2435.) Psalm 67

August 31, 2018

Psalm 67   (NRSV)

The Nations Called to Praise God

1May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,

Selah

2that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.

Of all of the ways of God, this is the most precious and needful. We should see a perishing world and long for God’s salvation among all nations. This is the reason for blessing. Are you a member of the “bless me” club? Always crying out to God, “Bless me, bless me, bless me!” But your cry is essentially a selfish one, the kind of cry a self-interested child makes. Yes, we unashamedly ask God to bless us – but not only for ourselves, but so His way will be made known on all the earth, and His salvation among all nations!

–David Guzik

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


3Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.

Selah

5Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

6The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

7May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Images courtesy of:
world map.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/worldmap.gif
urban scene.    http://hilldaleworship.blogspot.com/2012/03/150-days-of-psalms-psalm-67.html
rural scene.   http://www.kohsamuichurch.com/psalm-challenge-day-19.html
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2434.) 2 Thessalonians 3

August 30, 2018

“Consider the ant, you lazy bum. Watch its ways, and become wise.” — Proverbs 6:6.     (GOD’S WORD Translation, 1995)

2 Thessalonians 3 (English Standard Version)

Pray for Us

1Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,

Paul asked for prayer so that the word can run freely, without any hindrance. Paul’s prayer request makes us wonder how often the work of God’s word is hindered by our prayerlessness. God has promised that His word would be free and perform its work: It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it  (Isaiah 55:11). But as with many of God’s promises, we are expected to take this promise in faith, in prayer asking God to perform it for His glory.

–David Guzik

2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Warning Against Idleness

6Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

The purpose in withdrawing from these disobedient was not so much punishment, but more so simply to deny these disobedient ones the aid and comfort of the fellowship of the body of Christ until they repented. It put them out of the church into the “domain” of Satan (the world), in hope that they might miss the fellowship of the church so much they would repent of their disobedience.

–David Guzik

7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.

There is a play on words between the ancient Greek phrasing in the lines not working at all and but are busybodies. The idea is something like “busybodies who do no business.”

–David Guzik

12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

WORK

I slept and dreamed that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was duty.
I acted, and behold, duty was joy.
–Rabindranath Tagore,  winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The works of a Christian ought to be regarded in the same light as would have been those of Adam and Eve in paradise… “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (He) could not have needed to be justified and made righteous by keeping the garden and working in it; but, that he might not be unemployed.
–from Luther’s On Christian Freedom

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
–Robert Frost

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
–Theodore Roosevelt

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
–Henry Ford

Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
–Harvey McKay

“Thank You, Lord, for work to do and strength with which to do it.”
–my mother’s daily prayer (her mother had been an invalid)

13As for you, brothers (and sisters), do not grow weary in doing good.

Here are two good things I think can be hard work!

.

.

14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Benediction

16Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is an old hymn, sung in Tamil by a choir from South India. The pictures of life and work in India are quite interesting. “Work, for the night is coming.”

Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work ’mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man’s work is done.

Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor,
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute,
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man works no more.

Work, for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work, for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work, while the night is darkening,
When man’s work is o’er.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
ant.   http://boldandfab.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/hard-work-ant.jpg
squirrel.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/imagescayxbod2.jpg
lazy.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/lazy.jpg
tending babies.    https://saramorris.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/overwhelmed-mom-holding-babies-0-280×280.jpg
shoveling snow.    http://www.bonnersprings.com/users/photos/2010/jan/13/34089/

2433.) 2 Thessalonians 2

August 29, 2018

Let no one deceive you.

2 Thessalonians 2 (English Standard Version)

The Man of Lawlessness

1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

It seems the Thessalonian Christians were being victimized by false teachers who did not understand prophecy. Apparently, a misunderstanding of Paul’s teaching (or an incorrect application of it) had caused the Thessalonians to be shaken in mind and troubled. Their fears centered on the idea that the day of Christ had perhaps already come.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

The specific ancient Greek word for temple indicates the most holy place and not the temple as a whole. “It is not that he (“the man of lawlessness,” or in other translations, “the man of sin”) enters the temple precincts: he invades the most sacred place and there takes his seat. His action is itself a claim to deity.” (Morris) This is the ultimate blasphemy that results in certain judgment, the abomination of desolation spoken of by both Daniel and Jesus.

