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Showing posts from March, 2021

Two "Little Horns"?

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The “little horn” is named in two visions. Is it the same figure in each case, or two different individuals?  -  Daniel 7:7-8, 8:9-14 .  The figure called the “ little horn ” figures prominently in Daniel’s visions, and it is explicitly named in the vision of the “ fourth beast ” and that of the “ ram and goat .” It is reasonable to assume both visions refer to the same figure. The historical references in the first vision are enigmatic, in the second, they are explicit. The careful comparison of parallels between the two visions is vital - [ Acropolis Photo by  Cristina Gottardi  on Unsplash ].

Son of Destruction

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Many Christians will apostatize when the “Lawless One,” the “Son of Destruction,” seats himself in the “sanctuary.”   As Paul explained, the “ Day of the Lord ” will not arrive until the “ apostasy ” occurs and the “ man of lawlessness ” is unveiled. He will take his seat “ in the sanctuary of God ” and oppose “ all that is called god .” In addition to the “ lawless one ,” the Apostle labeled him “ the  son of destruction .” Is there significance in this double appellation or is it for stylistic purposes? - [ Photo by Yusuf Dündar on Unsplash ].

War Against the Saints

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SYNOPSIS  -  Language from Daniel’s vision of the “little horn” that waged war against the “saints” is applied in Revelation to the church  –  Daniel 7:21 .  In the interpretation of the image of the “ little horn ,” this malevolent figure made “ war on the saints and prevail over them .” That same image is reapplied in the  book of Revelation  to the “ war ” of the “ Dragon ” and his vassals against the “ saints ,” those who “ follow the Lamb wherever he goes .” Similarly, descriptive language from this same vision was applied by the Apostle Paul to the coming “ man of lawlessness .” - [ Photo by  Helena Lopes  on Unsplash ].

Son of Man

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SYNOPSIS   –   The images of the “Son of Man” figure from Daniel are applied to Jesus and his “saints” in the New Testament   –   Daniel 7:13-14 .  Daniel’s vision of one “ like a Son of Man ” who received “ dominion ” occurs several times in the gospel accounts. For example, Jesus foretold how “ all the tribes of the earth ” would mourn when “ they see  the Son of man coming in the clouds  of heaven .” More often in the four gospels, “ Son of Man ” is the self-designation found on the lips of Jesus. The same vision of Daniel is alluded to in the post-resurrection claim by Jesus that he now possesses authority over all things - ( Matthew 10:23 ,  13:41 ,  16:27-28 ,  24:30 ,  25:31 ,  Luke 21:27 ): - [ Photo by  Patrick Fore  on Unsplash ].

Fourth Beast

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The fourth beast is the focus of the vision, especially its “little horn with a mouth speaking great things”  -  Daniel 7:7-14 .  The fourth “ beast ” is described in more detail than the first three.  It is the focus of the vision, especially the “ little horn that was speaking great things .” The other “ beasts ” provide background information for the rise of this kingdom. Unlike the first three, it has no analog in the animal kingdom. It is an unnatural creature with “ iron teeth ” and “ ten horns ” - [ Feathered Dinosaur - Photo by Amy Baugess on Unsplash ].

Bear and Leopard - Identities

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In Daniel’s vision, how do we identify the second and third kingdoms, the “Bear” and the “Leopard”?   -   Daniel 7:5-6 .  Daniel saw “ four beasts   ascending ” from the sea. Each of the first three featured characteristics from the animal kingdom: the winged lion, the bear, and the leopard with two pairs of wings. The fourth beast did not resemble any known animal. It was a horrifying monstrosity with “ great iron teeth ,” “ ten horns ,” and another “ little horn, with a mouth speaking great things .” - [ Acropolis - Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash ].

Boldness in the Spirit

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SYNOPSIS  – In response to threats from the high priest, the Spirit filled the fledgling church with “boldness of speech” – Acts 4:5-31 . After the healing of the lame man near the Temple gate, Peter and Joh n were confronted by the priestly authorities, including representatives of the Sadducees, who were disturbed because they had “ proclaimed the resurrection .” The Sadducees rejected the doctrine of the resurrection, although Luke stresses that the disciples claimed that it now takes place “ in Jesus ,” which made their interpretation of the resurrection of the dead distinct from all others – ( Acts 4:1-4 ). - [ Photo by Michael Krahn on Unsplash ].

Prayer and Visitation

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After praying for the restoration of Israel, the angel Gabriel appeared and began to explain the “vision” to Daniel  -  Daniel 9:3-23 .  After contemplating the prophecy from  Jeremiah , Daniel began to pray and repent for the sins of Israel. He did not  seek revelation into the meaning of Jeremiah’s prophecy, for he understood its prediction perfectly well (“ I understood by the writings the number of the years ”). Instead, he confessed the sins of the nation, just as Jeremiah had instructed - [ Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash ].

Word of Jeremiah

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Daniel began to inquire into the predicted end of the Babylonian Captivity recorded in the book of Jeremiah  -  Daniel 9:1-2 .  Daniel received the revelation about the “ seventy weeks ” in the “ first year ” of Darius the Mede; that is, shortly after the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the “ Medes and Persians .” And his inquiry and prayer indicate that the events in chapter 9 occurred before the return of the first Jewish exiles to Jerusalem after the decree of Cyrus the Great - [ Photo by Paula Guerreiro on Unsplash ].

Final Week - Abomination

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The final “week” of the prophecy includes verbal links to the other visions of Daniel, especially the “abomination of desolation”  –  Daniel 9:27 .  The “ seventy weeks ” prophecy concludes with several unanswered questions. However, the prophecy is not the end of the matter. Clear verbal links connect it to the visions of chapters 7 and 8, and to the subsequent vision in chapter 11; it is one part of a larger whole. The complete picture becomes clear when all the visions of  Daniel  are considered - [ Caesar - Photo by Ilona Frey on Unsplash ].

After Sixty-Two Weeks

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After the first sixty-nine weeks, a malevolent “leader” appeared who corrupted the city and “desolated” the sanctuary  –  Daniel 9:26 .  The final “ week ” of the prophecy culminates in the desecration of the sanctuary and the cessation of the daily burnt offering. The “ seventy weeks ” is part of a series of visions about “ what things must come to pass in later days ,” all of which culminate in the establishment of the kingdom of God and the vindication of the saints. All the visions in the book are connected by verbal and conceptual links - [ Jerusalem -  Photo by Sander Crombach on Unsplash ].

Word to Return

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The “word to return” that marks the start of the prophetic period refers to the original prophecy of the captivity in Jeremiah  –  Daniel 9:25 .  Understanding the “start date” of the “ seventy weeks ” period is vital to its interpretation. When the period  began  determines when it will  end . Fortunately, the interpreting angel provided Daniel with that information: “ From the going forth of  the word  to return and to build Jerusalem .” Unfortunately, precisely what he meant by this “ word ” is not immediately clear - [ Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash ].

First Sixty-Nine Weeks

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The first sixty-nine “weeks” lay the groundwork for the tumultuous events of the final or “seventieth week”  –  Daniel 9:25 .  Next, the angel described the first sixty-nine “ weeks ” of the  prophecy, but only briefly. As he declared at the start, “ seventy weeks are  divided  upon your people and upon your holy city .” After presenting the  redemption  that would be realized by the end of the prophecy, he described its three subdivisions of “ seven weeks ,” “ sixty-two weeks ,” and “ one week ,” presumably, consecutive periods of 49, 434, and 7 years [ Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash ].

Redemptive Goals

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The angel outlined six redemptive goals that would be completed by the end of the "Seventy Weeks"  –  Daniel 9:24 .  The prophetic period is divided into three divisions - the initial period of “ seven weeks ,” the second segment of “ sixty-two weeks ,” and the final period of “ one week .” And the latter is subdivided further into two “half weeks.” At the start of the prophecy, the angel listed six redemptive goals that must be achieved by the end of all seventy “ weeks ” - [ Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash ].

True Spirituality

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The spiritually-minded man understands that Christ Crucified is God’s true power and wisdom  -  1 Corinthians 2:14 .  Overused today, the English term ‘spiritual’ is virtually meaningless. To some, it is synonymous with  religion . To be  religious  is to be  spiritual . To others, it refers to things that are not of this physical universe, to things and beings that are supernatural, otherworldly, immaterial, invisible, and timeless - [ Photo by  Joshua Earle  on  Unsplash ].

Exaltation of the Lamb

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The enthronement of Jesus is based on his past death and resurrection, the immovable foundation of his present reign in Revelation .  The sacrifice and exaltation of Jesus are prominent in the book of  Revelation . God’s plan to redeem humanity through him is unveiled in its visions, and his death, resurrection, and enthronement are put into action. His sovereignty over the Cosmos is the result of his faithful obedience and sacrificial death - [ Photo by  Rod Long  on Unsplash ].

Lamb and King

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Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb began his messianic reign following his death and resurrection, and now he is shepherding the nations .  The  book of Revelation  assures beleaguered congregations that Jesus does reign and has events firmly under his control despite appearances and hostility from the surrounding society. His kingly authority is based on his past death and resurrection, and the latter marked the commencement of his reign from the messianic throne - [ Shepherd  Photo by  Mita Park  on Unsplash ].

Blessing of Abraham - The Spirit

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The promise of the Father, the gift of the Spirit was sent by Jesus to bless all the nations  –  Acts 3:25 .  After the Day of Pentecost, Peter and John prayed for a man who was “ lame from his mother’s womb ” and begging for alms near the Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to walk “ in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth .” Immediately, he stood up and began to walk, and then was seen and heard “ leaping and praising God ” - [ Photo by  Jonatan Lewczuk  on Unsplash ].

Signs and Wonders

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The prophecy from Joel sets the tone for the book of Acts, including the “signs and wonders” that accompanied the gospel  –  Acts 2:17-21 .  Jesus commanded the disciples to “ tarry in Jerusalem ”  until  they received the gift of the Spirit, and only  then  were they to proclaim the “ kingdom of God ,” starting at Jerusalem, then going on to Judea, Samaria, and to the “ uttermost parts of the earth .” The  book of Acts  records how the early church, under the guidance of the Spirit, did this very thing - [ Photo by Frank Zinsli on Unsplash ].

Pentecost - Outcome

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SYNOPSIS  –  Following the events of the Day of Pentecost, the congregation established itself as a fellowship of believers centered in Jerusalem  –  Acts 2:42-47 .  The final paragraph of  Acts  chapter 2 summarizes the results of the outpouring of the Spirit. While the description sounds routine, even mundane, it records the basic practices of the Christian congregation that resulted from the Spirit’s presence – Teaching, shared meals, fellowship, prayers, unity, and material support for individuals in need. The one unique feature is the holding of possessions “ in common ” under the administration of the Apostles. - [ Photo by  Kerensa Pickett  on Unsplash ].

Promise is unto You

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SYNOPSIS  – On the Day of Pentecost, Peter explained what God accomplished in Jesus and what his audience needed to do in response – Acts 2:37-43 .  Peter began his sermon in response to the question from the crowd – “ What does this mean? ”   In turn, their response at the end of the message provided him with the opportunity to summon his audience to repent, be baptized “ in the name of Jesus Christ ,” and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - (“ And, being pricked in their heart, they cried out - What shall we do? ”). While Peter was the one speaking, he functioned as the spokesman for all of the apostles [ Photo by Mitchell Kmetz on Unsplash] :