Loading...

Daniel - Lesson 0

Preview - Daniel

Join distinguished scholar and professor emeritus Dr. Tremper Longman for a study of the book of Daniel, a fascinating and inspiring part of the Bible. In this class, you'll explore six stories and four apocalyptic visions that all demonstrate God's control and ultimate victory, even in the face of evil and difficulty. Don't miss this opportunity to be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you study the powerful messages of the book of Daniel with Dr. Longman.
Lesson 0
Watching Now
Preview - Daniel

I. Introduction to the Book of Daniel

A. Overview of the book

B. Historical context and setting

II. Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

A. The dream and interpretation

B. Significance and application to Nebuchadnezzar's life

III. The Fiery Furnace and Court Contest

A. Story of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Nebuchadnezzar's court contest

B. Significance of these events and the role of faith

IV. Writing on the Wall and Daniel in the Lions’ Den

A. The story and significance of these events

B. The role of faith and Daniel as an interpreter

V. Daniel 7 and 8

A. Overview and analysis of these chapters

B. Significance and implication to contemporary readers

VI. Apocalyptic Literature vs. Prophecy and Yahweh as Warrior

A. Overview of apocalyptic literature and Yahweh as warrior in the Old Testament

B. Significance and implication to contemporary readers

VII. Daniel's Prayer and Gabriel Explains the Vision

A. Analysis of the prayer and Gabriel's role in explaining the vision

B. Significance and implication to contemporary readers

VIII. The Fourth Vision (Daniel 11)

A. Overview and analysis of the fourth vision

B. Significance and implication to contemporary readers

IX. Final Words to Daniel and Daniel and Revelation

A. Final messages and instructions to Daniel and comparison to the book of Revelation

B. Significance and implication to contemporary readers

X. Conclusion

A. Summary of key points and themes

B. Reflection and next steps for further study.


All Lessons
About
Transcript
  • Join distinguished scholar and professor emeritus Dr. Tremper Longman for a study of the book of Daniel, a fascinating and inspiring part of the Bible. In this class, you'll explore six stories and four apocalyptic visions that all demonstrate God's control and ultimate victory, even in the face of evil and difficulty. Don't miss this opportunity to be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you study the powerful messages of the book of Daniel with Dr. Longman.
  • Daniel is written in two parts. The first six chapters is history written in the form of a story. Chapters seven through twelve are apocalyptic literature. In the English Bible, it’s with the major prophets. In the Hebrew Bible it’s in the Writings. The Apocalyptic section has similarities to the book of Revelation. One of the main messages in the book of Daniel is that even if you are living in a culture that is toxic to your faith, living by faith can help you not only survive, but thrive.

  • By the time Daniel was written, the nation of the Jewish people was divided into the tribes of Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC. Babylon overthrew Assyria in 612 BC then Judah in 605 BC. Daniel. Daniel and others were taken to Babylon and chosen to be trained as royal advisors.   

  • Daniel and his friends were willing to learn the language, literature and divination practices of the Babylonians even though it was potentially toxic to their faith. They temporarily chose to eat vegetables and water rather than the food and wine that the other officials in training were eating. The performed at the top of their class.

  • Nebuchadnezzar summoned the royal magicians and sorcerers and required them to tell him what his dream was and give him an interpretation of the dream. Daniel is able to do this because of the wisdom God gives him.

  • Daniel reveals the dream and the interpretation because God revealed it to him. The parts of the statue represent different worldly kingdoms. The stone that crushes the statue represents God’s rule over the kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar recognizes Yahweh as being powerful.

  • Daniel and his friends were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment for not worshipping an image of Nebuchadnezzar. God miraculously saved them and Nebuchadnezzar promoted them to positions in the royal court.

  • This is a story of a contest between Daniel and his friends and the Babylonian wise men. A major theme is the pride of Nebuchadnezzar and how that affects the outcome. Some of the story is narrated in by Nebuchadnezzar in the first person. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. The Babylonian wise men don’t give him an interpretation, but Daniel does. Nebuchadnezzar experienced judgment but God restores him.

  • As we read and study the Old Testament, we can gain insights into redemptive history and see examples of how we should live. It can sometimes be a challenge to determine the continuity or discontinuity of a passage. A major theme in Daniel 4 and throughout the Bible is how pride can hinder your relationship with God. 

  • Belshazzar was a ruler in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar died. During a banquet he hosted, he used the goblets from the temple in Jerusalem for his guests to drink out of. In the middle of a banquet, a hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall. Belshazzar called Daniel to interpret the message.

  • When Darius gave Daniel a position of authority in his government, the administrators underneath him were jealous. They devised a plan to trap Daniel and force Darius to execute him. God rescued Daniel and the administrators suffered the fate that they had planned for Daniel. The story shows that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and it’s important to live a life that is faithful to him.

  • Daniel had a vision of four beasts that were frightening in appearance. An angel explained the significance of the beasts in terms of historical kingdoms but didn’t say specifically which ones.

  • Daniel and Jeremiah both had messages from God but the way God communicated to each of them was different. The word “apocalypse” comes from the first word in Greek in the book of Revelation which means to reveal or uncover something. Some characteristics of apocalyptic literature are visions, dreams, a binary point of view, highly figurative language and the theme of hope based in confidence in God’s control over people and events that seem chaotic and overwhelming.

  • God made it clear to the people of Israel when he wanted them to go into battle. The process was designed to remind people that God determined the outcome of the battle. It was important for the people to be prepared spiritually.

  • God fights against the armies of the nations that are against the people of Israel. God also fights against Israel when they have disobeyed him or broken the covenant. He sends the prophets to remind them that he will come to rescue them. In the New Testament, there are example of Jesus fighting spiritual powers.

  • John the Baptist described Jesus coming as a warrior but the ministry of Jesus was different than what he expected. Since we live in phase 4, God gives us the power to fight spiritual battles. The God who led the people of Israel into battle in the Old Testament is the same God described in the New Testament who came as God in human form as Jesus.

  • The vision in Daniel 8 describes animals that represent kingdoms and individuals. While Daniel was seeing the vision, Gabriel came and explained its meaning. Antiochus Epiphanes fits the description of one of the horns in the vision. His persecution of the people of Israel and his desecration of the temple is similar to the way the anti-Christ is described in Revelation.

  • As Daniel is reading Scripture, he comes to the realization that what he is reading in the book of Jeremiah may actually be taking place at the time. His response is to begin by praying. He includes himself in confessing the sins of the people of Israel and appeals for God to rescue them from exile.

  • As Daniel is reading Jeremiah and praying, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel to explain the vision to him. The numbers in the vision are symbolic but demonstrate that God has a plan and a time frame to accomplish it.

  • The final of Daniel’s four visions described in chapters 10-12. There is an introduction to the vision, description of the vision and instructions to Daniel. The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed because of spiritual warfare.

  • This vision covers the events surrounding the Persian and Greek rulers in the 3rd and 4th century BC. They are described in such detail that some people think it was written after they took place, not as a prophecy.

  • The righteous and the wicked have different fates in the after-life. Throughout Scripture there is progress of revelation. God is in control and he will be victorious. The prophecy that God gave Daniel describes events that will happen in the future. Celestial sources give final words to Daniel that are also addressed to readers of the book of Daniel. A theme that is emphasized throughout the book of Daniel is, in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory.  This is illustrated both in the stories of Daniel and his friends and in the visions of future events that Daniel has.

  • Daniel informs the imagery and message of the book of Revelation. They are the two books of the Bible with primarily apocalyptic themes. Daniel’s encounter with God and angels is similar to what John records in Revelation. Daniel is commanded to seal his prophecy and in Revelation, the seals are opened. The references Revelation to the beasts and three and a half years is also similar to Daniel.

Living in a toxic culture can be dangerous and risky, but when you live by faith, God can give you opportunities to thrive, succeed and be a testimony to God's power and love for people. A primary message of the prophecies of Daniel is that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory. God has not provided us with a precise date on the calendar for when that will happen, but he will accomplish his plan on his timetable.

Hi, my name is Tremper Longman, a distinguished scholar and professor emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. Though I live in Alexandria, Virginia, I'm here to invite you to join me in a study of the fascinating book of Daniel. Daniel is a book that's composed of 12 chapters, half of which are stories about Daniel in a foreign court, and half of which are four very stirring and to us, at least initially, bizarre, apocalyptic visions. But even though you have this diversity of six stories and four apocalyptic visions, they all have the same major theme, which is so important for the ancient audience that first read Daniel, but also for us today and actually every generation since the time of Daniel. All six stories and all four visions tell us that in spite of the evil that's out there, in spite of the trouble in our world, God is in control, and he will have the final victory. And we have to be honest that as we look at our world, it's full of trouble, personal trouble, but also, public trouble. And sometimes that discourages or frightens us. But the book of Daniel is there to give us hope for the future and confidence to live in the present and encourages us to be persistent in our faith. So I really encourage you to join me as we walk carefully through this interesting book.