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Does He mean what He says?

It has been a struggle lately. The question constantly resonating in my mind is this: Does He really mean what He says He means? Does Christ really mean what He says when he speaks of the requirements of a disciple of Christ? I read the Scriptures and  the radical calling of a disciple and it leaves me speechless and convicted. Christ says:

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above master. “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. (Matt. 10:24)

 

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:25)

 

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  (Luke 14:27)

 

“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:33)

 

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” (John 8:31)

 

I must be honest, my life does not reflect the things God calls His disciples to. I am unsure how to react because I see those around me living very comfortable lives. I look at the American church and it is filled with legalism, affluence, superficiality, and good appearance. When I look at the majority of my brothers and sisters in American I cannot say that I see this radical living of Christ. We must give up all we have? We must hate our father and mother? We must carry our own cross? This is no “escape hell” card, rather this is a radical call on life, for this is life is in slavery to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Since asking this question I have not come up with answers, only more questions. If I am to give up everything, what does this mean? Does this mean I am to live a life in a hut and be poor to live for Christ? How do I act with “my” possessions? Since everything in life is given to us by the Father, how do we then use it? Where is the line drawn between living sacrificially and giving up everything and living a life of thanksgiving to God for the ways in which He has blessed us? So many questions and I am finding myself without answers. I suppose this is not a bad place to be, I have been learning I must be teachable and willing to sacrifice anything for the cause of Christ. For what I think is sacrifice is actually gain in eternity. So, does Christ actually mean what He says? What do you think? 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Laws do not bring Virtue

Recently, it seems as though much disaster and suffering has taken place. From the tragedy in Boston to the explosion in Texas to the earthquakes destroying cities and its’ families lives, there is no doubt that suffering has taken place over the last two weeks. Particularly, this review is to looking at the Boston Incident. I cannot imagine what the families in Boston are going through to lose loved one or to have loved ones injured in the awful explosions planted by those cowardly men. My heart is vexed to see such suffering and many times I must ask why this has happened. The issue I want to address here is an issue of law. This incident reminds me of the upheaval among the people of America lately over the government’s right to pass gun laws and ban certain types of guns.

I believe that we here in America fall victim to the Modern mindset that laws will create virtue. Embedded in our worldview is a belief that if the right laws are passed and the right president gets in, that crime will cease and people will turn into citizens of virtue. I believe this is wrong and our worldview should be challenged. Will laws create virtue? To say simply, no! We can see that laws have been passed and that school shootings occur, terrorist attacks and bombings occur, and people still continue to do crime. We are missing one huge factor here and that is an account of sin. People are intrinsically sinful therefore no laws will make people virtuous or moral in nature. By no means do I condemn that passing of good laws that contains crime and prevents crime, but my point is this: No law that is passed will rid people of sin and the desire to do evil. Sin will always abide in humanity for we are not perfectible beings.

We need to break this mindset that the right laws will bring the right behavior. Rebellion to such laws will always take place and we will, unfortunately, always experience  the repercussions of sin. The only standard of virtue comes from the Divine and only an encounter with the Divine being, God, will bring about a virtuous person.  I do understand that there are certainly virtuous people outside of Christianity and outside of religion. However, my question would be, what reason is there to be virtuous unless there is a divine standard who shows us virtue and commands a virtuous people? I understand that virtue can be a quality of a person, but there really can be no reason to be virtuous with God. One cannot say someone is wrong to do something morally evil for there is no standard by which evil can be defined. By no means do I claim all the answers, but I do intend to provoke thought of the reader(s).

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Why Small Groups?

Just as the family construct is the foundation and rebar to society, I firmly believe that small groups are also the foundation and rebar to the church and its’ efficiency. Small groups allow for a healthy, intimate, and social time conducive to spiritual growth for the individual believer and the corporate body of Christ. When it comes to productive, intimate, and focused small groups, three areas must be discussed: the Biblical concept of community, structure and organization to small groups, and leadership recruitment and development. These three areas are vital to a good small group that grows each believer into a more intimate relationship with their Savior.

Biblical Community

When one thinks of biblical community the best picture of this is the early church as seen early on in the book of Acts. Acts 2:42-46 is about the new church and how the believers of the church fellowshipped and behaved with one another. Verse forty-four says, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” It is true that the small group setting is not the early church and that the small groups do not need to sell all that they have in order to be “in the will of God.” The principle that can be extracted from the early church, as seen in Acts 2, is that the believers had each other in mind. Each believer, according to Scripture, had the interests of others in mind before themselves. Philippians 2:4-5 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is also in Christ Jesus…” When it comes to creating authentic biblical community, the self must be put aside and the interests of others must be the focus. Small groups are about having authentic community with one another. In doing so, this glorifies the Trinity, whom embodies true and perfect community.

Within the Trinity there is perfect and complete community and fellowship. Each person of the God-head being Deity and perfect results in a perfect picture of community. Genesis 1:26 says, “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” We are made and fashioned by God in His image therefore we are beings who long for and desire community. When God made Adam and Eve, they were in perfect community and fellowship with the One who fills every desire and need. Humanity has the need and desire for community and small groups within the church should create an atmosphere that invites not only genuine fellowship with one another, but fellowship with the All-satisfying Creator.

There are quite a few “one-another” passages that exhort Christians to place the needs of others above their own. (Romans 12:10, 15, 16, 15:17; James 4:11; 1 John 4:7; 1 Thess. 5:11) When one looks at the concept of biblical community it goes much deeper than an unbelieving group would go. Biblical community can be a gateway to which the spiritual part of human beings, the soul, can be in fellowship with others, through the Holy Spirit, and also in fellowship with its’ Creator. Small groups can be used to usher in such an intimate setting of community as seen in Scripture.

Vision Statement: Small groups seeks to create authentic biblical community between believers with each other through intimate fellowship, meditating on Scripture, and real heart change that leads to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and ultimately the glorification of the Father.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in The Church

 

God’s Will

God’s will is something that is commonly sought among the Christian community. The question if often raised, “What is the will of God for my life?” Many are looking for a clear-cut, pointed, and direct answer from the Lord. As I have grown in my relationship to Christ, I boldly say I do not have all the answers. I actually say that I do not have many answers, but I will share what I have learned and I pray that maybe just the smallest nugget of truth and wisdom may come from it. When I think of the will of God, I think of a few portions of Scripture: Romans 12:1-2 (the go-to passage for Christians)

Romans 12:1-2 says:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Now that we read this, what does this mean? This has to be one of the most impactful and transforming verses in the NT. (This is purely a subjective statement; the entire Word equally is inspired and transforms) What is Paul saying here? Paul is saying that we are to be living sacrifices and to transform our minds with Scripture, so that we may understand the will of God. I once heard the quote, “Love God and live life”. This is simple yet profound. If we are truly loving Jesus with all we have, we are going to make decisions in everyday life that are God-glorifying and Spirit lead decisions. God gives us the liberty to choose freely in life when we are transforming our minds and hearts into Christ’s. When we are transforming our hearts and minds, we are not only doing this at a surface level, we are also transforming our will and desire to align with Christ’s will and desire for our life.

What transforms the mind and heart? It is the Word of God that transforms us into the image of the Son. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God! Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. God’s line of communication to His children is through His written Word to us by the prophets and apostles. By reading, praying, meditating on, and focusing on the Word, our heart start to understand God’s heartbeat for us as His children. It is a wonderful thing to have freedom to choose when in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Biblical topics

 

O the Peace of Prayer

The past few days have been a pretty emotional and tough few days as I see a family that I have come to love, and a girl that I have come to cherish struggling and hurting. One thing that I have come to realize though is how thankful I need to be. This family, the Baird family, has been such an encouragement and influence in my life over the past year and it makes me thankful to see a family come together and cling to the Lord and His eternal truth. This girl, Gabby, who I have come to cherish, has been such a testimony to me as I watch her love the Lord, cherish and love her family, and lean on God’s strength and power. It makes me thankful because of God’s grace that He has given to us, His children.

I look at the basic and foundational truth of eternal life that He gives to His children. No goodbye is ever truly a goodbye for those who are in Christ because loved ones who pass on will be seen again, in the presence of the Living God to whom ascribes the fullness of joy and satisfaction. It makes me thankful to be a child of God.

The biggest lesson I have learned through this and a series of classes and “hints” from God, is the concept of the importance of prayer. One may say, “Yes, of course. Prayer is important… we are Christians.” More and more as I walk with Jesus, I understand the depth and intimacy involved in prayer. Why pray? Why do we as Christians need to pray if God knows our every thought? I have not yet come to a full realization and answer for this, but this is what im learning: We pray to align our hearts and minds with the character and nature of God, so that we may actively live out His truth despite our emotions and circumstances. By no means is this an easy task. I have learned from the Early Church and from the church fathers that prayer should mainly be focused on the glory of the King. As we walk with Jesus, as we love Jesus, as we grow in intimacy with Jesus, as we understand His immense and eternally deep love for us, we understand how often and necessary it is to plead our hearts before the omnipotent, omnibenevolent, sovereign Lord, for we take joy  from it and receive peace in sharing our inner heart’s desire and burdens with Him; for we trust Him.

God’s utmost desire for His children is that they talk with Him and that they would listen when He speaks to them. Prayer, such a simple yet powerful truth, is an honor because our thoughts and heart’s desires are being poured out at the feet of the King. This post may be simple, but it is something that God has been pressing upon my heart, and it is my desire above all else that those who read may be encouraged not to lose heart. We are instructed to pray continually in 1 Thessalonians 5; may this be true of us. We are instructed to pray with thanksgiving in Philippians 4; may this be true of us. We are instructed to pray in faith in James 1; may this be true of us. How lovely and how beautiful is the truth that we are able to pray and share our inner most secrets and thoughts with the heavenly Father?

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Biblical topics

 

Daniel 7 – The Four Beasts

  1. The Four Kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream– Chapter 7:1-8, 15-28
    1. a.       Overview of Chapter: In this chapter Daniel has one of the most specific visions/prophecies within the covers of the Bible. He dreams of four Gentile world powers that will rise and conquer each other and Israel. This is among the “Time of the Gentiles” which started in 605 B.C. He sees four beast which represent four kingdoms. The first is Babylon, a lion with eagle’s wings. The second is Medo –Persia, the bear with three ribs in its mouth. The third is Greece, the four headed leopard with four wings. The fourth is Rome, the terrifying beast that crushes all. These four beast rise up and show the timeline for which the Gentiles will rule over Israel. This is the reversed order from which God planned when he established Israel to rule over the Gentile nations. God gave Israel through the Abrahamic Covenant. ( Genesis 12:2) Now we await as Jesus comes back to establish his kingdom, set up the rule over the Gentiles and take his bride and all saints into eternity future.

                   i.      We are now back in the Babylonian Empire. In the previous chapter, we were going through Daniel in the Medo-Persian Empire. They had just taken over Babylon and now Cyrus, and Darius the Mede are kings. Remember that in context, we are now back in the Babylonian empire. We are under king Belshazzar, who is the second in command under Nabonidus. Daniel now flashes back to his vision while being under Babylonian rule.

                  ii.      Refer back to previous notes discussing the kingly order of Nabonidus and Belshazzar.

  1. b.      Chapter 7 is one of the most profound chapters in the Old Testament. These four beasts in chapter 7 are also seen in chapter 2 when Daniel interprets king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. This chapter almost starts a new section of Daniel. Chapter 1-6 were more stories of Daniel , for the exception of chapter 2. Chapters 7-12 in Daniel are apocalyptic literature and  are the foundation to OT prophecy and eschatological study as it relates to the books of Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation. Chapter 7 reveals the kingdom of God, that will come and destroy the last beastly kingdom. It will come, and destroy the Revived Roman Empire, establish its reign, and bring the nation of Israel under submission and obedience to God, which has been God’s plan since Genesis 12.
  2. c.       Verse by Verse Study:

                  i.      For verses 1-7, Daniel gives an interpretation for in verses 15-28, so I will be referencing both and writing my own explanation using the word of God and history explaining the text.

                  ii.      As we look at the text, let us remember that this is the inerrant word of God, every word, in its original writings was perfect.

                  iii.      These verses in their original writings are still in Aramaic. This vision is about the four Gentile World Powers that will rule over the earth until the day Christ comes back to rapture the church. At that moment, God’s program for Israel is placed back in action, and through the next seven years, God will use 144,000 male virgin Jews and the two witnesses to bring the nation of Israel back to Himself. Upon the end of those seven years, Christ will come back and wipe out the enemies of Israel. We will go into the 1000 year reign of Christ where we will reign with him over this earth in Jerusalem. Christ will rise up at the end of the 1000 years, wipe out once and for all, His enemies on earth. We will then proceed into the new heaven and new earth where we will spend eternity with Jesus.

 

Dan 7:1-8

1  In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.

  1.  This dream occurs in the first year if Belshazzar’s reign as king over Babylon. It was around 553 B.C. Babylon fell in 567 B.C. Belshazzar, again, is Nabonidus’ co-regent in  Babylon . This chapter, occurs between chapter four and five , for chapter six is when Darius reigns and the Medo-Persian empire is established under Cyrus the Great.
  2. I believe that Daniel writes down the date of his vision on purpose so it would be understood as a sixth century writing and not a second century writing.
  3. This is a unique vision for it occurs in his dream

2  Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.

  1. The great sea is the nations of the world like in Revelation 13:1.
    1. For a better grasp on the nations referenced as the sea or waters look at:

i.      Revelation 17:1

                 ii.      In Daniel 7:17 the text says the beast will rise out of the nations, which is a support for this verse meaning nations as well.

iii.      Also in Revelation 17:1 , the two beasts come rising out of the sea, which refers to the nations.

  1. The four winds of heaven may represent God’s sovereign control over the situation as it unfolds. God controls those things which go on in the world, as he will also  “get the ball rolling” in this world event.
  2. When looking at the number four in Revelation, the text says that God has angels at the four corners of the earth ( Rev 7:1) It says “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the earth…” This is saying that God was not ready to act, for in the fullness of time He will act and has his rule.
  3. The Four corners; the great sea means the whole world, all nations. The sovereign and mighty power of God was starting to work among the nations is the four winds and it gets the nations stirred up, hence the coming forth of the first beast, the first mighty nation of Babylon, and coming after that three more mighty nations.

 

3  And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.

  1. The appearance of the four nations has now come : Babylon, Medo-persia, Greece, and Rome. These empires shall come out of the nations, the sea.
  2. 2.     7:17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.

 

4  The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it.

  1. This first beast is the empire of Babylon. This vision is describing the four world powers that will rise just as in Daniel 2. In Daniel 2: 38 Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold. Babylon is the golden head, and here the lion with eagles’ wings. (Daniel 2:32)
  2. A lion is a symbol of power. The lion is the king of all the beasts and it represents power and royalty. On the gates of Babylon there would be lions in the brick , showing the power of the kingdom.
  3. An eagle is the king of the skies. The eagle is the bird that rules the skies. So here, the thought is of the power behind this empire with a lion with eagles’ wings.
  4. For this next part, “ Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it.”
    1. All conservative Bible scholars agree and conclude that it is obvious that this refers to the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar in Chapter four of Daniel.

            i.      Daniel 4:33- “ Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with dew of heaven till his hear grew as long as the eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like a birds’ claw.

ii.      Daniel was so prideful in his ruling of the kingdom that he had to be humbled by God. This is what refers to the “plucking of the wings” of this lion.

iii.      After Nebuchadnezzar was humbled, he came back as king and the kingdom wasn’t the same. The kingdom lost their “beast like nature” and hence the verse finishes “ and it was lifted from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it.”

  1. I do believe it is here that king Nebuchadnezzar came to believe in God. I do believe that he came to trust in God and is now in heaven. When you look at his prayer and exultation to God I think his heart was genuine in trusting the One true God of the Bible.

i.      Daniel’s faithfulness to his God was the lasting example. What is your example like to the unsaved?

5  And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’

  1. The second beast is the Medo-Persian Empire. There is much dispute over this second kingdom for many critics say this second beast isn’t the empire of Medo-Persia, but in fact just the empire of Median.
    1. In Daniel 6:8,12, and 15, the Law of the Medes and the Persians is brought up. This is a very clear reference to the fact that these two empires were merged into one empire, the Medo-Persian Empire.
    2. The symbolism of a bear is interesting. A bear is not fast, or cunning like a lion and eagle. It isn’t agile or skillful. The bear is an animal of blunt ferocity and power.
    3. The text says “ It was raised up on one side.”The interpretation cannot be certain as if preached as doctrine. Based on history though, one can make certain assumptions and intelligent and logical hypothesis to what this means. From my study and an in depth look at many conservative Biblical commentaries I believe that this talks about the power of Persia being superior to that of Media as they joined into one empire.
      1. Persia overtook the Medes and took them into their nation and made it stronger. Persia was vastly superior to the Medes and the text “raised up on one side” means that Persia was more powerful and superior to the nation of Media.
      2. b.      It is interesting to look into Daniel 8:3- “ I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It has two horns and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.”  

                                                           i.      This passage is also talking about the Persian Empire being superior   to the Median. ( Daniel 8:20)

  1. 4.      “It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth,”cannot be taken dogmatically either. There are a few interpretations to this prophecy:
    1. a.      Some scholars say that is the three main components of the empire: Babylon, Persia, and Media.
    2. b.      Some scholars say that three ribs represent the three nations Cyrus conquered to unify Medo-Persia.

