Is the Book of Daniel Still Sealed, or is it Open?
Dan 12:4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
The Lord told the apostle John NOT to seal up the book of Revelation, “for the time is at hand”. (Rev 22:10) Jesus has given information and explanation regarding prophecies in the Book of Daniel. Revelation has many references to Daniel, as does Yeshua’s “Olivet Discourse” in Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21, in which He gives the signs leading up to His return at the end of the age.
Actually, many Christians and churches have sealed up the Book of Revelation, even though it is the only book which Yeshua tells us that “those who read it and keep what is written in it are blessed, for the time is near”. (Rev 1:3) Many Christian pastors and teachers say it is too hard to understand, or is too controversial! This is just as the Jewish people have done with much that is written by the Prophets. (Is 29:10-12) But Christian commentators have written much about Daniel over the centuries, even though it has been sealed till the end-times. It is worth noting that Ch 1 – 2:4 are written in Hebrew; 2:5 – Ch 7 are written in Aramaic; Ch 8 – 12 are again written in Hebrew.
So, now, as the end draws ever nearer, both books are open to those for whom the Word of God is a lamp to their feet, and a light to their path. As the end draws nearer, the Holy Spirit is helping us know what is going on, and how to prepare for it, and what God’s purpose is in these end-times events.
Jews do not read the book that their God and King has given to them. It is sealed, in their mind. (Is 29:10-12) The Hebrew Bible (Tanach, or, the Old Testament) has Daniel’s book among the Writings, rather than among the Prophets. In Judaism, the Writings have less authority than the Prophets, which are less authoritative than the Torah (Five Books of Moses). It is very interesting that the Jewish rabbinic sages chose to move only Daniel from its place; at least it is still in the Bible! Praise God for watching over His Word to preserve it!
For centuries Christians have been teaching some prophecies that are only becoming clear in the end-times. For example, is the fourth kingdom and fourth beast really Rome, or is it the Islamic Caliphate (Empire). Is Yavan Greece, or Turkey, or both? Was 70AD the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70 weeks, or is it for the time of the end?
Is the book of Daniel unsealed now, and its visions and prophecies coming to full fulfillment in our generation?
Are we in the end- times now? The ‘last days’ have been since the time of Jesus. (Heb 1:1-4; Acts 2:14-21) The end-times of the last days began, I believe, with the establishment of the State of Israel (the prophetic fig tree, which Yeshua cursed, but then afterwards gave as a sign of the end of the age, when we see it blossom). (Mt 21:18-22; 24:32-46; Mk 11:12-26; 13:28-37; Lk 21:29-36)
Countries mentioned in Daniel are again sovereign nations, and all are in Israel’s ‘neighborhood”: Babylon = Iraq; Media/Persia = Azerbaijan, Kurdistan/Iran; Yavan = Greece and western Turkey; Judah = Israel; Kingdom of the North = Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq; Kingdom of the South = Egypt, Libya, Sudan. The ancient Scriptures and prophecies come to life! And the people of all these nations are picking up where their fathers left off, doing the same things among themselves, and also in their relationship towards Israel, God’s chosen people, nation, and land. The Kingdoms are all Middle Eastern, and all are connected historically to Abraham’s family feud between Ishmael and Isaac, and between Jacob and Esau — even though not all of the peoples are Arabs. It is YHVH’s choice with whom He is in covenant that is the heart of the conflict. Does God have the right to do what He wants in order to accomplish His purposes and glorify His Holy Name? This is why so much of the present conflict in the world is located in the Middle East, and against Israel. This is why both Jews and Christians are targets of irrational hatred: we are both in covenant relationship with the one true God.
We need to read and study Daniel, and the rest of the Old and the New Testaments, in this light. Just as those who believe in the future prophetic fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week (last seven years of this age before the Lord returns), and therefore in an approximately 2000 year gap from the conclusion of the 69th week, so, too, can there be a gap between the third kingdom and beast from the fourth and last kingdom and beast, which also ends at the coming again of Jesus/Yeshua, as seen in the visions and dreams written in the book. Every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets must be fulfilled. (Mt 5:17-18)
If we are not in the end-times then we still cannot understand the Book of Daniel, with its prophecies and visions for the time of the end.
