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God’s Unfailing Purpose: A Study in Daniel, from Covenantal Premillennialist Michael Barrett

June 20, 2016 Comments off

A few months ago I read Michael P.V. Barrett’s “Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament,” a well-written, layperson-level book from a current-day covenantal premillennialist.  Now I am enjoying another of his books, also available on Kindle for 99 cents:  God’s Unfailing Purpose: The Message of Daniel.

This one is shorter (198 pages) but similar style of a well-written layperson book on an always relevant topic: God’s sovereignty over the nations and over history, as seen especially in the book of Daniel.  The focus here is not a sensationalist-type prophecy book, nor the specifically premillennial emphasis of Robert Culver’s “Daniel and the Latter Days”  (see this previous post), but more of a straight-forward commentary overview (not verse-by-verse) look at the theme of the book of Daniel.  Topics presented include a look at Daniel himself (the facts), the basics of reading prophecy including the nature of history and the nature of prophecy, and detailed consideration of several items brought out in Daniel’s prophecies.

Barrett explains the features of prophecy and types, how prophecy differs from history – progressive prediction or prophetic telescoping, in which the focus is on the events’ certainty rather than their timing.  Barrett acknowledges the never-ending debate over “partial, single, or double fulfillment—or even multiple fulfilments,” stating simply his own view of single-fulfillment of prophecy:

A single prophecy has a single fulfillment… the single fulfillment axiom works well in almost every instance. … The temporal ambiguity guarantees its relevance; one fulfillment is all that is necessary.

He provides examples from specific scriptures, as with the comparison of Isaac to Christ:

The fulfillment of the prophecy develops progressively from element to element until the completion of the whole.  For instance, both Isaac and Christ constitute Abraham’s promised Seed. Obviously, Christ was the main issue, but there had to be an Isaac before there could be the Christ.  Isaac marked the beginning of the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy.  I prefer phrasing it that way rather than that the promise was fulfilled in Isaac and then again in Christ.

A later chapter considers the parallel prophecies in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 – pagan man’s viewpoint of a figure with gold and other metals, versus God’s view of four monsters – and brings out some interesting observations.  I knew the main points from these texts, about each type of metal or creature representing each of the successive kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Barrett goes beyond this, to note the description of the lion that “was made to stand upon the feet as a man, and man’s heart was given to it” as a reference to the individual Babylonian ruler, Nebuchadnezzar.  He brings together the prophecies given in Daniel 2 and 7, along with the events of Daniel 4 – subsequent events, the later dream to Nebuchadnezzar and what it took for God to teach the lesson to Nebuchadnezzar.

Ironically, God put a man’s heart into the beast [Daniel 7 vision] by putting a beast’s heart into a man (4:16). … The humanizing of the lion symbolized the gracious conversion of the king.

The above is just a brief sampling, from the first third of the book (my reading of it still in progress).  I recommend this book from Barrett, as one that I appreciate and enjoy: an easy, straightforward reading style, while also instructive and helpful, providing depth of material and many scripture points to study.

Top 5 Books and Sermon Series Read/Listened To In 2013

December 27, 2013 2 comments

It’s that time of year when people review and summarize the highlights from the past year.  I haven’t read as many books as I’d like to, and also appreciate good sermon series.  But here is a list of the “top 5” I’ve enjoyed from the last year — note, these are books and series I listened to in 2013, not material that was published in 2013.

1.) Pillars of Grace (A Long Line of Godly Men, Volume 2) by Steve Lawson.  I actually started this one in late 2012, continuing with a second post about later content in early 2013.  Here is the post from January 2013, looking at the doctrines of Grace through the middle ages.
2.) Daniel and the Latter Days, by Robert D. Culver:  the full text of this book is available online free here.  In two posts (The Future Restoration of Israel and also The Judgment by Fire) this September I looked at some interesting material in this great classic work.

3.) The Hidden Life, Devotional from Adolph Saphir.  Review of it, from August 2013, here.

4.) After the Flood, by Bill Cooper.  A great book on creation apologetics, unique in its look at creation history and the earliest historical European records.  This one also is full text free online; review here.

5.) S. Lewis Johnson’s series through 1 Corinthians.  His last full book, verse-by-verse sermon series (from late 1993 through early 1995).  His voice was tired in this one, but still great material covering many different biblical topics as they came up in the study of this the longest of Paul’s epistles.