Around the Corner

I. Daniel 9:24-27 is the most precious portion in the book of Daniel; the seventy weeks in these verses are the key to understanding all the prophecies in the Bible–Dan. 7:7, 23-25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14; 13:1; 17:12

This message did not disappoint, it was complex, multifaceted, and to be honest with you (which you know I always am) mind numbing. And, well, I am not a dunce, neither do I cringe away from gathering little nuggets and gems of knowledge that will give me the upper hand in a battle of Bible trivia, but at the moment the ceiling and light fixtures at the training center make more sense to me than the first half of my notes which just look like this:

1. Prophecies reveal Christ. 2. Reveals God’s move on the earth. History-Past move, Prophecy-Future move. 3. Principle: literal interpretation.

1. Rebuilding of the temple. 2. Coming of the Messiah. 3. Seven years at the end of this age. (Tribulation) 4. Antichrist. 5. Millenium (spelling error in original, millennium has two n’s? Should I know that?)

1. The beast, Dan 7, Rev 13. 2. King from the North Dan 11, 8. 3. Continuation of Roman Empire Dan 2. 4. Antichrist Dan 12. 5. Great Tribulation Matt. 24:21. 6. Man-child and the Dragon Rev 12. 7. Seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls Rev 8, 16. 8. Secret rapture and open rapture.

1.Gathering of the Jewish people. 2. Fig tree. 3. Jerusalem trodden under Matt 6:7. 4. Rebuilding of the temple.

The last thirty minutes or so make much more sense, and not only do they make sense, but there was a resonating within my being that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It has to do with one thing, our attitude. Specifically our attitude toward two things, to the age of mystery and to the Lord’s coming.

Within the seventy weeks revealed in Daniel there is a gap of unknown duration known as “the age of mystery.” This gap is not just a way to explain the Lord’s delay, but it is a hidden, secret, mysterious period of time within the physical, outward, human time in which the Lord is doing something that cannot be seen and apprehended physically. All the stuff in my undecipherable notes are physical, literal things available to be seen by all men, but the work the Lord is doing today within His believers has nothing to do with the physical world. Why is this so important? Because we as Christians too often confuse and mix and try to get the two things to fit perfectly together when in reality they are two magnets who cannot coexist in the same realm.

The mustard seed in the book of Matthew grew into a huge tree whereupon the birds of heaven came to roost. This is the church growing roots into the earth and gaining political power and thus losing sight of the fact that we are a heavenly people. We are sojourners on this earth. We shouldn’t be striving and angling for human power. It is not a matter of politics. It is not a matter of getting our earthly human governments to mirror and conform to God’s government. Forget about it! Set your sights somewhere else. Set your eyes on the Lord’s return.

Which brings me to the second part of our attitude. Our attitude regarding the Lord’s coming. From message three and the beginning of this message we can see that the truth of the end times and the Lord’s return has been recovered. If we are diligent, we can enter into this truth, but there is the need for the recovering of the experience of waiting for the Lord’s return.

Waiting. The proper attitude we should have toward the Lord’s return is that of waiting with hopeful expectation. This doesn’t mean we don’t go about our business, of course we go ahead and lead normal human lives, but how is our attitude?

How precious was our brother’s sharing of ME Barber’s attitude. On the last day of the year she prayed with these words to the Lord:

“Lord, there’s no need to wait until next year, there’s still time for You to return this year.”¬†And as she came to a bend in the road she said, “maybe He will be around the corner.”

May we follow in our sister’s shoes and have the attitude that even at 11:59 on December 31, 2012 we would hope and expect that He be just around the corner.

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Faithful

Picture this:

A great human image with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, abdomen and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

Do you see it?

It seems easy enough to interpret: four sections of the image, each corresponding to four empires which in the sight of God are the totality of all human government from Genesis chapter 10 until the end of the age. This very concise and in some ways rather simple picture is actually the controlling vision in the book of Daniel. This thought was mind-boggling to me. Maybe because (as you will see in my next post) the complexity of some of the other visions and prophecies in the Bible are so complex and multifaceted that they seem that much more…I don’t want to say valuable, but you get my drift. But why is this vision the controlling vision?

This is the controlling vision in the book of Daniel because this vision reveals the destiny of human government and reveals what will happen in the last days. If we receive this vision, if we really see it, we will be clear as to where we are at right now and we will realize that the time is short. If we see this vision we will be infused with the desire to respond to the Lord’s words at the end of Revelation: “Amen, come Lord Jesus!”

So, what is the destiny of the great human image (human government) unveiled to us in this vision? Its destiny is to be crushed by the stone cut out without hands. This stone, the overcoming Christ with His overcoming bridal army comes to crush the image at its toes following which the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold are crushed all at once and become like chaff from the summer threshing floors. But you want to know something, that’s not the end, that corporate smiting stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth. Key word: FILLS.

This is what will happen, Christ will fill the whole earth; His kingdom will come and will fill the whole earth forever.

This all begins today. Today. That is all we have, so we must take advantage of every “today” the Lord gives us to open to the Lord so that He would come and make His home in our hearts to fill us. The Lord desires to fill the whole earth, but He must start with filling us. So, today, take the time to be infused, to be saturated, to be permeated, to be filled! This happens through our¬†loving the Lord with our first and best love, and our loving His appearing. If we are those loving His appearing we will remain faithful to the end.

Faithful. The outstanding characteristic of an overcomer: faithfulness.

If we see this controlling vision, if within us there is the proper response to this vision, we will be welcomed by the Lord with these words:

Well done, good and faithful slave.”

Amen, Lord fill us. Amen, Lord make us faithful. Amen, come Lord Jesus!

Man of Preciousness

Daniel lived at a time when God was moving to turn the age. The age when the children of Israel were to return from their captivity to the land of Immanuel to rebuild the temple and the city.

However, God would not do this alone, He needed someone through whom His divine will could be carried out. Today, like in Daniel’s time, God is moving to change the age. The Body must be built, the Bride prepared, the Army readied. This is not done by building “churches” on every corner or lobbying for the NRA; rather it can only be done through men of preciousness, men fully, wholly, absolutely open to God, joined to God through His word, and separated from the world. Men of prayer, having an excellent spirit, fearing God, honoring God, exalting God, and living under God’s rule in the reality of the kingdom of the heavens.

Daniel was such a man. When the heavenly messenger visited Daniel twice he called him a man of preciousness even telling him that he was preciousness itself. Why was Daniel referred to as such? Daniel was precious to God because he had dispensational value. He was fully under God’s authority, he was a self-sacrificing person with a spirit of martyrdom. With such a person, God could do whatever He wanted.

What an amazing person Daniel was. I have to admit, he and I…well…we may be sprouts from the same Father, but..oh Lord, what I shame I am. Not consecrated, not separated, thankless, unprayerful, closed, rebellious, complicated, and above all selfish and self-centered.

And probably, looking at myself, looking at the standard, I could have given up before bothering to get started if not for roman numeral III in the outline:

Daniel joined himself to God’s desire through God’s Word–Dan. 9:1-4; Deut. 17:18-20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 6:17-18; Psa. 119:11, 24.

To be a man of preciousness, we must be constituted with the One who is Precious. This One, this precious Christ is found in the Word. I absolutely loved the utterance in the outline, the Word is the “condensation of God’s light.” From it we receive the life supply and the divine watering. Through it we are washed, sanctified, renewed, transformed, and conformed to be the duplication of Christ.

Saints, forget everything else, just muse (taste and enjoy through careful considering) upon the Word. Exercise to pray over and with God’s Word to receive the life to be made into preciousness itself.

Study Questions

Message One:

1. What does the book of Daniel reveal concerning the rule of the heavens, and how is God’s heavenly rule related to the divine economy, especially to God’s goal in His economy?

