What are the 4 periods of history in Daniel?

The genre of literature that Daniel falls into is apocalyptic prophecy. Using highly symbolic language, the book speaks of the following periods of history:

  1. The past commands and warnings of God serve as the backdrop for God’s people being conquered by a demonic nation that plunders and enslaves them. God, through the prophet Isaiah, was very clear that if they did not 

stop acting ungodly, they would be taken captive to Babylon. Isaiah 39:5-7 
says, “Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
  2. The present is historically recorded mainly in chapter 1-6, which detail events during the lifetime of Daniel.
  3. The future is the focus of Daniel 7-12 as successive prophecies about the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms is given in spectacular detail and with stunning accuracy.
  4. The eternal Kingdom of God is the driving focus throughout the book of Daniel. Over and over, our focus is lifted up from the nation that will come to an end to the Kingdom which exists right now and is one day coming to crush all nations, ruled forever by King Jesus. Two examples include the following:

Daniel 2:44-45 reveals:

“And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

Daniel 12:2-3 reveals:

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Prophecy predicts the future of human history until the Second Coming of Jesus. Apocalyptic prophecy predicts the eternal future starting at Jesus Second Coming. Daniel includes all of this and more, making it one of the most incredible books of the entire Bible that has gripped the imaginations of believers for millenia.

Roughly 20% of the Bible was prophetic in nature. Why? God wants us to know the future so we can live life backwards preparing for our eternal home in His Kingdom. Daniel 2:28 (NIV) says it this way: “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown…what will happen in days to come.”

How does knowing about the return of Jesus, crushing of all evil, raising of the dead, and establishing of an eternal kingdom change your perspective on what you endure in life?

In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.

To visit the Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, you can plan your visit at thetrinitychurch.com.

Leave a Comment