STUDY OF DANIEL
Today, we start getting into the first chapter and the beginning of our study on the Book of Daniel. We have studied about the conflict between the major powers or kingdoms: Babylon, Assyrian, Persian Empire, and Egypt.
Conflict seems inevitable. In fact, conflict is one of the central themes of scripture. The theme of the Book of Daniel, as demonstrated in the events of ancient Babylon, is the same struggle between the God of Heaven and the power of evil.
The Book of Daniel begins with Nebuchadnezzar’s seeming defeat of the True God, but ends with a tremendous victory for the God of Heaven. Nebuchadnezzar is shown again and again that God is still in control of human events. Remember that the focal point of the Book of Daniel is The Time of the End. Therefore, the events, stories and conflicts in the Book of Daniel are to have an impact on us who are living these last days.
There are two issues over which controversy arises in the Book of Daniel. These are the issues of worship and obedience.
We will see them both illustrated very clearly in the historical portion of Daniel. These same issues will reappear in the prophetic section of Daniel, indicating they are to be major issues in the final conflict.
One of the first specific instances in the Book of Daniel where the issues of worship and obedience illustrate the great controversy theme is in where Daniel and his companions are to eat what the king provides for them. They don’t want to defile themselves spiritually by eating food forbidden in
Throughout the historical portion of the Book of Daniel, we see how Daniel’s obedience to God and worship of God is continually threatened.
The issue is clear in the Book of Daniel. Governments may try to impose legislation that inhibits or prohibits the worship of God, or demands false worship. Only those who remain true and faithful to God will be delivered.
Remember that the focal point of the Book of Daniel is The End The prophecies of Daniel point to the last days, when these issues, (worship and obedience) will rise again. People in the end time will attempt to inhibit or prohibit true worship and impose false worship. The Book of Daniel tells us clearly that God will have a victorious people who will overcome all these attempts to cause them to disobey or to pervert the worship of God. The issue in the Book of Daniel is worship and obedience. The issues in the last days will be worship and obedience.
How important it is that each of us remain faithful to God.
The controversy begins in Daniel with the captivity of Daniel and his friends by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. In this first chapter, we will study the amazing story of how a young man and his friends faced some very severe tests which were inflicted by a despotic ruler. The test described in Chapter 1 seems very mild in comparison to the much greater test to come later in the book.
But the lesson of Chapter 1 is that only those who pass minor tests will ever pass the major tests.
In the first verse, Chapter 1, we see where God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to besiege and capture Jerusalem, and Judah.
They took hostages and looted treasures from the temple or House of God, and carried them into Shinar, to the house of his god.
Backing up a little, we know Daniel was a young man about 14 to 15 years of age. In 605 B.C., Jeremiah was in his year of ministry. He was called as a youth, probably near the age of 14, making him about 38 years old. Ezekiel was 30 in 597 B.C., making him 22 years old in 605 B.C. Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, all three being in Jerusalem when Daniel and his friends were taken captive to Babylon.
So, as you can see, in we can see it was foretold by Jeremiah that Jerusalem and Judah would fall into the hands of the Babylonians, because they had forsaken the Lord, had ceased to worship Him, and were disobedient to the word of God.
False worship and disobedience again, led to Israel’s captivity.
In verse 3, we see where the king calls unto the master of the Eunuchs. Critics claim no such person ever existed.
Recent discoveries again proved the accuracy of the Book of Daniel.
Ashpenaz’s name has been found on monuments of Ancient Babylon, which are now in the Berlin museum. The monument had the following statement, “Ashpenaz, master of Eunuchs in the time of Nebuchadnezzar.”
The king calls Ashpenaz, that he should bring “certain” of the children from among the captives to be educated in the schools of Babylon. They were to be of the king’s seed, and of whom was no blemish, skilled in all wisdom and cunning in knowledge, and under- stand science. This education process was to last three years In verse 6, we see the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat and wine.
Among the captive children were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The prince of the Eunuchs gave them each new Babylonian names after their gods. In the Babylonian names given to the four, were, Belteshazzar (Daniel), Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshach (Mishael), and Abednego (Azariah).
As we mentioned above, their diet was to be meat and wine.
In God had warned the Israelites about drinking wine.
And in it tells what foods God had forbidden the Israelites to eat.
What a dilemma for these Hebrew youth! Although they were captives, they were being treated like royalty. They could even eat the king’s special food and sit at his table, but to do so meant to be disobedient to the God of Heaven. To fail to eat at the king’s table meant to be disobedient to the King of Babylon, who was treating them favorably.
Yet, Daniel and his friends did not hesitate in making a decision. In Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat with the wine which he drank.
There was no question in Daniel’s mind. Loyalty to God was more important than loyalty to the king. Here we see the beginning of the issue that will be illustrated again and again in the Book of Daniel.
God’s faithful people are being brought into conflict, and the issue is obedience to God or obedience to man. Like Daniel, God’s people in the end time will not hesitate to choose obedience to God over obedience to man. is a key verse in the book. It vividly portrays why God could trust Daniel so implicitly in his experiences in Ancient Babylon.
So as not to defile himself, Daniel asked for an exemption (a bold request for a captive Jew).
The prince of the Eunuchs was afraid he would lose his head, if the health of Daniel and his friends would not be good. Daniel and his friends agreed to eat “pulse” and drink water for ten days.
“Pulse” is vegetables. Daniel and his friends requested a very simple Judean diet. Daniel knew that while in Babylon, he would be subjected to the fiercest tests imaginable. If he was to remain loyal to God, he must live and eat simply.
At the end of ten days, Daniel and his friends appeared to be in better health, so Melzar, prince of the Eunuchs, took away the king’s meat and wine.
Because of their faithfulness to God, in (Daniel 1:17), “God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and
In verse 20, “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better… .”. They were better because of their obedience to the God of Heaven. These four Hebrew youth also passed every other test in the Book of Daniel.
When we study Daniel 3, and the fiery furnace, Daniel 6 and the story of the lion’s den, we see again and again that these four Hebrew youths are always faithful. Those who compromised on the first test, which seems to us to have been easy, evidently compromised on all the other tests that came. If we cannot remain loyal to God when tests are easy, we will not be loyal when the test is difficult. Today, we live in a time of prosperity, when it is relatively easy to serve God. If we cannot be obedient in this time, we will never be obedient when real trouble comes.