The Book
of Daniel

Points of Interest

  1. The comprehensiveness and continuity of Daniel's prophecies surpass those of any other Old Testament book.
  2. Daniel contains the longest time prophecy in the Bible.
  3. Daniel contains the only Scripture indicating when the Messiah would arrive. In fact, Daniel 9 is the only place in the Old Testament where the word "Messiah" appears in the King James Version.
  4. Jesus specifically stated that we need to understand Daniel's prophecies.
  5. Daniel lays the foundation for the study of the book of Revelation.
  6. Daniel presents the only prophecies which were declared to be "sealed" until the time of the end. Now those prophecies are unsealed, bearing their essential messages specifically for our day.

General Organization of the Chapters

Stories Prophecies
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While chapter 2 contains both a story and a prophecy, it is here classed
with the stories because the story fills 34 of the 49 verses, whereas
only 15 verses (31-45) are devoted to the prophecy.

Original Languages of the Chapters

Aramaic Hebrew
234567 189101112

The first few verses of chapter 2 were written in Hebrew. The Aramaic
portion of chapter 2 begins with the tenth word of the fourth verse in
the King James Version.

Chronological Order of the Chapters

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The Content of the Book of Daniel

The book of Daniel comprises six major stories and three symbolic prophecies.

Six Major Stories
Chapter 1 Captives with Conviction
Chapter 2 A Dream of Destiny
Chapter 3 The Fiery Furnace
Chapter 4 The Conversion of the King
Chapter 5 The Writing on the Wall
Chapter 6 Daniel in the Den

Three Symbolic Prophecies
Chapter 2 Symbols and Explanation
Chapter 7 Symbols and Explanation
Chapter 8 Symbols and Explanation
Chapters 9-12 Explanation of Chapter 8

Chapter 2 is unique. It contains both a major story and a major
outline prophecy. It is also the only chapter in Daniel containing
both Hebrew and Aramaic portions. From a literary standpoint,
the entire book is summarized in chapter 2.

Chiasms* in Daniel

The Aramaic chapters in Daniel seem to form one literary unit, and the Hebrew chapters form another**. Each of the two sections has its own chiastic structure. See Daniel's chiasms.

The Authorship of the Book of Daniel

Daniel was a Jewish captive in Babylon who served under Nebuchadnezzar and later kings. Jesus called him a prophet and treated his prophecies as accurate predictions of future events (Matthew 24:15). To reject the claims of the book of Daniel is therefore to reject the words of Jesus concerning it. Examine common objections


*A chiasm is a literary form in which the two halves of a document are written in mirror relationship to each other.
**I got this idea from William H. Shea's two-volume commentary on Daniel in The Abundant Life Bible Amplifier series, Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1996.