Thursday, February 26, 2015

THE DIVINE TIME TABLE

Hardly had Daniel completed his prayer when an answer was sent to him. His request was not only granted, but also extended to revealing things that were to happen in the years to follow—the divine timetable. Daniel. 9:20-27 is sequel to the first 19 verses. You can think of it as divine response to the prayer of a legend.

 He was given a vision of 70 ‘sevens’ or 70 weeks as it is rendered in some versions. Daniel’s 70 sevens has been called the backbone of Bible prophecy.
In Matt 24:15-16, Jesus Christ referred to this prophecy when he said: “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ as spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
It is the desire of Christ that we understand this prophecy. However, there have been many conflicting interpretations to this prophecy so that it becomes imperative for us to carefully and prayerfully consider what Daniel saw. Please note that whatever interpretation we come up with must be consistent with what other non-figurative passages of the scriptures say.

Vss. 20-23: Gabriel, an angel is sent to answer Daniel’s prayer. He describes Daniel as ‘highly esteemed.’ How glorious would it be for heaven to consider you and I ‘highly esteemed’ before God. Moses, Abraham, Joseph, David, Mary, Job et cetera are among the list of people who received divine endorsement. What stops you from joining that throng?

Vss. 24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, (1.)to finish transgression, and (2) to make an end of sins, and (3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, and (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, and (5)  to seal up vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the most holy.
“Seventy ‘sevens’” (heptads) is a symbolic number which means 70 × 7 years = 490 years. The six highlighted events will happen within that period.

  1. 1.      Finish the transgression – The Hebrew word for transgression is a very strong word for sin and literally means ‘to rebel’. If used with a definite article in the Hebrew meaning it is a specific act of rebellion. In context, the specific act of rebellion is the rejection of the Messiah-ship of Jesus. Matt.23:32
  2. 2.      Make an end of sins - The Hebrew for sins means to ‘miss the mark’. The power of sin will no longer hold sway. Jesus Christ took away that power when He died on the cross.
  3. 3.      Make reconciliation for wickedness – This is the means by which the first two purposes are accomplished. This was achieved at the cross when Jesus made atonement for sin. Rom.1:16-17. Every child of God is therefore, an ambassador of Christ and is saddled with the responsibility of reconciling men to God. 2Cor. 5:19-20
  4. 4.      Bring in everlasting righteousness – This is the age of righteousness that characterizes the Messianic Kingdom – the reign of Jesus on this earth. This will be set up at the end of the 490 year period. Therefore, could the 490 years refer to the end of the world or to the time when Christ brought divine righteousness into our lives.
  5. 5.      Seal up vision and prophecy – The word seal up means to ‘cause a cessation’ or ‘to bring completely to fulfillment’. The Hebrew prophets saw as far forward as the Messianic kingdom. When this is setup at the end of the 490 years, their prophecy will have been fulfilled. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Everything centered around Him
  6. 6.      Anoint the most holy – From the Hebrew this should read ‘anoint a most holy place’. Daniel had been thinking of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple which lay in ruins. The Messianic Kingdom will have a temple built by the Lord Himself (Zech 6:12-15). This would happen after all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Jesus Christ. Matt.28:18a.

Vs. 25 explains the chronology of these events. First, the temple is rebuilt 49 years later i.e. Seven ‘sevens’. Next, is 62×7=434 years and this brings the cumulative to 483 years leaving us with just one ‘seven’ to complete the time i.e. 1×7=7years. All these add up to 490 years. We are told explicitly that from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah will be 7 + 62 sevens, or 69 × 7 = 483 years. This decree was given by king Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2 in 444 B.C. and the 483 prophetic years conclude on Nisan 10, 33 A.D. Exo.12:1-3; Zech. 9:9; Luke 19:41-44 (The Triumphal Entry of Jesus to Jerusalem)

Vs. 26: “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

The anointed one appears only here and in Psalm 2:2. This is the word for Christ (Messiah) that appears in the New Testament.

After the second block of time, the Messiah is to be cut off speaks of violent death. Isaiah 53:8. The people of the prince that shall come (General Titus) shall destroy the rebuilt city and the rebuilt temple. There will be a great war, but the outcome has been settled in heaven. Luke 21:20; 23:28; A flood in figurative language is an army. Isaiah 8:7-8. Jesus referred to this verse in Matthew 24:15. These are events that are to occur AFTER, not before or during, 69 sevens.

Vs. 27: “Then for one seven, he will forge many and strong alliances, but halfway through the seven he will banish worship and prayers. At the place of worship, a desecrating obscenity will be set up and remain until finally the desecrator himself is destroyed.”(The Message Translation) This speaks of the evils the Roman Emperor would do to the Jerusalem temple which culminated in AD. 70. 
Note that the Jerusalem temple and Judaism as a whole lost its divine backing the moment Jesus Christ said on the cross: “It is finished.” Christianity was borne out of Judaism and what was left of Judaism was at best, a façade.

In conclusion, when Christianity is practiced in its pure form, it liberates one from every yoke of slavery and installs the love of God in our hearts. Finally, God’s eternal plan is fulfilled. Man can and will again be in the image and likeness of His Creator. God lives again in us by His Holy Spirit. The truth will set you free. Hallelujah!
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REFERENCES
Image source: www.abovetopsecret.com
The Holy Bible. New International Version.

The Holy Bible. The Message Translation.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

LEGENDARY PRAYER

The Book of Daniel is one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible.  This is perhaps due to the fact that the latter part of the book is mostly apocalyptic in nature. Symbols are used to describe events that would occur many years from the time they were recorded. Daniel,  the author,  as a young man was among those that were taken into Babylonian captivity in 606 BC. He chose righteousness despite the trials of captivity and God rewarded him handsomely. By Chapter 9 of this book,  which by the way,  is categorized among the major prophets, Daniel had become old. At least, he must have been an octogenarian.
Because of the content of this chapter,  it has been called the backbone of Biblical Prophecy. Let's take a look at it.

Daniel Chapter 9 is divided into two major parts:
1. LEGENDARY PRAYER
2. SEVENTY 'SEVENS'

Legendary Prayer. Daniel 9:1-19
This chapter is set at 538BC i.e. 68 years after they were taken to captivity in 606BC. Jeremiah had prophesied that they were going to be in captivity for 70 years. Jer.25:11,12; 29:10

Vss. 1-3 At his old age, Daniel is still seen studying the word of God and acting on it. Everybody recites Jer.29:11 but how many people do the work mentioned in vss.12 and 13

Vss. 4-10 Daniel is very blunt in describing the state of Israel and how they have deviated from divine pattern. Though God recognizes him to be among the "Top 3"  godly men, (Eze. 14:19) Daniel does not separate himself from the sins of his people. In fact, he uses pronouns 'we'  and 'us' 33 times in this chapter alone. How many of us walk about with "holier than thou"  attitudes? We blame the church, the government and everything else but ourselves!

Vss. 11-14 The word of God is the standard Daniel used to compare the deplorable state of his people. He did not use the good old days neither did he compare them with Babylonians. Many preachers today are fond of comparing the church of Christ with denominations or with how things used to be when certain brethren were around. Should this be?
"Daniel speaks a lot about sin in his prayer. But do you know what Israel’s sin actually was at this time? You see, you could be mistaken for thinking that Israel had a lot of immorality or violence or theft or adultery etc and you would of course be dead wrong. That wasn’t the case. They were actually quite religious at the time of the exile into Babylon. They still had the priesthood, the temple, the prophets (both true and false)… the wheels were turning and everyone carried on
with their religious duties… but their hearts were long gone."

Vss. 15-19 In this last portion of his prayer, Daniel moves from confession to supplication. He appeals to God's nature and to the fact that the children of Israel were called by His Name. His request was also specific. He didn't beat about the bush.

In my next blog,  I will do exegesis of the latter part of this chapter.  It promises to be informative and fun. Stay tuned!

Leave your comments and questions and I assure you they will be given the due attention and response.

Truly yours and of course without dross!
Daniel Jimi
Twitter handle: @danieljimi

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Joy Inhibitors

Every individual on the planet holds the key to joy in their hands. What they do with it is quite a different story. Earlier, it was established that happiness is fleeting and depends upon temporal factors like circumstances and/or other people while Joy is true contentment that comes from internal factors like our faith in the Lord. Many people however,  have handed over the key that unlocks joy in their life to certain things that either dictate their joy or completely inhibits joy from their life. Some of these joy Inhibitors are:

1. FEAR. The Bible spared no expense in explaining that there are principalities and powers in this world. Witches,  wizards,  sorcerers and all kinds of dark magic abound. The ancestry of many people is so terrible that they find themselves stuck in the quagmire of pain and suffering, moving from one trouble to another. As a result, they are in a state of constant sorrow and you only need to take a single look at them to see the sadness in them. These people are either seen going from one mountain to another to pray vigorously and violently or wearing different protective rings, markings all over their bodies (gbéré), waking up at ungodly hours to offer rituals and recite long incantations. In the quest to break free from these shackles,  they ensnare themselves. Hebrews 2:14-15 speaks of the liberation that Christ has provided for those who wish to be free from these fearfulness and bondage. 2Tim 1:7 says we have the spirit of Love,  Power and Sound mind but not the spirit of fear. "We"  being those who have chosen to be fearless; those who have access to the power that is available in the Name of Jesus Christ.
A king's guard in ancient Greek said "All men have fears, but the brave put down the fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory." The only One who is worthy of our fear (reverence) is the one who is capable of killing both soul and body. Among those listed for hell are the cowardly. Rev. 21:8 makes this clear. God has the power to save from death and in death. The three young Hebrew men understood this. They told King Nebula
that they believed God would deliver them from the fiery furnace. However, if He didn't, they said, they would not bow! In the end,  they overcame and we're joyful.

2. HISTORY: Some people are so strung on the past that it empties them of the joys of the present. Past mistakes, broken relationships, failed marriages, opportunities lost are among the various things that keep them sad. You need to free yourself from these shackles. In 1Tim 1:15, Apostle Paul asserts: "Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever." (The Message Bible)
The truth is this: No matter how terrible your past may have been, know that some people have had a more terrible past. Yet,  they had their turning points and eventually finished strong and joyful. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: "A man is not held responsible for the beginning of his life but for the end thereof."
I do not know and I do not need to know what your past may have been like. My concern is to make sure this past neither inhibits your present joy nor prevent you from experiencing future peace! Like Paul, forget the things that are past so you can see the future clearly and also enjoy the beauties of the moment. Phil. 3:13

3. POVERTY MENTALITY: A musician said: "Some people are so poor that all they have is money." Very few people in the world today have an abundance mentality. Many a people are up and about searching for security through wealth. As a result,  they lose sight of the key to true security, that is,  Benevolence. Proverbs 10:22 says the blessings of God makes rich and adds no sorrow to it. 1Timothy 6:9-10 posits " But if it's only money these leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after." (The Message Bible)
There is a spirit about money that makes it both a bastard and an adulterous woman. Do not let it ruin your life. You can never have enough of it. Why then, should your joy be dependent on having a lot of it?
Do not misunderstand this fact. Money is not evil in itself but man's mentality and attitude towards it makes it extremely dangerous. Do you want to experience real joy in your life? Give! Give cheerfully to those in need! Give without remembering! Show money you are the master here!
Now,  here's an insight on giving. You should thank those who receive your gift more than they thank you, the giver. Did you just ask why? Read Acts of Apostles 20:35! You are more blessed than the receiver. So, you should show more gratitude. One of the fundamental reasons why you are instructed in the Bible to make a living for yourself is so you can help the weak and the poor. Deuteronomy 15:11 and Matthew 26:11 mentions that there will always be poor people in the land. That offers you the opportunity to receive God's blessings! Joy awaits you when you give generously. Break free from the poverty mentality and install an abundance mentality into your life.

Whatever might be an inhibitor of Joy in your life must be courageously approached and removed. Look within you and win that inner battle. It is then you will be able to live the abundant life God has ordained for you.
I wish Nigeria a free, fair and credible election come 14th February! Endeavour to exercise your franchise.
As always,  I remain yours without dross!
Daniel Jimi
@danieljimi
danogunjimi@gmail.com
+2348062822555