7) Daniel 2:31–45: Assyria took the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity in 722 BC (2 Ki 17:6–18). Approximately 150 years later, Babylon overthrew the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC (2 Ki 25:1–12).[1] However, Dan 1:1–3 indicates that the Babylonians captured Daniel in the first wave of Judean exiles deported to Babylon in 605 BC (2 Ki 24:1–4).[2]

Babylon (the head of gold) fell to Cyrus in 539 BC, inaugurating the Medo-Persian Empire (the breast and arms of silver) (Dan 5:30–31).[3] Alexander the Great extended the rule of Greece (the belly and thighs of bronze) from Egypt to Persia in a three-year campaign (334–331 BC).[4] That kingdom remained in power until the second century BC, when Rome (the mixture of iron and clay) assumed control of the entire region.[5] By the end of the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire came to an end.[6]

a) Read Dan 2:31–45. What did Daniel write about the kingdom of God?

 

 

 

b) Jer 31:31–34: This is the only place in the Old Testament (OT) where the term “new covenant” appears,[7] although allusions to this concept do appear elsewhere (e.g. Hos 2:18–23; Isa 55:1–11; Isa 61).

Who is included in the new covenant? How has this been fulfilled? What is still to come?

 

 

 

c) Ezek 36:22–28: The priest Ezekiel served as a prophet in Babylon during the exile (Ezek 1:3).

When would the nations know that God is the Lord? What does receiving a new heart and the presence of the Holy Spirit enable us to do?

 

 

d) Ezek 37:1–14: In Hebrew, the same word (ruakh) can be translated as, “wind,” breath,” and “Spirit.”[8] Consequently, this passage alludes to how the Lord animated Adam in Gen 2:7.

What did God promise? How did this vision picture what the Lord does in the lives of his people?

 

 

e) Dan 7:9–14: This passage occurs immediately after Dan 7:1–8 described the four kingdoms as various devouring beasts arising from the sea. For people living in the Ancient Near East, the sea represented chaos.[9]

In contrast to the creatures came one “like a Son of Man” to rule over those monstrous animals. While “son of God” in the OT often referred to all of Israel (Deut 14:1), after the Hebrew Bible was written, the term shifted to depict a holy and pure person of God, the ideal Israelite of the end time (Matt 5:9; Rom 8:12–19).[10]

According to the Psalms of Solomon, which were penned during the middle of the first century BC,[11] “[God] will gather a holy people whom he will lead in righteousness…And he will no longer permit injustice to dwell among them, and no person who sees wickedness will dwell with them. For he will know them, because all of them are sons of God.”[12]

Read Dan 7:9–14. In contrast to the phrase “son of God,” which referred to a perfect Israelite, when Jesus used the term “Son of Man” for himself, what was he claiming?

 

 

 

[Related posts include Equality with God (Phil 2:5–6); A Summary of Trinitarian Creeds (Appendix to Phil 2:5–6); Taking the Form of a Slave (Phil 2:7); Obedient to the Point of Death (Phil 2:8); The Name Above Every Name (Phil 2:9–11); and Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:1–8)]

 

8) Neh 9:32–37: Levites led Israel in this prayer soon after Ezra read the Mosaic law at a public ceremony in Jerusalem in 445 BC (Neh 8:1–3, 18).[13] This occurred almost one hundred years after the proclamation on the Cyrus Cylinder allowed those held captive in Babylon to return to their homelands (2 Chr 36:22–23; Ezra 9:5–7).[14] With the exception of the short-lived Hasmonean Dynasty (153–37 BC), from the time when Assyria overran the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and Babylon overthrew the southern kingdom of Judah in 586BC, Israel never knew freedom from subservience to foreign powers until 1948.[15]

Read Neh 9:32–37. How does this prayer describe the people of Israel?

 

 

 

 

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[1] Peter Machinist, “Palestine, Administration of,” ABD 5:69–81, 69.

[2]Tremper Longman III, Daniel (NIVAC; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 43.

[3] Jean-Claude Margueron, “Babylon (Place),” ABD 1:563–5, 563.

[4] John McRay, “Greece (Place),” ABD 2:1092–8, 1097.

[5] D. F. Watson, “Roman Empire,” DNTB 975–8, 975.

[6] Wells, Colin M., “Roman Empire,” ABD 5:802–6, 802.

[7]J. A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 579.

[8] Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “רוּחַ” (ruakh), BDB, 924, https://archive.org/stream/hebrewenglishlex00browuoft#page/924/mode/2up.

[9]Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Dan 7:3.

[10]Brendan Byrne, “Sons of God,” ABD 6:156–9, 157.

[11]Daniel Falk, “Psalms of Solomon,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism, Vol. 1: The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism (ed. D. A. Carson, Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 35–51, 35–6.

[12]Brannan et al., LES, Psalms of Solomon, 17:26–7, http://www.mycrandall.ca/courses/newtestament/hebrews/PrimReadPsSol.htm.

[13] Ralph W. Klein, “Ezra–Nehemiah, Books of,” ABD 2:731–42, 736.

[14] Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Ezra 1:1.

[15]H. G. M. Williamson, Ezra, Nehemiah (WBC; Dallas: Word, 1998), 318.