DANIEL 1:1 – 4:37 and REVELATION 8:1–13
How to do a one-day summary on 4 chapters of Daniel? It is not possible so this will be an attempt to give the salient points in the chapters of Daniel to help give a working understanding of this book. The Book of Daniel concludes that knowledge that has been hidden will be unlocked as we approach the last days (Dan 12:3). This is already taking place in the natural where we have seen quantum leaps over the last few decades. The same is true in the Spirit. The Book of Daniel will give significant keys in helping the church come into that revelation knowledge that will be so needed in the days before us. (Isa 33:6). Daniel is a cross between a major and minor prophet. Though his content by way of chapters is not as voluminous as the others its message and content is formidable.
Daniel was taken into captivity in the year 605 BC which would have been the first of three journeys into captivity that Israel experienced. Jeremiah was still functioning as a prophet and Ezekiel was about to enter into the fullness of His prophetic ministry. Daniel lived throughout the duration of the Babylonian captivity and his Book captures it in periodic spurts. The first chapter is about his training in Babylon. He came into great prominence in the land of the Chaldeans as an able administrator. He later came to be known for his gifting in conveying and interpreting dreams.
The first 6 chapters deal primarily with his life during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. The last 6 chapters are visions that have great meaning for the last days. Daniel is named as one of the three most righteous men in the earth along with Noah and Job (Eze 14:14). His life gives insights as to how one can function righteously in the midst of an evil environment. His life and those of his three friends represents the calibre and character of leadership that needs to arise in the last days.
Chapter 1 primarily deals with the training of Daniel. One of the key verses that helps to distinguish Daniel from others is in verse 8.
Dan 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
There are two primary steps that help to define holiness and we see it on display in the life of Daniel. First, he made a decision to separate himself from the delights of the king’s table. He had access to all that the world offered but he made a decision to not defile himself. The first definition of holiness is to separate from the world the flesh and the devil. This is what Daniel and his three friends did. Secondly, Daniel and his friends made the decision to seek the Lord in fasting and prayer over a period of 10 days (Dan 1:12). This was against the advice of the prison guard who feared that they would look famished and weak after such a prolonged period of fasting. This would have reflected upon him. The 2nd definition to holiness is the decision to separate unto God. You cannot separate away from something without separating yourself unto something else. This act is what helped to distinguish Daniel and his friends from all their peers. They were conscious of not allowing themselves to be defiled. The trappings of this world make it difficult for today’s church to be separate and untainted. It is a very real challenge and it requires a deliberate and purposeful approach.
What was the fruit of such a disciplined stand and how does it speak to us today? The Bible says that Daniel and his friends grew in knowledge, wisdom in addition to the understanding of dreams and visions. In verse 20, it says that they were 10 times wiser than the best of the king’s counsellors. This is the manner of wisdom, and knowledge that must come to the fore today. This is how we come to see the fulfilment of Isa 33:6.
Isa 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
It is interesting to note that Daniel and his friends are flowing in a “holy place” anointing seeing that they are employing many of the attributes of the 7 spirits of God (Isa 11:2-3). This is how we can make an approach beyond the outer court into the holy place of God. It cannot be presumed or be something we can do on a whim. The wisdom and knowledge that God gave these men will be for a purpose as we shall see in the ensuing chapters to come. Daniel and his three friends distinguished themselves from the crowd in chapter 1. The question is whether we live the kind of committed Christian life that will enable us to be set apart from the crowd. The sad reality is that the church for the most part is caught up at the king’s table and unable to separate itself from being defiled. This chapter is not only critical for understanding what made Daniel and his three friend’s great it is critical for us in knowing how to prevail and excel in the day and hour in which we live.
There is so much in this chapter that can be said which would fill up a number of pages. We only seek to highlight the main points. Why was it important for Daniel to have such growth in the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God from chapter 1? The reason was that God appointed a time and season for Nebuchadnezzar to have a dream of great significance. In times past the king would summon his magicians and counsellors to come before him whenever he had a dream which needed interpretation. This time was different! The king awoke from a dream that so troubled him. The problem was that the dream had been taken from him and he could not remember its contents. He demanded his magicians to tell him the dream and its interpretation. Their response to the king was quite revealing.
Dan 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
They said to the king that there was no man who could perform such a thing. Well, there was a man who could do this and his name was Daniel. This means that the dream that is about to be brought forth has great significance. God was not going to allow for man to taint or misrepresent the dream in any way. This is why it was hid from man and revealed to Daniel. This dream would have relevance for Daniel’s day but most importantly for the last days. How could God convey end time truths to a young man in the midst of captivity some 2650 years before the event? God can do so by revealing the KNOWLEDGE of what the king dreamed to Daniel. God could also give Daniel the UNDERSTANDING of what the dream meant. He also could give Daniel WISDOM in knowing how to present himself to the king. Can we see the fruits of chapter 1 coming into a reality in chapter 2?
How did Daniel know that God would give to Him the knowledge of the dream along with the understanding of its interpretation? It was because Daniel had a disciplined devotional life with the Lord. Remember, he just spent 10 days separating Himself unto God in prayer and fasting. This is why our devotional life is such a key. It is what helps us to understand that God is faithful in all of His ways, each and every day. If we do not give this kind of time to the Lord in our daily walk we will be deficient in discerning His voice and knowing how to manage the challenging events when they come our way.
Daniel gives the dream and its interpretation in verses 31-49. There are many reference books which help to give specific insights as to what is represented but here is a brief overview. The image seen in the dream in chapter 2 will relate to the 4 creatures in Daniel 7. God is giving Daniel insight into the empires that have affected Israel throughout their history and of course the empires that would yet come. This image has 4 basic parts which represent different empires or nations. The first is a head of gold. This is clear reference to Babylon as confirmed in verse 38. The second portion is the head and arms which will speak of the Medes and Persians who would come later. Remember, this dream is being conveyed to the king of Babylon long before their fall to the Persians. The third portion of the dream addresses the belly and the thighs which will speak of the Greek empire. The fourth section is that of the legs which speaks of the future Roman Empire. The next portion mentioned is the feet with its ten toes. It speaks of 10 kingdoms that will arise in the last days. These ten toes have a mixture of clay and iron which makes them inferior by way of their composition to the other portions of the body. With each progressive move from the head to the toes, there is a deterioration of metal quality. It starts with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, thighs of brass and feet and toes of iron. The key in this vision is Babylon. It figures from Genesis through Revelation. The last confederation of nations will be empowered by the antichrist but it will be a loose confederation of nations.
This chapter and its vision serves as the foundation for all the revelations to come throughout the balance of Daniel. The 10 kingdoms that are mentioned will come forth from Rome due to its being identified with iron which was seen in the description of the Roman Empire. The beast will come forth from the image and is identifiable as we shall later discover. This chapter will link nicely with Daniel 7 as well as Revelation 13 and 17. We will try and tie some of these scriptures together in future.
In verses 44-45, we see a kingdom that will arise and stand forever. There is a stone that is cut out of the mountains who will break the power of the brass, iron, silver and gold. This is speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ who will descend at the time of the 2nd coming to destroy all the nations that are represented in the image. He then will establish His millennial reign upon earth. The king after hearing of the dream and its interpretation recognized the anointing that was upon Daniel. He was known for his wisdom and administrative capacities. He was given honour and prestige in the kingdom being in a position of great influence.
This is one of those chapters that most Christian people know about but fail to understand its modern day significance for the church. There have been many occasions where I speak of strong parallels from scriptural accounts to our day. This is one of those that would top the list. We come to know about the character of the same three friends of Daniel seen in chapter one. We know that Daniel and his friends grew in knowledge, wisdom and understanding but we see another quality here in chapter 3. It is the fear of the Lord, which also happens to be one of the 7 Spirits of the Lord. This will be on full display a bit later in this chapter.
There is a message of conformity as seen in the cry of a herald in verse 4. What is his message? What is the similarity seen today? The message was that everyone had to bow before the image at the sounding of the cornet. If one failed to conform, it would cost them their life. What is the similarity seen today? Let’s think of the modern day news media and its day to day attempt to instil its message of conformity. The ability to think is being stripped away in lieu of a false narrative that becomes believable after persistent bombardments of its message. Today’s narrative puts man at the center of the universe while taking away God and absolute law and morality. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stand against the tidal wave of ungodly secularism. This is what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had to deal with. It could be likened to a modern day taking the mark of the beast. They refused to do so and it brought about the wrath of the king. They were even given another chance to change their mind. It is their response to the king that is most notable.
Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
Dan 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
These 3 men were willing to risk their lives to honor the God of Israel. Their ability to do so stems from the level of relationship they had with God as seen from chapter 1. They were living in the world but not living for the world. They had the ability to not be defiled by the trapping of the world. The world system of their day demanded conformity and that everyone would walk in lockstep with its agenda. When the sound of the cornet played out all people had to bow.
It is not hard to distinguish the same forces at work today. The Babylonian system is known for its “conformity” based manner of life. This is seen right back to the days of Nimrod at Babel. It is not just a Babylonian system it is a satanic one. Let’s now fast forward to the last days and consider an event that will take place.
Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
Rev 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Can you see a similar message of conformity with a similar consequence of death to those who choose to not take the mark or bow down to the agenda? How will a people stand in such a day of great pressure to conform? The key is to observe the lives of these three men. This is what is going to be required to stand faithful in these challenging times. The key in being able to stand strong and faithful in our day is to learn from Daniel and his three friends from chapter 1. It must be a purposeful decision taken in our heart to not be defiled with the world and its system. It will also require a strong devotional life that will enable us to know God at a more personal level.
Daniel 3 is literally taking place today right before our very eyes. There is an overarching media trumpeting its message of conformity. It is an instrument (much of media, not all of it) that is brainwashing the people of the world with propaganda and disinformation. People are being told what to think while being inculcated by a new system of values contrary to God’s moral absolutes. We live in a world that has been desensitized from the stinging reality of sin that surrounds each and every one of us. The sad part is that even the church has lost its ability to stand out because the church is slowly but surely being absorbed into this satanic system; like a boat on the outer edges of a whirlpool soon to be sucked into its inner core. Where are the 3 friends of Daniel today? We better study their lives and seek to be like them because time is running out. It is going to be men like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who will be able to stand when the reality of Revelation 13 is upon us.
This is a chapter that serves as Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony in how God led him through particular experiences. He acknowledges God as sovereign and one who truly rules over the affairs the men. This is quite an admission from the king of Babylon who was a man of great pride. In fact it is this issue of pride that serves as the primary theme of his testimony. The king has a dream that he relates to Daniel. In this dream there is a great tree which is a reference to the king. After hearing the dream Daniel was troubled for about an hour. There was a mutual respect between Daniel and the king. Daniel knew that this dream pertained to the king so he was troubled as to what this would mean to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel had great respect for the king and was troubled that there would be certain judgements that would later come upon his life. Daniel interpreted the dream by saying that this great tree grew and became great; its heights reaching into the heavens. It is a similar pride that was seen at Babel with Nimrod. Can you see how Babylon is threaded throughout the course of scripture? Soon thereafter a “Holy watcher” descended from heaven and cut down the tree to destroy it. The watcher was told to leave the stump in the ground to be held by iron and brass. The interpretation was that Nebuchadnezzar would be cut down to live like a beast in the field for a period of 7 years (vs 23-33).
The Word of the Lord came to pass one year later. It was the following declaration of the king that sealed his fate. Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Do you see the pride in that statement? Does it sound familiar with what Lucifer said before the throne of God (Isa 14:13-14)? We need to be very careful in our own lives. In our own ministries and in our nations there can be tendencies where we take credit for successes. If we understand Daniel 4 and Genesis 10-11 when Babel was formed we will have understanding concerning Mystery and Natural Babylon of the last days (Rev 17-18).
Nebuchadnezzar was restored to his throne after the 7 years of judgement. It was his son Evil Merodach who reigned in his stead during that 7 year period. This was not an isolated event seeing that people knew that something had happened to Nebuchadnezzar. Evil Merodach ruled wickedly while Nebuchadnezzar was off the throne. He was sentenced to prison after Nebuchadnezzar returned to the throne. The king had been greatly humbled and went forth no more as a conquering territorial ruler. His heart had been changed. This is testament to God’s ability to restore even the vilest of hearts. One of the primary themes and focus of chapter 4 is that of pride. It is a warning sign for us. Are we quick to always give credit to God for that which is done? The hidden serpent of leviathan must be fleshed out from each of us and removed (Job 41). It is then we can declare like Job, Nebuchadnezzar and all others that God is sovereign and is the supreme ruler of all of creation. A secondary theme of chapter 4 is the message of Restoration.
The opening of the 7th seal now takes place. It is the last of the seal judgements and it consists of silence for a stated period of half of an hour. Whether it is an actual half hour that we are used to is not known. In any case the 7th seal is a silence in heaven that prevails for a period of time in preparation for the next series of judgements to come. It is a very solemn time as all activity in heaven comes to a halt. It is a collective pause before the execution of further righteous judgements that are about to come upon the earth. It is a scene that is most difficult to even try and contemplate. This 7th seal is in actuality the introduction into the next series of judgements known as the Trumpet judgements. John sees 7 angels, each of which having a trumpet. These trumpets can be interpreted as voices. In Rev 8:13 shows an angel flying forth with a loud voice crying Woe Woe. So we can say that these trumpets judgements or woes are judgements that the angel will voice forth with power and great authority.
In verse 3 John has a vision of a heavenly temple where incense went forth from the golden altar. This is not to be confused with the temple that will be seen in Revelation 11:1-2. The temple in Revelation 11 is a literal temple that will be in Jerusalem at the time. There is an outer court mentioned in the temple in chapter 11 which would certainly not apply to a heavenly one. There are actually many similarities between the two. Here we see the prayers of the saints that are mingled with incense that the angel places upon the altar before the throne. The incense represents the prayers of the Lamb of God while upon earth. It is the prayers of the saints mingled with the incense that releases the trumpet judgements upon the earth (vs 6). It is here where the Lord is vindicating those who have cried out for justice. The Lord made this statement in Luke 18:7-8. The Lord shall vindicate His elect. The first trumpet releases a burning of the green grass and vegetation. The Bible says that 1/3 of the trees will also be burned. This would then have an effect upon the animal kingdom. In verses 8-9 the 2nd trumpet is sounded whereby a sight likened to a great mountain burning with fire is being cast into the sea. Perhaps it speaks of a meteor or some celestial particle. In any case it results in 1/3 of the sea being turned into blood. This is similar to one of the plagues that came upon Egypt during the time of Moses. Interestingly, Moses will again have this authority in the last days as seen in Rev 11:6. The result from this calamity will be the destruction of 1/3 of marine life as well as destruction on 1/3 of the ships. Why is the figure 1/3 always seemed to be used? Perhaps it is due to 1/3 of the angels being caught up in Lucifer’s rebellion. In any case the judgements are horrific and it has only started.
The third trumpet sounds as recorded in verses 10-11. John sees a great star falling from heaven. This is more than likely a fallen angel being cast out of its heavenly realm. It is cast into the sea at the source of where the waters originate. This fallen angel has the name of Wormwood. This name (Wormwood) is actually a plant that is known to Palestine and Europe. I am just speculating as to whether this may have been a prevailing power over this region. The result of this judgement was that many men died from the bitter waters. This thought of bitterness is something we need to pay close attention to. If we allow bitterness to lurk within our heart it will prohibit the ability to receive grace.
Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
In verse 12 the sounding forth of the 4th trumpet takes place. We see 1/3 of the sun being affected along with 1/3 of the moon and 1/3 of stars. There was an earlier judgement (the 6th seal) where the sun became black. It appears that the judgement would have been of a short duration before becoming normal again. This was the case with the plagues in Egypt. There was great lamentation in the midst of the plagues but the minds quickly changed once things came back to some normalcy.
It is here where John can hear an angel sounding out concerning the first 4 judgements that were poured out. The next three will be even more terrifying. One of the things we will see as these various judgements are released is that the heart of man becomes even more hardened against God. One would think this would not be the case there would be a softening and or repenting of their ways. Sadly, the anger and hatred for God only seems to intensify. This is why the judgements grow in severity. It is not God’s will to punish man but he has chosen to defy and disobey a Holy and Righteous God. The cup of iniquity that has been brewing since Genesis is now coming ripe into its fullness. The judgements of God are declared to be Righteous and True by those who are gathered around the throne. The purging and cleansing of the earth is now underway as the Lord is paving the way for the establishment of His Millennial reign.