The Prophet Habakkuk

Habakkuk

The name Habakkuk means “to embrace”.

In Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Jesus Christ is described as ruling on the earth when all people will share in the peace and abundant life His righteous reign will produce (Isaiah 11: 1-9). Habakkuk doesn’t mention Assyria, but he does refers to the increasing Chaldean (also known as Babylonians) power. So we can assume that he prophesied in Judah, possibly during Jehoiakim reign and shortly before the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar (Habakkuk 1:6).

Habakkuk was instructed to foretell the invasion and destruction of the land by the Chaldeans. The northern kingdom of Israel had already gone into captivity to Assyria, and God was going to punish the southern kingdom of Judah through the Babylonians.

In chapters 1: 1-4 we find Habakkuk’s first question. Was God indifferent to Judah’s sin, which was horrifying and wide spread? The nation was guilty of:
Violence Habakkuk 1:2
Plundering and violence Habakkuk 1:3
Strife and contention Habakkuk 1:3
Disregarding and abusing the law Habakkuk 1:4
Exploiting the righteous Habakkuk 1:4
Corrupting and misusing judgment Habakkuk 1:4
Habakkuk had trouble understanding why it appeared God was unconcerned about Judah’s sin. Even though he understood that God was not detached from the peoples ungodliness, Habakkuk needed answers.

In chapter 1: 5-11 we have God’s answers. God’s answer is that He would not leave the people of Judah unpunished but would raise up the Chaldeans a rod of chastisement and correction. The Chaldeans were a merciless and terrible people, who would reach down and invade the land.

In chapter 1: 12- 2:1 we find Habakkuk’s second question. How could a holy and righteous God punish Judah by using an even more wicked and unrighteous nation? The conqueror was worse than those appointed to be chastised.

Then in chapter 2:2-20 God’s answer is that all will be faithfully judged with righteous judgment. In the final determination only those who trust in God will live. No one will escape the penalty of evil and wickedness. God will punish arrogance, pride and wrongdoing.

The just living by faith is one of the major themes in Habakkuk. The faith that we are to live by is not man’s faith, but the living faith that God gives to those who live in harmony with Him. Habakkuk was told to write down the visions and make it plain so a runner could read it (2:2). Habakkuk was told that the fulfillment was “for an appointed time” yet in the future (2:3). Equipped with God’s response and the certainty that wickedness will be punished, Habakkuk delivered a series of five woes against those who opposed God and His laws. It seems that these woes are directed at the Chaldeans. They cannot escape the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7). God’s law of retribution for those who in their minds consider themselves beyond reproach and punishment (Habakkuk 2:5). Habakkuk has recorded five types of wickedness found in the Chaldeans:

1. Aggression, pride, abuse of power and greed – 2:5-8
2. Covetousness – 2:9-11
3. Excessive violence – 2:12-13
4. Inhumanity and heartlessness – 2:15-17
5. Idolatry – 2:18-19

Habakkuk ends the book with a psalm of praise and prayer, chapter 3. When hearing God’s coming judgment, Habakkuk expresses his concern (verse 2), and showed his concern by asking God to exercise mercy when applying His judgment. He then proceeded to make a list of the extraordinary acts of God in the past history of His people.

1. God’s awesome presence at Mount Sinai and His power to intervene for His people – 3:   3-7
2. The division of the Rd Sea and later the Jordan River, enabling the Israelites to enter the Promise Land – 3: 8-10
3. God’s powerful intervention for the Israelites in battle – 3: 11-15.

Habakkuk trembles at the thought of what is yet to happen, but nothing that happens on the earth can remove God’s promises: “ yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.” – 3: 18-18

The book of Habakkuk is quoted several times in the New Testament. In Acts 13: 40-41 the apostle Paul quoted the warning in Habakkuk 1:5 and applied it to the people of Antioch. The warning that the prophet gave under inspiration can also be relevant for us today.

The lesson of Habakkuk is, Man shall live by faith. Faith in God no matter how dark the day is – have faith.

Short Outline of Habakkuk

A. The problem of the apparent triumph of sin – Chapter 1
1. Why does sin go unpunished? – 1-4
2. God says he has used the Chaldeans to punish sin – 5-11
3. Are they confined to evil forever – 12-17

B. The impending punishment of the Chaldeans – Chapter 2
1. Waiting for the vision – 1-3
2. Vision of the five destructive woes, – 4-20

C. An age of confidence in God – Chapter 3
1. Prayer of the disquieted prophet – 1-2
2. Past history has shown God will finally destroy Israel’s enemies – 3-15
3. The prophet must joyously trust God and wait when in perplexity – 16-19

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You

Book of Romans Chapter 2

Chapter 2 part 2

Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

Paul has established two central truths……
1. All mankind did engage in and continues to engage in rebellion and depravity.
2. Gentiles are clearly guilty of disobeying the truth.
We need to remember that Paul’s key audience are the Jewish leaders of this church and they must begin to see themselves under the same condemnation of sin as the Gentiles.

Romans 2: 17-24
17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God
18 and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law,
19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth,
21 you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?
22 You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
24 For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’

We need to remember that not all members of this church were Jews, but there is still a Jewish factor in the church. Now Paul very carefully attacks that key factor of Jewish self-righteousness. We get a sense of what Paul’s dealing with here, we should look at the discussion between Jesus and Pharisees in John’s gospel. The Pharisees were unbelieving men, even though they thought of themselves to be very righteous men. They clung to their heritage as their basis for salvation, after all they would be saved just because they were Jew, descended from Abraham.

John 8: 31-44
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’
33 They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’

34 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever.
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.
38 I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’
39 They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did,
40 but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
41 You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’
42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.
44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Jesus is telling them that they are not who they think they are; they are not God’s children, but in fact, they are slaves of sin, and are condemned by their sin. Jesus calls them out repeatedly for their hypocrisy, even as they declare their innocence. The Pharisees are dismayed at Jesus accusation, since they see themselves as the height of righteousness after all they are born of Abraham, they bear the name Jew, as Paul says in Romans, and as such, they are saved and automatically going to heaven. Jesus clearly contradicts that logic, saying that their physical birth gives them no automatic place in heaven. And so Paul says that if you bear the name Jew, you better not rest on that alone. Have you noticed that we still do this today, but in a Christian version of the same error.

We already talked about the name Jew, those who relied on their birth heritage from Abraham. Now Paul moves through a list of assumed advantages of being a Jew, they rely upon law, they boast in God, they know His will, and approve the things that are essential. And with these advantages, the Jews secured a superior attitude. They were the ones leading the blind Gentile nation into the truth, and they can correct the foolish and disciple the immature concerning how to please God, and based on their having access to a form of God’s knowledge of truth. In these statements, Paul simply repeats the prevailing attitudes and beliefs common to the Jewish culture. Even though Paul gave careful argument for how all men are corrupt by nature and under condemnation, the Jews still didn’t get it.

Paul asked them to consider the various ways in which they fall short of the very rules and standards they claim are their advantage. As Jews, they claim to be an authority on righteousness for others. Paul ask them a list of questions, do Jews steal, do they commit adultery, do the take idols from temples for their own use? So the Jews are breaking the very Law that they brag about. How is this an honor to God? Then Paul quotes Isaiah 52:5 to them, through a Jewish prophet, God spoke to them saying that he behavior of the Jewish nation didn’t reflect righteousness. It shamed the name of God among the Gentile nations.

Romans 2: 25-29
25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law.
28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical.
29 Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

Paul now introduces the final, and perhaps the most personal symbol of righteousness within the Jewish culture – circumcision. Circumcision was an outward sign given to the Jewish of the Abraham Covenant. Paul says that if the sign was going to signify righteousness, it would only be because the person was completely obedient to the Law. But if someone has a label of uncircumcised, but they were to live according to the Law, so it’s the ones who are actually righteous who wear the label of righteousness.

That last verse does shed some insight on where Paul is headed in his letter. True circumcision was never meant to be an act in the flesh of the human body. God gave men the physical circumcision to observe a covenant and to point to a redeemer. But the Jews came to think that circumcision automatically gave them righteousness and eternal security. But Paul says that there is a kind of circumcision that does grant righteousness. There is circumcision of the heart, given by the Spirit.

Prophet Daniel

Daniel Part 2

Daniel 9: 24-27
24 ‘Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.
25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time.
26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its* end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.’

Verse 24 list 6 things that are to be accomplished by the end of the 70 weeks:
1 finish the transgression
2 make an end of sin
3 to atone for iniquity
4 bringing in everlasting righteousness
5 seal up vision and prophecy
6 to anoint a most holy place
By the end of His ministry Jesus at least partially fulfilled the first three items. By His sacrifice Jesus provided a way for sin to be forgiven and become the atonement for our sins, reconciling us to God, Colossians 1: 19-20. Jesus will finish completing these first three and fulfill the final three after His return.

Verse 25 introduces the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Verse 26, the first phrase say that the Messiah would be “cut off” after 62 prophetic weeks. Verse 26 also introduces an evil prince who will destroy the city, Jerusalem, and the sanctuary.

Verse 27 can be a little tricky to read when trying to decide between Messiah and evil one. So from my studies this is what I am understanding: verse 25 talks about the Messiah, verse 26 refers to the evil one, verse 27 the first part refers to the Messiah and the second part refers to the evil one.

Abomination of desolation, chapter 11 covers prophecies that would be fulfilled from the time of the Medo-Persian Empire through the end of time. After providing specific detail regarding the successive kingdoms, in verse 31 we read of daily sacrifices taken away and of an “abomination of desolation” that would be placed in the temple. These even were a type of a future fulfillment that will happen before the return of Christ, Matthew 24: 14-15.

A second fulfillment happened when Roman armies destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple and alter were desecrated. Luke 21:20 identifies the armies as the cause of the desolation of Jerusalem.

A future fulfillment, in reference to “the end” of this age when He would return to earth a second time, Matthew 24: 13-14. Then in Matthew 24: 15-16 Jesus said, “So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the ruler understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Daniel, the prophet to whom Jesus referred was told in a vision that the words he had been given were “sealed till the time of the end” Daniel 12:9.

The time of the end. Beginning in Daniel 11:40 we read of events that will happen “at the time of the end.” This includes conflict around Jerusalem between “the kings of the North” and “the kings of the South.” Daniel also refers to a severe “time of trouble” Daniel 12:1, which is referred to as “great tribulation” in Matthew 24:21.

Short outline of Daniel

A. Daniel’s history chapters 1-6

1. His youth and education chapter 1
2. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s image dream chapter 2
3. In the fiery furnace chapter 3
4. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s tree dream chapter 4
5. Interpretation of the hand-writing on the wall for Belshazzar chapter 5
6. In the lion’s den chapter 6

B. Daniel’s vision of the Kingdoms chapter 7-12

1. The four beasts chapter 7
2. The ram and the he-goat chapter 8
3. The seventy weeks chapter 9
4. The final vision chapter 10-12

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You

Book of Romans Chapter 2

Chapter 2     Part 1
Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

So Paul finishes his introduction on unrighteousness, now he will add fuel to the fire. Does being a Gentile or being a Jew give either one an advantage in the question of who is righteous?

Romans 2: 1-4
1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
2 You say, ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’
3 Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God?
4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Man has no excuse for their sin before God. And Paul says that we who pass judgment on others condemn ourselves, so when we point fingers at who deserves God’s punishment for the things that they have done, we are also pointing fingers at ourselves. What might a person say if someone tells them that they might face God’s wrath for their sin. Some would say, as Paul repeats verse 3, that somehow it won’t apply to me, that I have improved a lot plus I know people who are a lot worse than me. God will understand, He will see me for who I tried to be and He will overlook my failures. As Paul says, do you suppose that we will escape God’s judgment? Maybe we assume that everything will work out because we think “so far, so good.” Paul says that we are thinking lightly of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience. Are we taking something for granted? We have an opportunity to repent of our sin.

2 Peter 3: 8-10
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.
9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Peter repeats Paul’s words. As the world waits for God’s judgment to happen as promised it hasn’t minimized God’s plan to carry it through. Judgment day hasn’t arrived yet, plus we shouldn’t take some comfort in the fact the we haven’t faced our own personal reckoning, both are coming. You could say that God’s delay is his patience and kindness towards sinners.

Romans 2: 5-8
5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.
6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds:
7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

The time God has given us to repent of our disobedience and rebellion actually becomes our opportunity to increase God’s wrath, His anger against us. God renders to each according to their deeds (Psalm 62:12). God doesn’t show favoritism, and He doesn’t change the rules, you could say we each will get what we deserve. For those who seek to do good and glory and honor, they will receive eternal life. For those who seek for themselves, those who obey unrighteousness will receive God’s wrath. This moment is described in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 20: 11-15
11 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.
13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done.
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;
15 and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

On one hand in verse 8 Paul says all men are guilty and are under the same sentence of condemnation. But then Paul just said that God deals with people according to their deeds. Well the answer is found in those verses in Revelation. So in Revelation for those who were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire, in other words eternal punishment, and all those who are in the book of life, survive. So Paul says God is fair to judge men according to their deeds, and so He does.

Now Paul is ready to deal with the issue of Gentile vs Jew.

Romans 2: 9-13
9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.
11 For God shows no partiality.
12 All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Paul says that judgment falls equally for the Jews as to the Gentiles, God does not play favorites. We want to see this from a positive perspective of God being an equal opportunity savior. But Paul is speaking from a negative perspective of God being an equal opportunity punisher. Whether reward or punishment it does not matter if you are Jew or Gentile, Gentile or Jew.

Then Paul begins a comparison between what the Jews knew and received from God in terms of knowledge, as compared to the Gentiles and what they received and knew. For example, the Jews received instructions from God called the Law. But the Gentiles received no such instructions. Because of this Law does this make the Jews more guilty and the Gentiles less guilty? Or maybe it works the opposite way. Paul explores those possibilities and he begins with the Gentiles. Paul says that all who have sinned without the Law also perish without the Law, so those without the Law are Gentiles. Those under the Law, Jews, will find themselves judged by the Law, they will be held accountable for their inability to keep the Law. What about if the Gentiles play the “claim of ignorance” card?

Romans 2: 14-16
14 When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves.
15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

Our conscience betrays us. As Gentiles, we still have a sense of right and wrong. Paul suggest that when the Gentile is doing the work of the Law, then they show evidence that God’s expectations have been revealed to them, and that the Gentile are showing obedience to God in their action. Paul’s saying that God reveals Himself to men apart from the Law given through Moses. So when the Gentiles feel a sense of guilt over their mistakes, they are bearing witness to the fact that they knew better.

To be continued

 

Book of Romans Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

Now we return to the beginning of Paul’s letter on righteousness, beginning with his theme statement
Romans 1: 16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’

Paul was saying he was not ashamed to preach the gospel anywhere because it was the power of God for salvation. Then Paul gives his theme statement which is referred to in Habakkuk 2:4
4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

The righteous live by faith, the righteousness of God. But what does Paul mean by this phrase? It’s meaning in the New Testament comes mostly from the Old Testament Hebrew understanding of the word:
1. It means being declared innocent in a law of court – justified
2. It describes an attribute of God
3. It means God’s faithfulness to His promise.
So salvation is found in the righteousness of God. So Paul says he preaches the gospel because it was the means of revealing God’s righteousness through the faith of men.

Are we a good person?
Luke 18: 18-19
18 A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
19 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

Here Paul is ready to give us his best explanation of men reaching for heaven, how the righteousness of God is revealed in them. Man is not always good and they are not 100% bad, only God alone is good. So Paul sets about proving that God’s righteousness is revealed through the gospel by pointing out our needs first.
Romans 1: 18-23
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;
21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools;
23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Paul is now talking about how wrath is revealed, rather than righteousness. Paul isn’t speaking to just one section of society but is speaking to all men, God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness in men. God’s wrath is revealed against them because mankind can generally understand God is evident yet nevertheless reject him. His invisible attributes are visible in the creation itself.
Psalm 19: 1-4
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,

We can understand a lot about God by examining what has been made, Paul says in verse 20. A God of power, a God of order not chaos, a God of mercy, a God of purpose, and a God of wrath against rebellion. Not only did God reveal Himself in the creation but to certain men once knew God personally verse 21. That verse further tells us that they knew God, they didn’t honor Him as God or give-thanks, they rebelled, their hearts were darkened.

The second step in rebellion was idolatry.
Genesis 4:25-26
25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him.’
26 To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord.

Genesis 6: 5-8
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.
6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
7 So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’
8 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

When Noah’s father was alive, Adam was still alive. In other words, the wickedness of earth was great, and yet the first man was still alive on earth. That’s why Paul can say that men knew God.

Now let’s look at what did God do?
Romans 1: 24-32
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done.
29 They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips,
30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious towards parents,
31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

Third and final stage of rebellion: impurity. God gave them over to their lust. Looking again at verse 17-18, God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel being received in faith. The negative is also true, God reveals His wrath for unrighteousness by giving men over to their lust. Verse 28, as they disapproved of God in their minds, so He also gave them over to depraved minds. Their minds led them to all manner of greed, envy, murder, strife, and malice. All the sin we see in the world today, all the bad things that mark our world is the result of disobedient men and women.

What conclusion can we make from Paul’s opening?
Romans 2: 1-2
1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
2 You say, ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’

All men are guilty and we are all under the same sentence of condemnation.

Prophets Daniel

Daniel (part 1)

Daniel means “God is my Judge”, and was probably born in Jerusalem. Daniel the prophet begins as he and other men from Judah were taken captive by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Daniel 1: 1-4. This captivity of citizens of Judah in Babylon lasted 70 years, as God foretold through the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 25:11. During this time, Daniel served in superior positions in the governments of several Babylonian and Medo-Persian rulers including Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus. In the first reign of Darius, Daniel came to understand the prophecy of Jeremiah that predicted a 70 year captivity of his people, Daniel 9: 1-2.

Daniel, a faithful man of God

King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to destroy all the wise men if one of them didn’t interpret and tell him his dream. In Daniel 2: 18. Daniel and his friends requested more time so they could ask God in prayers to reveal the information about the dreams to them. God answered the prayer, and Daniel remembered to praise and thank God for giving them the answers, verse 20-23.

Daniel 6: 10, Daniel again demonstrates his faith by praying to God even though he knows that his life could be endanger doing so. Daniel knew that a document had been signed that no one could address any god or man for 30 days. But it was Daniel’s custom since the early days to pray and give thanks to God, and he just wasn’t going to change that, not even for 30 days. Daniel wasn’t going to hide his prayers and his faithfulness to God and it landed him in the lion’s den, where his critics were sure he would be eaten alive. God sent an angel that shut the lions’ mouths and Daniel was spared. Daniel 9 continues to show us of Daniel’s faithfulness with prayer and fasting for his people’s sin and asking for God’s mercy on himself and all of Jerusalem.

Understand, skill and knowledge from God

God saw the good in Daniel and his friends and gave them knowledge in all literature and wisdom. God also gave understanding in all vision and dreams to Daniel, Daniel 1:17. Because of God’s blessing on Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The king “found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” Daniel 1:20. In his second year of reign king Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream. God revealed the meaning of the dream to Daniel, Daniel 2:19. “Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief official over all the wise men of Babylon,” Daniel 2:48. There were times that God had sent an angel to Daniel with the prophetic message and Daniel would write it down.

Prophecies

Daniel was beloved and chosen by God to foretell future events. Daniel’s prophecies were through God given dreams and visions about what was going to happen throughout history, and what would happen to Daniel’s people in the latter days, Daniel 10: 4, and to the whole world.

These are a few of the prophecies given by God through Daniel.

Four world-ruling empires. In a dream given to king Nebuchadnezzar, God revealed through Daniel that there would be four world-ruling empires, Daniel 2: 1-43. These were proven to be the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires. God also gave to Daniel a vision in which these empires were represented by four great beast, Daniel 7: 1-3.

The Kingdom of God. After telling king Nebuchadnezzar that there would be four world-ruling kingdoms, Daniel prophesied: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever;” Daniel 2:44.

In another, “As I watched in the night vision, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed,” Daniel 7: 13-14.

A little horn. In God’s vision to Daniel of the four beast representing the four would-ruling kingdoms, the fourth beast “had ten horns” , Daniel 7:7, which has traditionally understood to represent 10 appearances of this fourth kingdom. To explain this Daniel wrote, “I was considering the horns, when another horn appeared, a little one coming up among them; to make room for it, three of the earlier horns were plucked up by the roots. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly”, Daniel 7:8. This little horn that Daniel in the vision saw “making war against the saints, and prevailing against them”, Daniel 7:21, is a religious power that will persecute God’s people at the end of this age, Daniel 7: 24-25. Known by many names – the antichrist, man of sin, and false prophet – this religious power will play a leading role in the deception of mankind prior to Christ’s return. Other references to this horn can be found in Daniel 8: 9-12, 23-25.

Seventy-weeks prophecy. In Daniel 9: 24-27 is the prophecy that predicted the year that Jesus would begin His ministry. The prophecy also predicted that Jesus’ ministry to “confirm the covenant” would be cut off “in the middle” of the 70th prophetic week. Daniel 9: 24-27 is a detailed and complex prophecy that dates the first coming of the Messiah and establishing of the New Covenant and meanings of events that will happen leading up to the time of Christ’s second coming.

To be continued…….

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You