Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 33: Friday
“By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”
Friday’s Bible reading is Daniel 7–12. The chapters in the second half of Daniel are largely concerned with Daniel’s visions—and in some cases their interpretations—during the reign of Belshazzar and Darius. The first six chapters of Daniel for the most part record events during Daniel’s life and the visions are those of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel is one of the most important prophetic books of the Bible because of its scope of history. John Walvoord writes:
“Among the great prophetic books of Scripture, none provides a more comprehensive and chronological prophetic view of the broad movement of history than the book of Daniel….Although other prophets like Jeremiah had much to say to the nations and Israel, Daniel brings together and interrelates these great themes of prophecy as does no other portion of Scripture.”1
Edward J. Young comments:
“The only work which may justly be compared with it is the NT book of Revelation.”2
Because the daily Bible readings divide the book into only two days, it’s beyond the scope of these posts to summarize Daniel and fairly compare the various views and interpretations of the book. Instead I first want to give you a broad overview of Daniel’s prophecies from Rodney Stortz. I’ve inserted chapters to give you an idea of his overview of them:
“…Daniel does not prophesy about many different things, but rather about three main things that are repeated several times. He prophesies the first coming of the Messiah [Daniel 2, 9], the coming of Antiochus Epiphanes [Daniel 8, 11, 12], and the second coming of the Messiah [Daniel 7, 11, 12] .
“Each prophecy relates to one of these three. Both times the Messiah enters our world it will be preceded by a severe time of persecution for God’s people. The first time the Messiah came [Daniel 9] was preceded by the coming of Antiochus Epiphanes [Daniel 8]. The second time the Messiah comes [Daniel 7] will be preceded by the coming of the Antichrist [Daniel 7].
“You will notice the cyclical nature of Daniel’s apocalyptic literature. He first speaks of the Antichrist [Daniel 7], then he introduces Antiochus [Daniel 8]. Next he tells us more about Antiochus [Daniel 11] before he tells us more about the Antichrist [Daniel 11]. Then Daniel switches the order one last time as he asks a question about the Antichrist [Daniel 12], followed by one last question about Antiochus [Daniel 12] .
“If the reader will keep these three main characters in mind—Antiochus, Messiah, and Antichrist—the prophecies of Daniel will be much easier to understand.”3
Now admittedly that is a very broad overview, but it’s important to keep the big picture in front of us.
The other thing I want to give you is a wise quote from Robertson McQuilkin regarding the study of prophecy:
“…All of our rigorous Bible study must be for the purpose of making the application to life, transferring the truth into day-by-day living.
“For example, take the Bible doctrine of prophecy. The Bible tells us why prophecy was given—clearly not for the use commonly made of it. “I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it comes to pass, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19); italics added). “And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29). That is clearly the purpose of prediction after it has been fulfilled. But what about the great mass of unfulfilled prophecy—does it have any purpose for today? Prophecy is primarily forth-telling God’s message, not fortelling [sic] the future. Of 164 predictive passages in the New Testament (excluding the book of Revelation, which is devoted exclusively to the subject), 141 are directly related to conduct, and apparently given to affect conduct—not to increase knowledge. Only 23 passages seem to be given primarily for information concerning the future.
“The study of Bible prophecy should be, then, primarily for two purposes: (1) the study of fulfilled prophecy to confirm our faith, and (2) the study of unfulfilled prophecy to influence our conduct.”4
I chose to start the post with Daniel 11:32 because it clearly states the direct connection between knowing God and our conduct.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publication
Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts, engraving by Matthäus Merian: Public Domain.
1John Walvoord, Preface, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, p. 7.
2Edward I. Young, “Daniel,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 688.
3Rodney Stortz, Preface, Daniel:The Triumph of God’s Kingdom, pp. 12–13.
4Robertson McQuilkin, “Coherence of Truth,” Understanding and Applying the Bible, p. 222.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter