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Daniel

The Book of Daniel: Chapters 7-12, Biblical study by Beth Moore

Chapter 7


Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 is about the little horn and the Ancient of Days, and it occurred during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign.


Daniel has a dream about 4 beasts that emerge from the sea. These beasts represent the four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.

  1. Lion-like with wings of an eagle. The wings were torn off, stood on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. Refers to Babylon.

  2. Bear-like. On its side, three ribs in its mouth. “Get up and eat your fill of flesh” (Daniel 7:5). Refers to Medo-Persia.

  3. Leopard-like. Four wings on its back, four heads, and given authority to rule. Refers to Greece.

  4. Beast. Terrifying, frightening, very powerful, large iron teeth, 10 horns, devoured victims, trampled underfoot. Refers to Rome.

The 10 horns represent 10 kings that will rise from the beast. These are analogous to the 10 toes in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream.


Empire

Daniel 2 Symbol

Daniel 7 Symbol

Babylon

Head of gold

Lion with eagle's wings

Medo-Persia

Chest and arms of silver

Lopsided bear

Greece

Belly and thighs of bronze

Winged leopard

Rome

Legs of iron

Beast

In the end days, Daniel 7:22 says that the “Ancient of Days” will come and judge in favor of the saints and the Most High. The saints will rule the kingdom.


The little horn arises from among the 10 horns. It uproots the first 3 horns. The little horn had eyes like a man and a boastful mouth. It represents a human ruler or the antichrist. The little horn looks more imposing than the others, and before it, 3 of the first horns fall. The little horn waged war against the saints and was defeating them until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgement. Then, the saints were given victory over the horn. The little horn will speak boastfully, and speak against the Most High. He will oppress the saints and try to change the set times and laws. Temporarily, the saints will be at the horn’s mercy. But then, the court will assemble, strip the horn’s power, and destroy him forever. The kingdoms of the Most High will rule everlasting.


At the present, we live in the Church Age. We do not know if we are living in the time of the 10 kings or if this represents a future time. We will only know for certain once we can look back in time at it.


There are 3 other names given to “the little horn:”

  1. “The Man of Lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10)

  2. “The Beast” (Revelation 13:1-8)

  3. “Antichrist” (1 John 2:18)

Anything God does, Satan tries to counterfeit. The death and resurrection of the beast are counterfeit of Jesus’s death and resurrection. The dragon, beast, and false prophet is a counterfeit of the Holy Trinity. The miracles that Satan’s demons perform are counterfeits of God’s miracle-working power.


In Revelation 13, there are 2 beasts:

  1. Beast out of the sea (political power)

  2. Beast out of the earth (power to perform miracles). This beast is the same of the False Prophet.

For the end times interpretation, there are 3 primary models. The main question is, “Will Jesus set up a kingdom on this earth, and if so, when and in what form?”

  1. Amillennialism

  2. Historic premillennialism

  3. Dispensational premillennialism

Historic premillennialism – the tribulation refers to Israel and Christians as all God’s people. In this view, all believers are grouped together.


Dispensational premillennialism – The view of Scripture that sees Israel and the church as two separate peoples of God, the rapture of the church before the great tribulation, and God fulfilling his promises to Israel through a thousand-year earthly reign of Christ. In this view, the tribulation refers only to the nation of Israel, which is distinct from the church.


The little horn will be a genius, and he will oppress the saints. The saints are “the people of the Most High” (Daniel 7:27). The little horn will also “try to change the set times and the laws” (Daniel 7:25). What does this phrase mean? We don’t really know. But it will likely have a heavy impact on religion. One interpretation is that the antichrist will attempt to eliminate religious holidays. It is possible that the antichrist will fully re-structure our laws and morals so that religion is entirely removed. This is interesting. I can see our world already moving in this direction. Nietzsche said that losing God is the worst thing we can for ourselves. Similarly, C. S. Lewis explores in some of his writings what would happen if religion was removed. It appears to me that religion is clearly being removed from our society, and this is scary.


How does Satan oppress or harass me? Beth says that he tries to wear us out. God’s people will be harassed daily until their lives become miserable. Is this accurate? Do I agree with this? I don’t think so. I don’t agree that we will become miserable. I think that God’s people are given great joy in their lives. But I do agree that we will be oppressed. We are tempted daily by the pursuits of money, career, job, success, food, success, etc. These are daily temptations that call to us, and it can be tiresome to fight them. Hence some people give in to one or more of these temptations.


1260 days = 42 months = 3.5 years

  • “The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25)

  • “They will trample the holy city for 42 months” (Revelation 11:2)

  • “The woman (Israel) fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be take care of for 1260 days” (Revelation 12:6)

  • “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for 42 months” (Revelation 13:5-7)

“Time” according to most interpretation refers to one year. Thus, “a time, times and half a time” likely means 3.5 years, which is consistent with other references in Revelation.

Satan, the dragon, will be bound for 1,000 years, and Christ will reign for 1,000 years.


Chapter 8


Daniel’s vision in chapter 8 is about the ram and the goat, and it occurred during the third year of Belshazzar’s reign.


The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. The longer horn represents the growing dominance of Persia in the Medo-Persian Empire. The shaggy goat is Greece. The large horn between the goat’s eyes represents Alexander the Great. The large horn was broken off at the height of its power.


The point of great works is to “bring glory to the Father.” There is nothing wrong with doing “great things” like Alexander the Great. However, we need to be careful that doing great things does not become selfish. A wiser prayer is to ask God to do great things. If we are lucky, he will make us have a small role in those great things. God used Alexander the Great to spread the Greek culture and language all over the world.


If we obey God, doing what the Bible instructs us to do, then we have done our duty, nothing more. It is our duty to serve God, just like a servant is expected to serve his master with no expectation of reward.


The Septuagint was the first translation of the Bible from Hebrew into Greek. It was completed by 70 scholars in 70 days. The Septuagint provided a common language Bible to all people of the world. God used Alexander the Great to unite the whole world under a single language, Greek, so that his word could be spread to every person. The Septuagint is sometimes written as “LXX.”


Alexander the Great and the Greek empire conquered the Medo-Persian Empire, and after Alexander died, his four leading generals divided the empire among themselves. Alexander’s generals were:

  1. Cassander -> Greece

  2. Lysimachus -> Asia Minor

  3. Seleucus -> Syria and Israel

  4. Ptolemy -> Egypt

After the great ram’s horn was broke off, 4 other horns grew up in its place. These were Alexander’s 4 generals. From one of these horns, came another horn that started small but grew in power. Antiochus IV, ruler of Syria and Israel, was this “little horn.”


Antiochus Epiphanes ruled during the 190 B.C. – 160 B.C. timeframe. He infamously persecuted the Jews and threw down God’s temples. Epiphanes means “illustrious” and refers to the deity. Antiochus IV Epiphanes prefigures the antichrist. Although Antiochus desecrated the Jewish temple, God promised Daniel in his vision that it would be re-consecrated. Daniel received his vision of the ram and goat during the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign.


The little horn that was Antiochus “grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.” Stars in Daniel likely refer to those who are wise and who lead many to righteousness. Alternatively, the stars can refer to the people of Israel.


In John 10:22-23, Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Dedication. The Feast of Dedication is also known as Hanukkah. It celebrates the cleansing of the temple after Antiochus Epiphanes defiled it by sacrificing a pig to Zeus. Hanukkah is celebrated towards the end of December.


Antiochus Epiphanes was also called the “madman.” He committed many acts of sacrilege against the Jews. He meddled in the appointment of high priests, forced Greek customs upon the Jews, looted the temple, and defiled the altar. His greatest act of sacrilege against the Jews occurred when he erected a temple to Zeus and offered swine sacrifices.


One of the Jews, Mattathias, killed another Jew, who was an official and approached the pagan altar. This started a guerilla war against Antiochus. After Mattathias’s death, Judas (aka Maccabeus) became the leader of the Jewish rebels. Judas Maccabeus is credited with cleansing the temple after Antiochus’s defilement. The books, First and Second Maccabees, which are contained in the apocrypha, describe the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus. This makes me want to read some of the apocrypha texts. Upon further research, I’m actually interested in the deuterocanonical texts. Most commonly, the apocrypha refer to:

  1. 1 Esdras

  2. 2 Esdras

  3. Tobit

  4. Judith

  5. Rest of Esther

  6. Wisdom

  7. Ecclesiasticus

  8. Baruch

  9. Song of the Three Children

  10. Story of Susanna

  11. The Idol of Bel and the Dragon

  12. Prayer of Manasseh

  13. 1 Maccabees

  14. 2 Maccabees

The “church” is any person who places his/her faith in Jesus. Beth believes that the nation of Israel is separate from the church.


Premillennialists believe that the 1,000 year period will occur after Christ returns. After Christ returns, he will establish his kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. Amillennialists believe that the 1,000 year period is symbolic to the time before Christ’s return. In the amillennialism view, the tribulation and millennium refer to present reality. In the historic premillennialism view, the church will go through the tribulation period. In the dispensation premillennialism view, the church will be ascended to heaven prior to the tribulation. All viewpoints believe in Christ’s second coming.



1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 are used to support the pretribulation premillennialism viewpoint. Although the rapture is not explicitly mentioned in Scripture, these verses can be used to support the rapture, where Christ raises his believers to be with him prior to his second coming.


We, the church, are Christ’s bride. When he returns, we will be wedded to the Lamb, God. This is beautiful. Until our marriage day with Christ, we are to be preparing ourselves. Weddings seem to be a major theme in my life right now. As Jesus’s bride, I am supposed to be preparing myself for the ceremony. The “armies of heaven” will follow the rider on the white horse (Christ). The “armies” will be dressed in “fine linen, white and clean” just like a bride’s dress. As Christ’s bride and army, we will be dressed just like a human bride. I look forward to marrying Jesus and being part of his army!


Other names for the White Horse:

  1. “Faithful and True”

  2. “Word of God”

  3. “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”


Chapter 9


Daniel’s vision in chapter 9 is about the seventy sevens, and it occurred during the first year of King Darius’s reign.


By chapter 9, Babylon is overthrown and Daniel is in excess of 80 years old. Daniel, from the Scriptures, understood that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. This understanding came from the Scriptures of Jeremiah the prophet. Daniel read Jeremiah’s words and knew that they were true. Daniel prayed and pleaded with God. He fasted and put on a sack cloth. Daniel tried to understand the times, and then he pleaded with God in prayer. He had open dialogue with God, just like we should. His prayers talked about God’s faithfulness (“the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does”), Israel’s sins (“we have transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you”), and they expressed Daniel’s urgency (“Oh Lord, hear and act!”).


In Daniel’s prayer, he uses “we” (“we have sinned…” and “we have been wicked…” and “we have not listened…”). He considered himself one of the masses and considered their sins to be his own. He shared the blame. The prayer of one man can affect whole nations! My prayers matter, just like I can change the world. This is so interesting. I though this idea was enlightening when I articulated it for the first time while reading “CODE,” and now it is cool to see Beth re-shape it with prayer.


God honors the prayers of a fellowman. Daniel is praying as a fellowman of Israel. Abraham, Moses, Ezra, and Nehemiah all transgressed between God and their fellow peers as an individual representing a larger community. These are examples of individual men who prayed for their fellowmen and successfully interceded. Right now, I have a few men (fellowmen) that I am fervently praying for. I would like to intercede on their behalves and offer what help I can. Daniel makes requests of God, because our God has great mercy. Because of God’s mercy, Daniel prayed with confidence to his Lord. He starts his prayers by remembering God’s great acts from the past, and this helps instill confidence in the Lord.


While praying, Gabriel came to Daniel.

Psalm 141:1-2

“Oh Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense.
May the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”

One of life’s hardest questions is arguably, if God is sovereign and all-knowing, then why do we bother praying at all?


Another hard question is, how do we distinguish between my own desires and authentic words from God?


Chapter 10


Daniel’s vision in chapters 10-12 is about the Kings of the South and North, and it occurred during the third year of King Cyrus’s reign.


As a whole, chapters 10-12 comprise Daniel’s last vision, which is his last revelation from God. This final vision occurs in the third year of Cyrus’s reign. Daniel has 4 total visions. They occur during the first and third years of Belshazzar’s reign, and during the first and third years of Cyrus’s reign.


During this time, Cyrus released the first waves of Jews back to Jerusalem. Daniel stayed in Babylon, likely because of his age; he was too old. Isn’t it interesting how our greatest spiritual revelations occur when we are not in the comfort of our homes? When we are not home, we are not comfortable, and there is tremendous opportunity for God to reveal himself. Maybe it is because during times of discomfort we seek him most.


On the 14th day of the 1st month, the Passover begins. On the 15th day of the 1st month, the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. For 7 days, eat only bread without yeast and present offerings to the Lord. The Hebrew’s first month is “Nisan” and it occurs during late March/early April. Daniel’s vision came following the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrations. Surely, he was mourning his people during this time and overwhelmed with emotions. He was probably “heart sick,” because he was hoping to return home, to Jerusalem with his people.


