The Book of Daniel contains many key prophecies about the time before the Return of Jesus. Interspersed between these prophetic visions are stories about the life of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If you look at these stories closely it becomes apparent that they act like parables to teach spiritual life lessons. Looking at them even closer, one notices that each one of the stories are an Old Testament type or foreshadow of what is to come during the Great Tribulation, the last three and a half years prior to Jesus’ return. I find it immensely interesting that the the prophet who gave us some of the most detailed information about the time before Jesus’ return lived a life that foreshadowed some of the very events he prophesied about.
The book of Daniel begins with Nebuchadnezzar besieging Jerusalem and ransacking the Holy items from the temple of God. He then carries off into captivity some of the youth of Israel, including Daniel and his friends, to Babylon to serve King Nebuchadnezzar in his court. Interestingly this is exactly how the Great Tribulation begins as well. THE MIDPOINT OF THE TRIBULATION: EARTH’S PERSPECTIVE details the Antichrist’s attack on Jerusalem. Luke records Jesus’ words about this time.
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then [l]recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21: 20-24 NASB)
This passage was foreshadowed in Daniel’s day and in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city and the temple, but the final fulfillment occurs in the future when as Jesus tells us, all things which are written will be fulfilled. All things will not be fulfilled until the time of Jesus’ return.
The Mark Of The Beast
Daniel and his friends were taken captive to serve Nebuchadnezzar in his court. Part of their preparation is to eat the King’s food, which includes meat sacrificed to his idols. Daniel and his friends request that they not be forced to eat the non-Kosher diet and request a diet of vegetables instead. Ashpenaz, the chief of the eunuchs who was in charge of the young men, is skeptical at first, but Daniel wisely requests a ten day test of the vegan diet. Miraculously after the test, Daniel and his friends are healthier than the other captives.
We know that at the beginning of the Great Tribulation the False Prophet will enforce the Mark of the Beast. No one will be able to buy or sell without the Mark. Not taking the Mark will appear to be a form of suicide. In our modern culture all food, water and shelter depend on buying or selling. Unfortunately taking the Mark of the Beast is spiritual suicide. God’s Word states:
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Rev. 14: 9-12 NASB)
This is incredibly clear. Anyone who takes the Mark of the Beast experiences the wrath of God. This will place all believers in difficult position. But just like Daniel we must refuse the King’s food (the Antichrist’s food) and not take the Mark. Just like Daniel though, we can have faith that God will provide for us. In Revelation 12 he shows he will provide for his people:
Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Rev. 12: 6 NASB)
Notice he provides nourishment for “the woman” for the entire Great Tribulation. There are many other references to God’s faithfulness during times of need. In Daniel he shows how he can maintain us, even with an inadequate diet.
The Abomination of Desolation
In Daniel Chapter 2 we find the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a huge metal statue. We discuss that dream and what it means in PULVERIZED. God helped Daniel interpret the dream. He informed Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon was the head of gold of the statue and that other Kingdoms, inferior to Babylon, would assume pre-eminence after Babylon fell.
Nebuchadnezzar obviously didn’t like what God revealed to him in his dream. He didn’t want Babylon’s kingdom to end and he made his own statue in defiance of God’s revealed Word. Nebuchadnezzar’s statue was all gold (the metal representing Babylon) rather than multiple metals. He was in essence saying to God, you may have a statue of different metals and think other kingdoms will replace Babylon but my statue is only gold. Babylon will last forever.
In Daniel Chapter 3 we learn more about this statue.
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (Dan 3: 1 NASB)
This statue definitely is a foreshadow of the Abomination. First of all it is an image of the Beast. We know from DECEPTION, WAR, AND FAMINE that ancient Babylon was the first of four Beasts that Daniel prophesied. Gold was the color of the Babylonian portion of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue so an image of gold was an image of first Beast. We know from Rev. 13 that the final Abomination will be an image of the fourth Beast. We also see 60 and 6 in the above passage. The number of the final Beast empire will be 600, 60, and 6. God’s Word is telling us this image is like the final one that is to come but it is not evil to quite the same extreme as the final version.
After the image was set up, Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to bow to the image. In the Septuagint Old Testament, the Greek word for bow down is proskuneó which is the identical Greek word translated in Revelation as “worship” in the following passage about the Abomination of Desolation:
And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (Rev. 13: 15 NASB)
This Greek word literally means “to kiss the ground in reverence to something greater.” This is a perfect picture of how Muslims bow to Mecca.
We also see in Daniel 3 that Nebuchadnezzar ordered a call to worship to be played by an orchestra of instruments. It was upon that signal that the bowing was to take place. This is also a perfect picture of the Muslim “call to prayer,” that plays from their minarets prior to each of these prayer sessions.
In HANUKKAH AND THE FUTURE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION we learned that it is likely the Abomination itself will the the Kaaba’s Black Stone and it will be the object of world wide worship.
Finally in Daniel 6 we encounter the most famous episode in Daniel’s life, the night he spent in the lion’s den. What does the Lion’s Den represent? Who is the Lion? Peter tells us:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5: 8 NASB)
Why is Daniel thrown to the lions? Because he worshiped YHWH when worship of the true God was made illegal, and because he was betrayed by his associates. We must also plan for a time when the worship of God will be illegal and to be betrayed by our former brothers and sisters in Christ who fall away. Jesus himself tells us:
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. (Matt. 24: 9-10 NASB)
Daniel’s night in the den not only reveals whose den we will thrown into (Satan’s), it also reveals our deliverance. The Angel of God shut the mouths of the hungry lions. But we need to notice Daniel was saved in the midst of the trial NOT from the trial. This also is a picture of what we believers need to plan for. God will save us in the trial. We should not expect to be caught up and away before the trial begins.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Cor. 10: 13 NASB, emphasis mine)
Notice our means of escape is being able to endure the trial.
This foreshadow of the tribulation are not coincidence. God has given them to us in same book of the Bible where many of the original prophecies occur to deepen our understanding of the Great Tribulation so that we might prepare.