So I was just talking with someone on the onething forums about the book of Daniel, when I realized that I have not written a single blog post about this amazing book. Those of you who know me will recognize how remarkable that is. I am a bit of a Daniel junkie. I love reading the book, even though I’ve studied it through several times. I jump at the chance to talk about it and I always walk away hyper from discussions about it. I want to be like Daniel when I grow up. If there was a book of Daniel fan club, I’d sign up for it. Maybe I should start one.
Anyway, all that to say it’s high time the book of Daniel made its debut on this blog.
One theme in the book that stands out above all is that of the sovereignty of God. In Daniel’s amazing prayer of thanksgiving in 2:20-22, he states that “[God] raises up kings and removes kings”. Throughout all twelve chapters, you can see this taking place. God consistently demonstrates His power as far superior to even the most important, most charismatic, and most power-hungry ruler on the planet. Nebuchadnezzar went from being a pompous man to being completely broken and humbled (ch. 4). Belshazzar was deposed in a single night (ch. 5). The entire course of history, with the rising and falling of empires, takes place under God’s leadership and with His full knowledge (ch’s 7-12).
Daniel also contains some of the most significant chapters in the Old Testament regarding the end of the age. Chapters 2 and 7 contain parallel visions that give some of the best broad-stroke eschatology you can find anywhere. Chapter 9 contains a supernatural encounter that reveals a great deal about redemptive history, including the seven year Tribulation. Chapters 10-12 are a mind-bogglingly accurate prophecy of history, culminating with the Antichrist’s rise to power, rule, and demise. All taking place under the watch and care of a sovereign God who “does according to His will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Daniel 4:35).
Those of us who grew up in traditional church are familiar with the stories of the first six chapters of Daniel. The fiery furnace, the hand writing on the wall, and the lions’ den are forever immortalized in flannel-graph form on our minds. The last seven chapters seem a bit obscure and freaky, too confusing to learn and impossible to totally understand.
Then, for some of us (me included), now that we’re grown-up, the last seven chapters are the more exciting, “deeper” part of the book. It’s cool to try and decode the prophecy, and relegate the first six chapters to just those cute stories we heard in Sunday School and read in our Beginner’s Bibles. But in reality, both halves of the book are terribly profound, and even deeply devotional, if we only know how to read it right.
I found this out in an unexpected way. For my service hours here at IHOP-KC, I was transcribing some of Allen Hood’s classes. I had been working on the “Excellencies of Christ Class,” which is a phenomenal course that I would highly recommend. Hearing Allen preach on the Cross and the Incarnation was totally destroying me (in a good way), and I was devouring the teachings eagerly. As I turned in my latest CD to his assistant, she gave me a session from the Daniel class. I was a bit disappointed. “I’m sure it’s going to be good,” I thought, knowing that Allen can preach just about anything out of the Bible with enough fervor to make you want to get saved all over again. “But Daniel? I mean, we all know the lions didn’t eat him; what more is there to say?”
It was a teaching on Daniel 2. I was intrigued within the first five minutes or so. By the end of the session, especially after Daniel 2:20-22, I was hooked. And I haven’t been “un-hooked” since.
So you can expect to be seeing more posts on the book of Daniel up here, on an as-I-feel-like-it-basis. My plan is to take a chapter or so at a time and blog about it.
Looking forward to this series! I hope you are too. And in the meantime, go read the book of Daniel. 🙂