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Daniel

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OTI-27

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In God’s opinion of  History, the Kingdom of Babylon was the richest and most  glorious of all in character. Babylon was the head of gold in the image God revealed to Nebuchadnezzar. As its realm spread across the then known world, it left in its wake the dust of crushed opponents foolish enough to challenge God’s chosen instrument of judgment. To the helm of that incredible Empire rose an incredible young man of God — Daniel.

But have you ever considered what it must have been like to be prime minister to the greatest empire in the world in its time?  Untold streams of decisions, meetings, conferences, banquets, clay tablet work (Like our paper work), holdups on the freeways in your chariot as well as all the everyday needs of life. Like going to the sandal shop, stopping at the repair shop to have new wheels put on the chariot and the needs of the horses … ALL that considered, Daniel was a very responsible man, committed and most of all BUSY!  How did he cope with life at the top. He knelt on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks to his God — AS HE ALWAYS DID!  In the midst of his cabinet position in a world wide empire and all the pressures that came with such a position, DANIEL FAITHFULLY PRAYED.  Not just at a meal, no, he found a way to stop it all, go to a quiet, private chamber, KNEEL and come into the presence of God in thanksgiving.

When life is tough, when it seems like the bad guys are winning, remember there is a God in Heaven Who Rules! When you are spied upon, attacked and cast into the lion’s den by your adversaries, remember there is a God in Heaven Who Rules!

I.                     A  God in Heaven Who Rules should cause each of us to be:

A.                 PEOPLE OF CHARACTER/CONVICTION (Holiness)

1.                  Purposed holiness                1:8

2.                  Praised God for wisdom      2:19

3.                  Points to God                         2:28

4.                  Not greedy                              5:17

B.                 PEOPLE OF CONFIDENCE (Past and Future)

1.                  OUR GOD RULES  Daniel 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; (KJV); Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (KJV)

2.                  OUR LORD CARES  Daniel 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. (KJV)

3.                  OUR GOD MOVES HISTORY ALONG!  Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. (KJV) Daniel 4:25-26 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. (KJV)

C.                 PEOPLE  OF COMMUNION (Prayer)

1.                  OUR LORD WANTS US TO BRING IT ALL TO HIM!  Daniel 2:17-18 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (KJV)

II.                   Daniel:     Distinguishing Marks That Characterize God’s Servants

A.                 WHO WAS HE?  A Jewish youth (possibly sixteen or so) carried into captivity by Babylon in 605 BC. He was followed by Ezekiel, taken captive in 598 BC.             Ezekiel speaks of Daniel three times (14:14,20; 28:3) in his prophecies of about 572 BC. Daniel was about fifty years old. He was born into a royal family.

B.                 WHEN WAS HE?  Daniel was born about 625 BC, the same year the Babylonian Empire was born as Nebuchadnezzar’s father’s (Nabopolassar) was conquering the area of Mesopotamia. He was a young man when  Assyria (Ninevah) fell.  He was old enough to be thrilled during the final and greatest revival of Israel’s history (11 Chronicles 34) under good King Josiah.  At the age of sixteen, Daniel witnessed the loss of Josiah, who died in battle with Pharoah-Necho (II Chronicles 35:20-25). Daniel was soon carried to captivity…

C.                HOW DID HE INFLUENCE LATER GENERATIONS?  First of all, Daniel studied, loved and quoted by our Lord Jesus Christ. Note that inMatthew 24:15 quotes Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:21 quotesDaniel 12:1; Matthew 24:30 quotes Daniel 7:13; Matthew 26:64 quotesDaniel 7:13; Matthew 14:43 quotes Daniel 12:3.  All of these passages demonstrate that our Lord had a close acquaintance with Daniel.  But, not only our Lord, so did Paul, Peter and the writer of Hebrews. All of them used Daniel as they studied God’s Word.

