Book of Daniel
- Daniel was a statesman Prophet as the others were.
- His name means, “God is my Judge.”
- He mainly wrote to “The Gentile Rulers in Babylon” – which included the Chaldean, Mede, and Persian.
- He was a “kingdom” man, because he seemed to always have knowledge of the political realm, but also was given visions of the future coming of the Kingdom of God!
- He seemed to be the only Prophet who didn’t just picture Christ as just a shepherd, but he pictured Christ as a coming ruler of the world! The other Prophets seemed to picture Christ as being around for a temporary era or some other kind of symbolic form.
Historical background of Daniel
Daniel was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the first invasion, which was in the third year of Jehoiakim. Ezekiel was then taken to Babylon in the second invasion, to which, was eight years later than Daniel and eleven years before the complete destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel and Daniel had ministered entirely outside of Palestine, however, Daniel’s Ministry was to powerful Gentile rulers, whereas Ezekiel’s Ministry was to poor Jewish exiles. It was established that Ezekiel and Daniel were Prophets at the same time. Though they did not work hand-in-hand, they still carried out God’s Will.
In Jerusalem overall, the people are in constant turmoil. Jehoiakim is succeed by his son, who reigned only three months before going to captivity in Babylon along with many others in Judah. Daniel was taken in a group along with other captives to Babylon. Zedekiah was left on the throne in Jerusalem as the agent of the Babylonian government, and Jeremiah was the preacher still in the Holy City of Jerusalem to carry God’s message to the people.
Around 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar returned to put down the rebellion of Zedekiah and take the rest of the people to join the exiles by the river Chebar. Many things were destroyed in Jerusalem, and others were taken away to captivity, to which, Jeremiah’s prophecy had happened. In Babylon, conditions were just as horrible. We see Daniel and a few other Jewish boys come in 605 BC, and Ezekiel and the upper class brought in 598 BC.
It is believed that he belonged to a family of high ranking and possibly of the royal house. He was taken, then, in the first group when the aristocracy was deported. He was taken into captivity in Babylon at age 16, and the remainder of his life (which was 69 years) was spent in Babylon, where he lived a saintly life in a sinful court. Ezekiel referred to Daniel as a pattern of piety, a ruler of righteousness. Daniel was of a despised servile people, and yet, he never deviated in his devotion to Jehovah.
Daniel rose to positions of highest power under four absolute monarchs of three different nations – Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar of Chaldea; Darius of Media; and Cyrus of Persia.
He compares with Revelation and Ezekiel as an Apocalyptic Prophet – which would be a writer concerning the end times. It says in Daniel 7:15, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.” He had many visions, especially of the end times, and it took a toll on his mindset (good and bad). He was faithful to God, even in a foreign land to the point of disobeying the King. He was pious, and wanted to keep his piety and was willing to risk his life for it. He also refused to sinfully bow down to the idols they had offered. He ministered to the Gentile rulers by interpreting dreams and visions, to which, he was a true prophet and discerner of things. His warning to those in the future was about the Second Coming of Christ, which involved end-time events people needed to be aware.
The Monarchs ruling in Daniel's day
- Nebuchadnezzar of Chaldea – He was the second king of Babylon; succeeding his father on the throne in 604 BC and reigned until 561 BC. Daniel 1:1 says this, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” Appears Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem, and he seemed to be a power hungry leader – who cared very little for the captives.
- Belshazzar of Chaldea – A free drinker (he seemed to like the bottle very much as we see in the fifth chapter of Daniel); he was the Chaldean king under whom Babylon was taken by Darius of Median.
- Darius of Mede/Median – The son of Xerxes (9:1) was reigning now over the Chaldeans. In 6:1, we see that he was placed over the kingdom of a hundred and twenty princes. Daniel was the first (an important figure).
- Cyrus of Persia – He led Persia in its conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, and was important for bringing God’s purposes in Israel to fulfillment, as we see in Isaiah 45:1. He gave the Jews that were held captive the permission to return to their homeland and rebuild their life and religion (as we see in Ezra 1:1-4).
Jesus sealed this book
Jesus set His seal upon this book as “inspired of God” in Matthew 24:15 – to which, was quoted previously, and His own title, “Son of Man,” was based on Daniel 7:13. Both the Lord Jesus and Daniel prophesy the “coming in the clouds with power and glory” – as we see in Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 24:30.
Three major divisions of his writings
- The Prologue of Daniel (1-2:45) – Daniel as he grew up, and the hard times that he faced were explained, especially under Nebuchadnezzar. Also, we see Nebuchadnezzar’s dream unfold, and Daniel wanted to help interpret it.
- The Promotion of Daniel (2:46-6:28) – Because of Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he was promoted to Chief Administrator of the Kingdom and Head over his Council of Advisers. Daniel revealed another dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s and urged him to repent, to which, he finally submitted humbly to God. Later, new leaders over his region not knowing his record with Nebuchadnezzar, he was accused of different things. He also rejected bowing down or attending to the new religious law they made, so he was punished into the lion’s den – to which, God miraculously saved him and it was a sign unto the people that God was great.
- The Previews of Daniel (7-12:13) – Daniel has several different apocalyptic visions of Jesus and the end times, to which, he describes in incredible detail.
Dream of the "image" interpreted
What Nebuchadnezzar saw was a huge statue made of a variety of substances, from head to toe, decreased in value but increased in strength. The fee, however, which supported the statue were brittle. A huge stone, which was supernaturally formed, struck the statue at its feet so that the whole thing would crumble to dust and be blown away. The stone, however, grew into a mountain, which covered the whole earth.
The dream concerned the future of the King’s Kingdom, to which, the climax of the coming events would lead. Its main purpose was to show Nebuchadnezzar that God is the sovereign ruler of the world – and that He sets up kingdoms and destroys the same with His Own Will.
Therefore, the Medo-Persian Empire (which was the chest and arms of silver) would soon replace the mighty Babylonian Empire headed by Nebuchadnezzar (the head of gold) as the ruling power. The Medo-Persian Empire would be replced by the Greek Empire (which is typified by the belly and thighs of bronze).
Finally, the Roman Empire will take it last (legs of iron) and also take in more scattered states. However, it wouldn’t be able to holds its empire together in a stable union (symbolized by the feet that were part iron, part clay and brittle).
During such time in the Roman Empire then, God would intervene and the might empires would crumble before the coming of the supernatural king, Jesus Christ. How incredible! The supernatural stone coming to smash the feet typified this. The Kingdom of God introduced by Jesus Christ would overspread the world and last eternally (to which, is finally symbolized by the great mountain that filled the earth).
The values Daniel taught all people
- The Lord should be glorified, because He is our deliverer. · We should encourage each other and build each other up as well.
- We should resist the forces and enemies of our faith.
- We should learn and attend to the vision and Prophecies of the end times, so we can get a more glorious picture of Christ.
- We are to be a witness of the end time revelation, based on how God leads us to acknowledge His glory!
- Though we face hard times and trial, we must always stand up for what we believe in – because in the end: God works everything out for the good.
- We don’t have to worry, because God is our provider.
- He is excellent in every way and will give us opportunities to minister unto people – where He will reveal His glory to that person being ministered to.
The value of chapter 6
Chapter 6 is a favorite chapter, because it shows the most intense fear anyone can face is when they fear for their life – but, ultimately, it shows that Daniel’s uncompromising belief in God, especially His Salvation, would free Him from it and He would be glorified in the end. Even through potentially intense fear, Daniel instead chose to believe in God’s Salvation and knew He would be there in the end!
- When Daniel returned to his high office, he had troubles because Babylon has just fallen the night he was reinstated to office. The new rulers were aware of his record under Nebuchadnezzar, so they made him one of the three presidents that would help administrate.
- He had great abilities, and the other two presidents became jealous of him, so they wanted him out. However, they didn’t find any kind of mismanagement or offense to bring against him, so they crafted a strategy to cause him to stumble.
- The object of their plunder was to bring in a new religious law that Daniel would not obey, because of “religious” or “pious” beliefs.
- They weaseled their way right into the king’s hand by making him believe that the three presidents came up with the idea together, and therefore, King Darius agreed to the order. o When Daniel heard of the new law, it was already approved and sealed from the King, to which, he could do nothing. He made no effort to obey it, because of his piety.
- The other two presidents worked out a way to catch him in the act so they could accuse him to the King. They had him condemned finally and then thrown into the den of lions – even if the King didn’t want it to happen like that.
- God, however, had a different plan, and decided to deliver Daniel – which showed that God was glad that Daniel did not sin. This also showed that Daniel did not do anything against the King, and that God would be made known to them as merciful and good – therefore, they had believed that the God of David was good and that they approve!
- Daniel continued to prosper in the administration!