The Men who were Loyal to God

An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Daniel

www.easyenglish.info

Robert Bryce

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

 

About this book

The events in the first chapter of this book happened about 605 years before Christ was born. God had told the *Jews that they must obey him. God gave his people a long time to say sorry to him and to obey him. But they did more and more evil things and they gave honour to false gods. So God used a foreign king, Nebuchadnezzar, to punish the *Jews. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar took them away from the country that God had given them. Nebuchadnezzar did not give honour to the real God. He gave honour to false gods. But God still used him to punish the *Jews. In Jeremiah 25:9, 12, God said that Nebuchadnezzar was his servant. But Nebuchadnezzar did not know that. God also said that he would punish the people in Babylon 70 years later. This was because they were wicked too (see Daniel chapter 5). God is in control. He can even use people who do not know him.

The Book of Daniel is in two parts. In the first 6 chapters, we read about Daniel and his friends. They were loyal to God. In the other 6 chapters, we read about Daniel’s dreams. God sent him messages in dreams. God told Daniel what would happen in the future.

Chapters 1-6

This is the first part of the book of Daniel. Here we read about Daniel and his friends. Important people ordered them to do things. Daniel and his friends knew that these things would not please God. They were in danger because they refused. But God looked after them, because they were loyal to him.

Chapter 1

v1 Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. He came to Jerusalem with his army. Then he ordered his army to surround the city. This happened when Jehoiakim had been king of Judah for over two years. v2 God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to arrest Jehoiakim, king of Judah. God also allowed Nebuchadnezzar to *seize some holy objects from God’s house there. Nebuchadnezzar took those things back to Babylon. He put them among the valuable objects in the house of his own god.

Verses 1-2 God’s people, the *Jews, did not obey him. They did evil things and they gave honour to false gods. So God used a foreign king, Nebuchadnezzar, to punish them.

So, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, which was in Judah. And he surrounded it. Judah was the country that God had given to the *Jews. Nebuchadnezzar took many of the *Jewish people back to Babylon.

The *Jews had God’s special house in Jerusalem. So they thought that they were safe. But God even allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take holy things from his house and to give them to a false god.

v3 Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz, his chief royal official, to bring some of the *Jews from Israel to him. He selected young men from the royal family and from the important families. v4-5 He wanted young men who were healthy and handsome. The young men must be wise. And they must be able to learn and to understand quickly. These young men would be able to serve in the king’s palace. They must learn the language of Babylon and they must learn from the country’s books. The king also allowed them a daily share of the same food and wine as he had. After three years, they would then be ready to serve the king.

Verses 3-5 Although Nebuchadnezzar was wicked, he was also wise. He chose the best of the young men from the people that he had defeated. These young men learned about the things of Babylon. Then they could serve the king. Later they would probably rule over their own people. The people would probably not oppose their own young men.

The young men got the best education that the king could give them. They did not even have to worry about preparing meals. They got the same food and wine that the king had.

v6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who were from Judah, were among these young men. v7 The chief official gave them new names. He gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel and he called Hananiah, Shadrach. He gave the name Meshach to Mishael and he called Azariah, Abednego.

Verses 6-7 The Bible introduces us to four of these young men from Judah. They are the most important people in the book. They all had *Jewish names that gave honour to the real God. But the king’s official gave them *Babylonian names. These names contain part of the names of Babylon’s false gods. The official was trying to make them forget the real God.

Nebuchadnezzar had plans for these young men, but God had his plans too.

v8 But Daniel decided that he should not eat the royal food and wine, because of God’s law. So, he asked the chief official to allow him not to have it. v9 God had caused the chief official to like Daniel and to sympathise with him. v10 But the chief official spoke to Daniel. ‘I am afraid of the king, who is giving your food and drink to you’, he said. ‘He might see that you are not as healthy as the other young men. And then he will kill me.’

v11 The chief official had ordered a guard to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So Daniel spoke to this guard. v12 ‘We are your servants. Please test us for 10 days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. v13 Then see whether we seem healthy. Compare us with the young men who eat the royal food. Then decide how to deal with us, your servants.’ v14 So he agreed and he tested them for 10 days. v15 And after 10 days, their faces and bodies seemed more healthy than the young men who ate the royal food. v16 So the guard took away the royal food and wine and he gave them only vegetables.

Verses 8-16 We do not know why Daniel did not want to take the royal food and wine. In Babylon, people offered food to false gods before they ate it. Perhaps people would think that Daniel gave honour to those gods too. Daniel believed that it was wrong to eat the food. That is the important thing. (We may not be sure if something is wrong. But if we are not sure, then it is better not to do it.) So, Daniel asked if he could have vegetables and water instead.

It seems that Daniel was a good and pleasant person. So the king’s official liked him. God made Daniel like that. But the official was afraid of the king. The king might kill him if he did not obey the king’s command. The official wanted Daniel to eat the royal food. He thought that it would make Daniel seem healthier. Maybe this gave Daniel an idea. He asked the guard to give him and his friends vegetables and water for 10 days. Then the guard could see which of the young men were healthier. After 10 days, Daniel and his friends seemed healthier than the young men who ate the royal food. So, the guard agreed to give them vegetables and water.

v17 God gave these four young men knowledge. As they studied, he gave them skill in books and wisdom. And Daniel could also understand all kinds of dreams.

Verse 17 It was not easy to obey the real God in Babylon. But God helped these young men to obey him. He also made them very wise. God gave Daniel a special gift so that Daniel could understand all kinds of dreams.

v18 The time that the king had ordered finished. Then the chief official brought the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. v19 The king talked with them. He discovered that there was nobody else like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So they began to serve the king. v20 The king continued to ask them for wisdom and knowledge about everything. The king’s other wise men used every kind of magic to advise him. These other men came from every country that Nebuchadnezzar ruled. But the answers that Daniel and his friends gave seemed 10 times better than the other men’s advice.

Verses 18-20 It seems that Nebuchadnezzar was very clever too. He was able to ask the young men questions to see how wise they were.

God had made them so wise that they were better than the other young men. They were even much better than all the other wise men.

God made them very important people in a foreign country, where people gave honour to false gods. But Daniel and his friends remained loyal to the real God.

God knew that they would stay loyal to him. They would stay loyal to him, even if he asked them to do harder things.

v21 And Daniel stayed there until the year when Cyrus became king.

Verse 21 Almost 70 years later, other nations called the *Medes and *Persians joined up to defeat the *Babylonians (Daniel 5:30). King Cyrus was the king of a country called Persia. See Daniel 6:28. He ruled from the time 539 years before Christ was born. So Daniel stayed in Babylon for many years. He served the *Babylonian kings and also the kings of Persia.

Chapter 2

v1 When Nebuchadnezzar had been king for almost two years, he had dreams. His mind was anxious and he could not sleep.

Verse 1 Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful man in the world. But he was anxious. One night he went to bed and he started to think about the future. He had a dream that made him anxious. So he could not sleep. He knew that the dream was important. The real God was speaking to him, although he did not know it (Daniel 2:29).

v2 He called for the *magicians, *enchanters, *sorcerers and wise men. He wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed. So they came in and they stood in front of the king. v3 Then the king said to them, ‘I have had a dream that makes me anxious. And so I want to know what it means.’

v4 Then the wise men answered the king in the Aramaic language. ‘We want the king to live for all time’, they said. ‘We are your servants. Tell us the dream. And then we will tell you what it means.’

v5 The king replied to the wise men. ‘I have decided what to do’, he said. ‘You tell me what my dream was. And you must tell me what it means. If not, I will order people to cut you into pieces. They will also make your houses into piles of rubbish. v6 You must tell me the dream and what it means. If you do, I will reward you. I will give you gifts and rewards and great honour. So, tell me my dream. And tell me what it means.’

v7 They answered him again. ‘We are your servants, so please tell us your dream. Then we will tell you what it means.’

v8 And the king answered them. ‘I know for certain that you are trying to gain time. You know what I have decided. v9 If you do not tell me the dream, you will all receive the same punishment. You have agreed to keep on telling me lies and evil things. You hope that I will change my mind. So now, tell me the dream. Then I will know that you can also tell me the meaning.’

v10 The wise men answered the king, ‘There is not a man on earth who can do that! No king has ever asked any *magician, *enchanter or wise man to do anything like this. Even the greatest and most powerful king of all has never asked this. v11 You are asking a very difficult thing. Nobody can do it, except the gods. And they do not live among men.’

v12 This made the king extremely angry. So he ordered his guards to kill all the wise men in Babylon. v13 He issued an order to kill all the wise men. So some men went to look for Daniel and his friends in order to kill them too.

Verses 2-13 The king called for his wise men. He had many different kinds of wise men. Many of them did magic. Their job was to keep the king happy. They told him things that he wanted to hear. Sometimes they told lies to the king in order to please him. The king told the wise men about the dream that made him anxious. He asked them to tell him what it meant. They expected the king to tell them the dream. Then they could make up a story that would make the king happy. But the king wanted them to tell him both the dream and what it meant. The king may have forgotten the dream. But he would remember it if someone told him. Probably he did remember it. But he wanted to be sure that the wise men told him the truth. If someone could tell him the dream, then that person really could tell him the meaning.

The wise men hoped that the king would change his mind. But this was very important to him. So he promised great rewards for anyone who could tell him the dream and its meaning. But he also said something else. He would kill them if they could not do it. And he would destroy their houses.

Of course, the wise men did not know what the king had dreamed. The king was asking them to do something that was impossible. No king had ever asked any wise man to do this. They knew that no man could know another man’s dreams. They said that only the gods could do this. But they could not speak to the gods that they gave honour to.

This made the king very angry. So he issued an order to kill all his wise men, even Daniel and his friends. They did not even know about the king’s dream. They had been loyal to God and he had made them important people in the country. Now Nebuchadnezzar intended to kill them.

v14 Arioch, the captain of the king’s guards, went to kill the wise men in Babylon. But Daniel answered him with intelligence and wisdom. v15 He said to Arioch, the king’s captain, ‘Why is the king’s order so cruel?’ Then Arioch explained the matter to Daniel. v16 So Daniel went to see the king. He asked the king for more time, so that he could tell the king the meaning of the dream.

Verses 14-16 Although Daniel’s life was in danger, he spoke with wisdom. God was helping him to do what was right. The king had accused the other wise men of trying to gain time. But he allowed Daniel time to find out what the dream meant. The wise men did not know how to find out about the dream. Daniel believed that God would help him. So, he promised the king that he would tell him the meaning of the dream.

v17 Then Daniel went home and he explained the matter to his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. v18 He told them to pray to God in heaven about this mystery. He told them to ask God for protection. Then they would not die with the rest of the wise men in Babylon. v19 During the night Daniel had a dream. God showed him in the dream what the mystery meant. Then Daniel gave honour to the God of heaven. v20 He said,

‘Give honour to the name of God always

because he is wise and great.

v21 He changes times and seasons.

He appoints kings and he makes their rule end.

He gives wisdom to wise people.

And he gives knowledge to people who understand.

v22 He explains great mysteries and secret things.

He knows about evil things, even when darkness hides them.

But he is light and there is nothing bad in him.

v23 I thank you. And I give you honour, because you were my fathers’ God too.

And you have given me wisdom and strength.

You have shown me what we asked you about.

You have explained the king’s problem to us.’

Verses 17-23 Daniel knew what to do when his life was in danger. He prayed. He asked his three friends to pray for protection. God answered their prayers. Daniel had a dream. In that dream, God showed him what the king’s dream meant. Daniel realised that God had answered their prayers. So he said, ‘thank you’ to God. He gave honour to God. He mentioned some of the things that he knew about God. He knew that God was much greater even than Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, God had appointed Nebuchadnezzar. God appoints all rulers. He gives people wisdom and knowledge. So Daniel’s wisdom came from God. God knows everything. He understands all mysteries. And God told Daniel about the king’s dream and about what it meant.

v24 So Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to kill the wise men in Babylon. Daniel said to Arioch, ‘Do not kill the wise men in Babylon. Take me to the king. Then I will tell the king what his dream means.’

v25 Then Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king. He said, ‘I have found a man. He can tell the king what his dream means. He is one of the people that you brought from Judah.’

v26 The king spoke to Daniel (whose other name was Belteshazzar). He said, ‘Can you tell me my dream and what it means?’

v27 Daniel answered the king. ‘No wise men, *enchanters, *magicians or *diviners can explain this mystery to the king’, he said. v28 ‘But there is a God in heaven who explains mysteries. He is showing King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. This is the dream and the thoughts in your head as you lay on your bed.

v29 As you lay on your bed, you dreamed about the future. God showed you what would happen in the future. He explains mysteries. v30 I am no wiser than anyone else is. But God explained the mystery to me. He wants you to know what the dream means. And he wants you to understand the thoughts in your mind.’

Verses 24-30 Daniel asked Arioch, one of the king’s chief officials, to take him to the king. He would tell the king what the dream meant. So Arioch did not need to kill the wise men.

Arioch realised that he had an opportunity to please the king. He did not kill Daniel. Instead, he told the king that he had found Daniel. Daniel could tell the king what the dream meant. Of course, this was not really true. Arioch was looking for Daniel in order to kill him.

