Joshua 3:13, “And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.”
A Major Prophet is described as one who contains a large amount of material. A Minor Prophet, though they are not less than the Major Prophets, they usually contain less or are shorter in length for information. All prophets, Writing and Non-Writing; Major and Minor, mattered in the development of God’s Will for His People and other lands. Non-Writing Prophets are prophets that are mentioned but have not written a book in the Bible – versus a Writing Prophet who has written a book in the Bible. There are major and minor ones of each, however, the more prominent Major and Minor Prophets are the ones who are Writing Prophets.
Ro’eh means “seer” – which describes the special powers of “sight” or seeing into the future. Chozen means or indicates the word, “gazing” – which has to do with gazing or seeing into the future. Nabhi comes from the Semitic root, “Naba,” which means to utter, proclaim, or speak. It means “utterance of a special message on behalf of one who has commissioned him to say it.” It places emphasis on the message, not the vision.
The idea of “prediction” is present in the Bible through the Old Testament, but prophets were primarily speaks or preachers to their peers – witnesses & predictors. This isn’t a predictor as a palm or mind reader might be, but a predictor as a supernatural or godly predictor (someone called by God to speak on His behalf).
Peter’s admonitions on identifying the attributes of Prophets are in 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Peter 3:2: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”
Biblical Prophets should be uncompromising, which means they are not bound by the opinions of others. For they are conscious of a divine call and realize that they must speak only the Prophetic Word of God – to which, the divine compulsion must be obeyed. They stay on task no matter what and know that they have the privilege to speak, which is by access to the inner counsel of Yahweh. They have immediate contact with God, and He is the bearer of such precious secrets. They have an intense passion for truth, especially in proclaiming it. They know that God is the authority and they trust in Him to provide sound wisdom through them, in hopes that people would be admonished. They are individuals of prayer and communion, to which they must be clean and lead consecrated lives (especially good character). They are outspoken critics of evil and act as God’s agent to correct, reprove, exhort, and reveal the future to the people of God.
We see Peter talking about the presence of the Spirit in the Old Testament Prophets in 1 Peter 1:10-12, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” Peter speaks that they were filled with the Holy Ghost to speak such things, and then points that into our direction, as we now preach the gospel. We have the Spirit of Prophecy available to us, as he says, and this ensures that God can continue to communicate to His People overall.
It is amazing to see the work of God through the Holy Spirit, because He was moving and active in so many different people; admonishing, directing, guiding, and helping them receive God’s Love – so that they did not have to receive justice for their terrible sins. His role through the Holy Spirit was to make sure that His People knew that He was still with them, and I think this is amazing, because it expresses His very nature – which is loving, peaceful, and beautiful. He is the great comforter, whom administers comfort through His Spirit!
Elijah was an especially prominent and important Non-Writing Prophet. He was brought into the text suddenly as Melchizedek was, and there is no mention of a father, mother, or any beginning of his days. Little is known of Elijah, and some think he was dropped out of the clouds as if a messiah would be. He grew quickly into a witness of God as a prophet, and would change a good part of history within a fraction of time, and then bestow a royal blessing before being whisked off into Heaven by a chariot of fire. Outline of his prophecy:
• In 1 Kings 17:1-4, we see his first prophecy – to which, he foretells of a great drought to Ahab, so Ahab is sent to Cherith, where the ravens would feed him. ◦ This would be fulfilled shortly after with a terrible famine, which revealed Elijah to be a true prophet of God • Another prophecy is recorded in 17:14, which relates to God’s provision during the famine for both Elijah and the poor widow who fed him. God would provide food, and then it was fulfilled (As Elijah blessed the woman’s oil and flour) by the continual provision of food out of the same container for many days. • Elijah helped deal with idolatrous activity, especially in 1 Kings 18-22. • Elijah’s final act before his ascension to Heaven by chariot of fire was handing the mantle over to Elisha. He desired that Elisha prepare himself, being modest and humble and to hold peace. Honor would be placed on Elisha so suddenly, and Elijah sought to comfort him and bestow the magnificent blessing from God upon him.
Miriam, from the Old Testament, was a prophetess and sister of Aaron; an instructor of praise and service of God to other women. She had the Spirit of prophecy upon her, and showed it through song and dance. Outline of her prophecy:
• In Exodus 15:20-21, we see her with a timbrel in hand leading other women in the same with dances, and she said to sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously – the horse and his rider are thrown into the sea. ◦ She was speaking here things that she saw, and declared the glory of the Lord as a result of victory.
Elisabeth, from the New Testament, was barren, until God had chosen her to bear a child of prophecy (John the Baptist). Not much is known about her, except that she was friends with Mary, who would bear The Child of Prophecy (Jesus). One time is recorded when she met with Mary that the child (John) leapt in her womb – to which, Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Outline of her prophecy in Luke 1:42-43:
• She spoke out with a loud voice to Mary saying that she was blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of her womb. In this altogether, she acknowledges the incarnation of Christ, and for Mary to be His mother.
satan's (false) prophecy
satan began in Genesis in the Garden of Eden, as we see in Chapter 3. We also see much of “satan” in Job, as he is used as an accuser of Job. The object of satan is a tool of accusation to speak into people’s lives lies about them, to attempt to mislead and challenge them. That is the role of satan in everyday culture is false but prophetic devices used to lead people astray. If people are reluctant, however, to be led astray, they overcome the satan and such devices.
Moses is definitely one to note. He was raised in the court of the Pharaoh of Egypt, and then led the Hebrews out of Egypt. God spoke to him in a burning bush instructing him to persuade the Pharaoh in releasing the Hebrew people. Outline of a prophecy, found mainly in Deuteronomy 28:49-52:
• This prophecy is given after conditions of the Covenant were listed (blessings and curses). The curses involved diseases and plagues upon the Israelites’ families, flocks, herds, and crops. If problems continued, the whole nation would go into humiliating captivity. • The foreign invaders would be so cruel as to make people desperate for food so much as to eat their own children. Eventually, as prophesied, the nation would be destroyed and the people would be taken captive into foreign countries. • When in foreign countries, they would be treated worse than animals, and would die horribly. Many would be shipped as slaves to Egypt.
About Moses' life and prophecies
The political conditions of Moses’ day were that the Land of Egypt produced a perfect background for this giant of a man, that during this time, the first great wave of anti-Semitism rolled through Israel. It is theorized that Exodus took place between 1290-1220 BC. Rameses II has the distinction of being Pharaoh of this oppression. Other writings say that Thutmose III would have been the ruler in the days of Israel’s deliverance from slavery.
The social conditions of Moses’ day involved being born in the midst of a slave community, to which men did mandatory hard labor, family life continued even in oppression, and the Israelites overall lived as best as they could with some likeness of their early Fathers’ religion and reared their children as they had been raised. In the Egyptian court, luxury and ease would prevail, as it was an age of prosperity and albeit plenty in resources for them – while just a few short steps away, poverty and slavery was going on for God’s children. Slave labor built huge structures to relieve the Egyptians of the stress of toil. Slaves would build great libraries and schools so the nobility could be equipped and supplied with more resources – and the Israelites meanwhile were still oppressed. Moses had a sample of both situations and knew of such misery, as he yearned of his own people. The finest educational system of their world gave him its best, and those 40 years in Egypt left an indelible mark upon Moses.
As for the religious conditions of Moses’ day, things were quite odd. We must believe that in the homes of the slaves in Egypt that some pious souls kept alive the fundamentals of the “old Faith of their Fathers.” When Moses began teaching about Yahweh, he found that they had a basis of the truth that he taught. However, people seemed ignorant of the deeper characteristics of God. Among the Egyptians, there was an elaborate system of religious beliefs and observances, for religion was a big part of their life. Their temples were large and extravagantly furnished. They served many gods and vied with one another for the gifts of the multitudes who crowded the sanctuaries. Priests, ceremonies, and religious displays met the eye, and it was the golden age of Egyptian religion. Moses must have been a close student of all that passed before him.
Moses’ life is divided into three periods of 40 years:
A. In Egypt for 40 years – Moses was born to godly parents, and was adopted into the family of Pharaoh. Being educated in all the arts and sciences of the Egyptian schools, he chose to attach himself to his own people, and was then forced to flee to save his own life. B. In the Wilderness for 40 years – Moses gained a wife, a home, and was then subjected to severe discipline in the desert. He learned firsthand about the land that he would one day lead his people through. After that, an important event occurred when God called him to go back to Egypt and begin his life’s work along with his brother Aaron. C. Leading the people through the Wilderness for 40 years – Moses obeyed God and rescued the Israelites from Egypt, saw God’s deliverance at the Red Sea, received the “Torah” at Sinai, taught and trained the people, lost his patience, and then fell into sin. Moses had repented and then preached in the plains of Moab – to which, he was then taken home to God without entering the Promised Land.
Moses was a powerful man physically, mentally, and spiritually. He had an ability to excite attention and admiration of all who looked upon him. Yet, he felt he needed Aaron, because he felt his speech was not adequate. He was known for such a vigorous social passion, to which is evidence through his life. He was unselfish in his leadership, for the Israelites consumed his life. He was so passionate in his devotion to Yahweh, to which he had a powerful faith in the Divine Plan of God. He was filled with righteous indignation and spiritual intensity, and this marks him as a true leader of men. Lastly, like the other prophets, he felt a pressure of the Hand of God – and his whole life was influenced by this awareness/consciousness – which brought him face-to-face with God.
Idea of GOD
Moses had a theology of “God’s Will” – to which, excelled beyond most men, because he comprehended that “God is a God with a purpose.” God has a Will for Man, has a Will for the world, and especially a remarkable Will for Israel. Moses believed that God’s Will unfolded moment-by-moment and developed his character with each passing day. Moses believed that God was a being of moral character with ethical standards, and believed that He wanted His People to mirror His ethical nature. He knew God had a distinct personality, and Moses represented Yahweh as respecting human personality. He felt God’s compassion as He cared for His People – whether they were in slavery, bondage, in the Wilderness, etc. He was so faithful as to deliver them from bondage and lead them tenderly across the Wilderness. He was even so good as to teach them through the prophets, and loved them with an undying love. Moses knew God was a “covenant-keeping God” who had the right to expect His own chosen ones to keep their part of the covenant.
Major event in Exodus 3
In Chapter three of Exodus, we see many things that Moses was involved. Moses kept the flock of Jethro, who was his father-in-law, a priest in the land of Midian. He kept the flock on the backside of the desert and near the Mountain of God, near Horeb. He did not know that he would lead millions of people through this Wilderness in the very area of the Mountain of God. In 3:2, he was called by God in the burning bush experience, and was told that God had seen the oppression of the Egyptians. He heard their cry and came to deliver them. God sent Moses then to go to Pharaoh to speak on His behalf to free the people. God gave him methods of doing so, with a promised consequence to Pharaoh for reluctance. Moses responded and went with Aaron to do so!
Miriam and Aaron were siblings of Moses. While Miriam normally didn’t speak, Aaron was especially true to his brother by helping him accomplish God’s Will, especially going with Moses to convince Pharaoh to release God’s People from bondage. They both undoubtedly stuck close to Moses for a good portion of his life.
The roots of divine sovereignty, divine holiness, and divine love were foundational stones to which the Prophets reared the Temple of Faith – the pinnacle of which was Jesus of Nazareth! Moses contained such attributes, which would inspired future fathers to model a temple to support worship unto God, and if Moses was able to model this for Man and have them pass it down through the generations, that’s greatly awesome and wonderful to witness.
About Samuel's life and prophecies
2 Samuel 22:4, “I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”
The political background of Samuel involved the Philistines – whom were especially troublesome and in control of much of the territory controlled by the Israelites. It also involved the Tribes of Israel – who were not united, and each group sought to go its own way and protect itself, even if others of their brethren suffered. Next, we see invasions by Syrians, Moabites, Canaanites, Midianites, and Ammonites – who all caused great havoc and suffering in the land. In critical hours, deliverers arose to help drive out invaders and give the land a temporary ease. Then, came the time of the judges, to which, came into focus that those Judges were used to overthrow great hordes of evil men who had taken possession of the Land of Israel. Gideon, Deborah, Jephthah, and Samson were some of the main judges. In Egypt, the 21st dynasty was coming to the throne after a weak 20th dynasty had failed completely, to which the golden days of power and influence were gone forever. Assyria was under the reign of Tiglath Pileser, who had built up a mighty kingdom, but had not come in contact with the struggling and suffering Israelites. We see a couple more empires/kingdoms noted, including the Hittite Empire, which was in decay, and the Aramean Kingdom, who rapidly became a troublesome power.
The social background of Samuel included a constant oppression and frequent wars, which kept the people unsettled. The years of conquest and possession had introduced them to uncounted problems. They didn’t have a settled government that could be relied on to organize them together against their enemies. When Samuel came, the Philistines had reduced them to another siege of slavery – and they were even deprived of means of sharpening their farm tools. This was tragic in the life of Israel.
As for the religious background of Samuel – they didn’t see any teaching or preaching for 300 years. We see a people who had a ring of neighbors with idols, many gods, heathen rites, cults, customs, and ceremonies. With those practices came immoral conceptions and a standard that produced a lifestyle that was not conductive to holy and godly spiritual worship. These people intermarried and gathered unto themselves idols as gods. The central sanctuary was at Shiloh, where the ark was kept and a High Priest officiating at the sacred altar. His name was Eli, a grand old man of Israel – and at this moment, Samuel was born.
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, kept her vow that she would dedicate the child to the Lord for service, and therefore, she did so. Samuel was presented to the Lord at the Temple and received as a young servant by the Old Priest Eli in Shiloh. Later, Samuel hears the voice of the Lord calling him to service, as we see in the text, to which was in the night hours. Samuel did not recognize it as the voice of God and ran to ask Eli about it. Eli gave him admonition after Samuel did this a couple times. When Samuel heard the Lord’s voice for the third time, he did as Eli told him to do, and said to the Lord, “speak; for thy servant heareth.” Samuel heard the prophecy against his house, the house of Eli and Samuel had the task as a young lad to pronounce judgment upon Eli’s house. Samuel waits for Eli to inquire for he feared to tell Eli of the conversation, to which Eli pleaded with Samuel to “hide it not from me.” Samuel was then established as the Prophet of the Lord, and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh and revealed Himself to Samuel.
Samuel’s prize possession was a godly mother who spent her years agonizing in prayer for her boy that was left in the Temple. The influence of a godly home, the solemn dedication to the sanctuary, and the fact that he had been given as an offering before God – were great prizes to this boy/man. His mother visited year to year strengthening the impressions that were already made in his tender years. All of this made for a powerful, faithful, and dynamic man of God – Samuel the Prophet.
Overall work and ministry
Samuel’s work and ministry included many things, especially being a first leader and “father” of the School of the Prophets. Samuel was the “Seer,” “Prophet,” and “High Priest.” He was a genuine representative of which God was working through in that hour after 300 years of silent religion in the land. He attained the High office of High Priest, which was made sacred by Aaron. He was truly “Yahweh” messenger and God had honored him with a Divine Call that gave him special revelations for the people. He was successful in restoring the kingdom. He was also the first circuit judge in the Land of Israel. Through 40 years of his adult life, beginning at about age twenty, he did this work. He continued to be a judge after Saul was chosen until the kingdom was established. He judged Israel and exercised the office of a Prophet at the same time. He was used by God to choose and anoint kings, outline the terms of the kingdom, and oversee the king in his conquests. Samuel was highly esteemed as Prophet, Teacher, Priest, and Judge in Israel until his death around 38 years after the reign of King Saul.
The people through the land needed a strong leader to lead them to a higher understanding of God and His purposes. Samuel was this first leader. Also, he led the School of the Prophets. He was also the first circuit judge in the Land of Israel – to which he judged Israel while being a prophet also. It was good to see a leader chosen, and he was a great image of a leader overall in everything that he did. What God did through him was great for the future of Israel.
Samuel was a deeply religious/spiritual person from childhood, was obedient to Yahweh, as well as to Eli and his parents. He was a magnanimous person in his thoughts and acts, and was a man of outstanding integrity. His burning social passion kept him active in helping his people, and through his long life, he spent himself, carrying the nation of Israel upon his heart.
Samuel was co-author with the following:
A. The Book of 1 Samuel a. David, Nathan, and Gad recorded alongside him. b. Isaiah seems to have put the writings together. B. The Book of 2 Samuel a. David and Nathan recorded alongside him. b. Isaiah seems to have put the writings together. C. The Book of Judges a. Most believe Isaiah may have had a part in helping with it. D. Perhaps the Book of Ruth a. Isaiah is mentioned as a possible co-author.
Samuel had a great following, and worked great with fellow prophets and leaders, which was very helpful in chronicling all that the Lord had done.
Other things of interest
In 1 Chronicles 6:28, we see the sons of Samuel, which were his firstborn Vashni, and Abiah. In Psalm 99:6, we see Samuel was among Moses and Aaron & priests as the chief – to which, they would call upon the Lord…and this includes complete worship of the Lord that Samuel led them. Jeremiah 15:1 talks about even though that Moses and Samuel stood before Him just as Jeremiah was doing, He did not want them in His sight (told him to cast them out of His sight and go forth).
We look next in Acts 3:24 in Samuel’s days the word of the Lord was precious or rare. There were many prophets from Samuel, and all have foretold of these days – as it explains. Then, in Acts 13:20, we see after the judges of 450 years, Samuel the prophet came. Lastly, in Hebrews 11:32-33, Samuel was described with others that through faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, etc.
Elijah's life and prophecies
After the death of Samuel, the newly formed kingdom of Israel suffered severely by the Philistines. The greatest invasion resulted in the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan – to which, David came to the throne of the tribe of Judah and finally was elevated to King over all Israel. However, in 931 BC, a division came, to which, Rehoboam was left with the smaller of the two kingdoms. In the North, Jeroboam was given the larger portion, and led the people into idolatry and pagan worship. After 50 years of disaster and turmoil, we see Omri come to the head of the government to stop the anarchy, conquer Moab, establish a monarchy, build Samaria, and create a treaty with Syria. Ahab had become the successor to Omri. The coming of Jezebel meant more idolatry, especially in Baal worship. To please the strong-willed Jezebel, Ahab built in Samaria a temple for Baal worship, Asherah worship, and Phoenician worship.
Elijah’s name meant “Like God,” and he was given the task to be a Prophet during the era of Baal worship. This worship is of “mere power” or the worship of evil in general. In later days, the Jews designated this “Tyrian deity” the prince of devils. He also dealt with severe immorality, to which, the prophets of Yahweh were persecuted and killed. Many hid in caves for their own safety. Jezebel then imported priests and prophets to do her bidding, to which, Elijah faced some of the darkest hours of his life. Anyway, Elijah was born and grew up in Gilead on the east of Jordan, to which, he was a Tishbite. He was described as a hairy man and one that wore a leather girdle. The New Testament states that Elijah (or Elias) was a man subject to like passions as we are even today.
1. First miracle, which appears at the court of Ahab, which announces the long drought would be broken only by God’s Word through the prophet. This was good, because it avoided any famine or furthering of famine conditions. 2. Second miracle, he is fed by the ravens twice a day at the Brook Cherith. God intended that Elijah stay alive and be provided for, and just as the birds were provided for, the birds – by God – provided for him. 3. Third miracle: God uses Elijah to multiply meal and oil daily. After seeing the Lord’s provision for him, he knew that God would provide for others, so God uses him to multiply for provisions. 4. Fourth miracle, God uses him to restore the widow’s son to life. She calls Elijah a man of God. Just as Elijah did, later Elisha does a similar miracle – how glorious to see Elisha follow in the footsteps of his predecessor. 5. Fifth miracle, on Mount Carmel there is a test as to whose God is God…to which, God answers by fire; the prophets of “Baal” are killed and rain comes in to answer Elijah’s prayer. Elijah hated idolatry, and was glad that much of it was rid of here. 6. Sixth and Seventh miracles, we see rain and a 30 mile foot race is done, where Elijah outruns King Ahab who is driving his chariot. Elijah is equipped by the power of God, and will run the race as God empowers him! 7. (The seventh is explained just above with sixth.) 8. Eighth miracle, we learn of the “Juniper tree” experience, which the Juniper tree is well known of the cedar family. Elijah asks that he might die, and an Angel supernaturally strengthens him. Two times the Angel speaks to him and tells him to arise and eat, and finally the Angel speaks to him, “the journey is too great for thee.” Elijah arises and eats for the second time, and then “he went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the Mount of God.” Through this experience, he is challenged by God to return to anoint Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha. 9. Ninth miracle, Elijah announces doom on Ahab and wicked Jezebel. Once again, Elijah sought to take care of idolatrous ways, and seeking an end to Baal. 10. Tenth miracle, Elijah promises respite to Ahab, and God will delay punishment to the days of his son. 11. Eleventh miracle, this is the prophecy of Elijah that pertained to the sickness and death of Jehoram. 12. Twelfth miracle, this is the prediction or prophecy of death, the death of King Ahaziah. 13. Thirteenth and Fourteenth miracle, this is the prophecy concerning King Ahaziah, who inquired of another god and Elijah stopped the massagers on their way to ask of their god. Elijah told them there was a God in Israel and because they found out info of the god Ekron, the King would die. They pushed in on Elijah and it resulted in fire from Heaven, which was the death of 102 men. 14. (The fourteenth is explained just above with thirteenth.) 15. Fifteenth miracle, we see that this is the miracle of the parting of the River Jordan as Elisha follows Elijah and the translation of Elijah is near. Elijah inquired of Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for thee” – to which, Elisha answers, “let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Elijah promises this shall come as long as “if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.” 16. Sixteenth miracle, this is the miracle of imparting a double portion of his own spirit upon Elisha. Elijah spends many quiet years teaching young men, especially Elisha, who would carry on the prophetic work. He is gloriously translated while Elisha looks on and receives the commission to continue the great work.
