deliver me according to your word.
Daniel is living in troubled times. He is expecting apocalyptic change to come into his world. Cyrus of Persia had conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Judeans to return home from exile and to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. Limited automony under Persian rule continued until Alexander led the Greek defeat of Persia. After his death, his empire split into rival empires--and Judea lay between them.
At the time the book of Daniel was written, the beginning of the 2nd century BCE, the Secleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes had turned his attention to control of the Jerusalem temple and the gold that was there Daniel was thinking about his whole nation and everybody in it being swept up. As he said, "my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me." Yet, the response to this terror is also one of great consolation, a promise to the holy ones of life in the kingdom of God forever.
In his vision, Daniel sees the Ancient of Days, a overwhelmingly powerful one who is served by thousands and myriads. Daniel then sees what he describes as One like a human being. This one is presented to the Ancient One who gives him dominion, glory, and kingship. Every nation of every language is to serve him. His dominion is eternal. [Source: Lawrence M. Wills, commentary in the Jewish Study Bible]
Christians have appropriated this vision for the coming of Christ because we see his role as one to break the dominion of those who would do harm. We agree with the Jews that God is sovereign over history and that God intends blessings for us not repression and violence....
1 John 1:1-10
There cannot be a solitary Christian. Christianity is fellowship. And has been from the beginning.
In this epistle, the writer is saying to a community: We could see the visible Jesus. We could touch him. In him we were able to visualize life with the Father. And in our fellowship, we continue to see and to touch and to know. A long time has passed since those disciples saw and touched Jesus. What part of their experience are we able to make use of in the 21st century?
I find helpful "In the Light of Victory," an article by Alister E. McGrath that is included along with many other excellent essays in Bread and Wine.
Easter Day has shown us the care and power of God. We wake up today and sin still thrives in the world. McGrath reminds us that many distinguished writers trying to explain this for us used the situation during WWII. Occupying power. Life lived under the shadow of a foreign presence. Then comes the news of a far-off battle that has turned the tide of the war.Psalm 119:153-176
In one sense, the situation has not changed, but in another, more important sense, the situation has changed totally.
I remember once meeting a man who had been held prisoner in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore. He told me of the astonishing change in the camp atmosphere which came about when one of the prisoners (who owned a shortwave radio) learned of the collapse of the Japanese war effort in the middle of 1945. Although all in the camp still remained prisoners, they knew that their enemy had been beaten. It would only be a matter of time before they were released. And those prisoners, I was told, began to laugh and cry, as if they were free already.
In one sense, victory has not come; in another, it has. The resurrection declares in advance of the event God's total victory over all evil and oppressive forces--such as death, evil and sin. Their backbone has been broken, and we may begin to live now in the light of that victory, knowing that the long night of their oppression will end.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, open us to your presence with us. Support us in our journey toward you. Amen.