This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
Novell which is an amazing company, and also
Dell who in days of yore provided me with a
free laptop for Gnome development / conferences.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
- Up early; dealt with H. off to NCC - prayed beforehand;
good service; Cathy spoke - did my bit at the end, hopefully helpful.
- Back for lunch with Janine & George, nice fire, sat
around / played with H. much of the afternoon; read Grudem's Systematic
Theology on Church Government - missing some of the more trendy (and
to my mind inaccurate) recent thinking from the Restorationist movement,
pwrt. their view of the role of Apostles.
- Played a great game with H. where J. and I draw an animal /
familiar object on the magnetic-sketch-thing, and H. guesses it's name -
seems she has a remarkably odd vocabulary already: Peacock/Ladder at ~100%,
more normal things less so. Pointed to her mouth & said 'hurty' before
bed, agreed with the need for Bonjella, and pointed to the side for
application - pleasing.
Daniel 12 - "How to live forever and not regret it":
- Cover articles News-Week / Time Magazine - engaging,
surveys into the birth narratives of Matthew & Luke - nothing
new here, two accounts differ in details and emphasis. Are congruent
in ways that enrich & affirm our faith. The articles don't tell
us that there are amazingly well qualified scholars, who have written
massive weighty scolarly commentaries - in the last decade, defending
the historicity / reliability of scripture: Greg Keener's 1040 page
commentary on Matthew, or Darrol Box's 2148 page monumental commentary
of gospel of Luke, or Carson's on Matthew, etc. Engage the scholarship -
the unexpirgated truth.
- At the same time - the
Discovery Channel - on the Exodus,
Do you dare ? - Ramses: the wrath of God or Man ? their
advertising: "do you dare question - what is written in the bible?"
accompanied by a fake quote: "by these ten plagues you will
know that I am the Lord" - no-where in the Old-Testament. "So it is written,
is it right ?". It rehearses evidence that discovered an additional cluster
of tombs connected with Ramases - found one skull of perhaps his 1st born
Son suggesting he was murdered by an enemy - not by God. Intriguing
evidence - but 1st born is not a biological term in NT times - too many
people lost their children in infancy: a legal term - designating your
heir - the legal inheritor of your estate; perhaps a child born young
early in his reighn - he had ~100 children; frankly '1st borns' were
dropping like flies - he out-lived most of them - into his 90s.
Of course - many scholars don't believe Ramses is the Pharoe of Exodus,
many believe it's 150 years earlier perhaps Tutmos the 3rd, put my vote
on Armenhoteth 2nd [ how many others do that ? - so perhaps just 1 more
argument for this position ].
- A series of these suppoesed new revelations - Boston Sunday
Globe - The Rapture; apparently there are some that believe of the 70 weeks
prophecy in Daniel 9, not a 2000 year gap between the 69th & 70th weeks -
apparently a bold new insight - you heard it here 1st.
- Anticipating what you might be seeing on CNN news next week:
we're looking at the hard part of Daniel 11 & 12; a continuing
narrative from Ch. 10 - an Angel (we assume Gabriel), discloses a
panoramic survey of history, from the current time - to the
resurrection of the dead - a highly selective view; as said in Ch.
10; even more limited - focuses just on the bad news; skips big
chunks of relatively unoppressed time etc.
- The reason this text devotes so much time to Antiochus,
is because of his diabolical malevolance; crafting a state policy of
erradicating the Jewish faith: the first time in recorded history a
foreign power made it a policy of the state, not just to kill Jews:
but to erradicate their faith.
- Good news: Scholars are virtually unanimous in their
interpretation of the first 39 verses of Ch. 11 - everyone agrees.
Starting in vs. 40 though - gets it completely wrong (it seems)
from a number of ancient sources; what do you do with that ?
- 3 explanations that are proposed; convinced of the 3rd.
- The critical view - critical not to mean scholarly,
just means rejecting the traditional authorship of the book.
They say, Daniel gets it perfectly right up to vs. 39, and wrong
after - they say, the reason is: the book of Daniel was written
right then: 164 BC, predictions in earlier verses - just history
pretending to be prophecies. Then starting in vs. 40 he tries his
hand at real prophecy - why he doesn't get it right. Seemingly
very persuasive - also explains why you get a lot about Antiochus
who was around at the time. Ch 12. ends coming back to Antiochus.
All this favours the critical view. What to be said against it:
- It's true that there are some books written about
the time of Jesus that pretend to be prophecies; by Abraham,
Elijah, etc. in those fake prophecies - the authors never, never
achieve any kind of versimiltude for the period - ie. they are
filled with anachronisms: they don't have good historical data
about the period; and they don't use the right language: so
clearly fake, no-one is fooled by the language or content.
- Technically, we now know the Aramaic & Hebrew of
Daniel is exactly like the Hebrew of the C6 BC - not like that
of 164BC; nothing like that elsewhere. Also, no detailed
historical data to create it. Also - at that period when there
was so much hatred of the Greeks - why invent a spoof person that
is a faithful servant of a pagan king. [ Instead surely he would
be a freedom fighter ].
- Finally & most interestingly, how could it be
that if vs 40 further on, is made up & blatantly wrong - how
could it be accepted at the time as scripture as people lived
through that period ?
- The 2nd view - starting vs. 40 - we're not talking about
Antiochus: we've jumped ahead to the end of time: talking about the
Anti-Christ, of whom Antiochus is a disgusting tasting fore-taste;
- Against it - explaining the coherence between
39&40 - no indication of a 2000+ year jump, the Kings of
South & North eg. why would Edom, Moab and Ammon be
exempt from the Anti-Christ's ravages ? if that is so, we
should all move to Jordan now.
