Book of Daniel
Chapter 1, Part 1
In this Book of Daniel will become more familiar with what the future holds for the world. Notice, I did not mention the church. These things are scheduled in heaven to affect those on earth who have denied the truth of Christ’s salvation and who have declined His offer. ”Come.” As we study Daniel, keep in mind that many of the prophecies he wrote about have been fulfilled already.
I think it’s very important to delve into the history surrounding the sieges against Jerusalem, the capture of the people of Jerusalem and Judah, and the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem. It will help us get a deeper sense of what kind of men Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were as they chose to please God through all of it.
V. 1, 2 – Jehoiakim (originally named Eliakim) succeeded his brother Jehoahaz to the throne of Judah at the decree of Pharaoh Necho (II Kings 23:30 -37). Both Jehoiakim and Jehoahaz were evil sons of Josiah a godly king who feared the Lord. It was while Jehoiakim was king that Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem in siege, but he did not destroy it at that time.
When a king stood siege against another nation and won he gleaned all the best people from the populace to take back to work in his palace. Nebuchadnezzar was no different. He chose Daniel and his friends because of their place in the royal family in Judah. Isaiah prophesied this event in Isaiah 39:3-8 which we will look at a little later. He also took some of the treasures from God’s temple back with him to Babylon at this time.
Daniel and his friends, along with thousands of others, were removed to a new home in a new land far from their families’ influence and teachings. They would no longer have the religious instruction and other teachings they did at home. This is where we will see the moral mettle of Daniel and the boys as they do not throw away all they learned, but, rather, live it in the face of the king.
We can see from reading Ezekiel 28:3, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel there is no secret that they can hide from thee…” and Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…” that Daniel was a real human being. He was taken captive, probably at 17 years old when Nebuchadnezzar was in siege against Judah in 605BC. God told us that by the mouth of two or three witnesses a thing is established. Finding Daniel in the Old and New Testaments makes it real to me, how about you?
When Jehoiakim died his son Jehoiachin took the throne. Jehoiachin rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar who once again stood siege over Jerusalem. This was in 598 BC. Jerusalem was still not yet destroyed, but Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin who had surrendered, his mother, and all the vessles of the temple, along with another great group of people, to Babylon (II Kings 24). It seems this was when Nebuchadnezzar also took Ezekiel captive
After Jehoiachin was taken, his uncle Zedekiah was made king. He also rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. This brought on the third siege against Jerusalem. This time the temple was destroyed and the city burned. Zedekiah’s sons were killed before his eyes, and then his eyes were gouged out of his head. This destruction and final deportation of Zedekiah and the captives to Babylon took place in 588 or 587 BC. This was a fulfillment of the prophesy of Jeremiah found in Jeremiah 25:8-13, “Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.”
When Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon after taking Jerusalem, he placed the sacred items from the temple of God into “the temple of his god in Shinar” (an ancient name for Babylon). This god was Bel also called Marduk, chief god of the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar placed them there to show Marduk had overcome the God of Judah.
Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M. said, “Judah’s captivity was a divine judgment for the sins of this nation. Daniel’s prayer, recorded in chapter 9, reveals his grasp of this fact. Daniel was fully convinced that it was God who gave Jehoiakim king of Judah, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. It was this knowledge which enabled Daniel to deal with his own circumstances in the godly manner evident throughout the Book of Daniel.”
Daniel was still working in the palace in 539 BC when Babylon was taken by Cyrus 60 years after his captivity. He actually lived through the reign of four kings, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus and served in three different kingdoms, Babylon, Media, and Persia.
It was because of his faithfulness to God that the Lord blessed Daniel mightily. He received many promotions within each kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar made him chief of the wise men and ruler over the land (2:28). One article I read stated that this equates to Daniel being a Prime Minister.
Here is an important note to remember. When Nebuchadnezzar took control of Judah, destroyed the temple of God that Solomon had built, and burnt Jerusalem, it was the beginning of a prophetic time called “the times of the Gentiles” that was mentioned in Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This refers to the period of time when the land covenanted to Abraham is occupied by Gentile powers, meaning that no king from the line of David occupies the throne. That time extends from Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Jerusalem till the second coming of Jesus when He will take back the covenant land of Israel from the Gentiles and restore it to the covenant blessings during the thousand year reign in the Millennium.
Book of Daniel
Chapter 1, Part 2
Let’s begin tonight’s study with a couple of questions. First, how can we live in the world yet not be of the world? Second, how do we live a Christian life in what is becoming more obviously a non-Christian world? We can do this by not conforming to the world and its standards.
Unless you’ve been sleeping or living in the mountains for the last 50 years, you realize that the United States is becoming more like Babylon every day. According to secular humanists, the only real sin is intolerance, especially of homosexuals. It’s ok to stick scissors through a baby’s neck into its brain to kill it as its being born, they say, but you can’t call a homosexual gay, queer, or fag. If you do, you are branded a homophobe and could pay a fine or go to jail. Their counter-culture in my opinion is no culture at all.
The popular mores now is, if you like it and it feels good and it makes you happy, do it. Promiscuity is rampant in heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, pornography is the norm on both the big and little screens, and worshipping satan is becoming more prevalent and public. This sounds Babylonian to me. Now, toss in the love of money and things and you understand Babylon. Babylon mocked THE God and worshipped gods. The US is taking THE God out of everything and replacing it with gods (money, power, influence, etc…).
V. 3, 4 – If anyone here knew that Daniel and his three friends were castrated and made into eunuchs when they got to Babylon, please say, “I knew.”
This was done to them in fulfillment of Isaiah 39:7, “And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon .” It was believed that castration made men less aggressive. Daniel and his friends were teens, maybe 17, when they were captured and made into eunuchs.
This is the reason Daniel never married. Now he could spend all his time serving the king without the distraction of home and family.
Nebuchadnezzar, as any other king who captured a nation, took only the top cream for his palace to serve him. In this case, he wanted Daniel and his friends trained as personal advisers to him. Since their training had been started by their parents and teachers in Judah the boys already possessed wisdom, knowledge, skills, and a knowledge of science that most young men their age did not have. Other things the king wanted the boys to learn were Babylonian philosophy, science, astrology, agriculture, commerce, and religion. The king would use this to his advantage.
Pastor Gerald Flurry said, “He (Nebuchadnezzar) would then be able to send them (Daniel and his three friends) back to their homeland of Judah to govern Judah as loyal subjects of Babylon . What Nebuchadnezzar sought to do is not unlike what is taking place by Satan through the secular humanists of our day. They seek to captivate the Christian community, especially our children and youth in order to brainwash and corrupt them in order to subjugate them to the prince of this world’s reign and power.” I agree!
Before Nebuchadnezzar would be able to change Daniel’s ways, he would have to change his heart. Daniel was submitted to the Father, and Nebuchadnezzar wanted him to convert that loyalty to the king, himself. He thought that by luring him with tasty tidbits, good wine, education, and all the worldly goods he could want, Daniel would condescend to his authority. He misjudged these guys and their marvelous God.
One thing to understand is, these boys were hand-picked by God for this job long before Nebuchadnezzar had anything to say. The Spirit of God was on them and that’s why they could stand against an entire kingdom and its evil leader. We can do nothing of ourselves. When we get to the point of thinking that we can stand up alone, we are on a surefire path to destruction and we will fall. Many Christian leaders have fallen in their conceit and pride. Daniel and his friends would not give in to such arrogance. They proved that you don’t have to give in to excel. You don’t need to compromise your principles and values to get ahead. When you live a right life before God and man, He will promote and reward you. “Friendship with the world is enmity with God!” (Hebrews 11:24-26)
V. 5 – In order to bring the four young men into line, Nebuchadnezzar needed to change their lifestyle. He thought that they would be like the rest of the captives who gratefully pulled up to the table and ate and drank what the king supplied. But Daniel and company knew these meats had first, been sacrificed to pagan gods, and second, were of the list of unclean animals and fish that the Lord prohibited them from eating, and third, they were prepared by Gentiles which also made the food unclean, therefore, they refused to eat any of it. Similarly, the wine the Jews drank was always diluted with water. They were not allowed to drink it full strength so that they would not become drunk. The Babylonians did not dilute their wine and lived lives of debauchery. They were no dummies, these 4 guys. They knew the law governing food and drink and, if they partook, they would be breaking every one of them.
The king’s desire was that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah would live according to his culture. II Timothy 3:1-4 defines what the king wanted for them perfectly, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…" And these things are exactly what the four refused to participate in. They chose to remain undefiled, or clean, in God’s eyes. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).
V. 6, 7 – Let’s do a name comparison to help you understand why the chief eunuch changed the names of the four Hebrew teens before he trained them and allowed them to meet the king. It’s important that we know this because their original names all honored the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the covenant God of Israel. The names they were given to replace those names were honoring to Babylonian god’s. Remember, they were now in a country that mocked God. I think it would behoove us all the memorize their given names and not their new names. We do not want to continue calling them by blasphemous names.
Daniel means “God is my judge”; his new name, Belteshazzar, means “bel (also called Baal or Marduk) will protect”. This was to give Daniel the idea that this god would protect him better than God could.
Hananiah means “Yahewh has been gracious”; his new name, Shadrach, means "command of Aku" in Babylonian, Aku being the name of the Babylonian god of the moon.
Mishael means “who is like God”; his new name, Meshach, possibly means "who is what Aku is?" in Babylonian, Aku being the name of the Babylonian god of the moon.
Azariah means “Yahweh is strong”; his new name, Abed-Nego, means "servant of Nebo" in Babylonian, Nebo being the Babylonian god of wisdom.
The reason the eunuch changed their names is two-fold. First, he wanted to take away the names that reminded the young men of their God and what He meant to them. Second, once they learned the language, art and literature of Babylon, he wanted to assimilate (integrate: to integrate somebody into a larger group, so that differences are minimized or eliminated, or become integrated in this way. Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.) them completely into the Babylonian culture. In other words, they would be reprogrammed, or so the king thought. He underestimated these who were of “the king’s seed.”
I will close this study with a quote from a sermon by R. Darrel Davis that should make Christians stand up and take notice. When Atheists are not scared of us, we’re in trouble.
“Charles Smith, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, reported that the lack of opposition was the cause of the decline of atheism. ‘We don’t have the old repressive religion that stimulates atheism, and they don’t preach hell-fire and Jonah in the whale anymore. They go in for this cheer-them-up religion. That’s not the old-time religion. It may be that this new sort is not so bad but they don’t let it interfere with their lives. They spent more time in the old days pleasing God. Now they try to please their fellow men.’”
Book of Daniel
Chapter 1, Part 3
V. 8 – Here we begin to see Daniel’s devotion to God. Instead of he and his friends eating and drinking what was set before them, Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” He requested a meeting with the chief eunuch to see if they could reach an understanding. With all courtesy and respect, Daniel asked if he and his friends could keep themselves clean by not consuming what was set before them. This would mean the chief eunuch would have to break King Nebuchadnezzar rules.
What’s interesting to me is that Daniel, a teenager, was not concerned with following his peer group in pleasing the king, his concern was in pleasing God. Another thing is Daniel and the guys were not from the “feel good” mindset that is so prevalent in society and even in church nowadays. They had been trained to know right from wrong and had developed integrity, which is doing what’s right even when no one is watching. His parents weren’t there, so he could have made it easy on himself by going along. He chose the hard path that leads to eternal life.
This is a good lesson for all of us. We must not always take the easy way out of things. Sometimes the hard road is the best way to go and adds more blessings to us. If we always take the easy way, we are bound to cross the line and “defile” ourselves before God.
As part of the reprogramming into Babylonian culture and society, these young men were expected to eat, dress, act, and talk like the Babylonians they lived among. Most of the captives were indoctrinated, but Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah remained true to God. They lived according to the Mosaic Law all the days of their lives. Isaiah 52:11 might have been their watchword, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.”
V. 9 – This verse is used by homosexual activists to prove that Daniel was a homosexual and that he had an affair with the chief eunuch. They say that because God put this affection in the eunuch’s heart for Daniel, there is nothing wrong with living that lifestyle. That is not even a close translation of what this verse means. First of all, God gave Daniel a place in the chief eunuch’s heart for His own purpose. “God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Number 23:19) So – when God said, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22) He meant it for all time. It wasn’t Daniel’s looks or anything else which made him attractive to the chief. God opened the eunuch’s heart so that he would be a willing helper in Daniel’s ministry.
V. 10 – The Eunuch wasn’t happy to hear Daniel’s request for special privileges where food and drink were concerned. He was afraid that not eating and drinking the king’s portion would show up on the guys as they began to look sallow and lose weight. He knew that breaking the king’s rules could cost him his life.
V. 11-15 –Daniel then approached the steward who delivered their food and asked him to give them ten days to prove their diet would be healthier than the foods the king sent for them. Can you almost see the steward mulling this over in his mind? He knew that if Daniels, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah didn’t look as fit as the rest, it would be on his head. He was frightened, but at the risk of his own life and that of Daniel and his companions, the steward agreed to allow their portion to be fruits, veggies, grain, and water. (The word vegetable means sown things, so grains were part of it.) Daniel assured the steward that if he and his companions didn’t look good to him at the end of the set time, they would eat whatever he brought from then on. So, the steward “consented with them” and allowed the trial for ten days.
At the end of the ten days Daniel and his friends came before the steward and stood alongside the young men who had given in and eaten from the king’s table. It was sort of like “show and tell.” “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” (V. 15). What the steward observed, in other words, is that Daniel and friends looked healthier. Their complexion was bright and clear. “Fatter” in this verse does not mean the blobby stuff that sits around the middle of people who overeat. It means there flesh was more solid, plumper, filled out with muscles. They didn’t look swelled up like the other boys. The steward was so impressed with their appearance that he removed all the temptations of the foods and drink apportioned to them and gave them only the healthful grains and vegetables which allowed them to stay pure in God’s eyes.
V. 16 – “Thus steward took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them vegetables.” The steward was so impressed. He knew that these four guys looked great and that he had a part in their healthy appearance. If the chief eunuch asked, he could confidently tell him that he had tested Daniel and found that his diet was superior to the king’s fare. He was no longer in fear for his life.
V. 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.” The three years of preparation for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah was to make them ready to serve in the king’s court, or so was thought. As their bodies became healthy and strong so did their minds and they excelled in schools of language, the king’s law, agriculture, literature, etc. They were clear thinkers with good reasoning skills. Problems were no problem for them as they could think logically and understand things through great insight. So, no matter what the king thought, it was actually God preparing the four to serve Him amongst the heathen. What set Daniel apart from all the others who could discern with wisdom and knowledge was his ability to understand and interpret dreams and visions. Again, all that they said and did was through inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit working through them. They did not sink to using occult practices which had been forbidden by God.
“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 18:9-13).
Please allow me to make a point here. Anyone who claims to be a born-again Christian and yet reads horoscopes (even only once in a while for fun) or has their palm read at the carnival or fair is walking in the abomination of psychometric sin. There is no such thing as a “toy” 8-ball, or a “just for fun” Ouija Board. Daniel and his friends stayed away from that stuff. Daniel especially became a spiritual Seer by God’s appointment. He worked through heavenly revelation not through the spirit of darkness and deception.
Because of their faithfulness,God gave Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah the kind of protection He gave Joseph to become Heads of State in Babylon and Daniel the wisdom as of Solomon to divine truths.
This should help us understand that walking in the Lord’s way comes with benefits and rewards. As we serve God, He promotes us from glory to glory. By this others come to recognize that God is righteous and just and always repays good for good.
V. 18-21 – At the end of the three years of training, the chief eunuch brought the men he was in charge of before Nebuchadnezzar who questioned each one as he was presented before him. Of all of the captives, Nebuchadnezzar found none as good looking, healthy, strong, wise, or intelligent as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The training had been successful for the four. Keep in mind that none of this is about Daniel and the guys. It’s about what God can accomplish through willing vessels.
Even more amazing to Nebuchadnezzar was that “…in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm (V. 20). This means that of all the adults who had been in the occult for decades studying continually to increase their knowledge, not one knew as much as these teenagers who were probably 19 at the time of this interview with Nebuchadnezzar who gleaned their knowledge through God.
It is important to know that the occult is prevalent and gaining ground every day in this country and around the world. This is a sign of the soon coming King of kings. “Even him (antichrist), whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders… (II Thessalonians 2:9). The antichrist will do signs and wonders of healings and miracles. Some commentators think he will be able to walk on water and that he will be able to control the wind. satan is in control of the natural forces of this earth. When God gave him permission to test Job, satan sent a mighty wind to knock down the house his family was partying in and killed them all along with the servants (Job 1:18, 19). Let’s stand up for Christ, the Living Word so that we will not fall for anything else and be damned.
Rev. Suzanne L. Taylor
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