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The first half of the book of Daniel contains historical accounts of Daniel's life. It begins with the story of Daniel's own capture and deportation to Babylon, and his courage to live a holy life in the midst of their pagan rituals. His superior way of life earns him great respect in the Babylonian government. God, having blessed him with this position of honor and influence, gave him many visions which enabled him to help King Nebuchadnezzar know the future and rule more effectively. The book goes on to describe the arrogance and godlessness of Babylon's kings, who attempt to kill Daniel's friends Shadrach, Mechech, and Abednego in a furnace for worshiping their God rather than themselves. God, however, spares their lives.
Daniel is given visions to warn the King that God's judgment was coming upon him. They, however, do not repent and Babylon falls to the Medes. Darius, King of the Medes, instituted a policy where all Babylonians were required to pray to him and him only. Daniel refused to break the first commandment of Moses, and was thrown to the lions, but God preserved his life as well. The last half of the book is full of visions which predict the downfall of the Medes to the Persians, the Persians to the Greeks, and the Greeks to the Romans. They predict that only at that time will God fully restore them (the time of Jesus - Coincidence? I think not). Daniel is a book full of courageous acts and fantastic visions that show Christians how to live in a non-Christian environment. It encourages us to hold on to our beliefs and act them out in spite of the customs of our society. It comforts us that our hope in Christ's salvation and is sure, but that our faith must endure awhile longer.
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