Introduction to the Book of Daniel Index
Introduction Page 2 - Research Material
"To reject Daniel is to reject the Christian religion" Sir Isaac Newton. (GB 5)
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST BIBLE COMMENTARY VOLUMN 4, PAGES 743-754

 

  • TITLE:
    • The book is named after its principal character Daniel. The practice of naming Old Testament books for their main hero is demonstrated by other books such as Joshua, Samuel, Esther, Job, etc. Such a title does not necessarily indicate authorship, although that may be included as well, as is the case with the book of Daniel. (4BC 743)
  • AUTHORSHIP:
    • The traditional view of both Jews and Christians is that the book was written in the 6th century B.C., and that Daniel was its author. In favor of the correctness of this traditional view are the following points of evidence: (4BC 743)
      • The claims of the book:
      • The author well acquainted with history:
        • Only a man of the 6th century B.C., well versed in Babylonian affairs, could have provided some of the historical facts found in the book. The knowledge of these facts was lost after the 6th century B.C., not being recorded in other ancient literature after that time. Relatively recent archeological finds have once more brought these facts to light. (4BC 743)
      • The testimony of Jesus Christ:
        • Quoting a passage from the book, Jesus Christ mentions Daniel as author (Matthew 24:15). For every Christian believer this testimony should be convincing evidence. (4BC 743)
    • The book falls into two clearly distinguishable parts, the first (Daniel 1 thru 6) mainly historical, and the second (Daniel 7 thru 12) mainly prophetic; yet the book is a literary unit. In support of such unity the following arguments can be listed: (4BC 743)
      • The various parts of the book are mutually related one to another:
      • The historical part:
        • The historical part contains a prophecy (Daniel 2) [which is] closely related [to the] theme [in] the prophecies found in the latter part of the book (Daniel 7 thru 12). (Daniel 7) contains a further development of a theme presented in (Daniel 2). Also, a relationship between the historical and the prophetic elements is evident. The historical section (Daniel 1 thru 6) constitutes an account of God's dealings with one nation, Babylon, and the role of this nation in the divine plan. The account was designed to be an illustration of God's dealings with all nations (ED 175-177). Like Babylon, each of the successive world empires graphically portrayed in the prophetic portion of the book was given an opportunity to know the divine will and to cooperate with it, and each was to be measured by the fidelity with which it fulfilled the divine purpose. Thus the rise and fall of the nations depicted in the prophetic portion is to be understood in terms of the principles set forth in the historical portion, as they operated in the case of Babylon. This fact binds the two sections of the book together as a unit and provides a basis for understanding the role played by each of the successive world empires. (4BC 744)
      • Literary unity:
        • The literary unity of the book can be so well demonstrated that representatives of most schools of thought generally recognize it. The Composition, general channel of thinking, and the expressions used in the two languages employed are so common to all parts of the book that the claims of those who assign certain pats of the book to one author, and others to a second, appear pointless. (4BC 744)
        • Among the hundreds of manuscript fragments found in the first Qumrdn cave are three from the book of Daniel. They have been published by D. Barthelemy and J. T. Milik in Discoveries in the Judean Desert 1: Qumran Cave 1 (Oxford, 1955), pp. 150-152. The fragments were written by two scribes and belong wither to two separate scrolls or to a single scroll in which (Daniel 1 and Daniel 2) were written by one scribe, and (Daniel 3) by another. (4BC 744)
          • The fragments contain parts of the following 22 verses: Daniel 1:10-17; Daniel 2:2-6; Daniel 3:22-30. A comparison of this text with the Masoretic shows 16 variants, none of which, however, affects the meaning of the passage. Nine of these 16 are spelling variants, each affecting only one letter; two of these seem to be spelling errors; the other seven are variously spelled also in the Masoretic text. Four additions are found: one of the conjunction "and," and one of the particle "that" before an "if"; two words have a vowel letter added. Once a vowel letter occurring in the Masoretic text is not found in the fragments. Two verbal endings seem to be scribal errors. The list shows that the differences are so insignificant that they would not be noticeable in a translation. This is a strong proof that the Hebrew text of Daniel is now in substantially the same form as it was at least in the time of Christ. (4BC 744)
          • It is of further interest that the fragment of Daniel 2 covers the passage in which the transition occurs from Hebrew to Aramaic (Daniel 2:4). At that point a space is left between the last Hebrew word and the first Aramaic word, thus making a distinct break between the language sections. It is also noteworthy that, in agreement with the Masoretic text, these fragments do not contain the apocryphal song of the three children (Daniel 3:23). (4BC 744)
          • Daniel was in Babylon during these eventful days. He must have seen the Babylonian armies depart for their several campaigns against his homeland, and witnessed their victorious returns and the arrival of captured Jews. Among the captives were the young king Jehoiachin with his family (2 Kings 24:10-16), and later the blinded king Zedekiah (2 Kings 25:7). During these years Daniel must also have been aware of the political agitation that was going on among the exiled Jews, which resulted in Nebuchadnezzar's burning to death some of the chief instigators. It was this agitation that caused Jeremiah to send a letter to his captured compatriots urging them to lead a quiet and peaceful life in Babylonia (Jeremiah 29). (4BC 745)
  • HISTORICAL SETTING:
    • The book of Daniel contains (1) a record of certain historical incidents from the life of Daniel and his three friends, who were Jewish exiles in Babylonian government service, and (2) a record of a prophetic dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, interpreted by Daniel, together with records of visions the prophet himself had received. Although the book was written in Babylonia during the Exile and shortly thereafter, its purpose was not to provide either a history of the Jewish exile or a biography of Daniel. The book relates high-light experiences of the statesman-prophet and his associates and was complied with specific objectives in mind. (4BC 744-745)
    • First of all Daniel presents brief information concerning the reason for his being found in the public service of the Babylonian king (Daniel 1). Having been taken to Babylon in the first captivity in 605 B.C., during the course of Nebuchadnezzar's first Syrian campaign, Daniel and other princes of royal blood were chosen to be trained for government service. The initial 19 years of Daniel's stay in Babylonia were the last years of Judah's existence as a kingdom, albeit subject to Babylon. The futile anti-Babylonian policies of Judah's last kings brought one catastrophe after another upon the Jewish nation. (4BC 745)
    • King Jehoiakim, during whose reign Daniel had gone into captivity, remained loyal to Babylon for a few years. Eventually, however, he acceded to the policy of the pro-Egyptian party in Judah, and rebelled. As a result the country suffered military invasions, its citizens lost their liberty and were taken into captivity, and the king lost his life. His son and successor, Jehoiachin, after a brief reign of only three months, saw the armies of Babylon return to mete out punishment for disloyalty. He, together with thousands of the upper-class citizens of Judah, went into captivity in 597 B.C. His successor, Zedekiah, apparently attempted to remain loyal to Babylon. However, being weak and vacillating, he could not long withstand the overtures of Egypt and the anti-Babylonian sentiment of his chief advisers. As a result Nebuchadnezzar, weary of the repeated revolts in Palestine, decided to put an end to the kingdom of Judah. For two and a half years the Babylonian armies ravaged Judah, took and destroyed the cities, including Jerusalem, with its Temple and its palaces and led the majority of the inhabitants of Judah into captivity in 586 B.C. (4BC 745)
    • During all these years Daniel and his three friends quietly and loyally performed their duties as royal officers and subjects of the realm. After their scholarly training they became members of the elite group called Chaldeans, who served the king as advisers. It was then that Daniel had the unique opportunity of explaining to Nebuchadnezzar the dream of future empires (Daniel 2). As a result Daniel was appointed to a position of exceptionally high rank, which he seems to have held for many years. This office gave him the opportunity of acquainting the king with the power of the God of heaven and earth, whom Daniel and his friends served. How long Daniel retained this position is not known. He seems to have lost it before 570 B.C., since his name is not found in a contemporary "Court and State Almanac," written in cuneiform, which lists the chief offices of Nebuchadnezzar's government holding office at that time. No other court and state almanacs for the reign of Nebuchadnezzar are extant. In fact, Daniel is not mentioned in any contemporary non-Biblical source. (4BC 745-746)
    • The absence of Daniel's name in this document is not strange, since we do not know how long Daniel remained in public office. Only four principal events during Nebuchadnezzar's reign are recorded in the book of Daniel, and Daniel played a role in three of them:
      • 1) The education of the Jewish princes during the king's first three years of reign, including his accession year (Daniel 1).
      • 2) The interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in the king's second regnal year (Daniel 2).
      • 3) The dedication of the image in the plain of Dura, which the resulting experience of Daniel's friends in an unspecified year (Daniel 3).
      • 4) Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, announcing that the king would suffer madness for a period of seven years, which probably occurred during the king's last years (Daniel 4). (4BC 746)
    • Nothing is known of Daniel's activities during the years of Nebuchadnezzar's incapacity. We likewise do not know what Daniel did after the king regained his faculties and throne, or whether his services were demanded during the reigns of the succeeding kings, Amel-Marduk (the Biblical Evil-Merodach), Nergal-shar-usur, Labashi-Marduk, and Nabonidus. However, he was permitted to observe the mighty empire of Nebuchadnezzar become morally weak and corrupt under kings who were assassins of their predecessors. He also must have watched with more than ordinary interest the cometlike rise of King Cyrus in Persia to the east, since a man by that name had been mentioned in prophecy as Israel's liberator (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1). In 553 B.C., (the year in which Cyrus probably became master over the Median Empire) it is also possible that Daniel saw Nabonidus appoint his son Belshazzar to rule over Babylonia, while Nabonidus himself set out to conquer Tema in Arabia. It was during the first three years of Belshazzar that great visions were given to Daniel (Daniel 7; Daniel 8), and the man who so far had been known only as an interpreter of dreams and visions became one of the great prophets of all time. (4BC 746)
    • The Babylonians demanded Daniel's services once more, during the night of Babylon's fall, in 539 B.C., to read and interpret the handwriting of doom on the wall of Belshazzar's festal hall. After the Persians became masters over Babylon and its empire, the new rulers made use of the talents and experience of the old statesman of a past generation. Daniel again became a chief counselor of the crown. It was presumably he who brought the prophecies of Isaiah to the notice of the king (PK 557), which prophecies influenced the Persian ruler to issue the decree that ended exile for the Jews and restored to them a homeland and a Temple. During this later term of Daniel's public office there was an attempt on his life by his envious colleagues, but the Lord marvelously intervened and delivered His servant (Daniel 6). Additional important visions were received during these last years of Daniel's life, first under Darius the Mede (Daniel 9), and then under Cyrus (Daniel 10 thru 12). (4BC 746)
    • In any study of the book of Daniel two points call for special examination:
      • THE HISTORICITY OF DANIEL:
        • Since the first major attacks on the historicity of Daniel were made by the Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry (A.D. 233-304), the book has been under fire of critics, at first only sporadically, but during the past two centuries, constantly. As a result the majority of Christian scholars today consider the book of Daniel the product of an anonymous author who lived about the time of the Maccabean revolt, in the 2d century B.C. (4BC 746-747)
        • These scholars set forth two main reasons for ascribing so late a date to the book of Daniel:
          • 1). Since, as they assert, certain prophecies point to Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.), and since, according to their concept, most prophecies - at least those that have been demonstrated to have had an accurate fulfillment - were written after the events described had occurred, Daniel's prophecies, according to their claims, must be dated in the time following the reign of Antiochus IV.
          • 1.a)This argument has no validity for one who believes that the inspired prophets of old actually made accurate predictions concerning the course of history. (4BC 747)
          • 2). Since, according to their contentions, the historical sections of Daniel record certain events that disagree with historical facts known from available sources, these disagreements can best be explained by assuming that the author was removed from the actual events so much in space and time that he possessed but a limited knowledge of what had actually happened in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., 400 years earlier. (4BC 747)
          • 2.a) This argument deserves more detailed attention because of the seriousness of the claim that Daniel contains historical inaccuracies, anachronisms, and misconceptions. For this reason a brief discussion of the historical trustworthiness of Daniel is here presented. (4BC 747)
            • 2.a.1) Madness of Nebuchadnezzar:
              • It is true that Daniel describes some events that even today cannot be verified by means of available ancient source material. One such event is the madness of Nebuchadnezzar, which is not mentioned in any extant ancient records. The absence of verification for a temporary incapacity of the greatest king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire is not a strange phenomenon in a time when royal records contain only praiseworthy narratives (Daniel 4:36). (4BC 747)
            • 2.a.2) Darius the Mede:
              • Also enigmatic is Darius the Mede, whose real place in history has not been established by reliable non-Biblical source material. Hints as to his identity are found in the writings of Greek authors and fragmentary information from cuneiform sources. (4BC 747)
            • 2.a.3) Historical Difficulties:
              • The other so-called historical difficulties that puzzled conservative commentators of Daniel a hundred years ago have been solved by the increase of historical knowledge provided by archeology. Some of the more important of these now-solved problems are here listed: (4BC 747)
            • 2.a.4) Chronological Discrepancy:
              • The supposed chronological discrepancy between Daniel 1:1 and Jeremiah 25:1. Jeremiah, who, scholars generally agree, is a trustworthy historical source, synchronizes the 4th year of Jehoiakim of Judah with the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. However, Daniel speaks of King Nebuchadnezzar's first conquest of Jerusalem as taking place in Jehoiakim's 3rd year, apparently implying that Nebuchadnezzar's 1st year coincided with the 3rd year of Jehoiakim. Before the discovery of contemporary records revealing various systems of reckoning the regnal years of ancient kings, commentators found in difficult to explain this seeming discrepancy. They tried to solve the difficulty either by supposing a coregency of Nebuchadnezzar with his father Nabopolassar or by assuming that Jeremiah and Daniel dated events according to different systems of reckoning, Jeremiah using a Jewish and Daniel the Babylonian system. Both explanations are today out of date. (4BC 747)
              • The whole difficulty has been solved by the discovery that Babylonian kings, like those of Judah at the time, counted their regnal years according to the "accession-year" method. The year in which a Babylonian king came to the throne was not reckoned as his official 1st year, but merely the year of his accession, and his 1st year, meaning his 1st full calendar year, but did not begin until the next New Year's Day, when, in a religious ceremony, he took the hands of the Babylonian god Bel. (4BC 747-748)
              • We also know from Josephus (citing Berosus) and a Babylonian chronicle that Nebuchadnezzar was on a military campaign in Palestine against Egypt when his father died and he succeeded to the throne. Hence Daniel and Jeremiah completely agree with each other. Jeremiah synchronized Nebuchadnezzar's 1st regnal year with Jehoiakim's 4th year, whereas Daniel was taken captive in Nebuchadnezzar's accession year, which identifies with Jehoiakim's 3rd year. (4BC 748)
            • 2.a.5) Nebuchadnezzar the great builder of Babylon:
              • According to the Greek historians, Nebuchadnezzar played an insignificant role in the affairs of ancient history. He is never referred to as a great builder or as the creator of a new and greater Babylon. That this honor is usually ascribed to Queen Semiramis, who is given a prominent place in the history of Babylonia, is evident to every reader of classical Greek histories. (4BC 748)
              • Yet the contemporary cuneiform records, unearthed by the archeologist during the last hundred years, have entirely changed the picture derived from classical writers, and have corroborated the account of the book of Daniel, which credits Nebuchadnezzar with the building (rebuilding) of "this great Babylon" (Daniel 4:30). Semiramis, called Sammu-ramat in cuneiform inscriptions, it has now been discovered, was a queen mother of Assyria, regent for her infant son Adad-nirari III, and not a queen over Babylonia as the classical sources claimed. The inscriptions have shown that she had nothing to do with any building activity in Babylon. On the other hand, numerous building inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar prove that he became, in a sense, the creator of a new Babylon by rebuilding the palaces, temples, and the temple tower of the city, and by adding new buildings and fortifications. (4BC 748)
              • Such information none but a writer of the Neo-Babylonian age could have, for it had been completely lost by the time of the Hellenistic era. The presence of such information in the book of Daniel greatly puzzles critical scholars who do not believe that Daniel was written in the 6th century, but rather in the 2nd. A typical example of their dilemma is the following statement of R.H. Pfeiffer, of Harvard University: "We shall presumably never know how our author learned that the new Babylon was the creation of Nebuchadnezzar . . . , as the excavations have proved" (Introduction to the Old Testament [New York, 1941], pp. 758, 759). (4BC 748)
            • 2.a.6) Belshazzar, king of Babylon:
              • The fact that the name of this king had not been found in any non-Biblical writings of antiquity, while Nabonidus always appeared as the last Babylonian king prior to the Persian conquest, was regularly used as one of the strongest arguments against the historicity of the book of Daniel. But the discoveries of the last hundred years have refuted all critics of Daniel in this respect and vindicated the trustworthiness of the prophet's historical narrative with regard to Belshazzar in a most impressive way. (4BC 748)
            • 2.a.7) The languages of the book:
              • Like Ezra, Daniel was written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic. Some have accounted for the use of two languages in the case of Ezra by assuming that the author took over Aramaic documents with their accompanying historical descriptions, and incorporated them into his books, otherwise written in Hebrew, the national tongue of his people. Such an interpretation does not fit the book of Daniel, where the Aramaic section begins with (Daniel 2:4) and ends with the last verse of Daniel 7. (4BC 749)
              • Following is a partial list of the many explanations of this problem offered by scholars, together with some observations . . . which seem to speak against the reasonableness of these explanations:
                • 1) That the author wrote the historical stories for the Aramaic-speaking people and the prophecies for the Hebrew-speaking scholars.
                  • 1.a) Yet the Aramaic in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, both great prophecies, speaks against the correctness of this view. (4BC 749)
                • 2) That the two languages point to two sources.
                  • 2.a) This view cannot be correct, because the book bears a strong stamp of unity, as even many radical critics have acknowledged (4BC 749)
                • 3) That the book was written originally in one language, either Aramaic or Hebrew, and parts of it were later translated.
                  • 3.a) This view leaves unanswered the question as to why only sections were translated into the other language and not the whole book. (4BC 749)
