I am 34, I was raised in church, I am in the ministry, and I am just now really learning the Book of Daniel. I have found the best way for me to learn something is to read it and write it down. This post is simply me doing just that. I am reading the book of Daniel and writing it down, studying it, highlighting it as I go.
When I sit down to study the Word, I use my bible, which is just a KJV Bible, nothing fancy. I use my husband’s Thompson-Chain Reference Bible, which is very fancy and awesome. And I also use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Only if I can not find the answer I am looking for do I turn to the internet, and I do that with much care. There is a lot of false “truth” out there. Don’t be pulled in because of your own laziness to really study. That includes anything I write, too. Don’t just take my word for it—take God’s Word. You are privileged to live in a country where you still have the freedom to own a Bible.
As a child, I was taught the story of “Daniel and the Lion’s Den”. It wasn’t until a few years back that I learned he was not a young man when that happened.
I was taught the story of “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego”. Again, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that the two stories were related. And, to top it all off, I thought Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were their real names.
I have heard the dream of the statue explained. I have heard of the king that lived like a beast. I have heard of the writing on the wall. I just never knew the whole of it—this Book of Daniel.
I’m not saying that my pastors never taught on these things—maybe while they were teaching I was writing notes or thinking about lunch or raising babies. This is how I have come to take such a firm stand that it is a person’s own responsibility to study the word of God.
You can not leave your salvation up to your pastor. First and foremost, this might come as a shock to you (but probably not), but just because a man is a pastor doesn’t mean God put him there.
But I’ll save that for a later post. Back to Belteshazzar.
Daniel aka Belteshazzar
My previous pastor, Johnny Grissom, was a wonderful pastor. Not only is a man of God, he has been a missionary to Columbia and also a professor at Texas Bible College. He is not only a very intelligent man, but a wise one as well—which are two very different traits. One of the many things he would do in his teaching is to use the given names for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were their slave names. On the flipside, I never knew that Daniel’s slave name was Belteshazzar. It was this that started me into my journey of the Book of Daniel.
Book of Daniel
At the beginning of the Book of Daniel, a guy named Jehoiakim was king of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. In the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar came in and took over. Important verse: Verse 2—And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered that some smart, good-looking people “children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes” be brought into the king’s palace for training. They were to be given the king’s meat and wine for nourishment for three years.
Of the people that were brought in were four guys from the lineage of Judah – Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
Daniel was favored by the prince of the eunuchs, Melzar, who was in charge of this select group. Daniel requested that he and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah be allowed to adhere to their own diet, which instead of meat and wine was pulse and water.
Melzar allowed them to do this for ten days. At the end of the ten days, he found them to be healthier looking than the others who were following the king’s diet. Therefore, they were allowed to continue on their meager diet.
“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”
At the end of the three years, all of the select were brought in before Nebuchadnezzar. “And among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.”
Chapter 2 goes back to the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
He has a dream and is troubled by the dream. He wants an interpretation of the dream, but, alas, he can not remember the dream. He brings in all kinds of people and demands that they not only interpret the dream but that they also have to tell him what the dream was to begin with.
Later in Chapter 4 there is a second dream and a second interpretation. This dream is the one about the statue made of different elements. The second dream is about a tree.
Of course, no one that he had called could do this, so he sent out a decree that the wise men of Babylon be slain. “Wise men” being a select group. This was the same select group that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were a part of.
When Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard came forth to slay Daniel, Daniel asked Arioch what was going on and Arioch explained the situation.
Daniel went to the king and asked for some time to give him the interpretation that he was seeking.
Daniel then went to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and they sought to “desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret”.
God gave Daniel the revelation in a night vision.
Daniel went to Arioch, who brought Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel gave interpretation of the dream and let Nebuchadnezzar know that it was possible only by God.
This dream was about a statue, whose head was gold. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that “thou art this head of gold.” So Nebuchadnezzar is liking this dream. There is a study just on the statue, so I’m not going to go into the whole dream here.
After hearing the interpretation, “Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel” and he also acknowledged that “your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets”. However, Nebuchadnezzar himself did not accept God as his own personal God.
Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel a ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief of governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel used this power to appoint Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah “over the affairs of the province of Babylon, but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.”
Here in chapter 3 we see that Nebuchadnezzar goes on to make an image of gold and he commands everyone in the kingdom to “fall down and worship the golden image” and “whoso falleth not down and worshipeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
There was a group of Chaldeans that brought to Nebuchadnezzar’s attention that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were not following the command to worship the golden image.
Nebuchadnezzar called Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to come before him. He questioned them, and they stood firm that they would not worship the golden image. If God wanted to deliver them out of the furnace, that was great. If not, then so be it.
Nebuchadnezzar was so furious that he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times its normal heat. The fire was so great that when the soldiers opened it to cast Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into it that they, the soldiers, were themselves killed by “the flame of the fire”.
There was apparently a window/door of some sort or some way for Nebuchadnezzar to see into the furnace because he then declares “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?….Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (which would be translated as angel here, based on my studies.)
Nebuchadnezzar bid them to come out of the fire, whose “bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.”
Nebuchadnezzar still did not take God as his own but he did make a decree that no one was to speak against God. If they did then that person “shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill”.
Chapter 4:4 – 18 is from Nebuchadnezzar himself. It is a description of dream 2. A dream about a tree. He commissions Daniel to explain this dream, too.
However, this is not a good dream for Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel tells him “the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof” is to the benefit of his enemies.
Interpretation of dream includes “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.”
Daniel advises Nebuchadnezzar to “break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor”.
A year goes by. Nebuchadnezzar put his foot in his mouth. He goes into the palace and says “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty?”
As Nebuchadnezzar was speaking these words, “there fell a voice from heaven, saying, ‘O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee….The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar” and everything that was prophesied fell on him.
“He was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.”
Verses 34 – 37 is Nebuchadnezzar giving his testimony. He was restored to his right mind, and he finally praises, extols, and honors “the King of heaven”.
I found this note in another study: In Babylon they counted only two seasons, Summer and Winter. Thus (seven seasons) equals 3 1/2 years.
The rest of my notes will be in two separate posts. As of now, I have not completed these posts. I will furnish links when the posts are completed.