A Dreamer of Dreams

 

Simple Studies in the Scripture The Book of Daniel

 

Dr. Stanford E. Murrell

 

 

Leader’s Study Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel

 

Human Author: Daniel

Divine Author: God the Holy Spirit

Date of Writing: 6th Century BC

Key Thought: The Sovereignty of God over the Kingdoms of the Earth

Key Verse: Daniel 4:17

 

“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”

 

 

Special Note. Since Daniel is a type of Christ his words have been placed in red. The words of kings are in blue, the words of angels in pink and all others in brown. The words of the Lord are indigo.

 

Daniel 1

 

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

 

King Josiah of Judah

c. 640-609 BC

 

Johanan          Jehoiakim       Jehoahaz

Elder son              Middle son           Younger Son

 

1:1 Jehoiakim. The narrative begins in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (609-598 BC), king of Judah. Jehoiakim was 25 years old at his accession of power. He was the second son of the good king Josiah. His elder brother

Johanan should have been the crowned king but Pharaoh Necho of Egypt raised Jehoiakim to the throne instead. This was done over the choice of the people who had nominated Jehoahaz to be king. Jehoahaz was Jehoiakim's younger brother.

Pharaoh Necho thought that he could control Jehoiakim. The king of Judah was expected to pay tribute to the Egyptian ruler for Josiah's part in siding with Babylon against Egypt.

At first, the tribute money was paid. Jehoiakim taxed the people (2 Kings 23:33,34; Jer. 22:10-12; Ezek. 19:4). But then, Pharaoh Necho suffered his devastating defeat from Babylon at the Battle of Carchemish. As a result of that battle, the ruler of Egypt lost all the territorial holdings between the Euphrates and the Nile. He left Judea and never returned (2 Kings 24:7; Jer. 46:2). Jehoiakim was free to act as he pleased without pressure.

As the king of Judah, Jehoiakim reigned for eleven years. He was a ruthless and ungodly ruler. "His eyes and heart were only for covetousness, shedding innocent blood, oppression, and violence" (Jer. 22:13-17). "He built his house by unrighteousness and without mercy, using his neighbor's service without wages."

Jehoiakim had built by forced labor a splendid palace that violated the Law of the Lord (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14,15 cf. Micah 3:10; Heb. 2:9; James 5:4). However, the personal good life and temporary political freedom from Egyptian servitude came to an end in the third year of his reign. A new political master had stepped onto the stage of world history in the person of Nebuchadnezzar. 

 

1:1 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon returned from Carchemish, marched to Jerusalem and subdued the king. It was the original intention of Nebuchadnezzar to take Jehoiakim in bondage to Babylon but the Chaldean ruler had a change of heart. Remembering his former ally King Josiah, Nebuchadnezzar decided to simply make his son Jehoiakim a vassal. He thought he was being gracious and honoring the memory of a political friend. Later, he would regret that decision.

 

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

 

1:2 Behind the natural outworking of human evens is the unseen hand of God. From a human perspective Nebuchadnezzar went forth to conquer with a mighty army. From a divine perspective “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.”  The absolute sovereignty of God orchestrating the events of time is a biblical revelation.

Charles H. Spurgeon wrote,  “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own

 hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.”

 

3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

 

1:2-3 In place of the king, Nebuchadnezzar took a large portion of the great wealth of the house of God (1:2) plus political hostages in selected children of Israel (Dan. 1:3). By allowing these things to happen God manifested His justice. Once the people of the Lord had brought the images ofother gods into His temple. Now the Lord allowed the holy vessels to be carried into the treasuries of other gods. Once the people of the Lord absorbed the children of other nations. Now, the children of Judah would be held captive in exile (Matt. 7:1-5).

 

4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured [gifted], and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand [serve] in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

1:4-5 When Nebuchadnezzar made his decision to deport the children of Palestine, he entrusted the matter to Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs. The young people had to meet six specific qualifications.

 

v    The young people had to be physically sound.

 

v    The young people had to be intelligent.

 

v    The young people had to possess a great capacity to learn.

 

v    The young people had to be teachable.

 

v    The young people had to have a gift for learning languages.

 

To honor those selected for deportation, Nebuchadnezzar appointed them the best food and drink of the kingdom (Dan. 1:5). In all of this the king was politically wise for he was building for the future. In the years to come, the young captives would be assimilated into the Chaldean culture but still able to function as ambassadors to foreign nations or conquered territories.

 

6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

 

1:6 The Hebrew name Daniel means "judgment of God." He was of the tribe of Judah and a member of the royal family. In time Daniel would be honored for his great wisdom and deep devotion to the Lord.

 

 

 

Ezekiel paid honor to him (Ezek. 28:3) and place him in the esteemed company of Noah and Job (Ezek. 14:14).

Josephus called Daniel one of the greatest prophets. Even the angel respected him for Gabriel called him a man greatly beloved.

Daniel was destined to lead a long and active life in the courts and councils of some of the greatest rulers ever to have lived in the persons of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Darius.

It is believed that Daniel finally died in Persia at Susan, where he lived to a very old age. If little is known of the end of Daniel's life, his earlier fate and that of his friends, is more familiar. As captives of Nebuchadnezzar, all of them had a change of names.

 

7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Daniel             God is my judge

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Belteshazzar    The keeper of the hidden

                         treasures of Bel

 

~*~

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Hananiah         The grace of the sun

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Shadrach         The inspiration of the

            Lord

 

~*~

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Mishael           He that is the strong God

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Meshach          Of the goddess Shach              

                        (Venus)

 

~*~

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Azariah            The Lord is help

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Abednego        The servant of shining

             fire

 

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion [ration] of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

 

1:9 There is a divine proverb that guides certain relationships. “When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov 16:7).

 

10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat [food] and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse [less healthy] liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

1:10 The way of the world when it cares for others is rooted in self-interest. The prince of the eunuch wanted Daniel to eat properly lest Daniel make him look bad.

 

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [vegetable] to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat [meat]: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved [tested] them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter [healthier] in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse [vegetable].

17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

 

1:8-17 The courage of conviction. Following his strong stand for a godly purpose (1:8), time passed quickly and quietly for Daniel and his three friends.

 

Their days were filled with concentrated education in all the knowledge of Babylon (1:9-17). Finally, after three years the day came when King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to see what his idea had produced. Would the young men he sponsored be able to serve in the royal courts? In a formal ceremony Ashpenaz brought all the captives before the throne to find out.

 

18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood [served] they before the king.

20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

 

1:18-20

One by one King Nebuchadnezzar questioned the young men who stood before him. He was particularly impressed with Daniel, Hanaiah, Mishael, and Azariah. No matter what subject he spoke to them about, they were infinitely more informed and knowledgeable than anyone else in his whole kingdom.

While Nebuchadnezzar did not bother to inquire what the ultimate source of their wisdom was, the Bible is careful to give the honor and glory to God.

The Scriptures state plainly (Dan. 1:17) that "God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom."

Men who do not know God attribute the acquisition of learning to chance or natural selection. Such thinking brings dishonor to the Lord and it dishonors man himself for it is an illogical and unreasonable thought. Nothing cannot make itself greater than it is. The chair cannot become a diamond nor can the bird become an airplane. The infant in the cradle cannot increase in knowledge unless God gives it the means and the opportunity.

Because Christians recognize the Source of all learning and wisdom, believers can appeal to that Source to

grant more grace in the distribution of these gifts. James, the brother of Christ

according to the flesh, instructs us to do this very thing (James 1:5).

 

21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus [of Persia, 559 BC].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leader’s Study Guide

 

Questions on Daniel 1

 

1.     During what time period does the narrative for the book of Daniel begin?

 

Answer.

The narrative begins in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (609-598 BC), king of Judah. Jehoiakim was 25 years old at his accession of power.

 

2.     List the meaning of the names of Daniel and his friends in captivity, their new names and what they mean.

 

Answer.

The following chart tells the meaning of the names of Daniel and his friends, their new names and the meaning of the same.

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Daniel             God is my judge

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Belteshazzar    The keeper of the hidden

                         treasures of Bel

 

~*~

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Hananiah         The grace of the sun

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Shadrach         The inspiration of the

            Lord

 

~*~

 

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Mishael           He that is the strong God

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Meshach          Of the goddess Shach              

                        (Venus)

 

~*~

 

Name              Hebrew Meaning

Azariah            The Lord is help

 

New Name      Chaldean Meaning

Abednego        The servant of shining

            fire

 

3.     Briefly identify the following: 

 

v    Josiah

v    Johanan

v    Jehoiakim

v    Jehoahaz

v    Nebuchadnezzar

v    Ashpenaz

v    Cyrus

 

Answer.

The following are simply identified.

v    Josiah, king of Judah (640-609)

v    Johanan, Elder son of Josiah

v    Jehoiakim, Middle son of Josiah

v    Jehoahaz, younger son of Josiah

v    Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylonian empire

v    Ashpenaz, leader of the eunuchs

v    Cyrus, ruler of the Persian empire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.     What qualities did the Babylonians look for in the young people they deported?

 

Answer.

The Babylonians looked for the best and the brightest of the Jewish youth to deport.

 

v    The young people had to be physically sound.

 

v    The young people had to be intelligent.

 

v    The young people had to possess a great capacity to learn.

 

v    The young people had to be teachable.

 

v    The young people had to have a gift for learning languages.

 

5.     How much wiser were the Hebrew students than the Babylonian scholars?

 

Answer.

The Hebrew youth were “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

 

Practical Application and Reflection

 

1.     Do you believe in and embrace the biblical revelation of the absolute sovereignty of God in human affairs? If not, why not?

 

2.     Do you have the courage of your convictions? Has that courage ever been tested? What was the result of the test?

3.     Why do you think Daniel refused to each the food and wine from the king’s table? What his decision rational? Why or why not?

 

4.     Do you believe that God speaks to people in dreams today? Explain. If you do believe God has spoken to you in a dream, please share what was “said” to you.

 

5.     What role if any should astrology have in the Christian life? Should Christians read horoscopes even for fun? Why or why not?

 

Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

 

·       Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion [ration] of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

 

Leaders Study Notes

 

1:1 5    From the vantage point of time, the opening words of the narrative seem almost exciting. The romance of war is in the air. There is the trauma of young people being carried away captive to a foreign land to be reared in a golden palace. There is the opportunity for the captives to be educated by the greatest men of science.  There is the comfort of being among a few faithful friends.  The story throbs with life, danger, and political greatness.

 

What must not be forgotten is that a nation was being destroyed bit by bit. Judgment came in part because a corrupt king was sitting on the throne of what was once the theocratic kingdom. So great were his sins that the LORD gave Jehoiakim into the hands of the king Babylon. Rulers and leaders should remember that all power and all positions in life are in the Lord's hands. The Lord gives such honor and the Lord can take them away. As the narrative is reviewed, several spiritual lessons come to mind.

 

1.     It is always sad when the people of God and the possessions of the Lord find their way into the house of false gods. When the Lord allows this to happen, there is usually a greater truth to be learned and that is God demands worship with a right spirit.

 

2.     When adults of the covenant violate their holy commitments, the children suffer as greatly as all others.

 

3.     The world is anxious to transform God's people by force if necessary (Dan. 1:1-2) by change of names if possible (Dan. 1:6-7) and by acts of kindness when practical (Dan. 1:5).

 

4.     As seen so often in the study of the prophets, all judgments begin first in the house of God.

 

~*~

 

 

 

 

 

 

1:2 Concerning the sovereignty of God, guest lecturer at Calvin Seminary, R. B. Kuiper once used the following illustration of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. “I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down. I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God’s election, predestination, his chosen, and so on, I read also the many teachings regarding, ‘whosoever will may come’ and urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece.”

 

~*~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Daniel 2

 

In the ancient world dreams were regarded as having significance and as portents of events yet to come. One night, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a significant dream. Because of its contents and vividness, the dream greatly upset him and he wanted to know what it meant. Therefore, in the light of day, he called for his magicians, and astrologers and sorcerers who were grouped together and known simply as the Wise Men or the Chaldeans.

The function of these Wise Men was to tap into the supernatural. Such activities were condemned by the Law of Moses (cf. Deut. 18:10) and rightly so for there is only one true God who knows the future with certainty. To the group of Wise Men, King Nebuchadnezzar gave an unusual task. He wanted the men to tell him of his dream and what it meant even though they had no real ability to discern the supernatural.

While the King may not have forgotten the entire dream (Dan. 2:9), he had to find a way to test the Wise Men to know if they could really provide a correct answer as to the meaning of the dream. In his heart the King must have known, as did the Wise Men, that the religion of Babylon was mere superstition and not the truth.

 

Daniel 2

 

1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know [understand] the dream.

4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live forever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

 

2:1-4 When the Wise Men first heard that the King had a dream, they were not unduly concerned. Even when the King threatened them with dismemberment and ruin, they were not alarmed. Such threats were common and to be expected. The violence of an eastern despot was brutal. So the Wise Men spoke to Nebuchadnezzar in Syriack [i.e. Aramaic] (Dan. 2:4) with great confidence. If they were able to help the king, they would receive gifts, financial rewards, and great honor. Now, if the King would simply tell them what it was he dreamed they would immediately be able to provide him with an interpretation that would comfort his heart.

 

5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

6 But if ye shew [tell] the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

 

2:5-7 For the second time the Wise Men asked the King to share his dream. But the King would not reveal his dream nor would he cancel his threat to kill the Wise Men if they proved not to be so wise. Now the Wise Men were concerned and for good reason. It would soon be apparent for all to see that they had no real ability to tell the King what he dreamed or what his dream meant. In anger Nebuchadnezzar roared at his Wise Men whose hearts were beating rapidly beneath their flowing robes.

 

8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.

9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.

10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew [reveal] the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

 

2:8-11 Speaking for the third time the Wise Men pleaded with the King. He was asking too much (2:10-11). What he wanted was beyond human power. Of course it was! And now the truth was out. Whatever the Wise Men could do they did with human power. No wonder the King became furious at them. He was supporting a large group of men who claimed to have access to supernatural power. But when the supernatural power was needed, it was not available. The Wise Men with all their clever tricks were but human after all. In his anger and frustration,

 

12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

 

2:12-13 Nebuchadnezzar sent forth the royal decree that the Wise Men were to be executed immediately. Included in this mandate were Daniel and his three friends because they had been trained under the Wise Men. Unless something happened quickly, Daniel and his friends were going to be executed for the sins of

 others. When word reached Daniel he acted swiftly.

 

 

 

 

14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

15 He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty [urgent] from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

 

2:14-15 First, he requested an audience with Arioch, the guard of the palace to discover why the King was acting with such harshness (not hastiness). In this behavior, Daniel provides a very important example. It is vital to discover what is on the other person's mind without assuming that one knows and without attributing things that one does not know to be the case.

 

16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.

 

2:16 After he was fully informed, the Bible says that Daniel secured an audience with the King to make a request and to give a promise. The request was for just a little more time.

 

17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

 

2:17-19 The promise was that the dream would be revealed and explained. Observe in this three thoughts. 