                • 4) That the author issued the book in two editions, one in Hebrew and another one in Aramaic, so that all classes of people could read it; that in the time of the Maccabean persecution parts of the book were lost, and those parts that were salvaged from both editions were put together without any changes.
                  • 4.a) This view suffers from the fact that it cannot be proved to be correct, and that it deals with too many uncertainties. (4BC 749)
                • 5) That the author began to write in Aramaic at the point where the Chaldeans addressed "the king in Syriack [literally, Aramaic]" (Daniel 2:4), and continued in this language as long as he was writing at that time, but that when he resumed writing(with Daniel 8:1) he used Hebrew. (4BC 749)
                  • [This] last view appears to lead in the right direction, for the various sections of the book seem to have been written at different times. As a trained government official Daniel spoke and wrote in several languages. He probably wrote some of the historical narratives and visions in Hebrew and others in Aramaic. On the basis of this assumption, Daniel 1 was written in Hebrew, probably in the 1st year of Cyrus, and the narratives of Daniel 3 thru 6 in Aramaic at various times. The prophetic visions were recorded mostly in Hebrew (Daniel 8 thru 12), although the vision of Daniel 7 was written in Aramaic. The account of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the future monarchies (Daniel 2), on the other hand, was written in Hebrew up to the point where the Chaldeans' speech was quoted (Daniel 2:4), and then continued in Aramaic from this point to the end of the narrative. (4BC 749)
                  • When, at the end of his life, Daniel collected all his writings into one book, he may not have deemed it necessary to translate certain parts in order to unify the book linguistically, knowing that most of his readers were bilingual - a fact evident from other sources. (4BC 749)
                  • It may further e noted that the existence of two languages in Daniel cannot be used as an argument for a late date of the origin of the book. Those who date the origin of Daniel in the 2nd century B.C., also have the problem of explaining why a Hebrew author of the Maccabean period wrote part of the book in Hebrew and part of it in Aramaic. (4BC 750)
                  • It is true that the orthographic (spelling) peculiarities of the Aramaic sections of Daniel are related most closely to those of the 4th-3rd century Aramaic of Western Asia. This would seem to be due to a modernization of the language, a characteristic noticeable also in most of the Hebrew books of the Bible. Orthography cannot reveal the date of writing any more than the latest revision of the English Bible can be taken as proof that the Bible was originally written or translated in the 20th century A.D. The orthographic peculiarities can at most indicate at what time the latest revisions in spelling took place. (4BC 750)
                  • Among the Dead Sea scrolls there are several fragments of Daniel dating from the 2nd century B.C. At lease two of these preserve that section of (Daniel 2) where the change is made from Hebrew to Aramaic, and show clearly the bilingual character of the book at that time. (4BC 750)
  • THEME:
    • The book of Daniel might appropriately be called a handbook on history and prophecy. Predictive prophecy is a preview of history; history is predictive prophecy passing in review. The element of predictive enables God's people to see the things of time in the light of eternity, alerts them for effective action at appropriate times, facilitates personal preparation for the final crisis, and provides a firm basis for faith upon fulfillment of the prediction. (4BC 750)
    • The four major lines of prophecy in the book of Daniel set forth in brief outline, against the background of world history, the experiences of God's people from the days of Daniel down to the close of time. "The curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, above, behind, and through all the play and counterplay of human interest and power and passions, the agencies of the All-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will" (PK 500). Each of the four lines of prophecy reaches a climax when "the God of heaven" sets "up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44), when the "Son of man" (Daniel 7:13) receives "everlasting dominion" (Daniel 7:14), when opposition to the "Prince of princes" is "broken without hand" (Daniel 8:25), and when God's people are delivered forever from their oppressors (Daniel 12:1). The prophecies of Daniel thus provide a divinely constructed bridge from the precipice of time to the boundless shores of eternity, a bridge over which those who, like Daniel, purpose in their hearts to love and serve God, may pass by faith from the uncertainty and distress of the present life to the peace and security of life everlasting. (4BC 750)
    • The historical section of the book of Daniel reveals, in most striking manner, the true philosophy of history (Ed 173-184). This section stands as a preface to the prophetic section. By providing a detailed account of God's dealings with one nation, Babylon, the book enables us to understand the meaning of the rise and fall of other nations outlined in the prophetic portion of the book. Without a clear understanding of the philosophy of history as revealed in the narrative of the role of Babylon in the divine plan, the role of the other nations that succeeded Babylon on the screen of prophetic vision cannot be fully understood or appreciated. For a summery of the divine philosophy of history as set forth by inspiration see (Daniel 4:17). (4BC 750)
    • In the historical section of the book we find Daniel, God's man of the hour, brought face to face with Nebuchadnezzar, the genius of the Gentile world, that the king might have opportunity to know Daniel's God, the Arbiter of history, and to cooperate with Him. Nebuchadnezzar not only was monarch of the greatest nation of the time but was also eminently wise, and had an innate sense of justice and right. He was, in fact, the leading personality of the Gentile world, "the mighty one of the heathen" (Ezekiel 31:11), raised to power for a specific role in the divine plan. Of him God said, "now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant" (Jeremiah 27:6). As the Jews went captive to Babylon it was desirable that they be held under a hand that was firm without being cruel (according to the standards of that day). Daniel's mission at the court of Nebuchadnezzar was to secure the submission of the king's will to the will of God in order that the divine purpose might be realized. In one of the dramatic moments of history God brought together these two great personalities. (4BC 751)
    • The first four chapters of Daniel narrate the means by which God secured the allegiance of Nebuchadnezzar. First of all, God needed a man who would be a fit representative of the principles and policies of heaven at the court of Babylon, so He chose Daniel to be His personal ambassador to Nebuchadnezzar. The means God employed to bring Daniel, a captive, to the favorable attention of Nebuchadnezzar, and the means by which Nebuchadnezzar came to have confidence, first in Daniel and then in Daniel's God, illustrate the manner in which God uses men today to accomplish His will on earth. God could use Daniel because Daniel was a man of principle, a man of sterling character, a man whose chief business in life was to live for God. (4BC 751)
    • Daniel "purposed in his heart" (Daniel 1:8) to live in harmony with all the revealed will of God. First, God brought him "into favour and tender love" (Daniel 1:9) with the officials of Babylon. This prepared the way for the second step, the demonstration of the physical superiority of Daniel and his companions (Daniel 1:12-15). Then followed a demonstration of intellectual superiority. "God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom" (Daniel 1:17), with the result that they were considered "ten times better" (Daniel 1:20) than their closest competitors. Thus in personality, physique, and intellect Daniel proved to be markedly superior to his fellow men, and thereby won the confidence and respect of Nebuchadnezzar. (4BC 751)
    • These events prepared Nebuchadnezzar to meet Daniel's God. A series of dramatic experiences - the dream of (Daniel 2), the striking deliverance from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), and the dream of (Daniel 4) - demonstrated to the king's satisfaction the knowledge, power, and authority of Daniel's God. The inferiority of human knowledge, exhibited in the experience of (Daniel 2), led Nebuchadnezzar to admit to Daniel, "Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets" (Daniel 2:47). He freely acknowledged that the wisdom of God was superior, not only to human wisdom, but even to the supposed wisdom of his own gods. The incident of the golden image and the fiery furnace led Nebuchadnezzar to admit that the God of heaven "delivered his servants" (Daniel 3:28). His conclusion was that no one in all his realm should "speak any thing amiss against the God" of the Hebrews, in view of the fact that "no other God" can "deliver after this sort" (Daniel 3:29). Nebuchadnezzar now recognized that the God of heaven was not only wise but powerful, that He was not only omniscient but omnipotent. The third experience - the seven years during which his own vaunted wisdom and power were temporarily removed - taught the king not only that "the most High" is wise and powerful but that He exercises that wisdom and power to rule in human affairs (Daniel 4:32). He has wisdom, power, and authority. It is significant that the first act Nebuchadnezzar performed after his reason returned to him was to "praise and extol and honour the King of heaven" and to acknowledge that "those that walk in pride" as he had done for so many years, God "is able to abase" (Daniel 4:37). (4BC 751-752)
    • But the lessons Nebuchadnezzar personally learned over a period of many years largely failed to benefit those who succeeded him upon the throne of Babylon. The last ruler of Babylon, Belshazzar, openly defied the God of heaven (Daniel 5:23) in spite of the fact that he was acquainted with the experience of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 5:22). Instead of working in harmony with the divine plan, "Babylon became a proud and cruel oppressor" (Ed 176), and in the rejection of the principles of heaven wrought its own ruin (Ed 177). The nation was weighed and found wanting (Daniel 5:25-28), and world dominion passed to the Persians. (4BC 752)
    • In delivering Daniel from the lions den, God demonstrated His power and authority before the rulers of the Persian Empire (Daniel 6:20-23; PK 557) as He had previously before those of Babylon. An edit of Darius the Mede acknowledged "the living God" and admitted that He is "stedfast for ever" (Daniel 6:26). Even "the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not" (Daniel 6:8), was obliged to yield before the decrees of "the most High," who "ruleth in the kingdom of men" (Daniel 4:32). Cyrus was favorably impressed by the miraculous evidence of divine power exhibited in the deliverance of Daniel from the lions' den (PK 557). The prophecies outlining his role in the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple (Isaiah 44:26 thru Isaiah 45:13) also made a deep impression upon him. "His heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission" (PK 557). (4BC 752)
    • Thus the book of Daniel gives a demonstration of the principles according to which God's wisdom, power, and authority operate through the history of nations for the eventual accomplishment of the divine purpose. "God exalted Babylon that it might fulfil" His "purpose" (Ed 175). It had its period of test; it :failed, its glory faded, its power departed, and its place was occupied by another" (Ed 177; Daniel 4:17).
    • All four visions of the book of Daniel are concerned with the struggle between the forces of good and evil on this earth from the time of Daniel to the establishment of the eternal kingdom of Christ. Inasmuch as Satan uses the powers of earth in his effort to thwart God's plan and to destroy God's people, these visions introduce those powers through which he has been most active. (4BC 752)
    • The first vision (Daniel 2) deals primarily with political changes. Its primary objective was to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar his role as ruler of Babylon, to make known to him "what should come to pass hereafter" (Daniel 2:29). (4BC 752)
    • As if to supplement the first vision, the second (Daniel 7) emphasizes the experiences of God's people during the sovereignty of the powers mentioned in the first vision, and forecasts the ultimate victory of the saints and God's judgment upon their enemies (Daniel 7:14; Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:26; Daniel 7:27). (4BC 752)
    • The third vision (Daniel 8 and Daniel 9), supplementing the second, emphasizes Satan's attempts to do away with the religion and people of Christ. (4BC 753)
    • The fourth vision (Daniel 10 thru 12) summarizes the preceding visions and covers the ground with more detail than any of the others. It amplifies the subject of the second vision and that of the third vision. The focus of its emphasis is on "what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days" (Daniel 10:14), and "the time appointed was long" (Daniel 10:1). The narrative outline of history covered in (Daniel 11:2-39) leads up to "the latter days" (Daniel 10:14) and the events of "the time of the end" (Daniel 11:40). (4BC 753)
    • The prophecies of Daniel are closely related to those of the book of Revelation. In a large measure Revelation covers the same ground but gives particular emphasis to the role of the Christian church as God's chosen people. Thus details that may be obscure in the book of Daniel are often clarified by comparison with the book of Revelation. That part of his "prophecy which related to the last days Daniel was bidden to close up and seal 'to the time of the end'" (Daniel 12:4; GC 356), when, through a diligent study of the book, "knowledge" of its import would be "increased" (Daniel 12:4). Though "that portion of the prophecy of Daniel relating to the last days" (Daniel 12:4; AA 585), John was specifically instructed to "seal not the sayings of the prophecy" of his book, "for the time is at hand" (Revelation 22:10). Thus , for a clearer interpretation of any portions of the book of Daniel that tend to be obscure, we should search carefully the book of Revelation for light to dispel the darkness. (4BC 753)
  • OUTLINE:
King James Remnant Study Bible:

Introduction:

  • The stories of Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 6); Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3); and that of a disembodied hand writing on a wall (Daniel 5) are familiar to many children who are taught the Bible. But beyond these stories, the Book of Daniel, like the Book of Revelation, is an example of apocalyptic or symbolic literature. More than one hundred prophecies in one chapter alone (Daniel 11) have been fulfilled. (p.915)
  • Daniel could have easily given in to self-pity when he was taken along with his fellow citizens of Judah to Babylon in 605 B.C. - long before Esther's time. But instead, Daniel focuses on this fact: Although the Babylonians flexed their military might at Judah's expense, God is still in control even in desperate times. (p.915)

DATES:

  • Daniel's life and ministry spanned from the time of his being deported to Babylon (605 B.C.) through the fall of Babylon. He then saw the emergence of a new world power, the Medo-Persians, of whom Darius the Mede was the first king, ruling from 539-536 B.C. He was followed by Cyrus the Persian. Daniel died about 535 B.C. (p.915)
  • The Book of Daniel was probably written after the reign of Cyrus began in about 536 B.C. Some critics, however, have argued for a later writing date (around the time of the Maccabees, second century B.C.). But their arguments stem from disbelief that Daniel could have predicted world events with such accuracy (Daniel 11), and thus someone else must have written the book after the events came to pass. Belief in God's ability to give His servants visions of the future, however, allows us to trust that Daniel himself saw the visions and recorded them. (p.915)
  • Another argument in favor of the later writing date stems from Daniel's use of Aramaic in (Daniel 2 thru 7). While some believe that the Aramaic used comes from a later time period, it actually is an earlier form of Imperial Aramaic. (p.915)

AUTHOR:

  • Daniel is believed to be the author, abased on the use of writing in the first person, starting in Daniel 7:2. Another point in favor of Daniel as the author comes through (Daniel 12:4): "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." A quote from Daniel 9:27 is attributed to Daniel by Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 24:15. (p.915)
  • In the time of Daniel, the southern kingdom of Judah is subordinate to Babylonia. The overthrow of the southern kingdom of Judah came in three stages. In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar conquers King Jehoiakim and carried a small number of hostages to Babylon including Daniel. He then attacked again in 597 B.C., taking ten thousand hostages, including Ezekiel and King Jehoiakim's son, Jehoiachin. In 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city and scattered the remainder of the kingdom of Judah. (p.915)
  • When the forces of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon first invaded Jerusalem, Daniel was among those taken to live in Babylon. Because of their pleasing looks and intelligence Daniel and his friends Hananiah (Shadrach, Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego) were tapped for government positions. Although they were given new names reflecting the gods of the Babylonians in order to indoctrinate them in the ways of the Babylonians, Daniel and his friends clung to their belief in the one God of Israel. (p.915)
  • Throughout the Book of Daniel and in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:14), Daniel is seen as a man of outstanding character and faith. Like Joseph, Daniel could interpret dreams. His prophetic ability made him a valuable asset during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. But beyond interpreting the dreams of kings, Daniel had visions of world events well beyond his time. (p.915)

MEANING OF THE NAME:

  • The name Daniel is the Greek version of Daniye'l, a Hebrew word meaning "God Is My Judge." (p.915)

CHRIST IN DANIEL:

OVERVIEW:

  • The book of Daniel is the last of the major prophets in the Old Testament. It [foretells] the passing of eras as kings rise to power only to be conquered by others in addition to revealing the history of the [nations] through to the end of time when Jesus returns to gather His remnant people. This compact book can be divided into two sections: (p.916)
    • (1) Daniel 1 - 6, God's Sovereignty in Daniel's life:
      • God's promise to allow His people to be conquered by the king of Babylon (Jeremiah 20) comes to pass as the people of Judah find themselves [carried] off to Babylon. But God protects Daniel and his friends as they trust in God for strength to hold on to their integrity in a permissive society with hostile peers. God's sovereignty is apparent in the test of trust in choosing which food to eat (Daniel 1), through the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams (Daniel 2; Daniel 4), in the overturning of executions (Daniel 3; Daniel 6), and in prophesying the dissolution of Belshazzar's kingship (Daniel 5). (p.916)
      • Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue (Daniel 2:24-45) shows the kingdoms that rose to prominence in the order that ultimately happens on the world stage: The Babylonians (605-539 B.C.), the Medes and Persians (539-331 B.C.), the Greeks (331-168 B.C.), and the Romans (168 B.C.-A.D. 476). These powerful kingdoms, however, are seen as chaff (Daniel 2:35) in comparison to God's eternal kingdom. As (Daniel 2:44) affirms: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (p.916)
    • (2) Daniel 7-12, God's Sovereignty over History:
      • The narrative of Daniel's life gives way in favor of Daniel's account of his prophetic visions: the four beasts (Daniel 7) - another vision representing the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, the Greeks, and Romans; the ram (the Medes and Persians) and goat (Greece and Alexander the Great) (Daniel 8); and in Daniel 11, we see the previous visions of Daniel expanded, beginning with Medo-Persia through the end of time. Babylon had already lapsed into history at this point, so it is not expounded upon. The Book of Daniel ends with a prophecy of end-times, when the faithful are resurrected (Daniel 12). (p.916)

