December 2, 2018
WHAT’S THE TIME DELAY BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN?
The angel Gabriel was sent by God in response to Daniel’s prayer during the time of the evening sacrifice. He said a command was given the moment Daniel began praying. One Hebrew scholar read Daniel’s recorded prayer aloud and noted that it took about 3 minutes.
So, we might conclude that there is no communication delay between earth and heaven when one of God’s precious ones prays. However, the angelic response time seems to be about 3 minutes.
Of course, that theory is tested by the next chapter, when Daniel fasts and prays for 3 weeks (Dan. 10:2). Again, Gabriel informed Daniel that God had immediately heard and responded to his prayer. Yet, this time it took Gabriel 3 weeks to carry out God’s command. For there was spiritual warfare with the “prince of Persia” (Dan. 10:13) that delayed him.
In both cases, the Lord heard and responded to Daniel’s prayers immediately, but the time of the response varied from 3 minutes to 3 weeks.
So, what may we conclude? God hears our prayers and responds immediately, there is no time delay. However, from our perspective, we must continue to faithfully pray, for the arrival of the answer can vary greatly.
November 30, 2018
WHO IS THIS SON OF MAN?
There are two threads of Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. One, speaks of the Suffering Servant, as in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. The second, of the Victorious King, who would judge the nations and establish His eternal kingdom, as in the verse quoted above. The first advent (“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival”) was announced by angels to the shepherds in Bethlehem. The second advent, according to Jesus, will be announced by “the mighty blast of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31) and the appearance of the Son of Man in the clouds (Matt. 24:30).
Who is this Son of Man? When Jesus was brought before the Jewish council and the high priest asked, “Are you the Messiah?” Jesus responded, “I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Jesus used the covenantal name of God, “I AM” (“YHWH”) and quoted Daniel 7:13 in His response.
Jesus is both Son of Man and Son of God. He has come and He is coming again.
November 29, 2018
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF PRAYER WERE BANNED?
Ask Daniel. Daniel’s story is instructive to those who live as a religious minority under a worldly government. God gave Daniel wisdom to navigate the political tangle of Babylonian and Persian rule and yet remain steadfast to his faith. Even so, he still often experienced persecution and threats to his life.
How do we live out our faith at work or school, when expressing our faith is discouraged by company policies or prohibited by federal laws? As Daniel did, we should submit to the authorities over us, unless they cause us to break faith with the ultimate Authority, our God. Daniel feared the Lord more than the lions. And the Lord rescued him.
November 28, 2018
HAVE YOU SEEN THE WRITING ON THE WALL?
King Belshazzar of Babylon gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels from the treasury that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He and his nobles partied, praising the gods of silver and gold as they drank from Jerusalem’s Temple goblets. It was at that moment that a disembodied hand appeared, writing on the wall. The drunken king was immediately sober with fear. The prophet Daniel was summoned to read the unreadable script, which warned Belshazzer of his imminent demise. Daniel reminded the king that he had witnessed the humbling of his forebearer, Nebuchadnezzar, yet he had not humbled himself before God. Instead, he had proudly defied the Lord, even drinking from the sacred cups.
This was not Belshazzer’s first warning. He knew all of the stories and had surely heard the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar concerning the greatness and righteousness of God. Yet, he did not repent. He should have known what was in store for him. Especially, after he saw the “writing on the wall.”
November 27, 2018
WILL WE SEE OLD NEB IN HEAVEN?
This is a most unusual testimony. A pagan king bends the knee and worships the Most High God.
The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, had defeated Judah, destroying Jerusalem’s walls and Temple. He carried off thousands of Jewish exiles, among them a young man named Daniel. After conquering much of the Middle East, old Neb settled down and turned Babylon into one of the Seven Wonders of the World, its hanging gardens, city walls, and palace, among the richest and most beautiful any where. Yet, in spite of God’s warning through the prophet Daniel to humble himself and stop sinning, Nebuchadnezzar was full of pride and unrepentant.
So God humbled him, making him live like a beast of the field. After a year, old Neb came to his senses and worshiped the Lord. His testimony of the Lord’s righteousness and power has led many to think that old Neb truly placed his faith in the God of Israel. Perhaps he became a true believer. I wonder, will we see old Neb in heaven?
December 2, 2017
“In the first year” of Darius’ reign, Daniel was moved to make a careful study of the “books” of Scripture. Surely the sudden shift of world domination by the Babylonians, to the now conquering Persians, made him wonder how it would affect the future of Israel. As he studied the book of Jeremiah, he began to understand that the Lord’s “seventy years” of “desolations” for Jerusalem were nearing an end (see Jer. 25:11-12). The seventy years of captivity was God’s discipline for not keeping the Sabbath Year (Lev. 25:4), allowing the land to rest from planting every seven years. Since they had not obeyed the Sabbath Year for 490 years (490/7 = 70), God rested the land Himself for seventy years (2 Chron. 36:20-21).
The understanding that Daniel derived from his careful Bible study drove him to his knees in prayers of confession and repentance on behalf of his people. He began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He made supplication to the Lord that He might “turn” His “anger” and “fury” away from Jerusalem (Dan. 9:16). And the Lord answered Daniel’s prayers. For that same year, Cyrus the Great (Possibly another name for Darius. Or Darius served under Cyrus) would be moved by the Lord to make a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:22-23).
We can learn much about discerning the will of God from Daniel. Bible study with much prayer is key for those that would hear direction from the Lord.
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.
December 4, 2016
God gave Daniel great insight into the future, yet his understanding was only partial. No matter how much he studied these future prophecies, much was left cloudy for him. So, the Lord gave Daniel three insights on how to respond to His end times prophecies:
1) “Go your way.” In other words, get busy doing what I’ve called you to do in the present.
2) “You shall rest.” Physical death would come for Daniel long before the end. Death for the believer is not the end, but merely rest from physical labor. Daniel would not see all that God had revealed. He would rest (“sabbath”).
3) “You shall stand at the end.” God told Daniel that he would rise again at the end of days. This speaks of the bodily resurrection of the saints.
This instruction is good for today’s reader of prophecy too. We may not know all that the future holds, but we can know the One who holds the future.
December 3, 2016
One of the most amazing prophesies concerning the future of human kingdoms was given to Daniel. Written around 530 BC, God revealed the rise and fall of kingdoms from the time of Daniel to the end times. The three kings predicted to “arise” in Persia was fulfilled by the reigns of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius. The 4th and final king of Persia, the one “richer than all” before him, was fulfilled by Xerxes. As Daniel’s prophecy predicted over 200 years before it happened, Xerxes “stirred up” the Greeks which led to Persia being conquered by the “mighty king” (Dan. 11:3), Alexander the Great. The rest of the chapter goes on to describe kingdoms that have come and gone in the following centuries all the way up to the present and beyond. The Lord pulled back the veil of time to show Daniel the kingdoms to come before Christ would establish His everlasting kingdom. The future is in the Lord’s hands.
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.