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Friday, April 30, 2021

Joel 3:16

The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

For further study - Joel 3:9-16

The ancient Jewish prophet Joel, in the first two chapters of his prophecy, introduced a very significant prophetic phrase, the "Day of the Lord". The definition of this phrase is "any time in history when the Lord intercedes in the affairs of man, personally on the earth".

In Joel's description of the "Day of the Lord" he starts, as does a Jewish day, with the evening and night first and then the full day to follow. Thus the prophecies in this book are described with the darkest of events first, followed by the more encouraging prophecies. As we come to Joel 3 we see that the Lord is warning the people that "war" is approaching and they must get ready.

This passage does give us insight into the Lord's mind and it reveals that there is justification for "war" for the believer. The Lord tells the Jews to "prepare war". Notice He does not say "prepare for war" but "prepare war". In other words get ready right now.

The "mighty men" are to take their farming implements, their "plowshares" and turn them into "swords". These men must turn their "pruning hooks" into spears. The Jews, in the last days, are to be always ready for going to war.

It seems by Joel's statement that the battle will take place in the area of Jerusalem, the "Valley of Jehoshaphat". The "Valley of Jehoshaphat" is the Kidron Valley located between the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives to the east of the Temple Mount.

At the time of this war, Jerusalem will be the main focus for all wars. Zechariah 14:2 says all the nations of the world will gather at Jerusalem for the beginning of the "Campaign of Armageddon" which is the first phase of the Battle of Armageddon.

This "mother of all wars" actually begins in the Valley of Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem. Verse 16 says that the Lord shall "roar out of Zion (Jerusalem) and the heavens and earth shall shake."

The truth is that before the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, roars out of Jerusalem "He roars into Jerusalem", Zechariah 14:4. The Messiah comes to Jerusalem to the Valley of Jehoshaphat to judge the Gentiles and then become the "hope of His people", the Jewish people.

The days described in Joel, the days during the "Day of the Lord" could well be describing the days we are living in today. There is the threat of war in almost all of the Middle East and much of it is focused on Jerusalem and the Jewish people.

As the days of Joel's prophecy play out in our world today the "voice of the Lord" will be "uttered from Jerusalem", verse 16. The way that the Lord will deal with His people, the Jews, is that His voice shall be heard throughout all the land and, in fact, all of the world. His voice, His word, will go forth from Jerusalem as His prophecies are fulfilled.

By the way, with the Middle East as it is today, the Lord's warning for war is appropriate. That war is coming soon. Jesus is also coming back to Earth, soon. However, before Jesus returns to Earth He will shout and call all Christians up to be with Him in the Heavens, and that could happen today, keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to understand the days I'm living in and with all current events setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, help me to be ready for that coming and warn others of these days and their prophetic significance.
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Joel 2:28

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

For further study - Joel 2:28-32 

I am having you read this passage from Joel's prophecy so that we can think together about the fulfillment of this portion of Joel’s prophecy. The big question is, when was this passage fulfilled or when will it be fulfilled? The partial answer is that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, it is yet to be fulfilled.

There are those today who believe that this prophecy was fulfilled on "Pentecost" as recorded in Acts 2. That is not correct for a number of reasons.

Peter never said that Pentecost, almost 2,000 years ago, was the time of the fulfillment of Joel 2. Peter, in Acts 2, never said that this event on Pentecost in Jerusalem was the fulfillment of Joel 2, but he simply said this is that, "which was spoken by the prophet Joel".

Peter was talking about Joel having written this and the Jewish people recognizing it because of their knowledge of the prophecy that they had read - written by Joel.

Peter was reminding the Jews that Joel had spoken of a time, yet future; however, not on Pentecost, when this would happen. The way I know this is correct is by our reading for today.

The passage we are reading today is part of the narrative of what happens in the "Day of the Lord". This is what Joel is revealing in his prophecy, the "Day of the Lord". In fact, the phrase "the day of the Lord" is being introduced in Joel's prophetic book.

The definition of the "Day of the Lord" is any time in history when God intercedes in the affairs of man, personally on the earth. It has a general usage and a specific usage as it relates to the days of the return of Jesus back to earth.

The "Day of the Lord" begins after the rapture, I Thessalonians 5:1-5, and concludes before the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:11.This is the general usage of the term.

The specific usage is when it refers to the "day" that Jesus steps on the earth at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Joel's passage is referring to that time, and leading up to that day. Thus, Joel 2:28-32 could not have been fulfilled on Pentecost, 2,000 years ago.

By the way, in Acts 2 there is no record that there were wonders in the heavens and in earth of blood and fire and pillars of smoke on that day. Also, on that day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago, the sun did not turn to darkness and the moon become like blood.

Please do not misuse scripture for your own purposes. This passage will be fulfilled in the future, and I believe in the not to distant future.

I had you read this passage and then made my comments so that we might together learn to approach our understanding of scripture, especially prophetic passages, in the proper context. This is essential in understanding the Bible and especially Bible Prophecy.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me, as I study scripture to do so properly so that I can come to the proper understanding of what you are saying. 
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Joel 2:27

And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

For further study - Joel 2:18-27

You might remember from the last time we read in Joel that this ancient Jewish prophet is describing the "day of the Lord", a phrase that Joel introduced to the "end time scenario" found in God's word. The phrase, "the day of the Lord" is any time in history when the Lord intercedes in the affairs of man on the earth, personally.

This definition is used in a "general" sense referring to the period of time after the Rapture and lasting for one thousand and seven years to the time just before the Great White Throne. The "specific" usage of the word is the day that the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth.

In Joel, the prophet describes the "day" as the Jewish day unfolds. The Jews start their new day at sundown and it goes 24 hours until the next sundown. Thus, the day begins with the night and then the day. This usage of the word "day", is the same as used in Genesis 1. "The night and the day", as in the days of Creation, is today used by the Jewish people.

Joel began the prophetic "day of the Lord" in chapter 2 by describing this day with the "night" first, verse 2. As the day proceeds the Lord now tells Joel that He is going to change the land of Israel to be as productive as it has been at any time in history.

We read first of His jealousy that the Lord has for His land, verse 18, which with the Hebrew flavor of the word "jealous" meaning that the Lord will be "aggressively possessive" of His land that He has promised to give to the Jewish people.

He then tells the Jews that He will stop the Northern enemy, verse 20. Verses 21-26 tell how the Lord will bless the Jews in the Land He has given them with the rains. The "former rains", are those rains in the fall and the "latter rains", are those in the spring.

These rains will nourish the land and make it very productive agriculturally. There will be great harvesting of the crops from the land. God will do this because of His promise, a promise that was made in His name, Ezekiel 36:22.

This prophecy is yet to be completely fulfilled. However, today in Israel you can see evidence of how this prophecy can indeed be fulfilled. This will be the time when God's "chosen people" will not be ashamed, but a testimony to the world that the Lord is in the midst of the Jewish people and that He is their Lord, verse 27.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you for allowing us to see, dear Lord, the process of prophecy being fulfilled. 
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Joel 2:1

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand.

For further study - Joel 2:1-10

The prophet Joel introduces to the reader a phrase that is used throughout all of the prophetic passages in God's Word. That phrase, "the day of the Lord", is used to describe a special time in history.

First let me give you the meaning, or definition of the phrase, "the day of the Lord". "It is any time in history when God intercedes in the affairs of man personally on the earth." That definition has either a "general usage" of the phrase or a "specific usage" of the phrase.

The "general usage" refers to a period of 1,007 years, the period of time between the Rapture and the Great White Throne Judgment. The word "day" used in this general usage to define the "day" as a period of time is not a 24-hour day.

The "specific usage" of the phrase is referring to "the day" that the Lord will step back on earth on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This usage of the phrase is found in Zechariah 14:1-4. You determine whether it's the general or specific usage of the phrase, the "day of the Lord" by the context of the passage.

