Category: News

Science News

“Allow girls to wear what they want, tame male students” Madam Longwe tells University of Zambia

If elderly women can encourage immoral dressing, who will teach our young women morals?

Madam Longwe in responding to the ban on immoral dress code in the university’s library said: “Management at the University must not engage themselves in violating the human rights of the female students of self expression. Why are they blaming the women? They should blame the men for lacking self control” (quoted in News Diggers, 8 May 2018).

Well, just how far can “human rights” go to express “self “? One day a strange incident happened along Burma road. A woman suddenly started taking off clothes and went completely nude. People suspected she had either become mad or she was so high on drugs. Within seconds women encircled her and struggled to dress her up! Why did they do that? Wasnt it her human right to express self?

If nakedness has to do with human rights, then on a scale of 0 to 100, full human rights should not only go halfway up to 50%, the knees. It should be 100%  –  all the way to the thighs, through the waist to the head, until someone is in her birth suite! Wouldn’t that entail full “self” expression? Wouldn’t that be full “human rights”? If this is how we are going to define “self expression” and “human rights” it is only a matter of time before we see nudists pushing for rights to walk about naked. This is not a joke. It has happened in some places of the world like Munich in Germany.

Madam Longwe went further to ask: “Who decides which is decent dressing and what is indecent dressing? Can they tell us?” she demanded.” This is an age-old argument against morality. Atheists love it. Homosexuals love it. The argument challenges one to explain, “Who said it?”
When someone says “It is wrong to comiit adultery?” the argument will ask, “Says who?” When someone says, “It is wrong to have sex before you marry even when both of you are adults and have consented”, the argument asks, “Says who?”…
This argument rests on the premise that morality is merely what many people over a period of time have come to define as a rule or norm and so has no objective standard! However, the real motivation behind the philosophy of “Says who” is a belief that THERE IS NO GOD, and the Bible is just another piece of outdated myths.However, deep inside the soul of man is that consciusness of RIGHT and WRONG; there is that something that tells us that just like everything else was made by something else, so we didnt just pop from nowhere!

Surely there are things in life that we merely adapted because our society upheld the behaviour. However, there are also things that were never taught or handed down to us but yet were instrinsic characteristics right from the time we breathed the first time. Did you go for some training as a baby to how to identify a nipple, and how to know that your mouth was meant to sqeeze it so that something refreshing and sweet to your tongue should come out of it?

Soul, as defined by William Branham, means “the nature of the Spirit” . See, when electricity passes through a light bulb, it will turn ON. When the same electricity flows through a fan, it will make its mortar begin to rotate. It is the same electricity but manifesting the nature of light when in a bulb and the nature of propulsion when through a fan.

All living things have the Spirit of life from God. When that spirit of life is in a mango tree it causes it to produce mango fruits. Thats the nature God defined for that tree. When the spirit of life is in man, he manifests attributes of a human being. Inside a man is a CONSCIOUSNESS of RIGHT and WRONG. Deep in a remote village of Karamoja in Uganda missionaries preached the Gospel and the naked natives suddenly felt ashamed of their nakendness and desired to be clothed. The light had struck them, and without reading Scripture about how the first parents of mankind began to dress, they received awareness of the need to be clothed. Well, in the beginning man sinned and as the result of shame clothed himself. For people to walk naked today only means one thing: we now have a generation of reprobabes who have no shame of sin. We have young women who dress in public what their grandmothers only wore in the bedroom!

Solomon Jacob responds with Cutting, Pasting, and Hiding details

Someone asked Solomon Jacob as to what is his response to my article on the Branham-Larkin controversy. He again took the opportunity to do what he knows best – cut words, leave out salient details, and paste for the public to judge! This time he pasted my words on a Facebook thread of discussion. The following was the dramatic exchange.

Solomon Jacob speaks:

Did William Branham gather the truth from the quotes of other preachers and preached the Seven Seals? OR the Seven Angels who came from the eternity gave him the revelation of Seven Seals. If the truth was already known to other preachers then how come it was still a mystery?

Jesse Nzima asks a question:

What is your response to issues raised by Andrew Phiri against your falsehood.

Solomon Jacob responds with a long thread containing bits of words cut out of a large article I wrote on the Branham-Larkin controversy:

Here are excerpts from my reply to Andrew Phiri. Instead of denying, Andrew Phiri has already accepted the Fact and the Truth in his writing “Hearing A Voice and THE Voice – Part II” that both Larkin and Branham here spoke the same thing.  Andrew Phiri writes, “Hearing A Voice and THE Voice – Part II”Larkin wrote:
“Who is the ‘Rider’ upon this White Horse? He is not Christ, as some claim, for Christ, as the LAMB, is holding the ‘Seven Sealed Book’ and breaking its ‘Seals.’ Christ does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19:11-16, when He comes with the armies of Heaven to engage in the Battle of Armageddon… this White Horse Rider is the ANTICHRIST.”

Andrew Phiri – Surely, this seems striking as both Larkin and Branham here spoke the same thing. 

Someone alerted me about the above thread. Intitially I had no desire to join the conversation (I  had a good reason: I know the difficultness of engaging  Solomon Jacob in a logical conversation and so I thought it would be futile to participate. Now, whether his failure to grasp words, explanations, and responses given to him is deliberate, or simply a limitation of ability, I do not understand). However, when I saw Mr Jacob cleverly cut out words off my article and then hide ALL arguments which define the article, I decided to respond as follows:

This is what we call INTELLECTUAL DECEIT. You got an extensive article I wrote and then you carefully CUT OUT STATEMENTS which suited your belief AND THEN HID THE REAL ARGUMENTS RAISED AGAINST your misplaced ideas. As a minister and preacher, does it not bother your conscious to behave dishonestly in such a manner? Like I said to you in the letter, if you have a critique to raise against a person, even if you dont like him, the least you can do is to be objective and not blow things out of context to excite your audience. I can only advise that it is only prudent that you be mindful of what the Word says – we shall be judged by the idle words we speak.

[For those following this thread of discussion, kindly read my entire article to see how my words in Solomon Jacob’s response above have been COMPLETELY QUOTED OUT OF CONTEXT. The article is available on this link: https://andrewcphiri.com/…/hearing-a-voice-and-the…/ ].

Solomon Jacob speaks:

Mr Jacob responded with a bizzare explanation of what “intellectual deceit” is:

INTELLECTUAL DECEIT can be called only if anything is added or subtracted. Can you say that what I presented here are not your words?

And this was the end of our conversation:

With all due respect bro, may I say that your problem of not understanding sentences and explanations seems far more serious than I thought. Your above reply confirms why you could not understand various ‘mixed up’ statements of a hillbilly like William Branham. Your defininition of “Intellectual Deceit” above is quite incorrect. Consider this: someone tells me “I hate my father! I hate my mother!” I ask him: “Why, as a Christian, you ought to love your father and mother as the Lord commanded us to do in His commandments!” He answers: ” According to Luke 14:26, ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.’” So, here is a question to you – Are these not the words of the Lord Jesus? Are the man’s actions justifiable since he hasnt “added” or “subtracted” from the Lord’s words? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO CAREFULLY CUT WORDS OUT OF A LARGE BODY OF TEXT AND QUOTE THEM OUT OF CONTEXT?

Have you noticed Mr Jacob’s response – “Thanks for your explanation”? An honourable person should know that to critique is important, but prudence requires that one bases his arguments on facts! Not cutting, pasting, and hiding details of statements.

Announcement: On Facebook Live Broadcast – “The Branham-Larkin Controversy”

The livestream session will start at 02:00 PM GMT (16:00 hrs Central African Time) on 28th January, 2018.

Note: During my last visit to India I dealt with a matter that has been unsettling the ‘faith’ of some believers. In some countries there are people who were in the Faith for over thirty years but ended up wavering upon hearing that what Rev.William Branham taught as the Revelation of the Seven Seals was plagiurised from Dr Clarence Larkin’s book. But, IS THAT SO?

Dont miss tomorrow’s Facebook Live broadcast as we delve into FACTS about this important topic. Sharing this announcment may help someone in need. God bless you.

New feature on Website

We are glad to inform you that  we have added a new feature to our website which will enable you to easily print and share our website posts. You can now print  direct from the website using the Print icon shown below. You now can also share what you read to your Whatsapp contacts. Find the tools to perform these tasks at the bottom of any post you are reading. The tools are hidden under the “More” botton as shown below.

We wish you a happy and blessed 2018!

Irrational Rationality

Mysterious object spotted in Space. Could be Sign of alien origin?

A mysterious large object that has come from a different star system is to be examined by one of the world’s biggest telescopes for signs of alien technology…The Green Bank telescope will examine a mysterious object speeding through our solar system to check for signs of alien signals. The observation begins Wednesday and will be carried out by Breakthrough Listen, a global astronomical program searching for evidence of other civilizations” (RT News, 12 December, 2017, emphasis mine).

nasa.png

…But, how are “signs” of alien signals detected? 

We would like to check if it has any sign of artificial origin, such as radio emissions,” explained Professor Avi Loeb of Harvard University to the Guardian. So, the idea is to look for something, a signal, that would indicate an intelligent source. Clearly, this method can only be used when there is an awareness that patterns of certain things exhibit intelligent design. Now that sounds all rational but until we get to DNA!

Is it not strange that we can invest millions and millions of dollars into a project that searches for signals whose design denotes an intelligent source but all the while  ignoring the fact that DNA is an information processing unit whose operation is exactly how software code works. Has our rationality become so irrational? Wont it be easier and far cheaper to first establish who designed the DNA for it to work the way it does? Is there some extraterresrial being somwhere in space who designed it? Again, Science seems to be making good progress on this question. Here is another news item that made headlines this week: “The prehistoric origins of life on Earth may have begun in space, a new study published in the Journal of Chemical Physics suggests. Researchers at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada  created a simulated space environment …The research opens the possibility that our origins are extraterrestrial. The first life on Earth began around 4 billion years ago, but this finding suggests the building blocks needed for this to happen may have come from space, strengthening the theory that life may have begun outside our planet” (RT News, 12 December, 2017, emphasis mine).

Yes, life did begin outside our planet. To take new focus of research, from small Earth to the immensely vast space, I dont know how long the next project would take the scientists to establish the exact place from where life came. However, I believe in the record of Saint John when he said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life” (John 1:1-4).

God and Time

There is great news in the scientific community of the first recorded sound of two neutron stars colliding. One amazing thing about this event is that this is not when the stars have collided. They collided 130,000,000 years ago but the ripples of gravitational waves which resulted from the blast have just reached us! Space must be immensely huge!

Courtesy: University of Leicester

Think of it, if a wave of an event has taken 130,000,000  years to ripple through space to reach us, and  there is God who transcends this space, then surely a thousand years is as a day, and a day as a thousand years to him! (2 Pet.3:8).

Note: Gravitational waves do not produce sound. However, scientists are able to convert their frequencies into audio format which we can hear.

Daniel Chapter 2

Life in service to the king of Babylon would at times be quite unpredictable. One didn’t know what next thing the king would demand, and what punishment awaited the failure to achieve what was required.

A strange demand by the King

The magicians, astrologers and soothsayers must have made a good fortune out of interpreting the king’s dreams.

Mental activities – thoughts, dreams, assumptions, etc. – cannot be objectively assessed. They are not material for one to empirically assess. This creates space for people to speculate and presume. It goes without saying that someone’s narration of a dream, for example, can be interpreted in many ways by different people. Obviously each interpretation will be subject to each person’s perceptions and influences. Now, the failure to disapprove a subjective judgement provides immunity for the liar. However, for the Babylonian king, one day he had a strange dream that so much troubled his soul but which he forgot when he woke up! Next he made a demand that had not been anticipated by the Wise Men:

1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.

5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

6 But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

How outrageous a penalty! The Wise Men tried to work their way into negotiating with the king for him to reconsider the matter. This further infuriated the king. It became clear to him that the men were void of real divine power; they only had lying and corrupt words:

7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.

8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.

9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.

Knowing that no amount of trickery would enable them to explain the mysterious dream, the Wise Men spoke plainly to the king:

10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

By saying that “there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh” the Wise Men unwittingly prepared ground for Daniel to be soon revered as one in whom were the spirits of the gods (cf.Dan.5:11).

Only God can reveal thoughts and secrets of the heart

The Wise Men were right: no one but God can truly see and reveal what lies in the mind of a person. ‘Mind readers’ can only infer by analysing a person’s words, body, and emotional expressions. Even the Devil, he can only get at us by what we reveal of ourselves through what we speak. Although he can throw thoughts at us, he certainly cannot penetrate that realm of thoughts. Like the prophet Daniel explained to the king, “the secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets” (Dan.2:27-28).

Decree given for properties and lives of Wise Men to be destroyed

If the Wise Men had been providing divine interpretations and guidance all through the years, and through their counsels rewarded with gifts and honour, if now they fail a true test of their divinity, have they not been deceiving the king all through the past years? Apparently they accumulated wealth on deceit. Nebuchadnezzar decided to kill them and destroy their houses. “Ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill” he had earlier warned (Dan.2:5). After seeing that the Wise Men were hopeless and there was no sign of them making any attempt to reveal the matter, a decree was given to proceed with the arrests and executions of the men.

12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

If Daniel and his three friends would be killed, they would die together with the now infamous Wise Men of Babylon who were now frowned upon as liars who had only been deceiving the king with false interpretations but yet failing to handle a true test of their divine powers. It was time for Daniel and the three men to pray. But how would they have time to wait on the Lord when the urgent decree had already been given and the men were being sought after?

The four men pray for the revelation of the dream

Daniel used wisdom to request for time to pray over the matter and assured the king that the dream and its interpretation would be revealed.

14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.

17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

There is power when believers jointly seek the Lord over a matter in prayer. Even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had desired for the disciples to pray with Him on that fateful night in Gethsemane (Mat.26:38-44). Where believers gather to sincerely lay a matter before the Lord, God speaks! God heard the prayer of the four men.

The revelation was given to one of them

It was four men who prayed but the revelation only came through Daniel. God works through gifts and it was Daniel who was equipped with the gift of “understanding in all visions and dreams” (Dan.1:17). Upon receiving the revelation he rejoiced and glorified God saying:

19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20  Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

Having the gift did not mean Daniel was superior and the other brethren inferior. As said earlier, God works through gifts that He gives to individuals. A person’s faithfulness and humility in handling the gift will determine how far God will use him with it. Daniel was one such faithful man. After receiving the revelation of the mysterious dream he made known the matter and sought audience to speak to the king. When he was brought before the king he emphasised that it is only God who could reveal the thoughts of the king’s heart.

24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

25  Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

26  The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king;

28  But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Note (in verse 30) that the vision was revealed first, to protect the lives of Daniel and his three companions. These men served the true God and He shielded them from the trouble that was about to fall on them. He distinguished them from the other Wise Men who were given to pagan practices. Secondly, the revelation was given as an answer to thoughts that had persisted in the mind of Nebuchadnezzar. In verse 29 we read that the dream of Nebuchadnezzar was triggered when before sleeping he thought deeply about “what should come to pass hereafter.” As it had always been among gentile kingdoms, nations strove against one another for power and dominance. At this time Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon had risen to great prominence. But how long would this great experience continue? What eventualities would happen to Babylon? Would the now impregnable empire break all historical records by continuing to reign forever and ever? These are questions that may have troubled Nebuchadnezzar that night of the vision. Were his worries triggered by some reports or rumours of revolts and wars? Most likely as those were usual experiences of empires which thrived on subduing and oppressing other nations. An important thing to note here is that God does not only answer spoken-word prayers; He also answers troubles and petitions of the heart. Does not the Scripture encourage the believer to know that He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think(Eph.3:20)? Well, the answer to the questions of Nebuchadnezzar’s thoughts came to him through Daniel.

