So far we’ve covered the back-story from Genesis to the Judges. We’ve breezed over the ignoble and tedious details of Israel’s history under the kings. As always, choices have consequences. In this case, those choices have brought about a divided kingdom now vulnerable to the ungodly nations-turned-empires in the region.
It is at this point that His-story shifts gears to present God’s plan as spoken forth by His prophets—both “major” and “minor.” Here we find the mystery-plan buried within the present details of the Israelites’ troubles. The prophetic puzzle pieces lay scattered within, offering hope in the midst of their hopelessness. It is not unusual for a prophecy to have an immediate application in their time as well as a future application. It is like looking at a mountain peak, climbing to the top, only to find another peak behind it off in the distance.
One such prophetic book opens with a captivating scene—literally. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god” (Daniel 1:1-2). Yes, you read that correctly, God gave the king of Judah into the Babylonian king’s hand. This is what Isaiah 13:5 calls the weapons of the Lord’s indignation (righteous anger). God removes His hand of protection and justly allows the consequences of the people’s decision to live their own rebellious way, for they have rejected His ways. Such a situation is not God’s perfect will, yet it is His permissive will.
The king instructs one of his underlings to “bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles” to Babylon to serve in the king’s palace. Talk about a slap in the face to the conquered Jewish leaders! The Babylonian king wants only the best of them, those who are “good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand.” He intends to enlighten Israel’s best and brightest. Instead, they will turn the tables on the king, but not in a way you might expect. They will do so by serving with excellence while staying true to the truths of the Most High God.
First up, a young lad called Daniel. He has “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” within the king’s palace. We soon learn in Daniel 2 that the king is prone to dreams. Sadly for the king, he doesn’t have the wisdom to know how to interpret them. Nor do his personal wise men. We get a glimpse of the king’s stupidity when in his outrage he gives the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon because of their failure. His servants decide to include Daniel and his Jewish companions, too.
Daniel immediately goes to God for wisdom and the interpretation of the dream. Before rushing off to stop the rampage, Daniel gives thanks to God. “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” (Dan. 2:20-22).
The Chronos Lesson: Tucked in this prayer of thanksgiving, we see the hubris of those who have bowed down to the spirit of the Antichrist. Only God the Creator can determine the chronos times and the kairos seasons. Only God removes leaders and raises up leaders, despite what royalty and politicians may think. In times of uncertainty, in the face of lawlessness, He alone gives wisdom. He alone brings revelation and understanding to those who trust in His Word. For everything we need to operate as His ambassadors on this earth is already in His specific revelation that we call the Bible.
Anyone who tells you they have received further revelation or who declares that the fullness of God’s mystery-plan has already been fulfilled needs to read the warning recorded in Revelation 22:18-19. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”