Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bible Study - When Opportunity Strikes - Acts 4:23-31 - November 29, 2015

Bible Study – When Opposition Strikes – November 29, 2015

This is a special lesson to help us consider what if we, as Christians, find ourselves in circumstances where we need to stand firm in our faith like Daniel and his Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Our focus scripture is Acts 4:23-31.

We can boldly face any opposition because GOD is in charge.

As JESUS had promised, GOD sent the Holy Spirit to earth, in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost. Three thousand Jewish worshippers had come to know CHRIST as their Savior via the preaching of the Apostle Peter.

One day, Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray and GOD gave them the opportunity to heal a man, in the name of JESUS. The man had been lame since his birth and he was now over 40 years old. This miracle resulted in 2,000 more Jews coming to a saving knowledge of CHRIST. This threatened the religious positions of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. These religious leaders had Peter and John arrested for presenting CHRIST to those who had embraced the Jewish religion and now accepted CHRIST as their Savior.

Could this happen to Christians today? Are Christians being silenced by religious leaders and institutions? Oh, yes! Unfortunately, many, who call themselves Christians in our churches, have embraced a politically correct agenda. Those filled with and led by the Holy Spirit are considered different and not with modern culture.

Let’s read Acts 4:1-22: (Background)

1 Now as they (Peter and John) were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, 

2 because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in the person of Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 

3 So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 

4 But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.

Notice, the very people who should have known truth were ignorant of truth. Just because a person appears religious and serves in religious institutions does not mean that he or she knows the truth and has the right relationship with GOD through CHRIST. Christians must have the gift of discernment because there are those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Beware!

After an overnight stay in jail, the religious leaders were not through with Peter and John.

5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 

with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 

Notice, those instrumental in having JESUS crucified were witnessing the power of JESUS name. Surely this was a witness to these religious leaders but did their pride and position prevent them from seeing the truth that JESUS was the promised Messiah?

7 After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: "By what power or in what name have you done this?" 

8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders: 

9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man-by what means he was healed-

10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead-by Him this man is standing here before you healthy.

11 This [Jesus] is The stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone. 

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved."

If the religious leaders had not thought that JESUS was the promised Messiah, surely Peter’s message made it clear to them. Pride or position prevents many from embracing truth.

13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and knew that they had been with Jesus

14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 

15 After they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, 

16 saying, "What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it! 

What do we do with truth once it has been revealed to us?

17 But so this does not spread any further among the people, let's threaten them against speaking to anyone in this name again."

18 So they called for them and ordered them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 

Truth threatens. So what do those in earthly authority attempt to do? Put the lid on truth. Do we live in a world that attempts to keep those who know truth silent? Where do we find truth? GOD’S Word, the Bible.

19 But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it's right in the sight of God [for us] to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 

20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.

Once we have seen the truth and accepted CHRIST as our Savior, we cannot stay silent about truth as revealed through our relationship with CHRIST.

21 After threatening them further, they released them. They found no way to punish them, because the people were all giving glory to God over what had been done; 

22 for the man was over 40 years old on whom this sign of healing had been performed.

Even the Jewish religious leaders knew that the lame man was truly lame because they had observed him over the years and now they saw him leaping, jumping and praising JESUS for healing him.

Once Christians experience opposition, what do we need? We seek the comfort and strength of fellowshipping with one another. It is not in fear but in the joy of seeing the hand of GOD work as the Gospel of CHRIST is being spread and the need for prayer for the Gospel to continue to be spread.

Prayer is powerful and is a must as Christians march forward as led by the indwelling Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-13:

10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.

12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 

13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

Since Christians are NOT fighting against flesh and blood, we must be equipped with the spiritual tools used to battle in heavenly places.

This is so vital for Christians today. If you have not seen the movie “War Room” I encourage you to see it. It is powerful. Also, the study led by Priscilla Shirer, Tony Evans daughter, entitled “The Armor of God” is powerful. The study book that accompanies the study is outstanding to help Christians to be focused upon truth as revealed from GOD’S Word, the Bible. These are available from LifeWay book stores or contact

We are living in times when evil is rampant. I believe it is because we, as Christians, are remaining silent when we need to be taking a stand and speaking out.

Let’s read Acts 4:23-28:

23 After they were released, they went to their own fellowship and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 

24 When they heard this, they raised their voices to God unanimously and said, "Master, You are the One who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and everything in them. 

25 You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David Your servant: Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot futile things? 

26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against His Messiah. 

27 "For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 

28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. 

GOD had revealed truth through King David but earthly powers attempted to prevent GOD’S plan from being fulfilled. But the earthly rulers were blinded to truth which was used to fulfill GOD’S plan as we read in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8:

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 

7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 

8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

We as Christians know truth. What will we do with the truth we know?

Let’s read Acts 4:29-31:

29 And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness,

30 while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." 

We as Christians know truth and we must speak truth boldly as GOD gives each of us opportunity. We are to move forward as led by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We must be in step with our LORD JESUS. The power and presence of GOD was manifested through CHRIST through signs, wonders, healings and many other miracles. CHRIST was 100 percent obedient to the leadership of HIS Father. We, as Christians, must be 100% obedient to our Father and in perfect unity, harmony and lock step with HIM as we serve HIM according to HIS plan and purpose for us.

So often, we see GOD manifesting Himself through other Christians and we become jealous or Satan implants thoughts that our faith is inadequate. When that happens we tend to lean on our own understanding and test GOD. We move ahead of the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and we stumble. But even when we stumble, we learn and we get back in step with GOD.

31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God's message with boldness.

GOD gave those gathered together a sign of HIS power among them and confirmed their resolve to move forward in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and with boldness. Christians must keep in mind that this world is not our home or our final destination.

Christians are not upon earth at this exact time by accident but by design and for a purpose. May we all rededicate our lives to CHRIST and seek the fullness of CHRIST in our lives as we function in a world that needs the love of CHRIST as never before. Blessings!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bible Study - Impact (6) - Act Faithfully - Daniel 6:6-10, 13-16, 19-22 - November 22, 2015

Bible Study – Impact (6) – Act Faithfully – November 22, 2015

This is lesson six (6) and our final lesson in the Book of Daniel in our series entitled “Game Changer: How to Impact Your World.”

Our focus scripture is Daniel 6: 6-10, 13-16, 19-22.

GOD is greater than those who oppose you.

Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The world, orchestrated by Satan, tries to maneuver Christians into jobs or political situations which will result in them remaining silent regarding their faith in CHRIST. There are many leaders, workers, teachers, etc. who know the truth yet their hands are tied to express that truth for fear of losing their jobs.

In our previous lesson, Darius (duh-RIGH-uhs) the Mede was made king over Babylon after the joint effort by the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon. Darius implemented a new governing structure where he divided the kingdom into 120 districts ruled by princes or satraps.

These princes or satraps reported to three presidents or administrators who reported directly to King Darius. The primary purpose of these administrators was to reduce corruption in the process of collecting taxes. Since Daniel was a person of integrity, Darius appointed him as one of the administrators and made him chief of the three administrators. In essence, that resulted in Daniel being second in command to King Darius.

Daniel was a Jew and as we see today, when a person of a different race or ethnicity is elevated to a position of authority, jealousy raises its head. It was no different for Daniel. Those equal to and under Daniel’s authority began to look for negative things that would discredit him but could find none. So what do we often do in such situations? We attempt to set traps for the person. They zeroed in on Daniel’s faith and devotion to the One True GOD of the Israelites. Would Daniel compromise his faith in GOD or defy the king’s signed document, which, if he did, would result in him being thrown into the lion’s den? Let’s explore!

Let’s read Daniel 6:1-5: (Background)

The Plot against Daniel

1 Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm, 

2 and over them three administrators, including Daniel. These satraps would be accountable to them so that the king would not be defrauded. 

3 Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. 

4 The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. 

5 Then these men said, "We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God." 

Let’s read Daniel 6: 6-12:

6 So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, "May King Darius live forever.”
This was a common greeting to a king. But I wonder if King Darius thought something was up with these guys? 

7 All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that for 30 days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions' den. 

Appealing to our ego is always something hard for us to turn down.

8 Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed." 
The “law of the Medes and Persians” was “irrevocable and cannot be changed once signed.”

9 So King Darius signed the document.

Daniel in the Lions' Den

10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 

Jerusalem was where the temple was located and that was where GOD dwelled.

11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God. 

Those who wanted to trap Daniel knew his custom of prayer. Daniel could have just not opened the windows. Those who wanted to trap Daniel must have rejoiced when they saw Daniel’s windows open. “We got him now!” was a likely thought. Daniel’s faith was in GOD. His GOD!

12 So they approached the king and asked about his edict: "Didn't you sign an edict that for 30 days any man who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions' den?" The king answered, "As a law of the Medes and Persians, the order stands and is irrevocable." 

I imagine they ran to the king and did high fives when the king confirmed the law of the Medes and Persians. Little did the king know what they had plotted against Daniel.

Let’s read Daniel 6:13-16:

13 Then they replied to the king, "Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, has ignored you, the king, and the edict you signed, for he prays three times a day." 

14 As soon as the king heard this, he was very displeased; he set his mind on rescuing Daniel and made every effort until sundown to deliver him. 

This news made the king very unhappy but he had to uphold the law of the Medes and Persians. Notice, the king automatically began to consider how he could rescue Daniel from the fate of sure death by hungry lions. Did the king have the lions fed?  If he had, the word would have surely gotten out. The king knew Daniel’s faith was in GOD. Did he secretly ask Daniel’s GOD to protect him?

15 Then these men went to the king and said to him, "You as king know it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or ordinance the king establishes can be changed."

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" 

The king’s hope for Daniel’s protection was in Daniel’s GOD. The king knew that Daniel had consistently and obediently served the One True GOD of the Israelites. The king trusted GOD to watch over him, protect him and rescue him.

Let’s read Daniel 6:17-22:

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing in regard to Daniel could be changed. 

The king sealed the entrance to the den of lions.

18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him, and he could not sleep.

The king fasted. Fasting was a practice those who worshipped other gods did. Did King Darius seek the One True GOD or his gods? We do not know. What we do know is that he fasted and was not disturbed and he could not sleep.

Daniel Released

19 At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. 
This shows us how eager the king was to check on Daniel.

20 When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. "Daniel, servant of the living God," the king said, "has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?" 

This may give us a clue that the king was looking to Daniel’s GOD to protect Daniel. What a witness this event was to the king.

21 Then Daniel spoke with the king: "May the king live forever.
Notice, Daniel greeted the king graciously and with respect.

22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths. They haven't hurt me, for I was found innocent before Him. Also, I have not committed a crime against you my king." 

Daniel had honored GOD by not yielding to the written edict of the king and GOD honored Daniel’s unswerving faith by protecting him. Equally, GOD had examined Daniel’s refusal to honor the written edict and in doing so, Daniel had not sinned against the king.

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. So 

Daniel was taken out of the den, uninjured, for he trusted in his God. 

Joy comes in the morning. The king had fasted and had a sleepless night and rejoiced that Daniel’s GOD had protected him. What a witness to the One True GOD of the Israelites.

24 The king then gave the command, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions' den-they, their children, and their wives. They had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Were the lions hungry? Without a doubt! Notice that even the children and wives of those who had orchestrated this act against Daniel were included in those who were thrown into the lion’s den.

Darius Honors God

25 Then King Darius wrote to those of every people, nation, and language who live in all the earth: "May your prosperity abound. 

26 I issue a decree that in all my royal dominion, people must tremble in fear before the God of Daniel: For He is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end. 

27 He rescues and delivers; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." 

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Yes! King Darius placed his faith in the One True GOD of the Israelites. Daniel remained faithful to GOD in the face of losing his life, which resulted in the king receiving salvation. Daniel continued to serve King Darius and GOD. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den in 539 B.C. and his ministry ended in 536 B.C.

How would we measure up? Daniel was willing to die in the lion’s den rather than compromise his faith in GOD. GOD honors faith and faith honors GOD! Blessings!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bible Study - Impact (5) - Confront Sin - Daniel 5:17-28 - November 15, 2015

Bible Study – Impact (5) – Confront Sin – November 15, 2015

This is lesson five (5) in our series entitled “Game Changer: How to Impact Your World.”

Our focus scripture is Daniel 5:17-28.

Call sin what it is and point to what GOD says about it.

King Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. He reigned for 43 years. His son, Evil-Merodach ruled from 562 to 560 B.C.; his brother-in-law, Neriglissar ruled from 560-556 B.C.;  Labashi-Marduk reigned for two months in 556 B.C.; Nabonidus (NAB-uh-NIGH-duhs) ruled from 556 to 539 B.C.; Belshazzar (bel-SHAZ-uhr), the son of Nabonidus co-ruled with his father from 553 to 539 B.C.
Our study fast forwards to the period of King Belshazzar’s rule. Daniel served the kingdom from 605-536 B.C. The Medes and the Persians joined forces to defeat Babylon. Darius and his soldiers diverted the river that ran through Babylon and walked into the city on the dry riverbed in 539 B.C.

The events described in Chapter 5 occurred about 25 years after King Nebuchadnezzar’s death. Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by three different descendants. These events occurred when King Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law, Nabonidus, became king but he was more of an absentee king. He liked to travel, thus Belshazzar became the vice-regent. Belshazzar enjoyed the good life which being in charge of the kingdom offered him. King Nebuchadnezzar was the grandfather of Belshazzar. Belshazzar knew how GOD had dealt with his grandfather, as we will read later. Yet Belshazzar showed disdain for sacred things and openly defied the One True GOD of the Israelites. GOD will not be mocked. GOD sent a profound message to Belshazzar.

This is a message to all of us today. GOD will not be mocked! HE is still sovereign and on HIS throne. JESUS has revealed HIM physically and Spiritually. All who place their faith in CHRIST will receive eternal life and will become GOD’S Sons or Daughters. But HIS desire is for all of HIS true children to obediently serve HIM as they are led by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Let’s read Daniel 5:1-16:  (Background - Belshazzar's Feast)

1 King Belshazzar held a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles and drank wine in their presence. 

2 Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar gave orders to bring in the gold and silver vessels that his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, wives, and concubines could drink from them. 

When things other than GOD’S power controls us, we as humans do dumb things which bring us down. While this orgy was going on, the river was being diverted to allow the enemy to walk in to conquer Babylon. Satan diverts our attention from GOD to destroy us.  

3 So they brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them. 

4 They drank the wine and praised their gods made of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

The Handwriting on the Wall

5 At that moment the fingers of a man's hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the king's palace wall next to the lampstand. As the king watched the hand that was writing, 

6 his face turned pale, and his thoughts so terrified him that his hip joints shook and his knees knocked together. 

7 The king called out to bring in the mediums, Chaldeans, and astrologers. He said to these wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this inscription and gives me its interpretation will be clothed in purple, have a gold chain around his neck, and have the third highest position in the kingdom." 

8 So all the king's wise men came in, but none could read the inscription or make known its interpretation to him. 

9 Then King Belshazzar became even more terrified, his face turned pale, and his nobles were bewildered. 

10 Because of the outcry of the king and his nobles, the queen came to the banquet hall. "May the king live forever," she said. "Don't let your thoughts terrify you or your face be pale. 

11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your predecessor he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the diviners, mediums, Chaldeans, and astrologers. Your own predecessor, the king, 

12[did this] because Daniel, the one the king named Belteshazzar, was found to have an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and perception, and the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems. Therefore, summon Daniel, and he will give the interpretation."

Daniel before the King

13 Then Daniel was brought before the king. The king said to him, "Are you Daniel, one of the Judean exiles that my predecessor the king brought from Judah? 

14 I've heard that you have the spirit of the gods in you, and that you have insight, intelligence, and extraordinary wisdom. 

15 Now the wise men and mediums were brought before me to read this inscription and make its interpretation known to me, but they could not give its interpretation. 

16 However, I have heard about you that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Therefore, if you can read this inscription and give me its interpretation, you will be clothed in purple, have a gold chain around your neck, and have the third highest position in the kingdom." 

Daniel was offered expensive gifts and power, if he could interpret what had happened.

Let’s read Daniel 5:17-21:

17 Then Daniel answered the king, "You may keep your gifts, and give your rewards to someone else; however, I will read the inscription for the king and make the interpretation known to him. 

Daniel’s response to the king’s offer reflected the heart of Daniel toward GOD. Material things are not important, but Spiritual things are of great importance. 
Daniel’s desire was for the king to repent and place his trust in GOD as King Nebuchadnezzar had done.

18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave sovereignty, greatness, glory, and majesty to your predecessor Nebuchadnezzar. 

19 Because of the greatness He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages were terrified and fearful of him. He killed anyone he wanted and kept alive anyone he wanted; he exalted anyone he wanted and humbled anyone he wanted. 

20 But when his heart was exalted and his spirit became arrogant, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken from him. 

21 He was driven away from people, his mind was like an animal's, he lived with the wild donkeys, he was fed grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky until he acknowledged that the Most High God is ruler over the kingdom of men and sets anyone He wants over it. 

Daniel reviewed how GOD had dealt with King Nebuchadnezzar which ultimately led to Nebuchadnezzar living like an animal for a period of time; likely seven years. When Nebuchadnezzar finally looked up to heaven and acknowledged the One True GOD, his sanity was restored.

GOD is sovereign and orchestrates all events. HE alone places those HE chooses over things upon earth and removes them as well according to HIS plans and purpose.

Let’s read Daniel 5:22-24:

22 "But you his successor, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this

What Daniel was revealing to Belshazzar was something he KNEW. It was not hearsay but fact.

23 Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. The vessels from His house were brought to you, and as you and your nobles, wives, and concubines drank wine from them, you praised the gods made of silver and gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or understand. But you have not glorified the God who holds your life-breath in His hand and who controls the whole course of your life. 

24 Therefore, He sent the hand, and this writing was inscribed.

GOD holds us accountable for what we know. Belshazzar knew about the One True GOD but his ego got in his way and he exalted himself above the One True GOD. GOD will not be mocked and HE is sovereign.

Why do we have the Bible? The Bible is just as relevant to us today as the day it was written. The Bible reveals the nature and expectations of GOD. Today, we know the truth through JESUS the CHRIST and the expectations of GOD for living as HIS children. Are we measuring up? Are we abusing or taking lightly the Holy things of GOD by compromising?

Let’s read Daniel 5:25-31:

The Inscription's Interpretation

25 "This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN

The king’s sages likely knew the words but did not know the message the words communicated. The word “MENE” was stated twice which likely communicated the profound, irreversible nature of things already happening. Some Bible scholars relate these words to specific weight measure: mina, shekel and parsin, meaning “half,” such as “half-mina,” “half-shekel” or “half-parsin.” P. 116 in Herschel Hobbs Commentary, LifeWay, fall, 2015, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175. The idea was that Belshazzar failed to measure up to GOD’S standard.

26 This is the interpretation of the message: MENE [means that] God has numbered [the days of] your kingdom and brought it to an end. 

MENE relates to counting or being numbered. The days of Babylon were numbered and were coming to an end. Babylon was secure as a city but little did the king know how vulnerable the city was. The fact that “MENE” was repeated twice, revealed the impending doom.

27 TEKEL[means that] you have been weighed in the balance and found deficient. 

“Weighed” carried the idea of a balance where a standard weight was placed on one side and the thing to be measured on the other side. Simply GOD had placed Belshazzar on the scales and he failed to measure up according to GOD’S righteousness.

28 PERES [means that] your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians." 

PERES is the singular form of “UPHARSIN.” It carried the idea of “half” or to break into half or divide. [P.117 of Hobbs Commentary.] The word “PERES” related to Persia, thus Babylon would be divided between the Medes and the Persians.

In fact, while Daniel was telling this to Belshazzar, the enemy was coming into the city and Belshazzar would be killed that night, as we will read in verse 30.

29 Then Belshazzar gave an order, and they clothed Daniel in purple, [placed] a gold chain around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 

Contrary to Daniel’s rejection of the gifts the king wanted to give him, the king gave Daniel gifts. Why? Could it be that if he honored Daniel in such a lavish way, the One True GOD would not carry out HIS plan to conquer Babylon? GOD cannot be bribed. HE says what HE means and means what HE says.

30 That very night Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was killed, 

31 and Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of 62.

GOD will not be mocked. HE had revealed Himself in a very visible and mighty way through King Nebuchadnezzar to the royal household but they turned their backs on the One True GOD. GOD gave King Belshazzar and all those in the banquet a very real and graphic sign of HIS presence and sovereignty. GOD’S desire is for all to know truth and to abide by truth. HE will not be mocked. This is a message to us today.

True repentance may change the course of events but sin always has consequences. If you have not repented of your sins, now is that opportunity. 

Please ask CHRIST to forgive you for your sins and ask HIM to come into your heart now and experience the indwelling Holy Spirit and the assurance of eternal life through the miracle of rebirth as GOD’S Son or Daughter. Get to know GOD and CHRIST by reading the Bible, such as the Book of John or Mark and talk to HIM by praying.

As GOD’S child you can come into HIS presence and call HIM “Daddy.” If you have issues with HIM tell HIM and ask HIM to help you resolve them so that you can obediently serve HIM without hindrance. Ask HIM to help you grow and mature Spiritually. 

Growth does not happen overnight, it is a process of daily living and experiencing HIS presence in your life. Salvation is just the beginning of a life long journey. Blessings!!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Bible Study - Impact (4) - Live Humbly - Daniel 4:28-35 - November 8, 2015

Bible Study – Impact (4) – Live Humbly – November 8, 2015

This is lesson four (4) in our series entitled “Game Changer: How to Impact the World.”

Our focus scripture is Daniel 4:28-35.

Pride leads to downfall but GOD honors humility.

Our previous lessons reveal that GOD was revealing Himself to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king realized that the GOD of the Israelites was more powerful than his gods but he hung onto his gods. 

This lesson reveals the extent GOD will go to reveal Himself to people.

Let’s read Daniel 4:1-27: (Background)

Nebuchadnezzar's Proclamation

1 King Nebuchadnezzar, to those of every people, nation, and language, who live in all the earth: May your prosperity increase. 

2 I am pleased to tell you about the miracles and wonders the Most High God has done for me. 

3 How great are His miracles, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.

This is the king’s testimony of the One True GOD of the Israelites working in his life. As we have studied the king’s life, we have seen how GOD has attempted to reveal Himself to the king. The king saw GOD manifested through the lives of Daniel and his friends but he did not see GOD as the One True GOD for his life. GOD was just another god who had more power and presence than his gods. We have seen that GOD was appealing to the king in mighty ways.

GOD pursues every person. HE does not want to see anyone perish but to have everlasting life through faith in JESUS CHRIST, Who is the only way to heaven. It is GOD’S desire to reveal truth to every human. HE works in the innermost part of our being, which is referred to as the “eyes of our heart.” Since, GOD did not make humans as robots, HE made each person with the freedom to choose. A person’s relationship with HIM is his or her choice. HE leaves it to each individual whether or not to accept CHRIST as his or her Savior. GOD knows the hearts of every person who has lived and will ever live. HE will be the judge of every person on that final day. Since GOD is intimate with every person, that qualifies HIM as the perfect Judge.

If this concerns you, JESUS made it very plain in HIS very words recorded in John 5:24-27:

24 "I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. 

25 "I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 

27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

Ask JESUS to forgive you for your sins and ask HIM to come into your life and you will pass from death to life and not be judged. You will receive eternal life at that instant and will be a born-again as GOD’S Son or Daughter. Eternal life is instant. Yielding your life to GOD and obedient service to HIM, as you are led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, results in eternal rewards. Once born into GOD’S family your salvation from sin and death is secure; rewards are the icing on the cake so-to-speak.

The Dream (The king has another dream.)

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. 

5 I had a dream, and it frightened me; while in my bed, the images and visions in my mind alarmed me. 

6 So I issued a decree to bring all the wise men of Babylon to me in order that they might make the dream's interpretation known to me. 

7 When the diviner-priests, mediums, Chaldeans, and astrologers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not make its interpretation known to me. 

This time the king revealed his dream and his advisors could not give him an interpretation. I wonder why they did not try to con the king and just give him something. Could it be that they thought the king would likely call upon Daniel for his advice? I think so and Daniel would reveal the truth to the king. This is another testimony of GOD to the king, as well as to his advisers.

8 Finally Daniel, named Belteshazzar after the name of my god-and the spirit of the holy gods is in him-came before me. I told him the dream: 

9 Belteshazzar, head of the diviners, because I know that you have a spirit of the holy gods and that no mystery puzzles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its interpretation. 

The king failed to see GOD as the One True GOD. Up to this point in the king’s life, GOD had revealed Himself through events involving Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Now, it was time for GOD to make HIS power known to the king in a very real and powerful manner.

10 In the visions of my mind as I was lying in bed, I saw this: There was a tree in the middle of the earth, and its height was great. 

11 The tree grew large and strong; its top reached to the sky, and it was visible to the ends of the earth. 

12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit was abundant, and on it was food for all. Wild animals found shelter under it, the birds of the air lived in its branches, and every creature was fed from it. 

13 As I was lying in my bed, I also saw in the visions of my mind an observer, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 

14 He called out loudly: Cut down the tree and chop off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it, and the birds from its branches.

15 But leave the stump with its roots in the ground, and with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the tender grass of the field. Let him be drenched with dew from the sky and share the plants of the earth with the animals.

Bible scholars view the “band of iron and bronze” in a number of ways. It was a reference to future prophesies.   

16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man, and let him be given the mind of an animal for seven periods of time.

Likely the “seven periods of time” related to seven years.

17 This word is by decree of the observers; the matter is a command from the holy ones. This is so the living will know that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men. He gives it to anyone He wants and sets over it the lowliest of men. 

18 This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because none of the wise men of my kingdom can make the interpretation known to me. But you can, because you have the spirit of the holy gods.

The Dream Interpreted

19 Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was stunned for a moment, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king said, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream or its interpretation alarm you." Belteshazzar answered, "My lord, may the dream apply to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your enemies! 

Why do you think Daniel was stunned? Could it be that Daniel saw the prosperity of the king’s rule and thought that the king’s relationship with GOD was intact? The Jews generally thought prosperity was a witness of GOD’S favor upon a person. Could it be that Daniel was shocked that GOD would appeal to the heart of a king who worshipped other gods again? The point being for whatever reason, “Daniel was stunned.”

20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth, 

21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant-and on it was food for all, under it the wild animals lived, and in its branches the birds of the air lived- 

22 that tree is you, the king. For you have become great and strong: your greatness has grown and even reaches the sky, and your dominion [extends] to the ends of the earth. 
The Babylonian Empire was truly impressive. The king had made Babylon the capitol of Babylonia into a stunning city. Not only did he have Babylon a city of beauty but the cities he conquered.

23 "The king saw an observer, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump with its roots in the ground and with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the tender grass of the field. Let him be drenched with dew from the sky, and share [food] with the wild animals for seven periods of time.' 

Would Daniel reveal truth to the king or hold back? The sin of pride and self-sufficiency has consequences. Let’s read on.

24 This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the sentence of the Most High that has been passed against my lord the king: 

25 You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals. You will feed on grass like cattle and be drenched with dew from the sky for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men, and He gives it to anyone He wants. 

26 As for the command to leave the tree's stump with its roots, your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 

27 Therefore, may my advice seem good to you my king. Separate yourself from your sins by doing what is right, and from your injustices by showing mercy to the needy. Perhaps there will be an extension of your prosperity."

Daniel saw that GOD was planning to deal with the king is a very harsh manner but the king may have an opportunity to divert his destiny by good works. Apparently, Daniel felt compassion for the king and possibly, in general, that the king had a good heart. But having a good heart does not build the right relationship with GOD.

GOD gave the king an opportunity to seek truth and build his relationship with HIM. But did he? Let’s read on.

Often, we have to be broken before we can come to GOD with the right attitude before we can build the right relationship with HIM.

Let’s read Daniel 4:28-30:The Sentence Executed

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 

This is a transitional verse which connects the events in verses 4-27 with their fulfillment in verses 29-34. “All this” refers to the dream the king had some 12 months earlier. The king was giving this account. In essence, it was the testimony of his conversion experience. Verses 28 and 29, read like a person introducing the king. GOD is not a respecter of persons. HIS judgment falls upon all.

29 At the end of 12 months, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon,

30 the king exclaimed, "Is this not Babylon the Great that I have built by my vast power to be a royal residence and to display my majestic glory?" 

[A description of some of the achievements the king accomplished in Babylon is written at the end of the lesson. History confirms that King Nebuchadnezzar was a master builder. The king did these things to display his “majestic glory.”]

Remember pride and self-sufficiency was the king’s sins. GOD gave the king a year to ponder the dream and respond to HIM. What did the king do? He walked on the roof top of the royal palace in Babylon and proudly looked over all “he had built” and what he had accomplished.

Does this remind you of the parable JESUS told in Luke 12:15-21:

15 He (JESUS) then told them, "Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one's life is not in the abundance of his possessions." 

16 Then He told them a parable: "A rich man's land was very productive. 

17 He thought to himself, 'What should I do, since I don't have anywhere to store my crops? 

18 I will do this,' he said. 'I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 

19 Then I'll say to myself, "You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself." ' 

20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared-whose will they be?' 

21 "That's how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

GOD is sovereign over all things. We can acknowledge that fact or continue to deny it but the fact is GOD is in control and HE never overrides our will. We will suffer the consequences for our decisions.

GOD preserved these Biblical accounts for us to glean truth from them and come to HIM through HIS One and Only SON, JESUS. Salvation is a free gift, why do people find it so hard to return GOD’S love by rejecting CHRIST as their Savior.

As the king was patting himself on the back, GOD intervened in his life. There are times that our lives take an abrupt turn. Our eternal life is more important than our physical life.

Let’s read Daniel 4:31-33:

31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you. 

32 You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals, and you will feed on grass like cattle for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men, and He gives it to anyone He wants." 

33 At that moment the sentence against Nebuchadnezzar was executed. He was driven away from people. He ate grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky, until his hair grew like eagles' [feathers] and his nails like birds' [claws].

GOD says what HE means and means what HE says. That is truth to all people, including today.

Let’s read Daniel 4:34-35: Nebuchadnezzar's Praise

34 But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. 

The king finally got it right. Notice what the king did, “he looked up to heaven.” It is exciting to see GOD acknowledge our surrender to HIM. Often, we think we have to use glowing words for GOD to save us but often it is simply looking up and seeing CHRIST as our Savior. The king yielded his pride, arrogance and self-sufficiency and embraced the One True GOD of the Israelites. GOD immediately met his need for salvation. The king did not clean up when he looked up to heaven but he came to GOD just like he was. Do you recall the song, “Just as I Am?” That is exactly how GOD wants us to come to HIM and HE cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

After years of trying to live the Christian life in my strength, I simply asked the LORD to take my life just like it was; the good and the bad and to help me to live the Christian life. Faster than the twinkle of the eye HE took it. That was in 1971 and there have been many ups and downs but I have always known that I was HIS Son and always in HIS hands.

35 All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, "What have You done?" 

GOD is sovereign in heaven, earth and the universe. No one can control GOD or challenge HIS authority. GOD is in control. All the power humans can amass is nothing when compared to GOD’S power.

36 At that time my sanity returned to me, and my majesty and splendor returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and my nobles sought me out, I was reestablished over my kingdom, and even more greatness came to me. 

GOD restored the king. GOD preserved Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. Now he could enjoy what GOD had allowed for him to enjoy while he was still upon earth. Now he knew truth and what GOD had allowed him to experience upon earth. He would look upon his kingdom through GOD’S eyes. He knew who was boss.

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of heaven, because all His works are true and His ways are just. And He is able to humble those who walk in pride.

WOW! Once we see truth, we rejoice! Do you know truth? Do you know JESUS CHRIST as your Savior? If not, now is that opportunity to pray and ask HIM to forgive you for your sins and to come into your life. If you did, ask HIM to lead you to a church that can help you to grow and mature Spiritually. Blessings!!!

Ancient Babylon – Copied in general from “BIBLE Studies for Life” page 122, published by  LifeWay One LifeWay Plaza,  Nashville, TN 37234, SSN: 2330-9822; Item 005075045.
Under King Nebuchadnezzar’s leadership the Euphrates River was channeled into reservoirs throughout the city. A bridge 400 feet long connected the east and west sections of the city. He created magnificent streets including the opulent Processional Way that was a thousand yards long (that is ten football fields) and led to the massive seven level ziggurat that towered over 280 feet. He created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. He built an irrigation system that allowed for year-round beauty. He designed stone walking places throughout the landscape. He had two massive walls and a water-filled moat surrounding the entire city. The first set of walls encompassed the main city or city limits. The inner wall was approximately 21 feet thick and the outer wall was approximately 11 feet thick. Both walls were accented with watchtowers. Later the king built a second set of walls – The outer wall was over 25 feet thick and the inner wall was 23 feet thick. The walls were roughly 35-40 feet high and in some sections reached 300 feet. These walls covered a distance of 17 miles and were wide enough for two chariots to travel across the top. The king claimed credit for these achievements and prided himself on being a creator. I marvel at the ingenuity of these ancient civilizations.