Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Daniel | Session 5 | 3:1-30

Today we finish up Daniel 3 and see how God delivered the three Hebrew men as they remained faithful to Him in trusting that He was indeed able. We also take a closer look at several types in the Bible that points to God's deliverance of His people. 

Chapter 3
This chapter is full of what we call foreshadowing or typology. A type in Scripture is a person or thing in the Old Testament that foreshadows a person or thing in the New Testament. For example, the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6—7) is used as a type of baptism in 1Pe_3:20-21. The word for “type” that Peter uses is figure. In other words, just like the flood cleansed the world of sin, so baptism represents a spiritual cleansing of sin. 

The types in this chapter foreshadow the resistance of the Jews to the worship of the Antichrist during the time of Daniel's 70th Week (Tribulation). 1. King Nebuchadnezzar is a type of the Antichrist. 2. The three Hebrew children represent the 144,000 Jews God will seal and protect during the Tribulation. 3. The golden image represents the image of the Antichrist that will be set up in the rebuilt Jewish temple. 4. The fiery furnace represents the Great Tribulation. 5. Daniel could represent the Church, which will not be around during the Great Tribulation.

Image of Gold Made 
vv.1-7 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. (2)  Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. (3)  Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (4)  Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, (5)  That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: (6)  And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (7)  Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. In response to the dream, Nebuchadnezzar made the image of gold. Whether this was a representation of his dream, himself, or something else, we do not know. Randy White suggests that it is actually an obelisk, or possibly even an Asherah pole considering the 10/1 dimensions (2Ki 18:1-4). Asherah Poles were to the Canaanite mother goddess, Asherah. They were sometimes just stylized trees. Thus in the KJV, it is translated as groves. She was tied to the Tree of Life and fertility. Some mythology views her as the wife of El or Yahweh. Either way, it's amazing to me, how soon old Neb forgot the God of Daniel (Dan 2:46-47). 

Civil Disobedience
vv.8-13 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. (9)  They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. (10)  Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: (11)  And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (12)  There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (13)  Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. To my knowledge, this is the first time that we see civil disobedience in the Bible. Were they justified in their refusal to bow? After all, the Bible does speak in strong language in regards to being obedient to those who are over us in Col 3:22 and Heb 13:17. But then we also see Peter and the other apostles saying in Act 5:29, We ought to obey God rather than men. Obviously, by their example, there are times when God has to be placed first. 

Another Chance
vv.14-15 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? (15)  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? From these verses, we must conclude that the king did feel fond of these guys by offering them another chance. After all, that was not his reputation. 

Faith
vv.16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. (17)  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. (18)  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Notice the faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Faith is obedience even when you are unsure of the outcome! Faith is doing it when it is the right thing to do. 

Kings Anger
v.19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. Notice the King's anger. Many see this as just how bad the Great Tribulation will be (Mat 24:21).

Able to Protect
vv.20-25 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. (21)  Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. (22)  Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (23)  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. (24)  Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. (25)  He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. The three Hebrew boys knew that God was able to protect them (v.17). That is the perfect balance in my opinion. Living the Christian life on the brink. On the one hand, we know that God can deliver us if so He chooses. On the other hand, we are determined to stand for Him even if He chooses not to. Either way, God is always faithful. 

Jesus Walks in the Midst
Notice that the only things that burned were the ropes binding them. Jesus still walks with us in the midst of our crises. If the type holds true, it shows how God is going to protect them during Daniel's 70th Week (Rev 12:1-6).

Attitude Adjustment
vv.26-29 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. (27)  And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. (28)  Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. (29)  Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Attitude adjustment time (cf. v.15). The Babylonians believed in trials by ordeal. If you were accused of something and the punishment killed you, they presumed you were guilty. If you survived, you were presumed innocent.

Where's Daniel
v.30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. Daniel isn't mentioned at all in this chapter. He would never have bowed to the image, so we have to conclude that he wasn't there. Still assuming that Daniel is a type of the church, he was spared from fire; i.e., Tribulation. 

Old Testament Types
1. Abraham's Plea (Gen 18:23-25).
2. Lot's Escape (Gen 19:22).

Nowhere do we see in the Bible the righteous being judged with the wicked by God (Luk 17:28-30; 2Pe 2:4-7; 1Th 5:9).

3. The Flood of Noah

The flood of Noah is also an excellent type of God's people being delivered before judgment comes.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Acts Study | Session 12 | 4:19-37

Today we continue our study in the book of Acts by taking a look at Acts 4:19-37 where we see the apostles praying for boldness, the disciples selling all of their possessions to make sure that no one went without, and most importantly, discuss why they did this, and what if any of this has application for the church today.

VERSE 19-22: But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. (20)  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (21)  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. (22)  For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. Again, we see that they are still focused on the healing of the lame man in the previous chapter. Les Feldick points out that the age of the man could be God's way of pointing out again that they were still being tested as that the number means testing in the Bible. In other words, Israel is still on trial here. Of course, we know through the gift of hindsight, that they failed, and God went on to call out from the Gentiles a people for his name (Acts 15).

Of course, that is precisely what He has been doing for the past 1900 years or so through the church; the Body of Christ. During which time, Israel has been blinded because of their rejection of the King and his Kingdom (2Co 3:13-14). Rom 11:7 also mentions this. Unfortunately, many incorrectly believe this is referring to the Body of Christ. No, the elect in context is referring to Jewish Kingdom believers.

VERSE 23-28: And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. (24)  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: (25)  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? (26)  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (Psalm 2) (27)  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (the entire human race is guilty) (28)  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. Notice the last part of v.28 where it says thy counsel determined before to be done. In other words, God before eternity even began knew that the Jewish nation was reject the Messiah and he allowed it to happen so as to not forfeit their free will. And that plan was the Body of Christ made up of Jew and Gentile (Acts 2:23). The crucifixion did not catch God by surprise. He knew what they would do. It was foreordained. Foreordained means appointed or decreed beforehand. In other words, it was allowed because it fulfilled God's purpose.

This explains Eph 1:11. By the way, that word predestined has nothing to do with salvation. The only predestination that we have as the Body of Christ is to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom 8:29). Paul was speaking of the same thing when he said in 2Ti 1:9, Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, If you or I are a children of God, it is because it was in the purpose of God for us to be so. We were saved for a purpose.

Everyone today is trying to find their purpose, but when they don't find it in Christ, they go it alone and do all kinds of crazy things. If we do not give ourselves to Christ, we will give ourselves to something else, i.e., activism, weird eating habits, politics. Why? Trying to find our God-ordained purpose. It will never be found outside of Christ, my friend.

VERSES 29-31: And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, (30)  By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. (31)  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. Notice their prayer for boldness. Why? They were getting ready to defy the local authorities who told them in v.17 that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. I don't know if I would call this civil disobedience, maybe sacred disobedience would be a better term.

VERSES 32: And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. A few things come to mind. First, all of those churches today that want to get back to Pentecost are not doing this, nor should they, this was the Kingdom Church. Second, they did it because they believed that the Second Coming was close, i.e., Tribulation, Second Coming, Kingdom according to Psalm 2. Sadly, it did not end well, because ultimately the nation rejected the kingdom offer and they began to starve (Rom 15:25-26; 1Co 16:1-3). Third, they were obeying Christ when he said in Mat 19:21.

I can't tell you how many Bible teachers I have heard that have mocked this decision. You know why? Because they think these early disciples, including the Apostles,  just didn't know what was going on. No, they knew full well what was going on. The problem is that most of the church today does not rightly divide!

VERSES 33-37: And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (34)  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, (35)  And laid them down at the apostles' feet (notice that they apostles were in full cooperation with this): and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (36)  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, (37)  Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet (not the pastor's or the deacon's feet). Nothing about this a language that pertains to the church today, nothing. I am sure that there are some, but how many of you have had a pastor ask you to sell everything that you have and give it to the church?

Chapter 5
Les Feldick shared the following: William R. Newell, in this book "Paul Verses Peter: Remarks on Galatians 1 -2" who taught in the 1920s and 30s said, "Is it not strange that 16 or 17 chapters of the Book of Acts (if we include Chapter 9 and of course that is where Saul is converted), is given to that apostle who was not one of the original twelve. He was not converted until long after Pentecost. Must there not be a deep reason for this? And what is the reason? One thing is certainly evident already, and that is we Gentiles have a relation to Paul that we do not have to the other apostles. Exactly what that is we must prayerfully seek to discover."

Mid-Acts folks constantly get accused of making too much of Paul. In reality, it is not that we are "making much of Paul", as it is that we understand that Peter and Paul had different ministries. Peter to the House of Israel and Paul to the Gentiles. It was settled at the Council of Jerusalem in Act 15:1-14; Act 15:19; Act 15:22-23.  Paul made referred to it in Gal 2:1-9.

Sadly, those of us who have the necessity of making this distinction between the ministries of Paul and Peter - the Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of the Kingdom, are accused of being at best trouble makers; i.e., you are dividing the body,  and at worst heretics. Seriously, just because we disagree as to when the church started! Grow up!  Our view only calls into question your covenant or charismatic theology as the case may be.

If you still believe that there is no difference between the church today and the church then, let's look at chapter 5 because God is killing people who misrepresent Him by pretending to do something they did not. If He were still doing this, most churches would be even more empty then they are now.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Daniel | Session 4 | 2:44-3:13

In today's study, we wrap up chapter 2 where Daniel interprets the king's dream, and he and his companions are rewarded. Then we see in chapter 3, that the king's memory of the God of Daniel was relatively short-lived in that he decided to make an image that everyone was to worship on pain of death. 

The Ten Kings
VERSE 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. These kings refer to the ten kings in the previous verses (v.41). The Bible teaches that in the Tribulation days the Roman Empire will rise up out of the dust under the leadership of the Antichrist in Rev 13:1. Many believe that the European Community is the beginning of the fulfillment of this. It may or may not be. But the important thing to take away here is that at the end of this final world empire, God will set up His kingdom!

The Second Coming
VERSE 45: Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. The second coming of Christ is in Rev 19:11-16. Many believe that chapter 2 gives us the human viewpoint on the Gentile powers - they are a great image (statue) and chapter 7 gives us the divine viewpoint - they are wild beasts. And by putting the two chapters together we get a complete picture of the "times of the Gentiles."

Quality of Metals
I want you to notice something that I noticed. Notice that the quality of the metals decreases but the strength of the metals increases. I believe that the symbolism indicates that the autocratic control of the kingdoms will decrease, while the military strength of each kingdom will increase. 

1. Head of Gold = Babylon 
2. Arms of Silver= Media-Persia 
3. Belly of Brass= Greece 
4. Legs of Iron= Rome
5. Feet of Iron & Clay= Future Kingdom of Antichrist 

Cf. Rev. 17:9-11

Nebuchadnezzar's Response
VERSES 46-49: Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed with Daniel's interpretation that he decided to make him "ruler over the province of Babylon...and "over all the wise men of Babylon". Notice the results of Daniel's courage: 1. King honored Daniel. 2. He honored Daniel's God. 3. He rewarded Daniel. 4. He promoted Daniel. 5. He rewarded Daniel's friends. 

The phrase "Daniel sat in the gate of the King" (v. 49) means that he served as a ruler in the King's cabinet or government. To "sit in the gate" back then meant to be in the most prominent place of authority in the city (Gen_19:1).

Conclusion
God used Daniel to change the King's heart, mind, and will. Daniel prayed to God and then told the King the truth. That's what we need today- people who will pray for our leaders and tell them the truth. God will take care of the rest.