                                                                                      i.      Astyages- 550 B.C.

                                                                                    ii.      Anatolia – 547 B.C.

                                                                                  iii.      Croesus of Lydia – 547 B.C.

  1. c.       Some scholars say that the three ribs represent the three nations Medo-Persia conquered.

                                                                                      i.      Babylon- 539 B.C.

                                                                                    ii.      Lydia – 546 B.C.

                                                                                  iii.      Egypt – 525 B.C.

  1. 5.      The bear is then told “Arise and devour much flesh.”
    1. a.      Some scholars debate over whether this means to devour the flesh of the ribs in its mouth, or to arise and eat more flesh, more nations.

                                       i.      From my study I believe that this is showing the Medo-Persia will rise and devour more nations before being taken over by Greece and Alexander the Great.

                                       ii.      The text says “ between its teeth.” I believe that this is saying that these three ribs were already done, it was not only in its mouth, but gripped between its teeth and done, eaten, consumed.

                                      iii.      The flesh would be more nations that this empire of Medo-Persia could devour.

 

6  After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

  1. The third beast is the empire of Greece. Some liberal critics say that Greece cannot be the third beast. They distinguish Media and Persia as the second and third beasts, with Greece being the fourth beast.
  2. When you look at history, the description of the Grecian it is perfectly accurate with the third beast.
  3. There widely accepted view and conservative Biblical view of this passage is that Greece is the third beast. There is not much description about this third beast, but let’s look at what the text says:
    1. “After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings like a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

i.      “another like a leopard,”

  1. Leopards are often labeled as an animal that is swift, agile, and aggressive. It lies in wait for its pray and it attacks at the right times.
  2. Leopards are also very fast and able to move at quick intervals of time.

ii.      “with four wings like a bird on its back.”

  1. The four wings here add to the idea of movement. It is a fast moving and aggressive animal. With four wings, the animal is able to move very fast.

iii.      “and the beast had four heads”

  1. The four heads represent the four generals to which the kingdom was divided when Alexander the Great died. They also symbolize the intelligence of movement in the beast. The beast has four heads so it is able to look in all directions at the same time. It is fierce and smart/aware beast.
  2. Now to tie this in with Grecian History. The empire of Greece had one of the most profound and tactful military leaders in history. He was a young smart man who knew warfare tactics and by age 33 he had conquered the majority of the known world.
  3. The empire of Greece was described by the features of the third beast in these ways:

i.      “like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back.”

  1. This represents the agility and quickness by which Alexander the Great conquered the majority of the known world.
    1. Ex. King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the island fortress of Tyre for thirteen years and couldn’t subdue it. Alexander the great built land stretching to the island fortress and overtook it in seven months!
    2. By age 32, Alexander the Great had conquered most of the known world. Sadly, He died at age 33 because of an infection, Malaria, and died on his way back home.
    3. His first attack was in 335 B.C. and his last victory was in 322 B.C. before he died of infection.  So in 13 years Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world.

ii.      “and the beast had four heads”

  1. These four heads represent his four generals that were placed by him to keep sections of the land. These generals were:
    1. Lysimachus- Thrace, Bithynia,
    2. Cassander- Macedonia and Greece
    3. Seleucus- Syria, Babylonia, eastern part to India
    4. Ptolemy- Egypt, Palestine, Arabia

iii.      “and dominion was given to it.”

  1. This verse implies that God allowed it to have dominion in the fashion that it did.
  2. To look at Alexander the Greats conquests here is Zechariah 9:1-8

Zechariah 9:1-8

 

1  The burden of the word of the LORD is against

 the land of Hadrach and Damascus is its resting                                               

 place. For the LORD has an eye on mankind and                           Syria

 on all the tribes of Israel,2  and on Hamath also,

 which borders on it,

 

Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.

3  Tyre has built herself a rampart and heaped up

silver like dust, and fine gold like the mud of the

 streets.4  But behold, the Lord will strip her of her                        Phoenicia

possessions and strike down her power on the sea,

 and she shall be devoured by fire.

 

5  Ashkelon shall see it, and be afraid; Gaza too,

and shall writhe in anguish; Ekron also, because

its hopes are confounded. The king shall perish from

Gaza; Ashkelon shall be uninhabited;6  a mixed people                Philistia

shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of

 Philistia.7  I will take away its blood from its mouth,

and its abominations from between its teeth; it too

shall be a remnant for our God; it shall be like a clan

 in Judah, and Ekron shall be like the Jebusites.

 

 

8  Then I will encamp at my house as a guard, so that

 none shall march to and fro; no oppressor shall again                 Jerusalem

march over them, for now I see with my own eyes.

 

7  After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

  1. The main point of controversy today is the identity of the fourth beast. Some liberal skeptics say that this fourth beast is Greece under Alexander the Great.
  2. Conservative theologians would say it is Rome. I would personally agree to say the fourth beast is indeed Rome.
  3. The Roman Empire started in 241 B.C. when Rome conquered Sicily.
  4. To get into the text:
    1. “a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong.”

i.      The fourth beast is Rome. This verse shows the immensity of the empire of Rome. Rome was a vast empire that was ruthless and conquered to annihilate their enemy.

ii.      This beast was extremely strong and great. This empire conquered much territory and many nations.

  1. “it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet.”

i.      This verse here is was distinguishes the fourth beast to be Rome. This cannot describe the fourth beast to be Greece for Greece was exceedingly strong, but it did not devour nations.

ii.      Rome was a ruthless nation. It would conquer nations and then go back and kill thousands of people, enslave the people, and treat them as animals. This empire was a terrible and cruel nation.

iii.      Rome was the cruelest Gentile world power out of the four here in Daniel 7.

iv.      This nation would trample any nation that got in its way and it would ruthlessly kill thousands of people.

  1. “It was different from all the beasts that were before it”

i.      This beast was more cruel and bigger than any nation that had come before it.

ii.      Also the NT alludes to the empire in Daniel to being Rome. In Matthew 24:15 it refers to the abomination of desolation, the Anti- Christ, and how he will come and desecrate the temple. This is under the Roman Empire!

  1. “and it had ten horns”

i.      This is a hard part of the prophecy to really get a handle on. It is hard to say dogmatically what the ten horns are, but I believe there is a logical and rationale answer.

ii.      I believe the ten horns are ten nations that will rise up. These ten nations will be the Revived Roman Empire. Ten nations will comprise this empire. This empire will rise between the time of the Rapture of the church and the start of the Tribulation.

iii.      7:24  “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,”

iv.      Dan 2:44  “And in the days of those kings (ten nations) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,

  1. When referring back to Daniel 2, the ten toes are the ten nation revived Roman Empire. These ten toes , which are ten kings, are the ten horns in Daniel 7. It is a revived Roman Empire that will appear to blaspheme the name of the Lord.
  2. Daniel 2 is the same prophecy as Daniel 7 is:
    1. Golden Head = Babylon = Lion with eagles wings
    2. Silver Chest = Medo-Persia = Bear with three ribs
    3. Bronze thighs = Greece = Four headed leopard
    4. Iron legs = Rome = Fourth beast
    5. Iron and clay toes = Revived Roman Empire = 10 horns
    6. Stone = Jesus Christ = son of man given dominion

v.      Daniel 2 is essential to understanding this fourth beast and Daniel 7 in general. These passages go hand in hand and explain each other and they also aid to each other’s interpretation.

vi.      The last important concept to grasp from this is that Christ is the last kingdom that will destroy Rome. Christ will come back, destroy Rome, Israel’s enemy, and establish his kingdom, his 1000 year reign.

vii.      Timeline of events concerning future events:

  1. Christ comes and is crucified in 30 A.D.
  2. Church age begins, which is the gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel.
  3. Christ will come back, we will meet him in the air, commonly referred to as the rapture.
  4. God will put His plan for Israel back into motion.
  5. There will be a 7 year period ( the last week of Daniel) where God will draw his people back to Him.
    1. This seven year period is split up into two sections of three and a half years each.

i.      The first half God will show himself, but the nation of Israel will look to the anti-Christ to save them

ii.      The second half is when the anti-Christ breaks the covenant he establishes at the beginning of the 7 year period with Israel.

iii.      The second half of this 7 year period is where God will draw them to Himself

  1. Isaiah 53 says they will realize whom they have pierced.
  2. God will bring Israel back to Himself, at which time Christ will come down at the end of the 7 years and slay the enemies of Israel.
  3. God will usher all the survivors of the tribulation ( which will be all believers) and the tribulation, church, and OT saints into his kingdom, where he will reign on a literal throne in Jerusalem for 1000 years.
  4. At the end of those thousand years Christ will rise up and slay those who rebelled against him, this is the final battle. There will be the Great White Throne Judgment  ( judgment of all non- believers).
  5. Christ then brings down the new heavens and the new earth to where we will reside with Christ for eternity future!!

8  I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

  1. there came up among them another horn, a little horn”
    1. This little horn is the anti-Christ. Some would say it is Antiochus Epiphanes , but I would say that it is not. He is the little horn in Chapter 8:9. For it describes his conquest and how great he became as a ruler. Also this little horn comes out of Rome. Antiochus Epiphanes comes out of Greece.
    2. To better understand this passage you must read verses 24-26:

                                          i.      24 “ As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.25  He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.26  But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end.”

  1. 1.       another shall rise after them…shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out all the saints of the Most High…and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and a half a time ( 7 years)…but his dominion shall be taken away (by the Ancient of Days given to the son of man.)
  2. 2.      This passage describes the anti-Christ coming and blaspheming God. He will be given control for 7 years, he will persecute Israel, but eventually, after 7 years, God will bring back the son of man, Christ, and he will reign for 1000 years.
  3. 2.      “before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots.”
    1. a.      This detailed prophecy cannot be known much about. These events have no happened yet, but the Anti-Christ will come and take out three of the ten rulers in the Revived Roman Empire.
    2. b.      This could be analogous to the three  ribs in the bears mouth.
    3. c.       Somehow, we aren’t sure how, the Anti- Christ will come about and destroy three of the kings.
    4. d.      Read Revelation 13 to get more of a grasp on what the Anti-Christ does while he is given dominion for 7 years.
    5. 3.      “And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
      1. a.      This implies the intelligence of this anti-Christ.
      2. b.      To look at these great things of which the anti-Christ will speak look at Revelation 13:5

                                                                                      i.      He speaks haughty and blasphemous words.

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Biblical topics

 

“Recaptured”

Quite some time ago I heard the song “Recaptured” by Flame. For all those who don’t know, Flame is Christian rap artist who uses his God given abilities to create powerful lyrics to help us set our minds on Christ. His sing “Recaptured” has some very powerful lyrics and I thought I would share them with you. Regardless of one’s preference in music genres, read the lyrics and you will see how passionate he is about claiming the name of Christ faithfully and purely.

Man my heart is heavy/I feel a lot of pain
It’s been awhile now/Since ya’ll have heard from Flame
But God has been rocking your boy
But at the same time/I see Satan’s plot to destroy
And I know I ain’t the only one/For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son
And Satan tried to knock Him too/But when they knocked the nails in His hands Colossians 2
And 15/And yet I still see a common theme
That’s plaguing adults/And it’s plaguing the teens
When Jesus died/He did more than just give us some help
So help me understand/Why we still living for self
We live for our families/For our money and cause
We live for our happiness/For our pleasure is lord
But ain’t we seen yet/That that just doesn’t work
Living for self/Can only lead to dozens of hurts
squeezing my heart/Like a stethoscope
We’re taking steps towards death/But looking for hope
Because we were captured by sin
We were seized/And now we need to be captured again
That’s why we need to pick them Scriptures up
Start praying and fasting/And ask the Father to forgive us of
Forgive us of laziness/Forgive us Lord of our pride
Forgive us of worldliness/Forgive us/Cleanse us up inside
Cleanse us Lord from telling lies/Cleanse us from our selfishness
Cleanse us from our fear of man/We need more help in this
We confess our lack of love/We confess selfish ambition
We confess to You our lust/Oh Lord bring us to repentance

These are some powerful lyrics and I believe they are words that can often times be prayed. He says that God has been “rockin” him, but at the same time he sees Satan’s plot to destroy. Do not be nieve to think that Satan and his army of fallen angels are not real, and do not be nieve enough to think that they will not target growing Christians who are being “recaptured” by Jesus Christ. It is a very interesting time we live in today. It seems as though in today’s society we are being urged for self-pleasure, self-satisfaction, and self-love. I urge you brothers and sisters in Christ, remain faithful to the One who bought you with a price, remain faithful to He who has an infinitely deep love for you, and do not be captured by the world’s lusts and pleasures.

Here are some AWESOME verses on keeping away from Satan’s plot to destroy and living in the light of Christ:

Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-3; Philippians 3:7-8; 1 John 2:1-2

 

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized