The first and second halves of Daniel are quite different, and in the minds of many the value of a slow study of the second part is doubtful. Why? It is because the first half is narrative and the second half is prophecy. True, there is some overlap. The first half also contains prophecy, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the great statue composed of different types of metals. The second half also has narrative elements.
These are weekly articles that Pastor Steve writes for the White Mountain Independent newspaper.
It is interesting that Jesus referred to Daniel 7:13–14 in His teachings and applied the title Son of Man to Himself. There are many titles for Jesus in the New Testament. He is the “Lord,” “Christ” (Messiah), the “Good Shepherd,” the “bridegroom.” He is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” He is “the first and the last.” Many titles of God the Father are given to Him. He is the great “I Am.” But Jesus never used these titles for Himself.
To my mind, the most interesting thing of all is the way Jesus referred to Daniel 7:13–14 in his teachings and applied the title “Son of Man” to himself. There are many titles for Jesus in the New Testament. He is the “Lord,” “Christ” (Messiah), the “Good Shepherd,” the “bridegroom.” He is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” He is “the first and the last.” Many titles of God the Father are given to him.
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
This is an unusual and fascinating passage because it presents a vision of Jesus that is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament.
How does man view the world’s kingdoms? Well, he is impressed, for the most part. He thinks of them as glorious - differing in splendor, to be sure, but nevertheless all worthy of some degree of honor. He is enamored of them. On occasion he is seduced by the secular political power. He sees the state as the greatest of all good and as an end in itself.
The most obvious point to be made about the vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7 is that it parallels the vision of the statue, and this is true. But it is also obvious that although the two accounts are parallel, they are nevertheless not presented from the same perspective. On the contrary, the perspectives are radically different. In the first the outlook is quite human, the way a man or woman might look at these great empires. In the second the perspective is God’s.
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.”
Daniel and the lion’s den is perhaps one of the most well-known and beloved stories in the Bible. King Darius made a decree that no one was to make a petition to any god or man for thirty days except to him. For thirty days Daniel would need to abandon his customary practice of praying thrice daily before his open window in the direction of Jerusalem, or else be thrown into the den of lions. For thirty days! “Well,” we say, “that’s not too bad.” It isn’t as if he had to bow down to an idol as his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were required to do.
So we return to the story of Daniel and his jealous accusers, and we notice that if his enemies were going to be able to attack him at all, it was going to have to be in the area of his relationship to God. Daniel must have been over eighty years old at this time; these men had had many years to observe him. Yet there was nothing they could honestly accuse him of. So they resorted to a stratagem. They approached Darius with the flattering suggestion that a law be passed according to which no one would be allowed to pray to any god or man for the next thirty days, except to Darius himself.
There is a verse in the sixth chapter of Daniel that I wish could be spoken of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, though I confess that it probably cannot be. Daniel had been promoted to a position of great prominence, and those around him were jealous. They wanted to find something for which to accuse him and pull him down. They could not. Finally they confessed, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”