WEEK # 2
* Young Daniel's commitment to God in pagan environment
Daniel committed himself to God by not eating what the king ordered him to eat; - He did it with politeness (he requested, not demanded); with God's help (God brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief eunuch); with persistence (rebuffed by the chief eunuch, he appealed to the steward); and with willingness to test his faith (asking for ten day trial)
* How Daniel was able to keep both his faith to God and service to the king
Daniel trusted God and God blessed him and his friend's physical appearance, and because of their wisdom, the king rewarded him and his friends by promoting them to a high position.
* The kingdoms represented by the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream
The first four kingdoms have been identified as the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. This identification has come from the workings of history matching further prophecies. Daniel already said that Babylon, specifically Nebuchadnezzar, was the head of gold ( ). The "iron" empire can only be Rome. Opinions differ on the fifth empire. Some have tried to identify various periods in Europe's history as the clay-and-iron feet; others claim the feet represent the divided remnants of Rome before supposedly being "conquered" by Christianity. Still others believe that the clay/iron empire is yet to come: the kingdom of the will be a "revived Roman Empire." The last theory seems to be the best. We know, according to , that the Antichrist will lead a coalition of ten nations (the statue's ten toes?). And we know that Christ will defeat the forces of the Antichrist ( ). After that, Jesus will set up His kingdom—the rock smashes the image—and the kingdoms of this world will "become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" ( ).). Babylon fell to the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians ( ). Greece became the successor to the Medo-Persian Empire ( ;
* The kingdom which shall never be destroyed: its identity and establishment
The kingdom of God will reach its ultimate goal when the Lord returns. "But he must reign until all his enemies have been put under his feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25). This reign began with the first coming of the Lord and the establishment of his church (Matthew 16:18-19; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9).
* Faith in the face of fire
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego courageously took their stand before Nebuchadnezzar, they didn't know with certainty that God would deliver them. They had no assurance they would survive the flames. But they stood firm anyway. In the face of death could you boldly declare as these three young men did: "Whether God rescues me or not, I will stand for him. I will not compromise my faith, and I will not deny my Lord." (Daniel 3:1-30)
* The fourth person in the fiery furnace (angel or Christ?)
Who was the fourth man? I believe it was the Lord Jesus Christ himself. This is an Old Testament appearance of the Son of God coming down from heaven in bodily form. He stepped across the battlements of heaven, walked down the starry staircase, walked into the blazing furnace and said to the flames, "Cool it!" And they did. That made it very comfortable for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I am struck by the fact that the Lord Jesus appears at only one place in this chapter. Where is Jesus in Daniel 3? He is in the furnace waiting for the young men. You can do the math yourself. Outside there were three, inside there were four, and outside there were three again. Jesus never manifests himself except inside the furnace, at the very moment when he was needed the most. What a lesson this is for all of us. So often we go through life for days and weeks without any consciousness of the Lord's presence with us. But when trouble comes, when the flames lick at our feet, when life tumbles in around us, then we discover that Jesus has been by our side the entire time. It is in the fires of life that we experience the presence of Christ most powerfully. He is always there, but he makes himself known in the fiery furnace.
* The Most High rules in the kingdoms of men
"The decision is announced by holy messengers." So, all who are alive will know that the Most High God is King. He rules over all of the kingdoms of men. He gives them to anyone He wants. Sometimes He puts the least important men in charge of them." (Daniel 4:10-17). The main lesson here is that the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, reigns on high and is sovereign; He has the power to do anything and everything, in accordance with His purpose, and for man's benefit. He even changes human governments in favor of His children. God's word translation renders Dan 4:25 as, 'the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes'. Sometimes in our times of trials we tend to limit God and his ability to do all things. But the truth is God can do anything and everything. With men some things are impossible but with God all things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23).
* He sets over the kingdoms of men the lowest of men, or whomever He chooses.
In this God demonstrated His power to rise up or put down whosoever He pleases. Let's repeat this again "the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, reigns on high and is sovereign; He has the power to do anything and everything, in accordance with His purpose, and for man's benefit." Read (Hebrews 13: 1) "Let every soul be subject unto the Higher Powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God," and only by God.
* The character of King Belshazzar contrasted with that of Daniel:
Belsharzzar was the king, and Daniel given Babylonian name was Belteshazzar. Belsharzzar was a very wicked man. Born into wealth and privilege, he used his position to shower himself with excess. His feast was a sensual celebration without limits. Little did he know he was celebrating his own funeral: he was boastful man. Daniel (Belteshazzar) on the other hand kept his faith in God, even after his promotion. He was faithful, sincere, and honored God as the real King of all creation.
* The meaning of the writing on the wall as explained by Daniel:
"MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN:" The prophet Daniel is summoned to interpret the message, which, as he explains, means the imminent end of the Babylonian kingdom. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. That night, Belshazzar is killed and the Medo-Persians sack the capital city.
* The excellent character and faith of Daniel, the man of God:
Daniel's integrity as a man of God gained him favor with the secular world, yet he refused to compromise his faith in God. Even under the intimidation of kings and rulers, Daniel remained steadfast in his commitment to God. Daniel also teaches us that, no matter who we are dealing with, no matter what their status is, we are to treat them with compassion. See how concerned he is when delivering the interpretation to Nebuchadnezzar's second dream (). As Christians, we are called to obey the rulers and authorities that God has put in place, treating them with respect and compassion; however, as we see from Daniel's example, obeying God's law must always take precedence over obeying men. Daniel had a spirit of excellent in him.
* Daniel as a role model for young and old, statesmen and administrators:
The classic key scripture describing this young faithful Hebrew is found in the first chapter, "But in all this Daniel was never rude or arrogant even to his captors. Daniel stayed constant in his walk with God even though he was away from home, without the support of his family and friends. He did not take the easy path of just going along with things to make things easy for himself which he could have simply done and no one would have been the wiser. He stayed faithful in worship, in prayer, in his love for God and his service of God. Distance should never be an excuse for falling away from our walk with God. May we purpose in our hearts to have a solid relationship with God that is steady and stable. Finally, Daniel in later years is found still praying three times a day, no matter what the laws of the land stipulated, he would maintain his fellowship through prayer and worship of His precious Lord. Let us be mature in the stability of our worship and praise of our Lord, never altering or changing our thankfulness for what He has done for us and who He is.
* The identity of the four kingdoms represented by the four beasts:
The identity of the four beasts are Babylon, Medes and Persia, Greece, and Roman.
* The identity of the Son of Man and the timing of His coronation:
Chapter seven states that the Son of man came to the Ancient of days and that they brought Him before the Ancient of days. The reason for this majestic escorting is that the Son of man may receive a kingdom; we are explicitly told that there was given to Him power and honor and a Kingdom. While it is not expressly declared that these things were given to Him by the Ancient of days, it is certainly implied that such was the case. For the purpose of the judgment scene is not merely that a judgment should be pronounced, and the four kingdoms destroyed, but is also to prepare the way for the introduction (coronation) of another Kingdom which contrasts with the former in a marked fashion. It would therefore be a legitimate assumption that the One who had the power not only to pass judgment upon the former kingdoms also had the power to grant the Kingdom of God to the one of His choice, which is Jesus Christ Lord of all, which belong glory, honor, and praises. The kingdom of the Son of man will be an everlasting Kingdom which will conclude the kingdoms of man. The son of man, the Messiah, will rule over the kingdoms of men. He will be established as the King of kings and Lord of lords forever more (Revelation 19:16). As King, Christ will rule righteously and justly in behalf of all people and nations.
* The conflict between the fourth kingdom and the saints of the Most
Concerning the fourth beast; it shall be a fourth kingdom on the earth. It shall devour the whole earth, trample it, and break it in pieces, The Roman Empire, which came to rule the Mediterranean world during Jesus' time. The conflict was one honoring and obeying God, and the other determine to destroy the one who honored God.
* The interpretation of Daniel's vision in this chapter 8
A Ram: In the vision, according to the interpretation in verse 20, represents the Persian-Median Empire to the North East of Babylon. The history of Media and Persia begins about 1000 B.C., as tribes European tribes known as Aryans (Iran) migrated south from the Caucus Mountain. One group known, as the Medes were able to settle and conquer the Medes. The Medes allied with Babylonians helped sack the city of Nineveh in 612 A.D. The Persians also migrated from the north and settled north of the Media. Medes and Persian were ethnically very similar. The Persians dynasty, the Achaemenians, was founded about 700 B.C. The kingdom was under Median power at first, until Cyrus the Great rebelled against Median grandfather Astyages. Cyrus was ethnically both Persian and Mede, his mother Mandane was the daughter of Astyages the King of the Medes. When Cyrus rebelled, the Median generals joined in him in 549 B.C. and established the Persian-Median kingdom under Cyrus. Later this same Cyrus in 539 along with the Median generals and princes would conquer the mighty city of Persia. In fact, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built for Cyrus cousin, and the granddaughter of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who married Nebuchadnezzar and longed for the gardens back at Media. Two horns: The arrangement of the horns demonstrates the validity of the book of Daniel in the face of the critics. The two horns represent the unique relationship between these two kingdoms. Cyrus was Persian and Median, by overthrowing his grandfather Astyages in 549 B.C., the king of the Medes, Persia the younger kingdom, became greater. One was higher: The Persian part of the Empire was dominated, as illustrated earlier by the "Bear" raised on one side, chapter 7. Higher one came up last: The higher one came up last because Cyrus the Persian overthrows the kingdom of his grandfather. Pushing westward: The main direction of conquest for the Persian/Median Empire was North, West and South. There was very little expansion to the East, because of the mountains separated the territory. Suddenly a male goat: The male goat represents the kingdom of Greece according to verse 21. Greece and Persia had a long history of conflict; Greece was on the boundary of Persian expansion. The notable horn is Alexander the great, who at the age of 23 inherited the Kingdom from his father Philip of Macedon. Philip had planned to unite the Greek city-states, and conquer and Hellenize the whole world, before his death. West: Greece is the west of Persia. Without touching: The conquest of Persia, by the Greek kingdom was swift. Alexander the Great and the Greeks were furious with Persia for all the damage inflicted on Greece, including the burning of the city of Athens. Furious power: The forces of Alexander the Great first defeated the Persians at the Granicus River in Asia Minor in May 334 B.C., which was the beginning of the complete conquest of Persia. In November 333 B.C., Persia was again defeated at Issus, near the Northeastern tip of the Mediterranean Sea. The third and final battle took place in the former capital of the Assyrian Empire, Nineveh in October 331 B.C. At Nineveh, Persian power was completely crushed; Alexander sacked and burned the capital of Persia in retaliation for Greek suffering. Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. Grew great: Alexander the Great the Greek armies continued their conquest to theIndus valley, his men refused to go any further, from there they returned to Babylon. In Babylon, Alexander planned to create his world capital. He married Roxanne, the daughter of the Persian King. Ten thousand of Greek Macedonians married Persian women. This however changed, at the age of nearly 33, Alexander the Great died of fever and drunken debauchery in Babylon. Large horn was broken: After Alexander the Great died, his kingdom was fought over by his Generals for a period of 20 years. Four generals emerged as head of his kingdom, 1. Cassander assumed rule over Macedonia and Greece; two. Lysimacus took control of Thrace, Bithynia and most of Asia Minor; three. Selecus took Syria and the lands to the east including Babylonia; four. Ptolemy established rule overEgypt and possibly Palestine and Arabia Petraea. DA 8:9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. DA 8:10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. Out of them: Two of the kingdoms, The Ptolemy and the Seleucid's were locked in constant struggle over the centuries. Both of these powers fought over Palestine. The details of this conflict are expanded in Daniel 11. This came to a head with the eighth king of Seleucids/Syria Antiochus Epiphanies who reined 176-164 B.C. Antiochus conquered the Ptolemy's/ Egypt to the south, the east and Palestine/Jerusalem called the Glorious Land. Host of heaven: Antiochus sold the High Priesthood of the Jewish Temple to the highest bidder. Some of the stars: Stars are pictured as people who stand out. The descendents of Abraham were called stars Gen. 15:5; 22:17. Daniel 12:3 refers to those who lead many to righteousness as "Stars" who will shine. Antiochus, main goal was to turn people away from the God of Israel, in his program to Hellenize his kingdom. Some of the Jewish priesthood and secular Jews were his allies in this cause. They were in opposition to the Hasidim who named themselves who tried to be righteous and follow the Laws.
* The meaning of the expression, "the time of the end"
When the bible talks about the "latter days", "last days" and the "time of the end", what is being referred to?
Daniel 12:9 states "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
Isa. 2:2 states 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.
Ho. 3:5 states After-ward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days. When we read about the "end times" in the bible, the first question that comes to mind is: The end of what? The average person automatically pictures the world going up in flames, but that is not what the bible is referring to when it talks about "the time of the end".
What the bible is actually referring to when it talks about the end of the world is the not the planet's end but the system that the world is currently under. Satan is the current ruler of this present world system. The bible tells us that Jesus Christ is returning to earth to set up an earthly kingdom where Satan will have no place. The end times refers to the end of Satan's rule and the beginning of Christ's rule.
* Daniel's prayer, confessing the sins of his people Israel
Because Daniel believes God's promises for a return, he begins to pray in earnest for his people, that God would forgive their sin and enable this restoration to take place. He could have been a fatalist and decided that God would take care of all the details, that he needn't be concerned. Instead he takes it upon himself to pray, to intercede, and to plead with God on the basis of his character. "So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed...." (9:3-4)."
* The difficulty in interpreting the vision of seventy weeks
Verse 1 set the time of Daniel's vision as the "first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede;" no Darius the Mede is known to history, but it can be assumed that the author means 538 BCE. Verse 2 tells how Daniel reads in Jeremiah that God has allotted 70 years "for the devastation of Jerusalem." The verses are presumably Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10, and their meaning is straightforward: Babylon's world-domination would last for 70 years from 605 BCE, followed by punishment for Babylon and restoration for Judah. Jeremiah probably did not intend his 70 years to be taken literally–the figure represents a normal lifespan, and Jeremiah was telling his readers that their exile would last their lifetime but his prestige was greatly enhanced when Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 BCE, proving him approximately correct. Daniel is set in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius the Mede, but commentators since the 3rd century have dated it to the time of Antiochus. But Jeremiah's seventy years could not apply literally to Jews in the time of Antiochus, so the author of Daniel provided a creative solution: Jeremiah's shiv'im (seven) years is to be understood as shavu'im shiv'im, seventy sevens, or 490 years. The resulting prophecy is one of the most controversial in the Book of Daniel. Many proposals have been put forward, but none yield historically significant dates when projected 490 years into the future, and as a result there is no consensus. It is possible that Daniel's author simply had a faulty understanding of history, but more likely is that his scheme is a sacred allegory: is the Biblical number symbolizing heavenly perfection, 70 represents supreme perfection, and at the end of this time God will bring in the eternal and perfect heavenly kingdom.
* The meaning of the phrase "in the latter days" as used in the vision
Read Isaiah 2:2; Daniel 2:28, 12:9; Micah 4:1; Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3
The end time is what God has created to take place, because God created the beginning and the end for His purpose. The end time is when all prophecy has been fulfilled.
* The angelic conflict behind the scenes briefly described by the "glorious man"
Commentators divide over the identity of this certain man. Some say this is Jesus, noting that the description is remarkably like what John saw in Revelation 1:12-16. A certain man clothed in linen: Some others think that the certain man is an unnamed angel of high rank, noting that Jesus would not need the assistance of Michael, mentioned in Daniel 10:13. We also know that Ezekiel saw angelic figures clothed in linen (Ezekiel 9:2). This glorious man maybe Jesus.
* The prophetic detail of the Persian-Greek and Egyptian-Syrian conflicts
At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.
a. At the time of the end: The angel described to Daniel a confederation of kings coming against this great leader, with a battle in and near the Holy Land.
b. King of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind: Prophetically speaking, a precise identification of peoples mentioned is difficult. The king of the South may be Egypt or represent the Arab community. The king of the North may be the Antichrist's domain (as the "new Antiochus Epiphanes") or it may be Russia.
The precise points may be cloudy, but the general idea is clear. The end will be marked by great conflict, culminating in the world's armies gathering in the Promised Land to do final battle.
c. Yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him: In the end there is no hope for the Antichrist or for any of his followers.
* The identity of the vile king from the North
The king of the North may be the Antichrist's domain (as the "new Antiochus Epiphanes") or it may be Russia. I am not sure, but doing some research, reading the bible, and praying for divine revelation of this particular character of Daniel chapter eleven.
* Identifying the "time of trouble" and "time of the end" in this chapter
This is the time of the Great Tribulation period, the time of deception, the time of dissension, the time of devastation, the time of disease, the time of disasters, the time of death, the time of disloyalty, the time of delusion, the time of defection, and the time of declaration because the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, but at the end God's people shall be delivered because Jesus will have taken the church with Him. This is called the time of the end. The end of time will follow the time of trouble.
* The instructions for Daniel to "shut up the words, and seal the book"
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words - To wit, by sealing them up, or by closing the book, and writing no more in it. The meaning is, that all has been communicated which it was intended to communicate. The angel had no more to say, and the volume might be sealed up. "And seal the book" - This would seem to have been not an unusual custom in closing a prophecy, either by affixing a seal to it that should be designed to confirm it as the prophet's work - as we seal a deed, a will, or a contract; or to secure the volume, as we seal a letter. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:26; Isaiah 8:16. Even to the time of the end - That is, the period when all these things shall be accomplished. Then the truth of the prediction now carefully sealed up will be seen and acknowledged; and then, also, it may be expected that there will be clearer knowledge on all these subjects, for the facts will throw increased light on the meaning and the bearing of the predictions.