Walking Thru The Bible

Old Testament -- Daniel

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            Walking Thru The Bible

            I. The Man:  About eight years before Ezekiel was taken captive by
            Nebuchadnezzar-- the young man Daniel was taken from Jerusalem to
            Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar the king.  He was young, intelligent and
            skillful in wisdom (1:4).  Daniel is one of the few men about whom God
            says only good. Three times he is referred to as "the greatly beloved" one
            (9:23; 10:11, 19).  Taken into captivity with Daniel were three other
            young men whom you know by their Babylonian names:-- Shadrach,
            Meshach, and Abednego.  The name "Daniel" means -- "God is Judge."
            II. The Book:  Daniel is sometimes called the Old Testament
            "Apocalypse" while Revelation is the New Testament "Apocalypse."  The
            word "Apocalypse" means -- "an unveiling of the secret purposes of God." 
            The secret purposes of God can never be known until they are revealed. 
            The manner in which the events are unveiled in Daniel is mainly by
            visions.  In the book of Daniel the word "vision(s)" appears 32 times.
             Much of the book of Daniel is written in Hebrew but a large section
            (2:4b - 7:28) is written in Aramaic, the common language spoken in
            Babylon at this time and also later used by the Jews when they returned
            from Babylonian captivity.
            III. The Contents of Daniel:   

             1. The first part of Daniel (1:1-6:28) deals with the history of Daniel
            and his friends.

             Nebuchadnezzar first conquered Jerusalem in 605 BC and took away
            many of the better educated young men from leading families to be trained
            for government service in Babylon (1:1-5).  Daniel was of royal blood and
            he and his three young friends were from the tribe of Judah (1:6-7).  These
            four young men would not defile themselves with the food from the king's
            table (1:8-16).  God blessed them with progress far above the others who
            were in similar training in Babylon (1:17-21).

             Later when Nebuchadnezzar had a troublesome dream only Daniel
            was able to tell the king about it and give him its interpretation (2:1-45). 
            Daniel attributed his ability to the Lord God of heaven and was elevated
            to a position of prominence in Babylon's royal court (2:46-49).
             Nebuchadnezzar erected a giant golden image and required everyone
            to worship it (3:1-7).  Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would
            not participate in this idolatry the King had them cast into a fiery furnace
            but they were miraculously de-livered (3:1-30).

             Another of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams is interpreted for him by Daniel
            in 4:1-37.  Its message was that because of the King's pride he would be
            temporarily insane living like a wild animal.  His recovery was predicted
            and he gave glory to the Lord.

             Belshazzar was a Babylonian king when the nation fell to the Medes
            (5:1-28).  Daniel was called on to interpret a mysterious hand writing
            which appeared on a wall during a feast.  The message was a warning
            spelling doom to the king.  That night Darius the Mede conquered
            Babylon and Belshazzar was killed (5:29-31).

             Daniel was given a position in government supervision under Darius
            the Mede (6:1-3).  Some jealous rivals plotted against Daniel (6:4-9)
            which led to the famous episode of Daniel in the lions' den (6:10-24). 
            Darius honored Daniel and his God as a result of this event (6:25-28).
             2.  The second part of Daniel's book encompasses his visions and
            prophecies (7:1 - 12:13).

             The later part of the book focuses on the revelations given to Daniel
            about the coming kingdoms of the world.  There are four of these and
            there is a parallel between a dream of Nebuchadnezzar which is recorded
            in chapter 2 and the vision of Daniel in chapter 7.
               In Daniel's vision he sees four great beasts which symbolize the
            coming of four kingdoms (7:1-28); the vision of the ram and he-goat
            (8:1-27); the vision of the seventy weeks (9:1-27); and the visions of some
            events of the Maccabean era (between the testaments ) 10:1-12:3.  Daniel
            was told to seal up his book (12:4) and the prophecy was concluded (12:5-13).
            IV. Lessons From Daniel: 
             1.  Faithfulness under difficult circumstances is one of the major
            lessons from Daniel.  The Bible is filled with examples of godly people
            who maintained their faith in difficult situations.  
		There was Joseph (Gen. 38-50), 
		John the Baptist (Matt. 14:1-2); 
		and the unnamed Christians in  Nero's household (Phil. 1:12-14; 4:22).  

	The book of Daniel brings
            outstanding examples of faith withstanding great trials:  
		a) the fiery furnace of chapter 3, and 
		b) the den of lions in chapter 6.

               A number of situations come to mind where Christians today face
            special challenges:  
		a) people who go to plant the gospel in new areas; 
		b) Christians in certain employment situations; 
		c) young people in their school and social relations; and 
		d) persons living in non-Christian homes.

               Being a Christian today is not always easy.  The church came into
            being in suffering and sacrifice and the world today is not cordial to
            Christian beliefs and values.  Daniel challenges us to serve God with the
            same devotion and singleness of heart he displayed.
             2.  Prophecy fulfilled so explicitly and perfectly serves as evidence for
            divine inspiration and a supreme God who controls the rise and fall of

               In Daniel we see prophesied the rise of four world empires.  In
            Daniel 2 we read of Nebuchadnezzar's dream about an image composed
            of four substances.  Daniel interprets it's meaning:  
		1) the gold = the Babylonian kingdom; 
		2) the silver = the Medo-Persian empire; 
		3) the brass = the Greek empire; and 
		4) the iron = the Roman kingdom.  
               In the days of the fourth kingdom, God himself was to set up an
            eternal kingdom.  Thus the stone cut of a mountain which destroyed the
            great image pointed to the establishment of the church (Acts 2).
             3.  There is a prophecy of the rise of Alexander the Great and
            conquest of the Medo-Persians by the Grecian empire in Daniel 8 under
            the vision of the ram and he-goat.  Daniel asserts that God is in control of
            history and will set aside these human kingdoms for the sake of
            establishing the church.

----- SERMON

                             The Fearless In A Furnace of Fire

                  Daniel 3

            1. Daniel 3 is a very familiar section of Daniel and it is about 
               "The Fearless In A Furnace of Fire" or 
               "Three Young Men Who Would Not Bend."

            2. It is about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who had rather burn
                           than turn.  They "quenched the violence of fire" (Hebrews 11:34) and
                           there are many good lessons to learn.
            I. THEY WOULD NOT BOW  (3:1-13)

             A.   The image revealed-- v. 1-3
             B.   The worship required-- v. 4-7
             C.   The order refused-- v. 8-13c
            II.  THEY WOULD NOT BUDGE  (3:14-18)

               A. Given another change they would not budge.  They would not
                              bow in spite of the fury they faced and they would not budge in
                              light of the faith they followed.

             B.   We observe that their faith was:
               1. Settled -- (v. 16 & 18)
               2. Sure -- (v. 17)
               3. Steadfast -- (v. 18)
            III. THEY WOULD NOT BURN (3:19-30)

             A.   The furnace was heated as much as possible.
             B.   The men who cast them in were killed by the heat. 
             C.   The king saw an amazing thing in the furnace!
             D.   The men were called out and carefully examined.
               Their bodies were not hurt, their hair was not singed, their coats
                           were nor scorched!
             E.   They would not burn because the God they served was:
               1) Personal;  2) Powerful; and  3) Present.

             1.   The three Hebrews would not BOW in spite of the fire they face. 
            They would not BUDGE because of the faith they followed.  And they
            would not BURN because of the favor they found.

             2.   We must remember these lessons when we are in the "fiery trials"
            that we too sometimes must face (I Peter 4:12). 

-- Windell Gann -- Walking Thru the Bible --

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