The Prophet Daniel’s Influence On The Christmas Story
12/23/22 By Tim Buck
“The heavens declare the glory of God.”
After announcing Daniel was “10 times wiser” than all the magicians and astrologers (Daniel 1:20), King Nebuchadnezzar assigned the prophet Daniel to the high office of “chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners” (Dan. 5:11). In other words, Daniel was appointed Chief of the Magi.
Why is this important?
As Christmas approaches, we see images and hear stories of the “Wise Men,” (or, as they are often called, Magi), traveling from the East, following a star in order to pay homage to the Christ-child, the newborn king (Matthew 2:1-12). Many scholars believe that these Magi came from Babylon where Daniel ministered for over 70 years.
How did Babylonians of the first century know about Jewish prophecy, and what led them to believe that this particular star was the one that would lead them to the great “newborn king” and the prophesied Messiah?
Is it possible that the teachings and stargazing knowledge 600 years before Jesus, taught and prophesied by Daniel, is what helped the wise men know when and for what star they should look for concerning Christ’s first coming?
God who has all knowledge and lives in the “eternal present,” most certainly revealed the sign of the star to Daniel. He also revealed the exact time of Messiah’s first coming to Daniel found in Daniel 9:24-27 and commonly referred to as Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy.
As chief of the Magi, Daniel’s teaching and prophecies became known throughout the ancient Near East. Even the Romans
were aware of his prophecies of a coming king of Israel (Matthew 2:3).
The wise men had been patiently waiting for this special star for a long time. They had to travel 1000 miles each way, a journey of about 4 months each way. Oh, but can you imagine what a thrilling journey it must have been as they followed the star in search of Messiah!
After the wise men found baby Jesus and worshipped Him, they were warned of God in a dream that they should not report back to Herod but were told to depart back to their country another way (Matthew 2:12).
God’s inspired Word through the prophesies of Daniel is remarkably accurate. How could Daniel, years before the fact, predict the exact time Christ would be “cut-off” (Dan. 9:26) and die? This prediction helped the wise men understand the exact time Christ would be born. How did Daniel predict that Christ would die while most Jews believed that Messiah would not die but would come and immediately set up His Kingdom on earth?
Just as amazing is that all throughout the Book of Daniel, the prophet predicts 100’s of things that are still yet to come in the last days which predictions are verified in the Book of Revelation.
Those who believe the prophecies in the Old Testament were literally fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming can have hope and confidence that the future prophesies will also come to pass and be literally fulfilled as well. That’s the God we serve who knows the end from the beginning and tells us ahead of time in order that we might believe!
The Magi of the first century would have most certainly studied the writing of Daniel and other writings Daniel referenced, such as the book of Isaiah. This connection between Daniel and the Magi helps explain why almost six hundred years later, the Magi expected a Jewish king to arrive in Judea near the end of the first century B.C.
Daniel’s unique influence on the Christmas story is simply that the Magi followed the star based on their study of the prophet’s writings.
Does What You Do Impact the World?
Think about this… dare to be a Daniel!
The life Daniel lived and the work he did for the Lord helped the Magi centuries after his death to connect the dots between a light in the night sky and the “Light of the World.”
Now, you may say, “I am no Daniel,” but you have no idea how God may use the work he has called you to do nor the impact it might have a year from now, ten years from now, or even much further into the future.
We need to rest in the knowledge that:
…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10).
The work that you do for the Lord, even the most mundane thing is work not wasted if it’s done for God’s glory.
U.S. Petrodollar Weakening
Ahead of the Tribulation Period
12/20/22 By Tim Buck
The decline and fall
of America is a biblical and prophetic necessity in order for God to deal with Israel alone during the coming 7-year Tribulation period. It’s sad sitting in a front row seat and watching it happen but God’s sovereign plan to redeem Israel takes precedence over all else in the last days.
That said, it stands to reason that the U.S. Petrodollar, one of the pillars upholding the U.S. economy must come to an end prior to the start of the 7-year Tribulation.
In 1971 a deal was struck between OPEC and the United States in which every barrel of oil purchased in the global marketplace would be bought with U.S. dollars. Any country, therefore, wanting to buy oil must have first exchanged its currency for U.S. currency. This “Petrodollar” system has created an artificial demand for the dollar as global oil demand has increased.
This has been responsible in large part for the US dollar’s relative strength over the last several decades, and thus also supporting Americans’ high standard of living.
Nothing better illustrates the utter ineptitude of the Biden administration’s dealings with the Middle East than Saudi Arabia’s decision to forge a strategic alliance with China.
Biden set the tone for his strained relationship with the Saudi royal family during the 2020 presidential election contest when he denounced the kingdom as a “pariah” state over its involvement in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.
By any standard, the deepening military cooperation between Russia and Iran should serve as a wake-up call to the Biden administration to redouble its efforts to reaffirm its commitment to key allies in the region such as the Saudis, who are committed to resisting any attempt by Tehran to expand its influence in the region.
That the Saudi’s are now moving away from its traditional alliance with the U.S. and strengthening its ties with Beijing is a strategic disaster of epic proportions, and serves as a damning indictment of the Biden administration’s careless treatment of the Saudis, for which the president is personally to blame.
Schematic map of the States members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Vector.
There’s been a steady movement over the last decade to dump the Petrodollar by a substantial International coalition known as BRICS. The anacronym stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa.
Thanks to the weak and feckless U.S. administration’s treatment of the Saudi’s, it appears that they also are considering joining this anti-American coalition. It seems the U.S. is moving into yet another danger zone in the vital, world, energy sector.
Group Photo of Heads of BRICS Nations Family now reaches 28 nations including Turkey at the BRICS Outreach Event in Johannesburg (July 27, 2018).
Momentum for BRICS and moving away from the U.S. Petrodollar is growing fast with more eastern and anti-American nations joining the movement every year.
Unlike their low key welcome of Biden, Saudi Arabia lays on lavish welcome as China’s XI heralds ‘New Era’ in relations.
This news item out of Saudi Arabia is a rather significant development in terms of the Petrodollar’s days being numbered.
Chinese President Xi was welcomed in Saudi Arabia with pomp and circumstance, as trade deals were made with Saudi oil being bought in Chinese Yuan, and relations between the Arab oil-rich states and China drew closer.
Today America is living proof that having the world’s most important currency translates into a higher standard of living than most nations.
At one point in our history, our nation’s largest export was a variety of consumer goods. Now our largest export is the U.S. dollar…a dollar that costs us practically nothing to create.
How long will it be before the nations of the world figure out the dollar fiasco is a fraud?
Pray for America! This is but another sign of the soon return of Jesus.
Keep looking up!
When Christmas season comes around I enjoy reviewing the people that make up the genealogy of Jesus found in the Gospel’s of Matthew and Luke.
People’s names, backgrounds
and places of birth are all important in God’s Word. God knows who we were before we were born and the number of our days is established ahead of time! Even the hairs on our head are numbered. Every person and place mentioned in His Word are there for a reason.
So it shouldn’t surprise us that God doesn’t cover up the sordid lifestyles and flawed character of those in the human genealogy of the perfect Jesus.
Ancestors With A Reputation
Listing out the human genealogy of Jesus reveals God’s grace and willingness to use sinners to bring forth the Son of God. Who were some of His ancestors?
1. A woman who slept with her father-in-law while pretending to be a prostitute.
2. A woman who was a prostitute.
3. A woman who was a foreigner and whose people served other gods.
4. Lastly, a woman who sinned with the greatest king in Israel’s history.
So, what do we gather from this?
The Savior of the world came from people that we would not even want anything to do with. The Savior of the world came from people that we would ridicule. The Savior of the world had to come to this earth because of people like His relatives. Why?
God wants us to see that through Him, anything is possible. Through Him, even you and I can be used. Through Him, it does not matter how bad our past is. Through Him, our lives can be changed although we don’t deserve it.
Tamar (Genesis 38)
Genesis 37 describes how Judah, along with his brothers, sold Joseph into slavery. In chapter 38, this namesake of the tribe Jesus would come from left home and married a Canaanite woman. His wife bore him three sons, and Judah arranged for his oldest son to marry a Canaanite woman named Tamar. But his first two sons were evil in the sight of the Lord and died. Judah convinced Tamar to remain in her father’s house until his youngest son was old enough to marry her, but Tamar came to believe that Judah was an ungodly man who would not keep his word.
So, she disguised herself as a prostitute and stationed herself along the route she knew Judah would be taking. Judah, unaware of who she was, hired her as a prostitute and left some of his possessions as a guarantee of payment. Sometime later, Judah became indignant when he was told that his daughter-in-law had become pregnant. He insisted that she be put to death for her immorality, until she produced his own seal, cord, and staff — items that were as good as fingerprints. Judah confessed that Tamar was more righteous than he.
Tamar bore twins to Judah. Her son Perez would be the one through whom the Messianic line would be continued, no thanks to Judah. Pretty interesting person, that Tamar. In spite of her sin, she is part of the Messiah’s royal family lineage. Let’s look at another woman listed in this genealogy.
Rahab (Joshua 2; 6:15-25)
Rahab is mentioned eight times in Scripture, and in six of these occurrences, her name is connected with the word “harlot” (KJV) or “prostitute” (NIV). This story wonderfully illustrates God’s grace. He is no respecter of persons. He accepts and forgives us not because of what we are, or might be, but based on whether or not we will put our trust in Him.
This also points to God’s sovereignty over the affairs of men and how He directs the steps of those who rest in His provision or are looking to know Him better. God knew Rahab’s faith and her longing to know God, and, perhaps, even to become a part of God’s people. So, God worked and brought Hebrew spies and Rahab together for their protection and her blessing.
Why was Rahab saved? Because she believed in the God of Israel. Hiding the Jewish spies was an outworking of her faith, just as many godly people hid Jews in European countries during World War II. Because she believed that the God of Israel was indeed “God in heaven above and earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11), Rahab is listed in Hebrews 11, the famous Hall of Faith chapter.
So far, we have found a woman that slept with her father-in-law and a prostitute. Top of the line, right? Let’s keep looking.
Ruth (Ruth 1-4)
Ruth was a Moabite woman. The Moabites were the race that resulted from the union of Lot and his oldest daughter. Not a good start. The Moabites were forbidden from entering into the assembly of the Lord to the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3). The Israelites were not commanded to annihilate them, and they were not forbidden to marry them.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Ruth. A famine in the land prompted Elimelech to leave Israel with his family and to sojourn temporarily in Moab. Elimelech and his sons soon died, leaving Naomi with her two widowed Moabite daughters-in-law. When Naomi decided to return to Israel, Orpah stayed behind but Ruth was determined to remain with Naomi no matter what.
When they arrived in Naomi’s hometown of Bethlehem, the people immediately recognized her and were excited that she had returned. Naomi was quick to tell them her woes, blaming her troubles on God, who seemed to have it out for her, or so she implied (Ruth 1:20-22). Ruth immediately set out to provide for Naomi’s needs. She began to glean in the nearby field of a man who “just happened” to be a near relative of Elimelech (Ruth 2:3). Boaz quickly noticed Ruth and was impressed by her kindness toward Naomi.
In time, Boaz and Ruth were married, and the child Ruth bore to Boaz was named Obed. Obed was the grandfather of David. Here we have a foreigner who somehow gets into the line of Jesus. So far, we have a conniving woman, a prostitute, and a foreigner. Let’s look at the last woman listed in this genealogy.
Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11)
It was evening, and David was just getting out of bed. If we had any doubt about why he stayed home while his army was at war, it is all gone now. The king was not catching up on his paperwork. David was goofing off! “And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful in appearance” (2 Samuel 11:2).
If he had used his head, he would have gotten off of that rooftop patio pronto. But he lingered and let his eyes feast on Bathsheba’s fleshly charms until he could think of nothing but having her for himself. Bathsheba was not guiltless either. She may not have purposely enticed David, but she was immodest and indiscreet.
David found out who the beautiful bather was, sent for her, and the thought became the deed. The inevitable happened, and Bathsheba sent word to David that she was pregnant.
In an effort to cover over his sin, David sent for her husband, Uriah. This righteous man would not indulge in pleasure while his men were at war, so David gave orders that led to Uriah’s death. The king after God’s own heart added murder to his sin of adultery.
After a short period of mourning, Bathsheba entered David’s house and became his wife. The two lovers finally had each other to enjoy freely and uninterruptedly… except for one thing: “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27). It is interesting that in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, Bathsheba is still referred to as the woman “who had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6).
What’s in a Name?
All of these names — Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba — are important links in the genealogy of the Messiah. But there is a Name that is above all names. So, why did God declare that His Son be given the name, Jesus?
Most Israelis call Jesus “YESHU” — a name that became a curse. It’s the acronym of “May His name and memory be erased.” Satan has blinded so many from seeing their spiritual need and has caused them to do so many evil things in the name of Jesus that now, without having any understanding, Jesus has become a mere curse word in our world.
But His given name — YESHUA — is a name that comes from the word “YESHUAH,” meaning, “Salvation.” He is our salvation. In Him, we are saved. JOSHUAH (Joshua) is “Jehovah will save,” but YESHUA is salvation.
The day Jesus was born, everything changed. Through a broken line of sinful individuals — men and women — the “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” came to that which He created to provide eternal restoration.
“There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Because of Jesus — what He has done and what He will do in those who trust Him — we can be saved. It matters not what we were or have been. What matters is who Jesus Christ is, what He has done, and that He is faithful to all His promises. He stands ready today to pierce the darkness in your life.