MEMORY VERSE: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20.
STUDY HELP: Acts of the Apostles, 529–537.
INTRODUCTION: “The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message. We have no time to lose; God calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, ‘the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star’ Revelation 22:16.”
Testimonies, vol. 6, 61.
“A LITTLE BOOK OPEN”
“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the Revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. ‘The wise shall understand’ (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God’s people all through the centuries, the promise is, ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ Revelation 1:3.” Prophets and Kings, 547, 548.
The name “Daniel” means “God is my Judge.” Judgement is a theme running throughout this book. Notice the following:
- Daniel 1:18–21. Nebuchadnezzar judges Daniel and his three friends.
- Daniel 3:13–29. Nebuchadnezzar judges Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but God overrules.
- Daniel 4:31–33. God pronounces judgement upon Nebuchadnezzar.
- Daniel 5:18–28. Daniel pronounces God’s judgement on Belshazzar and Babylon.
- Daniel 6:16–17, 24. Darius pronounces sentence on Daniel. God overrules and Darius condemns Daniel’s enemies.
- Daniel 7:9–14, 26. Daniel sees in vision God’s judgement.
- Daniel 8:13–14. Daniel hears the prophecy concerning the time of God’s judgement.
- Daniel 12:10. God’s judgement on both the righteous and wicked.
Judgement means “to bring justice.” Notice how the following passages explain the Bible concept of judgement.
- Genesis 4:10. Abel’s blood cries out to God for justice.
- Psalm 10:12–15. The psalmist cries out to God “to requite mischief and spite with Thy hand.”
- Daniel 8:13. The call to God is, “How long is evil to be permitted to oppress God’s people?
- Revelation 6:10. The martyred saints cry out to God to judge and avenge their blood.
The Book of Daniel promises deliverance for God’s people.
- Daniel 2:5, 13, 48–49. God delivers Daniel and his three friends from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree.
- Daniel 3:27. God delivers Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree.
- Daniel 6:20–22. “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lion’s mouths.”
- Daniel 7:25–27. The little horn wears out the saints of the Most High but it is they who receive the kingdom.
- Daniel 12:1. “A time of trouble such as never was…and at that time thy people shall be delivered.”
The Book of Daniel is the book of the kingdom. Every chapter begins with a reference to kingly power, either man’s or God’s.
- Daniel 1:1–2. The apparent destruction of the kingdom of God by Babylon. (But notice that God gave Jehoiakim into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. God is in control.)
- Daniel 1:1. The conflict is between Jerusalem and Babylon. This conflict continues between spiritual Babylon and spiritual Jerusalem in Revelation. This is the conflict between true and false worship. Idolatry and its conflict with true worship runs through much of Daniel and Revelation.
The first six chapters of Daniel contain history with some prophecy. The last six chapters of the book contain prophecy with some history. What has been acted out in narrative form is taught by prophetic vision.
- Those who worship idols are inferior in wisdom to those who worship and obey God. Compare Daniel 1 and 2.
- Those who refuse to submit to idolatrous worship will be delivered by God. Compare Daniel 3 and 6 with Daniel 12.
- Earthly laws fall to the ground before the decree of the Divine Lawgiver. Compare Daniel 6 with Daniel 7:25–26.
- God will condemn self-worship and blasphemy. Compare Daniel 4 and 5 with Daniel 7:25–27. Worship, true and false, is the major issue. Compare Revelation 13 and 14.
Daniel is the book of the sanctuary.
- The pivotal verse of the entire book is Daniel 8:14.
- Can you find mention of the sanctuary in chapters 1, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 12? The sanctuary has been defiled by the sins of God’s people, desolated by Babylon and will be cleansed by the Son of man at the time of the end.
- In the Book of Daniel, God uses the teaching technique of repetition and expansion. Each vision rehearses the ground of the previous vision and focuses on some part of it to add additional light. Those who fail to appreciate this truth will find themselves reaching private interpretations. For example, since Daniel 2 ends with Rome in both its imperial and its papal forms, (first the iron and then iron mixed with clay) each of the other visions, Daniel 7, Daniel 8–9 and Daniel 11–12, will also end with Rome, in its imperial and then its papal form. Failure to see this led to some to substitute Turkey for papal Rome in the final vision.
“SEAL NOT THE SAYINGS OF THIS PROPHECY”
How is the book of Daniel contrasted with the Book of Revelation? Daniel 12:4, 9, Revelation 22:10.
NOTE: “In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired pages, ‘the Revelation,’ contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth’s history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new. Let none think, because they cannot explain the meaning of every symbol in the Revelation, that it is useless for them to search this book in an effort to know the meaning of the truth it contains. The One who revealed these mysteries to John will give to the diligent searcher for truth a foretaste of heavenly things. Those whose hearts are open to the reception of truth will be enabled to understand its teachings, and will be granted the blessing promised to those who ‘hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ ” Acts of the Apostles, 584- 585.
The first eleven chapters of Revelation deal with three great visions, the Seven churches, the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets. Each vision looks at the period from apostolic times to the time of the end.
- The seven churches describe the spiritual state of the church during this period in seven stages: Ephesus, the apostolic church which began well but lost its first love, Smyrna, the church of the imperial persecutions, “faithful unto death,” Pergamos, the church which compromised with false worship, Thyatira, the persecuted church in the wilderness, Sardis, the church of the failed reformation, with “a name that thou livest and art dead,” Philadelphia, the church of the advent awakening, and finally Laodicea, a people judged, woefully unprepared for her Lord’s scrutiny.
- The seven seals describe the history of the church. First, a rider on a white horse “conquering and to conquer.” Then a rider on a red horse, suffering and persecuted. Then a rider on a black horse at a time of spiritual famine. Next a rider on a deathly pale horse suffering the terrible persecutions of the dark ages. Next comes the cry of the martyrs calling to God for judgement on their persecutors. Next we see the signs of Christ’s soon coming and the cry, “Who shall be able to stand?” In answer to this question, John hears that 144,000 will be able to stand and then he sees the great multitude of those who will come through the Great Tribulation because they have washed their robes.
- The seven trumpets reveal God’s judgements on Rome, the persecutor of God’s people. First are pictured the attacks on the Western Roman empire and the African Roman empire through Alaric and the Goths, Genseric and the Vandals, Atilla and the Huns and Odoacer and the Heruli. The final three trumpets are called “woes” and, under the 5th trumpet, we see the rise of Islam in response to the darkness brought by papal Rome. Then follow the Turks who destroy the Eastern Roman Empire. Read Great Controversy, 334–335 for the marvelous fulfilment of Revelation 9:15. Revelation 10 describes the Great Disappointment and Revelation 11 begins with a brief mention of the judgement of God’s people. The 1260 years of the papal suppression of the words of God is described and the rise of atheism is also described. All these events come within the period of the 6th trumpet. The vision ends with the 7th trumpet, the establishment of the kingdom of Christ and the judgement.
- The remainder of Revelation deals with the beginning, progress and triumphant outcome of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan, first in heaven and then on earth. We see the final conflict and its outcome for the enemies of God, Babylon, and for God’s people, the New Jerusalem. It would be well to read the final two chapters of this book aloud.
“BLESSED IS HE THAT READETH AND THEY THAT HEAR AND KEEP…”
What attitude should we take towards the Book of Revelation? Revelation 1:3.
NOTE: “In the Scriptures are presented truths that relate especially to our own time. To the period just prior to the appearing of the Son of man, the prophecies of Scripture point, and here their warnings and threatenings pre-eminently apply. The prophetic periods of Daniel, extending to the very eve of the great consummation, throw a flood of light upon events then to transpire. The book of Revelation is also replete with warning and instruction for the last generation. The beloved John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, portrays the fearful and thrilling scenes connected with the close of earth’s history, and presents the duties and dangers of Gods people. None need remain in ignorance, none need be unprepared for the coming of the day of God. It is not enough to have an intellectual knowledge of the truth. This alone cannot give the light and understanding essential to salvation. There must be an entrance of the word into the heart. It must be set home by the power of the Holy Spirit. The will must be brought into harmony with its requirements. Not only the intellect but the heart and conscience must concur in the acceptance of the truth.” Review and Herald, September 25, 1883.