Introduction To Daniel

The Book of Daniel
Introduction and Background
February 10, 2013

A growing number of scholars state that Daniel did not exist, that he was a mythical character of Jewish folklore at the very least, or that his book and its prophecies were written much later—after they had already been fulfilled. Those that choose to believe in this manner have issues with the Word of G_d itself as recorded by yet another Jewish prophet from the time of the Babylonian captivity:

Ezekiel 14
[14] Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
[20] Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

Ezekiel 28
[3] Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

Those that choose to believe Daniel did not actually exist will also have an issue with Jesus Christ; as the Son of G_d mentions Daniel by name twice in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Mark:

Matthew 24
[15] When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mark 13
[14] But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

From the writings of Ezekiel to the very Words of Jesus Christ, we can be sure that not only did Daniel exist, but his writings were also Truth—inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore applicable to our Spiritual lives and the times that we live in.

Daniel Background – Historical and Biblical events behind the book

The Lord chose the descendents of Abraham, the Hebrews, to be His chosen people. He brought them out of slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses, and gave them His law on Mount Sinai. Because of their sin of unbelief, He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years before allowing them to conquer the Promised Land on Canaan with Joshua as their leader.

Moses had warned the Children of Israel before his death of what would happen to them if they continued to rebel against Jehovah:

Deuteronomy 31
[24] And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
[25] That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying,
[26] Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
[27] For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?
[28] Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
[29] For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Despite the warnings from Jehovah, the people later demanded a king to lead them instead of the leadership of a prophet. After the succession of three kings (Saul, David, and Solomon) the nation of Israel was split in half. The tribes of Judah and Levi formed a southern kingdom called ‘Judah’. The remaining tribes in the north formed the nation of Israel.

The kings of both nations constantly led the people astray. The Lord sent prophets to both nations as a constant reminder to return to Him or face judgment. There were several revivals, but each Spiritual awakening seemed to be followed by a darker period of sin and rebellion.

Finally, around 740 BC, G_d allowed the Assyrians to attack the Northern Kingdom of Israel and conquer and enslave the tribes on the east side of the Jordan River. Despite this final warning, the prophet Isaiah records the arrogance of the people in the Northern kingdom:

Isaiah 9
[8] The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
[9] And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
[10] The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
[11] Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
[12] The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
[13] For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.

This time there was no revival for Israel. By 722 BC the Northern Kingdom (Israel) was conquered by the Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty-year demise of Israel's northern ten-tribe kingdom. The tribes exiled by Assyria later became known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and they are still ‘lost’ even to this day.

As a parallel to our world today, the 10th verse from Isaiah as quoted above was used by several United States Congressman as a comfort to their constituents following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They used these verses out of context—the verses were written by Isaiah to condemn the arrogance of the Kingdom of Israel despite the Judgment of G_d that had been pronounced against them.

Meanwhile the remaining southern kingdom, Judah, continued to devolve into rebellion against G_d despite the example set by the fall of the northern kingdom. Several prophets were sent to warn them of Jehovah’s impending judgment, but the words of the prophets fell on deaf ears. As a final warning, G_d sent a little known and seldom read (today) prophet called Habakkuk to notify Judah of His final plan of judgment:

Habakkuk 1
[1] The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
[2] O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
[3] Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
[4] Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
[5] Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
[6] For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
[7] They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
[8] Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
[9] They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
[10] And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.

Verses 3 and 4 in this chapter could very well have been written about our own nation and the times we live in today.

Ever true to His Word, the Chaldeans (Babylon) were ‘raised up’ and began conquering the known world. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem during the reign of Jehoiakim. The city fell about three months later, on 2 Adar (March 16) 597 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Jerusalem and its Temple. He also took Jehoiakim, his court, and other prominent citizens (including the prophets Ezekiel and a young teenager named Daniel) back to Babylon. Jehoiakim's brother Zedekiah was appointed king in his place by Nebuchadnezzar:

2 Chronicles 36
[5] Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God.
[6] Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
[7] Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.

Despite the strong warnings from G_d through His prophet, Jeremiah, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt.

Jeremiah 36
[1] And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
[2] Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
[3] It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
[4] Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.
[5] And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:
[6] Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD's house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
[7] It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.
[8] And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD's house.
[9] And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.
[10] Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD's house, in the ears of all the people.
[11] When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,
[12] Then he went down into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.
[13] Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.
[14] Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.
[15] And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.
[16] Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
[17] And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
[18] Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
[19] Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.
[20] And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.
[21] So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.
[22] Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
[23] And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
[24] Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.