The king asked Daniel if this was true. Could he tell the king about the dream and what it meant? Daniel said that no man could do this. This is also what the wise men had said (Daniel 2:11). But Daniel also said that God could explain what the dream meant. The wise men had said that only the gods could do this. But their gods were not real, so they could not do anything. Daniel gave honour to the real God. The real God is real and he can do anything.

v31 ‘You looked, and you saw a large image. This big image was in front of you. It was very bright and it frightened people. v32 The image’s head was pure gold. Its upper body and arms were silver. Its lower body was *bronze. v33 Its legs were iron and its feet were partly iron and partly *clay. v34 As you looked, someone cut out a stone. But no human hand did this. The stone hit the image on its iron and *clay feet and broke them into pieces. v35 Then the iron, *clay, *bronze, silver and gold all fell into pieces. They became like powder. The wind blew them away until nobody could see them. But the stone that hit the image became a large mountain. And it filled the whole earth.

Verses 31-35 With God’s help, Daniel was able to remind the king about the dream. In the dream, the king had seen a large image. It was in four parts. The most precious material, gold, was the head of the image, at the top. Then came silver. Next came *bronze. The least precious was the metal in the feet. As the king watched, a strange thing happened. A small stone appeared. It seemed as if someone had cut it from a rock. But no human hand did it. The stone broke the image into tiny pieces. The pieces became like powder that the wind blew away. Then the stone grew larger. It became a large mountain and it filled the earth.

v36 This was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. v37 You are a great king who rules other kings. The God of heaven has made you king and he has given power, strength and honour to you. v38 He has given all the people, the animals on the earth and the birds in the air to you. He has made you king over them all, wherever they live. You are like the head of gold in your dream.’

Verses 36-38 Daniel trusted God. He was confident that he had told the king the right dream. He knew also that God had told him the right meaning of the dream. So he told the king what the dream meant.

The gold head of the image meant King Nebuchadnezzar himself. He was a very powerful king. He ruled over a vast area. Daniel also told the king that God had given him his royal power.

v39 ‘After you, there will be another *kingdom that is not as great as yours. Then a third *kingdom will rule over the whole earth. It will be like *bronze. v40 And there will be a fourth *kingdom that is as strong as iron. Now, iron breaks and destroys everything. So, like iron, it will destroy the other *kingdoms. v41 You saw that the feet and toes were partly *clay and partly iron. This means that it will not be a united *kingdom. But it will have some of the strength of iron, because you saw iron with the *clay. v42 The toes were partly iron and partly *clay. So that *kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. v43 You saw a mixture of iron and *clay. So, the people will be a mixture and they will not stay together. This is like iron that cannot mix with *clay.’

Verses 39-43 Under the head, there were three more parts of the image. So there would be three more *kingdoms after Nebuchadnezzar. The second one would not be as great as the *Babylonian *kingdom. The third one would not be as great as the second one. Then the fourth *kingdom would come. It would be partly strong but partly weak.

After Nebuchadnezzar had died, the soldiers from countries called Media and Persia defeated the *Babylonians (Daniel 5:30). They were the second *kingdom.

Later, the army of Greece ruled much of the world. They were the third *kingdom. (See Daniel 8:21.) After that the *Romans came. They were the fourth *kingdom. (See Luke 2:1.)

v44 ‘In the days when those kings rule, the God of heaven will set up a *kingdom. And that *kingdom will never end. No other people will have power over it. It will break up all these other *kingdoms and it will destroy them. And it will last for always. v45 You saw the stone that no human hand cut out. The stone broke up the iron, the *bronze, the *clay, the silver and the gold. The great God has shown to the king what will happen in the future. That was the dream. And you can be sure that this is its meaning.’

Verses 44-45 During the time of the *Roman *kingdom, Jesus was born. Not many people knew about his birth. He is the little stone. The *kingdom of Jesus will grow and grow. It will be stronger than all the other *kingdoms. The image frightened people. The other *kingdoms were powerful. They frightened people too. But they will disappear. The *kingdom of Jesus will never disappear.

v46 Then king Nebuchadnezzar kneeled in front of Daniel and he gave Daniel honour. He ordered his servants to give a *sacrifice to Daniel. And he ordered them to pour out things with pleasant smells to him. v47 The king said to Daniel, ‘It is true that your God is greater than all other gods. He rules over kings and he explains mysteries. I know this because you were able to explain this mystery.’

v48 Then the king made Daniel an important man and the king gave him many great gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole district of Babylon. He made Daniel the head of all the wise men.

v49 Then Daniel made a request to the king. So the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to look after Babylon’s affairs. But Daniel remained at the king’s palace.

Verses 46-49 The king acted as if Daniel was a god. We know this because of what the king did and what he gave to Daniel. But he was really giving the honour to God. Now he knew that Daniel gave honour to the real God. He realised that the real God rules over all kings. The real God knows everything.

The king made Daniel the ruler over Babylon. But Daniel stayed near the king, in order to advise the king. Daniel’s friends looked after the affairs of Babylon for him.

Chapter 3

v1 King Nebuchadnezzar set up a gold image. It was 30 metres high and 3 metres wide. He set it up on the plain called Dura, in the district of Babylon. v2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar called together the princes, the rulers and the captains. He also called together all the other officials, the lawyers and those who looked after the money. He called them together to attend a special ceremony in front of the image that he had set up. v3 So the princes, the captains and the lawyers came to attend this ceremony in front of the image. Those who looked after the money and all the officials and rulers of the districts also came. They all stood in front of the image that king Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Verses 1-3 King Nebuchadnezzar set up an enormous gold image. Perhaps he remembered the dream that Daniel had explained to him. Maybe he set up an image of himself, because he was proud to be like the gold head. But maybe he was not satisfied to be just the head.

The kings at that time often set up images. Sometimes they were images of the kings themselves. Sometimes the images were of the king’s gods.

He set up the image on a plain between mountains. Many people could see it there. Even people far away could see it. He invited his officials to see the image. The writer mentions all sorts of officials. He probably did this to show that this was actually a very silly occasion. He is probably laughing at all the important people. They are all wearing their best clothes in order to please the king on this special occasion. They probably all seem very silly.

v4 Then an official called out aloud. ‘You, people in every country who speak every language, listen. This is the king’s command. v5 Listen for the sound that all sorts of musical instruments make. When you hear it, you must kneel. You must give honour to the gold image that king Nebuchadnezzar has set up. v6 “I will punish anyone who does not do this”, the king said. “My servants will immediately throw them into a very hot fire.” ’ v7 So, when the people heard the sound from all sorts of musical instruments, they obeyed. All the people kneeled. They were giving honour to the gold image that king Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Verses 4-7 There was probably a great crowd of people present. So it seems that the official had a very loud voice. He ordered everyone to listen. When they heard the sound of music, they had to give honour to the image. The people whom Nebuchadnezzar had defeated also had to give honour to him and to his gods.

The king would punish anyone who did not give honour to the image. They would be guilty of not being loyal to the king or his gods. The punishment was an awful death. The king’s servants would throw the guilty people into a very hot fire.

Then everybody did what the king had ordered. They heard the music and they gave honour to the image.

v8 Then some *astrologers came to the king and they accused the *Jews. v9 They said to the king, ‘We want the king to live for all time. v10 You, the king, made a command. You said that everyone must listen for the sound from all sorts of musical instruments. Then they must kneel down and give honour to the gold image. v11 You said that everyone must obey you. You would throw them into a very hot fire if they did not obey you. v12 There are some *Jews who do not obey your command. You appointed them to look after Babylon’s affairs. They are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and they do not give honour to your gods. They do not give honour to the gold image that you have set up.’

Verses 8-12 There were three men who did not obey the king’s command. They were loyal to the king. But they refused to give honour to the image, because they gave honour to the real God. They knew that God’s people must not give honour to images or other gods. (See Exodus 20:1-5.) These men were Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

The king did not know that these men had not obeyed his command. But some of his wise men told him.

Daniel and his friends had saved the lives of these wise men (Daniel 2:24). But Daniel’s friends were now more important than these wise men were (Daniel 2:49). So these wise men were jealous.

v13 Then Nebuchadnezzar was very, very angry. So he called for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and they brought these men to the king. v14 Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke to them. He said, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not give honour to my gods? And you do not give honour to the gold image that I have set up? v15 You will hear again the sound from all sorts of musical instruments. You must be ready, when you hear the music. You must kneel down. Then you will show honour to the image that I have made. If you do not give honour to my image, my servants will immediately throw you into a very hot fire. And no god can rescue you from my power.’

v16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered the king. ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we know that we did the right thing’, they said. v17 ‘You may throw us into the very hot fire. But the God to whom we give honour can rescue us. He will rescue us from your power if he wants to. v18 But if he does not rescue us, it does not make any difference. We want you to know that we will not give honour to your gods. And we will not give honour to the image that you have set up.’

Verses 13-18 This news made Nebuchadnezzar very angry. But he did not want to punish Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave them another chance to obey his command.

He was the most powerful man in the world. He thought that he could do anything. He even thought that no god could rescue anyone from the fire. He was wrong. He forgot about Daniel’s God (Daniel 2:47).

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not forget the real God. God could rescue them if he wanted to. And they knew that he could. They would still give honour to the real God even if he did not rescue them. They would never give honour to the image. They knew that they were doing the right thing.

v19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was very angry with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. His face became red. He ordered his servants to make the hot fire 7 times hotter than usual. v20 He ordered the strongest men in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And he ordered those strong men to throw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the very hot fire. v21 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were still wearing their coats, hats and other clothes when those men threw them into the fire. v22 The king’s command was very urgent and the fire was very hot. So the fire killed the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it. v23 But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, still tied up, fell into the very hot fire.

Verses 19-23 Now Nebuchadnezzar was so angry that his face went red. He was so angry that he ordered his servants to make the fire even hotter. Very strong men threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fire. The fire was so hot that it killed the strong men. Nebuchadnezzar thought that he would never see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego again. The fire would kill them very quickly. He was wrong again.

v24 What King Nebuchadnezzar saw next astonished him. So he jumped up and he asked his officials, ‘Did we not tie up three men and throw them into the fire?’ ‘You are right, our king’, they answered. v25 The king said, ‘But I see four men walking about in the fire! They are free and they have no injuries. The fourth one seems like a son of the gods.’

Verses 24-25 As Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire, he got a surprise. He saw the three men in the fire. The fire had not killed them. But he also saw someone else. He could not believe what he saw. He asked his officials if they had put three men in the fire. Of course, there were three men. He knew that. But now he saw four men. Also, he saw that the fire had not hurt the men. The fire had burned the *ropes that had tied them. It had not burned them or their clothes.

Nebuchadnezzar believed in many false gods. And he said to his officials that the fourth man seemed like a son of the gods. He was almost right. The fourth man was Jesus, the Son of the real God. God had sent his Son, Jesus, to be with the men in the fire.

God had come to rescue his servants. They did not avoid the fire, but God walked in the fire with them. And the fire did not kill them.

God does not promise that life will be easy. But God does promise to be with us all the time. (See Isaiah 43:2 and Matthew 28:20.)

v26 King Nebuchadnezzar went to the door where the very hot fire was. He called out to the men inside, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who give honour to the real God, you come out here.’ So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire. v27 The princes, rulers, captains and the king’s officials came close to look at them. They saw that the fire had not hurt Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego. The fire had not damaged their hair or their clothes. There was not even the smell from the smoke. v28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke. ‘Give honour to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’, he said. ‘He sent his *angel to rescue his servants. I am the king. But they trusted God and they did not obey me. They risked their lives so that they could give honour to their own God and not to any other god. v29 No other god can save like this. So I make a command to the people in every country who speak every language. They must not say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. My servants will cut into pieces anyone who does not obey. I will also destroy such people’s houses.’

v30 Then the king gave Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego more important jobs in Babylon district.

Verses 26-30 Nebuchadnezzar called the three men to come out of the fire and they came out. All the important people, who were there, came to look. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego seemed as if they had not been in the fire. The fire had not burned them or their clothes. The officials could not smell any smoke.

Now Nebuchadnezzar knew that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the real God. Now the king knew that they did the right thing when they did not obey his command.

Then the king made another command. He ordered that nobody must say anything bad about the real God. He would punish anyone who did not obey. This was not a good thing to say. It shows that Nebuchadnezzar was still an evil man. God wants people to give honour to him because they love him. The king’s command would not make people love God.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thought that they might die because they were loyal to God. Instead, the king made them even more important.

If Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had obeyed the king, nobody would have remembered them. But they did not obey the king. Instead, they were loyal to God. So Nebuchadnezzar and his officials saw what God did. And they were astonished.

This happened a long time ago, but we also know about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. We too can admire what God did. This helps us to obey him too.

Chapter 4

v1 I, King Nebuchadnezzar, send this message to everyone in the world. I am writing to the people in every country who speak every language. I pray that you all have happy and successful lives.

v2 It pleases me to tell you what the great God has done for me.

God has done extraordinary and wonderful things for me.

v3 The things that he does are wonderful and very great.

God’s *kingdom will never end. He rules for all time.

Verses 1-3 Nebuchadnezzar wanted to tell everybody in the world how great God is. This does not sound like the same Nebuchadnezzar.

