Introduction to the Book of Daniel Index
Research Material

"To reject Daniel is to reject the Christian religion" Sir Isaac Newton. (GB 5)

Daniel went into captivity as a boy of 18. He died at 94, having served as Prime Minister, under three or four kings, in two world empires. Where is hi equal in either sacred or profane history?

  • Daniel contains the greatest prophecies of the Old Testament.
  • Daniel gives the first line of prophecy that covers the history of the world to its end. (GB 14)
  • Daniel gives the first chronological prophecy of the coming Messiah. Thus no one can reasonably dare question the Christ.
  • Daniel is the only book in Scripture that was ever divinely sealed and then only until a God-given time. (GB 15)

That the book of Daniel was written by the person whose name it bears, there is no reason to doubt. Ezekiel, who was contemporary with Daniel, bears testimony, through the Spirit of prophecy, to his piety and uprightness, ranking him in this respect with Noah and Job: "If I send a pestilence into the land, and pour out My fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast; though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." (Ezekiel 14:19, 20). His wisdom, also, even at that early day, had become proverbial, as appears from the same writer. To the prince of Tyrus he was directed by the Lord to say, "Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee." (Ezekiel 28:3). But above all, our Lord recognized him as a prophet of God, and babe His disciples understand the predictions given through him for the benefit of His church: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains." (Matthew 24:15, 16).

Though we have a more minute account of his early life than is recorded of that of any other prophet, yet his birth and linage are left in complete obscurity, except that he was of the royal line, probably of the house of David, which had at this time become very numerous. He first appears as one of the noble captives of Judah, in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, at the beginning of the seventy years' captivity, 606/605 B.C. Jeremiah and Habakkuk were yet uttering their prophecies. Ezekiel began soon after, and a little later, Obadiah; but all these finished their work years before the close of the long and brilliant career of Daniel. Three prophets only succeeded him, Haggai and Zechariah, who exercised the prophetic office for a brief period contemporaneously, 520-518 B.C., and Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, who flourished a little season about 397 B.C.

During the seventy years' captivity of the Jews, 606/605 - 536/535 B.C., predicted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11), Daniel resided at the court of Babylon, most of the time prime minister of that monarchy. His life affords a most impressive lesson of the importance and advantage of maintaining from earliest youth strict integrity toward God, and furnishes a notable instance of a man's maintaining eminent piety, and faithfully discharging all the duties that pertain to the service of God, while at the same time engaging in the most stirring activities, and bearing the weightiest cases and responsibilities that can devolve upon men in this earthly life.

But it is not alone nor chiefly his connection with the Chaldean monarchy, the glory of kingdoms, that perpetuates the memory of Daniel, and covers his name with honor. From the height of its glory he saw that kingdom decline, and pass into other hands. Its period of greatest prosperity was embraced within the limits of the lifetime of one man. So brief was its supremacy, so transient its glory. But Daniel was intrusted with more enduring honors. While beloved and honored by the princes and potentates of Babylon, he enjoyed an infinitely higher exaltation in being beloved and honored by God and His holy angels, and admitted to a knowledge of the counsels of the Most High.

His prophecy is, in many respects, the most remarkable of any in the sacred record. It is the most comprehensive. It was the first prophecy giving a consecutive history of the world from that time to the end. It located the most of its predictions within well-defined prophetic periods, though reaching many centuries into the future. It gave the first definite chronological prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. It marked the time of this event so definitely that the Jews forbid any attempt to interpret its numbers, since that prophecy shows them to be without excuse in rejecting Christ; and so accurately had its minute and literal predictions been fulfilled down to the time of Porphyry, A.D. 250, that he declared (the only loophole he could devise for his hard-pressed skepticism) that the predictions were not written in the age of Babylon, but after the events themselves had occurred. This evasion, however, is not now available; for every succeeding century has borne additional evidence to the truthfulness of the prophecy, and we are just now, in our day, approaching the climax of its fulfillment.

Outline:

  • I. Historical Section, 1:1 to 6:28
    • A. The education of Daniel and his companions, 1:1-21
      • 1. The first transportation of captives from Judah to Babylon, 1:1, 2
      • 2. Daniel and his friends selected to be trained for royal service, 1:3-7
      • 3. Daniel procures permission to live according to his law, 1:8-16
      • 4. Successful education and acceptance into the royal service, 1:17-21
    • B. Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great image, 2:1-11
      • 1. Nebuchadnezzar disturbed by a dream, 2:1-11
      • 2. Execution of wise men commanded and countermanded, 2:12-16
      • 3. Daniel receives knowledge and expresses gratitude, 2:17-23
      • 4. Daniel communicates the dream to the king, 2:24-35
      • 5. Daniel interprets the dream, 2:36-45
      • 6. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God's greatness, 2:46-49
    • C. Deliverance of Daniel's friends from the fiery furnace, 3:1-30
      • 1. Nebuchadnezzar erects an image and demands its worship, 3:17
      • 2. The three faithful Hebrews refuse to worship, 3:8-18
      • 3. The deliverance from the furnace by divine intervention, 3:19-25
      • 4. Nebuchadnezzar's confession and decree; the Hebrews promoted, 3:26-30
    • D. Nebuchadnezzar's second dream, humiliation, and restoration, 4:1-37
      • 1. Nebuchadnezzar's confession of God's knowledge and power, 4:1-9
      • 2. Description of the dream, 4:10-18
      • 3. Daniel's interpretation of the dream, 4:19-27
      • 4. Nebuchadnezzar's fall and restoration, 4:28-36
      • 5. Nebuchadnezzar praises the God of heaven, 4:37
    • E. Belshazzar's banquet and the loss of the monarchy, 5:1-31
      • 1. Belshazzar's desecration of Temple vessels, 5:1-4
      • 2. The mysterious handwriting on the wall, 5:5-12
      • 3. Daniel's interpretation, 5:13-28
      • 4. Daniel receives honor, Babylon falls, 5:29-31
    • F. Daniel's deliverance from the lion's den, 6:1-28
      • 1. Daniel's elevation and the jealousy of his colleagues, 6:1-5
      • 2. Darius' decree restricting prayers, 6:6-9
      • 3. Daniel's transgression of the decree and his condemnation, 6:10-17
      • 4. Daniel's deliverance and the punishment of the accusers, 6:18-24
      • 5. Public recognition of the greatness of Daniel's God, 6:25-28
  • II. Prophetic Section, 7:1 to 12:13
    • A. Daniel's second prophetic message, 7:1-28
      • 1. The four beasts and little horn, 7:1-8
      • 2. Judgment and eternal reign of the Son of man, 7:9-14
      • 3. Interpretation of the vision by an angel, 7:15-27
      • 4. Impression on Daniel, 7:28
    • B. Daniel's third prophetic message, 8:1 to 9:27
      • 1. The ram, he-goat, and horns, 8:1-8
      • 2. The little horn and its wickedness, 8:9-12
      • 3. The time prophecy concerning the cleansing of the sanctuary, 8:13, 14
      • 4. Gabriel interprets the first portion of the vision, 8:15-26
      • 5. Daniel's sickness as the result of the vision, 8:27
      • 6. Daniel prays for restoration and confesses his people's sin, 9:1-19
      • 7. Gabriel interprets the remaining portion of the vision, 9:20-27
    • C. Daniel's fourth prophetic message, 10:1 to 12:13
      • 1. Daniel's fast, 10:1-3
      • 2. The appearance of "a certain man" and the effect on Daniel, 10:4-10
      • 3. The "man's" preliminary talk with Daniel, 10:11 to 11:1
      • 4. A vision concerning future historical events, 11:2 to 12:3
      • 5. The duration of the "wonders"; personal promises to Daniel, 12:4-13
        • (from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, pp. 753-754)
  • The personal history of Daniel reaches to a date a few years subsequent to the subversion of the Babylonian kingdom by the Medes and Persians. He is supposed to have died at Shushan, or Susa, in Persia, about the year 530 B.C., aged nearly ninety-four years; his age being the probable reason why he did not return to Judea with other Hebrew captives, under the proclamation of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1), 536/535 B.C., which marked the close of the seventy years' captivity. (Uriah Smith, "Daniel and the Revelation")
  • Daniel 1...contains a condensation of all the basic messages of the books of Daniel and Revelation. (C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares Vol. 1, p. 15)
  • The book of Daniel is the Apocalypse of the Old Testament and sustains the relation to it as does the Revelation to the New. The two books are very closely related and should be studied together. "Daniel is the key to Revelation and Revelation is the key to Daniel. Both are complete together: divided they are incomprehensible." [The Vision of Patmos, Davis, page 10]. The book of Daniel not only contains some of the greatest prophecies, but also some of the most fascinating stories of Biblical literature. Almost every boy and girl places Daniel at the head of the list of Bible heroes. Carried captive into Babylon when but a mere lad, Daniel quickly rose fro slavery to fame and he outranked in wisdom, character and statesmanship the most renowned men of his own or any other age. He died at the age of 94 having served as prime minister under three or four kings in two world empires. Where else do we find such a successful and spectacular career in either sacred or profane history?... The first six chapters constitute the historic portion of the book and records the experiences of Daniel and his three companions while serving the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia. These historic events are recorded in the order in which they transpired. The last six chapters, or the second half of the book, is prophetic and was written in the order in which the visions were given.... This book contains the greatest prophecies of the Old Testament and the first to give a consecutive history of the world to the end. It also contains the first chronological prophecy of the coming of the Messiah with the time of His advent so definitely located that no reasonable man dare question the divinity of Christ.... The purpose of the entire book was stated to Daniel by the angel Gabriel as record in Daniel 10:14. "The latter days" must include the very last day of human history and therefore the book should be of special interest to us. Each of its four great lines of prophecy reaches to our own time and on into the future. The chief purpose of these prophecies is also stated in Daniel 2:28 and Daniel 8:17, 19; "For the vision belongeth to the time of the end." - (RV). The importance of the book of Daniel will increase as the end of the time of the end approaches.... The book of Daniel is the only book of the Bible that was ever divinely sealed, and then only till a certain time (Daniel 12:4, 9, 10)... "the time of the end." This is not the end [of time] but a period of time just before the end [of time] during which time signs of the end are given and preparations for the end are made by the people of God. These verses indicate that when this time is reached the book of Daniel will be unsealed and studied and understood... The book of Daniel was opened and unsealed by a world [wide] message calling attention to its prophecies. This message and the opening of the only book of Scripture ever sealed is pictured in Revelation 10:1-11. This message was given to the world during the early part of the 19th century. In giving instruction to His people living in the time of the end or just before His return, Jesus urges us to both rad and understand the book of Daniel. (Matthew 24:15). That He is speaking to us is evident from Matthew 24:15, 32-34. It is the generation that witnesses the coming of Christ. (TGB)
  • Preachers and people looked upon the book of Revelation as mysterious and of less importance than other portions of the Sacred Scriptures. But I saw that this book is indeed a revelation given for the special benefit of those who should live in the last days, to guide them in ascertaining their true position and their duty. God directed the mind of William Miller to the prophecies and gave him great light upon the book of Revelation.... If Daniel's visions had been understood, the people could better have understood the visions of John. But at the right time, god moved upon His chosen servant, who, with clearness and in the power of the Holy Spirit, opened the prophecies and showed the harmony of the visions of Daniel and John and other portions of the Bible, and pressed home upon the hearts of the people the sacred, fearful warnings of the Word to prepare for the coming of the son of man. Deep and solemn conviction rested upon the minds of those who heard him, and ministers and people, sinners and infidels, turned to the Lord and sought a preparation to stand in the judgment. (EW 231)
  • Our ministers are not doing their whole duty. The attention of the people should be called to the momentous event which is so near at hand. The signs of the times should be kept fresh before their minds. The prophetic visions of Daniel and John foretell a period of moral darkness and declensions; but at the time of the end, the time in which we are now living, the vision was to speak and not lie. When the signs predicted begin to come to pass, the waiting, watching ones are bidden to look up and lift up their heads and rejoice because their redemption draweth nigh. (5T 9-10)
  • To us who believe have been committed the oracles of God. The books of Daniel and Revelation are full of matter which concerns every one of us. We should study these books, and let the Lord God of Israel communicate the truth to us, so that we may be able to communicate the truth to others who live in these last days. The Lord would have His people learn of Jesus. God forbid that those for whom He has wrought shall become highminded and be left to their own way as was the king of Babylon. (13MR 65)
  • Generally speaking, the presentation of something new so attracts the attention of most people that they desire to learn more about it; however, this is not true of those things pertaining to religion. (RC 6)

Prophecy:

  • Failing to read the prophecies in the light of Christ's work of salvation caused the Jews to misunderstand the prophecies they knew so well. Unless our interpretations of prophecies reveal Christ we, too, will fail to grasp their true meaning. The Jews were led to reject Christ because of their misinterpretation of the prophecies concerning Israel: they forgot or overlooked the moral purpose of prophecy -- personal salvation from sin" "Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21).... The Jews were expositors of prophecy "but without spiritual insight"; they did not study the prophecies in the light of God's moral purpose; they did not study the prophecies so that by them they would be strengthened to overcome sin in the heart. And yet it was for this purpose that they were given. (LFW 19, 20)
  • While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek the redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans.... They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight.... Pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires. (DA 30)