The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2“This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. (Exodus 12:1-2).
In that verse, the LORD Is preparing the Hebrews for the grand finale, the last plague and their exit from Egypt. Upcoming is the Passover, where the LORD Instructs Moses and Aaron to tell the people to stay in their homes that night, eat only unleavened bread, and to take an unblemished lamb, slaughter it, and use a hyssop branch to daub the doorposts with its blood. The death angel would pass over any home so marked.
This essay first appeared on The End Time in April 2010
The Hebrews use the term “Ancient of Days” for God so as not to accidentally say His name and blaspheme. Ancient of Days is a poetic sounding name, and a lovely one. It is also comforting. It rings with authority and by its own name has a timeline that precedes us mere humans and will outlast this earth and the Church Age. It is and was and forever will be, since ancient times. He and His throne IS the Ancient of Days!
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” [Micah 5:2]
Daniel is a difficult book to interpret prophetically, but, then again, maybe not so difficult when you remember “scripture interprets scripture.” In 2 Peter 1:20 Peter wrote: But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, He was not saying that we would not understand it. Nor is he saying that we should not try to interpret it. He was saying that the interpretations are given to us, that they are contained in the Bible.
Let’s take a look at the following from Daniel 7:15-27–
As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.
Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates.
I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 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.
Thus he said: The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.
When Daniel was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through his mind disturbed him, he approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all that he’d been told.
“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:” The student of Bible interpretation is given a gift here, because the interpretation of the verses was placed within the same chapter and only a few verses away, not far apart like in Revelation and Isaiah, for example.
—-end Daniel verses
What a blessing, that the prophet Daniel could approach the one giving the prophecy and ask for its interpretation! We can do the same, ask the Spirit to interpret the verses to us, illuminating them to our mind.
Then a few verses later we see another blessing as Daniel asks for the meaning of the fourth beast and of the horns. The vision is one of torment and anguish and war and usurpation and all sorts of chaos, but in the midst of the interpretation we receive blessing because suddenly there is order. Not order on earth, but we read of order in the heavens:
“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.” [Daniel 7:22]
Ahh, blessed order! The Ancient of Days came! And judgment was passed. In this word judgment from the Aramaic it is not judgment as in wrath and discipline, but the word ‘din‘ as in courts. And the time arrived. You see that nothing is being done in knee-jerk response to the chaos. Nothing is reflexive, judgment is appointed to occur in due course. Indeed, in verse 26 our eyes turn from the chaos on earth yet again and seeing the court come to order. Every few lines in this passage in Daniel, we flip from earth to heaven and the chaos on earth back to heaven. This is a gift to us, the reader, for before we get too upset at the chaos that must come, we are given a picture of the orderliness.
But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.
And finally in verse 27b, His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.
From the beginning of the terrible sights that are revealed to us through Daniel’s vision, we are given knowledge of the interpretation, assurance and reminder, judgment which bespeaks of a legal solidity, a seated court who carries out the judgment in a weighty and time-appointed process, and the final blessing that it shall be so forever.
What the Bible is saying to us in this passage is that:
Scripture interprets scripture (all truth is contained in its covers, no need to guess, and it’s available to everyone)
Interpretations will be given if you ask (and you should ask)
The Ancient of Days is ancient and is in control from before Genesis 1:1 and will be forever
He does things in an orderly way through legal and weighty means in His timing and rendered through heavenly judgments and court-like atmospheres (Or actual courts in heaven),
No matter what the chaos is on earth you can always look up to find the peace and orderliness of His control from on high. Look to His word for peace and in prayer for refreshment and calm.
What a wonderful God we serve! What a wonderful Word He has given us!
I can’t wait to see what you all look like when you are glorified! I can’t wait to see the glassy sea, the angels who have helped me, the face of Jesus! I can’t wait to be free from pain and shed of my sin nature. I can’t wait to be in eternity! However, I will await His timing. We all must await the number of our days to be up and His determination of when we enter glory. More on that below.
The Tribulation is prophesied to be a period where many things will happen. One of them is that the earth and heavens themselves will be wildly disrupted. Landforms disappear. Weather patterns evaporate. Orbits cease. And more.
The outline of what Jesus will be doing at that time is presented to us in Daniel 9:24. The Lord will do 6 things:
“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, 1. To finish the transgression, 2. To make an end of sins, 3. To make reconciliation for iniquity, 4. To bring in everlasting righteousness, 5. To seal up vision and prophecy, 6. And to anoint the Most Holy.”
Notice several things. First, it is a period where though the times will seem chaotic, it will actually be orderly. It is all in control of God. The three series of 7-judgments apiece (Seals, Trumpets, Bowls; perhaps four sets if the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10:3-4 are actually judgments) will be delivered in orderly fashion. The judgments unleash chaos, but their deliverance is orderly and controlled.
The Tribulation is the time for it all to come to the conclusion that God exists, He is angry with sinners, and to repent. So it will be a time of demonstrable wrath and the conclusion of the 6 things. In further orderliness, He stopped His prophetic timetable clock at 483 years. In Daniel 9:24a the angel declared to Daniel it would be 7X70 or 7 bundles of 7’s (a shavuim). But nowhere was it promised to be 490 consecutive years! But they should have known that, because the interruption was stated. In Daniel 9:25-26, a mere verse later, the angel told Daniel that after seven sevens and 62 sevens, Messiah will be cut off (vernacular for died) and the people of the prince who is to come (antichrist) shall destroy the city.
Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem was 483 years to the day and then the clock stopped. Since then, Jesus has been taking 2000 years to build His church. When the church reaches His quota of people inhabiting it, (Romans 11:25) He will snatch us away from this earth, and He will finish that last 7 years of the prophesied 70 weeks and accomplish the rest of the 6 things.
The angel also explained to Daniel that it is a time when God directs His attention to “your people” and “your holy city” (Jerusalem). That does not mean He isn’t paying attention to non-believers or non-Jews during the Tribulation, or that nothing will happen to them during the Tribulation. Not at all. Jeremiah 30:7 calls it the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, though, and its point is for the LORD to finish His promises to His people. #1 is to finish the transgression, and #2 says He will make an end to sins. This making an end to sins is an event that will affect everyone on the planet. God always sees the world through the lens of His people the Jews and through the central location of the Holy City. But all the world will be affected.
In addition, note the progression of the 6 things on the list. At the beginning, He allows the transgression to have its full expression. By the end, the Most Holy is anointed. The Most Holy is Jesus. Ahhh, what a day that will be! The Tribulation is the cap-stone to the final age of man where He allows the total outcome of rejection of the Holy Spirit to take its full course. Like in Noah’s day, where all of man’s thoughts were only evil continually, (Gen 6:5) so it shall be again at the end of days (Matthew 24:37). But in the Tribulation, man will actually act out all his evil in his heart, it won’t remain there. He who holds back lawlessness will be taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7), another way of saying He will release His restraining hold against sin, which will allow it to flood in..
The LORD set up certain restraints against sin in these and previous days. Our conscience, the family, government, and law, like police law that pagans are under all work to restrain sin in the unbeliever. (Christians have the Holy Spirit to help us restrain, even kill, sin.)
Can you even imagine how drastic that time period will be? Just as we can’t imagine in our finite mind the full scale of His glory in heaven, we cannot imagine that bottomless, putrid pit in which sin flows forth. /shudder/. Better to not think of it.
The Daniel 9:26 verse also promises that the end will come like a flood. This does not mean that there will be a flood of actual waters as in the first global judgment. He promised Noah that he would never drown the world again. (Genesis 9:13). However, as part of the cataclysmic geo-physical upheavals during the Tribulation there will be floods and tides and hurricanes and tsunamis. However, the verse uses figurative language. The Hebrew word in Dan 9:26 is “sheteph; from shataph; a deluge (literally or figuratively) — flood, outrageous, overflowing.” He means that SIN will have its outrageous overflowing.
This flood language mirrors the language in Revelation 12:15. Midway through the Tribulation, the antichrist tears up the peace treaty he had confirmed with the Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation. He then persecutes them with all unholiness and evil. He goes after the Jews with an evil vengeance that makes the WWII Holocaust look like a picnic. Revelation 12:15 says- “And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.” Satan pours out his evil and sin flows over the world like a flood.
Floods have waters that rise, and rise and rise, eventually washing away all that is in its path. Even tsunamis which travel at jet speeds have waters that flow and rise accordingly. The end began when Jesus ascended, but it has been 2000 years and we can see that the flood waters of sin are not lapping at our toes…are not sweeping against our waists…but the flood waters of sin seem like they are actually crashing over our heads by this point in time. It is like the famous photo of the lighthouse and its keeper-
But we are not destined for wrath! (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Though sin tries to engulf us, it will not prevail against His church! (Matthew 16:18). Notice where the keeper is: INSIDE the Lighthouse. Would you want to be anywhere else when the wages of sin try to engulf you? No. You would not survive that wave. You would not survive the hidden reefs under the wave. (Jude 1:12). Being in the Lighthouse is the only safe place to be, in ages past and in this present age. Blessedly, Jesus removes His bride from the earth before the Tribulation begins. We are not condemned, nor will we be punished for sins that He forgave us for. It will be the unbelieving world and His people Israel who will suffer the consequences of their rejection of the Savior.
Jude says, the unbelievers and apostates are “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 1:12).
Peter says, “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.” (2 Peter 2:17).
Isaiah says, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.” (Isaiah 57:20).
What of us, individually? His word says that Hades will not prevail against His church. Some days, though, sin prevails against me. What about you? Each of us struggles against sin every day. Some days it truly feels like it will engulf me. Here is the remedy: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).