In this second chapter of Joel, and throughout the rest of Joel, the Prophet is using the "general usage" of the term, days that will be leading up to the day Jesus returns to the earth, the "specific usage". Joel says, verse 1, "blow the trumpet in Zion (Jerusalem) and sound the alarm in my holy mountain."

The term "my holy mountain" is referring to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The rest of the passage for today's reading begins to describe these awesome days leading up to the "campaign of Armageddon", which by the way starts at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

There is much I could discuss with you in this passage that I will leave to another devotional. However, notice where we need to focus to determine where the Lord is in His timetable, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. As you do that today there is evidence that "the day of the Lord", His return, is close at hand. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to "sound the trumpet" across the world of His soon return.
Monday, April 26, 2021

Hosea 3:5

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

For further study - Hosea 3:1-5 

This short five-verse chapter in Hosea is basically the message of the entire book. Hosea, the prophet, had a wife named Gomer who was described as a "wife of whoredoms", Hosea 1:2God had commanded the prophet to take Gomer for his wife, he did and she bare him a son, Hosea 1:3. However, Gomer goes chasing after her previous lovers - she goes whoring again.

Here in chapter 3, the Lord tells Hosea to go after his wife, find her, and restore her to himself. We see that played out in this prophetic book of Hosea. The Lord in this book uses the experiences of Hosea and Gomer to illustrate His relationship with Israel.

God is the "husband" of Israel and has down through the centuries watched His "wife" go whoring as well. As Hosea goes after Gomer, cleans her up, and restores her to himself, so the Lord continues to go after His "adulteress wife", Israel.

Here in our reading for today the Lord tells Israel, over 2,700 years ago, what they would go through before He would restore them to Himself. Starting in verse 4 Israel is told of the time, "many days" that they would be without a "king".

These "many days" have been defined by history to be almost 2,500 years since Judah went into the Babylonian captivity.

Hosea wrote also that the Jews would be without a "sacrifice" for these "many days". Here the "many days" would be determined as almost 2,000 years since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by General Titus and the Roman Army in AD70.

Of course, without a temple and without a sacrifice, there is no way for the Jews to have their sins covered for a year, as was the case during the time of the "Day of Atonement", "Yom Kippur".

What the Jewish people do today, instead of offering sacrifices, is give money, do good works, and pray three times a day toward the Temple Mount, the location where the Temple once stood.

It goes without saying that no place in the Bible does it say this Jewish substitution for "temple sacrifice" will take away their sins. Only by the shedding of blood, the "blood of Jesus Christ", can sin be removed from us. That is, of course, the reason the Lord had the temple destroyed.

But notice after all this, the Jews will return and seek the Lord, verse 5. The truth be known, the Jews are in the process of returning to their land but are not yet seeking the Lord.

The Jews will "seek" the Lord during that "seven-year" Tribulation Period. Then Jesus Christ, in the line of King David and in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, will come to Earth to be the "king" of the Jewish people and they shall be His people.

What we see today among the Jewish people, especially in Israel, is at least the beginning of Hosea's prophecy, a prophecy that will indeed be fulfilled "in the latter days".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for giving me the illustration of the Jewish people and their present-day situation, to help me know the times in which we are living. Please help me live accordingly.
Sunday, April 25, 2021

Hosea 2:18

And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.

For further study - Hosea 2:14-23 

Let me remind you of the story line of the book of Hosea. He is the prophet, whose wife Gomer is an adulteress. Hosea will find Gomer in the street, bring her back home and clean her up after her adulterous ways.

In this context, the Lord speaks through Hosea to the Jewish people who He refers to as "His wife", verse 19. The children of Israel will be very much like Hosea's wife and live an "adulterous life". God will, as Hosea, go find His "wife" and bring her back into the family and clean her up.

In our extended passage, we see the Lord describing the relationship He has with the Jewish people. He is also describing a future day when His "wife", Israel, will no longer go out whoring but be His "faithful wife".

That day will be at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when the Lord God will restore the earth and its residents, mankind, to how He planned for them to be upon the earth when He created them, and the earth.

