The Book of Daniel was written sometime between 606-530 BC when Daniel prophesied through the times of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius the son of Ahasurus in Babylon. The Book contains dreams, visions, and prophecies related to global politics revolving around the Jews whose nation Israel/Judah was snatched from them through conquests, first by Assyria and then by Babylon in 586 BC. The dreams, visions, and prophecies declare that though Israel was suspended as a nation from the realm of politics, God‘s sovereign rulership over world politics had not come to cease. In terms of ethno-religio-political locus, the Book portrays one center: The Messiah who is the Son of David (the next immediate circumferential center being the Jewish people to whom He first belongs, ethno-religio-politically speaking). In terms of geo-political locus, the center is Jerusalem, the City of David (the immediate circumferential center being Palestine). Jerusalem is destined to be the Capital of the future political world. The Land (Palestine) is a subject of many prophecies in this Book. Though now seemingly forsaken, it has a central place in God’s charter of world politics.
The Key verses are 2:20-23, 44
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter. (Dan 2:20-23)
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Dan 2:44)
We’ll look at verses 20-21 today:
The Sovereignty of the LORD (YHWH)
The verses declare the Sovereignty of God over the world. Israel’s ceasing as a nation didn’t mean the cessation of divine activity. God is Sovereign forever “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever” and He governs the world with His wisdom and His might “for wisdom and might are his”.
1. Sovereignty over World History
“he changeth the times and the seasons”
Whether we speak in terms of historical time-shifts or major historical events, God’s hand is over history. Be it the Aryan migration or the Mughal invasion, the British conquest of the quest for freedom, God’s hand was over the history of our country; so over every country and nation, globally and territorially. Whether one speaks of great transitions from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, from the Classical Age to the Renaissance, from the Dark Age to the Age of Industrial Revolution; whether one speaks of Ashoka’s edicts or the Great Depression, of Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Age or this Great Recession, Daniel declares that it is YHWH, the Sovereign Lord of the universe, who “changeth the times and the seasons”. His hand is upon the panorama of all history.
2. Sovereignty over World Politics
“he removeth kings, and setteth up kings”
The Bible declares that all political and judicial authority is divinely ordained (Romans 13:1-2). The men and women in authority are called ministers of God for good (Romans 13:4) though they might not acknowledge themselves as such. Their placement in political history is by divine determination (cf. Esther 4:14). Whether it is a monarchy, an oligarchy, or a democracy, it is God who removes leaders and sets up leaders. The devil himself may inspire certain leaders, but he doesn’t have permission apart from God’s judicious determinations; even the anti-christ will not appear until God allows him to appear. Then, it will be God alone, no mortal hand, that will put an end to the reign of the beast.* It is necessary for all people to honor authority, though the one in the position may be evil. Remember Paul, the great missionary, almost a household name in his day, when he stood before the magistrates and the governors, how he conducted himself with boldness and sincerity of faith, but with great humility and respect for authority.
3. Sovereignty over Education and Propagation of Knowledge
“he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding”
Schools and Universities rule the world. Information is power, someone said; and, the world has seen an awakening out of superstitious slumbers into the dawn of Reason.** The Universities are getting increasing and intensely secular. Harvey Cox had suggested four decades ago that this was to be Biblically anticipated. The unshackling of the ecclesiastical from the secular is the act of God. In this manner, man was liberated from dogmatic tutors to freedom of thought and expression. Research has become more scientific, if not totally bias-free. This has enabled greater strides in the area of civilization and culture. The world has grown smaller in our age of globalization and information explosion. We are exposed to more information than ever. Yet, it is God who gives wisdom and knowledge. Despite the surge of anti-theistic tendencies in the field of education, for instance, Schools and Universities throughout the world are filled with believers in God; which indicate that the secularity and liberality of thought has little to do with the motivation or discouragement of faith. Education can never overpower God because God’s holds scepter over the domain of knowledge and education.
* It is said that the Beast will recover from a mortal wound (Revelation 13:3). Perhaps, there will be an attempt to assasination; but, that attempt will not prevail because God’s order has ordained the Beast’s destruction only at the hands of the Messiah.
**At whichever age, however, cynicism and credulity, both opposite tendencies, were never totally dismissed.
Notes from Lectures, CITS, September 2, 2010.
© Domenic Marbaniang, 2010.