UNLOCKING DANIEL:

  • Key People:
    • Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, Cyrus
  • Key Events:
    • 1) Daniel and his three friends propose a diet that honors God (Daniel 1).
    • 2) Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream and saves the lives of the king's advisors (Daniel 2).
    • 3) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are thrown in the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an golden idol (Daniel 3).
    • 4) Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by God (Daniel 4).
    • 5) Belshazzar sees a hand writing on the wall, which signals the end of his dominion (Daniel 5).
    • 6) Daniel is thrown into a den of lions for his persistence in prayer (Daniel 6).
    • 7) Daniel sees a vision of four beasts (Daniel 7).
    • 8) Daniel intercedes for his people and is told the meaning of his prophecy of seventy weeks (Daniel 9).
    • 9) Daniel's prophecies and visions describe kingdoms to come (Daniel 10; Daniel 11), and end-time events (Daniel 12). (p.916)
  • Key Word:
    • Sovereignty:
      • The rise and fall of many kingdoms serves as a contrast to the eternal kingdom of the sovereign God of Israel. God is the ultimate mover and shaker who remains in control as conquers come and go. Although this time of exile was a bleak one for Israel; God still cared for His people. (p.916)
  • Key Verses:
    • Daniel 2:20:
      • "Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:"
    • Daniel 2:21:
      • "And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:"
    • Daniel 2:22:
      • "He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him."
  • Key Chapter:
    • Daniel 9:
      • Daniel intercedes for his people and receives the "seventy week" prophecy. This prophecy points to the coming of the Messiah and its fulfillment includes Christ's ministry. (p.916)
The Story of Daniel the Prophet by Stephen N. Haskell:

Author's Preface:

  • The world is flooded with fictitious reading of all grades. The unreal is presented in the most fascinating style while too often the living truths taken from God's Word are presented in a heavy, somber style. The Bible is the most interesting of all books. It is adapted to every mind. In the Story of Daniel the Prophet, a few of the interesting facts in regard to God's dealings with His people have been gathered into a simple narrative. (SNH 3)
  • The book is the result of much prayerful study. It is sent forth with an earnest prayer, that in the hands of the parents it may be the means of making the study of the Bible in the family a blessing to young and old; and that the teacher in the schoolroom may see precious rays of light flashing from its pages, pointing both teacher and pupil to the Great Divine Teacher. (SNH 3)
  • God grant that as it falls into the hands of the careless and unbelieving, they may be influenced to read, and as they read, may behold the beauty of our God, and be led to worship toward His holy temple. (SNH 3)
  • We trust that while its simplicity will attract many who might not be inclined to read a deep argumentative treatise, the most studious will find food for thought, and thus become better acquainted with the character of our Heavenly Father. Those who wish to enter into a more comprehensive study, will find that the marginal references open up many veins of precious ore in the deep mines of God's Word. (SNH 3)
  • We earnestly pray that even the skeptic may not cast it aside; but that he may give it a careful reading, and while tracing the fulfilled prophecy in the history of the world, learn to prize the Word of God. (SNH 3)
  • Throughout the entire book the special providence of God over those who are faithful to Him is brought out in clear contrast to the fate of those who ignore His guiding hand. The truth is the same, whether in the history of nations or individuals. (SNH 4)
  • As the Story of Daniel the Prophet goes forth on its mission of love for the Great Master, may it prove a blessing to all classes, young and old, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. S.N.H. (SNH 4)

INTRODUCTION:

