The study of the book of daniel is the study of prophecy, and as such, deals with the future. In studying these, we, as christians, can gain a better understanding of the bible and of god. Through this study an understanding is obtained of the battle between the forces of good and evil, and the ultimate triumph of jesus.
The prophetic symbols of daniel must be interpreted by the bible itself. Man-made interpretations have no validity at all. The comprehension of the prophecies of daniel give us a clearer understanding of jesus.
Daniel, although writing in the third person, gave a personal history, as he lived it, in the book of daniel. Jesus attested to daniel’s responsibility for the words found in the book of daniel, as his third point, when he told his followers to understand the prophecies of daniel, the first two being: to study the prophecies, and they could be understood.
Daniel is set during the reign of king nebuchdrezzar of babylon, which began in 605 b.
c., and extends into the medo-persian reign, which began in 538 b.c. we can determine, then, that the book was written sometime during those years.
Because of their disobedience to god, the nations of israel and judah found themselves conquered by nebuchadrezzar and their people taken captive to a heathen country. Although, the book of daniel was written while god’s people were captive in babylon because of their sins, the focus of the book is not about the captivity, but about the end time. This discovery about the book, gives daniel relevance for us today.
There are two distinct perspectives found in the book of daniel: the historical, where we see stories about daniel’s time; and the prophetic, where we see prophecies pointing to the end time. The stories of daniel are not just given as simple stories, they are given to illustrate what the prophecies predict. Remember, the point of the book of daniel is the end time…the era of the ending of the conflict between good and evil. We study the historical passages to discover the message there for the end time, and then we discover how the prophetic sections have predicted those very conditions in the last days. The bible says that prophecy is certain, and that real answers can be found only in prophecy. Our path is lit by the light of prophecy, and through it’s study we find jesus placed in our hearts.
Much of the book of daniel is written in symbolic language. The form that daniel uses is called ‘outline prophecy’, in which history is outlined from daniel’s day to the end time. We can see that we are living in the stream of history because daniel begins his prophecies in his own day, continues through history as they unfold, and then focuses on the end time. We see the prophecies of daniel are consistent with biblical evidence, they span the ages, rooted in history but focused on the future.
The book of daniel opens with the apparent defeat for god’s people when they are delivered into the hands of the king of babylon and taken into captivity. These events are symbolic of the final conflict that will take place in the end time, when, in the last days, satan’s forces are at work trying to destroy those who are faithful to jesus.
The struggle between good and evil is evidenced when nebuchadrezzar had daniel’s three friends thrown into the fiery furnace. He clearly saw a fourth person in the fire, to protect and deliver the hebrew children, and he knew something supernatural had occurred. Nebuchadrezzar is shown over and over that god is in control of human events no matter what.
This same deliverer is with us today. When christians go through tribulations, their own ‘fiery furnace’, the son of god is right there to go through the fire with them.
There are two issues that are at the fore of the book of daniel…worship and obedience. Throughout the book of daniel we see how his obedience to god and worship of god are threatened and tested. His prophecies point to the last days when these issues will arise again. Then, as now, governments try to prohibit true worship and impose false worship. The book of daniel clearly tells us that god will have a victorious people. Those people who are and remain true and faithful, as daniel did, will be delivered.
False worship and disobedience had led to israel’s captivity in the first place. We see that daniel and his friends, when taken into captivity, faced important tests, imposed by nebuchadrezzar, but directed by god, to test their faith and character. The tests described in the beginning of daniel seem mild when compared to those that came later, but daniel was always consistent in choosing obedience to god rather than obedience to man, although, in doing so he risked even his mortal life. The first test, seems simple enough. Do daniel and his friends eat with the king or not? They choose not to be tempted by the king’s bounty but to remain loyal to god and were rewarded. An implication not to overlook here is that these four children were not the only ones taken into captivity. They are the only ones who are known to us to have remained faithful to god; who never compromised even, what seems to us, the smallest issue. Those who could not remain loyal to god and who compromised on this first test are not even mentioned and evidently compromised on all the other tests.
Today we live in a time of prosperity, when it is relatively easy to serve god. If we cannot be obedient to god in this time of relative ease, can we expect to be loyal when the times are difficult?
Daniel interpreted nebuchadrezzar’s dream and in doing so gave an accurate and detailed history of the world from his day until the end time. This prophecy reveals that god is in control of the events of human history. Daniel gives nebuchadrezzar the interpretation that god had revealed to him in his vision just as god gave it to him.
The prophecy begins in daniels time with the kingdom of babylon, which daniel tells nebuchadrezzar will not last forever but will be followed by others before the return of jesus. We know succeeding kingdoms have come and gone just as daniel said. Babylon was conquered by the medo-persian kingdom, who in turn was conquered by greece, who was followed by the kingdom of rome. In 1776, shortly before the fall of papal rome(1778), a nation was born. This kingdom will have two phases (two feet). The first is the defender of freedom, the second is as a one world church and state power. With unerring accuracy daniel foretold 2500 years of world history from babylon to the united states of america. The rise and fall of these various empires is clearly foretold in the bible. God knows in advance what is going to happen and he defiantly is in control of human events.
Daniel makes sure we understand the need to be converted to god. God was patient with nebuchadrezzar and over a period of thirty years he tried to reach him. It seemed the king made progress in the right direction and then backslid. Nebuchadrezzar had to loose his mind (all he knew) to find the gospel truth. He realized that it was god who set up and removed kings and even kings had to acknowledge that god was the ruler of their lives.
God is as patient with us as he was with him. Even though we stray from the path and fall, god loves us still, and is right there to pick us up. He is vitally interested in people. He wants them to acknowledge him as their personal lord and develop a personal relationship with him. Many people feel that god cannot save them because of what they’ve done in the past. This story of
Nebuchadrezzar should be of encouragement to them. God didn’t save him because he was good. He was an unjust tyrant. Yet god loved him and extended his grace to him. Not because he deserved it…people never do; not because he earned it…people can’t; but through faith in jesus christ, it’s the unmerited favor of god that lifts us up and redeems us. It’s supremely comforting to know that god wants to save us more than we want to be saved.
Belshazzar succeeded nebuchadrezzar as king of babylon. He choose not to acknowledge the one true god and he did not respect the consecrated objects of worship which had been stolen from the temple in jerusalem. In a blatant act of defiance he defiled the ceremonial goblets from jerusalem by using them to worship pagan gods. This blasphemous act brought immediate warning from god. Belshazzar had respect for the wisdom of daniel whom he called to interrupt the written warning god had put on the wall. Daniel did this for him, but the wrath of god was swift and final for the sin of blasphemy and babylon fell to the persians that night, thus, freeing god’s people from the oppression they were suffering.
Daniel, in his seventies at the time of the medo-persion conquest, was known to be a prophet, seer and faithful administrator who was favored with wisdom by god. The new king, darius, was well pleased with daniel and made plans for him to govern the kingdom for him. This incurred the jealousy of the other rulers who plotted to discredit daniel. Tricking the king, they manipulated him in to proclaiming a new law which they new would end with daniel’s death. They had not considered daniel’s personal relationship with, and steadfastness to god, which had protected sustained and prospered him throughout his captivity. The king was in a no-win situation and could not help daniel. He would undermine his own power if he pardoned him, and if he did not he would loose the only person he could trust. Daniel stood his ground and did not change his prayer habits which meant he violated the law. Daniel could not deny his relationship with god; could not hid his faith. He knew the source of his strength and who had
Brought him through his trials, so he continued to express his faith in god. Darius who prayed the god daniel served would rescue him, never the less, put him in the lions den and sealed it overnight. His justice was short and swift the next morning when he found daniel had been spared. The men, who had tricked him and condemned daniel, along with their families, were fed to the lions.
Through daniel, god warns us against those who would attempt to trick us. He describes the antichrist as one who will be wanted, appealing, extraordinary and a gentile who acts not by his own will, but by the empowerment of satan and who leads many from the true faith. Daniel is very clear that this power will end at the second coming of jesus christ. It would serve us well, then, to heed these warnings and not be deceive by this power.
Our success in the face of adversity and persecution is based on daniel’s secret for success. Daniel prayed boldly but with an attitude of humility. He expressed adoration, worth and honor to god. He opened his heart and confessed his sin before the lord. He acknowledged his gratitude to god for his blessings and protection, and he unselfishly petitioned for the needs of others in his prayers. We have to have a personal relationship with god, just as daniel did, and the way we develop this relationship is to spend time with him. Prayer and bible study are the essential building blocks of this relationship. These help us discover correct doctrine, rebuke us of our sins, correct us where we go wrong, let us know the way we should go, and enable us to obey the commandments of god. Growing from this foundation, the christian, following the principles of the bible, engages in the spiritual warfare which will give them eternal life in the knowing of jesus. This is what will protect us, as daniel was protected then, in the end times.
Each of daniel’s prophetic visions go over the same history, but each adds further details. This is the longest time prophecy in the bible. Much has already come to pass and proved exactly as daniel said it would. We gain confidence in god’s word when we see that god keeps his promises. But eventually, we become fearful as we realize that the end time still approaches. People today would do well to be looking for christ, not the antichrist. We, who trust in christ as our savior need not be afraid because he will remove us in the rapture before the antichrist comes to power; when false religions arise and god’s people are persecuted for their refusal to worship any but the one true god.
As we conclude the book of daniel, we find him inquiring of god when the events of his visions would occur, and god, rewarding his faithfulness and dutifulness did not deny him a last peek at the future.
Visited by two angelic beings, one being christ himself, daniel was told he had faithfully and obediently done completed his work for the lord; there would be no more visions for him to see nor prophecies to record, daniel could go about his own business until the end of his life at which time he would rest until he was resurrected bodily at the end of the tribulation.
This, is daniel’s last message to us then, from the counsel of the great angel himself: to seek to keep a biblical balance between looking to the future and living in the present; to stay prayed-up and ready for christ’s return but not to neglect our present responsibilities.
Cite this The Study of the Book of Daniel
The Study of the Book of Daniel. (2018, Aug 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-study-of-the-book-of-daniel/