daniel 7 swirls

Russell Minick 3 Comments

(no time set aside to edit.  just writing for me, but open to others if they want)

I think in swirls.  Maybe that’s not so uncommon.  I don’t know, I can’t focus long enough to sort it out.

Daniel 7 is a swirl.  So… maybe I don’t need to start with trying to sort it out.  Maybe I should listen to odd music, read it, swirl with it, and see what odd clarity comes of it all.  (ok, that’s what I’m already doing, but i tortuously interact with my perception of the “normal” world with misgiving, self-doubt, and efforts of justification)  nuff said.

Sufjan: Transfiguration (music i’m listening to while writing)
Daniel goes to sleep in his Babylonian bed.  I wonder what language he dreams in?  Hebrew?  Chaldean?  Does he have scrolls from Moses, others?  Who does he eat dinner with.  Do they make him laugh?  Annoy him with pedantic speculation about the next shift in Babylonian politics?  Does he try to track what was going on in Egypt?  (I try to, but I can’t focus, I just get bits which are now on standby for a sudden synaptical connection which has the illusion of careful study and organized problem solving).  Daniel dreams.  It freaks him out; bad.

4 winds of heaven… blowing over the seas… the Ruach over the Waters…. Genesis 1???  
scary weird ramps up… beasts…
Lion, like Judah?, no, with wings, but they get plucked, all 4 of them (why 4???) and the lion is raised to stand, like a man, then given the mind/heart of man…  Man formed from a noble beast?  What’s going on????

(i hit replay on Sufjan Stevens THE TRANSFIGURATION – in the cloud, Son of Man/Son of God… swirling)

New beast.  A bear. ((now I remember mumble rumors of a “bear and an eagle in revelations…” from hanging out under the street light on willingham with teen efforts at our own daoistic mysteries of youthful meaning, power, mysteries, insight… significance… secrets))
But the bear is also tagged with a weird number here, not 4 wings, but 3 ribs (tusks?) hanging out of the mouth, mandated to buffet on flesh.  (Why 3???)

Next beast.  Leopard. 4 wings. 4 heads. dominion.  (#s??)

4th beast is scary and strong (iron teeth and stamping feet) DIFFERENT and 10 horns
10 horns, another one, 3 uprooted.
Eyes of man and big mouthed
Thrones, Ancient of days, white with mobile fire throne
Massive crowd of servants before the fire streaming Ancient. 
Court to judge according to books
Attn pulled to big mouth horn.  Beast killed and burned with fire.
Other beasts lost dominion, but still alive for a while
W/ clouds ‘son of man’ to Ancient
He gets domion, glorious rule over everyone forever, no end
Daniel: uhhhh, what is all this (to one who stood there)
4 beasts = 4 earthly kingdoms
Saints of Most High rcv Kingdomthat lasts
Ok so #4?
10 horns?
Other horn?  Big mouth big shot?
Looked =
Horn warred with saints and was on top
But then, Ancient judged for saints
Saints then get kingdom

4th kingdom is unique, global, and destructive.
10 horns = 10 kings. + 1 (unique)
downs 3 kings
Anti-Most High words
Wears out saints (for t t’s, part t)
BUT – court judges
Dominion removed, consumed, destroyed to the end (telous in LXX)
All Kingdom dominion summed up as “under the whole heaven”  given to
Snts. Of Most HIGH – doesn’t end and rules over subsets (all ‘dominions’ will serve and obey them)
Conclusion?  I was FREAKED OUT, inside and out, but… I kept it to myself.

And for me???  I couldn’t keep up with the swirling.  Skype started percolating with work reminders…  Makes me think the cycle of thinking and speaking is way too short.  Dip, speak, dip, speak… not enough plunging.  Wonder how that would work, what it would do?  What boundaries to employ, or not?  Don’t want to end up hanging from a street light in Ca., nor sitting in a cubicle, but what is the middle way (that allows for aft. snacks and non-orange)?

What do I think I think?  I think Daniel was probably stressing from a series of Babylonian regime shifts, and his VISION of Israel, in exile, then returning, had a John the Baptist unsettledness (or at least the temptation for it). Am I really living the Story I think I’m living?  Are we here for 70 years, and then back on course, or am I delusional.  The world really is just mean and shallow and void of transcendent meaning and purpose.  

I’m convinced those feelings, whether thought in useful words or not, happen to almost everyone (suppose there might be exceptions).  The pull to coherence, order, clarity is one pole, the pull to spontaneous, incidental, random, self-sufficient experiential surges (a.k.a meaninglessness) is the other pole.  

So Daniel has a dream with details.  He thinks it must mean something.  Then he has another vision, one with him right in the middle of things, seeing COURT set up with God as an old man with fire.  He is told that th3 4 beasts are 4 kingdoms, and i wonder if he thinks of this more or less like the ‘4 corners of heaven’, as in, all summed (not 1, 2, 3, 4 as much as each and every all together).  But, there is a massive focus on a last one who is extra scary and global and is summed up by us vs. them.  Pole 1 vs. Pole 2.  The Transcendent, GOD pole is the true and victorious one, so, don’t get sucked over to the despairing side.  

In other words, life is really confusing, and it is tempting to think God is not over the world, but a bit of nonsense as a subset of human existence, but don’t believe those words, God is over the world and being faithful is the way forward (but not easy).  That is what I experience when I swirl with Daniel this Wednesday morning.

Now I need to get to a ‘to do’ list.  
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Comments 3

  1. “So Daniel has a dream with details. He thinks it must mean something.”

    From a bit of reading I’ve done it seems there is a big debate. Some people have issues with Daniel’s details.
    …but not in the same way that those details affected Daniel. The details seem to disturb not because of their content, but because the details merely exist.

    The implications of the details are really disturbing if some guy named “Daniel” wrote down these details during the Persian Empire. Maybe instead it was written much later and by a number of different people.

    Either way though, the stories still show and teach a radical trust and sold-out loyalty. That still may be more than enough for us to handle.

    ….but still…… the one is much easier on the palate than the other.

    Is faith assaulted and doctrine altered if Daniel’s book was actually compiled by a group of guys in the 1st century?………….. No, I don’t think so.

    Does Daniel’s book become something unavoidably obvious as being from outside our dimensionality and time if written in the 6th century BC?………….. Yes.

    Is it possible to nail down without doubt which is actually the truth?………….. …don’t think so.

    But still….. both can’t be true.

    There are a few things that help me to swing far to one side on this though.

    One of those things is how Jesus uses the Tenakh. He at times relies on the subtleties of wording in the text to make a point. ….like the discussion with the Pharisees about David and the Messiah and “how is He his Son?”

    Jesus refers to Daniel as a real guy. He calls him a prophet. He quotes from his book. (Matt 24:15)

    God is vague at times. He often doesn’t explain.
    But what God did communicate won’t fail even down to the “yod and tittle” according to Jesus.
    I have a hard time fitting Jesus saying “Daniel, the prophet” into it actually meaning “multiple guys, editors, and redactors”.

    That’s uncomfortable……….but I don’t think Jesus is concerned about our palates.

    It’s an acquired taste.

  2. Ragus,

    The inescapable message, in Daniel as well as in Mt. 24, is the failure of worldly kingdoms despite their ever fresh promises of being the final certainty… when in fact God's Kingdom, revealed in parts and bits in various times and ways through the prophets (including Daniel) is the hope in which our investment rightly is due.

    I was trained to worry about 6th vs 2nd century authorship, but I'm not as concerned now. Like you mention, there are epistemological limitations to our query. My solution, which still is vulnerable at some level, is to take Jesus as primary source of hope, and his disciples as the best sources available, and subsequently an inspiration theory which yields confidence in the cannon we now have, thus, as you mention, Mt 24:15, though limited in scope, is taken as 1 true fact to factor in, from my position of trust/faith/pistew/epistemological commitment.

    thanks for the interaction…

    Telos X.

  3. Yes, definitely. The purpose is not to know info about the future. The treasure is finding out how to live life well.

    My uneasiness comes in attempting to have a defendable “how I know what I know” (epistemology) for the Bible. I want to make sure that the instructions about “living life well” are coming from a reliable source. If I don't know the reliability of the source, there are lots of other options out there to try. How does one sort them out? Personal experience is not even a totally valid proof. Prophecy that is accurate though, provides proof of reliability.

    Isaiah 46:9-10 reads that God is the only one who is capable to pull this off. He endorses this method as valid. It is something that He uses:

    “For I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like Me,
    Declaring the end from the beginning,
    And from ancient times things that are not yet done…”

    This doesn't mean that every “conservative” position on a prophetic passage is correct.
    It doesn't mean that all “Higher Criticism” is evil and inherently wrong.
    …but, it should alert us that since God declared He will write “history in advance”, every prophetic word in the text will become a focus of attack by the enemy.

    “Did God really say…?” Gen 3:1.

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