A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts: Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions: | Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
Daniel 5:29 – 31
Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
It was a Babylonian Pearl Harbor.
A sneak attack. Just as American soldiers would be ill-prepared on that fateful day in Honolulu on December 7, 1941, so great a devastation was about to come to Babylon. How the two great armies made their way into the city is a military stratagem worthy of explanation.
Here’s how the Medes and Persians won the day.
Babylon was built on the Euphrates River, with a huge wall-like fort surrounding it. It was so formidable that no one could scale it. To ensure even greater security, the moats around the walls were filled with water, so enemies would have to swim across and through those deep waters if they were to have any chance at approaching the city wall. With these precautions firmly in place, the Babylonians lived with a strong sense of security. But they didn’t count on the military cunning of the Medes and the Persians under their rulers, Darius and Cyrus. The two enemies of Babylon put their heads together and figured out a way to enter-and capture-the city.
First, they blocked off the flow of the Euphrates River until the water around the city dried up. They then waited until the moat was dry, stepped into it, dug a trench under the wall, and in full battle gear marched through the underground canals into the city-while Belshazzar’s orgy was in full swing. It was an enormous military success. That night-only moments after the handwriting had appeared on the plaster wall-the troops entered the hall and killed Belshazzar.
This story has given rise to some compelling verse by an unknown poet who has written:1) forgottenbooks.com Forgotten Books. Original work published 1832
Pause in this desert! Here, men say, of old
Belshazzar reigned, and drank from cups of gold
Here, to his hideous idols, bowed the slave,
And here – God struck him dead!
Where lies his grave?
‘Tis lost! – His brazen gates? His soaring towers?
From whose dark tops men watch the starry hours?
All to the dust gone down! The desert bare
Scarce yields an echo when we question “Where?”
The lonely herdsman seeks in vain the spot;
And the black wandering Arab knows it not.
No brick, no fragment, lingers now, to tell
Where Babylon (mighty city!) rose and fell
O city, vast and old!
Where, where is thy grandeur fled?
The stream that around thee rolled
Still rolls in its ancient bed!
But where, oh where art thou gone?
O Babylon! O Babylon!
The giant, when he dies,
Still leaveth his bones behind,
To shrink in the winter skies,
And whiten beneath the wind!
But where, oh where are thou gone?
O Babylon! O Babylon!
Tho liv’st – for thy name still glows
A light in the desert skies;
As the fame of the hero grows
Thrice trebled because he died!
But where, oh where art thou gone?
O Babylon! O Babylon!
Before the attack, Daniel was rewarded with his promised clothes of scarlet and gold jewelry, but Belshazzar had little time to enjoy the presentation. God’s judgment on the wickedness of the young ruler was swift and complete, and Darius the Mede took the kingdom at sixty-two years of age. It was the end of an era-as Daniel had prophesied years before to Belshazzar’s grandfather.
But our story is not yet half told.
There is still more excitement and palace intrigue to come as we see a devilish plot developing to destroy Daniel, even as he continues to pray fearlessly at his open window to the God of the Hebrews. Daniel, courageous under any Babylonian administration, remained brave and in full compliance with the laws of his God, even when it meant being thrown unjustly into a den of hungry lions. This kind of spiritual courage eventually led him to the ultimate in prosperity, the engaging subject of chapter six.
Preferred above Princes__But not without Lions
Daniel 6:1 – 3
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first; that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Recently, I was telling a friend that I was going to do a major exposition on the Book of Daniel, and he said, “Oh, that’s about Daniel in the lion’s den.” I replied, “Yes, but there’s much more to the book than that.” It appears that just about everyone knows this story. Unfortunately, for many, that’s all they know about this mysterious book that provides information on multiplied end-time events that only now, in our generation, are being unsealed-something we’ll investigate in greater depth when analyzing chapters seven through twelve.
But we’re getting a bit ahead of our story. First, some background. Daniel had now served under six administrations as a faithful, wise, competent counselor-all the more remarkable since he was a Jew, a member of that reluctant group of captives brought from Jerusalem to Babylon, and one who never really fit into this foreign culture. Daniel was a survivor because God gave him the strength and the courage to stand up for his faith. And now, in chapter six, we’re going to see that strength tested once again.
For anyone to serve six political administrations is a tremendous feat.
That’s one of many reasons I admire Dr. Billy Graham and the enormous respect he has earned as counselor and friend to so many United States presidents. That’s a long, impressive history of relationships with our nation’s top leaders. It was also a long time for Daniel.
For this man of God it had all started with the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who ultimately lost his kingdom when Babylon was handed over to the Medes and the Persians that fateful night when Beishazzar was preoccupied with wine, women, and song. Then the handwriting began to appear on the wall and the Medo-Persian conquest occurred as the new leaders immediately executed three thousand political prisoners, including all of Babylon’s princes and presidents.
However, as you’ll recall, at the last moment of his life, Belshazzar made Daniel the third in command. Imagine this scenario if you were Darius or Cyrus, leaders of the Medes and the Persians:
You conquer a nation, rape and pillage virtually everyone and everything in sight, you kill all the country’s key leaders-yet despite your best efforts at assuming complete control, there is still this person, Daniel, who is number three in the kingdom-and who seemingly can’t be eliminated.
Why wasn’t he killed with the others?
Why was Daniel, of all people, left to survive and to become a nuisance to the new administration?
The only answer I can give is that God always sets up those He wants elevated.
God had a plan for Daniel’s life, and now even the new kings-Darius and Cyrus-find themselves appreciating Daniel and his administrative abilities, so much so that they make him a president in their kingdom. So, Daniel was one of the three appointed heads of state-at eighty-five years of age.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||forgottenbooks.com Forgotten Books. Original work published 1832|