duck5

procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Daniel 2 - The Preterist Reading

For some reason it's impossible to find a picture of the statue in Daniel 2 labelled normally. So here's mine. It's not complicated, and it is what Daniel pretty much is about.

 

 Daniel is set in the 6th Century BC, but is written to a 2nd Century BC audience.

In his schema within the book, Daniel has three kingdoms - Babylon, Media and Persia. Historically we know that Babylon passed directly to Persia, when Cyrus took it (was given it) after Nabonidus was on the nose (Belshazzar was his son and ruler in his absence). So where Media came from is unclear - they did exist, but didn't ever hold Babylon (although Cyrus was half-Persian perhaps) - but that doesn't matter. In Daniel, the order is Babylon, Media, Persia. So, the statue starts off Gold-Babylon, Silver-Media, Bronze-Persia.

Now for the tricky bit. Well, not really.
In the second century, Alexander's kingdom took over from Persia, and more, and when he died, when asked about his successor, he (apocryphally) said 'the strongest'. So, next after Alexander was an AVP-style all-in, with the Diadochi (the successors) fighting it out amongst themselves.

Unfortunately for Jerusalem, they were smack bang in the middle. Lots of horrific things happened in and around Jerusalem, as the Seleucids battled the Ptolemies for centuries. This includes the 'abomination of desolation' - the slaughtering of a pig on the altar in the temple.

So for the writer/editor/compiler of Daniel in the 2nd Century, this was the end of the world. It was the last evil age, when all the evil powers were assembled against God and his people. So, the message of encouragement to them was - the rock - God's intervention - is coming any day now. The horror will end, because God will not leave us in the hands of these mad men forever.

That's the message of Daniel, that's the apocalyptic perspective, and that's really all the statue can mean, both literarily and historically. Enjoy the picture.

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