Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 11:2-35; 1 John 3:7-24; Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 29:1
Today’s passage in Daniel 11 provides an amazingly specific prophecy about the next 370 years (relative to when it was written). It came true with 100% precision causing Bible-doubters to claim it was written after the fact. But the documentary evidence does not support such a claim.
These passages start of by documenting the rise to power of Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:3-4). Just as predicted, Alexander the Great died at the height of his power at age 32. His kingdom was then split into four parts, each ruled not by one of Alexander’s descendants but by one of his generals.
One of these generals was Ptolemy I who controlled the southern portion of Alexander’s empire, which included Egypt. A man named Seleucus rose to power and took over the land of Syria, placing the coveted Holy Land between them. Daniel 11:5-35 predicts, in great and accurate detail, the wars and alliances (by marriage) that took place between these two men and their descendants over the subsequent years. All of these details are corroborated by non-biblical historical documentation that can easily be found on the Internet.
The way to tell is a person is a true child of God (a born-again believer) is to observe their behavior and their attitude toward sin. People who are not willing to give up their sinful behavior are not God’s children (1 John 3:8). But a true born-again believer will not habitually sin because the Holy Spirit resides inside them, guiding them away from sin toward rightful living (1 John 3:9). This is not to say that believers will not sin. We will as long as we live on this earth. But a true believer does not want to go against God and repents when he/she does.
John is also not saying that “good” living saves a person. It is the salvation that comes first – by God’s grace. The evidence of salvation should be a change in lifestyle from living to sin to living for God.
Notice that everyone is a spiritual child – either of God or of Satan (1 John 3:10). There is no middle ground when it comes to our spirituality. When we die we don’t cease to exist. We don’t become unconscious. We don’t come back as another life form. We go to be with our spiritual father. The good thing is we can choose who that will be. The default is Satan.
But rightful living comes at a cost. Many of Satan’s children will hate God’s children (1 John 3:11-13). I can attest to this. When I was a devout, rabid atheist I hated Christians with a passion. Its embarrassing to recall all the terrible things I said to, thought about, and did to Christians. But when I was born-again in 1992 my attitude instantly changed. At that moment I passed from death to life (1 John 3:13).
Love is not a feeling. Love is an action. Love is sacrifice (1 John 3:16-19). We’ve all read stories of someone who rushes into a burning building to save her kids but ends up dying herself. Or of someone who dies trying to save someone else from drowning. These are acts of love. The person saw someone else in trouble and gave their life to rescue them from that trouble.
That is exactly the same thing Jesus did for humanity. He saw all the horrible things sin does to us. We needed to be rescued because we could not save ourselves from our fate: ending up in hell, separated from God for eternity. So He allowed nails be driven through His wrists and feet to pin Him helplessly to a cross so He could die in our place, thereby rescuing those who believe from the eternal penalty of sin. That is love.
All believers should pray for the city and people of Jerusalem. This is one of the things God has said He would bless us for doing (Psalms 122:6-9).
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