Lesson 5 For
August 1st 2015.
EXILES AS MISSIONERIES.
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Third Quatter 2015
Exiles as Missionaries
Read for This Week’s
Study: Daniel 1-12; Isa. 39:5-7; Dan. 2:44;
Matt. 24:14,15; Genesis 41.
He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and
peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting
dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never
be destroyed (Daniel 7:14, NIV).
As a people of prophecy, Seventh-day Adventists
believe in the soon coming of Jesus Christ. His coming will end this
world as we know it and ultimately will usher in God’s everlasting
kingdom, depicted in the book of Daniel this way:
The kingdom and
dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,
shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom
is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him
(Dan. 7:27, NKJV). This kingdom is the
culmination of our faith; it is what the book of Hebrews
(Heb. 11:16) called the
the one that all God’s people through the ages have trusted will come,
the one whose
builder and maker is God (Heb.
But the book of Daniel is also a kind of handbook for missionary
activity. From it we can draw lessons on how the Lord was able to use
some of His people to witness to those who were steeped in spiritual and
theological ignorance. Through their faithfulness and diligence and
unwavering faith, these believers revealed the reality of the living God
to those who knew only false ones and gave these pagans a chance at a
place in this everlasting kingdom, as well.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August
Read Isaiah 39:5-7 and
Daniel 1:1,2. How are these verses related?
Daniel, whose name means
God is my judge, was force-marched
from a defeated Jerusalem into the Babylonian capital. The book of
Daniel gives glimpses of his life in the courts of Babylon and Persia.
After three years of
education in Babylon, Daniel was employed as
a civil servant and royal advisor. Through the power of God, he rose
above normal captive status to become a highly placed missionary to two
The book of Daniel is more than a treasure of prophetic literature.
The reader encounters some of the challenges facing Hebrews living in an
alien culture that provided no apparent support for their loyalty to the
God of Israel and, at times, was openly hostile. It also paints a
beautiful picture of men who learned to live out their commitment to
truth in the absence of the temple, the priesthood, and sacrifices.
Read Daniel 1:8-13;
5:12; 6:4; 9:3-19. What do these texts tell us about Daniel’s character
that made him the great missionary he was?
Every institution that bears the name of Seventh-day Adventist is
to be to the world as was Joseph in Egypt, and as were Daniel and his
fellows in Babylon. In the providence of God these men were taken
captive, that they might carry to heathen nations the knowledge of the
true God. They were to be representatives of God in our world. They were
to make no compromise with the idolatrous nations with which they were
brought in contact, but were to stand loyal to their faith, bearing as a
special honor the name of worshipers of the God who created the heavens
and the earth.—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for
the Church, vol. 8, p. 153.
Think how easy it would have been for Daniel to
have compromised, especially given his circumstances. What does his
example teach us about how lame our excuses for compromise often really
Witnesses (Daniel 2-5)
In Daniel 2, Daniel had an opportunity, born out of necessity, to
witness to the power of the true God, as opposed to the false ones of
Babylon. After singing a hymn of praise with his Jewish compatriots and
thanking God for answering their prayers (Dan.
2:20-23), he interpreted the king’s dream and testified to God’s
greatness and dominion over all earthly kingdoms.
What does the king say
that shows he learned something about the true God? See Dan. 2:47.
In Daniel 2, Daniel didn’t have a choice: either give the king what
he wanted or face death. In contrast, in chapter 3 his three friends
could have spared themselves the fiery furnace if they simply had obeyed
the king’s command. Instead, by their faithful witness, they were able
to testify to the power of the true God.
How did Nebuchadnezzar know that the form of the fourth was like
the Son of God? He had heard of the Son of God from the Hebrew captives
that were in his kingdom. They had brought the knowledge of the living
God who ruleth all things.—Ellen G. White, The
Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 3, 1892.
In Daniel4, what
confession did King Nebuchadnezzar again make regarding the true God,
all thanks to the witness of Daniel? See Dan. 4:37.
In Daniel 5, we have Daniel’s last appearance at the Babylonian
court, where he is called upon to explain the extraordinary writing upon
the wall of Belshazzar’s palace, foretelling the overthrow of the
Babylonian Empire at the hands of the Medes and Persians. Though no
doubt Belshazzar had been impressed by what Daniel did, it was too late:
the king’s fate was all but sealed. The sad thing is that according to
the Bible (see Dan. 5:17-23), Belshazzar had had opportunity to learn
truth and to be humbled by it. As we know, he didn’t take advantage of
How important that we look at our own lives and
ask ourselves: What kind of witness does my life represent to the world?
What does your answer tell you?
Daniel in Persia
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?
(Dan. 6:20). The king called Daniel the
servant of the living God. What is implied in those words?
In Daniel 6, with the change of empire and king, Daniel still kept
his position and was even promoted, becoming one of three presidents to
whom 120 satraps were to report. King Darius even considered appointing
him vizier over his whole kingdom, arousing the antipathy of the other
presidents and satraps. They induced the king to make an empire-wide
decree that really was aimed at Daniel alone. He was thrown into a den
of lions, but God dramatically intervened in a situation that even the
sympathetic king could not reverse. Daniel’s deliverance so pleased the
king that he issued an empire-wide royal decree exalting the God of
Then King Darius wrote to all nations and peoples of every
language in all the earth: May you prosper greatly! I issue a decree
that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God
of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom
will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he
saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He
has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions
(Dan. 6:25-27, NIV).
Read Daniel 6. What in
the chapter indicates that Daniel had already been a great witness to
the king? Also, what in the king’s decree indicates that he knew more
about Daniel’s God than he could have learned merely from the dramatic
rescue? What does this tell us about Daniel’s witness to him?
Wednesday July 29
Daniel and God’s Eternal Kingdom
Daniel was not merely an interpreter of other men’s dreams,
significant as that was in this context. In Daniel 7-12, he had his own
visions, which revealed the future of great world superpowers. Daniel’s
visions especially emphasized that, despite earthly rulers and their
plans and machinations, God retains final control of nations. In the
end, He and His final kingdom will triumph, and that triumph will be
complete (see Dan. 2:44).
Read Daniel 7:13,14.
What is being described in these texts, and how does it relate to the
idea of Christians taking the gospel to the world?
Whatever else those verses are talking about, the central issue is
the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom, which doesn’t come until
after the return of Jesus. And what factor did Jesus Himself say was
important in regard to His return?
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world
as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. So when you
see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation,
spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let
those who are in Judea flee to the mountains
(Matt. 24:14-16, NIV).
Jesus’ prophecies of the end of the world in Matthew 24 are linked to
Daniel’s prophecies. The
abomination of desolation predicted by
Daniel (Dan. 11:31; Dan. 12:11) was further
explained and applied by Jesus to His own day and beyond. The point is
that Jesus closely linked the book of Daniel to the end times, which, of
course, isn’t surprising, because Daniel in many places does indeed
point to the end times (Dan. 8:17,19; Dan 11:35; Dan.
12:4,13). And, according to Jesus, the end doesn’t come until
this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world
The gospel is to be preached unto
world, and only then will Jesus return. And we are the ones called
to preach it. Some then argue that Jesus can’t return until we do our
work. How are we to understand our role in the timing of Jesus’ return?
Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.
More Exiles as Missionaries
Daniel was an Israelite in involuntary banishment from Israel, as
were Joseph and Moses in Egypt, Nehemiah in Babylon, and Esther in
Persia. Their lives reveal that it is possible to live faithfully to God
in spiritually and culturally unsupportive environments. With God’s
direction it was even possible to attain prominent administrative
positions in these alien settings. Each lived a creative and rich life,
skillfully negotiating complex religious, social, political, and
economic dynamics far different from those of their home culture. They
not only were loyal members of exiled Hebrew communities—they were also
in their own ways effective missionaries for the God of Israel.
