Daniel 7: A Vision of Future World History -- By: Kenneth O. Gangel
GTJ 6:2 (Fall 85) p. 247
A Vision of Future World History
The vision of Daniel 7, like the dream of Daniel 2, gives a picture of history future to the time of the writing of the book of Daniel (ca. 6th century B.C.). Each of the four beasts represents a kingdom, the last one being Rome. The Roman empire has two phases, one past and one future. Correlations can be traced between Daniel 7 and the book of Revelation.
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The book of Daniel may be outlined as having two sections, the first section consisting of chaps. 1–6 and the second of chaps. 7–12. The vision in Daniel 7 portrays the same chronological order of events as is found in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan 2:31–45). It is important, however, to grasp the chronology of the book itself. The vision recorded in Daniel 7 occurred in approximately 553 B.C., fourteen years before the events recorded in chap. 5. Indeed, chaps. 7 and 8 (set as they are in the first and third years of the reign of Belshazzar) fit historically between chaps. 4 and 5 .
Daniel 7 links with the first part of the book partly because it is in Aramaic and therefore seems to continue the narrative of 2:4–6:28, but also because it parallels the subject matter, particularly of chap. 2. Baldwin writes, “Looked at in relation to the Aramaic section this chapter [Daniel 7] constitutes the climax, and it is the high point in relation to the whole book; subsequent chapters treat only part of the picture and concentrate on some particular aspect of it.”1
But Daniel 7 is as marked by disparity from the previous six chapters as it is by similarity. For one thing, beginning in Daniel 7 and throughout the second half of the book, information is received through angelic mediation rather than through dreams as it had been in Daniel 1–6. The method of reporting also changes, switching from the third to the first person.
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