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Daniel 11:36-12:13 ~ 1 John 4:1-21
Psalm 123:1-4 ~ Proverbs 29:2-4
Old Testament - Today we finish the book of Daniel! What an amazing read this book has been for me this year. I have been blessed by it. I hope you have too. It is always interesting to dive into prophecies and angels and such. I have to admit that I don't think about these types of things too often in my day to day life. However, I know they are real. And as I read the book of Daniel I am reminded of God's amazing story and where it is ultimately leading. Below is an image of Satan being bound by Michael the archangel, from the John Brown Bible circa 1816:
In Daniel chapter 11 verse 36 onwards we are looking at verses prophesying about the anti-christ and end times. The verses just prior to 36, in yesterday's readings, referred to Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C., but we are looking at the future here in today's verses in chapter 11. To get some more context on these verses today, check out 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and Revelation 13:5-8. A portion of verse 36 does stand out to me today: "For what has been determined will surely take place." Do you believe these prophecies in Daniel have been determined? Do you believe they will surely take place?
Daniel chapter 12 is called "The Time of the End" or "The End Times" in many Bible descriptors. However, over at bible.org Bob Deffinbaugh calls this chapter "The Hope of Heaven". I like that! Here's an excerpt from Bob's essay: "Daniel 12 is the crowning chapter of this prophecy, as well as its conclusion. It takes the believer to the high-water mark of Christian hope—the assurance of the resurrection of the dead. Let us listen and learn, and gain hope and comfort." Check out Mr. Deffinbaugh's full essay on Daniel chapter 12 at this link.
Verse 2 stands out in Daniel chapter 12: "Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." This is one of the first clear mentions of a resurrection in the Old Testament. The phrase "everlasting life" appears only here in the Old Testament! Pretty fascinating. Seems like this chapter is in some ways bridging Old Testament / Old Covenant theology to New Testament / New Covenant. Do you believe that after death some will rise to everlasting life? And some to everlasting contempt? Below is the famous fresco titled "The Last Judgment" by Michelangelo, which is at the Sistine Chapel in Rome:
New Testament - First John chapter 4 verse 1 starts us off with quite a warning today: "Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world." The interesting thing about this verse for me today is the implication to "see if the spirit they have comes from God." Meaning, that the spirit some have come from the opposite of God - the devil. A bit scary to think about this and realize this. But, it's true. There is good and evil in the world, and good and evil spirits influencing people. It's better if we realize this. It is a fallen world. Do you believe this verse to be true? Do you believe there is both good - and evil - in the world? Do you believe there are many false prophets in the world?
Verses 7 through 21 are incredible verses on LOVE! A fun Bible fact for you here - the world love appears 43 times in First John overall - and 32 times in the short section of 4:7 through 5:3. We're in the Christian love section here! :) Certainly verses 9 & 10 here are well worth each of us reflecting upon: "God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." Do you believe these verses to be true? Do these verses maybe remind you of a similar verse John wrote in his Gospel? John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." It is awesome that we have these verses to reflect upon - along with Daniel chapter 12 verse 2 above. See any ties between these verses from the Old & New Testaments regarding eternal life?
Psalms - Psalm 123 is a short one, but a great one. I love the beginning of verse 2 and 3 - "We look to the LORD our God for his mercy....Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy..." Do we look to the Lord for his mercy? What would God's mercy to us look like? Why would we need God's mercy? Do we pray to the Lord this simple prayer - "Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy"?
Bible.org's commentary on Psalm 123 titled "A Prayer for Mercy" is at this link.
Proverbs - Proverbs 29 verse 3 teaches us today: "The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted." This Proverb reminds me of how things played out for the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke where he ended up feeding pigs after wasting his father's wealth. Fortunately, we have a graceful God who can redeem situations like this, if we will repent. Let us choose wisdom always. Let us love wisdom always. And let us bring joy to our heavenly Father!
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!