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    • July 6, 2016 4:23 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 1

      OPENS WITH AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH & THE TIMES HE LIVED IN & THE FIRST TWO VISIONS!!

      Verse 1...IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AND WHICH ZECHARIAH HE IS AS WELL THE TIMES THAT HE PROPHECIED.

      "In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,"

      In the eighth month of the second year of Darius..this tells us PRECISELY WHEN Zechariah served the LORD. HE SERVED THE LORD in the years AFTER the remnant RETURNED from the 70-year Babylonian EXILE. His prophetic career is marked by the reign of Darius, the ruler of the Medes and Persians. His career is NOT marked by the reign of a king over Israel or Judah, because there was NO king of Israel or Judah in this period AFTER the exile.

      AND WE KNOW, FROM STUDYING THE BIBLE that the timing of Zechariah's prophecy sets it TWO MONTHS AFTER Haggai's first prophecy IN Haggai 1:1 and WITHIN A MONTH AFTER another prophecy of Haggai IN Haggai 2:1.

      AND WE LEARN THIS FROM THE BIBLE...IF THE DATE, THE TIME, THE LEADERS, AND THE PROPHETS AND MEN AND WOMEN OF THE TIME ARE PIVOTAL (AND IMPORTANT) ALMIGHTY GOD CAN BE AND IS PINPOINT PRECISE.

      SO WE KNOW NOW, THIS OCCURRED between October and November of 520 B.C.

      HOW COOL IS THAT?

      AND WE KNOW FROM READING THE PROPHET HAGGAI & ZECHARIAH, THEIR MESSAGES FROM ALMIGHTY GOD IS ONE OF ENCOURAGEMENT.

      BUT JUST LIKE NEHEMIAH & HAGGAI, THE LORD TELLS HIM AND HE SEES AND KNOWS THAT NOT ALLL THE RETURNED "REMNANT" FROM EXILE ARE REALLY AND FULLY SINCERE IN THEIR DESIRES TO SERVE GOD, SO ONCE AGAIN, WE SEE THE SAME MESSAGE, GOD TELLS THEM TO COUNSEL THE PEOPLE TO REPENT THEIR SINS AND TO RETURN TO GOD WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS AND LIVES, AMEN?

      THAT IS A MESSAGE FROM OUR TRIUNE GOD THAT IS TIMELESS...TO SEARCH OUR HEARTS AND MINDS AND LIVES AND TO REPENT AND TO RETURN OUR FULL FORCE ON JESUS CHRIST, AMEN?

      And you know if ALL we had was Haggai prophecy, his WORD FROM GOD to go by, we might conclude that ALL God was really ONLY interested in was the temple. BUT NEHEMIAH
      & NOW Zechariah gives the rest of the story, and shows how God is interested in lives, not only buildings, AMEN?

      The Prophecy of Zechariah is noted for its rich use of VISUAL VISIONS, pictures, and symbols. In this way it is much like the Book of Revelation or Daniel which also have significant PICTURES AND SYMBOLS AND VISIONS, AMEN?

      The word of the LORD came to Zechariah...We know little about this prophet, though "Zechariah" is a common name in the Old Testament (at least 27 different Zechariahs are mentioned in the Bible). The only ADDED details we have about THIS Zechariah come from Ezra 5 and 6.

      EZRA 5:1-2 tells us..."Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them."

      AND EZRA 6:14 tells us, "So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia."

      AND DID YOU KNOW... the name Zechariah means "The LORD Remembers," and is a PERFECT name for a prophet of restoration, AMEN?

      ZECHARIAH...was CALLED BY OUR ALMIGHTY GOD to encourage and mobilize God's people to accomplish a task that they began yet lost momentum in completing. He encourages them indirectly by telling them about God's care for them and by keeping the presence of the Messiah very much in their minds. He worked with others, notably Haggai, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and Ezra. He warned them of the consequences of neglecting God's work and he emphasized that God wants to do a work through His people.

      AND DID YOU KNOW...Jesus HIMSELF mentioned the ministry and martyrdom of Zechariah in Matthew 23:35, which says, "That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar."

      Verses 2-6 tells us God pleads with His people: "Return to Me."

      "The LORD has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds." ' But they did not hear nor heed Me," says the LORD. "Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? "So they returned and said: 'Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so He has dealt with us."

      The LORD has been VERY ANGRY with your fathers...Zechariah begins his prophecy with a call to repentance, and a call that remembers the poor spiritual heritage of Israel and Judah. The sin of their fathers doomed the nation to exile, and Zechariah warns the people to remember the same could happen to them.

      We should remember that these REMNANT FOR THE MOST PART, WERE NOT "BAD PEOPLE" - they were the remnant, REMEMBERING GOD'S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM & PROMISE THAT A REMNANT WOULD RETURN from Babylon.

      THEY LEFT EVERYTHING BEHIND TO TRAVEL 800 + MILES BACK HOME. THEY WANTED GOD'S PROMISED LAND MORE THAN THEY WANTED EASIER LIVES EVEN AS FOREIGNERS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AMEN?

      THE BIBLE AND HISTORY TELLS US THAT Hundreds of thousands of people went into the Babylonian captivity and only about 50,000 returned.

      Those who did DECIDE TO RETURN WERE the most committed to the LORD and to the restoration of Jerusalem. Yet even they, some 18 years after returning to the Promised Land, needed to hear and heed the warning of the LORD.

      Return to Me … and I will return to you...THEN AND NOW ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES DID AND DO DISCOURAGE GOD'S PEOPLE, JUST AS THEY DO JESUS FAMILY, AMEN?

      AND THEN AND NOW, discouraged Christians do THINK, IF NOT CRY OUT AT TIMES...JESUS ARE YOU THERE? DO YOU SEE WHAT I AM FACING?! WHY DO YOU FEEL SO SILENT, SO FAR REMOVED FROM ME?

      IF THEY LOOKED AT ALL AROUND THEM...IF THEY FOCUSED ON THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES...WHAT THINGS LOOKED LIKE AND WERE AT THAT MOMENT...WE CAN UNDERSTAND THEN AND NOW WHY THEY WERE DISCOURAGED.
      - The land was still desolate after 70 years of neglect
      - The work was hard to rebuild and restore
      - They didn't have a lot of money (Haggai 1:6) or manpower
      - They suffered crop failures and drought (Haggai 1:10-11)
      - Hostile enemies resisted the work (Ezra 4:1-5)
      - They remembered easier times in Babylon

      EACH OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES made them FEEL that God was far away; through Zechariah God assures them that He is NOT distant. They would return to Him, He WOULD return to them.

      AND THEN AND NOW, WE KNOW "FEELINGS" ARE FICKLED AT BEST. YOU WANT NOW DAY PROOF OF THAT.
      SPEND ONE DAY, FROM THE INSTANT YOU WAKE UP UNTIL YOU GO TO BED THAT NIGHT...WRITING DOWN WHAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FEEL IT.
      FEELINGS ARE A DAILY ROLLERCOASTER...AND TOO MANY THEN AND NOW THINK BECAUSE YOU FEEL IT, IT MAKES IT REAL AND TRUE....BUT JESUS AND THE BIBLE TELL US THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.

      FEELINGS ARE FIGHT OR FLIGHT REACTIONS TO MENTAL, VISUAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PHYSICAL STIMULI. THEY ARE KNEE JERK!
      WHAT DO I MEAN...

      SOME MORNINGS WE OPEN OUR EYES AND SAY...GOOD MORNING JESUS...THANK YOU FOR THIS MORNING.

      OTHER MORNINGS...WE OPEN OUR EYES AND SAY...OH LORD JESUS IT IS ALREADY MORNING AGAINNN?

      NOW, AT BOTH THESE WAKINGS, THE SUN COULD BE SHINING, THE BIRDS CHIRPING, BUT IT IS OUR INTERNAL PERCEPTIONS, OUR MENTAL WARS, OUR LACK OF PROPER REST/FOOD, OUR ONGOING SPIRITUAL BATTLES THAT REALLY DETERMINE HOW WE RESPOND/FEEL/VIEW EACH MORNING..EACH SITUATION.

      ALMIGHTY GOD THEN, AND JESUS CHRIST NOW, WANTS US TO KNOW, TRUST, STAND ON WHAT HE PROMISES US EACH AND EVERY NEW DAWN...NOT WHAT WE SEE OR FEEL..BUT WHAT WE KNOW, AMEN?

      JESUS CHRIST WANTS US TO RUN TOOOOOO HIM, STAY CLOSE TOOOOOOOO HIM, CALL ON HIMMMMM, WHEN WE FACE THE DAY, THE STRUGGLES, THE TRIALS. AND TO ALWAYS REMEMBER HE IS WITH US. HE NEVERRRRR LEAVES US, AMEN?

      Return to Me...AND ARE WE NOT ALL GUILTY FROM TIME TO TIME, WISHING GOD WOULD JUST WAVE HIS HAND AND WE WOULD RETURN TO HIM...BE PUT ON HIS RIGHT PATH, GET IT JUST RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, INSTEAD OF GOING LEFT, WHEN WE SHOULD HAVE GONE RIGHT, WOOING US AND ASKING US AND EVEN PLEADING WITH US TO RETURN TO HIM?

      BUT WE NEED TO ALWAYS REMEMBER, OUR TRIUNE GOD WANTS OUR FREELY GIVEN LOVE. IT IS NOT REALLY LOVE IN THE TRUEST SENSE, THE ONE ON ONE RELATIONSHIP SENSE, IF HE HAS TO DRAG US BACK TO HIM. WE HAVE CHOICE. THEN AND NOW, OUR TRIUNE GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. WE MUST CHOOSE HIM, AMEN?

      AND...Zechariah's words right here, remind us of James 4:8, which says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

      God promises to meet us running when we return to Him. We are also reminded that if we are far from God, He hasn't distanced Himself from us. We have distanced ourselves from Him.

      JUST AS I BELIEVE IT WAS DAVID JEREMIAH, WHO TOLD THE STORY of an elderly couple who drove down the road in their car with a front bench seat. As they drove, the wife noticed that in many of the other cars with couples in the front seat, the woman sat close to the man as he drove. She asked her husband, "Why is it that we don't sit that close anymore?" He simply answered, "It wasn't me who moved." If we are far from God, He hasn't moved...WE HAVE!

      Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?

      THIS CONFIRMS FOR US THAT GOD'S PROMISES far outlived and outlasted ALL the previous prophets and ancestors.

      Zechariah REMINDS THEM OF THIS AND COUNSELS God's people to not only rebuild the temple (the emphasis of his contemporary prophet Haggai), but to rebuild their DAILY RELATIONSHIP with Him and learn from the lessons of their fathers.

      Verses 7-10 tells us Zechariah's FIRST vision of the four horses and their riders in the myrtle trees.

      "On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet: I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. Then I said, "My lord, what are these?" So the angel who talked with me said to me, "I will show you what they are." And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, "These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth."

      Behold, a man riding on a red horse...Zechariah's vision is simple enough in what he saw - one man on horseback leading other horses and their riders, "patrolling" to and fro throughout the earth. Zechariah sees them among myrtle trees, in a ravine (in the hollow).

      Specifically, this reconnaissance mission examines the progress of rebuilding Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah. It is here to examine the work of God's people.

      This small group of horsemen were emissaries of the Lord sent on world mission.
      ZECHARIAH and the people could RELATE TO THIS, UNDERSTAND IT.

      WHY?
      BECAUSE JUST LIKE THEIR PERSIAN OVERLORDS AND MONARCHS, they knew rulers used messengers in small groups on on swift steeds to keep them informed on all matters concerning their empire, so the Lord is telling ZECHARIAH THAT HE TOO KEEPS WATCH AND KNOWS ABOUT ALL THINGS GOING ON IN THE COUNTRIES OF THE EARTH!

      AND JUST AS JOB 1:7, 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, "Just as Satan walks about the earth for evil"....so too does ALMIGHTY GOD have His representatives, his messengers walking up and down in the earth to examine the affairs of men, AMEN?!

      Red, sorrel, and white...DOWN THROUGH TIME, SOME BIBLE COMMENTATORS, NOT NECESSARILY CHRISTIAN, BIBLE BELIEVING COMMENTATORS...hotly debate the meaning of these horses colors.
      Some connect them with the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8 but that doesn't seem to work.
      WHY?
      Because you notice THESE HORSES & RIDERS ARE SAID BY ALMIGHTY GOD TO BE OBSERVERS FOR GOD, NOT THE MESSENGERS AND DELIVERERS OF GOD'S JUDGMENT IN REVELATION 6.
      Some suggest that the different colors mean different angelic offices.

      JUST FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW WHAT COLOR SORREL IS, it is sort of a dull yellow or a spotted, brownish orange.

      CLARKE agrees with the second, saying "The different colors may point out the different orders/ranks of angels in the heavenly host, which are employed by Christ in the defence of his Church. The different colours may point out the graduations in power, authority, and excellence, of the angelic natures which are employed between Christ and men."

      THE MAN WHO STOOD among the myrtle trees...The myrtle tree is a laurel, which is evergreen and a BIBLICAL symbol of the people of Israel.

      This man is THE ANGEL OF THE LORD (Zechariah 1:11), and is no doubt ANOTHER Old Testament appearance of Jesus before His incarnation in Bethlehem.

      AND WE KNOW FROM STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT, there are MANY CAMEO APPEARANCES & INTERACTIONS WITH MAN in the Old Testament of an encounter with a heavenly man known as THE ANGEL OF THE LORD who is revealed to be God Himself (Genesis 16:7-13, Genesis 22:11-18, Exodus 2:3-9, Judges 2:1-4, and many other places).

      Because of Zechariah 1:11, we KNOW this man is the Angel of the LORD, and that He is God & THAT ALMIGHTY GOD IN HUMAN FORM CAN ONLY BE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

      We can BELIEVE this was God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, appearing to Abraham before His incarnation and birth at Bethlehem.
      WHY?
      BECAUSE REMEMBER WHAT THE BIBLE TELLS US OF GOD THE FATHER...IN JOHN 1:18, "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."
      AND 1 TIMOTHY 6:16 SAYS, "No man has ever seen God in the Person of the Father.
      Therefore, if God appears to someone in HUMAN appearance in the Old Testament, and no one has seen God the Father, it CAN ONLY BE THE APPEARING of the eternal Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, JESUS CHRIST, before His incarnation in Bethlehem.

      I USED TO WONDER, WHAT IN THE WORLD DID JESUS DO WHILE HE SAT IN HEAVEN WAITINGGGGGGGGG FOR HIS BIRTH IN BETHLEHEM... NOW I KNOW....JESUS DID NOT SIT IN HEAVEN WATCHING THE HISTORY CLOCK TICK DOWN. HE DID NOT SIT IN HEAVEN TWIDDLING HIS THUMBS, HE WALKED AMONG & INTERACTED WITH MEN/WOMEN FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN FORWARD.

      SO WHEN YOU READ THE ANGEL OF THE LORD. THE MESSENGER OF THE LORD, THE ANGEL OF GOD...instead of an angel, a messenger...which is non-descrip and could be ANY ONE OF THE LEGION OF HEAVENLY ANGELS...you will know the difference!

      THIS IS JUST ANOTHER REASON I STICK WITH THE KJV OR THE NKJV...because they do NOT CHANGE the articles and we CAN STILL FIND JESUS THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT TOO!

      AND WHY MENTION MYRTLE TREES...?
      BOICE gives us a wonderful consideration..."Israel is not likened to a cedar of Lebanon, which is majestic, or an oak tree, which is strong. Having blossoms that emit a sweet fragrance when crushed, the myrtle illustrates the strange grace of Israel in affliction."

      Verses 11-17 tells us...THE ANGEL OF THE LORD intercedes for Jerusalem and Judah.

      "So they answered the Angel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, "We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly." Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?" And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. So the angel who spoke with me said to me, "Proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped; but with evil intent." 'Therefore thus says the LORD: "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it," says the LORD of hosts, "And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem." ' "Again proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem."

      All the earth is resting quietly...
      THAT SOUNDS COMFORTING, DOES IT NOT?
      BUT IN GOD'S VIEW...HIS PATROL has found that the world is at peace, but it is not the RIGHT kind of peace (I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease).
      WHY IS GOD ANGRY?
      God is angry with the nations of the world because they are at ease while God's people suffer. In God's thinking if the earth is at rest at the expense of his people, there is NO REST at all, AMEN?

      And they helped; but with evil intent...
      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
      WHAT IS GOD SAYING HERE?
      The nations of the world offered some help to the returning exiles, but even their help was polluted by EVIL motives.

      I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal...
      WOW RIGHT?
      JESUS, The Angel of the LORD shows his heart of compassion for Israel and Jerusalem. God relented and allowed Israel back after 70 years of exile yet the EFFECTS OF EXILE were still painfully evident.

      DID YOU KNOW...The word for zealous in ancient Hebrew comes from the idea "to become intensely red" and it has the thought of a face becoming flushed with deep emotion. God is genuinely and deeply CONCERNED about the state of His people.

      My cities shall again spread out through prosperity...God solemnly promises to restore Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. This was an especially comforting promises considering the lowly condition of the cities of the Promised Land in Zechariah's day.

      AND DID YOU KNOW, HISTORY TELLS US, THAT WITHIN four years from the time of this prophecy Zion WAS comforted and Jerusalem WAS specially chosen - the temple WAS rebuilt four years after Zechariah gave this prophecy.

      NOW ZECHARIAH HAS ANOTHER VISION OF THE FOUR HORNS AND THE FOUR CRAFTSMEN.

      Verses 18-19 tells us the FOUR HORNS represent the nations that scattered God's people.

      "Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns. And I said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these?" So he answered me, "These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem."

      There were four horns...DID YOU KNOW, In Biblical times, horns spoke of the strength and authority, because the power of a bull or an ox is expressed through its horns.

      These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem...Since Zechariah told us there were four horns we wonder WHICH FOUR NATIONS Zechariah speaks of here. If he speaks of scattering in a broad prophetic sense - including scattering that had NOT YET come to God's people in ZECHARIAH'S own day - then the likely FOUR horns are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

      Verses 20-21 tells us God announces judgment against the nations that scatter His people.

      "Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. And I said, "What are these coming to do?" So he said, "These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it."

      The craftsmen are coming to terrify them...God raised up other nations to judge the nations that scattered His people. From of old, God promised to curse those who cursed Israel told to us in Genesis 12:3.

      To cast out the horns of the nations that lifted their horn against the land of Judah...God PROMISES to break the power of those who use their power AGAINST God's people.

      An ancient proverb puts it well: "The church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers."

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT AS CHRISTIANS, THOSE WHO CALL JESUS CHRIST LORD AND SAVIOR AND FRIEND...WE ARE JESUS FAMILY TO HIM...WE ARE HIS CHURCH...HIS BRIDE...HIS BELOVED...BUT WE ARE ALSO CALLED BY ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF...CHILDREN OF GOD.

      THEN AND NOW....JESUS CHRIST AND ALMIGHTY GOD PROMISE THAT WE SHALL OVERCOME IN HIM.

      TRUST OUR TRIUNE GOD WHO LOVES HIS CHILDREN!

    • July 6, 2016 4:21 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 2

      OPENS WITH A City Without Walls & A Call to Return to the Promised Land.


      Verses 1-5 tells us of the man with the measuring line & the protection promised.


      "Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, "Where are you going?" And he said to me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length." And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, "Run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,' says the LORD, 'will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.' "

      A man with a measuring line in his hand: This was undoubtedly an angelic being and RIGHT HERE WE SEE ANOTHER PRE-BETHLEHEM APPEARANCE OF JESUS CHRIST, BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ONE "THE ANGEL OF THE LORD", AMEN?

      To SEE what is its width and what is its length...
      WHY?
      Jerusalem is being measured to MAKE SURE that it is LARGE enough for the multitudes God will bring to it. In the time of Zechariah it seemed strange to worry about Jerusalem being big enough, because there seemed to be TOO FEW people for the city.

      Jerusalem SHALL BE inhabited as towns without walls … For I … WILL BE a wall of fire all around her...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      God PROMISES to bring so many people to Jerusalem that the crowds will overflow the walls of the city - but that won't matter because God will be their protection, not walls. He will be a wall of fire all around her.

      AND WE KNOW THIS PROPHECY GIVEN TO ZECHARIAH HAD A short-term fulfillment in God's protection of the rebuilding, and blessing of the city under Ezra and Nehemiah; but clearly, ITS ULTIMATE FULFILLMENT is rebuilding under the rule of the Messiah, AMEN?

      AND DID YOU KNOW TODAY, Jerusalem is indeed a city without walls, because in modern warfare they are useless in defending the city. Ultimately Jerusalem will be a city without walls because THE PRINCE OF PEACE WILL REIGN FROM JERUSALEM AND HE WILL BE HER PROTECTION DURING THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF JESUS ON THIS EARTH AFTER THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON.

      Verses 6-7 tells us Exiles exhorted to return.

      "Up, up! Flee from the land of the north," says the LORD; "for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven," says the LORD. "Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon."

      Flee from the land of the north...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      In Zechariah's day FEW of those who were carried to captivity in the Babylonian Empire returned to the Promised Land when they were allowed to. NEHEMIAH TELLS US AT THIS TIME ONLY ABOUT 50, 000 OF MILLIONS had CHOSEN TO RETURN. THAT IS ONLY 2%. BUT ONCE AGAIN....Here THE LORD exhorts His people to return back to their land.

      AND SADLY, WE KNOW THAT MOST of the exiles were comfortable in Babylon and refused to endure the 800 MILES TREK BACK TO JERUSALEM NOR WANTED THE challenge to build a work of God.

      ESCAPE, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon...

      WE KNOW THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE Babylon is used as AN IDEA (LOST WORLDLY LIVING) as well as a TRUE CITY. If Jerusalem carried the idea of "God's city" then Babylon carries the idea of the city of the world.

      AND DID REMEMBER, Zechariah's call to come out of Babylon is both literal and figurative & ECHOED AND REPEATED IN Revelation 18:4-5.

      Verses 8-9 tells us God promises to protect His precious people.

      "For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. "For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me."

      WHEN I READ THIS PASSAGE AND OTHERS, I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED DID ZECHARIAH HAVE ANY IDEA HE WAS LOOKING AT, AND SPEAKING TO AND HEARING FROM HIS PROMISED MESSIAH, OUR JESUS CHRIST?

      He who touches you touches the apple of His eye...The phrase "apple of His eye" was used to describe something precious, easily injured and demanding protection.

      They shall become spoil for their servants...RIGHT HERE GOD AGAIN PROMISES that those who enslaved the people of God will become spoil for them - the enslavers will become enslaved. AND WE KNOW FROM READING THE BIBLE, THAT THIS WILL BE ULTIMATELY FULFILLED IN THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST ON THIS EARTH. THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD WILL BE JERUSALEM, AMEN?

      I will shake My hand against them...

      DO YOU SEE AND UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF JESUS CHRIST HERE? REVELATION TELLS US THAT JESUS WILL SPEAK AND THE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL & THOSE WHO HAVE BECOME CHRISTIANS DURING THE TRIBULATION, HE WILL SPEAK A WORD AND THEY WILL BE DESTROYED.

      AND HERE ALL OUR ALMIGHTY GOD NEEDS TO DO All to bring such a DRAMATIC REVERSAL standing is to shake his hand against the enemies of His people. HOW MIGHTY IS OUR GOD, AMEN?

      Verses 10-13 tells us the PROMISE of the presence of the LORD.

      "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD. "Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. "And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!"

      Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion...God doesn't expect His people to be passive or "cool" in view of such dramatic promises. He expects them to sing and rejoice.

      I AM coming and WILL dwell in your midst...The FIRST REASON WHY God's people should be excited is because He WILL BE AMONG them in a unique and powerful way.

      WHEN I READ SCRIPTURES SUCH AS THIS...I THINK ABOUT THE DAWKINS OF THE WORLD, THAT FLOOD OUR MEDIA, INTERNET, AND THAT SNEER AND SNICKER AND ROLL THEIR EYES AT THE IDEA OF JESUS CHRIST. SHAKE THEIR HEAD AT STUPID CHRISTIANS WHO BELIEVE AND TRUST IN FAITH OF OUR JESUS. WHO SIGH OVER THE IDEA OF ONE TRUE TRIUNE GOD WHO CREATED ALL THINGS, WHO WAS AND IS AND EVER SHALL BE...LAUGH OVER THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA...I WONDER HOW MANY WILL FALL OVER IN A DEAD FAINT, WHEN THEY SEE OUR AMAZING JESUS?

      Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day...The SECOND REASON FOR JOY is that God will bring MANY into His Kingdom. God's desire to bless for Israel was never intended to stop with Israel, but to use them as a channel of blessing for MANY nations.

      AND THIS VERSE GIVES US HOPE TOO, AMEN? MANY NATIONS WILL BECOME BELIEVERS IN OUR JESUS ON THAT SWEET DAY! THIS IS SUCH AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO US, SINCE WE SEE OUR JESUS CHRIST KICKED OUT OF ALL THINGS, WE SEE OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS PERSECUTED, TORTURED, AND KILLED BECAUSE THEY LOVE JESUS...AMEN?

      In the Holy Land...

      DID YOU KNOW THIS IS THE ONLYYYYYY PLACE IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE WHERE THE PHRASE THE HOLY LAND IS USED IN THE BIBLE?

      SO WHY IS THE LAND CONSIDERED HOLY?

      The land IS HOLY because it is separated unto God in a unique way.

      Some assume that it is ONLY the people of Judah and Jerusalem that are God's holy inheritance but passages like this show that land itself is holy and precious to God.



      TURN WITH ME NOW TO...

      ZECHARIAH 3


      OPENS WITH...The Cleansing of Joshua the High Priest

      IT TELLS US THE VISION JESUS GAVE ZECHARIAH OF THE LORD, Satan, and Joshua the High Priest.

      FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE ASKED WHAT DOES JESUS DO FOR US. WHAT DOES JESUS DO ABOUT SATAN'S ATTACKS ON THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. WE SEE JESUS TELLING US PERSONALLY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, THAT HE AS OUR HIGH PRIEST INTERCEDES FOR US DAY AND NIGHT BEFORE THE THRONE, AMEN?

      SO FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE OR READ THE NEW TESTAMENT, RIGHT HERE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, ONCE AGAIN, OUR JESUS INTERCEDES FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, THE PROMISED AND BLESSED HOPE, AND SLAM DUNKS SATAN BEFORE THE THRONE, AMEN?

      AND ALSO, WE WILL SEE, AND REMEMBER, THAT BEFORE THE EYES OF ALMIGHTY GOD, AND HIS PRECIOUS SON JESUS CHRIST, WE, AS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WHO BELIEVED AND TRUSTED IN THE BLESSED HOPE OF THE MESSIAH AND WE FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT WHO CALL OUR JESUS LORD AND SAVIOR ARE SEEN AS PURE, PRECIOUS, AND HOLY IN GOD'S SIGHT.

      AND NO MATTER WHAT SATAN CLAIMS, TATTLES, RANTS AND RAVES...WE WHO LOVE JESUS ARE SEEN AS CLEAN.

      REMEMBER AND READ ZECHARIAH 3 WHEN YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK, AND SATAN & THE WORLD WHISPERS AND REMINDS YOU OF YOUR PAST, A PAST FORGIVEN AND FORGOTTEN AND FOREVER ERASED BY JESUS PRECIOUS BLOOD, AMEN?

      VERSES 1-3 tells us The Angel of the LORD, which can ONLY BE JESUS CHRIST, stands against Satan on Joshua's behalf.

      "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel."

      Then he showed me Joshua the high priest..

      SO WHO WAS THIS JOSHUA?

      Joshua was the High Priest at the time told to us in Haggai 1:1. In his vision, Zechariah sees the High Priest in the presence of the LORD (standing before the Angel of the LORD), and he is clothed with filthy garments.

      Standing before the Angel of the LORD: The phrase standing before has the idea of PRIESTLY service. Joshua isn't in God's presence just as a spectator but as a MINISTERING priest.

      DID YOU CATCH THIS?
      DO YOU NOW UNDERSTAND WHY ALMIGHTY GOD HOLDS THOSE WHO SAY THEY COME OR MINISTER IN HIS NAME TO SUCH HIGH STANDARDS? THEY MINISTER AND PRAISE TO HIM, AS WELL TO THE LOST, SEEKING, AND HIS CHILDREN.

      THEY WHO SAY THEY COME IN HIS NAME.

      THEY WHO CLAIM TO COME AND SPEAK JESUS WORD.

      THEY TEACH AND PREACH THAT THEY SPEAK GOD'S TRUTH.

      I TREMBLE WHEN I HEAR PEOPLE IN THE MEDIA, SAY THEY COME IN JESUS NAME. WHO SAY THEY SPEAK HIS TRUTH. WHO SAY THEY KNOW HIS WORD...YET TWIST, DECEIVE, RE-CREATE, IF NOT OUTRIGHT CHANGE GOD'S WORD.

      RIGHT HERE, ALMIGHTY GOD IS SHOWING US AND THEM, THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE HELD TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS.

      SO BE VERY CAREFUL TO NOT GET CREATIVE, OR RE-CREATE, OR TWIST, OR DECEIVE GOD'S WORD, AMEN?

      AND DID YOU NOTICE...
      Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him...Satan HATED the whole scene.

      WHY?

      SATAN HATES IT WHEN ANYONE, ESPECIALLY THOSE GOD LOVES AND HONORS come into the presence of the LORD.

      SATAN HATES TO BE UPSTAGED. HE WANTS ALL EYES FOCUSED ON HIM WHEN HE COMES TATTLING INTO THE THRONE ROOM OF GOD.

      He hates it when WHAT HE SEES AS FLAWED, WORTHLESS, DIRTY FILTHY MANKIND comes into God's presence in prayer or praise....and EVERYONE IN HEAVEN, AND THE TRIUNE GOD, IGNORE HIM & FOCUS ON US WHO HUMBLY COME IN PRAYER AND OUR PRAYERS MINISTER unto the LORD.

      AND AS BOICE SUPPOSES..."Satan must have been pointing to those [filthy clothes] and declaring forcefully that Joshua was unfit to stand before the Lord in this office."

      This is all according to character for Satan. LAST YEAR I DID A BIBLE STUDY ON SATAN: THE INSANE EVIL SPOILED BRAT.

      AND HE IS.

      AND DID YOU KNOW...the name "Satan" literally means ADVERSARY OR OPPONENT?

      EPHESIANS 6:10-18 confirms that satan stands against us in spiritual battle.

      The LORD rebuke you, Satan!

      We see OUR JESUS WHO IS THE ANGEL OF THE LORD DIRECTLY EXERCISING AUTHORITY & STEPPING IN AND STANDING BEFORE SATAN AND PREVENTING HIS ADVANCE.

      RIGHT HERE WE SEE SOMETHING POWERFUL...OUR TRIUNE GOD IS IN CONTROL. AND HE STRICTLY REGULATES WHAT SATAN IS ALLOWED TO DO.

      REMEMBER LUKE 22:31-32...WHEN Satan wanted to destroy Simon Peter, sifting him like wheat but Jesus prayed for Peter and stood beside him and did not allow Satan to carry out every evil intention of his heart, AMEN?

      CHARLES SPURGEON SAYS IT WELL."Take note that this rebuke comes at the right season. When Satan accuses, Christ pleads. He does not wait till the case has gone against us and then express his regret, but he is always a very present help in time of trouble. He knows the heart of Satan, being omniscient God, and long before Satan can accuse he puts in the demurrer, the blessed plea on our behalf, and stays the action till he gives an answer which silences for ever every accusation."

      AND WE LEARN SOMETHING POWERFUL IN OUR THOUGHT AND PRAYER LIFE FROM JESUS HERE.

      WHEN EVEN HE REBUKED SATAN....HE USED THE FULL TRIUNE GOD POWER. YOU NOTICE JESUS DOES NOT SAY I REBUKE YOU....BUT THE LORD REBUKE YOU.

      AND REMEMBER FROM OUR STUDY OF JUDE, IN JUDE 1:9, THE HIGH RANKING WARRIOR ANGEL MICHAEL, DID NOT REBUKE SATAN, WHO IS HIS EQUAL ALTHOUGH OPPOSITE IN RANK....IN HIS OWN POWER...HE SPOKE THE REAL ABSOLUTE POWER AGAINST SATAN.

      THE LORD REBUKE YOU!...Michael used this same phrase in battling against Satan. The example here of the Angel of the LORD and of Michael shows us a model for spiritual warfare - that we always should battle with the LORD's authority.

      The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you...With this phrase, God reinforces the important standing of Jerusalem in His eyes. As mentioned in Zechariah 2:12 it IS HIS Holy Land.

      Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      Joshua the High Priest had a place of high standing - next to the Angel of the LORD and protected against Satanic attack. Still, this place of high privilege was not based on Joshua's own goodness or merit; he himself was rescued as a brand plucked from the fire.

      This is even more boldly stated in that Joshua stands clothed in filthy garments.

      WHICH TELLS US WHAT?

      THAT SATAN, THE TATTLE TALE, KEEPS A LIST OF EVERY SIN AND WRONG WE WHO LOVE JESUS EVER COMMIT. SATAN KNOWS THAT ALMIGHTY GOD FORGIVES AND FORGETS, BUT SATAN STILL TRIES TO REMIND OUR TRIUNE GOD.

      Satan had a lot to accuse Joshua of, but HERE WE SEE OUR ADVOCATE, OUR DEFENDER, OUR SHIELD, OUR PROTECTOR, OUR JESUS CHRIST.

      AND WHAT IS A FIRE BRAND?

      SPIRITUALLY AND NATURALLY... A BRAND is a burning, burnt, or smoldering piece of wood.

      Think of a campfire with a blackened, charred chunk of wood smoking in the ashes. It isn't worth much at all and will be consumed completely if it isn't plucked from the fire.

      AND DO YOU NOTICE JOSHUA...HE HAS NOT HAD TO OPEN HIS MOUTH IN SELF-DEFENSE. HE DOES NOT NEED TO....HE LOVES JESUS AND JESUS PROTECTS US...

      AND RIGHT HERE, WE SEE OUR TRIUNE GOD, OUR JESUS CHRIST, ALMIGHTY GOD, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT TELL SATAN YOU SEE A BLACK, DIRTY, USELESS, SINFUL FRAGMENT, A CASTAWAY...

      BUT YOU WOULD NOT BE HERE HOWLING/ACCUSING, IF YOU DID NOT FEAR WHAT OUR JOSHUA WILL BECOME IN AND THROUGH US.

      WHAT YOU SEE SATAN IS NOT WHAT JOSHUA WILL BECOME. HE IS LOVED BY US. IN OUR EYES JOSHUA IS PRECIOUS AND PRICELESS.

      SO THE NEXT TIME, SATAN AND THIS WORLD WHISPER TO YOU, YOU ARE WORTHLESS, USELESS, UNIMPORTANT AND UNWORTHY OF OUR JESUS AND HIS LOVE FOR YOU...

      AND SMILE...THE ONCE BEAUTIFUL LUCIFIER, WHO ONCE SERVED IN THE THRONE ROOM OF HEAVEN, IS NOW DISMISSED, IGNORED...AND WE FIREBRANDS ARE COVETED AND LOVED AND CHOSEN BY OUR JESUS!

      JESUS CHOSE YOU....HE PLUCKED US EACH FROM THE FIRES...SO REMEMBER ZECHARIAH 3.

      Verses 4-5 tells us Joshua's iniquity is removed, and is given clean garments.

      "Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes." And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by."

      Take away the filthy garments from him...As Joshua the High Priest stood in the presence of the LORD, Satan accused him and on seemingly solid grounds - Joshua was guilty of standing before God in filthy garments. Nevertheless, the LORD fixed the problem by cleansing Joshua, taking away the filthy garments and the iniquity they represented.

      AND DID YOU KNOW....The Hebrew word translated filthy is the strongest expression in the Hebrew language for filth of the most vile and loathsome character.

      And I will clothe you with rich robes...Joshua not only enjoys having his iniquity removed, he also is given a positive righteousness - clothed with rich robes. The thought of being clothed by God in righteousness runs from Genesis (Genesis 3:7 and 3:21) to Revelation (Revelation 7:13-14).

      Let them put a clean turban on his head...

      DID YOU KNOW THE TURBAN was part of the High Priest's garments and on the front it had a gold plate inscribed with the phrase HOLINESS TO THE LORD as told to us in Exodus 28:36-38.

      Verses 6-7 tells us of God's message to Joshua the High Priest. It is a personal admonishment and promise to Joshua.

      "Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My command, then you shall also judge My house, and likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here.' "

      If you will walk in My ways and if you will keep my command...

      DID YOU KNOW Joshua in Zechariah's day was admonished much the same way that the first Joshua was admonished.

      JOSHUA 1:7 says, "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go."

      Then you shall also judge My house, and likewise have charge of My courts...God promised Joshua that he would indeed continue to serve as High Priest as he was diligent to stay obedient to God.

      I will give you places to walk among these who stand here...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      God promised Joshua privileged access into the presence of God. This isn't a surprising promise for a High Priest, but DID YOU KNOW we WHO CALL JESUS CHRIST LORD, SAVIOR, AND FRIEND have the SAME promise?

      HEBREWS 4:16 PROMISES, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

      VERSES 8-10 gives us a prophetic message of Messiah and His reign.

      "Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; for behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH. For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day," says the LORD of hosts, "everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree."

      I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH...

      DID YOU KNOW "BRANCH" is used several times as a title for the Messiah (Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15).

      AND DID YOU KNOW "The BRANCH" is associated with fruitfulness and life.

      Jesus used the same image IN JOHN 15:5, when He said, "He was the vine and we are the branches."

      For behold, the stone I have laid before Joshua...If a branch seems "weak," then God gives us another picture - a stone, having seven eyes.

      IN THOSE DAYS, eyes represented knowledge because we learn more through our eyes than any other way. The SEVEN EYES speak of the perfection and fullness of the knowledge and wisdom of the Messiah, AMEN?

      I will engrave its inscription...Early Christians saw the engraving on the stone to be a picture of Jesus' wounds but the engraving could also be a mark of identification or beautification.

      Everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree....This is a proverbial expression that means prosperity and peace also told to us in (1 Kings 4:25, 2 Kings 18:31).

      BUT ULTIMATELY, the peace that the reign of the Messiah brings. This vision and word from Zechariah shows how much God wanted to encourage and strengthen Joshua, and He does it in the best way: setting his eyes on our Messiah, Jesus Christ.

      THEN AND ESPECIALLY NOW, THAT IS OUR BEST ENCOURAGEMENT FROM ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF.

      KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS.

    • July 6, 2016 4:19 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 4

      OPENS WITH THE LORD GIVING ZECHARIAH ANOTHER VISION & SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO HIM, WHEN HE SAYS, "By My Spirit, Says the LORD"

      Verses 1-3 tells us Zechariah's vision of the olive trees and lampstands.

      "Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said, "I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left."

      As a man who is wakened out of his sleep...Zechariah is teling us that he had that woozy feeling that you get if you are awakened suddenly from a deep sleep.

      A lampstand of SOLID gold...God gave Zechariah a vision of the golden lampstand that was meant to stand in the temple.

      WHY?

      Since Zechariah and his people were there to REBUILD the temple, it made sense that God spoke to them in images related to the temple & GAVE HIM A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT HE WANTED THE LAMPSTAND THEY CREATED TO LOOK LIKE.

      THIS SHOWS US SOMETHING PRECIOUS HERE ABOUT OUR GOD...HE IS INVOLVED AND CONCERNED WITH THE SMALLEST DETAILS OF THINGS IN OUR LIVES AMEN?

      SEVEN PIPES to the SEVEN LAMPS … two olive trees:

      AND WE LEARN SOMETHING NEW AND UNIQUE HERE. In addition to the lampstand, Zechariah saw something that was NEVER BEFORE IN THE TEMPLE - TWO OLIVE TREES THAT SUPPLIED the seven lamps WITH OIL through seven pipes.

      AND SOMETHING INTERESTING HERE ABOUT TEMPLE SERVICE IN THAT DAY...

      DID YOU KNOW....One of the more tedious duties of the temple service was the CONSTANT CARE REQUIRED of the lamps on the golden lampstand. They had to be CONTINUALLY REFILLED WITH OIL, cleaned of soot, and their wicks had to be maintained.

      SO WHAT WAS SO ASTONISHING ABOUT THIS LAMPSTAND AND THE OIL LAMPS? In this vision, Zechariah sees "self-filling" lamps, fed directly FROM TWO OLIVE trees.

      AND DID YOU KNOW, In the temple, IN THOSE DAYS, the lamps were fueled by pure, specially prepared olive oil.

      BUT IN THIS VISION GOD GAVE ZECHARIAH, The lampstand was fed straight from the trees.

      CONFUSED?

      WELL SO WAS ZECHARIAH.

      AND WE NOTICE SOMETHING ELSE IN THE NEXT VERSES. ZECHARIAH DID NOT HESITATE TO ASKKK FOR CLARITY AND EXPLANATION....AND MORE IMPORTANT, GOD WAS PLEASED & NOT ANGRY AT HIS QUESTIONS, AMEN?

      Verses 4-5 tells us Zechariah asks for an explanation of the vision.

      "So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, "What are these, my lord?" Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."

      What are these, my lord?...Zechariah CLEARLY SAW saw the vision, but HE DID NOT understand what it meant. What he saw was unusual but simple - a lampstand with lamps supplied with oil directly through pipes coming from two olive trees.

      WHAT ZECHARIAH SAW, WAS IMPOSSIBLE IN THE NATURAL. THERE WAS NO WAY THEY COULD PLANT TWO OLIVE TREES WITHIN THE TEMPLE & MAKE THEM CONSTANTLY SELF SUPPLY THE PURE OLIVE OIL FOR THE LAMPS.

      THIS SHOWS US SOMETHING ELSE ABOUT ZECHARIAH, HE WAS WILLING. HE DID NOT DOUBT THE VISION AND THE SPOKEN WORD OF THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, WHO CAN ONLY BE OUR JESUS, BUT HE COULD NOT FATHOM HOW THEY COULD ACCOMPLISH THIS, AMEN?

      Do you not know what these are?...THIS TELLS US THAT IT WAS IMPORTANT for Zechariah to know, and the angel makes sure that Zechariah knows that he must come to understand the meaning of this vision.
      HERE IS OLD TESTAMENT AFFIRMATION AND CONFIRMATION OF JESUS WORDS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND....ASK AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO YOU.

      Verses 6-7...JESUS EXPLAINS THE MEANING OF THE VISION. WHICH IS...How Zerubbabel will accomplish the work: by the Spirit of God.

      "So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!" ' "

      This is the word of the LORD OF HOSTS TO Zerubbabel.

      SO WHO WAS Zerubbabel?

      HE WAS THE CIVIC LEADER of Jerusalem, and had the responsibility to finish the work of rebuilding the temple. The work had stalled, and Zerubbabel needed encouragement to carry on the work.

      'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts...REMEMBER In the vision of Zechariah 3 God spoke TO Zerubbabel about the issue of purity. But purity alone is NOT enough to accomplish the work of God - the work of God NEEDS RESOURCES, and CONTRARY TO MANKIND'S THOUGHT PROCESSES....THE RESOURCES NEEDED ARE NOT the resources of HUMAN might or power.

      WHY? WHAT DID GOD MEAN?

      MIGHT FOCUSES on collective strength, the resources of a group or army.
      POWER FOCUSES on individual strength.

      God says, "not by the resources of many or one, but by My Spirit. HE IS TELLING ZECHARIAH AND ZERUBBABEL It will NOT BE by your cleverness, your ability, or your physical strength that the temple will be rebuilt, but by the Spirit of God, AMEN?

      SO WHAT ARE THE NECESSARY RESOUCES WE NEED?

      The necessary resource for God's work is THE HOLY SPIRIT and God promises Zerubbabel a RICH RESOURCE in the Spirit of God to accomplish His work.

      GOD IS SAYING CLEAR AS CRYSTAL HERE....TRUST ME...LOOK TO ME...SEEK MY GUIDANCE THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, AMEN?

      BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW when we PUT OUR TRUST AND FAITH IN OUR OWN resources - whether they be small or great in the eyes of man - WE WILL ALWAYS FALL SHORT, then we don't CALL UPON, LEAN ON, REACH FOR THE FULL SUPPLY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVING WITHIN THOSE OF US WHO KNOW AND LOVE JESUS CHRIST AND CALL HIM LORD, SAVIOR, AND FRIEND, AMEN?

      This was THE SPIRIT---THE BREATH---THE RUAH OF THE LORD WHICH ALSO WORKED IN CREATION, TOLD TO US IN Genesis 1:2.

      ALSO AT THE RED SEA, to open and close it TOLD TO US IN Exodus 15:8, 10.

      AND and that gave life to dead bones TOLD TO US IN Ezekiel 37:1-14.

      Looking back to the vision NOW.... we too SEE & UNDERSTAND that God wanted Zerubbabel TO KNOW that the Holy Spirit would continually supply his need, just as the oil trees in the vision continually supplied oil to the lamps on the lampstand. God wants His supply and our reliance on the Holy Spirit to be continual.

      CHARLES SPURGEON SAYS IT WELL OF THESE VERSES..."O churches! take heed lest ye trust in yourselves; take heed lest ye say, 'We are a respectable body,' 'We are a mighty number,' 'We are a potent people;' take heed lest ye begin to glory in your own strength; for when that is done, 'Ichabod' shall be written on your walls and your glory shall depart from you. Remember, that he who was with us when we were but few, must be with us now we are many, or else we must fail; and he who strengthened us when we were but as 'little in Israel,' must be with us, now that we are like 'the thousands of Manasseh,' or else it is all over with us and our day is past."

      By My Spirit...AND WHEN WE THINK ABOUT IT, AND ASK OURSELVES WHY OIL is a good representation of the Holy Spirit:

      - Oil lubricates when used for that purpose - there is little friction and wear among those who are lubricated by the Spirit of God

      - Oil heals and was used as a medicinal treatment in Biblical times TOLD TO US IN Luke 10:34 - the Spirit of God brings healing and restoration.

      - Oil lights when it is burned in a lamp - where the Spirit of God is there is light.

      - Oil warms when it is used as fuel for a flame - where the Spirit of God is there is warmth and comfort.

      - Oil invigorates when used to massage - the Holy Spirit invigorates us for His service.

      - Oil adorns when applied as a perfume - the Holy Spirit adorns us and makes us more pleasant to be around.

      - Oil polishes when used to shine metal - the Holy Spirit wipes away our grime and smoothes out our rough edges.

      Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain....

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The work of rebuilding the temple was so massive it seemed like a great mountain TO ZERUBBABEL & THE PEOPLE... BUT RIGHT HERE God promises that by His Spirit, that great mountain will be leveled into a plain.

      AND FROM OUR STUDY OF NEHEMIAH, WE KNOW IN THIS CASE, the great mountain may have literally been the mountainous pile of rubble at the temple site. That rubble would be removed and the work carried on.

      He shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      This is God ASSURANCE TO Zerubbabel that not only will the work be finished, but Zerubbabel - HE HIMSELF - shall finish it, setting the capstone and declaring that it was ALL A WORK OF GOD'S MIGHT, POWER, SUPPLY & GRACE, AMEN?

      When the work is done through human might or power we can take credit for it, but when the work is done by the continual supply of the Spirit, then it is all to the glory of God's grace.

      Verses 8-10 tells us GOD GIVES MORE encouragement for Zerubbabel.

      "Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."

      His hands shall finish it...When the work is done by God's Spirit there are not only resources to begin the work, but also to finish the work.

      PHILIPPIANS 1:6 CONFIRMS THIS..."God is a finisher."

      For who has despised the day of small things?.... DOES NOT Zechariah's question rings true to us today TOO?

      Almost every one of us could answer, "I have despised the day of small things." The question provides its own answer: none of us should despise the day of small things, because God has a wonderful - though perhaps difficult - purpose for those days.

      It was a long "day" for Zerubbabel, because the work of the temple laid in ruins for almost 20 years. He probably would say to God, "What do you mean 'day of small things?' I've lived with 20 years of small things." Even so, God tells Zerubbabel to not despise the time of small things, and to consider it is all as just a day.

      In many of God's choice workers He uses a powerful season of small things.

      WHAT DOES GOD MEAN BY THIS?

      Those days are NOT a mistake nor are they punishment; they are days of priceless shaping and preparation. They are not days to despise.

      When Satan tempts us to despise the day of small things, he shines as an outstanding liar because Satan does not despise the day of small things.

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER Satan ACTUALLY FEARS the day of small things in our life because he sees what great things God does in them and brings out of them.

      AND AS CHARLES SPURGEON POINTS OUT....GOD USES OUR SMALL WORKS IN WONDROUS AND MYSTERIOUS WAYS TOO. "God accepts your little works if they are done in faith in his dear Son. God will give success to your little works: God will educate you by your little works to do greater works; and your little works may call out others who shall do greater works by far than ever you shall be able to accomplish."

      For THESE SEVEN rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel:

      The seven are the PERFECT, ALL SEEING EYES eyes of the LORD mentioned in this same context. They rejoice when they see Zerubbabel busy with the building work, with the plumb line in his hand. The eyes of the LORD see it all, and they are happy to see God's people at work.

      Though the work was empowered by the Spirit of God, Zerubbabel still NEEDED his plumb line. He still needed to get to work. God could have given Zerubbabel a shortcut and instantly, miraculously finished the work. That's isn't God's way of doing things, because His work in the life of Zerubbabel was as important to Him as His work through Zerubbabel, AMEN?

      Verses 11-14 tells us the explanation of the olive trees and lampstands.

      "Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive trees; at the right of the lampstand and at its left?" And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?" Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord." So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth."

      What are these two olive trees...we see that Zechariah DID NOW understood the message of encouragement to Zerubbabel, but he STILL DID NOT EXACTLY UNDERSTAND AND CONNECT IT to the vision of the olive trees and the lampstand.

      These are the TWO anointed ones...

      SO WHO WERE THEY?

      In Zechariah's day, the two anointed ones were Zerubbabel and Joshua. It seems that they were NOT the entire trees, but two olive BRANCHES from the trees, probably one branch from each tree. The trees themselves represent the kingly and priestly offices in Israel.

      God had a special work for these two anointed ones. They would be uniquely anointed to work together and to accomplish the work of God. AND THE BIBLE TELLS US AND SHOWS US THAT God often calls two men to work together:

      - Moses and Aaron
      - Joshua and Caleb
      - Elijah and Elisha
      - Peter and John
      - Paul and Barnabas
      - Calvin and Luther
      - Whitefield and Wesley
      - Moody and Sankey
      - Graham and Barrows

      God promises to raise up TWO MORE WITNESSES, anointed ones to preach the gospel to the world immediately before Jesus' SECOND COMING RETURN, WHEN HE STEPS DOWN INTO JERUSALEM TO RESCUE ISRAEL FROM THE ANTICHRIST & THE WORLD TOLD TO US IN Revelation 11:3-13.

      AND WE KNOW FROM HAVING STUDIED THE BOOK OF REVELATION, THAT Revelation 11:4 specifically says of these witnesses: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.

      SO ONCE AGAIN WE SEE NEAR AND FAR VISIONS/PROPHECIES...AMEN? IT REMINDS US THAT OUR TRIUNE GOD HAS ALREADY BEEN INTO THE FUTURE LONG BEFORE WE EVER GOT THERE!

      AND YOU NOTICE....The two anointed ones had work to do and it would be so supplied by the Spirit of God that they would be like the olive trees with a continual supply of oil for the lamps on the lampstand.

      AND DID YOU KNOW...Anointed ones is literally SONS OF OIL?
      In Hebrew idioms the son of something is radically characterized by that thing. For example, the sons of Belial totally represent their pagan god Belial.

      BUT THESE TWO ANOINTED ONES OF GOD, are so characterized by the ministry and the power of the Holy Spirit WITH THEM SO that they ARE sons of oil.

      How did the trees supply the oil?
      It came out of the trees.

      All real ministry is giving of ourselves.

      It doesn't matter how much we have; what matters is how much we give of ourselves. Some people are like a huge tank of oil that you might see at a refinery. You think, "that's enough gas to last a lifetime" - but you could never fill your tank there. At the refinery there is much supply, but no delivery. A five-gallon can of gas at home can carry only a little supply - but it will deliver.

      WHAT GOD IS TELLING ZECHARIAH AND US...IS IF YOU HAVE ME, MY HOLY SPIRIT IN THE FULL, A TINY BIT OF ME, WILL NEVER RUN OUT, YOU CAN SHARE AND SHARE AND SHARE AND GIVE AND GIVE AND GIVE AND NEVER RUN OUT, AMEN?

    • July 6, 2016 4:17 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 5

      OPENS WITH...

      Two Visions Regarding the Cleansing of God's People

      Verses 1-2 tells us what Zechariah saw in the FIRST VISION: A FLYING SCROLL.

      "Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll. And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits."

      A flying scroll...In this vision GOD gives Zechariah, he SEES a scroll flying through the air, apparently IT IS FULLY OPEN to read because Zechariah can see how LARGE the scroll is.

      Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits: The scroll was approximately 30 FEET LONG AND 15 FEET WIDE.

      DID YOU KNOW, that these WERE THE BIBLE DIMENSIONS OF THE HOLY PLACE IN THE TABERNACLE & OF THE PORCH OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE?

      HOW COOL IS THAT?

      Verses 3-4 tells us what the FLYING SCROLL REPRESENTS.

      "Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: 'Every thief shall be expelled,' according to this side of the scroll; and, 'Every perjurer shall be expelled,' according to that side of it." I will send out the curse," says the LORD of hosts; "It shall enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it, with its timber and stones."

      Every thief shall be expelled … Every perjurer shall be expelled...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      GOD IS TELLING ZECHARIAH THAT THE TEXT RIGHT HERE ON THE SCROLL CONTAINS the Ten Commandments. To steal was to injure your neighbor; to perjure was to dishonor God, because you had sworn in his name.

      I will send out the curse...The two sins, one from each side of the tablets of the Ten Commandments, represent ALL of Israel's sin. God will curse the people who commit these sins and their house.

      NEXT GOD GIVES ZECHARIAH ANOTHER VISION, A Vision of the woman and the basket.

      AND I WANT TO INTERJECT SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT HERE. THE KJV HOLY BIBLE IS AS CLOSE TO PERFECT TRANSLATION THAT CAN BE FOUND.

      THE OLD ENGLISH SPOKEN IN THE DAYS OF KING JAMES IS CONSIDERED TIRESOME OR OLD-FASHION FOR MANY, SO THE NEWER TRANSLATIONS WERE AND STILL ARE BEING CREATED, WITH THE THOUGHT OF CLARIFYING OR MAKING IT MORE COOL, HIP, AND EASIER TO UNDERSTAND, RIGHT?

      BUT THE NEWER TRANSLATIONS CHANGE, DELETE, OR DISMISS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ARTICLES IN GRAMMAR, SUCH AS: A, THE, AN. WHICH IN THE EYES OF GOD ARE VERY IMPORTANT. JUST AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE...

      THERE IS AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ((AN)) ANGEL OF THE LORD...WHICH TELLS US IT WAS JUST ONE OF MILLIONS OF ANGELS AT GOD'S COMMAND IN HEAVEN.

      WHEREAS, ((THE)) ANGEL OF THE LORD, CAN ONLY BE JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, AMEN?

      AND IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES, ((PREPOSITIONS)) ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO WHAT GOD IS TELLING US AND SHOWING US. THE NEWER TRANSLATIONS CHANGE THE PREPOSITIONS, SUCH AS THE IN, AT, ON, OVER, BESIDE, THROUGH...ETC... THEY CHANGE THEM AT TIMES TO SUIT HOW THEY RE-CREATE OR TRANSLATE SOMETHING TO MAKE IT GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT....AND THAT CHANGE CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN WHAT GOD IS SHOWING US AND TELLING US, AMEN?


      JUST AS RIGHT HERE....THE BIBLE TELLS US OF THE WOMAN SITTING (((IN))) THE BASKET. OTHERS TRANSLATE IT SIMPLY THE WOMAN & THE BASKET, OR THE WOMAN NEAR THE BASKET, AMEN?


      SO REMEMBER EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF OUR TRIUNE GOD IS IMPORTANT AND TRUE. THE ARTICLES ARE IMPORTANT AND SO TO ARE THE PREPOSITIONS, AMEN?

      Verses 5-8 tells us of the woman sitting IN the basket.

      "Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, "Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth." So I asked, "What is it?" And he said, "It is a basket that is going forth." He also said, "This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket"; then he said, "This is Wickedness!" And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth."

      It IS a basket that IS going forth...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The basket was an ephah, it and the lead disc were units of measurement and symbols of commerce.

      ALSO DID YOU KNOW THE ORIGINS OF THE EPHAH, IS A WORD OF EGYPTIAN ORIGIN, meaning measure; a grain measure containing "three seahs or ten omers," and equivalent to the bath for liquids CONFIRMED TO US IN EXODUS 16:36; 1 SAMUEL 17:17; & ZECHARIAH 5:6).

      The DOUBLE ephah in PROVERBS 20:10 (marg., "an ephah and an ephah"), & in DEUTERONOMY 25:14, means TWO ephahs, the one false and the other just.

      This is Wickedness!...The woman, the basket, and the weight are associated with wickedness.

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      They personify greed, materialism, and dishonesty for profit.

      AND DID YOU KNOW...The Hebrew word for Wickedness is feminine. This is WHY GOD SHOWED ZECHARIAH A woman personifies evil in this vision.

      THERE ARE THOSE WHO POINT TO THIS VERSE AND OTHERS WHERE THE "FEMININE" IS USED TO PREACH AND TEACH THAT WOMEN AS A WHOLE ARE EVIL, WICKED, AND UNWORTHY.

      MOHAMMED, IN STRIVING TO GIVE CREDIBILITY TO HIS WRITINGS, BASED MANY OF HIS WRITINGS, IN LARGE, HIS PARADISE TEACHING ON THESE SCRIPTURES AND HIS OWN DISLIKE OF WOMEN, TO SAY THAT ALL WOMEN ARE WORTHLESS AND EVIL VESSELS IN THE EYES OF ALLAH, THAT HAVE THEIR USES TO BRING FORTH WORTHY MALES, BUT DO NOT AND ARE NOT OFFERED PARADISE, BUT DOOMED TO ETERNAL HELL WHEN THEY DIE.

      BUT WE WHO STUDY AND KNOW THE BIBLE, KNOW THAT OUR TRIUNE GOD SO LOVED HIS CREATION, AND THAT MEANS MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE, AMEN?

      AND GOD GAVE THIS VISION TO Zechariah TO PROPHECY TO THOSE who returned from the Babylonian exile. God's people came back from Babylon WITH a MATERIALISM problem, and this vision speaks to THIS problem.

      He thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      God first demonstrates his authority OVER EVIL then removes the wickedness from Jerusalem.

      Verses 9-11 TELLS US The woman and the basket are returned to Babylon.

      "Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. So I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they carrying the basket?" And he said to me, "To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base."

      Where are they carrying the basket?

      God IS TELLING ZECHARIAH THAT HE WILL cause this evil, materialistic spirit to be RETURNED to its starting-place: Babylon. There it will eventually be destroyed.

      When it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The word for base has the thought of a pedestal for an idol. The storks set the idol of materialism where it belongs.

      TWO women … they had wings like the wings of a stork...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      This means that the women in Zechariah's vision had BIG wings, strong enough to take this basket back to Babylon. Some regard these women as agents of evil because storks were CONSIDERED unclean animals, but here, WHETHER THEY ARE EVIL OR AGENTS, THEY ALL STILL DO THE COMMANDED WORK of God in sending the wicked woman back to Babylon.



      NOW TURN WITH ME TO ZECHARIAH 6

      OPENS WITH...

      ANOTHER VISION OF A King and Priest & THE VISION OF the four horses and their chariots.

      Verses 1-3 tells us AGAIN What Zechariah SAW.

      "Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses; strong steeds."

      FOUR CHARIOTS were coming from between TWO mountains... Since the original text says the two mountains, most assume they are the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. Mountains of bronze associates these mountains with strength and judgment.

      Four chariots … RED horses … BLACK horses … WHITE horses … DAPPLED horses; strong steeds...

      REMEMBER The horsemen of Zechariah 1 were OBSERVERS on reconnaissance.
      NOW THESE FOUR chariots and their horses ARE HOSTILE AGENTS OF GOD'S JUDGMENT. THEY ARE EMISSARIES of His war against the earth.

      AND SINCE WE HAVE ALREADY STUDIED THE BOOK OF DANIEL AND REVELATION IN THEIR ENTIRETY, WE KNOW SOME WANT TO IDENTIFY these FOUR CHARIOTS with Daniel's four world empires TOLD TO US IN Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 ONLY.
      BUT WE KNOW AND REMEMBER THAT THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT THE COLORS ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME OF AS THE FOUR HORSEMEN IN REVELATION 6, WHO ARE EMISSARIES/AGENTS OF GOD'S JUDGMENT.

      AND SOME CONNECT THESE WITH THE ANGELIC MESSENGERS OF JUDGMENT IN REVELATION 7:1-3 TOO.

      AND WE KNOW THE BIBLICAL SYMBOLISM:

      RED SPEAKS OF WAR,
      BLACK SPEAKS OF FAMINE AND DEATH.
      WHITE OF VICTORY.
      GRIZZLED/DAPPLED SPEAKS OF PESTILENCE,

      ALL OF WHICH ARE ALL CONFIRMED IN Ezekiel 14:21 & Revelation 6:18.

      BUT WHAT WE NEED TO ALWAYS REMEMBER, WHETHER THEY SYMBOLIZE EVIL INTENTS OR JUDGMENT AGENTS OF OUR TRIUNE GOD....OUR ALMIGHTY GOD CONTROLS THEM ALL, AMEN?

      Verses 4-8 tells us WHAT THE VISION MEANS.

      "Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" And the angel answered and said to me, "These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth. The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country." Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth. And He said, "Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth." So they walked to and fro throughout the earth. And He called to me, and spoke to me, saying, "See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to My Spirit in the north country."


      Four spirits of heaven...THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, WHO CAN ONLY BE OUR JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, WANTS ZECHARIAH TO UNDERSTAND, SO HE WILLINGLY TELLS ZECHARIAH THAT THESE FOUR CHARIOTS are actually four angelic beings sent from God.


      This means that these may not be exactly the same as the four horsemen of Revelation 6, but that the idea of their mission and purpose is similar & ALL ARE JESUS DIRECTED AND SENT, AMEN?


      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER, JESUS GAVE ZECHARIAH VISUALS OF HIS TIME...ONES HE COULD UNDERSTAND. CHARIOTS AND SWIFT STRONG HORSES WERE THE FASTEST MODES OF TRANSPORTATION AND ATTACK IN ZECHARIAH'S TIME, AMEN?


      AND MAYBE IF ZECHARIAH HAD HAD THE TECHNOLOGY OF TODAY, HE WOULD HAVE USED RACE CARS OR FIGHTER JETS TO ILLUSTRATE THE FASTEST & MOST POWERFUL, AS THEY ZOOM ACROSS THE EARTH TO DO WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED THEM TO DO, AMEN?


      To the NORTH COUNTRY... Two of the horses are focused on the north, AND WHAT IS NORTH OF ZECHARIAH? Babylon and Magog are.


      BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER, EACH OF THE FOUR EXTENDS to and fro THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EARTH.


      Those who go toward the north country have given rest to My Spirit in the north country...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      IT IS TELLING US God's Spirit is ONLY at rest when His enemies and the enemies of His people ARE JUDGED.


      Verses 9-11 tells us and shows us the CROWNING OF JOSHUA, THE HIGH PRIEST, & GOD COMMANDS A CROWN BE MADE FOR JOSHUA!!

      "Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "Receive the gift from the captives; from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon; and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest."

      Receive the gift from the captives … who have come from Babylon: As the refugees continued to return from exile they brought with them gifts from wealthy Babylon.

      Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah...Taking the meaning of the names WE KNOW:

      Heldai means robust.
      Tobijah means God's goodness.
      Jedaiah means God knows.

      GOD IS TELLING ZECHARIAH & US THAT GOD KNOWS THAT THROUGH His goodness, He WILL PUT HIS KING on the throne, and He WILL DO IT in a robust manner, AMEN?

      Make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua...THIS MUST HAVE SHOCKED ZECHARIAH.

      WHY?

      BECAUSE BEFORE GOD HAD TOLD MAN, HE COULD NOT BE KING AND HIGH PRIEST. SO It was absolutely unusual to crown a high priest, because priests were NEVER crowned as kings and kings were NEVER priests.

      AND WE KNOW THE STORY IN 2 Chronicles 26 tells the tragic story of King Uzziah who tried to function as a priest, and was stricken with leprosy to the end of his life. Through the history of Israel God commanded a separation between the religious and the civil leadership of Israel.

      Elaborate crown...This TELLS US IT IS definitely a ROYAL crown and is NOT the customary headdress of the high priest.

      On the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest...There already was a strong, godly civil leader in Jerusalem named Zerubbabel.
      IN OUR LIMITED UNDERSTANDING, IT SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD HAVE MADE A LOT MORE SENSE TO CROWN Zerubbabel instead of Joshua … the high priest.

      SO WHY JOSHUA...?

      WONDERFULLY BECAUSE Joshua was crowned because the NEXT descendant of David to rule would be Jesus, prefigured by the high priest Joshua.

      JESUS CHRIST IS KING AND HIGH PRIEST...THE ONLYYYYYYYYYY ONE WHO IS WORTHY AND ABLE TO HOLD BOTH TITLES, DUTIES, AND HONORS IN THE EYES OF ALMIGHTY GOD, AMEN?

      AND THERE ARE LIBERAL CRITICS OF THE BIBLE AND ZECHARIAH, THAT ARE SOOO ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT Zerubbabel should be crowned here....FORGET GOD'S WORD AND HIS PROMISES AND HIS PROPHECIES...THEY THINK KING JAMES GREEK, ARAMAIC, HEBREW SCRIBES ARE IN ERROR.

      BUT WE KNOW, THEY ARE MISSING THE ENTIRE POINT, BECAUSE THIS GOD CROWNING OF JOSHUA, PROPHECIES AND ONCE AGAIN CONFIRMS THE KING-PRIEST JESUS CHRIST TO COME...AMEN?

      Verses 12-13 tells us of the Prophecy of THE BRANCH, who is BOTH king and priest.

      DO YOU NOTICE....THE BRANCH...NOT A BRANCH...OR BRANCH...BUT THEEEEEEEEEE BRANCH...THAT CAN ONLYYYYYYYY BE OUR SWEET LORD JESUS, AMEN?

      "Then speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."'

      Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!...

      RIGHT HERE....GOD IS TELLING ZECHARIAH, ALL OF ISRAEL, AND US IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, THAT THE MESSIAH IS A HUMAN, A MAN, WHOSE NAME IS THE BRANCH!!!

      We already saw this Branch in Zechariah 3:8, and SO WE KNOW THE BRANCH IS A PRECIOUS AND WONDROUS TITLE FOR THE MESSIAH, OUR JESUS, TOLD TO US, ALL THROUGH THE OLD TESTAMENT TOO, IN Isaiah 4:2 & 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 & 33:15.

      The BRANCH is ALSO associated with fruitfulness and life. AND REMEMBER JESUS HIMSELF USED THE SAME IMAGE WHEN He said that He was the vine and we are the branches IN John 15:5.

      Behold, THE MAN...

      DID YOU KNOW In the Hebrew text the prophecy begins 'Behold the Man,' & REMEMBER THEY ARE THE VERY WORDS Pilate used to present the beaten Christ to the people of Jerusalem.

      PILATE SAID, 'Ecce homo!' WHICH MEANS BEHOLD THE MAN!

      But in Zechariah's vision it isn't the humiliated Jesus we are asked to behold, it is the TRIUMPHANT Jesus, AMEN?

      AND THIS TELLS US SOMETHING ABOUT OUR ALMIGHTY GOD AND ALL OF HEAVEN...JESUS BRUISED, BEATEN, & CRUCIFIED ON THE ACROSS WAS ONLY A BLINK IN TIME.

      ALMIGHTY GOD AND ALL OF HEAVEN DO NOTTTTTT FOCUS ON THE CROSS AND JESUS SUFFERING...BUT THEY PRAISE SHOUT AND FOCUS ON HIS TRIUMPHANT RESURRECTION! HIS VICTORY OVER SATAN, THE EARTH, DEATH, AND THE GRAVE.

      WHILE THE LOST CAN COME TO THE CROSS, CAN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE AMAZING LOVE & GRACE OF OUR JESUS CHRIST FOR US ALL, ALL OF US BEFORE WE WERE SAVED.

      BUT AS CHRISTIANS, WHO KNOW AND LOVE AND CALL JESUS CHRIST LORD SAVIOR AND FRIEND, WE ARE SEPARATED UNTO ALMIGHTY GOD. WE ARE NOW CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD. WE ARE TO FOCUS UPON JESUS ALIVE AND RULING IN HEAVEN.

      JESUS CHRIST IS NO LONGER ON THAT CROSS. OUR JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE...AND FROM THE SCRIPTURES, WE CAN KNOW THAT ALL OF HEAVEN FOCUSES ON THE RISEN, ALIVE, RULING AND REIGNING JESUS. THERE WILL BE NO NAILS, NO CROSSES, IN HEAVEN...ONLY THE PRECIOUS LAMB, AMEN?

      From HIS PLACE HE SHALL BRANCH OUT: This speaks of the fruitfulness and outreaching life of the Messiah to come. JESUS WILL REACH OUT...BRANCH OUT...TO THE HEATHEN...TO THE GENTILES...TO THE LOST WORLD. JESUS WILL SEEK OUT AND SAVE THE LOST...GENTILE AND JEW ALIKE.

      THERE ARE THOSE WHO WILL NOT READ THE NEW TESTAMENT.
      THEY REFUSE TO BELIEVE JESUS IS THE SON OF ALMIGHTY GOD.
      THEY REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE MESSIAH.

      BUT ONCE AGAIN, ALMIGHTY GOD KNOWING ALL THIS....INTRODUCED AND PROMISED HIS MESSIAH, THE MAN, THE BRANCH TO COME IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, LONGGGGG BEFORE JESUS WAS BORN, AMEN? SO IF YOU HAVE THOSE WHO WILL NOT READ THE NEW TESTAMENT, SHOW THEM ZECHARIAH 6!

      And He SHALL build the temple of the LORD: The Branch will REBUILD the temple - not the same temple Zerubbabel worked on, but the temple of His people CONFIRMED IN Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:5.

      So He SHALL BE a priest on His throne:...This was an unthinkable concept previously in Israel because priests did not sit on thrones and kings did not serve as priests. Nevertheless, the Branch is different; He rules as both a King and Priest, AMEN?

      Verses 14-15 tells us of The crowning as a memorial.

      "Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God."

      Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The LORD makes it clear that the crown for Joshua was a picture of the ruling Priest-King JESUS CHRIST in the future. God NEVER intended for Joshua to take control as king in the Jerusalem of his day.

      Hen the son of Zephaniah..Earlier, Josiah was said to be the son of Zephaniah, and Zechariah apparently gave this prophecy in his house (Zechariah 6:10). Since the name Hen means "gracious," it is almost certainly another name, and an appropriate name for this Josiah the son of Zephaniah.

      Even those FROM AFAR shall come and build the temple of the LORD:

      ONCE AGAIN.....HERE IS AN IMPORTANT PREPOSITION ((FROM AFAR)) GOD IS TELLING ZECHARIAH, THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, THAT JOSHUA IS A PICTURE...OF THE AFAR OFF...MEANING FAR IN THE FUTURE...NOT RIGHT NOW.

      Still, God's promised blessing in the future means that He wants the work to continue right now, and that He will bless the current work.

      AND THAT GOD HAS A PLAN...GOD IS TELLING ZECHARIAH, AND THE PEOPLE AND US TODAY...I HAVE A PLAN...IT HAS A NEAR AND A FAR RESULT.

      IT MAY SEEM LIKE YOU ARE SPINNING YOUR WHEELS. YOU KEEP DOING TO THE SAME THINGS FOR JESUS, YOU KEEP RIGHT ON PERSEVERING....AND LIKE IN THE DAY OF ZECHARIAH, THEY HAD A MOUNTAIN OF RUBBLE...THAT HAD TO BE REMOVED BY HAND....THEY DID NOT HAVE EARTH MOVERS, OR BULLDOZERS....ONLY THEIR HANDS, A STRONG BACK, AND MULES TO HELP THEM MOVE IT...SO THE WORK WAS SLOWWWWWW AND TEDIOUSSSSSSSSS.

      BUT GOD SAYS, I AM WORKING, I AM PREPARING YOU, I AM STRENGTHENING YOU, AND I AM BLESSING THIS WORK, WHETHER YOU SEE IT OR NOT....JUST KEEP PRESSING IN TO ME, KEEP DIGGING, KEEP MOVING...AND I WILL DO THE REST!

    • July 6, 2016 4:15 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 7

      OPENS WITH...

      Obedience Is Better than Ritual & Confronting the sin of religious hypocrisy.

      THE MORE WE STUDY AND COMPARE THE OLD TESTAMENT WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE MORE WE SEE & LEARN THAT ALMIGHTY GOD TELLS US, SHOWS US, COMMANDS US, & WARNS US (THE LOST AND THE SAVED) OF THE VERY SAME THINGS THAT JESUS TAUGHT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

      HERE IS ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WHERE ALMIGHTY GOD SPEAKS TO ZECHARIAH ABOUT AND TELLS HIM HOW OUR TRIUNE GOD FEELS ABOUT MANKIND & RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS POMP, CIRCUMSTANCE, RULES AND RITUALS.

      JESUS CHRIST SHOCKED THE SADDUCEES, THE PHARISEES, THE SANHEDRIN, THE PAGAN RELIGIONS, AND MAN CREATED RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR IDOLATRIES...BY TELLING THEM THAT HE WAS NOT RELIGIOUS AND NEITHER WAS HIS FATHER. JESUS CHRIST WAS ALL ABOUT ONE ON ONE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP & ALMIGHTY GOD TELLS US HERE THE SAME THING.

      JESUS WAS ALL ABOUT THE HEART OF MAN, AND COULD CARE LESS ABOUT HIS BLOODLINE, HIS DEGREE, HIS SOCIAL AND POLITICAL STANDING, HIS EDUCATION, HIS RELIGIOUS OR GOVERNMENTAL IDEOLOGIES, NOR HIS WEALTH AT ALL. JESUS KNEW, READ, AND JUDGED THE HEART AND HEAR SO TO DOES ALMIGHTY GOD AFFIRM AND CONFIRM IT.

      THE BIBLE TELLS US, & JESUS SAID HIMSELF THAT HE HAD NO USE FOR MAN CREATED RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR RULES, RITUALS, POMP, CIRCUMSTANCE, REPETITIOUS MUTTERINGS, AND DEMANDS TO PROVE HOLINESS, INSTEAD OF HITTING THEIR KNEES, BEING HUMBLE, SEEKING GOD, AND READING HIS WORD AND FOLLOWING IT...INSTEAD OF MAN'S IDOLS, RULES, RITUALS, AND HYPOCRISY.

      SO ONCE AGAIN, DO YOU HAVE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND ARE WITNESSING TO, WHO SAY I BELIEVE/TRUST THE OLD TESTAMENT, BUT DO NOT READ, BELIEVE, OR TRUST THE NEW TESTAMENT?

      GIVE THEM ZECHARIAH 7.

      Verses 1-3 GOD answers the question about FASTING.

      "Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass that the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, Chislev, when the people sent Sherezer, with Regem-Melech and his men, to the house of God, to pray before the LORD, and to ask the priests who were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and the prophets, saying, "Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?"

      In the fourth year … on the fourth day of the ninth month...GOD COMMANDS ZECHARIAH TO GIVE US THE EXACT DAY AND DATE...WHICH IS December 4, 518 B.C. & TELLS US a delegation came to Jerusalem with a question about fasting. At this point, the temple was somewhere around halfway completed.

      Should I weep in the fifth month and fast?

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The fast in the FIFTH month BEGAN THEN TO REMEMBER, AS A MEMORIAL TO the destruction of the temple told to us in 2 Kings 25:8-9).

      AND REMEMBER....Zechariah also mentions a fast in the SEVENTH month told to us in Zechariah 7:5, which remembered the MURDER OF GEDALIAH, WHICH WAS THE LAST ACT OF REBELLION against the Babylonian governor of Judah told to us in 2 Kings 25:25.

      WHY IS THIS MENTIONED HERE?

      BECAUSE ALMIGHTY GOD DID NOT COMMAND THESE FASTS OR MEMORIALS OR RITUALS..THEY WERE MAN DECREED AND MAN CREATED...NOT FROM ALMIGHTY GOD.

      HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

      The Law of Moses only commanded ONE FAST DAY, on the DAY OF ATONEMENT, told to us in Leviticus 16:29-34.

      BUT SINCE THEN, during the exile, the Jewish people CREATED AND ADDED AND DECREED FOUR MORE FEASTS/FASTS to remember key dates in the tragic defeat of their nation.

      WHAT ARE THEY?

      Here are the additional FASTING:

      Month/Day Reason Bible Reference

      4/17----Mourning the capture of Jerusalem----Jeremiah 52:6-30

      5/9----Burning of Jerusalem & destruction of Solomon's Temple----2 Kings 25:2-10

      7/3----Assassination of Gedaliah & massacre of 80 men----Jeremiah 4:1-10

      10/10----Nebuchadnezzar's siege against Jerusalem----2 Kings 25:1


      Psalm 137 beautifully - and powerfully - describes the sadness of heart that made the exiles remember their sin and tragedy with these additional days of fasting.

      BUT REMEMBER OUR GOD DID NOT COMMAND, REQUIRE NOR DECREE THESE FEAST/FAST DAYS. THEREIN LIES THE DIFFERENCE.

      To ask the priests who were in the house of the LORD...

      WHY?

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER, IN THIS DAY AND TIME, THE WORD OF GOD WAS NOTTTTTTT MASS PRODUCED, MOST WERE PAINSTAKINGLY COPIED BY HAND OF THE PRIEST AND THE KINGS OF THE TIME...SO THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD RELIED UPON THE PRIESTS TO KNOW AND TO TELL THEM OF WHAT GOD TAUGHT AND COMMANDED THEM.

      NOW DO YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING?

      EVEN BACK IN ZECHARIAH'S DAY...THE PRIESTS AND PAST KINGS WHO HAD THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD WERE STILL CHANGING, TWEAKING, ADDING, ALTERING, AND/OR DISMISSING WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAID...AND ADDED WHAT THEY THOUGHT, BELIEVED, DECIDED WAS RELEVANT TO THEIR TIME.

      SOUND FAMILIAR?

      HOW MANY TRANSLATIONS, AND I USE THE TERM LOOSELY, HOW MANY DIFFERENT TRANSLATIONS OF GOD'S WORD ARE THERE IN THE WORLD TODAY?

      AND HOW MANY OF THEM ARE MAN INSPIRED AND CHANGED AND ALTERED...TO MAKE THEM MORE COOL, HIP, EASIER TO GRASP...OR AS SOME COMMENTATORS SAY...WE NEED TO DRAG THE BIBLE INTO THE RELEVANCE OF THE 21ST CENTURY.

      THE KJV HOLY BIBLE IS PASSE, ANTIQUATED, OUT-DATED, AND NO LONGER RELEVANT TO OUR MORE EDUCATED, LITERATE, INTELLIGENT MINDS.

      GOD TELLS MANKIND RIGHT HERE...YOU MESS WITH MY GIVEN WORD AT YOUR OWN PERIL, AMEN?

      WHAT THESE MEN DIDDDDDDDDD KNOW....WAS THAT during their forced exile in Babylon they observed these feasts that remembered the tragic fall of Jerusalem. BUT NOW SINCE God's people were back in the land and the temple was rebuilt, they wanted to know if it was APPROPRIATE & NECESSARY & REQUIRED to continue to these fasts of mournful remembrance.

      ALMIGHTY GOD, THEN AND NOW, WANTS US TO KNOW AND FOLLOW HIS WORD...NOT MAN'S HIS. ALMIGHTY GOD WANTS TO US TO SEEK AND TO LEARN AND TO KNOW FOR OURSELVES WHAT HIS WORD SAYS...AND TO BE READY AND WILLING TO QUESTION ANYONE...PRIEST OR MAN...WHOSE TEACHINGS DO NOTTTTTT LINE UP PERFECTLY WITH HIS WORD.

      WHY?

      GOD LOVES US.

      GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO STUMBLE, TO SIN, TO ERR, BECAUSE WE SIMPLY ACCEPT AND TRUST WHAT WE ARE TOLD. HE WANTS US PROTECTED, SAFE IN HIM, TO WALK UPRIGHTLY BEFORE HIM...AND THE ONLY WAY WE CAN DO THIS IS TO SEEEK HIM IN HIS WORD, AMEN?

      The matter brings up ANOTHER issue relevant today.

      THE QUESTION OF How long should we remember and mourn over our past? Should we do things to remember either our sin or the tragedies of the past?

      YOU NOTICE THESE MEN SAY...As I have done for so many years.

      These additional fasts were NOT commanded by God, but instituted by man. Yet because they were traditionally practiced for so long (at least 70 years), they developed an authority of their own.

      WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

      IT MEANS IF YOU ARE TOLD SOMETHING, TAUGHT SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING COMMANDED BY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU TRUST LONG ENOUGH, AND YOU DO NOT SEEK THE TRUTH, YOU DO NOT QUESTION, AND YOU DO NOT FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF IF OUR TRIUNE GOD COMMANDED IT, BUT SIMPLY ACCEPT IT AS GOD GIVEN, THEN OVER TIME IT WILL BECOME "GOD TEACHES AND JESUS SAYS AND TEACHES", IN OTHER WORDS ACCEPTED AS GOD GIVEN AND NOT MAN CREATED.

      WHEN IN FACT, IT MAY ONLY BE A MAN-CREATED IDEOLOGY OF LONG STANDING AND HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT OUR ALMIGHTY GOD AND JESUS CHRIST TELL US.

      BASICALLY THEIR THOUGHT WAS..."We've done this for so many years, we may as well keep doing it."

      Verses 4-7 GOD ANSWERS & TELLS US Hypocrisy in fasting is rebuked.

      "Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, "Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me; for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?'"

      Did you really fast for Me; FOR ME?

      God's word through Zechariah REBUKED the people of God for what their fasting had become - SHOWBOATING, PIOUS PROCLAIMING indulgent pity-parties CREATED BY MAN, BY RELIGIOUS LEADERS, NOT BY GOD AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR GOD...OR TO SEEK GOD.

      AND I HAVE TOLD YOU ALL...THAT JESUS GAVE ME THE SAME ANSWER, WHEN I WAS TIRED, WORN, AND FEELING DOWN AND DESPAIRING OVER WITNESSING, COUNSELING, PRAYING, AND GIVING BIBLE STUDIES.

      MOST OF YOU KNOW, WHEN I FIRST WAS ASKED, PRAYED OVER AND THEN BEGAN OFFERING A WEEKLY CORPORATE PRAYER MEETINGS, THAT AT FIRST, PEOPLE WOULD POP IN, SEE IT WAS NOT CHIT CHAT TIME, BUT PRAYER TIME, AND THEY WOULD POP BACK OUT, OR INTERRUPT AND SAY, I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SIT AND LISTEN TO PRAYING FOR EVERYONE, I WANT YOU TO PRAY FOR ME RIGHT NOW, OR TELL ME HOW LONG BEFORE YOU DO LIFT MY PRAYER REQUEST AND I WILL COME BACK TO HEAR IT...AND A FEW TIMES ONLY JESUS AND I ATTENDED, WHERE JUST THE TWO OF US PRAYED OVER SO MANY PRAYER REQUESTS, & THERE WERE A FEW BIBLE STUDIES IN THE BEGINNING, WHERE IT WAS JUST ME AND JESUS IN ATTENDANCE FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE BIBLE STUDIES.

      AND SO I DESPAIRED. I THOUGHT I WAS DOING IT WRONG. I THOUGHT I HAD HEARD WRONG. I DID NOT SEE ANY FRUITS...AND BELIEVED I WAS NOT IN JESUS WILL. I WANTED TO GIVE UP AND QUIT. SO IN ANGER, SADNESS, AND DESPAIR I CRIED OUT TO JESUS AND SAID WHAT IS THE POINT LORD? I FEEL AS IF I AM ACCOMPLISHING NOTHING, HELPING NO ONE, AM BUT USELESS MUTTERING. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? DID I HEAR WRONG?

      AND THE LORD SAID...NOT IN ANGER NOR FRUSTRATION, BUT IN LONG-SUFFERING PATIENCE...WHO ARE YOU DOING IT FOR FAITH? ME OR YOURSELF?

      TALK ABOUT REVELATION...AND STOPPING ME DEAD IN MY TRACKS...AND SENDING ME TO MY KNEES IN HUMILITY & SHAME. BECAUSE I DID NOT SEE IT AS SUCH, DID NOT THINK OF IT AS DOING ANY OF IT FOR MYSELF, BUT JESUS SHOWED ME THAT MY DESPAIR AND MY SENSE OF FAILURE OF NOT DOING IT RIGHT, OR MAKING A DIFFERENCE WAS LOOKING AT THINGS FROM MY OWN LIMITED TANGIBLE PERSPECTIVE AND NOT JESUS. AND JESUS SHOWED ME THE TRUTH...THE REAL TRUTH...THAT AT THE CORE OF MY DESPAIR WAS EGO....WAS ME ME ME ME....INSTEAD OF JESUS JESUS JESUS.

      I WAS ASHAMED...AND SICK AT HEART TO HAVE THIS REVELATION...TALK ABOUT QUICK CONVICTION OF HEART, MIND, AND BODY. MY PITY-PARTY TURNED INTO A COME TO JESUS MEETING!

      ALL I COULD SAY OR THINK WAS...I AM SO SORRY, FORGIVE ME MY EGO, MY SELF-FOCUSED HEART. AND IT WAS IN THAT MOMENT...THAT SWEET VOICE THEN COMFORTED AND REASSURED ME...JUST TELL THEM MY WORD FAITH...GIVE THEM MY WORD....JUST TELL THEM...I WILL DO THE REST...NOT YOU.

      THIS IS BASICALLY WHAT GOD WAS TELLING THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL & THEIR PRIESTS RIGHT HERE.

      Their lives & HEARTS were NOT right when they did eat and drink - that they did for themselves, NOT for the LORD. A few days of fasting every year could not make up for the rest of the year lived for yourselves.

      AND WE SEE IT IN OUR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS TODAY AS WELL, AMEN?

      THIS PUBLIC SHOW OF LOOK I AM BEING HOLY, PIOUS... WHEN WE SEE PEOPLE WEARING A RED DOT ON THEIR FOREHEADS, ASHES ON THEIR FOREHEADS, TELLING PEOPLE TODAY I DO NOT EAT THIS...OR ANNOUNCING I AM FASTING TODAY...OR SOME STILL WEAR SACKCLOTH...SOME STILL LASH THEMSELVES...CUT THEMSELVES...ALL FOR THE SAKE OF WHAT THEIR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS TEACH, SAY AND DECREE IS REQUIRED TO SHOW AND BE HOLY AND DEVOUT AND SET APART...UNTO WHOMEVER THEY CALL THEIR GOD.

      ALMIGHTY GOD SEES IT AS RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION ME ME ME POMP CIRCUMSTANCE RULES RITUALS...INSTEAD OF SEEKING THE ONE AND ONLY TRIUNE GOD AND OBEYING WHAT HE SAYS AND TELLS US.

      ALMIGHTY GOD, WHO SEES AND READS AND KNOWS THE HEART AND MIND OF MANKIND PERFECTLY CALLS IT ALL HYPOCRISY, JUST AS JESUS CALLED THEM YOU HYPOCRITES!!

      AND THIS WORD STRAIGHT FROM ALMIGHTY GOD ALSO SHOWS US that when we cling to the MEMORY OF SIN AND TRAGEDY IN THE PAST, we often do it out of simple self-indulgence. FOR PUBLIC PITY PARTIES....FOR DRAMA...SHOWBOATING...FOR ME ME ME. We do it for our self, NOT for the LORD.

      WHEN THE RELIGIOUS AND PIOUS GET REVELATION AND BEGIN TO SEARCH GOD'S WORD WE FIND OUT THAT MANY OF WHAT WE TERM HOLY, PIOUS, AND SHOWS OF REPENTANCE...IS ONLY EGO.

      THERE ARE MANY SCRIPTURES THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE THAT SPEAK TO THIS...

      HOSEA 6:6 says, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

      MATTHEW 9:3 says, "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

      Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed?

      GOD REPEATS IT HERE ANOTHER WAY...BUT BASICALLY IT IS THE SAME THING...
      WHY ARE YOU DOING THESE FASTS & FEASTS?
      WHO ARE YOU DOING THIS FOR? FOR ME OR FOR YOURSELF...TO BE SEEN AND VIEWED AND COUNTED HOLY AND PIOUS BEFORE THE WORLD?

      GOD WOULD FAR RATHER WE STRIVE TO LIVE FOR HIM EVERY DAY, THAN TO HAVE CERTAIN DAYS ON THE CALENDAR WHEN WE GET PIOUS OR STRIVE TO ACT PIOUS AND AS CHRISTIANS.

      I REMEMBER ONE MEMBER WHO JOINED GFB, THEN SAID ON THE FRONT PAGE OF GFB...

      "ALL YOU PEOPLE DO ALL DAY LONG IS POST SCRIPTURE, INSPIRATIONALS, PRAISE MUSIC, JESUS VIDEOS, AND TALK ABOUT JESUS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOU...YOU PEOPLE NEEDDDDDDD TO GET A LIFE."

      THE OVERALL RESPONSE FROM GFB MEMBERSHIP WAS SIMPLY..."WE SEEK TO KEEP JESUS IN OUR DAILY LIVES... HE ISSSS OUR LIFE!"

      SO IN HIS OWN DEFENSE HE ADDED, "LISTEN I READ MY BIBLE IN THE MORNING, SAY MY PRAYERS AT NIGHT, GO TO CHURCH EVERY WEEK, BUT AFTER THAT I GO ENJOY MY LIFE...I HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE THE BIBLE AND THE CHURCH. I HAVE FUN. I ENJOY MY LIFE."

      THAT IS BASICALLY THE MINDSET OF PEOPLE THEN IN ZECHARIAH'S DAY...AND GOD SHOWS US THEM AND US ANOTHER IMPORTANT THING IN HIS WORD....

      NO MATTER HOW ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICALLY, SCIENTIFICALLY, MENTALLY, AND SOCIALLY AND POLITICALLY MANKIND HAS BECOME....HUMAN NATURE REMAINS THE SAME, AMEN?

      AND MEYER SAYS IT WELL, "Instead of actively remembering the sin or tragedy of the past, God wants us to focus on active obedience and an active walk with Him. "There is no need to observe the sad anniversaries of our sins and their accompanying punishment, if once we are assured of God's free forgiveness. When He forgives and restores, the need for dwelling on the bitter past is over … Too many of us are always dwelling beside the graves of the dead past."

      AND GOD IS REMINDING THEM ALSO...Through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were ALIVE, SAFE, PROSPEROUS & FULLY INHABITED....If their ancestors had been obedient TO GOD'S COMMANDS, WARNINGS, AND PLEADINGS GIVEN THEM THROUGH HIS WORD AND HIS PROPHETS FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS BEFORE PUNISHMENT CAME....they would have NEVER HAVE NEEDED to fast, and their land wouldn't have been conquered and desolate, AMEN?

      And the South and the Lowland were inhabited...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      Here, the South refers to the Negev, the desolate desert near the Dead Sea. GOD IS REMINDING THEM....This area wasn't always desolate; before Israel's disobedience, it too was prosperous and inhabited, and green and thriving.

      Verses 8-10 GOD ONCE AGAIN TELLS THEM WHAT HE DOESSSSSS WANT: LISTEN TO ME AND OBEY ME.

      "Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.' "

      Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion...In Zechariah 7:7 the prophet REBUKED the people of God and their ancestors for a basic NEGLECT of obedience. Now Zechariah describes the kind of obedience God wanted, beginning with decent and loving treatment of our neighbor.

      Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      OUR TRIUNE GOD WHO SEES AND READS THE HEART AND MIND PERFECTLY KNEW AND IS TELLING THEM ALL THEN AND NOW....Some among the people of God found it easier to fast a few days a year instead of truly treating others in a godly way. Their bad relationship with others demonstrated a fundamentally bad relationship with the LORD.

      IN OTHER WORDS...YOU TALK THE TALK...BUT YOU DO NOT WALK THE TALK, AMEN?

      Verse 11-12 tells us of the rebellious reaction of God's people.

      "But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts."

      Refused to heed … shrugged their shoulders … stopped their ears … made their hearts like flint...

      Zechariah vividly describes a progression of rejection. It begins with simply refusing to heed God, then a self-justifying shrugging of their shoulders, then stopping their ears. It all ends with hearts as hard as flint. BEWARE OF PIETY...WHICH IS BASICALLY EGO...SELF ARROGANCE...

      AND GOD IS TELLING US SOMETHING HERE THAT WE NEED TO SEE AND UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER...When you meet people with hearts like flint, KNOW they did not become that way overnight. There was a gradual, certain progression to their present place of hardness, AMEN?

      Refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      In their hardened state, they just didn't want to hear God's word. When we lose our hunger for God's word it is a sobering evidence of the progression of rejection and hardness of heart.

      Verses 13-14 tells us God's judgment on their disobedience.

      "Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts. "But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate."

      Just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen...

      Since God's people refused to listen to God, God would refuse to listen to and answer their prayers. This is just another good reason to stay under the teaching of God's word - so that our prayers will be answered, AMEN?

      I scattered them with a whirlwind...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      This refers to the swift victories and cruel conduct of the Chaldeans towards the Jews; they came upon them like a whirlwind; they were tossed to and fro, and up and down, everywhere scattered and confounded.

      Thus the land became desolate after them...

      Their disobedience and disregard for God led to scattering and desolation. This is always our fate when we allow religious rituals to take the place of a real relationship and daily obedience towards God.

      THIS CHAPTER OF ZECHARIAH TEACHES US TO SEARCH OUR HEARTS...AND ASK OURSELVES...

      THREE LIFE ALTERING QUESTIONS?

      WHO AM I LISTENING TO? MAN, RELIGIONS OR JESUS CHRIST & HIS WORD?

      WHO AM I BELIEVING IN? MAN, RELIGIONS, OR JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD?

      WHO AM I DOING THIS FOR? MAN, RELIGIONS, OR JESUS CHRIST?

      IF THE ANSWER TO ANY OF THE ABOVE IS NOT JESUS CHRIST & HIS WORD...THEN WE NEED TO SEEK JESUS WILL AND JESUS WAY.

      MANKIND WILL FAIL US.

      RELIGIONS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS WILL FAIL US.

      FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL FAIL US.

      ONLY JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD NEVER CHANGES AND NEVER FAILS.

      CALL UPON JESUS CHRIST NOW.
      CHOOSE JESUS CHRIST NOW.
      FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD NOW.

    • July 6, 2016 4:14 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 8

      OPENS WITH Jerusalem Restored to God's favor.

      Verses 1-2 tells us The LORD says: My passionate love for Israel has not diminished.

      "Again the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.' "

      Thus says the LORD of hosts...God introduces Himself with a title declaring His power and majesty. He is the LORD of hosts, "hosts" referring to the armies of heaven. The title itself is a wake-up call.

      I am zealous for Zion with great zeal...The word for zealous in the ancient Hebrew comes from the idea "to become intensely red." It has the thought of a face becoming flushed with deep emotion. This shows that God is passionately concerned for His people.

      Verse 3 tells us The LORD says: Jerusalem will be restored.

      "Thus says the LORD: 'I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.' "

      I WILL return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: God's people and city will be transformed by the presence of the LORD.

      Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth … The Holy Mountain: Because of God's presence the city will be transformed into a place of truth and holiness. When God's presence is real and embraced in our life, we become people of Truth and Holy people, AMEN?

      In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul describes this process of transformation: "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."

      Verses 4-5 tells us The LORD says: Jerusalem WILL BE a thriving, safe place.

      "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.' "

      Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem... Because of the rigors of returning to Jerusalem, there were probably few old people in the city, and their absence was felt. But the LORD promises that all that will change one day and young and old together will enjoy the city in safety. This was a SIGNIFICANT PROMISE.

      WHY?

      Because in Zechariah's time Jerusalem's walls were RUINED and the city WAS NOT safe and secure for old men and old women or for boys and girls playing in its streets.

      The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets...EVEN THE CHILDREN WILL BE SAFE TO PLAY IN THE STREETS.

      Verse 6 tells us The LORD says: Even if it is too amazing for you, is it too hard for Me?

      "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, will it also be marvelous in My eyes?' Says the LORD of hosts."

      If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of the people: The promise of a transformed, prosperous, safe Jerusalem seemed a little too fantastic to believe when the city was half-built and the walls wouldn't be completed for another 60 years.

      Will it also be marvelous in My eyes? Just because it seemed too big in the eyes of man, it was not too marvelous for the LORD.

      REMEMBER MATTHEW 19:26, Jesus says, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

      CHARLES SPURGEON says of this scripture,"I remember when a boy being taken to see the residence of one of our nobility, and the good friend who took me noticed my astonishment at the largeness of the house. I was amazed at it, having never seen anything like it, and so I said, 'What a house for a man to live in!' 'Bless you, boy,' said he, 'this is only the kitchen!' I was only looking at the servants' apartments, and was astonished at the grandeur thereof; but the mansion itself was a far nobler affair. Oftentimes when you see what the Lord has done, you are ready to cry out, 'How can all this be? His goodness, his mercy, is it as great as this?' Rest assured that you have only seen a little of his goodness, as it were the kitchen of his great house: you have not seen the palace of the Most High, where he reveals his full power and splendor."


      Verses 7-8 tell us The LORD says...Israel WILL BE gathered, far more than the few who have returned thus far.

      "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.' "

      I WILL save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west...

      Proportionately, few among the exiles returned to the Promised Land. God promises a gathering from exile to come that will far surpass the present gathering.

      They SHALL BE My people and I WILL BE their God, in truth and righteousness...The gather God promises will not just be a geographic gathering, but a SPIRITUAL l gathering.

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      It won't just be that their address changes, but their heart also.

      Verses 9-13 tell us The LORD says: take courage; finish the work, for I will bless you.

      "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who spoke in the day the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built. For before these days there were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; there was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; for I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor. But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,' says the LORD of hosts. For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these. And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.' "

      Let your hands be strong...

      This encouraging command was for those who had heard the words of the prophets in the day the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts. The foundation was set more than fifteen years before. Though they faced lack (no wages for man) and opposition (no peace from the enemy), God wanted them to find strength for the work (let your hands be strong) in His promise.

      I WILL NOT treat the remnant of this people as in the former days...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      God ALLOWED a period of difficulty but would NOT ALLOW it to last forever. He WOULD BRING prosperity and blessing to the once afflicted nation.

      You SHALL BE a blessing. Do NOT FEAR, let your hands be strong...
      AS STATED EARLIER...AT THIS POINT, JERUSALEM STILL LAY IN RUINS. THEY HAD NO PROTECTIVE WALLS & NO GATES. EVERYTHING LAY IN RUINOUS PILES. Though their present state was lowly, God wanted Israel to trust in His promise of blessing, and let the promise encourage them to diligent, strong service.

      Verses 14-17 tells us The LORD says: I AM DETERMINED to bless My people.

      "For thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,' says the LORD of hosts, 'And I would not relent, so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear. These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,' says the LORD."

      Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me … in these days I am determined to do good...God promises blessing to Israel instead of cursing, and He promises it on the principle of the Mosaic Covenant.

      These are the things YOU SHALL DO...God promised blessing to an obedient Israel and cursing to a disobedient Israel told to us in DEUTERONOMY 28:1-2, 28:15. If God will bless instead of curse they must fulfill their end of the Mosaic covenant, and gain blessing instead of curses.

      Verses 18-19 tells us The LORD says in light of your glorious future, FEASTING, IN OTHER WORDS THANKS & CELEBRATION is more appropriate than FASTING.

      "Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.'"

      The fast of the fourth month … shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      Each one of these fast days remembered a TRAGIC DAY around the fall of Jerusalem. God here promises blessing so wonderful that these mournful fasts will be transformed into cheerful feasts of celebration.

      AS WE LEARNED IN ZECHARIAH 6-7, ALMIGHTY GOD ONLY COMMANDED ONE FAST DAY EACH YEAR, AND THAT WAS THE DAY OF ATONEMENT...ALL THESE OTHERS FASTS WERE MAN-CREATED, MAN-APPOINTED, NOT GOD, AMEN?

      Therefore love truth and peace...In light of God's promised blessing, His people should want to be more like Him - they should love truth and peace.

      Verses 20-22 tells us The LORD says: the nations will stream into Jerusalem, to seek the LORD.

      "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also." Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.' "

      Peoples shall yet come...

      REMEMBER AS ZECHARIAH, NEHEMIAH, & EZRA SHOWED US THAT In Zechariah's day not many people wanted to come to a downtrodden city like Jerusalem. ONLY ABOUT 50 THOUSAND OF MILLIONS HAD RETURNED FROM EXILE IN BABYLON, WHICH WAS 800 MILES AWAY FROM JERUSALEM. MOST HAD MADE NEW LIVES AND DID NOT WISH TO LEAVE IT OR GIVE IT UP TO COME BACK TO JERUSALEM THAT LAY IN RUINS.

      God promises a redemption so great that one day the peoples shall yet come to the glorified city.

      Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem...

      DID YOU KNOW THIS PROMISE WILL ULTIMATELY BE FULFILLED in the millennial kingdom of Jesus. Jerusalem will be the headquarters of His kingdom, and the nations will come to seek the LORD in Jerusalem.

      Verse 23 tells us The LORD says: God will give Israel such favor that the nations will see God is with them.

      "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." ' "

      Ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man...This same word grasp is used for grabbing a snake by the tail (Exodus 4:4) or for grabbing a lion by its beard (1 Samuel 17:35).

      SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      It means to grasp something that you can't afford to let go of.

      FEINBERG says of this scripture..."This prophecy teaches, then, that Israel will be the means of drawing the nations of the earth to the Lord in the time of the Messiah's reign of righteousness upon earth."


      BOICE says it well too, "We are all clinging to the seamless robe of that one Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, who because of His work on the cross is the only basis on which anyone may approach God and entreat Him for spiritual blessings."

      Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you...When others see that God is with us, it attracts them to the LORD.


      REMEMBER WHAT COLOSSIANS 1:27 tells us, When people see Christ in you, the hope of glory they want to come to Jesus, AMEN?


      JESUS CHRIST IS REMINDING THOSE WHO LOVE HIM AND CALL HIM LORD, SAVIOR, REDEEMER, AND FRIEND TO LET OUR LOVE OF HIM, OUR SALVATION IN HIM, THE NEW PERSON LIVING WITHIN EACH OF US TO LET IT SOOOOOOO SHINE NOW...THAT THE LOST, THE BLIND, THE HOPELESS WILL SEEEEEEEEE IT AND WILL WANT WHAT WE HAVE IN OUR PRECIOUS JESUS.

    • July 6, 2016 4:11 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 9

      IS PROPHETIC AND TELLS OF A Humble King Conquers


      IT OPENS WITH THE BURDEN GOD HAS AGAINST Hadrach.

      Verses 1-4 tells us of Judgment against the cities of Lebanon.

      "The burden of the word of the LORD against the land of Hadrach, and Damascus its resting place (for the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the LORD); also against Hamath, which borders on it, and against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise. For Tyre built herself a tower, heaped up silver like the dust, and gold like the mire of the streets. Behold, the LORD will cast her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, and she will be devoured by fire."

      The burden of the word of the LORD...The LAST TWO PROPHESIES GIVEN ZECHARIAH BY THE LORD make up the remainder of Zechariah, WHICH IS CHAPTERS 9-14.

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, THESE TWO PROPHESIES ARE UNDATED BY ZECHARIAH, BUT BIBLE SCHOLARS BELIEVE THE LORD GAVE THEM TO ZECHARIAH IN HIS LAST DAYS.

      SOME HISTORIANS & BIBLE SCHOLARS SEE THESE LAST BURDENS OF THE LORD...against the land of Hadrach as fulfilled by the armies of Alexander the Great when he conquered this region.

      MORE INTERESTING TO US & CONFOUNDING TO THE NON-BELIEVING WORLD & CRITICS ALIKE, the cities mentioned in Zechariah 9:1-7 PINPOINT ACCURATELY trace ALEXANDER THE GREAT's march through the Promised Land in 332-331 B.C.

      BUT WE KNOW OUR LORD GOD OFTEN HAS AND SPEAKS TO A NEAR AND FAR ULTIMATE FULFILLMENT OF HIS SPOKEN PROMISES AS WELL HIS JUDGMENTS, AMEN?

      The eyes of men … are on the Lord in the sense that they are on God's instrument of judgment, which was in the NEAR FULFILLMENT, ALEXANDER THE GREAT!

      AGAINST Tyre and Sidon.
      SO WHO WERE/ARE TYRE AND SIDON?

      These were the TWO MAJOR CITIES north of Israel, in the land of Lebanon.
      Tyre was an important commercial city that was thought of as IMPOSSIBLE to conquer.

      AND HISTORY AND THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT The Assyrians laid siege against Tyre for FIVE years, but never conquered the city.
      Nebuchadnezzar tried for 13 YEARS to conquer Tyre, but Alexander did it in SEVEN MONTHS.

      AND HOW DID ALEXANDER ACCOMPLISH WHAT THE ASSYRIANS & NEBUCHADNEZZAR COULD NOT DO?

      Alexander the Great conquered Tyre by laying siege for seven months, then using the rubble from the old city to make a causeway out to the island city OF TYRE. It was a spectacular achievement of both military and engineering strategy.

      HE BUILT A BRIDGE. MANY MILITARY HISTORIANS WHO HAVE STUDIED ALEXANDER THE GREAT, HAVE DONE THE SAME TO CONQUER THE ISOLATED AND SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE OVER TIME!

      Verses 5-8 tells us of GOD'S Judgment against the cities of the Philistines.

      "Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; and Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. "A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. I will take away the blood from his mouth, and the abominations from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, and shall be like a leader in Judah, and Ekron like a Jebusite. I will camp around My house because of the army, because of him who passes by and him who returns. No more shall an oppressor pass through them, for now I have seen with My eyes."

      Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful

      SO WHAT AND WHERE WERE THESE CITIES?

      FIRSTLY, THE WERE Philistine STRONGHOLDS & THEIR PRIDE.

      The cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod are south of Tyre and Sidon, and were also conquered by Alexander the Great in 332-331 B.C.

      BOICE SAYS OF THIS VERSE, "This passage "accurately foretells the conquest of the eastern Mediterranean coastlands by Greek armies under the command of Alexander the Great."

      He who remains … and Ekron like a Jebusite...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The Jebusites inhabited Jerusalem when King David conquered the city, told to us in Joshua 15:8, 2 Samuel 5:6-9, 2 Samuel 24:16-18.

      David did NOT wipe out the Jebusites, but merely incorporated them into Israel. The same would happen to the people of Ekron.

      I will camp around My house because of the army, because of him who passes by...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      When Alexander the Great marched through Lebanon and the Promised Land towards Egypt he DID NOT conquer or attack Jerusalem. God promised to protect and spare His house during this time, and He did through a remarkable chain of events connected to Alexander the Great and the High Priest.

      Josephus, gives a secular journaled ACCOUNT OF ALEXANDER'S meeting with the High Priest OF JERUSALEM is fascinating.

      "Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem; and Jaddua the high-priest, when he heard that, was in agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifices to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them; whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced; and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to the dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.

      And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha; which name, translated in Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple; and when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him, thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high-priest to death, which the king's displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high-priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head having the golden plate on which the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high-priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about: whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him to be disordered in his mind.
      However, Parmenio [Alexander's second-in-command] alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass, that when all others adored him, he should adore the high-priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, "I did not adore him, but that God who has honored him with that high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios, in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me dominion over the Persians; whence it is, that having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering my vision and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind." And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high-priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city; and when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high-priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high-priest and the priests. And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present, but the next day he called them to him, and bade them ask what favors they pleased of him: whereupon the high-priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired: and when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired: and when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars."

      WHEN I READ THIS...IF IT IS INDEED TRUE...ALEXANDER ASKED AFTER, HONORED, AND PRAYED IN THE TEMPLE TO ALMIGHTY GOD....OBEYED HIS OWN DREAM/ VISION...WE MIGHT WELL SEE ALEXANDER THE GREAT IN HEAVEN.

      HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?



      Verse 9 prophesies A lowly king comes into Jerusalem.

      "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey."

      AND WE WHO KNOW THE NEW TESTAMENT, KNOW THAT IS EXACTLY HOW OUR JESUS ENTERED THE CITY, ON A FEMALE DONKEY, WITH HER FOAL BESIDE HER.

      Behold your King is coming to you … lowly and riding on a donkey: This Messiah-King is lowly, but this isn't indicated by the animal he rides.

      DID YOU KNOW?

      JESUS doesn't ride the triumphant stallion of a conquering general, but the CUSTOMARY MOUNT FOR ROYALTY, which signified ROYALTY COMING IN PEACE.

      CHARLES SPURGEON says of this SCRIPTURE, "Brethren, let us be lowly. Did I hear one say, 'Well, I will try to be lowly'? You cannot do it in that way. We must not try to act the lowly part; we must be lowly, and then we shall naturally act in a humble manner. It is astonishing how much of pride there is in the most modest.

      "How we condemn pride! We feel that it would be well if all were as humble as we are. We boast that we detest boasting. We flatter ourselves that we hate flattery. When we are told that we are singularly free from pride, we feel as proud as Lucifer himself at the consciousness that the compliment is right well deserved. We are so experienced, so solid, so discerning, so free from self-confidence, that we are the first to be caught in the net of self-satisfaction. Brethren, we must pray God to make us humble."

      WHAT A PRECIOUS HEART OUR CHARLES SPURGEON HAS, AMEN?

      A donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey....

      DID YOU KNOW, this Hebrew expression of speech emphasizing that the animal is PUREBRED - a truly magnificent, royal mount.

      Rejoice greatly … Shout … Behold, your King is coming...This clearly prophesies what is known as the triumphal entry of Jesus told to us in Matthew 21:5, when JESUS DID present Himself as the Messiah to Jerusalem and the people of Israel.

      Though the triumphal entry was a joyful celebration, a Roman spectator would wonder what was so "triumphal" about this entry.

      DID YOU KNOW....It didn't compare at all to the kind of parade Julius Caesar had when he came back to Rome from Gaul. Then there was a parade that lasted three days as he displayed all the captives and booty he brought back.

      In contrast to this, the procession of Jesus must have seemed pretty humble, and this showed that Jesus was a different kind of King.

      JESUS CHRIST WAS/IS A SALVATION KING....A PEACE OFFERING AND BRINGING KING...A SELFLESS HUMBLE OTHERS CENTERED KING...A SERVANT TO ALL KING.

      AND REMEMBER TOO....JESUS KNEW WHO HE WAS IN THE FATHER AND WITH THE FATHER. HE DID NOT NEED THE POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE AND RITUAL TO MAKE HIMSELF FEELLLLLLLLLL ROYAL....UNIQUE....ENTITLED. HE KNEWWWWWWWWW WHO HE WAS, AMEN?

      Verse 10 tells us the strength and the authority of the Messiah's reign.

      "I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.' "

      AND REMEMBER THIS TOO, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT BE CONFUSED AS SO MANY ARE ABOUT JESUS CHRIST.

      THE BIBLE, OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT PROPHESIES THREE COMINGS OF JESUS CHRIST.

      1. AS A BABY IN A MANGER, WHO WILL RIDE A DONKEY AND DECLARE TO THE PEOPLE THAT HE IS THEIR MESSIAH, BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN, THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT, AND THE PEOPLE DEMAND HIS DEATH.

      2. THE NEXT COMING OF JESUS, WILL BE AS THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT REFER TO THE SNATCHING AWAY, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, THE BRIDE OF JESUS, THE CHURCH. JESUS DOES NOT TOUCH EARTH, BUT ONLY APPEARS IN THE CLOUDS AND THE BODIES OF THOSE IN THE GRAVES, IN THE SEA, IN THE AIR ARE CAUGHT UP FIRST TO MEET JESUS, & THEN WE WHO ARE ALIVE ARE THEN CAUGHT UP TO MEET HIM IN THE CLOUDS IN THE EASTERN SKIES.

      3. THE NEXT COMING OF JESUS, THEY CALL IT THE SECOND COMING, BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN HE WILL WALK THE EARTH, AND HE WILL THIS TIME, RETURN ROYALTY, AS THE LION OF JUDAH, RIDING A WHITE STALLION, WITH ALL OF HIS ANGEL ARMIES, ALL CHRISTIANS WITH HIM, AS HE BREAKS THROUGH THE SKIES OVER ISRAEL AND STEPS DOWN ON THE MOUNT, AND DESTROYS WITH A WORD, ALL OF THE ANTI-CHRIST, THE FALSE PROPHET, HIS DEMON HORDES AND THOSE WHO WEAR HIS MARK, & HE WILL THEN TOSS THEM ALL IN THE LAKE OF FIRE & CHAIN & IMPRISON SATAN HIMSELF, IN THE DEEPEST PARTS OF THE WAITING PRISON CALLED HELL FOR 1000 YEARS.

      SO BE NOT DECEIVED...THE BIBLE GIVES US THREE COMINGS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

      AND RIGHT HERE, IS ANOTHER NEAR/FAR FUTURE FULFILLMENT.

      Zechariah 9:9 belongs to the FIRST coming of Jesus TO THE LOST WORLD.

      But Zechariah 9:10 belongs to the Second Coming of Jesus TO THE LOST WORLD, when He comes in power and glory to reign over this earth for 1,000 years, AMEN?

      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER SOMETHING ELSE, THE DAY THE DISCIPLES WATCHED JESUS RETURN TO HEAVEN, SO BEGAN THE COUNT DOWN CLOCK FOR THE LOST WORLD & THE MISSION FROM JESUS FOR EVERYONE WHO LOVES HIM....GET BUSY...TELL THE WORLD...GIVE THEM ME...BECAUSE THE COUNT DOWN RETURN FOR MY BRIDE BEGINS NOW....AND THE LATTER DAYS COUNT DOWN FOR MY RETURN TO THIS LOST WORLD BEGINS AS WELL.

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, BALDWIN A BIBLE HISTORIAN, SAYS OF THIS SCRIPTURE..."Even though the Evangelists saw fulfillment of verse 9, they did not go on to quote verse 10, which may indicated that they were conscious of having only a partial fulfillment."

      AND THAT IS TRUE...MANY EVANGELISTS, TEACHERS, PREACHERS, COLLEGE PROFESSORS PIECEMEAL SCRIPTURE....CHERRY PICK....THEY PLUCK FROM THE BIBLE WHAT AGREES WITH THEIR IDEOLOGIES AND OMITS, DELETES, DISMISSES, OR SKIPS OVER WHAT CONVICTS THEM OF THE ERROR IN THEIR TEACHINGS AND IDEOLOGIES.

      SO TEST THE SPIRITS...TEST THE TEACHERS, PREACHERS, EVANGELISTS....SEEK THE TRUTH FROM THE KJV HOLY BIBLE, IF IT LINES UP RAZOR SHARP ACCURATE WITH WHAT JESUS SAYS, ALMIGHTY GOD SAYS...THEN THEY KNOW AND SPEAK THE TRUTH...BUT DO NOT ACCEPT PIECEMEAL, OR OVERVIEW....READ THE ENTIRE CHAPTER AROUND THE VERSE THEY QUOTE...KNOW THE TRUTH. MANKIND IS HUMAN, FLAWED, FALLIBLE, BUT OUR JESUS CHRIST, AND HIS HOLY WORD ARE NOT AND THEY DO NOT CHANGE.....EVERRRRRRRR!!! AMEN?


      His dominion SHALL BE "from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth"...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      ALMIGHTY GOD KNEW BEFORE GENESIS 1..IN THE BEGINNING, THAT SATAN AND MANKIND WOULD SEEK TO TWIST, LIMIT, AND DISTORT HIS WORD.

      THERE ARE THOSE WHO TEACH THAT IF AND WHEN JESUS DOES COME...HE WILL ONLY RULE IN ISRAEL. HIS EARTHLY REIGN AND KINGDOM WILL BE FOR ISRAEL ALONE.

      RIGHT HERE...THE LORD GIVES ZECHARIAH ANOTHER ABSOLUTE...When Jesus rules over this earth, His reign will be universal. The entire earth will be under His authority, AMEN?

      This speaks of the time many refer to as the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Jesus on this earth prophesied to us in Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 11:4-9, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Luke 1:32-33 and 19:12-27, Matthew 5:18 & Revelation.

      Verses 11-17 tells us Judah's liberation and blessing.

      "As for you also, because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you. For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man." Then the LORD will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, and go with whirlwinds from the south. The LORD of hosts will defend them; they shall devour and subdue with slingstones. They shall drink and roar as if with wine; they shall be filled with blood like basins, like the corners of the altar. The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land; for how great is its goodness and how great its beauty! Grain shall make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women."

      Because of the blood of your covenant...

      THE LORD IS REMINDING & ACTING UPON & TOWARDS Israel in light of the blood of the Covenant of Moses told to us in Exodus 24:1-8. As Israel turns to God, He WILL TURN TO THEM and rescue them as if they were trapped in a dry cistern (I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit).

      Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope...Because of His faithful promise, even the prisoners are prisoners of hope. They should receive encouragement from His promise and return to the stronghold - both in the sense of a military fortress and a spiritual fortress in the LORD Himself.

      For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      WE KNOW THIS WAS PARTIALLY fulfilled in the days of the Maccabees, when God raised up Jews to fight against the successors of Alexander's Empire. Nevertheless, it seems that the ultimate fulfillment of this promise is yet to come, AMEN?

      The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      THIS TELLS US that the LORD Himself LEADS the battle.

      Both the Bible and the Koran have the idea of the holy war - which Islam calls Jihad - but there is a HUGE difference between the idea of the holy war in the Bible and in Islam.

      Jesus ALONE carries out the Biblical holy war - NEVER His people.
      In Islam, the Jihad is the responsibility of every good Muslim.

      AND FOR THOSE OF VARIOUS IDEOLOGIES THAT INSIST IT WILL BE EVERYONE FIGHTING..

      Here, God makes it clear who does the fighting: The LORD their God will save them in that day. This is God's battle, not the battle of men.

      Grain shall make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      As in other passages that speak of the millennium (Hosea 2:21-22, Joel 2:19) here grain and new wine are pictures of prosperity and blessing during the REIGN OF JESUS ON THE EARTH.

      ZECHARIAH 9 GIVES US ALL OF ALMIGHTY GOD'S PROMISES FOR THEN AND NOW... AND OUR JESUS CHRIST FULFILLED THEM AND CONFIRMED HIS FATHER'S PROMISES & PROPHECIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

    • July 6, 2016 4:10 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 10

      OPENS WITH GOD'S PROMISE TO GATHER ISRAEL.

      Verse 1 tell us of the BLESSED NATURE & SUPERIORITY of the Messiah's reign.

      "Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone."

      Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain...

      REMEMBER ANCIENT ISRAEL had NO irrigation system, and relied on rain to water their crops. In a time of drought, nothing grew - so Israel relied on both the former rain (falling in autumn) and the latter rain (falling in spring).

      He will give them showers of rain...The LORD challenges His people saying, "Be bold enough to ask Me, and I will answer your prayer. I will provide what only I can provide."

      Grass in the field for everyone...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?


      THIS IS ANOTHER GLIMPSE INTO WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE DURING THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF JESUS.

      SO FAR ALMIGHTY GOD HAS TOLD US THROUGH ZECHARIAH...

      1. JESUS CHRIST WILL RULE THE ENTIRE WORLD...NOT ONLY ALL OF MANKIND, BUT THAT INCLUDES THE SKIES, THE SEAS, THE LAND, NATURE, AND THE WEATHER GLOBALLY.

      2. THERE WILL BE PEACE...THERE WILL BE NO WARS, NO MURDERS, NO HARMS, NO ABUSES, OR CONFLICTS ALLOWED.

      3. In man's ideas of equality, often everyone ends up equally poor. God's idea of equality means abundance for EVERYONE.

      THERE WILL BE GREEN PASTURES EVERYWHERE...WATER EVERYWHERE...THERE WILL BE NO DROUGHTS NO FAMINES...NO ONE GOES TO SLEEP AT NIGHT WITHOUT A BED, SHELTER, AND NO ONE GOES TO BED HUNGRY OR THIRSTY.

      JUST AS GOD MADE THE WILDERNESS SPROUT WATER FROM ROCK, GRASSES FROM SAND, BREAD FALL FROM HEAVEN, QUAIL FALL FROM THE SKY...EVERYONE ON EARTH WILL HAVE AN ABUNDANCE OF WHAT THEY NEED TO NOT ONLY SURVIVE, BUT TO THRIVE...

      Verses 2-5 tells us Only the people of THE ONE TRUE GOD conquer in the end.

      "For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd. "My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the goatherds. For the LORD of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle. From him comes the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together. They shall be like mighty men, who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be put to shame."

      AND HERE ONCE AGAIN IS THE DIREST OF WARNINGS FOR THOSE WHO WORSHIP IDOLS, CALL THEMSELVES PROPHETS, HAVING VISIONS, BRINGING ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES. THOSE WHO SAY THEY SPEAK FOR THE LORD, ARE SEERS AND MEDIUMS FOR THE LORD, WHEN THEY ARE EITHER IN FACT DECEIVED BY THE DECEIVER OF ALL OR KNOWINGLY AND WILLING DECEIVE OTHERS.

      For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies...The ancient Hebrew word for idols here is teraphim, meaning common household idols. Diviners consulted the spirits of idols to predict the future. God warns His people that there is no real help from either idols or their representatives (they comfort in vain).

      THEY COMFORT IN VAIN....THOSE WHO SPOUT MY GOD, MY CHURCH, MY RABBI, MY PRIEST, MY IMAM, MY WHOMEVER, MUCH LESS, FAR WORSE THOSE THAT SAY THE LORD SAID, BUT THEIR WORDS DO NOT ALIGN WITH JESUS' WORD OR HIS COMMANDS OR HIS PROMISES...THEY BRING DECEPTIVE COMFORT...THEY TELL PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR...OR BRING ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES AND NONEEEEEEE OF IT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH JESUS CHRIST.

      AND HAVING READ THROUGH THE BIBLE WE KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE...NOT ONE OF THE PROPHETS OF GOD EVER CALLED THEMSELVES PROPHET, PROPHETESS, SEER, MAGI, DISCIPLE, NOR APOSTLE..

      NOW THEY WERE CALLED ONE OR ALL OF THESE ABOVE BY MANKIND, BUT THEY NEVER CALLED THEMSELVES OR GAVE THEMSELVES THOSE TITLES...THEY SAID OF THEMSELVES AND CALLED THEMSELVES...A HUMBLE SERVANT OF THE MOST HIGH, A BONDSERVANT TO JESUS CHRIST...

      EVEN TODAY, GREAT MEN AND WOMEN OF GOD, CALL THEMSELVES BY THEIR OWN NAMES, THEY DO NOT PREFACE THEIR NAMES WITH MAN-DERIVED OR SELF-DERIVED TITLES OF EVANGELIST, PROPHET, SEER, APOSTLE, DISCIPLE...CHARLES SPURGEON WAS HUMBLE, BILLY GRAHAM WAS HUMBLE...AND DOWN THROUGH TIME, THE TRULY GOD-FEARING, JESUS LOVING MEN AND WOMEN OF GOD WERE THE MOST HUMBLE AND SELFLESS OF ALL...BECAUSE THEY KNEW HOW INSIGNIFICANT THEY WERE ....HOW FLAWED THEY WERE...AN HOW UNWORTHY THEY WERE TO BE SAVED, TO BE CALLED A CHILD OF GOD...A FRIEND OF JESUS.

      THEY KNEW THAT ANY WISDOM THEY HAD, ANY UNDERSTANDING, DISCERNMENT, ANY ANSWERED PRAYER, ANY HEALING CAME NOT FROM THEM OR BY THEM, BUT ONLYYYYYYYYYYY THROUGH AND BY JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, AMEN?

      THE WORLD FORGETS THAT THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT SATAN AND HIS DEMONS AND THOSE WHO ARE LED BY THEM....CAN PROPHESY, CAN SPEAK IN TONGUES, CAN DO MIRACULOUS THINGS...CAN HAVE DISCERNMENT...CAN HAVE WISDOM...OF SOME THINGS, BUT THEY ARE NOTTTT OF OR FROM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

      THE BIBLE TELLS US AND WE SEE IT MORE AND MORE EVERY DAY....

      PEOPLE PROCLAIM....GOD SHOWED ME...THE RAPURE WILL BE ON THIS DATE OR THAT DATE...

      THE LORD SHOWED ME THAT THIS WILL HAPPEN AND THAT WILL HAPPEN...

      AND FAR WORSE WHEN ALL THEIR PROPHESIES AND VISIONS AND DECLARATIONS COME TO NOTHING...NOT ONLY DOES SATAN AND THE WORLD LAUGH THEMSELVES SILLY OVER SUCH BLIND STUPIDITY.

      BUTTTT....FAR WORSE THEY TURN PEOPLE AWAY FROM JESUS...

      AND IT BRINGS GREAT DESPAIR UPON HIS BABY CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN DECEIVED AND TRUSTED IN A MAN OR A WOMAN'S WORDS...INSTEAD OF PRAYING TO, LIFTING IT UP, AND TRUSTING IN OUR JESUS AND SEEKING OUT HIS WORD...HIS WORD.

      YOU HAVE THOSE WHO HEAR OF A STATUE OF MARY OR A CRUCIFIED JESUS STATUE, WHERE SUDDENLY ONE OR BOTH CRIES TEARS OR TEARS OF BLOOD, OR SHOWS SIGNS OF BLEEDING ON THEIR WRISTS AND FEET, AND THEY RUSH TO TOUCH AND SEE AND BE BLESSED BY IT.

      THE MEDIA TONGUE IN CHEEK BROADCASTS WHERE A WOMAN SAW JESUS FACE SUDDENLY ETCHED IN HER FRONT DOOR & A MAN SAW THE CROSS APPEAR IN HIS CEREAL BOWL. ANOTHER GOT A CHICKEN NUGGET THAT WAS SHAPED LIKE THE ANCIENT SYMBOL OF A FISH THAT DENOTED CHRISTIANS AND THEY SAY IT WAS A SIGN FROM JESUS.

      THAT IS ALLLLLLL A LIE/ILLUSION/DECEPTION OF SATAN.

      JUST AS A MAN SAYING I AM JESUS, I AM THE MESSIAH, OR I AM JOHN CRYING FROM THE WILDERNESS, OR I AM MOSES RETURN TO EARTH...THAT IS ALLLLLLLL LIES OF SATAN AND DECEPTIONS OF SATAN.

      YOU HAVE THOSE WHO HOLD TENT REVIVALS OR MEGA STADIUM REVIVALS AND THE PERSON STANDS ON STAGE AND THROWS UP HIS ARMS AND HOWLS, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON YOU...AND PEOPLE FALL OVER ALL DOMINOES..SAY THEY ARE SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT. PEOPLE WHO SUDDENLY BARK LIKE DOGS, HIT THE FLOOR AND GYRATE AND VIBRATE, OTHERS RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE AISLE FLAPPING THEIR ARMS SAYING THE ANGELS ARE BEARING THEM UP, THEY ARE BRINGING THE ANGELS...AND THAT IS THE GENTLY RIDICULOUS THINGS. THEN THERE ARE THOSE WHO PUNCH PEOPLE IN THE FACE TO KILL A DEMON, DROP KICK THEM IN THE GUT TO KILL DEMONS, OR FREE THEM FROM ANY NUMBER OF THINGS.

      AND I AM SO SADDENED BY THIS, BECAUSE I KNOW THEY HAVE NOT READ THE BIBLE.

      OUR JESUS IS A WONDERFUL GENTLE GENTLEMAN. HE NEVER DROP KICKED ANYONE. NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES IT SPEAK OF BEING SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT. JESUS NOR HIS DISCIPLES NOR PAUL, NOR DID ANY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT MEN AND WOMEN CALLED OF GOD ACTED IN SUCH A MANNER. DISPLAY THIS OUT OF CONTROL BEHAVIOR.

      YOU HAVE THOSE WHO TELL YOU, YOU WANT TO PROPHESY, YOU WANT TO SPEAK IN TONGUES, YOU WANT DREAM INTERPRETATION COME TO OUR SCHOOL OF DIVINITY OR ATTEND OUR TEACHING SYMPOSIUM. WE WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO TAP INTO GOD. WE WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO PROPHESY, SPEAK IN TONGUES, SUMMON ALL YOUR GIFTS?!

      MY HEART BREAKS...BECAUSE THEY WANT TO TAP INTO JESUS...PRAY AND READ HIS WORD...ASK HIM FOR HIS WISDOM, HIS DISCERNMENT. AND I THINK ALSO, WHAT BIBLE OR WHOSE "BIBLE" AND I USE THE TERM LOOSELY, ARE THEY READING...BECAUSE NO WHERE IN MY KJV HOLY BIBLE DID ANY OF THE PROPHETS, APOSTLES GO TO SCHOOL. THEY DID NOT TAKE COURSES. THEY DID NOT SIT UNDER ANYONE AND LEARN...THEY HAD ALMIGHTY GOD...THEY HAD OUR JESUS CHRIST SHOWING THEM, TEACHING THEM, TO LISTEN FOR AND TO HIM. THE BIBLE CLEARLY TELLS US THAT WHEN WE COME TO THE SAVING REDEEMING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE COMFORTER, THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS ALL THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT WITH HIM AND HE GRANTS THEM AS HE WILLS IT. WE ARE TO ASK, BUT WE ARE TO KNOW THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES AS HE WILLS IT, AMEN?

      THAT IS WHY PAUL SAYS OVER AND OVER AGAIN...TEST THE SPIRITS. TEST THE SPIRITS, AMEN?

      I HAVE HAD PEOPLE TELL ME, I AWOKE WITH THE SONG, IT IS WELL PLAYING THROUGH MY HEART AND MIND AND IT HAS BEEN THERE ALL DAY..AND I TOLD THEM, YOU SING TO JESUS, DO YOU NOT THINK HE WILL NOT SING TO YOU? DO YOU NOT THINK HE CAN NOT SEND A PRECIOUS WORD OF PEACE AND COMFORT TO YOUR HEART AND MIND TOO? HAVE YOU BEEN WORRIED ABOUT YOUR WALK WITH JESUS? IF SO, JESUS SENT YOU HIS COMFORT...THROUGH SONG...HIS LOVE...HIS WORD...THROUGH SONG.

      JUST AS WE CAN WAKE WITH A VERSE FROM THE BIBLE WHISPERING THROUGH OUR HEART AND MIND...DO YOU NOT THINK THAT IS COINCIDENCE? DO YOU NOT THINK JESUS DOES NOT SEND HIS ANSWER, HIS PEACE, HIS COMFORT, AND HIS ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU THAT WAY, ALSO?

      YOU HAVE JESUS CHRIST LIVING WITHIN YOUR HEART AND MIND....HIS COMFORTER IS WITHIN THE HEART, MIND, SOUL AND BODY OF ALL THOSE WHO ARE REDEEMED OF JESUS. ALL THOSE WHO CALL JESUS CHRIST LORD, SAVIOR, MASTER, AND FRIEND. SO YOU WILL KNOW HIS VOICE.

      THAT IS OF AND FROM JESUS.

      SO STUDY JESUS WORD...LEARN HIS PROMISES...HIS TEACHINGS SO YOU CAN DISCERN HIM FROM THE WORLD AND FROM SATAN.

      AND REMEMBER TOO SATAN & LOST MANKIND SEEK TO HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME WATCHING DECEIVED MEN AND WOMEN WHO HEAR HIS VOICE, ARE DECEIVED BY HIS VOICE, INSTEAD OF TESTING THE SPIRITS, AND THEN CALL THEMSELVES PROPHET, PREACHER, PASTOR, PROPHETESS, VISIONARY...& UNDER THE DECEPTION OF SATAN, ACT IN A WAY THAT MAKES A JOKE OUT OF OUR JESUS, HIS WORD, HIS GENTLENESS, KINDNESS, HIS POWER AND HIS SOVEREIGNTY!

      JESUS WARNS US IN MATTHEW 24 TO IGNORE THESE THINGS, THAT THEY ARE NOTTTTT OF HIM...DO NOT GO! IT IS NOTTTTTTT ME OR OF ME, AMEN?

      They are in trouble because there is no shepherd...AND HERE GOD OPENLY REBUKES THOSE WHO SHEPHERD CHURCHES IN HIS NAME.

      JUST AS JESUS PERSONALLY DOES IN REVELATION 2-3...ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF IS WARNING OF THE VERY SAME THING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT TO ZECHARIAH.

      WOEEEEEEEEE TO ANY WHO DECEIVE IN MY NAME.

      The people have listened to false and deceptive RELIGIOUS leaders, and part of the reason is because there is a lack of godly leadership. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY MAY BEAR THE MAN-GIVEN TITLE OF RABBI, PRIEST, FATHER, PASTOR, PREACHER, IMAM...AND SEE THEMSELVES AS HOLY AND CALLED OF WHOMEVER THEIR GOD(S) IS....BUT THEY DO NOTTTTTT COME FROM ALMIGHTY GOD. THEY DO NOT COME FROM JESUS CHRIST.

      HOW CAN WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE & THE TRUTH? IF THEY ARE CALLED OF JESUS CHRIST AND LED BY HIM, THEY WILL STAY CLOSE TO JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD. THEY KNOW THAT THEIR ONLY TRUE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF HIS WORD COMES FROM SEEKING JESUS CHRIST IN HIS WORD, AMEN?

      Will make them as His royal horse in the battle...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      IN MERCY God will take His people and transform them from a flock of sheep to a herd of war horses, ready for battle. All of them shall be like mighty men and defeat their enemies.

      From him comes the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together...

      Though God is displeased with Israel's shepherds, He will raise up the perfect shepherd from and for Judah....THE PERFECT SHEPHERD IS JESUS CHRIST, WHO WILL COME FROM THE LINE OF JUDAH, AMEN?

      AND HOW DO WE KNOW THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE CORNERSTONE?

      CORNERSTONE WHICH MEANS the foundation, measure, and standard. WE ARE TOLD THIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT, IN Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22-23, Matthew 21:42, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:4-5.

      THE WORLD MAY CHANGE BUT THE WORD AND TRUTH OF GOD AND HIS WORD NEVERRRRRRRR CHANGES ONE JOT OR TITTLE, AMEN?

      Jesus is the tent peg...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      JESUS IS holding ALL things securely, as also told us in Isaiah 22:23-24.

      Jesus is the battle bow...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      JESUS IS a strong fighter for good, also confirmed to us in Isaiah 63:1-4, Revelation 19:11-16.

      JESUS IS the leader over every ruler of His people, as confirmed for us in Revelation 19:16.

      Verses 6-8 tells us Israel strengthened.

      "I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am the LORD their God, and I will hear them. Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD."

      I WILL strengthen the house of Judah...The promise from the preceding passage is repeated more intensely. God will save and bless Israel, and have mercy on them.

      BUT THEN GOD HAS STRENGTH FOR US WHO LOVE HIM AND CALL HIS SON JESUS CHRIST LORD, SAVIOR, AND FRIEND.

      Ephesians 6:10 tells us that we can draw on His resources for strength: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."

      CHARLES SPURGEON SAYS IT WELL OF The availability of God's strength means there will be opportunities for us to use it. "The Lord does not say, 'I will take you away from your labors,' but 'I will strengthen you, so that you will be able to perform, them."

      Their children SHALL SEE IT and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD...The LORD will not only return strength to Israel, but also joy. Their sense of defeat and weakness will be replaced with gladness.

      AND WE KNOW WHEN WE PRAY FOR ISRAEL...WHEN WE PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF ISRAEL....WE ARE PRAYING FOR JESUS TO COME....BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLYYYYY REAL AND ETERNAL PEACE FOR ISRAEL, MUCH LESS THIS LOST WORLD, AMEN?

      Verses 9-12 tells us Israel gathered into the land from across the earth.

      "I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased. I will sow them among the peoples, and they shall remember Me in far countries; they shall live, together with their children, and they shall return. I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, until no more room is found for them. He shall pass through the sea with affliction, and strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up. Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. So I will strengthen them in the LORD, and they shall walk up and down in His name," says the LORD."

      I WILL WHISTLE for them and gather them...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The promise to gather Israel is repeated often in the prophecies of New Covenant found in Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Jeremiah 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, Ezekiel 36:16-28). Though Israel was scattered to the nations, they shall remember Me in far countries and come back to the land.

      AND WE KNOW...In the 20th Century many Jewish people were gathered back to the land of Israel, and in 1948 Israel became a nation again - after more than 2,000 years of not being a nation.

      SOME HAVE ASKED...Does the 20th Century gathering of Israel fulfill this prophecy?

      AND WE KNOW THE TRUTH FROM GOD'S WORD...It fulfills it in part, but only in part - because Israel will be gathered again IN BELIEF, not in rejection of the LORD and His Savior. The gathering began in unbelief, but will end up in belief and trust in Jesus.

      TODAY, THE MAJORITY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE DO NOT READ THE BIBLE, BUT EVEN MORE DO NOT BELIEVE IN NOR READ THE NEW TESTAMENT AT ALL...THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF ALMIGHTY GOD. THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT HE IS THEIR PEOPLE'S LONG AWAITED MESSIAH....BUT ONE DAY THEY WILL AND ONCE THEY DO...THEY WILL NEVER DENY OR REJECT JESUS AGAIN, AMEN?

      So I will strengthen them in the LORD, and they shall walk up and down in His name...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      When God gathers Israel and defeats their enemies they shall walk in freedom and liberty again. It will be like a new exodus from Egypt, complete with exodus-like miracles (He shall pass through the sea with affliction, and strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up).

      THIS TELLS US TO KNOW OUR JESUS AND HIS WORD AND HIS PROMISES AND HE PROMISES THAT ONE SWEET DAY, THE DECEPTION AND LIES AND AFFLICTIONS AND BLINDNESS OF THE WORLD AND ISRAEL WILL END.

      ALL THE WORLD WILL KNOW, THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF ALMIGHTY GOD. HE IS MESSIAH. HE IS YESHUA. HE IS THE LION OF JUDAH. AND IN THAT DAY, THE ENTIRE EARTH AND MANKIND'S AND SATAN'S REIGN WILL BE AT AN END...AFTER THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF SHALL BE THE ONLY RULER, KING, OVER THE ENTIRE EARTH AND THEIR WILL BE INSURED PEACE FOR 1000 YEARS.

      MARANATHA...EVEN SO, COME NOW LORD JESUS!

    • July 6, 2016 4:08 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 11

      OPENS WITH JUDGMENT COMING ON GOD'S FLOCK...Thirty Pieces of Silver

      Verses 1-3 tells us EVEN CREATION mourns because of coming judgment.

      "Open your doors, O Lebanon, that fire may devour your cedars. Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has come down. There is the sound of wailing shepherds! For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions! For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins."

      Open your doors, O Lebanon, that fire may devour your cedars...

      This describes the coming of destructive armies of judgment from the north, through Lebanon. The doors of Lebanon are the mountain passes between Lebanon and Israel.

      BOICE, A BIBLE HISTORIAN tells us HOW this prophecy was fulfilled in the Roman campaign against Judea. "These verses might have described the Babylonian invasion if they had been written earlier; but that was past history by Zechariah's time. There is nothing in the history of the people that a comprehensive destruction of the land can refer to prior to the terrible destruction ordered by Vespasian and his successor Titus."

      Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen...The cedar trees Illustrate Lebanon's STRENGTH and once they fall the lesser forests of cypress and oak will also be destroyed, so they also wail.

      Wailing shepherds … roaring lions...

      In addition to the trees, the shepherds and lions also MOURN because of judgment on the land - coming because Israel has REJECTED the Good Shepherd....RIGHT HERE ZECHARIAH TELLS ISRAEL THAT THEY WILL REJECT THE MESSIAH...THEIR GOOD SHEPHERD...AND THEY DID!

      Verses 4-7 tells us Zechariah acts out a prophecy of judgment.

      Thus says the LORD my God, "Feed the flock for slaughter, whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, 'Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich'; and their shepherds do not pity them. For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD. "But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor's hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand." So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock."

      Feed the flock for slaughter...Zechariah acts out this prophecy, feeding a literal flock of sheep that represents the people of God. As the shepherd Zechariah represents the LORD who has appointed this flock for a season of judgment.

      I took for myself two staffs...Zechariah's two staffs were named "Beauty" (grace) and "Bonds" (unity). The staff was a common tool for a shepherd (Psalm 23:4).

      BOICE EXPLAINS BEAUTY & BONDS..."BEAUTY...Favor symbolizes the favored status of Israel as the chosen people of God. BONDS...Union symbolizes the internal harmony of the people that was lost at the time of the siege of Jerusalem."

      Verses 8-11 tells us the covenant symbolically broken.

      "I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then I said, "I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other's flesh." And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD."

      I dismissed the three shepherds in one month...

      We know that Zechariah is acting prophetically, FOR THAT TIME AS WELL AS A FUTURE...but YOU NOTICE HE DOES NOT NAME NAMES OF THE PRESENT DAY SHEPHERDS WHO HATED HIM AND HATED ALMIGHTY GOD IN THEIR HEARTS, AS THE LORD SHOWED ZECHARIAH...

      WHAT IS IMPORTANT, IS THAT THE LORD KNEW AND READ THESE THREE SHEPHERDS HEARTS PERFECTLY, & HE ORDERED ZECHARIAH TO REMOVE THEM FROM HIS TEMPLE, BECAUSE THEIR HATE OF ZECHARIAH WAS BAD ENOUGH, BUT THEY HATED THE LORD AS WELL...AND THAT WAS MORE DANGEROUS TO THE FLOCK, AMEN?

      SINCE THIS REFERS TO JUDGMENT UPON ISRAEL, MOST BIBLICAL SCHOLARS AGREE WITH BOICE, WHO SAYS,

      "The best explanation is probably the oldest, which sees the THREE shepherds NOT AS THREE INDIVIDUALS, but as THREE CLASSES of individuals, namely: the prophets, priests, and kings of Israel."

      AND INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, DID YOU KNOW....

      The offices of prophet, priest, and king were TAKEN AWAY FROM ISRAEL after the Roman conquest of Judea and have NEVER been restored - because they are now fulfilled in Jesus Christ, EVEN THOUGH THE NATION OF ISRAEL AS A WHOLE, DO NOT ACCEPT THIS NOR YET REALIZE THIS....THANK YOU JESUS, ONE DAY THEY WILL, AMEN?

      I will not feed you. Let what is dying die...In bringing judgment by letting the dying die, God merely WITHDRAWS HIS HAND OF PROTECTION. At one time God had a covenant with all the peoples, preventing them from attacking His people Israel. When God decides to break the covenant, His people will be attacked.

      IT WAS TRUE THEN, AND CONTINUES TO BE TRUE TO THIS DAY. DANIEL, ISAIAH, NEHEMIAH, ZECHARIAH AND MANY OTHER PROPHETS PROPHESIED THAT THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WOULD REJECT THEIR MESSIAH, THEIR HUMBLE KING, AND KILL HIM...AND THEY DID.

      THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE A NATION BESIEGED BY THE WORLD AND SATAN UNTIL THEY CRY OUT TO JESUS CHRIST & RECOGNIZE HIM AS THEIR MESSIAH.

      AND SADLY, THE BIBLE TELLS US FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE & THE NATION OF ISRAEL AS A WHOLE, IT WILL NOT BE UNTIL THE END OF THE REIGN OF TERROR OF ANTI CHRIST DURING THE 7 YEAR OF TRIBULATION....

      BUT THE PRECIOUS NEWS...IS ONE SWEET DAY...THEY WILL KNOW OUR JESUS WAS/IS/FOREVER SHALL BE THEIR MESSIAH, LORD, SAVIOR, AND FRIEND, AMEN?

      AS I READ THIS, MY HEART WAS CONVICTED & BURDENED ONCE AGAIN FOR THE UNITED STATES, WHICH WAS CONCEIVED IN THE LORD, & FOUNDED IN ALMIGHTY GOD AND HIS WORD & BY THE BLOOD OF OUR FOREFATHERS WHO TRUSTED IN JESUS CHRIST.

      THIS COUNTRY HAS BROKEN COVENANT WITH JESUS AND HIS WORD.

      THIS COUNTRY HAS REJECTED AND THROWN JESUS OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT, SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES, AND EVEN IN SOME CHURCHES WHO HAVE BECOME NEW AGE, WITH THEIR MAN-CREATED IDEOLOGIES THAT SPOUT WE ARE ALL GODS CHILDREN, WE ARE ALL GODS, GOD IS IN THE TREES, OR...ALL PATHS LEAD TO GOD LIES...

      I HEAR PREACHERS, TEACHERS, AND OTHERS SCREAMING FOR REVIVAL..WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDSSSS IS REVIVAL THEY SAY....BUT THE BIBLE TELLS US WE NEED IS NATIONAL REPENTANCE FIRST...THEN JESUS WILL GRANT REVIVAL...AMEN?

      Let those who are left eat each other's flesh...

      AND DID YOU KNOW, THIS REALLY HAPPENED during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

      The poor of the flock … knew that it was the word of the LORD..: These "POOR" MEANS THEY ARE THE HUMBLE, & THE FAITHFUL REMNANT who know that even the hard words are from God.

      Verses 12-14 tells us THE SHEPHERD is paid with contempt.

      "Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"; that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter. Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel."

      Give me my wages: Zechariah is "play-acting" this prophecy, employing himself as a shepherd over a flock. Now he asks his employer for his wages, and they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

      That princely price they set on me...Zechariah speaks sarcastically here. Thirty pieces of silver was not an insignificant amount, but it was the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32). It was the lowest they could pay, and it said to Zechariah "we think of you as a slave."

      AND THIS ALSO SPEAKS PROPHETICALLY OF JESUS, who was contemptuously betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15 and 27:3) - the price of a slave.

      Matthew 27:9-10 says: Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."

      DEBATE/SPECULATION CAN RAGE ALL IT WISHES, BUT WHAT WE DOOOO KNOW, IS THAT ALMIGHTY GOD GAVE THIS PROPHESY & THAT PROPHESY WAS CONFIRMED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...IF IT WERE NOT SO....THEN MATTHEW WOULD NEVER HAVE MENTIONED IT, AMEN?

      AND REMEMBER SOMETHING EVEN MORE AMAZING, ZECHARIAH WAS GIVEN THIS BY ALMIGHTY GOD ALMOST 750 YEARS BEFORE THE BIRTH OF JESUS IN BETHELEHEM.

      Threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter...

      Curiously, Zechariah says that the thirty pieces of silver were thrown into the house of the LORD but that they were also given to the potter. This is an exact fulfillment of what Judas did with his thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:3-10).

      The money to betray Jesus - His purchase price - went to buy a potter's field (Matthew 27:7).

      SO WHAT IS A POTTER'S FIELD?

      A potter's field was a piece of useless land where he threw his broken, damaged, and rejected pots. Jesus really did purchase the potter's field - the place where broken, rejected, and useless people like us are scattered.

      Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel...After the exchange of the thirty pieces of silver the staff of Bonds (unity) is broken. This was fulfilled when Israel was scattered by the Romans after their rejection of their Shepherd Jesus.

      ZECHARIAH IS GIVEN THE PROPHESY OF A FALSE SHEPHERD TO COME....

      Verses 15-16 tells us God WILL ALLOW FOOLISH shepherds to come to His people.

      "And the LORD said to me, "Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces."

      Take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd...Now Zechariah play-acts as a foolish shepherd who does not care for the sheep the way that a shepherd should.

      SO WHAT IS ZECHARIAH & ALMIGHTY GOD TELLING US WHAT CONSTITUTES A FOOLISH SHEPHERD IN HIS EYES?

      IN MODERN DAY TERMS...

      THE FOOLISH SHEPHERD IS EGOMANICAL, SELF-CENTERED, SELFISH, BLIND, DEAF, AND DUMB TO THE NEEDS, WORRIES, HURTS, FEARS, & CARES OF HIS FLOCK...
      AND DISMISSES & RE-CREATES OR ALTERS THE BIBLE, INSTEAD OF ALWAYS SPEAKING WORD FOR WORD VERBATIM TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD, PROMISES, COMMANDS AND WARNING...

      HE TALKS TO HEAR HIMSELF TALK.

      HE PREACHES LEAVING JESUS AND ALMIGHTY GOD OUT OF IT...AND IS FULL OF IIIIIII, MEEEEEEE, MYYYYY, AND ANECDOTAL STORIES ABOUT HIS LIFE, HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ...ETC ETC ETC...

      SO ALMIGHTY GOD IS SAYING...I CREATED YOU AND ALL YOU HAVE BECAUSE I LOVE YOU AND WANT YOU TO HAVE THE BEST, BE THE BEST, BE SAFE, HEALTHY, & WHOLE AND CLOSE TO ME....I HAVE GIVEN YOU MY WILL, MY PROMISES, MY PROTECTIONS, MY COMMANDS...

      AND YOU HAVE NOW REJECTED ME...YOU WILL REJECT MY SON...AND YOU WILL SPEW LIES, FILTH, & BLASPHEME AND KILL MY PRECIOUS GIFT TO YOU TOO....SO I WILL GIVE YOU FOOLISH PEOPLE...WHAT YOU PREFER....FOOLISH SHEPHERDS.

      The FOOLISH shepherd will NOT care for those who are cut off but a wise and godly shepherd will seek the lost

      The FOOLISH shepherd will NOT seek the young but a wise and godly shepherd knows that the young need to come to the LORD as much as older people do.

      The FOOLISH shepherd will NOT heal those that are broken but a wise and godly shepherd looks for broken hearts and lives and mends them with God's love and word.

      The FOOLISH shepherd will NOT feed those that still stand but a wise and godly shepherd will faithfully feed the sheep.

      The FOOLISH shepherd WILL eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces but a wise and godly shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep (John 10:11)

      I will raise up a shepherd in the land...

      This foolish shepherd is ALLOWED AND APPOINTED BY GOD as judgment because His people forsook the true shepherd. This was fulfilled in Israel's rejection of Jesus. They rejected the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18) but received another shepherd (John 5:43).

      We often assume all that people need is the RIGHT LEADER TO TURN THINGS AROUND.

      THAT IS WORLDLY SELF EGO DRIVEN THOUGHT.

      Here we see that even the ultimate leader may be rejected and a worthless leader chosen. Democracy's value is that it respects man's fallen nature and spreads out power - yet the majority may be very, very wrong and prefer a foolish shepherd instead of the Good Shepherd.

      The foolish shepherd embraced by Israel was PARTIALLY fulfilled in their choice of Barabbas, told to us in Matthew 27:20-22.

      The foolish shepherd will be ULTIMATELY fulfilled in their embrace of Antichrist and their covenant with him told to us in Daniel 9:27.

      Verse 17 tells us Judgment on the worthless shepherd.

      "Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded."

      WOE TO THE WORTHLESS SHEPHERD...Though God appointed the foolish shepherd in light of Israel's rejection of the Good Shepherd, it does not mean that God approves of the foolish shepherd. God will judge that worthless shepherd who injured His flock.

      A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye...

      The worthless shepherd feels the sword of God's judgment against his arm and his right eye. The arm expresses strength and the eye expresses intelligence, so this will be a harsh blow against the worthless shepherd.

      AND Revelation 13:3 and 13:12-14 tell us the Antichrist CONFIRM THIS, & TELL US HE WILL suffer a SEVERE MORTAL mortal wounds yet be revived. It also tells us that his RIGHT EYE will be gone and his arm will be withered. This confirms that the worthless shepherd is ultimately fulfilled in the Antichrist.

      AND ALL WHO HAVE ATTENDED THE REVELATION AND DANIEL STUDIES KNOW...

      AT THE 3.5 YEAR POINT OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION & PEACE TREATY ISRAEL HAS WITH THE ANTICHRIST WILL BE EXACTLY AT ITS 3.5 YEAR POINT, THE ANTICHRIST WILL BE MORTALLY WOUNDED, THE FALSE PROPHET WILL MIRACULOUSLY REVIVE HIM, & THEN WILL THE TRUE EVIL OF THE ANTICHRIST BE REVEALED. HE WILL WALK INTO THE TEMPLE HE HELPS MIRACULOUSLY REBUILD IN THAT TIME, STAND BEFORE THE MERCY SEAT WITHIN THE TEMPLE, HIS RIGHT EYE GONE AND HIS ARM WITHERED, AND PROCLAIM TO ALL JEWS AND THE WORLD GATHERED THERE TO CELEBRATE THE TEMPLES REBUILDING, AND HE WILL ANNOUNCE THAT HE IS GOD...AND FOR THEM TO WORSHIP HIM...AND THE SCALES WILL AT THAT MOMENT FALL FROM THEIR EYES AND THEY WILL REALIZE WHO HE IS AND FLEE...

      AND ALMIGHTY GOD SHOWED THIS TO ZECHARIAH OVER 2600 YEARS AGO.

      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER ALL OF MANKIND'S HISTORY WAS FOREKNOWN, GOD'S PLANS, REDEMPTION, AND PLAN OF SALVATION WAS FOREORDAINED FROM THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD.

      WE MIGHT BE AMAZED AT WHAT ALMIGHTY GOD TELLS AND SHOWS THOSE HE CALLED IN THE BIBLE, BUT WE SHOULD NEVER BE SURPRISED THAT OUR GOD IS SO DETAILED, SO PIN-POINT ACCURATE, THAT IF HE SAID IT WOULD BE SO IN THE BEGINNING IN GENESIS, AND HAS PROVEN TO BE PURE TRUTH DOWN THROUGH TIME, THAT THE END WILL BE JUST AS PINPOINT ACCURATE AS THE BEGINNING, AMEN?

      IF YOU LEARN NOTHING FROM THESE BIBLE STUDIES, LEARN AND KNOW THIS, OUR ALMIGHTY GOD DOES NOT LIE OR CHANGE. HIS LOVE FOR WICKED LOST MANKIND, FOR YOU AND ME, WAS FOREORDAINED IN THE BEGINNING.

      ALMIGHTY GOD KNEW LOST MANKIND NEEDED A SAVIOR.

      AND HE GAVE HIS VERY BEST AND MOST PRECIOUS GIFT, HIS SON TO INSURE THAT NONE SHOULD PERISH, IF THEY CALL UPON THE NAME HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, REPENT THEIR SINS, INVITE JESUS INTO THEIR HEARTS AND LIVES TO BE THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR...THEN GOD CALLS US HIS CHILDREN. THEN JESUS CALLS US FAMILY.

      DO YOU HAVE HEART FAITH AND HEAD FAITH?

      SATAN HAS HEAD FAITH...
      BECAUSE HE KNOWS AND HAS BEEN FACE TO FACE WITH ALMIGHTY GOD, JESUS CHRIST, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. HE KNOWS THEY ARE REAL. HE KNOWS THEY ARE CREATOR GOD.

      BUT SATAN DOES NOT HAVE AND REJECTS HEART FAITH.

      HE REJECTS THEM AS CREATOR GOD, AS THE GREAT I AM, AND THE BEGINNING AND THE END, AS MESSIAH JESUS.

      HEART FAITH IS BELIEVING WITHOUT SEEING, BUT BELIEVING AND TRUSTING AND HOPING IN THE PROMISES OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE PROMISES AND ASSURANCES WRITTEN IN HIS HOLY WORD.

      IN ALL THE WORLD, AND DOWN THROUGH YOUR LIFE, OF ALL THE QUESTIONS YOU ARE ASKED AND ANSWER, OF ALL THE DECISIONS AND CHOICES WE MAKE, THERE IS ONLY ONE....JUST ONE....THAT REALLY MATTERS...

      DO YOU KNOW JESUS CHRIST & CALL HIM LORD SAVIOR AND FRIEND?

      IF NOT, CALL ON JESUS WHILE YOU MAY. BECAUSE TOMORROW IS PROMISED TO NONE OF US. TODAY, RIGHT THIS MINUTE, RIGHT NOW...IS THE ONLY TIME ANY OF US ARE GUARANTEED A CHANCE TO CHOOSE JESUS CHRIST.

       

    • July 6, 2016 4:06 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 12....

      OPENS WITH...Mourning For The Pierced One...GOD DEFENDS ISRAEL AGAINST HER ENEMIES...

      Verses 1-4 tells us God WILL SUPERNATURALLY defends Israel against attack.

      "The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day," says the LORD, "I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness."

      Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens...The section begins with praise for God's creative power, reminding us that He is in control and completely able to accomplish what He predicts.

      I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples...God says that in a coming day Jerusalem will intoxicate and stupefy the surrounding peoples. The Arab peoples surrounding Jerusalem have a SUDDEN OBSESSIVE passion for possessing the city that is not justified by history.

      WHAT DOES "NOT JUSTIFIED BY HISTORY" MEAN?

      Muslims TODAY CLAIM Jerusalem as their third-holiest city, but Jerusalem IS NOT MENTIONED ONCE in the Koran.

      DAVE HUNT, A BIBLICAL HISTORIAN TELLS US, "During the centuries when Jerusalem was under complete Arab control, NO Arab ruler or NOT ONE Islamic leader EVER made JERUSALEM the object of a religious pilgrimage - again a strange indifference toward a city which is NOW SUDDENLY considered to be the THIRD-holiest religious site in Islam after Mecca and Medina."

      SO WHERE DOES THIS SUDDEN IMPORTANCE COME FROM?

      Jerusalem's importance to Muslims comes from the Muslim belief that in the Dome of the Rock shrine there is a rock where TWO significant things SUPPOSEDLY happened - where Abraham ORIGINALLY CONSIDERED to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, and where Mohammed allegedly ascended into heaven.

      Though this tradition is NOW firmly in the Muslim mind, it is of RECENT origin.

      It was INVENTED by Yasser Arafat's uncle - Haj Amin el-Husseini, who was the past Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He promoted this myth in the 1920's and 1930's to arouse Arab passions AGAINST the growing Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

      AND THEN THERE IS THE VERSE IN THE KORAN that allegedly describes Mohammed's trip TO HEAVEN is Surah 17:1: "Glorified be He who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant Place [al-Aqsa] of Worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens!"

      The Islamic interpretation says that the Inviolable Place of Worship is Mecca, and THIS IS accepted by all Muslims.

      It then says that the Far Distant Place of Worship is Jerusalem - but this has NO SUBSTANTIATION because Jerusalem had NEVER been a place of Islamic worship to that time, nor would it be for centuries afterward.

      Jerusalem IS NOT even mentioned by name in the Koran, so how could it be a place of worship according to the Koran?

      Most significantly, inside the Dome of the Rock hundreds of verses from the Koran are inscribed - and Surah 17:1 is NOT among them!

      The very passage that later SUPPOSEDLY justified the building of the Dome of the Rock is NOT EVEN included among the hundreds of passages of the Koran inscribed in it!

      AND...The Dome of the Rock was built NOT because of the Koran, but because the Muslim ruler Abdal-Malik wanted to GAIN REVENUE from pilgrims and worshippers, and because he wanted TO PREVENT the rebuilding of a Jewish Temple.

      AND WE KNOW...Islamic passion for Jerusalem is indeed like drunkenness.

      This is exactly fulfilled in MODERN Jerusalem. In recent peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel was willing to concede almost everything to the Palestinians in an amazing willingness to make peace. The ONLY THING Israel would not concede was sovereignty over Jerusalem, and the entire deal was ruined over that ONE point.

      The TRUE problem between Jews and the Arab world has boiled down to one point: JERUSALEM.

      If Muslim passion for Jerusalem is a MYSTERY, the Jewish claim to the city is ENTIRELY Scriptural.

      "The very fact that Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 TIMES in the Bible makes it WORTHY of special attention.

      This unique city is the ONLY ONE upon which God has bestowed His distinctive blessing and protection, confirmed to us in Psalm 132:13-14.

      Jerusalem is the ONLY CITY for whose peace we are commanded to pray, confirmed to us in Psalm 122:6.

      God says He has CHOSEN Jerusalem as the place where He has PUT HIS NAME FOREVER, confirmed to us in, 2 Chronicles 6:6; 33:7 & Psalm 46:4; 48:1-8; 87:3.

      The new heavens and new earth will contain 'the city of my God...NEW JERUSALEM, confirmed to us in Revelation 3:12; 21:2.

      That there will be a 'HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, confirmed to us in, Hebrews 12:22.

      But you do not see A HEAVENLY NEW YORK, PARIS, LONDON, DAMASCUS, CAIRO...etc...speaks volumes to those who read and study the Bible, AMEN?!

      I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples...If Jerusalem will be a cup of drunkenness to all her surrounding peoples, it will be a heavy stone - a burden - for all peoples, presenting a problem that cannot be solved (all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces).

      THINK ABOUT HOW REMARKABLE THIS ONE PROPHECY IS.

      Who could have imagined when the Old Testament was written that all the nations of the world would be INVOLVED in TRYING TO DECIDE the fate of Israel?

      And this involvement of ALL NATIONS in dividing Israel has occurred exactly as prophesied and is still in the process of being implemented.

      I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness: Though the nations come against Jerusalem with fury, God WILL PROTECT HER. This will find an ultimate fulfillment in the Battle of Armageddon, but we may see an earlier fulfillment any day now, AS THE THREATS MOUNT FROM IRAN, SYRIA, RUSSIA, AMEN?!

      Verses 5-9 tells us God SUPERNATURALLY empowers His people.

      "And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the LORD of hosts, their God.' In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place; Jerusalem. The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."

      I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile...In that day God will deliver Israel not only through His direct work, but also through blessing and empowering both the governors and inhabitants of Jerusalem. They will be supernaturally empowered by God to defend the city.

      In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David...King David was renowned for his fighting ability, courage, and success. God promises a day when the weakest in Jerusalem will be as mighty as David - and the leaders can only be compared in might to God!

      Verse 10...Mourning for the pierced One.

      "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."

      And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication...Part of this great outpouring of strength and might to defend Jerusalem will be an outpouring of the Spirit - but for grace and supplication. God will move among Israel and bring saving grace and repentant prayer.

      Then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son...As Jerusalem is supernaturally defended and the Spirit is poured out on the nation, they will turn to Jesus, the pierced One. His head was pierced with thorns, His hands and feet were pierced with nails, and a spear pierced His side.

      They will look...They will turn away from their trust in the foolish, worthless shepherd and turn their focus on the Good Shepherd. When we see Jesus crucified - understanding why He went to the cross and what He accomplished there - we are drawn to Him in humble repentance, as reminded to us all in John 12:32.

      They will look on Him whom they pierced. They will realize that they did it, and that they bear responsibility - not SOLE responsibility, but responsibility nonetheless - for the crucifixion of their Savior.

      They will mourn...The Jewish people will turn to Jesus in repentance, mourning their past rejection of Him. The mourning will be deep, as if for an only son, the firstborn. Firstborn was synonymous with the most beloved.

      This will fulfill the amazing promise of Romans 11:26, which says, "And so Israel will be saved"... and many other passages that tell us that BEFORE THE PHYSICAL RETURN of Jesus to this earth, the Jewish people - as a whole - will welcome Him as their Lord and Savior. The whole context of Zechariah 12 puts this radical conversion in the setting of miraculous deliverance from an attack from the nations.

      They WILL look … they WILL mourn: Here we see the pattern for coming to Jesus and true repentance. First we look to Jesus, then we mourn for our sins. Looking to Jesus must come first, AMEN?!

      CHARLES SPURGEON says it well of this scripture..."A great mistake is very common among all classes of men - it is currently believed that we are first of all to mourn for our sins, and then to look by faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. Most persons who have any concern about their souls, but are not as yet enlightened by the Spirit of God, think that there is a degree of tenderness of conscience, and of hatred of sin, which they are to obtain somehow or other, and then they will be permitted and authorized to look to Jesus Christ. Now you will perceive that this is not according to the Scripture, for, according to the text before us. men first look upon him whom they have pierced, and then, but not till then, they mourn for their sin."

      AGAIN CHARLES SPURGEON says it well, "It is a beautiful remark of an old divine, that eyes are made for two things at least; first, to look with, and next, to weep with. The eye which looks to the pierced One is the eye which weeps for him."

      They will look upon Me...Comparing Zechariah 12:10 with Zechariah 12:1 and 12:3 (Thus says the LORD … says the LORD) makes it clear that the Me they look upon is the LORD God - Yahweh - Himself. This is astounding and wonderful evidence ONCE AGAIN IN THE BIBLE, IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, that Jesus the pierced One is God, and that Yahweh IS JESUS CHRIST, AND IS the Triune God, AMEN?!

      Simply said, the Father sends the Spirit so that men would look upon the Son.

      Verses 11-14 tells us of the great mourning of repentance.

      "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves."

      A great mourning in Jerusalem...The repentance that comes to Israel in that day will be like a great mourning, the ultimate fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the day of national mourning over their greatest sin - rejecting Jesus & crucifying Jesus.

      Like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon...

      WHAT DOES THIS REFER TO?

      This refers to the mourning over King Josiah's death told to us in 2 Kings 23:29 and 2 Chronicles 35:20-25. He was such a godly king that the whole nation wept bitterly at his death.

      And the land shall mourn, every family by itself...This indicates there will be both great individual repentance and great corporate repentance. It seems fantastic to us that Israel as a whole would turn to Jesus and repent of their sin of rejecting their Savior - it is so amazing that we would not believe it unless the Bible so clearly told us so in the OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENT, AMEN?!

      CHARLES SPURGEON SUMS UP ZECHARIAH 12 WELL, "We know of a surety, because God has said it, that the Jews will be restored to their own land, and that they shall inherit the goodly country which the Lord has given unto their fathers by a covenant of salt for ever; but, better still, they shall be converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall see in him the house of David restored to the throne of Israel."

    • July 6, 2016 4:04 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 13

      OPENS WITH...The Nation of ISRAEL is Purified

      Verse 1 tells us of a fountain to cleanse sin & PURIFY THE PEOPLE.
      "In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness."

      In that day...Zechariah 12 ended with Israel's RETURN to the LORD through the once rejected but now embraced Messiah. Flowing from their embrace of the Messiah, they now enjoy a fountain that brings cleansing for sin and for uncleanness. The cleansing comes after their mourning for the One whom they have pierced.

      Shall be opened...The idea of God being a fountain to His people is found frequently in the Old Testament, but Zechariah's treatment is possibly the richest of all.

      THIS IDEA of the sin-cleansing fountain has also been a part of famous hymns:

      There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains...by William Cowper.

      Foul, I to the Fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die. Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee...by Augustus Toplady.

      According to the verse before us this provision is INEXHAUSTIBLE.

      SPURGEON SAYS, "There is a fountain opened; not a cistern nor a reservoir, but a fountain. A fountain continues still to bubble up, and is as full after fifty years as at the first; and even so the provision and the mercy of God for the forgiveness and the justification of our souls continually flows and overflows."

      For sin and for uncleanness...The only thing that can cleanse sin and uncleanness is God's fountain. It is His supply, and nothing else can cleanse. Our own works at reform or restitution can't cleanse us; our past, present, or promised works can't cleanse - only His fountain.

      Verses 2-6 tells us of cleansing from idolatry and false prophets.

      "It shall be in that day," says the LORD of hosts, "that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, 'You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the LORD.' And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies. And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive. But he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.' And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' "

      I WILL CUT OFF the names of the idols … I WILL ALSO CAUSE the prophets and unclean spirits to depart from the land...

      Idolatry and false prophecy were the TWO PRINCIPLE WAYS Israel was led astray from God. God not only provides a fountain to cleanse, but He also promises to cut off the source of uncleanness - in this case, idolatry and false prophecy.

      THE VERSE COMES TO MIND...WHEN WE SEE THE GAUDY & ORNATE SHRINES that supposedly mark holy sites in Israel today, you see that idolatry is still alive and well in the Holy Land. God promises to cleanse the land from such idolatry completely.

      They SHALL NO LONGER be remembered: God promises ultimately to take away even the memory of our sin.

      His father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      Zechariah prophesies a COMING DAY when public opinion will NOT tolerate false prophets. There will be such a commitment to the LORD and His truth that EVEN THE FAMILY OF A FALSE PROPHET will condemn the false prophet.

      Every prophet WILL BE ASHAMED of his vision when he prophesies...
      Those who POSED AS SELF PROCLAIMED prophets will so fear exposure that they will deny ever having made such a claim. They will put away the "uniform" of the prophets (a robe of coarse hair) and earn an honest living.

      This does NOT say that TRUE prophecy will cease; but only those who DECEIVE have spoken lies in the name of the LORD.

      Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends...The man accused of being a false prophet insists the scars on his body are not the self-inflicted wounds often associated with false prophets, but merely the result of a brawl in his friend's house.

      THOSE WHO PRACTICE SCOURGING THEIR BODIES, PRACTICE STIGMATA TODAY, and SAY JESUS WOUNDED THEM....THAT THEIR EYES BLED, THEIR WRISTS BLED, THEIR FEET BLED, THEIR SIDES BLED...will not dare to say it ever again.

      The unlikely, ironic explanation shows just how desperately people will avoid being identified with false prophets in this coming day Zechariah speaks of.

      It wasn't unusual for false prophets to wound or mutilate themselves in the service of idols, told to us in 1 Kings 18:28, & Jeremiah 48:37.

      I was wounded in the house of my friends...Some point to this & say this is another Messianic/Jesus prophecy in Zechariah, because Jesus was clearly wounded by those who should have been His friends.

      Nevertheless the context and the original Hebrew argue against this referring to Jesus and His wounds.

      The translation of other Bible translations makes it seem even more likely that this refers to Jesus: What are these wounds in thine hands?
      But when you go to the Hebrew language is more literally between your hands, that is ON the body, whether the chest or the back.

      AND AS BIZARRE AS IT SOUNDS, THERE ARE THOSE RELIGIOUS GROUPS, THAT ENCOURAGE LASHING THE BACK AND THE CHEST EVEN TODAY.

      Some TRANSLATIONS SEEK TO APPLY THIS TO CHRIST JESUS, because Zechariah has mentioned wounds on the hands; but this is NOT SO; for it is quite evident that he speaks here of FALSE teachers, who had for a time falsely pretended God's name.

      The Shepherd struck, the nation scattered.

      Verse 7 tells us of Striking the Man Who is the Companion of the LORD.

      "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion," says the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones."

      Against My Shepherd: In the context, and especially in light of the quotation of this passage in Matthew 26:31, we understand that the Shepherd is Jesus the Messiah - and it is God the Father Himself who calls for the Shepherd to be struck, AMEN?!

      Zechariah relates a thought also CONFIRMED in Isaiah 53:10: "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief."

      The prophets Isaiah and Zechariah gloriously and emphatically, state that the suffering of the Servant of the LORD was ordained by the LORD. This was God's doing! He gave the command to strike the Shepherd.

      Jesus was NO HELPLESS VICTIM.
      Jesus was NO NAIVE SACRIFICIAL LAMB.
      Jesus was NOT at the mercy of political or military or religious power.
      Jesus WILLINGLY OFFERED UP HIMSELF FOR LOST MANKIND from the VERY BEGINNING OF TIME.

      THE BIBLE TELLS US THE JESUS HAD TO GIVE UP HIS SPIRIT. HE DID NOT DIE OF HIS INJURIES, HE HAD TO GIVE UP HIS LIFE. NO MAN COULD TAKE IT FROM HIM.

      THE TRIUNE GOD TELLS US it WAS the planned, ordained work of the LORD God, prophesied by Isaiah hundreds of years before it happened. This was God's victory, not Satan's or man's triumph.

      As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself."

      The Father and the Son worked TOGETHER at the cross. Though Jesus was treated as if He were an enemy of God, He was not. Even as Jesus was punished as if He were a sinner, He was performing the most holy service unto God the Father ever offered.

      The Man who is My Companion...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      The ancient Hebrew word for My Companion is used in Leviticus 6:2 and 18:20 to mean a "near neighbor." This describes someone who is more than a friend of the LORD; this Shepherd "dwells side by side with the Lord, His equal.

      Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered...Jesus quoted this phrase from Zechariah 13:7 in Matthew 26:31 in reference to the scattering of His disciples during His arrest and suffering. There is also a sense in which the disciples were a type of Israel as a whole in being scattered. SO HERE WE HAVE HERE IN ZECHARIAH THE PROPHECY THAT THE DISCIPLES WOULD DESERT AND HIDE WHEN JESUS WAS ARRESTED!

      Verses 8-9 tells us Israel scattered, smitten, refined, and saved.

      "And it shall come to pass in all the land," says the LORD, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one- third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; and each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.' "

      I will bring the one-third through the fire...After the dispersion of Israel there will come a time of devastation and purification through fiery trials. Two-thirds will be destroyed and the remaining third will be put into the fire but preserved.

      RIGHT HERE, THIS OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY CONFIRMS OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECY THAT ONLY ONE THIRD OF THE ENTIRE JEWISH NATION WILL SURVIVE THE GREAT TRIBULATION. TWO-THIRDS OF THE ENTIRE JEWISH NATION WILL BE HUNTED DOWN AND KILLED.

      AND AN INTERESTING FACT, AS OF 9/20/2012, THERE ARE 14 MILLION JEWS WORLDWIDE, WHICH IS ONLY 2% OF THE WORLD'S POULATION. AND 43% OF THE JEWS LIVE IN ISRAEL, & THE NEXT LARGEST % LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES.

      WE KNOW THAT BEFORE HITLER, THERE WERE 17.6 MILLION JEWS WORLDWIDE, BUT HITLER KILLED 6 MILLION OF THEM DURING WORLD WAR II.

      SO IF THE TRIBULATION WERE TO BEGIN NOW, THAT MEANS THE ANTI-CHRIST AND THOSE NATIONS WHO FOLLOW HIM WILL HUNT DOWN AND KILL ALMOST 10 MILLION JEWS DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

      IT IS NO WONDER these years are called the time of Jacob's trouble Jeremiah 30:7, and why Jesus said the Great Tribulation will be the most horrific time in human history in Matthew 24:21.

      They WILL CALL on My name, and I WILL ANSWER them...

      This prophetically refers to the Jewish people who go through the Great Tribulation, & come to salvation in the second half of that final 3.5 years of the 7 year period and welcome Jesus in the name of the LORD.
      This Jewish group - which includes the 144,000 young, virgin Jewish males of Revelation 7 and 14, but is not limited to that number - will make up the core of a restored Israel as Jesus establishes His millennial rule over the earth.

      GOD PROMISES THAT THE WORLD WILL NOT DESTROY ISRAEL.
      GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL PRESERVE A REMNANT THROUGH THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

      OUR ALMIGHTY GOD IS A PROMISE MAKER AND A PROMISE KEEPER!

    • July 6, 2016 4:02 AM EDT
    • ZECHARIAH 14

      OPENS WITH GOD GIVING ZECHARIAH A VISION OF THE RETURN OF JESUS AT THE END OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION WITH ALL OF HEAVEN AND JESUS DEFEATS THE ANTI-CHRIST & ENEMY NATIONS OF THE WORLD SURROUNDING ISRAEL AT THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON.

      Verses 1-2 Jerusalem under siege from the nations.

      "Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city."

      I WILL GATHER all the nations to battle against Jerusalem: Zechariah seems to have the very end times in view, when Jerusalem will be surrounded and attacked by some type of international force.

      SOME TEACH AND BELIEVE ZECHARIAH IS SEEING AND REFERRING TO THE SEIGE, ATTACK, AND DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL BY THE ROMANS & THEIR MULTINATIONAL ARMY THAT CAME AGAINST JERUSALEM IN 70A.D.

      BUT THAT IS NOT BIBLICALLY TRUE. HERE IS ANOTHER REASON TO READ THE ENTIRE CHAPTER AND NOT PIECEMEAL IT.

      WHY?

      THE BIBLE AND HISTORY TELLS US CLEARLY THAT IN 70A.D., THERE WAS NONE OF THE DELIVERANCE THAT ZECHARIAH WILL DESCRIBE FOR US ALL IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES.

      SO IT IS UNBIBLICAL FOR ANYONE TO SAY, TEACH, AND BELIEVE THAT THIS VISUAL PROPHECY GOD GAVE ZECHARIAH WAS FULFILLED IN THE ROMAN ATTACK UPON JERUSALEM IN 70 A.D.

      AND YOU NOTICE GOD TELLS AND SHOWS ZECHARIAH THAT....HALF OF THE CITY SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY...

      This end times attack against Jerusalem WILL BE SEVERE, but the city itself will NOT be overthrown (the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city).

      Verses 3-5 tell us The Messiah intervenes for His people.

      "Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You."

      Then the LORD WILL go forth and fight...Just when it seems that all hope is gone for Jerusalem and the people of Israel, then the Lord will fight for His people.

      HERE IS CLEARLY PROOF OF THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS...DURING THE RAPTURE, WE RISE TO MEET JESUS IN THE CLOUDS. HE DOES NOT STEP DOWN OR TOUCH THE EARTH...BUT HERE JESUS STEPS DOWN ONTO THE EARTH ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES...

      His feet WILL STAND on the Mount of Olives … And the Mount of Olives shall be SPLIT IN TWO, from east to west...This speaks of the LORD - Jesus, as God the Son - materially returning to a material earth and setting His feet on the Mount of Olives. At that time a great split will cut the Mount of Olives in two, and the persecuted people of Jerusalem will flee through the valley made by the split.

      SO WHERE IS THE MOUNT OF OLIVES?

      Mount of Olives is the hill facing the old city of Jerusalem, on the eastern side of Kidron valley. Its name came from the olive trees that once grew on its hillside from ancient times. According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will appear here and bring the dead back to life. Therefore, the hillside became the most holiest cemetery, and the hillside is covered by thousands of grave stones.

      Thus the LORD my God WILL COME, and ALL THE SAINTS WITH YOU...Jesus will touch His feet to the Mount of Olives when He returns in glory with all the saints, the armies of heaven described in Revelation 19:14.

      CAN ANY OF US REALLY FATHOM, REALLY VISUALIZE THIS...THE SKIES WILL SPLIT OPEN AND ALL THE SAINTS, THAT MEANS OLD TESTAMENT, NEW TESTAMENT, THE RAPTURED CHURCH, THE MARTYRED SAINTS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, AND JESUS ARMIES OF ANGELS WILL APPEAR IN THE SKIES OVER JERUSALEM WITH JESUS.

      This was the type of arrival the Jews in Jesus' day hoped for. Indeed, when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in 70 A.D., MANY JEWS REMEMBERED ZECHARIAH 14, & THEIR PRIESTS MISTAKENLY ASSURED THE PEOPLE & MADE THEM UTTERLY CONFIDENT that the Messiah would return from heaven and wipe out the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem. They could not see & DID NOT STUDY NOR REMEMBER THAT ZECHARIAH AND OTHER PROPHETS HAD TOLD THEM that the Messiah must first be rejected and the nation brought to repentance as Zechariah mentioned in 11:12-13 and 12:10.

      Verses 6-11 tells us of The Messiah's Kingdom & rule changes the earth.

      "It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the LORD; neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be; "The LORD is one," and His name one. All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin's Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananeel to the king's winepresses. The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited."

      At evening time it shall happen that it will be light...Now Zechariah looks forward to the glory of Jerusalem in the Messiah's kingdom. The lights we guide our lives by will diminish, but God will bring His own light.

      Living waters shall flow from Jerusalem...Jerusalem will no longer be a dry city, but a glorious river will flow from the city and branch off both east and west, and it will be a never ending flow (in both summer and winter it shall occur).

      All over the world people want to know what will happen to Jerusalem. Zechariah knows the answer - God will gloriously save and restore Jerusalem, making it the capital city of the ENTIRE millennial earth.

      Ezekiel 47 records a vision that may describe this scene EVEN BETTER. Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the throne of God and down to the Dead Sea, bringing life and vitality everywhere.

      All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem...Since the mountains around Jerusalem are no longer needed as a defense, they can be flattened into a plain.

      Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited...This will be the first time in a long time that Jerusalem will be a safe place to live.

      Verses 12-15 tells us Enemies are FOREVER plagued.

      "And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance. Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be."

      Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet...In the glorious deliverance the Messiah brings, the enemies of God and His people are destroyed by plague, mutual slaughter, and by the sword of Judah (Judah also will fight at Jerusalem).

      The description of flesh dissolving makes some think that Zechariah is describing the effects of a neutron or nuclear bomb. But we KNOW THIS...JESUS CHRIST, THE TRIUNE GOD, SPOKE THIS UNIVERSE, THIS EARTH INTO EXISTENCE..WITH A WORD. JESUS DOES NOT NEED A NUCLEAR WEAPON...JUST HIS SPOKEN WORD IS MORE THAN ENOUGH, AMEN?

      The wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together...In the glorious deliverance the Messiah brings, Jerusalem will become THE WEALTHIEST & MOST GLOBALLY INFLUENTIAL CITY IN THE WORLD.

      Verses 16-19 tells us ALL NATIONS come to Jerusalem to worship the LORD.
      "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

      Shall go up from year to year to worship the King...Instead of coming to Jerusalem for battle now the nations come to honor God and to remember His faithfulness to Israel in the wilderness by keeping the Feast of Tabernacles.

      Jesus told us to GO TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH with the gospel but in the millennium the earth WILL COME TO JERUSALEM to worship and honor God.

      Whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem … on them there will be no rain...THIS TELLS US SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT HERE.
      THERE ARE THOSE WHO TEACH THAT GOD WILL MAKE ALL SURVIVING PEOPLE OF THE EARTH CHOOSE HIM AND CHOOSE TO WORSHIP HIM.

      ZECHARIAH RECONFIRMS THAT God won't make people worship Him during the millennium, THEY STILL MUST CHOOSE HIM, FREEWILL DOES NOT CEASE DURING THE MILLENNIAL REIGN, AS SOME WRONGLY TEACH.

      THE SURVIVORS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION AND THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON WILL NOT INSTANTLY BE SAVED Y THE RETURNING JESUS CHRIST, THAT THE WHOLE WORLD WILL SEE.

      THE SURVIVORS MUST STILL WILLINGLY CHOOSE TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS LORD, SAVIOR, & FRIEND, but the advantages of worshiping and honoring God will be more evident than ever.

      If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain...YOU NOTICE Egypt is specifically mentioned.

      WHY?

      Because EGYPT HAS ALWAYS BEEN a nation not especially dependent on God or rain, yet they too would be punished if disobedient.

      Verses 20-21 tells us the common is made holy.
      "In that day "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts."

      In that day "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" shall be engraved on the bells of the horses...

      WHAT DOES THIS REFER TO?

      This was the great inscription on the metal band around the high priest's headpiece told to us in Exodus 28:36. In the glory of the Messiah's kingdom horses won't be needed for war any longer - now even they can wear the emblems of HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

      The pots in the Lord's house...

      WHAT WAS & WILL BE THE PURPOSE OF THE POTS?

      These were the cooking utensils used by worshippers to cook for their own the sacrificial meat intended for them from the peace offerings. The bowls before the altar were used to gather and sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. These show that animal sacrifice WILL CONTINUE in the millennium, but not as atonement for sin - which was perfectly satisfied by the atoning work of Jesus. Sacrifice in the millennium will look back to & HONOR the perfect work of Jesus.

      Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts...In the glory of the Messiah's kingdom, what was previously common is made holy; the holy is made holier; and the irreclaimably profane is forever shut out. At the end of it all, there is no longer any distinction between the holy and profane. All is set apart to God and His purposes.

      BOICE states it well..."The point is that the people and the city will be so holy that even these insignificant things will be fully dedicated to the Lord."

      THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO ELIMINATE THE LINE BETWEEN THE HOLY AND THE PROFANE...

      You can make everything holy (set apart to the LORD), or you can make everything profane (set apart to sin and self). Zechariah ends his prophecy making it clear that God's way is the make everything that was once common or profane holy instead.

      SO JUST AS THE SAVING, REDEEMING BLOOD SACRIFICE AND SALVATION GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST OFFERS IT....THOSE WHO REPENT, ASK JESUS INTO THEIR HEARTS AND LIVES NOW, ARE ALREADY SET APART IN THE EYES OF JESUS CHRIST AS HIS FAMILY AND IN THE EYES OF ALMIGHTY GOD AS HIS CHILDREN.

      THANK YOU JESUS THAT WE, WHO LOVE YOU, AND CALL YOU MASTER, SAVIOR, AND FRIEND ARE SET APART FROM THIS WORLD.

    • July 6, 2016 4:00 AM EDT
    • JOEL

      Many Bible scholars date the book of Joel to 835 B.C.
      This makes Joel a pre-exilic (MEANING EXILE) prophet, who ministered BEFORE the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel (721 B.C.) or the southern kingdom of Judah (586 B.C.). Other pre-exilic prophets include Obadiah, Jonah, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Micah. Joel is one of the earliest prophets - only Obadiah prophesied before his time (845 B.C.).

      CHAPTER 1...The Day of the Lord Brings Judah Low

      Verses 1-4 tells us The remarkable plague of locusts upon Judah.

      "The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten."

      The word of the LORD that came to Joel...

      DID YOU KNOW The prophet Joel spoke to the SOUTHERN kingdom of Judah, and makes no reference to the northern kingdom of Israel.

      WHAT WE DO KNOW OF THIS TIME, THROUGH THE BIBLE AND THROUGH SECULAR HISTORY IS THAT 835 B.C. was a time of turmoil and transition in Judah, at the end of the reign of the Queen Mother Athaliah and the beginning of the reign of King Joash.

      Athaliah seized power at the sudden death in battle of her son Ahaziah, who only reigned one year told to us in 2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1.
      Athaliah killed ALL her son's heirs, except for one who was hidden in the temple and escaped - one-year-old Josiah told to us in 2 Kings 11:3.

      Athaliah's six-year reign of terror ended in 835 B.C. when the High Priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and set the seven-year-old Josiah on the throne told to us in 2 Kings 11:4-21.

      During her six years as queen over Judah, Athaliah reigned wickedly. She was the granddaughter of the wicked King Omri of Israel - making her daughter or niece to Ahab, one of Israel's WORST kings told to us in 2 Kings 8:26.

      Athaliah raised her son Ahaziah to reign in the wicked pattern of Ahab, and even brought in Ahab's counselors to advise him told to us in 2 Chronicles 22:2-4.

      When Ahaziah was killed in battle and she seized power, she set her other sons to evil, even desecrating the temple and its sacred things told to us in 2 Chronicles 24:7.

      AND IF BIBLE SCHOLARS ARE ACCURATE in thinking that Joel prophesied in 835 B.C. then the judgment he described came toward the end of the six-year reign of ungodliness under Queen Athaliah. No wonder God brought a heavy hand on Judah, AMEN?

      BOICE gives us another precious truth, "The name Joel means 'Jehovah is God' and therefore constitutes a short confession of faith, somewhat like the primary New Testament confession, 'Jesus is Lord.'

      What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten... Joel isn't announcing a coming judgment of the Lord. He describes their present state - devastated by successive swarms of locusts, first chewing, then swarming, then crawling, and finally consuming. Judah will experience a time of famine and financial ruin because of these locusts.

      This plague was so UNUSUAL that Joel says, "tell your children about it." The times were so remarkably difficult that parents would tell their children, "I lived through the plagues of locusts."

      AND HISTORY TELLS US THAT IN 1915 a devastating plague of locusts covered what is modern-day Israel and Syria. The first swarms came in March, in clouds so thick they blocked out the sun. The female locusts immediately began to lay eggs, 100 at a time. Witnesses say that in one square yard, there were as many as 65,000 to 75,000 eggs. In a few weeks they hatched, and the young locusts resembled large ants. They couldn't fly yet, and got along by hopping. They marched along 400 to 600 feet a day, devouring every speck of vegetation along the way. After two more stages of molting they became adults who could fly - and the devastation continued.

      Verses 5-7 tells us an army of locusts against Judah.

      "Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it has been cut off from your mouth. For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste My vine, and ruined My fig tree; he has stripped it bare and thrown it away; its branches are made white."

      Awake, you drunkards...Joel tells the drunkards to wake up and see the devastation the locusts caused. They came like a mighty nation, a fierce army against Judah.

      MY vine … MY fig tree...God looks at the vines and fig trees of Judah and says they belong to Him, even in judgment.

      Verses 8-12 tells us Judah mourns because of the locusts' destruction.

      "Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. The grain offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests mourn, who minister to the LORD. The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Be ashamed, you farmers, wail, you vinedressers, for the wheat and the barley; because the harvest of the field has perished. The vine has dried up, and the fig tree has withered; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree; all the trees of the field are withered; surely joy has withered away from the sons of men."

      Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      Joel tells Judah that they should look at their condition and mourn, with all the emotion and passion of a young widow. They should not receive this plague of locusts stoically, with false bravado.

      In this, Joel doesn't minimize the suffering at all. He isn't like the dentist who says, "This may cause a bit of discomfort" when he really means "This is going to hurt and I am going to make you suffer." He deals with the suffering in a real way and says, "Let's turn back to the LORD."

      The priests mourn … the land mourns … be ashamed, you farmers, wail, you vinedressers … surely joy has withered away: In vivid and poetic images, Joel shows how the whole nation mourns this great destruction brought by locusts.

      The grain and the drink offering have been cut off: It's remarkable to see that these sacrifices to the LORD at the temple only stopped when there was no more grain or wine to give to God. Queen Athaliah's reign was wicked, but she allowed the temple ceremonies to continue. This shows us that the devil doesn't mind ceremonies in themselves, and that the devil is more interested in corrupting true religion than eliminating it, AMEN?

      Verses 13-14 tells us A call to repentance.

      "Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; wail, you who minister before the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, you who minister to my God; for the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD."

      Gird yourselves and lament, you priests...Joel calls the religious leaders to lead the nation in repentance. He tells the priests to gird yourselves for repentance, the idea being "prepare to do the work of repentance."

      Joel also tells them how to do the work of repentance.

      - Consecrate a fast: Make getting right with God so important that even eating isn't important
      - Call a sacred assembly: Call for God's people to come together and repent
      - Gather the elders: The leaders of the people should make a special point to be part of the work of repentance
      - Into the house of the LORD your God: Come to the place where you should meet together with God
      - And cry out unto the LORD: Finally, simply cry out to God and trust that He will respond in mercy

      For the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God...When there was grain and wine to bring the people of Judah still brought offerings to the temple, either out of tradition or godly obedience. Now that there is no produce, there is no offering for the house of your God.

      Verses 15-20 tells us The day of the LORD against Judah in drought.

      "Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty. Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed shrivels under the clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down, for the grain has withered. How the animals groan! The herds of cattle are restless, because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment. O LORD, to You I cry out; for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures."

      For the day of the LORD is at hand...The idea behind the phrase the day of the LORD is that this is Gods' time. Man has his "day," and the LORD has His day. In the ultimate sense, the day of the LORD is fulfilled with Jesus judges the earth and returns in glory. In a lesser sense, a time of judgment as Judah experienced with the locusts and drought is also an example of the day of the LORD.

      The seed shrivels … they have no pasture … the flocks of sheep suffer punishment … fire has devoured the open pastures … the water brooks are dried up...Joel vividly describes a devastating drought. It affects everything in Judah, and wildfires ravage the dry land.

      O LORD, to You I cry out...In this time of drought, all Judah could do was cry out to God. They were powerless to "fix" the drought problem. God sent them to a place where only heaven could help them, so they would look no other place.

      In Luke 13:1-5 Jesus was confronted with the problem of a disaster that killed 18 people. Instead of acting as if it were just an accident of blind fate, Jesus used it as a wake-up call for repentance. Jesus showed that "Why did this disaster happen to them?" is the wrong question. The right question is "Am I ready to face such a disaster in this fallen world?"

      IF YOU STAY CLOSE TO AND CLING TO JESUS, HIS WORD AND HIS PROMISES, COME WHAT MAY, YOU WILL HAVE HIS STRENGTH, PROTECTION, DIRECTION, AND PROVISION TO WITHSTAND ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD!

      STAY CLOSE TO THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES SEE, HEAR, KNOW, AND CONTROLS ALL THINGS....STAY CLOSE TO OUR JESUS CHRIST!

    • July 6, 2016 3:58 AM EDT
    • JOEL 2

      OPENS WITH....The Day of the Lord and the Restoration of the Lord

      Verses 1-5 tells us What the mighty army looks like.

      "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations. A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array."

      Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand...

      REMEMBER IN JOEL 1, the prophet spoke of the judgment that had arrived in Judah (a plague of locusts and drought).

      BUT In Joel 2, he begins by describing judgment that will come at the end times- a mighty army set against Judah. Since this is all part of "God's day" not "man's day," it is described as the day of the LORD.

      When we are right with God, we want the day of the LORD. We long for Him to show His strength because we know that we abide in Him. When we are not right with God, we dread the day of the LORD, because when God shows Himself strong, His strength may work against us. In Joel's day Judah was not right with God, so the day of the LORD would be nothing but darkness and gloominess to them.

      A people come, great and strong...We KNOW it does NOT REFERENCE JOEL'S TIME, because Judah responded to the invitation to repent and God BLESSED THEM WITH THE 40-year godly reign of King Joash in Judah that began right after the time of Joel's prophecy.

      There are some commentators who believe that Joel is referring back to the army of locusts, and describing them poetically, but it is BEST TO TAKE JOEL AT HIS WORDS FROM ALMIGHTY GOD & THE VISION HE WAS GIVEN, AND BELIEVE JOEL SEES & WRITES of a END TIMES literal human army that will come against an unrepentant Judah.

      A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns... WHAT WE DO KNOW AT THE TIME OF THIS PROPHECY, is this, the URGENT nature of JOEL'S WORD FROM GOD, spurred Jehoiada to QUIT DELAYING, QUIT HOPING FOR THE BEST, A BETTER TOMORROW AND TO DEPOSE the wicked Queen Athaliah and set Joash on the throne, even though he was only seven years-old told to us 2 Kings 11:4-21.

      Verses 6-11 tells us what the mighty army will do.

      "Before them the people writhe in pain; all faces are drained of color. They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down. They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief. The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?"

      PRETTY GRAPHIC & CLEAR CUT AMEN?

      They do NOT break ranks … everyone marches in his own column...With a chilling poetic flair, Joel describes the discipline and effectiveness of this army. Because they keep ranks and work with energy (they run to and fro in the city) they bring a devastating attack on Judah.

      AND IF WE CONSIDER THIS ALSO AS the people of God to be like an army - perhaps based on the military images Paul sprinkled through his letters - then this passage ALSO shows us TWO things that can make God's people more effective.

      FIRST they must keep order, with every soldier keeping ranks.

      SECOND they must work hard, with every soldier serving with energy.

      AND GOD IS SHOWING US HOW THESE END TIMES ARMIES, HUMAN & DEMONIC WILL STRATEGIZE AS WELL. MOST ALSO BELIEVE THE MOVEMENTS OF THESE ARMIES SPEAKS OF THE DEMONIC ARMIES THAT SATAN AND THE ANTICHRIST WILL COMMAND....HAVING SUPERNATURAL POWERS...EVEN AS THE FACE OF THEM IS SO TERRIFYING THAT IT DRAINS THE COLOR FROM THE FACES OF THE PEOPLE WHO SEE THEM.

      The LORD gives voice before His army...As impressive as this army is, Joel does NOT want Judah to forget that it's real power lies in that God has sent them. GOD HAS ALLOWED THEM TO COME. They will be His tool of judgment against Judah & the world - unless they repent.

      When the plague of locusts and the drought devastated Judah, you might have thought that Joel would encourage the people. He might have said, "Hang in there! Things are bad, but they will get better. Tough times don't last, but tough people do." Instead Joel said, "You think that was bad? FAR FAR WORSE is to come if we DO NOT repent."

      Verses 12-17 tell us The prophet calls God's people to repent.

      "Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him; a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"

      Now, therefore … Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning...Because they heard the warning of judgment, God's people should repent. It's doesn't make their repentance LESS VALID because they had to be "scared" into it. The important thing is that they turn back to the LORD in SINCERITY, and God tells them how.

      THE MESSAGE IS THE SAME THEN AND NOW...RETURN TO JESUS...CALL UPON JESUS...REPENT WITH A TRUE HEART...THEN TRUST IN JESUS' MERCY, AMEN?

      Sincere repentance is to turn TO JESUS, and therefore away from our sin.

      Sincere repentance is done with ALL OUR heart, giving everything you can in surrender TO JESUS.

      Sincere repentance is marked BY ACTION(with fasting) and emotion (with weeping … mourning). Not every act of repentance will include fasting and weeping, but if action and emotion are absent, it IS NOT real repentance, AMEN?

      Rend your heart, and not your garments...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      One expression of mourning in Jewish culture is tearing the clothes & pouring dirt on your head. It was a way to say, "I am so overcome with grief that I DO NOT care if my clothes are ruined and I look bad." Joel knew that one could tear their garments without tearing their heart, and he describes the kind of repentance that really pleases God then and now...and it is SINCERE HEART REPENTANCE.

      JESUS CHRIST KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE. HE KNOWS PUBLIC AGGRANDIZEMENT, DRAMA, PLAYING TO THE PUBLIC TO GARNER SYMPATHY, EMPATHY, & ATTENTION IS LIKE TEARING YOUR GARMENTS...HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RENDING YOUR HEARTS...HEART CRIES, REPENTING CAN ONLY BE SEEN AND FELT AND HEARD BY JESUS CHRIST, AMEN?

      Spurgeon GIVES US A PERFECT TRUE EXAMPLE OF THE DIFFERENCE. DURING HIS MINISTRY, HE tells the story of a woman who came seeming to be in great sorrow, saying what a great sinner she was, but Spurgeon suspected her repentance wasn't sincere. He said, "Well, if you are a sinner of course you have broken God's laws. Let's read the Ten Commandments and see which ones you have broken." They started at the first: "You shall have no other gods before Me," and Spurgeon asked her if she ever broke that commandment. "Oh no," she said, "not that I know of." "'You shall not make any graven image' - did you ever break that one?" "Never, sir," she answered. As you might suppose, Spurgeon went through all Ten Commandments and she could not find a single one that she had broken, and what he suspected was true. She didn't really consider herself a sinner, and she was making a show of repentance because she thought it was expected of her.

      THE GOD WHO SEES ALL, READS ALL HEARTS AND MINDS...KNOWS SINCERE REPENTANCE FROM SHOW-BOATING, AND EMOTING REPENTANCE BECAUSE ALL AROUND THEM ARE, OR THEY ARE CALLED TO DO SO, AMEN?

      TRUE REPENTANCE THAT JESUS' WANTS IS ONE ON ONE, ON OUR KNEES, CRYING OUT TO JESUS, JUST US AND JESUS, AMEN?

      Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm...Knowing the goodness and mercy of God is another motive for true repentance. We come to Him confident that He will heal and forgive, and that He may relent from the judgment He announced.

      We don't repent with the idea "God is so mean that if I don't return to Him, He will squash me."

      Instead the idea is "God is so gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness that He will spare me from what I deserve if turn back to Him."

      ROMANS 2:4 CONFIRMS THIS...Ultimately, it is His goodness that leads us to repentance.

      Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      In addition to the same pattern of repentance he presented in Joel 1:14, Joel adds the ideas relevant to the bridegroom and the bride. The idea with these images is that in a time of repentance God's people cannot carry on "as usual." Usually the bridegroom belongs in his chamber and the bride belongs in her dressing room, but NOT NOW- it is time to repent. True repentance does not carry on with business as usual.

      TRUE REPENTANCE IS FORGET SCHEDULES, PLANS, AND THE USUAL DAY TO DAY....GET RIGHT AND CLOSE WITH JESUS FIRST. WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT JESUS IS A JEALOUS GOD. HE WANTS TO BE FIRST IN OUR HEARTS & LIVES, THEN CONSIDER AND DEAL WITH AND ATTEND TO THE REST OF OUR DAY AND LIFE, AMEN?

      Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar...Leaders among God's people must especially lead in repentance. They CAN NOT come with the attitude that THEY ARE HOLY AND FINE, BUT IT IS "their people" THAT NEED AND must repent. They must regard themselves as the people and the people as themselves and lead in repentance.

      Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach...Joel puts a rich prayer of repentance into the mouths of God's priests. It as if the priests should pray with the thought, "How can we persuade God to have mercy on us?"

      Spare: This implies that God's people deserve judgment, but they plead for mercy.

      Your people: This reminds God that they belong to Him, and provides another motivation for mercy.

      AND REMEMBER ABRAHAM...WHO CRIED OUT TO THE LORD ABOUT SODOM AND GOMORRAH IN GENESIS 18:28, "That be FAR FROM THEE to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

      ALMIGHTY GOD LOVES IT WHEN WE REMIND HIM OF WHAT WE KNOW OF HIM...THAT WHILE WE WILL FAIL AND FALL SHORT...OUR JESUS IS EVER LONG-SUFFERING, PATIENT, COMPASSIONATE, FORGIVING AND MERCIFUL, AMEN?

      Do not give Your heritage to reproach: This tells God that mercy unto His people will bring Him glory among the nations and that judgment may bring His name into discredit.

      I KNOW AS A PARENT, AND NOW A GRANDPARENT, NOTHING SO TOUCHES MY HEART, ERASES MY ANGER, UPSET, DISAPPOINTMENT QUICKER AND MORE COMPLETELY, THEN AND NOW, AS WHEN MY CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN HAVE LOOKED AT ME IN SORROW, WITH TEARS FILLING THEIR EYES, AND TELL ME THEY WERE WRONG, THEY ARE SORRY, AND TO FORGIVE THEM. AND I AM JUST A FLAWED HUMAN MYSELF, BUT WITH JESUS HEART AND HIS FEELINGS AND HIS TENDER MERCIES LIVING AND BREATHING AND FLOWING THROUGH MY HEART AND MIND, I AM INSTANTLY TOUCHED AND QUICK TO FORGIVE THE REPENTANT HEART, AMEN?

      HOW MUCH MORE PRECIOUS, ABLE, AND WILLING IS OUR JESUS TO FORGIVE A REPENTANT HEART!

      Verses 18-20 tells us God promises to defend His repentant people against the mighty army.

      "Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. The LORD will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. But I will remove far from you the northern army, and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; his stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things."

      Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people...Judah could know that when God's people sincerely repent, He notices from heaven. His zeal and pity are then turned FOR His people.

      I will send you grain and new wine and oil … I will remove far from you the northern army...God promised to restore material prosperity to a repentant Judah, and to defeat the mighty army from the north. Because this mighty army WILL DO monstrous things, God would turn the attention of His judgment away from His people and now against this mighty army.

      AND WE KNOW THAT ALMIGHTY GOD USES JERUSALEM AS THE CENTER OF THE HEAVENLY DIRECTIONAL COMPASS FOR THIS WORLD. SO DUE NORTH OF JERUSALEM IS RUSSIA. AND ALMIGHTY GOD TELLS & PROMISES JOEL HERE, AS HE HAS ISAIAH, EZEKIEL, DANIEL, JOHN, & PAUL AND MANY OTHERS THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE, OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT ALIKE, ONCE AGAIN THAT HE WILL DESTROY THE ARMY THAT SEEK TO ATTACK, HARM, REPROACH, AND DESTROY HIS PEOPLE.


      Verses 21-27 tell us Confidence in God's promise of restoration.

      "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you; the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame."

      Be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things! Joel looks forward to the restoration that God has promised, and he tells Judah to look forward in faith, and to praise God for the restoration He promises - even before they see it with their own eyes...and we know that is called FAITH.

      The open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit... With the eye of faith, Joel can already see, IN HIS HEART AND MIND WHAT GOD IS TELLING HIM WILL HAPPEN. JOEL SEES THE DEVASTATION THEN AND IN THE FUTURE OF THE JUDGMENT OF GOD UPON MANKIND AND THE EARTH, BUT GOD GIVES HIS FAITHFUL BELIEVING HEART, A VISION OF WHAT EVERYTHING WILL ONE DAY LOOK LIKE. All around him are the lush, fruitful pastures and trees that God has restored after the destruction.

      He has given you the former rain faithfully … and the latter rain in the first month...At the end of Joel 1, the prophet saw the destruction drought brought. Now with the eye of faith he sees God restoring both the former and latter rain to Israel.

      AND REMEMBER THIS...Ancient Israel had NO irrigation system, and relied on rain to water their crops. In a time of drought, nothing grew. God promises to restore both the former rain (falling in autumn) and the latter rain (falling in spring). When God restores these rains, Judah will have full threshing floors and wine vats.

      AND SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING....DID YOU KNOW?

      HERE ONCE AGAIN, SATAN TWISTS AND TWEAKS THE WORD OF GOD IN THE HEART OF MAN...TO MAKE A MOCKERY OF HIS WORD AND HIS PROMISES.

      This passage along with others (Deuteronomy 11:14, Hosea 6:3) were taken to give the name of the "Latter Rain Movement" starting in 1948 by William Branham. Branham influenced a generation of Pentecostal preachers, including a young protégé named Oral Roberts.

      THE LATTER RAIN MOVEMENT was marked by strange and aberrant doctrine and practices, the movement eventually faded from prominence and Branham himself died in a traffic collision with a drunk driver in 1965. He died on Christmas Eve, and his faithful followers believed HIS ABERRANT TEACHINGS SO MUCH, AND BELIEVED that he would rise from the dead, so they delayed his burial for several days.

      REGARDLESS, BRANHAM'S TEACHINGS WERE PROVEN FALSE AND ADDED TO IT HE DID NOT RESURRECT HIMSELF AS PROMISED...the influence of the Latter Rain movement lived on.

      AND SADLY, The Latter Rain popularized many attitudes and FALSE doctrines popular in revival movements today:

      - The "five-fold ministry" and "restoration of apostle and prophets"
      - The "foundational truths" of Hebrews 6:1-2
      - An emphasis on signs and wonders as marks of true revival
      - A strong emphasis on unity
      - Replacement theology, replacing Israel with the church
      - Dominion theology, saying the church will conquer and rule the world
      - An elitist attitude, promoting the idea of a group of "super christians"

      Many researchers - and many within these modern groups today - believe that many modern "revival" movements are really just a continuation of the Latter Rain movement.

      Movements such as "Joel's Army," the Manifest Sons of God, the Dominion Movement, the Kansas City Prophets, the Toronto Blessing, the Pensacola Revival are connected in some way to the Latter Rain movement. For example, Paul Cain - later to re-emerge as head of the Kansas City Prophets in 1989 - traveled with William Branham and INSANELY called him "the greatest prophet that ever lived."

      THIS ONCE AGAIN CONFIRMS THAT SATAN DECEIVES, PLANTS TWISTING SEEDS, THOUGHTS, AND IDEAS INTO RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGIES. AND TRUTH BE TOLD, SATAN IS NOT CONCERNED ABOUT ANY OF THESE RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGIES AS LONG AS THEY STRAY AWAY FROM THE BIBLE TRUTHS AND THE TRUE FOCUS OF THE BIBLE ON JESUS CHRIST AND HIS GRACE AND MERCY BLOOD SACRIFICE UNTO SALVATION.

      THAT IS WHY OUR TRIUNE GOD TELLS US MORE THAN 200 TIMES IN THE BIBLE...TO TRUST IN HIM...IN HIM ALONE...TO BELIEVE HIS WORD...TO BELIEVE IN HIM.

      TEST THE SPIRITS...DO NOT SIMPLY ACCEPT WHAT YOU ARE TOLD AS GOD'S WORD, REGARDLESS WHO IT COMES FROM, BE THEY TEACHER, PREACHER, PROFESSOR, EVANGELIST...WHOMEVER.

      THAT IS ANOTHER REASON, I PLAGIARIZE OUR TRIUNE GOD'S HOLY WORD AND I GIVE YOU CHAPTER AND VERSE TO CHECK OUT AND VERIFY FOR YOURSELF. AS THOSE WHO GIVE BIBLE STUDIES SAY OFTEN, IT IS ALL JESUS AND NONE OF ME. OUR FOCUS SHOULD ALWAYS POINT TO THE BIBLE AND JESUS WORD AND NEVER TOWARD THE BIBLE STUDY GIVER, AMEN?

      WHEN WE READ HIS WORD, WHEN WE SEEK HIS WILL, COMMANDS, AND WAYS...WE WILL NEVER BE DECEIVED BY THE TWISTING, THE TWEAKING, THE OMISSIONS WHISPERED BY SATAN AND FOLLOWED THROUGH ON BY MAN AND HIS OWN CREATED RELIGIOSITIES, AMEN?

      I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      THIS IS ANOTHER PRECIOUS PROMISE FROM GOD. God EVEN promises TO RESTORE what was taken away FROM US in chastisement. When the locusts did their work, it looked complete and final, but God promises that He can even restore the years that the swarming locusts has eaten.

      SPURGEON SAYS IT WELL..."It will strike you at once that the locusts did not eat the years: the locusts ate the fruits of the years' labor, the harvests of the fields; so that the meaning of the restoration of the years must be the restoration of those fruits and of those harvests which the locusts consumed. You cannot have back your time; but there is a strange and wonderful way in which God can give back to you the wasted blessings, the unripened fruits of years over which you mourned. The fruits of wasted years may yet be yours."

      Verses 28-32 tells us The ultimate restoration and the ultimate day of the LORD.

      "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls."

      AND NOW WE WHO HAVE READ AND STUDIED THE COMING 4 BLOOD MOONS & SOLAR ECLIPSES PROPHESIED IN JOEL, DANIEL, MATTHEW, EZEKIEL, ISAIAH, AND REVELATION AND NOW CONFIRMED BY NASA...THAT BEGIN APRIL 15, 2014...ON A JEWISH HOLY DAY...WE KNOW THAT THESE SIGNS ARE JUST ANOTHER WARNING AND SIGN IN THE HEAVENS FROM ALMIGHTY GOD OF THE USHERING IN OF THE ENDTIMES, AMEN?

      It shall come to pass afterward...After THE GREAT TRIBULATION, JOEL TELLS US AND SEES THE ultimate restoration and blessing. This latter time will be marked by an outpouring of God's Spirit on ALL FLESH- not only selected men at selected times for selected duties...BUT ALL MANKIND WHO ASK AND RECEIVE IN FAITH BELIEVING.

      The Old Testament has a rich record of the work of the Spirit, but He was NOT poured out on ALL FLESH under the Old Covenant. Instead, certain men were filled with the Spirit at certain times and only for certain duties in the OLD TESTAMENT. It was rather selective:

      - Joseph was filled with the Spirit of God (Genesis 41:38)
      - The craftsmen who built the tabernacle were filled with the Spirit of God (Exodus 31:3)
      - Joshua was filled with the Spirit of God (Numbers 27:18)
      - The judge Othniel was filled with the Spirit of God (Judges 3:10)
      - The judge Gideon was filled with the Spirit of God (Judges 6:34)
      - The judge Jephthah was filled with the Spirit of God (Judges 11:29)
      - The judge Samson was filled with the Spirit of God (Judges 13:5, 14:6, 14:19, 15:14)
      - Saul was filled with the Spirit of God (1 Samuel 10:9-10)
      - David was filled with the Spirit of God (1 Samuel 16:13)

      Here, Joel looks forward to the glorious New Covenant, when the Spirit of God would be poured out on all flesh. Why, even your sons and daughters, your old men, and your young men would be filled with the Spirit of God.

      This was FIRST fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the disciples gathered in the upper room, waiting in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised would come in Acts 1:4-5. When the outpouring of the Spirit came, the 120 followers of Jesus were all filled with the Spirit and began to praise God in other tongues (languages).

      WHY DID THE 120 SUDDENLY KNOW HOW TO SPEAK IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES?

      Jerusalem was crowded at that time, because of the feast of Pentecost - so a crowd FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD CAME TO WORSHIP, AND WHEN THESE 120 GALILEANS (who were considered backwoods, untravelled, uneducated for the most part) started speaking in SWAHILI, URDU, GREEK, AND A GREAT NUMBER OF OTHER LANGUAGES, CAUSED A QUICK GATHERING AT THE COMMOTION THEY MADE, WHEN THEY ALL BEGAN SHARING THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST, IN THESE VISITORS OWN FOREIGN LANGUAGES.

      SOME who heard the disciples (THESE BACKWOODS PEOPLE) praise God in their languages began to mock them, claiming they were drunk. WHICH ALWAYS BEWILDERED AND AMUSED ME, BECAUSE IN MY LIFE, I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD DRUNKS SPEAK...AND NONE OF THEM WERE ELOQUENT, GIVEN TO SPEAKING IN OTHER LANGUAGES, MUCH LESS COHERENT, AMEN?

      BUT Peter DID NOT DEBATE THEM, YOU NOTICE WHAT HE DID WAS STEP UP AND BOLDLY set the record straight: the disciples were not drunk at all, but this was a fulfillment of Joel's great prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit & THE OUTPOURING OF JESUS SPIRIT THAT HE HAD PROMISED THEM, AMEN?

      AND ANOTHER REASON THEY SCOFFED, WAS THEY KNEW THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND THE IDEA of 120 followers of a crucified man being filled with the Holy Spirit, WAS BASED on their understanding of the Old Testament.

      THEY PROBABLY THOUGHT..."These 120 COMMON people are not kings or prophets or priests; THE OLD TESTAMENT TELLS US God ONLY pours out His Spirit on SPECIAL people for special duties. THEY CONVENIENTLY FORGET THAT MOST OF THE OLD TESTAMENT BIBLE GREATS...BEGAN AS NOBODYS...UNTIL OUR PRECIOUS LORD GOD TURNED THEM INTO POWERHOUSES FOR HIM, AMEN?

      BUT THESE GLOBAL ATTENDEES, ONLY THOSE THEM AS common folk, and God doesn't pour out His Spirit on them."

      Peter uses the prophecy of Joel to show them that things are different now, just as God said they would be. Now, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all who believe and receive, EVEN the common folk, (COMMON FOLK MEANING NOT ONLY GENTILES, WHO WERE CONSIDERED STRANGERS/ALIENS/PAGANS, BUT CHRISTIAN JEWS, WHO DID NOT HAVE THE ELITIST EDUCATIONS & PRIESTLY TRAINING). Now God offered a New Covenant relationship, and part of the New Covenant was the outpouring of the Spirit for all who WILL receive in faith.

      AND WE REMEMBER THAT Peter's sermon of the Day of Pentecost also shows us that there is NEVER any disparity between the work of the Spirit and the work of the Word. When Peter was filled with the Spirit of God in the midst of miraculous signs and wonders as he had never experienced before, what did he do?

      He said, "Let's open up our Bibles to the book of Joel." He had a Bible study, one that both taught the 120 disciples (they better understood their experience according to the Scriptures) and called the lost to salvation.

      We also notice that Peter's application was exactly the same as the application made by the Prophet Joel: REPENT.

      Joel 2:12-13 said, "Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God.
      Peter said in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

      And also on My menservants and on My maidservants: In this latter time, ALL the servants of the LORD will be filled with His Spirit in this unique and powerful way. Under the New Covenant, every believer can receive the full measure of the Spirit, and be used in a special and wonderful way,AMEN?

      IT BREAKS MY HEART TO HEAR PRIESTS, PREACHERS, TEACHERS, AND EVANGELISTS ADDING THINGS TO SALVATION, AS IF THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST WAS NOT REALLY COMPLETED. THEY ACTUALLY TEACH THAT THEY (FLAWED MANKIND) HAS TO COMPLETE IT. THEY TEACH THAT THEY HAVE TO CHANNEL THE COMPLETION OF SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST THROUGH THEM AND THEIR RELIGIONS BEFORE IT CAN BE LIFTED AND HEARD, ANSWERED, & THEN FULFILLED BY GOD.

      THEY SAY, NOW THAT YOU HAVE REPENTED, CALLED UPON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, INVITED HIM INTO YOUR HEART AND LIFE TO BE YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR, AND HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED, THEY (A SUNDRY OF IDEOLOGIES) TEACH AND SAY, IF YOU ARE REALLY SAVED YOU WILL RISE OUT OF THE BAPTISMAL WATERS PROPHESYING OR SPEAKING IN TONGUES...IF YOU DO NOT...THEN JESUS HAS REJECTED YOU.

      AND/OR YOU STILL NEED WORK TO BE SAVED. THAT YOU THEN MUST THEN BE BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND RECEIVE THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BY/THROUGH OUR TEACHINGS. YOU MUST ATTEND OUR CLASSES AND OUR SCHOOLS ON HOW TO MANIFEST THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, WE MUST TEACH YOU HOW TO SPEAK IN TONGUES, PROPHESY, HAVE WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE, HEAVENLY WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT...TO INSURE YOU ARE SAVED.

      ALL THE ABOVE ARE LIES STRAIGHT FROM THE LIPS OF SATAN TO MANKIND.

      JESUS DID THE COMPLETE WORK...THE INSTANT YOU REPENT, CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, INVITE HIM INTO YOUR HEART AND LIFE TO BE YOUR LORD SAVIOR AND FRIEND...JESUS' HOLY SPIRIT (THE COMFORTER) COMES TO LIVE WITHIN YOUR HEART...IT CHANGES IT...MAKES IT NEW IN HIM. YOU BEGIN TO SPEND TIME SEEKING AND READING JESUS WORD, SPEND TIME EACH DAY IN PRAYER & CONVERSATION WITH JESUS, AND HE WILL GIVE AND MANIFEST IN YOU ALL YOU NEED, WHEN YOU NEED IT, AND AS THE BIBLE TELLS US...AS THE HOLY SPIRIT WILLS IT, AMEN?

      THERE ARE NO EXTRA STEPS, CLASSES, SCHOOLS, OR RITUALS OF MAN NEEDED....JESUS PAID IT ALL... OUR JESUS DID IT ALL, AMEN?

      Sometimes the common churchgoer simply wants a building to worship in, a nice service that isn't too offensive, and a good sermon - after that he thinks, leave me alone. I HAVE DONE MY CHRISTIAN DUTY FOR THE WEEK.
      That isn't New Covenant Christianity, which sees the work of the ministry as belonging to the people, not the "clergy."

      AND AS SATAN IS EVER TWISTING AND DECEIVING...Some people have taken this idea and run too far with it saying,

      "Therefore we don't need ministers or clergy or a church. We believe in the priesthood of all believers, so there is no room for offices of any kind in the church."

      This ignores the clear teaching of Scripture, which says that the work of the ministry belongs to all the people of God, but the work of equipping the saints belongs to God-appointed offices and ministries TOLD TO US IN Ephesians 4:7-16.

      It is because the ministry belongs to all Christians that God has appointed offices and ministries to equip every saint to fulfill their role. Acts 2:42-47 describes a wonderful fulfillment of this ideal.

      I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth...This time of great outpouring of the Spirit of God will culminate with cataclysmic signs in the heavens and the great and awesome day of the LORD.

      On the Day of Pentecost, the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled, but not consummated.

      WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

      Peter rightly saw that this was a remarkable BEGINNING OF THE outpouring of the Spirit of God, given freely upon all who believe and receive as was promised in the New Covenant (and we all know that JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF IS THE NEW COVENANT) & ALSO told to us in Ezekiel 11:19, 36:24-28.

      The prophecy of Joel was also especially appropriate, because the Day of Pentecost ushered in the BEGINNING OF THE LAST DAYS - with history now moving along the edge of the consummation of all things, not rushing towards it as a distant point.

      THE LAST DAYS OFFICIALLY BEGAN WHEN JESUS CHRIST RETURNED TO HEAVEN AS THE DISCIPLES WATCHED HIM GO...AND WITH THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS AND TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSES BEGINNING IN APRIL 2014...TELL US WE ARE CLOSER STILL, AT THE VERY DOOR BEFORE THE USHERING IN OF THE LAST SEVEN YEARS OF MAN AND SATAN'S DOMINION ON THE EARTH, AMEN?

      Whoever calls on the name of the LORD SHALL be saved...
      YOU NOTICE, CONTRARY TO SOME TEACHINGS, ALL THROUGH THE BIBLE, IT SAYS WHOSOEVER WILL COME...WHOSOEVER WILL CALL UPON JESUS...SHALL BE SAVED...NOT MAYBE...NOT MIGHT...NOT HOPEFULLY...BUT A DECLARATIVE STATEMENT...AND ABSOLUTE COMPLETE PROMISE...YOU SHALL BE SAVED!

      This is another glorious promise REMINDER, GIVEN AND SHOWN JOEL...LONG BEFORE THE NEW COVENANT, JESUS CHRIST, WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM!

      In this time of the poured-out Spirit of God, salvation will no longer be a matter of association with national Israel.

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

      ISRAEL, WAS AND SHALL EVER BE GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE. ISRAEL SHALL EVER BE GOD'S WIFE...BUT BECAUSE OF THE REJECTION OF JESUS CHRIST BY HIS OWN, BY THE NATION OF ISRAEL, ALMIGHTY GOD PROMISES ONCE AGAIN HERE IN JOEL, TO MAKE A NEW COVENANT, OFFER TO SALVATION TO ALL, TO ANY, TO WHOSOEVER calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved - no matter what nation, tongue, tribe, male or female, young or old, they come from.

      This is a broad call - WHOEVER CALLS on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

      CHARLES SPURGEON SAYS IT WELL..."'Ah!' you say, 'I wish my name was written down in the Bible.' Would it comfort you at all? If it were written in the Scripture, 'Charles Haddon Spurgeon shall be saved,' I am afraid I should not get much comfort out of the promise, for I should go home, and fetch out the London Directory, and see if there was not another person of that name, or very like it. How much worse would it be for the Smiths and the Browns! No, my brethren, do not ask to see your name in the inspired volume; but be content with what you do see, namely, your character! When the Scripture says, 'Whosoever,' you cannot shut yourself out of that."

      This is a call to prayer - whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

      AGAIN CHARLES SPURGEON SAYS IT WELL..."You cannot perish praying; no one has ever done so. If you could perish praying, you would be a new wonder in the universe. A praying soul in hell is an utter impossibility. A man calling on God and rejected of God! - the supposition is not to be endured. 'Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' God himself must lie, he must quit his nature, forfeit his claim to mercy, destroy his character of love, if he were to let a poor sinner call upon his name, and yet refuse to hear him."

      This is a call to come to the true God - whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. Coming to a false god, a god of your own imagination will do you NO good. The god of your opinion does not exist and cannot save you. You must come to the God of the Bible.

      REGARDLESS WHAT SATAN AND MAN AND RELIGIOSITIES CLAIM....THERE IS BUT ONE TRIUNE GOD. THERE IS BUT ONE CREATOR GOD.

      SPURGEON ADDS, "The pity of it is that the most of people in these days worship a god of their own invention. They do not make an image of clay, or of gold, but they construct a deity in their minds according to their own thoughts. They proudly judge as to what God ought to be, and they will not receive God as he really is. What is this but a god-making as gross as that which is performed by the heathen? What can be more wicked than to attempt to imagine a better god than the one true and living God? As the deity of your fancy has no existence, I would not recommend you to trust in him."

      This is a call to come to God intelligently - whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

      SPURGEON AGAIN ADDS, "Now, by the word 'name' we understand the person, the character of the Lord. The more, then, you know about the Lord, and the better you know his name, the more intelligently will you call upon that name. If you know his power, you will call upon that power to help you. If you know his mercy, you will call upon him in his grace to save you. If you know his wisdom, you feel that he knows your difficulties, and can help you through them."

      This is a certain promise - whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. It is a profound mystery why all do not receive this great invitation, but the text itself tells us that only a remnant receives it (among the remnant whom the LORD calls). Yet all who do come are certainly saved.

      CHARLES SPURGEON ADDS, "Suppose we, who trust alone in Jesus, should perish, what then? Why, it would be to the everlasting dishonor of the Lord in whom we trusted. We should lose our souls certainly, but he would lose his honor. Think of one of us being able to say in hell, 'I trusted in the boasted Savior's aid, and rested myself on God, and yet I am lost.' Sirs, heaven itself would be darkened, and the crown jewels of God would lose their lustre, if that could once be the case! But it cannot be. If you trust in the Lord God Almighty, he will save you as surely as he is God."

      ONCE AGAIN, ALMIGHTY GOD, PROMISES WHOSOEVER WILL COME...WHOSOEVER WILL CALL...THAT HE IS SENDING HIS MOST PRECIOUS AND PRICELESS AND PERFECT SON TO PAY OUR SIN DEBT.

      JOEL 2, AS ALL THROUGH THE BIBLE, OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT, ALMIGHTY GOD PROMISES TO SEND HIS GIFT, HIS GENTLE LAMB FIRST, BUT FOR THOSE WHO STILL REJECT HIS GENTLE LAMB GIFT, HE IS ALSO PROMISING THAT HIS LION OF JUDAH IS COMING.

      ALMIGHTY GOD IS SAYING TO US TODAY, I SENT YOU MY GENTLE LAMB, BUT MY LION OF JUDAH IS COMING.

      ACCEPT MY GENTLE LAMB, OR FACE MY LION OF JUDAH.

      CALL ON THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES. CALL UPON JESUS AND YOU SHALL BE SAVED!

    • July 6, 2016 3:54 AM EDT
    • JOEL 3

      OPENS WITH.....Judgment in the Valley of Decision & A WARNING TO THE NATIONS

      Verses 1-3 tells us A promise to bring back scattered and mistreated Israel.

      "For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land. They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy as payment for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink."

      In those days and at that time...Joel's prophecy still concerns the time period connected with it shall come to pass afterward mentioned in Joel 2:28. This is the broad period of the Last Days, initiated by the Ascension of Jesus and the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost.

      Many have the wrong idea of the "last days," thinking only in terms of the final years or months immediately before the return of Jesus in glory to this earth, or the rapture of the Church. Scripturally, we can think of the last days as an era, one that began with the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost. Since that time, the Church has not been rushing towards a distant edge that represents the consummation of all things. Instead, at the Day of Pentecost the Church came to the edge - and has run parallel to the brink for some 2,000+ years.

      When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem...

      In a lesser, immediate sense this was fulfilled in the return from the Babylonian exile. As well, LATER when ISRAEL BECAME A NATION IN 1948. BUT In the greater, ULTIMATE sense it will be fulfilled in the end-times regathering of Israel, to the point where an expectant Israel WELCOMES Jesus saying, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" told to us in Matthew 23:39 and salvation comes to Israel as a WHOLE NATION told to us in Romans 11:26-27.

      I WILL also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat...

      Joel here describes the final gather of the NATIONS in rebellion against God at the Battle of Armageddon told to us in Revelation 16:12-16. AS WELL, THE FINAL BATTLE WHEN SATAN IS LOOSED FOR A TIME, AFTER THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST ON EARTH.

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, There is NO place in Israel NOR IN THE BIBLE REFERRED TO OR KNOWN as the Valley of Jehosphaphat but the name Jehoshaphat means, "The Lord Judges." It describes God's place of judgment.

      This is a judgment of ALL nations, UNBELIEVING NATIONS AND PEOPLES OF THE EARTH. Joel was written at a time when a terrible plague of locusts brought the judgment of God upon the people of God. At a time like that, it is easy to think "God, You are dealing harshly with us, but what about the UNGODLY nations? We may be bad, but they are worse. Don't you care about them?" God uses Joel 3 to assure Israel & THE PROPHET JOEL that the nations WILL BE dealt with IN HIS PERFECT TIMING.

      I will enter into judgment with them there on account of MY PEOPLE...

      God's complaint against the nations is that they have MISTREATED His people. Primarily, this has in view the way the nations treat Israel, but also extends to how the nations HAVE TREATED the Church, CHRISTIANS, JESUS FAMILY DOWN THROUGH TIME. When God's people are mistreated, God takes it personally and WILL avenge it.

      In the judgment of the nations Jesus described in Matthew 25:31-46, the criteria is not faith in Jesus Christ but how the nations have treated the people of Israel - the brethren of Jesus. Held on the earth after His return in glory, THIS judgment IN MATTHEW TELLS US JESUS WILL DETERMINE who is allowed to SURVIVE & enter into the Millennial Earth, and who goes straight to judgment.

      They have cast lots for My people...It is bad enough for man to regard any human life as cheap; it is worse to regard the people of God as cheap. God remembers and will repay.

      WE, AS CHRISTIANS, WHO HAVE STUDIED AND SEEN THE PERSECUTION, SCORN, MURDER, TORTURE OF JESUS FAMILY DOWN THROUGH TIME, TEND TO THINK...ALMIGHTY GOD HAS FORGOTTEN ABOUT US! I MEAN, IT HAS BEEN OVER 2000 YEARS AND MORE AND MORE EVERY DAY WE SEE EVIL BEING CALLED GOOD AND GOOD BEING CALLED EVIL. WE SEE JESUS BLASPHEMED, HIS WORD, HIS COMMANDMENTS, REMOVED FROM ALL THINGS...AND WE THINK, FATHER GOD HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN YOUR CHILDREN? DO YOU NOT SEE THAT WE ARE BEING HARMED, ATTACKED, TORTURED, AND CONDEMNED AND OUR CRIME BEING THAT WE REFUSE TO REJECT JESUS CHRIST AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR?! HOW LONG LORD JESUS WILL YOU CONTINUE TO ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO SUFFER?

      BUT WE TEND TO FORGET, THAT TIME AS WE KNOW IT, IS FOR US. A THOUSAND YEARS IS A THOUSAND YEARS...AND THAT IS A LONG TIME.., BUT HEAVEN AND THE ETERNAL DO NOT MEASURE TIME AS MANKIND AND THE EARTH DOES.

      REMEMBER JESUS TOLD US, A DAY IS AS A THOUSAND YEARS AND A THOUSAND YEARS AS A DAY.

      SO AS FAR AS HEAVEN IS CONCERNED, JESUS HAS ONLY BEEN GONE FROM THE EARTH A FEW SECONDS IN ETERNAL TIME.

      WHEN WE REALIZE THIS AND WE REALIZE ALSO THAT OUR LIFE IS A VAPOR ON THE WIND, ONLY HERE FOR A BLINK OF TIME, COMPARED TO ETERNITY, THAT IS FOREVER AND FOREVER. THEN WE ARE JUST PASSING THROUGH, AMEN?

      AND JUST AS I TOLD MY GRANDCHILDREN, WHO ASKED ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF JESUS FAMILY...AND HOW LONG THEY HAVE BEEN SUFFERING....I EXPLAINED IT TO THEM THIS WAY.

      WHEN MAMA TAKES YOU TO THE DOCTOR FOR A PHYSICAL, AND YOU ARE TOLD THAT YOU NEED A SHOT. YOU ARE SCARED AT THAT MOMENT, RIGHT? YOU DREAD IT! BUT MAMA TELLS YOU, IT WILL BE OKAY, IT IS ONLY A LITTLE PINCH, A LITTLE PAIN, THEN IT WILL BE OVER AND DONE, AND WITHIN A FEW MINUTES YOU WILL NOT FEEL THE PAIN, RIGHT?

      THAT IS WHAT OUR LIVES ARE RIGHT NOW, WHATEVER WE FACE, WHATEVER HURTS, SORROWS, PAINS, TRIALS, AND ATTACKS WE FACE RIGHT NOW...ARE ONLY A BLINK IN TIME, ARE ONLY A LITTLE PINCH, A LITTLE PAIN, THEN IT WILL BE OVER, AND WE WILL BE IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS AND NEVER EVER SUFFER PAIN, SADNESS, HURT, SHAME, TRIALS, OR TRIBULATIONS EVERRRRRRRRR AGAIN.

      Verses 4-8 tells us God warns the nations that He will retaliate against those who have mistreated His people.

      "Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head; because you have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My prized possessions. Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem you have sold to the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their borders. Behold, I will raise them out of the place to which you have sold them, and will return your retaliation upon your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off; for the LORD has spoken."

      Will you retaliate against ME? God virtually challenges the nations to come against Him or His people. He vows to return your retaliation upon your own head to those who come against Him or His people.

      JUST AS ALMIGHTY GOD WARNED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT TOUCH NOT MY ANOINTED...HE IS SAYING IT AGAIN...YOU DARE TO CHALLENGE ME AND HURT MY PEOPLE...MY BELOVED CHILDREN...YOU WILL PAY DEARLY FOR IT!

      Judgment is about the only aspect of God's plan of the ages that is plainly logical.

      THERE IS AN ADAGE, I HAVE NO DOUBT, ITS ORIGINS WERE SATAN INSPIRED THAT SAYS..."IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT IS PROBABLY A LIE."

      MANKIND IS PREDISPOSED TO BELIEVE ANYTHING FREELY GIVEN IS SUSPECT. THE MIND INSTANTLY THINKS, "OKAY, BUT WHAT IS THIS GIFT GOING TO COST ME?"

      "THERE IS NOTHING ABSOLUTE BUT FOR DEATH AND TAXES."

      AS FAR AS ANYTHING MANKIND HAS OR OFFERS, WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE SUSPICIOUS...BUT NOT WITH OUR CREATOR GOD.

      YET HOW MANY TIMES HAVE EACH OF US SHARED THE SAVING REDEEMING GIFT OF SALVATION IN JESUS WITH THE LOST AND GOTTEN THE STEP BACK? THE BEADY EYE?

      The grace and mercy of God is NOT plainly logical TO LOST MANKIND.

      Salvation by grace through faith is NOT plainly logical.

      The high standing and destiny of the believer in Jesus is NOT plainly logical.

      Judgment - God simply giving those who reject Him what they deserve - IS plainly logical.

      It is as if God says to the wicked, "You rejected the saving logic of heaven, so I will give you the plain logic of earth: you will receive what you deserve before the holy court of MY FAIR RIGHTEOUS justice."

      I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah... The nations treated God's people with contempt, and had no sense of their worth. Therefore, God will repay them with the contempt they put upon His people, vowing to return your retaliation upon your own head.

      Trapp details the horrors that befell the ten Emperors of the Roman Empire that persecuted Christians & all these horrors combined will be as NOTHING compared to what ALMIGHTY GOD WILL DO THE REJECTING WORLD AND MANKIND DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

      - Nero lost 30,000 of his subjects by pestilence, had his armies utterly defeated in Britain, suffered a revolution in Armenia, and was so hated by the senators of Rome that they forced him to kill himself
      - Domitian was butchered by his own soldiers
      - Trajan died of a foul disease
      - Severus died miserably on a military campaign in Britain
      - Maximus was cut in pieces, together with his own son
      - Decius died as an exile in a far country
      - Valerian was whipped to death by the King of Persia who captured him
      - Aurelian was killed by his own soldiers
      - Dioclesian poisoned himself
      - Maximum hanged himself

      "Ye cannot tread upon the least toe in Christ's body, but the head cries out from heaven, Why hurtest thou me?"

      Paul found this out on the road to Damascus, when Jesus asked him Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? in Acts 9:4.

      AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, JESUS HAS PROMISED THAT WE WILL BE THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL. IN THIS TIME, BUT REMEMBER WE WILL RULE AND REIGN OVER ALL THE EARTH DURING THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST ON EARTH.

      I HAVE HAD THOSE SAY, JESUS HAS CALLED ME TO STUDY AND PREPARE FOR THE MINISTRY, THE MISSION FIELD, BUSINESS, TECHNOLOGIES, MEDICINE, LAW, TEACHING, DAYCARE, BANKING...WHY, SINCE THE WORLD IS DEVOLVING AND THE SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS AND IN THE BIBLE TELL US THAT JESUS COULD COME ANY DAY. WHY HAS HE CALLED ME TO DO SO? ONCE THE RAPTURE OCCURS WE WILL BE SNATCHED AWAY, CAUGHT UP TO MEET JESUS IN THE CLOUDS, AND GO TO HEAVEN. I WILL NOT CARE ABOUT OR NEED ALL THESE THINGS JESUS HAS CALLED ME TO DO!

      I REMIND THEM THEN, YOU ARE FORGETTING THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST ON THIS EARTH.

      WE WILL COME BACK, IN OUR IMMORTAL, PURE INCORRUPTIBLE BODIES, WE WILL HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST, WE WILL READ THE HEARTS & MINDS OF ALL MANKIND. AND WE WILL THEN BE THE HEAD OF ALL THINGS ON THIS EARTH. THERE WILL BE ORPHANS, CHILDREN THAT WILL NEED PARENTS LOVE. THERE WILL BE BUSINESSES TO RUN, GOVERNMENTS TO HEAD, COURTS TO HEAD, SCHOOLS TO HEAD, MISSIONS FIELD TO MINISTER TO, BANKS TO RUN, THEIR WILL BE ALL AREAS OF THIS EARTH THAT WILL NEED HEADS...AND JESUS CHRIST FAMILY WILL HEAD THEM ALL. SO WHAT YOU ARE LEARNING, GROWING IN, FOCUSING ON NOW...JESUS WILL NOT WASTE. HE IS PREPARING US TO RULE THE WORLD WITH HIM WHEN WE RETURN, AMEN?

      Verses 9-13 tells us Gathering the nations for a war of judgment.

      "Proclaim this among the nations: "Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, 'I am strong.'" Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great."

      Prepare for war! God challenges the nations to prepare for war against Him.

      AND REVELATION 16:12-16 tells us the nations in league with the Antichrist will do just that.

      God will simply laugh at the puny and futile preparations by the nations told to us in Psalm 2.

      Beat your plowshares into swords...If you are going to go into battle against God, you should have every weapon available! You should also practice your best positive thinking: let the weak say, "I am strong." Nevertheless, the most positive attitude can't work when man sets himself against His Maker.

      DID YOU KNOW...There was a Broadway play titled "Your Arms are Too Short to Box with God." This is what the nations don't know, but will learn the hard way.

      I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations...Though the nations come against God and His Messiah with every weapon and the most positive frame of mind, it is all for NOTHING. They will be plucked like a ripe harvest and crushed in judgment.

      Psalm 2:1-6 beautifully expresses the folly of the nations and the triumph of the LORD.

      "Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: "Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion."

      Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full...Revelation 14:14-20 also uses this image of the winepress of the wrath of God to describe Jesus' judgment on the nations at Armageddon.

      Verses 14-17 tells us The Day of the LORD in the valley of decision.

      "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again."

      Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!

      GOD GIVES JOEL A VISION AND Joel looks out upon the Valley of Jehoshaphat at the Battle of Armageddon, and sees multitudes facing their eternal fate - truly, it is a valley of decision, and those who fight against the LORD and His Messiah are in the wrong place in the valley of decision, ultimately fulfilled at the Battle of Armageddon.

      The idea of the "Valley of Decision" has been used in countless evangelistic meetings to show people that they stand in the "Valley of Decision," and must decide for or against Jesus.

      Joel's context is exactly the OPPOSITE.

      Man DOES indeed stand in the valley of decision, but it is God who does the deciding, not man. ALL THOSE WHO COME TO THE VALLEY TO DESTROY ISRAEL, THE CHRISTIANS, & THE 144,000 AND HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN SATAN & HIS ANTICHRIST, & THEY HAVE TAKEN HIS MARK.

      SO IT WILL BE A VALLEY OF JUDGMENT- and this is just ANOTHER REMINDER AND WARNING THAT we should decide for Jesus right now so we NEVER stand in this valley of decision, AMEN?

      The heavens and earth WILL shake...Joel goes back to the descriptions of cosmic cataclysm that were mentioned in Joel 2:30-31. In the midst of it all, the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel, and He will restore both His people and His city to glory.

      Verses 18-21 tells us Blessing on God's people, desolation for the nations.

      "And it will come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; a fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD and water the Valley of Acacias. "Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of violence against the people of Judah, for they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; for the LORD dwells in Zion."

      The mountains shall drip with new wine … all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water...After God's final victory, there is lasting abundance and the days of drought are just a distant memory. Instead, Egypt shall be a desolation, along with the other enemies of the LORD and His people.

      A fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD...

      Ezekiel 47 describes waters flowing from the house of the LORD in the time after Jesus' triumphant return, in the Millennium.
      Zechariah 14:8 also speaks of a great flow of water from Jerusalem, emptying both into the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

      The Valley of Acacias (Valley of Shittim) was a place associated with both failure and victory. It is located on the eastern side of the Jordan River, to the north of the Dead Sea. It was where the King of Moab sent his young women to the men of Israel to seduce them into idolatry and sexual immorality told to us in Numbers 25:1-3.

      It was also the launching place for the armies of Israel when they set out against Jericho and Canaan in the days of Joshua told to us in Joshua 2:1 and 3:1.

      When water from the house of the LORD flows down to the valley of Acacias, then God's grace and provision covers the past - EVERY sin, every victory is covered over by Him.

      But Judah shall abide forever … for the LORD dwells in Zion... God will show mercy to His people, and grant them forgiveness. This prophecy of Joel, which began with the desperate plague of locusts, HAS ITS ULTIMATE END with a promise of restoration and redemption.

      TRAPP, A WONDERFUL BIBLE SCHOLAR SAYS, "This is the last promise, but not the least. It referreth, saith Danaeus, to Christ taking our flesh, by which he dwelt among us being God manifest in the flesh … since he dwelleth with his Church for ever, as it is in the precedent verse, and maketh her a true Jehovah Shammah, as she is called Ezekiel 48:35."

      CLARKE ADDS, "This prophet, who has many things similar to Ezekiel, ends his prophecy in nearly the same way: Ezekiel says of the glory of the Church, Jehovah Shammah, THE LORD IS THERE. Joel says, Jehovah Shochen Betsiyon, THE LORD DWELLETH IN ZION. Both point TO THE the continued UNFAILING, indwelling of Christ among his people."

      CHOOSE JESUS NOW..

      PEOPLE SAY, WELL IF I SEE JESUS IN THE CLOUDS, I WILL CRY OUT AND BE SAVED IN THAT INSTANT...THEY ARE WRONG.

      THE RAPTURE HAPPENS IN A TWINKLING OF AN EYE, THAT IS FAR FASTER THAN A BLINK.

      AND EVEN ABOVE THAT, THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT TOMORROW IS PROMISED TO NONE....TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.
      SO SEEK JESUS WHILE YOU MAY...BECAUSE ONCE YOU BREATHE YOUR LAST AND YOUR HEART STOPS...IT IS TOO LATE.

      NO CHOICE...DELAY...REJECTION...DISMISSAL IS CONSIDERED IN THE EYES OF ALMIGHTY GOD REJECTION OF HIS PRECIOUS SON JESUS CHRIST AND IF MANKIND REJECTS HIS SON, THEN GOD REJECTS THEM.
       
       

    • July 6, 2016 3:51 AM EDT
    • TONIGHT BEGINS A NINE WEEK STUDY OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL...
       
      Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
       
      Daniel Chapter 1-2
       
      Tell us who and what Daniel was?
       
      CAN WE DARE TO BE A DANIEL?
      Who WAS Daniel?
      What does it mean to DARE TO BE A DANIEL?
      Can we be faithful?
      Can we STAND ALONE on Jesus’ Word?
      Can we TRUST as Daniel did?
      Can we BELIEVE without DOUBT in Jesus’ Promises?
       
      What does the Bible tell/show us about DANIEL, THE YOUNG TEENAGE CAPTIVE?
       
       
       
      Turn with me to Daniel 1.….
       
      Daniel tells us HOW to keep PURE In The Face of Adversity
       
      Here is WHAT WAS going on around the world at this place & time in history…
       
      The prophet Daniel lived in the sixth century BEFORE the birth of Jesus. During this approximate period:
       
      Construction on the Acropolis in Athens began
      Mayan civilization flourished in Mexico
      Aesop wrote his fables
      Confucius and Buddha lived
      Greek art began to truly excel
      The Phoenicians made the first known sea journey around Africa
      The Greeks introduced the olive tree to Italy
       
      KNOW THIS: The Book of Daniel has been a target of critics who doubt that the Daniel described in the book wrote the book, especially in light of the book’s amazing prophecies.
       
      So WHO wrote the Book of Daniel? It claims to have been written by Daniel himself, and the fact that it is written mostly in the third person does not contradict that claim.
      The author mostly speaks in the third person, except for Daniel 8:1; 9:2; 9:20, and 10:2, where he speaks in the “I, Daniel” form. However, it was CUSTOMARY for ancient writers to speak in the 3rd person EVEN when writing about themselves. The one Old Testament exception to this is the Book of Nehemiah, which is in the form of Nehemiah’s personal diary.
       
      REMEMBER THIS AS WELL: Even ALMIGHTY GOD switches between the grammatical first and third person when speaking of Himself: compare Exodus 20:2 (I am the Lord your God) and Exodus 20:7 (for the Lord will not hold him guiltless).
       
      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)
       
      Daniel describes events of the 2nd century before Jesus (especially the period 175-164 b.c.) with such PIN-POINT accuracy that critics TRY TO ALLOW that it MUST have been written after that period, during the time of the Maccabees (in between the Old and New Testaments). THEY CLAIM, the purpose for writing Daniel at that time was to inspire God’s people on to victory during the Maccabean wars.
       
      The first one to suggest a Maccabean date for Daniel was the Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyrius of Tyre (third century a.d.) Porphyrius REFUSED TO believe the prophecies, so he suggested the later date. Jerome, in his commentary on Daniel, spent much of his time refuting these IDIOTIC arguments.
       
      Beginning in 1771, influenced by the Enlightenment, academics began to revive the old Maccabean date theory about the Book of Daniel. They all agreed that every accurate prediction in Daniel COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN written AFTER the events took place.
       
      The modern argument for "late dating" Daniel is based on supposed inevitable mistakes that a second century b.c. writer made when writing about a period 400 years before, in the sixth century b.c. In our own day, it would be as if someone wrote a story about the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock and they mentioned speedboats and computers. We would KNOW that it was a forgery.
       
      There are FIVE CRITIC HISTORIC DEBATES:
       
      The "wrong date" for Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah
      Using the word “Chaldeans” to describe a class of soothsayers
      The “obviously legendary” account of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness
      King Belshazzar and his relationship to Nabonidus
      The “legendary” figure of Darius the Mede
       
       
      There is also ONE linguistic argument made, claiming Greek words are used in Daniel are words that did NOT come into the Hebrew vocabulary until the second century b.c.
       
      As we go through the Book of Daniel, we SHALL give special attention to these issues, and what modern archaeological research has to say about them.
       
      But what FEW ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack against the Book of Daniel? WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel? Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled prophecies than any other book in the Bible. In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than any other Old Testament book.
       
      At times, Communist governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.
       
      So REMEMBER all these things WHILE we STUDY all 12 Chapters of Daniel.
       
      Also, the reason I do not JUMP straight into the End Times prophecies of Daniel…it is SO IMPORTANT to SEE, KNOW, and UNDERSTAND the life and times of Daniel that LED UP to ALMIGHTY GOD entrusting Daniel with these prophecies.
       
       
      DANIEL 1...
       
      Verses 1-2 tell us HOW Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem.
       
      “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.”
       
      Jehoiakim was a Judean king placed on the throne BY the Pharaoh of Egypt. His name means “Yahweh raises up,” but the Lord did NOT raise him up at all - Pharaoh DID.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar was the mighty ruler of the Babylonian Empire. The name Nebuchadnezzar is a Hebrew transliteration of the Babylonian name Nebu-kudduri-utzur, which means “Nebu protects the crown.”
       
      WHY did Nebuchadnezzar come against Jerusalem?
       
      Because the Pharaoh of Egypt invaded Babylon. In response the young prince Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at Charchemish, then he pursued their fleeing army all the way down to the Sinai. Along the way (or on the way back), he subdued Jerusalem, who had been loyal to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
       
      This happened in 605 b.c. and it was the FIRST, but NOT the last encounter between Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim. There would be TWO later invasions (597 and 587 b.c.).
       
      Is this a historical blunder?
       
      This invasion in 605 b.c. is NOT mentioned in the book of Kings, but Josephus’ quotation of the Babylonian historian Berossus shows that the Biblical account of THREE SEPERATE Babylonian attacks on Judah IS accurate (Against Apion, I 19; Antiquities, X 11, 1).
       
      Also, the Babylonian chronicles are a collection of tablets discovered as early as 1887, and are held in the British Museum. In them, Nebuchadnezzar’s 605 b.c. presence in Judah IS documented and clarified.
       
      The Bible IS infallible…the Bible IS accurate.
       
      When the Babylonian chronicles were finally published in 1956, they gave us first-rate, detailed political and military information about the first 10 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. L.W. King prepared these tablets in 1919; he then died, and they were neglected for four decades (40 YEARS).
       
      Also as proof that DANIEL spoke the TRUTH, there are excavations/documents which ALSO prove the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over the Egyptians at Carchemish in May or June of 605 b.c. Archaeologists found evidences of battle, vast quantities of arrowheads, layers of ash, and a shield of a Greek mercenary fighting for the Egyptians.
       
      This campaign was interrupted suddenly when Nebuchadnezzar heard of his father’s death and raced back to Babylon to secure his succession to the throne. He traveled about 500 miles in two weeks - back then, that WAS AMAZINGLY fast.
       
      “In the third year of the reign”… There is also NO contradiction between Daniel, who says this happened in the third year of Jehoiakim, and Jeremiah 46:2, which says it was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Daniel reckoned a king’s years after the Babylonian method: the first year of a king’s reign begins at the start of the calendar year after he takes the throne. Jeremiah uses the JEWISH method.
       
      Having spent MOST of his life in Babylon, it is only natural that Daniel should USE a Babylonian form of chronology.
       
      In this 597 b.c. deportation, Jehoiakim, Ezekiel and others were taken away. This deportation is ALSO described in 2 Kings 24:14-16.
       
      Though Judah is conquered, God’s hand is obvious; He IS in command. This was prophesied in Isaiah 39:7: “And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
       
      This prophecy leads some to think Daniel and his companions were made eunuchs. Certainly, the Hebrew term “SARIS” was used of literal eunuchs; but the word derives from a phrase that simply means to be a SERVANT of the king. It wasn’t exclusively applied to literal eunuchs.
       
      BUT WHY DID the Lord give Judah into the hands of the Babylonians?
       
      The two main reasons for the captivity were Israel’s idolatry, and their failure to observe the sabbaths for the land (Leviticus 25:1-7 and 26:2-35).
       
      This shows that God always settles accounts with those who REFUSE to respond to His warnings. In the 587 b.c. invasion, the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed (2 Kings 25:9-10).
       
      Nebuchadnezzar did not take ALL the furnishings of the temple, only some. The rest were either hidden before Nebuchadnezzar came or brought to Babylon later.
       
      The confiscation of these items and their deposit in a Babylonian temple was a dramatic declaration by Nebuchadnezzar saying, “my god is better than your God.” Was the God of Israel able to vindicate Himself?
       
      This was a low time for Judah and God’s people. It seemed that the God of Israel lost out to the gods of Assyria, Egypt, and Babylon. The Book of Daniel shows God vindicating Himself at a time when the conquest of Israel might have brought His reputation into disrepute.
       
       
      Verses 3-4 tell us about Babylon’s system of indoctrination.
       
      ONLY the best and the brightest of Jerusalem’s YOUNG MEN are chosen and taken to Babylon.
       
      “Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar NOT only confiscated holy things from the temple, but the shining lights of Judah’s future as well young men WHO WERE perhaps 13-17 years old.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar showed himself a wise administrator, and a shrewd tactician. Taking these young men as hostages reminded the people back in Jerusalem that they should not revolt against recently imposed Babylonian rule.
       
      Verses 5-7 tells us once IN Babylon, the Hebrew youths are groomed for the civil service.
       
      “And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
       
      It was a given that the Babylonian government would provide for these young men in training. Yet, to have the same food and wine prepared for the king was intended as a SPECIAL honor.
       
      In the ancient world much more than the modern world, there was a HUGE difference between the food enjoyed by the elite and what common people ate.
       
      The name Daniel (meaning God is my judge) was changed to Belteshazzar (meaning Bel’s prince).
       
      The name Hannaniah (meaning Beloved by the Lord) was changed to Shadrach (meaning Illumined by Sun-god).
       
      The name Mishael (meaning Who is as God) was changed to Meshach (meaning Who is like Venus).
       
      The name Azariah (meaning The Lord is my help) was changed to Abed-Nego (meaning Servant of Nego).
       
      This was an effort at TOTAL indoctrination, working to make these young Jewish men FORGET their Hebrew God, heritage, and culture. Undoubtedly, Nebuchadnezzar wanted these young men, “look to me for everything.” Daniel and his friends REFUSED, insisting that they look to God.
       
      Sounds just like the world and satan today, right?
       
      Verse 8 tells us Daniel’s decision to be faithful.
       
      “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
       
      The ancient Hebrew word DEFILE carries the thought of polluting or staining (see also Isaiah 59:3; Zephaniah 3:1, and Malachi 1:7). That Daniel requested that he might not defile himself implies that he explained THE SPIRITUAL basis for his request. He didn't make it SEEM he wanted to avoid the king's food out of other reasons.
       
      Some have said, “Isn’t Daniel making a BIG DEAL over a little thing?
       
      Yes, but the ONLY WAY to go on with JESUS is by being faithful in LITTLE things. Others have said, “Why bring religion into it?” But Daniel KNEW that his RELATIONSHIP with God touched EVERY AREA of his life, even what he ate. Significantly, the very root of sin goes back to eating forbidden food.
       
      Why did Daniel and his friends consider the king’s food defiled?
       
      First, it was NOT kosher.
      Second, it was food SACRIFICED to idols.
      Third, it IMPLIED ACCEPTANCE OF Babylon’s cultural system.
       
      You notice Daniel did NOT object to the name given to him.
       
      WHY?
       
      Because he KNEW whom he was - you could call him what you liked. Daniel did NOT object to the Babylonian education, because he KNEW what he believed. Daniel DID object to the food from the king's table, because to eat it WAS IN DIRECT DISOBEIDENCE to God's word.
       
      AND by eastern standards of the day, to SHARE a meal was to commit one’s self to friendship; it was A COVENANT.
       
      God did NOT forbid drinking wine. BUT in pagan cultures most wine and meat WERE DEDICATED TO their gods FIRST, so Daniel WAS right to refuse it.
       
      Daniel HAD COURAGE to make such a decision, ESPECIALLY when we think of ALL the reasons WHY it was dangerous.
       
      The king ordered the menu. Rejecting the menu was rejecting the king, and could result in severe punishment.
       
      Refusing the food might have branded them as being uncooperative, and spoiled all chances of advancement (many other Hebrew youths did eat the food).
       
      There WAS a real THREAT of punishment. Ancient kings were well known for the severe and often sadistic punishments against those who crossed them. Nebuchadnezzar was capable of GREAT cruelty. He murdered the sons of one king of Judah before the king's eyes; then immediately gouged out the eyes of the king, so his last memory would always be the murder of his sons (Jeremiah 39:6-7). Other rulers of Judah were literally roasted to death over a fire (Jeremiah 29:22).
       
      The food itself was RICH & THE BEST, and seemed a much better alternative than eating a vegetarian diet and water for three years.
       
      Separated from family and home, it was EASIER to compromise.
       
      It was easy to think that God had let them down by allowing them to be carried away into Babylon. Why should they RISK their necks for a God who let them down? Many Christians have a mentality that says, “God, you do right by me, and I’ll do right by you.” Of course, God will always do right by us; but we don’t always KNOW what IS right for us.
       
      Daniel purposed in his heart SHOWS US how to conquer a difficult trial and glorify God before others in the midst of testing. He made up his mind BEFOREHAND that he would NOT compromise.
       
      Daniel WAS respectful/courteous in his request. Making a stand for Jesus Christ does NOT mean we CAN be obnoxious.
       
      Self-denial MUST be sought. Daniel and his friends KNEW this WOULD cost them something, yet they were willing.
       
      Verse 9 tells us God gives Daniel favor and goodwill with the CHIEF of the eunuches. God will NEVER abandon us when we stand for Him. Daniel TRUSTED IN GOD, not man.
       
      Verses 10-13 tells us Daniel suggests a plan to the chief eunuch.
       
      “And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king." So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. "Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”
       
      Daniel UNDERSTOOD the steward’s fears. Daniel wouldn’t let the chief of the eunuchs pay the price for Daniel’s conscience. In it all, Daniel was willing to put himself and his faith in God to the test.
       
      Daniel's approach is REASONABLE. He could have gone on a hunger strike; he could have started throwing over banquet tables. Instead he made a polite request, made it to the right person and said, "Put us to the test."
       
      Daniel MADE a godly and wise COMPROMISE with the chief of the eunuchs. He SHOWED the wisdom James 3:17 speaks about: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
       
      Vegetables refers to all kinds of grains and plants, not strictly vegetables. Basically, this was a vegetarian diet, chosen because none of the meat WAS butchered in a kosher manner as God demanded, but had FIRST been sacrificed to idols.
       
      Daniel WAS NOT testing God. He was obeying Exodus 23:25 says, “So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water.”
       
      Verses 14-16 tells us Daniel and his companions are blessed for their faithfulness & the Chief Eunuch GAVE them vegetables & water.
       
      This WAS the hand of God at work. The chief of the eunuchs had all the "power" in this situation; Daniel and his friends seemed to be completely at his mercy. Yet God moved upon this man, and he consented with them in this matter.
       
      That AFTER only 10 days and their features appeared better and fatter AGAIN showed the hand of God at work. There is NO biological reason why a vegetarian diet should make them appear better and fatter. Perhaps their diet would have made them appear the same as the other Jewish young men who ate the king's food, but not better and fatter.
       
      Verses 17-21 tells us Daniel and his companions are blessed and promoted.
       
      “As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.”
       
      The SPECIAL intellectual ability of Daniel and his companions was NOT due to their diet, but to the SPECIAL INTERVENTION of the Lord.
       
      Daniel’s understanding in ALL visions and dreams TELLS us that purity of heart and faithfulness to God come before enlightenment in divine mysteries. Daniel will later receive GREAT revelation, but now he simply shows himself a dedicated follower of God.
       
      These young men from Jerusalem were immersed in the study of Babylonian culture, literature and religion; yet they REMAINED faithful to God. The work of the prophets like Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Habakkuk had not been in vain. They were IN Babylon, but not OF Babylon.
       
      We can infer that Daniel and his friends were WELL trained by their parents. We MUST train our children this way.
       
      Daniel HAD a long, successful career in the WORST of circumstances. He worked for TYRANTS who thought nothing of killing their staff and advisors, much less firing them. His employer suffered the worst kind of hostile takeover when the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire. The seeds of his great success are evident in the very first chapter of the Book of Daniel.
       
      Daniel and his friends show us that INNER CONVICTION WILL overcome ANY outer pressure, and that God-honoring convictions yield God-given rewards.
       
       
       
      Turn with me to DANIEL 2...
       
      Nebuchadnezzar Dreams of a TROUBLING Image
       
      Verse 1 tells us…
       
      “Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.”
       
      By Babylonian reckoning, the year 602 b.c. WAS both the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and after three years of training for the Hebrew youths.
       
      Verses 2-9 tells us Nebuchadnezzar demands to know the dream and its interpretation from his wise men.
       
      “Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, "I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream." Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation." The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, "My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation." They answered again and said, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation." The king answered and said, "I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation."
       
      It is hard to say if Nebuchadnezzar REALLY remembered the dream or not. Perhaps he had ONLY a sense of it, but had only vague remembrance of the details.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar had NO criteria by which to judge the accuracy of the interpretation of the dream by his wise men, but he could test their ability to tell what he dreamed.
       
      Despite their protests, Nebuchadnezzar wasn't asking too much of these magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans. These men MADE their living on their supposed ability TO CONTACT the gods and gain secrets from the spirit realm. If they were in reality what they presented themselves as in image, they should be able to tell Nebuchadnezzar both the dream and its interpretation.
       
      The harsh threat of Nebuchadnezzar and the method of execution he describes are both perfectly consistent with an ancient eastern monarch. Another favorite of the king recorded in those days was of dismemberment. Whomever ANGERED the king was tied to four trees with a rope at each limb. The trees were bent inwards and tied together at the top; then the top rope was cut and the body was snapped into four pieces.
       
      In this verse we have the FIRST MENTION of Chaldeans as a class of soothsayers to the king. Critics cite the use of this word as a mistake that only a second century b.c. writer would make. Critics suppose that in Daniel’s day, the term Chaldean was only used as a racial designation, describing what the Chaldeans thought was the “master race” who ruled Nebuchadnezzar’s superpower empire.
       
      That is NOT true.
       
      Linguistic research has PROVED that the Babylonian word for an “astrologer-priest,” and their word for their supposed MASTER RACE were homonyms, both having the sound Chaldean (kas-du in Babylonian), but each retaining their own meaning. This is the same way that the English sound tu can mean to, two, or too….and they MAY sound alike…but they MEAN very different things, right?
       
      Daniel’s understanding of this REAL DISTINCTION is clear from the text, because he also uses the term Chaldean in its racial sense (Daniel 3:8 and 5:30).
       
      Also, from Daniel 2:4 to 7:28, the text is in ARAMAIC - not Hebrew. This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic. This WAS the language of the Babylonian Empire.
       
      Verses 10-11 tells us the wise men explain the IMPOSSIBILITY of Nebuchadnezzar’s request.
       
      “The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, "There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh."
       
      The Chaldeans DO ADMIT that true revelation comes from God down to man; it is not the achievement of man.
       
      Despite all their wisdom - real and imagined - these wise men had NO answer for Nebuchadnezzar, because ONLY God could bring an answer to the king.
       
      AND THE STRATEGY of the wise men was to convince the king that he WAS unreasonable, NOT that they were incompetent.
       
      As far as these PAGAN magicians, astrologers, and wise men KNEW, this was true. They did not KNOW what we KNOW about our precious Jesus - that HE IS Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).
       
      Verses 12-13 tells us Nebuchadnezzar is SO FURIOUS that he sentences ALL his wise men to death.
      “For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.”
       
      Though he was a despot & a monster, Nebuchadnezzar KNEW that false religious is worse than useless. He knew that it was a curse, and he didn't want "wise men" who could not bring him wisdom from God.
      And as a NEW KING, he USED the situation to TEST the suitability of his father’s old advisors. The dream provided him with a good reason to CLEAN house.
       
      Verses 14-16 tells us that Daniel reacts to Nebuchadnezzar’s decree by asking for a brief extension.
      “Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, "Why is the decree from the king so urgent?" Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel. So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.
       
      Daniel is obviously INNOCENT in all this, yet he CALMLY and discretely deals with the crisis. Daniel’s calmness in this crisis showed what kind of man he really was. In one sense, crises do NOT MAKE the man, but they DO REVEAL what kind of man he is.
       
      This wasn't just a stalling tactic. Daniel KNEW that it takes time to listen to the Lord and to WAIT upon Him, and Daniel was willing to TAKE THE TIME if the king would grant it.
       
      Verses 17-18 tells us Daniel asks his companions for prayer.
      “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
       
      Daniel was in the type of situation where ONLY God could meet his need. Therefore he KNEW how important it was for both him and his companions to pray IN AGREEMENT.
       
      The REAL battle was WON when Daniel prayed with his friends.
      Daniel KNEW God could do an unprecedented miracle. Joseph had interpreted dreams with God’s help, but had NOT reconstructed the dreams. Daniel was the FIRST.
       
      Considering what was at stake, there is little doubt that their prayers were extremely earnest. God listens to earnest prayer.
       
      Verse 19 tells us God reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s dream AND its interpretation to Daniel.
      “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”
       
      This WAS revelation. Daniel did NOT FIGURE IT OUT, God REVEALED it to him.
       
      Verses 20-23 tells us Daniel THANKS/PRAISES God for this revelation.
      “Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king's demand."
       
      Daniel praises God for His communication to man. All God's power and might were of LITTLE HELP to Daniel if God stayed silent. Daniel is grateful that God has revealed His great knowledge.
       
      Daniel KNEW BY FAITH that God gave him THE answer, BEFORE Nebuchadnezzar EVER confirmed it.
       
      DANIEL SHOWS US our level of faith DEPENDS ON HOW LONG it takes us to start praising God. If we WON’T praise Him until AFTER the answer is in hand, then we DON’T have much faith.
       
      Verses 24-30 tells us Daniel is ushered into the king’s presence, tells & interprets the dream and gives glory to God for revealing the dream.
      “Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: "Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation." Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, "I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation." The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?" Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.”
       
      Arioch TRIES to glorify himself for the answer to the king's dream. But Daniel REFUSED to take credit, he gave it ALL TO GOD.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar's dream didn't just concern himself for his kingdom, but the whole span of the future - which was to Nebuchadnezzar the latter days.
       
      Verses 31-35 tells us Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
      “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
       
      Daniel’s description is clear. This is a massive and spectacular image made of different materials. You notice the materials descended in value from top to bottom, with gold at the top and iron mixed with clay at the bottom.
       
      This spectacular image is destroyed by a stone made without hands, and what remains of it is blown away like worthless chaff, while the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
       
      Verses 36-45 tell us the interpretation of the dream.
      “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all; you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
       
      WISELY, Daniel FIRST told the EXACT content of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. This gave Daniel credibility when explaining what the dream meant, the interpretation.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold. After him will come THREE other kingdoms, each represented by the different materials Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. After the succession of kingdoms, then the FINAL kingdom set up BY God.
       
      Let’s look at the fulfillment of this prophecy in history.
       
      Three dominating empires came after Babylon: Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The nature of these empires is accurately reflected by the nature of the image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream.
       
      The empires succeeding Babylon WERE inferior to Nebuchadnezzar's head of gold in the sense of their centralization of absolute power. Nebuchadnezzar was an ABSOLUTE monarch, the succeeding empires progressively less so. They were LARGER and lasted LONGER than Babylon, but NONE held as much centralized POWER as Nebuchadnezzar did.
       
      Babylon, the head of gold, was an absolute autocracy. Persia, a monarchial oligarchy with the nobles EQUAL to the king in all but office, is represented by silver. Greece is set forth by brass, indicated the still lower value of it aristocracy of mind and influence . . . Rome, a democratic imperialism, with military dominion dependent upon the choice of army and citizenry and administered in the spirit of martial law, is set forth by iron."
       
      The THIRD kingdom, of bronze, is the one which shall rule over the whole earth. Indeed, Alexander's Grecian Empire was the largest among those compared in the image (except the FINAL government of JESUS CHRIST).
       
      The Babylonian Empire stood for 66 years; the Medo-Persian Empire for 208 years; the Grecian Empire for 185 years, and the Roman Empire stood for more than 500 years.
       
      Liberal commentators DO NOT believe that the fourth kingdom is Rome, but they say it is Greece, and that the second and third kingdoms are Media and Persia respectively, instead of the Medo-Persian Empire as a whole.
       
      WHY do they interpret this way? Because they DO NOT BELIEVE it was POSSIBLE for Daniel to predict the rise of these empires.
       
      “In the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed”…this describes the FUTURE FULFILLMENT of this prophecy. The stone cut without hands shatters a confederation of kings, represented by the feet of the image, and then God's Kingdom dominates the earth.
       
      And since Roman history provides NO FULFILLMENT of this federation of kings (which numbers ten, because of the number of toes, and passages like Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12) this prophecy is MUST STILL BE IN THE FUTURE.
       
      And since the fall of the Roman Empire, there has NEVER been a world-dominating empire equal to Rome. Many have tried - the Huns, Islam, the so-called Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin - but NONE succeeded. Each of these had amazing power and influence, but nothing compared to that of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire, in some form or another, will be REVIVED under the leadership of the FINAL fallen dictator, the Antichrist.
       
      “It broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold”….ALSO describes a SINGLE, decisive EVENT that shatters the image representing the glory of man's rule on earth. Since the Church or the gospel have not, in a single decisive event, shattered the reign of human kingdoms, this event is still in the future.
       
      This stone cut without hands is JESUS CHRIST, not the Church. Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 28:16, and Zechariah 3:9 also refer to Jesus as A STONE.
       
      Therefore, the FINAL WORLD superpower WILL be a “revival” of the Roman Empire, a continuation of the image. This will be the final world empire that the returning OUR JESUS CHRIST will conquer over.
       
      The kingdom that THE ANTI-CHRIST WILL HEAD shall be partly strong and partly fragile: This final world empire will be according to the nature of clay mixed with iron. It will have MORE THE IMAGE OF true strength than the SUBSTANCE OF true strength.
      As a whole, the image accurately represents human power and empire. The image SEEMS invincible, but is actually UNSTABLE at its base. No wonder one blow to the foundation can topple the whole thing!
       
      It's also significant to see that the image describes DEVOLUTION, NOT EVOLUTION. Instead of man beginning in the dust and evolving into gold, this vision declares that man's dominion begins with gold and devalues into dust.
       
      Some 40 years from this, Daniel had a vision describing the same succession of empires. Daniel saw it from God's perspective, and Nebuchadnezzar saw it from man's perspective. Nebuchadnezzar saw these empires as an IMPRESSIVE MARVELOUS image; Daniel saw them as RAVENING FIERCE beasts.
       
      The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure: This wasn't Daniel guessing or thinking - this was ALMIGHTY GOD announcing the future. REMEMBER ALWAYS, the ONLY reason that God can predict history is because he CAN/DOES control it.
       
      Verses 46-49 tells us Nebuchadnezzar's reaction to Daniel's reporting of the dream and its interpretation.
      “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret." Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.”
       
      EVEN this great MONSTER king WAS impressed. He WAS NOT one to SHOW/GIVE RESPECT to anyone, especially a foreign slave who was about to be executed with the rest of the wise men. This confirms that Daniel accurately reported the dream and skillfully explained its meaning.
       
      “Your God is the God of gods” tells us Nebuchadnezzar KNEW that it wasn't Daniel himself that revealed these things, but Daniel's God revealed it through Daniel. Daniel wanted the glory to go to God, and it did.
       
      Daniel, who was yet a teenager at the time, not only had his life spared, but he was promoted to high office - and he made SURE his friends were also promoted. It was fitting that Daniel’s friends GOT TO SHARE in his advancement, because they accomplished much of the victory through their UNITED prayers.
       
      So what does Daniel 1 & 2 show us & tell us…His trust & belief in Almighty God and God’s ABSOLUTE control over ALL things was were ROCK solid. They were indisputable. Daniel began everything with PRAISE and WORSHIP BEFORE he started praying and AFTER he had prayed BEFORE Daniel SAW/WAS GIVEN ANSWERS.
       
      Daniel 1 & 2 tells us to ALWAYS trust Jesus Christ. HE knows all. HE sees all. HE controls all.
       
      ALMIGHTY GOD & JESUS CHRIST HAVE A PLAN…
      Daniel’s SECRET to hearing from God & receiving answers was to PRAISE, PRAY, PRAISE, TRUST, PRAISE &WAIT ON JESUS…
      JESUS NEVER FAILS.

       

    • July 6, 2016 3:49 AM EDT
    • DANIEL 3-4
       
       
      Ever had a FIERY FURNACE MOMENT?
      Came face to face with EVIL? DEATH? DESTRUCTION?
      What did you do?
      What would you do?
      What does Jesus EXPECT us to?
       
       
      Turn with me to DANIEL 3...
       
      Daniel 3 - Saved In the Fiery Furnace
      Nebuchadnezzar erects an image and demands everyone worship it.
       
      Verse 1 tells us…
      “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.”
       
      How many of us have been to homes, where the walls are either FILLED with mirrors or life-size photos of the owner? Not their children, friends, or wife…but ALL mementos ARE of the owner?
      Nebuchadnezzar was not only power-mad, cruel, evil, egomaniacal, and narcissistic but he was in love with himself.
       
      “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold”… There IS considerable debate regarding when this happened. Some think it was a short time after the events of Daniel 2, but others think it happened many years later.
       
      But one thing IS for CERTAIN…there IS a discernible link between Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 and the image he made in Daniel 3. It seems that Nebuchadnezzar deliberately made an entire statue of gold, saying that the day of his reign and authority would never end - in contradiction to God’s declared plan.
       
      The GOLD image was 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. Being so large, it is safe to say that it was not made of solid gold but probably wood overlaid with gold. This was a common method of construction in the ancient world.
       
      Interestingly enough, TODAY, on the plains of Dura there stands a rectilinear mound, about twenty feet high, an exact square of about forty-six feet at the base, resembling the pedestal of a colossal statue.
      It is believed that it HELD this golden monstrosity of King Nebuchadnezzar.
       
      Verses 2-3 tells us ALL Babylonia’s dignitaries gathered at the dedication of the image.
      “And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.”
       
      “Satrap” is a Persian word that means “protector of the realm.” It refers to a specific category of public officials. Probably much like the Secret Service and the FBI of today.
       
      The DEMAND that all come to the dedication ceremony means that Nebuchadnezzar meant to use the worship of this image as a test of allegiance.
       
      Verses 4-6 tells us about the command to worship the image.
      “Then a herald cried aloud: "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
       
      This was an impressive orchestra.
       
      Again, some liberal thinkers SAY the use of the Aramaic words for lyre, psaltery and symphony PROVES that the book of Daniel was written hundreds of years AFTER the time of Daniel. They say this because these particular words are Aramaic words borrowed from Greek words and supposedly Daniel COULD NOT have had these words at his disposal in the sixth century b.c. and they supposedly did not come into the Hebrew vocabulary until the third century b.c.
       
      BUT THEY ARE WRONG…because ancient records tell us there WERE Greeks in the region of Assyria, Babylon and Persia as far back as the eighth century b.c. Archaeology also proves beyond a doubt that Greek mercenaries fought and made military settlements in and around Judea BEFORE the time of Daniel.
       
      Again, folks, TRUST God’s Word/History…it IS infallible.
       
      The command is empowered by a naked threat. Nebuchadnezzar regarded refusing to worship the image as treason, not only as a religious offense.
       
      In this, Nebuchadnezzar is just like most politicians, who often seem willing to use religion to strengthen their grip on political power. Politicians are happy to blend together spiritual allegiance and national allegiance. An example of this was displayed in 1936 when Herr Baldur von Schirach, head of the youth program in Nazi Germany, said: “If we act as true Germans we act according to the laws of God. Whoever serves Adolf Hitler, the fuehrer, serves Germany, and whoever serves Germany serves God.”
       
      Another example comes from 1960 when the President of Ghana had a slightly larger than life-size statue of himself erected in front of the national house of Parliament. An inscription on the side of the statue read, “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shall be added unto you.” The statue was destroyed after a bloodless coup in 1966.
       
      “A burning fiery furnace”…shows us Nebuchadnezzar was NOT a man who allowed lawbreakers to go unpunished. In a cuneiform writing, Nebuchadnezzar is described as so devoted to HIS IDEAS of justice that “he did not rest night or day.” The document also tells of a criminal guilty of a second offense who was decapitated and afterwards a stone image of his head was displayed as a warning.
       
      Verse 7 tells us the crowd obeys Nebuchadnezzar’s command.
      “So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.”
       
      This SHOULD remind us of the great inherent power in music, both for good and for evil.
       
      There WAS total and immediate obedience to Nebuchadnezzar’s command!
       
      Verses 8-12 tells us certain Chaldeans accuse the three Hebrew men.
      “Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”
       
      These Chaldeans WERE JEALOUS & had an obvious political motivation against these Jews who were promoted to high office along with Daniel in the events recorded in the previous chapter.
       
      Apparently their failure to worship the image was NOT discovered until these certain Chaldeans made it known. With so many thousands of government officials in attendance, it would be easy to overlook these three. Additionally, we see from this that the three Jewish men did NOT lodge a formal protest; they simply REFRAINED from sharing in the sin of idolatry themselves.
       
      Though their actions were not public, neither were they hidden. These three Hebrew men must have known they would be discovered, yet they obeyed God rather than man.
       
      Verses 13-15 tells us Nebuchadnezzar interviews the disobedient Hebrew men.
      “Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
       
      To his credit, Nebuchadnezzar did NOT FOR ONCE accept the accusation on hearsay. He made sure of it with a personal interview. This was an even greater test for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. It is one thing to make a stand for God; it is a greater thing to stick to your stand when pointedly asked, “Is it true?” Peter could follow Jesus after His arrest, but he wilted and denied Jesus when asked, “Is it true?”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar would NOT tolerate losing face on such an important occasion. His pride made him declare, “You shall have no other gods than me.”
       
      Can’t you just IMAGINE the enormous pressure on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to compromise?? Everything in front of them - the king, the furnace, the music, their compatriots, their competitors - all of it conspired to convince them to COMPROMISE. Yet God was MORE real to them than any of those things.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar thinks nothing of insulting ALL gods with this statement. He is more of a secularist or a humanist than a theist. The god he REALLY believes in is HIMSELF, not the gods of Babylon.
       
      Verses 16-18 tells us the three Hebrew men insist they will NEVER worship the image.
      “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
       
      They had NO need to defend themselves. Their guilt in the matter WAS clear - they clearly would NOT bow down to this image.
       
      In this, the Jewish men show they have a good understanding and appreciation of God’s great power. In fact, they know that God is able to save them from both the burning fiery furnace and from the hand of Nebuchadnezzar himself.
       
      “But if not…” In this, the Jewish men show they have a good understanding and appreciation of submission to God. They know God’s power, but they also know that they must do what is right even if God does NOT do what they expect or hope Him to do.
       
      We often whine about our “rights” and what is “fair.” Often it is better to make a stand & leave our FATE in God’s hands.
       
      UNDERSTAND THIS…they did NOT doubt God’s ABILITY but neither did they PRESUME to know God’s WILL. In this they agreed with Job, when he said in Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” They recognized that God’s plan might be different than their desires. We ALL have desires and dreams and we pray that God fulfills them. But if He doesn’t, we CAN’T turn our back on Him. Jesus Christ KNOWS all things. HE KNOWS what is best.
       
      These were men who did not love too much. There are popular self-help books that hope to help people who seem to love too much, yet many Christians are hindered because they love too much. Remember that early Christians were NOT thrown to the lions because they worshipped Jesus, but because they would NOT worship the emperor.
       
      In our day, many do love Jesus and think highly of Him - yet they are far from God because they also love and worship the world, sin, and self. 1 John 2:15 REMINDS us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
       
      It took great faith to say this. God brought them to this place of great faith by preparing them with tests in less dramatic areas.
       
      These men stood FIRM when challenged to eat impure foods and they saw God bless their obedience. That gave them the courage to obey NOW, when the stakes were much higher.
       
      Are you waiting for something “big” before you really start to obey God? Is your life filled with many small compromises, yet you tell yourself that you will stand firm when it “really” matters? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego show us that “SMALL” things really matter to Jesus too.
       
      This statement by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego is also remarkable for what it does NOT have - NOT ONE EXCUSE. In a time of testing like this it is easy to think of a thousand excuses that WOULD SEEM to justify compromise.
       
      They might have said, “There is nothing to gain by resisting; wouldn’t we do more good by living?” It is easy to say, “we must live,” but in reality, we all must die - so why not die making a stand for God?
       
      They might have said, “We are in a different place; in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Yet they knew that God has unlimited jurisdiction. We must do more than “perform” acts of religious obedience when we have an audience.
       
      They might have said, “We will lose our jobs and our standard of living.” Often when God blesses us we make the blessing an idol and compromise God to keep what we have.
       
      They might have said, “After all, we are not being called to renounce our God.” They did not have a super-elastic conscience that said “we are not bowing down to the idol, but in respect for the king, or to the music.” Excuses like this are common but prove the principle that anything will serve as an excuse, when the heart is bent on compromise.
       
      They might have said, “Everybody else is doing it.” Instead they cultivated brave personalities, willing to stand alone with God.
       
      They might have said, “It is only for once, and not for very long. Ten minutes, just for the king. It is stupid to throw our lives away for ten minutes.” These men knew that ten minutes could change an ENTIRE life. Ten minutes can chart the course for your eternity.
       
      They might have said, “This is more than can be expected of us; God will understand just this once.” It is true that God understands our struggle with sin - that is why He loves the sinner and made provision at the cross for freedom from the penalty, power, and presence of sin. Knowing that “God understands” should be a spur to obedience, NOT a license to sin.
       
      Charles Spurgeon says it best, “What have we to do with consequences? It is ours to do the right, and leave results with the Lord.”
       
      Verses 19-23 tells us the three men are cast violently into the furnace.
      “Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king's command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”
       
      No matter how brave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were, this still must have been extremely intimidating. We get the feeling that prior to their statement he spoke kindly, almost in a fatherly manner to these “wayward boys.” After hearing their bold challenge the expression on his face changed.
       
      Despite the intense intimidation, the men stayed courageous in their confession of faith.
       
      “Bound in their coats” tells us everything was done to make SURE that the three Hebrew men were quickly and completely burned.
       
      Verses 24-25 tells us Nebuchadnezzar SEES FOUR alive and well in the furnace.
      “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "True, O king." "Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
       
      It is astonishing that anyone survived for a moment inside the furnace when others perished at the door.
       
      The Septuagint says in Daniel 3:24 that Nebuchadnezzar’s attention was caught when he heard them singing praises in the furnace. We can imagine that the king had them cast into the furnace and didn’t intend to look twice, believing they would be immediately consumed. As he walks away with a satisfied look on his face, he is immediately stopped by the sound of singing coming from the furnace. At a safe distance from the raging heat he peers inside - and sees four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire.
       
      If this singing in the furnace IS TRUE, it reminds us of Paul and Silas singing in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:25).
       
      Nebuchadnezzar tells us WHO the fourth was - the Son of God. Jesus was literally with them in the worst of their trial.
       
      We don’t know if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego knew that the Son of God was with them in their fiery trial. Sometimes we are aware of Jesus’ presence in our trials and sometimes we are not - but He IS ALWAYS there nonetheless.
       
      God can deliver us from a trial, or He can miraculously sustain and strengthen us in a trial. Trapp quotes an English martyr who said this as he was burnt at the stake: “O ye Papists, behold ye look for miracles; here now you may see a miracle; for in this fire I feel no more pain than as if I were in a bed of down; but it is to me as a bed of roses.”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar ALSO observed that the four men were free in the fire. The fire ONLY burnt the ropes that bound them.
       
      Verses 26-27 tells us the Hebrew men leave the furnace unharmed.
      “Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king's counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.”
       
      BEFORE they are out of the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar recognizes that these men serve the true God, the God Most High.
       
      The trial by fire had NO power over these men because they were thoroughly submitted to the power and will of God. Even before the time of Jesus they knew the truth of Jesus promise in John 16:33, which says, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
       
      NOT even the SMELL of smoke…this demonstrates how complete their deliverance was.
       
      This whole account illustrates - perhaps serving as a type - of the future of Israel during the Great Tribulation.
       
      1. Nebuchadnezzar is like the Antichrist, who forces the whole world into one religion of idolatry.
      2. Nebuchadnezzar’s image is like the image described in Revelation 13, that the whole world will be commanded to worship.
      3. The fiery furnace is like the Great Tribulation, which will be great affliction for the Jews.
      4. The three Hebrew men are like Israel, who will be preserved through the tribulation.
      5. The executioners who perished are like those in league with the Antichrist, who Jesus will slay at His return.
      6. The mysteriously absent Daniel is like the church, not even present for this time of great tribulation.
       
      Verse 28 tells us Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the greatness of the God of the three Hebrews.
      “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar gives glory to God, but he recognizes that this great God is not his God. He is still ONLY the God of these three brave men.
       
      In Daniel 3:15 Nebuchadnezzar asked, “who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Now he knows:
       
      1. He is the God of the Hebrews (the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego)
      2. He is the God who sends a Savior (who sent His Angel)
      3. He is the God of great power (delivered His servants)
      4. He is the God worthy of trust (who trusted in Him)
      5. He is the God worthy of full surrender (frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies)
      6. He is the God who demands exclusive allegiance (that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God)
       
      Nebuchadnezzar MAY know a lot ABOUT God - but he does NOT YET KNOW Him personally.
       
      Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego surrendered themselves completely to God - body, soul, and spirit. It was the kind of submission Paul wrote of in Romans 12:1, when he says, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
       
      Daniel 3, IS a powerful illustration of the principle of Romans 12:1. We see Satan trying to make the believer bow down to his idealized image of what men and women should be. Christians must RESIST this with everything they have and pursue God’s ideal. In this, we will fulfill Romans 12:2, which says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
       
      Verse 29 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar makes a proclamation that nothing evil should be said against the God of the Hebrews.
      “Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.”
       
      The three Hebrew men did NOT ask for Nebuchadnezzar to make this decree, and they probably did not want him to. Coerced worship IS NOT good, either towards an idol or towards the true God.
       
      Seeing God at work in the life of His people was an extremely effective testimony TO Nebuchadnezzar.
       
      Paul expressed the same idea in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, when he says, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”
       
      Turn with me now to DANIEL 4...
       
      The Fall and Rise of Nebuchadnezzar
      Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the tree.
       
      Verses 1-3 tell us the opening of Nebuchadnezzar’s decree.
      “Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.”
       
      This unique chapter is the testimony of a Gentile king about how God changed his heart. In this, Nebuchadnezzar is a good example of a witness (one who relates what he has seen and experienced).
       
      It is good to declare what God has done for us. Satan has a huge interest in keeping us unnaturally SILENT about the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for us.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar was a great king BY the world‘s standards, but he recognizes that God’s kingdom is FAR greater and His dominion is completely unique because it is an EVERLASTING kingdom.
       
      Verses 4-9 tells us ONLY Daniel can explain the dream to Nebuchadnezzar.
      “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: "Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar’s rest was the FALSE peace of the ungodly. God soon SHOOK him from his false security.
       
      This is NOT the same dream as in Daniel 2. Nebuchadnezzar readily told his counselors this dream but they did NOT tell him what it meant. The dream was fairly easy to interpret; the wise men probably lacked courage more than insight. Nebuchadnezzar says they did not make it known, not that they could not make it known.
       
      “And why ‘at last’? Why was he not sooner sent for? If the soothsayers and sorcerers could have served the turn, Daniel had never been sought to. This is the guise of graceless men; they run not to God till all other refuges fail them.”
       
      Before Daniel interpreted the dream described in this chapter for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon considered the Babylonian deity Bel his god.
       
      This means that what he saw previously with Daniel and the three Hebrew young men was enough to impress him, but NOT ENOUGH to convert him. Being IMPRESSED with God IS NOT the same as being CONVERTED.
       
      Verses 10-17 tells us the content of the dream: the rise and fall of a great tree.
      “These were the visions of my head while on my bed: I was looking, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong; its height reached to the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of all the earth. Its leaves were lovely, its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, the birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. He cried aloud and said thus: “Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches. Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of a beast, and let seven times pass over him. This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.”
       
      The tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was noted for its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and shelter.
       
      The watcher (presumably an angel) explains the fate of the tree. He notes that the tree is to be chopped down, and it will lose its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and shelter. He also says that the tree represents a man who will be changed and given the heart of a beast.
       
      “Bound with a band of iron and bronze”…means these are either for the tree stump’s confinement or protection. It is no longer free and great.
       
      “In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men”… Nebuchadnezzar HEARD these words in his dream. In light of this, the dream isn’t hard to interpret - it clearly deals with the HUMBLING of a great king. No wonder none of Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors wanted to interpret the dream for him!
       
      But like MOST kings - ancient and modern - Nebuchadnezzar wanted to believe that HE ruled SUPREME instead of God or anyone else.
       
      Verse 18 tells us Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret the dream.
      “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar KNEW he could get an HONEST/TRUTHFUL answer from Daniel, even when the truth was HARD to bear.
       
      Though Nebuchadnezzar recognized Daniel as a man filled with the Spirit of the Holy God, he had not yet yielded himself to the Holy God.
       
      Verses 19-26 tells us Daniel explains the rise and coming fall of Nebuchadnezzar.
      “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, "Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you." Belteshazzar answered and said, "My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home; it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth. And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him'; this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules.”
       
      Daniel genuinely cared for Nebuchadnezzar and was clearly affected by the meaning of the dream. He didn’t want it to be true of his friend Nebuchadnezzar.
       
      “It is you, O king”…Daniel applies the point without ambiguity. Instead of reaching for a general point (“we all could use a little more humility”) Daniel brought the truth in love. This reminds us of what the prophet Nathan said to King David: You are the man! (2 Samuel 12:7)
       
      Great men and princes are often represented, in the language of the prophets, under the similitude of trees, see Ezekiel 17:5-6; 31:3 and following; Jeremiah 22:15; Psalm 1:3; 37:35.
       
      When Daniel explained this to Nebuchadnezzar, the king probably couldn’t have guessed just how LITERALLY it would be fulfilled.
      This was God’s intended purpose for Nebuchadnezzar. The king could have avoided this humiliating fate IF he genuinely humbled himself.
       
      Verse 27 tell us Daniel, a good preacher, presses home the application: repent; perhaps it is not too late.
      “Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity."
       
      The RIGHT reaction to the threat of judgment is a HUMBLE repentance. Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar did NOT do this. He should have followed the example of the repentance of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah in Jonah 3.
       
      We might THINK that Nebuchadnezzar had MORE reason than most to be proud - after all, he was a great king. Still, WE should remember the principle Benjamin Franklin put forth in one of his proverbs: “The greatest monarch on the proudest throne, is obliged to sit upon his own rear end.”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar is not ONLY counseled to stop sinning, but also to practice righteousness and generosity.
       
      Verses 28-33 Nebuchadnezzar IS stricken with madness, and humbled.
      “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.”
       
      God GAVE Nebuchadnezzar TWELVE months to repent, and he probably forgot about the dream during that time - but God DID NOT forget.
       
      Babylon was truly one of the spectacular cities of the ancient world, including the famous “hanging gardens” built by Nebuchadnezzar.
       
      Daniel KNEW that the new Babylon was the creation of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30), something previously thought untrue and only verified by recent archaeology. Nobody in the Maccabean period (second century b.c.) thought Nebuchadnezzar built the new Babylon.
       
      Yet, today in the British Museum, there are six columns of writing recovered from Babylon with describe the huge building projects of Nebuchadnezzar and his zeal to enlarge and beautify the city.
       
      And, MOST of the bricks found in the excavations of Babylon carry this stamp: “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, supporter of Esagila and Ezida, exalted first-born son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon.”
       
      These ignorant “late-daters” of Daniel (who say that it was written in the times of the Macabees, around 167 b.c.) CAN’T explain how a late writer would have known to accurately attribute the spectacular buildings of Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar. One of these PURPOSELY BLIND AND ARROGANT liberal commentators, R. H. Pfeiffer, says of this problem: “we shall presumably never know.”
      The form of insanity in which men think of themselves as animals and imitate the behavior of an animal has been observed. Some call it generally insania zoanthropica and more specifically in Nebuchadnezzar’s case, boanthropy, the delusion that one is an ox.
       
      Strangely enough, Dr. Raymond Harrison of Britain, who in 1946 wrote a medical entry about a patient suffering from boanthropy, just as Nebuchadnezzar suffered.
       
      There is no corresponding record of this seven-year (seven times) period of insanity in the secular historical records of Babylon - exactly as we would expect, considering the custom of the times. Nevertheless Abydenus, a Greek historian, wrote in 268 b.c. that Nebuchadnezzar was “possessed by some god” and that he had “immediately disappeared.”
       
      Some STILL stupidly DISMISS this Biblical account of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness as unhistorical, but there is NO historical record of his governmental activity between 582 b.c. and 575 b.c. This silence is deafening, especially when we keep in mind how Near Eastern leaders liked to egotistically trumpet their achievements - and hide their embarrassments.
       
      REMEMBER this…Nebuchadnezzar WAS given the opportunity to humble himself, and he did not. Now God humbled him, and the experience was much more severe than it would have been had Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself.
       
      Verses 34-37 tells us of a repentant Nebuchadnezzar is restored, and praises God.
      “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, "What have You done?" At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”
       
      Nebuchadnezzar could NOT & DID NOT break free from his madness until God appointed the end of the time. Then, he had the opportunity to humble himself and lift his eyes to heaven.
       
      Nebuchadnezzar could only SEE the truth about himself when he SAW the truth about God. The Babylonian King did see who God was, and he eloquently praised His sovereignty - THEN, his SANITY returned.
       
      This return of reason results in worship.
       
      This return of reason results in prayer.
       
      If we believe what Nebuchadnezzar believed about God, it will certainly show in our prayer life. We will KNOW that God can change the heart and mind of man, the course of rivers, the flow of the oceans, the distribution of resources, and the assignment of angels.
       
      God WANTED to restore Nebuchadnezzar. The goal was NOT to bring him low, but to bring him to his proper place before God and among men. Truly, Nebuchadnezzar learned that those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
      This is knowledgeable testimony from a direct source. Perhaps we might learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s plight and BE SPARED a lesson in humility from God’s school of hard knocks.
       
      The abiding lesson is plain.
      James 4:6 tell us, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
       
      There have been many who rise from humble origins to great glory, and then fall. Perhaps it is better to have never been raised up than to rise and then fall.
       
      Proverbs 6:16-19 WARNS is that PRIDE/PROUD LOOK is the one of the MOST OFFENSIVE SINS against Almighty God.
       
      We also see that God WILL glorify himself among the nations. When Nebuchadnezzar TOOK some of the treasures of the Jerusalem temple and put them in the temples of his gods, he THOUGHT his gods WERE stronger than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By the end of Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar KNEW which God was the TRUE God. And when Nebuchadnezzar knew it, he wasn’t shy about telling people what he had learned - he BECAME A TRUE witness, giving testimony to God’s great works.
       
      Since “Babylon” is used in the scriptures as a figure of the world system at large, we can say:
       
      1. Nebuchadnezzar’s madness foreshadows the MADNESS of Gentile nations in their rejection of God in End Times.
      2. Nebuchadnezzar’s FALL typifies Jesus’ JUDGMENT of the nations.
      3. Nebuchadnezzar’s RESTORATION foreshadows the restoring of some of these nations in the MILLENIAL kingdom.
       
      Daniel 3-4 tell us that ALMIGHTY GOD & JESUS CHRIST HAVE A PLAN.
      It PROVES, WITHOUT DOUBT, that Jesus Christ rules, reigns, & controls ALL things.
      Tide, time, weather, men, kings, and kingdoms, satan and evil ones who obey satan.
      It tells us that Jesus Christ is always with us.
      It tells us that Jesus Christ will never leave us...abandon us...to our fiery furnaces.
      If we WILL STAND...TRUST...OBEY....& BELIEVE ON AND IN OUR JESUS CHRIST.
      We can not lose
      We can not fail.
      Jesus Christ IS in control.
      TRUST Jesus.

       

    • July 6, 2016 3:45 AM EDT
    • Have you EVER received a spiritual word from Jesus?
      An outside confirmation to a prayer/decision you had to make?
      Ever had a “Hand Writing on The Wall” moment?
      Daniel & King Belshazzar did.
      Let’s find out what Jesus wants us to KNOW about HIM & ALMIGHTY GOD
      Let's find out what Jesus SHOWS/TEACHES...
      Let’s find out what Jesus wants us to KNOW about Daniel 5&6


      Turn with me now to DANIEL 5...

      The Writing On the Wall
      A disturbing message from God.

      Verse 1-4 tells us Belshazzar’s great, blasphemous feast.
      “Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.”

      “Belshazzar the king”…when we come to Daniel 5, Nebuchadnezzar is NO LONGER the king of Babylon. How did it come from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar? The ancient historian Berosus gives us the following order of events:

      Nebuchadnezzar dies after a 43-year reign
      His son, Evil-Merodach (described in 2 Kings 25:27-30 and Jeremiah 52:31-34) rules for only TWO years when he is assassinated by his brother-in-law Neriglassar, because his rule was arbitrary and licentious.
      Neriglassar (mentioned as Nergalsharezer in Jeremiah 39:3; 39:13) rules for four years until he dies a natural death.
      His son, Laborosoarchod, only a child and of diminished mental capacity, rules for only NINE months when he his beaten to death by a gang of conspirators.
      The conspirators appoint Nabonidus, one of their gang, to be king. He rules until Cyrus the Persian conquers Babylon.

      For a long time, historians and archaeologists knew that Nabonidus was said to be the LAST king of Babylon, not Belshazzar (who was Nabonidus’ eldest son). The solution to this so-called discrepancy was apparent when evidence was uncovered indicating not only Belshazzar’s association with Nabonidus on the throne, but also demonstrating that during the last part of his reign Nabonidus lived in Arabia and left the conduct of the kingdom of Babylon to his eldest son Belshazzar.

      There was no additional mention of Belshazzar, the eldest son and co-regent with Nabonidus, until the Nabonidus Cylinder was discovered in this century. It is now displayed in the British Museum.

      According to Babylonian records, Belshazzar became CO-REGENT in the third year of Nabonidus’ reign (553 b.c.) and continued in that capacity till the fall of Babylon (539 b.c.).

      It is most likely that at the time of Daniel 5, Nabonidus had gone out to fight the Medo-Persian army, and had been already captured. Those armies now surrounded Babylon, and were looking for a way into the strongly defended city.

      “Made a great feast for a thousand of his lords”…tells us Belshazzar was NOT afraid or even WORRIED over the siege surrounding the city. He was confident because of Babylon’s impressive defenses and his vast supplies.

      WHY? Well, conservative calculations set the dimensions of the ancient city of Babylon like this:

      The outer walls were 17 miles long.
      These walls were 22 feet thick and 90 feet high.
      The outer walls had guard towers another 100 feet high.
      The city gates were made of bronze.
      A system of inner and outer walls and moats made the city very secure.

      Nebuchadnezzar was NOT the direct father of Belshazzar. Either he was his grandfather through his mother’s side, or he was his father in the sense of having previously occupied the throne Belshazzar now sat on. Either usage of the term father was accepted in ancient times.

      The scene of partying while a hostile army surrounds the city reminds us of the spirit of our age. Many today carry the idea that the best response to the seeming danger of the times is to FORGET ABOUT IT and ESCAPE INTO THE PARTY/PLEASURE MODE.

      Listen, God does NOT condemn having a good time, but can HE be glorified in it? Can God be invited to your party? If not…..do NOT attend or host it.

      In Ephesians 5:18 Paul calls drunkenness & dissipation are a WASTE of resources that should be submitted to Jesus.

      “They brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem”…tells us Belshazzar was STUPID enough to not only lose all semblance of self-control at this party, but also to openly MOCK God. He committed the sin of sacrilege, something few people are concerned with today.

      Belshazzar BROUGHT these past trophies TO the party to probably CHEER up & BOOST morale.

      In Babylon, a large court - 56 by 170 feet - has been unearthed, decorated with Greek columns. This is probably where the feast of Daniel 5 took place.

      Verse 5 tells us God writes a message on a wall.
      “In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.”

      God can and sometimes does communicate to man in unexpected and even shocking ways. Here, a hand mysteriously appears and writes on the wall. Since, Jesus Christ is the HUMAN form of Almighty God, it WAS Jesus’ hand & fingers they SAW!

      This, of course, is where we get our proverbial phrase “the writing on the wall.”

      Verses 6-9 tells us Belshazzar’s reaction to the message, and his call for someone to interpret it.
      “Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom." Now all the king's wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.”

      “The joints of his hips were loosed and his knees knocked”…Daniel’s vivid description shows us that Belshazzar WAS terrified. But WHO could blame him? His carefree partying was so shallow that it turned from merry to terrified in a moment.
      Suffice to say, THIS party ENDED in a nanosecond…ONLY Jesus Christ is ABLE to sober a drunk mob up in a BLINK…He SURE did it here, did HE not?

      This ALSO shows that Belshazzar’s conscience WAS active beneath his energetic WORLDLY-FOCUSED partying.

      WHY do we KNOW this?

      Because IF Belshazzar could NOT understand the writing, WHY should it trouble him so? It troubled him because his own conscience testified AGAINST him.

      Archaeologists HAVE discovered why Belshazzar offered the interpreter of the dream the third place in the kingdom. The REAL king was Nabonidus, and his son Belshazzar ruled as SECOND in the kingdom. Belshazzar couldn’t give away the second place in the kingdom, because he WAS the second in the kingdom at the time. The best he had to offer was the third place.

      When Daniel comes to interpret these words, it doesn’t seem so hard to figure out. It may be that God deliberately put a veil over the minds of these men so Daniel would be called or like other Biblical scholars, they believe the wise men could NOT read the writing BECAUSE it WAS in Hebrew.

      Verses 10-12 tells us Daniel is recommended as an interpreter of the message.
      “The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, "O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father; your father the king; made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

      This queen (or queen mother) MOST LIKELY WAS Belshazzar’s mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

      When the wise men were called to explain the writing on the wall to Belshazzar, Daniel apparently was NOT called. It seems that Daniel was semi-retired, still holding a government office yet “out of the loop.”

      Notice that the queen mother REFERS to Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, BY his Jewish name “DANIEL” is showing respect for his faith and background.

      Verses 13-16 tell us Belshazzar asks Daniel to interpret the message.
      “Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, "Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

      When everything SEEMS great - when the party IS going non-stop - God and His servants are MOCKED, NEGLECTED, AND HIDDEN AWAY. But when the hand of heaven writes on the walls of one’s life a sobering message, panic-stricken LOST WORLD PEOPLE cry out for the one who HAS/KNOWS/BELIEVES in the Spirit of God.

      “I have heard of you”…Since Belshazzar didn’t think to call for Daniel himself, it seems that his “hearing” of Daniel was either long ago or just now by the queen mother.

      Verses 17-23 Daniel interprets the writing & describes Belshazzar’s sinful pride.
      “Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.”

      “Let your gifts be for yourself”…Remember that Daniel WAS troubled when he had to give Nebuchadnezzar bad news in Daniel 4. NOT with Belshazzar. Daniel is NOT impressed with this successor of Nebuchadnezzar.

      “You his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this”…WHY is Daniel so harsh? Because Belshazzar should have KNOWN better. Even if he was not raised in a godly home, Romans 1 reminds us that all men know of God through creation. Belshazzar should have KNOWN even more through God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar and through Daniel. We are ALL responsible to honor God according to what revelation we HAVE.

      The breath of the creature should praise the Creator, but Belshazzar blasphemed God with his breath. The ways of the creature should glorify the Creator, but Belshazzar used his ways to mock and offend God. Every creature owes something to the Creator.

      Verses 24-28 tells us Daniel tells Belshazzar that God’s judgment is at the door.
      “Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. And this is the inscription that was written: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation of each word.

      Mene: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

      Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;

      Peres: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

      EACH word stands for a short sentence; mene signifies numeration; tekel, weighing; and peres, division.

      God had Belshazzar’s number, and it fell short.
      God weighed Belshazzar, and he came up light.
      God would therefore divide Belshazzar’s kingdom to the Medes and the Persians.

      A mighty army and brilliant tactics overcame The Babylonian Empire, yet it FELL FROM WITHIN. The armies of the Medes and Persians could ONLY conquer because Belshazzar and his kingdom were found LACKING in spiritual and moral value.

      The ancient Greek historian Herodotus relates that the Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon by diverting the flow of the Euphrates into a nearby swamp. This lowered the level of the river so his troops marched through the water and under the river-gates. They still would not have been able to enter had not the bronze gates of the inner walls been left inexplicably unlocked. This was exactly what God predicted in Isaiah 44:28-45:7 and Jeremiah 51:57-58. God OPENED THE GATES of the city of Babylon for Cyrus, and put it in writing 200 years BEFORE it happened!

      In October 539 bc, Cyrus advanced into lower Mesopotamia and, leaving Babylon till last, conquered and occupied the surrounding territory. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, Nabonidus of Babylon deserted his city, leaving it in the charge of his son Belshazzar . . . the taking of Babylon was as bloodless and effortless as Daniel 5 implies.
      The fall of MYSTERY Babylon will be like the fall of real Babylon - sudden, sure, and in the midst of her WORST blasphemies.

      Strauss, a wonderful Bible scholar said it best, “Empires do not stand by human might, man-made machines and missiles. There is not a wall high enough nor thick enough to prevent a nation from falling when God pronounces that nation’s doom.”

      Verses 29 tells us Daniel is promoted.
      “Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

      WHY did Belshazzar so quickly reward Daniel for such harsh words? Either Belshazzar KNEW that Daniel was right, and bravely tried to do the best under the inevitable circumstances or MORE LIKE he disbelieved the whole thing and promoted Daniel in a display of big-hearted fun/mockery.

      Daniel held this post of THIRD RULER OF THE EMPIRE…for only a FEW hours. This shows how temporary the awards and accolades of this world are. In the kingdom that succeeded Belshazzar Daniel was also promoted, but that was due to God, not to Belshazzar.

      Verses 30-31 tells us of the death of Belshazzar and the rise of Darius the Mede.
      “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.”

      The word was fulfilled EXACTLY as Daniel said. God’s word is ALWAYS reliable and true.
      Darius was a sub-king under Cyrus the Persian. He is referred to in secular history as Gubaru.


      Turn with me now to DANIEL 6...

      Daniel 6 - In the Lion’s Den

      This has long been a BELOVED Bible story from children to adults. There are SO MANY dramatic features in this story - the jealousy of political subordinates; the vanity of a king; the integrity of a man; the power and preservation of God; and some wild animals and violence!

      How Daniel was condemned to the lion’s den.

      Verese 1-3 tells us Daniel’s PLACE in the government of Darius.
      “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.”

      Interestingly enough, secular history of this period has NO record of a ruler named Darius. There are THREE POSSIBLE explanations for the Darius of Daniel 6.

      It MAY BE that Darius is ANOTHER name for Cyrus, who ruled of the Medo-Persian Empire during this period.

      It MAY BE that Darius was actually Cambyses, son of Cyrus, who served under his father as a ruler of Babylon and later inherited the throne of the entire empire.

      OR it MAY BE that Darius is an ancient official known as Gubaru in ancient documents, whom Cyrus appointed as ruler over Babylon immediately after its capture. MOST BIBLE SCHOLARS believe that Gubaru IS the SAME person as Darius. They believe "Darius" may be an honorific title meaning, "holder of the scepter."

      WHY? Because ANCIENT SECULAR documents show that the man Gubaru HAD the power to make appointments, to assemble an army, to levy taxes, and to possess palaces. Gubaru (Darius) was, in a very real sense, the king over Babylon.

      Daniel WAS one of three leaders directly under Darius, and he shined above the other two leaders because he had an EXCELLENT spirit. Daniel had a GOOD attitude in his work and life and this made him the object of attack.

      Verses 4-9 tells us a plot against Daniel is conceived and initiated.
      “So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God." So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.”
      Daniel was such a FAITHFUL man that those who sought to find a FLAW in his actions or character came up EMPTY-HANDED.

      Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Sometimes TODAY a candidate or nominee for office will be set under this kind of scrutiny - imagine looking as hard as you could at a public servant who had been in office some 50 years and finding NOTHING wrong. NO fraudulent expense accounts. NO intern scandals. NO questionable business deals. NO gifts from lobbyists. NO accusations from his staff.

      The Bible tells us there were NO SKELETONS in Daniel’s closet. His enemies were left to MAKE UP LIES. And we ALL know satan and the world and mankind have NO PROBLEM making up lies to suit their evil/unjust purposes, do they?

      Make NO mistake here, this does NOT imply that Daniel was sinless, but that he WAS a man of great integrity. We can also say that Daniel was especially blameless in the conduct of his professional life.

      Daniel did NOT hide HIS FAITH IN GOD. EVERYONE KNEW WHOM DANIEL SERVED, TRUSTED, & BELIEVED IN. They knew he could not be TRAPPED into evil, but they also knew that he would BE faithful to his God in all circumstances.

      Do others know the same about us?

      But Daniel’s enemies ALSO KNEW Darius. The WEAK SPOT they found was in DARIUS’ PRIDE & DESIRES for a unified kingdom, NOT in Daniel.

      THIS CHAPTER OF DANIEL….shows us to be WARY of excessive praise and flattery…that it MAY have a HIDDEN EVIL/UNJUST motive behind it.
      Of course, they LIED when they said ALL the governors, because Daniel WAS ONE of the governors and he was NOT consulted.

      It was an established principle in the Medo-Persian Empire that when a king formally signed and instituted a decree, it was so binding that NOT EVEN the king himself could CHANGE it.

      The decrees of a Persian king were unchangeable because he was thought to speak for the gods, who could never be wrong and never needed to change their minds.

      Darius STUPIDLY & ARROGANTLY signed the decree.

      Verses 10-15 tells us Daniel’s faithfulness TO GOD causes him to be condemned to the lion’s den.
      “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king's decree: "Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, 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 does not alter." So they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

      Daniel was confronted with a TEST of HIS TRUE loyalties. He WANTED to render unto Caesar things that RIGHTFULLY belonged to Caesar but he WOULD NOT give to the government that which BELONGED to God ALONE.

      Others might have considered it risky for Daniel pray as was his custom. Daniel knew that the SAFEST thing he COULD do was radically OBEY God.

      It isn’t hard to see WHY people are men-pleasers; it seems as if people have the power to hire or fire us; to break our hearts; to slander us; to make our lives generally miserable. The power to obey God and stand for Him comes from a settled understanding that JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS IN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS.

      Daniel REFUSED TO LET the decree change his actions one way or another. He didn't PRAY MORE OR LESS; he simply CONTINUED HIS WALK/PRAYER/PRAISE OF GOD.

      So what WAS Daniel's custom in praying?

      1. He prayed in his UPPER ROOM - this was private prayer, made with no intention to impress others.
      2. He prayed with his WINDOWS OPEN TOWARD JERUSALEM.
      3. He prayed ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, because Solomon asked God to give special notice to the prayers of His people when they prayed towards Jerusalem and the temple. 1 Kings 8:3 says, “And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place.”
      4. He KNELT DOWN on his knees, praying just as Jesus did, (Luke 22:41), as Stephen (Acts 7:60), as Peter (Acts 9:40), as Paul and other leaders in the church (Acts 20:36), and as Luke (Acts 21:5). 5. He prayed THREE TIMES THAT DAY, knowing that a little prayer is good, MUCH PRAYER IS BEST.
      6. He PRAYED & GAVE THANKS, because the BEST prayers are FILLED WITH THANK YOUS.

      They FOUND Daniel where they KNEW he would be - deep in prayer. For Daniel prayer was both communing with God and pleading for His will to be accomplished (supplication).

      They ACCUSED Daniel of disrespecting the king. This was NOT true. Daniel intended NO disrespect for the king, only MORE respect for God.

      There is MUCH to like about King Darius, and one thing is he KNEW his PRIDE had caused this & he BLAMED himself NOT others. We KNOW he was NOT happy with Daniel’s enemies either, but he ACCEPTED that HE and NO ONE else was responsible for this.

      Like Darius, PRIDE & STUBBORN DECISIONS can/do haunt us. SMART Christians PRAY and ask Jesus to forgive us AND to have mercy & and miraculously intervene on our behalf.

      “He labored till the going down of the sun”…this tells us that DARIUS worked as long as he could. According to eastern custom the execution was carried out on the evening of the day that the accusation was made and found valid.

      Verses 16-18 tells us of Daniel’s time in the lion’s den & God‘s protection.
      “So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.”

      This scripture ALSO tells us that Darius HAD faith, and it was faith born out of Daniel’s WALK/FAITH in the Lord.

      Many of us SHOW/WALK godly character and wisdom before the world when we remember or when it SUITS us to, but we FORGET THAT IT IS A MINUTE BY MINUTE, DAY BY DAY walk, faith, prayer, & communing that Jesus WANTS.

      The king sealed it to PROTECT Daniel as much as to make sure a man didn't rescue Daniel. Darius KNEW that Daniel had powerful enemies who MIGHT TRY TO kill him if the lions didn't.

      Daniel HAD a better night’s rest than Darius. We can be sure that Daniel prayed in the lions' den, because it was simply his habit to pray. He did not need to start praying on this remarkable occasion because the habit of prayer was well ingrained in his life.

      Verses 19-23 tells us Daniel is found alive after the night in the lion's den.
      “Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you." Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.”

      Darius WAITED FOR the first glimmer of dawn so he can see how Daniel fared.

      When Darius heard Daniel's voice he KNEW the lions wouldn't or couldn't touch this servant of God, and Daniel is recognized in Hebrews 11:33 as, “One who by faith stopped the mouths of lions.”

      We don't know if Daniel SAW an angel or not, but he certainly KNEW that God sent His angel to rescue him. And we KNOW that HIS ANGEL can only be HIS ANGEL, HIS Jesus Christ who was sent. Hebrews 1:14 says, “Angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.”

      Daniel WAS SAVED/SPARED through faith. Though his cause was righteous and he was unjustly accused those things in themselves did not protect him before the lions. Daniel HAD a living, abiding faith in God, EVEN in the most difficult circumstances.

      DID YOU CATCH THIS COMMAND OF GOD? The power of God sent HIS angel to protect Daniel, in response to a prayer of faith coming from a consistent, abiding walk.

      Verse 24 tells us THE FATE of those who plotted against Daniel.
      “And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions; them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.”

      You NOTICE NO ONE had to ask Darius to do this. He was ready and willing to bring justice to those who plotted against Daniel, deceived him, and bring Persian justice their children, and their wives.

      This WAS/IS severe, but it was also according to ancient customs among the Persians. An ancient writer named Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the Persians, “The laws among them are formidable . . . by which, on account of the guilt OF ONE, all the kindred perish.”

      The lions overpowered them . . . BEFORE they ever came to the bottom of the den. This PROVED NOT ONLY that it genuinely was angelic protection that saved Daniel. Daniel's accusers perished in the same trap they set for Daniel. AND IT PROVED how very starved these lions were. They ARE conservative by natural law. They kill only what they need for that moment. That they attacked, brought down, and LITERALLY broke into pieces all their bones before they made it to the bottom of the den, tells us JUST how STARVED they were.

      THIS ALSO SHOWS US A POWERFUL PRINCIPLE IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE found in Psalm 7:14-16, which says, “God will cause our enemy to be impaled on the same snare set for us.”

      Verses 25-28 tells us Darius decrees that all must honor the God of Daniel.
      “Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

      WHAT HAS THE BOOK OF DANIEL SHOWN US SO FAR?

      When WE who love Jesus Christ stand FIRM in OUR convictions, Jesus honors and protects us, and the testimony of Jesus’ work makes the ungodly SEE AND TELL the greatness of our Jesus.

      Daniel and his four friends stood firm and Nebuchadnezzar saw the fruit of it (Daniel 1:20)
      Daniel boldly and wisely interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream and king honored Daniel and his God (Daniel 2:46-47)
      Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego stood firm and Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to God (Daniel 3:28-30)
      Daniel boldly told Nebuchadnezzar the truth and the king humbled himself and gave glory to God (Daniel 4:34-37)
      Daniel stood firm and boldly told Belshazzar the truth and the king honored Daniel (Daniel 5:29)

      The MESSAGE to us is? When we stand firm in godly convictions and honor God even when it costs us, others will see the testimony and be impressed. us Daniel 5&6


      Turn with me now to DANIEL 5...

      The Writing On the Wall
      A disturbing message from God.

      Verse 1-4 tells us Belshazzar’s great, blasphemous feast.
      “Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.”

      “Belshazzar the king”…when we come to Daniel 5, Nebuchadnezzar is NO LONGER the king of Babylon. How did it come from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar? The ancient historian Berosus gives us the following order of events:

      Nebuchadnezzar dies after a 43-year reign
      His son, Evil-Merodach (described in 2 Kings 25:27-30 and Jeremiah 52:31-34) rules for only TWO years when he is assassinated by his brother-in-law Neriglassar, because his rule was arbitrary and licentious.
      Neriglassar (mentioned as Nergalsharezer in Jeremiah 39:3; 39:13) rules for four years until he dies a natural death.
      His son, Laborosoarchod, only a child and of diminished mental capacity, rules for only NINE months when he his beaten to death by a gang of conspirators.
      The conspirators appoint Nabonidus, one of their gang, to be king. He rules until Cyrus the Persian conquers Babylon.

      For a long time, historians and archaeologists knew that Nabonidus was said to be the LAST king of Babylon, not Belshazzar (who was Nabonidus’ eldest son). The solution to this so-called discrepancy was apparent when evidence was uncovered indicating not only Belshazzar’s association with Nabonidus on the throne, but also demonstrating that during the last part of his reign Nabonidus lived in Arabia and left the conduct of the kingdom of Babylon to his eldest son Belshazzar.

      There was no additional mention of Belshazzar, the eldest son and co-regent with Nabonidus, until the Nabonidus Cylinder was discovered in this century. It is now displayed in the British Museum.

      According to Babylonian records, Belshazzar became CO-REGENT in the third year of Nabonidus’ reign (553 b.c.) and continued in that capacity till the fall of Babylon (539 b.c.).

      It is most likely that at the time of Daniel 5, Nabonidus had gone out to fight the Medo-Persian army, and had been already captured. Those armies now surrounded Babylon, and were looking for a way into the strongly defended city.

      “Made a great feast for a thousand of his lords”…tells us Belshazzar was NOT afraid or even WORRIED over the siege surrounding the city. He was confident because of Babylon’s impressive defenses and his vast supplies.

      WHY? Well, conservative calculations set the dimensions of the ancient city of Babylon like this:

      The outer walls were 17 miles long.
      These walls were 22 feet thick and 90 feet high.
      The outer walls had guard towers another 100 feet high.
      The city gates were made of bronze.
      A system of inner and outer walls and moats made the city very secure.

      Nebuchadnezzar was NOT the direct father of Belshazzar. Either he was his grandfather through his mother’s side, or he was his father in the sense of having previously occupied the throne Belshazzar now sat on. Either usage of the term father was accepted in ancient times.

      The scene of partying while a hostile army surrounds the city reminds us of the spirit of our age. Many today carry the idea that the best response to the seeming danger of the times is to FORGET ABOUT IT and ESCAPE INTO THE PARTY/PLEASURE MODE.

      Listen, God does NOT condemn having a good time, but can HE be glorified in it? Can God be invited to your party? If not…..do NOT attend or host it.

      In Ephesians 5:18 Paul calls drunkenness & dissipation are a WASTE of resources that should be submitted to Jesus.

      “They brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem”…tells us Belshazzar was STUPID enough to not only lose all semblance of self-control at this party, but also to openly MOCK God. He committed the sin of sacrilege, something few people are concerned with today.

      Belshazzar BROUGHT these past trophies TO the party to probably CHEER up & BOOST morale.

      In Babylon, a large court - 56 by 170 feet - has been unearthed, decorated with Greek columns. This is probably where the feast of Daniel 5 took place.

      Verse 5 tells us God writes a message on a wall.
      “In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.”

      God can and sometimes does communicate to man in unexpected and even shocking ways. Here, a hand mysteriously appears and writes on the wall. Since, Jesus Christ is the HUMAN form of Almighty God, it WAS Jesus’ hand & fingers they SAW!

      This, of course, is where we get our proverbial phrase “the writing on the wall.”

      Verses 6-9 tells us Belshazzar’s reaction to the message, and his call for someone to interpret it.
      “Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom." Now all the king's wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.”

      “The joints of his hips were loosed and his knees knocked”…Daniel’s vivid description shows us that Belshazzar WAS terrified. But WHO could blame him? His carefree partying was so shallow that it turned from merry to terrified in a moment.
      Suffice to say, THIS party ENDED in a nanosecond…ONLY Jesus Christ is ABLE to sober a drunk mob up in a BLINK…He SURE did it here, did HE not?

      This ALSO shows that Belshazzar’s conscience WAS active beneath his energetic WORLDLY-FOCUSED partying.

      WHY do we KNOW this?

      Because IF Belshazzar could NOT understand the writing, WHY should it trouble him so? It troubled him because his own conscience testified AGAINST him.

      Archaeologists HAVE discovered why Belshazzar offered the interpreter of the dream the third place in the kingdom. The REAL king was Nabonidus, and his son Belshazzar ruled as SECOND in the kingdom. Belshazzar couldn’t give away the second place in the kingdom, because he WAS the second in the kingdom at the time. The best he had to offer was the third place.

      When Daniel comes to interpret these words, it doesn’t seem so hard to figure out. It may be that God deliberately put a veil over the minds of these men so Daniel would be called or like other Biblical scholars, they believe the wise men could NOT read the writing BECAUSE it WAS in Hebrew.

      Verses 10-12 tells us Daniel is recommended as an interpreter of the message.
      “The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, "O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father; your father the king; made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

      This queen (or queen mother) MOST LIKELY WAS Belshazzar’s mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

      When the wise men were called to explain the writing on the wall to Belshazzar, Daniel apparently was NOT called. It seems that Daniel was semi-retired, still holding a government office yet “out of the loop.”

      Notice that the queen mother REFERS to Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, BY his Jewish name “DANIEL” is showing respect for his faith and background.

      Verses 13-16 tell us Belshazzar asks Daniel to interpret the message.
      “Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, "Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

      When everything SEEMS great - when the party IS going non-stop - God and His servants are MOCKED, NEGLECTED, AND HIDDEN AWAY. But when the hand of heaven writes on the walls of one’s life a sobering message, panic-stricken LOST WORLD PEOPLE cry out for the one who HAS/KNOWS/BELIEVES in the Spirit of God.

      “I have heard of you”…Since Belshazzar didn’t think to call for Daniel himself, it seems that his “hearing” of Daniel was either long ago or just now by the queen mother.

      Verses 17-23 Daniel interprets the writing & describes Belshazzar’s sinful pride.
      “Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.”

      “Let your gifts be for yourself”…Remember that Daniel WAS troubled when he had to give Nebuchadnezzar bad news in Daniel 4. NOT with Belshazzar. Daniel is NOT impressed with this successor of Nebuchadnezzar.

      “You his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this”…WHY is Daniel so harsh? Because Belshazzar should have KNOWN better. Even if he was not raised in a godly home, Romans 1 reminds us that all men know of God through creation. Belshazzar should have KNOWN even more through God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar and through Daniel. We are ALL responsible to honor God according to what revelation we HAVE.

      The breath of the creature should praise the Creator, but Belshazzar blasphemed God with his breath. The ways of the creature should glorify the Creator, but Belshazzar used his ways to mock and offend God. Every creature owes something to the Creator.

      Verses 24-28 tells us Daniel tells Belshazzar that God’s judgment is at the door.
      “Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. And this is the inscription that was written: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation of each word.

      Mene: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

      Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;

      Peres: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

      EACH word stands for a short sentence; mene signifies numeration; tekel, weighing; and peres, division.

      God had Belshazzar’s number, and it fell short.
      God weighed Belshazzar, and he came up light.
      God would therefore divide Belshazzar’s kingdom to the Medes and the Persians.

      A mighty army and brilliant tactics overcame The Babylonian Empire, yet it FELL FROM WITHIN. The armies of the Medes and Persians could ONLY conquer because Belshazzar and his kingdom were found LACKING in spiritual and moral value.

      The ancient Greek historian Herodotus relates that the Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon by diverting the flow of the Euphrates into a nearby swamp. This lowered the level of the river so his troops marched through the water and under the river-gates. They still would not have been able to enter had not the bronze gates of the inner walls been left inexplicably unlocked. This was exactly what God predicted in Isaiah 44:28-45:7 and Jeremiah 51:57-58. God OPENED THE GATES of the city of Babylon for Cyrus, and put it in writing 200 years BEFORE it happened!

      In October 539 bc, Cyrus advanced into lower Mesopotamia and, leaving Babylon till last, conquered and occupied the surrounding territory. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, Nabonidus of Babylon deserted his city, leaving it in the charge of his son Belshazzar . . . the taking of Babylon was as bloodless and effortless as Daniel 5 implies.
      The fall of MYSTERY Babylon will be like the fall of real Babylon - sudden, sure, and in the midst of her WORST blasphemies.

      Strauss, a wonderful Bible scholar said it best, “Empires do not stand by human might, man-made machines and missiles. There is not a wall high enough nor thick enough to prevent a nation from falling when God pronounces that nation’s doom.”

      Verses 29 tells us Daniel is promoted.
      “Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

      WHY did Belshazzar so quickly reward Daniel for such harsh words? Either Belshazzar KNEW that Daniel was right, and bravely tried to do the best under the inevitable circumstances or MORE LIKE he disbelieved the whole thing and promoted Daniel in a display of big-hearted fun/mockery.

      Daniel held this post of THIRD RULER OF THE EMPIRE…for only a FEW hours. This shows how temporary the awards and accolades of this world are. In the kingdom that succeeded Belshazzar Daniel was also promoted, but that was due to God, not to Belshazzar.

      Verses 30-31 tells us of the death of Belshazzar and the rise of Darius the Mede.
      “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.”

      The word was fulfilled EXACTLY as Daniel said. God’s word is ALWAYS reliable and true.
      Darius was a sub-king under Cyrus the Persian. He is referred to in secular history as Gubaru.


      Turn with me now to DANIEL 6...

      Daniel 6 - In the Lion’s Den

      This has long been a BELOVED Bible story from children to adults. There are SO MANY dramatic features in this story - the jealousy of political subordinates; the vanity of a king; the integrity of a man; the power and preservation of God; and some wild animals and violence!

      How Daniel was condemned to the lion’s den.

      Verese 1-3 tells us Daniel’s PLACE in the government of Darius.
      “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.”

      Interestingly enough, secular history of this period has NO record of a ruler named Darius. There are THREE POSSIBLE explanations for the Darius of Daniel 6.

      It MAY BE that Darius is ANOTHER name for Cyrus, who ruled of the Medo-Persian Empire during this period.

      It MAY BE that Darius was actually Cambyses, son of Cyrus, who served under his father as a ruler of Babylon and later inherited the throne of the entire empire.

      OR it MAY BE that Darius is an ancient official known as Gubaru in ancient documents, whom Cyrus appointed as ruler over Babylon immediately after its capture. MOST BIBLE SCHOLARS believe that Gubaru IS the SAME person as Darius. They believe "Darius" may be an honorific title meaning, "holder of the scepter."

      WHY? Because ANCIENT SECULAR documents show that the man Gubaru HAD the power to make appointments, to assemble an army, to levy taxes, and to possess palaces. Gubaru (Darius) was, in a very real sense, the king over Babylon.

      Daniel WAS one of three leaders directly under Darius, and he shined above the other two leaders because he had an EXCELLENT spirit. Daniel had a GOOD attitude in his work and life and this made him the object of attack.

      Verses 4-9 tells us a plot against Daniel is conceived and initiated.
      “So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God." So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.”
      Daniel was such a FAITHFUL man that those who sought to find a FLAW in his actions or character came up EMPTY-HANDED.

      Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Sometimes TODAY a candidate or nominee for office will be set under this kind of scrutiny - imagine looking as hard as you could at a public servant who had been in office some 50 years and finding NOTHING wrong. NO fraudulent expense accounts. NO intern scandals. NO questionable business deals. NO gifts from lobbyists. NO accusations from his staff.

      The Bible tells us there were NO SKELETONS in Daniel’s closet. His enemies were left to MAKE UP LIES. And we ALL know satan and the world and mankind have NO PROBLEM making up lies to suit their evil/unjust purposes, do they?

      Make NO mistake here, this does NOT imply that Daniel was sinless, but that he WAS a man of great integrity. We can also say that Daniel was especially blameless in the conduct of his professional life.

      Daniel did NOT hide HIS FAITH IN GOD. EVERYONE KNEW WHOM DANIEL SERVED, TRUSTED, & BELIEVED IN. They knew he could not be TRAPPED into evil, but they also knew that he would BE faithful to his God in all circumstances.

      Do others know the same about us?

      But Daniel’s enemies ALSO KNEW Darius. The WEAK SPOT they found was in DARIUS’ PRIDE & DESIRES for a unified kingdom, NOT in Daniel.

      THIS CHAPTER OF DANIEL….shows us to be WARY of excessive praise and flattery…that it MAY have a HIDDEN EVIL/UNJUST motive behind it.
      Of course, they LIED when they said ALL the governors, because Daniel WAS ONE of the governors and he was NOT consulted.

      It was an established principle in the Medo-Persian Empire that when a king formally signed and instituted a decree, it was so binding that NOT EVEN the king himself could CHANGE it.

      The decrees of a Persian king were unchangeable because he was thought to speak for the gods, who could never be wrong and never needed to change their minds.

      Darius STUPIDLY & ARROGANTLY signed the decree.

      Verses 10-15 tells us Daniel’s faithfulness TO GOD causes him to be condemned to the lion’s den.
      “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king's decree: "Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, 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 does not alter." So they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

      Daniel was confronted with a TEST of HIS TRUE loyalties. He WANTED to render unto Caesar things that RIGHTFULLY belonged to Caesar but he WOULD NOT give to the government that which BELONGED to God ALONE.

      Others might have considered it risky for Daniel pray as was his custom. Daniel knew that the SAFEST thing he COULD do was radically OBEY God.

      It isn’t hard to see WHY people are men-pleasers; it seems as if people have the power to hire or fire us; to break our hearts; to slander us; to make our lives generally miserable. The power to obey God and stand for Him comes from a settled understanding that JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS IN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS.

      Daniel REFUSED TO LET the decree change his actions one way or another. He didn't PRAY MORE OR LESS; he simply CONTINUED HIS WALK/PRAYER/PRAISE OF GOD.

      So what WAS Daniel's custom in praying?

      1. He prayed in his UPPER ROOM - this was private prayer, made with no intention to impress others.
      2. He prayed with his WINDOWS OPEN TOWARD JERUSALEM.
      3. He prayed ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, because Solomon asked God to give special notice to the prayers of His people when they prayed towards Jerusalem and the temple. 1 Kings 8:3 says, “And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place.”
      4. He KNELT DOWN on his knees, praying just as Jesus did, (Luke 22:41), as Stephen (Acts 7:60), as Peter (Acts 9:40), as Paul and other leaders in the church (Acts 20:36), and as Luke (Acts 21:5). 5. He prayed THREE TIMES THAT DAY, knowing that a little prayer is good, MUCH PRAYER IS BEST.
      6. He PRAYED & GAVE THANKS, because the BEST prayers are FILLED WITH THANK YOUS.

      They FOUND Daniel where they KNEW he would be - deep in prayer. For Daniel prayer was both communing with God and pleading for His will to be accomplished (supplication).

      They ACCUSED Daniel of disrespecting the king. This was NOT true. Daniel intended NO disrespect for the king, only MORE respect for God.

      There is MUCH to like about King Darius, and one thing is he KNEW his PRIDE had caused this & he BLAMED himself NOT others. We KNOW he was NOT happy with Daniel’s enemies either, but he ACCEPTED that HE and NO ONE else was responsible for this.

      Like Darius, PRIDE & STUBBORN DECISIONS can/do haunt us. SMART Christians PRAY and ask Jesus to forgive us AND to have mercy & and miraculously intervene on our behalf.

      “He labored till the going down of the sun”…this tells us that DARIUS worked as long as he could. According to eastern custom the execution was carried out on the evening of the day that the accusation was made and found valid.

      Verses 16-18 tells us of Daniel’s time in the lion’s den & God‘s protection.
      “So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.”

      This scripture ALSO tells us that Darius HAD faith, and it was faith born out of Daniel’s WALK/FAITH in the Lord.

      Many of us SHOW/WALK godly character and wisdom before the world when we remember or when it SUITS us to, but we FORGET THAT IT IS A MINUTE BY MINUTE, DAY BY DAY walk, faith, prayer, & communing that Jesus WANTS.

      The king sealed it to PROTECT Daniel as much as to make sure a man didn't rescue Daniel. Darius KNEW that Daniel had powerful enemies who MIGHT TRY TO kill him if the lions didn't.

      Daniel HAD a better night’s rest than Darius. We can be sure that Daniel prayed in the lions' den, because it was simply his habit to pray. He did not need to start praying on this remarkable occasion because the habit of prayer was well ingrained in his life.

      Verses 19-23 tells us Daniel is found alive after the night in the lion's den.
      “Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you." Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.”

      Darius WAITED FOR the first glimmer of dawn so he can see how Daniel fared.

      When Darius heard Daniel's voice he KNEW the lions wouldn't or couldn't touch this servant of God, and Daniel is recognized in Hebrews 11:33 as, “One who by faith stopped the mouths of lions.”

      We don't know if Daniel SAW an angel or not, but he certainly KNEW that God sent His angel to rescue him. And we KNOW that HIS ANGEL can only be HIS ANGEL, HIS Jesus Christ who was sent. Hebrews 1:14 says, “Angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.”

      Daniel WAS SAVED/SPARED through faith. Though his cause was righteous and he was unjustly accused those things in themselves did not protect him before the lions. Daniel HAD a living, abiding faith in God, EVEN in the most difficult circumstances.

      DID YOU CATCH THIS COMMAND OF GOD? The power of God sent HIS angel to protect Daniel, in response to a prayer of faith coming from a consistent, abiding walk.

      Verse 24 tells us THE FATE of those who plotted against Daniel.
      “And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions; them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.”

      You NOTICE NO ONE had to ask Darius to do this. He was ready and willing to bring justice to those who plotted against Daniel, deceived him, and bring Persian justice their children, and their wives.

      This WAS/IS severe, but it was also according to ancient customs among the Persians. An ancient writer named Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the Persians, “The laws among them are formidable . . . by which, on account of the guilt OF ONE, all the kindred perish.”

      The lions overpowered them . . . BEFORE they ever came to the bottom of the den. This PROVED NOT ONLY that it genuinely was angelic protection that saved Daniel. Daniel's accusers perished in the same trap they set for Daniel. AND IT PROVED how very starved these lions were. They ARE conservative by natural law. They kill only what they need for that moment. That they attacked, brought down, and LITERALLY broke into pieces all their bones before they made it to the bottom of the den, tells us JUST how STARVED they were.

      THIS ALSO SHOWS US A POWERFUL PRINCIPLE IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE found in Psalm 7:14-16, which says, “God will cause our enemy to be impaled on the same snare set for us.”

      Verses 25-28 tells us Darius decrees that all must honor the God of Daniel.
      “Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

      WHAT HAS THE BOOK OF DANIEL SHOWN US SO FAR?

      When WE who love Jesus Christ stand FIRM in OUR convictions, Jesus honors and protects us, and the testimony of Jesus’ work makes the ungodly SEE AND TELL the greatness of our Jesus.

      Daniel and his four friends stood firm and Nebuchadnezzar saw the fruit of it (Daniel 1:20)
      Daniel boldly and wisely interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream and king honored Daniel and his God (Daniel 2:46-47)

    • July 6, 2016 3:43 AM EDT
    • DANIEL 7: THE BEGINNING OF END TIMES PROPHECIES...


      Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth GIVEN BY ALMIGHTY GOD & written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
      WHAT does Jesus say about Daniel?

      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

      But what FEW CRITICS ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack against the Book of Daniel? WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel? Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled prophecies than any other book in the Bible. In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than any other Old Testament book.
      At times, Communist governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.

      It BEARS repeating…JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CONFIRMS DANIEL TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH….I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST, THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME, Amen?



      Turn with me now to DANIEL 7...

      Daniel 7 - The Five World Empires Prophecies

      The FOUR beasts.

      Verse 1.…Introduces us to Daniel’s vision.
      “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.”

      This vision came to Daniel AFTER the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, but BEFORE the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire.

      Daniel chapters 1-6 describe the LIFE & TIMES of Daniel.

      Daniel Chapters 7-12 describe VISIONS Daniel had.

      In order of events, the vision described in Daniel 7 took place DURING the time between Daniel chapters 4-5.

      This FIRST vision - 1 OF 4 described between Daniel 7-12...IS THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE.

      The other THREE VISIONS go into GREATER DETAIL within the general framework of this FIRST vision.

      Daniel could have given us MORE detail but the Holy Spirit only wanted him to write the MAIN facts. We may wish that Daniel went into greater detail, but he didn't.

      Verses 2-3 tells us about FOUR beasts & where they come from.
      “Daniel spoke, saying, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.”

      “Stirring up the Great Sea” …This is the Mediterranean Sea. EACH one of the empires mentioned in this vision border ON the Mediterranean Sea.

      “Stirring up has the idea of chaos and tumult. The Hebrews have ALWAYS feared & viewed the sea as demonic, dangerous, & mysterious.

      THE SEA is sometimes used as a picture of Gentile nations (Psalm 74:13; Psalm 89:9; Isaiah 57:20).

      The FOUR WINDS of heaven are seen as a description of the sovereign power of God striving with men (Psalm 35:5; Psalm 48:7; Psalm 107:25; Isaiah 27:8, and Isaiah 41:16) or the four winds are satanic forces, as mentioned by Revelation 7:1.

      THE FOUR GREAT BEASTS…large, ferocious animals emerge from the Great Sea, each one distinct from the other.

      Verses 4-6 DESCRIBE the first THREE beasts.
      “The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: "Arise, devour much flesh!" After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.”

      The FIRST BEAST is more majestic than any of the following beasts (lions and eagles are “kings” of their realms). But this majestic beast is humbled (wings were plucked off) and made human (a man's heart was given to it).

      A little later (Daniel 7:17) Daniel tells us that these FOUR BEASTS are FOUR KINGDOMS ruling over the earth.

      The 1ST KINGDOM is the Babylonian Empire, represented by a lion and an eagle. This fits in well with the majesty and authority of Nebuchadnezzar in his reign over the empire of Babylon.

      Jeremiah used BOTH the lion and the eagle as pictures of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 49:19-22), and Babylon’s winged lions can be seen in the British Museum TODAY.

      The 2nd BEAST is like a bear…It DOESN’T have the majestic PRESENCE of either the lion or the eagle. A bear is slower, stronger, and more crushing than a lion - and this bear has a voracious appetite for conquest (Arise, devour much flesh!).

      The 2nd KINGDOM is the Medo-Persian Empire, succeeding the Babylonian Empire. In this partnership between the Medes and the Persians, the Persians dominated the relationship. Most think the three ribs are their three great conquests: Babylon, Egypt and Lybia.

      Also, the slow, crushing armies of the Medo-Persian Empire WERE well known. They simply overwhelmed their opponents with superior size and strength. "The Medes and Persians are compared to a bear because of their documented history of EXTREME cruelty and thirst for blood.

      Liberals who dispute Daniel & the legitimacy of Bible prophecy, TRY to say “the bear” is only the Median state, and NOT the Medo-Persian Empire. They assign the third beast to the Persian Empire, and the fourth to Alexander’s Greek empire, TO TRY AND ERASE any element of predictive prophecy. Their analysis DOES NOT fit.

      Why?

      Here are the Bible’s historical reasons why the second kingdom could NOT be exclusively the Median kingdom.

      1. The Median kingdom did NOT follow the Babylonian in historical sequence, but was contemporary with it, even rising to strength BEFORE the Neo-Babylonian period.
      2. The Median kingdom NEVER had a world position ranking with the Persian, Grecian NOR Babylonian Empires.
      3. The REASON for MIS-interpretation is to remove ANY reference to Rome --- and predictive prophecy.

      THE 3RD BEAST is like a LEOPARD. The leopard is known for its sudden, unexpected attacks. This one is especially swift (with four wings), and clever (having four heads).

      THE 3RD KINGDOM is the Greek Empire. Alexander the Great quickly conquered the civilized world by age 28. NOTHING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAS EQUAL TO the conquests of Alexander, who ran through all the countries from Illycrium and the Adriatic Sea to the Indian Ocean and the River Ganges; and in JUST TWELVE YEARS subdued part of Europe, and ALL Asia.

      After ALEXANDER’S DEATH…his empire was divided into FOUR parts (four heads). Specifically, the four heads were Casander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, Alexanders FOUR GENERALS who TOOK OVER Alexander’s domain after his death.

      UNDERSTAND & REMEMBER THIS….The Babylonian Empire dominated in Daniel's day. One might have guessed - especially in the reign of Belshazzar - that the next empire would be the Medo-Persian Empire.

      But HOW COULD DANIEL KNOW the next world empire would be like a leopard in its rise and prominence, and that it would be divided into four parts?

      The answer is DANIEL could NOT have KNOWN.

      But Almighty God KNOWS the future, and HE DOES reveals certain details of the future through His prophets.

      This ALSO, once again, PROVES that God lives OUTSIDE our time domain and CAN see THE PAST, THE PRESENT, & THE FUTURE all at once.

      Jesus Christ SEES the WHOLE PARADE OF MANKIND’S HISTORY, not JUST THE PART RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM.

      The PROOF of fulfilled prophecy is INFALLIBLE. Little wonder Peter says in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

      Verses 7-8 tells us about the FOURTH BEAST.
      “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.”

      Do you notice that the FOURTH BEAST is not only dreadful and terrible…but so much so to DANIEL, that it is INDESCRIBABLE & UNIQUELY HORRIFIC in its power and conquest?

      And VERY DIFFERENT…with it’s TEN horns. In the ancient world horns expressed an animals power and fearsomeness. This fourth beast is SO STRONG it has TEN horns.

      THE 4TH KINGDOM represents the Roman Empire, which WAS the largest, strongest, most unified and enduring of them all.

      “Another horn, a little one . . . a mouth speaking pompous words” Among the ten horns, three are replaced by one horn that is OBVIOUS for its dominance (before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots), intelligence (eyes like the eyes of a man), and its boastful talk (speaking pompous words).


      Verses 9-10 tells us The Ancient of Days and the scene surrounding his throne.
      “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”

      When the Apostle John saw heaven he also saw thrones, but he also saw those who sat on those thrones - the 24 elders described in Revelation 4:4.

      Do you NOTICE this makes NO mention of those who sit on these thrones?

      And the reason is this: the 24 elders represent THE CHURCH (Gentile/Jewish Christians) and the church was an UNREVEALED mystery to Old Testament saints as Paul confirms this in Ephesians 3:1-7.

      The Ancient of Days is one of the names of Almighty God. Jesus Christ is NOT EVER referred to as The Ancient Of Days personally.
      This title belongs to Almighty God (The Father) and the white garments and white hair stress the eternal character of God the Father.

      Also in Daniel 7:13, Daniel HAS/MAKES a CLEAR distinction between the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man, and this CONFIRMS that the Ancient of Days is God the Father, not Jesus Christ.

      “His throne was a fiery flame”…This is a brilliant manifestation of God’s splendor and the fierce heat of His judgment. There is something “lava-like” in the stream of fire pouring from the throne; it is a river of vast destructive power.

      Also, Isaiah 66:15-16 describes the judgment of God in terms of fire: “For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many.”

      A thousand thousands ministered to Him…describes the innumerable company of angels surrounding the throne of God.

      Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him…describes humanity standing before God in judgment.

      Court was seated, and the books were opened.
      Did you CATCH that…NOT one book, but BOOKS plural were opened.

      The Bible tells us there ARE THREE books before God.

      1. The Book Of The Living (Psalm 69:28)
      2. The Book Of Remembrance (Malachi 3:16)
      3. The Book of Life (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 20:15; 21:27, and 22:19)

      Verses 11-14 tells us the conspicuous horn is conquered by the Son of Man. (Jesus Christ).
      “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

      This describes the CHANGE from human dominion on earth to divine dominion=(Jesus’ 1000 year reign on earth). This happens as the Son of Man comes and exercises dominion over the earth=(The Battle of Armageddon). The Son of Man succeeds the reign of the fourth beast=(The AntiChrist, the False Prophet, Satan’s demon army.)

      “The sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking”… Here the "little horn" of the 4TH beast AGAIN speaks pompous words. The FINAL human dictator called the Antichrist WILL be characterized by his boastful, blasphemous speech as John tells us in Revelation 13:5-6.

      Because of the distinction between the fourth beast and the horn, some WRONGLY believe that the beast of Revelation 13 is NOT the Antichrist IN PERSON, BUT HIS STATE. Not that it really matters, because a man DOES represent and personify an entire government or system too. I have used this comparison before, think about Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, the figures of Hitler as an individual and Nazi Germany as a state are virtually the same, right?

      “I watched till the beast was slain . . . the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away”…tells us the 4th beast IS destroyed and the others may continue, but without dominion of their own. When Jesus sets up His kingdom, the empire of the Antichrist will be completely crushed, yet SOME nations will continue into the Millennium.

      One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven…We KNOW the title “Son of Man” was/is a favorite self-designation of Jesus, used more than 80 times in the gospels. Jesus receives ALL dominion previously held by the beasts and Jesus’ reign WILL be permanent.

      “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away”…tells us the reign of Jesus does not last ONLY 1,000 years but IS forever. However, Jesus will rule over this earth before it is remade, with Satan bound for 1,000 years.

      Verses 15-16 tells us Daniel’s reaction to the vision and request for understanding.
      “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things.”

      Daniel SAW ALL this, and in more detail than he describes for us. But he did NOT really understand all that he saw, and was troubled because of his lack of understanding.

      Being “grieved in my spirit within my body”…tells us that our spirit DOES dwell WITHIN OUR body. It is true that the spirit is more important than the body (1 Timothy 4:8), but the state of the body CAN have an effect on the state of the spirit.

      We need to remember that the human spirit IS different from the body. The SPIRIT also works independently of the body.

      Verses 17-18 tells us the summary of the vision. The FOUR KINGS/KINGDOMS ARE conquered by God, and their kingdoms are GIVEN TO the people of God.
      “Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. "But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever."

      Almighty God’s interpretation of the dream shows that this vision covers the same material as Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2, which also described the rise of four empires, which are succeeded by the kingdom of God.

      But at the SAME time, THIS VISION OF Daniel's IS different, seeing the kingdoms from God’s perspective, NOT man’s. Nebuchadnezzar saw the present and future world empires in the form of a stately and noble statue of a man. Here God shows how He sees them: as ferocious and wild animals who devour and conquer without conscience.

      Though Jesus IS the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), He primarily represents Himself NOT as a ferocious animal but as A LAMB in Revelation 5:5-6, 8-10.

      “The saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom”…tells us the day the 4th beast reign IS over, then God's people receive the kingdom.

      Yet we know the Roman Empire is GONE - and the saints HAVE NOT received the kingdom. So we KNOW this is FUTURE not present nor past.

      This TRUTH is what prompts many to LOOK FOR either a “spiritual only” interpretation fulfilled in history, or some kind of restoration of the Roman Empire in the last days, one that will literally fulfill the prophecy of the ten horns and the little horn as well.

      “The saints receive the kingdom” …God gives THE SAINTS the kingdom at the RETURN of Jesus. They do NOT gain dominion over ALL these earthly kingdoms BEFORE the return of Jesus.

      Verses 19-22 tells us Daniel’s specific request TO KNOW about the conspicuous horn.
      “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.”

      Did you catch that? Daniel HAS interests in ALL the beasts, but MOST FOCUSED UPON THE 4TH AND MOST TERRIBLE & OVER THE CONSPICUOUS HORN.

      The 4TH beast interests Daniel because of its GREAT destructive power, because of the conspicuous horn, and because of its fight AGAINST God’s people (the same horn was making war against the saints).

      Some use THIS scripture to point out that THE CHURCH goes through Tribulation & must FIGHT AGAINST The AntiChrist. They forget that there WILL be Gentiles SAVED during Tribulation. MOST will be hunted down and murdered by The AntiChrist, but remember too, the Jewish remnant is are ALSO referred to As The Saints during the tribulation in Revelation 12:17; 13:7. The CHURCH is not mentioned after Revelation 3.…UNTIL THE CHURCH returns with Jesus to destroy the AntiChrist.


      Verses 23-27 tells us GOD tells Daniel the meaning of the conspicuous horn and its defeat.
      “Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. "But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

      This initial description of the fourth beast fits well with the Roman Empire of ancient history because it DID devour the whole civilized earth, and dominated it completely for about a thousand years.

      “The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom”… These ten kings do NOT have a literal fulfillment in the Roman Empire of history. Since they ARE literal, they are STILL in the future.

      But if there are ten toes (Daniel 2) and ten horns (Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17) associated with the rule of this FINAL world ruler, how can anyone who debates this, SAY it is only a “spiritual vision fulfillment,” when God has said in at least four different places?

      The conspicuous horn IS The AntiChrist rising out of a confederation of TEN nations which WILL resemble The Roman Empire.

      “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High”…The little horn speaks pompous, blasphemous words, which is no surprise we SEE pomposity in governments/leaders EVERY time we turn on the TV.

      Want a preview of what The AntiChrist/False Prophet might sound like?

      Talbot cites the FASCIST CREED OF ITALY, who said:
      “I believe in Rome Eternal, the Mother of my fatherland; and in Italy, her first born; who was born of her virgin womb by the grace of God; who suffered under the barbarian invader, was crucified, slain, and buried; who descended into the sepulcher, and rose from the dead in the nineteenth century; who ascended to heaven in her glory in 1918 and 1922 [by the march on Rome]; who is seated at the right hand of Mother Rome; who will come thence to judge the quick and the dead; I believe in the genius of Mussolini; in our Holy Father, Fascism, and in the communion of its martyrs; in the conversion of the Italians; and in the resurrection of the Empire! Amen.”

      And folks people BELIEVED Fascist CREED in Italy, because he paralleled it with Jesus life & the Bible.

      This LOST WORLD will hear the same parallels and WILL believe it FOR a time too.

      The Bible predicts NO peace-loving world ruler for the last days. We can expect nothing more than greedy commercialism and political imperialism under the most beastly and barbaric type of warfare & cruel persecutions.

      He shall CHANGE the times/laws. It may even be as they TRIED to do during The French Revolution, where radicals wanted to institute a TEN-DAY WORK WEEK, and declared 1792 (the year of the Revolution) as “year 1.”

      Strangely enough, did you know that TODAY the Seventh-Day Adventists STILL historically teach & believe that it was the Papacy which “changed the times and law” by moving the Lord’s day from Saturday to Sunday. SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH, many Seventh-Day Adventists STILL REGARD Sunday worship as the sign of the Antichrist.

      “Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time”…The power of the "little horn" over the saints is limited. It will last for three-and-one-half years (time and times and half a time). This phrase is used in Revelation (11:2-3; 12:6, and 13:5) to refer to half of the last seven-year period of man’s rule on this earth (the seventieth week of Daniel).

      “They shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever”… In the day of persecution by this blasphemous ruler Jesus WILL establish His kingdom for His people.

      Because the kingdom of Jesus immediately succeeds this fourth kingdom NO EVENT in the past answers this prediction in the smallest degree. Certainly, the church did NOT cause a sudden and catastrophic fall of the Roman Empire.
      There ARE THREE OPTIONS/CHOICES in interpreting the kingdom's establishment here:

      There is no fulfillment; Daniel is in error
      The fulfillment is symbolic in church history
      The fulfillment is literal, and yet future

      “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High”… This DESCRIBES the millennial earth, NOT our current age or heaven. The kingdom and dominion of the earth certainly DOES NOT belong to the righteous now. If this describes the eternal state, then what are the dominions that shall serve and obey Him?

      AGAIN…GOD SAYS that the kingdom and dominion . . . shall be GIVEN to the saints. It is something RECEIVED, NOT ACHIEVED.

      The church-Christians does NOT convert the world to Jesus’ kingdom and give the kingdom to Jesus; HE gives it TO US.

      Verse 28 tells us Daniel’s troubled reaction to the vision and its interpretation.
      “This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

      Many things might trouble Daniel at this vision - such as the ferocity of the attack to come against his people from the conspicuous horn.

      “And my countenance changed”…is a GREAT WAY to tell us that Daniel KNEW it was true. He was SO convinced of its truth that his countenance changed and he considered what would happen.

      So ends Daniel 7...

      Brothers and Sisters we ARE IN END TIMES...at this moment.
      ALL OLD/NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECY prior to the "JESUS APPEARING IN THE CLOUDS & CATCHING US AWAY..." which modern English uses the word RAPTURE, which means the EXACT SAME thing...is YET to be fulfilled BEFORE the Tribulation begins, The Antichrist revealed, and the horrifics are loosed.

      We MUST share and shine Jesus WHILE we MAY!
      We MUST have Jesus' heart and vision..."He said I come seeking the lost. I come so that NONE shall perish."

      SEEK OUT the lost...REACH OUT to the lost...INTRODUCE THEM TO OUR JESUS...while there is STILL time.

      GET BUSY FOR JESUS….

      STAY BLESSED.

    • July 6, 2016 3:39 AM EDT
    • Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
      WHAT does Jesus say about Daniel?

      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

      But what FEW CRITICS ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack AGAINST the Book of Daniel?

      WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel?

      Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled prophecies than ANY other book in the Bible.

      In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than ANY other Old Testament book.

      At times, Communist governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.

      It BEARS repeating…JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CONFIRMS DANIEL TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH….I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST, THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME, Amen?




      Turn with me now to DANIEL 8...

      Daniel 8 - Antiochus and Antichrist

      In the ancient manuscripts, the Book of Daniel here resumes using the Hebrew language. The section from Daniel 2:4 to 7:28 WAS written in Aramaic.


      Verses 1-2 Introduce this next vision of Daniel.
      “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me; to me, Daniel; after the one that appeared to me the first time. I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.”

      This vision happened while Babylon was securely IN power. Though the vision will deal with the emergence and destiny of the Greek Empire, the Greek Empire was NOT much of anything at the time THIS prophecy from God came to Daniel…they were basically nothing more than goat herders.

      Daniel is telling us that he was in Shushan on the king's business (Daniel 8:27).

      Verses 3-4 tell us about a mighty ram pushing in different directions.
      “Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.”

      In Daniel 8:20 this ram is clearly identified as the Medo-Persian Empire, which succeeded the Babylonian Empire.

      In fact Marcellinus, a 4th century historian, tells us that the Persian ruler WORE the HEAD OF A RAM as he stood at the head of his army. AND the ram was the national emblem of Persia, a ram being stamped on Persian coins as well as on the headdress of Persian emperors.

      The ram is noted for the proportion of its two horns - one WAS higher than the other. This was an accurate prediction of the partnership between the Medes and the Persians, because the Persians WERE larger and stronger in the partnership. They also emerged after the Medes (the higher one came up last).

      “Pushing westward, northward, and southward”…history tells us The Medo-Persian Empire exerted its power to the north, south, and west. It assumed territory but made NO MAJOR conquests towards the east.

      Verses 5-8 tells us a male goat challenges and conquers the ram.
      “And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand. Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.”

      Daniel is telling us this male goat IS identified with Greece and its horns with the rulers of the Greek Empire.

      From ancient history we know THE GOAT was a common representation of the Greek Empire. Additionally, two hundred years BEFORE the time of Daniel, the Greeks, who had NO EMPIRE to speak of, they were SIMPLY called, “the goats' people.”

      “Across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground”… this prophetic description of the male goat SOUNDED IMPOSSIBLE, but was proved to be TRUE regarding the Greek Empire.

      WHY?
      1. The Greek Empire rose from the WEST of previous empires
      2. The Greek Empire rose with GREAT SPEED
      3. The Greek Empire HAD a notable ruler, Alexander the Great (a notable horn)
      4. The Greek Empire had a famous war with the Medo-Persian Empire (I saw him confronting the ram)
      5. The Greek Empire and the Medo-Persian Empire HATED each other (with furious power . . . moved with rage). Some of the greatest/fiercest battles of ancient history were fought between the Greeks and the Persians.
      6. The Greek Empire conquered the Medo-Persian Empire (no one that could deliver the ram from his hand).
      7. The reign of the notable leader of the Greek Empire was suddenly cut short (the large horn was broken).
      8. After the end of Alexander the Great's reign, the Greek Empire was divided among FOUR OF ALEXANDERS MILITARY GENERALS (in place of it four notable ones came up).
      9. The four rulers of the Greek Empire after Alexander ruled ONLY THEIR OWN dominions, NOT the ENTIRE empire together (came up toward the four winds of heaven).
      10. Alexander did NOT DIVIDE the empire among his four generals himself. His four leading generals SEIZED IT & DIVIDED it among themselves by FORCE after Alexander’s death.
      Cassander, ruling over Greece and its region
      Lysimachus, ruling over Asia Minor
      Seleucus, ruling over Syria and Israel's land
      Ptolemy, ruling over Egypt

      The greatness of Alexander's Empire was not ONLY in its vast dominion, but also in its cultural power. Alexander the Great was determined to spread Greek civilization, culture, and language across every land he conquered. And he did.

      As God guided history, He USED Alexander's passion to spread Greek culture to prepare the world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      HOW?

      Because of Alexander's influence koine=(common) Greek became the COMMON language of the civilized world - AND the language of the New Testament. How cool is that?

      Verses 9-12 tells us the strong horn that arises from the four horns of the male goat.
      “And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.”

      This “little horn” was fulfilled in one of the four successors to Alexander the Great. Since the dominion of this horn was extended toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land (ISRAEL), we can identify the historical fulfillment of this little horn in Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled over Syria and Israel's land under the Seleucid dynasty.

      History tells us Israel's land was fought over between the dynasties of Seleucid and Ptolemy, but the Seleucids gained power over the region in the days of Antiochus III (198 b.c.).

      AND Antiochus IV gained the throne by MURDERING his brother, the former king Seleucus Philopator. The son of Philopator was the RIGHTFUL heir to the throne, but Antiochus IV had him held hostage in Rome. Antiochus IV legitimized his rule mainly through flattery and bribery.

      Talk about being FULL of HIMSELF, Antiochus IV assumed the title "Epiphanes" meaning, "illustrious" and alluding to HIS OWN deity. The Jews turned it into "Epimanes" meaning, "MADMAN."

      “The Glorious Land” refers to Israel and is called this in Ezekiel 20:6 (the glory of all lands), Ezekiel 25:9 (the glory of the country), and in Daniel 11:16 & 11:41 & Psalm 48:2.

      DO YOU NOTICE the Glorious Land AS the center of the world?
      Why?

      It is the NERVE center of civilization since the days of Abraham
      It is the TRUTH center from which flowed God's revelation to man
      It is the STORM center of warring nations since the days of Joshua
      It will be the PEACE center of the earth during the millennial reign of Jesus
      It will be the HOME center for the Jewish people forever more

      Antiochus Epiphanes is an accurate and dramatic fulfillment of this prophecy in history - so much so that critics insist that the Book of Daniel must have been written AFTER his time.

      Why?

      Antiochus Epiphanes EXERTED his dominion toward the south, toward the east, and toward the land of Israel
      Antiochus Epiphanes MURDERED other rulers and persecuted the people of Israel (cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them)
      Antiochus Epiphanes BLASPHEMED God and commanded idolatrous worship directed towards himself (exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host)
      Antiochus Epiphanes STOPPED temple sacrifices in Jerusalem (by him the daily sacrifices were taken away)
      Antiochus Epiphanes DESECRATED the temple (the place of His sanctuary was cast down)
      Antiochus Epiphanes OPPOSED God and seemed to prosper (he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered)

      “It cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground”… These are SYMBOLS used in the Old Testament for angels, kings and leaders, or the people of God at large. Here it is fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes and his attacks against rulers and God's people in general.

      The terms “stars of heaven” found in Genesis 12:3; 15:5 and “the hosts of the Lord” found in Exodus 12:41 are used to describe God's people “ISRAEL” in general.

      “And trampled them”… Antiochus was an UNSPEAKABLY EVIL MADMAN persecutor of the Jewish people. He wanted them to submit to Greek culture and customs and was more than willing to use torture, murder, and bring violence to INSURE IT.

      Antiochus's suppression of the Jews came to a head in December of 168 b.c. when he returned in defeat from Alexandria. He ordered his generals to seize Jerusalem on a Sabbath. There he erected an idol of Zeus and desecrated the altar by an offering of swine and sprinkling the PIG’S BLOOD, URINE, & FECES ON/IN the sanctuary. Sacrifice was ceased because the temple WAS VILELY desecrated.

      1 Maccabees 1:29-32 and 1:52-61 describe how Antiochus persecuted the Jews. 1 Maccabees 1:41-50 describes his blasphemies. By some estimates he is responsible for the murder of more than 100,000 Jews.

      “Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices”…This WAS fulfilled in the terrors of Antiochus Epiphanes. The Jews, especially their leaders INVITED God's judgment upon them through Antiochus because of THEIR sin.

      The FIRST attack of Antiochus against the Jews was to settle a rivalry for the high priesthood. A pious Jewish high priest, Onias III, was removed from office and replaced with his brother Jason because Jason BRIBED Antiochus.

      Then in 172b.c., another brother (Menelaus) gave Antiochus an even BIGGER bribe and replaced Jason.

      A year later Menelaus started SELLING many of the temple's gold utensils to raise money to pay off the bribe. Onias III rebuked him, and Menelaus had him murdered.

      IT IS PRETTY CLEAR WHY ALMIGHTY GOD WAS ANGRY WITH ISRAEL, RIGHT?

      Meanwhile, Jason gathered armies and fought against Menelaus to regain the office of Jewish High Priest. Antiochus Epiphanes came in to Jerusalem in 171b.c. to DEFEND the JEWISH man who paid him a bigger bribe to be the High Priest.
      WHY did God ALLOW this?

      God set over Israel such a breathing devil, as was Antiochus, as punishment of their open impiety and formal apostasy of Him and His Temple.

      Verses 13-14 tells us how long the sanctuary's desecration lasted: 2,300 days.
      “Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?" And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

      HOLY ONE SPEAKING…is another name of Jesus Christ, so Jesus Christ APPEARS AGAIN PERSONALLY to speak to Daniel.

      Daniel did NOT need to ASK how long. The angels with Jesus ASKED. They WANTED to know how long the sacrifices would be suspended and how long the sanctuary would be desecrated.

      Literally, Daniel heard Jesus Christ say "two thousand three hundred mornings and evenings." Bible scholars DEBATE if this means 2,300 days or 1,150 days, because 2,300 days is ALMOST seven years.

      History CONFIRMS that this means 2,300 days. The date when the temple was cleansed is well established as December 25, 165 b.c. If we count back 2,300 days from then, we come to the year when Antiochus Epiphanes BEGAN his persecution in earnest (171 b.c.).

      ALMIGHTY GOD SAYS IT…& HISTORY CONFIRMS OUR AMAZING GOD’S WORDS…EXACTLY AS FORETOLD.

      This SCRIPTURE has been a CONSTANT springboard for elaborate and fanciful prophetic interpretations.

      ONE OF THE MOST TRAGIC of these misinterpretations of this passage by WILLIAM MILLER, took one year for every day, and William Miller used 2,300 "year-days" to calculate that Jesus would return in 1844 (2,300 years after Cyrus issued the decree to rebuild the temple). His UNFOUNDED & UN-BIBLICAL interpretations WAS proven FALSE, & his ERROR so derailed his faith that his later teachings BIRTHED the movements that CREATED the Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and several other movements.

      The Bible clearly shows us that we CAN KNOW that other "year-day" theories ARE WRONG because this passage WAS fulfilled BEFORE the time of Jesus.

      WHY?
      John 10:22 TELLS us Jesus recognized that the temple was properly cleansed and rededicated when He attended the Feast of Lights, commemorating the cleansing and re-dedication of the temple AFTER the desecration brought by Antiochus Epiphanes.

      The ENTIRE foundational belief in this by Miller, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, and others are NOT Biblical NOR Historically factual.

      WHY?

      IF we date these years from the vision of the he-goat, (Alexander's invading Asia), this was 3670, b.c. 334; and two thousand three hundred years from that time will reach to 1966 a.d. was when MILLER & these groups BELIEVED Jesus would return, or one hundred and forty-one years from the present a.d. 1825 is when Jesus would have returned. Jesus Christ did NOT return!

      But what IS amazing is that this prophecy of Daniel’s WAS written some 350 years BEFORE the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Great prophetic fulfillment like this demonstrates that Jesus Christ not only KNOWS the future, but He also GUIDES the future.

      WHAT JESUS SAYS WILL HAPPEN…DOES….ALWAYS…AND EXACTLY AS HE FORETELLS IT.

      Verses 15-19 tells us Gabriel appears to Daniel.
      “Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision." So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end." Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright. And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.”

      “Between the banks of the Ulai”…Daniel is STILL in the midst of his vision, where he saw himself on the shores of the Persian river. He heard SOMEONE INSTRUCT Gabriel to explain the vision to Daniel.

      “The vision refers to the time of the end”… Gabriel assures Daniel that this vision has to do with end times, with the LATTER time of the indignation.

      This is a problem for some, because we see that the prophecy of Daniel 8:1-14 was fulfilled in the days of the Medo-Persian and Greek Empires, especially in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.

      They dismiss/overlook terms “time of the end” and “latter time of the indignation” which DO REFER TO “the end times,” NOT events fulfilled more than a 100 years BEFORE the birth of Jesus.

      THE BEST/EASIEST WAY TO UNDERSTAND this is that though this prophecy is fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes it also has a LATTER fulfillment in the Antichrist, referring to the time of the end. Antiochus Epiphanes is sometimes called the "antichrist of the Old Testament." He prefigures the Antichrist, THE LAST KING…THE LAST KINGDOM of the END TIMES.

      Just like Antiochus Epiphanes rose to power with force and intrigue, so WILL the Antichrist.
      As he persecuted the Jews, so WILL the Antichrist.
      As he stopped sacrifice and desecrated the temple, so WILL the Antichrist.
      As he seemed to be a complete success, so WILL the Antichrist.

      From what Antiochus did to Jews in his day, therefore, one may know the general pattern of what the Antichrist WILL do to ISRAEL in the future & to Gentiles/Jews MORE SO who become Christians during the 7 year tribulation. And as EVIL/VIOLENT AS Antiochus WAS, he is NOTHING compared to what the AntiChrist will be/do.

      Verses 20-22 tells us the specific identification of the ram and the male goat of Daniel's vision.
      “The ram which you saw, having the two horns; they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.”

      “The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king”…This WAS fulfilled in history by Alexander the Great.
      “Four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power”…This WAS fulfilled in history by the four generals who divided Alexander's Empire between them.

      Verses 23-26 tells us the rise and fall of the strong LITTLE HORN.
      “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means. And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.”

      NOTICE AGAIN “LATTER TIME…END OF TIME”… it makes a HUGE difference, biblically & prophetically. That is WHY all these NEW TRANSLATIONS OF THE HOLY BIBLE are causing CONFUSION/ERROR…because they do NOT mark the difference between times, LATTER days, & END OF TIMES. Their NEW AGE language makes them out to be THE SAME…and they are NOT.

      “In the latter time of their kingdom”…The prophecy in this passage reads equally true of both Antiochus and Antichrist. This is an example of a prophetic passage that has both a NEAR and FAR fulfillment.

      “Having fierce features”…Antiochus Epiphanes was known for his cruel brutality; this will ALSO become the legacy of the coming Antichrist.

      “Who understands sinister schemes . . . through his cunning”… Antiochus was known for his flattery and smooth tongue. The coming Antichrist will strike a covenant with Israel using the same in Daniel 9:27.

      “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power”…Antiochus Epiphanes was empowered by Satan and allowed by God. The same will be true of the coming Antichrist.

      “Shall prosper and thrive”…Antiochus Epiphanes LOOKED like a total success. The coming Antichrist will LOOK like a complete winner until God topples his reign.

      “He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people”…Antiochus Epiphanes not only destroyed his enemies, but also harshly PERSECUTED “ISRAEL” the people of God. The coming Antichrist will ALSO destroy and persecute.

      “He shall cause deceit to prosper”…Both the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes in the past and the Antichrist in the future are marked by deceit.

      Nooooo surprise to us, since satan is called the father of lies, right?

      Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, “The coming of the LAWLESS ONE is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

      “He shall magnify himself in his heart”…The coins of Antiochus Epiphanes were inscribed with this title: theos epiphanies meaning, "God manifest."

      Again, Paul confirms this in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 which says, “The coming Antichrist will also exalt himself: So that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

      Just so we UNDERSTAND and CAN SEE the difference, Paul and the disciples of the New Testament who PROPHESIED The Antichrist, the lawless ones coming, did so HUNDREDS OF YEARS AFTER ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES HAD DIED & HIS REIGN ENDED…HE WAS LONG GONE BEFORE JESUS WAS EVER BORN IN BETHLEHEM. SO THE ANTICHRIST IS FUTURE, IS AFTER THE TIME OF JESUS, PAUL, JOHN, AND OTHERS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT….

      “He shall even rise against the Prince of princes”…Though Antiochus Epiphanes hated and fought against the people of God, it was because he really hated God. The same will be true of the coming Antichrist, who will hate the Jews=GOD’S WIFE because he hates ALMIGHTY GOD & JESUS CHRIST & ALL THOSE WHO LOVE OUR TRIUNE GOD.

      ALL THOSE WHO ONCE AGAIN “CHOOSE” THE TRIUNE GOD OVER SATAN AND HIS SON THE ANTI-CHRIST.

      “Broken without human hand”…History tells us that Antiochus Epiphanes died of disease, NOT by the hand of man. In a similar way, though The Antichrist will be struck down for a moment, NO MAN will DEFEAT/DESTROY the coming Antichrist, but the hand of Jesus who WILL strike him down in Revelation 19:20.

      “Therefore seal up the vision”…Daniel must do this because in his day the vision referred to a period far distant in its ultimate fulfillment. For us, the time IS near says Revelation 1:3, and the book IS unsealed in Revelation 22:10.

      Verse 27 tells us Daniel reacts to the vision with physical shock and astonishment.
      “And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king's business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.”

      Daniel probably couldn't understand why God would allow such a mighty persecutor of His people “ISRAEL” to rise up.

      BUT Daniel didn't let either spiritual mysteries or physical weakness keep him from doing his duty. This shows us that our interest in prophecy should make us MORE about JESUS’ business, not FEARFUL, but to continue DOING for Jesus.

      “No one understood it”…It wasn't because God never wanted this prophecy to be understood. There is no reason for God to reveal something to man that can never be understood. The reason why no one understood it was because the vision was sealed up in light of its ultimate fulfillment in Daniel's distant future.

      Brothers and sisters it IS WORTH REPEATING.

      DANIEL LIVED ALMOST 500 years BEFORE JESUS BIRTH.
      He did NOT have The New Testament, nor know of John’s Book of Revelation, given to you and I by JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.

      The time is NOT distant for us in light of Revelation 1:3 and the book of prophecy is NO LONGER sealed in light of Revelation 22:10.

      Get busy FOR Jesus.
      DO NOT WORRY NOR FEAR WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND US.
      KEEP WATCH ON the Eastern Skies by night and day, because the EAST is where Jesus WILL APPEAR in the clouds when we ARE “caught up, snatched away…”
      Get READY…
      Get BUSY for JESUS!
      SHINE AND SHOW AND SHARE JESUS WHILE WE STILL CAN.
      BECAUSE….Jesus IS coming soon!

       

    • July 6, 2016 3:37 AM EDT
    • DANIEL CHAPTER 9: THE SEVENTY WEEKS PROPHECY

      Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
      WHAT does Jesus say about Daniel?

      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

      But what FEW CRITICS ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack AGAINST the Book of Daniel?

      WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel?

      Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled PINPOINT ACCURATE prophecies than ANY other book in the Bible.

      In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than ANY other Old Testament book.

      At times, Communist governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.

      It BEARS repeating…JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CONFIRMS DANIEL TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH….I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST, THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME, Amen?

      Parts of Daniel 9 had always been a bit confusing for me UNTIL I began to study Hebrew calendars (their SABBATIC) & their “wording and meaning for weeks, days, years.” And then I began studying Sir Robert Anderson who was an AMAZING Christian and Hebrew history scholar who EXPLAINED the “70 weeks” from Daniel’s point in history, knowledge, & teaching….and then the LIGHTBULB flashed on…and with it AMAZING understanding of what had ALWAYS confused me. I pray that this study WILL enlighten you as well.

      NOW…turn with me to DANIEL 9...

      Daniel 9 tells us The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

      Verses 1-2 tell us WHY Daniel is in DEEP prayer.
      “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

      Daniel 9 is one of the MOST amazing and significant prophetic passages in the Bible, and it begins with Daniel's understanding and application of prophecy.

      Daniel understood something from reading the words of God's prophets. Prophecy is meant to be understood - perhaps not in every detail, but certainly in its main points.

      Jesus Christ tells us to SEEK HIM…SEEK TO KNOW HIM…SEEK TO UNDERSTAND HIM. Daniel knew this.

      Daniel understood this by the books - the specific words recorded in God-inspired books. 2 Timothy 3:16, was written LONG AFTER Daniel’s death, but Daniel DID believe the truth of it, which says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

      Charles Spurgeon sums it up for you and me best, when he says, "Oh! That you studied your Bibles more! Oh! That we all did! How we could plead the promises! How often we should prevail with God when we could hold him to his word, and say, 'Fulfill this word unto thy servant, whereon thou hast caused me to hope.' Oh! It is grand praying when our mouth is full of God's word, for there is no word that can prevail with him like his own.”

      “The number of years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah”…Daniel knew that effective prayer comes out of knowing and praying both God's word and our present circumstances. His study of prophecy showed him a SPECIFIC number - the 70 years described in Jeremiah 25:11-13 and Jeremiah 29:10, and his knowledge of the times led him to know those passages applied to his time.

      Jeremiah 25:11-13 says, “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity," says the Lord; "and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations."

      And Jeremiah 29:10 says, “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.”

      It is important to note that Daniel regarded these as REAL, literal years. They were in no way understood as "symbolic" years.

      Daniel was also familiar with Isaiah's prophecies concerning Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28-45:4. Daniel must have been encouraged to see a man named Cyrus rise in power over Persia.

      “That He would accomplish seventy years”…If Daniel believed that God would accomplish seventy years of captivity, then why did he pray as passionately as he did in Daniel 9? Daniel knew that God's PROMISES INVITE our prayers and participation; they don't EXCLUDE our prayers and participation.

      In other words, if we WANT our prayers HEARD and ANSWERED, the BEST THING we CAN DO, is to REMIND & ASK GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS ALREADY PROMISED US IN HIS WORD.

      This principle is repeated in MANY passages.

      2 Peter 3:12 indicates that we can HASTEN JESUS’ coming by our holy conduct and godly lives.

      Romans 11:25 tells us we can also hasten the Lord's coming through evangelism because Paul says that God's prophetic focus on Israel will resume when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

      This means that we can also hasten the Lord's coming through prayer, even as Daniel asked for a speedy fulfillment of prophecy regarding captive Israel in Daniel 9.

      Revelation 22:20 tells us we can ALSO pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” If you want Jesus to come soon, there is something you can do about it!

      But a second important reason is that Daniel ASKED God, in His MERCY, to take the earliest of all possible starting points (Daniel's abduction) for determining the beginning of the 70 years. There were THREE "waves" of captivity:

      605 b.c. - Jerusalem attacked, Daniel and other captives taken to Babylon.
      597 b.c. - Jerusalem attacked, treasure taken from the temple.
      587 b.c. - Jerusalem falls and the nation is exiled.

      If Daniel can prevail with God in prayer, and God then takes the earliest starting point to determine the 70 years then His mercy comes to Israel 18 years EARLIER.

      REMEMBER THIS…. At the time of THIS prayer it WAS still three or four years short of 70 years since 605 b.c. - it was not too soon for Daniel to begin praying.

      “The word of the Lord through Jeremiah”…Even in God's eternal decrees, human agencies are essential. God's plan of the ages is declared, yet Jeremiah made a prophecy, Daniel made a prayer, and Cyrus made a proclamation.

      By Jewish tribal heritage or calling Daniel was NOT uniquely qualified for a ministry of intercession. He did NOT belong to a priestly family like Ezekiel and he WASN’T a "career" prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah. Yet like all of us, he COULD pray.

      AND DID HE EVER PRAY….

      In fact, Daniel's calling and station in life made it LESS LIKELY that he would be such a man of prayer. He was a high government official who almost certainly had a busy schedule - yet he TOOK THE TIME and ENERGY to pray.

      Verse 3 tells us Daniel's preparation for prayer.
      “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”

      “I set my face”… implies DETERMINATION in prayer. Daniel had an objective to achieve in prayer, and he approached God as a man who would NOT be denied. He did this because he was rightly convinced that his prayer was in the will of God, and knew it was not motivated by any selfish desire.

      “To make request by prayer and supplications”…means Daniel wasn't passive as God's prophetic plan unfolded before him. In his approach to God, he made a request, asking God to perform His promise in the way that Daniel thought would bring God most glory.

      “With fasting, sackcloth, and ashes”…This reflected Daniel's HUMBLE heart in approaching God. Fasting, sackcloth, and ashes are visible symbols OF humiliation and mourning.

      Verses 4-15 tells us Daniel confesses the sin of his people, and glorifies the goodness and righteousness of God.
      “And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day; to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly!”

      “O Lord, great and awesome God”…Daniel began his prayer where we all should - by recognizing the greatness and goodness of God. Sometimes we approach God as a stingy person who must be persuaded to give us something. But Daniel knew the problem was NOT with God. God KEEPS His covenant and mercy with those who love Him.

      THIS PRAYER IS remarkable for both its understanding and earnestness. Many pray with understanding but not earnestness; others are earnest but have no understanding in prayer. The two together are a POWERFUL combination.

      “We have sinned and committed iniquity”…

      DID YOU NOTICE THIS???

      As Daniel confesses Israel's sin he prays as if HE IS AS BAD AS the rest of Israel. This is a confession of WE, not THEY. In this sense, “THEY” prayers never really reach God; genuine “I & WE” prayers see self correctly and see our fellow saints with compassion.

      Daniel's confession of sin might seem phony until we realize how passionately and completely he is focused ON God. AND face it, compared to God, even the most righteous among us falls FAR short.
      “Righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face”…Daniel knew that Israel's sin was NOT God's fault; God was utterly righteous and blameless. Any shame of face belonged to Israel, NOT to God.

      “We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God”…Daniel does NOT make the slightest excuse for his NOR Israel's sin. The fault belongs to Israel and Israel alone. We are PRONE TO MAKE excuses for our sin and often even make excuses in our "confessions."

      JESUS CHRIST DOES NOT WANT EXCUSES….BUT EARNEST REPENTANCE…ACCEPTING THE PERSONAL BLAME FOR OUR SINS, FAILINGS, & SHORT-COMINGS.

      “He has confirmed His words . . . As it is written in the Law of Moses”…Daniel realized that even in His judgment against Israel, God was totally faithful to His word. He promised that curses would come upon a disobedient Israel (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28) and they did.

      “All this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God”…As Daniel confesses his sin and the sin of Israel, he comes to the sin of prayerlessness. Even when they faced great trial and calamity, Israel still did NOT make their prayer before the Lord.

      REMEMBER THIS: When we SENSE trial or difficulty it should DRIVE US TO OUR KNEES IMMEDIATELY to prayer - when we are not so driven it should be a wake-up call to the COLDNESS of our heart.

      “Who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand”…As Daniel prayed he remembered that the Lord delivered Israel from Egypt.

      DANIEL REMEMBERS the Old Testament "standard" of God's power, the deliverance from Egypt.

      CHRISTIANS SHOULD REMEMBER The New Testament "standard" of God's power is the resurrection of Jesus TOLD US IN Ephesians 1:19-20.

      Verses 16-19 tells us Daniel ASKS God to forgive and to restore Jerusalem.
      “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

      “Let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem”…After his confession of Israel's sin and God's great righteousness, Daniel simply asks God to mercifully turn His kind attention to Jerusalem and the temple (cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary) and that God would do this without delay (do not delay for your own sake).

      Daniel prayed as a patriot MORE FOR the Kingdom of God than the Kingdom of Israel. We should pray with similar patriotism for the Kingdom of JESUS CHRIST.

      Daniel asks for all this according to all GOD’S righteousness. It is as if Daniel prayed, "Lord, I'm not asking You to do anything against Your righteousness. I'm praying this to advance Your righteous glory."

      “Cause your face to shine”…This is the heart of Daniel's plea. He knows that God's people need SOOOOOO much, but all their need can be summed up in this: they NEEEEEEED God's face to shine upon them.

      “For the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate . . . Do not delay for Your own sake”…Daniel's prayer is consumed with the glory of God, not primarily the benefit of man. His purpose in prayer was to see God's work accomplished and His cause glorified.

      It isn't wrong to pray for our own needs. Jesus invited us to ask, give us this day our daily bread. At the same time, we need to have an even greater passion for the glory and benefit of God.

      We should pray with PASSION & CONCERN for the work of JESUS CHRIST in our congregations and communities.

      We can pray the prayer of Psalm 85:6: “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Alone and in groups we can pray for God to pour out the Holy Spirit, to bring repentance and revival among His people, and to awaken the unconverted.

      “We do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies”…Here Daniel prays on firm New Testament ground. His confidence isn't in his goodness, but in God's goodness.

      This is what it means to pray in the name of Jesus. Those aren't words we tack on to the end of a prayer, but they should express the fact we are praying in merits and righteousness OF Jesus, not our own.

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER WE ARE POWERLESS IN OURSELVES. WE ARE NOT RIGHTEOUS IN OURSELVES. IT IS JESUS WORKING, LIVING, AND TOUCHING US THAT BRINGS POWER & ANSWERS.

      WE LEARN A LOT FROM DANIEL’S PRAYER…Daniel was not great because he prayed. He was great because his prayer was the necessary expression of great trust and dependence on God. Many religious people spend countless hours in prayer but it achieves NOTHING because it is NOT rooted in the goodness and righteousness of JESUS CHRIST. Self righteous or self trusting prayer is of NO power before Jesus.
      “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act!” Sometimes we talk about "wrestling in prayer" and here Daniel prays like a great wrestler. He follows up one victory with another request with rapid movement.

      Verses 20-21 tells us Daniel's prayer is interrupted by Gabriel.
      “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.”

      This dramatic ANSWER to prayer came even AS Daniel prayed.

      In Matthew 6:8, “Jesus said, your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Whenever there seems to be a DELAY in answer to prayer, there is REASON for the delay. When it is right to do it, God can answer prayer immediately.

      Sometimes God answers prayer before we even pray!

      In Isaiah 65:24, it says, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

      “Being caused to fly swiftly”… This is one of the FEW places in the Bible where we are told that angels CAN FLY. Gabriel came quickly because there is no great distance between heaven and earth.

      “The time of the evening offering”…This was a special time, when Moses offered the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:6) and when Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:45).

      Verses 22-23 tells us Gabriel announces that he has come to bring Daniel an answer to his prayer.
      “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:”

      “I have now come forth to give you skill to understand”… In his prayer, Daniel didn't ask for understanding. His prayer demonstrated that his heart was close to God's heart, so God will “reveal much to Daniel as His friend” confirmed in John 15:15.

      Daniel studied the passage in Jeremiah, but still didn't understand much. In this case, understanding came more through prayer.

      Daniel seeks…Daniel prays…Daniel finds…Jesus answers.

      “For you are greatly beloved”…Both Daniel and the Apostle John in John 13:23 ARE noted for their GREAT & CONSTANT love-relationship with God. Both Daniel and John were also noted for receiving amazing prophetic messages. Both were called BELOVED. Both were called a FRIEND.

      Daniel had just considered a SET of "sevens" upon the nation of Israel - the 70 years of promised captivity prophesied by Jeremiah. It is as if God said through Gabriel, "I'll show you some 'sevens' that will really blow your mind."

      REMEMBER THIS….When we seek JESUS CHRIST diligently, we often receive FAR MORE than we ask for.

      The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.

      Verse 24 tells us SEVENTY WEEKS are determined for the Jews and Jerusalem.
      “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city…”

      Bible scholars agree that this refers to seventy SETS of seven years, or "weeks of years."

      In ancient Hebrew, WEEKS simply refers to A UNIT OF SEVEN. The Hebrew word here is often used to mean a unit of seven days, but it may ALSO be used for a unit of seven years.

      The Jews had Sabbatic years, by which their years were divided into “weeks of years,” as in this important prophecy, EACH week OF THE 70 WEEKS containing 7 years."

      Genesis 29:15-28 is an example of using this ancient Hebrew word (shabuwa') for both "seven days" and "seven years" in the same context.

      “For your people and for your holy city”…The seventy weeks are focused upon Daniel's people (the Jews) and his holy city (Jerusalem).

      Since THE CHURCH does NOT become ISRAEL, it is NOT viewed or mentioned. The 70 weeks is "God's calendar FOR ISRAEL & THE JEWISH PEOPLE".

      Verse 24 tells us what will be accomplished in the seventy weeks.
      “To finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”

      This means SIMPLY THAT ISRAEL’S SINS WILL END. THAT ISRAEL WILL REPENT, THAT ISRAEL WILL TURN TO GOD & PRAY & THAT ISRAEL WILL ACCEPT THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THEIR MESSIAH.

      WHEN ALL THIS HAPPENS…AN entirely NEW order on earth WILL FOLLOW, & SOON THE END OF THE WORLD’S & MANKIND’S REBELLION AGAINST ALMIGHTY GOD AND JESUS CHRIST WILL END.

      “To make an end of sins”….Taking these words at face value, this means not only the end of the guilt of sin, but an end of sin itself. It means to "seal up" or "restrain" sins. This looks to a new, redeemed world, which shall ONLY be established when Jesus Christ comes to reign ON the earth, IN Jerusalem for 1000 years AFTER the Battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist IS destroyed, by Jesus Christ‘s return when HE COMES AGAIN IN THE CLOUDS…THIS COMING FUTURE TIME JESUS CHRIST WILL ONCE AGAIN TOUCH EARTH, BY STEPPING DOWN ONTO MOUNT ZION TO SAVE ISRAEL FROM UTTER DESTRUCTION, & WITH HIM…THIS TIME….THE CHURCH, OLD TESTAMENT SAVED, & HIS WARRIOR ANGELS WILL COME WITH HIM, TO RESCUE ISRAEL.

      “To make reconciliation for iniquity”…Man's iniquity must be reconciled to God's justice and holiness. This work was clearly accomplished at the cross BY JESUS CHRIST.

      “To bring in everlasting righteousness”…this means a new order of society brought in by JESUS CHRIST, the Messiah.

      “To seal up vision and prophecy”…This speaks of both the ending and fulfillment of prophecy, concluding the FINAL stage of human history and culminating with the reign of the Son of God.

      “To anoint the most holy”…Taken at its simple, literal meaning, this refers to a place, not a person. There is a most holy place - the most holy place of the temple - that will be anointed and blessed.

      Taken as a whole, Gabriel made a remarkable announcement to Daniel. He told him that each of these amazing things would happen within the period of seventy weeks.


      Verse 25 tell us the course and dividing of the seventy weeks.
      “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.”

      “From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem”…Here Gabriel reveals to Daniel the STARTING point for the seventy-weeks prophecy. There was a command to restore and build Jerusalem in history that began this specific time period.

      The Bible presents four possible decrees that might fulfill this description:

      1. Cyrus made a decree giving Ezra and the Babylonian captives the right to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple in 538 b.c. (Ezra in 1:1-4 and 5:13-17)
      2. Darius made a decree giving Ezra the right to rebuild the temple in 517 b.c. (Ezra 6:6-12)
      3. Artaxerxes made a decree giving Ezra permission, safe passage, and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple in 458 b.c. (Ezra 7:11-26)
      4. Artaxerxes made a decree giving Nehemiah permission, safe passage and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the walls in 445 b.c. (Nehemiah 2:1-8)

      Only the LAST of these four decrees was a command to restore and build Jerusalem. The first three each focused on the temple, not on the street or on the wall (THE WHOLE OF JERUSALEM.)

      “Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks”…Gabriel's message to Daniel is simple and striking. 483 years - that is, 69 units of seven years - would pass from the time of the command recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8 until the appearance of Messiah the Prince on earth.

      Some say the 483 years were completed at Jesus' birth (5 or 4 b.c.). Others say the 483 years were completed at His baptism, at the beginning of Jesus' ministry (if dated at 26 a.d.). This is possible if one begins with the earlier decree of Artaxerxes, and figures with our present measurement for years instead of the ancient measurement of years (360 days).

      And Anderson says the 483 years were completed at the triumphal entry of Jesus (if dated at 32 a.d.) which is based on Luke 3:1.

      Some say the 483 years were completed at the exact time of the crucifixion.

      “Until Messiah the Prince”…Taking Anderson's calculations as reliable, we see a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A Gentile king made a decree and 483 years later TO THE DAY, Jesus presented Himself as Messiah the Prince to Israel.

      Interestingly enough, there is only ONE occasion in our Lord's earthly ministry on which He is depicted as PRESENTING Himself OPENLY as Zion's King, the so-called 'Triumphal Entry,' recorded in each one of the Gospels and fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 and Psalm 118:26.

      1. On that day, Jesus deliberately arranged the event to present Himself as Messiah in Mark 11:1-10.
      2. On that day, Jesus welcomed praise in Luke 19:38-40, instead of quieting it as HE did in Luke 5:14 and 8:56.
      3. On that day, Jesus made special reference to the importance of that day in Luke 19:41-42.

      DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS?

      DANIEL TOLD THE JEWISH PEOPLE THE EXACT DAY, 100s of years in advance….THE EXACT DAY…THE EXACTS EVENTS THAT WOULD OCCUR AS CONFIRMATION WHO THEIR LONG-AWAITED MESSIAH WAS…BUT THEY IGNORED DANIEL…EVEN TODAY…THEY IGNORE OR DISMISS THIS PRECIOUS TRUTH…BUT ONE DAY…THEY WILL SEE, KNOW, & MOURN THE FACT THAT THEY REJECTED JESUS, PERSECUTED AND AIDED IN/GAVE LIES THAT CRUCIFIED THEIR MESSIAH.

      This prophecy of Daniel SO specifically fulfilled that it has been a significant testimony to many, especially other Jewish scholars, by the evidence of these words, have been compelled to confess that Messiah is already come, and that he WAS that Jesus, their long awaited MESSIAH whom their forefathers crucified.

      “The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times”…This indicates that the rebuilding of the streets and wall of Jerusalem would happen in the FIRST seven weeks mentioned. Then would follow another 62 weeks of years until the coming of Messiah the Prince.

      The seventy weeks are divided into THREE parts:

      1. Seven weeks (7 years time 7= 49) so it was 49 years, until the city and its walls are rebuilt. They WERE exactly.

      2. 69 weeks= (7 years plus 62 years ), or 483 years from the decree, UNTIL Messiah the Prince appears ON EARTH. He did exactly.

      3. THE FINAL 70th week (1 WEEK= 1 SEVEN YEAR PERIOD) to complete the prophecy. This is future…this is the GREAT TRIBULATION PERIOD OF THE LAST 7 YEARS.

      Verse 26 tells us what happens after the FIRST sixty-nine weeks.
      “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.”

      The Biblical term “cut off” is sometimes used to describe execution (see Genesis 9:11 and Exodus 31:14). The Messiah will be cut off for the sake of OTHERS, (OTHERS= THE GENTILES, SO WE CAN BE GRAFTED INTO THE VINE) not for Jesus Christ Himself.

      “Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”…After the Messiah is cut off, Jerusalem and her temple would be destroyed again by an overwhelming army (with a flood). Most all Bible scholars and commentators agree that this WAS fulfilled in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 a.d.

      “The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy”…The destroying army is made up of the people of the prince who is to come. This coming prince is THE ANTICHRIST.


      Verse 27 tells us the events of the seventieth week.
      “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”

      “He shall confirm a covenant”…The "he" Gabriel mentions is the THE ANTI-CHRIST…the prince who is to come mentioned in the previous verse. If we know that the prince's people destroyed Jerusalem in 70 a.d., then we know this coming FUTURE prince has his ancestral roots in the soil of the ancient Roman Empire.

      Therefore, the prince who is to come will in some way be an heir to the Romans, even as the final world government is an heir to the Roman Empire foretold in Daniel 7. If you look up the ROMAN EMPIRE OF OLD, YOU WILL SEE ALL THE PRESENT DAY COUNTRIES IT RULED & CONTROLLED. IT WAS HUGE, BUT WE CAN BE SURE THAT THE ANTICHRIST SHALL SPRING FROM ONE OF THESE COUNTRIES.

      THESE MODERN DAY (Old Roman Empire) COUNTRIES ARE:
      Portugal, Spain, Andorra, United Kingdom, France, Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Liechenstein, Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Malta, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Cyprus, Lebanon, Jordania, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Lybia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco & Palestine (the territory of Israel that they WRONGLY claim as their heritage, WAS part of Judaea during the Roman Empire occupation).

      “He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week”…The coming prince will make a covenant with Israel for the final ONE WEEK=ONE SEVEN YEAR PERIOD, completing the seventy weeks prophesied for the Jewish people and Jerusalem by Daniel.

      “Covenant with many”…The word many here is a specific reference to Israel, not a general reference to a group. The ancient Hebrew says, "covenant with the many." AND TODAY THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE STILL SCATTERED OVER THE EARTH, BUT MORE AND MORE ARE RETURNING TO ISRAEL. AND THIS COVENANT WILL INSURE THAT THEY ALL CAN AND DO RETURN TO ISRAEL & AS PROMISE PEACE FOR 7 YEARS.

      With this covenant Israel WILL embrace the Antichrist as a political messiah, if not the literal Messiah. Jesus predicted this in John 5:43: “I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”

      Taking the description of what would be accomplished in the 70 Weeks from Daniel 9:24, we know that the 70 Weeks are NOT yet complete. Yet the events promised in the first 69 weeks ARE ALREADY fulfilled, indicated that there is a lengthy "pause" in the 70 Weeks, between the 69th week and the 70th week.

      The FINAL 70th week (1 SEVEN YEAR PERIOD) WILL BEGIN when the coming prince=(THE ANTICHRIST) shall globally and openly confirm/demand a worldwide peace treaty with the Jewish people & the nation of ISRAEL. These "gaps" or "pauses" in prophecy may seem strange to us, but they are common. Comparing Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 1:31-33 shows another significant "pause" or "gap" in prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah.

      The Living Church=All JESUS LOVING/REDEEMED BELIEVERS will NOT be on earth at this point, & the dust/bones (ALL DNA of the dead who loved Jesus) will be removed from the face of the earth, THEN The Holy Spirit will be removed from the face of the earth, at the instant “catching away”=The Rapture.

      Jesus Christ is TELLING US….that into the chaos that occurs at the INSTANT vanishing of maybe 1 billion Christians, that ONLY THEN CAN/WILL the AntiChrist FIRST APPEAR to the world. BUT…the LAST 7 years “COUNT DOWN”
      will NOT begin UNTIL The Antichrist as world leader, steps in and makes a world-binding peace/protection covenant with ISRAEL. The VERY instant that peace treaty IS signed…Jesus WILL return 7 years later TO THE DAY!.

      We can think of it in this way: God has appointed 490 years of special focus on Israel in His redemptive plan. The years were "paused" by Israel's rejection of Jesus. Now, there is no special focus on Israel in God's redemptive plan because THIS IS THE TIME OF THE CHURCH=the Gentiles who come to know, love, are redeemed through salvation in Jesus Christ. YES, there WILL be Messianic Jews WHO call/claim/believe that Jesus Christ is THE MESSIAH…who WILL be “caught up in an instant” with the GENTILE church=JESUS BRIDE.

      BUT…………God's focus WILL RETURN to Israel AFTER the church is taken away (at the rapture) and the last seven years of man's rule on this earth begin.

      “In the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering”…The coming prince WILL BREAK the covenant with Israel in the MIDDLE of the seven years=(after 3.5 years of the final 7 years).

      The Book of Revelation sees this seven year period with both its halves as yet future (Revelation 12:6, 13-14; 13:5-9, 14-15). The middle of the week and the end of sacrifice HAD NOT yet happened in 90 a.d. SO WE CAN KNOW WITH CONFIDENCE…THAT THIS IS FUTURE…

      Remember ALMIGHTY GOD & JESUS CHRIST ARE PINPOINT SPECIFIC. IF ALL PARTS ARE NOT ACHIEVED AT THE SAME TIME…JUST PARTS ARE ACHIEVED…THEN WE KNOW IT HAS NOT YET HAPPENED.

      “On the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate”… The ending of sacrifice will come with abominations, followed by tremendous desolation.

      Abominations translates an ancient Hebrew word (shiqquwts) that is connected to horrific idolatry (Deuteronomy 29:17; 1 Kings 11:5-7; 2 Kings 23:13). The idea is that the coming prince breaks the covenant and brings an end to sacrifice and offering by desecrating the holy place of the temple with a unspeakable horrific & obscene idolatry.

      Jesus HIMSELF CALLED THIS “the abomination of desolation” in Matthew 24:15 and indicated that it would be a pivotal sign in the Great Tribulation. Paul referred to the idolatry of the coming prince in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

      “Until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate”…This breaking of the covenant and abomination of desolation has a promised consummation. Before the 70th week is completed, EACH of the things described in Daniel 9:24 WILL BE accomplished and everlasting righteousness WILL reign.

      The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
      As Understood by Sir Robert Anderson in The Coming Prince

      Daniel 9:24-25 says that from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah there will be 483 years.

      7 + 62 "weeks" = 69 groups of seven years. 7 x 69 = 483 years

      Anderson sees a prophetic year as 360 days. This is based both on ancient history and on Revelation 11:2; 13:5; 11:3, and 12:6 which indicate that 42 months= 3 ½ years are equal to 1,260 days.

      Therefore, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days

      Artaxerxes started his reign in 465 b.c. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given on the first day of Nisan, in the 20th year of Artaxerxes. In our calendar system (the Julian calendar) that date is March 14, 445 b.c. by Nehemiah 2:1.

      Jesus started His ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius. Found in Luke 3:1.
      Tiberius started his reign in 14 a.d., so Jesus' ministry started in 29 a.d.

      Anderson believes that Jesus celebrated FOUR Passovers during His ministry, one each in 29, 30, 31 and His final Passover in 32. With the help of lunar charts, we can calculate the exact date of ancient Passovers, so it is possible to calculate the exact day of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem as April 6, 32 a.d.

      From 445 b.c. to 32 a.d. there are 476 years on the Julian calendar
      (not 477 years, because there is no year zero)

      476 years x 365 days = 173,740 days

      Adjusting for the difference between March 14 and April 6 adds 24 days

      Adjusting for leap years over a period of 476 years adds 116 days

      The total number of days from March 14, 445 b.c. to April 6, 32 a.d.

      173,740 + 24 + 116 = 173,880 days

      According to his calendar, Daniel told us there would be 173,880 days between the decree and the arrival of Messiah the Prince.

      THAT’S PINPOINT ACCURACY PEOPLE.

      Jesus said to the Jews of this day in Luke 19:42…“If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace!”

      David said of this day in Psalm 118:24. “This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

      The revelations in DANIEL 9 ARE JAW-DROPPING.

      THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS & THEN DANIEL TOLD THE NATION OF ISRAEL, ITS POLITICAL/RELIGIOUS LEADERS THE EXACT DAY THAT THEIR MESSIAH WOULD ENTER JERUSALEM AND PROCLAIM THAT HE IS THEIR MESSIAH.

      HAD THEY BOTHERED TO WATCH, TO CALCULATE, AND TO CONSIDER…they would have KNOWN that the man JESUS CHRIST was THEIR LONG-AWAITED MESSIAH.

      THEY WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THEY WOULD KILL JESUS CHRIST.
      BUT HAD THEY CALCULATED, KNOWN, & ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST…THE GENTILE NATIONS OF THE WORLD WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST.

      WE KNOW THAT ALMIGHTY GOD HAD A PLAN.
      HE WANTED NONE TO PERISH.
      SO HIS SON MUST SUFFER/PERISH FOR US.
      PEOPLE WE NEED TO THANK JESUS EVERY DAY FOR THE CROSS.

      DANIEL CHAPTER 9, ONCE AGAIN IS A PINPOINT ACCURATE TIME TABLE FOR THOSE LOST/UNSAVED WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND AFTER THE RAPTURE.

      THERE IS ALSO HOPE FOR THEM WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND.
      THEY WILL SUFFER HORRIFICALLY UNDER THE ANTI-CHRIST, WHEN THEY CHOOSE JESUS, BUT THEY CAN STILL BE SAVED FROM AN ETERNITY….FOREVER AND FOREVER IN THE LAKE OF FIRE.

      THOSE WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND, WHO WILL THEN SEEK TO STUDY, KNOW, & LEARN THE BIBLE…CAN MARK OFF THE DAYS, AFTER THE ANTI-CHRIST SIGNS A TREATY WITH ISRAEL….THAT SEVEN YEARS LATER TO THE DAY….JESUS WILL RETURN.

      THOSE WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND WHO WILL SEEK TO STUDY, KNOW, LEARN, & CALCULATE, WILL KNOW WITH PINPOINT ACCURACY THREE THINGS FROM DANIEL 9.

      1. The day the world leader (personally) signs a global peace treaty with Israel….they will KNOW He IS Satan’s Son.. He IS the AntiChrist.

      2. They will KNOW that from that moment/that VERY day the peace treaty is signed, that it will be EXACTLY 7 years before Jesus Christ returns to save Israel & those Gentiles who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior from utter destruction.

      3. They will KNOW that they HAVE 3.5 years BEFORE THE ANTI-CHRIST BEGINS HIS OPEN INSANE REIGN OF TERROR/MASS SLAUGHTER OF ALL JEWS SAVED OR LOST & ALL GENTILES WHO ASK, REPENT, & ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST INTO THEIR HEART AND LIFE.

      And what we TODAY know is that our Jesus Christ COULD appear in the eastern skies on the clouds, catching us away, at ANY moment.

      ALL BIBLICAL SCRIPTURE/PROPHECIES LEADING UP TO THE “COMING IN THE CLOUDS, BUT DOES NOT TOUCH EARTH” RETURN OF JESUS HAVE ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED.

      WE ARE IN REVELATION 2...AND WAITING FOR REVELATION 3:1 TO OCCUR.

      ANY DAY….GFB FAMILY….OUR LORD JESUS COULD COME ANY MINUTE….

      We need to be about JESUS’ BUSINESS.
      WITNESS, SHINE & SHOW JESUS WHILE WE MAY.
      AND BE WATCHFUL.
      LOOK UP…LOOK TO THE EAST…
      OUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NIGH.
      EVEN SO, COME NOW LORD JESUS!

    • July 6, 2016 3:35 AM EDT
    • DANIEL 10---THE MYSTERIOUS MAN

      THE BOOK OF DANIEL....END TIMES PROPHECY....


      Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
      WHAT does Jesus say about Daniel?

      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

      But what FEW CRITICS ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack AGAINST the Book of Daniel?

      WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel?

      Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled PINPOINT ACCURATE prophecies than ANY other book in the Bible.

      In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than ANY other Old Testament book.

      At times, governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.

      It BEARS repeating…JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CONFIRMS DANIEL TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH….I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST, THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME, Amen?


      Turn with me now to DANIEL 10...

      Daniel 10 - Circumstances of the Final Vision of the Mysterious Man.

      Verses 1-3 tells us Daniel’s state of heart.
      “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

      “In the third year of Cyrus”…By this time, the first wave of exiles had returned under the leadership of Ezra recorded in Ezra 1-2.

      “The message was true, but the appointed time was long”…Daniel 10 sets the stage for the spectacular prophecy (message) of Daniel 11, which describes a time of great persecution and testing for the people of Israel.

      “Mourning three full weeks”…Why was Daniel in mourning? Some think it was because so few Jews had returned with Ezra from exile. Others believe it was because Ezra faced severe opposition in rebuilding the temple.

      Daniel did NOT go back with Ezra’s group of exiles because he was about 84 years old at this time. Daniel KNEW he could serve the exiles better from his high position in government than he could with them in Jerusalem.

      “I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth”…It would be wrong to call what Daniel did "fasting." The Biblical idea of fasting is to abstain from food altogether. Daniel definitely practiced a form of self-denial, but it was not fasting.

      Verses 4-6 tells us Daniel sees a glorious man on the banks of the Tigris River.
      “Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.”

      “A certain man clothed in linen”…Commentators divide over the identity of this certain man. Some BELIEVE this is Jesus, noting that the description is remarkably like what John saw in Revelation 1:12-16.

      DANIEL 10:4-6 REVELATION 1:12-16

      Clothed in linen


      Clothed with a garment
      Waist girded with gold


      Girded on the chest with a golden band
      Body was like beryl
      Face like . . . lightning
      Head and hair were white like wool
      Eyes like torches of fire


      Eyes like a flame of fire
      Feet like burnished bronze


      Feet were like fine brass
      Words like voice of a multitude


      Voice like many waters

      BUT MOST BIBLE SCHOLARS, say the certain man is an unnamed angel of high rank, noting RIGHTLY, WHEN WE THINK ABOUT IT….that OUR Jesus would NOT NEED the assistance of Michael, mentioned in Daniel 10:13.

      We also know that Ezekiel SAW angelic figures clothed in linen in Ezekiel 9:2.

      Verse 7 tells us Daniel’s companions are terrified, yet unseeing.
      “And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.”

      “I, Daniel, alone saw the vision”…This shows that there was something supernatural about this vision. Daniel saw what he saw regarding the glorious man, but his companions could not see it.

      This is like the latter instance of Saul, who later become PAUL on the road to Damascus, when his companions could NOT hear the same voice from heaven that Saul heard. These cases remind us that we can be close to the presence and power of Jesus Christ, yet STILL MISS the message through lack of spiritual perception.

      Verses 8-9 tells us Daniel’s reaction to the sight of the man.
      “Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.”

      As godly as Daniel was, he was "undone" by this vision of the glorious man. Daniel’s experience shows us that even the holiest of men fall short before God and even His Heavenly associates.

      The message to Daniel.
      Verses 10-11 tells us The "certain man" introduces himself to Daniel.
      “Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

      Daniel was laid out in weakness by this experience, he was strengthened by the touch of a hand.

      This is the SECOND TIME Daniel is called GREATLY BELOVED in Daniel 9:23. Each time it is in relation to Daniel's being favored with a great and significant revelation of the future.

      Charles Spurgeon says it best of this experience…“I know of no greater blessing that can happen to any man and woman here, than to be assured by the Spirit of God that they are greatly beloved of the Lord.”

      “Stand upright”…When it was time for Daniel to hear and understand, he needed to stand at attention.

      Verses 12-14 tells us The angel explains his coming to Daniel, and the opposition he faced on the way.
      “Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

      “From the first day . . . your words were heard”…God responded to Daniel’s prayer the very moment he made his request known. Daniel had been in great and serious prayer for three full weeks.

      “I have come because of your words”…We can't pass this over lightly. An angel was dispatched because of Daniel's prayer. This is another of many reminders in the Book of Daniel that PRAYER MATTERS. It isn't merely a therapeutic exercise for the one who prays. Prayer REACHES Jesus. TOUCHES Jesus.

      “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me”…Since this prince is able to oppose the angelic messenger to Daniel, we know this is more than a man. This prince is some kind of angelic being, and we know he is an EVIL angelic being because he opposed the word of God coming to Daniel and stood against the angelic messenger.

      The word PRINCE has the idea of a ruler or authority. This fits in well with the New Testament idea that angelic ranks - including demonic forces - are organized and have a hierarchy (Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:15).

      Apparently, this was a demon of HIGH rank that opposed the answer to prayer. On three occasions, Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30, and 16:11).

      “Withstood me twenty-one days”…Since the angel was dispatched immediately and Daniel's period of prayer and self-denial was 21 days (the three full weeks of Daniel 10:2), we see that the answer to the prayer was delayed by the prince of the kingdom of Persia.

      There may be hindering factors of which a praying Christian knows nothing as he wonders WHY THE ANSWERS to his requests are delayed. Nevertheless, he is to KEEP ON praying.

      “Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me”…In other passages Michael is associated with the battle between good angels and evil angels (Revelation 12; Jude 1:9).

      “Came to help me”…This phrase may be the most compelling reason to think that this "me" is not Jesus, despite the remarkable similarity between the certain man of Daniel 10 and the vision of Jesus in Revelation 1. Though Jesus received angelic assistance as an incarnate man (Mark 1:13; Luke 22:43), it is difficult to think of JESUS THEN STILL IN HIS HEAVENLY GLORY AND POWER….REIGNING SUPREME…that Jesus would STILL NEED or RECEIVE angelic help BEFORE His Human Birth in Jerusalem.

      “Now I have come”…why did God allow such a conflict? He certainly could have blasted away in a moment any demonic opposition. God’s plan probably was to use the time of delay to develop Daniel as a man of PERSISTENT prayer.

      Persistence in prayer is not necessary because God’s reluctance needs to be overcome. It IS necessary to TRAIN us.

      Daniel success makes us reflect on our failures. How much angelic assistance or insight has never been realized, or greatly delayed, because of a lack of persistence in prayer?

      “What will happen to your people in the latter days”…The vision of Daniel 11 and 12 is focused on the LATTER DAYS, though it also MIRRORS SOMEWHAT the closer time of Antiochus Epiphanes.

      Verses 15-19 tells us Daniel is strengthened in his weakness.
      “When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, "My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me." Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!" So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

      Daniel started on the ground (Daniel 10:9), then stood up (Daniel 10:11), and now is back on his face again.

      “Because the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me”…The ancient Hebrew word translated sorrows has the thought of twisting or writhing pain. It is used several places for labor pains in childbirth. Daniel is so severely affected by this vision that he can barely breathe, much less deal with prophetic complexities.


      Daniel 10:20-11:1 tells us The angel introduces his message to Daniel.
      “Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince. Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him)."

      “I must return to fight with the prince of Persia”…Daniel was about to receive the answer to his prayer, but the battle was not over for his heavenly messenger. First he must battle the prince of Persia, then the prince of Greece. God is watching out for Israel, working behind the scenes in the spiritual realm.

      The heavenly warfare is to be directed against FIRST Persia and THEN Greece, because each of these in turn will have power over God’s people (ISRAEL…this is NOT referring to Gentiles Christians=The Church, which Jesus WOULD begin, pay for & insure with HIS death on Calvary long AFTER Daniel’s time.

      “No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince”… Michael seems to be an angelic guardian of Israel, battling against the demonic representative of Persia or any other who opposes God's people. On earth, Israel seemed lowly and weak but in the heavens Israel had the MIGHTIEST of ALMIGHTY GOD’S WARRIOR CHIEF ANGELS representing them.

      DANIEL 10 tells, teaches, and shows us that our prayers ARE heard. It tells us that there ARE reasons for a delayed answer. It tells us that Satan and his demons FEEL the power of our prayers and the love and power of Almighty God and Jesus Christ response to them.


      DANIEL 10 TELLS/TEACHES US TO:
      SET OUR FACE IN PRAYER.
      Do not STOP praying.
      Do not STOP believing.
      Do not STOP trusting.
      SATAN AND HIS DEMONS CAN NOT STOP YOUR ANSWERS.
      THEY CAN NOT STOP OUR JESUS CHRIST.
      THE ANSWERS ARE ON THE WAY.

      And Satan and his legion of demons can NOT stop them....

      We need to be about JESUS’ BUSINESS.
      DANIEL 10 SHOWS US THAT WE ARE AT THE VERY DOOR OR REVELATION 3:1.
      OUR JESUS COULD APPEAR IN THE CLOUDS, AND CATCH US UP TO HIM ANY MINUTE....

      SO WE NEED TO SET OUR FACE AND PRAY FOR THE LOST.
      SET OUR FACE AND WITNESS, SHINE & SHOW JESUS WHILE WE MAY.
      AND BE WATCHFUL.
      LOOK UP…LOOK TO THE EAST…
      OUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NIGH.
      EVEN SO, COME NOW LORD JESUS!

    • July 6, 2016 3:34 AM EDT
    • DANIEL 11: THE ANTICHRIST FULLY REVEALED TO DANIEL


      Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
      WHAT does Jesus say about Daniel?

      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

      But what FEW CRITICS ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack AGAINST the Book of Daniel?

      WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel?

      Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled PINPOINT ACCURATE prophecies than ANY other book in the Bible.

      In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than ANY other Old Testament book.

      At times, governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel & possessing it because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.

      It BEARS repeating…JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CONFIRMS DANIEL TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH….I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST, THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME, Amen?

      Turn with me now to DANIEL 11...

      Daniel 11 - Antiochus and Antichrist Revisited

      This chapter OF DANIEL contains one of the most PRECISELY FULFILLED prophecies of the Bible, predicting history over some 375 years, and to the end, with amazing accuracy.

      Many critics who deny supernatural revelation, have insisted that it is JUST history, SHAMELESSLY written AFTER the fact, & fraudulently claiming to be written before its time and then shamelessly claiming it as prophectic.

      It does NOT take rocket science to KNOW who is leading and guiding these critics, satan does NOT change. He is EVER a liar!

      Because of the detail of the prophecy, the SMART thing to help us ALL learn and understand, is to TAKE TIME & EXPLAIN as the prophecy IS described.


      As I have said of ALL The Bible studies…you either BELIEVE/TRUST IT ALL…or it is ALL A LIE.

      You can NOT pick a slice of one verse, chapter, book, and believe, and ignore/reject the whole.

      The Book of Daniel is the MOST confirmed and affirmed and quoted and referenced book in The New Testament.

      Jesus Christ himself refers to Daniel repeatedly and Amens his book. If Jesus Christ’s confirmation is NOT enough reassurance for you to the validity, integrity, and truth of Daniel…then NOTHING AND NO ONE CAN BE.

      The division of the Greek Empire.
      Verse 2 tells us the Four future kings.
      “And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.”

      The angel tells Daniel that there will be THREE MORE kings in Persia until a fourth arises. The fourth king will be strong, rich, and oppose the realm of Greece. This strong, rich fourth king was fulfilled in the Persian King Xerxes (THE HUSBAND OF ESTHER).

      In fulfillment, there were actually FOUR kings from the time Daniel speaks of until Xerxes, the one who did stir up all against the realm of Greece. Either the angel omitted the current king (Cyrus), looking only to the future or he ignored King Smerdis of Persia (522-21 b.c.) because he ruled less than one year and WAS an imposter to the throne.

      REMEMBER THIS…these visions and insights regarding the future of the Persian and Greek Empires were relevant because at some time, EACH empire attempted to WIPE OUT THE JEWS.

      1. The Persian Empire tried to wipe out the Jewish people during the reign of Xerxes, through the plot of Haman (as shown in the Book of Esther, which I already did a Bible study on).

      2. The Greek Empire tried to wipe out the Jewish people during the reign of Antiochus IV, when he attempted to kill EVERY Jew who did not renounce their commitment to God and embrace him & Greek culture.

      Verses 3-4 tells us of the rise of a mighty king.
      “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.”

      “Then a mighty king shall arise”…The angel told Daniel of a mighty king with a great dominion - but his kingdom would not endure, and it would be divided after the death of the mighty king.

      “Shall rule with great dominion and do according to his will”…This is fulfilled in Alexander the Great, who certainly was a mighty king. Alexander died at 32 years of age of a fever, MANY BELIEVE HE WAS POISONED DURING a drunken party in Babylon.

      “Not among his posterity”…Afterward Alexander's death, NONE of his descendants succeeded him. It wasn't for lack of trying. Alexander did leave THREE possible heirs: a half brother named Philip, who was mentally deficient; a son who was born after Alexander died; and an illegitimate son named Hercules. The half-brother and the posthumous son were first designated co-monarchs, each with a regent. But fighting amongst the regents eventually resulted in the murder of ALL possible heirs.

      “Divided towards the four winds of heaven”…After the death of all Alexander's possible heirs, four of ALEXANDER’S STRONGEST generals controlled the Greek Empire, but none of them according to his (Alexander’s) dominion.

      The rest of this prophecy focuses on TWO OF THE FOUR MILITARY INHERITORS of Alexander’s realm, and the dynasties they established.

      WHO were they?
      Kings of the North and the Kings of the South.

      WHY does GOD FOCUS ON THESE TWO?
      Because they CONSTANTLY FOUGHT OVER THE PROMISED LAND, because it sat between their centers of power.

      Verse 5 tells us of the strength of the KING OF THE SOUTH.
      “Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion.”

      “The king of the South shall become strong”…ONE of the four will become stronger AND greater than the others.

      This was fulfilled in Ptolemy I of Egypt, who exerted his control over the Holy Land. Soon after the division of Alexander's Empire, the Ptolemies dominated this region.

      Ptolemy I had a prince named Seleucus, who rose to power and took dominion over the region of Syria. He became more powerful than his former Egyptian ruler. The Seleucids are identified with the Kings of the North, and the Ptolemies were the Kings of the South.

      The dynasties of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies FOUGHT FOR 130 YEARS. The stronger of the two ALWAYS HELD dominion over the Holy Land.

      Verse 6 tells us of a marriage between the families of the kings of the North and the kings of the South.
      “And at the end of some years they shall join forces, for the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North to make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her in those times.”

      Joined by a marriage, the kings of the North and South WILL BE allies for a while, but the arrangement will NOT last.

      This was fulfilled in the marriage between Antiochus II (of the Seleucids) and Berenice (daughter of Ptolemy II). There WAS peace for a time because of this marriage, but it was upset when Ptolemy II died.

      Once Ptolemy II died, Antiochus II put away Berenice and took back his former wife, Laodice.

      Laodice didn’t trust her husband Antiochus II; so she had him poisoned.
      After the murder of Antiochus II, Laodice had Berenice, her attendants, and an infant son of Antiochus II and Berenice killed.

      After this reign of terror, Laodice set her son (Selecus II) on the throne of the Syrian dominion.

      Verses 7-9 tells us from the South, an army defeats the kingdom of the North.
      “But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail. And he shall also carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North. Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land.”

      The angel told Daniel that a branch of her=Berenice roots will come from the South and prevail over the kings of the North.

      This WAS fulfilled in the person of Ptolemy III. He was the BROTHER of Berenice (the branch of her roots). Avenging the murder of his sister, Ptolemy III invaded Syria and humbled Selecus II.

      He shall continue more years than the king of the North=Ptolemy III lived four years past Selecus II.

      Verse 10 tells us the sons of the king of the North and their victory.
      “However his sons shall stir up strife, and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come and overwhelm and pass through; then he shall return to his fortress and stir up strife.”

      The sons of the kings of the North WILL continue the battle. One of the sons will conquer the Holy Land (overwhelm and pass through) which stood as a buffer between the kings of the South and the kings of the North.

      This WAS fulfilled in Seleucus III and Antiochus III, the two sons of Seleucus II. Both were successful generals, but Seleucus III ruled only a short time and was succeeded by his brother.

      In a furious battle, Antiochus III DID TAKE BACK the Holy Land from the dominion of the Ptolemies.

      Verses 11-12 tells us the king of the South gains an upper hand OVER the king of the North.
      “And the king of the South shall be moved with rage, and go out and fight with him, with the king of the North, who shall muster a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy. When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail.”

      The angel tells Daniel that the king of the South will attack and meet a great multitude of soldiers from the king of the North. The king of the North will lose in battle and his multitude will be defeated.

      This WAS fulfilled when Antiochus III was defeated at the battle of Raphia. Because of that loss he was forced to GIVE BACK dominion over the Holy Land to Ptolemy IV.

      Verses 13-16 tells us the king of the North and his occupation of the Glorious Land.
      “For the king of the North will return and muster a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with a great army and much equipment. Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall. So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist. But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power.”

      The angel told Daniel that the northern dynasty would answer back and defeat the king of the South in an extended siege. This victory will give the king of the North dominion over the Glorious Land (Israel).

      This WAS fulfilled when Antiochus III invaded Egypt again, gaining final control over the armies of Ptolemy V and over the Holy Land.

      Jews living in the Holy Land HELPED Antiochus III defeat the king of the South. This was because the Jewish people RESENTED the rule of the Egyptian Ptolemies (violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision).

      The Jewish people of the Glorious Land initially welcomed Antiochus III as a LIBERATOR from Egyptian rule. Their decision to support Antiochus III proved UNWISE when he turned his destruction focus UPON the Glorious Land and its people.

      Verse 17 tells us the king of the South will give his daughter to the king of the North.
      “He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or be for him.”

      “Set his face” means the king of the North who ruled over the Holy Land would also attempt to dominate and destroy the king of the South. He would make one attempt by giving the king of the South the daughter of women to destroy, but this plot would NOT succeed.

      This WAS fulfilled when Antiochus III gave his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy (PRONOUNCED TO LE ME) V of Egypt. He did this hoping to gain permanent influence and eventually control in Egypt. To the great disappointment of Antiochus III, the plan did not succeed because Cleopatra WASN’T FAITHFUL to her Egyptian husband at all.

      This was NOT the Cleopatra most famous from ancient history, but this was the ANCESTOR of the more famous Cleopatra. The more famous Egyptian woman lived some 100 years AFTER the time of this Cleopatra.

      Verses 18-19 tells us the king of the North is stopped and stumbles.
      “After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him. Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.”

      After the disappointing effort through the daughter, the king of the North will turn his efforts towards the coastlands - until he is stopped by one formerly under reproach, until he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

      This WAS fulfilled when Antiochus III turned his attention towards the areas of Asia Minor and Greece. He was helped by Hannibal, the famous general from Carthage. But a Roman General, Lucius Cornelius Scipio, defeated Antiochus in Greece. Antiochus planned to humiliate Greece but WAS humiliated instead. He returned to his former regions, having lost ALL that he gained and died shortly after.

      After this defeat Antiochus III had an inglorious end. Needing money badly for his treasury, he resorted to pillaging a Babylonian temple and was killed by ENRAGED local citizens.

      Verse 20 tells us the brief reign of the succeeding king of the North.
      “There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.”

      After the inglorious end of the king of the North, his successor will raise taxes and meet a soon end.

      This WAS fulfilled in the brief reign of Seleucus III, the eldest son of Antiochus III. He sought to tax his dominion (including the glorious kingdom, the Holy Land) to increase revenues. His plan to pillage the Jerusalem temple was set aside when his ambassador had an angelic vision of warning.

      Seleucus (pronounced SAL-U-CUS) III was assassinated, by his brother Antiochus IV.

      Antiochus (pronounced ANT TEE AWK US) IV, known as Antiochus Epiphanes: A Vile Person.
      Verse 21 tells us the vile person comes to power.
      “And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.”

      The angel told Daniel that after the brief reign of the former king of the North, the next king would be a vile person. He would NOT be recognized as royalty, but shall take power by intrigue.

      This WAS fulfilled in the successor of Seleucis III, who was named Antiochus IV. He did not come to the throne legitimately because it was strongly suspected that he murdered his older brother, the previous king. The other potential heir (the son of Seleucus III) was imprisoned in Rome.

      Apart from the murder of his older brother, Antiochus IV didn't use terror to gain power. He used flattery, smooth promises, and intrigue.

      Clarke, a Biblical historian, tells us Antiochus IV flattered Eumenes, king of Pergamus, and Attalus his brother, and got their assistance. He flattered the Romans, and sent ambassadors to court their favor, and pay them the arrears of the tribute. He flattered the Syrians, and gained their concurrence.

      Antiochus IV took the title "Epiphanes," meaning "illustrious." The Jewish people called him "Epimanes," meaning "madman."

      Verses 22-27 tells us “the vile person” fails to conquer the king of the South.
      “With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time. He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him. Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. Both these kings' hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time.”

      The angel tells Daniel that the new king of the North (the vile person of Daniel 11:21) will attempt a deceitful covenant with the king of the South. This will fail, and there will be a great battle that will NOT change the balance of power.

      This WAS fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes carried on the feud between the dynasties but pretended friendship and alliance to catch them off guard. Despite massive efforts and epic battles, Antiochus Epiphanes did NOT stand, and his army was SWEPT away.

      The defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes at his second campaign against Egypt was important, because EGYPT BEAT Antiochus with the HELP OF ROME. At the end of it all, Antiochus Epiphanes and his kingdom were UNDER the dominion of Rome.

      One FAMOUS battle, the Roman Navy defeated the navy of Antiochus Epiphanes. After the battle, a Roman general drew a circle around Antiochus in the dirt and demanded to know if he would surrender and pay tribute to Rome - and demanded to know before he stepped out of the circle. From then on, there was no doubt: Antiochus Epiphanes TOOK his orders from Rome and was UNDER Roman dominion.

      “Those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him”.. This WAS fulfilled in the treachery against Anitochus IV by his own counselors.

      Verses 28-35 tells us the vile person turns on the Holy Land with violence.
      “While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land. At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.”

      When the vile person returns to his land he will attack the land, people, AND the temple of Israel. It will be a time of great courage and great treachery among the people of God.

      This WAS fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes returned from Egypt, BITTER/ANGRY IN DEFEAT. He vented his anger against Jerusalem, which was already reeling because Antiochus sold the office of High Priest and persecuted the Jewish people to conform to Greek culture, forsaking the faith and traditions of their fathers.

      Failing in his invasion of Egypt, Antiochus Epiphanes returned home with only GREAT WORLDLY plunder to salve his wounded pride.

      “Ships from Cyrus” …WAS naval assistance from the Romans, who helped the Egyptians turn back Antiochus Epiphanes.

      “They shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation”… Antiochus Epiphanes set up an IMAGE OF ZEUS at the Jewish temple altar. He demanded sacrifice to this image, and later desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig, dripping its urine, feces, & blood on it. It WAS a TRUE abomination/desolation because now The Jews COULD NOT EVEN come to worship WITHIN THE TEMPLE at all.

      “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong”… When Antiochus Epiphanes turned on Jerusalem the Jewish people were divided. Some forsook their covenant with God and embraced Greek culture. Those who KNEW their God made a stand for righteousness in the face of incredible persecution.

      “For many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering”…In his attack on Jerusalem Antiochus IV is said to have killed 80,000 Jews, taken 40,000 more as prisoners, and sold another 40,000 as slaves. He also plundered the temple, robbing it of approximately $1 billion.

      “Until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time:…This terror could only last for as long as God had appointed it and God had a purpose even for such persecution and blasphemy.

      The Antichrist: the "last days Antiochus Epiphanes."
      Verse 36 tells us of "The willful king": HERE is the SHIFT to a FUTURE fulfillment.
      “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.”

      “He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god”…The angel explained to Daniel that THIS LAST KING WILL BLASPHEME God and EXALT HIMSELF until the wrath has been accomplished and what has been determined shall be done.

      IMAGINE SEEING ALL THESE HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF WARS, KILLING, MURDER, EVIL, DEATH, & DESTRUCTION & PERSECUTION/ABUSE THE JEWS GO THROUGH IN ONE VISION…

      NOW WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHY DANIEL FELL TO THE GROUND, WAS TERRIFIED AS IF DEAD, AND FAINTED.

      In VERSE 36.…THE ANGEL shifts from what WAS fulfilled in the Ptolemies and the Selucids to what WILL BE fulfilled in the Antichrist, the FINAL world dictator.

      Daniel was told that this revelation pertained to the LATTER days (Daniel 10:14), and Daniel 11:36 begins to look more towards this FINAL world dictator, who is sort of a "last days Antiochus Epiphanes."

      We KNOW that everything about this prophecy was NOT fulfilled during the career of Antiochus Epiphanes.

      HOW?

      Jesus Christ TELLS us.

      In Matthew 24:15, Jesus says, “the real abomination of desolation was still in the future.”

      The Apostle Paul paraphrased Daniel 11:36 in reference to the coming Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 which says, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

      Antiochus Epiphanes IS AN IMPORTANT HISTORICAL PREVIEW of the Antichrist. A mirror of the FINAL KING to come.

      But remember….Antiochus Epiphanes erected an IMAGE OF ZEUS in the Jewish Temple and DEMANDED everyone worship it.
      Antiochus Epiphanes did NOT claim to be God nor Zeus.
      The AntiChrist WILL place HIMSELF & AN OBSCENE IDOL OF HIS FATHER SATIN IN THE NEWLY BUILT TEMPLE AND STAND BEFORE ALL IN THE TEMPLE AND PROCLAIM THAT HE THE ANTI-CHRIST, THEIR PROTECTOR IS ALMIGHTY GOD.

      This is WHY God and the Angels give SO MUCH SPACE to describe the career of one evil man - because he prefigures the ULTIMATE evil man. Antiochus Epiphanes is the "trailer" released well before the Antichrist, who is like the "feature."

      “He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god”…Antiochus Epiphanes certainly DID this in the general sense that all sinners oppose God. Yet he remained LOYAL to the Greek religious tradition, which revered the entire Olympian pantheon. Antiochus Epiphanes put a statue of Zeus in the temple, NOT of himself.

      This WILL BE PRECISELY FULFILLED in the Antichrist, who HIMSELF sits AS God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God & demands all worship HIM….as Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

      “Shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished”…Antichrist will do much damage, but he is on a short chain and will only work into God’s plan. God's purpose WILL be accomplished.

      Verses 37-39 tells us the character and authority of the “willful king.”
      “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.”

      “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women”…Based on this, Messianic/Christian Bible scholars believe that the Antichrist WILL BE of Jewish descent.
      WHY do we believe this?
      Because “the God of his fathers” is ONLY a Jewish term that refers to Jewish heritage.

      He will also be a homosexual.
      WHY do we believe this?
      “Because nor the desire of women,” is the ancient Hebrew term for homosexuals.

      “He shall honor a god of fortresses”…The Antichrist will take and hold power with military might and the shrewd use of great riches.

      Verses 40-45 tells us of the final conflict.
      “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”

      “At the time of the end”…The angel tells DANIEL THIS IS FUTURE & describes to Daniel a confederation of kings coming AGAINST this AntiChrist, with a battle in and near the Holy Land.

      The end will be marked by great conflict, culminating in the world’s armies gathering at the Promised Land to do final battle.
      “Yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him”…In the end there is NO HOPE for the Antichrist or for ANY of his followers. His father Satan deserts him, his demonic angels CAN’T protect him, & he realizes in that moment…that Satan lied to him & ALL is lost. So he fights like the crazed insane madman that he is.


      The day will come when NONE shall work.... brothers & sisters the Heavenly & Earthly stage is SET FOR THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. WE ARE STANDING AT THE DOOR OF REVELATION 3 RIGHT NOW. WAITING FOR the Rapture, & then ONLY THEN CAN THE ANTI-CHRIST BE SEEN, BE LOOSED, AND WALK ONTO THE GLOBAL STAGE. THE DAY THIS GLOBAL LEADER SIGNS A GLOBAL PEACE TREATY WITH ISRAEL, THE LOST AND REJECTING WORLD HAVE SEVEN YEARS TO THE DAY, BEFORE JESUS WILL RETURN TO SAVE ISRAEL FROM COMPLETE ANNIHILATION.

      Jesus COMMANDS us to share, shine, and show Jesus while we MAY.

      We NEED to get busy...and BE ABOUT seeking the lost....bringing them to Jesus.

      SHINE AND SHOW OUR JESUS WHILE WE MAY!

      STAY BLESSED!

    • July 6, 2016 3:32 AM EDT
    • DANIEL CHAPTER 12---ISRAEL'S TIME OF TROUBLE


      Is The Book Of Daniel fact or fiction?
      Creative ghost-writing by some later unknown or pure truth written by Daniel?
      Does The Bible tell us?
      WHAT does Jesus say about Daniel?

      FORTUNATELY OUR JESUS knew the critics WOULD come; HE SAW IT thousands of years in advance, & so HE takes away ALL DOUBT on the matter. He tells us that IT WAS Daniel who wrote the book of Daniel: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

      But what FEW CRITICS ASK IS THIS: WHY such a strong attack AGAINST the Book of Daniel?

      WHY has the lost world & satan SOUGHT to DISMISS & ERASE the words of Daniel?

      Simply because Daniel contains MORE fulfilled PINPOINT ACCURATE prophecies than ANY other book in the Bible.

      In New Testament prophecy, Daniel is referred to MORE than ANY other Old Testament book.

      At times, Communist governments EVEN prohibited preaching from the Book of Daniel because it reveals God’s knowledge of the future, and it shows that in the end the Lord God and His people WIN.

      It BEARS repeating…JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CONFIRMS DANIEL TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH….I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST, THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME, Amen?

      Turn with me now to DANIEL 12...

      Daniel 12 - Israel’s Time of Trouble

      Verse 1 tells us of a future “end times” trouble for Israel.
      “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.”

      This does NOT mean that what is described in Daniel 12:1 is subsequent to the happenings of Daniel 11:36-45. It means what is described happens in the SAME era.

      “Michael shall stand up”…The angel Michael is often associated with spiritual battle (Daniel 10:13; 10:21, Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7). Since Michael is called the archangel (Jude 1:9), he is Satan’s TRUE opposite. Satan is NOT the opposite of Jesus; he is the opposite of Michael, this high-ranking angel.

      In addition to his role as a spiritual warrior, Michael has a special job in protecting Israel. God has appointed Michael as a “SPIRITUAL GUARDIAN” over Israel.

      “There shall be a time of trouble”…This refers to the time of persecution for Israel and world calamity known as the Great Tribulation. This period is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble in Jeremiah 30:7.

      “Such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time”… The Jewish people have known MANY a time of trouble/horrifics/tortures/persecution through their history. From the horrors at the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans to the persecutions from the church during the Dark Ages to the pogroms of Europe to the 20th Century Holocaust, it often seems that all Israel’s history has been a time of trouble. But this time of trouble WILL BE different. This will be the WORST TROUBLE Israel has EVER SEEN/FACED.

      Jesus confirms it in Matthew 24:21, which says, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

      With great sadness, we must say that the Bible teaches that the worst HAS YET TO COME for Israel and the Jewish people.

      What will make this time terrible?

      Revelation 12:13-17 describes the FURY of the devil directed against the Jewish people during this time. The trumpets, seals, and bowls of Revelation all described the horrific conditions of the world in general during this time. The Jewish people will be targets of the FULL FURY of the devil and his antichrist during this time, and will live in a world that is in incredible upheaval because of the judgment of God.

      We KNOW that the Jewish people have ALWAYS been a target of Satan. He has sought to destroy them because he KNEW that God has ordained to accomplish His purposes through THIS nation. And so Satan has TRIED OVER AND OVER AGAIN to destroy the nation of Israel in order to KILL/STOP the purposes of God.


      Verse 1 tells us of a promise of deliverance.
      “And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.”

      Despite the terrors of that time, deliverance IS assured. No matter how GREAT the attack is against the Jewish people, God has PROMISED to preserve them. He will NEVER break His promise to Abraham, found in Genesis 17:7, which says, “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”

      Paul tells us/WARNS in Romans 11:25-27, “Yet this promise of deliverance is NOT for every last person of Jewish heritage, but for every Jew found WRITTEN in the book. Jewish rabbis/tradition WRONGLY TEACH THAT EVERY PERSON OF Jewish heritage will be saved, but JESUS HIMSELF & THE DISCIPLES & THE OLD TESTAMENT warn that only a remnant, whose names are FOUND IN THE BOOK will be saved. YET after the Tribulation Israel as a whole will be known as a people who trust in Jesus as their Messiah, and truly turn to the Lord.”

      Verse 2 tells us of the resurrection of the dead.
      “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

      “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”… Some think this is the resurrection of Israel as a nation. But the plainest meaning is that it refers to the resurrection of the body, the “shell of those OT Jews who were saved by the promise of a future Messiah, & those Jews who ARE/WERE complete JEWS (MESSIANIC JEWS) whose bodies with be snatched from the earth at the Rapture.

      “Some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt”… The Bible clearly teaches TWO resurrections, one for the saved and one for the damned (John 5:29; Revelation 20:4-6; 11-15). If we, MANKIND, REALLY believed every one of us WILL live forever IN EITHER THE LAKE OF FIRE OR IN HEAVEN, it would profoundly change our lives.

      “Everlasting contempt”…The terror of hell is ONLY a waiting prison, for THE WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT OF THE LOST, BEFORE THEIR CHOICE SENTENCES THEM TO an eternity in The Lake Of Fire. The TERROR NEVER ends. There is not blissful annihilation after some period of punishment. This passage denies a rising doctrine within the church, a modified annihilationism that teaches that unjustified sinners are sent to Hell, and they suffer torment for a while, but then their beings perish for eternity.

      BROTHERS & SISTERS THERE IS NO ETERNAL DEATH….THERE IS NO END GAME….THERE IS NO TIME LIMIT….ENDLESS, ETERNAL, FOREVER AND FOREVER FOR THE SOULS OF EACH PERSON….FOREVER AND EVER means EXACTLY THAT…EACH PERSON WHO HAS EVER LIVED, REGARDLESS THE DURATION, THEIR LIFESPAN, WILL EITHER SPEND ETERNITY IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS or
      WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE WITH SATAN AND HIS DEMONS…FOREVER.

      Revelation 20:10 also certainly describes eternal punishment for the Devil and the Antichrist. "There would be no way possible in the Greek language to state more emphatically the everlasting punishment of the lost than here in mentioning both day and night and the expression ‘forever and ever,’ literally to the ages of ages.

      As well, the Bible states that ALL are raised but not all at the same time or in the same manner (Revelation 20:5-6).

      Verse 3 tells us a promise for the righteous.
      “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

      Those who live in God’s wisdom WILL shine. Despite all the calamity, DESPITE all the difficulty coming upon Israel, God has those who are wise, and they shall shine!

      The wise among God’s people are those who turn many to righteousness.

      All God’s people are like stars in the sense that they radiate light and help others to see and find their way. But certainly, those who turn many to righteousness shine even more brightly, helping even more people to see the light and find their way.

      This promise applies to ALL the wise, and ALL of those (Jew and Gentile alike) who turn many to righteousness through all ages. But it may have its most specific application to the 144,000 Jewish, virgin males who are sealed/protected from all plots and plans of Satan and the AntiChrist by Almighty God from Israel’s 12 tribes during the Tribulation in Revelation 7.

      The brightness of God’s wise ones, and those who turn many to righteousness, will last forever. It isn’t fading. It endures, when so many other things that we put our effort into, even if they succeed, have an only temporary "shine." It’s worth it to invest our lives into the things that last forever and ever.


      Verse 4 tells us of the instructions to seal the book.
      "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

      To “shut up the words” implied that the words should be kept safely until the time when they were needed. SEAL THE BOOK HAS THE DOUBLE SENSE OF AUTHENTICATING THE MESSAGE & PRESERVING IT.

      Daniel’s prophecy certainly was of some value in his own day. But there would come a day, the time of the end, when his prophecy would be of even more importance. Therefore, it was important to shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end.

      Here, Daniel is describing a characteristic of the time of the end. Many take this prediction as being fulfilled in the travel (run to and fro) and information explosions (knowledge shall increase) of our modern age.

      This has more the idea of searching after knowledge than rapid forms of transportation.

      Daniel has revealed enough to us so that the book really can be sealed. From Daniel 11:36 to Daniel 12:3, we see:

      A world ruler, utterly opposed to God is coming
      A world religion, based on the abomination of desolation is coming
      A world war, which defeats the one world ruler is coming
      A time of great tribulation for Israel lasting three and one-half years
      Deliverance for the people of God after the tribulation
      Resurrection and judgment
      The reward of the righteous

      Verses 5-7 tells us Daniel asks how long will the time of trouble be?

      Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”

      “Two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank”…Daniel is back to the riverbank first mentioned in Daniel 10:4. The visions of Daniel 10 through 12 have all taken place as Daniel stood at this riverbank.

      “One said to the man clothed in linen . . . “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” Seemingly, these other men on the riverbank were angels. One angel is asking the other, not for the benefit of the angel, but for Daniel’s benefit and OUR benefit.

      “Held up his right and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever”…In a solemn oath, one angel announces that the time of trouble will last three and one-half years (a time, times, and half a time).
      The prediction is emphasized by the solemn oath, and by a miracle happening while it was spoken: who was above the waters in the river. The angel "walked on water" when he told the other angel and Daniel that these things would happen within a three and one half year period.

      This three and one-half year period (here described as a time, times, and half a time) is well known in other passages of Biblical prophecy.

      Daniel 7:25 describes it as the period that “SAINTS”=JEWS are given into Antichrist’s hands…so to will Gentiles who CHOOSE JESUS during the Tribulation.

      Daniel 9:27 describes it as the period between the breaking of Antichrist’s covenant with Israel, the erection of the abomination of desolation, and the establishment of Jesus’ kingdom

      Daniel 12:7 describes it as the duration of "the time of trouble" for Israel

      Revelation 11:2 describes it as the period that the holy city will be tread underfoot by Gentiles

      Revelation 11:3 describes it as the period of ministry for the two witnesses

      Revelation 12:6 and 14 describes it as the period that Israel (only its remnant, because the AntiChrist will kill 2/3 of the Jewish nation) is preserved by God in the wilderness
      Revelation 13:5 describes it as the duration of Antichrist’s authority to rule, persecute and blaspheme

      Taking all these together, we are obviously dealing with the LAST half of Daniel’s seventieth week (the Great Tribulation); and we are told VERY little about the FIRST 3.5 YEARS OF THE TRIBULATION before THE ANTICHRIST BECOMES THE WORLD LEADER.

      “When the power of the holy people has been shattered, all these things shall be finished”… the people of Israel will seem completely crushed as these things end, but at that time, the Messiah – upon whom they will trust before He returns – will return to rescue them.

      Verse 8 tells us Daniel’s last question: how will it all turn out?
      “Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”

      Daniel didn’t understand it all either, even though he heard it & saw THE VISION OF IT first hand!

      What shall be the end of these things? Perhaps Daniel asked this question, anxious because he understood & had SEEN just how terrible the time of trouble would be.

      Verse 9-13 gives us the answer: God will purify and preserve His people, and has set a limit of days to the time of trouble.

      “And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”

      The command to “go your way” is literally merely "to let go" but it is not meant physically. The angel is telling Daniel to make a mental departure from the questioning. More details would be revealed later; Daniel must be content with what God has revealed thus far.

      Daniel must make a mental departure from his questioning, because the revealing of these things will not come till the time of the end. Until then, there is a sense in which these prophecies are closed up and sealed.

      We shouldn’t think there was no instruction, no blessing, no benefit in these words for any generation until the time of the end. But the meaning of these prophecies would be less mysteries at the time of the end.

      The massive interest in prophecy, and the incredible development in understanding of Biblical prophecy in the last 150 years should make us see that we truly are at the time of the end.

      One of the COMMON arguments AGAINST some understandings of Biblical prophecy is "Your ideas are new. The early church or Christians through the ages DID NOT teach these things. Your ideas are wrong because they are NEW."

      But this word TO Daniel, that the words are “closed up and sealed” till the time of the end should make us think VERY differently.

      Additionally, when we look at Church history, we see that God has successively had the church focus on specific areas of doctrine at different periods. Our present understanding of many areas of Biblical teaching were only most carefully and precisely defined after God appointed the church to focus on that doctrinal area.

      For example:
      In the 2ND--4TH centuries, the church focused on the doctrine of Scripture.
      In the 4TH century, the focus was on the doctrine of God (In the Trinity).
      In the 5TH century, the focus was on the doctrine of Christ.
      In the 5TH --7TH centuries, the focus was on the doctrine of man.
      In the 15TH & 17TH centuries, the focus was on the doctrine of salvation.
      In the 16TH & 17TH centuries, the focus was on the doctrine of the church.
      So it should not surprise us that it was not UNTIL the 19TH & 20TH centuries - the time of the end - that the focus would turn upon the doctrine of last things and the return of Jesus.

      “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined”…This is another prediction for what was future to Daniel, because this degree of purification is ONLY possible AFTER the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

      “But the wicked shall do wickedly”…Most specifically, we would say that this prediction has to do with the end times, when wickedness will abound more than ever (as in the Antichrist and his government), but an innumerable multitude will also be saved (as is seen in Revelation 7:9-10).

      “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days”….This is an amazingly specific prophecy. Daniel says that from the time of the abomination of desolation, you can simply start marking off your calendar to the final consummation of all things, 1,290 days later WHEN JESUS WILL APPEAR IN THE SKIES, WITH HIS WARRIOR ANGELS, & THE CHURCH TO WATCH AS JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY RESCUES ISRAEL FROM TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

      This is why Jesus pointed to Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination of desolation as the sign that would mark the immediacy of His return in Matthew 24:15.

      “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days”…

      What is the relation between three and one-half years (1,260 days, mentioned specifically in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6), the 1,290 days mentioned here in Daniel 12, and the 1,335 days mentioned here in Daniel 12?

      BIBLE SCHOLARS BELIEVE that JESUS IS SPEAKING TO THOSE WHO SURVIVE THE GREAT TRIBULATION, at the end of the 1,260 days WHEN Jesus returns in the clouds with us all & JESUS THEN STEPS DOWN ON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN IN JERUSALEM AND PERSONALLY DESTROYS ALL THE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL AND THOSE GENTILES WHO LOVE HIM.

      At the end of the 1,290 days, (30 DAYS LATER) Jesus’ government is officially installed on the earth IN Jerusalem.

      At the end of the 1,335 days (IT WILL TAKE 45 DAYS) FOR JESUS TO BRING FORTH AND JUDGE the nations as foretold in Matthew 25:31-46.

      “But you, go your way till the end”…Daniel’s mind was filled with exciting and frightening prophetic thoughts. It might have been easy for those things to become a distraction to him instead of a blessing to him. So the angel concludes with an important reminder: go your way till the end. JESUS TELLS US AND PROMISES US THAT HE WILL PUT ON US NO MORE THAN WE CAN BEAR. God KNEW DANIEL HAD REACHED THAT POINT. AND GOD had a course He wanted Daniel to complete in his day and time on earth, and Daniel needed to remain focused on that. And God did not want Daniel’s heart, mind, and life so focused on the FAR FUTURE AND THE TROUBLES TO COME….THAT IT STOLE THE JOY, PEACE, BLESSINGS, AND WORKS OF HIS PRESENT.

      In John 21:22, Jesus told Peter about his destiny to die as a martyr for Jesus. Peter wanted to know about John’s destiny, so he asked Jesus, "What about John?" Essentially, Jesus replied, "It’s none of your business. You follow Me."

      In the same way, Daniel was not to spend all his time and energy speculating and worrying about things he couldn’t confront in his lifetime or what his people would confront in their future. Instead, he should simply obey the word to go your way till the end - something we must all do.

      Jesus Christ WARNED us and PROPHECIED that these things would happen in Matthew.

      So in the same way, we THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, SHOULD BE WATCHING THE EASTERN SKIES, DAY AND NIGHT, because we ARE at the end of days. All this tells us that Jesus could come at ANY moment.

      The GROWING persecutions of Christians worldwide are escalating to shockingly obscene numbers DAILY. The growing rejection of all things JESUS CHRIST GLOBALLY is skyrocketing. The growing rejection of all things HOLY BIBLE is skyrocketing.

      EVEN as the GLOBAL rise of and acceptance and tolerance of the immoral, the unethical, the heinous, the abusive, the unjust, the greedy, the sexually depraved IS exploding across the globe.

      EVEN as nature/seasons has turned upon itself. There are floods, where globally we have a history of droughts. There are droughts, where there has always been plenty of rain. There are volcanic eruptions in places that the volcanoes have been dead/silent. There are earthquakes where there have been few if none. We have pestilence that is resistant to all attempts to destroy or control it. There are the revival of diseases that have been non-existent for hundreds of years. The north is dealing with snow in summer, and summer temps during their normal winter seasons. The south has not really had a winter season, but more like a few days of cold weather. The sun is sending out DAILY GROWING SOLAR FLARES, as the gravitational pull/ the solar systems balance is changing.

      There is NO SUCH THING AS “GLOBAL WARMING” from the advances of technology or pollution….it is ONLY JESUS CHRIST keeping HIS WORD.

      But most of all, and most SIGNIFICANT is that ISRAEL’S allies are turning their backs on ISRAEL. DEMANDING that ISRAEL compromise in all things, while allowing demonic terrorists and their states and countries to be forgiven their heinous acts. DEMANDING that Israel stand down in the face of daily rocket, bomb, and terrorists acts. SANCTIONING ISRAEL, CONDEMING ISRAEL FOR SEEKING TO PROTECT ITSELF.

      THE ONLY THING, ABOVE JESUS’ TIMETABLE, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT’S PRESENCE ON THE EARTH WHICH STAYS & KEEPS THE DEMONIC, EVIL, THE DEPRAVED DOWN…the ONLY CONSTANT PROTECTION, CHAMPIONS, DEFENDERS, SUPPORTERS, DONATORS TO ISRAEL are the Christians in the world.

      ISRAEL SEEKS MORE AND MORE TO SEEK AND ASK AND EXPECT AND APPRECIATE THE CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD WHO DO REMAIN FAITHFUL…CONSTANT.

      ALMIGHTY GOD IS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT.
      JESUS CHRIST IS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT.

      ALMIGHTY GOD SAID THEY WOULD AT THE END.
      JESUS CHRIST SAID THEY WOULD AT THE END.


      ALMIGHTY GOD SAID THEY WOULD RETURN.
      JESUS CHRIST SAID THEY WOULD BE RESTORED.

      THE ONLY WAY THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS IF ISRAEL NO LONGER HAS THE CHURCH, THEIR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, & THEIR GLOBAL GENTILE SUPPORTERS NO LONGER HERE TO HELP THEM.

      THEY WILL NOT TURN TO ALMIGHTY GOD & JESUS CHRIST UNTIL THEY HAVE NO ONE ELSE.

      UNTIL ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH NATION HAVE NO HELP LEFT ON THE EARTH.

      THE BIBLE TELLS US LITTLE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CHURCH IS RAPTURED=caught up in the clouds, AT THE BEGINNING OF REVELATION 3.

      BUT THE WORLD THINKS 9/11 WAS LIFE CHANGING…EARTH SHATTERINGS AND ONLY 4 PLANES CRASHED, ALL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, AND TAKING THE LIVES OF ALMOST 4,000 PEOPLE.

      THINK ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN GLOBALLY WHEN AN ESTIMATED 1 BILLION CHRISTIANS OF THE CURRENT 7 BILLION POPULATION….SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR FROM THE EARTH.

      FOOD FOR THOUGHT: I DID SOME 2012 GLOBAL RESEARCH!

      Did you know there are over 113,000 planes in the air globally EACH day?
      Did you know there are over 671, 358, 000 motor vehicles on the road globally EACH day?
      Did you know there are over 14, 000 rapid transit rail trains operating globally EACH day?
      Did you know there are over 2, 000 ships sailing globally EACH day?

      CONSIDERING THE ABOVE….

      AND THE MAJORITY OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL & THE JEWS WANT nothing to do with THE NEW TESTAMENT. They refuse to have it in their homes. Hear about it. And they ostracize any JEWISH SYNAGOGUE/FAMILY MEMBER WHO becomes a MESSIANIC JEW.

      WORSE, the majority of the JEWISH PEOPLE do not read nor follow the OLD TESTAMENT EITHER, above the JEWISH CEREMONIES, RITUALS, & TRADITIONS. ALMIGHTY GOD IS AN AFTER THOUGHT, OR AN UNSPOKEN GIVEN.

      Jesus Christ says, “I came unto my own, and they received me not.”
      But Jesus Christ told JOHN & DANIEL that at the end of the end, that ISRAEL WOULD TURN TO HIM. ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. ACCEPT HIM, AND NEVER WALK AWAY FROM HIM AGAIN.

      DID YOU KNOW THAT ISRAEL, knowing that The Rea Sea is drying up…that the minerals in the Dead Sea cure radiation burns, help heal biological warfare contaminants/patients?

      DID YOU KNOW THAT ISRAEL…sits on the world’s largest ever RECENTLY DISCOVERED natural gas & oil resources?

      DID YOU KNOW THAT ISRAEL’S WATER IS A NATURAL WELLSPRING, UNDERGROUND, AND PROTECTED BY A MYSTERIOUS ROCK FORMATION THAT PROTECTS IT FROM CONTAMINATION, FROM EVAPORATION, AND FEEDS THE LAND OF ISRAEL FROM BENEATH, RATHER THAN FROM RAIN FROM ABOVE?

      Think about the condition of the world at Christians instant removal from the earth? The damaged cities, polluted water systems, destroyed food sources, inadequate medicines to treat, much less cure and heal bio warfare/radiation burns?

      WHAT do you think the world leaders WILL do to feed themselves? Their people? Heal and protect themselves and their people?

      THIS GIVES YOU AN IDEA WHAT ISRAEL WILL FACE WORLDWIDE…EVERYONE WILL SEEK TO TAKE…WHAT THEY NEED TO SURVIVE….and they will have NO ONE on the earth to help them….until The AntiChrist walks onto the world stage and STOPS the world, and demands & receives a globally signed treaty between the world and Israel…

      The AntiChrist will become their POLITICAL SAVIOR.

      DANIEL not only saw this, DANIEL SAW what The AntiChrist WOULD do to HIS PEOPLE…

      But then as now….JESUS TOLD DANIEL…and JESUS IS telling us all….

      I HAVE A PLAN.
      I AM IN CONTROL.
      DO NOT WORRY.
      DO NOT FEAR.

      GET EXCITED…I AM COMING FOR YOU SOON!!!