The Message of Daniel in One Sentence: Daniel encourages the faithful by showing them that though Israel was exiled from the land of promise, they will be restored to the realm of life at the resurrection of the dead, when the four kingdoms are followed by the kingdom of God, so the people of God can trust him and persevere through persecution until God humbles proud human kings, gives everlasting dominion to the son of man, and the saints reign with him.
Part 1: The four beasts and the little horn (1-8; 15-21)
Part 2: The destruction of the Antichrist, the consummation of God’s Kingdom, and the rule of God’s people (9-14; 11-12;22)
Big Picture: “The visions of Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 10–12 are to be understood as complementary presentations of the same realities. They pattern the activities of the wicked powers that have exercised beastly dominion ever since God’s vicegerent (Adam) surrendered that dominion through rebellious sin against the Sovereign. These patterns are consistent—Nebuchadnezzar plunders the temple, Belshazzar uses its implements for debauched dissipation, Antiochus Epiphanies sets up the abomination of desolation, and the little horn from the fourth kingdom, who will be the final realization of this antichrist pattern, will also seek to cut off the true worship of God, replacing that with the worship of himself and the celebration of his kingdom.
The wicked will seek to stamp out the worship of God and replace it with the worship of some unworthy wreck. They will persecute those who refuse to bow, just as Daniel and his three friends were threatened with death in Daniel 3 and 6. The efforts of the wicked will come to nothing. Even if they kill the righteous, they will succeed neither in making their abominations into God nor in keeping the righteous dead. They are chaff. The wind will drive them away. Suddenly the seed of the serpent will be smashed, the one like a son of man will receive rightful dominion of everlasting duration, and the faithful will be rewarded with him as the wicked are punished.
This pattern is clear. The book of Daniel portrays this pattern in Daniel’s own day, predicts that it will continue in history, and promises that it will culminate in a final king of shocking power, desolating sacrilege, and unholy success. That beast will die and his body be burned when the Ancient of Days takes the throne. Then God’s king will reign over God’s people in God’s place—all creation—and they will shine with the glory of God like stars in the heavens.” (With the Clouds of Heaven, James M. Hamilton Jr.)
More in Daniel
September 10, 2017A Heavenly Messenger and His Revelation
August 27, 2017Daniel’s Prayer: God’s Gracious Character, Our Sin
August 20, 2017The Ram, The Goat, The Arrogant Little Horn... and The Lamb