Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 80
STUDY of DANIEL – PART 1 – 2
Daniel 1:1 – 2:39
Okay, good to see you all back. We’ll get on with our next half hour. We’re going to stay in our study of Daniel. But first I want to again thank my television audience, as well as all you folks here, for all of your kind letters, your financial help, and your prayers. I just want you all to know I can’t do it without it. And even though these are rough financial times, and we keep looking for things to start diving, they’re not. My, you can’t imagine the box of letters we’ve had each day the last two days. So, thank you out there in TV-land. How we—our hearts—go out to you.
And again, we always are mindful of those of you who write that you are fighting disease of one kind or another or financial problems. We cherish taking those requests into the Throne Room. We really do.
All right, for those of you here in the viewing audience, we’ll go back for just a moment to Daniel. To just pick up what’s on the board, we’re in Book number 80. I don’t know how many of these programs will continue through Daniel, but we’ll take it as it comes, verse-by-verse. So if you’ll come back with me to Daniel chapter 1—and I purposely deferred a couple of things, because I didn’t want to have too much introductory stuff—but I’ve got to get it in someplace. So what I think I’ll do is come back to chapter 1 and verse 1. I think that’s really all we need. Why, when Israel was so connected to their God, did He permit these pagan Babylonians to come in and do battle with them? Well, there’s going to be reasons, and I’ll show you in just a minute. But in Daniel chapter 1:
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” And of course, like we’ve already seen, he took all of the upper-crust captives back to Babylon. Then several years later he came back and destroyed the city, the wall, the gates, and the Temple. Then he came back a third time and took almost everything that was left of the population. All right, so why? Well, you’ve got to remember that Israel was always under God’s blessings, but also His chastisements.
Come back with me now to Leviticus chapter 26. This is a two-fold prophecy. Now this took place the first time, like we’ve just seen, with Nebuchadnezzar coming and taking the people of Israel captive. It happened again when the Romans came in A.D. 70. They didn’t just take them back to one place; they scattered them from one end of the world to the other. But it was still two of the dispersions that were in Israel’s future.
All right, the first one is where they went to Babylon—Leviticus chapter 26:32 and 33. But it’s a valid prophecy even for today, and I use it whenever I speak of signs of the times—how this is already fulfilled with Israel back in the land. But you’ve got to remember, that it was originally directed to Israel with regard to 600 B.C., because Leviticus is way back in the time of Moses.
See, now here again, the scoffer cannot comprehend that. That way back, hundreds of years before the fact, Moses is predicting this Babylonian captivity. Then we get a little closer to it, and Isaiah predicts the name of the emperor that will send them back. I mean, that’s what is so unique about Scripture.
You know, I heard one of the major commentators the other day interviewing one of the major scoffers of right-wing television. I don’t like to use names. I don’t want to get in trouble, if I can help it. But the commentator said, “Now wait a minute. You are always condemning this network. Have you ever listened to it?” “No way.” “Well, how can you condemn something you’ve never listened to?” Isn’t that right? Same thing with this Book. Do you know that 99 out of 100 people who scoff at this Book have never read one verse of it? All they go by is their gut feeling and hearsay. And all I tell people is, “Listen, just realize how intrinsically this Book has been put together.”
I used an illustration way back in one of the first programs twenty years ago. Just like a finely tuned Swiss watch with all of its intricate movements—take any one of them out, and it will stop. But, you see, that’s this Book. It is so put together – intrinsically. All right, Leviticus chapter 26, drop down to verse 32 where God says through Moses:
“And I will bring the land (That is the land of Canaan.) into desolation: and your enemies who dwell therein (That is the Canaanites at this point in time.) shall be astonished at it.” At what? The desolation. How unproductive a beautiful strip of land could become, could so completely fall apart. But God did it with earthquakes. He did it with pestilence. He did it with drought. It stopped raining. All right, so here it is all foretold almost 1,000 years ahead of time. Now verse 33:
“And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: (In other words, there’d be tremendous loss of life.) and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. 34. Then (When Israel is out of the land and everything is destroyed, God says–) shall the land (the Promised Land, the land of Canaan) enjoy her Sabbaths,…”
Well, what was the Sabbath in Israel’s history? They had to leave the land fallow every seventh year. From the time that they came in under Joshua, they had to leave it fallow. God said, “I’ll give you enough extra on the sixth year and the first year that you won’t miss it.” But did they believe God? No. They kept on farming it. They kept on taking out the fruit. So God says it’s going to get them. All right, here it is. So when they’re out of the land, and there’s no production, there’s no farming, there’s no fruit trees growing, “Then shall the land rest and enjoy her (What?) Sabbaths.”
Now like I said in the beginning of the first program, 490 years are in one of these categories. For 490 years Israel never gave the land the Sabbath rest. So how many years did it owe God? Seventy. Seventy times seven is 490. All right, so He permitted these pagans to bring destruction into their country and to take them out captive, so that the land could enjoy its make-up Sabbaths.
All right, now there was a second reason that Israel was so guilty. Who wants to guess? What was their problem? Oh, come on. Idolatry! They had a pagan god under every green tree. The Temple was still operating, but that didn’t make any difference. They were still worshipping all the pagan gods and goddesses. Unbelievable! I still can’t get over it as often as I’ve read it and taught it. How these people, brilliant as they were then, just like they are today; and yet so ignorant that they would worship idols of gold and silver and stone and ignore the God of Israel. It’s unbelievable. But they did.
Now for that, turn with me to Jeremiah chapter 44, and we’ll see how this becomes part of the problem. This is why they hated Jeremiah so horribly that they threw him into a dungeon, you know. Jeremiah 44, let’s drop in at verse 15. Now this is hard to comprehend. Yet it’s exactly what the Book says. It describes it so perfectly. Now even in the Book of Hosea, what was the problem? They were following after all these pagan gods.
Those of us that were up in Israel just the other day, up in the northern part, we saw the old altar of Dan—the first tribe to go into abject idolatry. They’ve found the whole thing now, the altar and everything, under dirt for all these hundreds and hundreds of years. But just to prove that the Bible was not kidding, Dan was the first to go into idolatry with all their pagan immorality.
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt,…” Now there’s a lot of Jews that ran down to Egypt to escape Babylon. All right, in Pathros, now look at their response when Jeremiah accuses them of their idolatry. They said in verse 16:
“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of Jehovah, we will not listen unto thee. 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense (You remember, that was part of pagan worship.) unto the (Who?) queen of heaven,…”
See, it was always the female goddesses that were at the top of everything, and they would send these people into the most abject immorality. Unbelievable. And that’s who they are worshipping, these female goddesses.
“…and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, (Now remember that drink offering, because we’re going to come to why Daniel won’t drink the wine of Nebuchadnezzar.) as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: (Now what a lie, the next statement.) for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.”
“But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, we have wanted all things,…” They were destitute. They needed this, and they needed that, because they had left off worshiping the female goddesses. What a lie. All right, now verse 19:
“And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink-offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink-offerings unto her, without our men?” The women just went ahead and did it anyway.
“Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people who had given him that answer, saying, 21. The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?”
And what did he do? He brought the Babylonians, and they went under abject misery. Now you’ve got to realize, too, the Ancients—especially the upper crust—did they ever exercise any human rights? They didn’t know what it was. They would kill left and right and never blink an eye, because they were just serfs. They were slaves.
I will never forget—I guess it was the first time we went to Israel—we could still go up the rampart to Masada, but we can’t do that anymore. They’ve got it all fenced off. I guess it was too dangerous. But see, when the Romans besieged Masada—I trust you all know that Masada is that high mountain that they had a fortress on the top. When the Romans besieged Masada, the only way to the top was up what they called the Snake Trail. It’s only about three feet wide. Well, two men could hold off an army.
So they knew they would never capture those 900 Jews by going up the Snake Trail. So, what’d they do? They started building a rampart from the north. Ten thousand Roman troops, plus who knows how many Jewish slaves, start building this earthen rampart from down on the desert floor all the way to within ten feet of the top. And I’ll never forget it as long as I live. As I was walking up that with our Jewish guide, he said, “You know, Les, no one will ever know how many Jewish bodies were just simply left to die, covered up by the dirt. And they just kept on going.”
Well see, that was the attitude towards the human. It’s still like that in a lot of places today, but more so in antiquity. Human lives meant nothing to these people. You could just as well cut off a chicken’s head. It didn’t make any difference. Always keep these things in mind—that when these people went into captivity, they were now going to be subjected to no human rights as we understand them.
All right, now let’s come back and we’ll pick up where we left off in the last program. In Daniel, I think we’re still in chapter 1, and we’ll pick up in verse 9. Let’s look at verse 8 just for a review.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king’s meat, (or food) nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Now there again, you have to understand, what was the mentality? How could a good, righteous Jew like little 15 year-old Daniel eat this meat that had been offered to a pagan female goddess? How could they drink wine that, before they even did anything, they would pour out a portion of it as a libation for pagan gods? Well, Daniel said, “I can’t do that.”
Well, you know, Paul had a little bit of controversy with that, didn’t he? He said they won’t bother me, because I know those dumb idols can’t do anything. But on the other hand, he did condescend and say that’s all right. If it’s going to be offensive to someone if I eat meat offered to the idols at the temples, he said, I’ll never eat another bite of meat as long as I live. So it’s always been that controversy. All right, but now then, back to Daniel chapter 1 verse 9.
“Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince (or the top man) of the eunuchs.” Now, does that ring a bell? I’m going to use two Scriptures. Turn with me first up to Romans. Well, I’ve got another one of those age-precipitated, what Floridians call a “senior moment.” I know it’s in Romans, but I’ve forgotten my reference. Can you believe that? Romans 15. Thank you. For our television audience, I guess I should tell them, I’m sick today. I’m not up to par, so bear with me.
(Les was really sick when he taped these two programs, but felt he’d let the studio audience down if he didn’t. Under the circumstances, Les did a superb job.– Jerry Pool)
Romans chapter 15 and verse 3, no, it’s verse 4. Sorry about that if you’ve written it in your notebook already. Romans chapter 15 verse 4, now this is the Apostle Paul writing to us.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (Old Testament) were written for our (What’s the word?) learning,…” Not doctrine. You don’t find the plan of salvation in the Old Testament. You won’t find the Christian walk as we experience it in the Old Testament. That was all Law. That was Israel. But here it is. It’s still profitable as Paul says, “…all Scripture is profitable.” Of course it is.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Now, take the young lad, 15 years old, down in a foreign country. In a foreign palace where any slip of the tongue and his head is off. Don’t you imagine he was homesick for Jerusalem? But, did Daniel ever turn against his God? Never.
All right, another one I like to look at is Joseph. I think rather than going back and reading it, you all know the account of Joseph. My goodness, the young man, too, probably in a late teen situation, and his brothers connived against him. First they were going to put him to death. Then they thought better of that, so they threw him in the pit. And what do you suppose old Joseph is thinking about now? Is this all part of God’s doing? And that’s typical. I mean, we’re all human. They were, too. All right, then he ends up in the house of Potiphar, and he gets put in the slammer because Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of propositioning her. And how long was he in prison? I think about ten years.
Well, now ten years in an Egyptian prison was not a Sunday school picnic. It was like a dungeon. But, did Joseph ever give up? No. No. And the day finally came when God put His thumb on Joseph and, by a supernatural turn of events, Joseph becomes the second man in Egypt. He becomes the sustainer, then, of his own family.
All right, now come back to Daniel. It is the same way. Daniel, now, is there because of who he is. He’s a believer. He’s a Jew. Yet he never relinquishes his faith in the God of Abraham. He never gives it up. All right, verse 9:
“Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince (or the head) of the eunuchs.” Which, of course, the first thing they did, even as a young lad; they neutered him. So he’s a eunuch, but he never stopped trusting the God of Abraham.
“And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your food and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse looking than the children who are of your sort?…” In other words, Daniel, I’ve got to keep you looking as good as the Babylonian kids, or my head is off. So Daniel says, sorry, but I don’t need your Babylonian rich food and drink. You can bring me (What’s the word in the King James?) pulse. Now the best way I can explain “pulse,” is Gerber’s baby food. Am I right? Pretty close. It was strictly vegetables. It was ground to where it was just a mush. That was pulse. And that’s all Daniel wants for himself and his three friends.
All right, come back to the text. Verse 10, the last part like I just said, they thought nothing of cutting somebody’s head off. He says:
“…for why should he see your faces looking worse than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.” What’s he talking about? Swish!!! Beheading. That’s nothing new for the Middle East. It’s been there for centuries. All right, look what Daniel says in verse 11.
“Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12. Prove (or test) thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse (Gerber’s baby food for ten days) to eat, and water to drink.” No wine. Just water and pulse.
“Then let our countenances to be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s food: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.” If we start looking pale and impoverished, and you can profit by getting rid of us, go ahead. But Daniel knows it’s not going to happen. All right, verse 15:
“And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children (That is of Babylon.) which did eat the portion of the king’s food. 16. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their food, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. (just a ground-up vegetable) 17. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom:…”
What does that tell you? Those kids were smart. Those kids had the answers. Now remember, they’re kids. They’re still only 15 years old. But God is using them, now, to confound all the intelligence of the Babylonians. All right, verse 20:
“And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them (these four Jewish lads) ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” From one end of the empire to the other, he couldn’t find anybody who could compare with these Jewish lads. Now verse 21 and I’m going to have to wind this up.
“And Daniel continued (That is in his service to these pagan governments.) even unto the first year of king Cyrus.” Now, if you’ve never heard it before, you’re going to hear me teach it as plain as I know how in the first few programs. Who was King Cyrus? Well, he was the king of the next empire coming—the Medes and the Persians. All right, what did Cyrus do? Cyrus wrote the decree that the Jews had the full freedom to go back to Jerusalem. He gave them all that they needed from the forests of Lebanon. He gave them absolute protection as they traveled, so that they could rebuild the Temple and rebuild the city of Jerusalem and get things cranked up and going for the next great event. Which was what? The first coming of Christ!
All right, to recap: Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel down into Babylon in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. So Daniel covered the whole scope of the 70 years of captivity. He was already 12 or 14 when he went down there, so how old is he at the end of the captivity? Eighty. But anyway, he’s going to stay in his place of authority until long after Cyrus sends the decree to send the Jews back. So where does that put Daniel. Probably 90 years old and all that time he’s been serving in a pagan government and has never let it defile him.
All right, now what is that for us? That’s what Paul means. That all these things are written for our learning, and they are written for our profit. How are we to operate in a system that is totally against us? We never compromise. Don’t ever compromise your faith. Be willing to do what Jonah did and walk the plank before you compromise these biblical truths. Now we’re living in a time—somebody sent us a paper the other day. Maybe I mentioned it in the last program. I think I did. Where 70% of American Christians think everybody is going to Heaven. How can they? Impossible!