The book of Daniel can be divided into two main sections. Chapters 1 through 6 contain stories of the experiences of Daniel and his friends while serving in the governments of Babylon and Persia. Chapters 7 through 12 contain a series of visions about the kingdom of God and the end times.
In terms of the progressive revelation of the Israelite prophets, Daniel represents the most advanced stage. His vision of the coming Messiah prepared the way for the Gospel; his visions of the end times provide the background and context for the book of Revelation. Chapters 7 through 12 contain 4 major visions:
- Chapter 7: first year of Belshazzar – vision of the 4 beasts and the Ancient of Days
- Chapter 8: third year of Belshazzar – vision of the Ram (Persia/Medes) and the Goat (Greece)
- Chapter 9: first year of Darius – prophecy of 70 weeks and Messiah being “cut off”
- Chapters 10-12 – third year of Koresh (Cyrus) – summary of the end times by the “Man of Fire”
Daniel’s understanding of his own visions was limited. He was told that their fulfillment would come at a later time, and therefore the meaning was “sealed” until then (Daniel 8:26, 12:4, 9).
In each of these four major prophecies there are direct references to Yeshua as: “Messiah,” “Commander of the Hosts”, and “The Angel YHVH” (Daniel 7:13-14; 8:11, 15, 25; 9:25-26; 10:5-6, 20-21).
All of these prophecies mention two strong demonic powers engaged in spiritual warfare against the kingdom of God: Paras (Persia) and Yavan (Greece). Persia is located to the East of Israel, and Greece to the Northwest. It is difficult not to see the end times connection in our day with Islamic extremism to the Paras spirit, and Western, atheistic humanism to the Yavan spirit.
Yet, while the demonic principalities over Paras and Yavan are evil, the leaders of the nations in the areas under their influence can sometimes do good. Both Darius and Cyrus are praised in Scriptures; and the civilizing accomplishments of Alexander the Great from Greece (actually, Macedonia) can also be seen in a positive light. The Angel YHVH (Yeshua) figure is seen as fighting for Darius (Daniel 11:1); and Cyrus is called the “anointed” (mashiach) of God as he decrees the restoration of Jerusalem (Isaiah 45:1).
Notice the historical context of Daniel’s last prophecies: the first two took place during Belshazzar’s reign, who was the evil son of Nebuchadnezzar. He was the one to whom the “writing on the wall” appeared (Daniel 5). Daniel predicted Belshazzar’s downfall, which took place immediately after the writing on the wall. Belshazzar’s kingdom was conquered by Darius.
Daniel was able to do his greatest work by serving as a kind of prime minister in the reigns of Darius and Cyrus (Daniel 6:29). It would seem that Cyrus’ decision to support the restoration of Zion came as a result of the political influence, intercession and prophecies of Daniel during Cyrus’ reign.
Daniel studied the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and began to pray for their fulfillment in his generation. Likewise we are called to read all of the prophetic Scriptures and pray for their fulfillment in our generation. Let us receive a similar anointing and understanding as Daniel–to pray, fast, intercede and repent as he did; and also believe that we can affect history by faith and prophecy as well.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.