If you wish to contact me for any purpose or would like to ask any questions, I can be contacted through these various ways:

Email: barryjustinhobert@gmail.com

Facebook: 'Things As They Really Are' Facebook Page

Facebook Messenger

Twitter: @Thingsastheyrea


Lesson Plan for Daniel 1-6


Daniel = "God is my Judge" or "God is the Defender of my rights"(1)

For months now, we have been going back and forth on the Old Testament timeline from pre-exile to exile to post-exile. The Book of Daniel, chronologically speaking, takes place from 620-538 B.C. Daniel, for his whole adult life, lived among the Babylonians and the Persians (the Persians were later in his adult life).

In the opening chapter of Daniel, we get a sad tale within Daniel 1:3-7. After being transpopulated into Babylon, Daniel and other young men were taken from their families to serve King Nebuchadnezzar under the master of the eunuchs. Isaiah appears to prophesy what happened to Daniel in Isaiah 39:6-7.

"Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."

Rabbinical tradition also claims that Daniel and his companions suffered castration at the hands of the Babylonians. (2) This means that not only were these young men taken captive from their homeland and families, but they suffered some of the most violating things that could be inflicted on a human being. There is also a tradition that Daniel never marries because of this, at least it is never mentioned in the text that he ever had children and a wife; much ancient/older artwork depicts Daniel without a beard because of this.

Daniel ends up serving under 5 different Kings during his very long ministry/service among the Babylonians and, eventually, the Persians (He lived into his late 80s or 90s). His prophecies rank among some of the most vivid and apocalyptic; up there with the Book of Revelation and much of Isaiah. The last half of the book, the portion we were not assigned to read this week, is where all those are found.


Daniel and his companions are ordered to eat the King's meat in the opening verses of this chapter, but this wasn't kosher for Daniel.

Read Daniel 1:8-17

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

In just 10 days the countenances of Daniel and his companions were much better than the rest of the group. We learn in verse 20 that they exceeded the wisdom of understanding of the other magicians and astrologers by ten times. This echoes the promise we get in D&C 89:19 after the Lord reveals the word of wisdom.

"And [they] shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures."

President Boyd K. Packer once taught:

"Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit. In that marvelous revelation the Word of Wisdom, we are told how to keep our bodies free from impurities which might dull, even destroy, those delicate physical senses which have to do with spiritual communication. The Word of Wisdom is a key to individual revelation.” (3)

What great treasures of knowledge await when we follow the Lord's prescribed health plan? Daniel's revelations that occur later are a grand witness of what the Lord is promising us if we keep his commandment to keep the word of wisdom.


In chapter 2 verse 4, the original text moves from Hebrew to being completely in Aramaic until the end of chapter 7. The manuscripts of the Book of Daniel suggest that this was something of an editorial insert into the Book. It doesn't mean much for us spiritually, but it should give us pause in understanding just how much editing and insertions are found throughout the Bible.

Moving on, King Nebuchadnezzar has a troubling dream that should be familiar to all Latter-Day Saints. In a very narcissistic move, he not only desires his host of diviners to interpret his dream, but he chooses to not even tell them the contents of the dream. He expects them to divine their way into guessing what he dreamed about. None of the diviners, obviously, can do this so the King very rashly condemns them all to death. This is where Daniel comes in.

Daniel asks the king to give him time to go ponder so he can receive revelation on what the King dreamed and what the interpretation is. The Lord, after some amount of time, reveals it unto him and Daniel humbly praises God for the knowledge.

"He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him... there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets." (verses 22 & 28)

Daniel goes before Nebuchadnezzar to give him the revelation he had received.

Read Daniel 2:31-35

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great

Daniel goes on to interpret the dream by declaring that each part of the figure represents a different kingdom that would replace the preceding kingdom. President Spencer W. Kimball gives us a more precise interpretation:

"Nebuchadnezzar represented the king of kings, a world power, representing the head of gold. Another kingdom would arise and take over world dominion.

The interpretation included the domination of other kingdoms. Cyrus the great, with his Medes and Persians, would be replaced by the Greek or Macedonian kingdom under Philip and Alexander; and that world power would be replaced by the Roman Empire; and Rome would be replaced by a group of nations of Europe represented by the toes of the image.

With the history of the world delineated in brief, now came the real revelation." (4)

Read Daniel 2:44-45

And in the days of these kings [that is, the group of European nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

President Wilford Woodruff once quoted Joseph Smith as saying:

"I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it. … [It] will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.’" (In Conference Report, 6 April 1898, page 57.)

How do you see the rock filling the whole world?

How can Daniel's vision give us more confidence in this Latter-Day work?

It should be pointed out that this rock will not fill the earth until well into the Millennium. In other words, it might be said they we today possibly still don't comprehend the eventual destinies of the Church and Kingdom; to borrow the parlance of Joseph Smith.


King Nebuchadnezzar promotes Daniel to be the leader of the province of Babylon along with Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego. A little later, King Nebuchadnezzar commissioned a pure gold statue of himself to be made. In almost comedic fashion, biblical scholars suggest that Daniel possibly served as the unintentional inspiration for the statue (see Daniel 2:37). The statue, if you convert ancient measurements to modern ones, was about ninety feet tall and nine feet wide (see Daniel 3:1). For a point of reference of how big that is, that is about 2/3rds the size of the statue portion of the statue of liberty monument.

Nebuchadnezzar commands that all worship his golden image at the sound of his own theme music (see verse 5). He commands that anyone who will not worship his golden self-image should be put to death in a fiery furnace. Realizing an opportunity, some jealous Chaldeans (another name for those who lived in Chaldea and ruled Babylon) came forth to King Nebuchadnezzar and brought to his attention that Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego did not worship the golden statue. In his fury, the King brings them forth and asks them "who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" (see verse 15)

Read Daniel 3:16-18

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell has commented on this, saying:

"Note the words “but if not” —these are words of unconditional commitment.

Sometimes we must “take the heat” even if we are not certain the thermostat of trial will soon be turned down. We must decide before anything else is really decided!" (5)

How can we build our faith so "we [can] decide before anything else is really decided"?

How do we build up unconditional faithfulness?

Elder Bednar tells of a story that might partially answer this question. He speaks about visiting a young couple, Heather & John, where John was suffering from deadly cancer in his leg. John asked Elder Bednar for a priesthood blessing to which Elder Bednar responded with a question:

"John, do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?"

Elder Bednar further comments:

"... if God’s will were for this good young man to be healed, then that blessing could be received only if this valiant couple first had the faith not to be healed. In other words, John and Heather needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “natural man” (Mosiah 3:19) tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve... having the faith not to be healed seemed to fit appropriately into a powerful pattern of penetrating paradoxes that require us to ask, to seek, and to knock that we might receive knowledge and understanding." (6)

As we return back to the fiery furnace in Daniel 3, we find that the fire was prepared to be 7 times hotter than normal. It was so hot that those men who stoked the fire ended up perishing in the flame. Once thrown in, it was immediately noticed that a fourth figure was in the flames with them. He had "the form... like the Son of God" (see verse 25). The three men were saved from the flame by heavenly help. If we are to believe Elder Bednar, it probably, largely, had to do with the kind of faith it takes to say, "but if not".


To sum up chapter 4, Daniel interprets another dream for King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel prophecies that the King will be cast out from men and that he will descend into madness. The King would make his dwelling place with the beasts of the field unless he would repent (see verse 27). For twelve months did the King persist in thinking that nothing was going to come of Daniel's prophecy (see verse 29), then, all at once, a voice from heaven came unto him and he was cast out. After some time, the once-great king of Babylon has a beautiful confession of his belief in the God of Israel. Interestingly, the text transitions to Nebuchadnezzar narrating his own repentance:

Read Daniel 4:34-37

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.


The text takes a very abrupt jump forward in time to Nebuchadnezzar's grandson who was made king. The Biblical record contradicts the historical record which shows that Belshazzar was actually the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. From the historical timeline, there was much political strife on the throne of Babylon in this period the Book of Daniel jumps over. Family members of the late King Nebuchadnezzar usurp the throne a few different times between 562 BC and 539 BC. Meanwhile, Daniel continues to serve in some of the highest government offices in Babylon.

At this time, Belshazzar is King and has a rowdy party in which the participants drink wine from the golden and silver vessels taken from the Jerusalem temple decades earlier (see verse 2). In their drinking, they worshiped idols of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone (see verse 4). At this moment, Belshazzar sees something that scares him greatly. He saw fingers from some divine messenger write upon the wall of his palace. This greatly troubled him and, as the story goes on and repeats the previous stories in the Book of Daniel, Daniel comes to interpret the writing. Daniel, at this point in his life, is the chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners (see verse 11). He begins to speak to the King forthrightly.

Read Daniel 5:22-31

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

The same night the relics of the ancient temple were defiled was the same night the Persians conquered Babylon. Daniel tells the King to repent and interprets the bold message that was written by a divine hand on the wall (interestingly, a similar event appears to happen in the Book of Mormon, see Alma 10:2).

What can this teach us how the Lord feels about sacred things?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson offers some insight:

"Some say dress and hair don’t matter—it’s what’s inside that counts. I believe that truly it is what’s inside a person that counts, but that’s what worries me. Casual dress at holy places and events is a message about what is inside a person. It may be pride or rebellion or something else, but at a minimum it says, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand the difference between the sacred and the profane.” In that condition they are easily drawn away from the Lord. They do not appreciate the value of what they have. I worry about them. Unless they can gain some understanding and capture some feeling for sacred things, they are at risk of eventually losing all that matters most. You are Saints of the great latter-day dispensation—look the part." (7)

Daniel 5 appears to teach us that profaning the sacred was the last straw for the Lord to bring Babylon to ruin.


Now Daniel officiates under King Darius of Persia. It appears that Daniel, a lowly Israelite, was made 2nd in command behind only King Darius himself because of the "excellent spirit" that was in him (see verses 1-3). Jealous princes and presidents, therefore, crafted a scheme to get Daniel removed from his place. They tricked King Darius, who adored Daniel, into signing a decree that would cast anyone into the lions' den who prayed to any other God or man than Darius.

Daniel appears to openly pray still in verses 10-11. He knows the decree was signed and he still chose to leave his windows open, at least that is what the text seems to be saying. Long story short, King Darius (not having as strong executive powers as the Babylonian Kings) was forced to cast Daniel into the lions' den.

Interestingly, Daniel would have been in his 80s when he was cast into the den of lions (see Skinner, Vol 2, p. 407). He was probably relatively feeble and lacked the strength he used to have.

Read Daniel 6:16-22

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.

Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

As a result of this miracle, a decree was signed by Darius that the Jewish people could openly worship "the God of Daniel". This carried into the reign of Cyrus, who is known for letting the Jewish people return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple and their city. According to various Christian scholars, it was most likely Daniel who would have brought to Cyrus' attention Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah chapter 45 (8). The decree from Darius and, possibly, the work Daniel had on King Cyrus is what led to the end of the exile from Jerusalem.

Daniel lived a life of exile and extreme hardship. In Latter-Day Saint parlance, we often sing about bidding Babylon farewell (9). In Daniel's case, he lived and served among them.

What can Daniel teach us about the difference between agency and freedom? His name literally means, "God is the defender of my rights", but he lived under tyrannical power most of his life.

How can Daniel serve as an example of how we are to behave in troubling political times?

How was Daniel a peacemaker in Babylon?

How did his behavior lead to the eventual restoration of Israel and God's Holy House?

In a brilliant talk given this past week by Brother Ahman Corbitt of the Young Men General Presidency, he identifies something that Daniel exemplified in his day. He laments how the world and Satan "Manipulate[s] these negative impulses to instigate the use of worldly or secular activism or advocacy rather than the doctrine of Christ to effect change in the kingdom of God.”

Brother Corbitt continues:

"Latter-day Saints of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds, including those coming from different faith traditions, may not yet understand the doctrine of Christ or its importance.

“They will likely only know and trust the telestial tools they have seen used in the world. We will have to help them see why the doctrine of Christ should have priority over all other causes, why it should always govern our methods and manners and why it is our only real hope to accomplish any righteous change or cause.” (10)

Daniel's faithfulness is an example of how being a peacemaker, by applying the Doctrine of Christ, literally brought down kingdoms and restored his people to theirs. Perhaps learning to behave like Daniel, while we still live in Babylon, is how the Lord can use us to bring forth the Lord's Kingdom.


The rest of the Book of Daniel is filled with prophecies about the last days and about Christ. As you read through those chapters you will find Christ abundantly. Interestingly, if you recall for most of Daniel's life he was a leader among the wise men of Babylon and Persia. Ancient tradition holds that Daniel's prophecies about Christ were passed down to these wise men and continued centuries later. It is suggested and speculated that this is why the wise men knew to visit Jesus Christ after his birth. (11)


Popular Posts