Fred Butler continues to post his eschatology series on the book of Daniel. He is just now getting into Daniel 7 which is the “good stuff” so to speak. Check out the latest post at this link here.
Fred is a dispensationalist, which means he is a premillennialist, which I am a premillennialist as well. But dispensationalism also leads to some other conclusions that I don’t always share. The latest post is good in a lot of ways, but there is one portion that I have to object to. Fred writes:
One theological question is to ask “who were these saints who received the KoG?” The Reformed believe it only speaks to those who are the true Israel: the Church, both in the OT and the NT.
But what exactly is the context of Daniel in this text? Who exactly would the prophet be thinking about? The entire chapter is a prophetic word contrasting the heathen kingdoms of men as they relate to the people of Israel. The only “saints” or “holy ones” or “set apart ones” would be God’s people of the nation of Israel that was at that time in bondage in Babylon. I believe this vision intends to direct us to God’s dealings with Israel at the coming of the Son of Man in the latter days.
Here is one major difference in interpretation. Fred asserts that the passage must revolve around the nation of Israel. A case could be made for this, but you would have to reach outside of the boundaries of this particular vision to prove that. But let us say for argument’s sake, that the vision does concern the nation of Israel even though the word “Israel” is nowhere in the text. Just because a theme in this passage is the nation of Israel, does this mean that only Israelites are referred to when speaking of the saints of God? Are there only Israelite saints who will inherit the kingdom of God in this passage?
Hold that thought for a minute. Now let’s turn forward to the appearance of the Messiah to the nation of Israel. When the Messiah came to Israel, He spoke these words:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted .
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled .
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy .
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye , when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely , for my sake.
12 Rejoice , and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Here is the question. Are these blessings being pronounced upon the nation of Israel? Or are these blessings of inheriting the kingdom of heaven here on earth for all who believe in the Messiah, both Israelite and Gentile? The question is a valid one because it will affect all other areas of your theology, especially eschatology. If we come to a passage and we have already decided what it applies to before we even read it, we are imposing a framework upon a passage thereby limiting the applications it could have. I believe this is what Fred Butler is doing with Daniel 7. There is no reason to believe that only Israelite saints will inherit this kingdom that is being spoken of in Daniel 7. In fact, all nations are mentioned here, a clear reference to fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 17:4, Romans 4:17 (heir of the world mentioned in Romans 4:13). Isaiah wrote of the same consummation that Daniel wrote of, just in differing terms. But no one would question the inclusion of Gentiles within that kingdom, see Isaiah 42, 49, 60. The idea of Israel as the centerpiece should not cause us to dis-include the Gentiles from inheriting the kingdom of God right alongside the Israelites.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman