Article #10 of Daniel Series

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.

Daniel 2:20-23

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.

Daniel 2:24

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

Daniel 2:25

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

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.

Daniel 2:26-27

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…

Daniel 2:28

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.”

Daniel 2:29

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

Daniel 2:30

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

Daniel 2:36

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.

Church attendance is NOT a ticket to Heaven.

Article #9 of Daniel Series

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.

Daniel 2:8

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

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!

Daniel 2:9

But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me [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.

Daniel 2:10-11

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.

Daniel 2:12-13

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…

Daniel 2:14-15

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.

Daniel 2:16

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.

Daniel 2:17

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!

Daniel 2:18

That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel

and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

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.

Daniel 2:19

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…”

Article #8 in our Daniel Series

Article #8 in our Daniel Series

CHAPTER 2
Daniel 2:1

And 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.

606 B.C. – Daniel’s 1st year in training – Neb’s year of ascension

605 B.C. – Daniel’s 2nd year in training – Neb’s 1st year as king

604 B.C. – Daniel’s Final year in training – Neb’s 2nd year as king

Thus 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!

Nebuchadnezzar 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 Babylon.

Daniel 2:2

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

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:

For 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 33:14-15)

In the 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 2:17)

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.

The magicians, 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 magicians, 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.

The magicians: – sacred scribes, involved in mystic writings and secret writings

The 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.

Daniel 2:3

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

So 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 it.

Daniel 2:4

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

In the 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.

Most 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.

Ezra 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.

Daniel 2:5

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

There 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 Vernon McGee states: This 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 is gone from me” as, “The word is 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.

These wise men are fakes and know it. This is Nebuchadnezzar’s way of separating the wise from the wise-guy.

Daniel 2:6

But 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.

Daniel 2:7

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

This 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, “Oh no you don’t. Get your own dust!”

Article #7 of the Daniel Series

Article #7 of the Daniel Series

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.

Daniel 1:10

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.

Daniel 1:11

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

Daniel 1:12

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.

Daniel 1:13-14

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.

Daniel 1:15-16

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.

Daniel 1:17

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

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)

Daniel 1:18-19

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's In a Name


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)

Daniel 1:20

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

Appendix

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).

Article 5: Daniel 1:1

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.

Jstark

CHAPTER 1
Daniel 1:1

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

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).

Daniel 1:2

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 correct to 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).

To be continued next week – Rev. Dr. Jstark

Article #2 of Our Daniel Studies

 ‘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).

called

Secondly, purpose becauseDaniel 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 heartFor 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 was signed, [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.refletion

 

Next week: Article #3 of our Daniel study

Study Notes on the book of Daniel

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Book of Daniel Study Notes

The following study notes (by Assistant Pastor Barry Forder) were used for Deal Christian Fellowship’s Monday night Bible studies during autumn – winter 2006.

The notes have been ‘tidied up’ to make them easier to read and understand. Additional comments, charts and graphs have been added where appropriate.

Whilst every care has been taken with grammar and spelling, these are only notes and as such are not intended to be a literary classic!

The real aim of these notes is to stimulate the reader to pursue their own study on the verses, issues and topics covered. There is no greater task that can be undertaken in this life than to seek to understand God’s Word. All other achievements in the Christian life will bear much more fruit if they are firmly rooted in the soil of God’s Word.But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matt 13:23)

We Teach – You Decide

Northern Michigan Bible School

As always, the reader is encouraged to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, whoreceived the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so’. In other words, don’t just take these notes as fact – check it out yourself. Let the word of God alone be the standard by which that you judge things.

Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Introduction

The book of Daniel is one of the best-loved books of the Bible; it gives us the events­ of ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace’ and ‘Daniel in the lion’s den’ – histories that many of us learned and loved at Sunday school. However the years have come and gone and we so often tend to just skip over those quaint little histories without them having any real impact on our lives; however, I believe that once we have completed a serious verse-by-verse study of this amazing book we will never be the same. This book gives us real perspective, it helps us to see things the way that God sees them – the way Daniel saw them.

Daniel, whose name means ‘God is my judge’, was just a teenager, probably about 14 or 15 when the Babylonian army, led by king Nebuchadnezzar, came and took him, his friends and about 10,000 others of the brightest and royalty of Judah away from all they knew, and carried them away into a distant land to a culture and language they did not know. It’s hard for us to imagine the feelings and emotions of a young teenager being taken from the security of a family, not knowing if he would ever see them again.

Although we are told that there was *not a righteous **man in Jerusalem at that time (Jeremiah 5:1; Jeremiah 8:5-6), (*the reason for God bringing His judgment upon the Kingdom of Judah), it would seem that there were still some God-fearing mothers, for Daniel and his friends had been brought up to know and fear God and even their names were a continual reminder of the God of Israel. But would that be enough? After all, how many young people today, after seeing all that Daniel saw, and enduring all he endured, would make a stand for God in the midst of a pagan culture? How many of our young people leave home and go to the University of ‘Babylon’ somewhere in America, where secular humanism rules, and find their once vibrant faith destroyed as they become ‘free’ to do what they want, as the moral constraints and stability of a loving family (church and/or home) become just memories? And how many of us can truly say, as we are thrust out into the world every Monday morning, that we desire purity more than worldly pleasure? **Bar-mitzveh is at age 13 but military life begins at age 20.

secret agent

Secret Agent

Do we really fear God and shun evil as did Job? (Job 1:8). Do we run from temptation like Joseph? (Gen 39:12). Do we find ourselves dropping the odd expletive (Col 3:8), telling a ‘funny’ course joke to our colleagues so that we will fit into the crowd (Eph 5:4), maybe telling the odd little ‘white’ lie (Col 3:9).Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:10-11). Were you in church praising God last Sunday, and then blending right back into the world on Monday? I heard of a man who went up to a Christian once and asked: ‘You’re a Christian aren’t you?’ The Christian replied ‘That’s for you to tell me’ – i.e. it should be obvious to all around us. Too many Christians act as secret agents, never wanting to blow their cover.

Daniel hadn’t been in Babylon long before they could tell what the most important thing in his life really was. It is my earnest prayer and desire that by the time we reach the end of this study, we too can say along with Daniel that we have ‘purposed in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves’ – no matter what the cost.

Dr Chuck Missler makes an incredible statement that he urges all of us to challenge, he says:

We are living at a time in history about which the Bible says more than it does about the time that Jesus walked the shores of Galilee or climbed the mountains of Judea”

Does the Bible really say more about the days we are living in than it does about the time of Jesus? If it does, then a study of this book will be one of the most important and timely ventures that we can undertake. May God richly bless you as you read and study His word!

General notes about the book

The book of Daniel records the collapse of the nation of Israel and the beginning of the ‘times of the gentiles’ – a period of time that will last until the Messiah returns to set up His kingdom and re-establish Israel.And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up” (Acts 15:13-16)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:34-35)

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)

NOTE: We will deal more fully with this whole idea of ‘Replacement Theology’ – the lie that God is finished with Israel – in part 2 (chapters 7-12) of our Daniel study.

As we will see, the book of Daniel is very much a book of prophecy, foretelling the history of the world in advance; from the time of the Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar, to the final worldly empire of Antichrist; then ultimately into the Millennial reign of Jesus.

A simple chart per the life of Israel:

  • Creation is around 6,000 BC; the beginning of time [Genesis 1:4, 5]
    Flood happened 1657 years later; 10 Generations from Adam to Noah
  • Noah to Abraham is also 10 generations; sometime around 2,000 BC
  • Exiled in Egypt 400+ years
  • 400 or so years under the judges but Tribal connections were a confederacy
  • Kings of a united Israelis, Saul David and Solomon
  • Nation of Israel becomes Northern and Southern kingdoms; Israel and Judah
  • Assyrians disperse the 10 northern tribes around 722 BC by Assyrians
  • Judah is captured by Nebuchadnezzar 606, 597, & 586 BC
  • 70 years captivity in Babylon
  • DANIEL reminds King Cyrus of the 70 years per Jeremiah (536 BC)
  • Zerubbabel takes first wave of about 50,000 back to Jerusalem-Judah now a province of Persia
  • 70 years later Ezra takes another small group back to Jerusalem-Judah
  • 17 years later Nehemiah takes the last group of Judeans back to Jerusalem-Judah
  • Daniel 11 comes into play but more on this in a later article

Note the map on the following page. Not only is the West Bank part of the Nation of Israel back around 1,000 BC, and as two kingdoms (950 to 720 BC) so is the east side of the Jordan River, today known as the country of Jordan.

This territory which is today called Jordan was the territory of the Tribes of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben. Although this series of article is about the Book of Daniel, it would be wise to understand that “Father Abraham” had six sons through a late-life marriage with Ketur’ah [Genesis 25]. These sons Abraham did not want to mix with Isaac’s offspring so he sent them “EAST.” This would suggest that the populations in the territory Daniel spent his life is where descendants of Abraham’s six other sons and where he told them to go and occupy.

daniel map tribes.jpg

Daniel the Period of the Judges -Part 2

The next period is that of the Judges. The books of Judges, Ruth, and part of 1 Samuel cover this period of time. It lasted up until about 1050 BC; almost 400 years.

Next are two periods or phases. The first is the period of the United Kingdom of Saul, David and Solomon. Upon the death of Solomon in 931 BC, the kingdom divides into the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Tribe of). We call this next period the Divided Kingdom period.bible books.jpg

During this latter period, a number of evil kings rule Israel and a mixed number of evil and good kings rule Judah. The books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings cover these periods of time. 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles which were written at a later date also cover these periods of time. The poetical books (Psalms, Proverbs, and others) were written mostly by David and Solomon, but it is speculated they had other authors. Also during these periods, several prophetic books called the pre-exilic prophetical books were written to warn both Israel and Judah of their coming judgment if they refused to turn back to God. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC as warned by God through the prophet Isaiah.

The Southern Kingdom of Judah lasted until around 605 BC when it was conquered in three phases by the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This begins the period called the Judean Exile. The first phase of the exile began about 605 BC when Daniel and many of the nobility in Judah were exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. The second phase occurred in 597 BC when Ezekiel and 10,000 Jews were exiled to Babylon. And the third phase occurred in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar attacked again destroying Jerusalem and the temple in Jerusalem exiling all but the poor farmers of Judah.

The conquering of the Kingdom of Judah is written about in the books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and some of the prophetical books. The Exilic prophets cover the period of the exile – which lasted 70 years.

JIV note – ever since the demise of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, 722 BC, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, 605, 597, & 586 BC, were exiled. Descendants of Israel and Judah have been and remain dispersed all over the earth while a few of the very poor and some farmers have always remained in their homeland to this very day. This is why we find Israelites on all the continents and in various countries around the world (Matthew 24:31, Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7. This event is called the Diaspora. Only recently have as many Jews (Israelites) begun to live in Israel than are scattered around the world. I heard that up to recently there were more Jews living in United States than in Israel; particularly New York City. Possibly the Diaspora is ending.

It should also be noted that we are not exactly sure what happened to the people from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, though there are theories and some evidence about different people groups throughout the world being related to the “ten lost tribes of Israel.” The term Jew comes from the name Judah – so Jews in general are descendants of the Southern Nation of Judah, consisting mainly of three of Israel’s tribes, Judah, Benjamin, and parts of Levi. We studied the migration of the Israeli Tribes in a previous study.

The next period of Old Testament history is the Post-Exilic period. After 70 years in Babylon, a group of Judean Jews returned to the land of Israel by order of the conquering Medes and Persians. They rebuilt both the temple and the city of Jerusalem. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther as well as the post-exilic prophets cover this period of history. It concludes about 400 BC. There is a gap between this time and the beginning of the New Testament.

The final period of Old Testament history is this 400 year Interim-Testament period. During this period of time, no Scripture was written so technically it is post-Old Testament and pre-New Testament history. It is sometimes called the 400 Silent Years. This is a period of time after the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple after the exile, and leading up to the birth of Christ about 4 BC. It is also the period of time when the Maccabeus books from the Apocrypha were written.

During this time an evil ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes killed many of the remaining Judean-Jews desecrating their temple by setting an idol in the temple and offering a pig as a sacrifice. (We will run into him again in our study of Daniel) The Maccabean revolt occurred against Antiochus Epiphanes. The Jews of today get their celebration of Hanukkah from this period in history.

heisnothere.jpgFinally this leads up to the New Testament birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Christ was born around 4 BC and died sometime around 30 AD. Right after Christ’s death and resurrection, the Church Age began, and has continued up until now.

JIV NOTE: The entire New Testament was written and completed before 100 AD.

Islam [Mohammed] began its first roots 500 plus years later; 610 A.D.

How does the book of Daniel fit into Old Testament history? The book of Daniel covers a period of time from about 605 BC, up until around 535 BC. It is the period of time called The Exile. Daniel was kidnapped and exiled to Babylon (in present day Iraq) about 605 BC. He was about 15 years old. He served King Nebuchadnezzar and 2 other kings in Babylon. He also served King Darius, the Medo-Persian ruler right after he conquered the Babylonian Empire of Belshazzar.

Daniel’s book prophesies in detail about the period of time between when he lived up through the time of Christ. He prophesies when Jesus the Messiah or Christ was to come. And he gives detailed prophecies about still future events leading up to the end of the world; i.e. the Millennial period. The Bible ceases to give us information after the millennial period.

(JIV) Two covenants given by God are unchangeable and exist throughout this entire O.T. and N.T. period; the promise to Israel of a land free from outside influence and honored as God’s chosen People by their neighbors, and, the covenant of the Church Rapture.

The period of the Babylonian Exile was predicted early in the Old Testament

During the time of the Exodus, right before Moses’ death and right before Israel conquered the land of Canaan, God warned Israel through Moses the consequences of disobedience to God’s Law. (JIV) I believe the same thing is true of the Canaanites. God used His chosen People to exert judgment upon a people originating from Ishmael and Esau who totally rejected God.

God continues the warning to Israel through Moses in the verses following Deuteronomy 28:48. In the next verses he predicts:

The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, a nation of fierce countenance who shall have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young. Moreover, it shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. And it shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you. … Deuteronomy 28:49-52 (NASB)

If one continues reading God’s warning, s/he will see where Moses predicts the Exile and the Diaspora:

And it shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you shall be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.

Deuteronomy 28:63-64 (NASB)

God warns them that disobedience to His Law, and in particular idolatry, will bring on the punishment that happened in the time of Daniel. This passage, written during the time of the Exodus, was written about 800 years before it was fulfilled!

I should mention, that just as God through Moses predicted the Diaspora, He also predicted the Restoration (Millennium). God gives them hope. We see this in the following passage:

So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where

the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.

And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live. And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.

And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (NASB)

A partial restoration from the exile to Babylon happened a few years after the death of Daniel. Up until this day, there has not been a full restoration of Israel back to its land. We are however, some 3400 years after Moses’ prophecy, are seeing this restoration happening – fulfilled prophecy from 3400 years ago! In 1948 we saw the establishment of Israel as a nation, and we see a migration of Jews going back to Israel. Many millions today have lost their identity as of Israeli descent, but DNA testing will alert or shock this Israelite sea of people in the four corners of the world.

Question to ponder. What is the probability that these two prophecies – the Diaspora and the Restoration – would occur 800 years and 3400 years after their respective predictions? Only God could make such a prediction!

Manasseh the son of Hezekiah; (Hezekiah was a good and godly king mentioned in 2 Kings 20.) Manasseh was evil. He whole-heartedly brought idolatry into Judah. A partial summary of his evil is given in the following verses:

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did great evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.

And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD provoking Him to anger. Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the LORD said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever.”

2 Kings 21:1-7 (NASB)

Notice that Manasseh not only was into idolatry, but he also worshipped Molech and to which he sacrificed one of his sons:

And he made his son pass through the fire …. 2 Kings 21:6 (NASB)

Manasseh was not only disobeying God’s Law, but he was whole-heartedly doing one of the same things for which God destroyed the Canaanites when he allowed Israel to conquer them.

Amon son of Manasseh: An evil king who reigned only two years. Notice that he conceived his son Josiah when he was about 15. Does this speak of immorality in the land? People did marry younger upon occasion, so I am not sure, but it is something to ponder.

Josiah son of Amon. Josiah, unlike his father and grandfather, was a good and godly king. He undid most of what his grandfather Manasseh did, tearing down the altars and places of idolatry which Manasseh had set up. Again we see the child sacrifice of his father and grandfather mentioned where it says that he got rid of it:

He (Josiah) also defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire for Molech.

2 Kings 23:10 (NASB)

Jehoahaz son of Josiah; An evil king who reigned only three months. Put on the throne by Pharaoh Neco (of Egypt) when Neco had killed the godly king Josiah. We can see the suggestion here that these kings did not raise their sons in the way of God.

Eliakim son of Josiah. (Renamed Jehoiakim) He was another evil king who reigned eleven years.

Jehoiakin son of Jehoiakim. Another evil king reigned eight years and was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon along with many others including Daniel, Shaddrack, Meshach and Abednego.

Mattaniah (Zedekiah) uncle of Jehoiakin. He was another evil king who was basically a puppet of Nebuchadnezzar. Again he was walking in the paths of his evil fathers, including the terrible sin of child sacrifice:

Then the king of Babylon made his uncle Mattaniah, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah. 2 Kings 24:17 (NASB)

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My Name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. Jeremiah 32:1, 34-35 (NASB)

So what were conditions like just before the Babylonian/Daniel exile? They were like the conditions (idolatry, immorality, child sacrifice, etc.) in which God warned them not to get involved 800 years earlier under Moses.

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THINGS.

They were doing the same things for which God had destroyed the Canaanites through the ‘semi-conquering’ Israelites! They simply did NOT complete their mission as commanded by God.

Dr. J. Stark

April, 2019

How Does the Book of Daniel Fit into the Bible and history? Part 1

puzzle fitHow does the book of Daniel fit into the Bible and history?

The following is a rather detailed history of the O.T. leading up to the time of Daniel. It will best serve as a personal Old Testament Bible guide. Memorizing it could be daunting. Knowing where to find the answer is the best approach. Find it in THIS background to Daniel. This would be the equivalent in most universities at a graduate level study. Do not be alarmed. There are no written tests.

Three Periods of Old Testament History:

The first verse in the Bible reveals that…

…“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 NASB

We do not know exactly when creation took place, as there may be a gap between

Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 as the additional possibility of a gap between these two verses and when God created day and night (V5). The way we currently understand the laws of Physics, including the Theory of General Relativity, secular and evangelical scientists are certain that the universe (time, space, and matter) had a beginning and has not always existed. The book of Genesis reveals that God created the universe “In the beginning…” This is also the beginning of the period we will label the Pre-Abrahamic period of Old Testament History; prehistoric per secularists.

In the Pre-Abrahamic period, the book of Genesis describes:

  1. From where man, woman, and marriage come.
  2. It explains from where sin and death come.
  3. It details the first murder.
  4. It describes a time when God destroyed the earth by a great flood.
  5. It outlines from where the nations and the diversity of races and languages that we have on the earth came. (It is not our goal at the present time to go into detail on any of these events. This study sheet is an overview of the Old Testament and what it is about to be better understood where and how the book of Daniel fits into the Old and New Testament.)

The Patriarchal period. Abraham is a man to whom three great religions trace their origins: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Jews and Arabs genetically come from Abraham. Abraham left his country, Ur in Babylon (modern day Iraq), and followed God to a new country, Canaan, where modern day Israel and Palestine are located.

Abraham had two sons, Ishmael, from whom the Arabs trace their lineage, and Isaac, from whom Israel and the Jews trace their lineage. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob, who later changed his name to Israel, had twelve sons – the twelve tribes of Israel are descendants of these twelve sons. The book of Genesis (which covers a longer period of time than the rest of the Bible combined) ends up with Jacob and his twelve sons and one daughter, their wives, and their kids all moving down to Egypt to avoid starving in a famine. (By the way, the book of Job is about another man who probably lived during Abraham’s time.)

The offspring of Israel (Jacob) spent more than 400 years in Egypt, and became slaves to the Egyptians probably toward the end of this period of time. The book of Exodus takes up Israel’s history near the end of this 400 year period in Egypt. Thus begins the third period of Old Testament history, Egypt and the Exodus. Four books of the Bible – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – cover this period of time lasting about 40 years; mostly the wilderness wandering of the Israelites.

10During this period of time, God used Moses to liberate the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Also during this time, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments and other laws for the Nation of Israel. After God gives the Ten Commandments and the other laws,

Moses sends twelve spies into Canaan. When they return, ten of the spies give a bad report which scares the Israelites. They complain to Moses and to God refusing to enter the Promised Land. God punishes Israel by making the continue living in the desert for about 40 years. The Egypt and the Exodus period begin about 1446 BC.

After the 40 years of living and wandering in the desert, the next period begins. This period, Conquering the Land, covers about 10 years. Israel conquers some of the land of Canaan in the area of the world now known as Israel and Palestine. The people of

Canaan were evil but their origin comes is based in the time of Abraham through Ishmael and Esau.

They sacrificed their own kids to a god named Molech by burning them alive. This gruesome act is one of the reasons that God ordered Israel to conquer the land of Canaan. The book of Joshua covers this period of Old Testament history. Israel conquered Canaan beginning around 1406 BC, but they never followed through per God’s instructions.

Dr. jStark

April 2019

 

Decoding Daniel – Part 2

research

RESEARCH

When doing research I am always personally open to the possibility of what I set out to discover and validate ends up changing my mind or position in some way, major ways, or affirm my position. It is called UNDERSTANDING. I leave my doors of new knowledge open to these possibilities. This position is also steeped into reasoning out why Daniel is written in Syriac/Aramaic (non-Israelis) and in Hebrew (to the Tribes of Jacob and the Old Testament Covenant).

Much of Daniel’s chapter 8-12 prophecies are exclusive to the Israelites (12 Tribes) with particular attention given to the Tribe and Kingdom of Judah then dispersed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. to a 70 year captivity; i.e. better said not allowed to return to Judah/Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel meaning the Northern Ten Tribes were dispersed by Assyrians in 732 B.C. and again in 720 B.C. In 605 B.C. and again in 586 B.C. the Kingdom of Judah went into their 70 year exile. Gentiles (the church) can safely consider that we are not in the same river or current of future events as those promised to God’s chosen People. Christians; i.e. The Church of believers may NOT be the primary target in some of Daniel’s prophecies, but could be caught up in the vacuum of events in Israel as Christians if the Church is not a pre-tribulation rapture event. If the Tribulation is targeted to Israel alone, the church body of believers will already be missing due to the Rapture (the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial view).

My sources represent a mix of liberal and conservative scholarly theologians who hold diverse views. These will be listed separately at the end of this work-in-progress study of Daniel. In no-way can I conclude or offer possible insights to all of the meaningful sources until they have been added to this work-in-progress. I will attempt to weed out that which is purely speculation, one-sided denomination planks, tickling ear syndrome not supported by scripture.

In this initial commentary, it is my goal to begin the awareness and some loose understanding of the prophetic blend and practical teachings of the Book of Daniel. God the Father ultimately controls every nation, having determined the times set for them and the exact places where these events will unfold. For that reason, I have structured Decoding Daniel upon God’s Sovereignty in the Rise [and fall] of *Four Hebrew, Five World Empires, and their Princes. These men and nations are but a methodology used of God to fulfill his covenants with Old Testament Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and the Church established in the early pages of the New Testament. *Four Hebrew powers: 1) the Judges; 2) the Nation of Israel; 3) the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah; 4) the Covenant with His people to bring them back to a Promised Land but yet to be fulfilled; i.e. a work still in progress.important-

IMPORTANT JIV NOTE: We should conclude by the end of this Bible study that politics is nothing more than an earthly tool of Satan to distract, derail, confuse and hide the fact that the real issues is between Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and God’s creation giving mankind, made in HIS own image, the opportunity to share in Satan’s destiny or God’s preferred destiny.

The importance of the Book of Daniel

  1. It is an indispensable introduction to New Testament prophecy.
  2. It bridges the gap between Israel’s historical books and the New
    Testament.
  3. It reveals details about the *comings of the Anointed One, the Antichrist and other princes.
      1. The coming of Christ, anointed Son of God
      2. The Rapture of the Church
      3. Jesus on the Throne during the Millennial reign from Jerusalem
  1. It tells of the Tribulation, followed by the Lord’s return to rule from the Throne of David in Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
  2. It speaks about the resurrections and the judgments of God.
  3. It covers “the Times of the Gentiles.”
  4. It shows that God is sovereign in the affairs of man.
  5. It provides compelling evidence that there is a God in heaven who rules history.
  6. It uncovers a great spiritual warfare among the angelic and demonic forces.
  7. It illustrates what true dedication to God means, and what God is willing to do through and for those who are committed to Him.
  8. It provides a solid basis for comfort in the midst of adversity.
  9. It discloses Godly principles for politicians and officials.
  10. It offers hope for God’s people so they will not fall away.
  11. It challenges God’s people to faithfulness and perseverance.
  12. It contains an unusual amount of practical truth that is applicable to Christians today.
  13. It predicts an everlasting kingdom ruled by the Son of Man.

During the Olivet Discourse Jesus directed our attention to the prophet Daniel (Matthew 24:15). By referring to Daniel, Jesus was drawing our attention to some of the most amazing last day prophecies of the Bible. Daniel’s prophecies were written during the sixth century BC, after the Babylonians had conquered Israel and taken them into captivity. Secular theologians state it was written in the first century BC due to its accuracy. Daniel received several visions and prophecies during this time, beginning when he was a youth under king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Olivet Discourse didn’t happen until several hundred years later; about 30 A.C.

The Apocrypha adds three additional moments to Daniels’ life in Babylon. These events are found in Bel and the Dragon found in the Vulgate as Daniel 14; Susanna found in the Vulgate as Daniel 13; *The Song of the Three Children; Vulgate, Daniel 3:24-90. The standard Evangelical Bible typically stops after chapter 12 in the Book of Daniel.

* This passage includes the sorrowful prayer of Azariah (Abednego) in Babylonian while the three youths were in the fiery furnace. It is a brief account of a figure who met them in the furnace and was unburned (an angel, or interpreted by fundamental Christians as a pre-figurement of Jesus Christ, in the same vein as Melchizedek); and the hymn of praise they sang (with the refrain, “Praise and exalt Him above all forever…”, repeated many times, each naming a feature of the world) when they realized they were delivered.

AHAMOMENT: The history of Hanania, Misheal, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego) was under Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian King. The historical reference to Danial in the Lion’s Den was over 70 years later under the new Medo-Persian Ruler, Cyrus. These are NOT stories. They are history that ss to some degree mentioned on the *Black Oblisk and other written tablets of ancient Babylon and Persia.

* Black Obelisk of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III

 

Rev. Dr. James Stark
original copy 3/20/2013
Revised March 2, 2019