“Walk Lightly, In Love And Life” – One Year Bible Reading – December 1

Old Testament: Daniel 8:1-27

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Daniel 8:1-27    An Epiphany For Antiochus

Daniel’s vision in chapter 8 came two years after the one in chapter seven, around 551 B.C.  In verses 3 and 4, he sees a vision of a ram representing Medo-Persia (outright stated in v. 20).  The male goat in verses 5 -7 represent Greece (outright stated in v. 21).

The great horn in verse 8 was Alexander the Great.  He died at the age of 32 and his kingdom was divided amongst his four generals.  The kingdom was divided into Macedonia, Thrace/Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt.

The little horn in verse 9 was the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes.  McGee says he was demon-possessed and as bad as Hitler.  He persecuted the Jews and desecrated the Temple by offering a pig on the altar.  The “pleasant land” is Israel.  Some prophecies have a “near” and a “far” interpretation.  The “near” interpretation was that the little horn represented Antiochus.  The “far” interpretation was that the little horn represented the Antichrist during the Tribulation period.

Verse 14 speaks of a persecution that would last for 2,300 days which would begin in 171 B. C. and end on Dec. 25, 165 B. C.  The Jewish priest, Judas Maccabeus aka “the hammer” (not kidding) drove the Persians out of the Temple after about six years (2300 days).  The Feast of the Lights is celebrated by Jews till this time to commemorate this event (cf. Jn. 10:22).  It isn’t mentioned in the OT because it occurred after the OT was written.

The angel Gabriel (v. 16) gave Daniel the meaning of the vision.  He is only one of two good angels mentioned by name in the Bible (cf. 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26).  The other is Michael (cf. 10:13; Jude 9).  As often happens in Scripture, Daniel fell down before Gabriel.  You would, too, if you saw an angel.  Gabriel told him the vision concerned the end times, more specifically it will occur in the Seven Year Tribulation.  He said the kingdom of Alexander, the broken horn (cf. v. 8), and the other four smaller horns represented four kingdoms (v. 22).  They were led by Antiochus (vv. 23-25, cf. 9, also see extra-biblical Maccabaeus 1-6).

All of this made Daniel sick (v. 27) though he continued in his duties for the king.

New Testament:  1 John 2:1-17

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1 John 2:1-17    Walk Lightly, In Love And Life

The Apostle of Love enjoyed referring to his flock as “My little children”(cf. v. 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:28).  Sin causes a rift beween us and God.  The purpose of the Bible is to let us know how we can have fellowship and a relationship with God.  Sin ruins the fellowship whether we are saved or unsaved.  If unsaved, we need to admit we are sinners and trust Christ (cf. 1 John 5:11-12).  If we are saved, we have to confess what we know will offend Him (cf. 1:9).  The norm for the Christian life is that we do not sin (v. 1a).  If we happen to fall into sin, Jesus is our “lawyer” who defends us as our “Advocate” (v. 1b).  He pleads His blood for us which will satisfy (meaning of “propitiation,” v. 2) God.  Contrary to what some may believe, John states clearly in verse 2 that Christ died for the sins of everyone who ever lived, “for the whole world” (v. 2c).  His meaning is unequivocal and cannot be misunderstood.  He died for the sins of the saved (v. 2b, “not for ours only”) and also for everyone else’s.  His sacrifice is applied to all who trust Him (cf. John 1:12, Titus 3:5; Eph. 2: 8-9).  How did Christ die for those who do not trust Him?  It is the grounds of their condemnation (cf. John 3:18).  

If you’ve wondered how you can know you are saved, John tells us that whoever has trusted Christ will do what God wants (v. 1).  He will show how much he loves God (v. 5, “love of God has truly been perfected”).  Anyone who claims to know Him and doesn’t do what He wants is a liar (v. 2).  A person can tell if they’re walking with God or not because they’ll act like Him (v. 6).

John’s other favorite designation for those in his care was “Beloved” (v. 7, also 3:2; 21; 4:1, 7, 11, 3 John 1, 2, 5, 11).  John told his readers that he wasn’t writing them anything really new.  He did expect them to keep the old commandment though (v.7).  They had had the commandment since the “beginning,” the beginning of the church (cf. Acts 11:19).  Jesus had told them the “old commandment.”  We had these verses printed on the napkins at our wedding.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”  (John 13:34-35).  The old commandment was that we should love all other Christians.  As Francis Schaeffer once wrote, love is the “mark of the Christian.”

Why did John say he was writing a “new commandment” then (v. 8)?  He was saying that we live in a new church dispensation of the Holy Spirit and that we had a new power to live out the love (v. 8b, “the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining”).  If anyone living in the church age “hates” his brother, he is still in darkness (v. 9, 11).  The person who loves his fellow Christians is on the right track (cf. 10, “no cause for stumbling”).  Ever met any Christians that had no idea where they were headed?  Perhaps they “hated” other Christians (v. 11).  Are there Christians that you “hate”?  Maybe they have whacko doctrine or sing weirdo songs.  Don’t be a hater or you could lose your way.  Inventory time?

John calls his flock “little children” again (v. 12).  He wrote to the new Christians because their sins had been forgiven for God’s own sake (v. 12, cf. Is. 43: 25) and because they had come to know the Father (v. 13c).  He was writing to the young men because they were defeating and standing up to Satan (v. 13b).  They also were studying the Word (14b).  He was writing to the older Christians because they had a deep relationship with the Father which was developed over time (v. 13a, 14a).

A couple of the most practical verses in the Bible are found in verses 15 -16.  John makes it clear we are not to love the “world” (v. 15).  By world, he means the world system that is ruled by Satan (cf. Eph. 2:2; also John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4).  When Christ was tempted by Satan, those were real temptations.  They followed the same pattern seen here.  Christ was tempted by the lust of his flesh to feed his body (Matt. 4:4), the lust of his His eyes to take the kingdoms of the world (Matt. 4:8) and power, pride, to command angels (Matt. 4:6).

Some day there will be nothing to lust after, that is, have things apart from the will of God.  But that is the way we should living now.  We shouldn’t be lusting after anything (v. 17).

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