[Note: The following article is a brief summary of the main teaching given in Chronicles, chapters 15 and 16.]
We’ve all heard that the “statue” in Daniel 2 represents man’s own view of his historical kingdoms: Babylon, Persia, Hellenistic realm, and Islam (not Rome). We’ve also heard that the beasts of Daniel 7 represent God’s view of those same historical kingdoms.
Man views the kingdoms as beautiful and God sees them as beastly. This view takes us down a false path, and makes us miss much of what the Bible is trying to tell us here in Daniel.
Daniel Revisited proposed that Daniel 7’s beasts are the end-time versions of the historical kingdoms given in Daniel 2.
Chiastics Shows the Way
Now, however, in Chronicles, we see that chiastic forms of the text of Daniel 2 through Daniel 7 show us exactly how Daniel 7 relates to Daniel 2, and vice versa! It is no longer a situation of “if’s” or “maybe’s” but it is now staring us in the face plainly.
The text from Daniel 2:4b to Daniel 7:28 is originally written in Aramaic, not Hebrew like most of the Old Testament. This makes those six chapters one unit, separate from the rest of Daniel and the Bible. The chiastic form even confirms this text is complete due to the echoing phrases in the first verse versus the last verse: “Tell the dream to your servants” echoes, “I kept the matter to myself.” (NASB)
Notice that the first three chapters of Daniel 2–7 are mirrors of the last three chapters.
We think we already see a mirror in Daniel 2 and 7: both chapters show a progression of kingdoms ending with Christ’s return to earth, with one shown using metals and the other using beasts.
Daniel 3 and 6
Notice Daniel 3 and 6, the stories of the fiery furnace and the den of lions.
Both accounts are similar: a righteous person or persons refuses to engage in idolatry, they are reported by officials, they are punished by the king in a place that would surely bring death, God rescues them, the victims do not show any sign they were punished, and the king praises their God.
Daniel 3 and 6 form two parallel texts using nine echoing markers (Fig. 13, Chronicles). The fact they are parallel, and that the two stories occur with two different kings, tells us Daniel 3 and 6 give two different accounts that are somehow related.
Daniel 4 and 5
Notice Daniel 4 and 5, the stories of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness and Belshazzar’s writing on the wall.
Both accounts are similar: a king encounters God, is very fearful in this encounter, while one king repents and the other mocks, one king has his life and kingdom restored, and one has his life and kingdom lost.
Daniel 4 and 5 form two parallel texts using seven echoing markers (Fig. 19, Chronicles). The fact they are parallel, and that the two stories occur with two different kings, tells us Daniel 4 and 5 give two different accounts that are somehow related.
A Pattern Develops
Do you see the pattern?
Daniel 3 and 6 tell two different accounts that are related: different kings living in two different time periods, are involved in the same story progression, except the modes of punishment are different: a furnace versus lions.
Daniel 4 and 5 tell two different accounts that are related: different kings living in two different time periods, are involved in the same story progression, except one king repents and the other does not.
This sets up a pattern. Do you see it? Chiastics tells us that just as two chapters relate to two mirrored chapters, so the third pair of chapters should as well. If they do not relate in the same way, that would be an inconsistency in the six chapters of Aramaic Daniel.
So what about Daniel 2 and 7?
Daniel 2 and 7
So, notice Daniel 2 and 7, the stories of a kingdom progression as metals, and another as beasts.
Again, both accounts are similar: a series of kings rule a series of the same kingdoms, starting with Babylon, and progressing through to Persia, Hellenistic realm, Islam, and ten last kingdoms (shown as ten toes in one, and ten horns in the other).
Daniel 2 and 7 form two parallel texts using ten echoing markers (Fig. 28, Chronicles). The markers begin with the first kingdom and go all the way through to the righteous receiving the kingdoms. The fact the two texts are parallel, could tell us either they are two narratives of the same account, or two different accounts that are related.
However, we have the benefit of Daniel 3 relating to Daniel 6, Daniel 4 relating to Daniel 5, that confirm for us that Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, likewise, are two different accounts that are somehow related.
Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 show the same kingdom progression ending with Christ ruling. However, the two accounts involve different kings over two different time periods. The chiastic structure of Daniel 2–7 tells us this: Daniel 3 vs. 6, and Daniel 4 vs. 5 set the precedent.
Further cementing this relationship are other word trails covering all six chapters as one text, showing clearly why the kingdoms are shown as metals, and why the kingdoms are shown as beasts. “Beast” is one word in one trail. The true word behind “statue”, i.e. “image,” is the other word in another trail. There are other words making trails but these are the two most important for learning “image” versus “beast.” This is discussed in detail in Chronicles chapter 17.
What the Relationship Teaches Us
The Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 progressions are more identical than we have all heard from prophecy teachers.
The kingdom progression is in fact, very exact, but in two time frames: one is historical, and the other is end-time.
Daniel 2 shows us a complete history of the Middle East from Daniel’s time.
Daniel 7 shows us a complete history of the end times. This is one argument for Daniel 7 as a master timeline of the end times.
The kingdoms of Daniel 2 and the kingdoms of Daniel 7 are identical, except they are shown in one account as ancient and in the other account, in their end-time form.
We see seven heads, i.e. seven kingdoms, among the four beasts. Yet, we see supposedly only see four kingdoms in the four metals of the image. Chiastics gives us more wisdom here: there are indeed seven kingdoms in the four metals, just as there are seven kingdoms in the four beasts. The progressions must be identical.
How can this be? Well, just as the leopard, the third beast, has four kingdoms, so too, the bronze, the third metal, also has four kingdoms. How so? The same four end-time kingdoms of the leopard: Egypt, Syria, Albania, and Turkey, are also in the bronze. They are the final four surviving Hellenistic kingdoms of the Hellenistic realm: Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucid Syria (or Assyria), Epirus, and Thrace, otherwise known as Rome. The capital of Thrace, which encompassed most of Turkey and Greece, was down the coast only 100 miles from Constantinople, the capital of Rome.
Therefore, if any one was wondering why Egypt and Assyria and Rome are not part of the image, since the other four kingdoms (Babylon, Persia, Epirus via Antiochus Epiphanes, and Islam) all persecuted Israel, those other three kingdoms are in the image also.
Chiastic structures have been discovered in Daniel decades ago. I believe they were never taken to their extreme because it belies the fact that Daniel 7 occurs over a different time than Daniel 2, and that clashed with so many who believed Daniel 7 was ancient also.
We dare to explore the chiastic structure to its logical end because the interpretation given in Daniel Revisited gave us a hint this might be the path forward.
This view of the image and beasts opens up more veils and vistas. We will look at those some other time, or you can whenever you want, in Chronicles.
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