Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30- More Dreams

November 30, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 7:1-28; 1 John 1:1-10;
Psalm 119:153-176; Proverbs 28:23-24

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, 
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. 
~Oscar Wilde

Daniel 7:1-28

For many years Daniel surely contemplated the dream that had been given to King Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel was just a teenager in Babylon.  Daniel had been given the privilege by God of interpreting the dream about the future empires that would rule the world during the times of the Gentiles on earth.  The Israelites were in captivity because they had sinned against their God and worshiped idols.  God brought the Israelites their good King David and formed his line of heirs, and yet, even during Solomon's reign, the people had worshiped idols instead of the One True God of Israel.  As the story goes, God punished the Israelites by sending them into captivity, eventually scattering them across the earth and ending their earthly kingdom for a time.  The world would be handed over to the Gentile nations to be ruled until Jesus' Second Coming.  Nebuchadnezzar's dream revealed the external nature of those world empires appointed by God.  Today, Daniel, who is an old man by now, is given a dream by God.  Nebuchadnezzar is dead and  King Belshazzar, his grandson, is co-regent in Babylon.  It is in the first year of his reign that Daniel has a dream that describes the internal nature of the Gentile empires that will rule the earth until the earthly reign of Jesus Christ comes.

The Dream

The dream begins with Daniel seeing a storm churning on the sea like a great hurricane.  Out of the water come four  huge beasts.  You may remember that the Bible indicates that the earth comes out of the water in Genesis.  The Apostle Peter refers to this in his second epistle.  It is fitting that the empires of the earth/land come up from the sea, just as the land came up from the sea and man came up from the land.  This is good symbolism on God's part. Here are the descriptions of the beasts:
  • The first beast is a lion with eagle's wings that are pulled off and the lion stands up like a human.  The lion is given a human heart. Vs. 4
  • The second beast looks like a bear.  It has three ribs in its teeth.  It is told to devour many people. Vs. 5
  • The third beast looks like a leopard or panther and has four wings on it's back. This beast is given great authority. Vs. 6
  • The fourth beast is terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devours and crushes its victims.   It has ten horns and then a small horn appears among them. Three horns are wrenched from the head to make room for the little horn.  The little horn has human eyes all over it and a mouth that boasts constantly. Vs. 7-8
This is just one part of the dream.  Next, Daniel sees thrones being put in place and the Ancient One sitting down to judge. This is awesome to me.  He is clothed in white and his hair is white.  He is on a fiery throne with wheels that blaze.  A river of fire flows from the throne and a million angels minister to Him.  One hundred million angels attend to Him.  Can you imagine this?  Court begins and the books are opened.  Gasp...

While this is happening, the little horn that is covered in eyes keeps talking and boasting.  Shut up, already... The fourth beast is killed and destroyed by fire.  Then someone who looks like a man is coming in the clouds into the presence of the Ancient One. This man is given authority, power, and honor over all of the nations of the earth so that people of every race, nation, and language will obey him.  His rule is eternal and will never end.  His kingdom will never be destroyed.  This ends the dream.

The Interpretation:

Daniel gets an interpretation of the dream while still in the vision.  Nice.  He approaches an individual who is standing near the thrones.  I assume this is one of the millions of angels.  Anyway, he asks what all of this means.  Here is what the man tells him:
  • The four beasts are four kingdoms that will rise up on earth.
  • In the end, the holy people of God will get the kingdom that lasts forever.
  • The fourth beast is the final world power that is going to rule the earth.
  • It will devour the whole world and trample people down.
  • Ten kings/leaders will be in an alliance in the fourth kingdom.
  • A leader will arise among them by usurping three of the leaders and he will be an evil ruler, who tramples down the holy people of God (Jewish and converts to Christ during the Tribulation).
  • He will do this for 3 1/2 years.
  • At the end of this time God's court will pass judgment upon him and his power will be taken away and he and his kingdom will be completely destroyed.
  • Then all power and authority will be given to the holy people of God, who will rule forever.
This ends the dream.  Daniel is shaken and terrified.  Who can blame him?

Okay.  Let's talk about the symbolism in this dream.  We discussed that these earthly world systems come up out of the sea and this is a symbolism that ties back to the creation of the world.  The beasts correspond to the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw.  Here is a chart that clarifies this:

The Statue                             The Four Beasts                                      Nations Designated

Head of Gold                           Lion                                                           Babylon
Arms/Chest of Silver               Bear                                                           Media-Persia
Belly/Thighs of Brass              Panther/Leopard                                        Graeco-Macedonia
Legs of Iron                             Composite Beast                                        Rome
Feet of Iron and Clay               Composite Beast                                        Rome/Alliances

Now, let's talk about the symbolism of the beasts.  First, Daniel is shown the internal natures of these various kingdoms through the images of these beasts.  They are beasts that devour people.  All of these animals were actually common to the area around the Mediterranean Sea.  This is the sea from which the beasts arise.  These nation/empires also surrounded the Mediterranean Sea in actual history. The lion with wings speaks of the speed and ferocity of Nebuchadnezzar's reign in Babylon. He was able to take over vast territories because he could move his armies quickly and they were incredibly powerful. This is what the wings represent.  The lion stands on the ground with two feet like a human.  This is a prediction of Nebuchadnezzar's restoration to his right mind after becoming like a beast of the field.  The lion is given the heart of a man.  This is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar's conversion to faith in the One True God of Heaven.

The bear, which raised up on one side, shows the duel nature of this next kingdom.  The Medes rose up and defeated Babylon, while the Persians conquered Egypt and the rest of the world, which had been ruled by Babylon. The three ribs in the mouth are the three areas conquered including Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.  This empire moved like a big, lumbering bear that devoured many people groups.

A panther/leopard is a creature that pounces upon its prey in surprise.  This very aptly describes how Alexander the Great built the Greek/Macedonian Empire.  The four wings on this creature indicate the speed with which Alexander's armies could move and strike.  Nebuchadnezzar's armies would look like they were swimming in quicksand compared to Alexander's men.

The next beast cannot be found in the zoo or in nature.  This tells us that the nature of the next kingdom and its ability to conquer people is altogether of a different nature.  This beast is terrifying precisely because it is different from anything else. You and I are living during the times of this fourth beast/kingdom. We know that the ancient Roman empire was something to behold.  It spread its tentacles far and wide, making it all the way to the British Isles. No one actually overcame the Roman Empire. It just fell apart under the weight of corruption and excess.  The empire loosely exists to this day.  We see that this beast grows ten horns that come out of the structure of the beast.  To us that would mean 10 kings of countries that form an alliance from the territories that were part of the old Roman Empire are part of this fourth kingdom. This image corresponds to the ten toes on the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream.  The feet made of clay and iron eventually have enough power to smash everyone on earth. This fourth beast is described as devouring its victims with iron teeth and bronze claws. It also tramples people underfoot.  We learn that from the 10 heads of these countries that a little horn, or seemingly insignificant leader, is able to overpower 3 of the 10 leaders and become the dominant ruler of this fourth worldwide kingdom on earth.  This little horn has many eyes that represent knowledge and human genius.  He has a boastful mouth that runs constantly.  Gee, should it surprise us that the Antichrist is a boastful, pushy, arrogant guy?  No. We see that this last ruler is particularly vicious against God's holy people.  This would include Jews and Christians, who are converts during the Great Tribulation.  They are actually under his control for three and a half years.

Daniel's dream indicates that God's court of judgment rules that this impostor/Antichrist is to have his power taken away and is to be completely destroyed.   It is at this time that all of the earthly kingdoms are put under the submission of the holy people of God.  The rock that was hewn supernaturally in Nebuchadnezzar's dream and the man who comes on the clouds into the presence of the Ancient One's court is the same Jesus Christ who will set up his earthly kingdom and rule the kingdoms of the earth for one thousand years.  Please note that the Ancient One is on a throne with fiery wheels, which indicate swift movement and a river of fire flowing forth from Him.  In most symbolism in Scripture, water flows from the city of Jerusalem or from a throne with water representing life.  In this picture, fire is flowing from the Ancient of Days to represent judgment and destruction.  Satan and evil will be judged after this time of earthly reign. After that, having destroyed evil, Christ will reign forever in a new heaven and a new earth. 

You see that Daniel was given a sneak peek into the future of the world and the next world.  He is given the end of the story.  What do you think?  Daniel was terrified and pale with fear.  Are you?

1 John 1:1-10

This is the first of three letters from the Apostle John, who is known as the apostle that Jesus loved.  John is the oldest and longest surviving disciple of all of the men who were called to follow him as his Twelve.  You may remember that John was given the responsibility of caring for Jesus' mother, Mary, before Jesus died on the cross.  Jesus surely knew that John would outlive his mother.

This is not actually a letter, but a sermon that was more than likely given to the people who formed the church in Ephesus.  John lived in Ephesus before being exiled to the isle of Patmos where he died. Ephesus is in present day Turkey. The church in Ephesus was founded by the Apostle Paul. 

John opens this sermon by establishing that Jesus existed from the beginning, and John has both seen him and heard him personally.  Jesus is the Word of life.  Remember that God formed the universe by His Word, which means logos, logic, personality, essence.  Jesus is the embodiment of God's essence.  John clarifies that Jesus is also eternal life.  God breathes life into people and God also can cause a life to last forever.  This is what Jesus does.  He enables living beings to live forever. He actually is that eternal life. 

Because God is also light, it is through God that we dispel spiritual darkness.  John reminds the Church that if you are in spiritual darkness, you do not truly have God in your life. If you live in the light of God's presence, then you experience fellowship with other people and you will have love for other people in your life. 

Another key to the Christian life is to admit that we have sin in our lives.  The key is not to act like you do not sin, but to confess your sins.  If you confess your sins, Jesus is faithful and just and will forgive your sins and cleanse you from your unrighteousness. Since God has declared that we are sinners (note Genesis), we call Him a liar if we say we have not sinned.  The Word of God establishes truth for us and it says we are sinners.

Do you admit that you are a sinner?  Have you lived your life perfectly and never done wrong to any other person?  If not, you are a sinner.

Psalm 119:153-179

Here the psalmist is asking God to argue his case for him.  He is longing for God's salvation and is relying on God's Word and laws to preserve him.  We saw God's court in Daniel's dream today.  Surely, we need Jesus to be our advocate in God's court and we need God's Word to direct our path.

Proverbs  28:23-24

This is so true.  People appreciate frankness rather than flattery in the end. Ooh, robbing from your parents is the equivalent of murdering.  Tell your teen this proverb!

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29- Prayer And Other Problems

November 29, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 6:1-28; 2 Peter 3:1-18;
Psalm 119:129-152; Proverbs 28:21-22

There is a vast difference between saying prayers and praying.  

Daniel 6:1-28

If someone was looking for a way to accuse you of wrong doing in your life what evidence could they find?  Would they see lying, stealing, gossiping or unfaithfulness? Daniel is tested by political opponents and a plot is devised to take his life. But what do Daniel's enemies find in order to accuse this man? All they can find is that he prays a lot to his God.

Today, we are in a new administration in Babylon.  It is no longer the Babylonian Empire. The Medes and Persians have defeated the Babylonians and now Daniel is an administrator in this new empire. Darius is the ruler and he has appointed 100 princes to rule the various parts of the empire. We see that the vision of the statue that God gave to Nebuchadnezzar is coming true. The next part of the statue under the head of gold was a chest and arms of silver.  The metal was of a lesser value and the arms indicate division within the empire. There is a deterioration of power and quality of rule. With Darius sharing his power with 100 princes, it is confirmed that he does not have the autocratic authority that Nebuchadnezzar had. Darius does not trust these 100 princes, so Daniel is assigned to oversee them.  Needless to say, these men are not pleased. They look for a means of destroying Daniel. Truth be told, it is Satan behind these men who is looking to destroy this man of God. Daniel's influence and testimony for God has spanned decades. Satan is hoping for a clean break from God's hand in this new political situation.

The one hundred princes convince King Darius to enact a law that states that for the next thirty days anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, besides the king will be thrown to the lions. It is known that Daniel is a righteous man who prays three times a day to the God of heaven. When Daniel learns of this new law, he does what Daniel always does...he prays to God for help. You may recall that as a teenager Daniel took a stand about dietary issues and sought God's help. He also sought God's help about the dreams that Nebuchadnezzar had. Daniel is used to turning to God and relying on Him through prayer. This will be no different. Prayer matures one's faith. Daniel communicates with God, and God responds to Daniel. Theirs is a personal relationship. Daniel has a rich prayer life and a mature faith.

When Darius learns that Daniel is guilty of praying to someone besides Darius, he is very upset with himself for enacting the law.  The reason is that under Medes/Persian law, any law that is enacted cannot be retracted. This seems extreme, but that was the way it was.  Even the ruler was bound by this law and unable to change it. As Darius has Daniel arrested, he calls to Daniel to say that he hopes the God that Daniel worships continually will save him. What a testimony Daniel's life has been!  The king is compelled to fast for Daniel all night. In the morning, he rushes to see if Daniel's God has come through for him.

Indeed, Daniel does not have a scratch on him because he has trusted in God and God has saved Daniel from the mouths of the lions. The king has Daniel's accusers arrested and thrown into the lions' den with their families. Then, the king of this new empire does something similar to what Nebuchadnezzar did in his empire. Darius sends out a public testimony to the whole empire about Daniel's God.  He decrees that this God is actually living, unlike the dead idols that are worshiped throughout the land. This God has a kingdom that will last forever and his rule will never end. This is an important statement coming from the most powerful man on earth. This God rescues people and this God rescued Daniel from the power of lions.

What Darius does not know is that Daniel was rescued from the power of Satan.  Did you know that as a believer you are in a lion's den?  1 Peter 5:8 says that your adversary the Devil is a roaring lion who walks about seeking whom he may devour.  As the prince of this world, Satan is the lion in the den where we live.  We, like Daniel, must pray to be rescued. We must have our lives be living testimonies to the power of the living God. 

Is your life marked by prayer?  How has God delivered you from the lion of Satan?  Your salvation is an act of being rescued by God from the lion.

2 Peter 3:1-18

In our reading today, Peter is helping us learn how to think as Christians.  Proper thinking prevents poor performance.  Peter says that in both of his letters, he has tried to promote wholesome thinking and remind the believers of what the holy prophets and the Lord have said. This is how we renew our minds.

He is warning that in the end there will be scoffers who try to claim that God is not coming back and has forgotten His promises. Peter says that these people have deliberately forgotten that it is God who created this world by the word of his command (See Genesis 1 and John 1). Peter clarifies that Scripture indicates that land (the earth) was brought up out of the water and surrounded by water (the atmosphere). God eventually used water to destroy everything in the Flood. But one day, the heavens and the earth will be consumed and destroyed in judgment by fire. This is also how ungodly people will perish.

Has God forgotten?  No.  Peter points out that God is not on our time scale. To God, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day. What is God up to? He is being patient so that more people can be saved. He is giving time for people to repent of their sins.

Peter warns that the future holds a day when the Lord will return. It will be unexpected, like when a thief enters a home. The heavens will pass away in the future. Everything will be destroyed by fire.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth formed, where everyone is right with God.  This is our hope.

Believers are encouraged to live at peace with God while they wait for this to occur. The Lord is waiting and giving people time to be saved.  Peter notes that the Apostle Paul confirmed this in his writings.

Peter encourages believers to stay firm in their footing and not be carried away by false teaching, but grow in their knowledge of Jesus.

Are you growing in your knowledge of Jesus?  Do you realize what the future holds?  God has a purpose in unfolding this story in the Bible.  He warns of future days for a reason.  Do you help others to know this future?

Psalm 119:129-152

Verse 145 says, "I pray with all of my heart; answer me, Lord!"  I bet Daniel prayed this.

Proverbs 28:21-22

Greed and partiality are never good.

What are you learning?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28- A Message Of Doom

November 28, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 5:1-31; 2 Peter 2:1-22;
Psalm 119:113-128; Proverbs 28:19-20

Alas, regardless of their doom, the little victims play! 
No sense have they of ills to come, nor care beyond today. 
~Thomas Gray

Daniel 5:1-31

Scripture reveals that God does not always pursue an individual. Some people, it would seem, are doomed. Today we meet Belshazzar.  He is the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar and is now the co-regent with his father of the Babylonian Empire.  Nebuchadnezzar passed away and the kingdom is now in the hands of this prideful and arrogant man. As the story begins, Belshazzar is holding a great feast with a thousand nobles of his kingdom.  A great opportunity for drinking, Belshazzar has ordered that the gold and silver cups/vessels that were taken from Jerusalem and God's Temple be brought out to be used at this banquet. These Temple cups are used by the men and women at the party to make toasts to the idol gods of Babylon that are made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

As they are toasting, a finger appears and writes on the wall of the banquet hall near a lampstand.  This allows people to see the strange words in the light. People go pale with fear. The king is so shaken that his knees knock with fear and his legs give way beneath him.  He calls for the local astrologers, magicians, and fortune-tellers to be brought in to interpret the words.  They are unable to make sense of them.

Belshazzar's mother informs him of Daniel, a man who has the spirit of the holy gods inside of himself.  Daniel is called to the banquet hall to read the words. Belshazzar tells him that if he is able to interpret the words, he will make him the third highest ruler. This is because Belshazzar is in the second position under his father. Daniel recounts for Belshazzar that Nebuchadnezzar, his grandfather, learned the lesson that the Most High God rules the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over these kingdoms.  Nebuchadnezzar had been humbled, but Belshazzar did not learn from the example of his grandfather.  Belshazzar is prideful and worships idols.  He has not honored God, who controls his destiny!  The words on the wall are MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN and they mean the following:
  • Mene- means numbered. God has numbered the days of his reign and is bringing it to an end.
  • Tekel- means weighed. Belshazzar has been weighed and found wanting.  He has failed God's test.
  • Parin- means divided. His kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.
Daniel is honored by Belshazzar, put in a purple robe, and made the third highest ruler in the land.

That night, Belshazzar was killed and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.  This all happened in the year 539 B.C. Belshazzar was not pursued by God, he was doomed by God.

Do you recognize that God controls everything?

2 Peter 2:1-22

Today, Peter guides us and warns us about false teachers in the Church. This is where apostasy gets the fuel for its fire. The first warning is that false teachers are ultimately greedy and all about money. Do they always reach for your purse? They just might be false teachers. Peter warns that false teachers are doomed to destruction.

He explains that angels have fallen and been doomed. The people on the earth during the flood were doomed. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were doomed. And false teachers are going to be doomed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have caused others. He compares them to Balaam, the Old Testament character who prophesied for money's sake. His donkey had to stop him from his wickedness. Peter says the the wicked are doomed to the blackest darkness.

People are slaves to whatever controls them and Peter says that these false teachers are controlled by sin. They are like dogs that return to their vomit and pigs that return to mud. 

These are strong words designed to keep believers from listening to false teachers. 

Are you able to discern false teachers because you know your Bible so well?

Psalm 119:113-128

The psalmist wants evil-minded people to get out of his life.  Peter would be pleased.

Proverbs 28:19-20

People who try to get rich quick tend to get in trouble. The false teachers that Peter warns against want to get rich off of preaching and teaching.

What did you notice today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27- The Most High Rules

November 27, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 4:1-37; 2 Peter 1:1-21;
Psalm 119:97-112; Proverbs 28:17-18

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven.  
~Daniel 4:37

Daniel 4:1-37

What does it take for God to get your attention?  In today's passage, we get a personal testimony from King Nebuchadnezzar about what it took for him to finally come to a saving knowledge and a personal relationship with the God of the universe. It is a dramatic story of temporary insanity. This is what it took for God to get through to this powerful man.

As our reading begins, Nebuchadnezzar sends a message to the people of his empire. It is the known world at his time and includes people of every race, nation, and language. This is the platform from which God intends to get the truth about Himself to the whole world.

The first thing that Nebuchadnezzar testifies to in his message is that God has worked miracles in his life. This God is the head of a kingdom that will last forever through all generations. This is quite  different from the reaction that Nebuchadnezzar had after his first dream of the statue. He still didn't get that the God of Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego could be his God, too, at that time.  But God sends Nebuchadnezzar another dream. God is pursuing this man.

In this dream a large tree is in the middle of the earth. It is tall and strong and reaches into heaven. The tree provides fruit for people and shelter for animals. Then the tree is cut down to a stump. Nebuchadnezzar sees that he must have the mind of an animal for seven periods of time and the purpose is to decree that the whole world know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.

Daniel is brought in to interpret this dream. When he hears the dream, Daniel (Beltashazzar) is discouraged that this is going to happen to his friend, the king.  Daniel relays that King Nebuchadnezzar is that tree. The king's strength and greatness grows up into heaven and he rules the ends of the earth. But the Lord has decreed that Nebuchadnezzar will be driven from human society and will live like an animal in the fields, eating grass like a cow and being drenched with dew. This will be for seven periods. After this time, the king will receive back his kingdom.  Daniel entreats Nebuchadnezzar to stop sinning and to be merciful to the poor and perhaps the Lord will not bring this upon him.  Nebuchadnezzar is given a year to repent from God, but does not. Instead, he gloats with pride over the wonderful city of Babylon, which he has built with his own hands and for his own glory. After the year, Nebuchadnezzar's insanity drives him from his kingdom and into the fields just as predicted by God.

Nebuchadnezzar testifies that after a period of time, he looks up to heaven and his sanity returned to him.  With new clarity, Nebuchadnezzar sees that the Most High God is to be honored. He acknowledges that God has an everlasting kingdom, and the power to do as He pleases. No person can challenge God. Here is Nebuchadnezzar's final testimony,
"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud."  Daniel 4:37
Can I get an "Amen!"? God finally got through to this man. Nebuchadnezzar's testimony was sent throughout the known world at the time. God got the glory He deserves for being the Creator and King of the earth. We see Nebuchadnezzar going from knowing about God to personally knowing God.

Do you testify of God's power to other people that you know? Do you understand that earthly governments are temporary, but God's rule is forever? How does this change your attitude about things? Does God need to go to extreme measures to humble you?

2 Peter 1:1-21

The second epistle of Peter is Peter's swan song to the Church.  It was written just prior to his martyrdom, probably in 66 AD, and is the equivalent of the Apostle Paul's letter 2 Timothy.  Peter's emphasis is that the knowledge of Jesus Christ will keep the true Church from apostasy.

The letter opens with Peter's call for believers to cherish the faith that helps them to know the Lord Jesus Christ better and better. Knowing him better is the key to possessing the divine power that gives believers the ability to live godly lives.  Peter points out that we are called to receive this power. Have you ever wondered how to escape the decadence of our age? Peter says that knowing Christ personally is the key to escaping temptation.  Here is a pattern set forth by Peter:
  • Faith produces moral excellence.
  • Moral excellence leads to knowing God better.
  • Knowing God better leads to self-control.
  • Self-control leads to patient endurance.
  • Patient endurance leads to godliness.
  • Godliness leads to loving other Christians.
  • Loving other Christians leads to loving everyone.
This is how faith grows and results in love. Peter argues that it takes hard work to prove that you are among God's chosen. The results of the hard work are the opportunity to enter the eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. We saw today that Nebuchadnezzar was looking forward to this same Kingdom.

Peter says that he is going to keep reminding the Church of these truths and that his days on earth are numbered. Peter reminds them that he was with Christ as God confirmed that Jesus is His beloved Son.  He was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. This man knows that of which he speaks! He is a witness. This is his testimony.

It is the Holy Spirit that prompts this truth to go out into the world.

Have you seen the pattern that Peter laid out occur in your life?  Where are you on the path of faith?

Psalm 119:97-112

God's Word/Law prompts the psalmist to be wiser than his enemies and to have more insight than his teachers.  God's Word is sweeter than honey and a lamp unto his feet. Are you guided by God's Word in your life?

Proverbs 28:17-18

In the end, the wicked are destroyed. This occurs in the future at the judgment.

What are you learning?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26- The Revealer Of Mysteries

November 26, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 2:24-3:30; 1 Peter 4:7-5:14;
Psalm 119:81-96; Proverbs 28:15-16

But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets... 
~Daniel 2:28

Daniel 2:24-3:30

Do you ever wonder what the future holds for your life, your loved ones' lives, and the world at large?  I was watching a television show once that had a guy who was supposedly a psychic. People in the audience wanted to know if their loved ones who had passed away could see them and if they had anything to say to them. They also wanted to know about future events in their lives.  Today, Daniel is given a prophecy that is one of the foundations for understanding God's plan for the earth. God gives Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar a look into the future. You and I are the beneficiaries of God's decision to reveal these mysteries.

King Nebuchadnezzar was not always a world dictator. He started out as a local petty chieftain in Babylon. Over time he conquered local tribes and increased his influence. Eventually, he moved on to take over the Assyrian empire, the Syrians, and Egypt. For some reason, he did not attempt to take over the Greeks. His territory included the then-known world. As a result, Nebuchadnezzar is considered the first world dictator. You may remember that in Genesis we met a man named Nimrod, who headed up the construction of the Tower of Babel. He was a mighty warrior on the earth and attempted to unite the world under his rule. God put an end to his attempts through confusing the languages on earth. It is no mistake that Nebuchadnezzar is in the same geographical location as he attempts to unite the known world under his authority. Do you see the thread of history? Some of you may wonder why Egypt with all of its power was never a world empire. It is because the Egyptians were never willing to move beyond the Nile River region. They were powerful, but tied to their area.

As we read yesterday, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that had shaken him to his core. None of the wise men and magicians of Babylon were able to tell the king the nature of his dream. We see that he must have had doubts about the abilities of these men, because he is prepared to kill them all. Daniel has been granted time to respond to the king. Through and because of prayer, God reveals to Daniel the dream and the interpretation of the dream.

In the presence of the king, Daniel establishes that there is a God in heaven, who is a revealer of mysteries. It is this God who has shown King Nebuchadnezzar the future of the earth in his dream. Daniel has this man's attention. Daniel reveals that in the dream the king saw a shining, brilliant, awesome, and frightening statue of a man. The head was gold, the chest and arms were silver, the belly and thighs were bronze, the legs were iron, and the feet were iron mixed with clay. As the king watched, a rock that was cut out of a mountain by supernatural means struck the feet of the statue and smashed the feet to bits. The whole statue then collapsed into a heap. All the tiny pieces of the statue were blown away by the wind, as if they were chaff. The rock that had crushed the statue became a great mountain that covered the whole earth. That concluded the description of the area.

Now, Daniel begins to give the interpretation of the dream. The first thing that he tells Nebuchadnezzar is that it is God who has given the king his sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. Daniel is showing that it is God who makes kings who they are and gives them their power. We have some modern day politicians who need to realize this. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold on the statue. Next, another great kingdom will come upon the earth that is inferior to the Babylonian empire.  After that, a third great kingdom will rise that is represented by the bronze belly and thighs. Following that kingdom will be a fourth kingdom that is made of iron and smashes everything it strikes. It will be mixed with clay to show that it is vulnerable.  This kingdom will try to strengthen itself by forming alliances, but it will not succeed. 

The rock cut from the mountain represents a kingdom that God, Himself, will form.  His kingdom will destroy all the other kingdoms of the earth, and no one will ever conquer God's kingdom. God has shown King Nebuchadnezzar the future. At this news, Nebuchadnezzar falls to the ground in front of Daniel and worships him. We should note that Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king, who was used to worshiping idols. To worship Daniel after this amazing interpretation would have been perfectly natural. He then appoints Daniel to be a judge and prime minister of Babylon. 

Because Daniel's prophecy is a key prophecy in Scripture that acts as an anchor for all of God's story, I am going to make this blog longer than usual in order to discuss this prophecy. Please hang with me on this.

The prophecy given to Daniel shows us several things.  First, here are the kingdoms that are represented in the statue and are the kingdoms that represent the "times of the Gentiles" on earth.

Gold head-  Babylonian Empire
Silver chest and arms- Media-Persian Empire
Brass belly and thighs- Greek-Macedonian Empire
Iron legs- Roman Empire
Feet of Iron and Clay- Last Form of the Roman Empire

Note that the types of metal reflect that each subsequent kingdom is inferior to the previous kingdom.  The position of the metals reflect decreasing importance. And the division of sovereignty within the kingdoms can be detected by the position on the statue's body. We can interpret that dictatorships are the purest form of power. Only Nebuchadnezzar is a pure dictator.  When Christ comes to reign on earth, he will be a perfect and benevolent dictator. The subsequent kingdoms are divided and not truly dictatorships. Daniel is alive and serving during the Media-Persian empire. It is divided, which is represented on the statue by the arms. The Greek and Macedonian empire is formed by Alexander the Great. Finally, the Roman Empire is still in existence. It is represented by two iron legs, and then two feet with ten toes that are a mixture of iron and clay. The form of government was representative in nature. Power within was compromised. The ancient Roman empire fell from within from corruption and excess. The countries that were part of that empire are still in existence and still have power through alliances today. This is seen in the mixture of iron and clay in the feet. The final dictator on earth (the Antichrist and the false prophet) will come from the feet of iron and clay.  Please note that the ten toes on the feet represent ten countries that will be in alliance to form this final kingdom. 

God addresses the geo-political aspect of history in this vision. He addresses the fact that Jesus Christ will be an earthly ruler (the rock that is hewn from the mountain) one day, and will crush the inferior world political system that mankind has set up. It is important to note that once God took King David's line off the throne of Israel (beginning with their captivities by Assyria and Babylon) and replaced Israel's world influence with Babylon as the world empire, we see the times of the Gentiles begin.  God's intention is for the influence of the Gentiles to usher in the end times. You and I are living in the times of the Gentiles. Many wannabe world dictators have attempted to unite the Roman Empire again, including Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler. None will accomplish this until God appoints that final dictator. When the time is right, the Antichrist will rise on the world political scene and unite a fragile coalition of countries.

Rather than creating the utopia that man has always dreamed about on earth, this final world dictator will bring the earth to the brink of destruction (See Revelation 16-18). Jesus Christ will return at the last moment, defeat this dictator, and usher in a righteous kingdom on earth.  He will reign for one thousand years to show himself strong on the earth that he created. He will also fulfill his promises to the children of Israel.  Please see the following Scriptures as references to Christ's second coming: Zechariah 14:1-3; Joel 3:2, 9-16; Isaiah 34:1-8; Psalm 2. Please note that multiple Scriptures describe Jesus as a rock including Matt. 21:44; I Cor. 3:11, and Deut. 32:15.  This Rock will crush his enemies and be the foundation of an eternal kingdom.

After receiving this vision, we see that rather than being humbled by the vision and following the god of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is filled with pride and builds a ninety foot tall statue that represents himself in the plain of Dura in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar has all of the important officials gathered to announce that people of all races, nations, and religions must bow to worship his image.  Somehow, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar missed the point of God's dream to him. The crushed statue didn't stick with this egomaniac. Only the head of gold is in his eyes. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the Jewish advisers to the king, refuse to bow down to this image.  They are not Chaldeans by birth. They worship the One True God of Israel. Note that Daniel is conspicuously absent. As the prime minister, he was busy. Some Chaldeans go to the king to rat on Daniel's friends, who did not attend the forced worship service at this statue.  Nebuchadnezzar has another brilliant idea to burn in a furnace any person who does not worship the statue.  When he discovers that these men refused to bow, he flies into a rage. We are beginning to see that Nebuchadnezzar is possibly bi-polar. He definitely has delusions of grandeur and has managed to utilize his craziness to acquire power.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego continue to be stellar examples of faith when they declare to Nebuchadnezzar that the God they worship is able to deliver them, even from the fire.  But, if their God chooses not to deliver them, they will never worship his gods or the statue. Nebuchadnezzar is distortedly furious at this statement.  He has the furnace heated to four times its normal temperature.  This actually kills the unfortunate soldiers who threw the men into the furnace. 

As Nebuchadnezzar watches the furnace, he sees four men, rather than three men, walking around in the furnace.  He notes that one of the men looks like a son of the gods. You and I know that Jesus Christ (pre-incarnate) came in the midst of this fiery trial and saved the three men. Please remember that Christ shares the fiery trials in our lives. He is present with us in our suffering. Acknowledging that they are servants of the most High God, Nebuchadnezzar commands the men to come out of the furnace. He admits that there is no other god who can rescue like this and he promotes the men to higher positions in the kingdom.

Do you think God is pursuing Nebuchadnezzar?  He is persistently presenting Himself to this man.  How is God pursuing you?  How has He revealed mysteries in your life?

1 Peter 4:7-5:14

I guess we should not think it a coincidence that Peter begins today's passage with the statement, "The end of the world is coming." The Bible is a book that tells us these things. It is map for the future of mankind.  Peter uses this fact to encourage right living in the face of suffering.  Here is what he suggests today:
  • Be earnest and disciplined in prayer. Vs. 7
  • Show deep love for one another. Vs. 8
  • Share your home with others in need. Vs. 9
  • Use the spiritual gifts that God has given you to help others. Vs. 10
  • Accept fiery trials in your life (wow! how appropriate!)  Vs. 12
  • Consider trials an opportunity to share in Christ's suffering.  Vs. 13
  • Be happy when insulted. This is another opportunity to identify with Christ Vs. 14
  • Don't be glad if your suffering is resulting from your own sins of murder, stealing, trouble making, or prying into other's business. Vs. 15
Peter admonishes the elders of the church to watch over their flocks. They are not be persons who lord your power over others.  They are to be servants like Christ. We are all to be humble and give our worries to God in prayer.  Doing this shows humility. God cares for us.

Satan is real and acts as a roaring lion on earth.  He seeks to devour people. Stand firm against him and his temptations. Christians all over the world will suffer for Christ.  We are not alone in our suffering. This should comfort us.

Has your suffering produced obedience, humility, concern for others, a stronger prayer life, and deep love for others?  Peter shows us that suffering has a purpose.  Do you see this?

Psalm 119:81-96

You can trust in God's Word like the psalmists.  His Word does not fail.

Proverbs 28:15-16

This proverb mirrors what Christ will be like in His earthly kingdom.

What are you learning?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25- Dan The Man

November 25, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 1:1-2:23; 1 Peter 3:8-4:6;
Psalm 119:65-80; Proverbs 26:14

Isaiah has been called the prince of the prophets, 
and I would like to say that Daniel, then, is the king of the prophets. 
 ~J. Vernon McGee

Daniel 1:1-2:23

Some people are just heavy hitters. They are the people who step to the plate of history and hit a grand slam.  Daniel is one of those men. In God's economy Dan is the Man. Today, we have the privilege of stepping into the inner circle of the kingdom of Babylon thanks to a man who was appointed by God to be right in the middle of this ancient empire. Daniel is a key player in the Babylonian government. As a matter of fact, he becomes the prime minister as a young man. From this vantage point, God reveals through Daniel God's testimony about himself to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon and also the future events that will take place on earth. This book of Daniel deals with the gentile nations, evil, Satan, the Great Tribulation period, the end of the age, the millennial reign of Christ, and eternity. This trusted prophet is the man who reveals God's mysteries about the future of the earth and eternity to mankind. Let's take a look at the background of Daniel's story.


We learn from the book that Daniel was carted into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon in the third year of the reign of the Judean king, Jehoiakim.  Daniel's life and work for God span the entire seventy years of the Jewish captivity in Babylon. This is until the Persian King Cyrus defeats Babylon. Daniel is just a teenager when he is taken into this foreign land. He remains in the land until he dies in his eighties, having served with distinction.

The first half of the book of Daniel is history. The last half of the book is prophecy. It is in this book that we most clearly see that God is the author of history (His Story) and His intention is to use the history of this earth to usher in His Kingdom in the future.  Daniel 2:44 states,
"And in the times 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."
Well, I should have put a spoiler alert before that verse. I guess Daniel has revealed the end of the God's story for us. But don't worry, there are plenty of details to fill in. Keep reading with me, my friends!

Jerusalem Falls/Carried Away To Babylon:

How is it that Jerusalem fell? Jehoiakim was placed on the throne of Judah by Pharaoh Nechoh to succeed his brother, Jehoahaz. Both of these men were the sons of good king Josiah, but they were not like their father. They were evil. During Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar comes against Jerusalem and takes the first group of captives. The city is not destroyed at this time. Daniel and his three friends are among the royal family and elites that get taken. It should be noted that when an enemy overtook a people, the enemy would do a brain drain of the captive people by taking the best and the brightest to their own empire. The capturing nation would leave the poor and the average in the city/country being conquered.

One thing that Daniel points out as we watch the first group of captives go to Babylon is that part of the vessels that were housed in Solomon's Temple were carted to the land of Babylon with the people.  This will become important later in the story when King Belshazzar brings those vessels back out to use at a banquet.

Well, if you were wondering what Daniel and his three friends were like, the Bible tells us that Nebuchadnezzar only wanted strong, healthy, good-looking men, who were well versed in every branch of learning and had good sense. They also needed to be poised in order to work in the royal palace. Nice. Daniel was a stud. He was brilliant and good-looking and from royal/noble stock.  We will learn from God that he is much loved by God.

It may surprise you that God loves Daniel, but allows Daniel to be carted away from Jerusalem to live in a foreign land. Not only this, Daniel is made a eunuch, which means that he will never marry or have children of his own. Is this love? There is a great lesson here. God loves each of us and puts us in life situations where he can use our gifts and talents. The circumstances may not be what we would choose, but that does not mean that they are not the best for us. Daniel is an example of faith and trust. We see acceptance on Daniel's part. Not only this, Daniel flourishes in the circumstances in which he finds himself. Do you flourish in your circumstances?

The select captives are assigned to have a special rich diet like the king's. Daniel and his friends are devout in their faith and refuse to break God's dietary laws for the Jews. Daniel shows grace and wisdom in how he approaches the attendant of Ashpenaz, the chief official of the eunuchs, to see about allowing them to eat only vegetables and water. God is with Daniel and we read that Ashpenaz has great respect for Daniel. His attendant agrees to giving these boys a different diet. After ten days, Daniel and his three friends look healthier than the other eunuchs.  Here, we have an example of obedience to God at the risk of one's life. Daniel has this kind of faith and obedience to God. He is an extraordinary man.

The eunuchs are trained for three years in the language, customs, and disciplines of Babylon.  At the end of the three years, the young men are brought before King Nebuchadnezzar. Of all of the eunuchs brought before him, the king was most impressed with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  Please note that they had been given Babylonian names, as was the custom with captives, and were called Beltashazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These four were made permanent advisers to the king. We are told that the king thought their advice was ten times better than the advice he was getting from his magicians, astrologers, and enchanters. 

The Dream:

Next, we have the incident that catapults Daniel into his power position in Babylon.  It all starts with a dream. One night, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that shakes him to his core. He wants the dream interpreted, so he calls his magicians and enchanters and demands that someone tell him the dream and what it means. If they are unable to, the king intends to make their houses rubble and will tear them from limb to limb.  Here, we get some insight into what made his personality able to defeat the whole known world.  The guy was a bully. The astrologers and magicians  beg for the king to tell them the dream, first. The king is enraged and complains that they are stalling. They respond that no man is going to be able to tell the king his dream. They  state that only the gods could do this, and gods do not live among people.  They, of course, are wrong.

This is a great opportunity for the true God of the universe to step in and that is precisely what God is going to do by using his servant Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar is furious. He declares that all the wise men in Babylon are to be executed. When Daniel is told that he is to be killed, he is as cool as a cucumber. His faith and wisdom prevail. He asks the king's guard why the king has made this decree. Arioch tells Daniel all that has happened. Daniel goes to the king and asks for more time.

Next, Daniel does what is key to making him such an important person in God's economy...he prays.  Not only that, he has his wise and trusted friends pray that God will reveal the dream to them. Note that God could have immediately given Daniel the dream, but God likes the symbiotic relationship that He has with His creation. God wanted Daniel's faith and the faith of Daniel's friends mixed with earnest prayer to affect the situation. God acted in response to faith. God gave Daniel the dream and its interpretation. We see in Daniel's prayer of praise that Daniel is humble. He acknowledges that all wisdom and knowledge come from God. He acknowledges that God determines the course of history and controls kings and kingdoms. God is who makes wise people wise. He, alone, reveals mysteries and is light. Daniel praises God for answering his prayer.

Do you go to God in prayer? Do you trust Him as the author of history? Are you humble before your Creator? How would these attitudes affect your daily life?

1 Peter 3:8-4:6

Peter has learned from the Master, Jesus. Now he has been called by Christ to shepherd the flock.  Peter reminds the sheep to love one another and not retaliate when injured by some one's words.  Peter teaches the radical concept of actually blessing that person in return. Peter quotes Psalm 34:12-16 as proof that this will please God.

Peter reminds us that God will reward those who suffer for doing what is right. We are not to deceive ourselves into thinking that when we suffer as a result of our own sins that we will be rewarded for that. Our very lives are to be an act of worship. Wow. Do you think like this? Are the mundane tasks of your day an act of worship in your head? This would change everything!

Part of suffering for Christ is to commit to being willing to face pain. Peter claims that in this you will stop sinning. If you have this mindset, you will not chase after evil anymore. Instead, you will be anxious to do the will of God. We see this mindset in Daniel and his friends. They are eager to follow God's laws. They do not live to be licentious.

Peter warns that if you give up immorality, lust, feasting, drunkenness and wild parties, your former friends will be surprised and speak evil of you. Good. Mission accomplished. Because God judges everyone for their behavior. Live in a way that pleases God.

Do you feel shepherded by Peter? Is he poking and prodding you down a narrow path? God called him to this.

Psalm 119:65-80

Notice how the psalmist loves God's law. It directs and comforts him. I can see Daniel saying these words.

Proverbs 28:14

If you have a tender conscience, you are not dwelling with the wicked. Tenderness is good.

What did you see today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24- Promises About The Land

November 24, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 47:1-48:35; 1 Peter 2:11-3:7;
Psalm 119:49-64; Proverbs 28:12-13

Therefore it is, I say, that the Enchanted ground is placed 
so nigh to the land Beulah and so near the end their race. 
~John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress

Ezekiel 47:1-48:35

And so we come to the end of the visions of Ezekiel. It should not surprise us that God makes promises about the land. Didn't this story start in a garden?  Was paradise not lost? Now God comes full circle as the land is watered by a great river that nourishes trees that line the stream. The water allows new crops to be harvested every month.  Fruit is abundant in the trees. Sounds like Eden to me! Think back to the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis chapter 2. The Garden had four rivers that flowed from it. They were the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers.  These springs watered the surface of the ground prior to rain occurring on the earth. Now, we see the earth restored to this type of fertility. The fruit from the trees provides food and the leaves provide healing to the people on earth at this time during the millennial reign. We have a description very similar to this in Revelation 22 in describing the river of life in the new heavens and the new earth.  Perhaps God intends to have an earthly shadow of an eternal reality during the millennial kingdom on earth.

As the land is restored, the water of this great river that runs under the Temple also runs to the Dead Sea and purifies the waters of the Dead Sea making it a useful body of water for fishing. Abundance is throughout the kingdom. The land of Israel (the Promised Land ) is divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, and they will finally inhabit the whole land promised to Abraham.

Finally, the name of the land will be "The Lord Is There."  Indeed, God will dwell with man on earth as He did in the Garden of Eden. God will redeem man and the land. God will restore the earth.

1 Peter 2:11-3:7

Peter reminds the Church that they are really foreigners on this earth. Heaven is our new country. But, while on earth we must be mindful of our behavior as a witness to unbelievers. We are to accept earthly  governmental authorities. Godly lives will silence critics. Be free in that you are God's slaves. Do you realize that slavery to God is true freedom? Freedom from what?  It is freedom from sin and death.

Suffering in our various circumstances is what Christ has actually called us to. Follow in his footsteps. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. He did not get even when he suffered. He left his case in God's hands. He is the Shepherd, who is the Guardian of our souls.

With this in mind, wives can submit to the authority of their husbands. Even ungodly husbands can be influenced by godly wives. Behavior can convert the unbeliever.  Women should focus on inward, rather than outward beauty. Note that Peter is talking to women in Asia Minor where goddess worship and temple prostitution is the norm. This area was filled with the worship of Artemis, Aphrodite, and the like.

Husbands are encouraged to honor their wives and treat them with understanding. Although physically weaker, Peter reminds the men that God considers women equal partners in faith.  Men are warned that if they do not treat women equally, their prayers will not be heard. Indeed, Christianity is revolutionary for women!! Peter is encouraging women to be looked upon with respect, rather than as the chattel and temple prostitutes they were back in this day.

Are you surprised at Peter's words?  They are similar to Paul's words to the Ephesians.

Psalm 119:49-64

On the psalmist's pilgrimage through life, God's principles have been the music of his life. How beautiful. Is God's Word the music of your life?

Proverbs 28:12-13

If wicked people are in charge, the people go into hiding.  This has been true throughout the history of the world.

What are you learning?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23- Following Rituals With Joy

November 23, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; 1 Peter 1:13-2:10;
Psalm 119:33-48; Proverbs 28:11

Ezekiel 45:13-46:24

As we read this passage in Ezekiel we continue to peak through the window of the future into the reestablishment of worship in Jerusalem. Just as David led his kingdom in worship back in the pinnacle of Israel's strength as a nation, the prince in the millennial kingdom of Christ will lead the people in daily ritual sacrifice. The Sabbath will be honored without fail and the years of jubilee will exemplify the nation's restoration and reconciliation through Christ. The Passover and Festival of Shelters will be celebrated. The Passover Lamb (Jesus) and the Tabernacle himself (Christ) will shelter his people on earth. Those who love God will be in his presence and worship him in the flesh.

The prince will rule, and the priests will serve the people, as Christ helps Israel to get it right this time around.

God reconciles His people to Himself as His story winds down. This is pleasing to God, who chose Abraham and decided to bless the world through this man's offspring. God is faithful and true.

1 Peter 1:13-2:10

Peter calls the Jewish believers and all believers to look forward to the day when Jesus Christ will return to earth. With this in mind, people are to live holy lives that reflect their understanding that God judges people with impartiality. We should also be mindful that Jesus paid a ransom for us, not of gold, but of his own blood.

Not only this, God raised Jesus from the dead, which gives all believers faith and hope for the future.  With sins having been cleansed, we are free to love one another sincerely and intensely. Believers have been born again into a new life that will last forever.

As a result, believers should leave behind malicious behavior and be done with jealousy, backstabbing, and hypocrisy. Come and embrace Christ, who is the living cornerstone of the temple of God. God is building a spiritual temple in which He will dwell that is founded on the cornerstone of Christ.  Believers are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God's people are designed to show others the goodness of God.

Do you think of yourself as a priest to the world?  Do you feel part of God's earthly living temple, where He dwells?

Psalm 119:33-48

The psalmist is asking God to do a variety of things like teach him, give him, make him, reassure him, turn his eyes.  If God will act, then the psalmist can obey and honor God with obedience.

Proverbs 28:11

It is true that rich people think that their wealth makes them wise. Many organizations assume that rich people are wise. That is why rich people are constantly on the boards of earthly organizations. God does not see things that way.

What are you seeing?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22- Introduction Of The Prince

November 22, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 44:1-45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12;
Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 28:8-10

Ezekiel 44:1-45:12

Many Scriptures refer to King David ruling throughout eternity. We can easily deduce that the line of David produced Jesus Christ, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that it is Jesus who rules throughout eternity. But today we meet a prince who acts as vice regent for Jesus Christ during His earthly reign.  Who is this prince? This prince is able to offer sacrifices in the Temple, even though he is not a Levite. Some commentators speculate that this prince is none other than David, himself. Their thinking is that prophecy is fulfilled as David rules as a prince in Israel  during the millennial kingdom under Christ. 

Ezekiel is shown that this prince is allowed to sit in the closed gateway in order to eat in the Lord's presence. We learn that in this millennial Temple the Levites will not be administering sacrifices because of their past sins. Only the descendants from Zadok's family in the tribe of Levi will be ministering to the Lord in the Temple. God will again institute rules and regulations with regard to their ministry and sacrifices.

Land will be divided among the tribes of Israel and land will be provided for foreigners who want to live in Israel among the tribes. Rulers will no longer oppress the people under Christ's reign on earth.  God is getting pretty specific here about what goes on during His earthly reign in His holy capital city.

What do you think of this?

1 Peter 1:1-12

Now we get to the first epistle of the Apostle Peter. As you may remember, Jesus told Peter that he was going to change his name from Simon to Petros. Petros or Peter means "rock." Peter had given the first oral testimony that Jesus was the Messiah.  Jesus responded to the testimony of this simple fisherman by declaring that on this rock I will build my church. Christ intended to use Peter and his testimony about Christ to begin the earthly Church. Sure enough, after Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we see the ignorant fisherman become the rock-man preacher, who preaches the first sermon of the New Covenant. Peter's message converts thousands of people to Christ, immediately.  Jesus' prophesy is fulfilled. With God all things are possible. Peter is going to lead us on a journey that teaches us that suffering brings joy.  This is a lesson from a man who has learned about suffering from experience.  His faith has been forged on the anvil of suffering.

Peter is a man who was used to working in deep waters as a fisherman. Today, he dives into spiritually deep waters as he introduces great doctrines of the faith. This letter is addressed to Christian Jews who are scattered throughout Asia Minor. Peter reminds them that they have been chosen by God according to His foreknowledge through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Whoa! Okay. We have the concept of election, God's omniscient foreknowledge of who would be His, and the sanctification of believers by the Holy Spirit all in the first sentence. I love it.

Peter begins by praising God, because we have new birth and a living hope in Jesus Christ, who was resurrected from the dead. This gives us an inheritance in heaven that lasts forever and does not decay, spoil, or fade. This hope makes present suffering more than tolerable, it makes suffering joyous.

Just as gold is purified in the fire, trials purify our faith. This is a faith that is evidenced in that even though we have never seen him, yet, we love him, trust him, and have his joy. This trust will be the salvation of our souls.

Peter reminds the saints abroad that the prophets of old wanted to know more about this type of faith and salvation. They prophesied about this salvation and yet, had questions about it. They did not understand Christ's suffering and what his resurrection glory would be like. They did not know who this person would be. This did not happen during their lifetimes.

These modern believers are the beneficiaries of Christ coming to earth. The Good News can now be announced as having occurred. The Holy Spirit inspires the preachers who are spreading this Good News, and even the angels watch eagerly as it all unfolds. May I note that Peter is a man who has been rescued from jail by an angel of God. He knows that of which he speaks.

Do you realize that God chose you to be His own?  Do you love and trust Him, even though you have never seen Him?

Psalm 119:17-32

Listen to the humility and desire of the psalmist. This pleases the Lord.

Proverbs 28:8-10

The prayers of one who despises the law/and God will be ignored.  Did you realize this?

What are you seeing as you read?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21- Dwelling With Israel Again

November 21, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 42:1-43:27; James 5:1-20;
Psalm 119:1-16; Proverbs 28:6-7

Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. 
 I will remain here forever, living among the people of Israel. 
~Ezekiel 43:7

Ezekiel 42:1-43:27

Do you find reading about the details of the Temple tedious?  God doesn't. He loves the details and the symbolism. Today, we learn that the glory of God is going to fill this Temple and God intends to dwell with the people of Israel on earth in fulfillment of His promise to this remnant on the earth that He chose so long ago. We saw God's shekinah glory in the Old Testament. It would descend upon the Tabernacle and occasionally be present before one of God's prophets. Now, God intends to have His shekinah glory dwell on earth in the Temple. This is His good pleasure to reveal Himself to the people of the earth and particularly the people He chose to bring the Redeemer of the earth through. 

Ezekiel is told to record the details and let Israel know about this future with their God. He is a God that fulfills His promises. Sacrifices will be reinstituted as a teaching tool. Israel will finally have a new heart to fully obey God's regulations. Israel will be fully transformed through the New Covenant and as new creatures in Christ they will completely obey God's Law. This is their chance to get it right. God is a God of second chances. The whole earth will witness Israel getting it right this time. Yay, God!

Has God given you a second chance in life?  How have you given Him a daily sacrifice of praise for all that He has accomplished in you?

James 5:1-20

In our world the wealthy are envied and favored. Who hasn't turned on the t.v. to see what the rich and famous are up to? James gives us God's perspective on the rich and the famous. God feels that the rich should weep as they realize that worshipping money can cause you to rot in hell. Riches that have been relied upon as a god will stand as a witness against you in the judgment. Do not make money and things your idol/god.  If you spend all of your years on earth meeting every desire of your heart and pursuing every whim, God is not pleased. Examine yourself.  Be honest. Change, if you need to.

Remember, the Lord is going to return to earth. We are to wait for him as a farmer waits for rain.  As we wait, we are not to grumble against each other. This is easy to do, no? No. Rely on God's Holy Spirit to help you.

James encourages us to be patient in suffering. The prophets did this. Job did this. We learn that God has a good purpose, even in our suffering. If you are suffering, you are encouraged to keep praying.

The elders of the church are there to pray over the sick. We should admit our sins to one another and forgive each other. A righteous person's prayers are powerful and effective. This is one of our tools/weapons as Christians. Elijah's prayers are given as an example of this. That man's prayers stopped the rain for three and half years! When he prayed for rain, it rained. Lesson: We are to pray.

We are also to help those who have wandered away from the faith.  We may be saving someone from hell.

This ends James' practical teaching for today.

Psalm 119:1-16

This psalm is the longest psalm in Scripture.  It extols the blessings of God's Law and right conduct.  James' epistle follows nicely with these concepts.

Proverbs 28:6-7

This proverbs confirms what James was saying.

What are you noticing?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20- In The Temple

November 20, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 40:28-41:26; James 4:1-17;
Psalm 118:19-29; Proverbs 28:3-5

Ezekiel 40:28-41:26

God is particular about the Temple. He always has been and always will be. We have seen in our Bible reading that God illustrates Himself and His glory in heaven through the Temple. During Christ's millennial reign on earth, God will use the Temple to once again teach His creation about the great Truths of His personality. The symbolism of the animal sacrifice, the fruitfulness of the pomegranates and palm trees, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place will once again represent God's essence to a watching world. Ezekiel is given a private tour that any architect would relish.

The lesson to us is that God will fulfill His promise to occupy the earth as its ruler in the future.  Worship of God will be part of this perfect reign on earth.  God's Temple will once again be a central focus for humanity.

James 4:1-17

James challenges Christians to examine the motives behind their actions. Do you find yourself in many quarrels and fights?  What is behind this behavior? Perhaps you are jealous of what others have. Where is God in this equation? Have you asked Him to meet your needs or are you just greedy for more than you need?

James gets down to brass tacks and concludes that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God. Harsh words from a meek man. What is he saying? We must all be wary of loving material things.  It is incidious and easy to fall into this. God is jealous for your devotion. He sets Himself against the proud, but shows favor to the humble. We must humble ourselves and forgo our own materialism and self-centeredness.

James gives us the wonderful verse, "Submit to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you."  This is practical and wise advice on how to deal with worldliness. We have a promise that as we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. God is relational. This is His whole point of creation.

Our sins before such a wonderful Creator should produce sadness in us. We should avoid speaking evil of others who are part of the body of Christ. God is the judge and we should refrain from judging other people's hearts. Leave that to God.

Keep perspective by remembering that our lives are like a morning fog-here for a little while, and then gone.

It is also sinful to know what you should do and then to omit doing it. Ouch, again!

Psalm 118:19-29

This psalm mentions Christ, the stone that the builders (Israel) rejected, has become the cornerstone of the building. Do you see why God wants the Temple rebuilt? He loves this illustration of Himself as a place to dwell in worship. Christ is the cornerstone in our hearts to worship the Creator.

Proverbs 28:3-5

Obeying God's laws is a means of fighting the wicked. Interesting. Justice is understood by those who follow God. It is hard for the ungodly to understand justice. This makes sense.

What did you notice today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19- The Final Battle

November 19, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 39:1-40:27; James 2:18-3:18;
Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 28:2

Thus I will demonstrate my glory among the nations.  
~Ezekiel 39:21

Ezekiel 39:1-40:27

Trying to figure out God's story in the Bible can be confusing. The prophesies from Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel are sometimes about events that are in the near future to the times of these men and sometimes are about distant future events that signal the very end of God's story. As we piece together what it all means, we see repetition of themes and concepts. One theme is that man has fallen and needs to be redeemed. 

When man fell, the earth consequently was affected and conditions became harsher on the planet.  God promised to redeem man through a son of Eve who would defeat Satan, the enemy of God and man (See Genesis 3).  And God promised to redeem the land in the future. God chose the nation of Israel, through the seed of Abraham, to bring the Redeemer Child into the world.  He promised Abraham a certain land as a sacred place for God's Name to Be Known. God chose King David as the royal line through which this King/Redeemer would be born in this sacred land. Once on earth, Jesus, the son of King David as promised, fulfilled His role as the Redeemer and sacrificed his life as a ransom for many. This satisfied the need for death as a result of sin. The punishment of death was paid for by Jesus Christ for all of mankind.

Once resurrected, the story goes that Christ will return to the earth one day to rule in a paradise restored in the Promised Land. This fulfills God's promise to the nation of Israel that God would provide them a king to rule in the Promised Land forever. We learn in the book of Revelation chapter 20 that Satan is bound and thrown in an abyss during this thousand years that Christ rules on earth. During this time, Temple worship is reinstated and Christ has a vice regent prince on earth who rules under him. Children are born during this time of peaceful reign and people are taught about Christ and his past work on the cross through Temple worship and ritual. The end of the book of Ezekiel describes some of these events.

Today, Ezekiel prophesies about a man called Gog.  The name Gog means ruler or "the man on top."  Gog is a ruler over Magog.  Magog was a grandson of Noah and son of Japheth. In Scripture, Magog represents the people of the North who come against Israel and are the enemies of God. This would represent a person/ruler during the Millennial reign of Christ who heads up a rebellion that occurs when Satan is released from the abyss, deceives the nations again, and takes his final stand against Jesus.  You may wonder who in the world on earth during this peaceful reign of Christ would dare to rebel against God?  The Bible indicates that Christ's reign on earth is a time when people are taught about Christ's sacrificial death pointing backwards to his death on the cross in the past. The people who are taught will still have the ability to reject the Messiah. Humans still be capable of sinning during this time and able to reject truth. Many people born and raised during this time will apparently choose to reject God and His message, even though they have seen a peaceful and perfect kingdom on this earth.  This is all within the confines of God's will and His sovereignty over His own story.  When Satan is released from the abyss (see Revelation 20), he finds willing and able human beings who are deceived into thinking they can fight against the Creator of the universe. 

God promises to rain down fire from heaven in an event similar to what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. With the mound of bones that results from God's victory over this final rebellious group, the land is finally cleansed. These rebellious hordes are the final sacrificial feast of the wicked offered up to the beasts of the fields. There will be so many dead bodies that it will take seven month to bury them.  Seven is the number of completion in the Bible. God's power over evil will be confirmed. God's promise of restoring Israel and pouring out His Spirit upon them will be accomplished.

I notice that God has three separate incidents of Satan leading a rebellion. The first is in the Garden of Eden.  Eve follows Satan and Adam follows Eve.  Mankind is started down the path of self against God. The second is when the Antichrist leads the world astray and Armageddon is fought. The third time is this final battle with Satan taking his last stand towards the end of Christ's millennial reign. God likes the number three. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are satisfied to fight Satan and evil in three epic events. In the end, God wins.

Chapter 40 brings us to the portion of Ezekiel where Ezekiel is taken to Jerusalem in the distant future during Christ's millennial reign.  An angel with a measuring rod begins to measure the walls and gateways to the Temple. This Temple is much larger than Solomon's Temple and is the central place for worship of God during Christ's earthly reign.  Past Scriptures that deal with measurements have been literal places. We can assume that this Temple is a literal earthly place during Christ's reign.

What are your thoughts on all of this?  Does this story fascinate you?  If you believe that Isaiah's prophesies of the suffering Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus, can you now contemplate believing Ezekiel's prophesies of a ruling King Jesus on earth for one thousand years?

James 2:18-3:18

Now let's switch gears from the distant future to practical Christian living today. James argues that faith without good deeds is a dead faith that is not faith at all.  To believe there is a God is not enough.  James argues that even demons know there is a god.

Abraham is set forth as an example of someone who acted upon his faith. He willingly took Isaac and was prepared to sacrifice him to God because he believed in the resurrection of the dead. His action completed his faith. His action showed the faith that made God declare that Abraham was righteous.

Rahab was another person who acted upon her faith by protecting the spies of the people who she knew were the people of the True God of the Universe. This was a good deed prompted by her faith in God.

What actions have you taken prompted by your faith in God?

James deals with the tiny tongue and how it is the hardest thing to control. One practical way to show your faith is to begin to control what you say to others. We read beautiful illustrations from James on the tongue being a tiny spark that sets a forest fire. We can tame animals, but the tongue is hard to tame. Our mouths pour forth both blessings and curses. James laments that this should not be so.

God's wisdom and goodness do not manifest themselves in bitterness and jealousy. If your life is marked by these qualities, perhaps you are living a lie. The Devil motivates these sorts of behaviors.  Selfish ambition is evil. What does wisdom look like? It is peace loving, gentle, and willing to yield to others. It is filled with mercy and good deeds. It is not partial to certain people and is always sincere. Peacemakers plant seeds of peace and harvest a crop of good deeds.

This is a great goal for all who love God. Let us examine ourselves.

Psalm 118:1-18

Have you really contemplated that God's love endures forever?

Proverbs 28:2

Wow. Think of the USA as you read this proverb...
"When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability."

What are you learning?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton