Olli Dürr The Book of Daniel at a Glance – Structure and Themes

The Book of Daniel at a Glance – Structure and Themes

The Book of Daniel at a Glance – Structure and Themes post thumbnail image


The book of Daniel in the Old Testament is not just a series of individual stories of an imaginative man. The Hebrew parallelism and even chiasm alone testify to a thoroughly thought-out and also very important structure for understanding the prophecies contained therein and also in Revelation.

The book of Daniel is essential

The book of Daniel is one of the most important books of the Bible in the Old Testament. The prophecies contained therein extend from that time in the 6th century BC to the present and also into the future. Even Jesus Christ referred to the predictions of Daniel (see Matthew 24:15) and indirectly encouraged people to read the book of Daniel. Peter exhorted to heed the word of the prophets (see 2 Peter 1:19).

Knowledge of the prophecies and statements in the book of Daniel are a prerequisite for understanding the symbolism in the book of Revelation. Without the book of Daniel, the prophecies of Revelation would be left with a great deal of latitude in interpretation. Conversely, extremely imaginative interpretations of Revelation can easily be refuted by the explanations in the book of Daniel.

These facts alone are proof that the claims that the Old Testament has been superseded and superseded by the New Testament are baseless and utterly unfounded. Anyone who claims this must also be able to justify it and only with a clear reference in the Bible. Everything else is just air numbers.

Book of Daniel deals with time up to the present

Bible Book of Daniel

The book of Daniel is extremely important

The topics in the book of Daniel deal not only with the predictions about events up to our time, but also with the experiences and fates of the then kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia. These reports also provide valuable information on the constantly lurking dangers and instructions for the only right actions. Chapter 4 was not written by Daniel but by Nebuchadnezzar himself, the most powerful ruler of Babylon. What Nebuchadnezzar describes about his self-aggrandizement, the deep fall and his “rehabilitation” can also be seamlessly inserted into our time. Simply put, the book of Daniel is essential reading for any serious Bible student. It was not without reason that Martin Luther’s first translation of the Old Testament was the book of Daniel. He saw in this a direct connection to the treatises in Revelation.

The Contents of the Book of Daniel – Overview

The chapters of the book of Daniel are partly self-contained themes and partly overarching treatises. The latter concerns chapters 10-12, which describe a complete course of history from that time to the present. The periods given are based on the dates in the Bible and the discoveries of archaeology.

Book of Daniel Theme Time
Chapter 1: Daniel comes to Babylon 605 / 604 BC
Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st dream 603 / 602 BC
Chapter 3: The golden statue 595 – 580 BC
Chapter 4: Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion 570 – 562 BC
Chapter 5: Beltshazzar’s celebration 539 BC
Chapter 6: Daniel in the lions’ den 538 BC
Chapter 7: Daniel’s 1st vision 549 BC
Chapter 8: Daniel’s 2nd Vision 547 BC
Chapter 9: Penitential prayer of Daniel 538 BC
Chapter 10-12: Vision to the end times 535 BC

Parallel structures of the chapters

A (Hebrew) peculiarity of the book of Daniel is the construction with parallel structures. The individual chapters and the topics treated in them show a parallel to other chapters of this book.

Chapter 2 Chapter 7 Chapter 12
Chapter 3 Chapter 6
Chapter 4 Chapter 5
Chapter 8 Chapter 11
Chapter 9 Chapter 10

Parallel Book of Daniel

Chapter 1 describes the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the removal of Daniel and his companions to the Babylonian capital. This chapter already deals with Daniel’s (and his companions’) loyalty to God by renouncing the (unclean) food of the Babylonian court. This chapter outlines the beginning of Daniel’s ministry in Babylon up to the Persian king Cyrus. Chapter 1 thus already indicates the end of the world empire of Babylon.

Parallel chapters 2, 7 and 12

Chapter 2 deals with the 1st dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the statue contained in it. This statue describes the great empires and the final destruction of the last empire. In chapter 7, Daniel receives a vision that describes these empires again. Chapter 12 deals with the final destruction of the last world empire.

Parallel chapters 3 and 6

Chapter 3 describes the statue erected by Nebuchadnezzar. This should be worshiped by people. But Daniel’s three friends remained faithful to God and did not do so. They should therefore be executed. However, the three friends were saved by Jesus Christ. In chapter 6, already under the rule of the Medo-Persians, Daniel was to fare similarly, since he also remained faithful to God and worshiped him despite the ban. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den but came out unharmed.

Parallel chapters 4 and 5

Nebuchadnezzar felt himself to be the almighty ruler of the earth. He completely excelled himself with it. In chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar tells how he felt. God taught him otherwise. The king of Babylon realized that he received his power only because of God’s doing. Nebuchadnezzar recognized God and turned to Him. In chapter 5, the last king of Babylon, Beltshazzar, is in power. He ran the political affairs while his father, Nabunides, resided in what is now Saudi Arabia and was in charge of the religious aspects. Beltshazzar was arrogant like Nebuchadnezzar, although he should have known better because of his predecessor. His fate was sealed by God (spell “Metekel”). Beltshazzar died and the kingdom of Babylon fell.

Parallel chapters 8 and 11

Chapter 8 describes the succession of the empires of Greece and Rome as well as the last world power that followed and lasted until the end. This chapter also contains the extremely important prophecy of the “2300 evenings and mornings”, which extends into our time. Chapter 11 presents the details within this timeline. Both chapters extend their respective prophecies to the present and the (near) future. The prophecies in Chapter 11 are already almost all fulfilled.

Parallel chapters 9 and 10

From chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, humanity today can learn a lot from it. Daniel humbly asks for forgiveness of sins for his people. This chapter answers very quickly the question as to why there is so much hardship and misery in this world today. The question “why does God allow all this?” would have done with that. This chapter also contains the prophecy about the appearance of Jesus, his work and also his death. This even with the exact indication of the year (prophetic times). In chapter 10 Daniel humbles himself again before God, asking for an explanation of the previous vision (prophecy).

Chiasm in the Book of Daniel

Chiasm in the Book of Daniel

The book of Daniel also exhibits a thematic structure called the chiasm. Chiastic parallelism was a specialty of the ancient Hebrews, and with this knowledge in mind, understanding the structure of Revelation becomes a whole lot easier. From the themes in the chiasmus in the book of Daniel, it is clear that chapter 7 is almost central and plays an extremely important role. This chapter is essential for understanding Revelation.

Details of the prophecies in the book of Daniel

Since the chapters in the book of Daniel show parallels, the already fulfilled prophecies of one chapter also apply to the parallel chapter. Just as the prophecies in chapter 11 are almost fulfilled, so are the Prophecies of chapters 7, 8 and 12 nearing completion.

Bible verses from King James Version

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