Much ink has been spilled (or keys tapped) over the book of Daniel, but Jim Hamilton perceived a glaring omission: “an evangelical and canonical biblical theology of Daniel” (p21), which is what With the Clouds of Heaven provides. To unpack his quote, evangelical means accepting “evangelical conclusions on questions of date and authorship” (p31); canonical means reading Daniel while considering its placement in the Biblical canon, particularly the Hebrew OT order; and biblical theology means noticing how “Daniel has engaged earlier Scripture to present his message and how later Scripture engaged Daniel to exposit what he wrote” (p27). With the Clouds of Heaven is less a commentary of Daniel as it’s an attempt to understand its role in the larger Biblical storyline.
With the Clouds of Heaven
We’ll start with a brief summary of the chapters in With the Clouds of Heaven and then get our hands dirty with some of the details. Chapter 1 explains Hamilton’s intention for the book and delivers an impassioned and quotable defense for the historicity of Daniel. If Daniel’s stories are fictional, then “there is no proof that [Yahweh] is any better than the false gods who can neither reveal the future nor deliver their worshippers” (p32). Ouch! Chapter 2 is focused on tracing the OT story from creation to Israel’s exile and recognizing how Daniel picks up on these themes and runs with them, particularly Moses’ prediction of Israel’s exile in Leviticus and Deuteronomy by way of Jeremiah. Hamilton wisely spends Chapter 3 surveying the literary forest of Daniel before the exegetical trees. He does this by identifying the smaller units (nicely matching up with our modern chapter divisions), the units’ relationship with each other, and then the macro-structure of the book, which Hamilton argues is chiastic (see my post). Chapter 4 tackles the visions of Daniel 2, 7, 8, 10-12, and Chapter 5 is devoted to Daniel 9. Chapter 4 and 5 are far too dense to summarize here, but Hamilton takes a broadly futurist view with the visions extending until Jesus’ second coming establishing the millennial kingdom of God. Even if one does not agree with Hamilton’s conclusions here, these chapters are rich with details. Chapter 6 inspects the heavenly beings and asks whether Daniel intended any to refer to the Messiah (e.g. the fourth man in the fiery furnace)? Hamilton’s conclusion is in the negative, aside from the Son of Man in Daniel 7 who is Messianic, human, and much more. Chapters 7-9 sketch out how Daniel is interpreted in other writings: intertestamental literature (Chapter 7) and the New Testament (Chapter 8), with John’s Apocalypse receiving its own chapter (Chapter 9). Chapter 10 argues that Daniel contributes to Biblical typological patterns (e.g. details in Daniel’s story appear much like Joseph’s) and that they are all culminated in Jesus.
I must emphasize that not only is Daniel a complicated book, but With the Clouds of Heaven is wonderfully rich with details and compelling suggestions. I cannot hope to comment on everything, but will attempt to highlight some perceived strengths, weaknesses and potential issues.
I appreciated that Hamilton is unafraid of employing passionate rhetoric to defend the pastoral concerns with late-dating Daniel. He recognizes that God’s own trustworthiness is at stake. In fact, Daniel’s entire exhortation to perseverance collapses if these are merely stories. How can we trust his encouragement if God did not in fact protect His people!
Possibly the greatest strength in With the Clouds of Heaven is that it achieves what it sets out to do as a work of Biblical theology by placing the Daniel tree in the Biblical forest, being sensitive to symbolism, and by being rich with intertextuality. The treatment of the number-symbolism throughout Daniel was particularly insightful. Hamilton deftly pulls together divergent threads throughout the OT into a compelling whole. Seeing how Daniel constantly alludes to earlier OT material was also rewarding.
The chapters on NT allusions and quotations were excellent and, aside from chapter 2, the high-point of the book for me. Hamilton showed a number of allusions I’d never noticed before and helped clarify some things. It was such fruitful chapters that I only wish more space had been given for listing more allusions, and for teasing out exactly how the NT is using these references. Also, at least one notable passage was missed. Jesus’ ascension to the Father in the clouds (Acts 1:9) calls to mind Daniel 7’s son of man who receives dominion, not in coming to earth, but in coming to the Ancient of Days in the clouds (Dan 7:13-14). I was disappointed that Hamilton lacks any discussion of this text, since an allusion would make a futurist reading of Daniel 7 much more difficult. Even if Hamilton disagrees with it being an allusion, I would like to know why.
