Outline Of The Book Of Daniel
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Daniel. We are going to begin a discussion of this very interesting book in the Old Testament. For quite some time we discussed the book of Revelation, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. Then we thought together about another prophetic portion of the Word of God, Ezekiel 38 and 39, because we felt that in view of present circumstances and in view of the fact that our minds are traveling in that direction, it would be wise to answer some questions related to that portion of the Word of God.

Similarity Between Daniel and Revelation

For somewhat the same reason, we feel compelled to suggest that we think together about the book of Daniel at this time. One of the basic reasons we are going to think about the book of Daniel is the similarity that exists between Daniel and Revelation.

We told you that the book of Revelation is the Apocalypse of the New Testament—that is, the unveiling of events related to the end time. What we can say about the book of Revelation in relation to the New Testament, we can say about the book of Daniel in relation to the Old Testament. As the book of Revelation is the Apocalypse of the New Testament, the book of Daniel is the Apocalypse of the Old Testament.

There is another interesting similarity—namely, that both of the authors were especially beloved of the Lord. John, the author of the book of Revelation, is referred to as “John the Beloved One,” and Daniel, the author of the book of Daniel, is referred to three times as “particularly beloved of the Lord.” It is an interesting thing that God would choose two individuals about whom He felt the same way to bring us these prophetic truths.

The Times of the Gentiles

You will remember that the book of Revelation deals with the times of the Gentiles, particularly related to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the times of the Gentiles is a phrase with which you are not familiar, we would suggest that you become familiar with it.

Briefly, it is a phrase that describes the period of time in which God is working through the Gentiles instead of through the Jews. When God called Abraham out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees, He made an agreement with Abraham that He would bless the world through him and through his descendants. That God had that plan and purpose is declared in chapter 9 of the book of Romans. But there came a time when the nation of Israel became disobedient to God, and God, in chastening power, delivered them over to the Gentiles. That is the reason there is all this inexplicable, so-called persecution of the Jews. The times of the Gentiles, which began with Babylonian captivity, as we are going to see in the book of Daniel, are still going on and will continue until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

The book of Revelation describes the times of the Gentiles with special reference to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We noticed that while we were studying the book. But the book of Daniel deals with the times of the Gentiles in relation to the nations of the world. That is the reason the study is particularly significant at this time. As we are all aware if we keep up with current events, nations are coming into the limelight and fading into the gloom. Nations that have been insignificant for years are emerging into the limelight, and we are very much interested to notice these characters upon the stage of the world, wondering how they will eventually appear and wondering what their ultimate fate will be. The book of Daniel gives us the answer to all of these questions.

Reasons for Studying Daniel

That is the reason it is important for us to be familiar with it, so that as we notice these various nations, particularly in the European area, coming into the foreground and fading into the background again, we will know whether to get excited when we see the emergence of a nation or whether to sit steady in the boat, knowing that God has the plan already developed. All we need to do is to watch the fulfillment of the plan as these nations come and go. This is the reason we study the book of Daniel.

There is another reason we study the book of Daniel, and that reason is suggested to us in chapter 24 of the Gospel according to Matthew. Matthew, chapter 24, is a presentation by the Lord Jesus Christ of the very end of the times of the Gentiles. In describing the time of the end, He said in verse 15.

Matthew 24:

15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountain:
17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:
18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

Time will not permit a full discussion of Matthew, chapter 24. We are looking only at what is suggested in verse 15, where the Lord Jesus told us that we should be able to understand what Daniel the prophet wrote. In this particular verse, He is referring to a specific incident. He said, “Understand what Daniel meant about that and be prepared for it.”

How are we going to understand a particular event in the book of Daniel, let alone a great many other things, if we don't take the time to study the book? This leads us to suggest to you that the book of Revelation will be clearer after you have studied the book of Daniel. It leads us to suggest to you that you will never understand what God has planned for the future unless you study the book of Daniel.

Go back to the book of Daniel, and turn to the very last chapter as I suggest to you another reason the book is so very, very important.

Unsealed Book of Revelation

You will remember that when we were studying the book of Revelation, we said that the book of Revelation is an unsealed book. God gave the information in the book of John, and He said, “Now John, don't put the top on it. Leave it all open, because we want everybody to see it from the moment you write it until all of these things are fulfilled.” It was an open book, with no strings whatsosever attached to it.

Sealed Book of Daniel

But the book of Daniel was not such a book. If you have your Bibles open to chapter 12, you will notice in verse 4 that Daniel received instructions which were far different from those that John received:

Daniel 12:

4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end:…

What does that mean? It means exactly what it says: When Daniel was finished with the book, God said, “Daniel, shut it up. Seal it because there is no need for anybody to try to understand it in its entirety until the time of the end.”

Now notice the next statement: At the time of the end many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. The knowledge of the book of Daniel will be increased in the end of time, is what God said. Notice verse 9 of the same chapter:

Daniel 12:

9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

This statement was given in response to the question of Daniel in verse 8:

Daniel 12:

8And I heard, but I understood not: Then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

God said to Daniel in so many words, “Don't you worry about it. It is not for you particularly, but there is going to arise a generation of people who will need to know these things. When that generation arises, they will begin the study of the book of Daniel.”

Recent Interest in Daniel

Here is an interesting observation that you can verify if you will take the time to do it. It is that understanding of the book of Daniel has become a reality only in the last one hundred years. If you examine the literature and the commentaries on the book of Daniel, you will find that expositions of the book have been produced in greater number in the last one hundred years than ever before.

Why? I believe it is because the Spirit of God is stirring up people to remind them that we are living in the end time, and they had better begin to search out the truth that is contained in this book. You say, “Well, does God do such a thing as that?” He certainly does!

Look at chapter 9 of the book of Daniel with me for a moment. Daniel had just such an experience as this I am talking about:

Daniel 9:

1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans:
2In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

The rest of the chapter is a prayer that Daniel prayed because the Spirit of God stirred his heart to study the book of Jeremiah.

When he studied the book of Jeremiah, he found that the people of Israel were to be in captivity seventy years. Daniel had lived from the very beginning of that captivity. Now the seventy years were nearly up and nobody seemed greatly concerned about it. So as the Spirit of God stirred his heart, he began to study the book, and as he studied, he began to pray. He prayed in such a way that God brought into motion the things related to the welfare of the nation of Israel.

I believe that in just the same way that God stirred up Daniel to pray in relation to the end of the Babylonian captivity, God is stirring up people today to pursue the study of the book of Daniel, to become familiar with its contents so that they may know how to pray intelligently in relation to the end time.

All of these are reasons for studying the book of Daniel. I mention them because I think that we should have reasons when we delve into the Word of God. When we have reasons, we will consider its importance and not neglect the study.

We told you this is going to be just an introductory message in relation to the book of Daniel. So it would behoove us to say one or two things about the book itself.

An Outline for Daniel

We always seek an outline in any book that we study. Many outlines may be made by many people, but the simplest outline is always found with the book itself, either in one verse as we found it in Revelation, chapter 1, verse 19, or in the spiritually directed construction of the book itself. The latter is the case with the book of Daniel.

The first six chapters of the book of Daniel deal with Daniel's interpretation of the visions which other people had. Other people had the visions, and they called on Daniel to tell them what the visions meant. This would naturally involve quite a personal history of Daniel, and it does to such an extent that many Bible scholars, when they describe the book of Daniel, tell us that the first six chapters of the book deal with the personal history of the man. That should be considered in our thinking.

In the last half of the book, chapters 7 through 12, Daniel deals not with the visions which other people had, but with the visions which he himself had. If you will keep these two facts in mind, you will be able to understand the book of Daniel as we discuss it. The first six chapters deal with visions which other people had, with Daniel as the interpreter, and the last six chapters deal with visions which Daniel had, the Lord giving to Daniel, personally, the interpretation of his own visions.

Another very interesting fact in relation to rightly dividing the book is the language in which the book is written. Half of the book is written in Aramaic and the other half is written in Hebrew. The half written in Aramaic deals with the Gentiles. The half written in Hebrew deals with the Jews and that seems to me to be significant; the Holy Spirit has planted an outline of the book within the book itself.

The division of languages is not quite in line with the division of subject matter as I mentioned to you a moment ago, but it is just as clear. The first chapter of the book is written in Hebrew because it deals with the Hebrews.

Then chapters 2 through 7 are written in Aramaic. The remaining portion is written in Hebrew, so that it balances out—six chapters in Aramaic and six chapters in Hebrew.

This is God's plan for this particular book, and it should be of real interest to us.

Characteristics of the Man Daniel

I want to say a word to you about the man, Daniel. If we are going to understand the book, we need to understand a little about the man himself. Therefore, I would like to suggest to you that this man, Daniel, had four characteristics.

Pleasing to God

He was an individual who pleased the Lord, or he was an individual, we could say, of a pure light. Notice in chapter 6, verse 5, a simple statement related to this particular thing. In chapter 6 we have the story of how some people who were jealous of Daniel tried to find something whereof they could accuse him before the king. We are told that they looked and looked and looked to find something with which they could accuse him:

Daniel 6:

5Then said these men, we shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

My, isn't that a tremendous testimony? Do you suppose that if somebody were to examine your life to find some fault in it, that is all they could say? Could they say, “You know, we looked at that fellow very carefully, and we can't find a thing in the world wrong with him except in relation to his religion. That fellow is a religious fanatic.” That is the only thing they could say about him. That is indeed a testimony to covet.

Turn with me, please, to chapter 14 of the book of Ezekiel as we notice another illustration of the fact that Daniel was a man whose life was pure. Daniel was a man who pleased the Lord.

God is pronouncing judgment upon the city of Jerusalem, and He makes a statement in verse 14 which He repeats in verse 20. These statements emphasize to us the place that Daniel had in the sight of God:

Ezekiel 14:

14Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.

Ezekiel 14:

12Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

Of course, you understand the implication of these verses. When Noah was living, God looked down upon the earth and the whole earth was wicked in His sight. There wasn't one who was doing what he ought to do, with the exception of Noah and his family. Noah was the only righteous man in his generation.

When the Devil was looking for somebody to poke his finger at, to criticize the work of God in the life of an individual, God said, “Why don't you try my servant Job?” God had so much confidence in Job that He was willing for the Devil to pick him apart.

Daniel is placed in the same group—Noah, Job, and Daniel. Of course, you remember the incident in relation to the city of Sodom. When Abraham was praying that the city of Sodom might be spared, he made a little agreement with God. He said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city, will You spare the city?” You know the story. It came down until even Abraham got discouraged in praying about it.

“With that same thought in mind,” God said to the city of Jerusalem, “if three righteous men such as Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the city of Jerusalem, I still couldn't spare it from judgment.” The only thing that would happen is that those three men, because they are righteous men, would be spared destruction.

This gives us an idea of the kind of man that Daniel was. He was pure in the sight of God.

A Man of Purpose

Go back to the book of Daniel and notice what is perhaps the most familiar statement about Daniel. We must not neglect it as we think together about the kind of man that Daniel was. In Daniel, chapter 1, verse 8, we read:

Daniel 1:

8But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Daniel was a man of purpose. I don't think we will understand this purpose unless we realize that Daniel wasn't worried about calories when he made this statement. He was willing to trust God in relation to his health. The problem was that this meat and this drink had already been offered to idols. They were a part of idol worship, and he refused, absolutely refused, to have anything to do with anything that was related to idol worship. He purposed in his heart not to have anything to do with it even if it meant his life.

May I remind you that Daniel was not a man of spasmodic purpose. That is the reason one trusts him in these revelations. You will remember that in chapter 6, verse 10, it is recorded that he was still a man of purpose. He could have swerved; he could have changed. But not Daniel! We read:

Daniel 6:

10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

The key to this verse is the last phrase, “as he did aforetime.” He opened his window toward Jerusalem because God's Word instructed him to do that. Read II Samuel, chapter 7, when you have time. David prayed three times a day because God's Word told him to do it. When he had to choose between keeping his vows concerning prayer and die as a result, or breaking his vows to God and having life as a reward, he kept his vows to God. He was a man of purpose.

A Man of Prayer

We have already touched upon this thing that I want you to notice, but we mention it so that you may have a complete picture of Daniel. We suggest to you that Daniel was not only a man of purity and not only a man of purpose, but Daniel was a man of prayer.

Many lessons related to prayer are found in the book of Daniel. Read carefully, when you have time, chapter 9, a portion of which we mentioned just a moment ago. Time will not permit us to read it in its entirety. There you will be introduced to one of the most unusual prayers recorded in the Word of God. It is a true illustration of intercession.

A Man of Prophecy

Then we would like to remind you that Daniel was a man of prophecy. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who called him “Daniel the Prophet.” It was his job to prophesy these events which we will be considering.

If you are going to believe what is recorded here in the book of Daniel, it is important for you to remember that Daniel was not only a man who prophesied: he was the subject of prophecy himself. The book of Daniel begins with a fulfilled prophecy. I call your attention to that in order that you may start off with faith that the prophecies in the book of Daniel are going to be fulfilled. If some prophecies are fulfilled, that should be a guarantee that all will be.

Beginning of Captivity of Judah

So will you notice chapter 1, verse 1:

Daniel 1:

1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his God; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his God.

Here is a simple statement of how Daniel and the children of Israel got into the land of Babylon. If you will look at verse 1, you will think it is due to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar, with all of his Babylonians, with all of his skill, with all of his power, would have been absolutely helpless had the Lord not given Jehoiakin, king of Judah, into his hands. Along with Jehoiakim, the Lord gave the vessels of gold and the vessels of silver, etc. I say this is a fulfillment of prophecy.

Turn with me, please, to II Kings, chapter 20. Here is the story of a sad incident in the life of Hezekiah. You will remember that God had said to Hezekiah, “I want to take you home. Set your house in order.” Hezekiah was not any more anxious to go to Heaven than a lot of Christians are today, and so immediately he began to plead with God and say, “Give me an extension of time. Don't make me go right away,” If you read the chapter carefully, you will find that Hezekiah wasn't saying, “If it is Your will, let me live.” He was begging God to let him live. He was saying in so many words, “I want to live whether You want me to or not,” and God let him have his way!

Remember, if you fuss at God long enough, He will let you have your way, but it won't always be best for you. It was not best for Hezekiah, because he lived just long enough to bring about the captivity of the children of Israel in the land of Babylon.

Prophecy Concerning Judah's Captivity

If you will notice now in II Kings, chapter 20, a group of people came from Babylon to visit Hezekiah. We read from verse 12:

II Kings 20:

12At that time Berodach-bele-dan, the son of Baladan king Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
13And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasure: There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
14Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, they are come from a far country, even from Babylon.
15And he said What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, all the things that are in mine house have they seen: There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
16And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.
17Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: Nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
18And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

When Nebuchadnezzar made war on Jehoiakim and God delivered Jehoiakim into his hands, this prophecy was fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar took all of the treasures just as Isaiah had said he would, and not only did he take all of the treasures, but he took the descendants of Hezekiah (Daniel was one of them.) and made them eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. The book of Daniel begins with a fulfilled prophecy.

Now wait just a minute! God waited approximately one hundred years to fulfill the prophecy that He gave to Hezekiah through Isaiah, but He fulfilled it. He waited a hundred years to do it, but He did it. Some of the prophecies that are contained in the book of Daniel were fulfilled two hundred years after Daniel gave them. Some of them have not yet been fulfilled; we will see the fulfillment of them. But God's Word is pure. You can depend on that.

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