>D. I. Block on the Rock in Daniel 2


“The reference to the rock in Daniel 2 is admittedly vague, and may simply allude to the reign of God in general, or the kingdom of Jewish people in particular. However, it is certainly capable of a more specific anticipation of a Messianic figure, especially in the face of what is to come in chapters 7 and 9. Jesus seems to have interpreted the rock messianically. Following his parable of the vineyard and the tenants who impiously killed the son of the owner (Luke 20:9-18), he identified himself with the son and his audience with the wicked tenants. In a surprise move, Jesus referred first to the stone that the builders rejected in Psalm 118:22, and then, with a clear allusion to Daniel 2:35 and 45, he added, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” This interpretation is not so farfetched if one recalls another event when a rock struck down a colossal figure, viz, David’s defeat of Goliath (1 Sam. 17:41-51). The cosmic significance of this event is suggested by David’s taunt of the Philistine:

You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day Yahweh will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh saves not with sword and spear. For the bat- tle is Yahweh’s, and he will give you into our hand.

Just as the colossal Philistine was defeated by David as a representative of the kingdom of Israel, so this Rock represents the kingdom of God in demolishing the colossus of human kingship.”

D. I. Block, “Preaching Old Testament Apocalyptic to a New Testament Church“, CJT 41.

Lately I’ve been digging into the book of Daniel and struggling with how to teach it in a house church setting. Lacking a good commentary on Daniel (or a good bookstore to buy one at), I’ve been searching the internet for good, free sources. Two journal articles have been theological gold mines. Of course the first one is the aforementioned article from which I copied and pasted a lengthy quote. But I actually found Block’s brilliant article in a footnote in Peter Gentry’s article “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and the New Exodus” in SBJT V14 #1- by far the most straightforward interpretation I’ve ever come across on a difficult text.

Both are incredible examples of meticulous research and Christocentric scholarship. I commend them both to you.

About mjbutterworth

Coffee. Books. Bicycles.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical Theology, Old Testament studies, Peter Gentry. Bookmark the permalink.

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