Searchlights from the Word by G. Campbell Morgan: Daniel

Helpful outline sermon suggestion from every chapter from the Book of Daniel

Gene Exod Levi Numb Deut Josh Judg Ruth 1Sam 2Sam 1Kin 2Kin 1Chr 2Chr Ezra Nehe Esth Job_ Psal Prov Eccl Song Isai Jere Lame Ezek Dani Hose Joel Amos Obad Jona Mica Nahu Haba Zeph Hagg Zech Mala Matt Mark Luke John Acts Roma 1Cor 2Cor Gala Ephe Phil Colo 1The 2The 1Tim 2Tim Titu Phle Hebr Jame 1Pet 2Pet 1Joh 2Joh 3Joh Jude Reve

The Book of Daniel - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.

Chapter 1

Daniel purposed in his heart.
Daniel 1:8

In this first chapter we have an introduction to Daniel. The dating shows that he was carried away into captivity before Ezekiel was, having been among those who were taken from Jerusalem in connection with the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, during the third year of Jehoiakim's reign. Evidently at the time lie was but a youth. He seems never to have returned to Jerusalem. His history is very remarkable, in that, notwithstanding the fact that he was one of the captive people, he came to occupy positions of power in three kingdoms, those namely of Babylon, Media, and Persia, and this without deflection from unswerving loyalty to the God of his fathers. In this regard his very first experience placed him in grave danger. He was among the number selected for the royal service, and thus brought into court relationship from the first. He was to be taught the learning and language of the Chaldeans, in order that he might be attached to the person of the king. Here, indeed, was a peril for the age of youth, so impressionable, and so likely to be influenced by the glitter of material splendour. But Daniel suffered nothing of deterioration of character either then, or subsequently. These words give us the secret of that strength. He "purposed in his heart." That is a fine phrase, revealing a conviction, made dynamic by the reinforcement of the will. Having thus inwardly made his choice, he acted in harmony therewith, as he requested permission to live and act according to his conviction. Then God acted, as He made him "to find kindness in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs" that "he might not defile himself." The first thing in life is that of a purpose definitely recognized and accepted; and then acted upon. If that purpose be true, God is always in co-operation, and He is able to control circumstances in the interest thereof. Searchlights.

Chapter 2

Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions.
Daniel 2:17

In this chapter we have the account of the first activity of Daniel in fulfilment of his Divinely-appointed work. All that he did in the three world-kingdoms with which he was associated was of secondary importance. He was chosen of God to live among those kingdoms in order to see them in their relation to the Kingdom of God, and to interpret that relation to those to whom he spoke, and to men for all time through the writing of this book. The method of God was that of causing kings to dream dreams, see visions, be arrested by supernatural manifestations, all of which Daniel was to interpret. Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dreams a colossal image, and was troubled. None of his magicians or astrologers could reconstruct the dream, much less interpret it. Daniel was enabled to do both, not, as he said, by his own wisdom, but by the revelation given to him by God. One can imagine the occasion, and the most natural sense of its difficulty in the mind of Daniel. He was utterly unable to do, in his own wisdom, any more than the king's magicians could do. Yet quite evidently he was conscious of a Divine calling and relationship. Very beautiful is the account of his first action. He called together the little group of his friends, like-minded with himself in loyalty to the God of their fathers, and he sought their co-operation in prayer. That prayer was heard, and answered: the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. If. the first secret of life be that of a purpose of heart, there is no force equal to keeping life not only safe, but serviceable, like that of prayer, and prayer gains in power when it is reinforced by fellowship with those mastered by the same purpose. Let every man called to Divine service, cultivate a comradeship with loyal souls, not so much for discussion, as for prayer.

Chapter 3

But if not ...
Daniel 3:18

That is a very incomplete quotation, but it introduces us to faith in its finest expression. The chapter tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar's pride. In the dream which Daniel had interpreted to him he had been described as the head of gold in the colossus of world-power. He now set up an image of gold. We are not told that it was intended to represent a god; and the probability is that it was rather intended to represent his own power. All were commanded to prostrate themselves before it and worship. Daniel does not appear in this story, but his three comrades, with whom he had sought fellowship in prayer, are here. Here was a test for their loyalty to the God of their fathers; and to His law, which strictly forbade the yielding of worship to any image whatsoever. There was no hesitation on their part. They refused, and were brought before the king. To him, in language full of respect for him, but inspired by complete loyalty to God, they declared that there was no need to answer; their position was known. They declared further to the proud monarch that God was able to deliver them, and affirmed their confidence that He would do so. That was a splendid faith. But it went further as they said: "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." That is faith at its highest. Deliverance is to be desired, and expected; but if it come not, still there can be no abandonment of the One true God. Death, as the result of loyalty to Him, is preferable to deliverance, at the price of denying Him. This is the faith which overcometh the world.

Chapter 4

... His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.
Daniel 4:3

In first three verses of this chapter we have the proclamation which Nebuchadnezzar made as the result of an experience through which he had passed. The full account of that experience is then given in verses 4 to 36. The last verse is connected with the first three, in that it adds the note of praise to the proclamation. The period of the experience covered at least eight years. First there came to him the vision. This was interpreted to him with great fidelity by Daniel. A year later the madness overtook him. It continued for seven years, during which he lived on the level of the beasts. The sin of the king was that of pride, and the consequent forgetfulness of God. That pride found expression in the words recorded in verse 3o. The lesson which he was taught is contained in these words: "His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation." Notice how the idea recurs in the narrative of experience (see verses 17, 25, 32 and 34). This statement of the proclamation is complete. The Kingdom of God is recognized in its duration: "His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom;" and in its continuousness, "His dominion is from generation to generation." This is a truth which men of faith sometimes fail to grasp, or feel the force of. God is not dethroned; He never has been; He never will be. He rules today, in the kingdom of men; and He gives the kingdom to whomsoever He will. We pray as Jesus taught us for the Kingdom to come; that is that men may volitionally surrender to it, and find its blessings. While we do so, let us never forget that even though men do not yet do so, "Jehovah reigneth." The true strength of all earthly kings and rulers lies in the discovery of this fact, and in yielding to it.

Chapter 5

The God in Whose hand thy breath is, and Whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.
Daniel 5:23

In these words the sin of Belshazzar was stated in its deepest meaning. The scene represents him in the midst of a thousand of his lords, drinking wine out of vessels taken from the Temple of Jehovah, and offering worship in the act to gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. This man was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. He was familiar with the things that had happened to him. He knew through what experiences his father had been brought to acknowledgment of the Kingdom of the Most High. This, then, in itself, was an occasion and an act of defiant rebellion against that Kingdom. For that final act his doom was sealed. In that night he was slain. Daniel, now an old man, interpreted the mystic writing on the wall, and in these words revealed the true nature of Belshazzar's sin. There is tremendous force in the statement. It recognized the relation of the man to God. His breath - foul then, with obscenity and profanity - was in the hand of God; his ways - crooked and perverse and rebellious - were yet under the Divine control. Yet this man had used his breath for blasphemy rather than for praise; and his ways had been those of self-indulgence, rather than those of fulfilling the will of God. Therefore he lost his pleasure, his power, and his life. With many different manifestations, this is the one sin which brings about human ruin. The breath of every man is in the hands of God, and so also are the ways of each. Let life respond to that fact, rather than rebel against it.

Chapter 6

Now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem.
Daniel 6:10

The Revisers have accurately, and helpfully, put these words in parenthesis. They constitute for us an open window through which we see the secret of Daniel's loyalty. By this time, he was in a position of power under Darius. The other rulers envied him, and laid a cunning plot to bring him into trouble. The temptation created for him by this plot was not to the committal of any positive sin or act of idolatry. It was rather to the neglect of a habit of his religious life. He had only to abstain from prayer for thirty days, and their plot would be frustrated. But this he could not do. Dr. Driver's rendering of this verse is helpful: "Now he had in his roof-chamber open windows fronting Jerusalem." In a flash we see the habitual life of Daniel. There, on the roof of his house was an extra chamber; and it was so built that its open windows fronted Jerusalem. That was his house of prayer. There, three times a day, he worshipped his God, asking what he needed, and giving praise. His eyes were ever toward the city of the great King, while his heart held communion with Him. Around that attitude and activity, all his life was ordered. To neglect that for a single day would have spelt disaster to such a man as this. Therefore he could do none other than he did. When our lives are centred in God, we can ever afford to leave circumstances to the compulsion of the One in Whom we trust. The occasional is always affected by the habitual. Then let the habitual for us be ever that of windows fronting Jerusalem, and the heart in communion with God.

Chapter 7

... Behold, the four winds of heaven brake forth upon the great sea.
Daniel 7:2

With this chapter we begin the second section of this book. In the first six chapters we have been made conscious of the historic night in the midst of which Daniel lived; and we have seen something of the influence he exerted upon the great world-powers in the midst of which he held high office. The rest of the book is occupied with the prophetic light given to him, and through him to us. In this chapter we have the account of a vision which came to him in the first year of the rein of Belshazzar. Inclusively, it was a vision of the succession of four great world-powers; and their final overthrow in a Kingdom of the Son of Man and the saints, which is the Kingdom of the Most High. The student will compare this vision with that of Nebuchadnezzar, which Daniel had interpreted (chapter 2); and in doing so will see the same development of world-powers, moving to the same consummation. I have stressed these words because they afford a fundamental revelation. Looking out over the great and troubled sea of human affairs, Daniel saw these great world-powers emerging from that sea; but they were forced to their appearance by "the four winds of heaven," which "brake forth upon the great sea." The final authority did not rise out of that sea. But those which did, came forth under the compulsion of those heavenly winds. God has never yielded up human affairs. Men work out that of evil which is in them to complete manifestation; and they do so under Divine compulsion.

Chapter 8

He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
Daniel 8:25

The vision of Daniel recorded in this chapter came to him in the third year of Belshazzar. As the explanation of it, given by Gabriel, shows, it was concerned with the overthrow of the Medo-Persian empire, by that of the Greeks. It was a remarkably lucid foretelling of all that came to pass, and especially of the doings of Antiochus Epiphanes. His pride carried him so far that by his actions he openly challenged and defied God, as he violated His sanctuary. The title of "Epiphanes" which he assumed, means "Manifest," and the assumption of that title was in itself a claim of Deity. Thus he stood up against the Prince of princes. This is the logical issue of autocratic ambition. It sets itself against all rule and authority other than its own, and if it be successful over human competitors, it attempts to fling off the final authority, which is that of God; and this it does by claiming Divine power and authority for itself. This has happened again and again in human affairs; and it will happen at least once more, in the Man of Sin, the Antichrist. But when it does this, it comes to its doom, it falls upon Rock, and is broken without hand, that is, not by human intervention, but by the direct act of God. Antiochus died, not in battle, but by the swift stroke of God, taking the form of mental derangement. Whereas this vision of Daniel had to do primarily with Greece, its principles are of perpetual application, and will have their complete fulfilment in the final things of this age.

Chapter 9

Seventy weeks are decreed.
Daniel 9:24

As the time approached for the ending of the seventy years of Jerusalem's desolation as foretold by Jeremiah, Daniel set himself to seek the Lord in repentance and prayer on behalf of his people. The prayer, as recorded in this chapter, was a great prayer, its urgency and intensity finding expression at last in short sharp sentences, "O Lord hear; O Lord forgive; O Lord hearken, and do; defer not; for Thine own sake, 0 my God, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name." The answer to that prayer was the coming to Daniel of Gabriel, and the discovery to him of the times and seasons of Israel's trouble and restoration. This unveiling was singularly explicit. A period altogether of 490 years was involved, and this divided into three parts: first, seven weeks, i.e. forty-nine years; secondly, sixty-two weeks, i.e. four hundred and thirty-four years; finally, one week, i.e. seven years. The total is seventy weeks, i.e. four hundred and ninety years. The fulfilment of this prediction was literally accomplished. The sixty-nine weeks commenced with the decree of Cyrus, and ended at the Baptism of Jesus. There the seventieth week commenced. In the midst of it, the Messiah was cut off.

Chapter 10

... For my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
Daniel 10:8

The last three chapters of this book are closely related. They give us the account of the last of the visions of Daniel, and of the secrets revealed to him during the vision. The experience came to him in a time of great grief. We are not told the cause of his sorrow, but there is practically no room for doubt that he was filled with concern for his people and their future. The vision is described in this chapter, and the revelations are contained in the next two. The words which we have emphasized tell us the first effect produced upon Daniel by the glory of the Being upon Whom he looked. It is interesting to observe his references to this 'Being. He is described as "A man" (verse 5); "One in the likeness of the sons of men" (verse 16); and "One like the appearance of a man" (verse 18). Each time the description is accompanied by a declaration of contact, "A hand touched me" (verse 10); "One ... touched my lips" (verse 16); and "There touched me again" (verse 18). The similarity of all to the experience of John in Patmos is self-evident (Rev. 1:9-18). There are those who say John borrowed from Daniel. We do not think so; but, rather, that his own statement is true, and that he recorded what he saw. Then to Daniel the same One appeared, and we have here the most remarkable Christophany of the Old Testament. It is an arresting fact that such was the glory of this vision, that Daniel, a man more than once described as "greatly beloved," at sight of it was overcome with a sense of his utter unworthiness. A vision of Christ always produces this effect; but His touch is ever that of healing and strength.

Chapter 11

And now will I chew thee the truth.
Daniel 11:2

Thus the revelations, given to Daniel by the glorious Being Whom he saw in vision, are introduced. They occupy the whole of this chapter, and the first four verses in chapter twelve. We should bear in mind that the vision and revelations were given to him in answer to his sadness of heart concerning his own people. The revelations would show him that, however the outlook on circumstances might perplex him, these were all clear to the mind of God, and that all things were moving forward to His predestined purpose. In this chapter we have a singularly full prediction of things which were to happen. Today we may read it as history. It fore-told the events of the Persian period under four kings briefly; and then the doings of Alexander, and the disruption of his empire at his death. It describes the compacts and conflicts between Antioch and Egypt; and then, most in detail, the period of Antiochus Epiphanes. Without a break, the revelation then overleapt centuries and millenniums, and described the final period in which for the children of the people of Daniel there would be "a time of trouble," issuing in deliverance, resurrection, and glory. That "time of trouble" followed swiftly the dark hour of the cutting off of Messiah. The story of the suffering of the Jews during the next generation is one of the most appalling in history. It came to its great climax with the fall of Jerusalem. The deliverance, resurrection, and glory are not yet.

Chapter 12

But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days
Daniel 12:13

These were the last words of the glorious Being of the vision to Daniel. At the close of the revelations he heard the clear and emphatic declaration that the period of trouble should last for three and a half years. This exactly coincided with the declaration made in the earlier vision as to the power of the final foe (see 7:25); and with the reference to half the week of seven years in another vision (see 9:27). The explicit statement left Daniel perplexed, and he asked: "O my Lord, what shall be the issue of these things?" The answer declared that these things were not for revelation then; and therefore that the attitude of faith and of blessedness was that of waiting. Then came these very last words, and they were full of light and comfort. Daniel would go to the grave; but it would be a going to rest and to waiting, not to the loss of actual realization. At the end of the days, when all the purposes of God should be accomplished, he would stand in his lot, that is, in his appointed place in the triumphant order. So Daniel and the whole host of souls who, of like faith, with him, fulfilled their earthly service, wait in that life where they count not time by years, until the consummation. When it comes, in the time Divinely appointed, all who shared the travail, will share the triumph. In the fullest sense we may use these words of all who, since the cutting off of Messiah, sleep in Jesus. Them, God will bring with Him, when He enters into the final glory of His Kingdom established on earth.