What happened to Daniel in the Bible
The prophet Daniel and his message
old title: Notes on the Book of Daniel
The book of Daniel is not only an important and interesting book, it is also very topical. On the one hand, it is a thoroughly prophetic book. God gives Daniel astonishing revelations about the history of the then future four world empires. He talks about the appearance of the Messiah, about his rejection and his later reign. Some of his predictions have already come true, others will come true.
On the other hand, the reader of the book immediately feels that God gives us a lot of practical hints for our life as Christians in the prophet Daniel, hints that we should not overlook. We want to consider both sides in the following considerations.
The political and historical background
In order to properly understand Daniel's prophecies, it is useful to first examine the political and historical background. We want to do this from the following three angles:
a) The people of Israel
Under Solomon, the son and heir to the throne of King David, what had hitherto been the only people of Israel was separated. Ten tribes went to his adversary Jeroboam, while two tribes - Judah and Benjamin - stayed with his son Rehoboam. In the period that followed, we saw both the ten tribes - sometimes called the Northern Kingdom - and the two tribes - sometimes called the Southern Kingdom - blatant signs of decay. The people turned from God so that God acted with them in his government. First it hit the ten tribes, which in the year 721 BC. Were brought into Assyrian captivity by Shalmaneser. Not quite 120 years later, God's long-suffering with the two tribes also ended. Despite many warnings and clear judgments from many prophets, they had not listened to the voice of their God. Therefore, they were taken into captivity for their own infidelity. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the instrument in God's hand for this.
The last godly king of Judah was Josiah. Unfortunately, in old age he got involved in a completely nonsensical fight with Neko, the Pharaoh of Egypt, and was killed in this battle. Neko was on the way to secure a piece of the decaying formerly powerful Assyrian Empire. He actually didn't want the fight with Josiah because he was only holding him up. It was only because Josiah could not be convinced that the decisive battle in which Josiah came to an end (2 Kings 29:23; 2 Chr 35: 20-25).
Josiah had several sons, of whom Jehoahaz succeeded him. He only ruled for three months. Then Neko deposed him and Eljakim became king. In 2 Chronicles 36: 3.4 we read: “And the king of Egypt put him down in Jerusalem; and he fined the land a hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold. And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But Neko arrested his brother Jehoahaz and took him to Egypt. ”The change of names - which we encounter again in the book of Daniel - was at that time an expression of the power of kings and rulers, who could decide at will about their vassals.
Jehoiakim was a very wicked and godless king. It is the Jehoiakim spoken of in Daniel 1: 1. Under his reign, the king of Babylon began to deport the Jews.
A total of three large deportations to Babel took place:
- under Jehoiakim in the year 606/605 BC Chr. Daniel was among those who were deported that year.
- under Jojakin in the year 598/597 BC Chr.
- under Zedekiah in the year 587/586 BC In that year the city and the temple were destroyed.
God had announced through the prophet Jeremiah that the time of exile in Babylon would last 70 years (cf. Jer 25.11.12; 29.10). This period began with the first evacuation of some of the Jews under the reign of Jehoiakim in 606/605 BC. Chr. (Cf. Dan 1,1). It ended with the decree of the Persian king Kores (Cyrus) in 537/536 when he allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the destroyed temple there.
b) The nations
It is significant that the deportation of the Jews to Babel came at a time of great political upheaval. While in the north (in today's Europe) in antiquity there were rival gangs and hordes and less organized state and rule structures, history in the south (in the Middle East) already tells of large and rival peoples and powers. Assyria (Syria) and Egypt were known as “great powers”. Both nations played an important role in the history of the people of Israel. God had repeatedly used it as a "rod of discipline" for His earthly people. In the future story (in the end times) these two will again play a special role. Both nations were great rivals who kept fighting for supremacy. That seemed to be changing now. The power of Assyria had already come to an end. Nebuchadnezzar's father played a decisive role in this. His name was Nabopolassar and he was the founder and first king of the New Babylonian Empire. In 626 BC He took the city of Babel. He became stronger and stronger through alliances with various ethnic groups in the Assyrian Empire. His reign lasted from 625 BC. BC to 605 BC Chr.
Nabopolassar belonged to the Chaldean tribe of the Aramaeans. He had been a general of the Assyrian king, but whom he betrayed. He made an alliance with the Medes against the Assyrians, who had ruled Babylon for 200 years. The Assyrians were defeated. 612 BC Nabopolassar took the Assyrian capital Nineveh. Apparently the residents had not listened to the message of the prophet Jonah all the time. This is how it originated in 612 BC. The Chaldean or Neo-Babylonian empire, to which today's land of Israel - which was previously under Egyptian influence - should soon belong. 609 BC BC Nabopolassar had all legacies of the Assyrian government destroyed. The prophet Nahum reports of his victory: "And with an inundated flood he will completely destroy Nineveh's place, and darkness will persecute his enemies" (Nah 1,8).
His son Nebuchadnezzar was born as early as 620 BC. He was used as a military leader for his aging father and after his death he took over the throne and power in the Babylonian empire. He ruled for 43 years.
Egypt, as the second great power, fared no significantly different from Assyria. The prophet Jeremiah reports about this: “About Egypt. About the army of Pharaoh Neko, king of Egypt, which was in Carchemish, on the river Euphrates, which Nebuchadrezar, king of Babylon, defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah ”(Jer 46: 2 ). In this way Babylon became a great power that no one could oppose for a long time. It is the first of the four great empires that the book of Daniel talks about at length.
Babel is mentioned twice in the first book of Moses. “And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why they say: like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord! And the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon ... ”(Gen. 10: 8-10). “That is why they gave her the name Babel; for there the Lord confused the language of all the earth, and from there the Lord scattered it over all the earth ”(Gen. 11: 9). These two passages show us two important characteristics of the Babylonians that we find again in the Book of Daniel: on the one hand, the irresistible one Makes and violencewith which the enemies are defeated, and on the other hand the pride and the arrogancebecause of which God confused the language.
c) The conquest and destruction of Jerusalem
Let's take another look at the temporary end of the city of Jerusalem. Daniel 1: 1 speaks of the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah. At that time, Nebuchadnezzar was co-ruler with his father, who was still alive at the time. The Babylonians came to Judah to bring it under their rule. Jerusalem was besieged for the first time. While secular historiography says nothing about this, it does not mean that these events did not actually take place. On the contrary, we are convinced that it happened exactly as described in the Bible.
Jerusalem was besieged and had to give up. However, the city was not yet destroyed at this point. This did not happen until the eleventh year of Jehoiakim's reign. In 606/605 BC Judah became tributary and had to give up part of the treasures of the house of God. Many of the people's elite were abducted to Babylon to serve the pagan king there. Among these distinguished young men were Daniel and his friends. This is the first "route" to Babel. At the same time, it is the beginning of the 70-year captivity that Jeremiah prophesied.
While Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine, today's land of Israel, for the first time, his father Nabopolassar died. His son returned to Babylon to claim the whole kingdom for himself. From now on he was the sole ruler of the Babylonian Empire. Jehoiakim was his vassal in Jerusalem. After a few years, however, he revolted against the King of Babel. Nebuchadnezzar came back and besieged Jerusalem a second time. He took the city again, and this time it was largely destroyed. This happened in the eleventh year of the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 26:36). It is not entirely clear what happened to the king of Judah. In any case, he was seized, bound in iron shackles, and dragged to Babel. It ended there. Nebuchadnezzar must have despised him so much that he threw his body on the earth outside the city. It was a terrible dishonor. Jeremiah had predicted this: “Therefore, thus says the Lord of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, the king of Judah: One will not complain about him:“ Woe, my brother! ”And:“ Woe, sister! ”One becomes do not complain about him: “Woe, Lord!” and: “Woe to his glory!” He will be buried with the burial of an ass; it will be dragged away and thrown away, far from the gates of Jerusalem ”(Jer 22:18, 19). This prophecy was literally fulfilled in Babel.
