Today we begin the wonderful book of Daniel!

Our readings are Daniel 1-3

Read today’s Bible readings at BibleGateway by clicking here. 

Rabbit Trails

Perceptions of the book of Daniel tend to vary according to theological viewpoints. As a result, we need to be especially guarded when reading footnotes and commentaries on the book of Daniel as there are many noted scholars (Christians at that) who feel it is not authentic due to all of the prophecies told within. Their thinking is that so many of the prophecies came true that this book must have been written after the fact. However, Messiah Himself quoted Daniel and much of Revelation depends on it. To keep things short, if the book of Daniel is not authentic then we have to also question the authenticity of Messiah – and He proved himself time and again so we won’t go there.

Interesting facts for people who like to know stuff:

  • This book was written in two languages originally, Hebrew and Aramaic. However, Daniel was living in Babylon at the time and the language of Babylon was Aramaic. An important thing to note is that the passages in the book of Daniel that speak directly to Israel were written in Hebrew, while the passages directed to the Gentiles were in the language they spoke, so Daniel’s switching back and forth between languages makes sense.
  • In Hebrew, the book of Daniel is classified as part of the “writings” or Ketuvim.
  • Daniel’s Hebrew name, transliterated to English, is very similar, it would be Daniyel or something close to that. I love it when names were preserved well through translation as is the case here.
  • Daniel and his friends were not slaves, even though they were taken against their will. We see that they were treated well, respected, and given highly revered positions in Babylon. While the story focuses on these four, there were more taken.
  • Eating at the king’s table doesn’t mean they took their meals with the king but, rather, were provided food from the king’s stores.
  • Name Game – I used to look up the meanings of the Hebrew names of Daniel and his friends.

Name meanings:

Daniel –  – YHWH is my judge

Hananayah –  – YHWH has been gracious

Mishael –  – Who is as YHWH is?

Azaryah –  – YHWH has helped

Daniel quickly stepped up and becomes the spokesperson for the group. Why? Because the king ordered that they be fed from his table and Daniel, who lived according to YHWH’s statutes, knew this food would not be acceptable for Him to eat in the eyes of YHWH.

But why is that?  YHWH laid out specific instructions as to what was to be considered food for his people and what was not to be considered food back in Leviticus, and Daniel was keenly aware of these commandments. A Babylonian king who worshipped idols would have not share the same views on food as an Israelite who lived in obedience to YHWH. For example, pork was a huge part of the Babylonian diet. Archeologists have found some sites in which 30% of all bones excavated belonged to pigs.

Imagine if you were coming to my house and after you arrived, you found out that I was serving dog or cat for supper. Daniel would have been just as disturbed as you likely were reading that sentence. Of course, dogs and cats are also animals which are not to be food for us according to YHWH’s word.

So, Daniel immediately recognized that he would need to defy the king in order to remain obedient – and he went forth in obedience with knowledge and expectation that YHWH would prove true yet again. Either way it went, he was determined to obey YHWH, come what may. He had already chosen who he was serving (Joshua 24:14-15).

Daniel Diet Sidenote: Some people use this text to say that we should only eat vegetables. By that standard, we should only drink water, too. We know that our Messiah did not adhere to this as we clearly see He drank wine. We also see that the Father made allowances for us to eat meat in Leviticus 11. I’m not speaking against vegetarian, vegan, or any number of special diets that folks have found which work well for them. I’m simply stating that the Father has given us many choices when it comes to what we can eat.

Some key verses that jumped out at me:

But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind. -Daniel 2:30

Daniel was not one to peacock about. Despite the Father having gifted him with wisdom, understanding, and the gift of interpreting dreams, he remained incredibly humble.

Later on at the end of chapter two (beginning in verse 31), notice that Daniel not only interpreted the dream for the king, He also told him what the dream was! Did you catch that? The king had not actually told Daniel what his dream was.

The confrontation in chapter three reaches a head at the question of Nebuchadnezzar when he basically says “Okay if you’re not going to worship my idol, what god is going to save you from this fire?”

And the men reply

“Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter…” (Daniel 3:16) Because YHWH is about to show you

Seriously, how cool was that moment? How amazing was that faith?

I want to take a slight detour to encourage folks who didn’t grow up reading the Bible because this story played a pivotal role in my life as a Believer.

I was not raised in a home where my parents went to church. When I was 12, we found out there was a church van that came around and picked up kids to take them to a local church. My sister and I started riding on that van on Wednesday nights and many Sunday mornings. We did this for years. However, no one read the Bible in our home and little actual Bible was taught in the church services (it was mostly taught in snippets, a single verse would be expanded to a whole talk or a lesson centered around one or two lines taken out of context).

I was young and the only Bible we owned was a King James so I just relied on whatever the church leadership and Sunday school teachers taught.

Fast forward to my early twenties and I had become heavily involved in another church, where we started having more in depth classes and such.

One day, sitting in a Bible study class, the teacher offhandedly mentioned the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I had never heard this story before so I was intrigued and opened my Bible to it. He continued talking and then offhandedly mentioned the fire. I audibly gasped and every head in the room turned to me but I barely noticed. As he continued speaking and finished up the story, my eyes were as big as dollars and I was absolutely awestruck by what I had just heard! I looked around and noticed that, to everyone else in my class this seemed like old hat – No big deal.

Why was this? They were used to it. This story was such a regular part of their upbringing that it no longer evoked wonder.

But that is when I realized that, as frustrating as it was not knowing the Bible as well as those around me did, it was a great blessing to have been in a position to discover it as an adult because nothing seemed “normal” to me, every bit of it was wonderful, awe inspiring, and earth shaking. Discovering the Bible as an adult allowed me to see it in all of its wonder, with no acclimation or normalization of it.

Every miracle, rather than being a story I had grown up hearing, was a newly discovered miracle.

I was able to experience the wonder as a first time hearer of the amazing story of our Father.

After that, I never saw myself as being at a disadvantage for having not been raised in the church or in a Bible reading home. I came to see it as the gift that it was. Just as it is a gift to be raised in a Bible reading home. The Father uses both.

So don’t feel diminished if you are reading the Bible for the first time in your life, no matter what your age may be.

The Father planned for you to meet His word where you are right now, who you are right now, in the circumstances you are in right now.

You are not behind. You are on His timeline and His timing is perfect.

Interesting note: In case y’all haven’t caught onto this by now, weird things jump out at me when I read sometimes, things which I find fascinating. In Daniel 3:25 we read:

He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

In Hebrew, in place of “son of the gods” we read “Bar Elahin” which means son of god, son of a god, or son of gods.

Now, let’s look at Matthew 27:20-23:

Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Ready for something fascinating? We will cover this when we get to Matthew but I just couldn’t pass up sharing a little bit of it today.

Barabbas is a contraction of Bar Abba – which means son of the Father or son of God. We know that Messiah was recorded as referring to our Father as Abba on more than one occasion (Mark 14:36 being one).  Some think, and I hold this as a distinct possibility myself, that there were those among the crowd who heard the crowd shouting for the release of Barabbas, which in their language is saying “son of Abba” and joined in, thinking they were crying out for the release of our Messiah. Something to turn over in your mind today.

Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21

We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!

May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!

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Christy Jordan
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