My God hath Sent His Angel – Daniel 6:23

 According to my records we have been looking at this chapter for four weeks now. And of course, most of you have known the story of Daniel and the lions for decades before that. But how many times in the last four weeks have you thought about Daniel’s visit by the angel? Daniel says that it was an angel who came and closed the lion’s mouths that night. Come on now, was it really an angel, or is that just a figure of speech? Before this morning, how many times in the past seven days did you think about angels? None? Do you mean to tell me that you don’t often think about those special servants of God? Even though there could very well be more angels in this room than human beings? Don’t you realize that there is a spiritual warfare going on around you which involves God’s angels and those who serve Satan? Just because Fox News or CNN aren’t covering the battles between angelic armies, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. What are some of the reasons that people don’t often think about the creatures of the spirit world? First, there is the same reason that we don’t generally meditate on the blessing of electricity in their homes. Some Christians don’t think about angels because we take them for granted. Secondly, we don’t often think about them, because we are far too carnal than we ought to be. Our hearts and minds are like a manual, 3-speed transmission, which we constantly run in 2nd gear. And another reason that we don’t think about angels is...

Daniel – Type of Christ – Daniel 6:16-17

 Last week, as we read this chapter, I paused at verse 16 and pointed out that you should see some similarity with this and the entombment of the Lord Jesus. A few minutes ago we read from Matthew 27 and saw that Joseph laid the body of Jesus in his own tomb. Then the Jews, worried about what Jesus had prophesied about resurrection, went to Pilate for some help. He simply told them to make the grave as secure as possible, and so they sealed it and posted guards. In some ways there is a parallel with what happened to Daniel. Do you suppose that if we can see a glimpse of the Lord Jesus in this aspect of Daniel’s life, we might see other things about Christ? Without stretching our imaginations too far, I believe that we can. And perhaps I should say that we should. The Lord Jesus once said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Why were the people of Berea more noble than those of Thessalonica? Because they searched the scriptures daily. And what were they hoping to find in their daily searchings? Among other things, they were looking for the Saviour. I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit deliberately designed this chapter to teach us about Christ. But at the same time, we have here an Old Testament saint of God, who lived close to the throne of God. The more time that God’s children spend in fellowship with the Saviour, the more like Christ they become. And Daniel may...

Faith in the Lions’ Den – Daniel 6:1-28

 This chapter gives us the opportunity for a study of faith – in a couple of different ways. It involves the faith of three different people or groups. We can see genuine faith, weak faith and false faith. It’s not the fullest study that you’ll ever see, but perhaps we could consider it a refresher course. Let’s begin at the most unlikely spot – verse 4: “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was FAITHFUL, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” Have you ever wondered about the origin of the word “faithful”? “Faithfulness” is defined as “worthy of trust or belief,” and that is the meaning of the Aramaic word “am-AN.” Daniel could be believed; he was trustworthy. But if we split our English word apart into its two major components, it should mean “full of faith.” I won’t belabor the point, because I have mentioned it several times already, but Daniel was a trustworthy man, because he had placed his trust in the only God who is actually faithful and true. The second point in our message this afternoon could have been in this – This chapter displays God’s faithfulness toward His consistent servant. Deuteronomy 7:9 – “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”...

Judging the Law of God – Daniel 6:1-5

 I have a habit in preparing for these messages – a habit which you might classify a “bad habit.” I have the habit of rereading the chapter under consideration – from the beginning. Even though our previous message may have ended with verse 13 or verse 16, just to keep my mind in the context, I begin reading with verse 1 once again. But as all good Bible students know, with every reading of God’s Word, subjects will be found which hadn’t been considered before. As a result, it will sometimes seem that we are flopping back and forth in our study of the chapter. Our series from this chapter may be worse than some of the earlier periods in our study. But if it is of any consolation, I will not be preaching all the things which I have found. For example, we could say more about the words of verse 2 – “because an excellent spirit was in him” – but we have probably dealt with that subject enough all ready. The other day as I was reading, I was struck with the statement of verse 5 – “Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” “Against the law of his God.” As we have pointed out several times, Daniel’s enemies felt that the only way that they could condemn him was to force him to choose between obedience to the law of Darius and obedience to the law of God. And they knew full well that Daniel would choose...

