Daniel is a book in two parts. The first is a seventy-year history of the life and work of the prophet Daniel while he lived in Babylon (the first phase of God’s New Empire). The second part is a 70x7-year prophecy of the life of Daniel’s people while they lived in God’s New Empire after Babylon.
The Handwriting on the Wall includes 24 chapters and 11 appendixes, explaining the historical context of Daniel’s life and prophecies, what those prophecies meant to the first generation who heard them, and what they continue to mean. This commentary emphasizes that Daniel spoke and wrote for those of his own day—first for those still living in Jerusalem who were supposed to submit to God’s New Empire, and then to those living in exile and looking to the future.
Unlike “liberal” commentaries, The Handwriting on the Wall takes seriously the claim that Daniel and his contemporaries put this book together. In this respect, this commentary stands within the mainstream of all Jewish and Christian commentaries. But unlike most “conservative” commentaries, the author, James B. Jordan, refuses to jump the prophecies off until the end of time, but takes seriously what they meant for those who heard them. Like any scholarly commentary, however, The Handwriting on the Wall is based on careful treatment of the grammar of the Hebrew and Aramaic text, and reflects a thoroughgoing familiarity with scholarly treatments of Daniel, “liberal” and “conservative,” up to the present day.
The Handwriting on the Wall is written in a reader-friendly style, designed for layman, pastor, and scholar alike. Jordan successfully takes the reader both into the amazing stylistic features of the text and into the amazing adventures of the protagonists.
The Handwriting on the Wall takes a Covenant Historical Approach to interpreting the imagery of God’s prophecies revealed to Daniel. The prophecies of Daniel deal with the events in the Covenantal Era that were dawning in Daniel’s lifetime: the Restoration Era after the exile, and the return of God’s people back to the land, city, and temple. There are no “historical parentheses” or “gaps”, no leaps of thousands of years into the future. The book of Daniel is not concerned about predicting the course of European church history after the Apostolic Age and into our time. This book is not only a commentary on Daniel, but an education in how to read and study the texts of the word of God.
Since The Handwriting on the Wall is fully integrated with Logos, Scripture passages are linked to your favorite translation for quick reference and to your Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts for original-language study! You can also read this volume along with your Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, and the wealth of other Bible study tools in your digital library.
“Rather, in accordance with Biblical symbolism, the sea represents the Gentile world. These beasts are Gentile empires that are to act as guardian cherubim.” (Page 333)
“This does not mean that there were no more visions and prophecies after the work of Jesus was finished, because the New Testament was yet to be written, and there were prophets in the earliest church. Rather, the idea is that Jesus fulfilled all that vision and prophet had ever said. There is nothing in the Old Testament that is not prophetic, one way or another, of Jesus, and none that Jesus did not fulfill. Sealing, as with a signet ring, makes it official. The life and death of Jesus was the seal on all God’s revelation. Before that time, the revelation had been made, but now it was sealed, officially, as with a signet.” (Page 458)
“If the meaning of Daniel 9:27 was that Jesus’ death was the last sacrifice for sin, then it would say that he put a stop to Purifications (‘sin offerings’) and Trespass-offerings. What are mentioned, however, are Peace-offerings and Tributes, both of which have worship rather than covering for sin as their primary focus. The Purifications and Trespass-offerings focus on the death of the animal and the display of its blood. The Sacrifices of Peace and Tributes focus on the ascent of the believer to God with tribute, and our reception by Him at His table for a meal with Him.” (Page 465)
“The ‘people of the commander’ might be the saints, but since physical Jerusalem is in view, that being the city rebuilt in the preceding verse, a physical destruction would seem to be in view also. The Assyrian and Babylonian armies were God’s armies to bring judgment upon Israel in previous times, so it is not strange for the Roman army to be called the people of the Messiah as they come to destroy Jerusalem.” (Page 462)