Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daniel 9

1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes

This was Darius the Mede, Cyrus’ uncle, who Cyrus had put in charge of the province of Babylon.

2 In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel realizes it is time for the decree to go back to be given (he had to have been close to ninety years old!) He tells God “we have been baaad, but You are good. Forgive us and do what You said You would.” The prayer continues until verse 20. God sent Gabriel to talk to him. He tells him…

24 Seventy weeks …

A week means seven just as our word dozen means twelve. Nearly everyone agrees that this is talking about 490 years; 70x7 years.

… are determined upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city,

§ to finish the transgression, and
· to make an end of sins, and
· to make reconciliation for iniquity (Calvary), and
· to bring in everlasting righteousness, and
· to seal up the vision and prophecy, and
· to anoint the most Holy (Jesus).

These six things are going to happen in the next 490 years, specifily, they were fulfilled in chirst. This is a tme line, a schedule. It must stay intact in order to mean anything. Otherwise it would be like breaking the end off of a ruler, stapeling a piece of elastic onto both pieces and trying to measure something.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment (given by Artaxerus I in about 445BC) to restore and to build Jerusalem (He paid for it.) unto the Messiah the Prince (Jesus) shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks ([7x7]+[62x7]=483): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

No kidding. Read Ezra and Nehemiah.

26 And after (the) threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off (crucified), but not for himself (for us): and the people of the prince…

The prince is Titus, the general who led the armies against Jerusalem in AD 70. His father was apointed Emporer just beforehand. So the people of the prince are gentiles- Romans.

… that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

In AD 70 Titus destroyed Jerusalem with a flood of soldiers and the nation of Israel was no more.

27 And he (Christ) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven years): and in the midst of the week (after three and a half years of ministry) he (Christ) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (we don't have to torch sheep anymore), and for the overspreading of abominations (abundance of sins) He (Christ) shall make it (the city) desolate, even until the consummation (“The end or completion of the present system of things;” Noah Webster 1828 dictionary), and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (The Jews remaining in Jerusalem).

Are the rich really getting richer?

Articles stating that the rich are getting richer while the poor and middle class stay stagnant are really all smoke and mirrors. Here is how it works:

Say John Smith graduates high school and starts flipping burgers for a living. He makes minimum wage and is definitely in the poorest class.

After a few months, he gets a promotion to assistant manager and gets a raise. Now he is lower-middle. Did the poor just get richer? No, the “poor” changed classes and is no longer poor.

Later John gets a new job where he makes a middle-class income. Again, the lower-middle didn’t get richer, he changed classes.

John starts his own business and works 60 hours per week. The business is a success so he is pulling in an upper-middle income. He changed classes yet again.

John gets a brilliant idea for a new and improved thing-a-ma-bobby. He arranges manufacturing and advertising and before you know it, he is pulling in a steady “rich” income.

He invests some money in other companies and some other ideas, invents a few more things and triples his income. What class is he in now? Fact is, he is still in the “rich” class. There is no other class to go to. So guess what? The Rich just got richer. Did the poor and middle classes get richer? Nope. They are the same. Not because the individuals aren’t doing better, but because when they do, they no longer are poor or middle-class.

So, next time you hear someone complaining that “The rich just get richer while the middle and poor stay the same,” you can be sure they either haven’t thought it through or that they are intentionally promoting class warfare for political reasons.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daniel 8

Third year of Belshazzar, two years after the previous dream.

2 In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal.

15 While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man.

16 And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision."

17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end."

The end of Israel.

18 While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.

19 He said: "I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. (of Israel)

3 I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later.

20 The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.

Persia was the newer kingdom, but became bigger than Media.

4 I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.

5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.

21 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king.

Alexander the Great

6 He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage.

Darius III had defeated Alexander’s dad Phillip, who had died in battle with Persians. Alexander went after Persia partly in revenge.

7 I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power.

8 The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

22 The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.

Alexander reached the Indus River in India. He wanted to go further, but his soldiers rebelled and threatened to leave him if he did. He returned to Babylonia where he died (poisoning or maybe malaria. We don’t know.) His four major Generals fought over the kingdom, killing his son, wives, mother and any other relatives they could find. After seven years of civil war, the kingdom was divided into four parts:

The four horns were:
• Antigonus won Greece (+Mediterranean to central Asia)
• Ptolemy Lagi won Egypt and southern Syria. Ptolomy gave Syria to his favorite general, Seleucus who captured Antigonus’ Asian territory.
• Cassander won Macedonia (northern modern Greece)
• Lysimachus won Thrace (by the Black sea)

9 Out of one of them (out of Egypt) came another horn (Seleucus), which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. (Israel)

10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.

Antiochus IV of the Seleucus family. He killed many Israelites, especially the priests.

11 It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.

Antiochus IV, eleventh king in the Seleucian Dynasty, stopped the daily sacrifice for a time.

12 Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. (the horn) It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Because of the rebellion of the Jews, this was allowed.

23 "In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise.

24 He (Antiochus IV) will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.

25 When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed but not by human hands.

Antiochus III (of the Seleucid dynasty) was succeeded by his son Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 BC). In order to collect taxes, Seleucus IV sent his tax collector to rob the Jerusalem temple. However, Heliodorus (the tax collecter) had Seleucus IV killed and assumed the throne.

Seleucus IV brother, Antiochus, had been captured by the Romans in a war with their father. Seleucus sent his son, Demetrius, to Rome as a hostage trade for his brother Antiochus IV just before his death.

Antiochus IV secretly negotiated with Rome for the Seleucid throne. Rome agreed to keep his nephew, Demetrius, as a hostage in exchange for extra taxes.

The king of Pergamus was given a portion of the kingdom of Antiochus III by the Romans for assisting them in the wars against the Seleucids. This king kicked Heliodorus (the tax collector) out and put Antiochus IV on the throne.

So, Antiochus IV Epiphanes took control of the kingdom of Syria and reigned from 175 BC to 164 BC. He stole from the treasury and Jewish temples, roamed around in Roman officer clothes, and drank and caroused with people of the lowest rank. He was way more wicked than previous rulers. He orchestrated the death of the former Jewish High-Priest and scores of priests and scribes (They refused to eat pork so he killed them) and sold the High-Priest position to the highest bidders. He thought he was a god. He took control of the Jerusalem temple, ended the daily sacrifices, sacrificed unclean animals on the temple altar and altars throughout Judea, performed or allowed acts of sexual perversion within the temple, placed an idol in the temple, collected the sacred Hebrew scrolls, threw them to the ground, and burned them in order to eliminate the Holy Laws from the land. He also plundered the temple treasury.
2 Maccabees 9 tells us that God struck Antiochus IV down with an incurable pain in his bowels. Antiochus IV was riding in a chariot when he fell out and his body was racked throughout. Living for a brief time, he became so infected that flesh fell off his bones and produced a horrid stench. He died without dignity- destroyed, but not by human hands.

13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?’

14 And he said unto me, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’

Antiochus IV desecrated the Temple alter on Chislev 15, 168BC. The Jews celebrated its reconsecration on Chislev 25, 165BC, 1150 days or 2300 “daily” sacrifices later (one in the evening and one in the morning.) [As recorded in the books of the Maccabees]

26 "The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Do you want a job in the church?

Maybe preacher, teacher, worship leader, musician? As a pastor’s daughter and assistant pastor’s wife, I can tell you how to get the job in two words---------------------BE THERE.

If we can’t depend on you to be there the vast majority of the time it won’t do any good for us to give you the job. In fact, it would make our job harder because we would never know if we needed to be prepared to cover for you.

For example:

How our church picked our new Sound-Booth Technician out of a congregation of 53 people:

1. Everyone under 12- (24 people total) Eliminated.

2. A- Always Present. Computer literate. Already overloaded and can’t do his job and the computer. (Pastor, Preacher, MC, maintenance man, handy man, floor vacuumer, counselor, teacher) Eliminated.

3. B- Always Present. Computer literate. Already overloaded and can’t do her job and the computer. (Woman’s pastor, Pianist, Secretary, head cook, head gardener, counselor, cleaning lady, dish washer) Eliminated.

4. C (with 8dc)- Always Present. Computer literate. Already busy during service. Can’t spell worth a darn. (Preacher, maintenance assistant, business advisor, MC,) Eliminated.

5. D (with 8dc)- Always Present. Computer literate. Already busy during service. Not any better on the spelling. (Preparer of music, baker, assistant maid, children’s sermonizer, web master, yahoo group moderator, church store manager,) Eliminated.

6. E- Computer literate. Always Present. Already busy. Takes after her parents in spelling. (Music leader, kitchen helper, occasional vacuumer) Eliminated

7. F- Computer literate. Always Present. Doesn’t want the job. A bit young (13). Takes after his parents in spelling. Eliminated.

8. G- Very computer literate. Not reliably present due to health of elderly family members, own health, and work. Eliminated.

9. H- Not computer literate. Too elderly and feeble to do the job. Eliminated.

10. I- Not computer literate. Too elderly and feeble to do the job. Eliminated.

11. J- Present 7/8 of the time. Absences due to illness alone. (Assistant cook, preacher, PR manager) Potential

12. K- Very computer literate. Present 1/10 of the time. Eliminated.

13. L- Computer literate. Present 9/10 or better. (Dish washer, assistant cook) Potential

14. M (with 1dc)- Simi computer literate. Present 2/3, late 1/3. Less if midweek is figured. Eliminated.

15. N- Current computer person needing break. Present 9/10 or better. (Assistant cook, assistant secretary) Eliminated.

16. O (one child)- Computer literate. Overwhelmed with family. Present ½ the time; less if midweek is figured. Eliminated.

17. P (with 1dc)- Very computer literate. Overwhelmed with family. Present ½ the time; less if midweek is figured. Eliminated.

18. Q- Computer literate. Present less than 1/10. Eliminated.

19. R (with 9dc)- Very computer literate. Overwhelmed with family. Present ½ the time; less if midweek is figured. Eliminated.

20. S (with 9dc)- Computer literate. Overwhelmed with family. Present ½ the time; less if midweek is figured. Eliminated.

21. T- Not computer literate. Present ¾ the time; less if midweek figured. Eliminated.

22. U- Simi computer literate. Never present due to job. Eliminated.

23. V- Computer? Present ½ the time. Less if midweek is figured Eliminated.

24. W- Not computer literate. Present ¾ the time. Eliminated.

25. X- Computer? Present ¼ due to job. Less if midweek is figured Eliminated.

26. Y (with 2dc)- Computer? Present 1/4 the time. Eliminated.

27. Z (with 2dc)- Computer? Present ¼ the time. Eliminated.

28. AA- Not computer literate. Too elderly and feeble to do the job. Eliminated.

29. BB- Computer? Seldom here. Eliminated.

First we eliminated everyone who was there less than 4/5 of the time. Simple logic; if we can’t depend on you being there it won’t do us any good to give you the job. It doesn’t matter if your absences are due to illness or unreliable cars or work or what; if you aren’t here we can’t use you.

Second, we eliminated anyone who can’t physically do the job. (Not computer literate, Too elderly and feeble to do the job, Can’t spell worth a darn)

Third, we eliminated everyone who was already busy during the service.

This left two candidates. The one with the better attendance and who doesn’t ever preach (you can’t preach and run the booth at the same time) got the job.

You will notice we have a number that are sufficiently computer literate, some quite a bit more so than the one who got the job.

I have been a pastor’s daughter all my life. My father has pastored four churches, the third for 25 years and the fourth for 8 now. In all that time, every one who we gave a job to in order to make them feel more a part and attend more regularly quit our church (and usually all churches) within three months.



The only people who have continued to attend church after being given a job are those who were already there every time the doors were open; mid-week included.

If you want a job in the church, make it a priority to BE THERE every time the doors are open. It is that simple.

Even then, we will probably give you a simple job first. “He who is faithful in a few things will be faithful in much.” If you can, say, keep the toilets clean for six months (I don’t mean clean them twice in six months. I mean clean them every week or two at the most.) then we can see that we might could trust you with a more prominent job.

It’s not that we don’t want help. The average church in America is 60 members. I bet you in most churches with less than 200 people only five or ten people are doing all the work. We would love to spread the workload around. We don’t like being overworked. But it just makes more work for us to give someone a job and then have to do it ourselves; mostly because you won’t tell us until the last minute, if then, that you aren’t going to do it so we find ourselves constantly scrambling to cover you instead of planning ahead.

And…our first priority, as the ministry called by God, is for your soul. As I said above, when someone who is less than top-of-the-line faithful is given a job, they quit church all together. We can’t bear that responsibility. We won’t take a chance on causing you to fall in order to relieve us of a little work.

Conclusion……….BE THERE!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Daniel 7

In this chapter Daniel tells us his dream, than an angel tells him what he saw, then the angel interprets the dream.

The first year of Belshazzar (Bel’s dad was alive at this time, but he had no interest in ruling. He was an archeologist and spent his time digging in the dirt. Belshazzar ruled for him.)

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions of his head upon his bed. Then he wrote the dream and told the sum of the matters.

2 Daniel spake and said: “I saw in my vision by night and behold the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea.

3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. the sea.

17 The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.

4 The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.

Nebby after his time as a beast of the field.

5 A second beast was like a bear. It raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth between its teeth: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Persia under Cyrus destroyed Lydia (546 BC), Babylon (539 BC), and Egypt (535 BC). All three completely ended as world powers at this point.

6 Another beast, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a fowl. The beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Alexander and his kingdom which was divided after his death. This division took seven years of war between his four generals. The general who became the Egyptian king gave part of his kingdom to his favorite general who defeated one of the other kings and took his territory as well as part of Egypt’s.

7 A fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it. And it had ten horns.

19 Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws- the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth (land), and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

This fourth beast is the kingdom of Syria, specifically the family of the Seleucids. Josephus and the Maccabees tell us the Seleucids were very cruel to the Jews. Their armies (the iron teeth) horribly mistreated the people.

The ten horns are ten kings that reigned successively in Syria.

The Syrian empire covered at least as much territory as Rome, including the whole area of the Babylonian Empire, the country Daniel was writing this from; “whole earth” means “whole kingdom,” in the original language. In Daniel’s case, that would mean Babylon.

20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head…

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:

1. Ptoemy Lagi gave Syria to his general, Seleucus.

2. 312-281 Seleucus I Nicator

3. Ptolemy Soter of Egypt controlled Israel for a time.

4. 281-261 Antiochus I Soter

5. 261-246 Antiochus II Theos

6. 246-225 Seleucus II Callinicos

7. 225-223 Seleucus III Ceraunos

8. 223-187 Antiochus III The Great

9. 187-175 Seleucus IV Philopater (Antionchus IV brother)

a. Heliodorus (the tax collecter)

10. Seleucus IV son who never really ruled but should have.

175-164..... Antiochus IV Epiphanes

This was the Syrian empire in full force. They totally destroyed everyone they conquered. Rome didn’t usually destroy total countries. They usually just subdued them and then left them alone as long as they paid their taxes and didn’t cause too much trouble. This wasn’t true of Syria. They were down right mean.

8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

…and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell- the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them,

The little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, the last of the ten kings. He got the throne by having his nephew kept captive in Rome and having a buddy depose the murderer of his brother (who he had backed). He was a man of great ingenuity, and therefore is said to have eyes like the eyes of a man; and he was very bold and daring, had a mouth speaking great things.

Antiochus IV was the only king the in the history of Israel who demanded they leave their God, not just incorporate his own. In fact, he commanded his entire kingdom, including his own country, to worship Jupiter instead of their native gods.

Antiochus IV used deceit, flattery, and bribes to get and establish his kingdom.

22 Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints (True lovers of God) possessed the kingdom (of God).

The Ancient of Days pronouncing judgment was Antiochus’ death. The Jews ruled themselves (more or less, off and on, until Rome conquered them; about a hundred years.)

24… and another shall rise after them (Antiochus Epiphanes); and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

Brother, nephew, general

25 And he (the horn) 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 (the Jews) shall be given into his (the horn's) hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Antiochus tortured Israel about three and a half years. He thought himself to be a god and changed the calendar.

26 But the judgment shall sit, and they (the Jews) shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end (of the time of the Jews).

The Maccabees kicked him out.

Some assign this beast to Rome and this horn to Nero, but that is problematic. Nero was the sixth or seventh (depending on if you count the general who ruled for Tiberius for a short time) ruler of the Roman Empire. The tenth emperor was Vespasian who was the emperor from AD 69- 79, but he was not a proud boaster, nor did he in anyway fit the description of the little horn. (His son, Titus, became emperor after him in 79). If you do count the ruling general, the tenth emperor was Vitelius who ruled a whole year and did nothing remarkable except fight for the throne with Otho for half that time. In fact, if you don’t count Otho or the general, the tenth emperor was Titus who was a relatively meek (though quite unlucky) emperor (there were earthquakes and volcanoes and the plague during his two year reign). Augustus, the second Emperor of Rome, was the one who changed the calendar.

However, the character of the little horn describes Antiochus IV perfectly.

9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

God on the throne.

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (Christ)

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

The kingdom of heaven which began at Calvary.

18 But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever- yes for ever and ever.

27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Daniel is shown up to the time of Christ and His victory- the institution of the Kingdom of God. His attention, however, goes back to the little horn.

11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: (back to Antiochus IV) I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

The Roman army under Pompey destroyed the Syrian Empire in 63BC.

12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

These nations still exist, more or less, in a VERY reduced state; Iraq [Babylon], Iran [Persia], and Greece

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Prophecies of Daniel-Chapter 3

This chapter contains a dream from the king of Babylon and its interpretation. I have put the dream in bold, the interpretation in blue, and my comments in plain text.

Verse 31- You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue- an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

36 This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.

32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, …

37 You, O king, are the king of kings. That God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;

38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, He has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

Nebby was wondering, just as he was falling asleep, what would happen to his kingdom after he died. This dream is the answer. (This dream would have been about 579 BC)

Gold was very common in Babylon at this time and the people had a very high standard of living.

…its chest and arms of silver,

39 After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. …

Medo/Persia- the Medes are building their army at this moment in history. (Cyrus rises to power in 553 BC). Silver was the currency in Persia. Taxes paid in gold were even converted to silver.

…its belly and thighs of bronze,

…Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.

Alexander the Great. At the time of this prophecy, Greece is nothing but a bunch of unconnected city-states. (Alexander died in 323 BC). Greece was the first army to use almost exclusively bronze shields and helmets.

33 Its legs of iron, …

40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron- for iron breaks and smashes everything- and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.

This is a history of the region of Babylon after Nebby. It would not be a very good history to leave out the entire Syrian rule. After the death of Alexander, Egypt took control of Israel, but a different general took Babylon. Later, the Egyptian ruler gave the territory just north of Israel to his favorite general. That general conquered all the way to Babylon as well as taking Israel away from Egypt. His capital was in the country of Syria and his empire was known by that name. (Syria began somewhere between 323 and 310 BC). Syria used iron weapons.

Greece at the time of Syria is just a small country with NO control or influence over this region. It is fighting for its life with Rome and the countries to the north and east (Thrace, the fourth part of Alexander’s kingdom.)

Rome is a republic, not an empire, and is also fighting for its life right now. Its influence is growing.

…its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.

42 As the toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be partly strong and partly brittle.

43 and just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

This is a perfect description of the Roman Empire, which began with Julius Caesar in 46 BC and was the next major power in the Babylonian and Israelite region. It was partly strong and partly weak, always had trouble controlling its very mixed people, constantly had to fight of the Gauls and other invaders from the north, had a system of appeals and allowed each people to govern itself and worship its own gods.

Rome also used iron weapons.

34 while you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.

35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

44 In the time of those kings, (the kings of the final kingdom, Rome) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.

45 this is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands- a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The Great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”

The rock that crushed the whole thing by landing on the feet was Jesus and the church. The countries listed here are the nations that controled God’s church from Daniel until Christ. After the cross, no political government would be able to contain nor control God’s church. It would grow to fill the whole planet. No longer would god’s people be confined to one nation, one locality. The Kingdom of God will never end.

Paul tells us that God continues to put politicians into power and that He brings up and destroys kingdoms. God does still deal with nations, as our own history tells us. But His people are no longer identified by or confined to one nation or one country.