We are Light keepers, and our job is never more important than during the storm! We are in Christ as THE Light, but we keep His word hidden in our hearts. We are ambassadors of His glory and His truths. We keep His commands. We keep His flame alive on earth by staying in Him and close to Him. It is important to be brighter during the storm and so let us be bright, by being full of peace and joy in these stormy times. Let the waves crash! We have the eternal Strength of the Light. Let others see, and hear the Good News, and come to Him.
In Daniel chapter 10, we learn that Daniel has been praying for 21 days. He had inquired of the LORD, and Daniel was awaiting the reply. On day 24, the reply came, personally in the form of an angel. Daniel lifted his eyes and this is what he saw:
I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. (Daniel 10:5-6).
What a mighty being! Angels are strong and powerful servants of God!
Beryl is a gemstone like amethyst. It can be yellow or green or aquamarine in color. It sparkles, as any gem does. We all know what lightning looks like, as we know fire’s qualities, and burnished bronze and the sound of a multitude. The Hebrew word for multitude is roar or tumult. So, when the angel spoke, it was loud.
Such a being is powerful and frightening. No doubt that is why the angels all greet those whom they visit with the phrase “Fear not!”
So why is it that puny humans think they can march around the block and utter a few phrases and believe that the unholy angels will be scared enough to scuttle away? Is it the Christian’s duty to engage with spirits they have somehow deduced lurk about a certain location? Is it biblical to think that we can directly confront such powerful beings and use our own words to turn them away from their evil deeds? Is it realistic to think that a believer can utter a prayer that will “bind” such a powerful creature?
The holy angel visiting Daniel was delayed three weeks by an unholy angel, and only escaped when Michael arrived to help him. And we think that though such a powerful angel was delayed so many weeks, we can utter a prayer, similar to snapping our fingers or twitching our nose, and the unholy angel will fly away from us? Think about it.
We are not ignorant of satan’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11). We should not be ignorant of his power, either. He is not God’s equal. But he and his cohorts are much more powerful than the little winged cherubs we like to think are the angels. Satan hates us because he hates God. He is at war with God, that old adversary, the usurper. (Isaiah 14:13-14). We must let God wage the war. We wage the war in His strength by standing and resisting, not by chasing and exorcising.
Our job is to grow in grace and strength, not chase around demons.
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. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. (Daniel 6:10-11 NIV)
Daniel, the Godly youth, was in a bad way. He had been carried off to Babylon and separated from all he had known. He was under the earthly sovereignty of King Darius, while Babylon the city and the Kingdom of Persia was at its peak. Darius was pleased with Daniel and had planned to set him high in his court as a second-in-command administrator. The other administrators were jealous and plotted ways to defeat Daniel by stealth. They tried to find something with which to charge Daniel, but could not. They said if we find something it will be having to do with His God. So the jealous administrators went o King Darius and urged him to make a decree that anyone who prayed to another god except to Darius for the next thirty days should be thrown into the lion’s den. Darius liked the idea, and made the decree. That’s where we pick up the above verse. Daniel heard the decree had been set, and according to Persian law kingly decrees cannot be repealed.
First it should be mentioned that Daniel did not compromise. Likely he had men telling him that “it’s only 30 days, just ride it out. Just don’t pray to Yahweh this month’. Daniel did not compromise. As a matter of fact, he went immediately to his room and prayed. The jealous administrators knew Daniel would, and they spied on him just as immediately.
We know the story. Daniel was ‘caught’ by the jealous administrators, and Darius reluctantly sentenced him to the lion’s den. God showed His majesty and power by shutting the lion’s mouths and Daniel was unharmed and released.
Note the verse though. The NIV has it most clearly but all verses say the same. Daniel was making supplication to the LORD. Daniel prayed- to ask for help.
Daniel knew he’d been painted into a corner. Instead of looking around at his shrinking options, he looked up. He asked the Lord for help.
The help came. It was to sentence Daniel and throw him into the lion’s den!!
Daniel knew His God had the power to save him or the power to allow him to die. Daniel was a Godly man. However, Daniel was a man, and no doubt he was scared to face lions and wondering about this version of the help he had prayed for! Nevertheless, Daniel trusted God.
When we pray to God for help, He hears our prayer. He is a good, good Father who knows the number of hairs on our heads. If He cares for the sparrow which is a small insignificant bird, will He not care for us, His children? He will!
However we never know in what form the help will come. God will always shine His glory, and in so doing He might make circumstances that we can see with our fleshly eyes seem dire. Our eyes can only see so much less, like, 10% of what is going on at any given time. We can’t see the invisibles, the heavenlies, and the circumstances beyond our eye and ear range but they are all working God’s will to His glory and our good. (Romans 8:28).
The key is to pray, ask for help, and then to trust the outcome. Even if it is our moment to part the veil and go to the other side, God will hear our prayer, and He will use our situations to show His glory. Trust and obey, as Daniel did, even if we are thrown into a metaphorical lion’s den!
Look at the lasting glory that occurred through the help that came to Daniel:
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
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