Day 243: The Lord's Plans

Jeremiah 28:1-17 Jeremiah’s intervention sparked a debate with the false prophet Hananiah, who also claimed to be inspired by the Word of God. Hananiah preached a future of blessing and prosperity, the complete opposite of Jeremiah’s warnings. It would not be long before Jeremiah was proven correct, but Hananiah would not live to see it. 

Ch 29:1-32 Jeremiah cautioned the exiles to live peaceably in Babylon and to be subject to their ruler, Nebuchadnezzar. Repeatedly, the prophet made it abundantly clear that the conquest of Judah was due to sin and infidelity. He then spoke of the turmoil awaiting those left in Judah for their refusal to repent. 

Ch 29:8 Your prophets and diviners: Legitimate prophets received inspirations and revelations from God and then transmit them to the people. False prophets, however, use the appearance of prophecy for personal gain. Diviners purport to dispense secret or esoteric knowledge of the future or of the spiritual realm, either through the use of rituals or common elements that have no bearing on divine intervention. If God is not sought out for wisdom and knowledge of the future, the diviner, at least implicitly, appeals to demonic intervention. (CCC 2116)

Daniel 10:1-9 In the first year of his reign after conquering Babylon, the Persian king Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland of Judah. It is in this context that Daniel had his vision, which in part came as a consequence of his prayer and fasting. This vision sapped Daniel of strength so much that he fell unconscious. (CCC 2015)

Ch 10:5-21 The “man clothed in linen” and the others who are present in Daniel’s vision are angels, spiritual beings created by God to serve him and act as messengers and guides to all people.

Michael, one of the chief princes: This is probably St. Michael the Archangel, who also appears in the Epistle of Jude (cf. Jude 1:9), and in the Book of Revelation (cf. Rev 12:7).

I will tell you...the book of truth: The angel appears in the beginning of Daniel’s vision will reveal to him future events concerning the people of Judah and Israel. These events are absolutely meant to happen and by no means contingent on anything else. (CCC 330, 332)

Ch 11:1-20 In the intervening era, generals, who inherited portions of the Greek empire of Alexander the Great, competed for even larger shares.

The four winds: The divided kingdom of Greece after Alexander.

King of the south: Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt would surpass Seleucus I Nicator.

Alliance: Refers to a plot between Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt and Antiochus II Theos of Syria.

Daughter of the king of the south...shall not endure: Berenice, a daughter of Ptolemy, married Antiochus as part of the pact, but she and her child were later killed by Antiochus’ ex-wife.

A branch from her roots: Ptolemy III, a brother to Berenice, who successfully attacked Syria and Seleucus II to avenge his sister’s death. Seleucus was succeeded by two of his sons, the second named Antiochus III, who married off his daughter-the legendary Cleopatra-to Ptolemy V of Egypt. This long and detailed history of the region sets the stage for the entrance of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the cruel and much-reviled king and desecrator of the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, the angel did not give names, but used coded imagery to convey the intended message to the people of Judah.

Ch 11:21-39 Seleucus IV, son of Antiochus III, ascended to the throne. After his assassination, his son Demetrius succeeded him. Since Demetrius was being held hostage in Rome, Antiochus IV gained the throne and waged a reign of terror. Besides continuing the wars on Egypt, he attacked Jerusalem twice, pillaging the Temple of its precious goods and erecting a statue of Zeus in its sanctuary, thus defiling it. Some Jews went along with him, totally shaken up with the Greek culture that he had imposed on Judah. Nevertheless many others remained faithful to their laws and traditions even to the point of martyrdom. Antiochus IV in blind arrogance and pride claimed divinity for himself something none of his predecessors had done.

Ch 11:40-45 The interpretation of the vision is set at the actual time of the writing of this book. The death of Antiochus IV would signal the beginning of the end times. These events did not come about exactly as this section prophesied, but the essential prophecy indicated that Antiochus would be killed and Judah would enter into more prosperous times. The definitive sign of the end times would be marked by the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Christ a few centuries later. (CCC 686)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and give you glory. We thank you so much. Thank you so much for this day. Thank you so much for your Word poured out for us, your Word given to our hearts, and your Word declared to us. We ask that you help us understand it and help us apply it to our lives this day and every day. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”