The Lion’s Den Chapter 6 is the account of Daniel in the lion’s den while under Persian rule. When this occurred, he was a very old man; probably about eighty years of age. After more than fifty years, the other wise men in Babylon were still conspiring against him. They maneuvered King Darius into signing a decree which they could use to trap Daniel because they knew his singular commitment to Jehovah. Darius quickly realized his error, but had to carry out his decree because according to the law of the Medes and Persians, once enacted, it could not be cancelled. Daniel was captured while he was in prayer and imprisoned in the lion’s den. A large stone was rolled over the opening and sealed by the king’s signet ring. Early next morning, the king went running to the den. He ordered the den unsealed and was overjoyed to find that Daniel was alive.
Daniel explained in verse 22, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut
the lions’ mouths. “ Darius, in anger, turned on the conspirators and threw all of them in the lions’ den along with their families. Before they even hit the floor, the lions crushed them in their jaws.
Later Prophecies Chapters 7 and 8 are flashbacks to the years of Belshazzar. Chapter 9 contains a tremendous prophecy. Because of the intricate accuracy of its fulfillment, we have confidence in the historic and predicted ac-curacy of the book of Daniel. Reading in 9:25:
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah
the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the
street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Sixty-two weeks and seven weeks total sixty-nine weeks. The Hebrew word here is shabua, which simply means “a period of seven.” Most scholars will agree that this is a period of seven years, a heptad, so we have sixty-nine periods of seven years each. Multiplying 69 x 7 we get a total of 483 years. We know that the commandment to rebuild the city and wall, recorded in Nehemiah 2:1, was on the first of March, 444 B.C.
The day on which Messiah was cut off was March 25, 33 A.D. The prophetic calendar consists of 360 days per year, so we must multiply 360 x 483 prophetic years for a total of 173,880 predicted days.
As we begin to check this out on the Julian calendar, we must
take the 444 years from the command to rebuild the wall of the city
down to the year 0, then add the 33 years A.D. from the year 0 to the
crucifixion of Christ for a total of 477 years. However, since the year 0
counts 1 B.C. and 1 A.D., we must subtract one year, leaving a total of 476 years according to the Julian calendar. When we multiply 476 years x 365 days, we get 173,740 days. There were 116 leap year days, so we add those and also add the 24 days covering the interlude between the March 1, date for the command to build the city and the wall, and the March 25, date of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. By counting every day, we end up with a total of 173,880 days, exactly the same as the 173,880 predictive days prophesied by Daniel in 9:25. This is one of the most tremendous prophecies in the entire Old Testament. Daniel tells us to the day the time of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, 173,880 days in the future!
Chapter 10 records that Daniel was still alive in the third year of
Cyrus king of Persia. Historians confirm that this was 536 B.C. Daniel
continues with some additional prophecies through the rest of the book and prophecies which have eschatological significance. The third year of Cyrus, in 536 B.C., gives us the parameters for the date of the book of Daniel, viz., 605 to 536 B.C., during which time he served in Babylon under the Babylonians and the Persians.
LX VISIONS OF EZEKIEL
Daniel had been taken to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar ’s
first invasion of Jerusalem in 605 B.C. Ezekiel was taken during the
second invasion in 598/597 B.C. Daniel lived in the palace and was
trained for government service while Ezekiel lived with the general
population of captives.
Ezekiel introduces himself in Ezekiel 1:1 by saying, “In the thirtieth
year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was
among the captives by the river of Chebar. “ This was the fifth year of
King Jehoiachin, who was also a captive in Babylon. Although
Nebuchadnezzar had replaced him on the throne in Jerusalem with his uncle Zedekiah, Ezekiel’s dating system corresponded to Jehoiachin’s reign.
Ezekiel’s Call In chapter 1, we are introduced to Ezekiel’s unusual vision of the wheels within the wheels. Following this vision and his subsequent introduction to God, he heard God’s voice say (2: 1): “Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak upon thee. “ Ezekiel carried this title Son of man-throughout the book.
God addressed Ezekiel in this way, and Ezekiel explains, “The
spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, and I
The Lord began to describe to Ezekiel how the house of Judah
had rebelled against him. He said that regardless of whether they heeded his message, they would “know that there hath been a prophet among them.“ He was to say what God told him to say.
