THE BOOK OF DANIEL Anne O’BrieN A Bible Study on the book of Daniel. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview,
God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.
Daniel – Introduction Commence by reading 2 Chronicles 36v15-21. These events directly precede Daniel’s captivity (in 605BC) by Nebuchadnezzar, who had seized Nineveh and gained power over the Assyrian Empire. Daniel was a contemporary of Jeremiah (who prophesied in Judah) and Ezekiel (who was also exiled to Babylon). The Book of Daniel reminds us that: • One Christian can make a difference • God provides and keeps us in an alien culture • •
God rules over all nations God is in control of all history Daniel – Chapter 1
Read verses 1&2: These verses follow on from the passage in Chronicles. Note that Nebuchadnezzar also ransacked the Temple and placed the pieces in his own god’s treasure house. The Babylonians worshipped the gods Nabu, Bel and Marduk. But they also relied on astrology (charts invented by the Assyrians) and horoscopes to guide them. Read verses 3-7: Nebuchadnezzar wanted the best for his country so he brought in perfect specimens of young manhood – enter Daniel and his three friends. They were to be given the best of everything (food, education etc) but they were also to be controlled and brainwashed and expected to live within the limits of Babylonian culture. A part of this control was the changing of their names. Hebrew + meaning Daniel – God is Judge Hananiah – Yahweh is gracious Mishael – Who is what God is Azariah – Whom Yahweh helps
Babylonian + meaning Belteshazzar – May Bel protect him Shadrach – Command of Aku Meshach – Who is what Aku is Abednego – Servant of Nebo
Q. What would Daniel and his friends have felt when they were taken into exile? Q. How does this compare to Christians today who live and work in an alien culture (abroad and in our own country)? Read verses 8-16 Daniel felt that he and his friends should not eat the King’s food (although it probably looked very delicious and tempting) because it would have been offered to idols and it would have been incompatible with the Jewish laws on what foods were clean and unclean. Notice how Daniel used politeness and persistence to aid his request. He also offered the steward an alternative, i.e. they would eat vegetables and be tested after 10 days. He spoke 1
privately with the steward and didn’t make a fuss and relied on God. Bear in mind he could have been killed for refusing the King’s orders. Q. Have you ever been asked to do anything unethical, where you have stood to lose a lot if you didn’t agree? Read verses 17-21 Daniel and his friends actually excelled in all their studies because God helped them, so that they had knowledge and wisdom, skills in literature which probably included philosophy and foreign religious history (they obviously knew their Jewish scriptures well too), and Daniel was given understanding of visions and dreams. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar found none equal to them – they were 10 times better than anyone else. This chapter should help us think about how we can be God’s person where we are. And it should encourage us to believe that God can give us wisdom and understanding, courage and strength, when we need it.
Daniel – Chapter 2 Verses 1-3 Nebuchadnezzar was suffering because he had bad dreams. His mind was troubled. A world without God must be terrifying. We know that it was God who was finding a way to speak to him. But Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know God and so he summoned his “wise” men to help interpret the dream But, more than that, they had to tell him what the dream was. Strong’s concordance tells us that magicians were people who read the astrological charts and wrote up horoscopes; enchanters were people who whispered spells; and sorcerers were those who put magic spells into practice (we might use the term witches). It’s a good job Daniel and his friends made a firm stand for their faith from day 1, or they may have been sucked in to these evil practices. Read verses 4-11 The sorcerers and magicians had no doubt spent enjoyable years in the Palace making a lucrative living from feeding the King thoughts and ideas they thought would please him (in the name of magic). But it appears the King has become disillusioned with them, and so he asks them to do the impossible – to tell him what he has dreamt. Failure to do this would result in their deaths (v5). Naturally, they were unable to do this and possibly it was not such a bad thing that the land was rid of them. Read verses 12-19 Unfortunately, the King grouped Daniel and his friends in with the sorcerers! Daniel knew he had to do something. So, once again, using tact, diplomacy and a great deal of courage he approached the king’s guard and asked to see the king, asking for time to uncover the dream 2
and its interpretation. He had nothing to lose because e would die anyway, but he totally trusted that God would find a way. In verses 17-19 we see that Daniel: • Instinctively knew what to do – pray with his friends • Prayed first for God’s mercy • Prayed for God’s way forward • Received the answer to the Kings problem Q. How much difference does it make being part of a prayer group or having a prayer partner – as opposed to praying solo? Read verses 20-23 Daniel expresses his thanks to the Lord in this Psalm of praise, acknowledging God’s wisdom and power. And Daniel thanks the Lord for placing wisdom and power in him (v23). It is a thankful, but very humble, prayer. Read verses 24-35 Daniel tells the King all the details of his dream.
Verse 35 could be the pivotal verse of the Bible. “The rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.” The Rock (v45 tells us it was not made by human hands) was greater than any other empire ever on earth – the size of a mountain compared to the statue, and one day it would fill the whole earth. Read verses 36-43 Interestingly Daniel includes his three friends when he gives the interpretation (v36, “we”). History bears out that what Daniel said came to pass. See the picture above. There is 3
always discussion about the meaning of the iron mixed with clay as it has been interpreted in different ways throughout history. A simple and plausible explanation is this: Iron represents ruling power. Clay represents people – the church. The feet therefore represent a mix of civic power and the church. Pre-reformation church history shows that this was often the case. In practice the church became the civil power, especially in Rome. Therefore, this kingdom was seen as a derivation of the Roman Kingdom (the legs) and can be one interpretation of the dream. Is this one explanation for why the church is not pure and why it is often divided? Read verses 44-45 Only the true Kingdom of Jesus will remain after the “10 toes” and his kingdom will be eternal. The Rock was Jesus who will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (v44) or superceded. There would be no further world kingdoms. This has remained true. Throughout history many leaders and ideologies have tried to dominate the world but none have ever been successful, which is why Christians should not be afraid of Communism or Islamisation or any other power or “ism”. Q. How do you think Nebuchadnezzar felt after that! Read verses 46-49 Nebuchadnezzar did something unheard of – he bowed down to Daniel and acknowledged that Daniel’s God was the true God over all. Instead of facing an untimely death Daniel now took his place as leader (like the Prime Minister) over the province of Babylon and was above all the other wise men. And at Daniel’s request, his friends became ‘cabinet’ ministers. Daniel remained in the royal court – but it didn’t go to his head - he also remained humble and wise because he put his trust in God.
Daniel – chapter 3 Read Matthew 10v16-23 Don’t we get off lightly in our country!! Not so for many people in the world, though. How would we stand as a Christian in North Korea or any of the Muslim countries where you can only be a Christian if you comply with their religious laws? Nevertheless, there have been recent events in Britain which indicate that it is becoming more difficult to practise our Christian faith in Britain. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found themselves having to make the choice of who they would worship. But the stakes were high. Read verses 1-3 We don’t know how long it was after his dream that Nebuchadnezzar had the idea of making a statue of himself in gold. Maybe it was even a result of the dream – after all, the 4
Babylonian empire was represented by a head of gold. Whatever the reason, Nebuchadnezzar no longer felt humbled as he had done, but was displaying great pride and putting himself in God’s place – everyone was to bow down to him. This would also be one way of checking for any rebellious elements in his vast kingdom which he chose to rule by fear. The image stood 90 feet high and 9 feet wide (probably made of wood overlaid with gold) and would have been very impressive for its day. (For comparison: The Angel of the North sculpture is 65 feet high.) The king sent messengers to all the provinces of his empire (which stretched from Assyria in the north, Israel and Egypt in the west and bordering on what we now call Iran in the east, and desert to the far south), and summoned all the highest officials, administrators, governors, military commanders, treasurers, judges and lawyers etc etc. Every level of authority was represented and expected to be present. Read verses 4-12 This was like a religious ceremony – with music and worship – but with a possible nasty ending! A blazing furnace was ready for those who disobeyed. They were to conform or die! Sure enough, all the officials from all the nations obeyed. Or did they? Some astrologers … people who knew the astrologers that the king had put to death possibly … reported to the king that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had not obeyed. Did the astrologers bear a grudge, were they jealous? We don’t know their motive, but we do know why Daniel’s friends could not obey. They would have broken the First Commandment. They had to make a very difficult choice. Q. What would you have done? Or maybe the question is, “Who do you worship?” Read verses 13-18 Once again the King flew into a rage (see 2v12). But he did give them another chance to obey him. He seems to have forgotten that he called Daniel’s God the Lord of all Kings. The words that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respectfully say are incredible: God can save us, but even if he chooses not to, we will not worship your statue. Their faith and trust in God was absolute, even though they knew that there was not always a miraculous deliverance. Q. Do we serve God just for his blessings or for the privilege of serving him? Read verses 19 – 25 And AGAIN the king was furious! The furnace was made 7 times hotter and even burnt the soldiers who threw Daniel’s friends into the fire! But … they survived the fall and the flames. The impossible happened. Surely it was Jesus (Immanuel, God with us) in the fire with them – interesting that Nebuchadnezzar stayed there to watch. And what he saw was 4 men walking around in the fire. The “extra person” and the others. The fire seems to have burnt the ropes they were tied up with but not touched them! 5
Q. Where was Daniel? What do you think he was doing? If he was praying, why do you think his friends were thrown into the fire? Why didn’t God answer prayer for them to be kept out of the flames? Did God have a purpose in the fire? Isaiah 43v2: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. The Saviour was with them. Remember: he is with us. Read verses 26-30: Nebuchadnezzar had to call them out. It was too hot for anyone to rescue them. When we used to light a bonfire, you could smell the smoke in your hair for some time afterwards. These men had been right in the fire – and there was no evidence of harm, not even a whiff of smoke. What an amazing testimony to the greatness and majesty of God. The King pronounced a new law, that no-one should speak against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Adednego. And then he promoted these 3 men to greater leadership in his country. This story was written by God to give us hope. Romans 15v4:
These stories were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Daniel – chapter 4 Often, God will use our enemies (on a personal and a nationwide level) to bring about his purposes. Because those who are not for God appear to get their own way, it does not necessarily mean that they have God’s favour. In fact, no-one can harm God’s people and get away with it. There is always ultimate judgment. God has used Nebuchadnezzar to show his greatness and glory but he hasn’t finished with him yet! This story in one chapter actually spans 7 years and it is written like a personal testimony. Read verses 1-9 “It is my pleasure to tell you …” Nebuchadnezzar wants to tell what God has done, although one gets the impression it is still all about himself. God gets his attention by, once again, giving him a terrifying dream. Once again, the King approaches the astrologers first. Will he never learn? Maybe he was afraid that they had power to bring harm on him if he didn’t keep them pleased? And so, when they fail to explain the dream he consults Daniel. Notice he prefers to call Daniel Belteshazzar (meaning one who is protected by the Chaldean god Bel). He still does not worship and honour God alone. He’s still trying to fit Daniel into a 6
Chaldean mould. Many people today will not turn to God until he is the very last place to find hope. Q. Where do people to for help? Do we go to God first, or as a last resort?
Read verses 10-15a: The dream was of one very impressive, enormously tall, very fruitful tree – a haven for wildlife; and visible to the ends of the earth. And Nebuchadnezzar saw a holy one (messenger/angel/watchman) descending and giving the order to cut down the tree, so that it would lose its leaves and fruit. But the stump and roots were to remain, bound with iron and bronze.
Read verses 15b-18 Suddenly, at this point, the tree is shown to represent a man. The wording changes from the tree/it to HIM. And Nebuchadnezzar still hasn’t cottoned on. He doesn’t realise that the man is HIMSELF. The verdict of God, delivered by the angel was that HE would be cut down and would live like an animal (deranged mentally) for a period of seven years. He was very disturbed by the dream and sought help from Daniel. Read verses 19-23 (First part of the interpretation) Very likely a number of years had elapsed since the Fiery Furnace episode and Nebuchadnezzar had become complacent and proud. But he was about to take a fall. This wonderful tree was a picture of Nebuchadnezzar himself – the fount of all provision for his people (or, at least, it was the way he saw himself). “Your majesty – YOU are that tree.” (v22) So far, so good. But then came the second part of God’s message, through Daniel, to Nebuchadnezzar. Read verses 24-26 (Second part of the interpretation) 7
In the symbolism a messenger from Heaven (probably an angel) gave the command to cut down the tree and destroy it – but the stump was to be left and bound with iron and bronze. So, Nebuchadnezzar (the tree) was to lose all his power and glory. He would no longer be able to provide for his citizens (no fruit, flowers, birds or animals). But the stump (his life) would be saved and would in time regenerate. Meanwhile the stump – for that is all that Nebuchadnezzar’s life would amount to - would be bound (probably for refinement and protection) for seven years. Bronze speaks of refinement through the fire and iron speaks of strength. During this time the King would lose his mind and live like the animals and with the animals. He would certainly need God’s protection to be kept during that time, and still be able to recover. Q. How often do we feel confined by the bronze and iron? It would not be a comfortable position. But God’s promise is that He can bring renewal and renovation as we trust in Him. Read verses 27-30 How gracious and patient is our God! Daniel gave the King the opportunity to repent. And God waited a whole year. God does not enjoy delivering judgment – we all have a choice and a time to repent. But Nebuchadnezzar was still suffering from PRIDE (v30), putting himself in God’s place – and so God fulfilled his prophetic word in the dream. Read verses 31-33 Everything came about, just as Daniel had prophesied. We can be sure that God is always true to his word. Historical timelines show that there was no King between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar – just a gap with a prince regent. This is most likely the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness. Read verses 34-37 We return to Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony written again in the first person – and obviously in his right mind – and, having learnt his lesson. God had changed him from someone who had been impressed by the miracles to someone who really worshipped the true God of Heaven and earth. It had taken 7 difficult years to be humbled. But he at last declares that God is Sovereign – above all others – and above the King. And his dream came true – the tree was fully restored, as was his honour and his throne. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matt 23v12)
Daniel – chapter 5: The Writing’s on the Wall! Several years have passed and Babylon has a different King – King Belshazzar, believed to be the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. He only appears in this one chapter of the Bible and we will see how he was to become the last king of the Babylonian Empire. Read verses 1-4 One thing we notice is that the faith of Nebuchadnezzar (after God met with him) did not get passed down through the generations. Belshazzar was self-pleasing, self-fulfilling and self-confident. He said he didn’t need God. Self-pleasing: Life was a party – in fact historians tell us it was one long round of overindulgent, drunken orgies. The word for this is hedonism. Live for pleasure, live for today. But why is this bad? Can we do what we want without it affecting other people? Self-gratifying: Life was about worshipping things that could bring satisfaction, but never do:- created things, luxuries, the best – gold, silver, wine etc. Belshazzar even used the holy things stolen from God’s Temple in Jerusalem to gratify himself. (But it also signified a total disregard for God. Dangerous ground!!) Self-confident: History books reveal that as they were self-absorbed in their revelling, the Medo-Persian army were outside the city walls and planning their attack to bring down this mighty empire. Belshazzar was living in a smug self-confidence thinking nothing could ever happen to him. Q. We are often told to look after number 1; live for today; “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die”. Is this good or bad advice? Read verses 5-9: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin
(These Babylonian number counters, scales and weights can be seen in the British Museum) Suddenly, something very odd happened. A disembodied hand began to write on the wall. The laughter turned to silence. The king’s face turned pale and his “knees began knocking”! The words spelt out were about numbers and weights and balances. The King didn’t understand the meaning of this so he called for the professional astrologers, enchanters (witches) and diviners (wise men) of Babylon, with a promise to reward them with rich clothes and a high position if they could interpret the writing on the wall. The King became even more scared when they were unable to help him. Read verses 10-17 But …The Queen (probably the Queen Mother) remembered Daniel. She didn’t mention that he was an Israelite, but she say that he was able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and she was sure that he would help Belshazzar. If only Belshazzar had learnt from his grandfather, if only he wasn’t so smug, he wouldn’t have been in that position. (Each person has to meet and accept God for themselves. We are not a Christian just because we are born into a Christian family.) Daniel is brought before the King and is offered the same reward if can interpret the writing on the wall. But Daniel will not accept any rewards. He knows he has no special talents – as a prophet he is merely passing on God’s words. Read verses 18-24: Verses 18-21 are a reminder, a recap of all that God did in Nebuchadnezzar’s time and how Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and ultimately found favour with God. But Belshazzar remained proud and self-reliant. In verses 22&23 Daniel explains the case that God has against Belshazzar. And then he goes on to explain the meaning. Read verses 25-28 Mene = numbers Tekel = scales Parsin (sometimes Upharsin) = reckoning 10
Daniel explained that Belshazzar had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Because Belshazzar was unrepentant he would lose his kingdom. The writing on the wall signified this. This concept remains in our language even today. Today we use the phrase “the writing’s on the wall” to signify an omen of impending disaster and judgment. We also use the phrase, “They’ve been weighed in the balance and found wanting”. For us, it can have personal significance and national significance. Personally, like Belshazzar, we have all come short of God’s perfect standards. Romans 3v23 says: For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. BUT, through Jesus Christ (v24) we can be forgiven and restored to Him. Everyone has to respond to that call personally and decide whether we wish to repent and accept God’s gift of grace. Nationally and globally, many people worry about the future of our country and of the world. They look at things like our carbon footprint/greenhouse gases etc; the rise of Islam and immigration and discord; financial markets and job insecurity; lack of money in the health services sector; world leaders threatening war etc. etc. So that many people could say today: The Writing’s on the Wall. Things cannot carry on as they are. Q. What can change things? Do you think God’s judgment on the world is likely or imminent? How does this concept fit in with scripture and prophecy? Historical fact: Nebuchadnezzar had made Babylon into the world’s mightiest fortress. The outer wall was so thick that no battering rams or instruments of warfare were able to penetrate it. The presence of an inner wall made any attempt to scale it suicidal. As a result, Babylon seemed impregnable … The walls of Babylon had been built over the Euphrates river. Therefore they always had fresh water. The Babylonians kept in store enough food for 20 years just in case there was a blockade. So the people of Babylon laughed at the attempts of the Medo-Persians to invade them. But, under Belshazzar, they did not stay alert … Read verses 29-31 Daniel, though he didn’t seek it, was rewarded with royal robes and a high position. And while the people were in a drunken stupor Darius led the Medo-Persian army into the city and took over the Empire. It had not just been the end of Belshazzar, but the end that mighty Babylonian kingdom too.
Daniel chapter 6 – In the Lion’s Den!
In which we see prophecy comes true, and God is in control. So far … Nebuchadnezzar had had a dream (in Daniel chapter 2) where he saw a huge statue with a head of gold. Daniel interpreted the dream and said that the head of gold was the Babylonian kingdom – but it would one day fall and the chest of the statue (which was in silver) would succeed as the next world empire. The chest of silver represented the MedoPersians and King Cyrus. Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson Belshazzar was dead (end of chapter 5). For him the “writing was on the wall” (literally!), he was “weighed in the balance and found wanting”. Because of him, God’s judgment fell on the Babylonians. While they were insulting God (drinking from the Jewish Temple vessels) in a drunken sexual orgy the Medo-Persians took the City of Babylon, killed King Belshazzar, and became the new World Empire, in fulfilment of the prophecy. How would this affect Daniel and the other exiles from Jerusalem who had been there now for over 60 years? Daniel, by now, would have been around 80 (he was a young man when first taken exile in approx. 607 B.C. and King Cyrus took Babylon in approx. 538 B.C.). Q. How do you deal with change – perhaps a new job, or house move, or a new boss? How does it make you feel? How might you need to make a stand as a Christian? Does it get any easier with age – or harder? Read verses 1-3 Daniel’s work record was obviously impeccable. He found favour with Nebuchadnezzar and now he has a most significant leadership role in the Persian Empire under King Cyrus! What does this tell us about Daniel’s character? The end of verse 2 shows us that the King may have been worried about the honesty and integrity of some of the leaders. Why is verse 3 significant in this story? Read verses 5-9 Jealousy and racism inspired these leaders to think up a plan which would put an end to Daniel – and it could, potentially, put an end to all the Jewish exiles who trusted in the true God. Or so they thought. (We know that they would never succeed because God had already told his people (through the prophet Jeremiah) that after 70 years their exile would end and they would return to Israel to rebuild the Temple.) Realistically though, at the time, all the Jews must have been “quaking in their boots” when they heard that the new law had been passed. Read verses 10-16 What did Daniel do? Was Daniel worried? Daniel continued, as always, to steadfastly trust in God. Was the king worried? The King had been tricked into doing something he didn’t like 12
and he couldn’t change. How do you think he felt, and what did he do? (v14 & 16). Why didn’t God act to help? Because he had a much better plan!
To think about: Often Christians have to suffer, sacrifice and be persecuted for their faith. There are many ‘Daniels’ around the world today who are in prison or in slave labour, rather than denounce their faith. Many have also lost jobs, money, children and often their own lives. In Luke 9v23 Jesus says, “If you want to be my disciples you must deny yourselves, take up your cross and follow me. (Read it from The Message Bible paraphrase) Would we be prepared to be a ‘Daniel’ to stand up for our Lord? Read verses 17-23 Darius, the king, stayed up all night fasting: he had no food, no sleep and no entertainment. And against all odds he calls out to Daniel in the morning to ask if he is still alive if God had delivered him. There are 3 amazing things here • Darius believed • Daniel was unharmed • The lions were friendly! God was in control of the whole thing. The other leaders, Daniel’s enemies, learned a hard lesson: if you oppose God’s children you are opposing God – and you won’t get away with it. Read verses 24-28 Darius didn’t want to keep quiet about what happened. If he had lived today he would have “tweeted” the whole world and put pictures on facebook!! Because of “the Law of the Medes and Persians” he could not change his previous edict. So he superseded it by announcing that all the earth must worship and reverence the true God of Daniel. Darius certainly had a powerful testimony. Do we have one too? What have we been saved from? Note: Darius was king of the Medes and Cyrus was King of the Persians. But Cyrus was King of both the Medes and the Persians. Manipulation Who was manipulating who in this story? The leaders manipulated the King, in order to get Daniel killed. God’s angel must have ‘manipulated’ the lions to protect Daniel! But was the king manipulating and testing the leaders whom he could not trust (he was suffering loss, v2)? Ultimately, they were the ones who came off worse; and the hunger of the lions was soon assuaged. Daniel manipulated nobody and refused to be manipulated himself. Manipulation is the tool of the devil and we should be on our guard against it. WHY?
WE NEED TO ASK OURSELF THE QUESTION: Am I doing this/not doing this because I want to; because the other person wants me to; or because God wants me to? If we stay in God’s will, we will not be manipulated by others. If we give in to their demands we are being disobedient to God by letting them rule our life.
Daniel chapter 7 The visions in chapter 7 and 8 took place before chapter 5 while Belshazzar was still king of Babylon. These visions are apocalyptic in nature i.e. they speak of the future and desire for world domination. Numbers and symbols should be read symbolically and not literally. Some of Daniel’s visions have already come true, others will come about at the end of the Age. God revealed all these things to Daniel (which concur with the text in Revelation) not that we might know the future, but that we might see who holds the future in His Hands. If we reconsider the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, and the writing on the wall seen by Belshazzar, we shall see how Daniel’s vision confirms those – God has revealed truth to/through different people in different ways. Daniel 2: The statue with a head of gold (Babylonian empire); chest and arms of silver (Persian empire); belly and thighs of bronze (Greek empire); legs of iron (Roman empire); and feet of iron and clay (mixture of Rome/church). And finally the rock (Jesus Christ) – in the natural sense not as strong as these metals, but it toppled all the earthly kingdoms and was supreme and eternal. In chapter 2 the kingdoms were symbolised by the statue. In chapter 7 they are symbolised by animals – the meaning will be the same but the prophecy becomes more specific. The symbolism used: Winds represent strife and war (also directional) Water represents multitudes A beast represents a kingdom A horn represents an individuals power Read all of chapter 7 Q. In verses 4-7 what 4 beasts did Daniel see? Babylon was represented by a lion with eagle’s wings (the strongest of the animals and the strongest of the birds. Persia was represented by a bear with 3 ribs. (3 ribs represent the 3 countries they conquered – Babylon, Lydia and Egypt) 14
Greece was represented by the leopard with 4 heads (the leopard works swiftly. Alexander the Great died young at 33, and his 4 generals divided up the empire. Rome was represented by a strong beast (dragon?) with teeth of iron. Iron is symbolic of strength. The fourth beast had 10 horns. These equate with the 10 toes of chapter 2, depicting 10 divisions of Rome. Rome was never conquered by another world power. History shows us that all of these things came true. Babylon collapsed 539 B.C; Persia collapsed 331B.C; Greece collapsed 168 B.C; Rome crumbled and collapsed 351-476A.D. Read verse 8 again. What new power arose, and where from? What was significant about this horn? Since this little horn arose from the 10 horns of Rome, it must surely have come out of the Roman Empire in its last days (in 4th century A.D). This horn (power) had human eyes and was different from the others (v24). Read verses 24&25. This power would speak pompous words against God; it would oppress God’s Holy people; and would change times and laws. The consensus of opinion is that this predicts a religious-political system would rise out of the old Roman Empire. This is, in fact, what happened: Over time, the Christian church and faith grew more organized. In 313 AD, the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which accepted Christianity: 10 years later, it had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. This rule by the church (Roman church) would last for a time, times and half a time. Numerology is any belief in the divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names and ideas. We need to be careful about how literally we interpret numbers in the Bible. Numerology has far closer links to Hinduism, Buddhism and Magical occult cults than it has to Christianity. Biblical numbers are often representative rather than literal. 10 represents the law (10 commandments) 7 represents completion (God rested on 7th day of creation) 12 represents the church, all God’s people (12 tribes, 12 apostles) 4 represents the whole earth (north, east, south and west) 1 day can represent 1 year – or even a thousand years. Verse 25: A time, times and half a time Because Revelation mentions a period of 1,260 prophetic days, this verse is usually worked out as follows: A time (one year) 2 times (2 years) ½ a time (6 months)
= = =
360 prophetic days 720 prophetic days 180 prophetic days 15
The sum of these days is 1,260 days. And if 1 prophetic day represents one literal year this prophecy is saying that the church-state power (which was the Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation) would reign until after the Dark Ages. Tradition would replace God’s Word, God’s laws would be added to with man’s laws, and forgiveness would only be available under a system of penance and indulgences (payments). In 16th Century Martin Luther stood against the church-state system and proclaimed that forgiveness was only available through God’s grace and the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. The 1,260 prophetic days (years) added on to the date of Constantine in 313A.D would bring us to 1,573 A.D fitting perfectly with the time of the Reformation and a reinstatement of the true church of God. However, the Roman church still exists and many other sects and cults and they will exert power of sorts until the End Times. Read verses 9&10 God reminds Daniel – and us – that He will ultimately conquer all other powers. There will be a judgment day and there will be a time when all true followers of God will take their place in his everlasting Kingdom and will worship him forever. In this scene God is seen to open the Books (everything is recorded) and dispense judgment. The beast was thrown into the fire (as in Revelation 19v20). How do these things apply to us? • Just as God revealed truth and hope to Daniel he can do so for us through the Holy Spirit (although we won’t all have visions!) • God has all of history in his hands and he has a plan and purpose for our lives too. •
We don’t need to fear because he already knows what our future holds
God is in control of world affairs, world leaders, those who deceive others, those who persecute his people etc. God will one day set everything right, wicked rulers and systems will be condemned and God’s name will be exalted over all the earth.
Daniel chapter 8 As wee have seen, Daniel’s prophecies outline our history in advance. Many of them overlap and cover the same periods from different perspectives, as is the case in this chapter. Read all of chapter 8 – The vision of the Ram and the Goat This vision is representing the same message as in Chapters 2 and 7, but with more detail. In this vision: The 2-horned Ram symbolises the kingdom of Persia (Medes and Persians were the 2 horns or powers) – see verse 20. As prophesied this kingdom fell in 331B.C. 16
The Goat with a prominent horn represents the King of Greece, Alexander the Great – see verse 21. When he died, aged 33, his four generals divided the kingdom amongst themselves – see verse 22. Q. Who helped Daniel understand this vision? Chapter 8v9 shows how that one of these smaller horns wold grow big and powerful. This was the beginning of the Roman Empire. Read verses 10-12. How does this horn (power) attempt to exalt himself? Daniel asks how long these things would be. Both the question and the answer are cryptic. I believe the reason for this is that some prophecy in Scripture can be two-fold or even 3-fold. It can refer to the (relatively) near future; the same prophecy might refer to the Coming of the Jesus to bring salvation; and/or it might refer to The End Times. This prophecy refers to the early days of the Roman Empire, but it can also refer to the End Times. The period of time – 2,300 evenings and mornings – is written in Hebrew as: evening morning
two thousand three hundred Is it 2,300 days? Or, if the evenings and mornings add up to 2,500, is it 1,150 mornings and 1,150 evenings which is only 1,150 days? Does each day represent one year (as in Daniel 7) or are they literal? In Genesis the evening and the morning literally made one day. These possibilities mean that the period of time could be anything between 1,150 days right up to 2,300 years. It is generally accepted that the period first of all refers to the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes who became a great conqueror, but who hated the Jews and desecrated the Temple. The following passage is taken from www.gotquestions.org
Question: "Who was Antiochus Epiphanes?" Answer: Antiochus Epiphanes was a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire who reigned over Syria from 175 BC until 164 BC. He is famous for almost conquering Egypt and for his brutal persecution of the Jews, which precipitated the Maccabean revolt. Antiochus Epiphanes was a ruthless and often capricious ruler. He is properly Antiochus IV, but he took upon himself the title “Epiphanes,” which means “illustrious one” or “god manifest.” However, his bizarre and blasphemous behaviour earned him another nickname among the Jews: “Epimanes,” which means “mad one.” See picture of Bust on next page
Following this period of time (400 years of spiritual darkness between the Old and New Testament) King Herod the Great rebuilt the Temple and greatly added to it. This was the Temple that Jesus was familiar with. But Daniels prophecy was to come true again when the Temple was completely razed to the ground by the Romans in AD70 . And it will also apply to the desecration of the sanctuary, talked about in Revelation chapter 11, and the Antichrist – hence the ambiguity in the text which makes it difficult for us to understand fully. (Read verse 26) Q. How did Daniel feel after this experience? (v27)
Daniel chapter 9 Read verses 1-19 The first 3 verses explained why Daniel prayed. He had been reading the Scriptures – probably the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah – and he recalled that God had promised that their exile would only last for 70 years, after which Jerusalem would be reinstated and the Temple rebuilt. From this we see how Daniel believed in God’s prophetic word and relied on the prophecies himself. Q. How did Daniel prepare for his prayer time? (v3)
Daniel was evidently going to plead with God to fulfil his promise and make it possible for the Jews to be forgiven and be allowed to return to their homeland. By fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes he was signifying repentance and humility. Q. Why is humility and repentance important when we pray? Daniel’s pattern of prayer in these verses is as follows: • Worship – calls God awesome, righteous, merciful, forgiving • Confession – we have sinned, rebelled, not obeyed, turned away • •
Trust in God’s promises – God is merciful, forgiving, merciful v18 Hope in Covenant – God keeps his Covenant, faithful, true
Trust in God’s character – God is love, God is merciful, God is forever faithful to those who put their trust in him Think about the Lord’s Prayer – is it a similar pattern? •
In verses 5-11 Daniel included himself when he confessed the sins of the people. As Christians we must take responsibility for ourselves and for each other because we are called to live in community as a family. Q. How does this work out in practice? THE SEVENTY SEVENS Read verses 20-27 There are many different interpretations of this passage, and some of them are very complicated! I choose to look at it in the context of the prophecies given so far in chapters 2,7 & 8. The 70th week is a Messianic prophecy relating either to Jesus first coming, or to his second coming. As verse 26b&27 appear to refer to the End Times I have taken the latter view (although with prophecy it is possible for both to be right!) The seventy years of exile was coming to an end (see Daniel’s prayer). Do not get this confused with the 70 weeks prophecy. The first part of Daniel’s prophecy had come true. The Babylonian empire, represented in his visions by the Head (ch2) and the Lion (ch7) had fallen to the Medes and Persians. This vision now gives further explanation of the future, especially regarding the timing. This vision is about 70 weeks. 70 weeks = 70x7 days = 490 days = 490 prophetic years So, the 70 weeks prophecy is referring to 490 years of prophecy. These 70 weeks were to be divided into 7weeks, 62 weeks & 1 week So that meant, in prophetic years: They were to be divided into 49 years, 434 years and 7 years 19
Read Daniel 9v25 When the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland they were also told they could rebuild their Temple. This was at the beginning of the reign of the Persians. This was the first 7 weeks, that is 7x7 days which equals 49 days which equates to 49 prophetic years. During this time God used the Persian Empire to bless the Jews. They gave the edict for the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple. They also returned to them all of the Temple furniture, all the gold and silver, and everything of value. Ultimately, according to Daniel’s prophecy of the statue’s chest (ch2), The Bear (ch7) and the Ram (ch8) Persia was to fall to Greece. We now move on to the 62 weeks, that is 62x7 days which equals 434 prophetic years. This period covers the rule of both Greece and then Rome and is the period between the Old Testament and the New Testament – a time when prophecy had ceased and there was little spiritual enlightenment – culminating in the first coming of Jesus and his sacrificial death on the Cross. (As we have seen, and know from historical records, Daniel’s prophecies about Greece and Rome came true.) The Gap It would appear that Daniel’s prophecy is specifically for the Jews and no mention is made of the Christian church, the followers of the Messiah (as for example, in Isaiah). The timeline does not include the Age of Grace when gentiles are “grafted in” to also become God’s people. Daniel’s prophecy includes a final week with a significant occurrance in the middle. The Seventieth Year Read verses 26&27 1 week = 1x7 days or 7 prophetic years These are believed to be the 7 years of the End Time culminating in the Second Coming of Jesus. I choose to believe in the futuristic view of Daniel’s vision (there are others) because it shows that God’s grace and mercy will still extend to the Jews at the End Times. They rejected Christ, but it’s not the end of the story. Also, these 2 verses appear to refer to the Antichrist (the ruler who will come) and they are referred to be Jesus. Matthew 24v15-31 In this chapter about the End Times Jesus says, “When you see standing in the Holy Place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then …..” - and there follows a description of the Tribulation. And after these things happen, says Jesus, he will come again for his people. 20
Taken from www.walvoord.com:
The answer to our leading question—Is the seventieth week of Daniel future?—can only be given in the affirmative. The Scriptures bear a full testimony that God has a purpose yet unfulfilled for His people, Israel. If the events of Daniel’s seventieth week are future, it is clear that the person who makes the covenant must be the wicked character who is the persecutor of all who will not worship him. The “many” with whom the covenant is made can be, on the basis of the context, only Israel, still in unbelief. The “end” of which Daniel 9:27 speaks can be only the return of Christ to bring righteousness, peace, prosperity, and universal knowledge of the Lord to this evil world. Before the world will witness these stirring events, we who are His look for that blessed moment when, caught up from this world at the return of the Lord for His own, we shall see His face and forever thereafter know one passion and one love—to worship and serve our blessed Lord.
Daniel – Chapter 10
So far, Daniel’s prophecies about war and dominion have referred to historical events, some which had happened and some still to come after his death. But in this chapter Daniel speaks of a different kind of war – war that happens every day – war that has a major impact on world events. He reveals the war that goes on in the heavenlies, in the angelic realm. It is a reminder to us that this spiritual war is going on around us, and it gives us a glimpse of what is happening ‘behind the scenes’. Read verses 1-9 Daniel had been in mourning for three weeks (we’re not told why) and had been doing a partial fast. This has helped him to become more spiritually alert and receptive. He was standing by the great River Tigris when he saw (had a vision of – v7) a man, a human, and yet unlike any human he had seen before. We take this to be a vision of Jesus, mainly because of the similarities with John’s vision of Jesus in Revelation 1v12-16. The presence of God caused his companions to flee in terror, while Daniel himself fell to the ground and (through exhaustion) fell asleep! Read verses 10-19 Then, a hand touched Daniel and woke him. This appears to have been a messenger angel who woke Daniel and proceeded to tell him what God was saying. Notice in verses 12 that when Daniel started to humble himself and pray his words were heard and the angel had come in response to them. 21
“Why fast?”, that seems to give a good answer! Notice – Daniel was fasting for three weeks (verse 3) The angel took three weeks to arrive (see verse 13) What an amazing insight into the angelic realm this is. Whilst Daniel was fasting and praying, the angel was battling with the Prince of Persia – and even had help from Michael the Archangel. What was going on? The ‘Prince of Persia’ was a demonic power influencing the earthly King of Persia. The angel Michael was heaven’s Prince doing battle against him. Whilst Daniel was praying for the affairs of the nation and battles were happening on earth, the real battle was being fought out in the spiritual realm. And these same spiritual battles are going on right now in the events of our world concerning, Syria and Russia and America etc. It is imperative that we pray about them, and against them so that heaven’s army engages on the behalf of God’s people. Once again, after this encounter, Daniel was left exhausted. And once again – in verse 18 – Jesus comes to him, touched him, infused him with strength and said, “Peace, be strong”. When we are weak, Jesus can speak strength into our lives. Read verses 20,21 and 11v1 So, it appears that not only Persia had a demonic angel, but Greece also – and there’s no reason to disagree with the likelihood that many other powers do as well. This chapter reminds us all that we are in a spiritual battle, but we should not fear because we have the weapon of prayer and spiritual armour. And we also have assisting angels! As Paul says, “Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6)
Daniel chapter 11 Broadly speaking, chapter 11 is a very difficult chapter! The first half would appear to fit into the prophecies already given to Daniel, whilst the second half can find fulfilment throughout history up to the present day and at the End Times. Although the language is precise, the meaning is ambiguous. However, we do not have to understand everything for the overall message to be profitable to us. 22
Remember, in chapter 10v14 the Angel told Daniel he was sent to explain the future, but that the vision concerns ‘a time yet to come’. The names of countries are not revealed, merely that they are north and south of Israel. Commentators differ on their identification of these countries, so it is probably safest to think of them in general terms. We won’t always know to what prophecy refers until it has come about – which hasn’t happened yet! Chapters 11&12 explain the vision. Read verses 2-20 Verses 1-4: Three more Persian kings were to arise immediately after Daniel’s vision, and then a fourth – who was Xerxes. But one greater was to come (as seen in previous prophecies) – Alexander the Great who established the Greek empire, which was divided (after his death) into 4 parts. Verses 5-13: These verses appear to describe things happening with the fourth part of the Greek Empire. As we have seen before, the fourth region became the Seleucids (in Syria) and ultimately the Roman Empire. They represented the King of the North. Whilst the Kings of the South were the Ptolemies (the ruling line) of Egypt. Verses 14-20: Finally, no-one will be able to stand against the King of the North – and the ever-growing Roman Army – epitomised by Antiochus Epiphanes who, you will remember from our study of chapter 8, as being ruthless, blasphemous and brutal. Incidentally, verses 17 appears to relate to his marriage of convenience to a ‘princess of the south’, Bernice. SUMMARY: World Empire One. Babylonian (606-536 BC). World Empire Two. Medo-Persia (536-332 BC). World Empire Three. Grecian, with its four clear divisions (331-146 BC). The text then considers the wars of the Syrian and Egyptian kings (323-146 BC), the evil Antiochus Epiphanes and his desecration of Jerusalem (175-164 BC), and the rise of the next empire. World Empire Four. The Roman Empire (146 BC- circa 400 AD).
Read verses 21-35: These verses can be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes (giving us detailed description of how bad he was) but also, to many types of the antichrist ever since then; people like: Nero, Charlemagne, Mussolini, and Hitler; and powers such as Communism, Islam and Catholicism. These are all people or powers that have a huge following despite their evil intent (v27). Like Satan, they deceive and lie (v21,23,27), flatter (v32) and accuse; they desire absolute power and they show favour to non-believers (v30), hating the Jews and Christians (v28) and God’s Temple (v31). So far, their time has been limited (v24,27).
We are in the Age of Grace – the period between Daniel’s 69th and 70th ‘week’. But this is also the last of the dispensations or ages and it will culminate in the Second Coming of Christ. But, before that, many things will happen building up to the 70th ‘week’. These things will accelerate as the end appears and will result in the appearance of The Antichrist who will make one final stand to take up his rule and dominion over all things (well, that’s his plan, anyway!) A Word to the Wise We are told we will be able to resist the antichrist (v32) We should tell others about the signs of the times (v33) Some will stumble, but can be refined (v35) The end will surely come in accordance with God’s appointed time (v35) Verses 36-45 Whilst the previous verses seem to be non-specific, these verses do give us details about the final Antichrist – opposite to Jesus in every respect. Jesus’ one will is to serve the Father and to show sacrifice, humility, love and mercy; and to bring peace. Antichrist’s one will is to serve Satan, to be above all powers, to deceive and accuse, to bring hatred, discord and war. Verse 36: Antichrist is described as a fearful, blaspheming king Verse 37: Antichrist will see himself above all powers. (The desire of women – the worship of Mary?) Verse 38: Antichrist will see his worth and power and glory in fortresses. i.e. military missiles, bombs etc (remind you of Russia, China, North Korea?) Verse 39: Antichrist will reward those who support him and get help from a foreign god. (Isalm, Eastern Catholicism?) Verse 40: Antichrist will face attack from the powers in the South and North (USA, Britain, Australia – all non-Muslim, non- Catholic countries perhaps) Verse 41: Antichrist will invade Israel, ‘The Beautiful Land’. The Biblical historical enemies of Israel, Edom, Moab and Ammon will escape his wrath (Now, Jordan). Verse 42: Antichrist will not spare Egypt (because in Bible history, Egypt had helped Israel. And today, although Egypt is an Islamic country, the current Prime Minister is helping the Christians.) Verse 43: Antichrist will rule in North Africa (currently Islamic). Verse 44: Antichrist will face resistance from the East and the North (Russia, China, Japan, India? … the beginning of the world war to end all wars?) Verse 45: Antichrist will rule from somewhere between the Mediterranean Sea and Jerusalem (Zion – the glorious mountain). YET HE WILL COME TO HIS END! 24
It may look like the Antichrist is unstoppable and unbeatable – but it is not so. Jesus Christ will take the victory. With world events again focussing on the Middle-East, with the rise of Islam, politics in the European Union, Russia and China exerting their power, and a general apathy about Christian things – the scene is set. The events predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24 are all coming true. The end time is coming, “for it will come at the appointed time” (v35).
Daniel chapter 12 Read verse 1 This verse is talking about the Tribulation. There will be an unprecedented time of distress (Matt 24v21,22) – but all whose names are written in the Book of Life will be delivered. We need to be aware, but we need not fear. Michael is called the Archangel by Jude (v9), and here is described as the ‘great Prince of Heaven’ – he was and is obviously an angel with authority. Rev 12v7 tells us that he will defeat the Dragon in a mighty battle in Heaven one day. Michael is the chief ‘good’ angel, whilst Satan is the chief ‘evil’ angel. And here, Daniel tells us that Michael will stand and watch over God’s people in the End Times – a spiritual guardian and protector. Read verse 2 This verse refers to the resurrection of bodies; some to everlasting life with the Lord, but others who will suffer shame and contempt. See also John 5 v28,29 and 1 Thess. 4 v 16,17 Some people believe that Christ will redeem the living and the dead (who, by faith trust in Him – Messianic Jews and believing gentiles) before the worse part of the Tribulation. Daniel says, ‘At that time’ – not before or after. Read verse 3 Here is a promise for the righteous – we will shine like stars, reflecting the glory of the Lord’s presence, and it will be forever! See also Matt 13v43 Read verse 4 Daniel is instructed to seal the scroll containing these things. It was to be sealed (authenticated), not hidden, but kept safe for a future date. A time will come when they are to be revealed (Rev 22v10) and all will be restored, but it will be too late for anyone to change their mind about God. Notice two of the characteristics of The End: People will be on the move Knowledge will increase (people will search for knowledge) 25
Read verse 5-7 Here we see a slight change of focus. Daniel – at the riverbank, also mentioned in 10v4 sees the Man clothed in linen (Jesus) and two others (angels). One of the angels asks Jesus (not for their benefit, but for ours) how long it would be before all these things would be fulfilled. The Man – a vision of Jesus standing on/above the water – lifted his hands and replied: A time, times and half a time i.e. a year, two years and half a year This three and a half years has been a pattern in Daniels prophecies. Referring to this see Daniel 7v25, Daniel 9v27 These verses can be taken to mean that Christians are delivered from the Tribulation half way through the 7 year period. Read verse 8 Don’t worry! Daniel didn’t understand either! So he prayed about it – he asked the ‘man in linen’ how it would all turn out and what he should do. It is natural we should have an interest in these things and desire understanding, but we won’t understand until we see them happening. The Lord graciously gives Daniel a reply. Read verse 9 Firstly Daniel is reminded that these things are sealed until the end of time. The bones are available for all to see in God’s Word, but the meaning has not fully been revealed. Read verse 10 How is it possible for many to be purified, made spotless and refined? Only through Jesus Christ, He who was explaining the vision to Daniel! The wicked would never understand these things – only those who have come to Jesus, only those who are wise and heed what God is saying. Read verse 11 “The abomination that causes desolation” is mentioned by Daniel, and by Jesus in Matthew 24v15 as being the sign that all these events will have begun. What is the ‘abomination that causes desolation’? This is a question that has kept theologians debating for hundreds of years! Generally speaking, “abomination” refers to major covenant violations, especially idolatry. Note: ‘Abomination’, the word used in KJV, is often changed to the word ‘detestable’ in the NIV. The Hebrew root for abomination is shaqats, which means ‘to be filthy,’ ‘to loath,’ ‘to abhor’ Daniel says the Abomination will be made by a Prince who will destroy sacrifices in the City of Jerusalem. This happened under the Romans and the abomination was that they set up 26
their gods and the Roman Standard. A similar thing will happen when the End Times come. We don’t know how and we don’t know exactly where – but it will happen. From the time that the sacrifice is abolished to the time of the Abomination there will be a period of 1,290 days – or 3 and a half years (sound familiar from v7?) We cannot say definitively when this period is – it may be the first three and a half years of the Tribulation, but it is written in a different way. Read verse 12 1,335 days is three and a half years + 45 days. It seems to suggest that the seven years Tribulation period (separated into two halves as prophesied in chapter 9v27) will have this extra 45 day period of time in the middle or at the end. WHY? The theories are many, but Daniel says that those who wait for, and reach the end will be blessed. If we believe that Christians have been raptured half way through the Tribulation, could this be the time of grace when the Jews recognise and find their true identity in Christ? I have to admit, that theory doesn’t have any backing, although I believe the Jews will have an opportunity of redemption at the End. See Zechariah 12v9,10 and 13v1 Read verse 13 As for Daniel, probably by now in his late eighties, he is told to carry on till the end of his days. After that he will ‘rest’ in the grave. But he is promised resurrection and reward! This is such an unusual and significant thing for the Old Testament. Through all these harrowing prophecies, it is clear that a prefiguration of Jesus was with Daniel and that resurrection was going to be, at the Last Day, Daniel’s inheritance along with those of faith and righteousness.
The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit www.estuaryelim.church Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to email or talk to one of the team email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549)