In part two of the Anti-Christ man of sin we saw where the word of the Lord was fulfilled through the captivity of the Hebrews into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the appointed king over the Babylonian empire. We stated that in the book of Daniel we will see the sovereign rule of God over the kingdoms of men. God has always been in control. Let us not get this twisted. It is here in the book of Daniel that we will get a closer look at God’s reign in the lives of man; over the reign of man and over the positions of man.

In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is given a portrayal that differs considerably from his portrayal in the Book of Jeremiah. He is for the most part depicted as a merciless and despotic or tyrannical ruler. In other words, Nebuchadnezzar was a person’s worst nightmare yet, God called him His servant. “This message is from the Lord. I will soon send for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He is my servant.

Please let us hang out here for a moment or two. Humanistic understanding has led people to think that only the upright in heart and the professed man and woman of God are the only servants of God. Being sovereign means God can do whatever He wants to do, with whom ever He wants to and in the way that pleases Him. As quiet as it is kept, God has made all things for His pleasure with the word pleasure meaning purpose.   King James Bible Rev:4:11
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Seeing Nebuchadnezzar in the truth and light of what he actually was; a servant of God, strips him naked before us. In other words, he wasn’t as powerful as he’d and we’d imagined. His conquest of the nations wasn’t a self-induced victory at all. The victory over the nations was given to him by the sovereign rule of God. Nebuchadnezzar’s victories had nothing to do with military might and power. It had nothing to do with human strengths, wisdom and strategy but had everything to do with the move of God: “Checkmate.” Nebuchadnezzar by the will of God held God’s people in captivity yes but, Nebuchadnezzar was also held captive by a Sovereign God. The horrendous sufferings of God’s people that we’ve heard and read about throughout the bible and in the world’s history did not take place under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. He did not treat the people of God with great contempt and hatred. Let it not be mistaken now the king would throw his fits and tantrums issuing orders and threats of death but even in this; God was still in control of him.

The Babylonian exile (or Babylonian captivity) is the name generally given to the deportation and exile of the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon by Nebuchadrezzar II. The Babylonian exile is distinguished from the earlier exile of citizens of the northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria around 722 B.C.E. The exile in Babylon-which directly affected mainly those of the upper class of society-occurred in three waves from 597 to 581 B.C.E. as a result of Judean rebellions against Babylonian rule. The Bible portrays the internal cause of captivity as the sins of Judah in failing to rid herself of idolatry and refusing to heed prophetic warnings not to rebel against Babylon.

After the death of King Solomon, a schism over taxation divided the nation into two kingdoms. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son and anointed successor, ruled over the Southern Kingdom, which was composed of the territory belonging to the tribes of Judah and BenjaminThe tribes of Reuben, Simon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, and half the tribe of Manasseh made up the northern kingdom. Both divisions were led into captivity because of their sins against God. Assyria is said to have captured the northern kingdom. God chose Babylon to be the Gentile ruler over his people, to bring correction. To reject who God had chosen and to rebel against the will of God in this matter ended in utter punishment for the rebel.

While the Jews in Babylon did not suffer greatly in the physical sense, the siege and later sack of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E., including the destruction of its sacred Temple, left many of the exiles deeply repentant and determined to keep their faith pure.

Let’s hang out here for a moment or two. Going through bible history has shown a very sad truth about humanity. That truth is: man does not know how to relax and enjoy freedom with God being the central focal point.  It appears that the more freedom man has, the further he drifts away from God. It is only after calamity and tragedy strikes, man will settle again and regain focus and for a time- walk righteous. This has been a repeat throughout the history of humanity up unto this present time. Is God at fault? Of course not. Being a righteous judge and a lover of humanity God has set judgements in place to jar man’s attentions to what he should and needs to do. Judgement from God is a call of love. From A Desire so Strong we quote a word from the Lord:

                                                                            The Good

For your best I allow things that some don’t think I should. Yet, everything that I allow is working for your good. Though much of what is allowed becomes uncomfortable to the flesh, hold dear to your heart that I am God and I know what is best. Your eyes can only see in short, what lies in distance and height. For this cause, I allow what I do to work in you what’s right. I allow things for correction of behaviors and attitudes, to correct such things as thought: Also, to mortify the ungodly characters that a sinful life has brought. Trials, tests and hardships will change intents of the heart, and many times, it will gap broken bridges where we’re not united in part. So be not dismayed, dear child when things aren’t as you would like. Just know that I only allow some things to work in you-the good. (A Desire so Strong: Joyce Watford -Montague pg. 303)

So, it is only after going into exile and losing the temple that the people of God wakes up and smells the coffee. By going into exile, the blinders that was worn in freedom fell away and the people of God could see clearly. Going into exile was a remedy that snatched them away from the distractions that held them both captive and separated from the will of God.

