Daniel – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all peoples, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.

Verse 2 – I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.

Verse 3 – How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.

Just as Nebuchadnezzar, many people will use the right spiritual language, but their obedience to God’s principles and standards don’t match their behavior.

Verse 4 – I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.

Verse 5 – I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

Verse 6 – Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that might make known to me the interpretation of the dream.

Verse 7 – Then the magicians, the astrologers, and the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation.

I guess, he forgot that his wise men couldn’t interpret anything. The king was all secure in his palace, that false security in wealth and power, but this dream he had, scared him. Have you ever had a foreboding in your spirit? I have, and they are very uncomfortable. You know that something is about to happen, but don’t know what.

Verse 8 – But at last Daniel came before me, his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God, and I told the dream before him, saying:

Verse 9 – “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.

Verse 10 – “These were the visions of my head while on my bed: I was looking, and behold a tree in the mist of the earth, and its height was great.

Verse 11 – The tree grew and became strong; its height reached to the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.

Verse 12 – Its leaves were lovely, its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, the birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

Verse 13 – “I saw in the vision of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.

Verse 14 – He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches.

Verse 15 – Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze. In the tender grass of the field let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth.

Verse 16 – Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of an animal, and let seven times pass over him.

Verse 17 – ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, 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.’

This may be hard to understand, especially those in leadership and authority, but God is sovereign over all, everything. He limits the power and authority of all governments, businesses, and religious leaders of the world. We may live in freedom to choose, but He controls it all.

Verse 18 – “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

Verse 19 – Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!

Daniel couldn’t respond immediately, because this dream was not good news for the king. He had no idea how the king would react after hearing what the dream meant. However, the king reassured him  to not be afraid of his reaction, just tell him the meaning of the dream.

Verse 20 – The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth,

Verse 21 – whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and on whose branches the birds of the heaven had their habitation –

Verse 22 – it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.

Verse 23 – And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field till seven times pass over him;

Verse 24 – this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king:

Verse 25 – They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

Daniel told the king that he would go insane and become like an animal in the field eating grass for seven years. God was about to show the king that a prideful self-centered life was going to bring punishment from an all-powerful God. Pride may be one of the most dangerous temptations you will ever face. Don’t let your accomplishments cause you to forget God!

Verse 26 – And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules.

Verse 27 – Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

In God’s great mercy, He had placed Daniel in the king’s life to show him who Daniel’s God is. The king was being warned to repent and he could avoid the insanity that was about to come . At one time or another, we’ve all been warned to change our ways, or disaster was in our near future. That’s what usually brings us to the Savior.

Verse 28 – All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 29 – At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.

Did you notice that there was no response from Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel was finished? None! Our loving God will place people in each of our lives to draw us to Him and its up to us to ignore or receive that drawing.

Verse 30 – The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

Nebuchadnezzar emphasized himself as the source of majesty. This is a spirit of pride to the max. “Look what all I have accomplished!” We don’t get one thing in this life unless our heavenly Father chooses to give it or make it happen. But always remember, it is His good pleasure to give His children gifts! All good things come from Him and He deserves the honor and glory!

Verse 31 – While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven. “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!

Verse 32 – And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and give it to whomever He chooses.”

Verse 33 – That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

When I read this, I always wondered what he was thinking that entire seven years, if anything other than what an animal thinks. The Bible says it happened while his words were still in his mouth so I don’t think he had time to blink.

Verse 34 – 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.

Verse 35 – 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 don?”

Do we question God? Sure, we all have at one time or another. Did you get an answer? Did God All Mighty ever explain Himself to you?

Verse 36 – At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me, my counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.

Verse 37 – Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.

A lot of people know that God is able to work miracles, but nothing will ever change in us until we acknowledge Him as Lord. Most believe, as I, that Nebuchadnezzar died as a converted man.

Daniel – Chapter 3

Verse 1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

In the Babylonian culture, statues were often worshiped. Instead of a statue with only the head being gold, he made the entire thing in gold, perhaps in defiance that his kingdom would never end.

Verse 2 – And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps , the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasures, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the province, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Verse 3 – So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasures, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

The king was making a big production of this dedication, so he wanted all of his chief officials to be gathered in one place to pay tribute to him. Idolaters are generally very committed to their religion.

Verse 4 – Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,

Verse 5 – “that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up;

Verse 6 – “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

Verse 7 – So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Music can have a huge influence over a person. It plays a big part in our worship of the Lord, so we should be cautious of what type of music we listen to. Let’s not forget, Satan was created with musical instruments in him, thus he uses it to his advantage (Ezekiel 28:13). If the people did not fall down and worship the king’s image, he had furnaces set up to put them to death. Forced religion is the system of the false religion, as Babylon was at the head of it. Whereas with God, it is a matter of choice.

Verse 8 – Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.

These Chaldeans were obviously revengeful for being exposed as liars when they couldn’t tell the king his dream or the interpretation.

Verse 9 – They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!

