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Section 1: Opening Prayer

Gracious God, You sometimes place us places to test us and mold us through or faith in you. Help us to learn from Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah how to follow you even when we are faced with the lose of our life. Help us to hold tight to your love and promises. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

Section 2: Story

Watch the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s decision to follow God:

You can also read the story here.

Watch the story of Daniel interpreting the king’s dream:

You can also read the story here.

Watch the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:

You can also read the story here.

Watch the story of Daniel interpreting another of the king’s dreams:

You can also read the story here.

Watch the story of Daniel interpreting the handwriting on the wall:

You can also read the story here.

Watch the story of Daniel in the lion’s den:

You can also read the story here.

What is your favorite story of Daniel?
Which story do you find maybe a little far-fetched?

Section 3: Message

Daniel is a book that some say belongs to apocalyptic literature. That is the book tells us about the end of time.

Daniel’s ministry as a prophet began late in life. Whereas his early exploits were a matter of common knowledge within his community, these same events, with his pious reputation, served as the basis for his prophetic ministry. The recognition for his prophetic message was that of other prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel whose backgrounds were the basis for their revelations.

From Chapter 7 to the end of the book of Daniel, an apocalyptic vision is being described, supposedly from the perspective of Daniel. This marks a change in the narrative from Daniel interpreting to messengers of God interpreting for Daniel. Daniel dreamed of four beasts that came out of the sea: a lion with eagle’s wings, a bear with three tusks, a leopard with four wings and four heads, and a beast with iron teeth, ten horns and one little horn and human eyes.(Daniel 7:4-8) These beasts are all present at a convening of the divine counsel. Presiding over the counsel is the Ancient of Days, which may, in fact, be the Israelite God. The Ancient One proceeds to put to death the beast with the one little horn. (Daniel 7:9-11) Daniel also describes the fates of the other beasts saying that while their dominion was taken away, their lives were prolonged. (Daniel 7:12) This introduction leads into a series of dreams and visions where these events are expressed in greater detail.

Scholars argue that each of these beasts represent an emperor or kingdom that ruled over the Israelites. The vast majority of scholars accept the first as Babylon, the second as Media/Persia, the third as Greece and the fourth as Rome. The feet and toes represent the modern age which will be destroyed at the return of Christ when Christ is set up as head. A small group believes the first being Babylon, then Media, then Persia, and finally the Greeks. The horns of the last beast may be symbolic of the rulers that replaced Alexander the Great upon his death, culminating with the little horn, or Antiochus IV. There are additional details in the text that allude to Antiochus IV, including some form of desecration to the temple (Daniel 11:31) and persecution (Daniel 11:23). The final message of the second half of Daniel is that God will deliver the people from oppression.

In the Deuterocanonical (which means belong to the second canon) book Bel and the Dragon, the prophet Habakkuk is supernaturally transported by an angel to take a meal to Daniel while he is in the lions’ den. In response, Daniel prays, “Thou hast remembered me, O God; neither hast thou forsaken them that seek Thee and love Thee”. This book is not in our Bible but is held to be part of the “canon” of the Bible by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and the Church of the East, but are considered non-canonical by most Protestants. Some editions of the Bible include text from both deuterocanonical and non-canonical scriptures in a single section designated “Apocrypha”.

According to Rabbinical tradition, Daniel was of royal descent; and his fate, together with that of his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, was foretold by the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah in these words, “and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon”(Isaiah 39:7).

Daniel followed God even in the face of death. He believed that God would never leave him nor forsake him and he looked to God to help him in all the tasks put before him by the kings.

Section 4: Learn and Engage

– What are 3 things you learned?
– What is 1 question you still have?
– What part of the lesson did you most identify with?
– What part of the lesson was hardest for you?
– Where have you seen God this week?

Section 5: Closing Prayer

Gracious God, thank you for giving us Daniel and all the prophets to help us see you and your impact in our lives. Help us to follow Daniel’s example and to follow you in the face of fears and societal pressures knowing that you will give us the strength we need and always remain with us. Amen.