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April 23, 2012

Visions and Beasts No More. . . Daniel Sees Jesus


Chapter ten of the Book of Daniel is the introduction to his last recorded revelation and is the first of three parts of a vision-a vision some scholars say is the greatest of all the revelations of Daniel. This chapter gives us information on something decidedly different from anything we’ve read as we are introduced to a special group of angels- some who harbor ill-will toward God and attempt to defeat the divine purpose as it relates to God’s rule over His people, Israel, both in the present (in Daniel’s time) and in the days yet to come (at the time of the end).


Chapter ten is graphic in that it also provides detailed information on how Daniel received his final revelation, including many surprising incidents that accompany God’s delivery of this message to Daniel.


Daniel 10:1-3

  1. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

  2. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

  3. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Daniel’s State of Mind


This last revelation received by Daniel came to him just two years after King Cyrus had officially brought the Babylonian captivity to an end by allowing the Jews to return to Israel. However, the Jews returned home without Daniel. We don’t know precisely why Daniel remained behind, but we can surmise it was either because of his advancing years-now in his mid- to upper-eighties-or because he still may have had essential work to do for the Persian leadership-perhaps as a senior advisor. Therefore his presence was vital. He also may have felt that to remain behind would permit him to use his enormous influence for good as his people, the Jews, made the difficult transition to return to a land that many had never seen-or that was a fading memory.


Daniel Understands the Vision


The revelation Daniel was about to receive was hard for him to hear and more difficult for him to accept, although he knew in his heart that it was true. Daniel’s vision revealed an enormous conflict that would afflict his people at a later time. This would be the greatest war the world’s powers had ever encountered, a future conflict that would include something unheard of before: a massive angelic invasion that, while unseen, would be instrumental in shaping the final result of international events.


The most difficult part of the message for Daniel to accept was that this future trauma would threaten the very existence of Israel-a nation and people who had already suffered so much, been so long in captivity, and seemed to be on a perpetual losing streak that would play out to the time of the end. Unlike Daniel’s earlier visions and dreams, he declared that he understood this one, and that he also comprehended how the events predicted would not occur during his own lifetime. Daniel, however, took little comfort in this knowledge, because his heart was so tender toward the ultimate destiny of his people.


Daniel understood that during the “seventy weeks” to come the Jews would suffer great persecution (Daniel 12:1) as the forces of Egypt, leading an Arab federation (Daniel 11:40), and a king from the North, Russia, plus kings from the East, China, and other Oriental nations (Daniel 11:44), would move in upon Israel for the bloodiest confrontation in history. Daniel knew this would take place during the seventieth week-a time period of seven years known as the “latter days” (Daniel 10:14), and referred to as “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40; 12:4).


While Daniel could not know the specifics of this terrible era of suffering yet to come, he had enough understanding to know that it would be a horrible period of history for the people of Israel. That’s why this saintly prophet-loved by God-is so moved that he mourns at the thought of what is going to happen to his people. He knew the time of the end would be a period of unprecedented judgment on the Jews as the nations of the world would move against his people, and particularly against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2).


When Daniel received the first part of this final revelation, he had been fasting for twenty-one days. Daniel was so focused on remaining humble before God that he kept himself in a constant state of alert so he would be ready to hear the word of the Lord. It’s quite possible that Daniel was still grieving-and therefore fasting-because of the inner turmoil he felt after the unsettling vision in chapter eight, wondering why his people would continue to suffer after the close of the seventy years of captivity. Had the Jews not suffered enough?


And had God not made a promise to relieve them of their pain at the close of the seventy years of captivity? What we now see in Daniel is a progressive understanding of what was to happen in the days to come. We also see a kind, gentle old man whose sensitivity to the things of God-and to the plight of his people-remained acute: Daniel remained God’s man to the very end.


Daniel 10:4 – 9

  1. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;

  2. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:

  3. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

  4. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

  5. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

  6. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

Daniel Sees the Pre-Incarnate Christ


One day Daniel, either on a leisurely stroll or on business for the government, was standing by the Hiddekel (or Tigris) River. There he was confronted by a likeness he had never observed before. The Bible describes this figure as dressed in linen with a waist girded with a belt of pure gold, a body like beryl, a face with the appearance like that of lightning, eyes like flaming torches, arms and feet of polished brass, and the sound of his voice like the sound of a tumult. Is there any doubt in our minds that such a being would capture Daniel’s attention! The question, however, must be asked: Who was this heavenly being? Why was he there?


We don’t need to search long for our answer because the description of this being bears a direct correspondence to the glorified Christ we read about in Revelation 1:13-15:


“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters”


An almost exact description of what Daniel saw that day by the shores of the great Tigris River. Like the appearance of a fourth person in the fiery furnace, this was a Christophany-a physical appearance of the person of Jesus Christ.


Christ-the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever


If, for some reason, Christ’s eternal existence sounds farfetched, what does one do with John 1:3:


“All things were made by him”


Or John 1:10,


“He was in the world, the world was made by him”


Or Colossians 1:16, which says,


“For by Christ were all things created that are in heaven and in earth”


This may not be easy for us to understand, but whether we comprehend it or not, this is God’s Holy Word. In Proverbs 30:4 we read:


“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?”


Isn’t it amazing-this text states that God had a son hundreds of years before Christ’s birth at Bethlehem. We must conclude, then, that the heavenly being standing before Daniel is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.


Daniel was not alone when he was confronted by the person of Jesus Christ. There were companions with him-but not for long. While they apparently sensed that something momentous was taking place, they were unable to withstand the dread of the moment, similar to Saul’s experience on the Damascus turnpike (Acts 9:7). They, too, could do nothing but hide their faces from the glory of Christ and flee, leaving Daniel alone in his encounter with Christ.


Suddenly Daniel-man among men, strong, lion-tamer, and counselor to the kings of Babylon, fell to the ground when he heard the words of the Lord. Immediately His strength was sapped, His knees buckled, and he fell into a deep sleep when the sound of thunderous, divine words-like the sound of many rushing waters-assaulted his human ears.



FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

“Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!”


The news media often calls attention to the large number of homeless and hungry people in our nation’s big cities. The scenes of people sleeping on benches, huddling in cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans for food are pitiful and troubling. While many of these individuals have ended up on the street through misfortunes beyond their control, even sadder are the cases that are there largely by choice.


As I prayed and thought about this problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense, have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a morsel of bread when we could have been feasting on God’s plentiful banquet of spiritual manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).


My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite little “home cookin'” cafe we often visit when it’s just the two of us. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s a cozy, comfortable place where we can relax-and the food is good. We go there often enough that we know most of the waitresses and many of the regular customers.


For weeks we noticed that a certain man was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the counter. He looked as if he might be homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby clothes which probably hadn’t been laundered in weeks. He was always alone-never did we see him with a friend or ever having a conversation with others at the counter. His countenance was drawn and sad, and one could sense that he had known much sorrow in his lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only once a day-the rest of the time he just drank coffee…”buy one cup and the refills are free.”


Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man. One night as we were having a light dinner, we looked over at him sitting alone at the counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us sad. My hubby called a waitress over and said, “Give that man the best dinner in the house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out anything on the menu and tell him a friend has picked up the tab.”


“No, Dr. Van Impe, you don’t need to do that,” said the waitress.


“But I want to,” he answered. “He looks like he needs a good meal and I’d just like to help him a little.”


“You don’t understand,” she said. “That is Mr. _____” (and she named a very well-known and wealthy local family). “His father owned much of the land that is now the City of Troy-he’s the heir to millions!”


“But he looks so underprivileged!” I exclaimed.


“Yes, I know,” said the waitress, “but he’s really a multimillionaire. He lives like a pauper by choice.”


I haven’t seen that poor, sad man lately, but recently I’ve been thinking about his situation. Could it be that many Christians are living like spiritual paupers when they could be enjoying God’s manifest blessings every day of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup of coffee when they could be feasting at the Lord’s banquet table?


As we face the future, are we anxious about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of happiness and blessing-or endless loneliness and deprivation?


Change your wardrobe


The old man in the cafe was dressed in worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.


What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).


Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has provided for you. Get dressed in His righteousness and see what a change His garments will make in your whole outlook on life. You’ll discover a new awareness of God as your Sustainer and Protector. You’ll stand taller and walk in trust and confidence.


So resolve to stop dressing like the world and get clothed in His righteousness.


Put sadness aside


The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had everything. He was from a prominent family, with every possible financial advantage at his disposal. If money could buy happiness, he could have had it all.


Christianity is the most joyful of all the world’s religions. Yet we often manage to make it appear the most sad and mournful by our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain once had his famous character, Huck Finn, wondering if the mule in the barn had “got religion” because of its long face!


The psalmist exults, Thou hast put gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 4:7; 107:9).


I think we sometimes develop a bad habit of letting our faces reflect the care and confusion of the world around us instead of the joy and peace of the Lord welling up within us.


If we have full access to God’s goodness, gladness, and blessedness, shouldn’t our faces show it?


As Christians, our future is as bright as the promises of God. And the Word of God is filled with wonderful promises. Some of my favorites include Christ’s promise: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20) and also God’s assurance that as thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).


If we believe God, we have something to smile about.


Be a friend


In all the times we observed the old man in the café, Jack and I never saw him with a friend…or ever being friendly with those around him. While others had pleasant conversations and shared personal things with each other, the old man sat alone, without a friend. How sad.


But while true friendship is measured by more than “hellos” and conversations, some people have no friends because they will let no one get close to them.


As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).


One must be a friend to others to have friends who will share fellowship and companionship in return. And this is an important part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing that we can have a friend who will stick closer than a brother, in good times and bad.


We know we can count on Him because He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).


When we have such a Friend, why don’t we rely on Him more? In the words of the grand old gospel song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,”


Oh, what peace we often forfeit.

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.


Eat heartily


I don’t think I’ll ever forget the old man in the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day, when he could have had anything on the menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he’d order “Just a cup of coffee, please” and ask for free refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire going hungry.


But how much more tragic to have the riches of heaven at our disposal and go through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are you feasting daily on the abundant nourishment found there-or do you hurriedly pull out a single scripture card and glance at it before you dash out into the day?


Compare your biblical diet with Jeremiah’s. He said, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).


Don’t settle for just a cup of coffee-eat heartily-even as the Apostle Peter admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. The psalmist concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psalm 34:8).


I heard the story of a man whose dream was to go to America. For years he saved his money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he had just enough, with only a small amount left over.


He took part of the little money he had left and bought some bread and cheese he could take on board. By careful rationing, he thought there would be just enough to last through the voyage.


So he set sail, glad to finally be going to the “promised land.” Other passengers were festive and happy, going into the ship’s dining room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling about the decks, laughing and having refreshments together.


The man would go to his little cabin at mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.


But he had miscalculated the length of the voyage, and a few days before the ship was to arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food. He drank water and did without for a day or so. Then he got so hungry he didn’t think he could last. So he scraped together all the money he had left-several coins-and went to a steward in the dining room.


“Excuse me, please,” he said. “Is this enough money to buy just a little bit to eat? I’ve run out of food and I’m very hungry.”


The steward said, “Sir, you do not need to pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your meals were paid for in the price of your ticket.”


I urge you to begin living up to your privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the price of your passage to heaven!


Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness, and all other spiritual pleasures are yours. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5).



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

God bless you both. Thank you for the work you do. I prayed the sinners’ prayer/salvation prayer with you a while ago, after watching you on the internet. Thank you.

Douglas D.

 


Dear Dr.’s Jack and Rexella,


I never write to any programs but I felt led to write to you now. I live in Sacramento, Ca.


I LOVE…LOVE…LOVE your program!!!! I am a nurse and Christian of 33 years. I work every Sunday 12 hour shifts and cannot make it to church. Your show is the only Christian programming that I watch because in my opinion, you are the best and you only preach the Gospel. You back up everything with scripture and I LOVE the old fashioned, back to basics, solid MEAT that you preach. You don’t water down anything, you do not compromise God’s Holy Word and this style of preaching is what I HUNGER for. You truly are God’s anointed messenger in the last days. I tape all of your shows and watch them over and over. I even have my husband watching now who is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He loves you both as well. We agree with everything that you say about end time prophesy. I believe (and have for many years) that the Lord is coming back in my lifetime. I am 53 and when I was 22 I had a vision of the rapture. God gave me a beautiful vision of the dead in Christ rising and then I was caught up in the air after. This vision confirmed in my heart and mind that I am in the generation that will see the return of our Lord! Time is short and you are preaching the message that God wants preached right now. Thank you also for teaching people about the Deity of Christ!!!! This s something that I rarely hear from ministers now days. I pray for you both and your wonderful ministry…PLEASE KEEP DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!! God Bless you both!!!


Kelly D.



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