The Prophets: Daniel
Daniel, from the Hebrew name pronounced dawn-nee-yale, meaning the Lord is my Judge, was a prophet of the LORD, of Judah, in Babylon. As in the case of The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" which fell gradually to the Assyrians (completed by 721 BC; see The Galilee Captivity), The Southern Kingdom of "Judah" was conquered gradually by the Babylonians (completed by 586 BC). Daniel was among those taken to Babylon before the final fall of Judah.
"1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah [see Kings of Israel and Judah] came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it." (Daniel 1:1 KJV)
"1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; 1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans." (Daniel 1:3-4 KJV)
"1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names [see The Royal Eunuchs]: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego." (Daniel 1:6-7 KJV)
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place"
The prophecies given to Daniel by the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM' to understand that "the LORD God" was Jesus Christ) are some of the most spectacular and detailed of the Holy Scriptures (see the Fact Finder question below for detailed studies of each chapter of the book of Daniel). Some critics of the Bible foolishly say that Daniel "had to have been written later than it was" (some of them actually contradict themselves in their false accusation) because it was "too accurate" in describing the world empires that were to come. Those empires, beginning with Babylon itself, were described in a prophecy given to Babylon's king, Nebuchadnezzar (see Nebuchadnezzar's Dream). For that, Daniel went from slave to Prime Minister of Babylon (see Prime Minister Daniel).
2:31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 2:32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 2:33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 2:34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold [see Ancient Empires - Babylon].
2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee [see Ancient Empires - Persia], and another third kingdom of brass [see Ancient Empires - Greece], which shall bear rule over all the earth [see Alexander The Great In Prophecy].
2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron [see Ancient Empires - Rome]: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 2:41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom [see Zionism], which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms [see The Coming World Dictator], and it shall stand for ever. 2:45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods [see Nebuchadnezzar The Believer], and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
2:48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king." (Daniel 2:31-47 KJV)
The Messiah Himself quoted Daniel's writings ("When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place") in describing the time just prior to the Return of Christ:
"24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand [see How Long Will 'The End Time' Last?]:
24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:14-21 KJV)
Fact Finder: For detailed examination of each chapter of the book of Daniel, see the studies below from our Bible Reading Plan: