The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”Daniel 2:47
While delivering His most comprehensive discourse on the last days and disclosing the signs preceding His return, the Lord Jesus emphasized one particular prophet by name — Daniel. Although the Lord alluded to most if not all the prophets at various times in His teaching, there was something unique about Daniel that made him especially noteworthy.
Daniel’s story in and of itself is fascinating and worthy of study. He lived a distinguished life of faith which took him from the horrors of Jewish exile to the hallways of Babylonian royalty and even to the heart of the lion’s den. In humility he was greatly favored by God and highly exalted before men, eventually becoming the chief prefect over all the wise men in Babylon [Daniel 2:48-49].
But this study will not focus as much on Daniel’s life and prophetic career as it will on the prophecies themselves.
Daniel was given visions and prophecies that were to be sealed for the latter days, which means that the book of Daniel was inspired by the Holy Spirit and has been preserved by God for over 2,500 years, only to be unsealed in the last days. If we are the generation entering into the unique time of the end, then the puzzle pieces of Daniel’s prophecies should begin falling into place and coming into focus like never before.
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) …”Matthew 24:15
If Jesus knew that Daniel’s prophecies provided critical clues to unraveling the mysteries of the end times, then it seems to me that a deeper dive into Daniel is well in order. This is my first official dive into Daniel, and I am expecting it to be both prophetically significant and practically relevant for our day.
VIsions of the Latter Days
The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”Daniel 2:26-28
As I work through the mysteries of Daniel’s prophecies, I will be using a futurist approach of interpretation — meaning that I believe that the overwhelming majority of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel apply to the future time of the end and have not yet been fulfilled. Even portions of Daniel that have already been fulfilled in history, such as the Messianic prophecies in chapter 9, obviously were yet future from Daniel’s perspective.
Yet there are many prophecies that we will discover only apply to the latter days or the appointed time of the end. The reason is because the Scriptures plainly say so.
Take Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 for example. When God gave Daniel both the dream and the interpretation, He revealed “what will be in the latter days” [Daniel 2:28]. That means that we must view the metal image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the different kingdoms it represents through the prophetic lenses of the last days.
Although many prophetic passages can be interpreted with both a near and far fulfillment in view — or with a partial and final fulfillment — the book of Daniel provides some of the most comprehensive details concerning the latter days in all of Scripture. Therefore, I plan to interpret those passages with a future fulfillment in view.
One of the first mentions of the “latter days” comes from Moses in the book of Deuteronomy, but the end-times thread is woven throughout the rest of Scripture to the very last book of Revelation. As we will see later, without Daniel, the book of Revelation cannot rightly be understood.
“When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”Deuteronomy 4:30-31
Next time I will take a dive into the interpretation of the metal image in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and try to discover how it will be fulfilled in the last days. You may be surprised to find out that this dream and its meaning is unfolding before our very eyes.