Current Bible Study: DANIEL

We are doing a study in the book of Daniel. Join us May 7th at 6:30 PM

The book of Daniel is made up of two halves, each of which has its own genre. The first half (chs. 1–6) contains narratives from the lives of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These court stories show faithful living in exile and provide models of how God’s people should live as strangers and exiles in a world that is not their home (Heb. 13:14). They show Daniel and his friends serving their pagan masters loyally, as Jeremiah 29:5–7 had commanded, yet without compromising their greater loyalty to God.
Here are the key themes we are going to develop:

Key Themes

1. It is possible to live a faithful life in exile, surrounded by pagan influences and propaganda, if one sets one’s mind to serving the Lord wholeheartedly (ch. 1).

2. God can vindicate his faithful servants in front of pagan rulers by giving them unusual wisdom and insight into divine mysteries and by miraculously protecting them against the enmity of their pagan neighbors (chs. 2; 3; 6). Nevertheless, divine rescue from martyrdom cannot be assumed (3:16–18).

3. God humbles the proud and raises up the humble; even the hearts of the greatest kings are under his control (chs. 4; 5).

4. This world will be a place of torment and persecution for the saints until the end, getting worse and worse rather than better and better (chs. 2; 7). Yet the Lord will judge the kingdoms of this world and bring them to an end, replacing them with his own kingdom that will never end. This kingdom will be ruled by “one like a son of man” who comes “with the clouds,” a figure who combines the distinctive traits of humanity and divinity (7:13).

5. God is sovereign over the course of history, even over those who rebel against him and seek to destroy his people (ch. 8).

6. The exile was not the end of Israel’s history of rebellion and judgment. In the future, Israel would again transgress against the Lord, and Jerusalem would be handed over into the power of her enemies, who would trample her temple and do abominable things (chs. 8; 9; 12). Eventually, though, the anointed ruler would come to deliver her from her sins (9:24–27).

7. These earthly events are mirrors of a great cosmic conflict in the heavenly realms between angelic forces of good and evil (ch. 10). Prayer is a significant weapon in that conflict (9:23).

8. God rules over all of these conflicts and events, he limits their scope, and he has a precise timetable for the trials of the saints to be completed, when he will finally intervene to cleanse and deliver his people (ch. 12).

9. In the meantime, the saints must be patient and faithful amid a hostile world, looking to the Lord alone for deliverance (11:33–35).

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