08.5 Revelation – Greater Revelation

Greater Revelation

In Daniel 7, in a vision Daniel is given a glimpse into Heaven.  This is the same view that a handful of others have also see and hear through the ages: Elisha and his servant, Ezekiel, Those present at the baptism of Jesus, Stephen and John.  God and heaven are eternal and outside of the dimension of earthly time.  God is in all places and all times.  These views of the end times in heaven are not different events, but the same.  One analogy is that of a book.  We can open up the pages of a book and immediately be “in that time and place”.  In this way, what Daniel witnesses and what John witnesses and what will come in the future are all the same time and place.

As the true “Ancient of Days”, it is only right that the Creator of all is also the judge.  As the all knowing God, nothing is hidden from Him and nothing is outside of His command.  As a just God, sin will be punished and, since all sin is sin against God (Psalm 51:4), no sin will be left unpunished.

But in the midst of this blazing court, Daniel, also sees one that he does not yet know.  In verse 13 he sees one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven being given authority, glory, sovereign power and dominion.

Daniel was deeply troubled by his vision.  There are troubling parts to it for us as well.  Clearly, it is troubling that there will be a final day after which no additional souls will be saved.  But, far more has been revealed to us than was revealed to Daniel.  Most critically, we have Jesus.  God was made man, a son of man, and walked among us.  We have the gospels and the entire bible.  We have the church.  We have the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John.  Best of all we have the promise of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Can the end times troubling?  Yes, but, in the midst of the wrath and punishment is the promise of forgiveness and the sanctification of the blood of the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

My Answers:

11.
a.
Heaven – God on His throne in all majesty, seated in the court with the books opened (holding court)

b.
He is the judge (as creator it is only right and natural)

12.
Justice is done, in full.  God controls the timing.

13.
Yes, because there will be a final harvest, a day after which no one else will be saved.  No, because we know about Jesus.

08.4 Revelation – A Bigger Kingdom

A Bigger Kingdom

We live in a time with few conquering kings, so we lack reference for the magnitude of the time and area that Daniel was in.

Daniel’s home was conquered by Babylon.  When we open in the beginning of the book of Daniel, the ruler is King Nebuchadnezzar.  In Daniel 5, his son Belshazzar was king, but the writing was on the wall for his demise.  In Daniel 6, Daniel is still in the inner circle even after the kingdom was conquered by the Persian/Medes and King Darius, a King in the Achaemenid Empire.  Not only has Daniel remained across these changes in rulers (something unparalleled even in our modern businesses and governments where successors tend to bring in their own cabinets and advisors), He has grown in favor and authority.

The scale of this empire is hard to comprehend.  During the time of King Darius, it comprised about 8.5 Million sq km.  In comparison, the continental United States is 8 Million sq km.  Even more impressive is that King Darius ruled over 44.5% of the world’s population, roughly equal to China, India and all of Europe combined.  All with no automobiles or planes and communication consisted of sending a messenger running with a scroll of paper.

This king was putting Daniel in charge over all the Satraps (governors) of the entire kingdom.  This king fasted the night Daniel spent in the lion’s den.  This king cried out in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”  This king called all of his people to fear and reverence of God; “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.”  This king saw that the God of Daniel was a bigger King of Kings with a bigger kingdom.

Daniel gave one of the greatest witnesses to God the world has ever experience by going up to his room and praying.  God does not need us to demonstrate His authority, but when we are faithful He grants us the honor of being at the center of demonstrating His power.  Are you willing to follow the model of Daniel?  Will you pray morning, noon and night?  Will you trust in God, even when you are falsely accused?

My Answers:

8.
Set up satraps over 120 divisions of the kingdom with 3 administrators (Daniel was one), Daniel distinguished himself and was going to be named over all – jealousy – couldn’t find any wrong in him.  Only thing “unless it has something to do with the law of his God” – they got the king to pass a law outlawing Daniel praying to God – Daniel did not stop – convicted

9.
Convicted, Darius prayed and fasted that God would save Daniel, He was saved, those who falsely accused him were killed, decree issued that all people must fear and give reverence to the God of Daniel

10.
Political correctness, temptation to do things like everyone else is doing them even though that is not right or honoring to God.  God saves those who honor Him and it results in more honor and glory to God.

 

08.3 Revelation – Bound in Praise and Prayer

Bound in Praise and Prayer

There is an interesting question in our lesson today talking about praiseworthy things God has done for us recently.  It is interesting because it challenges us in our definition of praiseworthiness.

A beautiful sunset is definitely praiseworthy.  A miraculous healing.  Financial stability.  A repaired relationship.  Safety in the midst of a battle or accident.  All praiseworthy.

But how far down the list do we go and still give praise?

In my life recently, the adversity has come not in big attacks but in little ones.  The electrician who is not prompt in returning calls.  The dishwasher that quit working.  The upset stomach.  A technical glitch. A stain on a shirt. None of these are big things in themselves, but added together they take a toll.  You begin to feel like your life is fraying at the edges and you don’t know where it will stop.  You don’t feel like you are standing on solid ground.

It can seem silly to turn these things over to God – to pray to Him about a dishwasher pump.  But that is exactly what He wants us to do.  God is not just the God of big battles, He is the God who protects us in the daily skirmishes of life.  He is God over the universe and over every hair on your head.

My wife enjoys sewing and has made a number of quilts.  It is the image of the quilt that brought this together for me.  Like life, a quilt is made up of many small pieces, all fitting together, all stitched and joined together with threads.  A quilt may or may not have a big central design but they do all have something in common, a binding.  The binding of a quilt is what goes around the outside edge.  It is what holds the pieces and layers all together and prevents it from fraying and tearing and falling apart.  It is seldom beautiful or decorative, but it is critical.  It is also normally sewn on by hand with great work and time and attention to detail.

This week I’m reminded to praise God for His handwork in the binding of the quilt of life He has given me.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Wisdom and Power, He changes times and seasons, He deposes kings and raises up others, He gives wisdom to the wise, knowledge to the discerning, reveals deep and hidden things, knows what lies in darkness, light dwells in Him, God of my ancestors.  (given me wisdom and power, made known to me what we asked of you, made known to us the dream of the king)

b.
He is seeing me through a time of adversity where many things in my life seemed under attack and fraying at the edges.

7.
a.
(see v.28 – all to God) God knows and controls all about all kingdoms of the earth (past present future), He allows them power and deposes them.  His kingdom will rule over all others, crushing them and bringing them to an end and then enduring forever

b.
I am assured that I am part of that kingdom by the seal of the Holy Spirit in my soul

08.2 Revelation – Defile

Defile

This week’s lesson takes us back to the book of Daniel.  BSF makes it clear that the reason for this is for two purposes: as a witness of God’s faithful servants in a foreign land and how God uses those faithful servants in preparation for His kingdom.  The key things to keep in mind and look for then are faithfulness and kingdom.

This directly ties back to the ongoing study of Revelation because these same themes are the crux of “the rest of the story.”  In the letters to the churches, they were commended for their faithfulness.  We will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud and the righteous judgement of God delivered.

That is all big picture stuff, and important to keep in mind as we read the 4 chapters of Daniel this week.  But, it is equally meaningful to pick up the applications from the book of Daniel that God is calling you and me to apply to our lives.

The first and greatest one for me are the 6 words in Daniel 1:8, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself.”

To be resolved is to be firm in purpose or intent.  This is an area all can agree on, secular or faithful alike: People that live a more intentional and purpose driven life do better than those who are constantly tossed about by the waves.  That is a theme in almost every organization, self-help, business growth book, as well as a common message from Christian writers.  There method is the same, the goals and definition of what “doing better” mean however are very different, which brings us to the second part of this statement.

“Not to defile himself.”  Defile is an interesting word because it simultaneously means a broad range of states.  Synonyms range from mar and impair to destroy, ruin and rape.  Daniel resolved not to do any of those things to himself.

The thing I find most interesting in this and in greatest contrast to the way most of us live is that Daniel didn’t “pick his battles.”  He didn’t yield in little things but stay strong in big things.  He set his intent and purpose to not defile himself, period.  Not a nick, not a mar, not impaired in any way.

In what little ways are you unintentionally allowing yourself to be defiled?  Is it the shows you watch or the movies you see?  Is it the commercials you allow during the shows?  Is it the books you read or the language you listen to or repeat?  Is it the little things you take that don’t really belong to you (pens and office supplies from your employer)?  Is it the images and websites you see and spend time on? Is it the way you fail to set time apart each and every day to spend in prayer and the study of God’s word?

Being faithful could simply be defined using these 6 words, “I resolve to not defile myself.”  When we do that, the Holy Spirit will help do the rest.  It is the path God chooses for us, a path that leads to holiness and robes of white instead of robes marred and stained by sin.  It is a path of daily walking with God, in the same way that professional athlete and musicians “practice like they perform”, we are called to stay faithful in the little things every day.

My Answers:

3.
Not to defile himself, to stay separate and not eat the food or drink the wine of the kingdom.  He received attention of the chief official and the guard over them and proposed a test of himself and 3 others (SMA), after 10 days they were healthier,

4.
better nourished.  Excelled in knowledge and understanding and Daniel could understand visions and dreams.
They stood out as men faithful to God, ultimately all of their lives were saved (fiery furnace/lions den) – all also prospered in the new kingdom in power and authority

5.
Daniel is a great example of God’s reward for obedience in the most tempting and most challenging situations: the little things in life.