Daniel: Hope for the Faithful

Spring semester, 2022

The Daniel series is complete! This page has all the study questions, reference material, and videos.  You can scroll down for earlier lessons.  

Lesson 12 (May 3, 4): The Wise Will Understand

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 12:5 - 13, Mark 8:27-38; Mark 13

  1. From last week’s lesson, what did we learn about the spiritual realm and how it relates to us? What was the Vision in chapter 11 about?
  2. What were the themes of Daniel? How does the final epilogue of the book highlight them?
  3. The title Jesus used most for himself was “Son of Man.” Even though that can mean just a “human person,” we often talk about it referring to the “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7:8-14. Read Mark 8:27-38 and 13:1-37. What do you think? How does the book of Daniel point to Jesus?
  4. What have you learned from Daniel that makes a difference to our lives today?

(The end of the video contains a discussion about what we'll be studying next, in Fall 2022 / Spring 2023.  There is no more Daniel content after that discussion starts.)

You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  

Lesson 11 (April 19, 20): Daniel's Third Vision

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 10:1 - 12:4

  1. From last week’s lesson, what is important about Daniel’s Prayer? What do we learn from it?
  2. What happens to Daniel when he begins to see the vision in Ch. 10? How does he feel? How is he strengthened?

The final vision in chapters 10-12 is related to the same history that we learned for the visions in chapter 7 and 8 and that Gabriel spoke about at the end of chapter 9. (The text of the slides with historical points is available under Lesson 9 on https://www.subscribepage.com/danielstudy).

Ch. 11 begins with the end of the Persian empire and rise of the Greek empire in 11:2-4.

3. Who is the “mighty king” in 11:3? What historical event is described in 11:4?

    Daniel 11:5-20 focuses on the conflict between the Ptolemies in the south and the Seleucids in the north, a history spanning 148 years.

    4. Who is the “contemptible person” (v.21) who “exalts and magnifies himself” (v.36) in Daniel 11:21-45? What commonalities can you find between this section and the ends of the visions in chapters 7, 8 and 9?

        You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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        Additional Scriptures: Psalm 82:1, Deut 4:19, Isaiah 24:21, 1 Cor. 10:20

        Key Dates:

        606 BC – “the third year of Jehoiakim King of Judah” Dan 1:1

        539 BC - Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon

        538 BC – Cyrus allows Jews to return and rebuild

        536 BC – the third year of Cyrus King of Persia

        Lesson 10 (April 12, 13): Daniel's Prayer

        Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 9, Jeremiah 25:11-14; 29:4-14

        1. From last week’s lesson, what is Daniel’s second vision about? How does it relate to his first vision in the previous chapter? What do you think about the idea of the battle in heaven mirroring the battle on earth?
        2. In whose reign is this chapter set? What other chapter was set in this same reign? What was Daniel’s main activity that was used against him?
        3. What sin is Daniel confessing? Whose sin is Daniel confessing? If it is not his own, why is he confessing it?
        4. If the period of time is already predicted by Jeremiah, what is Daniel’s goal? What effect does Daniel’s prayer have?

          You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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          Additional Scriptures mentioned in this lesson: Zechariah 1:12-17, 2 Chronicles 36:19-22; Leviticus 26:14-19, 40-45, 23-24

          Lesson 9 (Mar. 22, 23): Daniel's Second Vision

          Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 8, 1 Maccabees 1*

          *The Maccabees are Deuterocanonical books, meaning books of the secondary canon – near Scripture, but not actually Scripture. Many Protestant translations do not include them, but they’re worth reading. Bible Gateway is a good place to find them online, and the RSV translation includes them. Try this link:

          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Maccabees+1&version=RSV

          1. From last week’s lesson, how does chapter 7 function in the structure of the book of Daniel? What was the message of Daniel’s dream and its interpretation?
          2. What connections do you see between the two visions in Ch. 7 and Ch. 8? What are the similarities?
          3. What are the effects of the actions of the small horn (v. 9 and following), who is also the “stern-faced king” of v. 23 and following? What happens on earth? What happens in heaven?
          4. How do these visions effect Daniel? Why?

