Lives of Saints - Prophet Daniel Christianity - Books
If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.                If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.                If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.                Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud,                doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 13:6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;                bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.                Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.               
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Prophet Daniel
   

The prophet Daniel originally was born into a nobleman’s family. During the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the year of 606 BC. Daniel as a boy was taken by the Babylonians off into slavery together with Jehoiachim, King of Judah, and many other Israelites. There Daniel, who was then 15 years old and the other most capable young boys were picked out to be taught at school for preparing them to serve at the king’s court.

Daniel’s friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah studied with him in that school too. For several years they studied the local language and various Chaldean disciplines. When joining the school these three young men were renamed to Shadrach, Meshac and Abadnego. However, with the adoption of pagan names, the young men did not betray the faith of their fathers. Fearing defilement from eating heathen food, they persuaded their dean to let them have simple vegetables instead of the food from the king’s table, sprinkled by the blood of idol sacrifice. The dean agreed on the condition that after ten days of such vegetable diet he would check on their state of health. At the end of trial period these youngsters were rendered healthier than other students who were eating meat from the king’s table, so the dean allowed them to chose food to their discretion. The Lord rewarded their loyalty to the true faith by granting them success in their studies, and the Babylonian king present at the exam, had to confess that they were brighter than his Babylonian sages.

After the end of training Daniel with his three friends was assigned to work at the king’s court and he remained there as a court dignitary throughout the rein of Nebuchadnezzar and his five successors. After the conquest of Babylon he became an adviser of king Darius the Median and of the Persian king Cyrus.

God endowed Daniel with the ability to discern the meaning of visions and dreams and this was proved by his having explained to Nebuchadnezzar his two dreams that had greatly embarrassed the king (Dan. chapters 2 and 4). In his first dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a huge frightful idol statue made of four metals. A stone rolled down from a hilltop, smote the idol into pieces that turned into chaff and were carried away by the wind, while the stone grew into a large mountain. Daniel explained to the king that the idol emblematized four profane kingdoms that would succeed each other beginning with the Babylonian kingdom and finishing with the Roman one. The mysterious stone smashing the statue of an idol symbolized the Messiah, and the new mountain implied the Lord’s eternal Kingdom (the Church).

In his book (titled by his name) Prophet Daniel tells about the act of bravery of his three friends who refused to bow to the gold idol (Madruk) and were thrown into a burning furnace as ordered by the king Nebuchadnessar. But an angel of God kept them unharmed, so that the children walked in the blazing furnace untouched by the fire and singing: "blessed art Thou, Lord God of our Fathers. The king was amazed. He stopped the torture and did the devout children great honors.

No details of the Prophet Daniel’s life for the 7 years under the 3 three successors of Nebuchadnezzar came down to our time (they were Evil-Meredah, Neriglizzar and Lavosoardah). Nabonid, Lavosoardah’s assassin, made his son Belshazzar his co-ruler. In the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel had a vision about four kingdoms, after which he saw God in the image of a "Very Old One" and a "Human Son," approaching him, i.e., our Lord Jesus Christ.

In his book Prophet Daniel wrote down several prophetic visions related to the end of the world and to the Second Advent of Christ. The content of Prophet Daniel’s book has much in common with the Revelation of the evangelist John the Theologian which is found at the very end of the Bible.

In 539 B.C. Median King Darius conquered Babylon, and it was then that king Belshazzar died as predicted by Prophet Daniel. When the king Belshazzar was eating and drinking with his guests at a feast out of consecrated vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem, an invisible hand wrote three words on the wall: ‘Mene, Tekel, Upharsin’. No one could interpret these words but Daniel: "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting, and Thy kingdom divided and given to Medes and Persians" (Dan. 5:25).

Under Darius the Median, Daniel occupied an important governmental post. Envious profane courtiers slandered Daniel before king Darius and persuaded him to throw Daniel into a den of lions. But God kept His prophet safe. Having looked into the matter, Darius ordered the slanderers of Daniel to be subjected to this execution, and the lions tore them up immediately. Some time later Daniel received a revelation about 70 sevens, in which the time of the first advent of the Messiah and establishment of His Kingdom (Churches) was given (Chapter 9). The explanation of this prophecy is provided in part 2 of the booklet "Old Testament on Messiah."

Under king Cyrus, Daniel remained in the same position of a courtier. It was not without his influence that in 536 King Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Hebrews from captivity. According to a legend Prophet Daniel showed Cyrus a prophecy about him in the book of Prophet Isaiah who lived 200 years earlier (44:28-45, 13). Astonished by this prophecy, the king acknowledged the power of Jehovah over himself and told the Jews to build a temple in His honor in Jerusalem (1 Ezra, ch.1). During the rule of that king, Daniel was again saved from death which was punishment for his killing the dragon that had been worshiped by the pagans.

In the third year of king Cyrus’s rein in Babylon, Daniel was deigned to receive a revelation about the further destiny of the God’s people and the four pagan empires (Chapters 10-12). Daniel’s prophecy about persecution of the faithful can at the same time be referred to persecutions of Antioch Epiphanus and the antichrist. Nothing is known about the subsequent years of Prophet Daniel’s life, except that according to St. Cyril of Alexandria, Daniel and the Three Children lived to great old age in Babylon, and were beheaded with the sword for the true Faith. When Ananias was beheaded, Azarias held out his robe and caught his head, then Misael caught Azarias’s head and Daniel Misael’s. An angel of God carried their bodies to Judea, to Mount Gebal, and placed them under a rock. According to a legend, these four men arose at the time of the death of the Lord Jesus and appeared to many, then fell asleep again. Daniel is revered as one of the four Great Prophets (with Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel). He lived and prophesied halfway through the thousand years before Christ. His prophetic book consists of 14 chapters. The Lord Jesus Christ in His conversations with the Jews twice referred to Daniel’s prophecies.

Troparion:
Great are the achievements of faith!/ In the fountain of flame, as in refreshing water,/ the Three Holy Children rejoiced./ And the Prophet Daniel proved a shepherd of lions as of sheep./ By their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Source: http://www.fatheralexander.org

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