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Why Study Bible Prophecy

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Why Study Bible Prophecy
Many Christians avoid Bible prophecy because of the controversy that surrounds it. Prophecy is given a secondary place and often viewed as a subject not essential to wrestle with. Many take a defeatist attitude because of these assumed disagreements and ask: "Why bother studying something that nobody seems to agree on?"

Still others speculate, incorrectly, that the book of Revelation is the first place in Scripture we should turn to for the study of God’s plan for the ages. They then try reading the book of Revelation and come to the decision that it is extremely difficult to understand. Because of their limited experience with Bible prophecy they decide that studying prophecy in Scripture will be hard and simply not worth the effort.

In reality, prophecy is a critical part of theology. If you cut out the prophetical portions of Scripture that deal with the end times, you would be left with a much shorter Bible than we have now. Prophecy is a major teaching of Scripture. When Christians neglect it they are cheating themselves of some of God’s Word. Prophecy is a major teaching of Scripture. It is a part of His will for every believer in Jesus Christ.

There is great deal of confusion about what the afterlife will bring for the believer in Christ. Bible prophecy eliminates this confusion, and teaches us that the afterlife is nothing like what is being portrayed in most movies and books today. As we come to understand prophecy, we see that our future involves serving, ruling, reigning, and working.

Thinking about Bible prophecy, and the end times, gives us a better perspective on life. It helps us to understand that this life is not all there is; there is a much higher calling.
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Re: [Probiblos0506] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Hi Allen:

Many Christians avoid Bible prophecy because of the controversy that surrounds it. Prophecy is given a secondary place and often viewed as a subject not essential to wrestle with. Many take a defeatist attitude because of these assumed disagreements and ask: "Why bother studying something that nobody seems to agree on?"

So very true Allen and compounded by the fact that so many opposing sects have placed wildly divergent interpretations upon the ‘inspired written word of scripture’ assuming that it speaks specifically and solely of their own time and circumstance, often using it as a recruitment tool in the interests of their own particular sect.

The Book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible which carries a specific promise of blessing to the reader and ‘keeper’ of its contents. Rev.22:7b It follows then that it must be worth reading, but with great caution because its contents are far from being simple to understand.

In fact the book is nigh impossible to understand without knowing (a) To whom it was written, (i.e where from - to whom). (b) Approximately when it was written, (i.e its temporal and social context). (c) Why it was written, (i.e what were the pressures on the early church it was addressed to). (d) What the highly symbolic language meant to the original author and his readership, (i.e the symbolic Old Testament references which abound throughout the text, which has accepted allegorical meaning to Jewish persons). (e) What the original readership was intended to understand after reading the whole of it, (i.e. the cosmic position of power and authority accorded to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and his supreme oversight of future events and the ultimate destiny of humankind.

The point that many uninformed Biblical interpreters miss nowadays is that the book was addressed to a specific readership. (i.e. The seven Churches in Asia, (not the continent of Asia today. Not the church of the 21st century, but a 1st century Roman Province). The Book was written on the island of Patmos which was less than 200 miles from the furthest of these seven churches and the churches mentioned were only representative of dozens of other churches existing within the geographical region at the time the book was written and addressed. The relevance of the book to the church of our own time is that the spiritual issues besetting the seven are still those which, (albeit somewhat figuratively), beset all churches today and the images it projects of the sovereign authority of Jesus Christ over the sealed and unforeseeable future, remains as true as it ever was. Only Jesus Christ is 'worthy' to open the scroll of the destiny of humankind, written upon within and without and sealed with seven seals, that he took from the upturned palm of the hand of the Ancient of Days, who is seated on the throne of ultimate authority. The Greek says 'on' his right hand, not 'in' his right hand, denoting that God willingly offers the future destiny of the human race to the only one in heaven or on Earth found to be worthy of the responsibility. Namely : Jesus Christ. Rev. 5:1.

The present day geographical position of the 7 churches would be in Anatolia. This is the territory that comprises approximately the western two-thirds of the Asian part of Turkey. However, since the declaration of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Anatolia is often considered to be synonymous with Asian Turkey, which comprises almost the entire country,[3] its eastern and southeastern borders are widely taken to be the Turkish borders with neighboring Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, in clockwise direction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatolia

The other point that many supposedly learned interpreters seem to miss is that the Book claims itself to be ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’, (i.e. It reveals to the churches, the person and purpose of Jesus as the CHRIST), so it is not necessarily an obscure road map or countdown to 'the end times'. Notice that the events it goes on to describe are said clearly to relate to what must SOON take place. Rev. 1:1. The author was referring to events that he expected mostly to occur within, or shortly after, his own lifetime.

Given these scriptural facts it is amazing that so many Biblical enthusiasts think the main purpose of the book is to predict and reveal ‘the end time events’, and so they look into it trying to identify this or that phrase or sentence with current events. If that were indeed the purpose of the book then anything after chapter three would have literally been utterly unintelligible indecipherable gibberish to its original readers and consequently relevant and decipherable only to readers living at the actual time of the apocalypse, or ‘end of the ages’.

Clearly the entire book was intended to have relevance both to its original readership, in its totality, and also relevance to a readership down through the ages. Ages through which the church would continue to exist, down to today. (Though it is also possible that the author himself mistakenly expected the apocalypse to be almost immediately imminent), hence his use of the word 'soon'.

So the book is almost entirely about JESUS and his role as Savior, Redeemer and Deity, (acclaimed eternally by the entire population of heaven and earth), and also how that assertion affects US and all creation, now and in the future.

Its language is so symbolic that there is hardly a single phrase that can be taken literally or at face value, (especially after chapter four). It is as though it was written in ‘code’ which could only be ‘deciphered’ by a persecuted group of Christian Ex-Jewish, believers, who had the 'keys' to its meaning. So that if copies of it fell into the wrong hands the ‘authorities’ would be unable to ‘decode’ its hidden messages, (many of which seem to be extremely subversively anti Roman, anti Imperialist and anti-establishment).

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Sep 8, 2015, 12:35 PM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
 Hello Chris,

You make some very good points here and, of course, leave plenty of room for future discussion as well. I particularly like your statement, "compounded by the fact that so many opposing sects have placed wildly divergent interpretations upon the ‘inspired written word of scripture’ assuming that it speaks specifically and solely of their own time and circumstance, often using it as a recruitment tool in the interests of their own particular sect."

What you say is especially true of groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their deliberate misinterpretation of Scripture. Two basic Christin doctrines they deny are the Trinity and the Deity of Christ. Even among denominations though, there are a variety of interpretations that are found. Personally, I believe Scripture is best used to interpret Scripture.

The Book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible which carries a specific promise of blessing to the reader and ‘keeper’ of its contents. Rev.22:7b It follows then that it must be worth reading, but with great caution because its contents are far from being simple to understand.

It is interesting that you point that out because in verses 18-19 of that same book, there is a warning that should tell us what the fate is for those who deliberately misinterpret the book. They say, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

In fact the book is nigh impossible to understand without knowing (a) To whom it was written, (i.e. where from - to whom). (b) Approximately when it was written, (i.e its temporal and social context). (c) Why it was written, (i.e what were the pressures on the early church it was addressed to). (d) What the highly symbolic language meant to the original author and his readership, (i.e the symbolic Old Testament references which abound throughout the text, which has accepted allegorical meaning to Jewish persons). (e) What the original readership was intended to understand after reading the whole of it, (i.e. the cosmic position of power and authority accorded to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and his supreme oversight of future events and the ultimate destiny of humankind.

These are the first things to consider when studying any book of the Bible. You can’t avoid the fact that for roughly 2,000 years Christians have been reading the Bible through the lens of their own culture. We need to examine it first in the culture in which it was written and apply it to today’s world.

As for the last part of your statement, I am reading a book now titled, AND THE LAMB WINS: WHY THE END OF THE WORLD IS REALLY GOOD NEWS. I’ve just started it but the title is really what Revelation is all about. It is the restoration of all things and the final victory of our coming Lord And King.

The relevance of the book to the church of our own time is that the spiritual issues besetting the seven are still those which, (albeit somewhat figuratively), beset all churches today.

I have often said that those churches can be found in the churches today and that, if we, as individual Christians, look hard enough we can see our own lives in those messages as well.

The other point that many supposedly learned interpreters seem to miss is that the Book claims itself to be ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’, (i.e. It reveals to the churches, the person and purpose of Jesus as the CHRIST), not necessarily an obscure road map or countdown to 'the end times'.

Question: What relationship do you see between Revelation and the prophecies of Daniel? Look especially at Daniel 9. We’ll be coming back to this point later.
The author was referring to events that he expected mostly to occur within, or shortly after, his own lifetime.
Vincent’s Word Studies tells us, “For the phrase ἐν τάχει shortly, see Luke18:8, where yet long delay is implied. Expressions like this must be understood, not according to human measurement of time, but rather as in 2 Peter 3:8. The idea is, before long, as time is computed by God. The aorist infinitive γενέσθαι is not begin to come to pass, but denotes a complete fulfilment: must shortly come to pass in their entirety.”
It has now been 2,000+ years and Satan is still loose upon the Earth and not bound I the bottomless pit. The Millennial reign of Christ has not taken place and the New Jerusalem is not here. I would say that the events have not started yet. Someone or something has postponed them but, when they begin, they will take place quickly.
With that said, I will close for now. There is a great deal more to discuss but, we don’t want to cover too much at one time or get too far ahead of ourselves.

God bless you,
Allen
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Re: [Probiblos0506] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Hi Allen:

Question: What relationship do you see between Revelation and the prophecies of Daniel? Look especially at Daniel 9.

Daniel here is doing his Bible Study and a lot of praying to try to understand the prophesy of Jeremiah. Jer. 25:11, 29:10.

Jeremiah had said this: "For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This referred of course to the time that Israel and Judah were exiled to Babylon. Jeremiah’s 70 years probably referred to the expected maximum for the lifetime of a man, (3 score and ten). After a long prayer, with this 70 years prophesy in mind, Daniel is visited by Gabriel, (either in a vision as previously or in person, it is not clear), and told that 70 weeks of years will pass before Israel’s sins will be completely dealt with and atonement finally received.

The term ‘weeks of years’ comes from Lev. 25:8. "And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty- nine years. Then you shall send abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

The 70 weeks of years i.e. 490 years will see the end of the desolations of all kinds. The meaning of the time limit is to be the eradication of sin, the completion of atonement, the establishment of an everlasting right order and a holy sanctuary.

Jews and a multiplicity of Christian denominations and sects have tried to fit historical events into this 70 weeks of years time sequence. The most likely candidate for the last of the seventy weeks is the reign of Antiochus IV. It is usually held that the reckoning begins with the fall of Jerusalem: that the prince anointed is Zerubbabel or more probably Joshua the high priest known from Haggai and Zechariah; and that the second Anointed One who is cut off is Onias the high priest, who was ousted from his position by his brother Jason soon after 175 BCE. and was killed three years later at the instigation of Menelaus another pretender (2 Mac. 4:7-8, 23-35). The words of the beginning of the reckoning in v. 25 would seem in themselves rather to indicate the permission to rebuild Jerusalem given by Cyrus, in Ezr. 1 and Isa. 44:28. In any case the total number of years , 490, does not fit in with the chronology now known to us from history. The most certain thing about the period though is its ending during the reign of Antiochus IV. https://en.wikipedia.org/...tiochus_IV_Epiphanes.

I struggled to find any references to Daniel chapter 9 in Revelation. There are many quotations from Daniel in Revelation but none at all even alluding to anything in Dan. ch 9. The authors of Jewish Apocalyptic literature though, (a popular genre in the time between the Old and New Testaments), were very fond of quoting from the book of Daniel. Their Jewish readership was conversant with the messages it conveyed of hope of restoration in a hopeless situation. It is most likely that John the author of Revelation was using terms and references his readership would have readily recognised as being from a prophetic, scriptural, (and therefore trustworthy), source. It was risky to trust anyone at the time Revelation was written, and common for books purporting to be 'Christian' to be written under 'fake' names in order to appear 'authentic', hence the warning at the end of the book to anyone tampering with the text.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Sep 9, 2015, 1:41 PM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Good morning, Brother.

It appears that we are due for a study of the book of Daniel. (At least the prophetical portions.) I'll start with one simple statement and a comment about your sources.

First, your source. You quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/...tiochus_IV_Epiphanes. Wikipedia has a warning that you need to read if you haven't already. It states:

Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information.

One thing I've learned from my school work is that no professor will accept this site as an accurate source of information. That is why I choose to stay away from using it here at Praize. I'm not telling you not to but, don't expect me to accept it as accurate without doing a lot of research for myself.

Next, My statement about the Book of Daniel:

Daniel is the last in the books known as the Major Prophets and comes just before the Minor Prophets. Daniel is to the Old Testament what Revelation is to the New Testament. It sweeps from a time of crisis in Judah's history to the Second Coming of Messiah and touches events all the way along. Daniel gives us a panoramic view of the history of the world.

I'll leave you to comment on that before continuing.

God bless,

Allen
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Re: [Probiblos0506] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Hi Allen:

I read the warning on Wikipedia, but after reading the entry on Antiachus Epiphanes IV I could see no serious error regarding the subject under consideration, so included the URL as additional info rather than as ‘proof’ on anything. You are quite right to avoid citing Wikipedia as a source, especially if your course director has advised otherwise. (You need to keep him sweet until you get your qualification).

The book of Daniel is always a problem to anyone trying to decipher its contents or determine its date of production or authorship. Like Revelation it bears the hallmarks of truly Apocalyptic Literature but also likewise is not typically ‘Apocalyptic’. Some of it appears to be historical, (mostly stories ch. 1-6) and visions ch. 7-12. Different sections of the book are written in two entirely different languages. It starts in Hebrew, changes to Aramaic and returns in ch. 8-12 to Hebrew again.

It is almost universally accepted by scholarship that the entire book was written in the time of Antiachus Epiphanes IV but the author included stories about Daniel and friends which had been almost certainly entirely oral tradition for a substantial time before. These he combined with the visionary material to produce the book as a composite whole.

Though not strictly speaking falling into the classic mold of apocalyptic literature it does have the similar characteristic of describing early events in some historical detail but progressing towards more and more symbolic (and therefore obscure) language as 'future' events are becoming the subject. This might result from the author’s naturally growing uncertainty of events beyond his present time, combined with a relative certainty of past events.

Of course, though the author himself may have been unaware of the future beyond his own time, that does not mean that the events he described may not be representative of actual prophetic occurrence at some future date. We shall just have to wait and see. He is after all, for the most part, simply reporting what he has been ‘told’.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [rdrcofe] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Hello Chris,

I read the warning on Wikipedia, but after reading the entry on Antiochus Epiphanes IV I could see no serious error regarding the subject under consideration, so included the URL as additional info rather than as ‘proof’ on anything. You are quite right to avoid citing Wikipedia as a source, especially if your course director has advised otherwise. (You need to keep him sweet until you get your qualification).

As long as you understand that I do not trust or accept Wikipedia as a valid, academic source It has nothing to do with keep teachers happy. I am currently not in school and not sure I will go back. I won't bother you with the details. They are of a personal nature..

The book of Daniel is always a problem to anyone trying to decipher its contents or determine its date of production or authorship. Like Revelation it bears the hallmarks of truly Apocalyptic Literature but also likewise is not typically ‘Apocalyptic’. Some of it appears to be historical, (mostly stories ch. 1-6) and visions ch. 7-12. Different sections of the book are written in two entirely different languages. It starts in Hebrew, changes to Aramaic and returns in ch. 8-12 to Hebrew again.


I won't argue these points. The two divisions you give are very true and the language changes are well known. How do you explain them?

It is almost universally accepted by scholarship that the entire book was written in the time of Antiachus Epiphanes IV but the author included stories about Daniel and friends which had been almost certainly entirely oral tradition for a substantial time before. These he combined with the visionary material to produce the book as a composite whole.

Accepted by who Chris? The book was written while Daniel was a captive in Babylon and. he was taken there in 305 B.C. Verse 1 says it was ,"IN the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it." Daniel was a contemporary of both Jeremiah and Isaiah. The late date for authorship is given only to deny the prophecies given in the book by liberal scholars who refuse to accept the inspiration of Scripture.

Of course, though the author himself may have been unaware of the future beyond his own time, that does not mean that the events he described may not be representative of actual prophetic occurrence at some future date. We shall just have to wait and see. He is after all, for the most part, simply reporting what he has been ‘told’.

Again I'll agree. He was reporting what he has been ‘told’. by the Spirit of God and, God doesn't make mistakes. He is omniscient and knows the beginning from the end. Inspiration involves overseeing the human authors so that what they report is accurate.

Blessings,
Allen
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Re: [Probiblos0506] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Hi Allen:

I won't argue these points. The two divisions you give are very true and the language changes are well known. How do you explain them?

I have found a very plausible explanation by J Barr, a contributor to Peakes Commentary on the Bible by Nelson Press.

Quote:
The beginning of the book (1:1 - 2:4a) is in Heb., and so are chs. 8-12; the rest in in Aramaic. The division by language does not agree with the division by contents however, ch. 7 especially belonging by language to what precedes and by content to what follows. Different attempts have been made by scholars to explain the strange change of language within the book. This writer would suggest that the procedure is in conscious imitation of Ezr. which drew on a source already written in Aramaic, introduces this source in quoting a letter of the Persian administration and continues thereafter in the same language (Ezr. 4:7) The passage might well be of special interest in Daniel’s time because it ends with the dedication of the new Temple (Ezr. 6:16-18). Our author , having certain traditions in Aramaic introduces them in with direct speech in the same way (2:4) and assumes that the language used by the Persian administrators in Ezr. would also be used by the ‘Chaldeans’ in Babylon; and takes it to be proper, in starting with the new language, to insert the tag in Aramaic which he found in the received text of Ezr. (4-7). Coming to the end of his Aramaic material, he naturally reverts to Hebrew, as Ezra did, without ceremony.

Have you come across any of the other explanations mentioned by J Barr?

The late date for authorship is given only to deny the prophecies given in the book by liberal scholars who refuse to accept the inspiration of Scripture.

I don’t entirely agree with scholarship on all points but, to be fair, most ‘scholars’ are merely trying to find practical and plausible evidence within the text itself, of how it might have been produced. It is unusual for any authors to have accurate visions of future history which turn out to be irrefutably ‘true’. (We see this in most attempts at prediction. Even Hal Lindsey and numerous other predictors of future events find their past printed predictions often embarrassingly inaccurate). When dealing with ancient texts also it is not sufficient ‘evidence’ simply to believe what is claimed in the text as evidence of authorship. It was once common practice for anonymous authors to write under the pseudonyms of famous historical figures, (and this was particularly true, even a predominant characteristic, of apocalyptic literature). The Church and the Jewish Scribes were very careful to vet the authenticity of the scripture cannon, but even they were not infallible. So some doubt and at least uncertainty still exists even of canonical books.

I am not saying they are untrustworthy though. They just need to be read with an understanding of their individual history, rather than a mystical and unquestioning reverence. Inspired does not mean 'infallible' or 'inerrant'. It means valuable for instruction in righteousness, and fit for purpose God intends for it.

When it comes to applying the highly symbolic language of scriptural books like Daniel and Revelation, to the possible alignment of current events, it is dangerously easy to ‘make the text fit events of our own time’ and imagine that the apocalypse is upon us. In many ways, of course it really IS upon us, in every generation and there is no time more immediate than the present to ‘get right with God’ and ‘start to live according to the principles God has given mankind to live by ’.

Many fervent believers have made shipwreck of their lives by concentrating more effort on the deciphering of obscure scriptural texts, than by seriously aligning their lives to the plain teaching of Jesus Christ and his apostles in the ways they relate to their 'needy' or 'greedy' neighbors.

We must never loose sight of the fact that scriptural prophesy is aimed at ‘ENCOURAGEMENT ’ of God’s people under persecution, not for frightening the ‘unsaved’ into being converted. “ Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. "
" Behold, I am coming soon . . . . . . “

Inspiration involves overseeing the human authors so that what they report is accurate.

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

That however does not necessarily mean that the prophesy was understood even by the prophet who delivered it. The only way to test the ‘truth’ of a prophesy, is to await its fulfillment and see that it actually accords exactly with the prediction. Being that there may be MORE than a single fulfillment of each prophetic statement, (as can be seen when examining the fulfillment of events in the life of Christ), we are still awaiting the fulfillment of large portions of both Daniel and Revelation, while at the same time much of what is contained in them both has already been fully fulfilled at least once, in a symbolic or allegorical sense.

This is what makes eschatology such a fascinating but complicated subject and one in which it is wise to make no assumptions and even fewer pedantic predictions.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Sep 14, 2015, 9:51 AM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Why Study Bible Prophecy In reply to
Greetings again Chris,

Have you come across any of the other explanations mentioned by J Barr?

I am not familiar with J. Barr. Daniel, however, was a contemporary of both Ezekiel and Jeremiah. He was familiar with their ministry and reading from Jeremiah in Chapter 9 of Daniel. Daniel was raised to a high position in Babylon at the King's Court. He served there from about the age of 15 until close to the end of the 70 years Jeremiah spoke of. He would have been about 85 when this prophecy was given. One difficulty in interpreting the book is how to interpret this prophecy.

We'll look closely at it when we get there Meanwhile, Let's start our study.

Blessings,
Allen