Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God's hand and spiritual discernment in Daniel & 1 John

Daniel 6:22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”

1 John 4:1-2  "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses thatJesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God."

Discerning God's hand at work in the life of Daniel 
One way in which we can outline the Book of Daniel is to consider chapters 1-6 as the historical account of Daniel's life from his arrival in Daniel 1 as a 15 year old lad until the 85th year of his life in chapters 5,6. According to Bible scholar Dr. John Walvoord, we can then insert chapters 7-8 in between chapters 4-5 as being the particular prophetic visions Daniel received in among those chapters. With the remainder of Daniel 9-12 we can see a clear chronological, predictive prophecy of the remainder of history from Daniel's day until the time of Christ's second coming.  The whole book of course would had been written by Daniel, under Divine inspiration, over the course of the 70 or so years he spent in Babylon. 

As we come into Daniel 5-6, we witness the end of the Babylonian Empire and the overtaking of them by the Persians. Just as God had predicted back in Daniel 2 in the famous vision of Nebuchadnezzar's colossus' , the empire of the Medes and Persia did indeed take over. 

Comparing Daniel's life to Joseph's life in the book of Genesis
Whenever you read about Daniel in these chapters, one thing that is instructive is to compare his life to Joseph's life back in Genesis 37-50. Joseph had been forgotten and basically abandoned, first by his brothers and then later on as an innocent man in a dungeon in Egypt. Daniel was "forgotten" for nearly 70 years, for that is how much time passed between his dealings with Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 1-4 until the events of Daniel 5-6. 

Joseph suddenly was brought before Pharaoh to interpret a dream, likewise Daniel was brought before Belshazzar to interpret the hand writing on the wall. Daniel was thrown into a lion's den in Daniel 6 and Joseph had spent time in a pit (thanks to his brothers) and then again later on in a dungeon in Egypt. Joseph was a man of integrity and uprightness, with scripture recording no failure of faith on his part, so the same with Daniel. Then finally, God elevated Joseph to second in command in Egypt and gave him success and Daniel too was elevated to a high position (third position) and also had success. God proved himself faithful. 

How John instructs the believer on the nature of discernment in 1 John
Whenever you turn to 1 John, you are first given instructions on how to discern between the "spirit of error" and "the spirit of truth". Thankfully, through the scriptures we can be like Daniels and Josephs, knowing how to discern good from evil. 1 John 4:7-21 highlights for us God's love. God's love can be defined as: living through the cross (1 John 4:9,10,19); overcoming anything (4:12); validated by the Holy Spirit (4:13) with its expression being in sound doctrine (4:14-21). Only the love of God will sustain us and only His love can enable us to be a passionate and faithful people living as strangers in a strange world, just like such love sustain men like Joseph and Daniel.

1 comment:

  1. I think your blog is awesome! Thank you for sharing your Godly wisdom!