~the PROPHET DANIEL~
(& Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego)
The Prophet Daniel (along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego...) "WHAT-AWESOME-SERVANTS-OF-GOD!!!!"
The story of Daniel.. The story is set right after the first attack on Jerusalem, by Babylon.. Babylon plundered Jerusalem, & took captive Israelites into exile, in the (now, current day), ruination), Palace of Nebuchadnezzar. They are given favor from God, with the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.. & God gave all four GREAT wisdom.. Four men who were to become the 'thunder' of the Book & ALL 4 - descendants from the direct line of David. Daniel (o'course). & 3 fellas who're known by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The Prophet Daniel, was born 'purportedly,' in Jerusalem, Israel.. (by the study of most Theologians...), in 6th century B.C... He lived about 620–538 B.C... His name means "God is my judge" (Greek: Δανιήλ). He is best known for his innate ability to interpret dreams and receiving apocalyptic visions.. Not to mention that fiasco with the lions that night. Described as "a noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem."
The Book of Daniel tells of their struggles to assume hope in the evil land of their conquerors, Babylon. No doubt - strangers, in a foreign land! FoSho!! Let us NOT forget Babylon, began with the infamous, "Tower of Babel", whereby the people set out to build a tower to heaven. God comes down to examine their progress and is troubled that - if they keep going?? They will reach heaven. So He says to Jesus.. Let us confuse their language & scatter them. This is ONE of (& prolly most popular), of the purported remains of that 'tower to heaven,' that they were in the process of building. And from the front?? Grandeur awaits!! Babylon set God apart from them and developed an economic system,, STILL in use today, by the world in which WE know, The principles established by the Babylonian newly established government, went contrary to God's righteous way of doing things.. Many of the established principles contradict God's financial system.
King Nebuchadnezzar had put the pressure on them of giving up their Jewish identity, and of course - they were UNwilling to defile themselves with the uncircumcised Babylonians, by eating food & drinking drink barred from Jewish consumption by God.. Having favor with the King, however, Daniel requests that he, (with the 3, Shadrach, Mesach, & Abednego), NOT eat the King's food & drink.. But that they eat what their tradition commanded by God, set forth. The request was granted to Daniel, as the King found wisdom in them, unlike ANYONE else in the land..
Daniel's story REALLY begins to tick, when King Nebuchadnezzar, has a dream that rattles him and ruffles his feathers.. AND which noone on his staff (magicians, spiritess', warlocks, the intelligence of his administration, the drunks (why not include them in THIS mix of variety!!) NO ONE could interpret!! So.. Infuriated with NONE of his 'wise men', being able to interpret the dream, he decides to trim the fat (per se), and have them all slaughtered.
(Here's a photo of the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's palace, today, lying in ruin - where Daniel served the King) Annnd - in the distance from the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's palace.. We can see another stiff necked dictators palace, Saddam Hussein!! Urrmmhmmph!! What a prick Saddam Hussein was!! And much like Nebuchadnezzer, Saddam liked his face, plastered on "anything within eyeshot!" No doubt, many have laid raise to a stink eye, to such graven images!! Annyhoo -
Daniel, upon learning of the King's decree to slay anyone who couldn't interpret his dream, consults with Shadrach, Mesach, & Abednego.. And all petition God, to give them the interpretation of the King's dream.. & God delivered it to Daniel, in a night vision. After giving praise & thanks to God.. Daniel went to beseech the King, to interpret his dream & said...
The king saw a gigantic statue made of four metals, from its gold head to its feet of mingled iron and clay; as he watched, a stone "not cut by human hands" destroyed the statue and became a mountain filling the whole world. Daniel explained to the king that the statue represented four successive kingdoms beginning with Babylon, while the stone and mountain signified a kingdom established by God which would never be destroyed nor given to another people. (The dream and its interpretation are given in Daniel 2:31-45). Nebuchadnezzar then acknowledges Daniel's God as the ONE TRUE GOD - and raises him to high rank, in Babylon.
UNFORTUNATLY - How quickly the King forgot his acknowledgement of Daniel's God, (funny how PRIDE'll make you do that!) King Nebuchadnezzar established a golden image, of his likeness, in the province of Babylon & after assembling the people, decreed that upon the sound of musical instruments played.. Folk were to bow down and worship the golden image in his likeness. For those who didn't fall down & worship the King's golden image, death by furnace awaited.. Enter Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who, basically told the king where he could shove his self-imposed godlike image - so the king decides to shove them, into the furnace, no doubt located somewhere on his palace grounds.. Annd because of their brazenious attitude, to heat the flames 7 times hotter than normal... Which they did!! Apparently forgetting this - & as the king's men led Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to the furnace - the flames of the fire they'd started, licked them dead, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the furnace.. And Jesus shows up in the fiery sauna with them. In having a look see in for himself, the king see's not 3, but 4 in the furnace. The king commands Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to come out of the furnace!! An albeit weird FIRST, and LAST, I am sure, such command from the king in such a situation. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, emerge from the fire - their clothes aren't burnt, hairs weren't singed, nor did they even smell of smoke!! So king decrees the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the ONE TRUE GOD...... again!! God delivered them, & they wind up being elevated by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.
