Peace & Blessings Beloved,
TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.
Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Daniel. But before we get to Daniel 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Daniel. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.
And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Daniel, as we prepare to behold and discern Daniel, beginning with Daniel 1 in our next installment of this series.
Book Type: The fifth book of the Major Prophets; the twenty-seventh book of the Old Testament
Date of Writing: ~536 BC., during the years of the Babylonian Captivity
Audience: The Jewish exiles in Babylonia.
Theme: Our God is sovereign over all (kingdoms) (4:17)
Original Language: Hebrew; Aramaic
Genre: Allegory; Autobiography; Narrative; Prophecy
Purpose of Writing: In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon had conquered Judah and deported many of its inhabitants to Babylon – Daniel included. Daniel served in the royal court of Nebuchadnezzar and several rulers who followed Nebuchadnezzar. The Book of Daniel records the actions, prophecies, and visions of the Prophet Daniel.
Daniel consists of 12 chapters, including a mixture of historical events and future prophecies.
Chapter 1 focuses on Daniel's background. He was a young man when Jerusalem was destroyed, taken captive to Babylon, and educated with three friends to serve in the king's court. These four men sought to not defile themselves with the king's unclean foods and were blessed as a result, being selected for high positions in the kingdom.
Chapters 2-4 record Nebuchadnezzar having a dream that only Daniel could correctly interpret. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great statue represented the kingdoms that would arise in the future. Nebuchadnezzar made a great statue of himself and forced everyone to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused and were miraculously spared by God despite being thrown into a fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar is judged by God for his pride, but later restored once he recognized and admitted God’s sovereignty.
Daniel chapter 5 records Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar misusing the items taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and receiving a message from God, written into the wall, in response. Only Daniel could interpret the writing, a message of coming judgment from God. Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to the emperor, but was miraculously spared. In chapter 7, God gave Daniel a vision of four beasts. The four beasts represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
Chapters 8—12 shift to additional future prophecies regarding Israel and the nations. Chapter 8 includes the prophecy of the ram and male goat. Chapter 9 discusses the important prophecy of the seventy weeks, describing both Israel's return to the land and her distant future. Chapters 10—12 speak of a future restoration involving the Messiah, various kingdoms, and God's ultimate plan for His people.
Foreshadowing: We see in the stories of the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lions’ den a foreshadowing of the salvation provided by Christ. The three men declare that God is a saving God who can provide a way of escape from the fire (Daniel 3:17). In the same way, by sending Jesus to die for our sins, God has provided an escape from the fires of hell (1 Peter 3:18). In Daniel’s case, God provided an angel to shut the lions’ mouths and saved Daniel from death. Jesus Christ is our provision from the dangers of the sins that threaten to consume us.
Daniel’s vision of the end times depicts Israel’s Messiah by whom many will be made pure and holy (Daniel 12:10). He is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30) by whom our sins, though blood-red, will be washed away and we will be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
Application: God is greater than any punishment that could come upon us. Whether God chooses to deliver us or not, He is always worthy of our trust. God knows what is best, and He honors those who trust and obey Him.
Key Verses (ESV):
Daniel 1:19–20: "And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom." Daniel 2:31:"You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening." Daniel 3:17–18: "If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Daniel 4:34–35: "At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, \ for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, \ and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; \ all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, \ and he does according to his will among the host of heaven \ and among the inhabitants of the earth; \ and none can stay his hand \ or say to him, 'What have you done?'" Daniel 9:25–27: "Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."
*Note: The book of Daniel stands as a unique mix in the Old Testament, for while it begins with history, it makes a strong transition at chapter 7, where it contains visions of future events significant to the Jews. In particular, Daniel 9:24–27 gives a meticulous timeline of when Israel’s Messiah would appear and the events that would follow.
In both the historical and the prophetic sections, Daniel presents a strong case for the absolute sovereignty of God, even over a multiplicity of self-absorbed foreign powers. This theme of sovereignty occurs on numerous occasions, including Daniel’s deliverance from the lions’ den, his friends’ rescue from the fiery furnace, and the future arrival of the Ancient of Days to save His people from the forces of evil (Daniel 3:23–30; 6:19–23; 7:9–22).
I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.
May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.
Love you much.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!
P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.