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THE LORD GLORIFIED IN DANIEL, THEN AND NOW
There is a glory past man to which he is being led:
and it is not in his physical wings,
though these are symbolic,
but in the spiritual heights given to him who when waiting on the Lord,
soars like the eagle
in the power and presence of the Lord of glory (Isaiah 40:26ff.).
THE CRITICAL MASS
The work of 'critics' whose bread and butter often seems to be the assault on the written word of God, or on the living Word, to change both or either at will, caprice or feeling, intuition or intimation, desire or lust, thought or thrust, like the life of the gendarmes in Gilbert and Sullivan opera: it is not an easy one.
It is wrong headed, wrong hearted, wrongly devised, unsustainable and deviant from the integrity of the truth. It is to deal in electricity, but have no current, to be with brush at the seaside, but have no canvas, to be in traffic, delayed and waiting, but to have no outlet, only the police and the fumes.
We have often considered
these perquisites of infidelity to the word of God, but today our thought goes
to an ancient prophet, Daniel*1,
and a relatively recent occurrence, noted in the last chapter as follows:
· The learned assail the Bible with church salaries secured, with witless enthusiasm and as in the author's own case on one celebrated and costly occasion, it was with insensate fury that he was attacked as one who stood firm for Biblical truth and displayed on challenge, reason in its defence; for the critic's frustration drives him, and his own impotence is his means of conflagration!
There is however no answer to the truth. The position has not changed since it prevailed on that occasion. Both intelligence and learning are irrelevant, if this form of assault on the word of God, its faithful exponents or both, is what you are doing. There is no answer when it is sought where it is not to be found.
As to this occurrence, it was in the early seminary life of the author of this work, and the fastidious assault forces were at work. Knowing the Lord and His word, and aware of His infinite integrity and that of His word, one found it manifest there was work to be done, in testimony. The challenge was clear.
What however was the butt of the prolonged attack on the Bible ?
The book in view was that of Daniel. The effort long made, in vain, by liberals to remove its divinely directed wonders from view, by useless and vain rhetoric, never established, always contrary to the evidence of the text, was in vogue at this time, if a little antiquated. Still, it served. The particular attack made at that time was not on the date predicted for the Messiah's death in Daniel 9:24ff., since that is secure beyond any effort whatsoever (cf. SMR pp. 886ff., and Biblical Blessings Ch. 6).
Rather it was a blustering endeavour to equate the Ch. 8 reference, explicitly to the third Empire, that of the Medes and Persians (Daniel 8:20), to the Ch. 7 reference to the fourth Empire*1A. Now the vision of Ch. 8 moves quite openly to the Medes and Persians' day, and then on (8:21) to the 'Grecian' day, when Alexander the Great moved to take the imperial pre-eminence, and at his early death in the thirties, his kingdom was cut into four, as in 8:22. These after quite a time ("in the latter time of their kingdom"), there was an astounding impudence against the Lord:
"when the transgressors have reached their fulness" - not uncommon in human affairs, and a specialty of our generation as noted in Answers to Questions Ch. 5 and SMR Ch. 8), "a king shall arise".
Fierce are his features, sinister his schemes, great is his power and terrible are his destructions. Not at all satisfied with such a curriculm vitae, "he shall exalt himself in his heart ... " and as if this rule for a stiff fall were not enough,
"He shall even rise against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand" -dying as a result of sickness. Reputedly, epilepsy or apoplexy, as Schaff-Herzog's Encyclopedia advises us, in fulfilment of the prophecy; and indeed, the report there given is that, with empty treasury resulting from grandiose schemes for further Hellenism, possibly merely as a means to unify his empire and convert the Jews in particular, he sought wealth in war, but here barely escaped with his life from a looting expediture involving temple robbery.
How these earthly air-breathers (Isaiah 2:22) in their ludicrous pomposities against God or His word, devious or obdurate, are cut down, and how the word of God simply prevails! The death both of Hitler and Stalin appears to have been likewise wholly ignominious.
The point for the moment to note, however, is that one of his methods was this: "though cunning he shall cause deceit to propose under his rule". It is then that the exaltation syndrome really sets in, like the storms that gather from the sea.
His place is noted in the opening vision on this topic in Daniel 8:8ff., in the following way. The two-horned ram of Media and Persia's empire, was wrecked by the enormously ferocious goat of one horn, which smashed the two: as above, Alexander's world empire. It was indeed an amazingly fast moving empire, young Alexander having apparently heard in Egypt from some soothsayer, in a religious setting, words to set his heart on fire with glory and ambition; he moved as one possessed and obsessed: in both ways to his destruction, but not before his whirl-wind world tour took him in conquest to India.
Thus, as it is written of this figure, "a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground, and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes". Greece as it is expressly identified to be, was and is to the west of Israel.
Smashing the two horns of his adversary, he won, and grew eminent in world power; and in history, Alexander did just such a thing. "There was no power in the ram to withstand him" (Daniel 8:7), and indeed poor Darius of the Median Empire tried for peace, but was brushed aside in the calamitous power of Alexander who could not be enticed, but must win, win and win, without his feet touching the ground: so that he drove on his poor army, ever faithful as he proceeded almost as if inspired, until he came to his end, like Hitler after the debacle of Stalingrad, like Macbeth after interviewing the witches: having received a wound and still feasting, coming to an early death following the stiff resistance met in India.
The large single horn of the poor silly goat - a man so great and soon so small, however, was broken. Alexander died as weak flesh in a moment. Out of this horn came four, we read.
These were the 4 residual divisions arising from his death, as men of power took office to take each a section of the enormous booty of such a world power: divide and separate.
Now comes out immediate point of interest. OUT OF this fourfold residue of the great single horn "came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south". Thus in Syria was Antiochus Epiphanes, famed for his cunning, devious political ploys, Hellenising the Greeks, inflaming some Jews to the task, violating the temple, trying to seduce and delude a proud people. It was his excesses which were in time to lead on to the marvellous victories of the Maccabees, written up in the books of the Maccabees, and notable in world history: here the Jews had their deliverance.
Meanwhile, back to our "little horn": there he is exposed, clear in history, surrounded with tissue, clear as a cancer, its location found. That is the situation as prophetically depicted in Daniel 8.
Now to Daniel 7. Here there is again an explicit series of Empires, shown in their sequence. Here however the first being Babylon, the second naturally the Medes and Persians, the third the Grecian one, we come to the FOURTH. This is a divergence from Daniel 8 where the third empire is pursued in the PIECES of the ONE horn, which are then considered relative to just ONE of THESE, whose exploits are detailed in eloquent and incisive fashion.
In this case, however, in Daniel 7, there is a fourth empire, complete and separate from the other three, just as each of the others is separate from its neighbours. There is no arising, no residue, no resultant as in Ch. 8. The first, the lion is Babylon, the place of residence of captive Daniel (as in Daniel 2, where this is noted as the head of gold - 2:37, as Daniel explained, in a vertical image in the form of a man).
The next empire, the second, is like a bear, raised on its side, with three ribs, and as shown in SMR pp. 887ff., this is seen as Lydia, Egypt and Babylon, which were taken as Babylon fell. The third empire, symbolised by a panther (Daniel 8:6ff.), or leopard, had "on its back, four wings of a bird". Indeed, "the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it." We are now back in the foursome, the components of the kingdom that split with the early death of Alexander, just as in Daniel 8 where the same four components are revealed, with the one large horn, broken into four. The panther too indicates the speed already considered, of Alexander's work.
Now in Daniel 7, we find:
There is in Ch. 8 here a specific number of days, 2300*1B, during which the little horn is to blaspheme in the temple, and the event is terminated in obscurity. Here however, not only is it the fourth empire, not a residue of the third, not only is it wholly different from the rest, far removed from anything like continuity and partial areas of what went before, expressly and emphatically, but the matter ends history before the Messiah's rule. Indeed, in Daniel 9:24-27, in the famous 70 sevens prophecy, which gives the date of the Messiah's death on earth, there is specified a period as we note in SMR pp. 886 ff., and Biblical Blessings Ch. 6, an extended duration of some 483 years after the rebuilding of the wall program which as there may be seen, is set in the 5th century B.C..
Even there, in what in our system, is the 1st century A.D., the domain of evil is not 2300 days but 3 and one half times (Daniel 7:25), in the 70 sevens prophecy, interpretable here as three and one half years, or in round numbers (as in Revelation 11) 1260 days. Capriciously double it to 2520 and it still does not 'serve', being displaced in time, contrary in extent and unmanipulable in relevance. The time of the end is wholly other from Daniel 8's contribution for the region of the Jews.
stretches far beyond Antiochus, just as the Empire is statedly wholly different.
It arises NOT from the relics of the preceding empire, but in its own authentic
individuality: it reaches expressly to the end of the entire Jew-Gentile
age to the coming of the King whose kingdom shall not end. Moreover the
4th kingdom, as in Daniel 2's vertical imagery, in the form of a statue
of a man, has ten toes, and is not a relic of 4; and its characteristics,
which are its own, are their spelled out, in terms of being partly strong
and partly broken.
THE SIMPLE FACTS
Very well. These are the simple facts. Three times the sequence of empires is provided in the predictive prophecies of Daniel, starting with the initial one as Babylon. In Daniel 8, the most intimate detail enables highly precise tracing of the action, with certitude and historical uniqueness. No mention is begun or in the slightest degree mentioned, of the end of the Age. Rather we are given a detailed arithmetical account of the times of the subjugation of Israel to appalling blasphemy. Not at all is it, as in Daniel 7, a world phenomenon, but a regional one, namely, that of ONE of the four kingdoms derived from the preceding world power. The terminus ad quem, the point to which it proceeds, is deliverance from this evil. In Daniel 7 however the point is the purging of the entire earth as the Son of Man takes delivery, like a customer taking his new car from the agent, of all races and peoples.
The reader may now wish to consult Biblical Blessings Ch. 6, to obtain a short review of the situation in Daniel in the matter of the TWO LITTLE HORNS: the one in the regional situation, as in Daniel 8, and the one in the world situation, as in Daniel 7. The one in Daniel 8 is vaunting, deceitful and pompous; the one in Daniel 7 is "making war against the saints and prevailing against them" (Daniel 7:21 - as in II Thessalonians 2), but he proceeds "until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favour of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom" (Daniel 7:22).
This is the world scene, the world kingdom when as Revelation 11 puts it, "the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever" (11:15).
In the one case, the little horn is stripped and beaten and the regional blasphemy is cleared. In the other, the little horn expands and wins, but is met by God Himself. In the one, the emphasis is on the clearing of the temple blasphemy (Antiochus put an evil image in the Jewish temple) and the issuance is the deliverance of that nation. In the other, the emphasis is on the success of the little horn on the world stage, so that ONLY GOD can and does clear him out, with his imperial world dominion defeated. In the one, the end is inconspicuous, in the other, most conspicuous.
What then may be said of this confusion as presented to the seminaries by this EXPLICITLY Bible assailing 'critic' who said, and indeed who dared to say: if you can still believe the book of Daniel, 'where is your intellectual integrity' ?
He had sought to unify the little horns, the prophecy of Daniel 7 and 8, as expounded above. In this way, confusion and folly results, so that he can talk of Daniel as 'jockeying for position' and other blasphemous follies, as if the prophet were trying to deceive people into being courageous so that they would fight the better (for their nation)! It was made to appear a human contrivance, not a divine gift.
In fact, however, instead of the confused rhetoric which would fuse the divergent, unite the disparate, meld the contradistinct, ignore the precision of the prophet, and then seek to generalise the folly into defamation against the book and hence the author, and hence, whatever the intention, against the author back of it, which is God, which is to be called blasphemy: there is simply the relevant issue, that this is contrary to fact. The prophet wrote differently, specified differently, his words being fulfilled utterly, just as was the long range prediction of the death date of the Messiah, as demonstrated in SMR, noted above.
IF Daniel were guilty of such errors as would result, how was it accepted ? If it was not, why is it criticised ? Such points were latent in the war which waged as the teacher acted as if to intimidate the class, with this aspersion both on the integrity of the book of Daniel, and that of each of the students. This student would not tolerate this aspersion on the word of God, since it was factually in error, and in internally inconsistent. How would the WRONG times be specified, if this is to be an 'interpretation', for in the case of Daniel 8 it is 2300 days of evil, in that of Daniel 7, some 3 and one half years. These are nowhere near the same.
In other words, to make this sort of attack, you must assume a lack of simple grade 5 arithmetic on the part of the writer. However, it is more normal in INTERPRETING a document, to take what it says as the DATA, and THEN see how it works out. When this is done, it works perfectly, so that it becomes the grade 5 arithmetic which would need to be marked down in the critic, for failing to SEE that it is so, and that this fits with the other differentiae between Daniel 7 and 8, which are continually different in their basic structure..
But it is not only the
the wrong person has the
As interpretation goes, this assuredly is not the seventh heaven!
To be sure, when such things as these are presented to a critic, he has nowhere to go. Fury is one outlet, and so it was. The author was NEVER answered; and no reason was EVER given by ANYONE to these things! The only result was loss of place (except an apology should be given: something which would have countered the truth as presented, and received this blasphemy as acceptable, so making one an accomplice in such a case), a removal of student funding, of good name, and the pursuit even across to another nation, it appears, to further bring evil on the man who dared to follow Daniel in this: that confrontation when express and impudent against the word of God, is to be met at any cost!
There are standards, divine ones, and they must be kept, not in slovenly disregard of deity, accommodated to whatever the ruling gusto of intemperate culture irrationally wishes, as it seeks to prey on the word of God, and influences many (just as Antiochus Epiphanes did!). Leave the word of God written, and such are your vulnerabilities, and when you teach, such is your loss.
The joy of the Lord however was great in these things (I Peter 4:14ff.), though the cost is always something to be paid! Some are sent to new fields, but others must confront old ones, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It is all required, and with the Lord, it is not an option to dispose of oneself, but to be disposed as He will (cf. Ezekiel 2:3-10, 3:4-6). Furthermore, to do His pleasure is a pleasure, since His wonder is profound, His beauty of holiness without counterpart and His truth stands forever.
As to the concept of such a mission, at some time, then, let us hear this word of Ezekiel:
us hear this word of Ezekiel:
"Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language whose words you cannot understand. Surely had I sent you to them, they would have listened. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me, for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. Behold I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads" - from 3:4-8.The effort to remove the 4th kingdom final beast to the 3rd kingdom interim, regional beast, the finale to the antics of Syrian Antiochus Epiphanes was merely symptomatic of the whole liberal misalignment of the word of God, in the interests of excluding prediction. Indeed, following this exposure UNDER CHALLENGE TO DO SO, of the Old Testament teacher, one had the sober duty to expose the New Testament one, who had created a new Christ, one who COULD NOT KNOW He would rise from the dead in 3 days (even though this had already been predicted - see SMR Ch. 6!).
Pointing out the entire review and revision, indeed transcendent mutation of Holy Writ which would be involved, the predictions of Zechariah, David, Isaiah, Micah being removed from permissibility, since if the SON OF GOD could not know, then how much LESS could mere men! one made the point. What warrant was there for such a reduction in such grand fashion, and unguarded, of the Old Testament statements, so superbly verified in the New, and statedly so in its text! If the imaginary new Bible to be constructed were to be received, then the actual one would be WRONG. That was the tenor of the challenge which was made.
But it is necessary to think … Wholly unwarranted and unsupported, the new thing however would be WRONG if the Bible were right. Where then lay the evidence ? Was this sudden claim, based on nothing that had been sustained, to be found acceptable against the word of God, itself quietly repelling every evil imputation for millenia, and astounding many for the same period, with its ineradicable predictions ?
That the mere opinions of a man could be set against the entire authority and millenially tested text of the Bible, as if all things received, checked, verified, and verifiable were nothing, and the word untested, unverified and contrary to masses of fulfilments were right, it would of course be the very nadir of scientific method and the evasion of all logic.
It was the next day that the author was shown the door, in the fury of the Old Testament response, when the false teaching was exposed. The Staff efforts were thereby consistent and joint, and antithehtical to the Bible and the faith.
In mitigation, it might be put that there was simply NO ANSWER to the response of one student to the teacher challenging the intellectual integrity of ALL the students and the moral integrity of the book of Daniel; and that is why one an answer was NEVER GIVEN to the author, no, not then or at any other time, not by this party or partisan or that: just silence on the issue. This is true, but it adds to rather than mitiagating the folly of a church for suffering such false teaching, contrary to reason, revelation and rightreousness, till it was deemed fit by the Lord to expose it by a STUDENT! (as in Psalm 8:2)!
If there was necessity for this student to answer such a challenge to honesty and truth, including by inference that of the author of the Bible, so was there power given him to do so (cf. Luke 10:19, 21:15); and after this, to live*2 (as provided by divine promise in II Peter 1:2ff.).
It was morally necessary, a required function of faithfulness, a spiritual entailment: for the work and word of God is pure. One was required to do this, or else to become an auditory accessory to this assault on the word of God.
In overturning the teachings made, thus gravely and even horrendously in error and thrust, in the midst of this slur put on the student body and on the Bible, the latter was scorned with a contempt as fierce and palpable as was its abuse in the way it was outrageously calumniated in errant method: this is a sad but necessary reflection. What can we learn from this revealing episode is this: that the predictive power of Daniel is God's, none other being capable of a tiny part of it, and no fault being able to be found with it. Indeed, refer to SMR pp. 1082ff., at *4, further on recent developments, merely confirmatory*1 of what logic already showed.
Many years later, after the Lord had delivered the author, both abroad in seminary and Presbytery, and at home in the General Assembly, the Church mourned its folly in being in the wilderness of error for 40 years. It did not, alas, learn enough, and continues if less astray, still without the necessary fidelity to the word of God. Jeremiah's word for it may be applicable: "slightly healed" - they have slightly healed the hurt of the daughter of my people. Jeremiah's word for it may be applicable: "slightly healed" - they have slightly healed the hurt of the daughter of my people (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11).
The error made in the teaching about the prophecy of Daniel, which had to be exposed: it was a thing gross and simple, an obvious error, extensively contradictory of the text, so that as an 'interpretation', it is bizarre, even ludicrous. It does not do the job of interpretation as one is supposed to do with any document. It ignores the text, as a child can ignore the undeseired idcta of a parent. Speaking of one clear Biblical view, in expression of just such an apparent animus, the teacher indicated this: that though there was no answer to be found in any other known view,
We shall NEVER return to the view which the Bible enunciated on the point in hand.
This was declared with the force and fervour that any Palestinian jihad operator might feel proud of: in this, that it was unthinkable, detestable and a thing to be destroyed, this biblical view.
And that ? in a seminary ? contrary to the Bible, to the words of Christ (Matthew 5:17ff., 7:21ff.), to the standard of the Church, to the force of evidence, to the necessities of logic.
When therefore one reads II Timothy 3 and II Peter 2 and such places showing with Matthew 24,
The Reformation has come; indeed how long and through how many it came, from the blessed Waldensians to Huss, to Luther, Calvin, Knox and the big three, Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, and long before that, in the 14th century, through that star of the reformation, Wyclif; and many were the assaults of the devil, and repulses, before it.
Indeed, it came through thousands; and wonders of faith, defiance and strength in that spiritual redoubt, Jesus Christ, were wrought by many who suffered long, in calumniation, fierce outcries of degradation, in fires and confiscation of goods, in patience and in power. The fire of faith, amid purgings, continues and has continued, in Russia, in China and many places, such as Albania where efforts were determinedly made positively to extinguish the church - and how the land has suffered, as has North Korea where not dissimilar madness has made the torture of souls the work of the State, as it seeks to excise God.
Great have been the efforts and wonders of testimony have been made from the first lights of the Reformation till this day, yes and before with the madness of some Roman emperors, making them diligent to overthrow what overthrew Rome, before its child, the Holy Roman Empire (and what was ever less holy!), took up the evil duties, like a changing of the guard.
However, now there is betrayal of such reforms, as often there has been. Just as the great reforming King Josiah of Judah purged and purified, restored good and removed evil in the most thorough manner, so did his successors return to their vomit, till soon the land was captured in consequence (II Kings 23-25).
The Lutheran and Anglican bodies, as we have seen in detail*3, are moving back towards Rome in lavish style, while
Now the very last stage has come. Jerusalem, the unique feature, is a city prophetically fulfilled in this, that it has seen the end of Gentile dominion, being back under the dominion of the Jewish people; and the rest is fitting into place like a 5000 piece jig-saw set. These episodes, as above, not merely then illustrate the fury and force of the assaults WITHIN formerly great and noble churches (and the Lutheran and Anglican case, even the Uniting, have been noted without any preferability, as also many Pentecostal ones*3); but they show the extent and audacity of it all.
Reform has been deformed; cure of cancer, as at the reformation is increasingly leading to secondary and fatal ones. Many historic bodies remain intact, but not in any social power, any more. Betrayals are proceeding apace. We move towards the case of Revelation 11 (cf. Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 5).
The church at the last, as Daniel 12, already noted, shows, is one with the clear dynamic of purification and being made white! It is however as Revelation 11 equally shows, with 12:11-12, also one of powerful and irrefutable testimony (cf. Luke 21:15):
EXAMPLES CAN HAVE EXEMPLARY EDIFICATION
This challenge in student days, then, has merely given one occasion to show, in the Lord's power and grace, that the Bible under challenge is like anything perfect: the more you look, and the more critically you examine, like an Agricultural Show judge pondering which beast is best, the more you find of perfections and wonders. The Bible wipes out criticism like the words of a naughty child, has done so for centuries and millenia, stands when all else falls, and lifts when nothing is left to life the lost, for it is the diction of God Almighty and backed by His power.
No wonder, then, that the Gospel, as Paul declares in Romans 1, is the power of God to salvation!
The power of God makes atomic power seem like the hand of a new born babe by comparison; for that is easily ruined, while this constructs,however mighty the work required. The nature of national and domestic proceedings and of the Messiah is put with critical intensity, and His and the preceding prophetic words (SMR Chs. 8 - 9) work history into shape like the fluent hands of a pastry cook, making culinary marvels. The death date of the Messiah is only the arithmetical parallel to the moral, spiritual and sacrificial detail and depth provided. It is all perfect in its intimations, fulsome in its exposures, yet shrouded in a sovereign majesty, both appealing in its wonder and compassionate in its outreach which knows no parallel.
In particular, we can learn from this seminary episode, another feature. Just as the little horn of the terminal kingdom has a similar name to that of the earlier Jewish epoch, so the sketching of his personal characteristics and methods of gaining and using power, may have something to teach regarding the ways of the final one. There is no warrant for anything approaching identity, but there is in the comparison of the trailer and the film, of the approach in the Jewish era and that in the Gentile termination of history as we know it, a lesson to be learned.
The same SPIRIT is back of
both little horns; the same DEFEAT is present in both epochs, for the Jew
as for the Gentile. The same pomposity and personal glorification is present
in both. It is far from impossible therefore that the name being similar,
the character will not be grossly diverse; and that the "man
of sin", that cancer of humanity which is to seek to devour like
a rodent ulcer, will come in subtly, move in aligning parts of the opposition
against other ones, and seek to make a move which some cannot resist, thus
divorcing them from their brothers, and so making a split house to divide
and conquer; that cunning will be the modus operandi, and deep scheming
procedures, not at all what they might appear.
... AND INSTRUCTIVE OUTCOMES FROM THE WORD OF GOD
Thus the parallel little horn of Daniel 7, gives some historical WARNING as the first one of the breed; for the Jewish lesson for a region, is now applicable to ALL the world: the preliminary speaks to the consummation, and we are wisely advised as we move from the one who simply went down in disgrace to the one which is to be destoryed by the intense and manifest power of God, leading into the reign of the Lrod on the earth, as in Micah 34, Isaiah 2, 65, Psalm 72, Revelation 20, 5:10, I Thessalonians 3:13, Zechariah 14:5ff..
Take nothing for granted,
and consider what you do, indTake nothing for granted, and
consider what you do, indeed, "Watch and pray" and be careful, seeking and waiting for the Lord, trusting in Him alone (Psalm 72:18, 2:12, 4:8, 143:8, 71:16, Isaiah 26:13, Proverbs 3:5); for the things that are superficial will be found out, and the things that are formal will be shown to lack function, for ONLY the power of the Lord is sufficient protection against these satanic assaults to come (Hebrews 9:28, I John 3:1-3, Matthew 45ff.).
Do not fear: for if the Lord is yours, nothing else can prevail (I John 2:14, 3:8, 4:4, Hebrews 2:14-15, Isaiah 55:1-3); but do not be weak, for the time to be bold as a lion is NOW. As Paul put it, in Philippians 1:20-21 ...
Efforts to manipulate human
desires, opinions, hope
in order to gain his own power;
rapid rise as this division is shrewdly set or even moulded (as if to order) against that,
worldly appeal to power and cultural mandates, of various imagined kinds,
progressive modes from audacious
Not into the mists of obscurity (Daniel 8), but into the fire of Christ (Daniel 7:26, II Thessalonians 1:7-9) is this menace to come, with the spiritual overthow in public view by the advent of the Lord to adorn the earth before it passes, and comes to its end as is its final terminus (II Peter 3:10ff. , Revelation 20:11ff., Isaiah 51:6).
- disregard of the will of many to
- brute blasphemy in the name of all:
- subtlety mingled with alienating
- outbursts of power clad
- in double-tongued twistiness;
- growth in pretension from a prodigy of wily wilfulness
- to confusion of himself with God.
And that, it biblically starts
an era so like the beginning of it all, that the tireless failure of the
wicked, ever at heart unable to be thankful to God, which in the end is
like a new Eve-work. A last flutter of inebriated excitement in transgression
darkens the furrowed brow of some of the denizens of the millenium. In
fact, Rev. 20:7-10, shows as does Isaiah 26:10, that even in the
land of uprightness, the evil will not rejoice.
"Let grace be shown to wicked,This renegacy in the midst of majesty, equity and wonder, is the testimony, if anything more were needed, to the inveterate malice which grows like a hard-working carcinogen in its cancerous outcomes, in the hearts that will not repent, or even relent, but are ever on the road for human glory (as from Genesis 11 so early), their own individual glory, or both.
Yet he will not learn righteousness:
In the land of uprightness, he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the LORD."
That it is a 'glory' contrary
to fact, a mere grasp for power over what they did not make and cannot
make, far less control, does nothing to excuse it; but without repentance,
it merely relegates it to the inescapable future into which its incorrigible
past seems continually lusting to mature, and which an always
illusory pseudo-majestic present, merely adumbrates. Such is the
way of prefabricated glory, formed in the factories of sin, designed in
the dynamics of devilry and erected in the wastelands of this world, which
glitter with garbage, as if these were an adornment. Thus there the devil
joins the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 20:10) and all whose lot is
so designated, in their eternal obduracy (Mark 9, Matthew 13:30, Hebrews
10:29-31, John 3:36).
But reflect also on this: that the garbage collection, it is not for ever.
The battle, it does end. The exhibition of what is reality in all hearts, it comes to its final examination. The cloth of the clothing of Christ is impermeable (Isaiah 61:10, II Cor. 5:17-21), and there is nothing to fear; there is joy in the service of the Lord, for HE IS TRUTH, and nothing can ever overshadow it: it never tires or is lost. What it shows in contest, it exhibits in judgment.
Life eternal is its sanction,
and gift (Romans 6:23, John 10:10, 4:14, 6:40, 5:24), and love is its wonder
and pulse (I Cor. 13, I John 4:7ff.); while it breathes the air of purity
without contaminant and is led by gentle waters in peace (Revelation 7:15ff.,
, 21:3-4,17). God, He is like that.
His people receive this. His foes in the end, when all mercy and kindness, all compassion and provision, all demonstration, logical, historical, in weakness on the cross, in power in the reign to come, when all wonder and every beauty is made clear, and deemed contemptible, if not in so many words, then in rejection: they receive but what they insist on having. His people receive what they are most pleased to gain, for God is an infinite reward, and did not Abraham, from near the first have it ...
"I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward" (Genesis15:1).
The reader may here find it profitable to consider a brief review concerning
aspects of Daniel in SMR pp. 1082 ff.. For convenience this is added here.
*4 DANIEL AS A DOCUMENT*1A
Daniel is of course one more prophetic reference to the Messiah in His humiliation, which (9:26) corresponds with Jesus Christ whom the Jews reject as a nation; whereas the Book of Daniel is Jewish scripture. We may be sure they did not invent it in order to forward the acceptance of the Messiah whom they rejected! In turn, Christ, Matthew, refers to Daniel the prophet, and as Dead Sea Scrolls show, the Daniel text before Jesus Christ, God-as-man, has strong correlation with our own.
The Dead Sea Scroll date for the literature in one Daniel segment is around 120 B.C. - that is, the date of the COPYING of this particular MSS, according to Dupont-Somner in Aperçus Preliminaires: at the latest. This is based on paleography. R. Laird Harris, in The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Vol. III, p. 296 notes that F.L. Cross, Professor at Harvard, sees a script from the Dead Sea material7 of Daniel not later than second century B.C.. R. K. Harrison in his Introduction to the Old Testament, refers on p. 1118 to the copies and fragments of Daniel at Qumran and declares:
''In the interests of objectivity it should be noted in passing that the Persian terms found in Daniel are specifically Old Persian words, that is to say, occurring within the history of the language to about 300 B.C..'' (Op. cit. p. 1126.)
They fit before that, then.
Harrison further points out that even a second century dating for Daniel is: absolutely precluded by the evidence from Qumran, partly because there are no indications whatever that the sectaries compiled any of the Biblical manuscripts recovered from the site, and partly because there would, in the latter event, have been insufficient time for Maccabean compositions to be circulated, venerated, and accepted as canonical Scripture by a Maccabean sect.
Earlier therefore is the time for Daniel, evidentially.
Professor Gleason Archer in his Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, in comparing the Daniel exhibits with those dated for the second century B.C., makes this note:
Any fair-minded investigator when faced with such an overwhelming body of objective data pointing to the temporal interval of centuries between the two bodies of literature must conclude that a second-century date for the book of Daniel is completely out of the question... The complete absence of Greek loan-words, apart from musical instruments of international currency... points unmistakably to a time of composition prior to the Alexandrian conquest.
He continues that only a 'dogma-ridden obscurantist can adhere' to so late a date as second century B.C., and even he 'must henceforth surrender all claim to intellectual respectability.'
Since all the parties move in the B.C. era for the writing of the MSS of Daniel, discovered at Qumran, and we are faced with hundreds of years prior to Christ's death, it becomes an academic exercise of great interest, but no necessity for our work to pursue it further. Suffice to say that it is interesting to gain B.C. writings of Daniel nowadays in such volume, used so widely in that period. This is precisely what one would EXPECT, from a birth date for the book of Daniel, at the time stated within it, for Daniel the prophet.
Daniel is really an object lesson in prejudice: the number of aborted criticisms of it, that are interred with recent excavations of archeology, is truly startling. The book stands in all its untouchable dignity, sharply verified. The Jews did not make up a scripture of which none knew, and solemnly hoodwink the populace, scuttle their souls or blaspheme God for the purposes of religion. Daniel, like all prophets, had to make the grade on predictions (Deuteronomy 18). He has done so admirably, in a fashion far more spectacular in kind, than is the U.S. landing on the moon: for He predicted the date of the death, in human form, of that divinity who should rule over all nations for ever... hundreds of years before it happened.
As we see, his predictions from long before Christ's advent, concerning His death, represent perhaps the greatest detailed falsifiable prediction of all history, to the days of Christ... and THAT, says the examiner, should do! (See Ch. 9 supra, The Daniel File - esp. pp. 946, 940, 896-898.)
Two more points remain. The intemperate and reckless attacks made on this book, while information was less in archeology, is one more evidence of the truth of the scriptural precision of the analysis of men in Romans 1:19-21. Thus this negative anti-Biblical fury, now in vain, verifies the Bible. Professor Archer's language above, reflects the reluctance to cease the attack on the part the contra-Daniel assault force, which he, doubtless from experience, conceives. The author of this present work, indeed as a student, when - under express professorial challenge - duly, rationally and successfully maintaining the integrity of the book of Daniel, inherited revealing spectacles of fury and fabrication instead of logical answer.
This evil was later justly to be deplored by a Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, even my reinstatement serving to stress the surging outrage. It certainly was revealing, showing the state of the Church, lax for decades in its seminary self-discipline, inclining to itching ears and slack compromise, gratuitous assault on the word of God, enough to bring death running towards any church (cf. Revelation 2:22-23).
In view of such assaults on it, how rock-like once more is the word of God shown to be. Oil of vitriol, indeed rancorous aqua regia is poured on it without effect. It just stays. In fact, Jeremiah 23:29 indeed shows that the word of God will 'BREAK ROCK'. It does.Is not my word like a fire ? says the Lord; and like a hammer
that breaks the rock in pieces.
For further information on the episode and its theological environment, see Biblical Blessings Ch. 11. For more ont he fourth empire see SMR pp. 886ff..
In fact, as J. Barton Payne points out in his outstanding Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, the 2300 days relate, in their biblically defined prophetic setting with Antiochus for Daniel 8, in the following type of way. Lysimachus, brother of corrupt high-priest Menelaus, stole sacred vessels in the Temple, in mid-171. This was no small thing, financially or theologically!
Before that episode, Antiochus removed the faithful high priest Onias from office, apparently in view of a bribe from Jason, who however was himself replaced (Keil op.cit. p. 506), in favour of Menalaus, for a bigger bribe. These interventions, disastrous in kind and atmosphere, leading to systematic evils of robbery of truth and gold alike, would appear the beginning of the period defined in Daniel 9:13.
What is that period ? It has varied and multiple qualities. It includes the removal of the sacrifice, the abomination of desolation, the idol, and "the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot". The 'host' may well refer to the syncretisers, following Antiochus who with the symbols and the theft, the replacement of the high priest and the pollution of the whole system, made one horrible whole. The START of this system is in the start of its components, when this is sufficiently decisive. It is historically in the year 171 that the theft occurred, and before that the deposition of Onias. The requirement of the 2300 days going back from the cleansing of the Temple Dec. 25, 165, takes one to 171 B.C.. The removal of the sacred symbols, by theft, the invasion of the Temple in this systematic way, may well be the primary date.
Historically, as Keil affirms, this approach fits. It has also a tutelary aspect. It is not merely the imposition of the idol of Zeus that marks the abomination. What is abominable is the seduction of the system into foreign, alien thought patterns and motives, not only with false leaders, but their introduction of false actions, destroying the very system, abstracting its symbolic utensils, paganising it with pretence.
Thus in modern times, it is not only the introduction of false professors per se; it is not only the lure of 'gold' for some of them (as in II Peter 2), but it the use of these evil grafts to CHANGE the word of God, which is crucial. This takes a little time, as they with flattery and seditious pretences, proceed on their way by woeful interpretations, in fact repudiations. They could not change the law in the time of Menelaus, and alien teaching had much to fight against. They could however and did change the Temple worship. This being a formally constrained and precisely measured system of instruction, constituted abomination. This is the primary focus in the text of Daniel at this point.
Its desolation came in stages, starting with the purely personal, but culminating in the double issue, first the defilement of the usages, in the removal of the means, and then the addition of the new 'god', the new teaching on the 'ends', or purposes of worship.
The vision is concerning the sacrifices, the sanctuary and the host, and the question heard by Daniel, is this: How long is the vision of THESE THINGS, to be ? The answer thus covers what these things had in historical value, how long this and that were to be found extant. It starts with the decisive genesis that mocked the system, and that, it was manifest in the abuse of position which led to the abuse of the working of the sanctuary.
This commenced the systematic descration of the Temple, not merely removing its implements but doing so with appallingly and petty secular motives, to act as if to subjugate the holy to the profane. It was not until Dec. 25 165 BC, that the Temple was cleansed. Approximately 6 plus years on the 360 basis, reflected in 1260 for 3 and one half years in Revelation (11:2, 12:6, 14), makes 2160 plus a time of months, requiring the time of commencement to be about mid-171 for the commencement. If there were an intercalary month, this would still be the year, the commencement moving back in the complex scenario.
Historically, this fits to
perfection. It was in the course of 171 that the theft occurred.
The Lord's goodness and power, that magnificent ensemble, adorned with grace and peace, has been a work of artistry in deliverance since the days of the persecution which earlier the author suffered.
It would be churlish not to acknowledge it. It is not that He has taken me to some of the most delightful places on earth to minister, or to scenes of the utmost interest; for that has been an addition. It is rather that in many scenes He has enabled me to preach the word faithfully, that from false brethren He has delivered me in my work again and again; whether in the resurrection apostasy in New Zealand, or the liberal one, or the freemasonry error in the USA, or from neo-evangelicalism with its sordid compromises.
He has both enabled me to endure in all this, and to preach and teach, notwithstanding. Latterly He has provided, indeed these 13 years the means and facilities to write my 36 books on Christian Apologetics. In little that has happened, would it have been my choice, either to leave my country or to write to anything like such an extent. So long, however, as He is glorified, Christ is exalted, the word of God written, the Bible, is magnified and the testimony is faithfully presented, without which man is worse than the beasts, being subject to devilries unspeakable, and without God in God's own world ..it is all one. To satisfy Him, not oneself, is the aim. As to Him, He is wonderful.
Surely goodness and mercy have followed me, amidst great costs, considerable losses social, of friends, of place; but in humiliations innumerable does it matter (I Cor. 4:9-13, II Cor. 11:23ff.), so long as His word is shown true, His gospel is presented by many waters and His glory is brought to the coming generation, while the old one, my own, is warned and invited where it should come, before it is too late.
It is vital for younger Christian
people to realise that courage, constancy and a complete disregard of those
effusively promoted sins of self-esteem and self-will are necessary in
the service of Christ, the more so in a subtle climate of compromise, artfully
and seductively insinuated into the life of many churches, and acclaimed
in the world, to which many of the formerly noble churches are in danger
of becoming psychological appendages. Friendship with the world, says James
most aptly and in inspired diction, is enmity with God (James 4:4). What
is it ? a passing parade of superficial splendour and apparent squalor,
ignorant of God and making substitutes of its own, as near to truth as
polluted and damp tissue paper is to fine Irish linen, crisp and patterned,
with floral motif. Yes not so near as that, for each of these has some
substance, however disparate, but the world is like the grass that passes
away, and it will burn (II Peter 3:10-16).
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.*3
"Therefore since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with the fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless, and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation - as also our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things..."
out for Christ Christ Ch. 1
Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Chs. 1, 4 ,
Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 7,
A Question of Gifts Section VII, and ALL,
The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith Ch. 1 ,
Questions and Answers 8, 10,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 3.