Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 35
Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.
A. English Bible order
B. Hebrew Bible order
A. Content and style
B. Two languages
III. Daniel Elsewhere in the Bible
A. New Testament eschatology
B. Explicit references
A. Chapters 1-6
B. Chapters 7-12
- Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."
What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament. The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.
Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.
The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.
The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.
The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.
The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.
Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.
Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.
Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.
Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.
This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.
Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.
The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.
This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.
Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.
Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.
Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.
The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.
The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.
The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.
Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.
Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.
One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.
In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.
These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.
Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.
Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.
Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.
Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.
Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.
The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.
Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.
Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.
Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.
The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.
The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.
Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books.
For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible.
What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.
What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.
Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study
Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
I. Introduction (00:13):
Welcome to our lecture on the book of Daniel. As you've been tracking with us, the book of Daniel appears in the third section of the Hebrew Bible. The writings those books deal with covenant life, how to think and live in light of the covenant. Daniel is a wisdom figure. He's going to live wisely in Babylon, overcome adversity, help the king, do all kinds of amazing things, interpret dreams. He's an amazing figure.
A. English Bible order (00:38)
In our English Bibles, he comes after the major prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. We put him there because he does some apocalyptic things. He does some apocalyptic dreams and visions, he interprets dreams. There's stuff about the future in there. But Daniel is not like the writing prophets. The writing prophets are all covenant lawyers, executing the lawsuit of God. Daniel has none of that in this. His one function in chapter nine is to pray a prayer of confession on behalf of his people, that they deserve to be in exile. All right, and they have God look for them and have mercy on them and bring them home.
But that's not necessarily a purely prophetic activity, but he is a prophet. He's not one of the writing prophets in that legal capacity of the lawsuit. The writing prophets are lawsuit prophets, Daniel is not a lawsuit prophet. He is a wisdom guy living in exile. As you mentioned earlier, he appears with Esther. They're the two examples of what it looks like to live a life of faith in exile. Lamentations is the theology of exile at the fall of Jerusalem. This is what life is going to look like, a life of waiting, hoping, and trusting in God and His mercy. Esther does that. She puts her life on the line, “if I perish, I perish”. Daniel's going to do the same thing you could think about when he and his friends put the diet to the test in chapter one, under penalty of harm, or when they have to bow down to the golden statue or not pray and therefore have to go into the lion's den kind of thing.
We're going to see Daniel being faithful unto death. Both Daniel and Ezekiel were contemporaries. Though Daniel proceeded Ezekiel in Babylon by about a decade. Daniel went down in 605, the first deportation, and then he went to school for three years in Babylon. Then he rose to prominence. When Ezekiel got there, Daniel is likely in charge already. Also, both Ezekiel and Daniel contain apocalyptic literature that they both experienced in Babylon. That's that ancient near Eastern comfort food. We're going to say that Daniel is both a prophet and a wisdom dude. He's also a statesman. So he's got all kinds of stuff going on there. It can be argued that Daniel through Chronicles in our little arrangement right here, theologically prepares the people of God, both then and now for a new Exodus, for a newer second Exodus.
B. Hebrew Bible order (03:07):
The book of Daniel covers the entire 70-year-period of the exile predicted by Jeremiah. So Daniel's in exile there for 70 years, his whole life and that's when its ministry takes place. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the return from exile, beginning with the decree of Cyrus in 2 Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1:1. As discussed earlier, Chronicles characterizes the return from exile described in Ezra and Nehemiah as a failure, and the need for a new Exodus, a need for someone new to go up. So you can think about Haggai or the arrangement of Ezra and Nehemiah, Chronicles. We're going to be seeing all of this played out. Now, it's important to know how the author of Daniel is portraying Daniel in the narrative. Remember when we talked about how Samson's life becomes the model on which John the Baptist’s life is modeled and written about?
So something very similar happens here with Daniel. Daniel's life is modeled after the life of Joseph, back in Genesis 37 to 50. They're both two wisdom narratives, where you see, guys who rise to prominence, guys who interpret dreams and all that kind of stuff. So I'm going to give you. I'm going to give you 10 ways in which Joseph and Daniel correspond. It's one of the most important things I could do for you, is to help you see the connections here. Number one, both Joseph and Daniel were deported as young men to a foreign and enemy land. Joseph to Egypt, and Daniel to Babylon, which is interesting because they're the quintessential enemies of the people of God. They're the ones mentioned in Isaiah 19. The same kind of separation occurs with Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Ezekiel is sent to Babylon, and Jeremiah sent to Egypt. So you see we have these correspondences. There's always patterns in the Bible.
Next, number two, both Joseph and Daniel prosper state officials based upon their God given abilities. Both Joseph and Daniel prosper as state officials based on their God given abilities, just like Esther did. Number three, both Joseph and Daniel are observed as being good looking men. Not hard on the eyes, good of appearance. This actually was interesting too, for Joseph, it gets him in trouble with Potiphar's wife. So sometimes the blessing can become the curse. Number four, both Joseph and Daniel advanced to second in command over the state, based on their God given abilities to interpret dreams from kings of the land. So Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and Joseph interprets Potiphar's dream. They make this explicit confession when the king tries to flatter them, both confess that the interpretation of the dream comes from God, and that the dream is given to the king to make known what will happen in the future.
So all of those things are striking corresponds, like number four can be three different things. They both have God given abilities. They both confess that their abilities is from God. They both tell the king about what's going to happen in the future. For Joseph, what's going to happen in the future is famine. For Daniel, what's going to happen in the future is the deposing of kingdoms. In addition to the ability for them to interpret the other people's dreams, both Joseph and Daniel have their own dreams and visions that deal with future events. Joseph has his dream about the stalks of wheat, and the cows that are fat and skinny. That's about him being exalted and rising up over his brother. Daniel happened to do about all these kingdoms coming but some unexpected thing coming and destroying all of the other kingdoms. Okay, something kind of similar, where one unexpected thing is going to rule over the other things.
Number six, this is a very cool one. Both Joseph and Daniel are entrapped by their integrity, and subject to the punishment of the state. Both men escape the fate of the death and are promoted to higher stations subsequent to the trap. It's like you don't know which story you're reading. But my guess is most of us have never connected the dots between these two figures. Number seven, both Joseph and Daniel, provide us with examples of what it means to live a life of faith when it seems like God is no longer in control of the situation. So this is an important point of biblical interpretation. One of the helpful things about our canon diagram and where these folks fit into the canon, like Daniel's in the writings, but David is in the prophets, and Moses in the covenant books, is we have the saying in the US at least, right?
Dare to be a David or what would Jesus do? Does that make sense? Those can sometimes be dangerous. Yeah, dare to be a Daniel even, but I've heard more dare to be a David, like slay Goliath, which you can't. You have to have someone else to slay Goliath, or dare to be, what would Jesus do? It’s where we're trying to imitate what they would do. There's some good to that. Jesus would love His enemy. Jesus would care for the widow and the orphan. Jesus would heal people and be kind to people. But you can't walk on water, you can't call down fire, you can't die on behalf of my sins. You can't be my covenant mediator. You can't be my savior. There's some things you can and can't do. You can't dare to be a David, you can't be the anointed king. You can't supernaturally kill a giant, because those are fueled by a different kind of thing.
In that third book of the old covenant, the third section, the law, prophets and writings, when we have expositions about suffering and living faithfully in exile, and we have examples of that, like Job is an example of suffering. Esther and Daniel are examples of living faithfully, you can look at their lives and imitate them. That's a legitimate thing. To use them as examples. But you can do that less so with people on the left side of that thing in the covenant, like Moses of the Covenant mediator, who's doing miracles, and great signs and wonders, I can't do that. Moses has at his disposal what I don't have. But in some sense, I have more because of God's word in this full revelation. So I want to make sure that when I say that both Joseph and Daniel provide us with examples of what it means to live a life of faith, when it seems like God is no longer in control of the situation, that's legitimate. I would be cautious about saying, what would Jesus do or what would David do in similar situations.
For example, what would David do? Slay Goliath, right? The problem is we can't slay Goliath and so we need someone to do it for us. That's why Jesus had to come and be the true and better, David. So we don't want to put on us what God intended to do for us. So that's an important point. That's why those rooms in that covenant house help you know how to work with these books. Number eight, Joseph prepares the way for all of Israel to move into Egypt. Remember that? So he provides, by way of wisdom for the famine. Then he brings all of that famine down. Daniel prepares the way for the remaining Judean exiles to come to Babylon later in the sixth century with the fall of Jerusalem. Number nine, both Joseph and Daniel look forward to a return to Canaan as the land of promise. In Genesis 50:24-25, in Genesis 50:24-25, and watch how they're going to want it too.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that whole desire to come back”. Do you know what he has them do? He wants them to take his bone, they have to take his bones up there and bury him up there. When he's resurrected, he wants to be in that land. Does that make sense? Then in Daniel 12:13, at the very end, Daniel says, how long, can you tell me when, what do these things mean? You know what? He doesn't tell him He just gives him enigmatic numbers that you cannot figure it out. Scholars try and try and try. But that's the whole point. They're enigmatic. He just says, “as for you, go your way till the end, you will rest and then at the end of the days, you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance”.
II. Structure (11:24):
So they live to the end, Joseph died in Egypt. Daniel died in Babylon, but their hope is a resurrection and return to the city of God. So they both look forward to a return by way of resurrection. We've talked about that in terms of restoration, that the real path to restoration and return from exile is going to be a resurrection path. Then the last one is, I've mentioned is both Daniel and Joseph die in exile. Let's look at the structure of the book together. There is a really easy structure to this book. But there are a couple of different ways at looking at the structure. Okay, so let's talk about the first way. The first way appears on the screen over here and the book is divided into halves. There's one through six and seven through 12. In one through six, we have the life of faith in exile.
A. Content and Style (12:26):
This is biographical material, written in the third person narrative style. It concerns Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. All detailed in years later. Then in the second part, there's the life of faith in exile. But then there's the hope of faith in exile. That's where Daniel has those apocalyptic visions. It's written in the first person style, I, Daniel. So some people will argue, oh, you've got two different authors. They stitched it together, because you've got a change in person. You've got third person up here and first person down here. But that's not the truth at all, you're switching because the content has switched. You want your readers to note that. It's an intentional literary design. There's also another slight little interesting feature about the structure of the book of Daniel, in the midst of this, larger structure that is like the house on top of the foundation. There's this little interesting stream that runs under our front of the house.
B. Two Languages (13:26):
That is, the book of Daniel is written in both Hebrew and Aramaic. They're related languages, but they're not the same language. Someone who spoke only Hebrew, would not be able to understand exactly or precisely everything in Aramaic, it'd be in some sense, like the difference between German and Dutch, or Spanish and Portuguese, you can maybe make some of it out. But if you're talking fast, you can't really make it out. So they're close, but not the same. The book of Daniel begins with Hebrew, has an interior Aramaic section, and then ends with Hebrew. Scholars are wondering why this happens. I think the best answer is this, it has to do with the fact that, first, Hebrew was the language of the people of God. It was the language that God used to write most of the Old Testament, it's what they spoke in Canaan. It was the language of the Jews. Yehudit is the language of Canaan.
Aramaic, at that time, was the international language of the day. It was the international language of diplomacy. So if you think of it this way, it was like Koine Greek, right after Alexander the Great came, Greek spread all over the place. There was this Koine Greek and that became the international language of the day. Before Greek was the international language of the day, Aramaic was, very similar to how English is the international language today. Wherever you travel, probably someone knows a little bit of English and can help you out unless it's very remote. The Aramaic portions are written with an international appeal, there for all the nations to observe. So they're written in the international language of diplomacy. Then the beginning and the end, those portions written in Hebrew are those portions specifically designed for the people of God to pay attention to.
In some sense, the book of Daniel, it's a great apologetic book, because you can take it and see that the greatest kings of the earth at that time were confessing the greatness of Yahweh, because of what had happened to them. It would be a great book to do that with. I think in this way, if I was going to do a Bible study with a non-believer to help them see the greatness of God or the folly of their ways, I would use Daniel for the former, the greatness of God, and His control over history, and then use Ecclesiastes for the latter two of the books that we've covered today. It really provokes people to think in the Old Testament. I mean, you can always start with John, that's a favorite for everybody. But if you're going to go Old Testament on him, use those two books. So you've got Hebrew national history in 11 to 24, then you've got Aramaic international history in 24B to 728. Then Hebrew national history in 812.
This is the 24B to 728 is where you've got the Aramaic. If you're interested, 269 Aramaic verses in the Hebrew Old Testament. There are two words in Genesis, one verse in Jeremiah, there's this interior section right here in Daniel. Then there are two sections in Ezra, where it's actually a copy of the letters that they're writing back and forth. So of course they're using Aramaic. So that's very cool, 269 verses. The one in Genesis is when Jacob and Laban are talking and they name that mound of stones. Jacob gives it a Hebrew name and Laban gives it the same name but in Aramaic. In Jeremiah, I think it's Jeremiah 10:11, or 11:10, it's an oracle against the four nations. They write it in Aramaic, because it's international. So that's what's going on here. It's very interesting, the way in which they do it.
Yeah, in fact, I have written down here, it's Jeremiah 10:10-11, just to show you, it says, “but the Lord is the true God. He is the living God, the eternal King. When He is angry, the earth trembles, the nations cannot endure His wrath”. Tell them this, the nations, and then it says, “these gods who did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens”, that's the Aramaic version right there. So it's an address specifically directed towards them. Now, what makes that great, is Daniel is in that international context. In Babylon, the land he was on at that time, they spoke their state language, which was Akkadian, which was in cuneiform. It's really hard to read, because it's got like 600 letters. It's actually like 180, common signs, and then a bunch of little specialty signs.
III. Daniel Elsewhere in the Bible (18:06):
But Aramaic had just 22 letters in the alphabet. It's very quick to learn and read it. Just like Koine Greek was an easier language than the classical thing, and it just spread all over the place. So it's interesting. Where else does Daniel appear in the Bible? What's interesting when we compare Esther and Daniel is with Esther, there is no other mention of Esther or Mordecai anywhere. No one quotes, if I perish, I perish or no one quotes, anything about the Purim business and stuff like that. There's no Jesus saying, truly, truly I say to you, unless you celebrate Purim, you will not enter the kingdom of God. But with Daniel, there's a gigantic usage of it. He appears in the New Testament, for example, let's see, the apocalyptic sections of Daniel 7-12 are significant furnishing the Book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse of John, have you want to say it there.
A. New Testament Eschatology (19:05):
The apocalypse visions of Daniel 7-12, form the backdrop and serve as the basis or the root for many of the same types of visions we see in the book of Revelation. The book of Daniel provides some of the most significant background for the kingdom of God language used extensively in the New Testament. So in one of the chapters we're about to see, I think, chapter 10. It's about all the nations fighting. The nations of the north, nations of the south, and then another nation rising and falling. All these nations and then before the great nation is just destroyed. All of that nation or Kingdom language is picking up in the New Testament because Daniel was looking for when is the kingdom of God coming back, when is the kingdom coming? When is the kingdom coming? When is the kingdom coming? When Jesus shows up and says, behold, the kingdom of God is at hand.
B. Explicit References (19:51):
Then you’ve got the guy, the one like the Son of Man has shown up from Daniel 7, which takes me to the book of Daniel provides the most significant Old Testament background for understanding the Son of Man designation, employed by Jesus regarding Himself. That’s Jesus favorite title for Himself, son of man. We saw it used with Ezekiel quite a bit, and we said it just doesn't just mean humble one. But what does it mean? It means a person, a human. Does that make sense? Jesus says, he's a son of any saint. I'm indeed a human, but we know at the same time, He's God. That's really important because in Daniel 7:13-14, it says, this, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven, there came one like a son of man. And he came to the Ancient of Days, that would be the Father, and was presented before Him and to Him was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples nations and languages to serve Him, His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one shall not be destroyed”.
So it's interesting, the Son of Man has it related to Ezekiel just to human. But the son of man relates to Daniel 7, not so much a human. Why do they say that? It's because of this, they recognize the form. They're talking about the form. This is a vision of the future. It's a vision of the future, the form of the person is not like the Elohim. So here's how it works. Anyone in the upper register in the invisible realm is an elohim, lowercase E. But there's the, the Elohim, right? Yahweh, the supreme being over all beings. Then there's the Adon, and now we have the Supreme Adon. Do you see how it works like that? So we're all adons but there's the one like the Son of Man, that's not like us. It's that incarnate state that glues those two images together. He's the ultimate Elohim and the ultimate Adon in one.
That's why it's important for us to get our cosmology right in terms of how we think about these because we hear about angels doing things, and we're going to see angels in here. Michael shows up, Gabriel, all these kinds of cool things. That's an important thing that God really focused on that, that He's both super Elohim and the super Adon in one, that's how the two rounds get connected. In the Old Testament, there are only three other references to Daniel. They're all in the same particular context of righteous men, a righteous man. In Ezekiel 14, three times he's mentioned, and it's about the nature of judgment and how can God spare people from judgment. So do you remember when Abraham went with the angels and the Lord, to look at Sodom and Gomorrah and said, if I find 50 righteous people, we spare the city, right? For 40 righteous people for that. So it's that kind of thing. If there's some righteous people left, will you not relent.
Ezekiel says, “the word of the Lord came to me Son of Man, if a country sins against me, by being unfaithful, I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply, and send famine upon it, and kills its men and their animals. Even if these men were Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they could only save themselves by their righteousness, declares the Lord. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they can only save themselves by righteousness declares the Lord”, he says it twice. And then 14:20, “as surely as I live, declares the Lord, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could not save their son or their daughter, they would save only themselves by their righteousness”. So it's noticing their righteousness. But this is a great thing. That they don't have the kind of righteousness that could save anybody else.
They were sinners, but they acted in accordance with God's law. They obeyed Noah, Job and Daniel. It's interesting, that reference to job in light of what we've already studied with the book of Job and him struggling to understand his suffering. In the New Testament, Daniel is mentioned only once, at Matthew 24:15, it says, “and this gospel of the kingdom, see the whole gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testament to all nations, and then the end will come. So you will see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation, spoken through Daniel, the prophet, let the reader understand”. So here, he's called a prophet, you see, but he's not that kind of prophet that went in the other place. All right, we've got a few minutes left, let's go over some basic content in the book.
IV. Content (24:26):
The book of Daniel, has 12 chapters, 357 verses, and if you haven't encountered the book, I want you to get the storyline. You can see here, in chapter seven, we begin to have the visions. Before that, it's the biographical material. So this is the third person. One through six is the third person narrative. Then seven through 12 is the first person account of the visions. In chapter one, Daniel and his three friends exile at Babylon Theological Seminary. They are taken down to Babylon and schooled for three years. They learn Akkadian, they learn Aramaic, they learn how to be scribes. In fact, you can see in Daniel, this is so cool when they're talking about certain things. So what does a scribe does? Do you know what a scribe does? A scribe lists things. That's their first job. So they go into the storehouse, and list, list, list, list, list, list, list, list. That's the first thing they do.
A. Chapters 1-6 (25:23):
If you look at the book of Daniel, one of the reasons I argue for Daniel authorship is that every time he talks about something like all the musical instruments, he says, like the trigon, and the harp, and the flute, and the lyre, and the saxophone, and this is an all other instruments and it appears like six times. It's like he goes, “oh this is what I was born to do, I love lists”. They said the same thing with the officials, the prefect, and the governor and the mayor, and the councilman and all the other officials and it's like four or five times. It's like we get it, just say all the officials. But that's what it was trained to do. It's the stamp of his training in the text. It really humanizes it. So that's really cool. So you know what this is, they go down with the captive net because it takes some amount hasn't been trained. They don't want to file themselves with the Kings food, probably because it was sacrificed to idols.
That's a big no no in the Jewish world to eat that. So they just eat vegetables but some of that stuff could have been offered to idols too, hard to know. But they set themselves apart and allow for time to be proven. At the end of the time, they're proven to be excellent both in body and mind, because of God's blessing on them. All right, you can see as you would say, the good hand of Lord was upon them to make that happen. We see that beginning to take place. They are raised to power by God, they are raised to power in their wisdom. Then they begin their ministry there. Their ministry is to cause the kings to confess the greatness of their God, by the lives they live. That's what a life of faithfulness in exile does. They cause those around them to see the greatness of their God.
So in chapter two, Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and then Nebuchadnezzar makes a confession. Daniel too is the dream of the statue, made out with gold, bronze, iron, iron and clay. Remember that? Then there's this guy who comes out and smashes the statue and all kingdoms go down. That's the one like the Son of Man smashing the statue. The confession at the end is this, ready? We're having here. Yep. Okay, so this is the king was going to kill some people because they couldn't interpret the dream. Daniel says, wait, let me pray. He interprets the dream. Nebuchadnezzar is amazed and he says this, here it is. The king after Daniel interprets the dream, “the King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded an offering of incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, truly your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.
Then the king gave Daniel high honors and make great gifts and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon”. That's amazing to have Nebuchadnezzar make that confession. Nebuchadnezzar is the evangelist of the book of Daniel. He's the one who's going to be humbled every time and make a confession. I don't know if he ever got converted. I'd like to see Nebuchadnezzar and having to be honest, but we see here that he really wrestled with who to worship and what to worship. Then we will move into the tests of faithfulness. Which is first, the golden idol, and the fiery furnace? The golden idol, this is when Nebuchadnezzar stands up a great idol, it's like a pillar. Do you know where it is? It's at Salem, which is like, Man was created in the image of God. Image and likeness, that image word at Salem, it's the same words back in Genesis 1.
So he sets up an image or an idol in the plains, it's very tall. Everyone has to bow down to it. Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego say, I can't do that. Nebuchadnezzar heats the furnace up, throws them in, they look in, oh, there's one like a sum in there, again, saving them out of there, and they get saved. Nebuchadnezzar makes this confession. He says this, “blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who sent His angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him and set aside the king's command, and yield it up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own”. That's the life of faith in exile, faithless under death, just like you can hear the connection with Esther there, right? Who set aside the king's command, or she was not allowed to go. But she went, right, to offer up service to her God.
So again, a confession from Nebuchadnezzar in chapter two, a confession in Nebuchadnezzar from chapter three. Then we get Nebuchadnezzar's pride, humiliation, and restoration. So Nebuchadnezzar thinks he's hot business. In chapter four, he has a dream, Daniel interprets the dream, Nebuchadnezzar becomes crazy. Then he prays for Daniel to restore him, he gets restored in his humility. He says this at the very end, again, this is Nebuchadnezzar's third confession, “At the end of the day, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted my eyes to heaven, my reason returned to me. And I bless the Most High and praise and honored Him who lives forever”. This could be coming right out of the book of Psalms, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion”, kingdom language, listen to that, “and His kingdom endures from generation to generation, all the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing.
And He does according to His will among the hosts of heaven, and only inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand or say to Him, what have you done?” Right? It's an amazing statement. So three times Nebuchadnezzar, the great king, who has put God's people in exile. He's the one who's defeated Jerusalem, he's humbled to make these confessions, which you can see why that would be so important for people in exile to hear that word. That even Nebuchadnezzar must bow and recognize the greatness of God. Yes, we're here suffering. Yes, we're here against our will. But even Nebuchadnezzar recognizes the greatness of our God. We're here at his do, not at our own.
Then we have Belshazzar, the next king, he becomes very prideful. He has a party, he drinks out of all the temple vessels that he should not be drinking out of. The writing on the wall comes miˈni miˈni tɛkəl juˈfɑrsɪn, you've been weighed, you've been found wanting, your king has been divided. You're going to bite the dust. He does. Daniel comes, interprets the dream. Daniel is exalted more, but there's no confession in Belshazzar, he just dies the next day. He does not have the response of faith that Nebuchadnezzar had. So again, it's showing you though, that the Lord is in charge of all this business. Even these other kings and nations, the Lord is 100% in charge, and that's what these narratives are at.
Next, we get Daniel in the lion's den. This is when people don't like Daniel because he's prospering so much. It's just like Joseph, and it's just like Mordecai and Jews. So there's prospering. So they plot against him. They do a prayer test where you can't pray so and Daniel said I'm praying. Unfortunately, you can't change the king's edict. The King is very upset about it. He doesn't want to do it. But he also has to do what the law says. They throw him into the lion’s den. Daniel's there the next day, petting some lions. We can see at the end there, Daniel and lions, in this chapter six, where it says this, King Darius wrote publishes over the whole world. King Darius wrote to all the peoples Nations languages that dwell in all the earth, "Peace be multiplied to you, I make a decree that in all my role dominion, people have to tremble in fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the Living God, enduring forever, his kingship to never be destroyed, and it's dominion shall never come to an end. He delivers and rescues his works and signs and wonders in heaven, earth, who has saved Daniel from the power of alliances."
B. Chapters 7-12 (33:04):
Daniel prospers during the reign of Darius, and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Cyrus is coming up. So you see, that's an amazing thing. That's right at the end of chapter six, where you've got the third person there. If you could see you've had three confessions by Nebuchadnezzar, one confession by Darius, about the greatness of God, not just over the nations, but over the universe. One of the major themes in the book of Daniel, is the superiority of Yahweh over all the nations. What that does is it provokes comfort in the people of God in exile. So if you think this was an exile book, the reason for that is to show that God is still in control. It's almost the opposite of what we had an Esther. In Esther we had divine silence, but God working to save.
In Daniel, God is shouting to Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, and then these visions, to show you that He is in charge. What I like about that is that you can see in Esther at work in the visible realm. In Daniel, you see it at work in the invisible realm. What we're going to do is we're going to say, where is God in Esther? Then in Daniel, we're going to say, here I am, where we're going to peel back, like we did in 2 King 6, the visible realm and see the invisible realm. That's why it's so important to read Esther and Daniel together, because they complement each other. One is the silence of providence. One is the rage of sovereignty. Then we get into these visions, and man, you could have a 20-hour class on these visions. We have the vision of the Four Beasts and the Ancient of Days, that's where the Son of Man shows up.
We have the vision of the ram and the goat. In the middle of that, we have Daniel's prayer of confession and the whole notion of how much longer, 70 weeks Lord. Like Lord, you said 70 years, I'm counting. It's been 70. He said, Oh, I meant that 70 weeks of years. You prolonged saying, hey, 70 is symbolic. So we say it's going to be much, much longer. Scholars debate, all the numbers in the book. They're going to debate how the numbers get divided up, how many days are in a year, half a year, all this kind of business. I can find some satisfying answers, but no, all satisfying answers. So I do know, however, that all works out. Jesus shows up, conquers, the Son of Man wins, and He's coming back. If we had time, we could go over a lot of these books vision by vision. But then we have the vision of the Jewish man. I know, that's a funny way to say it.
But he looks like the high priest a little bit. It's a vision of what Jesus looks like in the apocalypse, book of Revelation. It's Jesus who shows up as the man but He doesn't say anything. The angel has to interpret it for Him, that this is the man who's going to win the day. So again, more comfort. Then we have the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, north and south. All of these kingdoms battling back and forth, battling back and forth, and at the end of 11. It's 45 verses of north south battle, 45 verses of one kingdom falling. Another kingdom falling, another kingdom falling. Then it says this, "But news from the east and from the north shall alarm him and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. This is the final kingdom. “And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain, yet he shall come to his end with no one to help them”.
There's just this pregnant pause. Daniel says, well, how long until that happens? In chapter 12, where it says, “but at that time, your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book”. Isn’t that interesting. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt”, so everyone's going to be resurrected. But some to eternal judgment and some to eternal life. “Those who are wise, shall shine like the brightness of the sky above and this will turn many to righteousness, like the stars of heaven forever and ever”. But you, oh, Daniel, shut up the words of this book and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase. Now when will that end come? You remember in the book of Revelation,
John's looking for the one who can open the seal. So that's what he's talking about, the second coming of Jesus, not the first. Sometimes it's interesting, you’ve got to parse it out. Sometimes we're talking about Jesus first coming. Sometimes you're talking about Jesus second coming. When you're looking down the lens of eschatology. Sometimes you see a clump of events, that looks like one thing, but when you get to kneel to side of it, you can see it's all different stages of it. There's always stages. Daniel asked that famous question in verse six, how long will it be till the end of these wonders? Now remember, the how long thing, from Ecclesiastes, how? How could this happen? How long will it be like this? I heard a man clothed with linen and he swore by heaven, by He who lives forever. And he gave these days like, I heard but I didn't understand. I said, oh, Lord, what shall be the outcome of these things? He wants to know.
He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end." Some of those are shut up and sealed. Then at the very end, it says, because I'm not going to talk about the 1,290 days, but you go your way to the end, and you shall rest and shall stand in your allotment at the end of the days. Okay now, this is resurrection. So both Daniel and Ezekiel, and looks like Esther and Mordecai die in exile, waiting for that same thing. But that's exactly what it said, for example, in the book of Hebrews, "They all die not receiving what was promised, so that we together with them might receive something better." How? Through the resurrection express, right? It's not the Polar Express, it's the resurrection Express. But it's the same kind of thing, taking us home.
V. Conclusion and Questions (38:48):
So the book of Daniel is about life in exile, both what that life looks like in chapters one through six. The hope that we have that will come to an end one day, and that God is in charge and reign supreme and we don't have to worry about it. Apocalyptic literature is Ancient Near Eastern comfort food. It says, God is in charge and He is irrefutable and He's decree. All right, that's great for Daniel. Any questions?
I think you've touched on this a few times. But is it safe to say that one of the least secondary themes in Daniel is the sovereignty of God? It just seems that he raises up kings, he tears down kings, he does whatever he wants to do.
Exactly. That's the three confessions of Nebuchadnezzar. The one confession of Darius is like, "Even though I'm king of the world, I have no power like that." Yeah, that absolute sovereignty, and when you're living in exile, you're thinking, is God really sovereign? Right? If He was, and He loves us, He'd get us out. Down here, this says, "Hey, I really am sovereign. You just have to wait for the right time." Waiting and hoping. It's like, we all need T-shirts that say I'm waiting and hoping. I'm waiting and hoping because that's how I get through this life. Waiting and hoping. It's very much like when you're a kid, and it's November and you can't wait for Christmas. Did you have those times?
Or for me, another time when my wife and I were pregnant, and we just couldn't wait for those nine months to be over. Couldn't wait, couldn't wait. We were waiting and hoping, not knowing what's going to come out. So it's like that feeling. That's how the Christian life should feel. Waiting and hoping, waiting and hoping. It’s because what's coming at the end is way better than what's under the tree or in the womb. It's way beyond that. But we are built in waiters and hopers. If we don't keep looking at the end, like the God is sovereign, and He's already told us about what it's going to be, even though it's in images we don't quite understand. We'll fail to wait and hope appropriately and this world will become too important to us. So yeah, that's a good question. It's all over the place.