Daily Scripture reading for the week is at the end of the page.
Dr. June Normil
Two years after the vision about four beasts (Daniel 7), Daniel received a vision revealing world events covering the next 400 years. It warned of the dangers that the Jewish people would face when many of the Jews would abandon their faith to adopt heathen practices. This vision gave more details about the second and third kingdoms in the Daniel 7 vision. The ram's defeat by a goat symbolized the rise of the Greek empire (verses 5-8) which would occur two centuries later (331 BC). The "notable horn" (verse 5) was Alexander the Great. under Alexander's leadership, Greece was unstoppable (verses 4,7). But Alexander died at age 32, and his four leading generals divided the empire among themselves (verse 8). The little horn of verse 9 likely refers to the rise of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, after the Greek Empire divided. Sadly, many Jews were misled by Antiochus's plan to force God's people to adopt Greek pagan worship as their own. God had His hand on history. Alexander brought sweeping cultural changes to the Middle East, and Greek became the common language. This would later allow the gospel to be spread clearly in written and spoken form.
[For Personal Reflection] In what ways have you seen God involved in the course of history?
Beginning in Daniel 8:15, the angel Gabriel, a messenger from God who is prominent elsewhere in Scripture, appeared to Daniel. Gabriel would explain the meaning of this strange vision to Daniel (verses 16-18). It was a vision of the future and was related to God's judgment concerning His people due to their sinfulness (verse 19). As noted in Main Point 1, the Jewish people would suffer God's discipline, even as He guided the course of the world's kingdoms. Christians can rest assured that God knows the future and is in control of what happens to them. God doesn't always answer the "Why?" questions. But He does remind us that we can trust Him. Remember: The same God who loves you is in full control of all that happens in this world.
[For Personal Reflection] How can you become better at hearing from God when the world around you seems chaotic and fearful?
While recognizing that Scripture does not give us all the specifics of prophecy, passages like Daniel 8 can greatly encourages our faith by demonstrating its truth and reality. Prophecy also gives us insight into what God has planned for this word. The fulfillment of Daniel's visions in history can affirm your faith in God's knowledge and sovereignty. Scripture is clear: God's plan for the future includes the return of Jesus Christ to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. Scripture is also clear regarding how believers are to live in light of His return. This includes relying on God's grace for godly living. We are furthermore called to be watchful in prayer and to encourage fellow believers to be loving and to do good. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to (1). Inform others of Daniel's vision, explaining how it was fulfilled and how it advanced God's plan of salvation. (2). Encourage others to consider that God's knowledge of world empires means He also knows the course of their lives. (3). Challenge others to live out their faith by humbly acknowledging that God is directing their paths.
STAND STRONG IN YOUR FAITH!
Copyright Reference: Radiant Life, Volume 101 Number 3 Mar. Apr. May. 2020 by Gospel Publishing House, 1445 N. Boonville Ave, Springfield, Mo 65802.
Dr. June Normil
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