Wednesday Studies EBC Started October 16, 2013 1 Daniel
Dreams That's Daniel sleeping in the lions' den. The Keyword for the book of Daniel is Dreams. That's because nearly all (9 of 12) chapters of Daniel deal with a dream. Deported to Babylon as a youth, Daniel serves in the courts of Babylonia and Persia during the 70-­‐year exile. Used by God as His spokesman to both Gentiles and Jews, Daniel demonstrates God's power through his prophecies and his life of godly obedience. The adventures of Daniel and his friends in the palace, the fiery furnace, and the lions' den show that even during the exile God does not forget His chosen people. Through Daniel, God provides dreams—and interpretations of dreams—designed to convince Jew and Gentile alike that wisdom and power belong to Him alone. His message is clear: God is in control, not only of the present, 1
but of the future! I.
THE MESSAGE The book of Daniel is most profitable book for some and most problematic book for others. For the Bible-­‐believing Christian this puts Daniel on the “must read” list. From both a historical as well as prophetical viewpoint Daniel is priceless. Seeing what was prophetical at the time of the writing of Daniel now fulfilled with sterling accuracy gives us assurance that what remains will be fulfilled and a like manner. Still further Daniel is a most profitable book because it describes the life of a very godly man, living in an ungodly world. Only about half of the Book of Daniel is prophetic; the rest is history. In the historical chapters of Daniel we find familiar stories, of Daniel in the lion’s den, and Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace. These exciting stories provide models for all of us as to how we should live in an ungodly world, until that time when the Lord fulfills His prophetic promises and returns to the earth to establish His kingdom. Seeing the courage , conviction, and commitment of Daniel and his friends in the first six chapters will unquestionably challenges us concerning our own walk in a this “present (Gal 1:4
(11:32) evil world.” ) Surely those who would “know their God ... be strong, and carry out great exploits.” in times of testing and trials would do well to spend much time musing on these chapters. But for the unbelieving skeptic the message and meaning of this great book puts it on the “hit list.” Both the miracles and prophecies of this book put it in the cross hairs of many who would seek to empty the Bible of the supernatural. To quote from the Prophecy edition of the New King James Bible: For various reasons, many critics have argued that Daniel is a fraudulent book that was written in the time of the Maccabees in the second century ac., not the sixth century B.C. as it claims. But their arguments are not compelling: (1) The prophetic argument holds that Daniel could not have made such accurate predictions; it must be a "prophecy after the events." Daniel 11 alone contains over one hundred specific prophecies of historical events that literally came true. The author, the critics say, must have lived at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-­‐163 ac.) and probably wrote this to strengthen the faith of the Jews. But this argument was developed out of theological bias that assumes true prophecy cannot take place. It also implies that the work was intentionally deceptive. (2) The linguistic argument claims that the book uses a late Aramaic in 2-­‐7 and that the Persian and Greek words also point to a late date. But recent discoveries show that Daniel's Aramaic is actually a form of the early Imperial Aramaic. Daniel's use of some Persian words is no argument for a late date since he continued living in the Persian period under Cyrus. The only Greek words are names of musical instruments in chapter 3, and this comes as no surprise since there were Greek mercenaries in the Assyrian and Babylonian armies. Far more Greek words would be expected if the book were written in the second century B.C. (3) The historical argument asserts that Daniels historical blunders argue for a late date. But recent evidence has demonstrated the historical accuracy of Daniel. Inscriptions found at Haran how that Belshazzar reigned in Babylon while his father Nabonidus was fighting the invading Persians. And Darius the Mede (5:31; 6:1) has been identified as Gubaru, a governor appointed by Cyrus. 1
Walk Through The Bible Ministries. Wednesday Studies EBC Started October 16, 2013 2 Daniel
Sinclair Ferguson wrote: Many scholars date the latest sections in the book in the second century B.C. Several reasons are advanced for this view including technical historical and linguistic arguments. These arguments have been faithfully dealt with by competent conservative scholars over the decades.' Sadly, they have been almost entirely ignored by the critical scholarly community, as a glance at the bibliographies of critical commentaries on Daniel will underline. Without doubt the principal argument for a late dating lies in the extended description of future events contained in Daniel 11. Here we find an outline of historical events between the days of Daniel (the sixth century B.C.) and those of the Syrian ruler Antiochus IV (the second century B.C.). It is inconceivable to the critical mind that such an outline could have been revealed to a man in sixth-­‐century Babylon. It is akin to suggesting that Martin Luther could forecast the flow of world history from time of the Reformation up through the Second World War. It would be wrong to tar all critical scholars with the same brush. Some would argue that this is not so much the issue for them as fact that the Book of Daniel as a whole breathes the spirit of a genre of literature that was characteristically pseudonymous. The book is set in the sixth century B.C. but its author did not expect any of readers to believe it was written then, any more than the author of a historical novel written in the first person would expect his read to think that his book was written at the time of the hero or heroine. In contrast to this view the rest of Scripture views the content the Book of Daniel as historical. The references to Daniel 3 and Heb. 11:33-­‐34 and our Lord's description of him as a prophet (M 24:15) point in this direction. Nor is there any evidence that earliest readers of the book regarded it as a work of fiction. We should not tone down how contrary to human expectation experience the visions in Daniel actually are. We need to ask ourselves: Do we seriously believe that our God gave such a remarkable revelation? In the final analysis, the great issue may be one that surfaces in Daniel itself, in the questions: Do we have a God who knows and rules the future? Do we have a God who reveals secrets to His people? Do we have a God who delivers men from burning furnaces? Or is this world a closed system—a place where God is essentially the stranger who set it all in motion, providing at best an endowment fund of natural and moral laws which, if broken, lead to disaster? Lurking behind the denial of the possibility of predictive prophecy is a deistic rather than a Christian and biblical view of God. II.
THE MAN I begin with a quote from Geoffrey R King: “There is no character in the Bible, save only Jesus Christ, whom I more admire than this man Daniel. I do not think there is a more wonderful man in the Bible than Daniel on the human level, for this reason supremely, that there isn't a single flaw revealed in Daniel's character. Now there are other good men in the Bible but they all have their faults. Daniel, so far as we can tell, had no fault whatever. …An extraordinary man! Now that is a big thing to say in itself; but the bigness of it, the uniqueness of it, lies here, that for all his life Daniel had every opportunity to be spoiled and yet never was.” We are told little about the ancestry and early life of Daniel. His parents are not named, but it does seem that he was either of royal or noble ancestry (1:3). The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that Daniel and his three friends were all kinsmen of 3
King Zedekiah. He was transported from his native Jerusalem to Babylon as a teenager of perhaps only fourteen or fifteen years of age. That godly integrity was already a mark of his character even at this young age is seen in the opening chapter. That godly integrity would remain a hallmark of his life and is attested to over and over in his long service in the courts of Babylon and Persia. Leon Wood helps us see this truth with this vignette: The book of Daniel sets forth five outstanding events from Daniel's life in Babylon. The first was the decision he made, along with the three friends, to request food other than that prescribed by King Nebuchadnezzar (ch. 1). This came almost immediately after the arrival of the four in the foreign land. The second, occurring about two years 2
Mastering the Old Testament , Vol. 19, Daniel, pp 18-­‐19, Word Pub.. Antiquities X, 10,1 Wednesday Studies EBC Started October 16, 2013 3 Daniel
later, concerned Daniel's revealing to the king what the king had dreamed and the interpretation of it (ch. 2). The third had to do with Daniel's interpretation of a second dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which likely came about thirty years after the first. This event concerned Nebuchadnezzar's seven-­‐year period of insanity, which is best taken as having transpired toward the close of his forty-­‐three-­‐year reign (ch. 4). The fourth was his reading of the miraculous writing on the palace wall of Belshazzar. This event occurred the evening prior to Babylon's fall to the Persians (539 B.C.) when Daniel was at least eighty years of age (ch. 5). The fifth, the occasion of his being cast into the den of lions, came probably within three years of Babylon's capture by Cyrus (ch. 6). At this time Daniel had chosen to honor his God rather than obey an improper, foolish decree of King Darius. The Persian ruler had found it necessary to effect the punishment designated in the decree he had signed, even though trickery had been used by enemies of Daniel to persuade him to sign it. Think about it, he was a captive and member of a foreign race and yet he rose to the highest position in the State of Babylon. Now what an amazing thing that is! His witness and wisdom would impact the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar in Babylon and then, Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian. How did he manage to keep his head (literally!) through all that time and through all those changes? By compromise and statecraft and diplomacy, as is usually the way of politicians? No, not one whit! Did he do it by any bowing down and giving way and going half-­‐way? Not at all! Throughout the book of Daniel he is seen as a man of righteousness and wisdom and that is reinforced by Ezekiel, a contemporary of Daniel, who would arrive in Babylon eight years after Daniel. The Lord pays great tribute to Daniel’s righteousness in Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 setting him along side of Noah and Job. Again God honors the wisdom of Daniel when he says to the prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:3 “ Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!” The man Daniel reminds us that we need not compromise our integrity to get ahead in life. For example, at-­‐the end of chapter 2 we read: “ Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole NKJV
province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.” (Da 2:48 ) Now presumably at the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel retired. We know nothing of Nebuchadnezzar's successor, his son, but we are introduced to the reign of his grandson, Belshazzar, in chapter 5 and in it, we find that Daniel was no longer chief administrator (because the Queen reminded the king that there was a holy man who in the reign of his grandfather did great things and so on and so forth) and Daniel is recalled from retirement, now an elderly man; but extraordinarily enough, he is recalled and promoted even higher! “ Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” NKJV
(Da 5:29 ) You say big deal the kingdom is going to fall that very night. Right you are but note what happens next. Emperor, Darius, the Mede,. makes Daniel a top man again. ““ 1. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom;” 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole NKJV
realm.” (Da 6:2-­‐3 ) Thois of course set in motions the whole lion’s den event. But when all was said and done we read: “ NKJV
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” (Da 6:28 ) Listen to this report from even his enemies: “4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him NKJV
concerning the law of his God."” (Da 6:4-­‐5 ) When they wanted to bring about his, downfall the only way they could do it was in his religious fidelity. The course of time Daniel's life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-­‐year period of the Babylonian captivity. It has been said that Daniel’s life can be summarized in three words-­‐ purpose, prayer and prophecy. (An Aside: Wouldn’t you like to find a whole bunch of Daniels in our U.S. Government? But don’t stop there; We need Daniel’s in our churches and in our homes! Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone! Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known. 4
“ "Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their
righteousness," says the Lord GOD.” (Eze 14:14 NKJV)
Wednesday Studies EBC Started October 16, 2013 4 Daniel
THE MAKEUP AUTHOR: Daniel The fact that Daniel writes in the autobiographical first person from 7:2 onwards is evidence of his being the human author of the book . And that fact is confirmed beyond dispute for me in Matthew 24:15. Here Jesus confirmed the authorship of Daniel saying: …..when you see the abomination of desolation spoken by y Daniel the Prophet Now for me that is it. I can stop there because if Jesus is wrong on the authorship of Daniel – if he is mistaken here – He is not God. That means he is not the Messiah and therefore can’t be my Savior. But because he died on the cross and rose again – after 3 days – proving He was exactly who He said He was – if He says Daniel wrote it that is good enough for me. But we do have additional support for his authorship. Josephus the Jewish historian gives witness to the Daniel authorship when the high Priest of Jerusalem shows Alexander The Great the prophecy of one of the Greeks destroying the empire of the Persians . Here is the Quote: “And when the book of Daniel was shewed to him wherein Daniel declared…” Another good proof of Daniel’s authorship – Daniel mentions his own name – over 80 times in the book. It is almost as if God anticipated the controversy and writes Daniel’s name across the entire book. 6
Yet again the Jewish Talmud attributes this book to the Daniel of the sixth century BC. THEME: The Sovereignty of God in the affairs of men. I can do no better than to quote Geoffrey King in total. “What is it all about? The theme of the book of Daniel is the Universal Sovereignty of God. "God is still on the throne": that is the message of this book: The Universal Sovereignty of God, seen and declared in the government of the nations. Now I think there are two key phrases to the book of Daniel. The first is in 2:28. "There is a God in Heaven." The second is in 4:25. "The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men." Now if you link these two phrases together you have the keyword of Daniel. "There is a God in Heaven—the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men." And in support of these key phrases you have such sentences as this, in 1:2 "The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand." Now, you see, that is the theme, the outlook of this book. An ordinary historian would have said that Nebuchadnezzar came and encircled the city of Jerusalem and captured it and conquered this king; but that is not how this book puts it. This puts it "The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand." The sovereignty of God over the affairs of men! Or turn to 2:37. "Thou, 0 king, art a king of kings: for the God of Heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength and glory." You see? Nebuchadnezzar said, "I have got all this. Is not this Babylon which I have built?" Daniel says, "No, that is not the true reading of the situation. Thou art a king of kings, but the God of Heaven has given it all to you. Or yet once more turn to 5:18. Here is the same Daniel speaking to Nebuchadnezzar's grandson. "0 thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory and honour." The Most High God gave it to him. So you see, this book of Daniel is a prophetic philosophy of history. And the theme of it is the kingdom of God. It teaches that the kingdoms of this earth are passing away and the kingdom of the Most High is going to abide; and through all the procession, through the running centuries, through all that is taking place, the Most High rules. …One of the great values of Daniel, especially in days like ours, is that its theme shows the sovereignty of God dealing with despots. Now we know all about despots. We know all about our "Nebuchadnezzar’s" We call them by different names and there are one or two of them still left. This book of Daniel is a book for today if only for the reason that it shows the sovereignty of God in dealing with despots: it shows the Divine limits to despotism: it shows that under the sovereignty of God the biggest of men will be humbled to the dust and brought to naught. Some people ask why such men are allowed to live. Well, one answer is that God may be vindicated as sovereign in them and through them Here is Nebuchadnezzar to begin with, one of the most ruthless tyrants that has ever lived, of the same ilk as Napoleon and Mussolini and Hitler and Stalin As “ "even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live," says the Lord GOD, "they would deliver neither son
nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness."” (Eze 14:20 NKJV)
“ (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!” (Eze 28:3 NKJV) The collection of ancient Jewish writings that forms the basis of Jewish religious law, consisting of the early scriptural interpretations Mishnah and the later commentaries on them Gemara 6
Wednesday Studies EBC Started October 16, 2013 5 Daniel
Daniel himself said about Nebuchadnezzar, all people, nations and languages trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom would he kept alive, and whom he would he set up and whom, he would he put down". Ah, but at the end of the story he is put-­‐ down by a Greater than he. And in one of the chapters of this, book we shall find that mighty monarch going out mad and eating grass like an ox, with his body wet with the dew of heaven. And the next one in the story is Belshazzar, a most presumptuous despot. If Nebuchadnezzar's sin was pride, Belshazzar's sin was presumption. '.' Lifted up himself;-­‐ against the Lord of Heaven. . ." we read And-­‐ you know what happened to Belshazzar. "God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting." He was succeeded by Darius, 'who was a much nicer man to get on with but just as much of a despot. And again we see the sovereignty of God over Darius. And after -­‐Darius, Cyrus. And what-­‐ do we