Daniel chapter 9, the seventy weeks of years.


In everything I do, I feel I am learning a new lesson. Because one of the groups of men I sit with, subjects ourselves to a false teacher each week (not everyone that sits through the Monday morning Bible Study feels this way,) several of us recognize the painful tedium we subject ourselves to. We all find ourselves asking why we attend and the answer is universally the same for all who see what is going on there. We need fellowship with other faithful men. From my point of view, there are four or five men who have a solid understanding of God’s Word, His nature, and His character (These aspects have become utmost in my thinking lately.)

One of the brothers avidly follows another of our false teachers as he carries his twisted gospel to the hamburger stand I used to frequent. I have challenged his reasons and he always leans upon the same thing, that brother is a good friend of mine and we have been through much together.

I get it. There is no denying the value of someone, no matter the twistedness of their theology, who will always have your back in prayer. That aspect is one thing these men have in common, they know how to pray.

While it may seem that the lesson I need to learn is how to separate myself from false teachers, it is really more focused on trusting the Holy Spirit’s leading and not asking the opinions of the others. In doing just that I bypassed some essential, reinforcing, and critical aspects of end times prophecy by choosing to jump from Daniel chapter 2 to Daniel chapter 9. In my defense, I only thought I would have a couple of weeks at best, and, I really thought for a moment I could fly through the depth of what is contained in Daniel 2 and 9. I could not, nor does it do the information there any justice.

One more thing. I have come to realize that there is nothing of insignificance in scripture and to fly rapidly past a simple word like strongholds, is to do yourself and your audience an injustice.

All passages are from the NASB unless otherwise specified.

Daniel Chapter 9 – Daniel’s third vision:

The seventy weeks of years.

Daniel 9:1

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans–

Timeline from Nebuchadnezzar to Darius

Make this clear in your thinking: Daniel, having not only survived but excelled under five Kings/rulers/Emporers, is now facing his sixth ruling authority while still in Babylonian captivity.

If we followed this timeline closely what do we see? Daniel dead before Darius shows up. Is that what scripture tells us? No. But we can also see something else, two other names not spelled out in Daniel. Amel-Marduk who reigned from 556- 539BC; that Belshazzar had an alternative name of Nabonidus; that Cambyses reigned briefly after Cyrus from 530 – 522BC, ending with, for the purposes of our story, Darius 1 who reigned from 522 – 486BC.

Daniel 9:2

“in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years”

What can we ascertain from this?

    • That Daniel was, either, able to carry the scroll of Jeremiah into captivity with him,

    • Or, Daniel was able to attain a copy.

    • Daniel has perceived according to prophecy that the desolations of Jerusalem are over.

      What does the Hebrew give us as the definition of desolations?

      The Word Study Dictionary, ḥorbāh or cḥorbāh: A feminine noun meaning ruin. The word almost always refers to an area ruined by the judgment of God.


      Strong’s tells us: properly drought, that is, (by implication) a desolation: – decayed place, desolate (place, -tion), destruction, (laid) waste (place).

While desolations may have been declared upon Jerusalem, this judgment was upon God’s people as well. Daniel, reading from the Prophet Jeremiah, realized that the time of their captivity had, because of timing, come to an end. Someone needed to let the authorities know.

Jeremiah 25:11-13 ‘This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12- ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the LORD, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation. 13- ‘I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations.

Jeremiah 29:10 “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.

What can I ascertain from verse two, or another way of asking this question would be to say, “what has Daniel come to understand?”

      • That Daniel was not completely aware of the timing.

      • That the 70 years of captivity have been completed.

      • That the whole land of Israel is in desolation.

      • While Israel’s desolation may be temporary, Babylon, that nation, and the land of the Chaldeans will have an everlasting desolation.

Daniel 9:3-19

The NASB entitles this section: Daniel’s Prayer for His People; and yet that is not all Daniel prays for.

Daniel opens his time of prayer with a preparation.

3) “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”

Are we required by the law to take an appropriate attitude before God? Why then “pay attention?” Because we are not in control, He is.

I once heard someone say, always open your prayer with praise.

4) “I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,”

Daniel acknowledges God for who He is. He is great, awesome, and most important of all: He is the one ho keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments

Verse 5 shows Daniel confessing for the nation.

we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.”

In verse 6 he admits:

we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.”

Since apostasy, the act of turning our backs on God is a significant marker of the end times, what does this idea of “we have not listened” have to say to us?

As a side note: I sit with religious men who make bold statements contrary to the Word of God and will not listen when corrected by that same Word.

Verses 7,8 demonstrate that it is more than just the land, the temple and the city that is punished; it is people as well.

7) “.. the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, ..”8) “Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

This judgment is directly applicable to Jewish people of that day, everywhere. But who wants to carry around open shame?

Here we sit some two thousand five hundred years later and yet once again there is a wrath/judgment coming upon God’s people. Why? Because, still, they will not listen.

Daniel 9:9-10

“To the Lord, our God belongs compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10) nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.”

Isaiah 43:25-26 “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. 26) “Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; State your cause, that you may be proved right.

In remembrance of what? Who God is and what He has done.

Why? Not because he forgets, but because we do.

Consider what this says: “To the Lord, our God belong compassion and forgiveness,” while He may show compassion and forgiveness, there is a debt to pay. In our case, Jesus paid the price for our debts. Did this exclude Israel? Not at all, but it is clear, even today, that ma many choose to reject Jesus as the Messiah.

Daniel 9:11-14

What does Daniel say here, in his prayer to God?

  • “Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice;

  • so the curse has been poured out on us,

  • along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God,

    Spend some time in the book of Deuteronomy and there you will find the Blessings and the Curses. Chapter 28 is where it says, “if you will do these things then all these blessings will come upon you.” But, like any two-edged sword, there are curses for not following God’s commands.

    In finding the character of God, you will find that He is rather straightforward; this is affirmed in chapter 30.

    Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

    In general, is that what Israel did, choose life? No, therefore Daniel had this to say, “As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us;”

Did knowledge of Deuteronomy’s blessings and curses change the heart of Israel?

I doubt it, but we know that there were four men who stood on God’s side.

  • Sadly we have this evidence: “yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth.”

Does, or has, God, relented from his wrath and anger?

The answer is yes, and Nineveh is one of those examples. Jeremiah 42:10, an example of God relenting from His wrath, was spoken concerning Israel and their pending captivity.

Jeremiah 42:10 ‘If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent concerning the calamity that I have inflicted on you.”

What land is God referring to? Babylon.

At the same time, we have examples where God is done overlooking transgressions.

Ezekiel 24:14 “I, the LORD, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you,” declares the Lord GOD.'”

Daniel 9:15

And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day–we have sinned, we have been wicked.”

This is not so dissimilar from one of Moses’ prayers.

Daniel 9:16

If I were to foolishly ask, when does Daniel begin to pray, It would be about verse 15. However, the entire interaction is a prayer.

    • Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts”

    • let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain.”

      What kind of knowledge is Daniel sitting on?

      The knowledge that the 70 years is completed, and that God has little reason to keep Israel in captivity.

      With that understanding, Daniel still remains submissive to the God of Israel.

    • for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem, and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us.

      Daniel gets it; the reasons why Israel is captive in Babylon. Did he get it as a young man, probably about to get married? Maybe not, but he literally kept his head by being submissive to his Babylonian captors, as the prophet Jeremiah had told them.

Daniel 9:17-19

What direction did this portion of his prayer take?

      • So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant “

      • incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name”

        Again, Moses implored the Lord to have mercy upon His people, called by your name, and asked, what will the nations think, that God could not save them.

      • O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive!”

        Forgiving is a part of God’s nature and character.

      • do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

        Perhaps this is a human emotion that we are attaching to God, but everyone has pride.

For the moment we will end this, keeping this study in brief sections.  The next section/chapter will be:

Gabriel Brings an Answer, but to what?

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Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel chapter 2


As the self-appointed pastor of the hamburger stand was losing his voice I was asked to step up and lead the Bible study. My friends and I had been through two years of tedium as the leader of the Monday morning Bible study led us through his convoluted ideas about the Revelation and the Millenial reign; so when I asked them what they would like to have me cover, they strangely jumped at the idea of Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.

What I am giving you are the notes that I put together in order to lead a Bible study on Daniel chapter 2. I will tell you that we had a great time.

Forgive the artwork but it made the point.

My version of Nebuchadnezzars statue

The head of fine gold; the first Kingdom

Daniel 2:38 You O’ King are that head of Gold.

Breast and arms of silver; the second kingdom

Daniel 2:39 After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, (Medo-Persian)

Belly and thighs of brass; the third kingdom

Daniel 2:39 and still a third kingdom of bronze [Greece under Alexander the Great] which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Legs of iron; the fourth kingdom

Daniel 2:40 An unnamed kingdom, but becomes more clear when you pursue Daniel chapter 7.

Daniel 7:24-25 KJV And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and, he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

This descriptive personifies the false prophet. The ten kings and their kingdom comprise the Feet of iron and clay

I use the NASB. If I use another translation I will indicate so.

Daniel 2:31-38

  • “The head of that statue was made of fine gold,

  • its breast and its arms of silver,

  • its belly and its thighs of bronze,

  • its legs of iron,

  • its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

Daniel 2:38 AMPC+ “…

  • You [king of Babylon] are the head of gold.”

The direct inference is to Nebuchadnezzar.

The statue does not represent five kingdoms. I believe that it is apparent that this is not the case because the feet, though mixed, are still an aspect of the legs.

Daniel 2:39

  • After you (Nebuchadnezzar) there will arise another kingdom inferior to you,”

The Amplified Bible was kind enough to define this as the Medo-Persian empire.

  • then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.”

Again this is spelled out in the Amplified Bible as the Grecian empire under Alexander.

This should evoke some questions.

Who came immediately after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign?

It was not Belshazzar, and he was not Nebuchadnezzar’s his son.

