Four Beasts – Daniel 7:15-28 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V15-16:

1. Why was Daniel troubled?

He didn’t understand all that he saw.

2. What do we learn about the spirit and our bodies (1 Timothy 4:8)?

The spirit is more important than the body but the state of the body generally has an effect on the state of the spirit.

V17-18:

3. Looking at the summary of the vision, how is it similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2?

It covers the same material (rise of four empires, which are succeeded by the kingdom of God).

4. How was Daniel’s vision different?

He saw the kingdoms from God’s perspective, not man’s. Nebuchadnezzar saw the present and future world empires in the form of a stately and noble statue of a man. Here God showed how He regarded them: as ferocious and wild animals who devour and conquer without conscience.

4a. In contrast, how is Jesus described in Revelation 5:5-10?

The Lion of the tribe of Judah. He primarily represents himself not as a ferocious animal but as a Lamb.

5. Who receives the kingdom and when?

The saints receive the kingdom. God gives them the kingdom at the return of Jesus. They do not gain dominion over all these earthly kingdoms before the return of Jesus.

V19-22:

6. Why was Daniel particularly interested in the fourth beast?

The fourth beast interested Daniel because of its great destructive power, because of the conspicuous horn, and because of its fight against God’s people.

V23-27:

7. What is the meaning of the fourth beast and its defeat?

Power is limited (three and a half years) – time and times and half a time. Phrase is used in Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6 and 13:5 to refer to half of the last seven year period of man’s rule on earth.

8. How are we to interpret the kingdom’s establishment in v26?

  • There is no fulfilment – Daniel is in error
  • The fulfilment is symbolic in church history
  • The fulfilment is literal and yet future

9. What is being described in v27?

The millennial earth, not our current earth or heaven.

10. What’s significant about the kingdom and dominion being given to the saints?

It’s something received, not achieved. The church doesn’t convert the world to Jesus’ kingdom and give the kingdom to Jesus; He gives it to them.

V28:

11. How does Daniel react to the vision?

Many things might trouble Daniel at this vision – such as the ferocity of the attack to come against his people from the conspicuous horn.

Daniel was convinced that the prophecy was true, and that it was the word of God. He was so convinced of its truth that his face changed and he considered what would happen.

12. What truths can we take from this passage to help us keep trusting in Jesus?

He will return and establish his kingdom for his people.

Lions – Daniel 6 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1. Why was Daniel distinguished in v1-3?

He was one of three leaders directly under Darius and he shined above the other two leaders because he had an excellent spirit. A good attitude to work and life.

Verses 4-9:

2. Why could they find no fault? Does this imply Daniel was sinless?

Faithful. A man of integrity.

3. What’s the lie (v7)?

All the governors have consulted together. Daniel was one of the governors and wasn’t consulted.

4. What’s significant about the decree?

When a king signed a decree, it was binding that even the king himself couldn’t change it.

Verses 10-15:

5. How does Daniel respond? What do you notice about how he prays?

  • He didn’t let the decree change his actions. He continued his excellent prayer life.
  • Upper room – private prayer
  • Window open toward Jerusalem – remembering the place of sacrifice
  • Knelt down on his knees
  • Prayed three times a day
  • Gave thanks
  • Both communion and pleading for his will to be accomplished

6. Did Daniel intend to disrespect the king (v13)?

No – only a higher respect for God.

7. What is admirable about King Darius (v14)?

Instead of blaming others, he knew he was at fault.

Verses 16-18:

8. What faith does the king show?

It was born out of Daniel’s trust in the Lord.

9. How did Daniel’s night compare with Darius’?

He was better rested. He prayed as it was his habit.

Verses 19-23:

10. Daniel says he hasn’t done any wrong before the king. How does this fit?

He did break the king’s law, but didn’t go against the king or the king’s best interests.

11. Why was Daniel protected?

His faith preserved him.

12. What do you make of the fate of those who plotted against Daniel (v24)?

The king wasn’t happy – no one had to ask him to do this.

13. What does the outcome prove?

It was angelic protection – there was no natural reason why the lions didn’t eat Daniel.

Verses 25-28:

14. How do these verses fit with the pattern that we’ve seen in Daniel so far?

God makes the ungodly see and tell of the greatness of God.

15. What’s Darius’ spiritual condition?

He says ‘God of Daniel’, not ‘God of Darius’.

16. How are we pointed to Jesus?

Angelic protection. Dependence on prayer.

Disturbing Dreams – Daniel 2:1-30 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

Recap Daniel 1. Importance of training, standing up for what you believe in, being courageous. Nebuchadnezzar crushed Jerusalem.

Read Daniel 2:1-30.

Any initial reactions, thoughts? Anything surprising?

Hashtag challenge: summarise the passage in 140 characters and come up with a hashtag. Prize for the winning group.

[“In the second year” – some people think this happened while Daniel was in his three-year training course; others think it was soon after he finished.]

[From Daniel 2:4-7:28, the biblical text is in Aramaic, not Hebrew. This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian Empire.]

Groups: v1-9

1. Why does Nebuchadnezzar demand to know both the content of the dream and its interpretation from his wise men?

He couldn’t know for certain if the interpretation was correct, but he could test their ability to tell what he dreamed.

2. Was Nebuchadnezzar being unreasonable?

These men (magicians, astrologers, sorcerers) made their living on their supposed ability to contact the gods and gain secrets. If they’re really what they claimed to be, this shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Why does he make such a harsh threat?

The threat and method of execution are consistent with the character of ancient eastern monarchs.

Feedback.

Groups: v10-13

4. What do the wise men admit to?

True revelation comes from God down to man. They understood that revelation was not the achievement of man. They had no answer, because only God could bring an answer.

5. How does the king respond?

He erupts. He had no use for wise men that couldn’t bring him wisdom from God.

6. How are we left on a cliffhanger at the end of v13?

The four men we’ve come to respect and like are among those to be killed.

Feedback.

Groups: v14-18

7. How does Daniel react and what does this show about his character and his understanding of God?

He’s calm in a crisis. He knows it takes time to listen to God and wait upon him. He was in the type of situation where only God could meet his need. Therefore he knew how important it was for both him and his friends to pray. He had confidence that God could do an unprecedented miracle.

Feedback.

One group: v19-23

8. Verse 19 is key. Why is it significant that the mystery was revealed to him, as opposed to him finding it out?

God revealed it. Christianity begins with the principle of revelation. God has revealed himself to us. Our job isn’t to figure things out about God, but to understand what he has revealed to us.

[Night vision – could’ve been a dream, or a supernatural vision that happened at night.]

9. What does Daniel praise God for (v20-23)?

His power and might, his communication to man, he gave him the answer.

Groups: v24-30

10. How does Daniel behave in his exchange with the king? Why do we find it hard to speak the truth of what we believe to people in authority?

He is humble and willing to speak truth to power. He doesn’t bring honour to himself, but to God.

Feedback.

11. How have we seen the contrast between Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel?

The king was troubled but is introduced to a man of understanding.

Groups:

12. How can we follow Daniel’s example in order to help make God’s word known wherever we are and when we speak to people in power? [Pray through what we’ve talked about when finished.]

We are to speak up, without fear, wherever God has placed us.

Fire – Leviticus 1:1-9 & 6:8-13 – Bible Study Notes

1. What do you think of God when you are praying to him? What do you think he is like? Do you ever feel unable to approach him? Why?

Read Exodus 40:34 – Leviticus 1:1-9

2. What point in the Bible’s story are we here? What has God just done and what has happened to his people? Why? (Exodus 19:3-6)

God’s people have been rescued and he’s told them they are to be a kingdom of priests.

3. What does this show us about why God calls people to know him? How does that affect your life today?

The earth is his and we were created to glorify and serve him.

4. What are some of the strange details you notice in this description of the first offering? What is their significance?

Without blemish / laying hand on head / pleasing aroma to the Lord

Read Leviticus 6:8-13

5. What command is repeated again and again for the priest? Why – what does that represent about God? (Remember, this is at the centre of the place where they meet God)

The fire must not go out. God is at the centre of everything, burning with love and holiness.

Read Hebrews 12:28 – 13:4

6. What does Hebrews say about God’s nature? What effect should that have on us? What worship should be bring with reverence and awe? What does it mean to do these things with reverence and awe?

His kingdom can’t be shaken. We should share God’s love with others and outsiders.

7. Given this is all true about God, what is strange about Leviticus 1:1?

The burning fire of God spoke to Moses from the tent. People weren’t allowed in and offerings were required.

8. How does Jesus make a difference to this?

Jesus’ body was torn apart and he did that to make atonement.

Read Hebrews 10:1-4 & 8-10

9. How does knowing all of this about God change us today? How might it change how we think about God and how we approach him? How does Jesus take away the need for sacrifices?

Everything belongs to God. Our stuff is better in his hands and not ours. The one who owns us is also the one who atones for us. Our choices can be pleasing to God once we trust him. We are only made holy because of Jesus.

Pray, thanking God that God is a consuming fire and that Jesus makes full atonement for us.

Related Sermons:

Jonah’s Prayer – Jonah 2 – Bible Study Notes

Read Jonah 1 and recap last week. We saw Jonah running away from God and saw how God cares for and loves everyone. He ended up in a fish as a result of rejecting God.

Read Jonah 2.

1. How does Jonah describe the situation he’s in? Who’s responsible?

His description is quite horrific. He says he was in the depth of the grave and facing certain death. He’s alone and helpless.

2. Why is it a bad idea to run away from God?

Jonah is showing that it’s very foolish and that God will hold you over the pit. It’s a taste of how it will be to be shut off from God forever.

3. What do you make of the content of Jonah’s prayer?

He doesn’t show remorse. He still doesn’t love God that much. He prayed because he was so distressed.

4. What do we learn about panic prayers?

It’s not wrong to pray them and God responds to them. We don’t earn our way back by the quality of our apologies. We can pray from anywhere at any time.

5. What can the fish teach us about God?

God is always prepared to deal with sin through the most miraculous solution.

6. How does God respond to Jonah?

He wants to save and isn’t distant or judgmental to anyone who wants to know him. He’s committed to answering this prayer, which is fitting for Jonah’s problem.

7. What’s the warning that we need to take?

Jesus is the real God, so stop running.

Pray.

Related Sermons:

The Cross – Isaiah 53 & Matthew 27:45-66 – Bible Study Notes

These are notes from the fourteenth part of a Bible overview series.

Read Isaiah 53. Amazing prophecy about Jesus’ death made 700 years in advance.

1. In pairs/threes, how does this passage describe Jesus? How does the passage describe us?

We are all guilty of turning away from God.

Read Matthew 27:45-66.

2. Why is the detail about darkness included?

It should’ve caused the enemies to understand that he was the light of the world and that because they didn’t walk in it, it was now taken away from them.

3. What did Jesus mean when he quoted from Psalm 22?

The trinity is as broken as it ever could be. Different ways of translating the phrase. Necessary to make sufferings worthy of praise.

4. What does the curtain represent?

It tears at the point Jesus dies because his death deals with our sin that meant we couldn’t enter the temple. It’s no longer necessary.

5. What evidence is there to suggest that Jesus was really dead?

Joseph prepared the corpse, which would’ve shown the normal evidences for death.

6. Matthew includes some interesting detail about the request made of Pilate by the chief priests and Pharisees that isn’t in the other gospels. What does this show about the Jewish leaders’ perception of Jesus?

They knew that he had staked his whole ministry on his ability to rise from the dead.

7. How do the religious leaders unwittingly help fulfil the purpose of God?

In their efforts to protect Jesus’ body from theft, the enemies provide irrefutable evidence for the resurrection.

8. What difference should Jesus’ death make to our lives?

It deals with our separation from God and we can approach him with confidence.

Shepherd King – Ezekiel 34 – Bible Study Notes

These are notes from the eleventh part of a Bible overview series.

Read Ezekiel 34 (1-16/17-31).

1. Ezekiel talks about the failures of the Kings and spiritual leaders before the exile and about what should and should not be done by good leaders. What are the characteristics of both?

Look after the flock. Feed them, clothe them. Look after the sick and injured.

2. Ezekiel offers a vision of the Good Shepherd. What does God as Shepherd do that his human leaders won’t do?

He’ll rescue the sheep.

3. Ezekiel switches from talking about the shepherd as a leader to the shepherd as a judge. Why are both leaders and members tested more by their care of the weak than of the strong and healthy (v17-22)?

The normal Israelites too look out for their own interests rather than those of their neighbour.

4. Ezekiel moves on to talk about the ultimate hope for the exiles in Babylon. How does he describe it?

Similar to Isaiah 9, God paints a picture that is a complete contrast to the present experience of the Israelites.

5. Should we long for such judgement by our leaders? Why or why not?

Open for discussion.

6. How can we model the justice that’s desired for the weak by the Good Shepherd?

Look to Jesus’ example.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd we should listen to and follow.

Bad Kings – 1 Kings 11:1-13 – Bible Study Notes

These are notes from the ninth part of a Bible overview series (see notes from the eighth).

1. Create a story arc for the passage.

  • Status quo: Solomon and his unlawful marriages (v1-2)
  • Conflict: Solomon had too many wives (v3)
  • Rising action: Solomon’s wives turn him away from God (v4-8)
  • Climax: God is angry with Solomon (v9)
  • Falling action: The kingdom will be torn away (v11)
  • Resolution: It won’t happen in his time because of David (v12)
  • New status quo: Not the entire kingdom will be torn away (v13)

2. What were the problems Solomon had?

He loved many foreign women. God gave a general warning to Israel to not intermarry with these nations. He didn’t have the wisdom to apply this simple command to his own life (Deuteronomy 17:17).

3. Solomon had an unbelievable number of marriage partners. What do you think was the cause?

  • He followed the bad example of David (2 Samuel 5:13-16)
  • Lust. If one wife isn’t enough, 1,000 won’t be either.
  • Hunger for power and prestige

4. How was Solomon’s heart turned away from God? How did he let this happen?

His wives did it. He turned from true love. Age didn’t make Solomon wiser. His heart wasn’t loyal to God.

5. How does God respond? Is his judgement justified?

He announces his judgement. He had appeared to him twice and so had special reason to be displeased with him.

6. What do we learn about how God treats sin? How does he still show mercy?

He treats it very seriously. Yet he still shows undeserved mercy with deserved judgement.

7. Do you think we’re tempted to downplay our own sin, to think we can get away with it, or think that because we’re doing okay spiritually, we don’t need to worry?

We might think that spiritual experiences will keep us from sin and will keep us faithful to God. This wasn’t the case with Solomon and it won’t be the case with us either.

8. If this happened to the wisest man who ever lived, how can we ensure we constantly depend on Jesus?

Pray. Let this example drive us to greater dependence.

Good Kings – 2 Samuel 7:1-17 – Bible Study Notes

These are notes from the eighth part of a Bible overview series. One of the great covenants of the Bible and a key text in the Old Testament.

1. Come up with a story arc for the passage.

  • Status Quo: v1 – David is settled and resting in his house of cedar
  • Conflict: v2-3 – The Lord has no temple
  • Rising Action: v4-7 – The Lord doesn’t want or need David to build him a temple
  • Climax: v8-10a – The Lord will provide a permanent place for His people so they can be settled for good
  • Falling Action: v10b-11a – The wicked will no longer oppress them and they will have rest from their enemies
  • Resolution: v11b-15 – David’s Son will build the temple
  • New Status Quo: v16 – David’s kingdom will last forever

2. At the start of the passage, David is referred to as the king but when God refers to David, he calls him ‘my servant’. Why do you think God does this?

David is too conscious of his position as king. To the people, he is the highest authority but to God, he is merely a servant.

3. How does the question ‘Who are you to be building me a house?’ set the tone for what follows?

God puts David in his place. David had a bright idea but it didn’t correspond with God’s plan.

4. What does God want David to see from v8-11?

He gets to the heart of the matter. It’s dominated by what God has done, is doing, and will do.

5. God returns to the subject of a house. What’s special about this prophecy?

It has a near and a distant fulfilment. David’s house (his descendants) will be a dynasty and will reign over Israel.

6. How might we be similar to David? What can we learn from his rebuke?

Our highest goals are flawed by sin. David’s motives fall far short of what God intended.

7. What can we do to remember God has greater plans?

Be encouraged by stories like these from the Bible. Remind ourselves that no matter how high our goals and plans may be, God’s plans are greater.

Samuel – 1 Samuel 1:1-28 – Bible Study Notes

Context: 1 Samuel 1-3, 7:3-8:22, 12:1-25, 15:1-16:13

Continuing our series on miracle births in the Bible (Jesus wasn’t the only one). Previously, we looked at Isaac.

1. Context. Chronologically the book of 1 Samuel follows the book of Judges. Who were the Judges?

The book describes chaotic days in which the Israelites were often oppressed by the surrounding countries. God would send a judge to deliver them but their freedom lasted only as long as the judge lived. They weren’t exactly perfect either.

2. The last words of Judges are found in 21:25: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” What’s the current situation at the end of this book? What’s the state of Israel?

There is an absence of a king and Israel has been in spiritual decay and is in political chaos.

3. What is Elkanah’s relationship like with Hannah and with God?

He wants to encourage his wife and assures her of his love for her. He’s concerned that his wife does the right thing before God. He is faithful to make the annual trek to Shiloh even though there are good excuses for not going.

4. How is Hannah an example of a godly woman and wife?

She endures years of silent suffering and is teased by Peninnah. She goes with her family to Shiloh knowing how painful it’ll be.

5. What has led to Hannah crying out to God?

She had been suffering and needed to pour her heart out to God.

6. Why does Eli respond in the way that he does?

He doesn’t hear her words and jumps to the wrong conclusion. He assures Hannah that God will grant her desire and bless her.

7. In what way does Hannah change after this?

She eats and is joyful instead of sad.

8. Samuel is born. How does his birth compare with Jesus’?

The mother asks for a son instead of the birth being promised by God/an angel.

9. What do we see of God’s character in this story?

His grace, mercy and love, as with Isaac.

11. How is Jesus greater than Samuel?

He led people well. So well that he died for them. He’s the true rescuer.