Part 3: The Theology of the Book of the Twelve and Daniel, a Thematic Approach

By Billy Doolittle

twelveSeeing the restoration of Israel in the book of the twelve changes the tone of the books as the Lord displays both wrath and mercy. Ground zero of Israel’s restoration is Jerusalem and Mount Zion.  The people of Jerusalem, as referred to in Daniel and the book of the twelve, is the nation of Israel and Judah (Dan 9:7; Zech 8:22; 9:9; 12:5, 8, 10; 13:1).  The Lord sits in Jerusalem and speaks from the city (Joel 3:16) and it will endure forever (Joel 3:20). The seventy sevens from Daniel 9 details the restoration which will take place after the desolator comes and destroys it.  After it is desolated, the Lord will restore the city and rebuild it. Israel’s disobedience to the Lord causes the city’s destruction (Micah 3:12).  Here in the city, many will come, and the Lord tells them to take their farming tools and beat them into weapons so that a war may wage on the city fronts (Joel 3:10).  Interestingly, the weapons will then be beat back into farming equipment and the war will cease and joy will erupt in the city through the peace which God will restore (Micah 4:3). The wars will cease so there will no longer be any needs for weapons. Not even the people will be taught how to fight because there will be an eternal peace from Jerusalem.

The mountain of the Lord, or otherwise known as Mount Zion is in the center of the city and is referred to as the Lord’s holy mountain (Joel 2:1; 3:17; Oba 1:16).  During the end of days, the Lord will establish Zion as the highest mountain in the land and people will come to it (Micah 4:1-2).  This is an interesting reversal of Hebrew nation’s refusal to come to the mountain of the Lord in Exodus 19-20.  The Lord told them to go up to the mountain at the sound of the trumpet blast (Exo 19:13), yet they stood far off and disobeyed the Lord (Exo 20:18). As a result of their disobedience, the Lord added to them more law and gave them priests when they were originally to be a nation of priests (Exo 19:6). During this time, the people of the Lord will come to the mountain in joy of their salvation and have their blessing restored to them (Micah 4:10).  The Lord promises that the blessing will be restored to His people (Hos 6:11; Amos 9:14; Zeph 2:7; 3:20; 9:12). The restoration taking place rebuilds of the house of Israel and ultimately the house the God (Amos 9:14; Hag 1:2).  In summary, the restoration which will take place to the house of Israel is one of wealth and joy.  The people will again experience the favor and blessing from the Lord and there will no longer be mourning and death.  The house which the Lord is building for them will sit high for all the nations to see and to flock to. It is here that the Lord will receive the glory that Israel had failed to give him.

The prophets paint a Messiah picture throughout the prophets of the Old Testament and namely, the minor prophets and Daniel, and salvation will enter through him to the remnant people.  Messianism are scattered throughout the books picturing both a man of the Lord and God himself who will save his people from in the day of the Lord, each figure given different titles.

The Ancient of Days first appears in Daniel.  The Ancient of days takes a seat on a throne of flames having white hair and clothed in white as he sat judging tens and thousands of people (Dan 7:9-10).  Before the Ancient of Days comes “one like the son of Adam” and is given an eternal kingdom consisting of all nations and peoples that will have an everlasting dominion (Dan 7:13-14).  Previously, Nebuchadnezzar, and King Darius after him, said that the Lord’s kingdom was an everlasting dominion with an eternally enduring kingdom (Dan 4:34; 6:26). The Lord prophesied through Micah that the ruler of Israel will come from Bethlehem who is from the “ancient of days” (Micah 5:2).  Also, Zechariah witnessed an angel with a measuring Jerusalem and says that the Lord had sent him to dwell in Israel’s midst and will become his people (Zech 2:9-12).  Thus, the one coming from the Lord will inherit ruler-ship over God’s kingdom and will be seated on the throne whose kingdom will have no end.

Within Zechariah, there is one will be named “Branch” and he will rebuild the temple of the Lord (Zech 6:12).  The servant of the Lord will be the “branch” (Zech 3:8).  The word “servant of the Lord”, as used in the minor prophets and Daniel, speaks only of prophets whom the Lord reveals his mysteries to (Amos 3:7).  Daniel refers to himself as the Lord’s servant (Daniel 9:17, 10:17; Joel 2:29; Zech 1:6) and Moses is referred to as the Lord’s servant (Mal 4:4; Dan 9:7).  In sum, the Branch, who is the servant of the Lord, is a prophet whom the Lord will appoint in the Day of Lord and will serve as a prophet like that of Moses and those after him.  Israel and has been waiting for the prophet like Moses since the death of Moses (Deut 34:10-12).

The ruler of Israel is to rise from the house of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). This ruler is described as a shepherd to house of Israel.  Micah 5:4, describes him as standing in the strength of Lord and shepherding the Lord’s sheep.  The sheep will dwell in the midst of their shepherd and they will be safe (Micah 5:4-5a) and later, as though the author is speaking directly to the shepherd, the shepherd is commanded to guard the sheep “like days of old” (7:15).  The people are described as sheep the shepherd led them out of Egypt, while the Lord was doing marvelous things.  Eventually this shepherd laid them down in Carmel, (translated as green lands) and they feared him (Micah 7:14-17).  Though shepherding in the book of the twelve does not always bear positive connotations.  The Lord said that he would raise up a shepherd out of the frustration he felt towards the people not listening to his voice (Zech 11:9).  This shepherd will be evil and will not protect the people of Israel and he will be cast into judgement because he is worthless (Zech 11:17).  Though later on, within Zechariah, the shepherd wil be struck and the people will be scattered but they will call on the name of the Lord and the Lord will rescue them (Zech 13:7-9). Thus, the Lord will bring a good shepherd out of the house of Bethlehem that will care for the house of the Lord.  Afterward the people will not obey the good shepherd and the Lord will raise up a wicked shepherd which he will strike down.  The people will scatter but they will continue to love the Lord their God and the Lord will be faithful to them.

In conclusion, Daniel and the book of the twelve tells of the Lord’s wonderous patience and faithfulness towards the people through the covenant relationship he had with Abraham.  The people of Israel continued to disobey the Lord and the Lord remained steadfast. In the best interest of the Lord, in order to cause the people to repent, the Lord punished the people through foreign powers.  The oppression on the people of Israel causes a remnant to remain faithful to Lord and remember him.  The Lord then saves his people from out of exile and brings a remnant of gentile population with them who fear the Lord.  The Lord pours out his spirit on the people and have their possessions restored to them in a greater glory that has ever existed among them. The Lord will make his dwelling Jerusalem and it will be ruled by the son of man who comes out of Bethlehem as the Lord has appointed.  This kingdom will exist for all eternity without disease, death, sin or war and the will glory in the Lord who dwells among them.  The Lord will pour out his spirit on the people and they will love the Lord for eternity.  The punishment which the Lord brought to the people and to the nations was fore the purpose of their redemption and repentance from their sin.  Through their sufferings, they see their sin and fear the Lord.

Billy Doolittle is currently a student of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a graduate and former Garrett Fellow at Boyce College. He is married to Brittany Doolittle and a member of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can follow Billy Doolittle on twitter @BillyDoolittle

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