Friday, March 25, 2011

The People Who Know Their God Will Firmly Resist Him

Writing prophetically in 536 BC of events that would occur in 168 BC, Daniel says,
"With flattery he (Antiochus Epiphanes IV) will corrupt those who have violated the covenant (Jews who followed the ways of worldly Hellenism and liberal scholarship), but the people who know their God will firmly resist him."
This was a time when the world powers of Syria and the Seleucid kings in the North plus Egypt and the Ptolemies in the South pressed Judah for taxes, political support and cultural conformity. These demands of politics and society eventually crossed a line that forced the Jews to compromise their commitment to the Lord who was their creator and savior.

Those that "know their God" found an inner strength, or commitment, to hold to the Truth. This strength resulted in action. Knowledge of God will produce an inner resolve which will lead to corresponding action such as Godly decisions and deeds. Knowledge leads to understanding which produces the wisdom to act in line with the truth.

The New American Standard translation reads:
"And by smooth words he (Antiochus) will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will
display strength
and take action."
The English Standard Version reads:
"He (Antiochus) shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action."
If the Ptolemies or the Selucid kings were allowed to define God for the people then religion would have had no reason to resist politics. Or, if the people accepted the knowledge of God as taught by the liberal scholars of the day there would not have been a conflict. There would have been no display of strength, nothing to stand firm on and, most importantly, no reason to take action or to resist.

If you are not taking some kind of action, then you probably do not know God. If you are not resisting at some level, then you probably do not know God as well as you would like to think.

(The image on the coin above is that of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.)

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