Also noteworthy was Hamilton’s unique approach to Daniel 9; hovering over this difficult text and swooping down at it three times, getting closer with each pass. The first pass appreciates the structure and time markers of the seventy weeks, the second compares it to the other visions in Daniel and allusions to other Scriptures, and the third attempts to fill in the remaining details. This is a superb example for how to tackle difficult texts, even if one disagrees with Hamilton’s conclusions.
Although Hamilton’s intent is not to overly engage with different perspectives, he does interact with fellow SBTS professor Peter Gentry (see our interview), though I found his responses to Gentry’s position to be weak. Hamilton disputes Gentry’s view on three points:
- The Jews causing the temple’s destruction is incongruous with the visions of 2, 7, 8, and 10-12 where Israel’s opponents do this.
- The Messiah cannot be the one making the covenant in Dan 9:27 as he has just been killed in Dan 9:26.
- It relies of Josephus’ account of AD70, which implies that “apart from Josephus we would not know about the fulfillment” (p121).
I don’t intend to defend Gentry’s view (and I’m sure he would do better!), but in response:
- Daniel 9 is in fact different from the other visions. It is focused less on the nations persecuting Israel and more on Israel itself, their faithlessness to the covenant, the solution for their sin and exile problem, and their Messiah’s death. Trying to match it closely with the other visions may in fact be forcing a square into a round hole.
- Hamilton misrepresents Gentry’s view, which sees v26 and v27 as having an A-B-A-B pattern, so that the Messiah’s death brings the covenant. There is no inconsistency here.
- We are unafraid of using secular historical data to clarify Daniel 8 and 11, so why not Daniel 9 too?
Again, a thorough engagement with opposing views is outside the scope of this book, but I was disappointed here.
Although I previously posted his chiastic structure for Daniel, I must admit to being skeptical of it. First, it doesn’t seem to add much to the already-agreed upon chiastic structure of ch2-7. Second, joining ch7-9, as being parallel with ch2 makes sense, but excluding ch10-12 seems arbitrary. Lastly, constructing such an all-encompassing but tentative chiasm either results in necessarily tentative implications or a self-admitted futility of the whole enterprise. It is fortunate that Hamilton did not rest much of his conclusions on this chiasm.
Considering Daniel’s complexity and what Hamilton is attempting, it’s inevitable that he must take one debatable conclusion and then build another upon it. Probably most issues will arise for those who do not hold Hamilton’s futurist reading of Daniel. As a few examples, I offer the following:
- It is assumed that references to “the end” or “latter days” (e.g. Dan 2:28) speak of the time surrounding the second coming of Jesus despite that (at least three of) the kingdoms mentioned are in our past and that God will establish His kingdom “in the days of those kings” (Dan 2:44).
- Apparent discrepancies are resolved more often through typology than attempted harmonization. For example, the numerous parallels between Greece and the fourth kingdom are “proof” of a typological connection between them, rather than proof that they are in fact the same kingdom.
- The 11th horn from the fourth kingdom (Dan 7) is assumed to be a future antichrist figure; there is no discussion of potential fulfillment in the Roman persecution of Israel during the war culminating in the AD 70 destruction (p104).
- Considering that it’s another example of the pattern set in Daniel, it’s strange that AD 70 receives very little attention. Of course, doing so would challenge his futurist reading.
- The abomination of desolation in the Olivet Discourse is considered to be a person (Mark 13:14); the same person as in 2 Thess 2:1-12. The parallel passage in Luke 21:20, which may point out that Jesus was thinking of AD 70, not our future, is not discussed.
To conclude, I’ll employ Hamilton’s three-swoop approach. A book should be broadly judged on the basis of what it is intended to be, not what the reader wants it to be. As a biblical-theological reading of Daniel, With the Clouds of Heaven certainly succeeds. It is rich with stimulating and compelling details and arguments. Swooping in closer, I perceived, and have noted above, some issues with his conclusions. And lastly, on a more subjective level, one’s own view of Daniel and eschatology will determine their agreement and possibly enjoyment. Hamilton adopts a Historical Premillennialist viewpoint, so readers from other systems will find more to disagree with and may get significantly less from the book. Other interpretative options are not given much space, so With the Clouds of Heaven would be disappointing if that were expected of it. Hamilton’s intention is to contribute something fresh and less to comment on the commentators. However, I do wish he had argued for his futurist views with a self-conscious intention to convince the doubters, keeping an eye over his shoulder for potential disputants.
So with that said, I can certainly recommend With the Clouds of Heaven as an introduction to Daniel, its literary features, and its place within the canon. This would serve as an excellent textbook for a Daniel class, but any reader would benefit from looking at Daniel through such a wide-angle lens. Hamilton offers a fresh evangelical contribution to the vast literature on Daniel. It’s unavoidable in a book on Daniel that the author’s idiosyncrasies will reveal themselves, but being exposed to differing views and rethinking one’s own can be a very healthy and sharpening experience!
I’m generally skeptical of large-scale suggestions such as this (though I’m intrigued by Wingo’s proposal that Job is a chiasm!) but I think Hamilton is onto something here by suggesting in his new book With the Clouds of Heaven that the entire book of Daniel is a chiasm. After showing that Daniel is broken up into 10 units (closely corresponding to the first 9 chapters and then chapters 10-12), he notes that some chapters are clearly parallel:
- Daniel 3 and 6 (the fiery furnace and the lion’s den)
- Daniel 4 and 5 (the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar)
- Daniel 2 and 7 (Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of empires and Daniel’s dream of empires)
- Daniel 2 and 7-9 (visions of what will come between this time and God’s kingdom)
- Daniel 1 and 10-12 (account of Daniel’s exile and the future return from exile)
Hamilton is not the first to argue for Daniel having a chiastic structure. Many have noted the similarities in at least the first 3 bullet points above, and posited a partial chiasm of Dan 2-7. Others have attempted to fit the entire book into a chiasm (or two, like Steinmann), but they disagree on the details and miss some of the parallels above. What’s strong about Hamilton’s suggestion is both the simplicity and the recognition of larger-scale parallels. Here is his structure:
1. Exile to the unclean realm of the dead
2. Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
3. Deliverance of the trusting from the fiery furnace
4. Humbling of proud King Nebuchadnezzar
5. Humbling of proud King Belshazzar
6. Deliverance of the trusting from the lion’s den
7-9. Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
10-12. Return from exile and resurrection from the dead
Hamilton shows that this structure allows one to “put the message of Daniel into one sentence”:
Daniel encourages the faithful by showing them that though Israel was exiled from the land of promise, they will be restored into the realm of life at the resurrection of the dead, when the four kingdoms are followed by the kingdom of God, so the people of God can trust him and persevere through persecution until God humbles proud human kings, gives everlasting dominion to the son of man, and the saints reign with him (p83)
Hamilton even takes this structure and notes its similarity to Revelation, which he also considers to be chiastic. Has John intentionally structured his revelations to be somewhat parallel to Daniel’s structure? This is worth considering more.
Hamilton compellingly argues for this structure, though I’m unsure about separating chapters 10-12 from 7-9 since they cover the same time periods. Perhaps chapter 1 should be subsumed under 2? Anyway, to understand the logic behind the whole thing, you’ll need to read With the Clouds of Heaven, which is an attempt at reading Daniel in light of what comes before him and after him (Biblical theology).
Be on the lookout for my review this Thursday.
I’m sure it is difficult to write a short book, seeing as it’s certainly difficult to write a short book review! I am attempting a short review of a short, but engaging, book by Andrew Wilson called Unbreakable: What the Son of God Said About the Word of God.
In Unbreakable, Wilson lets Jesus be our guide to the Bible: “I trust the Bible because I trust in Jesus” (p10). So what does Jesus believe about the Bible? He trusted its authority (Matt 4:1-11), its inspiration (Matt 22:41-46), its unbreakability (John 10:22-39), and its coherence (Mark 12:18-27); and that’s all in the first four chapters. All chapters handle different aspects of Jesus’ relationship with God’s Word. The writing is quirky, winsome and clever – but never too clever. In fact, the chapter And it Happened was so poetically written that it was like reading a (little-‘o’) orthodox Rob Bell; much like a musician who employs silence, the page had so much white space!
My complaints are so miniscule in comparison to my enjoyment, but complain I must. Aside from a take on Psalm 82 that I consider faulty (human kings rather than spiritual beings), I’m unsure why the poetic survey mentioned above, subtitled The Storyline of Scripture, ended with the resurrection. Even a full-preterist would complain that he didn’t get so far as AD70! Perhaps Wilson was simply tracing creation to the beginning of new creation? But still, The Lord of the Rings doesn’t end with the appearance of Gandalf the White to Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, and neither does our story.
But back to the positives. In addition to Wilson’s excellent approach, writing, and message, I took delight in his subversive “skewering” of the New Marcionism. Since Wilson has tangled with them before, he shrewdly (and intentionally?) used their own “Jesus-lens” (or “tea-strainer“) approach against them by showing Jesus’ absolute commitment to even the “difficult texts” in the Old Testament (Luke 17:26-29), while creating some of His own in the process (Matt 19:4-6)!
And did I mention that Unbreakable is small? Using a Biblical measuring system (Isa 40:12), it’s one hand (see right). 78 pages with notes, 65 pages without. Chapters average 4 pages. This results in punchy, bite-sized chapters that each leave the reader something to consider. Wilson covers a surprising amount of ground, even discussing canon and interpretation issues.
While Unbreakable would be excellent for newer believers, it should not be overlooked for this reason. I enjoyed Unbreakable like a fresh and satisfying afternoon snack (this is not me bagging the book, it’s just not intended to be a feast). In fact, its small size only adds to its worth. Of all the books I have read this year, I can see myself recommending Unbreakable most widely.
Wilson succeeded in his short book, does a 500-word review count as short?
- Publisher: 10Publishing
- Paperback: 78 pages
- ISBN: 9781909611863
- This book was generously provided from 10Publishing as a review copy, but that did not affect my review.
Michael Halcomb and Fredrick Long have produced something quite unique: an illustrated Gospel of Mark in both Greek and English. This looks excellent for those wanting to learn or practice their Greek.
Check it out on Amazon – Mark: GlossaHouse Illustrated Greek-English New Testament
Here’s a preview
It may not come as a surprise that many modern Jews, in contrast with their predecessors, deny that the Old Testament is messianic. But how should we think when the same conclusions come from modern Christian scholars? Indeed, it is becoming increasingly popular even among evangelicals, “to reject the idea that the Hebrew Bible has specific predictions of the Messiah” (p. 1). For Michael Rydelnik, Professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute, this hits home. Rydelnik was raised an Orthodox Jew by holocaust survivors and in his fight to refute Christian interpretation of messianic prophecies Jesus won. Naturally for Rydelnik, the shift away from a messianic OT is not inconsequential: “it is essential to understand the Hebrew Bible as messainic” (p. 12). The Messianic Hope is his attempt to reclaim the OT as book directly anticipating the Messiah.
The Messianic Hope
So how does one defend the OT as messianic? While a passage-by-passage approach would certainly be useful, it would either produce a) limited room for engaging with the alternate viewpoint, or b) an absolutely massive book! Instead, Rydelnik takes a big-picture approach by arguing that the Old Testament in its entirety is a messianic book. Chapter 1 explains the importance of messianic prophecy for interpretation, confidence in Scripture, and apologetics. Chapter 2 provides a history of scholarship and common approaches to NT “fulfillment”. In a few places I found his definitions unclear (the “relecture” explanation was confusing), but overall this is an excellent and illuminating introduction to messianic prophecy, even if one disagreed with Rydelnik’s overall thesis. The tables are an immense help in visually untangling a knotty variety of views.
Chapter 3 is the first of five chapters arguing that the Old Testament is inherently messianic containing many direct predictions of a future Messiah. This chapter argues on the basis of text-critical evidence that the “somewhat late” (p. 34) Hebrew Masoretic text is often considerably less messianic than other earlier versions (e.g. Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint). Rydelnik examines a few passages to illustrate this (Num 24:7; 2 Sam 23:1; Ps 72:5; Isa 9:6; Ps 22:16) and contends that alternative readings can be superior at times. There was much good here, but some examples were stronger than others. As much as I’d like to agree that “Agag” in Num 24:7 should actually be read as “Gog”, I found his arguments unpersuasive on deeper examination. Chapter 4 argues that the OT reads itself messianically by tracing how later OT books interpret three Torah texts (Gen 49:8-12, Num 24:14-19; Deut 18:15-19). Chapter 5 gives a great introduction to the Hebrew ordering of the OT, why it should be preferred, and how its very structure is shaped to foster a messianic hope. Chapter 6 shows that the NT authors regarded the OT as messianic and Chapter 7 answers the skeptics who assert that the NT authors misused the OT, using Matthew 2 as a paradigm of “the four ways the New Testament uses the Old” (p. 97). To my relief, Rydelnik does not argue exclusively for direct fulfillment, despite the thesis of this book. He allows for direct fulfillment (Matt 2:5-6), but also typological (Matt 2:15), applicational (Matt 2:16-18) and summary (Matt 2:19-23) fulfillments. This shows integrity on Rydelnik’s part; he is truly wrestling with the text and not wearing tinted glasses.
Chapter 8 changes direction a little, by surveying the enormous impact that Jewish Rabbi Rashi’s purely historical (non-messianic) interpretations has had on Christian scholarship. Even John Calvin accepted Rashi’s “humans vs. snakes” view of Gen 3:15. Chapters 9 through 11 delve deep into three test-cases for direct messianic fulfillment: Gen 3:15 (Torah), Isa 7:14 (Prophets), and Psalm 110 (Writings). Each of these passages have been challenged as directly messianic, and Rydelnik hopes to establish the contrary. These chapters gives a superb survey of the opinions and solid reasoning for direct prophecies; they must be taken seriously by opponents. I for one agree with a nuanced messianic take on Gen 3:15, but remain unsure on Psalm 110. However I was challenged by Rydelnik’s strong case for Isaiah 7:14, which I had previously assumed was fulfilled historically in the near future, but typologically in Christ. I plan to wrestle with some of these texts on the blog in the near future. Chapter 12 closes with a very personal plea to return to the Messianic Hope.
Rydelnik is to be commended for two disclaimers he makes early in the book. First, he recognizes that he is opposing the views of some of his “teachers, colleagues, and friends”, is quick to express his “highest regard for them as scholars and people” (p. xv) and his own desire to disagree with his brothers in a Christlike manner. For such a personal and polemical book, I was frequently moved by Rydelnik’s humility and charity. What an example for Godly disagreement!
Second, neither the viewpoints of Rydelnik’s opponents, nor his own, are oversimplified. This debate cannot be boiled down to two camps: messianic vs. non-messianic. There is a wide spectrum of broader approaches and interpretations of difficult texts (ch 2). While Rydelnik is defending “direct” messianic prophecies, and his most prominent sparring partners are those who deny these outright, he does not limit himself to only this one approach. He recognizes other approaches, and even adopts them at times as the best integration of the Biblical data.
No doubt my review has made this book sounds dense, and it is! And all this in under 200 pages. It may seem a natural conclusion then, that The Messianic Hope is strictly for academics or those familiar with this issue. Rydelnik would recoil in horror at such an assertion. He has clearly intended this for wide consumption, and his writing is abundantly comprehensible and surprisingly easy to follow (most of the time) even when discussing text-critical issues or when elbow deep in exegesis.
The Messianic Hope is a great read for those from all perspectives. It would certainly be useful in a Christ in the Old Testament class, and the first few chapters ought to be required reading in such a class. I suspect some dismiss the direct messianic approach as heavy in tradition and light in argumentation, but I hope that people from all perspectives will read The Messianic Hope as it shatters such assumptions. Personally, while I certainly find direct prophecy in the OT, I find myself agreeing most broadly with a typological fulfillment approach (Dempster, Hamilton, Beale) and think it doesn’t result in a non-messianic view of the OT. However, The Messianic Hope has left me unsettled and uncomfortable! While reading, I was poked and prodded to reexamine the texts themselves and not be too quick to settle. A book that exalts Jesus and encourages us to reexamine our traditions and the Biblical text can never be a bad thing!
- Publisher: B&H Academic
- Hardcover: 244 pages
- ISBN: 9780805446548
- Many thanks to B&H for graciously providing a review copy of The Messianic Hope, though this has not impacted my opinion of the book.
We’re concluding our series on different interpretations of Daniel 9:24-27, and this time we are talking with Dale Ralph Davis, Minister in Residence at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina, and author of many excellent commentaries – some of which we use at CCBCY! Davis is the author of the recent The Message of Daniel in The Bible Speaks Today series.
This interview is best read along with an open Bible and an open mind.
Dale Ralph Davis on Daniel 9:24-27
What is the overall purpose of Daniel’s vision recorded in Daniel 9?
On the whole, I think Daniel 9:24-27 are meant to function as a positive answer to Daniel’s prayer in Dan 9:1-19; Dan 9:20-23 lead one to expect a positive response. I think that comes primarily in v24, while vv25-27 supply a kind of needed qualifier, namely, that the grand purposes of v 24 are not going to come in any near future. This latter point comes through in other Daniel texts (e.g., ch. 2 and ch. 7) where it is clear that the end of Babylon’s regime is not going to usher in the kingdom of God and therefore, the end of the exile will be the beginning of a long stretch of history in which God’s people must plod on in faithfulness. Walton & Hill (in A Survey of the OT, 3rd ed.) do a nice job of highlighting this latter point.
Are the seventy weeks (Dan 9:24) supposed to be read chronologically or symbolically? If chronologically, from which date should we start counting?
