Daniel 8: A ram and a goat
Identifying the four horns
Are you being divisive?
In Daniel 8:22 we read:
"The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power"
The original Hebrew sounds like this:
"Vehanishbéret vataamódna arbá takhtéha, arbá malkhuyót migóy yaamódna, veló bekhokhó"
The NIV has a perfect and literal translation to English for this verse. We can see that four kingdoms emerged from Alexander's Empire, but not with the same power. The four kingdoms are detailed in this site, under the title Daniel 8:8, that's why we will not repeat the same thing here, but just point again the causes and outcome of the division: Alexander's successors wanted to control the most possible territory for themselves (motive) and the wars among them weakened every empire until they became easy targets for Rome (outcome)
Is there some message for the church today in this division?
Is there some "Rome" that could take advantage from divisions in the church?
You can already answer the second question if you've read all of the earlier messages. But if you haven't, it is answered in the messages under Daniel 2:44-45, Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:17-18; Daniel 7:19-22; Daniel 7:23-27 and Daniel 7:28.
Concerning the first question, let's consider a passage about divisions in the church that we find in the Word of God. Jude 1:17-21 says:
"But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires'. These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit"
"But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life"
Those "scoffers" following "ungodly desires" are also found in 2 Peter 3:3-4:
"Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation'"
As we see, denying the promises of Jesus' return is to be a "scoffer" and to be "following their evil, ungodly desires" or "their natural instincts", not "having the Spirit" (the Holy Spirit)
Are you "praying in the Holy Spirit", "keeping yourself in God's love" and waiting for Jesus to come back? Or are you scoffing and being divisive?
We have spoken in earlier messages about the first division that took place in the church, known as the East-West Schism. It took place in 1054, and the Latin or Western Church based in Rome was divided from the Greek or Eastern Church based on Constantinople (nowadays Istambul) To be the head of Christianity had always been a wish of Rome's bishop, but Constantinople, Alexandria, Antiochia and Jerusalem had similar or even greater reasons for that. The Muslim conquest of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antiochia made it easy for Rome's bishop to become "the Pope", through the excommunication of Constantinople's Patriarch, and 1054 the church was divided between East and West.
Other great divisions took place with Martin Luther (who started the Lutheran Church) and John Wesley (who started the Methodist Church) Neither Luther nor Wesley wanted to start a new church, but they had too, because the Catholic or Anglican authorities didn't want to listen to them. The Anglican church itself was divided from Rome, but not because of doctrine but because of political problems. That's why Baptists and Methodists - among other ones - started new congregations more in the spirit of the Reformation.
I became a Christian in a Methodist church with strong "charismatic" - read "Pentecostal" - influence, and never forget the message from an invited pastor who said, "when the Methodist church neglected to seek the Holy Spirit, the Lord raised the Pentecostal church, and when the Methodist church neglected the poor and destitute, the Lord raised the Salvation Army". This is God's praxis from Bible times. He raised David because of Saul's disobedience and Judah because of Reuben's sin.
Being an Atheist living under a Communist regime, all churches were the same thing to me, "opium for the masses", before Jesus saved me. But thanks Jesus, because of not having earlier religious education, my choices in the Lord have been done because of God's revelations and not because of accepted traditions. The power of God we read about in the book of Acts, promised to us by Jesus in Mark 16:15-18 is seen in some congregations and not seen in other ones. And the reason is in Jesus' own lips: "this signs will accompany those who believe". The Pope didn't became humbler when the Protestants left, he rather started a strong Counter-Reformation. Neither became the Anglican church's leaders more spiritual or the Methodist church's head more generous because of Wesley or the Salvation Army. Demonizing those who have left is a secure way to close the door to any new revelation they have got - and that we could also receive.
Because we live in a very different world, where morals are relative and absolute tolerance - read "of evil" - is considered the highest virtue of all, divisions are not caused in our days because of new churches, but because of new "trends" in existing churches, which function as the rotten apple which afects the rest. Three main reasons for division have been treated in this site in earlier messages. They are sin, antisemitism and false doctrine.
1) The tolerance of sin within the congregations - especially homosexuality - is the results of pandering to political powers. The church is supposed to preach to the world, not the world to the church. This misguided "inclusivity" is treated in Daniel 6:7-8.
Other mundane feature of the world, mentioned in Daniel 8:8, has affected also the church, the s.c. "identity politics". I've been several months revising a study Bible I acquired - called "Serendipity Bible" - that seemed so good to me when I saw it in the net, but which includes a lot of satanical tergiversations of the truth in order to accomodate Christian doctrine to mundane thought. Beware of anyone who blames "the chronist" or "the psalmist" of unproper thought and then delegitimazes a portion of the Word of God. With the same argument you could delegitimaze the whole Bible. The chronist and the psalmist were inspired by the same Spirit who inspired Jesus, the prophets of Israel, Moses or the apostles in the NT.
2) Antisemitism as a result (but not only) of Replacement Theology: You can read about it in Daniel 6:7-8 and Daniel 8:13-14.
3) False doctrine:
- in Daniel 2:39-40 and Daniel 8:13-14, wrong interpretations about the end of times ("classical" interpretation and Maccabean Thesis)
- in Daniel 2:44-45, another wrong interpretation, Preterism
- in Daniel 7:7-8, Ammilennialism and Preterism
- in Daniel 8:15-19 - denying the supernatural
- in Daniel 8:20-21 - confusion about the last times
When the Lord gave Adam and Eve the garden of Eden with everything in it, and told them not to it from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it is because they didn't need it. They could know everything by asking God. And we are in a pretty similar situation; all we need is God, His Word and His Spirit. If you don't want to be divisive, follow Him! Remember what Jude says, "These are the people" [those who follow their own ungodly, evil desires] "who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit".
May the Lord guide you and bless you!
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus is coming soon!