[Editor's Note: The book of Daniel is a manual on how to be an insurrectionist. I think it'd be a great exersize to study the book a bit and attempt to understand a little more about what it means to be a Christian.]
If we read through this book, we'll find that Daniel is written to inspire, prepare, and teach its readers how to refuse to fit into the dominant culture of its day. This story was written to the Jewish people as they were in exile. [while we're not sure of exactly when the book was written, its safe to say that the possible range is sometime during the exile] It was during this time that many of their opponents began to directly challenge the Jewish faith, climaxing in the Macabbean revolt of the 2nd century.
If we read the first 6 chapters of the book, we find that the hereos of the story are heroes because they refused to cave in to the pressure to conform to theist host society. Their hereoic deeds revolve around rebellious stands against these imperial bullies. If we read the second 6 chapters of the book we read a very intense apocalyptic account of the authority of heaven over the rulers of this world. Thus, the book is giving examples of insurrection and a theological framework by which the readers should base their life on.
I'd like to spend a few posts discussing exactly how the book shows this for us and perhaps spend some time breaking this down in today's world.