- vs. 44: how could the Anti-Christ be mislead by a
- The 3rd view - the Roman view - articulated by John Calvin,
recent scholars better argument.
- vs. 40 At the time of the end - a time shift:
the end of time ? - not how Daniel has been using this phrase up
to now (Ch. 8:17) The vision concerns the time of the end -
the vision concerns the appointed time of the end - in
Ch. 8 everyone agrees this is the time of the end of Antiochus.
- The Roman age - is the time of the end -
we are those upon whom the end of the ages has come -
this last work of God in response to the kingdoms of the world.
- A gap of 100 years; Rome's claim on Israel - Pompeii
the Great, conquered Israel - (cf. vs. 2-3 from Persian to Greek
period) - and why jump ? they were independant then: free from
- Pompeii knocked down the walls, ploughed into the
temple descrating it as Antiochus did. 3 people now involved:
'King of South/North' and a 'him' - Ptolemy 12th engages 'him',
Antiochus 13th vs. the King of the North: (who rules in Syria -
- Daniel 11 - vs. 18; Scipio appears - everyone agrees
this is Rome; vs. 30 - the ships of the western coast-lands, also
a reference to Rome. Daniel 11:40 - Rome had a powerful navy, Pompeii
commanded it - authorised for 3 years, to invade all the coastal
territories / cleaned up all of the mediterranean; sole commander
of all these forces: attacks Asia Minor, Armenia, then the Cauccus
Mountains, in 65BC - takes over Syria: the King of the North, 63BC
southward Edom, Moab & Ammon - while he was engaged in that
campaign - he gets a rumour from Jerusalem - that the potential
heirs of the high-preisthood are squabbling: that they've asked him
to come and settle their dispute, accepting the invitation he conquers
Israel, takes over Jerusalem, knocks down it's walls; having broken
off his attack against the Nabbateans which he never resumes.
- He will extend his power over many countries,
Egypt will not escape - some Scholars have rejected the Roman view
because of this verse. Pompeii never invaded Egypt - but it doesn't say
he will invade it; the text: not invade or fall as in
previous few verses - text very modest in what it claims, Pompeii's power
will be extended over many countries - Egypt not excluded.
- Lots of support from 2C Greek historian: Appion of
Alexander - primary historian of the time. Pompeii extended the
Roman sway as far as Egypt - did not advance into Egypt, although the
King of that country [Ptolemy] invited him into that country to supress
a sedition, and he sent gifts to him, and money and clothing for his whole
army - tremendous wealth - etc. etc. eg. Pompeii declared the
legal guardian of Ptolemy's children - Egypt etc. a client kingdom.
To the East Crassus - lost 20k men & died in battle vs. the
Parthians, to the North Julias Ceaser just crossed the Rubicon. Drawn away,
alarmed by Julias Ceaser, eventually defeated & killed with
no allies to help him.
- Meanwhile Herod is 25 years old; leading Israel into
strategic alliances - first supporting Pompeii, then switching
alliance to Julias Ceaser, then with Mark Anthony, then Ceaser
Augustus - so Herod was made King;
- It fits like a glove - and it follows the same pattern of
the previous visions Ch. 2 & 7, following the course of history up to
the coming of the Messiah. And this is where Daniel ends - right on the
threshold of the coming of Christ. No wonder there was an excited
expetancy from the Jews of 0BC - armed with Daniel.
- How do you respond to such accuracy in the predictions of the coming
Kingdom ? A couple of options:
- Say it was written after Herod, after the time of the Romans -
that's why you get it right. If you do that - you join a great constelation of
outstanding Biblical scholars. Ernst Have - argued that Herod was the time
in which the 2nd part of Daniel was written; or Paul de-Legarde German scholar
argued it was written in 69AD right before the destruction of the temple -
that's why the predictions of the Messiah are so great, that's why Daniel 9
predicts the Messiah will come before the destruction of the temple, or
Herdlein at Leipsig - argued that these chapters came from the Roman period.
All written after the fact ? after the Romans, after Pompeii, after Jesus -
no-wonder it gets it right. If you go along with them - maybe you'll be on
CNN news next week.
- The one inconvenient fact - that wrecks what seems like a good
theory: we now have actual copies of the book of Daniel from the 2nd Century
BC: from the library at Quamran, physical copies - 4QDanielC - 120BC, before
the Roman period, Daniel4QA - another copy; 8 copies - remaining 6 from ~1Ad
- 1st 2 copies - pre-date it - they include Chapter 11. What do you conclude ?
- I conclude - God is in charge - he has in fact predicted this:
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please ... What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.
Isaiah 46 : God organises the flow of history.
- Get to Ch. 12 - at that time Michael - the great prince who stands guard
over Hebrew will take his stand - Rev 12. helps us to see this from God's
perspective as Christ dies on the cross Now is the ruler of this world cast
out - after Michael arising a time of great distress: we're living in a time
of acute distress. But then at that time, everyone whose name is written in the
book, will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the earth will awake ....
- Time magazine - an article: How to live to 100 and not regret it
Daniel - How to live forever and not regret it: the ressurection is for
everyone; some for everlasting life, others for shame and everlasting contempt.
Eternity determined by those whose name is written in the book of the life.
- Strangely full of bounce, chatted till late at night.
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Novell, The
Lithuanian Gov't or Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's also important to
realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences,
Michael Meeks (firstname.lastname@example.org)