Daily Bible Reading for August 15, 2014, with Commentary: Daniel 7-12
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Context: Today’s reading contains the apocalyptic portion of Daniel. Chapter 7 is a turning point in the book of Daniel. The first six chapters established who Daniel was - his upbringing, education, faith, character, etc. It is the history of Daniel. The remainder of the book contains Daniel’s visions, many of which are dated, which can assist in understanding the prophecy. All the prophecies contain many symbolic elements, which are too numerous to include here. I encourage you to find further materials if you wish to have an in-depth study of these prophecies. Chapter 7 is similar to the previous dream by Nebuchadnezzar, which Daniel had interpreted. Chapter 8 is a prophecy that has already been fulfilled. It foretells of the fall of the Media-Persian Empire to Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered the known world, however he died shortly thereafter and the great empire that he had built was divided into four kingdoms, of which Israel came out of one. Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 is powerful. Study his prayer to learn how to pray. The vision in chapter 9 is debated until this day. The final three chapters are often treated as one vision concerning the history of Israel from Daniel’s present time in the Persian period, until the coming of God’s kingdom. Chapter 10 introduces the message and the setting, provides a vision of a heavenly person, and announces the coming of the angel to interpret. Chapter 11 focuses on the vision with a prophecy against Persia (2), against Greece (3-4), against Egypt and Syria (5-20), against Antiochus IV Epiphanes (21-35), and the End Times (11:36-12:3). Chapter 12 records Daniel’s final instructions, including an admonishment to preserve prophecy, additional information about the end of times, and personal remarks and promises to Daniel.
World History: Chapter 7 and 8 takes place during Babylonian rule, during the first and third year of King Belshazzar, before the feast which predicted the death of Belshazzar (chapter 5). Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 12, take place during Persian rule. Chapter 9 likely occurs before Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den (chapter 6). Chapters 10, 11, and 12, likely occurred near the end of Daniel’s life. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, is generally accepted as the ruler referred to in 11:21-35. He was known for severely persecuting the Jews, worse than the actions of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.