The book of Daniel can be divided
into two main sections. Chapters 1 through 6 contain stories of the
experiences of Daniel and his friends while serving in the governments of
Babylon and Persia. Chapters 7 through 12 contain a series of visions about
the kingdom of God and the end times.
In terms of the progressive revelation of the Israelite prophets, Daniel
represents the most advanced stage. His vision of the coming Messiah
prepared the way for the Gospel; his visions of the end times provide the
background and context for the book of Revelation. Chapters 7 through 12
contain 4 major visions:
1. Chapter 7: first year of Belshazzar – vision of the
4 beasts and the Ancient of Days
2. Chapter 8: third year of Belshazzar – vision of the
Ram (Persia/Medes) and the Goat (Greece)
3. Chapter 9: first year of Darius – prophecy of 70
weeks and Messiah being "cut off"
4. Chapters 10-12 – third year of Koresh (Cyrus) -
summary of the end times by the "Man of Fire"
Daniel's understanding of his own visions was limited. He was told
that their fulfillment would come at a later time, and therefore the
meaning was "sealed" until then (Daniel 8:26, 12:4, 9).
In each of these four major prophecies there are direct references to
Yeshua as: "Messiah," "Commander of the Hosts" and "The Angel YHVH" (Daniel
7:13-14; 8:11, 15, 25; 9:25-26; 10:5-6, 20-21).
All of these prophecies mention two strong demonic powers engaged in
spiritual warfare against the kingdom of God: Paras (Persia) and Yavan
(Greece). Persia is located to the East of Israel, and Greece to the
Northwest. It is difficult not to see the end times connection in our day
with Islamic extremism to the Persia-Iran spirit, and Western, atheistic
humanism to the Greek spirit.
Yet, while the demonic principalities over Paras and Yavan are evil, the
leaders of the nations in the areas under their influence can sometimes do
good. Both Darius and Cyrus are praised in Scriptures; and the civilizing
accomplishments of Alexander the Great from Greece (actually, Macedonia)
can also be seen in a positive light. The Angel YHVH (Yeshua) figure is
seen as fighting for Darius (Daniel 11:1); and Cyrus is called the
"anointed" (mashiach, Messiah) of God as he decrees the restoration of
Jerusalem (Isaiah 45:1).
Intercession and Prophetic Fulfillment
Notice the historical context of Daniel's last prophecies: the first
two took place during Belshazzar's reign, who was the evil son of
Nebuchadnezzar. He was the one to whom the "writing on the wall" appeared
(Daniel 5). Daniel predicted Belshazzar's downfall, which took place
immediately after the writing on the wall. Belshazzar's kingdom was
conquered by Darius.
Daniel was able to do his greatest work by serving as a kind of prime
minister in the reigns of Darius and Cyrus (Daniel 6:29). It would seem
that Cyrus' decision to support the restoration of Zion came as a
result of the political influence, intercession and prophecies of Daniel
during Cyrus' reign.
How We Can Affect History
Daniel studied the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and began to pray for
their fulfillment in his generation. Likewise we are called to read all of
the prophetic Scriptures and pray for their fulfillment in our generation.
Let us receive a similar anointing and understanding as Daniel – to
pray, fast, intercede and repent as he did; and also believe that we can
affect history by faith and prophecy as well.
This article was previously published 17Apr15
on the Revive Israel website