His son Jekonja became king in his place. His name was also changed to Jojakin. During the siege he only ruled the city for a good three months and then had to surrender with his family (2 Kings 24:12). Nebuchadnezzar took him to Babylon, where he spent many years in prison until he was finally pardoned (2 Kings 25:27).
But there was still a king in Jerusalem, albeit a vassal of the ruler of Babel. "The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jojakin's uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah" (2 Kings 24:17). His reign lasted 11 years. Again there was an outrage against the King of Babel, and again Jerusalem was besieged, captured and now finally destroyed. The prophet Jeremiah talks a lot about this time. God used him as a reminder. From the end of the last king we read: “And the sons of Zedekiah were slaughtered before his eyes; and they blinded Zedekiah's eyes and bound him with brazen chains and brought him to Babylon ”(2 Kings 25: 7). This was the third deportation into exile to Babel and the temporary sad end of God's people on earth. It was the result of their own wicked and ungodly behavior. Despite the many warnings of the prophets, they had not heard, so that God had to turn away from them altogether.
After the final destruction of the capital, some Jews still remained in the country. After some time, however, these were also brought to Babel in a fourth “route”. So the land was finally devoid of descendants of Abraham. The Jews were in small groups in a foreign country and under foreign rule. They lived and worked there. There they wept and mourned (cf. Ps 137). But there many also adapted to the living conditions and tried to make “the best” of it from their point of view. Few trusted the God of their fathers and were not defiled by what was common in the Babylonian Empire. These included Daniel and his friends.
A change in God's action
In the background of the political and historical events, which we have now looked at more closely, there is something very important: God changes his actions with regard to his earthly people Israel and with regard to the nations. The earthly “people of God” cease to be the people of God (cf. Hos 1,9). The throne of God is no longer in Jerusalem. Instead, God places the fate of this world in the hands of the nations and world rulers. These are the “times of the nations” of which our Lord Jesus himself spoke (Lk 21:24).
a) The earthly people of God
It is nothing new that there have been peoples and nations on this earth who were mightier and greater than the people of Israel. God himself says this to his people: “It is not because you are more than all nations that the Lord inclined to you and chose you; for you are the least of all peoples; but because of the Lord's love for you and because he kept the oath he swore to your fathers ”(Deut. 7: 7, 8). Nevertheless, the destinies of the nations were closely related to this people of God on earth. “When the Most High distributed the inheritance to the nations, when he separated the children of men from one another, he established the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deut. 32: 8). Israel was a special people. It was different from the rest of the nations. God confessed to this people. It was his people, his firstborn. According to God's thoughts, Israel was the center of the earth - and so it will actually be once in the Millennium.
The throne of God was in Jerusalem. David and Solomon ruled the twelve tribes. The chronicler writes: “And so Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of his father David, and he succeeded; and all Israel obeyed him ”(1 Chr 29:23). God had set David and Solomon on his throne as kings. You should rule on his mind. They did so in part, but they failed nonetheless. In their kingship, however, they were an indication of what God would one day accomplish in and through Christ. He will reign as the true Son of David during the Millennium (cf. Ps 2: 6-9). As has always happened, so here too: God entrusts something to us humans and we spoil it. Then Christ takes that position and does exactly whatever God's purpose was. So it was with Adam, so it was with Noah, so it was with David and Solomon. God never gives up his purpose, and Christ will accomplish it. Christ is always God's answer to what we humans corrupt.
David and Solomon failed. Yet God did not immediately give up his people. But the decline of kingship continued. God had to act in judgment. As great as the privilege of being "people of God" was, so great was the responsibility. This principle is presented by God in Amos 3,2: “Of all the families of the earth I have only known you; therefore I will visit all of your injustices on you. ”The ten tribes were the first to be taken into captivity in Assyria. Later it hit the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who until then had been closely associated with the city of God, the house of God and the throne of God. The idolatry and rebellion against God had reached their full extent, so the righteous judgment of God fell upon them. They were deported to Babel.
With this the “people of God” ceased to be “people of God”. God had already foretold this through the prophet Hosea. This prophet was supposed to marry a whore with whom he had three children. He wrote the following about the last child: “And she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And he said, Give him the name Lo-Ammi; for you are not my people, and I do not want to be yours ”(Hosea 1,8.9). Until then, despite all unfaithfulness, God had always confessed to his people and recognized them as his people. But now the time had come when that changed. With the end of the kingship in Judah, God's people were no longer recognized. Significantly, God does not call the people “my people” in Daniel 9:24, but speaks of the people of Daniel. The people are driven out and God does not recognize them. The throne of God and the glory of God were no longer in Jerusalem. Ezekiel impressively describes how the cloud of glory (symbol of the glory and presence of God) slowly - one might almost say hesitantly - left Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9-11). This happened in the time of the last king of Judah, in the time of the reign of Zedekiah. Jerusalem was now a city like any other. God no longer lived in it. In Jeremiah 25 we read in remarkable words how much God cared for his people but how they rejected every appeal from God. So the judgment came.Jeremiah writes, among other things: “And I took the cup from the hand of the Lord, and made all the nations drink to which the Lord had sent me: Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and their kings, their princes, to make them a wasteland, to horror to make a hiss and a curse as it is that day ”(Jer 25:17, 18). This verse makes it clear that Jerusalem would fare no differently from the cities of the nations, only that judgment would begin there.
At this point it is important to note that we need to distinguish the phrase “people of God” in the Old Testament from that in the New Testament. When it comes to us, all of God's children form God's people. Those who are born of God belong to the family or to the people of God. In the Old Testament, however, the people of God includes all who - outwardly - belonged to the people of Israel (or later to the Jews). The people of God in the Old Testament are not just about people from Israel who had life from God, but about the people in their entirety. These people as a whole had been given up by God and God no longer calls them "his people". W. Kelly writes: "God would have sacrificed his holiness, his truth and his majesty if he had endured the Jews and their idolatrous king any longer."1
b) The times of the nations
The moment God "gives up" his throne in Jerusalem and the glory leaves the city, everything changes. Now Israel is no longer the center and center of God's government. In Isaiah 54: 5 God calls himself “the God of all the earth”. This is related to his government in the kingdom where God will rule this earth directly. But with the beginning of the book of Daniel, God introduces himself under a different title. He describes himself as the "God of Heaven". Since this expression occurs four times in the Book of Daniel (chap. 2.18; 2.19; 2.37; 2.44), we can call it typical. The expression also occurs in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra and Nehemiah, who tell of the time of exile, emphasize the fact that God now rules from heaven and no longer has his place in the people of Israel. Daniel also calls him the “King of heaven” (chap. 4,34) and the “lord of heaven” (chap. 5:23). The throne of God is now in heaven, so to speak. From there, God indirectly (i.e., in his providence) directs the affairs of this earth. But He has now given authority and responsibility to the rulers of the nations. Israel is no longer the center of world events, but now it is about the nations and world empires. The empires fight for supremacy and succeed one another.
This time period is called by the Lord himself in Luke 21:24 “times of the nations”, the fulfillment of which is still in the future. What is meant is a time that is characterized by the fact that God temporarily gives up direct rule and places it in the hands of one nation. In total there are four world empires that follow one another (the Babylonian, Medopersian, Greek and Roman empires) and rule during this time. The first three world empires have passed, the Roman Empire has a past, but also a future (cf. Rev 17,8). God determined the beginning of these "times of the nations" and He also determined the end when Christ takes over and Israel will again be God's people (Hos 2:25). But now God allows the empires to fight and replace one another.
It is also important to note that this time is no longer - as before - about individual independent nations with their kings, but God in his providence ensures that all nations of the earth are under the rule of a powerful ruler. That is why the empires do not exist side by side, but one after the other.
The special character of the book of Daniel
The prophecies of Daniel are fundamental. They help us get an overall picture of Bible prophecy. Many of the statements that the New Testament makes about future events can only be understood in the light of the prophet Daniel. This applies e.g. B. for the great end-time speech of our Lord in Matthew 24 and 25, chapters 1 and 2 of the second letter to the Thessalonians and for large parts of Revelation.
The book of the prophet Daniel takes particular account of the change to the "times of the nations". Daniel writes about the time of the empires - a time we still live in today, and that is what makes the book so important to us. It deals with the time period in which the earthly people of God are no longer the recognized people, but the government is handed over to the nations. The starting point is the withdrawal of Israel, and the end point is the rulership of the Lord Jesus when He comes to establish his kingdom. Daniel speaks about the history of the world, not from the perspective of the Jews, but from the perspective of the rule of nations.
This leads to two important questions:
- How will the nations deal with the power that has been entrusted to them? We learn that they abuse this power and do not recognize that it has been given to them by the "God of heaven".
- What happens to the “old” people of God during this time when they are subject to the nations, and what happens to the promises God made to these people? We learn that these people, who have disappeared for many centuries, so to speak, still have a future when Christ comes to establish his kingdom.
But something else becomes clear. In the meantime, there will be a believing remnant who hold on to God's promises and who care about God's law. This remnant is introduced to us in Daniel and his friends.
So the prophet Daniel gives a prophetic overview of the rise and fall of the four great world empires. It shows how guilty these empires have become and have not properly exercised their God-given rule. Instead of honoring God, they exalted themselves and had the urge to become bigger and more powerful. Daniel also speaks of the judgment that will befall these nations and the kingdom that will then be established under the rulership of Christ. Moreover, the book of Daniel makes it clear that the attitude of these world rulers towards the believing remnant is primarily enmity, hatred and persecution. It is ultimately God who will keep and save the remnant.
“The fact that the book of Daniel covers the times of the nations we live in today not only makes it interesting to us, but also contains important practical lessons for us. Not only do we learn from the faithful conduct of Daniel and his friends, but we are warned by the prophecies of this book about things that are not yet visible, but which call us to live apart from a world under judgment and to keep calm in the midst of the troubles of time ”(H. Smith2).
Let us not disregard the practical application of this prophet. Today, like Daniel, we are a remnant in a worldly and anti-God environment. We have a responsibility to be faithful to our God. A remnant is to be for the pleasure of God. On the one hand, the book shows important moral principles, according to which the rulers in this world act to this day, and also what the whole thing will lead to in the end. On the other hand, we learn how our behavior should look like during this time.
Part of the prophetic word
There are two groups in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament. Some prophets wrote when Israel was recognized as God's people and under the direct government of God. Although the people were often unfaithful, Israel was under the discipline of God. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are among them, but also so-called minor prophets such as Hosea, Amos and Micha. Much is said in these books about the coming Messiah and the Kingdom.
It is noteworthy that at the time when God was still recognizing his people, he sent prophets to these people who addressed the people - or at least a part of the people. You can see this very clearly in Isaiah and Jeremiah, for example. God turns to the people to argue with them. The prophets should speak to the people. In the “time of the nations” God no longer speaks to his people, but rather specifically in Daniel selects an individual to make his messages to him. In the beginning it is even the case that God does not even speak directly to Daniel, but the prophecy actually consists in the dreams of the ruler of Babel - dreams which, however, are interpreted by Daniel. This makes it very clear that the people of Israel (the people of the Jews) are no longer recognized as the people of God. The fact that there was some faithfulness among the people doesn't change that. The people as a whole had fallen away and God no longer recognizes them. That God acknowledges and helps these individuals is one thing. But that doesn't change the fact that the people as a whole were no longer recognized.
On this point there is a striking resemblance to the great book of prophecy in the New Testament, the Book of Revelation. Both books shed light on the other. We understand Daniel's prophecy only in the light of Revelation, and conversely, the book of Daniel helps us understand Revelation. Although the revelation was sent to the seven congregations in Asia Minor, now Turkey, the prophecy itself was given to an individual, John. His book begins with the words: “Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon be done; and sending through his angel, he showed it to his servant John ”(Rev 1,1). In both cases - Daniel and John - the apostasy was so advanced that God no longer addressed his people as a whole. The Ephesian congregation was in danger of the candlestick being moved away, and Laodicea was even to be spat out of the Lord's mouth. There were a few allegiances in both meetings, but the crowd had deviated. This shows the moral state of Christianity as early as the end of the first century. What constitutes the remnant is described in the prophet Malachi: “And they will be my property, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I shall make; and I will spare her as a man spare his son who serves him ”(Mal 3:17). But that doesn't take away from the fact that the people as a whole are no longer recognized by God.
Classification of the book
The book of Daniel has two major parts. The first part extends from Chapters 1-6 and contains historical reports. He speaks of the life of Daniel and his friends in Babel, as well as the behavior and dreams of the kings Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius. At the same time, God gives us information about the development of the four great empires and their essential characteristics, such as these externally became visible. The second part of the book (chapters 7–12) contains direct visions and prophecies given to Daniel. We learn what character the empires in the Eyes of god and how they will deal with the remnant of the Jews. The first chapter is an introduction and the last chapter a kind of epilogue.
Like many ancient authors, Daniel writes about himself in the third person in the first six chapters, while in the second part he writes in the first person from chapter 7.28 onwards. Yet both parts are prophetic. In the image of Daniel and his friends, God gives us a picture of the remnant of Israel among the peoples. It will be like that in the great tribulation.
Part 1: Daniel and his friends in Babel
- Chapter 1: Introduction to the Book. Despite the infidelity of the people, there is a loyal remnant. Even in the time of the nations, God receives a testimony on this earth. This remnant is filled with the spirit of wisdom and knowledge.
- Chapters 2–6: Overview of the development of the “times of the nations” in their outward and visible form. We learn about the moral characteristics of the four empires and their failures. Chapter 3 shows us that Idolatry, Chapter 4 the human Self-elevation, Chapter 5 the blasphemy and Chapter 6 the complete waste the rulers of these world empires. At the end there is their judgment and the establishment of the kingdom of Christ.
Part 2: Daniel's vision and prophecy
- Chapter 7: Review of the Development of the Times of the Nations from God's Viewpoint; the empires are described as wild animals.
- Chapter 8: Description of the second and third empires
- Chapter 9: Daniel's prayer, God's answer and the prophecy about the 70 weeks of the year
- Chapters 10–11: Prophecy Concerning the Kings of Syria and Egypt (King of the North and the South)
- Chapter 12: Summary and prophetic references regarding the great tribulation and deliverance of the faithful remnant of the days to come in Israel
It is worth taking a look at the author of the book. Most of the Old Testament writing prophets do not know much about their lives. A number of details of Daniel are known and are worthwhile paying full attention to as you study the book. At this point just a few general notes:
- Daniel was of the royal family (chap. 1, 3). As a young man he was abducted to Babel. It is not known how old Daniel was at the time, but it is probably less than 20 years old. Most interpreters estimate his age at 15-17 years, because he survived the entire period of the seventy years of exile. At the end of the book he is therefore an old man and thus gives pointers to both young and older Christians through his practical life. We too live in a strange world, where we as “royal priests” have the task of shining divine light (1. Pet 2,9).
- The New Testament specifically names Daniel one Prophets (Mt 24:15). A prophet is someone who speaks for another, be it for God to people (cf. Deut. 18:18) or for people to God (cf. Gen. 20: 7). Daniel did both. God could use him as a “mouthpiece” for his people. More than that, Daniel had a deep understanding of God's mind even if he did not understand everything God revealed to him. His prophecy goes beyond much of what other prophets had received. Daniel also distinguished himself by standing up for others before God. We see this especially in his prayer in chapter 9.
- Daniel was a loyal man who got by Believe was marked. His loyalty, determination and faith show up in different life circumstances. Even if Hebrews 11 does not name his name, his acts of faith are described: "... who by faith conquered kingdoms, worked righteousness, received promises, the jaws of lions closed" (Heb 11:33).
- Daniel was a man of the Prayer. That marked him when he was young and it still marked him when he was old. His loyalty in prayer earned him the den of lions, but he took the “risk”. Particularly noteworthy is his prayer in chapter 9, which shows us that Daniel was not primarily concerned with his own needs, but with those of his people.
- Daniel was a consistent man, a man of clear resolve. Chapter 1 shows us his heart's determination not to pollute himself with the food and drink of Babel. Chapter 6 shows us him in his consistent prayer position, from which he was not dissuaded by anything.
- The human observer might conclude that Daniel as Jew made a career in Babel. Indeed, as a young man, he held high political offices for many decades. Under Nebuchadnezzar he was installed as regent over the landscape of Babylon and as chief ruler over the wise men (chap.2.43). Under Darius the Medes he was one of the three rulers who ruled over the 120 satraps of the empire (chap. 6: 2, 3). But Daniel did not act according to the usual human principles, but with loyalty and devotion to his God. In addition, his professional success did not make him proud and haughty, but always remained humble and reserved.
- Daniel was a righteous man. This is what made him stand out. He lived in accordance with God's will and with what he knew about God. In Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 he is placed on the same level as Noah and Job. Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2,5) and we know from Job that God himself testified to him that he was perfect and righteous and God-fearing and that he avoided evil (Job 1: 1). Such was Daniel's character.
- Daniel was a fearless man. Trusting in God, he first appeared before the chiefs of court officials and later before powerful monarchs and told them the truth. Even if the words he had to convey were not always pleasant, Daniel said what God told him to do. Even more, in chapter 4 we will see that he advised the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar to break with his sins.
- Faithfulness and devotion to God made Daniel a very wise man.Not only was he intelligent, but God gave him knowledge and insight and understanding. From Ezekiel 28: 2 we learn that Daniel's wisdom was known beyond the borders of Babylon. God endowed his servant with special skills and in this way rewarded him for his inner demeanor. Daniel honored God and God honored him.
- Daniel understood (with his friends) from the beginning what separation from the world and turning to God mean. As a young man he refused to pollute himself with the king's table food and preferred to eat vegetables and water. When later Belshazzar celebrated its lavish party and everyone of rank and name was present, Daniel was absent. He understood that his place wasn't there.
At the end of his life, God distinguishes Daniel by calling him a “beloved” man three times (Chap. 9.23; 10.11; 10.19). This is reminiscent of John in the New Testament, who like Daniel (albeit in a different way) especially enjoyed the love of his Lord. He lived in exile in good faith for over 70 years. He never saw the beloved country and city of his fathers again. But at the very end, God gives his old servant a wonderful promise: “But you go to the end; and you will rest and will rise to your lot at the end of days ”(chap. 12:13).
A heavily attacked book
We are not surprised that the book of Daniel, along with the books of Moses and the prophet Isaiah, is one of the most attacked books in the Old Testament. Since this book contains many prophecies that were either already fulfilled by the time of the New Testament or were about to be fulfilled, it stands to reason that the remaining prophecies will also be fulfilled. The natural man does not want to accept that. There were special attacks on this book of the Bible as early as the first centuries after Christ. The first attacks come from the pagan Neo-Platonist Porphyrius of Tire (3rd century AD). In the course of the criticism of the Bible, these attacks intensified. There is no room here to go into detail. Just a few points should be mentioned briefly:
- The writing date of the book is doubted. Since many prophecies refer in great detail to the time in which King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC) ruled (cf. Dan 11: 1-35), the date of the constitution was moved to the time of the Maccabees (2 Century BC). The book would have been written at a time when these prophecies had already been fulfilled. Daniel would then have written down historical events, but made no prophecies. The question remains, however, what about the other prophecies that were only fulfilled later (e.g. the birth of the Lord Jesus and his rejection as well as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in the year 70, which Daniel also writes about).
