Background to Daniel:


Theme:  God Rules the Nations, Do Not Fear!


Main messages:


1.  How to stay pure and uncorrupted?to maintain your integrity in a world

     in which you are surrounded by unbelievers.


2.  God is in control.  He will protect his people.  Do not fear.  God will deal

     with those who persecute or otherwise oppose your service for him.



Principle Audience:


Jews who suffered under the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes (167-164 BC)


Things that make Daniel unique:


1.  Daniel, more than any other book, is the fighting ground for intellectuals

     over whether the Bible is inspired by God.  If they cannot cut down

     Daniel, then their case is lost



2.  Daniel  ? Old Testament       as     Revelation  ?  New Testament



1.  Largely Apocalyptic.

2.  Concerning end times.   (eschatology)

3.  Written to a people who are suffering very intense persecution.




3.  Daniel has by far the most information in the OT about angels, the resurrection
and the after life.   OT has very little about heaven, hell and eternal life.



4.  Daniel set in a pagan nation.  Daniel?s ministry was principally to pagans.



5.  Daniel is a very unique ?prophet.?   In fact, was he a prophet?   Did he occupy the position
of prophet among the Jews?  No.   Did he proclaim, ?Thus says the Lord? to Israe
l?  No.   Did he predict the future?  Yes.  If Daniel was a prophet, he was a prophet
to the nations.


6.  More specific predictive prophecy than any book in Bible by far.





Daniel, but probably an editor put together some of the historical materials
and most likely even wrote certain sections.  (Daniel 4:19, ?Then Daniel, (also known
as Belshazzar) was greatly perplexed.?  Daniel 10:1 ?In the third year of Cyrus, a revelation
was given to Daniel.?)     


Not what Daniel would have said.


We will see that authorship is very important.  Skeptics will insist that Daniel wrote
nothing.  They will question whether a person named Daniel ever even lived.





Both Hebrew and Aramaic (vernacular language of Jews after about 550 BC)    


Daniel 2:4  Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic:   through the end of Daniel
7 is in Aramaic.



Date of writing:   6th century BC.  Daniel lived until at least 536 BC when he had his
last vision.


Skeptics:   Daniel written around 160 BC.   It is ?pseudepigraphic?    (There were many pseudepigraphic
Hebrew writings from 200 BC to AD 200   Baruch, for example, which everyone knew
were pseudepigraphic)


Evidence pro:


1.  Existence of Greek words in the text, when Greece did not conquer the area
until 335 BC.


          But?.   Very few Greek words.   What words from an unfamiliar language are
incorporated first?      Chinese word for guitar is guitar.


Daniel 3:5


2.  Supposedly a fairly modern type of Aramaic is found in the Aramaic sections.


          Most conservative scholars totally deny this.  There is no evidence of
later Aramaic style at all.


3.  The real reason.  If Daniel was written by 535 BC, then Daniel is without

     the slightest possibility of a shadow of a doubt the inspired word of God.


4.  Almost every commentary I have read claims that the book of Daniel is a
blatant fake.  A total lie!  



Evidence con:


1.  Septuagint translation from Hebrew to Greek about 200-170 BC.  Hard to

     translate before it was written.


2.  Would it be possible to convince the ultraconservative rabbis to accept

     blatant faked book into the canon of the scripture.  It is impossible to

     claim that Daniel was accepted later than 100 BC, even for the greatest

     die-hard skeptic.


3.  We will see that Daniel predicts amazingly specific things way after 165

     BC.  Therefore the whole argument totally falls apart.    (skeptics will

     deny this, and thus their bogus arguments about Daniel 2 etc, as we will



Historical background.


1.  722 BC    Samaria destroyed by Assyria.


2.  612  BC     Assyria/Nineveh destroyed by Nabopolassar (Babylonian) and Cyaxares


605  BC   Nebuchadnezzar  son of Nabopolassar king of Babylon

                Neb attacks Jerusalem, Jehoiakim submits, captives and

                tribute/treasure taken to Babylon.    (beginning of Jeremiah?s



600       Judah rebels


597    Neb returns, attacks Jer.  Jehoachin  taken as captive to Babylon. 

          Zedekiah installed as puppet king.


586.    Zedekiah rebels, Neb. Returns, Jerusalem and Solomon?s temple

           leveled.   (beginning of the 70 years of captivity?)


550    Cyrus reigns over Media/Persia


          a. 546  Lydia

          b. 538  Babylon

          c. 530  Egypt


538  Babylon captured by Cyrus? armies.   Decree to return to native lands. (Ezra 1)
sp;  (Daniel 5)   Media/Persia takes over Babylonian empire.


537/6   Jewish captives return to Jer. to build temple


522    Darius king.  Decree to rebuild temple.  Second return (Ezra 6)

          (battle of Marathon, invasion of Greece)


516    Temple completed.  (Haggai, Zechariah)


486    Xerxes.   (Thermopylae battle, Esther.)


464   Artaxerxes  (decree to rebuild Jerusalem, 3rd return under Ezra, 

        Nehemiah, Malachi)


336   Alexander takes throne of Macedon


334-332   Crosses into Asia, Conquers entire Persian Empire


323      Alexander dies


315   Four successor dynasties take over


311.   Seleucus, general of Ptolemies, establishes separate dynasty.


185-163    Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes rules over Jerusalem.


167   Temple desecrated.


164    Macabeean revolt.  Temple cleansed


63    Pompei  conquers Jerusalem for Rome.


31    Battle of Actium.   Greek power ends


6/5    Jesus born under Rome


29  AD  Jesus crucified.


70 Titus destroys Jerusalem




Outline of Class


I.  Practical examples in the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego  (Ch 1,3-
6).   Remaining righteous in a pagan world.


II.  Prophecies of the future.  Ch 2,7-12



Ch I    Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael     Will they compromise their

           convictions under pressure from the world?




605   Captives sent from Jerusalem for assurance of submission.   Children of the leading
families in Jerusalem.


Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael    children of aristocratic families, taken
as captives.


Babylonians try to make them Babylonian


Change their names


Daniel ?   Belshazzar   (named after the chier pagan god of Babylon:  Bel)

Hananiah ?  Shadrach   etc?   v 5,6


Educate them in their culture.    v 4,5


Offered wealth and power in the new system as a bribe to become Babylonian.


Similar to Joseph (taken as a captive as child, raised up to position of power,
tempted to compromise, etc. )  in many ways.


Will they lose their convictions?


But?..   God is in control.


Isaiah 39:6,7


Daniel 1:2  And the Lord delivered Jehoiachim


1:9   God caused the official to show favor to Daniel.


1:17   God gave them knowledge and understanding.


1:8   But Daniel resolved not to defile himself.   He refused to lose his Jewishness.


Do you refuse to lose your Christianness when people at work ask you to make
teensy compromises with your conviction.


Daniel SM&A  purposefully made an issue out of it to prove to themselves and their
boss their conviction.   They went overboard.


Q:  Have we gone overboard to make our Christianness stick out or have we gone
overboard to not make too many waves at work?


v. 11  Please test your servants.



Q:   Is it wrong or a bad thing to rise to positions of prominence in an ungodly


Q:   What are the potential pitfalls?


Q:  How might we imitate DSM&A at work?


V 20,21   God sees a man willing to not compromise his convictions at all.  Blesses him


          By the way?.  About 602 BC till 538 BC   a long time?   We will see that Daniel
and friends never compromised even one bit.



Theme verse of Daniel   Daniel 12:3


Ch III   The image of gold and the fiery furnace   THE FIRES OF PERSECUTION


Do not conform to the pressure of the religious world to conform.


How will your faith hold up?


The Scene:


A few years after DSM&A entered service to Nebuchadnezzar.


A giant idol is built in the plains of Dura.  (a large open plane not far from B
abylon where tens of thousands could gather.


Where is Daniel?  Off on a mission?


Nebuchadnezzar calls a big party,  and guess who is invited.  Attendance was not optional!


3:4-6     Imagine you are SM&A   What thoughts go through your mind?


?I will bow my head, but not my heart.  God will understand?


Talk about peer pressure!!


Their religious friends (and even fellow-Jews?) Don?t be so hard line.


Appn:   Jews in time of Antiochus Epiphanes.  Many wanted to combine Greek culture and
philosophy with Judaism.


Appn:   Persecutions of Diocletian:   Some offered the sacrifice to the Roman god.   What shoul
d the church do with these people after the persecution ended?


Appn:  the denominational world/ecumenical movement, etc?.


You don?t really have to be so committed.


Are  you really saying all these people are lost?  How could you be so arrogant.


Daniel 1:   Pressure on the job


Daniel 3:  Pressure from our religious friends.


SM&A:   Would God really want me to die now?  Doesn?t he have great things in store
for me?   What would it hurt for me to compromise?


Q:   What would you have done?   Really?.    My kids?.


Me:   Barney Ellison


V 7   the horn etc. blow.   30,000 bow and three remain standing.  Being a disciple might make
you stick out.  Are you ready for that?  (Remember Antiochus Epiphanes)


v. 13. Dragged to furnace.    
Neb is furious.    Gives one more chance to repent


SM&A refuse to bow.


I love v 16-18.   Note 


1.     God is able   


2.     But even if he does not, we refuse to compromise our devotion to God.


Is that your attitude about the truth of the gospel?   Imagine how awesome an example
this was to the Jews suffering under Antiochus Epiphanes.


Even as they were dragged to the flames, they could have changed their minds.


7 times hotter.


What was going through their minds as they were dragged to the furnace?






1.  Nebuchadnezzar praised God


2.  SM&A promoted.


Were they guaranteed this result?   No!!!!





Ch IV is about pride in our own accomplishments.


Theme:   God rules the nations.  God also rules the rulers of the nations.


Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of a giant tree?.  4:10-16.


4:17   The theme of ch 4 and one of the themes of Daniel.

          (remember the Jews in time of Antiochus Epiphanes.  How could God

            put such an evil man over us?)


v 22  You, O king, are that tree.


v. 27 repent and the calamity may not fall on you.


v. 28  Is this not the great Babylon  me   my   I    


1 Cor 4:7

              While the words were still on his lips?.


For us:   Q:   How might we be like Nebuchadnezzar?


Nebuchadnezzar appears to have become crazy for a while

              (one obscure historical reference may confirm this story?

                   like King George of England)


It took 7 years, but?   v 34




There are two ways for God to humble us


1.     Blessing us

      2.  Taking away our blessings.    Which would you prefer?





                   (this is where that saying came from)


The fall of Babylon.


It is no coincidence that Ch 5 follows Ch 4.  God rules the nations.


The scene:


Babylon has  become decadent

Nabonidus, a semi-legitimate ruler, has gone off into the desert to pursue mystical


Belshazzar, his son, is regent


(note:  skeptics doubted the reality of Belshazzar.  Proof Daniel is fiction.  They don?t say this
any more.   Vs 7  ?I will make him the third in the kingdom = #2 behind Belshazzar.    Later
, records showed. Belshazzar began to rule as co-regent in 553 BC


What Belshazzar does not know:     The armies of Cyrus were waiting that very night
just outside the city.


Belshazzar is having a drunken party with all his corrupt officials.


v. 3   Drank out of the vessels from the temple of God.


Mistake city!!!!!       God rules the nations.


The writing on the wall.    (by the way, this plaster-covered wall has been discovered)


V 5.    Belshazzar pees his pants.


V 10   The ?queen?   (probably the queen mother, the mother of Belshazzar, daughter of
Nebuchadnezzar)  she remembers Daniel.


I love v. 16, 17


Is that your attitude?     Notice how Daniel has the same conviction he had in 605 BC, 
?67 years before.     May we maintain such conviction for so long!!


A lecture?.


Belshazzar, if only you were teachable as was your grandfather Neb.  V 22







Counted, counted, weighed, divided  (double meaning, Persia)


This message is for the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes as much as for Belshazzar.  God
?will judge your persecutors.


