From Plainer Words
A Fresh Look at Daniel - Part 9
Posted in: 2008
By Tom L. Ballinger
Jul 24, 2008 - 10:29:56 AM
Jul 24, 2008 - 10:29:56 AM
PLAINER WORDS … A FRESH LOOK AT DANIEL
Daniel’s visions and their interpretation of future events, which are to take place, will find their fulfillment in the “latter days,” or said another way, the “time of the end.” These two expressions are the New Testament equivalents of “the Kingdom of God,” or “the Day of Christ.”
The Kingdom is made manifest at Christ’s “appearing” (2 Tim. 4:1), thus, ending the dispensation of the Mystery. Then, begins the dispensation of the Lord’s Government functioning in the earth; ruling over the nations. This will be a time when judgment runs down as waters [from heaven], and righteousness as a mighty stream; Amos 5:24.
Two keys to understanding Daniel’s visions and their interpretations are the Epiphany (i.e. the Appearing) and the Parousia (i.e., Christ’s Second Coming). Between these two signal events is the long duration of the Kingdom of God, lasting hundreds of years. We cannot tell from the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s forgotten dream, of the image in Daniel Two, how long he and the subsequent kings reign at the beginning of the “latter days.” For a sense of reckoning, however, let’s say Nebuchadnezzar, and those who follow him, reign under God’s authority for two-hundred years. Then, the Lord takes to Himself the dominion of the world, and in so doing, decrees that 490 years [Seventy Weeks] are going to be appointed to Israel. This means that if our two-hundred years is approximate, the on-going Kingdom of God will last at least 690 years. This moves the 2nd Coming (the Parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ into the far distant future.
The Ecclesia (the Church) of the One Body needs to differentiate between the two events. The Epiphany (Appearing) of Christ is, according to this reckoning, at least 690 years before the Parousia (Coming). Being fully persuaded that this is true, I am endeavoring to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (Epiphany) of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).
The pseudo-teachers of prophecy, who are proclaiming that Armageddon and the “end time” is the next event on God’s Calendar, are ignoring the magnificent display of His manifest Kingdom, in which “He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:4). This indicates that, along with Micah 4:3, there will be a long period of time in which war is not learned, or practiced. Almost all of the 690 years will enjoy universal peace - this was what the heavenly hosts announced to the shepherds in Luke 2:14; “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” From now on, we will round-off the years of 690 to 700 years.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). The text will be fulfilled between the Appearing and the 2nd Coming, during the dispensation of the Kingdom of God. One of the dictionary definitions of the “Kingdom" is "the Government of God.” The Government will be shouldered by Jesus Christ, and He will, truly, be The Prince of Peace during His reign from heaven.
As we study Daniel Chapters 10 and 11, we will discover that there are even many more years to attach to the time-line of the coming Kingdom of God. We must consider God’s Word!
Before we consider the text, it needs to be explained why, sometimes, the New International Version of the Bible is quoted. Daniel is one of the most difficult books to “get a handle on.” I have always preferred the Authorized Version. But, these studies of Daniel have been hard to “get the sense” of what is recorded in the KJV. I have read and re-read, over-and-over, again, the chapters; trying to get a better understanding, or sense of the content. Eight other versions have been looked at and studied in connection with these studies in Daniel. It has been found that the NIV, in many cases, clears up some problem texts (for me) found in the KJV.
Here’s an example of what I mean: In Daniel 10:1, the KJV states, “… a thing was revealed unto Daniel, and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long …”
Compare this with the NIV; “a revelation was given to Daniel. Its message was true and it concerned a long war.”
The Companion Bible uses the KJV text, and it notes in the margin; “but the time appointed was long = but (concerned) a long warfare.”
This is the reason, from time-to-time, another version is referred to. If another version is used, it will be so indicated.
Daniel 10 takes place two years after Chapter 9 - Daniel is 89 years old, according to the Companion Bible.
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long [it concerned a long war]: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision” (V. 1).
Cyrus is the king’s name. His title is Darius (9:1), like a Czar, a Caesar, or a Pharaoh. Daniel understood the vision. We are not told about the vision until Chapter 11.
In Daniel 10, we read further; “And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Vs. 4-6).
What Daniel saw was, more than likely, a theophany, like in Revelation 1:9. Daniel had others with him, but he, alone, saw the vision: the others fled, being terrified (V. 7). He was left alone, gazing at this great vision. Daniel felt helpless.
Then, “And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, ‘O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent.’ And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, ‘Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia (‘with the king of Persia’ NIV). Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days’” (Dan. 10:10-14). The NIV says in verse 14, “concerns a time yet to come.”
We will not concern ourselves with all of the details. Evidently, the one who touched and spoke to Daniel was Gabriel. A glimpse is given by Gabriel into the unseen activity and struggle between the invisible principalities; “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me” (V. 14).
“The prince of the kingdom of Persia” stood in the heavenly realm for the king of Persia; in plainer words, he was Persia’s representative among the hosts of heaven. This prince was part of the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 612). Gabriel and this prince were not flesh and blood. The prince of Persia was interfering with Cyrus, as evidenced in Verse One of the next chapter. Gabriel seems to have been engaged in thwarting the prince’s power to influence Cyrus not to issue the proclamation to build the LORD a House in Jerusalem (see Ezra 1:1-2). It was while Gabriel was engaged in this warfare that the Lord issued the order to go to Daniel. Michael helped Gabriel disengage from the struggle in order that he could come to Daniel and tell him what would happen to Daniel’s people in the “latter days.”
Continuing on in the King James, Daniel 10, we read: “And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me” (Vs.15-19).
The one speaking to Daniel seems, to me, to, still, be Gabriel. “Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince” (Vs.20-21).
Gabriel is saying to Daniel, ‘Do you know why I’ve come to you? But, before I tell you why, I very soon will have to return and fight the prince of Persia and not only that, the prince of Greece will come join the fight. No-one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. But first, I will tell you what is written in the scripture of truth.’
Gabriel will return to fight the prince of Persia, but he knows the prince of Greece will come against him, as well.
I am intrigued when Daniel is told - I will tell you what is written in the scripture of truth? The question I pose is this; “Is there a copy of Scripture in the unseen spiritual realm, and did the angels have access to it? If there was, the heavenly Scripture contained everything from Genesis to Revelation - except seven epistles, known as the Prison Epistles. The Mystery was “hid in God.” Even Michael, Gabriel, and their co-princes knew nothing about it. Maybe, this explains the perplexing verse of Ephesians 3:9-10:
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”
The invisible warfare between the principalities and powers was among the angelic beings contending about the influence they exerted over kings and governments of this world. During the past ages, when Israel was on the scene as a nation, and in the future, when the Israel of God is, again, on the world scene, Michael, Gabriel and their co-princes will be battling the evil forces of darkness on behalf of God’s Government and the nations they “stand for.” The combat in the heavens will be over the “course (or flow) of the world.”
However, in this dispensation of grace, it would appear that the angelic warfare, that is to say, angels against angels, is not taking place. The Lord has stepped back, as it were, and has allowed the “prince of this world (Satan)” to direct “the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2). The governments of this world are, now, under the direction of the prince of darkness and his hosts of fallen angels. Now, our warfare is against the spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).
Tom L. Ballinger
© Copyright 2009 by Plainer Words