Daniel 12 (from The Message)

August 26, 2020

Again we switch to The Message to get a more modern day reading of these verses. This is the last chapter of Daniel and the summary of the vision in Chapter 11. Daniel, a captive from Jerusalem about 600 BC is taken to Babylon for what he hears through prophecy will be a 70 year exile. He is trained in government work as a wiseman and climbs the political ladder as he interprets dreams for the king. A giant statue, a giant tree, a hand writing on the wall. We read of the fiery furnance with his friends Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendigo, and of his trial in the lion’s den. The book then shifts to his personal prayer life, his seeking to understand the trajectory of this exile and the fate of his people there. He has visions, visits from angels and possibly a visit from the pre-incarnate Christ, a man clothed in linen who speaks with God. Theologians have given explanations for all this through the centuries, seeking to understand the prophecies of what we call “end times.” This chapter makes some sweeping comments as we seek to understand how God is going to bring justice to a world torn apart by evil, human and spiritual.
12 1-2 “‘That’s when Michael, the great angel-prince, champion of your people, will step in. It will be a time of trouble, the worst trouble the world has ever seen. But your people will be saved from the trouble, every last one found written in the Book. Many who have been long dead and buried will wake up, some to eternal life, others to eternal shame.
3 “‘Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever.
1. The first thing we see is that “good” stands out like stars on a dark night. Evil is going to escalate but good will shine. Can you think of stories of people who have shone like stars in the midst of trials e.g. Corrie Ten Boom in German concentration camps, Helen Keller blind and deaf?? ____________________
2. Have you ever seen a cloudless, star-strewn night? If good is the stars, what adjectives might we use to describe this image? ____
4 “‘This is a confidential report, Daniel, for your eyes and ears only. Keep it secret. Put the book under lock and key until the end. In the interim there is going to be a lot of frantic running around, trying to figure out what’s going on.’
3. Why might Daniel be advised to keep the book secret? ________
4. Does this offer us guidance as people seek to understand end times?
5-6 “As I, Daniel, took all this in, two figures appeared, one standing on this bank of the river and one on the other bank. One of them asked a third man who was dressed in linen and who straddled the river, ‘How long is this astonishing story to go on?’
7 “The man dressed in linen, who straddled the river, raised both hands to the skies. I heard him solemnly swear by the Eternal One that it would be a time, two times, and half a time, that when the oppressor of the holy people was brought down the story would be complete.
8 “I heard all this plainly enough, but I didn’t understand it. So I asked, ‘Master, can you explain this to me?’
5. How often do we hear but do not understand! We say “I do” but we don’t really know what that means. The doctor describes and we walk out and reflect on the diagnosis. But we do see that “the oppressor” will be brought down and “the story” will be completed. Closure. How do we bring closure to our challenges? ____________
6. Closure takes time. True, False
7. Closure is needed for conflict but not blessing. True, False
9-10 “‘Go on about your business, Daniel,’ he said. ‘The message is confidential and under lock and key until the end, until things are about to be wrapped up. The populace will be washed clean and made like new. But the wicked will just keep on being wicked, without a clue about what is happening. Those who live wisely and well will understand what’s going on.’
11 “From the time that the daily worship is banished from the Temple and the obscene desecration is set up in its place, there will be 1,290 days.
8. Many think this refers to the Temple in Jerusalem that is now claimed by three major world religions. It could refer to Tribulations. It is cloaked in prophecy. Perhaps we might ponder if there are landmarks that have gaged our lives like a wall where we mark how tall our kids are. What landmarks have guided your life? _______
9. Those who persevere are blessed. What might that look like?
12 “Blessed are those who patiently make it through the 1,335 days.
13 “And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.”
10. What a beautiful promise to end this study with. Don’t fret. Don’t worry, relax. We will be standing to receive our reward!
11. Think back over the book of Daniel. Was there something that especially touched your heart? _________________
12. Was there something that challenged you to study further? How might that be done?
13. How might we better pray for Christians in government?
14. How does God work outside our boxes?
15. Perhaps close by singing, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.”

Daniel 11, vision of conflict

August 19, 2020

Daniel 11 The Message

We now turn to Daniel’s last vision that unlike the others does not seem to involve images like the statue, the hand, nor the tree. The vision is delivered orally and is specific, beyond my pay grade. I will not even pretend to understand or have some sort of explanation of end-times locked in mystery and in the historical unfolding of the Middle-East. I have copied the chapter from The Message so we have a more user-friendly text. That does not mean we cannot ponder how what we do understand impacts our lives and reveals truth.
Starting with v. 2 we hear about the unfolding of political intrigue, the king of the North and the King of the South, marriages, betrayal, and the passing of power not by birth rights nor positional status but by perhaps by elections and coups. Those are words we understand today.
1. What are some of the powers battling for leadership in our world today?
2. A. Politically
3. B. Geopolitically (I think that means on the global scale)
4. C. I think we need to mention medically ie over Corona
11 “‘And I, in my turn, have been helping him out as best I can ever since the first year in the reign of Darius the Mede.’
The Kings of the South and the North
2 “‘But now let me tell you the truth of how things stand: Three more kings of Persia will show up, and then a fourth will become richer than all of them. When he senses that he is powerful enough as a result of his wealth, he will go to war against the entire kingdom of Greece.
3-4 “‘Then a powerful king will show up and take over a huge territory and run things just as he pleases. But at the height of his power, with everything seemingly under control, his kingdom will split into four parts, like the four points of the compass. But his heirs won’t get in on it. There will be no continuity with his kingship. Others will tear it to pieces and grab whatever they can get for themselves.
5-6 “‘Next the king of the south will grow strong, but one of his princes will grow stronger than he and rule an even larger territory. After a few years, the two of them will make a pact, and the daughter of the king of the south will marry the king of the north to cement the peace agreement. But her influence will weaken and her child will not survive. She and her servants, her child, and her husband will be betrayed.
5. We now have a military coup in the unfolding drama. Theoretically this cannot happen in the United States. But perhaps “the rules” surrounding our lives right now might feel like a medical coup. Perhaps the outcome of elections this fall will feel like a sudden changing of power. What do you think? __________________________
6-9 “‘Sometime later a member of the royal family will show up and take over. He will take command of his army and invade the defenses of the king of the north and win a resounding victory. He will load up their tin gods and all the gold and silver trinkets that go with them and cart them off to Egypt. Eventually, the king of the north will recover and invade the country of the king of the south, but unsuccessfully. He will have to retreat.
10 “‘But then his sons will raise a huge army and rush down like a flood, a torrential attack, on the defenses of the south.
11-13 “‘Furious, the king of the south will come out and engage the king of the north and his huge army in battle and rout them. As the corpses are cleared from the field, the king, inflamed with bloodlust, will go on a bloodletting rampage, massacring tens of thousands. But his victory won’t last long, for the king of the north will put together another army bigger than the last one, and after a few years he’ll come back to do battle again with his immense army and endless supplies.
14 “‘In those times, many others will get into the act and go off to fight against the king of the south. Hotheads from your own people, drunk on dreams, will join them. But they’ll sputter out.
15-17 “‘When the king of the north arrives, he’ll build siege works and capture the outpost fortress city. The armies of the south will fall to pieces before him. Not even their famous commando shock troops will slow down the attacker. He’ll march in big as you please, as if he owned the place. He’ll take over that beautiful country, Palestine, and make himself at home in it. Then he’ll proceed to get everything, lock, stock, and barrel, in his control. He’ll cook up a peace treaty and even give his daughter in marriage to the king of the south in a plot to destroy him totally. But the plot will fizzle. It won’t succeed.
5. Violence escalates. Armies, more armies and blood-thirst. Does vengeance and war ever work?____________________
6. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek but in such explosive battles the “little person” feels inconsequential. How do you fight despair in the face of insurmountable odds? ____________________________
18-19 “‘Later, he’ll turn his attention to the coastal regions and capture a bunch of prisoners, but a general will step in and put a stop to his bullying ways. The bully will be bullied! He’ll go back home and tend to his own military affairs. But by then he’ll be washed up and soon will be heard of no more.
20 “‘He will be replaced shortly by a real loser, his rule, reputation, and authority already in shreds. And he won’t last long. He’ll slip out of history quietly, without even a fight.
21-24 “‘His place will be taken by a reject, a man spurned and passed over for advancement. He’ll surprise everyone, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and will seize the kingdom. He’ll come in like a steamroller, flattening the opposition. Even the Prince of the Covenant will be crushed. After negotiating a cease-fire, he’ll betray its terms. With a few henchmen, he’ll take total control. Arbitrarily and impulsively, he’ll invade the richest provinces. He’ll surpass all his ancestors, near and distant, in his rape of the country, grabbing and looting, living with his cronies in corrupt and lavish luxury.
24-26 “‘He will make plans against the fortress cities, but they’ll turn out to be shortsighted. He’ll get a great army together, all charged up to fight the king of the south. The king of the south in response will get his army—an even greater army—in place, ready to fight. But he won’t be able to sustain that intensity for long because of the treacherous intrigue in his own ranks, his court having been honeycombed with vicious plots. His army will be smashed, the battlefield filled with corpses.
7. History seems to be spiraling downward from bad to worse leaders. The song that comes to mind is, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” That song brings to mind the image of a parent hold a wailing child in the cradle of his or her arms and seeking to comfort the child – whether it be the pain of an earache or the temper tantrum of a refused request. How did you comfort your child? _________
8. Might that help us envisioning God at these times? _____________
27 “‘The two kings, each with evil designs on the other, will sit at the conference table and trade lies. Nothing will come of the treaty, which is nothing but a tissue of lies anyway. But that’s not the end of it. There’s more to this story.
28 “‘The king of the north will go home loaded down with plunder, but his mind will be set on destroying the holy covenant as he passes through the country on his way home.
29-32 “‘One year later he will mount a fresh invasion of the south. But the second invasion won’t compare to the first. When the Roman ships arrive, he will turn tail and go back home. But as he passes through the country, he will be filled with anger at the holy covenant. He will take up with all those who betray the holy covenant, favoring them. The bodyguards surrounding him will march in and desecrate the Sanctuary and citadel. They’ll throw out the daily worship and set up in its place the obscene sacrilege. The king of the north will play up to those who betray the holy covenant, corrupting them even further with his seductive talk, but those who stay courageously loyal to their God will take a strong stand.
9. There is a pause now with a small comment of encouragement. The example of the fruitlessness of the powers fighting will teach those watching. Kenyans say, “When the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.” What is our hope? ___________________
33-35 “‘Those who keep their heads on straight will teach the crowds right from wrong by their example. They’ll be put to severe testing for a season: some killed, some burned, some exiled, some robbed. When the testing is intense, they’ll get some help, but not much. Many of the helpers will be halfhearted at best. The testing will refine, cleanse, and purify those who keep their heads on straight and stay true, for there is still more to come.
36-39 “‘Meanwhile, the king of the north will do whatever he pleases. He’ll puff himself up and posture himself as greater than any god. He will even dare to brag and boast in defiance of the God of gods. And he’ll get by with it for a while—until this time of wrathful judgment is completed, for what is decreed must be done. He will have no respect for the gods of his ancestors, not even that popular favorite among women, Adonis. Contemptuous of every god and goddess, the king of the north will puff himself up greater than all of them. He’ll even stoop to despising the God of the holy ones, and in the place where God is worshiped he will put on exhibit, with a lavish show of silver and gold and jewels, a new god that no one has ever heard of. Marching under the banner of a strange god, he will attack the key fortresses. He will promote everyone who falls into line behind this god, putting them in positions of power and paying them off with grants of land.
40-45 “‘In the final wrap-up of this story, the king of the south will confront him. But the king of the north will come at him like a tornado. Unleashing chariots and horses and an armada of ships, he’ll blow away anything in his path. As he enters the beautiful land, people will fall before him like dominoes. Only Edom, Moab, and a few Ammonites will escape. As he reaches out, grabbing country after country, not even Egypt will be exempt. He will confiscate the treasuries of Egyptian gold and silver and other valuables. The Libyans and Ethiopians will fall in with him. Then disturbing reports will come in from the north and east that will throw him into a panic. Towering in rage, he’ll rush to stamp out the threat. But he’ll no sooner have pitched camp between the Mediterranean Sea and the Holy Mountain—all those royal tents!—than he’ll meet his end. And not a soul around who can help!’”
10. The vision ends with the defeat of proud, arrogant, and defiant powers. Many innocent people will be hurt in the process. Daniel has heard about end times but the bigger picture for the powerful and the helpless is that the battle is part of defeating evil. We will hear in the last chapter next week that the “good” will go to eternal glory and shine like stars and justice will be executed on “evil.” It is hard facing surgery but the promise of health can sustain us during the dark days.

Daniel 9 Bible Study

August 5, 2020

Daniel 9

Daniel 9 is a record of one of Daniel’s prayers that is followed by a visit from Gabriel with an interpretation that Biblical scholars have debated. It has been called “a dismal swamp of critical exegesis.” Many think it is the prophecy of the “tribulation” that will occur towards the end of time, a prophecy of when Christ will return. Prophecy is cloaked in mystery because it has not been fulfilled yet so pondering rabbit trails might be spinning cobwebs. But what we clearly see here is the heart of man coming before his God. First read verse 1-20.

In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede, who became king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, must be fulfilled for the devastation of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

  1. Daniel dates this chapter as occurring during the first year of the reign of Darius the Mead who took over after Belshazzar’s vision of the finger on the wall at his banquet, chapter 5. We know Daniel has gone from captured and trained youth, interpreting dreams, to a position of responsibility in the government. Where were you in those middle ages of your life? Describe the circumstances, perhaps the political leadership, and the questions/dreams that were heavy on your heart. ___________________________________
  2. Were there writers or historical people who deeply impacted your thinking? In what way? __________________________
  3. Jeremiah prophesized in Jerusalem before the Babylonian invasion and later wrote a letter to the captives that the Israelites would be in exile for 70 years. We do not surround our lives with prophecies like this but we do understand the presence of talk about the impact of presidential terms. Somewhat similarly I hear people caring for aging elder pondering how much longer will this phase of life last. Can you identify? What time related question is on your heart?
  4. The next verse shares the extent his ponderings burdened his heart. Fasting, sackcloth and ashes are not culturally in vogue today but we do other things like? Request a Bible series? ____________

Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,

“Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

“Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. Open shame, O Lord, falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him, 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

11 “All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. So the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against you. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers, by bringing upon us a calamity so great that what has been done against Jerusalem has never before been done under the whole heaven. 13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us. We did not entreat the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and reflecting on his fidelity. 14 So the Lord kept watch over this calamity until he brought it upon us. Indeed, the Lord our God is right in all that he has done; for we have disobeyed his voice.

15 “And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made your name renowned even to this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 O Lord, in view of all your righteous acts, let your anger and wrath, we pray, turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because of our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace among all our neighbors. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. 18 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!”

  1. Daniel’s prayer and plea contrast Israel’s sinfulness vs God’s righteousness. I note a. opening with confession of ways Israel has not lived into the covenant b the sense of “open shame” (is this the disrespect they feel living as a minority), c. their hard heartedness in following God’s revelation, and that they deserve their shame. Does any of that ring true to the Christian church today in the USA? ____________________
  2. Daniel now pleas for God to turn away his wrath. Why? ________
  3. I bolded v. 18. Can you rewrite that in your own words? ________

20 While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in “Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision:

  1. While Daniel prays, Gabriel arrives to enlighten Daniel and give him wisdom. Interestingly Gabriel does not talk about the 70 years but about 70 weeks. There are many ways to interpret the following verses and scholars spend a lot of time pondering. It inspires the Left Behind series of the 60-70s. Your choice: 1. Allow prophecy to be prophecy to be fulfilled in God’s designated time, beyond our control. Lutherans like this option. We just don’t understand and don’t worry.   2. Give a more specific interpretation that comes under “End Times” and more specifically “The Tribulation.” Many debate when Christ will return and bring justice. Some believe he comes at the beginning of the 70 weeks – PreTrib. Others that he comes in the middle of the 70 weeks – Mid-Trib. Then there are those who think it will be after the 70 weeks – Post-Trib. All involve an evil incarnation called the Anti-Christ who harasses Israel and people of faith. It also involves the rebuilding of the Temple and hence the struggle over who owns the Dome of the Rock sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. I will not attempt to explain or take a stand. I think the question to reflect on is where my security lies – in my works or in Christ? And, am I convinced that in the face of any kind of evil, God is stronger and sees? Personally I like to say I am a “Pan-Trib” person – it will all pan out in God’s grace and in God’s time!

24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”


Daniel 8: The Goat and the Ram: Uncontrollable Forces

July 29, 2020


In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me at first. In the vision I was looking and saw myself in Susa the capital, in the province of Elam, and I was by the river Ulai. I looked up and saw a ram standing beside the river. It had two horns. Both horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up second. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. All beasts were powerless to withstand it, and no one could rescue from its power; it did as it pleased and became strong.

  1. Daniel has yet another dream while serving King Belshazzr. Again we suspect that Daniel is deeply distressed about the future of the Jewish people in exile in Babylon. Perhaps the ram represents powers Daniel sees as impossible to fight or stop. It makes me think of the forces impacting our world today and vying for our attention. How would you prioritize the following, 1 is most and 5 is least? Environment______ presidency______ Covid 19______ racial equality______ economic stability______
  2. What are some of the powers offering answers? ____________

As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a horn between its eyes. It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside the river, and it ran at it with savage force. I saw it approaching the ram. It was enraged against it and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram did not have power to withstand it; it threw the ram down to the ground and trampled upon it, and there was no one who could rescue the ram from its power. Then the male goat grew exceedingly great; but at the height of its power, the great horn was broken, and in its place there came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven.

  1. Suddenly another force, the goat, appears that defeats the unbeatable ram.   Something totally unpredictable happens that impacts the direction of history. Can you think of historical times of great change e.g. the Beattles, the invention of the credit card or ________________________
  2. What were the characteristics of this change, what happened?______

Out of one of them came another horn, a little one, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land. 10 It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them. 11 Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary. 12 Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering; it cast truth to the ground, and kept prospering in what it did. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one that spoke, “For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?” 14 And he answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

  1. This phase of the dream is clarified. So go back to question four. Of the major world view changes in our lifetime, how did it specifically impact your life? ______________________________________

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man, 16 and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, “Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I became frightened and fell prostrate. But he said to me, “Understand, O mortal, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

  1. Daniel lacks knowledge and perspective to understand the dream about the future. Often we are so emersed in the events of the day and all the interpretations offered by social media that we feel lost. Probably we have not been visited by the angel Gabriel but we might have turned to the Bible or church or friend to help us understand the situation we are struggling with. How did that help? __________________________________
  2. Ultimately prophecy deals with a future that has not unfolded. In Daniel’s case it was called “end of time.” There are many unknowns in our future and how the issues we pondered in question 1 will resolve. Global warming, will it destroy the world or will we be responsible? Pick one of those issues and spin a resolution you would like to see come about.




18 As he was speaking to me, I fell into a trance, face to the ground; then he touched me and set me on my feet. 19 He said, “Listen, and I will tell you what will take place later in the period of wrath; for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.

23 At the end of their rule, when the transgressions have reached their full measure, a king of bold countenance shall arise, skilled in intrigue.
24 He shall grow strong in power, shall cause fearful destruction, and shall succeed in what he does. He shall destroy the powerful and the people of the holy ones.
25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall be great. Without warning he shall destroy many and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes. But he shall be broken, and not by human hands.

26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”

27 So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king’s business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it.

  1. Gabriel clarifies the vision for Daniel. Most of those names mean little to us but possibly for modern day people who live in that area of the world, it is their history. Gabriel affirms the truth of the revelation and tells Daniel to seal the vision because it is about the future. I suspect worrying about a future that is unknown to us is unproductive. We can chase many rabbit trails in our mind. But we can turn our worries over to God in prayer. Return to the issues of question 1 and perhaps list three things that might impact the direction of each issue and commit it to the Lord in prayer. Then seal it, arise and “go about the king’s business.”



Study 15 Daniel’s dream Part 2

July 22, 2020

Last week we read the first part of Daniel 7. The narrative changes pace and goes back to a dream Daniel himself had during Daniel 5. His dream, similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2, envisions 4 kingdoms arising. This time it is not a statue but four frightening beasts that terrify Daniel. Terrifying nightmares unsettle us and niggle at the back of our mind and often linger.

  1. How do you deal with nightmares? What comforts you? __________
  2. Let’s see what Daniel does…

15 As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me and the visions of my head terrified me. 16 I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: 17 “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”

  1. It is not clear who “the attendant” is but I am assuming someone in the dream as the attendant can explain to Daniel. Read Deuteronomy 18: 9-13. Does this apply today? ____________
  2. The Old Testament is clear about consulting fortune tellers. What might be the danger in palm reading, taro cards, and other fortune telling medians of today? ______________________________

19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped what was left with its feet; 20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn, which came up and to make room for which three of them fell out—the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and that seemed greater than the others. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, 22 until the Ancient One came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.

  1. Seeking clarification for what we do not understand is never wrong but I note the response is still cloaked in symbolism that some debate today. What are some ways we can double check our sources? ___

 23 This is what he said: “As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
that shall be different from all the other kingdoms;
it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High,
and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law;
and they shall be given into his power
for a time, two time,] and half a time.
26 Then the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and totally destroyed.
27 The kingship and dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”

28 Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly terrified me, and my face turned pale; but I kept the matter in my mind.

6.  Daniel still is terrified, still unclear about the meaning and perhaps not feeling it is his responsibility to broadcast his dream. He works for the king, not the “church”. It reminds me of Henny Penny running around declaring, “The sky is falling.” Some day there will be justice but it may not be for us to understand. In the meantime, where do we place our trust? _______

7.  What touched you about Daniel’s dream?



Study 14 Daniel 7 A Nightmare

July 15, 2020

As we come to our 14th study, we have watched Daniel grow through the book of Daniel from a captive from Israel carried into the great Babylonian kingdom and trained to serve there. He distinguishes himself by his ability to understand dreams. He always gives credit to God and refuses personal glory. Chapter 7 of Daniel starts a change of focus from Daniel’s historical gifting to his own more prophetic dreams. His first dream is recorded as coming during the “the first year of Belshazzar of Babylon. V.1 At the end of Daniel 6, Daniel is under king Darius the Persian so chapter 7 flashes back to chapter 5, before the lion’s den story. So there is a sense of two parts to the book of Daniel portraying God’s work in the culture surrounding Daniel and then recording some of Daniel’s own spiritual journey. Even so our spiritual journey is impacted by the themes of history that impacts the trajectory of the institutional church and we are impacted by our own spiritual journey embedded in our social history.

So chapter 7 records Daniel’s personal prophetic dream and this vision has called forth multiple explanations through the decades and unfortunate divisions among people. Daniel is often treated like Revelations, a prophetic book that sees into a future we cannot yet envision.

  1. Let us first start today by pondering how we understand dreams. Check all that might apply.
  • ______ My inner self working out some issue as I sleep.
  • _______ Some might be a message from God. E.g. ________
  • _______ A source of journaling to better understand myself.
  • _______ A message from the other world (Tevya, Fiddler)
  • _______ Flashbacks? The mind healing itself?
  1. Can you remember a dream that so rattled you, you sought someone               to help you understand it? _____________________________

Let us go to Daniel’s dream. (As you read this part, underline each beast.)

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream: I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being; and a human mind was given to it. Another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one side, had three tusks in its mouth among its teeth and was told, “Arise, devour many bodies!” After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the visions by night a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth and was devouring, breaking in pieces, and stamping what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, when another horn appeared, a little one coming up among them; to make room for it, three of the earlier horns were plucked up by the roots. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly.

3, Name the four beasts

  • beast 1____________ became ________________
  • beast 2 ____________ had ___________________
  • beast 3 ____________ had ___________________
  • beast 4 ____________ had ___________________
  1. What interpretation have you heard for these four beasts? What kingdoms did they represent? Past or future to Daniel? A past focus would see the animals representing Babylon, Persian, Greeks and Rome. A more modern understanding would see Rome, Russia, Africa, and Industrialization. The “end times” prophesizing of the 60s is not a major focus in Christianity today as the church sees itself as fighting social injustice to usher in a better world. Since prophecy is proven by the future coming true, let us focus more on the present and ask, what “kingdoms” or forces do you feel are at battle in our world today? __________________
  2. How do you understand Christianity plays into your vision of the future?

As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his       throne,
his clothing was white as snow,  and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand   stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.


  1. It might be interesting at this point to read Revelation 1. Note the similarities and the differences.
  2. The “Ancient One” is generally considered to be God speaking.
  3. Who might “the court” be?
  4. “Books were opened” Which books do you imagine will be there?


            11 I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking. And as I watched, the beast was put to death, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 

  1. Evil is overcome and punished. “The beast” is generally understood to a demonic figure, not a human who is capable of repenting and being forgiven. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it iswritten, ‘Vengeanceis mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”” Rom. 12:9. Is there something you need to leave in God’s hands? _____


13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. 14 To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

  1. This is generally considered a reference to the reign of Christ eternally, hence the strong connection between Daniel and Revelation. Many find this a comforting prophecy uniting Biblical revelation. Whether we find comfort in specifics of the dream or in the realization that God speaks in ways we do not expect, through dreams, through his Word, through nature, through music. Bottom line: God speaks into his creation and will bring about justice!

Study 13 Daniel 6: 19-26

July 9, 2020

Today we finish the famous “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” story. Daniel, probably is now an older man who was captured in his youth and taken to Babylon…… He was there trained and has served at least two previous regimes, distinguishing himself by his ability to interpret dreams and revelations, known for his wisdom. As he is about to be promoted to number one in the realm, his fellow workers become jealous and devise a plan for his downfall. They convince the king to pass a law declaring that people praying to beings other than the king be thrown into the lions’ den. Daniel prays to Jehovah and is thrown in with the lions. We do not have lion dens nor would we consider praying to a king today but we are in the midst of a massive cultural debate about what is treason and what are just laws. Jail is our lion’s den. Obeying the law is our challenge too.

  1. Have you ever willfully broken the law? All right, chosen to speed, driven under the influence, fudged on income tax returns? What was your reasoning? _____________________________________
  2. I think of leaders like Gandhi or MLK who faced imprisonment for standing up for their beliefs. Is there something you would be willing to go to jail for? _____________________________________
  3. The king realizes he has been manipulated into a position he does not want to defend but must because of the law. It makes me think of parent having to enforce rules with unexpected consequences or a supervisor having to enforce corporate rules? Perhaps something like dealing with an alcoholic child? Can you identify? _______________________________
  4. Our story picks up with the next morning and the king going to the lions’ den. Did Daniel survive the lions? Is his god real?

19 Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. 20 When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

  1. Interestingly, Daniel feels vindicated in the eyes of the Babylonian legal system but also in the eyes of God.   Is it possible to “obey the letter of the law” and still be guilty? ________________________
  2. Daniel also gives credit for divine intervention as an “angel” closed the mouth of the lions. How has God intervened to justify you or rescue you? _________________________________________
  3. I am always amazed that the families, the wives and children, are punished as well as the sneaky politicians. That seems somehow unfair but the truth is that we are affected by the mistakes of those we are connected to. What do you think? _________________

25 Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: “May you have abundant prosperity! 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should 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 has no end.
            27 He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven    and on earth; for he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”

            28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

  1. The king closes with a praise for Daniel’s god. Rather than ponder a generic statement of the wonderfulness of God, think of a specific difficult time you went through. What about that incident reflected God’s involvement on your behalf. Be specific. Now take a few minutes and write your reflection on God – a poem, draw picture, something specific.______



STUDY 12 Daniel 6:1-18

July 1, 2020


Daniel, an Israelite captive taken to Babylon, has distinguished himself in his studies, exerted his identity through a successful diet plan, but then twice interpreted dreams for the king. Las week he read the “handwriting on the wall” literally for the king predicting the downfall of the kingdom and indeed that night Darius overthrew Belteshazzar. Daniel must be definitely “mature” now and climbing the political ladder. He is one of three presidents of the kingdom and headed to be number one over the whole kingdom. Few of us have experienced that kind of public success.

  1. Remember a time when you felt you were doing a job well. What did that look like? ______________________________
  2. Was there a flip side of the success, the cost of success unseen to others? __________________________________
  3. Were there spiritual disciplines you had in place in your life that nourished you during this time? _______________________

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The 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.”

  1. The writer credits “an excellent spirit was in him (Daniel).” What might that have looked like? ___________________________________________________
  2. How would you have credited your success? ____________

So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.

  1. We would not approach a leader today giving godly stance ie pray to the leader, but a leader might be approach on the basis of his pride. What laws might be passed today that would be labeled “treason” if broken? __________________________
  2. Do we have any laws that we consider unchangeable? ____

10 Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. 11 The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. 12 Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they responded to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day.”

14 When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. 15 Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”

16 Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” 17 A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

  1. Daniel prayed three times a day for “mercy.” What drives us to continual prayer? __________________________________
  2. A “stay of execution” was not possible. Just Mercy is a book these days turned into a movie about life on Death Row. Perhaps the verdict is “operation,” or “pay the bill,” or what? ________________
  3. The king’s prayer is, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!”  What is your prayer request today? _____________

Study 11 Daniel 5

June 25, 2020

Daniel and his three friends are carried from Jerusalem as captives by the Babylonians, and later chosen to be educated in Babylonian culture. They are not prophet, priest, or king but ordinary people like us, working out their faith in the work place. Daniel is assigned to the group of wise men and we see him successfully interpreting dreams by King Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar’s (506 – 549 BC) first dreamt of an enormous statue with a golden head, the Babylonian empire. The King did not understand God’s sovereignty implied and had a huge golden statue made of himself. Hence the three friends in the fiery furnace. Next the King dreamt about a great tree that was cut down for 7 years. Again only Daniel of the wise men can interpret the dream. Daniel again warns the king that the king will develop boanthropy, experience himself as an ox, until he acknowledges God’s sovereignty. And so it happened. Between Chapter 4 and Chapter 5, time passes and a new king is in power. Chapter 5 opens, possibly 15 years later with another king, King Belshazzar, having a terrifying experience. No longer is it a dream. No longer is it private but in public.   Again there is no understanding of the experience. The Queen remembers Daniel and Daniel’s advice is sought.

