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Lowell Brueckner

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Introduction to Daniel


 For the next few months, or however long it takes, I will focus on the book of Daniel. Again, this will be an expository study, verse by verse. I hope you will join me, because, as you know, there are some exciting, meaningful stories in the first six chapters. 

Then, we will come to some of the most amazing prophecies in the entire Bible, concerning the endtimes. There is also a prophecy in chapter two, a very important one for understanding the entire history of world empires. The greatest key to an outline of prophetic times and unlocking its mysteries is given in chapter nine. For sure, you will not want to miss the study of that chapter.  

I would never attempt a study of the book of Revelation, without first tackling Daniel. I mention in the introduction that it is impossible to comprehend the book of Revelation, without a previous knowledge of this book. Perhaps in the future, we can plunge into John's Revelation, but let's get some help first from this noble prophet with his amazing eye for events that will take us to the Second Coming of Christ. 

In the beginning, I wanted to turn aside a little, in order to mention some real hindrances to the development of spirituality in the individual Christian life, as well as being problems, relative to the church these days. There are just a few paragraphs concerning this, so please bear with me. I feel there must be a change of attitude and mentality, in order to hold the right Christian perspective in the very dangerous times, spiritually speaking, in which we live. 


“… some stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire!” Hebrews 11:33, 34


This expositional study of Daniel is the third one that I have attempted with books of the Old Testament, The other two were Zechariah and Isaiah. A study of the Old Testament is a problem for some people. Cults have formed that actually ignore it totally and teach that it does not apply to the Christian under the New Covenant. Even among true Christians, you will find some teachers, who discourage their listeners from spending time in the Old Testament.

This is serious error and it needs to be addressed and exposed. I am using this opportunity, before we delve into the contents of Daniel, to write a few paragraphs in favor of the ministry of apologetics. There is a great need for men, who are anointed by the Holy Spirit, to wisely and fearlessly attack popular trends that draw God’s people away from scriptural principle. It is not a job for a novice; perhaps we have enough young men, who take pleasure in controversy and in the end do more harm than good.

Still, false teaching that is detrimental to people’s spiritual health needs to be challenged. In this matter, we must follow the teaching of the Bible and not the ways of the world. Preachers cannot possibly be faithful to truth, if they are concerned about being politically correct. In our age, many in the church have confused Christianity with optimism and positivism and feel that they are wrong to preach anything that might be interpreted to be negative. This explains the fact that tens of thousands attend churches, where they receive only encouragement and ego-building, without reference to the consequences of disobeying the word of God.

Popularly, an exposure of error is considered unnecessary. “Just state the truth,” some would say, “and the lies will disappear.” I know of no better way to leave the minds of people, who have been under deception, cluttered and confused. Upon hearing truth, they will attempt to justify their previous teaching and combine it with that, which they may now be hearing. Natural, human pride is very adept at escaping the humiliation of admitting that it has believed a lie. Therefore, the method of only speaking positive truth is not only unwise, it is unkind, because it leaves the future of such people, clouded with uncertainty and disillusion.

This is not the Bible way.  The Bible clearly exposes error and demands repentance, because without repentance, truth cannot be rightly received and believed. This was the way of the prophets, apostles and of Jesus Himself. “Repent and believe the gospel,” (Mk.1:15) He said. You can never fill a life with truth, when some falsehood still lies at the bottom. Sooner or later, the lie will surface.

The Bible also names those who have erred. Here are some examples from the writings of Paul: Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me… Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm… Some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” In studying the book of Galatians, we looked in detail at Paul’s public exposure of Peter. Here is one example from the apostle John, as well, of personal exposure: Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first… talking wicked nonsense against us… he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.”

Of course, these kinds of personal, public rebukes must be done with great care, assured of strong support from the Word of God, concerning the error that has have committed. However, it is my experience that, unless I am very specific concerning the source of error, people often miss the point. After referring to a given incident in a message, someone may come up to me and ask, “When you said such-and-such, did you mean this-or-that?” Many times, I found, they mistake the application. Therefore, we need to expose, not only the Mormons, but Joseph Smith, not only the Adventists, but William Miller and Helen White, and not only the Jehovah Witnesses, but also Charles Russell. This method also applies to any current figure, who may be spreading error.

Most people may be able to see the need to mention names, as long as the party involved is not someone, who is close to them, has influenced them or someone, in whom they have trusted. When that is the case, suddenly they tend to become very nervous and conscientious about judging and pointing the finger. Ah friends, we will not become involved in evangelical Christianity very long, before people dear to us and formerly respected by us, fall into error. God Himself tests us this way, to show if we love Jesus above all else and to see, whether or not His truth is precious to us.

I am speaking of something very painful, of which the Scripture gives us examples. See what David has to say about his chief counsellor: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (Ps.41:9). “It is not an enemy who taunts me – then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me – then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng” (Ps.55:12-14).

David is writing of Ahithophel (2 S.15:12 & 17:23), a prototype of Judas Iscariot (Jn.13:18). Need we mention his own son, Absalom, with whom David would have exchanged places, dying in his place, had it been possible? In John 13:21, the apostle tells of an incident taking place at the last supper: “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’”. I could give more than one personal example. One involves a niece, who married a man that became a false teacher. He is somewhat in demand among his cult, writes books and travels quite extensively. My niece has accepted his doctrinal errors and is totally ensnared. (Take warning, many girls and some men, lose their souls by falling in love with an emissary of Satan.)

The New Testament tells us clearly and explicitly that the Old Testament Scripture is essential to Christianity. Paul lists a number of Old Testament accounts and then concludes, “Now they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Co.10:11). The apostle writes to Timothy: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Ti.3:16).

Therefore, I hope that all readers are convinced of the need to study the Old Testament. I can emphatically state that it is necessary to know the Old Testament, in order to correctly understand the New! The book of Daniel gives clear evidence of this fact. In making that statement, I am not suggesting that a new convert should not read the New Testament first of all, but I will say, that it is perhaps better, to read from both as a daily practice.

Of course, the Old Testament comes to a dead end and never reaches its fulfillment, without the vital knowledge of the New Testament. On the other hand, many questions will arise, as one reads the New, which are only answered in the Old. To give one simple example, among hundreds: In the beginning of the Gospels, John the Baptist will use a term, basic to salvation, speaking of Jesus as the Lamb of God. The one, without a background knowledge of the Old Testament, will have no idea, to what he is referring.

The book of Daniel and the book of Revelation complement each other. Key answers to the book of Revelation are found in Daniel. For instance, chapters 11 and 12 of Revelation give a time period of 3 ½ years, which is sometimes termed 42 months or 1260 days. There is no reference given anywhere else in Revelation, or in the entire New Testament, which give a clue as to the meaning of that period. Daniel, however, makes it very clear that it is the last part of a total of a 490-year time period, relative to the Jews. Therefore, before anyone attempts a serious study of the book of Revelation, it is imperative that he also study Daniel’s prophecies.

His prophecies are so precise and detailed that liberal “interpreters” of the Bible have difficulty believing that Daniel lived during the time of the Babylonian and Persian Empires, and prophesied accurately of the following Greek and Roman powers. They think that these were not prophecies at all, but observations by someone, who lived during the inter-testament period. (One wonders why people want to get involved with the Scriptures, if they are not going to believe them, and if they are not rather atheistic wolves in believer’s sheep clothing.) In doing so, they are making Daniel a liar, because he claimed to have been an official to both the Babylonians and Persians.

As is always the case, the doubters are inconsistent, because no one places Daniel’s existence to the time after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Daniel’s prophecies accurately included that incident, but already four decades before, Jesus spoke of the book of Daniel (Mt.24:15), proving the book existed in His day, at least.

For the believer, Daniel certainly wrote his book before 530 B.C. as an autobiography. We have already stated that Christ recognized his authorship and the book’s authenticity. That should settle the doubts that any genuine Christian might have. Almost six chapters of the book were written in Aramaic, the official international language, and the rest were written in Hebrew.

The book begins with the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, around 605 B.C., shortly after which Daniel and three companions were taken from their families in Judah and transported to Babylon. Joseph, in the book of Genesis, is one of the few characters, about whom the Scripture has nothing to criticize, and Daniel is another. Both of these outstanding young men came under similar circumstances and received similar honor in the end.

The four young captives in Daniel’s book were adolescents, around 15-years-old at the time that their story begins. Josephus, the great Jewish historian, claims that these boys were made eunuchs. It is somewhat of a conjecture, because the Bible does not definitely say so, although it does say that the man, who had them in his charge, was called the chief of the eunuchs. However, that title may signify that he was chief over other Babylonian officials, who were eunuchs, as he himself was.

There are other things to consider. When we read of the cruelty of Nebuchadnezzar, there can be no doubt that he was capable of making eunuchs of his captives and he had reason for doing so. As eunuchs, these young men would not be distracted from their service to the emperor by having families, for which to care. There is also a prophecy of Isaiah to Hezekiah that indicates that Nebuchadnezzar would indeed make his Jewish captives eunuchs. “Some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon" (Is.39:7).

The reason that I refer to this probability is so that we can consider the price involved in God’s calling upon Daniel and appreciate his faithful attitude towards God, which he maintained throughout his life. I should add that it was a very long life and it extended into the conquest and reign of the Medes and Persians.

I hope that I have written enough, by way of introduction, so that we can now proceed into chapter one with some understanding of the background of the book. We will begin by studying the life of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. These boys were all from the tribe of Judah and sons of Jewish nobility. We will marvel at the deep spirituality of young people, taken from their homes and homeland, who were instructed in the language and customs of a foreign power. Over all, they maintain a love for their God and determine to be faithful to Him, even under the dire circumstances, into which He has thrust them.

I add one more thought, which, I hope, will prepare our hearts for that which, the Word will bring before us. If Bible study is to do us any real good, we must always read it and apply it to our personal lives and future. Does it shock you to have read that the Lord, not only permitted the circumstances of these four Hebrews, but ordered them? Would He possibly ask something similar from us? Consider how Jesus (in Mark 6:45) ordered His disciples into a situation that He knew to be life-threatening: “Immediately he made (Greek… obligated, forced, compelled) his disciples get into the boat…” This is not an exceptional order, because the same Gospel tells us concerning the Author of our faith, upon launching His ministry, “the Spirit immediately drove him out (Greek, literally… ejected, expelled, cast forth) into the wilderness” (Mc.1:12), to be tempted by the devil. Young Daniel and his companions are going to give us an example of the commitment that the Lord expects from us, especially for the dangerous times, in which we live.


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