I'm a little nervous to start my study on Daniel 7 because this is where the FAI videos begin. FAI stands for Frontier Alliance International, and I found out about them when I watched their movie on YouTube called "Sheep Among Wolves." The documentary was about women in Iran who run the underground church. These women risk their lives to be followers of Christ, in a country where Shi'a Islam is the main religion, and the culture is run by men.
FAI taught me the word "Maranatha," which in Aramaic means means "Lord, Come." According to the website "Got Questions," the early church faced much persecution. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god, and the early Christians knew that there is only one God and one Lord - Jesus Christ. Many followers of Christ were put to death for not worshipping Caesar as their King. During this time, the believers' morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord. "Maranatha!" became the common greeting of the oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting "shalom" which means peace. The followers of Jesus knew there would be no peace because Jesus had told them so, as recorded in Matthew 10:34 and Luke 12:51. Yet, they knew the Lord would be returning soon, to set up His Kingdom, and from that truth they drew great comfort. In addition, Jesus declared all of this to them through several parables that spoke to the theme - "keep watching and waiting and be prepared for My return" as recorded in Matthew 25:1-13 and Luke 12:35-40.
The sole mission of Frontier Alliance International is to lay the foundation where there is none, especially in places like Syria, Iraq and Iran. In essence, they follow the same desire that was given to Paul, in Romans 15:20, "It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation."
When I started the Daniel study, and created the Maranatha - Authentic Facebook group, I knew that Yahweh would continue to give me wisdom. His Spirit is who led me to Daniel in the first place, after following Him through the book of Luke. But like everything that He does, it was never meant for me alone. His intention was to strengthen me to prophecy over the church, and to build up the Body of Christ.
I fully believe that He is stirring the hearts of His children to (1) pay attention to Jerusalem, (2) rebuild His temple and (3) shine His light into a dark world.
After reading Daniel Chapter 6, and preparing my heart and my mind through thoughtful prayer, to move onto to Daniel 7, the Lord led me to look more intently at the word "Peace." In particular, "Peace and Prosperity to you" as written by Darius the Mede, "to people of every race, nation and language throughout the world."
I followed the sound of the river, that was declared from Darius's mouth, and it took me to Ezra 4 verse 17. You see, I use the Blue Letter Bible as an interlinear concordance, and when I typed in Daniel 6 verse 25, it showed me that peace means "Shelam" in the Aramaic language. And Strong's number H8001 matches the Aramaic and Hebrew word, Shelam, which only occurs 4 times in 4 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the King James Version of scripture. The 4 other verses are Ezra 4:17, Ezra 5:7, Daniel 4:1, and Daniel 6:25.
When I saw that the word Shelam was only used in the books of Daniel and Ezra, I immediately knew that the two, were connected in some spiritual kind of way. This seems to be the way that Holy Spirit leads me in the eating and digestion of scripture.
As many people know, I was not brought up in a church. Nor did I go to a Christian college to attain a bible degree. In fact, it was just the opposite. I was truly a heathen, who had a Holy Spirit experience when I was 12 years old, that left an unforgettable impression on me.
I went to a liberal college and obtained a psychology degree. I also took many courses on religion and graduated believing in "Christian Universalism" - as if there was such a thing! Obviously, it was my own mind playing tricks on me! But God was not done with me. He stirred my heart to draw in closer when I was just 23 years old. I read the Bible religiously, and gained lots of historical knowledge, but my heart did not change and I lived as a "carnal" Christian until I was 46 years old.
In 2016, my marriage died from acts of adultery. My husband and I separated for a third time. I filed for divorce, and became extremely depressed, and even contemplated suicide. 2016 was a year that took me surprise. The Lord allowed me to experience his refining fire, and I finally had the opportunity to die to self. Jesus showed up, quite literally, through many visions and dreams. He extended his hand, and lifted me from the swamp, then He led me down the boardwalk to meet Father God. The experience was transformative and life-changing. During that time, the Lord healed me. Not only my heart, but my marriage, my family and my trauma history. And it all started by believing and having faith in His Word - and learning to trust Him over me.
Anyway, I had forgotten the importance of Ezra, because I have been so focused on the prophet Jeremiah. Over the last year, I have felt like Jeremiah - the weeping prophet who warned Judah and Benjamin, over and over again, about the judgement that was coming. Judah had become like the Drunkards of Ephraim who worshipped false gods, including themselves, and their wealth and prosperity. Judah failed to trust God, in their national affairs. They completely removed God from their government, and instead focused on human ideals.
The prophet Jeremiah has been close to my heart, because I often feel like he must have felt - the warnings were totally ignored by his friends, his family and Judean society. Like him, people don't want to hear what I have to say, in fact I believe they think I'm totally crazy. But that's okay. The Lord has helped me to not fear man, and has replaced it with His overwhelming love. There is nothing that can stop me from declaring what He has put inside my heart. And reading Ezra is a great reminder that the Lord is in charge!
When He decides on a matter, it's as good as done - we can hold onto the truth that His Word is sound, and will be revealed - it's only a matter of time.
The Lord certainly stirs the hearts of his people, and He stirs the hearts of great kings. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to set His people free. After 70 years of captivity, as prophesied by Jeremiah, the Lord broke the chains of bondage and set His people free.
King Cyrus of Persia, who had taken over Babylon, declared that the God of Heaven had appointed him to build God his temple in Judah, in the city of Jerusalem. He said, "Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem." And immediately after his declaration, God "stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And all their neighbors assisted them." Ezra 1:4-5
Ezra 4:17 says, "Then sent the king (King Artaxerxes - apparently the 4th King of the Persian Empire: Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerexes) an answer unto Rehum the chancellor (governor) and to Shimshai the scribe (court secretary), and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria (false Jerusalem), and unto the rest beyond the river (West of Euphrates), Peace (Shalam), and at such a time."
Rehum and Shimshai wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes to warn him about the situation in Jerusalem. These men, and many with them, were in opposition to what was happening in Jerusalem. The foundation of the Temple of God had been laid, and they did not want the walls to go up. They knew in their hearts, as hard as they were, that the people of the God of Israel would rebel against the culture set in place by the Persian king.
The enemies of Judah and Benjamin actually approached Zerubabbel (governor of Jerusalem) and the other leaders and said, "Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do." It's important to know that "the enemies of Judah and Benjamin" were actually Gentiles (non-Israelites) who were placed in the northern kingdom of Israel by Assyria when they invaded them. The Gentiles said, "We have sacrificed to him (God) ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here." You see, Samaria was like a fake Jerusalem, that the Northern Tribe of Israel created, when 10 of the tribes rejected Rehoboam and David's dynasty (1 Kings 12:16). And the Northern Kingdom was taken over by the Assyrian Empire, which occupied the northern region of Mesopotamia about 100 years before Judah and Benjamin were taken over by Babylonian Empire which occupied the southern region of Mesopotamia.
Zerubbabel and the leaders kindly declined the Gentiles offer. They said, "You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us to." "Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from doing their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans." Ezra 4:2-4
And after some time, "the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. They greeted the king for all their colleagues - the Dinaites (Cuth'an colonists who were placed in the cities around Samaria), the Apharsathcites (Bethlehem), the Tarpelites (Assyrian colonists), the Apharsites (a transferred tribe to Northern Kingdom), the Archevites (tribe from southern Iraq placed in northern kingdom), the Babylonians, the Susanchites (Capital of Elam - southern Iran), the Dehavites (a tribe placed in northern kingdom probably from Caspian Sea area), and the Elamites (southern Iran)." NKJ Ezra 4:9
They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal (great Assyrian King named after the god of war, Ashur) had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River." NLT Ezra 4:10
I now see that this kind of peace was a greeting of well-being declared from the mouth of Satan. The Babylonian and Assyrian kings, and the other enemies of Judah and Jerusalem, spoke Peace and Prosperity to the people who united against the Temple of God being rebuilt. They knew that "if this city was rebuilt and its walls are complete, the Jews will refuse to pay their tribute, customs and tolls" to any other god or king, that is not the God of Israel. Ezra 5:13
The work stopped, but only for a little while. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. The prophesied in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. The leaders responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Again, many complained to the king of Persia - King Darius. But to their chagrin, Darius found the order written by King Cyrus, to give safe passage to the captives of Judah so that they could rebuild the Temple of God. And then he ordered that the government "pay the full amount for the construction costs, without delay, from the taxes collected in the province west of Euphrates so that work would not be interrupted." Ezra 6:8
I think that is good for Part One of Daniel Chapter 7. I'm prepared to learn and follow the Spirit of God for the Lord is good, and His mercies endure forever! Peace and Prosperity to the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God! Being rooted in love, through Jesus Christ, may our branches bear fruit of His Holy Spirit. May every ear who hears this, receive the seed of Jesus, the second Adam who breaks the original curse that the Lord our God spoke upon us. May He bless you and your entire family as you wait patiently and expectantly for His second coming.