The Old Testament | The Books of Major Prophets
Things to know
Where does the book begin?
The book begins when Daniel was a young man in Babylon. A man named Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon.
Where does the book end?
The book ends when Daniel was old and Cyrus was king of Persia.
People to know
Places to go
Daniel's friend did not bow
A king became a wild man
Daniel faced the lions
Daniel had a big dream
The Story of Daniel
Daniel was a prophet*. But Daniel did not speak to the same people that Jeremiah or Ezekiel did. He spoke for God to the leaders he served.
You will learn many things from the words Daniel said. But you will learn just as much from the way Daniel lived. He lived in a way that gave honour to God. He followed God and obeyed God even when it was difficult. Daniel showed the people that they should follow God too. That is what all true prophets* do.
Many years before, soldiers from Babylon marched into Jerusalem. They broke down the walls. They burned the temple*. They carried many people away. They forced most of the people in Jerusalem to leave their land. Daniel was there when that happened. He had to leave his land. He was forced to live very far away from home.
But Daniel did not forget God. And God did not forget Daniel. Daniel lived in a way that gave honour to God. And God gave honour to Daniel too. He made Daniel a prophet*.
Daniel wrote this book. Many of the things he said are here. And many of the things that he did are here too.
This first part of the book tells some stories from the lives of Daniel and his friends. Many times, the people of Babylon tried to make them forget the real God and serve false gods. They even tried to kill Daniel and his friends. They did not like them because they would not serve false gods. But Daniel and his friends were loyal to the true God. Daniel became a very important man in the government of Babylon.
In Daniel’s first story, you meet Daniel and some of his friends. They were Hebrew* young men that lived in Babylon. The king wanted them to eat foods that God did not want his people to eat. This was a problem. So Daniel and his friends trusted God and made a plan. They obeyed God in a difficult time. The story tells how God blessed* them. From the beginning, we can see that Daniel was a good man who decided to obey God even when it was hard.
One of the important ideas in Daniel’s book is that God is great. Two of the great kings in Daniel understood that. Both kings agreed that God’s kingdom* would last for ever. It could never be destroyed.
The second part of the book tells about Daniel’s dreams. These were strange dreams. Sometimes Daniel was awake when he had his dreams. These were special dreams that God sent to Daniel to tell him what would happen in the future. Some things that Daniel saw in his dreams have now happened. Other things that God told Daniel in his dreams have not happened yet. But God is in control of the future. God will do what he has promised.
Daniel was like the other prophets*. But he was also not the same. He told what would happen to the nations of his day. He also told about his visions* of what would happen long after he was gone. Daniel saw that God had a great plan. Some day, every part of God’s plan would work out just like he wanted it to work out.
Daniel’s visions* are very important to this book. They are also important to the rest of the Bible. Daniel told about his vision* of the great king that would one day come. He was the Son of Man. He would come in the clouds to become the king for all people for ever. The words Daniel used are like the words from the promise God made to David. God promised David that a king from his family would be the eternal* king that would rule the nations. This dream gave Daniel hope*. And the story of that dream has been a story of hope* for God’s people ever since.
Jeremiah said that the people would return to their land. We know from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah that the people did go back to the land. Daniel said that the people would be back in the land too. Is that what Daniel was talking about? Or was he talking about something else? Would this kingdom* come soon to the people of Daniel’s day? Or would it come at a much later time?
The book of Daniel answers this question. One day, an angel* came to Daniel. The angel told Daniel that the kingdom* he saw would come many years in the future. At that time, God would put an end to sin*. And God’s king would rule the kingdom*. He would put all things back to the way God wanted them to be. Remember what Daniel said about this king. It will help you understand some things that Jesus said when you read the New Testament*. It will also help you understand that Jesus was the king that Daniel was talking about.
Daniel ended his book by talking about another king. This king would also come in the distant future. He would be different from all other kings. This king would try to make himself great. He would try to take the land that God gave to his people. This king was not good. He would even try to fight God. Daniel promised that God would not allow this king to win. God would break his kingdom* into pieces.
When you first read this book, there may be some things that seem strange to you. But the more you read the book, the better you will see what Daniel was saying. The more you read the other books of the Bible, the better you will understand Daniel. And Daniel will help you understand the other books of the Bible better too.
-  Daniel 4:3 and Daniel 6:26-28
-  Daniel 7:12-14; 8:17
-  2 Samuel 7
-  Daniel 9:20-27
The Old Testament | The Books of Major Prophets