Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
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16-06-2015, 11:28 AM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 10:58 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  They should be told that omen-reading was forbidden in Hebrew culture, .... until it wasn't, very late in their history.

I've read/heard that too before. But like you said, it wasn't more accepted, I guess, until much later in history...like in the later parts of the prophets...like about Tyre's destruction (which never happened as in the prophecy), stuff in Daniel, etc. So I think that's a valid point to show this would be an internal Hebrew Bible contradiction to have predictive type of prophecy in the Bible. But nonetheless, I think there still are some clear predictive prophecies in the Bible like in Daniel (well, supposed "predictive prophecies")...which are good to expose in that they were clearly before-the-event "prophecies."
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16-06-2015, 11:30 AM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 09:54 AM)Learner Wrote:  ---
Well, I do take "prophecy" seriously...in a sense...not that it's possible to see the future, but I "take prophecy seriously" in the sense that my friends and family members who are still Christians take it seriously, and so I take it seriously from a historical-critical point of view to show errors in prophecy, contradictions in the Bible, etc, etc. So far in discussions with my friends, I've had a lot more useful and non-offensive discussion when discussing some points from historical-criticism with them rather than just saying, "Ah, Bible prophecy is just a bunch of bullshitting." Some atheists blow off the Bible because it's a man-made book like anything else, but I continue to find the Bible interesting to read and better understand it as a prejudiced, contradictory, fallible human book...and find it freeing and refreshing coming out of Christianity as I see it more in this light, especially coming out of fundamentalist Christianity.

I have observed that for some, becoming "deeply interested" in certain aspects of one's former belief can be a crucial part of the de-conversion process. I guess it's understandable but also, it can become somewhat obsessive to the point of depression.

It's good you have a clear idea of what you are getting out of this fascination, Learner. As one who was never indoctrinated or believed, I also find the beliefs of others fascinating.

Personally, I've never, ever ruminated too much on the historical accuracy of opinion ... I don't care how many times it's been written down & rewritten. Tell a lie enough times and everyone will start believing it out of habit and even contribute to it, in order to justify it.
***

The thing is, there will always be others who have moved beyond or see a previous "fascination" from a different view. Many of us forget our baby steps once we start running or climbing- it's natural.

I think the comments like "it's all bullshit" come from either a life of little to no religious oppression or possibly even one's own long, difficult struggle out of it. The comments are here (and remain) to remind all that everyone's view is trying to get to the truth ... whatever that may be at any particular time.

It's ok to look back as long as it takes you forward.

Levity is a thing, too ... and just as valid as any obessive detail. Learning is learning, right? It's all good. Wink

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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16-06-2015, 11:38 AM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 09:36 AM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  In real history, however, the Islamic and Ottoman Empires falsified Daniel's prophecy because they succeeded Rome and likewise occupied Judah and Jerusalem. In fact, they were much larger and lasted far longer than the Babylonian Empire of his prophecy. (Sandoval, Failure of Daniel's Prophesies, 2007)

tonechaser77, I also really appreciated this point in that article. It's an obvious fact of history that the kingdom of God did NOT come to destroy the Roman kingdom OR at the end of the Roman kingdom...so for fundamentalists who see the 4th beast as Roman, that's a glaring issue. I think they try to say the 10 kingdoms that split from Rome somehow continue in some form until this day. Facepalm They're totally not understanding the context of the prophecy...and their reasoning is totally ludicrous.

But all of this question is backing up my understanding of Daniel 11 (the secular historian view). The thing that gets me about this chapter is how some Christians will even admit the death of Antiochus in reality was nothing like what was predicted in Daniel 11...but then they pull the ridiculous idea out of their ass that "oh, but that's because someday there'll be some antichrist greater than Antiochus that this is really pointing to." That's absolutely stupid and a massive cop-out...whenever any prophecy about a person doesn't measure up, instead of seeing an obvious contradiction, they just say "Well, it's pointing to the greater antichrist who'll come some day" or "Well, it's pointing to the one greater than Solomon, Jesus, who'll come some day." Facepalm It makes no sense in the context...accurate predictions of history, then WHAM glaring contradiction...but yet there are bits about Antiochus and then bits spread throughout of some future antichrist?? Um...NO.
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16-06-2015, 11:58 AM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 11:30 AM)kim Wrote:  I have observed that for some, becoming "deeply interested" in certain aspects of one's former belief can be a crucial part of the de-conversion process. I guess it's understandable but also, it can become somewhat obsessive to the point of depression.

