BOOK OF DANIEL Dreams or Dream?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL Dreams or Dream?

Dreams or Dream?

As we begin our reading in Daniel chapter two we are already faced with opposition voices as to the accuracy of the book. Daniel 2:1 reads, “Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.” (NASB)

The argument of those who are ready to disbelieve Daniel at every chance they get is the statement that “Nebuchadnezzar had dreams” in the second year of his reign. Such opponents to Scripture argue that, based on Daniel chapter one, three years have elapsed (based on the account in Daniel 1:5 that informs us that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah had three years of education in the Babylonian court). This argument, however, disintegrates because there is no argument that the three years of the young Jewish men had finished. The Babylonian reckoning of a king’s reign fell completely in line with it being the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Additionally, Daniel chapter one is written in Hebrew, whereas chapters two through seven are Aramaic. In other words, the three year reckoning in Daniel 1:5 is based on a Jewish timeline date setting which, actually, is completely in agreement with Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. Daniel 2:1 had a Babylonian reckoning. So how is this conundrum explained? When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt at the battle of Carchemish it was the early part of 605 BC.  A few months later is when Daniel and others were deported to Babylon in the first of three deportations. Immediately upon winning the battle of Carchemish word came that Nebuchadnezzar’s father Nabopolasser, the Babylonian king, had died. One must remember that Nebuchadnezzar, at this juncture, was not the king but the crown prince and his father’s death necessitated his urgent return to Babylon to secure the throne. The Babylon timing of a king’s rule did not count the unexpired portion of the year that the previous king had died as the time of the new king. His rule was calculated from the first full year of his rule. Hence, Daniel 2:1 is accurate, based upon the Babylonian dating of a king’s rule being the start of a new full year.

Now, we see three other points of Daniel 2:1. The first point is that Nebuchadnezzar had dreams, as in the plural, more than one. This does not necessarily mean that he had different dreams but could mean he had the same recurring dream. Alternatively, as we get into the substance of the dreams, one could argue the dreams could have been made up of different parts of the same dream. I say this for several reasons. As we will see in the forthcoming verses, Nebuchadnezzar never asks for his “dreams” to be interpreted but his “dream” as in the singular. The magicians, enchanters and sorcerers, likewise, never ask the king the content of his “dreams” but of his “dream”. Finally, Daniel, by God granting him the interpretation of the dream, is brought before Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel if he can interpret the dream (singular) and Daniel rightly tells the king that only God can reveal the meaning of the dream. What is fascinating when we get to this passage of Scripture is that Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that God will reveal the dream (singular) and the visions (plural) of his head. I think that the Scriptures give us a clear understanding that Nebuchadnezzar had one dream that may have had parts over one, or several, nights and which consisted of several visions that were composed of that dream.

The second point is that Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled. Given the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was the world ruler one could wonder why something would bother him. But remember, he was a hardened military leader. One commentary claims that due to the uprising of the city of Ashkelon that, in 604 BC, resisted paying allegiance to Babylon, could have caused Nebuchadnezzar such anguish. That is hardly an argument, as Ashkelon’s rebellion resulted in its total destruction. Ashkelon is a coastal city just north of the Gaza strip which, at the time of Babylon, (according to this particular commentary) was one of the extremities of the empire of Babylon. The commentary suggests that this uprising caused Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit to be troubled. You may be pleased to note that I neither share author of this commentaries viewpoint nor do I support its comments. It is inconceivable that Nebuchadnezzar would travel to Jerusalem on more than one occasion to deport and conquer and destroy it and be troubled in spirit before traveling there. It is also (in my humble opinion) a lazy dissertation as to the real reason Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled, given that the author was aware of the contents of the dreams that caused his anxiety (as revealed by Scripture) when writing their commentary. No, what Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of was so horrifying, so alarming, that it shook him to the core. His dreams panicked him to such an extent that he forgot them. He may have had bits and pieces but the content and, more importantly, its meaning, eluded him. He likely remembered the terror and fearfulness of the dream but not its content.

