Prophetic Highlights From The Book Of Daniel

by Joseph Hunting

Daniel's visions and interpretation of dreams provide some of the most fascinating prophecies found in Scripture.

As a young man he was chosen especially by Nebuchadnezzar, together with "certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes ... whom they might teach the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans."

Nebuchadnezzar's action in choosing some of the seed royal for his court in Babylon was a direct fulfilment of a prophecy made by Isaiah to Hezekiah one hundred years earlier: "... your sons which issue from you, which you shall beget, shall they take away and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon" (Isaiah 39:7)

Among the captives taken to Babylon with Daniel were Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, whose names were changed to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. Then they commenced a three year course in all the wisdom and learning of Babylon in the king's court.


Daniel's piety and his uncompromising fidelity to the God of Israel set him apart as one of the greatest of the great, whose lives illumine the pages of the Bible.

During the exile in Babylon he read Jeremiah's prophecy that Judah would spend seventy years in captivity. Realizing that the time had almost expired he set his face "unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" , and his prayer of intercession for his people is one of the most heart-rending petitions in Scripture.

If it is true that a man's spiritual maturity is revealed in his prayers, then Daniel was a spiritual giant indeed.

His prayer was answered even as he prayed. "And while I was speaking and praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God ... even the man Gabriel ... touched me about the time of the evening oblation."

The revelation which the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel is breathtaking. We need to read the ninth chapter of Daniel and ponder the depth and scope of this prophecy.

Gabriel informed Daniel that seventy 'weeks', or seventy sevens of years, (490 years) "are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,"

(1) "to finish the transgression"

(2) "and to make an end of sins"

(3) "and to make reconciliation for iniquity"

(4) "and to bring in everlasting righteousness"

(5) "and to seal up the vision"

(6) "and prophecy"

(7) "and to anoint the most holy place." (9:24)

At the time this prophecy was given Jerusalem was in ruins, and never in the centuries that have followed have the seven promises been fulfilled. Furthermore, Gabriel declared that the 490 years were to have a starting point when a future king of Babylon (Artaxerxes) would give a decree to restore and to build Jerusalem again (Nehemiah chapter 2). As the 490 years came and went without the prophecy being fulfilled one could be forgiven for thinking it was not valid -- except for a vital factor.

Gabriel told Daniel that the 490 years would be divided into three sections. The first is seven 'weeks' or sevens of years (49 years) during which period "the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." The prophecy was fulfilled as Ezra and Nehemiah record.

The second section is one of the most important revelations in Scripture as it pinpoints the first advent of Messiah with unerring accuracy. Following the 49 years relating to the rebuilding of Jerusalem there would be a further 62 'weeks' or 434 years, totalling 483 years -- Messiah would then "be cut off ..."

Secular history confirms the amazing fulfilment of this prophecy. The date of the commandment given by Artaxerxes is recorded in Scripture and 483 lunar years later Messiah was "cut off" and the course of human history climaxed.

So far we have accounted for 483 years of the 490. What of the remaining seven? The angel Gabriel spoke of events that would crowd into the remaining seven years. He spoke of "a prince that would come" and he also spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans that occurred in 70 AD.

The coming prince, identified in other Scriptures as the Antichrist, will make a covenant with Israel. That covenant is the prophetic alarm which triggers off the last remaining seven years. In the middle of the seven years he breaks his covenant by causing the sacrifice and offerings to cease. Evidently there will be a Temple in Jerusalem at that time.

Then commences that period known in Scripture as "Jacob's Trouble" or the "time of great tribulation" which culminates with the battle of Armageddon and the return of Messiah.

Then the 490 years will have run their course and the seven-fold promise of Gabriel to Daniel will come to pass.

But what of the intervening 2,000 years? It would appear from the Bible that certain years were not reckoned by God in His prophetic programme for Israel when the people were out of fellowship with Him. For instance, in 1 Kings 6:1 it is stated that 480 years elapsed from the Exodus to the 4th year of Solomon's reign. Yet in actual fact the total period amounted to 573 years, detailed as follows:

40 wilderness years -- Acts 13:18

450 years under Judges -- Acts 13:20]

40 years under Saul -- Acts 13:21

40 years under David -- 1st Kings 2:11

3 full years under Solomon -- 1st Kings 6:1

totalling 573 years which is 93 years more than the period stated in 1st Kings 6:1. However, Israel was punished 5 times for sin between the Exodus and Solomon's reign, as follows:

8 years under the king of Mesopotamia -- Judges 3:8

18 years under the king of Moab -- Judges 3:14

20 years under the king of Canaan -- Judges 4:2-3

7 years under the Midianites -- Judges 6:1

40 years under the Philistines -- Judges 13:1

totalling 93 years which are not reckoned in the period stated in 1st Kings.

So it would seem that the prophetic clock is stopped when Israel is out of fellowship with the Eternal. Israel's tragic rejection of the Messiah may well be the reason for the interruption between the termination of the 69th 'week' and the commencement of the 70th -- in this case a period of almost 2,000 years.

Whatever is the answer, there are yet seven years to run their course before Daniel's vision concerning his people Israel and the Holy City are fulfilled.

In Daniel's prophecy of the coming prince who would make a covenant "with the many for one week" (9:27), we need to remember that this has only been possible since 1948 when a democratic government was elected by the "many" in Israel.

To Daniel was given one of the most important revelations concerning the time for Messiah's first appearance. It was he who said that in the latter days "none of the wicked shall understand but the wise shall understand." (12:10)

Down the ages there have been those who have diligently sought the Lord with all their heart. He has never failed to honour His promise that they should surely find Him