Give Me That Old Time Religion, Give Me That Old Time Religion, Give Me That Old Time Religion, Cause It’s Good Enough For Me!
A MAN shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal’s enclosure, a zoo official said on today.
“A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery.”
The incident, yesterday evening when the zoo was packed with visitors, was the first of its kind at the attraction. Lions and tigers are kept in an “animal island” protected by thick concrete blocks. (The Australian).
A Problem With Daniel
by Peter Murphy
The Book of Daniel is regarded as prophetic among Christian circles because of its implied references to the messiah. In the Christian Old Testament it is placed following Ezekiel in order to make Daniel look like one of the great prophets of old. On the other hand in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) the Book of Daniel is placed among the least inspired books and there is no Daniel listed as a Major or Minor Prophet.
Irrespective of this difference the problems with the Book of Daniel historically are legion. This essay will address merely one moral problem. The question of just how loyal was this Daniel to YHWH. It is important to start at the beginning.
In chapter 1 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon selected Daniel, to be trained in Babylonian literature and language. In chapter 2, during the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Daniel interprets a dream of the king and is made as a reward the ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over the wise men. Daniel, recognizing the need for assistants, appoints Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to deal with the administration of the province, while Daniel remained at Nebuchadnezzar’s court. This last item is very important to the point of this essay.
In chapter 3 Nebuchadnezzar raises a gold statue of approximately 90 feet in his own honor and decreed that all his subjects worship it. Nebuchadnezzar also decreed that any who would not worship his statue were to be thrown into a furnace. It must be conceded that Daniel, who was at Nebuchadnezzar’s court, knew about this statue and decree.
Chapter 3 tells us what happened next. In verses 7-12 we are told that certain men disobeyed the decree and charges were brought against them. According to the text they were the only ones who disobeyed the decree. The three accused were the men Daniel had appointed to deal with the administration of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. These three men are arrested and brought before Nebuchadnezzar, who threw them into his furnace. Anyway, to make a long story short an angel shows up to keep the men company and they are rescued and the king admits their god is the real god.
What is missing is where was Daniel while this was going on? According to chapter 2 Daniel was at Nebuchadnezzar’s court, as such he would have been one of those who bowed down to the golden image — if not, then why was he not accused along with his deputies! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are the ones who put their lives on the line for their beliefs; Daniel is nowhere to be seen. If he was at court, as chapter 2 maintains, then he must have bowed and worshipped the image because he did not get in trouble. And if he was an idol worshipper, as he must be, then what kind of prophet was he!
Once again the Christian belief in Daniel being a real person and a prophet falls apart just by a simple critical reading of this furnace affair.