          Information from slides used in lesson:
          Key Dates:

          539 BC Cyrus the Great of Persian King conquered Babylon

          (538 BC Cyrus allows Jews to return and rebuild)

          336 BC Alexander the Great becomes king of Greece

          331 BC Persia falls to Greece

          323 BC Alexander dies suddenly of a fever

          301 BC Four generals ally to divide into four kingdoms

          Four Kingdoms (Dan 8:8, 22):
          Cassander – Macedonia & GreeceLysimachus – Trace & Asia MinorPtolemy – Israel & Egypt
              - Named Ptolemy I, Ptolemy II, etc.
              - Kept control of Israel until 198BC - lost Israel to Seleucids
              - The “king of the South” in Dan. 11:6 is a PtolemySeleucid – Syria, Babylon, & Persia
               - Named Seleucus I, Antiochus I, Antiochus II, Seleucus II, etc.
              - Antiochus III “the Great” (223-187BC) reclaimed much territory, including
          Israel but overreached and lost – owed reparations

          Antiochus IV Epiphanes (222-187BC):
          Son of Antiochus III The Great

          Hostage in Rome due to military reparations

          Released when brother took the throne (brother’s son to be replacement hostage) but brother assassinated & ascended to the throne himself

          169 BC began using title “God Manifest”

          After a perceived revolt, quashed Jews mercilessly

              You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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              Antiochus IV’s Actions Against Jews:
              Jason, brother of legit high priest, bribed for high priesthood &
              encouraged Hellenization (Greek athletic events dedicated to gods,
              reversal of circumcision, etc.)

              Menelaus installed for bigger bribe (funded by selling temple vessels & covered by murder of legit high priest)

              Jason tried to reclaim by force when heard rumor Antiochus had died in Egypt

              Treated as revolt: massacred Jews, drove out Jason, plundered temple (2 Macc. 5:5-16)

              Lost humiliatingly in next campaign in Egypt; took it out on Jews, responding brutally to resistance to Hellenization in Jerusalem

              Sent a general who pretended peace, waited until Sabbath, then ruthlessly
              attacked – mass killings, selling women and children into slavery, plundered and burned city, pulled down outer walls (1 Macc. 1:29-35; 2 Macc. 5:23-26)


              Antiochus IV’s Actions Against Jews (continued on second slide):
              Judaism made illegal

              Sacrifices stopped

              Circumcision forbidden

              Keeping Sabbath and festivals outlawed

              Scripture ripped and burned (1 Macc. 1:41-61)

              Troops went thru towns sacrificing pigs to Greek gods and forcing Jews to eat the meat

              Pagan altar set up in Temple to offer unclean animals to Zues (1 Macc. 1:54,
              59; 2 Macc. 6:2, 4-5) – "the abomination that causes desolation" (Dan.
              9:27; 11:31; 12:11; 1 Macc. 1:54)

              Lesson 8 (Mar. 22, 23): Daniel's Dream

              Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 7

              1. In last week’s lesson, what did you take away from the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Pit? What applications can you see to our lives today?
              2. What feelings are conveyed by Daniel’s dream and the beasts? How does Daniel feel about what he’s seen? How does the feeling change in verse 9?
              3. Remember that in the creation story, the unordered world (“formless and empty” or “wild and waste,” Gen 1:1) is covered by “the deep,” or in ancient Near East thought, the Chaos Waters, the primordial abyss. It is the fountains of the great abyss that break open to let in the Flood in Gen. 7:11. In Daniel’s vision, what might the sea represent? What does it mean that the monsters come from it?
              4. How is Daniel’s role different in this vision than in the previous visions? What message(s) do you think the changes in Daniel’s role convey?

              Additional Scriptures for this lesson: Genesis 1:1-2; Revelation 4:6, 15:2, 21:1; Psam 104:3, 68:4; Mark 14:61-62

                  You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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                  Terms

                  formless & void - tohu & bohu

                  the deep - tehom

                  Spirit - ruach (wind, breath, spirt)

                  Tiamat - Babylonian chaos goddess/monster

                  Emuma Elish - Babylonian creation epic

                  Lesson 7 (Mar. 8, 9): In the Lion's Pit

                  Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 6

                  1. In last week’s lesson, what were the Temple vessels and why were they important? What did Belshazzar’s drinking from them mean?
                  2. What is the motivation of the administrators and satraps? Why are they against Daniel?
                  3. How would you characterize Daniel’s resistance? How is it similar and/or different to the resistance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in chapter 3?
                  4. How does this chapter echo chapter 3? How is it different? What themes are the same? What do you think this story adds to the message of Daniel?

                  History information:

                  Assyrian Empire
                  (Took Northern Kingdom of Israel into Exile in 722BC)

                  Babylonian Empire + Median Empire
                  unite to over throw Assyrians
                  Assyria falls to Babylonians and Medes 609BC

                  Babylonians: central Mesopotamia
                  and points west
                  Nebuchadnezzar (605BC-562BC)
                  586BD Southern Kingdom of Judah
                  into Exile 586BC
                  …[other kings]
                  Nabonidus (556-539BC)
                  Belshazzar acting king (c.549-
                  539BC)

                  (continued below video)

                    You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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                    Medes: north and east of
                    Mesopotamia
                    Cyrus the Great (559BC) king of
                    Persia
                    Persia rebels against the Medes
                    550BC Media falls to Persia

                    Persian Empire
                    Babylon falls to Persia 539BC
                    … [other kings]
                    Darius I Hystapes (522-486BC) – 20 satrapies

                    Lesson 6 (Mar. 1, 2): The Writing on the Wall

                    Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 5

                    1. In last week’s lesson, what kind of tree (not meaning what species, but what was it like) represented Nebuchadnezzar and what did that mean? What was the symbolism of his becoming a beast? What is one way you can be like a good tree in the kingdom of God?
                    2. What is Belshazzar’s feast like? What does his motivation seem to be for calling for the temple vessels?
                    3. What were these temple vessels, and why did they matter, anyway?? Read Ex. 25:23-31. What vessels are mentioned? What are they for?
                    4. How does this chapter connect to several previous stories? How does it mirror Chapter 4? How does it depart from Ch. 4?

                    You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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                    Babylonian Kings in the 2 Kings/Daniel period:

                    • Nebuchadnezzar (605 – 562BC)
                      • Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach of 2 Kgs. 25:27) (562 – 560BC)
                    • Usurped by Neriglizzar (560 – 556BC)
                      • Labashi-Marduk (556BC)
                    • Usurped by Nabonidus (556 – 539BC) – last king of Babylon, had abandoned Babylonia for Temia, a desert oasis, for 10 years.
                      • Belshazzar (not called king in Babylonian records – administration of Babylon delegated to him by Nabonidus)

                    539 BC Cyrus the Persian attacks during a drunken festival and (supposedly) takes the city without a fight.

                    [Darius and the Medes are a separate puzzle, which we will not have time for today and will tackle next week.]


                    Lesson 5 (Feb. 15, 16): The King Humbled

                    Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 4

                    1. In last week’s lesson, how did the three friends support and resist Babylon? What kind of deliverance did God provide? How was this story meaningful to you?
                    2. What elements of this chapter echo the story of The King’s Dream in Daniel chapter 2? How do these repetitions highlight the themes of Daniel?
                    3. What elements or comments can you find that are repeated both before and after the telling of the dream (Dan. 4: 4-9 and 4:18). What literary effect does the repetition create?
                    4. Why a tree? What other Biblical stories does this bring to mind?


                      You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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                      Lesson 4 (Feb. 8, 9): In the Fiery Furnace

                      Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 3

                      1. In last week’s lesson, what did the vision of the four kingdoms teach us? What were the themes of Daniel that we will be looking for?
                      2. What phrases are repeated in this passage? Repetition of lists seems to be a favorite literary technique of the author. Count the number of times Nebuchadnezzar is said to have “set up” the image of gold (the NIV omits one, but the others are there). Why is this word repeated? How does it tie in with the last chapter?
                      3. Why does Nebuchadnezzar insist everyone bow to the image? Why is it so important to him? What does it symbolize?
                      4. Who is in the furnace with the three friends? What is the importance of this presence?

