In the first six chapters of Daniel we have history, biography, prophecy, and typology. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were believed to be in their teens when taken captive to Babylon in 606 B.C. They were of the “king’s descendants” of the tribe of Judah (Daniel 1:3-6), and descendants of godly King Hezekiah (Isaiah 39:1-7). They were turned over to the prince of the eunuchs, who changed their names and had supervision over them for three years. The name of Daniel was changed to Belteshazzar, Hananiah to Shadrach, Mishael to Meshach, and Azariah to Abed-Nego. The apparent purpose for this was to draw them away from their own land and religion, and induce them to accept the religion and habits of Babylon.
Daniel was a man of purpose, prayer, power, and faith. If he had a flaw in his character, it is not revealed in the Scriptures. Even his enemies could not find a blemish, a defect or weakness in him (Daniel 6:4).
1) Daniel Was a Man of Purpose. In the hour of testing “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8; cf. 1 Samuel 16:7). Daniel and his Hebrew friends were not tempted with the meat and wine of the king, because it was an offering to Babylon’s false gods. God gave them the wisdom and spiritual strength to say “No” (1 Corinthians 10:13, 14).
2) Daniel Was a Man of Prayer. In the hour of trouble Daniel sought his three Hebrew companions, and they went to God in prayer; and the God of mercy saved them from the wrath of the king (Daniel 2:17-20). Daniel not only prayed when he was in trouble, but he prayed three times a day; this was his prayer pattern (Daniel 6:10).
3) Daniel Was a Man of Power. In the’ hour of responsibility Daniel was a man of power. Nebuchadnezzar bestowed honor, gifts, and great power on Daniel. Now Daniel requested of the king that his three companions in prayer share his good fortune with him (Daniel 2:46¬49). Daniel received power from the king, but the source of his real power was God (Daniel 2:27-30; also Ephesians 3:20).
4) Daniel Was a Man of Faith. In the hour of need, Daniel was a man of faith. He was forced to spend a night in a den of hungry lions. Early in the morning, anxious King Darius came to the den and found Daniel alive and well, “and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God” (Daniel 6:23). Daniel’s faith is also included in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, without identifying him by name: “who through faith…stopped the mouths of lions” (Hebrews 11:33).
Daniel was truly a man of purpose, prayer, power and faith. We would do well to emulate this great and godly man.
50-1 History, Prophecy, and Biography
”In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah [606 B.C.], Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it” (v. 1). Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the Egyptian army and was moving to besieged Jerusalem, an event that marked the beginning of the fall of Jerusalem and the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (vv. 1, 2). It was also the beginning of “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), which is to continue through the seven years of the Great Tribulation, called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). The final assault in the city of Jerusalem came during the reign of Zedekiah, Judah’s last king. Jeremiah, the prophet, prophesied the end of Judah and Jerusalem (Jeremiah 21:1-10). The prophecy was fulfilled, and then recorded by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 52:1-34).
1) Three figurehead kings: The last three monarchs of Judah were puppet kings, Jehoiakim, who reigned for eleven years (2 Kings 23:36-24:5; 2 Chronicles 36:5-8); Jehoiachin, his son, who reigned for three months (2 Kings 24:8, 9); and Zedekiah, who ruled for eleven years (2 Kings 24:17-25:7; 2 Chronicles 36:10-13). All three kings were evil in the sight of God, who accordingly brought judgment upon them, sending Nebuchadnezzar to take the people into captivity in Babylon and to burn the city of Jerusalem. Jehoiakim was so evil Jeremiah prophesied that upon his death the king would be given the burial of a donkey (Jeremiah 22:18, 19). Jehoiachin, after serving thirty-seven years as a prisoner, was given his freedom and finally exalted by Evil-Merodach, king of Babylon, in his first year as king. Jehoiachin was then lifted above• all the kings that had been captured by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 52:31-34). Zedekiah did not fare so well. The king of Babylon brutally killed Zedekiah’s sons before his very eyes, and then blinded him. The last thing this wicked king saw was the brutal execution of his sons. He must have carried that picture in his mind until the day he died in a Babylonian prison (Jeremiah 52:10, 11).
2) Four courageous young Hebrews, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, of royal blood, descendants of godly Hezekiah (vv. 3-7), were chosen by God to know His will for their lives (Acts 22:13, 14). About a hundred years before Judah was taken captive to Babylon, Isaiah had prophesied that Daniel and his companions were of the spiritual nobility of the Hebrew captives. They were selected by Ashpenaz (master of Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuchs) to become eunuchs. But unlike others who compromised and conformed to the Babylonian system, these four young believers were sustained by the power of God. They took their stand for Him, and God stood with them and gave them victory (v. 8; cf. 1 John 5:4). They dared to do the will of God in a pagan land filled with false gods.
3) In Babylon they were tested by Satan’s world system (1 John 2:15, 16).
a) The lust of the flesh. The king changed their food, but not their faith. They were appointed a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank (v. 5). This was food and drink that was contrary to Hebrew dietary laws (Leviticus 11:1-8). “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine” (v. 8). Daniel’s three Hebrew friends agreed: if God’s children would dare to take their stand for Christ, and practice righteousness, God would bless their obedience and bend His enemies to His will (vv. 9-16). After three years of vegetables and water, God gave the young men superior knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom. The king found them ten times better than all the wise men of the palace (vv. 17¬-20).
b) The lust of the eyes. The Babylonians had changed the country of residence, but not the character of the young men (vv. 3, 4). The four young Hebrews were in a strange land filled with pagan gods, steeped in immorality and idolatry (Exodus 20:1-6). Babylon was very beautiful and magnificent, especially in its architecture. Its hanging gardens were considered among the Seven Wonders of the World. It is easy to understand how the eyes of most men (1 John 2:15, 16) would be filled with lust. Satan made Babylon pleasant to behold. But Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah did not conform to the Babylonians way of life. Transformed by the power of God, they would “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1, 2).
c) The pride of life. The Babylonians had changed the names of the young men, but not their nature (vv. 6, 7). It is evident that they were partakers of the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4), and were new creatures in the Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17). They were devoted students of the Old Testament books already written by the time of their captivity, not of the learning of Babylon. After reading Isaiah, they looked for the promised Messiah, who would be crucified, wounded for man’s transgressions, bruised for his iniquities, and brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:1-12). When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). John had learned this great truth from the Old Testament, and it was there for Daniel and his friends to learn. They were saved and given a new nature, because of what Christ would do at Calvary, just as in this day, we are saved by looking back to Calvary. They were given names that honored false gods, but they did not honor their new names. We learn, then, that it does not matter what you are called; it is what you are in Christ that counts. The Babylonians changed the young men’s food, their country, and their names; but Daniel and his friends remained the same in faith, character, and nature. Babylon could not change them, but they made many changes in Babylon – the converted Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4).
50-2 The Times of the Gentiles
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled his spirit so much that he could not sleep (vv. 1-11). “Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king” (v. 2). All claimed to have magical powers beyond the ordinary man. Astrologers claimed to know the future by divining the heavens. Those Chaldeans claiming to have astrological powers were considered to be the priests of the Chaldean people. Isaiah warned Babylon of God’s coming judgment, because they trusted in the astrologers. Isaiah said, “Let now the astrologers, the stargazers…save you from what [God’s judgments] shall come upon you” (Isaiah 47:12-14). This stargazing cult has continued to grow throughout the world to this very day; and God still condemns it. The spiritualists claim power to communicate with the dead; they are known as mediums. This, too, is condemned by the Lord (1 Samuel 28:7-19).
1) The dream disturbed the king and exposed the fraudulent wise men of Babylon (vv. 3-12). Nebuchadnezzar told them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream” (v. 3). The crafty Chaldeans said, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation” (v. 4). King Nebuchadnezzar replied, “If you do not make the dream known to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces’ (v. 5), going on to say, “Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation” (v. 9). The king’s reasoning made sense – surely anyone who could foretell the future could also explain the dream. But the wise men failed, and the king decreed they should all be put to death, including Daniel and his friends, who were not with the wise men when they appeared before Nebuchadnezzar.
2) Daniel came to the rescue of the wise men, his three friends, and himself (vv. 13-25). Hearing the bad news, Daniel responded like a man of action in seven important ways:
a) He went to Arioch, the king’s appointed executioner, asking, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” (v. 15), and requested to be taken before the king.
b) He went before the king and requested time so that he could learn the dream, and master its interpretation. This was an act of great faith.
c) He went to his three friends who had faith in the God of heaven, and the courage of their convictions.
d) He and his three friends addressed God in prayer.
e) When God revealed the dream and the interpretation to him in the night vision, Daniel blessed, praised, and exalted the God of heaven (vv. 19-23). Read these beautiful words of exaltation and praise to God for answered prayer. We should always thank God for every answer to prayer. In fact, if we really believe that God is going to answer our prayers, we should thank Him before we get the answer.
f) He then went back to Arioch, who was under orders from the king to destroy all wise men in Babylon, and requested that he be brought again before the king.
g) Drawing power from God in heaven, he went before the king, ready to reveal the dream and the interpretation which God had made known to him “in a night vision” (v. 19).
3) Daniel made known to the king his dream and the interpretation (vv. 26-45). The king asked Daniel, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?” (v. 26). Daniel seized the opportunity to witness for the God of heaven, but first he reminded the king that his wise men could not explain the meaning of his dream. Then Daniel said, “There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days: (v. 28). Daniel gave God all the glory, saying, “But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living” (v. 30). This was true humility.
4) Now we come to the dream (vv. 31-35). In these five short verses, God gave to the world a prophetic picture of the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24), starting with the seventy years of Hebrew captivity in Babylon beginning in 606 B.C., and continuing to the end of the Great Tribulation, when Christ (whom Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream as the stone “cut out without hands”) will crush the Gentile world powers and establish His kingdom on this earth (Matthew 25:31-46). This stone “cut out without hands” does not portray the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, who emerged initially as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). But when Jesus comes the second time, it will be in power as great as that of the stone cut out without hands, and will grind the Gentile kingdoms to powder; He will rule and reign on the throne of His father David as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).
5) Daniel interpreted the dream (vv. 36-45). He said, “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king…you are this head of gold” (vv. 36-38). God had given this pagan king power over the earth, man, and beast, making Nebuchadnezzar the greatest of all the world rulers. Fulfilling God’s sovereign purpose, Nebuchadnezzar was summoned to punish Israel because they had forsaken their God in favor of false gods. The Lord said, “And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant” (Jeremiah 27:6).
God called Nebuchadnezzar, this heathen king, His servant. Why? Because Nebuchadnezzar, without knowing it, was doing the will of God. Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilling God’s purpose. For God in His foreknowledge had predestined the salvation of this mighty king. God had ordained that Nebuchadnezzar would come to the place where he would place his faith in the Most High God, and humbly commit himself to the Lord. At that time in history, Babylon was the first of the four Gentile world powers.
After Daniel said of the great image, “You are this head of gold” (v. 38) he added, “After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours” – on the part of the image that was silver (v. 39). The latter kingdom was the Medo-Persian Empire that overthrew the Babylonians. The third kingdom (of brass) was the Greek Empire. The fourth and last of the great Gentile world powers was the Roman Empire (of iron). The ten toes of the image represent the ten kings that will be in power in the Great Tribulation, when Christ, the crushing stone, finally will fall on the feet and grind the entire Gentile world system into powder.
Following the four Gentile world empires, there will come a fifth – the kingdom of God on earth. The stone that is hewn without hands, the Lord Jesus Christ, will rule and reign on the throne of His father David for a thousand years. But at the end of that time, the kingdom of God will continue. Only then will there be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).
6) When King Nebuchadnezzar heard the dream, and its analysis, he grew excited. “The king answered Daniel, and said, ‘Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret’ ” (v. 47). And what did Daniel do after Nebuchadnezzar honored him as a great man? He requested of the king that his three Hebrew friends be exalted with him, and the king complied.
When we give God the glory for our successes in life, then the kingdom of God has been spiritually set up in our hearts. Until Jesus comes, the Lord reigns in our lives. God is given His proper place, and we are given ours, which is under His rule. We need more Daniels serving God.
50-3 The Image of Gold
Chapter 3 introduces us to Nebuchadnezzar’s image made of gold. He must have been influenced by Daniel’s interpretation of his dream in chapter 2: “You are this head of gold” (Daniel 2:38). So Nebuchadnezzar built a great image of gold, a precious metal that does not deteriorate or tarnish, to immortalize himself.
1) Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image was ninety feet high and nine feet wide (v. 1). If this seems out of proportion, remember that his image could have been much shorter if the pedestal were part of its measurement. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar’s image was dedicated to one of his favorite gods, or it may have been declared a new god. Either way, in the sight of God it was the folly of a self-centered king (recalling the Pharaohs of Egypt, who built great pyramids to ensure their immortality). When the image of gold was completed, Nebuchadnezzar summoned all the dignitaries of his kingdom to the dedication. The image was erected outside Babylon, in the plain of Dura, where there would be nothing to distract from it (such as the magnificent hanging gardens and other architectural marvels). When all the guests were gathered before the image, Nebuchadnezzar directed his herald to declare the king’s decree: at the sound of the music, they all were to fall down and worship the image – or be thrown into a fiery furnace (vv. 4-7).
2) This was a real test of faith for the Hebrew nonconformists (vv. 8-22). They refused to bow down and worship the image. Knowing that they would not worship any God but Jehovah, the Chaldeans were witching them carefully. When they failed to bow down, the Chaldeans came to Nebuchadnezzar and accused the Jews. So the king summoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Because they were very prominent in his kingdom, he gave them a second chance. He said, in effect, “We will play the music again, and this time you will fall down and worship the image, or be thrown into a fiery furnace.” This was quite a test of their faith! The three Hebrews replied, “We have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (vv. 16-18). Their faith was not presumptuous. While they believed that God had the power to deliver them from the fiery furnace, they knew they could not demand it of God. They left it to His sovereign will. They did not have to talk it over; all three knew in their hearts they could not deny their God. Such was their great faith.
3) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego remind us of the remnant of the people of God who will endure all the fiery furnaces of this godless world, until their Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ) comes back to this earth to usher them into the kingdom (Matthew 25:31-34). God speaks often of the remnant of Judah and Israel. The Scriptures record that:
a) God saved a remnant of Judah after they were besieged by the Assyrians for three years (Isaiah 37:1-4, 30-38; 2 Kings 19:32-35);
b) God has promised to save a remnant of the twelve tribes out of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-14);
c) God will bless the remnant of His people in the kingdom, and they will multiply and become innumerable (Zechariah 8:12-17; cf. Matthew 25:31-34; Genesis 22:17, 18; Hebrews 11:12, 13).
Now we all know how God delivered these three courageous Hebrew young people from the fiery furnace. More than just deliver them, He joined them in the fire and they fellowshipped together. The faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shone brighter and more lasting than Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold. For over two thousand years there has been no trace of this golden statue; but the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shies as bright as the sun on a cloudless day.
50-4 Delegated Sovereignty
No king ever had a more prosperous or powerful kingdom than Nebuchadnezzar. His was the first and greatest of the four Gentile world empires (Daniel 2:31-45). Why? Because God, in His sovereign will, chose Nebuchadnezzar and exalted him to delegated autocracy. Then, in His sovereign grace, God humbled Nebuchadnezzar and brought him to repentance and faith in “the Most High [God]” (v. 34). In the study of this fourth chapter, God, in His sovereign power, having stripped this mighty king of his delegated power, reestablishes Nebuchadnezzar’s authority with more greatness than before.
1) Nebuchadnezzar’s confession of faith (vv. 1-3). This chapter was written by Nebuchadnezzar after he came to know the Most High God as his personal Savior. He said, “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me” (v. 2). He was ready to witness to the saving power of his sovereign Savior. The psalmist said, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2).
The Most High God used Daniel, his Hebrew friends and their works as “signs and wonders” (v. 2) to bring this mighty king to repentance. At conversion, Nebuchadnezzar immediately recognized the sovereignty of God, saying, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation” (v. 3). After living with the beasts of the fields for seven years, and eating grass like cattle, he knew that no earthly monarch could be truly sovereign or everlasting. Now God did all of this to Nebuchadnezzar “that the living may know that the Most High [Sovereign] rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it [delegated rulership] to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (v. 17).
2) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (vv. 4-18). In his dream he saw a large tree reaching to the sky. It was a tree of comfort, supplying fruit for the nations. This tree is a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar’s delegated power. As he gazed, he saw an angelic “watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven” v. 13, who commanded the great tree be chopped down.
3) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream interpreted (vv. 19-27). Daniel answered the king and said, “The tree that you saw… it is you, O king” (vv. 20, 22). The angelic watcher came down and said, “Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze” (v. 23). God would protect the stump of the great tree and restore it to power. Now Daniel pleaded with the king to “break off your sins” (v. 27). But the king continued in his sins until God divested him of his delegated authority.
4) Nebuchadnezzar stripped of his delegated power (vv. 28-33). One year later, while walking proudly in his palace (Proverbs 16:18), he declared, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (v. 30). So saying, Nebuchadnezzar brought to an end the long-suffering of God (2 Peter 3:9).
Then the Most High God said from heaven, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!” (v. 31). Here is a great lesson. Our sovereign God gives, and He takes away. He exalts, and He humbles. The great difference between the power of man and the sovereignty of God is that man has no power to strip God of His sovereignty. “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).
5) Nebuchadnezzar’s authority restored (vv. 34-36). When God restored Nebuchadnezzar to his kingship, the latter said, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven…and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation” (V. 34). He recognized the sovereignty of God, and for the first time he understood the difference between absolute and delegated power.
6) Nebuchadnezzar recognized the Sovereign God as his God. In essence he declared (v. 37) that he, Nebuchadnezzar, would:
a) Praise the King of heaven;
b) Extol the King of heaven;
c) Honor the King of heaven;
d) Declare that His works are truth;
e) Declare that His ways are just;
f) Know from experience that He is able to humble those who walk in pride, and strip them of all power, pride, and worldly pretense.
Nebuchadnezzar declared that the Lord is Sovereign Ruler, the Most High God.
50-5 The Fall of Babylon
(Daniel 5:1-3 1)
Babylon was one of the most remarkable cities of the ancient world, famed for its architecture and, above all, for its hanging gardens.
1) Babylon, the city. Babylon was built in a square, fifteen miles on each side, or a sixty-mile perimeter. Its wall was 350 feet high, 87 feet thick, with over two hundred lookout towers. The great Euphrates River flowed from north to south through the city, dividing Babylon into two sections. The banks of the river were walled with great bronze or brass gates at each of the avenues. There was a bridge at the central gate and ferry boats for all the other gates. The palace stood in the center of the city, with one section on each side of the river. It was connected by a subterranean passageway under the river, where large banquet rooms were located.
2) Belshazzar’s last feast. Even though besieged by the Medes and the Persians (Cyrus and his great army had besieged the city for many months), Belshazzar entertained the city of Babylon with festivity and drinking. He invited a thousand of his lords and princes, his wives and concubines, to a great feast (v. 1), perhaps in one of the subterranean banquet rooms. Despite the siege by the Medes and Persians, the Babylonians believed that their city was impregnable. Little did they know that Cyrus had been working for months, changing the course of the great river so that it would bypass the city. On the night when they were feasting, drinking, and blaspheming the God of heaven, the river dried up, and Cyrus’ army advanced down the riverbed (perhaps on both sides of the city). Careless in their drinking and partying, the Babylonians left the gates open and the Medes and Persians took the city. It was prophesied a hundred years before Cyrus was born that he would take Babylon (Isaiah 44:28-45:5).
3) Belshazzar’s great sin. During the drunken orgy, Belshazzar “gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the great temple which had been in Jerusalem” (v. 2). So far as we know, these sacred vessels had probably never been used until that night. When they were brought in, Belshazzar stood before the great banquet crowd and filled one of the vessels (perhaps a golden one) and “drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone” (v. 4). This was blasphemy – for these vessels had been sprinkled with blood and set apart for the worship of Jehovah God (Hebrews 9:21, 22).
4) The handwriting on the wall. While they were drinking and blaspheming God, they saw that the “fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace” (v. 5). The king was petrified with fear. His “countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other” (v. 6). This wicked, ungodly king immediately sent for his wise men: “the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers” (v. 7). But none of them could read the writing on the wall. Then the queen came in and said, “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him” (v. 11). King Belshazzar summoned Daniel, saying, “Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, shall be the third ruler in the kingdom” (v. 16). Daniel said to the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself” (v. 17), for he knew that the king would be dead before dawn. He was saying in effect, “The rewards I don’t want, give them to somebody else.” Then Daniel preached a great sermon to this wicked king (vv. 18-24): “This is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES [the plural form of UPHARSIN]: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians” (vv. 25-28). This, then, was a day of reckoning. Even though Daniel told this ungodly king that he did not want the rewards, the king proceeded to do what he had promised for Daniel (v. 29). Then before the sun rose over the city of Babylon, the Medes and the Persians had conquered it, slaying Belshazzar “and Darius the Mede received the kingdom” (vv. 30, 31).
50-6 Daniel: A Picture of the Tribulation Remnant
The Tribulation remnant consists of 144, 000 members of the twelve tribes of Israel, pledged by “the seal of the living God” to serve God during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-8). They will evangelize the nations and turn a countless multitude to Christ the Messiah. Jeremiah, the prophet, prophesied that in the end of the Times of the Gentiles, God would bring Israel and Judah out of all the nations of the world, back to their original homeland. God said, “ ‘For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished’ ” (Jeremiah 30:1-11). Even though Israel has been persecuted and scattered throughout the world, and without a homeland until 1948, God has never forsaken his chosen nation. For almost two thousand years they were a nation without a home; yet they have retained their national identity. When you see a Hebrew, you are looking upon a miracle. God did not make an end of all nations after the seventy years of captivity in Babylon; therefore, this prophecy is to be fulfilled in the future (Matthew 25:31-46). At this time of judgment of the nations, God will make an end of all the ungodly nations. The Jews’ punishment will not be completed until the end of the seven years of Great Tribulation which are called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Israel’s God save 144,000 of the twelve tribes and seal on their foreheads the mark of ownership (Revelation 7:3). The 144,000 will not comprise the church: those of the church are not sealed on their foreheads; they are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30) after having received the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts as personal Savior (Romans 10:9, 10).
1) Daniel’s political prominence (vv. 1-3). This chapter ushers in the second Gentile world empire. After sixty-seven years the “head of gold” is replaced by the silver, an inferior kingdom (Daniel 5:30, 31). Daniel prophesied that the Medes and Persians would come and overthrow the Babylonian kingdom, and rule the known Gentile world.
2) Daniel’s jealous colleagues (vv. 4-9). Because King Darius favored Daniel over the other two presidents and all the princes, there was much jealousy; so they swore they would destroy Daniel, saying, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (v. 5). Now the presidents and princes had a voice in making laws for the Medes and Persians. When the laws were ratified by the king, no man could alter them. The difference between Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom and that of the Medes and Persians is simply that Nebuchadnezzar had total power. He was above all the laws of Babylon. But the Medo-Persian kings had to obey every statute. The law was the most powerful thing, more powerful than the king. Hence we have the phrase, “the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter” (v. 8). After drafting a law that would destroy Daniel, these two presidents and princes met the king, flattering him and lying to him (vv. 6, 7).
3) Daniel’s prayer life (vv. 10, 11). The two presidents and princes knew that Daniel prayed to his God three times a day, at an open window facing Jerusalem. When Daniel heard the news, “he went home, and in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem,” he prayed (v. 10), knowing that he would be cast into the den of lions, because “the law of the Medes and Persians… does not alter.” For Daniel valued prayer and his faith in God more than he valued his physical life. God has always preserved a remnant of Israel who value their faith in God more than they value their lives (Romans 11:1-5).
