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, who ‘received 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
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.
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.