The theme of the book of Daniel
The book of Daniel could be called a handbook on history and prophecy. The four major lines of prophecy in the book of Daniel present in short outline, the background of world history, the experiences of God’s children from Daniel to the end of time. Each of the four lines of prophecy reaches to the end of time when God will establish His eternal kingdom (Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14; 8:25; 12:1).
The historical portion of the book of Daniel stands as introduction to the prophetic portion. By providing a detailed account of God’s dealings with Babylon, the book of Daniel helps the readers to understand the meaning of the rise and fall of other nations outlined in the prophetic section of the book.
The first four chapters of Daniel tell us the way by which God reached out for King Nebuchadnezzar. God used Daniel to be a good illustration for the principles of heaven at the court of Babylon and thus represent the divine will to Nebuchadnezzar.
The Lord orchestrated events to prepare Nebuchadnezzar to know Him. A series of dramatic experiences—the dream of chapter 2, the outstanding deliverance from the fiery furnace in chapter 3, and the dream of chapter 4. All of these experiences showed the king the knowledge, power, and authority of Daniel’s God. Then, Nebuchadnezzar recognized that the God of heaven was not only Omniscient but Omnipotent.
Thus, the book of Daniel gives a clear demonstration of the principles according to which God’s wisdom, power, and authority work through the history of nations for the final establishment of His divine plan.
The four visions
All four visions of the book of Daniel are concerned with the struggle between the powers of good and evil. Let’s review them:
The first vision (Daniel 2) deals mainly with political changes. Its first goal was to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar his role as ruler of Babylon. God wanted to make known to the king “what should come to pass hereafter” (v. 29).
The second vision (Daniel 7) stresses the experiences of God’s people during the reign of the powers mentioned in the first vision. It forecasts the final victory of the saints and God’s judgment upon their enemies (v. 14, 18, 26, 27).
The third vision (Daniel 8; 9), supplements the second, stresses the devil’s attempts to do away with the religion and people of God.
The fourth vision (Daniel 10–12) summarizes the preceding visions and gives more detail than the rest. It magnifies the subject of the second vision and that of the third vision. It focuses on “what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days” (Daniel 10:14), and “the time appointed was long” (v. 1). The narrative outline of history covered in Daniel 11:2–39 leads up to “the latter days” (Daniel 10:14) and the events of “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40).
Unfortunately, the principles Nebuchadnezzar learned failed to benefit the Babylonian kings that came after him. The last ruler of Babylon, Belshazzar, publicly disobeyed God (Daniel 5:23), although he knew of the experiences of Nebuchadnezzar (v. 22).
Daniel and Revelation
The prophecies of the book of Daniel are closely related to those of the book of Revelation. For Revelation covers the same material but gives special attention to the role of the Christian church as God’s people. Thus, details that may be not clear in the book of Daniel are often magnified in the book of Revelation.
In His service,
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