BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

LESSON 3 - The Lord of kings

The first four chapters of the book narrate the steps by which God eventually won Nebuchadnezzar's wholehearted allegiance. Daniel, God's personal ambassador to the court of Babylon, is introduced as a man of vigorous health, giant intellect, tactful personality, and, above all, loyalty to principle. His outstanding character and ability won Nebuchadnezzar's esteem and confidence. Then came a cries of providential episodes-the dream of the metallic image, the fiery furnace, and the seven years of insanity-through which God revealed Himself to the king. In the first of these experiences he learned that Daniel's God is "a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets"; In the second, that He is able to protect those who are loyal to Him, and to change the king's word; and in the third, that "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will."
With all of this Nebuchadnezzar's grandson Belshazzar was acquainted, but he refused to humble his heart before God as his iliustrious grandfather had done. As a result, Babylon was weighed in the divine balances, found wanting, and given by divine mandate to the Medes and the Persians.

Part 1: A Lord of Kings

All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. (Psa 138:4)
"In the land of their captivity these men (Christian patriots, among whom were Daniel and his friends were to carry out God's purpose by giving to heathen nations the blessings that come through a knowledge of Jehovah. They were to be Hi representatives." -Prophets and Kings, Page 479.
What were the circumstances under which God first revealed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar. Dan. 2:1-25.
In order to convince Nebuchadnezzar that this dream was, indeed, a revelation from a God superior to all the gods he knew, it was first necessary to demonstrate that his gods and his wise men were powerless to provide him with the information he so eagerly desired. Things were therefore permitted to reach a climax in which the very lives of the wise men were at stake, yet honor or death, proved unavailing. In their extremity the wise men were finally compelled to admit that the solution to the king's dilemma lay in the hands of a God of whom they had no knowledge and over whom they had no influence.
In what tactful way did Daniel introduce Nebuchadnezzar to the true God? Dan. 2:26-30, 36, 37.
Behold the Jewish captive, calm and self-possessed, in the presence of the monarch of the world's most powerful empire. In his first words he disclaimed honor for himself and exalted God as the source of all wisdom. To the anxious inquiry of the king, "Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?" he replied: "The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days." . . . _ Conflict and Courage, p. 250
What did Nebuchadnezzar learn about God through this experience? Dan. 2:47.
The fact that the wisest men of the realm failed to reveal the royal dream, but that Daniel was able to do so completely and accurately, convinced the king of the infinite superiority of Daniel's God over his own gods. The first thing Nebuchadnezzar learned about the true God was that He is "a revealer of secrets" (ch. 2:47), not in the relatively simple sense of solving riddless, but in the deeper sense of providing the right answers to the major problems of life and empire.

Key Thought
Today, the true answers to the deep questions of life are still only available from the One who revealed the dream

Part 2: The King's Word Changed

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. (Dan 3:1)
"The words, `Thou art this head of gold,' had made a deep impression upon the ruler's mind. The wise men of his realm, taking advantage of this and of his return to idolatry, proposed that he make an image similar to the one seen in his dream, and set it up where all might behold the head of gold, which had been interpreted as representing his kingdom.
"Pleased with the flattering suggestion, be determined to carry it out, and to go even farther. Instead of reproducing the image as he had seen it, he would excel the original. His image should not deteriorate in value from the head to the feet, but should he entirely of gold-symbolic throughout of Babylon as an eternal, indestructible, all-powerful kingdom, which should break in pieces all other kingdoms and stand forever." -Prophets and Kings, pages 503, 504.
What event reveals the fact that Nebuchadnezzar still had a very poor understanding of the true God? Dan. 3:4-15
". . . . it is not surprising that in a land where idol worship was of universal prevalence, the beautiful and priceless image in the plain of Dura, representing the glory of Babylon and its magnificence and power, should be consecrated as an object of worship. This was accordingly provided for, and a decree went forth that on the day of the dedication all should show their supreme loyalty to the Babylonian power by bowing before the image." -Prophets and Kings, p. 505
By what series of events did God indicate to Nebuchadnezzar that he could not with impunity oppose the divine will? Dan. 3:16-29.
"From his royal seat the king looked on, expecting to see the men who had defied him utterly destroyed. But his feelings of triumph suddenly changed. The nobles standing near saw his face grow pale as he started from the throne and looked intently into the glowing flames. In alarm the king, turning to his lords, asked, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? . . . Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." -Prophets and Kings, p. 509
". . . . the king of Babylon endeavored to spread abroad before all the peoples of earth his conviction that the power and authority of the God of the Hebrews was worthy of supreme adoration. And God was pleased with the effort of the king to show Him reverence, and to make the royal confession of allegiance as widespread as was the Babylonian realm." -Prophets and Kings, p. 510
 
Key Thought
Men may exalt themselves and make plans which seem unchallengeable, but it is still God's will which will be done ultimately.

Part 3: Weighed and Found Wanting

The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? (Dan 4:30)
Nebuchadnezzar forgot that his splendid accomplishments were not really his own, but that he was accountable to the God of heaven for the wisdom and skill that produced his brilliant military, architectural and administrative triumphs. Through Daniel he had learned much of the true God, but there were still some vital lessons for him to learn. God loved this heathen king and was not finished with him yet.
Through what difficult experience did Nebuchadnezzar learn the supreme lesson of his life? Dan. 4: 5-17, 28-33.
From supreme monarch, Nebuchadnezzar was to be reduced to the society of dumb beasts, to eat as they eat, and to lodge with them under the open sky. His brilliant intellect was to be reduced to the instinctive processes of their extremely limited minds. Could pride take a greater tumble?
Insanity descends upon the brilliant mind of the king, obliterating everything. Reason departs; the mental faculties fail. The light of intelligence fades from his eyes, and in its place there remains nought but the blank, glassy stare that marks the dumb brute, and with it an elemental desire for a few blades of grass to eat and a pile of straw on which to spend the night. No longer does Nebuchadnezzar envision himself as the builder of Babylon and the ruler of a vast empire whose borders touch the ends of the earth. He is an OX!
What did Nebuchadnezzar learn about God through this experience? Dan. 4:32, 34-37.
The once proud monarch had become a humble child of God; the tyrannical, overbearing ruler, a wise and compassionate king. He who had defied and blasphemed the God of heaven, now acknowledged the power of the Most High and earnestly sought to promote the fear of Jehovah and the happiness of his subjects. Under the rebuke of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, Nebuchadnezzar had learned at last the lesson which all rulers need to learn--that true greatness consists in true goodness. He acknowledged Jehovah as the living God, saying, "I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase." -Prophets and Kings, page 521.
 
Key Thought
Sometimes God takes through bitter experiences but always, these trials are only permitted to help to make us better people.

Part 4: Weighed and Found Wanting

Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. (Dan 5:2)
"With reason dethroned through shameless intoxication, and with lower impulses and passions now in the ascendancy, the king himself took the lead in the riotous orgy. . . The king would prove that nothing was too sacred for his hands to handle. "They brought the golden vessels; . . . and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone." - Prophets and Kings, p. 523-4
What attitude on the part of Belshazzar sealed Babylon's doom? Dan. 5:22, 23.
"Belshazzar gloried in his power and lifted up his heart against the God of heaven. Many had been his opportunities to know the divine will and to understand his responsibility of rendering obedience thereto. He had known of his grandfather's banishment, by the decree of God, from the society of men; and he was familiar with Nebuchadnezzar's conversion and miraculous restoration. But Belshazzar allowed the love of pleasure and self-glorification to efface the lessons that he should never have forgotten. He wasted the opportunities graciously granted him, and neglected to use the means within his reach for becoming more fully acquainted with truth. That which Nebuchadnezzar had finally gained at the cost of untold suffering and humiliation, Belshazzar passed by with indifference. " - Prophets and Kings, p. 522-3
What divine decree was finally issued against Babylon? With what result? Dan. 5:25-31.
"Every nation that has come upon the stage of action has been permitted to occupy its place on the earth, that the fact might be determined whether it would fulfill the purposes of the Watcher and the Holy One. Prophecy has traced the rise and progress of the world's great empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with the nations of less power, history has repeated itself. Each has had its period of test; each has failed, its glory faded, its power departed.
"While nations have rejected God's principles, and in this rejection have wrought their own ruin, yet a divine, overruling purpose has manifestly been at work throughout the ages." -Prophets and King', p. 535.

Key Thought
If the moral character and spiritual advancement do not correspond with the opportunities and blessings, "want

Part 5: God Reveals himself to Darius

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. (Dan 6:16)
The book of Daniel shows us more clearly than any other book in the Bible how God seeks to manifest Himself to the rulers of this world. In the case of Babylon, the successive rulers were able to receive a proper understanding of the true God because of the presence of Daniel and his three friends in the royal courts of Babylon.
What was Daniel's official position and reputation under the new government of Persia? Dan. 6:1-4, 28.
Darius the Mede, so Daniel relates, "set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps," or local governors, to administer its affairs, and over these satraps, "three presidents, of whom Daniel was one." As `night be expected, Daniel was soon "distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him." Dan. 6:1-3, RSV. His obvious sincerity, integrity, and faithfulness to duty, and his gracious personality won the confidence and trust of the Medes and Persians as it had that of the Chaldeans.
Through what experience did God make Himself known to Darius? Dan. 6:4-23.
God did not prevent Daniel's enemies from casting him into the lions' den; He permitted evil angels and wicked men thus far to accomplish their purpose; but it was that He might make the deliverance of His servant more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee" (Psalm 76:10), the psalmist has testified. Through the courage of this one man who chose to follow right rather than policy, Satan was to be defeated, and the name of God was to be exalted and honored. {PK 543.3}
Through this experience what did Darius learn about the true God? Dan. 6:25-27.
"In delivering Daniel from the lions' den, God demonstrated His power and authority before the rulers of the Persian Empire (see ch. 6:20-23; PK 557) as He had previously before those of Babylon. An edict of Darius the Mede acknowledged `the living God' and admitted that He is `steadfast for ever' (v. 26). Even `the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not' (v. 8), was obliged to yield before the decrees of `the Most High,' who `ruleth in the kingdom of men' (ch. 4:32)." -S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 752.
Key Thought
The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. (Psa 146:9)

Part 6: The Decree to Restore and Build

That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. (Isa 44:28)
"The deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions had been used of God to create a favorable impression upon the mind of Cyrus the Great. . . . And now, just at the time God had said He would cause His temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt, He moved upon Cyrus as His agent to discern the prophecies concerning himself, with which Daniel was so familiar, and to grant the Jewish people their liberty." -Prophets and Kings, p. 557
What prediction had Isaiah made concerning Cyrus nearly two centuries prior to this decree? Isa. 45:1, 13.
"As the king saw the words foretelling, more than a hundred years before his birth, the manner in which Babylon should be taken; . . . his heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission. He would ]et the Judean captives go free; he would help them restore the temple of Jehovah." -Prophets and Kings, p. 358.
When enemies hindered the work of rebuilding, what providential decree was issued? Ezra 6:7, 8.
The Samaritans induced the False Smerdis (an unscrupulous impostor called Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7), to issue a decree forbidding the Jews to rebuild their temple and city. The work came to a halt, and discouragement pervaded the hearts of the returned exiles. But God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage them, and in faith they began to work on the temple again despite the harassment of the Samaritans and a royal edict to the contrary. Providentially, Darius Hystaspes, who had succeeded the False Smerdis on the throne of Persia, issued a decree ordering the rebuilding of the temple to proceed.
Under what circumstances was the temple finally completed? Ezra 6:13-15. Compare Jer. 39:1, 2, 8.
Through the prophet Jeremiah God had warned that the temple would lie waste and desolate for 70 years. (Jer. 25:11,12). This prophecy was fulfilled exactly as Jeremiah had said. Jerusalem fell and was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, about July 19, 586 B.C. The temple was completed a little more than 70 years later in the sixth year of Darius the Great, or about March 12, 515 B.C.
 
Key Thought
God's purposes know no haste and no delay but they will surely be fulfilled at the appointed time
Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Website: www.restorationministry.com

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