Bible Study: Daniel

The Setting

Daniel and the Period

In 605 BC, Prince Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian army of his father Nabopolassar against the allied forces of Assyria and Egypt. He was victorious at the battle of Carchemish. The outcome of this led to Babylon’s supremacy in the ancient Near East. With Babylon’s victory, Egypt, as well as Judah, came under Babylonian control. Nabopolassar died and Nebuchadnezzar succeeded him as king. Nebuchadnezzar then invaded Judah, also in 605 BC, and took the seed royal and the promising young men captive to Babylon (Dan 1:1-3), including Daniel (2Ch 36:7), the first of three invasions and deportations. Jehoiakim was king at that time (2Ki 24:1-4). Ezekiel was taken captive at the second invasion (598 BC), and Jeremiah was there at the third invasion and destruction (586 BC), although not carried away to Babylon. The captivity signals the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles.

Daniel and the Prophets

Isaiah wrote of the Coming of the Christ, Jeremiah of the Covenant, Ezekiel of the Cleansing. Daniel has given us the Calendar. Each of the prophets writes of what Israel lost:

  • Isaiah – they lost their sanctity
  • Jeremiah – they lost their territory
  • Ezekiel – they lost the glory
  • Daniel – they lost their sovereignty

Notice as well that the final two prophets in the land, Jeremiah and Isaiah, have Jehovah in their names; the two prophets in exile, Ezekiel and Daniel, have “El” in their names.

The Subject


  • The Times of the Gentiles when Israel had lost its sovereignty.
  • The calendar of prophecy with the identification of the major players on the world scene. It is not world history but history as it relates to God’s program for the nation.
  • The events in the life of Daniel and his companions are a picture-prophecy of Israel’s future.


  • Daniel is spoken of as the Prudent (Eze 28:3), the Pious (Eze 14:14-20) and the Prophet (Mat 24:15).
  • Daniel was a young man, likely in his teens, and his history covers over 70 years. He was likely in his late 80s or even 90 at the close of the book.
  • Daniel can be compared with John in exile and getting visions of the future. Both are called “beloved.”
  • Daniel can be linked as well with Timothy in the NT as both were raised up for difficult days. Daniel was a prophet and Timothy had the gift of prophecy. Both were concerned about purity (1Ti 4) and prayer (1Ti 2). Daniel was a man of excellent spirit and Timothy had a spirit of power, love, etc. Daniel understood by books and Timothy was reminded of the value of Scripture (2Ti 3:16). Daniel could possibly have been the writer of Psalm 119 (see vv1,9,23,46,63,98-100,136,161).

The Sovereign

The sovereignty of the nation was lost, but the sovereignty of God is obvious throughout the book. The first chapter begins with “The Lord gave …” (1:2), and throughout the chapter there is God giving, although different words in the original are used. God has a prophetic program and calendar and will accomplish His purpose. He rules in the kingdom of men (4:17).

The Sequence of Events

  • Introduction in chapter 1 with the history leading to the captivity and the testing of Daniel and his friends.
  • Aramaic section (chs.2-7) – The Record of Gentile History
  • Hebrew section (chs.8-12) – The Relationship of Israel to the Nations

The Span of Time

The time was from the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (607 BC) through the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC), up until the reign and ascension of Cyrus through to 543 BC (10:1). It extended through the Babylonish empire and into the Medo-Persian empire.

The Stories Within the Book

  • Of conviction (ch.1) – purpose of heart – passed the “bread test” – satisfy yourself
  • Of courage (ch.3) – purity of faith
  • Of conversion (ch.4) – pride
  • Of condemnation (ch.5) – presumption – passed the “being test” – show yourself
  • Of consistency (ch.6) – prayer – passed the “blessing test” – spare yourself. Thus Daniel takes character from Christ in many ways (Mat 4).

The Structure

A. The Preparation of the Prophet (ch.1)

B. Prophecy in Pictures (chs.2-6)

  • Times of the Gentiles (ch.2)
  • Trial of Three Hebrew Youths (ch.3)
  • Testimony to the Sovereignty of God (ch.4)
  • Termination of the Babylonish Empire (ch.5)
  • Treachery Against a Faithful Jew (ch.6)

C. Panorama of Prophetic Events (chs.7-12)

  • True Moral Character of the Kingdoms of Men (ch.7)
  • Treatment of Israel by Gentile Nations (ch.8)
  • Timetable of Prophecy (ch.9)
  • Transient Glimpse of the Unseen Spirit World (ch.10)
  • Tyranny of the Willful King (ch.11)
  • Tribulation and Triumph (ch.12)