Wednesday, February 7, 2007

My... how things change

I grew up in a nice sized AG church in Santa Fe, NM. I heard some really good teaching on prophecy and the end times and I loved it all. I have always been fascinated with all the weirdness in the book of Revelation and Daniel. But I was given and accepted the idea that these prophecies were all for the distant future.

Over the last 15 years or so I have been introduced to some different thinking on these matters. For Christmas this year I got a 21 CD teaching set from Gary Demar and American Vision. I finished listening to those a couple of weeks back. Over the last few days I have gone through Revelation and Daniel again. In fact on my drive to and from work this week I listened to Revelation once, Malachi once and Daniel four times.

I really focused on Daniel because all the strange imagery intrigued me and I think I see a pattern in the prophetic visions that Daniel has. It seems to me that the four visions in Daniel all speak of the same events in history and they all point to Christ's first coming and the destruction of Jerusalem.

The four visions are as follows:

  1. Nebuchadnezzar's dream about the statue (Daniel 2)
  2. Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
  3. Daniel's vision of a ram and a goat (Daniel 8)
  4. Daniel's vision of a man (Daniel 10-12)
I see in chapter 2 where Nebuchadnezzar has the dream of the statue, the statue has five parts that represent four kingdoms, a gold head, silver chest and arms, belly and thighs of bronze, and its legs were iron. There were also feet and toes made of a mixture of iron and clay. At the end of verse 38 Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar, "You are the head of gold," so we know the first of these kingdoms is Babylon. So then the silver represents the Medes and Persians. The bronze represents the Greek empire, and the iron represents the Roman empire. The feet of clay and iron represent the mixture of Greek and Roman empires. It specifically mentions the toes which may be this fourth kingdom splitting under ten kings.

In chapter 7 it explains that the four beasts represent, again, four kingdoms and then ten kingdoms come from the fourth kingdom.

In chapter 8 it explains that the the two-horned ram is the kingdom of Media and Persia. The one horned goat is the kingdom of Greece.

In chapter 11 it again talks of the kings of Persia and Greece.

Can you see how I think there is a pattern in these? Much of the language and situations between the different visions is similar and it almost seems like he is getting a little more detail for the same events with each vision.

The other idea that helps me think in this direction is that the phrases that deal with "the end" or "the end of time" are speaking of the end of the old covenant and not the end of history. The visions were prophetic for Daniel and spoke of future events from his time but they are historical events from my time.

I do not understand it all yet and I can surely be wrong on some of it but this view of Daniel sure makes a lot more sense to me than what I grew up with. Let me know your thoughts and if you can recommend any resources (especially audio) :-).

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