Showing posts with label Daniel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daniel. Show all posts

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Daniel 12

As the first Old Testament Prophet, Daniel speaks about the resurrection of individuals. Michael, the guardian angel shall stand up at a time of trouble.
Daniel 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 
The next verse speaks about wisdom and righteousness.
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
After all those visions, Daniel asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”

Daniel was told to seal the book until the end of time.
Daniel 12:9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end.
10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
Daniel was then told to go his way, and he would receive his inheritance according to his allotment.
Daniel 12:13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Daniel 11

This chapter gives a detailed account of those struggle that took place during Persian and Greek periods.

Prophet Daniel's vision has been linked to events that occurred in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC concerning the struggle between the Ptolemies (the king of the south) and the Seleucids (the king of the north) for the control of Judea, in which the Seleucids were eventually victorious.

Daniel saw three kings arising in Persia. According to Daniel, the fourth shall be richer than them all, and fight against Greece. A mighty king’s empire (Alexander’s) will be divided into four parts at his death. The southern part shall become the strongest (Ptolemy’s). Joined by a marriage, the kings of the North and South will be allies for a while, but the arrangement will not last.

This chapter of Daniel is considered very accurate. All major conflicts are mentioned, and the Sixth Syrian War is described in great detail.

My Thoughts
This chapter shows us how history evolves as a result of LORD's prophecy. This chapter also speaks about the future coming of Jesus Christ.

Due to my limitations, I have not narrated all those that I read. But I am convinced everything Daniel spoke and wrote took place just like that.

After reading this chapter and looking at history, shall we say, History = His Story. 

Daniel 10

This vision, concerning a great war, occurred to Daniel during the third year of Cyrus’ reign. Daniel mourned and fasted for a period of three weeks. Then, on the banks of the Tigris, Daniel saw a glorious man clothed in linen, girded with a golden belt; his face was like lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet were like burnished bronze, and his voice like that of a multitude. When Daniel encountered this awesome person, he fell into a deep sleep with his face down.
Daniel 10:10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.
11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
Daniel was about to be foretold regarding the future. He is given insight regarding the continual battle between those who protect LORD's people and those who want to destruct them. The glorious man said that he had faced opposition from the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and was helped by the prince Michael - guardian angel of Jewish people.

Daniel felt overwhelmed by weakness, but was reassured and told to be strong. The glorious person said he must fight the prince of Persia and then the prince of Greece. Michael assisted him. He has confirmed and strengthened Darius.

My Thoughts
A wonderful chapter, that narrates the encounter with LORD's messenger. Daniel accurately notes down his emotions and feelings during that encounter. 

Daniel 9

The year is 538 BC, and Babylon had kept Judah captive since 605 BC. The 70 year period Prophet Jeremiah mentioned has almost reached.

Daniel fasted and prayed, confessing the sins of his people. Those curses mentioned in the Law of Moses have come to pass. Daniel asked LORD that He forgive and restore Jerusalem.
Daniel 9:7 “LORD, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame - the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you..." 
Daniel's prayer is a long one, and he pleads to LORD for the return to their homeland. His request is solely based on LORD's mercy, and righteousness. This is how he concluded his prayer:
19 LORD, listen! LORD, forgive! LORD, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear Your Name.”
LORD then showed what lay ahead. Gabriel, who appeared in Daniel's earlier vision came to him, and told him,  “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:.."

NOTE: this next part is difficult to understand, and there are numerous interpretations. For the sake of the reader, I will try to make it simple.

Gabriel said that in 490 years (70 X 7), reconciliation will be made for iniquity, everlasting righteousness will be brought in, and the Most Holy anointed. From the command to restore Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah, there will be 483 years ((7+62) x 7 years = 483 years). The Messiah will be cut off, but for the sake of others, not for himself. The temple will be destroyed.

Daniel 8

Daniel saw a ram with two horns, one longer than the other. The ram charged west, north, and then south. The ram was powerful, none could stand against it. He did what he pleases and became great.

Then a goat came from the west, having a single large horn, crossing the earth without touching the ground. It hit the ram, broke its two horns, knocked it down, and trampled him. But at the height of his power, the goat's horn was broken and in its place, four horns grow toward the four winds of heaven.

One of the horns is small but grew great, like the prince of host. It prospered in everything, threw stars down to the ground and trampled on them, stopped the daily sacrifice, destroyed the sanctuary and threw truth to the ground.

Daniel was then told that it will take 2300 days and nights for this vision to be fulfilled. The sanctuary will then be cleansed and reconsecrated.

After Daniel has seen the vision, someone looking like a man, called Gabriel, appeared to Daniel. Daniel fell down in fear.
Daniel 8:17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”
Gabriel told Daniel the meaning of the vision, giving him "skill and understanding" regarding the vision about the time of the end, but Daniel was exhausted and passed out. Gabriel woke him up and again told him that the vision is about the time of the end.
Daniel 8:27 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

Additional Info:
The goat becomes great in power, but its horn is broken, and replaced by four others = the four successors to Alexander the Great.
One horn = Antiochus IV Epiphanes grows great towards the south, east and Glorious Land.
The two horns of the ram = Kings of Media and Persia; the male goat is the Greek empire.
The Antiochus horn will destroy many, and then be destroyed without human means.

