Daniel – Chapter 7

Keep in mind: This chapter precedes the events in chapter 5.

Verse 1 – In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

Verse 2 – Daniel spoke saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.

We can see from Jeremiah 25:31-33, that when a great wind is raised up it wreaks death and destruction. These winds are a symbol of war, strife, and bloodshed. And the sea is usually symbolic of Gentile humanity in other Biblical passages (Isaiah 17;57; Revelation 13; 17).

Verse 3 – “And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

A beast is a symbol of a king or a kingdom and so is a horn. Strife, war, and bloodshed is upon the nations as kingdom conquers kingdom to rise to world supremacy. Each was different – different laws, and customs.

Verse 4 – “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

The lion represents the Babylonian empire. The Babylonian empire used a lion to represent itself, and statues of winged lions were common there. Wings often represent swiftness (Habakkuk 1:6-9). The wings being plucked refers to a change taking place in Babylon’s power. The courageous lion was replaced by a weak and wicked heart of a man.

In the time of Belshazzar’s reign (after Nebuchadnezzar) the kingdom was reduced to the walls of Babylon itself.

Verse 5 – “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’

Another beast – the next kingdom rising to power. This is a good description of the Medo-Persian empire. They were cruel and vicious (Isaiah 13). Darius and Cyrus his nephew, came together to go up against Babylon. The Persians were much stronger than the Medes, hence the bear raised up on one side, with the Persians ruling the kingdom for the majority of the time. Three ribs in its mouth – three kingdoms that they were devouring – Lydia, Egypt, and Babylon.

Verse 6 – “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

We can see now that this is an in-depth description of Daniel chapter 2 of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed. Prophecy works on repeat and enlarge.

A leopard is very good at catching its prey off guard especially by ambushing it. Greece, under Alexander the Great, was this leopard because they were swift in moving his great army and catching his prey off guard, unsuspecting. It took Alexander and his army 12 years to subdue the world. Alexander’s strength rose very quickly to power, but at the peak of his power he died in a drunken stooper at the age of 31 in 323 B.C. Four heads – at Alexander’s death, his generals asked who was to take the kingdom and rule. Alexander replied, “to the strongest.” Through much fighting the kingdom was divided among the four remaining generals. Thus the four heads: Cassander – Macedonia and Greece. Lysimachus – Thrace, parts of Asia, Hellespont and Bosporus in the north. Ptolemy – Egypt, Libya, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria in the south. Seleucus – Syria eastward. The Grecian empire reigned from 331-168 B. C.

Verse 7 – “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

This fourth beast points to both Rome and the end times. Rome ruled from 168 B.C. – 476 A. C. Many scholars believe that the ten horns are ten kings who will reign shortly before God sets up His everlasting kingdom. Rome also had ten divisions at the time of their rule.

Verse 8 – “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, and a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

A little horn, started out small and rose to great power. It spoke arrogantly and blasphemous against God.

Verse 9 – “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a burning flame, its wheels a burning fire;

Here the prophecy shifts to end times. The Ancient of Days is God All Mighty, who assigns power to kingdoms and will judge those kingdoms in end times. We also see His throne has wheels and can move as Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 also showed us.

Verse 10 – A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him, a thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.

These that stood before Him and ministered are angels and living creatures as John describes in Revelation 5:11 – “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,”…

Verse 11 – “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.

Verse 12 – “As for the rest of the bests, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

The slaying of this beast; the fall of the Roman Empire and future, the Antichrist destroyed. Now, for the rest that were allowed to continue for a season; Babylon’s territory was made subject to Persia, but the subjects lived on. Same thing when Greece conquered Persia and when Rome took over Greece.

Verse 13 – “I was watching in the night visions and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

Verse 14 – Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

“The Son of Man” is none other than Jesus Christ! Coming with the clouds of heaven, angels brought Christ into the presence of the Father. Christ comes to the Father to receive His kingdom, which is an everlasting kingdom that shall not be destroyed. All peoples, nations, and languages: Revelation 21:24 – And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

Verse 15 – “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

Verse 16 – “I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:

Verse 17 – ‘Those great bests, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.

