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Posts Tagged ‘Babylonian Captivity’


Daniel 9:1-12Ultimate Fulfillment

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Written on January 9 and posted today as a favorite . . .

Tilda Swinton as Gabriel in “Constantine”

What we see today is Daniel’s interaction with God’s messenger Gabriel who is mentioned here for the first time in scripture.  We know that scripture is not history – it is not an accurate telling of events in a sequential manner in order to set facts in place; rather, it is an inspired record of our interactions with God over thousands of years.  This is the gift of the Torah, prophets, and wisdom literature.  It is the gift of the accounts of Jesus, the Apostles and the Holy Spirit as a manifestation of God among us.

In today’s Noontime, footnotes tell us that the Darius the Mede whom we see in this prophecy is “unknown in profane history.  The Median kingdom had already been conquered by Cyrus the Persian, and it was Cyrus who captured Babylon.  Evidently the author of Daniel has deliberately adopted an apocalyptic view of history, derived from prophecy . . . according to which the Medes form the second of four world kingdoms preceding the messianic times . . . The character of Darius the Mede has probably been modeled on that of the Persian King Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.), the second successor of Cyrus”.   (Senior 1096)

Further commentary tells us that “the prophet Jeremiah (25,11; 29,10) prophesied a Babylonian captivity of seventy years, a round number signifying the complete passing away of the existing generation, Jeremiah’s prophesy was fulfilled in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus and the subsequent return of the Jews to Palestine.  However, the author of Daniel, living during the persecution of Antiochus, sees the conditions of the exile still existing; therefore in his mediation he extends Jeremiah’s number to seventy weeks of years (v 24), i.e., seven times seventy years, to characterize the Jewish victory over the Seleucids as the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy”.  (Senior 1100-1101)

What we see today is not a story about people or places we know in history.  Nor is it a story about a particular time in our human record that has little to do with us in 2011.  What we have before us is the story of how we – like Daniel – might interact with God’s messenger and with God himself.  It is the story about the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy.  It is the story of how God visits us constantly, how God interacts with us, and how God always keeps his promises.

When we flag or lose faith, when we are exhausted from the effort of our journey, when we are at the point of feeling that our exile will never end, we might – like Daniel – turn to God, acknowledge our humanity, and enter into a dialog with the divine.  For it is through our trials, when we drop our defenses against God’s presence in our lives, that we are most intimate with God.  And it is through our anguish and suffering that we encounter our divinity within.  This is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises to us – to live freely and wholly in the Spirit.


A re-post from August 9, 2011.

Image from: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2005/02/06/arts/06devr_CA0ready.html 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1096,1100-1101. Print.   

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passenger manifest

Brisbane, Australia Ship Manifest

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

1 Chronicles 5:11-22

Who Are We?

The establishment of the tribes of Israel in the Promised Land is described in this portion of 1 Chronicles. All of this sorting and sifting of names and places looks like a census report we might stumble upon as we research our own roots; or we may be reminded of a ship’s manifest in which we delight to see a grandparent’s name. What we read about today is Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh whose family trees are described; and in this section of the history we see the tribe of Gad struggling to establish a secure dwelling place. They do this with God’s help. For during the battle they called on God, and he heard them because they put their trust in him . . . Many had fallen in battle, for victory is from God; and they took over their dwelling place until the time of exile. In anticipation of later events, the Chronicler tells us that in the beginning the people of Gad led God-centered lives and so were successful. We know that later these warrior people join David in his fugitive life under King Saul and that they are eventually deported by the Babylonians. More information can be found at . . .   http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112386/jewish/Gad-and-His-Tribe.htm

We watch the news coming to us from around the world and we pray that people will be able to put aside their tribal differences in order to affect change that will bring unity once they move beyond tyranny. We watch the national and local news to see legislatures and communities fall apart that at one time came together in distress. There is something in human nature that calls us to smallness once we are comfortable and to greatness when we are oppressed.

USA 1910 Census Document

USA 1910 Census Document

Who are we when we struggle to keep our heads above water? Who are we when our lives are going well? Who are we when we feel that God is in our corner? Who are we when life goes wrong?

Although we may not feel God’s presence, he is always with us. Although we may not hear God’s voice, he is always speaking. God remains constant, we are the unpredictable ones.

When we write the story of our lives we will want to keep in mind that God is always present in both big and little ways. Whether or not we feel that he is with us . . . God is here as our constant, faithful redeemer. When we feel that no one is looking . . . who are we?

Adapted from a reflection written on February 26, 2011.

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