Verse 10 – “You O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image;

Verse 11 – “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Verse 12 – “There are certain Jews whom you have set over affairs of the province of Babylon; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

These Chaldeans wanted to remind the king that he was the one who had placed these Jews in their position, and now they were belittling the king by not following his authority. They knew this would make the king furious. We don’t know if there were other Jews who didn’t bow to this image, but these three were singled out.

Verse 13 – Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king.

Verse 14 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?

Verse 15 – “Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

Nebuchadnezzar, trying to save face, gives them another chance to worship the image. Then the king declares there is not a god anywhere that can deliver them from this furnace if they choose not to bow down to it.

Verse 16 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

Ha! In other words: “Don’t bother to give us a second chance, we have already made up our minds not to worship you!”

Verse 17 – “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, O king.

These young boys were steadfast in their confidence that their God was able to deliver them. Do you not know that every fiery trial that we go through, only makes us stronger in our faith towards God?

Verse 18 – “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.”

This is one of the strongest examples of steadfast faith in the Bible. They had set their hearts to obey God rather than man. They would rather die then disobey God. In the end times, many will have to have this kind of faith, (Revelation 20:4).

Verse 19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Therefore he spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.

Verse 20 – And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

Verse 21 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Verse 22 – Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

What’s ironic, is that the men who took them up to the furnace died, but yet they still managed to throw the three in the furnace before they died.

Verse 23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

This furnace was built on a small mound with openings at the top and side, so the three men fell into the furnace from the top, and the king was able to see through the opening in the side.

Verse 24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

Verse 25 – “Look!” he answered, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

How would Nebuchadnezzar even know what the Son of God was like? Because the Hebrew captives had represented righteousness, thus teaching those around them of the God whom they worshiped and they had told of Christ, the Redeemer to come.

Verse 26 – Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire.

Verse 27 – And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their heads was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

No human can bind us when God wants us free. The power that is available to each Christian, is the same power that delivered these three Hebrews and raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20). There are eternal reasons for temporary trials. You might come out of your trials or time of testing with some battle scares, but you’ll know the One which delivered you!

Verse 28 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!

Verse 29 – “Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no God who can deliver like this.”

The king didn’t tell his people to throw away all of their idols or not to worship them anymore, he was simply adding this God to their many gods.

Verse 30 – Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.

We all go through trials and times of testing, some are bigger than others, but whether God delivers us or not, He’s still God!

 

Daniel – Chapter 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Verse 1 – Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.

Verse 2 – Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

Sometimes God will speak to us and show us things in our dreams while we sleep. Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by his dreams, so he called magicians, they practiced superstitious rights and ceremonies of fortune tellers; he called astrologers, which pretended to tell the future by looking at the stars; he called sorcerers, who said they could talk to the dead; and he called Chaldeans, which were Philosophers, similar to the magicians and sorcerers. They all claimed to be able to contact the other side of their gods.

Verse 3 – And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.”

Verse 4 – Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.

Nebuchadnezzar was troubled because he couldn’t remember the dream.

Verse 5 – But the king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.

Verse 6 – “However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

Verse 7 – They answered again and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”

Verse 8 – The king answered and said, “I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm:

Verse 9 – “if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

The king knows they are stalling for time until the king calms down or begins to remember the dream.

Verse 10 – The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, “There is not a man on earth, who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.

Verse 11 – “It is a difficult thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

These men just admitted that they can’t communicate with their gods that they worship. We know from 1 Corinthians 2:11-14, that only a person who is connected to God can discern the things of God, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. God had given the dream and God would use whom He chose to interpret it. This also proves that Satan can not read your mind.

Verse 12 – For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

Verse 13 – So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.

Daniel and his companions were also subject to execution because they were in the same class of the wise men. However, they have no idea that any of this had taken place.

Verse 14 – Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;

Verse 15 – he answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, ‘Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.

Verse 16 – So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.

Verse 17 – Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,

Verse 18 – that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Wonder why Daniel and his friends were not called in at first? The king already knew that they were 10 times wiser than all the rest. But the ones the king did call first were exposed to be false pagan teachers who claimed something they could not do. These false teachers were tested and failed, for all to see. This gave God an opportunity to show that He alone was God.

Verse 19 – Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. so Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Verse 20 – Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.

Verse 21 – And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.

God answered Daniel’s prayer, but before he rushed off to tell the king, he gave honor and gratitude to God. How thankful are we when God answers our prayers? Do we tell others what He has done, or do we tell them we did it through hard work or perseverance?

Verse 22 – He reveals deep secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

Verse 23 – “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we ask of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

Verse 24 – Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

Verse 25 – Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.”

Verse 26 – The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

Verse 27 – Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded , the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.

Verse 28 – “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:

Verse 29 – “As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.

Verse 30 – “But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sake’s who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

Daniel states again that not because of any wisdom that he has, but for the sake of the righteous ones that were going to give the interpretation to the king and that the king may know the thoughts of his heart.

Verse 31 – “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.

Verse 32 – “This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

Verse 33 – “its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

Verse 34 – “You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

Verse 35 – “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The gold on the image’s head represents Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire (605-539 B.C.). The silver chest and arms represent the Medo-Persian empire which conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. The belly and thighs of bronze were Greece and Macedonia under Alexander the Great who conquered the Medo-Persian empire 334-330 B.C. The legs of iron represented Rome, which conquered the Greeks in 63 B.C. The feet of clay and iron represented the breakup of the Roman empire, when the territory of Rome was divided up with a mixture of strong and weak nations. The material of each section of the statue decreased in value but increased in strength. This decrease may symbolize the moral decline of each succeeding kingdom. The stone that would shatter the final kingdom and grow into a mountain that filled the whole earth is the kingdom of God. This dream revealed that God All Mighty is the power behind every earthly kingdom.

Verse 36 – “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.

Verse 37 – “You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory;

Verse 38 – “and wherever the children of men dwell, or beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into our hand, and has made you ruler over them all – you are this head of gold.

Verse 39 – “But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

Verse 40 – “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

Verse 41 – “Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potters clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.

The Bible makes a clear statement in Luke 2:1 that Rome ruled the world, for you cannot tax the world unless you rule it. In its height it ruled south of Europe, France, England, the greater parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the South of Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, and parts of Asia and Africa. Rome ruled from 168 B. C. to 476 A. D.

Verse 42 – “And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

Verse 43 – “As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

Verse 44 – “And in those days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

This is God’s kingdom where Christ rules and reigns. God is the One which controls world history. Under God’s protection, His kingdom is indestructible. Those who believe in Him are members of this kingdom.

Verse 45 – “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold – the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Verse 46 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.

Verse 47 – The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of Kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.

Nebuchadnezzar has a momentary conversion, but the seed that was planted into his heart will become choked by his own pride and ambition. We see this same “Momentary moment” where people  cry and are sorry, but it doesn’t last, and before long are back to their old ways. There was never a true transformation because the whole heart was never given.

Verse 48 – Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.

Verse 49 – Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Don’t forget that Daniel’s three companions were also before the king during the dream interpretation. Daniel always said, “We,” including his friends and of course giving God all the credit. The king promoted Daniel and then allowed Daniel to give his friends highly respectable jobs. A leader can’t do everything by himself.

 

Daniel – Introduction and Chapter 1

Daniel’s life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity. Deported to Babylon at the age of sixteen, and handpicked for government service, Daniel became God’s prophetic mouthpiece tot he Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present eternal purpose. The name Daniel means “God Is My Judge.” Daniel is one of the few well-known Bible characters about whom nothing negative is ever written. His life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency, and lack of compromise.

The Deportation of Daniel To Babylon

Verse 1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to  Jerusalem and besieged it.

Verse 2 – And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god.

Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, took vessels from the temple of the Lord and some of the inhabitants, including Daniel and his three friends. King Nebuchadnezzar put these vessels into his temple of Mardok, formally named Bel, the god of the Babylonians (Jeremiah 50:2). All of this came to pass according to the word of the Lord through Isaiah the prophet (2 Kings 20:16, 17).

Verse 3 – Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles,

Verse 4 – young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

The academic program that they would be taught would include, mathematics, astronomy, history, science, and magic. These young men not only demonstrated aptitude, but also discipline.

Verse 5 – And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of the time they might serve before the king.

It’s obvious that those who were chosen were already well-educated. Nebuchadnezzar was so concerned about their well-being, that ordinary food would not be a part of their diet.

Verse 6 – Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Verse 7 – To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

These boy’s names were changed to pagan names: Daniel which meant “God is my judge”, was changed to Belteshazzar, meaning, “keeper of the hide treasure of Bel.” Hananiah, “Yahweh is God,” changed to Shadrach meaning, “Inspiration of the sun” (worship of the sun). Mishael, “Who belongs to God,” changed to Meshach, meaning “Of the goddess Shaca” (worship of Venus). Azariah, “Yahweh helps,” changed to Abed-Nego, meaning “Servant of the shinning fire.”

This was their custom to change their names  to influence them into the idolatrous religion and practice of the Babylonians.

Verse 8 – But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuch that he might not defile himself.

Its easier to resist temptation if you have thought through your convictions well before the temptation arrives. Daniel and his friends had already decided where to draw the line. This first test, was the test of appetite. Appetite has a direct link to our spiritual life. Look what happened in the garden with Adam and Eve when a forbidden fruit was eaten. This appetite temptation does not always mean food; it can be for clothes, cars, houses, drink, and etc.

We can assume that the food and wine was unfit according to the laws of health (Leviticus 11; Proverbs 20:1), wine is a mocker and those who drink it, is not wise.

Verse 9 – Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. Daniel and his friends would not compromise, but stood fast to the principles of God, so they were shown favor by the chief eunuch. They stood fast because they had already committed their ways unto the Lord. When we are obedient to the Lord, He can show us favor even with our enemies.

Verse 10 – And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your face looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

Anything short of obedience meant execution fro the officials who served Nebuchadnezzar. He had a right to be scared.

Verse 11 – So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

Verse 12 – “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.

Daniel chose to negotiate rather than rebel. Without compromising, Daniel thought of a practical, creative, solution that saved his life and the lives of his companions.

Verse 13 – “Then let our countenances be examined before you, and the countenances of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”

Daniel knew that because they had just traveled a long journey from Jerusalem, their bodies would need to recover. Food that is highly nutritious, light, and easily digested and that would keep their mind clear, was the best choice for them.

Verse 14 – So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

Verse 15 – And at the end of ten days their countenance appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.

Verse 16 – Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

This only eating of vegetables is not an endorsement to become a vegetarian. God was the One who made them strong. They trusted in the All Mighty and again were shown favor.

Verse 17 – As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

Verse 18 – Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 19 – Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, therefore they served before the king.

Verse 20 – And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

Verse 21 – Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

Daniel and his friends were put on the king’s staff which included “Magicians and enchanters.” These were astrologers who claimed to tell the future through occult practices. Daniel was one of the first captives taken to Babylon, and lived to see the first exiles return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. Babylon was a wicked nation, but would have been much worse without Daniel’s influence.

Ezekiel – Chapter 48

Divisions of the Land

The land will be divided into 13 parallel portions (one for each tribe plus a sacred district ) that would stretch from the Jordan River of the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The tribes that originated through the handmaids of Jacob’s wives will be placed on the outer extremities. The tribes that originated from Rachel and Leah will be given land in the center of the nation. Judah and Benjamin will occupy the privileged positions next to the land’s special sacred portion.

Verse 1 – “Now these are the names of the tribes: From the northern border along the road to Hethlon at the entrance of Hamath, to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus northward, in the direction of Hamath, there shall be one portion for Dan from its east to its west side;

Verse 2 – “by the border of Dan, from the est side to the west, one portion for Asher;

Verse 3 – “by the border of Asher, from the east side to the west, one portion for Naphtali;

Verse 4 – “by the border of Naphtali, from the east side to the west, one portion for Manasseh;

Verse 5 – “by the border of Manasseh, from the east side to the west, one portion for Ephraim;

Verse 6 – “by the border of Ephraim, from the east side to the west, one portion for Reuben;

Verse 7 – “by the border of Reuben, from the east side to the west, one portion for Judah;

Verse 8 – “by the border of Judah, from the east side to the west, shall be the district which you shall set apart, twenty-five thousand cubits in width, and in lengths the same as one of the other portions, from the east side to the west, with the sanctuary in the center.

Verse 9 – “The district that you shall set apart for the Lord shall be twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width.

Verse 10 – “To these, namely, to the priests, shall this holy district belong: on the north twenty-five thousand cubits in length, on the west ten thousand in width, on the east ten thousand in width, and on the south twenty-five thousand in length. The sanctuary of the Lord shall be in the center.

Because Ezekiel had written down the division of the land as stated by God, when the captives returned to their land, there should be no in-fighting about who got which land.

Verse 11 – “It shall be for the priests of the sons of Zadok, who are sanctified, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray.

Verse 12 – “And this district of land that is set apart shall be to them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.

Verse 13 – “Opposite the border of the priests, the Levites shall have an area twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width; its entire length shall be twenty-five thousand and its width ten thousand.

Verse 14 – “And they shall not sell or exchange  any of it; they may not alienate this best part of the land, for it is holy to the Lord.

Verse 15 – “The five thousand cubits in width that remain, along the edge of the twenty-five thousand, shall be for general use by the city, for dwellings and common-land; and the city shall be the center.

The site of Jerusalem, with the surrounding open land, was exactly 50 times that of the temple (42:20).

Verse 16 – “These shall be its measurements: the north side four thousand five hundred cubits, the south side four thousand five hundred, the east side four thousand five hundred, and the west side four thousand five hundred.

Verse 17 – “The common-land of the city shall be: to the north two hundred and fifty cubits, to the south two hundred and fifty, to the east two hundred and fifty, and to the west two hundred and fifty.

Verse 18 – “The rest of the length, alongside the district of the holy portion, shall be ten thousand cubits to the east and ten thousand to the west. It shall be adjacent to the district of the holy portion, and its produce shall be food for the workers of the city.

Verse 19 – “The workers of the city, from all the tribes of Israel, shall cultivate it.

Verse 20 – “The entire district shall be twenty-five thousand cubits by twenty-five thousand cubits, foursquare. You shall set apart the holy district with the property of the city.

Verse 21 – “The rest shall belong to the prince, on one side and on the other of the holy district and of the city’s property, next to the twenty-five thousand cubits of the holy districts as far as the eastern border, and westward next to the twenty-five thousand as far as the western border, adjacent to the tribal portions; it shall belong to the prince. It shall be the holy district, and the sanctuary of the temple shall be the center.

Verse 22 – “Moreover, apart from the possession of the Levites and the possession of the city which are in the midst of what belongs to the prince, the area between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin shall belong to the prince.

Verse 23 – “As for the rest of the tribes, from the east side to the west, Benjamin shall have one portion;

Verse 24 – “by the border of Benjamin, from the east side to the west, Simeon shall have one portion;

Verse 25 – “by the border of Simeon, from the east side to the west, Issachar shall have one portion;

Verse 26 – “by the border of Issachar, from the east side to the west, Zebulun shall have a portion;

Verse 27 – “by the border of Zebulun, from the east side to the west, Gad shall have one portion;

Verse 28 – “by the border of Gad, on the south side, toward the South, the border shall be from Tamar to the waters of Meribah by Kadesh, along the brook to the Great Sea (Mediterranean).

Verse 29 – “This is the land which you shall divide by lot as an inheritance among the tribes of Israel, and these are their portions,” says the Lord God.

Gates of the City

Verse 30 – “These are the exits of the city. On the north side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits,

Verse 31 – “the gates of the city shall be named after the tribes of Israel, the three gates northward: one gate for Reuben, one gate for Judah, and one gate for Levi;

Verse 32 – “on the east side, four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Joseph, one gate for Benjamin, and one gate for Dan;

Verse 33 – “on the south side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Simeon, one gate for Issachar, and one gate for Zebulun;

Verse 34 – “on the west side, four thousand five hundred cubits with their gates: one gate for Gad, one gate for Asher, and one gate for Naphali.

Verse 35 – “All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”

This city is square as it is in Revelation 21:16 –  And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.

GET READY FOR THE BOOK OF DANIEL!!!

Ezekiel – Chapter 47

River From the Temple

This river is similar to the river mentioned in Revelation 22:1, 2: (Verse 1) And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the lamb. (Verse 2) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations.

Verse 1 – Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.

Verse 2 – He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.

Verse 3 – Then, when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles.

Verse 4 – Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist.

Verse 5 – Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.

This can also be applied to the gradual discoveries of the plan of salvation: First the patriarchal ages; then the giving of the law; then in the ministry of John the Baptist; and then in the full manifestation of Christ by the communication of the Holy Ghost.

This vision can also be applied to the growth of a believer in the grace and knowledge of God: First, there is the seed of the kingdom; the blade from that seed; the ear of the blade; and the full corn in that ear.

I also see it as God being the only source of life that flows through His grace to restore, replenish and bless.

Verse 6 – He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.

Verse 7 – When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other.

Verse 8 – Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed.

“The sea,” is a term commonly applied to the Dead Sea. It’s too salty and nothing can live in it. However, when this water flows into where nothing lived before, where the grace of God from His temple and altar flows, it heals the corrupt nature of man. God’s power can transform us no matter how lifeless or corrupt we may be.

Verse 9 – “And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the river go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.

Verse 10 – “It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea (the Mediterranean Sea), exceedingly many. (En Gedi and En Eglaim were on the western shore of the Dead Sea.)

The fish shall be according to their kind – all nations, and kindred’s, and people shall be called by the Gospel; it shall be an including system, for its Author tasted death for every man.

Verse 11 – “But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt.

These swamps and marshes – Heretics who do not live by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Those whose foundation is built on counsels of traditions and lying miracles. If Jesus Christ is not the foundation of one’s belief, they are lost.

Verse 12 – “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not whither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

This endless supply of water that flows from God’s Sanctuary, will give an endless supply of nourishment for the trees. See Revelation 22:1-5. Even the leaves, the holy profession of the righteous, is a spiritual medicine.

Boundaries of the Land

Verse 13 – Thus says the Lord God: “These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions.

Joseph getting two portions of land is in keeping with what Jacob told Joseph in Genesis 48:22. “Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”

Verse 14 – “You shall inherit it equally with one another; for I lifted My hand in an oath to give it to our fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.

This inheritance was speaking to the tribes of Israel, not to the individual.

Verse 15 – “This shall be the border of the land on the north: from the Great Sea, by the road to Hethlon, as one goes to Zedad,

Verse 16 – “Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim (which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath), to Hazar Hatticon (which is on the border of Hauran).

Verse 17 – “Thus the boundary shall be from the Sea to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus; and as for the north, northward, it is the border of Hamath. This is the north side

Verse 18 – “On the eat side you shall mark out the border from between Hauran and Damascus, and between Gilead and the land of Israel, along the Jordan, and along the eastern side of the Sea. This is the east side.

Verse 19 – “The south side, toward the South, shall be from Tamar to the waters of Meribah by Kadesh, along the brook to the Great Sea. This is the south side, toward the South.

Verse 20 – “The west side shall be the Great Sea, from the southern boundary until one comes to a point opposite Hamath. This is the west side.

Verse 21 – “Thus you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel.

Verse 22 – “It shall be that you will divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who sojourn among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as a native-borne among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.

Not only will the Israelites by descendants have an inheritance but those who join themselves to Israel by allegiance to the true God, shall have a right of inheritance . Here are the blessings which were to occur to the Gentiles through the seed of Abraham (Romans 0:24).

Verse 23 – “And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger sojourns, there you shall give him his inheritance,” says the Lord God.

Both, Jew and Gentile, made one in and through Jesus Christ!

Ezekiel – Chapter 46

Verse 1 – ‘Thus says the Lord God: “The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened.

While the east gate of the outer court was permanently closed, the east gate of the inner court could be opened during special days like the Sabbath and the New Moon festival.

Verse 2 – “The prince shall enter by way of the vestibule of that gateway from outside, and stand by the gateposts. The priest shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace-offering. He shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening.

Verse 3 – “Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before the Lord on the Sabbaths and the New Moons.

Verse 4 – “The burnt offering that the prince offers to the Lord on the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish;

Verse 5 – “and the grain offering shall be one ephah for a ram, and the grain offering for the lambs, as much as he wants to give, as well as a hin of oil with every ephah.

Verse 6 – “On the day of the New Moon it shall be a young bull without blemish, six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish.

Verse 7 – “He shall prepare a grain offering of an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, as much as he wants to give for the lambs, and a hin of oil with every ephah.

God required a gift from everyone because they all had sin. In all probability, if people gave like they should for the Lord’s work, there would be no need for government welfare.

Verse 8 – “When the prince enters, he shall go in by way of the vestibule of that gateway, and go out the same way.

Verse 9 – “But when the people of the land go before the Lord on the appointed feast days, whoever enters by way of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate.

Should we not all leave church different from the way we came in? I’m not talking about a door. I’m referring to our mind-sets and our hearts. If one continually goes to the house of God and never changes, then what good did it do to go in the first place?

Verse 10 – “The prince shall then be in their midst. When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out.

Verse 11 – “At the festivals and the appointed feast days the grain offering shall be an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, as much as he wants to give for the lambs, and a hin of oil with every ephah.

Verse 12 – “Now when the prince makes a voluntary burnt offering or voluntary peace-offering to the Lord, the gate that faces toward the east shall then be opened for him; and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings as he did on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he goes out the gate shall be shut.

Verse 13 – “You shall daily make a burnt offering to the Lord of a lamb of the first year without blemish; you shall prepare it every morning.

Verse 14 – “And you shall prepare a grain offering with it every morning, a sixth of an ephah, and a third of hin oil to moisten the fine flour. This grain offering is a perpetual ordinance, to be made regularly to the Lord.

The priest got the animal and grain offerings from the people. Same as churches today get the funds to help others through tithing. If no one tithes, then a body can’t function.

Verse 15 – “Thus they shall prepare the lamb, the grain offering, and the oil, as a regular burnt offering every morning.

Verse 16 – ‘Thus says the Lord God: “If the prince gives a gift of some of his inheritance to any of his sons, it shall belong to his sons; it is their possession by inheritance.

Verse 17 – “But if he gives a gift of some of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his until the year of liberty, after which it shall return to the prince. But his inheritance shall belong to the sons, it shall become theirs.

The land that belonged to the prince was to be carefully regulated. If the prince made a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant must return the property in the Year of Jubilee.

Verse 18 – “Moreover the prince shall not take any of the people’s inheritance by evicting them from property; he shall provide an inheritance for his sons form his own property, so that none of My people may be scattered from his property.” ‘ ”

This law would prevent the prince from seizing property as they did in previous times.

Verse 19 – Then he brought me through the entrance, which was at the side of the gate, into the holy chambers of the priests which face toward the north; and there a place was situated at their extreme western end.

Verse 20 – And he said to me, “This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the grain offering, so that they do not bring them out into the outer court to sanctify the people.”

Verse 21 – Then he brought me out into the outer court and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and in fact, in every corner of the court there was another court.

Verse 22 – In the four corners of the court were enclosed courts, forty cubits long and thirty wide; all four corners were the same size.

Verse 23 – There was a row of building stones all around in them, all around the four of them; and cooking hearths were made under the rows of stones all around.

Verse 24 – And he said to me, “These are the kitchens where the ministers of the temple shall boil the sacrifices of the people.”

Ezekiel – Chapter 45

Verse 1 – “Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance, you shall set apart a district for the Lord, a holy portion of the land; its length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits, and the width ten thousand. It shall be holy throughout its territory all around.

Verse 2 – “Of this there shall be a square plot for the sanctuary, five hundred by five hundred rods, with fifty cubits around it for an open space.

Verse 3 – “So this is the district you shall measure: twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide; in it shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place.

Verse 4 – “It shall be a holy portion of the land, belonging to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to minister to the Lord; it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary.

Verse 5 – “An area twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide shall belong to the Levites, the ministers of the temple; they shall have twenty chambers as a possession.

The centralization of the priests in this new arrangement contrasts with the rest of Old Testament history when priests and Levites were scattered throughout the land.

This is similar to today where churches provide a house for their pastor and his family to live.

Verse 6 – “You shall appoint as the property of the city an area five thousand cubits wide and twenty-five thousand long, adjacent to the district of the holy portion; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel.

Verse 7 – “The prince (or governor) shall have a portion on one side and the other of the holy district and the city’s property; and bordering on the holy district and the city’s property, extending westward on the west side and eastward on the east side, the length shall be side by side with one of the tribal portions, from the west border to the east border.

After the Jews returned to the land, there were neither princes nor kings, but they did have a chief magistrate, or governor. The length of the princes territory was spelled out so that they couldn’t take advantage and take what they weren’t allotted.

Verse 8 – “The land shall be his possession in Israel; and My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes.”

Verse 9 – ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Enough, O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness, and stop dispossession My people,” says the Lord God.

Verse 10 – “You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath. (bath – a liquid measure)

Verse 11 – “The ephah (to surround; compass) and the bath shall be of the same measure, so that the bath contains one-tenth of a homer (the homer seems to have contained about 75 gallons); their measure shall be according to the homer.

Verse 12 – “The shekel shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, and fifteen shekels shall be your mina.

God commanded that the people be just in all their business dealings. This law warned against cheating with false weights and measures.

Verse 13 – “This is the offering which you shall offer: you shall give one-sixth of an ephah from a homer of wheat, and one-sixth of an ephah from a homer of barley.

Verse 14 – “The ordinance concerning oil, the bath of oil, is one-tenth of a bath from a kor. A kor is a homer or ten baths, for ten baths are a homer.

Verse 15 – “And one lamb shall be given from a flock of two hundred, from the rich pastures of Israel. These shall be for grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them,’ says the Lord God.

Verse 16 – “All the people of the land shall give this offering for the prince in Israel.

The people handed the gift to the prince and then the prince handed it to the priests, whose part it was to sacrifice and offer. He was a sort of mediator of this new covenant.

Verse 17 – “Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feast, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace-offering to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

Verse 18 – ‘Thus says the Lord God: “In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse in the sanctuary.

Verse 19 – “The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the door posts of the temple, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the gateposts of the gate of the inner court.

Verse 20 – “And so you shall do on the seventh day of the month for everyone who has sinned unintentionally or in ignorance. Thus you shall make atonement for the temple.

Do you see why it was so important for the leaders and priests to know and do God’s ordinances? If they didn’t teach the people the people would be continually sinning against God in ignorance. Once they knew and learned what was right, the sin they committed was no longer unintentional or in ignorance.

Verse 21 – “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall observe the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.

The Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which typically falls in March or April. On the 15th day of Nisan typically begins on the night of a full moon after the northern equinox. Passover is an annual seven-day feast instituted by God so that His people would remember when He brought them out of slavery from Egypt. On the first Passover night, the destroyer passed over the homes that were marked by lamb’s blood.

Verse 22 – “And on that day the prince shall prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering.

The fact that the prince will make a sin offering for himself shows that he was not the promised Messiah, in case you were wondering.

Verse 23 – “On the seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish, daily for seven days, and a kid of the goats for a sin offering.

Verse 24 – “And he shall prepare a grain offering of one ephah for each bull and one ephah for each ram, together with a hin of oil for each ephah.

Verse 25 – “In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast, he shall do likewise for seven days, according to the sin offering, the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the oil.”

The annual feast celebrated in October is called the Feast of Tabernacles. It commemorates God’s protection of His people as they traveled through the desert from Egypt to the promised land (Leviticus 23:33-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-17).

Ezekiel – Chapter 44

Duties of Temple Priests

Verse 1 – Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut.

Verse 2 – And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.

There were several reasons for this east gate to remain shut; one, God Himself came through the east gate and no man could walk where God had entered. Second, no one would ever be able to stand there and worship the sun again because it rises in the east. Today in Jerusalem the gate known as the “Golden Gate” remains sealed.

Verse 3 – “As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.”

Verse 4 – Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face.

Verse 5 – And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.

Ezekiel here is depicted as the new Moses. After the entrance of God into the temple, God revealed statutes and laws to His prophet.

Verse 6 – “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “O house of Israel, let us have no more of all your abominations.

Verse 7 – “When you brought foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it – My house – and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of your abominations.

Verse 8 – “And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.”

This may refer to the practice of using foreigners as guards in the temple.

Verse 9 – ‘Thus says the Lord God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

Ezekiel’s vision was for a restored, purified worship, where only those who prepared themselves physically and spiritually could participate.

Verse 10 – “And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after idols, they shall bear their iniquity.

Jeroboam, who set up a new worship, got as many of the priests he could to join him in idol worship. These priests “shall bear their iniquity,” means they would not return to their rank or privileges.

Verse 11 – “Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offerings and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.

Ministers – Servants employed in the lowest work. Sanctuary, not the temple itself, but about the courts of it. They would be servants to the priests.

Verse 12 – “Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have lifted My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord God, “that they bear their iniquity.

Verse 13 – “And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priests, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.

These were the ones that were there before the temple was destroyed, allowed idol worship and abominations to defile the temple. They would no longer be called priests.

Verse 14 – “Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.

Verse 15 – “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord God.

Zadok’s descendants are mentioned because they had remained faithful to God, while others had become corrupt. Zadok’s descendants were considered the true priestly line throughout the time between the Old and New Testament.

Verse 16 – “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.

Verse 17 – “And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house.

No wool. Why? Because wool was more apt than linen to contract dirt and breed insects. It also caused them to perspire which was considered defiling.

Verse 18 – “They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.

Verse 19 – “When they go out to the outer court, to the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; and in their holy garments they shall not sanctify the people.

Verse 20 – “Nor shall they shave their heads, nor let their hair grow long; but they shall keep their hair well-trimmed.

Verse 21 – “No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.

Verse 22 – “They shall not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman, but take virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or widows of priests.

It’s pretty plain that God did not forbid the priest to marry.

Verse 23 – “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Verse 24 – “In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.

Verse 25 – “They shall not defile themselves by coming near a dead person. Only for father or mother, for son or daughter, for brother or unmarried sister may they defile themselves.

Verse 26 – “After he is cleansed, they shall count seven days for him.

Verse 27 – “And on the day that he goes to the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he must offer his sin offering in the inner court,” says the Lord God.

Verse 28 – “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

Verse 29 – “They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering; every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.

Verse 30 – “The best of all firstfruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priests; also you shall give the priests the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house.

Verse 31 – “The priests shall not eat anything, bird or beast, that died naturally or was torn by wild animals.

These laws were originally given to God’s people in the desert. They are recorded in Exodus and Leviticus. They reveal approaching God respectfully, and they give guidelines for the priests to live above reproach. They had a huge responsibility of teaching the people to discern between clean and unclean.

Praying in the Spirit

 

Acts 2:1 – When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Pentecost means 50. It is 50 days after the first Sabbath after Passover. It’s exactly 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when Pentecost had “fully come,” it was on the exact 50th day.

Acts 2:2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Verse 3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire and one sat upon each of them. (Verse 4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

They began to speak with other languages. Tongues are a “Language.” Speaking in tongues is not “jibberish,” it is a language.

Acts 2:5, 6 – And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. (Verse 6) And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

Here are some myths about speaking in tongues, untruths. (1) You start speaking it fluently the first day! The Bible does not say that they spoke “fluently” on the day of Pentecost. It says the people that were gathered from every nation “Heard fluently” in their own language, because they yielded their tongue to the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it amazing that the first thing the Holy Spirit changes when He comes, is the tongue. In addition, they had to cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

Think about it like this: We don’t start speaking any language fluently. Neither do babies speak fluently when they start to talk.

(2) Myth – You can’t control it! People think they just go into a trance and start speaking in tongues – false! Think a minute about some of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit; can you just start teaching without studying or preparing, or practicing? Can you control the gift of teaching? Can you control the gift to prophesy? We can control the other gifts, so why not the gift of speaking in tongues? Is it not an act of our will by cooperating with the Holy Spirit?

Now here is the third myth: It’s just going to jump out of my mouth? Some people think, “If God sees fit, He’ll give me this gift!” Hold on, we have been given all the gifts of the Holy Spirit already. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Tongues are a language. It is a language of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:2 – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God for no one understands him; however, in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.

These next two verses will help you understand having a prayer language. 1 Corinthians 14:14 – For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. Notice it says, “If” I pray. It’s a choice, at will. 1 Corinthians 14:15 – What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the Spirit, and I also will sing with the understanding. In other words, “If I pray in tongues, my Spirit is praying.”

My question is: “How many people pray only with their own understanding? How many prayers are not being fulfilled because they pray with only what they understand? Is it possible that the Spirit has more understanding than we do? Yes, does not the Bible say that the Spirit knows all things? If you’re not praying in tongues, then your prayers are limited because you’re praying only what you understand and know.

Have you been told that speaking in tongues is of the devil or tongues are not for today? Many have, and that places a stronghold in them that won’t allow them to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s the same if you don’t believe in healing or miracles. Those strongholds have to be broken in order to receive. You have to “yield” your tongue to the Spirit. A breakthrough will come after being obedient to the Spirit – yielding.

In case you didn’t know, this is part of our “Armor!” The armor of God – Ephesians 6:17, 18 – and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Jude, verse 20 says – But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Is it possible that you are losing some battles because you’re not building yourself up spiritually? Is it possible you’re losing some battles because you’re not putting on your whole armor of God? We are spirit, soul, and body. Are you only praying through your soul, which is your will, mind, and emotions?

This is a pure language. Look at Genesis 11 verse 1 – Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. So what language was that? Some say it was Hebrew, but it’s not until the next chapter that God calls Abram, Abraham. Is it possible that this one language was a heavenly language? Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, was it a heavenly language?

In Genesis 11, is when the people were building a tower to heaven. Genesis 11:5 – But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of man had built. (Verse 5) And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing they propose to do will be withheld from them. (Verse 7) “Come let Us go down there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Think about this: God said, “Nothing they propose to do will be withheld from them.” In other words: “We better take this “one” language away from them, because with this language “all things are possible!” Isn’t it possible that whatever they prayed for, nothing would be withheld from them. Those would be spiritual prayers. This is where all the languages are formed when He confused their speech and scattered them all over the earth.

Now look at this. This is talking about when Jesus comes and the Holy Spirit comes. Zephaniah 3:9 – “For then I will restore to the peoples, a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.” Remember on the day of Pentecost, they were all with one accord. Zephaniah said, “Restore!” He didn’t say, “I’ll give”, or “I’ll create,” he said, “Restore!”  I’ll give back the language, the pure language, that nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them!

Conclusion: 1 Corinthians 12:8, 9, lists the nine gifts, manifestations of the Spirit; wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. So if you believe in healing or even miracles, why would you disregard the speaking in tongues? Don’t throw away what God gives!