Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday, March 12th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 23-24, Psalm 51, Luke 7
Today's scripture focus is Daniel 7:8-28

Daniel 7:8-28

English Standard Version (ESV)
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.

The Ancient of Days Reigns

“As I looked,
thrones were placed,
    and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
    its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
    and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.
11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion

13 “I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
    there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
    and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
    and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
    that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel's Vision Interpreted

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this hornmade war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,
there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
    which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
    and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
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.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
    and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
    shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
    and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

Accompanying sermon by Richard DeMass: The Revealer of Mysteries Part 2 (audio only)
Accompanying sermon by John MacArthur: The Coming Kingdom of Christ Part 3
Accompanying sermon by Ray Pritchard: Animal Parade

Sorry for the delay in posting - we had computer issues last night.

Thoughts from Ray Pritchard:

The “sea” Daniel saw was really the “sea” of humanity, the churning, roiling tumult of people and nations and politics and armies, as first one group and then another vies for power. Out of that chaos four kingdoms emerge (visually symbolized by the four beasts) one after another. In the Last Days there will be a “fifth kingdom"—the kingdom of God on the earth, which will be established when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in power and great glory......

Why are the same four empires referred to as metals in one dream and beasts in another? Answer: The statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows us the empires of the world as man sees them - beautiful, precious, highly valued, and deserving of our praise. In Daniel 7 we see the same kingdoms as God sees them. They are ferocious beasts, bent on conquest, plunder, destruction, and domination. God sees beyond the glitter of the world to the depraved nature inside the heart of every human ruler. He isn’t fooled by mighty armies, hanging gardens, vast palaces, and sumptuous feasts. He knows that the heart of man is the heart of a beast. It is “desperately wicked” and full of evil.

Daniel 7 also shows us the nature of every kingdom built by man. They are earthly, brutal, destructive, and ultimately temporary. Nothing made by the hands of man lasts forever. One kingdom falls, another rises only to fall and have its place taken by yet another kingdom. The same is true in the business world, the corporate world, and in every field of human endeavor. The lion rises only to be defeated by the bear who falls to the leopard who is crushed by an unnamed beast. So it goes.

This is the history of humanity until the end when Jesus Christ finally comes back to earth. Then (and not until then) all earthly kingdoms are finally replaced by the kingdom of God. And that kingdom will last forever....

Daniel 7 tell us that there are four kingdoms, and then there is a fifth. Today we live in turmoil. In a sense judgment has already begun as nations rise and fall, the killing continues around the world, and our leaders repeatedly disappoint us. All these things are but the beginning of sorrows. Yet we should not lose heart. The best and worst is yet to come. History is leading to a awesome climax as the antichrist briefly rules the world in a desperate bid to dethrone God Almighty. But as a friend likes to remind me, God Almighty is God All-Mighty. History leads to the antichrist but it doesn’t stop there. It leads on to the return of Jesus Christ in power and great glory.

Today God lays his hand on us. He sees us in the midst of the swirling, fighting, bloodthirsty nations. He sees us in our confusion and in our frustration. He knows that we are easily baffled by circumstances and quickly led astray. We are part of that great roiling sea of humanity Daniel saw. In the midst of all that happens around us, God bids us to look up to his throne. Look up to the One who holds history in his hands. “Look up,” Jesus said, “for your redemption draws near.”

I find great encouragement from the fact that a great stone hit the statue in Daniel 2 and smashed it to bits. That Stone is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages, the Stone of Stumbling, and the Rock of Our Salvation. He is the stone the builders rejected. That stone has become the cornerstone of salvation. And someday (may it be soon, Lord) that stone will smash the statue and the kingdoms of the earth will disappear...

But the end of the story is always the same. Once earthly kingdoms have been overthrown and the Lord’s kingdom established, God’s people will reign with the Lord on the earth forever. This is the best news of all from Daniel 7. Jesus Christ wins in the end and those who are joined with him by faith share in his triumph.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Daniel 8
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Numbers 25-26, Psalm 52, Luke 8

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