January 25, 2012

Apocalypse Prophecy VII: Daniel’s Purpose

Daniel the person was a benchmark of personal dedication and devotion to God despite living amongst pagans.  He was an encouragement and role model to the other exiles in the midst of their plight.

The Book of Daniel focuses in on the sovereignty of God over all nations and history and all these things combined serve His purposes...even Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Dictators, Presidents and your megalomaniacal boss or supervisor :P.

Daniel the book provides an example of the faithfulness of God to His people despite their unfaithfulness.  This book shows that God will work His purpose within the community of faith in patience with promise of future blessing in spite of their stupidity an sinful nature. This should be reassurance for us today.

Daniel the book provides a framework for a time coming that is understood as “The Time of the Gentiles mentioned in Luke 21:24.  Daniel the book also charts the course for the Gentiles through history. Daniel also elaborates on the discipline of Israel during these times. Daniel shows the time of the Gentile will eventually run its course with judgment from God. It then goes into explicit details about the Gentile impact on Israel while they wait for their Messiah and His coming Kingdom. He assures Israel will be delivered and blessed in conjunction with said Kingdom.  In the end because of God's love and grace, Israel will be brought to repentance and will eventually be restored.      

A Bit More Historical Context

There is a 4th empire mentioned in Daniel 2:40 and 7:7, in which history is to reach its climax because God intervenes, stretches beyond the Greek period, presumably into the Roman empire.

"Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others." ~ Daniel 2:40

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. ~ Daniel 7:7

We know from history or historically that the Roman consul in 168B.C. exercised his authority over Egypt and expelled the Syrian king. The vision of Daniel probably concerns the distant future in Daniel 8:26:

“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” Daniel 8:26

This is possibly is a reference to a time beyond the historical empires of Greece and Rome. I personally hold to a 6th century date of writing thus taking the visions and dreams as predictive prophecy. Others more liberal interpreters hold to a 2nd century date of writing is to be preferred so that the ‘foretelling’ should be regarded as having been written after the event removing of course the predictive element. Regardless of the date, it does not great affect the interpretation.

A Theological Pit Stop & Relevant Things to Note

The earliest date noted is Dan. 1:1's, "the 3rd year of Jehoiakim" which was 605B.C. The latest date is, "the 3rd year of Cyrus" in Dan. 10:1 which was 537B.C. These anchors in time bookend Daniel to an exact chronological window in history. It is interesting to note considering all the apocalyptic language that Daniel never once directly mentions either the destruction of Jerusalem in 587B.C. or to the return of the exiles to Judah in 538B.C. Ezra 1 does but Daniel does not. What the book does reveal in a generalized lofty 30,000 ft manner is God’s wider plan concerning kings and kingdoms. It is of particular note that the Greek empire is named in Daniel 8:21 and its end envisaged in Daniel 8:25.

The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king. Daniel 8:21

He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. Daniel 8:25

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...