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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Daniel 11:31

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

For further study - Daniel 11:21-35

This passage in the 11th chapter of Daniel's prophecy is a prophecy that has been referred to as a double fulfillment prophecy. It is a prophecy with a near time fulfillment and a future time fulfillment.

The passage is referring to the Grecian leader, Antiochas Epiphanes, who came to power 360 years after Daniel wrote the passage we're reading for our devotional today.

We are reading from, as it relates to the prophecy, the "near time" fulfillment of the prophecy that would take place around 168-165 BC. Daniel pre-wrote history revealing that Antiochas would come to power and take control of Jerusalem with his mighty military force.

Antiochas and his men would desecrate the Temple by slaughtering a "pig," a non-kosher animal, on the "sacred altar" of the Jewish Temple. We know that Antiochas committed this blasphemous act on the Jewish date of Kislev 25, which corresponds to our calendar date of December 25th. This was done in 168 BC, as recorded in our devotional passage.

Though it does not mention Antiochas Epiphanes by name, it describes this Grecian leader and all that he does in relationship to the Jews, Jerusalem and the Temple.

Verse 31 details the incident as the "abomination that maketh desolate." Verse 32 reveals that "the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits." Daniel's prophecy about these people is describing a Jewish family known as the Macabees.

A father and his sons, who would rise up against Antiochas and ultimately run the "madman" and his military force out of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Macabees did that on Kislev 25, December 25th, 165 BC, exactly three years to the day after Antiochas Epiphanes desecrated the Temple.

After restoring the Temple and re-consecrating the Jewish worship center, the Macabees found a "flask" of virgin olive oil, enough to light the seven-branched menorah for one day. However, it stayed lighted for eight days, thus the Jewish Holy Day of "Chanukah," the "feast of dedication"and also known as the "feast of lights".

Jesus celebrated Chanukah as recorded in John 10:22. To this point in our devotional reading for today we have been discussing "history," the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy, verses 21-32, which happened in 168-165 BC.

However, there is another event which will be known as the "abomination of desolation" that will happen in the future, during the Tribulation Period. Daniel 9:27 is the prophecy that reveals the Temple in Jerusalem being desecrated at the mid-way point of the Tribulation.

Jesus confirmed this prophecy in his Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:15. The prophecy of Daniel 9:27 and the confirmation of the prophecy of Matthew 24:15 require a Temple, on the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Of course, right now, there is not a Temple in Jerusalem but the Jews have all preparations for that Temple in place. They will erect the Temple right after the Rapture, which could happen at any moment. So keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for fulfilled prophecy in the past, which assures me that yet to be fulfilled prophecy will be fulfilled. Even so come Lord Jesus.
Friday, December 30, 2016

Daniel 10:12

Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
For further study - Daniel 10:1-21

Our key verse for today's devotional reading is the very best statement found in the Bible for studying Bible prophecy. I'll get to this two-part reason for studying prophecy in a moment, but first some background on the extended passage.

Daniel is in his late 80's and under the leadership of the Medo-Persian Empire as he writes this prophetic passage, verse 1.

Daniel, in an effort to understand the times in which he was living and wanting to serve the Lord with more intensity, started a three week fast, verse 3, waiting to hear from heaven about the future of his people, the Jewish people.

The heavens heard Daniel's cries and the Lord God dispatched a "heavenly visitor" to the earth to meet with Daniel. A close look at the description of this "heavenly visitor" indicates that it was a "pre-incarnate" appearance of Jesus Christ, verses 5-6, as compared to Revelation 1:12-15.

When Daniel saw the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prophet fell on his face, on the ground before the Lord. I love what Jesus said about Daniel, verse 11, "Daniel, a man greatly beloved." What a commendation from the "heavenly visitor" for a mere man. By the way, there is not one negative word written about Daniel in the entire Bible.

Now we come to verse 12, the two-fold purpose for studying prophecy. The Lord told Daniel that from the first day he "set his heart to understand the times", the Lord had started to come to meet with him.

