Daniel is a difficult book. But it is a book about the meaning of history, and people today need its message. The whole church needs reassurance, especially in view of Marxist claims to be able by human effort to introduce a utopian world government. "When the church lets part of its message go by default people look elsewhere for a substitute," writes Joyce Baldwin. "All the more reason, then, why the church needs to be counting on the certainties proclaimed by Daniel, namely that God is constantly overruling and judging in the affairs of men, putting down the mighty from their seats, overthrowing unjust regimes and effectively bringing in His kingdom, which is to embrace all nations."
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“The incident represents the conflict between worship of the true God and the humanistic use of religion to boost the power of the rulers of this world.” (Page 110)
“Even a small act of self-discipline, taken out of loyalty to principle, sets God’s servants in the line of his approval and blessing. In this way actions attest faith, and character is strengthened to face more difficult situations in the future.” (Pages 92–93)
“The writer of Daniel implies no objection to the study of a polytheistic literature in which magic, sorcery, charms and astrology played a prominent part, though these had long been banned in Israel (Deut. 18:10–12; cf. 1 Sam. 28:3ff.). These young men from Jerusalem’s court needed to be secure in their knowledge of Yahweh to be able to study this literature objectively without allowing it to undermine their faith. Evidently the work of Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Habakkuk had not been in vain. In order to witness to their God in the Babylonian court they had to understand the cultural presuppositions of those around them, just as the Christian today must work hard at the religions and cultures amongst which he lives, if different thought-worlds are ever to meet.” (Page 89)
“The land of Shinar is a deliberate archaism, ‘corrected’ in the Greek to ‘Babylon’. Shinar, site of the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9; cf. 10:10), was synonymous with opposition to God; it was the place where wickedness was at home (Zech. 5:11) and uprightness could expect opposition.” (Page 87)
“When the evidence from Daniel is added to that of the historical books it becomes clear that the fall of Jerusalem was brought about in three stages, in 605, 597 and 587 bc, of which only the first is mentioned in Daniel, and only the second and third feature in the history.” (Page 85)
The late Joyce G. Baldwin was Principal of Trinity College, Bristol.