Discernment from Daniel
by Bernie L. Calaway

"Despite the king’s insistence on uniformity, the heroes devise effective plans to preserve their Jewish identity... by their refusal to subsist entirely on government dole..."

Deportation results in culture shock. The Babylonians made it a practice to deport the top people of a conquered culture, leaving the poor and lower classes in place. This is why Daniel, a teenager from the royal Jewish household, and his three friends ended up in Babylon with new names and an overly rich diet. They were also likely made into eunuchs. According to the author, Babylonian culture was everything Judah was not. Spread out for fifty miles, the city of Babylon was known for its palace complete with the famous hanging gardens that were proclaimed one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Daniel’s autobiography prompts incredulity in both Old and New Testament readers. Are the stories of these likable heroes true? Was there a fiery furnace penalty for not bowing to a statue of the king? Did Daniel spend a night in a den of hungry lions for praying to his God when commanded not to? Could he interpret dreams and visions about statues made of precious metals and iron? Then, did he dare explain the true meanings to pompous governors, or was this story written much later by the Maccabees, a Jewish culture nearer to Jesus’ time? Noting the different languages used within sections, scholars of the Bible’s Old Testament often guess at the true origin of this book with twelve chapters, nearly half prophecy and the rest potentially tall tales. How did anyone, except a man visited by an angel, learn of the Anti-Christ, future reigns of terror and blessing, the struggles between powers and principalities that occur in heavenly places, and dispensations that untangle the mystery of upcoming events which Bible scholars still debate?

Calaway is the author of a half-dozen books and many newspaper and magazine articles. Now retired, he spends his time preaching and speaking on prophetic subjects. He begins the introduction of this book with self-deprecating humor that belies the deep research and serious thought applied by a scholar who was educated at a Baptist theological seminary. If a reader wants to learn the difference between eschatology (the study of the End Times), and apocalyptic (revealing future) prophecy versus Jewish prophets looking back into their history, they have come to the right place. Even readers with years of study will be amazed at the insights Calaway has to offer. These insights have a simplicity that opens many trains of thought. For example, the author says that “horns always denote political power.” Conquerors ride into prophetic dreams as animals with horns. Likewise, a trump made from horn sounds the return of Jesus in the last days.

Numbers also carry significance, such as the series of seventy years, weeks, and the number of days alluded to in the prophecy Daniel received about the End Times. Helpful appendices round up valuable information into a study guide, timeline, and resource on the validity (time, place, and authorship) of the book attributed to Daniel. The author has added an extensive index as well as cross-references between events mentioned in Daniel’s writings that contrast the little King Antiochus of history with the future Anti-Christ.

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