The Influence Of Daniel Upon The Structure And Theology Of John’s Apocalypse -- By: G. K. Beale

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:4 (Dec 1984)
Article: The Influence Of Daniel Upon The Structure And Theology Of John’s Apocalypse
Author: G. K. Beale

The Influence Of Daniel Upon The Structure
And Theology Of John’s Apocalypse

G. K. Beale*

There have been various proposals that the scheme of the Apocalypse is based on early liturgical tradition1 or on certain OT books. A. Vanhoye has suggested that Ezekiel is a dominant influence,2 and Austin Farrer,3 and more recently John Sweet,4 have proposed in a general way that Daniel is the essential key to an understanding of the Apocalypse. Since neither Farrer nor Sweet intended to demonstrate their ideas in detail, however, it is the purpose of this study to show more thoroughly—from different data than they considered—the basic correctness of the direction in which they have pointed us. In particular the possibility will be explored that the book of Daniel may be more determinative on the overall theology and structure of the Apocalypse than any other traditional or OT source. That such an in-depth study has not already been made is perhaps somewhat surprising in the light of H. B. Swete’s observation in the early part of this century that “in proportion to its length the Book of Daniel yields by far the greatest number” of allusions in the Apocalypse of any OT book.5

I. The Common Themes Of Daniel And The Apocalypse

The book of Daniel has the following three dominant themes: (1) historical and cosmic eschatological judgment of evil nations and consequent establishment of God’s historical reign or of the divine eternal kingdom;6 (2) God’s absolute sovereignty and kingdom, which controls all earthly rulers and uses their own rebellious actions to accomplish his own purposes;7 (3) the saints living under an

*G. K. Beale is assistant professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

ungodly earthly rule and undergoing trials through being tempted to compromise with the religious practices of pagan society.8 This third idea links the first two in that when the faithful do not compromise they are oppressed and apparently defeated; but when all appears lost, God intervenes by delivering his people, vindicating them, promoting them to a glorious position and establishing his kingdom rule.9 Thus, ironically, it is through apparent defeat that victory is ga...

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