Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Sep 14, Dan 7-9

Today's readings are Dan 7-9. tomorrow's are Daniel 10-12. 

Many forests have been sacrificed in attempts to interpret the second half of Daniel. We'll try to sort it. But, understand that there are many interpretations out there. The primary questions we want to answer, though, are "What do these vision say about God?" and "How do they fit into His self-revelation?" 

Dan 7 starts with new visions given directly to Daniel, the man God has used to interpret the dreams and visions of kings. 

Chronologically, the vision in Dan 7 occurs prior to the events in Dan 5-6, during Belshazzar's first year (553-556 BC). This vision is, most probably, a vision depicting the end of the Babylonian Empire. The lion may be Babylon, the bear the Medo-Persians, the ribs Lydia, Babylon & Egypt. The Leopard may be Greece, divided into 4 smaller kingdoms after the death of Alexander. The final beast could be Rome with the 10 horns being, perhaps, an image of the future influence of Rome upon 10 smaller empires. 

Dan 8 brings another vision of a ram and a goat. The two-horned ram is the Medo-Persian empire. The goat is, most likely, Greece, under Alexander. The four horns Are the division, again, of Greece after Alexander with the little horn representing Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian king who desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem. 

All of this a fairly straight forward depiction of historical events that occurred in the fifth and sixth centuries BC...except they are laid out in great detail well before all the events in the Mideast and Macedonia occur. Personally, I believe this part of Daniel's vision refers to that period of history rather than the future. I think God gave Daniel a detailed description of what was about to occur almost immediately in order to validate what he has to relate concerning the next part of the vision.

Dan 9 begins the vision of the "Seventy Weeks". The vision is quite cryptic. It is of the "end time." But, it's not really clear as to the end of what. The phrasing usually, but not always, refers to the end of time. But, in this passage it may refer to the end of Judaism, as it occurred in 70 AD. It may be the the end of all time, as has yet to occur. It may even refer to both periods. 

While it can be lots of fun the speculate on what these weeks mean, it might be more productive to compare the accuracy of God's previous prophecies with what we see here and understand that time will, indeed, come to an end. All men will be judged. We can choose to spend our time trying to figure out indiscernible, symbolic math problems, spreading fear and alarm over our particular interpretation of end-time events. Or we can chose to live godly lives and spread the gospel before that time arrives.

My take on the Seventy Weeks is that there is a definite end point to God's self-revelation. Daniel tells us so and does it with tremendous credibility because of the accuracy of his prophecies on the Medo-Persian and Roman empires. His primary message is, "God has ordained an end to all this, a time when He will reveal His glory and take His children home." 

We are unable to determine when that time will be. We're even told, quite clearly, that no one knows (Mark 13:32). So, we are to live our lives in a manner that puts God on display at all times, showing others that the redemption we have experienced is available to them. There is an urgency in all this. No one knows the time. It will come quickly and unexpectedly (1 Thes 5:12). So, we are to be messengers that are eager to share His good news...before it's too late.

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