Wednesday, May 31, 2017

JESUS, Son of Man (Dan.7)

Daniel has a vision which begins with the images that represent the four world empires (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome)  previously described in the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had. It also explained the political struggles, and then the vision ended with this message...

(Daniel 7:13-14)  “...I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every [b]language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed..."

This is the first time in the Bible that Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man.  And very clear it says - He is coming!  Jesus was going to come to earth, as 100% God and 100% man.  We can know this from scriptures like...

(John 1:1-14)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

As well, Jesus referred to Himself as "Son of God, so the Israelites would have recognized that term.  They would have known it well, because it referred to their Messiah - which they were waiting for.  How did they not see and accept?  Although, at some point this particular Pharisee, Nicodemus, becomes a believer and a secret follower of Jesus.  He could very well have been "born again" right after this secret conversation with Jesus.  After Jesus explains how a person can be "born again", Jesus gives Nicodemus some insight as to why Jesus came to earth...

(John 3:9-16)  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.  16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 

Jesus was here on earth the first time to complete the work on the cross which would bless all nations, which was one aspect of the Abrahamic covenant that the Israelites did not quite understand.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jesus, the Stone (Dan.2-5)

The Israelites, including Daniel and his friends, had been taken captive by the Babylonians.  Because Daniel and his friends were young and smart enough - they had been taken aside and trained to serve in king Nebuchadnezzar's court.  It was about a year later that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, and demanded that his men interpret the dream or they would all be put to death.  When Daniel heard about this and that no one could interpret it, he and his friends spent time in prayer before asking to see the king.

(Daniel 2:27-30)  Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. 28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed. 29 As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.

Daniel wanted to make sure that he gave God all the credit before describing the dream...

(Daniel 2:31-35)  You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32 The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You continued looking untilstone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth"...

Remember the verses that describe Jesus as the corner stone? (see ie. Ephesians 2:19-22)  The "stone" is prophesying about Jesus who is the King of kings and will one day reign over the earth in the Millennium.  Although when Daniel interpreted the dream, God didn't go into all the details that this King (this stone) would be Israel's Messiah, God gave enough information to king Nebucadnezzar, which again gave all the credit and glory to God...

(Daniel 2:36-45)  This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.  39 After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.  40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. 41 In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43 And in that you saw the iron mixed with [at]common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.
44" In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

King Nebuchadnezzar gave homage to Daniel and acknowledged God, but Nebuchadnezzar was still not a believer.  A little while later, King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge idol for everyone to worship.  When Daniel's three friends refused to bow down to it, he had them thrown into the furnace.  But - not only did they not burn up, Nebuchadnezzar commented on what he saw...

(Daniel 3:25)  He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”

This could have been a preincarnate appearance of Christ (Jesus) or maybe just an angel, but still,  Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God again - but again - without believing in Him.  Eventually Nebuchadnezzar had another dream, which Daniel interpreted.  Nebuchadnezzar was going to go mad for about 7 years (living like an animal) UNTIL he would recognize and humble himself to the one true God...

(Daniel 4:26-27)  'And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules. 27 Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’

Daniel did give advice to the king to change in order to avoid the consequences, but instead, Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself.  And just as the dream prophesied, he went mad - with an illness known now as"boanthropy" - where people imagine themselves to be an animal and act accordingly.  At the end of the seven years,..

(Daniel 4:34-37)  “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
36 At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.

We cannot judge hearts, but this sure seems like king Nebuchadnezzar become a believer at this point!  And nothing more is written of him, except when Daniel is warning his son, Belshazzar, about being prideful - Daniel tells him about his father...

(Daniel 5:18-21)  "...O king, the Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father. 19 Because of the grandeur which He bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him; whomever he wished he killed and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he wished he elevated and whomever he wished he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. 21 He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes..."

This is what humility is in order to become a believer...

(Ephesians 2:8-9)  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

JESUS is Present (Ez.40-46)

After Ezekiel's vision of the future temple of Jerusalem that will be built in the Millennium, the vision/prophecy continues with Jesus second coming...

(Ezekiel 43:1-10)  Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.
Then I heard one speaking to me from the house, while man was standing beside me. He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever.  And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their harlotry and by the corpses of their kings when they die, by setting their threshold by My threshold and their door post beside My door post, with only the wall between Me and them. And they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed. So I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put away their harlotry and the corpses of their kings far from Me; and I will dwell among them forever.
10 “As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan.

For Israel to have their Abrahamic covenant fulfilled, they have to be in perfect obedience.  In order to be in "perfect obedience", they need Jesus.  For the nation's obedience, they will require Jesus sitting on the throne as their King.  Meanwhile Jesus has already provided personal salvation for those who believe - because the first time Jesus came to earth in flesh, Jesus gave Himself as the final and eternal sacrifice for sins, therefore there is now no more need for animal sacrifices;  but perhaps in the Millennium, there will be "sacrifices" made - not to cover sins - but to celebrate and remember Jesus' work on the cross.  The vision also includes the division of land among the 12 tribes of Israel and ends with the fact that...

(Ezekiel 48:35)  The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The Lord is there.’”

Meanwhile for us, when we make Jesus OUR Savior and King, the "nation" we belong to is God's family - the Church...

(Colossians 3:15-17)  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

JESUS the "Servant David" (Ez.37)

Ezekiel gives another prophecy about the Millennium -. the kingdom of heaven - when the Israelites will have their perfect King Jesus and the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants will be fulfilled...

(Ezekiel 37:21-23)  Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.

This will be accomplished because Jesus has already fulfilled the new covenant the first time He came to earth in flesh by dying in our place for our sins, so that when we believe, our sins are forgiven, and God sees us as clean, and the Holy Spirit begins a work in our hearts and minds to renew us...  

(Titus 3:4-8)  ...when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved usnot on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Because the Israelites did not accept their King the first time He presented Himself, Jesus will come again.  This prophecy from these scriptures in Ezekiel will be and can be fulfilled because Jesus, the "servant David". came from king David's lineage, and (in the Davidic covenant) God has promised to establish the kingdom that would endure forever...

(Ezekiel 37:24-28)  My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”

God does everything for a purpose, and God has a purpose intended for everyone.  Not only will God fulfill every promise He makes, God wants the "nations to know" - because He loves and cares for everyone...

(2 Peter 3:8-9)  But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.