December 6

1 John 5

John continues to speak of the love of God and a relationship with Him that causes us to live our lives according to His life and His ways. When we are lined up with God’s ways, and we ask Him for anything that is according to His ways and His will, then God hears us with the intent to answer us. We can have a confidence of it (verse 14), or as it says in the Greek, we can utter it without fear. We can present our requests to God, according to His will, without fear. We can know we have what we ask for, when we are aligned with God.

A phrase we often heard in Bible school was “faith begins where the will of God is known.” If we don’t know what God wants, then how can we be positioned in the reliance of faith? We don’t have anything to lean on. If we are living in disobedience, then we aren’t truly depending on God and His ways, which is another hindrance to prayer.

For prayer to be effective, we must align ourselves in surrender to God in holy living and in submitted prayer. When we know we are lined up with our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior, then we know we will receive from God.

In addition, in our prayers, if we ask God to show mercy on a sinning brother or sister, interceding on their behalf, and God will allow His life to flow into their situations. We can’t, however, intercede for eternal salvation. That is a surrender each one must make for himself or herself.

The more we grow in love and light, the more we surrender, keeping ourselves consecrated for God. In this position of faith, the enemy cannot touch us. Living this life of faith offers protection, power, and provision. We find all we need in our Father’s presence.

Daniel 7-8

To review, chapter seven is the last chapter written in Aramaic, most likely written with foreign nations in mind. Chapter 8 is written in Hebrew, most likely with the Jews in mind.

Daniel had a dream in the first year of King Belshazzar, which would place this dream before the handwriting on the wall. In this dream, Daniel receives a vision, similar in content to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue because of the same empires represented by their kings: Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece, and Rome. In Daniel’s dream, these kings and their empires are represented by strange animals: Babylon was like a lion, Medio-Persia like a bear, Greece like a leopard, and Rome was a devouring beast.

The four beasts are four kings the represent their kingdoms. The fourth king, representative of Rome, had ten horns, which represent leaders. Another little horn arises that takes 3 horns out of their place (Revelation 13). The vision of the statue also mentions the number ten when describing leaders, which also are divided, partly strong (iron) and partly weak (clay). The weak are most likely the leaders that the Antichrist overcomes.

The fourth beast is slain. The little horn spoke with pompous words. Prophecy often has layers. This little horn is descriptive of the Antichrist. The Antichrist will overtake 3 leaders when he rises. In verse 25, we see that the Antichrist is given 3 ½ years to persecute the Jews, a time known as the Great Tribulation. After this time, a court is seated. They take away the Antichrist’s dominion and overcome all kingdoms. Then Christ is given dominion and an everlasting kingdom.

Chapter 8 is a vision of a ram and goat, which is prophetic of Greece (goat) defeating Medio-Persia (ram). The large horn of the goat is representative of Alexander the Great. When Alexander the Great was killed, he had no sons, so four of his generals divided his kingdom. Daniel prophesied these four horns in Daniel 8:8. They are:
Cassander over Macedonia.
Ptolemy over Egypt, Cyrpus, Palestine, and Cilicia
Lysimachus over Asia Minor
Seleucus over Syria, India, the Levant, Persia, and Mesopotamia

Daniel prophesied a little horn that would rise up. This is Antiochus Epiphanes, who rose up and overtook Seleucus. This Antiochus is a type of the Antichrist.

Antiochus came against the Jews and polluted the temple by removing sacrifice and covering it with the blood of pigs, an unholy animal. The Lord allowed Antiochus to overcome Jerusalem and the temple for 2,340 evenings and mornings, or 1,150 days, approximately 3 years. Similar to Antiochus, when the Antichrist comes to power, he will turn on the Jews with what is known as the Abomination of Desolation, where he destroys temple sacrifice and wars on God’s set-apart people. There will be 3 ½ years of trouble for the Jews before Jesus returns.

Concerning Antiochus, the Jewish Maccabees warred against the Seleucids and won. They purified the temple and restored it. History tells us that when they cleansed the temple, they dedicated it, and miraculously, the one day supply for oil for the lampstand lasted 8 days, the time needed to make new oil. In celebration of this event, the Jews began a new festival that they call Hanukkah, a Feast of Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights. This tradition has passed down through generations. Even Jesus celebrated this festival, as we can see in John 10:22-23. What a reminder of the prophecy yet to be fulfilled before the return of the Light of the World!

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