Timothy Greenidge moderated the Q&A at Cannon Beach.
Last week I spoke at Cannon Beach Conference Center in Cannon Beach, Oregon. On Friday morning we had a question and answer session based on questions we had received from the audience. During the Q&A time Timothy Greenidge served as moderator. This turned out to be one of the best sessions of the week.
Over the next several days I will post some of the key questions along with my answers. Since I taught on Daniel, many of the questions relate to that book.
Was Daniel made a eunuch by the Babylonians?
Some people think the answer is yes, based on the way some versions translate Daniel 1:3, but the Bible does not explicitly state that he was made a eunuch by the Babylonians. But if true, it makes both his service in the Babylonian court and his faithfulness to God even more remarkable.
How old was Daniel when he died?
We know that Daniel was a young man (perhaps in his late teens) when he was taken into captivity in 605 BC. We know that he lived until the early years of the Medo-Persian Empire. If he was born in 625 BC and died in 530 BC, he would have lived to be 95 years old. We can’t be certain of the precise dates, but it’s clear that he went to Babylon as a young man and lived to be a very old man.
If God is sovereign, why do we need to pray?
We do not pray to inform God of anything because he knows what we need before we ask him (Matthew 6:8). We pray because God has commanded us to pray and invites us to pray. Our prayers are part of his plan to advance his work in the world. See If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?
Why did God allow Satan into the Garden of Eden?
He did it to put Adam and Eve to the test to see if they would obey him freely even when they were tempted. Their disobedience brought sin and death into the world. Satan was allowed to test Adam and Eve because God wants spontaneous obedience out of love, not creatures who obey him because they have no other choice. See Paradise Lost.
What is a satrap?
A satrap was a provincial governor in the Medo-Persian Empire. King Darius appointed 120 satraps and then named Daniel one of three administrators over the satraps. The jealousy of the other administrators and the satraps against Daniel led to him being cast into the den of lions. See How to Tame Lions.
If we believe that the end of the world may be coming soon (such as the Mayan Apocalypse that will supposedly occur on December 21, 2012), how should we prepare ourselves?
On one hand, the Bible makes it clear that no one will know the day or the hour of the Lord’s return. From a biblical point of view there is no reason to give any special emphasis to December 21, 2012. That said, Christians believe that Jesus will one day return to the earth. We are commanded to look forward to that day and to prepare ourselves for it spiritually. Any other suggestions regarding doomsday preparation are more in the category of prudential advice. As the fires this week in Colorado Springs have demonstrated, disaster may strike at any moment. So we are wise to be prepared for hard times that may come upon us. Some people buy gold and stockpile food. Let each person do as they feel is right for them. But above all else, take the words of Jesus to heart: “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12:40). See Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?
What does it mean to wake up as a nation? As a Christian community? As an individual?
This question comes from my message on Daniel 5 about the handwriting on the wall. For a nation to “wake up” means that the people as a whole come to see that God alone is the true source of all their blessings. For a church it means to be awakened from spiritual sleep and made alive to the presence of Christ in their midst. For an individual it means honest repentance and a wholehearted embracing of Christ as Lord. And these things must happen in reverse order. First the individual, then the church, then the nation. See God’s Graffiti.
Why isn’t Daniel mentioned in Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace?
I believe Daniel 2:48-49 answers that when it says that Daniel was assigned to the king’s court while Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were assigned to help govern the province of Babylon. Verse 49 specifically says that Daniel remained at the king’s court. I think that he means he wasn’t at the big gathering in front of the gold statue where the showdown took place between Nebuchadnezzar and the three young men. See A Time to Disobey.
Did Jonah literally die inside the big fish and then was raised from the dead or did he stay alive during the three days he was inside the fish?
The Bible nowhere says that Jonah literally died inside the great fish. Matthew 12:40 says that Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights, but it does not say that he literally died. The comparison is between Jonah inside the fish and Jesus buried in the ground. Whereas Jesus actually died and came back to life, Jonah evidently was alive the entire time he was inside the big fish. See A Desperate Man’s Desperate Prayer.