Furthermore, some of the book is written in Hebrew (ch.1:1-2:4; ch.8-12), while the rest is written in Aramaic (2:4-7:28). This is an interesting feature of the book for several reasons. First, it indicates that Daniel is a literary whole and is to be read and interpreted as such since the Aramaic center of the book includes parts of both the narrative and apocalyptic divisions of the book. Second, since Aramaic was the 'English' of Daniel's day, it means that God is speaking to the world and not just to the nation of Israel. The opening Hebrew section (1:1-2:4) is probably meant to be an introduction to the book as a whole, and the chapters written in Hebrew at the end of the book (ch.8-12) should be seen as having specific application to Israel. But the middle section, which has been described as the theological heart of Daniel, is for everyone. God is speaking to the nations of the world many years before the coming of his Son whose advent is foretold.
The universal nature of the Aramaic section (2:4-7:28) becomes even more apparent when we take into consideration that biblical scholars have discerned a remarkable 'chiastic' or 'mirror' arrangement to this part of the book that is designed to focus attention on its central message. The chiastic structure pairs chapters 2 and 7, 3 and 6, and 4 and 5. In chapters 2 and 7, world kingdoms are in rebellion against the kingdom of God. In chapters 3 and 6, God sovereignly delivers his people from certain destruction, and in chapters 4 and 5 God judges the kings of Babylon, first Nebuchadnezzar and then Belshazzar. When all these factors are factored in the universal message of the Daniel is easily discerned. The nations are pictured as raging against the Lord and his anointed (ch. 2 and 7) and yet the Lord knows how to deliver his elect from trouble (ch. 3 and 6) and in the end he will reign supreme over this fallen world symbolized by Babylon (ch. 4 and 5). Sound familiar? It should! It is the basic message of the book of Revelation at the end of the New Testament, and it is one of the dominant messages of the Bible as a whole. This explains why it is written so that human beings everywhere, hundreds of years before the worldwide proclamation of the gospel, would be warned.
It continues to be the responsibility of believers to make this message known to the world. The coming of Jesus Christ and the inauguration of the new covenant have only increased the urgency. The gospel age in which we are living will not go on forever. There is an end that has been unalterably determined by God. Rage against the Son, while still widespread, is doomed to failure. God has given his Son the nations for his inheritance and the ends of the earth for his possession. He will break them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery. The only wise course of action is to serve the Lord with fear and to celebrate his rule with trembling. We must kiss the Son or he will be angry and we and our ways will be destroyed. The only safe place is to take refuge in him. This is the place of blessing where we are forever shielded from his wrath (cf. Psalm 2).
To be continued...