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The Hadwriting on the Wall

A Commentary on the Book of Daniel

James B. Jordan, 2007 / Second Printing, 2010

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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. Nor is the book of Daniel concerned about predicting the course of European church history after the apostolic age and into our time. The Handwriting on the Wall sees the fulfillments as relatively "near" to the time when Daniel was written.

Daniel. A book in two parts: 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. Then a 70 x 7 year prophecy of the life of Daniel’s people while they lived in God’s New Empire after Babylon.

The Handwriting on the Wall. A book in 24 chapters and eleven 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. A commentary that for the first time in our day takes with total seriousness the fact 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.

Finally, 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. 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.


Introduction: The Book of Daniel

The Prophecies of Daniel
The Anti-Papal Approach
The Antichrist Myth Approach
The Dispensational Approach
The Skeptical Approach
The Covenant-Historical Approach
Canonical Historical Setting
Literary Structure

  1. The Covenant Historical Context of Daniel
  2. The Revelation Historical Context of Daniel
  3. The Immediate Historical Context of Daniel's Life and Prophecies
  4. Death and Resurrection in Daniel
  5. In the Land of Shinar
  6. Daniel 1: A New Beginning
  7. Daniel 2: The Establishment of God's New Empire
  8. Daniel 3: The Empire Strikes Back
  9. Daniel 4: The King of Kings
  10. From Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar
  11. Daniel 5: Babel Examined and Judged
  12. Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian
  13. Daniel 6: Death and Resurrection
  14. The Background of Daniel 7 and its Prophecy
  15. Daniel 7: Of Beasts and Men
  16. Daniel 7: The Course of Empire
  17. Daniel 8: Sacrificing for the Nations
  18. Daniel 9: The End of the Age
  19. Daniel 10-12: The Final Prophecy
  20. Daniel 10: The Death and Resurrection of Daniel
  21. Daniel 11:2-20: The Triumphant King and the New Exodus
  22. Daniel 11:21-35: The Angry King and the Abominations of the Jews
  23. Daniel 11:36-45: The Career of the Ungodly King
  24. Daniel 12: The Kingdom of Michael

APPENDIX A: Chronology
APPENDIX B: Chronological Difficulties Concerning Nebuchadnezzar's Investitures of Jerusalem
APPENDIX C: The Ten Words in Daniel
APPENDIX D: Daniel as New Creation
APPENDIX E: Daniel and Joseph
APPENDIX F: Decreation in Daniel 4
APPENDIX G: Jesus at Belshazzar's Feast
APPENDIX H: The Numerics of Kingship in Daniel
APPENDIX I: The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three
APPENDIX J: The Tale of Bel and the Dragon
APPENDIX K: The Tale of Daniel and Susanna


Scripture Index
Subject Index
Author Index
Index of Hebrew & Aramaic Words
Index of Greek Words
Numerological Index


James B. Jordan is a theologian and author, and considered by many to be the "very best Bible teacher on the planet" and is one of the most studied interpreters of the Bible today. He is director of the Niceville, FL, based Biblical Horizons, a think-tank dealing with Biblical liturgy, commentary and theology. Jordan receive his B.A. from University of Georgia in Comparative Literature, and attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, before earning a M.A. and Th.M. from Westminster Theological Seminary in PA. After his 1982 ordination in the Association of Reformed Churches, he served alongside Ray Sutton as associate pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tyler, TX, where he was also Director of Geneva Ministries and Geneva Divinity School. In 1993, Jordan received a D.Litt. from the Central School of Religion for his dissertation on the dietary laws of Moses. Since 2000, Jordan serves in Russia as head of the Department of Biblical Studies at Biblical Theological Seminary in St. Petersburg, where he teaches Old Testament and Eschatology.


759 pages, hardcover, appendixes, indexes.
ISBN: 9780915815630