2018-01-24 / Religion

God calls us to have strong faith

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Daniel 10, 11

The ministry of the prophet is, usually, in either of two phases. This individual is divinely called to (1) forthtelling or (2) foretelling. The first of these aspects of ministry usually is the presenting of a call to repentance, or other type of spiritual correction, or for encouragement. The second aspect is that of describing future events. This second aspect can involve situations that are coming in the near or the distant future.

The call to repentance directed toward the individual or nation is, usually, a clear message. The language is specific, and often a blunt delivery. The forthtelling can involve direct statements, or couched in symbolism. The person used to deliver these messages does not always understand the meaning of their declarations. However, over time, the details would — or will — be made clearer to those who would read the words.

The prophetic words were — are — not dependent upon the intellect nor insight of the one who is speaking or writing the words. The apostle Peter explained, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (Spirit).” 2 Peter 1:21. The Apostle Paul assured all readers, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (mature), throughly (thoroughly) furnished (fitted) unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

After the prophet, Daniel, prayed his great prayer of national repentance, he wrote, “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in a vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation (sacrifice).” Daniel 9:21. This angelic visit came about three o’clock in the afternoon. Daniel reported that “he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Daniel 9:22.

Daniel was given a vision of a heavenly being. The description given is similar to that of the vision given to the apostle John, when he was on the Isle of Patmos. See Revelation 1. Those who were with the prophet were affected by the vision, but knew no part of this divine encounter. Daniel 10:7, 8.

At a later time, the prophet wrote, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel… and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long (far off): and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.” Daniel 10:1. The prophet reported, “In those days, Daniel was mourning three full weeks.” Daniel 10:2.

As one reads prophecies, it is important to remember that the divine visions are given from the perspective of the “spirit world.” The physical world and the spirit world come together, but must be recognized as distinct. As Daniel was in his time of mourning, he had a heavenly visitor — “And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.” Daniel 10:10. This visitor addressed the prophet in a special way — “And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved…” Daniel 10:11a. He was given a directive — “understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent.” Daniel 10:11b. The response of the prophet was immediate — “And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.” Daniel; 10:11c.

From the human perspective, heaven had been quiet during the time that Daniel was mourning. However, in the spirit world, much was taking place. The visitor told the prophet, “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” Daniel 10:12. The reason for the delay was given — “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one (the first) of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:13.

The hinderance in the spirit world was the action of demon spirits that opposed the Divine revelation. The “prince of the kingdom of Persia” was — is — a demon or evil spirit that influenced — inspired — the physical king of that country. As we read prophecies, it becomes obvious that there are many of these evil ones who inspire the human rulers.

The heavenly visitor gave Daniel more important information — “Now I am come to make thee to understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.” Daniel 10:14.

The response of Daniel to this information affected his physical being. “And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.” Daniel 10:15, 16.

The prophet began to wonder how he could carry out the open declaration of the vision. “For how can the (this) servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.” Daniel 10:17.

Human effort is not sufficient to carry out the divine plan. “Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.” Daniel 10:18, 19.

We might not have the same kind of vision that Daniel experienced. However, the same Heavenly Father — the creator of the universe — calls all mankind to come to Him. John 3:16. Do you know Him, as the Lord of your life? If not, please let Him be your Savior, today. Romans 10:9, 10.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. c om

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