Anglicans/The book of Daniel

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Question
Hi Mr. White. I am a member of the Anglican Church in Melanesia. I heard from the seventh day Adventist that Jewish Sabbath is the true day of worship and that in Heaven the worship takes place in the 7th day ( Sabbath). They also refer to the book of Daniel about the visions of the King Nebuchadnezzar that all these things the king saw in his vision will happen in the future and some of them are happening now. They continue to say that in the future all the 7th day Adventist members will be persecuted by the Sunday keepers because they ( Seven day Adventist) are the true Church and believers of the true Sabbath ( Jewish Sabbath). Can you comment on this one and also give a little explanation from the Anglican studies about the book of Daniel regarding the visions.
Thank youc

Answer
Hi Francois, Your Seventh Day Adventist friend is obviously committed to his faith.  I was a college roommate with an Adventist, and they are good people.  Saturday is the Sabbath (seventh day of the week) and the Jewish holy day.  But the followers of the Way (Christians) have worshiped the Lord on Sunday, the first day of the week, from the days that Christians were mainly part of the Jewish community.  I think that your friend's claims for worship on the Sabbath, and that Sabbatarians will be persecuted is a misplaced emphasis.  The day that we choose for worship is not the heart of being faithful, just an outward expression of it.

The Book of Daniel is an example of Apocolyptic literature, like the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.  One of my favorite resources for Anglican theology is The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. It points out that the purpose of Daniel is "to encourage the listeners during the persecution of the Jews at the hands of Antiochus Epiphanies (175-164 BC)."  So the visions related in the book are for a religious community in a particular place at a particular time. The book is edifying for Christians as are all books of the Old Testament, but cannot be considered a literal prediction of events to come.  These parts of the book are best understood as allegorical.

The focus of our faith as Christians, then, is the person and the teaching of Jesus Christ.  How is the Book of Daniel reflected in the New Testament?  To quote again from the Oxford Dictionary, "There is only one passage where Daniel is directly quoted in the New Testament, namely the reference to the "abomination of desolation" in Mark 13:14 and parallel references in the other gospels.  But there are many points where its teaching has been developed, e.g. the use of the figure of the "Son of Man, the conception of angels mediating between a transcendent God and man, and above all in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead."

So, we Anglicans (and I would dare say most orthodox Christians) read Daniel with an eye for how it reflects the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This Old Testament book should be considered as illustrative of moral and ethical values, placed in an historical context of who the original audience was, and as allegory.  Judge all things, even the books of the Old Testament, in light of our faith in Christ and His Gospel and you will not go wrong.  And evaluate the claims of other believers by the same rule, your own reading and understanding of the Gospel.

Now, may I ask you a question?  I am a member of The Episcopal Church, the expression of the Anglican Church in the United States.  I am interested in how other Anglicans worship.  What is the version of the prayer book that you use in church?  Our Book of Common Prayer was revised in 1979 to make the language more modern and accessible.  Do you use the English, the American, or another version of the prayer book?  If you want to answer my question, send it to me as a private question here on All Experts.  That way it will not be shared with others, just with myself.

Thank you for your question, and God Bless.  

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John White

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I am an active lay member of the Church. I will discuss the history of our church, what we believe, how we worship, and issues of practical faith. Any serious question will receive a serious reply.

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I am a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church in the United States. I am interested the history and mission of the churches in many nations that comprise the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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