As a whole, the book of Daniel cannot be assigned to any
one genre of ancient literature. It contains narratives,
biographical writings, dreams, visions, predictions, prayers,
letters, and apocalyptic literature. Yet,
with the NT book of Revelation and the Apocrypha’s book of 2
Esdras, is usually classified as apocalyptic literature.
Apocalyptic is derived from the Greek apokaluqiv,
which means “unveiling, uncovering, or revelation.”
tells history in advance using symbolic
terms. Often these symbols are complex, bizarre and strange.
Occasionally, the symbols are interpreted by Daniel. His
interpretations help identify other symbols.
Daniel is a matter of interpretation. This study decodes
Daniel from a premillennial perspective. Since all the
prophecies fulfilled to date were fulfilled literally, this
study anticipates the literal fulfillment of the remaining
True to apocalyptic genre, the prophet is
But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of
the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and
there to increase knowledge (Daniel 12:4).
Interpreting Daniel is complex; it can be likened to
interpreting our own historical situation in light of the past
and future. This complexity is multiplied by the symbolism in
Daniel. The great statue in chapter four, the four beasts in
chapter eight, and the ram and goat in chapter nine are
perceived to represent future empires. However, the
identification of these empires varies, based on four major
views: Traditional, Maccabean, Dispensational and Alexandrian.
The dispensational view is held in this commentary.
Apocalyptic genre is employed by the OT prophets, especially
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. No special rules apply
in interpreting apocalyptic writings. Therefore, care must be
exercised when interpreting apocalyptic genre, especially when
employing symbolism from nonbiblical apocalypses.
Index of Allusions and Verbal Parallels in The Greek New
Testament, United Bible Societies, third edition, lists more
than 125 references to the book of Daniel in the NT. As a
result, the NT casts light on the meaning of Daniel’s numbers,
symbols and vague language. When these meanings are unraveled
and decoded, the prophecy is understood.
and typical applications of this book abound. Some interesting
comparisons can be made between Joseph and Daniel as well as
Daniel and Jesus. All three lived an exceptional, impeccable,
and uncompromising life, the kind that we should emulate.