                      You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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                      Lesson 3 (Feb. 1, 2): The King's Dream

                      Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 2

                      1. In last week’s lesson, how did the first few verses of chapter 1 set up the story? What are we left asking about Nebuchadnezzar? In the story of Chapter 1, what did the young men accept vs. resist? Why?
                      2. Read Gen. 41:1-45. What similarities do you see between these two stories? What message is the author communicating by the echoes of the Joseph story?
                      3. What character traits does Daniel show?
                      4. What themes can you identify in this chapter? Which ones might apply to all of Daniel? Often, songs / poems are used in the midst of a narrative text to communicate themes, so look there, as well as in the interpretation.

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                      The chiastic structure of chapters 2-7:
                      A B C : Cʹ Bʹ Aʹ.
                      A Ch. 2: The King’s Dream - of four kingdoms (metals) followed by the kingdom of God
                         B Ch. 3: Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace – refusal to worship & king’s wrath
                            C Ch. 4: Judgment on a king (Nebuchadnezzar)
                            Cʹ Ch. 5: Judgment on a king (Belshazzar)
                         Bʹ Ch. 6: Deliverance from the Lions’ Den – refusal to pray to king & competitor’s spite
                      Aʹ Ch. 7: Daniel’s Dream - Vision of four kingdoms (beasts) followed by the kingdom of God

                      You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  
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                      What are the four kings/kingdoms? Scholars differ! Three main schemes: Greek, Roman, Literary.
                      1. Greek: Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece. The Jews rise up and gain freedom for a time (Maccabees).

                      2. Roman: Babylon, Media/Persia, Greece, Rome. Jesus is born in the time of the Roman empire and his church spreads throughout the world.

                      3. Literary (the four kings mentioned in the stories in the Aramaic section of Daniel are described/foretold through the dream/vision): Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius the Mede, Cyrus the Persian.

                      What the schemes have in common is that human kingdoms rise and fall, but God is faithful to bring justice through his own kingdom.  This pattern happens in history, and eventually will happen completely!

                      Lesson 2 (Jan. 18, 19): At the Babylonian Court

                      Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 1

                      1. What did we learn about the book of Daniel last week? When is it set? What genre is it? What did you think about Daniel’s authorship and date?

                      2. Check out the story in Genesis 11:1-9. What place names overlap with Daniel 1:1-2 (you may need to refer to the footnote in verse 2)?

                      3. Consider the four young men in Daniel 1:6. What would their lives have been like up to this point?

                      4. Note the comparisons made in verses 10, 15, and 19-20. What does this  tell us about the experience of their years of training? Have you had a  time when you were being constantly compared against your peers?

                      5. What aspects of Babylonian life and culture did the four young men adopt? What aspect did they not? What was the difference?
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                      Hebrew and Babylonian names of the four young men:

                      • Daniel “My judge is God” becomes Belteshazzar – "lord of the straitened treasure" (all the Babylonian name meanings are guesses and hard to make sense of. In Hebrew, the new names are nonsensical.)

                      • Hannaiah – “Yah [as in YHWH] is gracious” becomes Shadrach – “royal” or “the great scribe”

                      • Mishael – “Who is what God is?” becomes Mishach – “guest of a king”

                      • Azariah – “Yah has helped” becomes Abednego – “servant of Nebo” (Nebo = Nabu - major god in the Assyro-Babylonian pantheon)

                      You can also watch the Tuesday version of the same lesson here.  

                      Additional Scriptures mentioned:
                      Genesis 11:1-9 Tower of Babel, Lev 21:16-24 (Priests without physical
                      defect), Lev. 22:19-21 (Sacrifices without physical defect)

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                      Babylonian Kings in this period:

                      - Nebuchadnezzar (605 – 562BC)

                      - Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach of 2 Kgs. 25:27) (562 – 560BC)

                      - Usurped by Neriglizzar (560 – 556BC)

                      - Labashi-Marduk (556BC)

                      - Usurped by Nabonidus (556 – 539BC) – last king of Babylon, from Haran where his mother was a priestess of moon god Sin. His preference for Sin angered Babylonians who worshiped Marduk. He abandoned Babylonia for Temia, a desert oasis, for 10 years. During that time the religiously important New Years Festival couldn’t be celebrated without him, which further outraged devotees.

