Thursday, June 18, 2009

Daniel 10 & 11 Pt. 1

Chapter 10 is an interesting chapter in that the angel that now comes in answer to Daniel’s prayer is described more as the angel of the Lord (otherwise known as the pre-incarnate Christ) is described rather than a regular angel. This angel had been sent from the minute that Daniel had started to pray, three weeks earlier, but had had to do battle with the prince of Persia. (a powerful demonic being or maybe Satan himself as this was the headquarters of the Babylonian mysteries and Satan‘s throne on earth at that time). Michael had even been called in to help deal with this prince of Persia. Now Daniel is told that this vision is about what will happen to Daniel’s people in the last days.

Chapter 11. There are to be three more kings in Persia and then the fourth will be much richer and will aggravate the Greeks. A mighty king (we already know this is Alexander the Great) will come forth having a vast empire and power. His kingdom will be divided into four different kingdoms, but not for his posterity (we know it was divided between his generals as he had no heirs). The rest of the chapter goes into the history of what follows. It is accepted that these verses fit the history up to Antiochus Epiphanes. Basically there was a constant rivalry between the Seleucid dynasty in Syria and the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt that went on for years. Verse 21 is where the historical texts about Antiochus Epiphanes start (and as he is the forerunner of antichrist, this is where antichrist’s description will also begin). The verses that we need to particularly concentrate on at the moment are 30-32. This is the basis for Hanukkah, which we have already discussed. However we need to really look at these verses to see the exact definition of what happened. After losing a battle, Antiochus Epiphanes goes into Jerusalem and takes his wrath out on the Jews. We know from history that he made reading the Torah a capital offense. He outlawed circumcision. Any mother doing that had her dead baby tied around her neck and was hanged. He stopped the daily sacrifice (vs. 31) and had a pig sacrificed on the altar. Above all he committed what is called in verse 31 the abomination that maketh desolate, or as we say the abomination of desolation. This phrase is very important as we will see later. Idolatry was an abomination to God, but this was idolatry at its worst. A.E. put up a statue of Zeus. And he didn’t just put it up anywhere, he put it up on the most holy site on the face of the planet - in the Holy of Holies. This was an abomination that desolated. It was the ultimate abomination. Some teach that the abomination of desolation was in 70 A.D. when the temple was burned, but that was not called an abomination. This is specifically called an abomination of desolation, and what that means is known, because of historic records. This is definitely not speaking of 70 A.D. That was referenced in chapter 9 vs. 26 and it was not referred to as an abomination. It’s very important to get that fact straight. The next couple of verses (32-33) are referencing the Maccabees‘ exploits. Now that we have gone over that again, we need to remember the adage that prophecies have a near and far fulfillment. Scholars agree that the verses from 36 on are difficult to reconcile with A.E. In fact, I have heard some say that there are things in previous verses that they really have to work to find some historical fact that will fit the verses. There may be a reason for that. Let’s go back and take a look at some key phrases.

We need to look for clues to see which verses may show us future events. Understand that I can’t say absolutely this is an accurate assessment, we can only look to see what Scriptures may indicate and then watch the current events to see if anything fits. Already at verse six we have the phrase “at the end of years”. We know when the Bible talks about the end of days, end of time, end of years, etc., it is talking about the literal end of this age which will soon be upon us. So we need to consider that this verse and its context, which may include previous and following verses may be part of what will happen (or has happened since 1948) in the last days and that the historical events were a shadow of a second fulfillment. In verse 13 we have the phrase “after certain years”. Oddly enough in my Bible (and in other written sources) there is a note saying that it should read as “at the end of times, even years”. We know what the end of times means. It means the tribulation period and Day of the Lord. Vs. 27 “the end shall be for the appointed time.” Vs. 35 “even to the time of the end”. Vs. 40 “at the time of the end”. I think there are enough references to the time of the end to surmise that these verses might be pertinent as to what will happen toward the end times. It involves the Middle East, naturally, and is all about warfare, political intrigue, peace treaties, etc. It isn’t hard to think that a lot will go on there in the future, as a lot goes on there now.

While historically we can look back and make sense of these verses from the B.C. era, it is difficult to deduce exactly what may be being described as happening as a future (or 20th c.) event, as these verses are a little vague. The use of pronouns without antecedents makes it hard to know who is being spoken about at times. And the compass references instead of actual kingdoms’ names or emblems leaves interpretation wide open. This may be deliberate as they may have to serve as prophecies for two entirely different events, but as written could be applied to both. The verses seem to indicate that this takes place quite a while before the end, so we would need to see if anything fits this scenario in the last few decades. I would assume that if any of this (before verse 21) is about the end times, it would start after Israel became a nation in 1948 or even after the Balfour Declaration in 1917. I haven’t studied enough of the Middle East politics to know if this describes anything that has happened. Again, theses verses may or may not refer to modern history. We can only keep an open mind that it might, based on the references that keep referring to the time of the end.

I am not going to attempt to try to reconcile the events in verses 5-20 to any modern political history. I couldn’t without a tremendous amount of research. If anyone wants to research this, I’d be delighted to add the info to the blog. Where we need to start is with verse 21. As we will find out from Christ in the book of Matthew, this is also about antichrist and has a long term fulfillment that mirrors what Antiochus did, only in a much larger way. When these prophecies are fulfilled they are carried out in a literal way, both times. This prophecy is specifically pointed out by Christ so that the Jews (and those of us who study) will, from what is happening, know exactly what is going on. It would have no meaning for anybody if it isn’t fulfilled literally.

It says that a vile person to whom is not given the honor of the kingdom comes to power peaceably through flattery. In other words, he does not become the leader through the normal means (presumably election), he comes to power in another way, namely through deceit. Someone, (those whom he overtakes) is wiped away from before him. If we were to take this literally, and we did say we should take this literally, they are inundated or swept away (overflown) by a literal flood. Oddly enough in Revelation there is a similar text which seems to indicate that a literal flood does try to wipe away the believing Jews who run from antichrist when he makes his appearance. Rev. 12: 15,16. However, they are saved by God when he has the earth open up and swallow the flood. In Daniel’s case, it says that they are broken. Broken in this text means broken-down, broken-up, or broken-hearted, not necessarily killed. In this case even the prince of the covenant has to run. Who that is we don’t know, as we don’t know who will be the political leader at that time. If this is talking about the Jews, it may be the prince of the covenant will be the Jewish leader. And if so, the fact that it says that he is the prince of the covenant would indicate that Israel did have a part in the covenant that was confirmed, as this does not call this covenant the Holy covenant. If not an Israeli leader, then maybe an actual prince (they do still exist in the Arab and European countries) is the one spoken of.

The next verse says “after the league made with him”. What is interesting about this is that the word league means a joining, but by spells or charms. The man will have charmed them into this compact or league. Whether that means only by deceit and flattery, or by occult powers is up for question. After having charmed people into this agreement, he will work behind their backs and become strong with a small group of people. The small group of people no doubt refers to the ten toes or ten horns, since he comes up from the midst of them. Who they are we will determine after we get more information. He will enter peaceably into the most fertile or possibly richest places and will do what no leader before him has been able to do. He will disperse among them the booty. It is hard to say if he restricts himself to the Arab world here. America is one of the richest places on earth too. He will be at war with the world, so it is possible. And he will weave his plots against the most strongly defended and protected places, for a time. Countries with strong militaries and weapons are not immune from him. Again, the western powers need beware. He will stir up (this means to open your eyes and suddenly wake up in the sense of suddenly realizing something) his power and courage against the king of the south and go against him with a great army. The word great here means more than large. It means one that is known as one that you don’t mess with. One that is known to be very good at what they do.Who this might be is an unknown quantity in today's terms. Back then it was Egypt. In return, the king of the south pulls together a great army of his own, but he is no match, plus they are working against him with other plots, mainly by infiltrating his own ranks and getting them to turn on him. A lot of soldiers from the king of the south will die in the conflict.

It now says that both these kings’ hearts (since only these two have been under discussion, one has to assume it means the vile person (antichrist) and the king of the south) are out to cause trouble. They sit at a supposed peace treaty table and lie through their teeth to each other. It doesn’t matter what they say, as what is destined to happen at the end will happen at the appointed time. The fact that this is designated as "the end" would seem to indicate that these prophecies are yet to be fulfilled.

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