The book of Daniel can be divided into two halves, in slightly different ways.
It is well-known that the book is written in two different languages.
The six chapters beginning with the second are in Aramaic, a language which spread over the whole region from Babylon westwards, becoming the normal
speech of the Jews of the time of Jesus.
The first chapter, and the rest of the book from the eighth chapter onwards, are in Hebrew. One significant difference is that God speaks mainly
through dreams in the Aramaic portion, and through visions in the Hebrew portion.
The other line of division almost coincides.
The first six chapters are about the general problem of kingship setting itself against God, as illustrated by the kings ruling in Babylon.
The remaining six chapters are pointing towards the notorious king Antiochus Epiphanes, and also towards a more distant future king of the same
My threads on Daniel have been a very “occasional” series, inspiration permitting. However, I’ve now filled all the gaps that are likely to be
filled, so the series can be considered complete.
They fall into three groups.
The first group are looking at the chapters in the first half of Daniel, which illustrate the progression of the confrontation between the Biblical
God and dominating kings in general.
This confrontation resembles the proverbial meeting between the irresistible force and the immovable object, in that one of them is necessarily
exposed as a fraud.
Let them eat bean-cake
This chapter introduces the choice between obedience to God’s will and obedience to human authority. The occasion is that Daniel is offered a diet
compromised by idolatry.
Daniel the dream-reader
Showing that only the Creator God, and those taught by him, can have true knowledge of the future. This prepares the way for the prophecies of the
rest of the book.
The stone and the statue
The first of two visions anticipating a “fourth kingdom” after the historic empires known to the writer, and looking forward to the ultimate
overthrow of human authority.
The burning, fiery furnace
The conflict between the obedience due to God and the obedience demanded by idolatrous human authority.
The madness of kings
How kingship needs to be in submission to God’s authority, and what happens otherwise.
Writing on the wall
God’s judgement is carried out on idolatrous human authority.
The lions' den
In this chapter, the real trouble is coming from the remorseless impersonality of human authority, in the form of the faceless “law of the Medes and
Nevertheless, it is possible for human leadership to see sense and accept the authority of God.
The second group are looking at those chapters in the second half of Daniel which offer a coded version of the period in history between Alexander
the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes (and perhaps further)
Daniel’s fourth kingdom; History and Prophecy
The second of the two visions anticipating a “fourth kingdom” after the historic empires known to the writer, and looking forward to the ultimate
overthrow of human authority.
They appear to be projecting the future evil kingship without reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, which confuses the interpretations of those scholars
who don’t distinguish between the two.
Daniel’s Greece and Persia
Allegories describing the war between Alexander the Great and the Persian empire and what happens afterwards, preparing the way for introducing
Antiochus Epiphanes onto the scene.
A long prayer of penitence (which I haven’t examined) leads into;
The unsolved puzzle of the Seventy Weeks
I wrote no thread on the visionary figure of this chapter, but he should be compared with the “Son of Man” vision in Revelation ch1.
At some point I may do a more general thread on the Old Testament “angels of the Lord”.
Kings of the north and south
Allegorically describing the wars between the northern and southern neighbours of Judah in the period leading up to the accession of Antiochus
Epiphanes. Thus preparing the way for introducing him onto the scene.
The king at the time appointed
A description of Antiochus Epiphanes overlapping with a description of the similar future king.
Finally, some occasional threads on details of the “end-times” in Daniel.
He makes covenant with many
What is an abomination of desolation?
Many shall run to and fro
Daniel’s “week” and Revelation’s “hour”
Relating to ch9 v27, and also the
“time, two times, and half a time” of ch12 v7.
However, I’m still not expecting to get any insights on the 1290 days or 1335 days (ch12 vv11-12).
Other gaps may be found, but I think the essential features have been covered.