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Lesson No. 25—Get to Know and Love your Bible.

LESSON THEME:—DANIEL

Daniel 2:16-22.

  • KEY WORD—”EMPIRES.”

  • KEY VERSEDaniel 2:21.

  • KEY PHRASE—”GOD CONTROLS THE RISE AND FALL OF EMPIRES.”

Home Readings.

This book has an important place. Read the whole of Daniel, or:

WRITER—Daniel was one of the royal princes who was carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. He was well-favoured in person, and cultured in mind, so that he was given an apartment in the king’s palace, and received daily portions of the ring’s food and wine. He proposed, however, not to defile himself with food that lad been offered to idols, and lived instead on a vegetable diet. His first appearance in public was as an interpreter of the image dream of the king. He himself had some wonderful visions. He also was a statesman who held high offices under three successive kings, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius. While in the service of Darius he was put in the lion’s den for praying to his God. However, the God in whom he trusted closed the mouths of the lions and he came out unharmed, and his accusers, instead, were destroyed by the lions. He lived through the whole 70 years of the captivity and saw the return under King Cyrus as recorded in the hook of Ezra.

TIME COVERED—607 to 534 B. C. about 73 years.

PURPOSE—To show that God controls not only the lives of the Hebrew captives, but the mighty empires of the earth.

GREAT FACTS:—

  1. History.

  2. Prophecy.

Great Fact I. Historical Section.

Daniel 1; Daniel 2; Daniel 3; Daniel 4; Daniel 5; Daniel 6.

Daniel 1, shows us the faithfulness of Daniel and his three companions to their religious convictions, in not eating heathen food. “His loyalty he kept, his faith, his love.”—Milton.

In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar dreams and forgets his dream. His wise men cannot help him, and Daniel, to whom God has revealed the dream and the meaning, is called in. The dream of the king was of a great image with head of fine gold, breast and arms of silver, stomach and thigh of brass, legs of iron, and feet part of iron and part of clay. A stone cut out of a mountain without hands smote the image upon its feet and destroyed it.

Daniel’s interpretation was that the image represents the greatness and splendour of the Gentile world powers. The head of gold is the BABYLONIAN EMPIRE, 626-636 B. C., and the beginning of the time of the Gentiles. Luke 21:24.

The breast and arms of silver represent the MEDO-PERSIAN EMPIRE, which conquered and succeeded that of Babylon, and stood from 636-330 B. C. Its power began with Cyrus under whom the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Ezra 1:1. The stomach and thighs of brass represent the GREEK EMPIRE, which under Alexander the Great, conquered the entire Persian world, Daniel 2:39. This stood from 330-321, and at Alexander’s death was divided among his four generals. The legs of iron represent the ROMAN EMPIRE, Daniel 2:40, one leg being the eastern and the other the western divisions with capitals at Constantinople and Rome. The ten toes represent the ten future kingdoms to arise from the breaking up of the two divisions of the Roman Empire, which stood from 27 B. C. to 476 A. D. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands represents the coming of Christ in glory in the time of the ten kings, to set up an everlasting kingdom, Daniel 2:46.

Daniel 3, tells how Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden idol and required all to fall down and worship it. Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to do so and were cast into the fiery furnace, but were miraculously delivered by their God.

Daniel 4, tells of the king’s dream of a great tree which was cut down. This was meant to be a warning to Nebuchadnezzar, but a year later he lost his mind and became a madman, because he set himself up as a rival against Almighty God.

Daniel 5, gives the record of the king’s great feast. (Belshazzar had succeeded Nebuchadnezzar) and how he wickedly took the golden vessels from Solomon’s temple and used them for drinking wine to the idols. An angry God caused handwriting to appear on the wall, and Daniel explained that the message meant, “Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.” In that night the king was slain. Exodus 20:3. says “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me!

LESSON—Daniel stands before us as a magnificent example of moral heroism. Although he held a high position in Babylon, he daily walked with God, and he kept up the practice of David of praying three times daily. When he was eighty years old, the king’s friends through envy thought to depose him, but his faith in God triumphed, and he was delivered. Even his enemies could not question his uprightness, and his noble stand for principle will shine through the ages. “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone, dare to have a purpose true and dare to make it known!

Great Fact II. The Prophetical Section.

Daniel 7; Daniel 8; Daniel 9; Daniel 10; Daniel 11; Daniel 12.

In Daniel 7 the prophet sees four wild beasts coming up from a stormy sea, a lion, a bear, a leopard and a terrible beast with great iron teeth and ten horns. Among the ten horns there came up another little horn, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots, Daniel 7:8. Then a judgement scene is pictured, in which everlasting dominion is seen in the hands of Christ, Daniel 7:13-14.

This vision of the four beasts covers the same ground as the great image vision of Daniel 2, but in this vision the four empires are represented as fierce beasts, because of their cruelty and oppression.

The little horn coming up among the ten is the anti-Christ yet to come, represented in Revelation 13:10, as the beast coming up out of the sea, Daniel 7:15-28. The saints will be oppressed by the anti-Christ until the coming of Christ. This is the period of the Great Tribulation spoken of in Revelation 6; Revelation 7; Revelation 8; Revelation 9; Revelation 10; Revelation 11; Revelation 12; Revelation 13; Revelation 14; Revelation 15; Revelation 16; Revelation 17; Revelation 18;—the period between the coming of the Lord for His saints, and His coming with His saints to reign.

In Daniel 8, Daniel has a vision of a ram with two horns, which is overcome by a he-goat with one horn, which in turn is overcome by four notable horns, and they in their turn were followed by one which waxed great. The ram represent the Medo-Persian Empire, which was over-come by the Greek Empire. The four notable horns are the four kingdoms into which the Greek Empire was divided. The little horn, fierce and of mighty power, is Antiochus Epiphanes, King of Syria, who invaded Palestine, murdered 40,000 Jews, desecrated the temple, and brought upon them the saddest experiences of their history.

In Daniel 9, while Daniel is praying toward the end of the captivity that God would forgive their sins and cause His face to shine upon the sanctuary, the angel, Gabriel, drew near and told him what would take place before the Messiah should come. He told Daniel that seventy seven-year periods would lapse before the national chastisement would be ended, and the nation re-established in everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9:24. The first seven of the seven-year periods (49 years) began at the command to build and restore

Jerusalem in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. The second period of 433 years (627-year periods) began at the building of the walls. and continued until Christ was cut off (crucified). The last seven-year period will not begin until after the church-age because these periods deal strictly with Israel and not the church. This last seven-year period will begin with the anti-Christ in power and in covenant with the Jews. In the middle of the seven years, he will break the covenant and cause Time of Trouble of Daniel 12:1, which is the same as the Great Tribulation of Revelation.

Daniel 11, describes the conflicts between the kings of the north (Syria) and the kings of the south (Egypt), ending with a description of Antiochus Epiphanes and the anti-Christ. The former is the little horn of Daniel 8, and the latter is the little horn of Daniel 7.

Daniel 12:2-3 gives us the two resurrections. The resurrection to everlasting life, which is followed a thousand years after by the resurrection to shame and everlasting contempt. See also Revelation 20:5. In the first verse of this chapter we have the Time of Trouble or Tribulation, that comes between the two resurrections. This will last half the seven-year period, or three and one-half years.

LESSON—Daniel is the great prophet of the future in the Old Testament. More than any other, he had visions of the end of the age. They were given for our prayerful study and should not be neglected as they usually are. Let us have faith in the sure word of Prophecy, remember the Almighty Word-giver behind it, and light up the present with the sunshine of future glory.

So many of the prophecies of this book have been fulfilled, that the Bible must he the Word of God, and if the scripture is the Word of God, then Christianity must be true, and if Christianity is true, then we ought to love its Author, and practice His teachings.

Questions on the Lesion.

  1. Who was Daniel?

  2. Why did he refuse to eat the king’s meat?

  3. Why was he placed in the lions’ den?

  4. What the purpose of the book?

  5. Name the great facts.

  6. Give the key word and key verse.

  7. Have you read the book of Daniel?

  8. What did the great image represent?

  9. What did the arms and breast represent?

  10. What did the stomach and thighs represent?

  11. What did the legs of iron represent?

  12. Why were Daniel’s three friends cast into the furnace?

  13. Why did Nebuchadnezzar become a madman?

  14. Why was Belshazzar slain?

  15. Of what was Daniel an example?

  16. How often daily did he pray?

  17. Why were the four empires represented as beasts?

  18. Who does the little horn represent

  19. When did the 49-year period begin

  20. When will the last seven-year period begin?

  21. How long between the two resurrections?

  22. If these prophecies are true, how should we regard their Author?

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