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Final overview of our study in the book of Daniel

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Outline of the whole book of Daniel

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The book of Daniel is written in two parts: Chapters 1-6 are historical, and chapters 7-12 are prophetic. The book was written in two languages. is composed in Aramaic and the rest of the book is in Hebrew. This is probably because of Daniel's personal history, and the impact captivity would have on him, and the Jewish culture. Author - Daniel

1. Daniel was born into a wealthy and noble family in Judah. 2. In 606 BC. he was among the thousands taken captive in the first wave of Babylonian conquest. (Daniel 1:1-7) 3. Daniel distinguished himself in government service.
a. He was specially trained for leadership in Nebuchadnezzar's court. (1:3-6) b. King Darius appointed Daniel as one of his three chief ad-ministrators (6:3), and planned to set him over his whole kingdom (6:4).
4. Throughout his captivity and promotions, Daniel remained a deeply spiritual man, faithful to his God and his convictions. (cf. 1:8-16; 6:1)
a. He proclaimed the message of God faithfully. (5:24-8) b. He was given the ability to interpret dreams and visions.
[1] Those of others. (2-5) [2] His own. (7-12)
c. Despite his great faith and special ability, he never claimed credit for himself. (2:27-30)
5. Though liberal scholars have questioned Daniel's authorship of the book, there is little doubt about that fact.
a. The book itself presents Daniel as the author (cf. ; ; ; ) b. The historicity of Daniel is found in his contemporary Eze-kiel, who speaks of him several times. c. The testimony of Jesus is that this book was written by "Daniel, the Prophet". () d. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has provided further archaeological evidence of Daniel's authorship.


1. The initial purpose of the book was to allow captive Judah to know its immediate and long-term future.
a. It told the captives that the political kingdoms of the earth would come and go. b. The book called for them to be faithful to God.
2. In addition to the above, the purpose for readers of all genera-tions is to show God's providential hand bringing about His will.

I. Background of the book.

II. Main message of the Book

A. Remember that Daniel was taken in the first wave of Babylo-nian captivity (606 BC). B. He lived during the highest of Babylon's power and witnessed its fall to the Medes and Persians. C. The book covers the period from 606 BC () to 536 BC ()

II. Main message of the Book

A. The main message of the book is the sovereignty of God.

1. Through the powers of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, God would show us His purposes. 2. The same could be said today of the U.S., Russia, China, etc.

B. With regard to individuals, God does not control the decisions of human beings (cf. ; ), but He uses our choices to bring about His desired ends.

Outline of the Book of Daniel

A. The story of Daniel and others.

1. Daniel and three other captives from Judah are trained for ser-vice in Nebuchadnezzar's court. ()

a. They wouldn't defile themselves with the King's food. () b. Through their fast, God sustained and blessed them for their integrity. ()

2. When Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream, only Daniel could interpret it. ()

a. He was then given a prominent position in the King's court. ()

3. Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden image for worship (), but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow before it ().

a. The three were cast into a fiery furnace but were delivered by God. ()
a. The three were cast into a fiery furnace but were delivered by God. () 6. Nebuchadnezzar had another dream that was interpreted by Daniel. ()

4. Nebuchadnezzar had another dream that was interpreted by Daniel. ()

a. Its message was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar became temporarily insane because of his pride. () b. He recovered and praised God. ()

5. Under Nebuchadnezzar's successor, Belshazzar, Daniel inter-preted mysterious writing which appeared on the wall. ()

a. The prophecy was fulfilled that very evening when Darius the Mede conquered Babylon and Belshazzar was killed. () b. Daniel was given an honored position in Darius' court. () c. Jealous peers plotted against him (), but when Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, God shut their mouths. ()

B. Daniel's Visions and Prophecies. ()

1. The second half of the book goes from a personal record of Daniel's life to revelations he received about the kingdom of God. These included the:
a. Vision of four great beasts. () b. Vision of the ram and shaggy goat (Daniel8:1-27) c. Vision of the 70 weeks. () d. Vision of events during the Maccabean era. ()
2. Daniel was then told to seal the book. ()

Key themes of the book.

A. The earthly kingdoms and the Kingdom of God.

1. In , Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about an image made of four different materials.
a. This image had a head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. b. Daniel interpreted the meaning as four earthly kingdoms:
[1] Gold was Babylon. [2] Silver was Medo-Persia. [3] Brass was Greece. [4] Iron was Rome.
c. In the days of the fourth kingdom, a stone, not cut by human hands, would roll down and destroy the image.
[1}. That stone obviously pointed to the establishment of God's church, (cf. )
2. In , the prophet shares a vision of four beasts.
a. We believe they stand for the same four empires as in Chapter 2. b. In , the resurrection, ascension and exaltation of the Christ appear to be described. c. It seems likely the bad things committed by the fourth beast refer to the Roman persecution of the early church, (cf. )
3. In , there is a vision of a ram and a shaggy goat.
a. These are prophetic images of the second and third king-doms. (i.e. Medo-Persia and Greece) b. The "prominent hour" of the shaggy goat is probably a refer-ence to Alexander the Great. (cf. ) c. The "small hour" could well be Antiochus Epip-hanies. ()

B. The "seventy weeks" of .

1. The interpretations offered for this passage are varied. 2. Two major ones are worth consideration:
a. Some claim the seventy weeks (or seventy sevens) are a number of years (i.e. 490 years).
[1] If you begin with the decree of Antaxerxes to Ezra in 458 BC (cf. ; ) and come forward 69 x 7 years (i.e. 483 years), you arrive at a date of 26 AD - the year Jesus began his public ministry. (cf. ) [2] The seventieth week would then be a completion of His work. (cf. )
b. More likely, the seventy weeks of years is entirely symbolic of the whole period necessary for the messianic work to come to fruition and be fulfilled. (cf. )

C. Faith and their walk with God.

1. The Bible is filled with examples of heroes who kept their faith and the integrity of their walk with God through difficult circumstances.
a. Joseph. () b. Esther. c. John the baptizer. () d. All of .
2. Daniel brings two classic examples of the same principle:
a. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. b. Daniel and the lion's den.
3. Because both of the situations ended with the heroes not being harmed, we sometimes draw the wrong message from their stories.
a. The message is not that God will always keep his people away from harm. (cf. ) b. The message is wrapped up in the response the three captive Kings gave to Nebuchadnezzar in . c. The correct message to their stories is to walk by faith.
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