December 1

Daniel 8:1-27

The vision and events of Daniel 8 occurred 2 years after the dreams of Daniel 7; this brings us to 551 B.C.. The vision of Daniel is that of a ram with two horns, one horn higher than the other. This ram conquered vast land in all directions, but was conquered suddenly by a male goat that came from the west. We read next:

Daniel 8:8 (NKJV) “Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.”

The angel Gabriel gave Daniel (and us) the interpretation – the ram was symbolic of Medo-Persia, the higher horn referring to the Persians who were stronger than the Medes. Their land conquest was vast. But Alexander the Great led the Greeks in their swift conquest of the Medo-Persian kingdom, and beyond. When Alexander the Great died, his kingdom was divided between his four generals.

This prophecy was spoken in 551 B.C. – the Medo-Persians conquered the world 12 years later. the Greeks conquered the world 220 years later! Amazing prophecies etched in history. 

The other prophecies would be fulfilled in dual fashion. We read in:

Daniel 8:9 (NKJV) “And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.”

Daniel goes on to describe events that took place at the hands of a man by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, the ruler of Syria, 175-163 B.C. This man opposes Israel (the “Glorious Land” – Daniel 8:9)

Warren Wiersbe, “…known as one of the cruelest tyrants in history. Antiochus gave himself the name “Epiphanes,” which means “illustrious, manifestation,” for he claimed to be a revelation (epiphany) of the gods. He even had the word theos (god) put on the coins minted with his features on it, and his features on the coins came to look more and more like the Greek god Zeus. The angry king attacked Jerusalem and plundered the temple. In 168 he sent an army of 20,000 men to level Jerusalem. They entered the city on the Sabbath, murdered most of the men, and took the women and children as slaves. The remaining men fled to the army of the Jewish leader Judas Maccabeus. But the king wasn’t satisfied, so he issued an edict that there would be one religion in his realm and it wouldn’t be the Jewish religion. Any Jew found possessing a copy of the law of Moses was slain. He prohibited the Jews from honoring the Sabbath, practicing circumcision, and obeying the Levitical dietary laws, and he climaxed his campaign on December 14, 168 B.C., by replacing the Jewish altar with an altar to Zeus— and sacrificing a pig on it! When Antiochus stopped the daily sacrifices in the temple and substituted pagan worship, this was called “the abomination that makes desolate” (“the transgression of desolation,” Dan. 8: 13). This concept is found in Daniel 9:27; 11:31; and 12:11, and is used by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. What Antiochus did was a foreshadowing of what the Antichrist will do when he puts his image in the temple and commands the world to worship him (2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13).”

If Daniel was right in his prophecies regarding Medo-Persia, Greece, and the abomination of desolation committed by Antiochus Ephiphanes, then you can be sure he’s right about the rest! This evil ruler of Syria was fueled by Satan himself (Daniel 8:24) and is a picture of the Antichrist who will rise at the end of time.

Daniel 8:17b (NKJV) “…understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”

The Antichrist will rise, but will be brought down by Jesus Christ. Daniel tells us that the Antichrist will be broken, but not my human power (Daniel 8:25) it will be the power of God unleashed at the mere words spoken by the Son of God (Revelation 19:11-21).

Daniel didn’t understand ALL the details…but as we get closer to the last of the last days, this type of “knowledge” is increasing (Daniel 12:4) and we understand it more and more. 

If you have time to read all the Bible references you’ll see things more clearly. 

If you’re interested in the prophecy in Daniel 8:14 of the 2,300 days, then listen to the explanations given by Warren Wiersbe:

“The Hebrew text literally reads ‘2,300 evenings and mornings,” because burnt offerings were sacrificed at the temple each morning and each evening of every day. But does this mean 2,300 days or 1,150 days, 2,300 divided by two? And what date or event signals the beginning of the countdown? Some students opt for 2,300 days, that is, about six years, if you use 360 days for the year. Others prefer 1,150 days , which give us slightly over three years. But what is the starting point for the countdown? The six-year advocates begin with 171 BC, when Antiochus deposed the true high priest. Subtract six years and this takes you to 165 when Judas Maccabeus defeated the enemy and reconsecrated the temple. However, the three-year advocates begin with the establishment of the pagan altar in the temple on 25 Kislev, 168, and this takes us to 165. Either approach meets the requirements of the prophecy.”

Yes…God is in the details…every single day!

1 John 2:1-17

We come now to another reason John wrote his letter – that we would not sin (1 John 2:1). That’s a great goal wouldn’t you say? To hit that mark of holiness, to please God, to sin less. But, even with that desire in our hearts, we’re still destined to sin as long as we’re on this side of time, and it’s for that reason John immediately adds those words, “…and if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Thayer’s lexicon defines the Greek word translated “Advocate” as “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant.” In other words, Jesus is our attorney who accepts all cases of those who plead guilty and then makes them innocent by being our propitiation, paying the price of justice – a price we could never pay. A good picture of this is found in Zechariah 3:1-5.

I love the way John makes it so simple – that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world – for everyone! (1 John 2:2).

1 John 2:2 (NLT) “He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

Some say Jesus died only for the elect, it makes you wonder if they’ve really pondered this passage in the Bible – it’s so clear!

John goes on to reveal the fact that the way we know we’re Christians is a life of obedience to the Word, and a life of love for the people. It doesn’t matter what a person says, claims, or professes, if their lives don’t match their lips, John labels them as liars. If we claim to be Christians, shouldn’t our lives resemble the life of Christ? (1 John 2:6)

To love our neighbor is not a new commandment, but to love our neighbor the way Jesus did IS new. 

John 13:34 (NKJV) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Is there anyone you hate? I’d encourage you to do your best to settle that question in your heart, be sure there’s not a trace of hatred – so that you might have the full assurance of salvation. Haters do not go to heaven, lovers do.

In 1 John 2:12-14 John points to the spiritual journey we make from childhood, to adolescence, and eventually adulthood. Warren Wiersbe said, “Because of Jesus Christ, you have a family (1 John 2:12–14). The members are at different stages of spiritual development, but all can receive the Word and grow. How wonderful it is when the ‘little children’ become young men and then fathers!”

Sandy Adams said, “A father is a man who lives for his family. A spiritual father lives to give to others in the family of God.” (of course, all this is perfectly and equally applicable to children, young ladies, and “moms” in the church)

1 John 5:19 tells us that the world lies under the sway of the wicked one – (speaking of the system not society) we are therefore not to love the world. How we need to guard our hearts from the things the world esteems (pleasure, possessions, prestige, and power).

Psalm 120:1-7

Expositor’s, “Psalms 120-134 form a collection known as the ‘Songs of Ascents,’ which in turn is a major part of the Great Hallel Psalms. Most likely the songs were sung in the three annual festival processions, as the pilgrims “ascended” to Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 16:16).”

I found it fascinating that immediately following Psalm 119, which is a Psalm all about the Truth (the Truth of God’s Word) the Psalmist deals directly with lies. I’ve said it over the years, that lies are the language of Lucifer, the dialect of the Devil. As a matter of fact, I was thinking how the whole world is hearing and reading his “lie-brary” every day!

The enemy is an accuser, and sadly there are many who live there daily, in that “nation of accusation.” Our heart aches for this person:

In this case the Psalmist speaks of personal slander that is being spoken about him, and it’s just tearing him up. He prays for God to deliver him from those lying lips and deceitful tongue…they were like arrows to his heart. The coals of the broom tree are explained by NET notes, “The wood of the broom plant was used to make charcoal, which in turn was used to fuel the fire used to forge the arrowheads.”

Psalm 120:6–7 (NKJV) “My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. 7 I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.”

A tough place to be, so we give ourselves to prayer, and not just peace, but the Prince of peace.

Proverbs 28:25-26

Proverbs 28:25-26 (NKJV) “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered. 26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

Both of these passages deal with the heart…there’s so much struggle and strife, when there’s pride inside.

And how foolish the world is to suggest that we follow our heart; the Scriptures clearly contradict that counsel. We are not to trust our own heart!

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

“For answers, values, and guidance we should not look within, but look to the Lord.” – David Guzik

We are to trust the Lord, not our hearts; we are to walk by faith, not by feelings – to be led by Biblical convictions not fickle emotions.

“Distrusting his own judgment, and seeking the advice of others, and especially of God, as all truly wise men do, he shall be delivered from those dangers and mischiefs which fools bring upon themselves; whereby he showeth himself to be a wise man.” – Poole

If we live and walk in humble wisdom, it means we’re trusting in the Lord, not ourselves, we will then experience prosperity and deliverance.

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