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Daniel’s Disturbing Dream (Daniel 7:1-28)

Daniel, a godly prophet and a man of unshakable faith, has been steadfast in his daily walk of fellowship with God throughout the first six chapters of the Book of Daniel. Nothing has caused him to panic or depart from his faith and practice as a godly Jew. Neither peer opposition nor the king’s new law (chapter 6) greatly disturbed Daniel. Daniel’s first inner turmoil occurs in chapter 7. A revelation from God in his sleep discloses future events which Daniel finds most troubling. Twice in chapter 7 Daniel speaks of his distress:

“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me” (verse 15).

“At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself” (verse 28).

We should note Daniel’s distress in chapter 7 before turning to the other prophecies in Daniel, where we will find that prophecy very often produces distress. Where it has not caused distress, it should have. Nebuchadnezzar became distressed when he received his first night vision (2:1) because he did understand some of his dream. In his vision, the statue collapsed and disappeared, because a mysterious stone struck it at its feet. His vision in chapter 4 should have produced more distress than it did. He was “at ease” when he received the vision, and then he became fearful, and his mind alarmed him (4:4-5). Upon hearing the details of the dream, Daniel too was troubled (4:19). Unfortunately, the king did not heed the dream’s warning, and his kingdom was taken away for a time. In chapter 5, King Belshazzar’s dream should have greatly alarmed him, but apparently it did not. That night his life and his kingdom came to an end. Subsequent revelations in the Book of Daniel which Daniel received were closely associated with some kind of agony or distress (see 8:17, 27; 9:20-21; 10:2-3, 7-10, 17; 12:8).

A look through the Scriptures shows that Daniel’s response to the prophecies he received was not unique. Many Old Testament prophets shared Daniel’s distress as a result of the prophecies they received and often conveyed to others. Why does the prophecy of Daniel 7 cause this godly man so much consternation? What so upset Daniel about the future? Should we be troubled as well?

Prophecies are given so that we may look at history, especially events occurring in our own lifetime, from God’s perspective. Prophecy provides men the opportunity to think and act in a way which pleases God, who determines the future and who reveals future events to men.

Chapter 7 reveals in broad terms what the future holds. Our study of this chapter will isolate what troubled Daniel about the future. If taken seriously, we will find the future sobering as well. May the Spirit of God reveal the meaning of this prophecy to us and produce in us that which God desires to His glory and our good.

Structure of the Text

Two major divisions comprise our text: (1) Daniel’s dream—verses 1-14 and (2) the interpretation—verses 15-28. In more detail, the outline would be as follows:

(1) Daniel’s Dream verses 1-14

  • The Four Beasts — verses 1-8
  • The Ancient of Days — verses 9-12
  • The Son of Man — verses 13-14

(2) The Divine Interpretation — verses 15-28

  • Daniel’s distress — verse 15
  • A General Interpretation — verses 16-18
  • A Fuller Interpretation — verses 19-27
  • Daniel’s Response — verse 28

Interpretive Guidelines

Interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies differ widely. Liberals reject all prophecies, because they require a sovereign God and a miraculous revelation of future events. While conservative, evangelical scholars believe the prophecies in Daniel are true, their interpretations differ greatly. Whether liberal or conservative, our conclusions grow out of the premises and presuppositions governing the process and the product of our interpretation. For this reason, I wish to clearly state the foundational presuppositions and principles on which this exposition of Daniel is based.

(1) The Book of Daniel is a part of the Holy Scriptures, and thus inspired, accurate, and trustworthy.

(2) The prophecies of Daniel must be understood in relationship to and in light of the other prophecies of Daniel.

(3) These prophecies must be understood in light of their historical background as provided in Daniel, in the inspired revelation provided by other portions of Scripture,and the cautious use of supplementary information by reliable historical documents or study. Other biblical prophecies bear on the prophecies of Daniel, particularly preceding or contemporary prophecies.

(4) Prophecies not completely fulfilled cannot be fully understood until after their fulfillment. At least the final portion of chapter 7 has not been fulfilled. Even those portions which we believe have been fulfilled, students of prophecy differ about the way of their fulfillment.

(5) Above all, the prophecy in this chapter means precisely what God says it means in this text, nothing more and nothing less. How easily we turn from what is revealed to speculate about what has been concealed (see Deuteronomy 29:29). We should not spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy trying to fill in the blanks God has left. Our attention should be given to what is clearly and emphatically said. In our passage, Daniel asks for and receives an explanation. What God determined to reveal to Daniel should be enough for us.

Overall Observations

Note these general observations about our passage before we turn to a more detailed study.

(1) Daniel 7 is the last chapter written in Aramaic in the Book of Daniel. Daniel 1:1-2:4a was written in Hebrew. From Daniel 2:4b to the end of chapter 7, the original text was written in Aramaic (the language of Babylon in that day). After this chapter, the book returns to the Hebrew language.

(2) Chapters 7 and 8, while written in different languages, are written during the reign of Belshazzar and somehow linked by the author in Daniel 8:1.

(3) This chapter contains the major segment of Daniel, which is primarily prophetic, although it does not contain the first prophecy in the Book of Daniel.

(4) This is the first prophecy in the book revealed directly to Daniel. The other prophecies were revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and interpreted by Daniel.

(5) While the process involves wicked kings and nations and the suffering of the saints, the culmination is the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom.

(6) None of the kings or the kingdoms are identified.

(7) No identification is made of the saints as “Jews” or “Gentiles.” There seems to be no Jewish nationalistic emphasis here, as there will be later.

(8) The four beasts are all different, with the last standing apart from the first three.

(9) The interpretation of Daniel’s vision comes in two parts, beginning with a general interpretation and then a more specific one based on Daniel’s questions.

(10) Daniel’s preoccupation is with the last beast, rather than the first three.

(11) A distinction is made between God the “Father”—the “Ancient of Days” and God the Son—the “Son of Man”—with both playing a part in the establishment of the kingdom.

(12) No distinction between the first coming of Christ and the second is made in the coming of the eternal kingdom of God.

(13) In some sense, the last kingdom is still on-going. Since the last kingdom and the prophecies associated with it have not yet been fulfilled, we must in some way be a part of that kingdom. The day of judgment is still future and has not yet been fulfilled. Thus, the vision is yet unfulfilled in terms of its major emphasis. No wonder interpreters differ about the details (Just my thoughts.). Quite clear, however, is the identity of the “Ancient of Days” and the “Son of Man.”

Background

Chapter 7 moves from the historical accounts of Daniel and his three friends to the prophetic revelations received by Daniel in the last half of the Book. The following chart may help us visualize the relationship of Daniel’s prophecies to the historical setting in which they were revealed:

BABYLONIAN EMPIRE

MEDO-PERSIAN EMPIRE

Nebuchadnezzar

Belshazzar

Darius

Cyrus

Daniel 1-4

Daniel 5

Daniel 6

Daniel 12

Daniel 7-8

Daniel 9

Daniel 11-12

The first prophetic revelation is found in Daniel 2. A night vision is given to king Nebuchadnezzar, apparently early in his reign as king of Babylon. Through the vision of a magnificent, awe-inspiring statue, God reveals the future for Gentile kings and their kingdoms. The head of the statue was made of gold, the chest and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, and the legs and feet of iron and clay.

In his interpretation of the dream, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar he was the head of gold. The identity of the kingdoms represented by the other body parts and metals was not revealed. The king is told that all of these earthly kingdoms would be destroyed by the “stone not fashioned by human hands,” and that an eternal kingdom would take the place of these temporal kingdoms. The subject of the vision in chapter 2 seems to be taken up again in chapter 7. The inter-relationship between the prophecies of chapters 2 and 7 is demonstrated on the following page:

THE FOUR KINGDOMS

C H A P T E R T W O

C H A P T E R S E V E N

Head of gold

The winged lion

Breast & arms of silver

The devouring bear

Belly & thighs of bronze

The winged leopard

Legs & feet of iron & clay

The indescribable beast

SIMILARITIES

A four-part statue

Four beasts

Statue represents kingdoms

Beasts represent kingdoms

Deterioration: Gold to iron mixed with clay

Deterioration: Nearly human to blaspheming beast

Statue destroyed

Beasts destroyed

Eternal Kingdom is established

Eternal kingdom is established

CONTRASTS

Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision

Daniel’s Vision

Daniel’s interpretation

Angel’s interpretation

Glorious statue

Horrible beasts

Human statue in four parts

Four (inhumane) beasts

Destroyed mysteriously by a stone

Destroyed in judgment by God

Daniel’s Dream
(7:1-14)

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. 2 Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 6 After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts. 9 I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 10 A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened. 11 “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 12 “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. 13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

The first recorded vision comes to Daniel in the form of a night vision, like those of Nebuchadnezzar (2:1; 4:5) during the first year of the reign of Belshazzar. How interesting! The vision comes to Daniel in Belshazzar’s first year. A subsequent and related vision comes to him in this king’s third year (see 8:1). The revelation of the “writing on the banquet hall wall,” already described in chapter 5, actually happened later, on the last day of Belshazzar’s life. According to verse 1, the written record of the revelation Daniel received in his first night vision is but a summary of the prophecy he received.

Belshazzar’s rise to power and ascent to the throne seems to have inaugurated a new age for Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was the first ruler of Babylon to have contact with Daniel. Having gained an appreciation for Daniel and his three Hebrew friends, over a period he came to faith in their God. His declaration, which resulted from the deliverance of the three Hebrews, made it unlawful to hinder the worship of the Jews; his decree recorded at the end of chapter 4 went much further. It not only bore witness to the conversion of this king, but encouraged all of the subjects of Babylonian rule to worship the God of Israel.

I believe some in Babylon, like their king, came to a genuine faith in God. Many others may have reluctantly professed or actually adopted the Jewish religion. King Nebuchadnezzar died apparently nine years before Belshazzar came to power. Public sentiment was turning against this “foreign religion,” and the Babylonians, including Belshazzar, wanted a return to their “old time religion” —the pagan worship of the gods of Babylon. With the commencement of Belshazzar’s co-regency may have come not only a rejection of the Jewish faith and worship, but a new wave of persecution directed toward it. The toasting of the gods of the Babylonians with the sacred temple vessels, recorded in chapter 5, may have been Belshazzar’s final act of blasphemy. As we shall show later, the content of the prophecy of Daniel 7 is very closely related to the reign of Belshazzar. The words of verse 1 point to the relationship between the prophecy Daniel received and its historical setting and context.

In his vision, Daniel observed the sea being stirred up into a raging storm by the “four winds of heaven.” This signifies that the events which follow have been ordained by God. God stirred up the sea, and from its foaming, raging waters came forth four horrifying beasts. These beasts, each different from the other, are described in verses 4-7.

The first beast was lion-like, with wings like that of an eagle. Its wings were plucked from it; if this happened in mid-air, he must have plummeted to the ground. If not, he could never have become airborne again. The beast was lifted up and made to stand like a man. The beast also was given a man’s mind.

Generally, it is agreed that this beast represents the Babylonian empire and king Nebuchadnezzar in particular. This description certainly fits the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s plunge from power and sanity in chapter 4. While God tells neither Daniel nor us that this beast represents Nebuchadnezzar, He does reveal that the “head of gold” in the vision of the great statue was Nebuchadnezzar (2:36-38). Since the head of gold seems to describe the same king and kingdom as the first beast, it may not be too far afield to conclude that Nebuchadnezzar is the king represented by the first beast.

By far, this first beast is the best of a bad bunch. He is more beastly in the beginning and more human in the end, paralleling the character of Nebuchadnezzar. This also underscores that these four kingdoms go from reasonably good to unbelievably bad. The only human things mentioned of the fourth beast are his eyes and his mouth. His mouth is used to speak boastfully.

The second and third beasts are briefly described in verses 5 and 6. The second is bear-like. The precise meaning of the symbols of the raised side and the three ribs is illusive. Encouraged to do so, it savagely devours. The third beast is leopard-like, with four wings and four heads, and it is given dominion.

The fourth beast receives greater attention and is of the most interest to Daniel. Different from the first three, this beast seems uglier, more powerful, and much more hostile toward God and His saints. Daniel finds nothing to compare to it. With iron-like teeth, horns (some with eyes), and feet, it is utterly destructive. What it does not destroy or consume with its teeth, it crushes under foot, much like a bull in a china shop.

This fourth beast has the distinction of ten horns. As Daniel continues to watch, another horn emerges, as three of the other horns are plucked out by the roots to make room for it. Looking about with its numerous eyes, no one can escape his look or hide from him. With its mouth, the beast continues to speak boastfully.

The scene of the four beasts arising from the sea, which Daniel saw in his night vision, is strikingly similar to the account found in the 13th chapter of Revelation:

1 And he stood on the sand of the seashore, and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, every one whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If any one has an ear, let him hear. 10 If any one is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if any one kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints (Revelation 13:1-10).

As the beast continues to boast, a second scene commences in Daniel’s vision, and for a period of time both scenes run simultaneously. The second scene portrays the establishment of the thrones on which the Ancient of Days and those holding court are to be seated to pronounce judgment.

In the first scene, heavenly winds are employed to whip up the sea from which the four beasts emerges. In the second scene, heaven calmly prepares for court, which will determine that the time for judgment has come. The beasts are a horrifying and frightening sight; the heavenly court scene is one of regal splendor and beauty. The beasts emerge out of chaos and confusion; the heavenly court is calm and dignified. This scene in Daniel is also similar to a prophecy recorded in the Book of Revelation:

4 and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”

11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. 12 and he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Revelation 13:4, 11-15).

Note that the description of the beasts is written in prose, while the description of the heavenly court in verses 9-10 and of the Son of Man in verses 13-14 is written in poetry form. The beasts are hardly worthy of prose, but the court of heaven deserves a description of the finest words.

The “horn” continues to sound off while the court is being set up for judgment. Suddenly, the boasting beast is silenced by death, and his body is cast into the burning fire. Even the fate of this fourth beast is different than his three predecessors, as his life and his kingdom seem to end at the same moment. The other three are removed from power but allowed to live for some time after their removal (verse 12).

As Daniel continues to watch, someone descends with the clouds of heaven, one like a “Son of Man.” He is presented to the Ancient of Days, and to Him is given dominion, glory, and the eternal kingdom. He will rule over all nations forever.

The expression, “son of man,” is not new to Daniel nor to the Jews of his day. Up to this time, it was simply a synonym for being human, a son of man. In the first use of this expression, being a “son of man” was contrasted with being God:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

The expression is used in the Psalms in a more pregnant way, in reference to the coming Messiah.

Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, Upon the son of man whom Thou didst make strong for Thyself (Psalm 80:17).

Daniel uses the expression “Son of man” twice. The first time in Daniel 7:13, he is referring to Messiah, who will sit on the eternal throne of His father, David. The second time, the expression is used in reference to Daniel himself, as it will be used very frequently in Ezekiel to refer to this great prophet:

So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17).

Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” (Ezekiel 2:1).

Old Testament Jews would likely regard the reference to the “Son of Man” in Daniel 7 as a reference to the Messiah, although they would probably not understand Him to be both divine and human. Before the coming of Christ, who would? When Jesus came, He embraced this expression as a designation for Himself, giving the term meaning vastly beyond that previously held by any Jew.

A Divine Interpretation
(7:15-28)

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. 16 “I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18 ‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’ 19 “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts, and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 21 “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. 23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24 ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 ‘And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ 28 “At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

Daniel’s response to the vision was far from assuring or calming. Some of his alarm arose from his not yet having been given the interpretation of his vision. Yet, his emotional response was valid and changed little after the vision was explained more fully.

This vision was an “interactive vision,” as Daniel was not only present in the vision but was able to approach one standing by to ask the meaning of what he saw. It seems safe to assume the interpreter was an angelic being; at least this is the case in chapter 8 (8:15-26). The interpretation of the events Daniel witnessed in his vision is given in its most concise form in verses 17 and 18: The four beasts were four kings, who will arise from the earth. In spite of these kings, the saints of the Highest One will possess the eternal kingdom forever and ever. In spite of all these beasts do and say, in spite of their power and even their success, neither they nor their kingdoms will last. The kingdom of God will be established and the saints will possess it forever.

The emphasis of this brief interpretation falls not on the enemies of God, their power, their brutality, nor their boasting, but on the kingdom of God, its certainty and its permanence for all the saints forever. The emphasis is positive. If Daniel had been shaken by the dark side of his vision, he is reminded in the interpretation of the outcome of these events—the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom.

The vision’s explanation was not thorough enough to satisfy Daniel. Desiring a more detailed explanation, he apparently asked for one and received it. Passing over the first three beasts, his questions focus on the last beast. He wants to know more about this dreadful beast, different from the rest, especially in the destruction he wrought. The ten horns are of interest to him, but most of all that final horn which arose, surpassing and replacing three others and speaking boastfully.

The vision plays on before Daniel, almost as though in answer to his desire to know more. The boastful beast becomes even more aggressive, waging war with the saints and even overpowering them. No wonder this vision causes Daniel such distress. This takes place until the Ancient of Days comes and judgment is given to the saints, at the time the eternal kingdom becomes their possession.

These are the things Daniel sees in the vision. Now, in verse 23, the angelic interpreter explains the relationship of the boastful beast and the coming of the eternal kingdom of God. The fourth beast is a fourth king, different than the others. He distinguishes himself by his ability to overcome the whole earth, crushing it under foot.

The ten horns, Daniel is told, represent ten kings who will emerge out of the fourth kingdom. An eleventh king then rises to power, different from the others, replacing three of the previous kings. This king’s boasting turns to blasphemy. He not only speaks against the Most High, he oppresses the saints. He intends to make changes in time and in law. Just what this means is unclear, but it suggests this arrogant king not only speaks against God, but, like Satan, he aspires to change the order God has established. He surpasses those before him by speaking boastfully, then blaspheming, and finally seeking to overthrow God’s order.

The final words of verse 25 are carefully chosen to let the reader know that while this king appears to be successfully opposing God, all he does is a part of the divine plan for the last days. The eleventh horn may hope to change the time, but in God’s plan this king is granted “a time, times, and half a time” —three and a half years to oppose and oppress the saints. God grants this king success and his saints suffering, but only for an appointed time.

When the court sits for judgment, his dominion is taken from him and he is destroyed forever. At this time the kingdom of God is established. The saints of the Highest One are given all the kingdoms of the earth for an everlasting kingdom. They will serve and obey Him forever.

Daniel’s vision ends here, but its impact on him does not end. His thoughts alarm him, and his face pales. Nevertheless, Daniel tells no one, keeping the matter to himself and suffering a quiet agony over the future events God has revealed to him.

Conclusion

The message of this prophecy is really quite simple and may be summed up this way. Before the kingdom of God is established on the earth, four earthly kingdoms will rise and fall. These kingdoms go from bad to worse. Arrogant, boastful, and even blasphemous kings will reign over the nations, opposing God and oppressing His saints. All of this is by divine design. During times of oppression, it may appear the saints are being defeated and that God’s kingdom is but wishful thinking. When the sin and oppression of evil men reaches a predetermined point, God will remove them and establish His promised eternal kingdom. Then the saints will receive the kingdom which will never end.

A number of lessons from our text have broad application to our thinking and conduct as Christians. Consider these lessons as we conclude.

(1) Prophecy is necessary because God has chosen to settle His accounts with men slowly. God is eternal, and so is His plan for all creation. God is in no hurry to fulfill His promises, (even though it only encompasses 6000 years,) whether His promise of the eternal kingdom for all the saints or the promise of eternal destruction and judgment for sinners. Prophecy is necessary then so that men are reassured of divine deliverance and blessing, as well as divine judgment (see 2 Peter 2:4-9). Through the ages, the saints have learned that they must wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled and that this may not happen in their lifetime (see Hebrews 11:13-16, 39-40). God may choose to delay judgment on the wicked until their sin reaches full bloom; the possession of the land of Canaan would not happen in Abraham’s lifetime, but more than 400 years later after the suffering of the people of God (see Genesis 15:12-17). God also allows the wicked to persist and even to prosper, so that those whom He has chosen might be saved (Romans 9:22-24). God’s plan and program are carried out on His schedule, not ours (see 2 Peter 2:8-10). Prophecy becomes necessary from time to time to remind men of those things God has planned for the future which He will surely fulfill.

(2) While the timing of the fulfillment of divine prophecy may seem remote to the recipient, it still has relevance for him. According to our text, the prophecies of Daniel 7 will not be fulfilled for a considerable period of time. Four kings will establish four kingdoms, and some of these kingdoms have a number of kings. The last kingdom has at least eleven kings. Centuries must therefore pass before the prophecies of Daniel are fulfilled.

The distance in time of the fulfillment of Daniel 7 said something very important to the captive Jews of Daniel’s day. It would be but a very few years until Cyrus would come to power and assist the Jews to return to Jerusalem and the land of Israel. In the euphoria of this grand event, someone might well conclude the kingdom of God was to be established within the lifetime of those returning to Israel. Our text challenges such a conclusion, and later prophecies in Daniel further document that the coming of the King and of the kingdom will be some time further in the future. In those days, as in our own, there are always those are too quick to conclude that the kingdom of God has come (see Matthew 24:4, 6, 8, 24-28; 2 Thessalonians 2:1ff.).

The kingdom of God would not be established in Daniel’s lifetime, nor in the life of those who returned to the land of Israel from their captivity. The prophecy of Daniel 7 nevertheless had great relevance and application to those in Daniel’s day. Nebuchadnezzar may have started badly, but by the time we read of him in Daniel 4 he seems to be a true believer in God, urging the citizens of his kingdom to worship and serve Him. For the remainder of Nebuchadnezzar’s life, it seems that religion in the kingdom of Babylon was at least favorable to the worship of the God of the Jews. While most of those in this kingdom may not have had a true conversion, at least they tolerated the Jewish faith as the religion of the state.

With the death of Nebuchadnezzar comes a change in the people’s attitudes, especially their leaders toward Judaism. Belshazzar came to power several years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar and seems to have turned completely away from the God of Israel. Consequently, it is little wonder that in the events recorded in Daniel 5, Belshazzar was ignorant of Daniel and the abilities God had given him. He only called on him in a moment of sheer panic when no one else could help, and only then because of the recommendation of the queen mother.

The reign of Belshazzar was, in some measure, a foretaste of what was yet to come in full measure during the reign of the fourth beast, especially of the eleventh horn. Would this horn Daniel’s vision revealed oppose the people of God and even blaspheme God Himself? God would strike him down in the moment of His choosing to silence him once and for all and put an end to his kingdom. Would Belshazzar toast the gods of gold, silver, wood and stone with the sacred temple vessels? God would strike him down suddenly too and bring his kingdom to a swift end. The prophecies of Daniel 7 speak of a future day of reckoning, foreshadowed by the actions of Belshazzar and the judgment of God on him and his kingdom.

As I read through the statements men have made about the God of Israel in the first six chapters of Daniel, I find that what men came to know and to acknowledge through history, God declares through prophecy. I encourage you to compare the statements of Daniel 2:21-22, 44, 47; 4:3, 34-35, 37; 6:26 with the content and declarations of Daniel 7. What God declares in prophecy, He reveals as well in history. We are in harmony with God when our declarations conform to his. Those of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, and Darius all agree with the prophecy of Daniel 7. God is able to raise up kings and put them down. God will establish His kingdom, and that kingdom, unlike the kingdoms of men, is eternal.

(3) The finest commentary on the prophecy of Daniel 7 comes from our Lord Himself. In the Old Testament, the expression “son of man” was used most frequently in reference to men, who were merely (as opposed to God) human. In the Psalms and also in Daniel 7, the expression “Son of Man” begins to take on a more technical meaning, referring to the Messiah, who will sit on the throne of His father, David, to rule over men forever.

When the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, having added perfect humanity to His undiminished deity, He spoke of Himself very often as “the Son of Man.” In the Gospels, Jesus began not only to identify Himself as the Messiah, the promised “Son of Man,” but also to explain all that this involved. The Son of Man had the power to forgive sins, as well as to heal a paralytic (Matthew 9:6). The Son of Man was also “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). He would rise from the dead (12:40). He will also send forth His angels to gather those who do not belong in His kingdom (12:41). He questioned His disciples so that they could confess that He, the Son of Man, was the Messiah (16:13f.). He would, after His death, burial, and resurrection come in His glory, rewarding men according to their deeds (16:27). His disciples were promised that they would share in His reign as King (19:20). The transfiguration of our Lord was but a foretaste of His coming glorious kingdom (16:28). When He came with His kingdom, they would be sure to recognize Him (24:27). However, the Son of Man must first suffer at the hands of men (17:22; 20:18).

Those who rejected the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of Man, would mourn when they saw Him returning in the clouds:

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

As the destruction of the last beast and the blaspheming horn came as a complete shock to them, so the Lord’s coming will catch unbelievers unprepared as well (24:27-39). His followers too must be alert and ready for His return (24:44).

In my opinion, the most dramatic reference of our Lord to His identity as the Son of Man comes as the Lord Jesus stands on trial before the Sanhedrin and the high priest:

59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; 60 and they did not find it, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, AND COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN” (Matthew 26:59-64).

In His response to the demand of the high priest, Jesus directly claimed to be the promised Messiah. That was bad enough, from the religious leaders’ perspective, but the way in which He answered them was the last straw. Jesus quoted the words of Daniel 7:13. They surely knew this text to be messianic, but they had always applied it to the Gentiles. They believed that the Messiah would come to establish the kingdom, to bless the Jews and to condemn the Gentiles. Jesus applied this text to them, not as those who would enter into His kingdom, but as those who would be judged at His return. No wonder His words stung and prompted them to act as they did. For the time, it was these Jewish leaders who were beastly, arrogant, and blasphemous, and because of this they would suffer divine judgment. The words of Daniel which applied to the beasts now found application to them.

(4) Suffering is to be expected by the saints, before they enter into the glorious kingdom of God. Daniel 7 indicates in the clearest way that prior to the coming of the kingdom of God the saints will suffer at the hand of the final “horn” and even be overpowered by him. Wherever I see the Scriptures speak of the coming kingdom of God, I find suffering closely associated with it. Before the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt and brought into the land of Canaan, they suffered at the hands of the Egyptians. Our deliverance from the power of sin and the penalty of death has been accomplished by our Lord, who suffered in our place. Those who will reign with Christ are those who have suffered (see Romans 8:17;Philippians 3:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:12). Suffering is an inseparable part of the process which leads to glory. So it was for our Lord (1 Peter 1:10-12), and so it will be for us.

(5) Prophecy is not written as hype but revealed to produce the hope of glory and endurance in present tribulation. Prophecy is not a pep rally, which generates a great burst of short-term enthusiasm but does little to inspire faith and endurance in the midst of suffering. Neither is prophecy written to make us happy or to feel good. Daniel’s response is testimony to this reality.

(6) Prophecy is written to sober the saints. Prophecy speaks not only of the joys and glories of God’s kingdom to come but of the suffering and tribulation preceding the eternal blessings of the kingdom of God. In the context of the coming of His kingdom and the suffering and trials which precede it, soberness is a vitally important quality which prophecy promotes:

1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8).

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer (1 Peter 4:7).

(7) Prophecy is revealed, not to give us the particulars of things to come, but to change our perspective. Prophecy is necessary because God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. We could never predict the goals God has determined, nor the means He has ordained for history to reach them. Prophecy reveals that which we would not and could not expect apart from divine revelation.

In God’s economy, things are not what they appear to be. We do not walk by sight, but by faith. We do not act on what we see so much as on what God has said. Abraham and Sarah were elderly and childless. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for them to have a child. And yet God said they would. And they did! Abraham had to believe and behave on the basis of God’s promises, rather than on the basis of his perception.

As the boasting horn of Daniel 7 seems to be getting away with his blasphemies and his oppression of the saints, it seems to him he can do whatever he wishes, including the changing of times and law. As the wicked prosper in their sin, it seems as though they can continue in sin without any fear of divine judgment (see Psalm 73:1-11; 2 Peter 2:3-4). Their perception is wrong, for suddenly and without warning their day of destruction will come upon them. When that day comes for them, it is too late to repent.

As the saints suffer at the hands of the wicked, it may appear all hope is lost. It may seem to them that their defeat is certain and that their hopes of entering into the eternal kingdom are lost. Things are not as they appear to be! When we expect it least, the Lord will return, the wicked will be punished, and the kingdom of God established forevermore.

I have heard a number of attempts to explain the “gaps” in Old Testament prophecy. One of those gaps is found in Daniel 7. The coming of the Son of Man is represented as one coming, and not two. We know that Jesus came the first time to die and that He will come again to subdue His enemies and establish His kingdom. We are told the Old Testament prophet could not see the distance between the first and the second coming of our Lord, just as one cannot see the distance between two mountains, when viewed from afar.

Considering this text has changed my opinion about the “gap” in the prophecies of the Old Testament. The gap is not the prophet’s problem; it is ours. The Old Testament prophet did not see the gap because he viewed the coming of Christ as God does. From an eternal perspective, the coming of Christ and His kingdom is but one coming. Our Lord’s first coming happened over a period of more than 30 years, and yet we view this as one coming. If, in God’s eyes, a day is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years as a day (2 Peter 3:8), then the coming of our Lord has only been a few days from beginning to end.

We see a gap—an almost insurmountable gap—between suffering and glory; God does not. Suffering and glory are a part of one work. Just so, Christ’s suffering and glory is but a part of one coming. Prophecy greatly benefits the Christian because it enables him to see things from the bigger and broader perspective—from God’s perspective—so that when he suffers, he knows it is but a part of the process of getting to glory.

Consider the birth of a child, remembering that God’s deliverance and salvation is likened to birth. The process of having a baby involves the pains of childbirth. They are far from pleasant but an unavoidable part of the process. The woman endures in the view of the final outcome of the process. When the child is born, the pains of suffering are quickly lost in the joys of seeing a new life, or a couple of hours of pain compared to many years of child rearing. Child-bearing is a process which involves suffering and glory. Salvation is likewise a process involving suffering—and then glory.

Prophecy is revealed to men to change their perspective, to urge them to see things as God sees them rather than as they appear to the human eye. We are not to base our thinking and actions on circumstances, but upon the Scriptures. What God says, He will do. History has shown this to be true in the past, and prophecy assures us that it will be true in the future. Let us listen then, and be sober, enduring the sufferings and trials sent our way, looking expectantly and certainly for His kingdom to come.

Daniel’s Disturbing Dream
Questions and Answers

(1) Why does Daniel indicate the historical setting of the vision he receives in chapter 7?

In verse 1 Daniel indicates his vision came to him in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar. The vision recorded in chapter 8 took place in the third year of Belshazzar. The account of the writing on the wall and the death of Belshazzar (obviously the last year of his reign) is found in Daniel 5.

Prophecy is not revealed in a historical vacuum. While most prophecies in the Bible reveal events which will take place after the death of the recipient of the prophecy, the prophecy is revealed for impact upon those to whom it was revealed. Prophecy is always practical and relevant to the person(s) receiving it.

At the outset of the account of his vision, Daniel wants his reader to know the historical context in which this prophecy was given and to consider its interpretation and application in the light of that context. Specifically, the account of “The Bad News at Belshazzar’s Banquet” (not a bad title for that lesson) in chapter 5 was given to us so that we could better understand the prophecies of chapters 7 and 8. We will deal with the meaning and application of Daniel’s vision later on in our questions and answers.

(2) Why do you think Daniel summarized his dream when he wrote it rather than tell it in full (see verse 1)?

Editing is often evident in the Bible (see John 20:30-31; 31:25). Editing allows an author to set aside details which are not significant and focus on the essence of the message he is trying to communicate. Daniel boiled down his vision to its essence, so we would not fail to understand the message he meant to convey to us.

(3) What principles should guide and govern our attempt to interpret the prophecy of this chapter?

First, the prophecies of Daniel are divinely inspired and revealed, and thus they are true and reliable. Second, the prophecies of Daniel are to be understood in the light of the entire Book of Daniel, of the Old Testament, and of the Bible as a whole. Thirdly (and most importantly), the prophecies of Daniel mean exactly what God says they mean, nothing more and nothing less. The prophecy of this chapter is divinely interpreted. God has revealed in this interpretation what He wants us to know and has kept back that which we need not know. We dare not ignore that which is revealed nor do we dare go too far afield in speculating about what is concealed (see Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:23).

(4) What is the structure of Daniel 7?

The chapter falls into two major parts. Verses 1-14 contain the vision which God gave to Daniel. Verses 15-28 contain the divine interpretation of this vision.

(5) What do the four beasts represent? How was the fourth beast different from the first three?

Each of the four beasts represent a king and thus a resulting kingdom. Each beast has its own unique characteristics. The fourth beast appears to differ from the other three in that he is more beastly, more powerful, more destructive, and more arrogant. This beast is also unique among the four in that he grows 11 horns. These horns are also kings, from whom kingdoms arise (verse 24). This fourth beast seems to regenerate in the form of subsequent kings and kingdoms. His final offspring, so to speak, is the little horn which becomes the great blasphemer, whose life and kingdom is suddenly cut off by the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man.

(6) How important is it for us to identity the kings and the kingdoms mentioned in our text? Are we supposed to discover their identity?

Daniel was told that the beasts are kings, but he was not told the identity of any of the kings. There is fairly strong inferential evidence that Nebuchadnezzar was represented by the first beast, the winged lion. The point of this prophecy is not to tell us who future kings will be, but rather what they will be like. Until God’s eternal kingdom is established, kingdoms will progress from bad to worse. These kings will rise to power and dominate the earth. In the latter days, an unusually powerful and evil king will arise, who will blaspheme God and oppress the people of God. When his appointed time is over, God will destroy this king and his kingdom and establish His eternal kingdom on the earth. This is what we need to know from Daniel’s vision, rather than the identity of the beasts.

(7) Who is the Ancient of Days? Who is the Son of Man? What role do they play in relation to the four beasts?

The Ancient of Days is a designation for God, not found elsewhere in the Bible. This designation refers to God the Father in a way that stresses His eternality, dignity, and power. It is virtually the opposite of the term “beast.” The expression, “Son of man,” is not new to Daniel. In Ezekiel, and even in Daniel (8:17), it is used in reference to a prophet. Usually it refers to a person as a human being. But here in chapter 7, as in Psalm 80:17, the “son of man” is more than just a man, He is the Messiah. When the Lord Jesus came to the earth, He often referred to Himself as the Son of Man, gradually making it clear that He was the Messiah who was God incarnate.

When the iniquity of the blasphemous horn reaches full bloom and his appointed time to rule is fulfilled, God will destroy him, casting his body into the fire. It is at this time that all human kingdoms will become subject to God and to the saints in the eternal kingdom, which the Son of Man will establish when He comes to the earth to judge and to rule.

(8) Is there any relationship between Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 and Daniel’s dream in chapter 7?

There seems to be a close connection between the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, which is revealed and interpreted in chapter 2, and the vision of Daniel in chapter 7. The statue has four parts; there are four beasts. Both the statue parts (made of different metals) and the beasts represent kings and kingdoms. Both series of four kingdoms begin well and end badly. Both sets of kingdoms are brought to a sudden end and are replaced by an eternal kingdom. It therefore seems that the two prophecies speak of the same four kingdoms by means of different imagery. The latter prophecy of Daniel 7 adds many more details than were revealed in chapter 2.

(9) What is the relationship between Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 and the events described in Daniel 5?

The blasphemous horn of Daniel 7, which goes so far as to oppose the people of God, is suddenly taken by death, and his kingdom is removed. In a similar way, Belshazzar becomes blasphemous and is suddenly removed by God for his wickedness. The death of this king brings about the end of his kingdom. Daniel 5 is an illustration and a prototype of what will happen in the end times, as described in the prophecy of Daniel 7. The fulfillment of the prophecy of Belshazzar’s demise underscores the certainty of the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision in the last days.

(10) What effect did the vision have on Daniel, and why?

Daniel is greatly distressed by the vision which he sees in chapter 7. We are not told precisely what it is that troubles Daniel. From the context, it would seem that Daniel’s distress is the result of the wickedness and oppression of the world kingdoms which are represented by the beasts, and by the knowledge that the saints will be oppressed and even overcome for a period of time. The fact that wicked men will prosper and prevail and that the righteous will suffer is hardly pleasant news.

(11) What is the point of the vision? What is its message to Daniel, to the Jews, and to us?

In the latter days, before the kingdom of God is established on the earth, kings and kingdoms will become worse and worse. The wicked will prosper and appear to get away with their opposition toward God and His saints. The righteous will suffer. But in the end, God will judge the wicked and establish His kingdom for His saints.

The saints should expect to suffer because of their faith, especially as the last days for the kingdoms of men draw near. The saints should also expect the wicked to prosper, for a season. The saints should neither believe nor behave on the basis of how things appear to be (the wicked prospering and prevailing over the righteous). The saints must believe and behave according to what God has promised about the future —the righteous will possess the kingdom of God forever.

Amen! Even so Lord Jesus Come Soon!

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Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom

Jesus Christ TransfigurationLuke 9:27 says, ‘I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.’ See also Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 for the parallel quotes. In each of the synoptic Gospels, the next event immediately after this promise from Jesus is the transfiguration. Rather than interpreting Jesus’ promise as referring to His coming to establish His kingdom on earth, the context indicates that Jesus was referring to the transfiguration. The Greek word translated ‘kingdom’ can also be translated ‘royal splendor,’ meaning that the three disciples standing there would see Christ as He really is ‘the King of heaven’ which occurred in the transfiguration.

The ‘transfiguration’ refers to the event described in the above cited passages when Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the top of the mountain, where He met with Moses and Elijah’ representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament’ and spoke with them. The disciples saw Jesus in all His glory and splendor, talking with a glorified Moses and Elijah. This is a glimpse of what will occur in Jesus’ kingdom. The disciples were dumbstruck at the sight and ‘fell on their faces’ (Matthew 17:6).

Christ Transfiguration

It seems most natural to interpret this promise in Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; and Luke 9:27 as a reference to the transfiguration, which ‘some’ of the disciples would witness only six days later, exactly as Jesus predicted. In each Gospel, the very next passage after this promise from Jesus is the transfiguration, which shows Jesus in all His glory which will be seen again in the Kingdom of God. The contextual links make it very likely that this is the proper interpretation.

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The Life of John the Baptist

Although his name implies that he baptized people (which he did), John’s life on earth was more than just baptizing. John’s adult life was characterized by blind devotion and utter surrender to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. John’s voice was a “lone voice in the wilderness” (John 1:23) as he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah to a people who desperately needed a Savior. He was the precursor for the modern day evangelist as he unashamedly shared the good news of Jesus Christ. He was a man filled with faith and a role model to those of us who wish to share our faith with others.

Most everyone, believer and non-believer alike, has heard of John the Baptist. He is arguably one of the most significant and well-known figures in the Bible. While John was known as “the Baptist,” he was in fact the first prophet called by God since Malachi some 400 years before his own birth. John’s own coming was foretold over 700 years previously by another prophet. In Isaiah 40:3-5 it states: “A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”” This passage illustrates God’s master plan in action as God selected John to be His special ambassador to proclaim His own coming.

Little is actually known of John, although we do know that John was a Levite, one of the special tribe set aside by God to take care of all of the work associated with the temple (Numbers 1:50-53). John was the son of Zechariah, a temple priest of the lineage of Abijah, while John’s mother Elizabeth was from the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:5). John was also related to Jesus as their mothers were cousins (Luke 1:36). John lived a rugged life in the mountainous area of Judea, between the city of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. It is written that he wore clothes made out of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. His diet was a simple one”locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). John lived a simple life as he focused on the kingdom work set before him.

John’s ministry grew in popularity, as recounted in Matthew 3:5-6: “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” We also see that he spoke very boldly to the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, calling them a “brood of vipers” and warning them not to rely on their Jewish lineage for salvation, but to repent and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:7-10). People of that day simply did not address leaders, religious or otherwise, in this manner for fear of punishment. But John’s faith made him fearless in the face of opposition.

While his ministry was gaining strength, John’s message was gaining popularity. In fact, it became so popular that many people may have thought that he was the Messiah. This assuredly was not his intent as he had a clear vision for what he was called to do. John 3:28 tells us, “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'” This verse speaks of John cautioning his disciples that what they had seen and heard from him is just the beginning of the miracle that was to come in the form of Jesus Christ. John was merely a messenger sent by God to proclaim the truth. His message was simple and direct: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). He knew that once Jesus appeared on the scene, John’s work would be all but finished. He willingly gave up the spotlight to Jesus saying, “He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30). Perhaps there is no greater example of humility than the one demonstrated by both Jesus and John in Matthew 3:13-15. Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John in the river Jordan.

John rightly recognized that the sinless Son of God needed no baptism of repentance and that he was certainly not worthy to baptize his own Savior. But Jesus answered his concern by requesting baptism “to fulfill all righteousness” meaning that He was identifying Himself with sinners for whom He would ultimately sacrifice Himself, thereby securing all righteousness for them (2 Corinthians 5:21). In humility, John obeyed and consented to baptize Jesus.

John’s ministry, as well as his life, came to an abrupt end at the hand of King Herod. In an act of unspeakable and violent vengeance, Herodias, Herod’s wife and the former wife of Herod’s brother Philip, plotted with her daughter to have John killed. So incensed was Herodias at John for claiming her marriage to Herod to be unlawful that she prompted her daughter to ask for the head of John on a platter as a reward for her pleasing Herod with her dancing. John had previously been arrested by Herod in attempt to silence him, and it was a simple thing to send the executioner to the prison and behead John, which is exactly what happened (Mark 6:17-28). This was a sad and ignoble end to the life of the man about whom Jesus said: “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28).

Prepare the Way for the LORDThere are several lessons we can learn from the life of John the Baptist. First, whole-heartedly believing in Jesus Christ is possible. John the Baptist could have believed in and worshipped any number of gods available to him before Jesus arrived on the scene. But at some point in his life John knew that the Messiah was coming. He believed this with his whole heart and spent his days “preparing the way” for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 11:10). But the road was not an easy one to prepare. Daily he faced doubters of various influence and popularity who did not share his enthusiasm for the coming Messiah. Under hard questioning from the Pharisees, John shared his belief: “”I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie”” (John 1:26-27). John believed in the Christ and his great faith prepared him for hardships, but it kept him steadfast on his course until the time when he could say as he saw Jesus approach, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). As believers, we can all have this steadfast faith.

Second, anyone can be a strong and serious witness for Jesus Christ. John’s life is an example to us of the seriousness with which we are to approach the Christian life and our call to ministry, whatever that may be. We pattern our lives after John’s by first examining ourselves to be sure we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Second, like John, we are to know and believe that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), so we can be fearless in the face of persecution and death. John lived his life to introduce others to Jesus Christ, and knew the importance of repenting of one’s sins in order to live a holy and righteous life. And as a follower of Jesus Christ, he also was unafraid of calling out people such as Herod and the Pharisees for their sinful behavior.

Third, John shows us how to stand firm in our faith no matter what the circumstances. Paul reminded Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). But for many of us who live in freedom, persecution takes on a very mild form. As he lived in an occupied country, John had to be aware that anything contrary to utter devotion to the king or emperor was asking for trouble. Yet his message was unchanging, bold and strong. It was John’s belief, his message, and his continual rebuke of King Herod that landed him in prison. While it is hard to know for sure what John was feeling as he sat in prison, we can be sure that he might have had some doubts about the Lord who tested his faith. In fact, John gets a message out to Jesus asking, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3). As Christians we all will have our faith put to the test, and we will either falter in our faith or, like John, cling to Christ and stand firm in our faith to the end.

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11 1st Kings chapter 1-20

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January 10, 2016 · 7:30 pm

11 1st Kings chapter 21-22

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January 10, 2016 · 3:31 pm

12 2nd Kings chapter 21-25

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January 10, 2016 · 3:23 pm

Who Said A Cartoon Can’t Make You Shout !

Without-God-whatshotnThere is not a spider hanging on the king’s wall but hath its errand; there is not a nettle that groweth in the corner of the churchyard but hath its purpose; there is not a single insect fluttering in the breeze but accomplisheth some divine decree; and I will never have it that God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank, and to be a nothing. He made you for an end. Find out what that end is; find out your niche, and fill it. If it be ever so little, if it is only to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, do something in this great battle for God and truth.– Charles Spurgeon

Never, never neglect the word of God; that will make thy heart rich with precept, rich with understanding; and then thy conversation, when it flows from thy mouth, will be like thine heart, rich, unctious and savory. Make thy heart full of rich, generous love, and then the stream that flows from thy hand will be just as rich and generous as thine heart. Oh! go, Christian, to the great mine of riches, and cry unto the Holy Spirit to make thy heart rich unto salvation. So shall thy life and conversation be a boon to thy fellows; and when they see thee, thy face shall be as the angel of God.

Happy 2016.
This is a year of increase. May the LORD be with you this year.
PSALMS 115:14-15
Stay blessed.

Written by a beautiful friend and the words are amazing. Have you ever felt that something was nagging at you that you needed to repent? Well ask the Lord to show you so you can lay down at His feet Amen

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King Saul, Prophet Samuel and the Witch, (Spirit Medium) of Endor

1 Samuel 28 – Saul and the Medium of Endor

 In the book of 1Samuel, it states the witch of Endor conjured up the prophet Samuel for King Saul. By whose power did she do this? 

The city of Endor where the witch was located, is in the Northern part of the land God gave to the Israelite tribe of Issachar. It was a city however, assigned to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11).

The first question to ask is how did this first human king of Israel selected by God, get to a point where he would use the services of a witch? Although his rule started out well he soon began to have troubles. He disobeyed God’s law when he offered burnt and peace offerings before a battle, a responsibility given only to priests (1Samuel 13:7 – 14). His punishment for this action was that he and his descendants would not rule Israel.

Saul later disobeyed the Almighty and lied to Samuel when, instead of killing all the Amalekites and destroying all their possessions, he kept the evil Amalekite king alive and tried to take the best of the animals for himself (1Samuel 15:1 – 26). Additionally, the spirit of the Lord which was upon Saul was soon taken from him and he began to be troubled by an evil spirit (1Samuel 16:14). David’s rise in popularity (1Samuel 18:7) leads Saul to fits of rage and revenge against him. Sometime later, his friend and mentor Samuel dies (1Samuel 28:3).

King Saul unsuccessfully tried to consult God regarding his upcoming battle with the Philistines through the accepted means of the Urim and the prophets (1Samuel 28:6). He was now clearly a troubled, rejected man who desperately wanted counsel regarding what he should do next. It is at this point in his life he seeks to contact the prophet through a woman who had a ‘familiar spirit,’ a witch of the city of Endor.

Saul disguised himself in order to meet with the witch. When he finally visited her in secret, he asked her to contact the dead spirit of Samuel.

(Saul asked the witch) said to her. ‘What do you see?’ ‘I see a spirit coming up from the earth,’ she answered. 14 ‘What does it look like?’ he asked. ‘It’s an old man . . . He is wearing a cloak.’ Then Saul knew that it was Samuel . . . (1Samuel 28:13 – 14)

Do not go for advice to people who consult the spirits of the dead (Leviticus 19:31, see also 20:6) 27 Any man or woman who consults the spirits of the dead shall be stoned to death; (Leviticus 20:27)

He had Moses tell the children of Israel that it was the practices of the original inhabitants of the land of Canaan, such as human sacrifice, divination, sorcery, witchcraft and consulting the dead, that had caused Him to decide that the Israelites would take their land from them (Deuteronomy 18:9 – 14).

The vision told him that Israel was going to lose its battle, Saul and his sons would be killed, and the kingdom would be handed over to David.  The enemy did not kill the king. Rather, he killed himself after receiving several wounds from Philistine archers (see 1Samuel 31:1-6; 2Samuel 1-5).

The story of the witch of Endor, found in 1 Samuel 28, tells a sad tale of the results of disobedience toward God. Saul was a powerful spiritual leader. God appointed him to be the first king over Israel. He was a mighty ruler and was filled with the spirit of God.

However, he was also a stubborn man. He was weak in many ways, and he refused to repent when confronted with his sins. Instead, he chose rebellion against the Lord. He steadily lost power over the latter part of his reign and eventually died by his own hand.

By the time he consulted the witch at Endor, he had become a desperate man. God no longer answered his prayers, and he felt increasingly powerless over his enemies, his kingdom, and himself. In desperation, he asked the witch to raise the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel, who had been his counsel while he was alive.

Many people use the story of Saul’s encounter with the spirit summoned by the witch as proof that people continue to live in spiritual form after death. How else, they reason, can Samuel have appeared to Saul during this Old Testament séance?

Truly, if it were the actual spirit of Samuel, we could draw conclusions about death and the afterlife. However, if the spirit was simply impersonating Samuel, then we can draw no real conclusions at all. The Bible is very clear that demons can impersonate other beings, even beings of light, but are not, themselves, deceased human beings (see 2 Corinthians 11:14).

That is a perplexing conundrum!

Samuel was a faithful man for his entire life. He was dedicated to the service of God at his birth, and he received direct communications from heaven until his death. Unquestionably, he had God’s favor. If he were alive in spiritual form after death, he would surely be in heaven in the presence of the Lord.

This should help us know the true nature of this spirit. God had chosen to stop communicating with Saul because of his rebellion and refusal to repent. First Samuel 28:6 makes God’s silence plain:

“And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.”

The Bible plainly states that God refused to speak to Saul through His prophets. Therefore, if Samuel were still alive, he would not have received any word from God for Saul. Yet the story with the witch tells us that the spirit “Samuel” did speak to Saul, and even delivered a prophetic message to him (see 1 Samuel 28:16–19). If God did not speak to Saul through the prophets, yet Samuel delivered a prophetic message anyway, then Samuel would have been in rebellion against God. Why would Samuel, a man who was obedient to God every moment of his life, choose to rebel after his death? It’s simply illogical.

We must also remember that God gave specific instructions to His people against performing witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, or even associating with people who did these things. The Bible plainly warns in Deuteronomy 18:10–12:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.”

Saul was aware of this instruction. He had evicted all mediums and spiritists from the land of Israel during his reign (1 Samuel 28:3). Therefore, when he consulted the witch at Endor, he was breaking God’s command as well as his own.

This is all the background and questions that have come up from this part of Scripture (Full text and definitions st end of post,) Now let’s get into the “meat” and learn verse by verse what the Scripture is saying. Shall we?

Saul’s distressing situation

 (3-5) Saul’s fear at the attack from the Philistines.

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land. Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.

Samuel had died: Samuel’s death was originally reported in 1 Samuel 25:1. Here, the fact is mentioned again to emphasize the spiritual vacuum left by Samuel’s departure.

Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land: To his credit, Saul obeyed the commands in the Mosaic Law to cast out those who practiced occultism arts. God commanded that mediums and spiritists (those who either can or claim to contact the dead and spirit beings) should have no place among His people in passages such as Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 27 and in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Saul did this in his earlier days when he was still influenced by Samuel’s leadership.

Things such as tarot cards, palm readers, horoscopes and Ouija Boards are modern attempts to practice forms of spiritism. They are dangerous links to the demonic, even if undertaken in a spirit of fun. Christians should have nothing to do with occultist arts or practices.

Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem: The geography of Shunem means that the Philistines made an aggressive attack against Saul and Israel.

Shunem, in the Valley of Jezreel, was about twenty miles north of Aphek, the most northerly Philistine city. The fact that the Philistines had penetrated thus far gives an indication of their dominance over Saul’s kingdom, and of their intention to press further east to the Jordan.” (Baldwin)

When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly: Long before his downward spiral when Saul still walked in the Spirit, he was a man of great courage (as in 1 Samuel 11:6-11). Saul began to lose his courage when the Spirit withdrew from him (1 Samuel 16:14) and now after the death of Samuel his courage seems almost completely gone.

 (6) God will not speak to Saul.

And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.

When Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him: Saul was in a terrible place. The Philistines threatened, Saul’s courage failed, and now God was silent when Saul sought Him. Saul hoped God would speak to him through dreams, but God was silent. He hoped God would speak to him through the Urim, but God was silent. He wanted to hear from God through the prophets, but God would not talk to Saul.

The LORD did not answer him: This silence demonstrates that God will not always answer everyone who seeks Him; not when a man is in a place of judgment as Saul is. King Saul has rejected and is currently rejecting God’s previously revealed will. Since Saul didn’t care to obey God in what he already knew, God will not give him more to know.

At the very least, Saul knew that God did not want him hunting David, hoping to kill him. Saul said as much in passages such as 1 Samuel 24:16-20 and 26:21. Yet Saul disregarded what he knew to be God’s will in this matter. If we want God to guide us, we must follow what guidance we already have from Him.

When we reject the word of the LORD we can still be comforted by the fact that He speaks to us. As we continue to reject His word He may stop speaking to us – and we will lose even that comfort.

 Saul consults a spirit medium.

 (7-8) Saul seeks out a medium.

Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at EnDor.” So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a seance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”

Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her: It wasn’t easy to find a medium in the land of Israel because Saul had previously put them out of the land. So Saul asked his staff to find him one and they suggested a woman in the city of EnDor.

Traditionally, this woman is known as the Witch of Endor. It may be appropriate to call her a witch but it is more accurate to call her a medium or a necromancer – one who makes contact with the dead. The Hebrew word for medium is owb, and it has the idea of “mumbling” or speaking with a strange, hollow sound – as if one were “channeling,” with a dead person speaking through them. The Hebrew word has in mind the sound the channel makes as they speak. The English word medium has in mind the concept of a channel – they stand in-between the world of the living and the dead, and communicate between the two worlds.

Endor was only a short distance away, on the north of the Hill of Moreh, and accessible despite the Philistine forces close by.” (Baldwin)

Endor was “located four miles northeast of Shunem and thus dangerously close to where the Philistines were encamped.” (Youngblood)

Saul disguised himself . . . and he went: As Saul sought the medium he brought upon himself a curse. God said in Leviticus 20:6: And the person who turns after mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.

Bring up the one I shall name for you: Saul will ask the medium to channel the deceased prophet Samuel. He did this because he wanted to know what God might say to him. Saul is like a man going to a palm reader to hear the will of God.

This shows the depth of Saul’s fall from God, and how it affected his mind. He obviously isn’t thinking clearly here. Once Saul rejected the truth, he was likely to fall for even the most foolish deception.

 (9-10) Saul answers the suspicions of the medium.

Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?” And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, “As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.”

Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die? The medium wondered if this was a government “sting” operation; but Saul assured her – swearing in the name of the LORD, no less – that she would not be punished.

Saul swore to her by the LORD: Saul’s oath in the name of the LORD reminds us that spiritual jargon means nothing. As certainly as the LORD lives Saul was in complete disobedience and darkness. This is the last time Saul used the name of the LORD in the book of 1 Samuel and he used it to swear to a medium that she will not be punished.

 (11-14) To the medium’s surprise, Samuel appears.

Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!” And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.” So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.

Bring up Samuel for me: Why did Saul want to see Samuel? Considering the times Samuel strongly rebuked Saul (such as in 1 Samuel 15:22-29), we might think that Samuel was the last person Saul would want to see. Probably, Saul wanted to remember his “good old days” with Samuel, when the prophet was his guide and mentor (1 Samuel 9:25-26).

In the midst of his sin, depression and demonic influence, Saul forgot that Samuel was in fact his adversary when he slipped into sin (1 Samuel 13:13-14 and 15:22-29).

When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice: The medium was probably so shocked because she was a fraud, and most of her dealings with the spirit realm were mere tricks. Now Samuel really appeared from the world beyond and she was completely surprised to have a real encounter with the spirit realm.

In addition, we can say that this medium was familiar with the presence of demonic spirits but the presence of the Holy Spirit was probably unfamiliar to her. The holy presence of the Holy Spirit may have seemed terrifying to her. “The indications are that this was an extraordinary event for her, and a frightening one because she was not in control.” (Baldwin)

Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul! The medium is also surprised because now she knew that she practiced her craft before the same king who drove out all the mediums and spiritists from Israel. She had reason to be afraid both of the real spiritual presence she saw and the king right beside her.

We are not told how the medium knew it was Samuel. It might have been something Samuel said when he first appeared. It might have been a word of supernatural knowledge, communicated to her either from God or from the world of the demonic.

And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.” The Hebrew word translated by “spirit” in the New King James Version is actually the Hebrew word Elohim – literally, “gods” but often applied to the One God in plural form. This indicates both the truth of the Trinity and God’s greatness, which is indicated in Hebrew by the plural form. When the medium said she saw an elohim, she did not mean that she saw the One True God and she did not mean that Samuel was deified. Instead, speaking from her own pagan context, she called this appearing of Samuel an elohim because that was what it seemed to be in her pagan vocabulary. It was only she who called Samuel an elohim.

 “She useth the plural number, gods, either after the manner of the Hebrew language, which commonly useth that word of one person; or after the language and custom of the heathens.” (Poole)

Saul perceived that it was Samuel: However Samuel appeared, he was visible to both the medium and Saul. This wasn’t a “crystal ball” appearance that only the medium could pretend to see. Nor was it a “voice in the dark” as in a séance. This was a real appearance of Samuel.

It was Samuel: This strange incident is controversial, and several different approaches have been used to understand this passage. Here are four of the most commonly suggested possibilities.

Some believe that this was a hallucination of the medium. But this doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t explain why the medium was so frightened. It doesn’t explain why Saul also saw Samuel and why Samuel spoke to Saul, not to the medium.

Some believe that this was a deception by the medium. But this also isn’t an adequate explanation, for the same reasons given to the previous suggestion.

Some believe that this was a demonic impersonation of Samuel. It is possible that the medium, with her occultic powers, summoned a demonic spirit that deceived both her and Saul. But this suggestion is also inadequate, because it does not speak to the issue of motive. After all, what advantage does Satan gain by “Samuel’s” words to Saul?

  • Some believe that this was a genuine (but strange) appearance of Samuel. This is the best explanation because it is supported by the reaction of the medium, who got more than she bargained for. It is also supported by the truth of what Samuel said (and the text says that Samuel said it). Some may say that it is impossible for Samuel to reappear in some way, coming from the world beyond back to this world. But Moses and Elijah also came from the world beyond back to this world when they appeared with Jesus at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3).
  • Clarke makes an additional valuable point: “I believe that the woman of En-dor had no power over Samuel; and that no incantation can avail over any departed saint of God, nor indeed over any human disembodied spirit.” Samuel really came, but not because the medium called for him. Samuel appeared because God had a special purpose for it.
  • It was Samuel: God allowed this strange appearance of Samuel because it accomplished two things. It re-confirmed the coming judgment upon King Saul in a dramatic way, and it taught the medium a powerful lesson about the danger of her occultic craft.
  • “I believe Samuel did actually appear to Saul; and that he was sent by the especial mercy of God to warn this infatuated king of his approaching death, that he might have an opportunity to make his peace with his Maker.” (Clarke)
  • When we close our ears to God He will find unusual – and perhaps uncomfortable – ways to speak to us. “That he did appear to Saul, there can be no question, but he did not come in response to her call. He was sent of God, for the express purpose of rebuking Saul for his unholy traffic with these evil things, and to pronounce his doom.” (Morgan)
Saul’s visit to the witch at Endor

Saul’s visit to the witch at Endor

 Samuel speaks to Saul.

(15-18) Samuel tells King Saul why the LORD will not speak to him.

Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.” Then Samuel said: “Why then do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? And the LORD has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day.

  • Samuel makes this point exactly when he quotes from the 1 Samuel 15:28-29 passage with these words: For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. God’s word to Saul didn’t change from the time He first said it until the time it would be fulfilled. Perhaps Saul thought that time would change God’s mind; but time never changes God’s mind. Our repentance and genuine brokenness may change God’s mind, but never time.
  • The test for any “spirit encounter” or “angelic revelation” is its faithfulness to the Biblical message. It doesn’t matter what kind of impressive encounter one has with a spiritual being; even if an angel from heaven (or Samuel himself!) preach any other gospel to you . . . let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8).
  • As He spoke by me . . . the voice of the LORD: Essentially, Samuel confirmed what God already said to Saul. The message of the LORD to Saul is disturbingly consistent, no matter which strange way God chooses to bring the message.
  • Why do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? Samuel was on the LORD’s side, so if the LORD wouldn’t tell Saul what he wanted, he didn’t have any reason to believe that Samuel would tell him. Perhaps Saul kept seeking, hoping that the news would get better, but it never did.
  • God has departed from me: “God never departs from a man until the man has departed from Him. Then, in the interests of righteousness, God is against that man.” (Morgan)
  • Properly speaking, Samuel was not in heaven. Jesus explained in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) that before the finished work of Jesus on the cross, the believing dead went to a place of comfort and blessing known as Abraham’s bosom. When Jesus finished his work on the cross, sin’s penalty was paid for these believing dead and they were then ushered into heaven.
  • Why have you disturbed me? Samuel’s words would be in the mouth of anyone who left the place of comfort and blessing in the world beyond to come back to the earth. Samuel would rather be back where he was.
  • This is an indication to us of the reality of the world beyond. Though he passed from this world, Samuel was in a real place, living a real existence.
  • I am deeply distressed: Saul explained his problem to Samuel. First, the Philistines make war against me. But far worse than that is the fact that Saul knows that God has departed from me and does not answer me any more. Saul then revealed why he called for Samuel: that you may reveal to me what I should do.
  • What I should do: “Saul is asking for guidance when his course of action is obvious: he has to fight the Philistines. What he really wants is reassurance that all will be well and that he will win the battle.” (Baldwin)
  • Because you did not . . . execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day: Samuel called Saul’s mind back to what happened in 1 Samuel 15. In that chapter, Samuel told Saul “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you . . . For He is not a man, that He should relent” (1 Samuel 15:28-29). Apparently, in the fifteen or so years since the events of 1 Samuel 15, Saul thought that perhaps the LORD would change His mind. Samuel told Saul that the LORD had not changed His mind at all.
  • When the medium saw Samuel, she said he was covered with a mantle. The mantle was probably Samuel’s robe, which would have identified him as both a prophet and a priest. In 1 Samuel 15:27, when Samuel announced that God would take the kingdom away from Saul, Saul grabbed Samuel’s robe in desperation. The Hebrew word used for robe in 1 Samuel 15:27 (meheel) is the same word used for mantle in 1 Samuel 28:14. It is likely that when Samuel appeared before the medium and Saul, he wore this same torn robe to remind Saul that the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.

(19) Samuel tells Saul about his fate.

“Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”

  • The LORD will deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines . . . you and your sons: When judgment fell upon Saul it would also trouble the people around him. His sons and all Israel would also suffer.
  • Before this time, Saul had plenty of time to repent but now time has run out. We can never assume that we will have as much time as we want to repent. The desire and opportunity to repent are gifts from God. If we have the desire and the opportunity today we must seize upon it, because they may not be there tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me: Saul learned from Samuel that he would die the next day. In 1 Samuel 28:15, Saul asked to know what I should do. Samuel never told him what to do because it was too late to do anything. All Samuel told him was what would happen, and God’s judgment was already in motion.
  • You and your sons will be with me does not mean that Saul was going to heaven and be with the believing dead. In the story Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31, the blessed dead and the cursed dead were both in the same general area. The believing dead were in the place of comfort knows as Abraham’s bosom but the cursed were in a place of torment. Saul would be in the same general area as Samuel, but not the same specific place.
  • “Can any person read this, properly considering the situation of this unfortunate monarch, the triumph of the enemies of God, and the speedy ruin in which the godlike Jonathan is about to be involved, without feeling the keenest anguish of heart?” (Clarke)

Saul’s reaction and departure.

  1. (20) Saul reacts with fear and a loss of all strength.

Then immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.

  • Because of the words of Samuel: It wasn’t just that Samuel told Saul that he would die or fall in battle before the Philistines. Far worse to Saul was the knowledge that the LORD was his adversary. Not only were the Philistines set against him, so was the LORD God. Knowing this was more than Saul could bear.

(21-25) The medium comforts Saul.

And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was severely troubled, and said to him, “Look, your maidservant has obeyed your voice, and I have put my life in my hands and heeded the words which you spoke to me. Now therefore, please, heed also the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.” But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” So his servants, together with the woman, urged him; and he heeded their voice. Then he arose from the ground and sat on the bed. Now the woman had a fatted calf in the house, and she hastened to kill it. And she took flour and kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it. So she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.

  • The woman came to Saul and saw that he was severely troubled: It’s a sad note when a practitioner of the occult comforts the King of Israel. But they were two of the same kind; each lived in rebellion to God, and each was under judgment from the LORD.
  • And they ate: The dinner Saul ate that night was like the last meal of a man on death row, waiting execution in the morning.
  • Then he rose and went away that night: Saul left this strange encounter resigned to his fate. “The additional information, that within twenty-four hours he and his sons would be dead, was no help at all to his morale. Indeed he would have been better without it. He did himself no good by doing what he had decreed to be unlawful. God’s word stood and could not be altered. He should have believed it instead of thinking that by further consultation he could reverse its judgment. The Lord did not answer him, because there was no more to be said.” (Baldwin)
      1  And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.
     2  And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.
     3  Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
    4  And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.
     5  And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. .
    6  And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
       1 – Go with me to battle David fought with the Philistines.
       3 – Ramah See Jerusalem vicinity.
       4 – Shunem See the lower part of the Galilee.
       6 – The Lord did not answer Saul had killed the priests, refused the advice sent by Samuel, and sent David into exile. He had not changed but was hoping for a way to save his throne.
       6 – Urim One of two stones in the breastplate of the high priest through which God communicated His will.
    7  Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.
    .8  And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
     9  And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
     10  And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing,
       7 – With a spirit God had expressly forbidden the occult practices. And Saul had acted to rid the land of spirit mediums v9.
       7 – Endor South of Mt. Tabor. The town is also mentioned in jos1711.
       10 – No punishment Saul confirmed his rebellion against God who had declared that such persons should be put to death le2027. This is a clear example of taking the Lord’s name in vain.
    11  Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
     12  And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
     13  And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
     14  And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
       11 – Samuel Saul had refused to listen to the prophet and his object now was not repentance. Could it have been Samuel? We answer in the discussion at the bottom of this page.
       12 – Cried The woman’s question implies that the spirit had revealed Saul’s hidden identity.
       13 – Gods ascending The occult is basically worship. Animist people today worship their ancestors. And millions bow to apparitions they believe to be Mary.
     15  And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
     16  Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?

    17  And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:

     18  Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.
     19  Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
     20  Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.
     21  And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.
     22  Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.
     23  But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.
     24  And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
     25  And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

    Was it Samuel?
    Samuel was dead. If, as some believe, he went to Abraham’s bosom, satan would not have been given permission to bring him in response to the incantations of a wicked woman. Also God had already refused to communicate by dreams, Urim, or prophets (verse 6). The Lord’s disapproval is recorded, noting that Saul died for his transgressions. He inquired of an evil spirit and not of the Lord. How could the figure that appeared to the spiritualist woman be an impersonation of the prophet by an evil angel or perhaps by Satan himself. If he could transform himself to appear as an angel of light, but does he or an appointed evil angel have the power to also appear as the prophet Samuel? For a quick note about what the Bible says about death, see on the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The answer is a resounding NO! The Bible does not make perfectly clear the why of it, was it by grace to Saul or was it to teach us the sovereignty, the supreme power or authority of God? Not sure however can we question God? No but it was clearly Samuel!

     

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Help Wanted

“Always Abounding
in the Work of the Lord”

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

This ministry work would be furthered in the hearts of men and blessed to have you assist us in any of the following ways (email at bottom). We are all Christ’s disciples, servants, and friends (John 15). As blood-bought members of Jesus’ body, we are all just regular people – former sinners now saved by His glorious grace – who have His desire inside of us to help others grow in His grace and for lost souls to be saved/rescued before it’s too late (Luke 19:10; Mark 4:19). Each of us know inside that our time is short – we have a very limited window and must act now. Many who read these words desire and have even prayed for something to do for Jesus.

So that we are all on GOD’s page per se, I want to encourage you to read the 4-chapter book of Colossians. Please pray before you begin and as you study these words of our LORD, ask Him to reveal His heart, wisdom, truth, and full-counsel to you. Ask Him to reveal Himself – Jesus Christ – to you. Don’t miss the apostle Paul’s warnings and 1:28 which gives us the PWT principle of preaching, WARNING, and teaching. Here’s a brief help to launch you and your life into a higher orbit with Jesus! – Colossal Colossians!

By His grace, our whole goal is simply to magnify and elevate and uphold Jesus Christ and no mere man or ministry (Colossians 1:18; 2:18-19). He alone is worthy and He “must increase” but we “must decrease.” (John 3:30) Read 2 Corinthians 1:9; 3:5; 4:5.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Let’s abound in the work of the Lord together beloved. Read 1 Corinthians 3:6-9.

OPPORTUNITIES/NEEDS

– Most prolific, prevalent opportunity: Disciples of Jesus who will push out/publish links with teaser lines on social media. This will create feeding, edification, rebuke, exhortation, encouragement, and binding and sealing divine truth among Christ’s remnant disciples who will in turn begin communicating His Word (Isaiah 8:16). Peruse, be edified by, and publish pages on the ministry site. It’s a large resource covering dozens of important biblical topics. If you have social media accounts, please join us in pushing out the Scripture-rich resources on https://whatshotn.me/  – articles, outlines, study guides, books, etc.

Word Press Expert for advice and tech support at times or more ….(for website updates, new plug-ins/enhancements and website translated in different languages)

Money. This ministry work is about Christ alone and offers the opportunity for us all to “lay up” treasure with our LORD, in His safe keeping (Matthew 6:19-24). Setting up a recurring gift is extremely vital to the operation of this work. Please realize that no organization or even one rich person bothers to support this work. One person gave $5.00 once and that, to a degree, is what determines how many people we can reach (printing soul-winning Gospel tracts, giving away books to help Christians grow in Christ, etc.).

Translations of books into the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Polish
  • German

Graphic artist(s) needed (cutting edge)

Financial gifts to help the ministry operate at optimal fruitfulness (John 15:16)

  • Monthly Sponsorship’s (E-Mail).
  • One Time Gift (E-Mail)

Air Miles for mission trips
– Again: Ministry via replies and postings on Facebook and other social media sites. Getting God’s Word out via social media platforms.

Now because money is so important in this world, it is very difficult to develop the right mindset about it. This is when the practice of tithing a specific percent, even though it is no longer required, can be a very helpful way to develop the right attitude about money. By making ourselves give away some specific percent, we remind ourselves that all our money is God’s in the first place.

So far for this donation drive to provide food for the hungry and homeless, We have received nothing to put into the food bank, many have seen it and have done nothing, what a sad day this truly is looking at them and not being able to give them food for their belly, that is one of the few commands Jesus gave us to do! the ones who turn their backs on the hungry their Christianity is in question! How can I say that? I didn’t Jesus did! Remember His message about the sheep and the goats?

Help Wanted For God's Ministry

Help Wanted For God’s Ministry

All love offerings are so very appreciated. We are not supported by any organization but rather dependent upon the love offerings of individuals who love the LORD Jesus and want to help further His eternal kingdom in the hearts of men. Your donation(s) will greatly assist in keeping us on post and in greater fruitfulness for our KING’s glory!!!! 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 

Please EMAIL us whatshotn@outlook.com

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