BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 29

Daniel - BibleProject

Daniel is an Old Testament book that contains two main sections: chapters 1-6 and chapters 7-12. The first section is primarily narrative and tells the story of Daniel and his friends during their exile in Babylon. The second section is primarily apocalyptic and contains visions and dreams that Daniel receives. The book was likely written in the 6th century BC, during the Babylonian exile, and it addresses the challenges faced by the exiled Israelites. Daniel is written in Hebrew and Aramaic and contains elements of both narrative and apocalyptic literature. The book emphasizes God's sovereignty and faithfulness in the face of trials and tribulations and encourages its readers to remain faithful to God even in difficult circumstances. 

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 29
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Daniel - BibleProject

OUTLINE: BP100-29: Daniel

I. Introduction to Daniel

A. Authorship and Date

B. Structure and Genre

C. Historical and Cultural Context

II. Literary Features of Daniel

A. Narrative Style and Language

B. Use of Apocalyptic Language and Imagery

C. Chiastic Structure and Repetition

III. Themes and Message of Daniel

A. Living as Faithful Exiles in a Hostile Culture

B. God's Sovereignty and Faithfulness in Times of Trial

C. The Coming Kingdom of God

IV. Significance of Daniel in the Old Testament

A. Contributions to a Larger Understanding of the Old Testament

B. Impact on the Original Audience

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-29 Daniel

The Book of Daniel. The story is set right after Babylon's first attack on Jerusalem and they had plundered the city and its temple and taken a wave of Israelites into exile. Among them were four men from the royal family of David. Daniel, whose later named Belteshazzar and his three friends, who you probably know by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This book tells of their struggles to maintain hope in the land of their conquerors. The book's design seems pretty simple at first-- Chapters one through six contains stories about Daniel and his friends in Babylon while chapters 7 through 12 contain the visions of Daniel about the future. But this two-part shape is made even more interesting by another design feature. And that's the book's language. It begins in Hebrew, the language of the Israelites. But chapters 2 through 7 are written in Aramaic, a cousin language to Hebrew spoken widely among the ancient empires. But then in chapters 8 through 12 it goes back to Hebrew. This design shows how chapters 2 through 7 are a coherent section but it also highlights the importance of chapters two and seven for understanding the later chapters of the book. Let's just dive in. Chapter one introduces the basic attention of the first half of the book. Daniel and his friends. They're really wise and capable. And they're recruited to serve in the Royal Palace of Babylon. But they're pressured to give up their Jewish identity by living and eating like Babylonians and violating the Jewish food laws found in the Torah. So they refuse and they choose faithfulness to the Torah and it puts them in danger. But God delivers them and they end up being elevated by the king of Babylon. After this begins the Aramaic section which you'll see has this really cool symmetrical design. So first the king of Babylon has a dream that it turns out only Daniel is able to interpret. It's about a huge statue made of four types of metal and it symbolizes a sequence of kingdoms and the head is Babylon. But then a huge rock comes flying in and it shatters the statue and it becomes this huge mountain. Now this dream is the first of many symbolic visions in the book and this one introduces the basic story line of them all. Daniel says that the statue represents a train of human kingdoms following from Babylon and they will all fill God's world with violence. But one day God's kingdom will come and will confront and humble the arrogant kingdoms of this world and fill the world with the healing justice of God's reign and rule. After this, chapter 3 tells the famous story of Daniel's three friends who refused to bow down and worship a huge idol statue, which like the statue in chapter 2 represents the king in his imperial power. So the friends are persecuted. They're thrown into a fiery furnace. But God delivers them from death and they're exalted by the king who now acknowledges their God is the true one. After this come a pair of stories about two Babylonian kings, the father, Nebuchadnezzar and then his son, Belshazzar. They're both filled with pride because of their imperial power. And so, like in chapter two, God warns them both through dreams and then visions, which also like chapter 2 only Daniel can interpret. He says that both kings are to humble themselves before God and both kings arrogantly resist. So Nebuchadnezzar is stricken with madness. He becomes like a beast in the field. But then he humbles himself before God and his humanity returns to him. He's restored as king. This is in contrast with his son Belshazzar who doesn't humble himself before God and he's assassinated that very night. Now these two stories draw this imagery from Genesis chapters one and two and Psalm 8 where humans are depicted as the royal image of God. He has given them authority to rule over the beasts of the field, the birds of the air on behalf of God who is the world's true king. But when human kingdoms forget that, when they rebel and make themselves and their power into a "god," they become less than human like violent beasts who will face God's justice. Which brings us to chapter six, the pair of chapter three. And this time it's Daniel who is being persecuted because he refuses to pray and worship the king as a god. And so like the friends, he's sentenced to death and he's thrown into a lion's den. But God delivers him from the beasts and like the friends, the king exalts Daniel and praises his God, which brings us to chapter 7. It's the pair of chapter 2 and the center of the book where all its themes come together. It's another dream but it's Daniel's this time. And ironically he cannot understand the dream until an angelic messenger explains it to him. He sees a series of four beasts: the one like a lion then like a bear, then one like a winged leopard. Each of these symbolizing an arrogant kingdom. And last of all is a super beast identified as a really evil empire and it has lots of horns -- a common symbol for kings in the Old Testament. And there's one specific horn who is an image of an arrogant king who exalts himself above God and persecute God's people. Now they are symbolized by a figure called the "Son of Man" who is an image for both God's covenant people but also for their King from the line of David. But then all of a sudden, God, who is called the Ancient of Days, comes and He sets up His throne. He destroys the super beast and He exalts the Son of Man on the clouds where he comes up to sit at God's right hand and share in God's rule over the nations. We can look back now and see how all of these stories in the first half fit together. The three stories of faithfulness despite persecution. These are meant to offer hope to God-suffering people among the nations. But they suffer because human kingdoms have rebelled against God and become beasts. And so these visions encourage patience that God's people are to wait for him to bring his kingdom and rule over our world and vindicate his suffering people. But it raises the question about when God is going to do that and that's what these final three visions set out to explore. In chapter 8, Daniel has another vision about the final two beasts of chapter 7. But this time they are symbolized by a ram who we're told is an image of the empire of the Medes and Persians. And then by a goat who is an image of ancient Greece. And out of the goat come a whole bunch of horns, one of which symbolizes the evil king from chapter 7. And we're told more about him. That he will attack Jerusalem and exalt himself above God and defile the temple with idols. However in the end he will be destroyed by God who will exalt His people and His kingdom. Now by chapter 9, Daniel is very puzzled especially as to when all of this is going to take place. So he consults the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah where God said that Israel's exile would only last 70 years so for Daniel the 70 years is almost up and so he asked God to fulfill His promise soon. But an angel comes and informs him that Israel's sin and rebellion has continued and so their time of exile and oppression will continue on seven times longer than Jeremiah envisioned. Daniel is deeply disturbed by this and he has one final vision. We're shown the same sequence of kingdoms. It's Persia and then Greece and Alexander the Great followed by lesser kings all leading up to this final king of the north, who will invade Jerusalem, set up idols in the temple and exalt himself above God. But then all of a sudden this king comes to ruin. Now there's been endless debate about what all of these visions refer to. Many see a clear connection to the exploits of the Syrian king Antiochus in the 160s BC. He killed many faithful Jews in Jerusalem and set up idols in the temple. Others think it points forward to the Roman Empire's role in the execution of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD70. And still others think it will be fulfilled in future events that have yet to happen when Jesus will return. Now the problem is that the symbols and the numbers they don't quite match any of these views perfectly. But it opens up the possibility that in a sense they are all right. The book of Daniel has been designed to offer hope to all future generations of God's people. It did so in the days of Antiochus' Empire and it has ever since. This is why Jesus could use imagery from Daniel to describe and confront the oppressive leaders he confronted in Jerusalem. This is why John the visionary who wrote the Revelation could adapt Daniel's visions and apply them to Rome of his day and also all future oppressive empires. And so the point of Daniel is that all generations of readers can find here a pattern and a promise. It's a pattern that human beings and their kingdoms become violent beasts when they glorify their own power, when they redefine right and wrong and don't acknowledge God is their true king. But Daniel also holds out a promise that one day God will confront the Beast. He will rescue His world and His people by bringing His kingdom over all nations. And so for every generation, this book speaks a message of hope that should motivate faithfulness. And that's what the book of Daniel is all about.