sexta-feira, 26 de agosto de 2016


In my vision at night I looked,
and there before me
were the four winds of heaven
churning up the great sea.
Four great beasts,
each different from the others,
came up out of the sea.
Daniel 7:2b-3 (read 7:1-3, 15-18 ) - NIV

Israel has never been a world power. Even at the height of the reigns of King David and King Solomon it was never more than "minnow" in the sea of "sharks". Modern archeology reveals that the glory and power of kings David and Solomon as related in the Old Testament were myths created to support a national identity after the exile in the sixth and fifth centuries bC.*

Daniel had his dream when Judah was apparently destroyed, swallowed by the monster powers of the era. Attempts at interpretation of the Book of Daniel as future historical events are pure guesswork. Each generation of interpreters for over two millennia reaches different conclusions. The "four monsters" are present in ALL periods of history. They represent the spiritualties that seek to dominate religion, economics, politics and science in all of history. Each area has its "monsters" who seek to dominate all the others.

This view is more relevant than ever before. Never in human history have there been such strong winds agitating the social seas and so many monsters emerging to gain dominance. The strong winds, agitated seas and monsters represent forces beyond our control that are causing terror and despair. They are blind forces bent on the destruction of others so that they can dominate. They spread fear.

But also in human history there have always been people who were not intimidated by the winds, waves and monsters or submissive to them. They saw beyond the present moment: that winds die down, waves subside and monsters die. Nothing is all-powerful or eternal.

Before us there is the choice between entering into the rules of the game of violence and power or seeing beyond appearances and being guided by the higher principles of compassion and solidarity. Jesus represents the latter and calls it The Kingdom of God.

The big problem is that it is easy to confuse one with the other. The "monsters" may disguise themselves as benign, posing as saviors and offering solutions to the existing evils. They may attract crowds and win great followings. In the name of good and God they use the method of manipulation and create power structures which seek to impose a “good” order which is also based on force.

In politics, the "monsters" are powerful at all levels of government, employing violence, cohesion and corruption to achieve their purposes. In economics globalization is dominated by a relatively small number, leaving billions of impoverished people living in subhuman conditions. The gulf between rich and poor is increasing. Religions create spiritual elitism and prejudices. They, too, are arenas of internal power struggles. Many perceive outsiders as potential converts or as evil. They struggle to destroy what they see as "evil" by resorting to "holy wars" and terrorism. The "monsters" are ever-present in the human scene.

The "holy people of the Most High" (v.18) are those who do not play the game of power, but follow the path that Jesus pointed out, embodying love and compassion. They may be victimized, but are within the Kingdom and example to be followed.

*THE BIBLE UNEARTHED, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman Ascher. Based on recent archaeological discoveries by Jewish archaeologists.


In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

“I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

Nenhum comentário: