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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Comments for Daniel

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Chapter 1 — Daniel was given a heathen name, but he refused to adopt heathen customs. He lived during the entire period of the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (compare vv. 1, 2 with v. 21). He bridged the gap of the entire period. He was God’s prophet in a pagan court. Part of the Book of Daniel is written in Aramaic (Dan 2:4 to Dan 7:28). The Book of Daniel probably should be divided at three God-given breaks:

1. Personal history of Daniel, Chapters 1:12:3

2. Prophetic history of Daniel relating to gentile nations, Chapters 2:47:28

3. Prophecies relating to the nation Israel, Chapters 8:112:13

Chapters 2 and 7 — These two chapters cover the same chronological period, “the times of the Gentiles,” and the identical subjects — the four nations which are the only world powers during this period. These are identified as Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

(Chapter 2)
(Chapter 7)
Head of gold Lion Babylon
Arms of silver Bear Media_Persia
Sides of brass Panther
Legs of iron and
feet of iron and clay
Composite beast Rome

More attention is given to the last metal and the last beast than all the others put together. It is still of chief concern in our day.
The first three metals and beasts are historical. They have been poured into the mold of the deep freeze of history. The Roman Empire is to continue until the time it is destroyed by the stone cut out without hands (Dan 2:34).
There is no fifth beast. Nothing follows Rome. Rome is in existence in the present day. It did not die or disappear. Rome, like Humpty Dumpty, had a great fall. All the king’s horses and king’s men could not put it back together again. All it needs is a leader capable of bringing together all of its divergent parts. There is coming a little horn, the man of sin, Satan’s masterpiece, who will accomplish this Herculean task.

Chapter 3 — The excessive pride of Nebuchadnezzar is discovered here, which was one of the symptoms of his insanity. The three Hebrew children refused to worship the image in keeping with the 1st and 2nd commandments:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the LORD thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)

This image is evidently a picture of the abomination of desolation which will appear in the midst of the Great Tribulation Period.

When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whosoever readeth, let him understand). (Matthew 24:15)

Note the emphasis on worldly music accompanying the worship (Daniel 3:15), which appeals to the natural man. The deliverance of the children of Israel from the fiery furnace is a picture of God’s deliverance of Israel in the Great Tribulation Period.

Chapter 4 — The insanity of Nebuchadnezzar was evidently what modern psychology labels hysteria. This runs in cycles. This chapter reveals the character of gentile rulership of this world (v. 17).

Chapter 5 — The banquet of Belshazzar is a foregleam of the manner in which the times of the Gentiles will end. They go out in a blaze of human glory. Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall is God’s estimation of the entire period of the Gentiles and their final judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).

Chapter 6 — Daniel cast in the den of lions and his subsequent deliverance and exaltation is another premier of God’s preservation of the remnant during the Great Tribulation when they shall be hated by all nations (Matthew 24:9) and persecuted by the devil who will seek to destroy them (Revelation 12:13-17). But they will be miraculously preserved by God (Revelation 7:4-8).

Chapter 7 — Daniel’s vision of four beasts concerning four kingdoms of the “times of the Gentiles” (see Chapter 2).

Chapter 8 — This prophecy of the ram with two unmatched horns and the he-goat with one horn places a microscope down on the conflict between the 2nd and 3rd world empires in the struggle of East and West, Orient and Occident, Asia and Europe. This struggle had tremendous repercussions in the nation Israel, and there is given here a “little horn” which was fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes (170 B.C.), the great persecutor of the Jews, called “the Nero of Jewish history.” He slaughtered Israelites like animals and offered a sow on the altar in the temple and poured the broth on the holy places. He is known as “the great profaner.”

Chapter 9 — The 70-year captivity predicted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11-12) was coming to an end (from 606 B.C. to the Decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. — Ezra 1:1-4). Daniel was moved to prayer. Consider carefully his prayer, as it is one of the greatest in the Old Testament. It was revealed to Daniel that the kingdom of heaven would not be set up at the end of the 70 years but that 70 weeks more were to pass in respect to the nation Israel (v. 24). The 70 weeks are weeks of years.

1 week = 7 years
70 weeks = 490 years
70 weeks divided into 3 periods:
7 weeks — 62 weeks — 1 week
(See chart below)

Things accomplished in 70 weeks (v. 24):

1. “To finish the transgression” of Israel.
2. “To make an end of sins,” Ezekiel 37:23, Zechariah 12:1013:1.
3. “To make reconciliation for iniquity.”
4. “To bring in everlasting righteousness,” Jeremiah 33:14-16, 31:31-34, Isaiah 1:26.
5. “Seal up the vision and prophecy.” Vindicate the truth of this vision.
6. “To anoint the Most Holy” in the millennial temple, Ezekiel 40-48, Acts 15:16.

Chapters 1012 — These three chapters constitute one vision. Some Bible scholars count this last vision as the most important in the Book of Daniel. This section is remarkable from several viewpoints.

Chapter 10 — The seriousness and sincerity of Daniel is obvious here. For three weeks he observed a time of fasting. Fasting is not a rule for believers today, but it has its merits and rewards for those willing to pay the price.
The delay in the answer to Daniel’s prayer was caused by a satanic hindrance. The angel sent to answer his prayer was blocked by one of Satan’s emissaries of higher rank and greater power labeled “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” (v. 13). The angel had to go for reinforcements. Michael, the archangel, came to remove the blockade. This reveals the spiritual warfare in which we all are engaged (see Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6). There are different ranks of both good and bad angels.
Daniel needed to be strengthened by his contact with the supernatural.

The 70 weeks of Daniel

Chapter 11 — This chapter is a prophetic preview of the period between the Testaments. This gives an accurate account of the warfare between two divisions of the Grecian Empire — Syria and Egypt. The “vile person” (little horn) of v. 21 is Antiochus Epiphanes of the Syrian kingdom, the eschatological section (future) begins at v. 36 — this little horn appears in the latter days and is the little horn of Daniel 7 (the Antichrist), see Gaebelein’s The Prophet Daniel.

Chapter 12

v. 1 — This is a prophecy concerning the Great Tribulation to which the Lord referred in Matthew 24:21, 22:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

v. 2 — The resurrections referred to here are of the people of the Old Testament. Those “to everlasting life” evidently are the Old Testament saints who are raised at the end of the Great Tribulation in order to participate in the Millennium. The lost are raised at the Great White Throne. The Old Testament saints are not raised with the church, as they were not baptized with the Holy Spirit and are not in the body of believers (1 Corinthians 12:13).

v. 4 — These are signs that are in our day.

vv. 5-9 — The period designated “the time of the end” is not the end of time but refers to the Great Tribulation. Many of the features of this book will not be unfolded until then.

v. 11 — Evidently this is what our Lord had reference to in Matthew 24:15, and the number of days here and in v. 13 project time beyond the actual Tribulation Period when adjustments will have to be made which will usher in the millennial day — then “shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2).

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Minor Prophets Next Book →
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