The Men who were Loyal to God
An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Daniel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chapters 10, 11 and 12 tell us about Daniel’s last dream.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Bibles ~ AV, NIV, RSV & TEV
© 1997-2007, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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