Weekly Devotionals by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.
November 3, 2013 – God’s Timing is Perfect
Perhaps the most prophetic book in the Tanakh (Older Testament) is the book of Daniel. Daniel lived and ministered during the Babylonian Captivity (from approx. 587-538 BC). We should remember that the ancient Hebrews had problems with idolatry that dated back to Exodus, Ex. 32, and their failure to destroy the Canaanites (this is a general category that includes all of the peoples that inhabited the Land of Canaan, I Sam. 5:2-3). They initially followed the Lord’s instructions, Deut. 20:16-18; 2:34, 3:6, but after the Judges, under King Saul’s leadership, the Israelites wavered in their obedience to God’s instructions, I Sam. 15:20.
After the Northern Kingdom is judged (for their idolatry) and sent into captivity in Assyria (approximately 740 BC), the very same judgment falls on Judah by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar II. God uses Daniel in a very special way during this captivity. Like his ancestor Joseph, Daniel can interpret dreams. Daniel’s dreams sometimes begin during his lifetime and extend out to the end times. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar of four kingdoms that are going to arise in the future, Dan. 2:31-36, 7:4-8. Most Bible scholars agree that the feet (part clay and part iron) symbolize the revived Roman Empire a.k.a. the European Union that exists today.
While Daniel is very specific about the actual kingdoms God will raise up, Job 12:13-25, 34:16-19, there is an acknowledged gap in God’s prophetic vision. It is the 70th week of Daniel’s weeks of years, Dan. 9:24. It is the discernible gap that Yeshua acknowledged when He read from the Haftorah (the sections of the Older Testament that follow the first five books of Moses, e.g. the Torah or Pentateuch).
Whatever the future holds, we can be assured that God remains sovereign. He promises His children ultimate victory over all of our circumstances, Rom. 8:28. God has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us, Heb. 13:5.
November 10, 2013 – God’s View of Time
When the Messiah read from Isaiah in His hometown synagogue in Nazareth from the bema (the platform for the reading of God’s Word), He chose Is. 61:1-2a. He stops in mid-sentence, closes the Scroll, and returns it to the attendant of the synagogue.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” Is. 61:1-2a. b
Jesus stops in the middle of verse 2. There is a 2,000-year gap in the second verse of Isaiah chapter sixty one. When you read the rest of the passage, it becomes evident why Yeshua stops. The first verse and the first half of the second verse pertain to the First Coming of the Messiah. The rest of verse two and the next section have to do with the Second Coming and Israel’s redemption. The fulfillment of the New Covenant promises to Israel, Rom. 9:4-5. This will be the true fulfillment of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) for the Jewish people. These verses pertain to a future date when those who are still alive at the time of the Second Coming will be saved, Zech. 12:10-13:6; Rom. 11:25-27. That is why Yeshua stops in mid verse. The portion Yeshua did not read is as follows:
…and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified,” Is. 61:2b-3.
In His first advent, the Messiah as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, John 1:29, but when He returns, He will come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Rev. 5:5, and will usher in His kingdom of righteousness, Dan. 7:13-14
November 17, 2013 – In the Fullness of Time
When we realize that redemption and everlasting life through the blood of the Lamb is the great theme of the Word of God, we understand why the prophetic Word covers the history of mankind in its entirety. It is the term “in the fullness of time” that we understand that God wants us to focus on His plan in our lives. This is true individually, I Thess. 5:16-18; Rom. 12: 1-2. We fulfill our callings as Ambassadors for Messiah and ministers of the gospel of reconciliation, II Cor. 5:17-21; I Peter 2:9. This is why the Messiah gave us the Great Commission:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen, Matt. 28: 18-20.
The authority that the Messiah is referring to in the Great Commission can be traced back to His heavenly coronation. We do not know exactly when this coronation of the King Messiah takes place, but we read of it following a passage in Daniel that specifically deals with the last days, Dan. 7: 8-12.
The Antichrists demise is describes in Dan. 9:24-27. It comes in the middle of one of the most important messianic prophecies in the entire Bible. The wording used should make God’s children sit up and take notice because the life, death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah, according to Scriptures, I Cor. 15:3-4, is clearly the topic of this section of Daniel.
In this passage, the angel Gabriel is sent to answer Daniel’s prayer. The content of Daniel’s prayer is recorded for us: Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, Dan. 9:20. Daniel is confessing his sin the sins of Israel when Gabriel is dispatched to answer Daniel’s prayer: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy, Dan. 9:24.
The glory of God associated with Messiah’s atoning sacrifice is described beautifully in Daniel. Only the Messiah can finish transgression and make and end of sins. Only He can make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness. All of this is accomplished “in the fullness of time.”
November 24, 2013 – Remembering the Eternal Perspective
While the prophecy in Daniel chapter nine begins with a promise of redemption, it culminates way off in the future. Like the 2,000-year gap in the middle of Isaiah 61:2, there is another 2,000-year gap in Daniel chapter nine between verses 26 and 27. The Messiah is described as being “cut off, but not for himself” or in some translations, to “have no one.” Either version speaks effectively about the sacrifice of the Messiah. Here we are also told that the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. This is a reference to the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans under the leadership of a Roman Genera named Titus. He was destined to become Caesar; hence, Daniel’s title of “prince” is also prophetic. Immediately following that historical event, Daniel references the Antichrist, warning:
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate,” Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15.
Most Bible scholars believe that Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is best understood as “weeks of years.” Once again, we can see God’s perfect timing in the affairs of men. When this prophecy is calculated, it ends up falling on the 10th day of Nissan, 32 AD. This is the exact date of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus of Nazareth. The children of Israel choose their Passover Lamb on the 10th of Nissan (a according to Scripture in Ex. 12:3), and four days later they were to “kill the Passover,” Ex. 12:6, 21.
Because God has pre-written the history of the world in prophetical form, we can rest assured that He will be faithful to His promise to those who have placed their faith in Him, II Tim. 1:11-13; Rom. 8:28-39.