Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Daniel and the Sibylline oracles

Unbelievers discount the oracles of Daniel as prophecy after the fact. Let's test that by using a standard of comparison. The Sibylline oracles were originally pagan oracles. These were taken quite seriously by Romans. Subsequently, Jewish writers and later Christian writers imitated the pagan exemplars to fabricate prophecy after the fact that "predicted" Roman history and the life of Christ. If the oracles of Daniel are prophecy after the fact, why do they lack the heavy-handed clues we find in the Sibylline oracles? I'm going to quote some excerpts, along with the editorial identifications: 

The Sibylline Oracles, Book V:

In wars exceeding powerful shall he be;
And he shall have the initial sign of ten;
20 And in like manner after him to reign
Is one who has the alphabet's first letter;
Before him Thrace and Sicily shall crouch,
Then Memphis, Memphis cast headlong to earth
By reason of the cowardice of rulers
25 And of a woman unenslaved who falls
Upon the wave. And laws will he ordain
For peoples and put all things under him;
But after a long time shall he transmit
His power unto another, who shall have
30 Three hundred for his first initial sign,
And of a river the beloved name,
And the Persians he shall rule and Babylon;
And then shall he smite Medians with his spear.
Then shall one rule who has the initial sign
35 Of the number three. And then shall be a lord
Who shall for first initial have twice ten;
And he shall come to Ocean's utmost water
And by Ausonia cleave the refluent tide.
And one whose mark is fifty shall be lord,
40 A dreadful serpent breathing grievous war,
Who sometime stretching forth his hands shall make
An end of his own race and stir all things,
Acting the athlete, driving chariots,
Putting to death and daring countless things;
45 And he shall cleave the mountain of two seas
And sprinkle it with gore; but out of sight
Shall also vanish the destructive man;
Then, making himself equal unto God,
Shall he return; but God will prove him naught.
50    And after him shall three kings be destroyed
By one another. Then a great destroyer
Of pious men shall come, whom seven times ten
Shall point out clearly. But from him a son,
Whom the first letter of three hundred proves,
55 Shall take the power. And after him shall be
A ruler, of the initial sign of four,
A life-destroyer. Then a reverend man
Of the number fifty. Next, succeeding him
Who has the first mark of the initial sign
60 Three hundred, shall a Celtic mountaineer,
Into the strife of battle pressing on,

19. Julius Cæsar, who is designated by the numerical value of the initial letters of his name. The Greek letter Kappa (K) stands for twenty, and Iota (I) stands for ten.

21. First letter.--Alpha, initial of Augustus.

25. Woman.--Allusion to Cleopatra of Egypt. 

30. Three hundred.--Represented by the letter T, the initial of Tiberius, as well as of the river Tiber.

35. Three.--The letter {Greek G}, Greek initial of Caius (Gaios) Cæsar, commonly known as Caligula.

36. Twice ten.--As in line 16, but here designating Claudius (Greek, Klaudios).

39. Fifty.--The letter N, here denoting Nero, and Nerva in line 58.

45. Mountain of two seas.--Isthmus of Corinth, which Nero attempted cut through to open to the two adjoining bodies of water.

50. Three kings.--Galba, Otho, and Vitellius.

52. Seven times ten.--This number is denoted by the Greek {Greek O}, initial of the Greek form of the name of Vespasian.

54. Three hundred.--Here denoting Titus.

56. Four.--The letter A, initial of Domitian.

60. Three hundred.--Here denoting Trajan

The Sibylline Oracles, Book I:

Then also shall a child of the great God
Come, clothed in flesh, to men, and fashioned like
395 To mortals in the earth; and he doth hear
Four vowels, and two consonants in him
Are twice announced; the whole sum I will name:
For eight ones, and as many tens on these,
And yet eight hundred will reveal the name
400 To men insatiate; and do thou discern
In thine own understanding that the Christ
Is child of the immortal God most high.
And he shall fulfill God's law, not destroy,
Bearing his very image, and all things
405 Shall he teach. Unto him shall priests convey
And offer gold, and myrrh, and frankincense;
For all these things he'll also bring to pass.
But when a voice shall through the desert land
Come bearing tidings to men, and to all
410 Shall call to make straight paths, and from the heart
Cast wickedness out and illuminate
With water all the bodies of mankind,
That being born again they may no more
From what is righteous go at all astray--
415 And one of barbarous mind, by dances bound,
Cutting that (voice) off shall bestow reward--
Then on a sudden there shall be a sign
To mortals, when, watched over, there shall come
Out of the land of Egypt a fair stone;
420 And on it shall the Hebrew people stumble;
But by his guiding nations shall be brought
Together; for the God who rules on high
They also shall know through him, and the way
In common light. For unto chosen men
425 Will he show life eternal, but the fire
Will be for ages on the lawless bring.
And then shall he the sickly heal, and all
Who are blameworthy who shall trust in him..
And then the blind shall see, the lame shall walk,
430 The deaf shall hearken, and the dumb shall speak.
Demons shall he drive out, and of the dead
There shall be an uprising; on the waves
Shall he walk; also in a desert place
Shall he five thousand satisfy with food
435 From five loaves and a fish out of the sea,
    And with the remnants of them, for the hope
Of peoples, shall he fill twelve baskets full.
And then shall Israel, drunken, not discern,
Nor shall they hear, oppressed with feeble cars.
440 But when the maddening wrath of the Most High
Shall come upon the Hebrews, and take faith
Away from them, because they slew the Son
Of the heavenly God; then also with foul lips
Shall Israel give him cuffs and spittle drugged.
445 And gall for food and vinegar unmixed
For drink will they, with evil madness smitten
In bosom and in heart, give impiously,
Not seeing with their eyes, more blind than moles,
More terrible than crawling poisonous beasts,
450 Fast bound by heavy sleep. But when his hands
He shall spread forth and measure out all things,
And bear the crown of thorns, and they shall pierce
His side with reeds, for which dark monstrous night
Shall be for three hours in the midst of day,
455 Then also shall the temple of Solomon
Bring to an end a mighty sign for men,
When he shall to the house of Hades go
Proclaiming resurrection to the dead.
But when in three days he shall come again
460 Unto the light, and show his form to men
And teach all things, ascending in the clouds
Unto the house of heaven shall he go
Leaving the world a Gospel covenant.
And in his name shall blossom a new shoot
465 From nations that are guided by the law
Of the Mighty One. But also after this
There shall be wise guides, and then afterward
There shall be a cessation of the prophets.
    After that, when the Hebrew people reap
470 Their evil harvest, shall a Roman king
Much gold and silver utterly destroy.
And afterward shall other royal powers
Continuously arise as kingdoms perish,

396 Four vowels–the name Jesus in Greek (Iesous) contains four vowels and with a repeated consonant, so the numerical value of all the letters is 888.

470 Emperor Titus despoiling the Second Temple.

1 comment:

  1. As an aside, I follow Historia Civilis, and they have a short introduction to what the Sibylline oracles are all about.