Friday, August 31, 2012

Daniel and Revelation in a Nutshell

Every historical line of prophecy in Daniel and Revelation reaches the same climax, the making up of God's kingdom. The second coming of Jesus is not the focus, for the kingdom is made up before Jesus returns. The emphasis of these two great apocalyptic books is the work that Jesus is doing in making up His kingdom right now. Listen as we capture the highlights of Daniel and Revelation in a talk I gave this summer at the Northeast Washington Campmeeting near Republic, Washington.

Listen to the podcast

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Biblical Church Leadership

Here's a presentation I gave a couple years ago. It has to do with the Biblical role of a minister. The word "pastor" is only found once in the New Testament, and it's probably in reference to local church personnel rather than to professional ministers. View the presentation

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chronological Inaccuracies in the 1850 Chart

Edited March 12, 2014

#1:  677 BC – “Israel carried captive, 1 Chron. 33:11”

Here the brief captivity of Manasseh, king of Judah, was selected as a prophetic marker for the commencement of Israel's punishment as foretold in Leviticus 26:18. Evidently the earlier complete disintegration of the northern ten tribes of Israel was not considered significant enough to qualify. The theory goes that since Israel had already been taken captive, the personal captivity of Manasseh represented the punishment of the whole of God’s people, even though this was decades before the start of the seventy years of captivity designated to Judah by Jeremiah.

So, when did the event of 1 Chronicles 33:11 take place? No Assyrian or Babylonian records mention it. The Bible itself gives no clues for dating it. Bishop Ussher's assignment of this event to the year 677 seems to be based on questionable rabbinical tradition (Aggadah) that placed Manasseh's captivity in the 22nd year of his reign.

Edwin R. Thiele, in his well-recognized work, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, concluded by counting back from the death of Josiah that Manasseh's reign commenced in 697/696 BC. The 22nd year of his reign would then be 676/675 by inclusive reckoning. So even if the rabbinical tradition is correct, the earliest possible date for Manasseh's captivity is 676 BC. Thiele's is the most widely accepted chronology among Old Testament scholars.

#2:  538 BC – “Ancient Babylon overthrown”

The actual date was October 12, 539 BC. (C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares, vol. 1, p. 75)

#3:  332 BC – “Alexander overcame Persia”

Below are listed the key victories of Alexander over the Persians:

The Battle of the Granicus River in May 334 BC
The Battle of Issus in November 333 BC
The Battle of Gaugamela, also known as the Battle of Arbela, in 331 BC. This battle of 331 BC was the decisive victory from which we date the overthrow of the Persian empire by Alexander.

#4:  158 BC – “Time of the league between the Jews & Romans”

The date I consistently found for this league from secular sources is 161 BC. See also Uriah Smith’s comments on Daniel 11:23 in his book, Daniel and the Revelation.

The date 158 BC came from William Miller’s view of “the daily,” which was tied to his understanding of the number 666. William Miller believed the number 666 to represent the number of years during which Roman paganism dominated God’s people. Believing “the daily” to be paganism, he arrived at 158 BC by subtracting 508 (see on AD 508 below) from 666. From a historical standpoint, the year 158 BC brought no event that was significant to Bible prophecy.

#5:  AD 490 – “Ten Horns arose”

The Alemanni, Suevi, Visigoths, Vandals, Franks, Burgundians, Anglo-Saxons, Ostrogoths, and Heruli were all operating as independent kingdoms within the territory of the Roman empire by AD 476. I could find no significance to the date 490 in relation to the rise of the ten horns.

#6:  AD 508 – “Pagan dominion taken away”

Nothing historically happened in AD 508 to take away pagan dominion. The last pagan emperor, Julian the Apostate, died in AD 363. Paganism was permanently outlawed in the empire by Emperor Theodosius I. During his reign (379-395) he banned pagan sacrifices, criminalized magistrates who did not enforce anti-pagan laws, destroyed pagan temples, forbade visits to any remaining pagan temples, abolished the remaining pagan holidays, extinguished the eternal fire in the temple of Vesta, disbanded the Vestal virgins, punished witchcraft, and prohibited any pagan ritual, even within the privacy of one’s own home.

AD 508 is certainly a prophetic date as the starting point of the 1290-day prophecy of Daniel 12:11. The most significant event of that year was probably the defeat of the Visigoths by Clovis. Clovis had been converted to Catholicism twelve years earlier. With the exception of the Anglo-Saxons, all the other barbarian kingdoms had been converted to Christianity before their migration into the Roman empire. But theologically these other kingdoms were not Catholic, and were therefore branded as “Arian.” Clovis’ victory over the Visigoths in AD 508 represented one form of Christianity employing the power of the state to overthrow another form of Christianity. It really had nothing to do with paganism.