First, Daniel's confidence which was based upon past experiences with the Lord. Daniel knew that he had a special gift from God and so did other people.

Second, consider Daniel's courage, which was extraordinary. "Men of deep faith," says Matthew Henry, "are bold."

Third, notice Daniel's humility. While Daniel is confident, he is not presumptuous. He needs to take this whole situation to the Lord in prayer, which he does. And he invites others to join him in prayer as well. The basis of prayer will be the mercy of God. (See Doctrine of Mercy)

 

20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

 

2:20 When Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar with certainty that he would reveal the dream and its interpretation, he was not being boastful. Daniel knew he had the gift of prophecy. He had faith that God would make known to him the dream and Daniel was right. In a night vision, the secret dream of Nebuchadnezzar's was revealed. Daniel and his three friends had asked for mercy and they would receive it from the Lord.

The mercy of God was given to others besides Daniel for the Wise Men of Babylon would also be spared.

The blood bath the king had called for would not be administered. The sad part is that the unbelieving community had no true God to thank for their lives. The Babylonians sorcerers had been spared by the Lord and blessed by Him but they still, knew Him not. What the Chaldeans did not know, Daniel did and so he could render a heartfelt prayer of praise.

 

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

 

2:21 In his prayer of praise Daniel recalled the wonderful attributes of God. An attribute is anything true about God.

 

v    The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), therefore, love is an attribute of God.

 

v    The Bible says that God is a spirit (John 4:24) therefore, spirit is an attribute of God.

 

v    The Bible says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) therefore, truthfulness or holiness is an attribute of God.

 

v    The Bible says that God is eternal (Psa. 90:2) therefore, eternality is an attribute of God.

 

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired [asked] of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

 

2:21-23 As the Scriptures are studied, it becomes obvious that God has many attributes. How many attributes there are is a matter of argument among the theologians. In his small but wonderful book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer considers nineteen attributes of God and their meaning in the Christian life. In 1682, Stephen Charnock published a work of 1102 pages in which he dealt with only eleven attributes of God. Some religious thinkers have insisted that there are only seven attributes of God but Faber sang of the "God of a thousand attributes," and Charles Wesley exclaimed, "Glad thine attributes confess, Glorious all and numberless." Whatever the exact number, what is wonderful to realize is that God has revealed Himself to mankind. By faith we believe that God exists and that He can be known. We can know something about God and beyond that we can KNOW God personally. Daniel knew God personally and was able to articulate what he knew about the Lord in a prayer of praise. In the prophet's prayer, we find several attributes and an exhortation to honor God forever and ever.

 

The Attributes of God According to Daniel in the 6th Century BC

 

v    The Wisdom of God                                                          Daniel 2:20

v    The Power [Might] of God                                                Daniel 2:20

v    Manifested in His ability to change times and seasons      Daniel 2:21

v    Manifested in His ability to remove kings or exalt them Daniel 2:21

 

v    Manifested in His ability to give wisdom             Daniel 2:21

 

v    Manifested in His ability to give knowledge                     Daniel 2:21

 

v    The Omniscience of God                                                   Daniel 2:22

 

v    Manifested in His ability to reveal the deep and secret things

                        Daniel 2:22

 

v    Manifested by His self knowledge of the darkness           Daniel 2:22

 

v    The Truthfulness [Holiness] of God for light dwelth with Him

                        Daniel 2:23

 

2:23 The prayer of Daniel ends with a personal word of thanksgiving (Dan. 2:23). Daniel had asked for something specific and the Lord had granted his request. When we pray, let us praise God for who He is in His essence. And let us praise Him for specific prayers He has and answered. Let all the earth praise the Lord!

 

24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew [explain] unto the king the interpretation.

 

 

 

2:24 After Daniel finished thanking the Lord for His answer to prayer, the prophet went to Arioch, the captain of the king's guard. The first thing that had to be done was to reverse the order to execute the Wise Men of Babylon. By intervening on behalf of the Wise Men of Babylon, Daniel was demonstrating the principle of grace. He who had been shown so much mercy must now try to find it for others. Daniel knew that God shows common kindness to the evil and to the good (Matt. 5:45).

This is contrary to human nature. We want to show kindness only to those who show kindness to us. But God rewards good for evil and tells us to do the same. And then He gives us the opportunity. There is no doubt but Daniel could have easily rationalized why the Wise Men of Babylon should be executed.

v    They had told outrageous lies.

v    They had misrepresented themselves.

v    They had not honored the true Lord God of Israel.

v    They were proud and arrogant.

v    They might continue to mislead people and corrupt the Jewish youth.

v    The competition would be gone.

 

2:24 Daniel could have thought of many ways to save himself and his friends while allowing the execution of the astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers. But Daniel resisted all such lower impulses. With the death of the opposition, there would be no opportunity for their conversion and it is salvation which should always be the ultimate goal of all Christians. If the Wise Men are to be religiously discredited, there must be a good reason.

 

 

 

If the Wise Men are to be exposed as frauds and sinners in need of a true Saviour, perhaps such exposure will lead to their repentance and godly sorrow.

But an unjust death based upon political and religious intrigue would do nothing to advance the cause of God. The God of all grace and mercy would not then be made known. In similar situations that Christians face today, Daniel become a wonderful role model. Specific guiding principles are found.

 

v    Hurt no one physically or emotionally Daniel 2:24

 

v    Help everyone when possible.     

 

v    Pray for Divine intervention Daniel 2:18

 

v    Speak the truth in love even if the truth exposes wrong beliefs Daniel 2:27

 

v    Quickly use one's spiritual gift Daniel 2:16

 

v    Stand boldly on eternal principles Daniel 2:28

 

v    Give God the glory Daniel 2:28

 

The Bible tells us that the same way we treat others, God will treat us.

 

25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;

 

2:25-27 Once Daniel secured the safety of the Babylonians, he made his services available to the king (2:24b). Anxiously had the king been waiting for someone to help him interpret and understand his dream so sleep would return. Now he knew such a man existed and had been found. In the selection process, Arioch wanted the king to think that he had found Daniel when the truth was, Daniel had found Arioch.

The Captain of the King's Guard sensed a good political and public relations moment when he saw one. This was too good to pass up. If Daniel proved to be able to provide a solution to the king's problem, Arioch knew that Nebuchadnezzar would not forget his loyal captain who found the subject for his ruler.

While Arioch was quick to seize a small amount of glory for himself, Daniel seized the same moment to bring greater honor to the Lord. Daniel was bold to declare the intellectual and spiritual limitations of the Wise Men of Babylon (2:27). In contrast to man's insufficiency is the sufficiency of God. "There is a God in heaven," said Daniel ‘that revealeth secret.”

 

28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

 

v    The God in heaven is high above the gods of the earth reflecting His superiority over them.

 

v    The God in heaven is invisible while the Babylonian gods are visible for they are the products of the mind's and hands of man.

 

v    The God in heaven is alive while the gods of Babylon are dead!

 

v    The God in heaven is able to reveal things.

 

v    He is able to reveal the secrets of men's hearts. Their thoughts, dreams, motives, and ambitions.

 

v    He is able to reveal what shall be in the latter days. The "latter days" refers to the Messianic Age. This age was ushered in by the appearance of Christ upon earth as many passages teach.

6.     Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

 

29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

 

2:29 The content of the dream is that which shall occur in the Messianic Age! The reason why God can reveal the future is because He is the Sovereign of the Universe in the absolute sense of the word. The past is known to Him as well as the future. The future is actually history to God for it is HIS-story. All that shall come to pass has been planned and decreed by God to come to pass in a specific way.

This is not to say that the future is to be identified with fatalism. In fatalism there is nothing personal. In fatalism man is the product of irrational forces. The Christian's view of History is that there is wise and loving personal God who is all powerful and is decreeing all things that will happen according to the counsel of His good will and for His own pleasure. History is not the result of constant clashes among the social classes as Communism. Nor is history based upon economic determinism as other's teach. History is the outworking of the glorious Plan of Redemption.

 

v    A people               Abraham

v    A nation                 the Jews

v    A tribe                   the tribe of Judah

v    A family in

the tribe of             David

v    A woman in

the family of the

tribe of Judah        Mary

v    A son                     Jesus Christ

 

30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know [understand] the thoughts of thy heart.

2:30 God has been willing to show His great plan with all men but not all men understand. God has not hidden His design from anyone though not everyone cares to read and study what has been revealed. No one has been left out. No one has been neglected. The problem is that when God speaks, things are difficult for some to understand. Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar become clear representative of two groups of people. Nebuchadnezzar represents all natural men who have been visited by God, spoken to by God, but do not understand a word the Lord has said. Daniel represents all of the elect who are kept safe from destruction, subject to the laws of sin and death, and he is divinely delivered by revelation. To the redeemed God reveal His secrets and understanding of the future. As Daniel embarks on the interpretation of the dream, he pauses one last time to make an important point.

 

He is but a servant of the Most High. He has no more wisdom than other men apart from Divine revelation. The humility of Daniel is honorable. Daniel knows that God is simply using him for the sake of others. Nebuchadnezzar's dream is revealed to Daniel in order to comfort the Jewish captives. The dream would give hope for the future. The dream would allow many lives to be spared.

 

31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

 

 

 

2:31 The Great Image that King Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream was not an idol, but a statue in human form of four great empires. Because world powers are one in essence and human by nature, they are united in one statue. This essential unity is important to understand by way of interpretation.

The Great Image is said to be bright. The brightness was caused, no doubt, by the reflection of its metals of gold, silver, and brass. The massive size and shining image of the statue would inspire fear and terror. From the head of gold to the feet of clay, there is a steady deterioration. Only the head constitutes a unified whole.

 

32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs [loins] of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

 

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

 

2:32. This image's head was of fine gold. The greatest of these four was the first, the Babylonian Empire, represented by the head of gold. By all historical accounts the Babylonian Empire could lay claim to a universal dominion (Dan.

2:38) though there were parts of the earth it did not dominate in Asia, North America, etc. The Babylonian Empire, according to the vision, would be replaced by another kingdom represented by silver.

 

2:32 his breast and his arms of silver,

History identifies this second empire as the Empire of the Medes and the Persians who united to overthrow Babylon. This view has been accepted by the church Fathers, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, and in more modern times by the great German scholar, Keil.

 

2: 32 his belly and his thighs [loins] of brass. The third Empire, represented by brass, can be identified as that of Alexander the Great.

 

2:33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.  Then came Rome, represented by the inferior metal of iron.

 

2:33 a stone was cut out without hands. This prophetic reference is and was about Christ and the kingdom He established.

 

 

36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

 

2:36 Once Daniel described the Great Image that King Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream, the next question to address was its meaning. Because no such image had ever been known to man, there was no precedent from which the symbolism could have been borrowed to help in the explanation. The Lord alone would have to explain this

Great Image, and He did. From the vantage point of history the interpretation becomes rather easy. The four empires of the prophecy are the Babylon Empire, Mede-Persian Empire, Grecian Empire, and Roman Empire.

 

37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And whosesoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry [common] clay.

42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

 

 

 

 

43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

 

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

 

2:44-45 As attention is focused on the image of the Great Uncut Stone which speaks of the kingdom of God, several facts can be noted.

 

1.       The kingdom of God is not of human origin. Man's hands did not form this kingdom. God sets it up.

 

2.       The kingdom of God is eternal in its duration. It shall never be destroyed, nor shall it last only 1,000 years. Since this kingdom is divine, it is therefore eternal.

 

3.       The kingdom of God shall not change hands (2:44). It shall not be left to other people.

 

It will always be in the hands of the true Israel of God, that is the church.

 

4.       The kingdom of God will break in pieces and destroy the other kingdoms.

 

 

        KINGDOMS

OF THE COLOSSUS    KINGDOM OF GOD

 

v    Human origin                     Divine

v    Temporary Duration          Eternal

v    Overcame by each             Cannot be

v    Succeeding kingdom            conquered

 

Only Christ can fulfill the aspects of this prophecy as He strides all the elements of man. In complete triumph Jesus destroys the kingdoms of men and sets us His own.

 

46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

 

2:46-49 In response to Daniel's ability to provide an accurate and rational interpretation of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar honored Daniel in a number of different ways.

 

v    First, the king showed Daniel personal honor by bowing down to him (Dan. 2:46). In this symbolic act, the king was representing the day that would come when all the kings of the earth will bow before Daniel's God.

 

v    Second, the king commanded that Daniel be given an oblation. The Hebrew word speaks of some sort of pouring as in a libation. Sweet odors were also to be poured out around him.

 

v    Third, Daniel received personal gifts (Dan. 2:48) of houses, servants, clothing, jewels and food.

 

v    Fourth, he was made the ruler, next to the king, over all of Babylon.

 

v    Finally, Daniel was made the head of the religious order of Wise Men. As Daniel was honored, so was the God he served but in a qualified way. The Lord was recognized as the God of truth, the Sovereign among other gods (i.e., idols) and the Lord of the kings of the earth.  a revealer of secrets. Men love secrets. In secrecy things can be said and done without much accountability.

 

 

 

Secrecy is not part of the Christian experience. The Bible tells the Christian to walk in the light and to walk in the truth. For the Christian there is nothing to hide. The Bible tells us that one-day God is going to expose every thing that we say and do so that we must give an account. The best preparation for eternity is to live without regret in time and to live openly and honestly before each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel

 

Questions and Answers on Daniel 2

 

 

The Attributes of God According to Daniel in the 6th Century BC

 

1.     What attributes of God did Daniel notice?

 

Answer. Daniel set forth several attributes of God.

 

v    His wisdom           2:20

 

v    His power manifested in His ability to change times and seasons, remove kings or exalt them, give wisdom and knowledge           2:21

 

v    His omniscience manifested in His ability to reveal the deep and secret things                2:22

 

v    His self knowledge 2:22

 

v    His truthfulness     2:23

 

2.     List some guiding principles for Christians from Daniel 2:24-28.

 

Answer.

 

v    Hurt no one physically or emotionally Daniel 2:24

 

v    Help everyone when possible.     

 

v    Pray for Divine intervention Daniel 2:18

 

v    Speak the truth in love even if the truth exposes wrong beliefs Daniel 2:27

 

v    Quickly use one's spiritual gift Daniel 2:16

 

v    Stand boldly on eternal principles Daniel 2:28

 

v    Give God the glory Daniel 2:28

 

3.     Why would the anger of Daniel against the wise men of Babylon have been justified?

 

Answer. Had Daniel expressed a righteous anger against the wise men of Babylon he would have been justified for they had told outrageous lies against him, misrepresented themselves, and failed to honor the true Lord God of Israel. These men were proud and arrogant and would continue to mislead people and corrupt the Jewish youth. Had Daniel had them terminated his competition would be gone.

 

4.     Describe the image Daniel was able to comment on and identify each body part with its historical analogy.

 

v    This head of the image was of fine gold representing the Babylonian Empire.

 

v    Its breast and arms of silver can be identified as the Empire of the Medes and the Persians

 

v    His belly and thighs [loins] of brass spoke of the Greek Empire.

 

v    His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay foretold the rise of Rome.

 

v    a stone was cut out without hands is a prophetic reference to Christ and the kingdom He established.

 

5.     State three facts about the kingdom of God.

 

Answer.

v    The kingdom of God is not of human origin. Man's hands did not form this kingdom. God sets it up.

 

v    The kingdom of God is eternal in its duration. It shall never be destroyed, nor shall it last only 1,000 years. Since this kingdom is divine, it is therefore eternal.

 

v    The kingdom of God shall not change hands (2:44). It shall not be left to other people.

 

Personal Application and Reflection

 

1.     Do you believe God still speaks to individuals in dreams? Why or why not?

 

2.     How do you think you might have reacted with the wise me of Babylon if you were in Daniel’s position? Would you have shown them equal grace?

 

3.     Do you think the actions of the wise men of Babylon support the doctrine of the natural depravity of the human heart? Explain.

 

4.     Does the accuracy of Daniel’s prophetic vision with respect to the succeeding empires enhance your faith in the Bible? Why or why not?

 

5.     Is there a place for secrecy in the life of the believer? If so when and where and under what circumstances?

 

 Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

 

Daniel 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

 

Leader’s Study Notes

 

2:17-19

Doctrine of Mercy

 

1.     Mercy is that aspect of God's love that causes Him to help the helpless, just as grace is the aspect of His love that moves Him to forgive the guilty.

 

2.     Those who are without hope may be so either because of the breaking God's law or because of circumstances beyond their control.

 

3.     God shows mercy upon those who have broken His law (Dan. 9:9; 1 Tim. 1:13,16), although such mercy is selective, demonstrating that it is not deserved (Rom. 9:14-18).

 

4.     God's mercy on the hopeless extends beyond punishment that is withheld (Eph. 2:4-6). Withheld punishment keeps us from hell, but it does not get us into heaven. God's mercy is greater than this. Mercy takes us to Calvary where our sins are forgiven. According to His mercy He SAVES us.

 

5.     God shows mercy in time by actively helping those who are hurting due to circumstances beyond their control. We see this aspect of mercy especially in the life of our Lord Jesus.

 

v    Jesus was a Man of great compassion.

 

v    Jesus had compassion for people who needed spiritual guidance.

 

·       Matt 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

 

v    Jesus had compassion on those who were sick.

 

·       Matt 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

 

v    Jesus had compassion on the hungry.

 

·       Matt 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

 

v    Jesus had compassion on those who were blind.

·       Matt. 20:39-40 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

 

v    Because God is merciful, He expects His children to be merciful (Matt. 5:7; James 1:27).

 

~*~

 

The Attributes of God

A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963

 

v    The Holy Trinity

v    God's Omnipresence

v    The Self-existence of God

v    God's Faithfulness

v    The Self-sufficiency Of God

v    The Goodness of God

v    The Eternity of God

v    The Justice of God

v    God's Infinitude

v    The Mercy of God

v    The Immutability of God

v    The Grace of God

v    The Divine Omniscience

v    The Love of God

v    The Wisdom of God

v    The Holiness of God

v    The Omnipotence of God

v    God's Sovereignty

v    The Divine Transcendence

 

~*~

The Attributes of God

Stephen Charnock

b. 1628

 

v    Existence of God        Psalms 14:1

v    God's Being a Spirit   John 4:24

v    Eternity of God           Psalms 90:2

v    Immutability of God

Psalms 102:26,27

v    Omnipresence of God

      Jeremiah 23:24

v    God's Knowledge  Psalm 147:5

v    Wisdom of God     Romans 16:27

v    Power of God        Job 26:14

v    Holiness of God    Exodus 15:11

v    Goodness of God  Mark 10:18

v    Dominion of God  Psalm 103:19

v    Patience of God     Nahum 1:3

 

~*~

 

2:33 It is at this point that Biblical interpretation can become confusing because of a popular teaching that has become widely accepted since the last part of last century. There is a teaching that the fourth monarch represents not only the historical Roman Empire, but a revived Roman Empire which will come to an end by a sudden catastrophic judgment after which the kingdom of God (i.e., the Millennium) will be set up. Even today, the Revived Roman Empire is in the future.

According to this futuristic view, the destruction of the Gentile world powers by the Great Uncut Stone did not occur at the first advent of Christ but will occur when Jesus comes the second time. There are a number of problems with the concept of a Revived Roman Empire, which modern day would be prophets see being fulfilled in the European Common Market. The greatest problem is that Christ (symbolized in the Great Uncut Stone) did not smite the image and destroy it; rather, the Great Image, so to speak, smote Him and destroyed Him!

Of course, there is nothing in the vision to suggest that any such thing happened. It may be that those who look to the future to find fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy do not fully appreciate just what Christ did to the Roman Empire and to all the empires of the earth at His First Advent.

Those who still look to the future cannot appreciate the spiritual power and dynamics of the kingdom Christ established represented by the Great Uncut Stone.

A simple reading of Daniel's narrative recognizes that the fourth Empire was to be destroyed and it was. The prophecy says nothing about the Fourth Empire [Rome] being destroyed twice. Nor is there a long interval of time between the destruction of the Great Image and the coming of the Uncut Stone.

There is another argument against the concept of a future Revived Roman Empire. In Daniel's vision, there is an essential unity between the feet and the toes (2:33). The Scriptures do not allow a division of the Roman Empire into two parts nor a further subdivision of ten kingdoms of ten toes. The Great Uncut Stone strikes the feet of the Great Image that reflects four empires, not fourteen. 

 

~*~

 

Where is America in Biblical Prophecy?

 

 To the ever-popular inquiry, "Where is America in biblical prophecy?" let me preface my response with this observation. When Daniel saw his Panorama Of Human History, he did not see ALL of human history but only the unfolding of a time period of about 490 years. Daniel saw the rise of four world empires and one spiritual empire. Daniel saw the rise of the Babylonians, the Medes/Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. And then he saw the collapse of these four world empires by the rising of the one Divine Empire represented by the Uncut Stone from the mountain. Concerning the Kingdom of God, Daniel saw four things.

 

v    It would never be destroyed.

v    It would never be conquered.

v    It would dominate all previous empires. [Notice the word "these" in Dan. 2:44. The pronoun reference is to the preceding empires prior to the Divine Kingdom, i.e. Babylon, Medes/Persians, Greece, and Roman]

 

It is important to stay focused on what Daniel saw because that is all Daniel saw by way of interpretation. Daniel did not see anything beyond the coming of the Messianic kingdom. Daniel did not see any new nations that would arise to fight the kingdom of God.

 

v    He did not see the rise of Islam.

v    He did not see the rise of Communism.

v    He did not see the rise of Catholicism.

v    He did not see the rise of the Chinese.

 

What Daniel saw is what is recorded, no more and no less. Therefore, it is wrong for modern day Bible teachers to say that Daniel saw something more than the Scriptures reveal. While it is wrong for new things to be taught, it is done. Men and women shamelessly teach new things. Thousands of books are printed. Charts are made. Dogmatic statements are declared without scriptural basis. Daniel saw a specific time period of history that stretched from his day to the days of the Messiah the Prince and it all happened as he predicted and interpreted. Why then, do we have so much new teaching in our church today? Why are more day prophetic concepts attributed to Daniel? There are several reasons.

 

v    Application has replaced interpretation.

v    Pride has replaced humility.

v    The sensational is very appealing.

v    Satan has infiltrated the church to focus attention upon his power and now the power of Christ.

v    We are strangers to the Bible.

 

Interpretation has been replaced by application. And then to make matters worse, the application has become the interpretation. For example, if we were to ask, "Where s America in biblical prophecy?" the correct answer would be that there is not a single verse in the entire Bible that speaks of America by way of interpretation. The proof of this is that God knows how to spell. There are hundreds of geographical locations in the bible so that the adding of one more name would be no problem to a sovereign, omniscient God.

If God wanted to put America in the Bible, He could have easily and plainly. It is very humbling to realize that, while we might think our nation great, God does not deem fit to mention it. We are impressed with our strength, our spirituality, and our ancestry but God is not impressed at all. At least not enough to write about us two thousand to twenty five hundred years ago. This is humbling to realize. The last nation the bible spoke of prophetically was Rome. John called it a Beast in the Revelation and saw its judgment.

Therefore, by way of interpretation, mark it down, America is not in the Bible. Neither is China, Russia, Japan, Italy, or England.

However, by way of application, America and all the nations of the earth are in the bible. For example, the Bible teaches that the kingdom of God will dominate the other kingdoms of this world now that it has been established. This is what Daniel saw and it is what John saw in the book of the Revelation. But it takes faith to believe this for the natural eye looks around and wonders.

The natural eye sees the Communist coming to power in 1917 in Russia and wonders where God is. How can such an Evil Empire emerge? But wait! The Sovereign God is not through with Communism and within 70 years the nation is subdued. The eye of faith sees the Lord judging the Communist and the kingdom of God being triumph. Today, America is going the way of all flesh.

On Monday, March 25, 1996, the homosexuals in San Francisco were openly united in marriage by the major of that city. This is an abomination upon our land and is certain to bring the swift and just judgment of God upon everyone. And the judgment will come. Blatant sins and multi-culturalism will prove to be the curse on our culture.

In the decades to come, America will look more and more like the face of Europe if history teaches us anything. People who are afraid of the United Nations have nothing to fear. People who believe we are moving towards a one-world government have nothing to fear. More nations are being created, not less. The world is becoming more fragmented, not more united. And this too is a form of divine judgment. Evil shall not be allowed to reign forever (Isa. 59:19). Sensationalism teaches one thing. The Scriptures teach another. If we understand the difference between biblical interpretation and practical application of biblical principles then we will be careful not to read into the texts of scripture. We will be careful to read out only what the texts allow us to read. There are technical concepts for these two ideas. The first is summarized in the word exegesis. Exegesis is a term derived by transliteration from the Greek [exegesis] meaning "narration" or "explanation." Exegesis is the science of interpretation. It tries to fix the meaning of individual statements and passages. Exegesis is founded upon two fundamentals.

First, it is believed that thoughts can be accurately conveyed in words that have shades of meaning.

Second, exegesis assumes that the Bible is so important that all painstaking effort to discover exactly what God said is important. The search is on for the literal, grammatical, historical understanding of a text.

In contrast to exegesis is another concept which is not scholarly but subjective. The issue is not, "What has God said?" Rather, the issue for some people remains this: "What is God saying to me? Today? In light of the morning news stories?" Freedom is found to read into the Bible whatever the mood of the moment is.

For those who were persecuted during the Reformation period, the Pope was the Anti-Christ. For those were afraid during the 19th century, Napoleon was the Anti-Christ to come. For those afraid during the 20th century, Germany's Kaiser was the Anti-Christ to come during WW I. Then came WW II and some people thought Mussolini was the Anti-Christ. Others decided it was Adolph Hitler.

During the 1970's, more than one American Protestant prophet said Henry Kissenger was the Anti-Christ. What all of these things have in common is isegesis not exegesis. God's people are guilty of reading into the Scriptures instead of reading out of the Bible what God has said. I do not have much hope that this will ever stop.

The Bible tells us that God's people will always have itching ears. God's people will always be gullible. God's people will always be lead astray to a certain extent by those who are bold enough to find keys to unlock ancient mysteries. All some of us can do is to be faithful and tell the truth. America by way of interpretation is not in the Bible and it is prideful to think that we merit mentioning. The exciting truth to believe and realize is that the Kingdom of the Messiah has been established according to promise and of that kingdom there will be no end. Let the church be the church and let the people rejoice.

 

“Onward, Christian soldiers,

marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus

going on before.

 

Christ, the royal Master,

leads against the foe;

Forward into battle

see His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers,

 marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus

going on before.

At the sign of triumph

Satan’s host doth flee;


On then, Christian soldiers,

on to victory!

Hell’s foundations quiver

at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices,

 loud your anthems raise.

 

Like a mighty army

moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading

where the saints have trod.

 

We are not divided,

all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine,

 one in charity.

 

Sabine Baring Gould

 

~*~

 

The Story Behind the Song

 

“Whit-Mon­day [the day after Pentecost] is a great day for school fes­tiv­als in York­shire. One Whit-Mon­day, thir­ty years ago, it was ar­ranged that our school should join forc­es with that of a neigh­bor­ing vil­lage. I want­ed the child­ren to sing when march­ing from one vil­lage to another, but couldn’t think of any­thing quite suit­a­ble; so I sat up at night, re­solved that I would write some­thing myself. “Onward, Christ­ian Sol­diers” was the re­sult. It was writ­ten in great haste, and I am afraid some of the rhymes are faulty. Cer­tain­ly no­thing has sur­prised me more than its pop­u­lar­i­ty. I don’t re­mem­ber how it got print­ed first, but I know that very soon it found its way into sev­er­al col­lect­ions. I have writ­ten a few other hymns since then, but only two or three have be­come at all well-known.”

This hymn was sung at the fun­er­al of Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Dwight Ei­sen­how­er at the Na­tion­al Ca­thed­ral, Wash­ing­ton, DC, March 1969.

 

 

 

 

Introduction to

Daniel 3

 

Having faithfully interpreted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BC), and having been honored for his service, Daniel will now face the greatest challenge to his faith by way of temptation. The temptation will be to cling to all the newfound honor and glory he has received by paying the price of worshipping an idol. Since Daniel's three friends were honored with him, they too will face the same temptation.

The reason why Daniel and his companions will be tested is found in the pride of Nebuchadnezzar. Because of someone else's sin, the people of God will be persecuted. While this is not fair, such situations are to be expected as part of the spiritual warfare that rages in the universe. According to the interpretation of the vision by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. Gold speaks of riches and riches are one source of wielding power. Because of the wealth of the empire, Nebuchadnezzar did have great power over other lands and people. Daniel had told the monarch that all his power was the result of the grace of the Sovereign God of the universe (Dan. 2:36). Nebuchadnezzar soon forgot that point and began to consider himself unique in all the earth.

 

Daniel 3

 

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

 

31:1 Having faithfully interpreted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BC), and having been honored for his service, Daniel will now face the greatest challenge to his faith by way of temptation. The temptation will be to cling to all the newfound honor and glory he has received by paying the price of worshipping an idol. Since Daniel's three friends were honored with him, they too will face the same temptation.

The reason why Daniel and his companions will be tested is found in the pride of Nebuchadnezzar. Because of someone else's sin, the people of God will be persecuted. While this is not fair, such situations are to be expected as part of the spiritual warfare that rages in the universe. According to the interpretation of the vision by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. Gold speaks of riches and riches are one source of wielding power. Because of the wealth of the empire, Nebuchadnezzar did have great power over other lands and people. Daniel had told the monarch that all his power was the result of the grace of the Sovereign God of the universe (Dan. 2:36). Nebuchadnezzar soon forgot that point and began to consider himself unique in all the earth.

 

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

 

 

 

 

3:2 Once the great image was established, Nebuchadnezzar sent word that all the government officials in his empire were to gather before the colossus on the plains of Dura. The officials came. There were satraps (kingdom/guardians much like presidential cabinet members), administrators, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, and magistrates.

 

3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

 

3: 3-6 The government officials gathered before the great image of gold believing that a dedication service was about to take place. However, once together, the officials found that the crafty king had a hidden agenda. Nebuchadnezzar wanted more than a ceremonial service.

He wanted to be honored by all men in a special way. The penalty of death was threatened if honor was refused. There was no freedom of the will involved in the king's new edict. There was no freedom of conscience. Either he would be honored or their would be a fiery form of death based upon the pretext of treason. Anticipating that there would be contentious souls who would refuse to worship the golden image, Nebuchadnezzar had an execution chamber prepared in the form of a fiery furnace. Furnaces or kilns were used in Babylon for firing bricks. If the furnaces could harden bricks, the king knew they could easily consume human flesh and bones for execution by burning was an well known practice in the ancient world (Jer. 29:22). Those who would not worship the king now set the stage for suffering.

 

7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

 

3:7 To make the act of idolatry more palatable and the threat of death less menacing, Nebuchadnezzar prepared an orchestra to be present at the ceremonies. The musicians would play their instruments, which included the horn, the flute, the lyre, and the psaltery. While the symphony played, people would fall down and worship the golden image. The great day came. The golden image was polished brightly.

A multitude of people of various nations and languages gathered. The king made his royal entrance and was seated on a special platform prepared for him and his entourage. Finally, the moment arose. The royal orchestra leaders raised his hands. The musicians took a deep breath. The signal was given. The sound of music went forth and all the people fell down in an overt act of homage. All the people fell down to worship, that is, except the Jews to include Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men refused to obey the order of the king thereby setting the stage for suffering.

 

8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever.

10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:

11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 

3:8-12 By building an image of gold and demanding that all people in his kingdom worship it or face a certain death by fire, Nebuchadnezzar set the stage for suffering. Those who opposed the policy of the king on religious grounds were destined for persecution. For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the persecution began when certain Chaldeans asked for a private audience with the king. Once alone with the king, the Chaldeans began to speak things into his ears that were partially true but wholly wrong in conclusion. The Chaldeans spoke of certain Jews who were high officials in the king's court. They had been appointed by royal decree. However, unlike other officials, these Jews were not worshipping the golden image nor the gods of Babylon. All of this was true. What was not true was that the Jews were showing disrespect for the king as charged.

 

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

 

3:13 When Nebuchadnezzar first heard what the Jews were doing, the Bible says that he was filled with fury and with rage. While it is possible to be angry and to sin not, it is also possible to have unjustified anger. Nebuchadnezzar's anger was unjustified for it was grounded in a distortion of the Jews and his own foolish pride at having a wicked commandment challenged.

 

 

 

 

 

Like so many people in a position of power, Nebuchadnezzar thought that authority alone is all that matters. He spoke, others should respond. What the king forgot was that there is a God who gave him his kingdom and it is to this one true God that he himself is subject to. The God of heaven demands justice and righteousness in the rulers of the earth and not arrogant decrees. Nebuchadnezzar is going to find himself fighting both godly men and the God of the men in his passion. In his anger he does not think for rage does not reflect, it only threatens.

 

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

 

3:14 To his credit, Nebuchadnezzar did give the Jews an opportunity to answer the charges. If he did not reveal the source of the accusations, he at least provided a public forum for the truth to be known and the position of the Jews to be crystallized. What the king discovered is that the Jews had a good reason for their position. When given the chance, people who have been falsely hurt usually can provide a good account of themselves.

 

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

 

3:15 Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar was not listening to the good reasoning offered. In his arrogance he threatened the Jews with death while taunting their God (Dan. 3:15). However, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were not intimidated. The righteousness have nothing to fear except fear itself.

 

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 

3:16-18 Respectfully, the three men answered the king.

First, they professed their confidence in the Lord. "Our God is able to deliver us", they said.

Second, the Jews submitted themselves to His sovereign will. They did not know that the Lord would save them and so they did not presume to tell what they did not know.

Third, the Jews remained loyal to their convictions. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not compromise, they did not rationalize, and they did not justify bad behavior.

What these three men did do was prepare themselves to suffer for righteousness sake while maintaining their faith in God.

 

1.     The Chaldeans flattered the proud in order to destroy the innocent, they deified a blood stained and capricious tyrant, that they might doom to death three unoffending strangers and captives, whom they hated.

 

2.     In all of this the Chaldeans are a true picture of the world in every age. It exalts the oppressor and tramples on the innocent.

 

3.     Nebuchadnezzar is a perfect example of the favorite of this world. He is courted, envied, flattered, admired and adorned--outwardly.

 

4.     The Christian is commanded not to fear man but to fear God.

 

5.     The Christian cannot bow down before golden idols and still worship the Living God. We must be equally decided in our relationship with them.

 

6.     It is the course of religion to deteriorate to the point that it becomes an instrument of tyranny. Christianity has been no exception witnessed by its misuse by the church and kings for centuries 325 - 1500.

 

7.     Duty to God is stronger than gratitude to man.

 

 

 

 

8.     The only way to stand in the hour of ultimate testing is to make a conscious decision to depend upon God. If sinners entice thee, consent not.

 

9.     To know the origin of the conflict is to understand it better. Most conflicts start when someone says or does something that will hurt someone else.

 

10.  The first sin was designed to hurt God. We must not be surprised when we as Christian become the target of bad behavior that is unreasonable and unnecessary.

 

11.  We honor the Jewish youths because they made religion personal, they put their trust in God, and they put eternal matters before temporal.

 

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

 

3:19 The boldness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to oppose the policy of the king to worship an idol infuriated him. In addition, their actions caused him to change his attitude towards them. Once the king thought that the three Jewish captives were among the brightest in the land. Now he considered them foolish. Once Nebuchadnezzar thought the Jewish youths to be the most respectful of his subjects.

Now he considered them obstinate, unreasonable, and defiant. They were being brought too often into his presence challenging his policies.

First, there was the issue of the food. Now there is this matter of honoring the king. Will the Jews never be reasonable? Must they always call trouble? If there is a lesson for the church, it is that we must learn to say, "No!" to many temptations.

Without further comment, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the fiery furnace should be heated seven times more intense than it normally was. Unreasonable anger is manifested in a desire to overkill. Once the fire was ready, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were cast into the midst of the burning fire. Persecution came to the people of God. When the Lord allows His people to be tested there is always a purpose.

 

v    Persecution comes to show the reality of religion. A minister was recently visiting in Russia on a missionary tour. He was taken aside by a leading Communist official and asked about the Christian faith of President Clinton. "If he is a Christian, then why does he take so many positions that are anti-Christian?" the Communist leader asked. It is a question that could be asked of many.

 

v    To test faith.

 

v    To manifest who is a true believer.

 

v    To promote the gospel. The blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the church.

 

v    To prepare the heart for heaven.

 

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnance.

22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

 

3:20-25 By the persecution of God's people several facts are proven. It is proven that the Christian religion cannot be destroyed by it; God is a miracle working God; and the spiritual life is more important than physical life; and truth will triumph over falsehood.

 

 

By the persecution of God's people, the world becomes amazed. When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fiery furnace to see what the result of his edict would be, he was amazed at many things. The king was amazed at the number of people he saw. He had expected to see three men screaming in pain, tormented by the flames, consumed in horror. Instead the king saw four men in the fire. The king was amazed at who he saw. He saw a son of the gods (lit.). Bible commentators are divided at this point in their understanding. The Hebrew language speaks of a "son of the gods." The Jewish interpreters thought the phrase referred to an angel.

Some Christian theologians thought it referred to the pre-incarnate Christ. However, Jerome thought Nebuchadnezzar was too wicked to have a vision of the Lord. For conservative Christians, there is no problem with believing that Nebuchadnezzar saw a theophany. God has promised His people to be with them (Isa. 43:2).

 

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

 

3:26-27 Nebuchadnezzar was amazed that no one was being hurt. The Jewish men were loose, free and unharmed. While the king had done his best to make God's people suffer, they ultimately survived. Had Nebuchadnezzar been more spiritual minded, he would have been wise to learn that the furnace of man's wrath has no equal to the furnace of God's righteous indignation for the Bible speaks of an eternal hell. In his TV special Starting Over, Billy Graham said that he has been asked if he believes in hell. "Well, I believe in heaven," he responded. "And I believe in hell because the Bible teaches it."

 

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

3:28-30 In the process of purification some things will be the lost. In particular those things which bind us shall be lost. The three Jewish youths lost their physical bonds in the flames of the furnace but only so that they could walk better with the Lord. Spiritually, God's furnace causes us to lose the bonds of sin so that we might walk better with Him. In the end Nebuchadnezzar finally realized that he could not hurt the Jews so he took five actions. : 

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar stopped the persecution.

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar changed his attitude (again) about the youths.

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar gave them freedom of conscience to worship (Dan. 3:28).

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar provided a token of honor to the Lord (Dan. 3:29).

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar exalted the Jewish youths the second time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel

 

Questions and Answers on Daniel 3

 

1.     How did Nebuchadnezzar make idolatry more appealing to the people?

 

Answer.

To make the act of idolatry more palatable and the threat of death less menacing, Nebuchadnezzar prepared an orchestra to be present at the ceremonies.

 

2.     What was the defense of the Hebrew slaves in their act of civil disobedience?

 

Answer. First, they professed their confidence in the Lord. "Our God is able to deliver us", they said. Second, the Jews submitted themselves to His sovereign will. They did not know that the Lord would save them and so they did not presume to tell what they did not know. Third, the Jews remained loyal to their convictions. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not compromise, they did not rationalize, and they did not justify bad behavior.

 

3.     Why does God allow His people to suffer persecution?

 

v    Persecution comes to show the reality of religion.

v    To test faith.

 

 

 

 

v    To manifest who is a true believer.

v    To promote the gospel. The blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the church.

v    To prepare the heart for heaven.

 

4.     What is the origin of conflict?

 

Answer. To know the origin of the conflict is to understand it better. Most conflicts start when someone says or does something that will hurt someone else.

 

5.     What actions did Nebuchadnezzar take when he realized he could not harm the Jews?

 

Answer.

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar stopped the persecution.

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar changed his attitude (again) about the youths.

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar gave them freedom of conscience to worship (Dan. 3:28).

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar provided a token of honor to the Lord (Dan. 3:29).

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar exalted the Jewish youths the second time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Application and Reflection

 

1.     Should Christians always obey the laws of man? If not, when is it right to refuse and accept the consequences?

 

2.     Is it ever wrong for a Christian to plot to kill an evil despot? Why?

 

3.     Do you think you would you have refused to worship the idol as the Hebrews did? Why or why not?

 

4.     What are modern day forms of idolatry? Why did you list these items?

 

5.     The divine deliverance of the Hebrews amazed the king. Have you ever known a divine deliverance out of a harmful situation?

 

Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

 

Daniel 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leader’s Study Notes

3:3-7 In considering this section of Scripture, there are several observations to make.

 

1.     It is possible for those who profess to have great respect for the Word of God and for the ministers of God to have no true appreciation for either.

 

2.     The heart of man resists being humbled. For a moment, it did appear that King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by the interpretation of his dream by Daniel. But then he arose from before God to exalt himself. It is hard to keep a bad man down. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that the great theme of the Bible is to humble us before God.

 

3.     Those who turn from the Lord will spare no expense for their own personal pleasures and self-exaltation. Taking from the royal treasury, Nebuchadnezzar overlaid the colossal image with lavish wealth.

 

4.     When personal safety and self-interest is at stake, it is the nature of people to accept more and more bizarre and silly things. Some of the government officials, like the Jews, may have felt that the king had gone to far with his commandments but they stilled bowed lest they be burned.

 

5.     The acceptance of sin is understandable to a large extent. Most people will do whatever it takes to continue to live. One survivor of the Nazi Holocaust tells his story of watching an SS office shoot a Jewish musician who could not play well. The officer thought he had killed the man but had only wounded him. The Jewish man tried to intervene on behalf of the wounded individual only to be told to take the bleeding body to the crematorium and put the man even though he was still alive and conscious. The Jew obeyed because if he did not, he would have been put alive into the oven. He just did as he was told.

 

6.     The instinct of self-preservation will over rule all reason and all emotions of pity and kindness unless there is mental and spiritual preparation to temper certain actions.

 

7.     Life can change suddenly. One day Daniel and his three friends were safe and secure in the highest echelons of power in the court of the king. The next day they were wanted men as political enemies stalked their souls.

 

8.     The commandments of men are grievous because of sin. Consider the source of all conflicts, be they personal, national, or international, and you will discover some sinful impulse is at the root. Righteousness is never in conflict with righteousness. Righteousness is always in conflict with sin. The commandments of the Lord are not grievous. Listen, for example, to Jesus as He says, "A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another."

 

~*~

 

 

 

3:26-27 God's people might pass through the fires of men, but unrighteous men must one-day pass through the fires of God prepared for the devil and his angels. The fires of God are more severe and they last forever. Though there is not much physical persecution for the faith in our nation today, there are still spiritual furnaces that God's people must pass through.

 

1.     There is the furnace of slander.

 

2.     There is the furnace of satanic opposition. The devil whispers into our ears things that undermines faith. "You have been forsaken by God," he says. "Your sins are too many,” he tells us. "Your sins are too horrendous for God to forgive," he declares. “Your damnation is certain."

 

3.     There is the furnace of physical pain. During the last five years of her life, Corrie Ten Boom was unable to speak. For a lady who had been a “Tramp for the Lord" for many years, speaking to large audiences, such silence must have been difficult.

 

4.     There is the furnace of bereavement.

 

5.     There is the furnace of loss. The business, which was thought to be a blessing, has only impoverished.

 

Whatever the furnace may be, the purpose of God is to purify His people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Daniel 4:1-18

Descent into Madness

 

 I Never Promised You A Rose Garden is the tender, yet terrifying story of a young girl's journey into mental illness and back to normalcy. The American actress Jo-Anne Woodward, won an academy award for her role of Sybil, a woman with multiple personalities. All of this tells us that the mind is a complex organism. It has never been fully understood especially when abnormalities are manifested. These abnormalities are called mental illnesses.

There are some doctors who argue against the whole notion of mental illness. The mind cannot be sick, they say. But something is obviously wrong when people speak and act in an irrational manner. In the ancient world certain forms of unusual behavior were viewed as a type of divine gift sent from the gods. Seizures were considered to be a sign of divine favor. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar were both afflicted with this problem.

 

Daniel 4

 

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.

3 How great are his signs! And how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

 

 

 

4:1-3 Like other mortal men the king of Babylon once descended into genuine madness. But he recovered and wrote of his ordeal. In the year 562 BC Nebuchadnezzar told his story in a royal decree. He wanted the people to know about the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward him. People who have been touched by God want others to know. In an official Babylonian State Document the experience of King Nebuchadnezzar was recorded a year before he died. There were special reasons for telling his story. Nebuchadnezzar wanted to confess the sin of pride (Dan. 4:37). The king wanted to explain the cause of his seven years of insanity. There was the opportunity to give a word of testimony. It may be that Nebuchadnezzar had found peace with God and then he received peace from God. He wanted others to know.

