Suppose you walked to the picture window in your living room and looked out over time. When you looked to the left you saw all the things that have happened and when you looked to the right you saw the things that will be occurring in the future. The scenes startle you when you realize that you stand in the brief place called "This Present Moment" and it is all you have.
Our study our the next few months will be like walking to that picture window and looking out over time. When we talk about the Book of Daniel we can remember the story as children of Daniel in the lion's den and of God's special deliverance at that time. While that is a wonderful story with application today, you will find as I have the whole book is like a gold mine of truth waiting to be dug. While we have skimmed off a few stories from the book that are often told we have left the real wealth in the ground.
Daniel was a historic man that was born into a Judean family of nobility about 621 B.C. which is about the time that a great Reformation of Religion was going on in Israel under King Josiah.The Jews were God's own people that were offered world supremacy on condition of their obedience to God (Deuteronomy 28:1). They did not comply and thus around 605 B.C. God withdrew the offer and gave it to the Gentiles (ie. those not of Jewish origin ).
Daniel lived therefore at a time in history that Jesus called "the time of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24). It was to be the time that Gentile nations had (and still have) world supremacy. This "time of the Gentiles" began with Jewish captivity to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar and it will end with the 2nd coming of Christ (Luke 21:24-27)
Daniel was only a teenager when the Babylonian armies swept into Jerusalem. He was among the captives in the first deportation to Babylon and he lived there over 70 years-- the entire time of captivity. While for some, life seemed over, for Daniel it was to begin. God had called him to be His rep to the courts of Babylonians monarchs and prophet to the Jews and Gentiles alike.
This book we are about to study is classified "Apocalyptic" which means "revelation" It is the only Old Testament book of this type (just as Revelations is the only one in the New Testament.) The events are unfolded mainly by visions, imagery and symbolism The book is written in two languages: some sections in Hebrews, (the national language of the Jews) and some sections in Aramaic (the international language of the day).
Daniel wrote (by inspiration of God's Spirit) detailed descriptions of the destinies of Gentile nations under the sovereign hand of God. Now, centuries later we are going to stand at our picture window and verify that all has happened as God predicted. Then we will look at what is to come. In the meantime, we have "this present moment" and action is needed today. So, let's start digging together until we strike gold! Let's begin our study of........
Day 1- What was the historical situation in Judah?
Notice that King Nebuchadnezzar didn't take Jerusalem but that God gave it to him. Divine providence is always working behind the scenes.
Day 2- This sad day for Jerusalem was also the fulfillment of what
Isaiah spoke almost one century earlier.
2 Kings 20:16-17 / Isaiah 39:5-6
Day 3-Daniel and many others were to pay for the sins of King Hezekiah.
2 Kings 20:18/ Isaiah 39:7
Note: While God does visit the sins of the fathers upon their children, (Exodus 20:5) He does not hold them responsible for their father's sins but rather for their own sin.
Day 4- We learn a great deal about Daniel and his comrades from the
selection process King Nebuchadnezzar used to find noble Jews to serve in his
court. What qualities did Daniel display that brought him this privilege?
Day 5 These chosen youths - Daniel included-were to undergo total
indoctrination into Babylonian thinking and culture. Even their personal
identities were to be changed and each given the name of a Babylonian god.
Daniel 1: 5-7
Day 6 The Jews were prohibited certain meats as a sign of their
separation to God. These foods were all to be part of the indoctrination. To
eat them meant disobedience to God. What did Daniel do?
Day 7- The key to Daniel's dilemma in verse 1:8 is that word "resolved"
or "purposed in his heart". He had made up his mind BEFORE temptation came to
stand by his convictions. He did so not with an air of militancy or defiance
but polite and respectful of his Babylonian superior. How did God respond to
the desire of Daniel's heart?
Daniel 1:9 (2 Samuel 22: 24-25)
Day 8- In times of testing, it is our convictions that will enable us to
stand strong. These convictions come from our study of God's word, and what we
have learned from parents, teachers, pastors etc. A solid faith in God must be
the rock to stand upon in a world set against Him.
2 Samuel 22: 2-4, 31-34 / Matthew 7:24-27
Day 9- Our convictions are not necessarily those of others. Wisdom is
needed to carry out our convictions. Otherwise we foster militancy and force
others to stand by our convictions.
Daniel 1:17 / James 1:5
Day 10-Daniel built a bridge of communication with the Chief of Eunuchs
and didn't let his own convictions put him on the spot. He proposed an
experiment but then left the Eunuch the final say.
Day 11- God is in control. He is set to honor those that honor Him. We
do not need to use our own force to maneuver our own way.
1 Samuel 2:30b / Psalm 50:15 / Psalm 62:1-2 / Psalm 91: 15
Day 12- Our conviction can overcome any outer pressure because the power
of God is on our side. Resolve as Daniel to stand and live by what you know to
be right. How did God honor Daniel and his three friends?
Daniel 1: 15-21
In the final test how much better were they than all the others?
Daniel 1: 20
Day 13-Have you ever been included in a punishment knowing that you were
innocent of the crime? Daniel woke up one day to find himself sentenced to
death! Here is what happened.....
Daniel 2: 1-13
Day 14- No man or woman of God ever need panic because our God is in
control of even the most desperate times. This is why Daniel could keep his
head and take action with prudence and discretion.
Day 15- Our first responsibility during trials and trouble is to act as
Daniel 2: 17-18
Day 16- The secret of getting out of trouble and of ending all worry and
care is to pray.
Philippians 4:6-7 / I Peter 5:7
And when we pray we must know without doubt that it is in God's nature
to hear and answer our prayers.
If it is in God's nature to hear and answer, then the genuine answer to
prayer is to receive what we ask for.
Matthew 7: 7-8 / John 15:7
Day 17- And so God gave to Daniel exactly what he needed.
Daniel 2: 19
Day 18- And Daniel responded to God with a heart full of gratitude and
Daniel 2: 20-23
Do we give all glory to God when he answers our prayers?
Day 19- With the certainty of God's answer for our problems we are able
to act in confidence as Daniel did.
Daniel 2: 24
Day 20- Daniel could easily have gone to the king and proclaimed his own
wisdom (even though he knew that it was from God.) But, ALL the glory went to
God as he used the opportunity to tell this pagan king about a God in Heaven
that is able to do the impossible.
Day 21-With his prayers answered, Daniel was confident he could go to
the king to tell him his dream and interpret it as well. What was the dream
that had troubled King Nebuchadnezzar so much?
Daniel 2: 31-35
Day 22- In the interpretation of this dream God revealed to Daniel (and
thus to us) what would happen during the interval between Israel's dispersion
and their final regathering. Christ referred to these years as the "times of
the Gentiles". What did the gold head signify?
Daniel 2: 36-38
Day 23- As we look back into world history from today, we see that the
Medes and Persians took over Babylon although both were inferior to it in
wealth and power. The coalition of these two kingdoms are represented by the
arms of silver. Following their reign, Alexander the Great came swiftly from
Greece to take over the entire world at that time (signified by the belly of
bronze). These are the second and third kingdoms Daniel speaks of in verse 39.
Daniel 2: 39
Day 24- Again from our seat in time we look back and see that the great
Roman empire was the next major world power divided into East and West. This
kingdom is represented by the two legs of iron (Daniel 2:33a). When Rome
directed the world theatre it's strength was like iron and crushed the world
Daniel 2: 40
(It was into this time on earth that Christ was born).
Day 25- The two feet with 10 toes are to be the last form of Gentile
world powers. There are two great divisions in this kingdom: East and West. As
scholars and theologians have speculated about this last world power, it seems
in the end there will be a Federations of Nations loosely held together by ties
of danger and fear of one another. The iron and clay toes may signify the iron
of totalitarianism and the clay of social democracy. These ideologies may mix
but never really unite. Like iron and clay which are unstable mixtures, this
federation will fail because it is not really a unit. It is for expediency only
and not a sincere desire to help all humanity. These are the times in which we
live and even now we are watching the formation of alliances to keep world
Daniel 2: 41-43
Day 26- It will be sometime after this final world federation that God
himself will reestablish His own kingdom that will last forever. This is yet in
Daniel 2: 44-45
(The great stone that Daniel speaks of in verse 34 is Jesus Christ when He returns to earth for the 2nd time.)
Day 27- When we accurately represent God, people will recognize and fear
Daniel 2: 46-47
Day 28- God, who so graciously answered prayer and spared many lives
also rewarded Daniel for his courage and faith and for taking no glory to
Daniel 2: 48
Day 29- Daniel in turn did not forget his prayer partners and showed the
same generosity and love toward them as God had shown him.
Daniel 2: 49
Day 30- And God who hears our prayers and sees our deeds will be
faithful to care and provide for those of us that love Him.
Psalm 62:12/ Jeremiah 17:10 / Jeremiah 32: 17-19 / Matthew 16: 27/ Revelations 22:12
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