O.T. Handout #46: Daniel 2, Dream, Millennial Kingdom, Persia, Medes, Alexander, Revelation, Restoration
Adam-ondi-Ahman December 2014
Daniel was among those of the first captivity, and he remained in Babylon with many of the other Jews even after most of them had returned to their homeland to rebuild their temple and nation. He was in Babylon serving various kings through the seventy years of the Jewish captivity.
( Jer 25:11; 29:10). Though there is no indication of his age at the time of his captivity, Daniel 1:21 shows that he lived to at least the age of eighty. It was the second year of the king’s reign (2.1).
Daniel 2:5. Did Nebuchadnezzar Really Forget His Remarkable Dream? In the Middle East among oriental people dreams were highly regarded and the interpretation of dreams was very profitable for the magicians and astrologers. However with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream they had a major problem. When he woke from his dream he could not remember it (though In verse 5 the phrase ‘is gone from me’ should probably read ‘is certain with me,’ as the Persian word azda (‘sure’) is used. It troubled him that he could not remember it-he wanted know the dream and have it interpreted. As was the practice the king, he called his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to an audience and asked them to give him the interpretation of his dream. The Chaldeans were highly regarded priest-magicians who attended to the worship of idols and they represented the gods of Babylon. These wise men were probably very pleased to have been called before the king and were anticipating some great opportunity to be rewarded. But they could not interpret it.
Daniel 2:17–19. Daniel and His Companions Preserved Their Lives by Obtaining Revelation from God. The response of Daniel and his friends at a time when their lives were in danger because of the king’s sentence on all the wise men illustrates that faith in Heavenly Father will harness the powers of the universe to serve you in your hour of need in the solution of problems too great for your human strength or intelligence.
Daniel testified that “there is a God in heaven” (Daniel 2:28), and it was by the power of that God that the secret of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was made known. The Revelation of the Coming Millennial Kingdom (2:44-45). Daniel then reveals that God will set up a new and eternal kingdom which shall not be destroyed. The scope of this kingdom will be global – include all the peoples of the earth, consume all the fallible kingdoms of men and twice in this verse it is declared to be eternal.
Nebuchadnezzar’s attention at this point in Daniel’s interpretation is again focus on the stone that was supernaturally cut out of a mountain. This great stone will break into pieces all the previous empires.
Daniel 2:28. Did Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Pertain Only to the “Latter Days”?
The inspired interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that Daniel gave made it clear that the fulfillment of the king’s dream would begin in the immediate future. Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold” (v. 38). The dream revealed events that would take place over a long span of time. The culmination, however, was to take place in the last days. The Hebrew word that was used, achariyt (ah khar eet), means “last or end.
Daniel 2:31–45. What Were the Kingdoms Represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream?
History certifies to the fact that King Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. The Medes and Persians, an inferior kingdom to Babylon, were the arms and breast of silver. The Macedonian kingdom, under Alexander the Great, was the belly and thighs of brass; and the Roman kingdom under the Caesars was the legs of iron. Later on the empire of Rome was divided. The head of the government in one division was at Rome and the head of the government in the other division was at Constantinople. So these two great divisions represented the legs of iron. Finally, the Roman empire was broken up into smaller kingdoms, represented by the feet and toes of iron and clay.”
“With the history of the world delineated in brief, now came the real revelation. Daniel said: “‘And in the days of these kings [that is, the group of European nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed . . .
“This is a revelation concerning the history of the world, when one world power would supersede another until there would be numerous smaller kingdoms to share the control of the earth. And it was in the days of these kings that power would not be given to men, but the God of heaven would set up a kingdom—the kingdom of God upon the earth, which should never be destroyed nor left to other people.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored in 1830 after numerous revelations from the divine source; and this is the kingdom, set up by the God of heaven, that would never be destroyed nor superseded, and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would become a great mountain and would fill the whole earth.” SW Kimball
Daniel 2:44–45. How Is It That the Kingdom Set Up by God Will Consume the Other Kingdoms? Section 65 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells of the fulfillment of the rest of Daniel’s prophecy. The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that the ecclesiastical kingdom of God, which was established on the earth in his day, might roll forth that the future kingdom of heaven might come. “During the millennium the kingdom of God will continue on earth, but in that day it will be both an ecclesiastical and a political kingdom. That is, the Church (which is the kingdom) will have the rule and government of the world given to it.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 416.)
Daniel 7:9–14. Daniel Saw Adam, or the “Ancient of Days,” and Also Christ Taking His Rightful Place As King over the Earth Daniel’s vision continued until he saw “thrones . . . cast down” (v 7:9), that is, until the worldly governments lost their dominion (vv. 12, 14, 18, 27). He then saw the establishment of the kingdom of heaven with Christ at its head. This kingdom would rule “all people, nations, and languages” forever (v. 14). Latter-day revelation teaches that eventually all worldly kingdoms will come to an end in preparation for the millennial Zion (see D&C 87:6). This seems to be what Daniel saw.
In an address to the Twelve Apostles, the Prophet Joseph Smith explained the name “Ancient of Days”: “Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.” (Teachings, p. 157.)
Daniel 7:13–14. What Will Happen at the Great Gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman? President Joseph Fielding Smith explained the teachings of Daniel about the great priesthood gathering to be held at Adam-ondi-Ahman (Adam in the presence of Christ): “Daniel speaks of the coming of Christ, and that day is near at hand. There will be a great gathering in the Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman; there will be a great council held. The Ancient of Days, who is Adam, will sit. The judgment—not the final judgment—will be held, where the righteous who have held keys will make their reports and deliver up their keys and ministry. Christ will come, and Adam will make his report. At this council Christ will be received and acknowledged as the rightful ruler of the earth. Satan will be replaced. Following this event every government in the world . . . will have to become part of the government of God. Then righteous rule will be established. The earth will be cleansed; the wicked will be destroyed; and the reign of peace will be ushered in.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:13–14; see also D&C 78:15–16; 107:53–57; 116; Smith,Teachings, pp. 122, 158.)
Daniel 7:18, 22, 27. The Saints Will Possess the Kingdom Daniel taught that the Saints will possess the kingdom after the Lord returns to take His rightful place at the head of that kingdom. It is necessary, however, for the Saints to prepare themselves to take possession of the kingdom.
Daniel 8. What Was the Significance of Daniel’s Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat? Though much of what Daniel saw in this vision is now history, it is not part of the Old Testament. Most of what he recorded in this chapter was fulfilled between 500 B.C. and the time of Christ, a period with few Old Testament writings describing it. This history is summarized in Enrichment K.
The vision in Daniel 8 focuses on the second and third empires spoken of in Daniel 7. The two-horned ram symbolized the Median-Persian Empire, and the horns (Daniel 8:3) represented the kings of Media and Persia (see verse 20). The one horn which came up last and was higher than the other represented the Persians, who finally dominated the alliance and assumed power over the Medians. The goat that came and “smote the ram, . . . brake his two horns . . . [and] cast him down to the ground” (v. 7) signified Alexander the Great and his Greek Empire. (The word choler used in verse 7 means “anger” or “wrath.”)
Alexander himself fit the description of the “great horn” (verse 21). At age thirty-two, Alexander died in the height of his power. “When he was strong, the great horn was broken” (v. 8). After he died, his four chief generals carved up the empire, and they seem to be the four notable horns that came up instead of the one (see vv. 8, 22). The “little horn” (v. 9) that came from one of them has generally been interpreted to represent Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), who ruled Syria 175–164 B.C.
He persecuted the Jews bitterly, declaring observance of the Mosaic law to be a capital offense. Though Antiochus IV may fit the conditions described in the prophecy, he seems to have been a type of those who function through the power of Satan and seek to “cast down” the “stars of heaven” (the children of God— Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:13;Revelation 12:4) and seek to “magnify” themselves against the “Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:25), who is Christ. Antiochus IV took away the daily sacrifice of the temple and cast down the place of the Lord’s sanctuary. Similar events occurred during the Roman era after the coming of Christ.
“Now, in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgression of the Jewish nation was come to the full, the Roman power destroyed the Jewish nation, took Jerusalem, caused the daily sacrifice to cease, and not only that but afterwards destroyed the mighty and holy people, that is, the apostles and primitive Christians, who were slain by the authorities of Rome”. Parley P. Pratt
That this prophecy refers to more than just the time up through the Maccabean period is also indicated by two phrases in Daniel 8:19. The phrase “in the last end of the indignation” means “in the latter period of indignation, or in the last days” (Daniel 8:19a). The phrase in verse 26, “it shall be for many days,” means “pertains to many days hereafter” (Daniel 8:26a).
Daniel 8:16. Who Is Gabriel and Why Would He Be Sent to Give Daniel Understanding of His Vision? The messenger sent to Daniel was the ancient prophet Noah. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained the relationship that Noah has to the human family and thus gave great insight into why he was directly associated with events on the earth after his mortal ministry: “The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. 1:26, 27, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.” (History of the Church, 3:385–86.)
(28-45) Daniel 9:24–27. Gabriel’s Explanation of the Seventy Weeks The Hebrew word that is commonly translated weeks would more properly be translated sevens. It means a period divided into sevens. The phrase “seventy weeks” thus refers to seventy periods of sevens. These periods of seven could be days, weeks, months, years, or even periods of unspecified duration. Because of this variation, it is difficult to tie Gabriel’s explanation to specific historical time periods, but many attempts have been made to do that, resulting in several differing interpretations of the passage.
Though the time periods mentioned are difficult to identify, the context and several phrases in the passage indicate that the passage has to do with a period in which the salvation of Daniel’s people is to be accomplished. Daniel 9:24 is undoubtedly a reference to the coming of Christ and His Atonement, by which forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God through repentance would be made possible. By completing the mission His Father sent Him to accomplish, Christ fulfilled the law and the words of the prophets concerning His coming, and thus did He “seal up [make sure] the vision and prophecy” (v. 24). Verse 25 refers to the time between the return of the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. Verse 26 makes reference to the Messiah being “cut off, but not for himself,” which seems to be an allusion to His Crucifixion. The rest of the chapter describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and parallels very closely the message of Matthew 24:15 and Joseph Smith’s inspired revision of that verse (see JS—M 1:12). The reference to confirming the covenant for one week (see Daniel 9:27), however, has not been satisfactorily explained and may make problematic the explanation given above.
Daniel 10:5–8. The Appearance of the Lord to Daniel Daniel tried to describe the glory and majesty of the Lord. His description is very much like that given by other prophets in similar circumstances. Compare this passage with Ezekiel 1:26–28; Revelation 1:13–15; D&C 110:2–3.
Being in the presence of the Lord drained Daniel of his strength. Other prophets have also had similar experiences (compare Moses 1:9–10; JS—H 1:20).
Daniel 10:13. Adam and Noah Appeared to Daniel Previous reference has been made to a visitation of Gabriel (Noah) to Daniel (see Notes and Commentary on Daniel 8:16). This chapter refers to Michael, who is Adam (see Smith, Teachings, p. 157).
Daniel 10:13. Who Is the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia? That Adam came to assist the messenger in contending with the prince of the kingdom of Persia suggests that the prince was not a mortal leader in Persia but was the leader of the evil forces that supported the unrighteous dominion of the kingdoms of the world. If that reasoning is correct, then Satan or one of his host is the prince spoken of. Other scriptural passages record instances of Adam’s intervening to support and sustain righteous individuals in contention with Satan (see Jude 1:9; D&C 128:20).
Daniel 10:14. What Did the Messenger Come to Make Daniel Understand? The messenger said that he had come to make Daniel understand what would befall his people “in the latter days.” He also said that the vision was “for many days” (Daniel 10:14). The content of the next two chapters indicates that what was given to Daniel was not an account of the latter days only but was also an account of things from Daniel’s time extending far into the future, including the latter days.
Daniel 11:1–45. Daniel’s Vision of Successive Kings, Wars, and Conflicts It is clear from the sketchy way in which the prophecy deals with the events of the time period covered in this chapter that Daniel’s intention was not to emphasize the history but only to give it as a background in order to indicate its effects upon the Lord’s people.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote about the abomination of desolation mentioned by Daniel: “These conditions of desolation, born of abomination and wickedness, were to occur twice in fulfillment of Daniel’s words. The first was to be when the Roman legions under Titus, in 70 A.D. laid siege to Jerusalem, destroying and scattering the people, leaving not one stone upon another in the desecrated temple, and spreading such terror and devastation as has seldom if ever been equalled on earth. . . .
‘And again shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled.’ ([JS—M] 1:31–32.) That is: Jerusalem again will be under siege. . . . It will be during this siege that Christ will come, the wicked will be destroyed, and the millennial era commenced.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 12)