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The book of Daniel is the 4th of the so-called 'major prophets' and contains 12 chapters.

Daniel was among Jews of noble birth who were taken as captives to Babylon in the early days of King Nebuchadnezzar's invasions of Judah, about 604 BC. Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were only teenagers when they were taken to Babylon.

These young people believed in God and were not prepared to change their beliefs or their worship of the true God. The three friends even faced death in a fiery furnace rather than worship King Nebuchadnezzar's golden image - though God delivered them from the flames.

In later years when Daniel was an old man, he too faced death for his faith. He was thrown to the lions by King Darius because of his refusal to obey a decree forbidding him to pray to God. On this occasion too, God delivered His faithful follower.

The prophecies in the book of Daniel concern conflict between the kingdoms of men (particularly as they affect Israel) and the Kingdom of God:

- God foretold that Babylon would be succeeded by Persia, Greece, and Rome )chs. 2&7).

- Chapter 8 contains another prophecy about the Persians (symbolised by a ram) and the Greeks (symbolised by a goat).

- Chapter 9 records Daniel's prayer for Israel, in view of the coming trouble; and God's promise of restoration is contained in v. 24.

- Chapters 10-11 continue the prophecies about the kingdoms of the word and contain details of struggles between nations north and south of Israel in later years.

Chapter 12 is a prophecy of the present day. It discusses a "time of trouble such as never has been" - and goes on to tell us of the better time which is coming for God's people.


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