Daniel is a contemporary of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. He is exiled to Babylon in 605 BC, along with Judah’s King Jehoiakim. Daniel, whose name means “God is my Judge,” records events and visions that span seventy years, indicating he lives through the entire Babylonian captivity. The central theme of the Book of Daniel is God’s sovereignty over the people of Israel and the nations of the world, as noted when Daniel recalls the fate of former Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar:
He was driven away from people, his mind was like an animal’s, he lived with the wild donkeys, he was fed grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky until he acknowledged that the Most High God is ruler over human kingdoms and sets anyone he wants over them.Daniel 5:21
The book consists mainly of historical narratives (chapters 1-6) and apocalyptic prophetic visions (chapters 7-12). For our purposes, we examine two events featuring a divine figure, one from each section of the book. In Daniel 3, one who “looks like a son of the gods” visits three Hebrew exiles in a fiery furnace. And in Daniel 7, “one like a son of man” arrives before the Ancient of Days with the clouds of heaven. In each case, we survey Daniel’s description of the divine visitor, ask whether it is the same figure in both events, and explore whether this could be the angel of the LORD.
In the next post, we briefly observe the angel God sends to rescue Daniel from the lions’ den (Dan. 6), as well as a “man dressed in linen” in Daniel’s final recorded vision (Dan. 10). Could these figures also be the angel of the LORD?Continue reading
Rev. 13:15 – He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (HCSB)
He was permitted to give a spirit to the image
In verse 15 John writes of the false prophet, “He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”
Note first that the false prophet is permitted to give life to the image of the beast. His power comes from Satan; his permission comes from God. Thusly armed, he gives a “spirit” to the image. The Greek word pneuma is used more than 300 times in scripture and may be translated “spirit,” “breath” or “breeze.” It also may refer to the human spirit or rational soul; an angel, demon, or the Holy Spirit; or even a ghost. Here it appears to be best translated “breath” or “life,” for the image speaks and acts.
This is a stunning miracle, for it convinces many to worship the first beast. It’s quite possible that the false prophet uses sleight-of-hand tricks to make it appear the image is speaking. However, it could be that demonic forces are at work. In confronting the Corinthians with the truth about hand-carved idols, Paul pulls back the veil to expose the truth that those who offer sacrifices to idols – which cannot speak or act – are in fact sacrificing to demons, which the idols represent (1 Cor. 10:20). But in Revelation, John depicts the idol as being alive – or apparently so. Whether animated by demons or creative illusions, the image of the beast inspires both wonder and terror in the hearts of people, for he pronounces death sentences on those who hold fast their allegiance to Christ.