Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 7

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 7

2020 Devotionals Blog

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes,
who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans-in the first year of his
reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified
by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accom-
plish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward
the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting sack-
cloth and ashes.”
Daniel 9:1-3

“And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these
nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will come to
pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of
Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says
the Lord; and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”
Jeremiah 25:11-12

Daniel has seen remarkable visions of the present in his day, of events just ahead of him and of events that lie before. He saw our future and warned us then of things to come. We should heed these and strengthen ourselves by following the God of Israel as he did. That is, with resolve, determination and absolute loyalty. Above all, he bore in his heart the welfare of his people now living in exile and he longed for their return to Zion. Daniel never lost sight of the crucial nature of Israel’s calling for the sake of the world. He excelled in his work and became the lead Governor in the Babylonian Empire, the Media-Persian Empire and that of the Persian Empire under Cyrus. He used his unique senior position in all of these Empires to advance the cause of his people. Daniel was in every way a remarkable servant of God infused with the wisdom and power of God.

So, having understood so much of the will of God for his times and beyond he put his mind to studying the Word of God. It is fascinating to note that he had in his possession a scroll containing the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a contemporary of Daniel and obviously he was drawn to his prophetic preaching and believed him. Actually Daniel saw all of Jeremiah’s prophetic warnings come to pass and consequently he held Jeremiah’s oracle to be the inspired Word of God. Daniel poured over this oracle, as he no doubt did the Torah and historical books of the Bible in order to find a key to Israel’s future. This he did when he got to Jeremiah’s scroll that promised, after seventy years had passed, that the exile of the Jews in Babylon/Persia would come to an end (Jeremiah 25:11-12). He realized then that this time of exile was now about to be completed and therefore He could take this before God in prayer and call upon Him to honor His word. So, let’s be clear about how the following: Daniel could be a remarkable “vessel” in the hands of God because:

1. He had a strong and holy relationship with Him that was tested and found to be unbreakable even though greatly challenged.
2. He lived out his life with an attitude of dedication and excellence.
3. He had a reverence and high regard for scripture……and,
4. He had a real concern and love for the household of faith.

Because of these Daniel knew how to pray and recognized that powerful prayer is rooted in the dictates of scripture. He prayed then by holding up what God had promised before Him and thereby beseeching Him to honor what He himself had said and promised. This teaches us:

1. That the Word of God will not be fulfilled just because God said it.
2. That the Word of God will always be fulfilled because God in time will find someone to hold it up before Him. In this context it is important to note that, in order for God to restore Israel, in all respects, He needed Ezekiel to prophesy to the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-10). The lesson is clear, if God cannot find you or me to work with Him, then He will find someone else!
3. That we are given in a way joint responsibility with God over the affairs of men. David declared this to be honor that all of God’s children have (Psalm 149:5-9).
4. That evil and great wicked principalities are not overcome by railing and ranting against them but by calling upon God our Father to bring them down. The New Testament writers warn of the dangers of railing against great demonic powers but I hear Christians doing it all the time! (2 Peter 2:10-12; Jude 8-9). This is very dangerous as we do not have this authority but we can, covered in the blood of the Lamb, call upon God to bring these demonic entities down as Daniel did, and we should! Daniel’s prayers were God directed and, as we shall see in our next study, by them he brought down the great demonic principality of Persia.

Daniel then, convinced by the writings of Jeremiah of Israel’s soon coming restoration, humbled himself before God and prayed one of the most remarkable prayers recorded in the Bible. He identified himself with the sins of his people, acknowledging that all the warnings of God in the Torah had come upon them, but also reminding God that, by repentance and His promises to Jeremiah, the time had come for Him to act.

“O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our
fathers, because we have sinned against You……….O Lord, according to
all your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away
from Your city of Jerusalem. Your holy mountain; because for our sins,
and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a
reproach to all those around us.”
Daniel 9:8: 16

We must do the same as we seek God for our nations and the welfare of the Church. There are parts of the world where the people of Jesus are being routinely murdered and persecuted. They need our help by believing prayer, that is rooted in the pages of scripture and by our action on their behalf. In this regard please go to the Shai Fund which acts as a God called guardian for these brethren of ours in distress. As regards Israel, the Bible is filled with amazing promises about her future and we can and must hold them up before God and remind Him of these; just like Daniel did! Here below is just one example of this:

“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold
their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not
keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes
Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
Isaiah 62:6-7

Daniel’s amazing prayer is answered swiftly with a remarkable revelation about Israel’s restoration and the actual date of Messiah’s coming! He is told that seventy weeks of prophetic years (490 years) are determined for his people whereby, after 483 years, the Messiah would come and be crucified. These weeks would begin after a decree is given by a Persian King to rebuild and restore Jerusalem. The decree to return to the land of Israel was given by Cyrus but the decree to actually restore Jerusalem and its Temple, was given by Artaxerxes in 445 BC. (Nehemiah 2:1-8). Exactly 483 prophetic years (See footnote) later Jesus was “cut off” or crucified in 32 AD. on the 6th April. This is amazing and serves as a testimony to Daniel’s power with God and the high regard that God had for him. Just a seven year period awaits fulfillment of this remarkable revelation and these years will be designated by a fateful peace pact that the coming Beast will sign with Israel. Of this we have spoken much but the time is surely near. We must dedicate ourselves, as never before, to prayer as Daniel did.

Malcolm Hedding

Footnote:

A prophetic year consists of 360 days and not 365 days.

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 6

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 6

2020 Devotionals Blog

“He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the
daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast
down.”
Daniel 8:11

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless
the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of
perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or
that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing
himself that he is God.”
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

“Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His
name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.”
Revelation 13:6

The story so far

The Book of Daniel is the account of four young Jewish men who were taken captive in 604 BC and led into exile in Babylon. They were immediately introduced to a hostile environment that sought to eradicate their belief in the God of Israel and supplant it with the false and demonic gods of Babylon, and those of the Media-Persian Empire. Even the names of Daniel and his three friends were changed to those of the Babylonian gods. These young men realized that if they were to survive they would have to resist and take their stand from the very beginning. This they did even on threat of death. They had a real and living faith and this reality enabled them to stand firm. This constitutes a lesson for all of us, even more so as we now see what is coming!

In the course of their journey they were faced with an Antichrist challenge to their faith. That is, in the Babylonian Empire they were required to worship an image of Nebuchadnezzar and under the reign of the Media-Persian Empire, they were required to worship the King. On both accounts they stood firm and refused to do so and thus they were thrown into a fiery furnace and into a Lions’ Den and, on both occasions were delivered because they were innocent, loyal and loved the God of the Bible. The early Church faced the same trials and by their unswerving faith in Jesus eventually overcame and conquered the Roman Empire with their message of God’s love for the world in Christ. By contrast, much of the modern day Church is hoping to never have to face such trials and has even invented false theological systems to bolster this notion. They are wrong and have not learned anything from the book of Daniel. The signs of a coming “New World Order”, with its Antichrist regulations, are now flashing all around us but they remain in denial. When this New World Order arrives, believe me, there will be a great falling away or apostasy as scripture predicts (2 Thessalonians 2:3). We need to love the truth!

Daniel’s heavenly visions predict the arrival of a global confederacy that will divide the world up into ten regions and be ruled over by ten Governors or Presidents (Daniel 7:24) (Revelation 17:12). This will include a one world religious system that will somewhat be like Christianity but, in every way, denying the truth and power thereof. This coming New World Order will sweep away the present global financial system and replace it with a digital one. Cash money will be outlawed and a global electronic currency will be introduced, but only accessed by those who swear allegiance to the New World Order. The book of Revelation, that is built upon the platform of Daniel’s teaching, clearly warns of this soon coming monetary system (Revelation 13:16-17). Is anybody listening?

Once this ten nation confederacy is in place a power struggle will emerge in three of these regions resulting in the removal of all three Governors and their replacement by one insignificant and largely unknown individual. He will be the final and most challenging Antichrist of history. Daniel eight warns that he will emerge out of the Middle East and Mediterranean region of the world and in essence, will be totally demonic in nature because, that which the Devil did in casting some of the angelic host out of heaven before time began is attributed to this individual (Revelation 12:3-4). This is why he is said by John, in his oracle, to arise out of the Abyss (Revelation 17:8). He will be a Demonoid! Again we have been warned. This final Beast will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming and therefore the world awaits his arrival and will welcome him when he steps onto the stage of history (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

This Beast will target the Church and the nation of Israel, and will gain international fame by seemingly, and once and for all, solving the Middle East conflict. He will be the man of the moment and honored as the great man of peace. The world will celebrate a new era of human existence, co-operation and peace and consequently the Beast will glorify himself as god (2Thessalonians 2:4). Those who resist him, like Daniel and his three friends did, will be put to death by beheading (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 13:15; Revelation 20:4). Many of God’s dear children, washed in the blood of the Lamb, will follow their Savior into heaven in this way.

Daniel Eight

Daniel eight then warns of the coming Antichrists of history but projects this through to the final and terrifying Antichrist of the end. This is called progressive prophetic fulfillment, meaning that one event is repeated again and again. In this case in 168 BC, 70 AD and at the end of the age. Jesus employed this form of exposition and so did Paul. Concerning the rise of Antichrist then, Daniel states the following in his eighth chapter:

  1. He is a “little horn”, meaning initially unknown, unimportant and insignificant (V9).
  2. He will gain fame in all regions of the world, including Israel, here named, “the Glorious Land.” (v9)
  3. He will be greatly enlarged in his pride and arrogance and will have a hidden demonic identity in that he was the one who, before time, led a rebellion against God (V10).
  4. He will even go so far as to exalt himself above the God of the Bible and therefore stop and prohibit all worship of Him (V11).
  5. He will gain military might by which to attempt to subdue Israel and he will “cast truth to the ground” (V12).
  6. He will only reign in this manner at the very end of days (V19). He has yet to arrive on the stage of history.
  7. He can only arise when the antichrist spirit has swept through the earth undermining the great Judaeo/Christian value system, that upholds biblical family and sexual cultural values and which protects the sanctify of life, especially that which begins in the womb at conception (V23).
  8. He will have great demonic power and by this power he will “destroy the mighty and also the holy people (the saints)” (V24) (Revelation 13:7).
  9. He will be overcome by the coming of Christ (v25) after a period of 2300 days, by which he has brought a reign of terror, evil and blasphemy, such as never has been seen before, upon the earth (Revelation 13:5-6). Adolf Hitler was no doubt a dire warning of these things to come.

All of this is reinforced by Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians and by the visions that Jesus gave to John recorded in the book of Revelation. We would be wise to draw near to God, live holy lives and to determine now to resist, no matter what the consequences may be, as Daniel and his three friends did.

Malcolm Hedding

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 5

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 5

2020 Devotionals Blog

“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was
seated: His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was
like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire.”
Daniel 7:9

The 7th chapter of Daniel’s oracle is one of the most amazing and important prophetic passages in all of the Bible. Even the truths of the book of Revelation are built upon this eschatological platform in Daniel. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to state that, if you understand Daniel 7 then you will be able to tie together all end time truth. So, having noted this, let us begin our study together.

The all encompassing vision

Daniel, in the time of Belshazzar, the King of Babylon, receives a vision of the remarkable purpose of God through the centuries, right up until the the consummation of the age. It is important to note that God speaks to His people when they are upon their beds sleeping. This gives Him the opportunity to invade their minds with remarkable dreams and visions foretelling His purpose (Daniel 7:1). So, all of history is embraced in this vision that entered the mind of Daniel, particularly as it refers to Israel and the Middle East region. We are told that, “Four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea”, a reference to the Mediterranean Sea. This chapter then constitutes the saga of evil and its ultimate defeat at the hands of the God of Israel, and those of the human race, who have elected to join Him in this battle by surrendering their lives to the “One who is like unto the Son of Man”(Daniel 7:13).

The setting of the stage

In his vision Daniel sees three animals and one monster beast. This is much the same as the vision that Nebuchadnezzar had that is recorded in Daniel 2 in that the animals and the final beast represent the four great Gentile nations that will arise in the earth and resist Israel and her message of salvation for the world. In both dreams the final global empire or Beast Empire, as we have it Daniel 7, is extraordinarily powerful and wicked. This final entity will embrace every nation and tribe and it will ruthlessly attack Israel and persecute the Church of the Living God (Daniel 7:23-25). Again, it is this evil entity that demands our attention and, as we have already seen, it is spoken of again in the book of Revelation. Jesus also referred to it as recorded by Matthew in his twenty-fourth chapter (Matthew 24: 15). The Holy Spirit thereby is seeking to prepare the people of God for what lies ahead. We must listen carefully to what He is saying.

So, in this chapter three animals being a lion, a bear and a leopard are seen by Daniel. The Lion represents the Babylonian Empire in that, for all its wickedness, it had a majestic element to it that was quite amazing and upon its walls were engraved lions of great beauty. I have seen the original of these in the Berlin Museum of Antiquities. It was followed by the Bear of the Media-Persian Empire, that was ruthless and wicked as it tore nations apart in a most savage manner (Daniel 7:5). Thirdly, Daniel saw the rise of the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great and it is typified as a Leopard, since with great speed it went forth to conquer and destroy the Media-Persian Empire and then unexpectedly, at a very young age, Alexander died and his Empire was divided up between his four generals (Daniel 7:6). Two of these, Ptolemy and Seleucid, took control of the Middle East region. These generals and their offspring fought with each for control of the coastal highway which was in the land of Israel, these battles are recorded in Daniel 11.

Alexander’s Empire hellenized the regions it conquered and therefore the culture of Greece with its language and gods was imposed upon the people. This struggle is reflected in Zechariah nine and verse 13. The extent of this hellenization process is seen in the fact that the New Testament was actually written in Greek. Antiochus Epiphanies was the prevailing Seleucid that invaded the Temple in Jerusalem and committed the Abomination of Desolation in 168 BC. He is the proto-type of the Antichrist! Meaning that what he did will happen again in AD 70 and at the consumption of the age, when the Son of Man comes again to take up His glorious throne (Daniel 7:11; Revelation 19:20).

The fourth Empire, here represented as a terrible Beast, is Rome. We are told that it holds within it all the strength and wickedness of the three that have gone before it and that it is, “dreadful and terrible and exceedingly strong”(Daniel 7:7). See also Revelation 14:2. In Daniel 2 it is represented as iron which is the strongest of metals. This Beast Empire has longevity as it finally mutates into ten regions covering the whole world, here represented as Ten Horns, (in Daniel 2 it is ten toes), three of which are toppled and a sinister most wicked individual, the last Antichrist, will emerge from them ( Daniel 7:8). It is this Antichrist that is destroyed by Christ at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

The Beast kingdom

In Daniel seven we are told then that the coming Beast global Empire will:

1. Be different from all the Empires that have gone before it (V23).
2. Devour the whole earth and break it in pieces (V23).
3. Have ten horns or Governors who will rule the world (V24). That is, the world will be divided up into ten regions. My friends this is just around the corner! Note also Revelation 17:3.
4. Three regions will fall to one seemingly insignificant person (V8) and thus, in the end, there will only be eight governors over the ten regions counting him (V24).
5. Birth the rise of the final Antichrist or Beast. This insignificant individual, who subdues three regional governors, is the person to watch for. It is he who will attack the God of Israel, the Saints and the Church and no doubt do so by, vilifying the Bible and Israel. He will initially dupe Israel into signing a seven year peace agreement that he will break after three years and a half years (V25). It is important to note that while the Beast signs a seven year peace pact with Israel the Great Tribulation is only three and a half years and not seven (Revelation 13:5).

All of this is approaching and the Church, I fear is not prepared. John in his Revelation oracle warns, as does Daniel, that this Beast is coming for the Church (Revelation 13:7,10).

The triumph of Christ and His kingdom

As with John’s revelation, here in Daniel 7, the absolute sovereignty of God is asserted together with the glory of the Son of Man. Nothing will happen on the earth that is outside of the sovereignty of God and He will use the coming troubles of the final Beast kingdom to purify His Church and save Israel (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14). The Son of Man will bring in the everlasting kingdom on earth and this kingdom, having triumphed over all that is evil and wicked and the Beast himself, will be given to those who have loved Him, stood fast and faithfully served Him. Daniel describes this glorious day this in these terms:

“Then the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under
the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and
obey Him.”
Daniel 7:27

The saints of all history are the Jewish believers from Abraham onwards and the Gentiles who have been grafted into Israel’s Olive Tree of salvation. This according to scripture is one body (Ephesians 3:6), one commonwealth (Ephesians 2:12), one flock (John 10:16) and one tree (Romans 11:17). See the note below.

Even so, Lord Jesus come!

Malcolm Hedding

Note:
The Bible nowhere teaches that anybody would be saved by keeping the Law. The Law was always the out working of salvation and the Torah affirms this by stating that obedience was based on faith in God’s power in one’s life (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). Paul quotes this same passage when defending faith as being the basis of being saved (Romans 10:6-9). Salvation then has always been based on faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Those living before His death were saved by looking forward to His atoning work, mirrored in the sacrificial system of the Temple and those, like us, by looking back at His historical atoning death. (Hebrews 11:13, Hebrews 12:1-2). So, Paul underlines this in his Roman letter where he strongly asserts that Abraham and David were saved by faith alone (Romans 4:5-12). The writer of the book of Hebrews also confirms this when he refers to the many great Old Testament saints, in chapter eleven of his great oracle, who triumphed through faith It is this vast company of saved Jews that we have been made a part of. This why Paul affirms that the mystery that God gave Him was that Gentiles are now part of the same body of those who have already been saved (Ephesians 3:6). That is, there is only one Olive Tree of salvation and Gentiles are grafted into it (Romans 11:17). This is precisely why, when Daniel speaks of the saints being persecuted by the coming Beast, he is talking about all those who by faith are in the Olive Tree through Christ or, as he puts it, the Son of Man. The same is true of the book of Revelation.

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 4

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 4

2020 Devotionals Blog

“Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the Governors and Satraps,
because an excellent spirit was in him; and the King gave thought to
setting him over the whole realm.”
Daniel 6:3

Daniel survived the Babylonian Empire and found himself promoted to great power and influence in the Media-Persia Empire governed by Darius. Daniel, as ever, and being the man of God that he was, “distinguished himself above the Governors and Satraps.” This greatly angered his governing colleagues and thus they conspired to bring him down. Knowing that he was so conscientious the only way, they concluded, to get rid of him would be to attack his faith in the God of Israel. So, our text from Daniel 6 reads:

“Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel
unless we find it against him concerning the Law of his God.”
Daniel 6:5

We learn from this that:

1. The people of God should excel in places of darkness (Ephesians 5:8-14).
2. The people of God should know that God places them in very difficult places so that a greater purpose can be accomplished. In this case it was to lay the groundwork for a decree to be made that would release Daniel’s people from exile (Daniel 6:28; Isaiah 45:1-7).
3. The people of God should be “salt and light” in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Salt, to make the ungodly thirsty for God and light, to show them the way…………and,
4. The people of God should always be ready to experience pushback and resistance
(2 Timothy 3:12).

As things happened, Daniel found himself facing an Antichrist trap, as his three friends had before under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. This phenomenon is emphasized to warn the people of God that time and time again they will have to face and engage Antichrist. John the Apostle states that many Antichrists will step onto the stage of history (1 John 2:18). This certainly applies to our generation and sadly, Christians who think that they will escape this trap are quite frankly deluded. Just eighty years ago the Christians of Germany faced an Antichrist in Adolf Hitler and many of them failed because they were not prepared for it. Paul warned the Thessalonian believers of this challenge and emphasized it by saying, “Do you not remember that when I still was with you I told you these things?” (2Thessalonians 2:5).

By intrigue, and appealing to the pride of the King, a non-retractable decree was made forbidding the worship of any god, save that of the King (Daniel 6:7-9). Those disobeying would be executed in the most savage manner. Darius, by so doing, undermined his most loyal and efficient Governor in the empire and therefore set Daniel up to be thrown into the Lions’ Den. Everyone knew that he would not abandon the God of Israel and thus, as expected then, Daniel, we are told, “as was his custom”, opened his window and facing Jerusalem prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). He would not bow down to another god no matter what the cost. My friends, we learn that:

1. Many Antichrists have come and one global Antichrist is about to step onto the stage of history. The signs all around us are now warning us of this; the trap is being set! We will have to endure his test.
2. We have to be like Daniel and openly display our obedience to Jesus Christ…..and,
3. We must count our lives as worth sacrificing for the kingdom of God. Daniel had a personal relationship with the God that he served and therefore, nothing could break this bond. If we are going to navigate our way through the days now before us, we will have to be strongly rooted in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7).

As we know God, “sent an Angel and shut the lions’ mouths” and Daniel was saved and had a good night’s sleep. The King on the other hand, could not sleep and was greatly troubled all night (Daniel 6:18). Those who stand strong in the day of testing will be vindicated by the God of Heaven. Standing strong, means living a holy life, working in all realms as unto the Lord and having a clear conscience ( 2Timothy 1:3; Daniel 6:22). By the way, this passage demonstrates that, these are the attributes that will get us safely through the coming Great Tribulation! The cry should not be, “Are you rapture ready?”, but, “Are you character ready?”

Finally, Daniel’s detractors ended up in the pit they had cleverly planned for Daniel to be destroyed by. As for Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, he gave honor to the God of Israel. The lesson is clear, Jesus honors those who take great risks for Him and by so doing He will use them to change the world. Darius expressed this when he made a decree that henceforth the God of the Bible was to be honored and exalted in the earth:

“I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble
and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God and steadfast
forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His
dominion shall endure to the end.”
Daniel 6:26

Would it not be cool if the God of Israel, would be made known as the God of your name? This privilege was given to Daniel and will be given to those who stand with Him no matter what the challenge.

This is Malcolm Hedding.

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 3

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 3

Blog

The great impact

“In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the
kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it
the lowest of men.”
Daniel 4:17

Chapter four of Daniel opens with a dramatic story that documents the huge impact that Daniel and his three friends had on Nebuchadnezzar and indeed, the whole empire. The world would literally change because of their courageous acts of faith in the face of immense hostility. So then because they were faithful to the God of Israel they were afforded renown and respect in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. Therefore, when the king had another strange dream he was encouraged by his advisors to call, once again, on Daniel to unravel its contents.

Essentially Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great big beautiful tree that had filled the earth with its branches. It was suddenly chopped down and removed because it became deceased with pride, arrogance and rebellion against God ( Daniel 4:27). Although, the basic root system of the tree was kept intact ( Daniel 4:15). Daniel, having been brought before the king, with great boldness, interpreted the dream and consequently told Nebuchadnezzar that the tree referred to him and that he should repent because God was going to humble him and teach him a very important lesson.

