"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Only the Holy Scriptures Have Told Us the Future

In preparing for teaching from the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings this fall, I came across the following post I wrote a few years ago. It will take you a few minutes to read, but if you persevere, you'll have a greater appreciation for the Holy Scriptures and a deeper conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to save the world. Enjoy!

We live in a day of texting, not reading. For this reason, we've produced at least a generation of non-critical thinkers in the United States. It's difficult for many Christians to respond to the question, “How do you know Christianity is true?” Sadly, the faith of Christians is becoming increasingly blind and ignorant. 

Many Christians feel their faith is real, but can't explain why. For example, "Since I came to Christ,  my life has taken a turn for the better" is a common refrain of believers. Christianity is real to many because of their experience and feelings.

Unfortunately, testifying of one's comfort and changed life in believing the Christian message is not a unique religious testimony. The Taoist, the Buddhist, the Muslim, and the Hindu could all say the same thing. Even the radical Islamic believer trusts his life is better because of his faith in Allah. All faiths have the claim that lives will be changed for the better because of their unique, religious faith. Ironically, even skeptics and atheists will argue that their lack of faith in God brings just as much peace and feels just as right to them as the faith of the religious.

So how do you know Christianity is true? What is the basis for your assurance that Jesus Christ represents the truth of God, and followers of Jesus are in possession of the truth that other faith religions don't have?  How do you know that the God of the Bible is the One True God and the biblical account of Him coming to earth, dying on a cross, and rising from the dead for the deliverance of sinners is the message that should be accepted above all other religious messages?

Other than your personal experience and testimony, you may have little or no idea how to defend your faith. You may even be uncomfortable proclaiming the exclusivity of Christ, as are many theological liberals because you don't have a firm foundation for believing in the exclusivity of the Christian faith. Even worse, you may know that your inability to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" is probably your greatest weakness as a follower of Christ.  

So let me help you.

*Only the one true God can foretell the future

The Lord says in Isaiah 42:8-9 "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another ... new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." 

This is an astounding claim which, if true, conclusively proves that the God of the Bible is the one true God. 

God alone or, more precisely, the one true God alone, can tell us future events before they happen. The LORD, the God of the Bible, makes this claim for Himself. He says that He tells us things “before they spring into being” (Isaiah 42:8-9). No other god can do this. This, in the end, is the only way to be sure that Christianity is the one true religion and the God of Christianity is the one true God.

There is not one religious book in the world, other than the Bible, that even attempts prophecy. There are no prophecies in the Quran of Islam, the Diamond Sutra of Buddhism, the Smitri of Hinduism, the Pearl of Great Price of Mormonism, or any other holy book of the world’s religions. No other religious book, other than the Bible, even attempts to prophesy the future. God tells the biblical prophets the future, and the Bible prophecies recorded for us are so accurate in foretelling future events that nobody should ever doubt the message the Bible contains.

The Lord inspires His prophets to speak of things “not yet sprung forth,” and we are able to verify these prophecies because we have lived to see them fulfilled. For example, one set of prophecies, made hundreds of years before their fulfillment, are those prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. These “Messianic prophecies” include statements foretelling that the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; Gen. 22:18), would come from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), and would be a direct descendant of King David, (2 Sam. 7:12 and 13). The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech. 9:9), and would suffer silently before his accusers (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 53:5; Isa. 53:7). He would be considered a criminal and executed with other criminals (Isa. 53:12) while making intercession for those with whom he died (Isa. 53:12). The Messiah would have his hands and feet pierced (Ps. 22:16). He would be buried in the tomb of a wealthy man (Isa. 53:9) and his dead body would not see decay (Ps. 16:10). He would also rise from the dead (Ps. 2:7-9; Ps. 16:10 and 11; Isa. 53:9-12). These Messianic biblical prophecies (and dozens more) were given at least five hundred years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth came to earth and fulfilled them all.

Skeptics might object that Jesus could have read the writings of the Jewish prophets and self-fulfilled everything they said about the coming Messiah. I find that argument rather ridiculous, but rather than resting my assurance in the veracity of the Christian message on the fulfillment of biblical Messianic prophecies in Jesus Christ, I turn to the stunning and amazing prophecies of Daniel 11 and 12 and discover the capstone defense of the Christian faith. The fulfilled prophecies of Daniel 11 and 12 give us irrefutable evidence that the God of the Bible is the one true God, and that He has chosen to reveal Himself as Emmanuel (i.e. “God with us”) in the Person of Jesus the Messiah.

Daniel is one of those Bible books that many Christians avoid because they find it difficult to understand. However, with just a little knowledge of world history, the ability to place Daniel in its proper context to ancient Hebrew history, and the patience to study the Bible for something more than serendipitous personal devotionals, you will find yourself supplied with an Anchor of hope in Christianity that can never be shaken or taken away.

The Power of Fulfilled Prophecy

After the Persian conquest of Babylon on October 11, 539 B.C. God told Daniel about other major world events that would occur over the ensuing six hundred years -- from 530 B.C. to 70 A.D--and Daniel, in turn, foretold to the Persian/Mede Prince Darius these future world events.  The prophecies God gave to Daniel included world events that would occur during the years between the close of the Old Testament (Malachi) in 440 B.C. and the beginning of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in 4 B.C. The world events occurring between the Testaments include the fall of the Persian Empire (modern-day Iran), the rise of the Grecian Empire (modern-day Greece) and Alexander the Great’s conquest of the known world, the premature death of Alexander at thirty-three years of age and the division of Alexander’s empire into four districts (north, south, east, and west), the great conflict between the Seleucids of the north (the Syrians) and the Ptolemies of the south (the Egyptians), and the ultimate rise of the Roman Empire and the establishment of Roman emperors as the “gods of the world.” Daniel foretold the first century BC events including the rise in power of Julias Caesar's adopted son Octavius, otherwise known as Augustus Caesar, the attempted revolt by Antony and Cleopatra against Octavius, and the assignment by the Roman Senate that Herod the Great ruled the Jews in Judea on behalf of the Romans. Finally, in the first century AD, the Roman Empire made the determination to destroy the Jewish Temple and the city of Jerusalem, effectively ending the Old Covenant Hebrew system of worship.   All of the above events occurred during the 600 years from 530 B.C. to A.D. 70.  and Daniel prophesies each and every one of the aforementioned events in specific and mind-blowing detail in Daniel 11 and 12. These prophecies are given by God to Daniel for one purpose--to identify the date of the coming Savior of the world. Daniel is accurate in every detail, giving the precise sequence of order in which these future events would occur, over five hundred years before they happened,

How could Daniel prophesy these things? God told Daniel about world events “before they sprang forth” and commanded Daniel to write down the prophecies hundreds of years before they were fulfilled. Think about this. The ability to foretell world events for the next 600 years in stunning detail would be astonishing confirmation that the One who told you the future is the true God of the universe. We can’t even tell who the next President of the United States will be, but God knows the end from the beginning, and should He choose to tell us the future, we would tell others in order to prove that our God is the one true God. This is precisely what Daniel did. God was telling the world when He was coming to earth, and your confidence that "all the fullness of the Godhead" bodily dwelt in Jesus Christ is supported by fulfilled the fulfilled prophecies of Daniel.

Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls
So accurately do the events described in Daniel 11 and Daniel 12 correspond with real historical events that the infidel, Porphyry, could not evade the force of the argument that the Bible was written by Divine Inspiration except by claiming Daniel was written by an imposter after the events prophesied had actually occurred. Porphyry and other scoffers of the Bible long claimed that an unknown Hebrew scholar, after the fall of the Persian Empire, after the rise and fall of the Grecian Empire, and after the ultimate rise of the Roman Empire and her emperors, pretended to be Daniel and wrote the book of Daniel. Their theory, however, was dashed to pieces by a shepherd boy who threw a rock into a cave in Israel in 1947 and science discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. It has now been conclusively proven that the Daniel manuscript in the Dead Sea Scrolls dates from before the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel 11 and 12.

God refuses to share His glory.

For an incredible exposition of the fulfilled prophecies of Daniel 11 and Daniel 12 see this rare 1838 book by James Farquharson, LL.D. F.R.S. entitled "Daniel's Last Vision and Prophecy." To assist the reader who wishes not to download the full PDF file linked above, I am offering an abbreviated exposition of Daniel 11, to show the power of fulfilled prophecy and why you never ought to doubt Jesus Christ as the one true God.


A Brief Review of the Fulfilled Prophecies of Daniel 11

(Daniel 11:1) “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and protection for him" —

Daniel Before King Darius (535 B.C.)
Daniel had been a Hebrew captive in Babylon (modern-day Iraq) since 607 B.C. However, God determined that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and Persians on October 11, 539 B.C., an event chillingly described in Daniel 5. God told the leaders of Babylon – Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin,” which means “you have been weighed in the balances [of God’s justice] and found wanting.” God judged Belshazzar and the Babylonian leaders for their desecration of the Hebrew Temple vessels, and the Lord brought down the kingdom of Babylon through an invasion of the Medes and the Persians. The Hebrew captives in Babylon, including Daniel, became the captives of the Persians. Two kings ruled Babylon simultaneously in 535 B.C., Cyrus (the Persian king) and Darius (the Mede king), as their armies continued a conquest of the known world. Daniel 11 opens with Daniel being encouraged by the angel Gabriel that he (Gabriel) had "encouraged" King Darius the Mede. The order had been given by Cyrus (and Darius) to release the Jews from captivity in order to allow them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and the Temple. The forces of hell did not like Cyrus' edict to release the Jews, and Gabriel, on behalf of Israel, "strengthened" Darius to follow through. This prophecy of Daniel 11 and 12 is called “the latter prophecy” or “the last prophecy” of Daniel. The prophecy encompasses events that would occur in the world over the next 600 years (530 B.C. to A.D. 70).

(Daniel 11:2) “Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all.”

Here Daniel is given a glimpse into the future. Four additional kings of Persia would arise after the reign of Darius and Cyrus. History records that things happened precisely as Daniel recorded them. The first king was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus who ruled the Persian kingdom from 530-522 B.C. The second king was Bardiya (522 B.C.). The third king was Darius, the son of Hystaspes, who ruled from 521-486 B.C. The fourth king was Xerxes, who ruled Persian from 486 B.C. to 465 B.C. and was involved in continual attempts to defeat a newcomer to world power--Greece. After Xerxes, the Persian Empire would be ruled by lesser Persian kings.
Xerxes  as portrayed in the movie 300

Ironically, many young people today are familiar with Xerxes. Fascination with ancient Sparta, and particularly the Battle of Thermopylae, has led to a rise in the popularity of Xerxes in modern culture. He is depicted as massive, evil, and incompetent in the modern Hollywood version of the movie 300, played by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro. This portrayal of Xerxes angered the government of modern Iran. The video game Assassin's Creed II gives Xerxes cult status. He is the leader of the Persian Empire in the video game Civilization II and Civilization III. American rapper King Gordy released an album titled Xerxes the God King on August 1, 2010. Most Christians do not even know that the Bible accurately prophesies that the fourth Persian king after Cyrus, King Xerxes, would be the richest (most powerful) king of all Persian kings. Other Persian kings would follow, but none would hold the distinction of being as powerful as Xerxes, the fourth king after Cyrus. It is during the reign of Xerxes that the biblical story of Esther occurs.

(Daniel 11:3-4) “And a mighty king shall stand up that shall rule with great dominion ... but as soon as he has arisen his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants.”

This “mighty king” that arose was Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.), the ruler of Greece during the rise of the Grecian Empire. Alexander the Great (Greek: Megas Alexandros) conquered all of the former Medo-Persian Empire as well as the rest of the world and sat down and wept when he realized there were no worlds left to conquer. Alexander died at 33, at the peak of his power, and just like Daniel 11:3-4 prophesies, Alexander’s Grecian Empire was divided among four people—Seleucus (north), Antigonus (east), Philip (west), and Ptolemy (south). These four were Alexander's generals and not his relatives or descendents.

Again, many modern Christians may watch the 2004 epic film Alexander, directed by Oliver Stone and starring Colin Farrell, but never realize that the prophet Daniel, in Daniel 11:3-4 prophesies accurately and in stunning detail the accomplishments, downfall and division of the kingdom of Alexander the Great--two hundred years before Alexander was even born. It is through a lack of understanding fulfilled prophecy that many Christians have little stomach to stand up against those who pronounce us arrogant for saying Christianity is the only true religion in the world.

From Daniel 11:5 through 11:23 we have a vivid description of the kings of the South (the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt) warring against the kings of the North (Seleucid Dynasty of Syria). The Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt reigned from 305-30 B.C. when it was finally conquered by Roman Empire. The Ptolemies were the 32nd and last dynasty of Ancient Egypt. The Seleucid Dynasty reined over the Greco-Syrian Empire from 312-64 B.C. Again, most people have no clue that the Bible vividly describes the rise of the two greatest kingdoms of the 4th century B.C. and their wars against each other -- hundreds of years before the kingdoms arose and the wars occured. In this section of the prophecy, there is a detailed description of the different kings that would reign over the Northern kingdom (the Seleucids of Syria) and the Southern kingdom (the Ptolemies of Egypt).  The prophecies of Daniel in these verses, detailing the various kings of the Ptolemy Dynasty of Egypt and the Seulicid Dynasty of ancient Syria and their actions, can be compared to actual history and it is irrefutible that events in the two major world empires of 300 B.C. to 170 B.C. occurred precisely as Daniel foretold they would.

Slaughtering a pig on the altar
In Daniel 11:24-35  we have a lengthy and vivid description of a Seulicid king named Antiochus Epiphanes (215 B.C. to 165 B.C.) who battled the Egyptian Ptolemies, but lost his most aggressive campaign against them when the rising Roman Empire sided with the Egyptian Empire and "drew the line in the sand" in 168 B.C. and told Antiochus not to cross it or he would be entering into war against both Rome and Egypt. This is where the saying "a line in the sand" originates. Antiochus did not cross it for fear of the Romans and, humiliated and angry, Antiochus left the outskirts of the Egyptian empire and made his way back north to Syria. However, he stopped on his journey back home in Jerusalem and vented his anger against the Jews and the Temple of the Jews. In this section of  Daniel's prophecy  (remember the prophecy was made in 535 B.C.), Daniel vividly foretells what Antiochus would do against the Jews and the Temple in 168 A.D. The "abomination of desolation" (v. 32), which occurred in the Hebrew Temple of Jersualem, included Antiochus slaughtering a pig on the holy altar. Many Jews were also murdered by the wicked king.  

(Daniel 11:33-35) “ ... but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

The people who “know their God" and are strong, in context, are the Maccabbees. These three verses in Daniel describe the Jewish followers of Judas Maccabeus,  who arose in revolt against the tyranny of the "evil king" Antiochus. They led the Jews to seek to overthrow the Seulicid Empire and Antiochus Epiphanes beginning in 167 B.C. The war of the Maccabbees against the Seulicids lasted for seven years and is recorded in the historical books of I and II Maccabees.

(Daniel 11:36) “And the king shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods ...

The description of the king who prospers and exalts himself above every god is a reference to the rise of King Herod the Great, who put an end to Maccabean (Hasmonean Jewish) rule of Judea. Herod was made King of the Jews by the Roman Senate in 39 B.C. but it took him three years to defeat the Maccabeans and gain control of Jerusalem in 36 B.C. Herod's allegience throughout his reign as King of the Jews was to Rome. 

Herodium, one of Herod's walled "fortresses."

(Daniel 11:37-38) “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honor the god of fortresses [Hebrew: Maozim]: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver …”

This prophecy of the one who worships the god of fortresses (Maozim) refers to Herod the Great (74 B.C. to 4 B.C.).  Herod was an ethnic Idumean and worshiped the "god of fortresses." He built over a dozen heavily fortified fortresses, including Herodium and Masada during his tenure as King of the Jews. His fortresses are still able to be toured throughout Israel today.

(Daniel 11:39-44) Describes the expansion of King Herod's influence and grip of power over all Judea, the land of the Jews, and the rebuilding of the Temple with "costly stones," which Herod heavily fortified to garrison his army (i.e. "the Antonia Fortress").  The Roman Senate had designated Herod King of the Jews in 39 B.C., but it took Herod three years to defeat the Maccabeans and gain control of Jerusalem. Herod the Great, ruled Judea with an iron fist from 36 B.C. to 4 B.C. Though he sought to gain favor with the Jews by ordering the rebuilding of the Temple, called "Herod's Temple," he was a singularly vile and wicked 'King' to the Jews. 

Five years into Herod's reign over the Jews (31 B.C.), Cleopatra of Egypt convinced Antony to attack Octavius of Rome. The year-long battle between the "king of the south" (i.e. Cleopatra) and the king of the north (i.e. Octavius) is vividly described in Daniel 11:40-44. Octavius initially defeated Antony and Cleopatra in the naval battle called Actium (September 16, 31 B.C.), overwhelming the aggressive Egyptian forces "like a whirlwind" (v. 40). King Herod of Judea, who had initially aligned "with" Cleopatra, eventually switched his allegiance to Octavius. After Cleopatra and Antony retreated their forces to Alexandria, Octavius marched his Roman armies south, through Judea,  moving his massive infanty to attack the Egyptian forces in Egypt. Octavius' army defeated Antony and Cleopatra and their Egyptian armies in 30 B.C., putting an end to the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt

After the conquest of Egypt, Octavius (63 B.C. to A.D. 14) became the first emperor of Rome, receiving the title Augustus Caesar from the Roman Senate. Augustus was the first in a long line of Roman emperors who would claim 'deity' for themselves. The Roman Emperor became known as “The Son of God and the Savior of the World” according to Roman inscriptions of the day. It is to this foolish designation of the Roman Emperor to which Peter refers in Acts 4:12: “For there is none other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

King Herod of Judea, in tribute to the new Emperor of Rome, and possibly hoping to make the Emperor forget Herod had initially aligned "with" Cleopatra, built for Augustus a city on the Mediterranean coast in Judea and called it "Caesarea by the Sea," the place the Apostle Paul would later be held as a prisoner before being shipped to Rome. It was during the reign of Caesar Augustus as Emperor of Rome (30 B.C. to 14 A.D.) and King Herod as Roman tetrarch of Judea  (36 B.C. to 4 B.C.), that the prophesied Savior of the World, the eternal Son of God and true King of Kings would enter the world (i.e. "At that time Michael ... shall arise"). When Herod the Great heard the rumors of this "coming King" he was greatly troubled.

The Magi from the East
(Daniel 11:44-45) “But rumors from the East and from the North will trouble him: and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain, yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."

“Rumors from the East and from of the North shall trouble him” is a reference to the Wise Men who came asking King Herod, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews.” In great trouble and inner turmoil, not only because of the words of the Wise Men, but also because of threats from the North (Rome) against him, Herod ordered all young boys in the land of Judea put to death. Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. The death of Herod the Great in 4 B.C. is an astonishing portrayal of isolated abandonment, even by those closest to him, and an inability to cure him of his multiple diseases. Daniel 11 concludes with the death of King Herod in 4 B.C., which corresponds precisely to the year of the birth of Jesus Christ, the true Son of God and Savior of the world (Luke 2:1).

"At that time Michael... shall arise" (Daniel 12:1).

I find it so unfortunate that many modern-day Christians have missed the power of fulfilled prophecy in Daniel 11 and 12 and, as a result, have missed the clearest evidence there is that Jesus Christ is the one true God. The purpose of God giving Daniel a glimpse into the future was to confirm that the Son of God and the Savior of the world, Jesus of Nazareth, born in 4 B.C. was the one true God of the universe come to earth. God gave Daniel a glimpse into the future, something only the one true God can do, in order to reveal WHEN MICHAEL SHALL ARISE.

Futurists--those who constantly try to tell us that Daniel 11 and Daniel 12 are prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled and relate to some future antichrist and a future coming of our Lord--have missed the power, the purpose, and the truth of Daniel's prophecy. In closing, I leave you with the words of two people, John Gill, the greatest Hebrew scholar Baptists have ever produced, and 19th-century Scottish pastor James Farqurharson as they reveal who "Michael" is in Daniel 12:1 (I trust John and James much more than I do Tim Lahaye or Hal Lindsey).

"Michael the Archangel, who has all the angels of heaven under him, and at his command, is the Son of Godour Lord Jesus Christ; who is as God, as the name signifies, truly and really God, and equal in nature, power, and glory to his divine Father" (John Gill).

"It is undeniable that the archangel Michael is the only archangel of whom we know anything from holy writ. It cannot be proved from holy writ,—and if not from holy writ, it cannot be proved at all,—that any archangel exists but the one archangel Michael; and this one archangel Michael is unquestionably the Michael of the book of Daniel. The Archangel, in 1 Thessalonians 4.16, whose voice is to raise the dead, can be no other than our Lord; and in the 9th verse of Jude, the Archangel is named Michael. Although not of “the nature of angels" (Hebrews 2:16), our Lord is their Commander, for authorities, and powers, are subject unto him (I Peter 3:22), and “thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and all things, were created by him, and for him" (James Farquharson)

In summary: The book of Daniel was written in the 6th Century BC (539/538 B.C. to be exact) and describes in detail the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, the Seleucids of Syria, the Ptolemies of Egypt, and the Roman Empire—hundreds of years before they ever existed. The details of these historical events are so accurately foretold by the prophet Daniel that pagan scoffers have ridiculed the book of Daniel by saying it could have only been written AFTER Rome came to power and conquered the world, and that the author of the book "claimed" to be Daniel the prophet. In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, including full copies of Daniel manuscripts that date back well before the fulfillment of the Daniel prophecies.

The basis for your trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is fulfilled prophecy. Only the one true God can tell us the future, long before the events of the future "spring forth." He told us about world events immediately preceding the time "Michael ... shall arise." It happened just as He said.

Michael, the Son of God and Savior of the world, has come. All religions are not the same. There is only one true religion and only one true God, and may an understanding of Daniel 11 and 12 cause you to never shrink away from boldly proclaiming the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, for "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

49 comments:

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Preach on Brother, preach on!

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NLT)

“There is salvation in no one else! Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them.” (Acts 4:12 Living)

Unknown said...

Do you have this available in a printable text? I would love to have this.
Thanks,
Teri

Wade Burleson said...

Teri,

I don't, but I think you can print it off!

Ruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth said...

Once again, I must disagree with something you have stated.

You are coming perilously close to agreeing with the Jehovah’s Witnesses theology by stating that Michael the Archangel is actually Jesus; they consider him a manifestation of the created Christ. This is a grave error on their part, as Christ is not a created being but part of the Trinity.

I do agree that Michael is the only named archangel in the Bible. He is called “one of the chief princes” in Daniel 10, so there are apparently several chief princes. This does not equate to Jesus who is called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is a tantalizing reference several places in the Bible to “the angel of the Lord” who is never actually named. This is usually considered to be a theophany of God since those to whom he appeared were usually afraid because they were convinced they had seen God and would not live.

One of the strongest points against Michael being Jesus is found in two passages of scripture. First in the book of Jude, when Michael was contesting Satan over the body of Moses. Jude says there “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!” Compare that with Jesus’ words in Matthew 4 when he was being tempted by Satan: “Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' " Jesus rebuked Satan of his own authority, whereas Michael did not. To me, this is very telling about the identity of each.

Christiane said...

Hello WADE,

You wrote, this:
"Other than your personal experience and testimony, you may have little or no idea how to defend your faith. You may even be uncomfortable proclaiming the exclusivity of Christ, as are many theological liberals because you don't have a firm foundation for believing in the exclusivity of the Christian faith. Even worse, you may know that your inability to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" is probably your greatest weakness as a follower of Christ."

As you know, I am from a different branch of the family, so to speak, but even there we acknowledge Christ as central in salvation; but we don't limit 'how' He saves in the economy of the vastness of the power of the Paschal Mysteries. We know He saves, but we see, in the great Paschal mysteries of Our Lord, more possibilities in the ways in which He saves people,
so that is one 'difference' perhaps, or at least one different way of looking at the power of Christ, yes. 'Liberal'? I wouldn't use that word out of respect for what is involved, no. Not in that context, most certainly.

And it is in 'personal experience and testimony' that I AM able to say 'credo', 'I believe'. So there also, I find myself on a different plane of understanding of the Christian faith as it encompasses something that is also 'of mystery' and beyond human abilities to fathom.

I wrote something on another post that reflects my own experience, this:
" I expect that in the faith of Christ, there is a timelessness that allows for us to be able to connect the dots once we have 'believed' in the Risen Christ so that we can begin to form some understanding of what is expected in the Christ-like humanity of a believer as opposed to the pitiable inhumanity toward others of which we are all capable in our fallen state, and that there IS hope to comprehend how the vastness between the former and the latter is no longer a hopeless wandering in an unending lonely struggle.

The realization that comes from the faith of a Christian person in the Resurrected Christ is that, in spite of all our failings in this life, in Him there is offered the undeserved chance to be reunited to those we so dearly loved who have died. . . . that realization alone, gives us a hope that draws us towards the One Who is the Lord of Life, and the endless grief that the barrier of time has imposed on us is broken and we are comforted by a peace that is beyond our making and beyond our understanding and we are changed by the enormity of the experience.

My own thought is that the early Christians were the first to realize the possibilities of seeing their beloved dead again in the Presence of the Risen Lord. That may be the most powerful realization of the new faith because it was the first time people could find relief from their grief and rest their hopes in a Lord of Life Whose Risen state itself transcended the vast separation between the living and the dead. The 'Alpha' and the 'Omega' were eternally present in the Risen Lord who makes 'all things new' and with a word, can raise the dead again"

Wade Burleson said...

Ruth,

Feel free to advocate as you please that Michael is the name of an angel.

I have the Hebrew Scriptures, the ancient church fathers, and the Reformers (Calvin, Zwingli, Gill) who agree with me. Michael is a TITLE - not a name - a TITLE (ARCH- Ruler over all angels), and the HEBREWS used this name for the Messiah.

Jesus is Divine, the unique Son of God. I have no problem that you cannot get "out of your head" that the name Michael refers to an angel. He is no "angel."

Blessings!

RB Kuter said...

Throughout Scripture "The Word" seems to appear in physical, visible, form to achieve His purposes. Of course the most significant appearance is as The Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The portrayal of God's appearances to interact with His creation often lead me to believe it was indeed the physical presence of "The Word" Himself. His presence in the Garden, with Adam and Eve, in His meeting with Abraham, as The Priest, Melchizedek, as He again visited Abraham and Sarah to announce their coming son and negotiated with Abraham regarding the judgment upon Sodom, accompanied by two angels who subsequently visited Lot in Sodom,and in various forms to Moses ("burning bush", cloud, pillar of fire,passing by on the mountain while Moses' back turned to Him).

In all of these situations I personally accept these as being accounts of "The Word" in physical, visible, form. In none of those situations is there any suggestion that He is an "angel". Even when He appears with two angels to Abraham, the portrayal clearly (in my mind, at least) shows that The Lord is distinguished from those two angels accompanying Him. He negotiates. Angels do not negotiate God's judgment. He is obviously Lord over that moment and acknowledged as being of a superior nature and position than the other two angels.

I agree with Ruth. I see no reason to believe that the one literally identified as being "Michael, the Archangel", over and over again is anyone other than Michael, the Archangel.

In terms of being influenced by the position of "the ancient church fathers, and the Reformers (Calvin, Zwingli, Gill)", I acknowledge they, like Wade, know a whole lot more about the ancient languages, cultures, prophecies, and intricacies of Scripture than I and I do read and seriously consider their viewpoints. Yet by no means do I accept their conclusions on a number of matters that I believe God's Spirit leads me to differ.

After reading Wade's post, "Michael's" identity is apparently one of those.

By the way, Wade, thank you again for writing an amazing and valuable message.

Rex Ray said...

EVERYBODY,

Arctic Winter Games - Wikipedia

“The Arctic Winter Games were founded in 1969 under the leadership of Governor Walter J. Hickel of Alaska.”

The games take place every two years; in many different countries.

Here is ‘Paul Harvey’s REST OF THE STORY.

In 1969, my brother, Hez was Athletic Director of Fairbanks, Alaska. Governor Hickel had Hez to go to Yellowknife, Canada and tell them, Fairbanks was not joining because they didn’t have the money.

Hez found out the Games were for adults only. He told them, he wouldn’t walk across the street to see adults compete, but if they’d include kids, people would give money to help kids, and Fairbanks would join.

They liked the idea of kids, and said kids would be included.

Hickel was angry, but Hez got people to raise the money.


We’re having a family reunion tomorrow. Hez’s daughter has come from Washington.

Ruth said...

Archangel is a title. Michael is a name, which was widely used in ancient Hebrew society (for example, one of the spies sent to the promised land was named Michael) and still popular today.

The ancient Hebrews would no more name a child Michael knowing it is a title than they would name a child Moshiach or Rebbe.

I would also like to know your source for the statement that the Hebrews called the Messiah “Michael”. I have never seen that mentioned in any of the reading I have done.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Ruth,

"I would also like to know your source for the statement that the Hebrews called the Messiah “Michael”. I have never seen that mentioned in any of the reading I have done."


John Gill is the greatest Hebrew scholar in Western History. He is quoted in the article.

"Michael the Archangel, who has all the angels of heaven under him, and at his command, is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; who is as God, as the name signifies, truly and really God, and equal in nature, power, and glory to his divine Father" (John Gill).

James Farquharson is a wonderful 19th-century Scottish preacher and scholar.

"It is undeniable that the archangel Michael is the only archangel of whom we know anything from holy writ. It cannot be proved from holy writ,—and if not from holy writ, it cannot be proved at all,—that any archangel exists but the one archangel Michael; and this one archangel Michael is unquestionably the Michael of the book of Daniel. The Archangel, in 1 Thessalonians 4.16, whose voice is to raise the dead, can be no other than our Lord; and in the 9th verse of Jude, the Archangel is named Michael. Although not of “the nature of angels" (Hebrews 2:16), our Lord is their Commander, for authorities, and powers, are subject unto him (I Peter 3:22), and “thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and all things, were created by him, and for him" (James Farquharson)

Isaac Watts wrote Joy to the World, When I Survey the Wonderous Cross, and other hymns. His known as the Father of English Hymnody. He writes in "The Glory of Christ as God-Man Page (1748 AD) "And may not Christ himself be this Michael the Arch-angel, the Prince of Israel? It has been observed by some writers, that the scripture never speaks of arch-angels in the plural number; perhaps there is but one arch-angel and that is Christ."

I respect your disagreement. I encourage you to respect the Hebrew scholars who disagree with you.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

A lot of Scripture you referenced indicate we remain in our graves until Resurrection Day. I believe as soon as we die, we will be in heaven because of the Scriptures below.

“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. If I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So, I really don’t know which is better. I am torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better for me to continue to live.” (Philippians 1:21-24 NLT)

“So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6 NLT)

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT)

Wade, there’s many thoughts why Jesus told the thief on his cross: “And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NLT)

I don’t believe everything Jesus told him was exactly true because Jesus was on this earth 40 days between Calvary and when he ascended to heaven.

The thief wouldn’t comprehend Jesus being on earth 40 days, so Jesus told him what he could comprehend; that he would be in heaven that day.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

From the perspective of the person who dies, it is definitely that day - immediate. No time passes.

Christiane said...

REX RAY, Wade is right about this. You will be with the Lord in an instant. Eternity if different from our human understanding of 'time'.

https://youtu.be/wsQw2UPHdS0


(now if Wade could only help you with that conspiracy theory about St. James, LOL)

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne:

If Wade can't help you with your TDS. How do you expect him to help Rex with his take on James?😎

Christiane said...

Jordan Peterson is a writer who has protested the forced 'political correctness' stances on both the left AND the right in our modern times. But still there are some statements he has made that 'make sense' to both the domain of 'Caesar' and the domain of 'God'.
Here is one of his more interesting observations:

"If the religious instinct does not find its satiation in religious activity, it searches for what nourishment it can find elsewhere, in politics and business and education and, for that matter, within the confines of our private lives. Under such circumstances, everything becomes contaminated with unrecognized religious urgings and promptings and produces a zealotry whose intensity and danger is disproportionate to its putative cause. In consequence, it is now incumbent upon us all to engage in a most serious discussion about just what is Caesar’s and just what is God’s, understanding that some must be reserved for the latter, lest what is absolute and divine be attributed to the former."

(Jordan Peterson)

Scott Shaver said...

Politics IS "religious activity". Peterson overlooks that at every angle.

Ruth said...

Wade: I do respect scholars for their work, including you. That, however, does not compel me to always agree with them as RB Kuter stated earlier.

Your quotations from John Gill, James Farquharson, and Isaac Watts are only their interpretations of scripture – not direct quotations from Hebrew sources. I have been doing some searching since my earlier post and have yet to find any Hebrew source who says what you claimed - “the HEBREWS used this name for the Messiah”. There may be some individual Hebrews who believe that, but I have not found any authoritative Hebrew teaching which includes that. If this was settled doctrine, as you seem to think, it should have been readily available to find.

John Gill referenced Philo Judaeus as a source for his interpretation, but the works of Philo are not considered authoritative in Hebrew canon. His writings are used most often by Christians; most rabbinical scholars considered him very close to heretical.

