[If you missed Part 1, its here.]
The mirror-like structure of Daniel 2 to 7 has always been there, right in front of us. Those six chapters are paired off as twins.
Daniel 2 is an echo, or a twin, of Daniel 7. They are two stories of a progression of kingdoms.
And Daniel 3 is an echo, or twin, of Daniel 6. These are two stories of punishment and rescue.
And finally Daniel 4 is an echo, or twin, of Daniel 5. These are two stories of two kings.
In many years past I never thought anything of it; just as I’m sure most people have. But then I started to wonder—was there a significant reason as to why these six chapters were arranged this way?
Hmm . . .
And these chapters are all written in Aramaic, embedded in the Hebrew Scriptures. I had known, too, for years, those six chapters were originally written in Aramaic. And I never thought anything of it. But then I started to wonder—was there a significant reason as to why?
Hmm . . .
The first chapter (Dan. 2) reflects the last chapter (Dan. 7). Outside chapter reflects outside chapter. Center chapter reflects center chapter. Midway chapter (Dan. 3) reflects midway chapter (Dan. 5).
Looking back now, the Lord was putting these questions on my heart. Why are these six chapters structured the way they are, and while standing out as different their original language is Aramaic (the whole Old Testament was written in Hebrew except one verse in Jeremiah, and some passages in Ezra and these six chapters of Daniel).
So it was sometime in July 2015 I got around to doing an internet search. My search words were “Daniel,” “Aramaic,” “chapter,” and “twin.”
The search results brought up two topics.
The First Topic Affects the End Times
The first was about the language of Aramaic, including the supposed how and why the six chapters of Daniel are originally written in Aramaic. Going down a rabbit hole during the last half of 2015, learning about the history of Aramaic, the very language in which these six chapters of Daniel were written, ends up telling us how world history was affected itself and therefore affecting the end times. What!?! You read correctly—the message itself, though telling us about the end times, also, I believe, affected the course of the end times itself!
Aramaic, I learned, had started in Syria in a small local area way back in the first centuries after the Flood. Aramean traders spread the language from Egypt to the Indus River in the east. In the time of Abraham and Isaac few people spoke it. By the time of Daniel it was actually the lingua franca of the entire Middle East! Even when Greek was spreading over the Middle East after Alexander’s conquests, Greek was only spoken by rulers and academics. Aramaic was still the language of the common man. The captive Jews in Babylon brought it back with them to Judah (so that’s why Passion of the Christ was in Aramaic). Hebrew was only the language of the synagogues.
I’ve heard some Bible commentators say Aramaic Daniel was written for the Gentiles at Babylon. This is not entirely true and misses the bigger point. It wasn’t just for the Gentiles at Babylon (who spoke Akkadian and Aramaic), but it could be read by ALL Gentiles from Egypt to the border of India!
Those six chapters of Daniel were released in Persia and Babylon around 520 BC. What do you think the impact would have been? I write about this in depth in Chronicles. The trail is quite remarkable and has molded our world in ways I do not believe have been considered.
The Second Topic Tells of the End Times
The second topic from the internet search contained the magic word that made the bulk of Chronicles possible: “chiastics”!
I had never heard of that word before. Out of all the people I know, only one—one!—had ever even heard of the word. (You know who you are!) I didn’t even know there was a whole field of academic study on this topic.
I spent the rest of 2015 also going down the second rabbit hole. I scrambled to find some representative books from decades past. Praise the Lord I was able to get my hands on a physical copy of a book that was out of print for sixty years that was very helpful!
Chiastics, an ancient reading method used with scrolls, was lost when we westerners invented books. This happened in the second century AD. You see, a page of a book never contains the full set of words the reader is to look at to get the full meaning of a passage, but a scroll does. Thinking we were clever doing this for the sake of Scripture reference and portability, we through the baby out with the bath water. Christians unwittingly added to the sealing of prophetic scripture.
Chiastic reading was rediscovered by seminary scholars and given its name way back in the 1750’s.
So in late 2015 and early 2016, I pursued the study of two topics to see if there was any great but unknown significance to Daniel 2 to 7: the history of Aramaic, and this area of academia called chiastics. Neither seemed very promising. One was an old language that was almost extinct, and the other was a word study that in past decades yielded little fruit beyond some word trails. But, like the work for Daniel Revisited, discovering the Antichrist might be Islamic rather than Roman, was the only trail to be picked up and followed.
Regarding chiastics (pronounced ky-as’-tix), a text passage with a chiastic structure is a chiasmus (plural, chiasmi) or a chiastic text. The chiastic structure of a text is revealed by the very words contained in the text. This is not a code or something weird, its learning to read the words we’ve always read, but in a different order. Wonderfully, it can be used by just about any translation of the Bible.
Its all about word trails – words repeated and echoed in the Bible text. As one scholar wrote, if a text is written chiastically it can only be fully understood being read as a chiasmus. It turns out the Bible is filled with chiastic texts! They are everywhere.
There are two types of these word trails: one is “parallel” and the second is “inverted parallel” otherwise known as “convergent.”
An example of a chiastic verse is Mark 2:27, where Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” The word trail includes “man” and “Sabbath.” This has a convergent structure because the words form a mirror as it were. It is the bend between the two phrases, and the word repetition, that teaches us something beyond the words themselves.
Many seminary scholars have studied chiastics and written about it over the twentieth century. There are many books on the topic. However, so far, it has been an academically interesting curiosity but has not broken out into mainstream thought. Why? One reason I can think of for this is that the results from chiastics did not match with scholars’ preconceived beliefs as to the interpretations of prophetic Scripture.
Wonderfully, what made chiastics different for me was the results from these re-readings of Scripture matched and supported the Signposts beautifully. In addition, chiastics went beyond the Four Signposts to show seven end-time events.
Chiastics applied to the prophetic books of the Bible opens up new vistas. As one of my reviewers so aptly told me, and is true for me personally, I will never study the Bible in the same way again.
And so it was in February 2016 I had finished my study of the six Aramaic chapters of Daniel. I had arrived at some startling conclusions. Daniel 2 still showed history and Daniel 7 still showed the end times, but the two chapters also shed light on each other, as only chiastics can do.
Chronicles shows why the kingdoms of Daniel 2 are metals, and why the kingdoms of Daniel 7 are beasts. It also makes plain as to the purpose of Daniel 7. It also opens up more about Daniel 2. And even with the iron legs as Islam, we still don’t have a complete picture of the statue in Daniel 2. The book also shows the special place, purpose, and message that I believe God had, and has, for Aramaic Daniel.
I had reached a crossroads. Was I to publish what I found so far as its own book at that time in 2016, or should I move on to the rest of Daniel, on to Revelation, and other books to include them in the book? The answer took much prayer and waiting on God.
If too hasty, with only Aramaic Daniel, this new way of looking at the Bible might be too easily tossed aside. By waiting, the other prophecy books of the Bible might reveal more secrets, establishing chiastic reading as an all-too-obvious breakthrough in end-time prophecy. Also, by waiting, meant I would have to sit on all this new information for a time (two years!).
I felt the Lord was leading me to wait. Looking back, I believe that was the right decision. Revelation and the Hebrew part of Daniel, in the end, revealed many other answers to many long-held questions. They are quite breath-taking. Matthew 23-25 and Zechariah 1-6 held surprises, too. These books stood alongside Aramaic Daniel proving that this old reading method from scrolls, applied to several books, consistently provided many answers! Each book or set of chapters is a giant chiasmus.
Next, in Part 3, we will begin to explore the possibilities!
Note: Chronicles is on track to be available in late September.