Continuing in chapter 3, God commanded: Son of man, eat what thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.... Then I did eat it... And he said ... thou art not sent to a People of a strange speech and of an hard language, but the house of Israel.”
The exiles would understand hiss speech but they would be unwilling
to listen. And in the event that Ezekiel might become dismayed or discouraged, “I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead ... as an adamant harder than flint.” (vss. 8-9). Ezekiel was to take all of God’s words into his heart and then, whether or not the people would listen, say to them, “Thus saith the Lord God.”
After that, Ezekiel said, “the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me
voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his
place.“ Then he sat among the captives at Telabib on the river Chebar
“astonished among them” for seven days. At the end of that time the Lord spoke to him (vss. 17-18):
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of
Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them
warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt
surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to
warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the
same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will
I require at thine hand. But, God goes on to say in verse 19, if Ezekiel does warn them and they do not respond, “thou hast delivered thy soul.”
The Cherubim and Wheels The whirlwind and great cloud and fire that was unfolding itself and coming out of the north, which Ezekiel saw in his opening vision, were symbols of coming judgment. The four living creatures who emerged were the heavenly cherubim as we discover in 10:1-22. Each one of them had four faces-a lion, an ox, a man, an eagle. The lion, symbolizing strength at its greatest, the ox, service at its meekest, man, signifying intelligence at its fullest, and the eagle, showing spirituality at its highest. The four faces looked north, south, east, and west, seeing everything. Their appearance was like burning coals of fire this showed total holiness. They moved as a flash of lightning, symbolizing sheer swiftness.
Then Ezekiel witnessed a strange new marvel: four awesome
wheels, one beside each cherub, having a vast circumference reaching from heaven to earth and connecting those heavenly beings with this world below. As an additional curious feature, each wheel was crisscrossed, a wheel within a wheel, one revolving north and south, the other revolving east and west, so that neither cherub nor wheels ever needed to turn as they ran with lightning speed between heaven and earth. The vast rims of the wheels were full of eyes that looked simultaneously in every direction.
Most amazing of all, the life of the cherubim was in the wheels so
that the wheels expressed with preciseness the will of those heavenly
beings. Moreover, as the wheels joined earth with heaven, so in like
manner the cherubim joined the wheels with the very throne of God.
Finally, Ezekiel heard a voice from the firmament above the cherubim. Looking up, he saw the likeness of a throne “as the appearance of a sapphire stone.” And on the throne sat the fire-enveloped Supreme Being. The meaning of all this symbolism apparently was pending judgment.
But behind and above the coming judgment, were the vast all-seeing
wheels of divine government and the flaming cherubim-the
mighty super-intelligent executives of the divine will. The purpose was
to show that behind the events that take place on earth are the operations of the Supreme power in Heaven; the overruling will and purpose of the infinite Jehovah-God.
The entire book ties in with the opening vision. The message con-fronts us on every page. Seventy times we find the refrain, “That they
shall know that I am Jehovah.“ In connection with the judgment on Jerusalem, it was repeated twenty-nine times. In connection with the judgments on Gentile nations, it was said seventeen times. All those events were permitted by Jehovah and through them He made Himself known. It is He who overrules all events.
All this is supplementary to the theme of Daniel that God is the
Most High who controls the future. As repeated three times (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32), “that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will.“ Keep these two concepts in mind: God overrules all events; and gives kingdoms to whom He will.
Pedagogy in Biography We will see that many of the prophets became a pedagogy in biography. By this I mean that what they did became a teaching, didactic experience, for the on-lookers. Because of this, very often the prophets of God had to endure unusual hardship so that their lives and experiences could be a pedagogy in biography to those around them. Very often, the only way the prophet could get Ws message across was to be a living, walking example of the message which God used him to de-liver.
Since Ezekiel was going to be a pedagogy in biography for the
exiles in Babylon, he would have some hard days to live through and
some hard experiences, as he provided himself as a visual aid for the
prophecies which he would deliver to the exiles.
His first experience as a pedagogy in biography is found in chapter
4. He was instructed to take a brick, lay it on the ground and in-scribe
the word Jerusalem on it. Making believe that the brick was the
city of Jerusalem, he was to build a siege wall, lay up a ramp on the
side, pitch toy camps around it, and place battering rams against it all
around. He would have a miniature city with soldiers and engines of
The reason for this is given in verse 3. It was to be a sign to the
house of Judah. Keep in mind that this was prior to the final invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 588-587 which lasted until 586 when the city wall as breached. Ezekiel’s prophecy here took place between 592 and 589 and Nebuchadnezzar had not yet taken the city and temple. This was a prophecy to the inhabitants in exile that he would do so a few years hence.
In addition, Ezekiel was commanded to lie on his left side for 390
days to bear the iniquity of the house of Israel, and when that was completed he was to lie on his right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah for forty days. What a personal sacrifice! Four hundred and thirty days immobilized, first on his left side and then on his right side. Just to be sure that Ezekiel did not move or roll over, God was going to tie him in position. For nourishment, he was to eat peasant’s food, cooked over his own excrement. At that point Ezekiel protested. “That is too much. That is unclean!” All this, remember, was to symbolize the pollution Israel and Judah had defiled themselves with. God relented on Ezekiel’s behalf and
allowed him to substitute cow’s dung for human dung (vs. 15).
Verse 16 summarizes the meaning: “I will break the staff of bread
in Jerusalem, and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care: and
they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment. “ There
would also be cannibalism. Ezekiel 5:10 says, “the fathers shall eat the sons.... and the sons shall eat the fathers. “ All this fulfills Leviticus 26:29 where God gave them the “if-but” principle. Since they did not obey Him, they were now to suffer the consequences of His judgment.
The Temple Vision Chapter 8 is one of the most frightening in the entire book. Here we travel with Ezekiel, guided by God, to peer inside the temple in Jerusalem and become eye-witnesses of the occult evil practices taking place within. According to verses 3-6,
He put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine
head, and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven,
and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of
the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat
of the image of jealousy, which provoked to jealousy. And, behold,
the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision
that I saw in the plain. Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift
up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up
mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward
at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. He
said further more unto me, Son of man, seest thou hat they
do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel
committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary?
but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.
Verses 7-10 continue, describing them.
And he brought me to the door of the court. and when I looked,
behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man,
dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold
a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked
abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw, and
behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts,
and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall
This evil graffiti detailed explicitly the occult and licentious practices.
As Ezekiel continued to look, he saw seventy men involved in the
evil things. Then in verse 12:
Then said he unto me, Son of man, host thou seen what the
ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the
chambers of his imagery? for they say, The Lord seeth us not,
the Lord hath foysaken the earth.
The vision continues in chapter 9 where we have a unique occurrence; the progressive departure of the glory of Jehovah, first from the holy of holies to the temple threshold (9:3); then from the threshold to the up-bearing cherubim (10:18); then out of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives (11:23).
The tragic indication is obvious. The harlot city of Jerusalem be-came
God forsaken. But even in the midst of, and following His judgment,
God’s grace and patience were still present because in chapter
43:2-5 we see in the future temple, the glory of the God of Israel. He
will return and fill the house again. I am reminded of Hosea 5:15 where God said, “I will go away and return to my Place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face. In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. “ “Until” is the key word. In the day of the new temple, God will have returned and filled the house with His glory.
Glory Out of Failure Another outstanding feature in Ezekiel is that Jehovah eventually becomes sanctified in Israel before all nations. He says, “I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned . . . and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ezek. 36:23). When we studied the call of Abram, confirmed in Isaac and Jacob, we saw that God chose Israel to be a theocratic nation which would reveal Him to the surrounding peoples. Throughout the centuries, Israel continued to disregard the covenant relationship until God turned them over to the Assyrians and Babylonians. In 722 B.C. and 586 B.C., the divine election became divine ejection as God, who had chosen them as sons, scattered them into all the surrounding nations as slaves. Now, Ezekiel will show us that Jehovah will turn this failure into ultimate triumph bigger than the earth itself. The very last verse of the book tells us of a new Jerusalem bearing the name of Jehovah Shammah, “Jehovah is there” (48:35). The God who appeared to have lost through all the centuries of Israel’s dismal failure, in the end brings glory out of disaster, final glory for Himself.
LXI PICTURED PROPHECIES AND ALLEGORIES
More on Ezekiel
A second example of the pedagogy in biography concept, is found
in chapter 12. The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel again reminding
him that he was living in the midst of a rebellious house. He described them as having “eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.”
