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                          "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

                         Introduction To Daniel


1. One of the more fascinating books of the Bible is the book of 
   a. The first six chapters contain accounts of faith that inspire
      both young and old
   b. The last six chapters are filled with apocalyptic visions that
      challenge even the most advanced Bible students and scholars

2. It is a book that has often been attacked and abused...
   a. Attacked by liberals who deny its inspiration
   b. Abused by many who have taken its visions out of context to
      support all kinds of wild theories concerning the second coming
      of Christ

3. But when properly read and understood, the book of Daniel can...
   a. Inspire us to greater faithfulness in our service to God
   b. Strengthen our faith in the inspiration of the Bible

[In this lesson, we shall introduce the book and look at it as whole,
beginning with what we know of ...]


   A. THE MAN...
      1. The name "Daniel" means "God is my judge"
      2. He was a person of deep and abiding faith
         a. As a youth, he purposed not to defile himself - Dan 1:8
         b. When old, he persisted in serving God despite threats
            against his life - Dan 6:10
      3. God blessed Daniel because of his faith
         a. He rose to great heights in the kingdoms of Babylon and
            Persia - Dan 2:48; 6:1-3
         b. He served as a statesman, a counselor to kings, and a
            prophet of God
      4. Daniel was contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel
         a. Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem before and during the
            Babylonian exile (626-528 B.C.)
         b. Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon among the exiles (592-570 
         c. Daniel prophesied in the capital of Babylon (605-586 B.C.)
      5. Nothing is known of his personal life outside of the book
         a. He descended from one of Judah's prominent families, if not
            from royal blood - Dan 1:3
         b. At an early age (12-18) he was taken from his family to be
            trained in the courts of Babylon - Dan 1:3-4
         c. Whether he ever married is uncertain

      1. Some key dates to remember
         a. 612 B.C. - Fall of Nineveh, capital of Assyria
            1) Assyria had ruled the world since the days of Tiglath-
               Pileser (845 B.C.)
            2) Nabopolassar came to the throne in Babylon and rebelled
               against the Assyrians in 625 B.C.
            3) Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, was the general who
               led the Babylonian army against Nineveh, defeating it in
               612 B.C.
         b. 605 B.C. - Battle of Carchemish, establishing Babylonian
            1) Pharaoh-Necho of Egypt came to fight the Babylonians at
            2) Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians, chasing them
               south through Judah
            3) At Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar heard of his father's 
               death; he returned to assume the throne in Babylon
            4) The first group of Jewish captives were taken, along
               with Daniel and his friends - Dan 1:1-4
         c. 597 B.C. - A second remnant taken to Babylon
            1) Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) followed the reign of his
               father, Jehoiakim
            2) He lasted just three months, when Nebuchadnezzar took
               him and 10,000 Jews to Babylon - 2 Kin 24:8-16
            3) This second group of captives included Ezekiel - Eze
         d. 586 B.C. - Fall of Jerusalem and the temple destroyed
            1) Zedekiah was installed as king in Jerusalem, but was
               weak and vacillating
            2) Eleven years later, Jerusalem was totally devastated by
               Babylonian forces - 2 Kin 25:1-10
            3) A third group was taken into Babylonian captivity, but
               Jeremiah was among those who stayed behind - 2 Kin 25:
               11-12,22; Jer 39:11-14; 40:1-6
         e. 536 B.C. - The first remnant returns to Jerusalem
            1) Babylon falls in 539 B.C.
            2) Cyrus, king of Persia, sends the first remnant back
               under the leadership of Zerubbabel - Ezra 1:1-5; 2:1-2
            3) The foundation of the temple was soon started, but the
               temple was not completed until 516 B.C. - Ezra 3:8-13;
         f. 457 B.C. - A second remnant returns to Jerusalem
            1) Ezra the priest returns with this group - Ezra 7:1-8:36
            2) He leads a much-needed revival - Ezra 9:1-10:44
         g. 444 B.C. - A third remnant returns to Jerusalem
            1) This group is led by Nehemiah - Neh 1:1-2:20
            2) Under his leadership, the walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt
               - Neh 3:1-7:73
            3) Together with Ezra, they restore much of the religion 
               - Neh 8:1-13:31
      2. Daniel lived through much of these times (605-534 B.C.)
         a. He was among the first group of captives taken to Babylon
            - Dan 1:1-4
         b. He continued there over the entire 70 years of captivity
            - Dan 1:21; 10:1; cf. Dan 9:1-2; Jer 25:11; 29:10

[Daniel was certainly a remarkable man. His greatness was recognized by
his contemporary, Ezekiel (Ezek 14:14,20; 28:3). Now let's take a brief
look at...]


   A. THE THEME...
      1. "God Rules In The Kingdoms Of Men" - cf. Dan 2:21; 4:17,25,32,
         34-35; 5:21
      2. In this book, we see the rule of God is...
         a. Manifested in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar,
            Darius, and Cyrus, kings of the Babylonians, Medes, and
         b. Foretold to occur in the days of the Persians, Greeks, and
      3. In this book, we learn the rule of God would be especially
         a. With the establishment of God's kingdom - Dan 2:44
         b. With the vindication of the cause of His saints - Dan 7:27

      1. God's Providence In History - 1:1-6:28
         a. Daniel and his determination to be pure - 1:1-21
         b. Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's promotion - 2:1-49
         c. Faith in the face of fire by Daniel's friends - 3:1-30
         d. Nebuchadnezzar's second dream and temporary insanity - 4:
         e. The writing on the wall and fall of Belshazzar - 5:1-31
         f. Darius and his den of lions - 6:1-28
      2. God's Purpose In History - 7:1-12:13
         a. Daniel's dream of the four beasts - 7:1-28
         b. Daniel's dream of the ram and the goat - 8:1-27
         c. Daniel's prayer, and the vision of the seventy weeks - 9:
         d. Daniel's vision of the time of the end - 10:1-12:13


1. As with all of Scripture, the book of Daniel is profitable for our
   study - 2 Ti 3:16-17
   a. From Daniel and his three friends, we will learn the power of
      faith and commitment
   b. By studying this book, we can better understand our Lord's
      references to it - cf. Mk 1:14-15; Mt 24:15-16

2. Despite some of its more difficult and challenging passages, we can
   benefit from them as well, as long as we interpret them...
   a. In the context of the book itself
   b. Consistent with all else the Bible may say on the subject
   c. With the humility and openness that is incumbent upon all who
      would study and teach God' word - cf. 2 Ti 2:24-25

In our next study, then, we will begin by taking a look at "The Faith
Of A Fifteen-Year-Old"...
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