Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

The Life and Times of Daniel the Prophet: Daniel Series #1

You are here

The Life and Times of Daniel the Prophet

Daniel Series #1

Downloads
MP3 Audio (33.58 MB)
TimeLine (86.56 KB)

Downloads

The Life and Times of Daniel the Prophet: Daniel Series #1

MP3 Audio (33.58 MB)
TimeLine (86.56 KB)
×

Daniel was a man called to serve God in a strange, unexpected and frightening way. He was a teenager who was taken captive by Babylonian army in the year 605 B.C. He would be used by God to record important prophecies concerning the course of human history from the fall of Israel through to the end of age and the return of the Messiah.

Transcript

Daniel was a teenager who was taken captive by Babylonian army in the year 605 B.C.  He would be used by God to record important prophecies concerning the course of human history from the fall of Israel through to the end of age and the return of the Messiah.

Was Daniel Real?

Daniel 7:1 Daniel 7:1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head on his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
American King James Version×
; 12:4
 the book certainly claims to be written by a historically real man named Daniel who liven in the 6th century. Why would any one doubt this?

Some of the prophecies recorded by Daniel addressed end-time events, but others addressed events that would occur in the centuries after his death. Events that we can look back on as fulfillment of prophecy. 

His prophecies about the Greek empire found in chapters 8-11 are so detailed, and the fulfillment of them is so well documented in human history, that they present an astounding example of God’s power to predict and direct the outcome of world affairs.

But the fool says in his heart there is no God…

Starting around mid 1800’s [so called bible scholars] began reasoning that the book of Daniel could not have been written in the 6th century BC... "for these prophesies to be as accurate as they are, they must have been written some time AFTER the events prophesied”. They settle on the 2nd century BC. As a probably date.

It was part of a movement to take all supernatural elements out of Christian teaching and focus on what really mattered, namely moral instruction and social improvement. But taking the transcendence of God out of the scriptures also remove our basis for relying on the authority of scripture.

There is plenty of evidence that the book of Daniel was written exactly when it say it was:

  1. the testimony of Ezekiel, who lived at the same time as Daniel
  2. details of court life that could only be known by an insider. People once mocked the story of Belshazzar because there was no known Babylonian king of that name. But archaeological discovery of a vast library of Babylonian historical records in the 20the century proved the accuracy of Daniel’s writing. Belshazzar was the regent king serving under Nabonius at the time of the Persian invasion.

Problem: once the seeds of skepticism and disbelief are planted they are hard to eradicate. If I say “John Smith beats his wife” .. then John Smith goes on to prove his innocence … his reputation is still tarnished. Whenever you met John Smith you’ll wonder “he’s the guy wife beater guy… I wonder if there is any truth to that?”

Enough mud was thrown at the book of Daniel that many people simply assume the skeptics are correct without really looking into it themselves.

In our own time we are witnessing that if a highly vocal minority shout long enough, hard enough, people will begin to believe... no matter how divorced from reality they might be.

Daniel’s Interactions With Jeremiah

Although he was far off in Babylon Daniel knew about the prophet Jeremiah who lived at the same time.  

Daniel 9:1-2 Daniel 9:1-2 [1] In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; [2] In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
 this would have been toward the very end of Daniel's life. Jeremiah passed away 40-50 years earlier.  From this passage we learn:

  1. Jeremiah's writings were available
  2. they were considered scripture even at this early juncture
  3. Daniel was familiar with them, studied them and pondered their fulfillment.
    1. The verse he’s studying is Jeremiah 29:10 Jeremiah 29:10For thus said the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
      American King James Version×
      . By this time in Daniel’s life Babylon had fallen… here he was in the court of Darius…  “when would Jeremiah’s prophecy come to pass?

This is an unlikely line of questioning from someone writing in the 2nd century.

Daniel’s Interactions With Ezekiel

While Daniel toiled away in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar .... Ezekiel lived and prophesied at the same time. But Ezekiel was down in the mud pits with the other Jewish exiles who had been dragged off to the mud pits of Babylon Ezekiel 1:1-2 Ezekiel 1:1-2 [1] Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. [2] In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,
American King James Version×
.  [Kebar about 1-50 miles away]

Ezekiel mentions Daniel 3 times in his writings Ezekiel 14:14 Ezekiel 14:14Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, said the Lord GOD.
American King James Version×
, 20; 28:3
. Ezekiel and the other exiles 1) knew who this wise man Daniel was, 2) that he was a revealer of secrets… IE. a prophet.

Daniel probably knew who Ezekiel was as well.

Each of these three contemporary prophets served the most high God in a different way:

  • Jeremiah's service was to prophesy judgment to the final generation of God's holy nation. He also recorded God's proclamation of restoration in due time. Note: the prophecy of Jeremiah 29:10 Jeremiah 29:10For thus said the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
    American King James Version×
    is highly significant as an example of detailed fulfillment of prophecy. I covered this in August 2020.
  • Daniel's service was to prophesy before gentile kings and rulers. He recorded important end time prophecies about the gentile kingdoms as well as significant fulfilled prophecies previously mentioned.
  • Ezekiel's service was to prophesy to the beaten down prisoners toiling away in Babylon. He speaks to them about the certainty of God's judgment upon Jerusalem and the destruction of the holy temple... He also records detailed utterances about Israel's future restoration when the Messiah returns to establish God's rule on earth.

Not everyone is called to serve in the same way... and every form of service has its perks and it's trials. Ezekiel was slogging it out in the trenches... while Jeremiah and Daniel served God before kings... yet each of them were faced with gut wrenching tests and trials.

Testimony of Christ, Matthew 24:15

Some of the bible’s most effective critics have been people claiming to be followers of Christ.

But, Jesus believed Daniel to be a real person in history and a servant of God almighty.

  1. Everyone in Jesus' day understood  the writings of Daniel to be from the 6th century and Jesus never said otherwise. If He knew better and didn't say anything about it He would be acting deceitfully… another way of saying liar and therefore guilty of sin.

You cannot have Jesus as your savior and disregard the writings of Daniel at the same time. Anyone who does so does not have valid testimony of Christ and should be regarded as a false teacher.

  1. Jesus also believed and taught that the prophecies of Daniel referred to end time events. So the writings of Daniel are important for our time as much as for the past.  

Conclusion: The writings of Daniel were not by some anonymous individual from the 2nd century BC. They come from the 6th century.

Daniel 1:1-2 Daniel 1:1-2 [1] In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Jerusalem, and besieged it. [2] And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
American King James Version×
 to understand how we got to this point let’s back up 5 or 6 years...

Jehoiakim Becomes King

2 Kings 23:29 2 Kings 23:29In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
American King James Version×
-
35 King Josiah was a good king who tried to turn the nation of Judah around… but he was too late. After the 70 year reign of Manasseh, God had already made His decision.

While Josiah was still king, the Egyptian Pharaoh, Neco was crossing Judean lands on his way to join up with the Assyrians to fight against the growing Babylonian threat. Josiah foolishly tried to stop Neco and got himself killed 2 Chronicles 35:20-2 2 Chronicles 35:20-2
American King James Version×
5.

Josiah died because he did not yield to God's will.  Had he ignored sound advice from Jeremiah? Was he dabbling in power politics by showing support for Babylon? The bible does not give us the details.

We do know that after Josiah's death Judah became a puppet state of Egypt. The Pharaoh called the shots and decided who would be the king of Judah! The people chose Jehoahaz but Neco kicked him off the throne and gave it to Jehoiakim.

The Battle of Carchemish

Neco and the Egyptian army moved forward with their plans to form an alliance with the crumbling Assyrian empire and fight together against Babylon. The armies fought a bloody battle at Carchemish in 605 BC. and Babylon won decisively. The aftermath of the battle was:

  1. Assyria dissolved as a nation and was absorbed into the Babylonian empire and disappear from history.  God’s prophesied punishment on Assyria was fulfilled.
  2. Egypt was beaten and subjugated but managed to maintain itself as a separate nation, although never again would they be a significant world power. 
  3. All Egypt’s territories in Palestine were taken over by Babylon.

Judah Become Subjugated By Babylon

2 Kings 24:1-7 2 Kings 24:1-7 [1] In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. [2] And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servants the prophets. [3] Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this on Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; [4] And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon. [5] Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? [6] So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. [7] And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
American King James Version×
 after the battle of Carchemish the Babylonians moved into Palestine to take over the collection of tiny nations that had formerly been subject to Egypt. This included the kingdom of Jehoiakim.

Jeremiah was on the scene to record these momentous events Jeremiah 46:2, 25-26.

History records that Babylon overpowered these smaller nations in the battle of Ashkelon which is noted in Jeremiah 47:6 Jeremiah 47:6O you sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere you be quiet? put up yourself into your scabbard, rest, and be still.
American King James Version×
.

The phrase “Jehoiakim became his vassal” means Judah was now a subservient state to Babylon. The city of Jerusalem was spared but many of the aristocratic families and skilled tradesmen were carted off the Babylon.

This is when Daniel is taken as a captive to the great city of Babylon itself. He would live there for the rest of his long life. The Babylonians also carted off the treasures of the Jerusalem temple and put them in their trophy room in Babylon [as we read in Daniel 1:2 Daniel 1:2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
American King James Version×
].

The removal of temple treasures was prophesied by Isaiah 100 years earlier in the days of Hezekiah 2 kings 20:12-18.

 Based on this prophecy in Isaiah some have wondered 1) was Daniel of royal lineage? 2)was Daniel made a eunuch. The bible does not say anything emphatic on these 2 matters.

  1. Daniel 1:3 Daniel 1:3And the king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
    American King James Version×
     Daniel was either of the royal family or the Jerusalem nobility. So, Its highly likely he was of royal lineage… but not certain.
  2. Daniel 1:4 Daniel 1:4Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
    American King James Version×
     it was important to Nebuchadnezzar that the boys selected be without defect. Why seek out good physical specimens the mutilate them through castration? Its doubtful that Daniel was a eunuch. But, some were made eunuchs... those assigned to work in the harems etc.

Daniel: A Servant of the Most High God

At around age 35 Daniel would have heard the tragic news about the final fall and destruction of Jerusalem in 587-586 BC. It was a turning point in world history: from this time on, gentile kingdoms would dominate the earth [and dominate Israel] until the time of the Messiah. 

In the eyes of the watching world YHWH was broken and defeated... Daniel's purpose and calling  was to speak the truth to these powerful rulers... Do not mistake YHWH's discipline upon Israel for weakness on His part... YHWH the god of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Daniel remains the almighty God... He is supreme over all.

Daniel was a man called to serve God in a strange, unexpected and frightening way. 

 Who knows what you or I might face in the years ahead…

Through it all Daniel was able top remain faithful to God and true to himself.