115-101 Daniel Introduction
You can take this course online or you can download this course by clicking this link. 115-100 Daniel. The Quiz must be taken on line for credit.
Before we delve into the book of Daniel we must see the historical context of the time that Daniel was written. The ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been taken into captivity around 772 B.C. leaving only the two Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
Judah, which also included the tribe of Benjamin, was taken into captivity by the Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar. The Chaldeans refers to the people of a small providence in a southern territory of Babylonia. Later King Nebuchadnezzar II formed a new Babylonian Empire that included nearly all of Babylonia.
King Nebuchadnezzar II did not completely destroy Judah but did conquer it. He also looted the Temple and took the healthiest of the Hebrews back to Babylonia to become slaves in his kingdom. Judah became a vassal of Babylonia and was allowed to keep its king. At this first deportation Daniel was taken into captivity. Eight years later in 598 B. C. there was a second deportation at the time that the Prophet Ezekiel was the prophet of the people of Judah. The third deportation was in 588 B. C. at which time Judah was completely destroyed.
This event in Judah’s history was prophesized by the Prophet Jeremiah, “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. “And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the LORD has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’ “Yet you have not listened to Me,” declares the LORD, “in order that you might provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. ‘Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy 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 lamp. ‘This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:1-11)
This event was also recorded in the second Book of Chronicles. “Furthermore, all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful following all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the house of the LORD which He had sanctified in Jerusalem. The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy. Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. All the articles of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and of his officers, he brought them all to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its fortified buildings with fire and destroyed all its valuable articles. Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete.” (2 Chronicles 36:14-21)
In this passage of Scripture we see three reasons for the judgement of God to fall on the people of Judah. They continued to worship false gods and were given to the pagan custom of idolatry. Those who were sent by God to be His messengers were abused and mocked by the people. The people also failed to give the land rest in the Sabbatical year. I might add a note to be aware of as a warning to the societies of the world community. At every level of the societies of the world there is guilt of the same disobedience to God’s Word today. We are a people who worship false gods of our own making including gods created in our depraved fantasy. Those whom God has raised up to preach the Word of God are being persecuted even to the point of death. There is a great failure to have responsibility in our commission to have dominion over the earth.
The charge of Idolatry
There is only one God. The God who is also the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The God who created the crown of His creation mankind. Anything that man has made that become an object of his worship is idolatry. The very first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) Israel came into being by the divine declaration of God through the seed of Abraham. “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) It was through the seed of Abraham that God’s chosen people would come. It was through the seed of Abraham that the Messiah would come. And it was through His Chosen people that God would reveal Himself to the world. The Christian world today has the promise of eternal life by being grafted into the Jewish nation. “For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11:24)
The Jewish nation had more knowledge of God than any other people yet they would not obey His law. Instead of worshiping God who had given them so much they chose to worship objects of the creation rather than the Creator. Their carnal hearts were prone to sin as the Apostle Paul writes, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” (Romans 1:21-23)
The abuse of God’s Messengers and the mocking of God and His Word
Let us realize that not all of the Hebrews were in disobedience to God. As throughout their long history there were always those who remained faithful to the Lord God. As we read recorded in the Book of Kings. “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18) Though at this time as always the true believers and the faithful were in the minority. And, as always in this time and the present today the faithful were oppressed and persecuted by those who rejected the true God and worshiped in their own false religions.
The prophets of God taught the faithful the truths of God openly without shame and this offended the leaders of the false religions within the lands that God had given them. The unrighteous despised the Word of God because it exposed the falseness of their own twisted beliefs. As it is today the sinful hate the Word of God because it reveals their own wickedness before God and man. Because of this opposition to the truth they treated the messengers and teachers of God shamefully which manifested their rejection of God’s truths. The false teachers displayed no fear of God and put the messengers of God in prison and even murdered many of the prophets that had been sent by God to warn them of their evil ways.
We read of what the Word of God said about their mistreatments in the Bible Hall of Faith. “Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking’s and scourging’s, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:35-40)
It is clear that throughout the history of the world that the unrighteous have always held the righteous in disregard. Many have placed the blame for the way that God’s people have been treated on the people of God themselves. Consider that argument for a moment. Who is it that choses the saints of God’s Kingdom? Let us look to the words of Jesus. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:4-5) The faithful who are in the sheepfold of God know when He speaks to them and they also know who speaks for God. Because they know the voice of God and His messengers and they do not rebel against them. Those of the world do not know the voice of God and will hate His teachings. They will also rebel against the messengers that have come from God. Satan has so twisted the truth of God that in the days ahead the saints of God will be murdered for their faith in the name of religion. “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” (John 16:2) This is a prophecy but it has also been true throughout the ages.
They would not observe the Sabbatical Years.
