History Addict's Sunday School Lessons Series


Daniel 3
"But Even If"

 

4 major points:

-       Totalitarianism (3:1-7)

o      Two main points about this:

§       Nebuchadnezzar possessed immense power, but misused it;

·      Blasphemy can be easily distinguished by the trappings of religion (³neon Christians²)

·      It is very dangerous to assume that the really important thing about worship is how good it looks and sounds ­ it was a really great looking statue, and an impressive display of worship, that did not honor God in any way!

§       Nebuchadnezzar had experienced religious conviction without true spiritual conversion

·      Note in 2:47 how Nebuchadnezzar had prostrated himself before Daniel, praising God after Daniel had explained his unspoken dream ­ a powerful witness of the Almighty Lord. His heart is returned to itıs sinful state, even more hardened for the embarrassing incident

o      It is likely that the occasion for this gathering was the taking of a loyalty oath, not just honoring the king.

o      The setting is odd, statues of gods were almost always placed in covered temples, so they could be protected from the elements.

o      Even more unusual for it to be set up in an open area rather than associated with a temple - images of kings during the Assyrian and Babylonian periods were usually made to be put in temples to stand before the deity requesting the well-being of the king. Typically, then, they represented the king to the god, not to the people.

§       Perhaps the best alternative is to understand the event in the context of the Assyrian practice of erecting stelae or statues (often in inaccessible places) that commemorated their rulers. While these were intended to exalt the king, the reliefs on the Balawat gates demonstrate that offerings were made before these representations. In the scene portrayed on the gates the king himself is present, but the offerings are made to the stele. In this way the king is given the honors that are generally given to the gods, but by personally distancing himself he avoids making himself equal to the gods. Such rituals were used as occasions for provincial territories to take a loyalty oath. This would make sense here in light of the suggestion in the dream of Daniel 2 that the Babylonian kingdom would have a limited time of rule. In Assyrian practice the weapon of Ashur (perhaps even a battle standard) was set up for ceremonies in which vassal kings entered into loyalty oaths. Failure to participate would suggest insubordination, whereas participation would signify the acceptance of the deityıs (and kingıs) sovereignty. The three friends are not being asked to worship a deity, but they are being asked to participate in rituals that honor the king in ways similar to how the gods were treated, even though the king is not being viewed as a deity. Danielıs absence could be explained easily by the occasionıs setting in only a single province.

o      Image that Nebuchadnezzar erects is not the same as in his dream (2:31-35)

§       Dan. 2:31  ĥ           ³You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue‹an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

§       Dan. 2:32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

§       Dan. 2:33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

§       Dan. 2:34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.

§       Dan. 2:35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

o      The image is not defined in scripture, but is usually assumed to be of Nebuchadnezzar himself

o      It is huge ­ about 90 feet tall and (according to the listed dimensions) about 9 feet wide (tall and very thin ­ unstable)

o      See other notes from IVP OT Commentary (below)

 

-       Obeying God Rather Than Men (3:8-18)

o      Other members of the kingıs court are obviously jealous at the attention Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are getting (at their expense?)

§       These are called ³Chaldeans² in the original Aramaic (Ch 1 is in Hebrew, 2-7 in Aramaic, and 8-12 in Hebrew) (and the KJV/NASB), but are referred to as ³astrologers² in the NIV. This is because Roman and later authors used the name ³Chaldeans ³in particular for astrologers and mathematicians from Babylonia.

o      Knowing Nebuchadnezzar Œs propensity for flying into rages, they set up a trap for the Jews.

o      The fact that they expect the Jewsı faithfulness to God, in setting this trap, gives plain evidence that they were publicly faithful and devout men.

o      The three showed absolute conviction of faith:

§       The had confidence in the power of God

§       They were completely submissive to the will of God, no matter what the consequences

o       

 

