes place in a temple that we assume is yet to be built by the
Jews but the Jews know better than to worship an idol so they must choose to
flee the very city they have invested all to live in. God protects those Jews
who choose to flee as seen in Rev 12:13-14 again for “time, times and a half”
or three and a half years.

Chapter 11 gives us more prophetic information about
Alexander. Daniel 11:2-4 tells of the glory of the Persian kings who at the
peak of their glory have given us the names of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis. The Persian
Kings of verse 2 are followed by the Greek dream of revenge embodied in
Alexander’s victories over the Persians. We see the strength of Alexander and
now we get a new detail added, we already knew his kingdom would be divided into
four from Daniel 8:8, we now get the historical fact added that these parts
would not be ruled by “his posterity”.

Starting in verse five we have the King of the North and the
King of the South being described in a back and fourth war that will include
special attention being paid to the land in between them,Israel.

I assumed all the commentaries would see what seems obvious
to me that we had Antiochus the Great in verses 5-19, his successor son in 20
and finally that son being treacherously dealt with by the type of the
anti-Christ Antiochus Ephiphanes, also a son of Antiochus the Great, in verse
21
. I see no logical breaks any where else in the chapter so assume that we are
following the last Antiochus to his death in verse 45. The Adventists see Rome transitioning into
the picture around verse 14, others see the wars between Mohammad’s followers
and some see only a description of the wars during the tribulation period. Let’s
remember that the context is the broken up domain of Alexander the Great.

One added point. Critics have assailed Daniel as being
written at the time of Antiochus Ephiphanes just because this chapter matches
the history of that time period so well. It was Porphry, a vegetarian
spiritualist, who used this point to attack Christianity in the Fourth Century.
Josh McDowell does a great job in refuting the critics who insist upon a later
writing of the book in “Prophecy: Fact or Fiction; Daniel in the Critic’s Den”.

The historians can mix and match, but one
is worth mentioning here. Here is a verse from Daniel that we believe concerns Antiochus the later
King of one of the four portions of Alexander’s empire.

Dan 11:29-30 “At the appointed time he will invade the
South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was
before. 30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose
heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He
will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

The history works perfectly for the prophecy. Antiochus
is ready to besiege Alexandria
when a Roman delegate arrives via a ship. His name is Gaius Popillius Laenas. Rome, always concerned about rival powers
doesn’t want Antiochus to continue with his siege. He is forced to make a
decision when the Consul draws a circle around him saying that he must make his
decision before crossing the line.

He withdraws, enraged, only to find that the Jews have
revolted and he returns to do the things described as an “abomination” by
Daniel, a word that points to the past as well as the future.

So why is this here? What is so important about this time in
Jewish history? Israel
had returned from the Babylonian exile and were living life in between these
two Kingdoms that had sprung up from Alexander’s empire. I am sure they paid
tribute to one and then to the other depending upon who was more of a threat to
them at any given moment.

Accompanying Alexander the Great was a greater conqueror,
the Grecian Spirit. I have tried to define this in the past in regard to its
attitude towards religion. The Greeks climbed Mount Olympus
and found no gods, so they continue on with their gods and are always careful
to honor other’s gods, because you never know. This was the attitude of
Antiochus the Great with the Jews. His son was fighting something that was
eventually going to swallow him up. After he was refused permission to
completely subdue the Kingdom of the South by Rome he declared all out war against the
religion of the Jews. He needed a united front to face the upcoming conflict
withRome.

The Grecian spirit used wealth and trade that came with the
language that was now worldwide. You see something of the civil war that was
raging in Israel
as Antiochus was doing his best to link the Jews with him in common cause. He
saw his enemy as their religion. In verse 30 he shall “show regard for those
who forsake the holy covenant”. It was Jews being captured by this Grecian
spirit who were linking up with him and the rewards he could send his way. Verse
31 gives us the defiling of the sanctuary, the ending of daily sacrifices and
the “abomination of desolation”; his personal desecration of the temple. Verse
32 has him corrupting with flattery those who are violating their relationship
with God. We also get the great words: “the people who know their God shall be
strong, and carry out great exploits”. These are the seeds of the Maccabeus
rebellion against these Greeks. In verse 33 we see the seeds of the Pharisees
of Jesus’ time with the words: “those…who understand shall instruct many…”

His attempt to link Israel
with his Grecian kingdom would fail and eventually Israel would carry on as an
independent kingdom until the time of the Romans. The Pharisees would become an
important element of Jewish life to the times of Jesus; being replaced by
Rabbis after the fall of the temple in 70AD.

Chapter 12 reads like an end times prophecy for the Jews. We
have the “abomination of desolation” in verse 11 and we have a time of one
thousand two hundred and ninety days (an extra 30).

What a book. Prophecies that can be validated, prophecies to
still see in the future and still loaded with enough mystery to keep us all
from saying “thus says the Lord” as we share our thoughts on Daniel’s writings.

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
This entry was posted in Alexander, Biblical. Bookmark the permalink.

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