As you read through the Scripture, choose from the following questions to guide discussion in your group. Don’t feel that you need to talk about all of them.
Read Daniel 6
- In Daniel 6:7 the original conspirators drag other groups into their scheme. Why do you think the original administrators and satraps felt the need to drag other groups into their conspiracy against Daniel? In what ways have you seen this practice occur when people are being deceitful?
- Daniel was willing to disobey the law of the land to remain faithful. Discuss the intersecting of faith and civil disobedience. When is it necessary to disobey the law to maintain your faith? How do you reconcile this with Romans 13:1-2?
- Daniel had a disciplined prayer life. He prayed three times a day no matter what. It makes you wonder how many of his prayers were for him to return to Jerusalem. He was a teenager when put in exile and now he is in his eighties. Daniel’s faithfulness was not dependent upon answered prayers. How is your faith impacted when a prayer goes unanswered or isn’t answered the way you wanted?
- Read Daniel 6:20. King Darius ran to the den the next day and called out in an anguished voice to Daniel. The fact that he ran to the den demonstrates he had hope for Daniel. The anguish in his voice shows that his hope was frail. What can you do individually and as a group to maintain hope even in the worst of circumstances? Talk about a time when you wanted to give up hope.
- King Darius issued another decree to all the lands he has conquered in which they are to fear and hold in reverence the God of Daniel. The whole bad situation against Daniel ended up being used for God’s glory. How have you seen a bad situation be used to further God’s kingdom?
Daniel has a fantastic vision of four beasts. They emerge out of a churning sea:
- a lion with wings which walks like a human being and is given a human heart
- a bear with three ribs in its mouth
- a leopard with wings and four heads
- a nightmare creature with iron teeth and ten horns, more terrifying and destructive than the others.
While Daniel watches, a little horn emerges among the horns of the fourth creature. It uproots three of the other horns—and then starts looking around and boasting!
The vision continues with God, the Ancient of Days, taking his throne in heaven and sitting in judgment on the earth. The first three beasts are disarmed and the fourth is killed and destroyed.
Finally, someone ‘like a son of man’ comes with clouds of glory into the presence of God. He is given authority, glory and sovereign power. He is made king of a realm which embraces all nations and languages. His is a universal kingdom which will last for ever.
Daniel understands the vision. The beasts are kingdoms which will come and go. Daniel views the glory of God’s ultimate power and judgment. God disarms the most awesome of earthly empires—and destroys their strutting despots.
The vision of ‘one like a son of man’ is deeply moving for both Jews and Christians. God has a special place for human beings, made in his image. The human race, the crown of his creation, will also be at the heart of his heaven. The beasts won’t win!
For Christians, Jesus is the Son of man. He used the title ‘Son of man’, with Daniel’s meaning, to describe himself. He is our perfect representative before the Father’s judgment throne. It is his kingdom which will be established everywhere and for ever.
Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 347–349.
Read Daniel 7
- When you hear about bible prophecy, what comes to mind? Why is prophecy necessary and what purpose does it serve?
- Daniel is troubled and anxious after having this vision and hearing its interpretation. Are you surprised with his reaction based on what you know from previous chapters? What does this say about human nature when it comes to things we do not understand?
- What characteristics of God do we see in verses 9-12? How does this influence the way you view or interact with God? Do you think this is compatible with a merciful view of God?
- Read Daniel 7:11-14 and Revelation 1:12-20. How do these descriptions of Jesus match? What do you long for most when Jesus returns?
- We know how the story ends: with the coming of the Son of Man – Jesus. How does this provide peace or confidence when facing’s the world’s kingdoms (politics, a culture that is less and less Christian)?