Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2: Daniel 9 – 10; Psalm 121; Proverbs 28:27-28; 1 John 2:18-3:6


            Daniel: In the first year of Darius, Daniel read from Jeremiah’s writings that Jerusalem would be desolate for 70 years. Therefore, he began earnest prayer with fasting. He affirmed God’s steadfast love and faithfulness as he confessed Israel’s sins by turning away from God and his commandments. He included all of Jerusalem, Judah, and Israel. He included the lowest to the highest. Shame belong to them all. They deserved all their punishment as written in the law.
            He then asked the Lord to turn his wrath away from Jerusalem because of the sins of their fathers. He asked for mercy not because they are righteous but for the sake of the Lord because the people are called by his name.
            While he was praying Gabriel, whom he saw in a vision, flew to him at the time of the evening sacrifice. He said he came to give him understanding because when he started praying a command was given to tell Daniel these things because he was greatly loved.
            70 weeks (a week is 7 years) are given to Daniel’s people and the holy city to put an end to sin, atone for sin, bring everlasting righteousness, to finish visions and prophecies, and to anoint the most holy. The first 69 weeks is divided into two segments. They start when the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem and end when the Messiah comes. One will be 7 weeks and the next will be 62 weeks. At the end of the 62 weeks, the Messiah will be killed. Then the people from whom the antichrist will come well destroy the city and the temple. There will be wars all the way to the end. The last segment is when the antichrist will make a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the time, he will end the sacrifices and set up an idol in the temple until his end is accomplished.
            In the third year of Cyrus, Daniel received a revelation about a great war. During that time, Daniel was in mourning for three weeks. He didn’t eat fancy food or drink wine. He was standing on the bank of the Tigris and saw a man who was unworldly, his bodly like beryl, face like lightning, eyes like torches, limbs like bronze, and words loud as a multitude. Only Daniel saw the vision and lost his strength. The men with him fled in terror. When he heard the man’s voice, he fainted. The man touched him and he came to his hands and knees. He told Daniel to stand and he had the strength to stand. He told Daniel that he was sent to help him when he first humbled himself and started praying. The prince of the kingdom of Persia hindered him for 21 days but Michael, one of the chief princes came to help. The man said he was there to tell what will happen to Daniel’s people in the future.
            Daniel couldn’t speak until the man enabled him. And told him not to be afraid as he was highly esteemed.
            The man explained that he would have to go back and fight the prince of Persia and after that, the prince of Greece will come. But first he will tell Daniel what is written in the Book of Truth. Daniel’s prince is Michael and he is the only one fighting alongside him against these other princes.
            Psalm: Looking at God’s creation reminds us that our help comes for the maker of creation. He keeps us steady and keeps us from falling. He always watches over us and protects us. He keeps us from evil from the time we rise to going back to bed and forever.
            Proverbs: Be generous to poor people and you won’t find yourself in need. Ignore the poor and you will have problems. People hide when the wicked are in power but when the wicked die, righteous people won’t be persecuted.
            1 John: We are in the end times. We know the antichrist is coming and many antichrists have already been here. Some of these pretended to be Christians but when they left John it was evident they weren’t really Christians. The Holy Spirit helps us know this.
            John is writing so that we can know the truth. It isn’t that we don’t know the truth because lies are not true and anyone who denies Jesus is the Christ and the Father is a liar and an antichrist.
            If you deny Jesus, you don’t have the Father. If you confess Jesus, you have the Father as well. Keep on believing what you heard when you were first saved, and Jesus and the Father will live in you and you will have his promise of eternal life.
            John is writing because some are trying to deceive us. The anointing of the Holy Spirit teaches us and lives in us. His anointing teaching us about everything and it is true, so we must abide in him. We need to stay in Jesus so that when he comes we won’t be afraid or ashamed. Because he is righteous we can be sure that when we live righteously, we have been born by him.
            Consider God’s amazing love that he calls us his children. The world doesn’t know us because it doesn’t know him. Right now, we are his children, but we will become like Jesus when he comes and will see him as he is. When we have this hope, we will purify ourselves.
            If we make a practice of sinning, we are lawless. In Jesus, there is no sin as he came to take sin away. If we keep on sinning, we are not living in Jesus and that shows we haven’t seen him or know him.

What Stood Out

            Daniel: “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place” (Dan 9:24).
            Psalm: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come” (Ps 121:1)?
            Proverbs: “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse” (Prov 28:27).
            1 John: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).


            Daniel: Daniel prayed one of the best prayers of confession in the Old Testament. Many of the Psalms are prayers where the author keeps asking why God has abandoned them. Not so with Daniel. He had just finished reading Jeremiah and there was not doubt in his mind that the destruction of Jerusalem and the state of Jews was God’s judgment on their sins. He confesses not only their sinfulness but God’s righteousness and goodness in carrying out his judgment. Daniel’s prayer is effective in that God immediately answered, even before the whole prayer was spoken. God sent Gabriel to tell him what the Jewish people still had to do and how long it would take.
            There are various ways of looking at these weeks that are ascribed to Daniel’s people. However, by looking at history, we can discern that these weeks are groups of seven years. From the time of the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to bringing about everlasting righteousness was to be seventy “sevens” or weeks. That would be 490 years. There would be 7 weeks then 62 weeks, a total of 69 weeks, after which the Messiah would be cut off (Dan 9:25).
These were years of 360 days (Jewish prophetic calendar), not our year of 365 days. So the 69 weeks would be 173,880 days. In 445 BC the decree was given in the month of Nisan, our March (Neh 2:1). 173,880 days from the first of March brings us to April 6, AD 32. This is the very time that Jesus, the Anointed One, rode into Jerusalem and was then crucified.[1]
            That leaves only one week of seven years and it is previewed for Daniel where the antichrist will rule starting with a treaty or covenant that he establishes with many, that implies several countries, one of which will most likely be Israel. He will break the treaty after 3 ½ year and at the end of the last seven years, he will be stopped.
            As with the previous prophecies given to Daniel, this one fits right into the same pattern. God’s sovereignty is again demonstrated in the consistency of these prophecies and what we already know from history.
            One thing that is striking is the clarity with which the Messiah’s purpose is stated. Jews don’t see it because they are blinded. They think that the nation of Israel must accomplish everything in these verses. They don’t realize that it is the Messiah who does this. Their job was in bringing history to the point that Jesus would arrive as God had ordained. Even in doing that, they didn’t understand God’s sovereignty enabled them to continue to exist.
            Looking at Jesus we can see that he is the one who finished transgressions by being the only man who lived a 100% righteous life. He is the one that put an end to sin by dying on the cross. He is the only one who could atone for inequity as proven by his resurrection.
            Psalm: When I look at the majestic mountains or anything else in nature, I am reminded that God is the creator. He is the one who has made all these things. If he can create such wonders, I know he can take care of me.
            This Psalm is all about God’s sovereign protection over our lives. While the Old Testament usually views this as physical protection, we can be assured that the one who made the universe is the one who knows everything that happens to us. It doesn’t mean bad things will never happen, but it is all part of his glorious plan for us even into eternity.
            Proverbs: I don’t know how many times this is said in the Bible, but it is something the Lord wants very much. He wants us to care for poor people. He will bless those who do and those who don’t will be cursed. I’m not sure if this means the poor people will curse us or we will simply have problems in life. Either way, I don’t really want to find out.
            However, in today’s society, it is difficult to determine who is legitimately poor and who is simply trying to get by in the world living off others and using what is given to them to do drugs. It is hard to determine when giving to them is enabling them to continue in a lifestyle that is disastrous to them and society versus something that will help them out. Thankfully there are many Christian organizations that have the experience to help determine this and they are worthy of our support.
            1 John: John seems to ramble somewhat but what he has to say is all connected. His first point about antichrists is really letting us know that anyone who isn’t a Christian is in actuality an antichrist because the person has denied Christ. There is no middle grounds. Either a person knows Jesus and therefore knows the Father or he doesn’t know Jesus and therefore doesn’t know the Father either. They are against Christ whether they state it or not.
            John makes it clear that some people who claimed to be Christians are not acting like it. They say they know Jesus but nothing in their life has changed. They continue sinning just like they did before. They practice sin. In other words, they aren’t good enough at sinning so they have to keep on doing it until they are even better at sinning. That’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, but the point is serious. These people are not saved.
            We really need to consider what we are. We are the recipients of God’s love. We are loved by him so much that we are actually his children. Because we are his children, we will become like Jesus when he comes back. We will be changed and put on immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:52-53). This is the hope we have. It isn’t a hope that is a wish that something would come true, but a hope that is certain. Because we believe this we want to be pure, we want to stop sinning, we want to be obedient to Jesus and keep his commands. We want to do everything that a person who keeps on sinning doesn’t really care about. Where do you fit? What do you want when Jesus comes back and what do you want to do while we’re waiting?


             I’m glad that Daniel received information that we can analyze and have assurance that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. Having Jesus in my life, I want to be obedient, be pure, stop sinning, and be more like him every day.

[1] Anderson, Sir Robert. The Coming Prince: The Marvelous Prophecy of Daniel's Seventy Weeks Concerning the Antichrist (Kindle Locations 132-136). Trumpet Press. Kindle Edition.

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