Sunday, May 23, 2010

260: Gabriel

Daniel 7-9
"While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill - while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice." - Daniel 9:20-21

Daniel does a lot of dreaming today. His first dream is about four beasts. The first beast is a winged lion. As the lion nears Daniel it's wings are ripped off and it stands on it's back legs like a person. The second beast is a bear with three ribs in it's mouth. The next beast is a four headed four winged leopard. The final beast has iron teeth and ten horns. The bible doesn't say whether it takes the form of an animal. As Daniel watches one of the horns pops off the head of the last beast and starts talking to him.

Instead of saying "what a strange dream" Daniel finds the need to interpret it. How he figures out the interpretation is a little vague and strange. The bible says Daniel "approached one of those standing there" and asked him to interpret his vision. Approached one of what standing where? The mystery person/thing he's consulting tells him that the dream means there will be four kingdoms. The bible doesn't mention the interpretation of the lion's wings being ripped off or the bear with ribs in his mouth.

The next chapter is about a vision. In this vision Daniel sees a ram. This is, for once, a fairly unremarkable creature. The next thing Daniel sees is a goat with a prominent horn coming from between it's eyes. So it's a unicorn goat? This goat flies across the land and mauls the ram.

As soon as he sees this vision a man appears before him. Daniel hears a mysterious voice saying "Gabriel, tell his man the meaning of the vision". The angel Gabriel tells Daniel that the ram represents Media and Persia, and the goat represents Greece. Gabriel then tells Daniel to put these visions out of his mind because they are about the distant future. What was the point of getting these visions if they're irrelevant to him?

In chapter 9 Daniel prays for the forgiveness of Israel's many sins. As soon as he is done praying the angel Gabriel returns and gives him some "insight". Gabriel lays out seventy "sevens" (aka weeks) to atone for Israel's wickedness. There will be seven weeks between God issuing the order to rebuild Jerusalem and the anointed one coming. Sixty-two weeks later Jerusalem will be completed. In the final week the anointed one will be cut off from the people. This will precipitate the "end". The end of the world? The bible never explains who the "anointed one" is.

A high school tennis player from Middletown, OH has been disqualified from the tournament for refusing to play on Saturday. What could have prevented this high schooler from fulfilling his dream and seeking success? Religion!
But, because of his faith — he’s a Seventh-day Adventist — Franklin High School junior Stefan Mangroo and his doubles partner, senior Cody Buffenbarger, were disqualified from the semifinals. They refused to play on Saturday, Mangroo’s Sabbath, thus ending their postseason dreams.
Not only did this prevent him from competing, but his partner also had to drop out. His partner was supportive of this decision. That's certainly not the reaction I would have. Surely they could have figured out when the tournament would be held and avoided this whole fiasco. I hope they didn't expect the entire league to reschedule the event just because God would be offended if he had fun on the sabbath.
Mangroo said his religion restricts his activities between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. That means no Friday night football games, no Saturday afternoon matinees.
I can't help but feel sorry for people who are born into this brand of Christianity. I thought only having two weekend days was bad. As a side note, I thought only work was forbidden on the sabbath. You're not allowed to play sports or watch movies either? Are they making themselves miserable on purpose?


  1. "I can't help but feel sorry for people who are born into this brand of Christianity." Yup, that's me, born, raised and educated SDA. I hated Saturdays though we did go on alot of family hikes. I see first hand my nieces and nephews being put through the same thing and it makes me very sad. That would be bad enough but the education in young earth creationism is a crime.

    I'm enjoying your biblical commentary immensely, thanks.

  2. You missed something important:
    " 13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

    This is a basis for a lot of the eschatological blather one finds in the NT.

    Also, "the anointed one" (or "an anointed one") is the same word as "messiah" or "christ."

  3. Kudos to you for sticking with this blog and your goal to read the whole Bible! I was only reading your summaries and I stopped some time ago. I've been thinking of reading again - if I can just figure out where I left off.

    Anyway, keep up the great work!



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