Chapter 3
This chapter is full of what we call foreshadowing or typology. A type in Scripture is a person or thing in the Old Testament that foreshadows a person or thing in the New Testament. For example, the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-7) is used as a type of baptism in 1Pe 3:20-21. The word for “type” that Peter uses is figure. In other words, just like the flood cleansed the world of sin, so baptism represents a spiritual cleansing of sin. The types in this chapter foreshadow the resistance of the Jews to the worship of the Antichrist during the time of Daniel's 70th Week (Tribulation).

1. King Nebuchadnezzar is a type of the Antichrist.
2. The three Hebrew children represent the 144,000 Jews God will seal and protect during the Tribulation.
3. The golden image represents the image of the Antichrist that will be set up in the rebuilt Jewish temple.
4. The fiery furnace represents the Great Tribulation.
5. Daniel represents the Church, which will not be around during the Great Tribulation.

Image of Gold Made 
vv.1-7 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. (2)  Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. (3)  Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (4)  Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, (5)  That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: (6)  And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (7)  Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. In response to the dream, Nebuchadnezzar made the image of gold. Whether this was a representation of his dream or of himself, we do not know. It's amazing to me, how soon old Neb forgot the God of Daniel (Dan 2:46-47).  

Civil Disobedience
vv.8-13 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. (9)  They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. (10)  Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: (11)  And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (12)  There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (13)  Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. To my knowledge, this is the first time that we see civil disobedience in the Bible. Were they justified in their refusal to bow? After all, the Bible does speak in strong language in regards to being obedient to those who are over us in Col 3:22; Heb 13:17. But then we also see Peter and the other apostles said in Acts 5:29, We ought to obey God rather than men. Obviously, by their example, there are times when God has to be placed first. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Word of God, Session 3

Today we continue our study on how the Word of God came to us by looking at some proofs of inspiration.


Teaching Notes
Proofs of Inspiration
There are several proofs as to the inspiration of the Bible. These include the Bible itself, its indestructibility, its transmission, fulfilled prophecy, scientific accuracy, history and the lives that have been transformed because of it.

1. The Bible Itself
The first proof offered is the Bible itself. Paul said in 2Ti 3:16 that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." As a matter of fact, the term "thus says the Lord" is found over 3800 times in the Bible.

2. Indestructibility
Second, the inspiration of the Bible is seen in its indestructibility. It has survived throughout the centuries in spite of all events to the contrary. For example, the Roman emperor, Diocletian, made a decree that all Bibles were to be destroyed in 303 A.D. His reasoning was simply that if Christians were "people of the Book"; once the book was removed, Christians would cease to exist. He even went so far as to raise a pillar to his "success" that said, "Extincto Nomene Christianorum" which means "the name Christian is extinguished." Ironically, only 25 years later, the new Roman Emperor, Constantine, commissioned 50 copies of the Bible to be prepared at government expense.

Voltaire, the French infidel, once said "that in one hundred years from his time that "Christianity would be a thing of the past and that the only Bible left on earth would be in a museum." As a God-hater who greatly despised the Bible, he was sorely mistaken in that statement. The Bible today is still the number one bestseller of all time! 

Josh McDowell refers to these things as "historic irony". He made a quote that "We might as well put our shoulder to the burning wheel of the sun, and try to stop it on its flaming course, as an attempt to stop the circulation of the Bible.

The Bible itself speaks of its own indestructibility. Isaiah 40:8 says "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." Also, in Matthew 24:35, Jesus said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Other references include 
Isa 55:11; 59:21; Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17. 

3. Transmission
Another proof of the inspiration of the Bible is in the way in which it has been passed down through the centuries through the copying of the autographs or what is known as transmission. It's obvious that God has preserved His Word by the hands of dedicated copyists. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 revealed that the copies of the Scripture that we hold in our hands today are incredibly accurate when compared to the oldest known copies. However, with this discovery came even older extant copies that date back to the first century B.C.

The scribes and the scholars who did most of the copying over the centuries took surprising steps to ensure accuracy. For example, copies of the Pentateuch which were meant to be read in the synagogues were written on skins. These rolls were to be sewn together with string made from clean animals and prepared only by a Jew. Everyone was to contain a certain number of columns and they were not to be shorter than forty-eight lines and not more than sixty lines and the breadth was not to be more than thirty letters. It was to also be written in only black ink. 

They were so careful with the process that in order for a copy to be considered authentic and worthy to be read in the synagogue, there could not be even one deviation from the original codex. Also, "no word or letter, not even a yot, must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him."

Furthermore, it was stated that the copyist "must also sit in full Jewish dress throughout the entire process, wash his whole body, and to also not begin the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink, and should a king address him while writing that name he must take no notice of him." The rolls that failed to meet the above criterion were condemned to be buried, burned or banished to the schools to be used as reading-books. This method of copying continued until the invention of the "movable-type printing press by Johann Gutenberg in Germany in the 15th century. As a matter of fact, the first major book to be printed for distribution was the Bible! It was known as the Gutenberg Bible.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Acts Study | Session 11 | 4:1-18

Today we pick up in our study in Acts 4 after Peter and John had been arrested and were standing before the Sadducees. Their arrest was the direct result of their insistence that Jesus had risen from the dead. The problem was that the Sadducees did not believe in the possibility of a resurrection.
  
His message will be interrupted in the next verses because they had offended the Sadducees. 

Chapter 4
VERSE 1-2: And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees were offended because they did not believe in the resurrection, so as far as they were concerned, Peter was preaching heresy. They also rejected any idea of spirits or angels. The Sadducees were the liberals of the day in that they were much more concerned with material things such as politics and economics. They also served as the high priests as descendants of Aaron.  

Their opposites were the Pharisees, their name literally means the separated. They were much more focused on keeping the letter of the Law and naturally tended more toward legalism. That may be a little too simple, but that is basically it. Paul exploited their differences in regard to the resurrection in Act 23:6-9. 

VERSES 3-4: And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. Notice that many of them which heard the word believed. What word? The Kingdom Gospel. 

VERSES 5-6: And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. Some will point out at this point a possible historical error here in that it says Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas. Historically, Annas was a high priest but he was removed and replaced by his son-in-law, Caiaphas by the Roman Governor. So, it appears to have been a family deal or that Annas still wielded a lot of political clout in spite of having been replaced. As a matter of fact, five of his sons served as high priests later. 

VERSE 7: And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Notice that they are still transfixed on the healing of the lame begger in the previous chapter.

VERSE 8-10: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Peter, of course, knew that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection and made no bones about throwing it in their faces at this point. He has certainly come a long way from that guy who denied the Lord three times. 

VERSE 11: This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. This is a reference to Psa 118:22. There is a legend that says that when they were building Solomon's Temple, the quarry sent the chief cornerstone, but he builders either were not ready for it and mistook it for something else. As it lay in the field and became overgrown, it became a stumbling stone to everyone who walked by it. Either way, it is a great example of what Christ had become to the nation: a stone of stumbling because they were not ready for him or mistook him for someone else. Jesus referred to this as well in Mat 21:42. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied of this in Isa 8:11-14. Peter also refers to this later in 1Pe 2:6-8. 

Peter is clearly, unapologetically, telling them that Jesus was their Messiah and, whether they choose to believe it or not, he had risen from the dead. At this point, it would have been nice if the Sadducees had just taken the time to question their assumptions, but they did not, like so many today. I watched a video with Rodney Beaulieu explaining that it is really futile to attempt to explain right- division without first creating a dilemma, i.e., an apparent contradiction.  

We went over some of these in our earlier study in the introduction of the book. Compare Act 2:38 and Act 16:31; Act 2:45 and Act 11:29; Act 12:11 and Act 26:32; Act 2:4 and Act 28:25. Any attempt to force right-division on them would be a waste of time. It is hard to give something to someone who does not think they need it. 

And there are more "apparent" contradictions that create a dilemma. Compare Mat 20:28 and 1Ti 1:4-6; Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16; Act 13:39 and Jas 2:24. Again, until someone sees these things, they will see no need for what we are saying. 

VERSE 12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Everyone who claims today that there can be salvation outside of Christ has deceived themselves and possibly many others. Jesus told the nation of Israel that he was the only way to salvation in Mat 7:12-14. This is both true through the Kingdom Gospel and the Grace Gospel. In Christ Alone! 

VERSE 13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Notice how they believed that Peter and John were unlearned and ignorant. Note: the word ignorant in the Greek is idiotes. Why? Probably because they were teaching things that none of them had heard when they were in seminary. The same holds true today when we say something they didn't learn in their seminaries, e.g., the Body of Christ was not born in Acts 2. Yep, that will get an unlearned and ignorant look for sure. Why? Because it wasn't what they were taught, therefore, we must be unlearned and ignorant. 

But notice what they did realize about Peter and John: they had been with Jesus! They might be unlearned and ignorant, but they had been with Jesus. Randy White points out that this doesn't mean anything spiritual but that they, as determined by their teaching, had been with Jesus. Either way, may that forever be said of us! 

VERSE 14-17: And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. Yet, for all of the unlearnedness and ignorance that they believed Peter and John had, there was a man standing before them that had been obviously been healed, and they could say nothing against it. You would think that this would be the turning point! Nope. In spite of all that they had seen, they still conferred among themselves as to how they could do to stop it. Seriously? Sad, isn't it. That filthy man will go out of his way to destroy and deny the work of God. Why? Jesus said that it was because their father was the Devil (Joh 8:44). The same is true for you and me today in that we constantly, or at least we should be, dealing with men who simply know not God (1Th 4:5; 2Th 1:8), pure and simple. 

VERSE 18: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy, said the other day at a Presidential Briefing, "God put Trump in the White House, we should be reading our Bibles", and the heathen left went crazy claiming violations of the separation of church and state. Mainstream media, like CNN immediately cut away when he mentioned the word, God, by the way. Why do you think that our society does not like the name Jesus? You can say "God", but not Jesus. Why? Because the name Jesus is divisive for good reason (Isa 45:23; Rom 14:11; Php 2:10).

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Word of God, Session 2

Today we continue our study on how the Word of God came to us by looking a little closer at the issue of inspiration.


Teaching Notes
That leads us to our next subject; which is inspiration. Obviously, one can have a revelation without it necessarily resulting in inspiration, but one cannot have inspiration without first having received a revelation. The word "inspired" literally means "God-breathed" or as Erickson puts it, "breathed into by the Holy Spirit". It is seen in 2Ti 3:16 where it says that "All Scripture is inspired by God." 

The inspiration spoken of here is more than just that of an artist or a musician being inspired to create something. Instead, it is a unique event in which God speaks words to man and man in turn, writes those words down. When speaking of these words as contained in the Bible, Peter said in 2Pe 1:16-21 that the Bible is the "prophetic word made more sure". In the context of that statement, Peter had just stated that even though he and the others who were him had seen Christ transfigured before them on the mountain (Mat 17:2-5); their testimony was not to be compared to the testimony of the Bible itself. In other words, the Bible, by its own claim to inspiration, is always the superior witness.

A. Views of Inspiration

There are several views as to inspiration that we are going to briefly look at. 

1. First, there is the natural view which totally denies any supernatural element in the process. Those who hold this view merely see the Bible as a great work of art on the level of Shakespeare or any other great artist. 

2. A second view is that of partial inspiration which believes that while not all of the Scriptures are inspired, some are. 

3. The third view is what is called conceptual inspiration. In this view, it's not necessarily the words themselves that are inspired, but the concept behind those words, i.e. the overall message. 

4. A fourth view is what some would call encounter inspiration. In other words, the Bible "becomes" inspired to each individual reader as they "encounter" perceived truth. 

5. And finally, there is the correct view which is called plenary verbal inspiration.

a. In this view, not only is the message of the Bible inspired, but the very words of that message are inspired. 

b. The word "plenary" simply means "full" or "all".

c. The word "verbal" actually means "by means of words" or "word for word". Jesus said in Luk 16:17 "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." That same language is found in Mat 5:18 where it says, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." The word for "tittle" in this verse is the Hebrew word iota and the word for "stroke" is the Hebrew word keraia. The iota, or jot as it is sometimes called, refers to the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet which is a small appendage that differentiates two similar letters. In our English language, it would almost be the equivalent of what we would call the dotting of an "I" and the crossing of a "T".

Now, some would argue that verbal inspiration of necessity requires dictation. Grudem is quick to point out that even though the words in the Bible are indeed God's words, we are talking more about the "result" than the actual words themselves. He further points out that God actually used a "wide variety of processes" to bring about the desired "result".

However, that is not to say that dictation is not to be found in Scripture. It is obvious from the text at times that the author did indeed pen the words verbatim as they were spoken to him. For example in Rev 2:1 it says, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;" It's obvious from the text that the Apostle John was told emphatically to write exactly what the angel said to write. In the end, it means that God made sure that the human personalities and the individual writing styles of each were under the oversite of God and He directed each of them to write exactly what He wanted them to write. Therefore, plenary verbal inspiration simply means that all of the words in the Bible are God-breathed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Daniel | Session 3 | 2:1-43

Today we pick up our study in Daniel 2 and cover vv.1-43. This chapter is primarily about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah not only revealing the dream to King Nebuchadnezzar but also giving the interpretation which lays out the future of the Gentile nations and the future Kingdom of God. 

Chapter 2
VERSE 1: And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. In other words, he could not fall back to sleep because the things that he had dreamed of began to disturb and trouble him. I am sure that we can all relate to this. 

What we see here in these verses is that God is using a pagan monarch to set forth the course of the Gentile nations from Nebuchadnezzar's day right down to the end of the age and to the establishment of the Kingdom. So, King Nebuchadnezzar begins to have these dreams night after night.

Unable to Interpret 
VERSES 2-5: Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. In other words, "You are to tell me the dream and the interpretation of it." Of course, they were not up to the challenge. If anything, this proves that the Devil is not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. The Devil had no way of knowing what the king had dreamt and therefore was unable to tell it to his little stooges.

Testing the Wise Men
VERSES 6-8: But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. In other words, the king is saying that he had forgotten the dream. This may or may not have been the truth, because he may very well have been putting his "wise men" to the test! Finally, he accuses them of stalling for time, because their heads had been put on the line. 

Not Really Forgotten
VERSE 9: But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. This verse leads me to believe that he had not really forgotten the dream, but was testing them.

VERSES 10-11: The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. They admitted that they couldn't do it unless he gave them more information. It sounds like their God's were not big enough to me. 

Everybody Was in Trouble
VERSES 12-13: For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. Now, not only are all of the wise men in Babylon in trouble, but also Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah because they were wise men too. Remember back in chapter one it told us that the reason these young princes were brought to Babylon was to be educated so that they might serve in the king's palace (Dan 1:4).

Time to Pray
VERSES 14-18: Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. So, Daniel figures that it is time to pray!

Answered Prayer
VERSE 19: Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. God heard their prayers and granted them mercy. So, Daniel and his friends rejoice. Not only because their lives had been spared, but also the lives of the otherwise men.

Notice that by God answering Daniel's prayers, it not only benefited him but also all of the otherwise men in the kingdom. The Bible says that it "rains upon the just and the unjust." Because God blesses His people; those around them get blessed too! I believe that God's people are the glue that holds families, communities, and even nations together. 

He Is Able
VERSE 20: Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: You see, God was able to do what man in his wisdom and might could not. We need to learn from this; when the blessings of God are upon us we need to express praise and gratitude knowing that it was not us but all Him! 

Praising God
VERSES 21-23: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter. Imagine, one minute your life is at stake and the next minute God saved it. 
That had to have been what these young men felt. Theologically, this is called a doxology which is a spontaneous expression of praise.

There is a God in Heaven
VERSES 24-28: Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; Look at what Daniel says in v.28, But there is a God in heaven. Here is Daniel, a slave, standing before the world's ruling monarch declaring the power of God. Man, I wish that the church was better at this. Sadly many Christians have a difficult enough time just praying over their food in a public place. We need to remind men every chance that we get that there is a God in heaven! Better yet, we need to live like there is a God in Heaven!

The Latter Days
Notice in v.28 that it says that God will show him what shall be in the latter days. King Neb's dream covers a period from 600 BC until the day in which you and I live, and right on down to the establishment of the Kingdom. 

Daniel's Humility 
VERSES 29-30: As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Notice the humility of Daniel when he says, But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living.

The Great Image
VERSE 31: Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. From this point on we will study this great image which has to do with the Gentile Age which began officially with the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 600 BC and will continue until the return of Christ in Revelation 19.

Though I do not believe that we need to necessarily be looking for signs, certainly there are things going on that point to the possible end of the Gentile age; specifically the restoration of Israel as a nation in March of 1948 (Eze 37:1-14). And I believe that a second was in 1967 when during the Six-Day War when Jerusalem was liberated from Gentile control. This may be, or not, a fulfillment of Luk 21:24. Today Israel is an independent nation.

Interpretation of the Dream
VERSES 32-35: This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. So, here is the image. It is made of gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay.

VERSE 36: This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Now Daniel begins the interpretation. Remember that the King wanted him reveal the dream and then interpret it.

The Head of Gold
VERSES 37-38: Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. The head of gold is Babylon. Easy enough as that he said as much. 

Breast and Arms of Silver
VERSE 39: And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. Next would come a kingdom that was inferior to Babylon followed by another that will bear rule over all the earth. Now we know historically that after the fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia rose to power under Cyrus followed by the rise of Greece under Alexander the Great. 

Legs of Iron 
VERSE 40: And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. Now we come to the fourth world empire which was Rome. Rome's power began about 150 BC and ran until about 450 AD when finally the barbarians broke the power and the authority of Rome. And she like Babylon, Persia, and Greece, disintegrated politically. Notice, that I used the word politically. There is still an aspect of the Roman Empire that has never disintegrated and that is the spiritual aspect. Religious Rome is still very much alive today through the Catholic Church and is still headed by the Pope. Many see this in the two legs represented by the statue: Political Rome and Spiritual Rome. 

The Ten Toes
VERSES 41-43: And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. Notice that this empire, which represents the feet, is made up of iron (Rome) that is mixed in with the clay. What does this mean? To me, and many, this means that there will be a Revived Roman Empire in the last days. The book of Revelation speaks to this in Rev 17:10-12. Revelation 17:12 says that it will only last for one hour. I believe this is reflected in that iron and clay cannot bond together.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Word of God, Session 1

Today we begin a new study looking at the Bible and how it came to us by dealing with the first issue of revelation or how God revealed Himself to us.


Teaching Notes
Heb_4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The Word of God is central to the whole of the Christian faith. I would submit to you that the entirety of our faith rests upon it. To adequately understand the topic, we must look closer at the issues of revelation (both general and special), inspiration (both views and proofs), inerrancy, and ultimately canonization. 

Before we can discuss the issue of inspiration, the issue of revelation must be addressed, because it comes first in the sequence of events. In general, the word revelation speaks of a disclosing of information that could not have been known otherwise. In regards to revelation, there are two types of revelation that must be dealt with before we proceed: they are general and special. Both speak of situations in which God is revealing Himself to some extent.

General revelation is by definition, "God's disclosure of Himself in nature as the creator and sustainer of all things." It comes through nature (Psa 19:1-6), conscience (Rom 2:14-15), and history (Deu 28:9-10). It is seen by all men. Barnabas and Paul asked, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. "In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness" (Act 14:15-17).

As such, it leaves all men without an excuse. Paul said in Rom 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." It's that "natural knowledge of God that is the basis for divine judgment." However, ultimately, general revelation is not enough. While it does indeed point to God, it is insufficient to reveal the totality of God and His ultimate plan. 

On the other hand, special revelation is when God reveals Himself to men "directly in a personal way." It is information that cannot be learned any other way, but through God (1Co 2:14) and it must be accepted by faith (Rom 10:17). Swindoll and Zuck point out that it was necessary as that it would have been impossible for Adam and Eve to just look around at God's creation in the garden and have been able to surmise from creation alone what God's will and purpose for their lives was. God had to have eventually communicated with them by using words. 

The conclusion would be that the ultimate form of special revelation is the Bible itself; for it is the Bible that contains the gospel that is necessary for salvation. Thus is the urgency of getting out the gospel (Rom 10:13-15). It is only through special revelation that we are able to "learn the truth about God that cannot be known or discovered by general revelation alone."

The Passover Lamb 2020

Today in celebration of the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, we take a look at Exodus 12 to see how he fulfilled everything for us in regards to the Passover Lamb.


Teaching Notes
A New Month
Exodus 12:1-2: And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. The Lord marks this new beginning for Israel by rearranging the calendar and the month of Abib becomes the beginning of their year. Today, it is known by the Jews as the month of Nisan. The name change took place during the Babylonian captivity, and they pronounced it "Nissanu."

The Lord's Passover
vv.3-28 God is giving them instruction for an observance that should take place every year. This may all seem like just a bit of Jewish history until we read the words of John the Baptist in Joh 1:29 and Paul's words in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 when he calls Jesus "Christ our Passover Lamb" (1Co 5:7-8). In every detail, the Passover looks back to the time that God's judgment passed over the houses with the lamb's blood on them and looked forward to the ultimate Passover sacrifice of the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ.

Selected on the 10th Day of Nisan
1. Notice that the Lamb was to be selected on the 10th day of Nisan (Exo 12:3). We also know that on that very same day, Nisan 10, 32 AD, Jesus told his disciples to go and lose the colt in Mat 21:2. That very same day, Jesus entered the eastern gate voluntarily submitting himself to be the sacrificial Lamb fulfilling Passover.

Unblemished Male
2. Notice that the Lamb was to be an unblemished male (Ex 12:5). Unblemished means to not be damaged or marked in any way; perfect. So too, Jesus was unblemished by sin (Joh 18:38; 1Pe 1:19)

Kept for 3.5 Days
3. Notice also that the Passover Lamb was be kept among them for what amounted to 3 ½ days (Exo 12:6). So too, entered the city on the 10th, walked the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½  days before be was arrested, tried, and sentenced on the 14th day of Nisan. 

Killed on the 14th of Nisan
4. Notice that the Lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth of Nisan at evening (Exo 12:6).vSo too, Jesus was killed at evening on the 14th day of Nisan. The same ones who cried, "Hosanna", at His triumphal entry three days later cried, "Crucify Him!"

Blood Applied
5. Notice that the blood of the Lamb was to be applied to the top and sides of the door (Exo 12:7; Heb 9:12).

Roasted in Fire
6. Notice that the Lamb was to be roasted in fire (Exo 12:8). So too, Jesus endured the fire of God's judgment, taking the punishment for the world's sin upon Himself. He literally became the burnt offered for the world, therefore, paying our sin debt. In the Old Testament, the burnt offering was made twice per day to atone for the sins of the nation. It was the first offering that Noah made when he exited the ark in Gen 8:20 and when Abraham offered up his son, Isaac, in Gen 22:2. Therefore, Jesus became our burnt offering to permanently atone or take away our sins. He satisfied our sin debt.

Eat the Lamb
7. Notice that they had to eat the Lamb (Exo 12:11). We too must appropriate and internalize Jesus Christ. For centuries the church has done this through the communion table (1Co 11:24-25). For most, this has been purely symbolic, while for some, it has been literal. Either way, the entire event looked forward to a New Covenant that God is going to make with the Nation of Israel one day and has very little to do with the Body of Christ.

None of Its Bones Broken
8. Notice that none of the lamb's bones were to be broken (Exo 12:46). In the crucifixion account, none of Jesus' bones were broken (Joh 19:31-36).

Ready to Go
9. Notice also that they were to eat the lamb ready to go (Exo 12:11). We too should live our lives ready to go (1Th5:2). We too should be ready to go at a moment's notice!

God's Judgment
10. Notice also that the blood on the household caused God's judgment to pass over the home (Exo 12:13). So too, when except what Christ did for us on the cross, judgment passes over us (Heb 9:13-14; Eph 2:13). The only way for any of us to escape the judgment of God is to apply the blood to our hearts (Rom 2:3)

No Yeast to be Found
11. Notice that once the Lamb was killed, no leaven was to be eaten or even found in the house (Exo 12:15). Leaven in the Bible is always a picture of sin. Once we have accepted the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf, we will not by any stretch of the imagination become sinless, but we will become righteous in God's eyes. Paul says in Rom 4:21-25, when speaking of Abraham that just as he received righteousness because of his belief, so do we.

Judgment Fell
v.29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. Notice that judgment fell on all of those who did not apply the blood to the doorposts of their homes that night. So to those who rejected our Lord was shut up in blindness and ultimately perished because of their unbelief.

What about us today? Do we believe? Have we placed our faith in the sacrificed Passover Lamb?

Paul declared the gospel in 1Co15:1-4, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 

Those verses contain the only hope for a lost and dying world.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Daniel | Session 2 | 1:6-21

Today we pick up in Daniel 1:6 and complete the chapter. We see the commitment level of Daniel and his friends to remain pure and undefiled in spite of the obvious pressure that was being placed upon them by their new culture. We also take a closer look at the issue of peer pressure and call to obedience in all of our lives. 

Pagan Babylonian Names
vv.6-7 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. The names of the young Hebrews were changed to pagan Babylonian names. Daniel means "God is Judge" and Belteshazzar means "Bel's Prince." Hananiah means "Beloved of the Lord" and Shadrach means "Illumined by the Sun." Mishael means "Who is as God?" and Meshach means "Who is like Shach?" Azariah means "The Lord is my help" and Abednego means "The Servant of Nego. " No doubt this was part of the effort to integrate them culturally into Babylon.

Fifteen Years Old
v.8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel was about 15 years old at this time, and yet he was determined to live a life of purity and commitment to God. What was the problem with the food? - It wasn't kosher in that it violated the Jewish dietary laws and it had obviously been sacrificed to a false god. We must understand that in the Eastern culture that sharing a meal with someone expressed oneness. That was what was so heart wrenching about Judas's decision to betray Christ just after he had eaten with him.

Under Pressure to Conform
Can you just imagine for a moment the pressure that Daniel and his friends were under to conform? That pressure is on us all of the time. cf. On the job, in school, and even in the church. Everything that the Babylonians did by renaming them, forcing them to eat of the king's diet, forcing them to learn the Babylonian language was all part of trying to force them to break their commitment with God. Babylon wanted them to conform. The world also wants us to conform.

Resist the Temptation
We as believers are warned about conformity in Rom 12:1-2. The world wants us to look like 'em and talk like 'em, and act like 'em (2Cor 6:14-18). Some would say, "Well, what's wrong with the world?" First of all, the world hates us (Joh 15:19). Second of all, we are told not to love the world (1Jn 2:15-17).

Daniel's Commitment 
vv.9-10 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. He had every right to fear this king.

Note: Some Rabbinical writings say that he was a descendant of the Queen of Sheba.

Neb was pretty rough (Jer 29:22; Jer 39:6-7). Notice that God blessed Daniel's commitment to live for Him by causing the official to show favor and sympathy toward Daniel. It has been said that God's way may not be popular and the path of holiness may not be well-traveled, but it is always the right way.

Violation of Conscience
vv.11-14 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. To avoid eating the king's food, and defile themselves, they asked that they are given simple nourishing food instead, i.e., vegetables and water, for ten days as a test.

God is Faithful
v.15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. In the end, they looked healthier and more nourished than the other young men. God was faithful to them. I too have found that God is always faithful even when I am faithless at times. You know, it's far better to please God, than to please the world. God will always prove Himself faithful if you do it His way. Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say that when Noah went into the ark, he was in the minority, but when he came out, he was in the majority, and that he would rather be right and in the minority than be wrong and be in the majority. He was so right!

God's Faithfulness
v.16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. Thus, we see God's faithfulness. If you do things God's way, He will always bless. Of course, I do not believe that those blessings may necessarily come in this life.

Vegetarian
v.17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. I have heard some actually suggest this is a proof text for vegetarianism. Nope. They were blessed not because of their diet, but their obedience. Now, if you want to be a vegetarian, go for it, but don't use the Bible to justify it.

Obedience
vv.18-21 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus. Why do you suppose this happened? - Obedience. I believe that we in our day, struggle hard with the concept of full and complete obedience both in and out of the church. I believe that it is probably one of the greatest sins that I see in the Body of Christ today (Luk 6:46).

Far too many give God lip service, but not life service. I am reminded of what God told King Saul through the prophet Nathan in 1Sam 15:22-23. Notice that God calls it rebellion and says that it is compared to witchcraft. Of course, witchcraft is a means of divining to find direction from another source. Saul was accused of this when he went to the Witch of Endor instead of coming to him. It cost him his throne and life.

I once read that 93% of the churches in North America have either plateaued and/or declining. Why? - Disobedience. Francis Chan accurately once said, "The thought of a person calling himself a "Christian" without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd" and yet our churches are full of them. The Bible says in I John 2:3-4, And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

To continue quoting Chan, he says, "Call me crazy, but I think those verses mean that the person who claims to know God but doesn't obey His commands is a liar and that the truth really isn't in him. Guys, and gals, a disobedient Christian is an oxymoron (contradiction). Jesus said in John 14:21 that he that hath my commandments and keepeth them is he that loveth me.

Is it even possible to go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus? The answer to that question in the Bible is painfully and clearly, "No!"

Conclusion
Let's be like Daniel!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday 2020

Today we celebrate the day that our Lord entered the eastern gate riding upon a donkey called Palm Sunday. However, do you know that that very day was foretold in the book of Zechariah and Daniel? As a matter of fact, Daniel foretold of the very day that it would happen!


Teaching Notes
Texts: Zec 9:9; Matthew 21:1-9; Daniel 9:1-27

Today we celebrate what is called Palm Sunday which commemorates the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem the people placed palm branches in his path, which was followed by his arrest on Thursday and his crucifixion on Friday, thus marking what we call Holy Week. However, not only was this event prophesied in Zechariah, but it was also prophesied by another Old Testament prophet that we are studying on Wednesday nights called Daniel.

Daniel 9
v.1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.    The first year of Darius would have been 538 BC. Daniel apparently was a student of Scripture and he had been studying the book of Jeremiah. Daniel had apparently been looking at Jer 25:11-12 and Jer 29:10-11.

Of course, we can infer from this that Daniel was doing a little bit of math in his head. History tells us that Israel had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC which means that they had been in captivity for 67 years at this time, so Daniel understood that prophetically their captivity was almost over.

You know, something that amazes me is that Daniel just opened up his Bible, read Jeremiah and believed it. Why do so many struggle today with interpreting the Bible literally? Daniel didn't try to spiritualize what he read. I know why. When we can't find or understand the meaning of something, we spiritualize it so that we can. Arrogance in my opinion.

70 Years
The question we need to address is why 70 Years? Seems pretty random until you read Lev_25:1-7, Lev 25:20-22; Lev 26:27-35. That means that mathematically they had to have been in the land for 490 years, i.e., 490/7=70. For 490 they never obeyed in giving the land its rest.

That is why it says in 2 Chr 36:20-21, And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

Now that we have given the interpretation, the application for us is that God brought destruction upon them because of their failure to trust in His promises. God's expectation is that we trust Him! When we do, he blesses. When we don't', he doesn't.

Seventy Years Almost Completed
v.3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: As such, Daniel now knows that the 70 years are almost completed and he begins to seek God on behalf of Israel. In the previous chapters, God had told him about the future of the gentile nations, so why wouldn't he tell him about Israel.

Daniel's Prayer in vv.4-19

Answered Prayer
vv.20-21 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. Daniel's prayer is interrupted by no less than Gabriel. The Bible mentions three angels by name: Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer.

Greatly Beloved
vv.22-23 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Notice, at the beginning of your supplications the command went out. God always answers our prayers the moment we pray them: yes, no, or wait!

Seventy Weeks
v.24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.  In our European culture, we think in decades while Israel thinks in heptaths. So, here we see seventy weeks of seven, or 70 x 7, which is a total of 490 years.

Note: I find it interesting that God had given them 490 years in the Promises Land and now He is giving them another 490, and during this time (490 years) six things will happen:

1. To finish the transgression. (Willful sin)
2. To make an end of sin. (Missing the mark)
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity. (Combo of both)
4. To bring in everlasting righteousness.
5. To seal up the vision and prophecy.
6. To anoint the Most Holy (or Holy Place)

Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot more than 490 years have passed since this prophecy. The first three were fulfilled in Christ on the cross. The last three will be fulfilled at His Second Advent in Revelation 19 because something happened to stop the clock...and it wasn't the crucifixion, but instead, the rejection of the Kingdom that was offered.

Going Forth of the Command
v.25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. Notice, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. History, both secular and biblical, tells us that that command came in the year 445 BC when Nehemiah was told to so (Neh_2:1-6). Further findings by Sir Rolandson in the palace of Shushan says that the exact date was March 14, 445 BC!

So if that be the case, the prophecy says that from that commandment on March 14, 445 BC until the Messiah would come would be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (7 + 62 = 69 and 69 x 7 = 483 years. So, from the time the commandment was given, it would be 483 years until the Messiah would come.

Note: Since 71 BC we have used the Julian Calendar that has 365 1/4 days in it. This prophecy was made under the Babylonian calendar which only has 360 days.

To make it easier and more precise, if we were to take 483 years and multiply it times 360 when would get 173,880 days. To arrive at a specific day, you need only multiply 483 x 360 = 173, 880. 173,880 from March 14, 445 BC would be April 6, 32 AD!

On Palm Sunday, April 6, 32 AD, Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives with His disciples when he said in Luk 19:30-40, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.  And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

And Luke 19:41-44 tells us that as Jesus approached the city, he wept over it and said, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

So, on Palm Sunday, 32 AD, 483 years had passed since the command to restore and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. But, sadly after this Triumphal Entry, the following Thursday, they arrested him and had him crucified the following day fulfilling the first half of the next verse.

v.26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: They crucified him and the prophetical clock stopped at 483 weeks. That means that there remains one more week to be fulfilled and that is called the Tribulation or Daniel's 70th Week.