Friday, October 21, 2016

The Old Testament Book of Daniel: part 1, Structure, Division and Prophecies Fulfilled


In Hebrew this book is called Dan’yiel meaning “judge of God” or “the strong man of God.” It was written by Daniel who, like Ezekiel, was a Jewish captive in Babylon. Daniel was of royal or princely ancestry. He was one of Israel’s Major Prophets yet he was distinctively the prophet of the “times of the Gentiles.” His vision envelops the whole course of Gentile world-rule to its catastrophic end and to the setting up of the Messianic kingdom. Heavy stuff.

The book is in four divisions. First there is the personal history of Daniel, then the visions of Nebuchadnezzar and their results. More personal history follows and then Daniel’s visions.

Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream after the magi (Persian astrologer/priests) failed. That dream’s interpretation revealed
the course of Gentile rule and the end times. Daniel’s buddies (who hasn’t heard of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?) got thrown into the fiery furnace and survived.

Next Daniel interpreted the “writing on the wall.” Clearly, God gave Daniel the power to reveal secrets. Next comes the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. But from chapter 7 on we have end times visions of the beast and the second coming of Christ, many of which are identical to scenes in the book of Revelation.

What I want to look at is Chapter 9 verses 21 – 27:

21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 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:
 24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
 25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 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 at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

These events were fulfilled in the same order they were prophesied as follows:

First: there would be a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. After the Medo-Persians had conquered the Babylonian empire about 2540 years ago, they ruled an empire that included the land of Israel. About 2446 years ago, around 445 B.C., the Persian king Artaxerxes gave permission to the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem. Jerusalem was still in ruins from when it had been destroyed by the Babylonians.

Second: Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt. It was.

Third: Then an anointed one (messiah) would make his appearance and then be “cut off.” In approximately 33 A.D. Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah promised by the Old Testament prophets, but many people rejected him and he was crucified by the Romans (cut off).

Fourth: Then Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed again. In 70 A.D., about 40 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans and the Temple has not yet been rebuilt.

The amazing fulfillment of these prophecies in Daniel is indisputable.