Daniel:After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had taken over Jerusalem, some of the young Hebrews were educated as counselors to the king -- particularly four:
- Daniel (Babylonian name was Belteshazzar [after King Nebuchadnezzar's "god" -- thus this Book uses Daniel for his name])
- Hananiah (Babylonian was Shadrach )
- Misha-el (Babylonian was Meshach )
- Azariah (Babylonian was Abednego )
Daniel was the best in understanding visions. Of God, Daniel said (Daniel 2:22), "He reveals deep and hidden things, He knows what lies in darkness, and Light dwells within Him."
Two well-known stories from Daniel:
The Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3):
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship a golden idol of King Nebuchadnezzar, they were thrown into a flaming furnace, yet were untouched due to God's deliverance.
The Lion's Den (Daniel 6):
When Daniel prayed to God against King Darius' orders, he was thrown into a den of lions but was untouched. Those who plotted against him were then thrown into the lion's den and were killed.
Daniel, analyzing a dream, foretold that King Nebuchadnezzar would go insane for seven years and eat "grass like the cows," after which his kingdom would be restored (Daniel 4). For another king (Belshazzar), Daniel read the writing on a plaster wall by a mysterious "hand," indicating that the king would be killed (Daniel 5).
Daniel described God's throne in a manner like Eziekiel, as fiery and on flaming wheels, with God having clothing white as snow and white hair with millions of angels (Daniel 7:9-10) -- coming to judge as "The Books" were opened.
As Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Eziekiel, Daniel spoke of the "last days" -- the future around his time (or even possibly yet to come now)
- Gabriel (an angel from heaven) told Daniel, "..the vision concerns the time of the end." (Daniel 8:16-17)
- "...Then Michael , one of the chief princes (i.e., of the heavenly army), came to help me...to explain...the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come." (Daniel 10:13-14)
- "At that time Michael...will arise...everyone whose name is found written in the Book -- will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:1-2)
- "...until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." (Daniel 12:4)
Daniel refers to the Messiah:
- "...one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven...He was given authority, glory and soverign power; all people, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14).
- "After the sixty-two 'sevens' (i.e., a time of 434 years), the Anointed One will be cut off (i.e., killed) and will have nothing (i.e., will not have His kingdom)..." (Daniel 9:26).
Many of the dreams and visions of Daniel are of strange creatures (lion with eagle's wings; leopard with four heads; a multi-horned animal with one horn that had eyes and a mouth), whose meaning is uncertain.