Daily Encouragement

November 27 -Any proof for Daniel 4? (Yes)

November 27

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

Nebuchadnezzar 1795-c. 1805 William Blake 1757-1827 Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1939 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05059

Daniel 4:1 – John Walvoord makes an interesting observation:

In the background of this account is the obvious concern of Daniel the prophet for the man whom he had served for so many years. Daniel, a man of prayer, undoubtedly prayed for Nebuchadnezzar and eagerly sought some evidence of God’s working in his heart. While the experience of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 4 was not what Daniel had anticipated, the outcome must have approximated Daniel’s fondest hope.

https://walvoord.com/article/245

Daniel 4:30 – At the Oriental Institute in Chicago, they have a brick from Babylon with the name of Nebuchadnezzar carved into it.

Author’s Photo

Daniel 4:32 – John Walvoord states that this has been diagnosed as boanthropy

[Dr. Raymond Harrison] actually observed a clinical case of boanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946. The patient was in his early 20’s, who reportedly had been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well-developed on admission, and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight with good physique, and was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors, in the grounds of the institution … His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns with which the otherwise dingy hospital situation was graced, and it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of the grass as he went along. On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds, and on inquiry from the attendant the writer was told the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with the other inmates, and his only drink was water… The writer was able to examine him cursorily, and the only physical abnormality noted consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse, thickened condition of the finger-nails. Without institutional care, the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33… From the foregoing it seems evident that the author of the fourth chapter of Daniel was describing accurately an attestable, if rather rare, mental affliction

https://walvoord.com/article/245

Daniel 4:33 – Could this really have happened? AgainstDoubt goes into detail, as does EnduringWord:

Some dismiss this account of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness as unhistorical, but there is no historical record of his governmental activity between 582 B.C. and 575 B.C. This silence is deafening, especially when we keep in mind how Near Eastern leaders liked to egotistically trumpet their achievements – and hide their embarrassments.

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/daniel-4/

Daniel 4:34 – Nebuchadnezzar realized Man is nothing (Daniel 4:35), but God is everything! 

2 Peter 1:3 – We have “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” – we have no excuse!

2 Peter 1:21 – Peter lays out the case of inspiration of Scripture. Daniel 4 isn’t a collection of fables as Wikipedia tells us is the scholarly consensus. Scripture came as the Holy Ghost moved in holy  men of God.

Psalm 119:97 – What is our response to the inspired Word of Scripture? Love it!

Psalm 119:105

Proverbs 28:18 – Solomon is picking up on his father’s theme in Psalm 2

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Daily Encouragement

November 26 – Who has the answers for problematic dreams?

November 26

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

Daniel 2:24 – Daniel has the answer, and intercedes to protect pagan astrologers (Daniel 2:27)?

Daniel 2:30 – Daniel says: the magicians don’t have the answer (Daniel 2:27), I shouldn’t have the answer (Daniel 2:30), but God has all the answers (Daniel 2:28).

Daniel 2:34

Daniel 2:44 – What message did Jesus preach? In Matthew 4:17 we read “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Pilate didn’t know about Daniel’s prophecy that the Kingdom of Jesus would destroy all other kingdoms (Daniel 2:34), or he would have been more concerned.

Daniel 3:1 – Wonder where Nebuchadnezzar got the idea from?

Daniel 3:2 – Notice the comprehensiveness in this chapter: every officer (Daniel 3:2-3), every group (Daniel 3:4), every instrument (Daniel 3:5, Daniel 3:7, Daniel 3:10, Daniel 3:15), every garment (Daniel 3:21). Speaking of everyone, where was Daniel? Was he on an official errand? or did he call in sick that day

Daniel 3:18 – Notice that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (their Jewish names) did not know that God would save them from the fire, only that He could (Daniel 3:17).

Daniel 3:24 – They wouldn’t bend, they wouldn’t bow, and they wouldn’t burn!

Daniel 3:25 – Yes, walking thru the flames was the Son of God!

1 Peter 4:7 – Closing comments from Peter:

  • Pray (1 Peter 4:7)
  • Love (1 Peter 4:8)
  • Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9)
  • Minister (1 Peter 4:10)
  • Glorify God (1 Peter 4:11)
  • Rejoice (1 Peter 4:13)
  • Behave (1 Peter 4:15)

1 Peter 5:2 – Notice the tension – responsibility of oversight (1 Peter 5:2), but refraining from lordship (1 Peter 5:3). Peter is calling for servant leadership.

1 Peter 5:7 –  We want the peace of God, knowing He can solve our problems. But what is antecedent? Humility (1 Peter 5:6). Submit to others (1 Peter 5:5), He will give you grace (1 Peter 5:5), exaltation (1 Peter 5:6), and care (1 Peter 5:7).

1 Peter 5:8 – From Earl Martin:

1 Peter 5:13 – Many think that this is John Mark, the one that caused strife with Paul and Barnabas. They also believe that Mark’s gospel came from Peter’s accounts as told to John Mark.

Psalm 119:81 – Need hope? Go to the Word! We saw the flagship verse of removing stress (1 Peter 5:7), and can replace worry with hope in the Word (Psalm 119:81). We see in this section the Word is comfort (Psalm 119:82), faithful (Psalm 119:86), help (Psalm 119:86), delight (Psalm 119:92)

Proverbs 28:15 – The wicked ruler is compared to a roaring lion – who did we just read about that is also a roaring lion? 1 Peter 5:8 – the devil!

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Daily Encouragement

November 25 – What were Daniel’s Three Friends’ Names?

November 25

Daniel 1:1-2:23
1 Peter 3:8-4:6
Psalm 119:65-80
Proverbs 28:14

Daniel 1:6 – Welcome to Daniel! Daniel and his three friends – not Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (those were the Babylonian names focused on the Babylonian deities), but Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (the Hebrew names, each extolling an attribute of the LORD God of Israel!

Imagine Jerusalem falling, and being taken prisoner to the other end of the known world. If you’ve been on one of our trips to Chicago you can see parts of the Ishtar gate of Babylon – a beautifully constructed 46 foot high wall of glazed brick. Separated from home, awed by the beauty of Babylon, and given new names (Daniel 1:7) to strip them of their identity, will Daniel and his three wise friends  (Daniel 1:4) maintain their faithfulness to the God of (conquered) Israel or will they be assimilated into the melting pot of Mesopotamia?

Daniel 1:21 – Daniel was diligent in his work (Proverbs 22:29), and now he stood before Nebuchadnezzar, Belteshazzar, Darius, and even Cyrus!

Daniel 2:4 – The phrase “in Syriack” indicates that from here to the end of chapter 7, the text is no longer in Hebrew but in Aramaic, the language of the Syrians.

Daniel 2:8 – Nebuchadnezzar has had enough of the palace retinue and official courtiers. In Daniel 2:12, we see that Nebuchadnezzar was finally willing to “drain the swamp.”

Daniel 2:16 – Notice that Daniel had the credibility to go into the king. While he wasn’t part of the “good old boys” club of favorites, Daniel’s words were esteemed.

Daniel 2:18 – Daniel and his friends prayed for mercy, and thanked God for the answer (Daniel 2:20).

1 Peter 3:10 – Both Peter and James (James 1:26) had to deal with problems with the tongue. Good thing gossip isn’t a modern problem! 

1 Peter 3:15 – Can you share the reason for the hope in you? There are great tools like Evangelism Explosion and Way of the Master that can teach you how to witness to others!

1 Peter 3:19 – Who were the spirits in prison? They were not men, but rather Genesis 6 angels, described in Jude 1:6, who heard the declaration that Jesus was victorious! From GotQuestions:

First, let’s look at the word spirits. It is a translation of the Greek word pneumasin, a form of the word pneuma, which means “air, breath, wind.” It is used in the New Testament to refer to angels (Hebrews 1:14), demons (Mark 1:23), the spirit of Jesus (Matthew 27:50), the Holy Spirit (John 14:17), and the spiritual part of man (1 Corinthians 2:11). While the Bible makes it clear that human beings possess spirits (Hebrews 4:12), the Bible never refers to human beings as simply “spirits.” In contrast, God the Holy Spirit, angels, and demons are never said to possess spirits; they are spirits. So the standard meaning of the word spirits in the phrase spirits in prison argues for the spirits’ being something other than human beings.

https://www.gotquestions.org/spirits-in-prison.html

1 Peter 3:21 – Many people point to this verse as proof of baptismal regeneration, but the parenthetical comment seems to disclaim any idea of water-based baptism. This is baptism of the Spirit.

