Friday, December 10, 2010

The Pope and the Fathers on Daniel

On the one hand:

Pope Benedict XVI

The Book of Daniel, in the form in which we have it, is generally dated on good grounds to the years between 167 and 163 B.C., that is, the period of the harshest persecution of Israel's faith by the Hellenistic King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In this extreme tribulation, in which the faith of the people of God, its historical hope, seems once and for all to have been reduced ad absurdum, the seer gains a new vision of the totality of history.

Joseph Ratzinger, The God Of Jesus Christ (San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press, 2008), 62-63.

HT: Jason Engwer

On the other hand:

St. Jerome

Porphyry wrote his twelfth book against the prophecy of Daniel, denying that it was composed by the person to whom it is ascribed in its title, but rather by some individual living in Judaea at the time of the Antiochus who was surnamed Epiphanes. He further alleged that “Daniel” did not foretell the future so much as he related the past, and lastly that whatever he spoke of up till the time of Antiochus contained authentic history, whereas anything he may have conjectured beyond that point was false, inasmuch as he would not have foreknown the future. Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, made a most able reply to these allegations in three volumes, that is, the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth. Appollinarius did likewise, in a single large book, namely his twenty-sixth. Prior to these authors Methodius made a partial reply.

For the benefit of us who are Christians, I wish to stress in my preface this fact, that none of the prophets has so clearly spoken concerning Christ as the prophet Daniel. For not only did he assert that He would come, a prediction common to the other prophets as well, but also he set forth the very time at which He would come. Moreover he went through the various kings in order, stated the actual number of years involved, and announced beforehand the clearest signs of events to come. And because Porphyry saw that all these things had been fulfilled and could not deny that they had taken place, he overcame this evidence of historical accuracy by taking refuge in this evasion, contending that whatever is foretold concerning Antichrist at the end of the world was actually fulfilled in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, because of certain similarities to things which took place at his time. But this very attack testifies to Daniel’s accuracy. For so striking was the reliability of what the prophet foretold, that he could not appear to unbelievers as a predicter of the future, but rather a narrator of things already past.

Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1958.), 15-16.  


  1. But for who it is writing,

    Jesus observed with His own this about those who were wrong:

    Mat 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.
    Mat 12:26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
    Mat 12:27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
    Mat 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

    Ironic as it is, Peter did describe what is about to happen to his kingdom this way:

    2Pe 3:7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
    2Pe 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
    2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
    2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
    2Pe 3:11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
    2Pe 3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
    2Pe 3:13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

  2. natamllc, I am frankly getting a bit annoyed by your constant habit of spamming long excerpts of Scriptures that are not directly connected (if connected at all) to the subject at hand.

    You may think you are acting piously, but you are not showing concern for the enjoyment of readers who would like to soberly focus on some special issue. "Less is more" can be a Christian principle.

  3. I agree with Viisaus. Your posts are more often than not an eye-sore, natamllc. If in the future you could perhaps post the references to Scriptures on your mind rather than posting four paragraphs worth of verses - which I don't find to be relevant to the topic at hand - I would greatly appreciate it. Then again, this isn't my blog, so I'll put up with it if I have to.

  4. Gentlemen, while I appreciate your desire for aesthetics and order, I do think you might have been more kind about that. I've taken some time to get to know natamllc, and I can tell you that, while he might be less than totally savvy about internet combox protocols, I do appreciate not only his love and devotion for the Scriptures, but for the kinds of wisdom he brings that some people (including myself) need to hear more of.

  5. I do wonder about the "intellectual consistency" of those Roman Catholics who would screech about Peter Lampe's belief that 2 Timothy is "deutero-Pauline," and yet would behave like a teenage girl fawning over "Pope Benedict" as if he were a rock star, even though Ratzinger's view of the Scriptures is far more liberal than that of someone like Lampe.

  6. Viisaus and Ryan,

    here's my email address:



    Well, let's try recommenting with some augmentations then.

    Seeing this is a fairly obvious Protestant blog that has been freely provided for those of us who want to come in here for personal and public edification at times, or just to have our senses exercised to discern between good and evil and because it seems reasonable by this article, that there is some obvious discontinuity with Pope Benedict XVI's view of the book of Daniel and St. Jermone's point of view, which is clear when we read this:

    " ... For the benefit of us who are Christians, I wish to stress in my preface this fact, that none of the prophets has so clearly spoken concerning Christ as the prophet Daniel."

    I would like to add some further brief comment about what I read by looking at the Prophet Daniel, himself, as we read his Words/God's Word. And I will try to conform as best I can to the previous objections made above about my first comment's form:

    Daniel wrote something that seems to me to apply to Reformational Protestants today in light of how powerful and far reaching the RCC has become:

    Dan 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,

    and look at some insights from King David and his concept and idea from the Book of Psalms about what is still yet to come upon the earth, here:

    Psa 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands,
    Psa 149:7 to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples,
    Psa 149:8 to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron,
    Psa 149:9 to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD!

    One should be able to understand that there are some who read Triablogue's articles who are so entrenched in the RCC that what is being pointed out by this article is unavoidably unexplainable for then unless they leave that communion. Are they going to argue from silence against this article, then?

    To those who are weak in the RCC faith, this article does them no harm.

    To those who are so entrenched in the RCC faith and dogmas, this article won't convince them otherwise.

    I gave a couple of citations in my first posted comments, one from Christ's view Himself, Who is Eternal and Unchanging, immutable, Who observed that any kingdom that stands against itself will fall and some of their own children will rise up against them, to boot, and judge their inconsistency and discontinuity; and I also reflected on the revelation Jesus gave to Peter, a married man, whom the RCC claims as their very first pope, that the false anti-Christ religious kingdoms of this world, that are being perfected even still these days, are doomed and destined for a furnace hotter than the furnace Daniel's three buddies endured because of the fourth Man was with them the whole time!

    The Fourth Man rules, still!

    My final remarks about the article are based in the song David taught the Priests to sing forever before the Lord which I would encourage those who stand with Christ to remember and pray daily from hereon out if they are led to by the Spirit:

    1Ch 16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"
    1Ch 16:32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!
    1Ch 16:33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.

  7. natamllc, I want to emphasize that I would not want to suffocate your Christian zeal, only channel it more constructively.

  8. Viisaus

    I would not want to impede your ability to apply Godly reproof, instruction, correction or edification to me, a True Believer, reformed daily through prayer and the Word of His Grace so as to walk faithfully in the Will and Purpose of God.

    So, have at it and grind away. Iron does sharpen iron and a brother his friend's countenance.

    However, I implore you to use the email address when dealing with some personal flaw about me that God, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, is showing you to grind on.

    What's that old saw, "first remove the beam out of your right eye before commencing to remove the sliver out of your brother's"?

    And, I would hope and pray when you grind your measure would rise to at least the measure the Apostle Paul writes about in Romans 7:5-6 so that I am refresh by the new way of the Spirit that flows out of you?

    I am daily in the Presence of the Lord and am willing to learn from Him or a Godly brother how to follow His voice more carefully as I am sure you are too?

    Now, how about responding to the article and share a comment or two about it?