“Hey Jude? What is SIN, really?”

THE DOCTRINE OF SIN:

THE PURPOSE of Jude is a call for all Christians to DEFEND the Faith.

Jude is a tough, sobering, book in the Bible to read.  So get ready!

WHO WAS JUDE?

Jude 1

“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James…”

He was the brother of James, who presided at the Jerusalem Council and wrote the epistle of James, and was the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3).

The Perversion within the Church

[Verse 4 ]  For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door].  Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  [AMP]

Jude talks about APOSTASY, basically a turning away from the Faith.  We learn that they are sneaky, ungodly and pervert the Grace of Jesus.  They deny that Jesus is Master and Lord.

And they stand condemned!

The media today is influencing the church.

The politically correct police are on high alert!  You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth.  You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher.  Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted.  The trend in churches today is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming.  Sermons are designed to tickle the ear and not convict the heart.

God help us!

It’s sobering and it makes me sad to think of those I know who could very well fall into this category of being apostate.  Understand the APOSTASY is false teaching, its false living.  It is the Christian form of hypocrisy.  It’s saying you are a Christian but in truth, you are not.  Your action, your attitude, bear the lies that come out of your mouth.

So Jude gives a WARNING to the apostates, the enemy of the TRUE CHURCH.

He begins by giving us some examples of people who are exposed to the truth, to the grace, and totally reject it and face eternal punishment.  It truly squeezed my heart when rereading this passage of scripture because there are many I know today that could very well experience this punishment.

The LORD delivers people from bondage, but sometimes people fall back.

One Example:  God’s chosen nation (vs. 5)

[5] “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the LORD at one time delivered His people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.” [NIV]

Jude says here that Jesus (more accurately translated LORD) saved a people in the land of Egypt.  That is the Hebrew people, the future nation of Israel.

Later, He destroyed those who rebelled and didn’t believe.

The word DESTROY literally means to abolish; to destroy completely.  [See footnote [i]]

Understand that God didn’t DESTROY the nation, but He did destroy many within the nation all because of their unbelief and disobedience.

It was continued unbelief and disobedience. 

This was an outward circumcision but not an inward circumcision of the heart.

A person can go through all the outward hoops and identifying with Jesus, but the only thing that really matters is your heart.

Does your heart belong to Him?

Are you TRUSTING Him alone to forgive you of your sin?

Are you TRUSTING Him for your SALVATION?

Are you TRUSTING Him in your life?

Are you denying Him, Master and Lord?

If your answer is “NO” to any of these questions, you fall under the same destruction.

BE WARNED!

God’s Chosen Servants–Messengers–Who were they? (vs. 6)

Judgment is coming. Hebrews 9: Jude 1:6. Acts 17: Timothy 4:8. John 12:48. Jude 1:6.

We see here that even ANGELS, heavenly beings, are subject to the great day of JUDGMENT.

Many commentators take this verse and its parallel in 2 Peter 2:4 to be a reference to the primordial fall in the bible of wicked angels under the leadership of Lucifer.  This creates somewhat of a dilemma.  Clearly, not all the dethroned angels are “cast into hell and committed to pits of DARKNESS”, reserved for judgment as Peter writes.  This same Peter says that Satan is still somewhat loose, and prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).  

The simplest way to resolve this questioning is to take the “angels” in this passage of Jude is referenced to the Godly line of Seth in the Bible; the “sons of God.”

The Background of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6.

The angels portrayed here forsook what God ordained them to do.  They chose their own thing!  [i.e.  They became their own god.]

Numerous interpretations I have read suggested that the “sons of God” were fallen, angels who married earthly women and produced children…Giants in the land, although how “angels” could intermarry has never been explained.  Jesus clearly states that angels don’t marry (Matthew 22:30), and there’s no evidence that angels have gender or genitalia.   A few have suggested that “demon-possed men.” as an alternative theory, but this is still rather unsatisfactory, and neither of these interpretations offers anything of relevance to the historical evidence of Genesis 6.  [See footnote [ii] ].

The result was eternal punishment. 

They forsook being in God’s presence to follow their own path.

Bringing this all back to Jude, those who are APOSTATE are the ones who choose to be their own God.

I believe that the biggest ACT OF APOSTASY in our day is….you are a Christian, continuing to live like the world, or even worse than the world!  This type of SIN denies Lordship over one’s life.  It cheapens the GRACE that believers are supposed to live under.

If my understanding of the passage of Scripture is right, then that type of living is APOSTASY; to be judged by God just like the Hebrew people in the wilderness, just like the angels who denied their rightful place, just like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The LORD delivers people from bondage today as He did when the Hebrews were delivered out of Egypt from bondage.  But sometimes people fall back into bondage. We’ve all probably done this, but Jude lists some who didn’t and was punished.

  • Angels who left home.
  • People who left morality behind.

Whatever it is, God can deliver us!

BUT…but we must not turn back.

No Turning Back into our old ways will get us into trouble every time.  And for some people, it could mean eternal trouble.