The dream came true in every respect and so King Nebuchadnezzar lost his throne, his mind and his global prestige for a long time. Finally he came to a place where he repented, humbled himself and called on the God of Daniel to help him. He did, in that he was fully restored but now it appears that one of the most powerful and ruthless individuals of the ancient world got wonderfully saved. How wonderful is the grace of God, but also, how wonderful it is to see what God can do through people who will embrace risk in order to be faithful to Him. This is a challenge and important lesson for all of us to learn!

As for Nebuchadnezzar, this is what he learned:

“And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven,
and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and
praised and honored him who lives forever: For His dominion is an
everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according
to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?”
Daniel 4:34-35

Herein is contained a lesson that we should all learn through all the days of our lives. Blessed be the God of heaven and earth!

The writing on the wall

Upon Nebuchadnezzar’s death he was succeeded by his son Belshazzar who did not know, rejected or despised, the God of Israel, who had played such a large part in his father’s life, thanks to Daniel and his three friends. Belshazzar was an arrogant silly man and a day came when he threw a feast for his courtiers. He deliberately thought that he would mock the God of Israel by using the holy temple cups, plates and pots by which to indulge in their debauchery. While mocking God in this way, and at the same time worshipping the false gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron and stone, a hand appeared writing in an unknown language upon the palace wall. This caught Belshazzar’s attention and induced fear, trembling and panic to his heart. Scripture describes this in these words:

“Then the King’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him,
so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked
against each other.”
Daniel 5:6

In a state of utter panic then, the king called upon his wise men, soothsayers and magicians to solve the mystery of the writing upon the wall. They could not but his queen, actually the Queen Mother, in the providence of God, remembered the unique gift from God that Daniel possessed in unravelling mysteries of this type and duly encouraged the king to call for him. Upon his arrival Daniel was promised riches and gifts beyond his dreams if he could decipher the message on the wall. But Daniel, ever the true servant of God, refused these by saying:

“…………….Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another;
yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpre-
tation. “
Daniel 5:17

We note:

  • Daniel was above bribery and corruption. His relationship with God was more important to him than money and other rewards.
  • Daniel was courageous and unafraid of the king. He feared God more that he feared man
  • Daniel was sure of the gift of God in him. He was thus an oracle of God (1 Peter 4:11).
  • Daniel followed through with risk, because he knew that the message he would bring would not make the king happy.

The words on the palace wall were: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN

These essentially meant: You have been weighed in the heavenly balances and found wanting.

The ungodliness of the king and his fellow courtiers finally overflowed and caught up with them when he took the holy vessels of the Lord’s house and used them in a drunken orgy. His time was up and so, that very night, the Medes and Persians penetrated the city and overthrew Belshazzar and executed him! (Daniel 5:30). We learn that:

1. God is always watching the affairs of men and His apparent in-action does not mean that He will not act (2 Peter 3:9).
2. We have one life to live and we had better live it well. Godliness, according to Paul, has hope for this life and for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).
3. We will all stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ one day to be weighed in the heavenly balances (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

This will be a terrifying day for those who have “played the fool with holy things, or the vessels of the Lord (1 Peter 4:4-5).” For those who know Christ, it may be an embarrassing day because it will unveil the real truth about our commitment to Him in life (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). The writing on the wall has a message for all of us!

Finally, it is worth noting that Daniel’s faithfulness, courage and godliness ultimately opened a door for Cyrus the Media-Persian King to step onto the stage of history and decree the end of the Babylonian exile of the Jews, that had prevailed for seventy years. The lesson is clear; our actions, if godly, will determine future events and change the world.

Malcolm Hedding

The United Arab Emirates and Israel Peace Agreement

The United Arab Emirates and Israel Peace Agreement

Blog

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be
within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren
and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house
of the Lord our God I will seek your good.”
Psalm 122:6-9

The spectacular announcement of Israel’s peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates took everyone by surprise. This is a major development, and, in every way, it should be celebrated and commended. This breakthrough, that is certainly part of Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, may even open the door for more Sunni Arab states in the region to normalize relationships with Israel. Events in the Middle East are moving at a fast pace, in all respects, and we should try to understand and keep up with them since Jesus told us to, “watch and pray.”

So, for clarification, this is my take on this latest peace initiative:

A. The meaning of this new alliance

  1. It is first and foremost a military alliance
    This peace agreement sets up a broad defensive shield to counter the regional threat of Shi’ite Iran and her proxies. This shield then incorporates Israel, Egypt, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and of course the United Arab Emirates. It constitutes a serious setback to Iran.
  2. It is a technological alliance
    The agreement will pave the way for the sharing of vital technology, mainly from Israel, in the fields of agriculture, hi-tech, medicine and defense.
  3. It is a pragmatic alliance
    This agreement is evidence of the fact that the Sunni Arab states are coming to terms with Israel’s existence as a regional super power. They need Israel’s military capability to ward off a very serious threat from Iran. These Arab states know that Israel poses no threat to them and have thus decided to normalize relations with Jerusalem.
  4. It is a breakthrough alliance
    This peace agreement is huge as it constitutes the possible new alignment of nations in the Middle East. It will solidify Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and set her on track to engage other Sunni Arab states in the region. Also, coming after the devastating blast in Beirut, which will put Hezbollah on the backfoot, it is a powerful counter weight to the ambitions of the Shi’ite axis in the region. It will also place a check on the meddling of Erdogan’s Turkey, which is increasingly becoming more belligerent. Moreover, it takes the focus off the Palestinians who have time and time again stood against any peace agreement with Israel. They will now exist in the backwater for a time, but they may try to start another Intifada. The timing of this peace initiative is perfect and is certainly orchestrated from heaven!

B. The downside of this new alliance

Having said all of this; it is also troubling to some degree in that, notwithstanding the bold courage that Israel has demonstrated in pursuing this initiative, she has in so doing surrendered her claim to her biblical heartland and consequently towns and cities like Efrat, Ma’ale Adumim, Modi’in Illit, Har Adar and Ariel will remain designated as “settlements” and thereby continue to be legally outside of Israel’s sovereign territory. In short, annexation has been put on hold and the opportunity to do so has been lost.

The status of the Old Biblical City of Jerusalem will undoubtedly be the next entity on the “chopping block.” The other Sunni Arab states will now recognize that, by affording Israel full recognition and diplomatic relations, they can achieve the goals that were impossible to attain by military means. They will seek to extract further concessions from her and thereby push her back to the pre-1967 borders. About this we must have no illusions because it’s not as if these nations will now fall in love with Israel overnight!

C. The Bible and this alliance
This new peace initiative between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is definitely not that spoken of by the Prophet Daniel in the 9th chapter of his book. This will not be in sight for some time to come and we should be very careful about rushing to make wild prophetic conclusions from it. In fact, this emerging wide arc of defensive capabilities against Iran and her allies, could possibly provoke another war in the Middle East as the Shi’ite axis will now become increasingly desperate to win back the momentum that it thought it had in the region. Last week’s decision by the United Nations, by which the arms ban against Iran was lifted, may also embolden the regime to strike out against Israel and her new found allies.

The next war in the Middle East will be short and brutal and it may then stampede the world toward global government. This is what biblical scholars are to watch for. Already strong voices across the globe, by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic, are calling for a New World Order brokered through the United Nations. This proposed New World Order will include a new global financial system that is openly touted by the United Nation’s “Global 2030 Agenda.”

The tiny nation of Israel is doing everything possible to exist in a very tough and dangerous region of the world. God, in His grace, is helping her but powerful global interests like that of the United Nations and, sadly, the European Union, have joined the struggle against her. The rise of antisemitism in all parts of the world is also fueling the hatred of Israel.

To be honest, the road block to achieving these global goals is none other than Donald Trump and his administration. Should he fail to regain the White House in November of this year, then the plunge toward a New World Order, of which the Bible has much to say, will accelerate. Thankfully, “He who watches over Israel neither slumbers or sleeps” (Psalm 121:4) and in the end, He will confound the nations and install His Messiah on His holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2:1-6). Israel’s future, which will be bathed in peace, is bright!

“For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of the
Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations,
and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into
plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war
anymore.”
Isaiah 2:3-4

Malcolm Hedding

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 2

Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 2

Blog

The story so far

Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego were deported to Babylon in 604 BC before the final conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC on the 9th day of Tish B’Av. He and his friends were well studied, brilliant and godly young men who were equally determined at all costs to faithfully serve the God of Israel even though the nation, culture and ruling class were hostile to them. They would not give in and proved that their faith in God was vindicated time and time again and that the God of the Hebrews was the only true God. Even King Nebuchadnezzar had to admit that the God of Daniel and his three friends was the only true God (Daniel 2:46-48).

An interesting feature of the book of Daniel is that the first seven chapters are in fact written in Aramaic the prevailing language of the Babylonian region of the time. Chapters eight to twelve are written in Hebrew. The reason is simple, the first seven chapters deal with the great Gentile kingdoms that have and will yet oppose the God of the Bible and be defeated. The last five chapters are in Hebrew in order to set out the historical national journey of Israel as she moves toward her great end time encounter with her God.

The Gentile kingdoms are Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, Rome and a final Global Empire that will, for a short period, gather all nations into a ten region federation. All of this was typified by the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had of a great statue of a man whose body was made up of various minerals. That of, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Iron and Iron and Clay. In the end this statue representing the powers of darkness is destroyed when the Stone Kingdom of a Jewish Messiah falls upon the final ten nation global kingdom. We are living in the days just prior to the manifestation of this final demonic global ten nation empire. We must know this because it will challenge the saints of the Living God. We have been warned! The book of Revelation carries the same warning in that speaks of a coming one world government that will divide the nations into ten regions. This will be a great challenge to Israel and the Church as it will be characterized by great and devilish demonic deception.

The Manifestation of Antichrist

“Nebuchadnezzar the King made an image of gold…….and
whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast
immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
Daniel 3:1; 6

It is fascinating to read in chapter three of Daniel that he and his friends are challenged by the demand to bow down and worship the image of the King. Failure in this regard will mean instant death. This is Antichrist as it represents an alternative, or another Christ. The saints of God have routinely been subjected to this challenge throughout history and will be again very soon, for such is the warning of the boom of Revelation.

“He was granted power to give breath to the image of the
beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and
cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast
to be killed,”
Revelation 13:15

The early Church was subjected to Caesar worship and consequently, emissaries of the regime travelled throughout the empire with an image demanding that people should bow down to it and worship. Those who refused, like Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna were burnt at the stake or thrown to the lion. Many Christians failed and worshipped the image. This was eternally fatal (Revelation 13:8, Revelation 14:9-10).

The same thing happened with the advance of Islam, as we all well know, and Hitler’s Third Reich implemented a similar system; Swastikas replaced crosses in and on the churches and congregants were even required to sing hymns praising Hitler. Those who refused were reported to the SS and invariably were tortured and executed, like Dietrich Bonnhoffer and Pastor Niemoller. The book of Revelation warns that another testing of this type is just around the corner and don’t for a moment think that the church is going to be whisked away before it. John writes that this coming trial will constitute the, “Patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:10).

The age old hatred

“Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and
accused the Jews.”
Daniel 3:8

The hatred of the Jews is an age old problem that is bound up with their national calling under God. One cannot understand this thing called antisemitism apart from the eternal mission placed upon the Jewish people by God Himself. They carry in their national destiny a message that is for the eternal blessing of every man, woman, boy and girl on the planet. But this message challenges the darkness of evil and sin that envelopes them and is therefore resisted in every way (Genesis 12:1-3). The only manner in which a sinful world can resist God and His message of salvation is to destroy the people who carry it (Psalm 83:1-4). This has been the sad testimony of history and even sadder still is the fact that Christians, who happily bear the name of the God of Israel, have participated in this wickedness. The stories, as in this case, are awful to say the least.

The testimony of faith

“Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego answered and said to the
king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in
this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able
to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver
us from your hand. But if not, let it be known to you, O King,
that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold
image which you have set up.”
Daniel 3:16-18

Daniel’s three friends stand firm and refuse to worship the image of a false God. This is a lesson for all time for those who serve the God of Israel. This is the testimony of faith that we are to make but many will not be able to do it because they have embraced a form of godliness that offers them ease, comfort, wealth and prosperity and consequently they have no power. John has also warned us of the testimony of faith that we are to make in that we overcome only, “by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and we love not our lives unto death” (Revelation 12:11).

The fourth man

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste
and spoke saying to his counsellors, ‘Did we not cast three men
bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the
King, ‘True, O King.’ ‘Look!’ he answered, ‘I see four men loose,
walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the fourth
is like the Son of God.”
Daniel 3:24-25

After taking their stand of defiance, Nebuchadnezzar is infuriated and has Daniel’s three friends bound and cast into the fiery furnace. At this point a fourth man appears in the furnace with Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego and amazingly, they are all unscathed by the fire. The Fourth Man is clearly the means of their protection. This individual is:

1. The manifestation of the Angel of the Lord, to whom scripture applies divinity.
2. The manifestation of a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, He is the Son of God.
3. The manifestation of deliverance. Their shackles are broken and they are free! Such is the power of the Son of God.
4. The manifestation of eternal deliverance from the Lake of Fire or Hell. If your life is linked to the Fourth Man you will be untouched by the awful fiery judgement to come (Revelation 14:9-11). The three friends emerged from the burning furnace with no smell of fire or smoke upon their bodies.

In the end Nebuchadnezzar is overcome by this mighty demonstration of divine deliverance and acknowledges that the God of Israel is the only true God, Consequently he decrees that all peoples, on pain of death should serve Him (Daniel 3:29-30). The tables have been turned and the people of God have triumphed. There is coming a day soon when the coming image of Antichrist will fail again and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus, the Fourth Man, is Lord! (Philippians 2:8-11)

Malcolm Hedding

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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