COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

"John Lennox" Tagged Sermons

GOD HAS A TIMETABLE IN WORLD HISTORY

Ron Rhodes in his commentary on these verses in Daniel writes:
“Even weeks…sixty-two weeks (verses 25-26); Gabriel provided some rather complex details about both the immediate future and the more distant end-times future. Here is the gist of what is important to grasp;
Gabriel informed Daniel about 70 weeks of years. A week of years is 7 years, so 70 weeks of years comes to a total of 490 years.
Gabriel spoke of 7 weeks of years followed by 62 weeks of years.
Seven weeks plus 62 weeks adds up to 69 weeks of years.
And what is 69 weeks of years?
It comes to 483 years (69 multiplied by 7). Her is the important point: Gabriel indicated that there was to be a 483-years period from the issuing of a decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time the Messiah comes (that is, the first coming of Jesus Christ, not the second coming).
The day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to proclaim Himself Israel’s Messiah was 483 years to the day after the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem had been given.”

How accurate and precise is God’s timetable in History?
John Lennox
“Twelve lunar cycles take 354 days. This means that the lunar year is just over eleven days shorter than the solar year, and it would appear that around the time of the Babylonian captivity an extra intercalary thirty-day month was added to make the necessary correction (just as we have a leap year of 366 days every four years, since the solar year is actually a little over 365 days long).
On this basis then:
• The 69 sevens – or 483 – years of 360 days, each amount to
173, 880 days
• 1 solar year = 365.24219879 days
• So 173,880 days = 476.067663 solar years = 476 years + 24.7 days
Using the familiar Gregorian calendar, if we start from the beginning of the month Nisan in 444 BC and add 476 years plus 25 days, then we get to the month Nisan in AD 33.
The two days for the crucifixion of Jesus that appear most often in scholarly writings are AD 30 and 33. One reason for this is that in those two years 14 Nisan, on which the Passover lamb was killed, fell on a Friday. Recently Cambridge scientist Sir Colin Humphreys, working with astrophysicist Graeme Waddington of Oxford, calculated that Jesus died on 3 April 33 AD.
These findings have been widely accepted and they show that Daniel’s sixth century BC prophecy turns out to be a phenomenally accurate prediction of the time when the “Messiah the Prince” would be cut off.”

THE CULTURE THAT PRODUCED THE ANTICHRIST

John Lennox makes the connection when he writes:
“Since Antiochus IV plays a central role as a thought model of the future, it is important for us now to get a flavor of the times in which he lived. They hold much to interest us, but we shall have to be content with a thumbnail sketch.
One of the legacies of Alexander’s conquest was the spread of the Greek culture over a vast area, and this led to a ‘NEW TYPE OF CIVILISATION OF MULTIPLE NATIONS UNITED CULTURALLY BY THE GREEK LANGUAGE.’
Alexander ushered in what is known as the Hellenistic Age (from 323-30 BC).
It was a time of high and heady culture. In particular, the period from about 280 to 160 BC produced a long list of intellectual luminaries who laid the foundations of those disciplines that would eventually become science as we now know it.”

Democracy
According to Merriam-Webster, a democracy is a government by the people “in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”

The Alphabet
Derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, the
Greek alphabet was the first alphabet in the western sense of the word, featuring distinct letters for vowels and consonants. It was developed after the Dark Ages and consisted of 24 letters, ordered from alpha to omega.
Believe it or not, the word “alphabet” originates from the first 2 letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta. Today many letters of our modern alphabet originate from the Greek alphabet, including letters such as A, B, E, and O. The Greek originally had a single form of each letter but created upper case and lower case versions of the letters later.

The Library
The first library in the world, the library of Alexandria, was actually built in Egypt. During this time Egypt was under Greek control after submitting to Alexander’s rule. The Macedonians started spreading the Greek way of life to all of the conquered lands, including Egypt. After Alexander’s death, there was a power struggle and the Kingdom of Egypt came under the rule of Alexander’s general, Ptolemy.
Ptolemy ordered the construction of a library which would contain over 700,000 scrolls of work. There was also a rule that all ships passing through the Alexandrian harbor had to declare if they had any works of science or philosophy. If they did, the work was copied and placed in the library, and the original copy would be returned to the captain. Because of this accumulation of knowledge, many great discoveries took place in the library.

The Olympics
The Olympic Games started in ancient Greece, specifically in the city of Olympia. The participants were the city-states of Ancient Greece and its colonies. The Olympic Games were held every four years in honor of Zeus, the king god. The prizes for winning were fame and glory. Statues of the winners were erected and sometimes the winners’ faces were even put on coins. Today we still celebrate the Olympic Games and continue some of the old traditions, such as the olive leaf crowns, the lighting of the flame, and the opening and closing celebrations.
What Does the Olympic Flame Symbolize?
Another common symbol of the Olympic Games is the flame. The tradition of the torch relay and lighting of the Olympic flame to start the games began with the Berlin Games in 1936. The flame symbolizes beginning of the Olympic Games. The idea came from ancient Greece, where a sacred fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics on the altar of the sanctuary of Hestia.
Who is Hestia?
Hestia was one of the 12 gods and goddesses from Mt Olympus. She was the first born of Cronus and Rhea and was the sister to many famous gods and goddesses, including Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.

Science and Mathematics
Along with being the birthplace of many great mathematicians, Greece was also the mother country of many famous scientists.
What Greek Thinkers Influenced Science and Mathematics?
Eratosthenes
This mathematician was the first to calculate the circumference of the Earth. He did this by comparing the altitudes of the mid-day sun at two different locations. Eratosthenes also calculated the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and eventually became the chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria.

Aristarchus
This astronomer and mathematician was the first to create a model with a sun at the center of the known universe with the Earth revolving around it. He also placed the planets of the solar system around the sun in the right order and thought stars to be other bodies like the sun. Nicolaus Copernicus attributed the heliocentric theory to Aristarchus.

Archimedes
Archimedes is generally considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and of all time. He anticipated modern calculus, geometrical theorems, and learned to calculate the area geometric shapes, including the circle and sphere. Some of Archimedes other achievements include coming up with an accurate approximation of pi and designing effective levers and pulleys. One of his famous quotes was, “Give me a lever long enough and I will move the Earth!”

Mythology
Greek mythology has pervaded nearly every form of popular culture imaginable. Many Greek myths have been adapted into modern novels, movies, TV shows, video games and even brands. Some well-known instances of Greek mythology in pop culture are:

Disney’s Hercules
The bestselling novel Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The God of War video game franchise
The TV show Battlestar Galactica
Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel Frankenstein;
The brand Nike (Nike was the Greek goddess of victory)

The Lighthouse
Like the first library, the first lighthouse in the world was located in the Greek-controlled Egyptian kingdom of Alexandria. The structure was called the Lighthouse of Alexandria, or the Pharos of Alexandria. Taller than the Statue of Liberty, it was the second tallest structure of its day (only the Great Pyramid of Giza was taller than it).
The lighthouse had three layers:
A square-shaped base
An octagonal mid section
A round beacon on top
The lighthouse could be seen by fire at night, and by the smoke of the fire by day. Sadly, the lighthouse was destroyed by earthquakes, but it set the model for all future lighthouses.

Standardized Medicine
While medicine had been practiced in Babylon, China, India and Egypt, the Greeks were the first to create a standardized system of medicine including medical diagnosis, prognosis, and medical ethics. The manner in which the medical practice is carried out today, in terms of diagnosis and sometimes of treatment, is very similar to that of the ancient Greeks. These ancient advancements in medicine were largely instituted by Hippocrates, who is often called the “father of medicine.”

What Did Hippocrates Invent?
Aside from theories and ethics about how physicians should practice medicine, Hippocrates also made direct contributions to the application of medicine. He taught that all ailments had natural causes in a time when people believed that illnesses were punishments from the gods. Some of Hippocrates’ contributions include:

Hippocratic Oath
A Hippocratic Oath is a historical sworn statement by physicians in which they swear by the names of a number of healing gods to uphold specific ethical standards. These include principles such as medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. Below is an excerpt from the full text of the Hippocratic Oath, which remains a rite of passage for some medical graduates.
The Oat starts with these words: “I swear by APOLLO, the physician…….
Apollo is one of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. His father is Zeus in Greek religion. In Biblical Theology, Apollo is one of the Fallen Elohim, a Nephilim.

“There is little doubt a link between Apollyon and Apollo. Let me elaborate:
The name Apollyon is a Greek play on words for “Apollo”.
The Hebrew word Abaddon means “destruction” and in Greek the word “Apollyon” means “Destroyer”.
The fact that Apollyon is used to intentionally call to mind the god Apollo is hinted at throughout Revelation 9. The Anchor Bible Dictionary says the following concerning the link between Apollyon and Apollo:
“In one manuscript, instead of Apollyon the text reads APOLLO, the Greek God of death and pestilence (or plague like the plague of locusts mentioned in Revelation 9).
Apollyon is no doubt the correct reading. The LOCUST was an emblem of this god.”

THE LONG SHADOWS OF HISTORY

John Lennox “Against the Flow”
“A pattern beings to emerge in these first three sections of the second half of the book. First, Daniel records his own experience of the Medo-Persian law that was enacted in an attempt to force him into disobeying the law of his God. Next, he records an earlier vision which he had, of a fierce king in the fourth empire that things to change the times and the law.
Then he sees a further vision; another powerful king from the third empire stops the people of God obeying the law by banning their public ceremony of burnt offering. It is a pattern of deteriorating attitudes to God and his law on the part of pagan kings.”

John Lennox makes this comment:
“In order to consolidate his power in his vast multi-cultural empire Antiochus drove forward the process of Hellenization. Part of that process was to try to create one religion for all – by force if necessary.
He could not tolerate what to him was the narrow-minded exclusivism of Judaism’s devotion to one God, to the rejection of all others. In doing so, he was unconsciously following the path of many emperors before him, including Nebuchadnezzar when he constructed his golden image, and Darius when he proclaimed his edict. As we soon shall see, Antiochus was to go much further.
He shocked the Jews when he encouraged the people of the Mediterranean region to worship him as the Canaanite god, Baal – a nature god that had been decisively rejected by Israel as the idolatrous epitome of all that he stood against.
There were some Jews who accepted the compromise – indeed, welcome it.
They found Greek culture and lifestyle very attractive. It made far fewer moral demands than the law of Moses, for instance, and allowed them to give free rein to their impulses and desires. It also opened up a whole new world of entertainment and sport that had been foreign to them, to say nothing of the intellectual stimulation of the free exchange of ideas, without having to be committed to any particular world view. It was not only some of the ordinary people that welcomed the wave of Hellenization, but a group of leaders led by no less than Jason the high priest, who had abandoned any sense that their Bible (our Old Testament) was a definitive revelation from God.”
“It was a heady taste of freedom. And Antiochus was giving it to them. That concept of freedom is shared by many people today and given as their reason for abandoning God. They say that God is out to stifle them – their self-expression, their creativity, and their flourishing. They want freedom from any authority above that of man, and they think that secular society can deliver it to them. As it is from any today, the Greek ideal in life was the pursuit of the good (happiness); and they laid great emphasis on human reason as the vehicle for achieving it. For them, man was the measure of all things. And, just as there were many Jews who bought into it, today we have a Christianized version.
“A conscience soothing Jesus, with an unscandalous cross,
An otherworldly kingdom, a private, inwardly limited
Spirit, a pocket God, a spiritualized Bible, and an escapist
Church. Its goal is a happy, comfortable, and successful life,
Obtainable through the forgiveness of an abstract sinfulness
By faith in an unhistorical Christ. (Orlando Costas)
In traditional Jewish eyes Greek religion was a complete inversion of all they stood for. Its gods were only mythological (Freudian, we might say)
Projection of human desire, fear, greed, envy and anger. Orthodox Jews believed in revelation – a notion beyond the comprehension of the Greeks – as it is of many moderns.

Daniel was troubled, but he was not fearful. He was disturbed by what he just saw in the vision, but he was not willing to water down the truth revealed to him but wrote it down just as he saw and heard the details of the vision.
We do well to read the word as it speaks to us, not to water down the Revelation given to us by God Almighty. Everything will come to pass just as he said. The shadows of the past are growing stronger by the day.
May during these days God will strengthen your confidence in the Sovereign God who has everything in his hands. God has revealed his plan for the future to us long ago. It will all come to pass no matter what people say, thing, or do. His kingdom will arrive with Jesus Christ in the fullness of time just as the Father said it will. Hallelujah.

THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES

On the eve of his forced exile, Solzhenitsyn published a final message to the Russian people, titled: LIVE NOT BE LIES!
In the essay, Solzhenitsyn CHALLENGED THE CLAIM THAT THE TOTALITARIAN SYSTEM WAS SO POWERFUL THAT THE ORDINARY MAN AND WOMEN CANNOT CHANGE IT.
Nonsense, he said; “The foundation of totalitarianism is an ideology made of lies. The system depends for its existence on a people’s fear of challenging the lies. Our way must be; NEVER KNOWINGLY SUPPORT LIES! You may not have the strength to stand up in public and say what you really believe. You may not be able to overthrow totalitarianism, but you can find within yourself and your community the means to live in the dignity of truth. If we must live under the dictatorship of lies, then our response must be: “LET THEIR RULE HOLD NOT THROUGH ME!” Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Rod Dreher in his book also titled “LIVE NOT BY LIES” writes: “A Soviet émigré who teaches in a university deep in the US heartland stresses the urgency of Americans taking people like here seriously.
“You will not be able to predict what will be held against you tomorrow” she warns. “You have no idea what completely normal thing you do today, or say today, will be used against you to destroy you. This is what the people in the Soviet Union saw. We know how this works.”
On the other hand, my Czech émigré friend advised me not to waste time writing this book.
“People will have to live through it first to understand,” he says cynically. “Any time I try to explain current events and their meaning to my friends or acquaintances, I am met with blank stares or downright nonsense.” Rod Dreher

John Lennox comments:
“According to 2 Thessalonians, the power of the state will be vested in a man who sets himself up against God. Playing God has always been a temptation for powerful leaders.
Thus the fourth beast can be seen as the final manifestation of human rebellion against God. Both 2 Thessalonians and Revelation point out that the man-beast is energized by the dark power of Satan and is a master of deception.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book “THE FOOTSTEPS of the MESSIAH” Writes about the fourth Empire, which he calls “Imperialism”
“Rome fulfilled only the first stage, and it would be wrong to assume that the fourth empire ended when the Roman Empire fell. Hence, one must ask what made the fourth empire, beginning with Rome, different from all the previous empires?
The key difference was in the TYPE OF GOVERNMENT initiated by Rome. When the Babylonians conquered an area, they did not set up Babylonian rulers, but allowed nationals to govern their owned countries. In its conquest of Judah, Babylon first appointed Zedekiah and later Gedaliah as rulers. The Medo-Persians proceeded in the same manner and allowed Jewish governors, such as Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah, to rule the land. The Hellenists worked in the same way. Instead of appointing Greek leaders, they allowed the Jewish high priests to govern the people. Rome, however, began a new system of government called ‘IMPERIALISM’ and this system is what made the fourth empire diverse from all the others. When Rome conquered a nation, Roman consuls were sent in to rule the area (Pontius Pilate, Felix, Festus).
While the Roman Empire initiated this policy of imperialism, it was merely the first of five stages of the fourth empire. Hence, a better name for the fourth empire would be “IMPERIALISM” or, even better, “THE IMPERIALISTIC EMPIRE.”
Both Daniel passages make it clear that the fourth Gentile empire begins with the end of the third and continues until Messiah comes to set up His kingdom. The imperialistic empire is to go through five successive stages and it is now necessary to study the five stages individually to see where history fits in this development.

WAIT UNTIL THE KING ARRIVES

John Lennox makes this observation regarding Daniel’s vision in chapter 7:13-14:
“The imagery conveys a powerful message. The beasts of power politics, however invincible they may sometimes think they are, will not reign forever. A perfect human, the Son of Man, will come with all authority finally to take over from the beasts and rule in perfect justice. The law of the jungle will cease for good. This is really good news. It holds out real and glorious hope to a despairing society.”

James Montgomery Boice in his commentary on Daniel writes:
“The important questions are: How did Jesus interpret this title? What meaning did he give to the figure of the Son of Man in Daniel?
There are several teachings.
He used it to teach his pre-existence.
In John 3:13, just a few verses before John 3:36, Jesus said of himself. “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – The Son of Man.”
I am sure that even the disciples, who were often slow to understand the Lord’s teachings, would have recognized this statement as a reference to Daniel. They would have perceived Jesus to be teaching that he was the same figure seen by the prophet so many years before.
In John 6:62 there is a similar passage. There Jesus asks: “What if you see the son of Man ascend to where he was before!” That is, before he came to earth Jesus was seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. What if he should abandon his work on earth because of human unbelief and return there?
The existence of Jesus is not determined from the date of his incarnation. Our existence is determined from the date of our birth. That is why we celebrate birthdays. Before that we were not; now we are. This is not the case with Jesus Christ. There was a date at which he was born of the Virgin Mary, but this is not the point at which the existence of Jesus started. He existed before that, even before the point at which the prophet Daniel saw him. Being God, he existed from eternity.”

John Lennox
“The only thing that can steady the mind and steel the heart of believers to face all the forces that anti-God brutality can muster, is a steady vision of the One to whom is given all power on earth and in heaven and who will one day return to the planet that rejected him.”

Until the King Arrives, we will proclaim his virgin birth, his life, his death and his resurrection to everyone who is willing to listen. And everyone who believes and follows the Son of Man will one day watch HOW OUR LORD will judge the world in righteousness before he accepts the kingdoms of this earth given as an inheritance to him by His heaven father. What a day that will be.

GOD IS THE ZOOKEEPER

Sinclair Ferguson in his commentary on Daniel writes:
“What we seem to be given in the latter half of Daniel is divine insight into the ultimate significance and implications of the events of history. Here we learn that the events of history are not isolated from events beyond history.
The conflict with the people of God is an expression of an older, deeper, more sinister conflict between the powers of darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12), and the throne of God and His kingdom.”
A little bit later in his commentary Ferguson asked this question:
“If the Lord had simply wanted Daniel to know the facts of history ahead of time, why did He give him such a complex, curious, multi-colored, sense-appealing revelation?
To ask the question is to answer it. God not only revealed facts about history in advance; He revealed Himself to Daniel, impressing on him something of His own awesome and glorious purposes. Miss this and we miss almost everything.”

Let’s see how the visual dominates Daniel’s record:
• “I saw” (verses 2 and 7)
• “I watched” (verses 4, 9 and 11)
• “I looked” (verse 6)
• “I was considering” (verse 8)
• “I was watching” (verses 13 and 21)
• “I was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions troubled me….my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed” (verses 15-18)
The dreams and visions found in the Bible are intended to give an overwhelming impression of the mysteries of God’s PURPOSES and the awful conflict that lies behind and beneath HISTORY.

John Lennox in his book “Against the Flow” writes:
“The beginning of the vision echoes the creation narrative of Genesis, where we read that the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). The Hebrew word for Spirit can be used of breath or wind. But in Daniels vision the wind and the sea are prelude not to making the earth into a home fit for human beings, but to the rise of a sequence of animals representing world empires bent increasingly on destruction.
The animal imagery here is clearly designed to convey a message very different from that projected by the metallic sections of the colossal man…
Just as the variety of metals in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream indicates the differing values of the successive empires, the various animals in Daniel’s dream denote what is probably best described as the relative “animal ferocity” of those empires. The first animal, for instance, is given a human heart. The subsequent animals become increasingly brutal, the fourth being rapacious in the extreme. It has the eyes of human intelligence but shows no trace of human compassion.
The perspective is clear; from one point of view, empires resemble wild animals. But, unlike humans, animals are not inhibited by moral considerations, since animals are not moral beings. Empires tend to behave like that – as amoral power blocs.
The overall impression of the vision is of the dark underbelly of politics; the jockeying for power, with less and less moral qualm, until a sense of humanity and compassion disappears under the ruthless lust for domination.”

John Lennox
“The symbol of a horn is used in the Bible to denote power. The fourth beast’s horn has eyes, symbolizing human insight and intelligence, coupled with brutal animal strength. Notably, it lacks a human heart; it is dreadful, evil, ruthless genius. Many of the worst atrocities that the world has known were and are still committed by highly intelligent people in whose hands are the levers of political power – witness Nazi Germany. It should not escape our attention that one of their main targets was the nation that gave birth to Daniel. Nor should we ignore the fact that the 20th century was the bloodiest in history, with millions perishing to satisfy the animal lust for power in dictatorships of both right and left.
What shall we think, then, when we consider the many faithful believers who have been and are being subjected to every kind of hideous torture and method of killing that powerful, heartless human beasts can devise – and yet God appears to do nothing?” What is the answer to it?

Daniel 7:9-14 (open your own Bible and highlight this passage)
Three scenes followed in rapid succession:
• The first contrasts strongly with the confusion and noise of the opening scene (verse 2). Here, all is calm and orderly in the presence of God. Just like in Revelation 4:6, the sea is as calm as glass in God’s presence and the four creatures are devoted to worship. The heavenly court was assembled, and God sat in judgment of the earthly kingdom.
• The second contrasts strongly with the human kingdoms that are being established with raw beastly power and lawless behavior. God wears a garment white as snow. He never compromises His righteous dealings in establishing his kingdom. The prophet Isaiah said: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for He brings down those who dwell on high. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
• The third contrasts strongly with the lawless and unrighteous justice system of earthly, beastly kingdoms.
In Daniel’s vision the judgment of the divine court will go IN FAVOR OF THE SAINTS OF GOD. Truth will eventually prevail. Righteous judgment will be executed by the righteous judge, God himself.
This final judgment is a cause of joy, and the reason is obvious.

God is the zookeeper and none of the beasts will ESCAPE.

WATCHERS AND INTERLOPERS

What’s the definition of an Interloper?
“An interloper is a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.” “Definitions from Oxford Languages”

Dr. Michael Heiser “Angels”
(What the Bible really says about God’s Heavenly Host)
“Watchers” is the overwhelming choice of term for the fallen sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4 in this later literature; the connection to the Akkadian MASSARE provides a secure basis for understanding the meaning of IR to be “vigilant watchfulness.” This of course, is consistent with being wakeful and a guardian role.

John Lennox in his book quotes Peter Singer, a Princeton bio-ethicist.
“Whatever the future holds, it is likely to prove impossible to restore in full the sanctity-of-life view. The philosophical foundations of this view have been knocked asunder. We can no longer base out ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul. Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species
“Homo Sapiens” endows its life with some unique, almost infinite value?”
“There is no reason to think that a fish suffers less when dying in a net than a fetus suffers during an abortion, hence the argument for not eating fish is much stronger than the argument against abortion. Peter Singer “Rethinking Life and Death”
“The life of a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.” Peter Singer “The Life You Can Save”

UAP’s stands for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. The fact that they are now labeled “phenomena” makes them mor of a reality in the public discourse. But a phenomenon also begs for an explanation, and that’s the story.

Gary Stearman who published the book “Time Travelers” writes:
“Prophecy tells us that men who should know better have welcomed false gods as superior beings. Wall carvings and paintings of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians graphically illustrate the interactions of their “gods” with mankind. Even the Israelites began to worship them, and may do so again. Israel is the model for this for bidden practice, clearly documented in Moses’ concluding work in the Torah:
“They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.” (Deuteronomy 32:16-17)
“God’s indictment of Israel is that in the past, they welcomed into their lives beings whom they regarded as superior. The prophet Daniel says that this will happen again, when Israel welcomes the man whom they believe to be their messiah. He will be backed by alien powers that give him credibility. In all likelihood, these powerful beings will masquerade as ambassadors from other planets. But they will be devils.”
Gary Stearman in his article titled: Alien Technology? (July 2021) writes:
“It is well known that the Roman Catholic Church seems to regard aliens as real corporeal beings from other star systems. It has even gone to the extent of theorizing about whether these aliens would fall under the rule of necessity for redemption through Christ.
In 2010, the director of the Vatical Observatory, the Reverend Jose Gabriel Funes, made the blatant assumption that UFO reports should now be assumed to indicate that our planet is most probably being explored by aliens from elsewhere in the universe! He wonders aloud whether these creatures should be considered as our brothers and sisters in Christ. In 2008 Funes was quoted in the Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano, as saying: “Just like there is an abundance of creatures on earth, there should also be other being seven intelligent ones, that were created by God. That doesn’t contradict our faith, because we cannot put boundaries to God’s creative freedom. As Saint Francis would say, when we consider the earthly creatures to be our ‘brothers and sisters’, why couldn’t we also talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother?’ He would still be a part of creation.”
“The subject of space aliens has exploded from myth, to speculations, to startling reality. Policy institutes and philosophical groups around the world are now preoccupied with the subject of how to successfully integrate humanity with superior creatures from outer space. They reason that since ufonauts are already here, they would certainly be superior in their knowledge of science and technology. Their real question then becomes, are they “good guys”, or “bad guys?” Would they come here as spiritual guides, or would they look at humans as a good meal?”
“It is universally assumed that they will be superior to humans, for the simple reason that they had the technology to come here. We didn’t have the technology to go there. And of course, in the contemporary mind, technology is everything.”

WHEN GOD OPENS BLINDED EYES

Ron Rhodes in his commentary on Daniel writes:
“The word “sign” often carries the idea of a miracle with a message, whereas “wonder” refers to a miracle that evokes amazement. God’s humbling of Nebuchadnezzar would be a miracle with a message. The message being that God is awesomely powerful and great, and the whole episode, including Nebuchadnezzar’s restoration would be amazing.
When Nebuchadnezzar said: “great are his signs,” it was with the recognition that signs always signal something. In this case, God performed miracles (signs) that signaled His identity as the only true God.
God’s miracles are “wonders” because they are amazing, astonishing, and unparalleled.”

Dr. Michael Heiser “Angels”
(What the Bible really says about God’s Heavenly Host)
“Watchers” is the overwhelming choice of term for the fallen sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4 in this later literature; the connection to the Akkadian MASSACRE provides a secure basis for understanding the meaning of IR to be “vigilant watchfulness.” This of course, is consistent with being wakeful and a guardian role.

John Lennox in his book quotes Peter Singer, a Princeton bio-ethicist.
“Whatever the future holds, it is likely to prove impossible to restore in full the sanctity-of-life view. The philosophical foundations of this view have been knocked asunder. We can no longer base out ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul. Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species
“Homo Sapiens” endows its life with some unique, almost infinite value?”
“There is no reason to think that a fish suffers less when dying in a net than a fetus suffers during an abortion, hence the argument for not eating fish is much stronger than the argument against abortion. Peter Singer “Rethinking Life and Death”
“The life of a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.” Peter Singer “The Life You Can Save”

John Lennox comments:
“There have been much speculation about the nature of what afflicted Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. Some have suggested a mental affliction where a person imagines himself to be an ox and behaves like it. Others have suggested a similar mental illness, where the afflicted person believes that he or she is a wolf (a disease that has no doubt fueled stories about werewolves).
Whatever it was, the text of Daniel attributes its onset to the direct intervention of God and emphasizes its behavioral aspect: Nebuchadnezzar began to live like an animal and was eventually driven out from human company.”

IT’S TESTING TIME

John Lennox “Against the Flow”
“In chapter 1 and 3 Daniel draws our attention to two parallel yet opposite trends that he had come to observe during his long life at the pinnacle of power. Even though there is a drive to relativize absolutes, men and women cannot live without them. So they eventually take something of relative value and absolutize it. That is, they regard it as the core value that determines their attitude to everything else. From time immemorial the obvious candidates have been the state, power, wealth, and sex. Daniel chooses here to record an incident regarding the first two of these issues that involves not himself but his three friends.”

John Lennox asks the question:
“Imagine being one of these men and having to explain the situation to your family and friends? It is easy to see how they might try to talk you out of opposing Nebuchadnezzar.”
“We all know that this idolatry is bogus – there is nothing real in it except the emperor wishing us to acknowledge his authority? What does it matter if we outwardly bow down to him? It doesn’t mean that he controls our heads and our hearts. And if good men like you three – men of proven ability and integrity – refuse to bow down and get killed, that will make the situation even worse. You are top people; if you are not there to continue your powerful influence for good at the very highest levels of the state, what hope is there for the rest of us? And think of your wife and your children. What are they going to do if you throw your life away like this – needlessly? No, you must take part in the ceremony like everyone else for our sakes. We need you there in the corridors of power.”

In 1995, Erwin Lutzer published the book “Hitler’s Cross”
“Dein Reich komme”, Hitler prayed publicly – “Thy Kingdom Come”. But to whose kingdom was he referring?
When Germany truly needed a savior, Adolf Hitler falsely stepped in. He directed his countrymen to a cross, but he bent and hammered the true cross into a horrific substitute; a swastika.
Where was the church through all of this? With a few exceptions, the German church looked away while Hitler inflicted his final solution upon the Jews.
It is a chilling historical account of what happens when evil meets a silent, shrinking church, and an intriguing and convicting expose of modern America’s own hidden crosses.”

Chuck Swindoll
“God is sovereign, whether the result is triumph or tragedy. Unfortunately, we have the idea that when we are protected or divinely delivered, then the sovereignty of God is upheld, but when we suffer incredible defeat or loss, then we have to hide our faces and hope nobody asks us what kind of God we serve. Well, the answer is that He is a sovereign God – even when we suffer.
Believing in a sovereign God does not mean that things always turn out our way, and though He tells us that He causes everything to work together for good (Romans 8:28), He doesn’t say that everything IS good. Yet He is sovereign, whether in triumph or tragedy, and we are called to remain His faithful people.

John Lennox comments on this text:
“In a statement of breathtaking courage and confidence in God, they told the emperor that they had taken into consideration the possibility that God might not deliver them. They were not prepared to prescribe what God would do. That was for God to decide. But, no matter whether God delivered them or not, they were not going to bow to the statue. THE ISSUE WAS ONE OF PRINCIPLED MORALTY.
Nebuchadnezzar had never in his life before encountered such studied defiance. As it began to dawn upon him that there was a very real sense in which he was powerless against these men, his anger knew no bounds. Of course he could kill them, but that was not the point. What he could not do was to force them to bow.
Up to now he had thought that human beings would do anything to save their lives. His whole scheme of getting his nobles to bow depended on the assumption that, for each person, life was of absolute value.
To his utter amazement he discovered that this was not always the case.
Even in his own very administration there were men, men of proven ability and high office, who regarded their lives as a relative value compared with the absolute value of God. Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction was a fury of impotent frustration.

Arthur Cochrane in his book “The Church’s Confession Under Hitler” quotes Albert Einstein:
“Being a lover of freedom, when the Nazi revolution came I looked to the devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks.
Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”

Are you willing to disobey the command to worship anyone or anything BUT GOD ALMIGHTY AND HIM ALONE?

IN THE DAYS OF THESE KINGS

Professor and Biblical scholar Leon J. Wood published in 1979 the book titled” THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL”.
“Prophets did not come to office by inheritance, having been born into a prophetic tribe or family; nor was a son of a former prophet automatically made a prophet because he was the son of such a person. Each prophet was selected by God and called to a work God had for him to do.
In this, prophets differed markedly from priests in Israel. Priests did receive their office by inheritance.
One reason why an inheritance relationship was not suitable for the prophets was that each had to be a special kind of person. Not just anyone would do. The priestly office did not find this nearly so true. A weak son could still carry on rather well, for the work was quite routine. And one may expect that there were some mediocre priests, who functioned simply because they had become priests by inheritance.
The prophet, however, did not act by pattern. Even when God gave him instructions as to his work and the course he was to take, that course often carried with it a great challenge.
He had to be prepared for suffering and injustice as well as ease and plaudits. He had always to be an individualist in courage and ingenuity. There was no room for mediocrity.”

John Lennox in his book “Against the Flow” makes this observation:
“The metals are not simple code. They are symbols embodying metaphors that help us to understand some important aspect of the empire they represent.
The metals, with their different relative strengths and values, highlight the fact that empires differ in both relative value and relative strength.
It could not have been easy to get that message across to an emperor like Nebuchadnezzar.
One reason is that the vast majority, if not all, of these rulers regarded themselves as chosen by the gods (in extreme cases, they regarded themselves as gods), so that their rule was by definition the best there could be.
In more recent times many of the power brokers of this world, whether they claimed to believe in the divine or not, have been all too convinced of the absolute nature of their rule, often with horrific consequences for their citizens.”

Historian Herbert Butterfield published in 1957 the book titled:
“Christianity and History”
“There seems to be one fundamental law of a very solemn kind which touches this question of judgment; and when I turn to the ancient prophets and recall the limited area of history they had at their disposal for making inductions, I am always surprised at the curious aptness with which they seem to have found the formula in this connection – a formula which they put in a special position of priority. Judgment in history falls heaviest on those who come to think themselves gods, who fly in the face of Providence and history, who put their trust in man-made systems and worship the work of their own hands, and who say that the strength of their own right arm gave them the victory.”

“Sir, we will always humbly reverence your majesty in public; but since we have this occasion to be with your Majesty in private…we must discharge our duty, or else be traitors both of Christ and you.
Therefore, Sir, at diverse times I have told you, so now again I must tell you. There are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland. There is King James, the Lord of the Commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head.
We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience, but again
I say; You are not the head of the church; you cannot give us that eternal life that we seek for even in this world, and you cannot deprive us of it.” Andrew Melville

GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE NATIONS

Henry Morris published the book “God and the Nations” in 2003
“That God has an eternal purpose in mind for nations as such, and not only for individuals, seems evident from such Scriptures as
Revelation 21:24
‘By it’s light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it’
The context here is the situation in the New Earth, and the Holy City,
New Jerusalem, in particular, in the eternal ages to come.
There will be nations in the New Earth, each with its king, and they will live outside the Holy City, yet apparently have free access into it, with their “glory and honor” to contribute to the service of the King of all kings there in New Jerusalem. These nations will be “Gentile” nations, for the word “nations” (Greek ETHNOS) is actually translated “Gentiles” more often than “nations”.
The nation of Israel, on the other hand, as God’s chosen nation, will occupy a separate position, presumably dwelling only in New Jerusalem. This seems implied by Revelation 21:12, which notes that “the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel’ are inscribed on the 12 gates of New Jerusalem. Israel’s king, of course, will be the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “shall reign over the house of Jacob forever” and “the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
The church is also a “nation”, in a sense, for Christian believers are actually called “a royal priesthood, a holy nation” In 1 Peter 2:9 and are considered as different in a sense from both Jews and Gentiles (1 Corinthians 10:32, which refers to “the Jews…the Gentiles and “the church of God).
At this point, we just want to get a glimpse of God’s future purpose for the nations, because that will help us to understand His past and present dealings with them. When they were first established, and all through history, God was really preparing them for eternity. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).

John Lennox (Against the Flow) 2015
Now, according to the world-views of Babylon’s wise men and the naturalist thinkers of today, there is no God that can reveal the future course of history. By definition, therefore, Daniel could have no special knowledge. He could not know the contents of the dream; all he could do was to guess. The wise men had not dared to guess because they knew that the probability of them getting the answer right was vanishingly small.
They would have stalled forever, if possible, rather than risk getting it wrong. Chance was not on their side. On that view, Daniel was taking a colossal gamble with his life.
If he guessed wrongly, the rage of the emperor would know no bounds,
and death would be swift and terrible.
But Daniel was not guessing. He was not calculating probabilities.
He knew what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed, and within a few seconds Nebuchadnezzar knew that Daniel knew.”

John Lennox makes this observation:
“Perhaps the most important way of understanding this aspect of the image is to be found in the well-known phrase “feet of clay”. That phrase is used of individuals, particularly those of high status, to describe character flaws – particularly hidden faults that could eventually bring about their downfall.
The colossal man that Nebuchadnezzar saw had feet of clay, which alerts us at once to the problem that all system of government have. To varying degrees, all their citizens have feet of clay. That is to say, the fundamental weakness indicated by the image is a weakness in humanity that makes people difficult to govern. It is a weakness to which much thought has been given in politics, and much has been written about in literature. We are all aware of it. The novelist G.K. Chesterton got it exactly right when he reportedly responded to a request in THE TIMES newspaper for answers to the question WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD? Chesterton is believed to have written:
Dear Sir,
I am.
G.K. Chesterton
The problem with humanity is humanity itself.

LIVING IN A LAND OF IDOLS

OBSTACLES DO NOT BLOCK THE PATH – THEY ARE THE PATH (old proverb)

Dr. Michael Heiser in Unseen Realm writes:
“The famous story of the building of the Tower of Babel is about much more than an ill-fated construction project and language confusion. The episode is at the heart of the Old Testament worldview. It was at Babylon where people sought to “make a new (shem) for themselves” by building a tower that reached to the heavens, the realm of the gods. The city is once again cast as the source of sinister activity and knowledge.”

Dr. Michael Heiser (page 113 in Unseen Realm)
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 describes how Yahweh’s dispersal of the nations at Babel resulted in his disinheriting the nations as his people. This is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 1:18-19, a familiar passage wherein God “gave humankind over” to their persistent rebellion. The statement in Deuteronomy 32:9 that “the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage” tips us off that a contrast in affection and ownership is intended. Yahweh in effect decided that the people of the world’s nations were no longer going to be in relationship to him. He would begin anew. He would enter into covenant relationship with a new people that did not yet exist: Israel. The implications of this decision and this passage are crucial to understanding much of what’s in the Old Testament.”

According to Dr. John Lennox
“The Ishtar gate was one of eight fortified gates set in an invincible-looking broad wall that surrounded the city. According to Herodotus the walls were 80 feet thick, 320 feet high and 56 miles long. The vast tower in which the gate was set was covered with brilliantly sparkling ceramic tiles of deep blue, adorned with the alternating motif of white and yellow lions, dragons and yellow bulls. It was very striking; built with a view to impressing all who entered with the power, wealth architectural brilliance and permanence of the Babylonian Empire and above all, the glorious majesty of Emperor
Nebuchadnezzar himself.”
Reconstruction of the Ishtar gate in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. The first part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dedicatory Inscription on the Ishtar Gate reads:
“I let the temple of Esiskursiskur (the highest festival house of Marduk, the Lord of the Gods – a place of joy and celebration for the major and minor gods) be built firm like a mountain in the precinct of Babylon of asphalt and fired bricks.”
The Babylonians were brilliant architects and engineers. Dominating the city skyline was a spectacular tower or ziggurat, called Etemenanki. This name in Sumerian means the House of the Foundations of Heaven and Earth, which immediately reminds us of Babel, the original city that stood on the same site.

John Lennox writes:
“Their Hebrew prophets would have told them that the gods of the Babylonians were idolatrous deifications of the basic powers of nature – sex, aggression, greed, power, wealth, and so on.
But if that were so, how could such a high culture (far superior in many ways to the culture Daniel had left behind) have emerged from such inadequate, unsophisticated and, in their opinion, completely false religious and philosophical ideas? Was it really possible for such commerce, culture, and education to be built on a false philosophy? Or was this yet more evidence that their God was a delusion? There was much to be pondered in their first days of Babylon.”

Dr. Erwin Lutzer in his book “The Church in Babylon” writes:
“The rebellion of Babylon has carried on throughout history. The people of those days sacrificed their children to pagan gods; we sacrifice our unborn children on the altar of convenience. We do not bow down before stone idols; we give wholehearted allegiance to the gods of money, power, and sex. Too often our devotion to God is an “add on”, something done in church once a week.”

Daniel and his friends, no matter what circumstances we may face, we ought to heed the call to be a light IN THE DARKNESS. We want to be strong, courageous, and gracious, but also uncompromising as witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ in a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith. Like Israel in Babylon,
our challenge is to impact the culture without being spiritually destroyed by it. We should never forget, whatever men build, men will destroy. Whatever God builds will last forever because the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Remember, what seems impossible with men is possible with God.