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Daniel

Date: 6th century BC 

Contents

The name Daniel means God is my Judge. Daniel comes from a royal or prominent family in the city of Jerusalem. He was taken as a prisoner of war by King Nebuchadnezzar from the land of Babylon in the time of King Jehoiakim, before the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. Daniel's talents are recognized and allowed to study in Babylon. He studies language and science in preparation for a position at court. His mentor allows him to live exclusively on vegetables and water during his studies. Instead of the royal food and drink. His dedication makes Daniel a better student than his fellow students.

In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. Only Daniel appears to be able to explain the images from the dream. He thus acquires a prominent position among the scientists of Babylon. After the death of Nebuchadnezzar (562 BC) Daniel loses this position again. Under King Belshazzar, he is appointed as the third ruler of the kingdom. He has explained a mysterious text, which appears on the wall during a banquet. He holds this position under the kings Darius and Cyrus the Persian. Daniel is an Intelligent and righteous man. He even enjoyed the confidence of the people. God protects him during this period. Nothing is known about his later years and death.

The book of Daniel is largely made up of prophetic dreams and visions. There is historical material, mainly as a background for the prophecies. Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's first dream (2:1-49) is that 4 kingdoms would fall. Nebuchadnezzar's dream (4:1-37) refers to his vanity and pride. The dream of Daniel (7:1-28) parallels in many ways the first dream of Nebuchadbezzar. Now the kingdoms are shown by fantasy beasts instead of the different metals in a big picture. In this dream there appears a person called the Son of Man (7:13).

In the New Testament, Christ Jesus uses this term for himself.

Daniel has another dream (9:24-27). In this dream it is about a period when the work of God is completed.

Many Christians view the work of Christ Jesus, the atonement for sins and eternal justification, as fulfillment of this prophecy.

Daniel had other visions related to event in world history (8:1-27; 11:2-20; 11:21-12:3).

Theological Themes

There are 4 elements to distinguish in the message of Daniel

1. God knows all and knows the future events and sometimes reveals this secret to His prophets.
2. God controls the events on earth, that does not mean that man has no freedom of choice, but that God carries out His plan in and through our choices.
3. Man lives in faith, for no one can resist God.
4. The enemies of God may have prevailed in the past, but the last chapter will be written by God. When the last chapter is written by God, He emerges victorious. Those who have sided with Him stand next to Him.

The Messiah Jesus plays the most important role in God's plan. A glimpse of this miracle of man's redemption is shown to Daniel.

Main features

1. Life in Babylon (1:1-2),
2. Early Visions in Babylon (2:1-6:28),
3. Daniel's vision of the world powers (7:1-8:27),
4. Daniel's visions of history and redemption (9:1-12:13).