Old Testament Survey - Lesson 22


The Book of Daniel originates from the exilic period and addresses the theological crisis faced by the exiles. Through this lesson, you will learn about Daniel's role as both a historical and a symbolic figure. He was an Israelite in the Babylonian court and exemplifies faith and integrity amidst adversity, distinguishing himself through wisdom and divine favor. Unlike other prophetic books, Daniel lacks traditional prophetic headings and instead begins with a narrative that highlights his and his friends' integration and survival in a foreign culture. The Book of Daniel spans his career over eight decades, showing his progression from a captive to a respected advisor across different regimes. 

Daniel Block
Old Testament Survey
Lesson 22
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I. Introduction to the Book of Daniel

A. Context and Purpose

1. Origin during the exilic period

2. Aim to address the theological crisis of the exiles

B. Historical and Theological Significance

1. Date and authorship concerns

2. Daniel as a historical and historiographically reliable figure

II. Daniel's Role and Character

A. Early Life and Background

1. Capture and deportation to Babylon

2. Distinction in the Babylonian court

B. Professional Life and Influence

1. Service across multiple Babylonian and Persian rulers

2. Unique role as a court official, not a traditional prophet

III. Themes and Messages in the Book of Daniel

A. Sovereignty of Yahweh

1. Judgment of world powers

2. Vindication of the faithful

B. Apocalyptic Elements

1. Definition and features of apocalyptic literature

2. Symbolic dreams and visions

IV. Structure and Content Overview

A. Chiastic Structure

1. Prologue and epilogue framing

2. Sub-chiastic patterns of narrative and visions

B. Detailed Outline of Daniel’s Chapters

1. Early chapters (1-6): Daniel in the Babylonian court

2. Later chapters (7-12): Visions and prophecies

V. Daniel's Lasting Influence

A. Impact on Jewish and Christian Traditions

1. Position in the Jewish canon versus Christian placement

2. Relevance to modern faith discussions

B. Providential Role in Historical Context

1. Strategic placement in Babylonian society

2. Speculations on Daniel’s broader influence on exilic settlements

  • Learning about the First Testament's language, geographical, and cultural contexts, and how these factors contribute to its frequent misinterpretation and underappreciation in modern times.
  • Gain insights into the literary and cosmic foundations of grace and glory in the Torah, understanding its role as more than law.
  • Learn that to be made in God's image entails embodying divine qualities and functioning as His representative on Earth, which extends a universal dignity upon all humans and shapes a theological ethic that influences how you treat others.
  • Genesis 1-3 frames human response to divine creation, emphasizing human dignity, work's moral role, free will's consequences, and the persistent grace amid sin.
  • This lesson reviews the Israelite covenant, understanding its stages, implications, and its role in God's redemptive plan.
  • Gain insights into Abraham's covenant with God, exploring his faith and God's promises.
  • Learn how the Exodus from Egypt marked Israel's transformation from a family to a nation under Yahweh.
  • Understand how the covenant at Sinai transforms Israel from slaves into a treasured nation destined for a divine mission, fulfilling God's ancient promises.
  • This lesson covers the covenantal expectations at Sinai. The covenantal agreement provided a constitutional and ethical framework for societal living, focusing on community rights and responsibilities.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into how the tabernacle was both a physical manifestation of God's presence and a profound symbol of His grace, emphasizing the holiness and detailed guidance He provided to the Israelites for worship and daily life.
  • Gain insights into Deuteronomy, recognizing its focus on teaching rather than legislation, and understanding Moses' role as an instructor of Yahweh's will.
  • In this lesson, you explore how to interpret the First Testament's historiographic writings, emphasizing the divine inspiration and literary artistry that guide the selective storytelling and theological themes.
  • Learn how the books of Joshua and Judges illustrate the fulfillment and failure of Israel's covenant with Yahweh, highlighting divine promise, cultural assimilation, and the cyclical nature of faith and apostasy.
  • The Book of Ruth, highlights divine providence, social justice, and personal righteousness while exploring the role of Boaz as a pivotal figure in maintaining the lineage of King David.
  • Samuel had a significant yet complex role in Israel's history; judge, priest, prophet, and crucial figure in establishing monarchy.
  • Learn of David's central role in the Bible, understanding his unique portrayal and the extensive attention he receives compared to other figures.
  • Learn about the Davidic covenant's role in shaping biblical history and theology, emphasizing its eternal impact on Israel and beyond.
  • The books of Kings and Chronicles use historical events to underline theological themes, highlighting the role of scribes in documenting Israel’s history.
  • In this lesson on 1 and 2 Kings, review the downfall of Israel through kings' forgetfulness of God's covenants.
  • Learn about Solomon's temple's historical and theological significance, its divine design and purpose, and its role in Israelite worship and communal life.
  • Gain insights into the transformation and resilience of the Judean people during their exile in Babylon from 586-539 BC, exploring their struggles and adaptations in a new socio-political and religious context.
  • Learn about Daniel's exemplary life in Babylon, his integrity, and his prophetic visions, which highlight divine sovereignty and the vindication of the faithful amidst calamities.
  • Review the Persian period's impact on the Jewish diaspora, analyze the Book of Esther's literary and theological significance, and reflect on divine providence and cultural identity.
  • Explore the crucial roles of Ezra and Nehemiah in reconstructing the Jewish community and faith post-exile, understanding their historical significance, source materials, and theological insights.
  • Gain insight into the roles and significance of prophets in ancient Israel, learning about their historical context, and their critical function in guiding and correcting the nation through direct communication from Yahweh.
  • Learn about the lives and ministries of prophets Amos and Hosea, their calls for justice and return to divine covenant amidst Israel's political and spiritual turmoil, through prophetic books that blend personal biography with national prophecy.
  • This lesson reviews Jonah's struggle with divine grace and Micah's advocacy for justice and the messianic hope.
  • In this lesson, you learn how Isaiah's vision portrays the Messiah as king, servant, and conqueror, emphasizing his divine roles and global mission.
  • Learn of the political and social contexts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel's exile, including Babylon's rise, Jerusalem's fall, and the crisis of faith portrayed in Lamentations, emphasizing hope amid despair through God's faithfulness.
  • Learn about Jeremiah's life and prophetic ministry, navigating challenges with kings, themes in the Book of Jeremiah, and profound passages on true religion and a future covenant, offering lessons on prophetic burdens, God's faithfulness, and spiritual transformation.
  • Explore Ezekiel's life as a priest in exile, his bizarre actions, and profound messages revealing Yahweh's passion and eternal promises of judgment and restoration.
  • Learn about Nahum and Joel's prophecies on judgment, hope, and Yahweh's character. Explore the day of the Lord and the expansion of the covenant community.
  • Explore Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah's prophecies. Discover themes of judgment, faith, and restoration in God's plan.
  • Gain insight into Haggai's role in motivating temple rebuilding during the Persian rule. His brief yet impactful ministry fosters hope and action amid community disillusionment, recoginizing God's presence and reign.
  • Gain deep insight into Hebrew poetry: its forms, parallelism, acrostics, and emotional depth. Explore its celebration and lamentation of Yahweh's glory.
  • Gain insight into Psalms which reflect diverse emotions and experiences. Structured into five divisions, attributed to various authors, their interpretation involves understanding Torah context, literary devices, and applying timeless principles to life.
  • Explore biblical wisdom's depth: from practical skill to moral insight, rooted in the fear of Yahweh. It contrasts with secular knowledge, emphasizing God's order and universal application.
  • Engage with Proverbs to unravel its diverse wisdom, from aphorisms to discourses. Understand its practical guidance for righteous living and leadership.
  • Discover the Song of Songs, a rich exploration of love's nature. From its allegorical interpretations to its celebration of covenantal love, it examines human relationships with wisdom and depth.
  • The book of Job offers insights into faith and suffering, exploring theological themes and character dynamics. It emphasizes trust in God amid life's most difficult trials.
  • Uncover Ecclesiastes' profound journey from despair to hope. Koheleth's existential ponderings contrast with the narrator's faith, urging a shift from worldly pursuits to finding fulfillment in God's sovereignty.

This Old Testament Survey course offers a deep exploration of the Old Testament's literary structure, divine covenants, and historical context. Lessons cover the Pentateuch, emphasizing its narrative over legalistic interpretations, and extend through key biblical figures like Abraham and Moses. Topics such as the covenant at Sinai, the concept of imago Dei, and the tabernacle rituals highlight the continuity of God's grace and the ethical implications of divine laws. The course critically addresses common misconceptions, the role of the Torah as instruction, and the portrayal of God’s plan, underscoring the relevance and complexity of these ancient texts.

Dr. Daniel Block 
Old Testament Survey
Lesson Transcript


In this lesson, we want to take a closer look at one book that purports to come from the exiles, and it deals with the crisis that the exiles were facing, the theological crisis. That is the Book of Daniel. In critical scholarship, the Book of Daniel as we have it is often dated to a much later time, probably 2nd century BC, but I view this to be a book that has historiographically reliable information about a real character, Daniel, in a real situation, in a real time.

Daniel, the Book of Daniel, and its primary human character, Daniel, an Israelite in the Babylonian court. Apart from the Book of Ezekiel, which contains prophecies delivered to the exiles in Babylon, the only biblical book that provides a window into the world of that remnant of God's people is the Book of Daniel. Unlike the rest of the prophetic books, the Book of Daniel lacks a heading, the visions of Isaiah or the oracles of Amos or whatever.

There is no such heading here that introduces the prophet, describes the context of his ministry, and identifies the genre of the book. Instead, the book launches immediately into historical narrative, describing a dimension of the subjugation of Judah to the Babylonians that's not evident either in Jeremiah or 2nd Kings or even Ezekiel. In fact, Daniel's name doesn't appear in the Book of Daniel until verse 6, which includes him in a list along with three of his Jewish friends who find themselves in Babylon.

I take the biographical data provided by the book, and the first verse in particular, I take this information seriously. The professional service of Daniel, according to this book, spanned eight decades from 605 B.C., when he was taken to Babylon, the first time Nebuchadnezzar visited Jerusalem, all the way through to 538 B.C., Daniel chapter 6, 28, at which time the Persians have taken over the Babylonian empire. During this period, the Babylonian empire reached its zenith under Nebuchadnezzar, but it quickly declined when Nebuchadnezzar was gone.

Under Nabonidus, he had little interest in the affairs of state, and he was quickly replaced by the Persian empire, which gained ascendancy under Cyrus the Great. But while Daniel was making his mark in the successive administrations, the Jewish exiles were settling down in their colony on the Kibar Canal and elsewhere, as the archaeological record shows. Economically, their condition seems to have been relatively favorable, for when Cyrus issued the decree in 538, allowing the Jews to return to Palestine, only a handful went.

But what can we say about the person Daniel? All we know of Daniel's youth is that he was taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, along with several other hostages in 605 B.C., which was Jehoiakim's third year, Daniel 1-1. Once in Babylon, along with his three Jewish cohorts, Daniel quickly distinguished himself as a man of exceptional appearance, character, and wisdom. His name, Daniel, God is my judge, was changed to Belteshazzar, which is Babylonian for Beleshazzar, old lady, that is wife of Marduk, protect the king.

It's an idolatrous name. How did he accept that? But then he's a captive, isn't he? Like Joseph in the court of Pharaoh, through all the vicissitudes of his experience, we find that Daniel maintained his strong faith in Yahweh and his integrity, even in the face of hostile and jealous fellow courtiers. And in this respect, Daniel is such a contrast to the other Judeans that we find in the book of Ezekiel.

In Ezekiel's world, they're all a hardened lot. But here, in the Babylonian court, we find these four guys, all of whom demonstrate great, genuine faith in God. As already noted, professionally, Daniel was different from the other prophets.

He was primarily a court official, a civil servant in the administrations of Nebuchadnezzar, Beleshazzar, Darius the Mede, and possibly Cyrus the Persian. Though he frequently challenged his imperial superiors directly for their inhumanity and their arrogance, he never expressed cynicism or disrespect. He knew, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, that the Babylonians were agents of divine providence, Yahweh's providence.

The influence of this foreigner in the courts roused the ire of other presidents and satraps, leading eventually to the death sentence, his death sentence, in the den of lions. But his God was faithful in preserving him. The opening chapter of the book of Daniel presents Daniel and his friends as exceptionally gifted young men who quickly mastered the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

In keeping with this education, the book celebrates Daniel's exploits and expertise as an interpreter of dreams and signs and visions. The first six chapters portray him as an expert in the Babylonian sciences who, with the special divine endowment, was able to beat the Chaldean astrologers and diviners at their own games. In chapters 7 to 12, his Babylonian court context became less obvious and significant as he experienced a series of visions regarding the immediate and future history of his people.

But we need to ask, what is the message of Daniel? In our English Bibles, the book of Daniel is sandwiched between Ezekiel and Hosea and is known as the fourth of the major prophets. But recognizing that Daniel was not a preaching prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah or Amos or Zechariah, and that the message of the book was not cast in sermonic form like the other prophets, the Jewish canon places this book after Esther and before Ezra and Nehemiah. This suggests that in the minds of those responsible for that canon, just as Ezra and Nehemiah offer windows into the world of the returned exiles in Jerusalem after 538 B.C., so the book of Daniel opens our eyes to the world of the exiles before that date.

So it's a helpful piece that way. Since the message of Daniel has particular relevance for people who have experienced intense calamity, who have lost faith in God because he didn't rescue them from these disasters, especially the oppression and mockery of the enemies, given these factors, the theme of this book is obvious. Here's how I understand the message of the book of Daniel.

This is about the overruling sovereignty of Yahweh, the one true God, demonstrated in the judgment of rebellious world powers and in the vindication of the faithful. That's the theme. The overruling sovereignty of Yahweh, the one true God, demonstrated in the judgment of rebellious world powers and the vindication of the faithful.

This is the message our world needs to hear. This theme is evident in every chapter and is summarized throughout by key verses. This apocalyptic message is communicated through symbolic dreams, visions of supernatural beings, angelic conversations, and interpretations of these.

But before we move any farther, we need to understand in what sense Daniel is an apocalyptic book. And of course, in the scholarly world, this has become the primary illustration of the apocalyptic genre. According to John Collins, the foremost authority on all things apocalyptic, he defines apocalyptic literature like this.

Apocalypse is a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality that is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation in time, and it's spatial, insofar as it involves another supernatural world. That's John Collins on Apocalypse, and it certainly does describe the book of Daniel. But let's look then at the design and structure of the book.

Many scholars have recognized the chiastic structure of this book of Daniel, although chapter 7 at the heart of the book has elements of both parts, the style and genre of A as we will see, and the language of B part of Daniel is written in Aramaic, because that's the language of the empire. But the last part, the first part largely after chapter 1 is in Aramaic, but the last part, chapters 8 through to the end, those are written in Hebrew. But here we may recognize this chiastic pattern of themes and major motifs.

You have a prologue at the beginning, chapter 1, a dream of four metals. That matches an epilogue, chapter 12, 5 to 13. But then between these frames, you have two sub-chiastic patterns in which the triumph of the kingdom of God in chapter 2 is matched by a dream of four beasts, the triumph of the kingdom of God in chapter 7, the three friends in the fiery furnace, chapter 3 are matched by Daniel in the den of lions in chapter 6, and Nebuchadnezzar's dream, his fall in chapter 4 is matched by Belshazzar's feast and his fall in chapter 5. That's the first part of the book, the first seven chapters.

The second part, you have a vision regarding future history, chapter 8, that's matched by a vision regarding future history, chapter 11, verses 1 to 12, 4. And then Daniel's prayer and Gabriel's response in chapter 9 matched by Daniel's grief and Gabriel's response in chapter 10. So, that's the chiastic structure. Apart from noticing this chiasm, we may outline the book in more detail something like this.

In the first part of the book, we see the government, Daniel the government official, chapters 1 through 7. The prologue, the stages set in 1 to 21 with historical background, and then the Babylonian scholarship. This is an amazing thing. Nebuchadnezzar needs more personnel in his court, and they've got to be good-looking dudes because every element of the ancient royal court advertises the glory of the king.

So it's important that they look handsome, and that they are smart, and that they are wise, because they are the face of the kings to visitors who come from other countries. And so, in the search for new personnel, they bring in the candidates from all over the empire, and then they give a scholarship to those who prove themselves the best students in three years of training. The remarkable thing about this scholarship is that within three years, they have to learn all the language and literature of the Chaldeans, Babylonian.

Now this involves a very complicated literary system, the cuneiform writing system of the Babylonians. Under normal circumstances, it took a lifetime to learn how to read and write Babylonian, or Akkadian for that matter, the text of the Assyrians as well. But here, Daniel and his three buddies are thrown into this program, and at the end, at the graduation ceremonies, Daniel and his three friends, they walk with all the awards.

They're the ones who win the scholarships because they are the best at everything they do, and that's why they are appointed to their official positions in the court. But of course, although Daniel doesn't give credit to God, we know how this works. Later on, the officials will recognize that Daniel has the spirit of the gods, for he is able to interpret all kinds of stuff.

Well, it's because God is at work. Daniel and his friends are the people that God has planted in the court for such a time as this. But there's another dimension to this Daniel's rising to the court that in my mind may be coincidental, but it seems so providential.

You see, Daniel is brought to Babylon about 603 or 604 BC. God knows that 586 is on the calendar. The fall of Jerusalem is imminent.

God has hand-picked Nebuchadnezzar to be his agent of judgment for the Babylonians. But God cannot let the Babylonians wipe out the Israelite population or even wipe out the Davidic dynasty. He's made an eternal promise.

In my mind, Nebuchadnezzar coming, or his forces coming to Jerusalem before the turn of the century was a providential moment whereby God gets his appointed, his designated persons into Babylon who need to be there when the exile actually happens. There's a parallel to this story in the story of the Israelites and the famine in the land that has them landing up in Egypt. You remember the story of Joseph.

He was sold to traders, and they took him, took Joseph down. He was sold by his brothers to traders passing through. They took him down to Egypt, and they sold him to the Egyptians.

And once he was in Egypt, very quickly Joseph rose to the top. And we know why he was sent there, because in the providence of God, God knew there's a famine coming that is going to threaten the well-being of his chosen family. But it's not only the famine that's threatening, it's also prosperity in Canaan that could be a threat to the chosen family.

You see, living among the Canaanites is very seductive. It's very enticing, and if you live in the land of these people, very quickly, in fact, in Genesis chapter 34, the people of Shechem, they propose, let's intermarry, and we'll all become one people. But that's precisely what cannot happen.

So, in order to prevent this from happening in the kind providence of God, he brings Joseph to Egypt so that when the whole family of Jacob comes, Joseph is there as an official of the Egyptian court to give these people, to arrange for their settlement in the best part of Egypt. And I think that's actually what God had in mind when he had Nebuchadnezzar come already in 605 BC, and he took Daniel and his three friends hostage at that point. God had in mind 586.

No, God had in mind already 597 when Jehoiakim and the upper crust were taken away. That didn't wait until the destruction of the city. That happened earlier.

But to ensure, this is my interpretation of events, to ensure that when the Judeans arrived in Babylon, they would be settled as communities in favorable conditions, the Lord sent Daniel down to Babylon, and the Lord had Daniel rise in the courts of Babylon so that just on time, he was there. We have no indication that he had any contact with the other Babylonian exiles, but I have a feeling his influence may have been behind the fact that they were settled by the river Kibar in a favorable position, and they prospered very quickly, and the fact that Ezekiel mentions Daniel in his book, that may indicate that at least the prophet was aware of Daniel's presence in the Babylonian court. So Daniel rises to the top very quickly after he comes, and by the time the Judean exiles are arriving, Daniel, I'm speculating, Daniel is the governor, the agent through whose influence they are settled in favorable conditions, and probably, perhaps, maybe that's better, perhaps even when Jehoiakim is elevated to come and released from prison and invited to come and eat at the king's table, it may have been Daniel's influence as well.

Just speculating, reading between the lines, and reading these texts theologically. So in chapter one, you have the stage set for Daniel's influence in the court of Babylon. In chapter two, you have an introductory dream, and it's an impossible dream.

Only God can inspire Daniel to interpret this dream, and only God is ruler of heaven and earth, and he is in charge here. In chapter three, we have the fiery furnace, which begins with the dedication of a golden image, and of course, Daniel's three friends refuse. We don't know where Daniel is in this picture, but it's about his three friends.

They refuse to bow down to the image when the band strikes their cord, and then Nebuchadnezzar threatens to burn them in the fiery furnace. In fact, he is going to make the fire seven times hotter. They can't escape, and I will never forget their response to Nebuchadnezzar's warning.

See, Nebuchadnezzar likes these guys. He doesn't want to lose them because they're part of his administration, so he gives them a second chance, but he warns them, if you don't bow down to the golden image, then you will be killed, and they respectfully say, oh king, if it's a matter of who can deliver us from your hands, our God is able, but even if he doesn't, we will not bow down to your image, and it's an amazing thing that happens. God rescues them.

They're thrown into the furnace, and somebody is there. There's another fourth figure there that Nebuchadnezzar sees, and yes, God is able even to work this sort of miracle. In chapter four, you have the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar.

God is in charge of everything. In chapter five, Belshazzar has obviously not learned Nebuchadnezzar's lesson. He has this feast, and he sees the writing on the wall, your doom is fixed, and of course, his demise comes immediately after this, but Daniel is exalted even more.

In chapter five, the page flips quickly over the decades to the Persian period. This is after 539, when the Persians are in power, and now Daniel has provoked the ire and the jealousy of the Persian officials all around him, and they plot to get rid of him, and the only accusation they can bring against him is that he prays to another god, because three times a day, he opens his window and turns toward Jerusalem in the west, and he prays to God. We don't have the content of this prayer, but it's enough for these people to say there's a conspiracy against the king.

You've got to get rid of this guy, and we know the story. He's thrown into the den of lions, and he is rescued. It's an amazing story.

In chapter seven, we have Daniel emerging as his own visionary prophet. He's not just interpreting other people's dreams anymore, but he has a vision in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. He has this vision of the triumph of the Son of Man.

It's a brilliant text in which Daniel sees the Lord giving God, giving authority to the Son of Man, and he, in the process of it, declares his sovereignty over all the world and over time. I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His vesture was like white snow, and the hair on his head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames. Its wheels were burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before him.

Thousands and thousands were attending him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before him. The court sat, and the books were opened. This is a vision of the glorious king, and he looked, and he heard boastful words, and the horns speaking.

He kept looking, and all kinds of beasts, and I kept looking in the night, and look, the clouds of heaven. In the clouds of heaven, one like the Son of Man was coming. He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him, and to him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all the people's nations and men everywhere and every language might serve him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. This is the message of the book of Daniel, and here, right in the middle of the book, after those those scenes that were set in historical circumstances, we have his eyes fixed on heaven, and he sees this vision of the Ancient of Days, and giving authority to one like the Son of Man. And of course, as we know, this becomes a messianic title.

It's interesting that from God's perspective, this messianic person is called the Son of Man, but from the human perspective, when you read the Gospels over and over, Jesus is the Son of God. He turns out to be God incarnate in human flesh. In chapter 8, we have the vision of the ram and the goat, which it's organized very clearly, the occasion of the vision, the account of the vision, its interpretation, and Daniel's reaction.

But we are now looking forward to the history of the, shall we say, earthly cosmos. We're not dealing only with Israelite affairs. We're dealing with international matters.

This is a riddle that needs interpretation again, and of course, the point of it all is, the Lord is King. Let all the earth acknowledge him. In chapter 9, we have actually my favorite section of the book of Daniel, especially Daniel's prayer.

It's a magnificent prayer. He's having his devotions in Jeremiah 29. Jeremiah, to Jeremiah, the Lord had revealed, had given the words of, 70 years are decreed for the Judeans in exile.

And Daniel is having his devotions in this book, and in response to the encouragement of, if you seek my face, you will find me. Daniel prays, and the Lord answers his prayer. It's a magnificent prayer for lots of reasons, such profound theology, but what reminds, what I am especially impressed with, is Daniel's personal involvement in his prayer.

Daniel's been reading the scripture, and he reads, and he's, of course, he knows all the scripture, and he knows that we are in exile, because we have failed God. In fact, in this prayer, he says over and over again, we are not here because God has failed us. Remember our discussion about the four pillars on which Israel's security was based? God has made an eternal covenant with Abraham to give them the land.

He's made an eternal covenant with Israel to be his people, with David to be his king, and Jerusalem as his dwelling place, and these will never be revoked. They're irrevocable, and the people are all angry with him and shaking his fist in God's face, and Daniel says, this is not your problem. Oh Lord, we have sinned.

I'm impressed by the fact Daniel uses the first person plural. He recognizes himself to be a part of the problem. We have sinned.

We have betrayed you. We have not listened to the voice of your Torah, but you have been completely faithful. You have brought upon us all the curses written in the Torah.

You see, the people had forgotten the fine print in the Torah, namely the covenant curses. Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line. It's all mine.

We have eternal title to the blessings of God, and they've forgotten that from the beginning, access to the blessings is contingent upon people's faith and faithfulness, and Daniel recognizes that the curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 particularly, these are part of the covenant document. When Israel is sent off into exile, it's not because the covenant is off, or God's covenant is revolt, or it's over. No, it's on because the curses were part of the covenant document.

If God had not punished his people as he did by sending in the Assyrians to the northern kingdom first, and then to Judah in the end, if God had not done this, God would have been the one proving unfaithful, because it's written in the text. He keeps the fine print, and in this passage, Daniel recognizes that. He has obviously been steeped in Deuteronomy, for this whole prayer is full of Deuteronomic phrases.

It's a magnificent chapter that climaxes in then Gabriel's message to him, the vision of the 70 weeks that's coming. God is in charge of history. This leads us then to the last vision, Daniel's final vision, which takes us from 10, 1 to 12, verse 4. Now the vision that he sees becomes quite detailed.

In fact, it's so detailed that people, scholars, cannot imagine this have been given in the sixth century B.C. when Daniel was in Babylon. This must be, what shall we say, history written after the event rather than before the event, and so on the basis of the detailed descriptions of future events involving apparently Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabeans, and in the second and first century events, we have God demonstrating complete control over all of history. This is the message of the book of Daniel.

God is in control, and this is what people in every age need to be aware of. In our own time, we have a lot of Christians, particularly, who are complaining that they're under pressure from the ungodly systems of the world, and if only the ungodly people would perform, or should we say, pursue righteous courses, their fate would be well. But the book of Daniel has news for us.

The book of Daniel teaches us that wickedness will be punished, and the kingdoms of this world, they come and go, but no matter where we are, we must stand true to God who is faithful. He keeps His own. He vindicates the faithful, and ultimately, we will stand before Him, King of kings and Lord of lords, and praise Him for His glory and His grace.

This is the message of Daniel.