Our chapter today—Daniel 11—repeats the great truths of Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 9.
It then enlarges upon these earlier chapters, giving us repeated assurance that God has not abandoned this planet in rebellion. He is still in control. This world is still in His hands. The future is certain. Our destination is sure. Our Pilot is taking us home! According to Jesus, what is one of the basic purposes of Bible prophecy?
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Amazingly enough, there were four extremely important Persian kings during this period of history. How does Daniel Alexander the Great, the mighty Grecian king, conquered the world at thirty-two years of age by uniting a relatively small band of Greek patriots. It was powerful enough to completely conquer the Persian Empire. Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy ruled in his place.
The King of the South—Ptolemy—ruled over the land of Egypt. The Egyptians became extremely powerful. They continually battled with the King of the North—the Roman power. Who is the raiser of taxes described in this passage? See also Luke 2: Augustus Caesar was known as the great raiser of taxes in ancient Rome.
It was during the days of Augustus that the decree was passed that all the world should be taxed. Everyone was commanded to return to his own city to be included in the census for tax purposes. Mary and Joseph made the arduous journey of just under one hundred miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where the Christ-child was born. After ruling for a short time, Augustus Caesar died. How does Daniel describe the character of the ruler who would follow Augustus?
As a vile person who would not be given the honor of royalty. Tiberius Caesar followed Augustus Caesar on the throne. He was one of the vilest rulers ever to ascend the Roman throne. Corruption, bribery, extortion and murder were all part of his political strategy. Jesus Christ laid down His life to ratify the everlasting covenant with His own shed blood.
His blood speaks in eloquent terms that our sins can be forgiven. Through the blood of Christ, we pass from death to life. He died the death that was ours so we could live the life that was His. As an innocent Man, He suffered for us who were guilty.
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He was righteous; we are unrighteous. He was holy; we are sinful.
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By faith, we receive His cleansing. Through Him, we become sons and daughters of God. All that He suffered, we should have suffered.
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Through the blood of the everlasting covenant, we are redeemed from the curse of death see Hebrews To what specific time period do all of Daniel's prophecies point? The prophecies of Daniel graphically describe the rise and fall of empires. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome rose one after the other. After the demise of the pagan Roman Empire, a church-state union grew out of Rome. During the Middle Ages from to A.
What would the medieval church do to God's sanctuary? See also Daniel 8: The sanctuary on earth, which Moses built, was a scale model of the great original sanctuary in heaven. The sacrifices of animals pointed forward to the blood-stained sacrifice of Christ. The ministry of the priests represented Jesus, our Representative, our Mediator, in heaven above.
The sanctuary in heaven should be the center of our attention. There Jesus, our High Priest, personally applies the benefits of the cross to our case. In the days of the medieval church, large, pompous, ornate, splendid church buildings with earthly priests and earthly emblems, became substitutes for the true sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His true priesthood in heaven.
The sanctuary in heaven is polluted when attention is diverted from it to an earthly imitation. What trials did God's true people experience during the Middle Ages? They shall fall by the sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Whose will does this political-religious power seek, and whom does it exalt?
The authentic Christian daily surrenders his will to the will of God. Daniel answered and said, "Blessed be the name of God, from forever to forever, to whom are the wisdom and the might. He changes the years and the times. He deposes kings and raises up kings. He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to the ones knowing understanding. He reveals the deep things and the hidden things.
He knows what is in the darkness and the light with him abides. You, God of my fathers, I praise and laud because you gave me the wisdom and the might. Now you have made known to me what we asked of you - because the matter of the king you made known to us. This message began in Dan 1: Throughout the book, God raises up kings and takes them down. He confounds the "wise" and gives wisdom and discernment to his faithful servants.
He shares his wisdom, power, dominion, and even glory with humans, but he alone rules a kingdom that will destroy all human kingdoms, fill the earth, and endure forever. As detailed above, the accounts of Joseph before Pharaoh in Gen 41 and Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2 have significance in their immediate context, as well as in their larger contexts i. But the similarities between the accounts and the clear patterning of one after the other require we also ask about the relationship they have to each other and the role they play in the OT canon as it reflects the history of God's people.
Further, the two accounts together create a paradigm for understanding God's work among the nations. Matthew Rindge lists eighteen specific similarities between the plot structures of Gen 41 and Dan 2, 25 noting that "the numerous specific similarities lexical and thematic between these two narratives suggest that Dan 2 is a conscious reworking of Gen Thematically, both characters are Hebrew exiles serving in a foreign court, both are handsome Gen There are also differences between the portrayal of the characters in the accounts, and Rindge argues that this is where the greater significance lies.
He argues that the differences "are consistent in nature, reflecting the existence of three distinct patterns," namely, dream interpretation, piety, and the nature of Joseph and Daniel's relationship to their respective foreign kings. In each area, Rindge shows that Daniel is presented as superior to Joseph, 30 suggesting that the account of Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2 reconfigures the account of Joseph before Pharaoh in Gen 41 in order to show Daniel to be a "new and improved" Joseph.
The accounts of the two captives before foreign kings do more than present a message about one or both of the young Hebrews. As part of the portrayal of Israel's God, they also instruct the reader in the person, character, and activity of this God. The accounts are similar in their broad theological theme -namely, the sovereignty of God. However, a comparison of what God revealed to the pair of Gentile kings and why he revealed it suggests that the account of Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar not only shows a greater Joseph, it shows a greater God.
What God revealed to Pharaoh in Gen 41 was, essentially, a fourteen-year regional weather forecast and his control over it. For seven years, the rains would be plentiful along the Nile and the fields would overflow with crops. Then for seven years, the Nile river of life would not deliver. Famine would seize and all but strangle the land. By contrast, what God revealed to Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2 was, essentially, the whole of human history and his sovereignty over it.
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The splendid and not-so-splendid human kingdoms would crumble before the one eternal kingdom that filled the whole earth - not just territories of it. In the former dream, God made known his sovereignty over regional weather patterns and the corresponding fertility of the land. In the latter, he revealed his sovereignty over all kingdoms and powers forever. Why God revealed the dreams to the Gentile kings is less clear in the texts.
These answers tell us the general content of the dreams i. We have to rely on the larger context for this. In the case of Pharaoh, the baffling dream brings Joseph to the mind of the cupbearer, who reports his ability to the king. Joseph's interpretation of the dream leads to his appointment over Egypt, which ultimately resulted in the sons of Israel moving there to survive the famine. In terms of Israel's history, we could say God sent the dream to Pharaoh so that the Israelites would survive. In the process, he also blessed Egypt too, preserving it through the wisdom of Joseph.
In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, the purpose of the dream for the king specifically doesn't come into focus until Dan 4, when he has his second dream, which I've argued above is a remedial lesson for a king who didn't learn the first time that his kingdom was temporary and his power was relative and bestowed by a greater king. But the purpose of the dream goes beyond the circumstances of the Babylonian king.
It reveals the coming kingdom of God, which breaks into history, destroys all human kingdoms, and fills the earth forever. In Pharaoh's dream, God made a way for the salvation of the starving Israelites and for the nations surrounding Egypt. In the latter, he reveals his coming, eternal kingdom, an event the NT says is inaugurated by Jesus, presented as the savior of the world. Both accounts reveal a sovereign God, but comparing the what and why of God's revelation to the Gentile kings suggests that the Daniel account intends to show a greater God - that is, it magnifies the scope of both his sovereignty and salvation.
Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream is the trigger event for moving the Israelites to Egypt, where they will enjoy royal favor and eventually suffer under royal oppression. Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream occurs early in the exilic period, when the people of God have lost the land of promise to the foreign invader. On either side of Israel's sustained presence in the land, the canon offers accounts with similar themes in which God sends a message to Gentile kings and his servants encounter those kings specifically because of these revelations.
In its canonical context, this pair of accounts provides a paradigm for God's interaction with "the nations," where most of the Bible's readers since the fall of Jerusalem in B. In the previous section, we considered the significance of the specific messages God sent to Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar. Here, we consider the significance of the fact that God spoke to them at all at these points in history when Israel did not have possession of the promised land. I suggest three points of significance. First, by speaking to the Gentile kings whose influence most affected the Israelites i.
Pharaoh during the patriarchal period and Nebuchadnezzar during the Neo-Babylonian period , God sent a clear message to all involved that he was the God of the nations, not just Israel. Neither Pharaoh nor Nebuchadnezzar had met a God like this one. His messages eluded them and their experts, and the dreams' fulfillment exceeded any power they or their gods might have claimed. The God of Israel was also the God over Egypt and Babylon, whether or not they acknowledged his sovereignty. Second, although the messages themselves were inscrutable to the Gentile kings, God spoke in a language they understood - namely, dreams.
Most revelatory dreams that kings received gave clear information about future events. A biblical example of such a "message dream" is in 1 Sam 3, where God calls three times to the sleeping Samuel so that he could tell the boy that he was about to judge Eli's family.
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Symbolic dreams were more likely to need an interpreter, although the meanings of symbolic dreams could also be obvious e. Joseph's dreams of bowing sheaves and stars in Gen In his Daniel commentary, Longman suggests that God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar in dreams because it was in dreams "that the Babylonian religion and Daniel's faith [came] closest," rather than speaking to him through something like the birth of a multiheaded ox. A third point of significance about God's revelation to Gentile kings is that he didn't send the enigmatic messages until he had also put one of his servants in place to interpret the message.
And even then, both texts are clear that the ability to explain the dreams came from God. Joseph and Daniel were only able to interpret the dreams because, in the language of the Gentile kings, "the spirit of the holy gods" was in them Gen Their access to God's wisdom came from God himself, and God's wisdom was made available to the Gentile kings through them. In their respective contexts, they each show the sovereignty of God and his establishment of his man in the foreign court.
Through his lowly servants, God put the mighty Gentile kings on alert that they were dependent on him for their lives and for their kingdoms. While God did not appear to have an earthly kingdom at the time, he demonstrated his superiority over the kings who found the dreams inscrutable , all other gods whose diviners were stymied , and the future. This Yahweh may not have looked like much during the hey-day of Egypt or Babylon, but in fact, he was Lord of all the earth.
Considered together in the context of Israel's historical and geographical situation, the pair of accounts creates a paradigm for God's work among the nations. God reached out to foreign kings through the murky means of revelatory dreams in order to make himself known. Knowing that the collective knowledge of the empires' finest interpreters would prove inadequate, he had already positioned his faithful servants - with access to the "spirit of the holy gods" - to interpret and explain the dreams. A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible.
Word Biblical Commentary A Study of the Tales of Esther and Daniel. Edited by Adam S. Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium Leuven University Press, New International Version Application Commentary. Apollos Old Testament Commentary Daniel 2 as a Reconfiguration of Genesis The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading.
Indiana University Press, Van der Toorn, Karel. Edited by John J. Collins and Peter W. Word Biblical Commentary 2. The Jew in the Court of a Foreign King: Ancient Jewish Court Legends. Harvard Dissertations in Religion Collins, Daniel Her-meneia; Minneapolis: Augsburg, , Wills details the history of scholarship on court narratives. Fortress, , Lists of the shared motifs among court stories are widely available. Word, , ; Collins, Daniel, Niditch and Doran characterize the genre according to specific patterning of four motifs that together create a type or form: Patterson describes the genre by saying "such stories deal with the exploits of a godly exile in a foreign court whose piety and wisdom enable him to emerge triumphantly from various tests and rise to personal prominence.
He further describes the narratives as usually involving "a specific test involving faith, morality, or compromise of covenantal standards" , but Patterson's description goes beyond that of critical scholarship, which does not include the criterion that the exile be godly or pious.
Further, one might contest whether his criterion even applies to all the so called court tales of the OT. For example, Joseph's appearance before Pharaoh does not seem to be a test of the Hebrew's faith, morality, or covenantal standards; nor does everyone agree that Esther qualified as a pious and godly exile in her captivity. Lucas notes that the basis of such encouragement in Daniel's court tales "is not belief in some kind of inherent ethnic superiority, but trust in the Most High God, who rules supreme even over human rulers and their affairs.
InterVarsity Press, , Lee Humphreys, "Life-Style for Diaspora: For discussions of what the accounts have in common, see, e. Rindge, "Jewish Identity under Foreign Rule: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading Bloomington: Indiana University Press, , Word Books, , He sets up the long-term salvific preservation of Israel through the brother who shares the spotlight with Joseph - Judah, the one from whom Messiah would come. The dual redemptive roles of Joseph and Judah are important in their own right, but this article focuses on Joseph exclusively since the textual connections between Daniel and Genesis specifically concern the interactions of God's people with Gentile kings - a role Judah does not have.
Since the text doesn't tell us why the men were absent, it is not important for the purposes of the narrative.
Lucas notes, "In 'historical' terms. In literary terms their absence is crucial. It serves to set up the whole conflict that is at the centre of the story. When he was at the peak of his career, he dreamed a frightening dream and summoned his wise men, who, predictably, could not interpret it. Nebuchadnezzar notes that Daniel then came before him, and he explains why Daniel would be able to interpret the dream: The king told his chief magician the dream of a flourishing tree abruptly cut to the ground, its stump morphing into a beast in the field 4: When Daniel heard the dream, he immediately knew it portended the king's demise and wished it upon the king's enemies instead 4: He interpreted it for Nebuchadnezzar and then offered some unsolicited advice to renounce his sins and change his ways so that the dream might not come to pass 4: But twelve months later a proud outburst of the king set the dream's fulfillment in motion 4: Driven from civilization, the mighty Babylonian monarch ate grass with the animals until he acknowledged God's sovereignty 4: This reflects my opinion, though not one I have the space to develop in this article.
The fat cows in Pharaoh's dreams represented years of plenty for Egypt.
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Perhaps the author of Daniel hints at coming "years of plenty" for the Babylonian royal court through the quartet of Hebrew captives. See also Goldingay, Daniel, 43, who compares the characters and events of Gen 41 and Dan 2 by saying, "[Dan 2] is like Gen 41, only more so" and then suggests "that Joseph could be seen as a type of Daniel. I say 'moderate' because, despite his rejection of the royal diet, Daniel nonetheless remains involved in the Babylonian court. He still submits himself to the training of the 'Chaldeans' in language, literature, and education.
Thus, Daniel offers a via media between the extremes witnessed in 1 Maccabees and Gen He embraces neither the assimilation modeled by Joseph nor the rejection practiced by the Maccabees. Rather, by calling to mind the Joseph narrative, the Daniel narrative intends to portray God in a grander way with respect to his sovereignty and redemptive purposes.
It is only when considered through the lens of the NT and the work of Christ recorded there that one might say, first, how the rock of Dan 2 comes to fill the earth and rule forever, and, second, how the Son of Man achieved salvation for the human race. Zondervan, , Such an affinity between the Gentile religions and Israel's religion likely also made the accounts more palatable to a Jewish audience, well versed in God's view of the divination arts.
Karel van der Toorn considers it unusual for a royal courtier to be proficient in dream interpretation, and here the accounts of Daniel "seem to depart from the customs at the Assyrian and Babylonian courts. Composition and Reception ed. Brill, , All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Services on Demand Article. English pdf Article in xml format Article references How to cite this article Automatic translation.