Mt 24:9-22; Mk 13:9-20 Yeshua refers to the prophet Daniel, who wrote/spoke (the Scriptures speak) about the abomination of desolation, when He gave signs of the end-times in answer to the question by His disciples. Daniel is the only one of the Prophets whom Jesus specifically mentioned by name in connection with the time of the end before His return. This also means that Yeshua confirmed that Daniel is the author of his book, which was written during the 6th Century BC.
When we read the Bible, it helps to pay attention to what is being said. Many things spoken in the New Testament clearly testify to the truth and fact of God creating the heavens and the Earth, and of creating the first man Adam from the dust. (Mt 19:4-6; Rom 1:18-23; 1Cor 15:35-49; 12:14-26; Rev 4:6-11; 10:5-7)
Also, when Yeshua gave signs that point to His coming again to restore the Kingdom of God (YHVH) to Israel, He said, among other things: “Therefore, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” ‘(whoever reads, let him understand)’, “then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elects’ sake those days will be shortened.” (Mt 24:15-22; Dan 11:29 – 12:13)
Did you notice that Matthew wrote to catch our attention in v 15 by adding, “whoever reads, let him understand”? Understand what? That what Daniel wrote about the abomination of desolation and the antichrist and great tribulation was not fulfilled in past history during the times of Alexander the Great and the Greek Empire, or of Antiochus Epiphanes and the time of the Maccabees and Hanukkah, but future history at the time of the end leading up to Messiah’s return at the time of the end in great power and glory. This also did not occur in 70AD, despite appearances at that time. (The Holocaust was not Jacob’s Trouble, despite appearances at that time; Joshua and the Israelis did not capture and possess all of the Promised Land in their day for an everlasting possession, despite appearances at that time; the time of the Gentiles did not come to an end in 1967, despite what it seemed at the time, for Jerusalem is still being trampled down by the Gentiles.) Once we see and understand this, the Book of Daniel becomes open. And we are seeing this, and only beginning to understand what we are seeing, now that the end-times are upon us. The Word of God is being fulfilled in front of our eyes in our generation. The Word of the Prophets are overtaking us, just as the Spirit of God moved upon them to prophesy and to write what we have today as Scripture. (Zech 1:4-6; Dt 4:29-30; 30:1-6)
God works to fulfill His plan and His covenantal promises for redemption. (Jn 5:16-30) Moses wrote down the terms of the covenant, with its blessings and its curses; with its judgments and its deliverances. God gave Daniel to know that there is a time to fulfill the covenantal promise made already with Abraham: that Israel – Abraham’s national collective seed — will be a holy people and nation to YHVH God; He will be their God; and the righteous nation will inherit the Land of Canaan forever. There would no longer be only a remnant within an unbelieving and unfaithful people and nation, but the whole surviving nation in the Day of YHVH from all the tribes of Israel would be saved and holy, and live securely in the land that He promised to give them as an everlasting inheritance: all Israel will be saved. (Rom 11:25-36) What we see today in the partial return of the Jewish people back to the sovereign State of Israel is not the fulfillment, but God is fulfilling prophecy through to its completion. The Book of Daniel gives us the big picture and framework to understand the history from his day until the return of the Lord and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the Earth.
Nearly all of the dreams and visions and prophecies recorded in the book reach to the time of the end when the Messiah returns to defeat and judge all of His enemies, and to establish God’s righteous Kingdom, with the saints ruling with the Lord. (Dan 2:1, 34-35, 44-45; 7:1, 7-18, 19-27; 8:1, 13-19, 26; 9:24-27; 10:1, 7, 14; 11:33-35, 40; 12:1-13)
The first chapter of Daniel leads into the “rest of the story”, and tells us how to prepare for the trials and tests to come: “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the King’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank. . . .” (Dan 1:8; Prov 23:1-3)
We are to set our hearts in the fear and love of the LORD on being faithful to Yeshua/Jesus, obeying Him in even the simple things, which can otherwise become a snare for us. The Holy Spirit will help us, and we will be overcomers in the tests for the glory of Messiah our Savior, just as Daniel and his three friends were. The time to begin training – repenting of our sins, and learning to believe and to obey what the Lord says — is today, if not already yesterday; so that when the test comes in its time, we are better prepared to succeed to God’s praise, demonstrating our faith by our works of faith. God is with us; who can prevail against us!
The Book of Daniel speaks to us in great detail about things currently developing in the region, with global impact and consequences, as if he is writing commentary in the newspapers. The Word of God is living, and written for us living at the end of the age!
This article was originally published on Streams in the Negev and reposted with permission.