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Thursday: Final Events — 26 Comments

  1. It is easy to become distracted with trying to pinpoint exactly who are the Kings of the North and South to the extent that we lose sight of the battle for our minds that is going on right now. Maybe this passage is simply a metaphor that the Gospel truth is being attacked from all directions. It is too easy to attach the identity to an organization that we do not like and forget that the real issue here is that there are ideologies and cultures that are stealthily attacking the truth in ways that can easily deceive us.

    Here is one of my concerns. In the last twenty years, we have seen the rise of fundamentalism as a powerful force in politics. It is in many cases a distorted self-serving, controlling, intolerant misuse of the Bible to try and gain political clout. I mentioned some time ago that I had attended a creationist seminar where the political intent was something that was high on the agenda. It is easy to think that they are "one of us" because they hold similar beliefs, but their actions show that they have missed the essentials of the Gospel, that it is based on love and free-will.

    Today Christianity is attacked from many directions, including from within and we need to understand clearly its fundamental principle of love. (you know by now my favourite text on this topic) The end does not justify the means. In Christianity, the means is what it is all about.

    [Personal note: I mentioned that I did not have time to comment yesterday. Briefly, we were involved in a car accident earlier this week (someone hit us from the rear while we were waiting at traffic lights - involving 4 cars altogether) and although we are not hurt, the car is out of action and will be for some time to come. We have another vehicle but it is a big 4WD "Troopy" and Carmel does not drive it in town. In the current COVID-19 crisis, shopping has become a very time-consuming affair because we cannot park in normal car-parks. Coupled with the fact that I have been involved with insurance claims etc, the circumstances have kept me from doing the preparation needed to write for SSNET. The weekend is coming and I may get some more time then. By the way, all Seventh-day Adventist churches have closed until the end of April in Australia as part of the effort to reduce the spread or the COVID-19 virus.]

    • Thank you for again re-emphasising the underpinning dynamic of coercion vs love-based freedom that distinguishes true Christianity (John 13:35).

      And we are glad to hear that you and Carmel were unhurt. May God continue to guide and order your steps in the aftermath processes...

    • Tanx for sharing! May God bless you both, and also the brothers and sisters in Australia. In Brazil, things are getting rough too. Hopefully, this will be temporary. But the whole world has never been shaken like that. What a damage can something invisible cause to the planet. In paralel, how can we doubt for a minute that by God's will, the message of His 2nd coming can also get into every home and place very fast too! May we buy true fire from Him, in order to be used as instruments on His hands, and sieze every opportunity ahead of us to communicate that God is love, His commandments are right and Jesus is King of kings!

    • Maurice, I hope your family continues to be well, and continues to trust the watchfulness of angels of God, even while we yet live in a dangerous world.

      God's Word often requires attentive and meticulous study; and the Book of Daniel in particular challenges our willingness and ability to read thoroughly and to research beyond what we are accustomed to teach.

      Examples: Lesson 11 is inaccurate in Sunday's discussion. Although our writer is a competent and experienced researcher, his misreading of Daniel 10:1-3, and his missing already established correct chronological dating caused him to miss the intrinsic powerful message intended. Daniel's internal conflict was interpreted with an imposed external conflict in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

      Our interpretation of the identity of Michael continues to disregard the explicit Words of Jude 9, and the "one of the princes" assertion in Daniel. Lucifer certainly has been identified as archangel and prince.

      Xerxes could not be Ahasuerus since he was born quite a few years after Nehemiah helped initiate the return of the Jews to Jerusalem.

      Why are these important? God asserts that His knowledge of the future is a basis for trusting that He is the only True God. Additionally, within the context of God's larger plan, these are very important issues.
      I am hoping that some of our bloggers will address the credibility and meaning of these two considerations.

    • Sorry to hear you were in an accident. So glad you and Carmel are ok! I always enjoy reading your comments. Stay healthy and safe.

    • Maurice, we are glad the accident did not hurt the two of you. Cars can be fixed.

      I agree with you that we should be cautious in staking the identity of these protagonists to certain groups or religions. Although it is likely the Papacy will play a leadership role, there are other movements today that have laid the ground work for world wide control. The Global Warming/Climate Change crowd worshipping Mother Earth, is world wide movement that has both the political muscle and the “righteous cause” to force submission on the masses. It is the kind of movement that makes the populace believe they are virtuous while demanding submission from theIr fellow man or the “world will come to an end”.

      And then there is the Muslim religion that 1/3 of the people on the planet follow. I don’t know how but I suspect Mohammad will play a role in all this.

  2. The reference to The Great Controversy in our lesson study today, is well worth taking the time to read. It shows clearly the events of world history and the correlation to the writings of Daniel.
    We all need to arm ourselves with this knowledge in order to be aware of the final events. It is amazing to read that the French Revolution is part of the future that Daniel wrote about, and how accurate the events of history have unfolded.
    Take the time to read and you will be blessed.

  3. I appreciate your efforts to move this discussion away from specific kingdoms. I personally believe we “have an eschatological timeline” and we force everything to it. We taught at times that the Ottoman Empire figures predominantly in these chapters and then USSR among others. Trying to use the French Revolution to further the narrative is again trying to shoehorn all into this narrative.

    We are better served to understand this is a war of ideas and ideologies that pit God’s people against those of Satan. It is clear to me that many in Satan’s camp truly believe they are doing God’s work. Satan is a master of deception and subtle persuasion so “if possible to deceive the very elect”.

    Having such specificities of all details may actually “deceive” us. Daniel clearly is for the time of the end and that might not be yet therefore we could miss significant developments because we are stuck viewing everything through lenses that are fixed in one paradigm.

    I prefer the attempts you keep maki g to caution us all to look at a more global view of the great controversy and not try to make it so rigid.

    God bless.

  4. I pray that all goes well with you and your family Maurice in this time of crisis. Your writings are deeply appreciated. I am all the way in Kingston, Jamaica.

  5. I agree maybe we should have a look at the different beliefs during the period between Persia and Christianity. These are different ways that Satan is using to draw us away from the truth in the Bible. Joh 14:6  Jesus said ..., I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

    In Daniel 11 either the North or the South (and their "gods") tried to be the dominant power either side of the Glorious Land, now days the main powers are forms of religion or secularism (no God) which are both opposed to the Truth as found in Jesus in His Word.

    The Persians followed a monotheistic religion called Zoroastrianism, which recognized only a single deity named Ahura Mazda. Based on the teachings of the Persian prophet Zoroaster, this was the official religion of the Persian Empire, although conquered peoples were allowed to practice their own religions.

    Ancient Greek theology was polytheistic, based on the assumption that there were many gods and goddesses, as well as a range of lesser supernatural beings of various types. There was a hierarchy of deities, with Zeus, the king of the gods, having a level of control over all the others, although he was not almighty.

    The official Roman religion was the worship of a large group of Greco Roman gods such a Jupiter, Juno, Minerva and Mars. A Roman priest was responsible for the proper ritual worship to the gods. The very success of the Roman Empire proved that the Romans had properly worshiped their gods.

    According to Hinduism, the meaning (purpose) of life is four-fold: to achieve Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. The first, dharma, means to act virtuously and righteously. That is, it means to act morally and ethically throughout one’s life. However, dharma also has a secondary aspect; since Hindus believe that they are born in debt to the Gods and other human beings, dharma calls for Hindus to repay this debt. The five different debts are as follows: debt to the Gods for their blessings, debt to parents and teachers, debt to guests, debt to other human beings, and debt to all other living beings. The second meaning of life according to Hinduism is Artha, which refers to the pursuit of wealth and prosperity in one’s life. Importantly, one must stay within the bounds of dharma while pursuing this wealth and prosperity (i.e. one must not step outside moral and ethical grounds in order to do so). The third purpose of a Hindu’s life is to seek Kama. In simple terms, Kama can be defined as obtaining enjoyment from life. The fourth and final meaning of life according to Hinduism is Moksha, enlightenment. By far the most difficult meaning of life to achieve, Moksha may take an individual just one lifetime to accomplish (rarely) or it may take several. However, it is considered the most important meaning of life and offers such rewards as liberation from reincarnation, self-realization, enlightenment, or unity with God.

  6. I am going off at a tangent somewhat, except to help us understand the war between Jesus and Satan is for our hearts and minds. Do we believe Jesus' Word or other people's ideas?

    Scriptures of every religion contain some account of how the universe was created. How different religions have dealt with this particular aspect of creation in their scriptures and whether these scriptures maintain that God created this universe out of nothing or they declare that when God commenced the process of creation, at least some entities were present and they were not created by God. These questions are inextricably linked to how the concept of God is presented by these scriptures, compelling questions in the nature of: Is God powerful enough to start creation from nothing? Or have matter, time, space or souls always existed and when God created this universe He merely used these constituents as building blocks.

    The Bible, is clear that God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit together created the world from nothing.
    In Vedas it is concluded that the human mind cannot know the reality of this topic. The Rigveda declares that perhaps even God is unaware of the reality of the beginning of the universe.
    According to Manu, in the beginning, the constituents of the universe were present but were in a dormant state.
    According to Vedanta Sutra’s and Tao scriptures (Kwang-Ze), space is eternal and was present when the creator initiated the creation of the universe.
    Among the philosophical discourses of Hindu religion, Khandogya-Upanishad and Sathapatha Brahmna conclude that nothing was present in the beginning, beside the creator.
    The Qur’an declares that every entity, including matter, space, souls and time were created by Allah alone. Nothing is eternal except for God.

    Scriptures of different religions provide varying answers into the question of the creation of the universe, with different degrees of clarity. Consequently, their respective concepts about the power of God to create a universe out of nothing are also different from one another.

  7. Maurice, I have a question for you. Could it be that the war between the king of the North and the king of the South could be interpreted both as spiritual and in a literal manner?

    Could it be that God has been protecting and guiding the rebirth of modern Israel in fulfillment of the predictions found in Ezekiel 37 and 38?

    • Yes, I think that is often the case that there is both a spiritual and literal interpretation.

      Regarding modern Israel: I am very wary of reading too much into the connection between prophecy and modern Israel. I understand that this issue comes up in American politics and shapes some of the relationships between America and Middle-Eastern countries. I watch the situation with some interest but I am not a prophet and would not like to make a prediction about it.

  8. I belive that an overall theme that is developed in this chapter is that all of the kingdoms and or powers are worldly and for the most part are at odds with God's people. Therefore, they are essentially on the same team even though they appear to be battling against each other. As such, they will ultimately unite. I am so comforted that I am on the right side of the controversy.

  9. I appreciate Maurice, that you brought out the idea that we can get bogged down with details and miss the point. It seems nice and easy to have the Catholic Church to point to as the culprit, but any person, church or power, using force to mandate behavior is Satanic. Let’s just say an Adventist becomes president and brings about a national 7th day Sabbath law. The Sabbath is good right? But the method used is opposing Gods law. Anyone of us can be guilty of using force to do good. This brings it all back to the fact that each person must make their own choice of who to worship.

  10. Maurice,

    Thank you for your quick response. I do agree with you that we need to be careful in our attempt at deciphering Biblical prophecy.

    Nevertheless, Ezekiel 37 & 38 seem to be rather clear regarding God's care for Israel. Besides, Paul did write that Israel will probably be grafted back into spiritual Israel.

    • Thank you for the thought Nic. It is worth following it up. Seeing we cannot go to church for a couple of months, it will give me some time to do some study on it.

    • Nic Sister Whiter in the great contiversy says that as a nation Isreal will not be favored by God again, also Christ said the same, because they as a nation rejected Christ. None of those that accepted and followed Christ instruction and fled to the mountains were killed. The promises in Isaiah and Ezekial were conditional. Look bak on the history of Iseral many of Gods promises were not fulfilled because as a nstion they turned away from God. He let them come back as favored but rejecting Christ as a nation was the last straw as a nation. Antisemitism, absoluty not just reality of history.

  11. These warring kings are named for a reason. If we read this passage while keeping all the other views of this conflict in view, it becomes clear who is being spoken of here. The Revelation gets very specific in its details so that there is no mistake in who we are able to identify. Why would the visions be so specific if it wasn't important? The world is to be warned of these specifics in a 3-part message give with a loud cry. It must be important to God for us to understand, if we realize what is being said and what is at stake for all who would be saved.

    This will be the world's last and greatest crisis, and the Truth will set us free of Satan's ultimate and greatest deception.

    I will add; that while these kings/beasts are an obvious point of focus in the visions, the greater focus is the union between Christ and those who serve Him, even at the loss of temporal life. This union must be "close and decided".

    We must "rightly divide" the Word of Truth. God Himself will teach us if we acknowledge Him in all our ways(Proverbs 3:6, Rev 1:1, John 7:17).

  12. Isn't it amazing! I was drafted into the army in 1965 when I was in the process of becoming a SDA. I trained at Fort Polk Louisiana with 200 men for infantry. All but 20 of us went straight to Vietnam. God had a hand in my life to keep me from front line combat. This lesson reminds me of King and Priest Melchizedek and how he met Abraham and took 10% of Abrahams' spoils from Abrahams' victorious military campaign to free his nephew Lot from the wicked kings but Melchizedek had nothing to do with helping him with his military combats against those wicked kings. Yes, God still can help us and keep us from the front lines of physical combat while we witness for God and Jesus anyway.

  13. John,

    Yes, Ellen White did write that, but her predictions are likewise conditional like the predictions found in the writings of Ezekiel, Paul and others.

    Notice what Paul wrote about this in Romans 11: "And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!"

    • I do believe that all Jews who come to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be grafted in individually, but not as as a nation.

      EVERYONE WHO believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again(grafted in if you will)child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring).
      1 John 5:1 AMPC

  14. John Herscher, so what did Jesus mean when He said in Luke 21:24"...Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."? These words of Jesus to me mean that when "The times of the Gentiles is fulfilled," God has a plan for Israel as a nation to play at the end of time still as His special people and also as a nation. And look at the prophecy in Hosea 3:4,5. This seems to support Jesus' words about the Nation of Israel in the last days before Jesus returns again.

    • Yes he has a plan for all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour(Messiah). At this point I rest my case.

  15. Maurice, the book of Daniel gives very specific geographical, national, historical and even administrative information (repeated multiple times) that correlate prophecy with actual fulfillment. Don't you think that Chapter 11 will be the same - correlating the prophetic with the actual, within the time frame of the actual?

    It appears to me that SDA students of Scripture have been imposing interpretations and multiple fulfillments that do not fit the prophecy to historical actual profile/method of the Book of Daniel. It "seems" or spiritual interpretations do not fit the premise that the Hebrew God offers actual fulfillment of prophecy as the clearest indicator that He is the only True God - knowing the beginning unto the end/the future.


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