The Book of Daniel: An Excellent Movie and a Faith-Lifting Story
First, I was surfing the TV channels when I came across a movie by this title. It was an engrossing high-drama movie, well-acted, and I felt like I was right there in the Middle East when all these things happened to Daniel. What came across strongly was the unmitigated faith that Daniel and his friends had in God. I went straight out and bought the movie, which was produced by an outfit called PureFlix. I also bought another PureFlix movie entitled The Book of Ruth, but haven’t watched it yet. I’m hoping the g-kids will enjoy these movies. The official movie trailer for The Book of Daniel can be seen if you click on the link. Apparently the movie is now available on NetFlix.
Let me explain, in the opening scene Daniel, now an old man, is invited to speak with Cyrus, King of Persia. The King has heard of Daniel and his dream interpretations, and shows him respect. Daniel takes the king back through his life-changing experiences while serving under four kings. It all begins at Babylon, a magnificent city on the banks of the Euphrates River, where the Jews were taken in 605 B.C. after the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of king Nebuchadnezzar. There are five outstanding faith-events portrayed beautifully in the movie.
In the first faith-event, several Jewish youngsters are candidates to be king Nebuchadnezzar’s personal attendants. During their training they talk their supervisor into a diet of vegetables and water, instead of the usual pork and dessert and wine. After a couple weeks, they appear healthier than the local lads, and are chosen to serve the king.
In the second faith-event, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar has a terrifying dream, and calls his astrologers and wizards to interpret it. But he has forgotten the dream! Although under sentence of death, and facing an impossible task, Daniel offers to do it. He tells the king what the dream was, and then interprets it, making sure to give credit to God. The dream is about a huge and frightening man-image of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay, which represent five sequential empires: Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greece, Rome, and the Kingdom of God. Nebuchadnezzar is impressed, and appoints Daniel to rule over Babylon.
In the third faith-event Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who are Jewish companions of Daniel, refuse to worship a golden statue of the king. Nebuchadnezzar is irate and throws the men bound with ropes into an overheated furnace. When the king peers into the furnace, he exclaims ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods.’ When the three men exit the furnace, not even a sniff of smoke clings to their unburnt clothes. The king acknowledges the superiority of God, and gives the three men a promotion in their work.
In the fourth faith-event, Daniel has a high position of trust under Darius, a new king. Jealous competitors manipulate the king into signing a law that forbids anyone to worship any other god for a month. But Daniel continues to pray three times a day toward Jerusalem. He is caught and must be punished by the decree of the reluctant king. In the lion’s den, Daniel prepares for the worst while asserting his faith in God. Miraculously he is unharmed, and in the morning an ecstatic Darius pitches Daniel’s accusers to the lions where they are immediately devoured.
To conclude, the fifth faith-event is associated with Post-Script 1 below, which is optional reading. During the feast of king Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar, the king orders that the sacred gold cups stolen from the Jerusalem temple be used. In a blasphemous act, the revelers drink wine from the cups, and praise the gods of gold and silver. In a chilling scene, the fingers of a man’s hand are seen writing four words on the plaster of a wall. The horrified king calls Daniel to interpret. Mene, 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. Upharsin – Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes & Persians. Daniel is rewarded by a gold chain and purple robe. That very night Belshazzar the king is slain, as depicted below.
How Persia captured Babylon:
The following is adapted from the link. In 539 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia. The famed walls of Babylon were impenetrable, with the only way into the city through one of its many gates, or through the Euphrates which flowed under its thick walls. Metal gates at the river’s in-flow and out-flow prevented underwater intruders. Awaiting the feast of Belshazzar, Cyrus’ troops diverted the Euphrates river upstream.
The soldiers marched under the walls through the lowered water level, and conquered the outlying areas while a majority of Babylonians at the city center were oblivious to the breach. Furthermore, the account was elaborated upon by Herodotus, and is also mentioned by passages in the Bible (Daniel 5).
A famous Bible prophecy is shown to come true in the movie. Cyrus allows the Jews to start returning to Jerusalem after 70 years of exile, as forecast by Jeremiah in 605 B.C., the same year the Jews were deported (see scripture below). The complicated image here gives the main Biblical events plus their actual dates. Click on the image if you’d like to see it more clearly.
The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
‘This whole country [of Judah] will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will make it desolate forever.
I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.’ (Jeremiah chapter 25). Note: the ruins of Babylon are still there in Iraq, but that’s all they are: ruins. The city was made ‘desolate forever’.
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