1 Peter 4:1 – Christ’s sufferings paid the price to free us from the power of sin!

Psalm 119:65 – Notice the quality of the Psalmist’s interaction with the Word: “thou hast dealt well,” “good judgment” (Psalm 119:66), “Thou art good and doest good” (Psalm 119:68), “It is good for me” (Psalm 119:71), “thy judgments are right” (Psalm 119:75). There is an objective positive quality to the Word of God!

Proverbs 28:14 – The word “fear” is “me-pa-hed,” giving the idea of “to dread, be in dread, or in awe.” The hard hearted man thinks there is nothing greater than him. The follower of God’s fear leads to humility.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

November 24 – Waiting on a new River in Jerusalem!

November 24
Ezekiel 47:1-48:35
1 Peter 2:11-3:7
Psalm 119:49-64
Proverbs 28:12-13

Ezekiel 47:1DeYoung notes the similarities between this and “when water flows from the ‘throne of God'” in Revelation 22:1. Right now, the east side of the Temple Mount is  fairly dry.  Here’s some photo’s I took when I was in Israel: As you can see, it’s not quite “a river that could not be passed over” (Ezekiel 47:5). Nor has the Dead Sea been healed yet (Ezekiel 47:8). There’s no fishers at En Gedi yet (Ezekiel 47:10).  But the LORD God is saying that it will happen!

East side of the Temple Mount.
Dead Sea near En Gedi

Ezekiel 47:16Hamath is 240 kilometers north of the current northern Israelite border in Mount Hermon. This prophecy is still yet to be fulfilled.

Ezekiel 47:23 – The LORD God is allowing for immigration into the Land of Israel, but not just immigration – He is calling for adoption. The stranger will have an inheritance of the tribes of Israel? That’s what Paul talked about in Romans 9:4, adoption into the Israelites.

We read earlier about God’s Old Testament immigration policy in Ezekiel 44:9 – they must be circumcised in heart and flesh.  But as Paul declared we are circumcised by Jesus Christ in the flesh as he took away our sinful flesh (Colossians 2:11), and circumcised our heart (Romans 2:29) as we are risen with him (Colossians 2:12).

Ezekiel 48 – Here’s a map from 1729 depicting what they thought it would look like:

Map of Ezekiel 48

Ezekiel 48:35 – Ezekiel’s vision closes out similar to Revelation 21:2-3, noting that the LORD God is there. We have a different arrangement of the twelve tribes from Numbers 2 though. Also notice that the twelve gates match up to the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:12. 

When we get to Revelation we’ll read about the New Jerusalem – both the New Jerusalem and Ezekiel’s city are perfect squares. Some compare the “camp of the saints and the beloved city” in Revelation 20:9 to the City of Ezekiel, but the New Jerusalem, measured like Ezekiel’s city was, is 1,000 times bigger, with walls 1,380 miles high (or almost 6x the height of the International Space Station). God is preparing a place for us! (John 14:3).

I Peter 2:13-14 – Peter echoes Paul’s message in Romans 13 – submission to human government. God ordained human government back in Genesis 9:6, authorizing mankind for the first time to execute capital punishment.

1 Peter 2:18 – Why does the Bible justify slavery? The Roman “servants” were not there of their freewill. But Peter says to submit to their masters, even the froward (difficult to deal with), who may punish those who are doing well (1 Peter 2:20). He calls for wives to submit to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1). Why?

Jesus had more rights than anyone. He had less sin than anyone (to be accurate, no sin) (1 Peter 2:22).  Yet he suffered (1 Peter 2:21), submitted himself to unjust human government, to cruel Roman masters, to Jewish taunts, without retort (1 Peter 2:22), to bring us life through His death.

1 Peter 2:24 – Peter declares the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:5 – “with his stripes we are healed!”

1 Peter 3:7 – Husbands, want God to listen to your prayers? Dwell with your wife according to knowledge! Honor her! 

Psalm 119:49 – Are you discouraged? Hope in God’s Word! Need comfort in Affliction – go to the Word (Psalm 119:50). Need a song? Go to the statutes (Psalm 119:54). Can’t sleep in the night? Remember the LORD (Psalm 119:55). Be not discouraged!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Siu7_E7c8vs

Proverbs 28:13 – God already knows what sins you’ve committed, just admit to Him what He already knows!

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Daily Encouragement

November 23 – Ezekiel’s New Ritual?

November 23
Ezekiel 45:13-46:24
1 Peter 1:13-2:10
Psalm 119:33-48
Proverbs 28:11

Ezekiel 45:18 – Instead of putting the blood on the walls of the peoples’ houses (Exodus 12:7), the blood is put on the walls of the Temple. From Adam Clarke:

 There is nothing of this in the Mosaic law; it seems to have been a new ceremony. An annual purification of the sanctuary may be intended.

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/clarke/ezekiel/45.htm

Ezekiel 46:1 – Nehemiah 13:19 records how he shut the gate for the Sabbath, but this gate is open only on the Sabbath. Interestingly the prince (Ezekiel 46:2) is not able to prepare his own offering – we still see a distinction between the political and the priestly roles. We’ll see this gate open again in Ezekiel 46:12, interestingly to connect the Temple with the Mount of Olives.

Ezekiel 46:16 – Another clue as to the identity of the Prince. Is it a resurrected David? Possibly. Is it Jesus? Unlikely because the prince offers a sin offering for himself and for the people. Was it Zerubbabel? Unlikely because Zerubbabel did not have a mile wide temple in a city almost as wide as modern Israel. Whoever it is would be of the Davidic line however.

1 Peter 1:13 – Get ready Jesus is coming! What is the point of Prophecy? So we can pass a test and recite the identities of the ten toes? No!

  1. Clean up our minds – don’t let the loins drag in the dirt.  We don’t have time to be stuck in the muck of the world. The Art of Manliness has an illustrated guide of how you can gird up your loins.
  2. Concentrate on the task – don’t be distracted with the lusts of the flesh,  eyes, and pride of life.
  3. Confidence in the end – hope, a sure a foundation that trusts in the grace of Jesus’ Return.

1 Peter 1:15 – Peter returns to the theme of Leviticus, echoing Leviticus 11:44-45, transformed to a new model of comparison – the LORD. No we can’t say we’re better than the Joneses, we have to see how we line up compared to the God of eternity!

1 Peter 1:19 – Martha Garvin shares with us how we’ve been Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfRwofJl3Aw

1 Peter 1:25 – The only two things that will last forever is God’s Word and People’s Souls.

1 Peter 2:9 – From Earl Martin

1 Peter 2:19 – This is the fourth time in the Bible God uses the phrase “peculiar people.” Notice also the phrase “royal priesthood” – we are both royalty (as adopted children of the King) and priests – able to access God’s throne at any time.

Psalm 119:33 – Again we see the submitted obedience to the Word of God. Teach me – I shall keep it. Give me understanding, I shall observe it (Psalm 119:34). Make me to go, I delight (Psalm 119:35). We need God’s help to learn, understand, and go in His ways!

Psalm 119:48 – Scripture reading isn’t just a morning activity – meditate throughout the day!

Proverbs 28:11 – Riches pale in comparison to wisdom and understanding. Don’t make the foolish choice!

Daily Encouragement

November 22 – What does Ezekiel do when he encounters the glory of the LORD?

November 22
Ezekiel 44:1-45:12
1 Peter 1:1-12
Psalm 119:17-32
Proverbs 28:8-10

Ezekiel 44:4 – What did Ezekiel do when he encountered the glory of the LORD? He fell on his face. Some day we’ll see the glory of the LORD – and we’ll be in the presence of the One who died for me!

Ezekiel 44:9 – Ezekiel bares record of God’s immigration requirements. Notice the reference to “uncircumcised in heart.” Paul picks up on this in Romans 2:25-29, and goes back to Deuteronomy 30:6 – where God promises to circumcise your heart so we can love the LORD wholeheartedly!

Ezekiel 44:31 – Notice the similarities between this chapter and Leviticus 22 – God is reconsecrating the priesthood for a future responsibility!

Ezekiel 45:8 – God will reform the priesthood, and the political princes in the future! All of these passages remind us – God is not done with Israel yet!

1 Peter 1:8 – From the vault, Hilton Griswold, pianist  for the Blackwood Brothers performing “Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory

1 Peter 1:11 – Notice that the prophets did not know what they were prophesying about! They studied what they said because they did not understand – but we now understand more than Ezekiel did! That is why we who have not seen Jesus (1 Peter 1:8) can rejoice with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” We haven’t seen the wheel in a wheel, the visions of temples future. We haven’t seen Jesus in bodily form – unlike Thomas we haven’t put our fingers in his nail-scarred hands. But we love Him and believe Him and He gives us joy!. Peter will talk about this “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19).

Psalm 119:18 – As we approach His Word let’s pray that God will open our eyes!

Psalm 119:27 – Notice throughout this passage the seeming conflict between the active Psalmist (I have kept thy testimonies (Psalm 119:22), thy servant did meditate (Psalm 119:23), I have chosen the way of truth (Psalm 119:30), I have stuck unto thy testimonies (Psalm 119:31)) – with the dependent Psalmist (Open thou mine eyes (Psalm 119:18), hide not thy commandments from me (Psalm 119:19), teach me thy statutes (Psalm 119:26), make me to understand (Psalm 119:27)). How do we reconcile these two – are we supposed to work? Are we to wait on God working in us?

Psalm 119:32 – This verse reconciles the conflict – God will change our heart so we can run. As Christians we have received the LORD (Colossians 2:6) so we are to walk in Him. We don’t have an excuse for not obeying God – He changed our heart and put His Spirit in us!

Proverbs 28:9 – God has given us His revelation – if we ignore it, He won’t hear our prayers.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

November 21 – Why the description of the Temple?

November 21
Ezekiel 42:1-43:27
James 5:1-20
Psalm 119:1-16
Proverbs 28:6-7

Ezekiel 43:2 – The Glory of the God of Israel – the same glory that departed from the temple (Ezekiel 10:18), from Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:23), is returning from the Mount of Olives, back into the Temple, in the inner court of the Ezekiel Temple!

Ezekiel 43:7 – Who is the glory?  From Jimmy DeYoung:

This passage of the prophecy written by the ancient Jewish Prophet Ezekiel is the foretelling of the day that Jesus will return to Jerusalem with the Jews that He has retrieved from the safety of the unique city of Petra. This is the climax of the seven years of terrible judgment on the Earth.

Jesus will have returned to the Earth just days earlier and after building His Temple in Jerusalem, Zechariah 6:12, He will go to the Jezreel Valley for the Battle of Armageddon.Then Jesus will make His way to Petra, Isaiah 63:1-6, to gather the Jews that will have been protected in a “place prepared by God”, Revelation 12:6, for the last half of the seven year Tribulation Period.

They will make their way from Petra, verse 2, across the Jordan Valley, up the back side of the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley and then enter through the “Eastern Gate”, verse 4, and up onto the Temple Mount.

In this passage the word “glory”, used four times, is referring to the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. In the record found in the Old Testament of when the “ark of the covenant” was brought into the Temple, I Kings 8, the “glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” This is what happens as this prophecy is fulfilled.

http://devotional.prophecytoday.com/2018/01/ezekiel-437.html

Ezekiel 43:10 – These passages are the greatest proof that God isn’t done with Israel yet. From EnduringWord:  “Again, the very detail of the description was assurance to Israel that this was real. Their restoration would be real. This made it important for Ezekiel to write it down in their sight.”

Ezekiel 43:19 – Why in the eschatological future do we have sin offerings? As the Old Testament sin offerings looked forward to the sin offering of Jesus, the Ezekiel Temple offerings look back to His sin offering.

James 5:1 – Notice on days that the stock market goes down, the billions lost by the tech titans. Be glad your treasure is not in this world (Matthew 6:21).

James 5:12 – Tell the truth, till the day you die!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9Pv3U_OsfU

James 5:16 – Why are there so many sick in churches? In addition to the biological causes, are we seeing people suffering from spiritual maladies? Unconfessed sin breeds bitterness, which has many physiological symptoms.

Psalm 119:1 – Welcome back to Psalm 119! We’ve read in Romans that the  law hath dominion over us (Romans 7:1), and end up a little unhappy with the idea of law. We should be – because we can’t keep the law. But with the Spirit (Romans 8:4) we can have life. Our struggle is not keeping the law, our power enables us to live the life the law showed but could not give us. We can now live the blessings of Psalm 119!

  • Blessing (Psalm 119:1, 2)
  • Freedom from sin (Psalm 119:3, 11)
  • Freedom from shame (Psalm 119:6)
  • Joy (Psalm 119:14, 16)

Psalm 119:11-12 – Memorize with Earl Martin!

Proverbs 28:7 – Keeping the law is the path of wisdom. Of course it’s impossible without the Spirit, but with the Spirit and the Word (Psalm 119:9), the son can gain wisdom on his way!

Daily Encouragement

November 20 – How close can you be to the Lord?

November 20
Ezekiel 40:28-41:26
James 4:1-17
Psalm 118:19-29
Proverbs 28:3-5

Ezekiel 40:28 – We’re continuing to measure the temple today. There’s many fascinating models of the Temple of Ezekiel on the internet, and many strange theories.

Ezekiel 40:38 – Burnt offering? In the eschatological future? Yes we’ll see more about the sacrifices in Ezekiel 44-46.

Ezekiel 41:26 – Your pastor probably hasn’t preached in depth thru this chapter. But imagine if you’re Ezekiel – and you were told to document this building but not much else.

Peter tells us that the prophets were studying what they themselves had prophesied, because they did not understand the things they saw or heard or said (1 Peter 1:10-12). Ezekiel’s prophecy wasn’t for him, but for generations to come. The Messianic prophecies that were hidden became revealed in Peter’s day!

James 4:1 – More conduct unbecoming a Christian. Internal disputes rooted in lusts, deadly desires, fruitless fighting, and asking amiss. This is a worldly system that says that being on top is closer to God (James 4:4). God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

James 4:8 – You can be as close to God as you want to be.

James 4:15 – Ever hear someone say Lord willing we will do this? This verse is the root of that – applying Solomon’s message in Ecclesiastes, life is vanity, a vapour. Don’t start with your plans and consider God later, rather start with the certainty of God and the possibility of your plans.

James 4:17 – And if you thought you had enough sins to remember, James just upped the ante above the entire 613 laws of the Old Testament, and declared that abstaining to do any good act is sin. The New Testament is not introducing the age of grace that ignores the law, rather it is the age of grace empowering us to finally obey the law!

Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the LORD hath made!

Proverbs 28:5 – As we’ve read throughout Proverbs, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

November 19 – Ezekiel’s Temple, Solomon on Bureaucrats, and Justification by Works?

November 19
Ezekiel 39:1-40:27
James 2:18-3:18
Psalm 118:1-18
Proverbs 28:2

Ezekiel 39:1 – Notice the repeat from the previous chapter (similar to Genesis 1 & Genesis 2). From Enduring Word:

In Hebrew literature it was common to give an account and then to repeat it to give emphasis and a few additional details. Ezekiel 39:1-8is a summary of what was described in Ezekiel 38.

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/ezekiel-chapter-39/

Ezekiel 39:2 – Notice the size of the destruction – 83% of the army is wiped out! It will take seven years to burn the captured weapons! (Ezekiel 39:9). Why would they burn the weapons? 

Usually weapons left by a defeated enemy would be added to the victor’s cache of arms. After all, there would be other battles to fight. The war against Gog was to be no ordinary war. It will be the final battle, whose conclusion will make armaments obsolete.”

Vawter & Hoppe

Ezekiel 39:22 – Again one of the 80 times we read that God acts so that people can know He is the LORD their God! Give God your attention and your obedience before He has to compel it!

Ezekiel 40 – Here’s a 3D Model of the Temple (this really helps reading the chapter)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNmERZkT6JM

And a 2D Sketch of what it could look like

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Visionary_Ezekiel_Temple.jpg

Here’s a link to another sketch of Ezekiel’s Temple – because of copyright I can’t embed the picture but you can click thru and see it.

James 2:21 – Martin Luther famously referred to James as “a right strawy epistle,” for you like him may have run into people that claim James teaches “justification by works.” Let’s see what James means by “works.” James did not say Abraham was justified by the amount he gave to Melchizidek in tithes, or in his lifetime good deeds, but James points to one solitary action. Let’s look at how this incident is recorded across Scripture:

  • Genesis 22:1-2 “God did tempt Abraham…offer him there for a burnt offering”
  • Hebrews 11:17 “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac:”
  • James 2:21 “Abraham…justified by works, when he had offered Isaac”

God tried Abraham, Abraham had faith in God, and proved his faith by obedience.

If you want to say (in spite of cross referencing) that James is saying you can be justified by doing generic good works – let’s look at the key text that says you can work your way to heaven, Leviticus 18:5. “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” Moses repeats it in Deuteronomy 4:1. The prophets come back to this theme (Nehemiah 9:29, Isaiah 55:3, Ezekiel 18:9, Ezekiel 20:11, Ezekiel 20:13). Jesus reiterated there is life for those who keep the commandments (Luke 10:28). Paul echoes it as well (Romans 10:5, Galatians 3:12).

If you want to be saved by the law, and claim James as your proof text, then you better backup to James 2:10  that we read yesterday (just 11 verses up!) and remind yourself that you better keep all 613 laws perfectly for your entire life! (See Romans 3:23 before attempting).

James 3:8 – James compares the tongue to a bridle for a horse (James 3:3), a rudder for a ship (James 3:4), and a fire (James 3:5-6). It can bless God and curse men (James 3:9). As James says, if you claim to be a Christian, you should act like a Christian (James 3:10).

Psalm 118:6 – As Carl Kerby says, Be Bold! Trust God, do His will, and He will protect you!

Proverbs 28:2 – Bureaucrats are part of the judgment of the land. There are over 2 million employees of the U.S. government, not counting the postal service or the military. If you are a government employee – Solomon is not saying your work is bad, but he’s saying many federal jobs would probably be unnecessary if this was a nation of righteous people (there are 105,000 full time federal law enforcement officers alone). 

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Daily Encouragement

November 18 – What turns a valley of dead bones into a standing army?

November 18
Ezekiel 37:1-38:23
James 1:19-2:17
Psalm 117:1-2
Proverbs 28:1

Ezekiel 37:3 – Ezekiel didn’t have the answers but was full of obedience (Ezekiel 37:7). Contrast this humble servant to the arrogant rebel Jonah who was full of answers (Jonah 4:2) and didn’t have obedience (Jonah 1:3).

Ezekiel 37:12 – Further in this chapter we’ll read about the coming King (Ezekiel 37:24). When that King made a way for man to connect to God (Matthew 27:51), this passage was literally fulfilled (Matthew 27:52). The bones came together (Ezekiel 37:7), breath came into them (Ezekiel 37:10), and the graves opened, and they came out into the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:12).

Ezekiel 37:19 – This is the “two sticks prophecy.” What does it mean? Does it refer to the union of the people who will reign with Christ to those who will dwell on the New Earth as the JW’s teach? Does it refer to the union of the Bible and the Book of Mormon as the LDS teach? The union of non-Jewish believers and Jewish believers under Torah Observance? Does it refer to two Jewish nations that will exist in the Tribulation as Jimmy DeYoung teaches?  I’m inclined to see it partially fulfilled in the post-Exilic Israel – God gathered them together into the one nation, but not fully fulfilled because the King has not come (Ezekiel 37:22).

Ezekiel 37:24 – Ezekiel often repeats his key themes. The end fulfillment will be David the King ruling over Israel dwelling in their land (Ezekiel 37:25), as part of an everlasting covenant (Ezekiel 37:26), faithful to the LORD (Ezekiel 37:27). This hasn’t happened yet – there is no King in Israel. King Alexander Jannaeus of the Hasmonean Dynasty in the first century BC reclaimed much of the land, but illegally combined the office of King and Priest, and by no means was identified with peace (Ezekiel 37:26).

Ezekiel 38:2 – What is this battleof Gog and Magog? From Jimmy DeYoung:

In verse 2, “Magog” is modern-day Russia, “Meshech and Tubal” along with “Gomer and Togarmah”, in verse 6 is present-day Turkey. “Persia” in verse 5 is Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The other two names, “Ethiopia and Libya”, are also nations that will join the “alignment” to attack Israel.

These nations make up the “who” in this passage. The “when” is revealed to us in two verses, verses 8 and 11. These verses speak of the time when the Jewish people come back into the land in the last days and are “dwelling safely” in the land. They also will be living in “unwalled villages”.

Both terms are referring to a time when there is “peace” in the land. It will not be the time when Jesus has brought “peace” but a time of a “pseudo-peace” one that will be a “short-lived” peace. This “peace” comes when the Antichrist has established a “peace” in the land, which is in the very beginning of the Tribulation.

The “what” is the unfolding of the war to destroy the Jewish people and take the “land” that God has given the Jews. As these nations attack Israel, God intercedes, verses 18 to 23. Couple this with the verses found in Ezekiel 39, verses 1 to 6, and you come to an understanding that the Lord protects His “Chosen People”.

http://devotional.prophecytoday.com/2015/11/ezekiel-3818.html

Ezekiel 38:22 – How will God judge Gog & Magog? Similar to how He judged Sodom and Gomorrah – with fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24, Luke 17:29). The earthly judgment is but a foreshadowing of the eternal lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:10, Revelation 21:8).

James 1:21 – The best illustration of “superfluity of naughtiness” was from an evangelist who told about a new intern on his team, who was tasked with emptying the sewage tank on the evangelist’s RV – if you haven’t dumped an RV, it is an interesting experience! Apparently the hose wasn’t connected properly, and gallons of raw sewage poured forth over the new intern, covering him in a superfluity of naughtiness. It’s a vivid picture of the despicableness of sin.

James 1:22 – James points out some behaviors incompatible with the Christian life:

  • Lazy listeners (James 1:22)
  • Loose tongues (James 1:26)
  • Leaving the fatherless and widows (James 1:27)
  • Leaning to the rich (James 2:1)

James 2:10 – There were 613 laws under the Torah. James declares that we can keep 612 of the commandments perfectly, and yet still break the entire law!

James 2:14 – James declared in James 2:10 that we cannot keep the law. Those who try to be saved by works fall greatly short. We are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5). But a life that displays behaviors incompatible with the Christian life needs to go back to the warning passages of Hebrews, and know that Jesus said we can know a Christian by his fruits (Matthew 7:15). James is reiterating what Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18).

James 2:17 – Jesus said “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit” (faith without works) “is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19). We are commanded to bear much fruit (John 15:8). This is why we were created (Ephesians 2:10). But we cannot do good works without the antecedent of faith, for our good works are but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The proof that we have turned from sin to Christ is that we Bring Forth Fruit!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdHmcz678X0

Psalm 117:1 – Worship need not always be long, but it should be frequent! Reminds me of 1 John 4:9 – Why do we love Him? Because He first loved us!

Proverbs 28:1 – We need some Christians that are bold as a lion to take the news of Jesus to people everywhere!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKxWpzi4zf8

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370