Julius Caesar identified as the king in Daniel 8:23-25, depicted in armor and with a laurel wreath, on horseback, bearing a standard depicting an eagle; the horse trampling three kings with standards depicting a lion, a ram and a goat. 

My Thoughts
Daniel's visions are complex to understand. Even Daniel himself had a tough time understanding them. One needs that superior and divine understanding to interpret such visions. 

Daniel 7

Daniel’s vision is a pictorial representation of history. During in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, he saw four beasts coming from the sea. The first (Babylonian empire) was like a lion with eagle’s wings. Its wings were plucked off, it was lifted up and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

The second beast (Medes empire) was a bear with three ribs between its teeth – it is commanded to devour much flesh.

The third beast (Greek empire) was a leopard with four heads and four bird’s wings on its back. It was given dominion.

The fourth beast (Greek empire) has iron teeth, and ten horns, which are then replaced by a single conspicuous horn. There are a man’s eyes in his horn, and a mouth speaking pompous words. This beast is then slain and burnt. One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven. He comes to the Ancient of Days, and is given everlasting dominion.
Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 
The interpretation: the four beasts are four kings – they are conquered by God, and their kingdoms are given to the people of God. The ten horns of the fourth beast (which made war on the saints) represent ten kings, to be succeeded by another, who shall subdue three kings, before being defeated by the Most High.

Michelangelo - Fresco of Last Judgement based on Daniel 7:13 

Daniel 6

Daniel was made one of three governors over the 120 satraps (regional rulers) under Darius’ administration. Daniel was so distinguished due to his exceptional qualities, that Darius planned to make him responsible over the entire kingdom.
Daniel 6:4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
Other administrators became jealous at Daniel, and they hatched a plot. They approached the king and persuaded him to sign a decree saying that anyone petitioning a god or man other than Darius will be thrown into a den of lions.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Report reached Darius that Daniel has prayed to his God, and violated the King's decree. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. Darius wished no harm to Daniel and told him that his God will protect him. That night, the king fasted, was not entertained, and did not sleep all night.

The next morning, at the crack of the dawn, the king hurried to the lion's den.
When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel 6:21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever!
22 My God sent His angel, and He shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Those who accused Daniel were thrown to the lions, along with their families. Darius decreed that all must honor the God of Daniel. Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and Cyrus.

My Thoughts
Daniel was sent to the "lion's den" for doing what was right. Anytime someone does things right, there will be opposition and schemers will plan out traps for such individuals.

When I look back into my life, what are my "lion's den" experiences that I have encountered in my life?

Hasn't the loving LORD delivered me from all those beasts?

Am I offering sufficient praise and gratitude, for His faithful deliverance throughout these past years?

If I am in a "lion's den" at present, I should just ask for the strength to endure the ordeal until He chooses to provide a way out?

Regardless of whether I am in a "lion's den" or not, I should praise Him for those blessings He has bestowed upon me.

Daniel 5

The year is 593, and this incident took place 23 years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. King Belshazzar is in charge of Babylon.

A great feast - a drunken orgy is going on in the place of Belshazzar, with his wives and concubines, along with the nobles. The king's guests were using those gold and silver vessels taken from the temple at Jerusalem.
Daniel 5:3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.
4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
As the party progressed, a mysterious hand began to write a message on the wall.
Daniel 5:5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.
Belshazzar was troubled, and wished to have the writing read and interpreted. The queen, who came into the banquet hall, recommended Daniel.
Daniel 5:10 The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale!
11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.
12 He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”
Daniel was brought in, and offered 'purple clothes', a gold chain around his neck, and the position of the third highest ruler of his kingdom.
Daniel 5:17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
Daniel said that Belshazzar has not humbled his heart like Nebuchnezzar. He condemned the king's action of his guests partying using those vessels from the temple. He then went on to interpret that handwriting:
25 “This is the inscription that was written:
26 “Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Belshazzar honored Daniel, but that night he was slain, and the kingdom fell to Darius the Mede.
Daniel 5:29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians,was slain,
31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two

My Thoughts
The queen seems to have some wisdom in her and directs the king towards Daniel. It is always a good idea to get the opinion of women. They see things quite differently than men. Using their perspective, we can "see" the other side of any puzzle, and make a final decision. Having a God-fearing, trusted female partner, filled with wisdom is a blessing. 

