Monday, July 27, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Zechariah- Chapter 3

Zechariah 3


-Joshua (Yeshua, same name as Jesus), the high priest, is shown to Zechariah. He was standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan was standing at his right hand accusing him. Then the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire (Zechariah 3:1-2)?” God was saying that, yes, Israel had gone astray and sinned against Him. But, He would pluck them like a brand out of the fire of judgment to give them rescue and deliverance. God was setting the stage for His Righteous Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Joshua, who should have been the most holy man in all the land, is indicated as having filthy garments clothing him as he stood before the angel. God declares that his filthy garments can be removed. In other words, God has the right to take away his iniquity and clothe him with festal, clean, perfect robes (Zechariah 3:3-4). Now Zechariah, the prophet, chimes in, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” This they did as the angel of the LORD was standing by. And then the angel admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here (Zechariah 3:5-7).” God then reveals the marvelous. The ones around him are symbols of servants of the most High God, and He is going to bring His Almighty Servant, the Branch (Jesus Christ), to remove the iniquity of the land in one, single day. There will be complete unity and restoration available to all (Zechariah 3:8-10).

-*Application* The high priest represented here by Joshua, is the go between holy, righteous God and sinful, depraved man. The ultimate sacrifice was coming to atone for the iniquity of the people. Christ Jesus would accomplish in one-single day on the cross of Calvary. God would lay His burden and penalty for sin, namely death, on Himself when He sent His one and only Son (His likeness, same essence, different persons) to earth to be the propitiation for humanity’s sins (John 3:16, Romans 3:23-26, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2; 4:10). The Branch gives us a picture of the Trinitarian concept here for us to consider. The Father is the Root and the Vine, His Son the righteous Branch connected in the unity of essence, but distinct in person. Jesus later relates the same desire for His people of faith for unity and love in His Spirit (John 15:1-17). Apart from Him we can do nothing. While Satan will try to rattle us and accuse us, we have a faithful High Priest, a go-between, that will defend us and deliver us declaring us not guilty if we only trust in Him.


Verse to Memorize: Zechariah 3:8

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Zechariah- Chapter 2

Zechariah 2


-Then Zechariah lifted up his eyes to see a man with a measuring rod in his hand going to measure Jerusalem to see how wide and long it is. Another angel came out to meet this angelic man and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. ‘For I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst (Zechariah 2:1-5).’” The LORD then calls His people back to flee from the land of the North, where they were deported to during the exile, in Babylon. He warns the nations who plunder His people and His land that He is against them because Israel is the “apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:6-8).” God declares that He will make His Hand go over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves for the purpose of them knowing that He alone is God sent by the Almighty (Zechariah 2:9). In other words, The Messiah is coming, so His people should rejoice with song and be glad. He will dwell in the midst of them as many nations join themselves to His glory and become His people too. They will all know that the LORD of host has sent His Son to them. “The LORD will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:10-12).” The final command is to “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation (Zechariah 2:13).”

-*Application* God’s choice is Jerusalem. He dwells there in Spirit, came there in the flesh as the person, Jesus Christ, and will return there to set up His millennial Kingdom. He will stay there with His chosen people of faith forever (2 Kings 21:7, 1 Chronicles 23:25; 33:4-7, Jeremiah 17:25, Joel 3:20-21, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Revelation 21). God loves Jerusalem and has chosen it as His very own possession. He will watch over this place carefully and successfully. Nothing will happen apart from His divine will. He is against those who are against Israel, His people, His nation, His city, Jerusalem. He is for those who bless Israel and comfort her with genuine support. Real Christians value God’s people. In these times, whose side are you on? As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD and support the “Apple of His eye (Joshua 24:15).”


Verse to Memorize: Zechariah 2:10-12

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Zechariah- Chapter 1

Zechariah 1


-Introduction: The purpose of Zechariah revolves around giving God’s people hope during the time of Judah’s return to the land following their captivity in Babylon by revealing His coming deliverance through the Messiah. He designs to establish spiritual priorities in the life of the returned community of exiles in Judea. Zechariah writes as a contemporary of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, Daniel, and Malachi. This is the period of rebuilding walls and the Temple in Jerusalem somewhere between the years of 520-430 B.C.. Zechariah’s message is one of comfort and encouragement as well as exhortation (Zechariah 1:13, 16-17; 9:9-10). He themes his Holy Spirit filled work around God’s jealousy, revival, the coming King, and God’s sovereign control and protection over His people. Enjoy this prophetic work as we can now look back on the first incarnation of Messiah Jesus and appreciate all the accuracy of the Word of God.

