Book of Daniel Bible Study Series

Book of Daniel Bible Study Series

2020 Devotionals Blog

“As for these young men, God gave them know,edge and skill in all
literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions
and dreams.”
Daniel 1:17

Daniel was a deportee to Babylon in the first wave of the exile that culminated in 586 BC. So, being a dedicated servant of the God of Israel he was the recipient of remarkable revelations from heaven that still await complete fulfillment in our day. He also stood strongly against persecution and resistance that threatened his very existence and that of his friends. He teaches us that serving Christ in a godless world will definitely put one to the test and at the same time prove the faithfulness of God. So, like no other prophet, Daniel pinpoints events that will overtake our world in the near future and which will herald the arrival, and manifestation of, the visible kingdom of God.

Daniel’s proving

The book opens with a moving account of how he remained faithful to God in a climate of intense pressure to conform to a culture that in every respect was ruthless and resistant to true faith in God. It is to be noted that these were young men who God used in such a mighty and wonderful manner ( 1 Timothy 4:12). He and his friends were determined to stand strong and honor God by not violating His laws, which governed what could be eaten and what could not. We learn that:

A. That God tests His people-Like He did Abraham, so that, as we say, He can “hang His hat”(sanctifying purpose) on their lives. They must be proved, as we must, to demonstrate that we have rock hard godly characters. Here Daniel and his friends were put to the test over what could be considered a trivial thing but they knew that were called to be faithful in the small things as well as the big. In fact, if they could not be faithful in the small things, then God knew that He could never trust them with the big things (Luke 16:10).

B. That God tests His people-So that He can entrust them with special assignments. We need to remember that Peter the Apostle who, by Jesus’ permission, was sifted by the Devil in order that in the future he could open the door for the Gospel of Jesus to reach the Gentile world. God had a special assignment in mind for Daniel in that he was destined to become the Prime Minister of two great gentile empires; Babylon and Media-Persia. God has an assignment for each one of us but we have to demonstrate that we are steadfast in our faith in Him.

C. That God tests His people- In order to impact the ungodly with His love and purpose for their lives. God loves a wicked world and made provision for it in the death of His Son on the cross. Very often the ungodly are impacted with the love of God when they see how Christians act under pressure. Daniel made a huge impact upon Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, in that he saw His reality surging through Daniel’s life. Richard Wurmbrand did the same as he took on his communist jailers and persecutors and so did the seven martyrs who died at the hands of ISIS. One of them was a Muslim but when he saw how bravely the Christians were ready to die for their faith in Jesus he joined them.

Daniel’s statue

“Daniel answered and said: ‘Blessed be the name of God
forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His, and He
changes times and seasons, He removes kings and raises
up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to
those who have understanding.”
Daniel 2:20-21

“But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets………….. “
Daniel 2:28

Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that turned out to be an enigma to his wise men and soothsayers because, on threat of taking their lives, he demanded that they interpret it, even though he refused to tell them what it was. Daniel’s response was firstly driven by his compassion for them in that he knew that they would all be put to death and secondly, he knew that God was real and would help him to understand the dream and thereby enable him to deliver himself and the palace advisors. Also, it is important to note that God gives wisdom and knowledge to those who have already applied themselves to the study of God’s word. Heaven rewards diligence! ( 2 Timothy 2:15). This tells us that:

1. The people of God should make a difference in the world. They ought to be salt and light that ultimately enables God to penetrate the darkness and bring the light of His salvation to people’s lives. Nebuchadnezzar was literally overcome when Daniel unravelled the contents of his dream and he acknowledged that the Hebrew God, that he thought he had defeated when he destroyed Jerusalem, was the only true God and was very much alive! (Daniel 2:47)

2. The people of God have supernatural help at their disposal. Without being told the contents of the dream, Daniel is appraised of it by heaven itself. The dream is of a magnificent statue of a man; his head being gold, his upper body being silver, his thigh and belly are bronze, his legs are iron and the feet are of iron and clay. Eventually a huge stone, not cut by human hands, falls upon the feet of the statue and the whole things crumbles and is blown away by the wind. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the “tools” that God has given us in order to accomplish His work in the world. We must learn to use them! (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

3. The people of God should know the days in which they are living. Jesus said watch and pray as this will enable us discern the signs of the times and not fall into spiritual slumber. Daniel’s dream was of five great Gentile empires that would emerge to govern all of history and the affairs of men. They would be, the Babylonian Empire, the Media-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, the Roman Empire and a multicultural Global Empire that will divide the whole world up into ten regions. All of these would oppose Israel and finally crumble when the huge stone falls upon the ten region Empire; demonstrating that all of these Empires are really one driven by the same demonic entity. Israel is the “vehicle of world redemption” and therefore she must chiefly be overcome and literally exterminated (Revelation 12:1-4). The stone, not cut with human hands, is the Kingdom of God and all those who belong to it including the Church of the Living God. We win in the end as, the kingdoms of the world will be given to us to govern with Christ (Revelation 11:15).

All these Empires have come and gone and only the last one is now emerging before our eyes. People of influence everywhere are speaking of a New World Order, a new global financial system and the need for a new world religion. The United Nations, in co-operation with so called global elites, like the Club of Rome and others, have drawn up a plan to impose global government on the world that is to be divided up into ten regions. This New World Order will be in conflict with the biblical revelation, with Israel and thus with God’s people, just as it was with Daniel. We will have to stand strong against it and even be willing, as Daniel was, to lay down our lives (Revelation 12:11). God, by Jesus, Christ comes to the aid of those who do not give way and continue to honor His word. Truth will be the battle ground of the coming days! (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) The book of Revelation focuses at length on this final ten nation Empire (Revelation 17:1-3).

4. The people of God must know that no matter what happens God is control of the affairs of men and it is he that raises up leaders and puts them down. The shakings around us are of His doing and thus, since we are His people, we have nothing to fear. There is still a God in heaven (Daniel 2:28)!

Malcolm Hedding

Revelation Series Part 12 – The Millennium

Revelation Series Part 12 – The Millennium

2020 Devotionals Blog

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time
of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Daniel 12:4

“And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this
book, for the time is at hand.”
Revelation 22:10

The book of Daniel, that contains much of the material quoted in the Book of Revelation, tells us that this material will be sealed or kept hidden until a certain point in history arrives. This certain point is recognizable by two dramatic occurrences:

1. A time when knowledge will increase…..and,
2. A time when people will run to and fro, or, travel extensively throughout the earth (Daniel 12:4)
The certain point in history, validated by these two phenomenon, will be, according to Daniel, the end time! This term, “End Time”, means in effect, God’s last act in Israel.

There is no doubt that this is our time as, since the beginning of the twentieth century, there has literally been an explosion of knowledge upon the earth. No generation before has experienced such an avalanche of knowledge overtaking them. Also, at the beginning of the twentieth century the normal means of travel was still a horse drawn cart but just 69 years later we witnessed the the first man walking on the moon having been propelled there by a highly sophisticated Atlas Rocket system replete with a lunar orbiting module, a landing vehicle by which to touch down on the surface of the moon and a return to earth capsule. Add to this the fact that modern air travel routinely enables men and women to “run to and fro” throughout the earth, and that we have witnessed a process of restoration unfolding in Israel, then we can safely assume that we are the generation that will witness the most amazing end time events.

The book of Revelation picks up on Daniel’s statement by affirming that its contents will apply in particular to the time that Daniel pinpoints (Revelation 22:10). Daniel’s end time teaching would be sealed but the contents of the book of Revelation, which contains much of Daniel’s teaching, would be unsealed at a time when knowledge increases and people travel much throughout the earth and the Jewish people return to Canaan. This is our time, meaning that the glorious second coming of Jesus is upon us. We must prepare, get ready and warn others of the great darkness ( Jesus called this birth pangs) that is going to befall the world just before this glorious day arrives. In these studies together we have examined all of these things.

