The Book of Daniel: From the 6th Century B. C. to the Modern Era, and Beyond
The Book of Daniel is a prophetic book (written in the 6th Century B. C.) with correlation to the Book of Revelation (prophetic in nature). The book of Daniel is one of the most universal books of the Bible. It brings the only hope that people need, especially in our day.
The book of Daniel opens with an allusion to the issue of worship by stating that the Lord or Master (Heb. "Adonay") delivered His household (literally gave King Jehoiakim) into the hand of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. This is why the prophet Daniel explicitly articulates that it was the Lord who gave His people to their enemy (Dan. 1:2).
Daniel, a prophet of the 6th century B.C., lived firmly by biblical principles, and yet he endured two different political systems (The Neo-Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires). He survived:
- Six Babylonian kings (Nebuchadnezzar, Amel-Marduk, Neriglissar, Labashi-Marduk, Belshazzar, Nabonidus).
- Two Medo-Persian rulers (Darius the Mede and Cyrus).
As a statesman, he was a successful minister in the Babylonian royal court and a prominent prime minister in the Medo-Persian kingdom, as well as the president of the Royal Academy. Surprisingly, as a wise man, a Jew, a foreigner, and a captive, he was the prominent counselor to many kings of different national and religious backgrounds. Life was not always easy for him, but he stayed in the court services in Babylon at least until the first year of Cyrus (Dan. 1:31), died at a ripe old age most probably in his 90s (ca. 622–530), and mostly stayed wisely out of trouble in the situations of different strict royal commands.
The book of Daniel is about the end, and world history terminates in the time of the end (‘et qets). This specific term occurs five times in the book, always in the prophetical section (Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9):
- The KJV uses the word “end” 27 times (Dan. 1:5, 15, 18; 4:11, 22, 29, 34; 6:26; 7:26, 28; 8:17, 19 [twice]; 9:24, 26 [twice]; 11:6, 27, 35, 40, 45; 12:4, 6, 8, 9, 13 [twice]).
- NKJV employs this term 26 times (Dan. 1:5, 15, 18; 4:22, 29, 34; 6:26; 7:28; 8:17, 19; 9:24, 26 [twice], 27; 11:6, 13, 18, 27, 35, 40, 45; 12:4, 8, 9, 13 [twice]).
- NIV, 24 times (Dan. 1:15, 18; 2:44; 4:34; 5:26; 6:26; 7:28; 8:17, 19; 9:24, 26 [twice], 27 [twice]; 11:18, 27, 35, 40, 45; 12:4, 9, 12, 13 [twice]).
The book of Daniel is not about Daniel but about the God of Daniel who invites, as the whole book attests, to worship Him in truth, love, and reverence. Those who do it are wise (Dan. 11:33-35; 12:10). In English Bibles, the word “worship” usually occurs in the book of Daniel at least 11 times:
- Daniel 3:5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 (twice), 18, 28 (in KJV, NKJV, NIV, NAU).
- In some translations, worship in Daniel 2:46 (KJV), 7:14 (NKJV), and 7:27 (NIV).
The Book of Daniel is about those who stand for God and His truth, those who live His law and lead others to righteousness, will be resurrected to eternal life and shine (Dan. 12:2, 3). Resurrection is the culminating hope of God’s people, who then will live in God’s presence forever in His kingdom (Dan. 7:26). This goal is the ultimate reward of God’s faithful worshipers.
The book of Daniel is punctuated with seven prayers:
- The three Hebrews
- King Nebuchadnezzar
The book of Daniel ends with a blessing (Dan. 12:12), a feature that is specific to many biblical prayers (Ps. 1:1, 119:1, Rev. 1:3).
The final royal doxology recorded in the book of Daniel is magnificent. King Darius exalts the God of Daniel: “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (6:26, 27). Similar royal doxologies occur in Daniel 2:47; 3:28, 29; and 4:3.
I hope this introduction to the Book of Daniel (date, the content of the book and prophetic style), gives you a better appreciation for the Book. CM