-       Through Fiery Trials (3:19-25)

o      The fact that the soldiers who threw the three into the furnace were killed by the heat, confirms that Nebuchadnezzarıs heart was hardened against the sanctity of life ­ these men were of no consequence so he could have the ³last laugh²

§       Prov 26:11 ­ ³a dog returns to his own vomit²

o      Although Daniel 3 tells of the prompt deliverance from peril of faithful Jews, no Jew could have read those stories in a simplistic way. They knew, as 3:17­18 indicates, that although their God could deliver them promptly and miraculously from any situation, it was not the case that he always (or even usually) did so. The laments among the Psalms testify to this. In later chapters it is made clear that there are times when the faithful people of God are called upon to endure suffering, sometimes even martyrdom. It is in response to the seeming injustice of this, and the apparent impugning of either Godıs faithfulness to his people or his sovereignty, that the promise of resurrection and judgment comes (12:1­4). Death is no barrier to either Godıs faithfulness or his sovereignty.

o      Three characteristics of God are emphasized in Daniel: ŒGod knows all, he controls all, and he rescuesı

 

-       Impressed Once More (3:26-30)

o      A chapter that begins with Nebuchadnezzar fully backslidden into his old, self-aggrandizing ways, ends with his yet again praising God and promoting the Jews.

o      He was impressed by the miraculous delivery, but this is based on the overt, human-recognizable display of Godıs power. Jesusı death on the cross would not have similarly impressed Nebuchadnezzar, as he could not have seen any physical, concrete benefit of it.

o      He was also impressed by the witness of the three Jews, how willing they were to suffer his own wrath in order to serve the living God.

o      He was not impressed enough with Godıs might and power to turn his own life over to the Lord, note that he refers in the end to ³the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego²

 

 

Most important point: ³But even if² (3:18)

-       Obeying God is more important than any other consideration, even torture or death

-       God has the ultimate judgment or decision on who dies and when

-       Faithfulness to God trumps human reasoning and logic

-       Living under the sovereignty of God means accepting responsibility for the consequences of rebelling against that sovereignty.

-       Yes, the forces of darkness are persistent against Godıs saints. But God is even more persistent, note that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego keep getting promoted by the king after passing through these various trials (in all of Daniel), which God has kept them and protected them through.


 

Notes

 

IVP OT Commentary

3:1-30

The Fiery Furnace

 

3:1.   image of what. The image is never positively identified as the image of a deity, though verse 28 could easily suggest it. If the image were a divine image, it would be odd for the name of the deity not to be given and even more unusual for it to be set up in an open area rather than associated with a temple. Part of the care of the gods was to house and feed them, and such maintenance could not easily be kept up in an open location. If it is not the image of a god, it becomes more difficult to understand the three friendsı refusal to participate (for an understanding of the thrust of the second commandment see comment on Ex 20:4). The other main alternative is to see it as an image of the king. But there was no prohibition against bowing down before kings as an act of respect. Additionally, images of kings during the Assyrian and Babylonian periods were usually made to be put in temples to stand before the deity requesting the well-being of the king. Typically, then, they represented the king to the god, not to the people.

            Perhaps the best alternative is to understand the event in the context of the Assyrian practice of erecting stelae or statues (often in inaccessible places) that commemorated their rulers. While these were intended to exalt the king, the reliefs on the Balawat gates demonstrate that offerings were made before these representations. In the scene portrayed on the gates the king himself is present, but the offerings are made to the stele. In this way the king is given the honors that are generally given to the gods, but by personally distancing himself he avoids making himself equal to the gods. Such rituals were used as occasions for provincial territories to take a loyalty oath. This would make sense here in light of the suggestion in the dream of Daniel 2 that the Babylonian kingdom would have a limited time of rule. In Assyrian practice the weapon of Ashur (perhaps even a battle standard) was set up for ceremonies in which vassal kings entered into loyalty oaths. Failure to participate would suggest insubordination, whereas participation would signify the acceptance of the deityıs (and kingıs) sovereignty. The three friends are not being asked to worship a deity, but they are being asked to participate in rituals that honor the king in ways similar to how the gods were treated, even though the king is not being viewed as a deity. Danielıs absence could be explained easily by the occasionıs setting in only a single province.

 

3:1.   dimensions. Herodotus describes two large statues in Mardukıs temple in Babylon, both of solid gold. One is Bel seated on a golden throne. The image and the golden table next to it were reported to have used twenty-two tons of gold. The second is described as the statue of a man. Herodotus says it is fifteen feet high, though other accounts put it at eighteen feet. The Persian king, Xerxes, melted it down in 482 B.C., and the resulting bullion weighed eight hundred pounds. The Colossus at Rhodes was reported to be just over one hundred feet tall, so a ninety-foot-tall statue is not out of the realm of possibility, though it is also possible that the ninety feet includes a pedestal. The unusual thing is that the width is only ten percent of the height. The width of a properly proportioned human figure would normally be about twenty-five percent of the height. If this statue is human shaped and nine feet wide, we would expect the statue to be thirty-five or forty feet tall. This would then require a pedestal of fifty-plus feet. Even so, imagine the instability of something ten stories tall and only nine feet wide.

 

3:1.   Dura. There are several towns named Der, and Dura (=walled area) is a common element in place names (e.g., Dur-Kurashu, Dur-Sharruken, Dur-Kurigalzu, Dur-Katlimmu). It is therefore impossible at present to locate this plain with certainty (the reference is as unclear as talking about a place named ³San² in California).

 

3:2.   occasion. As mentioned in 3:1, it is likely that the occasion for this gathering was the taking of a loyalty oath. A century earlier it is known that Assyrian king Ashurbanipal gathered his chief officials together in Babylon to take a loyalty oath. A letter has been preserved from one of the officials who was out of town and therefore made arrangements to take the oath in the presence of the palace overseer. The letter specifically mentions that when he took the oath he was surrounded by the images of the gods.

 

3:2.   attendees. The list of officials includes two Semitic titles (prefect, governor), with the remaining five being Persian titles. The list appears to be in rank order. The first three terms are well enough known, the first being a Persian term borrowed into Aramaic as early as the sixth century for the ruler of the province. The next two are good Semitic terms for the next two levels of subordinates. The last four are Persian loan words whose translation is very tentative.

 

3:5.   musical instruments. The names of several of these instruments are Greek, but there had been enough contact with Greece by the sixth century that this is not unusual. Nebuchadnezzar was known to make use of foreign musicians, as shown in the rations lists. These lists also attest to the presence of some Greeks in Babylon. The first two instruments are wind instruments. Judging by the word used for the horn, it is an animalıs horn rather than a metal trumpet. The flute is of the variety that is played by blowing through the end. The next three in the list are stringed instruments. Two of them have names borrowed from Greek, and the middle one occurs as a foreign word in Greek. The first is known from Homerıs writings (eighth century B.C.) and is a type of lyre. There were a wide variety of lyres in the ancient world, but no early attestations of the zither or dulcimer. The second in the list is probably a harp, and the third is most likely a different style of lyre. The last is the most difficult. Suggestions have ranged from bagpipes to double flute to percussion. It is a Greek loan word into Aramaic, and it happens also to come into English as ³symphony.²

 

3:6.   furnace. Furnaces were used for baking pottery or bricks for construction projects, as well as for metalwork (forging, smelting and casting). There is not a lot of information about furnaces in the ancient Near East, but many early furnaces were enclosed and domed with side doors for ventilation. They were built of clay or brick, though the inside chamber was often lined with specially selected types of stone. It is logical to assume that the furnace was in this location serving a purpose (perhaps in the manufacture of the image) rather than having been set up to use as an instrument of punishment. There is little in the ancient literature to suggest that furnaces were specifically used for punishment. One possible exception is from around 1800 B.C., when Rim-Sin ruled that someone who had pushed a slave into a kiln should have one of his slaves thrown into a furnace. In general, however, burning was used as a form of execution as early as the Hammurabi Code. In fifth-century Persia (during the reign of Darius II, son of Artaxerxes), and in the second century (2 Macc 13:4­8), there are examples of execution by pushing into a bin of ashes.

 

3:19.   seven times hotter. Blast air from a bellows was usually used to raise the temperature in the furnace. ³Seven times hotter² is just an expression. Depending on what the furnace was being used for, the temperature would be maintained at between nine hundred and eleven hundred degrees centigrade. With their technology they were not able to exceed fifteen hundred degrees centigrade.

 

3:25.   son of the gods. This phrase comes from Nebuchadnezzarıs lips, so we do not expect him to be representing any deep insight or sophisticated theology. The phrase ³son of the gods² represents a common Semitic expression for identifying a supernatural being.

 


IVP Biblical Theology

Daniel

            The opening verses of the book of Daniel (1:1­2) present the reader with what several scholars see as the main theme of the book: the sovereignty of God (e.g. D. N. Fewell, Circle of Sovereignty; R. S. Wallace, The Lord is King). Here we read of two human kings, Jehoiakim of Judah and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar has besieged and captured Jerusalem and looted its temple. The natural conclusion to draw would be that behind Nebuchadnezzarıs triumph lay the power of his god. That is why he puts the vessels taken from the Jerusalem temple in his godıs treasury. However, Daniel 1:2 asserts that his triumph came about because the Lord (the God of Israel) gave Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzarıs power. So we are introduced to the themes of human sovereignty and divine sovereignty, and to the relationship between them.

 

The Sovereignty of God

            The references to God in Daniel are significant (P. R. Davies, Daniel, pp. 82­83). It is only in Danielıs prayer in chapter 9 that we find the personal name Yahweh. Its alternative, Œthe Lordı, is also limited to this chapter and 1:2. Elsewhere the general term Œgodı is used. This expresses the fact that Œthe God of Danielı (6:26) is not just the God of the Jews (Yahweh) but is the God, who is God of all nations. In a pagan context this is expressed in terms of Danielıs God being the supreme God of the pantheon, and so he is called Œthe Most High (God)ı (4:17; 5:18), and ŒGod of godsı (2:47). For the faithful Jews these titles express the belief that their God is the unique and absolute divine sovereign. By use of these titles the pagan rulers are brought to confess that the God of the Jews is at least the one who exercises ultimate sovereignty among the gods.

            Because the God of the Jews is God of gods he is also ŒLord of kingsı (2:47). This truth is driven home time and again in Daniel, but perhaps is expressed most explicitly in chapter 4. Here we are told that because of his hubris in thinking that his royal power and glory are all his own achievement, Nebuchadnezzar is struck with some form of madness and driven away from human society to live with the animals for Œseven timesı until he learns that Œthe Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and gives it to whom he willı (4:25, NRSV). The importance of this lesson is reinforced by the fact that in the next chapter Daniel reminds Belshazzar of it and reproaches him for not taking heed of it (5:18­22).

            As Œthe Lord of kingsı God is the God of history. In this regard three characteristics of God are emphasized in Daniel: ŒGod knows all, he controls all, and he rescuesı (Davies, Daniel, p. 86). In chapter 2 we see the close connection between Godıs knowledge of history and his control of it. Through Daniel God reveals to Nebuchadnezzar the future course of history. Only the God who controls the future can know it and reveal it. Godıs control of history is expressed in the vision in chapter 7, where God is seen on the throne of the universe deciding the fate of the superpowers of history and giving dominion to whom he will. But the God of Daniel is not a remote sovereign. He acts within history, especially to deliver those faithful to him when they are oppressed. In Daniel there are two stories of miraculous deliverance, each of which ends in a royal confession of this divine characteristic. After the deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar is moved to confess concerning their God that, Œthere is no other god who is able to deliver in this wayı (3:29). When he finds Daniel safe after a night in the lionsı den, Darius says of Danielıs God, ŒHe delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earthı (6:27). The ultimate act of rescue will come at the end of time when, as an angel says to Daniel, ŒBut at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the bookı (12:1). The dead will be raised so that the righteous can receive their reward and the oppressors their punishment.

            Belief in Yahwehıs control of history is a characteristic of the OT, but elsewhere it is usually expressed in terms of his control of specific historical events (e.g. Is. 10:5­19; 45:1­13; Hab. 1:5­11). However, ŒIt is expressed here with a universality that is unusual. Danielıs testimony extends to Godıs control of history as a wholeı (J. E. Goldingay, Daniel, WBT, p. 24) (see Providence).

            Godıs control of history is not always evident. Often it is the beasts of the human superpowers which seem to be in control. Daniel asserts that the time will come when all human sovereignty will be replaced by the rule of God (see Kingdom of God). So, in the dream of chapter 2, the climax of history is the coming of a stone Œcut out, not by human handsı (v. 34) which demolishes the statue representing human empires and becomes a great mountain filling the whole earth. The vision of chapter 7 ends with the destruction of the little horn and the giving of an everlasting kingdom to Œthe people of the holy ones of the Most Highı.

 

Human Sovereignty

            The witness of Daniel is that, until the end comes, divine sovereignty normally operates through human rulers. God Œdeposes kings and sets up kingsı (2:21) and gives the kingdom of mortals to whom he will (4:17), but the human rulers do have considerable power. Although God sometimes has to exercise his sovereignty over human rulers because of their hubris (e.g. chs. 5, 7), he wants to exercise it through human rulers. This is the implicit message of Daniel 4. As Goldingay says, ŒActually the chapter assumes that if Godıs kingship is acknowledged, human sovereignty can then find its place. At the end of the story, even the majesty and glory of human kingship are affirmedı (Daniel, WBT, pp. 27­28).

            The book of Daniel draws a number of explicit and implicit contrasts between human kingdoms and Godıs kingdom. In chapter 2 the statue speaks of the transience and fragility of human kingdoms compared with the kingdom God will set up, which Œshall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people Š it shall stand for everı (2:44). In chapter 3 Nebuchadnezzar asks, Œwho is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?ı (3:15), assuming that the answer is, Œthere is noneı, only to find that the real answer is Œthe God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegoı (3:28). In chapter 6 Darius discovers that once he has signed a decree which consigns Daniel to the lionsı den he is powerless to deliver him from it, whereas Danielıs God does have that power.

            The greatest contrast is found in chapter 7. To a degree chapter 4 prepares the way for the message of this chapter. In chapter 4 we see that when a human ruler fails to acknowledge the sovereignty of God and gives way to hubris he becomes subhuman. He becomes like a beast of the field. So, in chapter 7 the human superpowers, all of which to some extent do give way to hubris, are depicted as beasts. In contrast to this, the kingdom of God which replaces the rule of the beasts is depicted by Œone like a human beingı (7:13). The giving of Œdominion, glory and kingshipı to this figure echoes Genesis 1:26­28 and Psalm 8:5­8 (see the discussion of the ŒAdamicı background to Dan. 7:13­14 in A. LaCocque, Daniel in His Time, pp. 143­161). It implies the culmination of Godıs purpose for human beings in creating them in his image and likeness to exercise dominion over the earth as his representatives. It is when we recognize, and live under, the sovereign rule of God that we become truly human and fulfil our destiny.

 

The Theology of History

            The explicitly more universal view of Godıs control over history which is found in Daniel is a characteristic of other more clearly apocalyptic books. A distinction is often made between the deterministic view of history held by the apocalyptists and a more open view held by the Hebrew prophets (see Prophetic books; also D. S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic [London, 1971], pp. 230­234). Even when the prophets declared what seemed to be a settled decision of God (e.g. Jonah declaring the destruction of Nineveh) the possibility of the hearersı responses changing things seems always to have been implied.

