Page 8, 21st March 1940

21st March 1940
Page 8
Page 8, 21st March 1940 — BIBLE STUDIES —No. 48 Daniel By Charles G. Mortimer

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Organisations: His mission, Babylonian Court


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BIBLE STUDIES —No. 48 Daniel By Charles G. Mortimer

crisis of the sixth century approached, Daniel rose to worldly fame and position. There is no question as to his personal holiness. The gift of wisdom was marvellously bestowed upon him when a boy, on the occasion of the trial of Susanna.. (See Daniel xiii. 4.) His steadfast character was displayed when he chose to keep the law at the risk of losing the King's favour. (1. 8-16.) Daniel's ministry for his people was not in Judah, but in the Babylonian Court, or at times in Susa. Here from 606 till the third year of Cyrus, 536 s.c., his long and honourable life was spent, since he was made a governor over all the provinces of the Empire, with a residence assigned him in the royal palace. Other honours befell him during his work in the world, and though divorced from his own home and people he received a series of visions that the Church regards as authentic prophecy:

We meet with a new strain of revelation in Daniel, an amplification of Old Testament teaching. Earlier prophets had regarded Sion as the centre of God's power; for Daniel the whole world Is a scene of the divine manifestation. It is Daniel who first announces that the Messianic Kingdom will not follow immediately the restoration from captivity; he sketches in prophecy the intermediate kingdoms, taking the history down to the Roman occupation of these eastern lands. The captivity would not be the last woe of the Chosen People, as was expected of old; there was further suffering to be endured; nor would the Messias be the peculiar property of their race; His mission would be world-wide. Nor finally would it entail of necessity a restoration of an external kingdom in its pride and pomp. (" My kingdom is not of this world.") On the contrary, says Daniel, there shall be even in the Temple " the abomination of desolation," that is, the profanation of an alien rule.

None the less, the Messias would come; all would be fulfilled and the Faith of Israel justified. (See ch. ix. 27.) We may conclude our note this week by quoting the testimony of Josephes, the great Jewish historian, to the work of Daniel :

" Now that he is dead, Daniel retains a remembrance that will never fail, for the several books that he wrote are still read by us to this time, and from them we believe that Daniel conversed with God; for he did not only prophesy of future events, but he also determined the time of their accomplishment. Our nation has suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes * that we seeing how all has been fulfilled might wonder at the honour wherewith God honoured Daniel."

Next week: Daniel (continued).

Reigned 175-164 B.C., 150 years after the overthrow of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. T"prophets of the Old Testament that we have so far discussed have much in common. Their pages are full of spiritual solace, lessons of faith, admonitions to repentance, and an earnest looking forward to the days of the Messias. One and all they speak with authority. " Thus saith the Lord " is the familiar preface to 'their announcements.

With Daniel we reach a unique personality. By the Jews themselves he was regarded rather as a " wonder-worker " than a seer, and for that reason be is included not among the prophets but the "sacred writings," the hagiographa, a distinctive portion of the Hebrew Bible.

None the less the apocalyptic matter of Daniel—his account of the Four Kingdoms, for instance—is a leading feature of his book.

While many a Hebrew prophet was a " man of sorrows," especially as the

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