Daniel alone sees the vision. The other people with him did not see it. However, they experienced such terror that they fled. Why were they terrified? When Daniel saw the vision, he lost his strength, his face turned pale, and he was helpless.


Ezekiel sees the glory of God, and describes the appearance in Ezekiel 1:25-28. In Revelation 1:12-16, John sees the “Living One” who holds the “keys of death and Hades.” He describes the awesome sight of God. It is likely that in Daniel 10:5-6, Daniel sees spiritual being #1 who is God himself, just like Ezekiel and John. This is a theophany. A theophany is a physical manifestation of a deity. It is God appearing in a visible form. This is what Daniel sees as “the man dressed in linen” in verses 5-6. In Daniel 10:10-14, a second spiritual being is introduced. This second being is God’s messenger, who is sent to deliver a message to Daniel. Deity #2 is a messenger, whereas deity #1 is God.


How would I react if I suddenly saw Jesus while I was praying? If I could have a meal with Jesus, what would I ask and what would I talk about? These are interesting questions that would make good essay topics. I think that answering these questions would be a fun exercise, but I don’t have the time right now.


The angel messenger tells Daniel not to be afraid. God has heard Daniel’s prayers and the angel is coming in response.


Daniel’s postures:

  1. No strength left (8)

  2. Face turned deathly pale (8)

  3. Helpless (8)

  4. Fell into a deep sleep (9)

  5. Face to the ground (9)

  6. Trembling on my hands and knees (10)

  7. Bowed with my face toward the ground (15)

  8. Speechless (15)

  9. Helpless (16)

  10. My strength is gone (17)

  11. I can hardly breathe (17)

“Pride leads to every other vice; it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” This is a great quote from Beth Moore! When Daniel humbled himself and prayed, then heaven responded and started doing great things. Daniel had known God his whole life, but it isn’t until Daniel learns how to trust God completely that the heavens move in response to his prayers and actions. How does a person gain this type of faith? With discipline and time. Daniel never stopped learning, and he never stopped seeking the understanding of God. Because he was constantly seeking wisdom, his faith was constantly increasing, and he was able to move heaven. So cool! Who wouldn’t want to be like Daniel? Who wouldn’t want wisdom and knowledge from God?


Apart from God, there is no other god. Only our God can predict future events. Only he knows what will come. He even challenges other gods and idols to predict future events. They cannot. They are worthless and meaningless idols. God has the ultimate power to foretell and fulfill events. He fulfills prophesies. Here is something that I have always found interesting. The Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled by New Testament stories. I have struggled for a long time with the idea that the fulfillment of prophecies within a single text is circular. If you don’t believe the Bible, then why believe that the New Testament stories are true? Or believe that the Old Testament prophesies are true? It’s circular. But once you start incorporating historical events recorded in outside texts, and stories recorded in secular texts, and these works confirm the prophecies and stories in the Bible, then it becomes believable. I feel like this is what confirms the Bible. To me, seeing the truth of God’s word in secular works cements my belief.


Chapter 11


The angel tells Daniel, “three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth will be far richer than all the others” (Daniel 11:2). The fourth king who exceeded all others in wealth was King Xerxes, who ruled during the time of Esther.


There is a woman in Daniel 11:6, the daughter of the King of the South, aka the princess. She goes to the King of the North to make an alliance. However, she and her father will be betrayed and they will lose their power. But somebody from the woman’s family line will rise in her place and attack the King of the North and be victorious. For a while, the Kings of the North and South will be joined by marriage and be allies. The daughter of the King of the South was Berenice.


Seleucids

  • Kings of the North

  • Syrians

  • Original King of the North was Seleucus

Ptolemies

  • Kings of the South

  • Egyptians

  • Original King of the South was Ptolemy

Ptolemy and Seleucus fought over possession of the Holy Land. The Holy Land was located in Palestine, which is located between the two. “North” and “South” refer to their locations with regard to Israel. The common denominator of every world power is that they possess the Holy Land. Every world power ruled Israel at the time of their dominance (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greek, Rome).


The think that the historical events predicted by Daniel are so fascinating! They give me the chills to read about. My question is, where did Beth learn about Ptolemy and Antiochus? Where did she get her historical information? From Biblical commentaries or from other sources? From any secular works? What secular texts can I read to learn more information about these histories from a non-Christian perspective? I think this would be so cool and worthwhile! I think it would be fun to read about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies in secular works. Just like I enjoy noticing the influence of God’s word, and the Biblical themes retold, in classic works of literature. The Bible has survived time, and a majority (if not all) of the greatest works of literature have a Biblical foundation, whether or not they are strictly Christian works.


