Sunday, March 24, 2013

Print Page Daniel: When was it written?

Introduction

Daniel is probably the most debated book of the Bible. If Daniel is really written by Daniel before 530 B.C. it gives exceedingly great evidence that the Bible is a supernatural book that can be trusted. For example Daniel 11 gives really detailed information on 200 years worth of wars between Egypt and Syria which start 200 years after the book was written! The late Bruce Metzger who is a big name behind the modern Bible versions is one of many liberals that deny that Daniel really wrote the book or that it was even written around 530 B.C. They instead claim a date of around 167 B.C. which of course takes place after the fulfilled prophecies.

General Overview of Daniel

Hundreds of years after after the 2 kingdoms, Israel and Judah, split (1 Kings 12:20) Babylon started to become a super power. The northern kingdom of Israel already had fallen to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17). Then the Assyrians where conquered by Babylon. As a part of royalty in Judah Daniel was taken into captivity as a teenager in 605 B.C. by the Babylonians (Daniel 1:3-4). He lived until about the age of 85 in Jerusalem. Daniel's writing takes place during the reign of 2 Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar 605-562 B.C. and Belshazzar 553-539 B.C. It also covers the first years of  Persian rulers Darius and Cyrus.

Biblical Evidence

Daniel claims he wrote Daniel.

Daniel 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

Daniel 8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Daniel 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

Daniel 10:7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

Daniel 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

Ezekiel mentions Daniel.

Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

Ezekiel 28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

 Jesus attributes the book to Daniel.

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mark 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:


The Dead Seas Scrolls

The Dead Seas scrolls are from the community of Qumran. They split from the rest of Judiasm between 171 and 167 B.C. which is right before the time the critics claim the book was written. Because of this it is telling that there are 8 manuscripts containing Daniel. This is a high number for a single book of the Bible. A large acceptance of a book would be really odd if Daniel was written at the time of the split. One manuscript 4QDanc is dated 165 B.C. or later. The manuscripts have parts of all chapter of Daniel except 12. There is a reference to Daniel 12 though in 4QFlorilegium. 4QFlorilegium supports the early canonicity of Daniel by stating "which written in the book of Daniel the prophet".


Additional Evidence

The first century Jewish historian Josephus in Againt Apion 1.8 mentions the number of prophets which Daniel would have been a part of.

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament called the Septuagint contains Daniel. Some believe it was being written around the 3rd century B.C.

Melito, Bishop of Sardis, listed Daniel as a prophet in 70 A.D.

Other Arguments by Liberals

Liberals throw out other arguments that have been refuted later on by archaeology.  For example they questioned the leadership of Belshazzar. Archaeological discoveries proved the liberals wrong. I won't go into the other arguments further. I don't espouse everything on the site but you can read more in-depth arguments to common arguments here.

Conclusion

As shown there are mountains of evidence that Daniel was written early and by Daniel. Jesus himself claimed such. We can either believe the words of Jesus or the words of men like Bruce Metzger. If you put your trust in Jesus you'll never be let down. If you put your trust in man you will certainly be disappointed.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Print Page 1 Kings 12-15 Jeroboam

There are important lessons that can be learned from the life of Jeroboam, son of Nebat (1 Kings 11:26). Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam after he found out he was going to become king of 10 out of the 12 tribes (1 Kings 11:27-33, 1 Kings 11:40). Solomon angered God by having multiple wives and setting up places of worship to false gods (1 Kings 11:1-11).

Before the death of Solomon, Jeroboam hid in Egypt (1 Kings 11:40). When Solomon died of natural causes in 931 B.C. Solomon's son Rehoboam took over the throne in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:43).  In 933 B.C Jeroboam started his kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 12:20). He reigned over the northern 10 tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephriam and Manasseh. Rehoboam ruled over Judah containing the 2 southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The tribe of Levi were scattered between both kingdoms but mainly in Judah.

Jeoboam was very pragmatic and willing to compromise. He setup places of worship in both Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:29). He appeased the people by settings up golden calves just as Aaron had many years before (Exodus 32:4). He feared if he didn't do these things the people would go to Jerusalem to worship and turn on him (1 Kings 12:26-27). Instead of using the priests of Levi as God had commanded (Numbers 3:10) he used people not qualified to be priests (1 Kings 12:31). Jeroboam even went as far creating his own feast in response to the feast of Tabernacles (1 Kings 12:32-33).

We conclude with how this applies to us today. Like Jeoboam many self professing Christians are willing to compromise. As Sorenson put it in his Understanding the Bible commentary:

Here is a classic illustration of false religion. It was politically motivated and counterfeited the true. Many religions to this day have the same characteristics.
Some churches now take pagan practices such as yoga and contemplative prayer and mix that with their Christianity. Others turn worship into a rock concert where fleshly emotions trump sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3). Some churches have homosexuals or women as pastors. Instead churches need to adhere to sound doctrine (2 Timothy 2:4, Titus 1:9. Titus 2:1). We need to be prepared to give an answer to those that ask (1 Peter 3:15). We need to make sure we are not a lukewarm church that God wants to spew out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16).


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Print Page Strange Women or Strange Things?

I was listening to a sermon that involved Proverbs 23:33. The verse mentions that a man who is drunk shall behold strange women (Proverbs 23:31,33). I was surprised that my King James Study Bible by Thomas Nelson not only once but twice tried to "correct" the King James Bible. Thomas Nelson isn't really known for being conservative but this slightly older study bible doesn't usually go around "correcting" the King James Bible. In my Study Bible both the center column and the commentary at the bottom of the page states that strange women should really say strange things.

Strange women was the translation used by all older translations until Wescott and Hort came along.:

King James  - Proverbs 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Darby  - Proverbs 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thy heart shall speak froward things;
 
Geneva - Proverbs 23:33  Thine eyes shall looke vpon strange women, and thine heart shall speake lewde things.

Bishops - Proverbs 23:33  Thyne eyes shall beholde straunge women, and thyne heart shall vtter lewde thinges:

The 1901 ASV and every modern translation after that has decided to translate the Hebrew word zoor as strange things. The Hebrew word can mean both strange things or strange women. Given the context and the long history of translating the verse the proper translation is strange women. Sadly even the NKJV gets the translation wrong. This is just more evidence that the NKJV is not just an update to the KJV.

As person who lived a number of years as an unbeliever I did my share of drinking. Never did I see strange things while drunk. You see strange things if you are taking hallucinogenic drugs. When a man is drunk though he is inclined to be attracted to women who he should be avoiding. As Sorenson put so well in his Understanding the Bible commentary:

When intoxicated, moral inhibitions evaporate. Men and women who would normally shun adultery or fornication often succumb to such behavior when intoxicated. More adultery and fornication have taken place under the influence of alcohol than any other condition. The devil knows that and endlessly promotes alcoholic beverages. Moreover, verbal filth, profanities, obscenities, and stupidity flow from the lips of a drunk. Truly, out of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Alcohol removes the discretion and reservation which keeps the filth and ugliness of the human heart in check. When one is drunk, it all comes out.
The Geneva Bible commentary put it this way:

That is, drunkenness will bring you to whoredom.
This is another example of men elevating themselves above the word of God. There are so many translations out there because there are men and women that think they can do a better job of giving us the Word of God. We need to humble ourselves and submit to the Bible, not make the Bible submit to us (James 4:6-7).