He had met Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1:18-20). He discovered that they were wiser than all the other wise men. Maybe he knew that they gave honour to the real God. This did not make him give honour to the real God. He was still an evil man.

Later God helped Daniel to understand Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:19). Daniel told the king the dream and what it meant. Then the king said that Daniel’s God was greater than all gods. He said that God rules over kings. Still Nebuchadnezzar did not give honour to the real God. He was still an evil man.

Later, Nebuchadnezzar put Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fire (Daniel 3:21). God saved them. Nebuchadnezzar told people to give honour to the real God. He would punish anyone who did not obey (Daniel 3:29). But he was still an evil man.

Now Nebuchadnezzar had changed. Something had happened to change him.

Nebuchadnezzar told the story.

v4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace. I was comfortable and I was happy. v5 Then I had a dream that scared me. I lay on my bed and the thoughts in my head frightened me.

Verses 4-5 Nebuchadnezzar was comfortable. He was happy. He was the most powerful man in the whole world. He thought that he could do anything. He thought that he did not need God. But God had plans for Nebuchadnezzar. God gave him a dream.

Many people are like Nebuchadnezzar. They think that they do not need God. Perhaps they only pray when things go wrong. We do not just speak to our friends when we need them. That would not be polite. We talk to friends at all times. God wants us to be his friends. He wants us to talk to him all the time.

v6 So I ordered all the wise men in Babylon to come to me. I wanted them to tell me what the dream meant.

v7 When the *magicians, *enchanters, *astrologers and *diviners came, I told them the dream. But none of them could tell me what the dream meant. v8 Finally, Daniel came to me. I call him Belteshazzar like my god’s name. The spirit of the holy gods is in this man, Daniel. So I told him the dream.

v9 ‘Belteshazzar’, I said, ‘you are the chief of the wise men. I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you. I know also that no mystery is too difficult for you. So, here is the dream that I saw. Tell me what it means.’

Verses 6-9 Nebuchadnezzar called his wise men. He wanted them to tell him what his dream meant. This time he told them his dream. But they could not tell him what it meant. This is strange. The king had a dream before (Daniel 2:1). Then the wise men made a promise. If the king told them the dream, they would tell him the meaning (Daniel 2:7). This time he did tell them the dream. But still they could not tell him what it meant. God told Daniel the king’s first dream. Daniel told the king the dream. And he told him what it meant. But Nebuchadnezzar only called for Daniel last. We do not know why the wise men did not tell the king the meaning of the dream. We do not know why the king called for Daniel. The king probably knew that God gave him the dream. He knew that he was an evil man. He knew that God would tell him bad news. He may have guessed what the dream meant. He did not want to hear bad news. The wise men probably knew all this too. They did not want to tell the king bad news.

v10 ‘This is what I saw in my mind. I saw it while I was asleep. I saw a tree in the middle of the earth and it was very tall. v11 The tree grew taller and stronger. Its top touched the sky, so everyone in the world could see it. v12 It had beautiful leaves and lots of fruit. There was enough food on it for everyone. It was a shelter for the animals and the birds lived in it. Every living thing ate its food.’

Verses 10-12 So Nebuchadnezzar told Daniel the dream. In his dream, he saw a tree. The tree was tall and it grew taller. The tree gave food to all people and animals. It was a shelter for the animals and birds.

v13 ‘While I was still sleeping, I saw an *angel. He was holy and he came from heaven. v14 He shouted aloud. “Chase away the animals that are under the tree”, he shouted. “Chase away the birds that are in its branches. Cut down the tree. Cut off its branches. Tear off its leaves. Scatter its fruit. v15 But leave the roots of the tree in the ground. Tie it up with iron and *bronze. Then leave it in the grass.

Make him wet with *dew from the sky. Make him live in the fields with the animals. v16 Take his own mind away from him, and give him the mind of an animal for 7 years.

v17 This is the command of the *angels who watch human people. And it is the decision of the holy *angels. So now everyone will know that God rules in the *kingdoms of men. He can give *kingdoms to anyone that he wants to. He can make men who are not important into kings.”

v18 This was my dream’, I said to Belteshazzar. ‘Now, you tell me what it means. None of the wise men in any of my countries can tell me its meaning. But you can tell me, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’

Verses 13-18 The king also saw an *angel in his dream. The *angel gave orders to destroy the tree. These were God’s orders. Birds could not live in the tree. The animals ran away. People could not eat its fruit. But part of the tree remained. The roots stayed in the ground.

Then the *angel spoke in a different way. He gave orders about a man. This man must lose his mind. He would get the mind of an animal for 7 years. We have translated the words of the *angel as 7 years. Actually, in the original language, the words mean 7 times. This probably means 7 years.

Then the *angel talked about *kingdoms. God rules over kings. He can give *kingdoms to anyone. The *angel also talked about God. God had given Nebuchadnezzar a message in a dream before (Daniel 2:28). Now Nebuchadnezzar would have known that the dream was about him.

Nebuchadnezzar knew that Daniel could tell him its meaning. He knew that Daniel would tell him the truth.

v19 Daniel, who was also called Belteshazzar, was uneasy for a time. His thoughts made him anxious. The king said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or what it means make you anxious.’ Then Belteshazzar answered the king. ‘Sir, I wish that the dream was about your enemies and not about you. v20 You saw a tree that grew. And it grew taller and stronger until its top touched the sky. Everyone in the world could see it. v21 It had beautiful leaves and lots of fruit. There was enough food on it for everyone. It was a home for the animals and the birds built their nests in it. v22 You, the king, are like that tree. You have become stronger and more powerful. You have become very great so that they have heard about you in heaven. You have power over the whole world.

v23 Then you saw an *angel. He was holy and he came from heaven. “Cut down the tree and destroy it”, he said. “But leave the tree’s roots in the ground. Tie it up with iron and *bronze. Then leave it in the grass.

Make him wet with *dew from the sky. Make him live in the fields like the animals for 7 years.” ’

Verses 19-23 When Daniel heard the dream, he was uneasy for a time. He knew that God was telling Nebuchadnezzar bad news. Perhaps Daniel liked Nebuchadnezzar, although Nebuchadnezzar was evil. Perhaps Daniel felt sorry for Nebuchadnezzar. He did not want to give him the bad news.

Daniel told the king that he, Nebuchadnezzar, was like the tree. He was a very powerful king. He had power over the whole earth.

v24 ‘This is what the dream means. The real God has given a command about the king. v25 People will chase you away, so that you will have to live with the animals. And you will eat grass as cows do. *Dew from the sky will make you wet. And this situation will last for 7 years. Then you will know that God rules in the *kingdoms of men. He can give *kingdoms to anyone that he wants to give them to. v26 The *angel ordered, “Leave the tree’s roots.” This means that you will be king again later. But only when you agree that God rules the world. v27 Therefore, my king, I hope that you will accept my advice. Stop doing bad things. Start doing what is right. Do not do evil things. But be kind to the people who suffer. Then, perhaps, you will continue to live happily.’

Verses 24-27 The *angel gave the orders, but they were God’s orders. God would punish Nebuchadnezzar. He would take away Nebuchadnezzar’s power and his mind. He would give the king the mind of an animal. He would make Nebuchadnezzar live like an animal.

One day, Nebuchadnezzar would agree that God rules over kings. Then Nebuchadnezzar would get his proper mind back. God would make him king again.

Daniel knew that God does not like to punish people. So he advised the king to stop doing evil things. He advised him to do good things. The dream would still come true. But maybe Nebuchadnezzar would be happy for a longer time.

v28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. v29 One year later, he was walking on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. v30 Then the king spoke aloud and he said, ‘Look how great Babylon is. I have built this city for my palace by my power. It shows how great and powerful I am.’

Verses 28-30 If Nebuchadnezzar listened to Daniel, he soon forgot. For many months, the dream did not come true. Nebuchadnezzar probably thought that it would never come true.

A year later, the king was on the roof of his palace. He was proud of all that he had done. He was the most powerful man in the world. He could do whatever he wanted to do. Or that is what he thought! He thought that he did not need God. But God spoke to him.

v31 While he was still speaking proudly, he heard a voice from heaven. ‘I am speaking to you, king Nebuchadnezzar’, the voice said. ‘I have taken your royal power away from you. v32 People will chase you away. You will live with the animals. And you will eat grass as cows do. This situation will last for 7 years. Then you will know that God rules the *kingdoms of men. And he can give *kingdoms to anyone that he wants to give them to.’

v33 Then it all happened to Nebuchadnezzar as he had dreamed. People chased him away. And he ate grass as cows do. *Dew from the sky made his body wet. His hair grew long so that it seemed like the feathers of a large bird. And his nails seemed like bird’s feet.

Verses 31-33 Then the dream came true. God told Nebuchadnezzar what would happen. God took away his royal power. People chased him away. God made him live with the animals. The great Nebuchadnezzar had to eat grass. His hair and his nails grew long. Then he seemed like an animal.

v34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up towards heaven and I prayed. I got my proper mind back and I thanked the real God. I gave honour to him who never dies.

His *kingdom will never end

because he rules always and for all time.

v35 All the people on the earth are worth nothing.

He does what he wants with the *angels in heaven.

And he does what he wants with the people on the earth.

Nobody can stop him.

Nobody can say to him, ‘You should not be doing that.’

v36 When I got my proper mind back, I also got my power back. People respected me. My officials and important men came back to me. So I became the king again. And I became greater than I was before. v37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give honour to the King of heaven and I thank him. He does what is right all the time. He is always fair. And he can make proud people become humble people.

Verses 34-37 Nebuchadnezzar had the mind of an animal. But, when the time was right, he was able to think about God. One day he gave honour to God. He agreed that God rules over everything. He agreed that God was more powerful than any king. Then he got his own mind back.

When he gave honour to God, God gave him his power back. He became king again. God made him greater than he was before.

So Nebuchadnezzar did change (Daniel 4:1-3). God changed him.

Chapter 5

v1 King Belshazzar had a big party. He invited a thousand important people and he drank wine with them. v2 As Belshazzar drank wine, he demanded the gold and silver cups. Nebuchadnezzar, his father, had taken these cups from God’s house in Jerusalem. Belshazzar wanted his guests, his wives and his other women to drink their wine from these cups. v3 So his servants brought the gold cups that had come from God’s house in Jerusalem. Then the king, his wives, his other women and all the important people drank wine out of those cups. v4 And as they drank the wine, they also gave honour to their gods. Their gods were images that people had made out of gold, silver, *bronze, iron and stone.

Verses 1-4 Nebuchadnezzar had died. Belshazzar was the king. The writer says that Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar. Nebuchadnezzar may have been the grandfather of Belshazzar. Sometimes they used the word father in this way.

Belshazzar had a party with more than 1000 guests. This was a strange thing to do. The army from Media and Persia was surrounding the city (Daniel 5:30) and they were trying to attack it. The city had thick walls and a river round it. So perhaps Belshazzar thought that he was safe.

Belshazzar and his guests got very drunk. Then Belshazzar did a foolish thing. He decided to drink from the gold and silver cups that belonged to God. Nebuchadnezzar had brought these cups from God’s house in Jerusalem (Daniel 1:2). He had kept them safe, but Belshazzar wanted to use them for his party. He did not care about the real God. He and his guests drank wine from God’s special cups. Then they gave honour to false gods.

v5 Suddenly, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and the fingers wrote on the wall of the king’s palace. They wrote near the king’s lamp. So the king saw the hand as it wrote. v6 The king’s face became pale and he was afraid. His knees started to tremble and his legs became weak.

Verse 5-6 What the king did made God very angry. Belshazzar had never given honour to the real God. Now he showed what he really believed. He gave honour to false gods while he used the real God’s cups. So God did a strange thing.

The king saw the fingers of a hand. There was no arm or body. The fingers wrote on the wall. This happened near the light, so the king could see clearly. He did not know what the words meant. But he was very afraid. He knew that only a real God could do this. Gods made out of gold and silver do not write on walls. He knew that he had done things to make God angry. So he knew that these words must be bad news from God.

v7 The king shouted for his wise men: the *enchanters, *astrologers and *diviners. When they came, the king spoke to them. He said, ‘Who can read these words? Who can tell me what they mean? I will put purple clothes on that person and he will have a gold chain round his neck. And I will make him the third ruler in the *kingdom.’ v8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the words. They could not tell the king what they meant. v9 So King Belshazzar became very anxious and his face became even more pale. His officials did not know what to do.

Verses 7-9 Belshazzar had wise men to advise him, as Nebuchadnezzar had. So he called for them. He wanted them to tell him what the words meant. He promised to reward anyone who could tell him. He would give them purple clothes. Purple was the royal colour. He would give them a gold chain and they would be the third most important person in the *kingdom. This is probably because Belshazzar himself was only the second most important person. He ruled along with his father Nabonidas.

Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men could not tell him what his dreams meant (Daniel 4:7). Belshazzar’s wise men could not understand what the fingers had written on the wall. There were only three words but the fingers had written one of them twice (Daniel 5:25). They could see the words. But they did not understand what they meant. They also knew that Belshazzar had made God angry. So the message must be bad news. This made Belshazzar even more afraid.

v10 The queen heard the words of the king and his officials. So she came into the hall. Then she spoke to the king. ‘I want the king to live for all time’, she said. ‘Do not be anxious. Do not be so pale. v11 There is a man in your *kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In your father’s time, he showed wisdom and knowledge. He was wise like the gods. Your father, Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of all the *magicians, *astrologers, *enchanters and *diviners. v12 His mind was clever and he had great knowledge. He could tell what dreams mean. He could explain mysteries and solve problems. His name was Daniel, but the king called him Belteshazzar. Call for Daniel. He will tell you what the words mean.’

Verses 10-12 The queen heard what Belshazzar and his guests said. This queen was not the king’s wife. All the king’s wives were already at the party (Daniel 5:2). This queen was probably Belshazzar’s mother. The king had not invited her to the party. But she could go and see him. The queen remembered that Daniel had explained Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. He could tell Belshazzar what the words on the wall meant. So she advised the king to call for Daniel.

v13 Then people brought Daniel to the king. The king said to Daniel, ‘Are you Daniel? Are you one of the men that my father the king brought from Judah? v14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you. You have knowledge and great wisdom. v15 I called the wise men and *enchanters to read these words. I asked them to tell me what the words mean. But they could not explain them to me. v16 I have heard that you can understand dreams. And I have heard that you can solve problems. So, can you read these words? And can you tell me what they mean? If you can do this, then I will put purple clothes on you. You will have a gold chain round your neck. And you will be the third ruler in the *kingdom.’

Verses 13-16 Daniel came to see the king. It seems that the king did not know about Daniel. But that is not true. Daniel was an old man and he may have retired. So Belshazzar may not have seen him for many years. But Daniel reminded the king about what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. He knew that the king knew about that (Daniel 5:22). Like Nebuchadnezzar, he should have called for Daniel first, but he was afraid to hear the truth.

The king told Daniel that his wise men could not explain the words on the wall. He asked Daniel if he could explain the words. He promised him the same things that he had promised to the other wise men.

v17 Then Daniel answered the king. ‘You can keep your gifts for yourself. You can give your rewards to someone else. But I will read the words for the king. And I will tell him what they mean. v18 The great and real God made your father Nebuchadnezzar king. God made him great and God gave him honour. v19 Because God made him so great, the people in every country were afraid of him. The people who spoke every language were afraid of him. He killed anyone whom he wanted to kill. And if he wanted someone to live, he let him live. He made people important if he wanted to. And if he wanted to make someone less important, he made that person less important. v20 He became very proud. He thought that he could do anything. Then God took away his *kingdom and his honour. v21 People chased him away because he had an animal’s mind. So he lived with the wild horses. People fed him with grass that cows eat. *Dew from the sky made his body wet. This situation lasted until he changed his attitudes. But then he recognised that the great and real God rules the *kingdoms of men. He gives authority over them to anyone that he wants to give it to.

Verses 17-21 Daniel did not want the king’s rewards. He would explain the words on the wall, but not for the king’s rewards. He knew that God wanted him to explain the words. They were God’s message to Belshazzar. He knew that the rewards would not last very long, because the king would die soon (Daniel 5:30).

Daniel did not tell the king immediately what the words meant. He reminded him about Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was a great and powerful king. God had made him great. He could do whatever he wanted to do. But later God also made him humble. God made him to live like an animal. Then Nebuchadnezzar knew that the real God rules over kings.

v22 You, Belshazzar, are Nebuchadnezzar’s son and you knew all this. v23 You think that you are more important than the *Lord of heaven. You demanded the cups from his house. And you, your wives, your other women and your important guests drank wine from them. Then you gave honour to gods that people had made from silver, gold, *bronze, iron, wood and stone. These gods cannot see or hear. And they cannot understand. But you gave honour to them and you did not give honour to the real God. He controls your breath. He has power over everything that you do. v24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote these words. v25 And these are the words:

Mene, Mene, Tekel and Peres.

v26 This is what the words mean:

Mene means that God has counted the days of your *kingdom. Now these days are complete and he has finished your *kingdom.

v27 Tekel means that God has tested you. He has tested you as a merchant checks a weight. But you have failed God’s test.

v28 Peres means that God has divided your *kingdom. He has given it to the people from Media and Persia.’

Verses 22-28 The king knew what had happened to Nebuchadnezzar. He knew that God had made Nebuchadnezzar humble. But Belshazzar was proud. He thought that he did not need God. He thought that he could do whatever he wanted to do. He even thought that he was more important than God. Daniel told Belshazzar that he had been foolish. He should not have used the cups from God’s house. He should not have given honour to false gods. These gods could not do anything, but the real God had given Belshazzar his life. But Belshazzar did not give honour to the real God.

Daniel told Belshazzar that the real God had sent the hand. The words were God’s message to Belshazzar. Then Daniel told Belshazzar what the message from God meant.

Mene means number. God had counted the days of Belshazzar’s *kingdom. He intended Belshazzar’s rule to end.

Tekel means weigh. It was as if God had weighed Belshazzar. He knew that Belshazzar was not a good king. In that way Belshazzar had ‘failed God’s test’.

Peres means divide. God would soon finish Belshazzar’s *kingdom and give it to someone else. The soldiers from Media and Persia would soon defeat the *Babylonians.

v29 Then Belshazzar ordered his servants to put purple clothes on Daniel. They put a gold chain round his neck. Then the king declared that Daniel was the third ruler in the *kingdom. v30 That same night someone killed Belshazzar, king of Babylon. v31 And Darius from Media became king. He was 62 years old.

Verses 29-30 The king gave Daniel what he had promised. He dressed Daniel like a king. He made him the third most important person in the *kingdom. But these rewards did not have much value. That night God ended the *kingdom. The army from Media and Persia defeated the *Babylonians. They killed Belshazzar. Then Darius, who was from a country called Media, became the king. The message was a true message from God.

Chapter 6

v1 Darius decided to appoint 120 rulers. Together, they would rule over the whole *kingdom. v2 He also appointed three other officials. They were more important. They would watch over the work of the rulers so that the king would not have to worry. Daniel was one of these other three officials. v3 But Daniel did his work much better than the other officials and rulers. He was very good at his job. So the king wanted to give him responsibility for the whole *kingdom. v4 The other officials and rulers watched how Daniel worked for the king. They tried to show that he was doing something wrong. But they could not find anything wrong because Daniel was loyal and honest. He did everything that the king wanted him to do. v5 Then these men said to each other, ‘We cannot find anything that Daniel does wrong. We can only accuse him about something from the laws of his God.’

Verses 1-5 This happened when Darius was king. Daniel was an old man then. He was over 80 years old, but he was still serving the king. Daniel had served the *Babylonians. The army from Media and Persia defeated the *Babylonians and Daniel served them too. This is strange. But it shows that Daniel was loyal and very good at his job. The new rulers could trust him. Darius ruled over a large *kingdom. So he needed help from people that he could trust. He appointed 120 people to help him. Each person ruled over a district of the *kingdom. Darius appointed three superior officials. They watched over the 120 rulers. Daniel was one of these officials. He was much better than the other officials and rulers were. The king wanted to make him the chief official. Then the other officials became jealous. Perhaps they were not as loyal and honest as Daniel was. They watched Daniel to see if he did anything wrong. They watched him, but they could not accuse him. He was always loyal and honest. Then the officials had an idea. Although Daniel was loyal to the king, he was more loyal to God. So perhaps they could make him obey God but not obey the king. They made a plan and then they went to see the king.

v6 So these officials and rulers went together to the king. ‘King Darius, we want you to live for all time’, they said. v7 ‘All the officials in the *kingdom including the princes, rulers and captains have agreed. The king should make a law. For 30 days the people must pray only to you, the king. If they pray to any other man or god, then your servants must arrest them. The servants must throw them into the cage where your lions live. v8 Now, you, the king, should make the law and sign it. Then it will be a law for the *Medes and the *Persians, and nobody can change it.’ v9 So King Darius wrote the law and he signed it.

Verses 6-9 When the officials and rulers went to see the king, they told him lies. They said that all the important people had agreed. But, of course, Daniel had not agreed with them. They probably had not told him what they were doing. Daniel was not with the other officials when they went to see the king. The king should have thought that this was strange.

The other officials advised the king to make a law. The law would make him feel important. For 30 days, people must not pray to any other man or god. They could only pray to the king. The king must punish anyone who did not obey. He must throw them into a cage that had lions in it.

Perhaps the officials told the king that this law would unite the *kingdom. The people that he had defeated would have to give honour to him.

After the king made a law, nobody could change it. That was the law of the *kingdom of the *Medes and *Persians. So the king signed the law.

The devil can even use laws to make bad things happen.

v10 Daniel heard that the king had signed the law. Then he went home. He went upstairs to his room where the windows opened in the direction of Jerusalem. He kneeled and he prayed to God. He also thanked God. He did this three times every day. This is what he had always done. v11 Then the officials and rulers met together to see what Daniel would do. They saw that Daniel was praying to God. And he was asking God for help. v12 So they went to the king. They spoke to him about the law that he had made. ‘Do you remember that you signed a law?’ they said to the king. ‘For 30 days, nobody must pray to any god or man, except to you, the king. If they do pray to someone else, they must die. Your servants must throw them into the cage where your lions live.’ The king answered them. ‘It is true. It is a law for the *Medes and the *Persians and nobody can change it.’ v13 Then the officials and rulers said to the king, ‘That Daniel, whom Nebuchadnezzar brought from Judah, does not obey you. He does not obey the law that you signed. He still prays three times every day to his God.’ v14 When the king heard this, he was very worried. He tried to think of a way to save Daniel. Until evening, the king struggled to find a way to save Daniel. v15 Then the officials and rulers came back to the king. ‘Remember that it is a law for the *Medes and the *Persians. Nobody can change a law that the king has made’, they reminded him.

Verses 10-15 This law was bad news for Daniel. He gave honour to the real God and he prayed to him. He would not pray to anyone else. He could not obey the king’s new law and so the king would have to punish him. But Daniel continued to do what he always did. He trusted God and loved him. And so he wanted to talk to him. So he prayed three times every day in front of his window. Daniel did not pray in secret. He probably had many servants in his house. They would know what he was doing. It was not hard for his enemies to accuse him. They could see that he did not obey the king’s new law.

So Daniel’s enemies went to the king. They reminded him about the law that he had made. They reminded him about the punishment. The king knew that nobody could change the law.

Then the men told the king about Daniel, but they told lies again. It was true that Daniel prayed to God. He did not pray to the king. But they said that Daniel did not obey the king. Daniel was loyal to the king and he did obey him. But he could not obey the new law that the king had made. It was more important to obey God than to obey the new law.

This news made the king very sad. He realised what the officials had done. They had forced him to punish Daniel. They wanted Daniel to die. The king tried all day to save Daniel. He could not find a way. Daniel’s enemies reminded him that nobody could change the law. Even the king could not change the law.

v16 Then the king gave the order for his servants to arrest Daniel. So they threw him into the cage where the lions lived. And the king spoke to Daniel. ‘You are loyal to your God and you serve him constantly. I pray that he will rescue you’, he said. v17 Then they brought a stone. And they put it over the entrance to the lions’ cage. The king marked the stone with his ring of authority. He also marked it with the rings of his important men. This meant that nobody could move that stone. Nobody could change Daniel’s situation. v18 Then the king returned to his palace. He refused both food and entertainment. And he was unable to sleep.

Verses 16-18 The king could not change the law. So he could not save Daniel. Daniel had not obeyed the law, so the king had to punish him. He had to throw him to the lions, because the law said that he must. We can see that the king liked Daniel. He did not want to hurt Daniel. The king hoped that Daniel’s God would rescue him. He knew that Daniel was loyal to his God. That is why Daniel did not obey the king’s new law. The king even had to mark the stone with his ring of authority. Nobody could move the stone in order to rescue Daniel. Even the king himself could not move the stone. Daniel had to spend the whole night in the cage with the lions.

The king was very unhappy. He hoped that God would rescue Daniel. But he did not know if God would save Daniel. The king was worried and he could not sleep.

v19 The king got up very early in the morning. He hurried to the cage where the lions were. v20 When he got near to the cage, he called out in an anxious voice. ‘Daniel, you are a loyal servant of the living God. Was your God able to rescue you from the lions?’ v21 Then Daniel said to the king, ‘I want you, the king, to live for all time. v22 My God sent his *angel, who shut the lions’ mouths. So the lions have not hurt me. God knows that I am innocent. I have not done anything to hurt you, the king, either.’ v23 The king was very happy when he heard Daniel’s voice. He ordered his servants to lift Daniel out of the cage. So they pulled him out and they looked at him. They saw that the lions had not hurt him. This happened because he trusted his God.

Verses 19-23 Early in the morning the king hurried to the cage. He called out in an anxious voice. So he probably did not expect Daniel to answer. But the king hoped that God had been able to save Daniel. Daniel answered the king. He told him what had happened. God had rescued him, but he had done something more. He had sent his *angel to be with Daniel. The *angel did not allow the lions to hurt Daniel. The *angel might have been Jesus, the Son of God. The king had had an unhappy night. Although Daniel was with the lions, he had had a happier night. He had an *angel with him.