Daniel 11:15-19 talks about Antiochus III, who was the father of Antiochus IV, who we learned about in Daniel 8. Antiochus Epiphanes IV prefigures the antichrist. Antiochus III captures Israel from the King of the South. He pushes the Ptolemies out of Israel, and consequently many Jews viewed him as their savior. “Apart from the Lord, there simply is no savior.” Things that Antiochus does while ruler:

  • He will do as he pleases

  • No one can stand against him

  • He will establish himself in the “Beautiful Land”

  • He will have the power to destroy the Holy Land

  • He will give a daughter in marriage to the King of the South with plans to overthrow

  • He will conquer many coastlands

  • He will eventually stumble and fall and be seen no more

If you forget your savior, Jesus, then your plants will not grow, and you will not reap any harvest. The idea is that without God, and apart from Christ, nothing will grow. Your life will be fruitless and meaningless.


Antiochus III gave his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy V as a wife. He hoped that his actions would help him gain control over Egypt.


Daniel 11:20 refers to Seleucus IV. His reign is short and only one verse in Daniel is dedicated to it. Daniel 11:21-32 refer to Antiochus Epiphanes IV who is also known as the “little horn” and is a prefiguration of the antichrist. Antiochus IV’s heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it. Yikes! Anybody who takes action against God is doomed for disaster. This is true historically, and I think it true today too.


Set your heart and mind, with determination, on God. Determination gets converted to action. The opposite is also true. When you set your heart against God, your actions will rebel against him.

In Daniel 11:30, “ships of the western coastland” oppose Antiochus IV. These ships were the Romans. Antiochus IV will be frustrated and humiliated by the Romans. Therefore, he will vent his furies on the Jews by desecrating their temple.


In Daniel 11:40, the King of the North and the King of the South will both rise up against the “king that exalts himself.” It is likely that verse 36 onward refer to the antichrist. The antichrist will exalt himself, magnify himself, and say unheard-of things. The antichrist will be successful until “the time of the wrath is completed.” What has been determined must take place. God is always in control, and not for a minuet does he submit control to Satan.


We should celebrate God’s coming. When Jesus returns, much of the earth will be restored to its past Eden-like state. All we know for sure is that God’s kingdom will exceed our expectations. It is impossible for us to be disappointed by Christ’s return and his kingdom. Therefore, have joy and be excited! When Christ returns, the joy of the people will be increased, and the earth will be filled with knowledge of the Lord. See Isaiah 35:1-10 for a description of the beauty of God’s new creation.

During the 1,000 year reign of Christ, Satan will be locked in the Abyss. People will be martyred because of their testimonies about Christ. They will be beheaded because they do not worship the beast or its image, and because they do not receive the mark on their foreheads or their hands, but they will reign with Christ for 1,000 years, and they will be priests of God and of Christ. If we live our lives loving others like God loves, then we can have confidence on the day of judgement. God is love. Love like God. As best as you can.


According to Revelation 20, there will be one final war after Satan is released from the Abyss, which will occur after Christ’s 1,000 year reign. The dead will be judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. “God’s punishment always fits the crime” (Beth Moore). Is this true? I think so. It is consistent with other great works of literature and contemporary ideas, such as “The Divine Comedy” and the Netflix series, “Lucifer.” Where does the interpretation of punishment according to what is deserved come from? Revelation 20 is one supporting verse. Another is Matthew 11:24. The judgement of Tyre and Sidon will be more bearable than the judgement against Korazin and Bethsaida. There is also evidence that to whomever more knowledge is given, more will be required. There are varying levels of judgement by God. He is a fair God. This idea of levels of punishment/levels of hell encourages me to read “The Divine Comedy,” which is on my reading list.


According to 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, the end will come. The kingdom will be handed to “God the Father” from Christ, and Christ will destroy every dominion, authority, and power. The last enemy destroyed will be death. Revelation 21:1-6 tells us that in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be no more sea, no more tears, and no more death. In Revelation 21:6, God says, “It is done,” which probably refers to conquering death. Revelation 22:4 says, “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” God’s servants will see his magnificent face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. No wonder the mark of the beast will not be placed on the foreheads of Christ’s people. Because there would be no place left to place God’s name. This is a connection that I never made. And this is good.


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