GOD SAVE US!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i]:   The word, DESTROY – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words

Footnote [ii]:  “Who Were the Angels of Jude 6?” by Biblical Horizons (Copywrite).

Photo Images:  Google Image search.

Bible Translations used:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or as noted.

Commentary:  Restoration, Sermon by Jeff Strite, Jude 1:1-7, Sermon Central.

 

FIGHTING, WARING, “Contending” for the FAITH

HOW DID GOD DO THAT?

Exodus 14:16-31
Exodus 14:16-31

Most of you know of the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus of the Bible, or do you? Here’s a borrowed version of that story:

It seems Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt–and now had Pharaoh and his armies in hot pursuit.

At their backs, certain annihilation– and, in front of them the Red Sea.  They were trapped. So Moses called his generals and other tribal leaders together and made a review of their desperate circumstances in what they might do.

“DID ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS?” Moses asked.

One of the engineering types suggested the possibility of constructing a pontoon bridge–but as some pointed out, there was no time for that!

All kinds of crazy ideas popped-up in discussion–but none had any merit.

Finally, Moses asked,  “What if I were to pray to Jehovah Jireh (God will provide) and ask Him to send a mighty wind to sweep back the waters of the Red Sea so that dry land would appear?  We could then cross over the dry land and…when safely on the other side, wind could cease and the waters would rush back, drowning the Egyptian army.  What do you think of that idea?”

At this point Moses’ publicity man jumped up enthusiastically:  “Moses Baby, if you can pull that one-off, I guarantee I can get you two full pages in the Bible!”

We believe in the biblical record even though we don’t always understand the implications 

The LORD delivers people from their bondage, yet sometimes, people seem to fall back into that same old bondage (1 Timothy 1:7; Acts 8:23).

In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he writes “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him (Jesus), that the body of sin might be done away with and that we should no longer be in bondage to sin”  (ASV bible).

JUDE was the brother of James, who presided at the Jerusalem council and wrote the epistle of James, and he was a half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3).  The LETTER OF JUDE was addressed to Jewish Christians in Palestine and in verse 3, Jude indicates that he planned to write to them concerning their salvation but now changes his appeal in light of certain immoral men circulating among them who were perverting the TRUTH–the message of the gospel of Christ.

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend [“fight”, “war”] for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”  (Jude 3 – NIV bible).

Jude’s list of the “fallen backs”, now begins in verse 4 – People who left MORALITY behind.

[4] For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you…godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality…

And just in case you have forgotten–JUDE 5 (NRSV bible):

[5] Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed that the LORD, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”

[READ Numbers, chapter 16]

The Pretenders and False Teachers –

Albert Barnes makes an excellent statement concerning men/women who come into churches and lead others astray:

“The apostle (Jude) gives a reason for defending the TRUTH for there were artful and wicked men who had crept into the church, pretending to be religious, but whose doctrines tended to sap the very foundations of TRUTH.”

The fact that false teachers were able to creep into a church setting, shows the pastor of the church and/or the people who let their guard down, they clearly were complacent and content as gate keepers and asleep on the job.

Churches today are rarely destroyed from the outside.  It is the Devil’s cunningest to send an uncalled man, poorly trained and equipped for the ministry.  These “hirelings”, having no calling from God, aspiring to the ministry as a profession, who are smooth talkers often well versed in modern psychology.  Ring a bell?

sugarTheir MESSAGE is weak and watery, containing no meat.  In order to hold the attendance numbers, they turn and rely on the music and emotion.  NOTE: I’m not against “contemporary music” and heartfelt “emotional responses.”  Just not the service’s whole emphasis.

Titus 1:9-11 (NIV):

[9] Hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrines and refute those who oppose it.  [10] For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.  [11] They must be silenced because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

ANGELS WHO LEFT HOME BEHIND –

Just because we haven’t seen God or angels, doesn’t mean they aren’t real!

Augustine, an early Christian theologian and philosopher once said,  “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men angels.”

Someone changed that and said,  “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men acceptable before God.”

“Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?”  (Hebrews 1:14).

Apparently, God sends His angels to minister to us who are truly believing saints in life.

We may or may not know when this happens.  One writer put it this way:  “Angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve Him; though created higher than man.  Some (the good angels) have remained obedient to Him to carry out His will, while others (fallen angels), disobeyed, fell from their holy position and now stand in active opposition to the work and plan of God.”

Jude 1:6 (NRSV bible):

[6] And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day.

I think most of us realize the DEVIL is a fallen angel.  He was so filled with PRIDE and wanted to be god and God cast him out of heaven.  SATAN abandoned his position of Authority.

And guess what’s going to happen to him?

Revelation 20:10:

[10] Then the devil who had led them astray [deceiving and seducing them] was hurled into the fiery lake of burning brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (through the ages of the ages).

**NOTE: Were ALL the fallen angels bound eternally in chains for eventual judgment? The answer is another study.  [See Footnote [i] for a study choice.]

If angels who are higher than man in creation can sin and thrown in the lake of fire, what about man?

People who left MORALITY in the trash can (verse 7):

[7] In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire  (NIV bible).

What’s the deal with “Sodom and Gomorrah”?

[READ Genesis 19:1-5]

That sounded horrible after reading those verses.  And it was!  Sounds like today!

This Scripture (verse 7), makes things sound pretty dismal for some people and we should believe the Word of God.  The only HOPE for any SIN, sexual sin, sexual perversion, etc. is the LORD!

No one can be SAVED from eternal fire without the Lord’s grace!

In conclusion, MY STUDY’S REFLECTIONS –

Understand that APOSTASY is more than false teaching in the church today, it is FALSE LIVING.

It is the Christian form of HYPOCRISY–SAYING, YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN BUT IN TRUTH YOU ARE NOT.

Your ACTIONS, your ATTITUDES, are bearing the lies that come out of your mouth.

In VERSE 5:  I saw that the Lord delivers people out of their own EGYPTS, but sometimes people wander back into their sin and slavery.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

JUDE says to us here in VERSE 5, that JESUS (more accurately translated LORD), SAVED a people out of the Land of Egypt.  That is, the Hebrew people, the future nation of Israel.

Later, He destroyed those who didn’t believe (Numbers 16:32-33).  DESTROY literally means to abolish, to destroy completely.

Understand that God didn’t destroy the nation but destroyed many–(250 in verse 35–14,700 later, in verse 49)–ALL because of their UNBELIEF and DISOBEDIENCE to God’s Word given through Moses.  It wasn’t because of occasional doubt and disobedience, but continually doubting, continually disobeying.

There was an OUTWARD CIRCUMCISION, but not an INWARD CIRCUMCISION of the heart.

4-x4-camo-camouflage-heart-gas-cap-bumper-sticker-decal-window-stickers-decals
Ref: https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/camouflaged-hearts/ ]
You can go through all the hoops of Churchianity to identify you with Jesus, but only one thing really matters is your HEART!

Yes, God DELIVERS people from their bondage, even laziness.  Whatever it might be, God can deliver us!

BUT…

But we must not turn back.

Turning back to our old sinful ways get us in trouble every time.  And for some, it could mean ETERNAL TROUBLE.

GOD SAVE US!

If I understand this passage in Scripture rightly, that type of living is APOSTASY and it is to be JUDGED by God… just like the Hebrew people in the wilderness, just like the angels who denied their rightful place, just like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Is that you?

Is God calling you to repentance?

 

 


 

BLOG-STUDY CREDITS:

FOOTNOTE [i] –  Biblical Horizons Newsletter No. 1: Who Were the Angels of Jude 6? by James B. Jordan January, 1989.

Bible Translations used:  NRSV – New Revised Standard Version, NIV – New International Version; AMP – Amplified bible.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Google Images Search.

 

 

 

 

 

“Mary Don’t You Know”

The Gospel Of Luke, 1:26-38 KJV:

(26) And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth.  (27) To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  (28) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. (29) And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  (30) And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God.  (31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  (32) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David:  (33) And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.  (34) Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  (35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (36) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.  (37) For with God nothing shall be impossible.  (38)  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Angels don’t make a practice of appearing to people in the middle of nowhere.  So when Dr. Luke starts out his narrative, a short story about an angel appearing–both to Zechariah and ALSO to Mary, we know something special is about to occur–something that has never happened in the history of the world.

Seemingly out of the blue, God was about to announce His eternal plans in specific detail to one young and seemingly insignificant young girl, living in an insignificant small village of Nazareth.

Now the background of this narrative might seem small and unimportant in the big picture of things–where Mary was living and who she was engaged to.  But the engagement was all important, as it connected her to the GREATER PROMISE made long ago by the prophet Jeremiah 23:5:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch (Sprout), and He will reign as King and do wisely and will execute justice and righteousness in the land”  (Amplified Bible).

Even though Mary was a seemingly miniscule young girl living in a small out of the way village, God was going to use her womb to turn the whole world upside down.

images (1)Gabriel said “HAIL” – ‘Greetings’ to you who are highly favoured!  The LORD is with you.”

Here was a young girl, between the ages of 12 to 17 years old, recently engaged to a man she barely knew, planning with her mother no doubt, the future wedding. What to wear, how many guests to invite, food for the reception, a future place to reside….

Let’s just imagine that afternoon, Mary’s mother might have asked her to go to the well to fetch a bucket of water; so the dishes from the previous meals would be clean.  Afterall, Joseph was dropping by for supper that night, and they wanted everything presentable; to leave a good impression on the groom to be.

With bucket (vessel) in hand, Mary walks outside in the brightness of the sun, and there appeared a handsome, dark-haired young man, standing between her and the well. Surely she was troubled by the stranger’s words and wondering what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her (v. 30),  “FEAR NOT, MARY; for you have found favour with God.”

First of all, notice Mary’s initial reaction to the angel’s greetings.  She was “TROUBLED” and “CAST IN HER MIND”…( I call it “meditating” on the spoken words).  A practice we should all take part in when the WORD is spoken.  Meditate on what is spoken for us, to us, and over us.

The angel had literally told this young girl, that she was about to be the recipient of an undeserved GIFT of God.  What kind of gift would it be?  Why was the angel appearing to HER, a simple and sinful servant of the Lord?  Something BIG was about to happen–but she didn’t know what.

So Gabriel went on…“You will conceive…and bring forth a son”

The whole concept of GIVING BIRTH is a Miracle in and of itself.  If you have ever seen pictures of how a sperm and an egg unite, quickly forming into eyes, ears, legs, and a whole human body, it is a miraculous thing.  It is what we call “PREGNANCY”.

But here, Gabriel was telling Mary–a VIRGIN–that she was going to have a son.

That right there would be enough to absolutely put any woman, much less a young girl, into shock!

But Gabriel wasn’t done!

Today, when a woman becomes pregnant, one of the fun things to do is to measure how BIG the child is.  With fertility pills, the idea of giving birth to twins, multiple births, has jumped in number to six or seven rather than just two.  I would think that most mothers who find out they are having more than one child might be overwhelmed at such a thought.

But this news of Gabriel was far beyond that.  “You are to give him the name JESUS.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

Imagine if you can, what Gabriel was telling Mary here in the passage.  You are going to give birth to not just a ten pound son–to twins or triplets–but the Son of the Most High–God Himself.

GOD was going to be put into her womb–and start growing there.  How would God, who fills the universe, be able to fit into Mary’s womb?

Gabriel wasn’t done.

Mary wouldn’t even get to pick His name, because His name was already picked out–JESUS.  This is the Greek transliteration of the Old Testament name JOSHUA–which is a shortened form of two Hebrew words meaning–“the Lord saves”.  The son that she would have–GOD–would be the Savior of the world–long foretold!

What would this Savior end up doing?  

“The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.”

Many women over the course of history have given birth to kings.  Some of them have had the pleasure of seeing their sons be crowned.  Others have had the sorrow of seeing them dethroned.  Mary’s Son, however, is to reign forever.  His kingdom would never end.

MARY never asked the question “Why me?”

As a descendent of Jacob, she knew why.  She had read of the CURSE that mankind had been under from the fall of Adam and Eve.  She knew from the religious rites and regulations of sacrificing sheep and the Passover–that a Savior had to come to SAVE them from their sins.

God had promised Abraham “through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed (Genesis 22:18).

BY FAITH, Mary knew WHY this had to happen–what she didn’t know was the question “How”?

“How will this be Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

This wasn’t a question of DOUBT–but a question of mechanics.  Mary was about to experience the FACT that God doesn’t always do things NATURALLY!  He does them SPIRITUALLY–BY HIS WORD!

Throughout the first chapter of Genesis, we read over and over again…God SAID…God SAW…(Genesis 1:3-4; 6-7; 9-12; 14-15, 18; 20-21; 24-25; 26; 29-31).

So the question arises, how important are WORDS–presented by Luke’s narrative on Mary’s CONCEPTION?

I remember when I was a child, my mother telling me repeated times, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you.”  As well-meaning as mom was–she wanted me to get over my “hurt feelings”–it was a lie!  Names did hurt, because I allowed the spoken word of others (the bullying), to manifest in my spirit.

WORDS are “things” that can take on substance every time they are spoken.  Words eventually produce tangible “things,” good or bad (Proverbs 18:20-21). 

In 1 Samuel 3:17, when Eli referred to God’s spoken words, he used the word “THING”:

[16] Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.  And he answered, “Here am I.”  [17] And he said, “What is the THING that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me; God do so to thee, and more also; if thou hide any THING from me of all THINGS that he said unto thee.”  [“Thing (s) capitalized for emphasis only]

smalloneWORD SEEDS were the KEYS to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ found in Luke 1:26-31.

The angel Gabriel presented God’s Word to Mary, but only she had the authority to bring that WORD from God to pass.

When Mary gave VOICE to the WORD, a “thing” was released.

Applying this important KEY to our lives today, words of prayer, WORDS spoken–WORD SEED first, then CONCEPTION takes place as soon as we give VOICE to a thing.

In Luke 1:45, we read “blessed (happy to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the THINGS that were spoken to her from the Lord”  (Amplified bible).

The angel told Mary that her CONCEPTION would be supernatural and referred to the baby Jesus as a “HOLY THING” (Lk. 1:35).  The VIRGIN BIRTH occurred when the Holy Spirit intervened to carry out the WORDS that Mary spoke.

Mary’s cousin Elisabeth’s pregnancy, after being BARREN, was evidence that ALL THINGS are possible with God (vs. 36-37).  What an encouragement this must have been to this young girl, and what an encouragement it is us today: ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!!

conception_pregnancy_hormones_s8_2When Mary verbally accepted the spoken WORD of God and spoke into her life, she became pregnant (vs. 38):  Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.”  (AMP)

Mary agreed (internalized) the WORD-SEED of God and spoke–(‘planted’) it over her life–then the THING she spoke materialized (manifested) in the natural world.

Mary BELIEVED God, so she RECEIVED the fulfillment of the “thing” for what she believed (v. 45).

When we believe God and speak HIS WORD over our lives, we can receive the “things” that we speak.

God never intended the BIRTH OF JESUS to be a surprise to anyone.

He predicted it would happen in Isaiah.  He predicted it would happen in Micah.  He sent His messenger Gabriel, to SPEAK “things” to Mary on what was to happen.

Now you may have heard the Christmas story many times by now–but don’t let the wonderful old story stop enlightening your FAITH through the holidays.  GOD became MAN through a virgin–to live and die for each one of us.  What a WONDERFUL GIFT Christmas is!!!

 


CREDITS:

Photos:  Google Image; MedicineNet.com

Sermon Notes used for this blog:  Creflo Dollar Ministries on Luke 1:26-38.

Commentary:  MARY: Believing the Impossible @ Keep Believing Ministries.

Bible Translations:  King James Version and the Amplified Bible.

 

 

The PRINCE OF PERSIA Is Alive and Well!

The Text is DANIEL 10:13-11:1 –

The first 12 verses of Daniel Ten in Review–

DANIEL had been in mourning and prayer for three weeks.

[1] IN THE third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belshazzar – his Babylonian name). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.  [2] At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. [3] I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until three weeks were over”  (Daniel 10:1-3 NIV Bible).

Some Bible scholars think Daniel was in mourning because so few Jews had returned with Ezra from the exiles in Jerusalem.

persian-empire-2
THE PERSIAN EMPIRE DURING THE TIME OF DANIEL

 

Others believe the FAST was because Ezra had faced severe opposition in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

DANIEL didn’t go back with Ezra’s group of exiles.  When the Jews went into captivity by the Babylonians, Daniel was but nineteen years of age.  In Chapter 10, he is now about 84 years old and perhaps thought he could better serve the returning exiles from his high position in the current government.

PRAYING AND FASTING:

After praying and fasting for twenty-one days, Daniel is standing near the Tigris river with some other guys and see an angelic messenger.  The others didn’t see the angel, but they did become very afraid and ran away (vv. 4-8).

The words describe here in Daniel reminded me of the apostle Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus when meeting not an angel, but Christ Jesus. Paul visualized the event, but the ‘other guys’ heard but couldn’t see a thing (Acts 9:3-7).

Once alone, the angel told DANIEL,  Daniel 10:12 (The Message Bible):

“Relax Daniel,” he continued “don’t be afraid.  From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your PRAYER was heard, and I set out to come to you.”

When we PRAY, many times we want the answer NOW!  

Daniel prayed and fasted every day during this time…without an immediate answer… and noticed when God’s messenger arrives, the comfort that is given by the angel:  “relax”; “don’t be afraid”; your prayer was first heard… when you decided to humble yourself.”  

WOW!  I don’t know about you, but what insights into the forthcoming answers in my prayer life.

“HUMBLE” myself first to “RECEIVE understanding” to my requests.  My PRAYERS will be heard and angel are sent!

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA – Daniel 10:13 (The Message Bible):

In the spirit realm
In the spirit realm

“But I [the angel] was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-prince, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

The angel-messenger that has come to Daniel gives the reason for his delay over the last 3 weeks.  In Daniel’s persistent, steadfast and fervent prayers, his God-sent answers were being held up by… “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

Who is this prince?  

Certainly no human could withstand an angel, because we know from Scripture that angels are incredibly powerful.

In 2 Chronicles 32:21, in the days of king Hezekiah we read…

“And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria…”

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA is not a man on earth, but in fact, someone in the spiritual realm.

Looking at the suggestions given in Scripture, we can see these princes in the spirit world.  In fact, there is an entire hierarchy and authority among angels and demons.

According to Ephesians 3:10, there are “…the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.”

In Chapter 6 of Ephesians, Paul seems to list a number of these positions (Eph. 6:12 AMP):

“…despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”

Again, to the Colossians, Paul wrote that JESUS created all things…

“in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities…”  (Col. 1:16).

THE DEVIL has been given a title in the spiritual realm–

Three times JESUS called him,  “…the ruler of the world…”  (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

And the apostle Paul refers to him as “…the prince of power of the air…”  (Ephesians 2:2).

Now although “RULER” and ‘PRINCE” are different English words, the same Greek word (AR-khone) is used in all the referenced verses.

So by using deductive reasoning from the Scriptural evidence found–if Satan is the prince of the entire world, the power of the air, it stands to reason that the PRINCE OF PERSIA is a demonic entity which had authority over this part of the world–the nation of PERSIA.

In my detective research, I found something very intriguing that might correspond to the world events occurring today in the world:

“FARSI” ( “Persian”) is the official language of Iran.  Persians come from the eastern regions of the Middle East (NOTE: Above Map) – [*See Footnote [i] ].

MICHAEL–

This story of conflict we’re reading about between Daniel’s angel and the prince of Persia is evenly matched–until reinforcement shows up on the scene.  That reinforcement is MICHAEL, one of the chief princes (this is the first time that Michael is mentioned in Scripture).

Elsewhere in the Bible we learn that he disputed with the devil himself over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9) and that he and his angels wage war against the devil and his angels in the Tribulation period (Revelation 12:7).

Chief Princes–

According to the book of Jude, Michael is an ARCHANGEL: The compound word “archangel” are two Greek words, “AR-kho” and “ANGelos,” when combined, mean “chief angel,” or “ruler of angels.” [*See Footnote [ii] ].  

The word archangel is not found in the Old Testament, only the New Testament.

Although the two times that the archangel is mentioned in Scripture (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 1:9), they are both in singular form (“the archangel”) but that doesn’t mean we should think of Michael as being the only one in charge or the “head honcho.” Remember, this angel in Daniel 10, calls him “one of the chief princes.”

So, whether he is the 5-Star General, or one of several generals, he is definitely a heavy hitter and the most powerful angel that we are told about in Scripture.

The Prince of Greece– (Daniel 10:20-21)

Then the angel says to the prophet Daniel,

[20] Do you know why I have come to you?  And now I will return to fight with the [hostile] prince of Persia; and when I have gone, behold, the [hostile] prince of Greece will come.

[21] But I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth or the Book of Truth.  There is no one who holds with me and strengthens himself against these [hostile spirit forces] except Michael, your prince  [national guardian angel].

The angel had to return to fight against the prince of Persia.

I had to meditate on these verses in particular, finding it interesting that the angel also knew the Greek Empire was going to be raised up after the Medo-Persian Empire.

I don’t know if he saw in the spiritual realm that a demonic force was being prepared, or if God had already given him the inside story of the upcoming events.  In either case, this angel was aware of what was coming.

True Spiritual Warfare Going On In The Land–

There is absolutely a spiritual battle going on and we’re involved.  But we are not called to wage it in the spiritual realm.

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: it is not a physical confrontation with demons but a spiritual battle fought on your own plain of existence.  Let me rephrase that.

If you want to destroy fortresses in the spiritual realms, then you DESTROY SPECULATIONS that people have against the knowledge.

How to fight effectively–

Ephesians 6:13
Ephesians 6:13

You have to be defensively armed (Ephesians 6:10-17):  

With a life marked by TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS; being PREPARED WITH THE GOSPEL; WALKING IN FAITH, and being SAVED.

And finally, the OFFENSIVE WEAPON that you have to fight with is not a prayer of binding Satan.  It’s the WORD of God.

Michael, Your Prince! (Daniel 10:21 – NASB)

“However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth.  Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”

We’ve already read that MICHAEL is one of the chief princes.  NOW we see Michael is “your prince.”  In other words, Michael is the angelic authority over the people in the nation of ISRAEL.

Encouragement and Protection For Who?  (Daniel 11:1 NASB)

“AND IN the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.”

In my Bible study of Daniel 10, I believe that this first verse in chapter eleven, should have been the last verse of chapter ten.

We are told that the angel who came to DANIEL had been put in a lower position of being an encouragement and protection to King Darius the Mede, the KING that DANIEL had served under as his chief commissioner.

Today’s Current Events and Daniel Ten–

We know that spirits are timeless beings and have territorial assignments.  The PRINCE OF PERSIA knows there is one way to wipe out the Jewish people and one nuclear bomb would certainly accomplish this.

Before Christ, you’ve got to understand the prince of Persia is trying to destroy the lineage–the SEED of David through wich the promised Messiah was to come.

But JESUS, the Savior of the World did conquer death; defeated the devil.  So why is the prince of Persia inciting the Arab World and their leaders to build W.M.D. (weapons of mass destruction)?

THE DAY WILL COME…when the Jewish people will repent and turn to JESUS, the Messiah.  The time doesn’t come until the “times of the Gentiles” is fulfilled.  Could the “times” have already come?  Some Messianic Jews believe the “times of the Gentiles” ended in 1967 when the Israeli army took the Temple Mount.

Since that time, there has been an increasing number of Jews who have found Yeshua–JESUS.  In 1967, there were an estimated 2000 believers in Jesus among the Jewish people.

An article I found on the internet in Charisma magazine mentions a 1990 survey, suggesting that more than one million Jewish people in the United States express “some sort of faith” in JESUS.

So what is the Prince of Persia after today?

Is the JEWISH REMNANT so frightening to his plans against Israel?

Is the future conversion of the JEWISH PEOPLE jeopardise the kingdom he fights for?

Is the EVANGELISM of the 144,000 Messianic Jews mentioned in the Book of Revelation so devastating to his kingdom, that he must make every effort to stop them as he attempted to stop the birth of JESUS?

What does all this have to do with where I’m living in the world?

PROPHECY UNFOLDING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES!

Instead of saying to oneself, “Woe is me,” we should be encouraged by the revelation from Scripture the way things really are as the Bile explains what is happening in the physical realm.

The Bible’s PROPHECIES are coming to pass–against all odds and as the spiritual powers battles going on unseen by us that resist their fulfillment.

 


CREDITS and FOOTNOTES:

Sermon Notes and Commentary by Ron Daniel.

Bible Translations used:  Amplified bible except where noted.

Photo Credits: Google Search; Photo Pin

Footnote [i] – wiseGeek @ http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-difference-between-a-persian-and-an-iran

 

 

The Needed Keys In Understanding the REVELATION TO JOHN – Part One

 

WHY DOES THE BOOK OF REVELATION NOT BEING PREACHED TODAY?

8454499314_7168031652That’s a good question.  I’ve heard various replies over the years: “It’s to difficult to understand” or “It’s scary to hear about beasts–a dragon, lake of fire, hell, etc.”  

My purpose in this study, is to address the issues and difficult questions that always arise when we read the book on the surface.

THE REVELATION in the bible is NOT a ‘light read’ of biblical metaphors. Like All Scripture, the words describe an unveiling of the truth–past, present, future.  It is NOT like a “crystal ball”; no fantasy made up by man.

First, A Disclaimer–

As I began this investigation study in the last Book of the New Testament, and… for as many times I’ve read and studied the words in the past, I still come with some anxiety.  But since I was prompted going forth by the Holy Spirit– ( I don’t debate with the Holy Spirit), I found myself underlining words and phrases in Chapter One; making notes in the verses, following up with other biblical passages to give me (“you”) a spiritual glimpse–the “needed keys” available into the mysteries often overlooked.

My intentions throughout the course of this study is not to debate this study.  Nor do I intend to blog about every chapter in the Book.  I will be posting only what the Spirit directs me to write and proclaim.  So grab your Bible, ink pen, highlighter, and let’s get started!

THE THEME–

The theme is not the seven churches, not the seven bowls, the seven trumpets, the Beast, the Antichrist or the symbolism.  The THEME is Jesus Christ Victorious!!!

REVELATION CHAPTER ONE – AN INTRODUCTION:

Key Verse 1:19 (N.I.V. Bible Translation will be used in this study unless so noted.):

“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”

REVELATION is broken into 3 major parts according to Revelation 1:19 –

1.  What John has seen.

2.  What John is presently seen.

3.  What is coming.

In other words, write down the past, present and future events:  “Write therefore, what you have seen (The Past)” – the Lord Jesus as the Glorified One.

**NOTE:  “Revelation” not Revelations” (plural).  It is the “Revelation” of JESUS, not of John.  If your Bible says The Revelation of St. John the divine…IT’S WRONG.

A.  The PREFACE, the PROLOGUE, the Warm-up begins – Revelation 1:1-3:

“THE REVELATION of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,   (2) who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  (3) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

IMPORTANT WORD “KEYS” for the study in UNLOCKING the doors–

I want to show you an invaluable KEY when reading and understanding in any biblical study.  I underline with pen on the bible pages, certain words that stick out to me.  Then, with the leading of God’s Spirit, I use resources I have at hand (Expository Dictionary, Vine’s Complete Dictionary, etc.–or even Google).

The following KEYS (steps) is one idea on how to approach each chapter.  If you have your own methods, you might incorporate some of these:

1.  “REVELATION”=apokalypto (Greek); where we get the English word “Apocalypse”: (unveiling, disclosure) of Christ Jesus.

2.  SERVANTS=  All believers.

3.  SOON TO TAKE PLACE=

Vs. 1:3 “…because the time is near.”

Vs. 22:6-7 “…must soon take place.”

Vs. 22:10 “…the time is near” or “…at hand”  

Vs. 22:20 “…I (Jesus) am coming soon.”

4.  ANGEL= Messenger of God (anyone, human or heavenly, who proclaims God’s message).

5.  JOHN= identifies himself as John

Vs. 1:1  “…to His servant John”

Vs. 1:4  “John”

Vs. 1:9  “I, John”

Vs. 22:8  “I, John”

6.  BLESSED= the first of the seven beatitudes in the book; Greek word “Makarios” = “HAPPY, HAPPY” are those who will enjoy eternal life in glory (See footnote [i]).  

“BLESSED”= a favorable circumstance God puts on a person– Psalm 1:1; Matthew 5:3.

Vs. 14:13  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”

Vs, 16:15  Jesus speaking, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

Vs. 19:9  “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”

Vs. 20:6  “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection…”

Vs. 22:7  “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Vs. 22:14  “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

7.  PROPHECY= means foretelling the future as well as proclaiming any word from God.

B.  The GREETINGS & DOXOLOGY (Hymn or Verse or Praise to God) – Revelation 1:4-8:

–More KEYS on the Key Chain…

8.  SEVEN SPIRITS= The Holy Spirit in each church?

The SEVEN CHURCHES listed are located 50 miles apart forming a circle in Asia Minor, moving in a clockwise direction.

the-seven-churches-of-revelation

Using Bible Maps can give you an additional perspective in understanding.

9.  A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS= this Old Testament designation of Israel is applied to the New Testament Church:

1 Peter 2:5:  “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…”

1 Peter 2:9:  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…”

10.  PIERCED= ekkenteo, Greek found in John 19:37; Revelation 1:7 and refers to each text to “piercing” Christ on the cross.  “Karah”, Hebrew word used in the OT is a symbolic anticipation of the future suffering of Christ:  

Psalm 22:16:  “For [like a pack of wild] dogs they have encompassed me, a company of evildoers has encircled me; they pierced my hands and my feet”  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah 53:5:  “But he was pierced for our transgressions…”

John 19:34:  “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear…”

So shall it be! AMEN= A double affirmation.

11.  ALPHA & OMEGA= first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. 

GOD is saying He is beginning and the end; He is and was and will be.

C.  VERSES 1:9-20 – “Jesus among the Seven Churches”:

12.  SUFFERING, KINGDOM & PATIENCE= the three pivotal themes in REVELATION.

13.  PATMOS= a small island off the coast of modern Turkey.

JOHN was imprisoned here until his release in 96-98 AD.  [*Note: Suggestion: look up “Patmos” on a map for reference].

14.  THE LORD’S DAY= technical term for the first day of the week; so named because JESUS rose from the dead on that day.

Also, the day Christians met together, took a collections, and why we attend church on Sundays today (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

15.  IN THE SPIRIT= In a state of Spiritual Exaltation–not a dream, but a vision like Peter’s– [Acts 10:10].

16.  SCROLL= pieces of parchment or papyrus sewn together and rolled on a spindle.

The book was not invented until about 2 AD.

17.  SEVEN= Hebrew number of perfection or completion.

18.  SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS=the SEVEN churches (Vs. 1:20).

19.  SON OF MAN=Jesus Christ.

Daniel 7:13, 14:  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Mark 8:31:  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again.

20.  ROBE TO HIS FEET= traditionally, the high priest wore a full length robe to his feet.

Bible References:  Exodus 28:4; 29:5.

Reference to Christ as the high priest supported the fact that He is wearing a golden sash around His chest. 

21.  WHITE LIKE WOOL= suggest wisdom and dignity.

Daniel 7:9:  “I kept looking until thrones were placed [for the assessors with the Judge], and the Ancient of Days [God, the eternal Father] took His seat,  Whose garment was as white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.  His throne was like the fiery flame; its wheels were burning fire”  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah 1:18:  “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow…”

22.  EYES LIKE BLAZING  FIRE=penetrating insight.

23.  SHARP DOUBLE EDGED SWORD= the sword is the Word of God which is used for our protection, but also our divine judgement.

Hebrews 4:12:  For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of the joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.  (Amplified Bible)

24.  FELL AT HIS FEET= great respect and true awe!

25.  LIVING ONE= Based on Old Testament references to the Living God; in contrast to the dead gods of paganism–Christ Jesus possesses life in His essential nature.

26.  KEYS OF DEATH AND HADES (Sheol, or the place of the dead)= Christ has absolute control over their domain.

27.  ANGELS=heavenly messengers, earthly messengers/ministers, personifications of the prevailing spirit of each church.

~THE BOOK OF REVELATION~

This book is primarily a book of prophecy; it seems to begin as an epistle or a letter.  It addresses SEVEN different churches with SEVEN different problems or challenges.

It foretells things that are to come.  But I want to mention again: It IS a REVELATION about Jesus Christ; REVELATION depicts JESUS AS:

“The faithful witness”,

“The firstborn from the dead”,

“The ruler over kings of the world”,

“The Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End”,

“The One who is and was and is to come, the almighty”,

“The beginning of all Creation”,

“The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”,

“The Lamb on the throne”,

“The Messiah who will reign forever”,

“The King of kings and Lord of lords”,

“The bright morning star”.

Lessons To Be Learn In This Upcoming Study:

*  The church is warned on sin lifted to holiness;

*  We will see vivid pictures of worship, the ministry of angels;

*  Eschatology= Doctrine of last days.

*  The final political setup of the world;

*  The career and ultimate defeat of the Antichrist;

*  Christ Jesus 1000 year reign; and…

*  The final state of the wicked and the righteous–the unsaved and the saved.

As we go through The Book of Revelation in the weeks to come, I will try to point out ties between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

EXAMPLES:

In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation it will pass away.

In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation Satan’s last rebellion.

In Genesis the sun, moon and stars were meant for the earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for the earth’s judgement.

In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no night.

In Genesis the entrance to SIN; in Revelation the exodus of SIN.

In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed.

In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death!

In Genesis Satan’s doom being pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed.

Feel free to point out in this series notes you made, discoveries you found in the comment section of this blog-site.  It will be helpful to all who follow along.

PART 2 to follow in Revelation 3. So start reading in your own bible (ink pen) and I’ll see you there!

 

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Sources for this Study:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF WORDS – Stephen D. Renn.

NIV Complete Concordance.

Photos and Maps:

Google Images

Photo Pin

Wikipedia Maps -The Seven Churches in Revelation

Bible References:

New International Version (NIV)

Amplified Bible