Daniel will be the next life we will review in our timeline. His name means 'judgment of God' or 'God my judge.' He was born into Judah's royal family and was likely a relative of King Zedekiah. It was during King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon's first of three attacks against Jerusalem that he and his three friends (their Chaldean or Babylonian names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) become captives. They are transported to Babylon while still children (Daniel 1:2 - 4, 6).
It is in Babylon that Daniel and his three friends, out of a tradition of kings, are likely made enuchs for life. The Jewish historian Josephus alludes to this fact in his book on the history of the Jews (Antiquities (History) of the Jews, Book 10, Chapter 10).
Daniel received special training in the royal court of Babylon. At an early age, he and his three friends received positions as "wise men" serving the king. He soon became known for his understand of "visions and dreams." The prophecies interpreted by (or given to) him include the following.
He interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a large image of a man. The image represents world empires from the time of Babylon to the End Time just before Jesus' return (chapter 2). Daniel also interpretred the king's dream of a large tree cut down (chapter 4). This tree represented the king's life of vanity and self-promotion and his punishment of receiving the mind of an animal for seven years. He was also given the interpretation of his OWN dream of four great beasts which are symbolic of world-ruling empires (chapter 7). He additionally interpreted the "handwriting on the wall," written by the finger of God, that prophesied the end of the Babylonian empire (chapter 5).
He was given an interpretation of a dream he had where he saw a ram and goat. They represented the then-future empires of Persia, Macedonia (under Alexander the Great) and the four smaller kingdoms created after Alexander's death (chapter 8). He also received the 'seventy weeks' prophecy that foretells the birth of Jesus and his death in 30 A.D. on a Wednesday (chapter 9). He also received a prophecy concerning the end time King of the North and South - the Bible's longest prophecy (chapter 10 - 12).
Daniel eventually became a chief advisor to the King, then the third ruler of the entire kingdom. Although he and his three friends held prominent positions in the government, they were not immune from persecution. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego got thrown into a fiery furnace for not worshipping a golden image of the king. A conspiracy against him led him to be thrown into a den of lions.
Important events and people in the life of Daniel include Babylon conquering Judah and Jerusalem. The total destruction of Jerusalem's temple and the pillaging of all her treasures occur. He interprets the prophetic dreams given to King Nebuchadnezzar and his three friends miraculously survive being thrown into a fiery furnace for not worshipping an idol. Daniel himself miraculously survives be thrown into a lion's den. Babylon's King Belshazzar sees a levitating hand write on a wall (known as the "handwriting on the wall"). Belshazzar's death occurs the same night and the empire falls to the Persians.
Daniel has the distinction of being considered by God as a pattern of righteousness along with Noah and Job (Ezekiel 14:14, 20) and a model of wisdom (Ezekiel 28:3). In our next lesson, we will enter into the New Testament with an overview of the life of Paul.