Daniel, like Ezekiel, is divided into two parts. The first six chapters tell of Daniel’s faith and the greatness of his God over the idols of Babylon. The last six chapters contain the four visions of Daniel and their interpretations.
Two key passages to look at:
Daniel 2:20-23 – “Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings and raises up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.
Daniel 2:44 – “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
Daniel 9 is a key chapter because it contains Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks (9:24-27). Many applications have been suggested by the seventy weeks.
Observations about Daniel:
– Daniel’s life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity.
– Daniel deported to Babylon (900 miles away) at the age of sixteen. He was handpicked for government service in Babylon and became God’s mouthpiece to the Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present and eternal purpose.
– Nine of the twelve chapters in his book revolve around dreams that included trees, animals, beasts, and images.
– Daniel and his three friends were evidently born into noble Judean families and were “(1) young men in whom there was no blemish, (2) but good-looking, (3) gifted in all wisdom, (4) possessing knowledge and (5) quick to understand.” ( 1:4)
– Daniel was given three years of training in the best of Babylon’s schools. (1:5)
– As part of his re-identification process, he was given a new name that honored one of the Babylonian deities, “Belteshazzar,” which meant “Bel Protect His Life.” Daniel did not need Bel or any other false god — He had the true God.
– Daniel’s wisdom and divinely given interpretive abilities brought him into a position of prominence, especially in the courts of Nebucadnezzar and Darius.
– Of the 2,930 Bible characters, he is one of the few well-known characters about whom nothing negative is ever written.
– Daniel’s life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency, and lack of compromise.
– Three times Daniel is mentioned by his sixth century contemporary, Ezekiel, as an example of righteousness: Ezekiel 9:23, Ezekiel 10:11. and Ezekiel 10:19.
– Daniel 11 alone contains over one hundred specific prophecies of historical events that literally came true.
– The Book of Daniel was written to encourage the exiled Jews by revealing God’s sovereign program for Israel during and after the period of Gentile domination.
— The “Times of the Gentiles” began with the Babylonian captivity and Israel would
suffer under Gentile powers for many years.
— The God who directs the forces of history has not deserted His people. They must continue to trust in Him.
– Daniel repeatedly emphasizes the sovereignty and power of God over human affairs. Daniel 4:25 – “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”
The Book of Daniel has been called the “Apocalypse of the Old Testament.” Daniel presents a detailed and comprehensive sweep of prophetic history. After an introductory chapter in Hebrew, Daniel switches to Aramaic in chapters 2-7 to describe the future course of the Gentile world powers. While the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, the permanent kingdom (the Church) will be established and will never end.
There are three divisions in the book:
Chapter one introduces the book by giving the background and preparation of the prophet. Daniel is deported along with other promising youths. They are placed in an intensive training program in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. In order to enable them to lose their Jewish identities, their names and diets are changed. Daniel’s resolve to remain faithful to the Lord is rewarded. He and his friends are granted wisdom and knowledge.
In chapter 1, only Daniel can relate and interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s disturbing dream of the great image or statue. In chapter 2, God empowers Daniel to foretell the way in which He will sovereignly raise and depose four Gentile empires. Daniel is promoted to be the third ruler in the kingdom. Chapter 3 shows Nebuchadnezzar erecting a golden image and demands that all bow to it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to do so and the persecution and preservation of Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace again illustrate the power of God.
After Nebuchadnezzar refuses to respond to the warning of his vision of the tree, he is humbled until he acknowledges the supremacy of God and the foolishness of
his pride. The feast of Belshazzar marks the end of the Babylonian kingdom. Belshazzar is judged because of his arrogant defiance of God. In the reign of Darius, a plot against Daniel backfires when he is divinely delivered in the den of lions. Daniel’s courageous faith is rewarded, and Darius learns a lesson about the might of the God of Israel. Daniel’s vision of the four beasts occur in the seventh chapter.
– Chapter 8: Daniel’s vision of the ram and male goat.
– Chapter 9: Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks.
– Chapters 10-12: Daniel’s vision of Israel’s future