We are continuing to share with you the opinions of 17 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Daniel. You should find these interviews fascinating and very informative. The interviews were conducted at a national Bible prophecy conference that was held in the Dallas, Texas area.
The fifth question is based on the fact that people normally think of the book of Daniel as being only a book of prophecy about the First and Second Comings of the Messiah and about the Antichrist and the Tribulation. But, the book also contains some great principles for victorious living. It's also a book that tells a fascinating story about a young man taken into captivity to a foreign nation where everything he believed was challenged.
So the question for our experts is this:
#5. What is the fundamental non-prophetic message of the book of Daniel?
Gary Fisher, Lion of Judah Ministries
I really enjoyed laboring over this question, and I came to the conclusion that the book of Daniel to me means that nothing takes God by surprise, just plain and simple. We have these big powerful guys such as Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, and this coming Antichrist and so forth. And yet, God is sitting on His throne going, "Oh, really? I got a king coming that is going to take all these people's place." God is not intimidated by any of the power brokers in the world. Especially today we hear "nuclear this" and "bomb that," but God doesn't care. In fact, in Psalm 2 God says He sits in the heavens and laughs as He considers all of that.
Nothing takes God by surprise. He is unquestionably sovereign, as is demonstrated Daniel 2:20-22. God sets up kings and He takes down kings. God is in control.
Daymond Duck, Prophecy Plus Ministries
I would suggest that the fundamental non-prophetic message of the book of Daniel is the existence of a spiritual world. Good and evil beings are very involved in events here on this earth.
Concerning good beings for example, Daniel revealed that there are a council of angels called Watchers or Holy Ones that announce that God raises up kings and kingdoms. Daniel revealed that mysterious hand that wrote on the wall the night that Babylon failed, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin," which means "thou are weighed in the balances and found wanting." Daniel revealed that an angel shut up the mouths of the lions when he was thrown into the lion's den.
There are thousands and thousands and 10,000 x 10,000 angels in heaven serving God and ministering to God before His throne. That was revealed when the angel Gabriel gave Daniel the prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Daniel. It was revealed that the Archangel Michael will stand up for Israel at the end of the age.
Concerning evil beings, Daniel reveals that there is a Devil. He revealed the Antichrist and that he will have satanic powers. The Antichrist will oppose Messiah the Prince and he will oppose God's people. He also revealed a mysterious figure who is a demonic figure called the Prince of Persia who actually hindered Daniel's prayers on one occasion.
The presence of evil spirits is a teaching the Church has abandoned. Concerning the dangers from these evil forces and what God will give them as punishment one day, I believe is a very important teaching. The Church ought to go back to teaching this.
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
The key to finding the fundamental non-prophetic message of the book of Daniel comes in that very first chapter in the eighth verse, "he purposed in his heart." Some of the newer translations put it, "he determined," which in essence Daniel did. But, I love the original Hebrew and the King James follows that translation which uses the term, "in his heart." It's the lev in Hebrew. It means it's a heartfelt decision and determination.
This statement in Daniel 1:8 is a reminder to us that the religion of the Old Testament is not just a religion of laws and rules and regulations and externals of ritual and sacrifice, but it's a religion of the heart. The Old Testament says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind." It reminds us again and again that God looks on the heart of an individual. Daniel determines in his heart that he is not going to defile himself, and that he's going to stand up and do the right thing. A good Jewish boy is going to hold to his kosher dietary restrictions. It doesn't matter what the implications of those actions are, or what the penalty may be. Daniel doesn't passively resist in a wild-eyed protest, but instead he simply asks for the creative alternative. Let me try something else and see if that works, and give us an opportunity to stand by our convictions.
Daniel's convictions as a young man, probably only about 15 or 16 years old, carry through his entire life, so that when he's an older man in his 80's at the end of the book and he has lived all the way through the Babylonian captivity, he remains a man of integrity. What Daniel was as a young man ultimately helped determine what he would be as an older man. I think from a non-prophetic standpoint that's the spiritual lesson that is taught in the book.
I think it is also clear that the sovereignty of God is clearly demonstrated in the book of Daniel. God raises up and takes down kings. God is on the throne, even when an evil Nebuchadnezzar rules, or an Antiochus Epiphanies who was coming in the future. The reminder in the book of Daniel is that God is on the throne of Heaven. God will overrule even human kings to accomplish His purposes.
In the seventeenth part of this series on the book of Daniel, we'll end the question "What is the fundamental non-prophetic message of the book of Daniel?" with Tim LaHaye, who will also share his story of how he got his start as a prolific writer.