Living in the Last Days
Faith, Strength, Hope, and Victory from Daniel and Revelation.
By J.R. Reyes
In every generation there are some people who believe that Jesus would returned in their life time. That should not surprise us since it seems that with progress and increase knowledge humanity also finds new ways to do what is wrong in the eyes of God in a more efficient ways. The signs of which Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24 seems to be the leading stories of the 10 o’clock news. Meanwhile, the debates among some bible scholars about the timing, sequence and significance of end-time events seem to muddy the waters more than bring clarity. Because of this we tend to treat eschatological passages as interesting and mysterious passages that entertain our imagination and make great movies, but not necessarily inform our daily walk with the Lord.
I believe that we can study God has given us a great gift in His special revelation to include us in his plans. Jesus said:
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15 ESV)
We are expected to understand and actively respond to the word of God reveled to us in scripture. With that in mind we are going to spend the next 10 weeks exploring and applying passages from Daniel and Revelation that should informed and shape our daily walk with Jesus. This study is not intended to decipher the mysteries of apocalyptic language or the significance of every imagery. Instead, we will consider uniqueness, exclusiveness and the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
Lesson #1: Where do you stand?
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore, he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
Daniel 1.8 (ESV)
The year is 605 BC Israel has a “puppet” King appointed by the Chaldeans Empire. Nebuchadnezzar is a prince conducting military campaigns on behalf of his father Nabopolassar. While it was king Nabopolassar who gained Chaldean independence from the Assyrians, Nebuchadnezzar would build the mighty Babylonian Empire. His impact in the world was such that to this day he is recognized across many cultures as one of the most successful and powerful rulers in history.
Nebuchadnezzar’s success had two parts. First, his military superiority and strategy. Second, his assimilation of conquer people into Chaldean culture. He was not satisfied with collecting tribute from his conquered foes, but he sought to mine the intellect and wisdom richness of his subjects. In book of Daniel we find the account of a young Jewish man who found himself in the middle of an indoctrination program that would challenge his believes to the core of his being.
Training and Choice
You need to make a choice or someone will make it for you. Daniel’s world was a complicated one. Not only was he torn away from his home and away from the familiar, but got thrown into a foreign culture with strange gods, different language and morals. His survival intuition had at highest alert. How was he going to survive? What was the smart strategy? Go with the flow? Don’t bring attention to yourself?
Take a couple of minutes to pray and ask the Lord to guide you as you read Daniel 1.
- Daniel relied on his upbringing and training provided by his family.
- Daniel makes decisions in what he know, not in what he does not.
- Daniel’s relationship with God and His word informs his choices.
- What are some of the strategies that our culture uses to assimilate people?
- What are some of the ways that we can be “defile” today?
- What are the dangers of separating the spiritual life from the “real” life?
- What are the principles that you are not willing to compromise?
- How does your relationship with Jesus informs your choices?