Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 80
DANIEL: PART I – 1
Daniel 1:1 – 2:39
Okay, good to see everybody in this afternoon. For those of you visiting for the first time, we trust that this will be a new experience. We’re glad to have you with us. And for those of you joining us on television, it’s the same old story. We’re just a simple Bible study. And I’m so thrilled at the response we’re getting because of that. We’re keeping it simple, and yet people are hearing things they have never heard before.
Now you know what that tells me? Most church people are pitifully ignorant of the Word. I mean pitifully ignorant. It’s almost heart breaking. But anyhow, we keep hammering away. We’re going to keep repeating some of these things. But this afternoon we are going to digress for a little while and go into the Book of Daniel. I don’t know how many programs that will take. We’re going to take it verse-by-verse, because we’ve had so many requests for it. And I usually listen to what people ask for.
And again, for you out there in television as well as all of you here, we want to thank you for your prayers and your financial help and, as I’ve already mentioned, your letters. My, how the letters just thrill us when people write—young and old. I mean, all the way from 15 or 16 and on up to 90. And it is the same thing all over—we hear, “Never have I heard anything like this before.”
Well, I’m not ashamed of that, because I’m not pulling any strings. I’m not twisting it. I’m just telling people, hey, what does the Book say? But you know, there are a lot of people that just can’t accept that. They’ve got to go by what they’ve always heard. What you say doesn’t mean anything, because it doesn’t jive with what I’ve always heard. Well, I don’t care what you’ve always heard – we’re going to go by the Book!
All right, Daniel—now I’ve got to give some history, because I know most of you probably don’t like history as much as I do. But if you don’t have history in your background, then this Book is almost a closed Book—because so much of it is based on history. As I’ve said before, God does so many things in time-frame prophecies for the Nation of Israel. Well, when He puts it in a time frame, what does that tell you?
A period of history goes by. I was just looking at a few of them again the other night. I should have written a note or so, and I could have passed it on. Maybe I can do it next taping. But anyhow, how many times did God make a promise to somebody in Israel for a certain number of years? The first one was Abraham. Four hundred and thirty years. Then there are several that are 490 years that ended right to the day. And then there are still other 430 years, I think. All of these are definitive time frames for a particular prophecy.
All right, now the first point I always like to make when I open the Book of Daniel is—remember, that three of the prophets in the Old Testament wrote from outside the borders of Israel. Everybody else wrote from within Israel. You know, I always make the same point with Paul. Paul is the only one of our New Testament writers that writes from outside the land of Israel. And he was called outside the land of Israel. Daniel is the first one; Ezekiel is the second one; and the third one is John, who wrote Revelation.
Now you know that Ezekiel was contemporary with Daniel out there in the Mede and Persian Empire, shortly after the Babylonian empire passed away. But Ezekiel held forth from the River Chibar, if I remember right, and Daniel writes from the palace in Babylon. And John writes from the Island of Patmos. They’re all three outside the borders of Israel. Then the other unique thing is—all three write in symbolism. You have to be able to define their symbolism if you’re going to understand what they’re talking about.
Now, let’s just start with Ezekiel, for example. What’s one of the first symbols that Ezekiel uses? The dry bones. Well, he’s not talking about human bones out there in some meadow some place. He’s talking about the Children of Israel in a symbolic way. They were like dry bones out there. They’d been out there in the dispersion for hundreds of years, and then they’re going to come back as we’ve already seen. Well, that’s all symbolism.
Now Daniel is going to give us several symbols. The first one we’re going to see, hopefully yet today, and that’s the image of a military type individual with a head of gold, the chest in silver, the belly of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet iron and clay. Well, that’s symbolism. It doesn’t say until you read through and let it define itself.
Then look at John in Revelation. My goodness, the first thing he says in chapter 6 verse 1 is what? “Behold, I saw a white horse and in his hand was a bow.” Well now, he’s not talking about a literal horse and a literal human being on it. It’s a symbolic picture of the coming of the anti-Christ. So that’s what we mean, that these three books are written prophetically and in symbolism. But all three were written outside the land of Palestine.
All right, now another point I like to make, before we get started here too fast, is that after the Tower of Babel—and I trust you all know where that took place. Right there where our servicemen have been serving for the last several years. That was the location of the Tower of Babel just south of Baghdad. In fact, a lot of the soldiers have already written me and told me that they have been and seen some of the residue of Ancient Babylon. Okay, so that’s the historical setting for the Empire of Babylon.
All right, then it will be followed by the next Empire right next door. Then the other point, I’ll probably be making it again before the afternoon is over, is that all these kings and queens and leaders were what? Relatives. Does that shock you? They were all relatives. And even though they fought and they murdered and they killed, yet it was their next of kin that they were murdering.
So that’s another thing you have to keep in mind—that it was the Medes and Persians over in Babylon, but it was a man who was, if I’m not mistaken, the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar or something like that. We’ll, get into that later. But anyway, this is just all historical background. There in the Middle East, in the very cradle of civilization, arises the first great world empire.
Now the thinking man will immediately say, “Now, wait a minute. They didn’t even know about the Western Hemisphere.” I know that. They didn’t know about it. So consequently, it wasn’t even considered to be under their control. But all the rest of the known world could have been Nebuchadnezzar’s domain. Even though he didn’t do it all, he could have. He was the first great world empire. And that’s why it starts out, then, here in chapter 1 verse 1, about Nebuchadnezzar. All right, I think that’s enough of introduction, hopefully.
All right, now the other time frame. You’ve got to remember that the Babylonians invaded and besieged Jerusalem three distinct times. They came in the first time and they didn’t destroy the city or the Temple. But they took all the elite of Israel back to Babylon as captives. And that’s, of course, how Daniel and his three friends came to Babylon. They were part of the elite of the ruling class of Israel.
All right, then about five or six years later, Nebuchadnezzar came back because the Jewish king that he had left as sort of a caretaker wasn’t paying his dues. That riles these kings, you know.
So now he goes back to Jerusalem. And just to square things with this king who is cheating him on his tributes, what does he do? He destroys the city. He destroys the walls, and he destroys the Temple. That was on his second incursion. All right, then four or five, or six years later again Nebuchadnezzar comes back. Now he takes all the rest of Israel that’s left back to Babylon with a few sheep herders and nondescript people who were of no account. So always remember, that Nebuchadnezzar invaded and besieged Jerusalem and Judah three distinct times.
But now Daniel goes out with the first one. Daniel was not in the one when the Temple was destroyed. That was after he had already been in Babylon. Now the other thing is—it says that these guys were children. Now I’m not going to carry the point too far. But that means in my thinking that they had not yet gone through Bar Mitzvah. And for Israel that’s usually at what age? Fourteen. So these four kids were somewhere between 12 and 14 years. Now imagine, those are just kids, and yet they were taken back because of their known ability and intelligence.
The Babylonians—you know, I was thinking about this sometime, either coming up or last night when I woke up a bit. You know, we always like to think the ancients were almost like cavemen. They were just grunting and so forth. No. Don’t you think it! They had an intelligence level that would just blow your mind. All right, so what I had to think—what do you suppose those Babylonians had to do with these Hebrew kids in order to find out who was the smartest and knew the most different things? What do you suppose they did? They tested them. I’m sure they did. They laid out these fancy Babylonian tests using the math and the astronomy and all these things, and here comes these four little Hebrew boys right to the top of the list. That’s the ones we want down in Babylon. Okay. Now I think I’m ready to jump in and come at it verse-by-verse.
“In the third year (Now you’ve got to watch your language here, or you’ll get mixed up.) of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” Now like I said, this isn’t the time he destroys the Temple. That’s going to come the next time.
“And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah (Israel’s king) into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god;…”
Now what I want you folks, and my television audience the same way, what was the first commandment? “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Now what does that tell you about Israel’s Jehovah God? He’s a jealous God. And He had every right to be, because He’s the creator of everything, remember. All right, so now the first thing these pagan Gentiles do is strip off some of the gold from things in the Temple. They didn’t destroy it, but they certainly vandalized it. And of all things, where do they take it? Back into the temple of their idolatrous gods.
Now again, I know we can’t put ourselves in God’s place. I don’t ever think that. But can you imagine how God would feel about that? My, it just made His blood boil, if I dare use that expression. How these pagans went in there and stripped the gold and the silver and so forth out of the Temple in Jerusalem and carried it back to Babylon and took it in as part of the worship of their pagan gods.
Now you have to realize that from the very onset of the human race, 99.9% of the human race has been—what’s the word? Rebellious. Aren’t they? They’re all rebellious. They don’t want anything to do with what God says. Somebody sent me an interesting clipping from their daily paper just yesterday. It was a research firm that I’d heard of before, so it wasn’t a come-lately. And you know what he found? Seventy some percent of the American people are firmly convinced that everybody is going to Heaven. Everybody’s going to Heaven—whether they’re Buddhist, whether they’re Muslim—no matter what they are. Everybody’s going to Heaven. They can pick and choose. They can take any way they want.
Well, that must make God’s blood boil, when He has made it so plain and puts it out so clearly that, no, there’s not 15 or 20 different ways to Heaven. There’s one! And I’ll probably get a lot of flack. The more we go on, the more opposition we get. But listen, this Book is true. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t make a statement like that. But I believe it. I know this Book is true from cover-to-cover. And the only way you can get to Heaven is by believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.
All right, so continuing on now in Daniel chapter 1 verse 2, the Babylonians–“…carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god;…” That was primarily the female goddess Astarte. That was always the number one god for the ancients. It was the female god. Verse 3:
“And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, (Now don’t throw that word out. Keep it in your computer.) that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;” So what was the royal line of these kids? They were in the royal family. They were destined to become part of the royal family.
And that’s what old Nebuchadnezzar wanted. He didn’t want just an ordinary fellow out there who was herding sheep or sawing lumber and building houses. He wanted the elite of Israel. That’s why, I think, he tested them. Now that’s my idea. I can’t show that from Scripture. I remind people all the time—I try to tell you when I’m not quoting Scripture. This is just my idea. But it stands to reason. He had a way of determining that these four kids were the best of Israel. Now verse 4:
“Children in whom was no blemish, (They were healthy. They were intelligent. They were—what’s the word I like to use? They were athletic. They had energy to burn.) but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge,…” See that? Now, we’re describing these four little boys. We’re going to come to their names up here in verse 7. But we’re describing these four little twelve-year old boys.
“…cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, (In other words, they didn’t have any problem waiting on the king and the royal court. They had self-confidence.) and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue (or the language) of the Chaldeans.” In other words, they’re just going to turn these kids inside and out and make them puppets of their regime. See that? All right, verse 5:
“And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, (Now, I like the word food better than meat.) and of the wine which he drank: (Now don’t think for a minute those royal people didn’t have the best wine in the world.) so nourishing them three years, (Now they’re fifteen.) that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.” In other words, be at a position where the king can start giving them responsibility. Now remember, they’re only fifteen.
“Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:” Those were the Jewish names. Now they each had a definitive definition of a name of God. All right, but what do the Babylonians do? They give them a new name. They substitute the names of Babylonian gods for the Hebrew’s God.
“Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah (he gave), of Shadrach; and to Mishael (he gave), of Meshach, and to Azariah, of Abed-nego. 8. But Daniel purposed in his heart…” What was the word? “Heart.” See, and again we have to always come back to this scriptural term—that it’s the heart that God is looking at. It doesn’t make any difference how much head knowledge we have got; it’s what ends up in the heart.
Now of course, I know that term leaves a lot of questions in people’s minds. So far as I’m concerned, the heart is what I call the soul—the will, the mind, and the emotion. That’s the heart of our being. And it’s with the heart we believe for our salvation.
I had to show somebody yesterday that animals cannot be in Heaven as we are. Now I’m sure that God has the wherewithal to place animals. But you see, they can’t die and enjoy a plan of salvation like we do, because they do not have that spiritual entity that man has.
We alone of God’s creation have that spiritual connection. So with this heart—it’s the invisible part of created Adam. Now I guess I’d better use Scripture with Scripture. I had the first guy in years complain in a letter yesterday—why do I jump all over the Bible? He said why don’t you just stay in one chapter? Well, that’s not my mode of teaching. That’s why.
Come back with me to Genesis chapter 1, and drop all the way down to verse 26. Now here we are at the end of the five days of creation. And now comes the sixth day wherein God will create man and woman.
“And God said, (Now that word God is Elohim in the Hebrew. And that’s the Triune God.) Let us (The plurality. He doesn’t say let me, but rather–) Let us make man in our image, (again denoting plurality)Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…” Now stop a minute and think. At this point in time was God in human form? Now I’m not tricking you, you know. No. What was He? He was Spirit. Invisible. Eternal. From eternity past to eternity future. He was a spiritual, invisible God.
All right, so when it says that He’s going to make man in His image, what part of His image is He talking about? The invisible. Now you know, I’ve gone back and done this years and years ago. I used to do autopsies when I was in the service. Not a lot, but enough that I found out what that old human body is made of. And my part of the autopsy was, you remember, I took out the brain.
I sliced it so it could go up to the laboratory and be examined under the microscope. Now I always do this just for common sense illustration. As I was slicing that brain and putting it down into little particles of cells that could go under the microscope, did I ever see the soul? Did I ever see that person’s mind? Did I ever see their will? Did I ever see the seat, as we call it, of their emotions? Course not. Why? They’re invisible. But are they real? As real as you and I sitting here today. Just as real as anything can be. So we have to know what we’re talking about. When God says I’m creating man in our image, it was an invisible creation. That was the mind, the will, and the emotions—the soul.
And then He put in the spirit—that part that makes man able to commune with God. Then He put that invisible spirit makeup in a what? Well, in a body. All right, man becomes functional. All these invisible entities are in the body. And that’s continued now for 6,000 years. All right, now going on in verse 26:
“…Let us make man in our image, (in the realm of the invisible) after our likeness: and let them (Adam and Eve, now, is who we’re really talking about.) have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all…”
Was all in the Garden of Eden? Huh? No. No. Adam’s dominion wasn’t confined to the Garden. How much dominion did he have? The whole planet. It was all under his dominion. All right, so He says, in verse 28—I think where the word is actually used.
“…have dominion over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Adam had final control over everything in God’s creation that was given to Adam.
All right, now then, he’s alone for a good long while, because that invisible part of Eve stays in Adam. And, oh, people can’t handle that. Sorry, but that’s the way it was. The invisible soul and spirit of Eve was in Adam. And when Adam was put to sleep and God says, I’m going to make a helpmeet for him, what did He do? He took that out. And just like He put a body around Adam’s mind, will, and emotion; He puts a body around Eve’s invisible make up. So now she’s a visible person with all these invisible entities, as I call them. That’s the beginning of the human race.
All right, now we’ve got a few minutes. First thing we know, and I don’t know how long, what do Adam and Eve do? Well, they rebel. Now they didn’t commit some horrible, drunken orgy. They didn’t commit some horrible, immoral sexual act. But what did they do? They disobeyed God. That’s all. God says you shall not eat of it, and they said, Satan says we can. That was their fall.
All right, now come back to Romans. I want to come back to the heart concept. Come all the way up to Romans chapter 10 and for sake of time, drop in at verse 8. Romans 10 verse 8, you all there? Because I want you to see it with your own eyes.
“But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy (What?) heart:…” (So where does the Word of God penetrate the human being? Into that mind, will, and emotion that makes up our personality.) that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9. That if thou shalt confess (or proclaim audibly) with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine (What again?) heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” And that’s where most of Christendom is missing it. They’re letting people just give them mental assent, “Yea, that’s what I’ve always heard. I believe that.” That’s not what God is looking for.
God is looking for faith that goes down right into the heart of our being. That’s where God labors. And like I told a gentleman on the phone, dogs don’t have that. Animals don’t have that. Only humans. That’s why we are at the top of the totem pole in creation, because God created man to be in fellowship with Him. All right, I thought I had one more, yeah, still in verse 10—how Paul emphasizes the heart all the way through here.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
All right, here’s the whole concept then of salvation. We don’t just give a mental assent, “O, yeah, I’ve always heard that Jesus died and went to the cross. I’ve always heard that He died and was resurrected.” That’s not the heart. That’s head. But we understand that this work of salvation was accomplished when Christ died, was buried, and rose again. And we believe that with all our heart, throwing away everything else. I just shared with a couple of people. I had a lady down in San Antonio, and I gave her an answer that just blew her away. I haven’t got time but maybe in the next program. But listen, everything else has to be blown away—and we stay only, only, on that finished work of the cross—where Christ has done everything that needs to be done.
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