Thursday, June 28, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - June 28, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 9:2-50

2 Samuel 22

Hosea 2:2-23

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 


In 2 Samuel 22, David does one of the things that endears him so greatly to God. He bursts into psalm (a song of praise). A psalm of praise to Yahweh isn't only a joy to read and a glory to Yahweh, it is also a blessing to create one, lifting the heart and strengthening the soul.

So, this morning, in order to keep our worship times "spicy" (varied enough to be fresh and interesting), I propose an activity. Let's each create our own personal psalm of praise to Yahweh. Here's how (as explained by Bobby and Kristen Gilles on their website, My Song in the Night):

Many people have called the Book of Psalms the “prayer book of the Bible” and the “songbook of the Bible.” The psalms cover the full range of human emotion through prayers, cries, questions, laments and praises to God – in stark contrast to the limited range of expression in many church worship services today...

Yet in the psalms we find encouragement in the midst of anger, hurt, fear and confusion, as well as joy, faith and hope. So, many people have written their own “psalms” to structure their prayer and to declare their testimony...

Old Testament poetry doesn’t use rhyme and meter but does use poetry devices like imagery, and forms of wordplay. The three main types of ancient Hebrew poems are Synonymous poetryantithetical poetry and synthetic poetry. Don’t let those names intimidate you – you can do this.
Synonymous poetry features two lines that say nearly the same thing, in order to drive a point across. Check out Psalm 3:1 –

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
So let’s say you’re a parent, writing a psalm about a child who is addicted to drugs. You might say:

Listen, you mothers.
Hear me, you fathers.
Pay attention, all of you with children in your care.
Get it? All three lines cry for the attention of those who are raising kids.
Antithetical poetry is the opposite – it uses successive lines to say two different things, each relative to the same theme. You’ll not only find this in Psalms, but all over the Book of Proverbs, such as Proverbs 17:22 –

A cheerful heart is good like medicine,
But a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Synthetic poetry uses successive lines to build to a point, systematically showing or convincing the reader. Some of these passages can be long, like Psalm 139:1-6. Joel uses it several times in Joel 1:1-20.
Here is a strong, short example from “You Have Redeemed My Soul” written by Don and Lori Shaffer, recorded on Enter The Worship Circle by 100 Portraits and Waterdeep:

I was a hungry child
A dried up river
I was a burned out forest
And no one could do anything for me
There you have it – three Old Testament poetic forms you can use for your personal psalms, or for any kind of songwriting, as well as sermons, lectures or other types of persuasive speech: SynonymousSynthetic and Antithetical poems.
Remember the point of writing a personal psalm isn’t to compose a masterpiece for your church to sing, but to give voice to your joy and pain. It is your testimony, and its validity doesn’t depend on how skillfully you write.
There are four particular psalms to start out with in order  train you, before you write your own:

  • Psalm 55 – about being betrayed by someone close to you.
  • Psalm 56 – about feeling trapped, pinned down or captured.
  • Psalm 57 – about feeling threatened by a powerful enemy.
  • Psalm 51 – about repentance. (My Song in the Night)
 So, let us join David, the king who burst out into praise song during the confrontation with Absalom. Let us praise God together by prayerfully writing our own personal praise psalm to.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - June 27, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 8:22-9:1

2 Samuel 20-21

Hosea 1:1-2:1

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

Today we are starting to read the Book of Hosea. So let's take a look at the amazing Message of this book and prophet.

Hosea is the first and the longest of the group of books we call ''the minor prophets.'' He was a contemporary of Amos in Israel, and of Isaiah and Micah in Judah. He prophesied in Judah, during and following the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom-- an era in which the Southern Kingdom was both greatly prosperous and very corrupt. The name ''Hosea'' means ''deliverance'' or ''salvation.'' He lived during the long and vigorous reign of Jeroboam II, king of Israel. Unlike the prophet Isaiah, who was burdened chiefly about Judah and Jerusalem, Hosea was principally occupied in expressing the sorrow of Jehovah for the Northern Kingdom. The children of Israel had broken His covenant and hardened their hearts against Him.
If you found out that you were a victim of adultery, could you forgive your spouse? Imagine that the unfaithfulness was not a one-night stand, but a long affair. Imagine further that your spouse wasn’t very repentant and was even rather open about what he or she was doing. Would you still love your spouse? Would you want him or her back?

We have asked this question to highlight the incredible love of God. When we–His people–are unfaithful, spurning the love of our true Husband, He continues to love us. He pursues us, wooing us back and disciplining us. That’s the picture we see in the lives of Hosea and his wife Gomer.

Hosea became a part of his own message. God instructed the prophet to marry a prostitute (Gomer) knowing she'd be an unfaithful wife. Through the visible trials of faithful Hosea with his difficult wife, God wanted to show His people a graphic representation of our own spiritual adultery against Him, and how far He goes to redeem us, although we do not deserve it. 
In spite of her persistent sin and shameful life, Hosea continued to cherish Gomer. After her lovers had abandoned her, Hosea found her in the slave market, paid the price to reclaim her (mortgaging the farm to do so), forgave her, and took her again as his wife. By enduring this grief, his heart was prepared to deliver the message of Yahweh to sinners. This is a personal message to each of us, for we have all been unfaithful to our Heavenly King, and have committed spiritual adultery.
Chapters 1 through 3 depict the moral condition of Israel (and God's people in modern times also). The nation of Israel, and the people of God are likened to the Bride of Christ. He has committed to them the honor of His Name, but when we turn back to our old sinful ways, after having been saved, we are like Gomer (Hosea's unfaithful wife) who was an adulteress (1:2,3).
 The names given to the prophet's children tell us a number of things about the effect of Israel's sin.
  • ''Jezreel'' (1:4,5). This is a reminder that God had not condoned the sin of Jehu (2Kings 10:1-14), nor had He forgotten all the crimes of Israel.
  • ''Lo-ruhamah'' (1:6). The word means ''unpitied,'' signifying that Yahweh's mercy would not continue indefinitely, but that judgment would come soon.
  • ''Lo-ammi'' (1:8,9). This name means ''not my people'' and showed that Israel would cease to be God's peculiar people. This was never said of Judah.
Then Yahweh promised to restore His undeserving people, similarly to how Hosea restored Gomer-- a prophecy that remains to be fulfilled in the future (1:10,11).
So, as we read the Book of Hosea, let us consider all that Yahweh has done to save us. Let us allow ourselves to sense the pain of the faithful Hosea, as he must-time and again-restore his bride from her continual adulteries. And as we consider the sad and graphically portrayed story, let us take the message to heart, that we cease from Gomer-like foolishness, purposing instead to be faithful to our loving Almighty God.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - June 26, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 8:1-21

2 Samuel 19

Daniel 12

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

One of the most inspiring passages of Scripture is found in Daniel 12, it says:

Daniel 12:3 "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

We live in a world that worships the stars. There are movie stars, rock stars, football stars, public figures of all kinds which bare a claim to "stardom".  But as attractive and appealing as these "stars" appear, especially to the millennial generation, they aren't really stars at all. Scripture plainly states that the real stars are God-fearing people with a holy witness and a life-changing message that brings salvation to lost souls.

But the enemy of souls works very hard to prevent us from becoming one of God's shining stars. For to be a shining star, of the everlasting variety, we must first experience God's Creative power - personally. To inhibit or prevent this from taking place in our hearts, Satan offers us spiritual evolution, also known as adaptation. 

In evolutionary science, a species must adapt. The evolutionary message is one of survival of the fittest. If they do not adapt to their environment, creatures will die. Similarly, the spiritual message of our culture says, "Adapt to your environment or you will be alienated, cut off, and die (in a social sense)."

But to be among the God-glorifying stars, who will shine for all eternity, we need to avoid the lying message of spiritual evolution, and embrace spiritual creation - actually partaking of - in a personal and spiritual sense - in the Work God did to birth our world.  I shared this concept in my blog from January 1, so I invite you to read it again, to see the steps of spiritual Creation, which we experience in the same steps as the Creation Week.

In Creation, the first step was the Spirit hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2). This is spiritually fulfilled as the Holy Spirit comes to us, quickening us to Life in God. To prevent this enlivening and quickening process, the devil tells us to adapt to this world. He tries to deceive us into thinking we must fit in here, to survive.

Next, God created Light (Genesis 1:3-4). In a spiritual sense, He enlightens us with His Truth, separating us from the darkness of our pasts. But to prevent this enlightenment, the devil tells us that Bible Study is boring. Spiritual evolution imposes the lie that we mustn't get too serious about God because we don't want to be "weird".

