Lesson 424 - Junior
"Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness" (Psalm 143:1).
Daniel's Spotless Life
As this is the last lesson we shall study in the Book of Daniel, let us for a few moments review some of the incidents in the life of Daniel.
When just a young man, Daniel was chosen by King Nebuchadnezzar to learn a foreign language and to assist the king. He was selected because he had "no blemish," he was "skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science" [DAN:1:4]). Under various kings, he was put to severe tests, and God always gave him the victory. He overcame the first trial because he "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank" [DAN:1:8]).
God gave Daniel wisdom to recall a dream, which the king had forgotten, and to interpret it. Daniel acknowledged that it was not his own wisdom, and humbly he prayed: "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" [DAN:2:23]).
At a later time, King Belshazzar called Daniel to read the writing on the plaster of the wall of his palace, written by a mysterious hand during a great feast. It was because in Daniel was "an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts" [DAN:5:12]). The queen said that "the spirit of the holy gods" was in him.
He became one of three presidents in the province and was preferred above the others "because an excellent spirit was in him" [DAN:6:3]). When the king planned to set him over the whole realm it brought the disfavour of the other presidents and princes, who conspired against him. He was cast into the den of lions, but God miraculously delivered him because he served God continually. "He was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him" [DAN:6:4]).
Captives in Babylon
We have learned in previous lessons that because of the disobedience and sins of the Jews, they had been taken from their homes and were captives in Babylon. God had said that for 70 years they should be there. Daniel was just a young boy when he left home. If he served God so faithfully, why was he a captive in Babylon? Why were he and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, permitted to be taken away from home along with the others to a faraway country? We do not know the whole plan of God in this, but we do know that the kings and all the people under their rule were made to know about the God in Heaven, through the example set by these men. It may have been the Lord's way of giving the people in heathen lands an opportunity to know the Lord. Just as missionaries today go to heathen lands to tell people about Jesus, so these young men were used of God. The Book of Daniel is part of our Bible and many per¬sons have been strengthened in their faith and trust in God through Daniel's example.
Prayer and Fasting
Shortly after Daniel's experience in the lions' den, during the reign of King Darius, he had another remarkable experience. He was not a young man now, for it was about 70 years since he and his people, the Jews, had been taken as captives to Babylon.
One day as Daniel was reading in the Book, which was their Bible, he learned that Jeremiah the Prophet had foretold that at the close of the 70-year period of captivity, the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt, and God's people should return.
As a symbol of humility before God, Daniel clothed himself in sackcloth, he sat in ashes and fasted and prayed. As at other times, he set his "face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications." He suffered for his people whose sin had caused them to be driven from their homes; the Temple had been destroyed, and there was no place for sacrifice unto God. Daniel did not remind the Lord of his own goodness; he did not tell God that he had been faithful, and that there was no fault to be found in him. No! He carried a heavy burden for his people and for them he made confession unto God: "We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: . . . To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him" [DAN:9:5], [DAN:9:9]). He pleaded with the Lord to remember Jerusalem and the sanctuary that was desolate; he felt that the city and its people had become a reproach and he asked God for mercy.
We read in [PS:78:38]: "But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath." That is the God of mercy to whom Daniel prayed.
We know not how long Daniel fasted and prayed, but at the time of the evening sacrifice, the angel Gabriel came and touched him. He told Daniel that he was greatly beloved, and the angel said that he had come to show Daniel many things.
The angel unfolded a prophetic vision before Daniel. He told of the time when the holy city, Jerusalem, would be rebuilt. He told of the coming of Messiah the Prince, which is none other than Jesus. This was about 550 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Gabriel also told Daniel of the time that the antichrist should come during the Great Tribulation. (
) Jesus referred to this prophecy by Daniel many years later, as we find recorded in Matthew 24. Another prophecy given to Daniel was of the time of "everlasting righteousness", which shall be during the Millennial Reign of Christ upon the earth. (See Lesson 168, Book 13.) At that time Satan and sin shall be put down, and Christ and His saints shall rule and reign upon the earth. "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" [ISA:11:9]).
"And to seal up the vision and prophecy" [DAN:9:24]), no doubt refers to the completion of the whole prophecy, concerning things to come.
Today we are privileged to live in this twenty-first century, and as we study God's Word we look back upon many great events that have happened. We see the prophecies fulfilled as time goes on, and we look forward to things yet to come. At Christmas time we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, which took place more than 2,000 years ago; on Good Friday we think upon His death; at Easter we thrill to the story of His resurrection. However, to the Christian, these dates are not only history. They are a living reality and he worships the risen, victorious Lord not only on certain days, but every day of the year.
A great event that we are expecting to transpire very, very soon is the Rapture of the Church, when Jesus shall come to take His waiting Bride unto Himself. (
) This event will precede the Great Tribulation period and the Millennial Reign of Christ upon the earth, of which Daniel spoke. God's Word is eternal and all prophecy will be fulfilled.
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" [2PE:3:11]). We, like Daniel, certainly ought to live close to God and spend much time in prayer, in order that we might be ready.
1. Under what three kings did Daniel serve?
2. From what part of their Bible was Daniel reading, and what did he learn?
3. How did Daniel show his humility when he prayed?
4. For whom did he pray?
5. Why were the people of Israel taken captive into Babylon?
6. How long were they there?
7. What had happened to the Temple in Jerusalem?
8. Who came unto Daniel while he prayed?
9. Tell part of the vision Daniel saw.
10. Has part of the prophecy been fulfilled? What is yet to be fulfilled?