Daniel 8 intro; The Message of Daniel ~ 20220508 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
05/08_Daniel 08 intro; The Message of Daniel ; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220508_dan08.mp3
Today we transition from Daniel 7 to Daniel 8, which moves us into a different section of the book. Before we dive into chapter 8, I think it would be useful to pause and orient ourselves as to where we are in the book, and review some of what we have seen and the lessons we have learned so far.
Language Shift; Hebrew – Aramaic – Hebrew
Starting with chapter 8 we have another language shift. Daniel is written in two languages. It began in the Hebrew language, but in chapter 2 verse 4 the language switched to Aramaic, the common language of Babylon, the language of the nations. We are clued in to this language change even in our English translations, where it says “the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic...” Here in chapter 8 and through the close of the book the language switches back to Hebrew, the language of God’s chosen people. Chapters 2-7, the Aramaic section, record the witness of God’s people on mission, exiled to Babylon, yet used by God to transform kings and kingdoms for the glory of God.
In chapter 2, the king had a dream that none of his wise men could interpret. It seems he was skeptical of their abilities, so he tested them. He demanded they not only interpret his dream, but also tell him what he had dreamed.
Daniel 2:10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
So the king ordered that all the wise men be torn limb from limb and their houses made ruins. When Daniel received word that he and his friends were to be executed along with the wise men of Babylon, he made an appointment with the king to reveal the interpretation, and then he asked his friends to join him in seeking mercy from the God of heaven. When Daniel was brought before the king,
Daniel 2:26 The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. ...
God gave Daniel both the dream the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream, and in response,
Daniel 2:47 The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
In chapter 3, when the three Hebrews refused to bow to the king’s statue, the Chaldeans maliciously reported them to the king.
Daniel 3:12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
When these three were brought before the king and graciously given another chance to bow,
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
After the soldiers who cast them in were burned to death, after the three fell bound into the superheated burning fiery furnace, after the king saw four men unboud, walking in the midst of the fire unharmed, and the fourth is like a son of the gods, after the three came out of the fire with not so much as the smell of smoke on their clothes,
Daniel 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”
Chapter 4 was actually written by:
Daniel 4:1 King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
The Babylonian king recounts the dream warning of the great tree being chopped down, and the interpretation given to him by Daniel,
Daniel 4:24 this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.
The chapter recounts the pride of Nebuchadnezzar and how God humbled him.
Daniel 4:34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” ...37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Even a proud pagan king’s heart can be humbled and turned to the Lord God throught the faithful witness of his faithful people faithfully loving and serving their oppressors in captivity.
Chapter 5 tells the fall of the Babylonian empire due to the pride of its final king Belshazzar. The handwriting was on the wall, and Daniel was summoned, because the queen mother attested:
Daniel 5:11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king— made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”
When the arrogant but terrified Belshazzar addresses Daniel as ‘one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah’ and asks if he can really interpret the handwriting when none of his wise men could,
Daniel 5:17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.
Daniel rebukes the proud king and reads the writing on the wall; “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (5:26-28).
That very night the proud Chaldean king was killed and the kingdom given to the Medes and Persians. But not before the final official act of Babylon was carried out by its final king on the final night of his life; to elevate and honor an exiled Jew from Judah. God is able to humble even proud pagan kings, to grant repentance to whom he will, and to lift up his humble people.
Chapter 6 comes after Persian rule is established in Babylon, and king Darius intends to elevate Daniel to a high position of authority. This arouses the jealousy of his peers, who conspire to put him out of their misery. They use flattery to manipulate the king into outlawing any prayer except to him.
Daniel 6:10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Their plan worked, they caught him in the act, they cornered the king, and Daniel was thrown to the lions. They even got the king praying “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” (6:16).
But when Daniel survived the night with the lions, accompanied by his divine companion, their plan backfired, getting them and their families eaten by the ravenous lions, and
Daniel 6:25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
Are you starting to see a pattern here? God’s people are simply being faithful to their God, and God uses them to bring light into the darkness of unbelief and idolatry, bringing good news to the nations!
Chapter 7 is the pivot of the book. It is tied to the Aramaic section by language (it was written in Aramaic) and by structure; it is a mirror to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of chapter 2. But it is also connected to the final chapters of the book by its style and content; an apocalyptic vision given to Daniel himself, and the timeline jumps back to the first year of Belshazzar, chronologically falling somewhere between chapters 4 and 5.
The content of Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 is parallel to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue vision of chapter 2, foreshadowing four Gentile kingdoms who would rule over God’s people up until the end of time; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and a final terrible kingdom with a final arrogant ruler who boasts even in the presence of the Ancient of Days. At the climax of this vision, we see the Ancient of Days seated in judgment, the arrogant king killed, destroyed, given over to be burned with fire, and the eternal kingdom given to the one like a Son of man who comes on the clouds of heaven, and the saints of the Most High, who have suffered severe persecution, are given the kingdom forever, forever and ever. Both these visions, at the beginning and end of the Aramaic seciton, span history from Babylon all the way to the final judgment at the end of time.
Good News to the Nations
The message of this section is that there is a God in heaven, and he is sovereign over every people, nation and language that dwell in all the earth, his dominion is everlasting and his kingdom is forever, and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
This good news of who God is is going out through his persecuted people to the nations, inviting them to humble themsleves and acknowledge the one true God. And regardless of what they must endure, his saints will inherit the kingdom forever, forever and ever.
It Will Be Difficult, But Worth It
The Hebrew section gives information particularly important and relevant to Jewish believers. Chapter 1 opened with God’s disobedient people being given by God into the hand of their enemies, yet God’s faithfulness is seen preserving and protecting and blessing them in captivity, even using them as his ambassadors to bring light and hope even to their pagan rulers in the midst of exile.
Chapter 8, which picks up with the Hebrew language, zeroes in on the middle two kingdoms, Medo-Persia and Greece from the previous visions, and prepares God’s people for what will happen to them under the coming world rulers. Persecution will intensify, even the sanctuary will be defiled, but it will be short, limited by the sovereign God who is still in control, and he will triumph in the end.
In chapter 9 Daniel is studying Jeremiah’s prophecy, that the seventy years of the desolation should be coming to a close, and he is confessing the sins of his people and asking that God would be merciful and restore his people and his city and his sanctuary. Daniel is given a far reaching vision of seventy sevens decreed about his people and the holy city.
Chapters 10-12 chronicle the coming kings of Persia and Greece, giving even more detail than chapter 8, but also pointing ahead to a coming evil king at the time of the end, and a time of persecution like there has never been before. But this will be followed by the deliverance of God’s people, the resurrection of those who have died, some to shame and contempt, some to everlasting life who will shine like the stars in the sky.
The message for God’s chosen people is that trouble will increase, but the time of trial will be limited, it is a time of refining and purifying the saints, and the reward for faithfulness will be worth it, so stand firm and persevere!
2022.05.08 Sermon Notes
Daniel 8 intro; The Message of Daniel
Daniel 1:1 - 2:4 – Hebrew – Israel
Daniel 2:4 - 7:28 – Aramaic – the Nations
Daniel 8 - 12 – Hebrew – Israel
1 Prologue; exiled, undefiled, exalted
2 The King’s Dream -4 kingdom statue; and the crushing stone
--3 The Fiery Furnace -refusal to worship; divine rescue & exalted
----4 Nebuchadnezzar’s Beastly Pride – repentance -> worship
----5 Belshazzar’s Pride & fall
--6 The Lion’s Den -refusal to worship; divine rescue & exalted
7 Daniel’s Dream -4 kingdom beasts; and the Son of Man
8 Daniel’s 2nd Vision; persecution is coming but limited
9 Daniel’s Prayer & God’s Answer; in mercy end the desolations
10-12 Daniel’s 3rd Vision & the End; how long? sealed
God’s people are on mission to the nations
Daniel 2:47; 3:28-29; 4:1-3, 34-37; 5:22-23; 6:25-27
-1-- 2------ 3------ 4 --------------------------- 5--- 6
--------------------------------- 7--- 8------------ 9----- 10-12
God’s people will be persecuted and purified, but God is sovereign and that time will be limited
Daniel 7:21, 25; 8:10-14; 9:2, 24; 10:14; 11:35; 12:1-3
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org