-Chapter one begins with a time peg for us to gravitate on to. The Word of the LORD comes to His prophet in the eighth month of the second year of Darius, king of Persia. He begins with how angry the LORD had been with the fathers of these contemporary Jewish inhabitants of the land that had returned from captivity. The message of “Return to Me” is forceful and direct for the purpose of Him returning to them now in this new generation (Zechariah 1:1-6).

-Then on the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, still during the second year of Darius, another Word from the LORD comes to Zechariah. At night he sees a vision of a man riding on a red horse, and he was standing among myrtle tress in a ravine with red, sorrel, and white horses in back of him. Zechariah asked what they were and the messenger declared that “these are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” What they found was that the earth was at that time “peaceful and quiet.” Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” Then the LORD answered the angel that was speaking with Zechariah, the prophet, with “gracious words, comforting words (Zechariah 1:7-13).” His Word was that He was exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion and that His anger was upon the nations who are at ease; “for while I (God) was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster (Zechariah 1:14-15).” Therefore, God tells him that He will return to Jerusalem with compassion and that His House will be built in it as a measuring line stretched over Jerusalem. His cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will once again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem (Zechariah 1:16-17). After these things were spoken, Zechariah looks up to see four horns and asked the angel what they were. The angel revealed that these were the horns that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Then the LORD showed His prophet four craftsmen prompting Zechariah to ask what they were coming to do. The messenger said, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man lifts up his head; but these craftsmen have come to terrify them, to throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it (Zechariah 1:18-21).” These horns are purported by some to be Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Medo-Persia, whom God used to oppress His wayward people in an effort to draw them back to Him. Others lay the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome at fault for being the prophetic horns corresponding to Daniel’s message (Daniel 2, 7, 11). Horns in Scripture prophetically represent power and political national strength. The four craftsmen are left somewhat ambiguous intentionally. Instead of focusing on “What are these?” as Zechariah does in verse 19 with the horns, the prophet now asks, “What are these (the craftsmen) coming to do (Zechariah 1:21)?” The craftsmen come symbolically to “terrify” the horns (nations of power) according to the sovereign plan of God in destroying the destroyer (Revelation 11:18). Pastor Greg Allen attributes then the four craftsmen to possibly be: 1. Medio-Persia, which vanquished the tormenting Babylon, 2. Greece, who conquered Medio-Persia, 3. Rome, which overtook Greece, and 4. The Kingdom of God, which arose in the midst of the Roman Empire and still thrives today with the promise to eliminate future threats to the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:34-35, 44, Psalm 110:1-2, see, or Charles L. Feinberg, God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah [Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1979], p. 30.).

-*Application* Isn’t it nice to hear a gracious, comforting word from the LORD pertaining to your life and future. This is the hope that we have in Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He will make all things new and everything works together for good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, Revelation 21:5). So stay strong in your faith. The battle is the LORD’s, and He proves victorious in the end!


Verse to Memorize: Zechariah 1:13

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Daniel- Chapter 12

Daniel 12


-“Now at that time” refers to the period of the Anti-Christ’s temporary reign during the tribulation period going back to the last chapter (Daniel 11:36-12:1a). This is a time of incredible distress for Israel “such as never occurred since there was a nation (Daniel 12:1b).” There is some evidence for a “rapture (a`rpaghso,meqa- To be caught up, snatched away, steal, carry away, or tear out, 1 Thessalonians 4:17)” of the saints of God here too with the phrase, “at that time Your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued (Daniel 12:1c).” There will be an awakening of many of the deceased to everlasting life, but the unbelieving will perish in disgrace and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Revelation 20:4-6, 15). Prophetically Daniel, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, commends those with insight because they “will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:3).” Daniel is then told to “seal up the book until the end of time Daniel 12:4a).” This is left for the Lamb to break open when we get to Revelation (Revelation 5:1-10). Another amazing prophecy of the latter days is at the end of verse 4 where it is revealed that “many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” *Application* The advances of transportation and technology in the last century should alert us to the fact that the end of time is coming quickly upon the earth as we know it.

-Daniel then sees two others standing on each side of the river. The question is asked, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders (Daniel 12:6)?” The man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, replied as he raised his hands swearing to God that it would be “for a time, times, and half a time (interpreted to be 3 ½ years); and as soon as they finished shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed (Daniel 12:7, Luke 21:24-28, Revelation 10:7; 15:1).” Daniel had trouble understanding the final outcome of these events and asks, but he is simply told again to go his way for these prophecies “are concealed and sealed up until the end of time (Daniel 12:8-9).” “Many will be purged, purified, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand (Daniel 12:10).” The regular sacrifice, which is abolished in the middle year of “Jacob’s trouble (the seven year period also known as the Great Tribulation),” and the setting up of the end of times “abomination of desolation,” will initiate a period of 1290 days (3 ½ years). 45 days later will mark the blessing on those who keep waiting and attain (Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 7:25; 12:11-12, Revelation 12:14). The final words of the book give Daniel some sage advice from the messenger, “Go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age (Daniel 12:13).”