–David Guzik

One idea for building the “Third Temple” on top of Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The coming of the day of the Lord will be marked by these two things:  1) the “rebellion” (apostasy) will come first — people will turn away from Christ and the truth of the Word of God — and 2) “the man of lawlessness” (the Antichrist) will appear. 

Some scholars believe that the reference to him taking “his seat in the temple of God” means that a new Jewish temple will be built in Jerusalem. Indeed, there is an organization in Israel dedicated to this project. The Temple Institute’s ultimate goal is to see Israel rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, in accord with the Biblical commandments. To read more about their interesting plans, click  HERE.

Other scholars believe that the New Covenant, brought by Jesus and marked by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, means that the body is the temple, or that the temple has been superseded. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians may suggest this: 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

This idea is related to the belief that Christ himself, having claimed to be and do what the temple was and did, is the new temple (John 2:19), and that his people, as a part of the “body of Christ” (meaning the church), are part of this temple as well (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5).

I have given you a couple ways of looking at these verses. Know that there are many other interpretations of these ideas as well, within Christian circles.

5Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6And you know what is restraining him (back to the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

Whoever the man of lawlessness is, he has not had his career yet. We know this because at the end of his career, he is destroyed by Jesus Christ Himself.

9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

The Antichrist will come with power, with signs and with lying wonders. But all of this is according to the working of Satan, as described in Revelation 13:13-17. If someone has spiritual power, signs, or wonders, those are not enough to prove they are from God. Satan can perform his own powerful works, either through deception or through his own resources of power.

–David Guzik

“He is Satan’s messiah, an infernal caricature of the true messiah.”

–James Moffatt

10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Stand Firm

13But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice the contrast. Those who reject God (verses 9-12) will be condemned, but those who have been sanctified in the Spirit and living in the truth of God will gain everlasting glory with Jesus Christ (verses 13-14). This is what matters — that we are found in Christ, and that we live our lives in service to the Lord as a thank offering for what his death and resurrection has obtained for us.

15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

This is a prayer full of useful and important suggestions:

· Jesus is ours.

· God is our Father.

· God has loved us.

· God has given us much.

· We have everlasting consolation.

· It is all through grace.

_________________________

Music:

“May Jesus . . . and God . . . strengthen you in every good deed and word” (verses 16-17).

“Take My Life and Let It Be” consecrated, Lord, to Thee . . . was written by Frances Havergal in 1874.

Frances had begun reading and memorizing the Bible at the age of four (eventually memorizing The Psalms, Isaiah and most of the New Testament). At seven she wrote her first poems. Several of her mature verses became hymns. In addition to “Take My Life,” she wrote such favorites as “I Gave My Life for Thee,” “Like a River Glorious,” and “Who Is on the Lord’s Side?”

Because her voice was lovely, Frances was in demand as a concert soloist. She also was a brilliant pianist and learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew. With all her education, however, Frances Havergal maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She never wrote a line of poetry without praying over it.

One of the lines of this hymn says, “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.” In 1878, four years after writing the hymn, Miss Havergal wrote a friend, “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me…Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

HERE  is a beautiful arrangement of her song.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
wolf in sheep’s clothing.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/false-prophet1.jpg
Third Temple.   http://dschondog.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/thirdtemplea.jpg
Stand firm.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/stand-firm1.gif

2432.) 2 Thessalonians 1

August 28, 2018

2 Thessalonians 1 (English Standard Version)

Greeting

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

Paul traveled with these men and together they contributed to this letter. Though the name Paul is listed first, both Silvanus and Timothy were his trusted companions.

Silvanus (also known as Silas) was a long and experienced companion of Paul. He traveled with Paul on his second missionary journey and was imprisoned and set free with Paul in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:19-27). When Paul first came to Thessalonica, Silas came with him (Acts 17:1-9), so the Thessalonians knew Silvanus well. He also collaborated with Paul on the first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1).

