Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 81
DANIEL’S PRAYER AND PROPHECY – 2
Okay, good to see you all back from a coffee break. For those of you out in television, we just want to welcome you to an informal Bible study. Now I know I say it almost every program. But you’ve got to remember, new people are coming in every day, and we have to make them aware that we’re not just a bunch of kooks. We just love to study the Word! And it’s catching on.
My, I wish you could read our mail. Which reminds me—again, thank you to those of you out in television for your kind letters, your encouragement, and, again, for your financial help. My, I get newsletters from several other ministries; and they’re all crying for help, and they’re cutting back. So far…so far—I just asked the girls again yesterday, “How did we end up with the month of May?” Right on. And that’s all we can hope for. So again, thank you every one of you out there and for your prayers. My goodness, prayer makes all the difference in the world.
All right, right back to where we left off in Daniel chapter 9 in verse 5. I want to use it again, because I’ve got a Scripture reference that I’d like to bring in on this one. So if you’re with me in Daniel chapter 9 verse 5, where Daniel is now in his prayer to Jehovah.
“We have sinned, (as the Nation) and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:”
All right, let’s go back to II Chronicles. All the way back to that book of history, to the last chapter. And that can be your crutch if you want to share these things with people. The last chapter of II Chronicles and you can jump in at verse 15. We have exactly the scenario for which Daniel is praying for forgiveness. Now maybe this is an appropriate time to remind all of us: I know that what God says to Israel has no direct bearing on us today, except as we learn from it.
But you know, as I’ve said before when I taught Daniel way, way back in consort with Revelation—to a certain degree we can set America right up beside all of this, even though we not the Chosen Nation. We’re certainly not Israel. But we have been so singularly blessed like no other nation under Heaven has ever been blessed, and primarily because from day one, even though they may not have been totally born-again believers, yet all the people responsible for making America get off the ground and become such a nation is because it was always God-centered. We were a God-fearing people.
I’ll never forget, years ago my Dad was telling me that when he first, as a kid of ten years old, came up to our part of northern Iowa, it was still pretty much the frontier. But he rehearsed with me one day—we were talking about it—how that the first thing, not only the Baptists, but the Lutherans and the Methodists, they all got together so that they could build some kind of a building where they could share and hold their worship services. That was the most paramount thing. Not the bars. Not the other garbage that Hollywood likes to make you think made up the West Frontier. But the first thing that was pre-eminent was a place of worship. That was the mentality of America all the way up through our history.
Now granted, we had a lot of ungodly people along with it. You know, I’m always quoting Tocqueville, the French historian who traveled America, I think probably, I don’t remember exactly, but I think between 1900 and World War II. When he got back to France and wrote his book on history, he said that the reason America is so blessed is because America is populated by good people. Well, what made them good? Their worship. Their putting God at least in a place of reverence.
All right, so I can’t help but feel that we’re going to come under the same kind of chastisement. In fact, I think Billy Graham, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t like to quote people unless I’m sure, but I’m quite sure Billy Graham made the statement a long time ago—I’m going to say way back in the early 80’s. He was decrying how fast we were going down the tube spiritually. And he made this statement: “Unless America repents, Sodom and Gomorrah will rise up and tell God He’s not fair.” So judgment is going to come.
And I have to feel this in the back of my thinking as I teach these things concerning God’s dealing with a rebellious nation like Israel. Hey, we’re going to come under that same wrath some day. I’ve said it before on the program. I’m not saying anything new—that when God judges America, it’s going to be like no other nation has ever been judged, because we have been given so much responsibility. Churches on every corner—you know, I shared with one of my classes here in Oklahoma. A couple of years ago we were in a Seminar in north Georgia, but we were staying with some people in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As we left our host and hostess, why, the first thing we saw was a church. And Iris said, “Honey, I’m going to start counting churches.” Why, we hadn’t gone four or five miles and she was already up to like twenty four or twenty five. She said, “I might as well quit, I can’t keep up.” This is typical in America. Churches on every corner. We have been given a tremendous responsibility as a nation of people.
All right, now here’s Israel just shortly before the captivities begin. II Chronicles chapter 36 and jump in with me at verse 15.
II Chronicles 36:15a
“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, (That is the prophets.) rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people,…” He wanted to give them an opportunity to repent, as we say today, and to have a change of direction.
II Chronicles 36:15b
“…because he had compassion on his people,…” Now that’s what I’m emphasizing all the time—remember, this is God and Israel. This isn’t God and the church. This isn’t God and Gentiles. This is God and Israel.
II Chronicles 36:15b-17a
“…because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: (Which, of course, was Jerusalem; but here comes that big flipside.) 16. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, (Israel) till there was no remedy. 17. Therefore…” What’s He doing? He brings in the Chaldees, the Babylonians invade them, see?
II Chronicles 36:17-18
“Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, (these Babylonians) and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 18. And all the vessels of the house of God, (That is the Temple, remember.) great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.” All right, now drop all the way down to verse 21, and all this:
II Chronicles 36:21
“To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, (And I’m also going to add Moses.) until the land (the Promised Land, Israel’s homeland) until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: (As I explained in the previous half hour, every seventh year was to be left fallow and out of production as a land sabbatical. But they didn’t do it.) for as long as she lay desolate (70 years) she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” Or the seventy years of the captivity.
All right, now come back to Daniel chapter 9 and I’m going to go into verse 6. I’ve got yet another portion that I want to take you to, and that’ll be in the New Testament. But let’s stop in Daniel chapter 9 again and read verse 6, so that you’ll understand why Daniel is praying the way he is praying in chapter 9.
“Neither have we (the Nation) hearkened unto thy servants the prophets,…” See, I want you to understand that there were prophets throughout Israel constantly preaching and warning them of judgment to come.
Now you remember when we did a verse-by-verse on the Book of Isaiah some time ago—I don’t think it’s even been on the air yet, except on the weekends. But, my goodness, what was Isaiah’s complaint? The same thing. Turn from your idolatry. Turn from your rebellion or you’re going to have foreigners in your midst. Well, they didn’t turn, and they got foreigners in their midst. All right, verse 6 again:
“Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, who spoke in thy name to our kings, (See, the upper echelon were just as guilty as the low man on the totem pole.) our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.” What did they do with them?
Now turn with me to Acts chapter 7 and let the Scripture speak. Let the Scriptures tell us what they did with them. Acts chapter 7 and here we have Stephen, the last opportunity for the Nation of Israel at the time of Christ to yet repent of having crucified and rejected their Messiah and enjoy all the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises. Here’s their last chance.
I always call this the crescendo, the music word. This is the crescendo of Israel’s rebellion. This is when they came to the very peak of their adamancy – we will not succumb to this Jesus of Nazareth. So here we have Stephen, now, presenting their last opportunity. And always make note of the fact that when you get to the last verse or thereabouts and the first verse of chapter 8, we’re introduced to the next major player because Israel is rejecting.
All right, Acts chapter 7 verse 51 and Stephen is addressing the religious leadership, remember, of the Nation of Israel. To this religious leadership he says:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, (Oh, they were circumcised in the flesh, but not where it really counted in the realm of the Spirit, see.) ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: (or the Holy Spirit. Now watch it.) as your fathers (your forefathers back there in Isaiah’s time and before) as your fathers did, so do ye. 52. Which of the prophets (any of them that you could name) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them who showed before the coming of the Just One.”
In other words, the very prophets that were promising the peace and prosperity and the glory of this earthly Kingdom, they killed them. And you’ve heard me say it a hundred times on this program—if they didn’t like the message, what’d they do? They killed the messenger. Okay, read it again.
“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain (put to death) them who showed before the coming of the Just One: (The Messiah) of whom (speaking of the Messiah) yehave now been the betrayers and murderers:” That’s what the Book says. That’s not what I say. It’s Scripture. Then look at the next verse.
“Ye who have received the law by the disposition of angels, (Now that’s kind of a tough one to explain, because we know that the Law was given to Moses; but there must have been an angelic force along with it.) Who have received the law…(those Ten Commandments written by the finger of God in stone)…and have not kept it.” Why? Rebellion. Unbelief.
In fact, I had a call the other day from a lady that’s writing a book, and she said, “Les, I don’t know who else to ask.” Come back with me to Daniel chapter 9. She said, “I don’t know who else to ask. Why did Israel reject the Messiah?” Well, now you just think a minute—how would you answer the question? Why did Israel reject their Promised Messiah? Well, I took her to Matthew 16. Now let’s look at it. This is Bible study! I’m not under any set order to cover such and such in thirty minutes.
I took her back to Matthew 16. I probably wouldn’t rehearse it, but she was so thrilled with the answer she couldn’t say thank you fast enough.
She said, “This is exactly what I was looking for.” Now remember her question, “Why did they reject Jesus as the Messiah?” And this is a good place to go. We use it over and over—Matthew 16 starting at verse 13, at the end of His three years, just shortly before they go up for the Passover and the crucifixion.
“When Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi, (clear up there at the headwaters of the Jordan, remember) he asked his disciples, saying, (nobody there but the Twelve) Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
How ridiculous can you get? Now don’t forget, what has He been doing every day for almost three years? Miracles. Miracles and more miracles. And they haven’t got a clue? No, they didn’t have a clue, except Peter. All right, verse 15:
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (The Messiah. The Anointed One.) the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona:…” But see, this was Israel’s problem then. It was Israel’s problem back here. And what’s the one word? Unbelief. Unbelief.
Look at America today. What’s our problem? What’s the matter with Congress? They don’t have a clue. They don’t know how to handle the Middle East, except by lobbyists and pressure. Why not? Unbelief. They no longer put any value on the fact that this is the revealed Word of God. To most of, I think, even our men in Congress, it’s just another book. No, it isn’t. It’s the Word of God!
All right, are you back at Daniel chapter 9? So like I said, kind of lay America side-by-side here because this could be our prayer today—although we’re not under Israel’s Law, we’re under grace, yet we still have access to the Father. We have absolute authority to pray on behalf of our nation and our leadership. Paul teaches it in I Timothy 2:6 that we should pray for them, and why should we? “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” And nothing in Scripture would oppose that. All right, now read verse 6 again after reading Acts chapter 7.
“Neither have we (the Nation of Israel) hearkened unto thy servants the prophets,…” In other words, they killed them or threw them in the dungeon. That’s where Jeremiah was, remember, when the Babylonians found him. He was in a dungeon.
“…who spoke in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel,…”
Now you know, I have to always keep hammering at that—because so much of even Christendom cannot get the fact through their head that all Twelve Tribes are still viable. Ten of them didn’t get lost. Don’t ever buy into that baloney. The Ten Tribes were never lost. They stayed as part of Israel even into the captivities and here is proof of it. It’s to all of those of Judah and Jerusalem, but also all Israel, the Ten Tribes.
“…and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.”
Now stop and think a minute, again. How far are we removed from that Babylonian invasion of 606 B.C.? About 75 years. That’s a long time. What had happened to a lot of these Jews that were transported from Jerusalem and Judea out to Babylon? Well, they began migrating all through the then-known Roman world.
And I make the point, because by the time we get to our New Testament, and especially now as we’re looking at the little epistles of James and Peter and John in our New Testament, they’re addressing Jews in the synagogue. How did they get there? Well, they’ve been there for six hundred years. Because as soon as they got transported to Babylon, they started getting involved in business and banking and so forth and they started migrating. So there were Jews scattered throughout the whole Roman Empire by the time of Christ.
Let me show you. I’ve got to do everything with Scripture. Jump all the way up to the New Testament. Go to Acts chapter 2, now this is the day of Pentecost. And this again is what most of Christendom just doesn’t get. They just can’t read it. Acts chapter 2 and drop down to verse 5. Now I’m saying this in regard to history—600 B.C. is when they were first emptied out of Jerusalem. And out of that whole nation of people that was taken captive, only 40-some thousand came back under Ezra. That’s just a little smidgen. What happened to the rest of them? Well, they migrated all over the then-known world, see? All right, but they still kept contact with the Temple in Jerusalem. They still, if they were good sincere Jews, would come back to at least one or two of the feast days.
Pentecost is a feast day and saw Jews coming from all over the then-known world, which is now the Roman Empire. Verse 5:
“And there were dwelling (or abiding) at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men (Now watch it.) out of every nation under heaven.” Well, what was the part of the world under heaven that they were talking about? The Roman Empire.
Now, the Roman Empire went all the way from Spain, across the northern part of the Mediterranean, across the Middle East, Turkey, out through present day Middle East, and then down around the Mediterranean, down across Egypt, and into North Africa. That was all the Roman Empire. There were Jews coming from all those Nations throughout the then-known world. Now it stands to reason, when those Jews have been out in these various foreign nations now for two, three, or four generations, what language were they speaking? Well, anything and everything but Hebrew. You got me? Now look at the next verse, verse 6.
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, (from every nation under heaven, remember) and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” Goodness sakes, a sixth grader can understand that. In other words, if they came from France, what were they speaking? One of the French dialects. If they came from Syria, what were they speaking? A Syrian dialect. If they came from Timbuktu, they were speaking those. But on the day of Pentecost, what language did they hear it in? In their own language. See, that was the miracle of Pentecost. It wasn’t an unknown babble. It was their language that they heard. Come all the way back to Daniel now, verse 8.
“O Lord, (See how he is pleading in his prayer.) O Lord,…” What was the true name for Lord? What were they refraining from saying? Jehovah. That’s who they were really praying to.
“O Jehovah, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.”
All right, now let’s look at another one so that we get this pounded in at how far these Jews had gone in rebellion against the God of Abraham. Come back with me to Jeremiah 44. We’ve looked at it before. I’ve always got to remind people—I’m getting old, but I’m not senile. I know I’ve used these many, many times.
Jeremiah 44—the reason I use some of these over and over is because they are so plain and simple and explicit. There’s just no room for argument. Jeremiah 44 and drop down to verse 15, Honey. Jeremiah 44 and we’ll drop in at verse 15, because I want you to see how rebellious these Covenant People had become. And remember now, we’re writing about the time of 600 B.C.
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, (idols) and all the women who stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, Pathros,(In other words, they had been migrating in and out.) answered Jeremiah, saying, 16. As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven,…”
What was the queen of heaven in antiquity? The most immoral idol worship that you can imagine. Athena was one. Artemis was one in Ephesus. They were all part of the same female deities.
“…and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, (Now watch the language.) our kings, and our princes, (See that?) in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, (or food) and were well, and saw no evil. 18. But (Now look at this foolishness. What foolishness!) But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, we have wanted all things,…” They had it all wrong. What was their problem? They had left off the worship of Jehovah.
Oh, they still did Temple worship. They went through the motions. But where was their heart? Worshipping these idols. Worshipping these pagan gods of the Gentile world. They were totally forgetting Jehovah.