  1. Do you remember a time when your advice was misunderstood, perhaps a teenager consistently wanting to do it “my way.” Perhaps we have had the experience with an elder entering dementia. The struggle over the car keys is real! Can you identify with an experience like that? __________________________________
  2. Describe the feelings that accompany an experience of rejected advice. __________
  3. Let’s read this next story, noting the role of:
  • King Belshazzar_________________________________
  • Queen_________________________________________
  • Partyers________________________________________
  • Daniel__________________________________________

King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

  1. Do you think it is significant that articles dedicated to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem were used in a public drinking celebration?
  2. How would you describe “desecration”? ____________________
  3. Often we think of desecration as a violation of our personhood as our sense of public sacred places or things is not strong. Perhaps our recent demonstrations ring a bell here as places we love have been “violated.” Do you have words for such an experience?_________

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.

  1. Perhaps you are familiar with the story but what might be a message you could receive you that would terrify you? Death of a spouse in a car accident? Diagnosis of disease? Bank crash? ____________
  2. A finger writing on the wall, terrified the King. What might be a modern day equivalent? __________________________________

10 The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall. The queen said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. 11 There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners, 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 give the interpretation.”

  1. The queen, the wife of the king I am assuming, is an unlikely person to enter with words of direction. It reminds me of Balaam being spoken to by his donkey (Numbers 22) or the servant girls telling Namaan’s wife (2 Kings 5) about Elisha being able to cure his leprosy. Have you ever been surprised by sage advise from an unlikely source?______ Did you follow it?

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to give the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation. 

  1. King Belshazzar does not seem to know his chief wise man? Perhaps Daniel feels “forgotten,” “overlooked” or “erased.” Perhaps the others did not want to look ignorant again. Perhaps Daniel had aged and stepped down from his responsibilities. In any case, I suspect we can identify with the feeling of being forgotten. Describe_________________________ Daniel’s response to the King seems a bit sharp.

18 O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him. 21 He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will. 22 And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! 23 You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. 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 power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored.

  1. How would you describe the trajectory of Nebuchadnezzar’s life?____ How would you describe the trajectory of your life?___________________
  2. How has King Belshazzar gone astray?________________________
  3. Are there ways in which you could improve in honoring God? _______

24 “So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; 28 peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed. 31  And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

  1. Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin. “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” This time there was no one year lull between prophesy and reality. That night King Belshazzar was killed and the great Babylonian empire came to an end. Pretty heavy. What lesson might we learn from this chapter of Daniel that could apply to our lives in 21st century USA?


Study 10 Daniel 4: 28-37

June 18, 2020


Last week we studied Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream and Daniel’s interpretation. Unlike the first dream of the King’s greatness, the second dream prophesizes that the King will be struck with boanthrophy, he will experience himself as an ox – eat grass, grow long hair, exiled from human company. Nebuchadnezzar who has built one of the great empires of time will suddenly be like a dumb ox, not in control but controlled by others. We pondered what might be the fear that could overtake us and humble us but we also noted the situation came from God, not random chance, and had a purpose, to teach the king about God. Daniel advises the King to make major life changes, atoning for wrongs of his kingship.

Today’s text takes place a year later. Nebuchadnezzar does indeed develop boanthropy as he claims credit for having created all the wonderfulness of the Babylonian empire and not recognizing God’s role in the process.

  1. Has there been a time in your life when “fortunes reversed,” when there was a sudden change that felt humbling, humiliating? Perhaps you were caught in an event to your parent or to a spouse or perhaps you can tell the story of a historical person who overcame adversity. Describe that time? What characterized this event?

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! 32 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.

  1. What were the losses in your story?_________________________
  2. Was the situation for a period or did it lead to a major transition in your life? ___________________________________________________
  3. What lesson was learned from this difficult time? _____________


34 When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.

I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored the one who lives forever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does what he wills with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What are you doing?”


36 At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride.

  1. What are the lessons Nebuchadnezzar learned? ________________
  2. v. 35 is a strong statement. Agree or Disagree? Why____________
  3. Can you give an example of people’s prayers changing the course of history? ________________________________ (e.g. Moses and God).
  4. How do we explain miracles in light of God’s sovereignty? ________
  5. Nebuchadnezzar is restored to his former position and power. He attributes God’s ways with justice. That is a big word these days. How would you describe justice? Antonym______________ Synonym_______ Example __________________ How do we understand the King’s pride, boanthrophy, and justice?_____________
  6. As you look back on the experience you described, what lessons were learned? Did your concept of God change? Was the situation just in retrospect?