Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.
This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from scripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.
Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.
Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!
– Dr. J
Bible Devotions or Bible Study?
Bible Devotions are like paying the minimum amount due on ones credit card debt. One seldom gains ground. Bible study is like paying the monthly balance in full plus something extra. We gain ground quickly!
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 clay.
Unlike the previous empires, Rome was never
defeated. It divided into the eastern and western ‘legs’ with the
eastern leg [Byzantine] outlasting the western portion by about 1000
years). Since the demise of the western portion, parts that made up
the old empire have had their day at ruling; The Ottoman Turks, the
French under Napoleon, The Germans, the Dutch, the Spanish and of
course, the British Empire. Even America (USA) was founded by people
from the old Roman Empire. As we come to this verse we are told of a
phase of the (Holy) Roman Empire of which our secular history knows
nothing. It is reasonable to conclude that it is yet to come,
something that is confirmed in subsequent verses and chapters of this
book. We are told this final phase of the Holy Roman Empire will
consist of feet and toes, partly potters clay and partly iron – not
a good mixture for these two will not stick together. This kingdom
will be divided, yet there will be the strength of iron in it. The
Antichrist will NOT unite but will divide. There will always be
And as the toes of the feet were part of
iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and
This verse hints at the strong part of this
kingdom ruling over the ‘partly broken’. This easily fits the era
of Antichrist. More on this as we get to chapter 11; Daniel’s view
of a future yet to become history.
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.
It is easy to just read over this verse and
continue with the interpretation; however, if we read carefully there
is a strange remark. We are told that, just as iron was mixed with
miry clay in the vision, they
shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.
Who are the ‘they’? From the context, and the fact that they mix
themselves with the seed of men, would seem to exclude them from
being the seed of men themselves. Chuck
Missler (among others) sees this as
an allusion to the Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels?). The first
mention of these beings is in Genesis 6, the flood came to wipe them
out, but we read they still existed (DNA) after
the flood (Gen 6:4) only to be finished off by Joshua and then
finally by David (remember Goliath & his brothers?). However
Jesus said: “as it was in the days
of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke
17:26). Might it be that the Nephilim
(offspring) of fallen angels are set to make a return as part of a
major End Time? Perhaps this may be the fallen angels themselves and
their offspring. (For more on this subject see ‘Alien
Encounters’ by Dr Chuck Missler &
Dr Mark Eastman.
And in the days of these [future]
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.
This verse confirms that the final phase of the
Roman Empire is a future not yet lived out, for ‘in
the days of these kings….”. The
simple fact that these kings have not yet reigned and from the
context it is clear that they must reign – nor have they been
destroyed, nor has the God of heaven set up a world government (which
is the whole subject of the dream), shows that this is yet to be
fulfilled. But when it is fulfilled it will be the end of man’s
rule and the beginning of God’s eternal kingdom that will stand.
1,000 years later it is the Great White Throne Judgement and eternity
for all will be in one of two places. None will be left in the grave.
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
JIV NOTE: Jesus Christ calls himself the “CORNER STONE.” [Ephesians 2:19-22] “the stone cut out of the mountains without human hands”
There are those who would try to suggest that
all prophecy has been fulfilled, and that Christ’s kingdom was
established at His first coming in and through the church.
Furthermore, it is proposed that the
church is now to fill the earth and subdue it in the name of Christ;
but this seems to be faltering if not coming to a stop. Churches have
rituals, liturgies, routines, and a bulletin but the Holy Spirit is
often missing. Today’s church is fill with unequally yoked
One of the
underlying points is a non-literal interpretation of scripture,
particularly in regard to prophecy. The emphasis is on getting people
into the church (nothing wrong with that
on the surface) but at the expense of watering down the word of God
so as not to be ‘offensive’ (and
there we have a two-fold and real problem – to present a sinner
with a gospel that says he is a sinner on his way to hell unless he
repents and puts his trust in Jesus, is always going to be offensive
until such a person is brought under conviction by the law – see
Psalm 19:7 / Rom 7:7 / Gal 3:24). By watering down the gospel message
and not presenting the law, the modern church becomes nothing more
than a caring social club. A group that
will yield to popular opinion, and political correctness every time.
The church today is a mix of unequally yoked people; some believers,
some just religious, and some unsaved or members of the “praise
team” musical talent. How does the Book of Acts play out today if
and when the worship service is unequally yoked worshipers?
As even a casual reading of this chapter (and
these last few verses in particular) will show, this simply cannot
be, because the church is not a political kingdom but it has been
made just that. The kingdom that God establishes here will be a
Theocracy. The fact that the church exists alongside political
‘kingdoms’ in the world today shows
that the church is not the stone cut without hands, for once that
stone smites the feet of the image, it all comes crumbling down and
there will be no more opposition. The
fact that the church has opposition in this order of things shows
that it cannot be the kingdom that
Daniel sees in his vision. It is also clear that the stone that is
cut from the mountain is done so without hands, i.e. supernaturally.
Jesus Christ our Rock! (See 1
Corinthians 10:4; Deut. 32:4; 2 Sam 22:2; Ps 18:31; Is 51:1; Matt
16:18; Acts 4:11; Matt 21:42-44; 1 Peter 2:8)
2 – Jesus will rule the nations with a
rod of iron – this hasn’t happened
yet! We are too busy today claiming His love and ignoring his
justness. We miss or ignore the full meaning of God’s Love. It also
means He loves JUSTICE.
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his
face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an
oblation and sweet odors unto him.
Nebuchadnezzar makes the classic mistake of
worshiping the instrument and not the source. Daniel had already made
the point that it was not because of his ability, but rather it was
because of the God of heaven that he was able to interpret the king’s
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.
Neb didn’t get it! The dream wasn’t to show
Nebuchadnezzar that God can reveal and interpret dreams, but to show
him that it is God who rules in the kingdoms of men. It is He who
puts one down and raises another up,“he removeth kings, and setteth
up kings” (Dan 2:21). As Jesus
said to Pilate:“Thou
couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee
from above” (John 19:11).
