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The End Times According To Daniel ... Part One, Chapters 2 and 7 - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley -
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series
End Times According To Daniel
From about 1,000 to 900 BC Israel had been the most feared and admired nation on Earth. Then, following Solomon's death and the civil war that ensued, the nation had fallen from its exalted position into a kingdom divided over idolatry. Israel's enemies saw their chance and took it. First, the Northern Kingdom was conquered in 721BC by Assyria and then the Southern Kingdom was carried away into slavery 100 years later at the hands of the King of Babylon.
Thus began The Times Of The Gentiles. Also known as Gentile Dominion, it will span over 2600 years from the Babylonian Captivity to the Millennial Kingdom as one gentile empire after another has had a hand at ruling the world, often subjugating Jerusalem in the process. Jesus said, "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24) and so it has been. Israel's recapture of the entire City of Jerusalem in June of 1967 and the events of our time are signs that the end of Gentile Dominion is upon us, but I don't think the Lord's prophecy will be completely fulfilled until He comes back. In Rev. 11:2 we're told the Gentiles will be trampling on the Holy City until the end of the Great Tribulation.
Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 give us two different overviews of Gentile world government during this period, man's and God's. As you can imagine they're substantially different. We'll look at things from man's perspective first.
Our study opens in chapter 2 as Daniel, having been taken hostage to Babylon as a teenager and groomed to become an adviser to the King, finds himself fighting for his life. If he can't interpret the King's troubling dream, he and his friends will be brutally executed. There's just one catch. The King won't tell him what the dream was.
Fortunately, there is One who will. Let's look in.
The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"
Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these: (Daniel 2:26-28)
Daniel had prayed that God would reveal the dream and its interpretation to him. Reasoning that God would not have brought him to a place of influence in the court of Israel's conqueror just to be executed, he has committed himself to meeting the king's impossible challenge and asked for God's help. Now it's show time.
"As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind. (Daniel 2:29-30)
The King's motives are revealed. He had refused to disclose the dream's contents because he didn't trust his advisers. Someone who can tell him both the dream and its interpretation will have proven himself both knowledgeable and trustworthy.
"You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue-an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 3:31-35)
I can imagine that the King was on the edge of his throne staring intently into Daniel's eyes as he came to the realization that Daniel had just described his dream to the last detail. In fact, I'll bet that Daniel had the entire court's full attention, because one look at the King's face told them all that he was saving their lives as well as his own. Now for the interpretation.
"This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. (Daniel 2:36-38)
Babylon was the country we know as Iraq today. Jeremiah, a contemporary of Daniel's who wrote from Jerusalem, had told envoys from each of Israel's neighbors that God was giving them two choices; surrender to the King of Babylon and live, or fight and die. God had chosen King Nebuchadnezzar to punish Israel's enemies for their past treacheries at the same time that he brought the judgment God decreed against Israel because of their idolatry (Jeremiah 27:1-11). As a result, Babylon has wound up ruling the entire Middle East. But Daniel has just informed the King that any place on Earth that he desires will be given into his hands. Even the animals have been made subject to him. Nebuchadnezzar, representing Babylon, is the statue's head of gold.
"After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. (Daniel 2:39-43)
Knowing our history makes accurately interpreting this passage possible. Babylon was conquered by a coalition of the Medes (today's Kurds) and the Persians (Iran) at the end of the seventy-year period set aside for Israel's captivity. They're the chest and arms of silver. The Greek armies under Alexander conquered Persia and are represented by the belly and thighs of bronze. The legs of iron are the Eastern and Western divisions of the Roman Empire that displaced the Greeks, and from this point on we've switched from history to prophecy. The Roman Empire was never really conquered, but collapsed under the weight of its own decay, transforming itself from a political entity to a religious one in the process. The Holy Roman Empire held sway over the known world well into the middle ages. Since then several of its components have had their time in the sun; Spain, England, and most recently England's former colony, the USA.
That leaves the 10 toes, a kingdom not yet in power, whose arrival on the world scene will be characterized by a coming together and splitting apart of groups uncomfortable with each other, as symbolized by the mixture of iron and clay.
Remember, in Nebuchadnezzar's dream the statue had two legs, pointing to the Roman Empire's two divisions. The Eastern leg is currently represented by the Muslim countries of the Middle East, while the Western leg is called the European Union today. The nations of both legs are having problems that prevent them from uniting with each other. In the west the problems are financial, pitting richer countries against poorer ones, and the east they're religious, with Sunni and Shiite Muslims at odds. Since each leg is having trouble, you can see why any attempt at unifying the two legs will be imperfect at best.
The clay in the mixture refers to pottery made of the recycled shards or broken pieces of different kinds of pottery ground into dust again and mixed with water to make a clay like substance. When dried, it was very brittle and easily broken. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, it's meant to dramatize the difficulty the end times Empire represented by the ten toes will have in staying together.
"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands-a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
"The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy." (Daniel 2:44-45)
During the time of the 10 toes, the Lord will bring His greatest and final judgment upon the Earth. Every last vestige of the Gentile kingdoms will be destroyed, and the Lord Himself will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. Nor will it ever fall into the hands of others.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."
Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court. (Daniel 2:46-49)
And so begins Daniel's remarkable career as chief adviser to first the King of Babylon, and then the King of Persia.
I said earlier that this vision represents man's view of Gentile Dominion as a mixture of shiny and precious metals. While each metal is less valuable than its predecessor, indicating a decline in the quality of its rule, each one is also harder and therefore stronger, showing it to be more powerful than the kingdom it replaced.
Next, we'll look at these same four kingdoms from God's perspective, and as I told you, it'll be way different.
Daniel's Dream of Four Beasts
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. (Daniel 7:1-3)
The vision in Daniel 7 occurred 50 years after Daniel 2. Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, and Daniel was now an old man. The four winds of heaven symbolize a sovereign act of God, and the fact that these beasts come up from the sea hints that they represent the wickedness of Gentile Dominion. (Isaiah 57:20-21)
"The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it. (Dan. 7:4)
Babylon's symbol was the winged lion. Being made into a man makes it represent the King.
"And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!' (Dan. 7:5)
The bear symbolizes the Medo-Persian coalition. Though Media was the senior partner Persia became the stronger one, which is shown by one side being raised above the other. The three ribs are Persia's three major conquests, Lydia in 546BC, Babylon in 539, and Egypt in 525.
"After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. (Dan. 7:6)
The leopard is Greece. The four wings represent the speed with which Alexander conquered the known world. It took him only 10 years. The four heads are his four generals who took the kingdom upon Alexander's death and divided it among themselves.
"After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast-terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. (Dan. 7:7)
This beast is so strange and terrifying to Daniel that it didn't look like anything he's seen before. It's iron teeth recall the legs of iron from Daniel 2:40. Rome was a powerful Empire that brooked no resistance. In the reference to the 10 horns, we again jump from history to prophecy, from the ancient Roman Empire to its revival in our times.
"While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. (Dan. 7:8)
Here's the origin of one of the anti-Christ's titles, the Little Horn. Notice that he's not one of the original 10 horns, but comes from among them. A horn symbolizes power or authority when used symbolically. To me, this means that the anti-Christ doesn't start out as part of the official leadership, but comes from a less significant status outside the centers of power to depose three of the existing leaders and assume their authority. If I'm correct, look for the anti-Christ to burst on the scene suddenly from a previously unimportant segment of the Empire rather than from among its current leaders.
Daniel saw an angel in the vision who was also observing things. When he asked him about the fourth kingdom and the little horn, he was given this explanation:
'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (Daniel 7:23-25)
It's obviously an End Times reference and includes the 3 ½ year duration of the Great Tribulation (time, times and half a time) during which the Little Horn will gain control of the entire world, taking over from the 10 kings. As Paul later confirmed he will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped. (2 Thes. 2:4). Revelation 13:7 tells us he'll make war against Tribulation believers and overcome them. Revelation 17:13 says the ten kings will give their power and authority to him during the time of the Great Tribulation These clues all point us to the anti-Christ, who will be different from the other kings in that he will be indwelt by Satan himself.
"As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. (Dan. 7:9-10)
But while the anti-Christ consolidates his power on Earth, a Greater Power is advancing His plan in Heaven. The phrase "Ancient of Days" is a title used of God that only appears in Daniel 7. The lines are being drawn for the climactic battle for Planet Earth. The "thousands upon thousands" attending Him likely represent the angelic host. Ten thousand was the biggest number they had in those days, so Daniel used that number multiplied by itself to describe a multitude no one can count, perhaps a reference to the raptured Church. John borrowed this illustration to describe the scene before the throne in Rev. 5:11.
And notice the plural thrones. Daniel was having a peek at the End Times and saw a hint of the thrones of the 24 elders. None of the other Old Testament views of God's Throne mention the additional thrones because they all occur in real time, and these thrones were not in view until Rev. 4. This little insight argues against the opinion of some theologians that the 24 thrones are occupied by an otherwise unidentified order of angels who assist God in governing the Universe. The fact that they don't appear in Old Testament accounts, but do appear when the End of the Age is the context implies that another level of government has been added since the cross. It could only be the Church. In Ephesians 1:20 Paul said Christ has been raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, and in Ephesians 2:6 he said we've been raised up with Christ and seated with Him there, too.
"Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) (Daniel 7:11-12)
Rev. 19:20 tells of the anti-Christ and false prophet being thrown into the lake of fire, and their armies being destroyed. Remember, in Daniel 7 the horn is the anti-Christ and the beasts represent empires. Babylon, Persia, and Greece no longer enjoy dominion over the world, but their modern counterparts are still around and will be destroyed during the Great Tribulation.
"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
And finally, the culmination of human history. Dominion over Planet Earth, which Adam lost to Satan, has been regained by the Son of God, never to be lost again. He'll rule and reign with His Church forever.
A period of history seen from man's perspective as a beautiful statue of shiny and precious metals in Daniel 2 is described by God as it really is, a series of voracious beasts who oppress and devour mankind and oppose every effort by God to free us.
You and I have come in on the tail end of this. We weren't here to see it's beginning like Daniel was, but because of his description, we're better able to recognize our world for what it is and correctly identify the signs that tell us that the end is near. Next time, Chapters 8 and 9 and another model of the anti-Christ. See you then.
Have the Palestinians Fulfilled Their End-Of-Days Purpose? - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
And I will wipe out the inhabitants of Ashdod And the sceptered ruler of Ashkelon; And I will turn My hand against Ekron, And the Philistines shall perish to the last man -said Hashem. Amos 1:8 (The Israel Bible™)
The Palestinian Authority is boycotting the White House which has responded by cutting off massive amounts of funding and shutting down the PLO Mission in Washington. One rabbi, an end-of-days expert, believes that this meteoric decline in the Palestinians' political clout may be because their relevance in the end-of-days process has now expired.
The U.S. State Department announced on Monday that it was shutting down the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Mission in Washington. This is a result of the Palestinians petitioning the International Criminal Court in the Hague to initiate a criminal probe against Israel. This violates a U.S. law passed by Congress in 2015, which mandates the closing of the PLO Mission if the Palestinians initiate or support an investigation by the ICC against Israel.
The decision to close the mission comes just two weeks after the White House announced it was withholding $200 million in aid to the the PA and Hamas-run Gaza. The White House hopes the economic cutbacks will incentivize the Palestinian government to negotiate with Israel.
After cutting aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in January, the U.S. announced two weeks ago that they would no longer contribute to the organization. The U.S. is the major contributor to the organization which is currently in an economic crisis, scrambling among the other nations for funding. One of their chief criticisms of the organization is that it grants refugee status to the descendants of Palestinian refugees. This open-ended definition has artificially swelled the number of Palestinian refugees; from some 20,000 of those who actually fled Israel between 1947-1949, to more than 5 million of their descendants currently classified as refugees by UNRWA. The PA has insisted on the right of return for the entirety of the claimed Palestinian nation as a precondition to negotiations. Even a partial influx of this proportion would lead to the demographic demise of Israel as the Jewish state.
America's actions have been met with Palestinian belligerence. The PA has boycotted the U.S. since President Trump's historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, accompanied by his decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. PA officials have refused to meet with any representative of the U.S. since that announcement, rejecting the President's peace process, sight unseen. Last week, the PA conditioned the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel on Trump's replacing special envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Rabbi Ken Spiro , historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, viewed these recent developments as a political paradigm shift with powerful Biblical implications.
"Until now, the Palestinians have been playing the entitled victim card so none of the normal rules of diplomacy applied to them. Before 1967, Israel was the underdog standing against all the Arab nations. By making it Israel versus the Palestinians instead of Israel versus 300 million Arabs, they are able to portray Israel as the aggressor and the oppressor. The attitude of much of the left-wing is that whoever is bigger and stronger is 'wronger.' The Palestinians have literally been getting away with murder precisely because they are the victims. Even when they kill themselves trying to kill Israelis, they are still portrayed as victims."
"Trump is a dealmaker and Abbas is not willing to play ball. Trump is a businessman and has changed the rules of the game. He took Jerusalem off the table. He is making financial aid dependent on results. Abbas is not used to this."
"Rome changed the name from Judea to Philistia 2,000 years ago to erase the Jewish connection to the land. By claiming the indigenous people are the Palestinians and not the Jews, the Arabs with the support of much of the world are trying to do the same thing. Western support for Israel came largely out of guilt for the Holocaust and what the Nazis did to the Jews. If Israel's treatment of the Palestinians can be equated with the Nazis treatment of the Jews, or apartheid, then the Jews are no better than the Nazis and Europe no longer has to feel guilty."
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author, believes the political marginalization of the Palestinians is a sign that they have fulfilled their purpose in the Messianic process and are no longer necessary.
"This is clearly a divine process since it was totally unexpected. It certainly wouldn't have happened under Obama and probably not under any of the previous presidents who promised to move the embassy but didn't."
To illustrate his point, he related a midrash (homiletic teaching) from the Talmud (Tractate Baba Batra 73b). According to the Talmud, Rabbah Bar Hana was traveling on a ship and went ashore to cook some food. The island turned out to be an enormous fish covered in sand. Feeling the heat of the fire, the fish turned over, sending Rabbah Bar Hana scrambling for his ship, which fortunately was ready to sail.
Rabbi Winston cited Rabbi Yaakov Lorberbaum, the rabbi of Lissa Poland in the 1800's, known as Rabbeinu Yaakov.
"Rabbeinu Yaakov taught that this peculiar story in the Talmud is actually an allegory of what will happen in the days before Messiah," Rabbi Winston said. "He explained the Talmud as teaching that the Jews will return to our land but we will end up ruling over another nation. The other nation will appear weak and small but they will actually turn everything upside down, causing disproportionate amount of suffering for the Jews."
"This is clearly referring to the Palestinians," Rabbi Winston said. "So much of the politics revolves around the Palestinians. They have become the poster-child for Israel being the abuser, but for some reason, they have also become part of the platform of every liberal cause, no matter how unrelated to the region. Their only purpose for existing is to play this role for Israel in the end-of days. They were abused by all the Arab nations but no one paid any attention until they took this prophesied role."
"If the 'boat is ready,' if the Jews are ready for Messiah, everything will be fine and we will enter into the Messiah," Rabbi Winston explained. "If the Jews are not ready, we will drown from the problems this small nation will cause us."
"As we approach the Messiah, the Palestinians will have served their purpose and will become irrelevant, ignored by the people who currently support them as a tool against Israel," Rabbi Winston concluded.
Nearing Midnight: South African Land Grab: The Last Stand for Rational Thought - Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The South Africa economy has slipped into recession for the first time since 2009. The leadership of that nation has been so preoccupied with its plan to steal land from white farms, it should be no wonder why the nation's economy has slumped in negative growth.
President Cyril Ramaphosa thinks that the land reform plan will revive South Africa. "We can make this country the garden of Eden," he said during a visit to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini at his Osuthu palace in Nongoma, where he said that South Africa could turn into the ultimate paradise with the implementation of the policy of expropriation of land without compensation.
Each of these white farms already produces enough food to feed 1,000 people. Ramaphosa is delusional if he thinks he can improve on this production rate. South Africa has already tried several land reform programs that all ended in failure. When you give land to people who mostly rely on government handouts, the concept of self-reliance is unknown to them.
British Prime Minister Theresa May recently made a trip to South Africa. She was there to announce plans to increase the U.K.'s investment in Africa after Brexit. Seemingly keen to stay on the good side of her new friend Ramaphosa, May said she supported land reform in South Africa.
"The UK has, for some time now, supported land reform that is legal, transparent and follows a democratic process," May said. "I welcome the comments he has already made about approaching land reform, bearing in mind the economic and social consequences...and that land reform will be no smash and grab."
The statement made by May is a textbook example of how to appease a tyrant. Ramaphosa is in the process of stealing the land right now. He should have been confronted about the negative consequences of his action.
The US State Department had an even worse response to the South Africa land grab. Fox reporters that asked this department a month ago about this problem were told that South Africa was a vibrant democracy and that reforming the distribution and ownership of land will be good for the nation.
It took a tweet from President Trump to move the State Department back to a more appropriate approach. "I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and large scale killing of farmers," Trump said on Twitter.
After Trump's remarks, the State Department issued a rare warning to South Africa. U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, "The expropriation of land without compensation... would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path. We continue to encourage a peaceful and transparent public debate about what we consider to be a very important issue."
Every major trade organization that South Africa is a member of has a requirement for the protection of property rights. If it moves forward to steal land from white farms, it should force every member of the UN to place an embargo on all South African productions.
I cannot think of a better example of insanity than this current situation. You have a nation that endured protests for 30 years by the world community over its racist apartheid police state. The whites finally handed over power to the blacks, and everyone cheered the dawn of racial tranquility in South Africa. Years later, we find the nation led by a black prime minister who is singing about killing whites; and Trump is called a racist for pointing out reality.
South Africa is traveling the same path as Zimbabwe, which plunged into famine after a government-sanctioned purge of white farmers in the 2000s. The change from 2004 to the present in Zimbabwe has been stunning. At the turn of the century, there were 600 tea companies in Zimbabwe. Today, there is only three. The unemployment rate went from 40% to a peak of 90%. The Zimbabwe dollar lost 100% of all its value, forcing the nation to use other nations' currency.
Zimbabwe's political and financial landscape has seemingly changed for the better after the resignation of President Robert Mugabe in November 2017. It will take a long time for Zimbabwe to earn back the trust of global investors.
I think President Ramaphosa is going to proceed with his plan regardless of the cost. The world has become so evil that rational thought is no longer our guide. To now predict the course of world events, you only need to select the most immoral possibility.
To avoid a bloody civil war, South Africa should apply to the IMF for the money needed to buy out the white farms. They could move to a more friendly nation. Within five years, South Africa would default on the loan, and the nation would come begging to the global community for help. Since the West is creating its own financial Armageddon with debt, we may not be in any shape to come to South Africa's rescue.
In the end, South Africa will become another example of why socialism doesn't work. The lesson will likely be meaningless to this generation. It has become so demonically blind to reality, people can witness a disastrous blunder and then fall right into the same trap.
"As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it" (Job 4:8 NIV).
Are you a halfhearted Christian? - Greg Laurie -
Greg Laurie points to Caleb as godly example of living life to the full
We all will leave a legacy of sorts - either a positive one or a negative one. Our lives eventually will come to an end, and each of us will leave a legacy. The truth will come out - the good things we did, the bad things we did, what we really stood for.
We may live long, productive lives and, like Caleb of the Old Testament, be able to look back after 85 years and say that we finished well.
Caleb, Joshua and the Israelites had come into the Promised Land after 40 years of wilderness wandering. Caleb had been promised a portion of the land, and he asked for what he had been assured of earlier. He said to Joshua:
"Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, 'The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.'" (Joshua 14:6-9 NLT)
Notice an important phrase: "You wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God." It simply means that Caleb wasn't a halfhearted person.
I think we have a lot of halfhearted people filling the pews of churches today. They want to give the bare minimum to the One who gave everything for them. If you try to live as a Christian but live as you please, you will find conflict. Some people have too much of the Lord to be happy in this world, and too much of this world to be happy in the Lord. They're living in a miserable no-man's-land.
I became a Christian at the age of 17. I had been out in the world for 17 years, and I think I had more than my share of it. I was raised in an alcoholic home where my mom was married and divorced seven times. For a time I got into drinking and partying. It was all I had ever known up to that point in my life. I had never gone to church to speak of, except for a while when I lived with my grandparents. I knew nothing of the things of God. I had been raised in this world, and I saw it for what it was.
Even at 17, I was already sick of the way my life was going. I was in search mode, convinced there had to be more than this. I was disillusioned by the adult world I saw. I realized they didn't have the answers. And I didn't like the way my generation was going and what we were chasing after. I knew we didn't have the answers, either.
Then I heard the Gospel. I heard about Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow him. I responded and gave my heart to the Lord. I started going to a Bible study where I met some halfhearted Christians who wanted to play with the world and still be Christians. That made no sense to me. I had been there and done that. I knew how empty and futile it was. I couldn't imagine how anyone could know the forgiveness of God and still want to dabble with this world. I thought, "Why bother?" I'd had enough of it to get my fill.
I hope you don't have to learn this the hard way. You can take God's word for it. He tells you to stay away from certain things for your own good. Or you can say, "What does God know? What does anyone else know? I'll do it my way." And then you can face the consequences of that decision.
Caleb referred to an important place: Kadesh-barnea. This may not mean a lot to us, but it's a key point in Caleb's story. Forty-five years earlier, Caleb, Moses and Joshua, along with the children of Israel, came to the edge of the Promised Land. The point of entry was Kadesh-barnea. They had quickly made the trek from Egypt and were poised to enter the land.
It doesn't take 40 years to get there from Egypt, however. They were going in circles. Why did it take them so long? Here's why: When they arrived at Kadesh-barnea, they decided to send in some spies. They chose 12 men to go in, see what was going on, and then return with their report.
They probably should have just gone into Canaan and believed the Lord. He had promised he would watch out for them and bless them and get them through. But instead they sent in spies.
After a time in the land, the spies came back. The majority of 10 effectively said, "You don't want to go into that place. Everything in this land is big. The walls are big. The cities are big. The soldiers are big. We were like grasshoppers in their sight. There are giants in the land."
Caleb and Joshua, however, returned with a minority report. They brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it took the two of them to carry it. The people were angry with Joshua and Caleb for daring to suggest they continue into the land. They actually wanted to kill them.
If you want to finish well and wholeheartedly follow God, then you won't compromise but instead stand your ground. You will be more concerned with the approval of God than the approval of people.
It would have been so easy for Caleb and Joshua to go along with the crowd. Everyone was saying it, but they knew it was wrong. They stood their ground at the risk of being personally ostracized and losing their friends - and even their lives.
Think of how many people today are held back spiritually because they are so concerned with the opinions of others.
Don't lead a half-hearted life. Make sure that every day counts. You don't want to waste a single moment.
Daily Jot: The next Civil War in America - Bill Wilson -
The liberal left has been fighting an underground civil war in America against anyone who disagrees with their radical and extremist political ideals. The heartbeat of that civil war is growing stronger and becoming more public with each passing day. No different than Islamic extremists, these socialists, communists and, yes, Democrats, are calling for and condoning violence. It is very similar to Islam in that the apologists keep saying that they are peaceful, yet they will not condemn violence when it occurs. It is a sad state of affairs when politics and religion cannot be discussed with civility among Americans. This is, however, the atmosphere that has boiled to the top of the leftist cauldron of "resistance."
Examples this week are indicators of just how bold the political intolerance and ideological bigotry of the left have become. In a TMZ interview on Sunday, 94 year old Actress Carole Cook (Dynasty, Cagney & Lacey) was asked what she thought of President Trump. She replied, "Where's John Wilkes Booth when you need him?" When asked in a follow up if she meant that Trump should be assassinated, she said, "Why not?" On Tuesday, an anonymous Democrat Socialist tweeted that he planned to attend a Trump "Make America Great Again" rally in Washington, DC, tweeting, "I am coming with a gun and I expect to get numerous bloodstained MAGA hats as trophies." The tweet pictured what appeared to be a .45 caliber or 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.
PJ Media reports that lastweek, PJ Media contributor and Fox News guest Denise McAllister sent out a powerful tweet denouncing the abortion movement. The tweet stated: "At the root of [abortion] hysteria is women's unhinged desire for irresponsible sex. Sex is their god. Abortion is their sacrament. It's abhorrent as women have flung themselves from the heights of being the world's civilizing force to the muck and mire of dehumanizing depravity." Since then, McAllister, a rape survivor, had to take herself and her children into hiding because of death and rape threats against her. When she went public about the threats, pro-abortion Twitter users approved of the threats against her.
On Sunday, Farzad Fazeli of Castro Valley, CA., was arrested after he approached Republican congressional candidate Rudy Peters yelling obscenities about Trump, and then threatened to kill Peters with a switchblade he pulled from his pocket. Arson is expected in a fire set to the Republican Party office in Laramie, WY last Thursday. Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has been calling for people to harass Trump supporters at restaurants, gas stations, and even in their homes. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who survived an assassination attempt in July 2017, Friday said that the left should be held accountable for inciting violence against conservatives. This is the next civil war in America. Proverbs 17:11 says, "An evil man seeks only rebellion." Let us stand in the gap to resist such evil with prayer and action.
Daily Devotion: Revival Starts with Prayer - By Greg Laurie -
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." -Matthew 7:7
There never has been a prayerless revival in history. Revival starts with prayer.
God said, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Notice God said, "Pray and seek My face." We should not only pray, but we also should seek His face. There is a difference. We can pray like this: "Lord, send revival. Amen." Now let's get lunch. Or, we can pray, "Lord, we are seeking You. Lord, we are calling out to You. Lord, we are desperate for You. Lord, we need You. Send an awakening to America." It is effectively a prayer that doesn't take no for an answer.
Are we being presumptuous when we pray that way? No, because Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7 NKJV). Another way to translate this would be, "Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking." Jesus goes on to say, "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (verse 8 NKJV).
When we are praying for revival, we are praying according to the will of God. When we are praying for the salvation of a loved one, we are praying according to the will of God. We need to press forward in our prayers and seek His face, not backing down.
We cannot organize a revival, but we can agonize for one in prayer. Perhaps we can prepare the ground. Better yet, we ought to "pre-prayer" the ground. Press on.
FROM THE HEART
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