Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prayer of Nabonidus

Words of the prayer, said by Nabonidus, king of Babylonia, the great king, when afflicted with an ulcer on command of the most high God in Temâ:
'I, Nabonidus, was afflicted with an evil ulcer for seven years, and far from men I was driven, until I prayed to the most high God. And an exorcist pardoned my sins. He was a Jew from among the children of the exile of Judah, and said: "Recount this in writing to glorify and exalt the name of the most high God." Then I wrote this: "When I was afflicted for seven years by the most high God with an evil ulcer during my stay at Temâ, I prayed to the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood, stone and lime, because I thought and considered them gods..."' [the end is missing]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Info on Neb's "madness".

The mental illness of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has posed one of the two remaining unsolved problems of the Book of Daniel, the other being the identity of Darius the Mede. Several problems connected with Daniel that vexed scholars of previous generations have been solved to the satisfaction of those who believe in the sixth-century B.C. authorship of the book and in its historical authenticity. Among these problems, solved primarily through archeological discoveries during the past hundred years, are the identity of Belshazzar, the occurrence of Greek words in Daniel, and apparently chronological difficulties.
In 1956 a fragment of a Hebrew document found in Qumran Cave IV and labeled APrayer of Nabonidus@ was published by J. T. Milik. In it Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, claims to have been healed by a Jew from a bad inflammation that had tormented him for seven years, after he had ceased to worship his idols.1 The badly broken leather fragment, written about 100 B.C., was hailed at once by liberal scholars as providing the answer to the questions raised by Daniel 4, where the madness of Nebuchadnezzar is recorded. It has been asserted that the author of Daniel, writing the book Caccording to commonly held liberal viewsCduring the second century B.C., had confused Nabonidus with Nebuchadnezzar, although there were not only similarities in the two stories but also marked differences. Nabonidus was plagued by a bad inflammation in the city of Tema in Arabia, according to the Qumran scroll fragment, while Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted with a mental illness in the city of Babylon, according to the Bible. The best explanation is that the Qumran fragment contains one of the numerous Jewish legends, of which a rich apocryphal and pseudepigraphal literature exists, and that the APrayer of Nabonidus@ has nothing to do with Nebuchadnezzar=s unfortunate experience.
And now comes what seems to be the solution to our problem from a cuneiform tablet that has belonged to the treasures of the British Museum for many years but was published only three years ago.2 Unfortunately, the tablet (BM 34113 [sp. 213]) is broken, as are so many other cuneiform tablets. Its fragmentary condition is the main reason that not everything it contains is as clear as we would like it to be. I am presenting here only the best-preserved lines of this text in translation as provided by the editor of the text, Prof. A. K. Grayson:
2 [Nebu]chadnezzar considered [... ...]
3 His life appeared of no value to [him, ... ...]
5 And (the) Babylon(ian) speaks bad counsel to Evil-Merodach [...]
6 Then he gives an entirely different order but [...]
7 He does not heed the word from his lips, the cour[tier(s) ...]
11 He does not show love to son and daughter [...]
12 [...] family and clan does not exist [...]
14 His attention was not directed towards promoting the welfare of Esagil [and Babylon]
16 He prays to the lord of lords, he raised [his hands (in supplication) ...]
17 He weeps bitterly to Marduk, the g[reat] gods [... ...]
18 His prayers go forth, to [... ...]
The following remarks will help you to understand the parts of this text. Brackets [] indicate words of letters that are broken off from the original tablet, but which have been supplied by the translator. Words or letters in parenthesis () are supplied by the translator for a better understanding of the English rendering. The numerals preceding the lines of text indicate the lines of the tablet that are quoted. Lines missing here are either too badly damaged to make any sense, or are not fully comprehensible and therefore make no contribution to a better understanding of the text as a whole. The reader should note that the end of every line is missing, as indicated by dots between brackets; also the beginnings of lines 2 and 12 are broken off, although there is no doubt that the reconstruction of the beginning of line 2 is correct.
Evil-Merodach of line 5 was the eldest son of Nebuchadnezzar and his successor on the throne of Babylon after his death. He is mentioned in the Bible as having released King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison after his accession to the throne (2 Kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34). Esagil, mentioned in line 14, is the name of the principal temple complex of Babylon, in which stood also the ziggurat, a temple-tower 300 feet high. The temple was dedicated to the worship of the country=s chief god, Marduk, mentioned in line 17 of our text.
This text definitely refers to Nebuchadnezzar in lines 2 and 3, but it is not absolutely certain to whom line 6 and the following lines refer. Professor Grayson, the editor of the tablet, suggests that Athe main theme seems to be the improper behavior of Evil-Merodach, particularly with regard to Esagil, followed by a sudden and unexplained change of heart and prayers to Marduk.@ However, another interpretation of the poorly preserved text is also possible, especially if it is read in the light of Daniel 4, which relates Nebuchadnezzar=s period of mental derangement for seven years.
Seen in this light, it is possible to detect, in lines 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 14, references to a strange behavior of Nebuchadnezzar, which was brought to the attention of Evil-Merodach by some state official(s) according to whose opinion, life had lost all value for his father, and that he, namely Nebuchadnezzar, gave contradictory orders, refused to accept the counsel of his courtiers, showed love to neither son nor daughter anymore, neglected his family, and performed no longer his duties as head of state with regard to the Babylonian state religion and its principal temple. Seen in this light one can understand line 5 as referring to Babylonian state officials who, bewildered by the king=s behavior, counseled Evil-Merodach to take over the affairs of state as long as his father would be incapable of carrying out his royal duties. Line 6 and following lines would then be a description of Nebuchadnezzar=s strange behavior as described by his courtiers to Evil-Merodach.
Since Nebuchadnezzar recovered from his illness, as the Bible tells us (Dan. 4:36), the counsel of the king=s courtiers to Evil-Merodach may later have been considered as ill-conceived or Abad@ (line 5), but may at the time when it was rendered have been the wisest way out of the existing dilemma. Since Daniel tells us that Nebuchadnezzar was Adriven from men@ (verse 33) and later reinstated into his regal position by his officers of state (verse 36), it is possible that Evil-Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar=s eldest son, served as regent during his father=s incapacity, although official records continued to be dated according to the years of Nebuchadnezzar=s reign as long as this king remained alive.
It is regrettable that this extremely important text has come down to us in such a deplorably fragmentary condition, but we are grateful that at least a small part of it has been preserved, since it seems to shed light on a biblical narrative that so far has not been vindicated by extrabiblical documentation.

Text of BM34113 British Museum, No. BM 34113 (sp 213)

“Unfortunately, it is merely a fragment, and the surviving text is not as clear as we would like it to be. But the lines that may refer to the king’s illness are exciting nevertheless:

2 [Nebu]chadnezzar considered […..]
3 His life appeared of no value to [him...]
5 And Babylonian speaks bad counsel to Evil-merodach […..]
6 Then he gave an entirely different order but [………]
7 He does not heed the word from his lips, the cour[tiers……]
11 He does not show love to son and daughter […..]
12 …family and clan do not exist [………]
14 His attention was not directed towards promoting the welfare of Esagil [and Babylon]
16 He prays to the Lord of lords, he raised [his hands in supplication….]
17 He weeps bitterly to Marduk, the g[reat] god [……]
18 His prayer go forth, to [………]

Let's attempt to decipher the text, Brackets [...] indicate which words or letters are broken from the original....

Evil-merodach of line 5 was the eldest son of Nebuchadnezzar and his successor on the throne. He is mentioned in the Bible as having released King Jehoiachin of Judah from Prison after his ascension to the throne (2kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34) Esagil in line 14 is the name of the principal temple complex of Babylon, in which the ziggurat a 300 foot high temple tower, stood. The temple was dedicated to the chief god, Marduk, mentioned in line 17.…......

If read in the light of Daniel 4, which relates Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-year period of mental derangement, lines 3,6,7,11,12,14 refer to strange behavior by Nebuchadnezzar, which has been brought to the attention of Evil merodach by state officials. Life had lost all value to Nebuchadnezzar, who gave contradictory orders, refused to accept the counsel of his courtiers, showed love neither to son nor daughter, neglected his family and no longer performed his duties as head of state with regard to the Babylonian state religion and its principal temple.

Line 5, then, can refer to officials who, bewildered by the kings’ behavior, counselled Evil-merdach to assume responsibility for the affairs of state...

Lines 6, and on would then be a description of Nebuchadnezzar's behavior as described to Evil-merodach.

Since Nebuchadnezzar later recovered, the counsel of the kings’ courtiers to Evil-merodach may later have been considered “bad” (line 5) though at the time it seemed the best way out of a national crises.

Since Daniel records that Nebuchadnezzar was "driven from men" (Dan. 4:33) but later reinstated as king by his officials (vs. 36) Evil merodach, Nebuchadnezzar's eldest son, may have served as regent during his father's incapacity. Official records, howver, show Nebuchadnezzar as king during his lifetime.

Lines 17 and 18 are curious. Was Nebuchadnezzar first appealing to his pagan gods for restoration? If, for seven years, he was crying out to his own gods, before He turned to the true God it makes the account even clearer THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD Who is truly God.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

12/7 Chap 2-3

First, a quick discussion on the Dan 2:40-45. (The Last Kingdom)

Chap 3 The Statue (reaction to the dream)

The LXX introduces this chapter with the following chronological note: “in the eighteenth year of.” Such a date would place these events at about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (cf. 2 Kgs 25:8). However, there seems to be no real basis for associating the events of Daniel 3 with this date.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press.


Nebuchadnezzar summoned eight classes of officials to the dedication of the image. This may suggest that the image was intended to symbolize the empire and its unity under Nebuchadnezzar’s authority. The officers referred to in verse 2 are listed again in verse 3 and four of them in verse 27, thus emphasizing the political implications of this incident.
The satraps were chief representatives of the king, the prefects were military commanders, and the governors were civil administrators. The advisers were counselors to those in governmental authority. The treasurers administered the funds of the kingdom, the judges were administrators of the law, and the magistrates passed judgment in keeping with the law. The other provincial officials were probably subordinates of the satraps. This list of officers probably included all who served in any official capacity under Nebuchadnezzar.

On the possibility that Zedekiah, Judah’s last king, was summoned to Babylon for this occasion see comments on Jeremiah 51:59.

3:7 Greek words for instruments problem for some scholars. I believe that the Greek influence from Lydia could easily inflluence this.

12 sn The word zither (Aramaic קִיתָרוֹס [qitaros]), and the words for harp (Aramaic פְּסַנְתֵּרִין [pésanterin]) and pipes (Aramaic סוּמְפֹּנְיָה [sumponéyah]), are of Greek derivation. Though much has been made of this in terms of suggesting a date in the Hellenistic period for the writing of the book, it is not surprising that a few Greek cultural terms, all of them the names of musical instruments, should appear in this book. As a number of scholars have pointed out, the bigger surprise (if, in fact, the book is to be dated to the Hellenistic period) may be that there are so few Greek loanwords in Daniel.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press.

Daniel 3:8-12

No indication is given of the size of the multitude that assembled on this occasion. But because it included all the kingdom’s officials (vv. 2-3) it must have been huge. Some court advisers (astrologers; cf. comments on 1:17) were quick to bring an accusation against the Jews. The word translated denounced is strong, meaning “to tear in pieces.” The accusation was severe, intended to destroy the accused. The accusers were evidently motivated by jealousy for they referred to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar had set some Jews … over the affairs of the province of Babylon (3:12; cf. 2:49). The jealousy evidently sprang from the king’s recognition of the unusual ability of these men (1:20). Subjugated peoples, such as the Jewish captives, were normally relegated to positions of servitude, not elevated to authority in a realm. So the high positions of “some Jews” were resented.
The counselors evidently sought to curry favor from the king by contrasting the three Jews’ refusal to bow to the image with their own worship of it. Interestingly they accused Daniel’s three friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—but not Daniel. Since Daniel was appointed to a higher office (2:48) he may not have been required to attend (cf. comments on 4:8) or perhaps he may have been elsewhere in the empire carrying out his duties. Or maybe the astrologers did not dare accuse Daniel, who was present but like the other three did not bow. Whatever the reason for his not being mentioned, Daniel’s dedication to his God and submission to the Law certainly precluded his bowing before the image.

3:8 Daniel’s absence from this scene has sparked the imagination of commentators, some of whom have suggested that perhaps he was unable to attend the dedication due to sickness or due to being away on business. Hippolytus supposed that Daniel may have been watching from a distance.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press.

3:14 Sense of respect or questions the accusers validity.
Either way he calls them out and challenges their decisons.

3:15 Note the arrogance in the question.


How significant this event was to Nebuchadnezzar is seen by his response to the astrologers’ accusation of the three noncompliant Jews (vv. 9-12). When he heard that the three refused to bow, he became furious with rage (cf. v. 19; 2:12). The high esteem with which these men had previously been held by Nebuchadnezzar (1:20) did not exempt them from submission to his authority. Nebuchadnezzar did not pass an immediate judgment on the three but asked them if the accusation against them were true. He gave them another opportunity to bow before the image. By doing so they could prove the falsehood of the accusation (or show a changed attitude).


God delivers Again

This historical incident seems to have prophetic significance as well. In the coming Tribulation a Gentile ruler (7:8) will demand for himself the worship that belongs to God (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:8). Any who refuse to acknowledge his right to receive worship will be killed (Rev. 13:15). Assuming political and religious power, he will oppress Israel (Rev. 13:7). Most of the people in the world, including many in Israel, will submit to and worship him. But a small remnant in Israel, like the three in Daniel’s day, will refuse. Many who will not worship the Antichrist will be severely punished; some will be martyred for their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. But a few will be delivered from those persecutions by the Lord Jesus Christ at His second coming.
In the forthcoming Tribulation period God will do for this believing remnant what He did for Daniel’s three companions. They withstood the decree of the king, and though they were not exempted from suffering and oppression they were delivered out of it by the God they trusted. No doubt the remnant of believing Jews in that coming day will find great comfort, consolation, and instruction from this incident in the lives of Daniel’s three companions, as those in Daniel’s day must have found as they were living under Gentile rule.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Alexander and the Jews notes from Josephus

Book of Antiquities, Flavius Josepphus book XI. Chap 5

5. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king's displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, "I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind." And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him (23) wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreared him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.

The overthrow of the final kingdom of the statue

Daniel then focused on the overthrow of those kingdoms. The time of those kings may refer to the four empires or, more likely, it refers to the time of the 10 toes (v. 42) since the first four kingdoms were not in existence at the same time as apparently the toes will be (cf. comments on the 10 horns of the fourth beast, 7:24). Nebuchadnezzar had seen a rock hit and smash the image (2:34).

The statue was destroyed by the rock, not by human hands. In Scripture a rock often refers to Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah (e.g., Ps. 118:22; Isa. 8:14; 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6-8). God, who had enthroned Nebuchadnezzar and would transfer authority from Babylon to Medo-Persia, then to Greece, and ultimately to Rome, will one day invest political power in a King who will rule over the earth, subduing it to His authority, thus culminating God’s original destiny for man (Gen. 1:27).
In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the smiting rock became a mountain that filled the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).

In Scripture a mountain is often a symbol for a kingdom. So Daniel explained that the four empires which would rule over the land and the people of Israel would not be destroyed by human means, but rather by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the striking Stone. When He comes He will establish the messianic kingdom promised to Israel through David (2 Sam. 7:16). At His return He will subjugate all … kingdoms to Himself, thus bringing them to an end (cf. Rev. 11:15; 19:11-20). Then He will rule forever in the Millennium and in the eternal state.

Amillennialists hold that this kingdom was established by Christ at His First Advent and that now the church is that kingdom. They argue that: (a) Christianity, like the growing mountain, began to grow and spread geographically and is still doing so; (b) Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire; (c) the Roman Empire fell into the hands of 10 kingdoms (10 toes); (d) Christ is the chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).

Premillenarians, however, hold that the kingdom to be established by Christ on earth is yet future. At least six points favor that view: (1) The stone will become a mountain suddenly, not gradually. Christianity did not suddenly fill “the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35) at Christ’s First Advent. (2) Though Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire, He did not destroy it. (3) During Christ’s time on earth the Roman Empire did not have 10 kings at once. Yet Nebuchadnezzar’s statue suggests that when Christ comes to establish His kingdom, 10 rulers will be in existence and will be destroyed by Him. (4) Though Christ is now the chief Cornerstone to the church (Eph. 2:20) and “a stone that causes [unbelievers] to stumble” (1 Peter 2:8), He is not yet a smiting Stone as He will be when He comes again. (5) The Stone (Messiah) will crush and end all the kingdoms of the world. But the church has not and will not conquer the world’s kingdoms. (6) The church is not a kingdom with a political realm, but the future Millennium will be.

Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s dream clearly teaches premillennialism, that Christ will return to earth to establish His rule on the earth, thereby subduing all nations. The church is not that kingdom.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Further notes on Daniel 2 and 7

A further point to consider lies in the interpretation of the prophecies that are found in the book of Daniel. Usually, the earthly kingdoms of Dan. 2 and 7 are given as four in number: Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece. [for instance, see Gammie (1976) 204; Collins (1977): 153; Porteus, 19; Rowley (1935/6): 220; Eissfeldt, 519-20; Gurney, 39; Boutflower (1923): 13-34; Larue, 407; Lacocque (1979): 9, 51, on page 123 he cites Elias Bickerman, Four Strange Books of the Bible. (1967): 67-8: "in the Jewish schema the four empires were Babylon, Media, Persia, and Macedonia."; Collins (1984): 52; Eissfeldt, 522; McNamara (1967): 635; Dummelow, 526; see Davies (1988): 28-9 for his attempt to create an error for Daniel; this view was possibly derived from Porphyry -- see Casey, 19; Gruenthaner, 209-10 notes that some scholars took note of the difficulties that were "created by assuming the second kingdom to be the Median empire"-see, for example, Taylor [2].

They thus propose: Neo-Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Alexander's Greek empire, Seleucid-see for instance Rennie and Muller [2]. But, Gruenthaner notes that this is "contrary to Daniel's outlook upon history." He also briefly examines the idea that these kingdoms are the reigns of specific kings and shows how it fails to meet the criteria of the prophecy.] But the author of the book clearly recognized that the Medes and the Persians were the second of the series of kingdoms (5:28)--also we should note that in chapter 2 there are 5 earthly kingdoms, not four: gold, silver, brass, iron, iron and clay. So, that means we have Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greeks, ? (Rome), and ??. According to the prophecy Rome itself would fall and then that no other world-dominating power would take its place. Now, how did the writer of the book, if it was written "after the fact" in 164 B.C., know that the Greeks were going to fall before it happened [from here on of course Daniel would be an excellent example of pure prophecy--see Porteous, 18: "The genuine attempt at prophecy (Dan. 12:40ff)"--I think he meant chapter 11 verse 40 and onward], and to whom, and then on top of all that the final power was going to fall and that there would never be another? That this is the correct sequence of empires can be seen by the parallel vision in chapters 7-8.

In chapter 7 the bear "raised itself up on one side" [Lacocque (1979): 140 says that this means it is either "crouched down ready to spring[!] or standing up on its back legs in an aggressive position"--compare that opinion with the text itself; see also Gurney, 43] and in chapter 8 one of the two horns on the ram "was higher than the other, and the higher came up last." [Eissfeldt, 522 recognizes that the two horns represent two separate kingdoms; Lacocque (1979): 160: recognizes that the ram with its two horns represent Persia and Media--although he confuses the later horn with Media] Notice also that in 8:7 the goat breaks both horns of the ram thereby indicating that "they cannot be two successive kingdoms one of which was overthrown 200 years earlier than the second!" [Emery, 38-9] And then when could the book have been written? We should note, as Goldingay does, that Josephus saw Rome as the fourth empire. [Goldingay, xxix-xxx] Goldingay advances the idea that since "Nebuchadnezzar personally is the head, so it is more natural to refer to them to the regins (sic) of four kings over a single empire." [Goldingay, 49] In doing so he ignores the idea that in an absolute monarchy the king personifies the kingdom as a whole. In looking at the metals involved in the statute of Dan. 2 Goldingay tries to claim that there is "no implication of deterioration as we move from head to trunk ..." and yet on the next page he says "the second regime is inferior to the first". [Goldingay, 49-50; he has to make the later admission because 2:39 says that the kingdom that follows Babylon will be "inferior"; it can be assumed from that alone that all the others will be "inferior" in some respect to their predecessor; see also Gruenthaner, 74-5; Gurney, 41] But, Davies points out that "the Greek poet Hesiod (eight century BC) who, in his Works and Days spoke of four (or five) ages of men represented by metals. Each age is successively degenerate--gold, silver, bronze, then iron ..." [Davies (1988): 44] Lacocque also notes that "Hesiod (Works and Days, 109-201) and Ovid (Metamorphoses I, 89-150) speak of a succession of the ages of the world as a process of degeneration: gold-silver-bronze-iron." [Lacocque (1979): 48; see also Collins (1975): 221] Goldingay may be quite correct in seeing these various metals as constituting the sum of the "valuable natural resources or valuable booty"; but, there is no evidence in the text that this is what these metals stood for. [Goldingay, 49] The story in chapter 3 indicates that by making his "statute" all gold Nebuchadnezzar saw the metals as indicating declining value and he was the greatest of all and that he also wanted his empire to last forever. This is contrary to any Jewish view point a Collins pointed out; but is completely true to the Babylonian way of looking at things. [Collins (1975): 222]

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dan 2:37-44 with (Comparison to Dan 7)

We will review the intrpretation from Daniel as it relates to a premillinist view.

This image, then, is a picture of world history. You can see that the materials in it decrease in weight (from gold to clay) so that the statue is top-heavy and easily pushed over. Men and women think that human civilization is so strong and enduring; really it is resting on brittle feet of clay. Note too that the value decreases: from gold to silver to bronze to iron to clay. Is mankind getting “better and better” as time goes on? No! Human civilization is actually getting cheaper and weaker. There is also a decrease in beauty and glory (gold is certainly more beautiful than iron mixed with clay); and there is a decrease in strength (from gold to clay) as we approach the end of human history. Each of the successive kingdoms had its own strengths, of course, and Rome exercised a tremendous military power, but through history civilization will become weaker and weaker. This explains why the Antichrist will be able to organize a worldwide dictatorship: nations will be so weak they will demand a dictator just to be able to survive.

Each of these kingdoms had a different form of government. Babylon was ruled by an absolute monarch, a dictator (see 5:19). The Medo-Persian empire had a king, but he worked through princes and established laws (see 6:1–3—and remember the “law of the Medes and the Persians” in Esther 1:19). Greece operated through a king and an army, and Rome was supposed to be a republic, but it was actually a rule of the military through laws. When you come to the iron and clay, you have our present governments: the iron represents law and justice, the clay represents mankind, and together they make up democracy. What is the strength of democracy? Law. What is its weakness? Human nature. We are seeing today that lawlessness comes when human nature refuses to be bound by God’s order and laws.

This entire picture is not a very optimistic one. Nebuchadnezzar saw that his own kingdom would fall one day and be replaced by the Medes and Persians. This happened in 538 B.C. (Dan. 5:30–31). The Medes and Persians would be conquered by the Greeks about 330 B.C.; and Greece would give way to Rome. The Roman Empire outwardly would disappear, but its laws, philosophies, and institutions would continue until this very day, taking us down to the “feet of clay.” The only hope for this world is the return of Christ. When He comes to the earth, it will be to conquer the nations (Rev. 19:11ff) and to establish His own glorious kingdom.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Notes Dan 7:Also See Rev 13 & 17

raised … itself on one side—but the Hebrew, “It raised up one dominion.” The Medes, an ancient people, and the Persians, a modern tribe, formed one united sovereignty in contrast to the third and fourth kingdoms, each originally one, afterwards divided. English Version is the result of a slight change of a Hebrew letter. The idea then would be, “It lay on one of its fore feet, and stood on the other”; a figure still to be seen on one of the stones of Babylon [MUNTER, The Religion of Babylonia, 112]; denoting a kingdom that had been at rest, but is now rousing itself for conquest. Media is the lower side, passiveness; Persia, the upper, active element [AUBERLEN]. The three ribs in its mouth are Media, Lydia, and Babylon, brought under the Persian sway. Rather, Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, not properly parts of its body, but seized by Medo-Persia [SIR ISAAC NEWTON]. Called “ribs” because they strengthened the Medo-Persian empire. “Between its teeth,” as being much grinded by it.

6. leopard—smaller than the lion; swift (Hab 1:8); cruel (Is 11:6), the opposite of tame; springing suddenly from its hiding place on its prey (Ho 13:7); spotted. So Alexander, a small king, of a small kingdom, Macedon, attacked Darius at the head of the vast empire reaching from the AEgean Sea to the Indies. In twelve years he subjugated part of Europe, and all Asia from Illyricum and the Adriatic to the Ganges, not so much fighting as conquering [JEROME]. Hence, whereas Babylon is represented with two wings, Macedon has four, so rapid were its conquests. The various spots denote the various nations incorporated into his empire [BOCHART]; Or Alexander’s own variation in character, at one time mild, at another cruel, now temperate, and now drunken and licentious.
four heads—explained in Da 8:8, 22; the four kingdoms of the Diadochi or “successors” into which the Macedonian empire was divided at the death of Alexander, namely, Macedon and Greece under Cassander, Thrace and Bithynia under Lysimachus, Egypt under PTOLEMY, and Syria under Seleucus.

dominion … given to it—by God; not by Alexander’s own might. For how unlikely it was that thirty thousand men should overthrow several hundreds of thousands! JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 11.6] says that Alexander adored the high priest of Jerusalem, saying that he at Dium in Macedonia had seen a vision of God so habited, inviting him to go to Asia, and promising him success.

7. As Daniel lived under the kingdom of the first beast, and therefore needed not to describe it, and as the second and third are described fully in the second part of the book, the chief emphasis falls on the fourth. Also prophecy most dwells on the end, which is the consummation of the preceding series of events. It is in the fourth that the world power manifests fully its God-opposing nature. Whereas the three former kingdoms were designated respectively, as a lion, bear, and leopard, no particular beast is specified as the image of the fourth; for Rome is so terrible as to be not describable by any one, but combines in itself all that we can imagine inexpressibly fierce in all beasts. Hence thrice (Da 7:7, 19, 23) it is repeated, that the fourth was “diverse from all” the others. The formula of introduction, “I saw in the night visions,” occurs here, as at Da 7:2, and again at Da 7:13, thus dividing the whole vision into three parts—the first embracing the three kingdoms, the second the fourth and its overthrow, the third Messiah’s kingdom. The first three together take up a few centuries; the fourth, thousands of years. The whole lower half of the image in the second chapter is given to it. And whereas the other kingdoms consist of only one material, this consists of two, iron and clay (on which much stress is laid, Da 2:41–43); the “iron teeth” here allude to one material in the fourth kingdom of the image.

ten horns—It is with the crisis, rather than the course, of the fourth kingdom that this seventh chapter is mainly concerned. The ten kings (Da 7:24, the “horns” representing power), that is, kingdoms, into which Rome was divided on its incorporation with the Germanic and Slavonic tribes, and again at the Reformation, are thought by many to be here intended. But the variation of the list of the ten, and their ignoring the eastern half of the empire altogether, and the existence of the Papacy before the breaking up of even the Western empire, instead of being the “little horn” springing up after the other ten, are against this view. The Western Roman empire continued till A.D. 731, and the Eastern, till A.D. 1453. The ten kingdoms, therefore, prefigured by the ten “toes” (Da 2:41; compare Rev 13:1; 17:12), are the ten kingdoms into which Rome shall be found finally divided when Antichrist shall appear [TREGELLES]. These, probably, are prefigured by the number ten being the prevalent one at the chief turning points of Roman history.

8. little horn—little at first, but afterwards waxing greater than all others. He must be sought “among them,” namely, the ten horns. The Roman empire did not represent itself as a continuation of Alexander’s; but the Germanic empire calls itself “the holy Roman empire.” Napoleon’s attempted universal monarchy was avowedly Roman: his son was called king of Rome. The czar (Caesar) also professes to represent the eastern half of the Roman empire. The Roman civilization, church, language, and law are the chief elements in Germanic civilization. But the Romanic element seeks universal empire, while the Germanic seeks individualization. Hence the universal monarchies attempted by the Papacy, Charlemagne, Charles V, and Napoleon have failed, the iron not amalgamating with the clay. In the king symbolized by “the little horn,” the God-opposing,. haughty spirit of the world, represented by the fourth monarchy, finds its intensest development. “The man of sin,” “the son of perdition” (2Th 2:3). Antichrist (1Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3). It is the complete evolution of the evil principle introduced by the fall.
three of the first horns plucked up—the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards and the state of Rome, which constituted the Pope’s dominions at the first; obtained by Pope Zachary and Stephen II in return for acknowledging the usurper Pepin lawful king of France [NEWTON]. See TREGELLES’ objections, Da 7:7, “ten horns,”
Note. The “little horn,” in his view, is to be Antichrist rising three and a half years before Christ’s second advent, having first overthrown three of the ten contemporaneous kingdoms, into which the fourth monarchy, under which we live, shall be finally divided. Popery seems to be a fulfilment of the prophecy in many particulars, the Pope claiming to be God on earth and above all earthly dominions; but the spirit of Antichrist prefigured by Popery will probably culminate in ONE individual, to be destroyed by Christ’s coming; He will be the product of the political world powers, whereas Popery which prepares His way, is a Church become worldly.

eyes of man—Eyes express intelligence (Ez 1:18); so (Ge 3:5) the serpent’s promise was, man’s “eyes should be opened,” if he would but rebel against God. Antichrist shall consummate the self-apotheosis, begun at the fall, high intellectual culture, independent of God. The metals representing Babylon and Medo-Persia, gold and silver, are more precious than brass and iron, representing Greece and Rome; but the latter metals are more useful to civilization (Ge 4:22). The clay, representing the Germanic element, is the most plastic material. Thus there is a progress in culture; but this is not a progress necessarily in man’s truest dignity, namely, union and likeness to God. Nay, it has led him farther from God, to self-reliance and world-love. The beginnings of civilization were among the children of Cain (Ge 4:17–24; Lu 16:8). Antiochus Epiphanes, the first Antichrist, came from civilized Greece, and loved art. As Hellenic civilization produced the first, so modern civilization under the fourth monarchy will produce the last Antichrist. The “mouth” and “eyes” are those of a man, while the symbol is otherwise brutish that is it will assume man’s true dignity, namely, wear the guise of the kingdom of God (which comes as the “Son of man” from above), while it is really bestial, namely, severed from God. Antichrist promises the same things as Christ, but in an opposite way: a caricature of Christ, offering a regenerated world without the cross. Babylon and Persia in their religion had more reverence for things divine than Greece and Rome in the imperial stages of their history. Nebuchadnezzar’s human heart, given him (Da 4:16) on his repentance, contrasts with the human eyes of Antichrist, the pseudo son of man, namely, intellectual culture, while heart and mouth blaspheme God. The deterioration politically corresponds: the first kingdom, an organic unity; the second, divided into Median and Persian; the third branches off into four; the fourth, into ten. The two eastern kingdoms are marked by nobler metals; the two western, by baser; individualization and division appear in the latter, and it is they which produce the two Antichrists.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More comments on the "dream"

D. The Prediction Regarding Kingdoms (2:36–45).

Daniel proceeds with confidence from the presentation of the dream to the predictive interpretation of it (2:36).

1. The head of gold (2:37–38). Nebuchadnezzar was the king of kings to whom the God of heaven had given sovereignty over the world (cf. Jer 27:6–8). The head of gold symbolized him. Since Nebuchadnezzar was the embodiment of all that Babylon was, the head represented the Babylonian kingdom as well as its king. This symbolism was most appropriate for two reasons. First, Babylon was called the golden city (Isa 14:4) because gold was used profusely to decorate its shrines and public buildings. Second, the idea of world empire originated with the Babylonians. The policies which were formulated in Babylon continued to control succeeding empires even as the head controls the body (2:37f.).

2. The breast of silver (2:39a). The breast and arms of silver represented a kingdom inferior to Babylon which would subsequently arise. Most likely this is the Medo-Persian empire which assumed sovereignty over the Near East in 539 B.C. when Cyrus conquered Babylon. The symbolism here was significant for three reasons. First, the two arms appropriately indicate the two major ethnic components of this empire, viz., the Medes and the Persians. Second, the breast encloses the heart. Cyrus, the founder of this empire, is reputed to have displayed heartfelt charity on friend and foe alike. Third, silver was virtually equivalent to money. Thus the silver here may be intended to portray the more commercial spirit of this empire.
The question as to how the Medo-Persian empire was inferior to that of Nebuchadnezzar is difficult. Certainly the inferiority did not lie in geography, for the territory administered by Cyrus far exceeded anything Nebuchadnezzar ever ruled. The assertion of the moral inferiority of the Medo-Persian empire is debatable. Perhaps the inferiority of the second world empire was in the following areas. First, the Babylonian empire in the broadest sense was basically uninterrupted for two millennia. On the other hand, the Medo-Persian empire survived for but two centuries. Second, the second empire lacked the inner unity of the first.14 Third, in terms of influence and achievement the old Babylonian empire outranked the Medo-Persian by far.15

3. The belly of bronze (2:39b). The third kingdom appears to be the Greco-Macedonian kingdom founded by Alexander the Great. Again the symbolism was appropriate. First, bronze was the primary metal in instruments of war, and Alexander’s army was noted for its military prowess. Second, what began as a unit (the abdomen) divided itself into two separate parts which were never reunited. This may point to Syria and Egypt, the two great Hellenistic kingdoms which grew out of the empire of Alexander.
4. The legs of iron (2:40). Assuming that the second and third empires have been correctly identified, the fourth kingdom most likely is Rome. The iron might of Rome crushed and broke “all these in pieces.” Each successive kingdom had assumed the elements of the previous kingdom which it supplanted. So when Rome crushed the Hellenistic kingdoms (Syria and Egypt), it in effect crushed all the previous kingdoms.

5. The feet of iron and clay (2:41). The Roman empire would experience a second phase in which it would be a mixture of firmness (iron) and weakness (clay). This may represent the decline of Rome as it absorbed Germanic tribes and became a decadent dictatorship. No rival empire conquered Rome. The fourth empire did not fall so much as it crumbled from within.

6. The toes (2:42–43). Presumably the statue had ten toes. A wide divergence of opinion exists as to the meaning of this symbolism. The Adventists think in terms of ten kingdoms which at one point constituted the Roman Empire. Some modern students of prophecy suggest that a ten nation confederacy, a revived Roman Empire, will appear on the territory once ruled by Rome. Recent political and economic developments in Europe are regarded as the fulfillment of this prophecy. Ten, however, is the number of completeness. It probably was not intended to be taken literally here. Therefore, attempts to identify ten specific kingdoms are unreliable. The toes may designate all the kingdoms which would follow Rome on the stage of history. The iron and clay mixture could be a way of portraying attempts to forge alliances of diverse ethnic and linguistic groups.16

7. The stone (2:44–45). The stone cut out of the mountain without hands represented the messianic kingdom. God would set up that kingdom “in the days of those kings.” Daniel seems to use the terms kings and kingdoms interchangeably (cf. 7:17, 23). Therefore, the reference here is probably to the kingdoms just enumerated. During the span of time represented by the image, the God of Heaven would establish a kingdom of a different sort. That kingdom would be (1) indestructible, (2) non-transferable, (3) irresistibly powerful, and (4) eternal. Although it would coexist with the kingdoms of this world for a time, eventually it would triumph over all human government. Since this kingdom endures forever it cannot be the millennial kingdom which some anticipate. Daniel described the smashing of the image as a sudden, powerful and decisive blow. This probably represents the sweeping away of the world powers at the second coming of Christ.17
Smith, J. E. (1992). The Major Prophets. Joplin, Mo.: College Press.

Dan. Chap 2 "The Dream"

Summary: Conclusion Chap 1

magicians—properly, “sacred scribes, skilled in the sacred writings, a class of Egyptian priests” [GESENIUS]; from a Hebrew root, “a pen.”

The word in our English Version, “magicians,” comes from mag, that is, “a priest.”

The Magi formed one of the six divisions of the Medes.
astrologers—Hebrew, “enchanters,” from a root, “to conceal,” pactisers of the occult arts.

Note: We see a subtle carryove here from the previous chapter. Daniel "the writer" made it clear to all that his "gift" was from the one and true living God. Jehovah.

Chap 2:

I. The Kings Dream (Note text chnages to Aramaic in verse 4. Very significant. This part of text is to the Gentiles)

dreams—It is significant that not to Daniel, but to the then world ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, the dream is vouchsafed. It was from the first of its representatives who had conquered the theocracy, that the world power was to learn its doom, as about to be in its turn subdued, and for ever by the kingdom of God. As this vision opens, so that in the seventh chapter developing the same truth more fully, closes the first part. Nebuchadnezzar, as vicegerent of God (Da 2:37; compare Je 25:9; Ez 28:12–15; Is 44:28; 45:1; Ro 13:1), is honored with the revelation in the form of a dream, the appropriate form to one outside the kingdom of God. So in the cases of Abimelech, Pharaoh, &c. (Ge 20:3; 41:1–7), especially as the heathen attached such importance to dreams. Still it is not he, but an Israelite, who interprets it. Heathendom is passive, Israel active, in divine things, so that the glory redounds to “the God of heaven.”

A. Disturbing : He has had a significant experience. He is troubled that he doen't understand.

B. Dan 2:3
There is a translation issue here. KJV implies that her has forgotten the dream or perhaps the recollection is cloudy. Who knows. I believe that the next few verses implies that he knows the dream but does not trust the interpretation. He feels that this is so important that he makes an unusual (possibly) demand.

2:5 The king replied to the wise men, “My decision is firm.If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered and your homes reduced to rubble!

C. The response from the "wise men"

2:5-2:11 This is a clear self indictment that they pose, the stage is set for Jehovah to make himself known to these people King's and wise men alike.

There is not a man … that can show—God makes the heathen out of their own mouth, condemn their impotent pretensions to supernatural knowledge, in order to bring out in brighter contrast His power to reveal secrets to His servants, though but “men upon the earth”

therefore, &c.—that is, If such things could be done by men, other absolute princes would have required them from their magicians; as they have not, it is proof such things cannot be done and cannot be reasonably asked from us.

D: The Decree-Death to these pretenders.

2:15-There is some interprative issues with Daniel statement 2:15. That is the word (harsh), would Daniel or anyone question the King's intention? Could be urgent or untimely look at the relation to the next statement. Simply put Daniel asks for some time to PRAY.

Note: Daniel went in—perhaps not in person, but by the mediation of some courtier who had access to the king. His first direct interview seems to have been Da 2:25

E. God reveals- Note that Daniel goes to his friends to intercede with him, we are all at risk here.

Daniel's praise for a God who is real and knows the hearst of man. Note the prepatory statements related to the dream.

II. The Dream interpreted.

A. Arioch

Note: Dan 2:25 "I have found a man"—Like all courtiers, in announcing agreeable tidings, he ascribes the merit of the discovery to himself [JEROME]. So far from it being a discrepancy, that he says nothing of the previous understanding between him and Daniel, or of Daniel’s application to the king (Da 2:15, 16), it is just what we should expect. Arioch would not dare to tell an absolute despot that he had stayed the execution of his sanguinary decree, on his own responsibility; but would, in the first instance, secretly stay it until Daniel had got, by application from the king, the time required, without Arioch seeming to know of Daniel’s application as the cause of the respite; then, when Daniel had received the revelation, Arioch would in trembling haste bring him in, as if then for the first time he had “found” him. The very difficulty when cleared up is a proof of genuineness, as it never would be introduced by a forger.

B. Daniel's words

2:27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed are as follows.

C: Interpretation
Note: not … for any wisdom that I have—not on account of any previous wisdom which I may have manifested (Da 1:17, 20). The specially-favored servants of God in all ages disclaim merit in themselves and ascribe all to the grace and power of God (Ge 41:16; Ac 3:12). The “as for me,” disclaiming extraordinary merit, contrasts elegantly with “as for thee,” whereby Daniel courteously, but without flattery, implies, that God honored Nebuchadnezzar, as His vicegerent over the world kingdoms, with a revelation on the subject uppermost in his thoughts, the ultimate destinies of those kingdoms.

2:29 “As for you, O king, while you were in your bed your thoughts turned to future things. The revealer of mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 2:30 As for me, this mystery was revealed to me not because I possess more wisdom than any other living person, but so that the king may understand the interpretation and comprehend the thoughts of your mind.
2:31 “You, O king, were watching as a great statue – one of impressive size and extraordinary brightness – was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. 2:32 As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. 2:33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.2:34 You were watching as a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 2:35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. 2:36 This was the dream. Now we will set forth before the king its interpretation.

D: What does it mean?

2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 2:38 Wherever human beings, wild animals,and birds of the sky live – he has given them into your power. He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. 2:39 Now after you another kingdom will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. 2:40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others.2:41 In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 2:42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. 2:43 And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed67 with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 2:44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. 2:45 You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future.70 The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.”

The world power in its totality appears as a colossal human form: Babylon the head of gold, Medo-Persia the breast and two arms of silver, Graeco-Macedonia the belly and two thighs of brass, and Rome, with its Germano-Slavonic offshoots, the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay, the fourth still existing. Those kingdoms only are mentioned which stand in some relation to the kingdom of God; of these none is left out; the final establishment of that kingdom is the aim of His moral government of the world. The colossus of metal stands on weak feet, of clay. All man’s glory is as ephemeral and worthless as chaff (compare 1Pe 1:24). But the kingdom of God, small and unheeded as a “stone” on the ground is compact in its homogeneous unity; whereas the world power, in its heterogeneous constituents successively supplanting one another, contains the elements of decay. The relation of the stone to the mountain is that of the kingdom of the cross (Mt 16:23; Lu 24:26) to the kingdom of glory, the latter beginning, and the former ending when the kingdom of God breaks in pieces the kingdoms of the world (Rev 11:15). Christ’s contrast between the two kingdoms refers to this passage.

On ancient coins states are often represented by human figures. The head and higher parts signify the earlier times; the lower, the later times. The metals become successively baser and baser, implying the growing degeneracy from worse to worse. Hesiod, two hundred years before Daniel, had compared the four ages to the four metals in the same order; the idea is sanctioned here by Holy Writ. It was perhaps one of those fragments of revelation among the heathen derived from the tradition as to the fall of man. The metals lessen in specific gravity, as they downwards; silver is not so heavy as gold, brass not so heavy as silver, and iron not so heavy as brass, the weight thus being arranged in the reverse of stability [TREGELLES]. Nebuchadnezzar derived his authority from God, not from man, nor as responsible to man. But the Persian king was so far dependent on others that he could not deliver Daniel from the princes (Da 6:14, 15); contrast Da 5:18, 19, as to Nebuchadnezzar’s power from God, whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive” (compare Ezr 7:14; Es 1:13–16). Graeco-Macedonia betrays its deterioration in its divisions, not united as Babylon and Persia. Iron is stronger than brass, but inferior in other respects; so Rome hardy and strong to tread down the nations, but less kingly and showing its chief deterioration in its last state. Each successive kingdom incorporates its predecessor (compare Da 5:28). Power that in Nebuchadnezzar’s hands was a God-derived (Da 2:37, 38) autocracy, in the Persian king’s was a rule resting on his nobility of person and birth, the nobles being his equals in rank, but not in office; in Greece, an aristocracy not of birth, but individual influence, in Rome, lowest of all, dependent entirely on popular choice, the emperor being appointed by popular military election.

As the two arms of silver denote the kings of the Medes and Persians [JOSEPHUS]; and the two thighs of brass the Seleucidae of Syria and Lagidae of Egypt, the two leading sections into which Graeco-Macedonia parted, so the two legs of iron signify the two Roman consuls [NEWTON]. The clay, in Da 2:41, “potter’s clay,” Da 2:43, “miry clay,” means “earthenware,” hard but brittle (compare Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27, where the same image is used of the same event); the feet are stable while bearing only direct pressure, but easily “broken” to pieces by a blow (Da 2:34), the iron intermixed not retarding, but hastening, such a result.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daniel 1 cont:

I. Dan 1:4 Age (Young) 14-17 years

II. Parents or Family note 1:6 Lit "Sons of Judah"

A. Dani el - God is my Judge (el- from Elohim) given Belteshazzar
B. Hanan iah - Yaweh has been gracious (iah or Yah from Yahweh) Shadrach
C. Misha el - "Who is what God is" Meshach
D. Azar iah - "Yahweh has helped" Abednego

III. Conviction "purpose" shows discipline Dan 1:8 lit. DAniel "placed on his heart" Why ?

A. Name changed showed ownership or authority

B. Attended school or taught in Babylonia ways. Discuss brainwashing vs education. Polytheistic
Contrast Assyrian vs Babylonian methods or assimilation.

C. Becoming part of the actual government.

D. Eating at the King's table.

See Prov 4:23. Also 1 Sam. 2:30


Why was this on Daniels heart, a young man in a strange place and culture. The only thing I can see is it is about how he was raised, Josiah's influence, a humble heart. Note how he sets about his purpose.

IV. The Method

A. Reason and Tact with Conviction and Purpose, which I believe God noticed. He honored God with this.
B. Daniel was turned down by the Overseer.

C. Humble approach to the Warden. Dan. 1:12

D. God delivers on a humble request to allow Daniel to honor him, no chains removed, no great miracle, no fasting. Dan 1:14

E. God "endows" these young men with "knowledge" and "skill". Dan1:17

F. The 3 years of training ends with Neb. impressed with these still young advisors.

Note Nebs ruled from 605 to 539BC

From last weeks discussion/review, it is reasonable to conclude that Daniel predates the 165BC period that most scholars assert. This viewpoint asserts that prophetic material in Daniel is in fact legitimate and the study will continue in that perspective.

Daniel 1:1 (Hebrew 1:1-2:4a)

Discussion: Jehoiakim date See Jer. 25:1, 2 Kings 24:1, 2 Chron 36 5-8

Historical Perspective is :
Hebrew system uses asscension year as first year.
Babylonia uses nonasscension. Which describes the first(partial) year as an asscension year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Historical Setting Cont.

Daniel is written in two languages, not just one. The Book is written in Hebrew and in Aramaic:

Daniel 1:1 - 2:4a-Hebrew language
Daniel 2:4b - 7:28-Aramaic language
Daniel 8:1 - 12:13-Hebrew language

This book bears the simple title, ”Daniel,“ not only because he is one of the chief characters portrayed in the book but more so because it follows a custom (though not a consistent one) of affixing the name of the author to the book he wrote. Little is known of Daniel’s family background. From the testimony of his contemporaries he was known for his righteousness (Ezek. 14:14, 20) and his wisdom (Ezek. 28:3). He is mentioned in these passages with Noah and Job, who were historical people, so Daniel was also a historical person, not a fictional character.
Daniel was born into the royal family and was of noble birth (Dan. 1:3, 6). He was physically attractive and mentally sharp (1:4). He lived at least until the third year of Cyrus, that is, till 536 b.c. (10:1). Therefore he must have been a young man when he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 b.c. (In 1:4 Daniel was one of the ”young“ men of Israel.) If he were 16 when captured, he was 85 in Cyrus’ third year.

The prophecy of Daniel is the first great book of apocalyptic literature in the Bible. The Greek word apokalypsis, from which comes the English ”apocalypse,“ means an unveiling, a disclosing, or a revelation. Though all Scripture is revelation from God, certain portions are unique in the form by which their revelations were given and in the means by which they were transmitted.
Apocalyptic literature in the Bible has several characteristics: (1) In apocalyptic literature a person who received God’s truths in visions recorded what he saw. (2) Apocalyptic literature makes extensive use of symbols or signs. (3) Such literature normally gives revelation concerning God’s program for the future of His people Israel. (4) Prose was usually employed in apocalyptic literature, rather than the poetic style which was normal in most prophetic literature.
In addition to Daniel and Revelation, apocalyptic literature is found in Ezekiel 37-48 and Zechariah 1:7-7:8. In interpreting visions, symbols, and signs in apocalyptic literature, one is seldom left to his own ingenuity to discover the truth. In most instances an examination of the context or a comparison with a parallel biblical passage provides the Scriptures’ own interpretation of the visions or the symbols employed. Apocalyptic literature then demands a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture to arrive at a correct understanding of the revelation being given.


537 B.C.

If Daniel is the author as the book claims, then it written after the Babylonian captivity when Daniel and other young men were taken captive to Babylon in 605 when Nebuchadnezzar subdued Jerusalem. But for various reasons, this date has been disputed with many critics arguing that Daniel is a fraudulent book which was written in the time of the Maccabees in the second century B.C. rather than the sixth century B.C. Concerning the arguments against the authorship of Daniel in the sixth century Ryrie writes:
The first attack on the traditional sixth century B.C. date for the composition of the book came from Porphyry (A.D. 232- 303), a vigorous opponent of Christianity, who maintained that the book was written by an unknown Jew who lived at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.). This view was widely promoted by scholars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for the following reasons: it is alleged that Daniel could not have made these predictions, since they were accurately fulfilled and could therefore have been written only after the events occurred; Persian and Greek words used in the book would have been unknown to a sixth-century Jewish author; the Aramaic used in 2:4-7:28 belongs to a time after that of Daniel; and there are certain alleged historical inaccuracies. In answer, we observe that predictive prophecy is not only possible but expected from a true prophet of God. Since Daniel lived into the Persian period, he would have known Persian words. The presence of Greek words is easily accounted for, since one hundred years before Daniel, Greek mercenaries served in the Assyrian army under Esarhaddon (683) and in the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar. Recent discoveries of fifth century B.C. Aramaic documents have shown that Daniel was written in a form of Imperial Aramaic, an official dialect known in all parts of the Near East at that time. Alleged historical inaccuracies are fast disappearing, especially with the information provided by the Nabonidus Chronicle as to the identity of Belshazzar (5:1) and with evidence that identifies Darius the Mede with a governor named Gubaru (5:31).
In addition, how can the use of relatively few Greek words be explained if the book was written around 170 B.C., when a Greek-speaking government had controlled Palestine for 160 years? One would expect the presence of many Greek terms. Also, the Qumran documents (Dead Sea Scrolls), dated only a few decades before the alleged second-century writing of Daniel, show grammatical differences that indicate they were written centuries, not decades, after Daniel. Further, the scrolls of Daniel found at Qumran are copies, indicating that the original was written before the Maccabean era.70

Date, Author arguments synopsis:

ARGUMENT 1: Daniel was not listed among the famous Israelites by Ecclesiasticus 44:1ff. Since this document was in existence by 180 B.C., Daniel must have lived at a time later than 180 B.C.
RESPONSE: Among the Qumran discoveries were manuscripts and fragments from the Book of Daniel. “Since the [Qumran] community was itself Maccabean in origin, it testifies to the way in which Daniel was revered and cited as Scripture in the second century B.C.” 7 Harrison points out that Ecclesiasticus not only omits any direct reference to Daniel, but also to Job and all the Judges except Samuel, as well as Kings Asa and Jehoshaphat. Mordecai and even Ezra himself are also omitted.8 Harrison further points to allusions to Daniel by this same author (Ben Sira) in some of his other writings. He alludes to Daniel in Maccabees (1 Macc. 2:59ff.), Baruch (1:15-3:3), and Sibylline Oracles (III, 397ff.).9

ARGUMENT 2: In the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel is not included in the second section (the prophets), but in the third (the writings).10 This shows that Daniel was not considered one of the earlier prophets. The book must therefore be a later work.
RESPONSE: In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) Daniel is listed with the prophets, indicating the translators, like Jesus, accepted Daniel as one of the prophets. Daniel was not a typical prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah. His ministry was more like that of Joseph. Both were interpreters of dreams in a foreign land. Inclusion among the writings does not indicate anything about the date of the book. Job, for example, is included among the writings and is generally regarded to be a very old book.

ARGUMENT 3: The language of the Book of Daniel argues for a late date. Certain Persian and Greek words are used which originated later than the 6th century B.C. The Aramaic used in Daniel is “late” in form.
RESPONSE: Each individual language argument falls apart under scrutiny. The more we learn about the language of Daniel’s day, the more critical arguments collapse.11

ARGUMENT 4: Daniel was incorrect when he wrote (1:1) that Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem occurred in the “third year of Jehoiakim” because Jeremiah spoke of it as being in the “fourth year” (Jeremiah 25:1, 46:2). Daniel’s error can be explained by the fact that he did not live in those days but wrote at a later time.
RESPONSE: It should first be noted that Daniel did not say Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, but only that he took certain people captive to Babylon. Secondly, the Palestinian method of reckoning the number of years of a king’s reign from the time of his accession differed from that of the Babylonian method. The Babylonian method did not count the year of a king’s accession; the Palestinian method did. Thus, Daniel (by the Babylonian method) spoke of the event as being in the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign, and Jeremiah (by the Palestinian method) as being in the fourth.12
I differ with the presuppositions and premises of the critical scholars not only because of the basis of their arguments, but because of the implications of their views. I differ not only with “where they are coming from” but also with “where they are going.” Consider some implications of the critical view of Daniel. If their arguments are true, then these implications must be faced:
(1) The critical view of Daniel makes Scripture merely human, denying its divine and supernatural character. By eliminating the supernatural element from prophecy, one removes the divine. The critical view believes God did not speak through Daniel, men did.
(2) The critical view of the Book of Daniel makes “Daniel” a fictional character, not a real person. This means that the piety of Daniel (and his three friends) was fictional and that there is no real link between the practical piety of Daniel and his prophecies.
(3) The critical view of Daniel legitimizes falsehood by employing a fabricated story to teach the truth. One of the purposes of divine prophecy is to reveal the truth while exposing falsehood. The critical view makes the prophecy of Daniel a falsehood. How then can it proclaim God’s truth?
(4) The critical view of Daniel, by inference, demeans all biblical prophecy. If the divine revelation of future events is rejected in Daniel, then we must reject it elsewhere in the Bible as well. The prophecies of the Bible pertaining to the future to which we presently look for hope and comfort, cannot be a supernatural revelation of the future and thus are worthless. To reject Daniel because it is prophecy is to reject all prophecy.
(5) To accept the critical view of Daniel is to demean the rest of the Scriptures, the authors of Scripture, and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Kraeling said it. We have a high view of Daniel because Jesus did. But if such a view of Daniel is wrong, then all those who have esteemed Daniel highly were wrong, including our Lord. If the Book of Daniel is less than our Lord thought it was, our Lord must be less than we have thought Him to be. Our view of Christ will either determine our estimation of Daniel, or our (critical) estimation of Daniel will diminish our view of Christ.


2 The New Testament in Greek and English, published by the American Bible Society in 1966, lists in its index of quotations (pp. 897-907), every chapter of Daniel as being quoted in the New Testament. It also shows that most of the books of the New Testament quote the Book of Daniel. While not every New Testament book cites Daniel, virtually every New Testament author does, including all the gospel writers, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and the writer to the Hebrews. One-hundred-thirty-three New Testament references were listed here, citing 68 references in Daniel.

Kraeling, who holds this view, represents it in these words:
For the Christian reader Daniel is a prophetic book. This is because he is called a prophet in the New Testament (Matt. 24:15) and because of the profound influence, especially of the visions, on Jesus and early Christianity. In our English Bible the book of Daniel follows Ezekiel. Not so in the Hebrew Bible, where it stands not among the prophets but among “the Writings.” From the standpoint of the book’s own suppositions the author (at any rate of the visions) was a man living in the time of the Chaldean and Persian kings. But this, in the view of all critical scholars, is a masquerade. Since prophecy, as we have seen, was virtually outlawed in the second century B.C., the idea came up to publish predictions under the name of some wise man or prophet of long ago. The pattern was provided by ancient Egyptian tales of wise men or seers who prophesied to a ruler about what would happen in the future—how his dynasty would end in social chaos and be replaced by a new one bringing blessing to the country. Jewish authors took over the pattern but gave it a new importance by providing a finale consisting of judgment over a current empire that had trodden down their people and the coming of the kingdom of God or of the Messiah. Thus was born the apocalyptic literature of which Daniel is the oldest specimen.4

Daniel J. Boorstin has said: "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance--it is the illusion of knowledge."

Daniel-Historical Setting and Preface

Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, fell before the assault of the forces of Babylon and Media in 612 b.c. Under the leadership of Ashur-uballit. Some Assyrians fled westward to Haran, from which they claimed authority over all of Assyria. Nabopolassar, the king of Babylon, moved in 611 b.c. against the Assyrian forces in Haran. The next year, 610 b.c., Babylon, allied with Media, attacked the Assyrians in Haran. Assyria withdrew from Haran westward beyond the Euphrates River and left Haran to the Babylonians.
In 609 b.c. the Assyrians sought the help of Egypt, and Pharaoh Neco II led an army from Egypt to join Assyria. Josiah, the king of Judah, hoping to incur favor with the Babylonians, sought to prevent the Egyptians from joining Assyria and met the Egyptian army at Megiddo. Josiah’s army was defeated and he was killed in this attempt (2 Kings 23:28-30; 2 Chron. 35:24).
Pharaoh Neco proceeded to join the Assyrians and together they assaulted Babylon at Haran but were unsuccessful. Assyria seems to have passed from the scene at that time, but conflict continued between Egypt and Babylon.
In 605 b.c. Nebuchadnezzar led Babylon against Egypt in the Battle of Carchemish. Egypt was defeated, and Carchemish was destroyed by the Babylonians in May-June of that year. While pursuing the defeated Egyptians Nebuchadnezzar expanded his territorial conquests southward into Syria and toward Palestine. Learning of the death of his father Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar returned from Riblah to Babylon in August 605 to receive the crown. Then he returned to Palestine and attacked Jerusalem in September 605. It was on this occasion that Daniel and his companions were taken to Babylon as captives. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar considered them hostages to warn the people in Judah against rebellion. Or the young men may have been taken to Babylon to prepare them for positions of administrative leadership there if Nebuchadnezzar should have to return to subjugate Judah. Returning to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43 years (605-562).
Nebuchadnezzar returned to Judah a second time in 597 b.c. in response to Jehoiachin’s rebellion. In this incursion Jerusalem was brought in subjection to Babylon, and 10,000 captives were taken to Babylon, among whom was the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:1-3; 2 Kings 24:8-20; 2 Chron. 36:6-10).
Nebuchadnezzar returned to Judah a third time in 588 b.c. After a long siege against Jerusalem the city walls were breached, the city destroyed, and the temple burned in the year 586. Most of the Jews who were not killed in this assault were deported to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-7; Jer. 34:1-7; 39:1-7; 52:2-11).
The restoration of the Jews back to their land was made possible when in 539 b.c. Cyrus overthrew Babylon and established the Medo-Persian Empire. Having a policy to restore displaced peoples to their lands, Cyrus issued a decree in 538 that permitted the Jews who so desired to return to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). About 50,000 Jewish exiles returned to the land and began to rebuild the temple. This was in keeping with Daniel’s prayer (Dan. 9:4-19). The temple was completed in 515 b.c. (Ezra 6:15). (See the chart ”The Three Returns from Exile,“ in the Introduction to Ezra.) From the first subjugation of Jerusalem (605 b.c.) until the Jews returned and rebuilt the temple foundation (536) was approximately 70 years. From the destruction of the temple (586) until the temple was rebuilt (515) was also about 70 years. So Jeremiah’s prophecy about the 70-year duration of the Babylon Exile was literally fulfilled (Jer. 25:11-12).
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1:1325). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unit 9/10 - Chapter 13: Announcements & Benediction

I. Introduction - Like title says, two main themes in Ch. 13

A. Announcements
B. Benediction
C. "the Preacher" has finished his main theme of his sermon - i.e. superiority of new covenant in Christ

II. Announcements - Moves from theoretical to practical. 4 Ways of demonstrating Christ's love

A. Hospitality - show mutual love, "philadelphia", brotherly love

1. Not only to those you know but also to strangers
2. "for by doing that some may have entertained angels without knowing it"
3. Am reminded of our friend John who comes to our potlucks.

B. Ministry with the Wounded

1. Has to do with the prison ministry and care of victims of abuse and torture
2. Many christians were imprisoned in very poor conditions and dependent upon charity of others for survival.
a. "The Christians became so notorious for their help to those in prison that, at the beginning of the fourth century, the Emperor Licinius passed new legislation that no one was to show kindness to sufferers in prison by supplying them with food and that no one was to show mercy to those starving in prison." (Barclay, p. 227)
b. Recall Paul' s plea to come quickly or he might not survive the winter (II Timothy 4:9,20)

C. Sex and Money

1. Keep yourself pure in marriage
2. Be content with what you have and don't be acquisitive - "What is inventive about this is, first, the suggestion that the love of money is not so much the product of greed as it is the fear of abandonment, and two, the intriguing theological claim that when Jesus Christ grasps our one handin love it frees us to open up the clenched other one and let the money go." (Long, p. 144)

D. Worship and Service - apparently some members were getting off track. Appears to be two main features to the problem.

1. Some in the congregation were confusing grace with regulations. Still were thinking adherence to food regulations and laws was path to purity. The preacher suggests this is due to a failure of nerve.
a. Suggests they need to be bold, "leave the old tent with its ineffective sacrifices"
b. Take the "bold approach to the heavenly sancturary made possible in Christ."
2. Congregation has a problem with the public side, the outside dimension of the Christian faith.
a. minister to people
b. "Our sacrifices are praising God, confessing God's name in public, doing works of mercy, and sharing what we have with others, --in other words, right out there in public view we are to worship, evangelize, empathetically serve the needy, and exercise generosity to others." (Long, p. 145)

III. Benediction

A. Closes with summarization of key theological messages and greetings to congregants
B. Key theological messages

1. God is a god of peace
2. Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ
3. The great sheperd of the sheep
4. By the blood of the eternal covenant
5. Make you complete in everything good, so that you may do his will
6. Working among us that which is pleasing in his sight.


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation - A Bible Commentary for Preaching and Teaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hebrews - Ch. 12 (Unit 9)

I. Introduction

A. Why is the Christian Life So Hard?
B. Limping towards the Finish Line
C. A Field Trip to Zion
D. Zion Revisited

II. Why is the Christian Life So Hard

A. Preacher responds to congregations bewilderment re. hardships of Christian life

1. Remember the Example of Jesus - Jesus suffered but endured on his way to ultimate victory
2. Provides a framework of meaning for their suffering - uses analogy of parents disciplining their children. Why should we think of God's strict rod of correction as a good thing?
a. Sure sign we are God's children - only children who go undisciplined are unloved
b. We can recognize God's pattern from our own family upbringing - as we grow into adulthood we can recognize the wisdom of our parents' discipline
c. End result of God's discipline is worth the pain - grow up to be more like God

B. Important to note Preacher makes no claim that all suffering comes from God as punishment

III. Limping Towards the Finish Line

A. Preacher uses analogy of marathon runner - something I can relate to:)

1. Preacher isn't talking about elite runners at the front of the race
2. Rather, he is talking about the recreational athletes at the back of the pack
a. "God's race is not the Olympics; it is the Special Olympics, and runners who are 'lame', that is encumbered in so many ways are encouraged to get out on the track and to 'make straight paths for your feet'" (Long, p.135)
b. Must run through pain...leads to healing. Staying on sideline just makes the injury worse.
3. Runners at the back of the pack look out for each other. If someone gets hurt, they stop to help. It's not about your time; its about your experience during the race.
a. Preacher says Christians should be like runners at the back of the race...looking out for them.
b. "We are to try to make peace to the best of our ability with everyone in the community and act towards others in the everyday relationships of life in the holy ways of mercy and justice that we have seen in Jesus." (Long, p. 135)

B. Preacher now brings up Esau

1. Calls him 'morally corrupt'.
2. Short term focus - cost him his birthright
3. Preacher is telling them - finish the race. Don't let the temporary pain distract you from your goal.
4. Running buddy's favorite saying, "Pain is temporary, pride is forever."

IV. A Field Trip to Zion

A. Preacher uses popular and successful marketing strategy to sell people on continuing down the path to Mt. Zion (new covenant) - Describes Mt. Zion in detail allowing congregants to picture it in their mind...paradise

B. Also describes Mt. Sinai (old covenant) - fearsome place. Human beings come to Mt. Sinai as perpetually unclean sinners. Thus, holiness of God at Mt. Sinai is terrifying.

C. Preacher reminds them of the good news. They're not at Mt. Sinai, they're at Mt. Zion. What do they find?

1. City of the Living God
2. Citizens of the city are angels and 'firstborn', those who have gone on to their glory before them
3. The Judge and the Acquitted
4. Jesus and the Sprinkled Blood - "On Mt. Zion, by contast, there is the 'sprinkled blood' of Jesus offered 'once for all', blood that purifies the 'conscience from dead works to worship the living God." (Long, p.139)

V. Zion Revisited

A. God of Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion are one and the same; holy and awe-full, a purifying fire of perfect judgment.

B. Further surprises - there is only one mountain with two paths. Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion are one and the same, the dwelling of the holy God.

C. "What makes the difference is not the destination, but the path; Mt. Sinai is transformed into Mt. Zion--if we go there with Jesus." (Long, p. 140)


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunday October 18th

REMINDER: We did not complete Unit 8 last week. Thus, tomorrow we will continue in Unit 8 by studying Chapter 11.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hebrews - Ch. 10:19 - 11:40 (Unit 8)

The Practical Consequences of His Superiority

I. Introduction - three major themes in the lesson today.

A. The Worship of the New Covenant (10:19-25)

B. Discussion on Sin and Judgement (10:26-39)

C. Faith (11:1-40)

D. Keep in mind overriding message of entire book of Hebrews - stay the course; do not fall away.

II. The Worship of the New Covenant

A. Having spent 3 1/2 chapters hearing the why new covenant with Jesus as High Priest is better than the old covenant, congregants logically want to know, what do we do in response.

B. "the Preacher's" answer is WORSHIP!

C. Preacher turns from theology to practical exhortation

D. How do we get ready for authentic worship?

1. Go to worship as a community. Travel to place of true worship together as brothers and sisters in Christ
2. Come to worship baptized and forgiven. Because "Our bodies washed with pure water", means we come fully assured of God's acceptance, "with a true heart in full assurance of faith".
3. Come hoping and holding onto the promises of God
4. Come not only to pray and sing, but also praising God with deeds of compassion and mercy. That is prodding others along on the right path.
5. Come, gathering with other Christians, in ordinary sanctuaries. "Whenever Christians cluster together for worship we walk through the doorway of an ordinary building, an 'earthly tent', and find ourselves in the company of heaven singing praises with the heavenly hosts." (Long, p. 107)

E. Sin and Judgement. Beginning in v.26 "the Preacher" changes course once again and begins preaching on result of sin. Difficult passage, several factors must be considered to fully understand.

1. Speaks very harshly. Must be made clear. "the Preacher" isn't talking about everyday sin. Rather, he is speaking specifically about apostacy. Re-read v26,27 - "if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth..."
2. "the Preacher" is addressing very practical and urgent pastoral problem. Members of his congregation are disheartened, want to give up, go back to old life.
3. "the Preacher's" real goal isn't to generate fear but to offer encouragement. This will be become more apparent in next section when he talks about faith.

III. The Great Cloud of Witnesses

A. Faith (11:1-3)

1. Begins by defining faith, "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"
2. Probably most famous line of scripture in book of Hebrews
3. Not the full, complete definition of faith. Rather, "the Preacher" uses this abbreviated version to make his point.
a. "But faith as 'the assurance of things hoped for' is not just inward confidence, it is also an outward actuality." (Long, p. 113)
b. "What the naked eye can see, of course, is a world of suffering and setback, violence and hardship. Given the harsh realities of the world, faith is the ability to see with the inner eye, to see what can not be seen with the natural eye." (Long, p. 114)

B. Faith's Hall of Heroes

1. Not random, chronological listing of OT believers who had faith in God
2. List contains 4 separate groups of believers. First 3 exhibit one of 3 virtues which define faith. Fourth is a listing of people and events exhibiting a mixture of those 3 virtues.
3. Three Virtues
a. Righteous
b. Step Out in Faith
c. Tested by Suffering
4. Righteous (Abel, Enoch, Noah)
a. people who obeyed and thus pleased God
5. Step Out in Faith - i.e., journeyed obediently in faith (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob)
a. some of whom did not received God's earthly promise before receiving his heavenly promise
6. Tested by Suffering (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses)
a. "To be sure, some forms of human suffering seem, even to the eyes of faith, to be random, chaotic, and meaningless. But faith sometimes has a different view, seeing suffering as a fire that forges steel or as a tilling of hard ground into the soil of compassion." (Long, p. 119)


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unit 7 - Hebrews Ch. 9:1 - 10:18

Must start with an going to the TCU vs SMU football game this afternoon. Thus, my notes will be brief.


I. Overview

A. Chapters 9 and 10 repeat some of the concepts introduced by "the Preacher" in ch. 7 & 8.
B. Also covers new ground in explaining Jesus role in the new covenant.
C. "the Preacher" also provides a brief glimpse back into early worship of the Hebrews in the wilderness and the tent temple.

II. Old Sanctuary (Ch. 9:1-5)

A. "the Preacher describes the old sanctuary. Seems like he is leading his congregation on a tour.

B. The point in all of this is to show the congregation that despite all of the extravagance the old tabernacle pales in comparison to God's real temple. Heavenly temple will be described in Chapter 12.

C. He also wants to "contrast what happened--or failed to happen--in the old tabernacle with what happens through the priestly ministry of Jesus." (Long, p.93)

III. Actions of the Old Priests (Ch. 9:6-10)

A. "the Preacher" first describes the daily activities of the priests in the outer chamber.

B. Then describes High Priests activities in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement

C. Purpose of this section is to remind the people of the short-comings of the old priesthood and its method of worship.

1. People have no direct access to God. Old covenant is based on keeping the law and having priest atone for the sins of the people by offering sacrifices.
2. People want to feel God's presence. "Like all other human beings, what the members of the Preacher's congregation really want is an encounter with the living God; they want to go into the holiest sanctuary, to have access to God's mercy and forgiveness." (Long, p.95)

IV. The Greater and Perfect New Sanctuary (Ch. 9:11)

V. The Actions of the New High Priest (Ch. 9:12-15)

VI. Purification through Death: Old Covenant (Ch. 9:16-22)

VII. Purification through the death of Christ (Ch. 9:23-28)

VIII. Benefits of the Priestly Ministry (Ch. 10:1-18)


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Priestly Order of Melchizedek - Ch. 7:1 - 8:13 (Unit 5/6)

I. Lesson Overview

A. Chapters 7 and 8 part of larger, meaty section of Hebrews decribed by Long as "The High Priesthood of Jesus: Advanced Course" (Long p. 80)

1. Divided into 5 sections. First 4 composed of claims about old priesthood followed by matching set of claims about new priesthood of Jesus.
2. Fifth section devoted to living and worshiping under the new covenant.

B. Chapters 7 and 8 devoted to comparing shortcomings of old levitical priesthood to Jesus new eternal priesthood which is likened to priesthood of Melchizedek.

II. Who Was Melchizedek

A. Two Old Testament References

1. Genesis 14:17-20
2. Psalm 110:4

B. Non-scriptural References

1. Dead Sea Scrolls - eschatological writing called 11 Q Melchizedek
2. Text found at Nag Hammadi (Egypt)
3. 2 Enoch 72 - rabbinic text of uncertain date
4. Writings of Flavius Josephus - first century Jewish historian
5. Writings of Philo Judaeus - Jewish theologian and philospher from Alexandria

C. Hebrews not written in a vacuum - Jewish readers would have been very familiar with Melchizedek

1. Long compares Melchizedek to ' We Three Kings' - "This 'homiletical Melchizedek' was something like the 'three kings' of countless Christmas pagaents, an amalgam of biblical material and popular piety." (Long p. 84)
2. Hard to tell how much Preacher's description of Melchizedek is from this lore or from his own thoughts.

III. Melchizedek, Who Resembles the Son of God (Ch. 7:1-3)

A. Melchizedek - is a forecast of things to come by virtue of his lack of lineage

1. Ancient jewish rabbis had a strict interpretation of the scriptures - all truth is in the scriptures. If it isn't in the scriptures, it didn't happen.
2. No mention of Melchizedek's lineage in OT - therefore by Jewish way of thinking he didn't have any, he was eternal.
3. Main point of all this is not about Melchizedek - but that the qualities in him (righeousness, peace, and timelessness) point to nature of Jesus. Further evidence that He is the one true eternal high priest.

IV. See How Great Melchizedek Is (Ch. 7:4-10)

A. Uses two pieces of Genesis story to prove point

1. The Blessings
2. The Tithes

B. The Blessings

1. Inferior is always blesssed by superior. Since Abram is blessed by Melchizedek it is clear that he is superior to the lofty father of the Jews.
2. "The Preacher" conveniently forgets several other accounts where the inferior blesses the superior (ex. David blessed by his servant Joab)

C. The Tithes

1. "The Preacher" makes the point that Jewish law commands Levitical priests to collect tithes
2. Therefore only possible explanation for Melchizedek's authority to collect tithes from Abram must be because he is "a priest forever."

V. The Imperfect Old Priesthood; the Need for a New (Ch. 7:11)

A. "The Preacher" switches from use of Genesis text to that of Psalms

1. Basically says no reason for author of Psalms to mention Melchizedek if there wasn't something inherently wrong about levitical priesthood.
2. Main argument is that you can not achieve perfection through it. Same points we've discussed previously...must continually offer sacrifices because of sinful nature

VI. The Son of God who Resembles Melchizedek (Ch. 7:13-25)

A. Jesus far different from levitical priests

1. Old priests by law (Numbers 1:47-54) must come from the tribe of Levi (Aaron was a Levite and the first priest of the Covenant after the exodus)
2. Jesus was from Judah
3. Old priests assumed office but did not take an oath.
4. God took an oath and appointed Jesus as priest forever
5. Old priests were many because they died and had to be replaced
6. Jesus lives forever.

VII. See How Great He Is (Ch. 7:26 - 8:6)

A. Great because of who he is...human lived perfect life without sin yet suffered and endured every temptation.

B. Great because of the source of his priestly commission. God ordained Jesus.

C. Great because of where he is.

D. Great because of the benefits of his ministry. His sacrifice fully mends the human spirit.

E. Great most of all because of the offering he brought as high priest...himself. "In other words, he brought as an offering to God nothing less than the fullness of the human condition perfected by his own obedience." (Long p.89)

VIII. Fault With the First Covenant, Need for a New (Ch. 8:7-12)

A. First Covenant not Effective

1. Based on obeying the law
2. Because of our sinful nature we are unable to obey the law. Are always falling short, being disobedient. Old convenant led to cycle of defeat and despair.

B. New Covenant

1. Language comes from Jeremiah 31:31-34
2. Laws of new covenant not written down but are in the hearts of the people.
3. New covenant based on bond...God's promise of mercy and forgiveness

IX. A New Covenant (Ch. 8:13) - doesn't go with old covenant. It replaces it.


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997