The Lord is always moving ahead with His plans. As a nation Judah has now fallen into Chaldean hands but through the obedience of four young souls He plans to move Israel forward through the seventy year captivity. He has gifted these four with the skill, the knowledge, the situation and the opportunity needed. They won't be the only ones that He builds up and moves into place.
They sought the mercies of God concerning this secret. Perhaps they would have rather thought that the king was losing his marbles and hastily making a way for them out wit the king for their freedom. The mercies of God in this case were much different. God was intending to share a revelation with the king and establish these Hebrew boys in the kings eye. The four's action saved not only themselves but, the other soothsayers and magicians as well.
It is hard for us to imagine the heart of a king that would be driven to do this, either put in the furnace those that don't worship him or latter cut up those that don't speak amiss towards Jehovah. I guess from a tactile sense a king must test the heart of his people. In another sense he must puff himself up beyond mere mortal to remain in solid control. It amazes me however that the masses blindly go along with it and carry their power to his feet. I know that this is a different culture, I know that their system of beliefs go different directions, yet the same basic mentality flourishes today. The people hold the power but, for the sake of something undetermined that they presume to gain, they bow to such a conceded and arrogant man.
What is it about the appearance of the fourth figure that made even such a godless man come to the conclusion that it was the Son of Man? Apparently the Son of Man is not such a foreign concept to other religions and cultures. Apparently there is something universally identifiable about Him. We are not told what physical features were evident. We are not told whether others drew the same conclusion. We do know that such a conclusion would be humbling to man that sought for the masses to worship himself. It must have convincing enough at least for a time for him to make the second decree. Could he have spun this to his own political advantage?
I sense a subtle transition in this testimony of Nebuchadnezzar from a belief in the mighty God of gods and the spirits of holy gods (polytheism) to 'Him' the blessed 'Most High' Him that liveth in dominion forever 'King of Heaven'. There is not enough said here to say that he became monotheistic but, his respect for one particular God certainly heightened. Without doubt his worship of self was tangibly altered to have published this account.
A thought about free choice... Nebuchadnezzar had twelve months to consider the interpretation of his dream. For some the dream alone would be enough to alter/soften their hearts, or so we would hope, but, is that actually true? Daniel as much as said some sort of lessening would be possible. It was not ever said though that this chastisement would ever be avoidable, that the choice was totally his. It could be that over the course of twelve months Nebuchadnezzar did everything that he thought would hold this off only to realize that he was still under it's shadow. He may have hardened in the end. Therefore it is evidenced that as much as Nebuchadnezzar may have thought that he had changed, he had not actually changed; the pride was still deep within him. Our circumstances may be similar, God may be trying to remove a destructive trait or element from our heart. We may try (and be given time) to extract that ill on our own, but, until it is given into God's hands it is never really removed; it simply lays hidden producing further atrophy/paralysis. Where then is free choice? It is in accepting the way things must be. It is all things given into His hands.
I am surprised that Belshazzar still adorned Daniel in the scarlet after his own judgment and the judgment of his kingdom was so pronounced. I suppose after seeing just a hand writing on a wall and Daniel being the only one to interrupt and settle the doubt, one would have to believe it.
The kingdoms of men are ruled by God and He appoints them to whomever He will. Would He appoint a tyrant? If it served His purposes. Would He appoint a socialist or a mad man? If it furthered His will. He would? He has and He will. What then about His righteousness, is He not then an unrighteous God by appointing an unrighteous king? This God is righteous, mankind is presently unrighteous, His design is to lead us from our unrighteousness into His righteousness. If a good shepherd commands his flock to move forward and they move not, is it not right for the shepherd to send his dog? If it takes appointing certain men exhibiting the worst of our collective unrighteousness to show and move us off of our unrighteousness when we otherwise would not listen, is that not in itself utterly righteous?
In the comments of kjv@Daniel:5 I had pondered the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of man as it came to God appointing rulers, even if of questionable heart. Here immediately after that chapter, we see a demonstration of one of these leaders being played shrewdly/wickedly by a band of political malcontents to a man of God's harm/end. The king was aware of the trickery and sorrowful about it but, was not in a position to go against his own decree. We see a similar occurrence with Pilot regarding the sentencing of Jesus. We should be aware then that matters of righteousness and unrighteousness and leadership are not as cut and dry as we commoners presume, neither is the manner in which the righteous hand of God must deal with them.
There is not a mention of rapture in this vision that I can see. These saints appear to be on earth the entire time. For a measured time they are worn down and overcome by the fourth beast. With an eye toward harmony with other scriptures we must find a way to explain these saints with the saints that are raptured. One way would be to say that these saints became believers because of or after the rapture. Include these with the Messianic Jews who will have their veil lifted and you have quite a number.
Such a vision is troubling for all of us but yet we must keep the matter in heart. It is a terrifying time for the people of this world. The turmoil and suffering of the past world wars are pale in comparison. It is not just the exhibition of the wickedness of man but, the brutal demonic nature of spiritual principalities in full view. For Daniel, having the big picture brought down to human perspective through the use of descriptive symbols and characters is astonishing. Though difficult to know exactly who each character is and what the details mean, we all sense the general motion.
'By peace he shall destroy many'. For many peace is the ultimate. Even for many religious God is all about peace. I am not sure whether this antichrist ever brings actual peace, but, the promise of peace would certainly be enough to motivate the masses. Peace while deceit prospers? Peace while the temple is desecrated? Peace while the Persians and Medes are being subjected? Peace while he stands up against the Prince of princes? This does not sound anything like real peace, it sounds like deception and domination. That is what these people think peace is however.
The math if we understand one day to be one year correctly is exact, 490 years from the year of this vision to Christ's baptism, 434 from Ezra's rebuilding of the temple. Christ the Messiah is in Jerusalem but is cut off (not for himself but for our sins) and then shortly (AD70) the city and temple are destroyed. There is an unrevealed number of years of desolation (current) followed by a confirmation (or tribulation) of seven years. I am told that many Jews of the time by this prophecy expected the Messiah on this same schedule and by some Jews expectation even today He is nearly 2000 years late. When the veil is lifted they will understand their confusion as to Jesus (1 Messiah appearing twice lamb and ruler instead of 2 at once).
Daniel had done two things right in order for his prayers to be answered, he sought/set his heart to understand, he chastened himself before God. From that point (even though at times it may not have seemed to him like it) his prayers were heard. Now the Lord comes.
This is an insight perhaps like seen no where else in the Old Testament. Spiritual warfare 21 days with the prince of Persia, Michael coming in to assist the Lord. What else is going on around us that we are unaware of?
The scripture of truth. Could refer to two things and perhaps both. The scripture as written thus far by Moses. The eternal plan as written and agreed upon from before creation by the Trinity. The Lord has always made it a point to reference scripture directly.
Many have interpreted Michael as being the protecting angel over Israel. Michael was commander of the angelic forces that cast out the dragon from heaven kjv@Revelation:12:7 . We believe Michael to be present in the end times defeating the terrible invasion from the north. Michael is firmly holding with the Lord.
Given the trembling and reverence given this figure, the language used regarding Him, the worship even to unconsciousness and dumbfoundedness (forbidden of towards even angels), I see little doubt that this is none other than The Lord Christ Himself that Daniel falls before.
I feel presently that I am not equipped to explain this kjv@Daniel:10-12 passage. There are a great many scholars that have looked into this much more deeply who disagree one to another. I started to add further reading resources as starting points, but, don't want to outright endorse any of these particular views. Like with much of bible prophecy, I believe that every single word is true and that when it is all fulfilled we will everyone say 'boy Daniel sure nailed that'. Until it is all fulfilled however, I marvel at the detail, I marvel at how it could explain this and that, I marvel at the angels and the means of communication they use. I seek to understand these things and I dig deeper and deeper into them.
I know many people that have had much opportunity for productive spiritual fruit fall from the limb because of their insistence in figuring all of these prophetic clues together. It almost becomes a destructive addiction. If our commandment is to love one another as God loves us, certainly there must be a balance between the mental pursuit of knowing and the spiritual pursuit of simply acting based upon trust. Knowing how to comfort a friend is just as important as knowing 3 1/2 years for this and this king was... Some times sealed means sealed. Not to diminish the importance of prophecy mind you, but, to elevate the importance of being amongst the living and being fruitful in the knowledge of Christ.
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