When Jesus comes back to the Mount of Olives the topography of the earth will change dramatically and Jerusalem in particular will be elevated so as to be set on a high mountain (Zechariah 14:10). From there, in great glory, Jesus will reign over the nations, as with a rod of iron, with His resurrected Church for a literal thousand years (Revelation 20:1-4). We call this The Millennium but He called it “The Regeneration” (Matthew 19:28). This one thousand year rule of Christ will:

1. Vindicate His messianic credentials and claims
2. Vindicate the role that Israel has played out for the sake of world redemption
3. Vindicate the Church and its message of salvation that it carried to the world
4. Vindicate the righteous judgement of God
5. Vindicate the natural creation and enable it to be what God originally intended for it, as recorded in the garden of Eden…..and it will,
6. Vindicate the Word of God as the only real inspired message from God upon the earth.

The Bible speaks everywhere of this glorious period that is about to break in upon the world (Isaiah 11:1-9; Isaiah 2:1-4; Zechariah 14:16-21). Most glorious of all is the fact that we shall rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 2:26-28; Revelation 20:6). That is, we who were once His enemies, wretched and sinful but who have been saved by His grace (Romans 5:8).

At the conclusion of the 1000 years of Jesus’ glorious reign over the earth the nations will be sifted once more by the Devil resulting in a final rebellion against Christ and His Church (Revelation 20:7-10). These will be judged by God, leaving only the saved nations left and the Devil, and those with him in this rebellion, will be cast into hell, the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10). There will be as well, after the 1000 year reign of Christ, a Great White Throne Judgement Day, where the ungodly of all ages will appear in resurrected bodies prepared for damnation. Having rejected the Gospel of Jesus, their names will not be in the Book of Life and therefore, they will bear in their lives and bodies the consequences of their sin and rebellion against God and be cast bodily into the lake of fire; there to endure the agonies of everlasting torment (Revelation 20:11-15).

Finally, the glorious New Jerusalem will descend from heaven and settle upon a new earth with a new canopy of the heavens (Revelation 21:1-8). The saved of all history, from every tribe and nation upon the earth, will dwell with God and His Christ in this new and all glorious heavenly city. Although, the foundations of the city will have the names of twelve Jewish Apostles inscribed upon them and, emblazoned over its gates will be the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel; all of which, serves as a reminder of the central role that the Jewish people have played out in God’s plan of world redemption (Revelation 21:12-14). The redeemed of God will dwell in magnificent mansions (John 14:1-2), they will walk in the glorious light of the Lamb, be free from death, pain and sorrow and they will rule with Christ over a kingdom that will for eternity be ever expanding (Revelation 21:3-5)(Isaiah 9:7). Indeed they will experience:

A new city
A new body
A new calling
A new heaven and earth……and,
A new order of things

No wonder we hear the refrain, “Behold I make all things new” and we are told that, “The tabernacle of God will be with men.” Most of all we are told that these words are faithful and true and can thus be depended upon or, as we say, “Taken to the bank!” (Revelation 21:5). The appointed time, of which Daniel’s sealed document has spoken, has come and we must look up because our redemption draws nigh (Revelation 22:10). We therefore must know that a great blessing will come upon us because we have together studied the book of Revelation and we have not taken anything from it or added anything to it (Revelation 22:18-19). Even so Lord Jesus come!

Malcolm Hedding

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Revelation Series – Part 11 The Glorious Second Coming of Jesus

Revelation Series – Part 11 The Glorious Second Coming of Jesus

2020 Devotionals Blog

At the beginning of this study series we noted that the Book of Revelation is all about the glorious unveiling or physical return of Jesus to the earth. The events described in this book are the steps that have to take place for this to happen. They are not random or haphazard because God remains sovereign over the affairs of men, and so they constitute the seven seals of the Title Deed to heaven and earth that Jesus purchased with His blood on the cross.

Great upheavals await the earth as we are now entering the birth pangs of the end time and these will intensify. They are, as Jesus put it, “the beginning of sorrows”, and so the follower of Jesus is to fortify and steady himself spiritually because a great tribulation awaits us as we plunge toward the glorious return of Christ. To help us the book gives us what we call “Great Signs” and these are:

The ministry of the Two Witnesses, Moses and Elijah.
The restoration of Israel, the woman clothed with the sun, moon and twelve stars
The rise of the Beast, a half devil, half man Demonoid, who has been here before
The fall of Babylon, that great world system, part religious and part commercial that is drunk with the blood of the saints

All of these are caught up in the events that will usher in the Revelation of Jesus. Given the wickedness of those living on the earth God will allow evil to overflow and spill over, and even appear to triumph, as it brings forth its global government undergirded by a satanic religion that will perform great supernatural signs and wonders. This will present the true believers in Jesus with a test to embrace truth, demonstrate patience and even welcome martyrdom as they face the Great Tribulation. They will overcome by the “blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives into death” (Revelation 12:11).

When all of this reaches “the fullness of wickedness”, God by Jesus Christ, will step in to judge the world, on what the Bible calls, the Great Day of the Lord. This great day of judgement takes place after the Great Tribulation and is heralded by the sign of the changing of the luminaries; the sun turning dark like sack cloth and the moon turning blood red. Two things happen on the Great Day of the Lord, the Church, dead and living, is resurrected, transformed with glorified bodies and removed from the earth as it rises to meet Jesus in the clouds as He comes to pour out the awful wrath of God on the world (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

As Christians we therefore look forward to the arrival of the Great Day of the Lord because it is the day when the triumph of the cross is finally completed in our lives, by the transformation of our bodies into immortality and the likeness of Christ (2 Peter 3:10-13). It is this Day, according to scripture, that breaks in upon the world like a thief in the night and not some secret rapture that takes place some seven years before (2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 16:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).

There is therefore only one second coming of Christ and this second coming will be in great power and glory and its reality will break upon the whole world in such an amazing manner that even the Beast and the armies of his global government will seek to oppose it (Revelation 19:19). According to Jesus, it is at this visible, real and physical second coming, that He will gather His elect from the four corners of the earth to meet Him as He comes to take up His throne on earth (Matthew 24:29-31). The Bride of Christ will now meet her Bridegroom as He comes and they will solemnize their marriage on earth at the great, “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:6-9, Isaiah 25:6-9). This great Marriage Supper will take place on the glorious mountains of Mt. Zion! It is here that Jesus will make good His promise, made to His Disciples at the Last Supper, to never drink wine again until He gathers with His followers at a great Feast in the Kingdom of God (Luke 22:18).

It is important to note from Revelation 19 that, in context, the Church is still the Bride at the Second Coming of Christ and Jesus, according to Matthew 25, comes back to the earth as a Bridegroom. “Behold the Bridegroom cometh”, is the cry of the virgin watchers and His bride, having washed her robes in His blood, will rise to meet and greet Him in the air as He comes again to judge the earth. This is the teaching of scripture of Revelation 19 in particular. It is here, in the context of Jesus’ physical second coming, that the Bride of Christ readies herself for the great and wonderful day of the Marriage Supper! (Revelation 19:7-10). In fact this chapter is in harmony with all of scripture in that two things happen on the Day of the Lord:

1. The Church is resurrected and removed from the earth……..and,
2. Jesus pours out the wrath of God on the world ( Revelation 19:11-15).

It is precisely because of this truth that the Church looks forward to, and helps to bring nearer, the Great Day of the Lord! How could the Church possibly do this if she is removed seven years before?

The Revelation of Jesus will be all glorious beyond description as the heavens will role away like a scroll, there will be a great shout (John 5:26-30) and a trumpet blast that will call forth the saints of all ages out of their graves and, together with those who are alive, they will arise like vast clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Hosts of angelic warriors will follow and all around will be flames of glorious fire (Jude 14-15). The King and all those with Him finally triumph over the world, death, sorrow and pain. (Revelation 19:11-15)

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Malcolm Hedding

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