Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Dual Application of Daniel, Antiochus and Anti-Christ

I as referred to earlier I will give you the view I think makes the most sense concerning Daniel 7 and 8.

The idea is that Chapter 7 indicates the rise of the anti-christ from out of the 10 horns which arise out of the area of the old Roman Empire. Thus the little horn of Daniel 7 is the Anti-christ. Daniel 8 gives a description of Antiochus who so terribly persecuted Israel and who is also used as an example of the type of abomination that the anti-christ brings. Part of this involves something some call a "gap Theory" which means that there is historical application then end time application. As we know there is nothing in the Old Testament that really indicated a long period of separation between the first Advent of Jesus Christ and the Second Advent of Christ. In prophetic terms, they are seen as one event. So there really is no way to get around using the "gap theory". Even the SDA version uses it though they don't really acknowledge it. For instance the SDA theory holds the Papacy as the anti-christ from 538-1798 then at some point they expect the anti-christ to arise and cause even more prosecution. So really there is not as much difference between the theories. As the SDA theory expects the rise of Anti-christ in the future as do the other Christian denominations.

The following site gives a pretty good description of the way I see these chapters. It is not a very long article but hits most of the important points. Antiochus IV Epiphanes: The Antichrist of the Old Testament By Larry Cockerham

Antiochus IV Epiphanes was the eighth in a succession of twenty-six kings who ruled from 175—164 BC over the Syrian section of Alexander’s empire. He is referred to as the “little horn” in Daniel 8:9. The name Epiphanes means the “Illustrious One,” although his contemporaries nicknamed him Epimanes, meaning “madman.”1 He differs in many respects with the “little horn” of Daniel Chapter seven seeing that “the little horn of 7:8 appears in the context of the fourth kingdom (Rome), while the little horn of 8:9 appears in the context of the third kingdom (Greece).”2 Yet taken as a whole Antiochus IV Epiphanes is undoubtedly one of the greatest prototypes of the Antichrist in all of God’s Word.

The prophecies of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel (Dan. 8:9-14; 23-25; 11:21-35) have both a historical as well as future fulfillment. Because these prophecies point both to Antiochus Epiphanes as well as the future Antichrist of the New Testament Bible students call them a double reference prophecy. However, liberal commentators, such as D.S. Russell, see in these verses only a historical fulfillment due to their late dating of the Book of Daniel (165 B.C.).3 Conservative scholars, on the other hand, realize both a historical completion (they were still future when Daniel wrote them) in Antiochus as well as future prophecies that prefigure the Antichrist. There are also differences of opinion among fundamental Bible scholars as to where the prophecies regarding Antiochus end and those pertaining to the Antichrist begin. We will at this time focus on the comparisons or parallels between the wicked Syrian king Antiochus IV who viciously and cruelly persecuted the Old Testament saints of God and the coming “man of sin” commonly referred to in the New Testament as the Antichrist.

(1) Both involve two end-time periods. When it comes to the larger picture, these two periods of persecution leading up to the first and second coming of Christ are portrayed in both the exploits of Antiochus IV as well as those of the coming Antichrist. Lehman Strauss explains thusly:

Both of these periods witness the wrath of God being extended to His chosen people. The first of these periods of wrath commenced with the Babylonian captivity and concluded with the atrocities of Antiochus, after which there was deliverance. The second of these periods is yet future. It will commence with the beginning of the seventieth week (Daniel 9:24-27) and conclude with the atrocities of Antichrist, after which there will be deliverance.4

Therefore not only is there a typical relationship between the two persons of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the upcoming Man Of Sin, but there is also an association between the two time periods leading up to the end of each era.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Diaper Your Goats

I heard about this report on NPR by John Hendren recently. I do question the truth of the report for two reasons. 1. it is really hard to change diapers on goats and goats eat diapers and 2. We have thousands of people over there an no one has sent us photos of diapered goats, you would think they would be very popular on the internet. The story:

Our New Friends By Shannara Johnson

According to a recent poll conducted by Opinion Dynamics—and reported by FOX News—67% of Americans believe that the U.S. will be unable to stop a civil war from breaking out in Iraq. 3% think there is already a civil war going on. 31% say the U.S. should pull out troops gradually over the next year, while 27% vote for a complete pullout by the end of 2006.

Few Americans still believe that the U.S. occupation has improved the situation in Iraq. Constant news on Shiite/Sunni kidnappings and the increasing power of Islamist fanatics in the country have left us exasperated and confused. And the new “U.S.-friendly” Iraqi government seems questionable, to say the least.

To assess how bad the situation really is, real-life examples usually tell a better story than numbers.

On August 7, NPR journalist John Hendren reported that “Shepherds in the rural western Baghdad neighborhood of Gazalia have recently been murdered. . . for failing to diaper their goats. Apparently, the sexual tension is so high in regions where sheiks take a draconian view of Sharia law that they feel the sight of naked goats poses an unacceptable temptation.”

But it’s not only goats moving their uncovered behinds in a sensual way that irks fervent believers. Produce, too, has gotten a bad reputation.

In East Baghdad, said Hendren, “[a] grocer and three others were shot to death and the store was firebombed, because he suggestively arranged his vegetables. I couldn’t believe it at first. . . But an Iraqi colleague explained matter-of-factly that Shiite clerics have recently distributed a flyer directing grocers how to display their food. Standing up a celery stock near a couple of tomatoes in a way that might—to the profoundly repressed—suggest an aroused male is now a capital offense.”

Even though Hendren has seen a lot, the latest developments have left him speechless. “I’ve learned a new oxymoron: religious assassins. I’ve watched friends move repeatedly to stay ahead of attacks by insurgents. And now Iraqis are dying over goat panties and naughty veggies.”

Monday, August 28, 2006

Is the Little Horn of Daniel 7 the same as the Little Horn of Daniel 8?

As our lesson has pointed out the traditional SDA belief is that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 is the same as the Little Horn power of Daniel 8. The lesson for July 25 states:

“The evidence we've seen so far is overwhelming that the little-horn power arising after Greece in Daniel 8 is the same power that arises after Greece in both Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, and that's Rome, beginning as pagan Rome and then changing into papal Rome.”

This is a problem for a number of reasons; first of course Daniel 2 has no mention of a little horn power. Second the little horn arises from different Beasts in the different chapters of Daniel. In Daniel 7 the little horn arises from among the 10 horns on the 4th terrible beast:

Daniel 7:7-8 "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

The little horn in chapter 8 arises from the 3 beast not the fourth:

Daniel 8:8-9 The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.

To counter this idea the traditional SDA version goes something like this from Kenneth Hart’s website:

One final point: Read Daniel 8:8,9. “8And the young he-goat hath exerted itself very much, and when it is strong, broken hath been the great horn; and come up doth a vision (prominence) of four in its place, at the four winds of the heavens. 9And from the one of them come forth hath a little horn, and it exerteth itself greatly toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the beauteous land.” (Young’s Literal Translation) Those who want to argue that Antiochus is the fulfillment of this little horn prophecy point out that he arose from one of the four horns. However, a careful look at the Hebrew shows that “from the one of them” refers not to the “vison of four” but “the four winds of the heavens”! Some try to discredit this interpretation by saying that horns grow out of horns and not out of winds. But how often have you seen a horn growing out of a horn?

This may sound plausible unless one considers the various horns already mentioned in the book of Daniel. The simple fact is that in all the instances a horn comes out of some beast. A disembodied horn just coming into the scene from one compass direction does not make any sense with any other part of the visions. If you were going to have a new element coming in from some direction it would come in as another beast not just a horn attached to nothing. As all English language versions portray the horns they grow from the beast toward the four winds which is a figure of speech for the four compass directions. Contrary to Hart’s position the Hebrew does not indicate that the horn comes from one of the “winds”. In fact numerous English translations for instance:

(TEV) Daniel 8:8 The goat grew more and more arrogant, but at the height of his power his horn was broken. In its place four prominent horns came up, each pointing in a different direction. Daniel 8:9 Out of one of these four horns grew a little horn, whose power extended toward the south and the east and toward the Promised Land.

(CEV) Daniel 8:8 After this, the goat became even more powerful. But at the peak of his power, his mighty horn was broken, and four other mighty horns took its place -- one pointing to the north and one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. Daniel 8:9 A little horn came from one of these, and its power reached to the south, the east, and even to the holy land.

(NASB) Daniel 8:8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Daniel 8:9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.

(GodsWord) Daniel 8:8 "The male goat became very important. But when the goat became powerful, his large horn broke off. In its place grew four horns. They corresponded to the four winds of heaven." Daniel 8:9 "Out of one of the horns came a small horn. It gained power over the south, the east, and the beautiful land."

The sequence then is the goat with a prominent horn which breaks and four horns grow in its place in 4 directions then a little horn grows from one of the four horns. In contrast the SDA version is:

Goat with a prominent horn which breaks and four horns grow in its place in 4 directions then from away from the goat comes a horn. It frankly makes no sense.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states:

Verse 8 goes on to say that "in its [the large horn's] place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven." This was fulfilled when Cassander retained his hold on Macedonia and Greece; Lysimachus held Thrace and the western half of Asia Minor as far as Cappadocia and Phrygia; Ptolemy consolidated Palestine Cilicia, and Cyprus with his Egyptian-Libyan domains; and Seleucus controlled the rest of Asia all the way to the Indus Valley. While it is true that various vicissitudes beset these four realms during the third century and after (Pergamum, Bithynia, and Pontus achieved local independence in Asia Minor after the death of Lysimachus; and the eastern provinces of the Seleucid Empire achieved sovereignty as the kingdoms of Bactria and Parthia), nevertheless the initial division of Alexander's empire was unquestionably fourfold, as this verse and also 7:6, with its reference to the four-winged leopard, indicate.

9-10 Verses 9-12 foretell the rise of a "small horn" (v. 9) from the midst of these four horns of the Diadochi. It is described as attaining success in aggression against the "south" (hannegeb), or the domains of the Ptolemies in Egypt. This evidently refers to the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes ("the Manifest/Conspicuous One"), who usurped the Seleucid throne from his nephew (son of his older brother, Seleucus IV) and succeeded in invading Egypt 170-169 B.C. His expeditions against rebellious elements in Parthia and Armenia were initially successful "to the east" as well, and his determination to impose religious and cultural uniformity on all his domains led to a brutal suppression of Jewish worship at Jerusalem and generally throughout Palestine (here referred to as "the Beautiful Land" [hassebi, "glory," "adornment," "pride," apparently abbreviated from )eres- hassebi (11:16, 41), "the land of adornment," or "of glory"]). This suppression came to a head in December 168 B.C., when Antiochus returned in frustration from Alexandria, where he had been turned back by the Roman commander Popilius Laenas, and vented his exasperation on the Jews. He sent his general, Apollonius, with twenty thousand troops under orders to seize Jerusalem on a Sabbath. There he erected an idol of Zeus and desecrated the altar by offering swine on it. This idol became known to the Jews as "the abomination of desolation" (hassiqqus mesomem, 11:31), which served as a type of a future abomination that will be set up in the Jerusalem sanctuary to be built in the last days (cf. Christ's prediction in Matt 24:15)

This becomes important because as we will see most interpret Daniel 7 with the Anti-Christ. Antiochus in chapter 8 is also viewed as a type of the Anti-Christ to come. Next time I will give my view of the best interpretation of these chapters. Writing of Daniel chapter 7 the Expositor's Bible Commentary says:

24 The interpreting angel turned from the historic Roman Empire to its ultimate ten-horn phase (corresponding to the ten toes in Nebuchadnezzar's dream-image [2:41-43]) and the emergence of the final world-dictator. He arises after ten horns have been set up and subdues three of these ten to his own direct rule. He will then subject the other seven states to vassalage, somewhat as Hitler subjected Norway, Holland, Hungary, and the Balkan countries to a leader of their local Nazi party. In theory they were separate nations, but in practice they were subservient to Hitler. There is apparently to be a strong personality cult attached to this empire of the little horn (cf. the quasi-deification of Hitler).

25 The little horn will claim divine honors (even as he blasphemes the one true God). He will abandon all pretense of permitting freedom of religion and will actually revile Yahweh, the Lord of heaven and earth, and will denounce as fools and rebels those who still retain biblical convictions. By cruel and systematic pressure, he will "oppress" (yeballe, from bela, which in the Pael means "wear away" or "wear out" as friction wears our clothes or sandals). Such continual and protracted persecution far more effectively breaks the human spirit than the single moment of crisis that calls for a heroic decision. It is easier to die for the Lord than to live for him under constant harassment and strain--as many a German Christian in Hitler's horror camps and some imprisoned missionaries found out during World War II. Revelation 13:16-17 suggests how economic pressure will be brought to bear on loyal Christians during the reign of the Beast, when "no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Midnight to Midnight Day Origin

While it would be impossible for me to correct all the errors that fly around the Adventist Media and Conversation arena, I do occasionally come across some that make me smile. Such as the following where if someone were to make such a comment in their church no one would know if it was right or wrong. A person may have a gut reaction that it is wrong but what if the person making the comment had actually researched what they had said? In all likelyhood something like this from Beyrl at Club Adventist would go unchallanged.
God said that "evening and morning" (sunset to sunset) marked the beginning and end of each day. Rome pronounced that the day would begin and end at midnight.
Actually this idea comes from the French Revolution (no friends of Roman Catholics) with modifications by astronomers. From Decimal Time - History
The revolutionary French established the Republican Calendar on November 24, 1793, including decimal time of day. The day was divided into 10 decimal hours, each divided into 100 decimal minutes of 100 decimal seconds each, and 10 days made a decimal week, or "d├ęcade". Clocks were constructed with decimal faces, most of them displaying times in both systems. The hours were numbered 1 to 10, with 10 representing midnight local apparent time. Days of the week were also numbered 1 to 10. However, Revolutionary Time was officially abandoned on April 7, 1795, after only 18 months, although the Republican Calendar, with its the ten-day weeks, survived until the 1805, when it was repealed by Emperor Napoleon.

By the nineteenth century astronomers were using fractional days. In 1849, the British astronomer, John Herschel, published Outlines of Astronomy, describing fractional days and also introducing a system of decimal dates, by counting days of the Julian Period. Astronomers began adding fractional days to Julian Days, which together are called Julian Dates. Astronomers then started and ended the day at noon, so Julian Dates also started and ended at noon, as observed in Greenwich, England, where the Prime Meridian was agreed to cross by an international conference in Washington, DC, in 1884. Since 1925, astronomers have started and ended the day at midnight, Greenwich Mean Time, so astronomers introduced Modified Julian Dates and other variations which are synchronized with the Universal Day.
For some more detail regarding the Ancient methods of counting days here is a quote from Online Encylopedia
The subdivision of the day (q.v.) into twenty-four parts, or hours, has prevailed since the remotest ages, though different nations have not agreed either with respect to the epoch of its commencement or the manner of distributing the hours. Europeans in general, like the ancient Egyptians, place the commencement of the civil day at midnight, and reckon twelve morning hours from midnight to midday, and twelve evening hours from midday to midnight. Astronomers, after the example of Ptolemy, regard the day as commencing with the sun's
culmination, noon; and find it most convenient for the purposes of computation to reckon through the whole twenty-four hours.

Hipparchus reckoned the twenty-four hours from midnight to midnight. Some nations, as the ancient Chaldeans and the modern Greeks, have chosen sunrise for the commencement of the day; others, again, as the Italians and Bohemians, suppose it to commence at sunset. In all these cases the beginning of the day varies with the seasons at all places not under the equator. In the early ages of Rome, and even down to the middle of the 5th century after the foundation of the city, no other divisions of the day were known than sunrise, sunset, and midday, which was marked by the arrival of the sun between the Rostra and a place called Graecostasis, where ambassadors from Greece and other countries used to stand. The Greeks divided the natural day and night into twelve equal parts each, and the hours thus formed were denominated temporary hours, from their varying in length according to the seasons of the year.
It is sometimes argued about the 3 days Jesus spent in the tomb that some are computing time by the Roman method of midnight to midnight. However this is really not practical in a world without clocks, possible for the astronomers but not terrible useful to anyone else and sundials only worked during the daylight hours. The following is from Reckoning of Time in Ancient Rome:

Some Christians1 claim that the ancient Romans counted hours relative to midnight, but nothing could be further from the truth. There exists in the historical records of ancient Romans an abundance of evidence that they counted daylight hours relative to sunrise and nighttime hours relative to sunset, but there is no document from that time which shows that the Roman's hour was referenced to midnight.

Few things about ancient Roman history are clearer than that the Romans reckoned daylight hours relative to sunrise and nighttime hours relative to sunset.

What do you want to bet that no one over at Club Adventist will correct Beryl? Ok so the comment was made July 18 and it has already been a month, so it might be a sucker bet, but then again I just saw it!

1911 Encylopedia Article on the Book of Daniel

In the past this blog has mentioned some of the various debates over the authorship of the Book of Daniel as well as its date. I must admit to having never really questioned either of these issues before. Having grown up in the SDA church we generally simply hold to traditional views with very little emphasis given to other views. However it does appear that the question of who and when the Book of Daniel was written is not merely the subject of late critical scholarship.

The question of when the Book of Daniel was written becomes far more important for the Adventist denomination then for most other Christian denominations. For the particular reason that Adventists see their reason for existing as a church within the doctrine of 1844 and the Investigative Judgment. As our Lesson Study Guide concludes at the end of the quarterly:
In short, it's important for us to be grounded in the 1844 teaching because it affirms the biblical basis upon which we, as a church, with our distinctive message, exist.
The case for a later date for the book of Daniel is given quite well in an article from the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittannica.
It is now the general opinion of most modern scholars who study the Old Testament from a critical point of view that this work cannot possibly have originated, according to the traditional theory, at any time during the Babylonian monarchy, when the events recorded are supposed to have taken place.

The chief reasons for such a conclusion are as follows.' 1. The position of the book among the Hagiographa, instead of among the Prophetical works, seems to show that it was introduced after the closing of the Prophetical Canon. Some commentators have believed that Daniel was not an actual prophet in the proper sense, but only a seer, or else that he had no official standing as a prophet and that therefore the book was not entitled to a place among official prophetical books. But if the work had really been in existence at the time of the completion of the second part of the canon, the collectors of the prophetical writings, who in their care did not neglect even the parable of Jonah, would hardly have ignored the record of so great a prophet as Daniel is represented to have been.

2. Jesus ben Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), who wrote about 200180 B.C., in his otherwise complete list of Israel's leading spirits (xlix.), makes no mention of Daniel. Hengstenberg's plea that Ezra and Mordecai were also left unmentioned has little force, because Ezra appears in the book bearing his name as nothing more than a prominent priest and scholar, while Daniel is represented as a great prophet.

3. Had the Book of Daniel been extant and generally known) after the time of Cyrus (537-529 B.C.), it would be natural to look for some traces of its power among the writings of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, whose works, however, show no evidence that either the name or the history of Daniel was known to these authors. Furthermore, the manner in which the prophets are looked back upon in ix. 6-10 cannot fail to suggest an extremely late origin for the book. Besides this, a careful study of ix. 2 seems to indicate that the Prophetical Canon was definitely completed at the time when the author of Daniel wrote. It is also highly probable that much of the material in the second part of the book was suggested by the works of the later prophets, especially by Ezekiel and Zechariah.

4. Some of the beliefs set forth in the second part of the book also practically preclude the possibility of the author having lived at the courts of Nebuchadrezzar and his successors. Most noticeable among these doctrines is the complete system of angelology consistently followed out in the Book of Daniel, according to which the management of human affairs is entrusted to a regular hierarchy of commanding angels, two of whom, Gabriel and Michael, are even mentioned by name. Such an idea was distinctly foreign to the primitive Israelitish conception of the indivisibility of Yahweh's power, and must consequently have been a borrowed one. It could certainly not have come from the Babylonians, however, whose system of attendant spirits was far from being so complete as that which is set forth in the Book of Daniel, but rather from Persian sources where a more complicated angelology had been developed. As many commentators have brought out, there can be little doubt that the doctrine of angels in Daniel is an indication of prolonged Persian influence. Furthermore, it is now very generally admitted that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is advanced for the first time in the Old Testament in Daniel, also originated among the Persians, 8 and could only have been engrafted on the Jewish mind after a long period of intercourse with the Zoroastrian religion, which came into contact with the Jewish thinkers considerably after the time of Nebuchadrezzar. 'Bevan, Dan. 27 ff.; Prince, Dan. 13. For this whole discussion, see Prince, Dan. 15 ff.

The investigations of Haug, Spiegel and Windischmann show that this was a real Zoroastrian doctrine.

5. All the above evidences are merely internal, but we are now able to draw upon the Babylonian historical sources to prove that Daniel could not have originated at the time of Nebuchadrezzar. There can be no doubt that the author of Daniel thought that Belshazzar (q.v.), who has now been identified beyond all question with Belg ar-uzur, the son of Nabonidus, the last Semitic king of Babylon, was the son of Nebuchadrezzar, and that Belshazzar attained the rank of king.' This prince did not even come from the family of Nebuchadrezzar. Nabonidus, the father of Belshazzar, was the son of a nobleman Nabu-baladsu-igbi, who was in all probability not related to any of the preceding kings of Babylon. Had Nabonidus been descended from Nebuchadrezzar he could hardly have failed in his records, which we possess, to have boasted of such a connexion with the greatest Babylonian monarch; yet in none of his inscriptions does he trace his descent beyond his father. Certain expositors have tried to obviate the difficulty, first by supposing that the expression "son of Nebuchadrezzar" in Daniel means "descendant" or "son," a view which is rendered untenable by the facts just cited. This school has also endeavoured to prove that the author of Daniel did not mean to imply Belshazzar's kingship of Babylon at all by his use of the word "king," but they suggest that the writer of Daniel believed Belshazzar to have been co-regent. If Belshazzar had ever held such a position, which is extremely unlikely in the absence of any evidence from the cuneiform documents, he would hardly have been given the unqualified title "king of Babylon" as occurs in Daniel. 2 For example, Cambyses, son of Cyrus, was undoubtedly co-regent and bore the title "king of Babylon" during his father's lifetime, but, in a contract which dates from the first year of Cambyses, it is expressly stated that Cyrus was still "king of the lands." This should be contrasted with Dan. viii. 1, where reference is made to the "third year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon" without any allusion to another over-ruler. Such attempts are at best subterfuges to support an impossible theory regarding the origin of the Book of Daniel, whose author clearly believed in the kingship of Belshazzar and in that prince's descent from Nebuchadrezzar.

Furthermore, the writer of Daniel asserts (v. 1) that a monarch "Darius the Mede" received the kingdom of Babylon after the fall of the native Babylonian house, although it is evident, from i. 21, x. 1, that the biblical author was perfectly aware of the existence of Cyrus.' The fact that in no other scriptural passage is mention made of any Median ruler between the last Semitic king of Babylon and Cyrus, and the absolute silence of the authoritative ancient authors regarding such a king, make it apparent that the late author of Daniel is again in error in this particular. It is known that Cyrus became master of Media by conquering Astyages, and that the troops of the king of Persia capturing Babylon took Nabonidus prisoner with but little difficulty. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to identify this mythical Darius with the Cyaxares, son of Astyages, of Xenophon's Cyropaedia, and also with the Darius of Eusebius, who was in all probability Darius Hystaspis. There is not only no room in history for this Median king of the Book of Daniel, but it is also highly likely that the interpolation of "Darius the Mede" was caused by a confusion of history, due both to the destruction of the Assyrian capital Nineveh by the Medes, sixty-eight years before the capture of Babylon by Cyrus, and also to the fame of the later king, Darius Hystaspis, a view which was advanced as early in the history of biblical criticism as the days of the Benedictine monk, Marianus Scotus. It is important to note in this connexion that Darius the Mede is represented as the son of Xerxes (Ahasuerus) and it is stated that he established 120 satrapies. Darius Hystapis was the father of Xerxes, and according to Herodotus (iii. 89) established twenty satrapies. Darius the Mede entered into possession of Babylon after the death of Belshazzar; Darius Hystaspis conquered Babylon 1 Prince, Dan. 35-42.

2 Certain tablets published by Strassmaier, bearing date continuously from Nabonidus to Cyrus, show that neither Belshazzar nor "Darius the Mede" could have had the title "king of Babylon." See Driver, Introduction, 3 xxii. Prince, Dan. 44-56.
from the hands of certain rebels (Her. iii. 153-160). In fine, the interpolation of a Median Darius must be regarded as the most glaring historical inaccuracy of the author of Daniel. In fact, this error of the author alone is proof positive that he must have lived at a very late period, when the record of most of the earlier historical events had become hopelessly confused and perverted.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Amazing Facts or Absurd Statements

Sacramento Central Study Hour Pastor Mike Thompson
Starting at 49 minutes [This is about when he actually gets into the topic the previous 30 minutes or so is not related to the year day principle. Most impressively absurd lines highlighted in red. ]:

…should we look at them or do we know them…Write them down and read them yourself our time is going really fast here. Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 you see there that God Himself equates one day with a literal year when dealing with prophetic time. Now when we look at these time periods, I mentioned this morning the 1260 days the 2300 days and the seventy weeks or 490 days it doesn’t actually say in those passages in Daniel 7 and 8 that OK in this instance a day equals a year. We’re drawing an assumption based upon the fact that God has used prophetic time elsewhere like in Numbers and Ezekiel. Taking that principle and applying it here, to see if it works.

Well the only real way to prove it is to actually look right. Is all we need to do take the two approaches the literal time of just days or the prophetic principle of a day meaning a literal year, alright and lets see which makes the most sense. I am really going to move here. Um… Looking at Daniel 7:25 lets turn there please actually 7:24 and 25. (Dan 7:24-25 KJV) And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. [I am not sure what version was read]

So here we are looking at the little horn power doing various things speaking words against the most high, changing times and laws you understand what that all about, we don’t have time to look into all of that. We’re looking at here, he’s got this authority or he does this time and times and the dividing of time that is 3 ½ years which is 1260 Prophetic days which we’re saying is 1260 literal years. But if we take the day approach umm…we really have some problems here, because we’re looking at 1260 days so literally 3 ½ years a Jewish month equaling 360 days [no doubt he means a Jewish year equals 360 days, this is not true but it is close enough for most purposes] what we’re saying here is the little horn power go from 538 when the Bishop of Rome was really able to exercise power 538 that’s the date when history testifies he was free to exercise power given a little earlier by Justinian. Then we’re saying that the Papacy only lasted for 3 ½ years, doesn’t really fit with the historical record does it, not very well. We know that the Papacy lasted for much longer then that and actually still does exist of course. So if we take the year 538 it takes us up to … 542 A.D. so 542 A.D the prophecy the papacy was gone all done, doesn’t fit does it? History doesn’t look at things that way. If we go to verse 25 speaks of the little horn being able to persecute the saints for these 3 ½ years if we take that literally then again persecution against the faithful 542 A.D. is not over by any means in fact it was just getting started, you follow what I am saying here? Another point too that we look at it says in verse 25 they shall be given into his hands …until the until a time and times and the dividing of time. In other words he would have power to persecute only until this time period was expired all right. That doesn’t really fit until ...until just doesn’t work if we use that and we’re going to be consistent with that in verse 26 it says that the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. Some time soon after 542 A.D. according to this the investigative judgment will begin. Well that doesn’t fit either does it. So I hope you can see how applying literal days here just doesn’t work. [He then continues along this vein with Daniel 8.]

This is really bizarre thinking, if it can even be called thinking. He does not use any of the 3 other main theories which use literal days but he tests the literal days by inserting them into the scenario of the day year principle version particularily the SDA version. Amazingly he adds the 1260 days to the assumed date of the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church, which is assumed to be 538 though in truth there is no good reason at all to use that date. Then he keeps pointing to the testimony of history. You will be hard pressed to find anything momentous that happened in 538. And to think that the Roman Catholic Church was given its power by the Byzantium Emperor Justinian means that someone does not pay any attention to history as Justinian held himself above the church in both the papal and patriarchal system. Some Adventists know this which is why people like C. Mervyn Maxwell find the significance in 538 in a battle with the Ostrogoths. Pretending that 538 was the fall of the Ostrogoths which cleared the way for the Roman Catholic church, again not historically accurate but it serves the purpose of having a date arrived at by subtracting 1260 from 1798 when the Pope was taken captive. On top of all those absurdities he inserts the Investigative Judgment as if it is something that Christians simply accept as the meaning of the judgment in Daniel.

For a good quick examination see The Abridged History of Rome. Here is a brief quote about Justinian from the site:

At the time of Justinian the emperor was the de facto head of the Church: the appointment of bishops (and even of the four great patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Antiochia and Alexandria) by the local clergy had to be endorsed by the emperor. Justinian himself convened an ecumenical council in Constantinople to condemn new Arian, Nestorian, and Monophysite writings, which he regarded as dangerous for the religious unity of the empire. The pope, as the bishop of Rome was called, was regarded by the emperor as having a supremacy among the patriarchs, but this privilege was easily withdrawn when the pope's views did not meet the emperor's wishes. For this reason some popes were deposed, imprisoned, exiled and even killed by the Byzantine emperors.

For more history see my article on the Ten Horns of Daniel 7

Now let’s look how well the year day principle works when using the criteria that Mike Thompson used to test his bizarre technique. “Then we’re saying that the Papacy only lasted for 3 ½ years, doesn’t really fit with the historical record does it.”

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that 538 A.D. has some real validity and the year day principle is correct also. Using his words with years replacing the idea of days in his original statement: “Then we’re saying that the Papacy only lasted for 1260 years, doesn’t really fit with the historical record does it” Yet he admits the papacy still exists in fact he would if pressed say that he thinks the papacy will again in the future become a persecuting force. Again using his own words “the prophecy the papacy was gone all done, doesn’t fit does it?” If he uses his own technique arriving at 1798 the papacy would be all gone. The reason I transcribed so much of Mike Thompson’s class study was to show that he was not just making a simple mistake; he was very purposefully leading his class in an absurd direction with little or no concern with actual history or other views of how to interpret the book of Daniel. If people are getting doctrine from the people at Amazing Facts they should be very careful as much of it is poorly thought out and some is outright foolishness. The biggest problem is that the people who need to hear this are very unlikely to read this blog or visit the Adventist Today articles or read Spectrum articles or discussions.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Marco Belmonte on 1844 Made Simple Part 2

Yesterday I dealt with the body of Marco Belmonte's article on Today I will deal with his concluding paragraph.
"As many of my fellow team members have written previously during this quarter's lesson study, this whole thing is about a great cosmic battle over the character of God. Unfortunately, as much as I whole-heartedly believe that 1844 marked the date of a very special event, I'm saddened that even those who would agree with my interpretation of Daniel 7 to 9 would explain it to others in a way that makes God look fearful, selfish and quite frankly, Satanic."
"This whole thing" being...1844 or the Investigative Judgment or is it the gospel? So far the lesson has really only focused on how we get to 1844. The idea that 1844 is about the "cosmic battle" over the character of God seems quite a stretch. Even if you consider this concept of the Great Controversy as the vindication of God it really has no connection to 1844. What special event took place in 1844? Using the lesson studies title it was either the Investigative Judgment or the Gospel. As the Gospel has been around since the time of Christ we are left with only the Investigative Judgment as the special event.

But as Marco concludes that event is portrayed in the most anti-gospel way imaginable. J.N Andrews writes in his chapter on the Investigative Judgment in his 1890 book THE JUDGMENT ITS EVENTS AND THEIR ORDER page 7-8
The time of blotting out names from the book of life precedes the deliverance of the saints. For at the time of that event everyone shall be delivered "that shall be found written in the book." Daniel 12:1. Thus the fearful threatening of Exodus 32:32,33; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 22:19, is executed in the removal of names from this book before the coming of Christ. Those who overcome are the ones who have their sins blotted out. But those who fail to overcome have their names stricken from the book of life. The examination of their record must, therefore, precede both these acts of blotting out, for the express purpose of determining whether they shall have their sins blotted out, or have their names removed from the book of life. We have seen that it is at this very point that the righteous give account of their sins through their High Priest, who, from the book of God's remembrance, shows that they have repented, confessed, forsaken, and overcome, their sinful course; also that they are thus acquitted and justified in order that they may have a part in the resurrection to immortality. Here is also the very act of the Savior in confessing the names of his people before his Father and the holy angels, that shall close our Lord's priesthood and place his people where they shall be forever free from all their sins. For when the book of God's remembrance is found to prove that the person under examination is an overcomer, it is then the part of the Savior to confess his name before his Father and the holy angels, and the part of the Father to give judgment that that person's sins be blotted from the record. Surely it is of some account to us that we have part in the fulfillment of the promise, "I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." Revelation 3:5; Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8.

It is no wonder that this type of delayed reconciliation with God is viewed as an attack on the Gospel. No Christian group looks at Our Investigative Judgment as a display of the Gospel. Even our great SDA leaders have realized just how anti-gospel the Investigative Judgment is. Consider what E.J. Waggoner said just before his death.[By the way Jones and Waggoner and Kellogg etc were never Pantheists, each continued on as Christians going to different denomination]
Seventh-day Adventist teaching concerning the sanctuary, with its "Investigative Judgment" to precede the blotting out of sins, is virtually a denial of the atonement. True, much is made of the "antitypical day of atonement" beginning in 1844; but that very thing minimizes, if it does not nullify, the value of the blood of Christ, in that it teaches that a man may receive the blood- the life- and not receive the atonement. The Gospel has been turned into ceremonialism....

But to come to the really serious indictment, I have said that the teaching that atonement for sins was deferred until 1844, and that no sins were blotted out till then, the sins of the living not being blotted out even yet, minimizes or even nullifies the value of the blood of Christ. It makes a distinction between things that do not differ, and teaches that the blood- the life- of Christ received by a person exercises only a portion of its virtue at the time of its reception,-that is divided in its action. Seventh-day Adventists do believe in the forgiveness of sins. At least it is taught in the denomination, and is believed by many. But forgiveness is obtained only by the reception, consciously, of the life of Christ, which is given freely on the cross for all men. We are "justified (made righteous) freely by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." This forgiveness is reconciliation to God, for it was our "wicked works" that constituted our enmity to God, and Christ has reconciled us in the body of His flesh, through death. Col. 1:21, 22. Justified by His blood is the same as reconciled by His death (Rom. 5: 9,10), and this is the atonement. By Christ "we have now received the atonement." I know that there is an attempt to evade this truth, by using the word "reconciliation," which is given in the margin; but the fact remains that reconciliation and atonement are identical. Reconciliation implies previous enmity. In this case the enmity was all on our side; we were enemies of God, who is the Friend of sinners. It is we who are reconciled to God, by destruction of the enmity that was in us. Once we hated His ways; now we love and yield to them, and are at one with Him. We have received the atonement, namely, the life of God in Christ.
Later he says:
I think there is no disagreement as to the fact that the blotting out of sins is the atonement. What I object to is the denominational teaching that this is only a book transaction. That makes the atonement not a personal matter at all, but something which can take place without in the least affecting the individual concerned...
Again Andrews says later on page 8:
When our Lord has thus finished his work as priest, his people are prepared to stand in the sight of God without an atoning sacrifice...
A few lines later:
When these prophetic declarations are accomplished, we shall no longer need an Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator, or High Priest. Our sins will never after that exist even in the record of the court of heaven. Our lost innocence will then have been recovered, and we shall then be like to the angels of God, who walk in their original uprightness.
7. The accomplishment of this work of blotting out the sins of those who overcome is marked by a declaration of awful solemnity:- "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:11,12. These words virtually announce the close of our Lord's work as High Priest. They cannot be uttered till he, as our Advocate, has secured the blotting out of the sins of his people at his Father's tribunal.
Yet we have seen that this work of blotting out is accomplished before he comes the second time without sin unto salvation.
Andrews presents the views of those who developed their theology from the doctrine of 1844 and the Heavenly Sanctuary. Here I have to agree with Marco that the IJ teaches concepts of God which oppose the nature of God, God here will not forgive unless you have overcome, thus the believer lives in fear of the tribunal of the Father. Then at some future point God will actually do what He promised to do and blot out our sins and then we can live without an Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator or High Priest in a sinless state awaiting the Second Coming. From Uriah Smith to Ellen White this is the doctrine which the SDA church has developed and embraced around 1844 and the IJ. If you fight for 1844 what are you really fighting to show the world?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Marco Belmonte on 1844 Made Simple

Marco Belmonte of offers an article on 1844 Made Simple.

Here are a few paragraphs from his article along with some comments.

"Realizing that the prophecy of the 2300 days is not valid without the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9, one can deduce that any interpretation of the 70 weeks that differ from the one in the lesson would nullify the year 1844. With that in mind, let's look at some alternative viewpoints propagated throughout Christianity.One popular idea has been called "The Critical View" named after those who believe the book of Daniel was never actually written by Daniel, but by an anonymous author around the year 164 BC. The students of this view understand the last week of the 70 weeks as pertaining to the years 171 BC to 164 BC. The events described are the murder of the high priest Onias III (171 BC), the destruction of the Jewish temple by Antiochus Epiphanes (167 BC) and the rededicating of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus (164 BC). This is probably the most popular view among Christians finding itself within most Bible commentaries. I have a feeling that The Three Zoroastrians (you know, those three heathen wise men who didn't go to church on Saturday) who made the long journey to Bethlehem for Christ's birth would probably disagree with this view - since in all likely hood - it was the 70 week prophecy they were studying that helped them realize they were living during a special time. Furthermore, the implications that Daniel wasn't written by Daniel, or Dan, Danny or D. Aniel - well - the whole book becomes quite a paradox."

What is described as the Critical View is the common view of the Jewish religion you can read about it from the Jewish Encyclopedia

As I have mentioned earlier in the article Daniel 2, Cyrus and the problem of dating
if our doctrine is so important it seems strange that it has to be based upon accepting one specific dating of the book of Daniel. As was already discussed on this blog (Daniel 6th century vs. 2nd Century debate)there are good reasons each side has for their dating system and they are not simply based upon the idea that God could not predict the future. Most of us have realized that not all of the book of Isaiah was written by Isaiah or that the Psalms were all written by David. Inspiration does not have to depend on the inspiration given to a specific person. All of the gospels are written anonymously and the name attribution can be seen as a way to define the messages with authority that they thought the books should have, such could be the case for Daniel. As such the authority or inspiration is not cancelled if one believes in a later date for the book.

I don't know of any three Zoroastrians that came to Bethlehem. But such intrusion of speculation into the story found in the book of Matthew does not help Marco's case. Where he arrives at the number three is likely as reliable as his calling them Zoroastrians. There is no likely hood of them finding the Messiah from the book of Daniel as they attributed their search to a star, not earlier Hebrew prophecies let alone the book of Daniel.

"Another fashionable view that has become extremely popular as of late is called "The Dispensational View." Almost all Christians who claim to be Evangelicals subscribe to this interpretation of the 70 weeks - the greatest modern proponents being Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye, the co-authors of the Left Behind series. It's true that "Dispensationalism" has many variants, but all of them agree on one thing - that the last week of the 70 weeks is still waiting to happen. They also agree that Jesus Christ, The Cross, the destruction of the temple and the entire history of The Christian Church is after the 69th week. If you like this view and decide that it makes a lot of sense, and are ready to denounce the idea of 1844 and The Heavenly Sanctuary, please remember that this view makes the life of Christ, The Cross and the entire history of Christendom so trivial that it doesn't even get mentioned. Of course, these days, one would rather read books about The Anti-Christ then accept the good news of a God who would wash the feet of Judas."
Indeed this is a popular view as well as the frequently presented view in Christian circles. Though it's elements are not restricted to Dispensationalism. Of course Hal Lindsey is not a co-author of the Left Behind series he was the author of a very popular book "The Late Great Planet Earth". Marco next presents some rather incomprehensible material. He writes: "They also agree that Jesus Christ, The Cross, the destruction of the temple and the entire history of The Christian Church is after the 69th week". While this is true it is also true for the SDA version of the seventy sevens. Which means that his next line makes no sense. "If you like this view and decide that it makes a lot of sense, and are ready to denounce the idea of 1844 and The Heavenly Sanctuary, please remember that this view makes the life of Christ, The Cross and the entire history of Christendom so trivial that it doesn't even get mentioned." If Marco looked at any of the commentaries or specifically at LaHaye he would see that indeed they see the crucifixion within the prophecy of Daniel 9 just as SDA's do. The difference is that after the Messiah is cut off instead of continuing the idea that the Messiah causes the sacrifices to stop, that it is the prince of the people to come that stops the sacrifices and causes the abomination of desolation. What may have confused Marco is that the Dispensational view sees a gap between the 69th and 70th week. So Jesus life death and resurrection as well as the whole Christian dispensation occur in this gap and the 70th week will commence with the rise of the Anti-Christ. The gap idea may seem strange to SDA's but the reasoning is that in the Old Testament there is no differentation between Christ first Advent and His second coming. In fact we have seen this idea presented in our own SDA literature as we frequently show the artwork of the stone that crushes the statue in Daniel 2 as being Christ second coming. For further explanation of the Time Gap Theory in Daniel 9 click here.

The Seventy "Weeks" Prophecy of Daniel 9: A Comparison of
Major Views G.P. Hugenberger
Provides a objective explantion of the various views of the seventy sevens pointing out advantages and disadvantages of each view.

"Finally, there is the perspective which has been called "The Traditional View." This is the view which was most widely accepted by the early Christian church fathers, and it is the view which laid the groundwork for the view expressed in our Lesson Quarterly. Almost all subscribers of this view agree until they get to the last week of the 70 week prophecy where they disagree on just how long the time period is within that week. One could put their trust in this view and still not agree with 1844 but they would be supporting the viewpoint which allows the interpretation of the 2300 days to exist for those who may believe that something significant happened in 1844."

This is not really true but the point that one can combine the seventy sevens with the 2300 assumed days is indeed the only way to arrive at 1844. Though arriving at 1844 is probably not that important unless you have already decided that you want to arrive at 1844. None of the other versions, including the traditional view hold that the 2300 evening and mornings is meant to be cut off from the seventy sevens prophecy. As I started off this series this is just another of the presuppositions needed to come up with the acceptance of the Investigative Judgment.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Year Day Principle

While the Year Day Principle used to be popular in Christian Theology from the 1600-1800's most Christian scholars have left it behind. After so many people used the principle to make predictions or to analyze prophecy with less then memorable results the principle has fallen out of favor.

The Lesson Study Guide has left the year day principle till after the seventy sevens prophecy of Daniel 9. However as George Desnoyers points out in his article on the year day principle this use of the 490 year prophecy is unrelated to the year day principle. Does The Bible Support The Year-day Principle As Used In SDA Prophecy Interpretations?

An older article from the Adventist Today Website is of interest (update, as the AToday Website no longer hosts many of its old articles Eduard Hanganu sent me a PDF of his paper which is revised and much more complete then the Adventist Today Article.): "The Year-Day Principle Reexamined" By Eduard Hanganu

A Scholarly article dealing with Shea's views on the year day principle which summarizes Shea well but overall is in my opinion not a well written article, but worthy of investigation is
Was Daniel a Historicist? An examination of the year-day principle. (pdf) By by Fred Mazzaferri, Ph. D.

On a related issue which has no doubt been discussed in many Sabbath school classes here is an article which seeks

To expose some falsehoods in anti-Catholic polemic on this subject, specifically, the assertion that futurism and preterism were allegedly invented by Jesuit theologians in the aftermath of the Protestant Revolt, in order to discredit the historicist view, which view was taken up with gusto by the Protestants in an effort to show that the Pope was the beast of Daniel and of Revelation etc.

Did the 16th century Jesuits "invent" Futurism and Preterism as a Smokescreen against Historicism?

For a fairly complete explanation of the problems involved with the 2300 days and the idea of 1844 made simple see the following site. The 2300-day Dilemma The TRUTH about 1844 Made Simple This article will be helpful for next weeks lesson on Antiochus.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Atoday on Latest 3ABN News

From Adventist Today Website: Personal Lives and The Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN): Statements by Adventist Today Editors, Dr. Arild Abrahamsen, Dr. Walter Thompson (Chair, 3ABN Board of Directors), and Mr. Danny Shelton

This is the first time that Dr. Arild Abrahamsen has presented his side of the story. The letter has been around for a few days now and the Atoday website has posted the letter and asked for responses from the 3ABN Board of Director and Danny Shelton. Both responses were quite short, the Chair statement amounts to we have looked at the situation and we are satisfied with what we decided. Danny Shelton presented a far more aggressive position to the matter, refusing to comment on Dr. Abrahamsen's letter other then to say it had several errors. Shelton spent more time attacking Atoday. Some of his comments follow:

I think it is a shame that the number reason people contact Adventist Today is to hear about Danny and Linda Shelton. I wish Adventist Today was spending as much time telling people about Jesus as they are exposing unsupported rhetoric about Danny and Linda. If that were the case, I suspect you would have conversion stories to share instead of unsubstantiated comments by those who are attempting to bring disgrace to the cause of God. I haven't heard of one conversion story from Adventist Today's printing all this "gossip" about us. I hear conversion stories almost daily at 3ABN because the focus of 3ABN is to take the Three Angel's messages into all the world.

I can't think what type of person would find such a beginning of a letter to endear such a writer. It may be a shame that people search the AToday site for information on the 3ABN situation but that is really not the fault of AToday. To report on the situation is part of AToday's purpose in reporting news of Adventist interest and it certainly does not have lots of material on the subject. While it is true that AToday has printed some unsubstantiated comments so has Danny Shelton. In fact with all the controversy and so little information there is practically nothing substantiated except the divorce and dismissal of Linda Shelton and remarriage of Danny Shelton. All the rest is unsubstantiated comments including those of Danny Shelton's letter.

From there Danny Shelton denigrates AToday and how 3ABN is better. So the first paragraph says nothing about what has happened at 3ABN it is merely an attack on AToday.

You mentioned that you do not have the ability to do "investigative reporting" in your search for truth, so in exchange, you are publishing the comments of the parties involved in the conflict which may or may not reflect truth. I might ask, how does this help to discover the truth of the matter or enhance the cause we all profess to want to serve-and which Adventist Today claims to want to do? The letters in this article that you asked me to respond to are made up of many errors. I won't try to point them all out at this time. I will say that Dr. Thompson's letter speaks for me and the board of 3ABN at this time.

There seems to be a disconnect here with Danny Shelton. He seems to think that investigating something will not lead to the truth. So he asks how will looking at comments of those involved help find the truth. Possibly he has never seen a trial before but they are made up of looking and asking for the comments and observations of those involved. Instead of providing unsubstantiated claims that someone else presented many errors, he says he won't point them out at this time. The way you find truth is by dealing in specifics rather then the gossip type statements that something is filled with errors. Pointing out errors in some-one's statement specifically builds a case for or against something. As the latest letter from Dr. Abrahamsen makes some serious charges against the personality of Danny Shelton it should be important to him to clear up the matter if those charges are untrue. It should certainly matter to any 3ABN supporter if they are donating to a ministry that is run by a Psychopath. Just claiming that Danny Shelton is spreading the gospel is not enough, Christian responsibility calls for accountability as well.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Judging the Judge...More Goldstein on Daniel

The following article (the green type) is from Clifford Goldstein in the August 26 Mid America Outlook titled Judging the Judge

One early morning, driving to the GC building, I caught a BBC news report about Saddam Hussein’s trial in Baghdad. A judge involved in the proceeding remarked that the world would judge them, the judges—the whole trial even—based on the justice and fairness meted out in the courtroom. Instantly I thought of the pre-Advent judgment as depicted in Daniel 7, a judgment that happens in heaven. It occurs before the Second Advent (hence pre-Advent) and is witnessed by a retinue of angels (Daniel 7:9, 10). Actually, God is the one who Himself is being judged, based on how He deals with us. How do we know? Because Psalm 51 tells us so. Read carefully what David says: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:1-4).

It’s easy to miss one of David’s crucial points here. He’s asking God for loving-kindness, for forgiveness. He admits his sins, and he asks God to have mercy on him, to cleanse him, to blot out his transgressions in order that “thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” Is he saying that the Lord should do these things to him so that God should be clear when He, God, judges? Exactly!

It is easy to miss that point because that is not the point the Psalmist is making. Remember the occasion of this verse.

Psalm 51 For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba”
PSALMS 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (All my Quotes are taken from the NIV translation)
David is not worried about some Judgment of God at some future point in time, he is saying that he David has been justly judged by God. God was 100% right when Nathan brought God’s Judgment to David. It is a confession before the Judge after the Judge condemned him. The story is related in 2 Samuel 12 as Nathan gives David His Judgment:

2 Samuel 12:12-13 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.' "Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.

This all becomes clearer if we understand his words— “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight”—as parenthetical. They interrupt his main flow of thought, in which he is asking God to pardon and clean him so that He, God, will be “clear when thou judgest.” So, if you pick up the train of thought, it reads like this: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin … that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” God—justified when He speaks, clear when He judges?

That is a unique view, as it moves from David’s present circumstances to something very different, Does David ever really question that God is not Just or vindicated in His actions that someday He must be judged and vindicated? Of course not David is acknowledging God’s Justice and mercy even while confessing his own sins. The Psalms recite a confidence in God, not ever representing the need for God to vindicate His righteous judgments:

Psalms 7:11 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.
Psalms 9:8 He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.
Psalms 72:2 He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.

It appears that this confidence in the righteous judgments of God is developed by the way the Psalms were even arranged. The Psalm right before Psalm 51 begins with Praise for God’s judgment:

Psalms 50:4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:

Psalms 50:6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah

Yes! The word translated “justified” in the King James Version can also mean “vindicated,” the idea being that God Himself is being tried based on how He deals with us, fallen sinners. This point is so often lost amid the hubbub regarding the judgment. Though we can’t deny the biblical reality of judgment by works (Romans 2:6; Ecclesiastes 12:14), for believers in Jesus we have a substitute, Christ, who intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25). Thus, in many ways, the judgment isn’t so much about us; it’s about God, and about how He deals with sinners, a crucial motif of the whole great controversy scenario. So God, even after the revelation of His character at the cross, still wants to give even more evidence of His goodness. He does it in the pre-Advent judgment when He Himself is judged.

Clifford Goldstein August 26 Mid America Outlook

Now let’s look at the idea that God is Judged in the Pre-Advent Judgment. As we see Clifford Goldstein derives that idea from Daniel 7:9-10

DANIEL 7:9 "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

DANIEL 7:10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.

Does it sound like a defendant coming into a courtroom to be judged? No in fact the word Throne indicates that He is judging. In the Old Testament, throne is used often to indicate the function of whomever is seated upon that throne. Usually a King sometimes a judge, but of course the King was the ultimate ruler and ultimate judge. This is what Daniel speaks about. So who is being Judged in Daniel 7? The Answer is given in Daniel when the Angel interprets the vision:

DANIEL 7:25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. DANIEL 7:26 " `But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.

Then in verse 27 “the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints”. So it appears from the book of Daniel that the little horn power is judged and destroyed and the judgment then goes in favor of those whom the little horn power abused. The account in Daniel does indicate that this judgment is witnesses by angels. But angels are God’s ministering spirits there is nothing to indicate they have anything but faith in God, they are His servants and messengers often they are called Holy. What good does it do to have a Pre-advent Judgment of God where God is declared just by those who already know and acknowledge the Justice of God? The only people that need such a show would be us here on earth, the people who don’t see everything that God does, the people who don’t know what to believe and are tossed around by conflicting philosophies and religions and historical interpretations.

Goldstein wrote: “Actually, God is the one who Himself is being judged, based on how He deals with us.” I hope I never have to judge God upon how I feel he deals with me. I don’t have enough information to make any such judgment. I can judge whether I will choose to accept God by faith that God is loving and forgiving and accepting as God has demonstrated Himself to be through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. But I am in no position to judge God as to whether he deserves to be God or not. I am only a judge of whether I accept or reject God. If the angels have placed God on trial to judge how he deals with us it is something that the Bible is silent on. But for angels to serve God for millennia and then turn around and become the judge of the Creator of the universe is quite a stretch of credibility. To say that God is giving us evidence of His goodness in the Pre-advent judgment which we can neither see, hear, read of, or experience is not really evidence of anything at all.


From the Expositor's Bible Commentary on Psalm 51:4:

Between these two prayers of contrition is an affirmation of God's justice (v. 4b). The psalmist does not reject or argue with divine justice (Rom 3:4), because the Lord's verdict is "right" (s-d-q) 5-6 Confronted by God's righteous verdict, the psalmist is more deeply pricked by his own sinfulness.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

To be the Remnant or to be part of the Remnant?

The Bible is filled with remnant principles from Noah to Elijah, from Judah to Ezekiel there is always someone who holds to the principles of God, who does not cave into the world around them. The remnant however is not exclusive the opportunity is open, some will chose God many will never, the remnant are those who as Joshua says, “choose life”. As Chip Brogden said: “ Anyone can, everyone won’t (in fact, a large majority will not) but SOMEBODY will. That group of “sombody’s” who will is the Remnant.”

To be the Remnant is to be special and since people like to feel special they also like to define themselves as the Remnant. Just to be a sincere follower of Christ is not enough for many who define themselves as the Remnant. Often they must define their particular beliefs as Remnant beliefs and the beliefs or actions of others must be apostate. Today those who claim to be the Remnant define themselves as those who hold to the truth against the apostate churches. A few examples:

1. Gwen Shamblin, the well-known dietician who created the "Weigh Down Diet" formed Remnant Fellowship having come to the conclusion that "institutional church can be defined as the counterfeit church the Apostle John warned about in Revelation - 'The Mother of Prostitutes' (Rev. 17) .. a place that says it is Christ's church and yet .. has insidiously allowed its members to rebel against Christ" (2). Viewing the small groups of people who hearkened to her message as being a true remnant of true believers, Shamblin's Remnant Fellowship now openly urges all like-minded people to abandon Christian churches and affiliate with her band.

2. A National Catholic Newspaper is titled the Remnant with the following given as it purpose: “The Remnant's position is a simple one, as it strives essentially to adhere to Catholic teaching in every aspect of its journalism. There has been great upheaval and revolution within the Catholic Church over the past five decades -- not unlike the one encountered in the fourth century by St. Athanasius, called the Arian Heresy -- and Catholics are called to oppose that which in any way contradicts the infallible teachings and immutable traditions of the Catholic Church.”

3. The Portland International Church of Christ split, calling for the remnant to come out from their former church. “However, as of this Jubilee the Portland leadership believes it is time for a progressive “calling-out of the remnant of disciples” from dying, former ICOC Churches.”

The International Churches of Christ (Boston Movement), also known as the ICC, founded in 1979 by Kip McKean, is an organization which portrays itself to the public as “...a family of Christian churches whose members are committed to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.” (Who Are We?, ICC Home page, By this statement they appear to be just another family of Christian churches. Is this an honest portrayal? In an article entitled Revolution through Restoration II (a sequel), written by Kip McKean (lead Evangelist and founder of the ICC), Kip states that perhaps the most often asked question of the ICC is “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?” Kip avoids answering this question out right, but comments that the Bible’s answer comes from understanding the nature of God’s movements.

“To initiate his movement, God, in his grace, always works through a man. He puts his message on this man’s heart. As God’s man preaches God’s message, God moves in other men’s hearts to collectively come together to follow God through the leadership of his man.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

A few sentences later Kip states: “I believe with all my heart that the Boston Movement is God’s modern-day movement.” (ibid) This statement infers two things. First, that if the Boston Movement is God’s modern-day movement, then it’s leader, Kip McKean must be “God’s man” who is preaching God’s message. According to the above quote, this means that all persons who are moved upon by God to follow Him will do so through the leadership of “his man” Kip McKean.

Second, if the Boston Movement is God’s one and only modern-day movement, with Kip McKean as it’s leader (God’s man), then any person or group of persons not following Kip McKean by membership in the Boston Movement are not following God. So back to the question, “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?”

4. Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. From its restoration in 1830 thru the Reorganization of 1860 and Renewal in 2000 The Remnant Church has remained the true successor of Christ’s New Testament Church.

5. The Remnant Church of God

6. Association Remnant Church of Creation 7th Day Adventists

7. Remnant and Its Mission: (Seventh-day Adventists Fundamental Belief 13)
The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:10; Jude 3, 14; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Rev. 21:1-14.)

One thing is certain from the many churches who claim to be the remnant, they can not all be right. Yet to be part of each particular church remnant theology they must accept that their view of the remnant is true. Of all the views expressed in the brief examples above, which only represent some of the groups who view themselves as the remnant I don’t agree that any of them represent the remnant of the followers of God. Neither would the different groups agree with that any the other groups definition of the remnant is true.

The Remnant principle is more God oriented then religious institution oriented. That is God identifies the remnant as those that are His. It is not up to the religious institution to name themselves the remnant. When they do, they are not acting with the view of how God thinks but they operate with the view of a self exalted organization or person. They choose to raise themselves as obedient and lower others as disobedient. Choosing to judge others on things which they can have no way of knowing or simply because of a different interpretation of some Bible passages. It is selfishness.

To be the Remnant or to be part of the Remnant are two very different things. To be the Remnant is exclusive and certain of its exclusive unique position. To be part of the Remnant means you are willing to accept God’s definition of the Remnant with fellow followers of God. God may use a far different definition then man, because remnants can come from all sorts of things.