The Handwriting on the Wall (3)

 I am posting early due to the fact I will be away from the computer for awhile.  My next post on Daniel, the Lord willing, will be Friday November 03, 2006.

Daniel 5:25-31

THE MESSAGE OF THE HANDWRITING AND ITS INTERPRETATION (vv. 25-28). The message of the handwriting was in Aramaic which the people could read, but did not understand. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. ‘Mene’, being mentioned twice means you better pay attention – Daniel said, “This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” The double “Mene” means the judgment is stacked up on you and is doubled. “Tekel”, was ‘You have come up short’. No one even had taken heed to the message from years before when Nebuchadnezzar had the dream of the statue with the golden head. They were pompous, proud, sanctimonious and secure, and God said, “You are done”. “Upharsin” or “Peres”, the kingdom is given to others – in particular to the Medes and Persians. Daniel knew this partially due to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which he told him and interpreted.

The city of Babylon is about to fall and it is as though Belshazzar does not hear, and awards Daniel all these things of wealth. How foolish the heart of a king, or any leader who takes the Word of God so carelessly, haphazardly, and does not fall on his face before Holy God. The very act of awarding these to Daniel was an act of arrogance, and a lack of repentance.

It is not kings who set up kingdoms, or rule. It is the Almighty God. That is visually apparent, and easily seen when one has a heart for God, His Word, and His rule. Daniel would receive awards, but not from the hand of a fallen evil king.

 

PROMISES ARE CARRIED OUT JUST AS THEY WERE SPOKEN (vv. 29-31). That same night that Belshazzar awarded the one who interpreted the writing, Belshazzar was also given what God had promised. He was killed. God’s judgment is sure, and sometimes without delay.

Darius the Mede took the kingdom, to rule, and he was a man of 62 years of age. God would use Darius to give to Daniel what Belshazzar had given, and even more. Darius loved Daniel, which becomes apparent in the next chapter.

Where do you fit into God’s plan? Are you living for yourself, gaining all you can in this life? Do you believe your life to be all one big party? Are you flaunting yourself against the truths of God Almighty? Do you believe yourself to have your life fully in hand? Let me urge you to rethink those thoughts. You do not. Just as the kingdom can be taken from a king in one night, so can your life be taken in one night, then; what is your destiny?

When you see THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL it just may be too late.

The Handwriting on the Wall (2)

 Daniel 5:13-24

THE PROPHET OF GOD IS CALLED WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS AND HE GIVES GOD’S MESSAGE (vv. 13-24). Unknown to Belshazzar was the fact that outside the city walls the Median empire was planning an assault this very night. It seems only logical to assume that the guards were not posted around the critical areas of Babylon. It could also be that the people had become so comfortable, and secure that they never posted guards, or maybe the guards were sleeping.

The Euphrates River flowed through the center of the city. To the Medes this was a weak point. The Medianites channeled the river away from the city, lowering the level of the wathe, where they could enter under the wall at that point. They had troops at both sides of the city waiting to enter, and do war against Babylon.

When all else fails call for the preacher. He followed his grandfather’s actions of his earlier years. Belshazzar’s actions do seem to be more reasonable – because he does seem to be completely ignorant of who Daniel is; though I would think it is willful ignorance, where he has merely chosen to remain ignorant of one of there countries, and cities most notable people. Let is be said, and noted that ignorance is no excuse, nor is “Ignorance bliss”.

Daniel is uninterested in the wealth that Belshazzar offers him. What good is it when everything around you is about to come tumbling down. Daniel was more interested in carrying out God’s mission for himself. Now, that is not meant as a selfish enterprise on Daniel’s part, but is meant of showing where Daniel’s heart lay with God – The Holy One.

Daniel tells Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences. His pride was his downfall and he became as a brute beast, even to the point of living and eating like them, and with them. Belshazzar was to learn, that, unlike Nebuchadnezzar he would not be returning to the kingdom, nor would there even be a Babylonian kingdom. Belshazzar knew all the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences with God, but he refused to change his way.

God’s message to and against Belshazzar was that, he had exalted himself against God. Now he would be no more. Herein, lies the tragedy of so many in all ages even in and, maybe especially in this, the Twenty first century. The pride of the human heart is so exalted in the exploits we do. Technology is fastly becoming the arrogance of mind. Money is becoming the arrogance of power, and politics. The thought of many is the earthly golden rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules”. Do not live in your arrogance and one day find yourself on the wrong side of God and His justice. He has given us one way to Himself, and that is through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection. If you think you can get to God your way your arrogance is still in the way.

Reason # 3

The Scoffers Who Disclaim The Promise of His Return2 Peter 3:1 – 7

Do you wonder if the scoffers scoff about the scoffers? Just what is the meaning of the word ‘Scoffer’ or ‘scoffing’? The word actually can mean in the sense of being a false teacher, or a mocker, making a mock at sin. Certainly people who are loving and enjoying their sinful lifestyles are not going to want to expect the return of the Lord, whom they do not want to see them in their sins; if they believe in Him at all.

 

THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT THIS DAY WILL COME (v. 3).

The reason they are scoffing [mocking] is because of their own lustful, sinful passions, and greed. These are the one’s who will laugh and mock at those who will profess Jesus Christ and live for Him, and witness for Him. “Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.” Prov. 14:9. They do not want to face the fact that judgment is coming on the world and they will give an account to their Creator. The question they ask is one of ‘Willful ignorance’, “Where is the promise…”

THE MOCKER’S/SCOFFER’S FORGET THAT JUDGMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN ON THE EARTH, AND ALL THE PEOPLE OF EARTH PERISHED, EXCEPT NOAH AND FAMILY (vv. 5-6).

Of course, if they do not believe Scriptures they will not believe in that judgment, so will remain condemned. Let’s eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die is their philosophy. Since they do not believe in God, His judgment, or salvation, they only see life as a one time thing, so they perish into everlasting judgment.

These verses tell us that “For this they willingly are ignorant…” of this judgment which destroyed the world the first time. Willingly are ignorant means that they really do not care to know the truth – they love their lifestyles, and will not turn from it. The scoffers do not negate the fact that the judgment and their judgment is coming, and it will be much sooner than later.

God’s message for the Scoffer is ‘Repent, believe, trust the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and the truth of the resurrection’

 

AS SAVED PEOPLE OF JESUS CHRIST OUR MINDS MUST BE STIRRED TO REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE THINGS WHICH THE PROPHETS SPOKE (v. 1-2).

The prophets spoke of the first coming of Jesus and He came. Isaiah spoke of His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14). This was fulfilled according to Matthew 1:18-23.

Isaiah the prophet spoke of His suffering and death which would cause many to be saved. (Isaiah 53:1-12).

The prophets spoke of His first coming as a literal fact, then their words of a second coming surely are a fact as well.

 

JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE SCOFFERS/MOCKERS DOES NOT NEGATE THE EVIDENCE OF THE FACT THAT JESUS IS COMING AGAIN IN JUDGMENT (v. 7).

Jesus is not coming again to judge His Bride. He is coming again first to claim His Bride, ie. the Church, take her to His place prepared for her, and He will come again that we might be where He is. Then He will return with His Bride, and judge the earth and its people.

It is based on the writings, teachings, and preaching of the prophets. These came by revelation, verbal inspiration, and the filling of the Spirit of God. These came by God to reveal Himself to mankind.

It is promised by God, His Word, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The scoffers do nothing more than give more solidarity to the Scriptures as God’s Word – at least in my estimation.

Jesus is coming again. He is coming for His Bride – the Church – in the air to take us to that great wedding day in the sky when He shall present us to the Father, clean, pure, spotless, undefiled, unashamed, unblameable, and unrebukeable.

EVEN SO COME, LORD JESUS.

The Handwriting on the Wall (1)

Daniel 5:1 – 12

 

Belshazzar was most likely the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and was the ruler of the city of Babylon, not the Babylonian empire. His father would have been ruler of the empire – he second in command under his father.

At this time, it has been estimated that Daniel was 82 years of age. Since Belshazzar does not know who Daniel it seems to indicate two things 1) Belshazzar’s ignorance or uncaring about the things that have happened in the past, and/or 2) Daniel had had not recent use in the kingdom.

 

THE PARTY THAT ENDED THE LIFE OF A KINGDOM AND A KING (vv. 1-4). There was a whole lot of riotous living going on in the palace on this night. It is said that when kings of this period had a drinking going on they left the women out of it. At this party, however, there were wives, concubines, and various kinds of women; which made this a party of debauchery .

It seemed to get so out of hand the king [Belshazzar] elevated the gods of Babylon over the God of all things. This was when he called for the vessels of God’s temple which had been taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar many years before. Nebuchadnezzar had also proclaimed that the people of Babylon was to respect, and revere the God of Israel. “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Daniel 3:29 (KJV).

The thing that had taken place on this vital evening was blasphemy and idolatry which was the ‘last straw’ with God. God’s purpose for Babylon had reached its peak, now they would be brought to their knees, and Belshazzar would die.

Playing with the things of God which are holy will bring judgment. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). There is an terribly lot of playing around with godly things, and making what is holy vile and ugly. An example of that is the attempt to legally marry people of the same gender. Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God. It is a party of the vile, godless, and unholy seeking to make it approved by God and man. It will never be approved by God, but will bring down judgment. Do not mess around with the holy things of God.

 

GOD’S WARNING, A FRIGHTENED KING, AND HIS SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE (vv. 5-12). Even in a kingdom such as Babylon and its chief city the LORD gives warning, but the ‘king’ is completely ignorant of the God of Israel; most likely willfully so. The prophet Amos wrote, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealed His secret unto His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7), but Belshazzar knew no prophet.

A hand appears and is writing on the wall during the party – at least the party that use to be – which, of course, causes great alarm in the heart of the king. It would probably seem that there was an emergency sobering effect upon the thousand or so who were in attendance. All attention went to the wall where the hand with no body was writing; the playing, drinking, the noise all ceased. You could probably hear the proverbial pin drop. It got really quiet.

Belshazzar’s knees “smote one against the other” he was terribly frightened – he surely must have known his time was up. His rule was over. His life was over. He then calls the most spiritually inept people there were in the kingdom – the same ones his grandfather called upon many years ago before he humbled himself to the God of all gods. He receives a recommendation from his mother – she remembers the history of Nebuchadnezzar.

The handwriting on the wall is there for us to see. It is there and should strike fear into the hearts of all who make a mock at sin, and those who love the Lord and His Word. It is written in the pages of the ages, “Be sure your sin will find you out”, and that is God’s handwriting on the wall for all to see. THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL today is the pages of holy writ, the Bible, the Word of God. You can read it, accept it, believe it, and live by it trusting the Lord of the Word and His finished work on Calvary’s cross, or you can reject it and die.

The Testimony of a Humbled King

Daniel 4:1-37

An Outline of chapter four –

I. A STATEMENT OF PRAISE FROM A KING (vv. 1-3).

II. A TROUBLING DREAM OF A NOT YET HUMBLED KING (vv. 4-7).

III. DANIEL AND THE DREAM (vv. 8-27).

IV. UNWILLING TO YIELD TO GOD A KING BECOMES A BEAST AND GOD’S PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED (vv. 28-37).

A STATEMENT OF PRAISE FROM A KING (vv. 1-3).

As we look at these three verses it becomes quite clear who is speaking. It is king Nebuchadnezzar. He has already been through the experience he describes, and is using it to glorify the Lord Almighty, or as he refers to Him in verse 37 “The King of heaven”. This seems to be the clearest testimony of a once proud, self-exalting king, who came to realize there is a higher King of kings who is worthy of praise.

In this chapter the king is sharing a personal testimony of his own experiences with God. If God had not changed him he would not be making this praise to Him. Nebuchadnezzar was a king. A king who had met the Lord, you might say in battle, and lost. Yet, it was a great gain for king Nebuchadnezzar.

I am sure the greatest humiliation the king experienced was not in praising the greater King, but during that time when he behaved like a beast of the field. Praise be to the KING OF HEAVEN for His sovereignty in the lives of kings and paupers.

 

THE TROUBLING DREAM OF A NOT YET HUMBLED KING (vv. 4-7).

The king begins sharing his testimony how everything all got started with his heart change. He tells that he had a very troubling dream. One which made little to no sense to him. He just knew it had a special meaning, but what.

He still has not learned who can know and interpret dreams, though. He calls for the ‘magicians, astrologer, Chaldeans, and soothsayers’ just as before, and just as before they failed to give understanding of the dream. It does seem that they do not try to deceive the king by asking for time.

At the time Nebuchadnezzar has the dream he is yet arrogant, proud, and has no confidence in the Lord GOD. Remember he has had Daniel tell him (because God had revealed it to him), not only the meaning of a dream, but also God showed Daniel the dream which the king dreamed. Also, God has delivered Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah through the fire, and from the fiery furnace. Both of these times Nebuchadnezzar has recognized the power of God, but not humbled himself before Him. “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me?” (EX. 10:3),God asked of Pharoah, and though these exact words are not used here, the message is clearly the same. God is pursuing Nebuchadnezzar for His own. God is in pursuit of you.

 

DANIEL AND THE DREAM OF THE KING (vv. 8-27).

Daniel finally appears before the king. Why Daniel was last is beyond comprehension. You would think that Nebuchadnezzar would have called the one with the most notable success with dreams and interpreting as at the first. That does not seem to be what happened though.

The dream was of a tree. A tree of great height, and breadth. It seemed to cover the earth. In Scripture a tree seems to represent a kingdom: for instance – the tree which grew out of a mustard seed (Matthew 13:310-32); Jesus cursed the fig tree because it bore no fruit (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13-14,20), and the fig tree seems to represent Israel (Hosea 2:12; 9:10).

NOTICE THE CONFIDENCE NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAS IN DANIEL (v. 18).

We can be assured that Daniel was a praying man, and was well studied in the way of God. The request of the king was not as difficult as the first one, but Daniel still had to deliver God’s message.

After spending an hour ‘astonished’ and most likely praying he is troubled. Daniel evidently didn’t like the interpretation. He certainly did not like the idea of telling the king, “Let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee.” was the kings decree when he saw Daniel’s troubled face.

Prophets in those days could lose their heads for giving kings unpleasant messages.

THE INTERPRETATION –

First of all the king would become like a beast of the field;

“The order to fell the great tree was prophetic of temporary form of insanity known as lycanthropy in which a man imagines himself to be some form of animal. The word derives from the Greek lukos, OR ‘wolf’, and ‘anthropos’, meaning ‘man’. BELIEVER’S STUDY BIBLE.

Secondly, the tree represented Nebuchadnezzar;

Third, ‘Watcher’ and ‘holy one’ – God notices the proud of heart; is holy and will cut this king down to size;

Fourth, ‘they’ of verse 25 probably refers to the ‘watcher’ and ‘holy one’;

Fifthly, Seven times most likely is 7 years;

Finally, ‘Leave a stump’ – assurance of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom continuing for awhile after this judgment and it being returned to Nebuchadnezzar.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS JUDGMENT –

1. To encourage Nebuchadnezzar to cease from sin;

2. To humble the king to recognize the God of all creation and nations.

Daniel calls the king to turn to the LORD.

 

UNWILLING TO YIELD TO GOD HE BECOMES A BEAST, AND GOD’S PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED (vv. 28-37).

How can we think that proud, haughty, arrogant people will turn to being Beasts. Think of Romans 1:18-32. Verse 21 says it clearly, “Because that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagination and their foolish hearts were darkened.” You can see the result of what happens when people refuse to yield to God, by reading the verses which follow in that chapter.

It happened to Nebuchadnezzar just as he was warned in the dream – a short twelve months later – a whole year. This speaks volumes of God’s mercy. God gave him a year to repent and change his way.

It happened on a day of his boasting. Watch out in your arrogance and pride.

How long was this judgment to last? “Until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men and gives it to whoever He wills.” (v. 32). No king or kingdom of men is without the sovereign, ruling hand of God.

Nebuchadnezzar turned his eyes toward Heaven ‘at the end of the days…’ . He praised and honored God as sovereign and having an everlasting kingdom (v. 34). Remember this is the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar.

He was returned to the throne. Ruling as a new king with a new heart. He had seen the True King – the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Did the king change? Read verse 37, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” It looks like a new king with a new heart to me. WOW!!! God can and will have His way in the hearts of kings and paupers and the common man. Yes, that includes women too.

Reason’s To Believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture 2

REASON # 2 – Scriptural/Historical Evidence of Previous RapturesGenesis 5:18-24

#1 Reason – Unfulfilled Promises To the People of Israel.

We are going to look at three individuals who experienced a translation, rapture, a carrying away or snatching away. The first one is a man named Enoch; a man who “Walked with God”. The second man is known as the Prophet of Fire, and that is the prophet Elijah. The third one is the greatest and wisest and sinless man who walked on earth, and that is Jesus, though He was not raptured before death, He was forty days after He arose from death. Then there is the question of the many who “Arose and came out of their graves after His resurrection”. What happened to them?

 

THE PERSON OF ENOCH AND HIS RAPTURE (Gen. 5:18-24; Jude 14, 15; Heb. 11:5-6).

Enoch was the son of Jared, and father of Methuselah. Jared’s name means – ‘Came down’ or ‘descend’ Enoch’s name means – ‘Experience’ Methuselah’s name means – ‘Death which would bring’ or ‘When he is dead it shall be sent’.

Enoch apparently started walking with God, only because of the message of God through the name of his son, at the age of 65. If God gave you a son and told you to name him ‘When he is dead it will be sent’, wouldn’t you start walking with God? He walked with God 300 years.

Can we know what Enoch did for all those 300 years (Jude 14, 15)? He preached the coming of the Lord with ‘Ten thousands of His saints’. He preached repentance. He preached the judgment of God upon unholiness, and in holiness. It looks to me like he preached the rapture – how did those ‘Ten thousands of saints’ get with the Lord, and what does this have to do with the judgment of the flood.

Enoch was raptured [translated] from this world (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5). In the genealogy of Genesis 5 this is the only one which it does not say, “And he died”. It says, “And he was not; for God took Him.

 

THE PERSON OF ELIJAH AND HIS RAPTURE – A NOTABLE EVENT (2 Kings 2:9-12).

Where we find Elijah. Preaching to king Ahab (1 Kings 18:1-20). Challenging the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:21-40). Fleeing from queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). Feeling sorry for himself, and saying he was the only prophet of God being faithful to God. Being fed by ravens sent from God for his provisions. Hearing God’s ‘still small voice’. Calling Elisha to be his assistant in the last days of his ministry as prophet. (1 Kings 19:19-21).

What Elijah preached. The repentance of God’s people and the king – turn away, refuse Baal, and return to the LORD God. He called for king Ahab to be rid of Baal – it was his wife Jezebel who brought the abominable worship before the people of Israel. Did Elijah die or is he yet living (2 Kings 2:11). He was taken up in a ‘chariot of fire’, pulled by ‘horses of fire’. This ‘fire’ seems to be the glory of the Lord Himself. Elisha was witness of this glory and glorious event. There were others who seemed to have witnessed this event as well, because they wanted to send men to look over the hills of the area to be sure that Elijah had not fallen out of the chariot or something, and maybe be injured or something. SEE 2 Kings 2:15-18. Elijah appears again with Jesus and Moses (Matthew 17:1-8).

Does Enoch and Elijah believe in the rapture of the Church? I would imagine they do.

 

THE PERSON OF JESUS AND THOSE WHO WERE HIS FIRST FRUITS (Matthew 27:52-53; Acts 1:9-11).

Isn’t what happened to Jesus; His ascending into heaven; a rapture?

Jesus arose and came out of the grave – His rapture delayed due to other duties you could say.

The saints in the graves who were raised. Though it does not say specifically what became of them I would not dare assume they went back to their graves, and died again. I am much in favor of calling them His “First fruits” of His resurrection – the first fruits of the first fruits. They, most likely, would have gone up with Jesus.

 

WHAT THESE RAPTURES HAVE TO DO WITH THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.

Enoch was taken out before the judgment of the world by the flood.

Elijah was taken out before judgment upon Israel fell.

Jesus as the ‘first fruits’ and those who were His ‘first fruits’ were taken out to fulfill Scripture and glorify the Lord.

We will be taken out to see Jesus face to face, glorify Him and so that judgment might come on the earth, putting an end to sin, and it will be such as has never been seen before. The Church has not been appointed to wrath, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” 1 Thes. 5:9-10. This is a means of comforting one another; “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” 1 Thes 4:18; “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thes. 5:11.

These previous raptures assure us that rapture is feasible, and possible, and sure.

Delivered; Pure and Bold

Daniel 3

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S SECOND TESTIMONY TOWARD GOD (vv. 26-30).

Please Note : Just because someone has seen God’s mighty works, and can testify to God’s power does not necessarily mean they know God on a personal basis. At this point in the kings life, he did not know God.

God’s grace is so amazing toward Nebuchadnezzar and toward us all. This is the second mighty deed the king witnesses of the Almighty. The first, remember, was God revealing the dream through Daniel with its interpretation, and this is second; and at the scene of false worship.

When the king commanded them to come out of the fire – they obeyed. They could not obey when it came to worshipping an idol. They could, however, obey their king in other matters. This shows us that there is a time and place for civil disobedience.

When they came out of the fire there was not one single singed hair, nor a piece of clothing touched by the flame. They did not even have the scent of smoke on them or their clothing. When they came from the flames of that fire they were cleaner than ever before.

Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony has all appearances of genuine faith with one exception. You cannot legislate genuine faith. When you have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ you are secure enough in that faith to let the gospel do its work and the people trust God for themselves.

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, alias Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego were promoted even higher in Babylon. I wonder how the snitch felt now?

NOTE: They were cast down into the fire and God lifted them out of it. In times of our fiery trials God is closer than at any other time.

By the fire they were cleansed, they were strengthened in faith, and they were exalted, and God was exalted.

Delivered Through the Fire

 Daniel 3

THE FIERY FURNACE OF DELIVERANCE (vv. 19-25).

This furnace was made seven times hotter than what it was. This shows that the king was angry at Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were trusted men in his court, but now they had failed him, so he thought.

Nebuchadnezzar chose the most ‘mighty men’ to cast them into the furnace. The Hebrews were bound and cast into the fire. These men’s faith never wavers. As they approach the fire the men who are to cast them in perish from the blazing heat. As the men enter the fire they have a very welcome visitor with them, and O such a Visitor He is. After looking at the two words in the old Webster dictionary (visitor, guest) it seems the word visitor would be best to describe Jesus’s appearance. This is from Websters Dictionary on “e-Sword”,

VIS’ITOR, n.1. One who comes or goes to see another, as in civility or friendship.

2. A superior or person authorized to visit a corporation or any institution, for the purpose of seeing that the laws and regulations are observed, or that the duties and conditions prescribed by the founder or by law, are duly performed and executed.

The king is the visitor of all lay corporations.

 

The ropes burned from their hands, they were loose and walking around in the fire. You could say it was the fire which set them free, but only the One in the fire with them preserved them from the very same flames which set them free. Free in the midst of the fire walking around. There is no better freedom than that.

The king and others looking into the flame saw them walking around with no harm coming on them. They also see four, rather than three men in the flame. What sweet fellowship the men must have been having with Jesus. Yes, I said with Jesus. That is who that fourth man was.

Nebuchadnezzar probably would not have recognized the Son of God, but that is who the fourth man in the fire was/is – Jesus Christ the pre-incarnate Son of God.

 

Unfulfilled Promises

The following is the first of a twelve part series I began preaching on Sunday evening at the Carr Lane Baptist Church.  It is a series on the Rapture of the Church.  It is sadly missing in many churches.  Is it because pastors are afraid of the teaching?  Because they do not believe in it? or maybe they do not believe it to be practical.  Why is it when the Bible is one third prophecy that preachers neglect one third of Scripture.  You will answer to God for it.  Paul shunned not to declare the “whole counsel  of God”, nor should you or I.The series is called, TWELVE REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH This is the first, after I give just a list of those twelve.

The twelve Biblical reasons for believing in the pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church:

1. The Unfulfilled Promises of God To Israel;

2. The Historical/Scriptural Evidence of Previous Raptures and Typical Raptures;

3. Scoffers Who Disclaim The Promise of Christ’s Return;

4. Jesus Said He would Come Again;

5. The Church Has Not Been Appointed to Wrath;

6. The Teaching of The Imminent Return of Jesus is Maintained;

7. Emphasis Strongly Placed Upon Evangelism and Missions;

8. The Lord Has Previously Only Worked in One People Group At a Time;

9. The Rapture Is the Blessed Hope;

10. The Expectation of the Rapture Causes Us to Look For Jesus;

11. The Church Is the Temple of The Holy Spirit – The Restrainer of Evil;

12. There Are No Signs Pointing To The Rapture – Be Ready.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are most likely many other reasons, but these seem to come out more clearly. There may be some others that really come clearly, but I have not yet had them revealed to me.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is probably one of the strongest passages of Scripture for believing in the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church. For this first message I want us to see reason number one listed above.

 

Our text will be taken from 2 Samuel 7:10-17.

THE UNFULFILLED PROMISES OF GOD TO ISRAEL.

“Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime” v. 10 (KJV).

According to 2 Samuel 7:10, they have been promised no more affliction. They are promised a place to be “Planted”. They have a “Place appointed” them.

Being planted means they have a place to “put down roots”. A place to call their own with God as their King.

 

Secondly, David’s Family will be forever established (vv. 11-14). “And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” vv. 11-14 (KJV). Nathan was giving this promise to David, from God. He is to have an established kingdom, that will stand forever.

It is established by God, and only God can keep it going. It is not because David deserved such a kingdom, or such great promises, but because of God’s name and His children’s need to give Him glory, and praise.

 

There are some who would say that God is finished with Israel. What does that do for us if God does not carry through with His promises to Israel. In order to say God is finished with the Nation you will begin spiritualizing everything of Scripture, and you end up spiritualizing the gospel itself.

The Third thing we must see, is the Reason Israel Has Been Scattered – God’s Sovereign Plan for Israel Romans 11:7-27 (KJV). Some may be asking, “What does any of this have to do with the Rapture of the Church?” My answer to that is; God must do something with the Church before He can accomplish His purpose in scattering Israel. That something will be taking the Body of Christ out of the way. Thus, the Rapture.

Here are some reasons God had for scattering Israel to the “ends of the earth”. It was to let the “heathen” know that God was judging them “for their iniquity”, to purify them, and make them “Know that am the LORD their God” (v. 28). The strongest theme which runs throughout the book of Ezekiel is that phrase, “That ye [Israel or they] might know that I am the LORD their God. I have counted 63 times this phrase is used in the book. It begins in chapter six and runs through chapter 39. So what is God’s reason for scattering Israel? To cause them and others to know that the LORD is their God. It is certain that God will accomplish His purposes.

 

God will fulfill His promises to Israel, because of His character, and because He is trustworthy we can trust Him with His promises. He will fulfill His Word.

Ezekiel 12:21-28 speaks of a proverb the people had concerning their belief that the prophecies of God would not come. They were a long time off. God says there that His promises will not be ‘prolonged’. They were saying, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth” v. 22 (KJV). Hear what the Word of the Lord is, “For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.” vv. 24-25 (KJV).

Just as the people of Israel could trust and believe that God’s Word would be fulfilled, so it will be for us as well. If God’s promises fail for the house of David, they will not succeed for those who profess Christ as Savior. God has, He is and He will fulfill His Word to the letter. COUNT ON IT.

The Bold and Faithful

THE KING’S MOCKERY OF GOD AND THE BOLD STAND OF THE FAITHFUL (vv. 13-18).

The decree has gone out, “Bow before this image, or burn”. Everyone has, with the exception of three Hebrew youth. The king hears that his decree has been shunned by three. He becomes angry. Did you ever think that the one who turned them in for their apparent insolence could have been one of those ‘wise men’ who could not reveal the dream, thus became jealous of these Hebrews. Nebuchadnezzar mocks the God of all creation.

Take a look now at the one’s who were bold people of faith. Their minds were made up (v. 16) – they would not bow – no compromise; no need for empty talk – they would not bow.

They knew God could deliver them, but even if not – they still would not bow. They had rather burn for God, and let the light of their burning shine throughout eternity, than bow to an idol. And, God still has the flame that could not harm them burning as an example today. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name. Amen. Do Christians have that kind of faith today. We know there are some, especially, if we are familiar with The Voice of the Martyrs ministry located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They share stories each month in their Newsletter/magazine “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS” of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are suffering for their faith. Facing persecution from their governments, if they refuse to give up preaching Christ or holding worship services. In the face of that kind of opposition they continue. God bless them. May we have that kind of faith.

The so called, “FAITH MOVEMENT” says God wants to bless you with material things, and if you are not it is due to sin in your life. What happens when things are gone? God will bless you with Good health, if you rid sin (negative thoughts and influences) from your life. What happens when health is gone? Are we only trusting God when we are blessed? That is the height of idolatry, not faith in the One true and living God. May God forgive those who teach such heresy.

When you are called on to stand for your faith will you bow under the butcher’s axe or before the idol of comfort and love for life?

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had determined before hand, that they would not worship this image. How could they make that pre-determined decision and stick with it. There is one thing for sure, and that is, that they had prayed, and were continuing to pray. I do not think the Scriptures need tell us that; it is just simply evident, by their previous examples.

How can Christians today stand in the face of such trial? Only by maintaining a continuing fellowship with God in prayer, in His Word, and by being faithful in everyday living.

The three Hebrews would not bow – even though it meant being cast “alive” into a hot fiery furnace. There are many professing Christians today who will not give up their comfort to be faithful to Christ by living right or giving up ten percent of their income as a tithe of their income, because they “Can’t afford it”. They can afford to get a new car, new house, or go on vacation to a new place. They just simply do not love God, and in the day of their trial by fire; they will not be faithful, because they have not pre-determined, by faith, to stand.

A Concoction of the Kings Imagination

Daniel 3:1-12

THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (vv. 1-12).

When I see things like this my first thought is of Psalms 2 where it is said, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-2 (KJV). Nebuchadnezzar has had this dream which Daniel gave him the interpretation as well as telling him what the dream is in the first place. Now he comes to the place of pride and arrogance and seeks to call all worship to himself, as the “head of gold”. He desires his kingdom to continue despite God’s clear prophetic message.

It continues today. Michael Drosnin author of THE BIBLE CODE says the prophecies of the Bible are warnings not predictions (see THE BIBLE CODE pg. 137). “The Bible code is more than a warning. It may be the information we need to prevent the predicted disaster” (Ibid, pg. 149). “The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves.” (Ibid pg. 150). Understand Michael Drosnin is not a follower of Jesus Christ, nor does he believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture. This could have just been the thinking of the king of Babylon. “It is just a warning, I can change my own fate”. What God says will come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Hear what God says, “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:21-28 (KJV). God’s Word prevails over the wisdom of men. It does not matter their stature or power.

Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by the God of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but he was not a believer.

It would certainly be no surprise to learn that the image the king made was after his own likeness. If man makes an image of worship it is most often like himself, or a image of a lesser being.

There is another image mentioned in Bible prophecy, which, if people of that time do not worship, they too will be threatened with death; (Read Revelation 13:14-18).

 

Pride is a destructive thing. It will lead to the downfall of any man or woman, boy or girl. Especially the pride which exalts itself over God and His Word. That is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar was doing. He still had a great love for himself, thus, a hatred for the God of the Hebrews, and who was His Sovereign as well.

Pride caused the fall of the devil – See Isaiah 14:12-23. Also see Ezekiel 28:1-19.

Pride causes Nebuchadnezzar’s fall.

Pride causes the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes who first desecrated the Jewish temple.

Pride will cause the last world Gentile ruler’s fall as well.

GOD’S WORD FOR US, “BEWARE THE PRIDE OF YOUR HEART”.

Everyone was summoned to worship this image – but it is quite clear that all did not. There were three who stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death

 

Look at the dimensions of this monstrous image:

  • Sixty cubits high = approximately 90 feet;

  • Six cubits wide = approximately 9 feet;

  • Six is the number of man; seven is the number of completeness; thus, man always comes up short (Rev. 13:18)

When I study this chapter of Daniel, the question comes to my mind, “Where was Daniel?” at this time. We know where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were. They were about to face the heat of fiery trial. It was time they had to stand alone, ie, without Daniel. However, they were not without God – YHWH.

No matter what kings or despots concoct against God and/or His people God still reigns in the hearts and minds of all men, even the kings. 

Who Can Reveal Thoughts and Dreams, but GOD

 Daniel 2:46-49

THIS TRIAL MADE IT CLEAR TO ALL OF BABYLON WHO GOD IS (vv. 46-49).

“Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.” Daniel 2:46-49. (KJV).

In Nebuchadnezzar’s thinking only a god could have revealed his dream, and told its interpretation. He did the thing that anyone with his thinking would do – he worshipped Daniel. This, most likely, was not amusing to Daniel, because he knew God was the only one worthy of worship.

Through this dream, and by the revelation of the dream the king is introduced to the God of all creation. Nebuchadnezzar does not put his faith in Him, yet, but he will later.

Through this dream also, Daniel and his friends are brought to the front of God’s rule and sovereignty. When God’s people follow God’s way; not matter their place inlife – God will be glorified.

2:44 One final feature of the vision records the ultimate reason for the dream. The vulnerable toes of the great image become the target of a stone which comes from nowhere. The stone has been ‘cut out’ without hands, and indication that the stone, unlike the great image, is not of human origin. Striking the toes of the image, the stone renders a crushing blow to the iron and clay composition. The entire image falls, being utterly destroyed in that fall. This stone, which ‘became a great mountain and filled the whole earth’ (v. 35), is identified as the kingdom of God. Following the destruction of the image, the kingdom of God continues forever in full strength. Apparently, the dream had several results: (1) the dream and its interpretation brought Daniel to prominence in Babylone with Nebuchadnezzar (vv. 46-49); (2) the dream further served as an initial warning to Nebuchadnezzar that he, though great, was not invincible, and must prepare for the ultimate dissolution of his kingdom unless he humbled himself to the true God; (3) the dream must have provided immense consolation to Daniel and the Hebrew captives, assuring them that ultimately God’s kingdom would be triumphant, overcoming all of the ruthless reigns of earthly sovereigns; and (4) Nebuchadnezzar was thereby introduced to the true and living God (v. 47)” (From the BELIEVER’S STUDY BIBLE).

Daniel was not self-indulgent either. He brought Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the picture too. The king gave Daniel many gifts; made him a ruler; chief of the governors; and all the ‘wise men’ of Babylon. There must have been much jealousy among those ‘wise men’ who had been in the kingdom for years, and had never received such recognition as this.

Oh, that the leaders and rulers of the countries of the world today would understand, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)