The Book of Daniel centers on the events following the conquering of Israel by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and the carrying away of Israel’s people into captivity in Babylon. Daniel was one of them.
When most people think of Daniel, they think of the lion’s den. But that’s only one of the miracles in the book. And all of the miracles in Daniel are important, for they prove that God didn’t desert Israel—as it looked like He did when He allowed them to be conquered. And since these miracles are types of Israel’s future, they show He will never desert Israel—despite the claims of pastors who say He did after they killed His Son.
Of course, Bible critics don’t believe that any of the Bible’s miracles really happened. But they tend to focus their attacks on Daniel, for he also predicted which world powers would rise and fall in the following 500 years. That proves He is God (Isaiah 41:22-25). But critics refuse to believe Daniel predicted the future, so they date the writing of his book to be 168 B.C.—after those world powers rose and fell—making him a historian and not a prophet. But that would make the Lord Jesus a liar, for He called him a prophet (Mark 13:14). Besides, dating Daniel as 168 B.C. wouldn’t explain how Daniel predicted the coming of Israel’s Messiah to the very day He rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday.
The only reason Nebuchadnezzar was able to besiege Israel (Dan. 1:1) is because God let him conquer Israel (v. 2). That’s something He had warned them He would do if they dis-obeyed Him (Deut. 28:15, 52). It should also be pointed out that Daniel 1:2 says Nebuchadnezzar only took “part” of the temple’s vessels because Daniel was describing the first of three assaults Babylon made on Israel (II Chron. 36:5-18).
When God’s possessions are taken captive, His glory departs Israel (cf. Ps. 78:61). Ezekiel saw His glory depart in 3 stages (Ezek. 10:4, 18; 11:22, 23; 21:25). The One fit to wear Israel’s crown was Christ, of course, so that makes Ezekiel 21:25 one of those prophecies that was fulfilled in Bible days but will be fulfilled again in the future. God’s glory departed Israel in 3 stages again in Acts 13:46; 18:6 and 28:28.
Bible critics used to use Daniel 1:3 to challenge the Bible’s historicity, for no record of a man named Asphenaz serving in Babylon was ever found—until it was found on a Babylonian brick that can now be seen in the British Museum. Of course, believers like us know Daniel is historically accurate, for history has no record of anything Nebuchadnezzar said or did from 582 B.C. to 575 B.C., something that is explained when God struck him with madness for seven years in Daniel 4. God had also warned that “the king’s seed” (Dan. 1:3) would be taken captive by Babylon (Isa. 39:5-7).
The name “Daniel” (Dan. 1:6) means God is my judge, which reflects what God was doing with Israel at that time—judging her! Daniel and his 3 friends were “children” (v. 3) and so were under the age of accountability that would have made them responsible for the sins Israel had committed that caused God to judge them. But Israel was a “common-wealth” (Eph. 2:12) and so they had to suffer along with their nation when their grievous sin brought God’s wrath.
Daniel’s friends also had names that had to do with Israel’s God, so the king gave them new names (1:7). Conquering kings often did this to their new servants to show their dominion over them (cf. Gen. 1:19, 28). The king wanted his captives to know that he owned them, and that they should forget any hope of going back to their homeland. The new names he gave them had to do with Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, so he was trying to get them to forget Israel’s God.
When you got saved, God gave you a new name (Eph. 3:14, 15) to show His dominion over you. He owns you (I Cor. 6:19, 20), and wants you to forget the god you used to worship. You used to worship the “God” you made up in your mind before you started reading the Bible, the God that usually looked and acted like you, so you could justify what you did! He wants you to forget any hope of going back to the life you used to live. If that’s what you want too, why not pray about it right now. You’ll be eternally glad you did.
Video of this sermon is available on YouTube: Daniel in the Critic’s Den – Daniel 1:1-7