Nebuchadnezzar will get another warning that it
is God and not him that is running the show, but as we will see in
chapter 5, he once again misses the point and is humbled before God
and man in dramatic fashion! Keep in mind Jeremiah 33:10…”God
says, I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar…”Also keep on mind that God influences but does not interfere with
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
49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he
set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the
province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
So Daniel is promoted and ensures that his
friends are too. As a result of these four Jewish young men the wise
men of Babylon were spared from being cut in pieces and their houses
being made a dunghill. Were they grateful? The answer is an emphatic
NO! In fact as we move into chapter three we will find these wise men
conspiring against Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah
(Abed-nego) and trying to get them killed. Their principle
motivation; jealousy. After all they represented the greatest minds
in the kingdom but had been made to look foolish by four teenage
We left our previous article [#9] questioning if Daniel might have doubted if God would answer his prayer and give him insight as to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Note…he didn’t quote the Lord’s Prayer. Matthew gives specific instructions about our prayer life but that book wouldn’t be written for another 550 plus years. He did however go into his prayer closet and pray from the heart; not from a quote or tradition.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
21 And he changed the times and the seasons: he removed kings, and sett up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells 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 of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
Oswald Chambers once said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. The God that Daniel is thanking here is our God; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That means that the next time one is in a difficult situation, the God of Daniel is ready to take our call!
Philippians 4:6 states “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” This is a New Testament quote but Daniel practiced it hundreds of years before the New Testament was even written.
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 show unto the king the interpretation.
Daniel could have used this as an opportunity to get rid of all these other ‘wise men’, yet he says ‘destroy not’. Daniel no doubt saw this as an occasion to witness to them also, showing that, despite their fancy Babylonian names, there is just one God who reigns. The sad side to this in modern times is, there are many sitting in the pews today who build their hope and salvation upon a Daniel prayer of being saved due to someone else’s life in Christ. Perhaps these church attenders without Christ feel they will be caught up in the rapture by credit given for church attendance. This is a fatal and flawed thought.
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.
Arioch is typical of your bureaucratic professional type. Notice how he seems to take credit for solving the king’s problems! It is Arioch who claims to find the solution in another man’s abilities. Arioch didn’t find Daniel. Daniel found him.
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;’
After Arioch’s confident assertions, the king asks Daniel ‘Can you show me the dream and the interpretation?’ In effect Daniel says no way, nor can anyone else on earth! – Arioch’s heart must have skipped a beat! Fortunately, Daniel continued…
But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes 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;
Here Daniel gives the king a 7-word summary of the subject of the dream. Note that Arioch wished credit for discovering Daniel but Daniel only offers his God as the answer. This is the beginning of God training Nebuchadnezzar to be “His Servant” [Jeremiah 27:6].
“Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him.”
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 makes known to thee what shall come to pass. Now this is impressive. Daniel actually tells the king what he was thinking about before he went to sleep – it was this that gave rise to the dream. And notice again the scope of the dream: what is going to happen hereafter. Essentially Daniel did more than interpret the dream; he pointed out what was on the king’s mind prior to him even going to bed to have the unknown dream.
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 the thoughts of thy heart.
Daniel again makes it clear that it is not because he is more intelligent or better than anyone else that God has revealed the dream to him; but for 1) ‘their sakes that shall make known the interpretation’ i.e. Daniel and his three friends and 2) for the king himself that he would understand.
Here as in verse 49, Daniel includes his three friends in the ‘who deserves credit’ list. Just because Daniel was the one that received the vision does not negate the part that his friends played through their prayers. This should serve to remind us that those who support a ministry are as important as those who head up and are the public face of that ministry – ‘every part doing its share’ (Eph 4:16).
The Dream – Daniel 2:31-35
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.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs 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.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Notice that Daniel says WE will tell once again including his three friends. This verse even suggests that they came with Daniel to tell the king of his dream.
REMINDER: We left off in our previous article with the wise men of Babylon weaseling their way to addressing the King’s dream. He won’t tell them what it was but insists they not only interpret it but also (remind) tell him what it was. They can’t do it.
The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
King Nebuchadnezzar sees their problem, and just as he thought, there is a limit to these guys usefulness. Just as in the closing paragraph of our previous article in this series and its ending joke-comparison, Nebuchadnezzar is telling his wise-guys to “get their own dream” The problem now? How can he trust their interpretation? And he perceives that they are trying to stall for time. They are!
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 [and probably his father before him), till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation.
The king underlines the decree – cut to pieces; dunghill etc. – and then tells them that he doesn’t trust them. He probably has been suspicious previously. The king is not going to be fooled this time. He wants evidence of actuality as much as factuality. Can they do it? He suspects fake news or at this time in history, fake interpretations; Evidence not speculation. This is similar to so-called scientists who hide everything in “well over millions of years” while one states the ice age ended one million years ago and another states it was 4,000 years ago. It is all speculation but presented just as was previous Nebuchadnezzar wise-guys handle dreams…speculation that makes sense to the deceived or ignorant.
10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter: 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 requires, and there is none other who can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
It is interesting in scripture how often ‘evil’ men speak the truth. Here they are absolutely correct that only ‘the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh’ can do what the king is asking. Caiaphas, the high priest made the following true statement about Jesus that was also prophetic: “Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” (John 11:49-50). Judas said: “I have betrayed the innocent blood.” (Matt 27:4).
Socrates said: ‘It maybe that God can forgive sin, but I don’t see how’. This shows great insight and understanding of the nature of God and the nature of man. God is righteous and holy and therefore cannot just forgive and forget sin. Sin – the inherent nature of man since the fall – has to be paid for, if justice is to be done. God would simply not be just if He ignored sin – this is what Socrates realized. The problem is, how can a finite man pay an infinite price? It cannot be done. But because “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. So God, whose dwelling is not with flesh, became flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14) so that He, being infinite, could pay the infinite price for sin that we owed, thus once and for all satisfying the justice of a holy God.
12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
The king’s suspicions are now fact. His pay-role of wise men are not very wise.They are deceitful but not insightful.
13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
Even though Daniel and his friends were still trainees, king Nebuchadnezzar was prepared to abandon his training program as well as getting rid of the old guard. What was the point of wasting the king’s money on these wise men if none of them could help when he needed it? It probably was not a targeting of Daniel and his three friends as much as it was the entire system being fake. He most likely did not even know Daniel at this time. See the next verse…
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 from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
It would appear that Daniel was oblivious to the king’s dream up until this point, thus supporting the fact that he was still in training and had not yet graduated – otherwise he also would have been called before the king. Arioch is only too pleased to explain the situation to Daniel, as killing all the wise men of Babylon was probably the last thing he wanted to do.
Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.
This really is Jewish hut-spa! Daniel, only 16 or 17 at this time, not yet ‘qualified’, goes into the king who has just signed a decree to have him executed! But then again, he had nothing to lose. This highlights a problem for so many Christians; we have so much to lose; so much in this world that is important to us, that we don’t want to stick our necks out for the sake of God’s glory. Daniel at this time had nothing but his relationship with God. That was clearly foremost in his mind as he went to see the king. Daniel saw this as an opportunity to bring glory to his God.
Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
JIV NOTE: Note in this verse Daniel does NOT use his friends’ Babylonian names. He is writing text in Syriac but uses their Jewish names. This is just great! Daniel gets home and says to his friends: “Guess what guys, the king has had a dream. No one could figure it out so he was going to kill all of us…But I told him that you guys and I would be able to work it out! How cool is that? You can hear their reply: ‘You did what?’
Something tells me that Daniel did not need to encourage them to pray that evening!
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.
It’s at times like these that we are so glad that our God is merciful. What did they pray that evening? We can only speculate but possibly something like Psalm 28:1-2 “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.”
Or maybe Psalm 31:1-4: “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for a house of defense to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privately for me: for thou art my strength.”
We should also note that this verse says…”should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” This may mean Daniel expected the rest of these fakes to be cut to shreds” and their homes demolished. He wasn’t expecting that his intervention may save hundreds of others who were not of his blood line, but it will. However, a favor done is easily forgotten. We will see this in a later article on Daniel.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Keep foremost in mind that Daniel prayed three times a day from a window facing Judah and Jerusalem. He didn’t simply focus his prayer time beginning out of fear for being slaughtered. It was his daily practice he carried with him for his life time in Babylon. All answered prayer is an occasion to bless God; but how much more here when, thanks to Daniel and his big mouth, God’s reputation is on the line! Daniel’s faith is remarkable; did he have any doubt that God would answer them? Not that one would notice.
How often does one finally plead with God when things get turned upside down in life? Every covenant with Israel and promise to the Christian church in the New Testament and current times is based upon the premise of an ”If you, then I” foundation. Don’t wait for a crisis to finally make a foxhole visit with God. Consider the crisis may happen because God has been waiting patiently to hear from any of us who claim Christ as our Savior. It is simple. Being right now with “Dear God of Heaven…”
in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams,
wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
The third year of Jehoiakim as we have already seen in article #7 was 606 B.C. This was the year when Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, besieged it and eventually took the choice captives back to Babylon including Daniel and his friends. Josephus records that it was while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine that he got word that his father, King Nebopolassar, had died. In our way of thinking, Nebuchadnezzar actually became king in the autumn of 606 B.C. upon the death of his father. However the Babylonians (unlike the Jews) did not include the ascension year as part of a king’s reign. To the Babylonians, the first year of a king’s reign was counted from the first full year that he reigned. This makes 605B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar’s first year and 604 B.C. his second year. Daniel was taken to Babylon (as we have just noted) in 606 B.C. and we know from chapter one that he served a three-year apprenticeship before being presented to the king.
B.C. – Daniel’s 1st
year in training – Neb’s year of ascension
B.C. – Daniel’s 2nd
year in training – Neb’s 1st
year as king
B.C. – Daniel’s Final year in training – Neb’s 2nd
year as king
it would appear that it was during Daniel’s final year as a trainee
that Nebuchadnezzar had this dream. He would only be around 18 years
old. This explains why Daniel did not present himself before the king
when the king called for the ‘wise men of Babylon’. In fact, none
of the men that Ashpenaz was training for the king would have been
ready at this time, so those that presented themselves before
Nebuchadnezzar would no doubt have been the men who had served under
Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father; and as it becomes clear,
Nebuchadnezzar does not trust them!
ruled his empire and had complete authority; what he said went. There
was no government or cabinet that passed laws. It was all down to
what him and what he said (this is alluded to in the king’s dream
itself). No succeeding Babylonian ruler had this power. We see in
chapter 6 when king Darius (the Mede) signed a decree, he was bound
by the ‘law of the Meads and Persians’ (Dan 6:16). Although he
was the king, he was himself bound by the Medo-Persian law. Cyrus was
King of Persia while Darius the Mede was a sub king (Satrap) of
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.
The king is so disturbed that he calls for his royal advisors, he is evidently not bothered about how this will make him look. He just needs to know what this dream meant. Many dreams are an amalgamation or merger of thoughts and images that we have seen that day, or in recent days.
Some dreams are simply because we had too much pepperoni on the pizza before we went to bed. In the book of Daniel, there are many dreams recorded in the Bible such as those connected to Joseph in the book of Genesis (Joseph’s own dreams per the stars in the heavens, sheaths of hay, the butler and baker in prison, Pharaoh’s dream). In Job we read:
God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceived it not. In a dream,
in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in
slumberings upon the bed;” (Job
book of Acts, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel who said:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour
out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters
shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old
men shall dream dreams” (Acts
JIV NOTE: This should be taken to heart for those denominational ministers and religions who say such things as prophesy, visions from God, and dreams are only things of the past. This is a bit like global warmers who say the last ice age ENDED X thousands of years ago but without explanation as to when it ended or what was the cause. Prophecy, visions and dreams have NOT ended.
and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were
supposed to be experts in interpreting dreams. Archaeologists have
unearthed books containing formula whereby they would take the key
elements of a dream and come up with the interpretation. The
astrologers, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were
not just superstitious nut cases as we may think from our
understanding of the terms; these were men of great learning and
would have been highly respected. Babylon was famous for its science
and discoveries. The division of the elliptic into 360o
came from Babylon and was probably done so because of the earth’s
orbit, which at that time may well have only been 360 days. Thus
these characters were no daily newspaper horoscope columnists – yes
they dabbled in the occult, but they tried to apply scientific method
to their practices.
magicians: – sacred scribes, involved in mystic writings and secret
Astrologers – ‘Enchanters’, involved in séances (talking to
the dead – and stars; Maji)
The Sorcerers – principally involved in using drugs and hallucinogenic; incantations etc. The Chaldeans: – the Babylonian priests.
the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was
troubled to know the dream.
the king explains the predicament. Man is created in God’s image.
He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit just as we have a body, mind and
spirit. Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled within him. He had a
dream but couldn’t even recall it in as much as he was troubled by
spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac, O king, live: tell thy
servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.
usual (and no doubt wise) way you address the most powerful man in
the known world, the Chaldeans get straight in there and ask the king
to tell them the dream and they would be only too pleased to give the
interpretation – no doubt their formula books at the ready.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In the original manuscripts the writing in this verse changes from Hebrew (which the book has been in up to now), into Aramaic (Syriac). It is significant that Daniel then uses Aramaic all the while he is referring to the Gentiles. Later in the book when the focus comes back to the Jews he will switch back to Hebrew (chapter 7, verse 28). Normally in the Bible we see the world through the lens of Israel, however in Daniel we get a rare glimpse at the world from a purely gentile perspective. Perhaps it also means that beginning in Daniel 2:4, the target market of the scriptures is to the gentiles of this world and End Time parallels.
people assume that the Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament)
and Greek (New Testament). In general this is true. There are parts
in both the Old and New that are in Aramaic. Aramaic itself is
closely linked to the original Hebrew and was a pictorial language;
i.e. letters themselves were shapes – little pictures – that
carried meaning with them. As
with original Hebrew,
their letter ‘A’ was written like an ox head and meant
‘strength’. Their letter ‘B’ was drawn like a tent and
symbolized a ‘house’. Thus when you put the two letters together,
‘A’ & ‘B’ you get AB = the Strength of the House – this
is their word for Father! We see this in the word ‘Abba’ Father.
This is no longer the Hebrew in use.
was another biblical author who used both Hebrew and Aramaic, and in
the New Testament Jesus used Aramaic words, such as ‘Talitha cumi’
spoken to Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:41.
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
is some debate as to what Nebuchadnezzar is saying here; he is either
saying that he can’t remember the dream, or that the ‘thing’
that has gone [forth] from him is the command to interpret the dream;
it would seem more likely that it is the latter. J
would be a rather extreme judgment, but you can see what the king
wants. Frankly, a faulty translation of this verse gives the
impression that the king had forgotten his dream. He hadn’t
forgotten his dream. He knows the dream, senses its importance, and
refuses to divulge it to the wise men. Why? He wants to get a correct
interpretation of it. In the margin, the American Standard Version of
1901 translates “The thing
gone from me” as, “The word
gone forth from me.” In other words, Nebuchadnezzar is saying to
these men, “I will not change my mind about this judgment I am
pronouncing. Don’t beg me to tell you the dream—I’m not going
to do it. You are going to come up with the dream if I am ever to
listen to your interpretations.” The Berkeley Version has a helpful
translation at this point also: “The king answered the Chaldeans,
‘This word I speak, I mean! If you do not tell me the dream and
what it means, you shall be torn limb from limb and your houses will
be destroyed.’” Nebuchadnezzar is putting fear in these men. They
have to come up with the interpretation of the dream, but they first
of all have to give what the dream is.
wise men are fakes and know it. This is Nebuchadnezzar’s way of
separating the wise from the wise-guy.
if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall
receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me
the dream, and the interpretation thereof. Just
in case being cut to pieces and having one’s house made into a
dunghill was not a big enough incentive, the king offers a reward for
whoever can tell him the dream and the interpretation.
answered again and said, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream,
and we will shew the interpretation of it.’
was a real problem for them. They believed that they could interpret
dreams – if they had them! But without a dream to begin with, they
were well and truly stuck. A group of the scientists who believe that
they have become so clever they don’t need God. They explain to God
that they can now create life. God asks them if they could do it like
He did it – from the dust of the ground. They look at each other
and confidently assert that they could even do this, after all, the
essential ingredients that we are made of are found in the dust of
the earth. God decides to take them up on this challenge, so says ‘Go
ahead then. Create life from the dust of the ground’.
So the scientists bend down and pick up a few handfuls of dust to
head back to their laboratory. All of a sudden God interrupts them,
no you don’t. Get your own dust!”
Recall in our previous article that Daniel had just made a plea with his Babylonian trainer Ashpenaz. We learned that “An inscription was found on a monument that is now housed in the Berlin museum” confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” confirming the historical (secular) accuracy of Daniel. Daniel did not wish to violate his Hebrew culture and Judaism.
And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. The prince’s fear is certainly justified! As we will see in the following chapters, Ol’ King Neb had a habit of cutting people to pieces and turning their house into a dunghill! This was just too risky an experiment regardless of how much Ashpenaz liked Daniel. We should also note Daniel was with “others” in the same situation. They are not mentioned by name other than Daniel’s three other teenage captives from Judah we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Aben-nego.
Then said Daniel to (the) Mel[t]zar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel,
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Not wanting to take ‘no’ for an answer, Daniel then goes to Melzar, that is, the guard– this is what the Jews call ‘hutspa’. This is a little like “mommy says ‘no’ so let’s ask daddy!” This is the young teenager character of Daniel revealing itself though he is Spirit lead life. The word “Melzar” is not actually a name but a position; a title. King James calls this guard a “steward.” Strong’s interpretation makes it similar to what one would call a “butler”; i.e. melzar
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [vegetables & perhaps kosher meat] to eat, and water to drink. (Isaiah 61:11 – vegetables/pulse) This time Daniel suggests a 10 day trial. Pulse is not like it sounds! It would be vegetables and possibly kosher meat, but not meat sacrificed to idols.
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: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them [pulse] ten days.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating I’m not sure if ‘consented’ means ‘gave in’. The Hebrew word used for consented is shâma‛. It means to be intelligent about it.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
16 Thus Mel[t]zar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
Can anyone imagine how this went down with all the other Hebrew and possibly foreign captives! In all seriousness, this may have been the start of Daniel’s unpopularity with his colleagues that we see fester and grow in our subsequent chapters. He demonstrates that he is already a “take charge” guy and convincing. Again, note this verse states “than all the children” who were subject to this training. We also should note that the others in training did eat of the non-kosher foods.
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.
We strive so often to gain knowledge but without much understanding. Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding [Desire then Action]. It is the Lord who increases knowledge and gives understanding. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Only a short while ago Daniel and his friends were being taken captive and led to a foreign land uncertain of their future. But like Joseph in Egypt they remained true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He gave them favor exalting them in due time.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
18 Now at the end of the days [3 years]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 they before the king.
“For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Ps 75:6-7)
What is in a Name
Notice that Daniel uses their Hebrew names! “We will not let go of the truth we know.” Perhaps this also suggests that the Israelites were God’s chosen from all mankind thus the use of their Hebrew names, not the gentile ones the Babylonians gave to them. This brings to mind the old hymn “There’s a New Name Written Down in Glory.” Perhaps the composer/lyrics of this song had insight we don’t entertain. Once we are saved we get a new name and IT is written down in heaven (Burl Ives wrote the lyrics to this song)
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. Ten times better? This can only mean they were standouts. This surely added to the contempt of three years earlier when Daniel convinced the Mel[t]zer for exception to the food they ate. Now it included ALL of the king’s magicians and *astrologers; not just the other captive Hebrews boys held for three years of training.
Next article we meet the magicians & astrologers again, but now in chapter 2, so we’ll talk about them there, but regardless Daniel was ten times better. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
*See appendix per astrologers.
Here is an ahamoment for some and a reminder to those who have followed the articles in ahabiblemoments.com. Many times we read right through bible verbiage not catching its total context. History is not comprised of the bible as a religion and culture or nations and history. They are one and the same thing. The bible records history just as a study in high school or college would be if the topic was Middle East History. The following comes from the History of the Medes, neighbors of the Babylonians and Persians.
The Medes were an people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portion of present-day Iran. [Babylon would be near the eastern portion of present-day Iran (Persia) but in Iraq] By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes were able to establish an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves to be descended from the ancient Medes.
Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown. It was most likely similar to the Avestan and Scythian languages. [Scyths are descended from dispersed Jews from Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Many are those who remained behind after the Judeans were released by King Cyrus of Babylon to return to their homelands. Take note of the six tribes that made up the people of the Medes. Pay particular attention to the sixth tribe listed below. Now think of the birth days of Jesus]
The Six Median Tribes
Herodotus lists the names of six Mede tribes or castes. Some of these are similar to tribal names of the Scythians, suggesting a definitive link between these two groups.
The Busae group is thought to derive from the Persian term buza meaning indigenous (i.e. not Iranian). Whether this was based on an originally Iranian term, or their own name, is unknown.
The second group is called the Paraetaceni, or Parae-tak-(eni) in Persian, and denotes nomadic inhabitants of the mountains of Paraetacene. This name recalls the Scythian Para-la-ti, the people of Kolaxis, believed to represent the common people in general, but whom Herodotus calls the “Royal Scythians”.
The third group is called Strukhat.
The fourth group is the Arizanti, whose name is derived from the words Arya (noble), and Zantu (tribe, clan).
The fifth group were the Budii, found also among the Black Sea Scythians as Budi-ni. Buddha was of the tribe Budha, the Saka (eastern Scythian) form of the name.
The sixth tribe were the Magi…They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism [astrology]. The name Magi implies a link with the Sumerians, who called their language Emegir, over time becoming simplified to Magi. Hungarian tradition also traces pre-European Magyar (Hungarian) ancestry back to the Magi. In time, the Sumerian-influenced religion of the Magi was suppressed in favor of a more purely Iranian form of Zoroastrianism, itself evolved from its somewhat dualist beginnings into the monotheistic faith that it is today (also known as Parsi-ism).
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;
As we have just noted in our previous article #5, this also is fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah to Hezekiah. Two observations that we can make here are that Daniel may have been of the royal line “of the king’s (David) seed” and secondly, he would probably have been made a eunuch once in Babylon. This was a common practice because a conquering king would not want to have fertile chief advisers around the palace, for if they produced offspring they may conspire against the king and attempt to establish their own ‘royal’ line. It also meant that they were less likely to get distracted from their tasks by the king’s harem!
JIV NOTE: An inscription was found on a monument that is now in the Berlin, Germany museum confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” – so once again confirming the historical accuracy of Daniel.
Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
The practice of carrying away the best and brightest of a conquered nation was a good strategic move. First, it meant that the losing kingdom or nation is robbed of its future leaders as Russian or Germany did to the Poles in WWII. Second, it would help to keep the conquered nation in subjection, knowing that its favorite sons were ‘hostages’ under the ruling regime. The ancient cultures knew that a wealth of a nation is not only its silver and gold but its youth; if the next generation were to be destroyed the empire would crumble. What a contrast to today where our youth are being systematically destroyed by the eroding of morals and a sense of accountability. Today we send our young people to the “humanist training camps” we call universities where morals and the fear of God are sucked out of them. Then we commission research agencies to try to discover why suicide among young people is so high, why teenage pregnancy is out of control, why violent crime is on the increase etc. etc.
Can we really be surprised when Evolution underpins almost all further education, teaching young people that we are here by chance, we are nothing more than animals and that there are no absolutes? Evolution is anti-God and anti-science. The Bible tells us that “the fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Ps 14:1) and that “the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20) In other words, by the study of things that are made, i.e. science, we can clearly see that there is a God. This is what our young people need.
We read in Ecclesiastes 10:2 “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” We teach – You decide.
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.
They wanted these boys to be fit and healthy to serve the king as his advisors, so a three-year intensive preparation program was put in place. A three year training program had to include language studies. These boys spoke Hebrew, not Chaldean.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nebo
Part of this training program was subtle indoctrination. By changing their names they would begin to dissolve the ties with their homeland and the remembrance of their God. With Babylonian names they would better fit into Babylonian culture and eventually this would become ‘home’. SIGNIFICAN NOTE: This merging into the culture and forgetting one’s past was a successful tactic for the Babylonians as can be seen in the fact that after the exile, only 59,000 Jews returned home; the rest had taken root in Babylon. They remained “scattered.” Those who return home are the Judean Jews who became the Judeans of Jesus’ time (N.T. accounts are of these we now collectively call Jews).
Daniel, whose name meant ‘my God is Judge’ became ‘may Bell protect you’. Hananiah meant ‘God is gracious’, he became ‘Alumin by Rah’; i.e. commanded or enlightened by Aku.
Mishael was ‘Who is like the Lord’, he became ‘Who is like Aku’. Azariah’s name was changed from ‘The Lord is my help/salvation to ‘The servant of Nebo’. Odd but true, we remember many movie stars by their character names, not the given names. Even they change their birth names to Hollywood names BEFORE they also become characters in a TV series.
How much this change of names influenced Daniel’s thinking can be seen in the fact that only once does Daniel call himself by this new name, and it only appears ten times in total in the book – including this occurrence. He uses His Hebrew name 75 times.
Our next verse tells us of Daniel’s resistance to change away from his Hebrew:
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not [neither] defile himself with the portion 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
What an incredible statement by a young teenage boy. And even more remarkable when one tries to picture the following:
A 14-16 year old Daniel and his friends leave Jerusalem and travel for weeks across desert terrain. Suddenly they see a city in the distance. As they get closer the scale becomes clear. This is a city that is 15 miles per side, walls that are 330ft high and 80ft thick – wide enough for the Babylonians to have chariot races around the walls – six a breast! 250 towers are around the walls; 80ft brass gates reflecting the sun and shining for miles around, and the infamous hanging gardens that were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Euphrates River ran through the city under the walls. Babylon had orchards and vineyards inside the city as well as grazing for the herds; all kinds of trees and foliage – in the middle of a desert! It was completely self-sustaining. A siege of Babylon could not succeed.
There were over 200 open alters throughout the city, 153 different temples including one that had an 8 mile perimeter. Another had a perimeter of 3 miles. One table from the temple of Marduch was 40ft long and 6ft wide made from pure gold. The city was about 225 square miles inside, which is about 4-5 times the size of London today.
Into all of this come these four young Hebrew boys. One can hear the taunts: ‘Don’t tell us about your God – He’s the one whose temple we have just ransacked in Jerusalem, and we’ve brought all of His golden cups and bowls and shields to put them in the temple of our gods – you better start worshipping our gods, they’re the ones with real power!’ ‘You don’t want to keep those Hebrew names either, people will make fun of you – being named after that God. You need new names that people here will respect. Daniel, what’s the use of being called ‘my God is Judge’ from now on you should be called ‘may Bell protect you’. Hananiah, there’s no point being called ‘God is gracious’, if He was, you wouldn’t be here would you! ‘You can be ‘Illuminated by Rah’. Mishael, people will laugh if they hear you being called ‘Who is like the Lord’, so why not be ‘Who is like Aku’ one of our gods. And Azariah, you need to rethink your name ‘The Lord is my help/salvation; after all you are not in Jerusalem but Babylon. You should be called ‘The servant of Nebo’. Now what would be the problem with eating a bacon sandwich? Or maybe an Oyster? After all Daniel was now a long way away from those who would disapprove, what harm would it do and who cared in Babylon anyway, everyone else would be doing it and no one would think less of him?
WHO IS LIKE THE LORD?
JIV: BUT…put these four names together as a statement we get: “Who is like the Lord. The Lord is my salvation. I am a servant of God. God is my judge.” Consider this as a personal statement and hidden message via names; something to remember daily.
This was the temptation facing these young teenage boys, yet we read: “He purposed in his heart ” This was not a spur of the moment decision but a way of life that Daniel was not
prepared to compromise for anyone or anything. As Joseph in Egypt had rejected the lust of the flesh for the sake of his God, so did Daniel. Purity was the key; but it is so easy to give in, one only needs to do it once and there’s no going back. May we too purpose in our hearts not to remember the meanings of these four teenagers names.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:11-14)
“Who is like the God? God is my salvation. I am a servant of God. God is my judge.”
Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7)
From this point on these articles will be verse or section by section. Historical perspective will be included to help understand what was going on in the lives of God’s chosen people and other nations at this time.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
The book of Daniel opens with an historical statement. Critics of the Bible and of the book of Daniel in particular have questioned the historical accuracy of this statement on two counts; firstly, they say, there is no record of the siege other than this verse, therefore, they conclude, it could not have happened. Secondly, they say that in the third year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar was not yet king, yet Daniel declares him ‘king of Babylon’.
As regards to the siege; we know from Daniel chapter two that Daniel was in Babylon by the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, and that by then he had been there for three years; so how else did he get there if this siege is supposed not to have occurred? The truth is that these objections have now been thoroughly refuted by archaeological discoveries and competent scholarship. The writings of Berosus and Josephus, along with the accounts in Kings, Chronicles and Daniel all support the fact that Nebuchadnezzar did come into Palestine early in the reign of king Jehiokim; Berosus and Josephus also agrees with the Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles and Daniel in affirming that captives were taken from Judea to Babylon during this time.
Regarding when Nebuchadnezzar became king, it is true that Nebuchadnezzar did not officially become king until after he had laid siege to Jerusalem. Josephus records that Nebopolassar died while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine (606B.C.), thus by the Babylonian way of reckoning, Nebuchadnezzar’s first year would have been 605 B.C. (the year of ascension was not counted, being the final year of the previous king). So was Daniel wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar ‘king of Babylon’ before he was in fact crowned king? Of course not, Daniel was not writing a running commentary and in all likelihood did not start writing immediately when he was taken captive as a teenager to Babylon. Thus for Daniel to write about events that had taken place and refer to Nebuchadnezzar as ‘king’ would be no different than us talking about what Queen Elizabeth of England did as a child, when in fact she was an adult before she actually received the title of Queen. If this were not a satisfactory answer (which it is) then appeal can be made to the manor and custom of the time, of which we now have ample evidence, to show that the king designate could also be properly referred to as ‘king’ while his father was still alive and reigning (another example of this occurs with Belshazzar in Daniel chapter 5).
Critics of the Bible are much like a man who cannot do a crossword puzzle so he blames the puzzle or the designer of the puzzle. It would be foolish to claim that the puzzle was in error simply because of a lack of understanding. There is a beautiful simplicity in the Bible when one trusts it. Paul suggests that God does this on purpose to trap the so-called wise in their supposed wisdom: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)
“It is a fool who fights against a two edged sword with nothing more than convincing words” (Anonymous)
Whenever you meet a supposed contradiction in the Bible, don’t just reject it, search for the answer and, more often than not, it will reveal a fascinating insight. “It is the glory of God to conceal things: but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand ..
This is an incredible statement of faith on the part of Daniel. Israel had been living in fear of the Babylonians, fueled mainly by Babylon’s conquest of the surrounding nations, but no doubt added to by prophets like Jeremiah and Habakkuk who repeatedly warned that God was going to use the king of Babylon to judge Israel. God told Habakkuk “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans 9aka Babylonians), that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs.” (Hab1:5-6). Jeremiah prophesied: “this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years”. (Jeremiah 25:11) When Habakkuk and Jeremiah prophesied this, Babylon was nothing more than just a city state of the then great Assyrian Empire. This is partly why so many false prophets had risen up who didn’t want to bother with all this ‘doom and gloom’ prophecy stuff; who takes prophecies literally anyway? That’s just for the fundamentalists, right? – Sound like today’s religious institutions?
Well Daniel was a fundamentalist and he believed that prophecies should be taken seriously; God says what He means and means what he says! As a matter of fact Jeremiah was a fundamentalist as well! He even spoke out against the liberal theologians of his day – no wonder he was unpopular, he obviously didn’t know that it’s not politically correctto criticize others in public – he said: “Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'”
And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.”(Jeremiah 14:13-15).
The parallels with today’s church are uncanny. In Jeremiah’s day the great spiritual leaders were going around telling everyone ‘peace, peace’ but as Jeremiah said: ‘there is no peace’ (Jeremiah 6:13-14). Today on God TV and TBN (not that I have found on SBN) it’s the same; we have spiritual leaders telling countless viewers that we are heading for a time of peace and prosperity, a great revival is coming and the church will win the world! Apparently we will unite with our Catholic and Muslim brothers and sisters and there will be peace and unity! – I don’t think so!!! Fact is…I KNOW so.
TAKE CLOSE NOTE: Just as in Jeremiah’s day, judgment is coming: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).Jesus warned us in Matthew 13 that prior to the wheat being gathered into His barn (a picture of the Rapture), the tares in the church (false prophets and deceivers) would be gathered together into bundles to be burned.
Thus we see here an incredible model. Jeremiah had told the people that they would be safe if they trusted God and left Jerusalem when the time came. Those who despise, reject, or deny the prophecies would be destroyed. Today, those who are trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation and are ready and waiting will be taken to His Father’s house where they will be safe (John14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Those trusting in their church attendance or *denomination, or 5-step peace program by which they hope to gain the world ‘saying peace, peace when there is no peace’ – these will be cast into tribulation, where there will be no spiritual light, just anguish and pain. This is just scratching the surface of a vitally important topic. Consider seriously the ancient collapse of the Jewish nation, divided into two kingdoms, then gone. It was brought about by compromise and idolatry, and compare it to the church in the days we are living in; i.e. the time of the Gentiles. If God judged Israel as we read; do we honestly expect the God who is the same yesterday, today and to turn a blind eye to a church that openly embraces things that are an abomination to God?
*This will undoubtedly infuriate many but here is the asterix parallel. Today’s denominations, a dividing of “the church” puts each denomination at odds. Simply put (and here comes the anger) denominations put themselves above or the equal to the only church as Jesus intended. Since it comes before the church Jesus intended, it is now a idol to which affiliates cling and bow at the knee defending to the hilt his or her “denomination.” Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4: 4 & 5
Despite how it seemed on the surface, because he trusted God’s word through the mouths of the prophets, Daniel knew that God was very much in control and so he says: “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand”. This was no accident or haphazard event.
Nubuchadnezzar…..” 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”
Another example of the literal fulfillment of prophecy in this verse is the fact that Nebuchadnezzar carried away the vessels of the Temple. About 120 years before this, the son of the then king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and was given a guided tour by King Hezekiah. We read in 2nd Kings: “Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. (2 Kings 20:14-18).
Last article we ended with the question of where is the Ark of the Covenant today.
There are various theories about what happened to the Ark of the Covenant, but by far and away the most plausible is that it was taken by the Levites during the reign of king Manasseh who was desecrating everything that was holy, in order to keep it safe. It is believed that it was taken to Ethiopia. There are many legends of the ark being in Ethiopia including a previous study of the connection with Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and 1,000 years later, Phillip meeting with the Ethiopian eunuch.
Recent discoveries by Bob Cornuke have brought to light some compelling evidence to support this Levite belief. What makes all of this interesting is to realize that Pharaoh Necho was not himself Egyptian, but Ethiopian! Could this therefore be the reason that Josiah went out to fight with Necho? Even Ethiopian Necho himself was surprised by Josiah’s actions and told Josiah that he was following God’s instructions and claimed that ‘God is with me’ – a strange comment from a Gentile, unless of course he had the Ark! Bob is president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute in Colorado.
JIV NOTE: There was at times ONE EGYPT and at other times a northern and southern kingdom of Egypt. Ethiopians sat on the throne of Egypt many times throughout history.
Anyway, Josiah died in the battle and Necho went on to defeat the Assyrians as has been mentioned (and was prophesied in Isaiah 10:5-11). With Josiah now dead, his son, Jehoahaz became king in Jerusalem, that is until Necho, on his way back from the battle, stopped off at Jerusalem, and in reprisal put Judah under tribute, carried Jehoahaz away to Egypt and made Jehoahaz’s brother, Jehoiakim, king instead. SPECIAL NOTE: Ethiopia since the Queen of Sheba time had been under Judaism. IN MODERN TIMES IT HAS BEEN MOSTLY CHRISTIAN.
With the Assyrians conquered there was now a ‘power vacuum’ that needed to be filled. Necho was powerful, but there was a new kid on the block; a young general called Nebuchadnezzar. The king of Babylon at that time was Nabopolassar, but it was his son Nebuchadnezzar; i.e. Book of Daniel, who was destined to become one of the most powerful rulers the world has known. Three years after Necho had won at Carchemish he found himself going back again, but this time to fight against Nabopolassar’s Babylon under the command of Nebuchadnezzar. Necho lost the battle and so began the mighty Babylonian Empire.
Eager to make his mark, the young Nebuchadnezzar stopped off at Jerusalem on his way home for some trophies, and here begins the book of Daniel: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah…” (Dan 1:1) Jehoiakim was taken to Babylon but then allowed to return as a ‘vassal king’ and he reigned for another eight years. However the last five of these YEARS he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar despite the warnings from Jeremiah who faithfully continued to prophesy in Jerusalem. When Jehoiakim died (at age 36) his son Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah and sometimes simply Coniah) reigned, but only for three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9). The Bible says he was evil in the sight of the Lord for which a blood curse was put upon him and his descendants (Jeremiah 22:30).
NOTE: Jehoiachin/Jeconiah was of the royal lineage of King David. This poses a real problem from the coming Messiah who is to be a descendant of David, of the royal line! Spot the difference between Matthew’s 1:1-17 and Luke’s 3:23-37 genealogies!
Eight years after his first visit, Nebuchadnezzar came again, laid siege to Jerusalem and took Jehoiachin back to Babylon along with more captives including a certain young priest called Ezekiel. Ezekiel started prophesying from Babylon in what would have been the 5th year of Jehoiachin; by this time Daniel would have been about 27 years old.
King Nebuchadnezzar then made Zedekiah (Jehoiachin’s uncle: 2 Kings 24:17) the final king of Judah. Zedekiah reigned for eleven years before he too was carried away to Babylon after once again ignoring the prophecies of Jeremiah. (See Jer 34:2-3, then Ezekiel 12:13 and finally Jer 52:8-11 for a dramatic fulfillment of prophecy – Zedekiah went to Babylon, but he never saw it!)
In Jeremiah we read:“Nowin the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, And burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.” (Jeremiah 52:12-14)
Jerusalem was finally destroyed and the remaining people of Judah, all but the very poor and farmers, were led away captive from the land to give the land the rest that it was owed. They remained in this land ever since. Israelis have not vacated the land as Hamas and other Islamic groups would have us believe in modern times.
“To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.” (2 Chronicles 36:21) (See also Leviticus 25:2-4 & 26:32-35)
Judah had seen herself as unconquerable. After all they were God’s chosen people, Jerusalem was the city of David and they had the Temple of God to hide behind. This complacency had led them into idolatry. Idols had been put on the hills and even on the temple mount; sexual immorality was everywhere. All that God had despised about the Canaanites whom God had removed from the land, Israel was now doing. All that God had said would destroy a nation they had embraced – if you sow the wind you will reap the whirlwind. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)
Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem three times in total; the final time in 587 B.C. he leveled the city and destroyed the temple. With the first siege began the ‘servitude of the nation’, which, as prophesied in Jeremiah 29:10, lasted exactly seventy years (based on a 360 Jewish calendar-day-year). The final siege began a period of time known as the ‘desolations of Jerusalem’ (Jer 25:11; Daniel 9:2), also seventy years to the day. The first period of seventy years (servitude of the nation) was ended by the decree of Cyrus in 537 B.C. Legend has it that Cyrus was met at the gate of Babylon by an aged Daniel who presented Cyrus with a scroll of Isaiah in which there was a detailed prophecy from some 200 years earlier which not only mentioned Cyrus by name, but also recorded how he would take the city, and that he would set the captive Jews free allowing them to return home to Jerusalem (see Isaiah 44:24; 45:6).
Prophecy. This needs no explanation other than to say that prophecy is one of the infallible and undeniable proofs that God has given us to show that His word is true (see 2 Peter 1:19). Jesus Himself in Matthew 24 pointed to a prophecy in the book of Daniel as the key to understanding the end-times, yet it is astonishing that so many Christians are ignorant regarding the prophecies in the Bible. Job said: “Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?” (Job 24:1). Jesus held the Jews accountable for not understanding the prophetic scriptures, and rebuked the Pharisees because, although they could predict the weather, they didn’t understand the signs of the times.Miscellaneous facts about the book
Author: Daniel – how do we know? Because seven times we read “I Daniel…” and secondly because Jesus said Daniel wrote it (Matt 24:15). “If you don’t believe what Jesus said you’ve got much bigger problems than the authorship of Daniel!” – Chuck Missler
Daniel uses his own name 75 times.
When was it written?: About 606-530 B.C.
Daniel is one of only a few people in scripture of whom no sin is recorded, Joseph being another – this doesn’t mean they didn’t sin, Romans 3:23 makes that clear, but in this way they become a type of Christ.
Daniel is called ‘beloved’ (Dan 9:23 / 10:11 / 10:19), the same title is given to John in the NT. Both Daniel and John were given revelations of the climax of world events. It appears that God reserves His most intimate secrets for those who are His beloved. The church is also called His beloved (Rom 9:25) – i.e. these secrets are for us – what a privily The History of the Times of Daniel
Before we begin our study it would be profitable to do a crash course in ancient history to give us some of the background of the times that Daniel lived i
Israel as a nation became divided during the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Thorthern part of the nation became known as ‘Israel’, the southern part as ‘Judah’. Israel went from bad to worse and God sent prophet after prophet to warn them to repent or face judgment. All of this is recorded in the books of Kings and Chronicles. There was not a good king among the kings of Israel and so eventually God allowed the Assyrians to conquer Israel in around 722 B.C.
Judah was not a great deal better, with many bad kings who did not seek God but indulged in idolatry but all descended from King David. However there were a few good kings such as Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 17:1-6), Joash (2 Chron 24:1-4), Hezakiah (2 Chron 29:1-2), and Josiah (2 Chron 34:1-2).
Josiah reigned in Judah from about 641 to 609 B.C. However Josiah’s death was brought about by a strange event that is recorded in 2 Chronicles 35:19-27.
Assyria had been the dominating world empire, having already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel as mentioned above; but their days were numbered as God had prophesied through Nahum. In 612 B.C. *Babylon and Media formed an alliance and conquered Assyria’s capital, Nineveh. Three years later Pharaoh Necho, the king of Egypt attacked Assyria and defeated it at a place called Carchemish.
*Odd alliance as it was the same Media with Persia who eventually conquered Babylon.
The Times of Daniel
In 2 Chronicles 35:19-21 we read: “
Josiah had prepared the temple, (for Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. But he sent messengers to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.” NKJV
Now remember that Assyria had been Israel’s enemy for centuries; remember Jonah’s reluctance to go and preach to them; and king Sennacherib’s taunts against Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32). So the question has to be asked, why did King Josiah go out against Necho who was on his way to destroy
Israel’s enemies? Surely Josiah should have been fighting with him if anything, not against him. The answer may be found in the opening line of verse 19: “After all this, when Josiah
had prepared the temple” – prepared it for what? Reading chapters 34 & 35 of 2 Chronicles we discover that Josiah had been presented with ‘the book of the law’ that had been discovered as they were starting to repair the temple. After reading it, Josiah realized how far away from God the nation had gone – the same is true today, reading God’s word will show how far from God our nation has gone. Not if we simply read it for awareness, but for knowledge and understanding.
Josiah set about restoring everything according to the Law of Moses, however in verse 3 of chapter 35 he tells the priests to put the holy ark in the house that Solomon had built. they were to put it in there, it was obviously not in there at that time. So where was it
The Ark…so where is it? Next week we will show you scripture that gives us that answer.
‘Pre-eminence, Purpose, Purity & Prophecy’ is an apt summary of the book.
Pre-eminence because the book shows time and again that it is God who rules in the kingdoms of men (Dan 4:17 / 4:25 / 4:32). It is He who orders the steps of a good man (Psalm 37:23), indeed, “Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). This was the basis of Daniel’s life, a confident assurance that whatever happened on the outside, however desperate things seemed to be, God was still on the throne, the One who is the same, yesterday, today, (Hebrews 13:8).
Purpose for two reasons:
Firstly because this book underlines the fact that God has a purpose for all that happens in our lives (HIS creation), as Daniel and his friends show – who would have thought that these teenagers who were dragged away in shackles would be the ones to bring the most powerful nation to its knees? Paul reminds us: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28).
Secondly, purpose because “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion 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.” (Dan 1:8).
NOTE: This text in Daniel 1:8 infers that Daniel was also a eunuch.
In this context the ‘purpose’ referred to is a determined conscious decision that is made in the heart “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt 6:21). Daniel’s treasure was to do the will of God regardless of what others thought or said, as we will see in chapter 6: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing wassigned, [that everyone should worship king Darius alone or be thrown to the lions]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.” (Dan 6:10). Oh for men and women who purpose in their hearts to serve God. In the New Testament Paul purposed in his heart to preach the gospel: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24 NKJV) “…woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16), as a result of this purpose of heart we read: “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures” (Acts 17:2). For these people, serving God was a way of life, not just a ‘Sunday thing’. The challenge for us as we go through this book is: are we really living lives worthy of our calling? (Eph 4:1; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12).
Purity. Because of Daniel’s purpose of heart there was a beautiful purity about Daniel (as there was with Joseph). It is so easy for us to get tainted by the world and our surroundings, but when we do, it can so quickly escalate out of control. Chuck Smith sums it up clearly and concisely, “The flesh is never satisfied”. Chuck Missler comments that the more you feed a desire, the more you need to feed that desire; if you give into drink, you will need more drink to be satisfied, but then that will not be enough. If you take drugs, you will soon need more drugs to feed your habit; but that will not be enough. If you lust after the flesh, you will find yourself wanting more and more. If you gossip, one little story is never enough. Sin will always take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. If you have a tin of pure white paint, how many drops of black paint would it take to stop it being pure white? And so it is with our lives. Daniel never gave in; and twice in the book of Ezekiel God points to Daniel as an example of what a righteous man should be like. (Ezekiel 14:14 /20). May God put us through His crucible to remove the dross so that, like pure gold, we become reflections of His glory.