Daniel’s writings end in hope. Although he didn’t entirely understand, Christ told him to seal the words of the scroll. Those living at the end of Earth’s history would discover the details, shining like the brightness of the heavens. In his explanation, Christ added personal hope: when He returned to Earth, Daniel would receive his inheritance, along with everyone else.
As Daniel continued praying, an angel assured him of God’s love, and gave him understanding. The angel took a slice of the prophecy in Daniel 8:14 and explained Christ’s life on earth—yes, God would restore Jerusalem, and a Messiah would redeem sinful man.
Was Jesus the Messiah? Despite the details given to us through Daniel, many still ask that question.
Reading in Jeremiah that 70 years would pass before God’s people could rebuild Jerusalem, Daniel placed the writings before God. Daniel pleaded for God to “smile again on your desolate sanctuary.” Encouraged by Jeremiah’s declaration that nothing is too hard for God, Daniel left the issue to God’s mercy, not as some reward for good behavior.
Scripture tells us that the devil, our enemy, prowls the earth, seeking someone to devour. The lion’s den in Babylon served a similar purpose for those sentenced to death for various crimes. Jealous princes, prowling about King Darius’ court, could only find one thing to set Daniel up for such a death sentence: his allegiance to God.
My daughter once came home from a trip wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan: Not Listening. As parents, we cringed. The shirt illustrated the slogan with a cute penguin wearing headphones. I modified the t-shirt by blocking over the words, but she never wore it again. Every detail in Daniel 5 shows that Belshazzar embraced this slogan.
The question is a familiar one. I asked it as a child on my way to my grandmother’s house. My daughter asked it on many family trips. In the last few months of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel receives another vision that prompted this question. The vision revealed further details on the little horn from his vision three years earlier.
At age 80, Daniel dreamed his first prophetic vision, awaking deeply troubled. He saw a parallel dream of Daniel 2, with four beasts representing kings. The fourth beast was “terrifying and frightening and very powerful.” This beast had ten horns, and a talkative “little horn” uprooted three. The little horn’s boastful words captivated Daniel.