2. What does it mean to enter into the realm of God’s economy, why is it necessary for us in the Lord’s recovery to live in the realm of God’s economy, and what is revealed in Daniel regarding God’s economy, especially concerning the person and work of Christ?

3. Prey-read Daniel 10:5-6, PSRP IV. A. 1-7, and prepare a prophecy in which you present an inspiring view of one aspect of the excellent Christ in Daniel 10 that is especially precious to you.

4. What is God’s intention in His economy regarding the preeminence of Christ, what is necessary for this intention to be carried our, and, according to your contact with the Lord and fellowship with Him in spirit, how will you cooperate with God’s operation under His heavenly rule to give Christ the preeminence in your personal universe?

 

Message Two:

1. How can we follow Daniel’s pattern to be those who turn the age and be those who are absolutely consecrated to God and separated unto God from an age that follows Satan?

2. How can we follow Daniel’s pattern in joining ourselves to God’s desire through His Word?

3. How can we follow Daniel’s pattern to be men of prayer and self-sacrificing persons with a spirit of martyrdom?

 

Message Three:

1. How is the vision of the great image a vision of “what will happen in the last days”?

2. In what ways is the vision of the great image the controlling vision in the book of Daniel?

3. What is the significance of the stone cut out without hands, and how does it become a corporate smiting stone to crush the great image and become a great mountain to fill the whole earth?

4. What should our attitude be in the light of this vision?

 

Message Four:

1. What are the crucial items in the prophesy of Daniel’s seventy weeks?

2. Describe the main characteristics of the age of mystery.

3. Describe the proper attitude toward the end of the this age and Christ’s second coming.

Torches of Fire

Until you come to know that the heavens do rule. Daniel 4:26

Maybe we look around us, at the world situation, at the terrible tragedies and calamities that rock the world of men, even at our own frustrating, unhappy situation and we blame God, disrespect Him, avoid Him, ignore Him, or worst of all question Him: What are You doing!?!

Oh Lord, save us! Have mercy on us!

Saints, we need to see a vision of the throne of God as the center of God’s administration. We need to see that in fact the heavens do rule. Then we can live a life safeguarded under the throne and in the Body. Which doesn’t mean that the outward situation will change, but our inner being will change and we will be like the overcoming Daniel, able to pray for and be joined to God’s economy. We will be able to cooperate with the Lord for His move today. We will enter into the realm of God’s economy.

In the realm of God’s economy, the excellent Christ is the centrality and universality. He is the precious and preeminent One and we are His little sprouts, germinated through the resurrection of Christ with the life-giving Spirit.

This was who Daniel was. He was a man with an excellent spirit; one whose life was wholly for God and for His move. Even though we first meet Daniel when he is just a youngster in Babylon, we don’t know much about his life outside of his part in God’s move. Did he marry the wife of his youth? Did he have children, grandchildren, a happily ever after? Maybe he did, but what is recorded for posterity is his relationship to God’s move. This saints is true of all those whose lives we see in the Bible, and this is true for us. What is the meaning of our human life, Christian life? Outside of God’s economy our days are vanity. What matters are the days we live in the divine dispensing.

Oh Lord! What a failure! How easily my heart is drawn away by other things. How easily my environment consumes me.

Child! Lift up your eyes and see the excellent Christ! The precious, preeminent One whose eyes are like torches of fire. The Christ Daniel saw appeared to him in His enlightening sight for searching and judging. Maybe this seems a little scary, torches of fire for searching and judging. Who likes to be burned and judged? I surely don’t because when I look at myself I am found wanting. But what a precious Christ! His judging is not like our introspection; His judging exposes all the dross within us, all that does not match His economy and He burns it away. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL!!! All that He burns away He replaces with Himself.

He exposes, burns, replaces. Exposes, burns, replaces. Exposes, burns, replaces, until one day we can declare:

Whom do I have in heaven but You? And beside You there is nothing I desire on earth.

