Good morning! Today we finish out the book of Daniel with a final vision ascribed to him, which gives detailed but anonymous descriptions for much that will happen in Palestine’s history after Babylon’s defeat. I believe that the original audience for these prophecies was active centuries after the Babylonian defeat, and the historical information given served to persuade them that the promises of this messenger could be trusted.
The vision starts with a heavenly messenger, proclaiming that Daniel is “greatly beloved”. (Can you imagine what it would be like to have a supernatural presence address you by name, and pronounce you “beloved” by God? What better news could there be??) The messengers alternatively comfort Daniel in his fright, and tell him what’s to come next. The forecast of events between Daniel’s time and the end of days holds allusions to the many actions of the kings of the south and of the north. These descriptions contain all pronouns and descriptors of the people involved, but no names. (The last powerful ruler may be Alexander the Great, a Greek leader whose conquering presence reshuffled the deck of power in Palestine.) It’s as though the first readers and hearers of Daniel’s prophecy had specific enough signposts that they would imagine the end-of-days time could only be their own. We read in the final chapter about the resurrection of the dead, to eternal reward or punishment. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Hosea 1-7. Thanks for reading!