It's good you have a clear idea of what you are getting out of this fascination, Learner. As one who was never indoctrinated or believed, I also find the beliefs of others fascinating.

Personally, I've never, ever ruminated too much on the historical accuracy of opinion ... I don't care how many times it's been written down & rewritten. Tell a lie enough times and everyone will start believing it out of habit and even contribute to it, in order to justify it.

Kim, thank you for your kind, gracious, and thoughtful words. Since my own deconversion (~1 year ago), I still have not talked in-person to any atheists or those who've deconverted. I've read stories and have "met" plenty of others online, but there's still a lot to be missed by not seeing these things personally in others. So it's interesting to hear you know of others who've had similar interests following their deconversion.

For me personally, what led to my conversion and has brought me here today has been entirely an intellectual endeavor/pursuit. The reason I keep studying the Bible, historical-criticism of the Bible, apologetics, history, etc is that I spent so long believing it and deeply entrenched in what my fundamentalist church believed...that I want to come to a reunderstanding of what the Bible actually meant in its time and context. A lot of this has simply been to see the errors and contradictions and stuff. I have so many friends and family still that are Christians, and I've wanted to be able to tell them exactly what the problems are that I see with the Bible...and defensible reasons that I could share with even the most studied, seminary-trained believers. I want to know why scholars differ and over what. I guess from another perspective, I follow the blog of an individual who was seminary-trained and very involved in church leadership who became an atheist later in life. He doesn't care so much to make others see exactly as he does, but I know his desire is at least for fundamentalists to learn critical thinking, and I think I'd agree with that sentiment. And the more I think about my background, the more I see the realities of different things and how silly it all was.

So some day when more of my friends/family know I'm an atheist, they'll go for the typical responses (you want to live a life of sin, you were never a christian, etc), and I'll just be ignoring the ad-hominems and pointing them to the reasons why I left. Yes, I understand not many may be convinced, yet I think of at least a couple atheists in my life who shared why they left...and that led to where I am today (eventually).

(16-06-2015 11:30 AM)kim Wrote:  The thing is, there will always be others who have moved beyond or see a previous "fascination" from a different view. Many of us forget our baby steps once we start running or climbing- it's natural.

I think the comments like "it's all bullshit" come from either a life of little to no religious oppression or possibly even one's own long, difficult struggle out of it. The comments are here (and remain) to remind all that everyone's view is trying to get to the truth ... whatever that may be at any particular time.

It's ok to look back as long as it takes you forward.

Levity is a thing, too ... and just as valid as any obessive detail. Learning is learning, right? It's all good. Wink
I do need to take things more lightly. I completely agree that others with entirely different backgrounds are very helpful to shed a different light on those things. As much as I get tired of the same type of response on several posts I've started, they are true: religion is just a bunch of bullshit. I need to hear that. With how deeply entrenched I was, I need to hear that. And while I've done lots of other study than destroying religion study (like lots of science, etc), we eventually have to start just going completely in a new and positive direction. Thanks again. Smile
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16-06-2015, 12:01 PM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 11:58 AM)Learner Wrote:  I do need to take things more lightly. I completely agree that others with entirely different backgrounds are very helpful to shed a different light on those things. As much as I get tired of the same type of response on several posts I've started, they are true: "religion is just a bunch of bullshit." I need to hear that.

Religion is just a bunch of bullshit.

Big Grin

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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16-06-2015, 12:05 PM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 12:01 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(16-06-2015 11:58 AM)Learner Wrote:  I do need to take things more lightly. I completely agree that others with entirely different backgrounds are very helpful to shed a different light on those things. As much as I get tired of the same type of response on several posts I've started, they are true: "religion is just a bunch of bullshit." I need to hear that.

Religion is just a bunch of bullshit.

Big Grin
Thank you, sincerely! Smile
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16-06-2015, 12:13 PM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 12:01 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(16-06-2015 11:58 AM)Learner Wrote:  I do need to take things more lightly. I completely agree that others with entirely different backgrounds are very helpful to shed a different light on those things. As much as I get tired of the same type of response on several posts I've started, they are true: "religion is just a bunch of bullshit." I need to hear that.

Religion is just a bunch of bullshit.

Big Grin

Oh riiiiight. Next you'll be saying Star Trek is a bunch of bullshit. Blink



Ihateeverygoddamnoneofyouatheistfucks. Dodgy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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16-06-2015, 12:39 PM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 09:36 AM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  The prophecies in the Book of Daniel all end with the destruction of Antiochus Epiphanes as punishment for his atrocities and sacrileges at the beginning of the Messianic Age. It seems as though several chapters in Daniel arrive at this conclusion through several paths though. Chapter 8 emphasizes the continuity between Media and Persia, which seems to display them as Phase 1 and Phase 2 of a single empire. Chapters 2 and 7, on the other hand, emphasize the distinction between them, treating them as two separate entities.

If you look at Chapters 2 and 7 first you can review the author's motive for this take:

In these chapters, the four successive empires are Babylonia, Media, Persia, and Greece. They are represented by the golden head, silver chest, bronze loins, and iron legs in the vision of the statue in chapter 2, and by the lion, bear, leopard, and dragon in the vision of the four beasts in chapter 7. The author's take is not factual, Persia under King Cyrus conquered Media in 550 BC before conquering Babylonia in 539 BC.

The second half of Daniel consists in four visions: the vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7, the vision of the ram and the he-goat in Daniel 8, the seventy weeks prophecy in Daniel 9, and the prophecy of the kings of the north and the south in Daniel 10-12. All four end with an antichrist figure who blasphemes God, overthrows the Jewish law, and persecutes righteous Jews for three and a half years. It seems is though this is Antiochus Epiphanes, the ruler of the main successor state of the fourth empire. The visions go on to say that God would supernaturally overthrow the king and pronounce his rule over the whole world at the appointed time of the end. The failure of this prediction demonstrates that the four purported prophecies of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabean revolt were actually written after the fact.

Daniel 2:37 says that the first empire was Babylonia. Persia is inadvertently placed as the third empire because it was conquered by the fourth, Greece, around 330/331 BC. Daniel was an official the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1,2,3,4) and his son Belshazzar (Daniel 5; 7:1; 8:1); the fictitious Median King Darius, who killed Belshazzar and took over his kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31; 6; 9:1; 11:1); and the Persian King Cyrus (Daniel 1:21; 6:28; 10:1,13,20). Therefore, Daniel's second empire has to be the Median Empire. We can get to this by process of elimination.

As you stated most fundies explain away the nonfulfillment of Daniel's predictions by stating that his four empires are Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. They assume the symbolism of the statue and the beasts fit this interpretation more naturally and straightforwardly than the critical interpretation. Actually, Daniel would still be a false prophet even if the evangelical interpretation were correct. Under this theory, the Roman Empire was to be the last world empire before Jesus' second coming, and all four were important because they controlled Judah and Jerusalem. In real history, however, the Islamic and Ottoman Empires falsified Daniel's prophecy because they succeeded Rome and likewise occupied Judah and Jerusalem. In fact, they were much larger and lasted far longer than the Babylonian Empire of his prophecy. (Sandoval, Failure of Daniel's Prophesies, 2007)

Now, If you dig a little further into the culture of Hellenistic times the literature shows that critical interpretation pictures the symbolism more straightforward. The four empires actually fall into a simpler pattern which is being listed in order of decreasing size/prevalence and increasing strength which could symbolize moral degradation from one to another. Lion, bear, leopard, and dragon. The noble lion has the wings of a noble eagle, whereas the leopard has merely the wings of an ordinary bird. The dragon is stronger and more destructive than any of the preceding beasts. Since God's eternal kingdom is of more value than any of the four earthly empires, it is fittingly enough symbolized by a human being with no unusual physical attributes (Daniel 7:13-14), and it was supposed to supplant the four empires and rule the Earth forever (Daniel 2:34-35,44-45; 7:17-18,22,26-27). The lion, bear, leopard, wolf, and jackal were the only large predators in Palestine, and the only ones mentioned in the Bible. The lion, bear, and leopard, the most dangerous of the lot, were the only beasts mentioned by the prophet Hosea in his poetic accounts of attacks by wild animals (Hosea 13:7-8--cf. 1 Samuel 17:34-37; Proverbs 28:15; Isaiah 11:7; Jeremiah 5:6; Lamentations 3:10; Amos 5:19); these are the same beasts that appear in Daniel's vision. (Sandoval, 2007)

Sandoval has another article on the secular web that continues this conversation:
The Greek Four-Empire Scheme
The Origin of "Darius the Mede"
Was "Darius" an Alias?
Mixed Messages
The Brutality of the Fourth Empire
The Diadochi
The Maccabean War
The Traditional Christian Interpretation of the Seventy Weeks
The Dispensationalist Christian Interpretation of the Seventy Weeks
The Unfulfilled Predictions
Religious Forgeries
Evangelical Damage Control

Here is the link: The failure of Danie's Prophesies

I think it was Daniel's rambling about bears that led Hal Lindsey to write in The Late, Great planet Earth that Russia was going to invade Israel and bring about Armageddon.

When the Berlin Wall fell, I knew Lindsey was full of shit, I knew about all of these self-appointed biblical prophets were full of it. None of them predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, but they tried to make it sound like they did.

That's when I hit the off button on all of them....

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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16-06-2015, 12:44 PM (This post was last modified: 16-06-2015 01:02 PM by Tonechaser77.)
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
(16-06-2015 11:38 AM)Learner Wrote:  
(16-06-2015 09:36 AM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  In real history, however, the Islamic and Ottoman Empires falsified Daniel's prophecy because they succeeded Rome and likewise occupied Judah and Jerusalem. In fact, they were much larger and lasted far longer than the Babylonian Empire of his prophecy. (Sandoval, Failure of Daniel's Prophesies, 2007)

tonechaser77, I also really appreciated this point in that article. It's an obvious fact of history that the kingdom of God did NOT come to destroy the Roman kingdom OR at the end of the Roman kingdom...so for fundamentalists who see the 4th beast as Roman, that's a glaring issue. I think they try to say the 10 kingdoms that split from Rome somehow continue in some form until this day. Facepalm They're totally not understanding the context of the prophecy...and their reasoning is totally ludicrous.

But all of this question is backing up my understanding of Daniel 11 (the secular historian view). The thing that gets me about this chapter is how some Christians will even admit the death of Antiochus in reality was nothing like what was predicted in Daniel 11...but then they pull the ridiculous idea out of their ass that "oh, but that's because someday there'll be some antichrist greater than Antiochus that this is really pointing to." That's absolutely stupid and a massive cop-out...whenever any prophecy about a person doesn't measure up, instead of seeing an obvious contradiction, they just say "Well, it's pointing to the greater antichrist who'll come some day" or "Well, it's pointing to the one greater than Solomon, Jesus, who'll come some day." Facepalm It makes no sense in the context...accurate predictions of history, then WHAM glaring contradiction...but yet there are bits about Antiochus and then bits spread throughout of some future antichrist?? Um...NO.

Yes, and this ties directly into the link that Bucky posted earlier as well. Those fundies simply do not understand how prophecy was supposed to work. It's easy to get bogged down in all the details and explain every nuance while ignoring the 10,000 foot view of the writer's day and time: Simply "The ancient role of a prophet in Hebrew culture was to interpret the words or will of their god to the people of their day. Christians today take those prophesies and make them esoteric by attempting to smuggle in some ridiculous hidden meaning given by the holy spirit which completely degrades their original intent.

**Crickets** -- God
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16-06-2015, 01:05 PM
RE: Daniel's vision of four beasts (Daniel 7)
I think a good Bible Commentary book written by scholars is a good way to decipher the more difficult passages in the Bible. I use the IVP Bible Background Commentary by Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas. They are Christian scholars--but they do not deviate from facts and go into woo territory.

In the Bible Commentary, they mention the Shumma Izbu (circa 400 BCE -200 BCE)--which is a Babylonian omen series. It is thought by some scholars that this is where Daniel got his "ideas" about creatures with multiple heads/horns etc. The Shumma Izbu "omens" would use birth abnormalities in sheep or goats as a way to predict upcoming events. Beast imagery is also found in Akkadian literature and symbols of animals with wings were common in Persia, Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Babylon at this time. The point is, Daniel's dream imagery was not so far off or unique from the cultures all around him.

I also really like Bart Ehrman's The Bible a Historic and Literary Introduction. Ehrman mentions the first beast is Babylon, second-Media, third-Persia, and fourth --Greece. The little horn is Antiochus and the ten horns are the kings of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty. Why horns? According to the Bible Commentary, this was common practice for Mesopotamian kings or gods to wear crowns with horns on them.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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