Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

| Daniel Bible Study | About the Author | Bibliography |
Introduction to Daniel

Why Study the Book of Daniel?

Purpose of Daniel

Great Conflicts Unveiled

Daniel the Prophet

Structure and Themes

Style and Interpretation

Ancient Translations

Daniel In the Critics' Den

Historical Background

The City of Babylon

Style and Interpretation

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,
Daniel, along 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.” Apocalyptic genre
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.

Decoding 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 predictions.

True to apocalyptic genre, the prophet is told:

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.

The 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.

The practical 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.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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