Faithful Discipleship in a Foreign Land

Peter Paul Reubens, detail from 'A Study of Two Heads' (c. 1608), oil on panel, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Peter Paul Reubens, detail from 'A Study of Two Heads' (c. 1608), oil on panel, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Disciples need to study Daniel afresh.

The Book of Daniel is both familiar and mysterious. You find the stories of the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the Lion's Den, and the Handwriting on the Wall. On the other hand, are visions of beasts and horns and kings that predict the future from Daniel's time all the way to the Second Coming of Christ.

Daniel is foundational to the New Testament for three reasons:

  1. The "Son of Man" that Jesus takes as his own title, is drawn directly from Daniel 7:13-14. As you understand Daniel's prophecy, you begin to comprehend Jesus' origins, authority, self-understanding, and mission.
  2. Kingdom of God. The coming of the all-encompassing Kingdom of God has strong roots in Daniel's visions. This Kingdom is at the very core of Jesus' teaching.
  3. Daniel's eschatology, his visions of the End Time, are echoed in the predictions of Jesus himself, of Paul the Apostle, and in the Book of Revelation.

We'll look at the Book of Daniel in light of the New Testament revelation.

However, I must warn you that I don't have Daniel's visions of the Last Days all figured out, and I am leery of those who seem to be able to fit everything together perfectly. Daniel is like a jigsaw puzzle with some pieces missing. Though the main outlines are clear, some details can't be discerned at present. The task of this study is to help you understand what Daniel does teach, pros and cons of various interpretations of the key prophecies, to let you know where the author comes out and why, and to give you some sense of a level of certainty.

We'll study Daniel in nine lessons over the nine weeks of our e-mail study. However, if you study this with a class or small group, you may want to go a bit slower.

  1. Four Hebrew Youths in Babylon (Daniel 1)
  2. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream and Daniel's Interpretation (Daniel 2)
  3. The Fiery Furnace and the Lions' Den (Daniel 3 and 6)
  4. Humbling the Proud (Daniel 4 and 5)
  5. Four Beasts and the Son of Man (Daniel 7)
  6. A Vision and a Mighty Prayer (Daniel 8 and 9:1-19)
  7. Daniel's Vision of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:20-27)
  8. The Kings of the North and the South (Daniel 10:1-11:35)
  9. Antichrist, Resurrection, and the Last Days (Daniel 11:36-12:13)
Daniel: Faithful Discipleship in a Foreign Land, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Available in book formats: paperback, Kindle, PDF

You can study these lessons online, with a small group or class, or as the basis of your preaching or teaching. Some lessons are relatively short and easy to comprehend. Others are long and may leave you overwhelmed. Some will be immediately applicable to your life in a culture that is foreign to the values and allegiance of Jesus' kingdom. Others will find their primary application only in the Last Days, as God brings together all these strains of prophecy in a relatively short period of time.

Studying Daniel is worth your time and will make you a better disciple. I'll count it a privilege to have you study along with me.

I encourage you to sign up for this study that will begin on Friday, September 11, 2015 (and will conclude before Thanksgiving). Sign up now so you don't forget -- and invite your friends to do the same.

Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
This is our 42nd online Bible study since 1996. If you've participated in one before, you know how God can use them in your life. If not, then you have a treat in store for you. This is an cross-denominational study designed to help you grow as a disciple of Christ. -- Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. About the leader.
Here's how we'll study together.

  • Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week. Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better. The weekly lesson includes all the discussion questions for the week.
  • If you sign up for the daily questions version, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use these lessons to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly over these weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions and exercises using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others' answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • With each lesson you'll receive a link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.

If you plan to use this study as the basis of a class or small group, feel free to download the free participant handout guides, which you can reprint free for each member of the group.


Sign up now!

To sign up, start by clicking on your e-mail frequency preference:

You'll receive your first lesson the Friday after you sign up. There is no cost to participate in the study, though donations are encouraged so we can create more studies and reach more people.

We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.

Please don't sign up for more than one of my Bible studies at one time. There's no penalty, but each of them is pretty intensive. If you try to do too many studies at the same time without adequate reflection, you'll miss out on God speaking to you.

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.