know about. Cyrus? Why, God so took up that man Cyrus as to be able to refer to him as "Cyrus, my battle-­‐axe." -­‐God used him as a weapon! This, then, is the theme of the book of Daniel: The Most High ruleth, in the kingdom of men. There is a God in Heaven! Now interestingly enough, three out of these four despots in the book of Daniel came to make open confession of the supreme power and wisdom of God. Nebuchadnezzar goes even so far as to say this: "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." You know there is hope even for a dictator Perhaps we ought to pray more for the dictators of our time, that they may acknowledge God. I am a Free Churchman but I love some of the noble wording of the Church of England; and there is an ancient Litany, which needs to be prayed still in our day: "That it may please Thee to "forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers and to turn their hearts." So much then for the theme of the book of Daniel. HISTORICAL PERIOD: Captivity WHEN WRITTEN: About 530 BC. Daniel was taken captive during the reign of Jehoiakim (605 BC) His book records events and visions dating from 605 BC (1:1) to 536 BC (10:1). Therefore Daniel must have completed his book around 530 BC. As an aside the book is also unique in that portions are written in Aramaic. Interestingly, that portion which deals with the future Gentile kingdoms is in Aramaic while the prophecies of the end times are in Hebrew. WHERE MINISTERED: In Babylon throughout the 70 years of captivity. PURPOSES (1) Historical Purpose: Served to comfort the exiled Jews with news that their nation would be restored. (2) Doctrinal Purpose: Condemns the powers of this world and communicates God's plan to set up His kingdom in this world. (3) Christological Purpose: Christ is the coming Messiah, the son of man , the Ancient of Days, the great stone who will crush the kingdoms of this world. KEY CHAPTER: Daniel 9. Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks is important to all eschatological viewpoints. OUTLINE Content Outline: DANIEL’S PERSONAL LIFE 1-­‐6 DANIEL’S PROPHETICAL LIGHT 7-­‐12 DANIEL’S PERSONAL LIFE 1-­‐6 In chapters 1-­‐6, Daniel writes about his own life in captivity. He was selected to work for the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel (or his Babylonian name Belteshazzar), and his friends made bold and tough decisions and several times displayed their integrity to stand for Godliness instead of culture. They rejecting the king’s food, prayed when it was illegal to do so, and refused to bow to the king’s idol, for which they were thrown into a scorching furnace. Daniel interpreted the king’s dreams twice then was promoted as chief over all the wise men in Babylon. Yet, through all the great things that Daniel did He claimed it was God that did it through him and he gave all the glory to God, “ He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.” (Da 2:22 NKJV) DANIEL’S PROPHETICAL LIGHT 7-­‐12 Chapters 7-­‐12 contain the visions that Daniel received from God and the events that are involved in his prophetic ministry. A portion of these includes the earthly kingdoms that he lived in. They also mention the coming Messiah and the apocalyptic events to come. “8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?" 9 And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Da 12:8-­‐9 NKJV) Wednesday Studies EBC Started October 16, 2013 6 Complete Outline: John Phillip’s I. DANIEL AND His PERSONAL FRIENDS (1-­‐6) Key Thought: Personal Victory A. Times of Testing (1-­‐3) 1. The Challenge of a Believer's Walk (1) The Matter of the King's Meat 2. The Challenge of a Believer's Witness (2) The Dilemma of the King's Dream 3. The Challenge of a Believer's Worship (3) The Implications of the King's Image B. Times of Triumph (4-­‐6) 1. The Triumph of Truth (4-­‐5) a. Resulting in the Conversion of Nebuchadnezzar (4) b. Resulting in the Condemnation of Belshazzar (5) 2. The Triumph of Trust (6) The Den of Lions II. DANIEL AND HIS PEOPLE'S FUTURE (7-­‐12) Key Thought: Prophetic Vision A. The Character of the Future (7-­‐8) 1. The Nature of the Facts (7) Four Beasts: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome 2. The Narrowing of the Focus (8) Two Beasts: Persia and Greece B. The Control of the Future (9-­‐10) 1. Daniel's Vision (9) a. He Believes an Old Prophecy (9:1-­‐23): The Seventy Years b. He Receives a New Prophecy (9:24-­‐27): The Seventy "Weeks" 2. Daniel's Visitor (10) a. The Herald Angel b. The Hindering Angels c. The Helping Angel C. The Course of the Future (11) 1. The Coming of the Typical Antichrist (11:1-­‐35) 2. The Coming of the True Antichrist (11:36-­‐45) D. The Climax of the Future (12) 1. The Turmoil Is Seen (12:1-­‐4) 2. The Tribulation Is Sure (12:5-­‐7) 3. The Truth Is Sealed (12:8-­‐10) 4. The Times Are Set (12:11-­‐13) Daniel