[I had written this on 9/27/20, but I inadvertently hit a button or clicked my mouse; in any event, my composition was relegated (according to the message that popped up on the screen) to the “clipboard,” which neither the administrator of this site (older son, Kim) nor I could find. What appears here is the best attempt I can make to reconstruct that composition; but I fear it will lack the passion of the original. My apologies. I learned a lesson, though — from now on, I write in Word, save, and paste here.]
There have been few times in contemporary history when the Bible came as alive as it did during the Nixon years. In the early 1970’s, someone discovered the little-known chapter 8 of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, which begins, “ … all the people gathered together in the area in front of the Water Gate.” Before long, chapter 8 had been reproduced on posters in its entirety and could be found in malls across the country.
It’s taken another 50 years for the Bible to speak so clearly to the general public. Here’s what I mean: I was reading the selections for one of my devotional guides, “The Year of the Bible,” on Sunday, from the Book of Daniel. Now, what I’m about to propose here would curl the hair on the necks of just about every professor of biblical interpretation. Even I have a low estimation for people who do what I’m about to do. But, just for the fun of it, let me tell you what went through my mind as I worked my way through Daniel, chapter 11. In this chapter, Daniel offers a prophecy that, in my view, resonates alarmingly closely with our current political situation:
Verses 36 and following (from the Common English Bible): The king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt himself, making himself greater than any god. He will say unbelievable things….. He will succeed until his doom is completed, because what is decreed must take place…. He will give no thought to any god, because he will make himself greater than all of them. In their place, he will worship a god of walled fortresses…. He will deal with walled fortresses with the help of a foreign god. He will heap rewards on those who support him, making them rule over many and dividing up the land for a price…. He will invade countries, sweeping over them like a flood…. He will extend his power into other countries [but] reports from the east and north will alarm him, and in a great rage he will set off to devastate many…. But he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
Let’s be clear – I know that Daniel’s prophecies were in response to what was happening in the limited world he knew, which consisted of countries that were around centuries before Christ was born: Persia, Greece, etc. Literally speaking, the “king” to whom Daniel refers is a king who lived during Daniel’s time. However, if scripture is going to be relevant in the 21st century, it might not be too much of a stretch to hear Daniel’s prophecy as a kind of guideline for today’s believers.
As such, I propose that the United States has its own “king,” who will be known as Don for the sake of this essay. (It fits nicely, especially if we refer to the biblical writer and prophet as Dan). For starters, let’s be honest enough to admit that Don’s self-perception is certainly that of a king. That’s a much nicer term than “autocrat” or “dictator.” In his own mind, Don is superior to any other person, policy, or precept. It might be too much of a stretch to say he sees himself as superior to God, so I won’t go there. But, clearly, he’s a person who does “whatever he wants.” He certainly plans to move forward with that as Election Day approaches (his stated “Either I win or I’ll declare the results fraudulent” mind set).
Who can deny that Don “says unbelievable things”?
And what about worshiping “walled fortresses”? Doesn’t he frame the relationship between the U. S. and other countries as contentious, making it necessary to wall off the U. S. like so much of a fortress? (How’s that coming, by the way? We don’t hear much about the wall along the southern border these days. In fact, the last I heard was that only a few hundred miles had actually been erected compared to the 1,000-miles-plus that had been projected by now.)
Originally, the “walled fortresses” were intended to be paid for by Mexico (or, in a VERY loose sense, “the help of a foreign god”). We all know how that turned out.
Don is on record as saying that he values loyalty above all else and, as we have seen (e. g., Roger Stone) “heaps rewards on those who support him.” With the help of Attorney General William Barr and other similar political allies, Don has managed to “divide up the land” (when since the Civil War has our country been in such turmoil, brother against brother, parent against child?).
He has “extended his power into other countries” (e. g., tariffs against China).
Perhaps the “reports from the east and the north” may have something to do with the election results, which, unless he emerges as the clear winner, would certainly “alarm” Don and motivate him to “devastate many” in a “rage.” He has all but promised to do just that.
If we’re going to put much stock in these verses, then Biden supporters might want to cling to the very last statement: “He [Don, the king] will come to his end, and no one will help him.”
I even find it amusing that it’s “Chapter 11” that contains these verses, given Don’s current financial woes.
Are you cringing yet at my poetic license? (I’m certainly not the first to apply scripture in such a cavalier way. Just talk to those who continue to find contemporary predictions in the Book of Revelation!) If nothing else, reading these verses from Dan’s prophecy show us that things really haven’t changed all that much in nearly 3,000 years.
Kinda sad, when you think about it.