Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (5)

Your Own Wickedness

 

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
‘Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19

Words of the Prophets – Isaiah (2)

All Nations Will Flow Unto It

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”  Isaiah 2:1-5  (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (3)

The Wickedness of Mankind

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” Genesis 6:1-7 (KJV).

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel

Responsibilities: The Watchman’s and The People’s

“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:  If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.  He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.  So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me.  When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 33:1-9 (KJV)

Speak the Truth

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 (KJB)

The king of Judah, the southern kingdom; and the king of Israel, the northern kingdom were joining together to fight a common enemy who was Syria.  Jehoshaphat the southern king went to visit Ahab.  The characters and hearts of these two kings were completely opposed to the other.  Jehoshaphat was  a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (22:42-43).  Ahab was so wicked he sold himself to do wickedness against the LORD (21:20, 25).

Micaiah, whose name means “Who is like the LORD?” is the same as that of Micah, the name of the prophet Micah of the Minor Prophets of the Bible.  I do not think they are one and the same.  Micaiah was a captive of king Ahab.  Ahab hated Micaiah, because he never spoke favorably to what Ahab desired.  He spoke what God said.

In this cooperative effort Jehoshaphat wants to hear what God says about going to battle against  Syria.  Four hundred prophets; and I would put a question mark around the word “Prophets” in that statement.  They only spoke what this king wanted to hear.  Jehoshaphat realizing that calls for a different prophet.  Micaiah is called, told to speak what the others have spoken, and he says the words of the verse above.

O how we need those who stand in pulpits today to speak the word of God, rather than the words of men.  We are told by Paul the apostle to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Ahab did not care for the truth.  Notice his words when Micaiah uses sarcasm to him what he wants to hear, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16)

The Christian pastor, preacher, deacon, Bible study teacher, bus driver, etc. needs the resolve, and to resolve to speak the word of God which is truth.  It is the only truth worth speaking.  Do not add to it.  Do not take away from it.

The Truth of God is powerful to change lives.  It is powerful to change your life.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the Living Truth (J0hn 14:6).  He is alive and well. He loves you so much that He went willingly to an old rugged cross, laid down His life, died, was buried, and He rose again declaring the victory over sin and death.  That is the Truth.

Resolve today to receive the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth in love for Christ.

The Certainty of GOD’S Word

“For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.” 1 Kings 13:32 (KJB)

To get a better understanding of these events I would recommend reading chapters 11 – 13 of 1 Kings. Especially pay attention to the thirteenth chapter.

Because of King Solomon’s departure from the worship of GOD alone, and his love for his wives, and women, the kingdom is taken from him when his son Rehoboam is crowned king.  A man by the name of Jereboam is God’s chosen king for the Northern kingdom of Israel, which is also called Samaria, Ephraim, and Israel.  Samaria is made up of ten tribes, and Judah is of the tribe of Judah mostly, and Judah is faithful to the dynasty of David.

Jereboam rebels against God’s word, and sets up idols at Dan and Bethel, golden calves actually, which is actually an affront to GOD [Jehovah/YHWH].

An unnamed prophet comes on the scene while Jereboam is worshiping at Bethel, and speaks the word of the LORD. As a sign he has said that the altar will split in  half, and the ashes be spilled on the ground, and it happens, seemingly under the very nose of Jereboam.  He is angry at the prophet, and while pointing to the prophet to have him seized, his arm turns to mush (dries up), then the sign was fulfilled.

What is so special about this story?  It is truly one of the unique stories of the Bible; and it teaches us a great lesson of faith, and hearing the word of the LORD ourselves, and testing all who claim to speak the word of the LORD.

In the above text of 1 Kings 13:32 we find the old lying prophet certain that the words of the prophet from Judah will be fulfilled.  Just as that altar was split, the ashes spilled onto the ground, they were fulfilled just as the prophet said by the word of the LORD.

There are many people today looking for something sure, solid, and strong.  Many are looking at other things other than to GOD and His word, and His Son.  Look no further than the word of God.  It is certain, sure, solid, and strong.  God is faithful.  He will not leave anything undone which He has spoken.

He has sent us His Son to die for us.  His name if Jesus.  He died on that old rugged cross, was buried, and He rose from the grave and forever lives.  Because He lives those who call on His name in repentance will live eternally with Him.  Call on His name.

What do You Do?

What do you do when you are on your way to work, discouraged, down, and basically feeling like you have made a wreck of your life?  You are listening to a great Christian radio station, and a program called “Unshackled”.

What do you do when you hear the voice of God say in your heart, soul, mind, and spirit, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”? What do you do?  To hear the voice of God speak His word in your heart will pick you up and set your feet on the Rock.

Those words, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” are the words of Scripture (Jeremiah 31:3), and spoken through the prophet to the people of God in the Old Testament.  When God speaks we must listen.

What do you do?

Heart or Lip?

It is a sad thing when the heart of God’s people grow cold toward Him, His word, His ways, His Son Jesus, and His Spirit.  That was a very prominent thing in the land of Israel and Judah.  They had grown away from God.  Still maintaining their worship ritual, without  heart for God; giving Him only “Lip service”, but their hearts were far from Him.  It would do Christians of 2017 and beyond to hear the prophets of the Old Testament, because these words apply to all God’s people when it comes to our worship, and devotion to Him.  Now, hear the prophet Isaiah…

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Isaiah 29:13-16 (KJV)

For Christians one of  the easiest things to do is stray.  Stray away from time with God, and you will begin straying away from fellowship with His people, and worshiping together.  You will stray away from prayer. When that happens you will get into sin, that you thought you would never be part of.  Then, the Lord does a work in your life; you might call it a trouble, trial, even a sorrow so deep it causes grief and pain of heart; God is getting your attention; asking the question, “Whom or what do you trust?”  Sometimes these trials may come when you are walking with God.  Maybe to check your faith.  Remember Job.

Those who pay “Lip service” with out any heart for God are those to whom Jesus spoke of…

Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

I fear that there are far too many people who are boasting of a relationship with God that they do not have. You may be one.  You claim to be Christian, but you only pick up your Bible on the way out the door for worship or Bible study.  The rest of the week you give no thought to God, His Son or His word.  You live your life, your way, and stomp on all who get in your way.

By the work and grace of God, when you are God’s He will always bring you back to Himself.  To love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself. None of us can love God except through the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  He is the one who spoke those words in red above, and though not in red, He spoke through the prophet Isaiah the words of Isaiah.

If you call yourself “Christian”, then stop just giving Him “Lip service” and give Him your heart.  Jesus also said,,,

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

What is in your heart?

 

The Fight in Spiritual Warfare

 “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.” Daniel 10:1-9 (KJV)

 Daniel 10:1-21

 There are wars in our world today. That is no profound statement I realize that, but it is none the less true. We grieve over the wars that have been fought  in Iraq, what is going on in Syria, and many other places; and the young soldiers who are dying, civilians dying, women and children included in that. No war is pleasant. It is not really pleasant to even speak of. Sometimes, as bad as it is, wars are necessary to stand against what is evil. I do not think any one in their right mind would say that, “The attack of September 11, 2001 was not an attack from evil“.

Ever since the beginning of man; Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden we have come under attack from evil. The world is still under the domain of the chief of all evil and that is the devil. He still has his demons working and influencing the leaders of the world, but all his work and efforts will be to no avail. The devil and his demons are a defeated foe. They were defeated on the cross where Jesus died and conquered evil there. Proof of that is in that He rose from the dead.

There is a warfare which we as Christians are fighting today. Some will say, “You said that Jesus had conquered evil, why are we still fighting a war against it?” Jesus did conquer evil, and that is part of the glory of the matter. We need to remember that we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from the victory. “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

Paul the apostle told us…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Eph. 6:10-12 (KJV).

Paul also tells us that…

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” 2 Cor. 10:4 (KJV).

Daniel was finding out about spiritual warfare.

AS WE LOOK AT THE TIME THAT DANIEL HAD THIS EXPERIENCE (v. 1). It was approximately two years after Cyrus had made the decree that the captives of Jerusalem could return to their homeland. In the book of Ezra we read,

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:1-3 (KJV).

This event takes place a few years following the events of chapter 9, because we see at the beginning of chapter nine that it took place during the first year of Darius of the Medes.

It could be that Daniel may have written the document that gave the Israelites permission to return to Jerusalem. Remember Daniel was in the court of the king, so this may have been his responsibility.

THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF DANIEL’S MOURNING (vv. 2-3). It is not told us what it was that caused Daniel to mourn, specifically. We do know that it had been approximately two years since the decree had gone out for the people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

News had most likely came back to Daniel of the trying circumstances of the 50,000 Hebrews who returned to the land. There were other Hebrews who had never left who were mocking those who had returned, and were hindering the work of the temple. There was a spiritual battle raging in Jerusalem.

Daniel’s heart was greatly burdened. He was so burdened – maybe for a couple of reasons; First, he may have been burdened for the people’s circumstances in Jerusalem – the work had been hindered and stopped (Ezra 4:1-6). Secondly, Daniel was probably burdened to better understand the prophecies he had received. It is quite possible the battle in Jerusalem over the building of the temple is the scene of the battle between the angelic being (vv. 13 & 20). It seems to relate to an ongoing battle (v. 13b “…I remained there with the kings of Persia”, said the angel. Daniel, in fact, had spent 21 days in mourning and fasting, because of his sorrow, and desire to get God’s direction and will. The prayer was heard on the first day, but due to the spiritual battle Daniel endured in prayer and fasting until he received answer.

Fasting seems to have been an almost forgotten practice. Private fasting, where there is no self aggrandizement, is a practice that Christians need to begin practicing in order to be overcomers in the life of faith.

Let us never forget to pray for our nation’s leaders. It could very well be that there are evil spirits directing the hearts of evil men and hindering the works of godly men. In fact the Bible is clear about that. Let us always beware to never pray to angels nor worship them – they are servants of God and servants to us as well. We are to worship and pray to God alone.

DANIEL’S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD (vv. 4-9). The appearance of this “…Certain man” seems to be almost identical to the description given of Jesus in the Revelation…

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:“ Rev 1:12-17 (KJV).

It is because of this that many, including myself see this ‘certain man’ as a Christ phony – a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. It would be similar to His appearance in the fiery furnace with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. This revelation took place while Daniel was walking by the river Hiddekel. Sometimes when one becomes burdened a walk in a place of quietness brings the best encounters with God. What an encounter it was. This is the first time Daniel has a personal visit from our Lord, at least that is recorded.

Even though they did not see the One whom Daniel saw, the men with Daniel fled and hid, because they realized something was going on and it was too great for them to stay around (vv. 7-8). The vision was so awe-inspiring Daniel had no strength. He heard His voice. Being so weakened and overcome by His presence Daniel went into a deep sleep. We should in no way consider this “deep sleep” as bad on Daniel’s part. From the excitement he may have blacked out and lost consciousness. Sometimes it is when our minds are resting in the Lord we are renewed, refreshed, and revived. NOTE, Daniel’s position “…My face toward the ground.” Most likely this “deep sleep” was probably the same type “deep sleep” God put on Adam when He created Eve”. So it was a God induced sleep.

DANIEL IS TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL (vv. 10-21). It does not say it clearly but most likely the hand that touched Daniel was the hand of Gabriel the angel who had spoken to him previously (8:16; 9:20-23).

NOTICE: The words this angel speaks to Daniel; “…A man greatly beloved” is spoken twice in this chapter (vv. 11 & 19) and one other time in the previous chapter (9:23). He says, “Fear not” twice (vv. 12, 19). “Peace be unto thee”, and “Be strong, be strong”. A double admonition.

Why Daniel prayed for twenty one days – the Spiritual Warfare. The angel was hindered by the “prince of Persia”. This could not have been a mere man which the angel of God was battling. It had to have been a “demon angel” appointed by satan over the kingdom of Persia. If Daniel had quit praying this ‘prince of Persia’ could have won the battle. Let us never cease praying for God’s will to be accomplished in His people and in the governments of men. Because of Daniel’s unceasing, fervent prayer the angel came with an answer. Delayed prayers are FAITH TESTING and FAITH BUILDING prayers. Daniel was touched three times by the angel (vv. 10, 16, and 18).

There are some who believe that this whole encounter was with the pre-incarnate Christ. It cannot be – because Jesus would not need the help of Michael. Jesus could, but speak the word, “Be gone” and that demon would flee. There is no doubt in my mind that from verses ten through verse 21 the one who touched Daniel was an angel, and most likely Gabriel, who had spoken to him previously.

The angel came to give Daniel understanding of what the “latter days” held for the Hebrews, and Gentile nations.

The angel speaks of returning to battle the ‘prince of Persia’. He tells Daniel that the ‘prince of Greece’ is on the way. It almost seems the angel encourages Daniel to keep praying. PLEASE REREAD EPHESIANS 6:10-18.

The powers of darkness are at work in the world, its governments, plotting, scheming, deceiving, seeking to steal, to kill, and to destroy all that is godly, holy and righteous.  Let us as the Church of Jesus Christ keep praying too. Let’s pray for forgiveness of our own sin, confess them and repent. Let’s pray for those who are lost. Jesus is coming soon.

MARANATHA.

The Kingdom’s of Men and Bible Prophecy (2)

 “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the Pleasant Land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:9-14 (KJV)

Please read Daniel 8:9-27

In the first installment we looked at Daniel, Cyrus and Alexander – the first of three of the personages of Daniel 8.  In this final installment we look at Antiochus Epiphanes, and the Antichrist who will come during the final week of Jeremiah’s prophecy.

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES (vv. 9-14). One ‘great leader’ comes from out of the four heads. Antiochus (Epiphanes being a name he gave himself who ruled from 175 B.C. to 165 B.C.. Known as a very cruel tyrant. He called himself ‘Epiphanes’ because he believed himself to be god. Epiphanes means, “Manifestation of Light”.

The cruelty of Antiochus was he would not allow worship to any god but to himself – not even the Jews could escape giving him worship. He prohibited the Jews from honoring the Sabbath, practicing circumcision, and from obeying the Levitical dietary laws. Any Jew found with a copy of the Mosaic law would be slaughtered.

Antiochus helps us to better understand the text of Daniel’s prophecy. He attacked the Jews in their ‘Pleasant land’. He stopped their religious practices. He declared himself to be god. He desolated the temple by offering a pig on an altar of Zeus – THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. He foreshadows the fearsome, last Gentile leader of the earth [Antichrist].

Judas Maccabeus and his followers defeated Antiochus in 165 B.C.. Because of Antiochus’s words and actions he was afflicted with a dreadful disease which ate away at his body, causing him to have a stench he himself could not tolerate. The cleansing of the temple took place as it was predicted. The twenty three hundred days is most likely numbered from the time Antiochus replaced the legitimate priest of the temple until the temple was cleansed. With the cleansing of the holy place began the “Feasts of Lights” what is known today as “Hanukkah”, and takes place around the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Antiochus is most definitely an antichrist of his time. He was not the Antichrist. The evil one to come will make Antiochus (Make Believe Epiphanes) look like a Sunday School teacher.

THE ANTICHRIST (vv. 23-27). What Daniel learns and writes for us to read in these verses relates to the end times when Antichrist will oppose God and His people. The “king of fierce countenance” is the Antichrist, not Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus does parallel those of Antichrist;

Both begin modestly, but increase in power and influence;

Both blaspheme God;

Both persecute the Jewish people;

Both claim godhood and place images in the temple;

Both impose their own religion upon people;

Both are opposed by a believing remnant that knows God;

Both are energized by the devil and are great deceivers;

Both appear successful and seem invincible;

Both are finally defeated by the coming of a redeemer – Judas Maccabeus defeated Antiochus; and Jesus will defeat the Antichrist.

This beast; disguised as a man; will be so vile, and evil that he will try to defeat Jesus Christ as He descends to earth with His saints, but notice what the prophet says in verse 25, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand”. This beast will promote evil, witchcraft, demonism, and will demand that the world worship him.

As Jesus descends upon the earth this devil incarnate will raise his hand against the one who created hands, and no hand of man will defeat this beast. How will he be defeated? By the Word going forth from the mouth of our Savior, and this is what the apostle John sees, and describes for us, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” Revelation 19:15 (KJV). If you will remember when Jesus was beginning His ministry, being led by the Spirit into the wilderness He was tempted by the devil. How did Jesus defeat the devil? By the Word of the Lord (See Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

This “Prince of princes” (v. 25) is none other than Jesus Christ – also known as King of kings, Lord of lords, and God of gods. The Antichrist will oppose Jesus. He [the Antichrist] will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire. The fire which burns forever and forever.

These prophecies are given to show us that “…The LORD is God”, and there is no other.  He knows the beginning from the end.  He alone is Alpha and Omega, and there is no other. When you familiarize yourself with Scripture you will begin to see and realize that Jesus Christ is seen from before creation to the final sentence of the Revelation.  Do you know Him?  To you, who is Jesus Christ?

Prophecy is, also, to equip God’s people to live for the Lord as a vibrant witness for Him. To warn many that do not know of the soon coming of Jesus in judgment upon a wicked world. To call God’s people to repentance and the lost to faith in Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom’s of Men and Bible Prophecy

 “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:1-8 (KJV)

 Also read Daniel 8:1-8, 15-22, 26-27, include the whole chapter.

The ram with two horns is the Medo-Persian empire (vv. 3-4, 20).

The he-goat with the great horn is Alexander the Great (vv. 5-8, 21).

The broken horn with the four new horns is the death of Alexander and his four generals taking power of four kingdoms after his death at 33 years of age.

There are five amazing prophecies:

1. Greece conquers Persia;

2. The great ‘notable horn’ Alexander the Great;

3. The ruin of the Medo-Persian empire;

4. The broken horn the death of Alexander the Great;

5. Alexander’s kingdom is divided.

From one of these come a ruler who surpasses all others in cruelty and hatred for the Jewish people.

This prophecy has a dual meaning and fulfillment 175 B.C. – 165 B.C. and a time that is yet to be.

Chapters 1 – 7 were originally written in Aramaic, because of the emphasis on worldly Gentile kingdoms. Chapters 8 – 12 were written in Hebrew, because they are for the people of God – Israel and the Church.

A LOOK A THE FIVE PERSONAGES IN THIS PROPHECY —

DANIEL, THE BELOVED OF GOD (1-2, 15-19, 26-27; also see 10:11). In this vision Daniel is in Suza (Shushan) the new capital city of the Persian empire. He is by the river of Ulai. It seems God has taken him there. “When I saw that I was in Shushan” seems to be that God transported him there.

Upon seeing the vision he is shocked by it. Thus, he asked God for its meaning. Notice also when he recieves the meaning he does not go out telling everyone about it.

CYRUS, KING OF PERSIA (vv. 3-4, 20). Isaiah mentions Cyrus one hundred and some years earlier; by his work in Isaiah 41, “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.” (v. 2), “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.” (v. 25). By his name in Isaiah 44, “ That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” (v. 28).

Cyrus is named again in Isaiah 45:1-4, “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me”.

Our sovereign Lord can use even a pagan king to accomplish His purposes. He [Cyrus] allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. He allowed them to take the sacred vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.” 2 Chron. 36:22-23.

Also in Ezra we read, “ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:1-3.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT (vv. 5-8, 21-22). In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream Greece was depicted as the belly and thigh of brass. Daniel’s vision of chapter 7 saw it as a beast ‘leopard’ with ‘four wings of fowl’ and ‘four heads’. Daniel now sees it as an angry goat.

Alexander’s kingdom was divided into four kingdoms – led by four leaders of his army. Alexander was accomplishing God’s purposes. What Alexander began the Romans completed – preparing the ancient world for the coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, this was unknown to these pagan kings.

Truly, God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He rules and reigns in the hearts of men; good and evil. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will” Proverbs 21:1; and that means the rulers of Korea, Iran, ISUS, and our own President Donald Trump as well. No world leader, or leader of any nation is outside the purview of God’s rule.

Always remember that God is still on His throne, and rules in the hearts of men.  As Christians we are redeemed. You can be by coming to Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.  He is returning someday, and will set up an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace.  Believe Him.

Dreams and Visions of Beasts

“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7:1-8 (KJV)

Daniel writes now of the few years before the events of Daniel chapter 5. The John MacArthur Study Bible note states,

“This represented a flashback to 553 B.C., 14 years before the feast of 5:1-3. Chapters 7, 8 occur after chapter 4, but before chapter 5.” (pg. 1238 NKJV).

God knows the directions of kings and kingdoms of men – enough that He could reveal the rise and fall of four Gentile kingdoms ruling the known world. I think at this point it would help any reading at this point to go and read Psalm 2.

THE TIME BEFORE THE MEDES AND PERSIANS (v. 1). Chapter 7 takes place before chapter five. It is possible that this is as many as 15 years before Belshazzar fell, and the Medes and Persians conquered the city of Babylon.

The dream Daniel has is not all that far removed from the visions of Nebuchadnezzar.

NOTE… In chapter two we had to look at a hideous monstrosity of the image of a man with a head of gold; breast and arms of silver; belly and thighs of brass; legs of iron; and feet part of iron and part of clay. By man’s standard it would be something beautiful to look upon. In chapter seven we see how God looks upon the kingdoms of men.

GOD’S VIEW OF THE KINGDOMS OF MEN (vv. 2-8). God’s vision given to Daniel has similarities of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but yet different in one’s perception. Nebuchadnezzar saw it as a good thing – something beautiful to look upon. To God and Daniel these were beasts. God seems to always liken governments of men as beasts.

There are four beasts mentioned in thise verses… 1) A lion with eagles wings; 2) A bear with three ribs between its teeth; 3) A leopard with four wings as a fowl and with four heads; 4) A dreadful beast, evidently unlike anything Daniel had ever seen – it devoured and brake in pieces… and had ten horns on its head.

The lion with wings represents Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. Its wings being plucked speaks of Nebuchadnezzar’s losing his mind and the fall of Babylon (You can easily notice that Nebuchadnezzar represents the total kingdom until its fall). Where king Nebuchadnezzar saw a head of gold, God saw a defeated lion.

The Bear with ribs between its teeth represents the Medo-Persian empire over powering Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt – the three ribs.

The four headed leopard represents the rule of Alexander the Great – the leopard is also seen by Daniel having four wings of a fowl. The Persians were defeated by Greece (Alexanders place of rule). The leopard is one of the swiftest of all land creatures and that is how Alexander conquered – without haste. A leopard with wings implies very swift, like never touching the ground. The leopard is also seen as having four heads. When Alexander died the Greecian empire was divided into four kingdoms led by his four leading generals. Alexander had only 35,000 troops when he fought against the Medo-Persian empire. He won a miraculous victory against two or three hundred thousand of the Medo-Persia army. Alexander could conquer the world, but he could not conquer himself. He was an alcoholic and died at the age of thirty two years of age. This is the kingdom of Brass. We see in Alexander the Great that the problem with alcohol is not a new thing. Lives cut short. Families destroyed. Just what are the real benefits of the poison? None, that are of any worth.

The next kingdom is almost beyond description. It is a kingdom of iron and clay. It represents the Roman empire – legs of iron and part clay. This was a divided kingdom – two legs; ten toes – iron and clay. The ten horns mentioned represent the ten toes. Horns are a symbol of power. The toes would represent the provinces (States) of Rome with the horns representing the human ruler. The “little horn” is the “end time” ruler of the world. The ten toes also, probably, represent the Roman empire risen again. This fourth beast is vicious, and it devours every thing that opposes it. God’s view of kingdoms of men – they shall fall. The only part of these beasts that has not yet taken place is the “ten toes” and the “ten heads”. This fourth beast is seen by Daniel as “dreadful”. This was the same empire that would put our Lord to death on the cruel old wooden cross. They had absolutely no power to take His life, because He gave His life willingly for our sins. Their cruelty just showed the depths and lengths of depravity men will stoop to rid the world of God.

This is seen again by the apostle John as He witnessed the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and wrote it down. It is written there for the people of the final days to be warned, and prayerfully turn their eyes toward the One who gave His life upon Calvary’s cross for the sins of the world.

Found Praying Against the Law

“Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” Daniel 6:11-17ff (KJV)

DANIEL IS FOUND PRAYING, ACCUSED, AND CONVICTED (vv. 11-17). The spies went back to work as soon as the decree was signed. Spying on only one man it seems. What treachery and deceit.

Daniel was guilty as charged. Oh that we might be found praying. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Is there enough evidence in your life; in mine; to prove you guilty of being a Christian? If I were to die on my knees in prayer, witnessing to a lost person, or preaching from the pulpit; I could not think of a better place or way to go home to Heaven from.

These men are very persistent in getting the king to fulfill his own decree. The laws of the Medes and Persians are not altered (v. 8). What was the king to do? He tried all day to find a way out for Daniel. The king loved Daniel. Finally, with much pain of heart, disgust, and probably discontent toward himself for decreeing such a law, and toward these others the king declares Daniel guilty and sentences him to the lion’s den.

THE KING’S NIGHT OF UNEASY FASTING, SLEEPLESSNESS – AND DANIEL’S NIGHT WITH THE LIONS (vv. 18-23). Darius spent the night tormented by what he had done. He would not eat. He refused to sleep. “No musical instruments” implies he refused to sleep. The music was used to sooth a troubled soul – he refused it.

The king was probably first to the lion’s den the next morning. He cries out to Daniel. There must have been some faith there. He had some hope that Daniel was alive or he would not have called out his name. Notice the king’s testimony, “Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God whom thou servest continually able to deliver thee from the lions?” Living God; as opposed to the dead gods of the Medes and Persians.

Daniel was alive. God had sent “His angel”. Who was this? It is most likely the same one who walked in the fire with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego]. (Remember I am wanting the readers here to know there God given names). None other than the pre-incarnate Son of God. A Sunday School teacher was teaching a children’s class the story of Daniel. One little girl said she knew why Daniel was delivered from the lions. She said, “Because, the chief lion was ‘the Lion of the Tribe of Judah’”. What a wonderful answer. With Daniel in the lion’s den the lions – by God’s power – reverted back to their pre-fall condition; non meat eating, but rather eating of grass, roots, fruits and such. I can sort of imagine Daniel sitting down and one big male comes walking up to him, not growling, but purring like a kitten, brushing his side up next to Daniel’s leg. Daniel gets cold during the night and a lioness comes and lays next to him to keep him warm, and Daniel using one as a pillow on which to lay his head.

The king spends the night in a comfortable castle, with a comfortable bed – if there was such a thing in that age – but cannot sleep. Daniel rests in peace, and is warmed by the one’s who were supposed to slay him and have him for the last evening’s supper.

There was no mark or hurt found on Daniel. He was taken out of the lion’s den in the same shape as he was cast in. Most likely with a stronger faith in God now, than when he was thrown in the den.

JUDGMENT COMES ON THE SCHEMERS AND PLOTTERS; THE JEALOUS ONES (v. 24). The conspirators are judged with the same judgment that they judge – “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” Matthew 7:2 (KJV).

In the book of Esther Haman schemes to have Mordecai hanged. His scheme is revealed to the king and Haman is hanged on his own gallows. Schemers will be found out and judged. Even if they are politicians, kings or presidents.

THE KING RECOGNIZES AND YIELDS TO THE POWER OF DANIEL’S GOD (vv. 25-28). Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, makes a decree declaring Jehovah, the God of Daniel, as the only living God. His kingdom “Shall not be destroyed” as opposed to the kingdoms of men. God’s sovereignty is forever and over all that is.

Notice the final verse of chapter six. Daniel prospered during the reign of the Medes and Persians. WHY? Because of His faithfulness to God

FOUR QUALITIES OF DANIEL, THAT CHRISTIAN’S NEED IN EVERY AGE:

  1. He had a consistent attitude;

  2. He was consistent in his performance;

  3. He had a consistent purity;

  4. He was consistent in prayer.

Let us pray to be consistent in these practices, and watch God be glorified.

A life like this (the life of consistency) begins by believing in Christ Jesus through His death on the cross for our sins, His burial – carrying away our sin, our shame, our guilt, our condemnation, and death; and He was gloriously raised from the grave, and He forever lives.  Believe Him, and live with Him forever, beginning the moment you believe.

The Man of Prayer

“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:4-10 (KJV)

THE PRESIDENTS AND PRINCES CONSPIRED TO FIND FAULT WITH DANIEL; FOUND NONE; SO SET ABOUT TO ESTABLISH NEW LAWS TO TRAP HIM (vv. 4-9). Daniel could not have won in any event in this deception. If he would have not prayed these men would have accused him of turning from his God. If he prayed he would be put in the lion’s den.

These leaders were jealous of Daniel. He was a captive Jew and their leader. He had God’s blessing on his life. The people of the flesh will always work against the people serving God in the Spirit. Look at Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob; Ishmael and Isaac. The flesh always strives against the Spirit – “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Gal. 5:17 (KJV).

According to the Proverbs 26:28 passage above “…a flattering mouth worketh ruin”, and this is most certainly what these men tried to do to Daniel. They were flattering the king. Flattery can sometimes cause the one who is on the receiving end of flattery to yield to all kinds of things. People love to be praised, and told they are wonderful; but LOOK OUT! What does the flatterer have in mind?

The law these men wanted the king to decree was a decree of emperor worship, and the king fell for it. He did it without thinking of Daniel or any others who might be Jehovah [YHWH] worshipers. Once this law was signed by Darius it was law. His signature was the seal of his ring in wax. There would be no annulling it. It had to be carried out. It was soon put to the test.

DANIEL DOES NOT CHANGE HIS PRAYING – EVEN KNOWING THIS LAW IS DECREED BY THE KING (v. 10). After the decree is signed by the king, Daniel goes to his regular place of prayer and he prays just as always. He prays at sunrise, noon, and again at the end of the day. This purely was not an act of defiance, but an act that had already been his practice. Daniel was not going to change his practice. Now, if Daniel had not been praying, and this law was decreed, then, he starts praying to God it would be an act of defiance, then, these others may have had a genuine charge against him.

It is my belief that if the Christians of the United States would have been praying before 1963 we would not have lost our right to pray, and study Christian materials in the public schools. Suddenly when it was lost we become defiant. That is not the answer. We must get to praying, and pray that God will place people in positions of ‘lawmaking’ who will uphold the laws of God for our country, and get us back to freedom to pray in any place, at any time; and in the name of Jesus.

Since writing this in 2006 there are many things that have happened in the U. S. of A. that make this even more needed for our time in 2017.  People running their businesses as Christians, who have the right to refuse service to anyone just as any other business does who are robbed of that right by frivolous law suits.  Some paying fines.  The right to pray on School campuses to one certain group, but Christians not even being able to wear T-shirts with a Christian theme on them without scrutiny.  It is not time to be defiant; but it is time to continue to practice our faith in Christ Jesus through our lives and living.

If you are not a Christian believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven to die for our sins on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, and is forever alive.  Call on His name.  He will hear you and save you from the condemnation, shame, and guilt of your sins.  (Romans 10:9-13).

If you are a Christian and have been fearful; stop being fearful of what men do; love God, and believe His Word.  Let the world see Jesus in you.

If you are praying now no one can ever stop you from praying. They may pass laws, but there is no law against the righteous, that can stop them from righteousness.

Loyalty to God and Kings Awarded

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel 6:1-3 (KJV)

A new king begins to reign. A new man often has new ideas. How is it that Darius is now the king of this land? There is only one answer to that question. It is the Almighty God of all that is or will ever be that sets up kings and brings them down. It has been seen, and testimony given by Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Daniel is now under the rule of Darius. As we get a little further in this chapter we will see that this king loved and greatly respected Daniel. We will also learn from this chapter that a man of integrity, and good character does not change his godly actions to please a decree by a king or a despot. The godly individual will pray, even when the laws of the land say, “NO MORE PRAYER”. This is not talking about an act of rebellion where someone; after an edict is given decides, “They can’t do that”, then decides to pray. This is the act of diligence. It is the act of obedience to God that was there before the law or edict was given.

In this chapter we must learn to pray. Prayer now will accomplish great things in our lives when we are faced with commands, laws, and edicts of men which tell us, “You can’t pray that way”. Let’s be faithful now, and continue in diligence, when we cannot. Sometimes things are made legal which are ungodly and unholy; such as abortion, homosexuality, and same gender marriages. Other times things are made illegal which are good, godly, and pure; such as outlawing prayer in schools, and in some places forbidding the preaching of the gospel on the street corner, and/or praying in “Jesus’s name”.

 DANIEL IS NOW UNDER THE RULE OF DARIUS (v. 1). What Belshazzar had promised now Daniel actually receives. Belshazzar is dead. Daniel is alive and ruling within a kingdom. Neither Belshazzar, nor Darius elevated Daniel to this position; only God can do such things.

In a place of any form of rule is by divine appointment. It may be hard for many people to accept, but even Hitler was appointed by God for his time. That does not tickle my fancy either, but it is still true. He was placed as a ruler by God and he was removed by God. If you are a father, it was God who placed you in that position – use it well. If you are the pastor of a church God placed you there, and he can remove you. If you are the Mayor of a small town or a large city you were placed in that position of authority by God Himself. He can also remove you. From the lowest levels of leadership to the upper echelons of government God has positioned leaders for His pleasure and glory, and He can ‘unposition’ you.

 DANIEL IS PLACED IN A POSITION OF RULE – OVER 120 ‘PRINCES’, AND CHIEF OF THREE WHO WERE ‘PRESIDENTS’ (vv. 2-3). These “Presidents” could also be called ‘Administrators’ or ‘Commissioners’. The ‘Princes’ were in charge of provinces around Babylon; gathering taxes, maybe solving problems was also involved. They were in charge of seeing that the king received his due. The ‘Presidents’ were to be sure that the princes were honest in their dealings. It seems that Daniel was the one who kept the two other presidents and their princes honest.

At any rate we clearly see that these others hated Daniel and the consistency of his lifestyle. The two ‘Presidents’ probably influenced the ‘princes’ to conspire against Daniel. They watched his every move. They could find no fault in his life. He never cheated the king, or did anything against the king to cause his demise or fall of the kingdom. The only way they could find fault was to make a law against his faith. With flattery, deception, and cunning they convince the king to have emperor worship for a month. Here is what the king should have heard, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Prov. 26:28 (KJV).

These other rulers know Daniel prays three times per day. They know these things because they have spied on him, trying to seek his weakness, to cause his downfall. The king is told this is an agreed upon law by all the other rulers – deception – Daniel does not know, nor would he have agreed with it. Deception, deception, deception; clear and simple. Darius signs the decree. The law says that no one is to worship any god accept the king for a period of one month (30 days).

Daniel is truly an example for all Christians to follow. He never protested. He never had a sit in, a march – he continued doing what he was now forbidden to do by the kings decree. He continued praying. HE HAD A CONSISTENT ATTITUDE. He also had a CONSISTENT PRACTICE OF PRAYER. That is also our need.

Read the Handwriting On The Wall

Daniel 5:25-31

“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Daniel 5:25-31 (KJV)

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.

There is only one hope for all mankind; and that is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).  Calling on His name, believing in Him (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13), is the only way of escaping eternal damnation.  That is today’s “Handwriting on the wall”.

The Preacher Speaks – The Handwriting on the Wall

 Daniel 5:13-24

“Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the Most High God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appointeth over it whomsoever He will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written.” Daniel 5:17-24 (KJV)

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, neither 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.

A Hand, The Writing on the Wall, and A Frightened King,

Daniel 5:1 – 12

“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.” Daniel 5:5-9 (KJV)

 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 terrible 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 King Humbled by the Power of The Almighty

This study is Daniel 4:1-37

“Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the High God hath wrought toward me. How great are His signs; and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:1-3 (KJV)

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, presidents, prime ministers, despots, dictators, and beasts and the common man.

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, and woman.

Fiery Furnace of Deliverance

“Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:19-25 (KJV)

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.  No matter what the faithful child of God has been through, is going through, or will go through the Lord Jesus Christ will go with you through it.

Jesus died for you, was buried and He arose from that grave three days later; and He is alive today and those who trust Him will forever be with Him in glory.  He will get us through the fires of affliction

The Mockery Of A King; And The Reaction Of The Faithful

“Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:13-18 (KJV)

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.  In a land and/or culture where everything is viewed as good, and right, except the truth; those who know Jesus, trust Him, and live by it need to continue to believe, trust and live by the truth.  Even when the kings, tyrants, despots, and rulers make new laws against us.  We must stand on the laws of God, and His word.  Just because something is “Legal” does not mean it is right.

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.

To Whom Will You Bow???

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 (KJV)

THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (Read verses 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, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (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 yet 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. Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the King of all kings and Lord of lords.  Bow before Him now.  You will later, but then too late. No threat, but the promise of everlasting hope; or warning of everlasting destruction.

GOD Reveals Thoughts and Dreams

 Daniel 2:46-49

There is a theme which runs through all the Old Testament.  That theme is “…That they shall know that I am the LORD…”  That thought is used at least sixty three times in the prophecy of Ezekiel; and other books of the Old Testament.  The king of Babylon was discovering who the LORD is.

“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 worshiped 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)

We get a start on knowing who GOD is by trusting His Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior who gave His life as a redeeming sacrifice for our sins; He died, was buried, and bodily arose; and He ever lives, and trusting in Him we live eternally with Him.

Revealer of Secrets

“The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these…” Daniel 2:26-28 (KJV)

Please read verses 24-45

You would have thought that Daniel’s first response after receiving the dream and its interpretation would have been to immediately run to tell the king, “I know, I know”. This is not what he did, however. Daniel praised and thanked the God of Heaven and earth. After praising God he revealed to Arioch that he knew the dream and its interpretation. By going to Arioch Daniel was probably using proper protocol in appearing before the king. Daniel is still a teenager at this point of his life.

Arioch upon appearing before the king says, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.” He lied. Daniel found him. Daniel did not much care who received credit for it, he never contradicted Arioch; he just plainly gave the king the message of the dream.

Before Daniel gave the dream and its interpretation, the king asked him, “Are you able to tell me the dream and its interpretation?”; to which Daniel responded, “No man, astrologer, sorcerer, magician, etc. is able, but there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets.” It is also quite clear that Daniel was not doing this for personal recognition, but so that the king might know the thoughts of his heart. It also would save the lives of all the ‘wise men’ and Daniel and his friends.’

The dream itself was that of an image – Daniel calls it a “great image” which seems to mean it stood out from all others – it had a head of gold; its breast and arms were of silver; belly and thighs were of brass; its legs of iron; and its feet of iron mixed with clay. NOTE; the weak foundation. The rest of the dream was of a Stone “cut out without hands” which purposely fell on the feet of iron and clay and toppled the image. Now, Daniel gives the interpretation…

  1. The head of ‘Fine gold’ – Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire;
  2. Breast and arms of silver – represent the joint kingdoms of the Medes and Persians which conquered Babylon while Belshazzar was having a party (Daniel 5);
  3. Belly and thighs of brass – represent Greece which under the leadership of Alexander the Great would take possession of ‘the world rule’;
  4. Legs of iron – represent Rome ‘the iron legions of Rome’; Whereas the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Greecian empires were conquered; the Roman empire never was, thus the fifth world rule; which is yet to come;
  5. Feet of iron mixed with clay – Rome fell from within due to mixed cultures, and th inability to adjust and be tolerant – “iron mixed with clay”. This represents a future kingdom of earth which will be ruled, eventually, by the one world ruler referred to as ‘antichrist’, ‘son of perdition’, etc.

These all represent world Gentile governments. Gentile governments will rule on earth until Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, the Stone cut out without hands, shall come and overthrow them, and He shall rule and reign on earth. One day all human governments will fall, and be crushed to powder, and blown away, like chaff in the wind (SEE v. 35). The kingdom of Jesus will fill the earth. Every tribe, tongue, and nation will come to Him.

There is a great significance with prophecy – this one especially – toward the governments of men. All man made governments will crumble and fall; yes, even democracy. It is a government of man that gives the people choice of who rules, but it is not the answer to the world’s problems.

“The reason we have democracy is because we don’t have righteous-rule monarchy. We need some kind of checks and balances, which is why our government is established as it is.” Dr. David Jeremiah THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL pg. 62.

Please do not take me wrong. I believe democracy is the best and fairest government man has ever devised, but it is still man’s government – not God’s . This is a quote from Professor Alexander Tyler which he wrote concerning the fall of the Athenian republic which fell over a thousand years ago. He said,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” IBID. pg. 62.

The statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows the gradual decline of man’s form of government. A head of gold makes it top heavy and proud. Each section of the statue progressively becomes of lesser value, and weaker. Finally, we get to the feet – ‘part of iron and part of clay’ – a weak foundation to say the least. NOTE: where the Stone strakes to tumble the statue.

The kingdoms of men will be ground to dust and blown away by the winds of the Spirit of God. God will set up an eternal kingdom; ruled by His Son Jesus. His rule will be a Theocracy – ruled by God Himself; forever and forever.

(From September 29, 2006)

 

The Dream is Revealed

Broken Pieces

Daniel 2:14-23.

Seeing how Daniel and his friends were not invited to the council meeting they had every right to ask what was going on. “Why is the kings decree so hasty?” (v. 15).

Arioch was the ‘captain of the king’s gruard’, and in charge of killing the incompetent ‘wise men’. When Arioch came to Daniel; Daniel had questions. He knew nothing about the king’s dream nor his edict to kill the frauds.

Arioch seems to be patient with Daniel and his friends. He shares with Daniel how the king has made a decree to kill all the astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, etc., including all those newly trained in the crafts. This include Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. REMEMBER THE ABOVE QUOTATION BY GRAHAM SCROGGIE. They studied astrology, etc. “to understand it, but not to believe it.” The power of these Hebrews was the person who created all things. The person…

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World History Revealed to a Captor King

This is one of the more lengthy chapters of Daniel, but it is also a very important one. Though this chapter deals with the dream of the king Nebuchadnezzar, it is one of historical proportions. This chapter sets the “stage” for the events which follow. The kings ego, which is most likely behind the building of the great image we will see later, the dreams which Daniel would see, and the events of the nations which would follow Babylon in world domination.

“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.“ Daniel 2:1 (KJV)

The distress the king is having is caused by the dreams he has had. Notice, it says, “Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams” which seems to imply his dream was recurring; maybe having it on a nightly basis or may have been over and over on a singular night. This was only in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. This was an arrogant and proud king. He was ruthless. Of course, most kings of the Gentile nations were cruel and vicious tyrants.

We are about to see how the Sovereign God of the universe was in control of the dreams of men/kings, the interpretation of the dream, and its fulfillment. Whether God still speaks through dreams in this study is not an issue this study will endeavor to answer. It is important for us to realize and believe that God did speak through the dreams mentioned in the book of Daniel.

“Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.” Daniel 2:2-13.

After having this dream in a recurring fashion the kings command went forth for all the “wise men”, astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, and Chaldeans speaking of Chaldeans as “astrologers”.

Now, the king ordered them to appear before him for the distinct purpose of interpreting this troubling dream. It was troubling to him. It was an encouragement and blessing to Daniel and his friends. We will see why as we come to the close of this chapter.

In times past kings, and this particular king had always told the dream and accepted the interpretation from these “wise men”. That would not be so in this case.

Not only did the king ask for the interpretation, but he asked these men to tell him the dream. There is some question as to whether the king had actually forgotten the dream or that God had put it in his heart to test the ‘wise men’. Whoever could tell him the dream he had would also be able to interpret the dream – surely. “No man can tell another what he dreamed”. That was the basic response of these ‘counselors’ (v. 10). “Only the gods could do that, and they probably won’t” was there response in verse 11. You can tell anyone your dream, and they can give their interpretation of it. It may not be accurate, but it is an interpretation.

The kings mind was set. He would only except the interpretation of the dream from only the one who could tell him his dream. It was not ‘Business as usual’. It seems that he really did not trust his ‘wise men’; especially, with this very important dream.

These men began to stall, trying to obtain more time. The king recognized what they were doing and became angry with them. He commanded that all the ‘wise men’ be killed. By this decree he also condemned Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They, evidently, had not been called upon to interpret the dream.

“The thing” of verse 5 is for ‘a word, command, discourse or subject. “The thing is gone from me”.

This could be saying, “I have given the command; it is firm”. He was speaking of the decree, that if they could not tell him the dream and its interpretation they would all die.

If this is a correct interpretation, then, the king knew the dream; he just did not want some flippant charlatans interpretation to the dream, and neither did the LORD God. This was wisdom given the king by God to weed out the false interpreters, and bring Daniel before the king – ultimately glorifying the Lord Most High.

The kings decree to kill was a satanic edict. “A man who determines not to compromise his life usually gets Satan’s attention.” (DAVID JEREMIAH from “The Handwriting On The Wall” pg. 51). Daniel certainly got his attention, and the devil wanted to kill him.

“Oh, the sin and folly of pretension. The emphasis is not to be put on Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath and cruelty, but on that which occasioned it. These sons of the colleges were trained and paid to interpret mysteries, and it is a reasonable to assume that the means whereby they could know the interpretation of a dream might also be employed to discover the dream itself. The fact is, they were frauds. The four Hebrews studied astrology to understand it, but not to believe it. Daniel 2:10 shows in one single sentence that all of the astrology and necromancy and oracles and dreams and mantic revelations of the whole pagan world for six thousand years are nothing but imbecilities and lies, and it proves that all the religions and arts and sciences and philosophies and attainments and powers of men apart from God-inspired prophets and an all-glorious Christ are nothing but emptiness and vanity as regards any true and adequate knowledge of the purpose and will of God.” (A quote by Graham Scroggie as printed in “The Handwriting On the Wall” by David Jeremiah pg. 51).

The death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, and will forever stand sure.

When To Stand Firm

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.“ Daniel 1:17-21 (KJV).

It is God who gave Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah wisdom and knowledge. It is also God who gave Nebuchadnezzar the eyes to see it in them. Notice it was God who gave Daniel “understanding in all visions and dreams”. This is an important thing to remember as we continue in the study of Daniel’s prophecy.

Here were four teenage young men who had spent three years in the University of Babylon learning all their ways; the sorcery, astrology, magic, etc. and NOTE what Nebuchadnezzar says of them. “He found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” In the final verse of chapter one we get a good clue as to the age of Daniel when he was able to return to Jerusalem. He would have been in his upper eighties or low nineties. God certainly had a sovereign plan for Daniel.

God’s plan was in the works for His people of Judah and Israel. It may not have seemed like a very promising thing, but we must remember that God is the Sovereign of all countries, and lands. There is no king , despot, dictator, or president who can overthrow the plan and/or will of God for His people.

Note from Whom came the knowledge and skill. We must know, also, that Daniel and his friends did not learn astrology, sorcery, or magic to practice it. They learned it in order to know how to deal with it. In like fashion, you and I can learn from the teachings of worldliness how to deal with their ideas without practicing their sin and evil. We can learn from the teachers of evolution, how to deal with the teaching of evolution. Of course, we have God’s Word. We know God to be faithful. We can trust, that, if God says that He created the world in six days, then, it was six days.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah learned the wisdom of their world, and they stood firm in their God. We too, in our age, must learn to stand firm.

A GOD Sized Challenge

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.“ Daniel 1:8-16 (KJV).

The question has recently been asked, “What is the big deal about character?” The person who has character [good character] is a person who can be trusted. Daniel and his comrades could very easily have thought, “Well! Mom and Dad are not here. Who is going to know?” Character is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. You do your work when the boss is watching, and when he is not. You are faithful to your wife at home and away from home – when you are with her and when you are without her. You are faithful to God while at home, and you are faithful to God when you are on vacation.

These young men were of faithful character. They, Daniel speaking for all four, refused to eat the defiled, rich food of the king. They were not obstinate, nor rebellious about it. Showing wisdom they presented an alternative. They requested that their menu be tested against the menu of the other 66 chosen youth; and were given a period of ten days.

Their food would be water to drink, and “PULSE – a KJV word for vegetables, or edible seeds – a simple diet that Daniel and his friends requested instead of the rich dishes offered by the Babylonians (Daniel 1:12, 16; vegetables, NKJV)” NELSON’S NEW ILLUSTRATED BIBLE DICTIONARY. “Pulse (seeds) usually means peas, beans, and the seeds that grow in pods. In the Authorized Version it occurs only in Daniel 1:12, 16, as the translation of words the literal meaning of which is ‘seeds’ of any kind. Probably the term denotes uncooked grain of any kind, as barley, wheat, millet, vetches, etc.” SMITH’S BIBLE DICTIONARY. This could be any vegetable or grains. These items are nourishing and filling. Water is the best substance you can drink – in its pure form.

What Daniel and the other three had done took courage, and much faith. They were willing to die for their faith; but only because they were willing to live for their God. It is easy to note that Daniel’s purpose in this was to glorify The LORD. There is no way possible he could actually known the outcome, except by faith.

At the end of the ten days Melzar saw that the countenance of the four men was superior to that of the other sixty six, and began feeding them the ‘pulse’ always. They did not defy their faith; they did not cause harm to Melzar or others; and God was glorified.

We as Christians must be sure to stand for our faith. If there is a way to do it without causing harm to others, then, we must take that route; if there is no other way; yet, we must stand. In any case we must seek the glory of God above all else.

In this world we must endeavor to live solely for Christ, while we at the same time are to be a witness of the power of God in our lives. Christians should be the best in their jobs, in education, in medicine, in science, in technology, etc. God gives knowledge and wisdom to those who do His will.

Though this was written in September of 2006 it is still needed today.

Educating the Youth

“ And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.“ Daniel 1:3-7 (KJV).

THE EDUCATING OF THE YOUTH – On the first campaign against Jerusalem Nebuchadnezzar took hostages/captives and temple items. Youth are very impressionable to say the least.

The king wanted some youth who were attractive, intelligent, willing to learn the languages of the world. He wanted what would make his court look quite impressive.

The king asked “Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs” to pick out youth who were of noble lineage.

“The kings meat” would have been the best of the land. However, it was rich foods. It was foods forbidden by the Mosaic law. The right meats required the right kind of handling and care. The Babylonian’s probably did not take that kind of care. There are some cultures that believe eating and drinking the blood of animals that have been slain gives them the strength and spirit of that animal. That may be a partial reason why the eating of blood was forbidden in Jewish law.

These young students would be required to learn about the gods of this heathen land. Learn the culture. Learn their sciences. Learn their language. They would become the “wise men” of Babylon.

When Hitler wanted to begin a change in Germany under his rule he began with the youth. He wanted a “pure race”. He picked only the brightest, most attractive, and only of the white race. He learned the hard way that no one is perfect. No race of people is perfect. In fact he is paying for his crimes through all eternity.

The thinking here is that, if you start young enough teaching the things contrary to one’s culture, religion, and race you can win the world to your way of thinking. However, the king of Babylon was about to come face to face with the children of God. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who were four young men fully dedicated to Jehovah-Sidkeneu [The LORD our righteousness].

Upon being chosen, these men of God were given new Babylonian names. Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar; Hananiah was renamed Shadrach; Mishael was renamed Meshach; and Azariah was renamed Abednego. They had wonderful godly names and were given pagan godless names.

Daniel means “God is my judge” ……….Belteshazzar means ‘the keeper of the treasure of Baal’;

Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious” ……Shadrach means ‘command of the moon god’;

Mishael means “Who is like God” ……………… Meshech means ‘the goddess Shach’;

Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper”…………………. Abednego means ‘the fire god’.

The enemy will try to get you to forget who you are, where you came from, your heritage, and your destination, and then, laugh in your face if and when he succeeds. This enemy would find out, however, that they would not succeed with these four. What a great witness these four men have been down through the centuries and millenniums of time.

O my Christian brother and sister today is a day we must stand as the youth of Daniel’s day.  Stand on the Word of God.  Stand on the cross; the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Stand strong.  Stand firm.  Love the Lord.

DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH

Sharing these studies in Daniel. Pray they will be a blessing to you.

Broken Pieces

DANIEL AND FRIENDS

Daniel 1:1 – 2

Isaiah the prophet had prophesied over one hundred years before of the impending doom of the country of Israel, the captivity of the people, and the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah the prophet warned of the imminent capture of the city of Jerusalem, and capture of the people. The kings would not repent, nor would the people call for repentance.

It is most probable that at the time of captivity around 605 B.C. that Daniel and His friends – Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were only in their teenage years. Maybe as young as fifteen years. We learn much from them in the very first chapter. They were strong in their faith and convictions and what was holy, pure, and right for the children of God.

Just recently we did a study of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. That is truly an unveiling of the…

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The Gospel at Work

The apostle Paul is defending himself; and it is yet to be determined what his penalty will be for preaching the gospel to the hard hearted religious leaders who hated Jesus.  Accusations are hurled of “Heresy”, and maybe to the religious Jew, with their strict adherence to the Law; it probably was.  None the less the gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth.

Hear Paul’s defense (Acts 24:10-21)…

“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:14-15 (KJV)

Paul did not deny the heresy charges, but rather confirmed what he believed concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 9:32-33).

Paul had not changed his belief’s concerning the Law and the Prophet, he had only received the One of whom the Law and the Prophets had spoken.  His name is Jesus the Messiah of Israel; and that is not what the religious establishment wanted to hear.

Thing we Christians need to realize is that no matter what kind of thing happens in our lives we must be ready to present the gospel of Jesus, without fear, favor or compromise.  On trial for our faith?  Share the gospel.  Laying in a hospital bed?  Share the gospel.  Stopped for speeding?  Respect the officer, and share the gospel.  Before the traffic court Judge?  Take your medicine, and share your faith – if not by words, at least by your actions toward the verdict.  You get the point.

Your life; whether there is a chaotic event, or no specific event in your life; is a witness.  Make it a good one.  When your life testifies to the genuineness of your faith, then share the words.

Christmas Day 7

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always hear the word of God, and to do it; and I want all who are neglecting to hear His word, and searching in other documents, and signs, and wonders, and sorcery to know that if you will not hear God’s word in the Holy Bible you will not hear Him, though One rose from the dead.

“…Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:29-31 (KJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Three

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, My people does not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? You will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:2-9 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always hear the Word of God, spoken by God’s servants, and do the word and will of God; and I want all those who call themselves Christian to hear and do the word and will of God; so that God will be glorified in and through our godly, Christlike living.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

It is a couple of days late in coming, but since Saturday May 14 was the 68th Anniversary/Birthday of Israel returning as a nation; I want them to be blessed by God, protected, and encouraged to come to the Truth of the Christ.

May YHWH bless His people in that land, and bless the land again.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV)
“And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul. For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 32:36-44

Day Three Hundred Twenty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always see evil as evil and good as good; and desire that all who name the name of Jesus Christ believe His Word above all else, and stand with our Lord.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV)

Bone of Life

“And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” 2 Kings 13:20-21 (KJV)

Elisha’s death was not a good thing for Israel. It spoke of their death, their future captivity. Just as Elijah was honored after his departure, and during his departure (2 Kings 2:11); so too was Elisha honored following his death.

In Elisha’s life and ministry there had been resurrections (2 Kings 4:31-37), and other great miracles (chapter 5 Naaman is healed of leprosy).

Here is a man being buried by his family possibly. The Moabite invaders are coming suddenly, and in haste they put the body of the man in an already prepared tomb; which is the tomb of Elisha. They get more than they expect, and as the body of the dead man touches the bones of Elisha; showing all that there is life after death; the man is resurrected.

This power shows us that Elisha is still living. It shows us that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:26-27).

Jesus the living Son of God, and God the Son came out alive after 3 days in the tomb. He Himself is the giver of life. Believe Him to be delivered from death; and to live eternally with Him.

Open His Eyes That He May See

“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-18 (KJV)

Any time the king of Syria made a move against Israel the plot was spoiled. He believed, at first, that there could be a traitor in their midst. It was revealed to the king that the prophet Elisha was the spoiler of their plot; and sent soldiers to catch the prophet and bring him in.

In Dothan the servant of Elisha sees the army, sent to fetch one man; and becomes frightened asking Elisha, “How [What] shall we do?” Elisha answers, “Fear not…” and explains, “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Elisha was seeing a far greater host surrounding themselves, and the Syrian soldiers. It was a heavenly host of angels with horses and chariots of fire. Elisha prayed for his servants eyes to be opened that he might see; then prayed to blind the eyes of the Syrians; and the LORD did according to the word of Elisha.

God’s protection for His people is beyond any protection we can provide for ourselves. When we walk in the power and fear of God; there is nothing else we need to fear.

Open our eyes Lord, that we might see and know that YOU are with us.

The Peril of Mocking God

“And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” 2 Kings 2:23-24 (KJV)

Elisha, like Elijah whom had just been caught up to God in a whirlwind (2:11) was a prophet to the northern kingdom. Israel was an idolatrous people. They hated God, and the “old ways”. They had been led in this way by godless leadership. Because of this the children grew up mocking God, God’s word, and God’s messengers [prophets].

It is believed that the “children” mentioned in the text were most likely in their teen years. They were old enough to be apart from their parents, and any form of guardianship to be where they were. We also need to realize there were probably at least 50 of them. Today (2015), we would call them a “Gang”, and evidently an unruly one; so for anyone to start blaming God, His prophet or whatever you like would be foolish.

These people were mocking God, God’s prophet and His word. They were an immediate threat to the prophet. To blame God, or Elisha for this tragedy is indeed foolish. The blame lies with the children/youth, their parents and the culture in which they lived.

In the New Testament it is written;

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

There is judgment for mocking God, His word, and His messengers.

For Sale: One Soul

“And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.” 1 Kings 21:20 (KJV)

The confrontation of Ahab by God’s prophet Elijah was following one of the most horrendous acts of murder and treachery in history and Scripture. With the direct scheming, plotting, and lies of Jezebel; to which Ahab was complicit; to murder, and rob citizen Naboth the Jezreelite, of his vineyard.

Note that Ahab considers Elijah an enemy. That in itself speaks volumes of Ahab’s heart. King David; even following his heinous acts of deceit and the murder of Uriah; welcomed the prophet Nathan into his courts (2 Samuel 12:1-14). Anyone who speaks the word of God should be our friend.

How does one begin to sell themselves? The selling of oneself to evil or good is up to that individual. To sell oneself to evil begins with the lust of the eye; the lust of the flesh; and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Jesus Himself was tempted in these three things; from which all sin comes; when He went into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)

All it takes to sell yourself to evil is to see God and His word as antiquated, and without merit in the world; or personal life and living. To see God as a liar; or even non-existent; and to make your own deities.

Hear the words of Jesus,

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37

Sell yourself rather to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has paid for you with His own life.  Call upon His name, trusting in His death, burial and resurrection, and He will deliver you from your sin and condemnation.

Stand for Righteousness

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

The Nation was under the rule of a godless king, who was ruled by a demonic, and godless woman. God would show Himself strong and reveal Himself; but who would be the man who would stand before this godlessness?

How would the man of God stand? Upon what would he stand? First of all he would confront the king. Secondly he would stand upon the word of God; and take the message of God to this ruthless, evil ruler.

Christian there is no other thing for us to stand upon with a sure and strong foundation than the commandments, the statutes, the law, the judgments, the precepts, the testimonies, and the way of God. When we begin to rob the power of the word of God, by putting it below technology, science, finance, homes or family; then we have a major problem. Society weakens, culture worsens, and evil flourishes.

Stand of the word of God; begin by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who bled and died for your sins; and was raised again bodily from the grave. He is returning to earth one day to put away sin forever.