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Daniel 9:24; An End To Sin

08/28_Daniel 09:24; An End To Sin; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220828_dan09_24.mp3

Daniel is praying, confessing his sins and the sins of his people. He is presenting his plea for mercy, that the Lord would turn away his anger and wrath from his city Jerusalem, and that the Lord would make his face shine on his sanctuary. Daniel’s prayer is interrupted at the time of the evening sacrifice by Gabriel with a word from the Lord.

Sabbath Rest for the Land

Daniel was reading Jeremiah, and he discerned that 70 years were decreed for the desolations of Jerusalem, and he understood that this time period was coming to a close. 2 Chronicles 36:21 recounts that one of the purposes of God for this seventy year captivity was to allow the land to enjoy its Sabbaths.

Just like the weekly Sabbath day of rest, God had instructed his people in Leviticus 25 to give the land a Sabbath rest. Every seventh year they were not to plow, plant, prune or harvest, but to live off the plenty produced in previous years. In Leviticus 26 he warned that if they disobeyed, he would send them into captivity so that the land could enjoy its Sabbath rest.

Apparently for 490 years they had not observed this command, so God sent them into captivity for 70 years, to give the land its rest. Daniel understood what brought this punishment on God’s people, he understood that this time was coming to a close, and he is praying, asking God to defend the honor of his great name.

Daniel is praying, and the Lord sends an angelic messenger with a word to interrupt Daniel’s prayer. But this is not simply an answer to his request.

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, …

Daniel was inquiring about the seventy years, and God informs Daniel that there is something bigger going on. Seventy sevens are decreed. A week is a unit of seven; it could be a week of days or a week of years. There was 490 years of disobeience that brought on the Babylonian captivity. There is another 70 sevens or 490 years decreed for God’s people and his holy city.

Jerusalem-Centric

Notice that this prophecy is specifically directed toward the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. Throughout Daniel’s prayer his focus has been on God’s chosen people and his land, specifically his city and his holy temple in Jerusalem. The word that he is given in response to his prayer is also very clearly Jerusalem centered. The ‘seventy-sevens are decreed about your people and your holy city’.

Cycle of Sin

And this word addresses the root of the problem. Throughtout the prayer, Daniel is confessing his sin and the sins of his people. Daniel says ‘we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside, we have not listened, committed treachery, sinned, rebelled, not obeyed, trnansgressed, turned aside, refuising to obey, we have sinned against you, we have not turned from our iniquities, we have not obeyed, we have sinned, we have done wickedly, it is because of our sins and iniquities…’

If we understand anything about the history of Israel, they were stuck in a cycle. They would sin, the Lord would punish, they would cry out, he would rescue, they would enjoy rest and so they would sin again and repeat the cycle. Soil, wash, rinse, repeat; soil, wash, rinse, repeat. The northern kingdom of Israel had gone astray; the Lord sent prophets to warn them, and he sent the Assyrians to punish them. The southern kingdom of Judah did not learn from their example. They had gone astray, the Lord sent prophets to warn them, and then he sent the Babylonians to take them captive. They were stubborn and rebellious, with hearts constantly going astray. This is why they were in captivity in Babylon. This is why God’s anger and wrath had come upon them. Daniel affirms the righteousness of God to punish them for their sins.

This background is what makes the announcement of the angel Gabriel so staggering. There are six purposes of God in this declaration. The first three are negative; to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity. God is going to break the cycle! This is a bigger answer to Daniel’s prayer than he could have imagined. He was confessing his sins and the sins of his people, knowing that his people had a history of sin – confession – forgiveness; sin – confession – forgiveness. Daniel knew that without a real change of heart the cycle would continue. Daniel knew that even in captivity his people were hard hearted, refusing to listen to the warnings of the prophets (v.10), refusing to turn from their iniquities, refusing to gain insight by God’s truth, failing to entreat the favor of the Lord (v.13). Daniel knew that even if God brought his people back to the land, the cycle would repeat itself and they would find themselves back under God’s anger and wrath. His vision in chapter 8 already foretold of a then future little horn who would be allowed to take away the regular burnt offerings because of the transgression of God’s people. Here God makes the stunning promise that he will finally and forever dig out the root of sin.

