DANIEL AND REVELATION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1-21-68 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Daniel and Revelation. This will be the tenth sermon that has been prepared and delivered introducing us to this Old Testament apocalyptic book. The next time that I preach on Daniel will be the beginning of the exposition of the text itself, starting at the first chapter. The next sermon will be entitled The Captive in the Court of Babylon. Then the next sermon will be Wine or Water, and so on as we follow through the volume.
Now, a sermon like this, Mr. Zondervan asked me, “How long will you be preaching?” And I said, “Well, it is a very difficult way that I face. I could preach for hours and hours, but the only thing that is open for me in a service like this is just maybe to outline some of the things.” Now the sermons are going to be published. The first volume will be this fall, in November, and then the next volume will be the next November. And if I keep on preaching in Daniel, the next volume will be the next November, but all of these sermons will be published.
So the thing that I ought to do at this time is just to point out some of the things, then maybe the details of them we can read in the book. The Book of Daniel had a greater influence, or as great an influence, on the following story and development of Judaism, more so that most any other of the Old Testament Scriptures. And that influence that the Book of Daniel exerted on Jewish literature in the centuries following was also seen in the Christian community, both in the life and writings of the authors of the New Testament and upon the apocalyptic outlook of the Christian community itself.
Only God could unravel that scheme, that thread of the vast, tremendous influence of the Book of Daniel upon the saints of God who live in the centuries following. Our Lord loved and studied and knew the Book of Daniel. I counted six places in the Bible where the Lord refers to the Book of Daniel and one time by name: “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” [Matthew 24:15]. That’s our Lord speaking in the twenty-fourth, the apocalyptic chapter in Matthew.
And the New Testament writers, for example the apostle Paul, just before he died said in the fourth chapter of the Book of 2 Timothy that he’d been delivered out of the mouth of the lion, a reference to the deliverance of Daniel. [2 Timothy 4:17] In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, he is numbered among the heroes of the faith, “these who by faith had stopped the mouths of lions” [Hebrews 11:33]. But upon no one was there the influence of the Book of Daniel as upon John the seer, John the disciple, who wrote the Apocalypse, the Revelation.
Now, from the heavenly point of view, the Revelation was something that God gave to us of Jesus Christ, unveiling our Lord—Apokalupsis, the unveiling of our Lord, the glory of the triumph of our Lord. Now from the heavenly point of view, what was unveiled was God’s wisdom and foreknowledge and sovereign purposes, the unveiling of the future. But from the earthly point of view, what was written down was so largely influence by the Book of Daniel. You find so much of Daniel in the Book of the Revelation.
Now we’re going to compare Daniel and Revelation for these few moments. First the men: now comparing the men first, both of them were favored of heaven. Thrice in the Book of Daniel, Daniel is called “O man greatly beloved,” and five times in the Book of John, John is referred to as “the beloved disciple.” Both of them were loved of men and of angels; they were favored of God. Both of them were privileged to see the sweep of human history to the consummation of the age.
Second, both of them wrote apocalyptically. Daniel is the unique author of the apocalypse in the Old Testament. John is the unique author of the apocalypse in the New Testament. Both of them wrote apocalyptically; that is, apocalyptic writing is a vehicle by which the message is delivered in visions and in signs and in symbols, usually in moments, days of great stress and for the purpose of encouraging God’s people that the sovereign purposes of God will prevail. Both of them wrote apocalyptically, a unique book in the Old Testament, a unique book in the New Testament.
Third, both of them wrote in exile. Daniel was a captive in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and there God revealed to him the visions, the apocalyptic unveilings that are written down in his book. John, as you know, saw his apocalyptic visions on the Isle of Patmos. Both of them in exile.
Third, both of them wrote books of prophesy. That is basic to our understanding of what they have written down. Both of them wrote books of prophesy. Five times in Revelation is this book called “a book of prophesy.” For example, in the third verse, the Revelation begins, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy” [Revelation 1:3]. The book is a book of prophesy; therefore, when I read it, I know that these things have a prophetic meaning beyond themselves.
For example, in our reading this morning, he addresses his letter to “the seven churches of Asia” [Revelation 1:4]. Then the second and the third chapters of the Book of Revelation are letters of our Lord “to the seven churches of Asia.” But this is a book of prophecy. Five times it is so described by God Himself; therefore, I know that what God says to those seven churches of Asia is far meaningful and significant beyond that church itself.
Why should there have been just seven churches? There were many churches in Asia, one of which was world famous. Papias was the pastor at the church in Hierapolis, across the Lycus River from Laodicea in Asia. But these seven were chosen for a purpose, and they have a prophetic meaning, and, of course, the prophetic meaning is very evident. There is an Ephesian period in the church. There is a Smyrnan period in the church. There is a Pergamian period in the church. There is a Thyatirian period in the church. There is a Sardian period. There’s a Philadelphian period. There is a Laodicean period in the church. It is an unveiling of the history of the church in this present age.
