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UCG IA Bible Insights Thursday, July 14 2022

The life and times of Daniel the prophet

Daniel was a man called to serve God. He was a teenager when he was taken captive by the Babylonian army after the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C. Some of the prophecies he recorded deal with end-time events that would occur centuries after his death.

by Craig Scott

Daniel’s prophecies about the Greek empire in chapters 8-11 are so detailed, and the fulfillment of them is so well documented in history, that they present an astounding example of God’s power to predict and direct the outcome of world affairs. Also, the testimony of Christ in Matthew 24:15 where He references Daniel’s prophecies gives them added weight and veracity.

Daniel 9:1-2 refers to the prophet, Jeremiah. The timing of the reference would have been toward the end of Daniel's life, with Jeremiah having passed away 40-50 years earlier. These verses show Jeremiah’s writings were available during Daniel’s lifetime and that they were considered scripture. Daniel had studied them and was pondering their fulfillment. The verse Daniel is referring to here would most probably have been Jeremiah 29:10. At this time Babylon would have fallen and Daniel would have been living in the court of Darius.

Earlier when Daniel was in Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign Ezekiel would have been prophesying. But he would have been with the other Jewish captives by the river of Chebar (Ezekiel 1:1-2). Ezekiel mentions Daniel 3 times in his writings in Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and 28:3. He knew Daniel was known as a wise man and Daniel probably knew who Ezekiel was as well.

Each of these three contemporary prophets served God in a different way:

  • Jeremiah prophesied judgment to the final generation of God's holy nation. He also recorded God's proclamation of restoration in due time.
  • Daniel prophesied before gentile kings and rulers. He documented important end time prophecies about the gentile kingdoms as well as significant fulfilled prophecies. Ezekiel was sent to the prisoners toiling away in Babylon. He speaks of the certainty of God's judgment upon Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, but also tells of Israel's future restoration when the Messiah returns to establish God's rule on earth.
  • After the death of King Josiah, Judah had become a puppet state of Egypt with Jehoiakim on the throne. The battle of Carchemish in 605 BC was a result of the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco forming an alliance with the crumbling Assyrian empire to fight against Babylon.

Babylon was the decisive winner of this confrontation resulting in the remains of the Assyrian empire disappearing from history, fulfilling God’s prophesied punishment on Assyria. Egypt was beaten and subjugated but managed to remain a separate nation, although it would never again be a significant world power. All Egypt’s territories in Palestine were taken over by Babylon and Judah became subjugated with many of the aristocratic families and skilled tradesmen being carted off to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1-7). This is when Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon, where he would live for the rest of life.

At around age 35 Daniel would have heard the tragic news about the final fall and destruction of Jerusalem in 587-586 BC. It was a turning point in world history. In the eyes of the watching world YHWH was broken and defeated. Daniel's purpose and calling was to tell these powerful rulers... Do not mistake YHWH's discipline upon Israel for weakness... YHWH the god of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Daniel remains the Almighty God... He is supreme over all.

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