This led to the third point. His sleep left him. You may recall as a child, or even as an adult, when you have a bad dream (or what is termed a “nightmare”) you invariably don’t immediately go back to sleep. A child would likely only settle down by getting into their parents’ bed. An adult would likely stay awake, possibly for hours, trying to recollect the fear of the dream or even get up and get dressed. Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams were worse than that. The ability to sleep left him completely which added to his anxiety and as we will see next time his anger and decision on getting to the bottom of these dreams

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BOOK OF DANIEL – A Most Important Document

Posted by on Apr 10, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – A Most Important Document

A Most Important Document

Ask a number of people what they would say is the most important document ever produced and you will get a variety of answers. The choice is endless with such things as the Magna Carta, the Treaty of Versailles, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address. There are many more we could list. I sincerely doubt many, including a number of Christians, would name Daniel chapter two as being of such importance. That is a sad reflection of the ignorance of not knowing the importance of the book of Daniel. Oh for sure, many remember Daniel in the lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the furnace being untouched by the flames. But even these are questioned as being true events by the majority. In view of knowing only the “best stories” of Daniel when most of us were children, it begs the question how many could actually recount what the second chapter of Daniel is all about?

The significance of the beginning of the times of the Gentiles is also lost on many who have not taken the time to study Daniel. We spoke in our previous blog that the Jews had insisted on having a human king to judge them, “just like the other nations”. What the Israelites failed to realize in making this decision was the implications of making that decision and what it, in effect, meant. The fact that Babylon had now taken the Israelites captive (which occurred not once but three times ultimately ending in the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem) meant, in the eyes of everyone, all hopes and aspirations for the future ended. What also ended in the Jewish mind was any hope of the expectation of a Messiah. If that was the case then it also meant the potential end of their faith in God. In His divine providence, He had already decided what would happen, not just to Babylon but all other subsequent Gentile powers up to when the Messiah would appear and usher in His Messianic kingdom. Those living in the time of Daniel had no concept of what the plans and purposes of God were nor any knowledge that He had set the plans in motion for the eventual arrival of Christ’s kingdom rule. This, in and of itself, shows the power of God and that what He wills He will accomplish. It also shows His Grace and mercy in preserving a nation who turned their backs on Him more than once. It confirmed His promise to Abraham was, and is, trustworthy and cannot be broken. It is remarkable that Daniel is not studied more extensively because the entire chronological prophecy of Israel’s history is laid out. This stretches from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the second coming of Jesus Christ. But the prophecies and the chronological history is not just for Israel. We know this because the return of Christ is marked by the ushering in of His Messianic kingdom for the purpose of the redemption of mankind. In other words, what the book of Daniel reveals is the plan of God for the nations. This would be the Gentiles. But it is also the plan for Israel.

These times of the Gentiles were revealed in the dreams that Nebuchadnezzar had. Notice it is “dreams” (not just one dream). One can easily assume why a dream was employed? Nebuchadnezzar would hardly have listened to a prophet conveying God’s decree, dispatching the messenger post-haste to their death. So why give the dreams to a pagan king? There is a significant reason that you will see in a moment but, first, a little history. Prior to Nebuchadnezzar becoming king his father, Nabopolasser, ruled. He became the first person who assembled an army capable of conquering what was considered as the known world. Nabopolasser had trained his son well. Nebuchadnezzar was considered a genius. His interests and expertise encompassed education, academics, architecture, as well as being an excellent military strategist. But we are forced to ask when God would decide to reveal (via dreams) the full prophetic chronology of history from 605 BC to the establishment of the Messianic kingdom of Christ? Here is the answer and you may be surprised. Israel, at the time of being conquered by Babylon, was just as bad as Babylon themselves!! If anything, Israel was even worse than the Babylonians because they had become apostate. They knew the truth of God. To know the truth of God and then to abandon it was a far worse position to be in. The Israelites had no idea it would be temporary but God was done with them, at least for that moment in time. It is hard reading to see how the Jews rejected God time after time again falling into gross idolatry. They had been warned, several times, and it was now no fault but their own in receiving God’s judgment. The rebuke God chose wasn’t just that it was dreams but that those dreams were given to their conqueror himself. And that the dreams were to usher in the full history of the times of the Gentiles is both apt and ironic in that the prophecy is given through a Gentile, pagan, king.

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BOOK OF DANIEL -The Primer

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL -The Primer

The Primer

The title for today’s blog is very apt. The word “primer” has several meanings. If you are painting bare wood then one would use a primer before applying the finished or final coat of paint. Another explanation of a primer is a cap or cylinder containing a compound that responds to friction or an electrical impulse and ignites the charge in a cartridge or explosive. A primer can also describe a small introductory book on a subject or, more often, a short informative piece of writing. I purposely chose to use the illustration of a primer before we begin our study of Daniel chapter two. While it fits in more with the third description I would contend that what we are about to learn from Daniel chapter two is explosion of prophecy that is encapsulated in this chapter. More importantly, and pay attention to what I am about to say, – God reveals His plan and purpose for the entire history of what we know of as “The times of the Gentiles”. These words were spoken by Jesus in response to a question after He had said the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, which would eventually usher in the signs of the end times. The disciples asked Him when these things would occur (Luke 21:7) and He gave an extensive list of signs, together with several warnings. The second part of Luke 21:24b is where Jesus said, “and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (NASB)

If you do not already know or realize it, this Scripture is identifying the players who are members of the times of the Gentiles in Daniel chapter two. Before we discuss that, we should also recognize something else that many people, including Christians, ignore, which is the reference to Jerusalem or, more directly, the nation of Israel. The phrase, “be careful what you wish for” should not be lost to any of us. The Jews demanded they wanted a king to rule them “like all other nations”. When you read the account in 1 Samuel 8:1-21 one cannot help but see the wholesale rejection the Jews showed toward God. It’s important for us to read a portion of this chapter in order to recognize how all the pieces of the jigsaw fits together. In 1 Samuel 8:4-8 we read, “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.” (NASB) After all that God had done for them they rejected Him in preference to having a mere man rule them as king. Even after Samuel told them that God would demand certain conditions for them for them to have a human king, they refused to listen to Samuel and still insisted because they wanted to be like all other nations (1 Samuel 8:19-20). Despite their complete and total rejection of God as their King, God granted their request. This decision by the Jews themselves would usher in the times of the Gentiles. In effect, their own disobedience fulfilled prophecy for what has occurred ever since and up to the present day. In other words, the times of the Gentiles started in 605 BC and it still has not concluded. When we reach the seventh chapter of Daniel we will see a comprehensive picture of world history that has occurred from that date and will continue until the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ. THIS IS WHY DANIEL IS SO IMPORTANT FOR THE BELIEVER TO UNDERSTAND. Nowhere else in Scripture are we given a more comprehensive history of this time of the Gentiles and it ties directly in to the prophecy of Israel’s history.

 

It is important to know that the book of Daniel and, in particular, chapter two are divided into two categories. Now, a word of warning. If you believe that Daniel was not written in the 6th century BC or that Daniel wasn’t a real person then you are in danger of directly challenging not only prophecy but God Himself. Alternatively, if you do believe Daniel was a real person used by God beginning in 605 BC (where he is first introduced to us) then you are following the inspired word of Scripture. This latter course is the ONLY sensible explanation of the prophecies that are contained in Daniel.

 

Now here comes a secondary warning. If you believe the genuineness of Daniel you may be aware that belief is subdivided into two distinct classes.

The first class are those who interpret the vision in Daniel chapter two in the amillennial or post-millennial view. The second class are those (including this author) who hold to a pre-millennial perspective. While many Christians argue that it doesn’t really matter which of the two classes a person belongs to, I would strongly disagree. These people also say that whatever view is held does not affect a person’s theology. This, in my belief and others, is also incorrect. These statements and claims cannot be answered quickly nor in a blog of a few pages. For both the purpose of time and also because it is what I believe to be correct, everything you will read in this blog will be from the perspective of a pre-millennial view. It is my intention in the future to produce a book that will answer questions regarding the millennial classes. For it is my belief that too many Christians believe, not in a false hope of Christ’s return and establishment of His millennial rule, but the timing of such events. That, in itself, can potentially have a significant impact on a person. Much of the explanations of the two classes are intense and there are many publications that answer these points in a more academic format. It is my hope, God willing, that he will guide me to producing a future book that is able to simplify the understanding of the two classes. Ultimately, you must be like a Berean and through prayer and study ask God for His guidance in what must be an absolute proper understanding of eschatology.

 

For all the above reasons Daniel chapter two is crucial for us to understand and interpret correctly

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BOOK OF DANIEL – The Four Scholars

Posted by on Apr 6, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – The Four Scholars

The Four Scholars

The opening portion of our next passage of Scripture is the beginning of the three year period in which Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are to undertake their studies. Daniel 1:17-21 tells us, “As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams. Then at the end of the days which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service. As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm. And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king.” (NASB)

You could say these four young men were the summa cum laude of their class. Again, this was not of their own doing but, as the Scripture says, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom. It appears Daniel was given an extra portion of God’s blessing in that he was able to understand all kinds of visions and dreams. It is important to understand that God had earmarked Daniel for special service. His calling to do the work of God is not dissimilar to that of young Samuel. They were both very young when God marked them for His service. It should also be noted that Daniel’s unique ability amongst all of his peers did not mean he had the ability, at that time, to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which we read about in chapter two. It will be noted that only after earnestly praying to God did God and not Daniel interpret the dream. This should be a word of caution for all of us that whatever gifts God graciously provides us with, the source is Him and not us. As a result, we should not boast but give God the recognition and glory at all times.

 

From verse seventeen to verse eighteen we traverse the course of three years. It is likely that Daniel and his three friends are now approximately the age of twenty. The anxiety of Ashpenaz [the commander] in presenting his charges should not be lost. Nebuchadnezzar was expecting young men who were well versed to be placed in various positions in his kingdom. Anything short of success could have meant instant death. Like a student waiting to pass that final exam, the trepidation is somewhat increased when viewed by this Scripture. They were about to be grilled by the king. One can imagine the flurry of activity by Ashpenaz and his overseers amongst all of the young men days before this event, ensuring that everything go as planned.

The comment in the Scripture that “out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah” indicates that their intellect could not be matched. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar found that all four of them were “ten times better” than all of the magicians and conjurers who were in his realm. The phrase “ten times better” is more likely a reference to how the Bible references the number ten. In the Bible ten is signified by completeness or fullness. In this passage, it simply means that the young men’s accomplishments stood head and shoulders above anyone else. They had diligently studied everything and that resulted in a superior knowledge which, clearly, God had ordained. As a result, Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to enter into his service. What roles they specifically were assigned is not mentioned but, no doubt, their appointments saw them hold important offices.

 

Some may think Daniel chapter one has an unusual ending as it mentions Daniel continuing his service in the court of Nebuchadnezzar until the first year of Cyrus, the king, whom we will identify later in our study. There is nothing strange in this statement, for all it is doing is presenting a time stamp of Daniel’s life in captivity that extended to the full duration of Babylon’s reign as the then world power. Daniel was one of the first to be led away into captivity and he saw the first of many Jews returning to Jerusalem, as predicted by prophecy.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – The 10 Day Test

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – The 10 Day Test

The 10 Day Test

The next portion of Scripture tells us what the overseer did, what he observed and what he decided to do. Daniel 1:14-15 records, “So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food. So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.” (NASB) The overseer listened. God’s favor on Daniel worked for both Daniel and his friends and saw God’s will being accomplished. Why do I say this? Let me partially answer that with a question. How many fourteen to seventeen years old who were taken prisoner by ancient empires do you hear about, let alone them getting their captors to agree as to what food ‘they’ wanted or were prepared to eat?  Unless you fully accept that every word of the inspired written word of God is written for our instruction you will drift along like a boat without a rudder. The things that befell Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were purposed by God for His will to take place that would ultimately give Him all the glory. If you have a problem with that or remotely disagree with that statement then your thoughts of God and theology are wrong. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (NASB) Paul here was referencing the mistakes the Israelites made in the wilderness. Paul was telling the Corinthians (and us) that those events were written for us as a warning. Paul also wrote to the Roman congregation in Romans 15:4-6, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NASB) Here, Paul was encouraging the Romans to have the same mind of Christ so that with one voice they could give glory to God. That mandate applies to you and me also. Note Paul says that “…through perseverance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”. Being a “Church on Sunday Christian” just doesn’t cut it. It means we are to diligently read God’s word daily. We must persevere in our understanding of His word and, by doing so, be encouraged in our assured hope. Also notice if we put in the effort, it isn’t us but God who gives us the perseverance and encouragement. Why? In order that He may grant us to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ so that He may be glorified.

The saddest thing is to see theologians from the loftiest professors to the lay person reject the one purpose we are created for – to glorify God. All too often we see debates, disagreements and arguments as to who wrote which book of the Bible, when they wrote it, who to, what it meant, who did it apply to etc. etc. While we may agree that many discussions increase our knowledge of God there is no room, ever, to question not only the validity of the Bible but also what is contained in its pages. It is somewhat ironic that later in our studies of Daniel we see him as an old man wanting to know what some of the prophecies meant. But he was told to seal the information up and to rest. Daniel died not knowing all of the answers of the prophecies he wrote. Nevertheless, he faithfully wrote the words down and was promised he would stand in his allotted place at the end of days. That was sufficient for Daniel.  Yet, in our day, we see an explosion of numerous thoughts on prophecy that do nothing to honor or give glory to God.

 

So, what happened after the ten days? Their appearance seemed better and they had put on more weight than the other youths who ate the food and drank the wine that the king appointed. The result was that the overseer withheld their choice of food and wine and continued on with vegetables. I love how the Scriptures subtly answers some assumptions that some commentators make about how Daniel and his friends managed to have a diet different than the other youths. Some suggest Daniel and his friends must have had their own private quarters and could simply avoid eating the meat or drink the wine in private. But that idea is easily discounted by the fact that the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink.

The narrative in this first chapter of Daniel is almost like getting over one objection or stage and then moving on to the next situation. In our next discussion we will see how, once again, God shows up in His providence toward Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Seeking Permission

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Seeking Permission

Seeking Permission

We said in the last blog that Daniel received favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials in Nebuchadnezzar’s court due to God’s divine intervention. However, that did not mean that he felt comfortable about it. As we read Daniel 1:10 we see his trepidation. The Scripture tells us, “And the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.”” (NASB) A superficial reading of this verse could cause one to miss the decision the commander made. Put another way, the commander was saying, “I am frightened by the king. If I agreed to your request and not provide the food and wine that the king has appointed to you and you then look or become ill then the king will put me to death.” What we see in this brief interaction is the commander actually refusing to change the king’s order. He wasn’t willing or prepared to risk his life. You see part of his reasoning also due to the food and wine being given to other youths who were the same age as Daniel and his friends. This indicates that it wasn’t just these four young boys but a number of them which the Scriptures are silent about who had the same arrangements. Could these other boys have been Israelites? Quite possibly, or they may have been Egyptians captured at Carchemish. Did the commander worry if these other boys would accuse Daniel of receiving preferential treatment? Maybe.  Because we are not told many of the details or discussions that occurred in this scene we should not doubt the conversation took place. In His Holy Word God only deals with the information that He desired to impart to those who would read and listen to Him.

After the commander’s refusal what was Daniel’s reaction? We are not told directly [that maybe part of the ongoing discussions not mentioned] but clearly he respected the commander’s decision. Nor do we know the conversation that occurred with the commander and his officials but it would be unusual had that not happened. Whatever transpired (and that information is not necessary for us to know) we are told in Daniel 1:11-13, “But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.”” (NASB) There are some interesting points drawn out of these verses. First we see Daniel approaching the overseer whom the commander had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Obviously the number of youths that were being trained for service in Nebuchadnezzar’s court were more than just Daniel and his three friends. Daniel requests that the four of them be given a test. He asks the overseer to test them for ten days. The test isn’t to check their academic level nor their language skills but is to do with their appearance from simply eating vegetables and drinking water. Daniel’s request came down to whether he and his friends looked and fared better than the other youths who were eating the meat and drinking the wine appointed by the king. Whatever the result, Daniel acknowledged that the overseer could decide what course of action to take after he viewed both groups after ten days. In other words, Daniel was accepting responsibility whatever the decision. Some commentators have suggested that this overseer felt he could take a chance and allow the four youths their request without any consequences had he been found out. I do not share that thought. I say this for two reasons. First, the overseer knew the food and wine had been appointed by the king and that his immediate supervisor [the commander] had refused Daniel’s request. Given the fear the commander had of the king it makes no sense this overseer would have recklessly ignored the commander’s orders for surely he likely had the power to execute his subordinates. Or, he could summon them before the king for refusing, ignoring or changing the king’s orders which would have rendered the same result. Secondly, the only reasonable explanation as to why the overseer agreed was due to either reasoning with the commander (who then agreed to the ten day test) or the providence of God acting upon the situation. I favor the latter for the reasons already stated. In Babylon, life was cheap. Both the commander and the overseer knew this. Indeed, the overseer may have been just as fearful, if not more so, than his commander. The only logical reason, in the absence of more information than the text provides, is the favor and compassion that God gave Daniel in the sight of his captors which allowed for this. Even if we had more detail it is certain God was acting on behalf of Daniel succeeding in his request. But what was the result? Find out in our next blog.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – RESPECTFUL PERMISSION

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – RESPECTFUL PERMISSION

RESPECTFUL PERMISSION

In order for us to understand how Daniel was able to request permission from the commander of the officials to refuse the food and wine of the king we will review several Scriptures that support why, or how, Daniel was able to do this. Remember, Daniel was a youth, probably between the age of fourteen and seventeen, but no more. Some could view Daniel asking the commander for permission in refusing such “delicacies” from the king as acting like a young “upstart” [showing arrogance] or “whippersnapper” [one who is young and inexperienced and considered presumptuous or overconfident]. Yet the Scripture gives no hint of such thoughts. Why? The answer is within the verse. Daniel 1:9 tells us, “Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials.” (NASB) How did God do that? That question isn’t directed so much as to how, for we know God can do anything, but rather what method did God utilize in ensuring Daniel’s request being heard?

To answer the questions more fully let us look at several Scriptures that pinpoint the reasons Daniel was able to seek permission. The first part of 2 Chronicles 16:9 reads, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (NASB) Here we see evidence of not just God’s support but strong support on those whose heart are His. In other words, their hearts are blameless toward their God. God’s actions were a direct result of Daniel’s faith in God that would ultimately give glory and honor to God.

Exodus 3:21; 11:3; 12:36 all speak of God giving favor in the sight of the Egyptians. This was during both the enslavement of the Israelites by Egypt and their release by them in which God gave them such favor that they plundered the Egyptians before leaving for the Promised Land. God’s favor had stretched back to the time of Joseph where we are told in Genesis 39:21, “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.” (NASB)

While 1 Samuel 2:30 mentions God’s favor it also shows that the favor of God is not guaranteed to remain for one who does not carry out his commands. This passage is part of the story of Eli, who was one of the final judges of Israel before the rule of kings started with King Saul. Eli is aware of his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, behaving wickedly by treating the offering of the Lord at the temple with contempt. Eli’s rebuke of his sons is too sufficient. This results in his family being punished by God for their wrongdoing and both sons eventually dying on the same day. It also results in Eli being replaced by Samuel as God’s judge to the Israelites. This is, and should be, a stark warning to all of us who think we can treat God as we wish. God is not one to be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Likewise, we can rest in the assurance that, by doing God’s will and keeping His commands, He is with us and favors us. No, I’m not talking of the false prosperity gospel that permeates way too many churches today. But, rather, God places those whom are blameless into His favor. How we receive such favor is by way of His Grace in electing us as His people and members of Christ’s bride. Should we receive favor during our earthly life then that is entirely by the will and choice of God for His purpose, not ours. No doubt, when we are employed in the service of God and His will is to be established He will see to it that His will is completed. All we are in that process are participants in it.  Let us always stand firm and ready to be willing participants for the glory and honor of God.

 

Proverbs 16:7 reminds us, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (NASB) Here, in fact, is the answer as to why and how Daniel was able to approach the commander of the officials in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. God. The narrative of the Bible from cover to cover is awash with God’s work on behalf of those whose hearts are His. By the intervention of God, Daniel’s request to seek permission was met, as we are told, with favor and compassion. The word “compassion” has a number of meanings. They all speak in ways in which a person receives sympathetic responses, ranging from pity to love. Another thought is a recognition of the sufferings of others which generates action to help. Personally, I think this fits well with how the commander saw the predicament that Daniel and his friends were now in. Young Hebrews who had been torn from their homeland and families, now imprisoned in an environment totally devoid of everything they had known. Perhaps the commander had children of his own of the same age. We are not told. Whatever the reason, God’s providence was the ultimate source of how and why Daniel was able to ask permission. We will see in our next blog the reaction of the commander, which wasn’t without reservations on his part.

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