Author: The Book of Daniel identifies the Prophet Daniel as its author (Daniel 9:2; 10:2). Jesus  mentions Daniel as the author as well (Matthew  24:15).

Date of Writing: The Book of Daniel was  likely written between 540 and 530 B.C.

Purpose of  Writing: In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon had conquered  Judah and deported many of its inhabitants to Babylon – Daniel included. Daniel  served in the royal court of Nebuchadnezzar and several rulers who followed  Nebuchadnezzar. The Book of Daniel records the actions, prophecies, and visions  of the Prophet Daniel.

Key Verses: Daniel 1:19-20, “The king  talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and  Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and  understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times  better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.”

Daniel 2:31, “You looked, O  king, and there before you stood a large statue – an enormous, dazzling statue,  awesome in appearance.”

Daniel  3:17-18, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is  able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even  if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or  worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel  4:34-35, “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from  generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No  one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’”

Daniel 9:25-27, “Know and  understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem  until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and  sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times  of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and  will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city  and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the  end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for  one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and  offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that  causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on  him.”

Brief Summary: Chapter 1 describes the conquest  of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Along with many others, Daniel and his three  friends were deported to Babylon and because of their courage and the obvious  blessings of God upon them, they were “promoted” in the king’s service (Daniel 1:17-20).

Chapters 2-7 record Nebuchadnezzar having a dream that only Daniel could  correctly interpret. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great statue represented the  kingdoms that would arise in the future. Nebuchadnezzar made a great statue of  himself and forced everyone to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego  refused and were miraculously spared by God despite being thrown into a fiery  furnace. Nebuchadnezzar is judged by God for his pride, but later restored once  he recognized and admitted God’s sovereignty.

Daniel chapter 5 records  Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar misusing the items taken from the Temple in  Jerusalem and receiving a message from God, written into the wall, in response.  Only Daniel could interpret the writing, a message of coming judgment from God.  Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to the emperor, but  was miraculously spared. God gave Daniel a vision of four beasts. The four  beasts represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and  Rome.

Chapters 8-12 contain a vision involving a ram, a goat, and  several horns – also referring to future kingdoms and their rulers. Daniel  chapter 9 records Daniel’s “seventy weeks” prophecy. God gave Daniel the precise  timeline of when the Messiah would come and be cut off. The prophecy also  mentions a future ruler who will make a seven-year covenant with Israel and  break it after three and a half years, followed shortly thereafter by the great  judgment and consummation of all things. Daniel is visited and strengthened by  an angel after this great vision, and the angel explains the vision to Daniel in  great detail.

Foreshadowings: We see in the stories of  the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lions’ den a foreshadowing of the salvation  provided by Christ. The three men declare that God is a saving God who can  provide a way of escape from the fire (Daniel  3:17). In the same way, by sending Jesus to die for our sins, God has  provided an escape from the fires of hell (1 Peter  3:18). In Daniel’s case, God provided an angel to shut the lions’ mouths and  saved Daniel from death. Jesus Christ is our provision from the dangers of the  sin that threatens to consume us.

Daniel’s vision of the end times  depicts Israel’s Messiah by whom many will be made pure and holy (Daniel 12:10). He is our  righteousness (1 Peter  5:21) by whom our sins, though blood-red, will be washed away and we will be  as white as snow (Isaiah  1:18).

Practical Application: Like Shadrach,  Meshach and Abednego, we should always stand for what we know is right. God is  greater than any punishment that could come upon us. Whether God chooses to  deliver us or not, He is always worthy of our trust. God knows what is best, and  He honors those who trust and obey Him.

God has a plan, and His plan is  down to the intricate detail. God knows and is in control of the future.  Everything that God has predicted has come true exactly as He predicted.  Therefore, we should believe and trust that the things He has predicted for the  future will one day occur exactly as God has declared.