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                         "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"


One of the more fascinating books of the Bible is the book of Daniel...

   *  The first six chapters contain accounts of faith that inspire both
      young and old

   *  The last six chapters are filled with apocalyptic visions that
      challenge even the most advanced Bible students and scholars

It is a book that has often been attacked and abused...

   *  Attacked by liberals and skeptics who deny its inspiration

   *  Abused by many who have taken its visions out of context to support
      all kinds of wild theories concerning the second coming of Christ

But when properly read and understood, the book of Daniel can...

   *  Inspire us to greater faithfulness in our service to God

   *  Strengthen our faith in the inspiration of the Bible


The name "Daniel" means "God is my judge" which provides a hint of one of
the key themes in this book:  God will judge the nations of men.  Daniel
was a person of deep and abiding faith...

   *  As a youth, he purposed not to defile himself - Dan 1:8

   *  When old, he persisted in serving God despite threats against his
      life - Dan 6:10

God blessed Daniel because of his faith...

   *  He rose to great heights in the kingdoms of Babylon and Persia 
      - Dan 2:48; 6:1-3

   *  He served as a statesman, a counselor to kings, and a prophet of 

Daniel was contemporary with two other great prophets:  Jeremiah and 

   *  Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem before and during the Babylonian
      exile (626-528 B.C.)

   *  Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon among the exiles (592-570 B.C.)

   *  Daniel prophesied in the capital of Babylon (605-586 B.C.)

Nothing is known of his personal life outside of the book.  He descended
from one of Judah's prominent families, if not from royal blood (Dan
1:3).  At an early age (likely in his teens) Daniel along with others was
taken from his family to be trained in the courts of Babylon (Dan 1:3-4).
Whether he ever married is uncertain.

Some key dates and events will help appreciate the times in which Daniel

*  612 B.C. - Fall of Nineveh, capital of Assyria  Assyria had ruled the
world since the days of Tiglath-Pileser (845 B.C.).  Nabopolassar came to
the throne in Babylon and rebelled against the Assyrians in 625 B.C. 
Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, was the general who led the
Babylonian army against Nineveh, defeating it in 612 B.C.

*  605 B.C. - Battle of Carchemish, establishing Babylonian domination 
Pharaoh-Necho of Egypt came to fight the Babylonians at Carchemish. 
Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians, chasing them south through Judah. 
At Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar heard of his father's death; he returned to
assume the throne in Babylon.  The first group of Jewish captives were
taken, along with Daniel and his friends (Dan 1:1-4).

*  597 B.C. - A second remnant taken to Babylon  Jehoiachin (Jeconiah,
Coniah) followed the reign of his father, Jehoiakim.  He lasted just
three months, when Nebuchadnezzar took him and 10,000 Jews to Babylon
(2Ki 24:8-16).  This second group of captives included Ezekiel (Eze

*  586 B.C. - Fall of Jerusalem and the temple destroyed  Zedekiah was
installed as king in Jerusalem, but was weak and vacillating.  Eleven
years later, Jerusalem was totally devastated by Babylonian forces (2Ki
25:1-10).  A third group was taken into Babylonian captivity, but
Jeremiah was among those who stayed behind (2Ki 25:11-12,22; Jer
39:11-14; 40:1-6).

*  536 B.C. - Babylon falls, and the first remnant returns to Jerusalem 
Cyrus, king of Persia, sends the first remnant back under the leadership
of Zerubbabel (Ezr 1:1-5; 2:1-2).  The foundation of the temple was soon
started, but the temple was not completed until 516 B.C. (Ezr 3:8-13;

*  457 B.C. - A second remnant returns to Jerusalem  Ezra the priest
returns with this group (Ezr 7:1-8:36).  He leads a much-needed revival
(Ezr 9:1-10:44).

*  444 B.C. - A third remnant returns to Jerusalem  This group is led by
Nehemiah (Neh 1:1-2:20).  Under his leadership, the walls of Jerusalem
are rebuilt (Neh 3:1-7:73).  Together with Ezra, they restore much of the
religion (Neh 8:1-13:31).

Daniel lived through much of these times (605-534 B.C.).  He was among
the first group of captives taken to Babylon (Dan 1:1-4).  He continued
there over the entire 70 years of captivity (Dan 1:21; 10:1; cf. Dan
9:1-2; Jer 25:11; 29:10).  Daniel was certainly a remarkable man.  His
greatness was recognized by his contemporary, Ezekiel (Eze 14:14,20;


From a number of passages (Dan 2:21; 4:17,25,32,34-35; 5:21) we can
deduce the main theme of the book of Daniel:

                   God Rules In The Kingdoms Of Men

In this book, we see the rule of God is...

   *  Manifested in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and
      Cyrus, kings of the Babylonians, Medes, and Persians

   *  Foretold to occur in the days of the Persians, Greeks, and Romans

In this book, we learn that the rule of God would be especially

   *  With the establishment of God's kingdom - Dan 2:44

   *  With the vindication of the cause of His saints - Dan 7:27


Here is a brief outline of the book of Daniel...

1. God's Providence In History - Dan 1:1-6:28
   a. Daniel and his determination to be pure - 1:1-21
   b. Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's promotion - 2:1-49
   c. Faith in the face of fire by Daniel's friends - 3:1-30
   d. Nebuchadnezzar's second dream and temporary insanity - 4:1-37
   e. The writing on the wall and fall of Belshazzar - 5:1-31
   f. Darius and his den of lions - 6:1-28

2. God's Purpose In History - Dan 7:1-12:13
   a. Daniel's dream of the four beasts - 7:1-28
   b. Daniel's dream of the ram and the goat - 8:1-27
   c. Daniel's prayer, and the vision of the seventy weeks - 9:1-27
   d. Daniel's vision of the time of the end - 10:1-12:13


As with all Scripture, the book of Daniel is profitable for our study
(2Ti 3:16-17).  From Daniel and his friends, we will learn the power of
faith and commitment.  By studying this book, we can better understand
our Lord's references to it (cf. Mk 1:14-15; Mt 24:15-16).

Despite some of its more difficult and challenging passages, we can
benefit from them as well, as long as we interpret them...

   *  In the context of the book itself

   *  Consistent with all else the Bible may say on the subject

   *  With the humility and openness that is incumbent upon all who would
      study and teach God's word (cf. 2Ti 2:24-25)


1) During what periods of Israel's history did Daniel live and
   - The Babylonian captivity, and at the beginning of its restoration
     (605-534 B.C.)

2) What two prophets were contemporary with Daniel?
   - Jeremiah and Ezekiel

3) What is suggested as the theme of Daniel? (Dan 2:21; 4:17,25,32,
   34-35; 5:21)
   - God rules in the kingdoms of men

4) What are the two main sections of the book?
   - God's providence in history (Dan 1:1-6:28)
   - God's purpose in history (Dan 7:1-12:13)
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