Timothy was a resident of Lystra, a city in the province of Galatia (Acts 16:1-3). He was the son of a Greek father (Acts 16:1), and a Jewish mother named Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). From his youth, he had been taught in the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Timothy was a trusted companion and associate of Paul, and he accompanied Paul on many of his missionary journeys. Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians on a previous occasion (1 Thessalonians 3:2). With Silvanus, Timothy was also a collaborator on Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1).

–David Guzik

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving


3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

“By these words Paul shows us that we are under an obligation to give thanks to God not only when He does us a kindness, but also when we consider the kindness which He has shown towards our brethren.”

–John Calvin

The Judgment at Christ’s Coming

5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—

We usually think that God is absent when we suffer, and that our suffering calls God’s righteous judgment into question. Paul took the exact opposite position and insisted that their suffering was evidence of the righteous judgment of God. Where suffering is coupled with righteous endurance, God’s work is done. The fires of persecution and tribulation were like the purifying fires of a refiner, burning away the dross from the gold, bringing forth a pure, precious metal.

–David Guzik

Top Ten Worst Countries for Christian Persecution

North Korea

Afghanistan

Somalia

Sudan

Pakistan

Libya

Iraq

Yemen

Iran

India

Pray for the persecuted church in these nations and around the world!

Pray they will stand firm in their faith (1 Pet 5:8-10). 

Pray they will not fear for themselves or their families; but trust God. (rev 2:10).

Pray they would not retaliate, but entrust themselves to our Righteous Judge and live in peace with everyone (Rom 12:17-21).

Pray they would rejoice, even in suffering (1 Peter 4:12-14).

Pray they would love and forgive those who persecute them (Mat 5:43,44; Luke 23:34, Col 3:13).

Pray they would keep their eyes on Jesus and not grow weary (Heb 12:1-3, 10:32-39).

Pray those who suffer great physical pain will be delivered by the Lord (2 Cor 1:9-11).

Pray they would proclaim the gospel, even when suffering ( 2 Tim 4:15-18).

Pray they would rely on the Lord’s strength and not their own (2 Cor 1:8-9).

Pray their oppressors will be saved, as Paul did (Acts 9:1-9).

Pray Bibles and Christian literature will reach needy areas (Ps 119:42-43).

Pray leaders of persecuted churches will continue to be faithful (2 Peter 5:1-4).

6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Paul is referring not to people who have never experienced the opportunity of hearing the gospel, but to those who have had the opportunity and did not respond. The fact is, some respond to God’s revelation and others do not. The latter must bear the consequences of their own choice.

–David J. Williams 

9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

“A world in which justice was not done at last would not be God’s world at all.”

–D. Edmond Hiebert

11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Risen Christ” by He Qi

Colossians 1:25-27 (NIV)

I . . . present to you the word of God in its fullness —  the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

_________________________

Music:

I love verse 11 — every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power — everything for Christ, by Christ, through Christ!

HERE  is “Everything”  by Tim Hughes.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Live for Jesus.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/live-for-jesus.jpg
your faith is growing.    https://imgracemadewoman.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/images.jpg
map of countries which persecute Christianity.    https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/january/top-50-christian-persecution-open-doors-world-watch-list.html
to follow Jesus.    http://bereanbaskets.com/images/au_un98052.jpg
He Qi.    http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/he_qi_the_risen_christ.jpg

2431.) Psalm 40

August 27, 2018

Psalm 40 (NIV)

There are a number of psalms which speak of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called Messianic psalms since they speak of the Messiah. The question may be asked: “How can we recognize a Messianic psalm?” The answer would be:  where there is a reference to the Messiah in a psalm, and it is applied to Christ and expounded in the New Testament.

–The Messianic Psalms, by T. Ernest Wilson

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;

“Think ye, brethren, might it not read — ‘I waited impatiently for the Lord,’ in the case of most of us?”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

from The Message of the Psalms,
by Walter Brueggemann

The beginning of the psalm is a familiar phrase:  “I waited patiently.” This is a weak rendering. The text has an infinitive absolute which might better be translated, “I hope intensely for Yahweh.” Indeed all other hopes were exhausted. Verses 1-10 tell that this passionate hope was fulfilled and not disappointed. The hope was against all the evidence in the conviction that Yahweh could work a genuine newness. The hope was not disappointed.

The rescue that was hoped for was granted:  he inclined, he heard, he drew me up, he set my feet, he put a new song in my mouth. And the psalmist is eager to assert that this is not a private matter. The personal rescue is a matter of public interest and benefit, for Yahweh’s trustworthiness in this instance leads others to trust.

The verbs of thanksgiving are of interest. No doubt they refer to a personal experience, but the words have imaginative power because they also touch and allude to the primal memories of Egypt and the exodus. That God inclines and hears, brings up, and sets feet in new places is the experience of all of Israel (see Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-15). The new song is enacted there in the Songs of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18) and Miriam (Exodus 15:21). When one uses this psalm, one stands in solidarity with, participates in, and relives the whole saving memory of Israel.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

John 21:25 (NLT)

Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

And these next verses clearly point us to Jesus!

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

What did God desire instead of sacrifice? Obedience. This was true for David’s predecessor Saul. King Saul offered sacrifices just fine; what he didn’t do was obey God (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Ultimately this was fulfilled by the Son of David. Jesus came and was perfectly obedient, and His obedience is counted unto us.

7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.

8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

John 4:34 (ESV)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

Hebrews 10:1-10   (NLT)

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.

It was true of Jesus in His earthly ministry. “This is what Jesus can say. He was the Prince of open-air preachers the Great Itinerant, the President of the College of all preachers of the gospel.” (Spurgeon)

It is also true of Jesus in eternity come. Of Jesus it is true, in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You (Hebrews 2:12 as a fulfillment of Psalm 22:22). It’s a remarkable thing to think of Jesus leading the assembly of God’s people in praise to God the Father.

–David Guzik

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.

12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

my all-purpose prayer

14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.

15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.

16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“The LORD be exalted!”

17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.

“With such a Father and such a Friend, poverty becometh rich, and weakness itself is strong.”

–Thomas Hartwell Horne

You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

_________________________

Music:

HERE   is a beautiful harmonization of an ancient (5th century Greek) hymn — “Lord Jesus, Think on Me.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verse 16 and mountains.    http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps40-16v.jpg
rescued.    https://guyanachronicle.com/2016/01/16/rescued
books on shelves.   https://www.argosybooks.com/browse-books.php
soup bowl.   https://redeeminggod.com/did-jesus-teach-social-justice/
Help!    http://strictlygospel.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/help.jpg

2430.) Daniel 12

August 24, 2018

Dan12 stars

Daniel 12   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of the Dead

“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise.

The angel Michael is often associated with spiritual battle (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21, Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7). Since Michael is called the archangel (Jude 1:9), he is Satan’s true opposite. Satan is not the opposite of Jesus; he is the opposite of Michael, this high-ranking angel. In addition to his role as a spiritual warrior, Michael has a special job in protecting Israel. God appointed Michael as a spiritual guardian over Israel.

–David Guzik (and all following in red)

There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence.

This refers to the time of persecution for Israel and world calamity known as the Great Tribulation. This period is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble in Jeremiah 30:7.

The Jewish people have known many a time of trouble through their history. From the horrors at the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes, to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, to the persecutions from the church during the Dark Ages, to the pogroms of Europe, to the 20th Century Holocaust, it often seems that all Israel’s history has been a time of trouble. Yet this time of trouble will be different. This will be a worse time of trouble than Israel has ever seen before.

Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 24:21:  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. With great sadness, we must say that the Bible teaches that the worst has yet to come.

But at that time your people shall be delivered,

Despite the terrors of that time, deliverance is assured. No matter how great the attack is against the Jewish people, God promises to preserve them. He will never break His promise to Abraham: And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you (Genesis 17:7).

everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Here would be a good place to start a discussion about the existence and condition of hell. Increasingly, it seems to me, people are denying that hell exists at all. I went through a phase as a young adult when I didn’t believe in hell. No one, in the end, I thought, will be able to resist God’s love. As Madeleine L’Engle put in one of her poems, “And now do you hold Pharaoh in your arms?” (from the book The Irrational Season). I wouldn’t want relatives omitted from the best of all family reunions! Psalm 136 says over and over, “For his mercy endures forever.”

Then one Sunday morning in church we were proclaiming our faith in the words of the Apostles Creed, and I found myself saying, 

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Suddenly it was clear to me. To call myself a Christian was not to cherry pick what I wanted, but to form my opinions from what Scripture teaches, as confirmed by long centuries of church teaching. I did some Scripture study. I read Dante’s Inferno and C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Now I do believe in hell, certainly for the devil and his demons, but also for those who choose to go there by not choosing God. For me, a big part of believing this is that I trust God; as Abraham said in Genesis 18:25 — “Will not the Judge of all the world do right?”

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Philippians 2:14-16   (NIV)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be running back and forth, and evil shall increase.”

Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others appeared, one standing on this bank of the stream and one on the other.

Vision on the Tigris. digital art by Ted Larson.

Vision on the Tigris. digital art by Ted Larson.

One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?” The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished.

I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?”

He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. 12 Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days. 13 But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days.”

Adam Clarke draws the following points from Daniel 12:13:

–Every man has his way to go.
–Every man has an end.
–There is a rest provided for the people of God.
–There is an inheritance for the people of God.

THE END of the book of Daniel

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Music:

“O Love that wilt not let me go” was written by the blind Scottish preacher George Matheson over 130 years ago. He believed, and so can we, that God’s love will not let us go –– that God’s light will follow us all our way –– that God’s joy will seek us through our pain –– and that our faith will make all the difference, because God is faithful! Daniel lived physically as a foreigner in a far-off land, but spiritually he was at home with God all his life long. What is pressing you now? Take courage today, and pray this song,  HERE.  You, too, will shine like the stars as you trust in the One who is Love!

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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
stars.     http://oneyearbibleimages.com/daniel12_3.jpg
verse 2.   https://missionventureministries.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/daniel-12-vs-2-e.jpg
Larson.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan12-vision-on-the-tigris.jpg

2429.) Daniel 11:21-45

August 23, 2018

Dan11 end of time

Daniel 11:21-45   (NRSV)

21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person on whom royal majesty had not been conferred; he shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom through intrigue.

This was fulfilled in the successor of Seleucis III, named Antiochus IV. He did not come to the throne legitimately because it was strongly suspected that he murdered his older brother, the previous king. The other potential heir (the son of Seleucus III) was imprisoned in Rome.

–David Guzik (and all further comments in red)

Antiochus IV took the name Epiphanes, which means “manifest.” The name suggests that he claimed to be the earthly manifestation of Zeus.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

22 Armies shall be utterly swept away and broken before him, and the prince of the covenant as well. 23 And after an alliance is made with him, he shall act deceitfully and become strong with a small party. 24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province and do what none of his predecessors had ever done, lavishing plunder, spoil, and wealth on them. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 25 He shall stir up his power and determination against the king of the south with a great army, and the king of the south shall wage war with a much greater and stronger army. But he shall not succeed,

Dan11 Line-in-the-Sand

This was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes carried on the feud between the dynasties but pretended friendship and alliance to catch them off guard. Despite massive efforts and epic battles, Antiochus Epiphanes did not stand, and his army was swept away. The defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes at his second campaign against Egypt was important, because Egypt beat Antiochus with the help of Rome. At the end of it all, Antiochus Epiphanes and his kingdom were under the dominion of Rome.

In a famous battle, the Roman Navy defeated the navy of Antiochus Epiphanes. After the battle, a Roman general drew a circle around Antiochus in the dirt and demanded to know if he would surrender and pay tribute to Rome – and demanded to know before he stepped out of the circle. From that point on there was no doubt: Antiochus Epiphanes took his orders from Rome and was under Roman dominion. Hence the expression to draw a line in the sand.

for plots shall be devised against him 26 by those who eat of the royal rations. They shall break him, his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall slain. 27 The two kings, their minds bent on evil, shall sit at one table and exchange lies. But it shall not succeed, for there remains an end at the time appointed. 28 He shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. He shall work his will, and return to his own land.

This was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes returned from Egypt, bitter from defeat. He vented his anger against Jerusalem, which was already shaken because Antiochus sold the office of High Priest and persecuted the Jewish people to conform to Greek culture, forsaking the faith and traditions of their fathers.

29 “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but this time it shall not be as it was before. 30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall lose heart and withdraw. He shall be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay heed to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces sent by him shall occupy and profane the temple and fortress. They shall abolish the regular burnt offering and set up the abomination that makes desolate.

Antiochus Epiphanes set up an image of Zeus at the temple altar. He demanded sacrifice to this image, and later desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on it.

“It was in truth an abomination, which brought a desolate condition to the Temple, for now no one would come to worship at all.”

–Leon Wood

32 He shall seduce with intrigue those who violate the covenant; but the people who are loyal to their God shall stand firm and take action. 33 The wise among the people shall give understanding to many; for some days, however, they shall fall by sword and flame, and suffer captivity and plunder.

In his attack on Jerusalem Antiochus IV is said to have killed 80,000 Jews, taken 40,000 more as prisoners, and sold another 40,000 as slaves. He also plundered the temple, robbing it of approximately $1 billion by modern calculations.

34 When they fall victim, they shall receive a little help, and many shall join them insincerely. 35 Some of the wise shall fall, so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed, until the time of the end, for there is still an interval until the time appointed.

Daniel concluded his predictions about Antiochus IV Epiphanes in verse 35 and now begins to prophesy concerning the more distant future. Daniel’s language in these verses seems larger than life and does not fit what is known from history about Antichus. Further, this prophecy refers to the “time of the end” (v. 40). At the conclusion of the conflict between the antichrist and his political enemies, he will meet his end at the “beautiful holy mountain” (v. 45), the temple mount of Jerusalem — perhaps in connection with the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-16).  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

36 “The king shall act as he pleases. He shall exalt himself and consider himself greater than any god, and shall speak horrendous things against the God of gods. He shall prosper until the period of wrath is completed, for what is determined shall be done. 37 He shall pay no respect to the gods of his ancestors, or to the one beloved by women; he shall pay no respect to any other god, for he shall consider himself greater than all. 38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these; a god whom his ancestors did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall make more wealthy, and shall appoint them as rulers over many, and shall distribute the land for a price.

The Time of the End

Dan11 Time-of-the-End

The precise points may be cloudy, but the general idea is clear. The end will be marked by great conflict, culminating in the world’s armies gathering in the Promised Land to do final battle. Ultimately there is no hope for the Antichrist or for any of his followers.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the south shall attack him. But the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. He shall advance against countries and pass through like a flood. 41 He shall come into the beautiful land, and tens of thousands shall fall victim, but Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites shall escape from his power. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the riches of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow in his train. 44 But reports from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to bring ruin and complete destruction to many. 45 He shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with no one to help him.

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Music:

How wonderful to know that we come to the end of our time and death draws nigh — there is One to help us. He has gone before and prepared a place for us. We need not fear. Many of the great hymns of the faith spend their last stanza facing death in Jesus’ name, and what encouragement we can find there as we live through our troubles here on earth knowing that Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven.  HERE  is one example:  “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.”

And here is the story of this hymn:

Ray Palmer wrote these lyr­ics up­on re­ceiv­ing a vi­sion of Christ short­ly af­ter his grad­u­a­tion from Yale Un­i­ver­si­ty, while work­ing as a tu­tor at a New York school. How­ev­er, he kept them to him­self un­til meet­ing Low­ell Ma­son in Bos­ton, Mas­sac­hu­setts. When Ma­son asked him to write some­thing for a new hymn­al, Palm­er dug out his old notes and pro­duced these lyr­ics, writ­ten two years ear­li­er. Af­ter tak­ing the lyr­ics home and read­ing them, Ma­son com­posed this tune. Sev­er­al days lat­er he saw Palm­er again and said:  “You may live ma­ny years and do ma­ny good things, but I think you will be best known to pos­ter­i­ty as the au­thor of ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee.'”

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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Yes I am with you always.   http://locomotorastb.com/end-times-quotes/end-times-quotes-fresh-quotes-about-end-time-322-quotes/
line in the sand.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan11-line-in-the-sand.jpg
pig on the altar.   https://apologiaway1.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/antiochus-iv-epiphanes-antichrist-lite/#jp-carousel-14388
the time of the end.    http://www.joelstrumpet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Time-of-the-End.jpg