1.                  Paul: I Corinthians 6:2 quotes Daniel 7:22II Thessalonians 2:3 quotes Daniel 7.8; II Timothy 4:17.

2.                  Writer of Hebrews: 11:33-34

3.                  Peter: I Peter 1:10 quotes Daniel 9:3; 12:8.

4.                  John the Apostle uses allusions to Daniel often in the Revelation. Finally then

D.                WHAT DID HE WRITE?

1.                  Daniel and His Personal Friends[1] (chapters 1-6)

a)                 Tests (1-3)

(1)               The Word of God and the king’s meat (1)

(2)               The wisdom of God and the king’s dream (2)

(3)               The worship of God and the king’s image (3)

b)                 Triumphs (4-6)

(1)               A king’s dream (Nebuchadnezzar) (4)

(2)               A king’s dread (Belshazzar) (5)

(3)               A king’s decree (Darius) (6)

2.                  Daniel and His People’s Future (chapters 7-12)

a)                 The character of the future (7-8)

(1)               Bestial (7)

(2)               Belligerent (8)

b)                 The control of the future (9-10)

(1)               A glimpse of the ages (9)

(2)               A glimpse of the angels (10)

c)                  The course of the future (I 1)

(1)               The coming of Antiochus (I 1: 1-35)

(2)               The coming of antichrist (1 1:36-45)

d)                 The climax of the future (12)

E.                 WHAT WAS HE?  Daniel was a man of prayer. An Old Testament portrait of one who demonstrates the Biblical practice of prayer.  Let’s see both the elements of his life and the elements of his prayers that set him apart:

1.                  A MAN OF GODLINESS

a)                 The elements of his life:

(1)               SELF DENIAL In Daniel 1:8  He learned to say no to his flesh. This element of Biblical Character is called Discipline. We can see this spiritual quality in Titus 2:11-13:  “Denying ungodliness…”

(2)               QUIET  TRUST In Daniel 2:18 He learned that the only way to survive spiritually is to cling to the Lord. We either cling to the Lord or our sins. This element of Biblical Character is called Dependence. Note how Daniel takes each need to God.

(3)               HUMILITY  2:28 Humble – Takes no credit for God’s work.

(4)               TRANSPARENCY  5:11 Transparent life.

(5)               UNSELFISH  5:17 Selfless.

(6)               EXEMPLARY  6:5 Blameless.

(7)               CONSISTENT  6:10 Faithful in daily prayer.

b)                 The elements of his prayer:

(1)               BIBLICAL PRAYER IS TIES TO THE SCRIPTURES  9:2  It flowed out of Bible study.

(2)               BIBLICAL PRAYER  LEADS TO A REVERENT ATTITUDE  9:4-5 He had a proper view of God:  awesome holiness, and he thus had a proper view of himself:  utter sinfulness.

(3)               BIBLICAL PRAYER SEES GOD AT WORK IN LIFE  9:15 He magnified the great hand of God in the past.

(4)               BIBLICAL PRAYERS SEEK THE HONOR OFGOD 9:19 In all, he was concerned for the honor of God’s name.

(5)               BIBLICAL PRAYERS ARE CONSISTENT  6:16  Consistent

(6)               BIBLICAL PRAYERS OPEN GOD’S HEART  10:11  Beloved of God;  Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)

III.                  LESSONS IN GODLY LIVING

A.                 What a lesson, to look at such giants of the faith like DANIEL!  But our lesson in the pursuit of God would be incomplete if we stopped short of being touched by his example.  Find a quiet moment in your day and today try to apply these truths to your life. 

B.                 Daniel was one who held others up before God; he was an intercessor.  Are you regularly interceding on the behalf of some who are in need?

C.                Daniel turned opposition into praise.  Could you think of some difficult areas of life, and turn opposition into prayer for God’s will and see it become a praise?

D.                Daniel had such a godly life.  For a moment, look at that list and check off the areas you need to work on; each of us must be holy!  Are you disciplined?  Dependent?  Humble?  Selfless?  And on and on…our prayers flow from our lives; they must be holy!

IV.               “THE HABIT OF GODLINESS”  In 1989 a Mormon named Steven R. Covey wrote a #1 National Best-selling book called, THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE. Those seven habits were: Be proactive; Begin with the end in mind; Put first things first; Think win-win; Seek first to understand, then be understood; Synergize; Sharpen the saw. Over the past four years this book  has seen phenomenal sales. The title is what attracted me. Tonight as a disciple of Jesus Christ, we should each be learning the SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE CHRISTIANS. 

A.                 In the life of a 7th Century BC. teenager named Daniel,  who was captured in war, sent off as booty to the winning side, lets learn some of these HABITS. From God’s Word, in the book of Daniel lets explore, discover and cultivate these habits.

B.                 Daniel’s life contained seven ingredients that blended into his powerful and godly life. These are:

1.                  MAKE UP YOUR MIND ABOUT OBEYING GOD.  Daniel 1:8     But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (KJV)

2.                  GIVE GOD THE CREDIT, ALWAYS.  Daniel 2:19  During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven (NIV)

3.                  POINT TO GOD WHEN PEOPLE LOOK TO YOU.   Daniel 2:28 “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: (NKJV)

4.                  HAVE THE UNSHAKABLE CONVICTION    THAT GOD REIGNS.   Daniel 2:44  “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (NIV); Daniel 4:17 “`The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.’ (NIV)  DO YOU SEE THIS TRUTH ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT OCCURS?

5.                  REFUSE TO FEAR MERE MORTALS.    Daniel 4:25  That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. (KJV)

6.                  REMIND YOURSELF WHO OWNS YOUR BREATH.   Daniel 5:23  “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 the 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. (NKJV)

7.                  GET AND KEEP GODLY CONTENTMENT.    Daniel 5:17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means. (NIV)   THIS IS A LIBERATING HABIT!

V.                 Spiritual Depth for Busy People:  There are five elements or keys to a healthy and growing spiritual life that operate even when we are busy. These are PRAYER THAT IS:

A.                 Biblical  [Daniel 9:1-4]

B.                 Honest  [Daniel 9:5-11]

C.                Automatic [Daniel 6:10a]

D.                Committed [Daniel 6:10b] “doors open…”

E.                 Regular [Daniel 6:10c] “as always…”

VI.               The Seventy Weeks Daniel  9 “70 WEEKS OF DANIEL”   (WIERSBE)

A.                 In order to understand[2] Daniel 9:24-27, we must remember that the Jewish calendar is built on a series of sevens.  The seventh day of the week is the Sabbath, and the seventh week after Passover brings Pentecost.  The seventh month brings the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths.  The seventh year is a Sabbatical year, and after seven Sabbatical years comes the Year of Jubilee.

B.                 Daniel saw seventy weeks [heptads] or [periods of seven years,] divinely determined for the Jews and for their Holy City, Jerusalem.  This period of 490 years began with the decree of Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. permitting the Jews to return to their land and rebuild Jerusalem [Ezra 1:1-4].  Why must the city be restored?  Because 483 years later [7×69], Messiah would come to the city and give His life for sinners.

C.                Now we must do some simple calculating.  Most historians agree that Jesus was born in 5 B.C.; for Herod the Great was still living at the time, and he died in March, 4 B.C.  If our Lord died at about the age of 33, that would take us to A.D. 27 or 28, and this would be 483 years after 445 B.C. when the decree was given!    We have accounted for 483 of Daniel’s 490 years, but what about the remaining 7 years?  Daniel 9:27 assigns them to the Tribulation period that we are now studying.  [Note that Dan. 9:26 also predicts the destruction of Jerusalem–by the Romans, commentators conclude–but these two events must not be confused.]  “The time of Jacob’s trouble” will last seven years. But what signals the beginning of this awful seven-year period?  The signing of a covenant between the nation of Israel and “the prince that shall come” [Dan. 9:26].  This “prince” is the coming world dictator that we usually call “the Antichrist.” In the Book of Revelation, he is called “the Beast” [Rev. 13-14].  He will agree to protect Israel from her many enemies for seven years, and will even allow the Jews to rebuild their temple and restore their ancient liturgy and sacrifices.  The Jews rejected their true Messiah but will accept a false messiah [John 5:43).  However, after three and a half years, Antichrist will break this covenant, invade the temple, set up his own image in the temple to be worshipped [see 2 Thes. 2:1-12; Rev. 13].  This is Daniel’s “abomination of desolation,” and it will usher in the last half of the Tribulation period, a time known as “the Great Tribulation: [Matt. 24:21].  Note in Mark 13:14 that Mark’s parenthesis is for READERS at a future time, not HEARERS when Jesus gave this message.  This message will have special meaning to them as they see these events taking place.  Jesus gave a special warning to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and Judea: “Get out as fast as you can!”  This same warning applied when Rome attacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  [See Luke 21:20-24, and remember that Daniel 9:26 predicted the invasion.]  What happened in A.D. 70 foreshadowed what will happen in the middle of the Tribulation.  Dr. Harry Rimmer used to say, “Coming events cast their shadows before.  Straight ahead lies yesterday!”  The warnings inMark 13:14-18 do not apply to believers today, but they do remind us that God’s people in every age must know the prophetic Word and be prepared to obey God at any time.

