Listen in to the sixth episode of our podcast series covering the Son of Man theme in the Bible.
In part one (0:00-12:00), the guys quickly recap the biblical story leading up to Daniel 7. There are many models of the Son of Man in the Old Testament: Noah, Moses, David, Joshua. They all get close, but they ultimately fail and are not able to be the perfect “seed of the woman” that will crush the snake and fulfill the prophecy given in Genesis after the fall.
In part two (12:00-29:30), the guys dive into Daniel 7: In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it. “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’ “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Tim makes the following observations: The animals are like an anti-creation. They are extremely non-kosher animals. They are mutants, and they come out of chaotic, watery darkness. They are chaos creatures. Daniel sees the same throne room (v 9) that Ezekiel saw in his vision in Ezekiel 1. What Nebuchadnezzar had wanted, to be praised and worshiped by everyone, happens to the Son of Man when God exalts him.
In parts three and four (29:30-52:00), Tim and Jon cover the interpretation of the dream in v15-27: I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’ Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'
Tim makes the following observations: The “holy ones” has a double meaning. It represents both the “holy” sons of God/elohim, that is celestial beings in the divine council, and it represents a true human race who are “holy” to God and fulfills their calling by following the true Son of Man. Daniel 7 is a symbolic and cosmic depiction of a real, historical conflict (Antiochus’ attack on Jerusalem and defilement of the temple in 167 B.C.E.), that is part of an ancient pattern going all the way back to Genesis 1-3.
In part five (52:00-end), Tim observes that somewhere in Daniel 7 is a storyline that was crucial to Jesus and how he thought of his identity. So if someone wants to understand more about Jesus, they should invest the time to learn more about the Son of Man storyline in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Thank you to of all our supporters! Have a question for the upcoming Q+R? Send it to us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Show Produced By: Dan Gummel, Jon Collins
Show Music: Defender Instrumental, Tents Pilgrim, Instrumental Going Up, Lakey Inspired Model Planes, Hands of a Craftsman Show Resources:
Our video on the Son of Man: https://bit.ly/2URk3BH
Morna Hooker, "The Son of Man in Mark."
John Goldingay, "Daniel" (Word Biblical Commentary)
Crispin Fletcher-Louis, "The King, the Messiah, and the Ruler Cult" (ch. 6 of "Jesus Monotheism")
Michael S. Heiser, Ch. 30 of "The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible."
The True Human
Podcast Date: February 18, 2019
Speakers in the audio file:
Jon: Well, Nebuchadnezzar was murdering people left and right, but now he's growing hair like feathers and craws like an animal.
Tim: But it's as if his animal-like identity in the fields is now a narrative image of what he's already been acting like in the story throwing people into fires, threatening to kill people because he had a bad dream. That kind of thing.
Tim: So you're right. Here we're getting to the essence of all of the stories and the meta- story. Really, what I want the video to capture it's this right here. Nebuchadnezzar's character, Daniel's character, all these stories in Daniel are detailed explorations of just the core thing that was already set up.
Jon: Here we are in Daniel 7.
Tim: "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream." Up to this point, it's been the kings of Babylon having dreams, and he's able to interpret them. Now it's Daniel, now he's having a dream as he lay in bed. So he wrote it down, and here's the summary. "Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision and it was night, and behold the four winds of heaven were stirring up churning a great sea.
Jon: Four winds of heaven. Is that supposed to remind me of anything? Tim: Four directions of the campus.
Jon: Okay. So from every direction.
Tim: Yeah, from every direction.
Jon: But when I think of wind and sea, I'm picturing Genesis 1.
Tim: Totally. And night.
Jon: And night.
Tim: So, it's dark and the chaotic waters churning and the wind's blowing over them. Totally. That's exactly right. So glowing hyperlink to Genesis 1.
Jon: But there's four winds instead of one.
Tim: That's right. It's like the cosmic wind. The four directions of the compass can become an image for just saying from every direction of the cosmos.
Jon: Got it.
Tim: That's right. "And for great animals crawled up from the sea."
Jon: Is this the same thing then that like it's for beast, but really it's just the cosmic beast?
Tim: Yeah, the whole cosmos is producing animals [00:14:01] being built up out of this churning chaotic ocean.
Jon: Oh, gosh.
Tim: Let me tell you what they look like. "The first one was like a lion." Like Daniel, I was just in the lion's den - chapter 6. But it was a mutant lion because it had wings like an eagle. Who else looks like an eagle earlier in the story?
Tim: Nebuchadnezzar. Remember he grew eagle fur and had claws like an eagle. "I kept looking, however, and its wings got plucked, and it got lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human; and the human heart was given to it." It's interesting. Do you remember Nebuchadnezzar, he was exiled and the heart of a beast was given to him?
Tim: But then the time passed and the heart of the human was given back to him again. Jon: Oh, in the story, that's—
Tim: Oh, I'm sorry. We didn't talk about that.
Jon: We didn't read that part.
Tim: That's right. After he's exiled as a beast, he humbles himself before and he says, "The God of heavens is the real God," and he stands up and a heart of a human is given back to Babylon.
Jon: So this first beast is supposed to make you think of—
Tim: All that hyperlinks just back to two chapters earlier.
Tim: But there was a second beast. Remember the four statues from chapter 2 that had four metal, sequence of four empires?
Tim: Here we go. It's four beasts. And the head was Babylon of the statue. Jon: Nebuchadnezzar.
Tim: Yeah, the first beast is Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon.
Jon: Got it.
Tim: Second beast. This one's like a bear, and it was raised up on one side, and three bones were in its mouth, between its teeth; and someone yelled to the bear, "Get up, devour much flesh."
Jon: Rise O bear.
Tim: I kept looking, another one, this one, a leopard, but it had four wings of back, wings like a bird. It also had four heads, and it had dominion. Then I kept looking in my night dreams, a fourth beast, dreadful, terrifying, extremely powerful; and it had big iron teeth. It devoured and it crushed and trampled the remainder or the remnant; and it was different than all the beasts in front of it, and it had ten horns coming out of its heads.
Tim: The third has four heads.
Jon: Oh, this one only had one head?
Tim: This one has one head, iron teeth, ten horns.
Jon: Ten horns.
Tim: This is the super beast. It fits no classification. The other ones were like a mutant lion, a mutant leopard, a hungry bear.
Tim: This one has no category.
Jon: Who knows what beast—
Tim: Totally. So mutant, its own category of beast. Jon: But it has ten horns.
Tim: It's ten horns. The horns they are going to be interpreted as kings. A horn is a standard image of kings in the Hebrew Bible. "And I was sitting there staring at those horns. And then look, one horn, a little one just popped right up in the middle of the ten, and the first three horns were pulled out by their roots." This little horn pops up and like scooches off the other three that fall off. "And this horn had eyes like a human and its mouth was uttering great things." Those beasts - chaotic. So think the chaotic waters out of which the dry land emerged and brought order in Genesis 1. This is like the anti-Genesis 1. This nightmare version of Genesis 1.
Jon: Yeah, the upside down.
Tim: Oh, holy cow. That's exactly what this is. From stranger thing. This is the upside down of Genesis 1.
Jon: It's the upside down of Genesis 1.
Tim: Yeah, totally. So, instead of dry land emerging and beautiful plants and animals and then humans, instead, it's the chaotic ocean, dry land, and then mutant start oozing out of the...
Jon: There's no dry land.
Tim: Well, they're crawling up onto the land, so to speak, but we didn't have a moment where the—
Jon: The land was talked about now.
Jon: These are water beasts. These are land beasts.
Tim: Totally. There's all kinds of stuff going on with these beasts. Again, the kosher food laws. But the kosher food laws, the animals are categorized by air land, water animals. And animals that travel back and forth between those boundaries are among the impure animals. These are the ultimate unkosher animals. It's land animals with wings, multiple heads, and they're all coming out of the sea. So it's animals that are in the sea and on the land. For Jewish readers, these would be the ultimate unkosher animals.
Jon: Got it.
Tim: Chaos creatures. Jon: Chaos creatures.
Tim: "Then I kept looking - verse 9 - and I saw these thrones set up." Oh, this is important. In our earlier conversation when we started with Daniel 7, I just talked about two thrones where he saw one throne and then another throne unoccupied." That's one possible way to read. Another possible way to read this I've discovered - actually, I've make coherences - is many thrones. It's the thrones for—
Jon: The sons of God.
Tim: For the Sons of God who sit under the feet. Jon: It's the Divine Council room.
Tim: It's the divine council. He's sitting in the divine council room. Which means it would be the God of gods, the God of all the other Elohim. And there is an empty throne beside Him that the Son of Man is going to sit on.
Jon: But then there's lots of thrones for all the sons of God.
Tim: A lot of thrones representing the watchers - the sons of Elohim. Then the Ancient of Days, the eternal chief Elohim comes and took a seat, his vester, his clothing is white like snow, hair of his head like pure wool, throne blazing with flames." This from Ezekiel. Remember? Ezekiel saw a human. He looked up into the cosmic
throne and he saw human who looks just like this. And wheels is the divine chariot. Wheels burning with fire. This is verse 9. He sees the divine chariot mobile that Ezekiel saw.
Jon: Okay. So this is a divine throne room but it's a mobile divine throne room. Tim: Correct.
Jon: Or it's a mobile throne?
Tim: The same way that the Holy of holies in the temple represented God dwelling above the cherubim, the invisible God seated above the cherubim, when that thing gets mobile, then it's the divine throne on chariot wheel. That's what he seeing.
And there's a river of fire flowing out from it, just like in Eden, which was the cosmic mountain where the divine throne room met earth.
Jon: And there's a river of life.
Tim: There's the river of Eden. Now, it's a river of fire because it's a river coming to consume evil from the earth. And thousands upon thousands were attending him. These are all of our heavenly host - the heavenly armies.
Jon: There's thousands of them?
Tim: Thousands upon thousands. Millions. Jon: I thought there was like 72 or something.
Tim: Millions upon millions. There's the sons of Elohim, there's a symbolic number of 70 nations and now here's all of the angelic messengers in attendance. And there's million. 10,000 times 10,000.
Jon: Oh, wow.
Tim: Huge heavenly host.
Jon: Is 10,000 times 10,000 a million?
Tim: Yes. The court sat for judgment, judgments sent, books were opened. Jon: I never imagined it's this grand.
Tim: What do you mean?
Jon: With the whole divine council and stuff, I just like, "It's a small crew." Tim: Oh, I see.
Jon: But there's million—
Tim: The heavenly...Dude, how many stars are there?
Jon: Yes, sure. I don't know.
Tim: Remember? When these were all created on day four, there's a lot of stars out there, especially without light pollution. I mean, that's what's in their imagination—
Jon: It's that universe up there.
Tim: It's that realm.
Jon: Got it. "Then I kept looking - verse 11 - and I kept hearing, man, boastful or arrogant words of that horn on the super beast. And then I looked and then that beast was destroyed. It's slain, it's body destroyed, and thrown into the river of fire. And as for the rest of the beast, their dominion was taken away, but they kept on churning." A period of time was granted to them.
So the image is that the kingdoms of this world are mutants like, and they look just like Nebuchadnezzar did when he got exiled after his dream. But then the kingdoms of this world produce this super beast the issues in a type of king that's just like the anti-everything. It's anti-human. It's like an animal, but a mutant animal. It tramples and destroys people indiscriminately.
Remember the super beast in verse seven was crushing, trampling everything under its feet and it's full of itself?
Jon: It was different from all the former beasts and it had 10 horns. What does it mean it was full of himself? That little horn?
Tim: Yeah, the little horn. Animal's horn with two eyes and a mouth just like singing Jay Z song about how being boastful and how awesome I am. This Babylon, my Kingdom for my glory. That kind of thing.
Jon: But this is one horn on the beast.
Tim: One particular horn on the super beast. So the kingdoms of this world now and then, so to speak, inevitably produce these super beasts. And while the kingdoms of this world still keep on churning, more time is granted to them. When these super beasts appear, and they go too far, God won't take it. The divine throne will come and His judgment will—
Tim: ...beasts slain, given over to destruction. The kingdoms produce mutant super beast; God won't take it. It's equivalent of the tree getting chopped down, so to speak, Nebuchadnezzar's dream. But here's something new. "I kept looking, and after that super beast was slain, behold, with the clouds of the heavens, one like a son of humanity was coming. He rose up to the Ancient of Days." So he goes from the earthly realm, he sees a human and human is riding on the clouds. That right there is a hyperlink somebody ride, the cloud rider.
Jon: What's that hyperlinking?
Tim: There are three times that Yahweh is called the cloud rider. It's actually a phrase that appears in other ancient Near Eastern literature, specifically to describe Baal - the thunder god.
Jon: Ride the cloud.
Tim: The cloud rider. So here, a human is being called the cloud rider, which is something in the Hebrew Bible, the only Yahweh is ever [inaudible 00:25:10]. So here's a human cloud rider, and he's riding the cloud up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him, and he was given dominion and glory. Remember what Babylon said? He says, "Here's Babylon for my glory."
And so, God raises a human from the human realm up to the divine throne room, and gives this human who's formally being among those trampled by the beast, right?
Tim: The beast was down there trampling on the human realm. So one human is exalted up and he's given the glory and dominion that the super beast thought was his own. And all the peoples and the nations and languages might serve or worship. It's the story for worship.
So think, Daniel 2 was where Nebuchadnezzar bowed down and worshiped Daniel as an image of God because of interpreting his dream about four kingdoms. Daniel 3 was Nebuchadnezzar making an image of himself and his kingdom and forcing every people, nation, and language to bow down to his false image.
Now here, the Son of Man is being presented, a human image of God brought up to the divine throne room-
Jon: This is what Nebuchadnezzar was after?
Jon: He was after this kind of praise by everyone. But how do you get it?
Tim: So it's not Nebuchadnezzar who claimed this position for himself, rather, it's a trampled human that God—
Jon: Trampled human?
Tim: A human from the human realm, a son of humanity who was in the realm that the super beast was just trampling. Remember?
Tim: So super beast was out there trampling on the land. And then God takes care of the super beast and exalt up human from the human realm.
Jon: So you're just assuming he was being trampled by the beast? Tim: Correct. In the later chapter, we'll go on to say it explicitly. Jon: Oh, okay.
Tim: Then the thing that Nebuchadnezzar was after with his image is now given to this true image of God. All the nations serving and honoring him. And his dominion, this human's dominion is eternal; it won't pass away. This human's kingdom will never be destroyed.
Jon: It's not like the statue that meteor is going to come and take down.
Tim: Totally, yeah. This is the fulfillment of Genesis 1. It's like Genesis 1 the ideal of a human...
Jon: That true human partner.
Tim: ...reining as God's divine image over the nations here.
Jon: This is a vision, a dream that the hope of Genesis 1 is possible and will come to be.
Tim: That's right. Yeah, that's it. But this human is remarkable because it's a human doing stuff that in the story only Yahweh, the God of Israel. And that's how he's sitting on the throne. So now, here's the human image of Yahweh doing what I thought only the heavenly Yahweh can do.
Jon: Which is?
Tim: Ride the clouds and sit on the divine throne. Jon: And be worshipped by all the nations.
Tim: Now we're all the way back to the complex portrait of God in the Hebrew Bible where it's like there's a heavenly Yahweh who sits on the throne. Then, do you remember, like the angel of the Lord?
Tim: It's Yahweh appearing as a human. There's a heavenly Yahweh who rides the clouds in the heavens. But now here's a human who's riding on the clouds like Yahweh.
Jon: And being worshipped like Yahweh.
Tim: So this heavenly, invisible Yahweh, no man can see my face and live, but then there's a human manifestation of Yahweh. He talks with Abraham and Gideon and Moses. Here he's riding the clouds. Ezekiel saw him on the throne but as a human. If you could do a kaleidoscope image, it would be like two thrones or one throne above all the other thrones. It's a guy's dream man, but this dream is doing serious theological work about...
Jon: ...the nature of God, the nature of humans and our role.
Tim: What's wrong with the world, what's wrong with us, where it's all going.
Tim: For the first time, Daniel wakes up from his dream and he says, "I was so disturbed." Jon: That's a pretty intense dream.
Tim: "The visions in my mind kept alarming me." And for the first time in the book, he can't make sense of his dream. He can make sense of other people's dreams, he can't make sense of his own.
So he, in his dream walks over to some super being standing there. "And I asked about the interpretation of all this." So he's given a summary first. These beasts are four, and they are four kings who will come up from the land, but the holy ones of the Most High one will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever and ever. That's the summary. The holy ones.
Jon: So this Son of Man character is representative of all of Israel, it seems like here. Tim: Well, first, the holy ones. Who have been called the holy ones up to this point? Jon: Who?
Tim: The sons of Elohim.
Jon: Oh, okay.
Tim: The sons of Elohim, the holy ones.
Jon: The holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom.
Tim: Remember, each nation has its own holy one. Israel is God's own portion. Its wholly one is Yahweh.
Jon: NIV says, "Holy people."
Tim: That's because they're interpreting it. I'm sorry. I don't mean to bash on the NIV. It's a great translation for the purpose that it was made. But in a case like this, I think they're making a decision for you that doesn't allow you to see the interplay between the human and the angelic. The human and the divine.
So essentially, there's four beasts, but at the end of the day, God's kingdom, both in its heavenly and earthly representatives, will receive and participate in God's eternal kingdom. Heaven and earth. It's heavenly sons of Elohim and its earthly representatives.
Jon: We've been talking about this - how those two things storylines they're separate but they're the same.
Tim: They're distinct but interrelated.
Jon: Yeah, there's two different domains, different types of characters, but it seems like they're on these parallel story tracks.
Tim: The only way to make sense of what's going on here is when God rescues Israel, His people and gives them the glory in the kingdom that he promised to David and Abraham, He is simultaneously giving His kingdom to Israel's heavenly representatives.
Jon: When Jesus saw his disciples go and proclaim the gospel of the kingdom in different cities, he saw Satan fall from heaven.
Tim: That's right. The son of Elohim.
Jon: It was completely connected.
Tim: Yeah. The member of the Divine Council who now is exercising authority. And how do I know this? Because look at these humans. They're beautiful images of God who act like animals - just kill each other and steal from each other. They're under the rule of the evil son of Elohim acting like animals like Nebuchadnezzar. But now Jesus goes out, people are transferring their allegiance to the true God and becoming true human images of God process. And it says, if the evil one’s rule is being dethroned.
Jon: So these four great beasts are four kings? They're human kings?
Jon: And then he says, "But the holy ones, the sons of Elohim—
Tim: The ones who represent God's reign and rule will inherit all of the nations.
Jon: But that's not the story of the Bible. The story of the Bible is that humans will inherit. Tim: Exactly.
Jon: So why is it the sons of Elohim. Tim: They're not different things? Jon: What?
Tim: The holy ones of the Most High. Who is that? Well, we know about the stars, the heavenly representatives that are a symbol of God's rule, but in Genesis 1 they're also celestial and terrestrial. I just watched Daniel's dream about one who's clearly called a human, but who is elevated up into and to participate in the heavenly rule. And he rode on the clouds like the angel of Yahweh does.
So the Son of Man is a figure who's bridging heaven and earth. Heaven and Earth is uniting in the role of the Son of Man. The Son of Man figure is playing the role of the
sons of Elohim and of the humans images - of the heavenly images of God and the human, earthly images of God.
This is going to get unpacked more in the dream. So we can just say that he's an image of the holy ones of God, heavenly and earthly, who will receive God's kingdom and participate in God's rule forever. It's a mind bender. But again, this is part of my new discovery of how important this theme is of the human images of God and the heavenly images of God.
Jon: It is interesting that Jesus, this is what he grabs on to the most is a dual identity. Tim: Correct. That's right.
Jon: Being human but being—
Tim: Jesus, if he sees the world in Daniel 7 terms, which he clearly does, he sees himself as the one in whom God's kingdom over heaven and earth is being restored. So when he goes out into Galilee proclaiming God's kingdom, he sees people giving their allegiance to him, and he looks up behind the curtain, so to speak, and he can watch the holy ones of the Most High, whom he is the representative reasserting God's rule over the world and the evil Elohim, Sons of Elohim being dethroned.
Apparently, how Jesus saw the world, it's the biblical view of seeing the world. It's not natural to my way of seeing the world, but it's apparently what Jesus thinks is going on. When we read some stories in the gospels this will come up again.
Tim: Let's go to verse 23. It says, "Now let me tell you about that fourth beast. It will be a fourth kingdom, different than all the other kingdoms, it's going to eat all the land, tread it down and crush it. The ten horns, they are ten kings who will rise after them, one last." Remember the little horn? "One more king, he will come and subdue three kings or the three horns that fell out, and he's going to speak out against the Most High.
Jon: This is very detailed.
Tim: This is very detailed.
Jon: I mean, in the fact that like, if this was just kind of a general description of the plight of humans and how we deal with power—
Tim: Oh, I understand.
Jon: Then horns and beasts...He's talking about very specific horn that takes out three horns. What's this referring to?
Tim: We'll get there. We'll get there. T Jon: Okay.
Tim: "That one particular horn with eyes and the mouth, he's going to speak out against the Most High. He's going to wear down the holy ones have the Most High. He's going to make changes in the sacred times, sacred calendar of Israel, he's going to change things in the Torah, and they, that is, these holy ones, will be given over into the hands of this horn of the super beast for three and a half times." Time, two times, half a time. Half of the Sabbath.
Jon: A Sabbath?
Tim: Half of a seven. Three and a half is half of seven. So half of the Sabbath cycle. Jon: A time is seven days?
Tim: Correct? Yeah, that's right. But a time, two times, half a time. One plus two plus half is three and a half. Exactly half of seven. In Hebrew, it's very clear. In Hebrew, there's singular, there's dual, and then there's plural. So you can put ending on the noun to indicate just two of something.
Jon: So for three and a half? Half of a Sabbath.
Tim: And the word doesn't mean year, it just means some period of time. A time— Jon: A period of time that half of what a period time should be.
Tim: Yeah, totally. One period of time, two periods of time, half period of time which comes to 3.5, which is exactly half of seven. And if seven is a symbolic number of completeness, then it's for—
Jon: This is a symbolic number of incompleteness.
Tim: Incompleteness. "Then the court will sit." Remember, the little king of the super beast will wage war and overcome the holy ones? He's going to be full of himself. But then the court will sit just like when the ancient day showed up. His dominion will be taken away, destroyed forever.
Then the sovereignty, the rule, the dominion, which is the word kingdom, and the greatness of all the kingdoms, all the nations under all the heavens will be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High one and his kingdom.
Jon: Well, that's not what NIV says.
Tim: Really? What does NIV say?
Jon: Let's see. "The sovereign power and greatness of the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High."
Tim: So they think holy ones is just a descriptor of the people. Jon: I see. They didn't merge those two.
Tim: But in Aramaic, it says the singular people, of the plural holy ones, of the singular Most High one. And his kingdom. And that this could refer to the Most High one, or it could refer to the people. His kingdom. There [inaudible 00:40:23] the people to singular noun and plural reference. Somebody's kingdom.
Jon: It could be any of those three.
Tim: Well, it couldn't be the holy ones because that's a plural noun that would be there. But the point is it's a singular. The kingdom of a singular person. Well, who's that? It could be the Most High one.
But the whole chapter is about God's rule being given to the Son of Man - another one. Who's that? Well, in this sentence, it's the most likely referred, I think is the people. The Kingdom of the people of the saints of the Most High will be eternal forever and ever. All nations will serve and obey Him. Bow down and worship is what Nebuchadnezzar did before the seed of David in Daniel 2.
Then as at that point, the revelation ended. "As for me, Daniel, my thoughts alarmed me, my face grew pale. I didn't tell anybody about this crazy dream that I had." Dude, Daniel 7. Here, let me just show you the progression. You had the Son of Man in the dream. What's the interpretation? The holy ones are going to be trampled by the beast, but then given possession of the kingdom.
Jon: The kingdom being God's authority and reign.
Tim: God's authority. Sharing in God's authority and reign. That was round one of the interpretation. And you're like, "The holy ones?" So the Son of man stands for the holy ones. The second aspect of the interpretation is given and the Son of Man figure is called the people of the holy ones of the Most High.
So when you take the whole chapter into consideration, the Son of Man is a singular symbolic human who represents both the heavenly ruler of God's people and those people themselves.
Jon: And the delegated authority and the heavenly realm.
Jon: Specifically, these people who God has, because, in the story of the Bible, all humans are to be—
Tim: Yeah. Though, the noun to describe them in Genesis 1 is singular. Just adam.
Tim: Humanity. Let humanity, singular, rule over the beast and over the land and that kind of thing. So this dream is picking up that same thing where humanity, adam, in Genesis 1 represents. On the narrative, it's a singular adam, Genesis 1 that represents the corporate humanity. So here, the son of Adam is an embodiment of all humanity. Well, sorry. Particularly of God's people.
Jon: In verse 25, he says that this beast or I guess it's the horn of the horn at this point, he's going to speak against the Most High, oppress his holy people and change the set of times and laws.
Tim: So people, there is the NIV's interpretation. It's just the phrase "holy ones."
Jon: So he's going to speak against the Most High, he's going to press the holy ones. And at this point that's ambiguous. We don't really know. It's both. It's like God's delegated authority—
Tim: And the people.
Jon: And heaven and earth. But it seems like it's specifically talking about Israel and that it's talking about the laws that God gave to Israel.
Tim: Here we come to it. What on earth is this referring to? There was a set of events that happened in the 160s BC before Jesus, hundred and sixty years before Jesus where Israel had been under the thumb of Babylon, then Persia, Greece, Alexander the Great, and then his empire overextended itself. Knows the theme.
Tim: And then his realm got divided up between these kings, multiple kings called the [unintelligible 00:44:13. These petty kings were some down in the south in Egypt and some north in Syria. There's long period where they're just battling it out for who gets the most of what Alexander left behind.
Then eventually, the kings of Syria gain ascendancy. One particular king called Antiochus IV marched into Jerusalem in 167 BC. He bribed the high priest, he bought the high priesthood, set up new high priest, and they repurpose the temple in Jerusalem to be the temple dedicated to Zeus. They sacrificed pigs on the altar.
And then he made practicing Judaism illegal in Jerusalem for three and a half years. This is where the books the first and second Maccabees, they narrate this whole series of events.
Jon: And then this is where the Maccabean Revolt comes.
Tim: The Maccabean Revolt was an uprising against that set of events. What's happening here is Daniel is having a dream, in which the details of that series of events - but notice how we're being very symbolic. We're using Genesis 1 imagery and Daniel imagery of beasts and humans and horns. So it's as if that particular set of events was yet another manifestation of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon.
Jon: But that set of events happens hundreds of years after Daniel.
Tim: That's why here it's a dream. It's a dream that he sees yet. This is yet to happen, so to speak. So it's portrayed as yet future. There are all kinds of debates about whether it's after the event or so on. We don't have to talk about that right now. It's interesting.
Jon: Oh, so there's debates about whether this was written—
Tim: When this was written and so on. But the point is he sees that as a future vision. And it's clearly the details are mapped onto that series of events.
Jon: What was that character that...?
Tim: His name is Antiochus IV.
Jon: He's the little horn?
Tim: I don't want to say that because if the author of Daniel 1 want to say that he would just say that.
Jon: Oh, yeah. But I mean, if you map on that story to the dream, that's his character.
Tim: That's right. But I would reverse the direction. I would say, those series of events are being brought into a larger symbolic storyline all the way back to Genesis 1.
Jon: Yeah, he's not the only little horn that's ever going to come.
Tim: There have been many little horns. He's just the current one, so to speak. Jon: But taking down three horns, not every little horn takes down three horns.
Tim: Totally. And then there are all kinds of debate about did Antiochus IV ever take down three rulers? Some people have made a case and they think they can identify these three other people.
Tim: I think that you can't. So lots of people try to nail this down in all the details. Jon: That's really interesting
Tim: Yes, totally. A three half is fascinating. Half of the Sabbath cycle. Whatever's happening, that series of events, the significance of those events and how they fit into the pattern of human kingdoms exalting themselves, putting themselves in the place of God redefining good and evil, only to bring about great violence—
Jon: The pattern is what Daniel is interested in.
Tim: That's what Daniel cares about. It's yet another iteration of the pattern of humans acting like animals.
Jon: We could make an argument that the book of Daniel actually is more interested in just giving context and hope for what did happen or will happen in that time period.
Tim: Correct? That's one standard view is that the book of Daniel received its final shaping after that series of event.
Jon: I see. And so, some details were added to make it clear for that.
Tim: Correct. Totally. That's right.
Jon: But you're saying that more than that, this vision is not about any one specific human rebellion or human corrupt leader, but about the nature of what happens to us, to humans when we give in?
Tim: That's right. If the book of Daniel was only written to address the people who survived that whole debacle, in Jerusalem under Antiochus IV, if it was just literature to give people hope that looks Daniel foresaw all of this, and we're going to be vindicated like the Son of man—
Jon: A messiah will come.
Tim: A Messiah will come. So the Maccabean Revolt happened afterwards and things went great for about a decade and then they built a Jewish kingdom, a Jewish State - independent - that lasted until the 60s. Lasted for like 100 years almost. Israel gained independence, immediately became a beast unto itself.
Jon: And that's the time of Israel that Jesus was cruising around in? Tim: No, no. Gosh, this is all—
Jon: When you say 60s, you're talking about?
Tim: 60s BC.
Tim: Sixty years before Jesus. Jon: Oh. So then what happened?
Tim: The Jewish Kingdom state, independent that issued out of the Maccabean Revolt was almost 100 years, but. It just became one violent coop after another. People buying and selling the high priesthood, takeovers, assassination plots, foreign alliances.
Jon: Not the Garden of Eden.
Tim: This is the anti-Garden of Eden. It was definitely the Maccabean Revolt did not result in the Son of Man being enthroned above the heaven. The Jewish State founded by the Maccabean Revolt became its own beast. Then Romans Pompey marches in and he just was able to easily scoop up this divided Jewish state.
Jon: The structure of Judaism that was there, that was from the Maccabean time. Tim: Correct.
Jon: Now ruled by Rome, but—
Tim: Ruled by Rome and Rome appoints Herod. And then Herod is the Herod who appears in the birth stories of Jesus killing babies.
Jon: Another little horn.
Tim: Another little horn. Exactly. That's the point is, the biblical books are treating huge swathes of history, many historical events, but they want us to see in any given historical situation, the same basic storyline playing itself out. Of humans being given a test, are they going to submit to God's rule, or redefine good and evil? And when they do that, they become destructive beasts. That's the story playing out in Daniel sitting in Babylon. That's the story playing out for the Jews who suffered under Antiochus.
And think of how the book of Revelation works out. What's the book of Revelation? It's followers of Jesus suffering under persecution from both the Jerusalem establishment and from Rome. But what John does in the book of Revelation is appropriate all of the symbolism. So it's another set of beasts. But there are multiple beasts, and they're trampling and God's people. Yeah, are being vindicated over the beast and given rule and Kingdom.
So John can take this symbolic narrative and apply it to a later persecution of the innocent under violent kingdoms. It's like a portable story that can apply to any period of history but Daniel 7 is crystallization of the images and the storyline that Jesus, particularly drew upon.
Tim: Here's a couple of thoughts right now. Why go to all the effort to read this chapter and understand it's symbolism? This is probably one of the most complex conversations that we've ever had. We read one chapter and like walked our way through it. Are you with me?
Tim: This is really complex.
Jon: I mean, I have 100 questions right now.
Tim: I still do too. So why? If I am a follower of Jesus, and my allegiance is to him and I believe that he's truly human one who lived for me, died for me and my sins, sins of the world, raised for me, is inviting me to participate in the birth of a new creation to experience it, the hope of resurrection, all that, this chapter of the Hebrew Bible was a central importance to Jesus.
He used its language and imagery to describe himself. He's calling to describe why he was forming these communities of people. So to me, that's the why. The why this chapter is important to understand as a follower of Jesus is because I somehow in here, is the storyline that I just to see myself within a part of and to look at the world through. And that's why I think it's worth it.
Jon: The Son of Man video, to me at first was just about how there is...let's explain the identity of Jesus. But underneath this is the entire story of God and humans, which is connected to this entire parallel story.
Tim: Yeah, of God and the heavenly beings.
Jon: God and the heavenly beings. Which is all about how are all of these characters going to deal with delegated authority.
Tim: Correct. That's right.
Jon: So the Son of Man then not only explains and helps you understand the identity of Jesus but helps you understand what it means to truly use the power that God wants you to have?
Tim: Yeah, that's right. Correct. And when a human comes, who truly puts himself under the rule of God, and then extends that kind of divine rule out to the world, that human you discover is the embodiment through the revelation of God Himself, of a divine being himself, the one who participates and shares in the very identity and rule of God. And that one is somebody in whom both heavenly delegated rule and the human delegated rule are united and come together. Angelic and human, so to speak.
Jon: One way to think about the storyline is that God created humans, said, "I want you to have this authority to rule," but there was something about humanity that was lacking that made us unable to do it.
Tim: Well, lacking?
Jon: Yeah. There's just no human who ever was able to do it.
Tim: That passed the test.
Jon: That passed the test. What's lacking? So one way to think about the story of Jesus is God Himself becoming human to show you, "Here's how you do it."
Tim: Here's how to be the truly human image of God.
Jon: But in order to do it, it had to be a supercharged God human, which is not what He created. He created just humans. But then the supercharged God human is now your brother and you can be one of his class. You can have his power and authority and identity. So you can become—
Tim: Become one with God.
Jon: Yeah, become one with God.
Tim: The language of the book of John.
Jon: Which is what God wanted for humans - that oneness in the garden.
Tim: Insert the animal layer into all of that, that when humans don't rule under God's authority, they become less than human. So the Son of Man—
Jon: This is a story about whether you're going to become more than human or become less than human.
Tim: And then about how God became the ideal human to re-humanize his people. Jon: Re-humanize but also restore their humanity—
Tim: And then elevated beyond whatever was.
Jon: And elevated beyond. There was a sense of we've lost a humanity and would become like beasts. But it's not good enough just to get us back to ground zero. was just Well, now you're just let's try again. Your humans rule the animals and eat of the tree of life and not tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Tim: And that superhuman status in the Gospel narratives is what the disciples get a peek at when Jesus transformed on the mountain. It's the Jesus they meet after the resurrection.
Jon: It's kind of the picture of the Apostle Paul when he gets shipwrecked on the island and he gets bitten by the snake. This is a picture of like becoming like that.
Tim: got it. That's right. There's moments where he's on his way but Jesus is like the fully divine-human - new creation.
Jon: But then you get Paul who talks about "The life I live is now just— Tim: It's Messiah's life in me.
Jon: I'm living out that.
Tim: And he says, "It's like light shining through the cracks of a broken clay pot in 2 Corinthians." He's on his way. He's in the process. Then, for Paul, the transcendent state of not just restored but supercharged humanity...This is Paul's words. He calls it glorification. To be glorified. For humans to be glorified, it's an image of God that has been supercharged to be what God called it to be.
Jon: So Paul says like, "I want to know Christ, become one with him in his sufferings." And then he says, "Somehow attain to the resurrection of the dead." There's a sense of process. Like he's going to get there. Because the resurrection for Jesus was that culminating moment of I'm more than human.
Tim: But the way there is through the cross.
Jon: But the way there is through the cross.
Tim: It's through the saints of the Most High being trampled by the beast. It's allowing yourself to die to the animal kingdom. And to let the real supercharged human you that God wants you to be, allow it to rise from the ashes of your old humanity.
Jon: But for Jesus that was a literal death.
Tim: For Jesus it was. Yeah, totally. Unless you and I are alive when God's kingdom comes on earth as in heaven, we too will—
Jon: Will literally die.
Tim: ...will have to go through the veil. And it will be through our death that we are glorified. There it is. Now we're fully in the New Testament theology territory. But this is how our fate and story is tied to the Son of Man. And of course, it's the son of humanity.
So Jesus is the Son of Man, but he is the Son of Man so that we can all be participants in his journey to the resurrection and a new creation. So the Son of Man is also us. Those who tap themselves to the true Son of Man, so to speak. I think that's how we're to see all this imagery.
Jon: Also us by extension of being united with Jesus.
Tim: We're almost to territory that we can't do in this video. There are other videos to come, whether it's eternal life or new creation or the resurrection. But I think with a Son of Man, we have this opportunity about the humans made me more delegated rule, they become animals, act like animals, kingdoms, beasts, trampling.
God keeps singling out special people and then they become animals. They trample more other humans. And so, Daniel is sitting here in the belly of the beast. He's been thrown into a pit of beasts in a kingdom ruled by a human beast, and he has a dream of one day the beast being destroyed and humanity truly becoming what it's meant to be.
So who is that? Who's that dream refer to? Jesus of Nazareth walks onto the scene. And in the Gospel of Mark, we're told he is thrust out by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the evil one. The Gospel of Mark says, "And he was with the wild beasts there while angels served him."
Jon: That's Daniel 7.
Tim: It's Daniel. It's Daniel in the lion's den and it's Daniel being vindicated with the son. Who's there with the friends in the furnace? It's an angelic—
Jon: But who was attending to Yahweh was all these angels too.
Tim: Correct. That's right. So right from the bat, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is the truth, the human one at peace with the beast and the one whom the angels serve. And so, then the gospels will portray Jesus as a human as well walking up the end other humans who are human animals and restoring their humanity. Then he overcomes the beast of the kingdoms by letting them crush him so that they die and he rises to rule over them so that others can become truly human. I think that's the video.
Jon: All right. Awesome. We're going to get back to Jesus, and then talk about some New Testament stuff. Thanks for listening to this episode of The Bible Project podcast. We have a couple of more episodes left in this series on the Son of Man, and then we'll do an episode - we call them question and response episodes, not question and answer because we don't always have the answers. But we'd like to respond to your questions.
So if you have a question, as you followed along with this series, send it to us at email@example.com. Send it in an audio file. You can do that on your phone or computer. Give us your name and where you're from. And try to keep the question to around 20 seconds.
Today's show is produced by Dan Gummel, theme Music by the band Tents. We're incredibly grateful for you, our listeners, and for those who watch our videos. This has been an amazing journey together. We're grateful for you and all the support that you've given us. Thanks for being a part of this with us.
Jan: Hi, this is Jan Roberts and I'm from Tyler, Texas. I first heard about The Bible Project from my husband. And my favorite thing about it is that it allows me to look at familiar scripture in brand new ways. We believe the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. We're a crowdfunded project by people like me. Find free videos, study notes, podcasts and more resources at thebibleproject.com.