 

4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

 

 

4:4-7 As Nebuchadnezzar remembered, his ordeal began when he was in good health and dwelling in his palace. He was at rest, free from all care and worry. He was flourishing as a tree might grow well. One night, the king had a dream which made him afraid. The dream was so real and so vivid that even when Nebuchadnezzar was awake the vision of his head troubled him. Once more the king called for the wise men of the realm. Though they had not been able to help him before, perhaps this time they could for the king was not hesitant to talk. Dreams were common and trees were often a symbol of royalty. Surely this dream had something to do with himself. Try as they could, once more the wise men of Babylon failed the king (Dan. 4:7). It seemed that hope was gone until the king spotted Daniel.

 

8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.

 

4:8-9 Among the wise men who gathered to help the king was the Lord's man in whom, the king knew, dwelt the spirit of divinity. Since Daniel had helped the king before, surely he could help again. It was only natural that the king singled Daniel out for special

consideration. Once more, eagerly, did Nebuchadnezzar begin to pour out his heart.

 

10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

 

4: 10-12 Daniel was told of a large tree which had appeared in the midst of the earth. It occupied a central position as it stood by itself away from any forest. Because of its centrality of location, it attracted attention.

 

13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;

14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

 

4:13-15 As Nebuchadnezzar was considering the tree, there suddenly appeared a Watcher from heaven. The reference is to a holy angel whose job it was to be vigilant. The angel gave a command. To whom the command was given is not stated but the instructions were clear. The great tree was to be cut down. Only a stump was to be allowed to remain. A band of iron and brass was to be placed around the stump to make sure it would not grow again.

 

16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

 

4:16-17 In the dream the image of the vision changed from that of a tree to that of a man with the heart or the nature of a beast. For seven years there was to be this new state of existence. The purpose of this unusual beastly nature given in judgment was to teach a spiritual lesson to the entire world of the absolute sovereignty of God. Let the world know "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth upon it the basest of men."

 

18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

 

The Beast of Babylon

Daniel 4:19-32

 

In Daniel 4:19-32 we have the interpretation of the second dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. It is a simple dream to interpret but startling in its announcement. When Daniel first heard of the dream he was so troubled and horrified that he could not speak for one hour. The prophet of God was shocked by the severity of the divine judgment that was going to fall upon Nebuchadnezzar. Some years ago, the English minister, Charles Spurgeon was preaching in the Music Hall in the Royal Surrey Gardens. The date was October 19, 1856. Twelve thousand people has crowded into the building to hear Mr. Spurgeon preach. The service began in the usual way. Suddenly, during the second prayer, there were simultaneous cries from all parts of the building of 'Fire!' 'The Galleries are giving way!' ' The place is falling!'

Mr. Spurgeon tried to reassure the alarmed multitude that this was a ruse on the part of thieves and pickpockets but it was to no avail. Spurgeon watched in horror as seven people were trampled to death and many others suffered serious bodily injury. In his autobiography, Mr. Spurgeon recounts his reaction of horror at having to witness death in a place he had come to proclaim life.

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;

21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:

22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field till seven times pass over him;

24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

 

4:19-25 When Daniel foresaw the hideous human that the king would become, his reaction was that of horror and he hesitated to tell what he knew. Finally, the prophet spoke. The tree, which the king saw, was Nebuchadnezzar himself. It was strong, powerful, and extensive. However, the tree was going to be cut down and destroyed. The destruction would not be complete for there would be a stump of roots. Symbolically, Nebuchadnezzar was to be cut down. The king was too proud of a man. He needed to be humbled. In grace, the king would not be destroyed but he would be humiliated for he would act like a wild animal for seven year. In time, this general mental sickness would be known as Lycanthropy, which is where the sufferer imagines himself to be changed into an animal and to a certain extent, acts like an animal. Nebuchadnezzar was destined to act like an ox and therefore suffer from boanthrapy.

 

26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

 

4:26 The purpose for the loss of mental reasoning is that the king might learn that "the God of heaven rules" (Dan. 4:26).

 

27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

 

4:27 If Nebuchadnezzar were interested, there was a way to delay judgment. He could break off his sins by being righteous. He could stop iniquity by showing mercy. In order for Nebuchadnezzar to be righteous he could give everyone what was right and make amends for the wrongs that had been done to his subjects and between his subjects. The king had been cruel by believing that might makes right. The king had been unjust to the Jews. He must break this off by showing acts of mercy. Mercy could be shown by either setting the captives free or at least making their bondage easier to endure. Matthew Henry says, "It is necessary, in repentance, that we not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well, not only do no wrong, to any, but do good to all."

 

28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

 

4:28 Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar would do none of these things. If Daniel was shocked at the threat of a certain coming judgment, the king was not. It is the nature of the human heart to grow so hard that it fears neither God nor man. Unbelief dulls the sensitivity of the soul. Until a person faces the actual

instruments of discipline and is certain that the actual moment has arrived to implement justice, there is no fear. The heart deceives itself and is allowed to continue in its arrogance by the patience of a gracious God. For twelve months life continued as it was before the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. For twelve long months the might ruler continued to rule his vast empire with all the confidence of a conceited monarch.

 

29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.

32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

4:29-33 It was at the end of this period, when Nebuchadnezzar was walking in his palace, that life dramatically changed. Impressed with the magnificent structure all around him, Nebuchadnezzar was more impressed with himself for we find him talking to himself saying, "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" (Dan. 4:30). On one level, what Nebuchadnezzar said to himself was true. He was responsible for the construction of the splendor of Babylon. History confirms that Nebuchadnezzar was a builder, not a warrior.

 

v    He renovated the two temples of Marduk in Babylon.

 

v    He renovated the temple of Nebo in Borsippa.

 

v    He constructed fifteen other temples in Babylon.

 

v    He added two great walls of the city with a rampart.

 

v    He rebuilt the palace of Nabopolassar.

 

 

v    He had the beautiful hanging gardens installed.

 

Nebuchadnezzar looked around at the palace of Babylon and could not help but being satisfied. However, there was not a thought of humility in the king for he failed to recognize all the artists, laborers, architects, and designers who allowed his dream to come true. Nebuchadnezzar never lifted one finger

in actual work and yet he boasted of what he had built. By his word, the king exposed the arrogance of his soul. By his speech, Nebuchadnezzar also revealed his motivational drive. He did all that he did "for the honor of his own majesty!" There was no intention of giving his Creator any glory.

Finally, the God of heaven had enough. He who knows our thoughts and listens to our conversation would not be denied or mocked any longer. While the word of conceit was still in the king's mouth, a voice was heard from heaven saying, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee" (Dan. 4:31).

In the same hour judgment fell. Reason was taken from the king. Nebuchadnezzar had been so proud of his mental achievements. Now his mind was gone. The highest thought he had was how to eat grass like an ox. Day after day, Nebuchadnezzar roamed as a crazy man until finally, God, in His infinite grace, restored his reason.

 

34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

 

4:34-37 When he came to his senses, Nebuchadnezzar was a changed man. The change is reflected in the fact that when he was restored to his kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar recognized the true King of heaven.  While not everyone agrees, Bible scholars such as Professor Edward Young and Matthew Henry believed that Nebuchadnezzar was a converted man. Doctor Young argues for certain considerations that would lead to the conclusion that the king did, after all, experience in his heart the regenerating grace of God.

 

v    There is discernible a progress in his knowledge of God (cf. Dan. 2:47 with 3:23 and finally with 4:34,35).

 

v    The king acknowledges the utter sovereignty of God with respect to his own experience (Dan. 4:37b).

 

v    The king utters true statements concerning the omnipotence of the true God (Dan. 4:34,35).

 

v    The king would worship this God, whom he identifies as King of heaven (Dan. 4:37a).

 

Matthew Henry believes that Nebuchadnezzar, "looked up as a devout man, as a penitent, as a humble petitioner, for mercy, being perhaps never till now made sensible for his own [spiritual] misery." "It would be nice, and charitable, to hope that free grace came to Nebuchadnezzar so that one day we shall meet with him among the elect in heaven."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel

 

Questions and Answers on Daniel 4 

 

1.     What important spiritual truth is taught in Daniel 4:16-17?

 

Answer. Let the world know "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth upon it the basest of men."

 

2.     How could Nebuchadnezzar have prevented judgment?

 

Answer. If Nebuchadnezzar were interested, there was a way to delay judgment. He could break off his sins by being righteous. He could stop iniquity by showing mercy. In order for Nebuchadnezzar to be righteous he should give everyone what is right and make amends for the wrongs that had been done to his subjects and between his subjects. The king had been cruel by believing that might makes right. The king had been unjust to the Jews. He must break this off by showing acts of mercy. Mercy could be shown by either setting the captives free or at least making their bondage easier to endure.

 

3.     What judgment fell upon Nebuchadnezzar and for how long?

 

Answer. Reason was taken from the king. Nebuchadnezzar had been so proud of his mental achievements. Now his mind was gone. The highest thought he had for seven years was how to eat grass like an ox.

 

4.     What evidence can be presented to argue Nebuchadnezzar was converted.

 

Answer.

 

v    There is discernible a progress in his knowledge of God (cf. Dan. 2:47 with 3:23 and finally with 4:34,35).

 

v    The king acknowledges the utter sovereignty of God with respect to his own experience (Dan. 4:37b).

 

v    The king utters true statements concerning the omnipotence of the true God (Dan. 4:34,35).

 

v    The king would worship this God, whom he identifies as King of heaven (Dan. 4:37a).

 

5.     How does Matthew Henry evaluate the heart of Nebuchadnezzar in the end?

 

Answer. "It would be nice, and charitable, to hope that free grace came to Nebuchadnezzar so that one day we shall meet with him among the elect in heaven."

 

Personal Application and Reflection

 

1.     Daniel 4:32 says, “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.”  Is it not safe to say that Satan lied to Jesus when he promised Him the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would only worship him? Why or why not?

 

 

 

2.     Has your heart ever been lifted up with pride to the point the Lord had to severely humble you?

 

3.     In the divine economy the principle seems to be established of grace preceding judgment. Nebuchadnezzar had a chance to repent but did not. Do you have any insights into the great attraction to evil and why people do not take advantage of the grace of God and repent?

 

4.     Do you personally believe Nebuchadnezzar was converted? Why or why not?

 

5.     Some men are born great. Some do something noble and become great. Some have greatness thrust upon them. What is the most memorable deed you have done? Was it for the glory of God? Was it done for self-interests? Was anyone blessed by your deed?

 

Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

 

Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

 

Leader’s Study Notes

4:19 History is filled with examples of how God sets up rulers and suddenly removes them. November 22, 1963, three shots are fixed from a lone sniper in the sixth floor of a building in Dallas, Texas. Suddenly, the world is different. America is different. The mythical political world of “Camelot” is dead and a new Great Society is created. The kingdom is taken from a young man and given to an older man. The concept of Divine sovereignty should be a source of great comfort to Christians because it answers the ultimate question of who is in charge. If men were in charge of all things then there would be cause for alarm. If angels were in charge of the world there would be cause for alarm. If no one was in charge and life was simply chaos, that would be certainly be reason for ultimate despair. The good news is that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men. Setting aside all else, there is great comfort from this doctrine in a daily way. In daily life, when things become challenging, it is very comforting to know that the Lord rules in the affairs of men. Our personal safety, our individual security, our present existence, and our future life are in His hands. We no longer need to fear what men may do to us or say about us. God is in control. He will rule in righteousness and in justice. It is a wonderful truth, rooted in experience, enjoyed in time, to be embraced with all the heart. "The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men."

 

 

Practical observations. from Daniel 4

 

1.     Though Daniel was a Jewish captive to a capricious king, he still honored the king (Dan. 4:19b). When Daniel knew what judgment was going to befall Nebuchadnezzar he did not rejoice though the discipline was well deserved.

 

2.     Daniel told the truth. Standing for the truth had caused his friends to go through great tribulation (Dan. 4:24). Daniel could have reinterpreted the dream. He could have given a message of comfort but he choose to tell the truth It is not easy for anyone to speak the truth especially in trying circumstances.

 

3.     There is a wonderful principle in God's moral universe that grace will precede judgment. King Nebuchadnezzar will be warned before he is judgment.

 

4.     In the judgments of God, there is always a holy purpose. Some discipline is punitive. Other discipline is for purifying the heart: God wants Nebuchadnezzar to know "that the heavens do rule" (Dan. 4:26).

 

5.     Despite the certainty of a coming judgment, God is merciful. If men and nations repent they shall yet be spared as Nineveh was spared (Jonah 3:10) and as the death of Hezekiah was delayed (2 Kings 20:1-5).

 

6.     When gospel repentance changes the heart, there is the desire to display righteousness and mercy. In Scriptures, these two virtues are often united (cf. Isa. 11:4; Psa. 72:4; Isa. 41:2).

 

7.     While salvation is not by good works they always accompanies grace.

 

8.     We will either hear the voice of God in grace, or we will hear the voice of God in judgment as He says, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Daniel 5

 

Belshazzar, Grandson of a

Converted Sovereign

 

It is very difficult to understand many passages in the Old Testament without being familiar with ancient history. The fifth chapter of Daniel offers an excellent illustration of this fact for we are suddenly introduced to a man named Belshazzar. Belshazzar was a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest kings of antiquity. Nebuchadnezzar died in the year 561 BC He was succeeded in death by his son Evil- Merodach who was sympathetic to the plight of the Jews.

It was Evil-Merodach who liberated Jehoiachin, king of Judah, from prison and fed him from his own table (2 Kin. 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34). After a reign of only two years Evil-Merodach was put to death by a conspiracy headed by Neriglissar, his brother-in-law. Neriglissar ascended the throne and reigned for about four years before he was killed in battle in the year 556 BC His son and successor was Laborosoarchod, who was an imbecile. He was king for less than a year when he was beaten to death and his throne seized by an usurper named Nabonidus (or Nabonnaid), another son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar because he married the widow of Neriglissar. Nabonidus was destined to reign from 555 BC to the fall of Babylon in 538 BC

The problem with this secular chronology of history is that is seems to conflict with the biblical chronology which states that it was Belshazzar who was ruling when Babylon fell. However, there is no real conflict when it is understood that Belshazzar was the legitimate grandson of Nebuchadnezzar

(note Jer. 27:7) but the adopted son of Nabonidus (the usurper) and a co-ruler with him. At the time of the events of Daniel chapter five, Belshazzar, as co-ruler, had been left in charge of the city of Babylon while his "father" Nabonidus was away on a military expedition. The foolishness of Belshazzar would bring about the destruction of the mightiest empire of the day. In one night, Babylon would be conquered. In one night Almighty God would pass ultimate judgment upon a drunken king. In one night Belshazzar would be weighted in the balance and be found wanting.

 

Daniel 5

 

1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

 

5:1-2 With a feeling of great security, Belshazzar decided to have a party. It would be a feast and it would be given in a spirit of contempt and defiance. Before a thousand of his lords, Belshazzar wanted to boast that he was not afraid of the circumstances that surrounded him. An army was knocking at his gates but he pretended not to be afraid. The Great Impostor tried to fool his royal audience with foolish acts of bravado conceived in the consumption of wine. When his reasoning was dulled with drunkenness, Belshazzar began to reminisce, as

drunkards like to do. He remembered the glory days of old when his grandfather went forth and conquered other nations. Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Judah and plundered the treasure of Jerusalem's holy temple. "Would any one like to see the wealth grandfather got? It is here in the temple. Servants, go get some of the holy vessels. We will pour wine into them and drink our fill."

 

3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

 

5:3-4 The king's order was obeyed. The holy treasures were brought and the drunken brothel continued. Toasts were made to the dreams of grandfather. "We will drink," said the king, "to the gods of gold, silver, bras, iron, wood and stone. Here is to you and your visions grandfather!"  

 

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

 

5:5 The crowd laughed. Belshazzar laughed. That is the king laughed until the moment his eyes looked up by the candlesticks and he saw a movement. Could it be? It looks like the fingers of a man's hands.

The golden goblet of wine dropped from the kings hands. He pushed the laughing prostitutes away from him to stare more closely at what he was seeing. There it is. It is the hand of a man and it is writing upon the wall.

 

6 Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

 

5:6 Suddenly the king was shaken and scared. He was terrified to the point that his whole body would not function. He knees literally shook so that they knocked together. After a few moments, the king found enough strength to scream out, "Bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans and the soothsayers."

 

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

 

5:7-8 Once the wretched lot was gathered, the king promised them the wealth of the empire and a high place of authority if anyone of them could tell what that hand on the wall was doing.

The Wise Men of the kingdom wanted to help. They wanted to get the rewards but not a one of them knew what to make of the handwriting on the wall and they told the king that.

 

9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

 

5:9 This announcement caused Belshazzar to become alarmed all over again as hope died within his heart. Color left his face. The large assembly of lords did not know what to make of this scene. Some of them thought that their king was about to go mad just like his grandfather and so they stared at him with amazement. The time provided an opportunity for a few to reconsider what this moment might really mean.

 

5:9 Familiar lessons of life were remembered.

 

v    The higher social position a person has in life, the greater are the responsibilities to be a good influence upon others. To whom much is given, much shall be required.

 

v    Belshazzar was a fool which, in biblical terms, means that he acted independently of God.

 

v    The hand of God reaches out in love to die for sinners but it also reaches out to pronounce judgment on them too.

 

v    People look to leadership in times of spiritual crisis to know what to do. If leadership fails, the people will fail.

 

v    There are defining moments when either righteousness will be manifested or the works of the flesh will prevail so that reason is distorted, fear is displayed, and the memory of the God is dishonored.

 

v    When spiritual sensitivity is lost, people will naturally turn to human solutions. They do not work of course for human solutions have never yet solved a spiritual problem. Belshazzar did not need clever men. He needed to repent. He needed to cry out to God for mercy.

 

v    The fear and trembling of Belshazzar was but a prelude to the eternal judgment of hell.

 

v    In the day of ultimate judgment, sinners will look in amazement at one another. There will be no laughing. There will be no talking. There will only be astonishment at what is about to happen and what they are witnessing.

 

v    The finger of God wrote the Law on tablets of stone. When they were broken or ignored, the finger of God wrote it a second time. When He was through the Lord said, "Do this and live." Because Belshazzar had no respect for the Law of God, the hand of the Lord wrote a postscript: "Thou shalt not live!" Belshazzar, the grandson of a converted king, would not be converted himself. Before the night was over, he would perish.

 

10 Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

 

5:10-12 The tragic end of a great empire continues with the entrance of the Queen into the banquet house. The identity of the Queen is uncertain. Some believe that she was the widow of Nebuchadnezzar, named Nitocris whom

Herodotus mentions as a woman of extraordinary wisdom. Whatever her true identity, she was not present at the feast until she heard of the terror of the King. Her presence brought a calming influence to the situation for she was full of penetrating insight. Assessing the scene, the Queen was able to offer hope.

There was a man in the kingdom that could do what all the court's wise men could not. He could interpret the dream (Dan. 5:11-12).

 

His name was Belteshazzar or Daniel. Upon the counsel of the Queen, Daniel was immediately sent for (Dan. 5:13) and when called, he came. Daniel came as an old man, almost ninety years of age now, having walked with God for many years. He was a man who proved he could be trusted and relied upon and so Belshazzar explained what had happened (Dan. 5:15).

 

13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

 

5: 13-17 If Daniel could interpret the handwriting, there would be great personal rewards. But Daniel did not need the rewards of the king nor did he want them. While riches and honor are nice, they are deceiving and meaningless in the hour of ultimate judgment and in the day of ultimate accountability. What is needed in life is an honest setting forth of what God will do and that, Daniel could give to the king he stood before (Dan. 5:17-24). 

 

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:

19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.

20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

 

5: 18-21 In his response the old prophet provides a historical framework for what he will eventually say. Daniel speaks of what God once gave Beltshazzar grandfather Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord gave him (Dan. 5:18-19) a kingdom, majesty, glory, and honor. Wars ceased, prosperity reigned, and palaces were built. But instead of being grateful and recognizing the source of his greatness, Nebuchadnezzar became proud (Dan. 5:20) which led the Lord to take from the king all that he valued. The Lord took his throne, his glory, his sanity, and his home (Dan. 5:21) until Nebuchadnezzar KNEW that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever He will.

 

22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

 

5:22-25 At this moment Daniel may have paused before beginning his personal application. He has only told Belshazzar what they both already knew about Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 5:22). Now, the great sin for Belshazzar was that he did not learn nor turn from the sins of his grandfather but engaged in the same cesspool of pride.

The sins of the parents were being visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. Belshazzar was committing the same sins as Nebuchadnezzar. With holy boldness Daniel would point this out in a plain and highly personal way (Dan. 5:22). 

 

v    You Belshazzar have lifted up yourself against the Lord.

 

v    You Belshazzar have brought forth-sacred objects to be used for sensual pleasure.

 

v    You Belshazzar have praised dead idols.

 

v    You Belshazzar have not glorified the Lord God.

 

Therefore, God had three words for Belshazzar:

 

v    MENE = numbered

 

v    TEKEL = weighted

 

v    PERES = divided

 

 

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

 

5:26-29 Belshazzar has been numbered in that the days of his reign and the days of his kingdom are coming to an end. He has been weighted in the moral balance of God's universe and found wanting. His kingdom will be divided. It is possible that Belshazzar did not really believe the words of the old prophet reflected in the fact that he insisted that the honors be given to Daniel anyway (5:29). Daniel was made the third ruler of the land, which meant that behind Nabonidus and Belshazzar, Daniel's voice would be the most authoritative. It was just a few hours after this royal pronouncement that the king was suddenly killed. The biblical narrative tells us that in the same night the ruler of the Chaldeans was slain. Secular history tells us what happened.

 

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

 

5:30-31 While the drunken party members, led by Belshazzar were celebrating and seeing strange things, Cyrus had discovered a way to move his army into the city. Cyrus could not scale the walls nor tunnel through them but he could drain the river Euphrates, that flowed through the city, and march his soldiers into a city bed.

To this end some say he constructed a large artificial lake, miles above the city, into which he drained the river. Others say, and it seems the most likely, that he constructed a new channel for the river, far way and invisible from the tops of the towers on top of the walls, and into this new channel he diverted the water of the river above the city, so that the water that flowed through the city flowed away and left the river bed through the city dry.

Having made all arrangement to carry out his plan, Cyrus waited for a suitable occasion. Hearing of the feast that Belshazzar's soldiers would be off their guard, Cyrus divided his army into three Divisions.

One Division was to divert the water of the river Euphrates, at the proper time, into the new channel. The second Division was stationed where the river entered the city on the north. And the third Division was stationed where the river left the city on the south.

The second and third Divisions were instructed to enter the channel of the river as soon as the water was low enough, and march toward each other until they met in the center of the city where the Palace was located.

The plan worked to perfection...The soldiers of Cyrus immediately took possession of the city, stormed the city, stormed the Palace and slew the king.

 

 

That night's revelry cost Belshazzar his life, and the Fall of Babylon. As proof of the inspiration of the Scriptures it is worthy of note that the Fall of Babylon was foretold, the manner of its capture described, and the name of its captor given 175 years before the event took place. The Prophecy is found in Isaiah 44:28-45:1-4 (The Book of Daniel, Clarence Larkin).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel

 

Questions and Answers on Daniel 5

 

1.     Who was Belshazzar? 

 

Answer. Belshazzar was a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest Babylonian kings of antiquity. He ruled the Empire until it was taken from him in a night.

 

2.     What divine message did Daniel give to Belshazzar?

 

Answer.

 

v    You Belshazzar have lifted up yourself against the Lord.

 

v    You Belshazzar have brought forth-sacred objects to be used for sensual pleasure.

 

v    You Belshazzar have praised dead idols.

 

v    You Belshazzar have not glorified the Lord God.

 

3.     Identify the meaning of the handwriting on the wall.

 

Answer. God had three words for Belshazzar.

 

v    MENE = numbered

v    TEKEL = weighted

v    PERES = divided

 

4.     Was the prophecy of Daniel fulfilled?

 

 

Answer. The prediction of Daniel came to pass. Hearing of the feast that Belshazzar's soldiers would be off their guard, Cyrus divided his army into three Divisions. One Division was to divert the water of the river Euphrates, at the proper time, into the new channel. The second Division was stationed where the river entered the city on the north. And the third Division was stationed where the river left the city on the south. The second and third Divisions were instructed to enter the channel of the river as soon as the water was low enough, and march toward each other until they met in the center of the city where the Palace was located. The plan worked to perfection...The soldiers of Cyrus immediately took possession of the city, stormed the city, stormed the Palace and slew the king.

 

5.     How old was Darius the Mede when he conquered the Babylonian empire?

 

Answer. Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old (62 years old).

 

Personal Application and Reflection

 

1.     Have you ever been terrified to the point that your knees shook or you felt like you were going to faint with fear? What caused that extreme fear?

 

2.     If your life were required of you tonight and you were weighted in the balances, would you be confirmed in righteousness or banished from the presence of God?

 

 

3.     Comment on the relationship between faith and works.

 

4.     Have riches and honor ever deceived you? In what way?

 

5.     Despite give a severe word of warning and denunciation of Belshazzar Daniel was promoted the king promised. Do you know of unbelievers who are honorable and keep their promises? Why are the unrighteous honorable in some areas? 

 

Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

 

Daniel 5:21 And he [Nebuchadnezzar] was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

 

Leader’s Study Notes 

 

Selected People of History

 

v    Nebuchadnezzar (neb-u-kad-nez'-zar; O god Nabu, protect my son), was the king of the Babylonian Empire (604-561 B.C). Under his reign, Babylon became a great cultural, commercial, religious, and political center.

 

v    Evil-Merodach (e"-vil-mes'-o-dak; man of Marduk), was the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar. As king (562 BC) Evil-Merodach released Jehoiachin, king of Judah, who had been in prison for 37 years (2 Kings 25:27; Jer. 52:31). Evil-Merodach was so wicked that the priestly party encouraged his brother-in-law, Neriglissar, to kill him and take the throne. This was done, 560 BC

 

v    Neriglissar, ascended the throne and reigned for about four years before he was killed in battle in the year 556 BC

 

v    Laborosoarchod, was his son and successor. He was king for less than a year when he was beaten to death and his throne taken by Nabonidus.

 

v    Nabonidus, was destined to reign from 555 BC to the fall of Babylon in 538 BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Daniel 6

 

Following the collapse of the Babylonian Empire, the Medes and the Persians ruled the world of the Middle East under a man name Darius. He is known to history as Darius Hystaspis the Great, (521-486 BC). Several facts can be noted about him.

 

v    Darius spent the first three years of his reign establishing his authority throughout his great empire.

 

v    Once in firm control, Darius divided the empire into 29 satrapies, or provinces, each ruled by Persian or Median nobles. He made Shushan, or Susa, his new capital and formed a uniform code of laws comparable to the Code of Hammurabi.

 

v    He expanded trade, built roads, created a postal system, had a standard system of coinage, weights, and measures, and started astonishing building projects at Persepolis, Ecbatana, and Babylon.

 

v    As king, Darius continued the political policy of Cyrus the Great of allowing the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem. In 520 BC, during Darius' second year as king, the Jews began again to work on the unfinished Temple in Jerusalem.

 

v    Darius encouraged the project of the Jews of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem by ordering the work to continue, He sent financial gift to help restore worship in the Temple (Ezra 6:1-12). The Temple was completed in 515 BC, in the sixth year of Darius' reign.

 

v    The final years of the reign of Darius were characterized by confrontation with the emerging Greek Empire in the western part of his territory. He led two unsuccessful major military campaigns against the Greeks.

 

As a capable organizer and administrator, Darius re-organized the kingdom so that a counsel of 120 princes were placed as administrators over his vast empire. They in turn were responsible to a triumvirate of three presidents of whom Daniel was the recognized as the Prime Minister. In this manner there was responsibility and accountability given to the new rulers of the land. The reason that Darius came to be given a place of preference is stated in that he had an excellent spirit. This spirit had been recognized by Nebuchadnezzar, by the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, by Belshazzar, and finally by Darius. The new ruler realized that Daniel was a man who could be trusted and who was respected throughout the land. Daniel was a man who was respected because he was not greedy, he was not covetousness, and he told the truth even when the truth was not pleasant. Such a person was needed in a key place of leadership during the transition period.

 

Daniel 6

 

1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

 

6:1-4 As might be expected, the other rulers of the land became jealous of the wise, old prophet who had power with God and power with man. In secret sessions they took counsel together how they might discredit Daniel. The more they looked for something to criticize the less they found. Daniel was a genuine men of integrity.

He was faithful and he was without fault. This does not mean that Daniel was sinless. Only Jesus Christ is sinless. But over the years Daniel had grown to be more and more like the Lord. When he was tempted, he was found faithful. Still, his enemies would not let him alone.

The very goodness of Daniel led other's to hate him for it is within the human heart to try to prove that no one is better than self. It is within the nature of the fallen heart to hate it when others are right especially on moral and ethical matters. The hunt is on to find something in the character of the child of God that will bring disgrace. In politics this attempt to discredit someone has been called "Blood Sport".

 

 

In history, it is called "Revisionism." In biblical scholarship it is called "demythologizing." In the church it is called "sharing." In heaven it is called "sin."

 

5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

 

6:5 After looking at Daniel's personal life and finding no fault, after examining his public life in the service of several kings and finding no fault, the rulers of the Medes and the Persians came to the correct conclusion that their only hope was to find fault with his life of piety or religion. Since they could find no fault with what Daniel did, they would find fault with what he would not do.

 

6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live forever.

7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin

Daniel 6:6-9

 

There are many passages in the Bible that set forth the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and this is one. Consider the characteristics of wickedness.

 

v    Sin is built upon falsehood. The princes presented themselves, as representing all of the leadership of the land but that was not true. Daniel had not been consulted neither had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, nor the Queen Mother for none of these people would have been part of this plot.

 

v    It is the nature of sin to want to appear to be more powerful then it is. Sin uses power to achieve its objective. This practice is not uncommon. "People are saying this," we hear. "Parents are saying that." "The children are threatening a certain type of action." "Everyone is talking," it is said. The bad is whispered but in such a way as to appear more powerful and more threatening that it really is. Why do people do this? Part of the answer is a simple desire to have power. Individuals want to control a situation. They want to effect change in a certain way. Sometimes, it does not matter what the truth is as long as a certain objective is achieved. If the appearance of force can be used as a lever, so much the better. Because of this practice of sin, it is all the more important to tell the truth. If only one person has said something then we must not say, "People are talking," etc.

 

If only three people have said something, then it must be reported that three people said something and not leave a general impression that more are talking. It is wrong to leave false impressions. It is also important to name names. Jesus has taught us to walk in the light and not in darkness.

 

v    Sin disguises itself as wisdom and reasonableness. The first words from the mouth of Satan were, "Yea, hath God said?" And here, the words of the nobility sound sweet and reasonable.

 

v    Sin operates in secret. The royal princes met in secret for it was only in secret that they could talk openly about the evil that was in their hearts.

 

v    Sin finds unholy boldness in concert with others. Wickedness grows strong in the presence of wickedness just as the righteous grows bolder in the presence of holiness. That is why the Bible commands the saints to exhort one another to good works. If you will remember your early adventures into sinful conduct, you will remember that there was someone nearby to encourage you to do wrong.

 

v    Sin always appeals to the vanity of man (save thou O king). It is a well known principle that one way to control difficult people is not to challenge their bad behavior but to flatter and reward them. Sometimes, such people are given places of leadership. They are given public rewards and preferential treatment. They are told how nice and wonderful they are.

 

What does it matter that their hearts are far from God? What does it matter that no one has ever heard them pray? What does it matter that they have a track record of trying to discredit the people of God and destroy his church? The wiliness to reward and flatter the unrighteous in the church is one of the curses of Christendom. The church needs more prophets but prophets are not popular. Prophets are killed. Prophets get thrown into prisons like John the Baptist. Prophets get crucified like Jesus. Prophets get themselves thrown into the dens of lions like Daniel.

 

v    Sin has its own agenda. As righteousness has an objective which is to be conformed into the image of God, sin has its own agenda which is to BE God! There is a difference between wanting to emulate someone and being in the place of someone. Satan has never given up his goal to be like the Most High. Satan's servants are like their father. They have secret agendas. Only time reveals what the true agendas are.

 

v    In order for sin to be most effective, it must silence the voice of conscience. In the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians, Daniel was the court voice of conscience.

 

v    Consider what people in the highest places of power can do when they do not have a conscience.

 

Ø     They can request information that will discredit their political enemies.

Ø     They can have people followed, investigated and intimidated.

Ø     They can have people audited.

Ø     They can have stories planted in the popular mind by whispering things that are untrue to the news media.

Ø     They can form concentration camps.

Ø     They can have people arrested.

Ø     They can find legal ways to justify killing!

 

v    Sin has no sensitivity. Sin does not care if hungry lions tear a human life limb from limb. The sound of shrieking, the smell of blood, the sight of pain embolden the sin saturated soul. Sin does not know the concept of mercy or compassion.

 

v    Sin has a sense of urgency. There is always a pressing matter with sin for the devil knows that his time is short.

 

v    Sin is what causes young people to experiment with adult behavior that they are not capable of handling.

 

v    Sin urges the heart on.

 

v    Sin is what motivates the heart to get rich quick or to cut ethical corners or to promote oneself at the expense of another. The royal assembly that met to find a way to discredit Daniel could not wait for the king to make the decree they desired so that the process could begin. "Do it now! O king," they pleaded.

 

v    Sin tries to think through a situation so that all the options are covered. In the situation of our passage, the objective was not simply to establish a royal statute but to have it signed according the laws of the Medes and the Persians so that it could not be altered. Sin tries to be very clever.

v    Sin is often persuasive in convincing people because it does appear on the surface to be logical, flattering, and is done swiftly. The Lord told Judas, "What thou hast to do, do quickly." And he did leave the Upper Room quickly, to his eternal shame.

 

v    The human intellect is no match for sin. It never has been and never will be. The problem is that men have not figured this out yet and so there are endless wars. There is a war on drugs in our country. There is a war on poverty and a war on aides. And man is losing all the moral wars on all fronts because the solutions of man don't work.

 

As there is strength in sin so the Christian finds a Champion in Christ. Consider the following.

 

v    Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the Devil. While the Devil is a strong man, Jesus is stronger still and He has entered into the Devil's house to take back control and abolish sin.

 

v    Jesus Christ is not afraid of what sin can do. The Lord laughs at the counsel of the wicked. He does allow the sly proposals of sinners to be made but it only so that He can show forth His great glory and power and sovereignty over sin.

 

v    Jesus Christ knows what sin will do before sin acts. While sin thinks it is creative, the Lord knows the imaginations of the wicked before anything is conceived. That is why the Lord is always ahead of sin. For example, the Lord God knew that

man would succumb to the temptation of the Wicked One and so, before the foundation of the world was laid, Jesus Christ was crucified.

 

v     Jesus brings calmness to chaos. He can calm the storms of the Sea of Galilee and He can calm the storms of life. Daniel had storms in his life that were building up. He probably knew that trouble was coming because the storm clouds gather first. An ill omen is felt long before sin flashes into the open. Daniel knew that people were out to hurt him and yet, he lived in the calmness of the Lord.

 

v    The Law of God, like the law of the Medes and the Persians, altereth not. The Law of God says that the Lord will not be mocked. Whatsoever man sows that shall he reap. It is foolish to think that an unrepentant life that a life lived without God and full of cursing and carousing will be rewarded with heaven. The wages of sin is death. The seeds of sin sown reap eternal damnation apart from crying out to the Lord and pleading for mercy according to the blood of Christ.

 

v    The Savior is more wonderful than sin. Sin brings pleasure, but only for a little while. When the King signed the decree that the royal bloodhounds wanted, they held a victory celebration. But it was not to last. They thought they had found a way to hurt Daniel but the Lord was with His servant. The old prophet possessed a lasting joy that passeth understanding. With the Psalmist Daniel could sing,

The joy of the Lord, is my strength. The exceeding sinfulness of sin finds a worthy challenger in the exceeding greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us that we might fear no one but God.

 

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

 

6: 10 The fate of Daniel was fixed when King Darius signed the Law that no one could pray to any god or ask a petition of any man for thirty days except the king upon penalty of death. Daniel had to decide if he was to obey his God or man. Daniel was forced to choose between his conscience and conveyance.

While most Christians face similar temptations, very few will face the same fate that awaited Daniel if he chose to obey the Lord. I suspect that the Evil One might have come to whisper thoughts of compromise into the Prophet's heart. "Daniel, the Law is foolish. But foolish Laws have to be obeyed."Of course, that is not true. When a Law is not only foolish but also immoral, then there is a holy responsibility not to obey.

During the days of Nazi Germany, many Lutheran pastors opposed the immoral Laws of the Third Reich. Among the Lutheran pastors was the great theologian Dietrich Bonnhoffer. He was arrested and put into jail to await execution for his crimes against the State.

 

One day Bonnhoffer was visited by a friend who greeted him with the breathless question, "Dietrich, what are you doing in here?" The Lutheran pastor, responded, "My friend, what are you doing out there?"

Following the Civil War here in the United States, the South found a way to keep the blacks in their place, so called, with Jim Crow laws. For over a hundred years there was racial division based in large part upon unjust laws. While many felt uncomfortable with laws of segregation, they enforced them. But others did not and engaged in Civil Disobedience. As a result, foolish and wicked laws were overturned and society was challenged for the better.

When he knew that Daniel was willing to engage in Civil Disobedience, Satan might have whispered another suggestion to God's Man. "Daniel, the decree is only for thirty days. That is not too long a time. Why not just be silent and wait this situation out? Don't cause trouble, Daniel, for yourself or for others."

There would have been a certain amount of logic to this suggestion. "Why stir up trouble?" But that is just the point, isn't it? Who are the real troublemakers in the presence of sin? Who is it that causes tense situations? Is it the righteous? No!

All pressure situations, all hostile confrontations come because of the sin that people do. Investigate any given situation and you will discover a challenge to authority, an ugly spirit of discontent, a desire for power and control, a longing to be in charge, a distorted point of view. In short, you will find sin.

 

 

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control against which there are no Laws. But the fruit of sin is always bitterness, destruction, hurt feelings, wounded pride and the insatiable need to destroy someone else.

Who has caused this tense situation? Was it Daniel and his Jewish friends? Of course not! This whole situation was conceived and executed by individuals whose hearts were full of jealousy and hatred. Daniel is not the troublemaker because he withstands evil and will not keep silent. He is in fact not only righteous but also courageous. I am sure that Daniel realized something else. He understood that once holy habits are set-aside even for a short period, they are easily lost. Anyone who has stopped reading the Bible for a few days or stopped attending a service once attended faithfully knows how hard it is to be consistent again.

It is understandable. When holy habits are first set aside, Satan comes to give a sense of liberation to the heart. It seems that a religious burden has been lifted and it has. But upon reflection, it will be seen that the burden was not a heavy burden for Jesus said, "My burdens are light." The burden of faithfulness is exchanged for freedom but freedom can become a heavy burden when guided by sin. Just ask the Sweet Singer of Israel.

We read that one day David set aside his kingly duties and moved geographically out of the will of the Lord. He had the freedom to walk on the palace rooftop and he did. There, he saw someone who stirred his emotions. Sin ensnared his soul and Psalm 51 is the burden of a broken heart caused by sin's concept of freedom. Daniel might easily have rationalized his way to accept a

 temporary suspension of his holy habits but he was more afraid of sin than he was of the schemes of sinners.

When word reached Daniel that the writing had been signed, the Bible says that he went into his house. He went into the window of his residence where he could be seen publicly and then he prayed. Kneeling before the Lord, Daniel prayed and gave thanks before His God. While the actions of Daniel were deliberate, they were not hypocritical. Daniel prayed this way often and people knew it. He just continued to do what he had always done.

In the end, that is what we should all do. Let us do what we have always done. Let us just be found faithful. God puts a high premium on faithfulness. Psalm 3:23 says, "The Lord preserveth the faithful." Cal Ripcon has made a name for himself in the world of baseball by faithfully showing up for work year after year. Every Christian can make a name in heaven by simply being faithful to Christ.

In John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, the main character is named Christian. He is traveling to the Celestial City. Along the way, the Lord gives him a traveling companion named Faithful. One of the names of Jesus Christ is that He is Faithful.

The Lord promised that He would never leave nor forsake us. As Daniel was faithful to the Lord despite the threat of pain and death, so the nobility of the land were faithful to their fallen nature. The Devil too has his faithful servants. Jesus said of the Pharisees, "You are of your father the Devil and the lust of your father you will do."

 

 

 

11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

 

6:11-13 The enemies of Daniel assembled. They had discovered that Daniel was still praying and still making supplications before the Lord. It was confirmed. They had predicted Daniel's behavior correctly and now they would use his righteousness to hurt him much like children do when they make fun of another child who is good and will not lie or cheat. As a group the Nobility returned to the king for there is unholy boldness in a concerted effort. In presenting themselves before the king, the Nobility reminded Darius of the Law he had signed which could not be altered. The king remembered the law well for not only was it recent, it appealed to his pride.

 

 

The Nobility were now poised to seize the moment they had been planning for. All of their venom and hatred for Daniel poured forth as they presented Daniel in most unfavorable way they could before the king. With just a few words, Daniel was accused, like the Lord, unjustly. It was said of Daniel that he had no respect for the King and that he had no respect for the king's law. While these were serious accusations the greater question would be, "Are they true?" Certainly the charges were within the sphere of being believed. The charges could have easily been believed for several reasons.

 

v    The Nobility of the land were trusted men. High office carries its own weight of authority.

 

v     There was truth mixed with error that is always a dangerous combination. It was true that Daniel was a Jew. It was also true that he had been a captive for many years. But it was not true that he had no respect for the kings whom he served.

 

v    It sounded plausible that Daniel might not be loyal.

 

v    The seriousness of the charges was such that it seemed they had to be true or else why would they be made? The reality is that men have always known that if a big enough lie is told often enough and forcefully enough, it will be believed no matter what.

 

 

 

 

 

Putting all these considerations together, it is understandable how a king could become angry at one of his subjects especially if that subject was not know and not present to defend himself.

 

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

 

6:14 To his eternal credit, Darius did not believe the evil reports that he was hearing about Daniel. He did not allow others to form his view about Daniel. In fact, as the situation crystallized, Darius became angry with himself for allowing himself to be used by these court jesters. Darius realized that it was the Noblemen who had no real respect for their king or the king's Law. The Noblemen were using both for their own political and private agendas. And nothing that Darius could do would move them from their course of action. Until the going down of the sun Darius tried. But it was not use. The Noblemen insisted that the Law of the Medes and the Persians be honored.

 

15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

 

6:15-17 Finally, the king commanded that Daniel be brought and cast into the den of lions. However, Darius had learned enough about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to offer Daniel a personal word of encouragement and hope. Daniel, said the king, thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. This was really a remarkable statement for it manifests great faith. Darius did not qualify his remarks. He did not say that the Lord God of Daniel might deliver him. The statement was emphatic. "Thy God...will deliver thee."

How did Darius know this? Was it not because faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God? Had not Darius heard the many wonderful things about the Lord God of Israel? Had he not heard what Jehovah had done at creation, at the Red Sea, and at Mt. Sinai? Had Darius the Mede not learned about the lives of men such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon? Had Darius not witnessed and profited from the great wisdom that the Lord had given to Daniel? Would such a Living, Powerful God allows His most faithful servant to be destroyed by petty men? In his heart Darius had come to a decision.

The God who could give dreams. The God who could make men go mad. The God who could restore reason. The God who could make the hand of a man write on a wall. The God who could cause a kingdom to fall in a night could easily deliver His own.

Though Darius had tried to change the situation, he could not. But he could have faith that Someone else could do what no mortal could do. Darius could believe that God would deliver. There are times in life when we as Christians find ourselves unable to change a given situation. We find that we cannot change people. We cannot change the circumstances. We find ourselves helpless but not hopeless. What shall we do? In such trying times we can look up and say with Darius, God...will deliver me. In that hour of life we shall known something about being with Daniel in the lion's den.

 

18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.

 

6:18 Having given the royal command that Daniel be cast into a den of lions, the king returned to his palace. But he was a troubled man. A great injustice had been done. An innocent man had been set up to be hurt by false accusers.

 

Seven Characteristics of False Accusers

1.     False accusers are shameless. They will take the righteousness of another person and use it to their advantage.

 

2.     False accusers are bold. Like their father the devil, they are as roaring lions seeking whom they may devour.

 

3.     False accusers are persuasive. The natural gifts of logic, oratory, and simplicity of thought are used to advance unholy causes.

4.     False accusers love conspiracy. There is the thrilling of living on the edge of propriety just beyond the law. Where the Law of God is not respected, individuals become a law unto themselves.

 

5.     False accusers are often successful. Reputations are ruined, possessions are acquired, power is gained, the contest of the will is won. But the God in heaven has not finished. He too will have something to say about every situation.

 

6.     False accusers will not escape a just judgment in time or in eternity.

 

7.     False accusers will cause others who are innocent to share their same sinful fate. Proverbs 11:8 says, "The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead."

 

It was only after they had tricked him and used him that Darius was able to realize the treachery of the false accusers. They had led him to engage in unjust behavior. While his heart was filled with tenderness towards Daniel and demanded that the old prophet be saved, the Law demanded to be enforced. We cannot help but thinking of another Law and another Love that came into conflict at the Cross of Calvary. At Calvary the love of God was manifested while the Law was satisfied. Jesus Christ bore our sins in His own body so that we might never know the ultimate wrath of God's great anger against sin. As Daniel spent the time in the lion's den, he once again foretold the sufferings, sorrows, and triumphs of the coming Savior. Consider how the life of Daniel foreshadowed the life of Christ.

19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever.

22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

 

 

 

6:19-25 When King Darius discovered that Daniel was alive, his heart could not help but rejoice. Wisely did the king set about to punish those who were truly unjust while giving honor and glory to the name of God. A royal decree was issued that set forth the majesty of the Lord and man's responsibility.

 

26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

6:26-28

Eight Truths About God

 

v    God is personal for He is called "the God of Daniel."

v    God is the Living God.

v    God is steadfast forever.

v    God’s kingdom cannot be destroyed.

v    God’s dominion shall be unto the end of time.

v    God delivers and rescues.

v    God works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.

v    God is able to control the beasts of nature.

 

 

 

Two Responsibilities of Men

Daniel 6:26

     

Men have two great responsibilities, to tremble before God and to fear him. When the greatness of God is realized and when the heart of man learns to tremble and fear Him, then the natural order of creation is restored and righteousness is manifested. We can commit ourselves to the great and terrible God who is able to deliver us not only from sin, but also from sin itself through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel

 

Questions and Answers on Daniel 6

 

1.     List five characteristics of sin.

 

Answer.

v    Sin is built upon falsehood.

v    It is the nature of sin to want to appear to be more powerful then it is.

v    Sin disguises itself as wisdom and reasonableness.

v    Sin operates in secret.

v    Sin finds unholy boldness in concert with others.

v    Sin always appeals to the vanity of man. Etc.

 

2.     Give four responses of the Savior to sin.

 

Answer.

v    Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the Devil.

 

v    Jesus Christ is not afraid of what sin can do.

 

v    Jesus Christ knows what sin will do before sin acts.

 

v    Jesus brings calmness to chaos.

 

 

3.     What are the seven characteristics of false accusers?

 

Answer.

Seven Characteristics of False Accusers

v    False accusers are shameless. They will take the righteousness of another person and use it to their advantage.

 

v    False accusers are bold. Like their father the devil, they are as roaring lions seeking whom they may devour.

 

v    False accusers are persuasive. The natural gifts of logic, oratory, and simplicity of thought are used to advance unholy causes.

 

v    False accusers love conspiracy. There is the thrilling of living on the edge of propriety just beyond the law. Where the Law of God is not respected, individuals become a law unto themselves.

 

v    False accusers are often successful. Reputations are ruined, possessions are acquired, power is gained, the contest of the will is won. But the God in heaven has not finished. He too will have something to say about every situation.

 

v    False accusers will not escape a just judgment in time or in eternity.

 

v    False accusers will cause others who are innocent to share their same sinful fate. Proverbs 11:8 says, "The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead."

 

4.  Provide eight truths about God.

 

Answer.

v    God is personal for He is called "the God of Daniel."

v    God is the Living God.

v    God is steadfast forever.

v    God’s kingdom cannot be destroyed.

v    God’s dominion shall be unto the end of time.

v    God delivers and rescues.

v    God works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.

v    God is able to control the beasts of nature.

 

5.     What two responsibilities do men have towards God (Dan. 6:26)?

 

Answer.

Men have two great responsibilities, to tremble before God and to fear him

 

Personal Application and Reflection

 

1.     What has been your relationship to sin? Would you confess to any addictions? Did the Lord ever give you the victory over your besetting sin? If not, would you seek out someone to be accountable to?

 

2.     Write some simple but personal slogans to help you over come areas of weakness or temptation. For example: Jesus, Not Java Chat Room; Grace, Not Gambling; or Purity not Passion.  Display these small slogan signs where you can see them often.

 

3.     If you have ever been accused of something falsely share that experience. Has it changed the way you speak about others?

 

4.     List five precious personal truths about God that are dear to your heart.

 

5.     Do you tremble before God? Do you fear Him? What evidence is there that you fear God?

 

 

 

 

Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

 

Daniel 6:19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live-forever. 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

 

Leader’s Study Notes

 

6:1-5 From this portion of the biblical narrative we are reminded of several spiritual truths.

 

1.     Sometimes great honors will come to God's servants. The Lord allowed Daniel to be appointed Prime Minister of State in charge of the royal treasury and the great seal of commerce. This is not normally the case. Usually, Christians are not recognized in time but the people of God do need heroes of the faith. We read in the book of Hebrews about Faith's Hall of Fame and are stimulated to good works.

 

2.     Daniel was a great man. He greatness was derived, not from his position of secular honor, but from his life of private prayer and fellowship with the Lord.

 

3.     Despite his personal, spiritual greatness, Daniel had great enemies who were jealous of him. He was from the old order and therefore suspicious. Some thought he could not trusted. Others believe he could not be faithful to Darius. Most just did like his obvious goodness grounded in faith.

 

4.     The hostility towards Daniel was not rooted in reason but in emotion. Reason was used to channel the feelings of hatred and hostility but emotion was driving the mental forces to find fault.

 

5.     The primary emotion was that of jealousy which is grounded in insecurity. The jealous person has low self-esteem and is filled with many fears. Solomon observed that "for every right work a man is envied for of his neighbor (Eccl. 4:4).

 

6.     One effect of envy is that it must make everything bad. It does this in part by creating a negative atmosphere. A spirit is set loose that is felt if not verbalized. This spirit overshadows all else. Every word is weighted for hidden meaning. Every action is suspect. Unholy motives are attributed. Secret meetings are held. Conversations are whispered only to be covered up at the first sign of exposure.

 

7.     Once the spirit of envy is released nothing less than the departure or death of the object is sought. Disgrace is not enough. There must be the elimination of the person. Proverbs 27:4 says, Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous, but who can stand before envy?

 

8.     Because the eyes of others are upon us to watch for our destruction, we need to walk with Christ. Despite his enemies, Daniel walked with the Lord. He was at the king's service as far as the altar, but there he left him and returned to God. Only with God is there safety from the danger of envious men.

 

~*~

 

Daniel, a Type of Christ

 

v    Daniel was sent into a far country (1:3-4).

v    Daniel was tempted by the world (promotions, gold, and honor); the flesh (food, 1:8); and the devil (worship for thirty days, 6:4-11).

v    Daniel had a singleness of mind (1:8).

v    Daniel was undefiled (1:8).

v    Daniel grew in favor with God and man (1:9).

v    Daniel was able to reveal the innermost thoughts of men (2:19-45).

v    Daniel was a prophet when he made predictions of things to come; he was invested with royal authority (2:48); and he functioned as a priest when he prayed on behalf of others.

v    Daniel was accused falsely (6:13).

v    He was treated as one of the vilest of malefactors (6:17).

Ø     He was plotted against (6:4-9).

Ø     He was ministered to by angels (6:22).

Ø     He prayed before the hour of his persecution (6:11).

Ø     He submitted to unjust punishment (6:16-17).

Ø     He was buried in a tomb where a great stone was rolled over the entrance and the royal seal was pleaded to keep him in.

Ø     Daniel did not have a bone of his body broken (6:22 cf. 6:24).

Ø     He was brought forth from the place of death alive.

Ø     He was forever free from the curse and the penalty and the pain of the Law.

Ø     He was triumphant over his enemies and saw them destroyed (6:24).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Daniel 7

A Panorama of History from Babylon to Rome

Daniel 7:1-8

 

Chronologically, chapter seven should be placed before chapters 5-6 for the events take place in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, or about BC 541. However, the Holy Spirit wanted to keep the prophetically division separate from the historical division. Daniel is about 85 years of age when he had this vision. Sixty-two years had passed since Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of the golden image. What Daniel once interpreted for the king, he shall now envision in a new way.

An angel will explain his vision from heaven (Dan. 7:16). In the repetition of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar's to Daniel, the difference between a divine understanding of history and a human understanding is made plain. When men look at life they see gold, silver, and brass. They see wealth, power, glory, and conquests. When God looks at the nations of the Earth, He see the true beastly nature of humanity.

Men are like rapacious beasts reflected in the lion, which devours, the bear, which crushes, the leopard, which springs to kill, and the hideous beast. It is instructive that the nations of the earth today still choose to project themselves through beastly symbols such as the British lion, the Russian bear, the American eagle, the Chinese dragon, the Persian ram and the Macedonian goat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel 7

 

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

 

7:1-3 As Daniel's dream began, he saw the four winds of heaven converging upon the Great Sea which may refer to the Mediterranean Sea, or better, to just a great body of water. The four winds speak of the powers of the air which reflects upon Satan and his great ability to influence and shape the nations of the Earth as per Ephesians 6:12. According to Daniel, from the came four beasts. They correspond to the four parts of the golden image seen by Nebuchadnezzar.

 

4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:4 The First Beast that Daniel saw emerge from the seething foam of the sea was like a lion except that it had wings like those of an eagle. Daniel was familiar with the colossal figures of lion with the wings of an eagle and the face of a man that adorned the palaces of Nineveh and Babylon. This First Beast would naturally remind Daniel of the symbolism of the Babylonian Empire and its first king Nebuchadnezzar, the Head Of Gold of the Great Image on the plain. In the Lion with Eagle Wings we discover a combination of the King of the Beasts and the King of the Birds which suited the portrayal of the Absolute Monarchy enjoyed by Nebuchadnezzar over the other nations of his day. As Daniel gazed upon the First Beast he observed that its wings were plucked so that it was no longer fierce though still powerful. Historically, Nebuchadnezzar became satisfied with his conquests and turned his attention from war to building palaces and pursuing peace. His heart was changed from that of a beast to that of a man. This may allude to the period when Nebuchadnezzar's sanity was returned to him and he gave us his beastly state that had tormented him for seven years.

 

5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

 

7:5 The Second Beast was like a bear. Like the lion, the bear is a very strong animal and is noted for its voracity though it has none of the speed and agility and majesty of the lion.

The bear is awkward in its movements depending upon brute force and sheer strength. These were the characteristics of the ancient Medo-Persian Empire. Its military victories were gained by overwhelming the enemy with vast masses of troops. Xerxes defeated the smaller army of Greece by opposing it with 2,500,000 men. The movement of enormous bodies of men devoured much flesh. The side of the bear which raised up to attack was Persia which was the stronger and more aggressive of the Dual Empire. It is reflected in the right shoulder and arm of the Great Golden Image. The three ribs that the bear had in his mouth speaks of the three kingdoms of Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt that formed a Triple Alliance to oppose the Medo-Persian Empire only to be destroyed by it.

 

6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

 

7:6 The Third Beast was like a leopard except that it had four heads and four wings. The leopard is one of the most agile and graceful of the animal kingdom. Because it has a slight frame, it can move swiftly. The leopard is a very fierce animal and serves as an excellent picture of the rapid conquests of the Greeks under Alexander the Great. Unlike the Medes and the Persians, Alexander did not depended upon mass mobilization of troops but upon small, well-trained and well-equipped armies. In less than ten years he overthrew the awkward forces of Persia and brought under his control the

civilized world. The four wings of the leopard speak of the rapid movements of Alexander while the four heads represent the four kingdoms into which his empire was finally divided: Thrace, Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt. The beastly leopard corresponds to the thigh parts of the Great Golden Image.

 

7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

 

7: 7-8 The Fourth Beast was like no other creature that Daniel had ever witnessed on the earth. It was hideous to look upon for it had teeth of iron, nails of brass, and strong feet that could stomp. It also had ten horns with an eleventh one growing out of the ten. The Fourth Beast corresponds to the legs of iron of the Great Golden Image and speaks of the Roman Empire, which was hideous to behold once it began its decline. As Daniel was about to ask for an explanation of the little horn that he saw arise from the ten horns on the Fourth Beast, he suddenly saw another

74

scene within his vision. Before his eyes were brought a judgment scene.

 

9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

 

7:9-10 When the prophet Daniel saw the ten horns on the Fourth Beast, he knew immediately that they stood for thrones or rulers. Historically, the Roman Empire, when it was in its glory, comprehended ten kingdoms.

 

1. Italy                         6. Sarmatia

2. France                      7. Pannonia

3. Spain                        8. Asia

4. Germany                   9. Greece

5. Britain                     10. Egypt

 

The symbol of the horn as a political image was well known in the ancient world. In Daniel's vision, the horns were cast down by the Ancient of Days who sat in majesty. Nine things are said about this scene. The Ancient of Days wore a garment of white.

v    His hair was white like pure wool.

v    His throne was like the fiery flames.

v    His wheels as burning fire.

v    A fiery stream came from before His throne.

v    Thousands ministered unto Him.

v    Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

v    The Court was settled.

v    The Books were opened.

 

Scenes of judgment are familiar in the Scriptures. The Revelation of Jesus Christ speaks about a Great White Throne Judgment.

 

·       Revelation 20:11-15 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Paul taught that we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

 

·       2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 

 

 

 

·       1 Corinthians 3:11-15 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

 

 Daniel speaks about judgment upon the Gentile Nations. To speak about the judgment of nations is ultimately to speak about individuals because individuals make up the nations.

A modern day illustration helps to explain what is meant. After World War II, the Allied Powers put the nation of Germany on trial for crimes against humanity. How did the allied powers do that? First, they arrested the leaders of the Nazi war machine such as Rudolph Hess, Albert Speer, and Herman Goering. Second, the Allied Powers brought these war leaders before an international tribunal. The court passed judgment upon the men. Some were hanged. Some were imprisoned for life. Some were put in prison for only a few years. When it was over, the world could say that the nation of Germany had been judged.

In like manner, Daniel sees the nations of his day being judged. In Daniel's vision the ten horns of the Fourth Beast are cast down. Later, in John's Vision of the Fourth Beast, he is cast into the Lake of Fire.

 

·       Revelation 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." Both of the prophets, Daniel and John, predicted the same thing. The nations in general and Rome in particular would be destroyed by the Ancient of Days.