The thing that grabs thinking people and propels them toward a belief in the Bible is Prophecy. Folks love psychic phenomena and accurate predictions are captivating. Even a skeptical, critical, cynical mind can be opened when all the factors line up.
Of course the utterly remarkable predictions found in the Olivet discourse (found in three gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke) when Jesus outlined a generation in advance all that would befall Jerusalem is not a proof that Jesus was God, but it proves that human mind has an ability to transcend the constraints of time. I am being “reasonable” here—not emotional. I never had what is called an epiphany.
My August 21 column covered the Olivet discourse in detail (August, 2011 Marks The 1,941st Anniversary!) .
Picture this: Jesus is surrounded by disciples who are eager to impress him with the marvels of the Temple construction, going on at the time under the auspices of Herod. This was a time in the midst of the so-called Pax Romana when the empire was famously at peace. Seated at the base of one of history’s magnificent edifices, Jesus shocks his followers by saying famously:
“There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Of course the prediction that Jerusalem would be destroyed contained far more detail, and all of it was not only improbable at the time, but inconceivable as well. His mind obviously saw the future clearly.
That inspired me to wonder and appreciate the “gift” of mind, which I argue could not have evolved, but has to be part of Creation given to every human, regardless the human’s biological capabilities. (Poor Man’s Metaphysical Naturalism)
Schemers against the Bible:
A book titled: “The Bible Unearthed” by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, noted scholars, came out a few years ago. The subhead under the title read: “Archeology’s new vision of ancient Israel and the origin of its secret texts.”
Typical of such scholarly presentations, the book “suggests” that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—“the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of later authors rather than actual historical facts.”(generally accepted today as so much Talmudic pucky.)
I checked the index to find their comments on the Book of Daniel because of my strong interest after re-reading a great book on the subject: “The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation” by Philip Mauro.
Of all the Old Testament prophecies, none were more accurate at nailing down facts of future history than was Daniel. No wonder experts had to deny him. We simply cannot have such a powerful prophetic tale being validated, can we?
Because the actual history was so accurate the “scholars” concluded that the scribes had to cheat, and write Daniel’s predictions after the year 164 BC . The scholars blew it, however, because even if you use the later date, you get predictions so accurate about historic events it boggles the mind. Daniel foresaw, and described, the great Roman civil war, Antony and Cleopatra, and the egomaniacal Herod to a T.
Transcending time is very impressive to me. Is that unreasonable? Is that blind faith?
The Book of Daniel has been the most hotly debated book in Scripture ever since about 1910—the dawning of Scofieldism. Sure enough! In this new book about the Old Testament and archeology there was not one word about Daniel—the “scholars” evidently deemed it unworthy.
Zionists cannot allow the remarkable prophecies of Daniel to get any traction. His visions way back during the Babylonian “captivity” circa 560 BC not only chronicled the turbulent history of the peoples in Judea and Samaria and Galilee, they predicted the Roman occupation and destruction of Jerusalem, the event putting an end to the old testament era.
Rather then try to argue with scholarly antichrists, I will grant them the precious date of 164 BC (they say BCE which is more politically correct, but offensive to me). Their later dating makes no difference to the truth of the prophecy—and accurate prophecy is a great proof, whether one likes it or not.
The enemies of truth subjected the Book of Daniel to vicious attacks after about 1910 when Scofield’s book was first published, by Oxford University Press of all people. These enemies were not atheists nor Jews who reject Christ, they were, and are, the Christian proponents of today’s false notion that Bible prophecy refers to our present era. It simply does not, which is why the dreaded “end date” has been constantly postponed. (A Lifelong Pastor Sees Where He Was Wrong)
If one reads Daniel carefully, one sees very clearly that way back in old Babylon, Daniel was given the scoop on what was coming up for his people—right up to the “end time” and the “great tribulation.” And the prophecy has it all within a very clear time line that did not jump 2000 years into the future so that television preachers could lie about a rapture and tribulation and modern Israel.
In Chapter 11, Daniel foretells the coming of Alexander the Great followed by all his bickering heirs, who ended up ruling Egypt in the South and Syria in the North for the ensuing 250 years. The prophecy is amazingly accurate for the historical facts of these “kings of the North and south” who held power alternately over Jerusalem (Dan. 11: 16-34).
This prophecy is especially accurate regarding one truly rotten egomaniac called Antiochus Epiphanes. The prophecy is so compelling that “scholars” figured it had to be written after the fact, so they assigned the 164 BC date.
Here’s what one gets off the Internet:
“Many liberal Christians believe that the Book of Daniel is a work of fiction. Fables and myths about a non-existent ancient hero, Daniel, were passed down orally for centuries, and then finally written down by an unknown author(s), sometime between 167 and 164 BCE. At the end of the book, the author(s) then unsuccessfully attempted to predict the future.”
Let’s agree, for the sake of argument, to investigate to see how “unsuccessful” these alleged pseudoepigraphic authors were at making accurate predictions. Verse 35 of chapter 11 in Daniel marks an historic change in the ruling dynasties holding power over Jerusalem as the prophecy takes us out of the “Asmoneon or Maccabees era,” and into the Roman era.
The “scholars”claim that authors looking at recent history in 164 BC made the prophecy look great, but from verse 35 on they were lousy psychics. Of course, the “scholars” deliberately avoid the obvious, which is after verse 35 the prophecy deals with the Roman era, and predicts the “end times” for the Jews of Jerusalem culminating in 70 AD. Daniel’s concern was for Jerusalem and its people, nothing else.
Of course, these “end times” are also the part that the “enemies” do not want clearly understood, for this is the part of sacred history that firmly establishes Christianity.
Incidentally, I get a kick out of people who say Jesus was a myth. Where do they think all those “Christians” that Nero persecuted came from? Do they think all those people believed in some person that did not exist only 30 years earlier? Nero’s persecution is well documented in “profane” history. Were all those martyrs deceived by a rumor about a man that did not exist? I think not! Firstly, they had no television news to lie about it and srcondly Christophobes simply can’t think straight.
Jesus Himself verified that Daniel, indeed, wrote his own Book. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus states “So, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ of which the prophet Daniel spoke, standing in the holy place”…then those who are in Judea must take to the hills.
Those of us who study and believe know that the Bible proves itself, but this is unsatisfactory for “scholars.” I see the prophecy of Daniel in chapters 11 and 12 plus the Olivet discourses of Matthew, Mark and Luke as profound proof of God’s plan because it fits so well with known history. I do not require this amazing prophecy as a prop for my faith, which is propped up every day by the magnificent evidence of God’s handiwork, but it does provide solid evidence to demonstrate to those vicious, Christophobic enemies of Scripture.
Interestingly, it is this latter part of the Book of Daniel that has generated the most controversy among learned scholars who are well known “End times” Christian Zionists. Author Philip Mauro dealt succinctly and finally with the issue in his book “The Seventy Weeks and The Great Tribulation,” and I heartily recommend reading it. In Mauro’s exposition, he deal’s with Daniel 11:36 as follows:
“We come now to a remarkable personality, one who fills a large and prominent place in the prophecy, and who is introduced with these words:
“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every God, and shall speak of marvelous things against the God of gods and shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished” (Dan 11:36)
“Here we reach that part of the prophecy in regard to which there is the greatest difference of opinion among expositors; and yet, if we be not greatly mistaken, it is an easy matter in the light of history, both sacred and profane, to identify the ‘king’ whose character and doings are set forth in such striking words in the prophecy…”
That King is none other than Herod, the Great. Daniel’s prophecy has suddenly left one egomaniac behind (Epiphanes) and transited into a new one; one that is very well known to history. Although Herod is not named, he is referred to as “the” king and not merely “a” king as all the others in the prophecy are. In the Hebrew text the emphatic article is used in this instance. Mauro put it this way:
“(Herod) that remarkable character, who was a usurper upon the throne of David when Christ, the true King, was born. The proof which enables us to identify ‘the king’ of Daniel 11: 36-39 with Herod the Great and his dynasty is so convincing that we feel warranted in saying that the prophecy could not possibly mean anyone else.
“It would be strange indeed if, in an outline which gives prominence to Xerxes, Alexander, the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees, there were no mention of that remarkable personage who exerted upon Jewish affairs and destinies an influence greater than they all, and who sat upon the throne of Isreal when Christ was born.”
Aren’t those “scholars” who noted that the “unknown authors after 164 BC unsuccessfully attempted to predict the future,” appearing a tad unsuccessful themselves?
Philip Mauro explains it painstakingly. Pointing out that after the Asmoneon dynasty ended by violence and bloodshed it was replaced by a “King” who answers perfectly to the description of the last part of the prophecy…It is said of this king ‘that he shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished, or until wrath be completed, in fulfillment of which is the fact that the dynasty of Herod retained, through all the political upheavals of the times, its favor with Rome, and flourished in authority in Palestine until the destruction of Jerusalem, which is the “wrath” or “indignation” or “tribulation” to which these prophecies of Daniel so frequently refer as “the end” of Jewish nationality.
We know verses 37 through 39 describe Herod the Great to a tee because the historical writing of Josephus provides details about the life and personality of this King.
If that isn’t enough, verses 40-43 describe the coming of Ceasar Augustus accurately.
To fully grasp the accuracy of this amazing prophecy 600 years earlier I recommend you read Mauro. There is far too much detail for this brief report. Even Antony and Cleopatra going against Octavian, who became Augustus, is outlined in the prophecy.
The important point is that we have concise evidence of God’s ability to use prophets—evidence that is verified not only by scripture, but by so-called“authentic” history as well.