I haven’t published a Bible Study post since June 6. I bit off a bigger project than I was capable of completing. In my previously announced study I was going to use the Baptist Faith and Message as a guide to a doctrinal study and, after completing the first 3 posts, I was quickly swamped with the enormity of this undertaking. It is much more difficult, in my opinion, to write a topical study rather than a Bible book study simply because I have a tendency to overthink and over-research my work and am not satisfied until I feel I have completed the research. This is not a bad thing, necessarily, because I think Bible studies should be thorough and well-considered, but it easily leads to being overwhelmed by the enormity of accurately relating God’s Word.
I think I’ll start a series of posts from the book of Daniel. I’m currently reading it as part of my annual “through-the-Bible” reading. I’ve consistently done that every year since 2014 after acquiring the One Year Chronological Bible. This is a terrific way to read the Bible and I wrote a series of study posts in 2018 inviting readers to join me that year. One reason I like writing about individual books of the Bible is that I can bite off just what I’m able to get to for that particular post. In other words, it helps me limit how much research I have to do to feel that I have adequately done justice to a given passage.
So…. Daniel. The book that bears his name was written in the sixth century B.C. It is a remarkable collection of narrative stories, prophetic writings, and end-times visions. Daniel writes a lot of the narratives in third-person style, relating the events, including himself, as a narrator would. However, he also writes about his visions in first-person perspective, as in Chapter 7, verse 15: “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me.”
Daniel’s book encompasses the time that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took Judah captive and brought the Jewish exiles (including Daniel) to Babylon, through the reign of several other kings in Babylon until the time that Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, reigned and allowed the exiles to begin returning to Judea. This encompassed the seventy years of exile prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:10) and recalled by Daniel (Daniel 8:2).
Daniel was well-regarded by the faithful followers of God. Ezekiel, another prophet who was a contemporary of Daniel’s, referenced him several times in his book, listing him alongside Noah and Job (Ezekiel 14:14). He also referenced him in God’s prophecy against the Prince of Tyre, acknowledging that he was “wiser than Daniel”, but who arrogantly claimed to “be a god” (Ezekiel 28). Daniel was told by God’s messenger that he is “greatly loved” (Daniel 9:23). Jesus himself referenced Daniel’s prophecy in Matthew 24:15.
It was nearly 30 years ago that I listened to a Chuck Swindoll radio sermon series on Daniel and obtained the printed study guide. I still remember things from that study and will likely rely on it some during this study series. As that study says in its introduction, “On the whole, the two great books that contain specific end-times prophecy are Daniel, which emphasizes the Gentiles, and Revelation, which emphasizes the Jews. What Revelation is to the New Testament, Daniel is to the Old.”
I’m looking forward to getting back to Bible Study blogs. I hope I’ve bitten off a more manageable chunk this time!