My Thoughts on the I-Cycle (Part 3)

The “God and I” Phase

This is a continuation of my series of post on Clyde Pilkington’s theory of the I-Cycle. Here are the links to Clyde’s video and my summary of the cycle:

Clyde Pilkington’s Video

My Summary

This post examines the “God and I” phase of the cycle. This is the phase where people decide to fully submit their lives to God. They decide to seek his guidance on all matters of life, and they commit to following His will instead of their own.

This is the phase which many Evangelicals hold as their paradigm. Often times, Christians enter this phase because they believe that, when following their own desires, they are getting into all sorts of trouble. Maybe they know what is right but cannot get themselves to follow through. Or maybe plans in life that sounded good at one time are going awry, causing continual frustration. Perhaps these Christians were involved in some truly noble endeavors, but lacked success in those pursuits and are growing weary, finding themselves in a quandary of guilt or self-questioning.

Thus, these people come to believe that the only way out of these predicaments is to follow God’s leading in all matters of life. Many Christians in this phase have a strong spiritual focus. For example, they may spend a lot of time in prayer and meditation. They place a lot of emphasis on following the Holy Spirit instead of their flesh or their minds. They believe that in order to live for God, they have to set aside their mental feelings and urges (which they consider to be corrupt and selfish) and instead follow their spiritual intuition, which they view as a deeper part of themselves that has the life of God.

Many Christians in this phase feel a sense of peace that they lacked before. Instead of simultaneously living for themselves but also trying to follow a set of religious rules, they feel free and empowered now that they can follow the Holy Spirit’s leading instead of trying to conform to fixed rules or ordinances that they never quite succeeded at. Furthermore, they perceive that their selfish tendencies are now being subdued since they are no longer tantalizing those tendencies with their own desires and ambitions of life.

I consider this to be the first phase of the “I”-Cycle that has a Biblical basis for fully living in it. For example, the Apostle James writes,

Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15).

Also consider the following passage from the Apostle Paul,

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect(Romans 12:1-2).

In this “God and I” phase of the I-Cycle, Christians often seem to be “on fire” for God. This is where being “separate from the world” really becomes a prominent part of one’s mentality. As opposed to the previous phase, where one’s faith is more of a private aspect of life, many Christians in the “God and I” phase take their faith public and engage in faith-related discussions with those around them.

Christians who have reached this phase often serve as “spiritual role models” for those who are in the earlier phases. Some Christians who reach this phase are comfortable living in it for the rest of their lives. However, there are others who develop tensions while living in this phase, which lead to further developments in their spiritual journey.

I want to describe some common characteristics in the journey to, through, and beyond this phase, based on many testimonies I have read.

Often times, Christians enter the “God and I” phase out of a sincere desire to know God’s will and have a deeper relationship with Him. They often have a healthy sense of humility and inward peace as they keep their focus on God rather than themselves. Their relationship with God is like a new world for them, and the spiritual distance between themselves and the rest of the world isn’t bearing upon their minds. However, there comes a point where they notice the distance.

When the distance grabs their attention, they observe that they are making a lot of sacrifices to keep God first in their lives, whereas other people are carelessly going about their own ways. At this point, they start becoming a bit self-righteous about their choice to follow God. They sense that they are striving to maintain their spiritual purity amid a world that’s going down the drain. They may eventually become overwhelmed and burned out.

At that point, some of these Christians step back into a mentality that resembles the previous phase of the I-Cycle, “I and God.” However, other Christians move forward into the next phase of the cycle, the “God” phase, which we will look at in the next post.

My Thoughts on the “I” Cycle – Part 2

The “I and God” Phase

I am continuing my interpretation of the “I Cycle,” a theory about spiritual development created by Clyde Pilkington from the ministry StudyShelf. Here is a link to Mr. Pilkington’s video (Clyde Pilkington – The I-Cycle). The “I and God” Phase is discussed during 2:10 – 4:00 in the video.

Here is my own post where I summarized the whole cycle (I-Cycle Summary).

In the last post, I looked at the starting point of the cycle, the old-creation “I” phase. That phase is where people feel that the world revolves around themselves and that they are entitled to have their desires met.

Some people live their entire lives in that phase. But others move beyond, and come to a point where they realize that they themselves do not have the power to overcome all of life’s challenges. They realize that they are going to need God’s help to get through certain circumstances. Thus, they enter the “I and God” phase. I will share my thoughts on this phase based on testimonies I have read and people I have personally known.

“I and God” believers are still, for the most part, making their own decisions for their lives, and going about their business as they would without their faith. However, they also keep God in their minds and see Him as being there for them when they need help. They may pray regularly, attend church, and read books about spirituality to see how God can help them. However, their faith is likely to be somewhat of a private aspect of their lives, and they probably do not talk about their faith to everyone they encounter.

These people do not like to be intruded upon. Their minds tend to filter out the words of preachers who would try to make them feel guilty, or tell them that they have to change their lives in some radical way. They are easily turned off by pushy religious folks. “I and God” believers often think that their religious life needs to be properly balanced with other aspects of life. When they read the Bible, they probably see it through the lenses of their own moral judgments, and more or less feel vindicated by the Bible’s admonitions, though they may be open to adjustment on some matters of character or attitude.

The “I and God” Christians are a widely varied group in terms of their spiritual walk. Some of them may be mature spiritually. However, others have a tendency to be viewed as “lukewarm,” “carnal,” or “baby Christians.” They could be seen as trying to get the benefits of being a believer without totally committing their lives to Christ.

Among “I and God” believers, lifestyles vary widely. Some of them are still very much living however they want to. However, my personal feeling is that their attitudes have changed from the previous phase. Instead of entitlement and being the center of the universe, their attitudes shift to rationalization. On one hand, they perceive that there are acceptable and unacceptable ways to live. However, whether consciously or subconsciously, they rationalize to say that the way they want to live is morally acceptable. Thus, they see themselves as obedient to God while basically living however they want.

But there are other Christians in this group who are making efforts to live as they honestly perceive the Bible to teach. However, they may be troubled by a lack of self-control. They feel bad when they do something wrong, but the effort they make to follow through with repentances may seem somewhat lacking in fervor.

However, I also think there is a third group of believers within the “I and God” phase. These people are very self-disciplined, and are very much staying away from moral vices. They feel that they are good Christians by virtue of their self-controlled and motivated natures, and thus, even though they are still following their own ambitions, they perceive God’s approval to be upon their lifestyles.

There are some believers who remain in the “I and God” phase for the rest of their lives, and I am not trying to say that there is anything inherently “wrong” with that, for I believe it is God who determines what phase a person will reach in this life.

However, if people move beyond the “I and God” phase, it is often prompted by adversity or temptation which they feel they cannot overcome unless they completely surrender their lives to God. When they come to that point, they enter the “God and I” phase of the “I-Cycle.” We will look at that phase next time.

 

My Thoughts on the “I” Cycle – Part 1

The Old-Creation “I” Phase

I am doing a series on posts on the “I” Cycle, a theory about spiritual perception that was developed by Clyde Pilkington, who founded the ministry StudyShelf. I have recently come to believe that the “I” Cycle is an extremely powerful model for understanding the spiritual experiences of ourselves and those around us. I also believe it sheds new light on Scripture and reveals why the Biblical authors said some of the things they did.

In this post, I want to look at the starting point of the cycle, the old-creation “I” phase. Mr. Pilkington says,

Man starts his journey with the center of his world being himself. And as we move along, we begin to think that not only does the world revolve around us, but seemingly we sit on the throne of our own life . . . God is scarcely in our thoughts at all. If He is there, there is an attempt to keep Him at bay as we get older, because He’s confusing to us – He interferes with what we want to do. His thoughts bother us and trouble us (1:10 – 2:00).

It is sometimes perplexing how people, who seem to be nice, decent individuals, can suddenly act hateful or engage in very immoral behaviors. But I think what’s going on with these people is that they feel entitled to have their desires met.

Many of these people do not want to be hateful all the time; their priority is not to hurt others. They basically want to be nice people. But at the same time, they have urges and raging emotions, and they feel that it is their right to act upon these impulses. Seeing themselves as the center of the universe (whether consciously or subconsciously), their physical and emotional sensations are bigger than anything else in the world. Thus, when they are feeling something really intense inside, reasoning goes out the window.

You can try to tell people that some minor thing which ticked them off is not worth exploding over. You can try to point to devastating circumstances facing others in the world to put things in perspective. But suppose a person has a vision problem that makes everything in front of him look really big. You can try to tell him that the fly buzzing in front of him is small compared to Mount Everest, but he’s not focused on the size of Mount Everest at all. What he’s focused on is that fly in front of him which looks as big as a truck!

Some people in this phase are religious. But they are probably not focused on relationship with God. Rather, they probably associate religion with decent people and social order, and they want to be basically nice people after all. They may go to church because, that’s what they think good people do. Some of these folks may even become preachers, given that they see value in Christianity and want to promote it as a career, feeling that it would have benefit not only to others but to themselves as well.

However, they still see themselves as the center of the universe (although it’s probably somewhat subconscious at this phase). Why is it that we often hear about famous preachers who get caught in various scandals? Well, my view is that, it’s because many of those preachers still felt like it was their right to act upon their impulses; thus, they probably felt justified in living a double life. They preached against those behaviors because they thought that is what good preachers do, and they wanted to be good preachers. They probably perceived value in preaching against those sins, even though, in their personal lives, it was their right to act upon their impulses, which seem bigger and more important than anything else.

In the next post of this series, we will look at the phase “I and God,” where people come to realize that they truly need God’s help.

 

Here is the link to Clyde Pilkington’s video on the “I” Cycle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w53DgB9Fks

The “I” Cycle (Summary)

In my last post, I shared a link to the video where the writer Clyde Pilkington describes his theory called the “I” Cycle. I first heard about the “I” Cycle in 2013. I thought it was interesting, but it was not until here lately that I suddenly realized how powerful this model could be. I believe that this model for spiritual growth could profoundly address many of the debates facing believers today, in particular, the faith-works controversy.

Before I give my own thoughts on the “I” Cycle, I want to summarize Mr. Pilkington’s theory in case you didn’t have time to watch the whole video.

Phase 1: The old-creation “I”

This is where people begin life. Infants are only aware of their own needs. As they grow into early childhood, they gain awareness of the broader world but see the world as revolving around themselves, and feel entitled to have their desires met. Some people continue this self-centered mentality into adulthood.

Phase 2: “I and God”

At this phase, people decide to make God a part of their lives. They realize that there are situations in life in which they need His help. Although they may engage in church and prayer, they are primarily following their own pursuits and ambitions, even though they see God as being available when they need Him.

Phase 3: “God and I”

This is where people decide to put God first in their lives. They often realize that, left to themselves, they are creating a lot of trouble. So, they decide to surrender their lives to God and follow Him step by step.

Phase 4: “God”

At this phase, people put more emphasis on God’s sovereignty. They come to believe that God is not relying on their own obedience for His will to be fulfilled, even though He may choose to use them. People in this phase often reject the concept of free will.

Phase 5: The new-creation “I”

Here, at the completion of the cycle, people come to fully see themselves as new creations in Christ. In contrast to the “God and I” phase, people are no longer focused on “submitting” themselves to Christ. Instead, they see the life of Christ as inherently expressed through their lives. At the same time, in contrast to the “God” phase, people do not let their comprehension of God’s sovereignty inhibit them from getting into action or acknowledging their own accomplishments. They no longer think that God has to swoop in and do something with them in order for His plans to be fulfilled. Instead, seeing themselves as new creations, they are free to act without having to worry about some part of them interfering with God’s plans. Life is no longer about overcoming one’s natural state to conform to a “correct” state. Instead, as new creations, people are free to be who they are.

Here is the link to Mr. Pilkington’s video where he discusses the “I” Cycle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w53DgB9Fks

In my next post, I will share my own thoughts on each of these phases and how I see them reflected in the Bible, and the lives of believers. I also want to show ways in which this model could address debates in the church today.

The “I” Cycle

The “I” Cycle is an explanation that the writer Clyde Pilkington gives for what he perceives to be a progression in the way people understand their relationship with God.

I have found the “I” Cycle to be very enlightening when considering my own spiritual journey, and it has helped me understand other believers as well. Here is the video where Mr. Pilkington describes the theory.

Let me know what you think about the “I” Cycle, and any reflections or concerns that you would like to share!

 

 

Daniel 7: Past and Future?

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptural quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version

Earlier in this series of posts, we looked at Daniel Chapter 9, and examined the prophecies of “70 weeks,” the temple’s rebuilding, the Messiah’s ministry, and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. I made the case that all of those prophecies were fulfilled by 70 A.D.

Daniel Chapter 7 is a place where similar events are described, and many commentators believe that Chapter 7 depicts the same time period as Chapter 9, although there is disagreement as to whether the fulfillment is past or future.

I believe there is sufficient evidence to say that most of Daniel 7 had a literal fulfillment in the first century. There is a thorough explanation of the first-century interpretation on the Revelation Revolution website, in their article “Daniel 7: A Preterist Commentary.” In this post, I will bring out some key points of that article, but I would recommend reading the whole commentary if you are interested in this subject.

If you want to jump to the section where I discuss a possible future fulfillment, skip down to the section with the heading “Potential Future Fulfillment.”

 

First Century Perspective

Daniel 7:24-27 – Ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them. This one shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time. Then the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and totally destroyed. The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.

The Ten Kings in the prophecy could be the leaders of the ten cohorts operating under General Titus and Emperor Vespasian in the destruction of Jerusalem. Alternatively, the Ten Kings could be ten Caesars of the Roman Empire. The king who arose after them in the prophecy could be General Titus, the son of the tenth Caesar, Vespasian. The prophecy says that the new king would put down three other kings.

After the death of Emperor Nero, there was a battle for the emperor’s throne, and Titus and Vespasian defeated three other contenders (Galba, Otho and Vitellius), each of whom briefly ruled in 69 A.D. After that victory, Titus and Vespasian co-ruled the empire, with both of them having the title Caesar. Titus committed blasphemous acts in the temple and sought to alter Jewish customs as described in the prophecy.

Thus far, the first century interpretation makes sense. However, at the end of the passage quoted above, we encounter the same “problem” that we had with 2nd Thessalonians in the last post. Daniel describes the coming of the Messiah and the new Kingdom Age in the same context as the aforementioned war – “the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and totally destroyed. The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High.”

Obviously, this did not happen in a literal sense during the first century. In my post on the Olivet Discourse of the Gospels, I described a way in which the Bible allows us to infer a prolonged gap of time between the first century events and the future return of Christ. The big question is whether the Bible prophecies a specific recurrence of conflict between the Jews and surrounding kingdoms that will take place right before Christ returns.

 

Potential Future Fulfillment

In Daniel 7:1-8, four animals are described (a lion, a bear, a leopard, and an ambiguous creature). Those four animals could represent four religious-backed alliances (a Buddhist alliance, a Hindu alliance, an Islamic alliance, and a Christian alliance). This was the view held by A.E. Knoch, the founder of the Concordant Publishing Concern. His views are outlined in the book Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel. Key points and quotes from his commentary on Daniel 7 can be found in the article “The Four Great Beasts” by Lorraine Day, M.D.

Also, on the website of the Concordant Publishing Concern, there is an article by A.E. Knoch titled “The Three Eastern Beasts” from his series “The Mystery of Babylon,” which addresses describes Daniel 7 in conjunction with Revelation.

The first animal, the Lion, could represent a Buddhist alliance. The Concordant Literal New Testament describes the Lion as an “eastern animal.” Of the four major religions in the world, Buddhism is the easternmost religion. The Lion was described as having “eagle’s wings,” implying an ability to spread across regions. This may represent the spread of Buddhism from its origin in India to East and Southeast Asia. The Lion was also given a “human mind.” This may symbolize Buddhism’s focus on humaneness and ethics (Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel, p. 222, quoted in “The Four Great Beasts” by Lorraine Day, M.D.).

Looking to the future, it is very conceivable that an Asian alliance of nations could form with China as its head, given China’s dramatic rise in economic and political power. If this relates to Daniel’s prophecy, the alliance is likely to have the backing of Buddhist leaders in Asia.

The second animal described is a bear. Given that the Lion was the “eastern animal,” it makes sense that the Bear would be slightly west of the Lion. If you start in East Asia and travel west, the next major religion you will encounter is Hinduism in India.

Daniel wrote that the Bear “was raised up on one side” and “had three tusks in its mouth” (v. 5). A.E. Knoch believed that this passage depicts the Caste System. In this interpretation, the part of the bear “raised up” is the Brahman priestly caste. The three tusks in the Bear’s mouth are the three castes beneath the priests. Note that unlike the Lion, there is no mention of wings on the Bear. This could symbolize the fact that Hinduism’s spread beyond India has been very limited (Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel, p. 222, quoted in “The Four Great Beasts” by Lorraine Day, M.D.).

Today, India is another country that is rapidly growing economically. With a population of 1.3 billion, more than one sixth of the world’s population, I could imagine India as a stand-alone, Hindu-backed empire to compete with the other three in the prophecy.

Continuing westward, the next religion we encounter is Islam, in the Middle East. Islam may be represented by the Leopard in Daniel’s prophecy. The Leopard had “four wings” (v. 6). If wings symbolize spread of a religion, Islam’s rapid spread, both historically and in the present day, is noteworthy. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world today, according to a 2015 Pew Research study. The world’s Muslim population is projected to have a 70% increase by 2050, and Muslims are expected to comprise 10% of Europe’s population by then.

Daniel wrote that dominion was given to the Leopard (v. 6). We know that the Middle Eastern nations play a major role in global politics and economics. The “four heads” of the Leopard (v. 6) could represent four Islamic nations that will form an alliance near the end of this age.

Continuing westward, we encounter the parts of the world that A.E. Knoch refers to as “Christendom,” Europe and the Americas (Knoch, “The Three Eastern Beasts”).  Now, the obvious question would be, if we believe that Christianity is the one true religion, why does the prophecy group Christianity in with other religions, and why does it describe the fourth animal as evil and violent?

First, I believe this prophecy is NOT talking about individual practitioners of any of these religions. Knoch describes the relationship of religions to kingdoms in Daniel 7 as follows:

The fourth beast is repeatedly called a kingdom and it includes ten kings. If then, these are kingdoms, what relation do they sustain to the temple and to Israel as the priest nation? In ancient times religion was a matter of state. Nebuchadnezzar was neither the first nor the last to demand religious as well as political submission. As the wild beast, or its head, the anti-christ of the future will demand more than political fealty. He will have the worship of all mankind. His image will be the object of divine honors far above that accorded the most exalted potentate. The clash between Israel and the nations at the time of the end will arise out of their refusal to worship the image, rather than a breach of political faith. All of this leads us to the conclusion that the beasts of Daniel and the composite beast of Revelation are kingdoms in which religion is directly or indirectly a matter of state (“The Three Eastern Beasts”).

Thus, the prophecy deals with characteristics of nations that claim a particular religion as their basis, not the spiritual status of the religions at their core. Note that, what we see from European history is that church-run governments have the potential to turn violent and oppressive. The problem is not the true Christian religion, which is founded upon Scripture, but rather, faulty ideas about God and man’s role that corrupted the church. Similar corruption of the Christian faith could occur in a future Christian confederation.

What Daniel’s prophecy seems to indicate is that a Christian alliance of nations will eventually form in the Western world. The current European Union is a secular union. This is why I believe that if this future interpretation of Daniel comes to pass, the current European Union will be dissolved. The United Kingdom’s recent exit could be the start of this. What would eventually form is a new, religious European Union, that could very well include the Americas too. In the prophecy, the fourth animal had “ten horns” (v. 6). This could represent leaders of ten nations forming the new union.

The prophecy later says that a new horn rose up in place of three that fell off, and that the new horn had defeated those three. This could symbolize some sort of new leader arising and exposing political scandals involving three other leaders of the new union, forcing them to step down. However, as the prophecy will later reveal, this new leader himself is far from righteous.

With this political conflict in mind, it is worthwhile to consider the increasing tendency for countries to meddle with each other’s political processes. Organizations like Wikileaks are creating new platforms for such interference.

The new, Western leader depicted in the prophecy, and its supportive organizations, could be privately affiliated with any religion, or no religion at all. However, if this future scenario comes to pass, I think the leader will be guised as Christian in some way or another.

Once this leader gets into power, he or she will likely get the world’s other three alliances (East Asia/Buddhist, India/Hindu, Middle East/Islam) to cooperate with the Western alliance on common objectives for the world. This persuasion is likely to be made by finding common ground across the world on issues of both politics and religion. This absorption of the other alliances is implied by Revelation Chapter 13, which depicts a beast resembling that of Daniel 7, but with all four animals combined into a single creature (Knoch, “The Three Eastern Beasts”).

It is likely that the Western leader would act supportive of Israel at first, and may even support Israel in reconstructing the Jerusalem temple. However, the Western leader will eventually turn on Israel and go to war against them (Dan. 7:24-25). This leader may also persecute Christians who do not support his or her agenda, or whatever form of Christianity is favored by the government. If the “time, two-times, and half-a-time” of Daniel 7:25 is to be literal, this war would last for 3.5 years.

However, the prophecy continues to say that this leader’s reign will be stopped (v. 26). It is not said exactly how this will happen. It is possible that it will occur through the actual return of Christ, or perhaps, shortly before Christ returns, there will be a political revolution that removes the leader from power.

I do not necessarily believe that the aforementioned war will involve global destruction. Using the period of 66-70 A.D. as a precedent for fulfillment, there was some sporadic violence throughout the ancient Roman empire as well as natural disasters, but the only severely affected areas were Jerusalem and surrounding regions. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica that the Rapture would come at a time when people are saying “peace and security” (1 Thess. 5:1-2). The Thessalonians were within what is modern-day Greece. Thus, while there could be some elevated violence and other crises throughout the world in the final years of this age, most people will likely, for the most part, be carrying on as usual in the years right before the Rapture.

It is after the Rapture, during a brief period before Christ’s arrival on earth, that it appears disasters will severely affect the entire world (1 Thess. 5:1-3, 2 Thess. 1:5-10). However, if you look at the passage from 2 Thess. 1, note that the destruction is directed toward those who are rebellious against God. Even though the Rapture only includes believers who are in the Body of Christ, there are people outside of the Christian faith who are striving to do what is right in accord with their conscience, are resisting their selfish passions, and live according to the principles which Jesus taught. I feel that there is good reason to think that these people will be protected on earth during the period right before Christ’s arrival on earth. In Jesus’ many parables about His coming kingdom, those granted access are those who do good works in accord with love for others.

On the other hand, the significance of being a believer, as described in Paul’s writing, is about entering into a special kind of relationship with the Lord based on justification (Rom. 3 – 8), being made a new creation spiritually (2 Cor. 5:17), and having a special role in the coming ages (Eph. 2:7). However, I do not believe this is the baseline message of salvation in Scripture. Rather, it is a special salvation for believers in this age.

The advantage of being a believer is that, through the Rapture, there is absolute assurance of protection from the calamities that will occur right before Christ arrives on earth to establish a new eon for the world.

 

Concluding Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, this entire future fulfillment of Daniel 7 is not something that I am absolutely sure will happen. However, in light of the fact that prophecy is not confined to a particular era, but instead, is being continually fulfilled throughout human history, I found it worthwhile to consider possible clues in Daniel about a future fulfillment to take place shortly before Christ returns and the present age comes to a close. The interpretation of Daniel 7 described in this article makes sense to me based on the spiritual perspectives on the world and religions that I have arrived at through thematic analysis of Scripture in general.

I want to close this article by saying that, I am not encouraging people to completely separate themselves from institutional Christianity due to anything I have written. Furthermore, I am not saying that it is wrong for religion to play a role in politics. Rather, what I am writing against is enslavement to religious systems. This enslavement can manifest itself in forms such as, feeling guilty to differ on points of doctrine, feeling obligated to pledge support to various missions or political agendas, or feeling obligated to stay with a church even when that fellowship is not yielding anything beneficial to one’s life. If you can be a member of a church without being chained to the system in this way, then that is perfectly fine, and you are not at risk of religious deception.

Having looked at prophecies contained within the Bible itself in recent posts, the next matter to discuss would be, what to think of prophecies that Christians claim to receive from God today. I believe that our examination of Biblical prophecy will provide a helpful framework for thinking about modern-day claims of supernatural revelation.

 

Works Cited

Knoch, A.E. Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel. Concordant Publishing Concern, 1968.  qtd in Day, Lorraine, M.D. “The Four Great Beasts: What or Who Are They?” The Good News About God. Spencer Publishing. 2006.     http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/current_news/home_study/daniel7.htm

Knoch, A.E. “The Three Eastern Beasts.” Concordant Publishing Concern, n.d., Web.                 http://concordant.org/expositions/the-mystery-of-babylon/13-three-eastern-beasts/

Morais, Daniel. “Daniel 7: A Preterist Commentary.” Revelation Revolution. n.p., n.d., Web. http://revelationrevolution.org/daniel-7-a-preterist-commentary/

“The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.” Pew Research Center, 2 April 2015, Web. http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/