Unsealing Daniel

Daniel was commanded to seal the scroll, but John is told NOT to do so since the season is now at hand

At the close of his visions, the angel commanded Daniel “to close the words and seal the book until the season of the end.” In contrast, in Revelation, the “scroll” is unsealed and opened, revealing its contents for all to see. Daniel was told to “seal the scroll,” but John is commanded NOT to do so. The verbal parallels are deliberate and telling.

The first word in the Greek text of the book of Revelation is apokalupsis (Strong’s #G602). It means an “unveiling, disclosure, revelation.” God gave the visions of the book to Jesus to show His “servants what things must come to pass soon.”

Thus, the visions recorded in Revelation disclose previously hidden information. They are not designed to unveil information, not to mystify the reader.

Open book - Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
[Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash]

At the end of his vision, Daniel “
wondered but none understood it.” Its significance remained a mystery to the prophet. In contrast, the man who hears and heeds the “prophecy” or book of Revelation is pronounced: “blessed.”

DISCLOSURE


  • (Daniel 12:4) – “But you, Daniel, close up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall abound.
  • (Revelation 1:1-3) – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to point out unto his servants THE THINGS WHICH MUST COME TO PASS with speed… For THE SEASON IS NEAR.

The purpose of Revelation is declared in its opening paragraph - To “show God’s servants by signs WHAT THINGS MUST COME TO PASS soon

In the immediate context, the plural noun “servants” refers to the “seven churches of Asia,” and the first verse alludes to the interpretation of the dream of a “great image” given by Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar:

  • There is a God in heaven that reveals mysteries and has shown the king WHAT THINGS MUST COME TO PASS in latter days” - (Daniel 2:26-28).

In the Septuagint version of Daniel, the Greek clause is an exact match to the one in Revelation except “latter days” is changed to “soon.” In other words, what was previously in the distant future is now imminent for John and the seven “churches of Asia.”

The declaration that “THE SEASON is near” echoes the angel’s instructions to Daniel: “But, you, Daniel, close up the words and seal the book until the season of the end.

In both passages, the English term “season” represents the Greek noun kairos (Strong’s #G2540), and it means “season, set time.”

As before, Revelation changes the time reference from “end” in Daniel to “near” or engus (Strong’s #G1451). And the latter is a Greek term for something that is “near, imminent, proximate; that which is at hand.” What was in a remote future for Daniel is imminent for John and his first-century audience.

DO NOT SEAL


At the conclusion of Revelation, the angel tells John NOT “to seal the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for THE SEASON IS AT HAND.” This is in deliberate contrast to the command given to Daniel. What the latter was commanded to seal, John is ordered not to seal. Thus, the time of disclosure has arrived - (Revelation 22:10).

And in Revelation, Jesus is the “faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”  He became the “faithful witness” in his death, the “firstborn of the dead” through his resurrection, and he is the “ruler of the kings of the earth” since his exaltation.

Sunrise - Photo by Stripe Media on Unsplash
[Sunrise - Photo by Stripe Media on Unsplash]

Thus, with his death, resurrection, and exaltation, the “
last days” commenced in earnest, and this includes his present sovereignty over the kingdom of God and events on the earth.

What was hidden and mystifying in Daniel’s visions becomes clear with the resurrection and enthronement of Jesus. In fact, his first act upon arrival before the throne is to take the “sealed scroll” and break open its “seven seals” - (Revelation 1:17-18, 3:21, 5:5-10).

Thus, the book’s visions are anchored in the past death and resurrection of Jesus, and following his enthronement, the “slain Lamb” has been unveiling what was previously veiled.

In him, the “season” of the “end” dawned, the time to unseal the “words of the scroll” sealed centuries ago by the prophet Daniel. In Jesus, the era of fulfillment arrived and is now well underway.



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