New Hope UMC

Chapter 1: Four Hebrew Youths in Babylon (Daniel 1)

 January 5, 2017.

Key Verses:

“And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God....” (Daniel 1: 1a, NIV)

“Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine....” (Daniel 1: 8a, NIV) “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” (Daniel 1: 17, NIV)

In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey, Glenn Houser,  Miles McCorison, Barbara Paul, Sandra Whetsell, Art Whetstone

It is a new year and time for a new study. We begin our study of Daniel, about the remarkable life of a Hebrew youth taken captive to Babylon along with many others. Although Daniel is not listed among the prophets of the Old Testament, he is nevertheless responsible for one of the central themes of both Judaism and Christianity. That theme is the inevitable establishment of the Kingdom of God. He saw it as the fifth and final kingdom and depicted the four preceding kingdoms in coloful language with beastly characteristics. He was gifted with the power of interpreting dreams which had much to do with his survival. This book gives us the first glimpse into the field of apocalyptic literature of the Bible. It is similar to Revelation in that regard.

The Book of Daniel begins shortly after the fall of the Assyrian Empire and the rise of the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Jerusalem, and as was the custom of conquering armies took away some of the best and brightest of the defeated foe. Wise rulers seek to understand the lands they now occupy through the counsel of the captors. Such was the case of Daniel and other Hebrew youths who were transported to Bablyon (in modern day Iraq). In the first chapter we follow the early days of Daniel and three friends as they enter into the life of the courts of King Nebuchadnezzar.  


Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Daniel 1: 1-5) Have you ever made a rapid transition between your customary culture and a new and radically different culture? What did it feel like? Were you able to take your faith with you, or did it fade to the background during this time?

Discussion question 2 (Daniel 1: 1-7) What changes did Daniel and his friends experience? What was their status in Jerusalem? In Babylon? What do you think was the effect of changing their names to Babylonian names? What impact might it have on them to be made eunuchs? Did they make compromises? If so, why?

Discussion question 3.(Daniel 1: 8-10) Why do you think Daniel took a stand concerning being defiled by the king’s food and wine? How do you think eating the king’s food would cause defilement to Daniel’s conscience? What does this tell you about Daniel?

Discussion question 4. (Daniel 1: 8-16) What is Daniel’s first approach to eat a different diet? What does he do when his first attempt failed? What is his demeanor towards those over him? In what ways do you think God affects the outcome of Daniel’s request?


Chapter 3: The Fiery Furnace and the Lions’ Den (Daniel 3 and 6)

 January 19, 2017.

Key Verses:

“They could find no corruption in [Daniel], because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” (Daniel 6: 4b, NIV)

“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.” (Daniel 6: 10-11,

“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” (Daniel 6: 22, NIV)

“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6: 26-27, NIV)

 In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey, Glenn Houser,  Miles McCorison, Barbara Paul, Sandra Whetsell, David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone

The biblical accounts of the fiery furnace and the lion's den are separate incidents and occur years apart. Both are covered in this lesson since they are similar in background and implications for Christians. As was sometimes the inclination of kings, Nebuchadnezzar erected a statue of himself in Babylon and subjects were commanded to worship it. And they did just that except that Daniel and his friends refused to bow down before the image. This put the king in a difficult position. He was made aware of this disobedience by members of his court who were jealous of the positions the Jews held in the king's court. So the friends of Daniel were thrown into the fiery furnace. Of course, they were not consumed by the flames. 

Some years later, Daniel was faced with similar treatment under King Darius, when he was exposed for praying. Darius had been tricked into following through with his threat to punish such an act with a trip to the lion's den. Although he valued Daniel's wisdom, he was forced to follow his onw decree. 

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1.(Daniel 3: 8-15) Why do the Jews’ fellow government officials report them to Nebuchadnezzar? Why is the king so angry? What is his motivation to have people bow to the statue?

Discussion question 2.(Daniel 3: 16-18) How do the Jews answer Nebuchadnezzar? What is their attitude? How do they witness about their God? Do they face death with resignation or defiance? Characterize their faith.

Discussion question 3(Daniel 3: 19-27) What effect does their deliverance have on their government official colleagues? What effect does it have on the king? What kind of glory does God receive?

Discussion question 4(Daniel 3: 28-30) What effect does their deliverance have on their government official colleagues? What effect does it have on the king? What kind of glory does God receive?

Discussion question 5.(Daniel 6: 4) What do we learn about Daniel’s character qualities as a government official from verse 4? How do such qualities reflect on Daniel’s God? Does your employer or supervisor see those qualities in you?

Discussion question 6(Daniel 6: 10-11) How would you characterize Daniel’s prayer practices? Which of these have you adopted? Which might help your prayers if you adopted them? 

Discussion question 7(Daniel 6: 21-23) How does Daniel use his experience in the lions’ den to testify about God? What might have happened if, in his response to the king, Daniel had focused on the injustice done to him? What experience in your life might you use as a testimony of God’s mercy to you?

Chapter 4: Humbling the Proud (Daniel 4-5)

January 26, 2017.

Key Verses:

“Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” (Daniel 4: 27, NIV)

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are“You did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” (Daniel 5: 23b, NIV)

“This is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN. This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5: 26-28a)

 In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey, Glenn Houser,   Sandra Whetsell, Cathy Hutto, Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone

Chapters 4 and 5 are lessons in humility as it pertains to our relationship with God. It involves two kings of Babylon spread years apart. The first is Nebuchadnezzar and occurred about a year after the dream incident. The scripture, in fact, has Nebuchadnezzar speaking, telling about the dream he had. This time he describes the dream in detail rather than withholding it from his wise men. Daniel is once again called on to interpret the dream and it is not good news, because it involves the incapacitation of the king. Nevertheless, he relates it and the dream is sent into the wild to live like an animal for seven times. This penance is due to his failure to recognize God and to humble himself before him. At the end of the "seven times", he is restored to his throne and bows down and acknowledges the Lord as God. 

The second incident is the famous handwriting on the wall. Daniel is very old now but nevertheless is brought in to interpret a strange writing that appeared to King Belshazzar at an elaborate party which he is hosting. Daniel interprets it as God's displeasure with the king and call for his repentance. This happens but it is not sincere, whereupon God judges Belshazzar and he loses his kingdom to the Medes. 

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Daniel 4: 10-20) Is Daniel actually afraid to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? Why? Why are we afraid to say the hard things that must be said to help our brothers and sisters? What can we do about it?

 Discussion question 2(Daniel 4: 23-26) What does it mean to “acknowledge that Heaven rules”? In what ways is this hard for a king? In what ways is this hard for us? How do we sometimes deny by our actions that God is in charge of all?

Discussion question 3(Daniel 4: 27) What must Nebuchadnezzar do to demonstrate that he renounces and repents of his sins? What must you do to demonstrate that you repent of your sins? For us, what does it mean to be kind to the poor? That was certainly within Nebuchadnezzar’s ability to accomplish. Is it within your ability? In what way can God’s decrees be conditional?

Discussion question 4(Daniel 4: 30; 5: 18-21) How does pride show itself in Nebuchadnezzar’s life? In what ways does it show up in your life? Pride is tricky. How can pride mask itself with humility?

Discussion question 5. (Daniel 4: 34-35) What does Nebuchadnezzar’s confession tell us about God? Have you ever given a public testimony of what you have learned about God through your trials? What might your testimony sound like?

Discussion question 6(Daniel 5: 22-24) In the New Testament, Jesus doesn’t present God as legalistic, but as holy – “hallowed be thy name.” We are to be God-fearers. How do Christians commonly act irreverently in ways that would offend God? How have you changed your ways to conform to God’s holiness?

Chapter 5: Four Beasts and the Son of Man (Daniel 7)

 February 2, 2017.

Key Verses:

“Thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7: 9-10, NIV)

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7: 13-14, NIV)

“High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him f“The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever – yes, for ever and ever.” (Daniel 7: 17-18, NIV)

“As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” (Daniel 7: 21-22, NIV) “He will speak against the Most or a time, times and half a time. ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.” (Daniel 7: 25-26, NIV)

“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” (Daniel 7: 27, NIV)

 In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey, Glenn Houser,  Cathy Hutto, Goldie O'Cain, Miles McCorison, Barbara Paul, Art Whetstone


In the first six chapters we have seen that God is in control of the evil forces of the day. In the final chapters we see visions of the ultimate liberation of God’s people by the God who is in control of all history. This is particularly true of Chapter 7, which many believe is the most important chapter in the Book of Daniel. We are now engaging in the genre of apocalyptic literature. The Bible is heavily embued with prophecy but apocalyptic writings are of a different nature, that is to say, the end of history. This is the point when God establishes his kingdom on earth. The other book which deals heavily with this is, of course, Revelation.  

Apocalyptic literature is full of symbols that are seen in dreams and visions. For example, think of the rich symbolism in the Book of Revelation. Another characteristic is a deterministic view – that history must run its course, but the end is predetermined by God. The end of history will be a violent in-breaking by God to establish his kingdom. These end times appear to Daniel in a series of dreams starting with the Four Great Beasts in which the Ancient of Days (God) figures prominently. The "Son of Man" comes from a cloud of heaven. This is a graphic description of the second coming of Jesus and the establishment of God's Kingdom which Christians need to approach seriously in our studies. 

 Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1.(Daniel 7: 1-2) What is the relationship of the Ancient of Days (God) to the various beastly nations that rage against each other and against him and his people? What happens to these beast-nations? Why is it sometimes so difficult to believe that God is in charge of the world we live in?

 Discussion question 2(Daniel 7: 13-14) How do these verses describe “one like a son of man”? What makes us think he is a divine figure? What authority and glory does he receive? Why do you think Jesus called himself “the Son of Man”?

Discussion question 3(Daniel 7: 18, 22, 27) Three times the angel assures Daniel that “the saints of the Most High” will ultimately receive the kingdom and possess it forever (Daniel 7: 18, 22, and 27). In what circumstances is this truth most precious to God’s people? Though there may have been partial fulfillments, when do you expect the ultimate fulfillment?


Chapter 6: A Vision and a Mighty Prayer (Daniel 8: 1-9: 19)

February 9, 2017.

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.’” (Daniel 9: 3-5)

 In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,  David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Barbara Paul, Miles McCorison,  Sandra Whetsell,  Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone

This lesson is divided into two distinct parts. First is the vision that came to Daniel of a battle between a ram and a goat. The vision is complete with detail and eventually is explained to Daniel by the angel, Gabriel. It is graphic and horrifying to the extent that Daniel is taken ill for several days. It occurs during the reign of Belchazzar, in his third year and depicts the succession of nations and kings for several hundred years. The succession is surprising accurate down to the rule of Antiochus Ephiphanes, a descendant of Alexander. There are no discussion questions for this section but there is a lot of geographic information as to the alignment of the kingdoms. The vision also includes references to the end times which are further explained by Gabriel. 

The second segment is Daniel's prayer of intercession. The 70 years of desolation promised by Jeremiah are up and the siege of Jerusalem is coming to an end. Daniel pleads to God to forgive his people. It is accompanied by fasting, sackcloth and ashes and is a humble plea to God for forgiveness and guidance. Sin is acknowledged as is the greatness of God. He takes the transgressions of Israel upon himself in a moving and eloquent passage of scripture. 

 Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Daniel 9: 1-2) What encourages Daniel to seek God for the forgiveness and restoration of Israel to its homeland? What practice on Daniel’s part leads him to pray?

 Discussion question 2(Daniel 9: 3-4a) What is Daniel’s demeanor as he prays? How does he prepare? Why is this so important in this case? In what ways might you and I prepare for intercession?

Discussion question 3(Daniel 9: 5) Since Daniel is such a righteous man in his generation, why does he identify himself with the sins of his people? He didn’t commit these sins. How does this compare to how Jesus sought forgiveness for his people?


7: Daniel’s Vision of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9: 20-27)

February 16, 2017.

Key Verses: “24 Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. 25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (9: 24-27, NIV)

n attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,  David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Barbara Paul, Miles McCorison,  Glen Houser, Sandra Whetsell,  Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone

Daniel's visions continue and this one is called the Vision of the Seven Weeks, although they are not weeks at all.  The interpretation of this vision contained in these verses has been considered by Bible scholars for years and we take up some of that in this lesson. There are several interpretations which are covered and Dr. Wilson adds his input to this body of knowledge. 

The scripture begins with Gabriel telling Daniel that his prayer of confession has been heard and the new vision is in answer to that prayer. Verse 24 tells us that six purposes will be completed over this whole Seventy Sevens time period. How you interpret these actions depends on how you interpret “the anointed one” in verse 26. Two choices are possible: Jesus or a high priest, Onias III, who appeared in history at the time of the Maccabean revolt. At the heart of the controversy is the interpretation of the periods of sevens which is divided into three parts. These are periods which relate to future predictions of the End Times and thus become important in any discussion of those prophecies. The lesson covers the various interpretations. 


 Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Daniel 9: 1-2) What encourages Daniel to seek God for the forgiveness and restoration of Israel to its homeland? What practice on Daniel’s part leads him to pray?

 Discussion question 2(Daniel 9: 3-4a) What is Daniel’s demeanor as he prays? How does he prepare? Why is this so important in this case? In what ways might you and I prepare for intercession?

Discussion question 3. (Daniel 9: 24-27) Why do you think there are so many interpretations of Daniel’s vision of the Seventy Sevens? What is your interpretation of the various key parts of the vision?

Discussion question 4. Why do you think Daniel’s visions and prophecies have been an encouragement to Christians throughout  the centuries when they are undergoing severe persecution?


8. The Kings of the North and South (Daniel 10: 1-11: 35)

March 2, 2017.

Key Verses: “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me,. because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” (Daniel 10: 12-13, NIV) “So he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)’” (Daniel 10: 20-11: 1, NIV) “Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” (Daniel 11: 35, NIV)

 In attendance:  David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Glen Houser, Sandra Whetsell,  Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone

This lesson is divided into two fairly distinct concepts, as contained in chapters 10 and 11. Chapter 11 continues in the vein of prophecy and  lays out in explicit and remarkable detail what will take place in the centuries to follow. We go through the succession of empires and kings, the inevitable alliances formed and the six major battles that are fought. The conquering Syrians eventually are split into 4 factions which are at odds over the three centuries after Daniel's vision occurs. This culminates in the "abomination that causes desolation" when Antiochus desecrates the temple in Jerusalem and erects a statue of Zeus.

Chapter 10 introduced the concept of demons, in particular as it pertains to nations. These demonic powers or fallen angels are agents of Satan and are at war with the forces of God Almighty. The archangel, Michael, plays an important role in these battles against the forces of evil. There are numerous references to the forces of evil throughout the Bible and in this lesson we can gain some understanding their origin and the part they play in our world. And also how to combat the forces of evil.      

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1.(Daniel 10: 3, 7-11, 15-17) Daniel is old, but why does the vision affect him so greatly? What is the physical effect on him? What is the mental and spiritual effect on him? Why is spiritual “work” so taxing on us?

Discussion question 2(Daniel 10: 12-13) Why wasn’t the angel messenger able to bring his message in a timely manner? Who resisted him? Who helped him? What does this teach us about prayer? About spiritual warfare?

Discussion question 3.(Daniel 11) What is your general impression of Daniel’s vision after reading the prophetic words matched by their historical fulfillment? What other Biblical prophecies can you think of that have been fulfilled so precisely? What does this teach you about God?

Discussion question 4.(Daniel 11) What does this rehearsal of prophecy and history teach you about the world rulers and geopolitics of our own time? How does the “big picture” inform us about the events of our day? Do you believe that God knows and cares about the details of your country’s struggles and future? Are you praying for your country’s leaders?


9. Antichrist, Resurrection, and the Last Days (Daniel 11: 36-12: 13)


March 9, 2017.

Key Verses: “It would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished.” (Daniel 12: 7b, NIV) “From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days.” (Daniel 12: 11-12, NIV)

“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book.” (Daniel 12: 1, NIV) “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12: 2-3, NIV

“He shall come into the beautiful land, and tens of thousands shall fall victim, but Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites shall escape from his power. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.” (Daniel 11: 41-42, NIV)

  In attendance:  David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Linda Heape, Mark Fairey, Glen Houser, Sandra Whetsell,  Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone

This is the final lesson in the Book of Daniel. It covers parts of Chapters 11 and 12. The principal message of this scripture is to tell us about the End Times. Not all of it, but what God deems necessary for Daniel (and us) to contemplate and understand. There are links to other scriptures particularly Revelation that present a convincing picture of the Antichrist and the battles yet to come. All of the scriptures are consistent in their theme that we do not know when this will happen. 

As we leave the study of this important figure of the Old Testament, it might serve us to reflect on Daniel and his relationship to God. One word stands out and that word is trust. Daniel trusted God without questioning and his trust never wavered. Trust also existed between Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar, which was earned by Daniel with his predictions of the dreams of the King. Thirdly, there is a trust that should exist between we students of the Bible and this great book. Daniel's inspired predictions of events that would take place in recorded Biblical history are remarkable in their accuracy. This should inspire us to trust those predictions that have yet to come and to think on these with great anticipation for the coming Day of  the Lord.  

Discussion questions:

Discussion question 1. (Daniel 11: 36-45) What do we learn about the character of this Antichrist figure? What seems to be his prime motivations? What does he have to do with the land of Israel?

Discussion question 2(Daniel 12: 1) What will happen during the great distress of God’s people? In what ways does this time seem to conform to the “great tribulation” spoken of in the New Testament?

Discussion question 3.(Daniel 12: 2) What do we learn about resurrection? How does this compare with New Testament teaching? What is the future of the righteous who are raised? Why do you think the unjust will be raised also?

Discussion question 4. (Daniel 12: 3) What is the end of those who are wise and influential for God? What is their reward? How does God use your influence currently to advance his Kingdom? What would need to change so that you might have greater influence for Christ?

Discussion question 5. (Daniel 12: 5-7). How long will intense persecution last during the final tribulation? What will happen to God’s people during this? Why do you think this difficult time is revealed to us people who don’t like bad news?

Discussion question 6. (Daniel 12: 3)(Daniel 12: 10) In what way will intense persecution in the End Times lead to many being “purified, made spotless, and refined”? In what ways is the Church in our day in such need of this? How do you think we can prepare ourselves for this time?