Our allowing the Lord to do this in us, to give Christ the first place is our giving the Lord our cooperation so that He would gain His Body that becomes the Bride that is the fighting Army, that brings in the image-crushing Stone that becomes the great Mountain to fill the whole earth.

Oh Lord! Do this in us!

And what’s the best part? The privilege to stand before the judgement seat and hear the words:

You enabled me to do whatever I wanted.

Extremes

No, Never, None, Not, Always, Every, Entirely, Only, Just, All, Must.

Absolute words. Black-White words that allow for no exceptions, no gray, middle area. I have to tell you, I like those words. I like them because they are clear, honest, straightforward. I guess, well…I have to admit it, I am a person of extremes.

I am beginning to realize it seems to be human nature. We grab on to one idea, one concept, one belief and it seems from then on we have blinders on and it takes the shattering of heaven and earth (or at least our own world) before we are willing to concede that, jeez, maybe there’s another side to the story.

Everything around us, however, is balanced. Look at your body, it is balanced, is it not? Can you imagine what life would be like if we were beings with only one eye, one nostril, one row of teeth, one arm, one leg? Maybe we’d have evolved differently, so maybe it’d be alright, but seriously, life is much better when it is balanced, work/play, awake/sleep, day/night, etc.

Well, let me get to the point. It comes from message 3 of the Conclusion of New Testament. God is a balanced God. Many Bible extremists take certain ideas or concepts from the Bible and become like a crash of rhinos trampling not only mankind but also the truths within the word of God and even God Himself. Naysayers will sometimes point out contradictions in the word to attempt to negate its validity and authority. But, the Bible and God is properly balanced even in His person.

What do I mean? God is Triune. Meaning God is both three and one, one and three. This is a prevailing truth within the Bible. It has happened throughout the ages and continues to happen today that either truth can be pushed too far. We however, need to be balanced Christians, holding to the truth of the Bible in simplicity and humility whether or not something makes sense conceptually. God is One. God is also three. God is Triune.

So, why? God is not Triune so that we could understand Him and enter into theological debates, God is Triune so that we can enjoy Him. God is Triune for the divine dispensing.

It’s a matter of dispensing

It is the number one most read book in the world. It has been translated into just about every imaginable language. It has been read throughout the ages by those barely literate, by great kings and queens, and by the scholarly. It has been read by millions of people from all walks of life, all faiths, and all manner of opinions, thoughts, and agendas. People have misquoted it, misapplied it, and quoted it out of context. People have cut it up into parts, broken it down into layman terms, dissected it, and argued over it until they are blue in the face.

Well, tell me, it may be debatably the greatest book ever written but it is a book nonetheless, so, what is the whole point of it? What is its main subject and what is the main story line? We may not know or agree on the Author or the authors, but it has been put together and there must be an order to its madness.

So, this morning I read Message One of the The Conclusion of the New Testament and it was all so very clear to me, it’s a matter of dispensing.

First God created man, a vessel, a being in His image and likeness with thoughts and feelings and emotions, with needs and wants and the desire for fulfillment and above all a desire for life, to live. This vessel was placed in front of the tree of life and told to eat.

And things happened, God was thwarted, man was foiled, but all the seeds were sown and if you have ever seen those tiny weeds breaking through the concrete sidewalks you know, life may be thwarted but in the end it finds a way to break through all the barriers.

God’s all-conquering, barrier-breaker is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is just God Himself incarnated to be a man not to redeem us and then attempt to make us good people and one day take us to heaven to play on harps. But He is God incarnated to be a man, live on the earth, be crucified, die, resurrect, ascend, and descend for dispensing.

God’s desire has been and continues to be to dispense His life into man for the mutual fulfillment of God and man. It’s there, in The Book. Open your mind, open your heart, read it! And you will see that only in God can you find life and only through God’s life can your life find its fulfillment.