Reading the Bible Together – Daniel

July

– The book we are reading this month is the Book of Daniel, which is the 27th book of the Old Testament.

This will be the 52nd book of the Bible we will have read, since commencing this initiative over three years ago in October 2015. (We have actually read Matthew and Joshua twice!) . There are a total of 66 books in the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Only 14 more to go and we will have read the whole Bible together!

We will review this month’s book at our Bible Study and Prayer Meeting on Thursday 1st August 2019.

Introduction to the Book of Daniel

A Brief Overview

Bible Survey – Daniel
Hebrew Name – Dani-El “God is my judge”
Greek Name – Danil (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author – Daniel (According to Tradition)
Date – 607 BC Approximately
Theme – The final kingdom of the Messiah
Types and Shadows – In Daniel Jesus was the fourth man in the fiery furnace

Summary of The Book of Daniel

Overview.

  • Chapters 1 to 6 – the prophetic ministry of Daniel from King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon to King Cyrus and Persia
  • Chapters 7 to 12 – the visions of Daniel during the reigns of Belshazzar of Babylon, Darius and Cyrus of Persia.

Daniel was among the Jewish captives who were brought to Babylon from Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar conquered the city. Daniel was still a youth but apparently of high status (Daniel 1:3). He was of such a high status that he was considered one of the wise men of the court of Babylon. He was quickly recognized in Babylon for his devotion to the one God Yahweh, and he refused to eat of the “dainties” which were brought to him by the king’s servants. He also became recognized as the interpreter of dreams (Daniel 1:8-16), because when King Nebuchadnezzar being disturbed by a dream asked his own wise men to interpret, they could not. Daniel offered to give the king the interpretation and the King was very appreciative to Daniel; he was so impressed that he allowed Daniel to rise to a place of great prominence in Babylon. Later when Babylon fell to the Persians the Jews had new masters over them, and Daniel was quickly recognized as a very special man and he had favor with the king of Persia. This caused many of those in authority to scrutinize Daniel and to look for flaws in his character and they could not find any. They developed a plot which forced the King to have Daniel thrown in the lion’s den. The King recognizing their treachery and hoped for Daniel’s deliverance, and when the Lord saved Daniel from the mouth of the lions Darius ordered his own leaders to be thrown into the lion’s den and they were torn in pieces immediately.

Daniel the Empire Predicting Prophet

Daniel is clearly seen as the Empire predicting prophet. He was an interpreter of dreams, and God revealed through his interpretations his plans for the kingdoms that would rise to power in world history. At that time Babylon was in power, and in fact a world governing Empire in the ancient world. But Daniel said that Babylon would be defeated by the Medes and the Persians who would become a world governing empire. Then Greece would come and dominate the world, and after Greece the Romans would become a world governing empire. Then Daniel predicted that way in the future a final world governing empire would rise that would be like Rome, but different in that it would consist of 10 kings, and then finally 1 king who would rise to power. This 1 king would be a man referred to in the Bible as the antichrist. This would all take place in the final seven-year period known as the 70th week of Daniel. At its consummation the Lord will return, he will crush the enemy, and he will set up a kingdom, an everlasting kingdom, which will never be destroyed.

The 70 weeks of Daniel

The 70 weeks in Daniel are mentioned in Daniel 9, and they refer to a prophecy of Daniel where he claims that the king of Persia will release the Jews to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. When he makes this decree, the Jews are to begin counting, and after 70 weeks (7-year periods or 490 years) the kingdom of the Messiah will be established on earth. But something interesting would happen, at the end of the 69th week (483 years) the Messiah will be “cut off” which indicates His death. The final seven-year period is suddenly thrown into the future, to the time of the end of the world. This final seven-year period is described in the book of Revelation as a time of the Messiah taking back the earth. It is divided into two 3 1/2-year periods and directly in the middle is when the antichrist sets up his throne in Jerusalem and reveals himself as God. Certain portions of this final seven years are mentioned in other prophetic books of the Bible like Zechariah.

Daniel, The Author of His Book

Daniel was the author of this book, and this was confirmed by Jesus himself, but there has been considerable criticism about the book of Daniel because of the accuracy of the prophecies. Many claim that these had to been written after the fact, and that Daniel could not possibly have known so much detail about the future. The first major critic of the genuineness of the book of Daniel was Porphyry of Tyre, a Greek philosopher of the third century AD who claimed that the book of Daniel had been written by a person living in the second century BC during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. His main reason for rejecting the book of Daniel was centered around the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, whom Daniel claimed was a prototype of the Antichrist. Daniel’s prophecies written a few hundred years prior but were very very accurate in their detail. Many other critics have tried to discredit the book of Daniel, but the Bible and history have confirmed that Daniel was the author of this book, and therefore was written at the time of the Persian Empire (sixth century BC).

Outline of the Book of Daniel

The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows:

Daniel is divided into two sections of six chapters each. Daniel 1-6 are largely historical, explaining how Daniel came to be in the court of Nebuchadnezzar and of his rise to power. It tells of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image which Daniel interpreted to refer to the current kingdom and three world powers which would arise after it and of the kingdom of God “a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” which would arise during the era of the last of these great empires. This section also includes the account of the deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace and of the handwriting on the wall which spelled out the defeat of Belshazzar at the hands of the Medes and the Persians.

The second section, Daniel 8-12, describes visions which Daniel received concerning the great world powers of the future and the kingdom of God.

The Greek translation of Daniel contains additions not found in the Hebrew and Aramaic text. These additions are found as separate books in the Apocrypha and are called The Song of the Three Holy Children, the History of Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.

The book of Daniel assures God’s people that their situation in exile would not be permanent, that God would keep his promise to Abraham, he would keep his promise through Jeremiah the prophet that they would return after 70 years. And he would also keep his promise that the Jews would still be the channel through which all nations would be blessed. The book of Daniel is a grand tribute to the providence of God and His lordship of history and the universe.

More information can be found HERE

SHORT ILLUSTRATED SUMMARY OF DANIEL

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