I don’t think the chronological can be totally eliminated (after all, the weeks assume a starting point with the word or decree). But I’ve backed off from taking the weeks as = 490 years. No matter where one begins them or how one charts them it seems like the calculations have to be gerrymandered some way in order to make them ‘fit.’ I have therefore taken them schematically, in 3 segments:
- 7 weeks = relatively restricted time = time when hope returns
- 62 weeks = relatively extended time = time when life goes on (under distress)
- 1 week = clearly climactic time = time when clouds gather
I prefer to take the ‘going forth of a word’ (Dan 9:25) to be the prophetic word of Jeremiah 29 rather than a royal decree of Cyrus or Artaxerxes I.
Should we see the “Anointed One” (Dan 9:25) as referring to Jesus, or is it speaking of someone else? If Christ, is the passage fulfilled in His first coming alone, or does it await complete fulfilment in His second coming?
I do not think it refers to Jesus.
This is determined for me by my way of taking the syntax of Dan 9:25. I follow the Hebrew accentuation that keeps the 62 weeks separate from the 7 weeks. So the ‘anointed one’ comes apparently near the end of the 7 weeks. Could be Cyrus?
If one combines the 7 and 62, then one is dealing with 69 weeks, and those who take that view might see the Messiah in the anointed one of v25. However, aside from the accentuation, I have a hard time seeing why the writer would mention 62 weeks as apparently distinct when all he really meant was to say 69 weeks. A strange way to say 69.
Is there a reason to see a gap in between the 69th and 70th week?
I don’t know. The events of v 26 are explicitly ‘after’ the 62 weeks, but the text does not expressly affirm that they are therefore in the 70th week. I suppose it could be argued either way, probably inconclusively.
When is the Messiah “cut off”? Between the 69th and 70th weeks, in the middle of the 70th, or at another time? If the Messiah is cut off in the middle of the 70th week, then what happens to the remaining 3.5 years?
The text (Dan 9:26) seems to indicate after the 62 week segment (i.e., after 69 weeks). To say more, one would have to know the answer to your previous question and I have already confessed ignorance about that and so to remain consistent, I will say no more.
Is the “prince who is to come” (Dan 9:26) the same prince in Dan 9:25 (the Messiah)? Or is he an antagonist/antichrist figure? And what is the “covenant” in Dan 9:27?
Well, a double ‘no’.
First, I don’t identify the anointed one/leader in Dan 9:25 as the Messiah anyway; second, I don’t think this leader who is coming is the Messiah, but a hostile figure. He makes sacrifice and offering to stop. Elsewhere in Daniel this is a hostile act (Dan 8:11-12; 11:31). This weighs heavily with me & so I can’t follow those who see this as Christ’s positive work a la the Epistle to the Hebrews. This is the work of an antichrist figure. The ‘covenant’ is likewise negative, a regimen imposed by his raw power.
Do you have any books or resources you can recommend for further study of your position?
In The Message of Daniel I footnote some resources that have proven helpful to me, often in the sense of helping me to see what the text cannot be saying.
What difference does your view make practically to your own Christian life? What difference does your understanding of Daniel 9 make to your overall eschatological/theological views?
It reinforces Jesus’ warning that the end is ‘not yet’, and therefore I am called to a ‘long obedience’, perhaps through many troubled days for the people of God. And yet this realization is not without encouragement—even in the 62 weeks, “it will be built again…but in distressing times”. Even in distressing times God does not stop supporting his people; so even in such times God is silently proclaiming his victory. That fortifies me, I trust.
As for my overall view of last things (I would be generally dubbed a classical pre-millennialist), I don’t see that my view of Daniel 9:24-27 presents any major rubs.
Lastly, what projects are you working on at the moment?
Possibly writing up expositions of Genesis 12-25; hoping to get back into early chapters of Isaiah soon.
As a last word, one can’t avoid the hermeneutical quandaries Dan 9:24-27 poses. But I find it far more profitable for myself to approach such a passage with the question, “Now how am I going to preach this”? I think this can be lost sight of, especially in a passage like this that sometimes requires major pain relievers just to resolve a barrage of interpretive dilemmas. But the very presence of the text assumes that it is meant to address the needs of the people of God, and until I do that with this text, my work on the weeks will be very weak.
I would like to thank Dale Ralph Davis for taking the time to do this interview on his view of Daniel 9. I hope this series was helpful and informative. Davis’ final words are a fitting conclusion to the series!