Overview of Daniel• “As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living”...• Daniel and Revelation describe by means of symbolic visions the course of human history and the final advent of the kingdom of God.
Overview: Judgement a pervading theme• Daniel – ‘God is my judge’.• A book about judgement- begins and ends with references to judgement. - Apostate Israel - End: King of the North - Nebuchadnezzar - Belshazzar - The judgement to come.
Overview: The Tale of Two Cities- Jerusalem and BabylonJerusalem: •Rule of righteousness •Reveals the mystery of godliness Babylon: •The reign of wickedness •Reveals the mystery of sin The Stories and prophecies of the book of Daniel illustrate the principles of the ancient conflict between good and evil.
Overview of Daniel• The climax in each narrative is the elevation of the worshipers of the true God, and each vision ends in the establishment of the kingdom of God.• This book continually proclaims the good news that trial and temptations are followed by blessings for those obedient to God.
What Christ and others thought aboutMatthew 24:15 the Book15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation,spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whosoreadeth, let him understand:)Paul – refers to the abomination of desolation and theman of sin.Early Church Fathers – many of them expositors ofDaniel and Revelation like Paul seem to have someinsight into the interpretation and fulfilment of thetexts.Reformers – under sola scriptura Daniel andRevelation we highly referenced for studyOthers
Daniel Chapter 1 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judahinto his hand, with part of the vessels of thehouse of God: which he carried into the landof Shinar to the house of his god; and hebrought the vessels into the treasure houseof his god.
2 Kings 21:10-1310 And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,11 BecauseManasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations,and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which werebefore him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:12 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringingsuch evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it,both his ears shall tingle.13 AndI will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and theplummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a manwipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
2 Kings 21:13-1614 And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliverthem into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a preyand a spoil to all their enemies;15 Becausethey have done that which was evil in my sight, and haveprovoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out ofEgypt, even unto this day.16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he hadfilled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewithhe made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of theLORD.
God Intended for Israel to be a LightIsaiah 42:66 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness,and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee,and give thee for a covenant of the people, fora light of the Gentiles;
Jeremiah 25:8-98 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye havenot heard my words, 9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
The Secular History – The first Invasion• Jehoiakim (son of Josiah) was an Egyptian vassal until Nebuchadnessar forced him to submit to Babylon in 605 BC. . Nebuchadnezzar personally lead his army to conquer Jerusalem• Jehoiakim revolted in 598 BC in 597 BC. • Installed Zedekiah as rule. • Took a large quantity of temple utensils to Babylon • Took 10,000 captives to Babylon. (2 Kings 24:10-16; Eze 1:1)
The Secular History – The Second Invasion• Zedekiah made an alliance with Egypt against Babylon. (Jer 37:7,8).• Nebuchadnezzar again marched against Judah in 586 B.C scorching the land.• Captured Jerusalem and burnt it to the ground.(2 Kings 25:9-10)
2 Kings 24:10-1310 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king ofBabylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city wasbesieged.11 AndNebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city,and his servants did besiege it.12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king ofBabylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and hisprinces, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him inthe eighth year of his reign.13 Andhe carried out thence all the treasures of the house ofthe LORD, and the treasures of the kings house, and cut inpieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel hadmade in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.
2 Kings 24:14-1614 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, andall the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, andall the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save thepoorest sort of the people of the land.15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the kingsmother, and the kings wives, and his officers, and the mightyof the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem toBabylon.16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, andcraftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong andapt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive toBabylon.
Spiritual dimension provides the explanation for historical events.1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah cameNebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besiegedit. Describes event in terms of secular history Event’s spiritual dimension2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, withpart of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried intothe land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought thevessels into the treasure house of his god.
Daniel 1:3-73 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs,that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of thekings seed, and of the princes;4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, andskilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, andunderstanding science, and such as had ability in them to standin the kings palace, and whom they might teach the learningand the tongue of the Chaldeans.5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the kingsmeat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them threeyears, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
Daniel 1:3-76 Now among these were of thechildren of Judah, Daniel,Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: forhe gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and toHananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; andto Azariah, of Abednego.
Hebrews Under Pressure• To keep his empire intact Nebuchadnezzar trains the cream of the crop of the captives for future service:• A thorough Babylonian education and training was necessary.• After education the subjects would be sent back to administer their homeland or serve at the court in Babylon.
What did they have to learn?1) The tongue (language) of the Chaldeans .2) Literature of the Chaldeans.Tongue (language)• Akkadian (Native language of Babylonians)• Sumerian (Ancient language of Sumer –used in religious practices and technical literature.• Aramaic (language of international commerce and diplomacy)
What did they have to learn?Literature of the Chaldeans• The literature of the Chaldeans, whose name became a byword for “magician” or “diviner”, most likely included the study of astrology and the art of divination.• These were condemned in the old testament (Deut 18:10)
Changing their names• In the ancient Near East, names and their connotation formed part of a person’s identity.• Obliterating any references to the Hebrew God was the goal.• Substituting names alluding and referencing Babylonian gods.Nebuchadnezzar did not compel the Hebrew youth to renounce their faith in favour of idolatry, but he hoped to bring this about gradually.
Daniel 1:8-138 ButDaniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himselfwith the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which hedrank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that hemight not defile himself.9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with theprince of the eunuchs.10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord theking, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should hesee your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort?then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.11 Thensaid Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had setover Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
Daniel 1:12-1312 Provethy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and letthem give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.13 Then let our countenances be looked upon beforethee, and the countenance of the children that eat ofthe portion of the kings meat: and as thou seest, dealwith thy servants.
Daniel 1:14-1714 Sohe consented to them in this matter, and proved them tendays.15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appearedfairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat theportion of the kings meat.16 ThusMelzar took away the portion of their meat, and thewine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge andskill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understandingin all visions and dreams.
To eat or not too eat...• Not just because some of the food was most likely unclean, but also because it had been offered up to idols before it was served.• Babylonian royal mean began with an act of worship, and those who participated in the meal considered themselves as having taken part in the religious rite.
To eat or not too eat...• To refuse could have been regarded by the court as an insult to the king and as evidence of insubordination.• The Hebrews refused to violate their conscience; their determination not to do so may indicate that they were in the habit of turning away from evil.• God honoured the faith of the young men and performed a miracle.
Daniel 1:18-2118 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he shouldbring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them inbefore Nebuchadnezzar.19 Andthe king communed with them; and among them all wasfound none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:therefore stood they before the king.20 Andin all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the kingenquired of them, he found them ten times better than all themagicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
God Honours Faithfulness1 Samuel 2:3030 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed thatthy house, and the house of thy father, should walk beforeme for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; forthem that honour me I will honour, and they that despiseme shall be lightly esteemed.Though forced to undertake a process of assimilation,the true source of their wisdom was not the Chaldeancurriculum, but the God of Israel.By remaining firm in their challenge, they gainedexperience that helped them in the future. They wouldmost likely have succumbed to the greater tests inchapters 3 and 6 had they failed in this test.
Lessons• God is in control– God is sovereign and directs the world by His providence. While He gave Jerusalem into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, he also gave knowledge and skill to the four young Hebrews.• Tests of character are opportunities to grow.• Christians must stand up for what they believe- The Hebrew youth did so and were willing to resist the dominant culture of their day.
Christians today live in a strange land • Surrounded by a culture hostile towards most basic Christian values. • The god of modern culture is the god of self- personal gratification and self-realisation over any sense of the other person.
Ask yourself• Whose am I?• Do I belong to the Lord?• And if so, how am I to relate to the culture in which I live?John 17:1818 As thou hast sent me into the world,even so have I also sent them into theworld.14 I have given them thy word; and theworld hath hated them, because theyare not of the world, even as I am notof the world. Romans 12:2 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.