Abraham’s family further revealed the victory that faith brings, from the child of promise (the son of faith, Isaac) through the overcoming grandson (Israel, the one who prevailed with God-dependence after battling self, the deceitful Jacob). But these and their descendents showed in great detail the battle between other-centeredness and self-centeredness. The story recounts individuals whose lives testified to the truth in blazing glory and others who embodied the lie in all its horror. At times the same person showed both as they wavered between faith and unbelief within their own lifetime. From their earliest experiences as a nation, these children of Israel exemplified that controversy. Their persistent, inborn tendency to worship the creature, unrestrained by lack of living faith, brought into their midst the abominations of the faithless. The sanctuary itself became desolated with these godless practices. Following the spiritual desolation, their families, cities, and land were physically desolated, including the sanctuary and its city, Jerusalem. The people were taken back to Babylon. But in the midst of it all, the word of God was heard through the voice and pen of the poets and prophets, calling people back to the truth, and testifying of the coming Prince of peace, the anointed One who would again connect heaven and earth, cleanse the sanctuary, and announce the kingdom based on other-centered love. In particular this fulfillment of the everlasting covenant was revealed to Daniel, even down to the dates when key events in this plan would occur. There was revealed to him the amazing overview of world history from his day down through the major kingdoms of the world, all of which eventually would come to their end, to God’s everlasting kingdom. Embodied in both the visions and the stories surrounding the coming of the visions was the core battle between self-limiting self-exaltation, and self-sacrificing love, which is the guarantee God’s kingdom will last forever, being but the expression of the character of the great King. Daniel’s life spanned the fall of both Jerusalem and Babylon, and he grasped what led to both. We see this as he figuratively opened the books and literally explained the verdict and sentence just before the execution of the divine judgment against the last king of Babylon. In the midst of the global pictures given him of the flow and outcome of the controversy, we find embedded Daniel’s personal concerns for his people and his city, which form not only the setting for the coming of the great Prince but also a type for the global conflict itself.
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