Friday, April 17, 2009

End Time Prophecy

There are three main theories regarding the end times. The most popular one is Dispensationalism (i.e. The Left Behind Series). This theory assumes most biblical prophesies have not been fulfilled yet. Generally speaking they believe Israel will be restored to its previous place with God, there will be a tribulation and the rapture will take the righteous and leave everyone else.

The second most popular is the Prederest teaching which says that (in its most extreme form) all prophecy has been fulfilled by ad70 (including the second coming of Christ).

The third is the Historical view. It is the one held by most of the Historical churches (Lutherans, Methodists, etc). They (and for the most part, I) believe that most of the prophecies have been fulfilled over the course of the last 2500 years with only the ones directly relating to the return of Christ left.

In Galatians 3:16 Paul says,
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, “And to seeds,” as of many; but as of one, “And to thy seed,” which is Christ.

The promise of eternal covenant is to Abraham and Christ, not some physical group of humans. The Israelites were chosen to be the linage to Christ and the bearers of The Law. They were never saved just because of their Jewish-ness. The Bible has many examples of people that believed God and were evidently saved even though they were not Israelites, though most of those following God were Israelites.

Isaiah and Jeremiah (plus many others) prophecy that the Israelites would be taken captive, followed by Judah being taken and that Solomon's temple would be destroyed. Most of the scriptures that are obviously talking about Jerusalem, capital city of Judah, refer to its inhabitants as Israelites. God obviously sees both nations as one, really. In fact, in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, God tells him that He will make Israel and Judah into one nation again. I believe this happened at the return from the Babylonian captivity. At that time there was no more mention of two separate nations, though members of each of the twelve tribes was mentioned. Also Josepheous tells us that during the second century BC (about 300 years after Daniel and Ezekiel lived) Egypt hired scribes to bring the Law and transcribe it into Greek. They wanted six from each tribe. History records they played host to sevety-two men- six from each of the twelve tribes.

“And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” Jeremiah 25:11-13

“For thus saith the LORD, ‘That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place’.” Jeremiah 29:10

Seventy years after the captivity, a man named Cyrus would give the command for all Israelites (decedents of Jacob) to return to Jerusalem (This was prophesied some one hundred fifty years before Cyrus came to the throne)

Isaiah lived in the 700bc's, Jeremiah in 627-586. Cyrus was born 580.

“That saith of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure:’ even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built;’ and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.’ ” Isaiah 44:28

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, ‘To Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates and the gates shall not be shut.’” Isaiah 45:1

Babylon could not be sieged because the Euphrates River flowed through the town under two gates that did not allow anyone through. The night the Medes and Persians took over, someone left the gates open!

“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” Isaiah 45:2

“I have raised up one from the north (Persia is north-east of Babylon), and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon My Name: and he shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treadeth clay.” Isaiah 41:25

Shortly after these prophesies, (and many others from most of the prophets listed in the second half of the Old Testament,) Israel was captured by the Assyrians. Judah was captured a few years later by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. He destroyed Solomon's temple (581 BC). More than 100 years after Isaiah's prophecy, a man named Cyrus was born (580-529) in Persia. He grew up and became king of the Mede-Persian Empire and conquered Babylonia. He gave the command for anyone who wanted to, to go to Jerusalem (In 537 BC). They were allowed to rebuild if they wanted to but not commanded to, nor funded.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that the Jews in Babylonian captivity showed Cyrus the prophecies of the Old Testament which contain his name and. Josephus says that it was this circumstance that motivated the ruler to issue his edict permitting Israel's return to her homeland.
Historical confirmation of this account was found on a cylinder found at the excavations in ancient Babylon in 1879-82.

Cyrus was the son of the Persian king, Cambyses I, and a Median princess. He came to the Persian throne in 559 B.C. Nine years later he conquered the Medes, unifying the kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians.

2 Chronicles 36:22,23 and the book of Ezra tell us of the fulfillment of these prophesies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Which do you have more of….

TVs or children?

What does this say about your priorities?

If an alien from outer space were to walk into the average American home and look at its décor, what would he think was the religion of that family? What is the most prominent item in your house, especially in the room your family spends the most time in? To what item does all the seating face? What single industry/ hobby has congress postponed its plans just to accommodate?

To hear most people talk, you must have TV in order to survive. I have seen people who COULDN’T AFFORD FOOD scrounge up the money to pay their cable bill!

Honest, you would survive without a TV. People did for thousands of years, you know.

The Bible says, “Whatsoever a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” When we sit in front of the TV, we turn our brain over to Hollywood. We think what they want us to think. We become what they want us to become. This would be ok, maybe, if Hollywood was made up of Christians, or even just people who believed in traditional values. The fact is that 80% (according to surveys) of those in Hollywood believe traditional Christian values are evil and they actively teach this in the things they produce.

When Hitler took a new country over, do you know what he did? He had speakers placed on each corner blasting pro-nazi propaganda 24/7. This constant barrage caused the people to eventually begin thinking like Hitler wanted them to. Satan is doing the same thing today…

In large screen, high-definition, stereo surround sound!

Let me give you an example: when was the last time you saw a happy, contented stay at home mother on TV? Especially one with children instead of toddlers? I can think of one from my early adulthood---Peg Bundy. Hardly someone anyone wants to be like. All the other women with children had careers. This is brain washing.

Keep a tally sometime of how often the parents are wrong and the children are right in TV land. You might be surprised. Hollywood evidently thinks kids are smarter and parents are outdated and slow. This is the natural outcome of evolution, of course. It is also propaganda to get the society as a whole to distrust parents and their judgment making it easier for the government to pass laws (such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child) to take control of our children away from us. Control the child and you control the future.

These are just some examples. There are many, many more.

Researchers have discovered that the act of sitting in front of the TV produces endorphins. In other words, the act of watching TV causes our bodies to produce drugs that stone us. We are literal, physical addicts.

TV also causes the left side of the brain (the part that controls logical thought) to shut off. This leaves us vulnerable to any suggestion they put out there.

Now, to be honest, we do have a TV. It does sit in a prominent place in our living room (though not the center of the décor). It is, however, seldom actually on. Our family watches one video on Saturday night and one on Sunday and Sunday afternoon football. When the children are sick, I will allow educational videos. I also will allow them to watch videos when my teens baby-sit to make it easier to monitor everyone and less likely anyone will do anything to get in trouble. Hubby and I will occasionally watch a video on our date night. The only other time our TV is even on is if there are children doing school on the two computers and a third child needs to watch his math video (Math U See comes with a video of the author teaching a class for each lesson. It is like having a math tutor come into my house everyday!) The point is, we go days without turning it on and, barring illness, the longest it is on in one day is three hours (some movies are quite long). The national average is four or more hours per day with the thing being on from sunrise to bedtime and beyond not at all unusual.

When I first turned the TV off, my oldest (who was three) didn’t know what to do with herself. There was a time of withdrawal. But within two weeks her vocabulary had doubled and she had learned how to entertain herself. She was actually much happier and more peaceful.

How does the ideal of being amused at all times (not just TV but the computer, video games, internet, constant text messaging, mp3 player, etc.) mesh with the Bible? The Bible says to “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ.” Christ spent His entire time on earth serving others and working for the kingdom of God. The Bible also says to “do all things as unto the Lord.” Can you do this (have a Christ-like mind and do all things for God) while zonking on entertainment? Isn’t entertainment an inherently selfish activity? Absolutely!

Now, obviously I don’t’ believe we should never be entertained. I do believe before we do anything we should evaluate what the best use of our time would be as if God was keeping a ledger of our minutes and was going to hold us accountable for them (He is, you know). My family spending time together in front of a good, clean movie or historical documentary (some are quite interesting) is a time of bonding our children to us and of teaching them (we have stopped more than one movie to discuss the morals of those in the show.) At these moments, there is nothing better we could be doing. In the evening when most families are totally stoned on the latest sit-com, we are reading books to our children (Last night: Calvin and Hobbs [fascinating philosophy discussions and many examples of how NOT to think], The Sign of the Beaver [historical fiction teaching the ways of the Indians in the early colonial days], Happy Hollisters [children’s mystery written in the 50’s], Hank the Cow Dog [wonderful stories of a ranch mutt. He always does what is right in the end. Loads of giggles], Watership Down [a group of refuges travel to find a new home and to build a new community. A story of courage, humanity, wisdom in leadership, faith and trust. They just happen to be rabbits], The Lord of the Rings, The Holy Bible, Melodies of Praise [the hymnal I grew up with. We sing one song together each evening]) This habit gives the same entertainment value as a TV show (often more) without the drug-like affect. It brings us closer together, encourages the use of the imagination, and builds brain cells instead of destroying them. This is the best use of these minutes for our family.

Where are your priorities? What is most important to you? Look around your house as if you were that alien and you will begin to see. Don’t let the culture or even life-long habits make these decisions for you. You are responsible to God for how you use your minutes and your brains cells. You are responsible for what goes on in your child’s head.

Our Amusements Are Dulling Our Minds

Where is your family alter?
Well? Where is it?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Basic Christian Beliefs

God created the universe from nothing in six literal days.

Man chose to sin, to disobey God.

The punishment for that sin is death- physical and spiritual

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

The wages of sin is death

God loved us so much He put on a robe of flesh, was born of a virgin, and lived life on earth as a sinless mortal. He then willingly died to pay the debt for our sin.

He rose the third day after His crucifixion.

In order to receive this salvation from death, we must admit we are sinners needing salvation, turn from our sins, (“repent” means “turn from”) and follow Christ.

God demands we live a righteous life. We cannot continue walking in sin, as we would then not be following Jesus but sin. To follow Jesus we must live as sinless of a life as possible. He did.

We must devote our resources (time, money, energy) to the promotion of the kingdom of God. That is showing true love for others; attempting to lead them to heaven and away from hell.

There will be an end of time.

Every human soul will go to either heaven or hell. God cannot stand sin, so sinners must go to hell. Only those whose sins have been washed away by Christ can go to heaven.

Any teaching different from what is above is heresy and will lead to hell.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Good and Evil

Did you know there is no such thing as cold? There is only a lack of heat.

Did you know there is no such thing as darkness? Only a lack of light.

These are scientific facts.

Did you know there is no such thing as evil? Only a lack of God. The devil is completely lacking in any part of God at all. Humans are created in God's image. We have some shadows of the likeness of God. When you choose God, you choose good. When you choose not-God you choose evil. There is no neutral. Only God and evil. Every human, no matter what their upbringing, no matter who their parents, must make that choice for themselves.

I can't explain why things happen in our lives. I know much of the bad that happens is the result of people choosing to deny God. Micheal Pearl in “Divine Design” states it something like this: God is capable of sinning against us. He could behave in a selfish, cruel manner if He chose to. He chooses not to. He created us in His image. If He had not given us the ability to sin, to choose selfishness and cruelty over love and goodness, we would have been no more than chimpanzees. We had to have a choice in order to be in His likeness; to fulfill His desire to have someone like Him to love Him.

We all choose to deny God at some time or another. This has negative consequences on all those around us. It also separates us from God, as evil is a lack of God. In eternity we will all receive just what we have asked for in this life. Those that choose to have a lack of God in their lives will be totally removed from all aspects of God. They will exist in pure evil. Hell. Those that choose to have God in their lives will have total God in eternity. Pure presence of God. Paradise. (That last part is from one of Hubby's sermons:-)

In the 1800's, doctors would go straight from performing an autopsy to delivering babies without washing. It was common for half of the women in a delivery ward to die from post-natal infection. If these doctors had followed God's command to Israel in the Mosaic Law by washing and staying separate for a time after touching the dead, hundreds of women wouldn't have died. Notice, the women did nothing wrong. They did not disobey. Yet they died. When we choose to not listen to God, often others suffer. This seems so unfair to us.

I don't understand. But I do know that there will come a day when all the wrongs will be righted and everything will be squared up. There IS eternal justice. ALL wrongs will be paid for. Yes, those sins that I have committed WILL be paid for. They are horrible sins deserving of the greatest, most awful punishment. But you know what? My sins have already been paid for. You know the story. “He paid the debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay.”

Jesus said "Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brother, you do it unto me." When we are cruel or selfish or even just indifferent, it is as if we were beign that way to our Lord. If we treat everyone like we would treat Jesus, imagine what a wonderful world this would be.

You have a choice, my friend. You can continue to be a victim for the rest of your life. You can let things in your life give you the excuse to behave without God. You can keep your eyes on people. But people will fail you every time.

I know people that have made this choice. They have no friends, no family (at least none that can stand to be with them), no nothing. They are getting sicker and sicker. Every few months they are diagnosed with a new illness, especially a mental illness (let's see, depression, chronic fatigue, manic depression, obsessive compulsive, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) Poor them. Sad them. Every Christian they meet turns on them. No one likes them. No one is Godly enough to rescue them.

There is a different woman that was in much the same state plus drugs and all that entails. She chose to change her path a couple of years ago. She is heading towards God instead of away. Today she has a fulltime job, friends, family, and a ministry, is off all of her mental meds, was told by her psychiatrist she no longer needed her, in short her life is getting gooder and gooder, or should I say Goder and Goder? No one was Godly enough to rescue her either. Only God is Godly enough.

Ultimately, you can't blame anyone else. You have to make your own choices. Will you choose to be a victim? Will you choose the religion of humanism (human worship) or will you choose to be a victor? It is all up to you, friend.

To live without God is to try to be God

All of us have had enough bad things happen to us to 'justify' the poor me's; the anger, the depression. God is seeing who will really trust Him. Who will really choose to love Him no matter what. Imagine someone telling you, “I will love you as long as you do everything I say and act exactly as I want.” That wouldn't be real love would it? Yet many of us who say we love God, treat Him just this way. God loves us no matter what. He wants real, unconditional love from us, too. He wants us to trust Him that He really does know what is best, has it all under control and it will all work out in the end. He wants us to look at Him, not our parents, lovers, friends, children, neighbors, politicians, teachers, social workers, counselors, scientists, etc.

I painted a picture once. A girl is walking on water, with her hands in her pockets and her eyes straight ahead. She is not bothered by the big waves or the on-coming storm. She has her eyes fastened on her goal. You can't see the goal, but you can see the reflection of it in the water under her feet; a Cross. This is what life is like when you choose God. You see only God, not the storms of life. Only His love shown through the Cross. Oh, you could see more. But you choose to only see Him.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is keeping on keeping on, no matter what life throws your way. When you stand before The Throne, you will not be able to say "It is my mother's fault. It is the mean people at church's fault. It is my lover's fault. It is my teacher's fault. It is society's fault. It is my politician's fault, it is my boss's fault." It will boil down to the choices YOU have made.
But you know the most wonderful thing about it? Jesus is sitting next to you right this minute waiting to take you in His arms and hold you. If you let Him, He will hold you while you snuggle into His lap. He will reassure you that it is all right and He will take care of you. Oh, things will not be perfect immediately (or ever, really, until heaven). But you will not be alone. He will hold you in the hard times. Hold your hand or even carry you if that is what you need. I could FEEL Him carrying me when I had a miscarriage. It was three months before I could feel my "feet" on the ground again, and then just barely. He was still supporting me for a long time afterwards.

He doesn't care how fat or skinny we are. He doesn't care how smart or dumb we are. He doesn't care how much money we have. He knows that this outer shell isn't the real us. It is the person inside He cares about and He knows that person can be beautiful. All we have to do is trust Him and He will make us beautiful.

Oh, we will have to work too. You don't jump out of a broken plane and say “God save me.” First you put your parachute on, jump, pull the string and THEN trust God to take care of you. You have to do all you can, too.
Before you go to bed tonight, get your Bible out and read one Psalm. Just one. When you wake up say “Thank you God for the clouds, the trees, the flowers, that I am still breathing, and for my thumbs.” Even if you don't mean it, just try it for one week. Just for me. You will feel better. God will speak to you. Maybe not in an audible voice. Maybe through the clouds or a bug crawling across your floor. Maybe in a dream. But He will speak to you.

Within The Heart Of Every Living Soul,
Is A Great Big Giant God sized hole.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The War Against Religion

The war against religion and against us.

What is your “world view?”
A “world view” is the glasses that you view every aspect of life through. All the choices you make are made from the base of your core beliefs. Here is a quiz that will tell you how in line with the Bible your views are. I got 100%. What about you?

French Fries are Bad...There, I Said It

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
An atheist gives his reasons for believing Africa needs the Christian God.

Is Religion Necessary?

Where is your family alter?
A Place Where We Meet God and God Meets Us

"TULIP" CalvinismCompared to Wesleyan Perspectives. Just interesting.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Amos 5:21

I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell (savour) in your solemn assemblies. (22) Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. (23) Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

Yes, God hates. Israel was bringing offerings to God and praising Him in song, but it was just a ceremony. They did not love Him and they did not live for Him in the rest of their lives. They were sacrificing to pagan gods at the same time. They were also disobeying His laws.

When I read this yesterday morning, a picture of the modern church came into my mind. I could almost SEE the crowds with their hands raised up, singing a worship chorus. Then I can see them going home to their big screen TVs, fancy houses and cars, and getting their children ready for atheist school the next day. I could SEE them acting just like their “heathen” neighbors; lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, being self righteous and selfish.

Today’s Christian is no different than those pre-captivity Israelites. We come and worship God, but we don’t love Him. If we did, He would be in our every decision, our every moment. We would come closer and closer to His perfection, not stagnate in worldly habits.

I know many are preaching that God doesn’t care what you do with your life as long as your heart is right with God. This is bologna. Yes, God cares what is in your heart. This is primary. But if your heart is right with Him, YOUR ACTIONS WILL FOLLOW! You cannot have love for your neighbor in your heart and rob him blind. You can’t “Teach [My Words] unto your children every waking moment” (paraphrase Duet. 6:7) and “Raise your children in God’s culture and education” (paraphrase Ephesians 6) and still send them to an atheist school. You can’t present God a pure heart and have sex with someone you are not married to. You WILL act the way your heart is tuned.

Now, I will give a nod to new converts. There are many things to change in your life when you come to the Lord and some things can not be changed no matter what due to sin in this world. For example, I know a single mother who would love to homeschool and even like to send her child to private school. However, she has to make a living and can barely feed them both, much less afford private school. Homeschooling is out of the question. God knows her heart, her desire to follow the scripture. He counts it as obedience to her. She is truly doing the best she can.

Also a new convert who may be shacking up when he is saved, may not have the means to move out on his own immediately. It may take a few months. God understands, as long as the man is truly trying to improve his situation.

What is not excusable is the married couple who are perfectly healthy, who own a big house, new cars, electronic “toys,” and says they can’t afford private education. Obviously their hearts are in materialism, not worshiping God with all they’ve got.

Lets take it farther. The Bible says for older women to teach the younger women to be keepers (stayers) at home, for younger women to stay home and raise children. Yet how many “Christian” women are in the workforce? (Yes, yes, I know single women have to work. I am not talking about them). How many “Christian” children are spending the majority of their waking hours in a daycare and thus being raised by that institution instead of their God-ordained parents? How many “Christian” women think life is about THEIR fulfillment instead of service to God and His people (including the little lamb He gave them in birth)? How many “Christian” women would choose maintaining their standard of living over giving their children the most godly start available in life?

How many Christians see nothing wrong with sleeping around? Shacking up? Homosexuality? Pornography? Abortion? Plain ole selfish behavior? “Self Sacrifice” is almost a cuss word in our culture. We honestly think life is about us and our pleasure. It isn’t. Life is about God and His will in our lives. It is about service to others.

American Christians, we are in trouble! God has destroyed entire nations for less than what we have done. We deserve to be severely punished, even destroyed for our worship of money and leisure and self. The blood of aborted babies is on our hands. The blood of our children that have lost out with God because of their indoctrination into atheism in schools is on our hands. The blood of those children who can’t love because they were raised in daycare is on our hands. The blood of our children who are lured away from God by Hollywood is on our hands. The blood of sinners who see nothing different about us and so never consider accepting Christ is on our hands. It is only by God’s great mercy we aren’t already totally destroyed.

It is time we quit playing church and start living for God in every area of our lives. It is time we take our religion seriously. It is time we quit being hypocrites.