Elijah was a sturdy, virile, daring man from the wilds of Gilead. He had an iron constitution, as the text explains, an austere spirit, majestic somehow, flaming indignation, consuming zeal, and courageous nature which set him forth as a man of romance and mystery. He was strong and yet weak; a zeal so limitless with energy. He had a tremendous grip on the ways of God and he had unusual power in prayer. He hated false religions, among other idolatries. He was unselfish, merciless, and cruel in his treatment of the Baal prophets. He was on fire for God doing His Will! Overall, he was a man of prevailing prayer, a man of faith, and one of the most dramatic appearances and exits. It is said of him, “he went through history like a meteor.”
Jesus and Elijah
Jesus speaks of Elijah (Elias) in Luke 4:25, “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.” He speaks this about Elijah after He talks about healing and other activities to do in that area that He did in another area, and He says that, “no prophet is accepted in his own country.” Palestine was filled with poor people even in times of plenty, it seemed, and therefore, there must have been large numbers of hungry people during the famine. He said that nobody sent Elijah to do miracles over there, so why should He Himself be sent or go Himself to relieve the famine? That’s what He questions in that short explanation.
The point in this Scripture is that many people had compared Jesus to Elijah and vice-versa, because of all the miracles both had conducted. They frequently referred back to Elijah and would generalize that, for example, “if this happens…why you (Jesus) don’t do as Elijah did?” Jesus was calling them out in this questioning, because He knew that He was being faithful to the Will of God, and wanted them to realize that He doesn’t want to continue to be compared to Elijah – but that, He is doing miracles as God Wills them to be done. He reflects the Father in every way and does what He sees the Father doing; therefore, His ways are perfect. However, all this explanation did was anger the people there that He was instructed, and they wanted Him thrown out.
John the Baptist and Elijah
The answer for this is recorded in Luke 1:5-7; 15-17: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
As we see here, John the Baptist is similar to Elisha, in that; he received the spirit and power of Elijah, which would be fulfillment of the prophecy that Elijah shall come again. The Jews expected Elijah as the forerunner of the Messiah. John showed the spirit of Elijah in his clothing, in his life in general, and in his messages of repentance.
Glory of the coming Lord
We see in Malachi 4:5 a prophecy, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Elijah is part of the last prophecy in the Old Testament, which concerns the return of Elijah the prophet to Earth, from Heaven, shortly before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. During this occurrence, there will be a great revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh and all of Israel will be saved because of the ministry of the “Two Witnesses.” It seems the Scripture is worded in a way that Elijah would be one of the “Two Witnesses” mentioned in Revelation 11:2-12. Some believe the second witness is Enoch, because both Enoch and Elijah did not see natural death. Some point to Moses.
Moses and Elijah
We see Elijah and Moses together in Scripture during the transfiguration of Christ to Peter, James, and John his brother on the high mountain. Here is a snippet: “And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”
Practical lessons in this study would be that God is merciful, tender, and gentle, and that you may be certain of God’s presence in dark areas of your life. Awareness of His presence is dependent upon your adherence to His Ways and Will, to which, even you can change the destiny of a nation. God is for us, therefore, none can be against us – and in that, prevailing prayer settles issues and changes circumstances.
Elisha's life and prophecies
Ahab gets his way by murder and obtains Naboth’s vineyard, which brought the occasion for Elijah’s ninth and tenth miracle. There is more Syrian conflict, and Jehoshaphat desires to know God’s Will, false prophets arise, and Micaiah’s true prophecy of Israel’s defeat is heard. The death of Ahab is seen as well as the fulfilling of prophecy of the death of Jezebel, and the accession of King Ahaziah to the throne of Israel. Jehoshaphat is made fourth King of Judah and reigns for 25 years as the second good King of Judah. Moab rebels against Israel after the death of Ahab, and Ahaziah, the King of Israel, meets with an accident. King Ahaziah takes a bad fall, is injured, and then he gets seriously sick. He sent messengers and said for them to “Go, inquire of ‘Baal-zebub,” the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.”
The Angel of the Lord speaks to Elijah and tells him to meet the messengers and predict the death of Ahaziah because of this great sin…the sin was that “he sought advice from a pagan god and not from God Jehovah.” This is the occasion for the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth miracle of Elijah. The prediction of the King of Israel’s death, fire from Heaven, and the death of 102 men. Elisha called from God as we see in 1 Kings 19:16-17 – to which, Elisha would be anointed as a prophet in his room (when Jehu is anointed as king over Israel), and that who escapes from the sword of Jehu then Elisha will slay. As it moves forward to verses 19-21, Elijah casts his mantle upon Elisha, and then Elisha ran after him wanting to pray for him and follow him. Elijah showed his willingness to succeed Elijah by killing his oxen and using them as a farewell dinner for his family and friends.
Elisha was tested three times as Elijah suggests he tarry at certain places while Elijah does the Lord’s work in a different place. Elisha was told to tarry at Gilgal while he (Elijah) goes to Bethel for the Lord. After that, he told Elisha to tarry at Bethel while he goes to Jericho for the Lord. Again, Elisha told to tarry at Jericho while he goes to Jordan. Each time, Elisha’s answer was, “as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” Elisha knew that the Lord would soon take away Elijah, however, in each of the above cities, Elisha is pestered by the “sons of the prophets” concerning Elijah’s leave. Each time, Elisha answers them, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” Elijah promised a “double-portion” of his spirit to Elisha if he sees him when he leaves. They cross the Jordan, causing the fifteenth miracle of Elijah as he swings his mantle over the waters to divide them. Elijah then tells Elisha that what he had asked is a hard thing.
The story is in 2 Kings 2:11-12, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.” When Elijah was whisked away supernaturally, Elisha knew that, in this one man, Israel doesn’t have him anymore either. However, he soon had a clear proof of the double-portion of the power imputed upon him, because soon he began miracles – as he felt the mantle placed upon him.
1. First miracle, using the mantle that Elijah gave him, he took a stride toward the Jordan and smote the waters saying, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” – to which, the waters part and he walked over on dry land. Maybe he was testing his power…? 2. Second miracle, healing of the waters as we see in 2 Kings 2:19-22, “And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.” The waters were bitter and terrible, and he made it better and healthier to drink. This was great and helpful to the people. 3. Third miracle, bears from the woods and irreverence cursed. Little children came out of the city and mocked Elisha, saying, “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.” Two she bears came out of the woods and tore up 42 children. 4. Fourth miracle involved waters filling the ditches without rain. This miracle came about from the influence of a minstrel, who played, and then the hand of the Lord came upon him. 5. Fifth miracle involved the defeat of the Moabites. It was odd to see the Moabite King’s sacrifice, which was his eldest son, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall. 6. Sixth miracle was an optical illusion, where the enemy saw the water, the sun shone upon it in the early morning, and it appeared unto them as blood. 7. Seventh miracle, increase of the widow’s oil – this is the curse of oil that failed not. Elisha commanded the widow and her sons to gather up pots and pans (vessels), and then to go and sell the oil – afterward, paying the debt to be able to live with thee and thy children on the rest of the funds. 8. Eighth miracle involved healing the “great woman” of Shunem of her barrenness, to which, she miraculously bore a child. This was great, and not the only time that God had done this. God had also healed many of their barrenness, so this scene shows His everlasting faithfulness. 9. Ninth miracle, resurrection of the boy. The child of the woman of Shunem became very ill, and she sought Elisha – to which, Elisha came and lay upon the child – and the child was healed after sneezing seven times. It was great to see the Lord’s faithfulness in healing people, especially that were near death – what a blessing! 10. Tenth miracle, pottage was healed. The sons of the prophets were having difficulty as there was drought in the land. They gathered herbs in the field and a wild vine was mixed with the herbs and the pottage became noxious, as if it were death in the pot. 11. Eleventh miracle, bread was multiplied for 100 men – which was evident, once again, of the Lord’s provision for His People. (Just wait till later, when we see Jesus multiplying food for thousands of people.) 12. Twelfth miracle, leprosy of Naaman healed. The strange act of dipping in the dirty river of Jordan cleansed the leper when he was obedient. That’s how you know it’s a God thing, when you try to make something clean with something that doesn’t appear to be clean (for we know faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1). 13. Thirteenth miracle, discernment of Gehazi’s disobedience, to which, Naaman offered up riches to Elisha again after his healing. Gehazi disobeyed and accepted them to heap them upon himself. It’s no wonder a servant would become prideful, as he is in the presence of a great man like Elisha – but Gehazi needed humbling to be able to work beside Elisha further. 14. Fourteenth miracle, leprosy of Naaman given to Gehazi. Gehazi was humbled for his pride, it seems, and reaped what he sowed. 15. Fifteenth miracle, making iron to swim. The sons of the prophets wanted to make a larger place to live, and they were cutting wood, when the ax head flew off and fell into the water. The one using the ax said, “alas Master! For it was borrowed.” Elisha wondered where it went, so then he cut a stick and threw it into the water – where the iron ax head swam to them so much that they could retrieve it. 16. Sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth miracles, Elisha is used by God to reveal war secrets, They said Elisha, Israel’s prophet, has knowledge of secrets that the King talked about in his bed chamber. Of course, with this in mind, they must be careful not to divulge them to the enemies – because doing so would bring despair. 17. (See above) 18. (See above) 19. Nineteenth miracle, the eyes of Elisha’s servant are opened. The enemy sought to destroy Elisha, and they sent horsemen and chariots and encamped around where they thought Elisha and his servant were camped. In the morning, the servant arose to see the encampment and the servant wondered what to do. He prayed for that his servant’s eyes be opened, and then the Lord performed it through Elisha. His eyes opened and he saw a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire roundabout – as we see in Scripture. 20. Twentieth miracle involved the blinding of the Syrian army – which helped avoid war and other issues of wars. 21. Twenty-first miracle was the capturing of the whole Syrian army – to which, had completely disabled them from hurting His People. 22. Twenty-second miracle was healing the Syrian army of blindness – which, I guess was a lesson to them not to bug His People. 23. Twenty-third miracle involved Elisha having knowledge before the Kings act. We see Elisha using the gifts of knowledge and discernment given to him by God. God works miraculously through His People always, and Elisha was no different. He used the gifts of the Spirit well! 24. Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth miracles involved the miraculous utterances. The evil kings were trying their best to dispose of Elisha, and finally the messenger of the King comes to get Elisha with plans of executing him. There was Elisha…prophesying! He uttered a foretelling of sufficient food for everybody in Samaria soon. Four lepers throw themselves upon the mercy of the Syrians. At twilight, they came into the camp and there was no man. The Lord caused the Syrians to hear the noise of the chariots and horses and the noise of a great company. They had fled in great fear because of it. The lepers did eat and drink, as well as partake of all the things and then went out to hide their treasures. 25. (See above) 26. Twenty-sixth miracle, the confusion of the Syrians. The lepers report to the King, and an investigation is made and is true. The Syrians have fled, leaving their riches behind. Elisha’s prophecy of plenty was fulfilled. 27. Twenty-seventh miracle, involved 7 years of famine. Elisha talks with the “great woman” whose son was resurrected, and he tells her there is going to be a seven-year famine. He warns them to leave so they go and sojourn in the land of the Philistines for 7 years. During the 7 year leave, people took her land, so then she returns to ask the king that her land be returned unto her. Gehazi testifies to the king of the great works of Elisha, and therefore, the king assigned an officer to her so she would be returned to her land. 28. Twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth miracles – these were more miraculous utterances. They again were gifts given by God, which were revelation and knowledge. We see also the weeping side of the Elisha as he pronounces death upon a Syrian who plots evil against Israel. 29. (See above) 30. (See above) 31. Thirty-first miracle involved the anointing of Jehu by one of Elisha’s children, the sons of the prophets. Jehu comes to the Kingdom ad King of Israel and reigns for 28 years. Elisha calls one of the children to get read and take a box of oil to Ramoth-Gilead. He is told to find Jehu and take him to the inner chamber and pour the oil on to his head and speak over him an anointing as the King over Israel. There was also inclusion into the prophecy of death for Jezebel and prediction that the house of Ahab be no more. Jehu slays Jehoram, King of Israel. 32. Thirty-second miracle involved something done upon his death. Joash the King of Israel came down and wept upon him. Soon, Elisha said to him to take bow and arrow (Elisha helped him), then open the window eastward, and then to shoot. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria shall smite the Syrian in Aphek till consumed. Then he said to take the arrow and smite upon the ground. When this occurred, Elisha died, and they buried him, and then the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. As they were burying, they cast a man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when that man touched the bones of Elisha – he was revived and stood up!
Elisha received a double portion of what Elijah had promised, which was the fulfilling of another prophecy of Elijah’s. Of course, a double portion is a double blessing. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit so he would be doubly blessed in life and ministry. It seems, as I have looked at the lessons, Elisha’s miracles are twice that of Elijah’s (exactly twice the amount).
Elisha enjoys such hospitality from the “great woman” of Shunem. She wanted him to come and eat, and told her husband that she thinks Elisha is truly a holy man of God, to which, she noted him passing by often, so she had asked her husband to build a little chamber on the wall. She placed a bed, table, stool, and candlestick there (which came to be the Prophet’s Chamber). One day, Elisha came by to stop and rest, traveling with his servant Gehazi, and asked Gehazi to call for the Shunammite woman. So, she came and stood before him, so he asked to do something for her because of her hospitality. She did not require anything, though. Gehazi noticed she didn’t have children, so Elisha granted a miracle that her barrenness would be healed. Later, that child became very ill, and she sought Elisha – to which, Elisha came and lay upon the child – and the child was healed after sneezing seven times. (Gehazi was a servant of Elisha’s who traveled with him. Later in 2 Kings 8:4, Gehazi testifies to King Jehoram of what Elisha had done.)
His death is chronicled in 2 Kings 13:14-21, where he had fallen sick. Joash the King of Israel came down and wept upon him. Soon, Elisha said to him to take bow and arrow (Elisha helped him), then open the window eastward, and then to shoot. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria shall smite the Syrian in Aphek till consumed. Then he said to take the arrow and smite upon the ground. When this occurred, Elisha died, and they buried him, and then the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. As they were burying, they cast a man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when that man touched the bones of Elisha – he was revived and stood up!
In the NT
Elisha in the New Testament is “Eliseus,” and it is found in Luke 4:27, “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.”
1. We should live our life in a way that in our dying, we would still be powerful for God. Many people denote this to live life to the fullest, to which, I agree! Do great things for God, even unto death! 2. The call of God is for a lifetime, to which I completely agree. Everything that has happened, is currently happening, and will happen is all for a purpose, and that is the purposes and Will of God! 3. It is dangerous to be tainted by material gifts – to which, I agree, because if you are depending so much on material gifts, and people stop giving them, you will be depressed and possibly lose your mind. Being dependent upon material things does not bring peace and true happiness – for material things are fleeting, but spiritual things are eternal (as we see in 2 Corinthians 4:18; 1 John 2:16-17, 25; Romans 8:24; and 2 Corinthians 5:7). 4. When you hear the Word of the Lord, hold on to it and follow it – never turn away, but wait for it! 5. It is definitely possible to send a messenger with the Word of God from your heart. 6. Training sons for service is part of the prophet’s life.
Isaiah's life and prophecies
Isaiah 40:3 - “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This compares so much to John the Baptist’s announcement of Jesus as He was coming to His baptism.
• His Book is known as The Book of Salvation, which is great, because there are so many references to Jesus and His Ministry, death and resurrection, etc. • He was known as The Evangelical Prophet. • He covered around 62 years, which was very significant. • The period covered was during the Reign of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. • Other than Ahaz, there were some good rulers in that period, which made it easier for Isaiah to proclaim his message. • This Book of Isaiah pictures Man needing salvation (and what will occur as Man obtains it). • Christ is pictured in this Book as the suffering redeemer, the King of Glory, and the real ruler.
In the last 40 years of the 8th century BC, many great men spoke the words of God – as Amos and Hosea were preaching in the Northern Kingdom with Isaiah. Politically, world forces were battling for power (not much has ever changed, has it?). Uzziah and Jeroboam II were closing their prosperous reigns, which brought peace, plenty, and extravagance to the leading citizens. Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah followed Uzziah on the throne of Judah. Through these years, the statesman Prophet preached in Jerusalem. Then, in 745 BC, Assyria came to life vigorously under the dynamic leadership of Tiglath Pileser. Damascus had fallen in 732 BC, to which, Israel was destroyed with the exception of the City of Samaria – which defied capture until 722 BC. Ahaz, the puppet king, became subject to Assyria with little real independence left. Sennacherib proved the painful thorn in the side of Judah. The government always fostered prosperity, which had a rich class and poor class with a normal chasm between the two. There were many problems, including corrupt government and laziness – as well as suffering of many people.
Isaiah was the son of Amoz, born in Jerusalem about 760 BC. He began ministry around 740 BC, to which, was the same year King Uzziah died. He preached for 40 years in his own city. He was married around 734 BC and fathered at least two sons. The greatest influence he had in his life was the Hand of God guiding him in preaching and prophesying. He had many educational advantages and was destined for greatness at a young age. He was a very well aware man of the region around him, and was influence by Amos, Hosea, and Micah. He died a martyr’s death during the reign of Manasseh around age 120.
Isaiah was called just after the death of King Uzziah, as he was in prayer and meditation. He had a vision of God on His Throne, robed in splendor and glory – to which, changed his life. It was as if, the text explains, that The Robe of the Lord filled the temple where he was meditating. He immediately saw himself as unclean, unworthy, desperately in need, and undone (of course, comparing such splendor and glory of God to yourself will lead you to such negative thoughts). The cry of repentance from this man brought healing and his eyes had beheld a dying, sinful, and needy world, to which he called for help.
He was transformed as the Seraphim came unto him with a live coal in hand, to which, he had taken off the altar of God, and laid it upon Isaiah’s mouth. Upon this, he said, “Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine integrity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” With this, Isaiah was forever transformed, and said, “Here am I; send me!” In his ministry, he was called by God to be a prophet, and he preached. He even counseled Kings. He was magnetic and/or charismatic, because of being with God, having clear faith, genuine love, and lips that felt the fire of God. He was a statesman Prophet, as a part of the administration of the nation. His wisdom and courage came from a faith in God. When the princes of Judah determined to break the alliance with Assyria to cast their lot with Egypt, it was him that cautioned against this suicidal policy. He counseled faith in God in the midst of troubles with the rulers, and hoped to help them rule well. He even prophesied the overthrow of the Assyrians. A neutral man, he would rebuke foolishness and predict things that would scare even the good rulers, because he was working for God, not Man. He had incredible spiritual depth that brought him to be adept in all sorts of ways that helped improve the life of His People!
Three parts to the book
There are three divisions in this Book, which are 1-39; 40-55; and 56-66. There could have been a couple of other people helping Isaiah on this Book. It is probably that Isaiah penned the first 39 himself, and his disciples did the remainder. I have heard of the possibility, although this is just probably an opinion, that there may have been more than one Isaiah – however, it seems that the scope of prophecy was directly related to Isaiah himself and there were just writing changes in the different divisions. There could be many theories, and we don’t need to be “lost in translation” about it. What’s important is how these divisions are markedly Isaiah and what he has to say in each. The first section, 1-39, breathes the Spirit of judgment and warning characterizing the 39 books of the Old Testament; the second section, 40-55, breathes the Spirit of Grace and Peace characterizing the 27 books of the New Testament; and the third section, 56-66, proclaims the Messiah much more clearly than anywhere outside of the NT. The 53rd chapter has obtained the pseudonym, “The gospel according to Isaiah.” This is where Isaiah pictures the Suffering Savior.
Beautiful passages (selected)
• 35:10, “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” • 26:4, “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” • 11:1, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (I could write a lot on just this alone) • 25:8, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” • 10:27, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” • 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
On Salvation: 55:3, “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” On Christ: 7:15, “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” On The Holy Spirit: 11:2, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
Jesus and Isaiah
• We see Isaiah and John the Baptist on a similar note – where John the Baptist is fulfilling the prophecy that Isaiah told (Matthew 3:3), “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” • Many places, Jesus spoke that He was fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah: ◦ Matthew 4:14 (people that were in darkness would come to see great light); ◦ 8:17 (Him bearing our sicknesses/infirmities); ◦ 12:17 (He charged those whom he had cured that they should not talk about it); ◦ 13:14 (“by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive…”); ◦ John 12:38-41 (people doubted the Lord, and therefore, the Jews are declared generally blind spiritually). • Jesus had also preached what Isaiah had said, ◦ Matthew 15:7-8 (people come and honor with their lips, but their heart is far from Him); ◦ Luke 4:17-19 (“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…”).
Topic: Insincere worship
Insincere worship, which Isaiah speaks bold about in chapter 1. The lesson talks about idolatrous worship, but also there was insincere worship unto God. The Israelites were just worshiping Him religiously and doing ritualistic things not out of their heart, but just because they had to do so.
Isaiah 59 was important to note, because the society that the Jews were living in became rather ungodly of sorts. Unfortunately, the society that the people dwelt was headed for disaster, because people’s sins have cut them off with God, and He is the only one who can save them. They filled the land with treachery, lies, violence, etc. Because of the corruption of the courts, where is the justice? Nowhere! Wickedness grows and good people are punished – and bad people are rewarded. As people embrace evil, the good suffer. Sin is covered, and the society deteriorates. The Prophet joins with the people in their confession of sin, to which, the people want to see the end of the oppression and injustice. However, moral darkness prevailed, and therefore, they eventually began turning away from God even more and developed a false way of life (dishonest and humiliatingly prideful). God sees this and wants to intervene, and therefore, in His purity and justice, He acts against such sinners, and people worldwide begin to acknowledge Him. Those who repented began a new relationship with the Father, and become His true people to enjoy such spiritual blessings of His covenant.
This is very important as this compares very similarly to our world over time, even today, is that people have gone from loving God and celebrating Him everywhere to fully sinful, lustful, and prideful people. God tries His best to rescue them back, and is successful some or most of the time. He continues to draw people back to His good Will, and yet, more and more stray. It’s sad but true!
1. When you are well aware of His glory, it can cause you to feel humbled to serve Him! It’s great when you realize and are in awe of His magnificence. 2. It grieves the Lord when His children stray away from Him. He hopes for all of us to stay with Him! 3. Faith moves mountains, as we have seen, and gives us great courage to do what He’s called us to do! 4. When God calls you, He will equip you so you can bring His plans for you to fruition. 5. Sin causes lies to flood our minds about God, but repentance/confession brings our mind to know how glorious and forgiving He is – and that He is not mad! 6. No one is more right than God is, because He is all knowing! 7. When God honors you by being with you, He is giving you the best gift you could ever receive – so have it with joy! 8. Rituals and religion don’t prosper the soul, but what prospers the soul is the very presence of God around us and through us!
Jeremiah's life and prophecies
Jeremiah 23:6, “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
• Jeremiah was a lamenting man, with many sorrows, because he loved God and loved God’s people. Therefore, to see so many suffer and died in front of him (especially those close to him). • Many call him the “prophet of love” because of his heart for God and the people. • He pictures man as a backslider. He felt the need to preach to the people to return to their Father, their Lord! • He sees the people as hopeless, but doesn’t give up on proclaiming the love of the Lord and caring nature of God!
At the beginning, there is the reign of Manasseh, which he began to reign after the death of the good King Hezekiah. Manasseh controlled the affairs of Judah for 55 years, wherefore, much innocent blood was shed at his hand and it is likely that Isaiah was executed by Manasseh’s order. Yahweh’s religion was bad in the land at this time, and then Josiah came to rule around 641 or 637 BC, which he was led to change the entire nation and bring them back unto God. He began the temple cleaning and a change to people’s lives – and therefore, the Book of the Law was found in the Temple. Reform was being done vigorously, and it seems Zephaniah had a great part in it. Jeremiah was seemingly interested in the reforms, also.
Soon, Nebuchadnezzar became King of Babylon and Jehoiakim was on the throne of Judah. Both of these men were bad, and Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because of Jehoiakim’s disloyalty, to which Jehoiakim was on the throne for three months, but his reign ended badly when the city was captured. Many things, such as wealth, etc. was taken.
Socially, it seemed the rich were powerful, unscrupulous, and oblivious to the needs of the poor, as the chasm was there. People lived in misery, and poverty was ridiculous as the rich hoarded many things from the poor. Religiously, the place was deplorable and hideous overall. Jeremiah found a strange mixture of Canaan’s nature religion, Babylonian cults, Jezebel’s Baalism, and other formalisms. Jeremiah felt the people were very bad off morally, and that he had a crisis on his hands, because the people were superficial and weak. People became incapable of understanding genuine spiritual religion, and therefore, Jeremiah lamented for them.
He was trained early in his life, as he grew up in an established village of King David’s great Priest Abiathar in Anathoth. He grew up with scholars, priests, prophets, and other students of Yahweh’s teachings. World affairs had quite an impression on the boy as he great, and soon the Kingdom would change with the ushering in of the reign of King Josiah. This brought many other changes. Through many events that brought fear, Jeremiah stayed healthy.
Suddenly, Jeremiah realized God’s call for him to do His work, and that God had been calling him since birth, which was quite an impression on him. He knew that he was called for sure, and what many believe as a priest by birth! He was called at an early age into Prophetic Ministry (1:4-5). He responded to the Lord with a bit of doubt in verse 6, “behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” However, God told him to not say that, but that he shall go to all what He sends and speak on His behalf. He was commanded then not to marry, and his family and friends, among others, conspired against him. He was beaten and put in stocks, to which, when he was released, he was assaulted and nearly killed. He was imprisoned and suffered much for the call of God on his life, and his obedience to the call.
He was a timid, sensitive (lovingly), emotion, compassionate, and tender natured boy/man, and his character made him particularly capable of identifying himself with miseries, mistakes, and other needs of the people. He was not weak, but rather, he was a “feeler” who could sympathize and empathize with the needs of the people. He knew his task was great and occasionally complained and questioned God’s treatment of him, but always continued to exhort his fellow citizens to turn to God for cleansing and deliverance. He, luckily, belonged to the upper class and was well respected of the aristocratic princes. He was a statesman with a “world mind” as the text describes.
Jesus and Jeremiah
• Jesus would be one coming to seek salvation of God’s people – Jeremiah was called to bring God’s people to repentance. • Jesus and Jeremiah alike were rejected by their own people. • Jesus lamented over His loved ones – as did Jeremiah. • Neither of them knew the joy/blessing of married life to help and encourage them forward, even in direct opposition from people. • Both knew and felt God’s Hand upon them and helping them in their ministry. • They both gave evidence of intimate fellowship with God. • Both were despised by “religious” leaders, and their teaching technique was similar. • They both despised formalism/ritualism: they loved the temple, but disliked the rituals. • They had a tender, yearning heart that wept over sinful people. • Each was considered a failure at the end of their lives, but in later days, each also took their place among the victors. They were no instant success, but rather, a delayed success.
Jeremiah is mentioned in the New Testament:
• Matthew 16:13-14, “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”
Deeper look at chapter 14-15
Chapter 14 is quite important, because it shows just one of the examples of the state of Judah, to which, Jeremiah makes an appeal unto God. It starts out with imagery on a severe drought in Judah, as all kinds of people were affected from it. People had difficulty obtaining enough water to keep themselves alive, animals dying because of disease, and many died because of not enough food.
Jeremiah pled on behalf of the people and confessed their sins; asking God to cease acting as if He were just an uninterested traveler passing by. He asked Him to help them, to which, the land is God’s after all, so why wouldn’t Yahweh want to help His People? God makes a stunning reply pointing out that He cannot just ignored the sins they have committed, and that Jeremiah should stop pleading, because nothing can save them now. God claims that He has tried enough and judgment is due to them, which will come by war, famine, disease, and disaster. Jeremiah then tells God that the prophets have been assuring the people that such calamities will not overtake them, to which God replies that those prophets are false and will perish in shame as will all who believe their lies. The people hunger for prophecies of peace, and became very susceptible to such candy to their ear, but God has the final say in everything, and He will be sure that judgment is done. In lieu of this punishment, Jeremiah weeps publicly to show the people the sorrow he feels for them, because he has foreseen their terrible suffering. Jeremiah feels the need to plead once more with God on behalf of the people, and confesses their faults – asking God to be merciful and bring rain. He prays that God will not forsake His People, but rather, remember His Covenant with them, for there isn’t any other God they can call upon to help.
In this, it goes on to the start of chapter 15, where we see God’s reply that though Moses and Samuel had pleaded for the people in the past, the nation has passed the point where God could extend anymore mercy. Therefore, the false religion of Manasseh still controls the attitudes of the people, and the nation will end soon. God attributes His judgment in the past to not working for the people, and says there is no more pity left for them. Such a judgment is needed, since people resist!
Lamentations 5:21, “Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.”
Usually lamentations denote expressions or feelings of sorrow, grief, or distress. This collection of five poems expresses the sorrow of Jeremiah over the fall of Jerusalem to the armies of Babylon in 587 BC.
The portrait of Christ in the Lamentations is “The Man of Sorrows,” as we see in 3:1, “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.” Both are very similar, in that, Jesus lamented over His loved ones – as did Jeremiah. They also wept over the sins of the people. We can see similar laments of Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39 as he weeps (similarly to Jeremiah) over the people. The face of Mt. Calvary was Jeremiah’s grotto, where he wrote these poems and wept. Similar to his tears, blood and water flown from Jesus’ side nearby many more years later – the one greater than him.
1. The dirge for the solitary City – a weeping widow (ch. 1). Spoke of the miseries of Jerusalem, and that it being once a busy city was now like a woman who had lost her husband or a princess that became a slave. 2. The dirge for the sorrowing citizens – a veiled woman (ch. 2). Calamity has befallen Judah and turned her glory into darkness, so she is now veiled. Darkness is widespread as the author describes. 3. The dirge of the sorrowful Prophet – the weeping Prophet (ch. 3). The Prophet compares Judah’s sufferings as if they were his own. Those sufferings are God’s righteous judgment, and he is like a starving man ready to die. However, even though God punishes, he still has trust in Him! 4. The dirge of the shattered hope – the gold depreciated (ch. 4). Jerusalem was once great, now is in ruin – and we see so much royal things in the dead areas of the streets: broken. This symbolizes the downfall of the leaders, to which, what was once good in Jerusalem turned into darkness, and now it is gone. 5. The dirge of the sorrowful appeal – the prayer for mercy and the humble suppliant (ch. 5). He pleads with God for mercy, as conditions in Judah are terrible. People can’t find food and need help, so the cry for mercy becomes louder. The people begin asking for Him back and for Him to restore their nation and give them the happiness they once enjoyed.
• Sin in that time was definitely punished, especially those with a heart against God. • Sin grieves the heart of God, and He wants His children to stay away from sin. • Idolatry leads people away from the Lord, and causes men to seek their own ways, instead of God’s Ways. • Sin can cause problems in everyday relationships.
With all of the intense sin, war, famine, disease – it’s easy for one to be sorrowful if they want the best for people. There are so many dying folks, and many of whom die an early age in an undeserving death – all because people are sinful and attempt to operate wickedly for their own lusts. Lusts for power, money, and fame – and yet, poor people get the short end of the stick every time. In the poorest of countries, people are under-developed, because greedy, power hungry leaders have ruled those nations for so long and oppressed those people. Other areas could be developed more, but fail because of bad leadership, sinful oppression, and other forms of wickedness roundabout. It’s time for a change, and if God’s People aren’t people of prayer, then change is not evident. We must all be prayer warriors, who are willing to pray and weep for His People all around the globe, especially in places that are poor with power-hungry greedy leaders.
Ezekiel's life and prophecies
Ezekiel 47:14, “And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance.”
• Ezekiel was called The Exile Prophet of Hope, for he wrote to The Jewish Exiles in Babylon concerning hope for the future of the Israelite Nation. • He was one where he wrote in a cause-effect pattern, where he talked about the judgment and sins of Jerusalem for the first half for the book of Ezekiel, and then talked about returning to the land and the new age for the other half. • His pattern of writing had to do with showing what the problem is, and what the Lord will do to bring hope to the people!
He had quite an impressive status, which was an aristocrat of Jerusalem, a descendant from Zadok’s line. He was a proud and confident person as he looked to the future of the Priesthood, involving God’s chosen people. He was called one of the most influential men, and was greatly influence by the preaching of Jeremiah and the reform of Josiah.
As far as personal abilities were concerned, he was an utterly helpless one before the might God who controlled him, for his whole philosophy and utterances were colored because of the Hand of God upon him and vision of “God’s Glory.” He was also a “Mediator” and in deep thought usually. Sometimes harsh, bold, or blunt – he was also uncompromising. He was a man of deep convictions, with a fearless determination, and housed a heart deeply sympathetic with abiding love for his people who needed a pastor – someone to shepherd them back to the Lord (and hope). His education comes through as a careful planning scenario and an orderly dating of all his writings. He outlined things well, and helped many people through his writings.
He was a married man, but his wife died the year of when the final siege of Jerusalem began. His wife was apparently a symbol of the Temple, as he began a very picturesque, but powerful ministry at 35 – after his captivity in Babylon. At this time, Jeremiah was approaching the end of his valiant, but tragic career.
Now, for the call of God on his life, God laid his hand upon Ezekiel just as he did Jeremiah, and he felt it. He was called to the lonely exiles on the riverbanks of Chebar. In a dramatic way, he describes for us his vision and call to service, which was a vision of God’s glory. In this vision, he beheld the “Glory of God,” and “felt” the Hand of the Lord. He even saw the likeness of God’s being and fell upon his face. A voice spoke to him commissioning him. He received several commissions overall, which had much to do with returning unto God and beholding His Glory.
In Jerusalem, we see the people in constant turmoil. Jehoiakim is succeed by his son, who reigned only three months before going to captivity in Babylon along with many others in Judah. Ezekiel was taken in this group along with 10,000 other captives. Zedekiah was left on the throne in Jerusalem as the agent of the Babylonian government, and Jeremiah was the preacher still in the Holy City of Jerusalem to carry God’s message to the people.
Around 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar returned to put down the rebellion of Zedekiah and take the rest of the people to join the exiles by the river Chebar. Many things were destroyed in Jerusalem, and others were taken away to captivity, to which, Jeremiah’s prophecy had happened. In Babylon, conditions were just as horrible. We see Daniel and a few other Jewish boys come in 605 BC, and Ezekiel and the upper class brought in 598 BC. For several years, ten thousand exiles lived in a concentration camp in Babylon, while Ezekiel and the upper class of people carried on in Jerusalem. For five years, the captives had no preacher of priest to help them. In this dark hour, Ezekiel hears the call of God and began to serve. For six years, he wanted to break down false hopes of an early return to Palestine, and wanted to prepare the captives of the bad news of the destruction of the Holy City. The Jewish people were in a darkened state with their Temple gone, and very little opportunity for business – false prophets were abundant. Complaints and murmurs, among wails filled the air. Ezekiel dealt with many different kinds of people, particularly negative people.
• He had graphic pageantry, which was characterized by: ◦ A vivid imagination ◦ Dramatic style ◦ Weird and peculiar psychic states ◦ Effectiveness in presenting truth ◦ Any other method or symbolism to drive home his message ◦ Examples of such methods ▪ He cut his hair and beard with the sword, and then divided it into equal portions ▪ Hebrew pictures with vivid illustrations ▪ He dug a tunnel under the wall and dragged his possessions through after him while the people looked on in astonishment ▪ In vivid language, he described a visit to Jerusalem, carried by the hair of his head over mountain and plain, to investigate the evils of that wicked city ▪ He used History as a text for his sermons and would interpret the text ▪ Presented a tile bearing the picture of a doomed city ▪ His command not to mourn at the sudden death of his wife • Disclosures ◦ It is only in this book that we learn of Israel’s idolatry in Egypt and of God’s thought to destroy them (20:1-9) ◦ It is only in this book that we learn of satan’s history (28:11-19) ◦ It is only in Ezekiel that we get full details of the Temple yet to be build (chs. 40-42) ◦ It is only here that we learn of the new river (ch. 47)
His mission was clearly revealed by God as the Spirit entered into him and cleansed him of bitterness. He had a revelation of the “Glory of God” to which he was to destroy false hopes of an early return to Jerusalem, interpret the meaning and purpose of the exile to gather up and preserve the teachings of Historians, Psalmists, and Prophets, to organize new forms for worship and life in the restored community, to preserve Israel’s soul in Babylon, and to stimulate new hope for the future Israel. He was to be an effective watchman also in the dark days of captivity. His message was that before they could even hope to return to Jerusalem, they had to return to the Lord.
Prophecies' fulfillment in the NT
Ezekiel’s Prophecies were seen in the New Testament and are as follows:
• Israel’s restoration as a nation as they await their Messiah (34:11-31; 36:1-15, 23-38; 37:1-28) • The Battle of Armageddon at the return of Christ (38:1-39:20) • Rebuilding of the Temple by the Messiah for Millennial and eternal worship (40:5-43:12) • The Millennial (1000 years) and eternal river from the Temple spoke about in The Book of Revelation (47:1-12)
Chapter 10's prophecy
• He sees the fiery chariot throne of God in the court of the Temple. ◦ The glory of God had risen from the throne and rested on the Temple threshold. ◦ God directed his agents in the execution of citizens of Jerusalem. ◦ He then commands the man who had previously sealed the faithful for preservation and told him to go and take some coals from the chariot throne and scatter them over the city of Jerusalem – which would symbolize the coming fiery destruction of Jerusalem from God. ▪ The man went and carried out His command, and one of the cherubim helped him collect the coals. ▪ He repeats the details about it, and wanted to impress this detail upon the readers what he saw. ◦ He saw God return to the chariot throne and begin to leave the Temple, but He only moved as far as the Temple gate, and then stopped. ◦ He explains more about the living creatures that he saw earlier, and said they were cherubim – which were the winged creatures who guarded the covenant box in the Most Holy Place. ◦ Ezekiel claims the God he just saw was the same one who is enthroned above the mercy seat. ◦ This God, he describes, was the one now about to leave his Temple to go smite His People and destroy His City.
• The heart of God wants His People back, and He longs for their return unto Him. • Each person is responsible for their own sins, and therefore, are subject to consequences individually. • Each minister that is called is subject to their own troubles, but they cannot let that stop them from continuing the work of the Lord. • Love must be expressed in everything we do. • Repentance is important and makes alive the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ. • Good godly conduct and behavior should emanate through us on a normal basis.
Daniel's life and prophecies
Daniel 7:27, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
• Daniel was a statesman Prophet as the others were. • His name means, “God is my Judge.” • He mainly wrote to “The Gentile Rulers in Babylon” – which included the Chaldean, Mede, and Persian. • He was a “kingdom” man, because he seemed to always have knowledge of the political realm, but also was given visions of the future coming of the Kingdom of God! • He seemed to be the only Prophet who didn’t just picture Christ as just a shepherd, but he pictured Christ as a coming ruler of the world! The other Prophets seemed to picture Christ as being around for a temporary era or some other kind of symbolic form.
Daniel was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the first invasion, which was in the third year of Jehoiakim. Ezekiel was then taken to Babylon in the second invasion, to which, was eight years later than Daniel and eleven years before the complete destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel and Daniel had ministered entirely outside of Palestine, however, Daniel’s Ministry was to powerful Gentile rulers, whereas Ezekiel’s Ministry was to poor Jewish exiles. It was established that Ezekiel and Daniel were Prophets at the same time. Though they did not work hand-in-hand, they still carried out God’s Will.
In Jerusalem overall, the people are in constant turmoil. Jehoiakim is succeed by his son, who reigned only three months before going to captivity in Babylon along with many others in Judah. Daniel was taken in a group along with other captives to Babylon. Zedekiah was left on the throne in Jerusalem as the agent of the Babylonian government, and Jeremiah was the preacher still in the Holy City of Jerusalem to carry God’s message to the people.
Around 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar returned to put down the rebellion of Zedekiah and take the rest of the people to join the exiles by the river Chebar. Many things were destroyed in Jerusalem, and others were taken away to captivity, to which, Jeremiah’s prophecy had happened. In Babylon, conditions were just as horrible. We see Daniel and a few other Jewish boys come in 605 BC, and Ezekiel and the upper class brought in 598 BC.
It is believed that he belonged to a family of high ranking and possibly of the royal house. He was taken, then, in the first group when the aristocracy was deported. He was taken into captivity in Babylon at age 16, and the remainder of his life (which was 69 years) was spent in Babylon, where he lived a saintly life in a sinful court. Ezekiel referred to Daniel as a pattern of piety, a ruler of righteousness. Daniel was of a despised servile people, and yet, he never deviated in his devotion to Jehovah. Daniel rose to positions of highest power under four absolute monarchs of three different nations – Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar of Chaldea; Darius of Media; and Cyrus of Persia.
He compares with Revelation and Ezekiel as an Apocalyptic Prophet – which would be a writer concerning the end times. It says in Daniel 7:15, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.” He had many visions, especially of the end times, and it took a toll on his mindset (good and bad). He was faithful to God, even in a foreign land to the point of disobeying the King. He was pious, and wanted to keep his piety and was willing to risk his life for it. He also refused to sinfully bow down to the idols they had offered. He ministered to the Gentile rulers by interpreting dreams and visions, to which, he was a true prophet and discerner of things. His warning to those in the future was about the Second Coming of Christ, which involved end-time events people needed to be aware.
Monarchs during Daniel's time
• Nebuchadnezzar of Chaldea – He was the second king of Babylon; succeeding his father on the throne in 604 BC and reigned until 561 BC. Daniel 1:1 says this, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” Appears Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem, and he seemed to be a power hungry leader – who cared very little for the captives. • Belshazzar of Chaldea – A free drinker (he seemed to like the bottle very much as we see in the fifth chapter of Daniel); he was the Chaldean king under whom Babylon was taken by Darius of Median. • Darius of Mede/Median – The son of Xerxes (9:1) was reigning now over the Chaldeans. In 6:1, we see that he was placed over the kingdom of a hundred and twenty princes. Daniel was the first (an important figure). • Cyrus of Persia – He led Persia in its conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, and was important for bringing God’s purposes in Israel to fulfillment, as we see in Isaiah 45:1. He gave the Jews that were held captive the permission to return to their homeland and rebuild their life and religion (as we see in Ezra 1:1-4).
Jesus set His seal upon this book as “inspired of God” in Matthew 24:15 – to which, was quoted previously, and His own title, “Son of Man,” was based on Daniel 7:13. Both the Lord Jesus and Daniel prophesy the “coming in the clouds with power and glory” – as we see in Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 24:30.
1. The Prologue of Daniel (1-2:45) – Daniel as he grew up, and the hard times that he faced were explained, especially under Nebuchadnezzar. Also, we see Nebuchadnezzar’s dream unfold, and Daniel wanted to help interpret it. 2. The Promotion of Daniel (2:46-6:28) – Because of Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he was promoted to Chief Administrator of the Kingdom and Head over his Council of Advisers. Daniel revealed another dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s and urged him to repent, to which, he finally submitted humbly to God. Later, new leaders over his region not knowing his record with Nebuchadnezzar, he was accused of different things. He also rejected bowing down or attending to the new religious law they made, so he was punished into the lion’s den – to which, God miraculously saved him and it was a sign unto the people that God was great. 3. The Previews of Daniel (7-12:13) – Daniel has several different apocalyptic visions of Jesus and the end times, to which, he describes in incredible detail.
• We see that temporal success comes for true servants of God. ◦ These kinds of servants are trusted with God’s Secrets. ◦ They also have the comfort of God’s presence in times of suffering and trial. • God’s people are guarded against pride, and He only ought to be honored and glorified. • We see also a glorious proclamation of the universal sovereignty of God. • We see a beautiful picture of the different visions that Daniel had, and though not too detailed, they are detailed enough to create an amazing picture – whether of God or just prophetically in general.
What Nebuchadnezzar saw was a huge statue made of a variety of substances, from head to toe, decreased in value but increased in strength. The fee, however, which supported the statue were brittle. A huge stone, which was supernaturally formed, struck the statue at its feet so that the whole thing would crumble to dust and be blown away. The stone, however, grew into a mountain, which covered the whole earth.
The dream concerned the future of the King’s Kingdom, to which, the climax of the coming events would lead. Its main purpose was to show Nebuchadnezzar that God is the sovereign ruler of the world – and that He sets up kingdoms and destroys the same with His Own Will. Therefore, the Medo-Persian Empire (which was the chest and arms of silver) would soon replace the mighty Babylonian Empire headed by Nebuchadnezzar (the head of gold) as the ruling power. The Medo-Persian Empire would be replced by the Greek Empire (which is typified by the belly and thighs of bronze). Finally, the Roman Empire will take it last (legs of iron) and also take in more scattered states. However, it wouldn’t be able to holds its empire together in a stable union (symbolized by the feet that were part iron, part clay and brittle).
During such time in the Roman Empire then, God would intervene and the might empires would crumble before the coming of the supernatural king, Jesus Christ. How incredible! The supernatural stone coming to smash the feet typified this. The Kingdom of God introduced by Jesus Christ would overspread the world and last eternally (to which, is finally symbolized by the great mountain that filled the earth).
Daniel, in exile, becomes the servant to his captors, and brings them to the knowledge of God. What was meant for destruction, Daniel turned around for good by the grace of God, as he yielded his desires to the Will of God!
• The Lord should be glorified, because He is our deliverer. • We should encourage each other and build each other up as well. • We should resist the forces and enemies of our faith. • We should learn and attend to the vision and Prophecies of the end times, so we can get a more glorious picture of Christ. • We are to be a witness of the end time revelation, based on how God leads us to acknowledge His glory! • Though we face hard times and trial, we must always stand up for what we believe in – because in the end: God works everything out for the good. • We don’t have to worry, because God is our provider. • He is excellent in every way and will give us opportunities to minister unto people – where He will reveal His glory to that person being ministered to.
Chapter 6 is my favorite chapter, because it shows the most intense fear anyone can face is when they fear for their life – but, ultimately, it shows that Daniel’s uncompromising belief in God, especially His Salvation, would free Him from it and He would be glorified in the end. Even through potentially intense fear, Daniel instead chose to believe in God’s Salvation and knew He would be there in the end!
• When Daniel returned to his high office, he had troubles because Babylon has just fallen the night he was reinstated to office. The new rulers were aware of his record under Nebuchadnezzar, so they made him one of the three presidents that would help administrate. • He had great abilities, and the other two presidents became jealous of him, so they wanted him out. However, they didn’t find any kind of mismanagement or offense to bring against him, so they crafted a strategy to cause him to stumble. ◦ The object of their plunder was to bring in a new religious law that Daniel would not obey, because of “religious” or “pious” beliefs. ◦ They weaseled their way right into the king’s hand by making him believe that the three presidents came up with the idea together, and therefore, King Darius agreed to the order. ◦ When Daniel heard of the new law, it was already approved and sealed from the King, to which, he could do nothing. He made no effort to obey it, because of his piety. ◦ The other two presidents worked out a way to catch him in the act so they could accuse him to the King. They had him condemned finally and then thrown into the den of lions – even if the King didn’t want it to happen like that. ◦ God, however, had a different plan, and decided to deliver Daniel – which showed that God was glad that Daniel did not sin. This also showed that Daniel did not do anything against the King, and that God would be made known to them as merciful and good – therefore, they had believed that the God of David was good and that they approve! • Daniel continued to prosper in the administration!
Appendix: The Book of Daniel outlined
1. The Prologue of Daniel (1-2:45) a. Training for Nebuchadnezzar’s court i. Daniel was one of the several chosen to be trained for high positions in the royal court. ii. In Ezekiel 28:3, he was described as very wise. There are a couple of other references of righteousness of Daniel in Ezekiel 14:14, 20. b. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream i. Daniel and his friends were given a test to interpret the dream. However, nobody was able. Therefore, since no one was “wise enough” to interpret the dream, the wise men were to be executed. 1. Daniel asked the King to give them extra time to consider. 2. They prayed seeking an answer. 3. That night, God revealed the dream and its interpretation to Daniel. 4. Daniel submitted the interpretation to King Nebuchadnezzar, to which, hearing and considering it. a. This was a description of the new kingdoms overthrowing each other before the Kingdom of God is to come and overspread the earth, which paralleled with Revelation 11:15. 2. The Promotion of Daniel (2:46-6:28) a. Daniel’s promotion i. Nebuchadnezzar realized how superior the God of Daniel was, and with that, the King promoted Daniel to chief administrator in the Kingdom and head over his council of advisers. 1. Daniel didn’t forget his friends, so he had them appointed administrators with specific regional responsibilities. b. The three Jews i. Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image as a religious symbol, and demanded that all citizens bow before it. Those who didn’t would serve the penalty for not doing so. 1. Those that were appointed as administrators recently were the very ones who refused to bow before the image. The three Jews knew even if they were sentenced that God would help. Therefore, they let themselves be thrown into the fiery furnace, to which, they were not burned – however, they were saved by God. 2. Through this experience, Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and praised the Jews’ God, and issued a decree to give religious freedom to the Jews (overall). They even received higher positions in the government. c. Nebuchadnezzar’s confusing dream i. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that confused him of imagining himself to be an animal. 1. Daniel, after hesitating at first (because of the horror of it), revealed the dream’s meaning – to which, he would suffer mental illness for a while, but God would preserve his kingdom for him. This would humble him so he would recognize God. a. We see a short parallel to Ezekiel 31:3-18 here, which refers to Nebuchadnezzar having visions and explaining them. 2. After revealing the dream, Daniel gave the King some advice, which was to cease his oppressive acts and injustice toward the people, and then begin to administer justice for the good of the people. 3. Only after Nebuchadnezzar would realize these things and humble himself before God, he would be free from the trouble. d. Belshazzar’s feast i. Nebuchadnezzar has long been dead, so this story is about the present King, Nabonidus. ii. While the armies of Persia prepared for their final attack on Babylon, Belshazzar and many of the Babylonian leaders enjoyed themselves in quite a feast. iii. Something mysterious began writing on the wall, and Belshazzar was fearful – as he became panicked, he asked his wise men to explain it. No one was able to explain. 1. We see a parallel in Ezekiel 8:3 about this writing on the wall. iv. When the news got to the Queen, she came to tell the King how Daniel had interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar before. Daniel was able to do so, but rejected the King’s reward. v. He reminded Belshazzar of how God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, but Belshazzar didn’t care. 1. Ezekiel talks a bit about this in Ezekiel 31:10. vi. God numbered Belshazzar’s Kingdom, and He knew when it would collapse. Apparently, Belshazzar is a failure, so his kingdom would be divided amongst Medes and Persians. vii. That night before the feast ended, Babylon had fallen to the armies of Medo-Persia under the Persian King, Cyrus. e. Daniel’s “testing” and new promotion i. When Daniel returned to his high office, he had troubles because Babylon has just fallen the night he was reinstated to office. The new rulers were aware of his record under Nebuchadnezzar, so they made him one of the three presidents that would help administrate. 1. He had great abilities, and the other two presidents became jealous of him, so they wanted him out. However, they didn’t find any kind of mismanagement or offense to bring against him, so they crafted a strategy to cause him to stumble. 2. The object of their plunder was to bring in a new religious law that Daniel would not obey, because of “religious” or “pious” beliefs. 3. They weaseled their way right into the king’s hand by making him believe that the three presidents came up with the idea together, and therefore, King Darius agreed to the order. 4. When Daniel heard of the new law, it was already approved and sealed from the King, to which, he could do nothing. He made no effort to obey it, because of his piety. 5. The other two presidents worked out a way to catch him in the act so they could accuse him to the King. They had him condemned finally and then thrown into the den of lions – even if the King didn’t want it to happen like that. 6. God, however, had a different plan, and decided to deliver Daniel – which showed that God was glad that Daniel did not sin. This also showed that Daniel did not do anything against the King, and that God would be made known to them as merciful and good – therefore, they had believed that the God of David was good and that they approve! ii. Daniel continued to prosper in the administration! 3. The Previews/Visions of Daniel (7-12:13) a. Vision of the four beasts i. His vision represented the same four kingdoms as the dream Nebuchadnezzar had, to which, this vision is given to Daniel – which dealt more specifically on how these events would carry out and even affect the people of God. ii. In chapter 2, we see that God controls the rise and fall of empires; however, in chapter 7, we see that God preserves his people through the opposition that the empires bring. iii. The vision is described 1. Babylon, symbolized by the first beast, was proud, ruthless, and unconquerable at the beginning, however, later, its cruelty softened, to which, it became gentler. 2. Medo-Persian Empire, characterized by the second beast, had eaten one victim already and was ready for another helping – to which, it was quite greedy. 3. The Greek Empire, including Alexander the Great, was symbolized as the third beast, which was a picture of the swift overthrow by Alexander the Great. 4. The all-conquering Rome was the fourth beast that was pictured in the vision, which would bring a brutal conquering. One leader emerged as a dictator, which was the worst leader and worst kind of leader of all. a. A parallel to this could be in Revelation 12:3; 13:1, 5-6; 17:7, 12. iv. In place of the anti-God Kingdom of Rome, a new kingdom would be set up, which was different from all before, which was not set up by a beast-type figure as the others were, but as a man-type figure. This would be the coming of the Universal Kingdom of God. 1. That person would be Jesus that comes. a. We see a parallel of Jesus’ coming in Revelation 1:7, 13-14. Some parts were also paralleled in Revelation 5:11 and 20:12 (and possibly in Ezekiel 1:13-21; 20:2-7) – when in reference to the fiery stream issuing forth and the thousands ministering and standing before him, etc. b. When the vision was about the beast was being slain, this paralleled in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10. v. A Heavenly servant of God has explained the vision to Daniel. 1. The arrogant kingdoms of the world may oppose God, as they want to be superior, however, the Kingdom of God is the most triumphant of all – and the People of God shall inherit it. 2. We see this overall interpretation parallel in Revelation many times, which was in 13:1-6; 17:12; 11:7, 11-18; 14:8-20; 19:11-21; 20:9-15 3. A reason is given for the judgment of the Roman dictator…he had used his power to make war against God’s People, and because of such, he blasphemously challenged God by cruelly persecuting His People and making laws against them. a. God allowed him to rule for only so long, and then it was time for judgment. God’s Kingdom would triumph, as God had determined that no other Kingdom is fit for Earth except for His! b. Vision of the ram and the goat i. Now being almost 550 BC, Babylon was still the dominant power, and Persia had just begun challenging it – which brought Persia’s overthrow of the Kingdom of Media. In 539 BC, we see the combined armies of Persia and Media conquering Babylon. The Medo-Persia Kingdom was pictured as a ram, with one horn higher than the other (Persia higher than Media). ii. Persia ruled until around 333 BC, before Alexander the Great came from the west and overthrew the Persian Empire. 1. His Greek Empire was typified as a goat in Daniel’s vision, which is evaluated by Alexander as the large horn between the goat’s eyes. However, at the height of his power, Alexander the Great suddenly died, and his Empire split into four sectors (which was symbolized as the four new horns). a. One of these sectors was centered in Syria – from which, arose a King many years later that attacked the People of God and even blasphemed God. i. That King, Antiochus Epiphanes, stopped the Jews’ regular sacrifices that were offered day and night, and set up Greek idols with heathen altars in their holy temple. Lastly, they forced the Jews to do things they knew their law prohibited. ii. This attack on the religion of the Jews lasted for more than three years, and then ended in 165 BC. iii. The Jews regained control of the Temple, and cleansed/rededicated it to the worship of God! iii. The vision explained by Gabriel 1. The vision was concerned with the climax of the Jews’ troubles, when God would intervene in a judgment against Antiochus – to which, first the Medo-Persian and Greek Empires would have to be established. 2. Antiochus would slaughter the Jews, defile the Temple, and blaspheme against God, however, God, in time, would cast judgment on him. 3. These events were not to take place immediately, but later, and to have comfort – because Daniel felt bad. iv. Daniel’s prayer 1. Persia conquers Babylon in 539 BC, and then King Darius was placed in charge of this annexed territory, to which, the Jews’ seventy year captivity in Babylon was almost complete. 2. Daniel confessed his rebellion against his word and his disobedience toward his messengers. a. He acknowledges God’s justice in punishing the people and scattering them among the nations, however, he reminded himself that God’s nature is merciful and forgiving. 3. Because of the disobedience, Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were taken captive to a foreign land. Through this, no one repented. 4. Daniel confessed that the calamity that was upon the nation was a just punishment of sin, and that he asks of God for his mercy that He would forgive them. a. He prayed that God would act immediately and bring His People out of Babylon and back into their land. b. As he prayed, Gabriel came again and brought him God’s answer, that his prayer was heard and that He would bring the Jews back to their land. v. The Seventy Weeks 1. The symbols of such are not defined well and is hard to interpret this section. 2. It may be symbolic to an era about to come in an answer to Daniel’s prayer. 3. Three divisions within those seventy weeks are noticed as three possible phases of that era. 4. The old era of seventy years captivity in Babylon has ended and a new era of seventy weeks in Jerusalem would begin. a. During this period, God would bring His Purposes to fulfillment, which would deal with sin finally and in its place would be everlasting righteousness. i. Through the arrival of the promised Messiah, God would place His seal of absolute authority upon the visions of the Prophets, to which, their predictions would come true. 1. As for the Messiah Himself, He would be exalted to the Right-Hand of the Father in Heaven. ii. Gabriel’s message to Daniel was that the first period (seven weeks) would see the city and the Temple rebuilt, however, the next several hundred years (sixty-two weeks) would be a time of constant turmoil for Israel, to which, following this, would come the Messiah (the seventieth week). 1. His People would reject the Messiah and would try to kill Him, and an enemy army would pour into Jerusalem as a flood would, destroying the city and Temple. a. This calamity would occur when Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. 2. After that, the Messiah would bring in a new covenant, and in the middle of the seventieth week, he would be killed and the Jewish sacrifices would cease forever. a. In killing their Messiah, the Jews were just punishing themselves, because they would bring upon themselves the ruthless attack of the Romans and feel the “desolating abomination” of it, as well. This may parallel to Ezekiel 16:60-63. b. The Romans would be punished as well for their attack. vi. Vision beside the Tigris 1. Daniel’s final vision was the longest, and at this time, King Cyrus was in his third year reign over the Jews. The Jews returned to their land and had much opposition for rebuilding the Temple. 2. Daniel came face-to-face with a man-like figure more glorious than any he had ever met previously, to which, the presence was so overpower that the people with Daniel fled and hid themselves. Daniel became weak. a. We see this vision parallel in Revelation 1:13-15 and a little bit in Ezekiel 1:28; 2:2. b. The messenger first gives Daniel strength, and then tells him that God is pleased with his humility and desire to know God more. c. There was an evil spiritual power behind the rulers of Persia that tried to prevent the messenger from reaching Daniel, however, Michael the angel, came and won control over the evil spirit, and released the messenger to come to Daniel. i. With Michael fighting, this may be paralleled with Revelation 12:7. 3. The messenger described to Daniel the conflicts of Persia and Greece as they would affect the Jews, to which, after the death of King Cyrus, the states in the region grew in power. a. Earlier Persian kings had success against the Greeks, and therefore, the Greeks re-established independence and began to expand its power. b. A victory came in 333 BC, when Alexander the Great took control of the eastern Mediterranean area, and the Greek conquest spread rapidly through West Asia and Northern Africa. c. Soon, Alexander died, and the empire was split between the four generals. d. In the eastern areas of this divided Empire, there were two main sectors – Egyptian at the south, Syrian at the North. When the norther sector became dominant, the struggle between the two sectors increased. Israel, caught between them, suffered because of this conflict. e. Later, an alliance was formed between the two, to which, the Egyptian King gave his daughter in marriage away to the Syrian King, however, was murdered soon after. i. That woman’s brother invaded and plundered Syria around 246 BC, and during the next fifty years, Syria and Egypt invaded each other many times. ii. A decisive battle, however, was done in 198 BC, where some of the Jews joined with the Syrians against Egypt, and in the end, only brought to themselves greater trouble, because Syria conquered Egypt and took control of Palestine. 1. (The Syrian King tried to gain full control of the Egyptian throne by giving his daughter in Marriage, but the scheme brought no success), so then he attacked Greece – but was defeated and forced back to Syria where he later died. 2. The new king tried to plunder the Jewish Temple treasures and he was suddenly murdered. f. Antiochus Epiphanes then became king over the region controlled by Syria, even though he wasn’t the legal heir. However, he bribed and flattered his way to gain the throne. i. In his evil ways, he conquered Egypt, and tried to form a partnership with the new king that he appointed in Egypt – however, he was just as deceitful as Antiochus was and the partnership would fail soon after. ii. Antiochus returned to Syria planning to carry out his plan to destroy the Jews and their religion. 1. Before carrying out this plan, there was trouble in Egypt, to which, Egypt called for help from a foreign military, and Antiochus was forced back to Palestine. 2. Back in Jerusalem, he found that the fighting was breaking out between the Jewish groups, and therefore, Antiochus took advantage of this opportunity and joined the fight. a. The Jews were slaughtered in the thousands, some made slaves, and most were prohibited from keeping their Jewish laws. b. He set up a Greek idol and altar in the Jewish Temple, and then sacrificed animals that the Jews considered unclean. i. The Jews were afraid of this desolating abomination. ii. Some joined Antiochus to save their own lives, and others stood firm against the persecution. c. Jewish resistance against Antiochus continued by a brave priest and his five sons, who were known as the Maccabees. i. They attracted many to help them fight for religious freedom. ii. Amidst persecution, the Jews failed. Some were martyred. d. Antiochus then dishonored the Syrian and Greek gods, and exalted himself above every god, and therefore, he replaced the existing gods with ones from elsewhere. g. Concluding the revelation of this evil ruler, the angel encouraged Daniel. i. He told Daniel that the angel Michael would fight for his behalf, and those that were truly God’s People would be saved through their time of suffering. 1. One day, God would raise those true people to eternal life. 2. The unfaithful would suffer disgrace eternally. 3. We see a parallel of His People overcoming in Revelation 17:14. Such everlasting covenant is paralleled in Ezekiel 37:21-28. Those that were judged is paralleled in Revelation 20:12, 15. h. Daniel had waited to announce such revelation, as he wanted to make sure that it was kept safe until the climax of Jewish suffering had ended with the arrival of Antiochus. i. By not sealing up the book, this parallels with Revelation 10:4; 22:10. i. Through his prophecy, God for His Purposes would inform true believers. j. Two other angels appeared to Daniel to assure him that God set a limit on the period that he would allow His People to suffer under Antiochus. i. Reference to the man clothed in linen in Daniel 12:7 parallels with Revelation 10:5-6. k. The period of Antiochus’ triumph began when he stopped the Jewish sacrifices and ended the Jews’ rededication of the Temple. i. Some were martyred for the sake of holding to their religion. l. Daniel had passed on before these events were to occur, and he was assured of a final triumph for God’s People.