Despite this warning sent from G_d Himself, King Zedekiah merely cut up the scroll and discarded it into the fire. There is a lesson to be learned here, in our modern times we are apt to do the same things—cut up the Word of G_d to fit our passions and needs at the moment. The many different translations of the Bible today are proof of this, with important truths like sin and the blood that redeems us slowly but surely being ‘cut out’ and discarded because it goes against our ‘feelings’.

2 Kings 24
[17] And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
[18] Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
[19] And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
[20] For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar returned and again besieged Jerusalem. The city fell in 587 BC. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city wall and the Temple, together with the houses of the most important citizens, and Zedekiah was blinded after witnessing his son’s deaths, and taken to Babylon, together with many others. Judah became a Babylonian province, called Yehud Medinata (Yehud being the Babylonian equivalent of the Hebrew Yehuda, or "Judah", and "Medinata" the word for province), putting an end to the independent Kingdom of Judah.

Jeremiah 39
[1] In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they beseiged it.
[2] And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.
[3] And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.

Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and lay in ruins. G_d’s chosen people were no longer living in the land that had been promised and given to them; instead they were led away as captives to a foreign land under the rule of a heathen king.

Speculative Moment

Another speculative note here is that from September 11, 2001, to Inauguration Day, 2013, is exactly “Eleven years, Four months, and Nine days”. The speculation revolves around the princes sitting in the ‘middle gate’, which was a place of rule and judgment over the people. Which ‘princes’ are in our middle gate today, in the Spiritual ‘realm’ of our judgment, and was there a change from G_d and His Will to something more sinister on Inauguration Day? Couple this thought with the Word of G_d through the Apostle Paul:

Ephesians 6
[12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
[13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

I’m not talking about President Obama with my speculation regarding these ‘princes’ in the middle gate. I’m talking about ‘principalities’ that work within the Spiritual realm as mentioned within these verses. The President did in fact state to the world a few years back in a speech that we are ‘no longer a Christian nation’ Was the Spiritual change he spoke of truly and finally manifested in sum on Inauguration Day, and if so, if G_d no longer rules over our nation Spiritually, then who does? Which princes are now sitting in the gate?

What can we learn from this for our modern times today?

False Religion – During the siege of Jerusalem, there was no bread. Jesus states that He is the ‘Bread of Life’. Any religion not built upon Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is false, despite the good deeds or works performed by that religion. By the same token, a passing acknowledgment of Jesus as the Son of G_d is not enough. We must accept Him as Lord and Savior of our very souls. A half-hearted gesture on our parts is not enough:

Matthew 15
[7] Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
[8] This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
[9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Replacement Translations of the Bible – We can’t pick and choose which parts of G_d’s Word we want to follow and which ones we’ll choose to ignore. We can’t choose a version of the Bible that ‘water down’ or soften the judgments for sin that are recorded therein. It did not work for Zedekiah, and we can be sure it will not work for us:

Matthew 5
[18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Fear of G_d – The Lord of Hosts is not merely “The Man Upstairs” or even “My Co-Pilot”. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and has ultimate power and glory. He is Holy and Righteous. Due to our very own obvious sinful natures, we should know that we are to fear Him:

Psalms 36
[1] The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
[2] For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
[3] The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
[4] He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

Romans 3
[18] There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Worship of the false god of Materialism – Sure, it is rare in these days and times to find someone or even a religion that worships small statues called idols. But it is very easy to put our careers, our families, and our money before G_d. By definition, anything we put before Him is an idol and is to be avoided. Our current age teaches us to do whatever we can to gain wealth and status, and those that are successful are to be held in high esteem as ‘winners’ in life’s game. G_d has another plan: Put Him first and foremost in our lives and everything else will work out for us according to His will:

Exodus 20
[3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Matthew 6
[33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God’s Word calls out to us, it demands that we study it and apply it to our hearts on a daily basis—not just on Sunday mornings. In His Word we find wisdom and knowledge, and a method to prick our hearts and draw us closer to Him.

Proverbs 1
[22] How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
[23] Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
[24] Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
[25] But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
[26] I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
[27] When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
[28] Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
[29] For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

Mayger Minute Verse:

Isaiah 5
[20] Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

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