A Short Introduction To The Studies
Here are a few studies in Daniel. My initial study of Daniel’s 70 weeks, (Daniel 9:24-27), remains at the heart of understanding Biblical prophecy, and it is filed under ‘Complex Issues’, as I did not originally intend to do further studies in Daniel. All of Daniel is of course of great importance, and I shall endeavour to add studies or background information as appropriate. (I highly recommend Dr Stephen Jones’ studies in Daniel for a very knowledgeable insight into the prophecies). Daniel 8 for instance corroborates the 103 year hiatus in Daniel’s 70 weeks, and is actually foundational to understanding Daniel 9, and the vision of Daniel 10-12 further elucidates the timeline of Daniel’s 70 weeks, as you can see from my studies.
The Question Of Obfuscation And Encoding In Daniel
Did the unbelieving Jews and Levites know who Jesus was, and did they understand the prophetic Old Testament scriptures? These are two very important questions, related but separate. In answer to the first question, I believe not as, according to Peter in Acts 3 v17, the Jews and Levitical priests committed a sin of ignorance, indicating that they did not realize that Jesus was not committing blasphemy, and was indeed God:
“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.”
Regarding the prophetic scriptures, and in particular Daniel’s forecasts, the answer is an even more definitive no. In Luke 19, Jesus makes it clear that unbelieving Jerusalem had no clue about what era of prophetic fulfilment they were in:
“41 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize (ginosko – understand) the time of your visitation from God.”
Jesus’ words here have a double meaning. First and foremost the Jews did not recognize Jesus, which was the prerequisite for peace and reconciliation with God, and escaping the wrath, but consequently, they were not able to understand Daniel’s words, which would have informed them of the time of Jesus’ visitation. (Bear in mind that Jesus came in two stages, first as salvation for the Jews and all mankind, secondly, in AD 67-73, as the wrath on Jerusalem.)
Again, in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 in the Olivet Discourse, speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus hints that Daniel’s writings required discernment and understanding, that they needed to be mulled over carefully:
15 “So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand [‘noeo’: perceive, reflect upon, ponder] ), 16 then those in Judea must flee to the mountains;”
The point I am making here is that Daniel’s prophecies, his timeline for the judgement of Judah and Jerusalem and the coming of Christ, were not meant to be understood by the wicked, but only by the believing, as if they were properly understood, then they would have allowed a person to escape the judgement of Jerusalem. The man clothed in linen when discussing the precise timing of events with Daniel makes this point explicitly in chapter 12 v 9:
“None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.”
The point is simple, Daniel’s prophecies, especially his timelines, are deliberately abstruse, they are not meant to be easily seen and grasped. This is seen in the fact that the timeline is not easy to uncover, and the witness to that is the multitude of conflicting and contrary understandings of Daniel. The Book of Daniel, like Revelation, its successor, is encoded, and requires ‘keys’ to be unlocked.