Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Daniel's Vision VS Idealism. Restoring what we can, preserving that which is not lost.

I am not an idealist. Not in the ultimate sense. I think we can know what the ideals are. I think in some ways we can attain them, at least for a time, at least some of them. The idea that we can go back to the way it was in the Garden, or that the people of Israel could rescind their reaction to the first bad report of the spies, or could revoke their request for a King, all of these are not ideals I ascribe to. There are some events in human history, once done, that cannot be gone back on. Sin, for instance, is one of them. The effect of Eden is permanent, at least before Christ comes again. With that in mind, let us look at Nebuchadnezzar's dream, as it is revealed to him by God. The Book of Daniel, NASB.

"However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed. As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place. But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind."

Daniel certifies the King's dream as real and prophetic. It foretells the future. It is from God.

"You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery."

The kingdoms deteriorate in Glory over time. The head of Gold comes FIRST, then kingdoms of lesser Glory come after it. There is no greater earthly kingdom than that of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the prophecy. The kings of Israel are past (at least for the time being) and the Kingdoms of Men are here. They become less and less glorious, over time. This is radically different that what we are taught, that we are becoming greater. We build computers. We can strike men dead from thousands of miles away. We can photograph the planets up close and land on them. We have a government of, for, and by the people. We are indeed great because of how we define progress, but God says no, we are not.

"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy."

Clearly the stone that will endure for ever is the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. His kingdom grows, and fills the earth, while lesser kingdoms rule and are smashed by him. But unless we think his kingdom is established, on earth, NOW, we deteriorate in all forms of human endeavor.

We thus lose things over time, not gain them. In Eden we were lied to and told that it was good to take from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, and we did, and were clothed for the shame of our nakedness, cast out of the garden, barred from life without death and many other curses were imposed on us which we endure to this day.

The earth is destroyed in it's then current form and reborn after a flood and mankind steadily loses lifespan, descending eventually to no more than 120 years. God though, talks with man, speaks with man and bargains with man. Jacob wrestles with God and extracts blessings from him. God gives his people his LAW and an inheritance on the earth, and rules DIRECTLY over them. Men are given land and livelihood from the LORD from birth. They have no ruler other than God.

Men ask for a KING, and get one, and are told by God through Samuel;

"The LORD said to Samuel, 'Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.'"

The King would Tax and enslave them, cause them hardships and in addition, Israel was punished for asking for a King, nevertheless, they could not go back after asking for one.

The bottom line is we lose our birthright progressively over the generations, submitting to lower and lower forms of government, lesser and lesser men. Proverbs 19:10;

"Luxury is not fitting for a fool; Much less for a slave to rule over princes."

I do not know what form Polygyny would take if we embraced it again, as we should. The best possible scenarios in times gone by rarely occur or are not possible at all. Ideally, in the sense of what was best in the past, what was possible in the past, even after sin came into the world, a man should not employ his wives outside the home. But times have changed. We have little in the way of inheritance. We have less to offer our wives, they come with less of a dowry. Thus the LORD says through Isaiah the prophet;

"For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, 'We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach!'"

I have maintained no man should take a wife he cannot support. Perhaps I was wrong, perhaps we have fallen so low they will come to us and say "I will work outside the home, only keep me as your wife." We CAN rebuild and restore. The question is how much will we be able to retrieve that was good in times that have past.

I also offer this analysis to those who say "but we have progressed." I reply, no, we have not. Times past were more moral than times present. We are not better, though we have a better deal in Christ, a greater revelation of God's grace. We are worse in fact than our forebears, not better. Perhaps all of us are greater in faith, as none of us have seen.

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1 comment:

Disciple said...

Very good, Hugh!

I could not agree with you more. Mankind per se has advanced technologically but that is all. It should be pointed out, however, that this is no way is an indication that "we" are smarter for it is a small number of inventors to whom "we" owe these new possibilities.

Interestingly, these advances are generally taken as an indication that it is "we" who are better than our forefathers - in every way. Just as the europeans started looking down on other peoples and cultures after the first technological advances. But I ask myself, if we haven't lost much of our humanness through the new machines. Are we as creative as our forefathers? Are we as in touch with our neighbours? As you correctly pointed out, morally society has definitely declined.