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2.8.8 - Thematic Outline

There are many different ways the book can be outlined. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. Most often, commentators outline the book following the sequence of presentation (which differs from the chronological order of events). We have chosen to follow the chronological order of events because it helps to emphasize related themes among the sequence of Gentile kingdoms described in the historical events and within the visions.1

When the book is outlined chronologically, several thematic relationships are easier to see because the events of chapters 5 (the judgment of Belshazzar and Babylon) and 6 (Darius’ edict regarding prayer and Daniel’s miraculous preservation from the lions) are treated after the visions of chapters 7 and 8 which predict the judgment and the miraculous preservation of the Jews during the historic sequence of Gentile kingdoms during the Times of the Gentiles. Thus, the events of chapters 5 and 6 fulfill some of the predictions given at a previous time in chapters 7 and 8.

I. Fate of Israel during the Times of the Gentiles (Dan. 1:1+-12:13+).

A. 1st Gentile dominion (Babylon) over Israel (Dan. 1:1+-5:31+)

1. Jews obtain favor in 1st Gentile dominion: Daniel and friends trained to serve during captivity of Judah (Dan. 1:1-21+).

2. Times of the Gentiles from man’s perspective (glorious): Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1-48+).

a) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image composed of four metals (Dan. 2:1-23+).

b) Daniel interprets the dream (Dan. 2:24-45+).

c) Gentile confession of God’s glory: Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:46-48+).

3. Gentile rejection of God’s revelation (Dan. 3:1+-4:3+).

a) An eternal Babylonian kingdom: an image entirely of gold (Dan. 3:1-2+).

b) Divine honor claimed by man: Nebuchadnezzar’s image as object of worship (Dan. 3:3-7+).

c) Supernatural preservation of Jews amidst 1st Gentile dominion: furnace (Dan. 3:8-27+).

d) Gentile Confession of God’s Glory: Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3:28+-4:3+).

4. Revelation of character of Gentile rule: Nebuchadnezzar turned into a beast (Dan. 4:4-37+).

a) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great tree chopped down (Dan. 4:4-18+).

b) Daniel interprets the dream (Dan. 4:19-27+).

c) God’s judgment of pride: Nebuchadnezzar shown to be a beast (Dan. 4:28-33+).

d) Gentile confession of God’s glory: Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:34-37+).

5. Times of the Gentiles from God’s perspective (beastly): Belshazzar (Dan. 7:1+-8:27+).

a) Daniel’s vision of four beasts (Dan. 7:1-28+).

(1) The vision of beasts (Dan. 7:1-15+).

(2) An angel interprets the vision (Dan. 7:16-27+).

(3) Daniel’s reaction to the vision and its interpretation (Dan. 7:28+).

b) Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat (Dan. 8:1-27+).

(1) The vision of a ram and a goat (Dan. 8:1-14+).

(2) An angel interprets the vision (Dan. 8:15-26+).

(3) Daniel’s reaction to the vision and its interpretation (Dan. 8:27+).

6. 1st Gentile dominion (Babylon) judged: Belshazzar (Dan. 5:26-30+).

a) Desecration of God’s holy vessels: Belshazzar’s feast (Dan. 5:1-4+).

b) God’s judgment of pride: handwriting on the wall (Dan. 5:5-6+).

c) Gentile astrologers and wise men unable to understand the revelation (Dan. 5:7-8+).

d) Daniel interprets the message (Dan. 5:9-29+).

e) 1st Gentile dominion overthrown (Dan. 5:30+).

B. 2nd Gentile dominion (Medo-Persia) over Israel (Dan. 5:31+-11:1+)

1. Jews obtain favor in 2nd Gentile dominion: Daniel promoted to governorship (Dan. 5:31+-6:3+).

2. Divine honor claimed by man: Darius as object of prayer (Dan. 6:4-17+).

3. Supernatural preservation of Jews amidst 2nd Gentile dominion: lion’s den (Dan. 6:18-24+).

4. Gentile confession of God’s glory: Darius (Dan. 6:25-28+).

5. Restoration of Israel follows Times of the Gentiles: Seventy Sevens (Dan. 9:1-27+).

a) Daniel’s intercession for the Jews and Jerusalem (Dan. 9:1-19+).

b) Gabriel’s message of the Seventy Sevens (Dan. 9:20-27+).

C. Remaining Gentile dominion over Israel until the end of the age: Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Antichrist (Dan. 10:1+-12:13+).

1. Daniel’s vision of the glorious man (Dan. 10:1-9+).

2. Daniel’s reaction to the vision and ministry by angels (Dan. 10:10-20+).

3. Angel explains scriptural truth concerning the times until the end of the age (Dan. 10:21+-12:13+).

a) The remaining kings of Medo-Persia (Dan. 10:21+-11:2+).

b) The king of Greece and four successor kings (Dan. 11:3-4+).

c) The kings of the North and South: Seleucids and Ptolemies (Dan. 11:5-20+).

d) Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dan. 11:21-35+).

e) Last Gentile dominion: Antichrist (Dan. 11:36-45+).

(1) Divine honor claimed by man: Worship of Antichrist and his image (Dan. 11:36-39+).

(2) Last Gentile dominion judged (Dan. 11:40-45+)

f) Supernatural preservation of the Jews amidst last Gentile dominion: the tribulation (Dan. 12:1-3+).

g) The end of the age (Dan. 12:4-13+).


Notes

1 Interestingly, Culver concluded that an outline based on chronological order was out of the question. “Although the book contains much history and is accurate in its historical statements, an outline according to historical sequence of the events described is out of the question. The oracles are not in chronological order. Neither are the historical pieces. Even if rearranged in chronological order, they would not admit of logical arrangement or analysis in such position.”—Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, 105.


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