Manipulated Deity – Daniel 6:1-9

 Exodus 20 reads – “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” These first two precepts of the decalogue address the very heart of man’s fallen, depraved condition. People commit murder, adultery, theft and every other sin, because they do not perceive God as they should. And because we don’t look upon Jehovah properly, we elevate created objects, placing them in positions in our hearts where only the Lord should be. These things are a part of the introduction to the Book of Romans, which we read a few minutes ago. “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they...

The Sought-after Saint – Daniel 6:10-17

 Have I mentioned that I like Daniel? Have I mentioned that there are few, if any Bible characters, who are as pure and exemplary as this man? We cannot go wrong in studying him four or five times throughout each of our children’s lives. We cannot go wrong in studying him for ourselves, over and over again. One of our men came to me a couple weeks ago, asking me if there were any other major Bible character of whom it could be said that we don’t have any of their sins described. His only suggestion was Joseph, whose life in many ways runs parallel to Daniel’s life. Joseph is the first person who comes to my mind in answering that question. But there were some things early in Joseph’s life, which might have been sinful. For example, was there any pride in the approach that he had toward his brothers? It’s hard to say. But getting back to Daniel – we can’t go wrong in trying to emulate him. When Darius became king of Babylon, he made Daniel one of the 3 presidents over all 120 provinces. Some commentaries interpret verse 3 as suggesting that Darius was considering replacing the three presidents with Daniel alone. Listen to verse 3 once again and decide for yourself – “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Whether that was actually the plan or not, the rest of the presidents and many of the princes hated Daniel and wanted him removed....

Daniel’s Prayer Life – Daniel 6:10-11

 Last Wednesday, as we began to delve into David’s sin with Bathsheba, I said that I was not excited about doing so. Some sins are just so odious and reprehensible that to study them, even for the most righteous of reasons, becomes distasteful. I find that to study David’s murder of Uriah easier than to look at his sin with Bathsheba. But I was quick to point out Wednesday, that my hesitation was not due to my own guilt in that kind of sin. If I was covering up some personal sin of adultery, both the sin and the cover-up would disqualify me from the ministry, and they should make my preaching about the sins of others shameful on my part. Well, once again, I have to admit that I’m a bit reticent and hesitant to preach the message before me tonight. And this time the reason is exactly the opposite to what I’ve just described. As I look at the prayer life of Daniel, I am put to shame for my failure to even approach this great man. This time, there are sins in my life, but they are sins of omission rather than commission. It isn’t that I don’t pray, however my prayer habits don’t approach those of our great example here. But here is one of the great differences between sins of omission and those of commission. Once the murder has been committed, there is nothing that can be done to bring the dead to life again. That sin is on the permanent record of the murderer. Kindness to the victim’s family can never replace the...

Principles of Judgment – Daniel 6:1-9

 Let’s say that a visitor from another galaxy, through a malfunction of his teleportation device, dropped into our world this morning. He is totally unfamiliar with our solar system; he didn’t even know that it existed. But his highly developed technology gives him the ability to understand our speech. And here he is in the 6th row on the east side of our auditorium, just as our church service begins. He hears us sing some of the songs of Zion, and wonders why some sing with enthusiasm, but the minds and mouths of others are miles away. He hears me announce our text and watches some open their Bibles, while others seem totally unconcerned. Then what is he to think as he hears me read these six verses? “What are these strange aliens doing? Is this like the child’s story-time at the local library? Is this the introduction to a movie, to a fable, to a legend?” Is there any purpose to words like these? This is a tiny piece of a rather entertaining, but small part of ancient history. And we know that it is also a part of the eternal, inspired Word of God. We aren’t here to be entertained, even though it might be entertaining. We are here to learn something about our God and of what He expects of us. With the blessing of the Lord, this could be an important hour in someone’s life, as they come to realize that they are under the microscope of judgment. So, Mr. Alien, pay attention, and you might become better prepared for eternity. And by the way,...

God’s Evangelistic Team – Daniel 5:10-12

 Before we move on to the next chapter, I’d like us to take a step back for a few moments. In these three verses we have an illustration of the work of the evangelist. This is something not confined to 500 BC and the work of Daniel, or to 50 AD and the work of the Apostle Paul. This is the work of the missionary, the work of the pastor, the work of the evangelist. But in a very special way, it is the work of every one of us. Daniel, a very special prophet of God, was sent by the Lord with a message for Belshazzar. Yes, it involved a special revelation and the interpretation of some mysterious words. But as we think about the lesson we learned last Sunday afternoon – that this writing on the wall was representative of all the Word of God – then what was done with that revelation is similar to what should always be done with the Word of God. God’s Word should be shared and taught – to anyone willing to listen. Let’s start with the Evangelist on this Evangelistic Team – Daniel.First, there was no doubt but that he was a child of God. Even though it is possible for an unsaved disciple to echo the words of the gospel, and for an ass to speak, the most effective evangelists and representatives for the Lord are God’s own saints. I won’t try to prove to you that Daniel was one of the Lord’s beloved disciples – simply put – he was. Second, he was in the place where God...

The Message – Daniel 5:25-28

 On the night that the great city of Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, the king of Babylon was enjoying a feast with a thousand of his family, his lords and his associates. He was probably thinking – foolishly thinking – that his city was safe and well-stocked. He didn’t need a 50,000 man army to defend Babylon, because there was a massive wall encircling everything, along with gates of brass and a moat. Besides that, his grandfather had proven that the gods of Babylonians were greater than the gods of all the nations around him. Yes, there had been a temporary set-back in regards to that Persian king, Cyrus, but his astrologers, soothsayers and other religious leaders were convinced that he had nothing to fear. So he was quite proudly afraid of nothing. The armies outside his impregnable walls, would eventually give up and move away long before the vast provisions inside the city walls could be expended. It was not just the gods of the Persians that Belshazzar detested – there was that Jehovah, God of Israel. Long before Chaldea had become an empire, God had prophesied the rise of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. And sure enough, eventually Belshazzar’s grandfather defeated the Assyrians, the Egyptians and even the self-imploding nation of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar had proven that the gods of the Babylonians were a thousand times greater than the God or gods of the Jews. Yes, Jehovah had declared that the Chaldean/Babylonian Empire would last for only 70 years, but that God had been defeated by the gods of Babylon when Jerusalem fell. Belshazzar had nothing to fear...

The Handwriting on the Wall – Daniel 5:5-12

 I suppose that I could find the same thing on the internet, but some of my old habits still linger. I used to collect, and still possess a great many different kinds of reference books. Quite often in the past when I went into a book store, whether new or used books, I would go to the reference section first. For example, I have a collection of different kinds of dictionaries – a crossword puzzle dictionary, two rhyming dictionaries, dictionaries for other languages, two thesauruses, books of anecdotes and quotes. One of my favorite reference books is called the “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins.” In this book are listed hundreds and hundreds of common phrases and special words, followed by an explanation of their original source. Yesterday I opened it at random and my eye fell on the word “Gotham.” The name “Gotham” was originally applied to New York City by Washington Irving in 1807. The word was brought from England where it was originally applied to a village outside Nottingham, know as the “town of wise fools.” Calling New York “Gotham” is to call the inhabitants there “wise fools.” Of course, “handwriting on the wall” is also to be found in this book. The explanation is as we might expect, Mr. Morris tells us – This is an expression often heard as a portent of doom. “When the candidate saw the early returns from his normally safe wards, he knew from the handwriting on the wall that he was doomed to defeat.” This phrase was inspired by a line from the Bible – A Babylonian king...

I’m Awake; I’m Awake – Daniel 5:5-9

 I have many, many times, been talking to someone on behalf of the Lord, or as an ambassador of my church, and knowing that my opportunity was coming to close, asked this common question: “If you died today, do you know – without a doubt – that your soul would go to Heaven?” This is one of the evangelist’s standard of approaches towards the lost man. If that man is trusting anything but the Lord Jesus Christ, his answer will have to be that he has doubts. From there, an occasion may arise to discuss what the Bible says about God’s saving grace. One of the purposes of the Word of God is “that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Unfortunately, on the majority of occasions when I have asked this question, I didn’t get the opportunity to go on with the precious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the fact is, those who have listened, responded and believed on Christ, have very few and far between. It is not exactly the same thing, but Belshazzar gives us an opportunity to think about this sort of thing. “If you died today, are you sure that you would go to Heaven?” One of the reasons that people haven’t always responded to that question, is because no one expects to be among that number who will die on this particular day. Unless we know that we have a fatal disease, or unless we have been in an accident, and we can see our life’s blood...

The Sin of Social Drinking – Daniel 5:1-4, 23

 It’s not a phrase which people hear very often, but it pops up every once in a while. People sometimes refer to the preacher’s favorite theme as his “hobbyhorse.” An “hobbyhorse” used to be a child’s toy. It was a stick with a wooden horse’s head attached. The little boy, or more often the little girl, would ride the stick, skipping around the yard pretending to be riding at a gallop. I don’t know how the term came to be applied to some pastors’ preaching, but there it is nevertheless. How often does the preacher have to refer to election, or to the sovereignty of God, before it can be said that he’s riding his hobbyhorse again? I’m not sure, but the more backslidden the observer, the quicker some Biblical themes reach that designation. Do three messages on the same subject within twelve months, qualify as riding a “hobbyhorse?” Since it was several years prior to last June that we addressed our theme for tonight, I sincerely doubt that this ranks as a hobbyhorse. The only exception of course, is if any of you are living under the indictment that I plan to lay before you. When God’s hand appeared out of thin air and engraved the words “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” on the wall of Belshazzar’s banquet hall, nearly everyone in that room had been drinking. The thousand politicians were drinking, and so were all the wives and concubines. Were there two thousand people there that night or perhaps four thousand people drinking? Apparently, just as it is in America, the imbibing of a little wine or beer...

The Defiant Sinner – Daniel 5:1-31 (1-4)

 I don’t know that it is the case with you particularly, but many would be unhappy that I’ve read so many verses. We’ve done this three or four times over the last three weeks in our study of chapter 4, and here we are beginning our next study by doing it once again. Two things need to be kept in mind: First – even though our thoughts are going to be basically confined to the first four verses, they loose strength when they are taken out of their context. We have to know how the end of the chapter takes place before we can fully grasp the significance of the beginning of the chapter. I could summarize everything from verse 5 forward, but that leads me to my second point. Daniel 5 is not a chapter of human history – it is the divine record of a small aspect of divine revelation. This chapter is not just Daniel’s perception of something that happened in the court of Babylon. These are words which the Holy Spirit gave to that prophet, and in so doing they were inspired of God. This chapter has been “God-breathed” to us, and this fact makes this chapter and book unique. So here comes David Oldfield with his three-point outline and his thirty minutes of jabbering. What he has to say may, or may not, be insightful, helpful or entertaining. The truth is – his words may be a waste of thirty or forty minutes of your time, and yet if you have concentrated for the five minutes that it took to read this chapter of...

Jehovah and the Dream – Daniel 4:1-37

 This evening I’d like to tie together some loose ends before moving on. I believe that we’ve sufficiently covered the importance and the lessons of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But there are some things which I think are fascinating, and which if properly approached should raise our love and appreciation of the Lord. I have been able to build a four point message which sounds sermonic, but it might be too generous to call this a “sermon.” We looked at “Daniel and the Dream” last Sunday night, and then “Nebuchadnezzar and the Dream” this morning. Now let’s turn to “Jehovah and the Dream.” This dream was divinely ordained and interpreted. Nebuchadnezzar was divinely ordained and replaced. Babylon was divinely ordained and destroyed. And Nebuchadnezzar’s malady was divinely ordained and removed. First, this dream was divinely ordained and interpreted.We don’t need to spend any more time on this point. The dream was given by Daniel’s God – Jehovah – and the recipient didn’t understand its meaning. So God gave the interpretation to Daniel to share with the king. As we said this morning, there is no other explanation for this other than the will and power of the Lord. And the meaning should be obvious – Jehovah rules in the kingdom of men. He will not tolerate the pride of man usurping God’s office and authority. He can easily humble the most pride-filled man or the most powerful person on earth. All humanity needs to bow before this omnipotent God. I don’t know what else to say about this – it has all been said a dozen times in the past three...