Ephesians 6:12 says, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Reading Ezekiel 28 and Daniel 10, we see the kingdom of darkness is organized territorially and in rank (similar to how natural armies are organized). The messenger in Daniel chapter 10 spoke of the “prince (principality) of Persia” and the “prince of Greece” and said it was only Michael that fought against these two. Why was it only Michael that fought against these two? …Because Michael was called “one of the chief princes” and “Michael your prince;” he was also a prince.
Daniel 11 and 12 contain prophecies about the kingdoms and struggle for power that were to come shortly after. These Scriptures also contain some prophecies about the coming antichrist.
In chapters 7 and 8, Daniel has visions of the world empires Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greece, Rome, and the last Empire (led by the antichrist).
In chapter 9 the Angel Gabriel gives Daniel the very important prophecy of the 70 weeks that were determined for his people before the Messiah would reign from Jerusalem. The “weeks” are literally “seven’s” and they refer to 7 years, not 7 days; the “70 weeks” is actually 490 years. The beginning of this prophecy began when the decree was given to rebuild Jerusalem and it was put on pause after 69 weeks of years when Jesus was rejected by the leaders in Jerusalem. The 70th week is when Israel makes a 7 year covenant with the antichrist (the beast). The antichrist will break this treaty half way through and bring desolation through his abominations.
In chapter 4, God warns Nebuchadnezzar, the king over the vast empire and over other kings, that He is going to humble him if he doesn’t repent. When he refuses to repent, the LORD allows him to go insane for seven years. Nebuchadnezzar’s response after the ordeal is to write the entire kingdom and tell them, “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. 3) How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:2-3). This chapter should give us hope that God can do anything in any nation on earth.
King Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, is lifted up with pride in his heart also and God humbles him by allowing Darius the Mede to conqueror him.
“An excellent spirit” was in Daniel and when Babylon fell, King Darius made him one of his 3 Governors.” When kingdoms shake and fall, God is able to lift up and uphold who He desires. After reading this chapter it becomes obvious that Daniel didn’t believe in putting a cover over the “light” of his faith. He did what was right regardless of the threats and God sent His angel and delivered him. Daniel’s faith and victory resulted in King Darius writing the whole kingdom that they should fear the God of Daniel.
The LORD had allowed judgment to come upon Judah by Babylon because of their refusal to repent, but He was pleased to lift up people who had character right in the midst of Babylon. The LORD never leaves Himself without a witness of His glory. Daniel is a fascinating book; it contains prophecies that have been fulfilled, and many that will be, along with some very powerful accounts of faith.
After “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies,” we see how God blessed him along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They served before the king and he found them ten times wiser than all his other men. If they were 10 times wiser, how great in wisdom should we be with the mind of Christ?
After we see them stand strong in faith in chapter 1, Daniel and his friends are about to encounter a greater challenge of faith in chapter 2. The LORD gave King Nebuchadnezzar a dream; the king was so serious about getting a true interpretation of the dream that he pronounced death to all the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers if they couldn’t first tell him his dream and then give its interpretation. After none of them could reveal the dream (that was from the LORD), his men went to kill Daniel and his friends also. The LORD actually instigated this situation that put a “death sentence” on them, but the LORD had other plans! Daniel and his companions sought “mercies” from the LORD and Daniel was able to tell the king “there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets” (vs. 28). The king had to admit, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret" (vs. 47).
The tests became greater and so did the rewards of faith. King Nebuchadnezzar’s words sum up the great victory of faith of chapter 3 when he said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this" (verses 28-29).
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan