The Shifting Frame

What if "North" means "North"?
What if “North” means North?

Within the library of apocalyptic literature, Daniel’s visions certainly occupy a shelf of their own.  And yet his visions could conceivably be further subdivided into three different genres: the Dynastic, the Mosaic, and the Cardinal. Such a distinction between the three types of Daniel’s visions makes chapter 11 stand out in stark relief compared to the others, both in style and in content. When the unique aspects of the chapter are so recognized, chapter 11 is shown to be a continuous, uninterrupted narrative that was entirely fulfilled during the period of Greek rule that is signified by the Bronze, Leopard and He-goat periods of Daniel’s other visions. Continue reading The Shifting Frame

The Bounds of their Habitation

The Taurus Mountains form an intimidating barrier to all who wish to possess what lies beyond them.
The Taurus Mountains, here viewed from Cyprus, form an intimidating barrier to all who wish to possess what lies beyond them.

The Taurus Mountains of Asia Minor were formed long ago by the collision of the European, African and Arabian tectonic plates. They climb out of the the quiet shores of Lake Eğirdir in the west like a youth emerging from a refreshing swim, and then stand up and run on a southeasterly course toward the Bay of Pamphylia on the southern coast. Here they have left only a narrow sliver of arable land as a gift to the brigands and pirates who would one day terrorize the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean from the isolated cove. From Pamphylia, the mountains have come to full stature and tightly hug the shoreline, their feet playing in the waves of the Mediterranean. They form an imposing and deadly barrier to any who might dare to approach them. As an indication of the relative speed of the colliding plates, the Taurus as viewed from Cyprus (shown above) appear almost as a towering cliff or as a cresting wave of rocks about to crash down upon the watery plain of the Mediterranean. Now nearing  Cilicia the rocky crags have briefly turned due east and then, as if losing interest in the sea, proceed northeasterly, leaving the plains of Cilicia as another gift to the pirates, situated as they were between the Taurus mountains of Asia Minor and the Amanus mountains of Syria.  Here at Cilicia the Taurus mountains become the Anti-Taurus, and continue on their course until they reach the southeastern shores of the Black Sea to be united with their sister range, the Pontic Mountains that have served in a similar capacity along the northern coast. Continue reading The Bounds of their Habitation

The Rise of Antiochus IV

"Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers ... " (Daniel 11:37)
“Neither shall he regard the god of his fathers … ” (Daniel 11:37)

As we have highlighted in the preceding weeks, when examined in their context, the events of Daniel 8 and 9 culminate in the rise and fall of Antiochus IV, king of Syria, from 175 – 163 B.C.. The context of Daniel 9 is fundamentally Mosaic rather than Messianic, and its basis is the Leviticus 26 Protocol. The fulfillment of Daniel 9 is found in the restoration of the Temple under the First Covenant, using Ezekiel’s instructions, as we described in All the Evenings and Mornings. Notably, the background of the successive chastisements prescribed in Leviticus 26 is Jewish idolatry, sabbath violations, and profanation of the sanctuary (Leviticus 26:1-2). The objective of the successive chastisements under Leviticus 26 is that the Jews “confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers,” and that “their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity” (Leviticus 26:40-41). As Ezekiel prescribed to the Jews in captivity, “if they be ashamed of all that they have done” they will restore the Temple in accordance with “the pattern” he was given for them (Ezekiel 43:11), and as Gabriel prophesied, the final outcome of the Seventy Weeks was that the Temple would be anointed in accordance with the instructions in Exodus 40 (Daniel 9:24). In 164 B.C., in what would become the first celebration of Hannukha, the Jews finally rededicated the Temple as prescribed and prophesied. It was the conclusion of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9, the objective of which was for the Jews to repent of their idolatry, sabbath violations and sanctuary profanations, by restoring the Mosaic order according to Ezekiel’s pattern. These events were prophesied to occur under the period of Greek rule, in the aftermath of the four-way division of Alexander’s empire, as described in Daniel 8. Having laid this groundwork, including the Reduction of the Diadochi last week, we now proceed with an analysis of Daniel chapter 8. Continue reading The Rise of Antiochus IV

Reduction of the Diadochi

"...and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven." (Daniel 8:8)
“…and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” (Daniel 8:8)

One of the most critical phases in Western Civilization is the period of post-Alexandrian Greece prior to the rise of Rome. It is the period following Alexander’s death in 323 B.C. when his kingdom was divided, leading up to the period of Rome’s dominance on the world stage. That period weighs heavily in any discussion of Danielic eschatology, especially Daniel chapters 8 and 11, because in those chapters, he prophesies about exactly that period in history—the division of Alexander’s kingdom and the wars that followed. The fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies of the period are foundational to Christian eschatology, and much of what John saw in Revelation draws on the imagery and symbolism of Daniel’s several visions of the post-Alexandrian Greek empire. For this reason, a comprehensive Christian eschatology cannot be developed without knowledge of the era. And yet, from an historiographical perspective, it is one of the darkest periods in human history, for very little written evidence exists from which a complete story can emerge. Thus, at the period in history when our need for data is most critical, the historical record is least generous.
Continue reading Reduction of the Diadochi