            How far the view of history in Daniel is deterministic is debatable. Clearly the framework of history seems fixed in the dream of chapter 2 and the vision of chapter 7. The long survey of history in chapter 11 deals with specific events in the reigns of specific rulers, and the statement Œfor what is determined shall be doneı (11:36) seems quite deterministic. However, the equally deterministic language of 4:17 is followed by Danielıs plea to Nebuchadnezzar in 4:27 which implies that this is a warning of something which need not happen if the king responds rightly. Also, the long prayer of repentance in chapter 9 assumes that human response to God can affect the course of history. Goldingay seems to strike the right balance when he says, ŒDaniel assumes that human beings make real decisions which do shape history, yet that human decision-making does not necessarily have the last word in history. Daniel affirms the sovereignty of God in history, sometimes working via the process of human decision-making, sometimes working despite itı (Daniel, WBT, p. 24).

            In some exilic and post-exilic books of the OT (Ezekiel, Zechariah) angels (see Spiritual powers) play a significant role in the mediation of revelation. This is so in Daniel, but here angels also apparently play an active role in the historical process. While this could be taken to imply a distancing of God from human history, it is more likely that it is simply a more nuanced way of speaking of Godıs involvement in history than that used by the Hebrew prophets. Isaiah 43:1­3 promises that God will be present with his people when they pass through the fire. The presence of an angelic being (Œa son of the godsı, 3:25 mg.) with the three young men in the furnace is not a diluting of that promise, but a fulfilment of it. The angel mediates Godıs presence in those particular circumstances. Talk of angels in Daniel seems to be a more formalized way of portraying God as really involved in the world, while safeguarding Godıs transcendence over history, than the references to Œthe angel of the Lordı or the ŒSpirit of the Lordı that are found in earlier OT literature.

            The rather allusive references in Daniel (10:13­14; 10:20­11:1; 12:1) to heavenly powers which correspond in some way to earthly powers can be seen as developing the assumption found earlier in the OT that the outcome of battles on earth reflects the involvement of heaven. Usually this is a matter of heavenly forces aiding Israel against otherwise overwhelming odds (e.g. Josh. 5:13­15; Judg. 5:19­20; 2 Sam. 5:22­25; 2 Chr. 20:22­23). What is being expressed here, and comes out even more clearly in Daniel, is that there is more to history, indeed to reality, than we can see. History is not merely the outworking of human decisions and actions, though these play an important part in it. Nations, and other entities which embody power, are more than purely human and earthly. There is a suprahuman, spiritual realm that Œmeshesı in some way with the human, earthly realm. Because of this, conflicts on earth have their counterpart in heavenly conflicts. However, it is important to note that Daniel does not fall into a simple dualism. The Most High God is not matched by some equally powerful opponent. The opposition comes only at the level of the Œprincesı of the nations. God remains the supreme sovereign in heaven and on earth.

            Although the Hebrew prophets sometimes use what appears to be Œend of the worldı language, it seems to refer to events within history rather than those at the end of history (e.g. Is. 13:10; 34:4). This is true even of the reference to a Œnew heaven and a new earthı in Isaiah 65:17; 66:22. However, Daniel 12:1­3 does seem to envisage the end of history, with its reference to resurrection, judgment and the transformation of Œthose who are wiseı (see Eschatology).

 

Living Under Godıs Sovereignty

            There is a general consensus that the original purpose of the stories in Daniel 1­6 was to commend a particular lifestyle (W. L. Humphreys, ŒA lifestyle for diaspora: A study of the tales of Esther and Danielı, JBL 92, 1973, pp. 211­223). This is the lifestyle of those who are seeking to live under the sovereignty of God. Such a lifestyle is based on faithfulness to God in the face of competing claims for loyalty. In chapter 1 Daniel and his companions are under pressure to become Œgood Babyloniansı. They decide, for the sake of their own integrity as much as for any public display, that they need to draw a line and remain faithful to their God. Faithfulness to God becomes a matter of defying human sovereignty in chapters 3 and 6. Such faithfulness calls for trust in God when faced with threats intended to undermine loyalty to him. In the stories in Daniel God proves to be worthy of such trust by being faithful to Daniel and his companions. One way of expressing trust is through prayer, and so it is not surprising that prayer is one of the characteristics of Daniel throughout the book. When faced with problems he seeks the answer through prayer (2:17­18; 9:3). It is his habit to pray daily (6:10).

            Living under the sovereignty of God means accepting responsibility for the consequences of rebelling against that sovereignty. Daniel does this in the prayer of confession in chapter 9. He recognizes the justice of Godıs dealing with Israel (v. 7) and that the disaster of the exile was the result of their continual sinful rebellion (vv. 9­10). His plea for forgiveness and restoration is based purely on Godıs mercy (vv. 9, 18).

            Although Daniel 3 and 6 tell of the prompt deliverance from peril of faithful Jews, no Jew could have read those stories in a simplistic way. They knew, as 3:17­18 indicates, that although their God could deliver them promptly and miraculously from any situation, it was not the case that he always (or even usually) did so. The laments among the Psalms testify to this. In 7:21, 23; 8:24; 11:32­35 it is made clear that there are times when the faithful people of God are called upon to endure suffering, sometimes even martyrdom. It is in response to the seeming injustice of this, and the apparent impugning of either Godıs faithfulness to his people or his sovereignty, that the promise of resurrection (see Death and resurrection) and judgment comes (12:1­4). Death is no barrier to either Godıs faithfulness or his sovereignty.

 

Daniel and the NT

            Probably the most important influence of Daniel on the NT lies in the role of Daniel 7:13 in the development of the ŒSon of Manı tradition. This is a complex topic which cannot be discussed in any detail here (for a good survey see the essay by A. Y. Collins on ŒThe Influence of Daniel on the New Testamentı in J. J. Collins, Daniel, pp. 90­112). Despite arguments to the contrary, many would agree with C. F. D. Moule that Œthere is a strong case Š for the view that the phrase belonged originally among Jesusı own words as a reference to the vindicated human figure of Dan. 7ı (The Origin of Christology, [Cambridge, 1977], p. 17). If so, it throws important light on his understanding of himself and his mission. The ŒSon of Manı sayings in the Synoptic Gospels fall into three groups, each with an emphasis that is rooted in Daniel 7. There are those in which Jesus is speaking about his earthly ministry, which tend to speak of his authority (e.g. Mark 2:10, 28). In a second, larger group of sayings, Jesus speaks of his rejection, suffering, death and resurrection (e.g. Mark 8:31; Luke 9:44). The third, and largest, group speaks of Jesusı eschatological glory, including his acting as judge on Godıs behalf (e.g. Matt. 13:41­43; Mark 14:62).

            Another phrase from Daniel that has left its mark in the NT is Œthe abomination that desolatesı (9:27; 12:11; cf. Matt. 24:15 and Mark 13:14). This is more than simply the borrowing of a phrase. It points to an understanding of history according to the pattern found in Daniel.

            The book of Revelation contains many allusions to Daniel. There are allusions to Daniel in Revelation 1:7a, 13; 14:14. The vision of the beasts in Revelation 13 clearly draws on the imagery of Daniel 7:2­8. Whereas in Daniel four beasts rise out of the sea, in Revelation 13:1­10 a single beast rises out of the sea, but combines characteristics of each of the four beasts of Daniel. Clearly this empire represents an epitome of all that is worst in rebellious human powers. Yet for John, as for Daniel, despite all appearances on earth, God remains the sovereign on the throne. In both the vision of the heavenly throne room (Rev. 5:11) and the vision of final judgment (Rev. 20:12) there are allusions to Danielıs vision of the heavenly throne room with God acting as judge of the human empires (Dan. 7:10).

 




SOLDIER Back to the main page...