The ways of God are mysterious. When it seems that he is ploughing under his treasures, he may be planting seeds that are indiscernible, until they take root and blossom, sometimes decades or even centuries later. So it was when King Nebuchadnezzar planned diabolically to enrich his own court while impoverishing Judah and assuring that it would have no rebirth. He picked the finest, most promising young men of Jerusalem, and carted them off to Babylon (circa 605BC), there to serve in his court and make him a beneficiary of their brilliance.
Among these young captives was Daniel. There, in a land of spiritual poverty, the young captives sanctified God’s name so undeniably that even Nebuchadnezzar had to acknowledge his greatness; and there they built the foundations of the flourishing Torah community that would eventually return to its own land and build the Second Temple. Daniel was the leader of that generation, the inspiration of his peers, and the one who brought God’s message to the heathen kings of Babylon.
Daniel became one of the leading figures in the royal court. Kings tried to intimidate him to follow their ways, but he refused and prevailed. His companions Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, also known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were thrown into a flaming furnace, but they emerged unscathed. Daniel himself was flung into the lion’s den, but he too came out unharmed. They proved that Israel remained faithful to God and that he remains as their protector.
The kings of Babylon had no choice but to turn to Daniel to explain God’s cryptic messages, and he brought them terrifying truths. When Belshazzar saw the ‘writing on the wall’ only Daniel could interpret its frightening message for him.
In the concluding chapters of the book, Daniel saw visions that remain the subject of intense speculation, for he was shown prophetic scenes of the four beasts representing the four monarchies that were to dominate Israel during its long series of exiles and foreign domination. And he was shown the calculation of the End of Days, when the people of God will be redeemed and the world will finally achieve the divine goal for which it was created. What do the numbers mean? When and how will these events come to pass?
Although it is believed that some of these vision have now been fulfilled, and that those remaining are further examined in the Revelation received by the apostle John, these vision remain clothed in mysteries that will not be fully stripped away until the final consummation of all things when Christ returns.
|Introduction||Chapter One||Chapter Two||Chapter Three|
|Chapter Four||Chapter Five||Chapter Six||Chapter Seven|
|Chapter Eight||Chapter Nine||Chapter Ten||Chapter Eleven|
There is a mind map of the structure of the Book of Daniel that may prove useful for study.