The book of Daniel – Monday, 34th Week in ordinary time – Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20

The book of Daniel purports to have been written in the sixth century B.C. during the Babylonian exile by one, Daniel, himself one of the Jewish exiles.  Most scholars however, are agreed that as it now stands, it is the product of the second century B.C and was written probably around the year 165 towards the end of the troublesome reign of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) This is the same king whom we studied in the book of Maccabees.

The book of Daniel is usually classified as belonging to the type of Jewish literature which goes by the name of “apocalyptic”, from the Greek word apokalupsis meaning “an unveiling”.  It is important to recognize that the book of Daniel was not written for some far-off age when God’s kingdom would come but for the age of crisis in which the author was then living.

It is essentially a religious tract for the times, written for the encouragement of people who were being faced increasingly with the pressures of a Hellenistic culture which was in so many ways inimical to their Hebrew tradition and “the laws of the fathers’; written too for people who were having to face severe religious restrictions and even persecution and death by reason of their loyalty to God. 

Its message declared unequivocally that the sovereign Lord God was in control not only of history but also of the end of history; that mighty monarchs and great empires were allowed to hold sway only by His permissive will, that His people Israel would in the end be completely vindicated and that that end was about to break in upon them.

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