Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4: Daniel 11:36-12:13; Psalm 123; Proverbs 29:2-4; 1 John 4



Overview

            Daniel: The supernatural man clothed in linen continues to inform Daniel of the future. The contemptable king is the continuing subject of this prophecy.
            The king is powerful enough to do what he wants and makes himself out to be above other gods. He will not honor any of the gods of the past. He will make astounding claims against God until God’s anger comes. What is decreed will happen.
            He will rely on a foreign god of fortress which he honors with wealth. He will heap honor on all who acknowledge him by making them rulers according to their payments to him.
            At the very end of time, the king of the South will attack him, but this king of the North will greatly overcome him and march into the glorious land. Myriads will be killed but Edom, Moab and most of Ammon will be freed from him. He will continue south to capture and loot Egypt, Libya, and Cush. He will return and camp west of Zion with the intention of total destruction when he hears bad news from the north and east. However, no one will help him and he will be killed there.
            During this time, the prince of Daniel’s people, Michael will rise up to deliver his people, those found written in the book. There will be tribulation beyond anything ever seen before. Dead people will be resurrected to eternal life and some to eternal shame. The wise and those who lead people to righteousness will shine like stars forever. But Daniel must seal the words of this book until the end-times happen. At that time people will be scurrying around and knowledge will increase.
            Daniel then saw two other beings, one on each side of the river. The man in linen was asked how long the end would last. The man raised both hands and swore by the eternal God that it would be 3 ½ years. When the destruction of the holy people’s power has finally stopped, everything will have been accomplished.
            Daniel didn’t understand and asked what the outcome would be. Daniel was told that the it wasn’t his concern for this would not be understood until the end. However, many will purify themselves and be clean while the wicked will continue. None of the wicked will understand, ever. But the wise will finally understand.
            There will be 1,290 days from the time the burnt offering is stopped and the abomination is set up. Those who wait and continue for 1,335 days will be blessed. Daniel will die before this but will be resurrected to take his place after the end.
            Psalm: The Psalmist looks to the Lord for all things just as servants depend on their master to or mistress to provide for them. He asks for mercy because they have had enough contempt and scorn from those who have it all and are proud.
            Proverbs: People are joyful when righteousness abounds, but people groan under wickedness. Parents are always glad when their children are wise rather than enjoying promiscuity and squandering their wealth. A country flourishes when the rulers administer with justice but no when they accept bribes.
            1 John: Not every spirit is from God so we have to test them. There are many false prophets. We test the spirits by examining what they say about Jesus. If they don’t confess Jesus is both 100% man and 100% God, then that spirit is from the antichrist. The antichrist’s spirit is in the world right now. But we are from God, Jesus is in us, and he is greater than the world’s spirit. The false prophets are from the world and the world listens to them. Anyone who is from God listens to the apostles. Those who are not from God listen to the world. This is how we discern the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error.
            We need to love one another because we’ve been born of God and know him and love comes from him. If you don’t love, then you don’t know God because God is love. We didn’t love him first, but he showed his love by sending Jesus to pay for our sins so we can live through him. Since he loved us like this, we should love each other. No one has seen God, but he lives in us and his love is made perfect in us when we love each other.
            We know he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. The apostles testify that the Father sent Jesus as our Savior. If we confess this, God lives in us and we live in him. We will be confident during the judgment because of his love in us. That love removes our fear of punishment. If we fear his punishment, something is wrong with our love.
            We can only love because he loved us first. If we say we love God but hate our brothers, then we are lying. We can’t love God whom we haven’t seen if we don’t love those we have seen. God’s commandment for those who love him is to love our brothers.

What Stood Out

            Daniel: “And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days” (Dan 12:11-12).
            Psalm: “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens” (Ps 123:1)!
            Proverbs: “By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down” (Prov 29:4).
            1 John: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2).

Insight

            Daniel: These last time periods of the end of time have confused people for centuries. 1,290 days is a few days longer than 3 ½ years. 1,335 days is still another 45 days after that.
            Adam Clarke in his commentary speculated that the abomination was Islam which appeared in AD 612. He presumed that 1,290 days represented years until this religion would be ended in 1902, 75 years in his future. Of the 1,335 days, he says it applies to years and will be 1947 when all wars will cease and the fullness of the Gentiles will have occurred. All visions and prophecies will have been fulfilled.
            Well, that shows how ludicrous it is to tie your theology too closely to current events.
            Albert Barnes in his Notes (1853) attributes the whole discussion of the 1,290 days to the previously mentioned history of Antiochus Epiphanies. He attributes neither these days or the 1,335 days to anything in the future. If it were not for the mention of the resurrection in Daniel 12:2, and the multiple times we are told this is the end of time, I would almost have to agree with him. That would make it very simple and resolve all the other conflicts in Scripture.
            The Holman Bible Handbook (1992) acknowledges that much of this prophecy applies to our history but makes an important point in that Antiochus Epiphanies didn’t die in Judah but in Persia, which means that there is still a future fulfilment of this prophecy. It doesn’t try to make anything special about the 1,290 days but says it is just a more accurate measurement than the general 3 ½ years. The additional 45 days of 1,335 is unclear and perhaps just the amount of time it will take to complete the vision. This is also a good approach, but it doesn’t explain how it fits with the Book of Revelation.
            Because of the references to the resurrection of some to eternal life and some to eternal punishment (Dan 12:2), I can’t help but place these 1,290 days as the last half of the tribulation. The tribulation is the 3 ½ years when the power of the holy people (I understand these to be Christians) is shattered (Dan 12:7). Our power will be restored after this time. This would be a very strong support for the rapture to occur at the end of the tribulation. However, even that has a problem because Revelation 20:5 says that the wicked dead will not be resurrected until the 1,000 years of Christ’s reign on earth is finished.
            I hope I haven’t confused the issue even more. The point that I get from this is that we can’t definitively know what all of these days and years mean. We can’t, with 100% accuracy, tell someone exactly how the end times will unravel. That knowledge is only available to our sovereign God. We have to be like Daniel, go our way, and be about the business of living a godly life. We have the assurance we will stand in our allotted place when it is all over.
            Psalm: When people assail us, and speak all kinds of evil against us, we need to remember that the Lord provides for everything we need. Our earthly masters, bosses, or sources of income are not where we find our sufficiency or rest. It is only in the Lord we will find peace for our souls.
            Proverbs: There are a lot of ways to have justice in a country and there are a lot of ways for the leaders to tear it down besides by accepting bribes. Their concern for reelection and not for what is right is an example. It is a terrible thing to see your country’s leaders engaging in injustice or acting unbecoming of their position. It is even worse when they are not held accountable. We can see injustice in everything from the way taxes are accessed to the treatment of the unborn. It is depressing, demoralizing, discouraging, and distressing. If you focus on it long enough you will want to give up.
            However, when we recognize that our world is broken by sin and that Jesus will come back and remove all the unrighteousness, we can have hope. We can persevere and do what we can to combat the evils because we are citizens of God’s kingdom and belong to his family. When we focus on Jesus, we can live victorious and joyful lives regardless of who is running the country.
            1 John: Sometimes we can focus too much on a single verse and not take in context with the rest of the Bible. 1 John 4:2 is one that could cause confusion. It is easy for some cults to say that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. It is easy because they really believe that. While this test separated those who followed Docetism (Jesus was only an illusion) from Christians, if this were the only test to determine correctness of a theology, we would have to admit cults who deny Jesus’ deity.
            Jesus’ deity is clear in his own claims. He said he and his Father were one (John 10:30). He claimed to be eternal and therefor God when he said he existed before Abraham (John 8:58). The Jews clearly understood Jesus’ claims because they tried to stone him for making them (John 8:59, 10:32).
            When John tells us that God lives in us when we confess Jesus is the Son of God, we should make sure we know what we’re talking about. John made an assumption that his readers knew what it was to confess and what Son of God meant. When we tell people without any Christian understanding to confess Jesus is the Son of God, they may have something completely foreign in mind. By foreign, I mean alien to true Christianity such as we are all sons of God or there are many gods and many sons of gods. For some of these, it may not register that we are asking them to commit their lives and their eternity to Jesus who is the one and only way to the one and only God, the God of gods (John 14:6, Deut 10:17).
            It is only when we know this Jesus and his Father that we know God and have his love in us. It is only when we have his love in us that we can truly love others. It is only when we know and love him that we no longer fear death or punishment afterwards.

Application

            I want to be one who does a good job at looking at prophecies. I realize that we will never agree on all aspects of the theology of the end times. However, if we really know Jesus and we love each other, these differences don’t keep us from living this life the way he wants.

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