                      - Belshazzar (not called king in Babylonian records – administration of Babylon delegated to him by Nabonidus) Thus, the Babylonians did not offer much resistance to the conquering Persians under Cyrus the Great in 539BC

                      Lesson 1 (Jan. 11, 12): Introduction - Daniel 1:1-5; 2 Kings 24:1-16

                      Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Daniel 1:1-5; 2 Kings 24:1-16

                      (plus some other verses below, designed to give us a little preview of the book!).

                      1. When does the beginning of Daniel occur with respect to the larger story of Israel? If you are familiar with the Old Testament, try making a quick timeline (skip the dates unless you want to add some!) of the major events of Biblical history. Mark where the story of Daniel fits.

                      2. We will be discussing authorship of Daniel in class. Read these passages to see what you can determine about who wrote the book of Daniel – does the book itself specify an author? Which parts are written in first person versus third person? Did Jesus say anything about the author of the book?

                      - Daniel 8:1-2, 9:2, 10:2

                      - Daniel 4:1-5

                      - Daniel 1:2

                      - Daniel 7:1-2

                      - Matthew 24:14-16

                      3. What is the book of Daniel like? What kind of content is in chapters 1 -6? What about 7-12?

                      4. Compare these two passages: Isaiah 1:2-4; Daniel 7:2-4. How are they similar? Different? What words would you use to describe the Daniel passage?

                      You can also watch the Tuesday version of this lesson here.  

                      From the whiteboard:

                      Major events of the history of Scripture -
                      • Abraham’s call (earliest Patriarchs ~2000BC)
                      • Joseph and migration to Egypt
                      • Exodus (~1450 or ~1250BC)
                      • Desert wandering / Conquest under Joshua
                      • Time of the Judges
                      • Saul / David (1000BC) / Solomon
                      • Dedication of the Temple (~950BC)
                      • Divided Kingdom (922BC)
                      • Israel (Northern Kingdom) exile (722BC)
                      • Judah (Southern Kingdom) exile (586BC)
                      • Return and rebuild (538-516BC)
                      • Between the Testaments: Jews struggle, intertestamental writings (like Maccabees) (400ishBC & following)
                      • Jesus the Messiah! (1-33AD)

                      Daniel by language:
                      1:1-2:4a – Hebrew
                      2:4b – ch7 – Aramaic
                      8 – 12 - Hebrew

                      A different genre: Apocalyptic Literature
                      • Prominent between 200BC and 300AD
                      • Originates in groups that see themselves as disenfranchised and are worried that they are powerless in the face of evil
                      • Uses first person in accounts of visions, often in the voice of a wise person of the past
                      • Uses coded language such as animals and numbers as symbols
                      • Includes interpretation by celestial intermediaries (such as angels)
                      • Describes history in periods that show the triumph of good over evil
                      • Discloses divine mysteries (partially!)
                      • Provides hope beyond the limitations of this world

                      Spring Semester Schedule: Meeting weekly with a break for service projects the last week of each month.

                      Date

                      Lesson

                      Daniel: Hope for the Faithful

                      Jan. 11/12

                      1

                      Introduction – Dan. 1:1-5; 2Ki 24:1-16

                      Jan. 18/19

                      2

                      At the Babylonian Court – Dan. 1

                      Jan. 25/26 – Service Day

                      Feb. 1/2

                      3

                      The King’s Dream – Dan. 2

                      Feb. 8/9

                      4

                      In the Fiery Furnace – Dan. 3

                      Feb. 15/16

                      5

                      The King Humbled – Dan. 4

                      Feb. 22/23 – Service Day

                      Mar. 1/2

                      6

                      The Writing on the Wall – Dan. 5

                      Mar. 8/9

                      7

                      In the Lion’s Pit – Dan. 6

                      Mar. 15/16 – Off for Spring Break

                      Mar. 22/23

                      8

                      Daniel’s Dream – Dan. 7

                      Mar. 29/30 – Service Day

                      Apr. 5/6

                      9

                      Daniel’s Second Vision – Dan. 8

                      Apr. 12/13

                      10

                      Daniels Prayer – Dan. 9

                      Apr. 19/20

                      11

                      Daniel’s Third Vision – Dan. 10:1-12:4

                      Apr. 26/27 – Service Day

                      May 3/4

                      12

                      Those Who are Wise Will Understand – Daniel 12:5-13

                      May 10 – Spring Planning Session

                      .