-*Application* This perplexing sequence of events that Daniel sees and hears at the end of his book must be measured with plenty of other Scriptures and intense searching, seeking, and humbly praying before the LORD for understanding. Piecing together prophecy is a difficult, almost impossible task, but it is keenly rewarding for those who dig deep. We, like Daniel, will not have total understanding of all God’s mystery until it is accomplished, but we do have revelation to know a vast amount as we stay alert and ready for the return of the King for His Kingdom. Keep drawing close to God for answers and keep the faith.


Verses to Memorize: Daniel 12:3-4, 13

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Daniel- Chapter 11

Daniel 11


-We can look back and see the historical accuracy of these events that Daniel prophesied during the first year of Darius the Mede as an encouragement (chazaq-strengthening, courage, resolute, to prevail) and protection (ma`owz-place or means of safety, refuge, stronghold) for him (Daniel 11:1). We can also see in this passage incredible prophesies that will yet come about as the end of time hastens. Kings rise and fall, intrigue and violence rule the course of human events, and men attempt to glorify themselves over the LORD. These are the primary themes and characteristics of how things will roll no matter what your personal interpretation of these events may be. The predominant spirit that Daniel warns of here, again for our own strengthening and security, is the spirit of the anti-christ, who creates havoc and destruction wherever it is manifested. We can see all the anger, wrath, corruption, and idolatry of the godless one as he comes to a final end with no help from anyone (Daniel 11:45). Daniel reveals the truth here for us to grapple with, process, and understand so that we are ready for the cataclysmic events that have occurred and are about to unfold (Daniel 11:2).

-*Application* There’s always something to be said for a person’s ability to weather the storm and persevere through the most demanding of circumstances. Whether it is the Maccabean Revolt, the underground Christian martyrs of the 1st Century, or today’s persecuted Christians, we need to realize that the tide will eventually turn and good will prevail in the end. Yes, we do long for the redemption of this planet and for all to be made well (Romans 8:18-27). In the meantime, be encouraged and strengthened by the true and unflappable Word of God, the Son’s sacrifice, His Holy Spirit who resides in you, and agape love. The devil will come to his end, and no one will be there to help him. Meditate on this fact. Be assured in the sovereignty of our Father. Keep believing and trusting in the fact that He is working all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).


Verses to Memorize: Daniel 11:31-33, 45

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Daniel- Chapter 10

Daniel 10


-Chapter ten jumps in the time sequence to the period in which Daniel was serving Cyrus, king of Persia, who was the last king that Daniel served under. This indiscernible message to us (because in the text we are not given it) but discernable to Daniel of the latter days for the Jewish people had three specific characteristics: 1) It was true, 2) It was one of great conflict, 3) It left Daniel in anguish with no strength (Daniel 10:1, 14, 16). The context of the vision from God’s angel came in a time of mourning for Daniel. He had in fact mourned without tasty food, meat, wine, or ointment for three entire weeks (Daniel 10:2-3). But, on the 24th day of the first month (this would be the month of Nissan in the spring time), while Daniel was on the bank of the great Tigris River, he lifted his eyes and looked beholding a certain man described much like other visions of God in Scripture (Ezekiel 9:2, Daniel 10:4-6; 12:6, Revelation 1:13-14; 2:18; 19:12). The strength of this man (angel or Son of God?) caused dread on all those around Daniel even though they could not see him and they ran away to hide themselves (Daniel 10:7, Acts 9:7). Daniel had no strength left in him when this appearance occurred. When he heard the sound of tumult in the man’s words he fell into a deep sleep on his face with his face to the ground (Daniel 10:8-9). Then, a hand touched him and set him trembling on all fours (hands and knees). The voice told him that he was a man of high esteem and to understand the words he was about to receive. Daniel was then told to stand upright for this messenger had been sent specifically to him (Daniel 10:10-11). The prophet was told not to be afraid “for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words (Daniel 10:12).” However, this warrior had been detained for 21 days by the prince of Persia (here we see the spiritual warfare with demonic activity), but Michael, the archangel or chief of princes, had come to help him since he had been left there with the kings of Persia (Daniel 10:12, 21; 12:1, Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7). Now he was available to instruct the prophet, Daniel, to give him “understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future (Daniel 10:14).” What Daniel saw, and we are left in the dark textually on this, left him face down and speechless. Anguish consumed him, and he retained no strength in his physical body (Daniel 10:15-16). But, “this one with human appearance” touched him again and strengthened Daniel. He reiterated that Daniel was a man of high esteem, to not be afraid, that peace was with him, and for him to take courage and be courageous (Daniel 10:18-19). The one asked Daniel if he completely understood why he had come to him. He then told the prophet that he had to go and return in the spiritual fight against the prince of Persia, and that the prince of Greece was about to come (Daniel 10:20). These forces were so powerful that only Michael was able to stand firmly with him (Daniel 10:21).

-*Application* We can only imagine what left Daniel so weakened and distraught from this harrowing vision. Maybe he was exposed to the atrocities of the Nazi regime upon his Jewish people. Perhaps he saw even more carnage of what is surely to come in these later days of demonic activity being poured out upon the physical earth in abominable ways. The spirit of mourning can bring on these disturbing thoughts and connections to the spiritual battle that is prevalent in our confusion, chaos, and humble state. This is going deep here, but anyone who has gone through traumatic grief can identify. The spiritual realm is real, and God is supremely victorious even in this place. If you are going through mourning, as Daniel certainly did as we see in the text (Daniel 10:2), be strengthened by God and His angels in your hours of desperate need. Even though there may be delays from things we know little about in the spiritual realm, persist in prayer and beseech the LORD to come and raise you up in confidence, courage, peace, and security knowing that God always hears us. The same God that Daniel served, we can serve and get redeeming help and understanding during our times of desperate need.


Verse to Memorize: Daniel 10:14

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Daniel- Chapter 9

Daniel 9


-In the first year of Darius’ reign (so this more than likely goes back in time before Daniel’s lion’s den experience under Darius’ rule in Daniel 6), Daniel observes the prophecies of Jeremiah by the Word of the LORD for “the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10-13, Daniel 9:1-2).” At this point, Daniel seeks the LORD with “prayer and supplications with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (Daniel 9:3).” Further, He confessed the sins of iniquity, wickedness, rebellion, and turning away from God for himself and his people, the Jewish nation, before the “great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments (Daniel 9:4-5).” He acknowledged that his people had not listened to God’s servants, the prophets, who spoke in the LORD’s Name to the kings, princes, fathers, and all the people of the Promised Land (Daniel 9:6). Open shame therefore belonged to the unfaithful and exiled people of God, while He deserved all the glory as the Righteous One (Daniel 9:7-8). Daniel then pleas for God’s gentler side in proclaiming His compassion and forgiving qualities even in the midst of their rebellion and disobedience against His Voice (Daniel 9:9-10). This is an eloquent discourse on the plight of the Jews owning up to the real issues that surrounded their current position of slavery to a foreign power. Daniel goes on, “Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your Law and turned aside, not obeying Your Voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him (Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 28:15-67, Daniel 9:11).” Daniel sees the recompense of the LORD for his nation’s deeds and the fulfillment of what God had warned of way back in the giving of the Law. Even with all this calamity that had befallen them, they still neglected the LORD to call upon His Name in their distress for His favor and restoration. They wallowed in their iniquity, disobedience, and false ways instead of turning back to the God of truth, righteousness, and forgiveness (Daniel 9:12-14). The prophet Daniel reiterates his confession before the LORD on behalf of his wayward people and earnestly begs for God’s mercy and His turning away from anger and wrath. He calls for God’s Face to once again shine on His desolate sanctuary, and His Ears and Eyes to open in His great compassion (Daniel 9:15-18). He specifically asks for the LORD to hear, for forgiveness, for the Almighty to listen, and for Him to take action for His own glory and sake without delay (Daniel 9:19).

-While Daniel was doing all of this confessing, praying, and supplication for his sins and the sins of his people, the angel Gabriel shows up, who he had seen in a previous vision (Daniel 8:16; 9:20-21a). Daniel was in a state of extreme weariness at about the time of the evening offering when the angel came to give him instruction, talking with him and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophesy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come, will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who make desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate (Daniel 21b-27).”

-*Application* This amazing prophecy gives us the exact time of the first coming of Messiah Jesus, which should encourage and help us develop a stronger faith in Him as the True and Living Savior. It also heightens our expectations for His second coming at the last week (these are symbolic periods of seven years) and the fulfillment of His Kingdom (Revelation 17:14). What is in-between the sixty-nine weeks of His first coming and the last week of His second coming is the sort-of “time out” stage in this age of the Gentiles where all the nations are having a chance to hear the gospel and come to salvation (Matthew 24:14). Times will indeed be hard, but Christ’s victory is prophetically assured and we can rejoice and be glad (Revelation 19:7). It is also very worthy of noting Daniel’s position to indeed hear the vision and Voice of God. He was confessing for himself and his people with a sincere and earnest heart. We too can beg and petition God for insight, understanding, wisdom, and vision when we cry out to Him in our distress. See the need, call upon the LORD.


Verse to Memorize: Daniel 9:24