Prophecy of Invasion God commanded Ezekiel to prepare baggage for exile. He was to pretend to go into exile by day so that all the exiles could see him.
“Perhaps,” He said, when you do this, they will consider their ways.”
Beginning in verse 5, God commanded him to dig a hole in the wall, to put his baggage on his shoulder and go out through the wall at evening like an exile so the people would see him. However, he was to cover his eyes so he could not see the land because “I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel.” Ezekiel recorded, “I did so as I was commanded.
This was symbolic of two things. First, of the final invasion when
Nebuchadnezzar demolished and burned sections of the wall of Jerusalem in 586, and led the captives back out through it. Secondly, it was indicative of those inside the wall trying to escape without being observed by the Babylonians. Even the prince would put his baggage on his shoulder; he would try to dig through the wall, sneak out, and get away without being seen.
Ezekiel carried out the instructions; then God told him what to
reply when the people asked why he was doing it (vs. 11). “Say, I am
your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity.“ “Them” referred to the people back in Jerusalem. If the captives in Babylon thought it would soon be over and that they would be going back to their homeland, they were wrong. The worst had not happened yet. Even the prince was going to try to dig through the wall to get away. But he would not succeed, because God prophesied in verse 13: “My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.”
Think back now to verse 6. Ezekiel was told to cover his face so he
could not see the land. Looking at the historical event as it happened shortly after Ezekiel’s pedagogic illustration, we read in II Kings 25:6-7:
So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of
Babylon to Riblah, and they gave judgment upon him. And
they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the
eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and
carried him to Babylon. That was what actually happened in Jerusalem following the prophetic event acted out by Ezekiel.
Allegory of the Cast-Off Infant In chapter 16, God reminded Israel that when He found her she was like a cast-off newborn baby whose umbilical cord had not yet been cut. She had not been washed, but was a bloody newborn that was not wanted. God said, “I came along and saw you there squirming in your blood and “I said unto thee ... Live.”
God caused her to prosper like the plants of the field and grow
into beautiful womanhood. Then the Lord began to draw the analogy
between Himself and Israel, His bride. “I spread my skirt over thee, and
covered thy nakedness.”
This symbolism is demonstrated in the book of Ruth where Boaz
spread his skirt over Ruth as symbolic of accepting her as his wife. “I
sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God,
and thou becamest mine.”
Verses 9 through 13 describe how He cleansed her and beautified
her with silk, embroidery, gold, jewels, a beautiful crown, and fed her
with the finest of foods.
Verse 14 says that her fame went forth among all nations because
of her beauty which “was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put
upon thee, saith the Lord God.”
The downfall of His people begins in verse 15. God said, “Thou
didst trust in thine own beauty, and played the harlot because of thy renown,
and poured out thy fornications on every one that passed by.“ God had
made her beautiful, but she became a harlot. We will learn more about this concept in the book of Hosea.
The Lord goes into great detail regarding the reasons for His com-plaint. She had taken all of the beautiful things He had given her, made images of them, and gave them to her paramours. She took the sons and daughters she had borne to Him (God) and sacrificed them to idols. She had not remembered that He rescued her when He found her “n-ked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.” She did not even behave as harlots usually do in accepting wages for her harlotry. Instead, she paid her lovers with the beautiful things He had given her.
So the Lord said He is going to bring judgment upon her because
of her lewdness. He will gather the lovers with whom she had evil
relationships (the heathen nations) and they will destroy her. (It was
this heartthrob that Jeremiah presented in the book of Lamentations.)
Ezekiel’s Style Ezekiel’s style of prophetic utterance has many peculiarities. Ezekiel portrayed nations under the personification of animals, plants, and specific types of people. Jerusalem and Samaria were prostitutes (23:2-3); the house of David was a lion’s den (chapter 19) or a vine (19) or a cedar (17). Egypt was a cedar (31) or a crocodile (32). In chapter 17, the Chaldeans were pictured as eagles.
Ezekiel is also unique in his writing style. He used interrogative
sentences: for example, “Son of man, seest thou what they do?” He also
used the proverb, the parable, and the allegory. A typical proverb is
“The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (18:2). Another is “As is the mother, so is her daughter” (16:44).
The use of allegory is seen in chapter 16, which we have just examined concerning Judah as the foundling child. For an example of
the parable, you might study the messianic parable of the cedar tree in 17:22-24.