People Who Know Their God
29 Sep 2001, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
THEME Where is God and What is He Doing About Sept 11
SCRIPTURE READING 1 JOHN 4: 7-21
INTRODUCTION Since the events of September 11 and the events that have followed, people are asking me a string of questions. Where Now? What next? What do we do now? Where are we in prophecy? Has what is happening in the world been predicted? When are we living? What is the Time? Where is God? What is He doing? When is Christ coming back? Is it soon?
We need to review the book of Daniel in the Holy Scriptures for answers. This book of prophecy outlines for us the issues and the principles of interpreting the times. It is where we find the clues to our times.
GOD'S TIMETABLE FOR OUR PLANET EARTH
To help us understand the book of Daniel we should review a few approximate dates
Daniel 1 c.606/605BC Is about the events of when Babylon plundered Jerusalem. Daniel was about 18-20 yrs of age.
Daniel 2 c.604BC Concering Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great image.
Daniel 3 c.585BC Nebuchadnezzar established his own image and state religion with a death sentence for non-conformists. The year of the Fiery Furnace.
Daniel 4 c.570BC King Nebuchadnezzar's Fig tree and affliction.
Daniel 7 c.545BC Daniel's vision of the beasts representing in more detail the same kingdoms outlined by God in advance in Dan 2. Daniel was around 80-82yrs.
Daniel 8 c. 543BC A repeat of chapter 7's vision with more detail about events and kingdoms plus the Little Horn and the final judgement.
Daniel 5 c.539BC Belshazzar's feast and the predicted demise of the Babylonian kingdom by Cyrus. Daniel about 85.
Daniel 6,9 c.538BC Daniel in the lion's den and the time of his prayer for wisdom regarding the vision of the 2300 days of chapter 8:14. Also about the time of Ezra chapter 1. The time of Cyrus King of Persia.
Daniel 10 -12 c.536BC Daniel was about 88/90 yrs and died see chpt 12.
GOD'S TIMETABLE FOR OUR PLANET EARTH
Daniel 2 record's God's interpretation to the Dream Nebuchadnezzar had of the great image. God made it clear it was his timeline for planet earth. The sections of the image represented kingdoms or nations that would rule the world. Babylon c. 605 -538BC. Medo Persia c. 538-331BC Greece c. 331-168BC Pagan Rome c. 168BC - 476AD Papal Rome 476AD and Rome divided into the many Nations of the modern world, to the end of the world. The stone that smashed the image represented Christ's Kingdom which would supersede all nations on earth in the last days. It represents His second coming. Dan 2:44 states, "in the days of these kings (kingdoms/nations) shall the God of heaven set a kingdom which shall never be destroyed."
Daniel 7 Introduces the Little Horn power which would be dominant during the time of many nations. Here is introduced a prophetic time of 1260 days (years in prophecy) see verse 25 and 12: 7. Also introduced is the announcement of a final universal judgement for planet earth. In Daniel 8:14, God in answer to the question "How long" before judgement begins, stated , another 2300 days ( yrs in prophecy). This greatly troubled Daniel. He knew Jeremiah had prophecied 70 yrs captivity in Babylon before release. He was wondering what God was up to now with the introduction of these extended times. Obviously God was talking of the global view not the Jews time in Babylon. 2300 yrs takes us well past the Jews and also Christ's days on planet earth. Throughout the prophecies of Daniel it states that the prophecies' times are about the "end" "latter days" "last days". Daniel is about the finals. see 2:44; 7:14, 26-27; 8:17,19,23; 10:1 (a long time not only short and local but global) 14,; 11: 27, 35, 40; 12:4, 9.
Daniel 9 Daniel is close to the Lion's den experience. Cyrus has taken over Babylon. The country has just experienced war. Darius the Mede has been put in charge of Babylon as King on site & Daniel is carried over as Prime Minister. He is confused over God's mention of 70 yrs, 1260yrs and 2300yrs so he prayed earnestly to the God of heaven for enlightenment. Where are you God? What are you doing about events down here? Do you care? Are you going to keep your promise of out of here in 70yrs? Where was God? He was listening and sent Gabriel to comfort and enlighten this saintly old man now in his late 80's. Daniel 9:20-22. Beautiful. Where was God in all the war and strife in the Kingdom? Beside Daniel to explain the BIG picture.
He explained in 9:24-27 that seventy weeks of years were cut off from the 2300 yrs mentioned in 8:14 for the Jews to finish sin and accept the messiah who would come in that time. He was informed that the time would be calculated from the edict to rebuild Jerusalem. We know from history that was in 457BC. (By calculation from the figures given by Gabriel we come to Messaiah's induction at his baptism by John in 27AD and his crucifixtion 31AD and the end of probation for Jerusalem 34AD marked by the stoning & rejection of Stephen. (see Mark 1:9-15 and Acts 7.) God finally allowed Jerusalem to fall to the Romans in 70AD. The 490 yrs from 457BC takes us to 34AD leaving 1810 yrs remaining . In prophetic timing -a day for a year- 34 yrs plus 1810 brings us down to 1843/44. This is the date God gave for the beginning of his final countdown for planet earth. The time of the end and the last days. The finals. The feet of the Dan 2 image if you please. The fulfillment of these prophecies could not be understood by Daniel. He is stressed because of the long time predicted before God finally vindicates himself and his saints. What happens next.
Daniel 10-12. c. 536 Daniels final vision and his death at around 88/90 yrs of age(see 12:13 rest till resurrection at the end of the days.)
In Daniel 10:1-3 Daniel was in the third yr of Cyrus the King of Persia. It was revealed to Daniel about the BIG global picture of the prophecy. How God plans to eventually overturn all nations and set up His own eternal and sinless new world. Daniel knew it was Truth. he understood that much. He was confident that God was in control. However, he was concerned with the l-o-n-g- time line which he always believed was only 70 yrs. He spends 3 weeks in prayer and fasting. Pleading with God for clarification. Where was God. It was time Jerusalem was rebuilt. The first contingent had returned under Cyrus' instructions. Howerver, the Samaritans under Sanballat north of Jerusalem were hindering the work. Daniel was worried. It was almost another 80 yrs to 457 when the final go ahead was given by Artaxerxes to rebuild. see Ezra 7 . We know conclusively that Artaxerxes became King in 464BC. His seventh yr was 457BC see Ezra7:14 )
Daniel 10 explains that God is listening to prayer. Daniel's prayer for God to sort out the politics over the rebuilding of Jerusalem. 120 yrs before God prophecied that Cyrus would release the Jews. So Daniel pleads with God to step in and make sure Cyrus fulfills God's prediction. Notice in the chapter, Gabriel is sent to answer Daniel's petition in person. Sent to assure him that God is in control of the world's affairs and care for his people. see verse 11 - 12. He was three weeks listening to Daniel. Gabriel explains that he was over in Persia at the seat of Government working on the mind of the Persian king for the same three weeks. Cyrus resisted and Michael (Christ in battle mode - serious business) also came to support Gabriel. Where was God. He was over in Persia lobbying with the government of the day to persuade them to do His will!! The heavenly beings returned to Persia to continue working on the leader & government. ( see verse 20). Verse 21. This confirms again that Gabriel and Michael lobby with earths governments.
Daniel 11:1 portrays the heavenly messenger lobbying with Darius 3 yrs before in 539BC. Possibly over the Lion's den affair and the leadership position of Daniel. The rest of the chapter goes on to forecast the future leaders in Persia Greece and pagan Rome and beyond to our day after the 2300 yrs were fulfilled in 1844AD. Daniel was told that the words of the prophecy were sealed (kept secret) until the time of the end. 12:4, 9. The time when knowledge about the time prophecies would be increased and understood. Wisdom at the time of the end. A time when, "the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits. And they that understand ( the the prophecies and the time prophecy ) among the people shall instruct many" ... and the "wise shall shine... and... turn many to righteousness..." 11:32-33, 12:3.
SO WHERE IS GOD IN 2001. Today he is as Michael with Gabriel lobbying in Kabul, Washington, Canberra, London, Paris, and even Canberra. God is in control influencing leaders so as to have his prophecies and will fulfilled. As Daniel we look forward and at times are like Daniel unsure of details. But we do know from Daniel that the Holy and Great creator God is the Holy political lobbyist pursuing his purposes for a final end.
One Christian writer has stated, " The world is stirred with the Spirit of war. The prophecy of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment." Testimonies Vol 9 p14 E.G. White
Today we are reminded of Paul's statement in Ephesians 6:12-13, " For we fight not againt flesh and blood but against principalities, and against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness high places." (places of authority.) We are experiencing the final battles in the great controversy between good and evil. Between Christ and Satan. We see how God is lobbying with leaders to have his will done. Where is God? Right where he must be. Leading to final victory.
In these uncertain and trying times Daniel's experience should confirm our trust and faith in God. Pray as Daniel did for God's final victory. That is our work. Share this news. That is our role in the great salvation drama. The questions in our introduction are all answered in Daniel and all of scripture.
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