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bible reading oct 22-24



Bible reading for weekend Oct 22 -- 24

Oct 22 -- Daniel 7 and Psalms 114-115

Oct 23 -- Daniel 8 and Psalm 116

Oct 24 -- Daniel 9 and Psalm 117-118

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"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14)


THE BEASTS (ch 7). The four beasts are four empires in succession -- Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek (Alexandrian), and Roman. Some liberal scholars date the writing of the book of Daniel after these events because they cannot believe a Jewish prophet could possibly predict world empires so accurately, including the breakup of Alexander's empire into four smaller, regional empires. These four beasts are followed by the eternal kingdom of the one "like a son of man", meaning human and righteous, not beastly and brutal. This passage is what Jesus was referring to when he called himself "the Son of Man" (Matt 26:64). 

THE RAM AND THE GOAT (ch 8). The ram (ch 8) is Medo-Persia, and the goat is the empire of Alexander the Great. Who is the "little horn" (7:8, 20-25; 8:9)? Candidates are  Antiochus IV (aka "Epiphanes"), Titus of Rome, a persecuting emperor (or pope), or the yet-future antichrist. It may be that it's a case of telescoping prophecy, that is, each of these aforementioned figures may be an installment (or version) of the final bad boy arising at the end of history. 

SEVENTY WEEKS (ch 9). What all agree upon here is that the "weeks" (lit., "sevens") are symbolic of years (9:24ff). The Messiah would be cut off (die) after the 69th week. Depending on where you begin the calculation (likely, 444 BC) and numbering according to the Jewish lunar calendar, you come up with the date, AD 33. This is a very remarkable prophecy and also explains why so many in Jesus' day were keenly interested in the Messiah's imminent arrival (Jn 1:19-27; 4:25; et al). Read here how various interpreters arrive at these dates. One area of continuing debate is, are these seventy weeks completely fulfilled in the first century, or is there more -- the seventieth week, for example -- still yet to come? (Spoiler: I think there's more yet to be fulfilled.)

THE BIG PICTURE. There may be different ways of understanding these various symbols and numbers, but all Christians are agreed -- it is God who controls the unfolding of history and the succession of empires. The same God who created and named the stars, who feeds the sparrows, who numbers the hairs on our heads, is the same One who guides history to his appointed end. Here's one application: as you read your newspaper (or news feed, or social media) let this truth of God's sovereignty stabilize your mind and bring comfort to your heart. He is the unchanging God in a changing world.

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"Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!" (Psalm 115:1)

TREMBLE, O EARTH (Ps 114). The psalmist addresses nature, looking back on the miracles that took place when Israel was delivered from Egypt and brought into the promised land. The Apostle Paul said that creation groans for redemption (Rom 8:19-22). The Bible contains beautiful pictures of creation's response to the Lord, for example, the mountains singing and the trees clapping their hands (Isa 55:12). Both the awe and power of God are seen in this psalm, in the fleeing sea and trembling earth, but also his kindness and grace: "...who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water" (v 8). The Lord of the seas and oceans is the same Lord who provides us with streams of refreshing water.    

OUR GOD IN HEAVEN (Ps 115). The psalm calls Israel to worship the true and living God rather than idols which cannot speak, hear, or act. Those who trust in idols will become as lifeless (or as bizarre) as the idols they worship (v 8). God's people are to trust and praise their God. Verse 3, "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases", reminds us that our sovereign God has a mind, a will, and a plan of his own. This echoes Nebuchadnezzar's lesson, "... his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth..." (Dan 4:34-35; cf Ps 33:11; 135:6; Eph 1:11). Verse 17, "The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence," is not referring to what takes place after people die. In the progress of God's revelation the OT writers didn't know a lot about that. But this verse is spoken from the perspective of a worshiper on earth. In others words, once people are gone they do not speak or participate in the congregational worship of God's people gathered here and now. 

GOD'S ETERNAL LOVE (Ps 116-118). Read my comments here.

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Image credit. My photo of the fountain at the Holtzman Alumni Center at Virginia Tech. About this newsletter: I'm Sandy Young, and I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.  










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