  • The prophecies of the Bible are like rare diamonds lying hidden in the solitude of the mine. The practical eye of the prospector discovers the gems, and intuitively reads their value; and the skillful hand of the lapidary brings out their many-faced beauties in all their sparkling glory. Every facet shines like the sun. One can not exhaust a diamond; neither can one exhaust the prophecies. New facets remain to be polished, to add their brilliant reflection to the whole. In the prophecies as many features appear as there are different temperaments that men bring to their study. (SNH 7)
  • The prophecy of Daniel is no exception. This book has lessons for all classes. Because the magnitude of the field of his vision is unlimited in extent, it may be studied from points of view which no man can number. The historian feasts upon his records. The chronologist delights in calculating his periods. The lover of the Messiah rejoices in the contemplation of the times and events that led to His first advent, and demonstrated His Messiahship. And the friend of God traces with pleasure the providential movements by which the course of events has been controlled, and men been put up, and cast down, just according as they have been instruments in God's had to carry out His beneficent designs and purposes. (SNH 7)
  • There are lessons in these respects for those who take an interest in such themes; but above, and greater than all, are the lessons to be drawn from Daniel's character, - his integrity, his devotion to duty, and his steadfastness in adhering to true principles, in the face of the greatest apparent danger, and in opposition of the dictates of worldly policy. These principles glow with undimmed luster through all his career, and have encouraged, comforted, and strengthened the servants of God in all ages. (SNH 7-8)
  • Much has been written on the book of Daniel, and much more might be written, as long as principles of divine truth, and noble examples of adherence to them, form interesting and profitable themes of study. In the present work, lessons from this latter source have been especially drawn out. These will be found wonderful subjects for study, and many remarkable thoughts are presented on these points in the following pages. These are lessons which can be laid to heart with the most satisfactory and lasting profit. One who desires to master the philosophy of an acceptable Christian life, and the means and methods by which a close connection with God may be maintained, can find no more competent text-book than is furnished in the record of the experiences of the prophet Daniel. Do you wish to acquire a vivid sense of God's care for His people, and His constant remembrance of them, and the easy means He makes use of to accomplish His ends, you will find the subject fully exploited in the prophecy of Daniel. (SNH 8)
  • Example is a powerful factor in the promotion of the Christian life. "Be ye followers of me," says Paul, "even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). He exhorts Timothy to be an "example of the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12). What higher standard can be raised to attain unto, than is shown in Daniel's relation to God? for it is said of him that he was a "man greatly beloved" (Daniel 10:11).Such was the emphatic testimony borne from God by the angel Gabriel to Daniel, coming as he did immediately from the court of heaven and the presence of God. (SNH 8)
  • The occasion on which these words were first spoken, shows what a relation the man thus addressed maintained to God, and God to him. It was when the prophet, burdened with anxiety in regard to a previous vision which he had not understood, appealed to God for help. He had been seeking the Lord, by earnest prayer, to learn the meaning of it. An angel had been strictly enjoined to make Daniel understand all the matter. And now when the angel came to complete his mission, and make the prophet understand the vision, which he had been prevented by Daniel's illness from doing in its completeness in his previous interview (Daniel 8:27), he says, "O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding (Daniel 9:22). At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision" (Daniel 9:23). The angel asserts that one reason, perhaps the leading reason, why he had now come to give him skill and understanding, was that he was a man "greatly beloved" (Daniel 9:23). (SNH 8-9)
  • Think of the circumstances of this case. God was imparting truth to make known to the world what was to come thereafter. He was making use of one of His servants for this purpose. The process was temporarily interrupted. But Daniel had fixed his heart on understanding all that God had to reveal; and he lifted up his petition to the only source from which help could come. Now mark the answer borne from the throne of the universe, by the hand of a mighty angel: "At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth" (Daniel 9:23). The commandment referred to, was the commandment, or instruction, to Gabriel, to go down to the earth, to this servant of the Lord, and clear up all doubts and uncertainty in his mind in regard to the truth on which he was perplexed. (SNH 9)
  • Will anyone now raise the query, Does the Lord hear prayer? Is he attentive to the wants of His people? In view of this narrative how can we harbor the least vestige of doubt? No sooner does Daniel's prayer begin to ascent to the throne than instruction comes forth from God to Gabriel, to go down to the earth and complete his mission to the prophet. With alacrity he obeys. And the prophet says of him, "being caused to fly swiftly" (Daniel 9:21). From the beginning of Daniel's prayer, as recorded in (Daniel 9), to the point in the prayer when Gabriel appeared upon the scene (Daniel 9:20), could not have been over three minutes and a half, at the ordinary rate of speech. In this brief space of time the prophet's prayer ascended to heaven, it was heard, decision made, and the answer came. There is no loitering in heaven. The first faint whisper of want by the child of God, is instantly lodged upon the throne. The command to answer its given, and the return messenger is at once by the side of the prophet, with the response of comfort and joy. No earthly "rapid transit" can equal this. What a glimpse does this give us into the inner courts of the heavenly world! What a view of the divine telegraphy there employed, and waiting at the court's command! What assurance, encouragement, and comfort must these great facts impart to every true and trusting servant in the vineyard of the Lord! (SNH 10)
  • In this story of Daniel, not only is one such incident given, but a whole series of them is woven together in this tapestry of truth. They begin with Daniel as prime minister in the court of the kingdom of Babylon - Babylon, the city of renown, clothed with such magnificence that inspiration has seen fit to describe it as the head of gold on the world's great representative image. (Daniel 2). The Lord by the prophet has called Babylon "the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency" (Isaiah 13:19). In that city there were beauty, glory, excellency combined in most striking and prolific forms. (SNH 10)
  • Imagine a space (we must imagine it; for no such spot existed before, and has not existed since); - imagine this space containing two hundred and twenty-five square miles, situated in a fertile plain, wrought up by expert cultivation to the suberb production of ornamental trees and shrubs, fragrant flowers, and substantial fruits, till the whole became a veritable paradise, as the garden of the Lord; imagine this space laid out in a perfect square, watered by the magnificent Euphrates, and surrounded by a wall eighty-seven feet thick and three hundred and fifty feet high,fifteen miles in length on each side, and the great squares of the whole area of the city, subdivided into lesser squares by twenty-five streets running from each side of the city, parallel with the opposite walls, and at right angels with each other, and adorned with palaces, porticoes, columns, colonnades, towers, monuments, and hanging gardens, arrayed with everything that art cold embellish or money and labor produce, to make a spot pleasant to the sight and touch and every bodlily sense. (SNH 11)
  • Such was Babylon, glowing in the light of the Syrian sun, and fanned by the blandest zephyrs that ever blew, when Daniel entered to serve the long period of seventy years in captivity. But he was a captive only to political power. He served the Lord, and was spiritually free. From this point through all the personal experience of the prophet, and on through the scenes opened to his mind by the spirit of prophecy, the divine narrative runs. These scenes and experiences are woven together in this book into one connected whole, and the spiritual and practical lessons to be drawn from them are hung like banners of light all along the way. (SNH 11)
  • No one can rise from the study of the prophecies without the conviction being deeply graven upon his heart that the end of the Christian course well repays all the toil and effort of the heavenly journey. The words of the hymn well voice the sentiment:
        • "Then let us hope; 'tis not in vain;
        • Though moistened by our grief, the soil;
        • The harvest brings us joy for pain;
        • The rest repays the weary toil.
        • For they shall reap who sow in tears,
        • Rich gladness through eternal years." (SNH 11-12)
  • After his long service and all his trying cares, the word to Daniel was, "thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Daniel 12:13). The outcome of the Christian service of the disciples in the latter days is expressed in a similar strain by the apostle John in the Revelation: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13).

Unfolding Daniel's Prophecies by Roy Allan Anderson:

  • This book Unfolding Daniel's Prophecies has been long awaited by the readers of Dr. Anderson's excellent Unfolding the Revelation.

A new Book on Daniel and Revelation by Russell Crutcher:

  • Forward:

Secrets of Daniel by Jacques B. Doukhan:

  • PROLUGE:

Daniel - Wisdom to the Wise by Zdravko Stefanovic:

  • FOREWORD:

Tidings out of the Northeast by Mar Alden Swearingen:

  • Preface:

Daniel: A Reader's Guide by William H. Shea:

  • Preface: