Israel in Prophecy
I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the capital, which is in the province of Elam [near the coast of present day Iraq]. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great. (Dan 8:2–4)
Daniel’s separation from the assembly of Israel then in Babylon is analogous to Moses’ separation from his people, separation produced by being reared in the household of Pharaoh when his people were enslaved … today a similar separation exists within greater Christendom: the Elect—those Christians who are foreknown by the Father, predestined to be glorified while still alive physically, called by Christ Jesus, justified by Christ, and glorified by Christ—are as Moses was; are as Daniel was in that they are separated from their people, the Christian Church universal, through their inner selves having been liberated from sin and death, what Paul said about himself:
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (Rom 7:15–23)
What Paul didn’t fully understand but could adequately describe is the separation between inner self, inner man, that had been liberated from sin and death and therefore delighting in the Law of God, and the fleshly man that was still captive to the law of sin. Apparently Paul expected his outer man to also be liberated from the law of sin by Jesus’ death at Calvary as the Passover Lamb of God. Paul didn’t understand why this was not the case, and he exclaimed:
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Rom 7:24–25 emphasis added)
The separation of Daniel from his people by having been made a eunuch; the separation of Moses from his people by having been adopted into the household of Pharaoh serve as models of the separation of the living inner self that delights in the law of God from the still enslaved (by the law of sin) outer self that awaits liberation from indwelling Sin and Death at the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel.
But the separation of Daniel and the separation of Moses from their people also serve as models for the separation of the Elect from the Christian Church universal, this separation coming via the Elect having received indwelling “eternal life” in this present world, the single kingdom of spiritual Babylon. The Elect hear the word [’o logos] of Jesus and believe the One who sent His Beloved into this world as the man Jesus; therefore the Elect pass from death to life without coming into judgment (John 5:24). And like Daniel, the Elect are also unable to reproduce themselves in that they cannot give spiritual birth to others; they cannot cause another person to be truly born of spirit. Only the Father can do that when He draws a person from this world (John 6:44) and delivers the person to Christ Jesus for Jesus to call, justify, and glorify (Rom 8:30).
The separation of the Elect from the remainder of Christendom is reinforced by circumcision of the heart: traditionally, the barrier of circumcision separated Israel from “the nations,” but this barrier was broken by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:13). However, after being physically broken at Calvary, this barrier of circumcision was reinstituted via circumcision of the heart, a euphemistic expression for having the person’s relationship to God and with God changed so that the person is no longer stubborn, resisting God and denying belief in God and belief of God. So with the giving of the spirit—with truly being born of spirit—circumcision of the heart separated and continues to separate the Elect from the second Israel, greater Christendom.
Circumcision of hearts “moves” circumcision and the barrier of circumcision up a plane from circumcision in the flesh; for circumcision of hearts pertains to the living inner self of the person who heard the word of Jesus and who believed the One that sent His Beloved as the man Jesus into this world. This person was then born of spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] in the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou], with circumcision of the heart to occur on a figurative eighth day after the person was born of spirit.
With the Elect separated from the Christian Church universal as Daniel and Moses were separated from their people, what happens to the remainder of greater Christendom in this present era?
Until the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel, the Christian Church, not much good happens to greater Christendom; for Christians will figuratively be in this world as outwardly circumcised Israel was in Egypt, moving from being a politically favored people to an enslaved people [according to the Exodus narrative]. This is what Christians are presently witnessing as nations in which they dwell oppress them through martyrdom or the legalization of abominations such as gay marriage and abortion …
When the reigning political power can force professing Christians to bake a wedding cake for the “marriage” of a gay couple, Christians have lost the political favor they had when the nation was founded: Christians are now being spiritually oppressed—and will continue to be oppressed until “the people” rebel against the present prince of this world and turn toward God, thereby disclosing the midnight hour of the long spiritual night that began at Calvary is upon humanity.
Since according to Daniel’s account of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in which the king is told, “‘The sentence is … to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of men’” (Dan 4:17), rebellion against the Adversary, the present prince of this world, would occur if the people were not to set over men the basest of men, but were to set over themselves a good man, someone whose heart is set upon righteousness. And as goes the United States of America, so goes the world: if Americans were to reject the basest of human beings as their President in an election and chose instead to set over themselves a “good person,” they will have rebelled against the Adversary and will have turned to God … a “good person” will be someone who keeps the Commandments and desires to do the will of God.
There are other ways for the world to show that the midnight hour of the long spiritual night that began at Calvary has arrived, with God as light being absent during the night or “twisting away” portion this day of the Lord, and with dominion over the single kingdom of this world being taken from the prince of darkness and given to the Son of Man at dawn; i.e., halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation. But these other ways will not emerge except through the people rebelling against the present prince of this world. And for people anywhere to turn toward God, the people must wrestle control with the established political powers that presently exist, these powers being subjects of the Adversary.
In most nation-states, the ruling government will turn its military against the people if the people move to depose the status quo. In the United States, the powers that were in place turned police loose against 1960s movements to upset the status quo. And what 1960s radicals realized is that only by being voted into office could the then existing relationship between the State and the People be overturned—and by being patient, 1960s radicals finally got their “man” elected President. It seems, however, that once in power, their man has continued to do the bidding of the Adversary, hence proving a disappointment.
If the People are to turn to God, thereby signaling that the midnight hour of the long night that began at Calvary is upon humanity, the turn will begin in one place shortly before this midnight hour when the Second Passover occurs; for the People can be likened to a large ship with a small rudder—and rudders do not turn ships unless the ship is moving. So it is when the People are moving, in transition, that a turn toward righteousness can begin … today, people are physically moving in a mass migration that has already arrived in Europe, with more headed for Europe.
The mass migration of peoples in antiquity is being replayed in the 21st-Century. And in any era, mass migrations overturn the political powers that are in place as Goths, Vandals, and Ostrogoths demonstrated in fairly recent history—as Jews demonstrated post World War Two.
The endtime day of the Lord has a long spiritual night that is analogous to the history of the earth from its creation until the earthly coming of Christ Jesus as the light of Day One (e.g., Gen 1:3; 2 Cor 4:6) … again, the dawning of the light or hot portion of the Lord’s Day comes with dominion over the single kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man, with the Millennium serving as this light or hot portion. Thus, the Lord’s Day has two referents that make, together, one referent, the first referent being the dark or night portion of this Day, the referent Paul employed when he wrote, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Cor 10:11 emphasis added). The second referent is the Millennium, the thousand year long reign of Christ Jesus as the Prince of this world. And between the end of darkness and the brightness of the hot portion of the Lord’s Day are the seven endtime years of tribulation, with half of these years in the darkness that’s ending and half of these years in the light that’s beginning. Hence, dawn comes with the change of dominion over the kingdom of this world.
For as long as Pharaohs remembered Joseph and what Joseph did for the nation, Israel in Egypt enjoyed a favored nation status, having privileges not enjoyed by Semitic peoples migrating from sub-Saharan lands to the Levant, peoples that had to journey around Egyptian population centers. Hence, Israel in Egypt was not enslaved for generations, but for a relatively short while: a generation, Moses’ generation, or a little more. For when the Exodus narrative is deconstructed, the Pharaoh who ordered that Hebrew male infants were to be killed did so at or near the beginning of his reign: this Pharaoh seems to be the Pharaoh that enslaved Israel. And the question needs asked: how many infants were being born to the Hebrews that two midwives (from Ex 1:15) could deliver them? Not thousands. If the story is to be believed, dozens or hundreds. And if hundreds, then there were not six hundred thousand wives, a wife for every man.
When Pharaoh tells Moses that the people of Israel are many (Ex 5:5), the textual implication is that there were as many Israelites in Egypt as there were Egyptians; that the Hebrews accounted for half or more of Egypt’s population. Therefore, there is a missing element in the narrative of Pharaoh ordering the deaths of Hebrew male infants; for eighty years after Moses’ birth, there were six hundred thousand men on foot (Ex 12:37), and Israel was half or more of the entire Egyptian population.
Two midwives could have served a few hundred wives; so the story of Moses being set adrift as an infant in the Nile—a story that bears similarity to a well-known myth—should be accepted as the story of Adam’s creation is accepted. The narrative exists, and therefore “is” a thing in this world. But the phenomenon described in the narrative serves prophetically better than it serves historically, and as such really must be accepted for what it says as it describes the shadow of spiritual events. The narrative doesn’t claim to be authentic Egyptian history; for if it were, the Pharaoh would have been named.
The Pharaoh that oppressed Hebrews in Egypt isn’t named because he was a stereotype-of, or symbol for the Adversary, the true king of Babylon that reigns over the children of men wherever they dwell (Dan 2:38); that reigns over both Sin and Death, demonic kings and kingdoms represented by Egypt and Assyria. And again, the phenomena that caused the writing of Exodus isn’t important: the narrative account inscribed in the Book of Exodus is what’s important. For the historical phenomena behind the inscription of Exodus cannot be fully verified nor disproved. Archeological evidence supporting a large slave encampment in Egypt hasn’t been found even though the camp of those who built pyramids has been found, and these workers were reasonably well treated, having more amenities than other Egyptian workers had.
The Elect are the nation that the Lord told Moses He would build from Moses, but the Elect have not yet grown great in this world—and will not grow great until after the Second Passover. Hence, the Elect are as Moses was either as a youth in the household of Pharaoh, or the Elect are as Moses was once he resisted the oppression of his people by Pharaoh, killed the Egyptian, fled Egypt, and lived as a fugitive in Midian. So the spiritually immature person who is numbered among the Elect can be found living in this world as a prince, but only until the person numbered among the Elect can no longer stand the oppression of Christians and attempts to intervene and then has to flee far from the political powers of this world.
Moses served Pharaoh as an adopted son (as a prince), whereas Daniel served Nebuchadnezzar as a trusted advisor, not as an enslaved Hebrew. And the Elect in this present world will, when spiritually young, serve the spiritual king of Babylon, the Adversary, thereby prospering in this world. But when the person truly born of spirit attempts to resist the Adversary’s reign over humanity, the person will live as a fugitive, far from the prosperity of this world. This person will not be able to buy and sell as others can for any number of reasons, the most common being the person doesn’t have the income to do so.
Once a person born of spirit resists the Adversary, the person will live as a fugitive.
But in the run-up to the Second Passover, Christians collectively will experience greater and greater spiritual oppression—
The countdown to the Second Passover will see the political and hence spiritual enslavement of Christians in a manner typified by the people of Israel in Egypt … in the Exodus narrative, Israel was physically enslaved by a Pharaoh that did not know Joseph. Today, American Christians are being oppressed by a President and a ruling political class that don’t know America’s founders. But this oppression will get worse before the Second Passover liberates all who profess that Jesus is Lord.
The greatest significance in analogy of Daniel being made a eunuch by the hands of Chaldeans lies in the Elect not being able to spiritually procreate: the Elect have no ability to produce more “Elect.” Christian evangelism will not produce more Elect. Prophecy seminars draw the theological fringe into marginalized fellowships, but do not produce more Elect. Only the Father can produce more Elect by drawing the person from this world, thereby separating this foreknown and predestined person from single-birth humankind; from both other Christians and the nations (Gentiles).
Being born of spirit isn’t a fuzzy feeling coming after having accepted the Lord as the person’s Savior, but is a genuine second birth; receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theou] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou]. And being born of spirit changes a person in a way the person not born of spirit cannot comprehend; for the person genuinely born of spirit has the mind of Christ, albeit as an infant son of God, so this person doesn’t think how he or she thought before. This person doesn’t value what the person’s single-birth neighbors value. This person’s thoughts align with the Commandments, thereby causing the person to want to keep the Commandments, all of them, especially the Sabbath Commandment.
But it is realization that the Elect cannot spiritually procreate but have been made into spiritual eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom that seems to be most difficult for the Elect to accept: no amount of evangelism will cause one person to be genuinely born of spirit. Certainly evangelism will spread a message, but a message that neither the Christian Church nor the world wants to hear or can hear. Thus, the Elect are truly as Daniel was, himself righteous but separated from his people and serving the earthly king of Babylon. The Elect, until they are fugitives as Moses was, serve the spiritual king of Babylon, the Adversary, as adopted princes; therefore, it isn’t from those who seem to be spiritual that the Elect come, but from those who seem to be worldly, often prospering in this world—or from those who seem to be fugitives, attracting little or no attention to themselves..
Whether a person wants to accept the reality, the Elect in this present era are the spiritual descendants of Daniel … the Elect are able to read and understand Daniel’s vision. And it is here where we begin again to examine Daniel’s vision.
In Daniel’s vision of the third year of Belshazzar, Daniel sees the ram that pushes to the north, south, and west, but not to the east; for the location from which Daniel sees this ram is on the east coast of the modern nation-state of Iraq. And in order for Daniel to see that the higher horn came up last, he had to see the rise of both horns so there is a passage of time in the vision, revealed by Daniel knowing that the higher horn appeared on the head of the ram after the first horn appeared. And this passage of time is found in the pushing of the ram in three compass directions before the he-goat flies out of the west to trample the ram.
But Daniel’s summary of his vision is crafted in such a way that its time element—its internal passage of time—is squeezed from it … what Daniel saw in vision is compressed in the narrative in a way analogous to a car-crusher crushing a derelict automobile. The passage of time has been squeezed out, suggesting that what happens is without time—and indeed that is the case; for the vision isn’t of earthly events even though it is sealed and kept secret by earthly events, such as the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire. The vision is of spiritual entities that rule over the mental landscape of living creatures to such a degree that when dominion is taken from them and given to Him who grows from the root of Jesse, the predatory natures of the great cats will be changed:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:6–9)
The vision Daniel receives in the third year of Belshazzar has a specific geographical location with which Daniel is familiar. The events of this vision, if those events were the rise of the Medes and Persians, were not far in the future, but events he would soon witness, occurring in a location he recognized. And this becomes important; for the ram doesn’t push to the east and indeed cannot push to the east without getting his feet wet.
But the he-goat that flies out of the west tramples the ram:
As I [Daniel] was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. (Dan 8:5–10 emphasis added)
Human men do not throw down or drag down <stars>, this identifying referent used for heavenly entities such as angelic sons of God (Job 38:7).
Human men cannot resist an angel:
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I [Daniel] was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come." (Dan 10:4–14 emphasis added)
There is a qualitative difference between the visions Daniel saw in the first and third years of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, and the vision he saw in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. This difference has to do with the spiritual “nearness” of the vision, a nearness that left Daniel with no strength and even caused Daniel to lose consciousness (I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground).
Daniel and those with him were physically awake when the angel came to Daniel, but great trembling fell upon the men with Daniel and they hid themselves … which one of these men could have resisted the angel for a moment, let alone for twenty-one days? Who would be the man so strong that Michael, one of the chief angelic princes, needed to come to the angel’s aid? Would Cyrus have been this strong? How about Darius? No, no earthly prince would have withstood the angel. All would have been without strength, experiencing great trembling, hiding themselves if they could, falling to the ground in a trance of they couldn’t. Therefore the sar or prince/king of Persia is not an earthly man but a demonic angel of great strength, as are the kings [plural] of Persia.
If no human prince can withstand an angel, and with the narrative distance changed between the visions Daniel received when serving the kings of Babylon and the vision he received when serving Cyrus, closer attention must be paid to Daniel’s visions … what’s seen in Daniel’s vision of the third year of Cyrus is the spiritual referent [demonic king] for the naming phrase, sar of Persia. The earthly or physical referent would have been a human person, Darius or Cyrus perhaps. And Daniel’s vision would have been sealed by the earthly referent doing in approximation what the spiritual referent does or will do in the timeless heavenly realm.
I have been told by those who are Spanish language scholars that the greatness of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha [Don Quixote], is the sustained duality of referents Cervantes employed, with the Spanish lexicon then being small [perhaps three thousand words] so that every word had multiple referents for its denotative meaning. So Cervantes simultaneously told two stories with one set of words, with one story being the most catholic of all stories (the other, not so). Of course, in translation one story will be privileged over the other story, and therefore only one story is translated. So to appreciate the greatness of Don Quixote, the novel must be read in Spanish.
If a human person can take advantage of a language’s small lexicon to simultaneously tell two or more stories with one set of linguistic signifiers, then it is reasonable to conclude that God can simultaneously tell two or more stories through one set of referents, using history to produce the sealing shadow of the spiritual narrative.
Jesus told Nicodemus that unless a man is born again [born anew, or born from above], he cannot “see” the kingdom of God (John 3:3), and then went on to speak of being born of water [of the womb] and of spirit. Nicodemus heard the words Jesus spoke, but understood them literally; understood their earthly referents. And thinking that human <birth> could only come through the womb of a woman, Nicodemus asked how could a man when grown enter the womb a second time, Nicodemus’ question revealing the limitation placed on his thought by the physicality of the human birth process. And Jesus asked Nicodemus,
Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:10–12)
Understanding dual referents—“birth” via water and spirit—is an earthly thing, something every person over three years old is capable of doing. It takes greater maturity, however, to cease testing Jesus’ words as Israel in the wilderness “tested” the Lord ten times … a “story” becomes a thing when it is told. It becomes a tangible thing like a jar or a pot when it is inscribed. It receives permanence like land has permanence when it enters into the collective memory of a people. And long ago, the Bible as canonized entered into the collective memory of Western culture, and in particular into greater Christendom. Therefore, the theology of greater Christendom is schizophrenic; for the biblical canon includes a Greek novel, a redaction of the 1st-Century oral gospel, forged epistles, and disguised as a Gospel is a prophetic biography of the indwelling Christ Jesus. The theology of greater Christianity will have Christians keeping nine of ten commandments, but casually as if the commandments were divine suggestions.
Too many Christians are willing to believe that the spirit was given on the day of Pentecost that followed Calvary, but they believe a different good-news message than the one that has the glorified Jesus breathing on ten of His first disciples the day of His Accession, saying when He breathed on them, Receive spirit holy (John 20:22).
And Daniel’s visions lie at the heart of Christian schizophrenia … common symptoms of schizophrenia include [from the Wiki] false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, auditory hallucinations, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and lack of motivation, with diagnosis based on observed behavior and the person's reported experiences.
How better could the Adversary prevent the unsealing of Daniel’s vision when humanity entered into the generic time of the end than to introduced into the Christian Church universal false beliefs, and unclear or confused thinking long ago?
The person who holds false beliefs doesn’t think the person’s beliefs are false. Instead, this person will fight for what he or she believes, and even die for the person’s false beliefs … when an Islamic fundamentalist, believing that he or she is doing the will of Allah, straps on a suicide belt and blows him or herself up at a bus station, or mosque, or roadside checkpoint, the fundamentalist holds [held] false beliefs for which the person was willing to die. And this is easily understood within greater Christendom or within rabbinical Judaism. But what isn’t so easily understood is that when the Christian observes Christmas, the Christian holds false beliefs that are as spiritually destructive as a Sunni suicide belt is physically destructive.
But the Christian within the Church universal will defend his or her false beliefs by pointing to anyone who disagrees with traditional dogmas and declaring the person to be delusional. And there is no means by which the Christian deceived by the Adversary can be convinced that he or she has been deceived until after the Second Passover occurs. Therefore, rereading Daniel’s prophecies must occur in advance of the Second Passover, but these in the time of the end readings will be mostly unknown by the Church universal even at the time of the Second Passover. For employment of dual referents for naming signifiers as a reading strategy has been hidden within Christian schizophrenia: most every Christian pastor encountered the concept in seminary, but attached no importance to the concept, for the Church universal couldn’t have its understanding of prophecy so very wrong … yes, it could, and yes, it does.
In Daniel’s vision of Belshazzar’s third year, the ram charged west, north, and south, but not east, as the city and canal were on the east side of the nation … when directions in a vision are given, these directions matter. Daniel would not have recorded them if they didn’t matter.
The eastern border of Iraq is close to, or at the eastern boundary of pre-Flood Eden; thus, the ram can, in biblical prophecy, only push in three directions. Of necessity, the ram incorporates the kings of Persia with whom the angel who brought Daniel knowledge had to contend for twenty-one days. Again, these kings of Persia are powerful spirit beings that still rule over the mental topography of humanity, and will rule until they are defeated by the king of Greece, an even more powerful federation of spirit beings [demonic kings] as the king of spiritual Babylon loses control of the rebels under him.
The he-goat comes out of the west without touching the ground, a trick Alexander the Great could not accomplish although he seemed to fly across distance, but flying out of the west is a readily accomplishable feat in the heavenly realm, and seemingly accomplished by the American military as America makes war against Islamic unfriendlies. Thus, the sequence of events is that the ram appears, then grows a long horn followed by growing an even longer horn, then pushes until he provokes the he-goat, who tramples him.
When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.” (Dan 8:15-17 emphasis added)
All that Daniel sees in this vision happens at the time of the end, not during Daniel’s lifetime, or two centuries later.
The above cannot be stressed too strongly: the appearance of the ram, the growth of his two horns, him pushing westward, northward and southward, followed by the he-goat flying out of the west takes time to occur in the physical and occurs at the time of the end. In the vision, these events seem to occur with no or little passage of time. The passage of time that it took for the Medo-Persian Empire to come into existence, to conquer many nations and people, to fight with Greeks at the Battle of Marathon and lose to Greeks, then fight Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae and win—all of this time has been squeezed from the narrative through the use of symbols representing kings and kingdoms … the course of western world history for centuries is pressed flat between pages in the inscribed Book of Truth, compacted into a few paragraphs that are for the generic time of the end, the predawn darkness of the Lord’s Day.
In the 1st-Century BCE, radical Jews thought that they were living in the time of the end: these were the sons of light introduced in the Qumran War Scroll. But these sons of light were not living in the time of the end; for Daniel’s visions remained sealed and kept secret through historical events seeming to satisfy these visions.
But when a historical event doesn’t exactly fulfill a biblical prophecy, is the prophecy really about the historical event? That would seem to be an easy enough question to answer. No, the prophecy isn’t about the event. So why would scholars believe that Daniel’s visions are about events that happened up to a certain point—the point at which they believe the Book of Daniel was written—then veer off-track beyond this point? Wouldn’t it seem more logical to believe that the events ascribed to fulfilling Daniel’s visions really are not the fulfillment of these visions? That would seem to be the case; for Alexander’s Empire didn’t, following his death, break into four neat kingdoms as any examination of the historical record will reveal. Rather, during the Diadochi period, Perdiccas, the leading calvary commander, while waiting for the birth of Alexander’s son [Alexander IV], made himself regent of the entire empire, with Meleager an infantry commander his lieutenant. But Perdiccas wasn’t really interested in sharing power, so he didn’t wait long to have Meleager and other infantry commanders killed. And then came the division of Babylon. The calvary officers who supported Perdiccas were rewarded by becoming satraps of portions of the empire: Ptolemy received Egypt; Laomedon received Syria and Phoenicia; Philotas took Cilicia; Peithon took Media; Antigonus received Phrygia, Lycia and Pamphylia; Asander received Caria; Menander received Lydia; Lysimachus received Thrace; Leonnatus received Hellespontine Phrygia; and Neoptolemus had Armenia. Macedon and the rest of Greece were to be under the joint rule of Antipater, who had governed them for Alexander, and Craterus, Alexander's most able lieutenant, while Alexander's old secretary, Eumenes of Cardia, was to receive Cappadocia and Paphlagonia. And in the east, Perdiccas left Alexander's arrangements intact: Taxiles and Porus ruled over their kingdoms in India; Alexander's father-in-law Oxyartes ruled Gandara; Sibyrtius ruled Arachosia and Gedrosia; Stasanor ruled Aria and Drangiana; Philip ruled Bactria and Sogdiana; Phrataphernes ruled Parthia and Hyrcania; Peucestas governed Persis; Tlepolemus ruled Carmania; Atropates ruled northern Media; Archon ruled Babylonia; Arcesilaus ruled northern Mesopotamia.
The preceding isn’t a four part division of the Greek Empire, created by Alexander, but a messy division that guaranteed wars would be fought between petty fiefdoms until out of the chaos emerged two empires, the Ptolemaic Empire and the Seleucid Empire that would seem to have fulfilled the prophecies of Daniel.
The radical sons of light of the War Scroll were certain the end was near, but it was their end that was near: a century later, they would see the physically circumcised nation cease being the holy nation of God. And since those 1st-Century BCE radicals wrote about a great war on a scroll that anticipated E.G. White’s Great Controversy, a host of carnally minded pundits in attempting to explain Daniel’s visions have trapped themselves in a Catch-22, time of the end scenario: the time of the end begins when the prophecies of Daniel can be understood, and the prophecies of Daniel can be only understood when the time of the end begins. Every generation of radicals and pundits living prior to the time of the end have not understood Daniel’s prophecies although they thought they did. Thus, when God unsealed these prophecies, the revealed knowledge can be rather easily dismissed for it will differ from previous teachings, and it will seem like just another interpretation coming from a man (or a woman). But this is how it has to be with God, who must be believed by faith.
The angel Gabriel identifies the ram and he-goat:
And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be in the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. (Dan 8:18-21)
Again, this vision of Daniel’s is for the time of the end, not for Daniel’s era even though Daniel witnesses the fall of Babylon and the rise of the kings of Media and Persia. Therefore, biblical scholars need to erase from their minds traditional interpretations. The Churches of God need to spiritually grow past ad men and con men.
Before picking up the missing portion of Daniel’s vision of the third year of Belshazzar, let it here be said that biblical scholars should realize secular historical texts are not needed for assigning earthly referents to the metals of the humanoid image Nebuchadnezzar saw.
Daniel tells the earthly king of Babylon that he is the head of gold even though what Daniel tells the king about him ruling over the children of men wherever they dwell is not true. Nebuchadnezzar ruled no person in China or in Chili. So Daniel either speaks hyperbole or there is another referent that is also a king of Babylon, the spiritual king of Babylon.
Daniel then witnesses the rise of the Medes and Persians, and the angel Gabriel tells Daniel that it is the king of Greece who tramples the Medes and Persians. So, yes, history agrees with the ebb and flow of these named nations, so much so that the book of Daniel is often assigned a post-Maccabean date by secular scholars. But Jesus dates the appearance of the abomination of desolation (Matt 24:15 referring to Dan 11:31) to the time of the end. And if Jesus so dates Daniel’s vision, His words agreeing with the vision’s internal dating, then it would seem that believing scholars should likewise so date Daniel’s visions. This has not, however, been the case.
Would-be scholars and carnally minded pundits have been satisfied with the prophecies’ sealing shadow being the fulfillment of the prophecies.
Returning to Daniel’s vision of Belshazzar’s third year, we find (repeating a previous citation),
Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, "For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?" And he said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state." (Dan 8:8–14)
Again, compass directions are important: the great horn or first king of Greece is broken because he is first, and from him come four horns or kings, one at each of the compass points: north, east, south, west. And out from one of these horns comes a little horn that grew great toward the south, east, and west [the direction in which the glorious land lay] … if this little horn grows exceedingly great against three kings or horns that lay to the south, east, and west of himself, then this little horn has to appear on the head of the King of the North, with this little horn casting stars to the ground and becoming as great as the Prince of the host.
This little horn isn’t a human person.
Before preceding, it should be made clear that this little horn also seen in Daniel’s vision of Belshazzar’s first year, is the Adversary who is no equal of Christ Jesus, that no equality between them exists, that Christ doesn’t contend with the Adversary as if they were schoolboys wrestling for the souls of men. That is a nonsensical assumption; for the Adversary as a created heavenly being cannot enter into the heavenly moment that existed and continues to exist before he was created. For the presence of life and the absence of life cannot coexist in timelessness. An entity either has life or doesn’t have life. Therefore in the unchanging timelessness of heaven, the entity that has no life in a particular moment (with moments serving in timelessness as geographical locations serve inside the creation) can never have life in this moment and therefore cannot enter this moment, the Adversary’s inherent problem about which the prophet Isaiah records,
You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. (Isa 14:13–15)
Because all angels are created beings, created inside the timeless heavenly realm, all angels are necessarily “lower” (used metaphorically) than the Father and His Beloved, and as such cannot enter into the moment (height) where the Father and His Beloved have indwelling life. But human sons of God, because they are “created” outside of heaven but created through receiving the breath or glory of the Father which comes from the moment in heaven where the Father and His Beloved dwell, will when having received glorified outer selves be able to enter into the heavenly moment where no angel can go. And all of this is symbolized at Sinai, where the people of Israel could not set foot on the holy mountain and still live, except for Moses and Aaron before the Law was given (Ex 19:24) and Moses and Joshua [who went only part way] after the Law was given (Ex 24:13; 32:17). Only Moses could ascend to the top of Sinai where he would see the glory of the Lord.
As the people of Israel, the firstborn son of the Lord (Ex 4:22), could not set foot on Mount Sinai, angels cannot ascend to the crown of the mountain of the Lord. As Moses could ascend to the top of Mountain Sinai, the Elect can ascend the mountain of the Lord, entering into the household of the Lord, with the prophet Zechariah recording,
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?" Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, "Remove the filthy garments from him." And to him he said, "Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments." And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, “If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.” (Zech 3:1–7 emphasis added)
In the cited passage, the noun phrase <angel of YHWH> pertains to the messenger of the Lord, or the One who interacts with human persons as in the burning bush incident:
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. (Ex 3:1–2 emphasis added)
Apparently that old serpent Satan the devil didn’t understand the first principle of timelessness—he probably didn’t understand time and the passage of time—which is that what is will always be. What doesn’t exist will never exist in the particular timeless moment. In order for something to come into being that doesn’t already exist, another moment also has to come into existence as in being at a lower elevation on the mountain of the Lord. Therefore, everything that has life in a particular moment has had life since the beginning of the moment, with the exception of human sons of God who receive their divine breath of life from a moment that preexists their existence. However, once in that heavenly moment from which they received their heavenly breath of life, these human sons of God will be “alive” from the beginning of this moment; hence it can be said about them that they have life from before the foundations of the earth were laid. And this concept the Apostle Paul understood even though he wouldn’t have had the language necessary to explain what he knew to be true.
Again, for the Elect understanding what is true comes from the indwelling of the Parakletos, the spirit of truth; the spirit of revealing what has been concealed.
Returning to Daniel who sees that when the he-goat “was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns towards the four winds of heaven” (Dan 8:8), and “As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from this nation, but not with his power” (v. 22). These four horns are again seen in the long vision of what is inscribed in the Book of Truth … the angel who was withstood by the sar of Persia for twenty-one days tells Daniel,
And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for the kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these. (Dan 11:2-4)
If the kingdom of Greece represents the bronze portion of the image, the division of the torso into two legs is a division of the Greek Empire, not a division of a successive empire.
The complete humanoid image seen by Nebuchadnezzar should take its name from its head, the king of Babylon; hence the image is of spiritual Babylon. And its division occurs not from its creation but from when the first horn or great horn of the kingdom of Greece is broken.
For far too long the foolishness of inserting Rome into Daniel’s visions has prevailed in the Churches of God, this foolishness rooted in thinly veiled hatred for the Roman Church, foolishness that neglects the reality that long before Rome ventured off-shore, long before even the unified Roman Empire divides east and west, the Greek Empire divided north and south, these two directions having significance for Jerusalem lies between these divisions.
Then the king of the south [one of the directions of the four winds] shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority. After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times. (Dan 11:5-6)
This vision was sealed and kept secret until the time of the end (Dan 12:4, 9). It could not be understood by 1st-Century Apostles, or by the 20th-Century Church. So historical exegesis is of no help in understanding the prophecies of Daniel although someone will argue that the time of the end began at Calvary. And as introduced earlier in this section, that is partly true: the dark or night portion of the Lord’s Day began at Calvary, when “light” left this world, thereby beginning one long spiritual night that will end halfway through seven years of tribulation.
Jesus said in His Olivet discourse,
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will darken, and the moon will not give its light, and stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things [the heavenly signs], you know that He [Christ] is near, at the very gates. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matt 24:29-35)
When Jesus says this generation shall not pass away, He isn’t implying that some who were alive in the 1st-Century are still alive today although the verse has been interpreted this way by a few errant teachers of spiritual Israel. Jesus means the generation that witnesses the endtime heavenly signs following the tribulation that includes the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matt 24:15 referring to Dan 11:31) shall not pass before all things are complete. Plus, the end of the age has specific verses referencing its beginning.
Jesus said, “‘And this gospel [good news — the referent is the good news of the previous verse, that all who endure to the end shall be saved] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’” (Matt 24:14).
In Daniel’s sealed vision, the angel tells Daniel the truth: ‘“At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind”’ (Dan 11:40). So the lesson of the fig tree is that the generic time of the end really didn’t begin in darkness at Calvary even though this is so; nor did the time of the end begin in darkness in the centuries since. The time of the end will begin following when the good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved is preached to the world; when the derivative Greek king of the South attacks the derivative Greek king of the North, and the king of the North comes at him like a whirlwind.
The author of Matthew’s Gospel presented to all of Christendom the endtime gospel, all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 10:22; 24:13), but if ever good news has been ignored by a theology, it is the Christian Church universal ignoring the good news that must be proclaimed to all the world before the end comes.
Many teachers of Israel have taught that the referring expression <this gospel> in Jesus’ Olivet discourse (Matt 24:14) references the message about Jesus as the Logos (John 1:1) being born as a man (v. 14). This is the good news message that the Evangelical Church presently takes onto satellite television, with this message now being received everywhere on the globe. But this isn’t the good news that Jesus used in His reference to the end of the age. Again, in His Olivet discourse, Jesus answered His disciples’ questions about the end of the age and about His return—and He answered with a specific piece of good news, that all who endure to the end shall be saved.
Again, Jesus’ answer and reference to a seemingly innocuous statement is largely missed by the Churches of God and entirely missed by neo-Arian and Evangelical Churches. Enduring to the end has been used by the Churches of God to refute the Evangelical message of once saved, always saved. But because the Churches of God do not collectively understand being born again, or born from above as being an actual spiritual birth, these fellowships have missed the importance of this particular piece of good news being the message that must be proclaimed to the world as a witness to all nations. In fact, one particular teacher of Israel within the Churches of God tradition, Herbert Armstrong, taught that the expression “this gospel” referenced the good news about the soon coming kingdom of God (i.e., Christ Jesus’ millennial reign over humanity). His teachings were loudly proclaimed worldwide by radio forty and fifty years ago. But again, the expression “this gospel” references Jesus’ preceding sentence as the pronoun this would indicate, its antecedent being all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13).
This section has grown excessively long. Thus, the thought will be continued in the next section, where we will begin by examining Jesus’ Olivet discourse.
(to be continued)
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."