This is a book of prophecy. So much of what John did was that way. For example, in the Gospel of John, John never uses the word “miracle,” never. You’ll find the word “miracle,” dunamis era, all through the New Testament, but not in John. He uses the word semeion and that alone, “sign.” That is the things Jesus did were signs; they had meanings beyond themselves.
For example, when Jesus turned the water into wine, first they filled up those old Jewish foot-tubs. Then having sealed them up, filled them up, then they drew out and bore to the governor of the feast. That is, it is a semeion, it is a sign: Jesus filled up the requirements of the old law, and now we have a new life in grace. Or again, when He opened the eyes of the blind; that’s a sign of Jesus opening our eyes to the life of the world. Or when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead; that is a sign of the resurrection and the life, the power to raise us again in Christ our Lord. So the things that we read have a meaning beyond themselves.
Now, the Book of Daniel is a prophetic book. It is a revelation, and it has a meaning beyond itself. The first chapter, for example; this is a picture of the diaspora, the scattering of God’s people in the earth. The second chapter; this is an outline of the sweep of the times of the Gentiles, that is, the history of the world until the consummation of the age, until Jesus comes again. The third chapter is a picture of God’s people in the fiery furnace, in the trial and tribulation.
Now the fourth chapter; this is a picture of the cutting down of the Gentile nations and their rebirth in the millennial glory of God. Did you ever think about such a thing? In the fourth chapter, as it begins, “I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the High God hath wrought toward me. How great are His signs! and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation” [Daniel 4:2-3].
Who said that? One of the Old Testament saints? No! A heathen, pagan king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar! For the first verse above begins, “Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you” [Daniel 4:1]. Then those two verses that I read. This fourth chapter, which is the story of the vision of the tree cut down, and then it grew back up, which applied to Nebuchadnezzar when he lost his mind, and then God restored him. That is a prophetic picture of the cutting down of the nations of the earth and their rebirth in the glory and millennial praise and love of God. This is a book of prophecy.
Now the fifth chapter of the story of the handwriting on the wall; that is a prophetic picture of the judgment of God upon the nations. And the sixth chapter, which is the story of Daniel delivered from the lion’s den; this is a picture of the burial of God’s people in the den of the earth and their preservation and resurrection in the sovereign purposes of the Almighty. All of these things have a meaning beyond themselves. It is a book of prophecy, so the Revelation, so the Book of Daniel.
All right, a last thing, a fifth thing about the two men; both of them wrote of this age in which we live, of this time and of the consummation of the end. Now there is a difference in the way they did it. For you see, there was revealed unto Daniel the sweep of the history of this world, the history in which we now live. There was revealed to Daniel the sweep of the history of the world, but so much of the consummation of the end was closed to him.
The last chapter of the Book of Daniel says, “I heard, but I understood not: then said I, ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And the angel replied, ‘Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end’” [Daniel 12:8-9]. So Daniel closed his book of prophecy, and so much of what lay in the future he did not know. It was sealed to Daniel.
But what was sealed to Daniel was opened and unsealed in Jesus Christ and in the Revelation. The glorious—that’s one of the most glorious chapters in all literature, one of the most glorious visions in all literature, one of the most glorious stories in all literature. The fifth chapter of the Book of the Revelation is beyond compare. It has everything marvelous. Well, it begins,
I saw in the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
And I heard the voice of a great angel saying, ‘Who is worthy to open the seals, and to look thereon?’
And search was made in heaven and in earth and no man was found in heaven, or in earth, or under the earth, worthy to open the seals, and to look thereon.
And I wept much, because no man could be found who was worthy.
Then one of the elders spake unto me and said, ‘Weep not: for the Lion of the tribe of [Judah] has prevailed to open the seals, and to look thereon.’
What was sealed in Daniel is revealed in the Revelation, and that accounts of the different emphasis that you find in the two books. One emphasizes the historical world in which we live, and the other emphasizes the end time, things that were hid from the eyes of the prophet Daniel. Now, just for a moment to look at the books, Daniel and the Revelation. The great deal of the first six chapters—Daniel is divided right down the middle—the first six chapters are historical, and the last six chapters are prophetical. Prophecies, they are visions, but the first six are historical, but even the historical, I just said, they themselves are prophetic. They are pictures; they are signs of the coming day and age.
Now, when we compare the books themselves, ah so much of what you find in Daniel, you will find echoed in the Revelation. Now out of those many things, I’ll take a moment just to speak of one of them. In the twelfth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, for example—well let’s go back to the tenth chapter. In the tenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation—well let’s go to the eleventh chapter. In the eleventh chapter of the Book of the Revelation, you’ll find a time period. “And the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months” [Revelation 11:2]. Forty and two months.
All right, now the next verse. “And I will give power to My two witnesses, a thousand two hundred and threescore days” [Revelation 11:3]. One thousand two hundred and sixty days. Now when I turn to the twelfth chapter, in the sixth verse it refers to “a thousand two hundred and threescore days,” one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Then in the fourteenth verse in the twelfth chapter, it referred to “a time, times, and a half a time.”
Now, those time periods that you find in the Revelation, where did that come from? And what does that mean? Forty-two months, one thousand two hundred sixty days, a time, times, and half a time, or a time, times, and dividing of times. That’s why to understand one book, you must understand the other book. That is a time period in Daniel. It is Daniel’s seventieth week, that is, seven years, and when you divide it in two, that’s three and a half years. That is forty-two months, one thousand two hundred sixty days, or a time, a year, another year and half a time.
So much I say of what you find in Daniel you will find in the Revelation. And to understand one, you must understand the other. Now to show you how quickly time passes when you’re interested in something of God, I must close. You think, well you just started preacher. That’s because you’re interested. Had you not been interested, you’d have been checking your watch. I tell you, I don’t believe he’s gonna quit at all. He’s just gonna talk forever. There’s not anything that feeds the soul like the Word of God, it just does. It’s like you’re hungry and you eat. You’re thirsty and you drink. If you’re born again, you will love knowing, hearing, understanding the Word of God.
Now, I speak of one other thing comparing Daniel and the Revelation. They are theologically alike. Of course that’d be axiomatic. You could not imagine God speaking to Daniel in one theological term and then Revelation in another theological term. Clark said some of his professors over there where he is were proud of themselves that they had a theological library of just one kind, and it’s the wrong kind as far as I’m concerned. But you will find that theologically, apocalyptically, eschatologically—that would be the exact word that we ought to use—eschatologically, that is the revelation of the last things. You will find it exactly in Daniel as you will find it in the Revelation, exactly alike.
Now, I’ll take a moment just to show us one thing. In the second chapter in the Book of Daniel, for example, you have that vision, the sweep of Gentile history in the form of a man. As Nebuchadnezzar looked at it, it looked like a man. In the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel when God looks at it, they look like vicious beasts, wild voracious beasts, but when a man looked at it, it was an image of a great wonderful man. You remember it’s the head of gold, breast of silver, the thighs of brass, the legs of iron and then the toes made of iron and of clay. Now, in the revelation that was given to Daniel, the stone, cut without hands, smote the image on his feet and broke it to pieces, and the fragments were blown away. Who is that stone? In the seventh chapter—and oh this is one of the most beautiful in the world, one of the most beautiful visions in the world.
I saw in the night visions, and, behold; One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days.
And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples and nations and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting kingdom, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Who is that Son of Man who came to the Ancient of Days to receive a kingdom after the kingdoms of the world had been smashed and the fragments of them literally blown away? Well, the Book of the Revelation reveals this One that we saw coming with clouds in Daniel. Why, the text of the Revelation is this: “Behold—Revelation 1:7—He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.” That glorious Person that Daniel saw, John says in the Revelation is the crucified and blessed Lord Jesus. That’s who He is. And how does the kingdom come? It comes apocalyptically. It comes with a smashing of the feet of the image, and the fragments literally are blown away. How does He come in the Revelation? In the same way. In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, He intervenes in the battle of Armageddon. Revelation 19, starting at verse 11,
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was Faithful and True, and in righteousness doth He judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns;
and He was dressed in a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And he hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
[Revelation 19:11-12, 13, 15]
He comes eschatologically. He comes apocalyptically. He comes suddenly. A day with God sometimes is as a thousand years, and by God’s clock a thousand years sometimes is just in a day. And when the Lord comes, as in Daniel, as in the Revelation, He shall come suddenly. He shall intervene in history. The Book says, in the battle of Armageddon when the nations are preparing for the last and final war, were it not for the grace of God, no flesh would be safe, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. [Matthew 24:22]
Oh dear people, how much God has to say to us. And we’re gonna listen to Him together, and God will bless our souls as we listen to the voice of the Lord. Now Leroy, we must sing. We must sing one stanza. And while we sing the song, a family you to put your life in the fellowship of this dear church, a couple you to come, one somebody you, on the first note of the first stanza, make it now. Come now. Do it immediately. In a moment when we stand to sing, stand up coming. God attends you in the way, while we stand and while we sing.