procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Desired in Daniel

One thing which hit the cutting room floor on Sunday's sermon on Daniel 10.1-12.4 was the root chamad (חמד) which is used several times in these chapters.
The first three are the most interesting, and may bear on the later uses:
10.3 - desirable food
10.11,19 - esteemed man (cf. 9.23 for the only other use in Daniel)
In repentance Daniel refrains from eating choice food, meat and wine, as an outward expression of his repentance.
In answer to his acts of penance, God sends his messengers, for Daniel is a man of high esteem.
Putting this together, it is because of his self-denial of that God has recognised him. Or perhaps, to use synonyms, out of Daniel's desire to please God, he has withheld desired food, and now God has desired him.

In contrast, the further four uses of chamad are with regard to things opposed to God:
11.8 - precious vessels
11.38, 43 - costly things
11.37 - a false god worshipped by women

The first three in the list are quite similar - they are things desired by people. Things which are bestowed worth by the desire accorded them.
The fourth (11.37) is referring to an idol that women get right into. Perhaps it is women's Baal, to men's Ashteroth. 
Whatever the case, all of these things are desired by people who have no self control, whereas food - a good thing created by God to be enjoyed - Daniel refrains from, that he might better focus his affections on God. And because he does this, he is acknowledged by God.

There are surely a bunch of implications that flow from this (I'm thinking 1 Corinthians and food and freedom). But no time on Sunday. Oh well. Enjoy.

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Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Kingdoms of Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 9

A short while ago I put up a preterist reading of Daniel 2. Well, here it is extended to encompass Daniel 7-9 also.

All of these chapters are extrapolated by many into our time (try finding a picture on google which doesn't point to Rome or Obama!), such that the fulfilment is to be found in the very near future. While that is not wrong (Christian eschatology in a sense places the end tomorrow - Cf. Jesus' parable in Luke 12.13-21), it is not the plain reading of the text, and it is incorrect to interpret symbols as signs. What this diagram, and any preterist reading, sets out to do, is show the primary referent of the symbols before they are extrapolated to all powers and authorities which arrogantly set themselves up in opposition to God and their (his) people.

A quick note of explanation on Daniel 9 - Daniel is reappropriating Jeremiah's prophesied 70 years of exile as 70 weeks (literally 70 sevens), which this diagram shows as 70 non-consecutive 'weeks of years'.  This then encompasses not just the exile (which are completed in just 7 sevens), but from Nebuchadnezzar's ascension to  the rededication of the temple and the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the brutal reign of whom is the period especially focussed on throughout the second half of Daniel. Further information on this reading of the 70 sevens can be found in George Athas' article:

Update: I can't count. Well, I can, so I fixed the picture.

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