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Monday: Prophecies of Syria and Egypt — 14 Comments

  1. I'm going to throw a red herring (I hope our readers understand the metaphor) into the mix this morning, but it is an important issue that we sometimes overlook. Our study of biblical prophecy is concerned mainly about the history of the Mesopotamian and Mediterranian regions and by extension the European colonised modern world. Students of history are well aware that there were other civilisations as well developed as the Mesopotamian one. for instance, right next door to Mesopotamia, India had its own distinct culture religion and history. China too has a long history. I visited China a few years ago and of course was exposed to some of their history. Beneath the relatively recent arrival of Buddhism, there was a religious background that we seldom hear about in our part of the world.

    I rather accidentally discovered "comparative religions" in my late teenage years by reading a book called "The Lotus and the Robot"by Arthur Koestler which concentrates on Indian and Japanese mysticism. It was rather unusual reading for a teenager, but I was an avid reader and enjoyed reading outside the the fiction that was the usual grist for English classes at school. I remember thinking as I read this book that there are significant similarities in the religious cultures of these civilisations with that of the Judaeo-Christian development. There are some differences too, the most significant being that the God/gods need to be appeased, resulting in some practices that we find quite abhorrent.

    I mention this because we sometimes focus on the very narrow band of history that contributes to our present situation and we run the risk of not being able to appreciate where people in other cultures are. We try to evangelise people in other cultures without really understanding that to a certain extent we are trying to tell them that our history line is more important than theirs.

    If I had another lifetime available to me, I would like to study Chinese religious history, for example, to see if I could find evidence of God trying to get a message though to people in that culture. My two weeks in China whetted my appetite to find out more, but I have spent my only life studying computers and don't have another lifetime available to me.

    I hope that my little side track has given some of us the impetus to see beyond our own valley and understand how we can communicate our understanding to those who do not have our background. One of the issues I face when studying prophecy is that so often we have the satisfaction of "proving" we are right. Maybe the lesson is that we have been given a responsibility.

    “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:14-16 NIV

    • I believe you still have some time in this lifetime to study chinese culture and shed us with some knowledge about it! India and China have as much history as the ocidental. And they might represent a challenge for us to communicate the Good News!

      • There are Christians (mainly women pastors) sharing the Good News in China, I am sure they could help anyone who wants to go over there.

        • I have been to China and visited a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Shanghai. I also visited Wuhan, one of several cities that I had never previously heard of, with a population about the same as the total population of Australia.

      • Many years ago I listened to a presentation by an Adventist Pastor (Pr Jones) about early Christianity in China. It was quite fascinating. The incursion of Christianity was quiet strong and from memory very early in the history of Christianity. I wish he was still around to ask a few questions because he had a pretty good understanding of not only the Christian bit but the pre-Christian era as well.

    • This response really touched me. I often have this challenge in my church. Some of us just love to condemn other religions without considering how persons arrived at their faith. Sometimes if we listen to these people, we may understand that some of them are genuine seekers even more than some of us and that they are not concerned about religion as they are concerned about the God/god they believe answers their prayers and give them hope in this troubled world. This is the reason, I share my faith and testimony with the world but with love and try my best not to project superiority. Also in my country, there is the belief that only the songs in the hymnal are inspired and every nation we convert should only sing these and can't in even their moderate music form, cannot write songs or hymns to praise God, but think this is personalized, deliberate brainwash.

    • We find encouragement in Jesus' teaching that the Holy Spirit will convince "the world of sin, and of righteous, and of judgement". Yes, everyone who is a son/daughter of Adam. Each will hear that voice that tells them "this is the Way, walk ye in it".

      No matter our background/heritage, "the Law of the LORD is perfect", and though fallen in nature, we have a natural attraction to it's truth when demonstrated, and would enjoy a world where it was patterned in every life.

      Our message to all is true and pure if we know it for ourselves and live it in our life. If led by the Holy Spirit, we will be at the right place at the right time with the right message.

      The focus of Daniel and the Revelation follows the rise and inevitable fall of the power that will eventually deceive the whole world, who's names are not written in the Lamb's book of Life. The everlasting Gospel is for all who dwell on the earth.

      There are too many cultures to be able to understand them adequately, but we can tell anyone the Truth which the Holy Spirit will use to lead them in ways our best human understanding would fail to do. Study the Truth. Live the Truth. This is our mandate isn't it? Without this, we will never be "right".

  2. From Bible study, Spirit of Prophecy and several scholars on Daniel 11, the specifics of the historical facts are interesting but beyond this week's study's scope, but a simple outline will give us the big picture of what is happening in this chapter:

    Verses - 11:2
    Powers - Persia
    Period - Persian

    Verses - 11:3-15
    Powers - Greece
    Period - Greek
    North - Seleucid Syria
    South - Ptolemic Egypt

    Verses - 11:16-28
    Powers - Phase 1 of Rome
    Period - Roman
    North - pagan Rome
    South - vs 23-28 - Egypt

    Verses - 11:29-39
    Powers - Phase 2 of Rome, PAST
    Period - Christian
    North - Rome, orthodox christianity
    South - (north's control is absolute, powers of the South are subdued), such as Arianism from Egypt

    Verses - 11:40-45
    Powers - Phase 2 of Rome, FUTURE
    Period - Christian
    North - a religious form of disregard for God (comparable
    to the Babylon of Rev 17-18)
    South - a secular or non-religious form of disregard for God (comparable to the Egypt of Rev 11)

    Daniel 12:1-3 - Christ's reign (Daniel 2:44,45; Dan 7:14 etc)

    This, then, demonstrates the parallels with chapters 7-9, as a further set of details angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel.

    The literal fulfillment of its prophecies stands as clear indications of divine involvement in human history in a continuous nature.

    At its very core, Dan 11 is God in Christ, as seen in a context of intense conflict— not only between North and South, or between God's people and the combined forces of North and
    South, but between Christ and Satan. In this sense, Dan 11 is a microcosm of the book as a whole and of Scripture generally.

    Finally, we today have nothing to fear from acknowledging Christ's extended priestly ministry (vs 39), but we do have something to fear from allowing our attention to be diverted from it, as we compare His ministry (Prince beyond vs 45) as brought out in the comparison between Dan 8 and 9 and chapter 11.

  3. Clear explanation of the prophecy, Our God can see the trajectory or the history of mankind from beginning to the end. He let things happened and amidst these struggles God is watching his sons and daughters behind the history of human’s striving.
    VERSE 6. And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm; but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times."
    {1897 UrS, DAR 250.3} here were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and Syria. Especially was this
    the case with Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theos, third king of Syria. They at length agreed to make peace upon condition that Antiochus
    Theos should put away his former wife, Laodice, and her two
    sons, and should marry Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Ptolemy accordingly brought his daughter to Antiochus, bestowing with her an immense dowry. But she shall not retain the power of the arm;" that is, her interest and power with Antiochus. And so it proved; for some time shortly after, in a fit of love, Antiochus he brought back his former wife, Laodice, and her children, to court again. Then says the prophecy, "Neither shall he [Antiochus] stand, nor his arm," or seed. Laodice, being
    restored to favor and power, feared lest, in the fickleness of his temper, Antiochus should again disgrace her, and recall Berenice; and conceiving that nothing short to death would be an effectual safeguard against such a contingency, she caused him to be poisoned shortly after. Neither did his seed by Berenice succeed him in the kingdom; for Laodice so managed affairs as to secure the throne for her eldest son, Seleucus Callinicus.
    But such wickedness could not long remain unpunished, as the prophecy further predicts, and further history proves.
    VERSE 7. But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: 8. And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. 9. So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land." his branch out of the same root with Berenice was her brother, Ptolemy Euergetes.
    He had no sooner succeeded his father, Ptolemy Philadelphus, in the kingdom of Egypt, than, burning to avenge the death of his sister, Berenice, he raised an immense arm reigned in Syria. And he prevailed against them, even to the conquering of Syria, and invaded the territory of
    the king of the north, that is, of Seleucus Callinicus, who, with his mother, Laodice,
    Cilicia, the upper parts beyond the Euphrates, and almost all Asia. But hearing that a sedition was raised in Egypt requiring his return home, he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus, took forty thousand talents of silver and precious vessels, and two thousand five hundred images of the gods. Among these were the formerly taken from Egypt and carried into Persia. The Egyptians, being wholly given to images which Cambyses had idolatry, bestowed upon Ptolemy the title of Euergetes, or the Benefactor, as a compliment for his having thus, after many years, restored their
    captive gods. (From the Book of Daniel and Revelation by Uriah Smith) https://thesureword.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Daniel-and-The-Revelation.pdf

  4. When I first read the texts for this weeks lesson, it seemed completely overwhelming to me. You would indeed need to be a historian to understand what Daniel 11 is telling us. What I have discovered as I have read, is that setting aside the historical facts, not that they’re unimportant, but so that I could see the deeper (for me) story here. In my digital study bible, I can click on the little + sign next to a text, and get all the biblical references linked to that text. What became clear to me, was that from the beginning of time, God had a plan for this earth and His people. Adam & Eve strayed from that plan, and God has had to continually bring His plan to our attention. When Gods plan is followed, things go well. Israel was to be the example to the world of what following Gods plan looked like, making it evident to the world around them, that this is the way to live. When they diverted from the plan, becoming like the other nations, they took themselves out of Gods care, away from living in a way that they would thrive, and they reaped the results. We are still doing it today, but we are able to turn this ship around, and head the right direction. We must know and understand God, and live according to His plan for us, so that we can be that example that people need to see. We are modern Israel, but we don’t have to follow historical Israel’s example, we can choose to follow the right path.
    Whew, that was a lot longer than I meant, but it’s what jumped out at me today.

    • Hi Karen. Appreciated your input.

      If I may further add to your ponderings, it is interesting to consider Jesus statement in John 14:6. Each term "Way", "Truth" and "Life" is preceded by the definite article - "the", meaning one and only one. Essentially Jesus was saying that He (and therefore God) IS the one and only Way, the one and only Truth, the one and only Life. Thus, though we often refer to the concept of 'God's way' as though God merely made it that way, it would appear that it is God's way because God knew that it is the only viable way and is therefore also the way God lives. (Some people think that saying this somehow makes something bigger than God - but I don't believe it necessarily implies that.)

      God's plan is and always has been for his creatures to also experience the 'zoe' - abundant life - that God Himself experiences (as much as a created being can). That is why God outlines to us the only way that things work - hoping that we will choose that way. Therefore, precisely as you said, when we divert from that one and only way, we reap the inherent results (Galatians 6:8).

      It is also interesting to note that the physical sciences support the suggestion that there is only one way that life 'works' via observations of the narrow tolerances required for life to be viable. Here scripture and science are, not surprisingly, in harmony.

      • Absolutely Phil, there is only one way because that is the way God created us to live in the first place, not because He is arbitrary, but because that is how we will thrive.


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