Summary: Daniels wisdom and prophecies are not given to satisfy our curiosity. They are shared with us to fortify our faith. Learn from this series to Look forward to the end with confidence and commitment.
Intro: What do you think of next when I say Daniel (Let audience fill in) in the Lions Den
Shadrach, Meshach and (Let audience fill in) ____________ in the __________
So much has been written, spoken and filmed about the end of time. Theories, ideas and opinions about Zombie Apocalypse, killer earthquakes, global warming. It is the age of questions. Question authority, question reality, question everything.
The questions that Daniel answers are not to satisfy our curiosity but are to fortify our faith. There are two major and distinct themes that are in Daniel. The sovereignty of God, in other words God is in charge and control. Because God is in control we don’t have to be afraid of the end we can look forward to the end. Because God is in control we can live a life of purity and integrity to the glory of God. First we have to discuss some issues that people bring up with the book of Daniel and debunk the opinions and ideas not based on fact and truth.
I. Daniel’s background
If we are going to trust that God is in control then we need to trust the one thing He uses to show us He is in control, His Word! Have you ever thought to ask people if God’s word isn’t inspired why it is always under so much attack?
A) The date
Beginning in 233 AD a man named Porphyry became a polytheist and wrote 15 volumes titled “Against Christians.” He did his level best to show that Daniel was written much later than the traditional 532-530 BC. The later dating in 233 was based solely on the desire of a man to discredit and attack Christianity.
We have the testimonies of those who lived during the time of Daniel. Ezekiel was neighbors with Daniel in Babylon. Listen to what Ezekiel had to say,
Ezekiel 14:12-14 “The word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, if a land sins against Me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out My hand against it to cut off its supply of bread, to send famine through it, and to wipe out both man and animal from it, 14 even if these three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.”
B) The author
The greatest answer to the attacks is from Jesus. Matthew 24:15 Jesus says, “So when you see the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place”
Jesus made clear Daniel was a person who wrote of the prophecies in Daniel.
C) The language
Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic. This was the lingua franca (common language of the ancient world) Liberal scholars have said that it was late in the 2nd century. However, in 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The scrolls contained fragments of all the Old Testament books. Daniel was among the copies of those Old Testament books. Daniel 2:4-7:28 were written in the ancient Aramaic language known as Chaldee (the language of Babylon). This is the same language used in 7th century 600 to 500 BC documents.
D) The details
1) Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem
Daniel 1:1 in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim while Jeremiah 25:1 and 46:2 tell us it happened in the 4th year of Jehoiakim. Easy solution. The different way the Babylonians and Jews counted the years of the ascension of the king.
2) Belshazzar as king of Babylon
Ancient king lists reveal Naboniidus as the successor to Nebuchadnezzar. 1854 the discovery of the Nabonidus Chronicle revealed Belshazzar as Nabonidus’ oldest child and co-regent. Only the book of Daniel correctly recorded this until the 1800’s!!
Name is inscribed on Babylonian monuments from the 500’s bc.
4) Josephus and his account of Alexander the great
Why is this so important? Because when we understand that Daniel is who He said He is then God is the one who gave Him his prophesies. Then we can trust what Daniel and His God say!
II. Daniel’s backbone
When Daniel made decisions that could lead to difficulty in his life how was he so confident?
A) God’s hand in all men’s lives Daniel 1:2
Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and defeat of Judah and the city of Jerusalem was not because of Nebuchadnezzar’s abilities. It was God who raised him up for that purpose. Habakkuk was concerned about the wickedness and evil of his homeland and basically asked God why are you letting all this happen. God’s answer,
Habakkuk 1:5-6 “Look at the nations and observe be utterly astounded! For something is taking place in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.
6 Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans (Babylonians), that bitter, impetuous nation that marches across the earth’s open spaces to seize territories not its own.