Interpretation?

Daniel 7:15-28

“I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16 I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings [fn3] which arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’

19 “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.

21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said:

​‘​The fourth beast shall be

​​A fourth kingdom on earth,

​​Which shall be different from all other kingdoms,

​​And shall devour the whole earth,

​​Trample it and break it in pieces.

24 ​​The ten horns are ten kings

​​Who shall arise from this kingdom.

​​And another shall rise after them;

​​He shall be different from the first ones,

​​And shall subdue three kings.

25 ​​He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,

​​Shall persecute [fn4] the saints of the Most High,

​​And shall intend to change times and law.

​​Then the saints shall be given into his hand

​​For a time and times and half a time.

26 ​‘​But the court shall be seated,

​​And they shall take away his dominion,

​​To consume and destroy it forever.

27 ​​Then the kingdom and dominion,

​​And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,

​​Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.

​​His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

​​And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’

28 “This is the end of the account. [fn5] As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

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There are times when we receive thoughts and revelations that are best kept to ourselves until that time when the Spirit says now is the time.  Daniel has been presented with disturbing news but his trust remains in God.  We can learn from this.  No matter what God has the last word.

28 “This is the end of the account. [fn5] As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

Daniel’s dream…

Daniel 7:1-14

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. [fn1]

2 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

5 “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’

6 “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

7 “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

9 ​​“I watched till thrones were put in place,

​​And the Ancient of Days was seated;

​​His garment was white as snow,

​​And the hair of His head was like pure wool.

​​His throne was a fiery flame,

​​Its wheels a burning fire;

10 ​​A fiery stream issued

​​And came forth from before Him.

​​A thousand thousands ministered to Him;

​​Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

​​The court [fn2] was seated,

​​And the books were opened.

11 “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 ​​“I was watching in the night visions,

​​And behold, One like the Son of Man,

​​Coming with the clouds of heaven!

​​He came to the Ancient of Days,

​​And they brought Him near before Him.

14 ​​Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

​​That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

​​His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

​​Which shall not pass away,

​​And His kingdom the one

​​Which shall not be destroyed.

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What a visual experience!  There is a contrast between the entities described as beasts and the entity described as the son of man.  Taking Daniel’s book in small bytes allows for time to reflect and ask for Holy Spirit revelation.  We can suppose and many have supposed, what each beast represents.  What comes forth rather than explanation is knowledge of who God is and what he does.  He uses visual, vibrant images to speak to us.  Are we listening?  Can we see?  The people He has created are also creators and there is a fascination and appreciation for the images that are shared.  In the message unfolding before us sits a judge or king on a throne, someone full of wisdom and with the title Ancient of Days might be presumed to represent God.  Beasts have appeared before in visions and tales from Ezekiel and Daniel and were representations of governments.  The son of man is usually a term used for Christ.  One thing is clear; if the beasts are governments we can see the opinion of God for our forms of government.  Reminds us of what He told Samuel.  The people want a king, they will have a king, but they will be disappointed by the oppression kings bring.  King as a government is seen as oppressive by a portion of any people ruled by that king/government.  God demands fealty and honor.  When we take our trust and place it in government or a man in leadership position we open ourselves up for disappointment and judgment.

                                        ​​His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

​​Which shall not pass away,

​​And His kingdom the one

​​Which shall not be destroyed.

We see governments come and go.  We are promised the kingdom of God will last forever and it rests within each believer.

Tested and tried. Found true.

Daniel 6:15-28

Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” 17 Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians [fn2] were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

23 Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

25 Then King Darius wrote:

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

26 ​I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

​​For He is the living God,

​​And steadfast forever;

​​His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,

​​And His dominion shall endure to the end.

27 ​​He delivers and rescues,

​​And He works signs and wonders

​​In heaven and on earth,

​​Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

photo found at http://www.kctd.org/2012/06/my-own-lions-den/

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Daniel believed God and was rewarded with an adventurous life of faithfulness and service in which God proved Daniel’s faith was valid and reliable.  Daniel knew his God and trusted him; this same God who  sent his son, Jesus, to pay for the sins of the world and offer to each man, woman, and child an opportunity for an adventure-filled life of freedom in Him.  He is who He says He is; He does what He says He will do.  Do we know who we are in Him? Do we follow His example and do what we say we will?  Daniel’s faith brought tests to see if his faith was true.  He passed his tests.  We can too.  Tested and tried, found true.

Jealousy…opposite of love

Daniel 6:6-14

So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”

The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.”

13 So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives [fn1] from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

14 And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

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picture taken from: The Kingdom, The Kids, & the Cowboys a blog site

Jealousy is devious.  It acts in a manner opposite that of love — the command by which all others are derived.  The command to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength  and love your neighbor as yourself would not seek harm to a colleague or neighbor. A devious plan is created to remove Daniel, a plan attacking the only area in Daniel’s life that could not be manipulated.  His faith and trust in God and his consistent manner of giving honor and respect to God.  Daniel remained faithful.  His faith had carried him and would continue to.  No reason now to believe any different.  He did not defy the decree; he simply continued to do what he did; give honor to God Almighty.  May we believe as he believed; God is who He says He is; He does what He says He will do.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

No fault…

Daniel 6:1-5

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

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What a personal testimony to the presence of God within Daniel and his faithfulness to the word of God!  His life was so exemplary he continued to find favor with whoever ruled the land at the time.  His excellence gave birth to jealousy among those who worked alongside him.  And to further testify to his right living, they could find no cause for complaint!

“…but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him….”

Take away: with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit living in each believer who has been to the cross of Christ, accepted His gift of forgiveness and life; the same should be said of us all.  The power received is an overcoming power and enables us to walk in faith and excellence as Daniel did.  Others then can also testify to our having the presence of the Holy Spirit and no cause be found for charges of misconduct in what we do.  There is a goal to be met, the mark of the high calling as Paul put it, and we do this in and through Him, the Most High God. Let it be said of us there is no fault, we are found faithful and His excellence is in us.   Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A penalty for disrespect

Daniel 5:13-30

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives [fn2] from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the fingers [fn3] of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

25 “And this is the inscription that was written:

MENE, [fn4] MENE, TEKEL, [fn5] UPHARSIN. [fn6]

26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” [fn7] 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

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Belshazzar continued to do as he wished and was terminated.  He gave the gifts, although  they had been denied, and that is a gesture of arrogance and pride unrepentant.  And the Word of the Lord was brought to fruition.  It may be that once he was told what the message meant, he did what so many do, shrug the shoulders and go on as usual.  Only the unknown carries fear.  Our take away is one of warning again of the perils of arrogance and pride.  There is a price to pay for arrogance and pride. There was disrespect to the Most Holy God mingled in with the pride.  There was a lack of a healthy fear of the Most Holy God which brings wisdom.  This is a fear that is a close relative of respect.  Giving someone or something the respect they are due.  Recognizing the order of creation and the difference between the Creator and the created, us.   The one delivering the message, acting in faith, continued; blessed by the Lord.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

Who has knowledge, understanding, wisdom?

Daniel 5:1-12

Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 6 Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas [fn1] were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

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Ah, to be known as the one in whom the Holy Spirit resides.  Looking at this passage a question comes.  Can the wisdom of God be bought?  I will clothe you in purple, place a gold chain about your neck, give you authority over a third of the kingdom, only tell me what this means.  The king was wise enough to be fearful of the hand that wrote.  What has he done? He has treated the holy vessels of God as common and to add insult did so while praising other gods.  Has he done this out of ignorance?  It seems it does not make a difference if he knows the God Almighty or not; he is judged guilty of disrespect.  The Holy Spirit is the giver of understanding and knowledge and fear of the Lord brings wisdom.  Rather than fear of the Lord the party-goers were exhibiting pride and mockery.  And now, it takes the voice of a woman to remind them of one who has the Holy Spirit.  How are we known?  Can others sense the presence of the Holy Spirit within us?  Do we give evidence of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge only He can give,  not of this world but of the kingdom of Heaven?