Monday, April 13, 2009

Daniel, Part 2: Contents, Theology, & Canon

This is the second in a study of Daniel as apocalyptic literature. The first post is on April 4, before the Easter Week posts.

Cook doesn’t believe Dan. 1-6 is straight history, but should be appreciated for its literary skill and humor, showing the impotence of human power in light of God’s sovereignty. It isn’t just the historical leaders that are fools, but it looks forward to the foolishness and wickedness of future leaders as well. These powerful political machines must be stood against by God’s people if they attempt to usurp the place of God. Daniel instructs, until the end actually comes, how God’s people are to declare apocalyptic gloom (like AD 70) and when to have apocalyptic caution and wisdom (Y2K virus).

Finally, Cook discusses how many have sought to look at Daniel as a history book whose use is exhausted. But that is not how Jesus, or those who put it together in the 2nd century BC (according to Cook). Even if it is describing history, it looks forward. Cook shows how the beasts of Daniel 7 don’t match, exactly, the beasts of Daniel 8. There’s yet another beast to come. Daniel still looks to the horizon for fulfillment.

Daniel is as useful today as it ever has been.

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