5:30       When God says it is time for judgment, things happen fast.


Read Daniel book p. 77


Message:  persecuted disciples.  Do not fear.  I am in control.  I got your back covered.




How the world reacts to a righteous man of God.


Note v. 4,5     They could find no basis for accusation.   Could they say that about you? 
   (again, see ch. 1)        The only way we will be able to get this guy is to
use his righteousness against him.


v. 6,7   the plot is hatched.    Anyone who prays?


What is Daniel?s response?


v. 10.    He did not change a thing.    What is your response when people try to use
your righteousness against you?


Me at Marian College.


v. 16    thrown to the lions.     Have you ever felt like that?


God shut the mouths of the lions.


Darius praises God.


Part II    Prophecies of the Future


CH II   A Dream of the Future.


v. 1  In the second year of his reign?    604 BC


Neb has a dream.  Interpret it for me.  Fine, tell us.  Neb:  no, you tell me the dream
first, so I will know you are not religious fakes.  Or I will kill you all.


v. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among
men.     WRONG.


Many so-called charismatics are the same.   God told me?  I know it in my heart?     Do not
be intimidated by religious fakes.  The world w
ill be able to tell the difference.


Daniel?s prayer:   God rules the nations.  Do not fear.


v. 28  gives God the glory


The vision


A head of gold.       


Chest of Bronze,


Belly and thighs of silver


Legs of iron, but legs are part iron and part clay


v. 37  God has given you dominion and power.


Head = Babylon


Chest = Media/Persia


Belly and Thighs =  Greece


Legs = Rome.


Skeptics:   head = Babylon   Chest = Media   Belly = Persia    Legs = Greece


Divided kingdom   Diocletian  AD 284   Permanent after Theodosian AD 395


Clay:  Western Rome


Iron:  Eastern Rome?Byzantium   until AD 1453


603 BC- AD 1453  over two thousand years.


Premillenialists     10 toes = EC   (EU)    now 18 countries   oops


In time of Rome, God will establish the kingdom of God on the earth.  V 44


When God proposes, he disposes.


Daniel VII     Daniel?s First Vision.   Four Beasts.


This vision focuses on Rome!    (so much for 160 BC date of authorship)


First year of Belshazzar (regency)   553 BC


v.4  A lion    Babylon   lion a major motif.   Eagle:  Jer 48:40  Look, an eagle is swooping


The heart of a man given to it.   Nebuchadnezzar repents.


v. 5  a bear.  Strength.   Persia/Media   3 ribs = Lydia, Babylon, Egypt.


v. 6  a leopard.  Speed   Greece   four heads = Antigonus, Cassander, Lysimachus and
Ptolemy.  (See ch. 8)


v.7    a terrible beast.  This vision about Rome.  Persecutions.


v. 7  10 horns = 10 kings  (v. 24)     (The Emperor?s Club)




v. 8  another horn.  An eleventh king.  Domitian.  First systematic persecutor of Christians.  AD


This horn will speak boastfully.


Domitian was proverbial for arrogance and pride.


Go to v. 20-25.


v. 21  waging war against the saints.   Imagine how 1st century disciples felt when they
were persecuted by Domitian, the 11th emperor!!!!   God is in control.  Do not fear.


Subdue 3 kings:     Galba, Otho and Vitellius  defeated by his Father, actually.   How did Daniel know


(Revelation 17:1-18   7 heads and 10 horns  (ignoring G, O & V) 


v. 8  the beast who once was (Antiochus Epiphanes), now is not, and yet will
come (Domitian) God is preparing his people.    v. 10,11  the eighth king is Domitian.   He is going
to his destruction.  God is in control, do not fear)


back to Daniel


v. 25  will try to change the set times.   Domitianus   a new month

                   (got rid of it the day after he died)


v. 25  and the laws.    Set up an entirely new set of laws. (like Napolean)


v. 25   3-1/2 times   ? of seven   A limited period of persecution.


v. 26,27  so cool   (or go back to v. 9)   Massively inspiring.  But imagine being a 1st-3rd cent
ury disciple.


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