Summary: Daniel revealed early in life what kind of character he would possess. He was a man of integrity.
The Book of Revelation in the Old Testament
I. The Name of the Book
Daniel’s name means “My Judge is God” or “God is Judge”
II. Date of Daniel
Daniel and 3 Hebrew children were taken out into captivity in 605 B.C.
Other captives were taken in 597, 586 & 582 B.C.
Some contend that book could not have been written prior to 165 B.C. because of the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecies.
Daniel 2:4-7:28 were written in Aramaic (Chaldeans spoke Aramaic)
Daniel was written anytime between 605-538 B.C. in Daniel’s 70+ year ministry.
III. Distinct Theology within Daniel
1. God is sovereign
2. God of Jews and Gentiles
3. God of the Messiah
4. Highly developed system of angelology
5. The depravity of man
6. The concept of the resurrection
Overview of Daniel
Chapters 1-6 are primarily historical.
Chapters 7-12 are primarily prophetical.
Becoming a Man of Convictions
The Sovereignty of God 1-2
No matter how bad man acts, God can overcome his sinfulness. It is in Jehoiakim that we see the Depravity of man. God knows the true nature and character of man. Notice what 2 Chronicles 23:7 reveals about Jehoiakim. He was someone you wouldn’t want to date your daughter. Through Jehoiakim, we see the sins of a nation exposed. The sins Judah were accused to committing was idolatry, immorality and injustice.
We also notice the name of Nebuchadnezzar. Through him we discern the Brutality of man. He was barbaric. He slaughtered the people without pity or compassion. He was known for his brilliant military strategic mind. He established or tolerated only those who conformed to his rule. There were no other options.
In verse 2, we observe the Destiny of man. Because Jehoiakim and Judah disobeyed the revealed will of God, through both His prophets and Word, they would be exiled to a foreign land. Note that it was God who handed His chosen people over to the Chaldeans. God’s patience had expired with them. They loved idolatry so He would send them to the birthplace of false idols. He also sent what was left of the articles in the Temple to the land of paganism.
As we study the Book of Daniel, we discover four young men who are totally committed to God under stressful circumstances. How do you think you would measure up under these conditions? Let’s examine the four Hebrew boy’s life in Daniel 1:3-21.
The Pressure of Living a Committed Life 3-7
Observe the stress these teens would be facing. Their country, Judah, had been attacked by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians and they were deported to a foreign land. Ashpenaz (Horse-nose), the chief eunuch, hand selected the young people who would be escorted to Babylon. Not only were they separated from their families, now they were forced to live in a radically different culture. There were four things they were confronted with. In verse 3, we discover that all of the Hebrew children were given a new home. It was in the city of Babylon. The four boys could live their life free from the encumbrances of their former country. Life was starting all over for them. However, there was one small thing most had forgotten. You might take the boy out of Israel but you can’t take Israel out of the boy. They would always remember their birth place. They also received a new knowledge. Here they would get an all-expense paid college education. They would have the finest education the University of Babylon could provide. They would receive a new language. They would be conversant in the customs and thoughts of their new country. They would be assimilated into society for the good of the nation. Then they would have a new diet. It is here that the boys balked. They would not compromise because the meat and drinks were offered to idols before it was given to them. They could accept a new home, knowledge and language but not unclean and defiled food. They drew the line with the food. And finally, they were given new names. Each name was to remind them that they were not their own. They were to have a new god to worship. Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar (May Bel protect his life), Hananiah’s changed to Shadrach (The command of Aku), Mishael’s changed to Meshach (Who is what Aku is) and Azariah changed to Abed-nego (Servant of Nebo). By changing their names, they were redefining who they were.
The Power of Living a Consistent Life 8-16
When we get to verse 8, we find a more resolute group of believers. Notice several key words. “But Daniel purposed in his heart” is particularly relevant. Daniel and his band of brothers had strong constitutions. They were men of convictions. They believed it was wrong to partake of this food. They believed God had a reason for them being there but they would not dishonor Him while they were there. They established in their hearts what they would or would not do. We also find they were men of courage. They could’ve been quiet and rationalized that nobody would know or care. But they knew that God would and they didn’t want to disappoint Him. Then we note their courtesy. They requested, not demanded, Ashpenaz to withhold their royal food. It was dangerous for him and them to reject the provisions the king was providing. It could cost them their lives. They requested a period of testing to observe. This revealed their confidence in God. They believed His Word.