Daniel 7:1-8:27; Daniel 5:1-31
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Okay, so Daniel chapter 7 with the vision of 4 beasts is not exactly an easy one for me to interpret here in a daily blog! :) But I'll give it a bit of a go. Actually, if you're looking for in-depth commentary on this chapter, please check out this link on bible.org, titled "Daniel's Disturbing Dream."
Overall, this is a very powerful chapter to read... I definitely was feeling drawn into this chapter and the description of the beasts. Basically here in chapter 7 we're seeing a parallel with the vision of these 4 beasts in this vision of Daniel's with the dream Nebuchadnezzar had of the statue in chapter 2 of Daniel. The lion with the eagle wings represents Babylonia, just as the head of gold in ch. 2 did. The bear represents Medo-Persia, as the silver did in ch. 2. The leopard represents Greece, as did the bronze/brass in ch. 2. And the terrifying and frightening beast represents the Roman empire, as the feet of clay & iron did in ch. 2. Roughly speaking of course... :) Maybe this image below will better explain things:
The best verses in this chapter are in my mind verse 13 & 14 where we get a Messianic vision of Jesus! "As my vision continued that night, I saw someone who looked like a man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal--it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed." Wow... very powerful stuff.. Do you believe that Jesus has been given authority, honor and royal power over all the world? Do you believe that his rule is eternal and his kingdom will never be destroyed? Do you know in your heart that Jesus is your eternal King?
Verse 8 & 20 are intriguing to me when they talk about: "This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly." The thing that jumped out at me was the mouth that was boasting arrogantly. How did this read to you when you came across it? As a good or bad thing to have a mouth that boasts arrogantly? Again, this reminds me of the sin of pride that we have been seeing over and over again here in the book of Daniel with the Babylonian kings & Darius the Mede. Essentially some commentaries suggest this little horn that boasts arrogantly represents the antichrist...
Daniel chapter 8 is quite a chapter! I'm not 100% sure how to post up on this chapter - so I went over to bible.org to see what they had to say and I came across this paragraph over there - "Daniel chapter 8 is a preacher’s nightmare. Even noted scholars hesitate to be dogmatic in their interpretation of this chapter. Daniel himself has not the foggiest notion of the vision’s meaning, even after the angel Gabriel has interpreted the vision for him." I think I better just link over to what bible.org has to say about this chapter today. This is in the blog world what one would call a punt! :)
The closing verse 27 of chapter 8 certainly stands out to me today: "Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it." Do you think you'd be physically exhausted & sick if you saw a vision like Daniel saw in this chapter?
Daniel chapter 5 is the famous "the writing is on the wall" chapter! It is not a good sign to see writing appear on the wall in this way... This chapter is of huge importance to the Babylonian dynasty - because this chapter is the very last day of Babylon the empire. The next day everything goes to the Persians & Medes and Cyrus will be taking over the roost. Daniel chapter 5 verse 1 starts us out today with: "A number of years later.." This chapter takes place in 539 B.C., whereas chapter 4 with Nebuchadnezzar took place before his death in 562 B.C. So, at least 23 years have past between chapter 4 & 5 - and several leaders of Babylon have passed by, leaving Belshazzar, who has 1 day more...
Verses 1 through 4 in the chapter unfortunately describe an orgy taking place, utilizing gold and silver cups taken from the Temple in Jerusalem decades earlier by Nebuchadnezzar. Unwisely, Belshazzar and the crew toast false idols with these sacred cups of God - at which point immediately the hand begins writing on the wall, and verse 6 tells us this about Belshazzar - "Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him." Think he had reason to be scared like this? Why?
As Daniel is called in to interpret the writing, verse 17 stands out as Daniel tells Belshazzar: "Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means." Daniel is obviously quite bold and dismissive of Belshazzar here - he does not defer to Belshazzar being the king, and the seemingly right thing to do would be to immediately say you'd appreciate the gifts. Daniel simply says - keep 'em! (though, later he's still bestowed with them) Bold... A righteous boldness, yes? Plus, you've got to think that Daniel's seen a lot in Babylon in his time and he's ready to cut to the chase and just interpret the writing. He doesn't need earthly gifts or honor... What about us in our lives today? Do we seek earthly gifts and honor for ourselves? Should we? Can we learn from Daniel's boldness and focus on what truly matters in this life? (note that an older Daniel is in the middle of this image below from the 1816 John Brown Bible, with a strange looking Belshazzar sitting to the right)
Before interpreting the dream Daniel gives Belshazzar an old fashioned lecture which culminates in verse 22 as he speaks of Nebuchadnezzar being humbled by God: ""You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself." Basically, Daniel is saying - you should have known better. You knew better. You saw Nebuchadnezzar's mistakes. You did not learn. Are we like this sometimes in our lives today? Shouldn't we know better...? Below is an artist's take on Belshazzar's final feast -
Verse 27 is worth reflecting upon! "You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting." (NIV). Very interesting to think about a godly scale. A scale that maybe looks at how we invest our time, money, love, life, worship? Are we investing in things that are eternal? Obviously, through the opening verses Belshazzar was simply investing his life into himself, his lusts and his desires. And hence, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN was written on the wall... Pretty amazing to think that the great kingdom of Babylon went down like this in one chapter... God clearly is a kingdom-maker and a kingdom-taker!
Worship God: Today's readings reminded me of the fantastic song "Create in me a Clean Heart" performed here by Donnie McClurkin and a choir:
Do you want a clean heart? Click here to be made clean!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!