The student of Bible prophecy can indeed understand the times in which we are living today. We must understand the times today so that we can make decisions today that effect tomorrow. Therefore, we must know today what will happen tomorrow.

Then, the second reason, or the result of studying Bible prophecy, is also in verse 12, "and to chasten thyself before thy God." In other words, once we understand the times we are living in, we must get our hearts right with God.

In verse 13 and 20 of our extended reading we see that Satan will dispatch "evil angels" to take control of "world leaders" for his own purpose.

The phrase "Prince of Persia", verse 13, is referring to a Persian leader that was a "demonically" controlled, "prince". Prince in this passage is a word used to describe "angels" and in this case, "evil angels".

Notice that Michael, the "archangel," is described as one of the "chief princes", verse 13. This "Prince of Persia" is the villain, Haman, in the book of Esther, the evil leader who wanted to eliminate all Jews from the earth.

The "Prince of Greece," in verse 20, is none other than Antiochus Epiphanes of Daniel 11:20-35.
In the last days, Satan will dispatch "evil angels" to take control of world leaders to assist in his "Satanic game plan" for the last days, Ephesians 6:12.

Now, as Daniel, we can understand the times and why world leaders do what they do in our world today. Some times in this wicked world we see many world leaders that are actually under Satanic control. This "demonic activity" will only intensify as we draw closer to the Lord's return.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, to chasten my heart and live for you more so as I understand the times by my knowledge of Bible prophecy.
Thursday, December 29, 2016

Daniel 9:27

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall he pour upon the desolate.

For further study – Daniel 9:27

In this ninth chapter of Daniel's prophecy, and this last verse, verse 27, our devotional reading for today, we see that the ancient Jewish prophet lays out for the student of Bible prophecy the period of time known as the "Tribulation Period".

There are three elements in this passage that must fit within the seven years, actually they will come to fulfillment within the first three and one half years of the seven years of judgment on the earth that leads up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, back to the Earth.

The first element will be the appearance of the "Tyrant," a name I have added to the twenty-seven other names for the main character in the Tribulation. To list a few of these please recall that in Daniel 7:8 he is known as the "little horn".

In Daniel 9:26 he is known as the "prince that shall come"; in Daniel 11:36 as the "willful king"; in Matthew 24:24 Jesus refers to him as the "false Christ"; in II Thessalonians 2 Paul calls him the "man of sin" and the "son of perdition," verse 3 and in verse 8, the "wicked one". In the book of Revelation John designates him as the "Beast out of the sea," Revelation 13:1.

But the most familiar name to you might be how John calls him in I John 2:18, the "Antichrist". This "Tyrant" will appear on the Earth as a result of the revival of the old Roman Empire, Daniel 7:7 and 24. This "world dictator" will come to power and "confirm" a "treaty," a "covenant" between the Jews and their neighbors, "many" in verse 27.

Notice that the Antichrist will not "sign" a peace treaty, but "confirm" treaties already on the table but not working. Today there are three such treaties that Israel has signed and are waiting to be "confirmed," made to work. In fact it is the "confirmation" of this treaty that starts the clock ticking on the seven year Tribulation.

The last element in the beginning of the Tribulation is the Temple. The Antichrist will perform the "abomination of desolation" in the Temple as he walks into the "Holy of Holies" and claims to be God, as foretold in II Thessalonians 2:4.

By the way, all preparations have been made for the building of the Tribulation Temple. Remember, Jesus will build His Kingdom Temple after His return but there will be a Tribulation Temple that the Antichrist will desecrate during the seven years of judgment. That Temple is ready to be built.

This all said, and taken from our devotional reading of just one verse, the event of the Rapture, the next event on God’s calendar of prophetic events, will happen before Daniel 9:27 is fulfilled and could happen today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your prophecies that help me understand the times in which we're living. Thank you also for the promise of the Rapture and the understanding that it could happen at any moment. Help me to live in light of that truth, today.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Daniel 9:24

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.
For further study - Daniel 9:1-27

In this ninth chapter of Daniel's prophecy, which follows chronologically Daniel 6, the ancient Jewish prophet is around 85 years old and had just come under the Medo-Persian Empire after seventy years under the Babylonians.

I give you this information because it helps us to see how Bible prophecy helps us to determine where we are on God's "prophetic time-clock".

Verse 2 tells us of what Daniel got from his own devotional time, reading God's Word. Daniel was reading from the book of Jeremiah 29:10 and 25:11, where the prophet Jeremiah, almost one hundred years before the fact, revealed that the Jews would be out of the land of Israel for a seventy year period of time so that the "land of Israel" could get it's "seventy Sabbaths".

By reading God's Word Daniel could determine where he was in God's time. Notice as you read verses 3-23, Daniel, once he realizes where he was in God's "prophetic time," he confessed his sins, the sins of his people and looks for the Lord's direction for his life.

You may not know that there is not one single negative word said about Daniel any place in the entire Bible. There is, by the way, in this chapter a "commendation," from the heavenlies, for Daniel, verse 23.

God gives Daniel a glimpse into the future with the prophecy of the "seventy weeks of Daniel," verses 24-27. God has a "special plan", the seventy weeks of Daniel, (490 years); for a "special people", the Jewish people; and a "special place", the Holy City of Jerusalem; all of these in verse 24.

In this devotional I won't have the time to deal with the entire prophecy that extends from Daniel's day until the day of the Lord's return to earth. I would love to share with you the special blessing of Daniel 9:25-26 where we can see how the Lord set the time when the Messiah would appear on the earth.

The time for the appearance of the Messiah, verse 25, would be after 69 of the "70 Weeks," or 483 of the 490 years of Daniel’s prophecy. This timing would be from when King Artaxerxes, the King of Nehemiah's day, gave the command to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and streets of the city, some time in April 445BC.

The time would extend until the crucifixion of Jesus in April of 30 AD. This passage actually lays out for us when the Messiah would show up in Jerusalem.

In fact, Daniel even added information about the destruction of the Temple, which took place in 70AD, to the time mix. This prophecy pin-pointed the time that the Messiah would be crucified, "cut off", verse 26, and that it had to happen before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, which was done by the Roman army.

These two verses set the time for the appearance of the Messiah on the earth. Jesus Christ fulfilled every prophetic detail, proving He was the Messiah and that He came right on time, according to Bible prophecy.

Next time we are in Daniel for our devotions, I will look at Daniel 9:27 and be more specific about the Lord's return. All the prophecies of Daniel, referring to the Lord's first coming and what would happen, were fulfilled in every detail. By the way, fulfilled prophecy sets the stage for future Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

Keep your focus on the "special people," the Jewish people, and the "special place", Jerusalem, to know where God is on His time clock.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your prophecies that help me understand the times in which we're living. Help me to live in light of Your soon coming.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Daniel 6:16

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

For further study – Daniel 6:10-28

I come today to Daniel 6, following Daniel 7 you might remember, because of the chronological unfolding of the book of Daniel. Daniel six is one of the most practical chapters in the Bible. However, it is also prophetic as you will see.

You will recognize the story from your days in Sunday School and maybe even have seen the drama played out in a church program some time in your past. It is a wonderful story of the "steadfastness of Daniel."

Just to remind you, Darius, the king, had published a decree that told his subjects they were not allowed to offer up a prayer to anyone other than the King himself, verses 4-9. This decree was meant to bring harm to Daniel, but instead it brought praise to Daniel’s God.

You know the story so well, so allow me to just bring to your attention some of the highlights of this portion of Daniel that we are using for our devotional reading for today. There are many blessings to be found in this passage. Here are just a few.

Daniel, as was his custom, went to his chambers and kneeled to pray towards Jerusalem, as he had been commanded. By the way he was not trying to hide and pray, but prayed with the windows open so that all the Kingdom could see the faithfulness of Daniel, verses 10-11.

Daniel’s enemies rushed to the King to report Daniel going against the King’s decree. Daniel decided that it was more important to obey God than man. When we do that we must be ready to face the circumstances, as was the case with Daniel.

The King, realizing what his decree meant to Daniel was very displeased with himself and wanted to change his decree but was reminded by his men that the "law of the Medes and Persians" would not allow the king to change that order which would send Daniel to the death as a punishment for simply praying.

How important is my prayer time I must ask myself. Would I be willing to face a death sentence so that I could be faithful to the dictates of God for my spiritual life. Daniel is a perfect example for me, and all of us who want to serve Him.

What a promise that Daniel was reminded of by the King as he was being thrown into the lion’s den, verse 16, our key verse for today. As we "continually serve Him," He takes care of all our needs, even physically.

There is so much more in this passage that we could share. Let me draw your attention to the prophetic portion of our reading for today, verse 26. The King put out another decree that in all of the kingdom men should "tremble and fear" before the God of Daniel. The entire kingdom would recognize the God of Daniel as the "living God who was steadfast forever and that His kingdom would be forever."

The kingdom that will be "forever" is the one that Jesus Christ will set up after the seven year Tribulation, yet in the future. But I must say, not to very long into the future. The Rapture could take place today, which will set everything in motion for the Lord’s return to set up His Kingdom.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord, for your protection of those of us that "continually serve" you. Help me to be as "steadfast" as Daniel in those things that you direct me to do in my relationship with you.
Monday, December 26, 2016

Daniel 7:14

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
For further study - Daniel 7:1-14

As we continue our devotional readings in Daniel I must apologize, I should have had you read Daniel 7 before Daniel 5. Remember, from our last reading Belshazzar was killed when the Medes and the Persians attacked Babylon. As we read the first verse of Daniel 7 Belshazzar was beginning the first year of his reign.

In Daniel 8:1 Belshazzar was in the third year of his reign as the leader of the Babylonian Empire. It is very difficult to have died and then reign for three years. The way to read through Daniel, chapter by chapter, is in the following order: 1-2-3-4-7-8-5-6-9-10-11-12. This is the chronological order for the book of Daniel.

Now back to Daniel 7, Daniel had become a leader, most likely the third highest-ranking leader, in the Babylonian Empire, by the time he reached 70 years of age, his age at the time of the "night vision" recorded in our extended reading passage.

For almost 50 years he had served as a counselor to King Nebuchadnezzar and now Daniel was serving his grandson, Belshazzar in the first year of his reign, verse 1.

As a young man Daniel had been gifted by the Lord to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel 2, which was a prophecy of the present and future Gentile world powers from Daniels' day until the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Now some 50 years later the Lord gives Daniel a "vision" of that same scenario for the Gentile world empires and what would happen at the Second Coming of Jesus.

Since I don't have the time and space to go into a lot of detail, let me give you the overall big picture, presented to Daniel in his "night vision". Daniel would see "four great beast" rise up out of the sea, each one diverse from the other, verse 3.

Let me remind you that this is "apocalyptic literature." In "apocalyptic literature" the author uses "symbols" to convey an "absolute truth". The symbol is not an allegory nor a fairy-tale, but an "absolute truth".

That being said, please allow me to take a shortcut and tell you what the symbols represent in Daniel 7. The "lion with eagles wings" is the Babylonian Empire, verse 4. The "bear with three ribs in its mouth," verse 5, is the Medo-Persian Empire. In verse 6, the "leopard with four wings and four heads" is the Grecian Empire.

The "awesome beast" in verse 7 is the "Roman Empire" (See my audio series, "The Daniel Papers").
Notice the "ten horns" of the "awesome beast" in verse 7 and in verse 8, the "little horn" that comes out of the "ten horns". The "ten horns" represent the "Revived Roman Empire" and the "little horn" is one of twenty-seven names for the "Antichrist".

I understand I haven't gone into very much detail on this prophecy that Daniel received in a "night vision" but deeper study will reveal these truths.

Please notice verses 13-14. Here is the promise of a future "kingdom" that will be given to Jesus Christ, the "Son of Man," verse 13, by the "ancient of days," God the Father. This is a "kingdom" that comes after the "Revived Roman Empire" and the "Antichrist" are on the scene, and it will be an "everlasting kingdom".

I remind you that it is not a "Kingdom" which is in place now. This "Kingdom," referred to in this passage, will be given to Jesus, at the return of the Messiah, by God the Father.

By the way, the European Union Treaty accepted by all 28-member states of the EU calls for a "Supra-State," the United States of Europe. The Treaty also provides for an EU that will be led by a "powerful, permanent president" and that person selected and put in power.

These both, if not the ultimate fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy, then they sure are a prototype of the characters to come on the scene as foretold in prophecy yet to be fulfilled, seemingly in the near future.

Remember, before all of these prophecies are fulfilled the Rapture of the Church take place and that could happen even today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord to live pure and productive every day as I prepare for the Rapture which could happen today.
Sunday, December 25, 2016

Daniel 5:30-31

In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
For further study - Daniel 5:1-31

This fifth chapter of Daniel's prophecy is not only a prophetic passage of great importance but also a chapter that has a very important historic significance as well.

The King of Babylon, at the time of Daniel 5, is Belshazzar who most likely was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar had died and Belshazzar came to power over this world empire near the time of the end of this great Gentile world power.

The King had invited 1,000 of his "lords" to a banquet, which actually turned into the "last hoorah" for King Belshazzar.

Though the Medes and the Persians had been threatening to overthrow the Babylonians, the King felt secure inside the walls of this supposedly "impregnable city" with it's double high walls surrounding the city, a city that never had been defeated.

During the course of the evening the King called for the "Temple vessels" that his grandfather had brought out of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to Babylon. The King had his servants fill these "special vessels" with wine and made these "special vessels" available to the King's guest. This was a very bad mistake, which I will discuss a bit later.

It was while the drunken party was going on that the Medes came from the North and the Persians from the South and damned up the water entering the city under it's Northern wall, and exiting under it's Southern wall.

That gave Babylon's enemies a dry tunnel under the walls to enter the city. This was the method by which the "impregnable city" was entered by its major enemies at that time. The Babylonian Empire was brought down by the Medo-Persian Empire, the second of the Gentile world powers to rule over Jerusalem and the Jewish people.

This passage, describing the fall of the Babylonian Empire, does not mention that the city of Babylon was destroyed, only the Empire. The truth be known, the city of Babylon has never been destroyed, as Bible prophecy says will happen in the last days.

Ancient Jewish Prophets say that Babylon must be destroyed, totally, and never be rebuilt. Isaiah 13 and 14Jeremiah 50 and 51Revelation 18 and Revelation 16:17-21 describe the total destruction of the city of Babylon.

Babylon the city was not destroyed, as described in Daniel 5. Other passages indicate that same truth as well. Seventy-five years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire, Ezra lived in Babylon, Ezra 7:6 and 9.

Secular history tells us that Alexander the Great ruled the world from his headquarters in Babylon, 200 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire. Peter, the Apostle, started a church in Babylon, 500 years after the fall of the Empire, I Peter 5:13. Babylon, one day in the future, will be destroyed, as revealed in Revelation 16.

The other thought that I wanted to give you pertaining to the use of the "implements" from the Temple, Daniel 5:2-5, is that because the Babylonians desecrated the Temple and it's implements, God will bring eternal judgment on Babylon, Jeremiah 50:28 and Jeremiah 51:11.

Biblical Babylon is the modern-day state of Iraq, where the Antichrist will be headquartered and will rule over a "one world" political, governmental, economic system in the last days. The rebuilding of war-torn Iraq is setting the stage for Bible Prophecy to be fulfilled.

Keep looking up, because the Rapture happens before all of these prophecies are fulfilled. In reality, the Rapture could happen today, what a day it would be for all of us who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord to discern the urgency of the moment in these days that seem to be the last days and help me to live in light of this knowledge.
Saturday, December 24, 2016

Daniel 3:18

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.
For further study - Daniel 3:1-30

For our extended reading today, I would like for you to read the entire chapter of Daniel 3. This chapter, in the book of prophecy written by Daniel, is not a prophetic passage.

However, it is very practical and is one of the three very practical passages in Daniel, which also includes Daniel 4 and 6. We will use these chapters in another devotional, later on.

Daniel, the author of the book, is not mentioned in chapter 3 and there is not a definite reason that we can point you to scripturally on the subject. There have been suggestions that Daniel may have been traveling during this time.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had an "image of gold", verse 1, erected in Babylon, most likely an "image of a man", an image of himself that was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide at it's base. Nebuchadnezzar's wise counselors set a trap for the three Hebrew companions of Daniel; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, which are their godly Hebrew names. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are the Chaldean names for these three Hebrew boys.

The trap for these three was the royal order for everyone to bow to the "image of gold" when they heard the sound of music. Failure to bow would be met with the punishment of being thrown into the "fiery furnace".

Please let me point out several real blessings from the many that you will notice as you read our extended reading for the devotional today.

The three Hebrew boys refused to bow and when brought before Nebuchadnezzar they told the King that "their God which they served was able to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace," verse 17.

That assurance was a real blessing for the three, as it is for us today, an assurance that He can deliver us from any "fiery trial". However, look at the next verse, verse 18, "but if not."

Please read our key verse several times, "But if not", if God decides not to deliver us, the boys said, "we will not serve thy gods or worship the golden image."

That is the attitude missing today. Often we want God to be "Johnny on the spot", to take care of us all the time. I love that phrase, "but if not." What God decides is best, whether I think so or not.

The three boys did not "bow" and they were thrown into the furnace where they did not "burn". They not only did not burn, even the smell of smoke was not upon their bodies nor their clothing, verse 27.

When the Lord does something, He does it right. It was Jesus Christ, in a "pre-incarnate" appearance, that came to rescue the three Hebrew boys, verse 25.

This is a great story that ended with the three Hebrew boys being promoted in the Babylonian Kingdom, verse 30. Though it's not actually a prophetic passage, it does have a prophetic spiritual application.

In the last days God will protect the Jewish people from the "fiery Tribulation", a period of time known as "Jacob's trouble", that seems to be coming very soon. Remember, the Lord will preserve the Jewish people, He has a special plan for them in the future.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your protection. Please give me that "but if not" attitude when You have a better plan for me.
Friday, December 23, 2016

Daniel 2:44

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 forever.
For further study - Daniel 2:1-45

March 25, 2016 was the 59th anniversary of the signing of the "Treaty of Rome" signed by the European leaders 59 years ago in the city of Rome. More on the significance of this day in a moment, but first, to our reading for today.

Daniel had been summoned by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to tell him his dream and to interpret the dream for the King. God gifted Daniel with the ability to reveal the dream to the Babylonian King, verse 28, and to interpret it for him.

The dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had was of an image of a man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, two legs of iron and ten toes of iron and clay mixed. There was a stone that hit the image of the man and broke it into pieces.

These broken pieces were like chaff of the summer threshing floors and the wind carried them away. The stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel's interpretation of the King's dream was actually the revelation of the "empires" of the coming Gentile world powers from the times of Daniel until the times of the return of Jesus Christ. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he was the "head of gold", verse 38, the first of the Gentile world powers.

The passages in Daniel 7 and 8 give us the understanding that the Medo-Persian Empire followed by the Grecian Empire and the Roman Empire would take Gentile history along the way of history, all the way to a time when the "ten toes" would appear. Let me tell you that the "ten toes" are the "Revived Roman Empire" of the future (see my study, "The Daniel Papers").

It was 59 years ago that a group of Europeans met to sign the "Treaty of Rome" in Rome, Italy, that set the stage for the Common Market, which is today the European Union. A close look at the European Union reveals that it is at least an "infrastructure" of the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy of the "ten toes" which will be ten nations, kings, or regions.

The key verse to notice about this prophecy is verse 44, "in the days of these kings". The God of heaven will destroy them and set up the kingdom that Jesus Christ will rule and reign over at His Return. This interpretation of these prophecies fits the prophecies of John the Revelator in his book of prophecy, Revelation 17.

The evidence is strong that we are living in those days. But remember, before the Lord's Second Coming, seven years before, the Rapture takes place and that could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you for Daniel's prophecy that helps me understand the Lord's time and that which proceeds His coming back to the Earth. Help me to realize the Rapture could be very close at hand and how then I should live in light of that realization.
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Daniel 1:17

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.
For further study - Daniel 1:1-21

Today we begin the reading of the passages from the book of Daniel for our devotionals. This is a book that is basically a "timeline" of the "Gentile world powers" from the days of Daniel until, and including the Tribulation period, the seven years of judgment on the earth and earth-dwellers in the future. This time period is known as the "times of the Gentiles."

As the Babylonian Crown Prince Nebuchadnezzar was fighting in Egypt, he received the message that his father had died and he had been promoted to "King of Babylon". On his journey back to Babylon he passed through Jerusalem and noticed a strange type of worship of a different God than his god. The worship of this new God was going on in a Temple like he had never seen.

Knowing that he was to become ruler of the known world, he was determined to know something about this new, to him, religion. Nebuchadnezzar decided to take some "hostages" from the "royal family" in Jerusalem back home with him to learn more about this religion.

Chapter one of Daniel is the sojourn of Daniel and three of his Hebrew friends to Babylon to learn the ways of the Chaldeans. They were to be trained to become a part of the group known as the "wise men" in Nebuchadnezzar's court.

As you read this account you learn how teenage boys (Daniel was 15 years old when taken to Babylon) could purpose in their heartsverse 8, to honor the Lord with their obedience to His plan for their lives.

God would honor their obedience and give them "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom," verse 17. At the same time God was preparing young Daniel to minister to the King, Daniel 2. Daniel would not only win the King's favor but reveal through the interpretation of the Kings dream, God's plans for the future.

God would use this man Daniel to give us the prophetic truths that describe many current events today giving us evidence that we are quickly approaching the time of the return of the Lord (see my study on Daniel).

Because Daniel purposed in his heart to do right, God used him for His purposes, to explain to us His plan for the future. The twelve chapters of Daniel are prophecies of the unfolding of the historic events that will take place on the earth leading up to the time of the coming of Jesus Christ back to the earth.

Our study of some of these prophecies found in the book of Daniel will reveal to each student of God’s prophetic Word that the events foretold 2,500 years ago are about to be fulfilled in the near future. Remember, the very next event to happen is the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Allow me to be used by you Lord as I purpose in my heart to honor you.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ezekiel 48:1

Now these are the names of the tribes.
For further study – Ezekiel 48:1-35

In the text that is in front of us today, Ezekiel 48, for our devotional we see the "faithfulness" of God in keeping His promises. The Lord made a promise to Abraham and to Moses about the "land" that He will give the Jewish people and this passage is the "title deed" for the Jews.

The entire chapter, as you read it, is sometimes difficult to understand. The Lord is telling the "twelve tribes" of Jacob that they will get a piece of real estate that will be theirs forever.

This list is only one of 38 different passages in the Bible that gives us information on the exact borders for each of the tribes. Space will not allow for all this information, so let me give you a summary of these passages.

God will be giving the Jews ten times what they have today. The actual borders start near the Nile River in Egypt extending north to the Euphrates River, taking in half of Egypt, all of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

The borders go south along the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf, which will take in half of Iraq and three quarters of Saudi Arabia. All of this real estate is promised to the Jewish people. Ezekiel starts to reveal only a portion of all that God will give the Jews.

The late President Assad of Syria said that the problem in the Middle East is the Jews believe that God has given them all of this land. It is true, God has given all this land to the Jews, to be theirs during the Kingdom to come.

Until that time there will be "major conflicts" between the Jews and their "enemies" listed in the pages of God’s Word. These conflicts, the fight by these listed nations to keep the Jews from getting this land, will not negate God’s promises and plans for the Jews.

The reason that He will follow through on these promises is found in Ezekiel 36, another passage on the "land" that will be given to the Jewish people, Ezekiel 36:22.

The Lord talks about the Jews returning to the "land" and He tells them the land will be producing for them all that they may need in the way of food, clothing and shelter. Then He tells them that what He is doing is not for them but for "His holy namesake."

This verse in Ezekiel, Ezekiel 36:22, is applicable to Ezekiel’s promise on the land in our devos for today. The Jews will get this land, for His holy namesake.

However, before this land will be given to the members of the twelve tribes, there will be seven years of judgment, the Tribulation, a time when the "conflicts" spoken of earlier will intensify. We can already see that beginning to happen.

In these days we can see the stage being set for all the prophetic passages in God’s Word, especially those prophecies written by the ancient Jewish Prophet Ezekiel in our devotional scripture for today. These prophecies will be fulfilled and seemingly in the near future. Remember, the Rapture is next, and that could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for making it so clear what will happen in the last days. Help me to pay closer attention to your plan so that I will be better prepared for the Rapture and to live pure and productive in light of this.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ezekiel 47:1

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward.
For further study – Ezekiel 47:1-23

This passage found here in the prophecy of Ezekiel deals with two subjects, the water flowing from the Temple in Jerusalem and the Biblical borders of Israel. Both of these subjects are intriguing and worth the time to study them.

Verses 1 to 12 in this passage detail the events of the Kingdom Period, or at least what happens in Jerusalem at the Temple Mount. After Jesus has built His Kingdom Temple, Zechariah 6:12, and begins to "rule and reign" from this building there will be water flowing from Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea.

This prophecy, referring to water flowing out from the Temple, was recorded by the Prophet, Ezekiel, who was also a Priest. He understands what happens at the Temple during the future Kingdom. The events seem almost unreal.

When the Temple is standing in Jerusalem during the Kingdom there will be a steady flow of water that goes to the Dead Sea, via the Kidron Valley, for the purpose of making this large body of “salt” water a “fresh water lake.”

The water from the Temple will make this lake of "salt water" that is seven times saltier than any ocean in the world, fresh water. In fact, there will be "fishing" done by the local fisherman who will even dry their nets on the shores of the Dead Sea at En Gedi.

This event is similar to what happens in the "New Jerusalem" when water flows from the "throne of God," Revelation 22:1. The "Kingdom Period" is a foretaste of that which is to come in eternity future.

The last portion of our reading for today, verses 13 to 23, is the beginning of the dividing of the Land for the Jewish people during the Kingdom. God has promised the Jews a "piece of real estate" that is ten times larger than what they have today.

There are actually 38 locations in the scriptures that give all the details for the complete borders for this land. This passage in Ezekiel is only a small portion of that information. This "promise" will not be fulfilled until the Kingdom, but, this "land promise" will be fulfilled, by God.

These two prophecies are to be fulfilled in the Kingdom Period and will set the stage for the eternal state of this region of the world, even on the "new Earth", Revelation 21:1.

These prophecies are a comfort to the Jewish people and the realization of what the Lord has told them for almost 4,000 years is about to happen. Abraham was given the promise, Genesis 12, when he came into the land. It will be fulfilled to the Jews as the Lord keeps His promises. He Keeps His Promises to the Jews and to you and me, as Christians.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you dear Lord for being a "promise-keeping" God. I can rest in the fact that you will keep your promise to me of "eternal life" because you keep your promises to the Jewish people. I look forward to you keeping your promise to call me to be with you in the heavens, at the Rapture.