Note;  Each of four questions is followed by an answer, so there are four separate Q & As below. 

Question #1: 

I noticed on your power point concerning prophesy that when talking about Daniel’s vision of four beasts you referred to ancient kingdoms I thought this vision referred to the end times or does it have a double meaning?


The prophecies in Daniel, with the lone exception of Daniel 12, are of events in the Near East which occurred between the time of Daniel and the end of the Roman Empire.  To be specific, Daniel 2 is about the four kingdoms; Babylon, Persia/Media, Greece and Rome.  It ends with the fall of Western Rome in AD 476 and the end of Eastern Rome (Byzantium) in the fifteenth century.  Daniel 7 is a prophecy of the same four empires (four beasts are the four parts of the statue in Daniel 2), but it primarily focuses in on the fourth beast:  Rome.  It is a prophecy of the persecution of the church by Rome, focusing on that of Domitian who died in AD 91.  The ram and the goat of Daniel 8 are Persia/Media and Greece.  This prophecy focuses in on Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled until 164 BC.  Daniel 11 is about the Seleucid Empire (the kings of the North) and the Ptolemaic Empire (the kings of the South).  It especially focuses in on Antiochus Epiphanes and his persecutions against the Jews in 167-164 BC.  There is no doubt that this is the subject of this prophecy.  In fact, the historical details match spectacularly well.  There is no doubt whatsoever that these prophecies were fulfilled in the past.  Daniel 11:36f is a prophecy of the end of the Ptolemies.  It is about the Battle of Actium and its aftermath.  This happened in 31BC.  No, these prophecies are not of end times.  I know that many Bible teachers like to say that it is about end times, but outside of Daniel 12, these prophecies are of events of the past.  If they have a double meaning, including something from the future, there is no indication in the text.  Such speculative things are best left to speculation.  Thoughts that the ten toes of Daniel 2 are some such countries in the Middle East is nonsense.

Question #2     

In 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Paul discusses how women need coverings for
their head when they pray.  I thought that as a result of Jesus being
crucified we no longer had to abide to such practices.  This passage also
says, "A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of
God; but the woman is the glory of man."  I thought that both man and woman
were created in the glory of God.  What is meant by this passage (1
Corinthians 11:2-16)?

You bring up one of the most controversial and difficult passages in the entire New Testament.  Scholars debate the context and the application of this verse.  Let me give you the big picture and you can do what you like from there.  To do this, I am copying and pasting a Q & A already posted at my web site.
You should know that 1 Corintians 11:10 is considered by many one of the three or four most difficult passages in the New Testament to interpret.  Many explanations have been given.  It is difficult to say for sure what is the absolutely correct interpretation of this verse.  Some interpret this passage to be saying that, literally, women ought to have a head covering when they pray.  It is worth bearing in mind that in fact the Greek mentions a veil, not a hat.  Relatively few take the position today that Paul is commanding all women in all times to wear a veil while praying.
The subject of the passage is submission.  Go back to 11:3 to see that this is the subject.  The Father is the head of the Son is the head of man is the head of woman.  Therefor, women ought to have a particularly respectful and submissive attitude when they pray.  This seems to be the point.  Having said in 11:10 that women ought to be in a particularly submissive attitude in prayer, Paul continues in 11:11 to say that men and women are ultimately equal to one another.  So, I do not believe this passage implies women must have a veil on their heads when they pray, but that they ought to recognize their submission to their husbands when they pray.
The part about the angels is difficult to understand. One explanation is that if women are not in submission, this causes temptation for the angels to reject their submissive position.  In other words, of Christians do not accept the position given to them by God then the angels may be more tempted to rebel.
Let me add:  The passage is not about value or importance or who is better than another.  It is about submission.  Jesus the Son is in submission to the Father, yet he is equal to the father.
Question #3.  
I noticed that you have quite a bit of information about
predestination/ sovereignty of God on your website.  However, I still can’t
seem to grasp the idea of how free-will plays into this.  I have read Bible
passages that seem to convey the message of "being chosen" ex: "Who will
bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?" (Romans 8:33)  Later in
Romans, "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad-
in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him
who calls- she was told, ‘The Older will serve the younger,’ just as it is
written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’" (Romans 9:11-13)  Well, Jacob
was the one who deceitfully stole the blessing from his brother which is
lying and sinful.  "It does not, therefore depend on man’s desire or effort,
but on God’s mercy." (Romans 9:16) So therefore are we out of the picture?
"Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and hardens who he
wants to harden." (Romans 9:18)  ".The Lord opened her heart to respond to
Paul’s message." (Acts 16:14)  ". But I will harden his heart so he will not
let the people go." (Exodus 4:21)  Then there are just as numerous of
passages that convey a message that our destiny is completely up to us ex:
"Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his
ways, declares the Sovereign Lord.  Repent! Turn from all your offences;
then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you
have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O
house of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares
the sovereign Lord. Repent and live." (Ezekiel 18:30-32)  So I come to the
conclusion that we have an illusion that we have free-will because we are
subject to time, but in reality every decision we make has been predestined
and God hardens us/ opens our heart (resulting in repentance) to the message
as he pleases.  "’Why did you make me like this?’  ‘Does not the potter have
the right to make out of the some lump of clay some pottery for noble
purposes and some for common use?’" (Romans 9:20-21)  I understand that God
is God and he has the right to do what ever he pleases, but if he doesn’t
take pleasure in the death of anyone why does he form people destined to be
hardened and go to hell?  I feel like a toy.  I know by what you have
written at your website you are not a Calvinist and probably don’t come to
the same conclusion I did on the subject.  No matter how hard I try though I
can not seem to read the Calvinistic philosophy out of Romans (especially
Romans) and as a result I cannot sleep at night.  What am I missing: How do
Freewill and God’s sovereignty intertwine?
Wow!  I really wish you had been part of our Christian Theology class we just finished here in San Diego.  Actually, you can get a copy of the class–especially class number six–where I discuss the theology of predestination and free choice.  It is available in the "store" at my web site.  The power point and outline used for this class are also available in the power point section of the site in the class on Christian Theology.
Let me summarize.  Yes, God gives us free will and yes, God is sovereign.  God is big enough to both be sovereign and to give us free will.  It was God’s sovereign choice to give us freedom to choose to love him or to not love  him.  In the context of Romans 9, Paul is dealing with Jews who would fault God for offering salvation to the Gentiles.  He is saying to these selfish Jews, "If I want to offer the same salvation to the Gentiles, who are you to tell me no?"    God is sovereign and he can do what he likes, but he is also love and love gives choices.  God may have hardened Pharao’s heart, but that was for a very specific purpose:  to create a foreshadow of the salvation we have in Jesus.  As Moses, the prefigure of the Messiah set Israel free, so Jesus sets us free.  In fact, God did not hesitate to cause Judas to do what he did because anything which relates to Jesus dying on the cross, God was more than ready to step into history to bring about his will.  God can do whatever he wants, and we have no right to question him.  This is certainly taught in the Bible.  God has predestined ALL for salvation, but in his sovereign will he has given all of us the ability to choose.  God knows ahead of time what we will do, but he does not determine it.  We decide.  This may not be "logical" to human thinking, but God is much bigger than our logic.  Yes, a limited sort of predestination is found in the scripture.  God predestined the circumstances which brought Jesus to the world to save us from our sin.   As a general rule, God allows his creation to work and only intervenes for a specific reason.  Human reason struggles with a sovereign God and free will, but clearly both are taught by the Bible.  It is not because the Bible contradicts itself, but because we limited human beings find it hard to grasp how both can be true.
Calvin, Augustine, Zwingli and friends are flat wrong.  We are not guilty of the sin of Adam and we are not predestined for hell.  This is a terrible teaching.  It does great disservice to the God who, by definition, is love.  God predestines all for salvation, but not all God has predestined choose to accept this offer, despite that the offer still stands so long as we are alive.  Predestination is biblical but Calvinism is not.
Question #4.  
This question has to do with unforgivable sin.  As I previously
understood the only "unforgivable" sins were denying Christ till death and
accepting the mark of the beast.  However, I have read of other things that
seem to be portrayed as unforgivable.  I feel like I might be taking some of
the passages out of context so that is why I am asking you.

"Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but
anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in
this age or the age to come." (Matthew 12:32)  I have done quite a bit of
research on this and most say that it’s the same as permanently rejecting
Christ, but that is not what Jesus says, but instead says,
"Anyone who speaks.".  Now I am led to believe that since the Pharisees were
attributing Jesus’ miracles to the devil that was demonstrating their severe
lack of belief and that once they said this the Holy Spirit could no longer
potentially work in them making them willing to repent therefore making the
blasphemy unforgivable.  Am I on the right track?  What is your opinion on
the passage?

Another thing I thought might be unforgivable is causing someone else to sin
especially when they don’t know better; for example, a mom/dad teaching
their kid to shop lift when he/she is four.  Later the kid becomes a high
profile bank robber and doesn’t repent and come to Christ.  However, the
mom/dad repents and do what ever they can to now change their son/daughter’s
ways, but can’t.  Can the causer of the sin be forgiven?  "And if anyone
causes on of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better
for him to be thrown into the depths of the sea with a millstone tied around
his neck."  Is this verse saying that causing someone to sin is
unforgivable? (Analogy: even when you try to rise for air the millstone will
keep pulling you back down)  Are there any other passages written on this
topic?  Is it forgivable?

The third thing I thought that might be unforgivable is falling away from
the faith.  I saw that you had a power-point on the book of Hebrews, but I
still don’t understand the concept.  "It is impossible for those who have
once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in
the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have tasted the
goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall
away to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are
crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public
disgrace." (Hebrews 6:4-6)  I feel like I am taking this out of context
though.  Does this mean that once one sins intentionally after accepting
Christ he/she can no longer be forgiven?  What are your thoughts on this?
What sins if any are unforgivable?

All of Jesus’ sayings need to be taken in their context.  Blaspheming the Holy Spirit, insulting the Spirit, willfully continuing in sin, falling away, a dog returning to its vomit, speaking against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin….   all refer to the same thing.  Bottom line, once we are saved, if we insult the Holy Spirit to a sufficient extent, he will leave us. Such a departure is irreversible.  Hebrews 10:26-31 describes this as a continuing and willful sin.  Other passages may not describe it this way, but the entire scripture is inspired.  In order to fully grasp a Bible teaching on a topic it is wise to pull together all passages on that topic.  If I join the passages in Matthew, 1 Peter, Hebrews and elsewhere, I get the sense that is is not easy to "fall away."  God is very patient.  Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not any one single sin which we commit, after which it is impossible to come back to repentance. Falling away, the unforgivable sin, etc….   are the end of a process by which the saved person comes to the point of rejecting the grace of God and willfully and deliberately, over a period of time, returning to a life of sin.  At some point the Holy Spirit says good bye to this person.  May this never happen to us.  This is how I understand these passages.  At first glance they may appear to be saying things quite different, but taken together, we get a fairly consistent picture of what it means to lose ones’ salvation.
John Oakes, PhD

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