Daniel the Destroyer

The significance of the prophet Daniel for the “death and resurrection” of the nation of Israel becomes clear when the sacrificial “matrix” is discerned in the process.

The ministry of Daniel among Gentiles recapitulates that of Joseph. The Lord sent Joseph into Egypt as a forerunner, established a new house for him and integrated the old house of Jacob into it. Pharaoh was converted under the ministry of Joseph, humbled himself before Jacob and requested his blessing. Likewise, Daniel was taken to Babylon before the destruction of Jerusalem to mediate for the preservation of Israel. The Jewish captives were not slaves but were given their own houses. But the ministries of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel also allowed the rulers of Judah to fill up their sins as “Egyptians.” By the time Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon were destroyed, the nation was entirely without excuse.

Since Israel’s rulers no longer submitted to God, modelling their rule after that of the Gentiles, they would learn humility under the rule of a king of kings. It is likely that the destruction of Jerusalem occurred after the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar, which means that Daniel, the ruler of the king’s advisors, was seated at the right hand of power when the city was razed. James Jordan writes:

In the summer of 603BC, Daniel and his friends graduated from their training. Soon after, God sent dreams to Nebuchadnezzar, which only Daniel could interpret. Daniel was elevated to power in the empire (Daniel 2). Consider the impact of this upon Israel. The political conservatives and nationalists would regard Daniel as a consummate traitor, while the faithful would rejoice that God had put a righteous man right next to the youthful king Nebuchadnezzar. Those who followed Jeremiah would see that God was righteous in putting the world under Nebuchadnezzar, because in effect the world was under the influence of the Godly Daniel. From this time forth, it was clear that to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar was to rebel against Daniel and God…

Ezekiel 14:14 is interesting because God mentions Daniel as one of the three most righteous men in history. We can imagine that most of the Israelites and exiles hated Daniel, because he was at Nebuchadnezzar’s right hand and supported his righteous judgments against God’s apostate people…

In all of this, the wicked among the Jews refused to trust God. They rejected His message through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They rejected the fact that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were Nebuchadnezzar’s top officials. They rejected the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion (assuming that it happened before their final rebellion). Thereby they sealed their doom.1James B. Jordan, The Handwriting On The Wall: A Commentary On The Book Of Daniel, 56; 65-66; 77.

Just as Israel’s earlier prophets had preserved a witness to Yahweh in Israel, in these exilic prophets a new house was established in Babylon before the demolition of the old Temple. Prefiguring the inauguration of the New Covenant, the offering of “blameless” humans on the altar brought an end to animal sacrifices, and also called down vengeance from heaven.

Like the book of Ezekiel, the process of purification follows Israel’s festal calendar. The old “Adamic” body is razed and bloodied that a new “bridal” body might be constructed from its dry bones (Genesis 2:21-23; 50:25; Ezekiel 37:1-14). Daniel is the hero of the “Adamic” half of the process, the sacrificial death, and Esther is the heroine of the “Evian” half, the fragrant resurrection.2Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah (Esther 2:7), a myrtle tree, a fragrant evergreen, speaking to us of burial spices and a resurrection that does not stink (John 11:39), the Golden Altar of Incense. Daniel brought an end to God’s enemies in Israel (Covenant head) and Esther brought an end to His enemies across the entire empire.

Like Joseph, Daniel ascended as a kind of “firstfruits,” a promise of future dominion. He stood on the mountain of God as Abraham, as Moses, mediating for the people. At the right hand of the power he would bring the curses of the Law raining down upon the Covenant breakers. Just as Abraham bargained with God for the righteous in Sodom, perhaps the mercy shown to Judah’s poor who were left to tend the vineyards was due to negotiations by Daniel (2 Kings 25:22). In this way, Israel’s meek “inherited the Land.”


Creation / Genesis / Initiation / Day 1 / Sabbath / Ark of the Testimony
The Lord speaks to Israel through the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, two legal witnesses to the Mosaic Covenant and its curses.


Division / Exodus / Delegation / Day 2 / Passover / Veil
Nebuchadnezzar takes captive the ruling classes and the craftsmen (which includes the Temple builders), and gives them new houses to live in.


Ascension / Leviticus / Presentation / Day 3 / Firstfruits / Altar and Table
In captivity, Daniel’s heavenly wisdom is displayed and he becomes ruler of the wise men, head advisor to the king. In captivity, the Lord anoints Ezekiel as a “High Priest in exile” for the captives. As two prophetic witnesses, Ezekiel is given a vision reaching to the end of Israel’s restoration under Persian rule, and Daniel is given visions reaching to the end of Israel’s history.
Nebuchadnezzar (presumably, with Daniel’s advice) destroys Jerusalem, just as the Levites slew those who worshipped the golden calf. The bronze pillars are broken in pieces, priesthood and kingdom dismantled. Just as the Ark was taken by the Philistines due to the sins of Saul, here it was presumably taken to heaven by God. Like the Tabernacle, the Temple itself was “beheaded” for Israel’s sins as a substitutionary sacrifice. Graven images broke the graven words, and a new set of tablets was required. The laws of Moses would now have to be written on the hearts of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-40).

Testing / Numbers / Purification / Day 4 / Pentecost / Lampstand
Israel remains in captivity for 70 years, paying the Land all the Sabbaths that were due. The Jews repent of their idolatry forever. This architectural analysis explains the appearance of the Lampstand in Daniel 5:5. Whereas the Ark pictured the throne of heaven, the Lampstand pictured heavenly rule on earth.

Maturity / Deuteronomy / Transformation / Day 5 / Trumpets / Incense Altar
Through Cyrus the Great, the Lord gives the command to rebuild. Under Ezra, captives are returned to Jerusalem and the Altar is rebuilt. Under Nehemiah, the wall is rebuilt. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah (as two prophetic witnesses) bring about the completion of the new Temple. Joshua and Zerubbabel are a resurrected Aaronic priesthood and new Davidic heir, but rather than constructing two new pillars, king and priest are instead united in the crown of Joshua (Zechariah 6:9-15).


Conquest / Joshua / Vindication / Day 6 / Atonement / Mediators
This is where the events of the book of Esther take place. Once Haman is executed, Mordecai takes command as advisor to the Persian king, and kingdom-wide battle conquers a greater Land for God than Joshua could have imagined.It is worth noting that Haman’s desire for exaltation without prior humility, and his inability to interpret the king’s non-dream, are an ironic reversal of the events in Daniel 2. In the first century pattern, it is Christ who ascends to open the mystery (Revelation 4-5) and the Herods who are deposed.


Glorification / Judges / Representation / Day 7 / Booths / Shekinah
The plunder from this conquest adorns the new Temple. But this Temple is just a token: the true plunder is the Gentiles who submit to the rule of Mordecai, which is the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s Temple vision: an architecture constructed out of people.

  • Concentrating on the Creation Week thread in this structure, the prophets bring Light, Nebuchadnezzar tears the Hierarchical Firmament of Israel apart, Daniel becomes bread and wine in a new Land, and Babylon’s rulers are the governing lights that bring Judah’s sun, moon and stars crashing down.
  • Also notice that the Lord speaks to the Sabbath/Jubilee breakers at Sabbath, Nebuchadnezzar brings an ironic Sabbath to the Land in the center, and true Sabbath is restored at Booths.
  • Finally, this entire structure was prefigured in the life of Manasseh in 2 Kings 21. His terrible idolatry and witchcraft, his captivity in Babylon, his repentance from idolatry, his return and building of the city walls were a “living epistle” from God. In typological terms, the king of Israel was Israel.

If you are new to this method of interpretation, please visit the Welcome page for some help to get you up to speed.

References   [ + ]

1. James B. Jordan, The Handwriting On The Wall: A Commentary On The Book Of Daniel, 56; 65-66; 77.
2. Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah (Esther 2:7), a myrtle tree, a fragrant evergreen, speaking to us of burial spices and a resurrection that does not stink (John 11:39), the Golden Altar of Incense.

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