One point in the history of the captivity that caught my attention is the fact that the captives were greatly moved to repentance after the ravishing of the temple, after the sacred things of the house of God was confiscated and placed in the temple of Nebuchadnezzar’s pagan god marduk, (lower case spelling intentional. marduk wasn’t a god. marduk was a lifeless statue that was filtered from a deceived imagination and set up to be worship as God.) The sacredness of the God’s house wasn’t considered when the people of God was in their sins. The temple’s value and its valuables were still standing while the Jews were in their sin of chasing false gods and it didn’t matter then; why now? Confiscation of the holy things of the temple was a show of religious dominance. In other words, the capture of the people and the ravishing of the temple also spoke of conquest of their God. Conquest of the nation spoke that their God was too weak to save them from defeat.

                                                              WHY 70 YEARS OF CAPTIVITY

The 70 years of captivity fulfilled the word of God spoken in 2 Chronicles 36:21 and also Jeremiah 25:1-14.  The 70 years of captivity was so that the Land could have its rest.

What? Are you telling me that folk went into captivity because of some land? Are you saying that folk lost their lives because of some land? Really?

Let’s go back some years. When Israel first entered the promised Land that God has promised them, they were instructed by God to keep the Sabbath of the land. The word Sabbath means rest. In order for the land to yield good agriculture, good crops there was needed a time of rest where there was no plowing, no planting, no cultivation. The land had to replenish. Just as the natural body needs a time for replenishment so too does the land as well as the livestock. So again, God instructed the people to allow the land to lay dormant every 70th year. Israel did not do this. For 490 years they failed to keep the sabbath of the land. Well 70 years of captivity sure did give the land its rest. Had Israel managed their harvest and goods as instructed by the Lord, the years of the land’s rest would have still found them with plenty.

Apart from the broken command to the land’s sabbath, the people had also fallen into the sin of idol worship. The people began to worship statues of wood, rock, clay, silver, gold and whatever other God created materials they could find to make idols out of. Isn’t it crazy that people will use God’s resources to replace him? Israel’s leaders didn’t help any at all in their back slidden positions of idolatry. In fact, many to most of their leaders encouraged the idolatry. Judah up until the time of captivity had twenty kings and only eight of those kings were good. The other twelve were evil.  When Judah was taken into captivity it was under the reign of king Jehoiakim who was said to be the most wicked of all of Judah’s leaders. Idolatry was at its all time high among the people of God. Jehoiakim didn’t have a love for God at all therefore he wouldn’t have put an end to idolatry among the people of God as their leader. He despised God’s word to the point of throwing it into the fire. Let’s take a look at what scripture reports. Jeremiah 36: 1-32 from the New International Version in its entirety records this:

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2“Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster, I plan to inflict on them, each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.
4 So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the LORD had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am restricted; I cannot go to the LORD’s temple. 6 So you go to the house of the LORD on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the LORD that you wrote as I dictated. Read them to all the people of Judah who come in from their towns. 7 Perhaps they will bring their petition before the LORD, and each will turn from his wicked ways, for the anger and wrath pronounced against this people by the LORD are great.”
8 Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the LORD’s temple he read the words of the LORD from the scroll. 9 In the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, a time of fasting before the LORD was proclaimed for all the people in Jerusalem and those who had come from the towns of Judah. 10 From the room of Gemariah son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper courtyard at the entrance of the New Gate of the temple, Baruch read to all the people at the LORD’s temple the words of Jeremiah from the scroll. 11
When Micaiah son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the LORD from the scroll, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the royal palace, where all the officials were sitting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 After Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read to the people from the scroll, 14 all the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll from which you have read to the people and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah went to them with the scroll in his hand. 15 They said to him, “Sit down, please, and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all these words, they looked at each other in fear and said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you come to write all this? Did Jeremiah dictate it?” 18 “Yes,” Baruch replied, “he dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them in ink on the scroll.”
        19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah, go and hide. Don’t let anyone know where
         you are.” 20 After they put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they went to the king in
         the courtyard and reported everything to him.
        21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the
        secretary and read it to the king and all the officials standing beside him. 22 It was the ninth month
        and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23
        Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribes
         knife and threw them into the fire.
The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. 25 Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the LORD had hidden them.  27 After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 28
“Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. 29 Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, `This is what the LORD says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and cut off both men and animals from it?” 30 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’ 32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.

Now burning the written word of the Lord did not stop any thing God had said from coming to pass. This is a fact that is needed to take root in our hearts and minds. “GOD’S WORD DOES NOT FAIL. GOD’S WORDS ARE NOT VOID. WHAT HE SPEAKS WILL BE. Killing of the prophets and the scribes of God does not null and void anything that he has spoken. Who can stop God and his word from being fulfilled. The power and truths of God’s word coming to past is not contingent on the messenger. God’s word holds power whether there is a messenger or not. The power of his word does not die with the messenger. There are yet some prophecies that are being fulfilled spoken by God through major and minor prophets and those prophets have long ago departed this realm yet what was spoken of God  through them is being fulfilled and will continuously be fulfilled. Jesus has long ago departed this earthly realm as a man of flesh yet much of what he has spoken is being fulfilled even to this present time and there is more fulfillment to come from that which he has spoken. Killing the messenger does not nullify or ceases the power of God’s spoken and written word.

My dear readers and followers, we have today in the world; leaders who like Jehoiakim; despise God and the words of God. We have leaders today who are encouraging everything except turning from sin and returning to the Lord. We have leaders on our jobs who discourage the very mention of the name of Jesus but will not discourage the cussing and swearing done in the workplace, will not discourage weed smoking and alcohol in the workplace. We have leaders that forbid the playing of spiritual music in the workplace yet over the loudspeakers in stores you hear music with cussing and name calling, and lyrics of hatred and violence. Really?? For those of you who are ambitious to get into leadership positions please know that you are accountable to God for what you allow and disallow. You are accountable to God for how you use your positions whether in righteousness or unrighteousness. Jehoiakim in leadership along with so many others in bible history, is a prime example of “What not to be and what not to do with your God given authority. Josephus, the jewish historian writes that Nebuchadnezzar slew Jehoiakim along with high-ranking officers and then commanded Jehoiakim’s body “to be thrown before the walls, without any burial.” He was succeeded by his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). {TheAntiquities of the Jews Book 10 Chapter 6 (3).96-97

During the seven years of tribulation spoken of in the book of Revelation we will see a political ruler come into power whose hatred for God and his word multiplies the hatred of Jehoiakim. Daniel was given a vision from God of this political ruler, and we will discuss this more in our ongoing discourses on Antichrist the man of Sin. The political ruler seen in a vision by Daniel and spoken of by Jesus, apostle Paul, Peter and John along with other Old Testament prophets, will have such hatred for God that he will confiscate bibles and burn them. He will kill off confessors and professors of Christ. He will take terrorism to a new level.  Yet know who he is and how he is; is nothing new. We will see this self-same spirit in the book of Daniel, and we have seen this self-same spirit throughout the course of our world’s history through leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, who have walked in wickedness and evil, who sought world dominance.  Not only has there been world known evil rulers as the ones mentioned, there has also been rulers of evil in private sectors who has not made the lime light but still walked and walk in evil dominance over people; being dictators, instilling fear and demonstrating acts of violence as a means of securing their positions. There is a God that has to be answered to. There is a penalty to pay. There is a judgement to be rendered.

As with all of these leaders from biblical times to the present there comes an end. Where are these thought to be powerful men? There will never be a one world leader who will reign over the world forever except Jesus Christ. The antichrist will only have reign for seven years and he will meet his bitter end. And like every king;  it has been and will be God that allots that position. It is also by God that these positions meet their end. God has never intended for world dominance to be in the hands of humans for an eternity. Man isn’t capable of this kind of authority which has been proven throughout the ages. This is the truth that was shown to Daniel in his visions from God. This is the truth that Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar when he interpreted the dream that God had given the King. God is still in control of what he is allowing in this earth. Where man thinks all things are because of his own might and ability, we, the servants of the most high God can say even as Daniel said: “God changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. {Daniel 2:21 New international Version}

When man in authority realizes that he has been a tool in the Master’s hand what a rude awakening he will have. For every leader who has said and has in his heart that he is not serving or going to serve The Living God, oh how wrong the leader is. Many leaders may not bow down to worship God as God even as Nebuchadnezzar did not do for quite some time in his reign, these leaders are being used by God in the fulfilling of his purposes and plans. They are in fact; Servants of the Lord.  Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful ruler of his time and his confessions of Daniels God being the most high God were confessions that were merely spoken words and not a heart knowledge that led to repentance. Remember: Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

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