Historical Setting of Daniel
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15)
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
THE BOOK OF DANIEL IS BETTER UNDERSTOOD and remembered if we look at the Biblical and historical setting before him. Jesus calls Daniel a prophet in Matthew 24:15 (above).
DANIEL WAS DEPORTED TO BABYLON WHEN HE WAS ABOUT 15 YEARS OLD, and lived to be an old man, perhaps 100 years old, and presumably died in the custody of King Darius of Persia. His book is the key to Biblical prophecy, although he was not officially a prophet.
THE BOOK OF DANIEL IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE JEWISH OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS. He is listed in the Writings section. Jewish scripture is divided into three sections: Law, Prophets, and Writings. Why was he not classified in the Jewish Bible as a prophet? Because he was not a preaching, admonishing prophet on the street or in the Jewish Temple. “His position was that of governmental official and inspired writer, rather than ministering prophet.” (J.B. Payne) He was a statesman rather than an official prophet. And yet, his writings turned out to be the key to prophetic revelation in the Bible.
“OTHER WRITERS INCLUDED IN THE WRITERS section of Jewish Scripture, are: Job, Psalms and Proverbs, the historical books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, along with others not considered either the Law or the Prophets.” (Walvoord)
OUR PICTURE FOR TODAY PORTRAYS THE EXODUS OF THOUSANDS OF JEWS from Jerusalem in 586 B.C.at which time the Temple was destroyed, and the city was laid waste. The best talent and affluence of the southern kingdom of JUDAH was being deported to Babylon. They were following in the footsteps of their sister-nation to the north: ISRAEL, which had been sacked and deported into Assyria 134 years earlier.
FROM THE TIME OF JUDAH'S DEPORTATION IN 586 B.C. and afterward, Jerusalem was under the control of gentile rulers and the Jewish kings were appointed by gentiles. It ushered in “The Times of the Gentiles.” John MacArthur writes:
“the times of the Gentiles. This expression is unique to Luke. It identifies the era from Israel's captivity (c. 586 B.C. to Babylon; cf. 2 Kings. 25) to her restoration in the kingdom (Revelation 20:1-6). It has been a time during which, in accord with God's purpose, Gentiles have dominated or threatened Jerusalem. The era has also been marked by vast spiritual privileges for the Gentile nations (cf. Isaiah 66:12; Malachi 1:11; Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10). (Emphasis in red added.)
CENTURIES LATER, JESUS SPOKE OF “the times of the Gentiles.” And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24) Jesus’ reference was not to the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, but a continuation of the Times of the Gentiles.
GOD DESTROYED SOLOMON'S TEMPLE (586 B.C.) AND THE CITY OF JERUSALEM after His pleading for repentance from idolatry was ignored to the point of rejection. At this time, Daniel had been in Babylon for twenty years (deported in 607 B.C.). Ezekiel had been in Babylon for eleven years (deported in 597 B.C.). The southern nation of Judah was being taken to Babylon to think about their idolatry for 70 years.
EARLIER HISTORY: There were Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. After Solomon’s death in 791 B.C., Rehoboam became the new king. Solomon had imposed high taxes on the nation for his aggressive building program and other spending programs, which went beyond the building of the Temple. The people asked the new king, Rehoboam, to ease the tax burden. But the young advisors led Rehoboam to boast that he would tax them even more than Solomon had taxed them. Big mistake. The ten northern Israelite tribes revolted against Rehoboam over high taxes. As we shall see, high taxes were the “obvious” thing, but it was much deeper than that.
JEROBOAM BECAME THE FIRST KINGK OF THE NORTHERN KINGDOM. This put an end to the United Monarchy that had existed under Saul, David and Solomon. The ten tribes in the north retained the name: Israel. The two tribes in the south: Judah and Benjamin, around the city of Jerusalem, were called: Judah.
THE TEN TRIBES WERE WITHOUT A TEMPLE, so Jeroboam, their new king, made golden calves for them to worship so they would not continue to go up (south) to Jerusalem to worship. In the north we read about seven bad kings and finally Elijah showed up as a mighty prophet, finally calling down fire from heaven on the evening sacrifice on Mt. Carmel.
The people talked big about the Lord being God, but it was skin deep. Such names as Ahab and Jezebel come out of that scene. Elijah and Elisha are big names from that time. But the preaching and miracles of these two did not purge Israel of their idolatry.
BUT, WHY DID IT HAPPEN? In a nutshell: because King Solomon turned his heart away from the Lord. He ”got too big for his britches” and forgot the Lord who had made him king, made him wise, made him wealthy. When Solomon left God, he led the whole nation into idolatry. There’s no substitute for reading the Scripture on Solomon’s spiritual downfall. When men and women drift away from God, they take people with them.
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. (1Kings 11:6-7)
And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. (1Kings 11:8-11)
Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen. (1Kings 11:12-13)
TO REPEAT: The ten tribes, Israel, were the first to be judged by the Lord for their idolatry. They were taken captive by Assyria (the dominant power before being taken over by Babylon) and dispersed throughout the land of Assyria to prevent rebellion against Assyria and to destroy their national identity. They inter-married with Assyrians and this not only mixed the race but infused them with the idolatry if Assyria.
ARTHUR PINK, IN HIS CLASSIC BOOK: ELIJAH, WRITES: “Israel (the 10 northern tribes) had grievously and flagrantly departed from Jehovah, and that which directly opposed Him had been publicly set up. Never before had the favored nation sunk so low. Fifty-eight years had passed since the kingdom had been rent in twain following the death of Solomon (791 B.C.).”
“DURING THAT BRIEF PERIOD NO LESS THAN SEVEN KINGS HAD REIGNED OVER THE ten tribes, and all of them without exception were wicked men. The first was Jeroboam. He made two calves of gold and led the people to worship them. “And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.” (!Kings 12:28-32) Pink comments: “Let is be duly and carefully noted that the apostasy began with the corrupting of the priesthood, by installing into the Divine service men who were never called and equipped by God!” (A.W. Pink. ELIJAH, p.11-12)
PLEASE NOTE THAT DANIEL WAS NOT PART OF THE NORTHERN TEN TRIBES. Daniel was of the royal blood of the southern two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, called: JUDAH. It is important to get the picture of what happened in the northern kingdom of ten tribes before JUDAH followed them into the same sin and into the same kind of judgment 134 years later.
THE WHOLE OF THE ORIGINAL NATION OF ISTARL (12 tribes) would fall into the same intolerable sin of idolatry and would suffer the same punishment of being driven from their nation into captivity, into the hands of their enemies who hated them. This was in keeping faith with the covenant God made with them that is recorded in Deuteronomy 28.
And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: (Deuteronomy 28:64-65)
Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. (Deuteronomy 9:4)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Isaiah 1-3 P.M. Galatians 2
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
(Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
Song for Today:
Let the Rocks Cry Out (2:48) (Cal. Mem.Church -Sou. Pines, NC)
Give it a little time – You may need to adjust the sound.