Daniel served the king and his successors with loyalty and ability.. Daniel, all the while, remained true to the true God of Israel. After some time - King Nebuchadnezzar had yet another dream & summoned Daniel, again. The King beseeched Daniel to, "tell him the GOOD news of the dream." Unfortunately, the news was NOT good!! Daniel proceeded to tell the King that, basically, since the King had ignored God's call for him to repent because of his pride & self-stroked ego - God waould be taking his kingdom, out of his hands & King Nebuchadnezzar became a wandering beast. Later in his life, he in fact did repent, and the kingdom was restored him.. So his successor became his son, Belshazzar!
Nebuchadnezzar's son, Belshazzar.. was.. well?? Like they say - like father/ like son.. He was prolly more prideful & stiff necked than his father.. Belshazzar lifted his hand & nose against God.. (a BIG, BIGG, NONO!!) During his father's attack on Jerusalem, the temple of God, was looted & plundered.. & Belshazzar decided to have a beast of a feast.. During the feast, Belshazzar called for the goblets, gold, silver, and china platters that were looted from the temple. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
Suddenly, during the feast, a hand appeared, and the finger wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. Daniel 5:6: His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking. The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers, and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled. The queen, (who wasn't invited), but hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said (No doubt, she was thinking -"you are a DEAD man!!) “ Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! (No doubt thinking, "the damage has ALREADY been done, you twit!") "There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners." He did this because Daniel, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. "Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.” (No doubt thinking, "You dumb shat!")
So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” I love what Daniel says in response...
Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.."
(Daniel 5:18) - Daniel continued...
“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[d] have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25 “This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
The newly God appointed King Darius, liked Daniel VERY, VERY much, & vice-a-versa. In fact, the King favored Daniel so much.. The King's men became jealous of Daniel. Thus, they devised a devious act, whereby, they would make a decree in that NO ONE should pray or make petition unto God for 30 days, lest the person be thrown into a den of lions, (which no doubt was located somewhere on his palace grounds.) They then tricked the King into signing it, making it undoable kingdom law..
Knowing that Daniel, who prayed on his knees 3 times a day, would break the law. In fact - immediately when the King signed the law, Daniel retreated into his home and fell to his knees to pray.. & the King's 'deceivers', were waiting to catch him in the act, of course! They seized Daniel, & brought him before the King.. King Darius, was immediately grieved that he'd signed such a law.. For he liked Daniel very much!! It became clear immediately - that he'd been tricked. However, the signature was on paper, and the law, in effect! King Darius, looked for a way to backtrack, or void the law.. but there was no way to do it. Daniel was 'gladly' guilty!! Thus was thrown into the den of the lions.. But the lions did not harm Daniel in ANY way!! It was a long night for the King, in this palace, tossing, turning, & wondering about Daniel.. (I don't imagine it was a piece of cake for Daniel). Early the next morning - the King came to the den and called out to Daniel that he was okay, & Daniel cried out that, 'he was, indeed!!' Immediately - the King had Daniel taken out of the den. He then had those men who'd tricked him, thrown into the lions den... Along with their wives and children!! It'd be what the lions would call, "just desserts!!" That was horrible, I know, but I couldn't resist!! I really couldn't.. I couldn't do it! It's truth though! Amen!!
Later in his life, Daniel had a dream in which, he, himself, couldn't interpret. After seeking the Lord, an angel appeared & told him the 'revelation' of the dream. It was not for Daniel, but for future generations of God's people.. And first foretold of the Christ, Jesus kingdom, which would never pass away, & to which there would be NO end!! HALLELUJAH!! It also first revealed the "Battle of Armageddon", which would be confirmed in the Book of Revelation by Jesus, Himself!!
The New Testament makes one reference to Daniel at Matthew 24:15, which asserts that Jesus recognised Daniel, as a prophet of God. Now, THAT, is being confirmed, IN-STYLE! FoSho!! ..& ABSOLUTELY!!
The Book of Daniel, is amongst the most important Books of the Bible, yet ~ one of the most complex.. If you haven't gandered at TBP's (The Bible Project's) break-down of Daniel.. It's worth a look see!! It's the BEST break-down of the Book of Daniel that I've ever seen!!! Those folks at TBP, are AMAZING!!!
R.I.P. Daniel!! Your service to God - is worthy of DEFINITE HONOR!!