Question: God states in Ezekiel 22:30 that “he sought for a man to stand in the gap bwfore me on behalf of the land” so that he would not destroy it and he found no one. Was Daniel already in Babylon? Or was Daniel not yet of age to stand, but he was able while in Babylon. Was Daniel’s faith given to him after captivity?
The book of Daniel begins in 605 BC. This was during the time when Babylon conquered Jerusalem. The nation of Israel had been repeatedly warned by God’s spokespersons – the prophets – about impending judgment for their spiritual adultery and disobedience to God’s Word. Jeremiah, Habakkuk and Zephaniah had faithfully admonished God’s people to repent and follow the Lord’s Word. Even earlier, the prophet Isaiah had sounded the alarm about God’s righteous judgment falling if they continued in their rebellion (Isa 13-23).
In 605 BC, the judgment started! Daniel was taken to Babylon in this first “deportation.” This is known as the times of the “exile.” Israel’s Babylonian captors conquered Jerusalem in two further stages – 597BC and 586BC. Most biblical historians date the events in the book of Ezekiel from 593-570 BC.
The passage you cite – Ezekiel 22:30 – probably reflects the time right before the final, horrific siege of Jerusalem in 586 BC. So Ezekiel is not referring to Daniel in Eze.33:20, for Daniel was already in Babylon.
Most biblical scholars actually argue that Ezek 33:20 can only be fulfilled by the Messiah. History has proven that no mortal man will ever have the character and power to accomplish this request on behalf of Israel. Only God Himself could do this! Past history demonstrates that the nation of Israel rejected their Messiah – Jesus Christ. Yet God promised that, in the future, they will receive Him by faith (Rom 9-11).
1. Daniel was already in Babylon when Ezekiel asked the question in Ezk 22:30. He is not the one referred to here.
2. Ezk 22:30 will be fulfilled by Jesus Christ as described in Romans 9-11.
With respect to your final question: Was Daniel’s faith given given to him after captivity? I believe the answer is clearly no. Here’s why… In chapter 1, we see Daniel “practicing “ true faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This passage implicitly affirms the following:
- He had obviously been taught the sacred Scriptures. He knew the commandments of Jehovah regarding meat sacrificed to idols. Unlike most of his countrymen, he was obedient to God’s Word, even in the face of severe personal consequences!
- He was not swayed by the massive temptation to “comprise.” He was solely relying on God’s Word, which dwelt in Him, to deal with this enticement to sin. True dependence on God is a supernatural enablement to follow His Word alone… not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord (Zec 4:6).
- From a “big picture” perspective, the events in Daniel are given to us to demonstrate the fact the he already “possessed” genuine saving faith. Nowhere does it state that he received faith by what he did. Rather it shows God honoring the “faith” that Daniel manifested. As James later said…”faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26).
- It shows us the faithfulness, power and glory of God as we rely and act upon on the faith He’s given us. God honored Daniels “true faith” (Dan 1:9).