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2006 Issue 3

In Luke 24, Jesus Christ emphatically declares that all of the Old Testament writings point to Him: “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me [Jesus]” (verse 44). Jesus is not only the Author of all Scripture, He is also the subject of all Scripture. According to biblical scholars, there are over 300 Old Testament prophecies which reach their fulfillment with the coming of Christ and the New Testament age. In Daniel 9:24-27 we have one of the most signifi cant of them. In his Commentary, Matthew Henry wrote that in Daniel 9 we have “the most illustrious prediction of Christ and gospel grace that is extant in all the Old Testament.”

To properly analyze Daniel 9:24-27 we need to look at three relevant factors: 1) the historical context; 2) the mission of Christ; and 3) the prophetic chronology.

The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, written in the late 1640’s, still have the spiritual power to transform individuals, families and entire cultures on the threshold of the Twenty-First Century. As no other book, outside the Bible, the Westminster Standards have been informing, inspiring and transforming people and nations for over 350 years. Why? Because they take seriously all the facts of the written Word of God and all the facts of reality and human life. They seek to understand everything we need to know about God and the universe in the light of that Word, Psa. 36:9. They look at all of life from the perspective of the God of the Bible, for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, Rom. 11:26. It is for this reason that the Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question: “What is man’s chief end?”; and answers: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Law and education are appropriate topics to discuss together, whether you speak of Law as Divine will, or theologically, as an expression of God’s righteous nature that He created man to image. Law is about authority, and education is inescapably authoritarian. It takes two for education to take place, a teacher and a pupil, a master and a disciple, a mentor and the mentored.

This is not to say that learning cannot take place on one’s own or among peers, or that knowledge is only acquired from a teacher. Our own experience and mountains of educational research can demonstrate that knowledge can be obtained through less directed methods. But even here, all truth is revelational in character, and apart from the sovereign God who makes Himself and His creation known to man, without him, The Teacher, no knowledge is possible.

Some people see reading as just another form of entertainment or a way to pass the time—it’s nice to read if you have the time or if you don’t have anything better to do, like watching television, but reading itself is not an important activity. It’s true, of course, that reading can be simply a form of entertainment if, for example, someone is reading trashy novels, but it can also be a very important activity. No Christian would dispute the necessity of reading the Bible, the most important book of all. Other books, as long as they are good books, can also play a beneficial and significant role in people’s lives.

Reformed Christians understand that the Bible applies to every area of life. This would include, then, the humanities such as the fine arts and literature. It’s easy to see such things as “airy-fairy concerns,” trivial compared to day-to-day necessities such as earning a living. But this view does not do justice to the role that literature actually fulfills in society.

I was once looking for a house to buy, so I went to the many real estate agents who wanted to sell me a house. I looked in the real estate brochures, and saw pictures telling me about the houses for sale. Some of the books had beautiful photographs of the houses, together with most attractive descriptions of the oak-paneled hall and staircase, the large sitting-rooms, the bright bedrooms, the garage at the side, and the swimming pool and tennis court at the back. You can be sure that the houses with the lovely descriptions were the ones that caught my eye, but I can see a knowing look on your faces that tells me that you can guess what is coming next. Yes! The price was too high.

On the bulletin boards outside the agent‛s office I could see there were some other houses being put up for auction. That is like “Ebay” where people offer to pay a certain price for something and the one who “bids” or offers the highest price gets it — that is a rather exciting way of buying and selling things. The bulletin boards showed what these houses were. I saw one that was announced, and along the top it read:

“THIS DESIRABLE RESIDENCE”