Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 80
DANIEL – Part 1 – 3
Daniel 1:1 – 2:39
Okay, good to have everybody in this afternoon. We’ve already realized that we’ve got a lot of new folks today, and we want to welcome you. For those of you joining us on television, we’ve probably got the same thing, probably got a lot of folks who are just catching it for the first time. We are just an informal Bible study. We take it pretty much verse-by-verse, and all we can do is let the Holy Spirit open your understanding and trust that you’ll learn to study and enjoy it like never before.
We have one book. We haven’t advertised it now for a long time. It’s eighty-eight questions and answers that come from the material in our program. We got a new shipment in a while back, so we have plenty of them available in case any of you are interested. Just call the 800 number, and we’ll get them out to you. Probably the best $11 you will ever spend.
All right, we’re going to pick right up where we left off in our last half hour. That will be in Daniel chapter 2, and we’ll start right at verse 1. And again, in case some of you were new and missed the last program, you remember that Daniel was one of the four young lads that were taken captive. And when I say young, they were really young. They were probably between 12 and 14 years of age. And I want to have you keep that in mind when you see what responsibilities the Lord gives this young man, or this young lad, Daniel at the age of 12, 13, or 14. He’s taken captive by the Babylonians down to Babylon. In the number one chapter, we had pretty much the introduction of how he ends up down in the palace of the king.
All right, now when we come into chapter 2 verse 1, we’re going to pick up where Daniel is going to be put in a tremendous place of responsibility. And don’t forget his age. Now he might be 14 or 15. But he’s not a man. He’s still just a child.
“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar…” Now you’ve got to watch your language; otherwise, you’d say, now wait a minute, back there in chapter 1 it says “in the third year.” No, watch the differences in who we’re talking about. In chapter 1 verse 1, it’s the third year of the Jewish king Jehoiakim. But here we’re talking about:
“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. 2. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.”
Now those were all various groups of what they called the wise men in the time of the ancients. And they were primarily demonically inspired and enlightened sorcerers in witchcraft and so forth. The last group, the Chaldeans, was pretty much what you’d call the wise. They were probably the guys that really used some intelligence, especially in discerning the solar system and so forth. They all had a pretty good handle on the brain. So anyway, these so-called wise men of Babylon are now before the king.
“And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream,…” Now I know there’s a lot of controversy. Some people think he remembers it, but he just wants to put these guys on trial to see if they’re good enough to recover it.
But on the other hand, I have to feel—since we’re dealing with the Omnipotence and the Omniscience of God being able to reveal to Daniel what the old king dreamed—I think he had totally forgotten it, but he had understood the ramifications of it. For one reason or other, he understood that this was something totally different than anything he’d ever dreamed before. And that’s why he is so set on having it recovered.
“…I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. 4. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack,…” Now, again, this isn’t all that important, but the scoffers sure like to pick up on it. From chapter 1 verse 1 up unto this verse, Daniel has been writing in the Hebrew language. Now he switches over to the Syriack, or what we call the Aramaic, and then he speaks in Aramaic all the way over to chapter 7.
And then he finishes the Book in Hebrew again. And of course, the scoffers just scream at that—that just goes to show it’s a forgery. No, Daniel is not a forgery. It just shows he’s already been in Babylon long enough to be comfortable with the Aramaic, or the Syriack, language. On the other hand, he was raised in the Hebrew language, so he was able to use that as well. But anyway, now he’s speaking in the Aramaic language.
“…O king, live forever: tell thy servants the dreams, and we will show the interpretation. 5. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: (I can’t tell you what I dreamed. You’ve got to tell me. Kind of preposterous request, isn’t it?) The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.”
Now what does that tell you? That’s the mentality of these oriental despotic dictators. And they haven’t changed. We see the same thing today. Old Saddam Hussein was notorious for his cruelty. And Nebuchadnezzar was no different. It made no compunction to him if these guys couldn’t do the impossible. He’d just as soon cut them up and feed them to the dogs, as not. And I want you to get that—that picture of the thinking of this oriental king.
“But (he says) if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. 7. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it. 8. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.”
What’d he tell them? He said, you’re just arguing for time. You’d better come up with it, or you’re dead. You’re gone. And in the Oriental system of things, it wasn’t just a husband and father who was put to death, but who else? The wife and children. That was all part of their system. Verse 8 again:
“The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 9. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.” Or else! That’s about the attitude. Tell it to me, or else you are dead ducks, we’d say today.
“The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, (Now, these are the more elite of the four groups.) There is not a man upon the earth that can show the kings matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things of any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.” King, you are asking the impossible. Nobody can do what you’re asking.
“And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods,…” Now look at that. That’s a small “g”. The gods. Well you see, all the pagan world understood were all their gods and goddesses. Now always remember that other than Israel, nobody had a concept of the One True God. Not an iota. So, all they can fall back on are their pagan, small “g-o-d-s.” Their small pagan gods. See, plural. That’s what I want you to see.
“…and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 12. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” Now you want to remember, he’s an absolute despotic dictator. He has absolutely no kindness towards the human race whatsoever, unless he can benefit from it.
“And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.” Now who’s in the same bunch? Daniel and his three friends: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So Daniel immediately comes under this decree to be put to death along with all the rest of the wise men of Babylon. All right, now verse 14, now we come back to the crux of the matter. Daniel is just a lad of 14 or 15 years old.
“Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:” In other words, he was already on his way to carry out the king’s decree.
“He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. (He explained the circumstances.) 16. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time,…” What do you suppose Daniel wants with time? What would you do? Pray! Absolutely. Daniel in some words said just give us some time to pray about it. That’s what he’s begging for.
“Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation. (After he’s prayed about it.) 17. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to (His three fellow Jewish lads, all the same age who had been renamed, of course, by the Babylonians.) Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, his companions:” They had been renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Babylonian.
“That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; (or this dream) that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (See how crucial this is getting?) 19. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” Not the gods of paganism, but the God of Heaven—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: (Now watch this, because God has never changed. It’s still just as appropriate today as it was when Daniel wrote it.) 21. And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, (or world rulers) and setteth up kings: (or world leaders) he giveth wisdom unto the wise, knowledge to them that know understanding:”
“He (Now remember what we’re talking about – the God of Heaven.) He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. (And then Daniel prays.) 23. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”
Now I’m going to keep hammering at it. Imagine the kid, fifteen years of age, with this kind of a situation. His faith—how well-grounded he was before the Babylonians actually took him captive. Now verse 24:
“Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him, (Begging on behalf of those old pagan, idolatrous, godless, and god worshipping pagans—Daniel still has the whereabouts to plead their case as well.) Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation. 25. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, (not really a man—a child) that will make known unto the king theinterpretation. 26. The king answered and said unto Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?”
Now again, why is he so aghast? You’re just a kid. And you can tell me what all these magicians can’t? You see that? Now why am I making the point? I want you to realize the power and the Omniscience of the God of Daniel. But my goodness, He’s not just the God of Daniel. I trust He’s the God of everyone in this room today. He hasn’t changed. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s just as much the God of wisdom today as He was back here with Daniel. Don’t ever lose that. We’re dealing with the same God. Now granted, He deals with us in a different mode than He did with the Old Testament believers, but it’s the same God. The Sovereign God of the universe.
“Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret (Now lock that word, I’m going to come back to it after a bit.) The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; 28. But there is a God in heaven (that the Babylonians knew nothing of) there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,…” Now I think this is as good a place as any. Come back with me to Deuteronomy. Most of you already know what it’s going to be, don’t you? Deuteronomy 29:29.
I dropped a note the other day to the old gentleman who made me aware of this verse years and years ago when I hadn’t been in Oklahoma all that long. He was a retired college president. He was a retired Army General. And he was one of my best students. He came up one night after class, and he said, “Les, I think I have found a verse that you will just love.” And I had never seen it before. And this is it. I wrote him the other day, and I said, “Dr. Baker, I want you to know I use this verse over and over and over.” How I thanked him for making me aware of it.
“The secret things (See that? Those things that man has absolutely no possible ability to understand because they’re in the mind of God.) The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed (In other words, He’ll reveal these things little by little.) those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children…” Now this, of course, is Moses speaking of Israel. But it’s still one of those verses that carries all the way through, because of God’s unchanging Omnipotence. So always remember that God is the One who keeps things secret.
Now the reason I made such a big deal over the secret things of God, is because of our Apostle. Now turn all the way up to the New Testament. Our Apostle Paul is constantly letting us know that all the things that he is writing in his epistles you will not find anywhere else in Scripture, because they were kept secret. God kept it secret until He revealed it.
All right, the first one I want to look at is Romans 16:25. Most of Christendom does not understand this to this day. That’s why they disagree with me on my line of teaching. They don’t understand that Paul had things revealed unto him that no one else had ever been given.
The Twelve didn’t know them. The Old Testament Prophets didn’t know them. They were strictly kept secret until God revealed them to this Apostle. And that’s what makes his apostleship so uniquely different. Romans 16 verse 25 and if you’ve never learned anything else before, remember this today. I don’t care if you remember nothing else today. I want you to remember this—that this is why Paul constantly, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, refers to the things that have been kept secret. Our God is a God who can keep secrets.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (And what’s the other word for mystery? Secret. Here Paul has now been given the wherewithal to proclaim a message that has been kept secret since when?) which was kept secret since the ages began,”
All right, now this is just one or two of them. I’m not going to have time to look at all of them, but turn ahead to Ephesians chapter 3 verses 1 through 9. They are all filled with this very thing, how that God has revealed to this Apostle things never before revealed. But I want to bring it down to the frosting on the cake, if I can put it that way, verse 9. I haven’t got time to read all eight of them. Let’s just read verse 9.
“And to make all men see (He’s not just the Apostle of Israel now. He’s the Apostle of all—Gentiles as well as Jews.) to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery (the secret) which from the beginning of the world had been hid in God,…” It was kept secret. Nobody had ever heard these things before.
That’s why Peter writes in his little epistle—in Paul’s things “are things hard to be understood.” Why? They’ve been kept secret. It was never revealed until this man.
“…from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, (the same God) who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
Well, that was all aside. You got that free for nothing. Come back with me to Daniel. Come back to Daniel now. Daniel makes it so evident that what he is able to do is to reveal the secrets because his God knows everything and will reveal as He see fits. Go back to Daniel chapter 2 verse 28 again.
“But there is a God in heaven (The same One we deal with.) that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days….” Now, you see, that’s the secret of why Nebuchadnezzar had an idea that there was such an important revelation in this dream that it would actually be worth killing all of the wise men of Babylon to get at the core of it. He knew that there was something of intrinsic value to this dream, and that’s what it was. It was foretelling the whole future of the Gentile world, and we still teach it as such to this day. All right, reading on:
“…shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; 29. As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter:…” And that’s why I think any student or teacher of prophecy will have to use Daniel as the foundation for all their teaching. Daniel is the very bedrock of all of our end-time prophecy. And even old pagan king Nebuchadnezzar had an inkling this was something more than just another dream. All right, verse 30:
“But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.”
Now we have to understand that when Daniel begins to unfold and recover this dream, and we’ll be looking at it in a future program, he’s going to lay out the whole timeline of Gentile history starting with Nebuchadnezzar himself, who was the first of the Gentile Empires built. Now there were other kingdoms, of course, but Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar was the very first of the Gentile, the then-known world, Empire.
Now you’ve got to remember, the then-known world wasn’t all that great. It was that part of the Middle East around the Euphrates River, maybe on a little ways, and then across over the land of Israel. That’s why it’s in Scripture, because Babylon was intrinsically involved with Israel. And then, of course, down to Egypt—that was the then-known world. And old Nebuchadnezzar already had all of that under his thumb. He was an absolute monarch.
From this point on, then, we’re going to see the unfolding of all the great Gentile Empires that came down the pike one right after the other. The Babylonians and then the Medes and the Persians and then the Greeks and then the Romans—and then the Roman Empire went into the dust in history. It disappeared. And pretty much the rest of the time it was anyone with control of the Muslim world. Now here we are back in our present day and all four of these kingdoms are back in the news. Back in the news. Almost every day. You say—what? Well, goodness sakes, for the last four or five years all we’ve had in the front page news is what country? Iraq—and what’s Iraq? Babylon. Baghdad is only about twenty miles from the very ruins of ancient Babylon.
All right, then the next was the Medes and the Persians. Well, who were the Persians? Iran. What shows up in the news every day? Iran is back at the top. All right, and then came the Greeks. Well, what was the Greek Empire? Well, that was that empire that brought about all of our classics in literature and music and art and architecture and all that. And they’re pretty much back in the news.
And then what followed the Greek? The Romans and now we’ve got the Revived Roman Empire coming up in Western Europe. I still feel that’s the prophetic empire, the Revived Ten Nations of Western Europe. All of these things were in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
But I want you to jump up to the New Testament in our closing remarks with regard to God knowing the end from the beginning. Come all the way up to Acts chapter 2, and we have to hurry. We’ve only got a minute left. Acts chapter 2 and drop in at verses 22 and 23. Because when you look at the world today, you almost wonder, is anybody still in control? Don’t you worry about it. Our God is still in control. Everything that happens is for a purpose. Everything.
You know, I told my oldest son way last spring when all the presidential primaries began, I said, “Greg, never forget (I think it was FDR that said it. I’m not sure, but I think he did.) that elections are not won by people, they’re won by events. Just watch and see what happens between now and Election Day.” Well, what was the big event that turned the election? The financial crash. That’s all it took and, bingo, everything went the other way—by God’s design.
All right, quickly, Acts chapter 2 and let’s go down to verse 23, where Peter is, of course, referring to the crucified, resurrected Messiah. He says:
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and (What?) foreknowledge of God,…” Was God taken by surprise by the crucifixion? No. It was all blueprinted. It had to happen. He had to die. He had to shed His blood. That was what took the place of the atoning blood of the animals all the way up through the Old Testament. It was all according to the foreknowledge of God, and it has never changed to this very day.
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