Daniel 4

This chapter is authenticated by Nebuchadnezzar himself, where he narrates his extraordinary story. He recounts the dream he had, regarding a mighty tree that was ordered to be cut down, and it's stump bound with a band of iron and bronze. Daniel was called in to interpret this dream.
Daniel 4:24 “This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king:
25 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.
26 The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.
27 Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
In about twelve month's time, Daniel’s interpretation if fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar, while he was walking on his roof top, heard a voice from the heaven. Next, he is driven from men and eats grass. His hair grew like eagle’s feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws. Nebuchadnezzar is finally restored to power, and praises God. In the closing verse, Nebuchadnezzar says,
Daniel 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

Daniel 3

This is that popular chapter regarding the ordeal of the fiery furnace. Several years passed by and Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten about Daniel's God. Nebuchadnezzar made his gold covered image, 90 ft high, and invited all dignitaries of Babylon to come gather for it's dedication service.

Nebuchadnezzar then issued a command to worship the statue, or be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Daniel 3:4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do:
5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
Everyone fell down and worshiped the statue, except Daniel's companions. They calmly refused to worship the statue.

They said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The king changed his mind and decided to heat the furnace seven times it's normal heat and wanted to execute this order immediately by throwing them in to the furnace. The heat of the furnace even killed those soldiers who took up Daniel's companions.
Daniel 3:21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar and his counselors saw four men, unbound, and walking in the midst of the fiery furnace, and the form of the fourth One was like the Son of God. The three men were called out to leave the furnace, and they came out unharmed. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the greatness of the Hebrew God, who protected those three men. He then proclaimed that nothing evil should be said against the Hebrew God.

My Thoughts
Where did this large quantity of gold for Nebuchadnezzar golden statue come from? This was right after he plundered King Solomon's Temple.

Today, if we were told to fall down and worship such a statue, how many of us would think, "Everyone is doing it, including all my friends - so let me and my family do the same, and stay away from trouble." How many of us would have the courage to stand up and speak up?

Image Credit: Ted Larson

Daniel 2

Right after his graduation, Daniel was faced with a huge test. In those days, Babylonian magicians were well-versed with the skill of 'dream interpretation'. However, anybody can come up with interpretations.

Nebuchadnezzar is troubled with a dream, and could not sleep. In the morning, he was left with an uneasy impression. Magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers were summoned to interpret the dream. When they asked what his dream was, he first gave them a word of caution:
Daniel 2:5 The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.
6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
They inquired what the dream was. But the king objected to reveal that. He wanted them to first tell him what his dream was.
Daniel 2:10 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.
11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
Nebuchadnezzar ordered the slaughter of all wise men in Babylon. When the officer came looking for Daniel to be executed, he asked for some more time. Along with his friends, he prayed to the LORD, and during the night, the mystery was revealed to Daniel. He praised the LORD for this revelation.

Daniel was taken to the presence of Nebuchadnezzar. When asked if he was able to tell him what he saw in his dream, Daniel answered:
Daniel 2:27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about,
28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
An image appeared, having a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, feet of iron and clay. A stone, cut out without hands, struck the feet, so the rest of the image was crushed together, became as chaff, and was blown away. The stone became a great mountain and filled the earth.

The interpretation was that that Nebuchadnezzar was the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body were subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, was destroyed, all other kingdoms would be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicated that the kingdom was partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. At that time, LORD will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.

After hearing this, Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed:
Daniel 2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 
Nebuchadnezzar praised Daniel’s God, and promoted Daniel.

My Thoughts
Dreams have been held in considerable importance through history by most cultures. The actual state of dreaming is physiological. However, the content of the dream is psychological and is a product of the dreamer’s unconscious mind in collaboration with conscious experience.

Tap here to take you to a popular 'dreamer' site. You'll find a tab 'Common Dreams' and under that are listed chasing, cheating, death, falling, flying, naked, snake, teeth.. etc.

Being able to understand that LORD is the One who grants us wisdom, and reveals us everything, is an eye-opener.

Daniel 1

Daniel, a young Judean exile teenage boy, belonged to a noble/royal family. He was exceptionally able and wise. He arrived in Babylon in 605 BC.

Nebuchadnezzar commanded Ashpenaz to put few Israelites into the king's service from the royal family. He was looking for youngsters with the following traits:
Daniel 1:4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.
5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
His good looks and natural ability ensured him a place for him and his friends in that special training.
Daniel 1:6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
The Babylonians do not follow Jewish rules on clean or unclean food. They do not drain away the blood while slaughtering animals. With an ardent mind to follow Jewish observations, Daniel and his friends chose to restrict themselves to a course of vegetarian diet.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 
The officer was at first reluctant to do so, as the king would be angry. For this, young Daniel came up with a solution.
Daniel 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.
13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”
14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. 
During the training, Daniel and his friends, LORD gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

They graduated the King's school with honors.

My Thoughts
When we stand for the truth and respond with adversity, courage and courtesy, LORD will melt the hearts of our adversaries.

Those who want to be servants of the LORD, will show an aptitude for every kind of learning. The key is to know that we don't know everything.

At the beginning of learning cycle, we ought to know this - learning and understanding comes from the LORD. He is the source of that supreme treasure.