Tag Archives: Prophecy

A Night to Remember Forever

“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled…Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death. Matthew 26:  57, 59

Based on Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 18, and Isaiah 53:7

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Yesterday as the sun was setting on the Mount of Olives, Jesus came and looked directly at me saying  in the hearing of the disciples:

“As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Over the last few days, I have known Him to be truthful and wise, so I am left speechless and blurt out words before I can think,

“Jesus, I will follow you.  What can I do to help you?”

His smile and the gentle look in His eyes responded in a small unspoken voice telling me to be strong and trust.

My heart was beating wildly as I asked Him, instead to help me, knowing things were about to change for Him, His followers, and me.

We spent the evening at the house of Simon the Leper. I watched as a woman anointed Jesus by lightly pouring expensive perfume on His head. She performs the ritual quietly like a woman preparing Him for burial. The disciples, much like the religious leaders would do, complain that “the money could have been used to feed the poor,” but Jesus told them,

“Why are you bothering this woman?  She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

This is why I have come to love Jesus.  He cares for people and defends them especially if they are doing something for the kingdom of God.

When everyone leaves Simon’s house, I part company with Jesus and His disciples as they go to an unknown spot for supper.  I feel that I am an intruder, so I go away to give them time alone with each other.

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Day 5 of the Week That Would Change History

It is late on the 5th day of the week.  But as the sun sets, it becomes the 6th day aka the Preparation day. You Gentiles refer to it as Friday.

 The temple is busy and loud.  Every religious leader in the city of Jerusalem is here talking with passion in small groups.  Just as I enter, Caiaphas raises his voice to bring order to the meeting. It doesn’t take long for me to understand why everyone is present.  They are devising a plan to take Jesus by force and kill Him!

He has done only good for the people.  He has healed them all! I have listened closely to His words and his teaching. I am convinced He is all He claims to be! He is our Messiah!

Everything that comes from his mouth has both the ring of truth and the support of scripture.  His words cut to my heart and I am slain by them.  My sins rise up before me. I desire relief from the guilt and the agony of restlessness.  Yesterday, as I had a short conversation with Him directly, I felt the burdens of my life lifted.  He had forgiven me and told me to walk in a life as a servant.  It is taking some time for me to become accustomed to this new feeling of freedom.

Now I want to work for Him in spreading the message of the Kingdom of God. It is so strange that earlier in the week, all I could think about was making money off the people during the Passover.  Now, it is of no consequence to me.  I only want to serve Jesus in some capacity.  I hope to talk with Him again tonight.  It is my understanding He will be in the garden later.

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Before I can say a word at the meeting, the Scribes and Pharisees along with the chief priests come up with a couple of dubious witnesses who claim Jesus will destroy the temple.  I am terribly surprised to see one of Jesus disciples at this meeting as well.  I think they call him Judas.  In a flash, the mob assembles and heads out to the garden where Judas claims Jesus regularly spends time in prayer.

Why is Judas doing this?  What is his reasoning?  Does He not know what these insane men will do to Jesus? This is a mystery to me, but I follow to see if I will have opportunity to influence these men back to their senses. It seems as though an evil power has entered their emotions for there is no intelligence at work only pure evil that seems to come from somewhere else.

When we arrive at the Garden, Judas walks up to Jesus to give him the kiss he promised the religious leaders in order to identify Jesus.  Much like a line-up in a criminal case where the accused is selected from among others. But, Jesus appeals to him with these words:

“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Jesus’ words are with kindness, pity, and understanding. It is as if Jesus is giving Judas a chance to repent.  Jesus’ words cause Judas to back up and stare at Him for a moment. Judas has an expression  of deep thought and decision.  I think Judas, at that moment, realized he had made a devastating mistake,  and sadly, chose to run away sobbing hysterically. His opportunity for confession and repentance had gone as fast as he left the scene.

About that same time, Peter drew his sword and swung wildly at the closest person near him which turned out to be the servant of the high priest.  The servant tried to duck.  Otherwise, Peter would have taken off his head!  Instead, he nicked an ear and sliced it off!  What a grisly scene!

But, Jesus slowly knelt down picked up the ear and placed it back on the servant”s head!  What kind of man is this, that has power over life and healing?  This should have stopped the mob, but they were under the influence of something else.  Just before they take him, a bright light comes from Jesus and they fall back.  When the light diminishes, they are like blind men and Jesus says,

 “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

By the evidence of the scene, Jesus could have escaped, but he was willingly giving himself to “the power of darkness.”

As the mob takes Him to the high priest’s house, I can see Peter in the distance following us.  He seems afraid, but curious at the same time.

The rest of the night goes fast. It is as if they are in a hurry to find the right authority to support their murderous scheme. First we are the house of the high priest.  It was here where I see Peter with a small group outside.  He is talking to someone and then I hear him swearing.  Very clearly and loudly he says,

“I do NOT know the man!”

As soon as he says this, a rooster in the distance crows welcoming the rising of the early morning sun on the day of preparation.  This immediately catches the attention of Peter.  He rises up from the warmth of the fire and begins to tremble as Jesus turns his head from inside the house and looks with compassion at Peter.  Peter begins to weep hysterically as did Judas and the runs away too. I could see in Peter’s face the agony of failure and remorse resting upon weary shoulders.  I would learn later, the Lord had told Peter he would deny Him.  Peter’s passion for Jesus was overtaken by fear at that moment and he was ashamed, no doubt. I am not sure what will become of him and the disciples.  This does not look good for the kingdom of which Jesus spoke. But, then I remember His words…He will be crucified!

The sun seems to be taking its time casting its light on the dreadful scenes before my eyes.

The high priest said to him,

“I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Jesus responds,

“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

Those who were retaining Jesus began to beat on Him and spit in his face!  They even  blindfold Him and mock his ability to prophesy.

They shout at Him,

“Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” 

It was a disgusting sight!  I no longer want any part of this or these men!

The charge of blasphemy is added to the threat to the destruction of the Temple. But, I see in Jesus truth and royalty that is a deep contrast to the evil of these men in their fancy robes. Like animals, they only want to kill him. Although Jesus is beaten and bloodied, He stands erect and seems to be the only person who is in control.  I detect that He is willingly allowing this to happen for some reason.  At this point, I just don’t understand the evil that is in this room and the actions of Jesus to allow them to do this to Him! Then the words of the prophet come back to me:

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

We next go to Pontius Pilate.  Here they try to claim that Jesus teaches to ignore the payment of taxes to Caesar.  But, instead he asks Jesus,

“Are you the King of the Jews?”

Without hesitation Jesus responds,

“It is as you say.”

Pilate can find no fault in Jesus and because Jesus is a Galilean, he sends Him to Herod who has the proper jurisdiction. Pilate is such a mouse and weak ruler. He could have let Jesus go, but he desires the popularity of the people.

It is here where Herod underestimates the working of evil.  He figures there will be pity on Jesus if He is flogged and if he gives the people the option to release a known criminal.  But, the crowd calls for the crucifixion of Jesus.  It is as though the evil one himself is walking and talking among the crowd encouraging them to have no mercy on the Son of God!

The sun is far in the sky now.  I am tired and overwhelmed by what I am seeing and hearing. Has the world gone mad?

I have been up all night and the day is just starting.  What happens next is unbelievable, but it must be told.

 

Prophecies for Our Time-Daniel 9 – (7 Years Time of Trouble?)

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

Daniel 12: 1

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Matthew 24:21

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No doubt, there is predicted a “time of trouble” by Daniel and Jesus in these two verses, but how long is it?  Is it 7 years as surmised by Hal Lindsey and his followers?  What passages of scripture does he use to support this length of time?

There is no verse in the Bible that has the phrase “7 years of tribulation”, or “trouble.”,  The length of the time of trouble in the verses above is not specific.  It is just a “time of trouble.” The attempt to make it 7 years  comes from a fanciful interpretation of  Daniel 9: 24-27  prophecy.  Despite this, the Daniel 9 prophecy is powerful when interpreted in its setting and context.  It has helped  many believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah including me.

Hal Lindsey and his followers predict 7 years of tribulation before Jesus returns based on a part of this prophecy.  He states that since the church is “raptured” and the “saved” are spared from any uncomfortable situations i.e., the plagues, Anti-Christ, Mark of the Beast etc.  But, as we saw in the Bible in the previous posts, there is no biblical evidence for a 2nd Coming part A (Invisible) Part B (Visiable/Literal). Read carefully the verses that talk about Jesus’ return.  It is plain, He comes one time and not two.

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  Let’s read the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 and compare it with actual history and Biblically documented historical dates to see if there is a 7-year tribulation hidden somewhere in it.  In the process, we will discover the power of this prophecy written almost 500 years before Jesus came the first time!

Please follow closely.  When we are finished, I recommend you verify the dates at your local library or other resources.  Beware of the confusion of the internet.  Also, I have included a chart at the end in the “Appendix” to make these dates easier to see and follow.  There are also other helpful references.

Ready? Here we go:

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.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (7), and threescore (60) and two weeks (2): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

 And after threescore (60) and two weeks (2) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (1): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Daniel 9: 24-27

If you count up the number is parenthesis, the sum will be  70 years mentioned at the start.  There is a reason why they are split up that way i.e., 7 weeks + 60 weeks + 2 weeks + 1 week.  This will be explained later.  For now, let’s figure out the starting date for the 70 years.

The setting for these verses is important in understanding the prophecy.  Daniel and his people (The Jews) had been taken captive by Babylon and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and lay desolate as prophesied by Jeremiah.  It was predicted by Jeremiah that they would be in captivity for 70 years!

“In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

Daniel 9:2

As the 70 years drew near to the end, Daniel began to pray and confess his sins and the sins of the people (Verses 4-20). Then Gabriel (an angel) came and informed Daniel that he had come to

“give thee skill and understanding.” 

Daniel 9:22

Then Gabriel beings to explain verses 24:27 above.  But, this is part of the unexplained part of the 2300 days found in Daniel 8 (See the previous post)

From Daniel 9: 24-27 above, we observe the following:

70 weeks was given to Daniel’s people (Israelites) and the city of Jerusalem to:

  1. Finish the transgression
  2. Make an end of sins
  3. Make reconciliation for iniquity
  4. Bring in everlasting righteousness
  5. Seal up the vision and prophecy
  6. Anoint the most Holy
So God was giving the Jewish people 490 weeks to do all those  things. Impossible to do on their own, but achievable under the power of a mighty God.  With God’s bidding comes His ability to do it through His strength.
So let’s set this stake in the ground:  The 70 weeks are given to the Jews or “cut off” from the longer prophecy of Daniel 8 (2, 300 days).
An easy calculation shows that  70 weeks is 490 days (7 X 70).  This 490 years is for the Jews leaving 1810 years of the 2,300 days.  In Bible prophecy the day = year principle should be used to unlock the timelines for history.  The verses that supports this principle can be found in the passages below:
 “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.”
Numbers 14:34
  “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”
Ezekiel 4:6
God was giving the Jewish people 490 years for their assignment.  During this time, he sent prophets and others to inspire and help keep them close to Him.  But as one reads their story, it is quickly seen that they often went after other gods and forsook the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob…the one and only true Creator God!
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…”
Daniel 9: 24
If we can determine where the 490 years begins (with certainty) we can understand the other parts of the prophecy.
The time lines starts here:
“….from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem”
Daniel 9: 25
This command to restore and build Jerusalem can be found in Ezra Chapter 7 when Artaxerxes gave the commandment in 457 BC (**See the notes at the end).
So, now that we have a starting date, let’s see where it takes us:  The first stop is the coming of the Messiah the Prince
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince….
Daniel 9: 25
The Messiah the Prince can refer only to Jesus himself.  He is both the Messiah and a Prince
He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
John 1:41
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
John 1:45
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6
From this, we know that from the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Jesus would be a certain length of time.  How long?
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (7), and threescore (60) and two weeks (2): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
From 457 BC to Jesus is 69 weeks or 483 days or 483 prophetical years.  Lets do some math:
Starting at 457 BC and moving through history 483 years brings us to the fall of 27 AD
This is the date Jesus was baptized by John (anointed) and he began his ministry as the prophecy predicted. Here is an important verse in connection with Jesus’ baptism:
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Matthew  3:16
A dove  represents anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Another interesting passage that makes sense in the light of Jesus beginning his ministry exactly on time according to Daniel’s prophecy some 500 years before Jesus is this one:
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son…”
Galatians 4:4
The time was “full.” In other words, Jesus came to this earth and began his ministry right on time.  It may be possible that this quote is in reference to this particular prophecy.  Whatever the case, we know that God knows the future  and will not do anything unless he reveals it by his prophets:
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
Amos 3:7
69 weeks or 483 years of the 70 weeks or 490 years has been explained.  Isn’t it comforting to know that God, through the prophet Daniel let the world know when Jesus would come on the scene?
 Now let’s look at the last week or 7 years.  This is where Hal Lindsey and his followers use the 7 years as a period of tribulation.  They disconnect it from this time line and attempt to run it down to the end of time after Jesus “raptures the church.”
But we are going to  let the verses speak for themselves and maintain the time line that is constantly demonstrated in the book of Daniel.  If we keep the  last week as it was intended, we learn the most interesting part of this prophecy.
Daniel tells us after Jesus began his ministry that Jesus would be cut off:
“Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:….”
Daniel 9: 26
Jesus died for our sins and not for himself.  Would you not agree that this verse is a direct reference to Jesus?
But before He is cutoff he would do the following:
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,
Daniel 9:27″
Jesus was to “confirm the covenant with many for 1 week or 7 days which is 7 years in prophecy. But He is “cut off” in the middle of the week or 3 1/2 days or 3 1/2 years
Jesus ministry was exactly that long (3 1/2 years) before He was “cut off” or crucified on a Roman cross in 31 AD.  He ministered from 27 AD to 31 AD.
As Daniel 9:27 stated, the sacrifices and oblations also ended at the time of Jesus’ death.  The law of ceremonies had served their purpose of teaching the Jewish nation about the price of sin, the sacrifice for it, and the plan of salvation.  Those ceremonial laws were the School Master to bring people to Jesus and help them understand the lesson of sin, forgiveness, and grace.  The School Master died forever the day Jesus died on the cross as the true Lamb of God.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:24, 25

All the festivals, drink and meat offerings and special Sabbath days (Not the weekly Sabbath) were shadows pointing to  the body of Jesus.   All those had served their purpose and were fulfilled in Christ:

“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

Colossians 2:17

On the other side of the cross, the people looked forward in faith to Jesus (the Messiah) and what He would do for them.  All of us on this side of the cross look back in faith at what Jesus has done for us.

 Something extraordinary occurred at the crucifixion of Christ to demonstrate the truthfulness of the two verses above:

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Matthew 27: 50, 51
Thus ended the rounds of ceremonies and the laws put in place by Moses to teach about Jesus.  Please note:  These laws did not include the 10 commandments as some would assert.  A study for another time.
Jesus told His disciples this:
 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 15: 24
Jesus was “confirming the covenant” with the children of Israel during His ministry.  With them he spent most of His time.  His plea of the coming Kingdom of God was a message primarily to the Jews.
He also told His disciples to do the same:

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 10: 5, 6

This the disciples did for 3 1/2 more years after Jesus was “cut off” or crucified in 31 AD.

This takes us 3  1/2 years forward to the end of the 70 weeks or 490 years.

In the year 34 AD some interesting things happen to mark the end of the 490 years “determined”  or “cut off” for the Jewish nation:

In this year Stephen was martyred and Paul was converted to be the teacher to the Gentiles

“I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” 

2 Timothy 1:11

A very interested passage of scripture also marks the end of 70 weeks given to the Jews to do all those things of the covenant listed in Daniel 9.  It is a point where the burden of carrying the gospel to the entire world is taken off the shoulders of the Jews and given to the Gentiles. It is the point where God determines who is a real Jew or seed of Abraham.

Paul and Barnabas were preaching to a large group, but were interrupted by the Jews because of the large following of the two disciples.  Those religious leaders who were interrupting contradicted Paul and Barnabas  and actually blasphemed God!  But it is what Paul and Barnabas say that marks the transition from Jew to Gentile or Spiritual Jew:

 “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:  45, 46

The appointed people of God had failed to keep the covenant (agreement) and God turned to the Gentiles and made them heir to the promises of God:

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29

No longer was there a distinction between literal Jew and the God’s chosen people simply identified as belonging to Christ:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Romans 2:28, 29

Thus the 70 week prophecy came to an end! There is no room or context in the prophecy for 7 years of tribulation or the Anti Christ. It is simply not there.  To try to force it takes away from a beautiful and important part of the ministry of Christ.

While Hal Lindsey has everyone looking at Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the temple to mark the soon return of Jesus, the Anti Christ is at work elsewhere in the world.  this we will see in future studies.  This is so deceptive that almost the whole world is taken in.  What a great diversion by the enemy of mankind!

In conclusion, the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 is mishandled to try and support 7 years of tribulation at the end of time and the work of the Anti Christ.  If the prophecy is kept in its context, it becomes a prophecy to support Jesus as the Messiah, his crucifixion, the spread of the gospel, and God’s long suffering with the lost sheep of the house of Israel!

Below is a summary chart of the dates we have discussed above:

We find in the time prophecy of Daniel 9, the curtain pulled back to allow us to see the movement of God and history towards that great day when Jesus came upon the earth to reveal the true nature of God.  Jesus demonstrated in the flesh a God of compassion and forgiveness eager to save people from the wages of sin- eternal death.

The prophecy does not stop with Stephen, Paul, and the gospel burden moving to those who are Christ….the new heirs of the promise.  It continues for 1810 years.  490 years were given to the Daniel’s people. What happened 1810 years after 34 AD?  The attending angel told Daniel that the “Sanctuary would be cleansed.” What does that mean?  Next time, we will explore.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Daniel 12:4

My friends, we are in “the time of the end.”

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APPENDIX

Below is information if you want more detail, otherwise I hope this prophecy helped you see how God is in control.

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*Notes about the dates described above:

Ezra has three decrees with different dates that could be used.  Nehemiah has a date also.  But the decision as to which one to use, you must keep in mind the key words of the prophecy: “the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”

The four decrees are :
The decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4)
The decree of Darius I (Ezra 6:1-12)
The decree of Artaxerxes I (Longimanuus) (Ezra 7: 12-26)
The decree of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah Chapters 1 and 2)
Let’s eliminate some of the dates  based on the guiding verse of Daniel 9:25
Ezra 1-gave instruction only for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Said nothing about the whole city.  We can eliminate this date.
Ezra 6-simply the endorsement by Darius of the decree of Cyrus.  Only mentions the building of the “house of God.” We can eliminate this date.
Ezra 7 makes provision for complete restoration of the Jewish state, including the right to appoint magistrates and judges, hold trials, and pass and execute sentence upon violators of the own national laws. This is the date that fits the idea of “restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem.” 
Nehemiah 2-Wording has not been preserved, but was simply a reinstatement of Artaxerxes original authorization to Ezra recorded in Ezra chapter 7.
Determination of the date of the decree:It was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign (Ezra 7:7,8)
Biblical evidence for the 457 BC start date:
The dates for Artaxerxes reign are well documented in the ancient sources: Greek historians, Ptolemy’s Canon
The Babylonian business tablets
Elephantine papyri from Egypt
From the above documents, we know that Xerxes was killed in late December of 465 B.C. and the reign of Artaxerxes began at the time.

Artaxerxes Reign

Fall to Fall

First year 464/463 B.C.
Second year 463/462 B.C.
Third year 462/461 B.C.
Fourth year 461/460 B.C.
Fifth year 460/459 B.C.
Sixth year 459/458 B.C.
Seventh year 458/457 B.C.

Therefore, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, according to Jewish reckoning, extended from the fall of 458 to the fall of 457 B. C.

Note: the references in this prophecy to destruction of the city and temple and desolations:

“….the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined… for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”

Daniel 9:27

This is not reference to a small historical character called Antiochus or a future Anti-Christ, but to the total destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD as predicted by Jesus himself when he told the disciples.  There has never been a temple since then and never will be!

“Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Matthew 24:2 

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,.  Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.  But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not e in the winter or on the Sabbath.   For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

Matthew 24: 15-22

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman soldiers was horrible.  Many who tried to escape were crucified outside the city.  At one time, the number of crosses outside the city almost made it look like a forest of trees.  Those who heeded the advice of Jesus escaped the city and remained alive.

The abomination of the heath beast of Rome made desolate the once proud city of Jerusalem.  The rebellion of the Jewish nation was humbled forever.

The church of Jesus replaced the Jewish nation as His witness.  Now if you are Christ’s, you are a person of the promise.

The temple and the city were destroyed never to be rebuilt again.  The next city is the Holy City New Jerusalem built by the Lord Himself.  It will come down from heaven and set up on the new earth.

 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21: 1 – 3

Prophecies For Our Time-Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 Compared

 “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 7: 15:16

Daniel 2 Review:

In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he did not understand and it troubled him greatly.  None of the wise men, I call the “Fakers,” were able to help the King.  But God used Daniel and his three companions to both remind the king of his dream  and give him the interpretation.

This interpretation comes straight from Daniel and needs “no private interpretation.”

Quite simply, Daniel told the king that four (4) great powers would arise.  He identified the first two in scripture as Babylon, then the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians.  After Daniel’s time, the other two powers appear on the scene as history tells us: Greece (Belly and thighs of brass) and finally Rome (Legs of iron).

Rome was the ruling power when Jesus was on the earth teaching and dying for our sins.  It was a Roman decree and a Roman cross upon which our Lord died.  Rome continued to rule as the disciples went out in the power of the Holy Spirit and built up the church.

Also during this time, the church began to be persecuted as we will see later.

The king’s dream does not stop here.  The legs of iron are followed by the feet and toes of iron and part clay.  This identifies the fall of Rome into 10 divisions, partly strong and partly weak.  Three division were wiped out and there are current countries that have roots in these tribes.  The Heruli, Vandals and Ostrogoths were the 3 kingdoms eliminated by Rome. 

The prophecy ends with these startling words:

And in the days of these kings  (The old division of Rome or what we now call Europe) 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.”

Daniel 2: 44-45

Over and over, the Bible talks of the 2nd coming as a time of destruction from the Lord.  More specifically, it is described as follows:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10

It also includes the unsaved:

…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

2 Peter 2:6

“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
That will leave them neither root nor branch.

Malachi 4:1

So when all the kingdoms of the earth is destroyed, God will create a new heaven (old destroyed) and new earth (old destroyed) and the “Rock” and God’s kingdom will fill the who earth.  God will be our God and we will be his people.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21: 3

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Daniel 7-Introduction

In Daniel 7, another dream or vision is given.  But this time, it is given to Daniel.  Like king Nebuchadnezzar, the dream troubles Daniel and he does not know what it means.  But, it is interpreted for him by the attending angels.

Like Daniel 2, we will let the Bible interpret itself and then we will check it out through history.

In this vision of Daniel, we will see that God has a way of revealing truth and the future in a way as to prepare the heart to receive it.  Daniel 7 is a principal of repeating and expanding.  We will see the same four powers, but with more detail concerning the nature of the powers and we will see the introduction of a terrible power that comes from one of the powers described by Daniel 2.

A verse comes to mind as I write this introduction.  Jesus said to His disciples the principal I just described of preparing the heart for truth:

 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

John 16:12

The apostle Paul said something very similar:

I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able

1 Corinthians 3:2

In the Christian walk, especially as we interact with new Christians, we should be careful to give truth only as they are ready to receive it.  We are to be:

Be wise like snakes and gentle like doves.

Matthew 10:16

This vision of Daniel 7 is like meat.  It will be new to many who read this and you might not be ready to receive it or digest it,, but the words are certain and can be supported through the Bible and history.  As we begin, pray for the Spirit of Truth and let the story reveal itself to you.  Keep in mind, you have a loving and forgiving Savior who desires you to find peace and comfort in Him and his revelation.

OK?  Let’s begin.

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Daniel 7-Part 1

The book of Daniel is about 4 animals that give fear and wonder to Daniel.  But, he is particularly interested in  the fourth beast and the little horn power. The interpretation is given to Daniel and it goes way beyond the time he is living even until the coming judgment of planet earth.

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.

Daniel 7:1

This first verse is important because it gives the time and Daniel’s dream.  The first year of Belshazzar would be 540 BC.

Here is what Daniel saw that year:

“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.”

Verse 2 and 3

As the beasts are described, they look something like below.  Very strange!  Wouldn’t you agree?  They are animals with something unusual about each.

When we read and study the Bible, we should read it as literal unless there is some overall reason to apply symbolism.  Here we have good reason to apply the rule of symbolism because of the description of the beasts, but even more important the interpretation given by the Bible itself for these symbols of great beasts.  To do otherwise is to lose the message God is giving us. Is that a fair statement?  I will explain as we go along.

To help us with the beginning of this prophecy, let’s look at some passages that unlock the symbolic meaning of this prophecy and others.  In Daniel’s vision, he is seeing “the four winds stir up the Great Sea.” 

What does the four winds and the Great Sea represent?

Revelation describes the four winds in this passage:

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree…”Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

Revelation 7:1, 3

From this passage in Revelation, we can see that the 4 winds represent turmoil, strife, destruction.  Another passage supports this interpretation:

 Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Behold, disaster shall go forth
From nation to nation,
And a great whirlwind shall be raised up
From the farthest parts of the earth.”

Jeremiah 25:32

Even more important is the self interpretation from this Chapter about the beasts.  In its interpretation we can see that logically the winds and sea would indeed represent nations arising out of turmoil and wars:

What are the four beasts?  Let’s let the angel of Daniel 7 tell us:

“Those great beasts, which are fourare four kings which arise out of the earth.”

Daniel 7:17

If four kings or kingdoms arise, where do they come from?  The sea of people and the winds of war.

So early in this prophecy, we can conclude that Daniel is seeing four kingdoms arise from the many people and the results of conquering wars.  It is interesting that King Nebuchadnezzar also saw four kingdoms:  Babylon, Medes/Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Then Rome is divided into 10 kingdoms.  It is in the days of these kingdoms that our Lord sets up his kingdom that shall never be destroyed by wars or strife.

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Daniel goes on to describe the four beasts in more detail:

 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.

Daniel 7: 4

2347-1st-Beastx220

The wings represent the rapidity  by which Babylon conquered its foes under king Nebuchadnezzar.  But, the wings are plucked and a man’s heart is given to it.  The boldness of the Lion wanes as it comes to a close of its earthly domination.  The man’s heart compared to the Lion illustrates the weakness that came about as it lay dormant and exposed caused by wealth and luxury.

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It is now a perfect target for the next power to arise and take its place.  This power is the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians and is represented by the bear that raised itself up on one side and had three ribs between its teeth.

And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Daniel 7:5

1198-2ndBeastx94

Eventually the Persians dominated the kingdom and became stronger than the  Medes.  They came up “last” as we will see in the prophecy in the 8th Chapter.  The Persians also become the dominant power.  The command to devour much flesh was obeyed and it left nothing but three bones.  These likely represent the three conquests of the Medes and Persians:  Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt

This power represented by the bear ruled from the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus in 538 BC to the battle of Arbela in 331 BC.  A time span of  207 years.  It fell to the next kingdom represented by the four-headed leopard with four wings of a fowl,

After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Daniel 7:6

1200-3rdBeastx94

If two wings represent speed, then 4 wings on the quick-footed leopard must represent a extremely rapid course of conquests for the next kingdom of Greece under Alexander the Great.  This corresponds with the Daniel 2 prophecy and history.

Alexander have no parallel in historic annals for suddenness and rapidity.

Rollin, Ancient History, b.15, sec.2, gives the following brief synopsis of Alexander’s marches:-

“From Macedonia to the Ganges, which river Alexander nearly approached, is computed at least eleven hundred leagues. Add to this the various turnings in Alexander’s marches; first, from the extremity of Cilicia, where the battle of Issus was fought, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon in Libya; and his returning from thence to Tyre, a journey of three hundred leagues at least, and as much space at least for the windings of his route in different places; we shall find that Alexander, in less then eight years, marched his army upward of seventeen hundred leagues [or more than fifty-one hundred miles], without including his return to Babylon”

Alexander the Great died succeeded his father Philip II at age 20 and lived to reign only about 11 1/2 years more.  He died at age 32.  His life spent in the fast lane of wars and debauchery.

Alexander’s empire was divided among his four leading generals:

Cassander (Macedon and Greece in the west)

Lysimachus (Thrace and parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosphorus in the North

Ptolemy (Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele Syria in the south)

Seleucus (Syria and all the rest of Alexander’s dominions in the east.)

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Next to arise on the world scene is Rome illustrated as the “dreadful” and terrible beast.”  It was different from the other powers and it  had ten horns corresponding to the 10 toes of Daniel 2:

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Daniel 7: 7

There is not a beast in nature that Daniel can use to describe this fourth beast and how “dreadful and terrible” it is.  It’s great teeth devour and brake to pieces the other countries.  The only that that has a recognizable feature is its 10 horns. Again, the same number of the 10 toes of part iron and part clay of Daniel 2.

fourth beast

The nature of Rome was cruel.  They perfected the tortuous death of crucifixion believed to have been invented by the Persians.  Death by crucifixion could last up to 6 days!  It was on a cruel Roman cross that Jesus took the shamefulness of our sins upon himself.  This act by the Creator was the ultimate demonstration of the sacrificial love for His creation.  It was part of the good news.  But, the fact that Jesus arose a victor over the death of the cross that the good news message is most nearly complete.  The other part of the good news is that Jesus will one day return to change us and to rescue us forever from the pull and presence of sin.  The good news cannot be captured by a list of events in the life of Jesus.   it is an experience initiated and propelled by the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit.

We will end Part 1 with a description by Daniel of the 10 horns and the little horn that arose:

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 7:20

Who was this final power that captured the attention of Daniel?  This horn had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things and was more stout than the others.

This horn displaces three horns and speaks great things.  This power exists today! It will bring the final deception of many people on this earth.  In the next post we will discover the identity of the little horn and how it is described in Revelation 13 as the Beast that the “whole world wonders after.”

Despite the little horn’s power, we can trust in the One who is greater.  Terrible times will come, but we can find peace in our Lord both day and night.

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”

Psalm 42:8

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Prophecies for Our Time-Introduction-God’s Secrets Revealed

“When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Ezekiel 33:33

Have you ever had a dream you could not  remember? Did you feel that the dream was very important, but you just could not remember it?

This is exactly what happen to an ancient king.  His name was King Nebuchadnezzar.  It was in his second year as king that he “had dreams” that troubled him so much that he could not sleep.  His story is found in Daniel 2.

He needed help in remembering his dream so he sent for the people who claimed to know about dreams and spiritual matters:

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.”

Daniel 2: 2-3

This wise men tried to impress the king so they spoke in his language “Aramaic” and made a simple request,

“Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.”

Daniel 2:4

Here is the first sign, these guys were fakes.  If they were so knowledgeable of matters of the spirit, etc., then why did they not know ahead of time that the king did not remember the dream?  They were not even good listeners because the king was anxious to “know the dream.”  This meant he couldn’t remember the dream!

They were anxious to give an interpretation and get back to whatever they were doing, but they did not realize that the true God of heaven was about to reveal the true prophets from the false prophets.

These men had something new thrown at them.  It is apparent that the king had never asked them to tell him the dream.  Usually he would tell them a dream and they would interpret.  Interpretation is easy.  You can make it up so it sounds plausible,.  Just ask my son. 🙂 But reading the mind of someone else is something altogether different.  Only God has that ability.

“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.”

Daniel 2:5-6

They couldn’t believe what they were hearing so they requested again that the king would tell them the dream,

 “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:7

But the king was wise to their tricks and he 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.”

Daniel 2:8-9

The fakers then informed the king that his request was not fair.  But, unwittingly they said a couple of things that were true:

“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.”

Verse 10

Truth #1-There IS no man “on earth” who can help the king.  Only the Omnipotent God of heaven has the answers about the future.

“…there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

Verse 11

Truth #2 -The “gods” do not dwell with flesh.  Why?  Because they are not real.  They are not alive.  They are dumb idols, but the Creator Himself would one day  become flesh and dwell among flesh.  In fact, He would come in the flesh:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

None of this mattered to the king. He was extremely angry.  He was furious and made a decree to have all the wise men killed. In the king’s mind, he knew they were all fake, they would attempt to deceive him and therefore they were useless to him.

 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; 

Verse 12-13

In today’s world, there are many who claim to know more than they really do and surprisingly there are many who know the true God who  are given wisdom by Him.  They are confident and humble in their knowledge and wisdom.  Daniel was such a man.

Daniel asked the king for more time, which was obviously granted even though the fakers wanted time too, but I think the king had heard of the God of Daniel and gave them extra time expecting they would deliver.

Daniel went back to his three friends and they had a prayer session and sought God.

“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. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

Verse 17-19

These four men, asked for mercies regarding the secret.  The secret was revealed to Daniel.  His first action?  “Bless the God of heaven.”  May we never be in such a haste that we fail to stop to thank our Creator for His “mercies.”  There is a blessing for us when take time to thank God.

Daniel’s prayer of blessing to the God of heaven is below.

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.”

Verses 20-23

Notice the things Daniel confirms about God:

1.) Wisdom belongs to God

2.) He changes “times” and “seasons”

3.) He sets up kings and removes kings

4.) He gives wisdom to the wise  (Notice who gets the wisdom.  It is the wise! Who gets the knowledge?  Those who have understanding!)

5.) He reveals secret things (This fits with our opening verse from Amos 3:17-He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.)

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Next, Daniel intercedes for the wise men, even the fakers.  He could have just saved himself and his three friends, but the character trait of the person who knows the true God of heaven is to save life, not destroy it, even if the “wise men” are fakers.

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wisemen 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.”

Verse  24

Daniel is taken in before king Nebuchadnezzar.  The king asks,

“Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

Verse 26

Before Daniel answers the king, he demonstrates, with power, the comparison between the fakers and the true God in heaven.

“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.”

Verse 27

Daniel has a mini-sermon before he starts to reveal to the king what he wants to know.  The mini-sermon is this:  There is a God in heaven (He is real).  He reveals secrets or things that man on earth would not know.  These secrets are given to man through God’s servants the prophets.  It is not only for the prophets benefit, but also it is for the benefit of the ones who are hearing the message from God through His prophets.

I can image the king on the edge of his seat.  He can sense through Daniel’s confidence that what he is about to hear is truth and there is no guile (falsehood or fakery) from the mouth of this prophet of God.  It is one man (Daniel) and his God (Jehovah) in comparison to the many astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers.

Truth does not come through the majority.  It comes from the God of heaven and His prophets. It has always been a testimony to the power of God, that one with God is stronger than the majority.

Daniel begins to explain the dream:

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.

Verse 28-30

The dream is for the benefit of  both the prophet (who makes known the interpretation) and the one who is receiving the interpretation so that the thoughts of the heart may be revealed.  Notice the phrase:

“for OUR sakes…”  

What a wise and powerful Creator!  Daniel is telling the king that God’s revealing of the dream and God’s secrets is for both the speaker and the hearer!

As a speaker and writer for God, I am blessed as much or more than the hearer!  Our great God blesses us both if we have ears to hear!

When I read Bible prophecy, it has a strange effect of letting me know where my heart stands with God.  The effect can be fearful or it can be comforting.  All people have the invitation to move from fearful (lost) to comforting (saved from the penalty of sin i.e., eternal death)

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Daniel tells they king the topic of the dream.  It is about

“….what will be in the latter days.”

“The term “latter days” is simple to understand in context of the dream.  Since this dream will be about the “latter days” of the kingdom of Babylon and its kings we can use it in that context.  But, it is also about the end of all kingdoms as well.  So the “latter days” can also refer to the end of time and this earth as we know it.

To the amazement of the King, Daniel begins to recount the dream for him.  As he talks, the king begins to remember and cold chills run throughout his body:

“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 thighsof bronzeits 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.”

 “This is the dream.”

Verses 31-36

Graphically, this is the image the king saw:

Daniel 2

The king must have been amazed as he recalled each detail.   Before the king could say anything, Daniel began the interpretation.  We will let Daniel interpret for us.  Then we will look back at history to see if it was true.  Finally, we will look into the future using the foundation of the interpretation.

Here is how Daniel interpreted the king’s dream as God showed it to him:

“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.

Verses 36-38

So what does the head of Gold represent?  Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “you are this head of gold.”

Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon is represented in both time and space as the “head of gold.”  Could there be any other interpretation with something so plainly spoken?

The King must have been proud as he thought, even if just for a moment, that he was the top and the most valuable metal in the image.  But, he was soon to be disappointed.  Daniel continues with the interpretation of the great image,

But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

Verse 39

As great and wonderful as was King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, it would fall to another.  Not just another, but one that was inferior.  Just as silver is of less value and strength as gold, the next kingdom was to be inferior.

Does the Bible tell us who this next kingdom was to be?  Yes!  The story can be found in Daniel 5.  It is an interesting story about Belshazzar (The son of Nebuchadnezzar and current king of Babylon) The king and his subjects were having a feast with debauchery, and disrespect for things God had made holy.  During the drunken sacrilegious feast, a man’s finger appears and writes a message on the wall.

This supernatural act made the  king’s “countenance” change.  Like his father Nebuchadnezzar, he was troubled as to what it meant so he called for the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.   Remember them?  They are the fakers.   Just as they could not see Nebuchadnezzar’ s dream. They were unable to read the writing and make an interpretation.  Sound familiar?

handwriting on the wall

Fortunately for the king, the queen remembered Daniel.  She told the king,

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.”

Daniel 5:11-12

Daniel’s interpretation confirms what he had told King Nebuchadnezzar with the image of God falling to an inferior kingdom,

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.

Daniel 5:26-28

That night the king was slain and Babylon fell to  the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians led by Cyrus and Darius.

That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.  And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Daniel 5: 30-31

The Medes and the Persians was represented by the arms and shoulders of silver.  (Two arms-two kingdoms)

It is interesting and shows the fore knowledge of God as to how Babylon fell and the way the enemy was able to get into the walled city.

Also, before Cyrus was born, God called him by name as the conqueror of Babylon

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut

Isaiah 45:1

So how was Cyrus and Darius able to get into the walled city of Babylon?

*They dried up the river Euphrates (Sound familiar)! This diverted the river that ran under the walls and through the city.  Along the river within the city was another set of walls with gates. The citizens were protected should someone swim in under the outer walls.  The enemy swimmers would then need to get through a second set of gates.   But on the night of Babylon’s fall, the gates had been left open due to drunken feast!  So the Medes and Persians were able to walk under the walls and up the banks through the leaved gates and into the city!

God is so amazing!  He knows the end from the beginning!

* See pages 265, 266 of Volume 1 of the book The Great Events by Famous Historians in the chapter on “Conquests by Cyrus The Great B.C. 538,” by George Grote. — University Edition, copyrighted 1905, by The National Alumni.
See also The Golden Age, as of June 7, 1922. page 572.

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But, there was to arise yet a third kingdom represented by the belly and thigh of brass.

“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”

Verse 39

The deciding point in the fall of the Persians
was
reached on the field of Arbela, B.C. 331, in which the Grecians,  were entirely victorious; and Alexander
became absolute lord of the Persian empire.

More could be said on this third kingdom, but let’s move on.  We will talk more about each kingdom as we study the prophecies that provide more detail.

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The events really pick up when the powerful fourth kingdom comes on the scene,

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. 

Verse 40

History tells us that this fourth power of legs of iron is none other than the “iron monarchy” of Rome.  Rome became the world power after it crushed the third kingdom of Greece.

Rome was in power during the life of Christ on earth and continued on for hundreds of years afterwards.

But the prophecy does not stop there,  there was to be a time when this iron would mix with clay (partly strong and partly weak substances)

It is interesting that Rome eventually was divided into 10 divisions by the invading nomadic tribes.  These divisions became the modern day countries of Europe.  Three of these 10 divisions were eventually annihilated so that there was only 7, but even those events are part of the prophecy were will study later in Daniel and Revelation.  Those divisions of Rome are as follows:

10 Toes or Divisions of Rome

Heruli
Ostrogoths
Vandals
Franks
Visigoths
Burgundians
Lombards
Anglo Saxons
Alamanni

Seuvi

map_europe476 (1)

Daniel continues on and informs the king of something that stands to this day.  These divisions of Rome would attempt to unite, but as iron does not mix with clay, they would never unite:

 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 fragileAs 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

Verses 41-43

This 4th kingdom would be divided and would never reunite.  Though out recent history there have been attempts to reunite the old divisions of  Europe, but it has always failed and it always will because the God of Heaven has spoken. Those who have tried were:

 Charlamagne, 8th Century;

Charles V l6th Century;

Louis XIV lSth Century;

Napoleon, l9th Century;

Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler, 20th Century.

All of these men invested enormous
resources and countless lives in their efforts to unite Europe, but each one failed. Even today the leaders
of Europe are trying to unite as one, but God says this will never happen!

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Daniel ends the interpretation of the dream with a dramatic ending!

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.

Verse 34, 35

Jesus is the Rock that was cut out without hands.

For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

I Corinthians 10:4

Daniel takes the king and the reader of this chapter to a time when God would set up his kingdom that would never end:

 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.

Verse 44

When Jesus returns the earth is melted and no trace of anything left on this earth will be found.  Then He will make a new heaven and a new earth.

About 500 years before Jesus came to this earth the first time as a lamb to pay for the sins of a planet in rebellion, we see a prophecy concerning his second coming when he comes to “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.” It will stand forever!

 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.

Matthew 24:30

When Jesus returns the earth passes away.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 24:35

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

II Peter 3:10

And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 4: 62

When God destroys the earth, he creates a new heaven and a new earth that will last forever:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

Isaiah 65:17

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Daniel tells the king,

“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Verse 45

After hearing Daniels recalling of the king’s forgotten dream and the  interpretation, there wells up in the heart of this heathen king both fear and joy!

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel

Verse 46

This is what each of us should do as we see that God is in control of the history of planet earth and of our own lives.  He knows the exact number of hairs on your head.  He is all powerful, but most important, He loves each one of us so much as to send His son to pay for the sin we have committed.

His law, that can never be changed, shows we are sinners and deserve to die for eternity, but God makes a substitutionary   sacrifice (atonement) for us so that we might live and enjoy the greatest gift he could have given us:  Life to the uttermost!

The king understood that there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets

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.”

Verse 47

I hope you have been blessed by this study.  Next we will look at a vision given to Daniel that repeats this dream, but expands it.  He will receive other visions that will demonstrate that God knows the end from the beginning.

Jesus Stands Up – Prophecies for Our Time

 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watchover the sons of your people…”

Daniel 12:1

There will be a day very soon when Jesus (Michael) shall stand up.

In the next few days, I will be posting part 1 of a set of 4 prophecies that demonstrate that God knows the end from the beginning.   It will also show that there is only one God as revealed through Jesus Christ.

The  prophecies we will examine are found in both Daniel and Revelation.  The key that unlocks these prophecies are found in the Word of God itself and through confirmation of history and current events.  It was the study of the prophecies that  helped me move from an Atheist to a Believer in Jesus.

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If you have a friend who is an unbeliever or you need more faith in the word of God yourself, be sure to read and share the material in the upcoming posts.

The Word of God tells us there is no private interpretations of prophecy.  There is a right interpretation and then there is the other.

“….knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1: 20, 21

The Spirit of Truth will guide us into all truth.  Let us depend on God’s word and His Spirit to give us the right interpretation.

I hope to have the first blog out by this weekend.  In the meantime, please read Daniel 2 as we prepare to get our Answers From Scripture.

The Day Jesus Gave a Bible Study

A Jesus Journey

If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. John 5:46

He gave sermons, taught parables, and read passages in the synagogue, but there is only one time recorded where Jesus gave a Bible study to prove who He is; why He must die on a cross; and that He would be resurrected the third day.  Because of the amount of  scripture He covered, we have no way of knowing what else  he discussed, but this we know for sure, it was all about Him!  What a powerful study that must have been!

At first, the study was given to only two disciples, but later that day, Jesus repeated it to all His disciples except Thomas.  Thomas would meet the live Jesus  8 days later.

This story is found in Luke 24: 13-45 and  is the basis for the following first person account.

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It was early afternoon, the sun was high in the sky as I walked the dusty road speaking in low tones with my friend Cleopas about the things that had transpired over the last few days.  So many things!  All very bad!

It started with the arrest of Jesus in the Garden east of the city.   During the night and into the early morning of the Preparation Day (Friday) the soldiers and mob began to move Him between the governor and religious leadership. Then they beat Him to a pulp and eventually crucified Him on a Roman cross on the hill outside of Jerusalem later in the afternoon of the Preparation Day.  I watched from afar as He hung His head and took his last breath.  He said something at the end, but I was unable to hear because I was trying to stay far enough away so that no one would try to connect me with Him .  I would certainly be labeled as a fanatic believer in this prophet who the clergy labeled as a blasphemer.  I think I saw Peter off in the distance.  He appeared to be on his knees with his face in his hands.  His disappointment must be very great!

There had been an earthquake and the sun refused to shine.  Darkness took over the land like a thick smothering blanket.  Everything seemed out of place…frightening.  The large curtain in the temple had been ripped from top to bottom by some unseen hand. There were even reports of  people, considered saints,  coming out of their graves and appearing to many in the city! (See Matthew 27: 51-53)

My personal disappointment was great, because I believed everything He said and was amazed at His great miracles and works of kindness. His followers thought Him to be the Messiah prophesied by many of the prophets hundreds of years ago.  He was going to set up His kingdom and deliver our people from the iron rule of Rome.

He was the coming king upon which I hung all our hopes.   But, it seemed like He did not want to be king.  I had left everything to follow Him and learn His teachings, but all this seemed to come to nothing on that Friday afternoon when He died.  Now only doubt, sadness, and disappointment hung on Cleopas and me like a heavy smelly cloak belonging to someone else.  I  want explanation, but the reality of deception was creeping into my thoughts and it made me feel sick and foolish.

On top of everything else, the body of Jesus is missing!  The women said He was alive, confirmed by a couple of other disciples, but I know better.  It is just wishful thinking on their part. No one could have survived the beating, the nails, the loss of blood, and finally the sharp sword in the side.  I saw it and refuse to believe anything but what my eyes can confirm. There was no mistaking… the vision of so much blood and the pale appearance of death was real.

We are on our way to Emmaus to start over;  a walk of about 7 miles. It will take me the usual 2 1/2 hours or so to walk…maybe longer today because of our conversation and heavy heart. This will give us plenty of time to try and put all the pieces together….to try to understand and make sense of everything and to decide what to do with the rest of our lives.

All of a sudden and unexpected, a stranger walks up from behind and joins us.  He asks,

Why are you so sad and what are you discussing?”

I find these two questions odd in the light of the excitement and well-known events of the weekend. Slightly agitated and amazed Cleopas speaks before I can open my mouth and he answers the question with a question.  He throws in some sarcasm  for good measure.

Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem that does not know the things which happened there this last few days?”

 I am even more amazed when the stranger asks,

What things?”

In disbelief, we began to explain to the stranger the events of the weekend.  Reviewing everything does not help my disappointment and we rush through them as a courtesy to the stranger.

About Jesus of Nazareth,” we replied in unison! “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.  The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning  but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

Then the stranger calls Cleopas and me “foolish ones” and that we are “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken”  This is certainly not so! I have always believed the prophets.  I have come from a family who believes in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and I have read it often.  The prophets said, that the Messiah would come and deliver Israel from its enemies.  But the stranger began to recite the writings of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy) and all the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Malachi, etc)  of the Tanakh and explain things I had missed before.

The stranger clearly points out passages that were references to Jesus.  For the next 3 hours, I am amazed at the knowledge and clarity of the stranger’s words.  As I listened to the stranger recite our ancient books, I begin to see that it was necessary for Jesus to die for the sins of the world, but that He would be raised up the third day!  How had I missed that?  Why had we not believed Jesus when He said it was necessary for Him to die and that he would rise again?  It was like I had been reading the scripture the way I wanted it to read instead of letting it talk to me!  Indeed, we felt foolish, but encouraged by the words of the stranger.  My heart burned within me!  I wanted to hear more!  This was all exciting and new to me!

As we get near the village where we are going it is almost dark. I don’t want the stranger to go and I look for excuses for Him to stay the night so we can hear more. Thankfully, He agrees to have supper with us.  As He breaks the bread, I recognize those hands and the manner in which He breaks the bread!  I finally look across the table into his eyes about the same time as Cleopas.  It is Jesus!  As soon as we recognize him, He disappears!  We had been talking to Jesus the whole time and we didn’t recognize Him!

With intense excitement and joy, Cleopas and I jump up and run the 7 miles back to Jerusalem in the dusk that eventually turns our path to darkness!   We must tell the 11 and the others who were behind closed doors when we left them. They, too, share our confusion and disappointment.

When we arrive,  we find them excited and questioning  Simon Peter about his encounter with! There is a strange mixture of doubt and hope in the room.  We then  begin to tell them what had happened over the last several hours.  Still some doubt, but hope is getting brighter by the moment.  As we are talking with them and answering their questions, Jesus appears in the room!

Everyone jumps back.  They think they are seeing a spirit, but Jesus tells them it is Him and that He is not a spirit. To prove it, He invites them to touch Him and He asks for something to eat.  We give Him some  fish and some honeycomb.  My heart beats fast!

After everyone settles down and the scales of their eyes begin to fall away as it did with Cleopas and me, Jesus repeats  the same type of study we heard on the road to Emmaus.  This time, He uses the entire Tanakh including the Psalms to explain how He is found all through scripture. All the disciples begin to understand that He had to die, but that He would rise on the third day.  How could we have missed this?  It was right there!

Then He said to us,

These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you.  that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.  And He opened our understanding that we might comprehend the Scriptures.”

Now our hearts are filled with joy and conviction!  We spend the next hour or so talking with Jesus.  Then He tells us that the Father will send us the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we must wait for it and stay in the city.  Our message will go to the world in power.  It will be a message of repentance and forgiveness of sins!

He is risen!

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Do we need  Jesus to open our understanding of Scriptures?  Have we missed Jesus as we have read the Old Testament?  What detail did Jesus teach these disciples when He explained passages from all the books of the Old Testament?  Is the Old Testament not relevant to New Testament Christians?  Have we missed something in our understanding of Jesus?  Thomas was the only one not there in that room when Jesus appeared and taught them from the scripture about himself.

 Next, we will take a look at Jesus through the eyes of a well-known doubter,  Thomas.  We will attempt to understand why the resurrection of Jesus is an absolute cornerstone of the Christian faith. In fact, without it, Paul says we are most pitiful of all men. But, after we see through the eyes of Thomas we will exclaim as he did:

“My Lord and My God.”  John 20:28