4) Daniel’s powerless king (vv. 12-18). When Daniel’s enemies came before the king, citing evidence that Daniel had broken the law of the Medes and Persians, King Darius tried to save Daniel but ultimately had to obey the law. So he had Daniel thrown into the den of lions. “Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him” (vv. 16, 18).
5) Daniel’s all-powerful God (vv. 19-23). What the king could not do, Daniel’s God could do. He delivered Daniel from the lion’s, so that “no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God” (v. 23).
6) Daniel’s enemies destroyed (v. 24). The king commanded that these men who “framed” Daniel and who tried to destroy this great man of God, be cast “into the den of lions – them, their children, and their wives” (v. 24). These wicked men, who would have destroyed Daniel, themselves suffered the fate which they had planned for God’s prophet. So it will be, at the end of the Great Tribulation, when the nations of the world will be judged by God and destroyed, never to persecute God’s people again (Revelation 19:11-21). The book of Esther dramatized this, when Haman conspired to hang Mordecai, the Jew, whom he hated. Haman built a great gallows on which to hang Mordecai, but never got to use it. Actions taken against God, and against His perfect will for His people, are always frustrated at last. Instead of Mordecai hanging on the gallows, the king hanged Haman on Haman’s own gallows (Esther 7:10). This recalls the old axiom: “the chickens come home to roost.” So they will, when all the ungodly nations that have persecuted the remnant of God’s people for the past twenty-five hundred years are judged by God.
7) Daniel’s honor and prosperity (vv. 25-28). Now King Darius decreed “that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel” (v. 26). They were not to fear Daniel nor to tremble in his presence, but they were to respect and revere Daniel’s God. Daniel was honored by the king, and he prospered in his kingdom because he was an upright, righteous, honest, God-fearing man. What a marvelous glorification of the Tribulation remnant, who “did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).
Master Outline 50 – Daniel The Prophet: His Life
 How old was Daniel when he was taken into captivity in Babylon?
 Of what decadence was Daniel?
 What was the purpose of giving them new names?
 Daniel was a man of what four (4) things?
 How do we know Daniel was a man of purpose?
 What was Daniel’s pattern of prayer?
 In the hour of ______________________, Daniel was a man of ______________________.
 Why do we say Daniel was a man of faith? Explain.
 What were the three (3) figurehead kings of Judah?
 What description fits all three (3) kings?
 Who prophesied about four courageous young Hebrew men?
 Did these four young Hebrew men compromise with the Babylonian system? YES or NO. Explain.
 They ____________________ to do the ____________________ ___________________
_______________________ in a pagan hand filled with _____________________
We learn from these Hebrew men that it does not matter what you are called; it is what you are in Christ that counts.
 How were the Hebrew men tested three (3) ways by Satan’s world system?
 The Babylonians changed their food, but not their _______________________; changed
their country, but not their _____________________; changed their names, but not their
 Who was the four Hebrew’s greatest convert?
 What were four (4) groups of men the Nebuchadnezzar called when he had a dream?
 What was the King’s condition on the interpretation of his dream?
 What were seven (7) important ways Daniel responded like a man of action?
 Who did Daniel give the glory to for the ability to interpret the dream?
 What virtue did Daniel display?
 What was the significance of this dream?
 What follows the four (4) Gentile empires?
 What was Nebuchadnezzar’s exact response to Daniel’s interpretation?
 Describe the golden image.
 What decree did the King give for this image?
 This decree brought what great test of faith for the Hebrew children?
 Did God deliver the three (3) Hebrew children from or through the fiery furnace?
 How did God humble this self-exalted proud King called Nebuchadnezzar?
 What six (6) things did Nebuchadnezzar do after being humbled?
 What did Nebuchadnezzar declare the Lord to be?
 Why was Babylon a remarkable city?
 What happen the night of Belshazzar’s last feast?
 What was Belshazzar’s great sin?
 Describe the “handwriting on the wall.”
 Who are the “144,000” and what time frame will they live in?
 When will the Jews punishment be completed?
 Will the 144,000 consist of those in the church? YES or NO. Explain.
 What seven (7) things do we learn about Daniel in the 6th chapter of Daniel?