The Latter Days and the Time of the End in the Book of Daniel


This study attempts to investigate the two temporal expressions be\u27aharit hayyamim (the latter days) and cet qes (the time of the end) in the book of Daniel. Its main objective is to determine the precise meanings ofthese phrases and the relationship between them. Chapter 1 presents an historical review of literature on the expression the latter days and the time of the end. The four major schools of interpretation (Historical-critical, Preterist, Historicist, Futurist-dispensational) and their understanding of these phrases are outlined and the great divergence of opinions among scholars concerning them is noted. Furthermore, the issues and problems which this study addresses are pointed out. The investigation of the phrase the latter days in chapter 2 shows that only in the Akkadian literature do we find any parallel phrases to be\u27aharit hayyamim. However, the Akkadian phrases ana ahrat ume and ina arkat ume never appear in a religious context and lack an eschatological meaning. In the OT be\u27aharit hayyamim can refer to various periods in thehistory of Israel some of which are eschatological, e.g., Deut 4:30; Jer 23:20; 30:24, and others which are not, e.g., Deut 31:29; Jer 48:47; 49:39. In the book of Daniel the expressions be\u27aharit hayyamim (10:14) and be\u27aharit yomayya\u27 (2:28) are equivalent. Both phrases refer to the future which began in the time of Daniel and which reaches down to the time of the Messianic kingdom. The investigation in chapter 3 indicates that the words cet and qes by themselves can have an eschatological meaning, e.g., cet in Jer 3:17; 8:1-8; 18:23; 33:15 and qes in Amos 8:2; Lam 4:18; and Ezek 7:2,3,6. The phrase cet qes or a cognate equivalent does not appear anywhere in the ancient Semitic literature outside of the book of Daniel. It is an apocalyptic terminus technicus found five times in the latter half of the book of Daniel (8:17; 11:35,40; 12:4,9) and always refers to the apocalyptic end of world history, the final period of time leading up to the absolute End. The final chapter presents an overall summary and presents certain conclusions concerning the two phrases the latter days and the time of the end and their interrelationship

    Similar works