The importance of Daniel (Mt 24:15-24:15)

“When you see

The desolating sacrilege

Standing in the holy place,

As was spoken of

By the prophet Daniel,

Let the reader understand!”

 

Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω,

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:14, and in Luke, chapter 21:20, but only Matthew specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel.  Jesus warned that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing in the holy place (ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ), they would understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Matthew explicitly named the prophet Daniel (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου), chapter 9:27 and chapter 11:31, talking about the desolating abomination in the Temple.  In 175 BCE, the prince coming to destroy the high priest Onias III was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary during the war against the Maccabees uprising.  During this time, the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple.  Instead, they had these terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols.  Thus, the reference to Daniel is both eschatological about the end times as well as a reference to the political religious revolt of the Maccabees nearly 2 centuries earlier.

The future return to Israel (Ezek 11:16-11:17)

“Therefore say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Even though I removed them

Far away

Among the nations,

Even though I scattered them

Among the countries,

Yet I have been a sanctuary

To them

For a little while

In the countries

Where they have gone.’

Therefore say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will gather you

From the various people.

I will assemble you

Out of the various countries

Where you have been scattered.

I will give you

The land of Israel.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel what to say. Yahweh had scattered his people among various countries and nations. However, he remained a sanctuary for them for a little while, no matter where they went. However, he was going to gather them and assemble them from these various countries that they had been scattered into. Once again, he was going to give them the land of Israel.

Yahweh as a stumbling stone (Isa 8:11-8:15)

“Yahweh spoke thus to me.

His hand was strong upon me.

He warned me

Not to walk

In the way of this people.

He said.

‘Do not call conspiracy

All that this people call conspiracy!

Do not fear

What they fear!

Do not be in dread!

You shall regard as holy

Yahweh of hosts!

Let him be your fear!

Let him be your dread!

He will become a sanctuary.

He will become a stone

That one strikes against.

For both houses of Israel,

He will become a rock

That one stumbles over.

He will become a trap.

He will become a snare

For the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Many among them shall stumble.

They shall fall.

They shall be broken.

They shall be snared.

They shall be taken.’”

Once again, we have an oracle from Yahweh directly to Isaiah. This time Yahweh also puts his hand on him with a warning not to fall into conspiracy theories. Does that sound familiar? Isaiah was not to fear what most people feared and dreaded. Only Yahweh, the Lord of hosts, is holy. He is the only one that you should fear and dread. Yahweh can, however, become either a sanctuary or a stumbling block. Both houses of Israel, north and south, find that Yahweh is a stumbling block, a trap and a snare. Many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will stumble and fall. They will be taken and broken, as they will get caught in this trap or snare.

Praise of King Solomon (Sir 47:12-47:18)

“After David,

A wise son rose up.

Because of David,

He lived in security.

Solomon reigned

In an age of peace.

Because God

Made all his borders tranquil,

He was able

To build a house for his name.

He provided a sanctuary

To stand forever.

How wise you were

When you were young!

You overflowed

Like the Nile River

With understanding.

Your influence spread

Throughout the earth.

You filled it with proverbs

Having deep meaning.

Your fame reached

To far-off islands.

You were loved

For your peaceful reign.

Your songs,

Your proverbs,

Your parables,

With the answers you gave

Astonished the nations.

In the name of the Lord God,

Who is called the God of Israel,

You gathered gold like tin.

You amassed silver like lead.”

Sirach points out that King Solomon inherited a peaceful nation with secure borders because his father, King David had fought so many battles. Thus Solomon was able to build a Temple for the name of Yahweh and a sanctuary that would exist forever. King Solomon was wise from his youth with an understanding like that of the great Nile River. His proverbs had deep meanings, as his influence and fame spread throughout the whole world, even to far-off islands. Solomon’s songs, proverbs, and parables astonished everyone. When Solomon called upon the name of the Lord, he amassed a great fortune in gold and silver, as if they were like tin or lead.

The glory of King David (Sir 47:6-47:11)

“They glorified him

For the tens of thousands that he conquered.

They praised him

For the blessings bestowed

By the Lord.

The glorious diadem was given to him.

He wiped out his enemies on every side.

He annihilated his adversaries,

The Philistines.

He crushed their power even to our own day.

In all that he did

He gave thanks to the Holy One,

The Most High,

Proclaiming his glory.

He sang praise

With all his heart.

He loved his Maker.

He placed singers before the altar.

They made sweet melody with their voices.

Daily they sing his praises.

He gave beauty to the festivals.

He arranged their times

Throughout the year.

They praised God’s holy name.

The sanctuary resounded from early morning.

The Lord took away his sins.

He exalted his power forever.

He gave him a covenant of kingship.

He gave him a glorious throne in Israel.”

Sirach told of the glory of King David who had killed thousands of his enemies. He was praised for the Lord’s blessings that he had received. He was given a glorious diadem crown to wear, after an unmentioned dispute with King Saul. David wiped out his enemies, especially the Philistines, but they kept coming back for more. However, David gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High God. He loved his creator. He sang praises to him. He had singers at the altar as well as set up wonderful festivals throughout the year. Although there is mention of a sanctuary, the Temple was not built until his son King Solomon built it. The Lord took away the sins of David and established a covenant of kingship with him on the throne in Israel. In light of what was to come, there was no eternal covenant of kingship.