- The book of Daniel is assumed to have a number of inaccuracies and historical errors that are supposed to have been proven by the science of history. It is interesting, however, that archeology in particular made amazing discoveries from the 19th century onwards, so that almost all attacks of this kind can be proven to be false. For centuries z. B. the king Belshazzar unknown in the historiography. From this it has been concluded that this king never existed. In the meantime it has been proven by archaeological finds that a king Belshazzar actually reigned in Babel. The same applies to Darius, the king of the Medes.
- It has been suggested that the book of Daniel was not written by Daniel but by two different other authors. Indeed, part of the book was written in Hebrew (Daniel 1: 1–2, 4a; Daniel 8: 1–12, 13) and another part in Aramaic (Daniel 2, 4b–7, 28). To conclude from this that two authors were at work, however, makes little sense, especially since it is striking that the Hebrew in the Book of Daniel is similar to that of his contemporaries Ezekiel, Haggai, and the books of Ezra and Chronicles, while the Aramaic in the Book of Daniel is similar to that Language type corresponds to the 7th century BC In the Middle East.
We are convinced that all the arguments that have been and are being made against the book are not valid. In the book of Daniel, as in other places, God actually writes history beforehand. For God this is not a problem, it just underscores the fact of the inspiration of the Bible.
A very valid argument for the authenticity of the book of Daniel is for us the fact that the Lord Jesus himself refers in Matthew 24:15 to a prophecy from the book of Daniel and expressly calls him a prophet. The Lord Jesus says: “And whoever falls on this stone will be crushed; but on whomever it falls, he will grind him ”(Mt 21:44). This clearly refers to Daniel 2:44:45. In Matthew 24:30 and 26:64 He speaks of the Son of Man, whom they will see coming with the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. That relates, without question, to Daniel 7:13. The apostle John also refers to this passage in Revelation 1: 7. Whoever questions this book is ultimately questioning Jesus Christ. Either you accuse Him of not having known any better (then He would not have been God's Son), or you accuse Him of deliberately forging (then He would not have been the sinless Son of Man). In addition, the Lord Jesus spoke again and again about the “Son of Man”. This expression occurs three times in the Old Testament, one of them in Daniel 7. The Lord Jesus therefore took this face of Daniel very seriously and applied it to himself. He is indeed the Son of man who will one day establish his kingdom on earth.
It becomes clear that if you lend an ear to biblical criticism, you lose the Christ of the Scriptures, and with that you lose everything.
In addition, Daniel was already known as a historical figure in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 14:14, 20 God speaks of Noah, Job, and Daniel. Ezekiel was a prophet from the time of exile and therefore a contemporary of Daniel, who lived in 597 BC. Was deported to Babel. Daniel is mentioned for the third time in Ezekiel 28: 3. So Daniel was already known as the man of God during his lifetime. It couldn't have been another Daniel, because there wasn't anyone else who was so well known. That is why we want to take his message seriously. It is important and from God.
In summary, it can be said that all attempts to prove that the Book of Daniel was a forgery have failed. The historical, archaeological, and linguistic information available today only confirms that the Book of Daniel is genuine and, in fact, written by Daniel in the 6th century BC Chr. Dates. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:19:20: “I want to destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I want to destroy the understanding of the understanding. Where is the wise man, where is the scribe, where is the scholar of this age? Didn't God make the wisdom of the world foolish? "
One last point: The Jews have always viewed the Book of Daniel as a canonical book. This is strong evidence of its authenticity, because before a book was included in the canon of the Holy Scriptures by the Jews, there were very strict controls. Had the Book of Daniel not been "real" or had there been certain doubts about it, the Book of Daniel would have been like many other books that have been counted among the Apocrypha and pseudepigraphs. There are other books in the Old Testament (e.g. Ecclesiastes and Songs of Songs) that have been discussed much more as to whether they are real or not.
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