Please read Daniel 6
Summary so far:
In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled about a dream. None of his wise men could tell him his disturbing dream nor its interpretation. But Daniel, after a prayer session with his three friends, received the revelation of the dream and its interpretation. Confident in God, Daniel went into the King to reveal this remarkable image seen by the great King of Babylon. The absolute accuracy of Daniel’s interpretation (given by God Himself) has been proven by time and history. Only one part of it remains unfulfilled.
The image with its multiple metals, digressing in strength and value, would eventually be destroyed by a rock. This rock cut out of a mountain would consume the whole earth. The dream revealed the rise and fall of nations that impacted or currently impact God’s people until the second coming of Jesus!
The king was so moved by Daniel’s accuracy and details of the dream and steadfast strength in the only true God of heaven that he fell on his face and prostrated himself before Daniel. His words are accurate to this day:
“Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”
Daniel 2: 47
But as time passed and the routine of daily life slowly dismissed the King’s experience. King Nebuchadnezzar defied the God of heaven and set up an image entirely of gold. HIs message and implications were clear. He felt in his heart that His kingdom could not possibly end. He was too strong! He arrogantly proclaimed, by his actions, that he was the head, body, and feet of gold! He would not accept the future end to his kingdom.
But, the three follower’s of the only true God (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) refused to bow down to the image which would break the commandments of God. They were thrown into the fire and “one like the son of man” walked with them to protect them. This man was Jesus himself in pre-incarnate form.
This story is an example of forced religion with a death decree. Revelation also predicts a decree to “worship the image of the beast.” This we will study in the coming days.
Once again, the King saw God at work and repented, but he would fall back into pride in Chapter 4 when he stated,
“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”
By these words, he denied the words of Daniel, that God
“….changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;…”
The God of heaven bore long and patiently with King Nebucannazar, but the King was soon to humbled. The king received one last vision about a tree, which Daniel, again, gave the interpretation. ( See Daniel 4)
After the king’s mental breakdown where he ate grass and became like a beast for seven years, He came to his senses and was converted as predicted by the dream.
As far as we know and from indications from Daniel 7, the king was finally fully converted and became a follower of the true God of heaven.
Buried in this story is the question to us today. Does the passage of time and the routine of life make us doubt what we know is the truth of God? Is God, perhaps, at work humbling us? God not only saves us from eternal death, but also from ourselves and our pride while on this earth. Don’t you agree?At the end of time, there is a group of believers who begin to doubt Christ’s promise to return and they return to the life and attitude they had before their conversion:
At the end of time, there is a group of believers who begin to doubt Christ’s promise to return and they return to the life and attitude they had before their conversion:
…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards,
2 Peter 3:3-4, Matthew 24: 48-49
The attitude of many who have heard about the second coming is doubt, scoffing, and to rationalize away His coming. Notice, it is their own sinful desires which propel them into unbelief. They would rather “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25) than the daily eternal joy as found in Christ. Their reward is here on earth rather than the reward of eternal life that Jesus brings with Him.
The passage in Matthew 24: 48-49 (above) discloses followers of the master Jesus who fail to endure the passage of time and, instead, become like the wicked of the world.
As we saw last time in Daniel 5, Babylon fell to the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. The night Belshazzar met his end, he made an aging Daniel third ruler in the kingdom. Of course, the kingdom was gone as was Belshazzar’s power, so it was a worthless designation.
In our study of Daniel 6, a famous story that most 6-year-olds know, the theme is not just about the deliverance of Daniel from the mouth of hungry lions, but the reason he was there in the first place and how it relates to Revelation. It is about the forbidding of the freedom of worship and about the government making it illegal to worship in spirit and in truth.
As I write this, I have seen a clear example of Daniel 6 in the firing of the Washington high school coach whose custom was to take a knee and pray a prayer of thankfulness to the God of heaven after each football game. The case has gone to a circuit court and has yet to be ruled upon (at the time of this writing).
The only difference between the case of the praying coach and Daniel 6 is the death decree, but will this country ever get to the point where the death decree is given to both force false religion as shown in Daniel 3 or to prohibit true worship as found in Daniel 6? As unlikely as it sounds for a republic government, the Bible tells us, “yes!”
As we know, there is already a religion in this world that prohibits the freedom of worship. The punishment is death. While this is a small radical sect, it is a false religion looking and working to enforce their law upon everyone. They obtain followers only by falsehood and force.
But, this is not the beast of Revelation 13 who forces everyone on a worldwide scale. The characteristics and identifying features as described in Daniel and Revelation do not point to Islam, but a less obvious power alive today. This we will study later.
Daniel 6: An Example of Prohibiting True Worship
Just as predicted by Daniel the great golden empire of Babylon fell and the inferior silver kingdom of the Medes and Persians was established. Daniel was still alive and active under the rule of the Darius (Medes and Persians) during the time of Daniel 6. In fact, Daniel was one of three governors.
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps (subordinate governors of the region), to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.
Daniel 6: 1-2
Daniel distinguished himself because of God’s spirit was upon him. He became to be the most favored of the three high officials. The king was actually thinking about making him the number one leader next to himself. This meant heirship to the throne!
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
Of course, this made the other two high officials angry to the point of scheming for the destruction of Daniel. But, they could not find anything bad to accuse him, so they set up Daniel for failure. It all surrounded the idea of the freedom of worship and the well-known worship habits of Daniel.
they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
Daniel 6: 4-5
So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
Daniel 6: 6-8
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
The two other governors lied by saying that ALL the leaders under Darius desired to set aside 30 days for worship only of the King. Of course, Daniel would never agree to this so they left him out of the discussion and tricked the king (through flattery) into signing and unchangeable law about worship.
Daniel’s habit was to pray three times a day. Quickly, the two governors went to the government (i.e. Darius) and described the “law-breaker’s” habit. This “religious” habit was against the King’s orders. Reluctantly, the king executed the prescribed penalty for breaking the law, but we know that Daniel was delivered and the hungry lions had a feast on the liars. The tables had turned.
Daniel 3 and Revelation 13: An Example of Forced Worship
“To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, …you SHALL fall down and worship the gold image…But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Daniel 3: 4-6
And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him. ..He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Revelation 13: 7,15
In these two books are similar worship restrictions separated by thousands of years. Both time periods are marked by ruling governments who enforce worship. Both have death decrees attached to the enforcement. Both have faithful followers of the true God and His word who obey the law of God rather than the law of man.
As we have seen, there are two types of government-restricted worship decrees in Daniel, which describe the days we live in and beyond.
Daniel 3, deals with forced worship. Everyone was commanded to worship regardless of their faith or beliefs. Only three knew God’s law (particularly the 2nd commandments) and worshipped in truth. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not obey the king’s command, the death decree was initiated, but they were delivered.
The book of Daniel and Revelation provide a forewarning to those living in the last days. Just as in the days of Daniel and John, worship will again be an issue, but it will be a combination of forced religion by the government and worship that is illegal; both resulting in a death decree for those who do not bow to the beast. But, there will be those who stand fast in worshipping the Creator in truth. Sadly, only a faithful few will be delivered. This might sound like an impossibility living in a democratic/republic country, but God’s word is sure and needs no fanciful interpretation.
There is a controversy between God and the enemy of mankind, Satan. This has been made clear in the early stages of our study in Daniel and Revelation. This controversy revolves around worship and obedience. God can proclaim and demonstrate only the truth for the benefit of mankind, but Satan will use all the tricks of deception and confusion. His objective is to smear the image of God and lead mankind down a path of eternal destruction. This controversy between God and Satan is the underlining theme of Daniel and Revelation, churning just below the surface of the stories and symbols.
As we move ahead in our examination of these books, we will see the truth of this conflict clearer and will begin to peek over the shoulder at the hand of the enemy, God wants to reveal the path we should take. It is often shown in the stories of Daniel.
Everything that was written in the Holy Writings long ago was written to teach us. By not giving up, God’s Word gives us strength and hope.
Paul tells us in Romans, the “things…written” long before are to teach us and if we are committing to learning we will find “strength and hope” today.
The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written to be warnings for us. We live in the time that all those past histories were pointing to.
1 Corinthians 10:11 (ERV)
It is sobering to think that the time in which we live are the times these stories spoke. Someone has said that the stories written thousands are years ago are probably more relevant today than when they were written because they all pointed forward to the culmination of the great controversy.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them
The people we are studying died in faith and knew the fulfillment of the times were “afar off.” So as we enter into the study of end time events, it will require some faith (based on the word of God) so that we, too, can be “persuaded of them.”
In our next study, we will see a dream given to Daniel in Chapter 7 about 4 beasts which coincide with the metals of Daniel 2. More detail is layered in so that we can begin to fill in the blanks of end-time events. The little horn power, which corresponds to the beast of Revelation 13, is introduced. The dream was so intense that Daniel becomes sick. This is the first time in the book of Daniel where we see Daniel in such a dramatic state….and for good reason.
Blessings until next time.