Image source: CalvaryChurchGainesville
Daniel’s visions narrow down from providing a long history of world leadership changes, from the days of Babylon to the coming of Jesus in Israel, and to issues of the end-times or the last days. Why is this the case? It is so because the Bible is ultimately about God’s plans and not about human plans.
Daniel has a vision of all the empires that will exist, from Babylon to the coming of Jesus in Chapters 2 and 7. In Chapter 8 he has vision of how a Greek king will act brutally and viciously towards Israel. History shows that king to be the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, the man who sacrificed a pig in the temple, and almost wiped out Israel if God had not intervened to deliver Israel.
Daniel’s fourth and last vision in Chapter 11, says a lot more about how the Greek rulers of the Seleucid kingdom (northern ruler) and the Ptolemite kingdom (southern ruler) (see the map from last week) will fight lots of wars against one another to determine who is supreme. The road linking these northern and southern kingdoms passed through Israel; so their wars affected Israel negatively.
Why the strong focus on the Greek empire in Daniel Chapter 8 and Chapter 11? In these visions of Daniel, he saw the exact time when Jesus will come – that is during the Roman empire. In addition, just as Prophet Malachi revealed that Elijah will come before the coming of Jesus, Daniel also reveals that someone behaving like Antiochus Epiphanes will come again before the second coming of Jesus
Jesus referred to this in Matthew 24:15-21 ( NIV) (shortened): “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains… Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath… there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.”
Daniel’s visions are not just fanciful Sunday school stories, but are a guide to us all about God’s plans versus human plans, how they clash, and how God has already put in place solutions for any conflict. May we find inspiration and strength knowing that God is prepared and capable of seeing us through whatever is happening in the world today, both what we know and what we don’t know.
Thank you Lord for your goodness from generation to generation, Amen!