The third step of physical Creation was that God divided the waters from the waters. Since water, in Scripture, represents people, this dividing is the spiritual calling out from ungodly relationships. Dark relationships hamper and even inhibit our relationship with God. We cannot fellowship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) mingling Christ with Belial. But spiritual evolution presents the lie that our choices of close friends is no big deal. Once again, if we believe the "adapt-to-this-planet-to-survive" lies, we cannot be effective citizens of our Father's Kingdom.

Next, when God created the world, He made plants bearing fruit (Genesis 1:11). This is also the next step in spiritual Creation. As we abide in Him, we bear His Fruit. But the evolutionary lie which Satan uses to prevent this is: "but everybody's doing it, why can't I?" 

On the fourth day God made the sun, moon, and stars. In spiritual application this brings us full circle to our key verse from Daniel 12. We shine like the stars, as we turn others to righteousness. But spiritual evolution entices us to reject God's shining Calling. Instead, of shining to God's glory, we are tempted to admire and emulate the fallen stars of this world.

As my mother used to say, "just because everybody's doing it, doesn't mean you should." In a place where darkness thrives and the stars are fallen, God has called us to be a "peculiar people". That means we're not supposed to fit - we're called to stand out. We're not meant to go with the flow - we're called to go against the natural current. We're not to adapt to this sin-sick environment - we're to live by God's Grace as citizens of our Father's Kingdom.

In other words, being one of Yahweh's stars is the ultimate weirdness. We don't look like, talk like, live like, or find pleasure like the world. We remember that the path of this world, with all its wickedness, is the path of destruction. And righteousness and truth will always be unpopular in a place where the lies of spiritual evolution are embraced.
Matthew 7:13-14  "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."  
What about you? Where are you going? It is my hope and prayer that you have not "bought into" the lies of spiritual evolution. May you accept your Creator's Calling and live for Him instead. Then the powerful promise of Daniel 12:3 is for you:

Daniel 12:3 "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

Monday, June 25, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - June 25, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 7:14-37

2 Samuel 18

Daniel 11:21-45

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

Today, I find an interesting connection between the reading in 2 Samuel and in Daniel. In 2 Samuel 18, we find that one of the duties of a watchman is to announce what is coming, keeping the city informed. Since we are all called to be watchmen, in a spiritual sense, I found this biblical account to be more than historically interesting. It is also spiritually compelling.

The battle rages today between the forces of good and evil. What tidings (news) of its advancements do we know? As the prophet Ezekiel queried, "Watchman! What of the night?" How late is the hour?

Currently, as we are reading through the book of Daniel, we are covering a great deal of prophetic information, which is specifically meant for God's Watchmen. The Book of Daniel is interesting, indeed. Each chapter adds dimension to the story of the powers and kingdoms which play a role at the end of the world. So, as read through Daniel 11, we find details which build upon the structure already established in the vision of the Image from Daniel 2, in the beasts of Daniel 7, in the prophetic timelines found throughout the book, and in the final 2300 Day prophecy from Daniel 8.

There are several key events to which God's Watchmen are to be alert. Certainly, it is vital to understand and rightly identify the Abomination of Desolation! This is the key event which starts the final 2300 Day timeline.

Daniel 8:13-14, 17 & 23 “How long shall be the vision concerning... the Transgression of Desolation... And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days... Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”

The 2300 Day prophecy is an End-Time vision. It tells us that the final Time of Trouble will be longer than most have thought. The 2300 days is also the framework, within the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycle, into which all other timelines fit, as is shown in the diagram below:

There will be trouble for God’s people for 2300 days, for the Bible says that this is how long the Sanctuary (God’s House) and the host (God’s people) will be trodden under foot (persecuted). Within the 2300 day timeline lay all the other timelines.

In our April-June, 2016 News Magazine we showed that the final Abomination of Desolation will be the soon-coming 3rd Temple in Jerusalem, which will be the Seat of the Beast (Daniel 11:15-16, 45). The article is called Jerusalem’s Ultimate Temple Deception, available online at When this temple is set up, the final 2300 Day timeline will begin.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 

When we are facing a trial or time of difficulty, it is only human to ask how long we must endure it. In the day-to-day struggles of life, we usually aren’t given a clear time-frame of “this-trial-will-continue-this-long-and-not-a-minute-more”. But the final Time of Trouble does have measurable length, prophetically given by our merciful Heavenly Father in Bible Prophecy.

Many Christians are aware that the final Time of Trouble will be 3 1/2 years, or 1260 days. This is the best-known time prophecy of Daniel. But while the portion of the Time of Trouble which is the worst—worse than any prior difficulty in all past ages (Daniel 12:1)—trouble doesn’t start with the Final 1260 days. The Final 1260 days is merely the end of the Time of Trouble, being the most intense period of all.

In the End of Time, Bible Prophecy gives several timelines, all of which play out in the Last Days. Timelines layer upon timelines, each representing an “uptick” in the intensity-level of the tribulation, just as do labor pains for a birthing woman (1 Thessalonians 5:3). 

Each timeline, within the final 2300 Days, contains key events. Each timeline starts and ends with important prophecies. And as the timelines progress, they each represent an increase in the intensity of the level of trouble and persecution until it all culminates in the final 1260 day timeline overlaid with the final 490 days.

This period will be the incomparable Time of Trouble, lasting 1260 days, or 3.5 years. During this period which the demonic Beast will reign, which is likely the reason this period of persecution will be worse than any prior persecution. (But we are to trust God and not fear!)

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book.”
Daniel 12:1

Before we take a serious look at the final 2300 days, examining how it starts, how it ends, and what events take place within it, we must first address it’s length. When the Bible says 2300 days, what does it mean? This concept has come into question over the reference to “evenings” and “mornings”. Some have interpreted the 2300 Day Prophecy to be a timeline of only 1150 literal days (or about 3 years). This is because it is believed that the “evening” and “morning” reference (Daniel 8:26) cuts the 2300 Days in half. Certainly 1150 days of trouble is more palatable than 2300 days (which is nearly 6.5 years).

To complicate matters, the Hebrew word for day  (which is “yom”) can refer to 24 hours or 12 hours. In Genesis chapter 1, we find the reference to the evenings and the mornings. In this case, each day (24 hours) is defined by the combined hours of the evening and the morning.

“...And the evening and the morning were the first day (yom).” Genesis 1:5

Clearly, in the Creation Week, the evening and morning portions of the day were added together to make a full 24 hour day (yom). Thus, in this instance the day (yom) is 24 hours.

But how can we be clear regarding whether the 2300 Day Prophecy is refering to 2300 24 hour days or just 2300 half hour (12 hours)? Which is intended in Daniel 8:26?

“And the (2300 Day) vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.”
Daniel 8:26

This is a situation where the other End-time Timelines lend an interpreting hand. (See the timeline graphic on the bottom of page 5.) If the 2300 Day prophecy were only going to last for 1150 literal days, we cannot account for the length of the other timelines, which clearly overlay it. For example, the 1290 Day timeline starts with same event, which begins the 2300 day timeline. Both timelines start with the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation.
The 2300 Day Timeline begins with the Abomination of Desolation:

Daniel 8:13-14 “...How long shall be the vision concerning... the Transgression of Desolation (Abomination of Desolation), to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?  And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days...”

The 1290 Day Timeline also begins with the Abomination of Desolation:

Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that ...the Abomination that maketh Desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

If there were only 1150 literal days in the fulfillment of the 2300 day prophecy, layering it over the now-longer timeline of the 1290 days doesn’t work. This is especially true since the 1260 day timeline also ends with the same event which ends the 2300 Day timeline. Thus, the presence of these additional timelines, containing the same events as the 2300 days, makes it plain that Daniel 8:26 must be referencing 2300, 24-hour days, a period of about 6.3 years.

In the Last Days, every prophetic timeline will come into play, including the timelines from the life of Joseph. In the story of Joseph, a prophetic dream was given to pharaoh. In the dream he saw seven fat and healthy cows, which were devoured by seven emaciated and sickly cows. He then saw seven healthy ears of grain devoured by seven blasted ears of grain. Joseph, under divine inspiration, interpreted pharaoh’s dream explaining that  it represented seven good years (a time of preparation) which would be followed by seven years of trouble, famine, and dearth (Genesis 41:26-27). It is no accident that these two sets of seven years fit the timeline of God’s Sabbatical year cycle (Leviticus 25:8-9).

Because Christ will return on the Final Jubilee (since the land - earth - will return to its original possession in that year - Leviticus 25:10), we may be certain that the Sabbatical year cycle is still in effect. Thus, the Last Days will be set within the framework of the final Seven years, the last of which will be the last Sabbatical year, followed by the ultimate Jubilee. Needless to say, 2300 Days amply fits with a seven-year framework. 

Considering all these valid reference points, we may plainly see that there is no reason to interpret Daniel 8:26 as half days. This prophecy of the 2300 Days really will be 2300 literal days, as evidenced by the surrounding timelines which overlay and support it. Having addressed the length of this timeline, let us now turn our attention to the key events which define this sobering timeline.

Bible prophecy plainly warns that the final Beast will reign from a temple, which is proclaimed to be Yahweh’s holy Temple. Of course since the final Anti-christ will be enthroned within its “Most Holy Place”, in reality it will be the most unholy place of all!

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 

Daniel 11:15-16 & 45 “So the king of the north shall come...  And none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the Glorious Land, which by his hand shall be consumed. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain...”

Thankfully, we read the latter part of Daniel 11:45, where we find the Promise that this final Anti-christ will come to his end, after consuming the former holy Land, and placing his unholy tabernacle in what once was the glorious holy Mountain.

In fact, in physical manifestation, the erection of this false temple of the Beast is the final Abomination of Desolation!

Daniel 11:31 “...And they shall pollute the Sanctuary of strength... And they shall place the Abomination that maketh Desolate.”

It is vitally important that Yahweh’s people not only avoid falling for this temple deception, but also we need to recognize it for what it really is—prophetically speaking. This temple is the Abomination of Desolation, which marks the beginning of the 2300 Day timeline and is also the sign for God’s true followers to flee to the mountains. 

Mark 13:14 “But when ye shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Daily Bible Reading - June 24, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 7:1-13

2 Samuel 17

Daniel 11:1-19

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

There are so many important concepts going on in the Book of Daniel, prophecies being unfolded before our very eyes - and in the near future - that we could just spend every single devotional focusing on Daniel and its prophecies. However, since I looked at Daniel, chapter by chapter, in my DVD series (11 DVD's) called Daniel's Timelines for the End Times, I am not going to focus on Daniel, rather I'd like to turn my attention to Mark 7. However, if you have an interest in the prophecies of Daniel, please feel free to request this DVD series. I will be very glad to send it to you.

Returning to my point of focus for today, I'd like to point out some key concepts from Mark 7. In Mark 7, we read about the Pharisees attacking Christ because He did not follow their traditions - specifically the teachings of the Talmud. 

The Talmud is Judaism's holiest book (actually it's a collection of books). In Judaism, its authority takes precedence over the Torah (which is the Hebrew name for the Law of Yahweh, recorded in the Bible in Genesis-Deuteronomy). Evidence of this may be found in the Talmud itself, Erubin 21b (Soncino edition)

"My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah."

The famous warning of Messiah about the tradition of men that voids Scripture (Mark 7:6-9), is in fact, a direct reference to the Talmud, or more specifically, the forerunner of the first part of it, the Mishnah, which existed in oral form during Christ's lifetime, before being committed to writing. Mark chapter 7, from verse one through thirteen, represents Messiah's pointed condemnation of the Talmud.

Unfortunately, due to the abysmal ignorance of our day, the widespread "Judeo-Christian" notion is that the Old Testament is the supreme book of Judaism. But this is not so. The Pharisees teach for doctrine the Commandments of rabbis, not God. And the story found in Mark 7 is a classic example:
One such commandment of the rabbis was the required ceremonial washing of the hands before eating bread. 
In Temple times there were elaborate rules in connection with ritual impurity. If a person had been rendered impure through having come into contact, say, with a dead rodent, he contaminated sacred food such as the tithe given to the priests, which must then not be eaten. The way in which contamination of this kind could be removed was through immersion in a ritual bath.

But the sages imposed in certain circumstances the minor form of contamination known as “hand contamination” in which only the hands, not the whole body, was contaminated and for this to be removed total immersion was not required, only the ritual washing of the hands. Since there was a good deal of priests’ tithe in ancient Palestine which could easily come into contact with the hands, the sages eventually ordained that the hands of every Jew, not only the hands of a priest, must be washed ritually before meals.
It has to be appreciated that this ritual washing of the hands has nothing to do with physical cleanliness. On hygienic grounds, the hands are obviously to be clean of dirt before food is eaten. Even when the hands are physically clean they are still required to be ritually washed.

Although the original reason for washing the hands no longer applies, since there is no sacred food to be eaten, the ritual was continued on the grounds that the ideal of holiness demands a special, ritualistic washing of the hands. The act of washing the hands in this sense is seen as the introduction of the holiness ideal into the mundane life of the Jew. This ritual washing is only required before a meal at which bread  is eaten. ("Hand Washing", My Jewish Learning, by Rabbi Louis Jacobs) 
Why was this Talmudic hand-washing principle such a big deal in Mark 7? When Yahshua fed the 5000 with bread, which was eaten without the Talmudic hand-washing, the Pharisees saw a challenge to their unrighteous establishment of Talmudic authority. They attacked Yahshua because a miracle of turning a few loaves and fish into enough food for the multitude would be the front-page news of the day. And having experienced the miracle without the Talmud's required hand-washing, would have undermined the authority of the Talmud, in the people's eyes. This was something the prideful Pharisees would not tolerate.

But the fact is that, according to the Torah, the very presence of the Talmud, with its added laws, was a violation of the Law of God.
Deuteronomy 4:2  "Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the Commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you." 
The Law of God plainly states that the Torah is God's complete Law. Man is not authorized to add to it, nor remove any part of it. 

The Commands of Torah are requirements. Violating any of the Commandments or Statutes of God is a sin:
1 John 3:4  "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
The problem is that for centuries, people have been trying to either do away with the Torah Statutes, or add to them. When folks add to the Torah, it is common to expect to impose one's own ideas on others. In fact, it is even (wrongly) viewed as "sinful" for anyone to violate our added laws, just as the Pharisees accused Christ of being, when He didn't do the Talmudic hand-washing.

But since sin is transgression of (breaking) the Law (God's holy Torah), any man-made traditions can never be anything more than a preference. And it is not sinful to fail to do them.

For example,  if the Pharisees wanted to wash hands before eating, fine - washing hands is harmless enough. But, when they went so far as to require it for holiness, they had crossed the line. Additional laws were forbidden by God Himself!

Notably, every single one of Messiah's miracles was done in such a way as to expose the "laws" of Talmud as the frauds they were. We must not add to the Law of God, nor diminish anything from it.

Today, there's a whole lot of Talmudic-style thinking going on among Christians. The liberal Christians are often tempted to diminish things from God's Law, while the conservative Christians are often tempted to add to it. Either changing of God's Law is equally wrong and damaging to the Truth.

Maybe you are thinking that it is obvious that liberals do away with parts of the Law. But, it may not be as obvious (at first) for how conservative Christians add to the Law of God. How do conservative Christians commit the sin of the Pharisees, by adding to God's Law? 

The following example may be shocking, but it is prayerfully shared to help expose a wrong way of thinking. We must not add to the Law of God.
  • Some Christians teach that it is a sin to eat any meat (even meats, which Torah calls "clean"). 

Since this teaching cannot be found in the Torah, it is a "law" added by man. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that Christians should eat meat! We may choose to be vegan, for valid health reasons. But when we start requiring vegetarianism or veganism of others, looking down our noses at those who eat "clean" meats as if they aren't as holy we are adding to the Law of God. Eating clean meat isn't sinful! In fact, Yahshua, Who is our Example in all things (1 Peter 2:21) ate meat. And He was sinless!
This is just one example of how conservative Christians commonly make new laws, following the pattern of the Talmud, which Christ taught against. 

So, how can we safeguard ourselves and our families from breaking the Statute of Deuteronomy 4:2? We need to ask a key question, whenever presented with a lifestyle or doctrinal teaching. We need to prayerfully ask, "Where is that found in the Torah?" And if we cannot find it there, it isn't the truth, no matter how "righteous" it appears:
Isaiah 8:20  "To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." 

Daily Bible Reading - June 23, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 6:30-56

2 Samuel 16

Daniel 10

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

Today, I would like to focus on our reading from Daniel chapter 10. I will be adapting some of the commentary from I. Gordon's, "Book of Daniel Bible Study Chapter 10:
( the veil", as well as adding in my own take on the subject. Daniel chapter 10 is about conflict and warfare, but not the type you are likely to see on the evening news! Daniel 10 speaks of a war that no man reports, for it is one that no man sees. Yet it goes on day after day and has a major impact on the wars that we do see on planet Earth. Daniel 10 lifts the veil that covers the natural and spiritual realms to reveal a battle that goes on in the invisible, spiritual realm.

Daniel 10 is a reminder of the spiritual battle that goes on around us, and one in which we are in despite it not being visible to the natural eye. There are certainly lots of mysteries in this regard and not all answers are given. But this chapter still remains as a fascinating and unique glimpse behind the scenes in the spiritual realm.

Daniel 10 is a message of war…
Daniel 10:1-3 "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."
 The events of this chapter took place in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. Daniel, who is now in his mid to late 80’s, is given another vision and message. It is a message of great conflict and this has been recorded for us in Daniel chapters 11 and 12. It is a message of war between nations and coming persecution for the Israelites. But, as previously mentioned, it is also a message behind the scenes showing the puppet masters pulling the strings.  

Now we read above that Daniel had been in mourning for three weeks when this prophecy was given to him. We are not told why he was in mourning, but he had been doing a partial fast during that time when the vision and message came.

Daniel 10 is vision of Yahshua, in His Glorified State

Daniel 10:4-6 "On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a Man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around His waist. His Body was like chrysolite, His face like lightning, His eyes like flaming torches, His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and His voice like the sound of a multitude."

As Daniel looks up he sees one very impressive looking Man. Scholars debate whether this is a vision of Yahshua, Himself, or whether it was an angel; but the weight of evidence seems to favour the former thought. Certainly there are many similarities with the vision John was given in the book of Revelation when he saw Yahshua in glory saying…

Revelation 1:12-16 "And when I turned I saw… Someone “like a Son of Man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to His Feet and with a golden sash around His Chest. His Head and Hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His Eyes were like blazing fire. His Feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His Voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right Hand He held seven stars, and out of His Mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His Face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."

And you thought you felt small!

Daniel 10:7-9 “I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.”

Anytime in Scripture that a person encounters the majesty of God there is an overwhelming sense of their own inadequacy. Whether it is Moses, Isaiah, Daniel or John the result is the same. There is a convicting sense of your own ‘smallness’ and inadequacy in the light of an Almighty God. Fair enough too. For Daniel, as godly as he was, the vision of this Man left him face to the floor which is probably not a bad thing anyway because his face had turned a grim shade of grey! He then fell into a deep sleep. Scripture doesn’t tell us how long this was for but it may have been sometime.

So who is the Prince of Persia?

Daniel 10:13-14 "But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
Here we gain a glimpse into the spiritual realm. Daniel is fasting and praying. An angel is dispatched to him in response to his prayers. But the angel's arrival is delayed because a demonic entity, here referred to as the Prince of Persia, wages war with him for 21 days. But Yahweh is the Almighty. Nothing the enemy can unleash is sufficient to prevent His Will from being accomplished. Thus, Michael helps the delayed angel, and does battle with the Prince of Persia. Michael's victory over this unholy prince, releases the first angel to reach Daniel at last.

In Daniel 10, we see that the ultimate warfare still to come…

So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)

We see from this passage that it isn’t just Persia that has demonic angelic beings assigned to them. The coming rise of the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great (still 200 years in the future) will be overseen by the ‘prince of Greece’ as well. Fortunately, as we have previously seen, God's people have angelic protection of the highest order in Michael, the archangel. So we have been given a glimpse of the influence that the angelic realm has into the affairs of men. The ultimate fulfillment of this influence however will occur just prior to the Return of Yahshua as it says in Revelation 16:13-14:
“Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.”

The demonic influence upon earth will reach its climax when the kings of the whole world will be drawn by these spirits to battle against God and His people.

Wow! There is really a whole lot going on in this small chapter of Daniel, which few seem to talk about. Daniel chapter 10 does not give us all the answers about the unseen spiritual realm. We must admit that a lot remains a mystery. But it does give us a glimpse and remind us that we all are in a spiritual battle. The angels are sent by God to render service to those who are His, yet a lot of this service, like the angels themselves, is unseen to the human eye.

We should however remember the familiar words of the apostle Paul who wrote:

“Finally, be strong in Yahweh and in His mighty Power. Put on the full Armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Take time today to suit up! To do this pray and ask Yahweh to clothe you in His spiritual Armor. Name each piece as you ask for God to suit you up in it (Ephesians 6). Then remember to request this Heavenly covering each and every day. Never can a warrior enter the battle zone without his gear. If a soldier cannot afford to go into battle without his weapons and battle gear, how much less can we? Always be mindful that the greatest realities are beyond human perception - in the spiritual realm. And purpose to never leave home without Yahweh's ARMOR ever again.