Witness while in exile included both passive presence and active
|1. Did not identify as a Hebrew until called to reveal it
||1. Identified as a Hebrew
|2. Kept her religion to herself until called to reveal it
||2. Made known his religious convictions
|3. God protected her and her family
||3. God protected him and his friends
|4. Witnessed in high places to save her life along with her
||4. Witnessed in high places to save his life along with
|5. Helped establish religious freedom and the right to
self-defense of a religious minority
||5. Indirectly influenced King Cyrus to allow exiled Hebrews
to rebuild the Jerusalem temple
Read through Genesis
41. In what ways was Joseph able to witness to the Egyptians? How does
his story parallel that of Daniel and his companions in Babylon?
In what situations in which you find yourself
can you witness for your faith? Are you giving a passive or active
witness, or both? What are things you can either say or do that would
make a more powerful impression on others about the goodness and love of
Multitudes will be called
to a wider ministry. The whole world is opening to the gospel. . . .
From every quarter of this world of ours comes the cry of sin-stricken
hearts for a knowledge of the God of love. . . . It rests with us who
have received the knowledge, with our children to whom we may impart it,
to answer their cry. To every household and every school, to every
parent, teacher, and child upon whom has shone the light of the gospel,
comes at this crisis the question put to Esther the queen at that
momentous crisis in Israel’s history, Who knoweth whether thou art come
to the kingdom for such a time as this?—Ellen G. White,
The Adventist Home, pp. 484, 485.
- Discuss the prophecies in the book of Daniel, especially
Daniel 2,7, and 8. In what ways are these such a powerful
testimony, not only to the prophetic reliability of the Bible
but to God’s foreknowledge of the future? For instance, notice
how, between Daniel 2,7, and 8, three of the four main kingdoms
are named for us. How should this help us learn to trust in the
Word of God and His promises to us?
- In these accounts in the book of Daniel and some of the
other stories (such as Joseph), there were some miracles that,
of course, greatly added to the credibility of their witness to
the pagans around them. At the same time, too, what aspects of
their character lend even more credibility to their witness?
That is, in what way can character and faithfulness, even more
than signs and wonders, be a more powerful witness to others
about the reality of God and what He can do in our lives?
- As we saw in Wednesday’s study, Matthew 24:14 says that the
gospel needs to go to the ends of the earth, and then the end
will come. Does this mean that Jesus will not come back until we
do the work that He has called us to do? Discuss.
Inside Story ~
Bangladesh ~ By Doneshor Tripura
A Gift from the River—Part 1
Doneshor was glad to be home, watching his father’s water
buffalo. He had been away at school and had just completed his high
school graduation exams. The day grew hotter, and Doneshor decided
to go for a swim in the nearby river while the buffalo grazed
nearby. He waded into the cool water, looking for a place that was
deep enough to swim. It was the dry season, and the river was much
shallower than usual.
Doneshor stood in the waist-deep water and looked upstream. He
saw something floating in the water. It wasn’t unusual to find
debris in the river, so he wasn’t sure why this object caught his
eye. He waited as it bobbed closer to him, then he reached down and
picked it out of the water. It was a Bible. He had never seen a
Bible before, but instinctively he knew that this was a holy book.
He waded ashore and carefully laid the wet book in the sun to dry.
As a few pages dried, he turned to a wet page and allowed the sun’s
hot rays to dry them.
Doneshor came from a religious family. Every day they worshiped
their gods, laying gifts of rice and incense on the altar in their
home. Doneshor’s parents had taught him to respect all things holy,
and that included the book he had found in the river.
The book wasn’t yet dry when evening came, so Doneshor took it
home. The next morning he carried it back to the field and laid it
open in the sun. After three days the Bible was dry enough for him
to read it. Curious, he turned to the first pages and began reading,
In the beginning God created. . . .
Doneshor was fascinated by the account of Creation and the first
man and woman. He remembered reading about the first humans in the
Gita, the Hindu holy book. An idea struck him, and he began
comparing the Gita with the Bible.
One day he read the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, and
contrasted that to his own prayers. I have done nothing but ask
and ask, wanting something for myself or my family. Now I understand
that Christians pray for others.
As Doneshor continued reading, he discovered a God who searches
out and invites people to accept his gift of salvation. This God is
patient, and He loves to forgive. Doneshor thought how his entire
lifetime had been an effort to earn the favor of the gods by giving
them expensive gifts and by making long and tiring pilgrimages to
To be continued