Preaching Christ From Daniel

Preaching Christ From Daniel: Foundations for Expository sermons

The most useful feature of the book is the method the author uses to develop sermons from each chapter.

—Reviewed by Nikolaus Satelmajer, DMin, retired editor, Ministry.

Sidney Greidanus, a professor emeritus of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary, has penned books focused primarily on Old Testament preaching.

Greidanus accepts the long-held view that Daniel was written during the sixth century and not second century B.c. He points out that as early as the third century A.D., a critic of Christianity, Porphyry, “attacked the traditional position, claiming that prophecy can­not predict events four hundred years in advance. He held that the author of Daniel was a forger who wrote the book in the second century B.c., after these events had taken place (vaticinium ex eventu)” (5). Unfortunately, Porphyry’s position has been accepted by a sig­nificant number of scholars. How one preaches from Daniel will be impacted by the view of authorship. Those who accept early authorship will find this book helpful in their preaching.

The most useful feature of the book is the method the author uses to develop sermons from each chapter. He approaches the chapter in the following manner: Text and Context; Literary Feature; Theocentric Interpretation; Textual Theme and Goal; Ways to Preach Christ; Sermon Theme, Goal, and Need; and Sermon Exposition. This is a helpful approach; but occasionally some categories are not as helpful as the author assumes. This is especially true for the section labeled “Ways to Preach Christ.” In some chapters, that section goes somewhat beyond what appears to be in the biblical chapter. Even though, on a number of occasions, I found myself dis­agreeing with the author’s interpreta­tions of texts and symbols (e.g., his statement that “there is virtually unanimous agree­ment that this little horn must be identified as the Seleucid king Antiochus IV,” [257] is not as unani­mous as he assumes), his disciplined approach for each chapter is helpful.

The bibliography is fairly extensive, though the use of these sources is not as broad as it should be. It seems that the writer is familiar with certain groups of authors and thus advocates those views. His reference to the nineteenth century student of Daniel, William Miller, is one such example. Greidanus points to Miller’s interpretation of the 2,300 days of Daniel that Christ would literally come in 1843 or 1844. The author ignores the fact that others (mainly Protestant) also understood the 2,300 days prophecy to end at about the same time.1 Greidanus’s book would be stronger and would have avoided this misconception if he had consulted a broader spectrum of sources. While he makes an incidental reference to Zdravko Stefanovic, a deeper engagement with this quality com­mentary would have strengthened his book.2 Another help­ful source, William H. Shea’s book on Daniel, is not referred to at all nor listed in the bibliography.3

Referring to Stefanovic’s book, the author reminds us that Daniel was often quoted in the New Testament and that according to Stefanovic, Daniel was a favorite book of Jesus (27). In spite of such a testimonial, many do not preach Daniel. This book is a helpful source to those who take the book of Daniel seriously and who wish to share its message of hope.

—Reviewed by Nikolaus Satelmajer, DMin, retired editor, Ministry.

References:

1 Miller and the others did not disagree on the time aspect of the prophecy—they disagreed on the nature of the event. Miller believed in the literal return of Jesus Christ; whereas, most others believed that at that point, an earthly millennium of peace would start.

2 Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 2007).

3 William H. Shea, Daniel: A Reader’s Guide (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 2005).


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—Reviewed by Nikolaus Satelmajer, DMin, retired editor, Ministry.

September 2013

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