Finish Transgression

Transgression is the rebellion of the people of God that caused them to be given into the hand of the little horn in chapter 8 (v.12-13). Rebellion, transgression will be firmly restrained.

Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

End Sin

Daniel confessed his sin and the sins of his people in verses 5, 8, 11, 15, 16, and 20. God will put an end to sins. God’s people will not sin any more. Just think of that! God will put an end to sins! Never again will we miss the mark. God will put a stop to our sinning!

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Atone for Iniquity

Daniel confessed iniquity; twisting, perverting, making crooked God’s straight paths in verses 5, 13 and 16.

Psalm 130 starts out:

Psalm 130:3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

And then it concludes:

Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

God will atone for or cover over our iniquity. Atone is the root of the word that described the mercy seat, the lid for the Ark of the Covenant that covered God’s broken law; as he looked down from above the mercy seat or atonement cover, he saw the blood splattered to cover sin and his wrath was appeased. He will once for all finally and forever atone for iniquity.

Isaiah 53 tells of a coming one:

Isaiah 53:5 ​But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 ​All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. … 8 …he was …stricken for the transgression of my people.

Peter in 1 Peter 2:24 says

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Paul tells us how God put an end to sin in Colossians 2

Colossians 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Everlasting Righteousness

Where the first three are negative, to finish, put an end to, cover transgression, sin and iniquity, the next three are positive.

To bring in everlasting righteousness. Daniel has said that ‘to you O Lord, belongs righteousness’ (v.7). He affirmed that all God’s acts are righteous (v.16). He acknowledges that he is not pleading his case on the basis of our righteousness, because we have none (v.18). But here God says that he will bring in everlasting righteousness.

Paul agrees. In Romans 3, he says:

Romans 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;

He says the purpose of the law was:

Romans 3:19 …so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

But then he goes on:

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. …

Not one of us is righteous. God alone is righteous. But God’s own righteousness is given to those who believe in Jesus. God’s righteousness is counted as ours, credited to us.

Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Romans 5 says:

Romans 5:19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Even Isaiah saw this:

Isaiah 53:11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

God’s everlasting righteousness is counted as ours, and we are counted righteous in Christ.

Sealing Vision and Prophet

To seal both vision and prophet. A seal was placed on a document to prove its authenticity and ensure that nothing could be changed or altered. The seal proved the authority and authenticity of what was written. In John 6, Jesus said that God the Father set his seal on the Son of Man.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Jesus came not to abolish but to establish, to accomplish, to fulfill the Scriptures. He came to set his seal to them, to sign his name in blood. He said in John 5

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

Paul writes of Jesus in 2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Not every promise is realized yet, but every promise is secure, sealed to us in Jesus.

To Anoint a Holy of Holies

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Daniel had prayed that God would make his face shine on his sanctuary, which is desolate. God says here that he will anoint a holy of holies. This could be pointing to what Hebrews is talking about:

Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus purified the heavenly holy of holies with his own blood once and for all.

But this may also be pointing to a future Jerusalem temple where sacrifice and offerings will be made, where as Jesus said ‘you [will] see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place’ (Mt.24:15).

Application To Us

These seventy sevens are decreed about Daniel’s people and Daniel’s holy city. This word of the Lord is directly for the Jews, and it will one day be true of the Jews when, as the Lord says in Zechariah

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Revelation looks forward to this day

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

On that day these words will be fulfilled,

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

This is primarily and ultimately for the Jewish people, but it’s bigger than that. In God’s unsearchable wisdom, “through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous” (Rom.11:11).

Romans 11:25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

God will fulfill these promises to Israel, but by God’s amazing grace we Gentiles have been extended mercy, we have been grafted in, we become fellow heirs of all these promsies in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph.3:6)!

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Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

August 30, 2022 Posted by | Daniel, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daniel 6; Jesus in the Lion’s Den

03/13_Daniel 06; Jesus in the Lion’s Den ; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220313_dan06.mp3

Example or Gospel?

The first six chapters of Daniel give us narratives, accounts of what happened to Daniel and his friends in Babylon, and they have many lessons for us on how to live with integrity in a culture that is hostile to God. The second half of the book is primarily the records of prophetic revelation, visions about future events, given to Daniel. Before we jump into that second half, I would like to pause and look back over the beginning chapters of the book, particularly chapter 6, through a different lens.

We can learn much from Daniel as an inspiring example to pursue; his faithful devotion to his God even when it will cost him everything, his blameless record of integrity before God and man, his uncomplaining submission in the face of injustice, his courageous confidence in his God even to death.

But if we are honest, we have to admit that we don’t live up to this standard. Not perfectly. We all fall short. We are not Daniel. If you’re anything like me, these stories can actually be discouraging, depressing, highlighting our own inadequacies, areas where we are not what we know we ought to be. If you resonate with that at all, I have good news for you today. I want to look today at Daniel, not as an example to attain to, but as a pointer to our need for someone to stand in our place, because we all fall short. The gospel, the good news of Christianity, is good news for sinners who are not good enough, who can never be good enough, who can never live up to God’s perfect standard. We all like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one to his or her own way (Is.53:6).

The good news is there is a substitute for sinners, one who stands in our place, lives the righteous life we fall so far short of, pays the debt we owe, and credits us with his perfect record of righteousness. Daniel is a shadow, a hint, a foreshadowing, a pointer to a greater reality, to the good news we find in Jesus.

There are a number of ways Daniel points us to our ultimate hope in Jesus. The message for us is not ‘do’; it’s ‘done’. Not ‘strive’ but ‘receive’; not ‘try’ but ‘enjoy’. So sinners, sit up, lean in, savor the good news about Jesus. Glory in the gospel. Treasure together what you have been freely given.

And here’s the amazing transforming power of the good news; when we stop looking at ourselves, at our shortcomings, at where we need to try harder and what we need to do, and we start looking at Jesus, who he is and what he has done, his amazing self-sacrificial love toward us his enemies, we are undone. We are no longer crushed by the weight of guilt, but that guilt is actually lifted off of us and placed on Jesus. We are freed to be what we were created to be. New desires begin to erupt in our hearts, a passion to live for him who lived and died for us, a readiness to lay down our lives for the glory of the one who laid down his life for us.

So let’s allow Daniel to point us to Jesus.

Sinless

The Bible is a book that is brutally honest. It paints our heroes with startling accuracy. Abraham, father of the faithful, lies about his wife and allows her to be taken into a king’s harem to save his own skin, more than once. He sleeps with his slave girl, gets her pregnant, and then allows his wife to be abusive toward her and sends her and her son away into the wilderness to die.

Jacob, or Israel, after whom God’s chosen people are named, is a cunning deceiver, who weasels his brother out of his birthright, and then robs him of his father’s blessing, and then has to flee for his life. He ends up having children with his two wives and two concubines and experiences a train-wreck of a family life characterized by competition and favoritism and jealousy, that leads his sons to conspire to kill their spoiled younger brother. They end up selling him as a slave, killing a goat and bloodying his special robe, letting their father conclude he was killed by wild animals.

We also read about Judah sleeping with what he thinks is a prostitute, who turns out to be his daughter-in-law. These are the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Then we get to King David, man after God’s own heart, who stays home from battle, lets his eyes wander and watches a woman bathing, sleeps with this wife of one of his top trusted military men while he is off fighting David’s war. When she ends up pregnant he tries to cover it up, calls Uriah home from battle, gets him drunk, and because he has too much character to sleep with his own wife while his comrades are out fighting the battle, David sends him back to the front lines carrying orders for his own execution.

The bible is brutally honest that we all, even the great heroes of the faith, have sinned and fall short, and that we all need forgiveness and rescue. So when we get to Daniel, and we read that his enemies ‘sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him’ (6:4), we begin to wonder. No sin is recorded of Daniel, and even his contemporary Ezekiel names Daniel twice as a righteous man (Ezek.14:14, 20). In chapter 1, Daniel and his friends are said to be ‘without blemish’ (1:4); this is a term describing a requirement for a legitimate sacrificial animal (Lev.22:20-21). Daniel refused to ‘defile’ himself (1:8), another word that points to sin before God (Is.59:3). In chapter 6, Daniel refuses to commit a sin of omission, refusing even to neglect the good that he ought to do. Daniel, in the record before us, is perfect, sinless, righteous, never failing to do the good he ought to do. Daniel is called ‘servant of the living God, …whom you serve continually’ (6:16, 20) by the pagan king. He declares from the pit ‘I was found blameless before [God]’ (6:22).

In this, Daniel is pointing us to Jesus, who, when his enemies ‘were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none’ (Mk.14:55). The Father’s own testimony from heaven, both at the beginning and end of Jesus’ ministry was “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt.3:17;17:5).

Daniel points us to Jesus the ‘lamb without blemish or spot’ who ransomed us with his own precious blood (1Pet.1:19).

Worship

This would also help explain a rather surprising thing we find in Daniel 2:46, where after interpreting the king’s dream,

Daniel 2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.

This feels uncomfortably close to worship, and we are surprised that Daniel does not quickly correct the king and reject this act of apparent worship (Ac.10:25-26). But if Daniel is prefiguring Jesus, Jesus rightly receives the worship of his people (Mt.2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Lk.24:52; Jn.9:38).

Wisdom

Not only was Daniel without blemish, God gave Daniel wisdom and understanding (1:17). When he and his three friends were tested, ‘he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom’ (1:20). Repeatedly God gave Daniel wisdom when all the wise men of Babylon came up empty.

When he was a young boy, we find Jesus ‘filled with wisdom’ and speaking with the teachers of Israel, and ‘all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers’ (Lk.2:40,47). Throughout his ministry, everyone was ‘astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes’ (Mt.7:28-29). Jesus truly embodied the wisdom of God.

Spirit Filled

Nebuchadnezzar recognized in Daniel ‘that the spirit of the holy gods is in you’ (4:8-9,18), and the queen mother and Belshazzar and Darius all recognized that ‘an excellent spirit was in him’ (5:11-12,14;6:3).

Jesus very conception was ‘from the Holy Spirit’ (Mt.1:18-20). At his baptism, the Spirit decended and remained on Jesus (Jn.1:32-33). He was ‘full of the Holy Spirit’, ‘was let by the Spirit’ and ‘returned in the power of the Spirit’ (Lk.4:1,14). He claimed ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me’ (Lk.4:18), and he did his mighty works ‘by the Spirit of God’ (Mt.12:28).

Daniel points us to Jesus, who lived by the Spirit of God.

Prayer

Daniel was committed to prayer. When faced with the threat of death because the wise men failed to discern the king’s dream, he told his friends to ‘seek mercy from the God of heaven’ (2:18). We have several of Daniel’s prayers recorded for us in the book (2:20-23; 9). Daniel was so characterized by prayer that his enemies were able to entrap him by outlawing prayer. And yet he prayed three times a day, as he had always done (6:10, 13).

We see of Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh,

Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

And

Mark 6:46 …he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, …he was alone on the land.

It was his habit to ‘withdraw to desolate places and pray’ (Lk.5:16). On occasion,

Luke 6:12 …he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Throughout his life and ministry Jesus depended on his Father for everything.

In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel intercedes on behalf of his people, confessing their sins as his own. In John 17, before laying down his life for his people, Jesus prayed to the Father for them, that they would know him, that he would keep them, give them unity, sanctify them, and that through their testimony, the world would believe.

It is interesting that the arrest both of Daniel and Jesus came after praying three times, Daniel in his upper room, Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (6:10; Mt.26:39, 42, 44)

Why Do the Nations Rage? v. 6, 11, 15

Consumed with jealousy, the other high officials maliciously conspired against Daniel.

Daniel 6:5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” 6 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

This word ‘came by agreement’ literally means ‘to gather tumultously’, to gather as a mob. This word shows up two more times in this passage (6:11,15); when they gathered to spy on Daniel praying, and when they gathered to demand that the king obey his own ordinance.

The only place in the Bible the Hebrew equivalent to this word ‘gather tumultously’ appears is in Psalm 2;

Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage [gather tumultuously] and the peoples plot in vain?

This is a verbal link connecting these two passages. The nations raged against Daniel; they gathered tumultuously. They conspired together, they took counsel, they plotted against him.

If you are familiar with Psalm 2, you know it is messianic, pointing to Jesus.

Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 ​Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 ​Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Daniel is the one appointed (or anointed if you will) by the king to rule over all his kingdom. The nations rage against Daniel, but they plot in vain. This all points to Jesus, the only begotten Son of YHWH, who laughs at their vain conspiracies, who will crush all his enemies, but who will bless all who take refuge in him.

Daniel and the Cross

We don’t have time to go into detail on all the ways Daniel points us to Jesus, but let me list a few things, and see if they sound familiar.

Both Daniel and Jesus are falsely accused, victims of conspiracy by those whose positions are threatened by them. They are taken while praying in their customary place of prayer. Daniel says nothing in chapter 6 until verse 21, the day after he was thrown to the lions.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

At the end of chapter 5, the wicked king who had no respect for Daniel or his God, clothes him in purple and proclaims him third ruler in the kingdom the very night that kingdom fell. Jesus:

Mark 15:17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Daniel’s innocence and the jealous conspiracy against him was recognized by the king, whose attempt to free him was futile.

John 18:38 Pilate …went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.

John 19:4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”

…6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

Matthew 27:25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

Ultimately Darius, like Pilate, caved to the pressure and had Daniel thrown to the lions.

Why lions? Wild beasts were threatened in Deuteronomy 32:24 as a consequence for covenant unfaithfulness. Jesus quoted the opening lines of Psalm 22 from the cross, a Psalm that expresses many details of the agony of crucifixion, says

Psalm 22:12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. …21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

The Tomb and the Resurrection

Daniel 6:17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

You can’t miss the connection here! Joseph laid the body of Jesus in his own new tomb, and ‘rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb’ (Mt.27:60). At the demand of the religious leaders, Pilate gave them a guard of soldiers, the tomb was made secure and the stone was sealed.

Daniel 6:19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Not a bone was broken (Jn.19:36).

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. …

But here’s a crucial difference: while Daniel was preserved and delivered without a scratch, and his enemies died in his place, Jesus died in place of his evil enemies, he was crushed for our iniquities, and he retains the scars of his sacrifice for eternity. Daniel was rescued from death by his own righteousness; Jesus suffered death on account of our unrighteousness as our substitute.

This is the good news; that although we all sin and fall so far short, we have a perfect substitute who willingly took our place and the punishment we deserve, so we can enjoy him forever. It is finished!

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Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Daniel, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Established by God in Christ through the Spirit

02/04 _2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Established by God in Christ through the Spirit ; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20180204_2cor1_21-22.mp3

Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:1-20

We are in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. We have taken a break for a while, so let’s look back over the first verses to get our bearings.

(1-2) Paul introduces himself with his divine authority, but he makes it clear he is not alone. He mentions his unity with his co-workers. He addresses this new community with a new identity; the church of God; saints. He identifies their new relationship; peace with God that only comes through the grace of our Lord Jesus.

(3-7) He omits his usual thanksgiving for his readers, instead inviting them to bless God with him. God is worthy to be worshiped because he is merciful when we get ourselves into trouble. He gives strength in the middle of adversity; and he gives purpose to our affliction, so that we can comfort others. He identifies the normal Christian life as a cross shaped life of suffering for the good of others, sharing the sufferings of Christ.

(8-10) He lets them in on his own trials, his own sense of despair. He points to the purpose of that despair, to wean from self-confidence so that their confidence would be in God alone, the God who raises the dead. They can have confidence in future rescue because God has always been faithful.

(11) Instead of thanking God for his readers, Paul invites the Corinthians to help him by their prayers, in order that thanksgiving will be multiplied when the many who prayed see God’s blessings in response to their prayers.

(12-14) Paul boasts in the grace of God and not his own wisdom or effort as the driving principle of his life; and he points forward to the final day when both he and his church will boast in each other in the very presence of Jesus.

(15-16) In these verses, Paul begins to explain his change in travel plans, as this seems to have created tension in the relationship. His desire, his heart was to afford them a second experience of grace; a double opportunity to financially support his missionary activity as they sent him on his way. He made his plans for their ultimate good.

(17-20) And then he grounds his decision making in the nature and character of God. God is faithful. God is for us in the gospel. God says Yes to us in Jesus. As many promises as God made, all those promises find their fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, came to be in them, came to live among them through their preaching. This church exists to bring God glory; he makes his decisions to bring God glory. It is all about God’s glory, and it is through Jesus that we get to say the Amen to God for his glory.

In verse 3 he blesses God; in verse 11 he multiplies thanksgiving to God; in verse 14 they will mutually boast in the grace of God; in verse 20 it is through Jesus we can together say the Amen to God for his glory. In fact, in Revelation 3:14 Jesus is called ‘the Amen’.

Amen = Established

This word Amen is actually a Hebrew word brought over into the Greek of the New Testament; it means ‘firm, trustworthy, surely; let it be confirmed, let it be established, so be it.’

He picks this thought up in verse 21 with a Greek word that means ‘to make firm, steadfast, to confirm.’ We can say ‘Amen,’ or ‘let it be established’ to the glory of God, because God is the one who establishes us with you in Christ. All the promises of God are made firm and confirmed for us in Jesus. God is the one who establishes us in Christ through the gift of his Spirit. To God be the glory; we stand firm because of the establishing work of the triune God. We say ‘establish it God!’ because God is establishing us.

Paul used this same word at the beginning of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, … 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—

7…our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(that word ‘confirmed’ in 1 Cor.1:6 and ‘will sustain’ in 1:8 is the same word as ‘establishes’ in 2 Cor.1:21) The testimony of Christ was confirmed, established, made sure in you, and our Lord Jesus Christ will confirm, establish, make you sure to the end. That is the past and the future aspect of God’s establishing work. He established the testimony of Christ, he will establish you irreproachable, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. And here in 2 Corinthians, he is looking at the ongoing present work of establishing.

2 Corinthians 1:21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Us With You

Notice the together aspect of God’s establishing work. God establishes us with you. This is not ‘I’m on my own over here and God is establishing me, and you’re over there on your own being established by God’ as if it were a private personal thing. This is a together with thing. So much of the bible is a together with thing. Yes, of course God works in us each individually, personally. But our culture is one of independence and isolation. We need to pay attention to the ‘us together with you.’ God works in relationship. It is often in the together with relationships that God does his sanctifiying work. We all want to be established in Christ, don’t we? But often we unknowingly resist his work in our lives.

There is 8 years between me and my nearest sibling, so much of my growing up years I was like an only child. I enjoyed a great deal of independence, and I didn’t really have to learn to get along with others.

After I began to walk with Jesus, I could honestly look at myself and think I was doing pretty well. I was so even-tempered, that some of my high school friends would actually do things to see if they could get me angry. It rarely worked.

Then I got married… My wife is an amazing person, and I know most of you won’t believe me, but she is a sinner. And I am a sinner. I’m not saying that she brought out the worst in me, but that relationship, a close intimate relationship with another person stirred up some of the junk that was clogging up my heart. Some of that sin and selfishness and pride that was in there all along became more visible. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. If I don’t know it’s there, I can’t deal with it. I can’t ask God to deal with it in me. I can have all this junk just sitting there clogging up the arteries of my heart and I don’t even know it. I can even become prideful, thinking I’m better than others, which is the worst sin of all.

Many see this happen and want out of the relationship; she brings out the worst in me. He just makes me so mad. That is by design! That’s the point, it was in you, and it needed to be brought out into the open so it could get addressed. Work out healthy patterns of confession and forgiveness and reconciliation.

And then we had kids… God works in us through relationships. Especially through the junk in relationships, the hurt, the offense, the misunderstanding, the pain. Celebrate that. Don’t go around hurting people on purpose. But when you are hurt, celebrate that God loves you and he is at work showing you you so that he can make you the you he intends you to be.

God is establishing us with you. It is a together with thing, that God does in and through relationships with others.

Ongoing Establish-ing

Notice also the ongoing activity of God in this establishing work. This is a present action founded on past completed actions. Establishes is present. It is founded on past complete actions. Has anointed, has sealed, has given his Spirit are all past tense. But establishes is present. It is continuous. It is ongoing. It is not done yet. God is continually at work in us together with you establishing us, confirming us, making us steadfast. This is a process. We often refer to it as sanctification.

Note that Paul the apostle puts himself and his ministry partners right in there with the Corinthians. He doesn’t say ‘I have been established, and now God is establishing you.’ No, God establishes us with you. The Apostle Paul is a work in progress! And he needs the Corinthians and their messy relationship for God to do his work in him.

God Establishes

Notice also who is doing the establishing. God gets the glory; ‘Amen, establish us Lord;’ because God is the one who does the establishing. ‘Us with you’ are the recipients of God’s establishing work. I can’t make myself firm, sure, steadfast. I can’t confirm myself. This is God’s work. The triune God is the one who does this. See that in the text? God, in Christ, by giving us his Spirit. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit conspiring together to confirm and establish us. That’s powerful!

Anointed

Let’s look at how he does this. He lists three things, all past actions, all connected with the work of the Holy Spirit. Each one of these is worthy of its own sermon, but we’ll just go through them quickly.

God anointed us. There’s a play on words here that we miss in the English. In the Greek it reads ‘εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ χρίσας’; because the title ‘Christ’ means ‘anointed one.’ We could translate it ‘God establishes us with you in the Anointed one, and has anointed us’ or ‘God establishes us with you in Christ, and has christened us’.

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests and kings were anointed with oil as a way to set them apart for their specific office of service. Jesus, our great Prophet, Priest and King was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Lk.4:18; Act.10:38). Jesus the Christ is the Anointed one, and this text links us closely with him. I believe this is the only verse that tells us that God has anointed us. 1 John 2 talks about the anointing we have received (v.20, 27). Anointing gives divine enablement for service.

Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

Jesus says in Luke 4:18

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

God has anointed us, like Jesus, with the Holy Spirit for service to others.

Sealed

And God has sealed us. Sealing was a mark of ownership, protection, authenticity and authority. A king or someone with authority had the seal, a ring or cylinder on a cord that could be pressed into hot wax or soft clay to leave an official mark or impression. This is a seal of queen Jezebel, who we know from 1 Kings 21:8 used her husband Ahab’s seal to order the execution of Naboth. The other is an example of a cylinder seal of Xerxes, and its impression in clay, depicting queen Esther. We read in Esther of sealing official documents with the king’s signet ring.

Matthew 27 talks about the tomb of Jesus being sealed to make it secure under the authority of Pilate. Revelation 5 talks about a scroll with seven seals which had to be broken to read the contents. Revelation 7 talks about the servants of God receiving a seal on their foreheads marking them as belonging to God and securing their protection (Rev.9:4).

Ephesians 1 talks about God blessing us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. He chose us for holiness, he predestined us for adoption, he redeemed and forgave us, he predestined us for an inheritance,

Ephesians 1:12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

In this verse we see that the Holy Spirit is both the seal and the guarantee of our inheritance. When we heard the good news and believed in Jesus we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. We were marked out as belonging to God. That’s our part; we hear the gospel and we believe, trust, rely, depend on Jesus.

Ephesians 4:30 tells us by what we say, by what comes out of our mouths,

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God for the day of redemption. We are protected and preserved by him; we bear his mark of authenticity.

Given the Deposit of His Spirit

God is establishing us, he has anointed us, he has sealed us, and he has given us the guarantee of the Spirit in our hearts. A guarantee was a down payment or earnest given. This is different from a pledge, like we see in Genesis 38 in the story of Judah and Tamar; he gave her his signet, cord and staff as a pledge that he would send payment, and he expected to get those things back when he sent the promised payment. An earnest or downpayment is the first part of the payment that guarantees that the full payment will be made, but the earnest money is part of that payment, and is not returned when payment is made.

God has given us his Spirit in our hearts as downpayment. Later, in 2 Corinthians 5 he talks about our resurrection bodies, when ‘what is mortal may be swallowed up by life,’

2 Corinthians 5:5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

This gives us confidence even in the face of discouragement and adversity.

We already looked at Ephesians 1, which uses both the sealing and the guarantee.

Ephesians 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of our inheritance, marking authenticity and ownership, protecting and preserving us for it. The Holy Spirit is also the earnest or downpayment of our inheritance, the first installment of what we will receive. The Holy Spirit in our hearts is not temporary, to be replaced later by something else, he is ours for eternity!

God the Holy Spirit anointing us for service, sealing us as his, living inside of us as the guarantee of an eternity with him! O treasure the gift of the Holy Spirit in your heart!

God is doing his establishing work in us. This is a gift. Don’t try to earn; freely receive. Trust him, lean in, embrace what he is doing. He began the work; he will complete it. He guaranteed it by putting his own Spirit in our hearts.

Respond with a hearty Amen! Glory to the triune God, who establishes us with you, makes firm, makes steadfast, confirms us. Establish us O Lord!

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

February 5, 2018 Posted by | 2 Corinthians, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment