ON THE 24TH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH, April 18, 2020…This calendar date appointed in God’s Word, April 18 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar, was significant enough to be recorded in the book of the Bible announcing apocalyptic events connected with the second coming of King Jesus.
It is no coincidence that God’s Word is crossing the chasm of time itself, with a vitally important message. We need to be counting the days, but we need to count focused upon God’s timeline, not our own. That conscious move on our part will cancel out COVID19 and deliver us to the truth of JESUS20. View God’s calendar for this month: https://fontanacommunitychurch.org/abib_2020
“On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris…” Daniel 10:4.
The Tigris River is identified in Genesis 2:14 as the third of the four headwaters coming from the river flowing straight out of the Garden of Eden itself. It still flows today not far from the ancient city of Babylon near Bagdad, Iraq.
Imagine the aging prophet Daniel standing on the banks of a river that literally once flowed from Eden, eagerly waiting God Almighty's direction. An elderly man in his 80's, he had been taken prisoner when the remnant nation of Judah was conquered by Babylon. Forced to live in exile in a foreign nation since his teens, his trust in God had always remained unshakable, even when he faced certain death at the hands of his captors.
For 60 some years, his testimony of faith and righteous wisdom had influenced ruling kings as well as fellow prisoners in exile. Still today, the book of Daniel is an awesome example on how to live as a Christian witness in a pagan society.
Because of this witness, the current king had just given him and his fellow exiles permission to return to their homeland. You’d think 'ole Daniel would have already been on his way back to Jerusalem. But he wasn’t. He was standing on the banks of the historic Tigris River, near his exile home, deeply troubled by a prior vision of a coming great and terrible war.
“I, Daniel was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding…The end will come like a flood. War will continue until the end and desolations have been decreed….he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 8:27; 9:26-27.
The timing of this lesson is so right on target for us right now it should make our hair stand on end. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we are all deeply disturbed by the instability of the world we live in. Every single day, some unsettling global event is reported by the news media. Right now, we really need to be reminded that God's timing is perfect, We won't despair, and like Daniel, we will stand firm in our humility and our faith. And when we least expect it….
“I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like crysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and leg like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.” Daniel 10:5-6.
The Hebrew word for crysolite is "tarshish". Mineralogy and Botany of the Bible describes it. "Tarshish, the chrysolite, is a crystal-like precious stone of the quartz kind, of a glassy fracture. The prevailing color is yellowish-green, and pistachio-green of every variety and degree of shade, but always with a yellow and gold luster. It is completely diaphanous (sheer, translucent) and has a strong double refraction."
Ezekiel uses the same word "crysolite" to describe his vision of the "wheel within a wheel" attached to the living creatures as the glory of the Lord is revealed to him. He also was standing along a Babylonian river, the Kebar, in the opening chapter of his prophetic book. "... High above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him." Ezekiel 1:26-28.
John also described a heavenly being just like this in his vision in Revelation 1:12-16. “And when I turned I saw… someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
Indeed, there are undeniable similarities that point to the fact that this heavenly being that spoke to Daniel in chapter 10 was Jesus Himself! Over 500 years later, Jesus even recounted Daniel's earlier troubling vision to his disciples on the Mount of Olives. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…” Matthew 24:15.
This same disturbing vision of Daniel that Jesus recounted also came with a startling prediction of the very timeline that Jesus was standing in when He repeated it. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’"
The phrase translated here as "Anointed One" is the Hebrew noun "Mashah", which is our word "Messiah". Yes, with uncanny accuracy, the "seven sevens and sixty-two sevens" prophecy of Daniel 9:25 pointed straight to the first coming of Jesus in the restored Jerusalem as "Messiah", some 490 years later! It was also around the same date, the 24th day of the first month, that Jesus appeared to His disciples in John 20:26.
There's more, as the rest of the passage seems to give clues to the timing of the second coming of the Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah, who will rule and reign over the Earth!
Daniel continues in 10:10-14: “ So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
Don’t you think Daniel had been longing for years to hear those words! “…your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”
But don’t forget the reason Daniel’s words were heard. “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God…”
Yes, before we even think about looking for apocalyptic wisdom in the prophecy of times to come, we desperately need to learn how to shut down the influence of the enemy so that we can clearly see God's perfect appointments when they are revealed. “Apocalypse” means revealing. God’s Kingdom will be revealed “on earth as it is in heaven” When Jesus refers to Himself as “son of man”, it goes back to the words of the prophet Daniel.
Daniel is given to us in God's Word today as the perfect example to follow. He lived his life, daily, on God's calendar, even though he was in exile in a foreign land and who revered their own national calendar and events. Also he didn't aspire to be a “mega-Christian", running around doing all the things he possibly could to cement his Christian status and celebrity. He just quietly and unceremoniously waited for God to reveal Himself and direct Him.
As He waited, what did He do? He remained steadfast in His faith in the face of his enemy. He fasted, he prayed and he was humble before his Lord. He looked to God for strength and inner peace. He went about his duties faithfully. Even when he was given permission to go home to Jerusalem, he didn’t run off with all the other Christians to reclaim something they thought was always rightfully theirs. He purposefully distanced himself from that people and mindset, and literally just stood around in contemplation, waiting and praying for the Almighty to speak.
“Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
"Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
"When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth…” Daniel 10:15-21.
Yes, Daniel had a vision of a man, but not just any man. In the previous chapter, Daniel identified the angel Gabriel as the heavenly spokesperson appearing before him. But in chapter 10, it is obvious as he drops to his hands and his knees, that this encounter with another divine being is unlike anything he had ever experienced before. Could God Almighty have appointed this month and this day, for Daniel to see Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of God, coming in glory, already fighting for his beloved, chosen people?
On the 24th day of the first month, God’s anointed lesson on His appointed date has crossed the chasm of time and space, straight to us right now in the 21st century. In the middle of mounting worldwide tension, death and escalating Christian persecution, we desperately need to see Jesus, and hear His calming words. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
It is also no coincidence that on the same date, over 500 years later, the resurrected Jesus came to His disciples, stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” in John 20: 26-30, with the closing words, These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
The only possible reply for anyone on this earth who has a relationship with the Almighty should be exactly the same as the humble, penitent, Daniel. “Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength.”
The simple reply of Jesus' loving promise echoes across thousands of years of religious turmoil and struggles, calming our very souls for all eternity.
"I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth”.
ON THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH...