Just a Glimpse
Of God’s Love Story
The apocalyptic (prophetic) Old Testament book of Daniel and New Testament book of Revelation reveal to the world God’s plan to save lost humanity. An understanding of the prophecies in these two books helps us see God’s love, omnipotence, and omniscience, particularly when we allow the events of history to prove the prophetic word. As we come into an understanding of the Bible prophecies, faith in God increases and love for Him grows.
The prophecies in the books of Daniel and Revelation point to end time events, making this book an excellent choice of reading material if you want to know what the future has for you. Such knowledge will help you grow in relationship with Jesus as you realize that most of the prophecies have been fulfilled just as predicted, and you can be sure that the rest will be fulfilled. From this, you can also learn to depend on Jesus, trust Him, and obey Him in every situation. May this be your desire as you study the prophecies in Daniel, Part I, prophecies in Revelation, Part II, as well as the end-time issue and events in Part III.
The book of Daniel takes its title from the prophet Daniel, who wrote his experiences and visions. His name, which means “God is my judge,” was and is to remind God’s people of the day of judgment preceding Jesus setting up His everlasting kingdom to bring an end to the evil in this world. The book, therefore, is a message of hope and joy, imploring its readers to live in eager expectation of the great day of God Almighty, knowing that their future is secure.
To accept the message of hope, one must understand and accurately interpret the prophecies in the book of Daniel. In so doing, it is important to get the chronology right. For this reason, I have presented the chapters in chronological order as follows: Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4; then 7 and 8; followed by 5, 6, and 9-12. As you read, bear in mind that chapters 1-6 were written in Aramaic because they pertained to the Babylonians, while chapters 7-12 were written in Hebrew, signifying Daniel’s recognition that the message was specifically for God’s people at the end of time. Additionally, this is a book of metals, beasts, horns, kings, and kingdoms. To comprehend fully, I recommend that you read the background chapters of Daniel from several Bible versions before reading the corresponding chapter in this book, which generally quotes the King James Version.
The prophecies in Daniel are easy to understand because the writer, the rest of scripture, and history provide adequate interpretations for the reader. It is clear that from Daniel’s time to the end, there were to be five major powers to rule the world, which were and are represented by metals, beasts, and horns. For us today, it is important to review historical records when studying the prophecies to see their fulfillment. Time is a historical factor. Therefore, when counting time, note that the period usually starts the very year in the Hebrew system, particularly for the last six chapters. On the other hand, in the Babylonian system of counting, the first year of royal reign was referred to as the year of ascension and the second as the first year or reign, applicable to the first six chapters. Then, it is important to differentiate those periods that are written from a Babylonian perspective from those that are Jewish. Further, when calculating a period, add one when crossing zero from BC to AD because there is no zero year.
The prophecies in the book of Daniel are progressive, with each prophecy repeating information given in the previous prophecy and adding more futuristic information than the previous. Therefore, it is imperative that you study the prophecies in chronological order, as presented in this book, so that you gain a clear understanding. Also, look for seven themes embodied in covenant relationship – creation, worship, law, Sabbath, redemption (complete when Jesus sets up His everlasting kingdom), judgment, and heart (mind).
The Revelation of Jesus Christ reveals to us the glorified Savior. We know about His marvelous works before the cross, but very little about Him after His ascension, until we read the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John. The apostle Paul stated that Jesus is interceding as our High Priest, and John, through visions from God, showed Jesus in all His sanctuary functions in heaven until the end of time, indicating that the heavenly sanctuary is the backdrop of the entire book.
The book of Revelation was written to the early Christian church in John’s time. Christians then studied and knew the Old Testament. Knowing this, John used symbols from the Old Testament to inform the Christians of his visions, while confusing the Roman persecutors seeking his life. In addition, he quoted a great deal from the Old Testament, more than half of Revelation, to help readers rightly interpret the prophecies, which he repeated and enlarged for clarity.
Interpreting the prophecies of Revelation may be quite a challenge, particularly to persons who have preconceived ideas that every prophecy in Revelation chapters 4-22 will be in the future, during the final conflict. This futurist view leads to a literal interpretation of the symbols in the prophecies and to inconsistencies. Also, serious questions arise from the preterist view that suggests John wrote a message for his time and not to be considered as prophecies to be applied to other periods of history. Yet another view, that of the idealist, indicates that the truths of Revelation are timeless, thus leaving it up to the readers to make their own interpretations. In contrast, the historicist view purports that God gave the revelation of His Son to all generations after His ascension. Understanding these differences, there is consideration of the preterist view in chapters 1-3, the idealist view for chapters 4-5, and the futurist view for chapter 13:11 to chapter 22. Moreover, when interpreting Revelation in the context of scripture on a whole, it becomes evident that many of the quotes and symbols are both historical and future, reaching to the time when God’s people will be faced with the final crisis of earth’s history, ushering the establishment of His kingdom.
A study of Daniel and Revelation should lead one to recognize a focal issue that runs throughout the prophecies. Hence, the prophecies have been explored to discover the focal issue. Further, Daniel and Revelation are not the only books of the Bible that deal with prophecy. Some of these have been referred to in relation to giving a panoramic view of how things should look during the end of time, particularly highlighting the main problem, self-seeking, which led us into the sin problem. In this regard, the books of Joel, Matthew (Jesus’ predictions), Luke, and Hebrews are referred to as they provide guide posts for us to observe.
My prayer for you. As you read this book, I pray that you see the love story of Jesus unfold via metals, beast, horns, and angels. May you encounter Jesus, so that you live in obedience to His will and be ready for His soon return because He has secured your future with His blood.
Meletha M. E. St. Hill, Ph.D.