The prophet Daniel was one of the major prophets of ancient Israel. Around 604 BC, he was taken as a captive from Jerusalem to Babylon when he was probably a young teenager. In Babylon he was placed in a training school for captives who’d shown abilities to be trained in the knowledge and ways of the Babylonians. He soon distinguished himself there when he and his 3 young friends from Jerusalem declined to eat the food they were being fed which was not according to Jewish law. Standing up for their convictions while also exercising a good deal of tact, they were found by the Babylonians to be healthier eating their kosher food than the delicacies of their hosts and captors.
Prophetic Gifts from God
Daniel’s prophetic career started abruptly while he was still a very young man. The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had a dream which he couldn’t remember. When all his wise men failed to bring the dream back to his remembrance and also interpret its meaning, the impulsive king immediately ordered their execution and all those who were being trained for their office, which included Daniel and his friends.
In desperation, Daniel prayed mightily to the God of Abraham to know the king’s dream and its meaning. Miraculously his prayer was answered and Daniel went before Nebuchadnezzar, telling him his dream and its meaning in front of his whole court.
This began Daniel’s life as a high court official and advisor, first with Nebuchadnezzar but then also for what must have been another 70 years or more, beyond the kingdom of Babylon and into the kingdom of the Persians that followed.
Watch this video about Daniel 2, when Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Daniel’s Prophecies for the Future
Towards the end of his life he began to be given some of the most significant prophetic messages ever received by a Hebrew prophet. Daniel’s prophetic visions are seen as being played out and, in a sense, shown again with greater detail over 600 years later in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelations. When Jesus of Nazareth was asked about the future, he answered with references specifically found only in the book of Daniel.
Non-prophetic Chapters of Daniel
In the non-prophetic chapters of Daniel are the famous testimonies of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace (Chapter 3), the handwriting on the wall (Chapter 5) and Daniel in the lions’ den (Chapter 6).