Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath

Luke 6:1-5

Throughout the Lord’s lifetime on earth in the first century A.D., He prompted many kinds of responses in all who encountered Him. Some loved Him. Some doubted Him. Some despised Him. Some hated Him. Some feared Him. Some mocked Him. But of all those who opposed Jesus, no group opposed Jesus more than the religious group known as the Pharisees.

When we say the word “Pharisee” today, we instantly think of a hypocritical legalist who made men twice a “son of hell” as they themselves were. And indeed, when we look at Jesus’ perspective on the Pharisees, this is a right perspective. No religious group or sect earned more severe judgment from Jesus than did the Pharisees. He called them whitewashed tombs and broods of vipers—words that in any generation were very politically incorrect. It would be accurate to say that Jesus and the Pharisees hated each other---Jesus with righteous indignation and wrath against their works-righteousness, and the Pharisees for Jesus revealing who they really were.

Yet if we lived in the time of Jesus, such would not be our perspective on the Pharisees. We would think of the Pharisees as the theological conservatives and stalwarts of orthodoxy. Historically, the Pharisees developed from the Hasmonean dynasty of religious men during and after the time of the Jewish exile. For fear that the nation of Israel might face a new exile again in the future, the Pharisees developed a very rigorous, very complex, and very rigid system of works-righteousness between the time of Malachi and Matthew. We would therefore believe that the Pharisees are the experts, the conservatives, and the heroes of the faith. For a Jewish young man from Galilee to sharply rebuke these people would be a shock for us. For us to be standing at the scene when Jesus issued the rebuke against the Pharisees, for example, would cause us either to belief this Jewish Rabbi was either mad, possessed by the devil, or indeed the Lord.

No less shocking, therefore, is what occurs in a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees in Luke 6:1-5. Luke, the Gentile doctor and friend of the apostle Paul, wrote the most detailed historical account of Jesus’ life. In this chapter, Luke includes two accounts of Jesus’ life where He and the Pharisees clashed on the most holy day of the Jewish week—the Sabbath. For centuries, the Jews had observed the Sabbath. By the time of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had developed a very rigorous and burdensome set of rules so that no man would violate the Sabbath and bring sin upon the nation. For the Pharisees, the Sabbath (occurring at sundown on our Friday and ending at sundown on our Saturday) was the day that was most holy and could not be violated.

Luke writes in verse 1 of chapter 6, “On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands.” For us reading this today, we might not think much of this. The disciples became hungry, and so they ate some grain that they plucked by the hand while walking through the fields. However, if we lived in Jesus’ day, we would find this scandalous. The Pharisees prohibited any man from walking more than a quarter mile on a Sabbath so that he would not work. No man could pick grain or prepare any kind of food on the Sabbath, for that was also work.

The Pharisees hear of this, and so they come to Jesus to report His disciples’ conduct to Him. In verse 2, the Pharisees tell him, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” In the Old Testament, to break the Sabbath was one of the few crimes punishable by death from stoning. However, during the days of the Roman occupation, the Romans took away from the Jews the legal right of execution, and so stoning could not be carried out normally. A Sabbath violation was one of the worst acts of sacrilege of the eyes in the Pharisees, and so they come to Jesus to ask Him why His disciples violated Pharisaic tradition. The prohibitions against harvesting grain and walking on the Sabbath were not express commands in the Old Testament, but had become incorporated into Jewish tradition between the time of the Old and New Testaments.

Therefore, if we were standing there at this scene that day, we would fully expect Jesus to sharply rebuke His disciples for their conduct and apologize profusely to the Pharisees for their violation of “sacred tradition”. However, His response in the next two verses will scandalize them, and His final statement in verse 5 will stun them.

Jesus’ counterargument therefore is this. “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who with him?” Here, Jesus refers to the story in 1 Samuel when David fled from King Saul. But we should notice the verb Jesus uses to refute the Pharisees: “have you not read”. The Pharisees read the Old Testament more than any other scholarship of their day, and Jesus here indicts them for not using the very Scriptures they studied as the ultimate standard for life and practice. Jesus’ argument is that in this scenario, David allowed his men to eat what was only for the priests to eat. Likewise, the Son of David here allows His men to eat what the Pharisees would have prohibited them from eating.

What then is Jesus proving here? That men can break the Law in cases of necessity? That the Law can be redefined and ignored as men see fit? That the Law is no longer binding? That the Sabbath did not matter? Jesus is not arguing any of these points. He tells them that Old Testament written Law did not condemn men for eating the “bread of the presence”. Jesus is actually disproving a point, and that is He is stating that the Pharisees’ oral tradition should not condemn men for an action that the Old Testament Law did not condemn men.

But by what authority does Jesus state this? In fact, what Jesus is proving is far more amazing than any of these statements. What Jesus states next is one of the most amazing things He will ever say in the Gospels: “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”.

Not only does Jesus claim for Himself the Messianic title of “Son of Man” from the book of Daniel, but He also claims for Himself the title of Lord of the Sabbath itself. Who had instituted the Sabbath during the dawn of Creation? The Creator God. Who had given the Sabbath Law to Moses at Mount Sinai? Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God. Who had given directions for how the Sabbath Law should be enforced? God Himself. Therefore, what does Jesus Himself claim here to be? He claims to be the ruling figure over the Sabbath itself. He claims to have the authority to determine what was right to do on the Sabbath and what was wrong. He indicates that He rules over the Sabbath itself. In doing this, Jesus both identifies as and makes Himself equal to the Lord of the Old Testament Scriptures. Only the Lord had this authority in the Old Testament. Jesus reveals Himself to be that Lord in flesh here in the New Testament.

In conclusion, we should be warned not to elevate our human traditions above written Scriptures. We should not prohibit that which Scripture does not prohibit. We should “not go beyond what is written”, for if we do, it shows that we fear sin more than we fear God. Those who fear sin more than they fear God will become whitewashed tombs who appear righteous on the outside and inwardly are spiritually dead. But also, we should remember that Jesus Christ is “Lord of the Sabbath”. For the last 2,000 years of Christian history, we have worshipped our Lord on Sunday, because Sunday is the “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). And because Jesus is truly Lord of the Sabbath, we can have hope that He will bring us into the promised eternal Sabbath rest, where we will dwell with Him for eternity (Hebrews 4:9).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ICBF Q and A Night 2016

Introduction
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” (Proverbs 4:7)

Biblical Theology
Question: Which theology books would you recommend for beginners? A short one and a longer one?
Answer

-The term “theology” comes from two Greek words meaning “study of God”. The term itself is a very broad one, as it encompasses many categories: theology proper, bibliology, anthropology, hamartiology, Christology, soteriology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, and eschatology, to name the main categories.
-Even in theology there are different ways to approach the same subjects: through systematic theology, through biblical theology, through historical theology, through pastoral theology, etc.
-From “easier” to “harder”, these are books that will prove useful in theological studies
Introductory
-A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly M. Kapic.
-18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know by Dr. J.I. Packer
-Studies in Theology by Lorraine Boettner
-Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister McGrath
-Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne and Elliot Grudem
Biblical Theology
-The King in His Beauty by Dr. Thomas Schreiner
-God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment by Dr. James Hamilton
-The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Dr. Mark Dever
-The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept by Dr. Mark Dever
-Kingdom through Covenant by Dr. Peter Jentry and Stephen Wellum
-Biblical Theology by Geerhardus Vos
Systematic Theology
-Systematic Theology by Dr. Wayne Grudem
-Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge
-Institutes of the Christian Religion by Dr. John Calvin
Historical Theology
-Historical Theology by Dr. Gregg Allison
-History of the Christian Church (vol. 1-8) by Philip Schaff
-A History of Western Philosophy and Theology by Dr. John M. Frame

Question: Do people in heaven get different rewards? Or do they all get the same thing? (from Matthew 20:1-16)
Answer

-Matthew 20:1-16 is a parable, and parables exist to reveal truth to believers and conceal truth from unbelievers (Matthew 13:13-16). They act both as agents of salvation and judgment, for only believers can understand them and unbelievers cannot (2 Corinthians 4:4).
-Matthew 20 does not deal with eternal rewards. Rather, it deals instead with God’s grace. Dr. John MacArthur writes in his book Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed through the Stories Jesus Told, “The landowner in the parable represents God. The vineyard is the kingdom, the sphere of God’s rule. The laborers are believers, people who come into the service of the King. The day of work is their lifetime. The evening is eternity…this pay is not something the workers have earned. It is not given to them like a minimum wage in a fair exchange for labor done. It is far too much for that...So this is the point: if you are a genuine believer, you receive the full benefits of God’s immeasurable grace, just like everyone else in God’s kingdom.”
-The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 is a parable about eternal rewards in light of Christ’s second coming described in Matthew 24:29-31). Matthew 25:21 is what each of us should strive to hear from our Master’s lips when we see Him in glory.
-Scripture teaches that while our eternal salvation is secure (John 10:27-29) and is dependent only on what Christ has done (Romans 5:8), our eternal rewards are based on what we do and are individual to each person (1 Corinthians 3:8; Revelation 22:12).
-Our eternal rewards will be revealed at the last day for what they really are (1 Corinthians 3:11-14).

Question: How come very godly men and women who are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit come to different conclusions on such things as eschatology, etc.? Does the Holy Spirit lead people differently? (Because those people from different denominations are not living in rebellion, but truly seeking to know God's truth.)
Answer

-First, we need to understand that some things in the Bible are more clear than others (2 Peter 3:15-16).
-Second, we need to understand that different levels of spiritual maturity will result in different levels of Scriptural illumination (Hebrews 5:11-12). Those who are less mature in the faith will not be able to understand harder or more difficult doctrines that more mature believers can understand.
-Third, we need to understand that those who are lazy in their doctrinal study or Scriptural interpretation will not have the same level of understanding as those who work hard in interpreting Scripture and studying sound doctrine. Paul commands Timothy to study so as to be a faithful minister to the early church (2 Timothy 2:15).
-Fourth, we need to be able to see where our interpretations of Scripture and our doctrinal beliefs are influenced more by our tradition (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) and our doctrinal influences (dispensational, covenantal, etc.) rather than by the hard work of personally studying the Scriptures ourselves and not merely studying what theologians have written about Scripture.
-Fifth, we need to understand that the Holy Spirit does not lead people to believe different doctrines; He does not lead one person to believe in amillennialism and another person to believe in premillennialism (1 Corinthians 14:33).
-Finally, Scripture warns us not to be slow of heart and hard-headed in refusing to understand what it says (Luke 24:25). Yet it also reminds us that we will not have complete knowledge until we are in heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12) and need to extend grace to one another in the non-essentials (Romans 14:5).

Question: How can we defend the complete inerrancy of the Bible in a simple way for a non-believer to understand?
Answer

-Quite simply, the Bible is God’s breathed Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What is written in Scripture is in fact the very words of God Himself from His mouth.
-In order to understand inerrancy (the complete perfection and truthfulness of the Bible), we first need to explain inspiration. The biblical doctrine of inspiration teaches that when men speak or write Scripture, God the Holy Spirit is in fact speaking and writing Scripture through them (Isaiah 51:16).
-God is perfect and without any error, and His Word, which has His attributes, is therefore perfect and without any error (Psalm 18:30). Therefore, the Bible is without error because God is without error, and the Bible, being the words God has spoken, reflects His attributes of complete perfection and complete truthfulness and trustworthiness.

Question: When it says in the Bible to "repent and be baptized" does that mean that the person should be baptized right away after being converted, or should there be a process of truly understanding/agreeing with the meaning of baptism beforehand (if the person is unsure if they fully agree with the Baptist view)?
Answer

-In the New Testament, baptism always immediately accompanies conversion. In Acts 2:37-41, Peter issues the call to “repent and be baptized” to Jew and Gentile, to adult and child. That very day, about three thousand people were born again and were immediately baptized.
-In Acts 8:26-40, Philip immediately baptized the Ethiopian eunuch after he became born again.
-In Acts 16:30-34, the Philippian jailor and his entire household became saved in one night, and they were all baptized that same night.
-The Scriptural precedent is to immediately baptize new believers as soon as possible after they have become saved. How quickly this is done depends on how soon they can be baptized in a church.
-Regarding the “Baptist view” of baptism, the Baptist view of baptism is none other than the biblical view of baptism. The paedobaptist view is foreign to Scripture and was a foreign addition to Scripture later in church history. Only those who are born again are baptized, whereas those who are only born should not be baptized. More information can be found in the study
Go Therefore and Baptize the Nations: A Study in Christian Baptism.

Question: Is the theology of Prophetic Dreams wrong? And why?
Answer

-“Prophetic dreams” is the ideology that God gives prophetic revelations of the future to individuals today. For example, Charisma Magazine frequently runs stories about great and momentous prophetic dreams that charismatic figures have. They claim that 2016, for example, will be a tremendously significant year because of the specific prophetic dreams that God has given to charismatic leaders.
-The theology of prophetic dreams is entirely wrong. Firstly, God does not give any new special revelation to any man, woman, or child today. His special revelation ended at the revelation of His Son in human history (Hebrews 1:1-2).
-Any genuine prophet in Scripture had to have a complete accuracy rate. There was absolutely no room for a wrong prophecy; otherwise, that person was a false prophet. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) The penalty for speaking prophetic words that did not come true was death (Deuteronomy 13:5).
-God still speaks to us today. He speaks to us through His written Word through the power of His Holy Spirit (Matthew 22:31). When Scripture speaks, God speaks. When God speaks, it is through spoken Scripture.

Question: Is there a difference between "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of heaven?" What is it?
Answer

-Historically, some have viewed the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven” as two different entities, particularly those who hold to classic Dispensationalism. They view the “kingdom of heaven” as the Davidic millennial kingdom for Israel and the kingdom of God to the spiritual kingdom.
-However, the two terms mean one and the same thing. Jesus uses the two terms interchangeably in Matthew 19:23-24. Furthermore, parallel Gospel accounts show that the writers used the same phrasing in Jesus’ words with the same meaning (such as Mathew 11:11-12 with Luke 7:28 and Matthew 22:2 with Luke 13:29).
-The phrase “kingdom of heaven” is distinctive to Matthew’s Gospel. He uses the term 32 times, and is used in the same way that Luke and Mark use the term “kingdom of God”. Some have speculated that Matthew used this term distinctly for his Jewish audience.
-Both the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven” refer to God’s spiritual kingdom that we are part of when we become saved (Matthew 4:17).
-The phrase “kingdom of heaven” does not refer to Christ’s millennial kingdom, nor does it refer to the eternal state in the new heavens and new earth.


Biblical History

Question: In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit?  He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right?  Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily?
Answer

-Salvation has always been by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3). In the cases where the Holy Spirit was taken away in the Old Testament, it refers to specific anointing that the Holy Spirit once gave someone for a particular function. In the Old Testament, prophets (Psalm 105:15), priests (Exodus 30:30), and kings (1 Samuel 16) were anointed by the Holy Spirit. In some cases, such as the case of Saul, the anointing left him (1 Samuel 16:14).
-The Holy Spirit’s anointing could be taken away from someone in the Old Testament, such as when David pleads with the Lord not to remove the anointing as He had done previously with Saul (Psalm 51:11).
-The anointing of the Holy Spirit did sometimes temporarily fall on unbelievers, such as with Saul when he prophesied (1 Samuel 10:11; 1 Samuel 19:24) or Balaam when he prophesied (Numbers 23). However, this is not the same as the indwelling or regeneration of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Did all Jacob's sons become Christians at some point in their lives?
Answer

-The term “Christian” (Χριστιανός) refers more appropriately to believers in the New Testament onwards (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), as the term does not appear in the Old Testament and would not have any meaning in the Old Testament. The term “Christian” refers to followers of Christ in the New Testament.
-However, the Gospel has been the same throughout both Old and New Testaments, and Jesus has always been the One in whom all saints find salvation (Hebrews 12:1-2).
-Originally, Jacob’s twelve sons Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Judah, Simeon, Levi, Joseph, and Benjamin were demonstrably not regenerate believers in God. Judah committed incest with his daughter-in-law, Reuben committed incest with one of his father’s concubines, and together they all conspired against Joseph to kill him by starvation. However, they eventually sold Joseph into slavery rather than killing him by abandoning him in a cistern.
-Over the years, we see the changes in all the brothers after Joseph secretly tested them. Particularly, we see the most profound change in Judah, who is willing to become enslaved rather than have Benjamin, the other son of Rachel, enslaved (Genesis 44:30-34). This is the same man who earlier was one of the wicked men in the group.
-We see the names of Jacob’s twelve sons engraved on the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:12), and nothing unclean can be in the city (Revelation 21:17). Therefore, their identities could no longer be unclean for them to be eternally remembered in the holy New Jerusalem. Therefore, Jacob’s twelve sons did become believers in the Lord God of Israel.

Question: In Matthew 26, Peter takes a sword and strikes off the ear of the high priest's servant. Jesus rebukes him, saying in verse 52, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword." When Jesus says this about "all who take the sword will perish by the sword” is He referring to all warfare or just to lawless killing?
Answer

-Jesus is here not referring to warfare, although all warfare is the result of the Curse. Rather, He is paraphrasing God’s words to Noah in Genesis 9:6.
-In the Old Testament civil law, just war or accidental manslaughter were not just grounds for the death penalty. However, murder and lawless killing was indeed grounds for the death penalty (Deuteronomy 19:4-13).
-What was at stake here was God’s plan of redemption for Christ to die on the cross, which is why Jesus stopped Peter from killing the kidnappers (Matthew 26:54).
In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily? In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily? In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily?In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily? In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily?In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily?In the Old Testament, when people were saved, how did it work with the Holy Spirit? He was given to them and taken away at certain times, right? Were unbelievers ever given the Holy Spirit temporarily?
Church History
Question: Can you give a brief overview of church history themes in 20th century America?
Answer

-The 20th century of the Christian church was one of the most monumental and most bloody centuries in church history. More martyrs died in 1900-2000 than in any other century, for instance.
-In the late 19th century within evangelicalism, the rising school of Dispensationalism challenged the traditional Covenantal views of theological seminaries and institutions. In 1909, the Scofield Bible was published. Dallas Theological Seminary became a prominent school of Dispensationalism.
-Two major world wars fundamentally shaped the Christian church in the 20th century. Particularly after World War 1, neo-Orthodox theologians such as Karl Barth became more popular. The liberalism that had begun in Germany became exported to American schools, leading to a rising trend towards liberal theology. This led to the rise of the “fundamentalist” movement that countered the liberal movement.
-In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This is the most significant find in the study of manuscripts for hundreds of years.
-After World War 2, mass crusades (built upon the revivalism of the 19th century) became commonplace under men such as the evangelist Billy Graham. Also, the Charismatic movement exploded in the 1970s, thus giving rise to many Charismatic churches and denominations worldwide.
-In the 1980s and 1990s, the American church became more and more politically involved. Books by Bill O’Reilly would fill church library shelves rather than books about theology or about the Bible. The Religious Right became prominent.

Question: What are the main themes of the Presbyterian denomination in the 1920s?
Answer

-In the 1920s, the Fundamentalist/Modernist Controversy was the raging issue among Presbyterians during this time period. Fundamentalists in that era strongly defended five points: 1) the inerrancy of the Bible, 2) the virgin birth, 3) substitutionary atonement, 4) the resurrection, 5) the authenticity of the miracles of Jesus. The Modernist Controversy, which began back in 1891 with the heresy trial of Charles Briggs, endeavored to introduce liberal German theology in the schools of theological education. Briggs died before the 1920s, but the movement he sparked continued strongly.
-Harry Emerson Fosdick in 1922 preached a sermon entitled “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” He stated in his autobiography that it was “a please for tolerance, for a church inclusive enough to take in both liberals and conservatives without either trying to drive the other out.” The Presbyterian Church became embroiled in controversy, with William Jennings Bryan leading the General Assembly to remove Fosdick from office in 1923.
-In 1923, J. Gresham Machen wrote a book that would become an historical classic entitled Christianity and Liberalism. This book almost 100 years later still stands as a classic refutation of modern liberalism.
-In 1929, the General Assembly voted against the Fundamentalists, which led Machen and others to start Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia when they lost Princeton Theological Seminary.

Question: If Allah is the Arabic word for god, how do Arabic Christians distinguish between our God and the god of Islam?
Answer

-The Arabic word “Allah” is the Arabic word for God. It was used by Arabic-speaking Christians to refer to God before Islam existed. Christian converts in Arabic-speaking countries typically refer to God as “Allah”, as that is the standard word for God. Context distinguishes
-In the New Testament, the Greek word Theos (Θεὸς) refers to the God the Father, but in Greek culture the word Θεὸς was the generic word for “god”.
English-speaking Christians distinguish between the God of Christianity and the god of Islam by using the term “God” and “Allah”, but other languages do not have this distinction, such as the Greek language or the Arabic language where the words are the same.
-Arabic Christians use the word “Allah” for the God of the Bible in their sermons, hymnals, and other Christian writings and have done so for over nineteen centuries.

Christian Living
Question: "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." (2 John 1:10) Based on this, to what extent should Christians associate with a homosexual? To what point do we accept them into our home, or get to know them for the sake of sharing the Bible and salvation with them? Do we witness, and then leave it, or should we go further and invite them to our home, or open up opportunities to speak and see each other again? Or would that be, as it says in this verse, sharing in their wicked work to associate with them further than in a public place?
Answer

-Firstly, 2 John 1:10 is referring to a particular teaching that the apostle John identifies in this verse as “this teaching”. This teaching specifically was proto-Gnosticism that denied that Jesus Christ came into the flesh. In John’s writings, he first showed in his gospel that Jesus is fully God and provides salvation for all those who believe in him. In 1st John, the apostle demonstrates how to know we are saved if we wonder about our salvation. In 2nd John, John writes to defend the full humanity of Christ. Proto-Gnostics denied that Jesus truly had a human body, as the physical was evil in their worldview and the spiritual was good. John warns 1st century Christians not to promote, support, or accommodate this teaching in any way.
-Secondly, the apostle Paul actually answers this question. In 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, he informs us that he is not telling us to avoid all sexually immoral people in the world—otherwise we could not live in the world. Rather, he warns us not even to eat with those who claim to be Christians who advocate for homosexuality or any other number of serious sins, such as drunkenness.
-Therefore, to have an unbelieving homosexual into our home is not in contradiction to Scripture and can be an excellent witnessing opportunity. However, to have an unrepentant homosexual into our home who claims to be a believer is directly contrary to the teachings of Scripture—that person is promoting dangerously false doctrine.

Question: How can we, as Christians, actively and Biblically witness to people who are deceived into thinking that they are saved?
Answer

-First, we present the message of the Gospel to believers and unbelievers alike. In every one of Paul’s letters, he is constantly writing the Gospel message over and over to believers in Christ in different churches. The Gospel is not a one-time “get out of Hell for free” card that we use and then move on from; rather, the Gospel is the foundation of everything about our Christian lives. The Gospel is not something we do; rather, the Gospel is the message of what Christ has already done for us that therefore defines everything that we now do as His redeemed people (Ephesians 2:8-10).
-Secondly, when we are specifically addressing Christians, we call them to examine themselves, which the New Testament apostles frequently do (1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5). The question the apostles ask every question to ask themselves is not “Were you saved?” but rather “Are you saved?”.
-Finally, preaching the Lordship of Christ is vitally important in calling self-deceived people to salvation. The greatest deception in the church today is that Jesus can be your Savior (save you from sin and give you eternal life) and not be your Lord (define everything about you and your conduct and stipulate every detail of your life from now on). However, those who do not submit to Christ are those who are not saved by Christ (Luke 6:46). All those saved by Christ obey Him (John 15:14).
-In we are in a situation where someone is stubbornly claiming to be a Christian but shows no evidence of continual repentance of sin before God, we should ask them, “Why then do you claim to call Christ your Lord when you will not do what He has commanded?”

Question: How would you help a friend who is struggling with assurance of salvation?
Answer

-People’s doubts about assurance of salvation ultimately come from one of two people: the Holy Spirit or the devil. Either the Holy Spirit is convicting their hearts to their lost state, or the devil is trying to deceive them into thinking they are not saved. Assuring people of their salvation requires some individual investigation as to what precisely is causing them to doubt their salvation. This answer will show some of the common reasons people doubt their salvation.
-“But I have no feeling of love for Christ and am indifferent to Him”. Personal feelings can wax and wane, but nevertheless every genuine believer will have an undying passion for the Lord Jesus Christ. It may sometimes flame brightly and it may sometimes be a small flame, but it will never go out. Depression, discouragement, fear, remorse, guilt, and regret are emotions that can easily cloud our perception of our passion for Christ. Our passion is not proven solely by our self-awareness of our own feelings, but rather by the pattern of our behavior over time. Are we still being faithful to God, God’s Word, and God’s people because we desire to be so? Then that is a confirmation of our salvation.
-“But I have no feelings of remorse over my sin”. By far, this is the most serious of all the objections to assurance of salvation. Indeed, someone who admits they simply don’t care about their sin is not a Christian. Every Christian will feel remorse over their sin (Acts 2:37).
-“But what if I don’t feel guilty enough over my sin?” First, every Christian should feel guilt over sin, but every Christian should also understand that our human feelings of guilt will never save us from sin. Christ’s shed blood on the cross and resurrection from the dead saves us from sin (Ephesians 1:7). Also, Christ felt the infinite weight of guilt and shame and sorrow over human sin in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) that we in our finitude could never fully feel.
-”But I don’t feel good enough to be a Christian”. This objection needs to be handled with some care. It could be that the person has a wrong understanding of the gospel of divine grace and needs to be instructed to abandon works-righteousness for salvation. It could also be that this person is feeling the devil’s accusations in their spirit and needs to be reminded of Romans 8:33. It could also be that this person is being convicted of patterns of sin in their walk with the Lord that previously they had not noticed before.

Conclusion
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:1-7)

Recording
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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Justice against Edom and Deliverance for Israel

Those who read their Bibles regularly or have listened to sermon series in church for many years will doubtless know the major prophets in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah. Also, we are relatively familiar with nations such as Babylonians or the Philistines. We can recall when the Babylonians carried away Judah into exile, and we can well remember the story of David and the Philistine giant named Goliath.

However, one nation we often overlook in our reading and meditation upon Scripture is a nation that began exactly when the nation of Israel began. We overlook a nation that bordered Israel for centuries, and a nation with very close ties to the people of Israel. This nation is none other than the nation of Edom—the descendants of Jacob’s older brother Esau. “Edom”, which means “red” in Hebrew (so named because Esau had red hair), was a nation that developed much faster than their kinsmen named Israel. For example, long before Israel ever had any king or established kingdom, Edom had a long line of kings who ruled over that nation (Genesis 36).

As the centuries passed long after Edom and Jacob had long since died, Edom and Israel would grow into large nations. However, whereas Israel attempted to establish peaceful relations with their brother nation, the nation of Edom hated their Israelite brothers (Numbers 20:14-21). As the apostle Paul makes clear in the book of Romans, God had set His covenant love and favor upon the nation of Israel, for He loved them. Edom, however, He hated. (Romans 9:13) Resultant to this truth was the fact that Edom constantly endeavored to undermine Israel’s position in the Promised Land by aiding and abetting Israel’s enemies. Historically, Edom twice tried to help major enemies of Israel in destroying the nation. In the years 853-841 B.C., the Philistines and the Arabs tried to destroy Israel through repeated invasions. In 586 B.C., Edom actually assisted King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies in destroying the temple and overthrowing the city of Jerusalem.

Such is the setting of the shortest book of the Old Testament—the book of Obadiah. We do not know precisely which Obadiah wrote this book, because we do not know precisely when this book was written. Numerous Obadiah’s occur in Scripture, and if this book takes place in 853-841 B.C., this Obadiah would be a contemporary of the prophet Elijah. If, however, it takes place shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (as traditional scholarship believes), this Obadiah would be a contemporary of the prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

Verse 1 begins by introducing us to the human prophet and the divine author who both wrote this book. “The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a report from the LORD, and a messenger has been sent among the nations: ‘Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!’” Yahweh Elohim thus says to the Edomites in verses 2-3, “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’”

Immediately in the first three verses of this book, Yahweh Elohim charges the nation of Edom with twisting His words. For several hundred years, the Lord indeed had sent prophet after prophet after prophet to His chosen nation to warn them of covenant unfaithfulness. Men such as Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Micah, Zephaniah, and many other men had constantly declared the words of the Lord. When the prophets spoke, God spoke. Their words were none other than God’s words. Yet Israel had not ultimately listened, and hence was carried away into exile. The Edomites, claiming to be justified in banding together with Israel’s enemies in attempting to destroy her, in reality here have become blinded by their hubris and their hatred for Israel. Thus the Lord says in verse 4 that “I will bring you down, declares the LORD.”

In the remaining 5 verses in the opening section of Obadiah, the Lord declares that Edom’s present allies will actually drive the nation out of its land. This indeed happened when the Naboteans, the trading partners of Edom, forced the Edomites to flee their land. Indeed, the Lord asks in verse 8, “Will I not on that day, declares the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of Mount Esau?” He states that “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.” After the Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70, an ancillary effect was that the nation of Edom was also erased from existence forever. No descendant of Edom exists today. The Lord decreed that their nation would be eradicated forever because of their violence levied against Israel. Specifically, in verses 11-14, Edom stood and gloated over Israel’s destruction by the Babylonians and raced to plunder the fallen city. But because Edom did this, God promises personally that He “will bring them down” and “will cut them off forever”.

In verse 15, the Lord then speaks of “the day of the LORD”. This phrase, which occurs often in the Old Testament, can refer sometimes to imminent days of judgment. It also can refer to the eschatological “day of the LORD” described in the book of Revelation. Here, it refers to the final battle waged in Jerusalem at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 16 says, “For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been.” This refers to the final climatic eschatological battle between the King of kings and the armies of the Antichrist.

Yet in God’s glory in judgment is also God’s glory in salvation. Verse 17 promises, “But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.” Israel is promised victory over his enemies, for “The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.”

In the aftermath, “Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau, and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines; they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria, and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.” In the Lord’s covenant with Abraham, land is one of the eternal covenant promises given to the nation of Israel. The redemptive tenor that defines this verse refers to the restoration of national Israel under the New Covenant at the second coming of the Messiah. The Negeb refers to the southern region of Israel, and God promises here to give the land of Edom (modern-day Jordan) to the nation of Israel. The “Shephelah” are the western hills of Israel, and the inhabitants here will possess the land of the Philistines (the modern-day Gaza Strip).

But not only will the future inhabitants of Israel possess the surrounding land of Palestine, the Jews who have been dispersed throughout the world will return to the land of Zion. Verse 20 states, “The exiles of this host of the people of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath”. Zarephath is modern-day Sidon located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. “And the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the Negeb”. While the exact location of “Sepharad” is unknown, it refers to the Gentile regions in which the Jews were exiled first in the 6th century B.C. by the Babylonians and then by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. by the Romans.

Finally, after God’s judgment has fallen upon Edom and God’s salvation has delivered Israel and restored the nation to their covenant land, the first half of verse 21 promises, “Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau”. Mount Zion is the royal city of Israel, and Mount Esau was the royal city of Edom. Mountains also symbolize their respective nations, and Mount Zion symbolizes Israel, while Mount Esau symbolizes Edom. Those anointed by the Lord (“saviors”) shall rule over the land from David’s royal city. Finally, the second half of verse 21 promises Jew and Gentile alike our great eschatological hope: “the kingdom shall be the LORD’s”. One day, the Savior of the world and the Messiah of Israel and the King of kings will sit on His throne in Mount Zion, and the kingdoms of all the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Exaltation of the King of Heaven

Introduction
“Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised! The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?” (Psalm 113:1-6)

Daniel 4:34-37

Context
-In Daniel 4, an aging King Nebuchadnezzar came into conflict with the God of Israel for the final time. For over 30 years, God had installed godly men in the Babylonian court as influences for the pagan monarch. Daniel (known as Belshazzar), Hananiah (known as Shadrach), Mishael (known as Meshach) and Azariah (known as Abednego) were all godly men in their lives, and each one individually proclaimed Yahweh to be the one true God over the kingdom of Babylon. Furthermore, they each declared that King Nebuchadnezzar’s power came from the King of heaven. While Nebuchadnezzar did temporarily acknowledge their God to be a powerful deity, he never truly submitted his life to the Lord and did not acknowledge that the Lord reigns over all the nations and kings of the earth.
-In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar writes a personal letter to all the peoples and nations in the empire of Babylon. He includes a greeting, body, and epilogue. In verses 1-3, Nebuchadnezzar begins by praising the God of heaven. In verses 4-33, Nebuchadnezzar (and most likely Daniel as well) write the body of the letter. Nebuchadnezzar had been given a vision from God that troubled him, and Daniel revealed to him that it was a warning of God’s certain judgment against him and his kingdom if he did not repent and believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
-However, in verses 28-33, Scripture reveals that Nebuchadnezzar would not repent and forsake his consuming pride, and so God instantly defeated him. While Nebuchadnezzar’s mouth boasted of his glory, God’s voice from heaven pronounced the instantly-rendered verdict. Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his kingdom and lived among the animals. He adopted their diet—and to a degree, their appearance. He quite literally lost his mind.  


Verse 34
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;

-In verse 33, we learn of Nebuchadnezzar’s swift demise. He is cast out of the city and out of his kingdom. He no longer lives among mankind and lives out in the wild, where his nails grow like bird’s talons and his hair like eagle’s feathers. This period then lasts for seven years, which has led some critics to question how the kingdom could have functioned without their central monarch. However, Nebuchadnezzar’s government could either be ruled by his son Evil-Marduk during this time (a common practice in the ancient world) or administered by Daniel and his high-ranking government officials. While Babylon was a monarchy, Nebuchadnezzar was not the only figure in government. Many other lower-levels of administration existed, as revealed in Daniel 3:2-3.
-During these seven years, Scripture is silent on what occurred in Babylonian history, except to mention Nebuchadnezzar’s pitiable and humiliating condition. However, just as God had declared, this period of seven years would conclude. Therefore, “At the end of the days”
(
וְלִקְצָת יוֹמַיָּה), the scene suddenly changes.
-Nebuchadnezzar writes, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven”
(
אֲנָה נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר עַיְנַי לִשְׁמַיָּא נִטְלֵת).
-When individuals “lift up eyes” in the Old Testament, it means more than simply visual perception. This phrase constantly occurs at significant moments in the redemptive narrative where events change significantly for better or worse.
-In Genesis 13:14, the Lord told Abram to “lift up his eyes” in order to see the covenant land God promised to him.
-Isaac and Rebekah “lifted up their eyes” when they first saw each other, at the moment when God continued the promised seed and was faithful to His Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 24:63-64).
-Joshua “lifted up his eyes” when he met the incarnate Christ prior to the battle of Jericho (Joshua 5:13).
-Jesus “lifted up his eyes” when he gave the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20).
-In this case, Nebuchadnezzar “lifted my eyes” in the same manner that the Psalmists often did (Psalm 121:1; Psalm 123:1).
-God had now opened up Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes spiritually as well, for he was no longer spiritually blind (Psalm 146:8).
-Nebuchadnezzar says that “my reason was restored to me” (
וּמַנְדְּעִי עֲלַי יְתוּב).
-God was sovereign in taking Nebuchadnezzar’s reason away from him (Daniel 4:31-32) because of the proud rebellion of his heart (Romans 1:28).
-Just as God foretold through Daniel (Daniel 4:24-25), Nebuchadnezzar’s reason now is restored seven years after his initial insanity, because God is sovereign in repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).
-Nebuchadnezzar now does that which only believers can truly say:
I blessed the Most High”
(
וּלְעִלָּיָא בָּרְכֵת).
-Nebuchadnezzar “blesses” (
ברך) God, which means “to kneel down and praise”. Metaphorically, Nebuchadnezzar now bows his knee in submission to the Lord.
-Believers in the Lord bless His great name and acknowledge Him for who He is (Psalm 103:1-4).
-Furthermore, Nebuchadnezzar declares that he “praised and honored him who lives forever” (
וּלְחַי עָלְמָא שַׁבְּחֵת וְהַדְּרֵת).
-No longer does Nebuchadnezzar praise false gods, but now praises the one true God (Psalm 86:12).
-Nebuchadnezzar also acknowledges God’s eternality, which is repeated from Genesis to Revelation (Genesis 21:33; Revelation 1:8).
-Nebuchadnezzar praises God for reasons he now gives in the remainder of verse 34-35. He first praises God
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion” (דִּי שָׁלְטָנֵהּ שָׁלְטָן).
-God’s “dominion” refers to God’s right to reign, and Nebuchadnezzar declares—just as other Scriptures do—that God has the right to reign forever and ever (Psalm 102:24-27; Psalm 145:13).
-Not only does Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge God’s eternal right to rule, he acknowledges that God’s Kingdom is also eternal, for he says, “…
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation” (וּמַלְכוּתֵהּ עִם־דָּר וְדָר׃)
-Jesus Christ reigns as King of kings forever and ever (Psalm 10:16; Jeremiah 10:10).
-The Lord sits enthroned as King throughout eternity and in every age of men. He was King in Daniel’s day, and He is as every much King in our day 2,600 years later (Luke 1:33)

Verse 35
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

-Nebuchadnezzar further praises God because “all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing” (
וְכָל־דָּאֲרֵי אַרְעָא כְּלָה חֲשִׁיבִין).
-Throughout the Old Testament prophets, Scripture declares that God’s omnipotence as so powerful that all the combined forces of the earth are nothing compared to him. (Isaiah 40:15-17)
-Compared to God’s power, mankind cannot even stand in opposition to it (Isaiah 17:13).
-At the end of human history, all the forces of earth and Hell are massed together against Jesus Christ at His Second Coming—and He merely speaks and they are defeated (Revelation 19:11-21)
-God created the entire world and all of humanity (Isaiah 45:18), and man therefore has no ability to oppose him (Isaiah 45:9).
-Throughout history, many mighty empires have arisen. In the ancient world, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Syria, Greece, and Rome all served their place in history as mighty empires. In more modern history in the race for colonization, Great Britain and Spain emerged as empires in the modern period. In the post-modern period, the United States and U.S.S.R. were both two extraordinary superpowers until the U.S.S.R. fell. We know not which empires will rise and fall in the future, yet we do know that all the combined powers of these world empires are nothing compared to the power of God.
-Nebuchadnezzar praises God because “he does according to his will according to the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth” (
וּכְמִצְבְּיֵהּ עָבֵד בְּחֵיל שְׁמַיָּא וְדָאֲרֵי). God does everything according to His sovereign will.
-Nebuchadnezzar refers not only to God’s sovereignty in every part of the cosmos (Psalm 115:3; Psalm 135:6), but also in every realm—both spiritual over angels and demons and over the kings and kingdoms and every man and woman and child on the earth (2 Chronicles 20:6).
-Nebuchadnezzar writes that God’s sovereignty is such that “none can stay his hand”
(
דִּי־יְמַחֵא בִידֵהּ). Whereas earlier Nebuchadnezzar had thought his own hand to be unstoppable (Daniel 3:15), he now sees that this is most certainly not true.
-What God does is not able to be thwarted or able to be stopped in heaven or on earth (Isaiah 43:13; Acts 5:39)
-God’s sovereignty is a cause for great joy and praise on the part of God’s people (1 Chronicles 16:31; Revelation 19:6).
-Scripture also says that none can
say to him, ‘What have you done?’”
(וְיֵאמַר לֵהּ מָה עֲבַדְתְּ׃)
-Both the Old Testament (Job 9:12) and New Testament (Romans 9:19-24) teach that no one has the right to question God.


Verse 36
At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me.

-Nebuchadnezzar reminds us that the moment he repented of his pride, “at the same time my reason returned to me” (
בֵּהּ־זִמְנָא מַנְדְּעִי יְתוּב עֲלַי). God instantly brought about redemption, just as He had sovereignly foretold.
-Nebuchadnezzar also says that “for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me” (
וְלִיקַר מַלְכוּתִי הַדְרִי וְזִוִי יְתוּב עֲלַי וְלִי)
-Babylon was truly a glorious empire, and God was the one who gave Babylon that glory and gave Nebuchadnezzar his majesty and splendor (Daniel 2:37-38).
-God was the One who not only prophesied of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, He was the One who brought those empires to pass and who brought them to their conclusion. God brings every nation into existence and God determines when every nation ceases to exist (Psalm 86:9).
-Nebuchadnezzar reveals that after these seven years and the restoration of his sanity, “my counselors and my lords sought me” (
וְלִי הַדָּבְרַי וְרַבְרְבָנַי יְבַעוֹן).
-During these seven years, Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors sought to restore him to his throne and reestablish him in his kingdom—but behind it was the sovereign hand of God who had decreed that Nebuchadnezzar would be restored to his kingdom (Daniel 4:26).
-Nebuchadnezzar also declares that “still more greatness was added to me”
(
וּרְבוּ יַתִּירָה הוּסְפַת לִי׃).
-True greatness is found in being a follower of Christ, not in being honored in the eyes of man (Deuteronomy 13:4).
-God can restore that which was lost because of sin, as He restores Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom to him here because of his repentance (Joel 2:25-27).
-Not only does God restore, God also promises that He exalts those who are humble (Proverbs 29:23; Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14; James 4:6)
-The greatest example of exaltation of a humble man is found in the exaltation of Christ after His death and resurrection in accomplishing our salvation (Philippians 2:5-11).


Verse 37
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

-The final words recorded by Nebuchadnezzar in this book are given in verse 23. After he wrote this letter, he would live 2-3 more years before he died from old age. Gone is his overweening pride. Now he instead says, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven” (
כְּעַן אֲנָה נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר מְשַׁבַּח וּמְרוֹמֵם וּמְהַדַּר לְמֶלֶךְ שְׁמַיָּא)
-Nebuchadnezzar concluded his testimony with an additional word of praise to God, “the King of heaven.” “Praise,” “exalt,” and “glorify” are all participles in the original and here indicate the king’s continual praise of the Lord[1]
-The lifestyle of a believer is that of continual praise towards our great King, because we have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:15).
-Nebuchadnezzar truly realized that he was part of a greater kingdom than that of Babylon—he was part of the kingdom of God (Hebrews 12:28).
-Our joy and our strength and our peace and our hope comes from knowing that we are part of the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Luke 12:32).
-Nebuchadnezzar praises and glorifies God
“for all his works are right and his ways are just” (דִּי כָל־מַעֲבָדוֹהִי קְשֹׁט וְאֹרְחָתֵהּ דִּין)
-“Works” (
מַעֲבָד) refers to deeds, and Scripture declares that all of God’s deeds—every single one of them—is “right” (קְשֹׁט). (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 98:1; Psalm 145:17)
-“Ways” (
אֳרַח) refers to God’s conduct. Every action of God is holy (Psalm 22:3)
-God’s sovereignty is not a capricious, cold sovereignty such as in the god of Islam, but rather a sovereignty defined by His righteousness and holiness and love for His people (Ephesians 3:20-21)
-Nebuchadnezzar ends by saying that “
those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
(וְדִי מַהְלְכִין בְּגֵוָה יָכִל לְהַשְׁפָּלָה׃).
-Pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), and God orchestrates the downfall of the proud (Isaiah 13:11).
-However, for those who repent of their sins and humble themselves and find eternal life in the Lord, He has promised us that He will be with all those who walk humbly before Him (Isaiah 57:15; Isaiah 66:2).

Conclusion
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:27-28)

Recording

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[1] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 144). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.