This was to be the turning point of Daniel’s life. It is the first recorded incident that brought him into public spectacle of the Babylonian regime. Daniel’s gift made him stand before great men just like Solomon’s proverb says, “a man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men” (Pro.18:16).

Daniel narrates and interprets the Dream

Daniel opened his mouth and narrated the revelation of the dream, saying:

31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

32  This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Daniel went on to interpret the dream:

37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall

In verses 37 and 38 the head of gold was identified as Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian empire. It was described as a mighty empire which ruled the then world.  Daniel explained that it was God who gave the Babylonian king this might. But how could this be? How could God establish the kingdom of a pagan ruler? What is more, in the prophecy of Jeremiah we read God saying, “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant” (Jer.27:6). Well, let us look at the relationship between God, Satan and the political systems of the world.

God, Satan and political systems of the world

First it is important to know that what God permits – whether Satan instigates it and thinks it will work against God’s ways – will ultimately serve His purpose. Whatever man or Satan can do, it cannot occur outside the space of the foreknowledge of God. In having the foreknowledge, and in being careful to let right and truth triumph, God, who is the Ultimate Good, always works out a way for everything to ultimately serve His purpose. Thus, when a person or thing serves His purpose, whether that thing be evil or good, we would call it, for the limitation of language, His ‘servant’. It is in this context that God can say, “I form the light, and create darkness: make peace, and create evilI the LORD do all these things” (Isa.45:7)’

That the might of Nebuchadnezzar was permitted by God does not mean that he was an anointed beloved ruler of Yahweh. It is important to understand that the dispensation of man’s political systems was never God’s perfect will. He only permitted it because of man’s disobedience, to let him partake of the fruit of his choosing – “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices” (Prov.1:29-31). Even in the nation of God’s people, Israel, although there were at times good-hearted and God-fearing kings, albeit few, it was never His perfect will for the nation to be governed by kings.

The political system of having a king in Israel began when the people coveted after the political system of Gentiles. Previously the nation had been ruled by prophets and judges. But during the time of the prophet Samuel, the people approached him saying, “Give us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:5). To this carnal demand God said to the prophet Samuel, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Sam.8:7). Next, God warned about how ego and greed (vices in fallen mankind!) would lead kings to abuse their power: “He [a king] will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.… And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants” (1 Sam.8:11-18). Are these things not still happening today?

Even with modern democratic systems of governance which espouse to establish “rule by the people”, with leaders being servants of the people, the reality (especially in Africa and other Third World regions of the world) leaves much to be desired. Actually democracy seems more of demon-crazy. The so-called servants actually wield so much power which they use to abuse their people. They live and dine in beautiful houses whilst a significant number of people in their populations live in deplorable conditions. Their life knows no cost of living. They have free food, transportation, housing, and on top of all this, emoluments which don’t proportionate with the hard economic conditions of their countries. It is these men in power who appoint judges to manage a country’s justice system, and as expected there can never be a true sense of accountability for what they do. Strangest of all is the fact that the lavish lifestyles of these men are financed by tax contributions of the poor masses. When the ‘masters’ fall sick, they cannot access proper medical attention in the available hospitals and other health institutions. With no money to access quality services, they are left with no option but to endure the circumstances. But when the ‘servants’ get ill, having misprioritised resources and leaving nothing for developing essentials of an economy, they don’t get attended to by their poor health institutions which lack various facilities. They fly to developed countries – again using tax-payer’s money to access better facilities. Many actually don’t just go to the developed nations for medical check-ups; they go there for holiday (as though those nations were built by angels as someone once remarked!). And as though that is not insane enough, they take their children for education to those developed nations. Surely, they can’t educate their children in institutions they have no faith in. They preside over these institutions and have an opportunity to develop them, but greed has a greater control over them and so they choose to abuse them by depriving them of the much needed resources. These men are powerful. You cannot easily access them. They are concealed from the sufferings of a common man on the street by the thick walls of their beautiful offices and residential houses. The one time a person can easily access them, even to shake their hand, is most likely that time when they appear as humble servants again to seek out the vote to run for another term.

Enough about the sins of the black politician. I would have to borrow words of a hymn to describe the Western politician. To write the sins of the white politician, from WW1, through Hitler’s Nazism, onto South Africa’s apartheid system, if the sky were a scroll stretched from sky to sky, and all oceans ink, and every man a scribe by trade, and every stalk on earth a quill, it would drain the oceans dry!

Whilst the Earth spins on its axis, the world of politics revolves around dishonesty, insincerity, greed, ego, and insecurity. All this plays well into the Devil’s hands. Yes, Satan owns the political systems (‘kingdoms’) of this world. This he made clear when he said to the Lord Jesus, “that [the power of the kingdoms of the world] is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luk.4:6). Once, after long whiles, some men of integrity do rise but often it’s one in a million! It is for this reason that believers pray saying “Thy kingdom come.” And God’s kingdom shall surely come one day and rid this world of all its filth.

Interpretation of the Great Image

Daniel’s revelation and interpretation of the great image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream are well confirmed in history.

(a) Head of Gold

This, as Daniel had explained, referred to Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. It had grown to be the most powerful empire of the world. It subdued many Mesopotamian nations and tribes, among them Persians and Jews.

(b) Breast and Arms of Silver

Once regarded as impregnable, mighty Babylon fell to the Medo-Persian Empire. The Medes and Persians were once insignificant tribes of the Mesopotamian region. Living under the supremacy of mighty Babylon, they endured abuse and oppression. However, with time there arose a man of exceptional courage and wit, Cyrus. In very unlikely circumstances he managed to rise to great power and Babylon, having defeated it, lay under his powerful reign. History records show that the first important act done by Cyrus when he rose to power was to free Babylonian slaves. The command (or decree) to give freedom to the Jews to go to their land and build the house of God is found in the book of Ezra (chapter 1).

Medo-Persians had successfully subdued Babylon, Egypt and other territories of the region. The empire had been ruled by a succession of great ambitious kings. These kings had a strong defence system of always ensuring that the empire was not vulnerable to defeat. However, with the continuation of peace and security came relaxation. New leaders became obsessed with lavish lifestyles. Leaders became more interested in accumulating wealth and eating nice food. Good clothing styles became the order of the day. Historians have noted that even slaves wore splendid robes.

(c) Belly and Thighs of Brass

Although renowned as formidable, the laxed state of Persia was all that was needed for the enemies to gain courage to launch an attack. It was at this time of great relaxation that King Philip of Greece and Macedonia was building a great army to achieve that very purpose. However, all the great military techniques and investments made by Philip only set the stage for what his son, Alexander, would accomplish.

Philip was assassinated before he could implement his war plans against Persia. Alexander, at only about 20 years of age, was the new king of Greece. This was no ordinary young man. Tutored by the world famed philosopher Aristotle, and armed with bravery, wit, and extraordinary leadership skill, he took on Persia.

When meeting the Persian army, Alexander’s army was by far outnumbered. However, they had courage and hope. And true to their hope, the Persian army although larger was not under an able-commander. The persistence of Alexander’s army put the larger army to fright. Alexander eventually brought down Persia, and Greece rose to dominate the world. That was the “belly and thighs of brass.”

As with the previous empires, a time came when the Grecian empire declined. Greece gave way to the most terrible empire that existed ever, the Pagan Roman Empire!

(d) Legs of Iron and Feet mixed with Clay and Iron

The Roman Empire was the most vast, stretching from Great Britain to Syria on our map today. This empire started out as a pagan empire, annexing different regions to become Roman provinces. Rome ruled conquered nations with an iron fist of suppression and abuse. In Rome wealth and power were achievements greatly desired by people. Nations which got subdued by Rome became its provinces. The nation of Judah was one such victim. It was besieged and annexed during the time of Pompey. About 63 years after that fateful incident Jesus Christ was born. When He was 30 years of age His ministry began and forever changed the course of history.

After the death and resurrection of Christ, the Gospel began to sweep over Jerusalem like a storm. Finding its doctrine of Jesus Christ being the Messiah, the Jews were confused about it and instead began to stir trouble against what was perceived as a strange cult. But so overwhelming was the testimony of the Christians that the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the sick received healing and the demon-possessed were delivered. This power became evidence that although Jesus could not be physically seen, He was alive and working through His believers.

Elders of Judaism were so disturbed by the message of the Christians. First it appeared to them to be contrary to the traditional teachings of Judaism. Secondly, it condemned them to have killed the Messiah, but who resurrected and His power was evidenced by the manifestations of miracles. A fierce persecution ensued led by the Jewish leaders to put an end to the spread of Christianity. Strangely, it was as though the blood of the martyrs was fuel for more fire of the Gospel spreading over the country, and on beyond its borders. One day all these events took a more shocking dramatic turn. This was confusion to religious leaders and great joy and strength to the Christians. A  renowned persecutor, seasoned scholar, and religious leader had converted!

Saul, a man who was a leader of the crusade against Christians, at whose hands a well-known martyr Stephen had died, gave testimony of an unusual experience of having had an encounter with a supernatural light out of which Jesus spoke. This changed Saul’s mind, and his life was from that time to be a series of events led by the power that guided the disciples of Christ. Saul’s name was changed to Paul, and this man, against all odds became its great apostle, surpassing the missionary efforts of all those before him. One of the places Paul travelled to, to take the Gospel there, was Rome.

Paul’s missionary work in Rome resulted into pagans rejecting idol worship as they received the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the next coming years the rise of Christianity got the attention of politicians who vehemently opposed its spread. Many Christians died in the most barbaric ways. Emperors Nero and Diocletian are well known in Roman history for their atrocities against Christians.

With time a new emperor rose who was kind hearted towards Christians, Constantine. At a time when he needed to fight a war it is said that he had a dream of a cross, signifying that by the faith of the Christians he would overcome. He overcame. By that time there were so many Christians which he now elevated to positions of power. He later united the Church and State, ushering in the new era of the Holy Roman Empire, when the Roman Catholic Church wielded so much power and influence.

By the year 476 AD, due to the constant invasions of Barbaric tribes, the mighty Roman Empire dismembered into ten provinces. This region of the world continues to exist today as Western and mainland Europe. As was foretold in prophecy, some nations of Europe are stronger and others weaker. Various attempts have been made to integrate the region into a single force but the weak have remained weaker and the strong stronger. Today there is the European Union whose membership over time has been fluctuating, with some countries leaving and others joining in. But, whatever political changes occur, prophetically we know that at the time of the Second Advent of Christ this will be the key political system God will deal with to give way to the coming and establishment of the Kingdom of God. This kingdom will live and abide forever!

When Daniel finished explaining the vision, Nebuchadnezzar was so amazed that he worshipped him.

46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Was Nebuchadnezzar’s confession of saying to Daniel that “of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods” constitute having the true revelation of Yahweh the God of the Jews? Not so. Although astonished and so amazed that he worshipped Daniel, with regards to having a true revelation of the Godhead, he was ignorant. His pagan tendencies continue to manifest as you read on the chapters that follow in the book. The very act of Nebuchadnezzar bowing down to worship and offer oblations to Daniel show how pagan he was. He was so pagan, and also so engrossed in political power, that Daniel must have never felt it necessary to restrain him from offering his vain oblations.

After this incident Daniel was promoted to a high position of authority. He also secured some positions for his three friends.

48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

Now, as we come to the end of Chapter 2, let us look at one interesting matter. Nebuchadnezzar had been told, “thou saw ‘a great image’”, God has “made thee ruler over people”, and “Thou art this head of gold!” The next thing we read in Daniel Chapter 3 is, Nebuchadnezzar “made an image of gold.” This event brought a persecution on the three friends of. A  question of interest is, Where was Daniel during this persecution? Did he compromise by bowing and worshipping the idol also? Certainly not as throughout the book Daniel is a fearless man of faith and integrity. The answer much likely lies in the last eight words of Chapter 2:

49Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Next:

Daniel Chapter 3


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Daniel Chapter 1

Introduction

Chapter one of the book of Daniel, consisting of 21 verses, recounts  how Daniel and his three friends, Mishael, Hannania and Azariah found themselves as captives in Babylon. Today you may not see this place called Babylon on the world map because over time names of places and political activities change. However, we know that Babylon used to be in that region of the world we know today as Iraq. In ancient times the Greeks called the region Mesopotamia. The term means “between the rivers.” As shown on the map below the two rivers were Euphrates and Tigris. The region was also known by other people as the land of Shinar.

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The term “Fertile Crescent” is also used to describe Mesopotamia. This term is a good description of what the land actually was. The region used to experience the flooding of the two rivers.  The flood waters caused rich clay soil to be deposited around the area causing it to become fertile and a great attraction for agriculture. It is because of this that this region always attracted invaders and immigrants. But one time there arose a powerful ruler in this region who managed to overcome the nearby small nations and brought them under his control. The nation of the Jews was not spared in these conquests of Babylon.

Babylon (see map above) was a city situated on the Euphrates River. However, its power extended around much of the Mesopotamian region.   When Daniel and his three friends found themselves among captives taken to this power-centre of the then world, they were fortunate to find themselves among the chosen few to be trained in science, administration and linguistics of Babylon. This was both a blessing and a temptation. In the end their faith triumphed and this opened a door to closer acquaintance and favour with the mighty king.

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim”

The book of Daniel opens with these words:

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

Critics have found fault with facts presented in this verse. They have argued that Daniel 1:1 clearly contradicts Jeremiah 25:1. Daniel 1:1 states that “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” This is different from the record of Jeremiah 25:1 (which they regard as an authentic historical writing) which states, “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah,  that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” On this basis Daniel is dismissed as being erroneous in its narration of historical events. But, as shown in what shortly follows, this is a case of being obsessed with trying to find error where there is none. A simple consideration of some facts reveals  no contradiction between Jeremiah’s record and Daniel’s.

Consider this simple illustration of two persons, X living in Zambia, and another, Y, in the Philippines, communicating by telephone:

Person X picks up the phone and calls Y to inform him about an incident. At the end of their conversation X notes in his diary that the communication with Y happened at 9 AM. Y on the other end recorded that the communication occured at 3 PM. Many years later someone wants to verify this incident and concludes that the record of Y is unreliable because of the discrepancy of the stated time!

It is not difficult to see the stupid mistake the investigator makes in the above simple illustration. His investigation is only based on the written details of 3 Am and 9 PM without considering the factor of the time difference that separates persons X and Y. The similar error is what has been made by Daniel’s critics. Let me explain.

An important note to be aware of is that at the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Judah was under the control of Pharao-nechoh of Egypt.

Meso
Statuette, likely of Pharao-nechoh, in the Brooklyn Museum
Picture credit: Keith Schengili-Roberts

It is this Egyptian king who actually put Jehoiakim into power, as his vassal ruler over Judah (2 Kings 23:34-35). It was in the third year of Jehoiakim that Nebuchadnezzar went from Babylon. This was during (but towards the ending of) the third year of Jehoiakim. Before he could reach Jerusalem he was engaged in a war with Pharao-nechoh (recorded in Jeremiah 46:2). By this time Jehoiakim was in his fourth year. After overcoming Pharao-nechoh Nebuchadnezzar proceeded to lay siege of Jerusalem. Thus, to Jeremiah, living in Jerusalem, the Babylonian king came in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. An interesting thing to note is that Daniel actually used the word “went” in Daniel 1:1. The English translation of the King James Version Bible used the word “came”. In Hebrew the word used is “bowhich also means to “go”. This is more correct as it is only natural for Daniel, living in Babylon at the time he wrote his record . So, for Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar went (i.e. left Babylon). But for Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar came (i.e. into Jerusalem).

The sins of Israel

During the reign of Josiah, there was so much hope that Jews would return to the faith of their forefathers. Previously the nation had degenerated into idol worship. So terrible was the situation that even worship vessels of a pagan god Baal had found themselves in the Jewish temple. During the reign of the young king, Josiah, upon reading words out of the book of the Law which had been lost but was now found, he instituted aggressive reforms to restore people back to true worship: “the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven (2 Kings 23:4-5). The record of Kings states that “unto him [Josiah] was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart” (2 Kings 23:25).

 

Sadly, however, Josiah’s reforms were only short-lived. He reigned for 31 years. After his death his son Jehoahaz was made king. This king’s manner of ruling was so different from his father. He was evil. He only ruled for three months and it was that time when Pharao-nechoh dethroned him, putting the other son of Josiah, Eliakim, to rule instead. Pharao-nechoh changed the name of Eliakim to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim was equally evil and never regarded the Word of God. He ruled as a vassal king for the  Pharao-nechoh.

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, as was foretold by Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 25), Nebuchadnezzar, overcame Pharao-nechoh and proceeded to besiege Jerusalem. Daniel recorded the unfortunate events that had transpired:

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Yes, God had delivered His people into the hands of a Gentile ruler. This event should teach us one important thing concerning our relationship with God. God chose Israel not because they were a superior race. Neither did He choose the nation out of mere favouritism. Times and again, when they broke His covenant, He let the Gentile nations have an upper hand over them. At this point we read in Daniel God even let the Babylonian king get the vessels of the temple. See, no matter how consecrated those vessels were, they became vain when people’s hearts were not consecrated. More important to God was the vessel of people’s hearts. God’s holiness is not preserved in man-made objects but in the heart of man. When man’s heart becomes full of iniquity, the vessels he can use for worship, such as musical instruments or other forms of vessels, become vain.  Like Paul admonishes, “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim.2:19).

Now, no matter how iniquity may flourish, there are always God’s people somewhere who stand for what is right. When judgement occurs, God always protects them. This is what happened to Daniel, Mishael, Azariah and Hananiah:

3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;

4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

In these verses we see the political strategy Nebuchadnezzar may have been using to effectively subdue kingdoms. From the defeated kingdoms he selected young intelligent men who could be educated into the sciences and business administration of Babylonian affairs. As we see in next chapters of the book, he used these men to rule over various regions of his immense empire. During their training these men were to be well taken of.

5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

Being young people it should have been easy to re-school them. Scholars have said Daniel and his three friends must have been teenagers when they were taken into Babylon. And being insulated away from the daily struggles of a typical captive, it should have been easy to buy their loyalty. But it wasn’t so; the devoutness of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah was both sincere and firm. Sincere, because even when they were in a different environment, far away from that of fellow believers, they still lived faithfully before God. This is not so with many people: there are many who do not sin not because of true righteousness of heart but because there is simply no opportunity of being in an environment which is away from people who could catch them in acts of sin. But as for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, they were so firm and consistent in their faith that even when their names were changed to that of pagan gods – Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, respectively – they did not change their true identity of faith in Yahweh:

6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Living in Babylon was quite unpredictable for the four men. At one time its celebration and at another anxiety of who is about to be killed.

First test of faith

Faith is not faith until it is tested (cf. James 1:2-4). With every blessing that comes there is also a test in disguise in waiting. Many people often get so excited at the blessing that they lose sight to see the test. Here was Daniel and his friends experiencing a rare privilege. Despite having lived at a time when many Jews were so compromised in their faith, the four young men had lived faithfully. After the Babylonian invasion, there are many Jews who remained to suffer the consequences of the besiege in Jerusalem as others were taken into captivity. But as for the four young men, it seemed such a great reward of their faith to have been specially chosen to study in the special school of Nebuchadnezzar. Now, that blessing came with being served Gentile meats and wines. These were forbidden for the Jews. But wasn’t this an extension of the blessings they were already experiencing? Had God not permitted it? Not so. Many times there is a thin line between truth and error; between integrity and compromise. It takes a discerning eye to see where the streak of light has ended and darkness has begun. It is for this reason that Saint Paul admonished believers saying, “ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh” (Galatians 5:13). Sadly, many Christians today – in the manner of their conduct, worship, singing, and dressing – have gone past grace into disgrace! This was not so with Daniel and his three friends, they purposed to never defile themselves:

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Fortunately, Daniel must have had a gentle and likable demeanour which made him fall in favour with the prince of the eunuchs, charged to look after the affairs of the students:

9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

However, the ‘odd’ behaviour of abstaining from delicious foods worried the prince. If they looked frail before the king, he would be in trouble for not having sufficiently taken care of them. Babylon was not like modern democratic societies where human rights take centre-stage; such a negligence of duty would carry an ugly death-penalty of cutting off one’s head. The prince of the eunuchs expressed his concern:

10…I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

Daniel and the three friends believed that their abstinence wasn’t a mere religious ritual to an imaginary god. They served a living God who would protect and guard them against danger. They believed that even if they ate vegetables and only drunk water, Yahweh’s favour would be on them to retain their countenances. They requested that they be tested with a simple diet for ten days after which they should be examined. This was done and at the end of the days, their faith triumphed!

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

Soon afterwards Daniel’s life and that of his friends would soon dramatically change, from being Jewish captives to rulers.

Daniel’s beginning to rise to power

During their three years of study Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah excelled in their studies. God endowed them with knowledge and skill of understanding. Daniel had a special gift of seeing visions and dreams:

17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

At the end of their three years course, the four men came out distinct, ten times better than all other students. Daniel and his friends were wiser than the astrologers, sorcerers, and soothsayers of Babylon. These were famed careers in Babylon. People who rose to such ranks were called Wise Men. Babylon had its set standards of education to qualify people into this rank. However, God had his standard of judging. He equipped Daniel and his friends with so much wisdom, bringing them in favour with the Babylonian king.

18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.

20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

As later events show in the book, it was God’s will for Daniel to rise to high positions of power over the provinces of Babylon. His prophecies became so renowned and revered in that region of the world.  Hundreds of years later some Wise Men saw a star which was a sign of the coming of Him who would rule the world according to the prophecies of Daniel. They travelled to Jerusalem to witness the long foretold prophecy. If only Jews had paid a little attention to the prophecies of Daniel they would have known the time of the coming of their long-awaited messiah.

Daniel lived up to the first year of King Cyrus but his prophecies went on getting fulfilled:

21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

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Next: Daniel Chapter 2

 

Notes on Daniel

Foreword

The prophecies of Daniel are so precise and accurate in fulfilment. He foretold the rise of four world empires beginning with one which reigned in his time, Babylon, and then the second of Persia. His visions about the third empire of Greece contained astounding details of how the Grecian empire would eventually divide under four heads following the death of its great ruler. Today who doesn’t know about Alexander the Great and the four great generals – Seleucus, Cassander, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus – who rose after him?

One of the prophecies in Daniel went so far as telling the details of how out of one of the four kingdoms, a ruler would rise who would prevail over the land of the Jews and desecrate their temple. Again, as any student of history is aware, it was out of the Seleucid dynasty that an evil ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, rose. He thought himself to be the manifestation of God and desecrated the Jewish temple exactly as had been foretold. What is even more intriguing is the fact that the period of his persecutions and desolations of the Jews tarries with what had been specified in the prophecy, 2300 days! Numbers do not lie and are never biased. One may expect that such evidence of fulfilment of particular details of prophecy would easily turn critics into believers. However, the contrary often happens. With regards to Daniel, men arose to seek for errors in the details of the book.

The following are some well known arguments used to discredit the book (some worthwhile, and others, plainly ridiculous arguments):

  1. Daniel 1:1 contradicts Jeremiah 25:1. In Daniel 1:1 we are told that “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it”. In Jeremiah 25:1, “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” Here the critic respects the record of Jeremiah’s “fourth year” to be authentic, and dismisses Daniel’s “third year” to be erroneous. So, it is concluded, Daniel has his history wrong and is therefore not reliable.
  1. Belshazzar” is a name only found in the book of Daniel. It is nowhere found in secular records of history. Therefore, there was never a king in Babylon by that name. It was only a figment of Daniel’s imagination. Thus, the book of Daniel is a forgery, a fake!
  1. The book of Daniel has some portions written in Hebrew (starting from Daniel 1:1 to 2:3), and others (remaining chapters) in the Babylonian language, Aramaic. Then there are some portions written in Greek, and that’s where the problem is spotted. How could Daniel, having only lived during the time of the Babylonian empire, and in the early years of the Medo-Persian empire, have written words in a language that was unknown in his region then? The Greeks only overcame Persia much later, way after the supposed Daniel was no longer alive. This controversy made critics to suggest that the author of the book of Daniel lived at a time when the supposed prophecies had already fulfilled, during the Maccabean period.

I hope and trust that “Notes on Daniel: a verse-by-verse exposition” will not only give you  answers to the sceptics’ challenges outlined above, but will inspire your faith, not only in its authenticity, but its mind-blowing precise prophetic predictions. Furthermore, apart from prophecies, the book of Daniel contains rich lessons for how believers ought to live and conduct their lives. The temptations Daniel, Mishael, Azariah and Hannania went through encourages us to always remember that no matter what situations the power of man or the world may put us in, God is ultimately our righteous judge. And that is actually what the name “Daniel” means – “God is my judge.” He judges righteously and He vindicates His people. More importantly the book reveals that a time is coming when God won’t just vindicate isolated incidents of individual believers but will judge the world and do away with kingdoms of men. That actually forms the principal message of the book – political systems of mankind will one day fall, and the everlasting kingdom of God shall come and be established on Earth – “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan.7:27).

In His Service,

Andrew C. Phiri


Next in the series: Daniel Chapter 1