By Don Ruhl
What do you read, watch, or do to assure yourself that things shall turn out right?
When suffering happens across several generations, writing, artwork, and other forms of communication develop.
The Jews needed communication from God as they suffered at the hands of the Babylonians and Persians, and later the Greeks. God gave the Jews the prophet Daniel, who spoke of things yet to come. This is known as apocalyptic literature, a revealing of the future.
Daniel told King Belshazzar of Babylon the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, that God sought to teach the latter king something, and God teaches this throughout the Book of Daniel, “Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses” (Dan 5.21).
Our Introduction to Daniel
Daniel 1.1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 20 show the kind of young man Daniel was by showing the qualities Nebuchadnezzar wanted in the Israelites who would work for him. They had to be:
- Young males
- No blemish
- Gifted in all wisdom
- Quick to understand
- Able to serve in a palace
- Able to learn a different language and literature
That gives us a picture of the kind of man Daniel was. He was perfect inside and outside.
Interpreter of Dreams
Daniel’s ability to interpret dreams reminds us of Joseph. Both were captives in a foreign land. Both attracted the attention of the ruler of the land. Both could interpret dreams. Both attributed their dream-interpretation ability to God (Gen 40.8; 41.16, 25, 28, 32; Dan 2.28, 45).
When Daniel both revealed the dream that the king had and its interpretation, the king could see that Daniel’s God was the true God, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret” (Dan 2.47).
Daniel even had the courage to reveal dreams that did not compliment kings. In chapter 4, Daniel showed that a dream the king had would mean his humiliation, unless he repented of his sins. In chapter 5, Daniel explained to Belshazzar the meaning of writing on a wall that a hand, appearing from nowhere, had written on the wall.
These things could have cost Daniel his life, but he told the truth anyway.
Daniel’s Boldness Before a Den of Lions
All who desire to live godly, will suffer persecution (2Ti 3.12), and the highly favored Daniel was no exception.
Chapter six shows a conspiracy to catch Daniel violating the law of the Medes and Persians. The conspirators convinced the king to sign a law that no one could pray to anyone, except the king. Right on cue, even knowing of the law, Daniel prayed to God anyway.
The conspirators caught Daniel and brought the matter before the king. The punishment was to have the violator thrown into a den of lions.
The king knew that he had made a mistake and tried to look for a loophole to deliver Daniel, but it could not be found.
So, they threw Daniel into the den. The king refused to have pleasure during the night that Daniel was in the den. Then the king discovered that Daniel survived (Dan 6.20–24).
The Visions of Daniel
Daniel not only interpreted dreams for others, but he had dreams or visions. He did not always know the meaning of his own dreams, even as Joseph sometimes did not for his dreams, or did not see the fulfillment of it until years later. Daniel even foresaw the ascension of Christ (Dan 7.13, 14)
In verses 9, 10, Daniel had seen the Ancient of Days, referring to God, but as the prophet continued to watch, he saw the Son of Man arriving at the Ancient of Days, coming on the clouds of heaven, even as Acts 1 shows Jesus ascending into heaven.
Angels in the Book of Daniel
Angels play a visibly prominent role in the Book of Daniel. The only two named angels in the Bible, first appear in the Book of Daniel, Gabriel and Michael, and the latter one is identified as the archangel. Most people call Gabriel an archangel, but the Bible nowhere so designates him.
These two angels are mentioned in 8.16; 9.21; 10.13; 10.21; 12.1
The Book of Daniel does not call Michael the archangel, but Jude 9 does.
The Book of Daniel and Our Culture
The picture of “feet of clay” comes from chapter 2. How do we use it? We have discovered that someone of whom we thought highly, is only as human as we are.
To “see the writing on the wall” comes from chapter 5. What do we mean by that? Someone has seen or needs to see impending danger.
The laws of the Medes and Persians could not be changed (Chapter 6). It was “set in stone.” We use that expression to mean that something cannot change.
To be “thrown to the lions” comes from chapter 6. How do we use that expression? Someone was treated unfairly and harshly.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, though no longer in existence, so impressed people that the gardens were designated as one of the seven wonders of the ancient architectural world.