The man Daniel – The Prophet, the fourth of the major prophets.
He belonged to a family of high rank.
He was taken to Babylon at the age of sixteen.
His whole life from that time was spent in Babylon
He lived a saintly life in an ungodly country
Though he belonged to a captive race, he never swerved from devotion and loyalty to God, and he rose to the highest position in the State.
He not only was a State servant but also a prophet of God and as we shall see his prophecies deal principally with the Gentiles and are among the most remarkable in the Bible. He was a man of prayer—He was a man of God. Jer 25-Bondage; Jer 29 Freedom
The Book of Daniel
The great mysteries of Matt 24, 25: Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Thess 2, and Revelation can only be unlocked through an understanding of Daniel.
Daniel is rightly classified as an “apocalypse”. In this category it takes its place with Revelation in the N. T. and Ezekiel and Zechariah in the O.T.
The word “apocalypse” means unveiling (Apoclyptical; Apocolyptic)
Writings of this kind were composed during oppressive conditions. The prophet used symbols to express what they saw in the same way as the Lord used parables to explain the mysteries of the Kingdom.
It is interesting to note the conditions and the men who wrote the great books of prophecy.
Ezekiel was written during the Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel was also in exile with Daniel.
Zechariah was written in the difficult years of restoration – everyone was trying to hinder the work.
Revelation was written when John was banished to the Isle of Patmos and in all probability worked in the mines there. The church was suffering terrible persecution and did so for 300 years.
Daniel was written during the Babylonian captivity.
Some highlights in the Book:
Ch 1 describes somewhat the life of Daniel in Babylon
Ch 2 Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the great image. The image described by Daniel.
Ch 3 The image of gold – the fiery furnace
Ch 4 Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and punishment
Ch 5 Belshazzar’s feast and his downfall.
Ch 6 Daniel in the den of lions
Ch 7 Daniel’s vision of future world history
Ch 8 The vision of the ram and the goat
Ch 9 The prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks
Ch 10 The vision of the glory of God
Chs 11-12 The history of the world from Darius to the time of the end.
The prophecy’s in the book covers the period of “the times of the Gentiles”, that is from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to the return of the Lord to Mount Olivet.
This chapter is really the introduction to the book, and it explains how Daniel was called, prepared, matured, and blessed of God.
Read verses 1-2
These verses give the historical setting
The reason for the captivity was the disobedience of the nations. They had forsaken the law and had ignored God’s commandments.
They also had gone into idolatry – this brought on moral apostasy.
The record of this spiritual decline should be considered by every church and individual.
v. 3-7 is the account of some Jewish youths who were selected for training.
We are introduced to four of them. v. 6
v. 7 They are given new names.
v. 8-10 Daniel’s solution
The food they were allotted did not meet the requirements of the Mosaic Law. (unclean beasts).
The wine in all probability had been offered to idols.
Daniel could not accept this, and brought his objection to the chief steward.
This was an awkward situation for the steward. He could lose his life for not obeying the king’s command.
v.11-14 Daniel requested a ten-day test period for himself and the other three.
This the steward consented to do.
The other selected had the rich food.
Daniel and his three cohorts had vegetables.
v.15-16 The end of the test.
God honored these for their faithfulness.
Their request was granted.
v.17-21 God’s blessing continued on them.
This test had gone on for three years – they were now 20 years old (approx)
Their natural abilities far exceeded their contemporaries and they were ten times wiser than the king’s wise men. Honor Me – I will honor you.