Georgetown Prophecy Conference, 2002
Studies in Prophecy

by Darrel Cline

The general scheme of world history was established by Daniel

Question: Why and What Does the Book of Daniel Say About the Development of World History?

Thesis: Daniel's presentation of the flow of human history was designed to be an apologetic, has focused upon Israel, and has been vindicated by the historical reality of the flow of human history.

Introductory Remarks: That the biblical book of Daniel is irrefutable as a presentation of the flow of human history as it affects Israel is established by two facts. First, the contents of the book, as they pertain to verifiable details, are inescapably accurate. Second, even those most aggressively opposed to Daniel as a divine revelation admit fact number one! No one argues that the parts of Daniel's material that can be verified by historical research is erroneous until we get down to the Maccabean period of Jewish history (in the second century B.C.). Instead, the argument is that a sixth-century B.C. Daniel did not write the book called Daniel. Rather, the claim is made, the book called Daniel was written by a pseudo-Daniel during the Maccabean period. This is a demonstrably false claim [Daniel's accuracy went beyond the Maccabean period by more than 200 years], but the fact that it is made proves that the opposition cannot refute the correlation between Daniel and verifiable history. So, with that in mind, we are going to look into Daniel's presentation of human history as it pertains to Israel.

Daniel's prophecies were not given primarily to give men a peek into the future.

  1. I. There is a significant difference between when Daniel was given his material and how he put it together for his readers.
    1. A. This gives us a basis for identifying his purpose for writing.
    2. B. How did Daniel put his material together?
      1. a. He wrote in two languages with two audiences in mind.
        1. a. He wrote chapters 1 and 8-12 in Hebrew with his beloved nation in mind.
        2. b. He wrote chapters 2-7 in the language of the Babylonians with the Babylonians in mind.
        3. c. The switch in languages tells us he had a "message" in mind that had distinct application for two diverse audiences.
          1. 1) The Babylonians needed to understand their position under the God of Israel and His requirement of humility.
          2. 2) The Jews needed to understand their position under the discipline of their God and His promises to them of restoration in the last days.
      2. 2. He wrote thematically, not chronologically.
        1. a. A consideration of the announcements by Daniel as to when he got his material, clearly shows that he did not write it consecutively according to the years he received it.
          1. 1) Chapter 5 is clearly out of chronological order because its events transpired on the last evening of the existence of the Babylonian empire and chapters 7 and 8 were given to Daniel several years before these events.
          2. 2) Chapter 9 was given to Daniel before the events of chapter 6 occurred.
        2. b. A consideration of the structure of Daniel's material in chapters 2 through 7 reveal a carefully crafted chiastic structure in the following form...
          1. Chapter 2 -- God's Timeline of Human History
            1. Chapter 3 -- Man's Proud Rejection of God's Prophesied Timeline
              1. Chapter 4 -- God's Reaction to Man's Rejection
              2. Chapter 5 -- God's Reaction to Man's Rejection
            2. Chapter 6 -- Man's Proud Rejection of God's Plan
          2. Chapter 7 -- God's Timeline of Human History
    3. C. What does this tell us about what he considered really important?
      1. 1. Chiastic structure focuses upon the center of the structure (chapters 4 & 5).
      2. 2. This center addresses God's response to man's pride. [God resists the proud but gives grace when humility enters the picture]

Daniel's prophecies do detail certain portions of humanity's future.

  1. I. The portions of humanity's future that Daniel relates are Israel-focused [they do not deal with the Inca or Mayan realities in the western hemisphere, nor do they deal with greater Asian history].
  2. II. There is a very clear picture of the flow of human history as it pertains to Israel.
    1. A. The picture is first given in overview.
      1. 1. Chapter 2 gives a general overview.
      2. 2. Chapter 7 repeats that general overview with different images.
    2. B. Then there is a methodical back-tracking in order to fill in details.
      1. 1. Chapter 8 fills in the part of that overview that centers upon the second and third imperial kingdoms.
      2. 2. Chapter 9 fills in details about how this overview will affect them up to the time of Messiah and then the final 7 years of their course before the Kingdom of Messiah is established.
      3. 3. Chapters 10-11 fill in more details of the second and third kingdoms, with a detailed focus upon the third kingdom up to circa 175 b.c.
      4. 4. Chapter 11:36 through chapter 12 fills in details about the seventieth week prophesied in chapter 9:27.
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