In Genesis Chapter 1 we read that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day He rested. Man was created to work six days and on the seventh day he is to rest and keep the day holy unto the Lord. This principle also applies to all the creation of God. This is a part of man’s responsibility to have dominion over the earth. In the Book of Leviticus God instructed man that the seventh year was to be a Sabbatical year. “The LORD then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a Sabbath to the LORD. ‘Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. ‘Your harvests after growth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year. ‘All of you shall have the Sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. ‘Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat.” (Leviticus 25:1-7) The Lord God went on further to say that after the seventh Sabbatical year there was to be a year of “Jubilee” in which the land would be returned to its original owner and the slaves were to be returned to their families. God promised that in the sixth year He would bless them abundantly in the harvest of their land. “Then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years. ‘When you are sowing the eighth year, you can still eat old things from the crop, eating the old until the ninth year when its crop comes in.” (Leviticus 25:21-22)
The Nation of Israel never kept this command from God’s Word. In four hundred and ninety years all went well for Israel without keeping the Sabbatical law for the land. From their failure to obey God’s command they had suffered no consequence. This was not the way the land was to be mistreated but it also showed a lack of faith in the promises of God that He would bless them abundantly. Now the day of reckoning had come for Israel as they were carried off to Babylon for seventy years. Dividing 490 years by 7 is 70. They were held in captivity 70 years by the Babylonians and their land rested. The debt to the land God had given them was paid. “To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete.” (Jeremiah 36:21)
If the Israelite nation had listened to the prophets, the messengers that God had sent to them and repented God would have been faithful to have forgiven them. But this they did not do. The Lord God is a loving and merciful Lord and was patient towards His Chosen people in that He waited 490 years for them to repent. God wanted His people to live by faith in His promises. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) They like so many trusted in their own way and missed the blessing of an Almighty loving God. In the end they reaped what they had sown by their sin against God’s Word. From the human standpoint it seems foolish to waist the productivity of the land for a year. But God wanted His people to live by faith in Him. For six years they did not trust God openly but in the seventh year they would have had to. Their failure to trust God in keeping the Sabbatical year proved that they did not life in faith at any time.
Author & Date
It is generally accepted that Daniel is the Author of this book. There are several passages that identify Daniel as the author. (8:15,27; 10:2,7; 12:4-5) Daniel’s name means “God is my Judge.” From the seventh chapter on Daniel writes in the first person and is seen as an autobiographical narrative. As a note of interest there are three other Daniels in the Old Testament Scriptures. (1 Chronicles 3:1; Ezra 8:2; Nehemiah 10:6) At an early age about 15 years, Daniel was taken from his home and family in Judah and deported to Babylon. Many of the best of the Jewish people were taken to Babylon to be brainwashed into their culture. The purpose was so these converted Jewish lads could assist in the management of previously deported Hebrews. Daniel lived a long life of 85 years and most of it was in Babylonian captivity. Daniel was an exceptional person of character and exalted God through his character and service. Daniel achieved the role of a statesmen and served as a confidante to kings by royal appointment. Daniel was also a Prophet for the Lord God and served Him speaking His word in two world empires. That of the Babylonians and the Medo-Persians. Jesus Christ confirmed Daniel as the author of this book in the Gospel of Matthew. (Matthew 24:15)
It is probable that the Book of Daniel was written sometime after 536 B.C. but before 530 B.C. The book is a far reaching prophecy of the Gentile word history. The book is often considered as the Book of Revelation of the Old Testament. Daniel’s contemporaries were the Prophets Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, and Zephaniah.
King Nebuchadnezzar 2 reigned over Babylon from 607 to 562 BC. He extended and secured the empire of his father, Nabopolassar. (626-605 BC) beyond the scripture record, many ancient Babylonian documents report Nebuchadnezzar’s accomplishments.
In 626 BC, Babylon, like Judah, was under the domination of Assyria, but in that year Nabopolassar began a revolt that would change the world. In 612 BC, the Babylonians captured Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, and again defeated the Assyrians at Haran in 609 BC. By the time of this battle, Nabopolassar’s son Nebuchadnezzar played a leading role in the army. In 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar defeated the remnant of the Assyrians army at Carchemish; this victory also pushed the Egyptians back within their borders. In the same year, Nabopolassar dies and his son became king.
Following his victory at Carchemish in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Syria and surrounding areas, including Judah. In that year Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem for the first time. (Daniel 1:1-2 2 Kings 24:1) He took away a number of the Temple vessels and some of the leading young citizens of Judah, including Daniel and his three friends. Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem again in 597 BC. (2 Kings 24:1017) He later besieged Jerusalem in 588 BC and destroyed the city and Temple in 586 BC, exiling most of the remaining people. (2 Kings 25:1-21)
The most detailed and interesting description of Nebuchadnezzar is found in Daniel. He brought Daniel and his friends to Babylon in order to educate them in the ways of Babylon, but God used Daniel to teach Nebuchadnezzar about himself. Nebuchadnezzar recognized the Lord’s great power and wisdom, though he probably never worshiped the true God exclusively. After being humbled for his great pride, (Daniel 4:28-33) Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the Lord’s exclusive sovereignty and power. (Daniel 4:34-37)