Ascension Sunday

May 28, 2017 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - OT - Daniel, King Jesus, Meditations, Politics
Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13
“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Today is Ascension Sunday. On this day we celebrate the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ, having taught the disciples for 40 days following His resurrection, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Ascension Day was actually last Thursday – 40 days since Easter. However, we haven’t yet reached the point of celebrating Ascension Day during the week and so we celebrate it on the Sunday following.
But why celebrate this event at all? What’s so important about the Ascension? The prophet Daniel helps us answer these questions. In chapter 7 Daniel has a vision of various animals or beasts that would rule the kingdoms of the earth in the centuries to come: a lion with eagle’s wings; a bear with three ribs in its mouth; a leopard with four wings; and, finally, a great beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong, having iron teeth with which it devoured all other kingdoms. Daniel’s visions clearly anticipated the rise of the Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman Empires.
As Daniel was meditating on these visions and wondering what they might mean, something else happened. Suddenly the Son of Man, a human figure not an animal or beastly figure, appeared. (You may recall that this title “Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite.) This Son of Man came up to the Ancient of Days (note that this is not describing the Second Coming, but the Ascension); He comes up to the Ancient of Days, the Ruler over all earthly kingdoms, and what happens? The Ancient of Days gave the Son of Man dominion, glory, and a kingdom – in other words, He transferred power from the animal kingdoms to the Son of Man.

So here’s the question: power over what? Over just the land of Israel? Over just the people of God? No. The Ancient of Days makes the Son of Man Ruler over all the nations of the earth. Listen to Daniel: “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” The dominion that the beastly kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome had exercised over the earth is replaced with the rule of the Son of Man.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus reigns, let the earth be glad! Jesus reigns, let the nations rejoice! The rule of the beasts of the earth, the governmental principle that might makes right, has come to an end to be replaced by the rule of the Son of Man and the exaltation of justice. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.” And the first thing He did, on the day of Pentecost, was pour out His Spirit upon His people to enable them to carry the message of His reign throughout the earth.

Reminded that Jesus is Lord of all, Ruler of all, and that it is Him that all men, nations, and languages are to serve, that it is Him we are to proclaim as King of kings and Lord of lords, let us confess that our nation refuses to honor Him and that we Christians frequently fail to bear witness to Him. Let us kneel as we confess.

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789

November 21, 2012 in Bible - OT - Daniel, Bible - OT - Proverbs, Confession, King Jesus, Meditations, Thankfulness

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
         Proverbs 14:34
“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.”
Daniel 4:37
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign [the 4th] Thursday … of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—
That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks
–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation
–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable [interventions] of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war
–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed
–for the peaceable and [reasonable] manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately [ratified]
–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;
–and in general for all the great and various favors which he has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions
–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually
–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed
–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord
–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us
–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
President George Washington
So reads the first Thanksgiving Proclamation of our great republic. Reminded that we as a people no longer think this way and have neglected our duty to our Creator and Preserver, let us kneel and confess our sins to Him.
Almighty God,
As a people we have fallen far. We have neglected our duty to give you thanks for your many kind providences to us. We have failed to petition you to grant us your forgiveness and your favor. We have imagined that we are the light of the world – but our light has become dim and is near to being put out. Forgive us, our Father; grant us grace to turn from our sinful self-importance, to turn from our pride and indifference to you, to seek your face and render true thanksgiving to your Name. We ask all this in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Amen.

Ascension Sunday

June 10, 2011 in Bible - OT - Daniel, Church Calendar, King Jesus, Meditations

Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

Today is Ascension Sunday. On this day we celebrate the moment when our Lord Jesus Christ, having taught the disciples for 40 days following his resurrection, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Ascension Day was actually last Thursday – 40 days since Easter. However, we haven’t yet reached the point of celebrating Ascension Day during the week and so celebrate it on the Sunday following.

But why celebrate this event? What’s so important about the Ascension? Daniel answers these questions for us. In chapter 7 Daniel has a vision of various animals who would rule the kingdoms of the earth in the years and centuries to come. He sees Babylon as a lion with eagle’s wings; then comes Medo-Persia, a bear with three ribs in its mouth; next comes Alexander the Great and Macedonia symbolized by the speed and agility of a leopard with four wings; finally comes Rome, a great beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong, having iron teeth with which it devoured all other kingdoms.

As Daniel was meditating on these visions and wondering what they might mean – for from his vantage point in history he didn’t know what we know of the rise of these kingdoms – as he was wondering what this might mean, something even more startling happened. Suddenly a Son of Man, a Son of Adam, appeared – not a beast but a man. And this Son of Man came up to the Ancient of Days, the Ruler and Judge of all, the one who raises up one kingdom and puts down another. Note that the Son of Man is not here coming down to earth but up to the Ancient of Days – this is not a reference to the Second Coming, in other words, but to the Ascension. The Son of Man came up to the Ancient of Days and what happened? The Ancient of Days gave the Son of Man dominion, glory, and a kingdom – in other words, He made the Son of Man King, Ruler.

And here’s the question: Ruler over what? Over just the land of Israel? Over just the people of God? No. Ruler over all the nations of the earth – listen to Daniel: “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” The dominion that the animal kingdoms had for a time exercised over the earth is replaced with the rule of the Son of Adam. In the Ascension Jesus enters upon His duties as the King of kings and Lord of Lords. He begins to reign from the right hand of God and the first thing He does, on the day of Pentecost, is pour out His Spirit upon His people to enable them to carry the message of His reign throughout the earth.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus reigns, let the earth be glad! Jesus reigns, let the nations rejoice! The rule of the beasts of the earth, the governmental principle that might makes right, has come to an end to be replaced by the rule of the Son of Adam and the exaltation of justice. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

Reminded that Jesus is Lord of all, Ruler of all, and that it is Him that all men, nations, and languages are to serve, that it is Him we are to proclaim as King of kings and Lord of lords, let us confess that our nation refuses to honor Him and that we Christians frequently fail to bear witness to Him. Let us kneel as we confess.