Why is the Book of Daniel Important?


The book of Daniel is an important prophetic book in the Old Testament. The foundations of what the Bible says about the end times are laid in Daniel. If you want to understand what the Bible says about the end times, and explore if we are living in the end times, Daniel is where you should start.

Daniel was a Hebrew prophet who lived in the 6th Century BC during a time known as the Babylonian exile. During this time, after decades of breaking God’s laws and worshipping idols, God punished the nation of Judah by exiling them from the land he had promised to Abraham and forced them to live in the nation of Babylon for 70 years. Although he was an exile from Jerusalem, Daniel served as a government official in Babylon, first for the Neo-Babylonian rulers and then for the Persian rulers. 

The book of Daniel contains many important lessons, such as how to live as a believer in a pagan culture, but Daniel is most famous for its prophecy. As a devout Jew, Daniel had studied the Old Testament and knew that God had promised to return the Jews to Israel. Daniel wanted to know when the Jews would be allowed to return to Jerusalem, so he prayed to God. God responded with a prophecy about a period of 490 years, known as the 70-weeks prophecy (70 weeks, or groups of 7 years is 490 years). This prophecy, along with other visions that Daniel received while living in Babylon, form an essential part of eschatology, or what the Bible has to say about the end times.  

The End Times 

When most people think of end times, they think of a cataclysmic event causing the destruction of the world. In the Bible, prophecy lays out a series of events that include a seven-year period of massive destruction known as the tribulation but also includes a 1,000-year period when Jesus rules on Earth. For simplicity, we will use the term last days to refer to the last days before these prophesized times start, or the last days before the tribulation and the end times will refer to after these events start. 

We live in strange times. The events of the last few years have rocked our understanding of the world to its core; scary and even bizarre events are happening with increasing frequency and intensity. Naturally, this raises the question, “Are we in the last days?” and many people have turned to the Bible for answer. If you want to understand what the Bible has to say about the last days, then Daniel is a great place to start. Revelation, a book in the New Testament, also deals with the end times but Revelation builds on the foundation laid by Daniel. You must study both of them to get a complete picture, but Daniel is where we’ll start. 

My initial goal for this blog was to focus on the historical reliability of the Bible and start with Genesis. But the last few years have forced me to conclude we are currently living in the last days. There is only consistent explanation I can come up with that explains everything that is happening today; the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are being fulfilled before our very eyes.  

Therefore, I added a second goal to the blog. We will still investigate the historical reliability of the Bible, but we will also investigate the prophetic reliability of the Bible. These two goals work together to show the Bible is reliable. To put is simply, if over 1,500 years ago the Bible provided an explanation for why the world looks the way it does today, that would prove the divine inspiration of the Bible. In other words, only God can predict the future, and if the Bible predicts the future, then it must be inspired by God. We’re going to investigate both of those goals by starting with the book of Daniel. 

Two important topics in eschatology are first presented in Daniel: the Kingdom of the Beast and the Antichrist. 

The Kingdom of the Beast 

This organization is known by other names, pimarily the One World Order, but the Kingdom of the Beast is a global, totalitarian government that arises during the end times. In chapter 7, Daniel had a vision of 4 terrible beasts coming out of the sea. Daniel is told each of these beasts represents a future kingdom that will dominate the known world. The first three beasts were ancient, historical kingdoms, but the fourth kingdom has not yet come to pass. When it arises, it will be the most controlling, destructive government the world has ever seen, and it will be ruled by a coalition of ten rulers. This totalitarian government is the Kingdom of the Beast. Much of the bizarre and scary events of the last several years is the unveiling of the Kingdom of the Beast. 

The Antichrist 

The Kingdom of the Beast will be ruled by ten rules, but Daniel’s vision also included an 11th ruler. The 11thruler will arise from the midst of the Kingdom of the Beast, destroy three of the ten rulers, and seize control of the world government. This ruler is the Antichrist, and he will be a dominant force that will rule with unparalleled death and destruction. The Antichrist is most likely alive and active today, but he will remain in the shadows until after the Kingdom of the Beast comes to power. 

Fulfilled Prophecy 

Daniel doesn’t only contain prophecies about the end times, it also contains prophecies about events that were in the future at the time of Daniel’s writing, but then came to pass in subsequent years. These fulfilled predictions are extraordinarily important, because they serve as a sort of divine certificate of authenticity. If Daniel was correct about events that occurred in the past, then wouldn’t we expect him to also be correct about events that are still in the future?  

Chief among the fulfilled prophecies contained in Daniel are predictions about the kingdoms that would dominate the Ancient Near East after the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. Daniel lived through the rule of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom and even served several years in the the Persian Empire, which followed. In his writings, Daniel related prophecies that the Persians would succeed the Babylonians, and that subsequently Alexander the Great would conquer the Persians. He further revealed that Alexander’s empire would then be divided amongst his generals after his death. 

The Messiah

When the angel Gabriel gave Daniel the 70-weeks prophecy, he told Daniel that once the Persians gave the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, a period of 483 years would begin. At the end of those 483, the Messiah, the promised savior of Israel and mankind, would present himself to the nation of Israel. History tells us that 483 years after a decree went out to rebuild the temple, Jesus of Nazareth rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, thus fulfilling the prophecy.  

The Tribulation 

The final, 7-year period of the 70-weeks prophecy is the tribulation. It is during the tribulation that the Antichrist will rule the world. This period will see the most death and destruction the world has ever seen. After 7 years, Jesus Christ will return to earth, defeat the Antichrist, and rule on Earth as a king for 1,000 years. 

Spiritual Warfare 

Another major topic in Daniel is spiritual warfare. In chapter 10, another angel visited Daniel, but this time the angel told Daniel he was delayed because he had to fight with the “prince of the kingdom of Persia.” This prince was so strong that the angel had to ask the angel Michael to help him. 

The implications of this passage are profound. When combined with other passages in the Bible, a picture emerges of spiritual beings, demons, who have dominion over human kingdoms. These demons fight against angels, and more importantly, rebel against God’s will. I believe spiritual warfare goes a long way to describe the world today, so it is a huge topic we will explore further in the blog. 

That’s a lot of important prophecy! We live in dark and scary times. Evil forces are at work, but there is hope. The Bible tells us in the end, God wins. I hope this post has inspired you to learn more. Let’s get started with the book of Daniel!

Next: When Was Daniel Written and Why is it Important?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *