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Archive for June, 2009

POD – Psalm 66

Psalm 66

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For the Chief Musician. A song. A Psalm.

66:1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

66:2 Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise!

66:3 Tell God, “How awesome are your deeds! Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you.

66:4 All the earth will worship you, and will sing to you; they will sing to your name.”

Selah.

66:5 Come, and see God’s deeds- awesome work on behalf of the children of men.

66:6 He turned the sea into dry land. They went through the river on foot. There, we rejoiced in him.

66:7 He rules by his might forever. His eyes watch the nations. Don’t let the rebellious rise up against him.

Selah.

66:8 Praise our God, you peoples! Make the sound of his praise heard,

66:9 who preserves our life among the living, and doesn’t allow our feet to be moved.

66:10 For you, God, have tested us. You have refined us, as silver is refined.

66:11 You brought us into prison. You laid a burden on our backs.

66:12 You allowed men to ride over our heads. We went through fire and through water, but you brought us to the place of abundance.

66:13 I will come into your temple with burnt offerings. I will pay my vows to you,

66:14 which my lips promised, and my mouth spoke, when I was in distress.

66:15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fat animals, with the offering of rams, I will offer bulls with goats.

Selah.

66:16 Come, and hear, all you who fear God. I will declare what he has done for my soul.

66:17 I cried to him with my mouth. He was extolled with my tongue.

66:18 If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord wouldn’t have listened.

66:19 But most certainly, God has listened. He has heard the voice of my prayer.

66:20 Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor his loving kindness from me.

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POD – Psalm 66

Psalm 66

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

For the Chief Musician. A song. A Psalm.

66:1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

66:2 Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise!

66:3 Tell God, “How awesome are your deeds! Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you.

66:4 All the earth will worship you, and will sing to you; they will sing to your name.”

(more…)

A Christians’ Commitment Matthew 7v21-29

A Christians’ Commitment

Matthew 7:21-29

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Matthew 7v21-29 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell-and great was its fall.”

It happened, when Jesus had finished saying these things, that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.

A Radical Choice

Up until now, Jesus has been issuing instructions. It is here, therefore, that He issues the 2 choices we face when having heard His words~ He concludes his sermon with a heart-wrenching application. Last week we heard about false prophets, and this week false professors, from unsound teachers to unsound hearers. Jesus confronts us with himself, sets before us the choice between obeying his words and disobeying them. He then proceeds to call us to firm commitment of mind, will & life to himself and his teaching. In v21-23, he warns us of mere spoken profession, and in vs. 24-27 of a mere intellectual knowledge without any practical knowledge. Each one of these, is a substitute for the obedience that Jesus asks for.

These final two passages, are very similar. Both contrast the right & wrong responses to Jesus & his teaching. Both show a definite decision must be made; and that nothing replaces an active, practical obedience. The only difference between the passages, is that the first is to people who only say they are Christians and the second is to people who only have an intellectual acceptance of Jesus and his teachings.

1. The danger of a merely spoken profession (v21-23)

The people that Jesus refers to here, are those that say they belong to Him, but in practice do nothing to change their lives in accordance to his teachings. V21 States that not all who say to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Our final destiny will be settled, Jesus says, neither by what we say to him either today nor on the last day, but whether we practice what he teaches and obey him. It is true, however, that we are to speak about Jesus and his teachings. In Romans 10,9-10, Paul wrote that we have to confess with our lips and believe in our hearts. A true profession of Jesus is impossible without the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). Is there anything wrong with calling Jesus Lord? In itself, no. However, if there is no moral & practical application, then it is merely lip service and is worth nothing. To that group of people, who do not talk with truth, and profess Jesus without reality, will not be saved. People who only live a verbal confession of Christ can be full of courtesy, enthusiasm, and orthodoxy in private worship and public ministry and yet live without any of the moral teaching of Christ. Look at the list given prophecy, casting out demons and doing mighty works in His name. Yet, if they do not do the will of the Father, and obey & do the teachings of Jesus, then they too will be told to depart from Jesus. These 3 areas of ministry, prophecy, exorcism and miracles are the most extreme examples of verbal professions, and yet if these people do not obey Jesus then they will cast from the presence of Jesus. Jesus is not just for their lips, but for their lives as well. Jesus is not just for us to say we follow Him, and not do as He asks, i.e. pay lip service. It is for us to say we follow Jesus and to do as he has commanded us to do. The difference is between saying we do it and actually doing it. People who pay lip service to God, may claim to do mighty works in ministry, but in everyday behaviour the works done are not good, but evil. We who claim to be the followers of Jesus, have made professions of Christ in our private conversations and publicly in our baptism. We appear to honour Jesus by referring to him as “the Lord”, or “our Lord”. We say the Lord’s prayer in church, and sing songs expressing our love to Jesus. We may even teach in the name of Jesus, of mention & use his name in other areas of ministry in the church. Jesus, however is not impressed by our words, but wants us to do as He has commanded us to do. To be committed to Jesus, is to do the will of the Father. He asks for evidence of our sincerity in good works of obedience.

2. The danger of a merely intellectual knowledge (v 24-27)

Where the contrast in the last passage was between “saying” and “doing”, the contrast is now between “hearing” and “doing”. On one hand Jesus says that there is this person who hears these words of mine and does them (V24) , and on the other the person who hears these words of mine and does not do them (V26). To give us a clearer idea, of what the contrasts are he tells a parable (well known to us) about two builders. The man, who built & constructed his house on deeply dug rock is, according to Jesus, wise. Yet, the man who built his house on sand without laying a solid foundation is, according to Jesus, foolish. As both were building, anyone passing by probably would not have noticed any difference between them, because the difference was their foundations, and foundations cannot be seen. Only after a storm, floods and high winds, was 1he basic and fatal difference able to be seen. For the house that was built on rock, remained standing, whereas the house built upon sand was destroyed forever.

In the same way, people who say they are Christians often look the same, whether they are genuine or fake.

It is hard to tell. Both appear to be building solid Christian lives. For Jesus is not comparing professing Christians with non-Christians. What is common to both spiritual house-builders is that they hear these words of mine. So both are members of the Christian church. Both read the bible, go to church, listen to sermons and read Christian books. The reason why we cannot tell the difference between them, is that the foundations are buried deep and are invisible to us. Too question is not whether they hear the word of Jesus, but whether they do the word of Jesus. Only a storm can show the truth. A storm of crisis or trouble shows what kind of person we really are. How do we face up to the everyday trials of life? Do we hold up to the values expressed in the Sermon on the Mount, or do we just act like we used to do before we became Christians.

3. What is our response?

The truth that Jesus would have us learn from these two passages, is that a mere intellectual knowledge or verbal acknowledgement can substitute for obedience to his word. The question is not whether we say nice, polite, enthusiastic things to or about Jesus; nor whether we hear his words, listening, studying, pondering and memorising until our minds are stuffed full of his teaching; but whether we do what we say and do what we know to be truth. In other words, is the lordship of Jesus a reality in our life.

However, this is not teaching that salvation comes through good works or good deeds. No. No. Nor is it the way to enter the kingdom of heaven, by good works of obedience, because the whole New Testament offers salvation through the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone. Here Jesus stresses that those who truly hear the gospel and profess faith in him will obey him, and therefore expressing their faith by their works. It is in applying this teaching to our lives, that we can consider the reading of the Bible and belonging to the world-wide church. For if we do both of these things, then we have a serious responsibility to ensure that what we know, and what we say is translated into what we do, and how we live.

Jesus places before us radical and life changing choices,. He commands us to be real followers of Himself, joining a new culture; the Christian culture; and abandoning the old culture of the world. He repeatedly called his followers to be different from the world. We are to be salt & light, in a bland and dark world. The world is like food that is rotting, full of bacteria causing it to decay rapidly. As the followers of Jesus, we are to be salt, stopping its decay. The world lives in darkness, a gloomy, dank & shadowy place. Christians are called to be light, throwing out the darkness & gloom.

Then Jesus moves on to more specific areas. Our righteousness is to be so deep that it reaches our hearts, and our love is to be so wide as to cover everyone including our enemies. Our giving, prayers and fasting are not to be as the Pharisees were in boasting, but rather to be real, and in secret to as not to compromise our Christian integrity. For our treasure we are to choose what lasts through all eternity, not that which rots away here on earth. We are to have as our master, God, and not money or possessions. Our ambitions should not be our own material security, but the spread of God’s rule & righteousness in the world.

It is clear throughout the Sermon on the Mount that we are called to imitate our heavenly Father. He is a peacemaker, and loves even the ungrateful and selfish. We are commanded to do the same, copying him and not the men of the world. Then we show to the world, and to God, that we are truly his sons & daughters (Matthew 5:9,44-48). We are offered the choice, either to follow the crowd in the world or to follow our Father in heaven. We are given the choice of being ruled by the opinions of the world or being mastered by God’s word. Jesus draws out for us, only two ways: we are either for him or against him. There is no standing with a foot in either side. We have two ways to go, a narrow or broad gate, and two foundations we can build, either on rock or on sand. The narrow gate built on rock, is the path to life, while the broad gate built on sand leads to death, decay and destruction. The answer to these choices is important and certainly much more important than our careers or marriage partner. Which road shall we travel on, and which foundation shall we build our house on? Those who decide for Jesus, choose the narrow gate, and a firm foundation in Jesus. Which ones will we choose?

4. Jesus the Great Teacher

Many people from all different religions are quite ready to accept the Sermon on the Mount as containing wonderful truths. They know that it contains phrases such as ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,’ ‘Love your enemies,’ ‘Judge not, so that you may not be judged’ and ‘Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them’. These sayings, they say, show Jesus as a great moral teacher. However, they are not prepared to acknowledge that He is God and has authority. Yet, what hit the first hearers of this sermon was Jesus’ authority (v29), and it drove them to be astonished by him and his teaching. If we read it, we too should be astonished by the teaching. Just like in first century Israel, the Sermon on the Mount goes against everything we are taught through our family, schools & culture. If Jesus therefore has the authority, we should not only listen & read it, but also do it. Jesus laid down the law of God. He expects people to build the house of their lives on his words, and adds that only those who do so are wise and will be safe. He says that he has come to fulfil the law and the prophets. He is both the Lord to be obeyed, and the Saviour to give blessing and salvation. He places himself in the judgement seat. He speaks of God as his Father in a unique sense, and implies that what he does, God does and that what people do to him they are also doing to God.

Go be different from those around you

The claims of Jesus were spoken so naturally, modestly and indirectly that many people never even notice them. But they are there, and we cannot ignore them. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, we have seen the Jesus is teacher, the Christ, the Lord, the Saviour, the Judge, the Son of God and also God.. Either all these things are true, or he was a power seeking maniac suffering with insanity. But the Sermon on the Mount could never be the product of someone who was either insane or a seeker of power, because it would go against what was taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Our only alternative then, is to take Jesus at his word, and his claims for all that they are worth. The Sermon on the Mount contains the picture for God’s alternative society, with the standards, values and priorities of the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man. Too often throughout history, the church has conformed to the pattern set by the world, and ignored the pattern required by God and by Jesus. Sometimes, there is no difference, with the Church having lost its saltiness, and its light put out.

It is only as we the church, live the truths in the Sermon of the Mount that a true Christian community will be attractive to those outside in the world, and let God be glorified. Jesus therefore, when he calls us, calls us to be the unique Christian culture in a world full of lost culture.

So here is a challenge for you. Are you, as a Christian heeding Jesus’ words and being obedient to them and therefore living a life worthy of being called Christian? Are you being salt and light amidst those who are in darkness and in a lost culture?

Finally, if you would not call yourself a Christian today, and this Jesus appeals to you, this Jesus who speaks with authority, and you want to become a Christian there are three simple steps to follow. Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and His ways. Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus. Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done. Lastly, confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Once sin has been confessed, and Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour, then you are a Christian. Now you are ready as Peter writes in the Bible, “to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Welcome to the family of God. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and has put His mark within you through His Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-13).

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POD – Psalm 65

Psalm 65

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For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David. A song.

65:1 Praise waits for you, God, in Zion.
To you shall vows be performed.

65:2 You who hear prayer,
to you all men will come.

65:3 Sins overwhelmed me,
but you atoned for our transgressions.

65:4 Blessed is one whom you choose, and cause to come near,
that he may live in your courts.
We will be filled with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

65:5 By awesome deeds of righteousness, you answer us,
God of our salvation.
You who are the hope of all the ends of the earth,
of those who are far away on the sea;

65:6 Who by his power forms the mountains,
having armed yourself with strength;

65:7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.

65:8 They also who dwell in faraway places are afraid at your wonders.
You call the morning’s dawn and the evening with songs of joy.

65:9 You visit the earth, and water it.
You greatly enrich it.
The river of God is full of water.
You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.

65:10 You drench its furrows.
You level its ridges.
You soften it with showers.
You bless it with a crop.

65:11 You crown the year with your bounty.
Your carts overflow with abundance.

65:12 The wilderness grasslands overflow.
The hills are clothed with gladness.

65:13 The pastures are covered with flocks.
The valleys also are clothed with grain.
They shout for joy!
They also sing.

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Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities. Thank you

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POD – Psalm 65

Psalm 65

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David. A song.

65:1 Praise waits for you, God, in Zion.
To you shall vows be performed.

65:2 You who hear prayer,
to you all men will come.

65:3 Sins overwhelmed me,
but you atoned for our transgressions.

65:4 Blessed is one whom you choose, and cause to come near,
that he may live in your courts.
We will be filled with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

65:5 By awesome deeds of righteousness, you answer us,
God of our salvation.
You who are the hope of all the ends of the earth,
of those who are far away on the sea;

65:6 Who by his power forms the mountains,
having armed yourself with strength;

65:7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.

65:8 They also who dwell in faraway places are afraid at your wonders.
You call the morning’s dawn and the evening with songs of joy.

65:9 You visit the earth, and water it.
You greatly enrich it.
The river of God is full of water.
You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.

65:10 You drench its furrows.
You level its ridges.
You soften it with showers.
You bless it with a crop.

65:11 You crown the year with your bounty.
Your carts overflow with abundance.

65:12 The wilderness grasslands overflow.
The hills are clothed with gladness.

65:13 The pastures are covered with flocks.
The valleys also are clothed with grain.
They shout for joy!
They also sing.

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Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities. Thank you

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Daniel 8 – Worlds In Conflict

ASIF Bible Study 3rd November 1993

Daniel 8 – Worlds In Conflict

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We come tonight to a very interesting passage of Scripture. From Chapter 2 to 7, we have had a wide angled panoramic view, and now from Chapter 8 to 12 we zoom in on specific areas which were previously covered in Chapters 2 to 7. In Chapter 7, we have seen that the prophet Daniel had a dream of 4 animals, which were a winged lion, a bear, a winged leopard and a beast. So let us read together Daniel 8.

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, even to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. I saw in the vision; now it was so, that when I saw, I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision, and I was by the river Ulai. Then I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; and no animals could stand before him, neither was there any who could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and magnified himself. As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west over the surface of the whole earth, and didn’t touch the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. He came to the ram that had the two horns, which I saw standing before the river, and ran on him in the fury of his power. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with anger against him, and struck the ram, and broke his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him; but he cast him down to the ground, and trampled on him; and there was none who could deliver the ram out of his hand. The male goat magnified himself exceedingly: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and instead of it there came up four notable horns toward the four winds of the sky. Out of one of them came forth a little horn, which grew exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the army of the sky; and some of the army and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled on them. Yes, it magnified itself, even to the prince of the army; and it took away from him the continual burnt offering, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. The army was given over to it together with the continual burnt offering through disobedience; and it cast down truth to the ground, and it did its pleasure and prospered. Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who spoke, How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt offering, and the disobedience that makes desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the army to be trodden under foot? He said to me, To two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. It happened, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was frightened, and fell on my face: but he said to me, Understand, son of man; for the vision belongs to the time of the end. Now as he was speaking with me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright. He said, Behold, I will make you know what shall be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongs to the appointed time of the end. The ram which you saw, that had the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. The rough male goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. As for that which was broken, in the place where four stood up, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with his power. In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have come to the full, a king of fierce face, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and do his pleasure; and he shall destroy the mighty ones and the holy people. Through his policy he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and in their security shall he destroy many: he shall also stand up against the prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true: but seal up the vision; for it belongs to many days to come. I, Daniel, fainted, and was sick certain days; then I rose up, and did the king’s business: and I wondered at the vision, but none understood it.

This is the Word of the Lord, let us be Thankful to God for it.

Father as we come to look at this part of your Written Word the Bible, speak through me so that You alone will be honoured and glorified. I pray and that we may leave here knowing we have met with you and heard from you. Amen.

Here in Chapter 8, we look at the bear, which here is described as a ram, and a winged leopard that is described as a goat. Unlike his previous two visions which occurred at night, this one occurs during the day. Daniel was transported in the Spirit to Susa, a major city of the Babylon & Persian empires. He sat down beside the Ulai canal, nine hundred feet wide and connected two large rivers so that boats could easily pass from one to the other. Spiritually seated by the river, he lifted up his eyes. He saw a ram, a male sheep, that had two horns, and as he watched, one of its horns became larger than the other. We can be in no doubt that this ram is symbolic of the Medo-Persian Empire, because it is told to us in verse 20. The horn that grew large was the Persian empire, which gradually took over from the Medes. The king of Persia also carried the image of a ram in front of him whenever he went into battle. It is natural for rams to be aggressive and to butt. The ram here goes in every direction, but east. Historically we know that the Medo-Persian empire did not gain much territory to the East. Suddenly – the dream changes. Coming in from the West, races a male goat that is travelling so fast that its feet do not touch the ground. Verse 21 tells us that this is the Greek Empire, and the horn is its ‘first king’ Alexander the Great. In actual fact he named one of his sons, Alexander Goat. The feet not touching the ground signified the speed with which Alexander won battles over a vast area from Africa to India. The goat in verse 6 collides with the ram, breaks the rams’ horns and humiliates it, crushing and destroying it. This reflects how the Medo-Persian Empire fell to the Greeks.

Then we read that the goat, at the height of its power, was broken by the unseen hand of God. Alexander the Great became inflated with pride at the speed and number of battle victories, but his arrogance was short lived and he died at the age of 32. The goat, Alexander, was replaced by 4 horns. These historically are – Macedonia under Cassander; Thrace and Asia Minor under Lysimachus; Syria under Seleucus; and Egypt under Ptolemy. Again, history has followed what Scripture said would happen.

In verse 9, Daniel notices that ‘Out of one of them came a little horn.’ From a small beginning it grew to great power, and its power stretched south and east, and then into the ‘Beautiful Land’ of Canaan. There is no doubt that this refers to that horrible man of history, Antiochus Epiphanes. He, as predicted, came from the Seleucid section and took Egypt with an immense army, following that by taking Elymais and Armenia. Then he invaded Canaan. This man, the little horn referred to, arose as the great persecutor of God’s people. There were 5 main things that we learn about his rule from this passage –

1. v10/24 No justice. He persecuted the Jews. Stars being either leading Jews or authorities.

2. v11/12a No righteousness. He exalted himself higher than the Prince of Peace, and blasphemed God by holding idolatrous sacrifices in the temple.

3. v12b/25 No truth. He attacked truth consistently and practised deception. He would often wait until he had someone’s trust before turning upon them.

4. v12b No peace. Evil prospered

5. v25 No mercy. He was struck down by the invisible hand of God. It is documented that he fell ill in a small town in Egypt, and while on his sick bed, wrote to the Jews saying that he himself would become a Jew if only God would save him. God showed him no mercy, for the evil that he had performed on God’s people and the attacks upon God Himself.

In verse 14, we are told that it would last about 2300 evenings and mornings until the sanctuary will be made holy again. Some scholars say that this is about 6.25 years. Antiochus Epiphanes rule lasted from 171 to 165 BC. Other teachers say that this is about 3.5 years. The temple was used for heathen sacrifice for the last 3.5 years of Antiochus Epiphanes life. The end of time referred to in verses 17 – 19, could refer to 2 things. Firstly, it could refer to the end of Antiochus Epiphanes reign of terror over the Jews, when the Jews could expect the Messiah to come and end God’s indignation with the Jews. Secondly, it could mean the period of the Gentiles, which is from Nebuchadnezzar’s reign to the 2nd coming of Jesus. Whichever theory is correct, there are still applications that apply to our lives today.

Firstly, rampant evil and not peace will rule on earth until Jesus comes again. We look around the world and we see conflicts and wars everywhere – Iraq, Afghanistan, throughout Africa & Asia. There will be always people like Antiochus Epiphanes. People like Hitler and the slaughter of the Jews in the 1930’s & 1940’s; or Idi Amin in Uganda; or Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge in Cambodia/Kampuchea; Stalin and the former USSR Communist bloc; Ceacescu and Romania. The submission to the state or government of all citizens, being forced to accept government decrees. There will also always be the limitation of freedom to worship. I can still see the remains in the mass graves in the destruction of Cambodia coming from my television screen, where even to think any kind of individual thought was suppressed and all books were destroyed. Or the pictures of the desecration of the millions of Jews during the 2nd World War. Or how about the persecution of religious peoples under the regimes in China, Romania and the former USSR. And here in England, or the USA or even Australia, the threats to us and our Christianity are probably more subtle. We see the media laughing at people like Cliff Richard, Billy Graham and other well-known Christians, whenever they are in the spotlight. In many countries around the globe, where Christianity is illegal, suppressed or forced to fit into the confines of Government thinking.

The attacks upon us here in the West are not so direct, but much more subtle. Frogs, when placed in a pot of cold water do not feel the subtle rise in the water temperature when the pot is placed on a stove with a low heat. Let us not be frogs. One day we are going to be attacked because we are Christians, and to think otherwise is clearly unbiblical.

Secondly, what do we do when it comes. It is natural for us when persecution hits us to ask why, but our reaction should probably be like the 2nd angel and ask “How long?” We shouldn’t be surprised when persecution comes to us, and be like the Romanians who also asked, not why, but How long?

Thirdly, notice that the people who commit such atrocities, and are great powers here on earth, are described as ‘little horns’ and are just that, little. Little in comparison to our awesome God. He is the invisible hand, who merely sweeps them away with one quick brush of his ‘invisible hand’. Is this not a God worthy of our praise and worship? These men could only harm the flesh, not the soul. Their power was brittle, like the horns on the goat and ram, and broken by the hand of God. Where is Hitler now? Dead and buried. Where is Stalin? Dust in the frozen ground. Where is Antiochus Epiphanes now? Dust blown in the wind. Where is Alexander the Great? Dust spread across the deserts he so easily conquered. All these men are dead, but where is our God? Alive forevermore!

Fourthly, we bow the knee not to a rampaging ram or a galloping goat, but to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is our horn of Salvation. When all other horns have come and gone, we still have our horn of salvation in Him. When all the rams and goats have crossed the stage of history, God has His Lamb (Rev 5:12-13). All through the Bible, and all history as we know it, there have been dominions and powers that have lasted only a short passage of time. The kingdom of Jesus, however, is not a passing fad or temporary kingdom but an everlasting one with Jesus Himself as the Lamb and Horn of Salvation. That is why we can take Jesus into our place of work and study and into our cities with power. Even if all our friends and family reject Jesus, we should still identify with Him. All other powers are simply passing in the wind. No other power will prevail, and His peace will rule upon earth. All that harms His people will come to nothing, and we will live forever with Jesus as our Horn of Salvation.

Fifthly and lastly, we need to deal with the ‘little horns’ of sin within our lives. Horns, throughout the Bible and history have been symbolic of power. Whatever sins are hidden in our hearts, we need to get rid of them and repent of them. For the longer any individual sin is within us, the more power it tries to control us with, if we do not hand it over to the Lord in prayer and action. The less we repent of sins, the less we grow in spiritual maturity and personal holiness. Let each one of us destroy the power of the ‘little horns’ of sin, by repenting and turning away from them, and allowing our Horn of salvation, destroy them by continuing to hand them over to Him.

You may not be yet a follower, so I would urge you most strongly to accept His call upon you. You may not get another chance. This Jesus Christ said he was coming back again. Not as a baby next time, but in full glory, power and majesty. He will be coming back to gather those who are in relationship with Him and to wipe the tears of suffering and joy from their eyes. Those who are found not to be in relationship with Him will spend eternity without Him. He gives each of us, innumerable opportunities to enter into relationship with Him. This Jesus wants to connect with you in an intimate, spiritual relationship – His eyes wander the earth looking for those willing to submit themselves to His authority. If that is you, then please do see Pastor Adam, one of the leaders or the person that brought you here tonight, to find out how you can start this relationship with the Living God, Jesus Christ. He calls you by name.

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POD – Psalm 64

Psalm 64

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For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

64:1 Hear my voice, God, in my complaint. Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

64:2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the noisy crowd of the ones doing evil;

64:3 who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and aim their arrows, deadly words,

64:4 to shoot innocent men from ambushes. They shoot at him suddenly and fearlessly.

64:5 They encourage themselves in evil plans. They talk about laying snares secretly. They say, “Who will see them?”

64:6 They plot injustice, saying, “We have made a perfect plan!” Surely man’s mind and heart are cunning.

64:7 But God will shoot at them. They will be suddenly struck down with an arrow.

64:8 Their own tongues shall ruin them. All who see them will shake their heads.

64:9 All mankind shall be afraid. They shall declare the work of God, and shall wisely ponder what he has done.

64:10 The righteous shall be glad in Yahweh, and shall take refuge in him. All the upright in heart shall praise him!

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