Today I read a piece online by Samuele Bacchiocchi, a retired Professor of Old Testament History at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. Anyway, he introduced an idea I had never considered and while not exactly squaring with historical dogma, I found his hypothesis (his word), intriguing.
In short, the idea he offered was that the two legs of iron described in Daniel chapter 2, represent not only the office of the papacy (a historical Protestant Interpretation) but that each leg represents a departure from the truth delivered to the saints. One leg represents (as noted) the papal see and the other represents Islam.
To support his hypothesis he cited Martin Luther and John Calvin--two giants of the reformation--each of whom proposed the identical idea. Bacchiocchi went on to apply the litmus test of Scripture to each of the notable characteristics of these (essentially) apostate religious powers. Some were a better fit for the papacy, some could clearly apply to Islam and some put a prophetic shoe --so to speak--on each foot of the statue.
I was saddened that Samuele thought it necessary to make a plea that his computer not be jammed with hate mail.
Evidently there are members of the church--I will widen that to include members of every church--who are intolerant of a scholarly open discussion of Scripture; particularly where there is a departure from the accepted dogma. (Before anyone gets too excited about me using the word,"dogma," I will point out that synonyms include; "school of thought, philosophy, and doctrine.") Feel free to look it up in your local Thesaurus and check it out.
Anyway...before I so rudely interrupted myself...the way a church grows to better understand doctrine and to grasp the deeper meanings and nuances of what is already known, it is essential that more study, more intense study, and more corporate study be a part of the weekly individual and corporate worship cycle.
I always find it annoying when Bible class before the main service is concerned first, with making it through the lesson and second, engaging in discussion and sharing different points of view. The reason that last one isn't popular is that everyone wants to be right, and those who strive to be the "most right" usually manage to do so by talking the most: Which (sadly) is what I usually do.
If you want to read Bacchiocchi I'll give you the link but you have to want to read, want to think, want to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and have to want to graciously accept what He reveals even if it's not the way you've always thought.
I can't resist a roguish thought; the next time a teacher seems to stifle discussion and is so bold as to say he/she wants to get through the whole lesson; raise you hand and inquire (meekly), "Why is so important to finish the lesson?" Then sit quietly, hands saintly folded, a neutral facial expression, all the while sending the unmistakable message that you're patiently waiting for and expecting an answer.
Carry on. Memorize Scripture! Study up, "Agitate, agitate, agitate,"and stay close to Christ. God Bless. e.c.
Here's the link. firstname.lastname@example.org