D.                These seventy weeks pertain to the Jews and Jerusalem, not to the church (9:24).

E.                 The seventy weeks have a manifold purpose:

1.                  To finish transgression.

2.                  To make an end of sins.

3.                  To make reconciliation for iniquity.

4.                  To bring in everlasting righteousness.

5.                  To seal up vision and prophet.

6.                  To anoint a holy of Holies, i.e. a most holy place.

F.                 All these must await the second coming for perfect fulfillment.

1.                  The start of the seventy weeks is the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem (9:25).

a)                 Some hold that it was the command given in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes – 445 B.C. (Neh. 2:1-8).

b)                 Others hold that it was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes – 458 B.C. (Ezra 7:7-24).

2.                  After seven weeks (forty-nine years), the wall of Jerusalem was finished (9:25).

3.                  After sixty-two weeks more (434 years), Messiah shall be cut off (9:26).

a)                 The total of the sixty-nine weeks would be 483 years.

b)                 Sir Robert Anderson has a very exact interpretation of this in The Coming Prince and Daniel in the Critic’s Den.

c)                  The Jewish prophetic year had 360 days in it.

d)                 Sixty-nine times seven times 360 equals 173,880 days.

e)                 From March 14, 445 B.C. (first of Nisan) to April 6, A.D. 32 is 173,880 days.

f)                    If in Luke 3:1-2 the Lord’s ministry began in A.D. 29, April 6, A.D. 32 would be the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.

4.                  Others hold that if 458 B.C. is the starting point, with regular years it runs out in A.D. 24.

a)                 They would make Christ’s ministry start in A.D. 27.

b)                 The crucifixion would be in A.D. 30.

5.                  Either of these interpretations is possible.

G.                “Messiah shall be cut off” prophesies His violent death (9:26).

1.                  “And shall have nothing” shows that the kingdom is not yet     established.

2.                  The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

3.                  The time is left undetermined:  “Unto the end shall be war” (9:26).

H.                 The seventieth week is a seven year period which is yet future (9:27).

1.                  It is after the events of verse twenty-six.

2.                  This is the Tribulation period as it pertains to the Jews.

I.                     The prince that shall come is the antichrist (9:27).

1.                  He shall confirm a covenant with the Jews for a seven year period.

2.                  This will restore a temple and sacrifices.

3.                  It will guarantee Jewish possession of the land of     Palestine.

4.                  In the midst of the week (after three and one half years) he will cause the sacrifice to cease.

5.                  He will set up the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:152 Thes. 2:4).

6.                  But wrath will be poured out upon the desolator.

7.                  Some would try to make the coming prince the Messiah.

8.                  This would pervert the whole meaning of this passage.

9.                  Why would the Messiah confirm a covenant for only one week?

J.                  The order of all these events is clear enough for the faith of believers, but not clear to the idle curiosity of the unconverted.


[1] Sources used are: The Word of God; Baxter, Explore the Book; Scroggie, The Unfolding Drama; Christ  in all the Scriptures; The Criswell Study Bible; Walk through the Bible; The Compact Guide to The Bible, Lehman Strauss, CHM, Jensen, Biblical Viewpoint, Cawood, Phillips.   [2] Wiersbe

 
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