Verse 18 – ‘But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

This can be a comfort to us as it was to Daniel; This kingdom that our beloved Savior rules and reigns will be filled with those who love Him and are looking to His coming forever and ever. No matter what happens in-between, we believers end up with our King of Kings. Don’t let the opportunity pass before you make the decision to become His, because after you draw your last breath it will be too late.

Verse 19 – “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;

Verse 20 – “And about the ten horns that were on its head, and about the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.

Verse 21 – “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,

Verse 22 – “until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in ts to possess the kingdom.

Verse 23 – “Thus he said: “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.

Verse 24 – The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings.

These ten horns, kings, are also mentioned in Revelation 17:2. There were also ten toes on the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. These kings will make war against Christ and the saints, but he Lamb conquers. The other king mentioned here in verse 24, is the future Antichrist of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.

Verse 25 – He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.

This Antichrist will be characterized by blasphemy, anti-Semitism, religious corruption by changing religious festivals and laws. He will oppress the Jewish people, three and one  half years, or the second half of the future tribulation period (Revelation 7:14). But when the heavenly court convenes, the Antichrist will be destroyed forever.

Verse 26 – ‘But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever.

Verse 27 – Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey Him.’

In Romans 8:14-17, Paul tells us if we are being led by the Spirit of God then we are the sons of God and adopted into His family. Thus we have become joint heirs with Christ. Jesus received a kingdom which is everlasting, thus we being joint-heirs with Him also receive this kingdom.

Verse 28 – “This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

 

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Daniel – Chapter 6

Verse 1 – It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom;

Verse 2 – and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.

Verse 3 – Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.

In the previous chapter, Babylon was overthrown by the Medes and the Persians. Darius was the first king ruling for only two years. During his reign is when this chapter takes place (538-536 B.C.).

Verse 4 – So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel had made enemies because the king showed him favor. What’s wrong with people who envy and dislike others only because they do a good job?

Verse 5 – Then these men said, “We shall not find any charges against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

Daniel had been promoted above all others, so there was strong jealousy among them. The were going to have to criticize something concerning Daniel’s faith in order to trap him into doing something wrong. This happens again in Revelation 13:8, 12, 14, 15, where laws are made contrary to God’s laws, that the people of faith must follow or be killed.

Verse 6 – So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever!

Verse 7 – “All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisers, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

Verse 8 – “Now, O king, establish the decree and according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not altar.”

Verse 9 – Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

Look what Proverbs 26:27 says, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. Darius had some pride in him that showed when he signed a decree that made the people worship him for 30 days. He made himself a god. These men who did this knew Daniel well enough to know that he only worshiped his God. The king had been deceived by only seeing glory and honor being brought to himself. This decree could not be broken, even by the king himself.

Verse 10 – Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home, and in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

Daniel prayed not out of rebellion toward the king but out of obedience to his Supreme God. If he changed his habit of praying, it would show a lack of faith in his God. He would also be showing to others a lack of authority of the One and only True God of Israel.

Verse 11 – Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplications before his God.

Verse 12 – And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.”

Verse 13 – So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

Verse 14 – And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

When the king realized the true reason these men wanted this decree signed into law, he knew it was only to trap Daniel. He’d admired Daniel and respected him to the point of making him over all the others, but now the king was in anguish because of this stupid law.

Verse 15 – Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

Verse 16 – So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

Verse 17 – Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den (could also be a pit), and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet’s of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

Verse 18 – 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.

Verse 19 – Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions.

Verse 20 – And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, delivered you from the lions?”

Verse 21 – Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!

Verse 22 – “My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

Verse 23 – Then the king was exceedingly glad for him and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

Do you, as a Christian, trust God to deliver you from situations that seems to be no way out? We should, because what He does for one He will do for another. He may not do it in the same way that He delivers another, but if you put all your faith and trust in Him, He will turn it around for you, because you love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Verse 24 – And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions – overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

This Psalm comes to mind: 105:15 – “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” What these wicked men tried to do to Daniel, came back on their own heads, and not only theirs but their families also. Take this as a warning: Be very careful whom you accuse and of what. If they are God’s child, He will protect them with a vengeance!

Verse 25 – Then King Darius wrote; To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.

Verse 26 – I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end.

Verse 27 – He delivers and rescues and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Verse 28 – So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

Daniel – Chapter 5

Sixty-six years have elapsed since chapter one. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. after a reign of 43 years. His son, Evil-Merodach, then ruled from 562-560; his brother-in-law Neriglissar reigned four years from 560-556 B.C. then Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar co-reigned from 553-539 B. C. Nebonidus was Nebuchadnezzar’s son, and Belshazzar therefore his grandson.

Verse 1 – Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.

Verse 2 – While he tasted the wine Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father (ancestor) Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.

Verse 3 – Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and concubines drank from them.

Verse 4 – They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Verse 5 – In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

This was not just seen by the king, but everyone who was there. This may be where the phrase, “The handwriting is on the wall,” came from.

Verse 6 – Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.

Verse 7 –  The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed in purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

They are all drinking and using the holy vessels that belong to God and that were used in His temple. Their partying turned into a night of fear when God decided to write a message on the kings wall.

Verse 8 – Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation.

Some scholars seem to think this message was written in Aramaic, which was the Babylonian language, but the Bible clearly states, “They could not read the writing!” I believe it was a heavenly language that only God knew and gave the understanding to Daniel alone.

Verse 9 – Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

Verse 10 – The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. And the queen spoke, saying, “O king live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change.

Verse 11 – “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; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father – your father the king – made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.

Verse 12 – “Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting, dreams, found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.

Daniel was approximately 80 years old at this point and was either retired or just forgotten. This queen was either the wife of Nabonidus or even perhaps Nebuchadnezzar’s wife.

Verse 13 – Then Daniel was brought in before the king. And the king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you the Daniel who is one of the captives of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?

Verse 14 – “I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.

Verse 15 – “Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation, of the thing.

Verse 16 – “And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. 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, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Verse 17 – Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

Doing what is right should be our first priority, as it was for Daniel, regardless of gaining power or rewards.

Verse 18 – “O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor.

Verse 19 – “And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down.

Verse 20 – “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.

Verse 21 – “Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like beasts and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

Verse 22 – “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.

This was a strong rebuke for this king. Belshazzar knew the history of his grandfather, but Daniel just put it in his face. In other words, “How dare you have a drinking party with the holy vessels that belong to God the creator and challenge Him!”

Verse 23 – And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.

I would be crawling under a table by now if I had been this king. Belshazzar had desecrated the vessels of God through their pagan worship.

Verse 24 – “Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

Verse 25 – “And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Verse 26 – “This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

Verse 27 – “TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;

Verse 28 – “PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

MENE – God has finished the ruling days of the kingdom of Babylon.

TEKEL – Wanting in righteousness. 2 Peter 3:11, 14, Let us not be found wanting in the day of our visitation.

PERES – This is the singular root word for Upharsin. When used in the plural form it means pieces. The kingdom is broken in pieces. God had finished with Babylon and broken it between the Medes and the Persians.

Verse 29 – Then Belshazzar gave the command and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Verse 30 – That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.

Verse 31 – And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Darius and his soldiers entered Babylon by diverting the river that ran through the city, then walked in on a dry riverbed. This Darius the Mede, is not o be confused with Darius II the Persian, mentioned in Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah. Darius the Mede is only mentioned in the Book of Daniel. There is no record naming a king between Belshazzar and Cyrus.

 

Daniel – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all peoples, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.

Verse 2 – I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.

Verse 3 – How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.

Just as Nebuchadnezzar, many people will use the right spiritual language, but their obedience to God’s principles and standards don’t match their behavior.

Verse 4 – I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.

Verse 5 – I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

Verse 6 – Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that might make known to me the interpretation of the dream.

Verse 7 – Then the magicians, the astrologers, and the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation.

I guess, he forgot that his wise men couldn’t interpret anything. The king was all secure in his palace, that false security in wealth and power, but this dream he had, scared him. Have you ever had a foreboding in your spirit? I have, and they are very uncomfortable. You know that something is about to happen, but don’t know what.

Verse 8 – But at last Daniel came before me, his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God, and I told the dream before him, saying:

Verse 9 – “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.

Verse 10 – “These were the visions of my head while on my bed: I was looking, and behold a tree in the mist of the earth, and its height was great.

Verse 11 – The tree grew and became strong; its height reached to the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.

Verse 12 – Its leaves were lovely, its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, the birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

Verse 13 – “I saw in the vision of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.

Verse 14 – He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches.

Verse 15 – Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze. In the tender grass of the field let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth.

Verse 16 – Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of an animal, and let seven times pass over him.

Verse 17 – ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.’

This may be hard to understand, especially those in leadership and authority, but God is sovereign over all, everything. He limits the power and authority of all governments, businesses, and religious leaders of the world. We may live in freedom to choose, but He controls it all.

Verse 18 – “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

Verse 19 – Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!

Daniel couldn’t respond immediately, because this dream was not good news for the king. He had no idea how the king would react after hearing what the dream meant. However, the king reassured him  to not be afraid of his reaction, just tell him the meaning of the dream.

Verse 20 – The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth,

Verse 21 – whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and on whose branches the birds of the heaven had their habitation –

Verse 22 – it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.

Verse 23 – And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field till seven times pass over him;

Verse 24 – this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king:

Verse 25 – They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

Daniel told the king that he would go insane and become like an animal in the field eating grass for seven years. God was about to show the king that a prideful self-centered life was going to bring punishment from an all-powerful God. Pride may be one of the most dangerous temptations you will ever face. Don’t let your accomplishments cause you to forget God!

Verse 26 – And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules.

Verse 27 – Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

In God’s great mercy, He had placed Daniel in the king’s life to show him who Daniel’s God is. The king was being warned to repent and he could avoid the insanity that was about to come . At one time or another, we’ve all been warned to change our ways, or disaster was in our near future. That’s what usually brings us to the Savior.

Verse 28 – All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 29 – At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.

Did you notice that there was no response from Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel was finished? None! Our loving God will place people in each of our lives to draw us to Him and its up to us to ignore or receive that drawing.

Verse 30 – The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

Nebuchadnezzar emphasized himself as the source of majesty. This is a spirit of pride to the max. “Look what all I have accomplished!” We don’t get one thing in this life unless our heavenly Father chooses to give it or make it happen. But always remember, it is His good pleasure to give His children gifts! All good things come from Him and He deserves the honor and glory!

Verse 31 – While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven. “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!

Verse 32 – And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and give it to whomever He chooses.”

Verse 33 – That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

When I read this, I always wondered what he was thinking that entire seven years, if anything other than what an animal thinks. The Bible says it happened while his words were still in his mouth so I don’t think he had time to blink.

Verse 34 – And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; 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.

Verse 35 – All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You don?”

Do we question God? Sure, we all have at one time or another. Did you get an answer? Did God All Mighty ever explain Himself to you?

Verse 36 – At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me, my counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.

Verse 37 – Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.

A lot of people know that God is able to work miracles, but nothing will ever change in us until we acknowledge Him as Lord. Most believe, as I, that Nebuchadnezzar died as a converted man.

Daniel – Chapter 3

Verse 1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

In the Babylonian culture, statues were often worshiped. Instead of a statue with only the head being gold, he made the entire thing in gold, perhaps in defiance that his kingdom would never end.

Verse 2 – And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps , the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasures, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the province, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Verse 3 – So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasures, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

The king was making a big production of this dedication, so he wanted all of his chief officials to be gathered in one place to pay tribute to him. Idolaters are generally very committed to their religion.

Verse 4 – Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,

Verse 5 – “that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up;

Verse 6 – “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

Verse 7 – So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Music can have a huge influence over a person. It plays a big part in our worship of the Lord, so we should be cautious of what type of music we listen to. Let’s not forget, Satan was created with musical instruments in him, thus he uses it to his advantage (Ezekiel 28:13). If the people did not fall down and worship the king’s image, he had furnaces set up to put them to death. Forced religion is the system of the false religion, as Babylon was at the head of it. Whereas with God, it is a matter of choice.

Verse 8 – Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.

These Chaldeans were obviously revengeful for being exposed as liars when they couldn’t tell the king his dream or the interpretation.

Verse 9 – They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!

Verse 10 – “You O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image;

Verse 11 – “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Verse 12 – “There are certain Jews whom you have set over affairs of the province of Babylon; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

These Chaldeans wanted to remind the king that he was the one who had placed these Jews in their position, and now they were belittling the king by not following his authority. They knew this would make the king furious. We don’t know if there were other Jews who didn’t bow to this image, but these three were singled out.

Verse 13 – Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king.

Verse 14 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?

Verse 15 – “Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

Nebuchadnezzar, trying to save face, gives them another chance to worship the image. Then the king declares there is not a god anywhere that can deliver them from this furnace if they choose not to bow down to it.

Verse 16 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

Ha! In other words: “Don’t bother to give us a second chance, we have already made up our minds not to worship you!”

Verse 17 – “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.

These young boys were steadfast in their confidence that their God was able to deliver them. Do you not know that every fiery trial that we go through, only makes us stronger in our faith towards God?

Verse 18 – “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.”

This is one of the strongest examples of steadfast faith in the Bible. They had set their hearts to obey God rather than man. They would rather die then disobey God. In the end times, many will have to have this kind of faith, (Revelation 20:4).

Verse 19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Therefore he spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.

Verse 20 – And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

Verse 21 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Verse 22 – Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

What’s ironic, is that the men who took them up to the furnace died, but yet they still managed to throw the three in the furnace before they died.

Verse 23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

This furnace was built on a small mound with openings at the top and side, so the three men fell into the furnace from the top, and the king was able to see through the opening in the side.

Verse 24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

Verse 25 – “Look!” he answered, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

How would Nebuchadnezzar even know what the Son of God was like? Because the Hebrew captives had represented righteousness, thus teaching those around them of the God whom they worshiped and they had told of Christ, the Redeemer to come.

Verse 26 – Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire.

Verse 27 – And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their heads was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

No human can bind us when God wants us free. The power that is available to each Christian, is the same power that delivered these three Hebrews and raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20). There are eternal reasons for temporary trials. You might come out of your trials or time of testing with some battle scares, but you’ll know the One which delivered you!

Verse 28 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!

Verse 29 – “Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no God who can deliver like this.”

The king didn’t tell his people to throw away all of their idols or not to worship them anymore, he was simply adding this God to their many gods.

Verse 30 – Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.

We all go through trials and times of testing, some are bigger than others, but whether God delivers us or not, He’s still God!

 

Daniel – Chapter 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Verse 1 – Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.

Verse 2 – 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.

Sometimes God will speak to us and show us things in our dreams while we sleep. Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by his dreams, so he called magicians, they practiced superstitious rights and ceremonies of fortune tellers; he called astrologers, which pretended to tell the future by looking at the stars; he called sorcerers, who said they could talk to the dead; and he called Chaldeans, which were Philosophers, similar to the magicians and sorcerers. They all claimed to be able to contact the other side of their gods.

Verse 3 – And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.”

Verse 4 – Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.

Nebuchadnezzar was troubled because he couldn’t remember the dream.

Verse 5 – But the king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.

Verse 6 – “However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

Verse 7 – They answered again and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”

Verse 8 – The king answered and said, “I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm:

Verse 9 – “if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

The king knows they are stalling for time until the king calms down or begins to remember the dream.

Verse 10 – The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, “There is not a man on earth, who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.

Verse 11 – “It is a difficult thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

These men just admitted that they can’t communicate with their gods that they worship. We know from 1 Corinthians 2:11-14, that only a person who is connected to God can discern the things of God, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. God had given the dream and God would use whom He chose to interpret it. This also proves that Satan can not read your mind.

Verse 12 – For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

Verse 13 – So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.

Daniel and his companions were also subject to execution because they were in the same class of the wise men. However, they have no idea that any of this had taken place.

Verse 14 – Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;

Verse 15 – he answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, ‘Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.

Verse 16 – So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.

Verse 17 – Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,

Verse 18 – that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Wonder why Daniel and his friends were not called in at first? The king already knew that they were 10 times wiser than all the rest. But the ones the king did call first were exposed to be false pagan teachers who claimed something they could not do. These false teachers were tested and failed, for all to see. This gave God an opportunity to show that He alone was God.

Verse 19 – Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. so Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Verse 20 – Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.

Verse 21 – And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.

God answered Daniel’s prayer, but before he rushed off to tell the king, he gave honor and gratitude to God. How thankful are we when God answers our prayers? Do we tell others what He has done, or do we tell them we did it through hard work or perseverance?

Verse 22 – He reveals deep secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

Verse 23 – “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we ask of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

Verse 24 – Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

Verse 25 – Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.”

Verse 26 – The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

Verse 27 – Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded , the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.

Verse 28 – “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:

Verse 29 – “As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.

Verse 30 – “But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sake’s who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

Daniel states again that not because of any wisdom that he has, but for the sake of the righteous ones that were going to give the interpretation to the king and that the king may know the thoughts of his heart.

Verse 31 – “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.

Verse 32 – “This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

Verse 33 – “its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

Verse 34 – “You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

Verse 35 – “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The gold on the image’s head represents Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire (605-539 B.C.). The silver chest and arms represent the Medo-Persian empire which conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. The belly and thighs of bronze were Greece and Macedonia under Alexander the Great who conquered the Medo-Persian empire 334-330 B.C. The legs of iron represented Rome, which conquered the Greeks in 63 B.C. The feet of clay and iron represented the breakup of the Roman empire, when the territory of Rome was divided up with a mixture of strong and weak nations. The material of each section of the statue decreased in value but increased in strength. This decrease may symbolize the moral decline of each succeeding kingdom. The stone that would shatter the final kingdom and grow into a mountain that filled the whole earth is the kingdom of God. This dream revealed that God All Mighty is the power behind every earthly kingdom.

Verse 36 – “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.

Verse 37 – “You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory;

Verse 38 – “and wherever the children of men dwell, or beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into our hand, and has made you ruler over them all – you are this head of gold.

Verse 39 – “But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

Verse 40 – “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

Verse 41 – “Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potters clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.

The Bible makes a clear statement in Luke 2:1 that Rome ruled the world, for you cannot tax the world unless you rule it. In its height it ruled south of Europe, France, England, the greater parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the South of Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, and parts of Asia and Africa. Rome ruled from 168 B. C. to 476 A. D.

Verse 42 – “And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

Verse 43 – “As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

Verse 44 – “And in those days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

This is God’s kingdom where Christ rules and reigns. God is the One which controls world history. Under God’s protection, His kingdom is indestructible. Those who believe in Him are members of this kingdom.

Verse 45 – “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold – the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Verse 46 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.

Verse 47 – 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.

Nebuchadnezzar has a momentary conversion, but the seed that was planted into his heart will become choked by his own pride and ambition. We see this same “Momentary moment” where people  cry and are sorry, but it doesn’t last, and before long are back to their old ways. There was never a true transformation because the whole heart was never given.

Verse 48 – Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.

Verse 49 – Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Don’t forget that Daniel’s three companions were also before the king during the dream interpretation. Daniel always said, “We,” including his friends and of course giving God all the credit. The king promoted Daniel and then allowed Daniel to give his friends highly respectable jobs. A leader can’t do everything by himself.

 

Daniel – Introduction and Chapter 1

Daniel’s life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity. Deported to Babylon at the age of sixteen, and handpicked for government service, Daniel became God’s prophetic mouthpiece tot he Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present eternal purpose. The name Daniel means “God Is My Judge.” Daniel is one of the few well-known Bible characters about whom nothing negative is ever written. His life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency, and lack of compromise.

The Deportation of Daniel To Babylon

Verse 1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to  Jerusalem and besieged it.

Verse 2 – And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god.

Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, took vessels from the temple of the Lord and some of the inhabitants, including Daniel and his three friends. King Nebuchadnezzar put these vessels into his temple of Mardok, formally named Bel, the god of the Babylonians (Jeremiah 50:2). All of this came to pass according to the word of the Lord through Isaiah the prophet (2 Kings 20:16, 17).

Verse 3 – Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles,

Verse 4 – young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

The academic program that they would be taught would include, mathematics, astronomy, history, science, and magic. These young men not only demonstrated aptitude, but also discipline.

Verse 5 – And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of the time they might serve before the king.

It’s obvious that those who were chosen were already well-educated. Nebuchadnezzar was so concerned about their well-being, that ordinary food would not be a part of their diet.

Verse 6 – Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Verse 7 – To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

These boy’s names were changed to pagan names: Daniel which meant “God is my judge”, was changed to Belteshazzar, meaning, “keeper of the hide treasure of Bel.” Hananiah, “Yahweh is God,” changed to Shadrach meaning, “Inspiration of the sun” (worship of the sun). Mishael, “Who belongs to God,” changed to Meshach, meaning “Of the goddess Shaca” (worship of Venus). Azariah, “Yahweh helps,” changed to Abed-Nego, meaning “Servant of the shinning fire.”

This was their custom to change their names  to influence them into the idolatrous religion and practice of the Babylonians.

Verse 8 – But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuch that he might not defile himself.

Its easier to resist temptation if you have thought through your convictions well before the temptation arrives. Daniel and his friends had already decided where to draw the line. This first test, was the test of appetite. Appetite has a direct link to our spiritual life. Look what happened in the garden with Adam and Eve when a forbidden fruit was eaten. This appetite temptation does not always mean food; it can be for clothes, cars, houses, drink, and etc.

We can assume that the food and wine was unfit according to the laws of health (Leviticus 11; Proverbs 20:1), wine is a mocker and those who drink it, is not wise.

Verse 9 – Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. Daniel and his friends would not compromise, but stood fast to the principles of God, so they were shown favor by the chief eunuch. They stood fast because they had already committed their ways unto the Lord. When we are obedient to the Lord, He can show us favor even with our enemies.

Verse 10 – And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your face looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

Anything short of obedience meant execution fro the officials who served Nebuchadnezzar. He had a right to be scared.

Verse 11 – So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

Verse 12 – “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.

Daniel chose to negotiate rather than rebel. Without compromising, Daniel thought of a practical, creative, solution that saved his life and the lives of his companions.

Verse 13 – “Then let our countenances be examined before you, and the countenances of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”

Daniel knew that because they had just traveled a long journey from Jerusalem, their bodies would need to recover. Food that is highly nutritious, light, and easily digested and that would keep their mind clear, was the best choice for them.

Verse 14 – So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

Verse 15 – And at the end of ten days their countenance appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.

Verse 16 – Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

This only eating of vegetables is not an endorsement to become a vegetarian. God was the One who made them strong. They trusted in the All Mighty and again were shown favor.

Verse 17 – As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

Verse 18 – Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 19 – Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, therefore they served before the king.

Verse 20 – And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

Verse 21 – Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

Daniel and his friends were put on the king’s staff which included “Magicians and enchanters.” These were astrologers who claimed to tell the future through occult practices. Daniel was one of the first captives taken to Babylon, and lived to see the first exiles return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. Babylon was a wicked nation, but would have been much worse without Daniel’s influence.