<body>
Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gleanings from Daniel [26]

God’s Prophetic Word (Daniel 12:4-13)

I come to the final chapter in Daniel’s great prophecy and his closing words.

But this is not Daniel’s prophecy, as it is God’s prophecy. Daniel is merely the mouth piece who conveys the revelation.

God’s prophecy – all of His prophecy – can stir our hearts to worship as we consider our great God who not only “Just knows” about the future, but has determined it by His decrees and is actively involved with His purposes unfolding and coming to pass in history.

As I close Daniel’s book, there are five truths regarding God’s prophetic word that should draw our hearts to praise.

I. It’s Preservation – 12:4

Daniel is told to take his words (and I believe this implies his entire prophetic word, chapters 1-12 – not just chapters 10-12) and shut them up and seal them. This isn’t the idea a few hold that his prophecy is to be “kept secret.” The concept of “shutting up” and “sealing” was applied to legal documents. The contents could not be altered or tampered with. The idea is preservation.

Daniel’s book is to be preserved all the way to the “time of the end.” Why? As the fulfillment comes, the wise will seek the contents to understand what is happening.

II. It’s Certainty – 12:5-7

A second element that elicits praise is the certainty of prophecy. We can know Daniel’s prophecy is certain, not because much of it it has been fulfilled, but by the one who gave it.

Affirmed by God – Remember, Daniel is by the Tigris river (10:4). The pre-incarnate Christ appeared to him accompanied by two beings, Gabriel being one of them. The man clothed in linen, Christ, makes an oath to God. The prophetic word is certain because both the Father and the Son affirm its authenticity.

Accomplishes its Purpose – These things will happen to Daniel’s people for 3 1/2 years. They come to pass so as to accomplish God’s purpose which ends with the people being “shattered.” In other words, Israel will be brought to their very end. That "shattering" brings them to desperation, and it is then when they look upon their Messiah and mourn for Him.

III. It’s Power – 12:10

God’s prophetic word has the power to do three things:

- Purify and refine the righteous. The purpose of tribulation is to purify God’s people in Israel. To bring them to recognize their Messiah.

- Expose the wicked. Contrasted with the righteous is the wicked who only do wickedness continually. Revelation 9:20, 21; 16:21. Rather than submit to God, they rebel.

- Gives wisdom. This hearkens back to verse 4. Those who seek God’s wisdom during this time of trouble will be wise in heeding the prophet’s message.

IV. It’s Blessing – 12:11, 12

For the righteous who act in wisdom and allow the prophetic word to work in their lives, they will take heed to prophecy and subsequently be blessed.

Verse 11 introduces an odd figure. 1290 days. What exactly is this figure? There seems to be an extra 30 days added to the days of 3 1/2 years, or 1260 days. Additionally, there appears to be another 45 days added to the 1290 days which brings the total to 1335 days. What is with these extra days?

One possible explanation is that the 30 days involves Christ's judgment of the nations as outlined in Matthew 25. The next 45 days is the preparation for the kingdom. In other words, preparing the land of Israel, such as cleansing the land of all the bodies after the battle of Armageddon. Thus, once the Lord finishes His judgment of the nations, and the land is cleansed, the 1,000 year reign of Christ begins. Hence what Daniel means as a blessing for those who see the 1335 days.

V. It's Promise - 12:13

Verse 13 ends Daniel's book with a personal promise to him. Daniel can be certain he will "arise," (again, resurrection language), to his inheritance. It's is a promise, I believe, extending even beyond Daniel, to all those who look upon Christ the Messiah as their savior.

Labels:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Truth Matters Conference

In case you missed this announcement, this is from Phil:

Don't miss the announcement that Grace to You is waiving registration charges for September's "Truth Matters" conference. The theme is "The Gospel According to Paul," and the conference will offer lay people a taste of the hospitality and style of teaching pastors receive annually at the Shepherds' Conference. GTY Donors are generously covering the cost of registration. You still have to register—and don't delay, because capacity is limited and the conference is filling up quickly. If you are one of the thousands who registered early and paid the fee, you will receive a refund. How's that for good news?

By the way, if there are any readers in town, make sure you drop me a line. I would love to meet you.

Labels: ,

The Eugenics Bomb

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Article XII and The Age of the Earth

In this post over at AOMIN, Jamin Hubner attempts to clarify the doctrine of inerrancy with some liberal oriented Hebrew scholar guy.

One section from Jamin’s corrective caught my attention:

So, what does the Chicago statement on Inerrancy have to do with being a young-earth creationist? As I've pointed out numerous times before (via blog/podcast), this is a common error of association where critics of inerrancy either conflate the Chicago statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) with the Chicago statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (1978-1982) and assume that article XXII in the latter somehow requires YECism, or, it is simply assumed that all Chicago-inerrantists are YECists. Both assumptions are false . Nothing in the Inerrancy document requires being a young-earther, nor requires a person to agree with everything Gleason Archer has to say. The Chicago statement on inerrancy also doesn't require "sweating bullets thinking about the high number of those said to have left Egypt with Moses." [emphasis mine]

I have previously tussled with Jamin over the disconnect that exists between his defense of inerrancy and his disdain for young earth creationism.

It’s weird, really.

I find it perplexing how groups of evangelicals who claim to have a strong commitment to presuppositional apologetics, confessional, Reformed theology, and historic Christianity, would be so out-of-touch with their inconsistency on this matter.

Usually the main response by these old earth enablers is to say, “Well, B.B. Warfield (or theologian “X”) didn’t believe an old earth conflicted with inerrancy. Are you telling me this theological giant was inconsistent?”

Yes, I am.

I'll state it again: YES, I AM.

Let me go back and point out some things from Jamin’s comment and show you why I say that.

He asks,

So, what does the Chicago statement on Inerrancy have to do with being a young-earth creationist?

He’s certainly correct to imply that the framers of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy [CSBI] didn’t intend to defend YEC or OEC with their comment. That much is true. But their use of language is such when defining their understanding of the Bible’s historical accuracy and truth claims about origins, that to be an affirmer of inerrancy as outlined and defended by the CSBI, as well as adhering to OEC or theistic evolution, is woefully inconsistent, as I will explain in a moment.

continuing along,

As I've pointed out numerous times before (via blog/podcast), this is a common error of association where critics of inerrancy either conflate the Chicago statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) with the Chicago statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (1978-1982) and assume that article XXII in the latter somehow requires YECism, or, it is simply assumed that all Chicago-inerrantists are YECists. Both assumptions are false .

The CSBI can be read HERE and the CSBH can be read HERE (with commentary by old earth creationist, Norman Geisler).

Perhaps there are people who "conflate" the two documents. What I have done, however, is to direct folks to the CSBI, article 12, that reads,

WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article 22 under the CSBH is something of a supplement to this point. It reads,

WE AFFIRM that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.

WE DENY that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

I believe both of those statements are clear and concise. How anyone can claim they leave open the possibility of a deep time view of Genesis is bizarre. Unless our interpretation of language has so succumbed to postmodern dribble our words no longer have any real meaning.

Moving along to Jamin’s concluding comment,

Nothing in the inerrancy document requires being a young-earther...

Maybe he means to say it doesn't require adhering to YEC because the framers didn't come out and say "Believing in inerrancy requires you to be an young-earther." But the principles of inerrancy they defend certainly demand a commitment to YEC if one is to affirm the CSBI and remain consistent.

The reason is quite simple: While I heartily agree that Genesis isn't a "science text book," it most certainly is a "history text book." Genesis 1 and 2 records the real, factual history of God Almighty creating the heavens and the earth.

According to the language of Genesis 1, God did His creating in the space of 6 days. Furthermore, if we take the genealogies of Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11 seriously as a historical, chronological record (and there is no exegetical reason why we shouldn't), God's historical act of creation took place around 6,000 years ago.

So, as a Christian convinced of, and committed to, the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, I understand Genesis 1 to be revealing factually accurate history. It is, as article 12 affirms, free from falsehood, fraud and deceit.

This means God isn't accommodating a "non-scientific" minded people by giving them "theological" stories that have no meaning in reality. Moreover, Jesus and Paul didn't deceive Christians when they affirmed the history of Genesis in the NT. And, our understanding of creation (and how to read Genesis) didn't come to full flower UNTIL the 1800s when "science" broke through primitive, religious dogma.

On the contrary, modern-day scientism presents an alternate view of history that undeniably contradicts everything recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. The proponents of this alternate view insist the Scripture is, in the record of creation, filled with falsehoods, fraud, and deceit.

How then can one affirm an inerrant Bible, yet attempt to harmonize two entirely different views of creation history? It's impossible; and it is inconsistent to what article 12 of the CSBI affirms.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bike Tricks

I bet this guy makes like a lot of money.

The cool thing about this video is the scenery. Tremendous backgrounds from Scotland.
The song was good, too.


Labels:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gleanings from Daniel [25]

resurrectionThe Final Triumph of God’s People (Daniel 12:1-3)

I come to the last chapter of Daniel.

The final chapter is also the conclusion of Daniel’s last vision he was given on the future of Israel.

The last vision Daniel had is recorded at the end of chapter 9. There, God tells Daniel that 490 prophetic years had been determined, or appointed, or what would literally be defined as “cut out.”

God had “cut out” a certain period of time for the purpose of dealing with the people of Israel.

There was a six-fold purpose:

  • Finish transgressions
  • Put an end to sin
  • Atone for wickedness
  • Bring in everlasting righteousness
  • Seal up prophecy and revelation
  • To anoint the most holy

Chapter 10 introduces the historical events that will fill the first 69 weeks of years, or 483 of the prophetic years. Chapter 11:1-35 deals with events that takes us up to the fulfillment of the first part of that vision – to the cutting off of the Messiah.

Chapter 11:36-45 fills in events that take place in the last unfulfilled week of 7 years. In my previous two studies, I have been considering this period called “the time of the end.” It is marked by one, wicked individual who brings calamity upon the entire world. While he wages military campaigns against the kings of the north and south, he launches brutal oppression against God’s people, Israel.

Chapter 12:1-3 focuses our attention upon the certain hope of Israel during this time.

Three events establish Israel’s certain hope:

Tribulation|Resurrection|Eternal Reward

I) Tribulation

The entire section begins with the eschatological phrase, “at that time.” This raises the question: “At what time?” Chapter 11:40 establishes for us it is at the time of the end. During that time the anti-Christ brings terror upon the world with the land of Israel at the center. The phrase is repeated two more times in the same passage.

The phrase is understood by the Jewish commentators as speak of that time heralding the coming of the Messiah. The verse goes on to describe a time of trouble, a time of trouble not seen since Israel was a nation. Jesus even confirms this trouble in Matthew 24:21. It is also called “the great tribulation.”

How exactly is this time of trouble a hope for Israel? Daniel describes how “Michael shall stand up.” what exactly does he mean by this? Revelation 12:3 may give us a clue that this is Michael the archangel. Though it is not entirely clear, Daniel’s words suggest that Michael has been assigned to watch after Israel. He fights for them. During this period of tribulation, perhaps the last 3 1/2 years of the final week, Michael will work on God’s behalf to deliver the people.

In spite of this “great time of distress,” Israel will be delivered. Zechariah 13:8 suggests that only 1/3 of Israel will survive. Those who are left will be refined as silver, Zechariah 13:8, 9. Tribulation will bring the Jews to recognize their Messiah. The phrase “everyone written in the book” would mean those appointed to eternal life. It is what Malachi describes as the “Book of Remembrance” of those who fear God’s name.

II. Resurrection

Israel will experience tribulation that will result in the Jews to look upon their Messiah. But following this tribulation comes resurrection.

Daniel 12:2 is one of the clearest revelations in the O.T. of a future, bodily resurrection.

Some commentators mistakenly believe this refers to the re-birth of the nation of Israel. But the images are clear: Those who “sleep in the dust [man was created “from dust”] will awake.”

Sleep designates physical inactivity – not soul sleep, but body sleep. In fact the LXX uses the Greek word for resurrection here in this passage.

Daniel’s words read almost exactly as Jesus’s words in John 5:28, 29.

Two destinations: Everlasting life/contempt

Contempt – An object of aversion or abhorrence

Everlasting – Eternal, meaning without end, forever.

Where is the millennium? Is this a description that is teaching one resurrection without the millennium?

Note the word “many” – “Many will awake,” implying “not everyone at this time.”

III. Eternal Reward

After experiencing tribulation that refines Israel, and partaking in the resurrection, then there is eternal reward with God.

Daniel speaks of the “wise.” The wise are described in the O.T. as those who fear God (Prov. 1:7). Those who fear God and seek His righteousness.

In addition to the people of Israel, this has reference to Christians. We partake in Christ’s New Covenant as a spiritual body of believers who anticipate an eternal inheritance, for example Ephesians 1:13, 14. Jesus’s words in Matthew 13:36-43 has reference to Daniel’s prophecy, especially verse 43 where Jesus says, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

May we be hearing the Father now through His son who will one day rescue His people Israel and establish His kingdom for a thousand years.

Labels:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Interesting Stuff on the Web

The 7/22/11 Edition

Jesse Johnson at the Cripplegate gives his take on the C.J. Mahaney/SGM train derailment,

My Thoughts on the C.J. Fiasco

I truly appreciate Phil Johnson's (no relation to Jesse) comments on the matter he made at his Facebook page,

In my estimation, certain aspects of SGM teaching encourage too keen an interest in the sins of others; foster a culture of confrontation; discourage people from turning the other cheek at personal affronts; and allow people to view every wrong suffered as an occasion for implementing the process of Matthew 18. Add the subjectivity inherent in all Charismatic worldviews; plus a top-down, authority-driven approach to discipleship; plus a tendency to breed morbid introspection and melodramatic expressions of "humility"--and you have a gourmet recipe for precisely this kind of meltdown.
-----

Sye Ten Bruggencate, who operates Proof that God Exists, learned a valuable lesson about interviews with atheists.

An atheist who had interviewed Sye for his podcast program made some serious edits to Sye's portion, particularly those portions that made the atheist look sort of dumb. When the edits were discovered and the atheist confronted, he denied the charges, saying he only edited portions that slowed down the program. To his credit, he later supplied the full, unedited program.

Sye gives a brief summary of the situation and provides the full transcript of the program with "edited" portions highlighted in RED.

Also, Sye was interviewed by Eric Hovind and Paul Taylor for the Creation Today videocast. Another good discussion worth your time.

-----

And then finally, if you are interested in making toys from trash... This guy shows you how.



Labels:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Applying Presuppositionalism: Practical and Workable

This is a long, overdue third installment to a couple of posts I wrote back in February of this year examining presuppositional apologetics.

The first post was something of a reaction to Jamin Hubner’s misguided critique of a message given by Curt Daniel that stirred in me an interest to address what I believe is a creeping malaise infecting young, Reformed apologists who advance presuppositionalism. Though I believe the apologetic is the most effective for engaging unbelievers, it has been my observation that presuppositional advocates make the methodology much more difficult to utilize than it ought to be. In my opinion, if an apologetic system can’t be explained and quickly learned by the simplest of lay people, some inherent flaws may need to be identified in the presentation and changed by the presenter.

In my second post, I began addressing my concerns by outlining what I believe are essential theological talking points we must have in our minds as we prepare ourselves to engage unbelievers.

In this last post I want to deal with practical application; moving our theology from the realm of the theoretical. My intention is not to provide a “silver bullet” technique for evangelism – honestly, none exist. I believe each encounter is unique and it has been my experience that God’s Spirit often uses unexpected avenues to draw a sinner’s heart to Christ.

Also, I am not advocating against the use of Evangelism Explosion, or the Way of the Master, or Greg Koukl’s Tactics, or any number of evangelistic methods. They have their place and can be useful if done so in a manner faithful to the text of Scripture.

My main thrust with this post will be to examine two broad areas that Christians should develop in their overall mindset so as to apply their apologetic theology in their evangelistic encounters.

First, believers need to recognize that effective evangelism must begin with the Christian’s character.

It doesn’t matter how passionate a person is for the Gospel or how persuasive his arguments may be for the Christian faith, if the person’s character does not reflect the transforming power of the Lord and Savior he proclaims, he only heaps to himself scorn and contempt.

I cannot stress this point enough to the reader.

Consider one of the key passages on apologetics, 1 Peter 3:15-17. Rather than presenting a series of airtight philosophical arguments for apologetic methodology, Peter instead focuses our attention upon the personal conduct of the apologist, the attitudes that shape his overall life.

Notice how Peter writes that our “defense of the faith” is to be made with “meekness and fear.” Some translations translate Peter’s words as “gentleness and respect.” This speaks to personal heart issues that are put on display for the watching world; nothing whatsoever about making persuasive arguments.

The effectiveness of your apologetic evangelism will stand or fall upon your character. If your life does not show the unbeliever who you claim Jesus is, no amount of apologetic argument will matter.

You may have a sharp intellect, be extremely knowledgeable, and have the ability to shut the mouths of even the loudest atheist. But if you’re a person who is known as a hot head and can easily become belligerent in a conversation, or a single young lady with a flirtatious reputation, or a husband who has a strained relationship with his wife and kids, no one is going to care a lick about what you’re telling them about Jesus. Even the most hardened skeptic understands Christianity is about personal, “holy” conduct. If your conduct doesn’t reflect godliness, even in the little things, they’ll shut you off.

Second, when we engage unbelievers with the Gospel, we are engaging their entire way of life with the whole message of the biblical Christian faith.

We need to understand that when we speak to our unbelieving neighbors, friends, and relatives about the Gospel, we are not giving them one more opinion to consider among a group of similar opinions; as if you are trying to convince the person why he should make chocolate-chip his favorite cookie.

This is the major deficiency with the popular apologetics presented in the books bought in Christian retail bookstores and heard taught by hosts on Christian talk radio. They make the Christian faith to be a choice between cookies or flavors of ice cream. “Hey, you ought to try this! I think you will probably find in much more flavorful than your banana chocolate chunk.” They also limit the use of the Bible in their presentations. There is time for the Bible later. Besides, they may argue, it’s not proper to prove the legitimacy of the Christian faith with the Bible.

What a cheap, shameful way to think about the power of God.

No. When we evangelize, we bring the truth of the Christian worldview as it is relayed in the Gospel message to bear against everything the unbeliever holds dear in his heart as true. We are basically telling that person that everything he believes about God, faith, religion, and the meaning of life is wrong. Not just mistaken; but soul-damning, fatally wrong.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul describes the unbeliever as “exalting” his knowledge over the knowledge of God. Scripture proclaims to us that the unbeliever just doesn’t hold to a few errant facts about Jesus, but at his heart level, he lives in rebellion against God’s authority and laws. This is what Paul means when he says the unbeliever “exalts” his “knowledge” over that knowledge of God revealed to us in Scripture.

Moreover, he isn’t “accidentally mistaken,” either. In fact, the unbeliever “exalts” his knowledge willfully, cheerfully, and often with a full understanding of what he is doing even if what he is doing is irrational and doesn’t make sense and perhaps puts his life at great risk.

The goal of our evangelistic efforts is to show the unbeliever that his “exalted” knowledge is an offense to a Holy God; tell him he is justly condemned by God; and then proclaim to him how God in His grace made a way to be made right with Him through Christ. We then tell that person to put away those cherished heart commitments, that heart of rebellion exalting his knowledge above God’s, and embrace Christ and His lordship.

Our evangelistic message is truly that simple. In fact, it’s the reason why the world hates Jesus and Christians. Not only do they hate righteousness to begin with, and seriously dislike having their true self exposed in the light of God’s Word, people hate the notion of someone telling them their thinking about life is wrong.

At this point, I can imagine many folks, having read over my words, will now ask, “Is that it?” Aren’t you being a bit too simplistic? I mean, where does TAG come in? The laws of logic? Moral absolutes? Greg Bahnsen?

Just so I am clear: I am not saying those things are unimportant. I expect Christians as they grow in their knowledge of Christ to also grow in the knowledge of their faith. That implies growth in their knowledge of apologetics and the ability to engage and answer the objectors to their faith. Christians should want to know how to answer the objections of that skeptical cousin they only see at Thanksgiving. They should want to help college kids grapple with challenges to their faith from bitter atheistic community college instructors. What we know about the history of our Bible and various theodicies can be important, as well as useful.

Ultimately, however, our working knowledge of apologetic proofs in the form of philosophical argument and historical evidence is NOT the power of God unto salvation. We don’t want to merely win an argument with a mean-spirited evolutionist; we want to win a soul to Christ. Only the power of the Gospel can do this.

What then do we do with our understanding of these two broad areas? Where does the rubber meet the road, as it were?

This is where we as Christians take those points I systematized in my second post, and formulate an evangelistic outline to engage those unbelievers. We ask them questions. Force them to defend their claims they make against our faith. Challenge them to defend their personal beliefs. Demonstrate to them the folly of their unbelief and rebellion against their Creator. And God willing, tell them about what Jesus did.

There isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Each person will be different. Each situation will be different. What may be an effective approach for one person may not go so well with another. I have written about a few evangelistic encounters in previous posts that may provide the reader with some idea how I have utilized apologetic methodology in the past. (Scroll down to “Apologetics in Action”).

Even though our approach may be different between individuals and situations, the one thing for certain is the biblical theology that shapes our apologetic methodology. Our theology will provide the apologetic anchors for any Christian, regardless of spiritual maturity and educational background, to use for effective evangelism.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Milky Way in South Dakota

Some folks may have already seen this. The night sky detail is truly amazing.



The film maker has a website with similar videos
Dakotalapse.

Labels:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Biblical and Theological Studies

Articles I have written on various biblical, exegetical, and theological studies.

Doctrinal Subjects

Annihilationism

Hell’s Bell

Hell Raisers

Soul Man

Doctrine of Salvation

The Assurance of Eternal Security [1]

The Assurance of Eternal Security [2]

The Assurance of Eternal Security [3]

The Assurance of Eternal Security [4]

What Does It Mean to be Blotted Out of the Book of Life?

Thoughts on the Warning Passages of Scripture

Spiritual Unity

Words to the Stronger and Weaker Among Us

Serving the Weaker Brother

Exhortations to the Weaker Brother

Spirituality and God’s Will

Some Questions about Gut-check Spirituality

The No Gut-check Method of Doing God’s Will

The Cessation of Spiritual Gifts

Book Studies

Gleanings in Job

Gleanings in Daniel

Theological Studies

Studies in Eschatology

The God of Weights and Measures

God Knows

Practical Thoughts on the Downfall of Mark Sanford

Bible Studies

The Length of Israel’s Sojourn in Egypt

Returning to Egypt [1]

Returning to Egypt [2]

Returning to Egypt [3]

An Addendum on Israel’s Sojourn in Egypt

Suicide and Assisted Suicide in the Bible

Slaves or Servants? [Part 1] [Part 2]

Selling Daughters into Slavery

The Sex Trade and the Bible

Raqia and Ancient Cosmology

A “Literal” Pop Quiz

Labels:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Augustine on Genesis

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is Gene Simmons A Moron?

he most recent celebrity turned anti-Obama pundit is Gene Simmons.

Over the last month or so I have watched two different interviews with the guy and his dark sunglasses railing against the president for being a lame disappointment.

The most recent was an interview for some FOX financial program, and the way the guy talked, you would have thought he was auditioning for being the next host to replace Glenn Beck.

Gene Simmons Regrets Voting for Obama

Simmons demanded his vote back because he voted for genuine change. He sincerely believed Obama would surround himself with the smartest financial geniuses the Fortune 500 had to offer.

Is he a child? Or has drugs and loose women rattled his brain? Where was Gene Simmons 4 years ago when we pointed out Obama's connections with American hating radicals like William Ayers? What does Gene talk about when he hangs out with his Castro loving Hollywood/entertainment pals?

In a previous interview, laced with bleeped out F-bombs, Gene and his sunglasses blasts Obama's Israel policy.

Gene, who was born in Israel, expressed outrage at Obama's policy of returning Israel to their 1967 borders. He carried on like he had been tricked. As if discovering a flirty groupie was really a man. He goes on complaining that when he voted for the Obama he was voting for an "idea" not "idealism" (as if there is some sharp difference between the two notions), and that he couldn't believe how *bleeping* out-of-touch with reality the president is.

Were there any alarm bells ringing in Gene’s mind 4 years ago when the revelations about Obama’s Jew hating pastor came to light? It’s not like these sniggling details were hidden from the public.

Stop being so Pollyannish, Gene. The man’s worldview was soaked in some of the worst anti-American (and anti-Israeli) vitriol to be found anywhere on earth. I took him at his word when he said he wanted to change and transform America. I didn’t want our country to become a worthless, emasculated European social state ran by the soft tyranny of leftist bureaucrats. I believed him the first time. The next time, don’t be a moron.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Proud Humility

I'll keep this brief; and I state this at great risk, knowing in advance that I will receive a severe, stinging wedgie from commenters who will complain I am being a meanie.

Why does C.J. Mahaney believe it is necessary to publicly announcement his personal problems with a group of critics? And why does he need to take a "leave of absence?"

From what I gather from his own explanation, there is no scandalous sin involved. If that were the case, I would expect him to permanently step down, not merely take a "leave of absence." In this case, it sounds like a group of "former" pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace Ministries who have some personal issues with him and his leadership style.

Okay.

But why is there a need to take a "leave of absence" from one's ministry to deal with a group of offended former members? There isn't a pastor anywhere who doesn't have a gang of "former" members who have issues with him. It comes with the territory. I sort of thought Paul made that clear in his epistles. The good bulk of pastors who have offended former members don't think such offenses warrant a "leave of absence" from their pulpits and other responsibilities. It's things that can be dealt with on the side.

Additionally, why does C.J. feel the need to announce their problems with him to a wide and far internet audience? Seriously? Is it really any of our business? Again, we are told their problems with him are not related to scandalous sins. I am taking it there is something about his personality and ministry style that rub them wrong.

Whatever it may be, I just believe these are matters that need to be left out of the public mind and kept between them. There absolutely no reason to post a vague announcement about problems former pastors have against you and proclaim your leave of absence.

Unless of course you want to intentionally come across as a spiritually humble guy who is all transparent which in reality is merely a proud humility.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 08, 2011

Gleanings from Daniel [24]

whitehorseThe Willful King (Daniel 11:36-45)

Daniel chapters 11 and 12 are unique in that they contain some of the most detailed prophesy of historical events. The details pertaining to the then world powers of Persia, Greece, and eventually Rome, are so precisely predicted by Daniel, that biblio-skeptics place the writing of Daniel during the time of the Maccabean rebellion in 167-165 B.C.

Yet nothing suggests we are to “push” Daniel’s book out of the historical context when it says it was written during the third year of Cyrus/Darius in 530 B.C. Thus, Daniel is being told about future, historical events by divine revelation. These historical events not only really happened, they happened in the exact way God said they would.

Chapter 11 unveils the final 490 prophetic years that were given to Daniel in chapter 9. It is revealed in two parts: Verses 1-35 speak to the first 483 years leading up to the Messiah being cut-off. Verses 36-45 speak to the final 7 years that complete the 490 years.

The prophecy reveals for us 5 historical figures who impacted the events of the ancient world and will impact events of the future world. They represent empires that have previously been revealed to Daniel as metals in a statue (2), and as terrible, bizarre beasts (7). I noted the first four last time:

1) Ahaseurus Xerxes who attacked Greece.

2) Alexander the Great and the four kings who succeeded him.

3) Antiochus the Great who waged war against the Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt.

4) Antiochus IV who persecuted Israel.

From Daniel 11:36-45, we are introduced to a fifth figure. What Daniel describes as a “Willful King.” I believe he is the Anti-Christ.

It is important to note that most evangelical commentators agree with the details of events up until 11:36. Depending upon one’s eschatological position, this “Willful King” is understood as either a,

- Continuing prophecy about Antiochus IV

- Not an individual, but merely the fourth empire, Rome

- Constantine the Great

- Nero

There is, however, some problems with these positions. There are a number of reasons why this individual must be a yet future person.

1) If this chapter is detailing known history, and I believe we can easily verify that known history, then this description of a “Willful King” also must be historical. The individuals often identified as this King never did any of the things this Willful King is described as doing.

2) This King is described by the context of the passage as living “at the time of the end,” 11:40, or in the “latter-days.” Notice that chapter 12:1-3 lists three specific eschatological events that take place at that time, a) Tribulation upon the people of Israel, b) the Resurrection, c) Eternal rewards.

3) Note further that 11:36 says that this “Willful King” continues “until the wrath has been accomplished.” The idea of “wrath” in this passage can be translated as “indignation” (za’am). This is a technical term out of Israel’s prophetic literature speaking to the wrath of God on men in the end times. What could be said here is that the Anti-Christ and the tribulation he brings upon the earth is the instrument of God’s wrath.

4) Verse 36 suggests a break into a new subject. Where as before the king of the north and the king of the south battled each other, following verse 36, especially 40 and 44, this “Willful King” appears to be a third party.

5) This prophecy matches and corresponds exactly with other biblical revelation we have of a person identified as the “Anti-Christ.” He is the same as the “little horn” in Daniel 7, the “prince who is to come” in Daniel 9, the “Man of Sin” in 2 Thessalonians 2, and “the Beast” of Revelation 13.

A question may be asked, “Doesn’t the angel skip a whole bunch of history? Jumping from 169 B.C. to some unknown period in the far future?” Yes, but this is a phenomenon in Scripture called “prophetic telescoping” or “apotelesmatic.” Events are compressed in one oracle or vision. Later revelation fleshes out the details.

Daniel reveals to us three pictures of this “Willful King,” the individual called Anti-Christ

I. His Person (11:36-39)

The text begins by calling him “the king who does according to his own will.” This implies he does as he pleases. There is no restraint upon him humanly speaking. The ultimate sovereign on the earth.

Also note how he is described as exalting himself above every god, and he blasphemes the true God of heaven. This is also described in 2 Thess. 2:4. Daniel 11:37 says he has no desire for women. I don’t think that means he is a homosexual, but has more of the idea that he has no desire for the typical, human relationship of marriage.

He is also one who pursues war. He is described as honoring “the god of fortresses.” The strange phrase may have the idea of military might. We know from other revelation this Anti-Christ will conquer nations and other military machines. Daniel 7:24 speaks to how he “roots up three horns.”

II. His Wars (11:40-44)

An individual who pursues war will stir up strife against himself, and this is what happens to the “Willful King.” He will be attacked by the king of the north and south.

Coming to this next section, there is difficulty determining the referents to the pronouns. Who is doing what to who.

Earlier in the chapter, the king of the north was identified with the Seleucids and the king of the south with the Ptolemies in Egypt. It only seems consistent to understand the north and south in these passages as referring to the same geographical area occupied by those ancient kingdoms. Remember, Israel is right in between the two factions and these prophecies pertain to their restoration.

Also, with verse 40, we have to determine if there are only two kings involved in battling each other or three? Two views on how we understand the pronouns and the referents of who is fighting who:

- The “Willful King” is the king of the north who retaliates against the king of the south. OR

- The “Willful King” is attacked by both the north and the south.

Good men divide on how to understand the passage, but I believe it is the second option: the “Willful King” is attacked by both the north and the south.

Beginning at verse 45 and tracing the pronouns back, I see a break in verse 40, where after Daniel says “The King of the south shall attack him” (the Willful King), and then “the king of the north shall come against him” (again, the Willful King). Much of what is discussed here is also mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 in the “Gog and Magog” prophecy. In that vision, Ezekiel identifies Rosh, Tubal, Meshech, areas that are north of modern day Israel encompassing Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and other countries around the Black Sea. Ezekiel also mentions Persia, Ethiopia and Libya, nations that still exist today.

In the 1970s and 80s, prophecy teachers always identified Gog and Magog with the Soviet Union. Today, however, those same areas are more recognized as being Islamic. In fact, both the north and south kingdoms once identified with the Seleucids and Ptolemies, are entirely Islamic.

With that in mind, why would they attack the “Willful King?” If it is true that this “Willful King” is the same Anti-Christ who makes a treaty with Israel for 3 1/2 years, and the animosity Muslims already have toward Jews is stoked even more, there is good reason they would attack the “Willful King.” It would be a similar situation as the Six Day War.

Ezekiel describes how Gog and Magog will come against the “Willful King,” but Daniel tells us this attack will fail. Ezekiel 38 even says God will be the one bringing them there, in order to destroy them. In Daniel 11:42, the King launches a counter-attack against those nation in the South. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Libya, are specifically mentioned as not escaping. “At his heels” is an expression that means, in submission. These countries are made to serve him. (This could be a reference to those 3 horns the “little horn” tears out). Daniel further states that the King will have power over precious things like Gold and Silver. This could be a reference to the main energy resource of that region of the world: oil.

While he is defeating those nations, he gets news about the north attacking (when Gog and Magog attack) as well as the east (Revelation 16:12). God is drawing all of these gentile nations together at one spot so that He can judge them directly all at once in a grand display of His glory.

III. His Demise (11:45)

As Daniel finishes his vision about the “Willful King,” we are told that he sets up his military base “between the seas.” This could be between the Dead Sea and Mediterranean Sea, or the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea. The Valley of Meggido exists between Galilee and the Mediterranean. It is here that the Anti-Christ meets his demise, “none shall help him.” His demise is further expanded upon in Ezekiel 38:18-39:1-8 and of course, Revelation 19:17 and the record of the events following.

Labels:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Courtin’ and Datin’

[Editor's note: The following was written as a follow-up to my previous post on Christians and internet dating (linked below) that I posted nearly 6 years ago (6 YEARS AGO! - how time flies). In the comments under the original post, a reader or two asked me to clarify my "hostile" views toward the courtship model. I did respond, and so I thought I would repost my response for current readers. I updated the original and refined my thinking in some areas].


In my defense of internet dating, I made a comment that poked a little bit at what I call the courtship only camp.

I distinguished the two models by noting that the dating model could be defined as, "a nice young man taking a nice young lady out for dinner." The courtship model, however, could be defined as, "a nice young man taking a nice young lady and her entire family out for dinner."

I was asked to elaborate a little more as to why I don't like the courtship model.

To begin, I think it is a tad unfair to say "I don't like the courtship model." I do appreciate the concept of young Christian couples having their families involved in their relationship as they move along to getting married. My wife and I want to disciple our children to think biblically about relationships, courtship, and (if the good Lord is willing and tarries longer) marriage. We want them to want us to be involved in their lives at that point.

What I am reacting to is two-fold:

First, let's face facts. The courtship only crowd do not have a clear, biblically defined reason for their convictions.

Oh yes, I realize we can make "good and reasonable inferences" and develop some "regulatory principles" on how to govern relationships, but honestly, is there a clear cut passage commanding, say for example, a young man to ask permission from a girl's father to get married? Well, no there isn't. It may be a noble idea, and one I will exhort my boys to do when they seek to get married (I'll demand it from the guys who want to marry my daughters), but do they really have to?

Take a real world example:

What if the girl's father is a boneheaded idiot who has left his family years ago and currently lives in emperor decadence in the Hamptons? The guy has divorced the girl's mother and could care less about what his daughter does with her life. Are you telling me the Bible would demand that a young guy, seeking to marry this girl, go and ask her estranged father's permission who despises her and could care less? And what does the young man do if, God forbid, he says "no."

Again, the Bible certainly provides some guidelines as to the type of person we should want to marry, but it doesn't provide any hard and fixed rules as to the means we take to marry that person. Being mentored by committed Christian friends, and if so blessed, by godly parents, is certainly the way to go. A spirit-filled Christian should want to seek out those avenues. But that isn't the norm for every person.

Think of Paul writing the Corinthians. Paul was giving divinely revealed principles to readers who came from what we would call today, "dysfunctional" backgrounds. Many of them were slaves and had been involved with rank paganism, including temple prostitution and other wicked activity.

Though I heartily agree what Paul writes is God's Word, notice he doesn't specifically outline a particular relationship model for people to follow. He talks about the blessings that come from both singleness and marriage, he tells married couples not to engage in celibacy, and tells people to marry each other "only in the Lord." Nothing is mentioned about the steps taken leading up to the marrying part. In other words, Paul wasn't writing this for Vision Forum families.

Second, I just don't care for some of the courtship only proponents, and their arrogant proclamations that if a person doesn't follow their courtship theology, then God cannot truly bless any relationship. I especially don't care for the attitude of "I kissed dating good-bye and my courtship model is the only true spiritual way to attract, woo, and conquer a woman."

Now perhaps some may think I am exaggerating, but believe me, I have encountered way too many courtship families. A young man attempting to "court" any of the daughters in some courtship families I know will find a much easier time joining the Italian Mafia. The hoops the parents make him jump through are just absurd.

I had a guy friend tell me how he attempted to "court" one of the daughters from a courtship only family. The parents insisted that he type up a detailed itinerary of everything he had planned for the evening. If they found out that he deviated from it in any way, the deal was off, so to speak. It is those kind of legalistic vices masquerading as "purity hedges" that bug me. I just see parents who don't trust their daughter or the guy she is courting. Parents do not want to cultivate this attitude with their children.

There is also a lack of practicality with proponents when older, more mature people are involved with each other. For example, my wife and I were 29 and 30 respectively when we started liking each other. We didn't have any parents providing us direction. We were dependent upon our own personal convictions, discernment, and collective spiritual wisdom to know if marriage to each other is what we wanted. What may be "wise advice" for 17 and 18 year-olds may be silly for older folks.

Maybe I can conclude my thoughts by offering some positives about courtship.

I'll make it clear once more: I certainly believe it is wise for parents to be involved with their kids choosing a guy friend or a gal friend. And to Christian kids, if you are blessed to have godly parents, listen to them in these matters. They have more insight than you.

I also think there is wisdom in dating in large numbers. Meaning, getting to know someone of the opposite sex in the context of Church, a Bible study fellowship group, or some other social function.

And then finally, I like the fact that courtship is preparing a young person to take marriage seriously. The emphasis on marriage forces a young person to grow in maturity. This is not just another prom date, but a man or a woman who you will live with the rest of your life.

Labels:

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

My Guide to Internet Dating

[Editor's note: Over the weekend I was searching my files, looking over past articles I have written, when I found a draft of a post I wrote offering up my opinion on internet dating for Christians. It was originally compiled in the fall of 2005, the year I began blogging, and some how I forgot about it, or sent it back to the draft file. None the less, I thought it would be a fun one to dust off and present to a fresher readership. Other than grammar edits (which were many!), I leave it pretty much as I wrote it.]

In recent years my wife and I have had many of our single friends ask us our opinion of internet dating. They are generally in their late twenties and into their thirties. When they ask us about what we think, their voices have a sense of desperation, because they believe they have reached the sunset of their marriageability. Internet dating is perceived as the final avenue where they can travel in an attempt to discover God's perfect will for their lives in finding a spouse to marry.

I have also noticed that when I am asked about internet dating, the inquirer will pose the question with a hushed voice. Sometimes the person prefaces the question by swearing me to secrecy as to the nature of our conversation. The reason for the clandestine discussion is because the person wishes to avoid looking unspiritual for even thinking about using the internet as a means to locate a potential spouse.

With the advent of the internet increasing communication between all sorts of folks, for some reason, there are Christians who think using it to find a spouse lacks the official blessing from God. It seems from my vantage point that the main objectors are those in the "courtship only" camp.

I can only assume my readers are familiar with the debate between the dating model and the courtship model of relationships. The dating model can be defined as a nice young man taking a nice young lady out to dinner, where as the courtship model is a nice young man taking a nice young lady's entire family out to dinner.

Courtship only proponents bathe their convictions in the terminology of covenant theology, God's sovereignty, and Reformed headship protocols. Those convictions are suppose to grant their courtship model an extra dose of spirituality so it is extra blessed by God. Hence, it is understood that any circumvention of the courtship approach to relationships places the believer under the glaring frown of the Lord.

This is especially true of internet dating, because a person is essentially going outside the immediate influence of the local church, and perhaps, even the knowledge of the parents, to find a spouse. My single friends have an affinity for the doctrine of God's sovereignty and all things Reformed, so this courtship only talk concerns them when they believe they are pursuing a relationship outside the bounds, as it were.

In order to dispel what I believe are crippling misconception about dating, let alone internet dating, I thought I would take a moment to offer up my thoughts about the whole internet dating thing.

Remember, as I move along, I stated I am offering "my thoughts." I never claim any absolutism with "my thoughts." In fact, I am open to rebuke and correction if you can defend yourself biblically.

Let's us begin with the basic question: Is dating someone from off the Internet a bad thing?

In other words, will the Holy Spirit depart from a Christian and she incur the displeasure of heaven, just because she applies on-line with a Christian internet dating service? Or a secular, worldly service for that matter?

To be completely honest, I believe the objections to meeting someone on the internet with the possibility to become a spouse are ridiculous. The internet and e-mail are just two different ways to communicate. There is really no difference between writing back and forth with some one via computer, and Jane Austen and her pals writing back and forth with each other 200 years ago.

Fifty years ago, if a guy tells his single buddy about a nice girl he and his wife met while on vacation in Maine, and he thinks his buddy ought to write to her, would it had also been unspiritual if they had struck up a pen-pal relationship? How exactly is God dishonored if the two finally meet and then get married all from the pen pal relationship?

This is basically what we have with internet dating, except it can be a lot quicker due to cable modems. Moreover, reputable Christian dating services can even help a person narrow down to specific compatible interests that helps to save a lot of chit-chat time.

Yet, just like all things pertaining to relationships, there is still an important need for any Christian to be discerning. Just because a believer may even be using the services of E-Harmony in order to meet someone doesn't mean a person's brain is checked in at the door.

Here is the collective wisdom my wife and I share with folks when they ask us our opinion about internet dating:

First the Pros:

A person can avoid a lot of the awkward pressure of the so-called first impressions. For girls, that means you don't have to have your make-up on all the time; for guys, you don't have to be aware of your shirt being untucked. You can just concentrate on getting to know the person.

A person is forced to express his or her thoughts, and essentially the heart. Writing back and forth with another person forces an individual to articulate him or her self in print. That in turn forces the person to choose words wisely and express his or her personality in a manner that doesn't necessarily come through in a one-on-one conversation.

Along the same lines, physical expectations take a back burner on the Internet. A guy is not immediately concerned with how a girl looks, nor is a girl immediately concerned with how a guy looks. What is right in front of them is the person's words, thoughts and expressions of the heart. You have to actually think about the other person, something often ignored in our visual society.

Internet dating can be a helpful tool for singles in rural areas. Those Christians in small, rural towns may have a more difficult time finding someone to even think about dating, let alone date. Perhaps they are the only 25 year old person in their immediate area. The internet is a helpful means to find a person around the same age who may hold similar convictions. Moreover, there may be a young man or woman who is the lone, sober minded marriageable person at the local church in a little, po-dunk town out in Kansas somewhere. The internet provides a forum to locate like-mind individuals with whom to communicate.

Now the Cons:

The risk of being lied to is greater. A person corresponding via e-mail doesn't have to divulge everything about his personal life. In fact, the person can make up stuff and the recipient wouldn't be the wiser. I would certainly advise to being alert at all times. Not paranoid, but discerning. For example, be aware of obvious contradictory statements a person may make over a course of an exchange and kindly ask him to explain his inconsistent statements.

You obviously do not have personal interaction with the individual. Though there is a plus to responding to a person's writing as I mentioned above; there is also much to be gained by seeing the person regularly that is not available via the internet alone. Knowing the individual personally is helpful in evaluating her character. Watching her minister and serve in Church; seeing how she will handle trials in the daily life, or how she treats others. Those simple things can speak volumes about a person that written words do not.

The risk of dashed expectations. There is a danger of imagining the person you are writing as being someone she is really not. A guy may get in his head a certain idea about what he hopes the girl he is writing will look like, and when he finally meets her and sees she's not what he imagined, then he is ready to move on. The reverse can be true about a woman having expectations about a man.

The Internet experience may direct a person away from quality friends who may in fact make a lovely spouse. It is easy for people to fall into the belief that the hunting will be better in another forest. One bit of advise my wife and I give our single friends is for them to seriously consider their immediate circle of friends. My wife and I were "good" friends before we married. Neither one of us considered the other as a potential spouse because of our individual allegiance to personal preference issues neither one of us were willing to relinquish. Thankfully, God helped us both with that.

A single girl may believe she has no other option but to seek a man through the internet totally out of her immediate circle of friends, because she is under the mistaken notion there are no good guys at her church. However, she is dismissing the pursuit of a young man who has been a faithful friend to her for years, and all because he doesn't meet some of her personal preference qualifications. He is merely perceived as the "big brother." Guys can also fall into this mentality about there being no good girls to marry, when in fact they have many great gal friends who would make wonderful wives.

Finally, in spite of the pros and cons, always be discerning. That should go with any relationship pursuit, not just internet dating. Specifically know your theological convictions and what convictions you are willing to die for.

What are your views of baptism? Salvation? the authority of God's Word? I could not marry a woman who doubted the sovereignty of God, or bickered with me regularly over the doctrines of election. I would have problems with a girl who had charismatic tendencies or a mystical view of God's will.

I am sure there could be plenty of other pros and cons and bits of wisdom to internet dating. I have the comments opened with the hope some of the readers will be kind enough to maybe add some of their own thoughts. It would also be nice to share any experiences a person may have had with internet dating (good or bad). I know one dear couple who met through the internet and it is, as they say, one of those matches made in heaven.

Labels:

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th













Friday, July 01, 2011

Gleanings from Daniel [23]

coinThe Testimony of Fulfilled Prophecy (11:1-35)

Chapter 11 records Daniel’s last vision.  It begins in chapter 10, where Daniel explains how he received God’s revelation in the third year of Darius/Cyrus the king of the Medo-Persians.  The revelation given to him caused Daniel great consternation that he began to pray for understanding of what it was he saw. 

Daniel sees a vision of a Christophany along with some angelic beings.  One of the beings, Gabriel, interpreted the vision for Daniel, speaking on Christ’s behalf. 

Chapter 11 begins the run down of this revelation and there are some important points to consider:

- The events described in chapter 11 are future for Daniel.  He will not live to see them fulfilled.  Most of these events don’t start playing out until 50 years or more into the future from Daniel’s time.

- The historical events described for us take place in the prophetic 69 weeks of 7 years (483 years).  The kings and kingdoms – utterly oblivious to God’s sovereign purposes – are fulfilling prophecy that has direct bearing upon Israel as a nation and the first advent of Jesus Christ when those 483 years come to a close.  Chapter 11:1-35 reveals what happens during the 483 years, whereas 11:36 and following reveals what happens during those last 7 years.

- Chapter 11 testifies to the supernatural nature of God’s Word.  This chapter is so detailed and accurate it is the reason why liberals want to push the date of its composition into the first century B.C.  They alleged that an unknown author writing as “Daniel” is looking back in history and writing his story as prophecy.  But in truth, the accuracy of this revelation, BEFORE any of the people and events occur, shows us how God’s divine hand is upon these events.  Chapter 11 should instill confidence in the trustworthiness of God’s Word.  These details, otherwise overlooked by historians, yet prophesied years before they happen, demonstrate the divine hand upon this revelation. Only God could know these exact details.

With those things in mind, let me turn our attention toward this chapter and five major figures prophesied.  All of these individuals and events play out around the nation of Israel after their return to their land.  I will consider the first four figures in this study, the fifth one in the next. 

I. Ahasuerus (11:2)

Verse 2 says four kings will come up.  The fourth one would attack Greece.  The kings that followed the current king, Darius/Cyrus.

  • Cambyses – Son of Cyrus/Darius
  • Smerdis – Usurper who is said to have tried to impersonate Cambyses.
  • Darius Hytaspes.
  • Ahasuerus Xerxes – This is the king in Esther.  Xerxes, the fourth king in Daniel’s prophecy, led an attack on Greece that failed miserably.

II. Alexander (11:3-9). 

The “mighty ruler” is Alexander the Great.  He is also mentioned in Daniel 8.  Though he came a long time after Xerxes died, his attacks on Greece were not forgotten and Alexander attacked Persia when he assumed control of his father’s kingdom.  It was as if God raised up Xerxes for the sole purpose of stirring up Alexander so as to fulfill prophecy. 

The text states no one in his family will succeed him and this happened as predicted.

His half-brother was mentally retarded, he had an illegitimate son, and another son was born after he died.   All of them were murdered so as not to allow a heir to reign.

Instead, four of Alexander’s generals came to power and divided his kingdom.

  • Cassander, who ruled Macedonia and Greece.
  • Lysinechus, ruled Thrace and Asia Minor.
  • Seleucus, ruled Syria.
  • Ptolemy, ruled Egypt. 

From this point on, the “kings of the north” – Seleucids – and “kings of the south” – Ptolemaic – dominate the prophecy.  Why would that be? Because Israel was right in between them and their fighting.

Initially, the Ptolemaic kingdom was powerful, but the Seleucids eventually gained more control.

There are some interesting historical details noted by Daniel in this prophecy for this time. 

Daniel states in 11:6 that after some time they will “join forces.”  Historically, this happened when Ptolemy II Philadelphius of Egypt gave his daughter, Bernice, to marry the Seleucid king, Antiochus II Theos.  He was married to Laodice I, but he divorced his wife to marry Bernice for this political arrangement.  After Ptolemy II died however, , Antiochus divorced Bernice and reunited with Laodice.  She in turn killed Antiochus, and had Bernice and her infant son killed, also. 

Bernice’s brother, Ptolemy III Euergetes attacked the heir of the Seleucid kingdom, Callinicus (11:7-8), plundering their temples.  One other detail Daniel notes is that Ptolemy III reigned longer than Callinicus.  Callinicus died in a riding accident and Ptolemy III reigned 6 more years. 

III. Antiochus the Great (11:9-20)

The sons of Callinicus wanted revenge for what happened earlier with Ptolemy III.  Selucius III and Antiochus III attacked Egypt (11:9).  Selucius was murdered and that left Antiochus alone to reign.  He was called “Great” because of his success.

Daniel continues providing unique, historical details.  In response to this earlier attack (11:11), Ptolemy IV Philopater launched an attack against Antiochus.  He was victorious against the Seleucid army.  Verse 12 says he casted down ten thousands, but he won’t prevail.  Even though Ptolemy had this victory, in the end, it didn’t strengthen him. 

Antiochus re-gathered his forces 13 years later and returned to fight them with the Macedonians, and with what Daniel describes in 11:14 as “robbers” or “covenant breakers” of Daniel’s people.  These were Jewish revolutionaries looking to get independence from the Ptolemaic kingdom, only to be attacked by the Seleucids they helped, “he shall stand in the glorious land.”  Working together, they beat back Ptolemy and his forces.

Then, in another interesting detail, Daniel notes that “he gave his daughter of women to destroy it” (11:17).  Feeling pressure from Rome to make peace with Egypt, Antiochus gave his daughter, Cleopatra (not the Marc Anthony “Cleopatra” played by Elizabeth Taylor in the movie of the same name. She lived 100 years later), to marry Ptolemy IV.  He intended her to be a spy for her father, but as Daniel notes, “she shall no stand with him, or be for him.”  Cleopatra loved her husband and wouldn’t do what her father wanted.  How else would Daniel have known that if it were not divinely revealed?

Then in verse 18, it says “he turned to the coastal lands.” Antiochus tried to take coastal areas in Greece, but this military move brought him in conflict with Rome, and he was defeated by their forces.  On his return to his home, Antiochus went to plunder the temple of Jupiter in order to pay the reparations required by Rome after his defeat.  Instead, he was killed in the process.

Rome required Seleucus IV Philopater to pay the tribute.  He did what all politicians in debt do, raised taxes to pay off the annual fine.  He sent his finance minister to Jerusalem to seize the temple treasures, only to have the minister assassinate him. 

IV. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (21-35)

We saw Antiochus in chapter 8.  Recall how he got his throne by bribes and political intrigue (11:21).  He deceitfully pretended to be a “Robin Hood” and redistributed wealth to the weaker communities.  But it was all a play to get more power.  As stated in verse 23-26, he was able to defeat Egypt by creating a league with Ptolemy VI against his rival Ptolemy VII.  When Antiochus invaded Egypt in 168 BC, the two Ptolemies and the Romans helped defeat Antiochus and drive him out.  It was after this that he returned to the “glorious land”  and began persecuting the Jews (11:28).  Daniel notes in 11:35 that this persecution is an “appointed time.”  It had a purpose: To refine, purify, and make them white.  In a manner of speaking, drive Israel to the true God, which is exactly what happened.  See commentary on Chapter 8

Labels: