Category Bible Study With Douglas

Grace Before Judgment Daniel 5

 

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.” (John 15:22-24)

In this chapter of Daniel 5 we are going to look at a man who had no excuse whatsoever for his rejection of the true God of heaven and was thus summarily judged without mercy for his defiant denial of the truth. Belshazzar had undoubtedly heard and maybe seen first hand the amazing episode that we studied in chapter three where a “one like the son of God” person was in the fiery furnace – arguably Jesus Christ Himself. He had certainly heard the retelling of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue and how the God of the Israelites revealed to his servant Daniel both the dream and interpretation. He most certainly was aware of Nebuchadnezzar’s time of insanity and how after returning to his senses wrote the following:

Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation.
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

He had been witness to all these things and yet now, some twenty years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, his heart was hardened, defiant, insolent and scornful of the God of the Judeans. Thus as Jesus said concerning those who rejected Him in His day, so too was Belshazzar without excuse. Had the amazing works not been done in the days of his grandfather, he would have had excuse. In fact, it seems that God was patient and gracious with Nebuchadnezzar since such works had not been done previously. God was long suffering toward Nebuchadnezzar who in the end humbled himself and proclaimed the might works of the most high God.

You see, grace always precedes judgment. God had shown his mighty works through miracles like we saw with Hannaniel, Azariah and Mishael and also through the revelation of mysteries that, according to the astrologers and magicians, only the gods could know. For 70 years God had used the presence of his people in this foreign and pagan land to reveal Himself to its people. God used the Jews, especially Daniel and his friends to be light in a dark place and some like the king (and who knows how many more – Magi at Jesus’ birth) were affected by the witness and received the truth.

However, as Jesus said to Nicodemus,

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19 [NKJV])

Belshazzar proves the point all too well that even with signs and wonders of all kinds – even the testimony of his grandfather! – was not enough for him to believe. He truly loved the darkness rather than the light. And after rejecting the truth and light which was so powerfully shown to him, Scripture declares that there is nothing left but certain judgment

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26, 27)

And so, we are now witness to the last night of the Babylonian empire. Judgment will come swiftly, in one night, upon the insolent king and upon the empire that had taken God’s people captive.

However, Bible critics until the latter half of the 1800’s used to scoff at this passage and accuse the of being Bible inaccurate. This chapter was held up as evidence that there really never was a Jewish captive named Daniel who served king Nebuchadnezzar.
“Daniel states that Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon when the Persians overthrew the city in 539 B. C. However any discerning historian realized that, according to all extant documents, Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon at this time. Historical-critical scholars jumped at the opportunity and said that Daniel was not accurate in its depiction of Babylonian activities and therefore must have been written during the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 2nd century B. C. Traditional scholars tried desperately to connive explanations. 1

Who is Nabonidus?

Nabonidus is not mentioned in the Bible but in extra-Biblical records such as those of Herodutus and also Babylonian records. He was not a blood relative of Nebuchadnezzar- some used to think that he was a usurper until later documents were found giving more details about his life. Following the death of Nebuchadnezzar there were three kings who reigned for two-years, then another for four years and the last for only a few months when he was murdered. With the throne vacant, the husband of Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter Nitrocis, was invited to become king. Thus their son, was Belshazzar who later became co-regent of the kingdom. According to the Babylonian documents that have been recovered, we now know that while Nabonidus was out conquering other cities (and apparently doing a bit of archaeological work!), Belshazzar king over Babylon.
Now we come to evidence that shows that Belshazzar was indeed appointed by his father, Nabonidus, as co-regent. In the ziggurat of Ur, four cylinders were found containing a prayer of Nabonidus. This prayer and a variation of it also found at Ur place Belshazzar in a very close relationship with Nabonidus. It names Belshazzar as the first born son and asks for the god’s special blessing on him….
An astrological document from the seventh year of Nabonidus’ reign contains more important information. The seventh year was one of the years that Nabonidus was absent from Babylon and far away in Arabia. This text twice mentions Nabonidus and Belshazzar in the following manor.

“‘In my dream I saw, and for the favor of Nabonidus, the king of Babylon, my lord, and for the favor of Belshazzar, the son of the king, my lord may my ear attend to them.’ On the seventeenth day of Tebet, the seventh year of Nabonidus, the king of Babylon, Shum-ukin says as follows: ‘The star I saw and (for) the favor of Nabonidus, the king of Babylon, my lord and (for) the favor of Belshazzar, the son of the king, my lord, may my ear attend.'” (Dougherty 98.)2

Also the Nabonidus Cylinder from UR:

“As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude.”[2]

Thus once again the Bible has silenced its critics. It is too bad that after all these proofs there still remain so many skeptics that refuse to believe. It would seem that they, like Belshazzar, as we are about to see, refuse to see the light that is plainly in front of them.
Dan 5:1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.
Dan 5:2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.
Dan 5:3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.
Dan 5:4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Outside of the city walls, Cyrus was actively diverting the flow of the Euphrates river, which flowed through the middle of the city in order to be able to walk in under the wall.

Inside the city, Belshazzar must have felt very safe from any attack inside its walls. It is thought that they had about 20 years worth of food stores and therefore could easily wait out almost any siege upon the city.
City of Babylon – a truly impregnable city.
The city was 60 miles in circumference, walls that were 300 feet high (according to Herodutus – though doubted by his own people), 35 feet below ground (thus none could undermine) and 80 – 150 feet thick. The walls were then protected by deep moats filled with water, 250 towers.

Not only had Belshazzar refuse to believe in the miracles that had happened in his grandfather’s day, but he was here openly mocking the God that Nebuchadnezzar had testified of. It is almost that he is shaking his hand toward Heaven saying “I double dog dare you!!!” By bringing in the approximately 5400 vessels taken from Jerusalem Temple into his wanton party and then drinking in honor of the false gods was truly the final straw. God is so gracious and longsuffering but there is a time when He will step in and directly change the course of history. God will not allow the evil to go unpunished forever, even though, when we look around our world, it seems as though evil might persist.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth. Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. (Ps 73:2 – 15 [NKJV])
Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image. (Ps 73:17 -20NKJV])

Dan 5:5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

God himself is not seen, but what he does is.
(Romans 1:19 What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them. 20 From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse.

(Acts 14:17 [Gw])
Yet, by doing good, he has given evidence of his existence. He gives you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons. He fills you with food and your lives with happiness.”

(Ps 19:1 [NKJV])
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

(Ps 97:6 [NKJV])
The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory.

Dan 5:6 Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.

Dan 5:7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Guilty conscience

Belshazzar seems to have had a guilty conscience since rather than seeing the writing from a good message from one of his gods – his great fear suggests that he understands it to be a bad message. Knowing that there was none in all of the kingdom that could interpret messages like Daniel, he calls his own wise-guys, nevertheless. – Sad…..

Dan 5:8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation.
Dan 5:9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

When we deny the God of heaven, our only recourse is in our own strength and ability and how feeble those are!!!

The King Rebuked

Dan 5:10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change.
Dan 5:11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father–your father the king–made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.
Dan 5:12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas[1] were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

The queen here is his mother, the wife of Nabonidus, who rebukes her son for willfully forgetting to call in the one who can answer the riddle.

Dan 5:13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives[2] from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?

Belshazzar says perhaps in a haughty voice and intonation? Daniel doesn’t come in boasting of what he had accomplished in his service to the mighty Nebuchanezzar. Daniel remains humble and lets God exalt him.

(Prov 15:33 [NKJV])
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.

Dan 5:14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.

It is God’s Spirit who gave Daniel the wisdom to untie knots

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26 [NKJV])

Dan 5:15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing.
Dan 5:16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Nabonidus – Belshazzar – Daniel

Dan 5:17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
Dan 5:18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor.
Dan 5:19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down.

We ought to never forget that it is God who gives all of us our abilities. Perhaps you make money with ease – don’t forget who blessed you with that ability. Perhaps you are able to create beautiful music – don’t forget where it came from. Perhaps you excel athletically – don’t forget who blessed you with feet to run and hands to compete.
Nebuchadnezzar is a type of antichrist. The power, influence and authority of the beast or antichrist will be absolute and so will his pride be. God will humble, him, however in the end.

Dan 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.
Dan 5:21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

Zoanthropy or Lycanthropy

Clinical zoanthropy is a rare delusion in which a person believes himself or herself to be an animal.
AIM: To assess the clinical and scientific relevance of this classical diagnostic category.
METHOD: A search was conducted in the classical and scientific literature and in PubMed, Embase, and Ovid.
RESULTS: Only 56 cases of clinical zoanthropy could be found in the international scientific literature. Since specific studies have yielded a relatively large numbers of cases in the past, it can be concluded that the disorder is probably more prevalent than is suggested in the literature. These cases may well be not only primary types, based on mental or unclear causes, but also secondary types, mediated by aberrant somatosensory sensations. Treatment of the underlying condition (in most cases a psychotic or mood disorder) has proved to be increasingly successful over time.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23696338

The insanity of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4)

“The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar; and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (Dan. 4:33).
The king’s insanity is corroborated by history. Josephus quotes from a Babylonian historian named Berasus who mentions a strange malady suffered by Nebuchadnezzar. There is also the testimony of Abydenus, the Greek historian of 268 B.C.
It is possible that Nebuchadnezzar himself gives testimony concerning this. Archaeologist Sir Henry Rawlinson has translated an excavated inscription of the king. It reads:
“For four years the seat of my kingdom in the city … did not rejoice my heart. In all my dominions I did not build a high place of power; the precious treasures of my kingdom I did not lay out in the worship of Merodach, my lord, the joy of my heart. In Babylon the city of my sovereignty and the seat of my empire I did not sing his praises, and I did not furnish his altars; nor did I clear out the canals.”
The form of insanity in which men think of themselves as beasts and imitate the behavior of a beast is not without precedent. It is known as “Insania zoanthropica”.
Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with a modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar, which he observed in a British mental institution in 1946. Harrison writes: “A great many doctors spend an entire, busy professional career without once encountering an instance of the kind of monomania described in the book of Daniel. The present writer, therefore, considers himself particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of zoanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946.
The patient was in his early 20’s, who reportedly had been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well developed on admission, and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight with good physique, and was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors, in the grounds of the institution …. His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns with which the otherwise dingy hospital situation was graced, and it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of the grass as he went along.
On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds, and on inquiry from the attendant the writer was told the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from the hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with the other inmates, and his only drink was water … the writer was able to examine him cursorily, and the only physical abnormality noted consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse, thickened condition of the finger-nails.
Without institutional care, the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33 … from the forgoing it seems that the author of the fourth chapter of Daniel was describing accurately an attestable, if rather rare, mental affliction.” http://www.barr-family.com/godsword/insanity.htm

Dan 5:22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.
Dan 5:23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.

How foolish to deny our maker! Belshazzar, unfortunately, is not alone. So many today are denying that there is a God. They look to evolution to explain where we came from. They deny the existence of the very one who sustains their life and keeps the breath in their lungs.

Dan 5:24 Then the fingers[3] of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.
Dan 5:25 “And this is the inscription that was written:
MENE,[4] MENE, TEKEL,[5] UPHARSIN.[6]
Dan 5:26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;
Dan 5:27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;
Dan 5:28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”[7]
Dan 5:29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Dan 5:30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.
Dan 5:31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Isa 44:28
Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”‘

Isaiah 45:1 Cyrus, God’s Instrument Salvation Will Come Only by the LORD “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held– To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:
2 “I will go before you And make the crooked places[1] straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

Broken Hearted God

The Broken Hearted God? How Our Lawless Behaviour Breaks Our Father’s Heart

Many portray God as watching from heaven and is just waiting for the moment that he can rain down his wrath on this ungrateful and lawless world.

What we actually see in the Bible more than anything is a Creator who is brokenhearted and saddened by what his creation is doing. He is saddened just like I, as a father, am sad when my kids are mean to each other. God is grieved just like I am when my kids fight and hit each other. Unfortunately, by speaking of the righteousness and splendor of God, we have also painted him as a wooden, austere, and emotionless judge who is only concerned with meting out justice. We have this notion that He is impervious to sadness or feeling pain. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

God made us in His image and in His likeness and therefore the emotions that we have (with the exception of fear) are the same that God feels.  Before the flood, God felt intense sadness and grief at having made mankind – He was heartbroken because of their wicked and cruel actions. He agonized and was deeply distressed at what the beings that he created were doing.

Imagine if you were a brilliant scientist who could create intelligent, self-determining robots that had feelings. Would you not be sick to your stomach if they started abusing and murdering each other? Would you not be grieved in your soul and greatly burdened that the things you created to bring joy to you and to each other, had instead chosen to cheat, slander, maim, torture, and kill each other? Would you also not be racked with sorrow when you concluded that their choices had also polluted their very essence, their actual DNA and basically there was no undoing what they had done? That is the pain that God felt.

To understand God’s relationship with Israel and the pain that He felt, imagine that you fall in love with a young woman who later gets sold into slavery. You rescue her against all odds. You scale mighty mountains; you pass through dangerous dales, and even defeat dreadful dragons. You have rescued your love at great cost to yourself but it was all worth it to save your true love. You sweep her away from her chains and prison and you two wed.

At your wedding, you exchange vows covenanting to be faithful and to love only each other. You proudly declare that she is your chosen, your special treasure in all the earth and that there is none as precious as her. You also promise her riches, children, peace, and joy, all that she could ever want. As part of your vows, she promises not to have any other men in her life, but to be wholly set apart for you! She promises to not to have any pictures, videos, or keepsakes of any other guys in her possession, via email or on Facebook; she is going to think about you and you alone. As husband and wife, your names and reputations are now mingled as one: your name and reputation becomes hers and hers becomes yours. Whatever either of you do from now one, whether good or evil, will directly reflect on the other. Hence, you promise to honor and exalt her name and she promises to honor and exalt your name.

Then you promise to set aside one day in seven that will be a special day for the two of you. You promise that you will make it special for her in that she won’t have to work…she can just relax, sleep in, lounge around, kick back without a care in the world because you have taken care of everything. It is to be a day where you can grow in your relation to one another. You can talk to each other and share your hearts in a way that is distinct from the rest of the week.

In addition to these vows, you share with her your recipe for how to treat others which will lead to a successful and abundant life. Your formula is revolutionary because it is outwardly focused and not inwardly focused. It is concerned with how to treat others in a way that you would want to be treated. It always seeks the other’s good and their highest. You tell her that if you follow this formula it will lead to life and blessings but if she doesn’t that it will lead to pain, sorrow, curses, and ultimately death. She eagerly agrees to follow your formula knowing that you have her highest in mind as well. You then kiss your bride.

A great feast is held to celebrate the momentous occasion. After some time, she disappears and you can’t find her. After searching with an anxious heart, you sadly discover that she was in the room of an old lover. You are crushed, brokenhearted, and distraught. How could you true love do this? You promised. She promised. In fact, her unfaithfulness was on your very wedding day! How could she? Your sadness turns to anger at her unfaithfulness. You consider leaving her that very moment…but then you have pity on her. It was her upbringing after all; her parents were very poor role models and they cheated on each other from day one. She literally has never seen a good relationship. So, you decide to forgive and forget. However, already your enemies have heard what happened. You know that they will use it someday to slander you.

You then move into your new house and begin making it your home. You have children, you share wonderful moments. You are providing abundantly as promised. She on the other hand, has never quite overcome the tendency to see other guys. There have been many times during your marriage that you have had to simply look away and pretend not to notice. Of course, each time, it breaks your heart. But you are kind and patient. You really want it to work out between you so you just put up with it. However, a day comes when you notice that money begins disappearing from the bank account. You ask her about it but she denies any knowledge. Eventually, you discover that not only is she seeing other men but she is actually paying her lovers to be with her! At this point you are beside yourself. How in the world did this happen? Adultery is bad enough. Her receiving money from others as a prostitute would be worse. But no! Your wife is actually paying others to sleep with her! You confront her about it and tell her that this activity has to stop. You have become the laughing stock of the town. Everyone knows what your wife is up to. When you walk by you can hear their snickering. “Nice wife you got there!” One person shouts. “Thanks for the money,” another shouts. You look at another of the jesters and you are dumbfounded when you see the one of a kind necklace that you bought your wife on your anniversary on the neck of another man’s wife; your wife has paid her lovers with the precious keepsakes that you bought her. It isn’t just the money, but that it was something that you gave especially to her. Not only that, but she has actually murdered many of the children that she had from these illicit relationships. Finally, you can take no more. You have been married for decades and she has not changed one bit but has actually grown more destitute. With great sorrow you decide that it is over though in your heart, you vow to find a way to restore the woman you once knew and loved.

So you file the divorce papers and excise her from your will. Neither she, nor the children that she birthed from her many lovers will have any part of you or your estate. They are cut off completely. Oh how your heart aches! The wife of your youth is gone. Your home is not the same.

After some time, you find a way to bring her back to you if she is willing to turn away from all of the evil that she committed. You find a way to annul the wickedness if she will just admit her fault and promise not to do it again. When you exchanged vows there were some stipulations that you both agreed to. In your covenant, you both agreed that if she were found guilty of adultery, then you had the right to divorce her. If she became another man’s wife and the same thing happened that he found her guilty of adultery and sent her away, then she could not remarry you because it would pollute the land and bring a curse. You grin because you have thought up an amazing plan that will allow her to remarry you and will cancel the blood oath you both made in your marriage covenant. You pause for a moment, because, while your plan will resolve everything, it will come at tremendous cost to you.

Your plan is to die and then come back to life. By dying, you will cancel all consequences and curses that she incurred by having committed adultery when you were married under your marriage covenant. If you die, you reason, she will no longer be considered an adulterer because the law of the marriage is until “death do us part.” Hence if you die, then she is free to remarry! The trouble is, you want her to be your wife again and not another’s. So, the second part of your plan is to actually come back to life. The cool thing is that you found a way to do that. So, you then prepare for the big day. You die as planned and the curses that she was under, because she violated your marriage covenant, are cancelled! She is no longer legally an adulterer. All the penalties and curses of the law of marriage are cancelled through your death. Part one is finished. When you come back to life, you and she can now remarry! All that is required on her part is to acknowledge her former adultery and promise not to do it again. If she will do those two things, then you promise to take her back and return her to her former position as your bride. The handwriting that was against her is literally destroyed through your death.

So, rather than picture God as angry and wrathful; picture him in your mind as brokenhearted and disappointed because of the choices that we as a country are making. Homosexuality, adultery, murder, stealing, slander, lust, and so many other behaviours are the same behaviours that Judah was committing when God said, “I was crushed by their unfaithful heart which turned from me and by their eyes which lusted after their idols… [and] of all their abominable practices.” (Ezek 6:9) You see, God was brokenhearted by Judah because she (and her northern sister Israel) were committing adultery through the harmful, destructive, and yes, offensive things they were doing. Just like back then, He isn’t looking to throw down the hammer because He has anger management issues; rather He is genuinely hurt and sad over what we are doing. He wants us to turn from our destructive path. So rather than focus on having to change to avoid judgment, let’s do those things pleasing to God because we don’t want to break the heart of our Father any longer.

 

Quantum Physics – The Observer Changes the Reality: The Double Slit Experiment

When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son?… So they were offended at Him. ​But Jesus said to them…Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matt 13:53-58)

What?! Jesus, the king of the universe, creator of heaven and earth didn’t do many miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief? How can that be? An understanding of quantum physics might shed some light on this phenomenon – namely, that reality alters based on observation. Researchers discovered that particles behave differently when they are being observed. This is demonstrated in the double slit experiment.

The  double slit experiment proves that matter (which consists of particles and waves which God created!) behaves differently when it is being observed. That means that the observer’s presence literally changes the outcome of the experiment. Could it be that Jesus did not perform many miracles in Nazareth because the observers were not willing to see it? That seems to be the case and was why Jesus cautioned the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees.

Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?–but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  (Matt 16:6-12)

The leaven of the Pharisees was a refusal to believe despite lots of evidence to believe. The Pharisees were just like their ancestors in the wilderness of Sinai who had seen miracle after miracle as God lead them out of Egypt and yet they still refused to believe. The Pharisees had seen and or heard of numerous miracles that Jesus had performed and yet they were not willing to believe. As a result, they did not see.

Again and again, we see Jesus saying that a person’s faith (their perception or belief) is what heals them. That is, what the person observes or perceives (believes) to be reality actually becomes their reality.

Matt 9:22-29  22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.”… 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”  29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” NKJV

Matt 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great [is] your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  NKJV

Matt 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. NKJV

Matt 21:21-22  21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”  NKJV

Thus, perhaps Jesus did not perform many miracles in Nazareth because the observers didn’t believe (perceive) that he would or could do anything. They didn’t see because they didn’t believe.

Still, shouldn’t Jesus be able to do miracles regardless of their mental or spiritual condition? The answer appears to lie in the fact that God created us in His image and in His likeness. God spoke the worlds into existence and all therein, but when He made man, He made us with a little bit of the divine nature in us. (2Pet 1:4) It appears that because we are in God’s image and likeness, God actually needs our cooperation to do positive things in our lives. Don’t misunderstand, God will ultimately accomplish His will regardless of our doings. Nevertheless, when He wants to do a good work in our life, He needs our cooperation for blessing to occur. We cooperate by believing and believing is proven through obedience as demonstrated in the book of Hebrews:

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (Heb 3:18, 19, 4:2)

Think about how Peter was walking on the water with great success. He could do so because he believed, without doubting that he could actually do it. Once he began to doubt in what he was doing, he lost it and immediately began to sink and then Jesus chastised him with “you of little faith,” and then questioned him, “why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:31).

Could it be that our thoughts and perceptions (beliefs) about the world and our situation in some way determines the outcome? Could we really move mountains if we didn’t doubt? However, that must be the case based on the Word and even on observed science? If we believe without doubting, amazing things are possible.

Chances are that many of us suffer from a bad case of the leaven of the Pharisees: We read all about what God/Jesus has and we believe it intellectually but we do not believe practically, that is, with our actions. We say that is what He did back then, but not today. That is what He did for them, but not for me. Join me in prayer that we could be cured of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Nazareans. Let’s believe and then we will see! Let’s renew our minds because the Kingdom of God is far closer and more accessible than any of us has ever imagined!