How the Visions and Incidents Found in Daniel Would Encourage the Jews to Remain Steadfast in Following the Covenant
It comprises six stories of the trials of Daniel and his companions while they served at the court of Babylon, as well as four visions of the end of the world. The book takes its name, not from the author, who is actually unknown, but from its hero, a 6th century Jew. Internal evidence indicates that the book was written during the Maccabean wars (167 - 164 BC). Daniel is a form of Apocalyptic Literature rather than prophecy; it is cast in symbolic imagery about the end of time and is attributed to an earlier authority. The book was intended to encourage Jews in the face of religious persecution by the Hellenistic kingdom of the Seleucids and their Jewish sympathizers. Daniel contains the only certain Old Testament reference to bodily Resurrection, presents a form of the Son of Man tradition influential in the Gospel traditions about Jesus Christ, and was a primary source for the visions of the New Testament Book of Revelation.
2) revealed their external manifestations primarily: their relative power and glory. What He showed Daniel about them under the figures of wild animals (chs. 7 and 8) revealed their internal character primarily: their haughtiness, brutality, aggressiveness, vileness, etc. Note that these were all wild animals and birds of prey, symbolizing their hostility toward one another. The second general subject of prophecy in Daniel is the Israelites. This is a particular element within humanity, namely: Israel. God also told us how He would direct the affairs of His chosen people in the future. Essentially He will do this in two stages, both of which were future from Daniel's perspective in history, but only one of which is future from our perspective. The first stage, or near future, involved Israel's affairs culminating in a great persecution under a Greek ruler: Antiochus Epiphanes (9:23-26; 11:2-35). This persecution happened in the second century B.C. The second stage, or far future, involved Israel's affairs culminating in a greater persecution under a Roman (Roman-like?) ruler: the Antichrist (9:27; 11:36-45). This would happen in the far future. Daniel struggled to understand this revelation because these two antagonists were both future from his perspective. God did not specify that they would be separate individuals. We can understand this revelation more easily than Daniel could, because one antagonist has appeared and the other has not yet appeared. Similarly, the Old Testament prophets struggled to understand God's revelation about the two advents of Christ (Isa. 61:1-2). From our perspective, we now understand that He had always predicted two advents of Messiah, and that we live between them. The third general subject of prophecy in Daniel is God Himself. It is God's sovereign control over time and space that He stressed in the Book of Daniel. However, two sub-revelations help us appreciate Yahweh's sovereignty, namely: His wisdom, and His power.
It is greatly to be desired that prejudice and misunderstanding be gradually eliminated on both sides, in favour of a better understanding of the patrimony they share and to strengthen the links that bind them (Sabbath: Gn 2:1-3). But it must be admitted that many of these passages are capable of providing a pretext for anti-Jewish sentiment and have in fact been used in this way. To avoid mistakes of this kind, it must be kept in mind that the New Testament polemical texts, even those expressed in general terms, have to do with concrete historical contexts and are never meant to be applied to Jews of all times and places merely because they are Jews. The tendency to speak in general terms, to accentuate the adversaries' negative side, and to pass over the positive in silence, failure to consider their motivations and their ultimate good faith, these are characteristics of all polemical language throughout antiquity, and are no less evident in Judaism and primitive Christianity against all kinds of dissidents (Damascus Document 6:19; 19:33-34).
Sabbath: Gn 2:1-3
Damascus Document 6:19; 19:33-34
Discourse of John Paul II in the synagogue of Rome, 13-4-1986: AAS 78 (1986) 1120