Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Concept of Judgment in Daniel

The Book of Daniel was written about 165-164 CE, during the reign of Antiochus. By way of comparison, the date range for the Gospel of Luke is 40-140 CE. Being a trial attorney, the key verse for me is “The court sat in judgment and the books were opened.”

The heavenly court is also depicted in 1 Enoch 14:15-23. Most scholars believe that Daniel is dependent upon Enoch while Matthew Black believes both Daniel and Enoch are dependent upon a third source. This third source could be 1 Kings 22:19-22 and/or Ezekiel 1. The books of judgment, unlike the “book of remembrance” in Malachi 3:16, apparently contains not the names of the saved, but the list of the sins of the accused.

After this brief depiction of the heavenly court, Daniel sees “one coming like a son of man” coming with the clouds of heaven; this figure is led before the Ancient One and receives everlasting dominion. The vision is interpreted for Daniel by an angel. Inasmuch as the court was assembled to render judgment, it is impossible to conclude that the “son of man” is not an eschatological figure. The final destruction of Israel’s enemies is the exercise of eschatological judgment indicated by the image of burning fire. God’s reign is said to be universal and everlasting.

There is another “court” proceeding in Daniel 12:1-3. This book names those who will be saved “at that time.” The author of Daniel believed that the end time being described would begin with the death of Antiochus.

Copyrighted 2006


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