Themes of Daniel
Biblical Prophecy has some crazy implications for God’s people. While pop culture treats it as mysterious associated with a post apocalyptic future or Armageddon (heads up Bruce Willis), the more you study it the more you learn about…wait for it…Jesus! We’ve already looked at the historical context of the book of Daniel as our foundation, now we turn to the theme of Daniel for the skeletal framework.
In Daniel 1 we see despondency for God’s people. They had been taken captive from the Promised Land. Once delivered from Egypt, their miraculous journey through the wilderness into Canaan showed that God kept His promise to deliver Israel back to their homeland, as He originally promised Abraham. However, we see the people heading to a foreign country, traces of the Abraham promise now fit for a museum instead of a living example. We see the temple is raided and its vessels taken to a foreign god’s temple, soon to be destroyed. We see what was once the largest economy in the world reduced to a post-apocalyptic heap of rubble, with nomads scavenging the land. The glory days of David and Solomon are gone. It seems that God’s people, delivered into the hands of Babylonians, are left rejected, neglected, and with no hope.
By the time we get to Daniel 12, the last chapter, we see the reverse happening. Daniel 12 begins by saying Michael (Jesus) will stand up for His people and deliver them. The book begins with God’s people going into captivity for 70 years, the book ends by revealing God’s people are being delivered for captivity period (forever). It seems weird to see Jesus mentioned in an obscure or rather unpopular chapter in the Old Testament, but Jesus is still here. And He is delivering His people.
Daniel is a book about deliverance. It is a book about salvation. We see God is actively delivering His people.
In Daniel 1, God gives Daniel and his three friends knowledge and wisdom to help them stand out from the others in the Babylonian court.
In Daniel 2, God reveals the future to a pagan king, saves Daniel from the threat of death, and provides hope that His kingdom will be setup forever.
In Daniel 3, God is in the fiery furnace with the Hebrews who stood up for Him at the risk of a horrible death.
In Daniel 4, God delivers Nebuchadnezzar from his sins through a unique experience.
In Daniel 5, God provides warning that the Babylonians are teetering on the edge and that their time is up.
In Daniel 6, God delivers Daniel from the lions’ den.
In Daniel 7, God reveals a more specific future to Daniel and the ultimate conclusion that He will win in the end.
In Daniel 8, God reveals a judgment when justice will be given for all. It is too much for Daniel.
In Daniel 9, Daniel pleads with God to forgive His people and save them from captivity, God then comes to him and reveals when He will send His Son.
In Daniel 10-12, Daniel is given more visions about the end of time, ending with the deliverance of God’s people.
If there is one thing that prophecy reveals to God’s people, it is that God is intimately involved in His peoples’ lives. Unlike the notion that God created things and left them be (theistic evolution), God is still communicating to His people. God is still revealing the future to them so they can be ready. He is giving them the tools they need to get through the tough times. Prophecy reveals the active role God takes in your relationship with Him. He is not isolated in Heaven, sitting in an all-inclusive resort since He has done His part to save the world. He is still saving the world! And He wants to save you.
It is important to understand the issues at stake when looking into the book of Daniel. We see a war between God and satan, and we are in the middle of it. We must make decisions every day – whether to follow Jesus and risk death or follow the devil and live temporarily. We find Daniel and God’s people in the same conflict, and we see how the historical and prophetical parts of Daniel – while different – carry the same theme. You can read more about the war between good and evil here.
Now that we have established the recurring theme in Daniel, it is time to dive in. Our next session we will look at the issues in Daniel 1.