King Nebuchadnezzar deported a number of Jews from Judah to Babylon prior to the fall of Jerusalem. Among those taken in the first group was a teenager named Daniel whose long life spanned the entire seventy-year captivity. He is the central personality of the events recorded and is noted for his courage, wisdom, tactfulness, humility, and faith. His prophecies teach God is sovereign and able to accomplish His purposes despite the opposition of the mightiest rulers on earth.
Daniel outlines God’s prophetic plan for the Gentile nations as well as His prophetic plan for Israel. The book naturally divides itself into three major sections. Chapter one provides introductory and background material about Daniel and his Hebrew companions. Chapters two through seven record some dramatic events which occur during the captivity. The final chapters consist of a series of visions concerning world kingdoms and the end times.
The theme of the book is predominately apocalyptic, emphasizing God’s absolute control of world history and human affairs. It is laced with highly symbolic language, imagery, miracles, visions, dreams and their interpretation. Daniel is the vital key to all Biblical prophecy, providing the only concise and chronological view of future world events. Apart from the eschatological revelations in this book, God’s entire prophetic program would remain a mystery. Daniel shows that the era of the Gentile domination of Israel began with the Babylonian captivity and will continue until Christ comes to establish His everlasting Kingdom.
1. What specific steps did Daniel and his companions take to prove their fidelity to God (1:12-21)? How was their integrity rewarded?
2. Briefly summarize Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream and Daniel’s interpretation (Ch. 2).
3. Paraphrase the situation concerning the golden image. What does this story verify regarding true and false worship? How were Daniel’s friends protected and promoted? What lessons can be learned from their ordeal (Ch. 3)?
4. Summarize the king’s vision and Daniel’s interpretation. State the lessons the king learned (Ch. 4).
5. Briefly paraphrase the situation regarding Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall. What is Daniel’s interpretation of the words? What lessons does this story teach (Ch. 5)?
6. State the facts concerning Darius’ foolish decree. What does Daniel do that defies his decree? What was Daniel’s punishment? How is he delivered? What new decree does the king make (Ch. 6)?
7. Summarize Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (4:1-14). Briefly state the interpretation (7:15-28).
8. Briefly summarize the interpretation of the vision of the ram and male goat in chapter 8:15-17.
9. Provide a summation of Daniel’s vision of the 70 weeks in chapter nine.
10. Explain the vision of the heavenly messenger in chapter ten.
11. What conclusions can be drawn from the final vision of Daniel (12: 5-13)?
12. In what specific ways does the book of Daniel verify God’s control over the lives of individuals as well as world history?