The Lord God will be married to Israel in a day when He makes her righteous, loving, merciful, and faithful, verses 19-20. He will have his new bride, Israel, to refer to Him as "Ishi" my husband and no longer "Baali" my Lord.

I know that at the Lord's return to the earth this all happens because of the description of "that day". Verse 18 reveals the Lord's plan for that time when He brings the beasts of the field, the fowls of the heavens and the creeping things on the earth into the relationship there was between His creation and man before the fall.

The Lord will also give safety and security to His new "bride", the Jewish people, as He breaks the bow and sword of Israel's enemies and ends the wars so she can rest quietly and in safety. This all happens when Jesus Christ rules and reigns in Jerusalem and the earth and humankind return to the times of a theocracy, the "Kingdom to come".

God is today preparing for this wonderful day as He continues to find Israel, His bride, in an adulterous situation only to bring her to Him and clean her up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Our Lord's dealings with Israel, His bride, show us His love for His people and His forgiveness, which also applies to us - thank you Lord.
Saturday, April 24, 2021

Hosea 1:11

Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. 

For further study - Hosea 1:1-11

This opening section of the prophetic book of Hosea sets forth the major themes of the entire prophecy; Israel's unfaithfulness; the certainty of judgment; and the ultimate restoration of the Jewish nation in the last days.

At the outset of Hosea's ministry the Lord instructs him to marry an "adulterous woman". As was the case with the prophet Ezekiel, the "street preacher", the Lord wants to use the lives of these prophets to communicate these prophetic truths to the Jewish people.

Hosea's relationship, characterized by infidelity on his wife's part was to portray Israel's unfaithfulness through its covenants with the Lord.

Hosea did follow the Lord's instructions and married a "woman of whoredom", Gomer. To many the command for Hosea to marry this adulterous woman, and I believe he literally married Gomer, would be over and above the call of duty.

In being obedient to the Lord Hosea would communicate a powerful message to the Jewish people that though they would be unfaithful and thus would be punished, restoration would be an absolute. In the end this unfaithful wife, Israel, the "wife of God", would be restored to God, "the husband".

The name of the firstborn son to Hosea and Gomer, "Jezreel", has an interesting significance to Bible prophecy and the Jewish people. The name "Jezreel" literally means "God sows". However, the significance of his name was not in its meaning but in its association with past and future events at the place, Jezreel.

The Jezreel Valley was the sight of Jehu's ruthless massacre of the house of Ahab, verse 4, (II Kings 9 and 10). This valley was the scene of victory and defeat. It was the scene of a great military victory under Gideon, Judges 6:33 & Judges 7 and a symbol of national defeat at the time of the death of Saul and his army, I Samuel 29:1,11 and 31.

Verse 5 speaks of the Lord breaking the "bow of Israel" in the Jezreel Valley. The fulfillment of this prophecy took place 734-722 BC when the Assyrians overran Israel, II Kings 15:29 and 17:25 . Our key verse also speaks of a "battle" in the Jezreel Valley.

The "day of Jezreel", verse 11, refers to the victory of Messiah Jesus Christ at the battle in the Jezreel when those opposed to the Lord's "theocratic rule" will be defeated and the establishment of His Kingdom will take place, fulfilling His promises to His people, the Jewish people.

When the Lord Jesus Christ came the first time and presented Himself as the King of Kings the Jewish people rejected Him. When He comes the second time He will set up His Kingdom, headquartered in the city of Jerusalem, as He sits upon the throne of King David. We as Christians will be with Jesus at this time and will rule and reign with Him forever.

The events of today seem more and more like the activities of the days described by not only Hosea but all the ancient Jewish Prophets. What we see today is the "stage setting" for these prophecies to be fulfilled in the very near future. We must live in light of His soon shout to call us to be with Him at the Rapture, maybe today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for keeping your promises. Also, the promise of the future relationship we will have with you.
Friday, April 23, 2021

Daniel 12:2

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

For further study - Daniel 12:1-13

This is a very interesting chapter, our extended reading for the devotions today. This 12th chapter of Daniel’s prophecy is somewhat understood by the reader, but it does have several verses that I will not try to explain, because I don’t have any idea what it is speaking about, verses 11 and 12.