Take the time to read Daniel chapter 4. It speaks of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-year loss of sanity and restoration. All this was meant to demonstrate that there was none other than God. Restored, It seems Nebuchadnezzar then quietly slips off into death. Chapter five then opens with Belshazzar, whom we assume to be the king’s son, sitting on the throne. Chapter five verses 21-23 speak of God’s admiration of Nebuchadnezzar, and then this, “Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this, but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven;”

Timeline from Nebuchadnezzar to Darius – Bible Timelines, Copyright © 2006 – Rick Swartzentrover

Overnight Belshazzar is stripped of power and killed; the kingdom was taken over by Cyrus, the Persian. Alright, let’s get something straight here, there are others involved. 

  • Armel Marduk, who reigned for 17 years came immediately after Nebuchadnezzar
  • Nabonidus Belshazzar reigned for 17 years. The confusion we encounter comes from his reference to Nebuchadnezzar as a father. We come to understand that it was a term of respect for an elder, but Belshazzar was not his son. According to history, we learn that Belshazzar served as co-regent while Nebuchadnezzar was in another palace. By the time Cyrus and his troops were marching into Babylon Belshazzar, fully aware of the ominous news, decided to throw a huge party. And, just to make it over the top, while the party is going on, he orders the golden vessels taken from Israel to be brought in so that he and his guests could drink out of them. This was sure to make him look good.

What then is going on in Daniel 5:30-31 NASB

“That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. 31- So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.”

It appears that God just made an eighteen-year leap in time, with no open explanation. 

  • Cambyses reigns after Cyrus for 9 years.

Daniel 6:28 is one of the pieces of evidence that ties Daniel to the reigns of Cyrus and Darius. However, it makes no mention of Armel Marduk or Cambyses.

Daniel 6:28 NASB So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Cyrus the Persian and in the reign of Darius the Mede.

For some reason God does not separate Darius and Cyrus, calling them merely Medes and Persians.

Daniel 2:40.

  • (NET) Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others.

    Unfortunately, the Amplified, like many commentators, attributes this to the Roman empire.

Allow me to point out some of the reasons why the fourth empire is not the Roman empire.

Daniel 7:23-26

“The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,”

Is there a distinction between the letter “a” and the word “the”?  Apparently, for in using an “a” God leaves the room for variability. In this case, four generals who served under Alexander who was eventually reduced to two.  How do we know that? Daniel chapter 11, a rather exacting history, spells out how the four will take power and eventually end with the reigns of Seleucid in the North (These were the Assyrian nations, also known as Syria, and included Asia Minor, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and South to the southern borders of what is now Israel)  and Ptolemy in South (Egypt and the Northern African Nations.)

These two kingdoms, though Grecian at the core, ruled independently. Cooperation was secured through marriage, espionage, murder, and intrigue; it was a way of life.

Chronologically, this was not the Roman empire.

Bible Timelines indicates the region involved in Nebuchadnezzar’s rule was under the Persian Empire from 550-358BC.

The Grecian Empire lasted, through the Reigns of Seleucid and Pompey until 64BC and 43BC in Egypt.

In order to make this chronological, we have to bypass 28 Kings and 507 years.

Why does God ignore 28 kings? That is unknown to us. The best approach is to understand that God controls the clock and the timing of His prophetic actions.

Let’s pause at Daniel 7:24 for a moment.

‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.

  • Out of this kingdom (the fourth kingdom)

    We make the assumption that the kingdoms will hold to the core, and the scripture does not tell us that.

  • ten kings will arise

    Again, we do not have the timing of when they arise, nor, do we have their “religious” affiliations.

  • and another will rise after them,

    We are given a cryptic clue: “he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.”

    I believe we are seeing the overthrow of the three kings as we speak.

    Daniel’s retelling of the dreams meaning does not end here. Look then at Daniel 7:25.

7:25 ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

Does this sound like anyone we know? The answer should be, yes.

Revelation 13:4-5 NASB they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5- There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.

Revelation 13:6-7 NASB And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7- It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

I desperately wanted to assign this beast to the false prophet, but I am not sure I can or should.

Revelation 13:11-14 NASB 11- Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12- He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13- He performs great signs so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14- And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.

If we are trying to make a logical connection to Rome, there is none with one exception Titus, the Emperor who ruled over Jerusalem during its destruction in 70 AD.

The so-called logical path here is Daniel 9:26 which tells us that,the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

Because we attribute the destruction of Jerusalem to Rome, we make the assumption that this future prince is an aspect of Rome.

The problem here is that both Tacitus, the Roman historian, and Josephus, documented that the destruction of the Temple was the act of Assyrian conscript troops, under the Roman flag, who refused to cease from their actions when ordered by Titus. It is also known that Titus was under pressure to keep peace and saw no good coming to his reign because of the actions of the Assyrians.

There is one other reason why our assumptions about Rome are wrong. It is because, we, in the Western church, seem to think that this Bible we are reading is a book in tune with the Western culture. Oh sure, God has seen fit to make it work for all who believe, but never forget that the Bibles we carry are Jewish books, centered around a Jewish Messiah, and are exclusively Middle Eastern-centric. Trying to bend things and events to fit our Western culture will only confuse you more than you are.

  • which shall be different from all other kingdoms

    What was the goal and purpose of all other kingdoms? Divide and conquer. But what did the Roman empire do? Establish a nonreligious legal system; build aqueducts, and promote trade and economy through road building. Not exactly a divide and conquer concept.

    Revelation 13:3-4 NASB I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4- they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”

    Note: While describing, almost to the letter, the beast of Revelation, this EMPIRE, sustains a mortal wound. Consider for a moment the allegory we are confronting. There are no beasts anywhere near this description, so the logical assumption should be that we are dealing with an entity or better yet multiple empires. Empires typically have solitary rulers (kings, monarchs, or emperors.) If they were ten in league with one another and one of the heads sustained a mortal wound, would the beast be killed? Not likely, as we would see someone else ready to take their place. Such is the case here. An example of such an event has already happened in the course of history, and it happened to the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic Caliphate, in the 1920’s. The Caliphate was ransacking an area comparable to the Alexandrian Empire, and they seemed to rule the Mediterranean seas.They needed to be quelled and the British Empire effectively did just this by shutting down the Ottoman Empire.

    How did the Islamic Empire come back to life? The Muslim Brotherhood never really died and raised its ugly head several times. The ultimate revival came with the Islamic revolution in 1979. In this, the Islamic Caliphate took control over Iran, once again.

  • and shall devour the whole earth, tread it down, and break it in pieces and crush it.

    We like to use terms like, “the known world,” however, there was more to the world than just the Mediterranean, and yet, this was the primary sphere of influence of all these empires we consider. This so-called global concept applies to the Grecian empire, the Seleucid, and Ptolemaic empires as well.

    One Empire, (under various names – like Rashidun and Ottoman Caliphates,) attempted to control the entire world extending into the realm of WW1. It took a combined effort, but Britain played a huge role in shutting the Ottoman empire down in 1924.

I found myself asking, why do we have kingdoms?

I suppose a part of the answer lies in public safety, at least that is what they tell you. However, the truth is, those who have obtained power, by whatever means, fight desperately to maintain it, and that requires money and loyalty. Sadly, loyalty must often be bought or created through marriage or a truce. In reality, the desperate methods used to maintain power causes the commoner to suffer. If the Islamic Caliphate is the kingdom in question, do they operate on these terms? The answer is, not necessarily. While the people who are NOT Islamic suffer tremendously, if they pay the Jizya tax, they have a chance to live as others do. Typically, NON-Islamic people are deemed infidels and killed by various means. The preferred method is beheading.

Daniel 7:24

  • And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and he shall be different from the former ones, and he shall subdue and put down three kings.

    Revelation 13:1 NASB And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

    The obvious thing here is, that there were to be ten kings come out of this fourth kingdom. Again, with the Islamic empire, it is more difficult to ascertain a king. It is not, however, difficult to count the Imams; the leaders of the Caliphates. Currently, the President of Turkey, Princip Erdogan, is trying to establish himself as the leader of the final Caliphate.

Here is where the clues get intense and more specific.

Daniel 7:25

  • And he shall speak words against the Most High [God] and shall wear out the saints of the Most High

    These words are almost identical to the descriptions of the Antichrist character we see in the Revelation.

  • and think to change the time [of sacred feasts and holy days] and the law

    Here is where an understanding of Islamic goals comes in handy, for this is exactly what they intend to do. They wish to instill Sharia laws that supersede established law. This gives them the right to behead for blasphemy against Allah, a demonic entity.

    Another aspect of this change includes their own calendar. Anything we have will be done away with.

  • and the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time [three and one-half years]

    This is a specific reference to the martyred of Revelation.

    Revelation 13:7 NASB It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Daniel 7:26

  • But the judgment shall be set [by the court of the Most High], and they shall take away his dominion to consume it [gradually] and to destroy it [suddenly] in the end.

    This is another reference to future judgment by Jesus.

    Revelation 20:10-11 NASB 10- And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11- Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

I wish it was more explicit but you should get the point.

If you intently study Daniel 2:41-43, you find that the Aramaic word for mixed is ‛araḇ. An Aramaic verb meaning to mix, to mingle, to join together. The implications are widespread, as one can mean unification, while others suggest non-cooperation beyond a point.

Daniel 2:41

    • In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron,

      Anyone, with any experience building, knows this is structurally unsound.

    • it will be a divided kingdom;

      Divided is Aramaic word pelag̱: An Aramaic verb meaning to split,

    • but it will have in it the toughness of iron,

      Toughness is the Aramaic word that also means strength.

    • inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.

      Most everyone understands what iron is, a high carbon steel that has strength. However, when applied to people, it can mean inflexible and unyielding.

If this fourth kingdom we are talking about is Islam, the problem is that there are differing sects, none of which get along,. Add to this “mix” God’s declarations concerning Ishmael:

Genesis 16:12 NASB “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him, And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

Daniel 2:42

  • “As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.

    Brittle means fragile. Keep in mind are talking belief systems; ideologies, and people.

The word arab also means intermingled. Intermingled with whom?

Daniel 2:43

  • And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

    As we have already witnessed that a form of Jihad is mass integration and intermingling. Raping the citizens produces children that they claim for their own as a Muslim. In this way, they reproduce rapidly.

    As we migrated through the body of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue, we end with four kingdoms, and none other is described to us.

    The fourth kingdom, however, is different, but it is up to us figure out why.

    Without breaking stride, we transition to the fourth kingdom, one that is split into two and progresses down to the feet, which are mixed with clay. This picture tells us that it becomes structurally unsound.

    God considers all of those ruling under this empires title to all be aspects of the fourth kingdom. (We see this in Revelation 13, for the fourth, comes out of the ten.) During the days of these kings “the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed,” What is this? The Millennial reign.

Daniel 2:44

“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Luke 1:31-33 NASB “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32- “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33- and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Revelation 11:15 NASB Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

Yes, you are right, Daniel does not end there, but foregoing one more verse we are done. If you were like me and read about the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw, then you were quite probably befuddled about some of the same things I was. An example: where do people get the idea that the fourth empire is the Roman empire, and, what about those feet? Having God lay out the first three empires for us is a good thing, but to be honest, you have to do your homework in order to find out that the fourth, loosely defined empire is the remnants of his Alexandrian Empire.

One more question. Why is any of this important to us?

As my pastor recently said, these end times things you speak of are really peripheral. The implication is that they mean nothing or at best little to our Christian lives. Is that true? The answer is NO, and the reason why, as I see it, is because we are currently living in the last days. Now why would I say such a thing, as clearly, there are events that must take place and haven’t happened yet, such as the apostasy of the church – oops, that has happened; or a ten nation confederation attacking Israel, and quite soon. But staying attune with the global news gives you an understanding of how painfully close we are to seeing Israel attacked. An aspect of the end times, at least more precisely “the great tribulation” is the persecution of those who missed the snatching away of the church and are now having to prove their allegiance to God by giving their lives, primarily to the sword. Again, look around you. Is that happening all around us? The answer is YES.

We are there and He is coming soon to catch away those who are waiting for Him.

Posted in bible study, Daniel, End times, God's character, Islam, Nebuchadnezzar's statue, Prophetic, Revelation, the fourth kingdom, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We live in a world at warfare


Since we last spoke much has been going on besides world turmoil. Many of you who read my blog are from countries that have taken in these so-called “immigrants” and those of us who are paying attention to scripture and the escalating damage are well aware that these are more evidence that we are in the last days that scripture speaks of.

The last thing I posted spoke about strongholds and their impact on our lives. I tried to make myself clear by pointing out the spiritual side of these strongholds, and, though simple in their beginnings we allow them to take powerful, fortress-like holds over our lives. The reality is that we live in a world in warfare, spiritual warfare. If you have been suckered into religiosity then you most likely will laugh at me, as you declare that our problems are strictly our own doing.

If you have been suckered into the apathy that religiosity brings then you most likely will laugh at me, as you declare that our problems are strictly our own doing. However, I can attest to the fact that our enemy, Satan, and a myriad of fallen angels, work hard at enticing well-meaning others to do their bidding. These voices sound so much like a negative father, a doting mother, brothers, sisters, and sadly people you thought were good friends. In my case, a friend, who thought he was doing the proper thing, directly spoke against the leadership of a small Bible study group I attend. Truth be known, I can adequately self-destruct on my own, but I think I have just enough knowledge to shut my mouth once in a while. This well-meaning friend, at the prodding of the enemy, fired direct volleys at the table leader; this, in turn, created a small war, which I had to come against in Jesus name.

On the plus side: another situation where one of our group, which meets at a hamburger stand, appointed himself the pastor and began his onslaught of false teaching, has asked me to cover for him as he was losing his voice. That has turned into an opportunity for me to lead the Bible study for almost a month now. Have you ever given this idea of false teaching any consideration? Many, when they think of false teachers, picture some television preacher. While there is no doubt many of them have fallen into that trap it does not have to be that elaborate. Simply ignoring the context of a scripture and using it to convey an inappropriate message; preaching your opinion in place, or allowing it to take precedent over God’s word, and generally just being arrogant, refusing correction, especially when the Word of God stands in opposition to what you are saying.

Have you ever given this idea of false teaching any consideration? Many, when they think of false teachers, picture some television preacher. While there is no doubt many of them have fallen into that trap it does not have to be that elaborate. Simply ignoring the context of a scripture and using it to convey an inappropriate message; preaching your opinion in place, or allowing it to take precedent over God’s word, and generally just being arrogant, refusing correction, especially when the Word of God stands in opposition to what you are saying.

Have you ever given this idea of false teaching any consideration? Many, when they think of false teachers, picture some television preacher. While there is no doubt many of them have fallen into that trap it does not have to be that elaborate. Simply ignoring the context of a scripture and using it to convey an inappropriate message; preaching your opinion, or allowing your opinion to take precedent over God’s word, and generally just being arrogant, refusing correction, especially when the Word of God stands in opposition to what you are saying moves you into the category of false teacher.

Many, when they think of false teachers, picture some television preacher. While there is no doubt many of them have fallen into that trap it does not have to be that elaborate. Simply ignoring the context of a scripture and using it to convey an inappropriate message; preaching your opinion in place, or allowing it to take precedent over God’s word, and generally just being arrogant, refusing correction, especially when the Word of God stands in opposition to what you are saying.

As usual, I talk too much, so here is the reason I write this:

I, like Paul, am very much aware of the trials and tribulations some of you are experiencing. No, I do not have to be a prophet to know this, merely aware of where many of come from, and, the commonality we share; you know the one Jesus spoke of when He said, “in this world, you will have tribulations.” We are not going to avoid tribulations, no matter the form, nor are we excluded from them. I am often dismayed by the responses of the ignorant when they say, we are not going to experience tribulation. Who said that? I suggest that they ask our Coptic brothers and sisters, or those in the Middle East if they think we will go through the tribulation. The problem is we are blending two ideas together, though not completely distinct. Foremost, The Great Tribulation (the time of God’s wrath), is not an aspect of our walk as believers, and,, as the Apostle Paul tells us, we are not destined for wrath.

It is important to understand that The Great Tribulation (the time of God’s wrath), is not an aspect of our walk as believers, and, as the Apostle Paul tells us, we are not destined for wrath. 1 Thessalonians 5:9. To preach otherwise would make me a false teacher.

I realize many of you are in difficult circumstances, but I know the strength and grace of the one who lives inside of you and you can do this. These circumstances are not be falling you because you are not loved, just the opposite. Because you are so deeply loved you are a target of the enemy, and sadly, he takes on many faces.

Once again, I remind you, time is short. Stay strong and fight a good fight. Use the Name of Jesus like the sword it was meant to be, and remember that Joel chapter two was written with you in mind. Walk like prophets upon this earth.

Even though we have never met, you are deeply loved.

Until next time, or I meet you in the air.

Oz

Posted in bible study, Deception, End times, false teaching, God's character, Hearing God, In Christ, Prophetic, strongholds, The supremacy of Christ, The Word was God, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Ten Virgins – A parable; A commentary.


I made this in response to the so called “teaching” that we get every week in our men’s Bible study. We just spent two weeks destroying the parable of the ten virgins, assigning every possible maladjusted idea to each of its components, that our leader could come up with.

I needed to set things straight, to the best of my knowledge.

Matthew 25:1-13 AMP

THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent). (3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; (4) But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps. (5) While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep. (6) But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him! (7) Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order. (8) And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. (9) But the wise replied, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves. (10) But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. (11) Later the other virgins also came and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us! (12) But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]. (13) Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.

Unless otherwise specified I will be using the NASB translation.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The astute should immediately pick up on the fact that this parable comes mid-thought. We call that thought process context. Jesus responses come out of this regard.

After riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on the unridden colt (the dignitary vehicle of the day,) Jesus did not do what everyone was now anticipating, that is to take control, overthrow the oppressor government, and reign as the Messiah. What he did do was overturn the tables of the vendors and money changers, and chase everyone out of the gentile court area. This action on Jesus part initiated a two-day barrage of questions and accusations from the elders and chief priests.

Finally, Jesus and the disciples get a chance to get out of there, out of harm’s way, to somewhere peaceful; the Mount of Olives. You see this in Matthew 24.

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. (2) And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 24:1-2 NASB)

There are other things that were said as they were never alone, and, they were never alone. Asking embarrassing questions would only subject them to more ridicule.

While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? (Matthew 24:3 AMP)

As an aspect of His response, we get Matthew 25 and the parable of the ten virgins.

The first premise for understanding any of the parables is what Jesus said to His own disciples – it is for you to know.

You want proof?

Matthew 13:10-12 NASB And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (11) Jesus answered them, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted. (12) “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

If understanding has been granted and you are not then whose fault is that? We choose to apply so many things to the church that do not belong, will you disregard this passage. We were grafted in and are family. Adopted children are not second-class strangers and actually, have more rights.

The second premise for understanding is context and more specifically, words.

It is time for a breakdown.

25:1a) – CJB “The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ..”

  • Who has Jesus been talking to? The Disciples; Jews; Jews who are asking Him a specific question about, the destruction of Jerusalem, and, what will be the sign of His coming (as the Messiah), and the end of the age.

  • So, when Jesus says, “The kingdom of Heaven at that time, ” He is talking about – the beginning of the Millennial reign when Jesus will sit on the throne as the Messiah.

    You see, the Jews had no concept of a rapture – the snatching away of the church, because there was no church, and any devout Jew is supposed to see Jesus as an unacceptable creation of the Gentiles.)

    Can this be related to the church? Only as a pointed lesson, as is the case with any passage. The verse for this covers the entire Bible:

    2 Timothy 3:16 NASB All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Therefore, it is safe to say, this has nothing to do with the church.

25:1b) the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins,..”

  • The word kingdom is basileia and means royalty, that is, (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm.

    While it is true that Jesus is now seated on the throne, that it seems is more of a spiritual reality. The physical reality is yet to come and will be seen by many when He touches down on the Mount of Olives.
    In what way does any of this look like ten virgins? The only thing that makes any sense is the Jewish people themselves.
    The Dake’s Bible comments suggest that this indicates faithfulness and it also conveys that these are friends of the Bride. Since we have nothing to pursue scripturally, this is little more than conjecture and a futile pursuit.

    Since we are talking about Jews and their ways the reality is that Jesus is talking about a male dominated society.

  • To be a virgin in a Jewish community is more likely because all eyes are upon you.

    This does not have to be women and would have had implications for the men as well.
    What is a virgin? One who has kept themselves pure. In this case, the ideal condition has to do with their relationship to Jehovah/God.
    Note: All then maintained this status, and yet, as we shall see, there is a 50% difference. Is it possible to be legalistically committed and yet have no heart investment? Absolutely, and this is the case here. I will show you how in this paper.

  • ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”

    They all got the same invitation, and, they all went. There is nothing, as yet, that gives us any basis for judgment.
    Here is something to take note of. We, as a Christian community, constantly say, no man can know the day or the hour. And yet, these all, in unison it seems knew exactly the day. Now it is important to note that they had little clue about the hour, but the day was known to all. How and why did they know that information? As yet, they have only gone to meet the bridegroom.
    While it is a good thing to be expectant, what is not good is to put your demands and timings upon the bridegroom.
    One last thing before I move on. We have nothing to indicate that they have done anything out of the ordinary. This will change quickly.

25:2a) “Five of them were foolish, ..”

  • Now we have a distinction. The word foolish is the Greek word moros. It carries the implications of being a MORON. Therefore, we can figure out that half of the number are foolish, thoughtless, and morons.

    What makes them a moron? The GK word also conveys a person who is dull, stupid, heedless, and absurd. All of these can be thought to have made the foolish assumption that the bridegroom will operate according to their standards.

25:2b)..and five were prudent.”

  • Prudent, on the other hand, is the Greek word phronimos; thoughtful, that is, sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character; to think, have a mindset. Prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others

    Sagacious, as defined by Webster’s means: wise, foreseeing, to perceive readily, and prudent.

25:3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,

  • We already understand the dull nature of the five foolish virgins. Now we focus on the word took. The Greek word is lambánō and means to take in whatever manner. The implications are that they grabbed the lamps in whatever state they found them.

    The oil is irrelevant except that it makes the lamps work.

25:4) “but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.”

  • We already know the characteristics of the prudent: thoughtful, discreet, prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others. Their character motivates them to take extra, not just what is unknown, in the lamp, like the foolish.

25:5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.”

  • Delaying; the Greek word chronízō; To while away time, linger, delay, defer, tarry.

    I have heard so-called believers say, you are wasting your time waiting for the Lord’s return. We have been waiting for over 2000 years. Evidence that this would happen is found in scripture.

    Matthew 24:48 NASB ”But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’

    2 Peter 3:3-4 NASB Know this first of all, that in the last days’ mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, (4) and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

    But isn’t that what we have been called to do, wait expectantly?

    One might think that sleeping would be exclusive to the foolish, but it is common for any human. There is NO condemnation for sleeping.

25:6) “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

  • A shout? This is the Greek word kraugē and means an outcry (in notification, tumult or grief): – clamor, cry (-ing). This is loud and there is no holding back. It is meant to catch attention.

  • Behold means to look.

  • Come out.” The word for come is exerchomai and means to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of

  • to meet him.” Meet means to encounter.

25:7) “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.”

  • Prudent and foolish, all arose and trimmed their lamps.

    It was then that the foolish discovered that they were out of oil and unable to see.

25:8) “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.’

  • The foolish said.” Said is the Greek word legō; an aspect of the word is an extended or random harangue.

    Webster’s dictionary states, this word seems to imply loudness or declamation. Declamation; a noisy, pompous or irregular address.
    This tells me that the foolish began to demand loudly that the others give them of the oil that they had.

25:9a) “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too;..”

  • Wisdom knows how to say NO.

25:9b) “..go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

  • Dealers? It’s the middle of the night. Dealers are the Greek word pōleō to be busy, to trade; to barter.

25:10) “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.”

  • Ready – hetoimos, adjusted, that is, ready: – prepared, made ready.

  • Door – thura; a portal or entrance.

25:11) “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’

  • The foolish ones.

  • Came saying – again the Greek word legō, an extended or random harangue.

    They foolish, once again, are demanding.

  • Lord, lord – The word is kurios; supreme in authority, that is, (as noun) controller; by implication Mr.

    The implications are that there was no personal relationship and that is what we saw at the beginning of this commentary.

25:12) “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

  • know – oida; to have seen or perceived, hence to know:

    Imagine God telling you, I have never seen or perceived you.

Jesus finishes this phase of His discourse with:

25:13) “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

  • And yet they did, the foolish and the prudent.

    What aspect could they not know? The hour and minute. And why is that? Because the groom, working hard, taking care of last minute issues, seemed to be hesitating.

Keep in mind that Jesus was talking to Jews, therefore all of this was meant for their understanding, and, He expected the disciples to understand it.

Posted in End times, false teaching, Hearing God, Hope, Matthew's gospel, parables, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | 1 Comment

Skeletonized version of Strongholds


Strongholds:

Those things that entrap us, constantly make us uneasy and keep popping up.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV For though walking about in the flesh, we do not war according to flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,

  • Though we walk about in the flesh,

There is no escaping that condition, and yet the concept is that we can set aside the “flesh.” There are only two situations in which that happens:

      • Death – that state in which you are then separated from the body.

      • Or, the rapture (a moment in time in which we will be changed – an act in which God causes this permanently damaged body to be altered.)

  • We do not war according to flesh.

    Harsh words, swords, and guns are not going to help. This war we are in is a spiritual battle and Satan is the enemy.

The battle you are facing is a spiritual one and it is primarily in the mind.

  • Pulling down – Is the Greek word kathaíresis and means demolition or the destruction of a fortress.

    The enemy (Satan) promotes the building of fortresses in our mind. This process happens slowly through the deceptiveness of words.

    For example: In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he tells us we are:

        • Blessed; holy; blameless; in Him; living in love; adopted; chosen; redeemed, and bought back.

    However, these are not the words we hear; mostly we hear the opposite, such as:

      • You will never be holy; you are to blame for everything; unlovable; unwanted, and that you will have to struggle all your life to attain some state in which God would want you.

  • Strongholds – The Greek word ochúrōma; to hold fast. A stronghold, fortification, fortress.

    The Greek allows for something much less invasive; a holdfast.

    Compare to 3M sticky hooks.

Why use the analogy of a temporary wall hanger?

These issues are often temporary annoyances. The simplest of solutions is to pray.

A verse we did not cover defines these strongholds and where they come from.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Again we will dissect this a few words at a time.

  • Casting down

    Casting down is the Greek word kathaireō and means to lower (or with violence) demolish. The Word Study Dictionary adds, “to take for oneself. To take down or away.

  • Imaginations

    The WSD says this Greek word logismós means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection.

    To logismós a thing means that you are giving more than just a passing thought to a matter. The implications are that you are ruminating on the issue at hand. Since not all things are a worrisome bother, then the other application would apply to the voices that tell you that you will never live up to the things God says about you.

    Other translations use the words: reasoning; arguments; intellectual arrogance; theories, and speculations. All of these fit the concept.

  • And every

    Every is the Greek word pas and includes all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: – all (manner of, means).

    Declension according to Webster’s dictionary means literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a trend toward a lesser degree of excellence or perfection.

  • High thing

    High thing is the word hupsōma, an elevated place or thing, that is, (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier.

    Who is it that does the elevation? We do, as we put that thought on a pedestal.

  • That exalts itself

    Is the word epairō meaning to raise up.

    Since the context has to do with casting down imaginations and every high thing, then the idea, worry, or promotion you have spinning in your head is trying desperately to exalt itself by raising up; but against what?In reality, the voices, whether they are in your head or fed to from some well meaning “friend,” are intended to exalt themselves above God’s word, nature, and character.

  • Against the knowledge of God

    So, just as I said, the voices are attempting to exalt themselves above God. There is truly, only one person that does that, Satan and his minions.

  • And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    As I said, you are the one who has to take care of this. It is, by-the-way, your psyche that is being toyed with. Doing nothing only adds to the fortification that is being built in your mind. While it is necessary that you bring these thoughts that are contrary to God into captivity, you must subject your thoughts to the obedience of Christ.

    Obedience is the Greek word hupakoḗ; to obey, listen to something, hearken.

    This is you with purpose resetting your mind to consider with an overriding confidence, the true nature of Christ Jesus.

I get it; there are understandably some people who are so far gone, whether from alcohol, drug abuse, or trauma, that they do not live in a functional state of mental health and may not be able to make these decisions for themselves. With those people in mind, I am reminded of what the Apostle Peter told us Jesus did; and, in so doing, demonstrated not only the character and nature of the Father, but our mission as well.

Acts 10:38 MKJV …and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.

So, once again, you are not dealing with the flesh, but demonic forces, in all but rare cases.

Let’s just assume that this is not you and you continue to function with relative normalcy while fighting against these small, annoying mental skirmishes, many of which we lose.

If these strongholds are merely a hold fast and not a fortress in my mind, why I am I continually bothered/tortured by this same problem?

  1. You, with Christ living in you, are a target.

    I know you did not want to hear that, but it is information that you needed to know.

    Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

    There are plenty of people who will say that this does not define us as being in God’s image, so allow me to give you another piece of proof.

    Genesis 1:26-27 MKJV And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion … over all the earth, … And God created man in His image;…

    Some might say, I don’t believe in this God of yours.

    Their challenge does not matter; the mere fact that we were created in the image of God caused Satan to set his destructive sights upon them.

    A simple hold fast may restrain you for your entire life.

  2. Satan, we are told, constantly accuses us of sins. We see this in Revelation of all places.

    Revelation 12:10 MKJV … For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.

  3. Our broken flesh is centered around selfishness; the motivation to satisfy the flesh.

    We quickly and easily call this a sin conscience.

We religious folk, love to fling the word sin around, especially once we’ve decided that you need more restraint in your life. The word “sin” is simply an old English term, taking from Archery, in which the competitor missed the bulls-eye in the center of the target.

Posted in 2 Corinthians, bible study, Freedom from sin, God's character, healing, Hope, In Christ, recovery, strongholds, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strongholds: Those things that entrap us, constantly make us uneasy and keep popping up.


This may seem a little off base, but given the opportunity to teach soon, I asked a friend if he had any ideas. He thought for a second and said, what about Strongholds, those are the things that I need to hear about. I know I do, I battle with aspects of this everyday. These are the notes that I will use to lead the group, however, I have made a skeletonized version that I will pass out to the men, and will post them immediately after this. Do with them as you see fit.

By the way; I am very much aware that there is always more that defines this aspect of strongholds. Think of this as a primer that motivates you to dig deeper.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV For though walking about in the flesh, we do not war according to flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,

  • Though we walk about in the flesh,

There is no escaping that condition, and yet the concept is that we can set aside the “flesh.” There are only two situations in which that happens:

      • Death – that state in which you are then separated from the body.

      • Or, the rapture (a moment in time in which we will be changed – an act in which God causes this permanently damaged body to be altered.)

  • We do not war according to flesh.

    Harsh words, swords, and guns are not going to help. This war we are in is a spiritual battle and Satan is the enemy.

The battle you are facing is a spiritual one and it is primarily in the mind.

  • Pulling down – Is the Greek word kathaíresis and means demolition or the destruction of a fortress.

    The enemy (Satan) promotes the building of fortresses in our mind. This process happens slowly through the deceptiveness of words.

    For example: In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he tells us we are:

        • Blessed; holy; blameless; in Him; living in love; adopted; chosen; redeemed, and bought back.

    However, these are not the words we hear; mostly we hear the opposite, such as:

      • You will never be holy; you are to blame for everything; unlovable; unwanted, and that you will have to struggle all your life to attain some state in which God would want you.

  • Strongholds – The Greek word ochúrōma; to hold fast. A stronghold, fortification, fortress.

    The Greek allows for something much less invasive; a holdfast.

    Compare to 3M sticky hooks.

Why use the analogy of a temporary wall hanger?

These issues are often temporary annoyances. The simplest of solutions is to pray.

A verse we did not cover defines these strongholds and where they come from.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Again we will dissect this a few words at a time.

  • Casting down

    Casting down is the Greek word kathaireō and means to lower (or with violence) demolish. The Word Study Dictionary adds, “to take for oneself. To take down or away.

  • Imaginations

    The WSD says this Greek word logismós means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection.

    To logismós a thing means that you are giving more than just a passing thought to a matter. The implications are that you are ruminating on the issue at hand. Since not all things are a worrisome bother, then the other application would apply to the voices that tell you that you will never live up to the things God says about you.

    Other translations use the words: reasoning; arguments; intellectual arrogance; theories, and speculations. All of these fit the concept.

  • And every

    Every is the Greek word pas and includes all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: – all (manner of, means).

    Declension according to Webster’s dictionary means literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a trend toward a lesser degree of excellence or perfection.

  • High thing

    High thing is the word hupsōma, an elevated place or thing, that is, (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier.

    Who is it that does the elevation? We do, as we put that thought on a pedestal.

  • That exalts itself

    Is the word epairō meaning to raise up.

    Since the context has to do with casting down imaginations and every high thing, then the idea, worry, or promotion you have spinning in your head is trying desperately to exalt itself by raising up; but against what?In reality, the voices, whether they are in your head or fed to from some well meaning “friend,” are intended to exalt themselves above God’s word, nature, and character.

  • Against the knowledge of God

    So, just as I said, the voices are attempting to exalt themselves above God. There is truly, only one person that does that, Satan and his minions.

  • And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    As I said, you are the one who has to take care of this. It is, by-the-way, your psyche that is being toyed with. Doing nothing only adds to the fortification that is being built in your mind. While it is necessary that you bring these thoughts that are contrary to God into captivity, you must subject your thoughts to the obedience of Christ.

    Obedience is the Greek word hupakoḗ; to obey, listen to something, hearken.

    This is you with purpose resetting your mind to consider with an overriding confidence, the true nature of Christ Jesus.

I get it; there are understandably some people who are so far gone, whether from alcohol, drug abuse, or trauma, that they do not live in a functional state of mental health and may not be able to make these decisions for themselves. With those people in mind, I am reminded of what the Apostle Peter told us Jesus did; and, in so doing, demonstrated not only the character and nature of the Father but our mission as well.

Acts 10:38 MKJV …and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.

So, once again, you are not dealing with the flesh, but demonic forces, in all but rare cases.

Let’s just assume that this is not you and you continue to function with relative normalcy while fighting against these small, annoying mental skirmishes, many of which we lose.

If these strongholds are merely a hold fast and not a fortress in my mind, why I am I continually bothered/tortured by this same problem?

  1. You, with Christ living in you, are a target.

    I know you did not want to hear that, but it is information that you needed to know.

    Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

    There are plenty of people who will say that this does not define us as being in God’s image, so allow me to give you another piece of proof.

    Genesis 1:26-27 MKJV And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion … over all the earth, … And God created man in His image;…

    Some might say, I don’t believe in this God of yours.

    Their challenge does not matter; the mere fact that we were created in the image of God caused Satan to set his destructive sights upon them.

    A simple hold fast may restrain you for your entire life.

  2. Satan, we are told, constantly accuses us of sins. We see this in Revelation of all places.

    Revelation 12:10 MKJV … For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.

  3. Our broken flesh is centered around selfishness; the motivation to satisfy the flesh.

    We quickly and easily call this a sin conscience.

We religious folk, love to fling the word sin around, especially once we’ve decided that you need more restraint in your life. The word “sin” is simply an old English term, taking from Archery, in which the competitor missed the bulls-eye in the center of the target.

Posted in 2 Corinthians, bible study, false teaching, Freedom from sin, God's character, healing, In Christ, recovery, strongholds, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where do we go when we die?


Several weeks ago the Monday morning men’s Bible Study opened with:

Where do we go when we die?

The answers were varied and skewed. Some even claimed we go to paradise; yes, the same place that we find beggar Lazarus after he died and he was comforted in Abraham’s bosom. The presumption is that we merely wait for Jesus to call us up into heaven at some later point.

Someone decided that they had to make a distinction and apply this bizarre conversation to primarily the righteous dead. Well, that should make some form of sense seeing as we assign varying levels of righteousness to ourselves. Those who have been “in the way” understandably should have a more righteous status. This, of course, is nonsense as there is none righteous. We find this in:

Romans 3:9-12 MKJV What then? Do we excel? No, in no way; for we have before charged both Jews and Greeks all with being under sin, (10) as it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; (11) there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” (12) “They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one.”

The short explanation for this verse, we are all on the same playing field as far as God is concerned. Yes, I know, there are rich people all around us and they think they will have special privileges in the kingdom that is coming, but that is not the case. As a matter of fact, we are told that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. So they are apparently getting theirs while here on earth. Sadly, not even the best of plastic surgeons can stop you from aging, and in some cases, looking horrible. I guess money is not the answer to everything.

Why spend time focused on this, when the question is where do we go when we die?

Because, as I pointed out, someone had to imply that only those better off would be able to take advantage of this paradise concept. Plainly, as we see in scripture, and based upon Jesus parable, where Lazarus the beggar, was comforted and not the rich man. Take the time to look this up in scripture. You will find it in, Luke 16:19-31. You will not find the word paradise here, what you will find are words and phrases like:

  • carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.”

    angels – aggelos; a prim. word; a messenger, angel:

     

  • Mercy

    to be compassionate (by word or deed,)

     

  • now he is comforted

     

    parakaléō; To aid, help, comfort, encourage.

     

  • hades

    properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls.”

     

  • tormented in this flame

    through the notion of going to the bottom); a touch stone, that is, (by analogy) torture: – torment.

     

  • you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things.

     

    agathós; fem. agathḗ, neut. agathón, adj. Good and benevolent, profitable, useful.

     

Absolutely none of these convey the idea of paradise.

Since the idea of paradise keeps coming up in Men’s Bible study, what we can find to validate or disqualify the idea.

The Greek word parádeisos (paradise) only shows up three times in the Bible, and Jesus applied one of those instances by telling the thief on the cross that he would be with Jesus, this day, in paradise. You can find this evidence in Luke 23:39-43.

And one of the hanged criminals blasphemed Him, saying, If you are Christ, save Yourself and us. But answering, the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, since you are in the same condemnation. And we indeed justly so, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this Man has done nothing amiss. And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.

The Word Study Dictionary tells us that the word has these origins and understandings: “This is an oriental word which the Greeks borrowed from the Persians, among whom it meant a garden, park, or enclosure full of all the vegetable products of the earth.”

One of the other references is in Revelation.

Revelation 2:7 NASB ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

The Paradise of God, based upon the OT concept, is the garden of God, an integral aspect of Heaven itself.

You will not find the concept of paradise in the Old Testament, unless, you use a comparison search based on “the garden of the Lord.”

Lacking a “paradise” in which we can rest in peace until Christ calls for his church, where do we go?

One of the go-to verses is:

2 Corinthians 5:8 NASB we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

And yet, Paul’s words are not decisive about the persuasion that, once this body dies we are present with the Lord. As you can see the NASB uses the word “prefer.” In comparing translations you get words like: pleased, as the Amplified states. The choices are split between pleased and prefer.

If we apply the mathematical concept of inverse to the statement, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (2 Corinthians 5:6 KJV), we should be able to expect that the opposite scenario is logically definitive; and, implies that when, those who are in Christ die (are absent from the body,) then we should be present with the Lord. Paul made it clear that this premise operates by faith and confidence.

Perhaps this entire idea is better defined by the verses I did not include, 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 KJV.

(1) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

If I lived off of verse one alone I could be content and happy, this is why.

  • For we know

    How do you say something like this without something close to concrete evidence? Faith is supposed to be just that. One of our examples of great faith is Abraham; whom we find in the annals of faith history (the book of Hebrews chapter 11) among others who were strong in faith. And yet, Abraham is also one of our greatest examples of a man that struggled. Regardless of his struggles, did God come through? Yes, and he always has.

    Paul would have known of Job’s struggles, boils and all. We find this in:

    Job 19:25-26 NASB “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. (26) “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;

     

    But I have to ask the same questions of Job. How did he know and have this confidence? It does not speak of transitions or times frames; and, both of these men lived in a sense of the present.

  • that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,

    This earthly house is, for all practical purposes, our bodies. Terminated by whatever means, whether through death and deterioration, or worse.

  • we have a building of God

    Building, is a compound word that effectively means architecture, that is, (concretely) a structure.

    I can take this one of two ways: 1.) We are talking about our bodies; or, 2.) We are looking forward to a home in heaven. Do they both work? Certainly, but the words, we have a building of God, are present tense and not some future hope. This body became the temple, the building of God the day you asked Him to come into it.

There is no transition involved in what Paul is describing.

Let’s keep tearing it apart for a few minutes.

2 Corinthians 5:2-3 NASB (2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, (3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

  • (2) For indeed in this house, we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,

    Again, I am challenged as I ask, am I clothed with Christ, and therefore a temple of the Holy Ghost, or not? If I am then there must be more, isn’t there?

    1 Corinthians 3:16 NASB (16) Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

     

    Luke 24:49 NASB “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

     

    Clothed with power from on high.” The entire purpose for them waiting in the upper room was to be endued with power. Power was an aspect of the Holy Ghost. The correlation is well demonstrated with the infilling of the Holy Ghost.

If there is more, such as a dwelling from heaven, then what is that? Since we understand that we are to be clothed, then it must be something, perhaps symbolic, or spiritual. Regardless, there is more.

2 Corinthians 5:3 NASB inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

Once again, what did we, as followers of Christ and those that long for all that there is in Him, put on? The Holy Spirit, the power of God. This gives us one other promise. One that we debate consistently, our consistent, unchanging life, in Christ. Verse 3 says, having put it on, (we), will not be found naked. This is an unalterable promise. One of the other ways this is described is eternal security. Sadly, to most, this is unbelievable and just wrong.

2 Corinthians 5:4 NASB For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.

  • while we are in this tent,”

    Alive, and existing in these bodies.

     

  • we groan, being burdened,”

    This is also found in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Where Paul tells us that all of creation groans along with us.

     

Romans 8:22-23 NASB For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (23) And not only this but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

  • because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed,”

    Unclothed? To go or come out of, what? Our skin, the thing we groan about; or, to be separated from the Holy Ghost? The only logical assumption then, would be relieved from the Holy Spirit. However, that is, according to what we see in 2Corinthians 5, impossible.

     

  • so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”

    So, currently stuck in this broken body, we await for the entire thing to be swallowed up by life. What does that mean? When we transition into the heavenlies we will not take this broken body and its desires, with us. We are told that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed.

     

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 NASB (50) Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (51) Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (53) For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(The damage done to us through Adam’s fall, seems to be genetic. Consider this; if, every human, born from Adam, carries a damaged DNA marker, then every man throughout eternity carries that same damaged DNA string. Anyone looking at DNA would then say that this damaged example, is the basis for what we deem normal.)

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Can we know when Jesus will return for…


Monday morning Bible Study, which I typically abbreviate as Monday Morning BS, opened with Matthew 24:42. Ignoring the context and theme of chapter 24, the leader, in typical fashion, spun this to validate the direction he wanted to take and the questions he wanted to ask; in this case – are you ready for His return to catch up the church? And, what bizarre things are your thoughts focused on throughout the day?

Much of the morning was like a stew consisting of conjecture and manipulation, as the leader pushed forward. As he continued to emphasize these horrid questions, he elaborated by asking, how differently would you act if you knew the Lord was coming back in six hours?

Maybe it was confusing situations such as this that motivated Jesus to say,

for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

Since the Jews standing around him had a skewed perception of what the Lord’s return would mean, I doubt their questions had the same motivation as Jesus’. Since we who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, have a hope in His coming, then we await the day when he comes to gather His church. The problem with this emphasis on waiting is that we, in our religious communities, verbally accost those who express anything that sounds like they are prescribing a time frame.

I happen to think Jesus was very direct with his answers; everything he said was standard terminology and something with which Jesus followers were familiar.

How do I back up a statement like this?

First, let me say that this topic was placed before me by the Holy Spirit just days before. More than just a bit of a coincidence. The topic came in the form of a video excerpt intending to sell a movie about to hit the markets, called, The Coming Convergence. Sorry, I did not pay enough attention to who the speaker was, but the segment took my breath away as he spoke about Matthew 24:36. I give you a piece of that here.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

The speaker in the video was saying the same things that I have been saying for several years now about how this Bible we read is a Jewish book. Let me give you some additional guidelines to help you understand the Bible: Never lose sight that Jesus was a Jew; that he was speaking to Jews, and that he was talking with standard terms and phrases that would mean something to his audience.

The man in the video explained that the expression we see in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” was typical of the day. Jesus’ audience would have understood that he was referring to the observance of the New Moon, the indicator of the first day of the month. The express implication, however, applied to the visual sighting of the new moon that would have indicated the New Year – Rosh Hashana, which astronomically will begin at sunset on September 20th.

This observance of the New Moon had to be accomplished by two reliable witnesses and announced to the High Priest at the Sanhedrin. After evaluating the witnesses, the Sanhedrin would then declare the New Month, or the New Year. The thing that makes Jesus statement so valid and yet variable is that weather could obscure the sight of the New Moon. The priests had a contingency for this variability. Since the Jewish calendar worked off of thirty day months, knowing that the moon should have been there, they would, on the next day, decree the new month or year, making that month 31 days.

While I have yet to find a direct reference that associates this phrase “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” with Rosh Hashana. I simply applied some logic to what I just shared with you, and found it to convey a similar message to what I see in scripture – variability.

The speaker went on to say that in effect, Jesus told the disciples exactly when He would be returning, on the New Moon of the New Year, Rosh Hashana.

Now, please don’t stop reading, choosing to respond to the adverse voices in your head. Instead, try applying another piece of logic.

The problem with such a challenging and yet simple subject was that the leader of the Monday morning Bible study had no intention of entertaining challenges from the group. Avoiding questions, although there weren’t many, the leader moved rapidly forward through chapter 24 and on into Matthew 25. I am staying focused on Matthew 24:36.

So let’s say that you agree with the idea that Christ could return at the Jewish New Year, the ‘head’ of the year.

  • Even if you are correct and Jesus has the logical arrival time of September 20th of 2017, try sharing that information with most any religious person; you will have an intense fight on your hands, and they will not believe you. I might add that they will use this same phrase, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” against you.

  • If you are unlucky, they may merely call you a false teacher as they ignore obvious scriptures which tell us that we are not in the dark, and, that we should not know when that day will come.

Do we have scriptures that tell us that we can have a strong clue as to when Jesus will returnYes.

Although Isaiah tends to answer the question in reverse, it will lead me to another scripture, along with the same vein, that speaks more specifically to our knowing when the end will come.

Isaiah 6:9-12 NIrV So he said, “Go and speak to these people. Tell them, “‘You will hear but never understand. You will see but never know what you are seeing.’ (10) Make the hearts of these people stubborn. Plug up their ears. Close their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes. They might hear with their ears. They might understand with their hearts. And they might turn to me and be healed.” (11) Then I said, “Lord, how long will it be like that?” He answered, “It will last until the cities of Israel are destroyed and no one is living in them. It will last until the houses are deserted. The fields will be completely destroyed. (12) It will last until I have sent everyone far away. The land will be totally deserted.

The context applies to Israel, although it could easily speak to the modern church.

Having been spoken to, by an authoritative source: The Word; prophets; evangelists; pastors, and teachers, why would they not listen?

Jesus was asked by the disciples about why he used parables. I suppose that is because they too did not understand. Look at the interaction in Matthew 13:10-11.

Matthew 13:10-11 NASB And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (11) Jesus answered them, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted.

Regardless of whether they understood or not the sentence still stands to this day. “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”

I just pointed out that Israel was blind to the mysteries, but here in the letter to the church at Colossae, we have Paul telling us that God’s mysteries have been manifested to us, His saints.

Colossians 1:25-27 NASB (25) Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, (26) that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, (27) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I get it. Clearly, there was a time when I might even say. We could not understand. (I could easily debunk that statement because of the Magi. You remember them, foreigners from another nation, who were able to ascertain Christ’s arrival, and, explain this information to the elders of the Sanhedrin.) “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit,” now I will give you some grace on this, for the Spirit was not sent until Jesus ascended the last time into the heavenlies. [You should comprehend that we are talking about the Holy Spirit of God, the comforter.]

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NASB (9) but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (10) For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

Times and the epochs are certainly an aspect of what we are talking about. Paul writes, “you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” He is saying what Jesus said, but there is a distinct difference, in that he is no longer talking strictly to Jews. Paul and the Holy Spirit know full well that this letter will be spread to all the languages that comprise the body of Christ, and that we too “are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief.” Jesus, carrying out God’s plan, is not sneaking up on anyone, unless they are choosing to remain in the darkness; refusing to accept the truth in God’s Word, not mine.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 NASB (1) Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. (2) For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. (3) While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (4) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; (5) for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;

It would seem that the Apostle John, in conveying the Revelation, understood that we could know the hour Jesus would come; either that, or it is a rhetorical statement and means nothing at all.

Revelation 3:3 NASB ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

Unfortunately for those that hold this rhetorical point of view, we find that there is nothing in scripture that is unimportant. The Jewish community has held to this idea so much so, that even the spaces between the letters carry great meaning and we see this in the study of Kabbalah. If what John says is true and they who do not wake up will not know the hour, then the inverse must be true and those of us who are awake must be able to ascertain the hour with some certainty.

What then are some of the major clues in scripture?

  • Jesus responded to disciples question with this:

Matthew 24:32-34 KJV Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The fig tree is Israel becoming a nation, and that happened in 1948. What I cannot say with certainty is how many years it takes to define a generation. In an effort to figure out what a generation might be I went to the definitive source – the internet. I am kidding, sort of, and found this, (http://www.bible-codes.org/old-prophecy_5c-Yeshua-codes.htm)

“As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there… In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here… (Gen 15:16)

God said to Abraham that after 400 years He would deliver Israel, “…in the fourth generation”. A generation in the Bible is normally 40 years. However, here a generation is 100 years (4 * 100 = 400 years). This is understood by virtue of the fact that Abraham had his promised child when he was exactly 100 years old (Gen. 21:5); it is evident, therefore, that the age of a man when his first child is born is the raw definition of a generation.

Nevertheless, notice that the full number (400 years) is exactly ten times that of a regular generation of 40 years. Both 100 years and 40 years are a generation in the Bible. However, the average of these two, 70 years, is on occasion also found in the bible, (Psalm 90:10). But “70 years” is a generation according to the average age of a man at his death, rather than when his first child is born (as with the example of Abraham).

40 + 100 = 140 years. 140 ÷ 2 = 70-years as a generation. (Significantly, king David died at age 70 and reigned 40 years.)”

Let’s assume then that the average age is seventy. A bit of quick math: 2017 – 1948 = 69 years. Interesting, especially since we right on the verge of a multitude of fascinating, scriptural, and prophetic events, most of which we “Christians” do not have a clue about, but the Jewish community does. Israel, by the way, is, as we speak, celebrating their 69th birthday as a nation.

Continuing with scriptural clues, that tells us if we can know when the end of time is soon upon us.

Luke 21:34-36 KJV And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Key words and phrases in Luke 21:34-36:

  • take heed to yourselves”

What does that mean? You are responsible for yourselves, no one else.

  • Or, as the Complete Jewish Bible puts it, “your hearts will become dulled.”

Dulled? A dull knife is useless. Try cutting a tomato with one; you might as well be using a rock. The Websters dictionary defines dull as Stupid; doltish; blockish; slow of understanding.

  • SurfeitingOppressing the system by excessive eating and drinking;

So it is not just drunkenness that clouds your mind, but an obsession with food can do it as well.

  • And the “cares of this life.”

These take on every shape and form and will create enough anxiety within you to kill you. Since this is an aspect of deception, it is easy to ascertain that it is a weapon of the enemy, Satan.

Although the context of this verse is directed at the Jewish community, as a direct answer to when the Kingdom would be restored, this phrase And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares can speak to anyone. Sadly, the religious can read this and have one or both of these reactions: I have never tasted alcohol and therefore cannot be included in this paragraph, or, they are blind to the overall context, choosing to ignore it.

Perhaps it is best summed up by the Easy-to-Read Version

Luke 21:34 ERV “Be careful not to spend your time having parties and getting drunk or worrying about this life. If you do that, you won’t be able to think straight, and the end might come when you are not ready.

Can you see that life and things will make you unaware through distraction?

Once again, mathematically speaking, there is an inverse to this equation. The obvious answer is that doing your best to steer clear of distractions should put you in a position to be aware of when that day should come.

One of the things I wanted to do was to keep our focus with the New Testament, effectively Paul’s letters. We want to believe that Paul’s writings supersede the Old Testament allowing us to ignore God’s word there. That isn’t always true because most teachers and preachers will gladly dip back into the OT for the purpose interweaving some guilt and manipulation into their teaching. This type of manipulation comes out deception and distraction from Satan. I am not saying the Old Testament is wrong by any stretch – Jesus and Paul both pulled segments from the Law and the Prophets to demonstrate some freedom hidden in it, this is why Paul calls it a mystery. The Law and the Prophets are only a mystery to those who choose not to dig for the treasure buried there.

Jesus, knowing full well that most of the audience was symbolically blind and deaf, spoke to them in parables. He was not trying to confuse them further, he was speaking plainly, openly, and, in language, they should have been familiar with. Much of what he said was directly pulled from the OT. This is one of those cute parables. (There is nothing cute, hidden, or insignificant about the parables. Most of them are a slap in the face of those who choose to play the Pharisee card.)

Mark 13:28-30 KJV Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: (29) So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. (30) Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

You find this same theme in Matthew 24:35. I feel as though I cannot say this enough; Jesus said these things to his Jewish followers/disciples, as an answer to their question about when He would restore the kingdom and take the throne. This information is not exclusive to Jewish ears and can be easily applied to the modern church age.

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What about the hardening of the heart?


The question was posed to our small group, what about the hardening of the heart?

The question is not the problem, and neither is the answer if you think about it; the problem is the heart of the man asking the question because the underlying theme is the lack of understanding about the nature and character of God.

In general, the religious concept of God is that He is merely looking for ways to reduce the population count in heaven by sending people to hell. I say that because I sit with them twice every week, and virtually every time we meet they spin God’s word to convey some anger in their hearts, which allows them to send multitudes to hell.

How can I prove that God’s desire is for us and that he does not want to send any to hell? Let’s start with Matthew 18. Here is the parable in which the shepherd seeks out that one lost sheep. The idea is that they are all valuable and none, it seems, are worthy of ignoring or throwing away. However, the parable goes far beyond that, and we see this in verse 14.

Matthew 18:14 ERV in the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little children to be lost.

First – Though readable, the ERV seems to be lacking concern in its translation when you compare it with the NASB.

“So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:14 NASB)

The NASB seems rather straightforward in saying, “it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven..”. However, there are greater implications. When I look up the words little ones, I find a meaning that takes on a larger scope.

mikros; small, little: – least (4), less (1), little (13), little ones (6), little while (10), short (1), small (8), smaller (2), smallest (1).

It also applies to those who are not on the forefront; insignificant; perhaps those with downs syndrome, or those who just not as aggressive in business and lacking in competitive skills. The Word Study Dictionary implies those not: “Of magnitude (Mat_13:32; Mar_4:31; Jas_3:5); of stature (Luk_19:3; Sept.: Eze_17:6); of age meaning small, young, not grown up (Act_8:10; Act_26:22; Heb_8:11; Rev_11:18; Rev_13:16; Rev_19:5, Rev_19:18; Rev_20:12).”

The same definition applies to the word perish that we see in the NASB, as it does to the word lost in the Easy Read Version.

apollumi and it means to destroy, destroy utterly:

Of the thirty Bibles, I have immediate access to, the word choices are about half/half between lost or perish. To be lost frequently holds out the hope that you will eventually be found, but to perish conveys a permanent condition. Since we should understand that the one aspect of our lives that lives forever is our soul/spirit, then our next logical assumption is that this idea of perishing has little to do with the cessation of breath. To rewrite the sentence using the words of Wilbur Pickering; Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM Ph.D., the one stand out from the crowd, I might say,

..it is not a desire, in the view of your Father in heaven, that one of these little ones should be wasted.

What is to be wasted?

It is to be thrown aside while someone or something still had use? We now see ordinances being enforced which prohibit markets from throwing out food products that could still find some useful benefit, like feeding the homeless. We often see no value in some people and are more than willing to cast them aside.

Again I rewrite the sentence:

So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should be destroyed utterly.

What are we talking about when we say to destroy utterly? Isn’t it to be separated eternally, from God and His presence. In Revelation 20 we are told those whose names are not found in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire. Being tossed into a lake of fire should demonstrate an utter destruction/separation from God.

Revelation 20:15 NASB And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

And, 1 Corinthians 6 explains in more detail than I wish to give right now, that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9 NASB Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

So far I have pointed out God’s heart, in that I believe He does not wish to lose anyone. If I can give you one more piece of evidence, it would be the old standard, John 3:16, 17.

John 3:16-17 NASB “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

You have to be blind to not be able to see that God desires eternal life for all, and that he, in contrast to what I hear every week, did not send His Son into the world to judge it, but save it through Him. There are no limitations and restrictions in that statement.

As Bob Dylan use to sing, you might serve the devil, or you may serve the Lord, but you are going to have to serve somebody! Those who by choice serve the devil will follow their master to his appointed, eternal destruction, while those who choose to serve the Lord will follow Him into an eternity of peace and joy.

Now, that being said, what do we do with statements and situations like this?

Exodus 4:19-21 NASB Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” (20) So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Moses murdered an Egyptian; however, we do not see God’s judgment upon Moses or any implication that God wipes Moses’ name out of the book of life because of his “sin.” (I can explain and validate this, later on, should I choose.) God does, however, tell Moses that those who sought his life for the murder are dead. So, even though Moses is not our focus, he too has the potential to harden his heart. After all, didn’t he just spend 40 years in the desert, something that would turn many against God?

When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power, but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

God, it would seem, is going out of His way to get Pharaoh’s attention, not merely kill him. We assume, and probably historically so that Pharaoh had a first born son who was killed on the night of Passover, the last draw. And yet, in spite of all this, Pharaoh’s heart did not turn to God but was hardened by Pharaoh himself.

Look at the word hardened.

Hardened, is the Hebrew word chāzaq. The Word Study Dictionary tells us that it is a verb meaning to be strong, to strengthen, to be courageous, to overpower. The verb chāzaq is widely used to express the strength of various phenomena, such as: the severity of famine (2Kings 25:3; Jeremiah 52:6); the strength of humans to overpower each other: the condition of Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:13); David and Goliath (1Samuel 17:50); Amnon and Tamar (2Samuel 13:14); a battle situation (2Chronicles 8:3).

Pharaoh certainly played the game of dominance with Moses.

Another commentary that says something comparable to the idea that it is man that hardens his heart is the NNIBC.

In the following passage, Pharaoh, most likely Amenhotep II (c. 1447-1421 B.C.), is not simply the king of Egypt, but a symbol for all who resist God, for all of God’s enemies. I will harden his heart: Some interpret these words as meaning that God would confirm what Pharaoh had stubbornly determined to do. In the first five plagues, the hardening is attributed to Pharaoh (Exo_7:13, Exo_7:22; Exo_8:15, Exo_8:19, Exo_8:32; Exo_9:7). Then for the sixth plague, God hardened a heart that Pharaoh had already hardened (Exo_9:12).” Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary

Do we forget that God also said he would punish Israel for their sins,

Exodus 32:34 NASB “But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless, in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

and then went about bringing nations and people against them.

Isaiah 13:4-5 NASB A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, Of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle. (5) They are coming from a far country, From the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land.

Who then is doing the punishing, God or man? The answer is both. Now, is it God that does the hardening of the heart or does He merely allows the man to do his thing, while God, at some point, slams the door shut.

You see, the problem is that God’s word and these themes we find are not always so clear cut, are they?

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Commentary and thoughts on Revelation 2:20


The commentaries I have been tossing out here, are the result of my interactions with a mix of men. Some come to Monday morning Bible study, a couple of others I have been introduced to at the various coffee shops we used to sit at.

Call me naive if you wish, but I really am an optimist, believing that other “Christians” would be interested in discussing scripture, or at a minimum, sharing what God has done their lives. One fellow in particular consistently interrupted the flow of conversation with a joke, a story, and a recap of his historical background as a pastor. We, for the longest time, tried to get him to stop with the interruptions, but he would not. The result, I left the group for about six months. (Sometimes you have to get your brain back.) When I was invited back to the group, I found that the trouble maker had taken my admonitions perhaps too seriously, because he appointed himself as the table pastor, thinking he has the authority to control our interactions in the public venues we sit at.

If you have the audacity to assume the position of leader, then you have a responsibility to keep your opinion, which is loaded with conjecture, to a minimum. A second aspect is that you should stick closely to God’s word.

Here is a tip: The Word of God is almost self-explanatory; this is especially true when you do your homework, think like a Jew, and look for the patterns that initiate within the Old Testament.

Our little group, because the “leader” decided he wanted to, has taken us into the Churches of Revelation. That wouldn’t be a problem if we hadn’t just spent almost two years unsuccessfully hashing our way through the Revelation. Never-the-less, these forays always seem to give me fuel to work with. Jezebel is one of those, and we find her in Revelation 2:20.

Revelation 2:20 NIrV “But here is what I have against you. You put up with that woman Jezebel. She calls herself a prophet. With her teaching, she has led my servants into sexual sin. She has tricked them into eating food offered to statues of gods.

What prompts the depression that we see in King Ahab, the husband of Jezebel?
(Look this up in 1Kings 21:7-17).

I will initiate the response with a bit of context. Ahab wanted the vineyard of Naboth, but the man would not sell, and this primed Ahab for his depression. Now read about his interaction with this deadly wife of his.

1 Kings 21:6 NIrV He answered her, “Because I spoke to Naboth from Jezreel. I said, ‘Sell me your vineyard. Or, if you prefer, I’ll give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I won’t sell you my vineyard.'”

After hearing what her husband had to say, she responds with:

1Kings 21:7-17 NIrV His wife Jezebel said,

“Is this how the king of Israel acts?

Get up!

Eat something! Cheer up.

I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel.”

(8) So she wrote some letters in Ahab’s name. She stamped them with his seal. Then she sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in the city where Naboth lived. (9) In those letters she wrote, “Announce a day when people are supposed to go without eating. Have Naboth sit in an important place among the people. (10) But put two worthless and evil men in seats across from him. Have them witness to the fact that he has called down curses on God and the king. Then take him out of the city. Kill him by throwing stones at him.” (11) So the elders and nobles who lived in that city did what Jezebel wanted. They did everything she directed in the letters she had written to them. (12) They announced a day of fasting. They had Naboth sit in an important place among the people. (13) Then two worthless and evil men came and sat across from him. They brought charges against Naboth in front of the people. The two men said, “Naboth has called down curses on God and the king.” So they took him outside the city. They killed him by throwing stones at him. (14) Then they sent a message to Jezebel. They said, “Naboth is dead. We killed him by throwing stones at him.” (15) Jezebel heard that Naboth had been killed. As soon as she heard it, she said to Ahab, “Get up. Take over the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel. It’s the one he wouldn’t sell to you. He isn’t alive anymore. He’s dead.” (16) Ahab heard that Naboth was dead. So he got up. He went down to take over Naboth’s vineyard. (17) Then a message from the LORD came to Elijah, who was from Tishbe. It said,

I have a Question, and it’s a huge one, what is Jezebel: is she representative of the historical person, a spirit, or the real thing?

  • It would not be logical to assume that this is the Jezebel that I showed you from 1Kings since Jezebel is long since dead.

  • It is also possible that there is a demon/fallen angel that carries the name Jezebel and has possessed this woman. Since spirit beings live forever then this thing that is controlling her could well be alive today in someone else. Jesus explained all this when he told the group following him, that when a demon is cast out, it seeks someplace to make its abode. Not finding a place it will attempt to return to its last home. Take the time to look this up for yourselves. You will find it in Matthew 12:43-45. (We too are spirit beings clothed in human bodies, and will, therefore, continue to exist/live forever with the person we choose to follow, whether it be Satan or Jehovah.)

  • Our third option is that this person is representative of things that Jezebel stood for (which was nothing good.)

What do we know about the historical Jezebel?

2 Kings 9:30 NIrV Jehu went to Jezreel. Jezebel heard about it. So she put makeup on her eyes and fixed her hair. She looked out of a window.

She had ordered Naboth to be killed. She did this through deceit, attributing her actions to her husband, and distributing the guilt among many. I suppose the alternate motive here would be an attempt to remove guilt from yourself. Does this sound more familiar if I include the name Benghazi? It should as Hillary Clinton, the then, Secretary of State, knowingly sacrificed good men so that she and our president’s sins would not be found out and tied back to her.

2 Kings 9:22 NIrV When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come here in peace, Jehu?” “Your mother Jezebel worships statues of gods,” Jehu replied. “She also worships evil powers. The evil things she does have spread everywhere. As long as all of that goes on, how can there be peace?”

  • Jezebel worships statues of gods,

  • She worships evil powers.

  • The evil things she does have spread everywhere.

Look once again at Revelation 2:20 where it says, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman, Jezebel,”

Tolerate? We tolerate uncomfortable shoes because we think they make us look better. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church, addressed a group of people who tolerated some open perversion within their body of believers.

1 Corinthians 5:2 NIrV And you are proud! Shouldn’t you be filled with sadness instead? Shouldn’t you have put the man who did that out of your church?

The obvious answer to Paul’s question is, YES, they should have, and why? Because cancers, left to grow, will kill the body.

In continuing to find the nature, character, and identity of this “Jezebel,” I continue.

1 Kings 18:19 NIrV “Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god Baal. Also, bring the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.”

We do not immediately perceive from Revelation 2:20 that “she” had a deep influence upon the church in Thyatira, but what we do understand is very blatant:

  • She has led my servants into sexual sin.

Since the marriage bed is blessed by God, there would be no sexual sin, unless you brought in outside perversion.

  • She teaches.

This implies teaching people within the church body, that it is okay to indulge in perversity – thinking that it played some role in worship. Ah, but of what?

  • And she has tricked them into eating food offered to statues of gods.

Let’s create a scenario. Having been invited to a home, with the legitimate purpose of espousing the gospel more clearly. Dinner is served, whatever that looks like. You eat it and enjoy.

Having been to Tijuana Mexico on a “missionary” trip, we were escorted in Mexico by two pastors from the area. That evening they took us to a house with no doors and windows where we had the best tacos I can remember. I never asked what kind of meat they put in the tacos, or what the sanitary conditions were because I did not want to ruin the meal I was enjoying. And besides, the pastors were wholeheartedly eating their tacos.

Now back to this home we have been invited to. You might make a statement like, “this is delicious, how was it prepared so that I might make it also?” In many cases, you can go into a home where you are immediately confronted by Buddha statues, or the Indian god of war, Kali. I go to a Chinese, fast food restaurants and there is almost always a small cat-like god by the cash register and fruit is sitting there clearly offered up to this thing. The point being that the indulgences of others are not always so obvious. Having asked your host the question, they tell you that they are Muslims, and all their meats are Halal, offered up to Allah. (Take the time to look up what makes food Halal.)

Now, aware that you are eating meat specifically offered to some fallen demon angel named Allah, are you knowingly worshiping Allah in your participation? I presented this hypothetical question (Costco sells Halal certified meat in the deli department) to the men I sit with, just to hear what they would say. While some struggled with making a decision, another came back immediately with, I would eat and not feel guilty about any of it. He added, Paul gave us the freedom because all things are legal for us. I tossed in my thoughts, saying, I refuse to buy meats sacrificed to Allah, if for no other reason than to not support what they potentially do with that money.

Not everything is so black and white, is it?

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