The Book of Daniel: Part 2

In part one of the book of Daniel the discussion was ultimately concerning the historical context and the events in the  lives of Daniel and those taken captive by the Babylonians in 605 BC. The theme is faithfulness to God during times of great trouble as we read about the events that led Daniel and his friends through times of facing imminent death, but remaining absolutely certain God would rescue them. These events and Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream (revealing to him of the rise of the Medo-Persia, Greek, and Roman empires) are covered in chapters 1-6.

The second half of Daniel (chapters 7-12) have been the source of controversy by Biblical scholars throughout the ages. The greatest divide between the Jewish and Christian religions, concerning the book, is in perception of when the events of  Daniel’s prophesies take place. In the Jewish view, the book is based on the Maccabean Revolt (167-160 BC) during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Yet the Christian faith relates those prophesies to not only the Maccabean Revolt, but definitely to the date of the first arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Additionally a vision of the end times when Daniel eats the scroll, as told to by the pre-incarnate Christ, before it is to be sealed up until the end of time. This same vision is shared by John on the Island of Patmos where he was exiled in the book of Revelation.

With the author being Christian, you will find this perspective of the fascinating account by Daniel to be drawn from Christian teaching. The themes are Christian in nature starting with the Sovereignty of God over the whole world. This is new among the prophets as earlier prophets write in context to God as the God of Israel. In Daniel 1:2 he explains “The Lord delivered Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand.” This act by God denotes His dominion controlling all nations. Which is further demonstrated by descriptions of the rise and fall of  the (before mentioned) four successive major world kingdoms, followed by the establishment of God’s kingdom. Even further God reveals himself to through the miracles in the death sentences of Daniel in the lion’s den showing His authority over all kings.

Another theme of Daniel is the pride of humankind. Daniel’s attempts in Babylon to warn King Belshazzar (chapter 4:28-33) fail because of his egregious arrogance. After the fall of Nebuchadnezzar, king Belshazzar (chapter 5)  has a banquet and serves his guests with the sacred gold goblets that had been pillaged from the temple in Jerusalem. Immediately God shows His displeasure to him by a hand appearing and writing on the wall which the king did not understand. Daniel was brought to tell him in verse 25-28 that God had numbered the days of his reign and the kingdom would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians. That night Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of 62 (verse 30).  These are only 2 example of what happens when pride skews the human heart and their point of view becomes completely self-referential.

The ultimate victory of God’s saints is a  theme which permeates Daniel. Not only shown to us in the faithfulness of Daniel and his friends, but throughout including the message that those who live Christ-like now and anticipate the return of Christ, though they may endure hardship and persecution, will inherit God’s kingdom.

The theme of God’s Messiah as the ideal King is the promise revealed through Daniel as well. When Jesus does come he brings with Him salvation for all those who believe in Him. Daniel recognizes this salvation is for everyone and not just Israel. Christ defeats all evil when He gives His own life for the sake of ours when He takes all our sins upon Him to His death and is resurrected defeating death itself.

© Phyllis Weeks Rogers 4/16/2018

References:
Evangelical Dictionary of Bible Theology
Logos Bible Study with Dr. Bill Creasey
NIV Study Bible

**The following short film explains the book of Daniel. The disclaimer the author of this article interjects is in the end the producer claims today we are living in the end times. The end of times has been claimed by many generations and Jesus states that no one will know the time of His return. Otherwise the film’s interpretations are widely shared among Christians.

 

 

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