Tuesday, August 23, 2016

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT RACE RELATIONS -- ALL LIVES MATTER

I listened to a powerful sermon yesterday by Dr. Tony Evans regarding the biblical view of race relations.  I wish every professing Christian would reflect the truth of this teaching in their lives.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

A LIFE CONSUMED WITH A PASSION FOR JESUS


It’s been a while since I have felt I had something I wanted to share on my blog.  The news is chock full of things that continue to declare the signs of the times.  In light of those signs, I really am working with an urgency on my verse-by-verse bible journals and in seeking to become conformed to the person to whom my LORD will be able to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  

My granddaughter introduced me to a song by Matthew West that really spoke to my heart.  These are the words that struck me the most.


I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?



No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life



Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?



The phrase that really spoke to me was the idea of being filled with an “all consuming passion” for Jesus and the things He loves and desires.  I try to do things that honor the LORD, but I truly want to be consumed with a passion that affects my every thought and action.   

If you are a fellow believer, I pray these words will challenge you as well.  The more we give to Jesus of ourselves, the more He will be able to use us for His glory.  He’s coming soon……Let’s live like we believe that!  May we be able to say like Job:  "I shall come forth as gold."

Friday, July 1, 2016

THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

The last few weeks have been filled with family time and a lot of fun with my grandchildren.  I've only been able to keep up with headlines, and they have been filled with much distressing news.  As I have pondered all that is going on, the LORD gave me an idea for a poem that I hope will encourage and/or challenge you.


THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Do you not see
The signs of the times
Foretold by the prophets of old?

Distress among nations
Moral decay
A focus on pleasures and gold.

Sin is abounding
Consciences seared
God’s word is no longer revered.

His truth is rejected
Wrong declared right
Accepted by many and cheered.

Deception is rampant
Blasphemy common
Those that are good are despised.

Natural affections
Are being rejected
We’re urged to support gay pride.

The family unit
Is being destroyed
Marriage has been redefined.

Boys are girls
Girls are boys
Gender a choice of the mind.

Advances in science
Are crossing the bounds
Established by God at creation.

Experiments done
They quickly explain
For man’s good as their justification.

Satellites, lasers
Computers and chips
The powers that be want control.

Agendas prepared
Alliances formed
As Satan’s influence grows.

Most important
Of all the signs
Declared to be part of God’s plan.

Descendants of Abraham
Isaac and Jacob
Are living once more in their land.

The prophet Ezekiel
Predicted the rise
Of dusty dry bones from the earth.

The nation of Israel
A home for the Jews
In one day declared its rebirth.

Life is no different
Than in Noah’s day
He preached and warned in vain.

Mocking and laughing
They called him a fool
Til one day the flood waters came.

One day soon
Millions will vanish
Taken by God to heaven.

Perilous times
Will then ensue
Full of terror, pain and oppression.

Many still try
But it can’t be denied
God’s word is faithful and true.

Turn from your sin
Be born again
Experience a life that is new.

Jesus died
Upon the cross
He suffered for your salvation.

The choice you make
To receive Him or not
Will determine your soul’s destination.

Do you not see
The signs of the times
Foretold by the prophets of old?

Don’t put it off
Accept Jesus today
Become safe and secure in His hold.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

THE BEASTS OF DANIEL Part 3


Dan. 7:19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
Dan. 7:20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Daniel was greatly interested to know more about the fourth beast that was so terrifying that it couldn’t even be compared to a known animal with similar power and strength.  I liked the wording of the NIV for the last part of verse 19:  “…the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.”

This beast has ten horns on his head to begin with, but another horn comes up that causes three of the first ten horns to fall.  This seems to indicate that the “little horn” (cf verse 8) begins his rise to power and the establishment of his kingdom by conquering three of the ten.  His kingdom will eventually expand to include the first three beasts as noted in the comments under verse 7-8 above.

It is at this point that Focht made another important point.  The Aramaic for the word “before” is not a reference to a preceding point in time; it means “in the face of” of “in front of.”  In other words, all four kings would face each other at the same time.

The Aramaic for the word “look” indicates that the Antichrist will have an intimidating demeanor; and his speech will be intimidating as well according to the Aramaic for “great things”

Dan. 7:21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

The ruler represented by this last horn is able to exert physical power over the saints (those who are sanctified by God; believers).  This is information that was not included in the description of the vision at the beginning of the chapter.

Stedman notes that from this “we learn that the time of these four nations arising together will be a time of great and intense religious persecution, a time when war will be made against the saints, and quite successfully.

I think this verse corresponds specifically to Revelation 13:7.

Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them...

I am reminded that scripture declares that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.

Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

This seems to be another affirmation that the church is not present at this time.  The saints of this time have become believers during the 70th week that is designated as part of God’s plan for Israel as explained in chapter 9.

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

Context of Revelation 13:7 is in reference to the beast that rises up out of the sea, the Antichrist.  It also describes him as having ten horns as described in verse 20 above.

Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns….

Dan. 7:22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

The power of this “horn” will be for a limited time—“until the Ancient of days came.”  I believe this is a reference to the second coming of Jesus to set up His earthly kingdom.  The saints, those who have placed their trust in Jesus, will rule with Him.

1Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Dan. 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

In verse 17 the fourth beast is called a king and in this verse it is said to be referencing the kingdom of the beast.  (Just as we would equate a country today with its ruler.)  This fourth kingdom will be different from all the previous kingdoms.  I think the description of the beast that rises out of the sea in Revelation 13 testifies to the fact that the kingdoms of the first three beasts will become part of the empire of the Antichrist.  Whether he conquers them or they join willingly is not addressed.  We do know, however, that he will eventually devour the whole earth through great destruction.

Revelation 13:7-8 “…and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him….

Dan. 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
Dan. 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

“time” = a set time, technically, a year
“times” = two years
“dividing” = a half

This fourth kingdom will eventually emerge as a confederation of ten kings.  After these ten kings are established, another king, the Antichrist, will come on the scene that will be unique in comparison to the first ten.  He will humble or put down three of the first ten kings.  I believe this is saying that he will establish prominence by “humbling” or “abasing” three of the kingdoms under his leadership. 

This king will be outspoken against the God of heaven and will “wear out” (mentally afflict) those who believe in God.  Satan and his followers always take pleasure in blaspheming God. 

Revelation 13:4–6 “…they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”

Psalms 74:10 “O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?”

Psalms 74:18 “Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.”

Ray Stedman posits an interesting possibility:  The Hebrew [my note: Aramaic] word that is used for "wear out" is a most remarkable word. It means literally "to afflict," and always with a mental application. It means, therefore, to afflict mentally, and it very strongly suggests the brain-washing techniques which are now being widely developed, using serums and drugs by which the mind, the thinking, is actually changed.

The Antichrist will establish himself in place of God by trying to “change times and laws.”  Daniel had already declared that it is only God’s prerogative to change times and seasons.

Daniel 2:20-21Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding….”

Note that the power and authority of Antichrist will be “given” to him for 3.5 years—“a time and times and the dividing of time.

This timeframe is confirmed by Revelation 13:5; it states that the Antichrist will be in power for 42 months or 3.5 years.  This corresponds to the time that the remnant of Israel is protected in the wilderness during the tribulation for 1260 days or 3.5 years.  It also corresponds to the fact that He breaks the covenant with Israel at the midpoint of the 70th week, which is 7 years long, which corresponds to the last 3.5 years of that week that commences when he declares himself to be God (cf notes at Daniel 9:27).  Paul tells us about this in his letter to the Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

Dan. 7:26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

After the 3.5 years, the dominion/authority of this king will be completely destroyed.  I think this is a direct reference to verses 9-10.

Dan. 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

After the destruction of the kingdom of Antichrist, the kingdom of the “most High” (Jesus) will be established as an everlasting (time out of mind, to the vanishing point, eternity) kingdom.  He will delegate ruling authority to the saints (believers), all of whom will serve (worship) and obey Him.

Stedman notes:  “It is the Son of man who comes and takes the kingdom, but then he gives it to the saints of the Most High who join him in ruling over the earth.”

The “everlasting kingdom” mentioned here is directly connected to the “everlasting kingdom” referenced in Daniel 2:44.

Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

Dan. 7:28 Hitherto is the end of the matter.

The interpreter has completed his interpretation.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

THE BEASTS OF DANIEL 7 Part 2


Dan. 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
Dan. 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

Daniel is telling us that his vision allowed him to see through to the point where these kings/kingdoms are judged by Almighty God.  It’s a scene of a holy and pure God sitting in judgment in a heavenly courtroom.  No mercy is to be found in this judgment.  It is witnessed by a number beyond Daniel’s ability to express—“thousand thousands…and ten thousand times ten thousand.” 

“thrones were cast down” – The Aramaic and the context indicate that these thrones are being positioned as part of the heavenly courtroom.  Could this be a reference to the 24 elders in Revelation 4?  (See comments in journal on Revelation.)

Ray Stedman notes:  “When history reaches its lowest ebb, when the sin of man breaks forth in its most vulgar and most evil forms, then God intends to intervene once again.”

“the books were opened” – This is evidently a record of indictment against those being judged.  (There are several records/books kept in heaven.  See topical study on the “Book of Life.”)

Scripture reveals that God the Father has delegated all judgment to the Son. 

John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son….

In my simple mind, I have no problem with “the Ancient of days” referencing Jesus as well as God the Father, although in verse 13 below we are told that this is definitely referring to the Father.  It appears that the Father will personally pass judgment on Antichrist and the Son will execute it.

The phrase “the books were opened” seems to be a reference to the great white throne judgment described in Revelation 20.  A question arises because this seems directly connected to verse 11 which is describing the destruction of the Antichrist, and this happens prior to the 1000 year reign of Christ—the great white throne judgment happens after the 1000 years.  I resolve this in my mind by realizing that the prophets were not always given inspiration according to chronological fulfillment.  On the other hand, prophecy of the scripture doesn’t cover every event in history, and this could represent a special judgment of the Antichrist and his false prophet.

Dan. 7:11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

I think Daniel is still describing the judgment he sees taking place. 

Even as judgment is being passed, the “horn,” now identified as “the beast” continues to blaspheme Almighty God.  “Great” words make reference in the Aramaic to domineering in character.

The beast, the Antichrist, will be killed and thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Dan. 7:12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

“rest of the beasts” – Only four beasts have been identified—the lion, bear, leopard and the diverse beast that represents Antichrist.  After the destruction of the Antichrist, the other three are allowed to continue on the world scene for a time.  The word “season” is a reference to an appointed time.  The word “time” refers to a set time or year.  In other words, these three kingdoms will be allowed to exist for a period of time already predetermined by the LORD.  In my thinking, that would be until the judgment of the sheep and goats that determines who will get to enter the millennium, the 1000-year rule of Jesus as the King of kings over the whole earth.

Revelation 19 tells us that the Antichrist and his armies are killed by the word of Jesus at the final battle of Armageddon.

Revelation 19:19-21 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Dan. 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Dan. 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

After the destruction of Antichrist, we are given a picture of the Son of man (Jesus, God’s son) coming in the clouds of heaven and being ushered into the presence of His Father.  “Son of man” was Jesus’ favorite way to reference Himself.  He used it in reference to His return to earth as the King of kings.

Matthew 24:30 “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

He also used it in response to the high priest when asked if He was the Messiah, the Son of God.  In fact, I think he was referencing these very verses in Daniel.

Matthew 26:63–64 “But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

This reference to the “clouds of heaven” is one that I think could possibly be associated with the “cloud of witnesses” referenced in Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses….

This is when Jesus is given His rightful position as ruler of this world; a position that Satan, through deceit, had been allowed to usurp temporarily.

The word for “serve” includes the idea of worship.  Jesus’ position as King is eternal; His kingdom will last forever.  It is clearly linked to God’s kingdom as referenced in Daniel 2.

Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

Dan. 7:15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
Dan. 7:16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

Daniel awoke from his dream and was grieved (felt a piercing) in his spirit because of what he had witnessed in his vision.  He noticed some other beings close by and moved closer to talk to one of them.  He asked him if he knew the truth about all that he had seen.  (I can’t help but wonder how he chose the person to ask and why he thought he might know more than Daniel did.)  I would assume it was an angel that answered him and interpreted for him (as did Gabriel in 8:16 and 9:21).

I am reminded that in chapter 1 we were told that Daniel “had understanding in all visions and dreams” (vs. 17).  Obviously, that understanding came through revelation from God.  It seems, however, concerning Daniel’s own dreams and visions that God chose to make that revelation through angels.

It seems clear to me that Daniel did not make a connection to his dream and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

Dan. 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
Dan. 7:18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

Note that the angel declares that the four kings “shall arise.”  In other words, the four beasts were four kings that were yet to arise—so Nebuchadnezzar could not be one of them.

Bullinger comments:  The two which had already arisen cannot therefore be included: Babylon and Medo-Persia, which almost (at this time) equalled Babylon in extent. The vision is not continuous history, but the prophecy of a crisis: and refers to the ten toes…of Daniel 2.”

The interpreter first clarifies that the four beasts in Daniel’s vision represent four earthly kings.  Their kingdoms are doomed to destruction, however, since “the saints of the most High” (those dedicated, consecrated, sanctified by God) will take possession of kingdom earth.  Even though the millennial reign (the initial 1000 years) of Christ’s rule on earth will be interrupted by the creation of new heavens and earth, the kingdom will continue on into eternity after that wonderful event that eliminates forever the curse of sin in God’s creation.

(to be continued…)