Daniel had not obeyed the king’s law. But he told the king that he was innocent. He was loyal to the king. He had obeyed God and God had rescued him.

v24 Then the king gave an order to his servants. So the servants brought the men who had accused Daniel to the king. They threw those men and their wives and children into the deep cage with the lions. Before they reached the bottom of the cage, the lions attacked them. The lions broke all their bones as they killed them.

The king then punished Daniel’s enemies. He punished their families too. That was the law of the *Medes and *Persians. The king’s servants threw the evil men and their families to the lions. The lions killed them before they reached the bottom of the deep cage. This shows that the lions were hungry. Although the lions were hungry, they had not hurt Daniel. God really had saved him.

The wives and children were probably innocent. But they died too because Daniel’s enemies did an evil thing.

v25 Afterwards King Darius wrote to all the people in every country in the world. He wrote in every language. ‘I pray that you all have happy and successful lives.

v26 I have made a law. In every part of my *kingdom, the people must give honour to Daniel’s God. And they must be afraid of him.

He is the living God

and he will live always.

Nobody will ever destroy his *kingdom.

It will never end.

v27 He saves and he rescues people.

He does extraordinary and wonderful things

in heaven and on earth.

He has saved Daniel from the lions’ power.’

v28 So Daniel was successful while Darius was king. And he continued to be successful afterwards, when Cyrus from Persia (Iran) became king.

Verses 25-28 The king wrote a letter to all his people. He ordered them to give honour to Daniel’s God. Now Darius knew that Daniel’s God was the real God. One day Darius and Daniel would die, but God will never die. One day Darius’s *kingdom would end. God’s *kingdom will never end. Darius gave honour to the real God. He knew that God had saved Daniel from the lions. Nobody else could have done that.

Although Daniel was an old man, he still served King Darius and King Cyrus. He was loyal and successful.

Chapters 7-12

This is the second part of the book of Daniel. Here we read about Daniel’s dreams. God sent messages to Daniel in dreams. He told Daniel what would happen in the future. Sometimes Daniel had his dreams when he was asleep (Daniel 7:1). But sometimes he was probably awake (Daniel 10:1-4).

Chapter 7

v1 It was the first year that king Belshazzar ruled Babylon. Daniel had a dream. He saw pictures in his head as he lay on his bed. And he wrote down what he saw in the dream.

Verse 1 Belshazzar was the last king of the *kingdom of Babylon. We read about his death in chapter 5. So this happened before the events in chapter 5.

Daniel had a strange dream. His dream had meant something. It was a message from God.

v2 Daniel wrote, ‘I had a dream at night. I saw the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea. v3 Then four large animals came out of the sea. They were all different. v4 The first one seemed like a lion, but it had wings like an *eagle. As I watched, someone pulled its wings off. They lifted it up and it stood on two feet like a man. They gave it a man’s mind. v5 Then I saw a second animal. It seemed like a bear. It raised itself up on one side and it had three bones between its teeth. Someone ordered it, “Stand up and attack! Eat lots of meat.” v6 Then I saw another animal. It seemed like a *leopard, but it had four wings like a bird’s wings on its back. Also, this animal had four heads, and it had authority to rule. v7 Then I saw a fourth animal in my dream. It was more terrible than the other animals. It was very strong and it had large iron teeth. It broke things and people into pieces and it ate them. It destroyed everything else with its feet. It was different from the other animals because it had 10 *horns. v8 While I was looking at the *horns, I saw another little *horn. It came up among the other 10 *horns. It pushed out three of those other *horns in order to make space for itself. This little *horn had eyes like a man’s eyes. And it had a mouth that spoke proud words.’

Verses 2-8 Daniel saw four large animals. They were strange animals. They were not animals that Daniel knew.

The first one seemed like a lion, but it was not a lion. It had wings. Lions are powerful. *Eagles are powerful. So a lion with wings like an *eagle would be very powerful. Then Daniel saw someone pull the wings off the animal. They took away some of its power. Then the animal stood up like a man. It could also think like a man.

The second animal seemed like a bear. It had bones in its mouth, as if it had just eaten some meat. Someone told it to keep on eating meat.

The third animal seemed like a *leopard. It was not a *leopard, because it had wings too. It had four wings and four heads. It could fly quickly and look all round for something to eat. Someone allowed it to rule like a king.

The fourth animal did not seem like any other animal. It was strong and it had large iron teeth. It ate and destroyed things. This animal had 10 *horns and Daniel stared at these *horns. Then a little *horn replaced three of the *horns. It was a strange *horn. It had eyes and it could speak. It spoke proud things.

Daniel was probably afraid. This was a strange dream. And he did not know what it meant. Then the dream changed.

v9-10 Daniel continued to write about his dream.

‘I saw that the royal authority of those animals ended.

Then God, who is always God, sat down to be their judge.

His clothes were as white as snow.

His hair was white like pure wool.

Thousands of people served him.

Many thousands of people stood in front of him.

The books were open, and the court began.

God’s royal seat had wheels and it burned like a fire.

Flames from the fire came out in front of him.

v11 I watched because the *horn was speaking proud words. As I watched, someone killed the fourth animal. They destroyed it and they burned it with fire. v12 The other animals lost their power too, but they continued to live for a certain time.’

Verses 9-12 Now Daniel saw a court in heaven. People were getting the court ready. A very holy and powerful person sat on a *throne. Many people served him. In the Aramaic language the Bible says that he was called ‘The Ancient of Days’. That is another name for God. He has always lived and he will live for all time. God was the judge. God took away the power of the animals that Daniel had seen. He allowed the first three animals to live, but only for a certain time. He killed the animal that had the *horns.

v13 ‘In my dream at night’, Daniel wrote, ‘I continued to watch.

Then I saw someone who seemed like a man, in fact, like the son of a father. He came on the clouds of heaven.

He approached God, who is always God.

And he came close to him.

v14 Then God, who is always God, gave him authority, honour and royal power.

So the people in every country who spoke every language served him.

His *kingdom will last always

and it will never disappear.

Nobody can destroy it.’

Verses 13-14 Daniel continued to watch the court. Then he saw someone who seemed like a man. This person travelled on the clouds. Only God or an *angel could do that. God gave him authority, honour and royal power. God made him the king and everybody served him. His *kingdom will never disappear. We believe that this person is Jesus.

v15 ‘I, Daniel, was anxious. The thoughts in my head frightened me. v16 So I approached someone who was standing near me in my dream. And I asked him what all this meant. Then he explained it to me. v17 “The four great animals are four kings. They will rule with power on the earth. v18 But the real God will give the *kingdom to his holy people. Then they will have the *kingdom always.” ’

Verses 15-18 Daniel was anxious and afraid. Still he did not know what the dream meant. So he asked someone to explain it to him. Perhaps this was an *angel. He explained to Daniel. He told Daniel that the animals meant kings or *kingdoms. Daniel saw four animals, so there would be four powerful *kingdoms. This reminds us of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2.

The first *kingdom was the *kingdom of Babylon. The kings of Babylon thought that they were like lions and *eagles. In the book that Ezekiel the *prophet wrote, an *eagle means Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 17:7-12).

When Daniel had the dream, this *kingdom was nearly finished. Belshazzar was the last king (Daniel 5:30-31). The power of the *kingdom was almost gone, like the animal without its wings.

Somebody made the first animal stand up like a man. They gave it the mind of a man. This reminds us about Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:34-36).

Then the *kingdom of the *Medes and *Persians came.

The third *kingdom was the *kingdom of Greece. It defeated people quickly like the third animal.

The fourth *kingdom was the *kingdom of Rome. The fourth animal had iron teeth. The image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had iron legs. Its feet were partly iron and partly *clay.

All these *kingdoms seemed very powerful, like the animals. It seemed that nobody could defeat them. But God was the judge. He was in control. He only allowed them to be powerful for a certain time.

The *kingdom that God gives to Jesus will never end. Nobody can defeat it. The people who are loyal to God will be in Jesus’ *kingdom.

v19 ‘Then I wanted to know about the fourth animal’, Daniel wrote. ‘It was different from the other animals. It was terrible and it frightened me. It had large iron teeth and *bronze nails. It broke things and people into pieces and it ate them. And it destroyed everything else with its feet. v20 I wanted to know about the 10 *horns on its head. I also wanted to know about the little *horn that came up among them. It pushed out three of the other *horns in order to make space for itself. This *horn had eyes, and a mouth that spoke proud things. And this little *horn seemed greater than the other *horns. v21 I continued to watch. And this *horn fought against God’s holy people. It defeated them. v22 But I continued to look. And God, who is always God, came. He was the judge. He announced that his holy people were right. Then the time came and he gave the *kingdom to his holy people.’

Verses 19-22 Daniel wanted to know more. He wanted to know about the fourth animal because it was different. He wanted to know about the *horns. He wanted to know about the little *horn that had eyes and a mouth. Daniel watched the little *horn. It fought God’s people and it defeated them. Then God came and gave the *kingdom to his people.

v23 Daniel continued, ‘Then the person who was near me explained it to me. “The fourth animal means that there will be a fourth *kingdom on the earth. It will be different from the other *kingdoms. It will be as if its king eats up the whole earth. He will walk on the earth and he will break it into pieces. v24 The 10 *horns mean 10 kings who will come from that *kingdom. They will rule and after them another king will come. He will be different from the other kings. He will defeat three of the other kings. v25 He will speak against God. And he will oppose God’s holy people. He will try to change the times and God’s Law. He will have power over God’s people for three and a half years. v26 Then the court will gather. They will take away this king’s power and they will destroy it. v27 Then God will give the *kingdom to his holy people. They will have great power. And they will rule all the *kingdoms of the world on behalf of God. God’s *kingdom will never end. And all rulers will serve and obey him.” ’

Verses 23-27 In the Bible, *horns mean power.

Daniel heard that the fourth animal meant a fourth *kingdom. This *kingdom will be very powerful. The animal had 10 *horns, so there will be 10 kings. Then there will be another king. He will defeat three of the kings. This is what the little *horn means. He will be a terrible king. He will speak against God. He will oppose God’s people and he will have power over them. He will try to stop them from serving God. But God will only allow this for a short time. The Bible actually says one time, two times and half a time. This may mean three and a half years. What is important is that God will stop his power after a certain time. Then God will make a new *kingdom. This will be a *kingdom of his people and it will never end.

v28 ‘This is the end of my dream’, wrote Daniel. ‘And I, Daniel, was anxious because of my thoughts. I became pale, but I did not tell anyone about these things.’

Verse 28 The dream ended with good news. God will only allow evil men to have power for a certain time. One day he will make a new *kingdom for the people who are loyal to him. It will be a good *kingdom and it will never end. However, Daniel was still anxious and sick because of the dream. He did not tell anybody what he had dreamt.

Chapter 8

v1 In the third year that King Belshazzar ruled Babylon, I, Daniel, had another dream. v2 In my dream, I saw myself in the castle at the city called Susa. Susa is in the district called Elam. I was standing by the stream called Ulai. v3 I looked up and I saw a male sheep by the stream. It had two long *horns. But the longer *horn grew up after the other *horn. v4 I watched the male sheep charging to the west, and to the north, and to the south. He was more powerful than all other animals. Nobody could rescue any of them from him. He did whatever he wanted to do. And he became great.

Verses 1-4 This happened about two years after the dream that we read about in chapter 7. It was the third year of the rule of King Belshazzar.

Daniel had another dream. He was standing by a stream. In the dream, Daniel saw a male sheep. It was standing by the stream. The sheep had two long *horns, but one horn was longer than the other horn. The longer one grew up later. Daniel saw the sheep running to the north, south and west. The sheep was very powerful. He did whatever he wanted to do. It seemed that nobody could stop him.

v5 While I was thinking about this, suddenly a male goat came from the west. He went across the whole earth so quickly that his feet did not even touch the ground. The goat had a very big *horn between his eyes. v6 He came towards the sheep that I had seen. The sheep had two *horns and he was standing by the stream. But the goat was very angry and he charged at the sheep. v7 I saw him attack the sheep because he was so angry with the sheep. He hit the sheep and he broke his two *horns. The sheep had no power against the goat, so the goat knocked the sheep down. And the goat walked over him and killed him. And nobody could rescue the sheep from the goat.

Verses 5-7 Then Daniel saw a male goat with a large *horn. It came from the west and it travelled very quickly. It was very fierce and it attacked the sheep. The sheep was very powerful, but the goat defeated it. The goat was even more powerful. It broke the sheep’s *horns.

v8 The male goat became very great. But when he was greatest, his big *horn broke. Instead, four other large *horns grew up in its place. Each one pointed in a different direction. v9 Out of one of these *horns another little *horn grew. It became powerful towards the south, and towards the east and towards the Beautiful Country. v10 It became so great that it attacked the stars in the sky. They are the army of heaven. It threw some of the stars to the ground and it walked over them. v11 It pretended to be as great as God, who is the leader of heaven’s army. It stopped the gifts that the people offered to God daily. And it ruined God’s house. v12 Because of the people’s evil deeds, the *horn received power over God’s people. So God’s people did not give gifts to God daily any longer. They did evil things instead. The *horn did not allow people to *worship God any longer. It was successful in all that it did.

Verses 8-12 The goat became very great, but his *horn broke. Four *horns replaced the large one.

Then another little *horn grew. It was powerful in the south and the east. It was also powerful in the Beautiful Country. This is the country that God promised to his people, the *Jews. The little *horn became very proud. It even attacked the stars in the sky. This might mean *angels. It thought that it was as great as God is. And it ruined his house. It stopped people giving *sacrifices to God. The *horn encouraged people to be wicked. It did not like the truth and it tried to destroy it. God allowed this, but only for a certain time.

v13 Then I heard two *angels talking. One *angel asked, ‘How long will the things in the dream last? How long will people do evil things instead of giving the daily gifts to God? How long will God allow the *horn to ruin his house? How long will he allow the *horn to walk on his people in order to kill them?’ v14 The other *angel answered, ‘It will last 2300 evenings and mornings. Then they will make God’s house holy again.’

Verses 13-14 In his dream, Daniel heard two *angels talking. One *angel wanted to know how long these bad things would last. He knew that God allowed the little *horn to be powerful. He also knew that one day God would stop the evil *horn.

The other *angel knew the answer. These evil things would only last for 2300 mornings and evenings. This might mean 2300 days. That is about 6 years. It might mean 1150 mornings and 1150 evenings. That is about 3 years.

v15 When I, Daniel, had seen the dream, I tried to understand it. Then someone who seemed like a man appeared in front of me. v16 I heard a man’s voice. It was coming from the stream Ulai. ‘Gabriel, tell this man what the dream means’, the voice said. v17 So Gabriel came near to me. I was very afraid, so I fell down in front of him. But he spoke to me. ‘You are just a man, but you must understand the dream. It is about the end of time.’ v18 While he was speaking to me I was really asleep. So he touched me and he made me stand up. v19 Then he spoke to me again. ‘I will tell you what will happen at the end of time. It will happen because God is angry. The end will be at the time that God has decided.’

Verses 15-27 Daniel saw the dream but he did not understand it. Then he saw someone who seemed like a man. It was the *angel Gabriel. (Gabriel was the *angel who appeared to Zechariah and to Mary. He told them that they would have sons. See Luke 1:19, 26.)

Daniel heard a voice from the stream. It ordered Gabriel to tell Daniel what the dream meant. We believe that it was God’s voice. Only God could give a command to an *angel.

Daniel was very scared and he fell down. Gabriel told him that he must understand the dream. He said that it was about the end of time. Then Daniel started to sleep, but Gabriel made him stand up. Gabriel promised to tell Daniel what would happen in the future. God was angry, but only for a certain time. Gabriel would tell Daniel about that time.

v20 The *angel continued to speak. ‘You saw a male sheep with two *horns. These *horns mean the *kingdoms of Media and Persia. v21 The male goat means the *kingdom of Greece. The big *horn between his eyes means the first king. v22 Four *horns grew to replace the broken big *horn. The Greek nation will split into four *kingdoms, but they will not be as powerful as the original Greek nation.’

Verses 20-22 Gabriel told Daniel that the animals meant *kingdoms. The first animal was the male sheep. The first *kingdom would be the *kingdom of Media and Persia. This *kingdom started when king Belshazzar died (Daniel 5:30-31). The first *horn was probably the *Medes. Later the *Persians became stronger. Maybe they were the second *horn.

The male goat meant the *kingdom of Greece. The goat defeated the sheep. The army of Greece defeated the army of Media and Persia. Gabriel said that the big *horn meant the first king. The first king was Alexander the Great. He was very powerful. But he died when he was still young. In Daniel’s dream, the large *horn broke when the goat was very great.

When Alexander died, his *kingdom became four *kingdoms. They were not as powerful. In the dream, four *horns replace the large *horn. Gabriel said that the four *horns meant four *kingdoms that were not as powerful.

v23 The *angel continued, ‘Near the end of their rule, people will be very wicked. Then a very cruel king will appear. He will cheat and he will be very clever. v24 He will be very powerful, but this will not be his own power. He will destroy many things. And he will succeed in everything that he does. He will kill strong leaders and he will even kill God’s people. v25 He will encourage people to cheat and to tell lies. He will think that he is very important. People will think that they are safe. But then he will kill them. He will fight against the Prince of princes. Then he will fail, but no human hand will do this to him.’

Verses 23-25 Then a little *horn grew out of one of the four *horns. It became powerful, even in the country that God had given to his people. It became very proud. It opposed God and it stopped the daily *sacrifices. It made the people do wicked things. It was successful in all that it did.

Gabriel said that this was another king. This was a very cruel king. He cheated and told lies. This king may have been Antiochus Epiphanes. He became king about 170 years before Christ was born. He hated the people who were loyal to God. He changed their laws. He did not allow them to make *sacrifices to God. This lasted for about 6 years. After about 3 years, he ruined God’s house.

Gabriel said that this king had power, but it was not his own power. God allowed him to be cruel, but only for a certain time. Then God ended his life.

In chapter 7, we read about another little *horn. This was also a king. He will come from the fourth *kingdom. He will come at the end of the world. He too will hate God’s people. Then God will kill him. Then God will give the *kingdom to his own people.

Antiochus Epiphanes was also a little *horn who hated God’s people. But he did not come at the end of the world. He came from the third *kingdom and he was king before the time of Jesus. The story of Antiochus Epiphanes shows us what the evil king at the end of the world will be like.

v26 The *angel continued, ‘This is the dream about the evenings and the mornings. And I have told you what it means. It is true, but keep the dream secret. It will be a long time before all this happens.’ v27 After this dream, I, Daniel, was weak. I was sick for many days. Then I got up and I returned to my work for the king. The dream upset me greatly and I could not understand it.

Verses 26-27 Gabriel told Daniel that the dream would come true. But it would be a long time before it happened.

Daniel still did not understand the dream. He was sick for many days. Then he went back to work for the king.

Chapter 9

v1 This is what happened in the first year that Darius ruled the country. He was the son of Xerxes and he came from the country called Media. He became king of Babylon. v2 In the first year of his rule, I, Daniel, was studying the holy books. I read what the *Lord had told Jeremiah the *prophet. He told him that Jerusalem would continue to be in a terrible state for 70 years, without any inhabitants.

v3 So I started to pray very much to the *Lord God, and I stopped eating food. I put on rough clothes and I threw ashes over myself. I wanted to show how sad I felt.

Verses 1-3 Darius was the first king of the *kingdom of the *Medes and *Persians. Belshazzar was dead. The *kingdom of Babylon was finished (Daniel 5:29-30). We read about Darius in chapter 6. Daniel served the kings of Babylon. Then he served the *Medes and *Persians.

We know that Daniel prayed three times each day (Daniel 6:10). Now we read that he was studying God’s holy books. In the book of Jeremiah he read that the *Jews would return to Jerusalem after 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10). Jeremiah was a *prophet. He lived in Jerusalem when Daniel was very young. Now almost 70 years had passed since Nebuchadnezzar took the *Jews away from Jerusalem. Daniel realised this but he was sad. There was a new *kingdom and a new king. But the king had not allowed the *Jews to go back to Jerusalem. Also the *Jews did not think about God much. Perhaps they would not want to go to Jerusalem even if the king allowed them to. Most of them had been born in Babylon. Only the old people like Daniel had been to Jerusalem.

Daniel says that he stopped eating food. Some people stop eating food for a short time if they are very sad. Usually not to eat food and to pray to God belong together. When people do not eat food for a short time, they have more time for prayer.

He also wore *sackcloth (clothing from very rough material). He put cold ashes on his head or he sat in ashes. People did this when they were sorry about their bad behaviour. Daniel was a good man, but his people, the *Jews, had forgotten God. They would not say sorry to God, so Daniel did.

God had made a promise to Jeremiah. The *Jews could return to Jerusalem after 70 years. Daniel believed that God would *keep his promise. He prayed that it would happen.

v4 I prayed to the *Lord my God. And I confessed that we had done wrong things. ‘*Lord, you are the great God and we give you honour’, I prayed. ‘You *keep your promises to those who obey your commands. You always love those who love you.’

Verse 4 So Daniel prayed. He did not start by asking for things. He started by giving honour to God. He thanked God that God always *kept his promises. Daniel thanked God for loving those who loved him.

v5 ‘We have been wicked’, I prayed. ‘We have done bad and evil things. We have not obeyed your commands. v6 We did not listen to the *prophets who are your servants. They told your message to our kings, to our rulers, to our fathers and to all the people. v7 *Lord, you always do what is right. We are people from Judah, from Jerusalem and from all Israel. We have done bad things and we are ashamed. We have not been loyal to you. So some of us are near here, but you have sent some of us to countries far away. v8 *Lord, we are ashamed because we have not obeyed you. Our kings, our princes and our fathers are ashamed. v9 *Lord our God, you forgive us, although we have not been loyal to you. v10 We have not obeyed you, the *Lord our God. You sent your servants, the *prophets with your message. They gave us your laws. But we have not obeyed those laws. v11 None of the people from Israel have obeyed your laws. We have turned away from you. We have refused to obey you. We read the book that your servant Moses wrote. We read about your punishments, but we took no notice. So now, you have punished us because we did not obey you. v12 You did what you promised to do to our rulers and to us. So you punished us. You punished Jerusalem more than anywhere else under heaven. v13 You have punished us as Moses wrote in his book. And still we have not tried to please you, the *Lord our God. We still do wrong things and we do not obey your laws. v14 So you remembered that you had warned us about the effect. Everything that you, the *Lord God, do is right. And we did not obey you.’

Verses 5-14 Then Daniel said sorry to God. He was sorry that he had done wrong things. He also said sorry for his people, because they had not obeyed God. He knew that God had punished the *Jews. God had sent *prophets to warn them. They did not listen to the *prophets. They did not obey the laws that God had given to them. God had allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take the people away from Jerusalem. He had said that he would punish them. Then God did what he promised to do. God always does what is right. He always does what he promises. Now the people were in Babylon because they did not obey God. Even the kings and rulers of the people were not loyal to God.

Daniel also knew that God would forgive the people. He knew that God loved them.

v15 ‘*Lord our God’, I continued, ‘you brought your people out of the country called Egypt by your power. You caused many people to know your name. But we still did bad things and we have been evil. v16 *Lord, you have always done what is right. Please stop being angry with Jerusalem. It is your city. It is your holy place. All the people that live round us hate Jerusalem. And they hate your people. They hate us because our fathers were evil. And we have been evil too. v17 So now, our God, listen to my prayer because I am your servant. Listen to my prayer! So then people will know that you are God. *Lord, look with kindness on your holy place, because nobody lives there now. v18 Listen to us, *Lord. Look at the city that belongs to you. Nobody lives there now. We do not pray for things because we are good. We pray to you because you are kind. v19 *Lord, listen. *Lord, forgive us. *Lord, listen because your city and your people are yours. Do not delay before you do something for us. Then people will know that you are God.’

Verses 15-19 Then Daniel asked God for things. He asked God to stop being angry with the *Jews. He asked God to forgive them. The *Jews did not deserve God’s love, because they had not obeyed him. Daniel knew that. Daniel also knew that God still loved them. Daniel gave God reasons why he should forgive the people.

· God had done it before. He had brought his people out of Egypt although they had not obeyed him there. (See Jeremiah 16:14-15.)

· God always does what is right and good. He is kind. He likes to forgive people.

· God is suffering. Jerusalem is his city. Nobody lives in his holy place. Other people hate God’s city and God’s people.

· People should know that the *Lord is God. They know it when he acts.

v20 I continued to pray. I was confessing that I and my people Israel had done wrong things. I was praying to the *Lord my God about his holy place.

v21 And while I was praying, Gabriel came to me. He was the same man that I had seen in the first dream. He flew quickly to me. It was about the time of the evening *sacrifice. v22 He came and he spoke to me. ‘Daniel, I have come in order to help you to understand’, he said. v23 ‘As soon as you started to pray, God answered you. I have come to tell you the answer because God really loves you. Now listen to me. I will explain what you have read.’

Verses 20-23 Daniel kept on praying. It was about the time of the evening *sacrifice. The *Jews could not give *sacrifices to God in Babylon. Instead, Daniel prayed at the time of the *sacrifice. (See Psalm 141:2.) While he was praying, Gabriel arrived. Daniel had seen Gabriel before in a dream (Daniel 8:16-17). Gabriel was flying quickly. He told Daniel that God had heard his prayer. As soon as he started to pray, God heard him. Then God sent Gabriel to give Daniel an answer. Gabriel told Daniel how much God loved him. Then he promised to explain what Daniel had read.

v24 ‘God has chosen a period of 490 years (in other words, 70 times 7)’, Gabriel continued. ‘This is about your people and the holy city. Then God will stop evil and bad things. He will forgive the wrong things that people have done. He will bring goodness that will last always. What the *prophets wrote about will happen. He will establish the very holy place.’

Verse 24 Daniel had been reading what God had told Jeremiah. The *Jews would return to Jerusalem after 70 years. The 70 years were almost over. The next king, Cyrus, allowed the people to return to Jerusalem.


However, Gabriel told Daniel that God had other plans. His plans were for a period of 70 times 7 years. At the end of that time, some important things would happen.

· God would stop evil and bad things.

· God would forgive people although they have done wrong things.

· God would start a good time that would last for always.

· God had told his *prophets what would happen in the future. These things would happen as God had promised.

· God would make a very holy place. We do not understand what this sentence means. It might mean that a very holy person would come.

These things were answers to Daniel’s prayers. Daniel was praying for his people. They had done wrong things and God had punished them.

v25 ‘I want you to know and understand’, Gabriel continued. ‘Someone will issue a command to build Jerusalem again. 49 years (in other words, 7 times 7) will pass. People will build Jerusalem city again. They will build streets and a wall. But God’s people will suffer trouble during this time. Then there will be 434 years (in other words, 62 times 7) more. Then, the special ruler that God has chosen will come. v26 After the 434 years, people will kill the special ruler that God has appointed. He will have nothing. Then a foreign prince will come with his army and he will destroy the city and the holy place. The end will be like a flood. God has ordered that people should destroy things. He has decided that there will be war until the end of that time. v27 The prince will make a strong agreement with many people for 7 years. In the middle of the 7 years he will stop all the *sacrifices. He will put an awful thing in the holy place. And it will stay there until God acts. God has decided to kill this prince, and his end will happen.’

Verses 25-27 Then Gabriel told Daniel more about what would happen.

A new king (Cyrus) would allow the *Jews to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4). Not many of the *Jews wanted to go to Jerusalem. Most of them had been born in Babylon. Only the old people like Daniel had been to Jerusalem. The people who did go to Jerusalem tried to build God’s holy house again. It was hard work. The other people in the country tried to stop them. Many years later, another king (Artaxerxes) allowed Nehemiah to go to build the walls of Jerusalem again (Nehemiah 2:4-6). This too was hard work. Again, the other people in the country tried to stop them.

This is probably the 7 times 7 years.

Then there is a period of 62 times 7 years. After this, Jesus came into the world. He taught and he cured people for about three and a half years. But then the people killed him. He was the man whom God had appointed. Later the *Romans came. They destroyed Jerusalem and God’s holy place.

When Jesus was born, some people were waiting for him (Luke 2:25-38). Perhaps they had read the book of Daniel.

God promised Daniel that he would remove evil things. He said that he would start a good time that would last for always. This has not happened yet. However, when Jesus died he defeated God’s evil enemies. Evil things will only last for a certain time. God has decided that time.

Some people think that the last part of Gabriel’s message has not happened yet. It will happen at the very end of the world. Then there will be no more evil things, as God has promised. Then he will start a good time that will last for always.

Chapter 10

Chapters 10, 11 and 12 tell us about Daniel’s last dream.

v1 In the third year that king Cyrus ruled Persia, God gave a message to Daniel. (Daniel’s other name was Belteshazzar.) The message was true, and it was about a great war. Daniel understood the message in a *vision. v2 He wrote down this message:

At that time I, Daniel, was sad for three weeks. v3 I did not eat any good food. I had no meat or wine. I did not look after my skin or my hair until the three weeks finished.

Verses 1-3 Cyrus was the king after Darius. In the first year of his rule, he allowed the *Jews to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4). Not many of the people went.

Daniel had his last dream about two years later. He was an old man and he had probably retired (Daniel 1:21).

It was the first month of the year (Daniel 10:4). During this month the *Jews remembered the time when God brought them out of Egypt. For 7 days, they did not eat proper bread. Daniel did not eat good food for three weeks, because he was very sad. Perhaps he was sad because not many of the people had gone back to Jerusalem. Daniel had prayed that the king would allow the people to go back to Jerusalem. Not many of the people had gone. Those who had gone to Jerusalem had a hard life. The other people in the country did not want them to build Jerusalem again.

v4 On the 24th day of the first month I was standing by the great river Tigris. v5 I looked and I saw a man. He was wearing good white clothes. He wore a pure gold belt. v6 His body was bright like a precious stone. His face was like lightning. His eyes seemed like flames of fire. His arms and legs seemed like *bronze that someone had polished. When he spoke, his voice was like the noise of many people’s voices.

Verses 4-6 In his dream, Daniel was standing by the river. He saw a very unusual man. The man wore white clothes and a gold belt. His body shone. It was very bright. The Bible describes Jesus like this (Revelation 1:13-17). The man seemed like an *angel. Some students think that he was probably Jesus himself. But this is not likely because of verse 13. Jesus would have beaten the enemy more easily!

v7 Only I, Daniel, saw this sight. The people who were with me did not see anything. But they were very afraid, so they ran away. And they hid themselves. v8 Then I was alone as I looked at this great sight. My face became very pale and my strength left me. v9 When I heard his voice, I fell down. I lay with my face on the ground and I started to sleep deeply.

Verses 7-9 There were people with Daniel. They did not see the man, but they were afraid. Perhaps they could hear his strange voice. The other people ran away. Daniel was very afraid too, but he did not run away. He was so afraid that he fell down. Then he started to sleep.

v10 Then a hand touched me and it helped me to get up. I was on my hands and knees, but I was trembling. v11 He spoke to me. ‘Daniel, God loves you very much’, he said. ‘Listen carefully to what I say to you. Stand up, because God has sent me to you.’ When he said this, I stood up. But I was still trembling. v12 Then he said, ‘Daniel, do not be afraid. You became humble and you wanted to understand. As soon as you did this, God heard your words. So I have come to bring the answer to your prayers. v13 The prince of the *kingdom of Persia stood in my way for 21 days. But then Michael, who is one of the chief princes, came to help me. Until then, I had to stay there with the kings of Persia. v14 Now I am here to explain this dream about the future. The dream tells what will happen to your people then.’

Verses 10-14 Someone touched Daniel and helped him to get up. It was probably Jesus, but it might have been an *angel. Daniel was still very afraid.

The man had a message for Daniel. He told Daniel the good news that God loved him very much. Then he said that God had sent him to speak to Daniel.

Daniel stood up but he was still very afraid. The man told Daniel that God was pleased. God was pleased because Daniel was humble. God had heard his prayers and he had sent an answer. The man came to Daniel, but someone stopped him for three weeks. It was the prince of the *kingdom of Persia. This was not a human prince. This was one of the devil’s servants. He made the king of Persia do bad things. Then Michael came to help. He was the *angel who looked after the *Jews (Daniel 12:1).

After three weeks, the man came to Daniel. God sent him to tell Daniel about the future.

v15 While he was saying these words to me, I looked down at the ground. I could not speak. v16 Then someone who seemed like a man touched my lips. I opened my mouth and I was able to speak again. So I spoke to the person who stood in front of me. ‘My *lord, the dream has given me great pain and my strength has left me. v17 My *lord, I am your servant. I am not important enough to talk with you. My strength has left me and I can hardly breathe.’

Verses 15-17 Daniel was still very afraid. He also felt very humble and he could not speak. Then either Jesus or an *angel touched his mouth. So he was able to speak. He told the man in front of him that he was weak. He thought that he was not very important. So he was scared to speak to the man.

v18 Someone who seemed like a man touched me again. He gave me strength. v19 ‘Do not be afraid, man’, he said to me, ‘because God loves you very much. I want you to be calm inside yourself. I want you to be strong, very strong.’ When he said this, I felt stronger. So I spoke again. ‘My *lord, speak to me, because you have given me strength’, I said.

v20-21 Then he spoke to me again. ‘I will tell you why I have come to you. I will explain to you what the words in the True Book mean. Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia. When I have defeated him, the prince from Greece will come. Only Michael, your people’s prince, supports me against them.’

Verses 18-21 The man touched him again. Then Daniel felt stronger. The man said things to make Daniel feel better. He told Daniel again that God loved him very much. Then he promised to explain the things that Daniel had read. He said that he had to fight against the prince of Persia again. He would defeat the prince of Persia. But then another of the devil’s servants, the prince of Greece, would come. We know that the *kingdom of Greece followed the *kingdom of Persia. Michael would support him in the fight. Michael is the *angel who looks after the *Jews, (Daniel 12:1).

Chapter 11

v1 ‘Since the first year that Darius from Media ruled, I supported him’, he continued. ‘And I helped him.’

Verse 1 This is really part of chapter 10. The man told Daniel that he helped Michael. This happened when the *Medes and *Persians defeated the *Babylonians. Then Darius became king.

v2 ‘Now I will explain the truth to you’, he said. ‘There will be three more kings in Persia and then a fourth king will come. He will be richer than all the other kings. He will become powerful because of his wealth. Then he will cause everybody to become angry with the *kingdom called Greece.’

Verses 2 The man had promised to tell Daniel what would happen in the future. So he started to explain. He told Daniel about kings who would come. These things have now happened. So we know that he told Daniel the truth.

There would be other kings after Darius. Then a very rich king would come. We believe that this was king Xerxes. We read about him in the book called Esther in the Bible. He used his great wealth to set up a large army. Then he attacked Greece, but he was not successful.

v3 ‘Then a very strong king will come’, he continued. ‘He will rule with great power. And he will do whatever he wants. v4 After he comes, suddenly his *kingdom will break into 4 parts. It will divide to the north, south, east and west. His children and grandchildren will not rule his *kingdom. Other people will rule his *kingdom, but they will not be as powerful.’

Verses 3-4 Soon another great king came. He was the king of Greece. He is usually called Alexander the Great (Daniel 8:21). He died when he was only 32 years old. His sons also died when they were still young. So they did not follow him as king when he died. Instead, his *kingdom broke up. His army officers became the kings of four smaller *kingdoms. They were not as powerful as Alexander (Daniel 8:22).

v5 ‘Then the king in the south will become strong, but one of his officers will become even stronger. He will take control of the *kingdom and he will be very powerful.’

Verse 5 The man told Daniel about the kings of two of the *kingdoms. The king in the south was the king of Egypt. His name was Ptolemy and he was powerful. Another army officer became the king in the north. He was the king of Syria and his name was Seleucus. He was even more powerful.

Then the man told Daniel about the wars between these *kingdoms. The kings of Egypt used the name Ptolemy. Some of the kings of Syria used the name Seleucus. Some used the name Antiochus, because Antioch was their capital city.

v6 The man continued, ‘After some years, the king in the south and the king in the north will make an agreement. The daughter of the king in the south will marry the king in the north in order to make peace. But the plan will fail and they will lose their power. Someone will kill her and her husband and her child and her servants.’

Verse 6 Antiochus II Theos, the king of Syria, divorced his wife Laodicea. Then he married Bernice who was the daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the king of Egypt. But somebody murdered them. It may have been Antiochus’s previous wife or her son.

v7 ‘Later, someone from her family will become king in the south. He will attack the army of the king in the north and he will enter the strong city. He will fight against them and he will defeat them. v8 He will *seize the images of their gods and their valuable gold and silver dishes. He will take these things back to the country called Egypt. Then for several years, he will not attack the king in the north again.’

Verses 7-8 Later a brother of Bernice became king of Egypt. He was called Ptolemy III Euergetes. He defeated the king of Syria, Seleucus II Callinicus, in a war. Then there were no wars for a time.

v9 ‘After that, the king in the north will attack the country where the king in the south lives. But they will force him to return to his own country. v10 Then his sons will prepare for war. They will gather a large army, which will go to the south as powerfully as a flood. The army will attack the strong city of the king in the south. v11 Then the king in the south will be angry. He will bring out his army to fight the king from the north. Although the king from the north has gathered a large army, the king in the south will defeat him. v12 When the king in the south has overcome this large army, he will become proud. He will kill many thousands of people, but he will not continue to be successful.’

Verses 9-12 Later, Seleucus III Soter, the king of Syria, attacked Ptolemy IV Philopator the king of Egypt. And then he returned home. Then the sons of the king of Syria gathered a large army. One of them died, but the other one led the army to attack Egypt. He was called Antiochus III The Great.

Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, was very angry. His army won the battle although it was not as strong. This made the king of Egypt very proud. He was successful in battle, but only for a certain time.

v13 ‘The king from the north will gather a large army again. It will be even bigger than the previous army was. After a few years, he will come back with his larger army. And this army will have all the equipment that it needs to attack other countries. v14 At that time, many people will oppose the king in the south. And the fierce men from your own people will oppose him too. This is what the dream declares. But they will fail. v15 Then the king from the north will come. He will heap up earth round a strong city. He will overcome the city because the army in the south will not be able to oppose him. Even their best soldiers will not be strong enough to succeed against him. v16 The king from the north will do whatever he wants to do. Nobody will be able to oppose him. He will stand in the Beautiful Country and he will have the power to destroy it.’

Verses 13-16 A few years passed. Then Antiochus III The Great attacked Ptolemy IV Philopator, the king of Egypt. Antiochus had a large army that had plenty of equipment. Many people, even some *Jews, helped Antiochus to attack Egypt. Antiochus defeated Ptolemy the king of Egypt and Antiochus became very powerful. He did what he wanted, even in the Beautiful Country. This is the country that God promised to his people the *Jews (Genesis 13:14-17).

v17 ‘Then the king from the north will decide to go further south with his whole army. He will offer to make an agreement for peace with the king in the south. He will give a daughter to marry the king in the south. His real plan is to destroy the king’s rule, but his plan will fail.’

Verse 17 The king of Syria, Antiochus III The Great, tried to defeat Egypt completely. He had a new plan. He gave his daughter, Cleopatra, to marry Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the new king of Egypt. But his plan failed. Cleopatra was more loyal to her husband than she was to her father.

v18 ‘Afterwards he will turn and attack the nations by the sea. He will *seize many of those nations, but one leader will defeat him. He will even make the king from the north sorry for his insults. v19 Then the king from the north will return to the strong cities in his own country. But he will lose a battle and he will disappear.’

Verses 18-19 Then Antiochus III The Great decided to attack Greece. General Scipio led an army from Rome and defeated him. Antiochus returned to his own country. His power had gone.

v20 He continued, ‘The next king in the north will try to increase his *kingdom’s wealth. He will send out someone to collect taxes, but soon he will die. This will happen in secret and not in a battle.’

Verse 20 Seleucus IV Philopator became the next king of Syria. He had large debts that he could not pay. He did not rule for very long. His officials killed him.

v21 ‘The person who comes after him will be very nasty. He will have no right to be a king. And he will come when nobody expects him. He will cheat in order to become king. v22 He will overcome great armies and he will destroy them. He will even kill the prince of the promise. v23 He will make an agreement with people from other nations, but he will tell them lies. He will become powerful, although not many people support him. v24 He will attack the richest districts when they do not expect it. He will do things that his father and grandfathers did not do. He will *seize valuable things and property in war and he will share them with his people. And he will plot to overcome strong cities. But this will only happen for a short time.’

Verses 21-24 The next king of Syria was a very unpleasant king. He was called Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His name meant a god who had become a man. Some of his people called him Antiochus Empimanes. That means mad man.

We know about the other kings from history. The things that the man told Daniel did happen. But the man told Daniel some things about Antiochus that we do not know from history.

He became king because he cheated. And he told lies. Then he defeated other nations for the same reasons. He was a very powerful king who did evil things. He did worse things than the kings before him did. But God only allowed him to do this for a certain time.

v25 ‘He will feel strong and brave against the king in the south because he has a large army. And the king in the south will fight back with a large and powerful army. But the king in the south will not succeed, because people will plot against him. v26 Even those who share his royal food will try to kill him. His army will disappear and many soldiers will die. v27 These two kings will want to do evil things. They will sit together at the same table but they will tell lies to each other. Their plans will not succeed because God has decided the time of the end already.’

Verses 25-27 Antiochus IV Epiphanes had a large army and he wanted to defeat Egypt. Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the king of Egypt, also had a large army, but some of his people were not loyal. So Antiochus defeated him. The two kings met, but they told lies to each other. God’s plans were greater than their plans.

v28 ‘The king from the north will return to his own country with great wealth. He will hate those who *worship the real God. He will do whatever he wants to do against them. Then he will continue his journey back to his own country.’

Verse 28 On his way home, Antiochus had to pass through the country that God gave to the *Jews. He hated the real God. He also hated those who gave honour to the real God.

v29 ‘At the time that God has appointed, he will go to the south again. This time he will not succeed. v30 People from the west will come in ships and they will oppose him. He will be afraid and he will turn back. He will be angry with people who *worship the real God. He will try to destroy their belief. He will give benefits to those people who have turned against God. v31 He will send some of his soldiers into God’s strong and holy place to make it dirty. Then it will not be holy any longer. They will not allow people to offer gifts to God any longer. They will put the awful thing in there. v32 The king will tell lies to the people who are not loyal to God. Then they will support the king. The people who are loyal to God will not listen to the king. They will stand firm and they will oppose him. v33 The wise leaders will teach the people, but some of them will suffer. People will kill some of them with swords or people will burn them. People will rob them and they will put some of them in prison. v34 When God’s people are dying, they will receive a little help. Many people will join them, but they will not be sincere people. v35 Some of the wise people will die, so that God’s people will become pure (holy). Then they will be perfect, as God wants at the end. God has decided when the end shall be.’

Verses 29-35 Later, Antiochus attacked Egypt again. This time he was not successful, because the *Romans opposed him. He turned back and went into the country of the *Jews. He hated the *Jews and their God. Perhaps the *Jews had asked the *Romans to help them. Antiochus tried to stop anyone from serving the real God. He was cruel to the people who loved God. But he listened to those people who were not loyal to God. He did not allow the people to make *sacrifices to God. He made God’s holy places so that they were not holy.

Some people stayed loyal to God. They tried to teach other people to be loyal too. Many people died because they were loyal to God. God will reward these people in heaven. He only allowed Antiochus to do his evil things for a certain time. This lasted for about 6 years.

v36 The man continued, ‘This king will do whatever he wants to do. He will say proudly that he is greater than any god. He will even say awful insults against the real God. He will be successful until God is not angry with his people any longer. God will do what he has decided. v37 This king will not care about the gods that his father and grandfathers *worshipped. He will not care about the god that women love. He will think that he is greater than any of the gods. v38 Instead, he will give honour to the god that protects strong cities. His father and grandfathers did not give honour to such a god. But he will give gold, silver, precious stones and valuable gifts to that god. v39 People who give honour to this foreign god will help him to fight in strong cities. Then he will reward those people who give honour to his god. He will let them rule over many people and he will share the land with them. v40 In the end, the king from the south will attack him. The king in the north will fight back like a storm. He will have soldiers on horses and many ships. He will attack many countries and he will go through them as powerfully as a flood. v41 He will also attack the Beautiful Country and he will kill many thousands of the people there. But the people in the countries called Edom and Moab and the leaders from Ammon will escape from him. v42 He will have power over many countries, including the country called Egypt. v43 He will *seize all the gold, silver and other precious things in Egypt. He will overcome the countries called Libya and Cush also. v44 But he will be worried when he hears news from the north and the east. So he will be very angry. And then he will go and kill many people. v45 He will put his royal tents between the sea and the holy mountain. But he will die there and nobody will help him.’

Verses 36-45 The man seemed to go on telling Daniel about the same king. But then he talked about things that Antiochus Epiphanes did not do. It seems that he was telling Daniel about another person. That person would come at the end of the world. Paul, who lived a long time after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, wrote similar things (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). This person would do evil things like Antiochus Epiphanes did. But he would do even more evil things.

Since the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, many other evil men have lived. Many of them hated God and his people. The man who will come at the end of the world will be even worse. He will say that he is greater than any God, even the real God. He will set himself up in God’s holy place. He will speak against the real God. He will reward those people who do not give honour to the real God. He will attack many countries and he will have power over them. He will also attack the country of the *Jews.

He will be successful for a certain time. But then the time that God has planned will come. God will show his anger and he will kill this evil person.

Chapter 12

v1 ‘At that time Michael will come’, continued the man. ‘He is the great *angel who looks after your people. There will be a time of terrible trouble. It will be the worst time since the nation began. Then God will rescue those among your people whose names are in his book. v2 Many of those who have died will come back to life again. God will give life that will never end to some of them. But some will have shame and disgust always. v3 Those who are wise will shine like the bright sky. Those who help many people to obey God will shine like the stars always.

v4 Now you, Daniel, do not add to this message. Close the book and keep it secret until the end. Many will try hard to increase their knowledge.’

Verses 1-4 This is the rest of what the man told Daniel. This is certainly about the end of the world. It will be a terrible time, especially for the people who love the real God. (See Mark 13:19-20.) But the *angels will help them and God will rescue them. God will only allow bad things to happen for a certain time.

The people who have died will come back to life. God will reward those who were loyal to him. They were the wise people. Those who did not love God will have shame.

The man told Daniel to stop writing. The things that he told Daniel about will not happen yet. They will not happen until just before the end of the world. But they will certainly happen. God has promised that they will happen.

v5 Then I, Daniel, looked up and I saw two other people. One of them was on this side of the river with me. The other one was on the other side of the river. v6 One of them spoke to the man who was wearing white clothes. He was beyond them over the water. He asked him, ‘How long will it be before these extraordinary things end?’ v7 The man who was wearing white clothes lifted up both his hands towards the sky. I heard him make a promise by God, who lives always. ‘It will end after three and a half years. Then the enemies who oppose the power of the holy people will stop. And all these events will be complete.’

Verses 5-7 Daniel saw two more *angels. One of them asked the man, ‘How long will it be before these extraordinary things end?’ The *angel knew that God would only allow bad things to happen for a certain time.

The man said that the time would last three and a half years. He actually said one time, two times and half a time. This may mean three and a half years. But God will stop these bad things after a certain time.

Then the end will come. Then God will show his power. He will show that he is in control.

v8 I heard his words, but I did not understand. So I said, ‘My *lord, how will it all end?’ v9 ‘You may go now, Daniel’, he said. ‘This message will remain secret until the end comes. v10 God will make many people holy and good. But wicked people will continue to do evil things. Wicked people will not understand what God wants. But wise people will understand. v11 From the time that there is no daily *sacrifice there will be 1290 days. That is from the time that they put the awful thing in place. v12 The people who wait patiently for 1335 days will be happy. v13 You yourself must be patient and you must continue until the end. You will die. But then you will live again and receive your reward at the end of time.’

Verses 8-13 Daniel still did not understand. He asked the man a different question. ‘How will it all end?’ But the man did not tell him any more. He said that he would not explain any more until the time arrived. This means that we will not understand all about the end of the world. But we do know enough. We know that many bad things will happen. We also know that God will stop those things after a certain time. The good people are those who are really wise. Wicked people are not wise and they will continue to do evil things.

We do not know what the 1290 days and the 1335 days mean. But they both mean about three and a half years. We do know that God will only allow the bad things to happen for a certain time. God’s people must be patient. Then they will be happy.

The man told Daniel to be patient. Daniel would die before the end of the world. But the man promised him that he would become alive again. Then God would give him his reward.

Word List

angel ~ God’s servant in heaven, who brings messages from God.

astrologer ~ astrologers looked at the stars; then they tried to say what would happen in the future.

Babylonian ~ someone or something from a place called Babylon.

bronze ~ a bright, hard metal, which is a usually a mixture of yellow metal and tin; it is less precious than gold or silver.

clay ~ a kind of soil, which becomes hard when people bake it. People use it to make pots.

dew ~ the water drops that appear on the plants and on the ground in the morning when the air is cool.

diviner ~ a diviner tried to find out things by magic (see *magician).

eagle ~ a large bird with very large wings. Eagles eat smaller birds and small animals.

enchanter ~ a kind of *magician.

horn ~ a hard bone that sticks out from the heads of some animals. Goats, cows and sheep often have horns. Daniel uses the word ‘horn’ to mean a ruler who is very powerful.

Jew ~ a person who is from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a person who believes what Jews believe. It is also a name for people from Judah and Israel.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything that belongs to a Jew.

keep a promise ~ do what you promised to do.

kingdom ~ the place or territory or land where a king rules.

leopard ~ a large wild cat like a lion with spots.

Lord ~ Lord is a special kind of name, and a title, for God. The *Jewish people often use this title for God. It shows that he is over all. Or it may mean that he is always God.

lord ~ when this title does not mean God, it just means someone very important.

magicians ~ these people do magic. They seem to do things that are impossible. Such practices were part of many ancient religions. Kings often chose magicians to be their advisers. But the Bible teaches that such magic does not come from God. Any powers that magicians may have, come from evil spirits.

Mede ~ a person from Media, a nation at the time of Daniel.

Persian ~ someone or something from a country called Persia in Daniel’s time; it is called Iran today.

prophet ~ a person whom God sends to speak for him; a prophet tells people good and bad things that will happen. Prophets often tell people to change before bad things happen.

Roman ~ a person from Rome. Rome was the most famous city in the world by the time of Jesus. Their soldiers fought and defeated many countries. They made the people obey the rules of Rome. They made them pay taxes to Rome. The people could not rule themselves; they had to obey the laws of Rome.

rope ~ several pieces of string that someone has wound together to make one thick piece.

sackcloth ~ clothes that people make from very rough material. People would wear such rough clothes when they were very sorry or very sad.

sacrifice ~ a gift, such as food or an animal; people often gave it as part of their *worship of God or of a false god; a gift to God to ask him to forgive us; or to thank him for something.

seize ~ to take objects away after a battle; to overcome a city or a country.

sorcerer ~ a kind of *magician.

throne ~ a chair for a king or a judge.

vision ~ a dream that comes to a person who is awake; a mental picture that comes form God.

worship ~ to show honour to someone superior; to respect God; to praise and serve God; to tell God that we love him very much; or, to serve and to show honour to a false god.

Book List

James Philip ~ By the Rivers of Babylon ~ Didasko Press

Stuart Olyott ~ Dare to Stand Alone ~ Evangelical Press ~ Welwyn Commentary series

J. G. Baldwin ~ Daniel ~ IVP Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries

Ronald S. Wallace ~ The Lord is King – The Message of Daniel ~ IVP The Bible Speaks Today

G. Coleman Luck ~ Daniel ~ Moody Press

René Péter-Contesse & John Ellington ~ A Handbook on The Book of Daniel ~ UBS Handbook series

Strong’s Lexicon

Bibles ~ AV, NIV, RSV & TEV

 

© 1997-2007, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

March  2007

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