“If I Perish, I Perish”
Daniel and his friends refuse to eat King Nebuchadnezzar's food; they are
blessed with good health and wisdom.
The Lord saves Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from death in the fiery
Daniel prays in spite of the king's decree and is thrown into a den of
lions. The Lord sent an angel to protect Daniel.
Esther risks her life to save her people.
A study of this lesson will help us have the courage to live according to
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 45 Handout (PDF)
Who Was Daniel?
Apparently of the royal lineage of Judah.
He was taken captive to Babylonia in about 606 B.C.
This was a minor deportation of chosen Jewish children who were selected
to serve in the Babylonian court.
Nebuchadnezzar made him a ruler over the whole province of Babylon and
chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
He continued to be prominent in the Babylonian court throughout the period
of the captivity, until the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia.
Date of his mission: 606-536 B.C.
Prophesied to the kings of Babylonia and Persia.
Contemporary prophets: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Lehi.
Nebuchadnezzar, Babylonian prince, was in command of his father's troops
in 605 B.C. when they soundly defeated the Egyptian forces at Carchemish. This marked the beginning of the end of the Egyptian empire as a world
power. They were defeated further thus securing Syria and Palestine
for the Babylonian empire.
It was at this time that Daniel was taken captive to Babylon and shortly
thereafter Nebuchadnezzar rose to the kingship.
Background information on Daniel primarily from Prophets & Prophecies of the
Old Testament, pp496-498.
Brother Duane Crowther wrote: "Daniel came
to Babylon eight years earlier than Ezekiel and was a younger man. He rose
to prestige and power in the Babylonian court and lived in comfort there.
Much of Daniel's ministry involved the receiving and interpreting of difficult
dreams and visions. His ministry was primarily concerned with the affairs
of state and the rise and fall of empires." (Prophets &
Prophecies of the Old Testament, pp496-497)
Daniel & His Friends Refuse To Eat King Nebuchadnezzar's
DANIEL 1:1-4. Historical background.
DANIEL 1:5, 8. Daniel objects to the royal
WHAT OBJECTIONS MIGHT DANIEL HAVE HAD TO EATING THE KINGS FOOD?
Some of the foods used by the Babylonians were likely among items forbidden
for consumption in the Mosaic law.
The Babylonians, like other heathens, ate beasts that had not been properly
drained of blood and thereby violated the Mosaic law.
The heathens consecrated the food of their feasts by offering up part of
the food and drink as sacrifices to their gods. This would be participation
in the worship of false Gods.
Jewish law also considered food unclean when it was prepared by anyone
"And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel,
I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for
why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of
your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
"Then said Daniel
to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah,
"Prove thy servants,
I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water
to drink." (Daniel 1:10-12)
Pulse: Seeds and grains such as peas, wheat, barley, and rye.
DANIEL 1:15, 17, 19. Daniel
and his associates blessed.
WHAT BLESSINGS DID DANIEL AND HIS ASSOCIATES RECEIVE FOR OBEYING THE LORD'S
They looked better than those who had been eating the king's meat (v15).
God gave them knowledge, skill in learning, and wisdom (v17).
Daniel gained an understanding of visions and dreams (v17).
Likening The Scriptures Unto Us
WHAT CAN DANIEL'S DECISION TO NOT EAT THE KINGS FOOD TEACH US ABOUT HOW
TO REACT WHEN WE FEEL PRESSURE TO DO SOMETHING WE SHOULDN'T DO?
There is no need to compromise. The Lord will bless us as we valiantly
obey the commandments.
WHAT ISSUES AND SITUATIONS IN TODAY'S WORLD TEST OUR FAITH IN LIVING GOSPEL
Integrity: an honest day's work, keeping commitments, copyright laws.
Morality: do we allow evil influences to enter our homes through the media.
Word of Wisdom.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR RESPONSE TO THESE PRESSURES?
Consider these sobering words of President Spencer W. Kimball: "When
we see the depravity of numerous people of our own society in their determination
to force upon people vulgar presentations, filthy communications, unnatural
practices, we wonder, has Satan reached forth with his wicked, evil hand
to pull into his forces the people of this earth? Do we not have enough
good people left to stamp out the evil which threatens our world? Why do
we continue to compromise with evil and why do we continue to tolerate
sin?" (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p267)
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP THE COURAGE NECESSARY TO BE OBEDIENT IN SUCH SITUATIONS?
I think it comes from having the courage to be obedient in the small situations
we face almost every day. As we exercise integrity in our daily choices,
we build the strength to withstand Satan's full assault.
President McKay quoted these words by E.D. Boardman:
Sow a thought, reap an act,
Sow an act, reap a habit,
Sow a habit, reap a character,
Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny.
(CR, Apr 1962)
Courage really begins with our thoughts. We are assaulted each day with
evil influences dressed up to look attractive. How we deal
with these influences in our thoughts does determine our destiny. If we
choose to dwell on them, we will reap accordingly. If we choose to
expel them from our minds, we have exercised integrity and strength. As we do so, we build spiritual muscles that enable us to have courage
when we face our most difficult challenges in life.
I like these words by Harriet Beecher Stowe: "When
you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems
as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for
that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." Was
not this the case when Joseph first went into that sacred grove?
In our own day the Lord has given the Word of Wisdom to help govern how
we care for our bodies.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD IS CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WE TAKE INTO OUR BODIES
AND HOW WE CARE FOR THEM?
Elder Boyd K. Packer: "I have come to know...that
a fundamental purpose of the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation.
From the time you are very little we teach you to avoid tea, coffee, liquor,
tobacco, narcotics, and anything else that disturbs your health.... If
someone 'under the influence' can hardly listen to plain talk, how can
they respond to spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings?
As valuable as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much
more valuable to you spiritually than it is physically." (Ensign,
Nov. 1979, p20)
WHY WOULD SATAN WANT TO INFLUENCE HOW WE TREAT OUR BODIES?
Daniel and his associates were blessed for being obedient to the Lord's
WHAT DOES THE LORD PROMISE US IF WE OBEY THE WORD OF WISDOM?
D&C 89:18-21: "And all saints who remember
to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments,
shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom
and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and
not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord,
give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them,
as the children of Israel, and not slay them."
Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
DANIEL 3:1-7. Nebuchadnezzar creates an
image and commands all to worship.
DANIEL 3:13-18. Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship.
HOW DID SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO REACT TO GREAT PRESSURE?
They were absolutely unyielding to the king's pressure.
CAN YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF BEING IN SUCH A SITUATION?
Each summer, during my teen years, my friends and I participated in the
annual climb up Mount Timpanogos, in Utah County. As part of the
festivities, on the night before the climb, a camp program culminated
in the lighting of a huge bonfire. I would guess that the timber
was stacked to a height of ten to twelve feet. Once the fire reached
its full fury, it was as if there was an invisible wall of heat beyond
which one could not endure for even a moment. The heat literally
pushed the crowd back. It is hard to imagine being pushed into that
heat and retaining one's resolve.
HOW DOES LEARNING ABOUT THIS KIND OF COURAGE MAKE YOU FEEL? DOES
IT STRENGTHEN YOUR RESOLVE TO BE UNYIELDING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS?
Elder Neal A. Maxwell related this story to our own trials, "Sometimes
we must 'take the heat,' even if we are not certain the thermostat of trial
will soon be turned down." (All These Things Shall Give Thee
DANIEL 3:20-25. Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego cast into the fire.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "When we have that
kind of courage, neither will we walk alone in our own 'fiery furnace,'
for, as is recorded in Daniel, there was a fourth Form in that fiery furnace
with the valiant threesome, and the Form was 'like the Son of God'!"
(All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, pp48-49)
Prior to performing the first baptisms of the Church in England, Heber
C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and Orson Hyde had a horrible encounter with
the legions of Satan. Orson F. Whitney wrote: "Years
later, narrating the experience of that awful morning to the Prophet Joseph,
Heber asked him what it all meant, and whether there was anything wrong
with him that he should have such a manifestation. 'No, Brother Heber,'
he replied, 'at that time you were nigh unto the Lord; there was only a
veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard of it,
it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root
in that land. It was this that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill
you'." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp131-132)
DANIEL 3:28-30. Results of courage and faith.
WHAT RESULTS MIGHT WE ENJOY FROM UNYIELDING FAITH?
HOW HAVE YOUR ACTIONS AFFECTED THE WORK OF GOD AMONG YOUR NEIGHBORS?
- When the Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi preached to wicked King Noah, he
was burned to death.
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD ALLOWED ABINADI TO DIE, BUT PRESERVED SHADRACH,
MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO?
WHY DOESN'T OUR OBEDIENCE ALWAYS GUARANTEE EASE AND WELL-BEING IN THIS
LIFE? WHAT DOES OUR OBEDIENCE GUARANTEE?
Daniel & The Lion's Den
King Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son Belshazzar. When Belshazzar
was slain, Darius, the Median, received the kingdom of Babylon as viceroy
from Cyrus of Persia. This is not the same Darius that ruled after
Cyrus in Persia.
Darius set Daniel as one of the three presidents who ruled over 120 princes
of the kingdom. He was chosen because of his faithfulness and spiritual
DANIEL 6:4-9. A plot against Daniel because
of his favored status.
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,
he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward
Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and
gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." (Daniel 6:10)
As we all know, Daniel was placed into a den of lions as required by the
DANIEL 6:18-24. Daniel removed and the
Darius makes a decree that all in the kingdom should fear and tremble before
the God of Israel (v26).
"So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius,
and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian" (v28).
HOW DO YOU SUPPOSE DANIEL ACQUIRED THE FAITH TO SURVIVE IN THE LIONS' DEN? HOW CAN WE ACQUIRE THAT
KIND OF FAITH?
WHAT MIGHT THE SIXTH CHAPTER OF DANIEL SUGGEST ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD RESPOND
TO THE ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH?
Daniel did not start a counter plot against his enemies. He did not
argue against their decree. He simply stayed on the sure path of
doing what he knew was right.
Joseph Smith: "No unhallowed hand can stop
the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies
may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly,
nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited
every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes
of god shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work
is done." (History of the Church, 4:535-541)
Elder L. Tom Perry: "Not only did Daniel's
service benefit the king, but because of the faith that Daniel had in the
Lord, it affected an entire land. The king sent forth a proclamation that
all the people of the kingdom should worship the true and living God, the
God that Daniel worshiped. How mighty was the power of the service of one
righteous man, affecting so many, as he served 'in the world' in which
he lived! How effective will be the results of our service if we continue
to serve in our own personal way 'in the world' in which we live!"
(Ensign, May 1988, p15)
Esther Risks Her Life To Save Her People
Esther was a Jewish woman that lived shortly after the time of Daniel. After her parents died, she was raised by her cousin Mordecai. Esther
was beautiful and Ahasuerus, the king of Persia and Media, was so pleased
with her beauty that he made her his queen.
A man by the name of Haman was promoted by King Ahasuerus to be the chief
ESTHER 3:2-5. Mordecai refuses to bow to Haman.
Mordecai was another man of courage.
Haman's anger persuaded the king to order the destruction of all the Jews
in the kingdom. "... letters were sent by posts
into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish,
all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day"
When the Jews learned of the king's decree, "there
was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing;
and many lay in sackcloth and ashes" (Esther 4:3).
Esther learned of this mourning and sent a messenger to Mordecai to ask
what was wrong (Esther 4:4-6).
Mordecai gave the messenger a "copy of the writing
of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto
Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go
in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before
him for her people" (Esther 4:8).
ESTHER 4:10-11. Consequences of approaching
the king uninvited.
WHY WAS IT DANGEROUS FOR ESTHER TO GO IN AND SPEAK WITH THE KING?
The law allowed the king to execute anyone who approached him uninvited.
ESTHER 4:13-14. Mordecai's return message to
WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT MORDECAI'S MESSAGE?
"...who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom
for such a time as this" (v14).
He suggests to Esther that this might be her calling, to help the Jews
in this time of great need.
Esther tells Mordecai, "Go, gather together all
the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat
nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise;
and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and
if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all
that Esther had commanded him" (Esther 4:16-17).
HOW CAN THE UNITED FASTING AND PRAYERS OF MANY PEOPLE HELP US?
HOW DID ESTHER'S DECLARATION OF, "IF I PERISH, I PERISH" SHOW HER DEVOTION
TO HER PEOPLE AND TO GOD?
ESTHER 5:1-3. Esther approaches the king.
Esther requested that the king and Haman come to a banquet that she had
prepared (Esther 5:4-8).
On the second day of the banquet, the king said to Esther, "What
is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is
thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom"
Esther's request: "If I have found favour in thy
sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my
petition, and my people at my request" (Esther 7:3).
When the king asked who had made the request, Esther informed him that
it was Haman (Esther 7:5-6).
The king had Haman hanged on the gallows that Haman had prepared for Mordecai
Esther requested the king to reverse the decree to destroy the Jews (Esther
8:5-6). Not only did the king reverse the order to destroy the Jews,
he "granted the Jews which were in every city
to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy,
to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province
that would assault them" (Esther 8:11).
Because of Esther's courage and faith, the Jews of her time were blessed.
"The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and
honour. And in every province,
and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree
came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of
the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon
them." (Esther 8:17-18)
WHAT BLESSINGS HAVE YOU RECEIVED BECAUSE OF THE COURAGE AND FAITH OF OTHERS?
We have received the blessings of the gospel because Joseph Smith was willing
to stand against great opposition to serve as a tool of the Lord in restoring
his Church to the earth.
This great gospel blessing continues because of those who had the courage
to carry the torch after Joseph died and stand in the face of opposition. Consider this incident
which occurred after Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and others had
been arrested at Far West. Heber C. Kimball wrote in his journal:
"William E. McLellin wanted to know where Heber C.
Kimball was. Someone pointed me out to him as I was sitting on the ground. He
came up to me and said: 'Brother Heber, what do you think of the fallen prophet
now? Has he not led you blindfolded long enough? Look and see yourself, poor,
your family stripped and robbed, and your brethren in the same fix; are you
satisfied with Joseph?' I replied, 'Yes, I am more satisfied with him a
hundred-fold than ever I was before, for I see you in the very position that he
foretold you would be in; a Judas to betray your brethren, if you did not
forsake your adultery, fornication, lying and abominations. Where are you? What
are you about? You, and Hinkle, and scores of others; have you not betrayed
Joseph and his brethren into the hands of the mob, as Judas did Jesus? Yes,
verily, you have; I tell you Mormonism is true, and Joseph is a true prophet of
the living God'." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, p218)
It was this kind of courage among so many of the
early Saints that preserved the Restoration and made it possible for us
to receive the great blessings of the gospel.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO WE FACE TODAY THAT REQUIRE COURAGE LIKE THAT OF ESTHER?
WHAT BLESSINGS WILL WE RECEIVE AS WE STRIVE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT EVEN WHEN
WE ARE FACED WITH DIFFICULT CONSEQUENCES?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The stories in the books of Daniel and Esther provide
wonderful examples of those who have had the courage to stand for the right in
the face of opposition. These stories remind us that we will be blessed for
striving to do what is right. Like the angel that appeared in the furnace with
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we will be watched over as we have the courage
to live gospel standards.
Record your thoughts on the faith of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and
Esther. How can you strengthen your faith to live gospel standards?
Resources Used In This Lesson
All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A. Maxwell.
Conference Reports (CR).
History of the Church by Joseph Smith.
Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney.
Prophets & Prophecies of the Old Testament by Duane S. Crowther.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
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