Daniel was a prophet of God, who also worked for the emperors of Babylon and Persia. He was very wise and interpreted dreams. Daniel became known as a righteous man, who obeyed God.
Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar
When Daniel was young, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem and took several members of the Israelite nobility, including Daniel, prisoners. In Babylon, Daniel was chosen to work for the king , along with other intelligent young men ( Daniel 1: 3-4 ).
See here: who was Nebuchadnezzar?
For three years Daniel learned about the language and culture of Babylon and was trained to serve in government. But Daniel has not forgotten God. Instead of eating the food from the king’s table, which was unclean for the Jews, Daniel decided to eat only vegetables. God blessed Daniel for his faithfulness and he became healthier than other young people ( Daniel 1: 15-16 ).
Daniel proved to be wiser than all the king’s advisers. God gave him great intelligence and the ability to interpret dreams and visions. One day Nebuchadnezzar had a dream but no one could interpret it. Then Daniel and his friends prayed to God and He gave Daniel the answer ( Daniel 2: 17-19 ). Daniel explained to the king that his dream was about the future and the coming of an eternal kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar was impressed and made Daniel the governor of the province of Babylon ( Daniel 2:48 ).
Later, Daniel explained another dream to Nebuchadnezzar, warning him to repent of his sins, otherwise he would go crazy ( Daniel 4: 26-27 ). Nebuchadnezzar ignored Daniel and went mad. When his understanding returned, Nebuchadnezzar recognized and glorified God.
Daniel in the lions pit
Daniel also prophesied the death of Belshazzar, the successor of Nebuchadnezzar and the conquest of the Babylonian empire by the Persians. The new ruler, named Dario, saw that Daniel was a great administrator and gave him a very high position in the government. The other members of the government were jealous of Daniel and wanted to drive him away ( Daniel 6: 3-4 ). But Daniel was so honest that they couldn’t find any charges against him!
Then the rulers convinced the king to create a law that would not allow anyone to pray to any god but the king for 30 days. As they had predicted, Daniel disobeyed and continued to pray to God three times a day ( Daniel 6:10 ). Darius was sad because he liked Daniel, but he couldn’t change the law. So Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. The next morning, Darius opened the lions’ den and discovered Daniel was still alive! God protected Daniel from lions ( Daniel 6: 21-23 ).
Daniel also had several dreams and visions. He saw what would happen in the future:
- The emergence of new empires– these kingdoms would directly affect Israel
- Jesus’ coming– his establishment of an eternal kingdom
- The end of the world– the resurrection and judgment of all peoples
See also: what are Daniel’s 70 weeks?
Some prophecies of Daniel were fulfilled before the birth of Jesus, like the prophecies about the king of Greece ( Daniel 8: 21-22 – Alexander the Great and his successors). Others were fulfilled in Jesus and still others will happen in the future.