The Book of Daniel and the End Time: Towards a Close Reading Approach

In Daniel .eight there are two animals and these two animals represent two kingdoms. The Ram is a symbol of Medo Persia and the Goat is a symbol of Greece. In Daniel eight there is no third Kingdom. It is not possible to get to Rome from Daniel eight, much less 1844. Rome never was a little horn power and if God wanted Rome to be in Daniel eight He would have invented another animal.

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Of course it’s easy to calculate 2,300 years from 457BC. It’s simple mathematics so long as you remember the change from BC to AD and don’t miss a year. But why not 538 BC and the decree of Cyrus? That’s what Isaiah prophesied. When Christ was born, the star led the wise men to the stable. When He was baptised the Spirit descended like a dove. His crucifixion was witnessed my the crowd, the sun was darkened and the earth shook. At Pentecost the Spirit was given and sounded like a rushing wind.

1844? Nothing. Not a whisper from heaven or from the earth to mark the time. There was simply nothing but mathematical calculations.

The concern I have in all this discussion is that Daniel 9, centred on verse 24 doesn’t even get a mention. I suggest this verse is the climax of the book of Daniel.

Christ made it clear. Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, it was about Him. Any religious belief that does not make the cross and the resurrection the foundation of that belief is not Christian.

I believe that Daniel was given these visions to carry the Jewish nation through to the coming of the Messiah as Saviour of the world. It was not given to predict an end-time 2,000 years after the cross

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Furthermore, your assertion that “horns are always attached to animals in the visions, only heads beget horns, only horns beget horns” is imposing rules on the Biblical text that aren’t biblically derived and are unnecessary. The Biblical image contains many unnatural elements (eg a goat flying through the air not touching the ground). I read your grammatical analysis and wonder what a fluent Hebrew speaker would make of it. I have no knowledge of Hebrew, biblical or otherwise (I do have a little knowledge of Arabic, and know that gender does very different things than it does in Polish for example), but one can wax lyrical about what gender any particular word requires, but it is another thing altogether to speak a language fluently and to understand the nuances that the different genders bring. What does a native Hebrew speaker make of a plain reading of the passage?

Because the prophecy is a word picture and doesn’t rely on naturally-occurring features (eg the flying goat), there doesn’t have to be a problem with a disembodied little horn either. This actually has more relevance than some would appreciate. A beast refers to a kingdom and logically the horn refers to the king or leader. Now a horn attached to a beast would indicate the leader of a nation. A disembodied horn would indicate a leader not attached to a nation, something that the pope was. The pope was the leader of a religious entity that took over from and grew superior to leaders of nations but was not backed by a nation or an army. It was later backed by national armies who had their own kings. Later on, the papacy became a nation in itself, and maintains this status today as a mickey-mouse state (Vatican City). But whilst Antiochus was the king of an empire, the pope was not a national leader and thus the status of a disembodied horn fits quite well in the case of Daniel 8.

Now, more about time periods. Ford et al have disregarded the day-year principle. Thus they now have time periods they know not what to do with. These time periods were obviously given in order to convey something of importance. But by doing away with the day-year principle and taking an essentially preterist interpretation of prophecy, these periods have lost their importance, or more correctly, they are ignored, for to mention them one would have to admit they have no clue what they mean.

The preterists have a problem. (I know Ford would protest he is not a preterist, and I don’t know what Andre would say, but to claim Antiochus is the little horn is to firmly place yourself in the preterist camp at least in this instance.) They know that the 70 week prophecy relates to the coming of Jesus and His crucifixion. However, not taking the day-year principle (and starting with the wrong decree of Artaxerxes) they undergo some complicated mental gymnastics in order to get to the correct dates for the appearance of Jesus on this earth (including multiplying by the ratio of a prophetic year of 360 days to the current year of 365+ days). But take any of the other time periods and they are stuck. All they can do is knock the Adventist interpretation, but not provide a viable substitute. So they claim for example that the papacy was not established in 538 AD and still exists beyond 1798, so the dates do not check out. I would answer that that is not what the Biblical text says. It does not say that the entity would be established in the beginning of the time period and would be dissolved at the end. If one reads exactly what the Bible says would happen one realises that 538 and 1798 fit perfectly, as do 508 and 1883/4. (Read the question carefully is what teachers always tell their students before sitting an exam. Read the biblical text carefully and don’t create straw men is what I say to naysayers and Ford supporters.)

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What is most important for the reader of any book to understand is not what that book means for him or his future but rather to get outside himself long enough to determine what those words meant to the writer and his contemporaries. The absolute fact that nothing incontrovertibly identifiable as The 2nd Coming happened for Adventists on October 22, 1844, or Jehovah Witnesses in 1914, or Orel Roberts back in The Eighties, proves conclusively that these people missed the point of Daniel and his friends.
As for John and his Revelation, a much simpler reading is that it was not intended as predictive; the churches he mentions were simply those churches that existed at that time and the congregations hearing John’s Treatise may have understood that 666 was a codified term for Nero, employed simply to avoid becoming a prop for the lions and patrons at The Collesum. John probably saw The Roman Emperor of his time as being “Anti-Christ” and any reference to The Papacy, EGW, Hitler, Ronald Reagon, ad infinitum, can only imposed by those intent on reading between the lines, two centuries later, and while ignoring a much more straightforward interpretation.
To my mind—since I can’t get inside John’s Head—if there is any wisdom to be gained from The Revelator it is his admonishment to come out of the incessant “babbling on”, which is the essential element of all organized religions. That is, it is in one’s best interest to avoid interminable discourse about disjointed and disconcerting compilations of words and stories by unrelated authors—e.g. The Bible—whose intentions are as random and indecipherable as so many tea leaves at the bottom of a cup when it comes to knowing what’s in store for this afternoon, much less in determining when The End might take place.
Is it pointless to make these points, particularly in a religious publication?
Probably.
But then again, how much more pointless would it be to say nothing?

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My comment was not meant to exegete any specific passage but to imagine scenarios in which the historic SDA understanding of the end might transpire in some loose fashion. If it does not, the victory of the lamb is still promised and assured. My radar is not interested in scouring each headline for a “sign,” but for trends which clearly pit good against evil and the ways in which the followers of Jesus can resist the demonic in our time.

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Ray,
Since you don’t accept the verses in Rev and Gen you pointed out yourself, you probably will also reject the many other ways one can implicitly “prove” from scriptures that the Sabbath, is the pivotal pin on which all other Commandments are based, and accordingly, would then follow that it may constitute the final attack on His Law and the ultimate test of obedience (Rev 14:12). Can we be saved without being in God’s Will? Can we be in God’s Will without obeying all his Commandments?
As far as finding explicit proof all you have to do is listen to the news and make some logical deductions from current and specific trends. We dont have to stress out and feel frustrated by arguing about the last little detail as some in this forum pointed out (@Sirje), knowing that we don’t yet now everything but expecting that more truth will be revealed as needed, but rather have peace and joy in the sure expectation of His return.

We can glorify God in our daily lives but we can only “truly” worship Almighty God and the Lamb as He appointed and asked us to remember.

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Great! Rev 14 is about who alone is worthy of worship not when to worship. A day of rest was important to a recently freed slave nation. The association with creation is critical to our worship as well as our rest. We now have a 40 hr work week. Rest and worship has many versions. Let us be sure that our rest and worship are upon a CreatorGod who is also our Redeemer and coming King of Kings. We worship out of rejoicing not because of dire consequences.

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One of the factors that I have not seen anyone in this discussion addressing is that for the past 150 plus yrs we have looked at “current events” as signs of the “imminent return” of Jesus. What that means to any rational person is that for the past 150 plus yrs our evangelists ( and others) have been wrong 100% of the time. Maybe, just maybe it is time to rethink some of our theological paradigms.

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We are a bit off topic here but the Sabbath was made for man, not the Jews, right at creation, there has been no change in the Bible that I am aware of about when we should worship sincce then, and yes, we do it out of rejoicing in the full expectation of receciving the promised blessings of rest to our weary bodies and souls, not out of fear or guilt.

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Christians have been looking for the soon return of Jesus since he died. Paul thought Jesus would return in his lifetime. They’ve all been wrong.

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Why do you think that? There is no mention of the Sabbath in the bible until Exodus, in the story of the quail and the manna. It is not mentioned in the Eden story or the flood story. It is not mentioned in the Abraham story. None of the founding characters in the bible are ever said to have kept even a single Sabbath.

The first two sets of commandments indicate it was given in remembrance of creation. But that does not mean it was around since creation.

The third and last (and most current) version of the 10 commandments indicates that the Sabbath was given as a memorial to slavery in Egypt, which makes a lot of sense:


Deut 5:
"Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain.

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.


Note that He did not command anyone else to keep a Sabbath day. Just the Israelites currently alive, work were delivered from Egypt, who were at Horeb, and explicitly not their forefathers.

And, the command was to rest. Not to worship, but to rest from labor.

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it’s interesting how a premise is established without conceding that it is a premise…

the problem with modern biblical scholarship and adventist eschatology is related to the problem we see with evolutionists and adventist fiat creation: different premises are leading to different conclusions…in the case of most evolutionists, we have a tacit yet dogged adherence to the premise of uniformitarianism without any concession that it is an unprovable premise, and that catastrophism is a valid alternative…in the case of most non-adventist bible scholars, we have an adherence to the premise that the original context and setting, together with specific word choices, which are endlessly chronicled and dissected, controls the meaning of the text…aside from the obvious possibility that the same writer or different writers can use different words to describe the same thing, or the same words to describe different things, there is generally never any concession that the text is inspired by a holy spirit who controls the intended meaning of the text, as expressed through chosen prophets, which may be very different than the original audience or even the writer could have imagined…in the same way that there’s never any hint of the possibility of divine intervention or process unconnected to the present, as far as evolution is concerned, there’s never any hint of the possibility of divine intervention or understanding unconnected to the past, as far as biblical scholarship is concerned…

traditional adventism moves beyond this obvious limitation…it rests squarely on the premise that the same holy spirit who inspired daniel to write out and preserve certain prophecies has reserved an explanation of these prophecies for when that explanation becomes relevant, and will certainly use prophets to disseminate that explanation…this is a valid premise if the holy spirit is truly eternal and omniscient…and using this premise, it is neither here nor there that neither daniel nor his few readers understood 1844, the investigative judgement, the papacy, or the second coming of christ, much less that these are important touch points between the text and readers subsequent to the ministry of egw that they could not have been before…

there’s no more point in trying to harmonize modern biblical, especially apocalyptic, scholarship with the phenomenon of egw than there is in harmonizing evolution with fiat creation…different premises are leading, logically, to irreconcilably different possibilities and conclusions…

Sirje.
I like your posts !
On another blog ( the Cosmic Conflict ) you stated very aptly and astutely :

THE CHARACTER OF GOD WAS SETTLED AT THE CROSS

But the book of Daniel THROWS JESUS UNDER THE BUS,

How so?

EGW’S elegant prose (regrettably, much of it borrowed ), in the DESIRE OF AGES,
is evocative and emotional when describing the crucifixion.

Bill O’Reilly’s gripping book, KILLING JESUS, gives a more visceral,
gruesome, grisly, gory account
which is harrowing to read.

Likewise, Mel Gibson’s movie, THE PASSION, leaves the viewers aghast
at the barbarism amd brutality displayed in the killing of Jesus.

You had better believe, the entire universe was glued to the LIVE STREAMING
of this horrific event : the killing of the Son of God !

How could they not help but spontaneously vindicate /exonerate God,
exuberantly exclaiming : GOD IS GOOD, SATAN IS EVIL.

THUS, THE CHARACTER OF GOD WAS INDEED SETTLED AT THE CROSS.

Even Christ Himself assumed that He had completed His task and that
God, having been vindicated, the GREAT CONTROVERSY was over!

In the last chapter of the Book of Revelation (.written circa AD 60-90 )
Christ emphatically promises, three times : BEHOLD I AM COMING SOON!
Having completed His task to vindicate God, he quite naturally assumed
the His Second Coming was nigh, “even at the doors “… and would
occur in the first century AD.

His Father had evidently kept the brutal truth from Him:
Multiple centuries awaited, before His sacrifice sufficed,
because He had some task to do
starting in 1844, —-proscribed and prescribed for Him by the prophet Daniel .

Daniel had other ideas. He was NOT content that the controversy was
settled at Calvary, projecting multiple centuries of misery for mankind,
far beyond the crucifixion !

So I do not care Andre Reis, about the minutiae of the various interpretations
of Daniel.

What is clear to me, is that Daniel disowned/disavowed/.debased
and betrayed Christ’s horrific death,
“.threw Him under the bus “. by prophesying that no indeed, the character
of God was NOT settled at the cross, but required multiple further centuries
for God’s vindication!

That God and Daniel would co-.conspire to defraud Christ of His
rightly deserved victory at Calvary, is abysmal .

So, because of Daniel, multiple billions of unsuspecting souls,
who did not ask to be born into lives of abject poverty and misery
had to suffer, because God did NOT accept His Son’s sacrifice, but selfishly
is consumed/obsessed with perpetuating his quest for “.vindication “., as
if the crucifixion were not enough !!

If you love Me, keep My commandments. That means all 11 of them. Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all.

Well, the rains didn’t come for 120 years when Noah first began preaching.

That is a corruption of the SDA view which itself is a misinterpretation. You are therefore doubly removed from the truth. What terrible darkness and grievous bitterness must be consuming your soul.

Christ, who you seem to know about, suffered innocently. Completely rejected, he was made a public spectacle for no reason at all except that they did not want him around, ever and anywhere. In him, perhaps, you may find a kindred spirit, comfort and support in your time of loneliness.

///

That is why I am no longer an Adventist. I can’t believe in the SDA interpretation of 1844. It goes against Luke 21:8.

Tim,
The Sabbath question was in the context of Daniel’s prophecy, rather than a discussion of being the proper day of worship and furthermore, having seen you in this forum for at least a few years I expect you are fully informed about the history of the Sabbath, but at the risk of appearing to be condescending (which I don’t mean to be), please consider Gen 2:3, more than 2,000 years before the birth of Abram, who was Chaldean. According to Bible timeline calculations, there were 215 years between the call to Abraham and the entry of Jacob (Israel) into Egypt, and they would stay there for more than 400 years before their Exodus.
Also check Gen.26:5 where God describes Abraham at the time of his call: “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” Which commandments and laws do you think God is referring to? This is “The way of the Lord” described in Gen. 18: 19 - The Sabbath has existed all the way from Creation week.

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I don’t remember saying “Daniel throws Jesus under the bus” - not in those words. I don’t believe “Daniel disowned/disavowed, debased and betrayed Christ’s horrific death, and threw Him under the bus - by prophesying that no indeed, the character of God was NOT settled at the cross, but required multiple further centuries for God’s vindication!” Adventist hermeneutics does that.

1844 was no small disappointment. It didn’t happen just on paper in some conference office or university library. People’s lives had been invested to the point of survival. Some, literally “bet the farm” on Jesus coming that October. What would it have said if any Millerite/Adventist had spent that spring busy in his fields planting crops and reaping in the fall, filling his barn with hay, and his larder with food - all the while proclaiming Jesus’ return on October 22 that year… Towns in New England were selling “ascension robes”, and, to this day, there’s a hill in Camden, Maine, locally known as “ascension hill”. When Oct. 22 came and went, there was a lot of “face to be saved”. And so Daniel gave birth to the “Investigative Judgement” and all that contributed to the present debates.

The only direct connection of the “end times” and Daniel is Jesus’ statement in Matt. 24, likening some form of “antichrist” to the “abomination of desolation” of Daniel. Most Bible interpreters understand this was a prophesy for Jerusalem - with further predictions for the actual “end times” seeing that history repeats itself every generation.

Jesus has previously warned not to set any dates for His return, specifically saying, “be alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” - “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (vs 42ff) Further to this, there is the visual of two working in the field “one is taken and the other is not”. The evangelical community has taken this literally, and concocted the “rapture”. The point here is that God’s people are to be busy working - not gathered on a hill waiting, while their land goes unattended. The Millerite movement was unbiblical from the get-go. Yet, we celebrate its fallacy every October.

At this point, the SDA church can’t afford to “re-read” Daniel or anything else. There is too much invested - money, time, history, and people’s lives - some terribly messed up; and some blessed. Obliquely, Adventism has contributed much to individual lives. I thank God for the life He fashioned for me - through my association with the Adventist church. That’s how it is with humanity. Bad things sometimes happen even with the best of intentions. The honest thing to do is put the message out there and leave it to each of us to relate to it how ever the Spirit dictates - certainly not by doubling down on the mistakes and further ruining people’s lives. Jesus didn’t directly address the status quo of Hs time even though it was saturated with error and horror from the Romans. His objective was widows, the lame, the blind, and the social outcasts - individuals with individual needs. All of His interactions were focused on their relationships to His Father in Heaven, who, He said, loves us all. Jesus gave His life to prove it.

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Check out my post to ezbord. :slightly_smiling_face:

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