Sometime later during the reign of Darius the Mede, a plot is laid against Daniel by those opposed to his rise to greater power. The end result is that Daniel is placed in a den of lions but saved from harm by the God to whom he faithfully prays. The incident allows an interesting insight into Darius, who (at least for a time) is even evangelistic on behalf of this marvelous “God of Daniel.”
Darius’ enthusiasm for the “God of Daniel” is evidently not long-lived. There is no evidence that Babylon did in fact turn to God. On the contrary, it appears that Darius’ character is so unaffected that he betrays his own nation. Realizing Babylonia’s now-weakened condition against the power of Persia, Darius deserts to Cyrus and helps bring about the final overthrow of the very nation he has ruled. Since Nabonidus has gotten into such a drunken state while in exile that he cannot raise a defense, Cyrus walks into Babylon without any opposition and is hailed as king of Babylonia.
So ends the power of the great Babylonian Empire, just as the prophets had foretold. Never again will it rise to a position of great power. Concurrent with the change of rule in Babylon, Daniel leaves the palace and his position of governmental prominence.
And yet apparently Daniel finds favor under the new Persian government as well. And yet apparently Daniel finds favor under the new Persian government as well.What Daniel does from this point on is unknown, but presumably he remains in Babylon. He will be heard from once again after a period of two or three years.
伯沙撒王设筵纵饮/但以理阅书得知耶路撒冷必荒芜七十年-The Writing on the Wall/The Seventy “Sevens”
伯沙撒王设筵纵饮/但以理阅书得知耶路撒冷必荒芜七十年-The Writing on the Wall/The Seventy “Sevens”
Over the next seven years Daniel again slips into obscurity in Belshazzar’s palace. Then, on the occasion of a great banquet at which there is excessive drunkenness, praise of lesser gods, and defilement of goblets taken from Solomon’s temple, Belshazzar sees a finger writing something unintelligible on the wall. When Daniel is finally called to interpret it, the message is that Belshazzar’s arrogance has cost him his life. As if to stave off God’s judgment, Belshazzar elevates Daniel to the third-highest position in his government. But by the end of the night Belshazzar is dead.
Who actually killed Belshazzar is not known, but presumably it was Darius the Mede. Yet that only compounds the issue, because the identity of Darius is itself unclear. He is definitely not the great Darius of Persia who will come to power some 20 years later. Most speculation centers on a man by the name of Gobryas (or Gubaru), who is sometimes identified as an ally of Cyrus and the governor of the Gutium peoples, who took Babylon from the Babylonians. Whoever he might actually be, this Darius the Mede will have control of the nation for about three years before he sees his own writing on the wall, as it were, and virtually hands Babylonia over to the ascending Persian Empire.
Sometime during the first year of Darius the Mede’s reign, Daniel reads a copy of Jeremiah’s prophecies. Evidently copies have been circulating among the exiles ever since Baruch penned the last words on the third scroll 20 years earlier. Daniel is particularly moved by the recitation of Israel’s sins and the 70-year exile which Jeremiah predicted. Here in 542 B.C., 63 years have passed since Daniel and other exiles were taken in the first deportation, in 605 B.C. Realizing that the prophecy indicates still another seven years before the promised restoration is to begin, Daniel turns to God in prayer. Here now is his prayer in which he not only confesses his own sins, but also those of his fellow sons of Israel.
One of the most intriguing passages of all Scripture follows this account of Daniel’s beautiful prayer of contrition. As Daniel is in his period of prayer, he is approached by the angel Gabriel, whom he recognizes from earlier visions. Gabriel brings a message about seventy “sevens,” a message which apparently speaks in response to Daniel’s concern about the restoration. There is general consensus that each “seven” represents a week of years—that is, seven years. From that point forward much discussion has ensued.
The first seven “sevens,” or 49 years, may well have reference to the time it will take to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. But the particular decree setting that time period into motion is much debated in light of the various decrees which will issue concerning Jerusalem’s reconstruction.
The second set of “sevens,” the 62 “sevens,” has apparent reference to the coming of the Messiah. (The Hebrew text says there are 69 “sevens,” whereas the number used in most translations is 62, which may or may not simply be 69 less the first seven “sevens.”) This would set the Messiah’s coming at roughly 550 years from the time of Daniel.
As with the preceding weeks, the final week, or last seven years, has also been the subject of much discussion. Some believe it represents the beginning of the Messiah’s church and the apostolic age. Others believe it foretells a seven-year period during which time God will reestablish Israel as his covenant people prior to the Messiah’s second advent. What all agree on is the fact that God is working purposely in history on the behalf of his righteous ones.
It has been perhaps ten to twelve years since anything has been heard from Daniel, God’s captive servant who was put into the service of King Nebuchadnezzar as a young man. During this time Daniel has achieved great respect in the royal palace, primarily due to his successful interpretation of various dreams and riddles. Now in his later years, Daniel has served a succession of Babylonian leaders. After Nebuchadnezzar came his son, Awel-Marduk, who reigned only about two years (ca. 561–559 B.C.) before being assassinated by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar. Neriglissar ruled for four years (ca. 559–555 B.C.). His reign was followed very briefly by Labashi-Marduk (ca. 555 B.C.) before a usurper named Nabonidus took the throne (ca. 555 B.C.). Although Nabonidus will technically be the ruler of Babylonia until about 539 B.C., he earlier removed himself to northern Arabia when he was strongly opposed by priests of Marduk, who objected to his introduction of the moon-god, Sin. In 552 B.C. his son Belshazzar became a co-regent and now rules the rapidly declining empire.
During the first and third years of Belshazzar’s rule, Daniel has two of the most amazing prophetic dreams since Ezekiel’s vision of the great battle against Gog and the hordes of evil. Interestingly, there are events and characters in Daniel’s dreams which seem to correspond with things Ezekiel saw in his great temple vision. The first dream shows four beasts which, as Daniel is told, represent the four kingdoms prior to the kingdom of the Most High. The second dream pictures a battle between a ram and a goat. It apparently has to do with the time when one will challenge the Prince of Princes.
Various themes are evident. Throughout the universe, just as between warring nations, there is an ongoing battle between the forces of good and evil, between God and Satan, between justice and injustice, between morality and immorality. And the same battle is waged within every individual. While evil brings about its own destruction even now, there will come a time when the great destruction of evil and its champions will take place. It will be a final destruction, giving way to a permanent state of peace and righteousness in the eternal kingdom of God.
Daniel himself did not know exactly what to make of all that he had seen, and any difficult questions which the visions may raise should not obscure the more obvious message of hope which the visions clearly bring.