James Farquharson referenced the works of Bishop Samuel Horsley as being authoritative on this matter. Bishop Horsley claimed that Jude himself was referring to the Messiah when he discussed the Michael the archangel. He also claimed that the writings of Paul used references that could only be read as referring to the archangel being the Messiah. Once again, these statements are only the scriptural interpretation of the author and not settled Hebrew doctrine.

Isaac Watts referenced several Christian authors for his interpretations, as well as Philo Judaeus. After the passage you cited from “The Glory of Christ as God-Man” which is on page 223 of Discourse III Sect. V, he only cites anonymous sources for the identity of the angels who are speaking to Daniel. There is no source cited for his statement that the archangel Michael was actually Christ. (Yes, I can read 18th century English just in case you thought I was reading a bad translation)

So in all three cases, there was no authoritative Hebrew source cited. We are dealing with interpretations, not canon. And none of these quotations support your statement that the Hebrews used the name Michael for the Messiah.

Wade Burleson said...

Ruth,

I agree. Interpretion. Not canon.

We gently agree to disagree.

RB Kuter said...

Wade, with all respect, to conclude Michael is Christ by using 1 Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." is quite weak.
1. It does not imply that The Lord Christ will be the one who "shouts", just like He probably won't be holding and playing the trumpet that is sounded. Really, Wade? This is the best that James Farquharson had to offer in that proposition and you are impressed by him?

2. I don't think anyone here is denying that there is an Archangel named Michael or deny that Michael fought Satan for the body of Moses and called upon power from The Lord when he proclaimed in Jude 9, "“The Lord rebuke you.” Of course any angel would call upon the Name of the Lord as an instrument to do battle with Satan. Wouldn't you? But would "The Word of God" say, "The Lord rebuke you."? I doubt it. Did Jesus even say, "The Lord forgives your sins."? No, The Lord simply said, "Your sins are forgiven." The Lord would certainly not call upon the Name of The Lord to challenge Satan. That's a pretty weak argument for Michael being The Lord. As a matter of fact, it is quite the contrary and again confirms that Michael is simple a creature.

3. It's a pretty sad testament that John Gill is the greatest Hebrew scholar in Western History if he concluded in his own personal interpretation that "Michael the Archangel, who has all the angels of heaven under him, and at his command, is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; who is as God, as the name signifies, truly and really God, and equal in nature, power, and glory to his divine Father" (John Gill).

Why would you believe him when he makes a proposal that is so perverted as to position it among the cults rather than his genuinely and literally following Scripture? Where does he get such a preposterous idea? Rather than being impressed by him, no matter how great is his skills and knowledge of the Hebrew language, I would flee from the proposals made by someone with that kind of testimony about their believe in Jesus Christ.

4. Finally, why in the world would we even hold to a proposal by Isaac Watts by his conjecture saying, "And may not Christ himself be this Michael the Arch-angel, the Prince of Israel? It has been observed by some writers, that the scripture never speaks of arch-angels in the plural number; perhaps there is but one arch-angel and that is Christ." WOW! Are you kidding me??!! Now Isaac is saying (hopefully not what Wade is saying) THAT JESUS CHRIST IS AN ANGEL!! Why??

This is really the stuff that cults are made of. It is frightening when any scholar, either contemporary or from centuries past, make such suppositions which diminish the identity, divinity, of Jesus Christ as being "The Word of God", Creator of ALL things including ALL angels, even the TOP angel in their angelic hierarchy.

Still love your posts but as has been the case in times past, I don't always agree.


Wade Burleson said...

RB Kuter,

Isaac Watts, John Gill, John Calvin, John Knox, and James Farquhason were superb biblical scholars. But of course, I agree with you.

Just because someone knows Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and spent a lifetime writing commentaries on the Scriptures (as they all did), does not mean they are correct.

Blessings!

Christiane said...

Perhaps this will help some:

it is very possible that some may interpret Michael as a 'prefiguration' (type) of Christ-figure in the sacred Scripture. The Word imparts a way for humans to begin to see God as 'looking out for them' and helping them. The 'idea' of a 'Savior' or a 'Messiah' is seen early in the Scriptures through the kinds of salvation pre-figurations (for example, the Ark) and we see 'signs' and 'types' that pre-figure for us the possibility of Christ to come.

Would that help explain why so many see a likeness of God in the Second Person (Christ) when they look at the way the sacred Scriptures pre-figure Him in terminology, some of which is ALSO used to describe others . . . Noah, Moses, the Patriarchs, the ones like David, the shepherd-king??? Yes, I can see why some look at St. Michael the Archangel and view him as a 'typisches Christus', though tradition in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism does not 'equate' St. Michael the Archangel to be the same as Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity



"The unity of the Old and New Testaments

128 The Church, as early as apostolic times,104 and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God's works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself.105 Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament.106 As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. "

I hope this helps the conversation some.

RB Kuter said...

Wade, your attitude and Christlike spirit is the main reason I value your blog as much as I do and why you do have as much credibility in my assessment in the things you propose even on those few occasions when I don't agree with you. Hope that confusing statement makes sense.

I appreciate you.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,
“Now if Wade could only help you with that conspiracy theory about St. James, LOL”

JAMES WAS NO SAINT

These are the comments on Wade’s Post: “We all should have paid attention in Greek Class.” July 10, 2021:

Rex said
JAMES WARNS PAUL HIS LIFE IS IN DANGER
“The next day Paul went with us to meet with James and the elders of the Jerusalem church…You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. But the Jewish believers in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (21:18-22)

Scott, I believe the thousands of Jews James referred to was his church. Paul was the hero of the Gentile churches. If his church killed Paul, James would lose control of the Gentile churches. Paul was in Jerusalem 3 days before he met James and the elders. This gave them time to come up with a ‘plan’ because in the same breath they asked “What should we do?”, they had the answer.

“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men who have completed their vow. Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.” (21:23-24)

Scott, James wants Paul to go to the Temple where the Jewish Leaders are! “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me the thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned…” (Second Corinthians 11:24-25)

Scott, Paul goes to the Temple 7 days to complete his vow. Maybe because his head was shaved, no one recognized him. There’s no proof of what I believe that James told a cohort to identify Paul to someone that wouldn’t recognize him.

“The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him…” (21:27)
“As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment…He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.” (31-32)

Scott, at Paul’s first trial before Felix only his accusers were present. James and the elders were absent in capture 24. (Paul will refer to their absence in 2 Timothy.)

Book of Second Timothy Overview - Insight for Living Ministries
“Paul wrote 2 Timothy from a dark and damp Roman prison cell, just before his death in AD 67.”

“…The time of my death is near.” (2 Timothy 4:6)

Scott, remember the prayer Paul heard Steven pray?

“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. MAY IT NOT BE COUNTED AGAINST THEM.” (2 Timothy 4:16)

I believe he was referring to the ones that called him “…dear brother…” (Acts 21:20)
Thu Jun 24, 03:36:00 AM 2021

Wade Burleson said...Rex, very interesting take on an event in the New Testament that I've never thought through. Thank you. Thu Jun 24, 10:13:00 AM 2021

Christiane said...

REX RAY, I hear you!

I hope you had a nice family reunion today.

Ruth said...

Wade: Thank you for acknowledging that these matters are interpretation, not settled Hebrew canon. I appreciate your honesty. Please, if you would, make sure that you make that point clear in your teaching and let people know that it is possible for any scholar’s interpretation to be incorrect. Lead your people to study and read both the scripture and multiple theological sources. There are many, many people who are not willing to question anything taught by a pastor. I, of course, am NOT one of those people :-)

RB Kuter: We agree again. That was my reasoning for my original post; I found it very distressing that Wade was planning to teach only a scriptural interpretation which appeared to me to be perilously close to the heresy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Christiane: Yes, it is entirely possible that some scholars see the archangel Michael as a theophany of the Christ. It would not have bothered me if I thought these scholars were including that idea in their writings. However, given the statements which Wade included it does not seem to be something they even contemplated; these statements flatly say that they believe the archangel is Christ, and leave no room for any other interpretation. Given that this idea is not settled doctrine, it seems to me that it would be wise to include other interpretations in his teaching or even just mention that there are other biblical scholars who disagree with this particular interpretation.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, we had a good reunion. I’d been asked to write stories. It took 12 pages. Everyone got a copy. I started with what I’d remembered first:

Memories by Rex Ray
When we were about five, we lived near the ocean at Galveston, Texas. Our father made us a small boat that we loved to ride in shallow water at the beach. One day, we wanted mother to ride in it.
“Oh, it won’t hold me up.”
“Yes, it will Mama, yes, it will!”
To oblige, she went straight to the bottom in three feet of water.

That same year, our neighbor had a Shetland pony. A fence separated us. Hez liked to tease the pony with a carrot. He’d hold it out, then jerk it away. One day, the pony had enough and bit him on the shoulder. He cried to Mother, but she told him to leave the pony alone.
I was mad at the pony, and did what Hez had done; got bit in the same place.

When we were six, we learned how to make a cake by watching Mother. We decided to make some and sell them by knocking on doors in the neighborhood. We asked a lady if she’d like to buy a cake.
“Are you the sons whose mother has a broken leg and has just had a baby?”
“Yes, mam.”
“Here’s the money, but please sell it to someone else.”
“Oh no. You keep it.”
We told Mother, and she asked what the cake looked like.
“It looked perfect, but it was white as a sheet on the bottom.”
Mother ended our neighborhood business quickly.

We were 7 when we started to school. We liked to climb flag poles. Our neighbor had a good one. I was at the top when their 5-year-old girl started yelling at me. Her older sister told her to shut-up, but she wouldn’t.
I vowed never again to wear short britches without underwear, because she was yelling, “Rex, what’s that between your legs?”

That same year, we’d raced each other, but our dog, Pluto, would bite our britches and trip us. I said, “If Pluto trips me again, I’m going to kick him”
“Your better not kick Pluto!”
BANG! I saw stars. Hez had hit me with a rock. Blood started running from my head. He beat me running to the house. He was crying so loud Mother thought he was hurt. She finally understood what he was saying: “Rex’s brains are running out.” That was the last time he ever hit me.

Scott Shaver said...

Rex:

All I can say is that your interpretation of the dynamics at work in the early church based on Scripture is more logical, consistent and feasible (IMO) than the TDS a la Christianne I read based on her interpretation of Holy Writ.

As to the typology of the Old and New Testaments (specifically with reference to the archangel Michael) I line up pretty much square with Wade's take.

Hint: Michael represents the ONLY "angel" in Scripture for whom there is record of human believers bowing before (theophany?)

New Testament instructs against the worship of angels as Satan is capable of transforming himsel into "an angel of light".

Scott Shaver said...

With all due respect Ruth:

I'm not sure Wade's intent is to utilize his blog primarily as a comparative or systematic theology class.

Looks like he addresses religious,societal and cultural issues from a Christian perspective based on his own convictions, research and conclusions.

He let's commentators (like us) do the theology in the space he provides after intellectually and spiritually priming the pump.

I love the approach and would not change a thing, personally.

Scott Shaver said...

Does nothing to detract from my interest in WHY, as Joshua BOWED before him, would the archangel tell him to "take off your shoes, the place where you stand is HOLY ground"😎

Scott Shaver said...

No man-made "doctrine" is settled. Only the Word of God is set.

Christiane said...

"Theophany" is a good choice of word, Ruth. :)

There are many 'Christ figures' in the OT. I think that C.S. Lewis gave us some insight into 'why' such pre-figuring makes sense in 'our world', this:

"“It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are -are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
(C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)


The thing is, we all saw 'Aslan' as a Christ-figure. Not as some 'idol' taking Our Lord's place but as how Christ could be in a world like Narnia. No, we don't worship lions, far from it, as sadly the wealthiest hunters in this world savagely pursue and kill them for trophies.

But for those who could not 'grasp' the concept of Christ in 'our world', the stories of CS Lewis may have helped them to 'transfer' that image of tremendous power and goodness seen in the character of 'Aslan' to the ways in which Our Lord is presented in 'this world' in sacred Scripture.

Looking at the OT, perhaps God in His great wisdom also 'prepared' human beings over millennia through pre-figurations of the coming of salvation in the Incarnation of Our Lord as Christ, fully God in the second Person of the Holy Trinity AND fully Man, though without sin.

Maybe CS Lewis got his idea to write about Aslan in Narnia from the 'theophany' seen in the O.T.?

We are human. We 'can't' understand the great mysteries like the Incarnation, no.
But we can relate to 'stories' that are within our grasp and our imagination to embrace. When these 'stories' help convery 'THE STORY' to us, it is a kindness from God to allow this for us. Thanks, Ruth, for the word 'theophany'. It works for me.


How else were we to accept the Logos, the Creator of All, as the Incarnated Christ in the form of an infant born to young girl in stable in a place called Bethlehem two thousand years ago? The wisdom of God is seen in how we were 'prepared' and that is 'why' at Christmas-tide, we read from the prophets of Who He would be and how He would come to us in God's time.

Likely the great angels of the 'strata' that resounded at His birth, frightened the shepherds in the fields with the power of their sound, so that their first message to the shepherds was
'Fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy'.

Christiane said...

Hello out there REX RAY,

I loved your stores (memories)! They are written in your own voice and it is as we can see what is happening from that wonderful way that you write them.

Thanks for sharing with us. :) Your stories always make my day.

Have a good Lord's Day and let me know what the doctors have planned to help you with your ankle in future. Hope the pain pills are helping you to sleep some.

Scott Shaver said...

The idea of anything I've ever seen from the keypad of Wade Burleson is a direct affront to ANY Jehovah's Witness theology under the spotlight.

What r u smoking?

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne:

If you don't limit how "Christ saves", you don't have much use for his teaching on being "born again". Refute that from Holy Writ if you please.

Scott Shaver said...

"To be absent fron the body IS to be present with tbe Lord".
👍

Scott Shaver said...

Ruth:

You, Myself, Wade, all of us, have different views on "authoritative" Hebrew "scources".

We are 2000 years removed from the vernacular of ancient biblical Hebrew and culture. Nothing in the area of speculation should be lifted to the level of "canon".

Sola Scriptura. The Priesthood of THE Believer. The guidance of the Holy Spirit and the collective testimonies of the LOCAL CHURCH.

ALL OTHERS be damned.

Scott Shaver said...

Your premillenial argument falls flat in my personal view, but I respect your scholarship and spirit of inquiry.

Scott Shaver said...

I find it distressing that biblical typology variations are a matter of grave concern among "Christians". As long as they end up at the cross, we're on the same page.

Ruth said...

Quoting Scott Shaver: No man-made "doctrine" is settled. Only the Word of God is set.

Actually, that is not entirely correct. As members of the evangelical/protestant community there are a couple of settled doctrines not explicitly set out in scripture that come to mind immediately.

One is the doctrine of the trinity. It is not explicitly stated anywhere in scripture; this is solely an interpretation of men.

Another is the closure of the biblical canon itself. Our Bible has fewer books than the Catholic version but we declare it complete and closed to further additions or subtractions. There is nothing in scripture that states this is correct.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I knew if anyone replied to our family reunion, it’d be you. Thanks.

Judy has a chair that has buttons to recline etc. I’ve named it the ‘moan and groan chair’. Our living room was filled with people. They laughed when Judy punched a button, and my brother in-law, Rollie said, “Judy, are you having a problem?”

He has two granddaughters, Torie and Emily that are 11 and 12. Emily is the youngest and is witty like Rollie.

Emily came in last in a cross-country race. Rollie said, “Well, that ends your season. She said, “Career.”

Once, Rollie gave something to Torie, and she made a ‘face’ at Emily. Rollie scolded Torie, “I see that smirk!”
Torie said, “What’s a smirk?”
Emily said, “That’s when you get something you want and I didn’t.”

At the reunion, Emily met a relative for the first time. He had hair that stood out almost two feet. Later, she said, “Aa ha; the Missing Link.”

Scott Shaver said...

So established "doctrine", whether full or partial canon is equivalent to eternal truth?

Show me where in Scripture the Word of God is settled or supplemented by the doctrines of man.

Rex Ray said...

Scott Shaver,

“Show me where in Scripture the Word of God is settled or supplemented by the doctrines of man.”

Scott, there’s two ways that men teach how to be saved: Jesus plus NOTHING, and Jesus plus SOMETHING.

Jesus said: “And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. …” (Mark 7:13 NLT)

Scott, do these words sound like tradition? “For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” (Acts 15:21 NLT) (These words of James are backing up what he said was FALSE.)

James used tradition that BURDENED the Gentiles in order to be saved which disagreed with Peter saying: “So why are you now CHALLENGING God by BURDENING the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the underserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:11 NLT)

Peter was rebuking, “…some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”

“Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.” (Acts 15:12 NLT)

Scott, I believe if this Council at Jerusalem had been adjourned after Barnabas and Paul stopped talking every Christian would be Baptist. :)

Oh, but it wasn’t adjourned:

“When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me…” (Acts 15:13 NLT)
In verses 14-18, James brags on Peter and speaks about Scripture telling Gentiles will be saved.

“And so my judgement [who made him the judge?] is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, and eating meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on ever Sabbath for many generations.” (Acts 15:19-21 NLT)

Scott, remember Peter saying? “CHALLENGING God by BURDENING the Gentile believers…”

Well, listen to what James said:

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater BURDEN on you than these few requirements. (Acts15:28 NLT)

Scott, how did James get the Holy Spirit on his side?

Scott Shaver said...

Very interesting take on James,Rex. Luther didn't want it in the canon.

As to theophanies, I don't think any consensus of "doctrinal" orthodoxy has ever been reached.

Christiane said...

A little history on how 'the Bible' ended up in our hands:

I love the history of the Church in the British Isles, especially during the time of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and the Danelaw . . . and I love the history of how sacred Scripture was preserved and passed down, so I share something from that time that I thought might have meaning for others.

If you trace the history of sacred Scripture in Britain from the King James Bible back into previous centuries, you will come to Tyndale, Wyclif, and before them, Alcuin.
And before Alcuin, to Ceolfrith and to the ‘Lindisfarne Gospels’ which were copied and illuminated beautifully (in the tradition of the Book of Kells) in the ‘scriptorium’ room at Lindisfarne Abbey (founded by Aiden).
The tradition of the ‘scriptoriums’ (rooms where Scripture was copied by hand) goes back even further to the time of the Septuagint scholars who were set to work on the island in the harbor of Alexandria and produced a Greek translation of the Old Testament, through Saint Jerome and his Vulgate tradition, through Cassiodorus and his reworking of Jerome’s Vulgate of the old Latin texts.

The Lindisfarne Gospels represent the ancient tradition of ‘receiving what was handed down and preserving it to pass on intact’,
and in the scriptorium on Lindisfarne, the hand-written sacred texts were copied with great care according to that tradition.
The printing-press would not be invented for another eight centuries into the future, so these monastic scriptoriums were an important connection for the sacred writings to be preserved and passed on.

It’s good to know something of the history of how sacred Scripture ended up in our hands . . . there was a long line of people who cared greatly that this should happen, and they too were members of the Body of Christ and their work was a part of the heritage of all Christian people

BTW, the first Viking raid in the 900’s was an attack on Lindisfarne, where the monastery was plundered and where many were slaughtered. That also, is a famous part of British history and soon the Vikings made colonies in Britain and for a time a portion of Britain was ruled by them during the ‘Danelaw’. They were converted to Christianity . . . so their forbears came to rob and kill, and instead their descendents found a ‘pearl of great price’, the holy faith of Our Lord.
Not a bad thing to know about, I think.

P.S. The ancient Anglo-Saxon Chronicles tell of that first Viking raid on ‘Holy Island’ ( Lindisfarne ).

Christiane said...

What is the Baptist idea of the full history of the 'canon' of sacred Scripture?
I have never understood what it is and how it impacts concepts like 'Who Christ is" and "the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity".

I would appreciate some light on this topic, if anyone cares to share.

Scott Shaver said...

If you are conversant with the history of canonization adopted by both Catholics and Protestants, you're there.

Scott Shaver said...

Doctrinal variations and interpretations spin off both a canon with 66 books and a 66 + apocrypha (RCC).