Summary: The Study Of Daniel: God's Spokesman In The King's Court
The Study Of Daniel: God's Spokesman In The King's Court
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Daniel was probably born between 625 B.C. and 620 B.C. during the reign of Josiah, the last good king of Judah. He was of the tribe of Judah and may have been a member of the royal family (Daniel 1:3-6). Daniel was among those who were taken to Babylon in 606 B.C. He would have been a very young man at this time, possibly a teenager. Daniel’s name means “God is my judge.” The Babylonians changed it to “Belteshazzar” which means “Bel (Babylonian god) is my protector.”
Daniel was faithful to God all his life. He lived before, during, and beyond the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity. He must have been about one hundred years old when he died. During his long life, Daniel served as an advisor to the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia. While Jeremiah prophesied to the Jews in Judah, and Ezekiel was God’s spokesman to the Jewish captives in Babylon, Daniel prophesied in the courts of the pagan kings who ruled the world.
Very few faithful children of God have ever had as much influence on world history as Daniel did. In this respect, he is similar to Joseph who served as prime minister of Egypt when that nation was at the height of its power and glory. The lives of these two men show us that children of God can serve in the government and remain faithful to God. Daniel was a great man because he was a good man. God was able to use him because he was good.
In Daniel, chapter one, we learn of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah being taken to Babylon. They were chosen to be trained for the king’s service. Their names were changed to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. They were fed from the king’s table. This would include fermented wine, unclean meats, and food not properly prepared according to the law of the Jews (Leviticus 10:8-11; Leviticus 11:1-47; Leviticus 17:10-16; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-35). They could not eat this food without violating God’s laws. Therefore, they requested they be fed vegetables to eat and water to drink. They soon excelled the other youths in health and appearance.
Daniel 2 contains a prophecy of the coming of God’s kingdom. One night, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. When he awoke, he was troubled by the dream, but could not remember what it was. He called his wise men, but they could not tell him the dream. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar ordered they all be killed. When Daniel learned of this, he sent word to the king that he would interpret his dream. He asked his friends to pray that God would reveal the dream to him.
Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he saw a great image. Its head was of fine gold. Its breast and arms were of silver. Its thighs were of bronze. Its legs and feet were of iron and clay. A stone struck the image and broke it to pieces. The stone then became a mountain and filled the whole earth.
God, through Daniel, revealed the meaning of the king’s dream. The four parts of the image represented four powerful kingdoms. The head of gold represented Babylon. Babylon lasted from 612 B.C. to 538 B.C. The breast and arms of silver represented Medo-Persia, which ruled from 538 B.C. to 331 B.C. The belly and thighs of bronze represented the Greek Empire which was established by Alexander the Great. It lasted from 331 B.C. to 30 B.C. The fourth kingdom was Rome. Rome ruled much of the world from 30 B.C. to 476 A.D.
Daniel said, “In the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed...” (Daniel 2:44). God’s kingdom is the church of Christ (Matthew 16:16-19). It was established in Jerusalem during the days of the Roman rulers. Like the stone which became a mountain, the church has grown and spread to the whole earth (Matthew 28:19, 20; Colossians 1:23).
In Daniel 3 we read of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego being cast into a fiery furnace. The king had made a great image (idol). He required all his people to bow down before it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to bow down for that would be idolatry (Exodus 20:1-6). The king had them thrown into the furnace which had been heated seven times hotter than usual. A fourth man appeared in the furnace with them. They were not harmed in any way. The smell of fire or smoke was not even on them.
In Daniel 4, we read how Nebuchadnezzar learned that God actually rules in the kingdoms of men. He had a dream one night. He saw a huge tree. Birds nested in its branches. Animals took shelter under it. But it was cut down and only a stump remained. When the wise men could not tell the meaning, Daniel was called. Daniel told the king his throne would be taken from him until he learned that God rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17). A year later, the king was driven from his throne. He was forced to live like a beast in the wilderness. When he learned his lesson, he was restored to his throne.