However, there are a number of issues that we can discuss after we have read the passage.Verse 0ne, for example, is a prophecy of the "time of Jacob’s trouble" and how "bad" it will be during the last half of the Tribulation Period.

The "time of the trouble", verse 1, "such as never was since there was a nation", is describing the Jewish nation and saying that they will face "trouble" like they never have before. This is an awesome statement if one knows the entire 4,000-year history of the Jews.

In fact, it will be so bad that the Lord will dispatch the Arch Angel Michael to intercede to protect His "chosen people". "At that time" the Jewish people will be delivered from total destruction at the hands of the Satanic Trinity; Satan, Antichrist and the False Prophet.

The "resurrection" spoken of in verse 2 is the resurrection of "Old Testament saints", those who trusted the Lord for their salvation during the time before the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the "source" for everyone’s salvation.

At this resurrection, at the end of the Tribulation Period and before the Kingdom Period begins, humankind from the Old Testament will be resurrected from the dead, both those that had been saved and those that were "lost", without Jesus as their Saviour.

The saved ones will be raised to "everlasting life" and some, the lost, to "everlasting contempt", or death, separation from God, forever. Those who are saved will enter the Kingdom that was always promised to the Jewish people.

The others, the "lost" Jews will be held in "hades" until the Great White Throne Judgment when they will appear before Jesus to be sentenced to the eternal "lake of fire".

This much about the prophecies of Daniel that I’ve shared in this chapter should create a desire to study the Word of God, as it relates to Bible Prophecy. As you study this whole last chapter of Daniel I pray that somehow we have been an encouragement to you to better understand God’s "prophetic word".

As we continue these devotionals on the prophetic passages in God’s Word we can only come to one conclusion, Jesus is coming soon, and it could be today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the "more sure word of prophecy" that you have given to us, so that we can prepare ourselves for your soon return. Help me to live in light of theses bits of evidence pointing to the Rapture, an event that can happen at any moment.
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Daniel 11:40

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

For further study - Daniel 11:36-45

Our devotional for today speaks to this issue of peace or war between Israel and Syria. Let me give you some more information about our passage of prophetic truth for today.

There are three pronouns used in these ten verses, "he, his, and him". These pronouns are all referring to the "Antichrist" the Satanically energized world religious and political leader during the seven year time of judgment yet to come called the Tribulation Period. The "King of the North" as defined earlier in Daniel 11, is modern-day Syria. (See my audio series, The Daniel Papers.)

The "King of the South", also defined in Daniel 11:4-7, would be modern-day Egypt. Verse 40 in our reading reveals how the alignment of Arab and Islamic nations, led by Russia, will begin to make their way into Israel to destroy the Jewish state. Almost in concert, the two nations, Egypt and Syria, will come "against him", verse 40. Remember the "him" is the Antichrist.

Why would the text say that Syria and Egypt are going to attack the Antichrist? The answer is that before both Arab nations move against Israel, the Antichrist will have "confirmed" a peace agreement between Israel and her enemies, Daniel 9:27. So, to attack Israel is like attacking the Antichrist who has just guaranteed Israel's peace.

Verse 41 tells us that the Antichrist will rush back to Israel, go to the north and destroy Syria, then go south to take care of Egypt, verses 42 and 43. At that time, all of the other nations aligned against Israel will attack, verse 43 and Ezekiel 38.

This scenario described in prophecy seems to be coming near to being played out politically and militarily according to the reports that daily are coming out of the Middle East and the ongoing violence that is happening in both Syria and Egypt and the radical elements that were a part of the "Arab Spring" in these two countries.

However, I must hasten to tell you that this prophetic scenario does not actually begin until after the Rapture of the Christians. The stage is being set, all the actors are in place ready for the end-time drama to be played out. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, this day to live as if the Rapture could happen in the next moment.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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.
Monday, April 19, 2021

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 six such treaties, like the Abraham Accords, 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.
Sunday, April 18, 2021

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 70 AD, 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.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

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.