Daniel was born into an aristocratic family at the Royal Court in Jerusalem. He had been taken from his home in Judah and forced into exile by the Babylonians headed by King Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. Daniel's future was in doubt but was secured by the fact that God had given him wisdom along with strength, health and good looks. His personal traits qualified him to be trained intensely for service in the King's Palace in the City of Babylon. He was given a new name Belteshazzar, and being an alert teenager, he was chosen to learn the customs and culture of his new home.
One of the benefits due to Daniel was the food from the King's table;
however, he tactfully chose a simpler and healthier diet. Daniel refused
to give up his godly convictions all through his life; He applied God's
Word to his life. He ate carefully and lived prayerfully.
Daniel was self-denying and he was a true witness, a devout man who feared God and trusted that God was Sovereign over the past, present and future. Many times because of his faithfulness to God, he put his life in danger. Daniel is an example of commitment, determination to serve God, regardless of the outcome to himself personally.
The River Euphrates divided the City of Babylon in two parts. A stone bridge connected the east and west sections of the municipality. The palace was inside the city walls which were wide enough for a four-horse chariot to turn around on top. Daniel lived among the 'hanging gardens of Babylon' which were cultivated on the terraces of the King's palace. Daniel's surroundings in both the summer and winter palaces were of great luxury and wealth, fine art of gold and silver as well as precious stones of many varieties. Ivory was used with inlaid works of art to beautify the palaces.
The summer Palace at Babylon had large rooms and spacious courtyards. The walls were covered with blue glazed tiles and plaster. The courtyards at Sulsa, the winter Palace were decorated with beautifully woven white and blue lined hangings, fastened by purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches for seating stood on a mosaic pavement. This pavement was made up of marble, mother of pearl and other costly stones and porphyry, which is a hard red or purplish rock of ancient Egypt containing crystals of feldspar.
Daniel, with God's help mastered the Babylonian literature, but all pagan knowledge proved worthless for only by God's special revelation were the King's dreams able to be interpreted.
Daniel was a prophet, one upon whom God's Spirit rested, a servant of God through whom God spoke, made known His mysteries and revealed His truth. Daniel, much beloved of God, received his first vision from God in 553 B.C. He continued to recieve visions from God and this gave confidence to the other Jewish exiles, that God was in control of thier lives. Daniel held a high position in the King's Palace because of his God-given ability to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dreams that disturbed him. These dreams tell of God's unfolding plan of the nations.
Daniel always gave God the credit for the interpretation of the King's dreams because he had prayed to God to reveal the meaning to him. Since Daniel gave God the credit, the King honoured both God and Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that God is all powerful and commanded his subjects throughout his Empire not to speak against The Sovereign God of All and King Nebuchadnezzar named Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon and head over all the court's wise counsellors.
The ruler after Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, his grandson who co-ruled with his father, also relied upon Daniel's God-given abilities. Belshazzar was in charge when Cyrus of Persia captured Babylon. He had invited his officers to a great feast where he ordered that the Jerusalem Temple cups of silver and gold be brought into the feast. As they drank toasts from the sacred utensils, all saw the fingers of a man's hand writing three words on the plaster of the wall. God wrote a message on a wall and Daniel was summoned to interpret the message for only Daniel could understand the prophetic meaning and what God had written, which was that the King's days were numbered and the kingdom would be divided for he had defiled God by drinking from the sacred Temple cups, praising false gods. His banquet had been a challenge to God's authority. It also was the prediction of the fall of the Babylon Empire to the Medes and the Persians who had combined their efforts to conquer the rival regime.
Daniel became the new ruler's most trusted advisor. He became one of three top administrators in the new Persian kingdom. He was given a position in government, which angered other administrators who plotted his death, if he continued to pray to The Sovereign God. Daniel did not stop praying to God and as a result was condemned to die in a den of hungry lions but God intervened and kept him safe from the mouths of the beasts during the night.
Because of God's Grace to Daniel, King Nechadnezzar and King Darius of Persia wrote of God as Soverien over all things unto all people, nations and languages. Daniel was a statesman with God's anointing upon him. He was very well respected, throughout both The Babylonian Empire and The Persian Regime and during his life served two Babylonian Kings and two Medo-Persian kings.
Daniel also prayed for his nation of Jewish exiles, he pleaded with God to bring about the promised return of the people back to their land. He begged God for mercy because he knew people did not deserve God's help.
Daniel had a series of visions that outlined God's future plans and give a key to God's redemptive plan. One vision revealed that The Messiah would be Sovereign over all other Kingdoms.
Daniel was given prophecies from God that revealed the exact time when the Messiah, Jesus Christ would come to Israel, 483 years after the decree issued to rebuild Jerusalem. Daniel also had a vision of future tribulation; he understood its meaning and was greatly disturbed by it, which brought the presence of a heavenly being reassuring the promise of resurrection. Jesus Himself quoted Daniel's prophecies.
Daniel was a type of Christ. He was the most outstanding character of his day, as was Jesus. Daniel prophesied of the end times, as did Jesus. Daniel after examination was declared faultless of any error to be so condemned, as was Jesus. Daniel was declared faithful, as was Jesus. Daniel was the object of a wicked conspiracy, as was Jesus. Daniel was charged to die because of envy, as was Jesus. Daniel was put in to a den of lions but was lifted out alive, as was Jesus. If Daniel had perished by the lions, all godly Jews would have perished. If Jesus remained in the tomb, all sinners would have perished. After Daniel's experience, his spirit was exalted, as was Jesus'. Daniel's great ministry through His life was great, but greater after the deliverance from the lion's den, as was Jesus'.
Daniel's life gives an historical account of faithful Jews who lived in captivity for seventy years. His life-story shows that God is in control of all things including the destiny of the nations.
Although Daniel served in a foreign land for seventy years he did not compromise his trust in God as Sovereign. He was a man who was persistent in prayer and God faithfully continually delivered him.
An elderly Daniel lived to see the first exiles return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C.
Throughout his life he honoured God as God's spokesman to the Kings of Babylon and the Kings of Persia. Daniel had great influence to better the conditions of the people of God.
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