Summary: By studying Daniel, we will get a glimpse of a man who lived and thrived in a pagan culture. Daniel instructs us how we should live in our culture today.

Think with me to the year 1996. That was 20 years ago. Much has changed in 29 years! Do you remember your cell phone from 1996? Not everyone had a cell phone back then. They were fairly large, and they looked like, well, a telephone, with a receiver for your ear, a mouth piece, and.... an antena!

The first flip phone came out in 1996. If you had one, you were cutting edge!

Bill Clinton was President

Bob Dole on his way to winning the Republican Primary

1996 was before 9/11

1996 was before the 2007-8 Housing and Credit Crisis

Striking, 1996 was the first year that the Gallop ever questioned Americans on their view of gay marriage. Then 27% agreed that gay marriage should be recognized. Today, that number is 60%. Sociologists tell us that this is the sharpest societal attitudinal change every recorded for any subject in our nation.

This fact is just one of the many illustrations reminding us that our world has changed. We live in a culture that is increasingly anti-Christian and secular. HOW do we respond?

A few weeks ago I spoke about the difference in the attitudes of Jews living in Jerusalem, and the Gentiles living in Athens. The Jerusalem Jews had a knowledge of God and Scriptures. But the Gentiles in Athens were completely pagan in their thinking. For most of us, We feel like we grew up in Jerusalem but we’re now living in Athens.

IS THERE AN EXAMPLE of a faithful believer succeeding in a pagan culture? I believe that there is in the character of DANIEL!

By studying Daniel, we will get a glimpse of a man who lived and thrived in a pagan culture. Daniel instructs us how we should live in our culture today.

The Crisis in Daniel’s Day - BABYLON!

In 609 BC, Assyria formed a desperate alliance with Egypt to stop Babylon. Egypt sent it’s army north to assist Assyria. King Josiah tried to stop Egypt’s army at Megido and was badly defeated. Josiah lost his life, and Judah inadvertently contributed to the defeat of the Assyrians and the rise of the Babylonians. The Battle of Carchemesh was a decisive victory for Babylon. The Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, was ill and could not lead the battle. His son Nebuchadnezzar led the battle and grew in power and influence. This event propels Nebuchadnezzar into world prominence and favor in Babylon.

On another attack of Mesopatamia, Nebuchadnezzar raided Judah, laid a siege against Jerusalem and took captives, including Daniel, Hananiah, Meshael and Azariah

JEREMIAH and LAMENTATIONS describe these events.

Jeremiah 46:1–6 "The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations. " "About Egypt. Concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: " "“Prepare buckler and shield, and advance for battle! " "Harness the horses; mount, O horsemen! Take your stations with your helmets, polish your spears, put on your armor! " "Why have I seen it? They are dismayed and have turned backward. Their warriors are beaten down and have fled in haste; they look not back— terror on every side! declares the Lord. " "“The swift cannot flee away, nor the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen."

Jeremiah 46:13–19 "The word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt: " "“Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol; proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes; say, ‘Stand ready and be prepared, for the sword shall devour around you.’ " "Why are your mighty ones face down? They do not stand because the Lord thrust them down. " "He made many stumble, and they fell, and they said one to another, ‘Arise, and let us go back to our own people and to the land of our birth, because of the sword of the oppressor.’ " "Call the name of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, ‘Noisy one who lets the hour go by.’ " "“As I live, declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts, like Tabor among the mountains and like Carmel by the sea, shall one come. " "Prepare yourselves baggage for exile, O inhabitants of Egypt! For Memphis shall become a waste, a ruin, without inhabitant."

In these chapters of Jeremiah, the prophet describes the events that surrounded Daniel’s captivity in Babylon.

Babylon must have been quite intimidating to Daniel and his friends! The ruins of ancient Babylon spread over 2,000 acres - the largest site in Mesopotamia. The city had massive walls, with eight gates providing entrance to the city, each gate named after a god. The most famous was the Ishtar Gate, which was deconstructed and rebuilt. It is now on display at the Bergamom Museum, in Berlin. You would approach the Ishtar gate on a massive processional street 65 feet wide and paved with white limestone and red bricks. Four story buildings lined each side of the street decoreated with lions six feet in length (symbolic of Ishtar)

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