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December 1

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“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2 NKJV).

From: December 1, 2020

CHRIST IS BOTH THE MEDIATOR AND MEANS OF SALVATION

The word “propitiation” points back to Israel’s sacrificial system, whereby a lamb without spot or blemish was offered as an atonement for sins. Yet those lambs, offered every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, were only like checks written on a future deposit. Jesus is that deposit. As John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
 
Christ Jesus became the propitiation for the sins of the world when He died upon the cross. He became the atoning sacrifice that satisfied God’s holiness and justice. Our sin deserved death, but Christ died our death that by faith we might receive His life. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
 
In the previous verse, John had identified Jesus as our “Advocate with the Father.” In other words, He is our Great High Priest and our Mediator. As Paul wrote Timothy, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). This is why John began verse 2 with: “And He Himself.” Because Jesus the High Priest “Himself” became the Lamb, the propitiation for our sins. Jesus the Mediator became the means of our salvation.
 
And not only ours, but also for the “whole world.” This is the good news! Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all. Jesus has paid the sin debt of the entire human race. Yet, the one who would receive this payment, this propitiation, must believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. As John wrote in his gospel, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
 
Have you trusted Jesus Christ as the Mediator and Means of your salvation?
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we are reminded of how great was the cost of our salvation. That You gave Your only begotten Son for our sins. We fan into flame our zeal to spread the good news of Jesus to the whole world. Anoint us afresh by Your Holy Spirit. Set us aflame with the love and zeal of Christ Jesus. In His name we pray, amen.

“Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision” (Daniel 8:16 NLT).

From: December 1, 2019

WHAT DID GABRIEL EXPLAIN TO DANIEL?

It is interesting to see the angel Gabriel mentioned in our Old Testament reading on this first day of December. For he will also be of great interest to us as we read the gospel accounts of Christ’s birth during this Christmas season. There are only two angels named in the Bible (excluding the fallen one, Lucifer). They are Michael, the archangel of God and Gabriel, who acts as God’s messenger. The name “Gabriel” means “Strong Man of God.” He described himself to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, like this: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news” (Luke 1:19). Gabriel is recorded as bearing God’s messages to Daniel (Dan. 8:16, 9:21), to Zechariah (Luke 1:19), to Mary (Luke 1:26), and although his name is not given, to Joseph (Matt. 1:20).
 
There was something about Gabriel’s presence that struck fear in each human encounter. Perhaps it was the lingering presence of God that still clung to his person as it once did to Moses after he came down from Mt. Sinai. His purpose was specific each time. Give the addressee the message and make sure they understand its meaning.
 
What did Gabriel explain to Daniel? He explained the meaning of Daniel’s second vision, which offered more detail concerning two of the coming kingdoms that both Nebuchadnezzer and Daniel had seen. For Gabriel even identified the two-horned ram as Medo-Persia and the one-horned goat as Greece. The earlier visions had not been so clearly identified.
 
Gabriel even mentions one called the Prince of princes, who I believe refers to the coming Christ, who is the Son of Man of Daniel 7 and the one named Jesus as Matthew and Luke record. Surely Gabriel must have a close connection to Christ. For he is like a herald that always goes before the king to announce his coming.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You that You not only provide revelation of Yourself to us, but also interpretation of what those revelations mean. Throughout the centuries You have spoken to us through Your angels, prophets and in these last days, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Now we have Your written Word and Your Holy Spirit to teach us. And You have gifted Your Church with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to further equip us for maturity and ministry. Thank You Lord for doing everything necessary to make sure we can know you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Gabriel, make this man understand the vision” (Daniel 8:16 NKJV).

From: December 1, 2017

It is interesting to see the angel Gabriel mentioned in our Old Testament reading on this first day of December. For he will also be of great interest to us as we read the gospel accounts of Christ’s birth during this Christmas season. There are only two angels named in the Bible (excluding the fallen one, Lucifer). They are Michael, the archangel of God and Gabriel, who acts as God’s messenger. The name “Gabriel” means “Strong Man of God.” He described himself to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, like this: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news” (Luke 1:19). Gabriel is recorded as bearing God’s messages to Daniel (Dan. 8:16, 9:21), to Zechariah (Luke 1:19), to Mary (Luke 1:26), and although his name is not given, to Joseph (Matt. 1:20).
 
There was something about Gabriel’s presence that struck fear in each human encounter. Perhaps it was the lingering presence of God that still clung to his person as it once did to Moses after he came down from Mt. Sinai. His purpose was specific each time. Give the addressee the message and make sure they “understand” it.

“When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man” (Daniel 8:15 ESV)

From: December 1, 2016

After Daniel’s vision, an angel named “Gabriel” appeared to him, charged with explaining the vision. The Old Testament recorded many other angelic visitations, but Daniel is unique in that he is the only one to whom their names are revealed (“Gabriel” in 8:16; 9:21 and “Michael” in 10:13, 21; 12:1). Yet, even with Gabriel’s help, the vision is beyond his understanding. While the vision most likely contains “already/not yet” dual fulfillment material, the identification of the “Medes and Persians,” and of the kingdom of Greece points to the time leading up to the birth of Christ. The fact that Gabriel is the angel explaining this to Daniel and then later announcing it to Joseph and Mary in the gospels is not to be overlooked. Daniel saw a vision that has partially been fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. But there is still part that is yet unfulfilled, that must point to the time leading up to His return.

‘“Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end”‘ (Daniel 8:16b-17 NKJV)

From: December 1, 2015

In Daniel’s vision, an angel named “Gabriel” (Hebrew: “God is my strength”) is charged with explaining the vision, so that Daniel might understand it. The Old Testament recorded many other angelic visitations, but Daniel is unique in that he is the only one to whom their names are revealed (“Gabriel” in 8:16; 9:21 and “Michael” in 10:13, 21; 12:1). Yet, even with Gabriel’s help, the vision is beyond his understanding (8:27). While the vision most likely contains “already/not yet” dual fulfillment material, the identification of the “Medes and Persians,” and of the kingdom of Greece points to the time leading up to the birth of Christ. The fact that Gabriel is the angel explaining this to Daniel and then later announcing it to Joseph and Mary in the gospels is not to be overlooked. Daniel saw a vision that has partially been fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. But there is still part that is yet unfulfilled, that must point to His return.

“I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer” (Psalm 120:1 NLT)

From: December 1, 2014

Psalm 120 is the first of the fifteen “Psalms of Ascent,” that were read or sung by the Jewish worshipers as they climbed up to the Temple mount in Jerusalem. Today, worshipers still read these 15 psalms as they climb the 15 Southern Steps to the Temple mount. Psalm 120 begins with the appropriate place to take our troubles. Not to ourselves, to worry about them. Not to our friends, to complain. But to our God in prayer, who is able to help us. Perhaps this should always be our first step in worship. “Lord, I give You my troubles, now let me stand before You unburdened, so I may truly worship You.”

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16)

From: December 1, 2013

These same three “desires” were the weaknesses that Satan targeted in the garden and the wilderness. The first Adam and his wife fell to the temptation that the fruit was good to eat, pleasing to the eye, and would make you wise like God (Gen.3:6). But the second Adam, Jesus, did not succumb to Satan’s 3-way temptation in the wilderness (Matt.4). Satan still uses these same three temptations. But living in the power of Christ, we can overcome.

“This world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever” (1 John 2:17)

From: December 1, 2012

This is a question of love. What/whom do you love with priority? This world or the Father? You can only have one first love. Those who love the Father first do not live by worldly cravings, but by a redeemed desire to please God.

“He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe” (Proverbs 28:26)

From: December 1, 2011

A fool trusts himself while a wise man trusts God. Isn’t this the best definition of a fool? It’s also the root of sin. The attitude that says, “I will.” The wise person bends their will to God’s. Becoming wise we must root out all vestiges of self-will and fully submit ourselves to God.