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40 Days Through Daniel: Revealing God's Plan for the Future Paperback – March 1, 2016
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About the Author
Ron Rhodes (ThD), president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, is heard regularly on nationwide radio and is the author of The End Times in Chronological Order, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy, and 40 Days Through Revelation. He periodically teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary and several other seminaries.
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In the introduction to the book Mr. Rhodes describes a series of blessings he hoped his readers would experience while reading 40 Days Through Daniel. I know that Mr. Rhodes accomplished his purpose as far as I was concerned. Two of these blessings which stood out to me were:
• An awareness that God is now providentially guiding human history toward its prophetic culmination
• An increased conviction of the trustworthiness of the Bible in general and the prophecies in the Bible in particular.
I’ll admit I’ve not read many structured/devotional type books in my life, but the book of Daniel has a special place in my heart and I enjoyed the last book I read by Mr. Rhodes so I thought I would give this one a try. Not only was I pleasantly surprised but I was also blessed, encouraged and frankly educated.
The book is divided into a 40 daily studies. Each day Mr. Rhodes gives a small section of reading in the book of Daniel. (These readings are chronological starting in Daniel 1) After reading the verses Mr. Rhodes brings out several insights from the text. After this the chapter is divided into:
• Major Themes
• Digging Deeper with Cross-References
• Life Lessons
• Questions for Reflection and Discussion
The last two sections will really make you think if you make just a few minutes of effort each day to reflect on them. Let me tell you some of his questions are tough as well as insightful.
A few themes which stood out to me were the dangers of pride, the blessings of humility and how YHWH uses both to accomplish His will.
One of my favorite parts of this book was Mr. Rhodes’ discussion of Daniel 9:4 and how YHWH the living God of the Bible keeps His covenants. I quote Mr. Rhodes:
“ 'God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love (9:4)’ The Old Testament consistently emphasizes that God, in His faithful covenant love, will ultimately restore and bless His wayward people.” (p. 218)
Mr. Rhodes goes on to explain how Daniel 9:4 is related to that very promise made in Deuteronomy 7:12 where Moses is admonishing Israel before they cross over the Jordan that:
"Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that YHWH thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:" (Deuteronomy 7:12)
By reading the context of Daniel 9:1-23 we know that the “covenant and mercy” of Daniel 9:4 was in fact a reference to the “covenant and mercy” which YHWH “sware” to the fathers” found in Deuteronomy 7:12. These “fathers”, we learn in Deuteronmy 9:5 were none other than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
To me this is where it really gets awesome. This “covenant and mercy” which was sworn to the fathers mentioned in Deut. 7:12 takes us back to the first recorded oath YHWH swore with a man. That man was Abraham.
“…By myself have I sworn, saith YHWH, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18)
Now here is where it comes full circle. The word “oath” comes from the Hebrew root shaba which means to swear. Shaba is also the root from which we get the Hebrew shabuwa or sevens found in Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 Weeks. So in stunning congruency we find that Daniel 9 opens with a petition by Daniel for YHWH to remember His “covenant and mercy” which he swore (shaba) with Abraham. The very covenant and mercy which promised that someday all nations of the earth would be blessed by Abraham’s seed.
How awesome then the words of Zacharias in the gospel of Luke:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware [shaba] to our father Abraham, Luke 1:68-73
In summary, I have to say this was a wonderful book to read. To those willing to apply the lessons within its pages, it will surely be a blessing to you. I know it challenged me personally to dig deeper in YHWH’s wonderful word. Anyone who loves YHWH’s word in general and the book of Daniel in particular will surely find this book a worthwhile read. I know I did.
* * *
As an aside related to Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 Weeks, I would love to someday get Mr. Rhodes’ thoughts on how he in his own studies reconciled the chronology of Ezra and Nehemiah with the unnamed Persian Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 and Nehemiah 2, 5 & 13. Ezra’s age and the ages of the priests and Levites of Nehemiah 10 & 12 raise some very challenging questions about today’s consensus regarding the chronology of the 2nd temple era in general and Daniel 9 in particular.