Theme; Historical Introduction.

Theme; Historical Introduction.

70-003 (Daniel 1:1–2:4a)

End Time Bible Prophecy: Daniel Prophecy Seminar.

THEME.

[1] What is the theme of the Book of Daniel? Deliverance. This book reveals the experiences of God’s people from the days of Daniel down to the close of time when Michael (Jesus Christ) “stands” and “guard over His people.” It will be a time of distress [trouble] “such as never occurred since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1).

Here “the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, above, behind, and through all the play and counterplay of human interest and power and passions, the agencies of the All-merciful, One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will” (PK 500).

Each of the four lines of prophecy reaches a climax when – [a] “the God of heaven” sets “up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44); [b] the “Son of man” receives “everlasting dominion” (Dan. 7:13, 14); [c] when opposition to the “Prince of princes” is “broken without hand” (Dan. 8:25); and [d] when God’s people are delivered forever from their oppressors (Dan. 12:1).

AUTHORSHIP AND DATE.

[2] Who is the author of the bank of Daniel? The prophet Daniel.

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”” (Daniel 12:4, NKJV) “Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank.” (Daniel 12:5, NKJV) “And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:9, NKJV)

  • Daniel speaks of himself a number of times in the first person. This implies that he recorded his own experiences (See Dan. 7:15; 8:15, 27; 9:2; 10:2, 7; 12:5). He probably completed his work in the 530s B.C., during the reign of Cyrus.
  • Compare the following verses: “And Daniel continued there even to the first year of King Cyrus [at the close of the seventy years’ exile of Judah in Babylonia, which Jeremiah had foretold].” (Daniel 1:21, AMP) “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar.” (Daniel 10:1a, AMP)

[3] How did Daniel (a captive) rise to high positions in the Babylonian government? “As a teenager, possibly about 15 years old, Daniel was kidnapped from his noble family in Judah and deported to Babylon to be brainwashed into Babylonian culture for the task of assisting in dealing with the imported Jews. There he spent the remainder of a long life (85 years or more). He made the most of the exile, successfully exalting God by his character and service. He quickly rose to the role of statesman by official royal appointment and served as a confidant of kings as well as a prophet in two world empires, i.e., the Babylonian (2:48) and the Medo-Persian (6:1, 2).” [John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Handbook, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 216–217].

[4] Did Jesus recognize Daniel as the author of this book? Yes. “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),(Matthew 24:15, NKJV)

  • This reference to Daniel is evidence that Jesus believed that Daniel was a historical person, that he was a prophet, and that he wrote the book of Daniel.” – (SDA BC 5:499). Jesus told His followers to study Daniel’s prophecies and seek to understand them. According to Jesus, they can be understood. In this same statement, Jesus recognized that Daniel spoke the words of the book of Daniel.

[5] When was the book of Daniel written? “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” (Daniel 1:1, NKJV)

  • Since the book was written by the prophet Daniel, it would have had to be written while the prophet lived, in the 6th century B.C. Daniel was taken captive to Babylon in 606 B.C. and lived on into the Medo-Persian reign, which began in 538 B.C. Hence, the book of Daniel must have been written sometime during those years.

[6] To what event does the hook of Daniel point? End-Time events—(just before the Second Coming of Jesus).

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”” (Daniel 12:4, NKJV) “And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:9, NKJV) ““But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13, NKJV)

[7] What are the two parts to the book of Daniel? There are two basic sections: Chapter 1-6: (History)–contains stories about Daniel’s day; Chapter 2, 7-12: (Prophecy) — contains prophecies pointing to the end-time.

  • What the book of Daniel says about history provides a key that unlocks the meaning of history, while its prophetic section opens a window through which we see how the God of heaven is guiding the affairs of this world towards that great climactic event, the second coming of Christ.
  • Many people in their haste to quickly unravel the prophecies of Daniel have skipped the historical section and missed a lot of the meaning in the book. The stories of Daniel are not given simply as stories; rather they illustrate what the prophecies predict. The stories reveal that what happened to Daniel and his friends in ancient Babylon are symbolic of the experiences of the people of God in the end-time.
  • Always remember that the focal point of the book of Daniel is the time of the end – the end of the conflict between good and evil. In this seminar, we will study the entire book, chapter by chapter, including both the historical and prophetic sections. We shall study the historical section to discover the message there tor the end-time, and then we will discover how the prophetic sections have predicted those very conditions in the last days. What an exciting study awaits us in the book of Daniel! In addition, we will be studying the great key prophecies of the book of Revelation.

[8] Is the study of prophecy important? Very important? “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” (2 Peter 1:19, NKJV)

WHEN LOYALTY AND FAITHFULNESS IS REWARDED.

[9] What occurred in the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign?In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.” (Daniel 1:1–2, NKJV)

  • Jehoiakim reigned from 609-598 B.C. and “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 36:5). It was in his 3rd year, 606 B.C., that Nebuchadnezzar came and besieged Jerusalem, in which time he  took some of the vessels of the temple of the Lord and some of the inhabitants, Daniel and his three friends included.

[10] What was the result of the siege? King Nebuchadnezzar put the vessels from the temple of God into the temple of Marduk (formally named Bel) the god of the Babylonians, (Jeremiah 50:2). All of this came to pass according to the word of the Lord through Isaiah the prophet. (2 Kings 20:16-17)

  • Jerusalem was besieged 2 more times, once under the reign of Jehoiachin 597 B.C. and secondly under the reign of Zedekiah in 586 B.C. in the which, Jerusalem’s walls were pulled down; also the temple and the city was burned only leaving husbandmen to tend to crops. (see 2 Kings 24; 25; 2 Chronicles 36)

[11] What command did the king give?Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles,” (Daniel 1:3, NKJV)

  • Isaiah prophesied of the fact that king Hezekiah’s sons, or the kings seed, would be taken captive by the Babylonians, and made eunuchs (in a physical sense of the word), in the palace of the king of Babylon. (Isaiah 39:7)

[12] What qualifications were required?Young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.” (Daniel 1:4, NKJV)

[13] What was the king’s appointment in regard to their food? How long was their course of training to continue? For what purpose was this training? And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.” (Daniel 1:5, NKJV)

  • Nebuchadnezzar told Ashpenaz, the master of the eunuchs, to choose out children of the kings seed (which can be read as youth as Daniel was 18 years of age), that had no blemish, or physical defects, (Leviticus 24:19-20) but well-favoured or good looking in appearance. Skilful in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, understanding science, and have the ability to be able to stand or hold a position in the king’s palace. Those that were chosen had to be able to be taught in the schools and tongue of the Chaldeans.
  • It is obvious that those who were chosen were well educated, which is another reason why they were not just children. What should make the reader sit back and look at what has just been read is this; an idolatrous king demanded perfection in those who were chosen. And he was so concerned in their well being, that he would not allow ordinary food to be fed to them. Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to be fed with what he regarded as the best, which is the food from his own table. If this is expected by an idolatrous king, how much more is expected by the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
  • The question must be asked, why did Nebuchadnezzar not wipe out the opposing kings seed, but wish to educate them in the affairs of his kingdom so that they could stand in his palace? The answer is rather a simple one. Nebuchadnezzar was a very wise king, and by doing this he would guarantee, more fully, the loyalty of the captive nation to his own kingdom.
  • At the end of three years they were to stand before the king, obviously to be tested by him to see how they have faired, (see verses 18-20).

[14] Who were among the young men selected? What names were given to them?Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.” (Daniel 1:6–7, NKJV)

Notice The Pagan Name Change:

  • Daniel (God is my judge); → Belteshazzar (Keeper of the hide treasures of Bel).
  • Hananiah (Yahweh is God); → Shadrach (Inspiration of the sun—Sun worship)
  • Mishael (Who belongs to God); → Meshach (Of the goddess Shaca—Venus worship)
  • Azariah (Yahweh helps); → Abednego (Servant of the shining fire)

[15] The change of names was customary of this time, but why to names of pagan deities? This was to encourage them, or influence them, to compromise, (conform to), and take up the idolatrous religion and practices that encompassed them in the Babylonian nation.

[16] Why did the young men cooperate with their pagan captors? “Even though they were given new names that honored the false gods of Babylon, the young men did not seem to protest. Why? First, these young teenagers probably were hostages, held by Nebuchadnezzar to prevent a revolt by those who remained in Judah. Resistance could have meant death to the young men and to their relatives back home. Second, the prophet Jeremiah, warning of Babylon’s invasion, had told the people not to fight back (Jer 21:9)—and most hadn’t” (NIV Quest Study Bible Notes)

[17] What purpose did Daniel form? What request did he make? “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8, NKJV)

“Because Daniel resolved to remain loyal to the Lord, he could not allow himself to be absorbed into Babylonian culture in ways that conflicted with holiness, including eating the meat of “unclean” species of animals (Lev. 11; Deut. 14; compare Gen. 7:2, 8–9, 20). There were probably additional problems with the Babylonian diet: meat may have been slaughtered without properly draining its blood (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:10–12; compare Acts 15:20, 29), and food and drink may have been offered to idols (compare Num. 25:2; Acts 15:20, 29).” [Jon L. Dybdahl, Ed., Andrews Study Bible Notes, (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2010), 1110].

[18] How was Daniel regarded by the one in charge of them? “Now God made Daniel to find favor, compassion, and loving-kindness with the chief of the eunuchs.” (Daniel 1:9, AMP)

[19] What reply did he make to Daniel’s request? “And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, I fear, lest my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink, should see your faces worse looking or more sad than the other youths of your age. Then you would endanger my head with the king.” (Daniel 1:10, AMP)

[20] What trial did Daniel propose? “Then said Daniel to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove your servants, I beseech you, for ten days and let us be given a vegetable diet and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat of the king’s [rich] dainties be observed and compared by you, and deal with us your servants according to what you see.” (Daniel 1:11–13, AMP)

[21] How was this proposition regarded by Melzar? “So [the man] consented to them in this matter and proved them ten days.” (Daniel 1:14, AMP)

[22] What was the result of this test? “And at the end of ten days it was seen that they were looking better and had taken on more flesh than all the youths who ate of the king’s rich dainties. So the steward took away their [rich] dainties and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.” (Daniel 1:15–16, AMP)

[23] What did God give to these children? What special gift was bestowed upon Daniel? “As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all [kinds of] visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17, AMP)

[24] When were they brought in before the king for examination? “Now at the end of the time which the king had set for bringing [all the young men in], the chief of the eunuchs brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.” (Daniel 1:18, AMP)

[25] How did they compare with the rest that were examined? How were these Hebrew captives honored? “And the king conversed with them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were assigned to stand before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king asked them, he found them ten times better than all the [learned] magicians and enchanters who were in his whole realm.” (Daniel 1:19–20, AMP)

  • The results were remarkably in favour of Daniel and his friends, for the Lord blessed them with fairer and fatter countenances. So the portion of the king’s food was taken away completely and they were feed pulse and water. Here is a lesson for us all– “O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.” (Psalm 34:8, AMP)
  • Beloved, God blessed them with wisdom and knowledge in learning. Also to Daniel, He gave the understanding in visions and dreams as we will see in future chapters. Remember that God is the author of these. “For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6, AMP) “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, AMP)
  • Lesson: God is willing to bless those that put their faith and trust in Him, but that also we need to not just sit back and wait for the Lord to bless. As Daniel made every effort to have their diet changed, having faith in God to open the door of opportunity, so too are we to move forward by faith.

[26] What is further said of Daniel? “And Daniel continued there even to the first year of King Cyrus [at the close of the seventy years’ exile of Judah in Babylonia, which Jeremiah had foretold].” (Daniel 1:21, AMP)

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: “But Daniel determined in his heart that he would not defile himself by [eating his portion of] the king’s rich and dainty food or by [drinking] the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might [be allowed] not to defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8, AMP)

“When Daniel was in Babylon, he was beset with temptations of which we have never dreamed, and he realized that he must keep his body under. He purposed in his heart that he would not drink of the king’s wine or eat of his dainties. He knew that in order to come off a victor, he must have clear mental perceptions, that he might discern between right and wrong. While he was working on his part, God worked also, and gave him “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” This is the way God worked for Daniel; and He does not propose to do any differently now. Man must cooperate with God in carrying out the plan of salvation” (RH April 2, 1889).

“There were several reasons why a pious Jew would avoid eating of the royal food: (1) the Babylonians, like other pagan nations, ate unclean meats; (2) the beasts had not been properly killed according to Levitical law (Lev. 17:14, 15); (3) a portion of the animals eaten was first offered as a sacrifice to pagan gods (see Acts 15:29); (4) the use of luxurious and unhealthful food and drink was contrary to strict principles of temperance; (5) for Daniel and his friends there was the added desire to avoid a flesh-food diet. The Hebrew youth determined to do nothing that would interfere with physical, mental, and spiritual development.” [Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977), 4:760].

The first test that these young men were faced with was the test of appetite. This seems to be rather an insignificant matter. But if we look to history we find that Adam and Eve’s first test was upon appetite. (Genesis 3:1-3) Christ’s first test in the wilderness, in reclaiming what man had lost, was appetite (Matthew 4:3)

This should be a warning sign to us today that appetite has a direct link to our spiritual life, for it shows that when the appetite is ruling sin is lying at the door. And when it is not ruling but under the control of reason, it is harder for sin to take hold upon us. So what we eat and drink can either hinder or promote our relationship with God: “So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, AMP)

Obviously a portion of the food and wine was unfit to eat and drink according to the laws of health. (Leviticus 11; Proverbs 20:1) Why Daniel and his friends purposed/determined in their hearts not to eat or drink of the king’s foo? Because the “law of his God was in their hearts” (Ps. 37:31), so “they inclined in their hearts to perform God’s statutes always” (Ps. 119:112), and to “not do any evil thing” (Ps. 141:4), in “defiling the temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16-7). So Daniel requested of Melzar that he might not defile himself.

Here is a lesson for parents too: I believe their parents (godly Hebrew parents) did a good job in instructing them as children in the way that they should go. The scriptures says “Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, AMP) What about us? How are we guiding and instructing them?

ACTION STEP: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do? [1] Like Daniel, we ought to make a conscious decisions not to defile our bodies; [2] We must obey God at all costs: Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him; [3] We must believe that God can bring good out of every bad situation, so trust Him: so, Trust Him.

MY DECISION TODAY, By God’s grace:

  • I am determined to keep my body under.
  • I want to instruct my children in the ways of the Lord.
  • I want to keep God’s Law in my heart.
  • I will ask God for “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom.”

CLOSING HYMN (304 – Faith of Our Fathers):

Faith of our fathers, living still,

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whenever we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.

Have a Blessed Day:The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth.” (Psalm 145:18, AMP)

The Gospel’s Voice/ Bible Study Guide/ Prophecy/ Daniel Prophecy Seminar/ Lesson # 3.