Words Of Jesus; Son Of God, God The Son – 072620

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them,
‘When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.’

And He left them, and departed.” Matthew 16:1-4

The Never Satisfied; More Of The Godly Wife

“The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, ‘Give, give.’ There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: the grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, ‘It is enough.’
The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”  Proverbs 30:15-17  (KJB)

THE GODLY WIFE

“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”  Proverbs 31:23-28

That It Might Be Fulfilled

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Tell ye the daughter of Sion, ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.’
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon.  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed in the way.  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.'”  Matthew 21:4-9  (KJB)

This is without question the greatest need of Christianity today, and that is that we get back to believing the word of God.  We have too many pastors, preachers, churches, and leaders who turn a deaf ear to the Bible.

“It is antiquated” they say.  It is superstition some say, which seem to me to be more non-theist than Christian.

The verses above help us remember why Jesus came.  The scene presented of Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey is often called the “Triumphal entry”.  I would prefer to call it the “Presentation of the Suffering King of Salvation” or something along that thought.  I say that because His triumph was not complete until He rose from the grave; and even yet there is more to happen.

At any rate,we as followers of Jesus must recommit ourselves to the study, reading, and application of God’s word – the Bible – in our lives.  The Triumphal Entry will occur when we hear the trumpet sound, and the feet of Jesus touches the ground on the Mount of Olives.

Let us repent of our sins, and trust the word of God, to teach us along side His Spirit who will guide us into all truth.

Standing Strong At The Trial of Faith

“And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.  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. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and men.” Acts 24:12-16  (KJB)

The Ministry of the New Born Prophet

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”  Luke 1:67-80  (KJB)

The ministry of the prophet John was strong and in the Spirit of the Lord heralding the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of Israel; and preparing many in Israel to receive Him.

That is the ministry of the Biblical preacher and pastor in 2019; declaring the Lord Jesus, His life, His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection.  If we let ourselves stand in the way…  Well you finish the sentence.

Lift up the Dayspring.  He is Jesus.

Our Hearts Burn Within Us

“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?’
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.’ And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.” Luke 24:31-35  (KJB)

When we are first introduced to these two from Emmaus we are told, “But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him” (v. 16).  On the way the resurrected Lord spoke the Scriptures of Moses and the Prophets, and taught them of the Christ.  It was not until He broke bread with them in their home that their eyes were opened.

Jesus disappears from their sight.  They get up from their table, and return to Jerusalem to find the others, and share with them about their personal encounter with Jesus.

As I read this, this morning, it was fresh and new to me like I was reading it for the first time.  Though nothing new was revealed to me, but it was like the Lord Jesus was very very near to me, and He always is, but like a refresher filling of the Spirit. He is near.  He is always near.

He is risen just as He said.  Remember the Scriptures.  They tell us of Him.  That is when our hearts burn within us.  Our hearts burn, yearning, longing, desiring to see our Lord, and to hear Him speak to us.  Is your heart burning for Him?  The fuel for the fire is the Scriptures.

The Kingdom of God

“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’” Luke 16:14-17  (KJB)

Be blessed today reading God’s Holy Bible, His Word to us today; which shows the way to Himself, and to life eternal.

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)

The Steward of God’s Stuff (3)

Stewardship Of Repentance

Malachi 3:1:18

OUTLINE –

I. LOOKING FOR HIS COMING WITH UNREPENTANT SIN (vv. 1-2).
II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING THE DROSS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE (vv. 3-4).
III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD (vv. 5-12).
IV. IN THE WRONG ATTITUDES OF THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD (vv. 13-15).
V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY HIS PEOPLE, AS PRECIOUS JEWELS (vv. 16-18).

Thus far we have saw the STEWARDSHIP which Malachi teaches in chapter 1 we saw THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP; in chapter 2 THE STEWARDSHIP OF RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP; and now in chapter 3 we will see THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE.

Are these things really a matter of personal stewardship? This may be a whole new way of looking at the book of Malachi, and I do believe that God’s people are to be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to our care. This message is as much, or more to me, as it is to others, and is much needed by all God’s people.

The stewardship of the people of Israel was not in good order. It is sad to say that the stewardship of the church today, is not in good order either. There are people who have their names on church rolls as members of that church, but rarely if ever attend services. If they do it might be on Easter Sunday, for a special program, or for the Christmas program. There are over 16,000,000 (sixteen million) names on the rolls of more than 40,000 Southern Baptist Convention churches, yet, we would be extremely blessed to have half of them in attendance on Sunday. There is certainly a need for repentance for the neglect of the worship of Jesus Christ. There is also a need for repentance for lacking in fellowship with fellow believers. How can you encourage your brother or sister in Christ when you are absent from worship? How can you be encouraged when you are absent?

I. ABIDING IN SIN AND LOOKING FOR THE COMING OF JESUS.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:“ Malachi 3:1-2 (KJV).

A. God’s messenger has come to prepare the way for the coming of Christ.

1. That messenger was sent to every believer following the ascension of Christ to the Father.
2. That messenger is God’s Spirit who will convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.

B. There are many Christians who will say they long for the coming of the Lord, yet abide in sin.

1. The coming of Jesus would not be the longing of their hearts – it would be more like that of Lot’s wife whose heart was still in Sodom, and she turned into a pillar of salt, due to her lack of faith and obedience, “Remember Lot’s wife” JESUS (Luke 17:32).
2. The Lord will come to His temple – how will He find His vessel?

C. “He is like a refiners fire, and like fullers soap…” When you are in the faith of the Lord Jesus you will stand, endure, and be cleansed in His sight.

II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING AWAY THE FILTH, AND WASTEFULNESS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE.

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.“ Malachi 3:3-4 (KJV)

A. There must be a cleansing of Christian leadership, then, it will pass to rest of God’s people.

1. When the leadership is living as the world, it is no wonder the Church is worship less, weak, and weary.
2. When the leadership is clean, then, there will be a worthy offering unto the LORD in righteousness.

B. There will be pleasant offering unto the LORD, just as it was in the beginning.

III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD.

“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’

‘Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:5-12 (KJV).

A. It is almost as though these religious leaders copied their behavior from the church of Sardis in Revelation 3:1, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (NKJV).
B. The people had gone to trusting the word of sorcerers, adulterers, and had gone to oppressing the poor, the widow, the orphan, and turning strangers away.

1. This was all being done due to a lack of fear of the LORD.
2. They had changed, and forgotten that God is IMMUTABLE, ie., Unchanging.

C. God in His grace still calls for His wayward people to return to Him, and at His call to return, they wonder how, or why they need to return (v. 7).
D. His people have deserted the tithe, thus robbing God, and again wondering, “How have we robbed Thee?”

1. “In tithes and offerings” was God’s answer.

Now some are going to say, “That was law. The law has been done away. We are not under law any longer, but under grace”. My answer to that is this; The law has not been “done away”, rather it has been fulfilled in Christ. If Christ fulfilled the law, then, we are to let it shine forth from our lives. That means that the tithe is only the place that the Christian is to begin. If the ‘tithe’ is of the law, should the ones who are the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ give less than the requirement of that law. The Christian should begin with the tithe which is ten percent (10%) of one’s income.

If we look into the lives of the patriarchs of the Old Testament, like Abraham, w see that he paid tithes unto Melchizedek, and Jacob vowed to give God a tithe of all his possessions. These were before the law.

2. God’s people have been cursed by over indebtedness, and that due, at least in part, to lack of faith in God, and putting trust in perishable, material goods, and gain.
3. God says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…” and that for God’s people today, is His local church.

a. The tithe does not go for missions offering, building fund, a television ministry, or the Red Cross, or any other charitable organization – it belongs to God and goes into the local congregations general fund, and to be distributed as God directs that congregation.
b. When someone “Gives” with stipulations, [as long as you have it where you can control it] it has not been given to God.

4. God will bless those who give to God as He directs, and as He says, “…That there shall not be room enough to receive it”.

E. When God’s people begin recognizing God’s ownership of all things, then, God will bless us in the eyes of others (vv. 11-12).

IV. WITH THE WRONG ATTITUDES IN THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD.

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.“ Malachi 3:13-15 (KJV)

A. The people of God have the attitude that it does no good to serve the Lord – “What profit is it…” accusing God of being unjust.
B. By declaring God unjust, they have the wrong attitude about holiness, righteousness, justice, peace, joy, and God.

1. How can the people of God get to the place where they question His faithfulness, His sustenance, His providence, His power, His presence, or His knowledge?
2. We can get in that way by becoming bored in our “Worship”, faithless in our work of ministry – losing our love for Jesus – and lacking repentance for our sins.

V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY – SET APART – HIS PEOPLE AS PRECIOUS JEWELLS.

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.“ Malachi 3:16-18 (KJV).

A. A book of remembrance is written for those that feared the LORD, and thought on His name.
B. God says, “They shall be Mine”.
C. There is coming a day when God will make Israel His precious jewels; His people are a treasured possession, and He will have all those who are His as such.
D. There is coming a day when He will spare His people and give discernment of the righteous and the wicked, and of those who serve the LORD, and those who do not.
E. You are called to be separate, apart from the world of sin and wickedness; you have the power of the Spirit of Christ to discern good from evil, godliness from wickedness.
F. God has set you apart as a precious Jewel

SUMMARY –

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO AWAKE FROM SINS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN REPENTED OF, AND REPENT.
II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO BE PREPARED FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD, AND TO KNOW HE IS COMING LIKE A THEIF.
III. REMEMBER TO WORSHIP THE LORD IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, AND TRUST THE LORD, LEAN ON HIM, AND LETHARGY WILL FLEE.
IV. TRUST YOUR FAITH; NOT YOUR FEELINGS, AND WRONG ATTITUDES, AND YOU WILL HAVE NO ANGER TOWARD GOD.
V. LET GOD SANCTIFY HIMSELF IN YOUR LIFE, AND BE HIS PRECIOUS JEWEL.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff (2)

The Stewardship Of The Priesthood

Malachi 2:1-17

When we began these messages on Stewardship back in January we looked at chapter one of Malachi – THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP. Worship is our stewardship of the way we lift up, magnify, and praise Him. We saw that we are to REMEMBER WHO WE ARE; THAT WE WERE CHOSEN BY GOD, that SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE VERY BEST – would the government be happy if we sent less than expected of us? We went on and saw, and should see that BOREDOM IS THE BANE [poison] OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL AND WORSHIP. If we desire to fight boredom in our worship we must be always REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM. Worship is not in any specific type of music it will be found in the individual’s heart.

Today we look at THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE PRIESTHOOD, which could be seen as the Stewardship of Leadership as well. Seeing how the Old Testament passage is speaking of the heirs of Levi as the priests, we can also see this as being to the Priesthood of each believer.

In looking at this Old Testament priesthood things do not look too well. They are mostly responsible for the deadness of the worship of the people. They, themselves have devalued the meaning of worship. They have been bored by their worship practices. They have counted it all contemptible.

The Bible teaches us that every believer since Christ is a Priest of Christ. First Peter 2:9 states, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV). Let’s look not at the overall outline of the chapter.

Since the Priesthood is a responsibility these will be presented as that:

I. The Priests will have RESPONSIBILITY WITH GOD’S WORD (vv. 1-9; 2 Timothy 2:15).

II. The Priests will have RESPONSIBILITY OF A GENUINE AND A DEDICATED HEART (vv. 10-13) with no hypocrisy.

III. RESPONSIBILITY OF FAMILY RELATIONS (vv. 14-16; 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25; 8:1-5).

IV. RESPONSIBILITY OF ACCURATE EVALUATIONS (v. 17; John 7:24; 1 Cor. 11:31).

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 1-9).

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV).

A. The priesthood of the OT was dealing with spiritual leadership.
B. The priests to whom Malachi wrote were neglecting the Word of God
C. These priests also were not even hearing the Word themselves.

1. They were bringing a curse on themselves as well as the people they were supposed to be serving.
2. They had also caused ‘many to stumble’, they had corrupted the covenant of Levi.

D. As the priests of God today (All Christians) “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV); we all are to show forth the power of God’s Word.

1. We must make it an integral part of our lives – it must not be neglected, but read, studied, heard, and applied.
2. We must not be partial in presenting the word of God, but point out the “Whole counsel of God” no matter whom it applies to.
3. Our walk with God is based upon our treatment of God’s Word in life, and it is essential to our walk with Him.
4. As priests we are the messengers of the Word of the Lord.

II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF A GENUINE AND DEDICATED HEART (vv. 10-13).

A. With a genuine, dedicated heart there is no room for hypocrisy.

1. It is hypocrisy to deal with a person more favorably because she/he may have more worldly possessions, or have political power, or the position they may have in some organization or even a church.
2. Whether we like it or not the world takes notice of the hypocrisy within those who name the name of Christ.

B. When we tolerate the joining together of our children with the godless we give the world a hypocritical statement.
C. Feigned, sanctimonious, weeping for sin will not bring back God’s blessing.
D. God’s priests today must show forth the image of Jesus Christ in our lives.

1. Living with a dedicated heart and life to the Lord
2. Hating all forms of hypocrisy – especially when it is in ourselves – because the Lord hates hypocrisy.
3. Teaching our children and grandchildren the ways of God, His Word, and holiness.
4. Having genuine, sorrowful, repentance over our sin – remembering that God truly knows our hearts.

III. THE STEWARDSHIP OF FAMILY RELATIONS (vv. 14-16).

“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.  And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;  And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.  Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.  And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.  Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD” 1 Samuel 2:12-17 (KJV).

“Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.  Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them” 1 Samuel 2:22-25 (KJV).

“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.  Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” 1 Samuel 8:1-3 (KJV).

A. The family relationship is often hurting in Christian circles today – speaking mainly of the husband and wife.

1. Men are to be the chief priest of their home, and lead the wife in spiritual matters of holiness and godliness.
2. When we look at the marriage stats of our day we find that the divorce rate is equal among Christians as with those who do not know Christ.
3. That is a definite black mark against the truth and power of Christ in our lives.

B. The priests of the OT, to whom Malachi wrote were divorcing their wives and thinking nothing of it, yet wondering what’s happened to the blessing of God.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

1. This was for the bringing for of godly children.
2. The Messiah would come from these children.

C. As priests of God today, we bring children into the presence of God by our faith, and by always being faithful to God and His Word.

IV. THE STEWARDSHIP OF ACCURATE EVALUATIONS (v. 17).

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” 1 Cor. 11”31 (KJV).

A. The OT priests of Malachi’s day were accusing God of delighting in wickedness.

1. They would even accuse God of favoring the wicked, and being unconcerned with the righteous.

B. Let’s be certain that we see God as being the benevolent Caretaker and Creator that He really is.
C. We must see ourselves as God sees us, and then we can see others as God sees them.

SUMMARY –

I. WE MUST BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS OF GOD’S WORD.
II. WE MUST BE GENUINE AND DEDICATED TO THE LORD’S TASK AT HAND.
III. WE MUST MAINTAIN GOOD AND GODLY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
IV. WE MUST ALWAYS MAKE ACCURATE EVALUATIONS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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 Christophony – 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.