Re: Understanding Prophecy (was Re: Daniel)

From: george murphy (
Date: Sun Jul 07 2002 - 06:38:09 EDT

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    Robert Schneider wrote:

    > Allen writes:
    > These certain prophecies of Daniel 11 have zero, zip, nada to do =
    > with
    > Antiochus Epiphanes. Any attempt to force the prophcies to fit his =
    > reign is
    > doomed to fail. The fact is that the prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 8 and =
    > 11-12
    > all extend to "the day of the Lord" which lasts through today unto the
    > coming end of the world. These prophecies find remarkable further
    > fulfillment in the histories of pagan and papal Rome and the modern =
    > nations
    > in an unbroken stream of historical events from the time of Daniel =
    > through
    > today and beyond.
    > Bob's comment:
    > I must say that I think that anyone who thinks that apocalyptic =
    > literature is prophetic literature, or who thinks the that purpose of =
    > prophecy is merely predictive, doesn't understand prophetic literature =
    > or prophecy, whether that person be Sir Isasc Newton or Hal Lindsay or =
    > Allen Roy.
    > If my memory serves me correctly, the recognition that the apocalyptic =
    > account in the latter half of Daniel contains references to the =
    > political history of Alexander's successor and the reign of Antiochus IV =
    > and his depredations on the Temple and those faithful to the Covenant is =
    > to be found among Christian commentators as early as Jerome in the late =
    > fifth century. I doubt Jerome would think he "failed" any more than the =
    > modern commentators who represent a widespread consensus of biblical =
    > scholarship on this matter, and are not so dense that they can't get it.
    > Any claim that a group of "prophecies" have found "remarkable further =
    > fulfillment" on so many occasions throughout subsequent history simply =
    > demonstrates that one can make a text mean anything one wants it to mean =
    > when it is cut loose from its literary and historical contexts.
    > Allen, after reading your thoughtful, reasoned, and well stated =
    > exposition of a position similar to "position C" on biblical inerrancy, =
    > I must confess I am astonished at the rhetorical flourishes and ad =
    > hominem pronouncements in your subsequent statement on Daniel.

             I agree about 99% with Bob here but the remaining 1% is important.
    The fact that Mk.13:14 & Mt.24:15 (explicitly) could interpret Dan.11:31 as a
    prediction of some still future event (probably connected with the Roman seige
    of Jerusalem) provides some canonical warrant for seeing Daniel as yet
    unfulfilled prophecy.
             & this can be done if one sees apocalyptic texts like Daniel or
    Revelation as providing typical images of the sort of dangers that God's
    people will have to confront. This is perhaps clearest for Revelation. It is
    _not_ a linear sequence of future history predicting Mohammed, the papacy, the
    Reformation, Hitler, the Common Market &c. It really provides several repeats
    of essentially the same type of "woe" in groups of 7, & in each series the
    world is destroyed. So one on hand there is no point in trying to _predict_
    who the Beast &c is - it's imperial Rome. OTOH if one realizes what one's
    doing it's appropriate to identify current threats to God's people & creation
    with these figures in a typological fashion. Cf. Aquinas, "In all tyrants
    Antichrist lies hidden."
             I say this with some hesitation because I want to give no
    encouragement at all to nutty apocalyptic speculations of the _Left Behind_
    type. OTOH, Revelation &c are of more than purely historical interest.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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