prophecy

When the Prophetic Becomes the Present

This article is a bit of a departure from my usual writing.  I usually reserve this space, this medium, for something fresh or new.  Tonight, however, I am going to do something new.  I will be sharing, in this article, excerpts from a sermon that I had prepared and delivered on April 1st, this year, 2015.  What I will be sharing will not be the complete message.  I hope you are blessed with the following message, which I titled “When the Prophetic Becomes the Present”.

      1. What is prophecy exactly? It is the proclaiming future events. A better definition is: History written before it happens. It is like reading next months news headlines today.

Why is prophecy important? The most important reason, I believe, is, God wants you to understand the future is just as divinely appointed as the creation. He states in the Bible that “He knows, and has told, the beginning from the end”. Another reason to study prophecy is because it shows the exactness and truth of His Word. It shows that there is only one in control, and we call Him God, our Father who are in heaven, we call Him Savior, we call Him Messiah, we call Him Jesus!

Some question, is prophecy important, does it matter? The answer must be, absolutely, for the same reasons we just mentioned. It tells us what is coming next, and that we must be ready.

Tonight, the main part of the message really comes from the question, what happens when prophecy comes to pass? Have you ever asked that question? Have you ever considered the question?

      1. Foundation

Our foundation for tonight’s message is found in Luke 4:16-22 –

Lu:4:16: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Lu:4:17: And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

Lu:4:18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Lu:4:19: To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Lu:4:20: And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Lu:4:21: And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Lu:4:22: And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?

Before we get into the message, can I just take a moment and express how great this verse is. Here we find Jesus, the Son of God, on the Lords Day, the Sabbath, sitting in the synagogue, which is a house made to honor God, and Jesus takes a scroll, which is the Word of God, and we know according to John “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God”, So Jesus takes the word of God, and says the Spirit of God is upon me… This is God, in a house of God, proclaiming the Word of God, by the Spirit of God…there is so much truth here its almost hard to comprehend. So powerful! Before I get too far from where I hope to go, lets get back to the message…

Here we see Jesus as a preacher, and as a prophet, for He proclaims this day these things are fulfilled in

your ears. Prophecy fulfilled by the Prophet, Priest, and King, Jesus. Yet, there seems to have been a problem, today we can understand how magnificent this truly is, but they seemed to have an issue, they did not just accept it. What did they do? They questioned. How much is the world like that today?

3  Past Prophecies Fulfilled

Lets keep moving and look at some past examples: Noah in Genesis chapter 6 (verses 12 – 22)

Noah, faithful, prophesied, preacher of righteousness. Noah preached for about 120 years, while he built an ark. His faith was on full display in the shape of a huge ship. Think about it, a ship built on dry land awaiting an event that none had ever seen. Yet, the world continued on in disbelief. Only 8 were saved, only 8 from the entire world.

Noahs work was visible, His faith manifested where everyone could see, it was not hidden. How about yours? Are we building our ark where others can see or are we attempting to hide and build a boat for one? Noah preached, others heard his words and they fell on deaf ears. Are we still preaching even if the words are falling on deaf ears or are we whispering? Just as it was in the days of Noah, the world is refusing to hear what “thus saith the Lord” but let me tell you that Noah boarded that ark and with the first drop of rain, the prophetic became the present and God moved. The righteous were saved, all others faced the judgment of God.

      1. Current Prophetic Events

The current events unfolding speak even more to the truth of God’s Word. In Matthew 24 we find many things that are going to be, but we’ll just focus on the first few verses:

M’t:24:4: And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

M’t:24:5: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

M’t:24:6: And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

M’t:24:7: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

M’t:24:8: All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These are called the “beginning of sorrows” or the “birth pains”. Just as labor pains, these will start, or should I say have already started, and will not stop until the end. Also, just as labor pains they will increase in severity and become closer together. These are listed, by Jesus, first. These are the first things to look for at the coming end of the age. Deception, has there been a time when deception was abundant than today? Wars, and rumors of wars. Isn’t that all we see, hear, or read in the news? Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. Are there one of these that are not or have not happened? Have you, yourself, seen these things multiply?

It goes on to say these days will be like the days of Noah and the days of Lot. There were at least three major things present in those days. Unrighteousness is the first, how many would say this would describe our world today? Unbelief. The state of unbelief in the world today is staggering. Oh sure, there is belief in Buddha, in Hinduism, in being positive, in Islam, there is belief in nothing, belief in everything, belief in being positive, belief in spirituality, but all these are still unbelief. Belief has a name and it is Jesus Christ, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is only one name under heaven given whereby man must be saved, that name is Jesus, and that is belief! The third and last prevalent sign, is sexual immorality. Listen to these words and think about how commonplace they are today: Rape, sodomy, pedophilia, adultery. Rape is a criminal epidemic that has moved into bars and college campuses and made a home there. Sodomy is a lesser heard term, but in the news more than any of the others, but it uses more friendly names such as marriage equality, pro choice, those associated believe in terms such as life partner, march in parades under the banner of gay pride. This is not an isolated problem, these are all world wide problems and getting worse.

Even with all these things at the forefront of our attention, so many are calling us the crazy ones. We preach Christs return and they ask, where is he? There unbelief, all the fun they make of it, is proof He is almost here according to 2nd Peter 3:3. There are so many signs screaming for attention, yet, the world does not hear. Can you? Can you hear it? Can you hear what I hear? Can you hear the preparations of a wedding feast about to take place?

5  Seeking A Sign, A Sign Given

A wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign. We live in a wicked and adulterous generation and many are seeking a sign. Ever wonder why the generation that seeks a sign is called wicked? I have, and the answer that came to me is this: It’s wicked because it seeks a sign and not a Savior. How’s that for blunt? The generation that sought a sign, however, was given a sign. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days, so Christ was in the belly of the earth for 3 days. And just as we have already discussed, it wasnt enough. This is what happens when we seek the wrong things, it is never, and will never be enough, until you seek the One who is able to heal you, restore you, save you, raise you, and call you His. So, let me ask, are the churches seeking a sign or Jesus? Are the churches still looking for proof or walking in faith? I assure you, these are very valid questions.

Ac:2:16: But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

Ac:2:17: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Ac:2:18: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

Ac:2:19: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

Ac:2:20: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

Ac:2:21: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Today, the prophecy of the Blood Moons is very popular and discussed among many scholars and congregations. Here is a quick run down of the teaching, if you have not heard it or read about it, you’re about to hear it now. These blood moons taking place fall on Jewish Feast Days, specifically the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles last year and this year, which should make them of particular interest. Of the major feasts, the Feast of Passover is the first and the Feast of Tabernacles is the last (Leviticus 23), and I cant help but to be reminded that in the book of the Revelation Jesus says He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, He is the beginning and the End. On April 4th, just a few short days from now, the third blood moon will take place, hows that for a timely message?

This has only occurred three other times since 1492. When it occurred the first time, the Spanish inquisition took place, America was discovered. The second time it happened Israel became a nation once again. The third time it happened Israel claimed Jerusalem from Arab control and it once again became the capital. Those are the major events of the last set of blood moons, or lunar eclipses, on Jewish Feast days. You may also hear them called a tetrad of blood moons, it simply refers to 4 lunar eclipses. Naturally that leads to question what events have taken place with the latest set of blood moons. With the first blood moon ISIS became prominent on the world stage. With the second blood moon, Ebola became a worldwide concern. Now, what I am going to say is, if you are looking for, perhaps a deeper meaning or understanding, let me offer this: If these things are a foreshadow of things coming upon the earth, a shadow of what the Bible says will be, ISIS could be seen as peace being taken from the earth, a reference and again a foreshadow of one of the seals found in the book of the Revelation being broken. Ebola could be pestilences being unleashed upon the earth, and in case you’re keeping count, that would be 2 of the 4 horsemen found in Revelation 6. I am not saying that’s what is, but if you want a deeper opinion, thats what mine is, and it didnt cost you a dime extra. We have 2 more to come, and only time will tell what they bring with them. Perhaps we’ll go on to see a financial collapse or natural disaster, or a coming conquerer. Time will tell.

Make no mistake though, the sun, moon, and stars were put in the sky for more than light.

Ge:1:14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

Now, the bible has one thing to say about this prophecy of the blood moons and that is: These things will take place before that great and notable day of the Lord comes. That should be more than enough to grab your attention. One less talked about part of this prophecy is the blood, fire, smoke, the part just before the blood moons. I believe this relates to volcanic activity during the time of these blood moons. For emphasis, there have been volcanic eruptions also during these blood moons. Who but God Almighty could have set these things in motion? Only God has told the end from the very beginning.

      1. When the Prophetic becomes the Present/Gift

With signs and wonders coming to pass, I have to ask: Are the churches guilty of a lukewarm response? The church has a job, and it is not to be lukewarm:

Lu:21:28: And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

We must be rejoicing. We were put here, at a certain time, in a certain place, all according to the plan of God. We were born for this! Are we living like it? The Word of God teaches us there are “the few” and “the many” and we mentioned this about Noah’s day. Jesus said the way to the Father was straight, narrow, and few find it, and broad is the way that leads to destruction. He also says He is only coming for those who are looking for Him. That He is coming and such an hour as you think not.

Consider this your wake up call. You can not see all these things, hear these things and continue in doubt, in unbelief, and not be held accountable. Every day we are seeing the prophetic become the present. One day the prophetic will become the present, that is to say the Prophetic will become the gift, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. When that prophetic becomes the present, praise God, this corruptible body will put on incorruption, this body which is sown in dishonor will be raised in glory, when this weakness will be raised in power, when this body will be put away for a glorified body! The King is coming!

  1. Closing

In closing, let me say this: Jesus is coming back, ready or not. In Matthew 25 you can read the parable of the ten virgins. All ten were virgins, all ten were waiting for the same thing. All ten were together. Yet, only five were ready. There will be no warning, except maybe this one. One day, and I believe it will be soon, the prophetic will become the present and the world we know will change, the salvation that is free today will cost dearly then. There may never be another day or night where the righteous of this church will enter these doors because the call Home, into God’s presence could happen now, I mean right now. This altar is open, if you seek a Savior, He is here with open arms. If you need to recommit your life, if you need to repent, whatever your need, He knows and is waiting.  Be prepared, the King is coming! 

 

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The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

In the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus you will find the feasts which are celebrated, mostly by the Jewish people. You find wonderful celebrations, times for rest, time for introspection, and time for judgment. While these are often referred to as “Jewish feasts” the bible indicates otherwise:

Leviticus:23:1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus:23:2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

These feasts should be recognized and at least acknowledged by the church. Just as we have been made heirs and joint-heirs through Christ, we also share in the promises. If we share in the promises, shouldn’t we also share in the knowledge and celebrations appointed by the Lord? These feasts are rich in symbolism and worthy of teaching and understanding! I have covered some of these in previous articles, such as “Passover” and “Unleavened bread”.

The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated as the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The term for this is “Rosh Hashana” which literally means the “head of the year”. The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and the new year does not begin until the observance of a “new moon”. There will be one hundred trumpet blasts for this feast.

Leviticus:23:24: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Prophetically, all the feasts were a fore-shadow. This feast is no different. The Feast of Trumpets is a prophetic picture of the rapture, the gathering together of the church. No man knows the day or the hour of the rapture, just as no man knows the day or the hour the new moon will be observed. Consider theses verses also:

1st Corinthians:15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1st Thessalonians:4:16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Revelation:4:1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Revelation:4:2: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

The Feast of Trumpets is also called Yom Teruah, which literally means the day of shouting and noise. What a day and what a shout of victory there will be at the prophetic fulfillment of this celebrated feast day! This feast is observed as a day of rest, the beginning of a new year or a new beginning, and a gathering together. The phrase “holy convocation” translates or literally means a holy gathering of a group of people in answer to a summons. What a joyous day that will be when we are gathered together with the Lord! As this day approaches, let us celebrate, and then let us anticipate and live prepared for the prophetic fulfillment!

The Rise of Persecution

Trials and tribulations should be expected by all who choose to follow Jesus. The Christian walk is not an easy one. We must realize that we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, spiritual wickedness in high places. It is fortunate when our worst days of “spiritual warfare” are when we are faced with temptation, fight the urge to use vulgar language, want to lie, or refrain from doing good when we should. These are very real circumstances, and submission to these things are sin. If this is the worst we face, and I know at times these are bad enough, I also know it could be so much worse.

I am afraid that we will indeed see worse. There is a storm on the horizon gaining momentum, speed, and strength. That coming storm is persecution. In the headlines of media and news, and across the globe on television we see a very open and violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Men, women, and children are being kidnapped, crucified, tortured, beheaded, and gunned down because of their Christian faith. I feel a strong burden to pray for those people and the horrible situation they face. Please remember those people in your prayers.

These situations should not take us by surprise. As we see prophecy being fulfilled, we should know that it will continue to get worse. These things have been foretold:

Matthew:24:9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Luke:21:12: But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

2nd Timothy:3:12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

I believe we are seeing the very beginnings of those verses taking place. I also believe we are witnessing a very strong faith in Jesus Christ by those people who are more willing to die than deny the Savior. We often read of martyrs from the history of the church and their valiant fight of faith, yet, do we realize that we are also now seeing it in the present?

It is easy to say “well, it isn’t happening here” and carry on with our lives because we do not see it affecting us directly. Those people are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we better care! Their faith to the death should be a witness to you, it doesn’t show their strength, it shows His strength within them.

Luke:21:13: And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

Don’t be fooled though, the storm is coming to you also. The persecution of the church has already begun. Prayer in schools or at school functions has been forbidden. City and state governments must now speak the name of Jesus in whispered voices or behind closed doors for fear of who might hear. Your beliefs may now exclude you from jobs, positions of authority, or show you as impartial or biased. Speaking your belief of Jesus as Lord and Savior could next lead to belief that you are a radical or guilty of a hate crime. You could be taken to court and found guilty simply because you stand on ideas and principles found in the Bible.

Right now, our government tolerates Christianity. We were once a government of the people, by the people, for the people, but we are soon to be a people under a government, unlike what we know today. If you understand Bible prophecy, you already know a change in government is coming. I believe that change is already taking place, but we still see the illusion of what we had. That veil will soon be removed and the persecution we see today will be a fond memory, because Christian persecution will be multiplied exponentially.

Please pray, pray for those suffering persecution to the death, pray for their safety and their lives, that their testimony speak to those who do not yet believe in Jesus. Pray for our churches, our national, state, and local leaders. Pray, if not for deliverance from these things, for strength, patience, comfort, and protection. Remember God’s word for those who suffer persecution:

Matthew:5:10: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew:5:12: Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Apostate Church

Are the conditions right for a true, apostate church? Before you can answer that, you must first define and understand what “apostate” or “apostasy” really is. Apostasy defined is leaving, or a departure from, your principles or beliefs. You could also say it is to CHANGE your principles or beliefs.

The church, and I am referring to the true church, is facing a raging, unforgiving, deceitful, world that preaches tolerance, but is intolerant of the church. In case you missed it, that would be the world being hypocritical. The world is not agreeable with the absolutes of Christianity, and I must say that Christianity should not be agreeable with the world. Don’t take my word for it, this is what Jesus said:

Matthew:10:34: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

The church cannot, indeed must not, attempt to please the world and God. The bible clearly states you cannot serve two masters. We, the church (which is to say, the body of Christ), have a duty to pursue a relationship with Jesus, first, foremost, while forsaking all other things. It is not possible to seek worldly advice on spiritual matters and expect truth, and due to the rising apostasy, we need even more discernment when seeking direction from different congregations and denominations!

So, what does an apostate church look like? It looks just like the church down the street from you, but it probably has more members. There is probably a lot less talk about sin, maybe sin isn’t mentioned. There also stands a good chance many sermons and teachings revolve around prosperity, love, being a good person, having success, and overcoming obstacles in life. The name of Jesus is probably favorably mentioned, but no talk of blood (because that may be considered a bit harsh), suffering persecution, or seeking first God and His kingdom.

Those are just my thoughts, but let me give you the source of my thoughts and even greater words and thoughts from the Word of God. Here are the conditions God said would exist:

Acts:20:29: For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Acts:20:30: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Matthew:24:11: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

2nd Timothy:3:5: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2nd Timothy:4:3: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2nd Timothy:4:4: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

There are many other verses that could be added to this, but for the sake of time, we will stop with those. The more verses you add, the more complete the picture of the coming apostasy. This is just another reason that we, as individuals, must study to show ourselves approved. We have a responsibility to Jesus, and our relationship with Him, to pursue absolute truth, and that is found in His word.

We must be diligent and always on guard for what is coming into the church, especially in the form of “change”. The true church stands on the word of God, not the reasoning of men. The church is to be set apart from the world, not mixed into to it. The Bible is not made to become agreeable to man, man was made to become agreeable to God and His word. God’s word is absolute, it is truth, it is the straight and narrow path. It is law and grace, love and redemption, judgment and punishment, blood and life, it is His Word and eternal. Read it, study it, know it and give yourself to it completely, for it is the Word of Life, His covenant to you, covered in His blood that you might have life everlasting and fellowship with Him. Pray for the church, pray for the leaders of the church, and pray for those already falling into apostasy, for apostasy isn’t coming, it’s here.

I Stand with Israel

We all have opinions, and we base those opinions on our beliefs, don’t we? As a professing Christian your beliefs must stem from the Bible, the Word of God. Accepting Jesus as your Savior is an act of salvation, yet, there is more to it than “just salvation”. If you are born again, you (the old man) has died to this world and your new life is found in Jesus. You are transformed, made new, and begin a new walk, not for yourself but for the One who died for you. Old things have passed away. This should include old habits, thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs. Unless it is found in the Bible, what is the basis for your belief?

Your Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Son of God. Do you understand He was also a Jew? Not only was He a Jew, He was crucified as King of the Jews. If you have a prejudice against the Jewish people, how can you profess a Savior who is also Jewish? I know there is a school of thought called “Replacement Theology” that attempts (poorly I might add) to remove “Israel” and replace it with the “church”. This is another anti-semitic tactic used to attack the Jewish people and their land, Israel.

In the book of Matthew you can trace the Jewish heritage of Jesus, and be assured that He is Jewish. It is written He and His family participated in Jewish feasts, He taught in the Jewish temple, was born in Bethlehem (a town in Israel), and was referred to as the Passover Lamb. It does not get more Jewish than that. The Bible further states that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

God, from the very beginning, chose a sacred place where His Son would give a sacrifice that all who believed on Him would be saved. Of all the lands in the world, God chose the land of Israel. He gave that land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their seed (the Jewish people) forever. History will tell you the Jewish people have been taken into captivity, have been scattered from that land, and the land has been divided, which is true. Many people have inhabited that land, have ruled over that land, but the land has never belonged to anyone but the Jewish people. It is there in that land of Israel, from the capital city of Jerusalem, where the King of kings, Jesus will rule and reign. This is why we should continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

God stated in His Word whoever touches the Jewish people touches the apple of His eye. He also said though the land would appear to be dead, He would once again bring His people into their own land. That happened in 1948. This should be enough to show that Israel and the Jewish people are important to God and they are still in His plans. Some of those plans include wars. There is the Psalm 83 war. There is the war of Gog/Magog. There is the battle of Armageddon. War has been a very real part of their history and a very sure part of their future. All of these wars will work to accomplish God’s purpose, not just for Israel, but the world also.

Israel is becoming a cup of trembling to the nations of the world. They are becoming a burdensome stone, not just to the world, but their allies also. All of this has been foretold in the Word of God. So, it should be no surprise to see the lack of support they are receiving. What is surprising, to me, is the swiftness in which Israels allies are distancing themselves and the boldness many people are showing by supporting the enemies of Israel. There is a very important verse from Genesis each person should keep in mind:

Genesis:12:3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

For me, it does not matter what the worlds opinions of Israel are. Throughout the Bible you find that God favors Israel and the Jewish people. God said in His Word that He is married to the nation Israel. God also says the Jewish people are His chosen people. These reasons alone should be enough for you to support Israel. The plans God has for His people, and their land should tell you where your support should be. Today, I tell you that I stand with Israel and the Jewish people, do you?

Handwriting on the Wall (part 2)

In my previous article I discussed a relevent issue from the fifth chapter of Daniel. If you read the previous article, and are familiar with the events in Daniel, then you should have seen the “handwriting on the wall” there would soon follow a part two. Usually, I am not fond of sequels. I will make an exception in this case, because I know there is some unfinished business to discuss.

In the previous article I had discussed the fact that Belshazzar had committed a heinous act and should have known nothing good could come from it. Then again, maybe he did and just did not care enough about the consequences. Once the temple instruments were used for vile purposes, a hand appeared and wrote a message upon the wall. The previous article dealt with misusing the instruments that belong to God and how it still applies today. Let us now move forward to another matter, just as relevant:

Daniel:5:7: The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Daniel:5:8: Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

The king was horrified by the handwriting. His response was to gather all he considered wise, take counsel with them and hope to learn what the writing meant. In his fear he sought the counsel of men, not God. He offered a chair among royalty, a position of power and authority. The men came to the king, and you can only imagine how anxious they might be to ascend to a higher position among men. Yet, none could decipher what the Lord had written.

Today, our kings seek the counsel of men. The leaders today are crafty, well educated, with much experience in affairs of diplomacy, war, spying, intelligence, and finance. When the unthinkable happens, the experts are called in for ideas, strategy, quick fixes and evaluations, predictions of actions and reactions. We, as people, have not really changed that much. I do understand this seems to be a smart solution, but I also understand it is a fleshly solution. Too often decisions are made without the counsel of God, without looking to Him, His Word, His Spirit in prayer. Rarely is a known or perceived man of God approached for insight, understanding or wisdom. The world loves its own.

The king was reminded by his queen there was a man in the kingdom who had served the kings father in similar circumstances and was made head of all astrologers and soothsayers. Daniel, a man of God, was brought in to do what those who were considered professionals or experts could not. You see, right here I am reminded of the verse that says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding”. Daniel seemed to excel in exactly that.

And now we come to the conclusion of the matter:

Daniel:5:23: But hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
Daniel:5:24: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
Daniel:5:25: And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
Daniel:5:26: This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
Daniel:5:27: TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Man had exalted himself and his gods, he had misused the instruments set apart for God, lived a life of excess, a life of drunkenness, and promiscuity. The king failed to recognize God, he had falied to glorify God in any way. It is because of all these atrocities judgment came, and it came swiftly.

It is no doubt an awesome thing to go before God in judgment, but that is what we see here at the finish. The king had been weighed in the balance, and came up short. We, as a people, as nations are following suit. Counsel of godly men and women fall by the wayside and upon spiritually deaf ears. Men are too eager to please mankind, to eager to seek after riches and power, and no longer care to glorify the soon coming King of kings, Jesus.

My fear for the world today is this: I fear many of todays rulers throughout the world have seen the handwriting on the wall. The counsel of men is being sought to find the reason for all the calamities in the world, maybe because they are afraid of the handwriting on the wall. Today, the rulers look to “global warming” scientists, they are looking to DNA researchers, to biochemists, to doctors, to environmentalists to ease their concerns. I have a piece of advice for them all, look up!! Look up! Seek the One who has set all things in motion, turn from the ways of this world, save yourself, save your people. Judgment is coming, for nations and for individuals. Seek Him while He can be found, seek Him before you too are weighed in the balance. Only Jesus Christ can balance those scales of justice. Let us glorify Jesus, let us look to Him and pray to be accounted worthy of Him and His kingdom.

Handwriting on the Wall

Have you noticed we live in a world where slogans are everywhere and used to remind us of something? For instance, slogans are one of the most used, most efficient, most reliable ways of advertising. Some examples would be “Just Do It” (Nike), “Made from the best stuff on Earth” (Snapple), “They’re Grrrrrreeaattt” (Frosted Flakes), and “Have it your way” (Burger King). Some of these are a bit old, and probably outdated by now, but you get the idea.

Phrases have a way expressing a big idea using few words. We often hear familiar phrases used in a variety of contexts. Lately, I have heard a phrase used several times, meaning that a person “should have seen it coming”, but the phrase used is: “They should have seen the handwriting on the wall”.

For me this always brings to my mind the fifth chapter of Daniel. This is quite possibly one of my favorite events to read, re-read, and study. It is also a realization, shouldn’t we “see it coming”, should we not be able to discern some of those things which are about to happen? Of course I’m not referring to fortune-telling, nor am I specifically referring to the gift of prophecy. When we are given numerous examples throughout the Bible, when we are given specific actions and reactions, shouldn’t we be able to know what is going to happen? Sure, the consequences of repeated actions may not be immediate, but they are imminent.

In the fifth chapter of Daniel we find that Belshazzar was giving a great feast, a party, and gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels, which had been used in the Jewish Temple. Once those vessels were brought out and used, something happened:

Daniel:5:5: In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Daniel:5:6: Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

The hand and writing caused the king such horror that his bowels were loosed and his knees buckled and began to shake. I suppose the phrase “caught red-handed” could apply here. There is a very important lesson to be learned, you should not mis-use nor tarnish the instruments set apart for the service of God!

1st Chronicles:16:21: He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
1st Chronicles:16:22: Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Those instruments were created, finely crafted, and sanctified for use in serving God. The equivalent today are those who are saved and serving Jesus. We have been cleansed by His blood, we are set apart from this world, and serving our Lord. We are those instruments, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, serving a risen, living Savior, seeking to accomplish His will in our lives, giving our testimony, letting our lives be a witness, moving in faith, praying always, loving in truth and in deed, all that the glory be His. We offer our bodies a living sacrifice.

Just as Belshazzar was living it up in the world (eating, drinking, and being merry), he misused the instruments dedicated to God. Today, this world is misusing and mistreating the instruments dedicated to God. Belshazzar did not see the writing on the wall and his reign ended that very night. There is coming a point in time where someone in this world will say “we should have seen the handwriting on the wall”, and just as it was then, it will be too late. Be of good cheer, we will suffer things in this world, we will be hated in this world, but I have good news, Jesus overcame this world and by Him, we shall too! To Jesus be the glory forever, amen.