Daniel 2: Dreams and a vision in the night

King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by dreams. Explore Daniel 2 and how the LORD granted great favor to Daniel and his friends.

Recap of Daniel 1: Steadfastness in love and faith

Daniel 1 highlighted the stark contrast between the godly faith of the young captives and the Babylonian culture. King Nebuchadnezzar and his staff tried their hardest to impose their pagan, polytheistic culture upon the Hebrew youth.

While Daniel, Hannah, Mishael, and Azariah did learn the Chaldean language and did learn about the Babylonian ways, they did not internalize it. They remained steadfast in their love for and commitment to God Most High, the only True God, the God of Israel.

King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled

Daniel tells us in Daniel chapter 2 that Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by vivid dreams.

Daniel 2:1

Nebuchadnezzar’s Troubling Dreams

Daniel 2:1 identifies Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams as having happened in the second year of his reign. This would be 603BC. In the Near East, there were different customs for the counting of years. Daniel preferred a whole year system, whereas Jeremiah counted part of a year as a full year. This has led to some people concluding that the Bible has discrepancies, but it does not.

“Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.” Daniel 2:1

King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled because he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Babylon was an enormous, prosperous empire and Nebuchadnezzar planned to keep it that way.

If we jump ahead to Daniel 2:29, we see that Daniel recognizes that the king was thinking at night when he was laying down in bed – worried about the future:

“As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this . . . ” Daniel 2:29

King Nebuchadnezzar struggled with psychological issues, and here we see signs of anxiety and insomnia that will increase throughout the book of Daniel.

Daniel 2:2

The “Wisdom” of Babylon: Magic, Astrology, & Sorcery

“Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.” Daniel 2:2

King Nebuchadnezzar brought together his arsenal: those he considered “wise” enough, and really “spiritual” enough to decipher the vivid dreams he was experiencing:

  1. Magicians – magicians are illusionists. They trick you and play the games of the dark arts. In 1877, François Lenormant, a French assyriologist, published a book titled “Chaldean Magic: Its Origin and Development.” He studied a translation of a large tablet found in Nineveh’s royal palace (modern day Iraq) which contained “28 formulas of deprectory incantations against evil spirits, the effects of sorcery, disease, and the principal misfortunes that attack people in the course of daily life.” According to the Thomas Nelson NKJV Study Bible, the word translated as “magicians” literally refers to those who “use the pen” – people who were very learned in the “sacred” writings of the Babylonians. They would write out their incantations.
  2. Astrologers – astrologers studied the stars. Did you know that the Babylonians invented the modern horoscope? Capricorn and Sagittarius . . . the Babylonians invented the 12 signs of the zodiac and relied on their interpretation of the planetary alignments and constellations to predict outcomes. Astrologers served as priests in the Babylonian religion so they used the zodiac signs to attempt to determine the will of the gods.
  3. Sorcerers – these are the witches and warlocks of Babylon. They would use satanic spells and incantations, amulets, and rituals of the dead to invoke demonic influences. They genuinely “received power from evil spirits” (NKJV Study Bible).
  4. and Chaldeans – here Chaldeans is probably referring to a select group of Chaldean advisors (who likewise would have been well-educated in the Babylonian customs

The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, insisted that the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers present themselves before him to tell what the king had dreamed.

Those who were accustomed to creating fear through their sorcery would now be very fearful of whether or not they would be able to correctly guess and describe Nebuchadnezzar’s mystery dreams.

Nebuchadnezzar was known as a brutal king and any misstep could merit execution.

Daniel 2:3

Nebuchadnezzar’s Anxiety

“And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.” Daniel 2:3

Nebuchadnezzar did not have a relationship with God that could provide peace to his troubled soul. His dreams caused him to be unsettled and anxious.

However, notice that the Bible is talking about dreams, not “terrors of the night” or “nightmares.” The dream impacted Nebuchadnezzar enough that he wanted an interpretation, but this was a God-given dream.

Nightmares come from the evil one. While what God might reveal to us may be unsettling at times, he is not the author of confusion nor of fear.

Daniel 2:4-6

Fake confidence and the king’s brutality

“Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”Daniel 2:4-6, emphasis added

“O king, live forever” was their way of saying, “Long live the king!” The Chaldean advisors praised their earthly king in an effort to keep him appeased and at least fake some confidence.

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted relief from his distress so badly that he made a firm decision regarding the consequence should those summoned before him fail to correctly identify the dream and its interpretation: he would have them cut into pieces and their homes burned.

There was an ancient practice of dismembering bodies and so this is what the king is referring to when he says anyone who doesn’t know the dream will be chopped up. (See 1 Samuel 15:33, Daniel 3:29)

On the flip side, if the advisors could provide what the king wanted, King Nebuchadnezzar promised to reward them well.

Daniel 2:7-13

The Chaldean advisors admit their limitations

“They answered again and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, “There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.” Daniel 2:7-13

King Nebuchadnezzar’s advisors realized the peril of their situation. They asked the king to at least reveal the dream so they could provide their interpretation.

However, King Nebuchadnezzar would make it very obvious that the sorcerers and magicians were not as powerful as perhaps they wanted him to believe. He replied to them that if they had the ability to identify his dream he would trust that they had the power to give the interpretation.

The Chaldean advisors would have been panicking at this point. They admit that no one could possibly know the dream “except the gods.”

Living up to his harsh reputation, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered all the wise men of Babylon killed. Daniel and his friends have not been mentioned in this chapter until now, but they were considered among the Chaldean wise men and were therefore about to be killed.

In another sign of King Nebuchadnezzar’s questionable mental state, his desperation causes him to fixate on wanting to kill the very people who could potentially give him his answer. He demonstrates very self-destructive behavior.

Daniel 2:14-18

Daniel & Arioch

“Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;  he answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.

So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,  that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:14-18

Young Daniel spoke with the captain of the king’s guard, a man named Arioch.  ארי The name Arioch in both Hebrew and Aramaic indicates a meaning like “Lion-like,” an appropriate name for a military leader.

Daniel approached Arioch with “counsel” and “wisdom.” He didn’t know why the decree was so “urgent”/”harsh,” but Arioch filled him in on what was going on.

Daniel had enough favor to proceed to go directly to the king to ask him for some time to fulfill the king’s request. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah sought “mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret” and prayed that they would not be killed along with the others.

Whenever you face a challenge or need God’s direction, seek His mercies! Pray! Your very first line of attack should be as a prayer warrior!

Daniel 2:19

An Answer to Prayer

“Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” Daniel 2:19

Daniel’s leadership in prayer and consistent faithfulness to pursuing God’s will and way resulted in God granting him supernatural favor. Daniel received a vision in the night that revealed the secret dream.

Dream and Visions

Do you notice in verse 19 that the Bible says Daniel received a night vision?

Normally, visions are understood as occurring during the day, while dreams occur at night.

I believe God wants us to notice that Daniel had been awake. He was seeking God with all his might and the Lord gave him a vision.

Daniel 2:20-23

Daniel praises the God of his fathers

Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

“I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.” Daniel 2:20-23

Praise and Prayer = Results

Daniel very naturally praised the God of His fathers.

When Daniel says, “Blessed be the Name of God forever and ever.” The construction in Aramaic could also be translated, “Let God’s Name be blessed/praised forever and ever.” It is clear that Daniel is exalting God and inviting others to do the same.

He gives reasons: because wisdom and might belong to God.

And God is the one who changes the times and seasons (times and seasons will become very important as we continue along in Daniel). God has power over the weather and the days and the times; God is ultimately King over all the kings of the earth and He removes them and raises new ones up.

God alone is Wise and All-Knowing. He gives wisdom and knowledge to those who are wise and have understanding. Notice – he “gives wisdom to the wise” and “knowledge to those who have understanding” – already. Daniel is talking about increase. Those who already have some wisdom and knowledge will receive still more, but he is not saying that God is giving wisdom to the unwise or knowledge to those lacking understanding. God has chosen to give increase to those who understand.

In Babylon, this would have been a controversial position. Daniel is making the claim that the wise in the kingdom are not wise due to their own wisdom and knowledge nor did their insights come from the Babylonian deities. God alone holds true wisdom and knowledge.

Likewise, God alone can reveal deep and secret things.

Though we cannot see in the darkness, God knows what is there and He illuminates all because Light dwells within Him. He is the Light of the world!

Daniel is thankful and acknowledges that God has given him wisdom and might (or strength). He is thankful that God answers prayer and has made known to him and his friends the king’s demand.

Daniel 2:24-27

Daniel before the king

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.”

The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 

But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:  (Daniel 2:24-27)

Arioch the military commander must have had a pretty good relationship with Daniel. Remember, Arioch is the same man who filled in Daniel about what was happening with the killings of the Chaldean wise men.

This time Daniel filled in Arioch on some important news: Daniel told him that he knew the interpretation and asked Arioch to bring him before King Nebuchadnezzar.

Arioch responded quickly. He knew the urgency and gravity of the matter because lives were at stake. Without the interpretation, Arioch himself would have to continue to carry out the king’s orders to kill all of the wise men of Babylon. Daniel 2:25 says Arioch quickly brought Daniel before King Nebuchadnezzar.

I find it interesting that Arioch specifies here that the man who has the interpretation is one of the “captives of Judah.” It seems Arioch supports Daniel because he does not suggest that Daniel “might” know the interpretation, but rather says with certainty: “who will make known to the king the interpretation.”

King Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel (Belteshazzar) directly if he is able to describe the dream and to give the interpretation.

Daniel boldly affirms that he has this ability because of His relationship with the God of heaven. Daniel begins by reminding the king that his wise men and astrologers and magicians and soothsayers have been unable to reveal the king’s secret dream.

And then Daniel makes a faith statement. He does not believe in the polytheism of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. He declares “there is a God in heaven.”

One God.

Above all else.

 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets. . .” Daniel 2:28a, emphasis added

Daniel proceeds to inform the King of Babylon that the God of Heaven has revealed the mystery dream. Daniel is making quite the claim: that his God – the God of the Judean captives – is indeed the Omniscient, All-Powerful God and that Daniel will serve as His spokesman for a prophetic word that will reveal what will happen in the future.

Daniel begins:

Daniel 2:29-30

The mystery revealed to save lives

“As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.” Daniel 2:29-30

The Chaldean culture was very focused on their view of “wisdom.”

So Daniel makes very clear that although he is counted among the wise, it was not because of his human wisdom that he was able to ascertain the secret dream.

God alone, All-Merciful and All-Knowing chose to reveal the dream to Daniel to spare the lives of the wise men (particularly those of Judean descent). God loves the Chaldean and the Judean: He wants all to learn of Him and trust in His ways. God also loves King Nebuchadnezzar! In His mercy, God wants King Nebuchadnezzar to understand the dream he was given and have time to repent.

Daniel 2:31-35

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in detail

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 

This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.  

Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found.

And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:31-35

Daniel 2:36-45

The interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Daniel with his friends had prayed for revelation and the interpretation together. Daniel included them in the presentation of the interpretation. The dream was a revelation about four kingdoms represented by an image comprised of four metals.

Ultimately, this is an end times revelation about world empires and the return of Christ.

36 “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 

37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 

38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 

39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours;

then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 

41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 

42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 

43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 

44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 

45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” (Daniel 2:36-45) (emphases added)

I found an illustration that you may find helpful. I believe “bronze” is a bit more accurate than “brass,” but besides this small detail, the rest of this illustration seems accurate:

Notice that while gold would be prized as most valuable, the four materials associated with the different empires go down in value but up in strength.

The First Kingdom

It is revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of a series of kingdoms. King Nebuchadnezzar has achieved great wealth and fame, a “king of kings.” It is generally accepted that the first kingdom depicted by the dream is Babylon.

The Second Kingdom

Medo-Persian Empire

The next kingdom would be inferior, but still strong. This refers to the Medo-Persian empire. Persia today is known as Iran. The Medes were from Media, a city important to the Islamic people of Iran. Today, the descendants of the Medes are likely the Kurds of Iraq. The people of Media joined together with the Persians (like the image describes the two arms and chest).

King Cyrus and the gates of bronze and bars of iron

King Cyrus was the ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire.

We can find out more about him in Isaiah 45:1-4

“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:
 ‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;

I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.

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.
For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.” (Isaiah 45:1-4)
(emphases added)

This passage reveals to us that Cyrus, a Gentile king, did not know the God of Israel yet God was using him to bless Israel. Notice the references to breaking the gates of bronze and the bars of iron – components of the future kingdoms.

The Medo-Persian Empire was conquered by Alexander the Great, a Macedonian (Greek) in 331BC.

The Third Kingdom

Grecian Empire

The third kingdom is represented by bronze. This refers to the Greek (or “Grecian”) Empire. The military of Greece may have used bronze for their armor and weaponry.

Alexander the Great

In 336BC, Alexander the Great conquered Greece and very rapidly extended the empire to the edges of the known world at that time, including the conquering of the Medo-Persian empire. The Grecian Empire extended as far south as Egypt, east to Syria and Persia, and all the way to the border of Pakistan with India. Alexander’s military might was so ferociously successful that it is said that at one point Alexander wept because he couldn’t think of any more places to conquer in his quest for world domination.

Although Greece was a strong empire, its division into warring city-states weakened it over time and Greece eventually fell to Rome in 146BC following the Macedonian wars.

The Fourth Kingdom

Roman Empire

The fourth kingdom is represented by iron. This represents Rome, the last significant world empire. The Bible describes the image in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as having two iron legs (Daniel 2:33).

The two legs could represent division, in that Rome became divided between the Eastern and Western empire (Constantinople/Byzantium vs. Rome/Mediterranean).

Rome’s influence has lasted even to our time.

Roman architecture still very much influences our own government buildings.

The concepts of having a senate, courts, and military codes of ethics, tactics, and strategies all came from Rome.

Have you ever considered the names we use for rulers and kings?

Caesar has morphed into “kaiser” in German and “czar” in Russian.

I find it to be fascinating!

Feet of iron and clay

Rome stood tall, but began to crumble just as the feet in the image show an unstable mixture of iron and clay. No other world leader has ever been as strong as the earlier kingdoms. There are several different opinions as to what exactly the feet represent. Many would agree it refers to the divided countries of Europe.

A very recent article posted by one of my favorite ministries, One for Israel, was so timely! The article is titled, “Daniel and the dream: Feet of iron and clay.” I was finishing up my study of Daniel 1 when their study of Daniel 2 popped up on my social media feed. God is good!

I was intrigued by a question raised in the article: “Could it be that the feet of iron and clay might be the Islamic colonialism that has taken so much ground, and its uneasy alliance with the cloying humanism that has overrun the west? (One for Israel, Feb.12, 2024).

The article is definitely worth your time in reading as your study this passage in Daniel 2. Check it out!


The feet of the statue image are divided into toes. The NKJV Study Bible considers the perspective that “the Roman Empire will one day be revived (v.41), will be ruled over by 10 rulers (the toes of v.42), will feud over internal problems (v.43), will witness the return of Jesus Christ (v.44) and will be destroyed by Christ at the Second Coming (v.45).”

The Stone and God’s Eternal Kingdom

While the kings of this earth vie for power and supremacy, God reveals that He will set up His Kingdom in the midst of all that chaos. The stone cut out “without hands” refers to the supernatural work of Christ and His eternal kingdom. “The stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:35c For more about uncut stones and their spiritual significance, see Joshua 8:30-31.

As the seraphim cry out in Isaiah 6:3c: “The whole earth is full of His glory!”

Daniel concludes his interpretation with God-given confidence: the dream is certain and its interpretation is sure.

Just as Daniel predicted, these empires did indeed rise and fall in the precise order given in the dream and interpretation.

Jesus came to dismantle the world’s empires and to set up the indestructible eternal Kingdom of God! (Daniel 2:44)

The Second Coming of Christ

The dream reveals that there would never be another world empire as great as Rome. Rome was the last great kingdom. There would be four empires that would rule the world (and fall) before the return of our Messiah.

This means, His return is imminent!

Daniel 2:46-49

Daniel and his friends receive a promotion

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. 47 The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.” 

48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. (Daniel 2:46-49)

King Nebuchadnezzar recognizes the immensity of Daniel’s interpretation. He fell on his face in wonder and confessed that the God of Daniel, Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah is the “Lord of kings.” This does not mean; however, that King Nebuchadnezzar converted – he was acknowledging the supremacy of the God of the Judeans “at least in matters of divine knowledge” (NKJV Study Bible) but he did not renounce his own deities.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar promoted Daniel to serve as the ruler (the governor!) of the whole province of Babylon and the chief administrator over all the wise men! No doubt the wise men gladly served under Daniel’s leadership because he had saved them from mass execution!

Daniel requested that King Nebuchadnezzar allow his friends to also serve in the government, which was approved. Daniel sat in the gate of the king which is another way of saying he served on the king’s royal court.

Isn’t it amazing how God had a marvelous plan to rescue and bless Daniel and his friends? No matter what you face in life, always remember: God is willing to help you and raise you up to accomplish things you never imagined. Daniel and his friends persisted in prayer and faith despite the fear and anxiety that the enemy would have been trying to impose upon them. Whenever you feel discouraged or under pressure, seek God with all your heart and He will minister to you! Be open to the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life through dreams and visions, especially in these last days!

Review: The Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible

As part of the Thomas Nelson Bibles blogger program, I have received a copy of the Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible published by Thomas Nelson Bibles/Harper Collins Publishers at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog.

Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible Book Review & Description

The NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible features the thinnest edition of the Biblical text available from Thomas Nelson. Pictured is the Thomas Nelson NKJV Bonded Leather edition, available in Burgundy with gold gilded page edging. This Bible utilizes Smyth-sewn binding, making it a Bible that will last for a long time. In fact, I found out that Thomas Nelson has a lifetime guarantee on this Bible, so if you do invest in one, be sure to register your purchase using this link on the Thomas Nelson website!

I love the fact that this NKJV Bible is very lightweight. I often carry a Bible with me because there is just something special about having a printed copy of the Scriptures in hand rather than only relying on Bible apps. This Bible would be useful in any ministry setting.

This Bible provides the simple Bible text (in this case, the New King James Version) without the weight that would be added with study guides, commentaries, or concordances. The Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible includes a satin ribbon marker, a presentation page, and the words of Christ are in red.

“Comfort Print” in the Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible 

This NKJV Bible uses an 8-point font, called “Comfort Print” by Thomas Nelson Bibles. It is clear and readable as advertised, but for those of us over 40 who have worn glasses since childhood . . . this Thomas Nelson NKJV Bible might remind a few of us that it is time to update that prescription! If you have excellent vision, you will love the font size because it enables this Bible to be as thin as it is.

There is ample margin space for a Bible of this size if you do enjoy adding short notes during a Bible study or sermon. The paper quality is exceptional – what one would expect with a high quality Bible.

Maps in the Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible 

The back of the Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible contains beautiful full-color maps of sites in ancient Israel:

as well as maps of the time of Jesus and the apostles:

This is a Bible that would make a beautiful gift for anyone in your life.

Coming up:

Stay tuned! Next week, I will be reviewing the value edition of the Thomas Nelson Ultra Thinline Bibles. I will share with you the unique differences between these editions. It can be so much easier to choose when you can see some pictures and read a description about them!

My recommendation:


Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible deserves a 5 out of 5.

This beautifully constructed leather edition of God’s Holy Word in the New King James Version will last for years. If you are looking for a simple, no frills, lightweight, high-quality edition of the Bible, look no further! This Bible will bless anyone, of all ages.

Rev. Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Bibles
Release Date: 
Genre: BIBLES/New King James Version/Text

ISBN-13: 978-1400338436

PURCHASE LINKS:  Amazon | Christianbook

Daniel 1: God our Governor (a verse-by-verse Bible study)

7 Adar I 5784 B”H

Background on the Book of Daniel

Daniel is a complex, but very fascinating book of the Bible.

Time periods covered by the book of Daniel

The book of Daniel covers the Babylonian captivity though the second coming of Christ our Messiah! 

Languages used in the original text of of the book of Daniel

Daniel 1 and 8-12 were originally written in Hebrew while Daniel 2-7 were written in Aramaic (which was the language of the Chaldean Babylonians.) Daniel had become so fluent in the language of the Chaldean regime that he actually wrote chapters 2-7 in their (the Babylonians’) language.

There are also actually a few Persian words in the book of Daniel (Babylon was a “satrapy”, meaning a province of the Persian empire). Additionally, some Greek language musical instrument names (indicating the origin of the instruments) are found in Daniel 3, for example.

Who wrote the book of Daniel?

Daniel 7:15 tells us in the first person that Daniel is the author. He wrote in 3rd person (Daniel 1-7:14) until that point when he switched into his 1st person account.

“I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me." Daniel 7:15 

Now for the skeptics out there who would like even further evidence that corroborates our claim of Daniel’s self-authorship, Jesus (Yeshua) Himself ascribes Daniel’s prophecies to – Daniel. (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). If Jesus accepted Daniel as the author of Daniel . . . that should be good enough for us. Scripture and even extraBiblical historical chronicles provide overwhelming evidence that Daniel was a reliable historian as well as prophetic figure.

Who was Daniel prior to Daniel Chapter 1?

In Daniel chapter 1, which we will get to in a moment, the now-experienced servant of God, Daniel, is reflecting upon his experience in being taken captive and deported to Babylon from Judah. He describes himself as one among the youths who were taken in the first wave around 597BC. Some say the date would have to be a little later, such as 587BC. In any case, it is believed to be accurate to say that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586BC.

But who was Daniel before he was taken captive?

We don’t know Daniel’s exact age when Nebuchadnezzar’s army came, but we can reasonably deduce a few of his attributes. It is likely that Daniel came from Israel’s upper class precisely because he was included in the first group of captives. Many kings in those days would conquer another king and capture the rest of their noble family and relatives. So Daniel would have had fairly prosperous and distinguished ruling class parents and he would have had opportunities available to him in Judah like attending the best schools or easily obtaining an influential job.

An analysis of the dates in the Biblical record shows that when Daniel was a child, the good, God-fearing young King Josiah would have been reigning. Daniel and his family would have been well-aware of King Josiah‘s positive reforms in restoring Solomon’s temple and the finding of the Book of the Law (2 Kings 22-23). King Josiah was the last good king who reigned in the Southern Kingdom (Judah) prior to the Babylonian takeover. During King Josiah’s reign, the people experienced revival and restoration.

After King Josiah died, Judah’s leadership returned to the idolatry and wickedness that had characterized the Southern Kingdom for so long. Like those of us who lament the ungodliness that permeates our nation today, Daniel would have observed the stark difference between living under godly leadership versus living under the corrupt and ungodly leadership of people like King Jehoiakim as he was growing up. God was preparing Daniel, ever since his youth, to be an influential leader and also important writer of the Biblical text.

World History at the time of Daniel


Not everyone realizes that Daniel actually lived at the same time as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, so he was a contemporary of these prophets. During the reign of King Josiah (Daniel, remember, was a little boy then), Jeremiah was beginning his prophetic ministry.

Jeremiah ended up fleeing with a remnant to Egypt (he started in a northern town called Mizpah and ended up going through Gaza and then down into Egypt in a place known as Tahpanhes along the Nile River.) Jeremiah never gets a break from being the prophet of lamentation and he continues prophesying that Nebuchadnezzar would reach Egypt, as well, as part of God’s judgment (Jeremiah 43:8-13).

Daniel grew up with positive spiritual influences. Besides living under King Josiah’s godly leadership, Daniel would have grown up hearing Jeremiah’s prophecies. Daniel demonstrated exceptionally strong faith in the LORD and it is fair to attribute some of that to his godly upbringing. Never underestimate the value of training up your children in the way they should go:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6


Ezekiel was taken in the second wave to Babylon where he was enlisted as a slave and preached by the rivers of Babylon:

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.  On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there."  Ezekiel 1:3

Aesop & The Greek Civilization

While all of that was going on in the Middle East, the Greek civilization was also flourishing. In Greece, a slave was gaining popularity for his storytelling abilities.

Have you ever read Aesop’s fables? Aesop was born in 600BC so he would have likely been aware of Babylon’s conquests east of the Mediterranean. Aesop’s fables (like the Tortoise and the Hare or The City Mouse and The Country Mouse) were so clever that it is said that his master finally gave him his freedom.

If you know those stories, Aesop used animals to represent people. That would have been a very wise tactic in his day. Just as in Babylon, the Greek culture had a hierarchical society, so Aesop could make societal commentary without directly offending a noble and ending up in jail.

Within the next hundred years or so, democracy was established in Athens, Greece. Then the famous philosophers like Plato and Socrates lived, so there was a lot going on in that region.

Let’s get to the Biblical text now:

Daniel 1:1

"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it." Daniel 1:1

Daniel 1:1 records the existence of 2 different kings:

  1. Jehoiakim (king of Judah – remember, Judah was the Southern Kingdom after the North/South split over the disputes between Rehoboam and Jeroboam).
  2. King Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon).  Nebuchadnezzar (II) was the son of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Neo-Babylonian/Chaldean empire. He was probably named after his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar I. King Nebuchadnezzar reigned from 605-562 BC: 43 years – making him the longest reigning king of Babylon. He tackled a large number of construction projects, one of the more famous being the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which you may know were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Nebuchadnezzar II Hanging Gardens of Babylon


Jehoiakim was one of Josiah’s sons. He chose wickedness rather than following his father’s righteous example of leadership. We find information about him in the Biblical Chronicles:

2 Chronicles 36:1-8 “Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father’s place in Jerusalem.  Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. Now the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. Then the king of Egypt made Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother and carried him off to Egypt.

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him, and bound him in bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon. 

Nebuchadnezzar also carried off some of the articles from the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.  Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, the abominations which he did, and what was found against him, indeed they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.” (emphases added)

Notice in 2 Chronicles 36:4, the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho (probably Necho II) changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim.

Hebrew names had great significance and we will talk further about this when we get to the changed names of Daniel and his friends, but a way for another nation to exert dominance would include the changing of an individual’s name.

Interestingly enough, the name “Eliakim” meant, “God (or El/Elohim) will establish or raise up.” The name “Jehoiakim” is not a large departure from that. Jehoiakim means “Jehovah/YHWH will establish or raise up.” So Pharaoh or King Necho is identifying which “God” in Necho’s opinion Eliakim will be serving.

Some scholars have deciphered that to Necho, “El/Elohim” may have been considered very powerful and may have been recognized as the true Supreme Deity whereas culturally, Necho’s polytheism accepted a “lower deity” known as “Jehovah” or “YHWH.” Necho “thought” he was diminishing Eliakim’s name, but as Christian believers we know that Elohim is YHWH and that we serve one true God.

Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin

After Jehoiakim, his son Jehoiachin reigned for three months. Jehoiachin’s name is a variation of Jehoiakim.

2 Chronicles 36:9 “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD.”

Jehoiakim’s brother, Zedekiah

The succession of poor leadership continued. After Jehoiachin’s 3 month reign, King Nebuchadnezzar made his uncle Zedekiah the king of Judah:

2 Chronicles 36:10-12 “At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar summoned him and took him to Babylon, with the costly articles from the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah, Jehoiakim’s brother, king over Judah and Jerusalem. Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD.”

Leaders must be responsible for their actions. Jehoiakim established a pattern that continued producing bad fruit. In 2 Chronicles, nothing is recorded regarding Jehoiakim’s manner or time of death – we are informed only that he was replaced.

Jeremiah 22:18-19 fills us in. Jehoiakim did not receive a special kingly burial:

Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

“They shall not lament for him,
Saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, my sister!’
They shall not lament for him,
Saying, ‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, his glory!’

He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey,
Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
Jeremiah 22:18-19
(emphasis added)

Not a great legacy to leave.

But Jehoiakim had had his chance. God had sent Jeremiah to prophesy and to warn him that if he didn’t change, his kingdom would be scattered and destroyed. Similarly, we must preach to the lost the Gospel of repentance because only then can we be saved from sin and eternal destruction.

Zedekiah is the last known king of Judah. According to Josephus (the first century Jewish historian), Daniel and his friends were each related to Zedekiah’s royal family. Despite Zedekiah’s poor leadership, Daniel and others managed to remain faithful to the One True God.

Now, back to the book of Daniel!

Daniel 1:2

Daniel 1:2 reiterates what we just saw in 2 Chronicles. 

“And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.” Daniel 1:2

See how Daniel 1:2 begins with “And the Lord gave. . .”?

Throughout the Book of Daniel, you will see an emphasis on God’s sovereignty and His role in the unfolding of history.

Nebuchadnezzar symbolically thought he could control the deity of the Judean Israelites. He stole the Temple’s sacred items which was a way that Near Eastern empires of that time demonstrated victory over another group. These cultures believed that by taking religious artifacts, the deity attributed to them lost its powers. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know Who he was taking on: our God does not live in things made with human hands!

” . . . the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.” Acts 7:48

Daniel 1:3-4 

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.Daniel 1:3-4

Young, handsome Daniel of Judah with all sorts of good prospects and abilities was suddenly taken away from his home.  

I can’t help but think of the Israelis who were taken hostage into Gaza on October 7, 2023. 

That type of experience can break a person.

But Daniel‘s gifting and trust in God enabled him to grow from that experience. By seeking God’s wisdom, Daniel was able to allow his experiences to form him into a truly righteous servant of God Most High.

And if you are looking for a word of hope in this troubled time, the spirit of Babylon will not win in the end. While none of us like to hear of more judgment, death, or destruction, we may at least rest knowing that God is handling it:

“As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall,
So at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall.”
Jeremiah 51:49

Weaponizing Education

Nebuchadnezzar had a strategy to weaponize education. He re-trained the Judean noble youth in Babylonian customs with the idea that once they grew up, they would be very capable of governing in Babylon.

Sadly, we see similar tactics used today. Hamas and other jihadists enroll children in their terrorist training camps, Russia attacks Ukrainian schools, and our own public school system has been hijacked by secularists. If a conquering nation can control that narrative of the educational system, the weaker nation will cease to exist.

King Nebuchadnezzar thought that by selecting the youth who were fast learners, he would be able to indoctrinate them with Chaldean ideologies.

Truly, King Nebuchadnezzar underestimated just how astute Daniel and his friends really were.

Daniel 1:5-7

“And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.  Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.” Daniel 1:5-7

Daniel’s name  דָּנִיֵּאל

The name  דָּנִיֵּאל Daniel is often briskly translated as “God is my Judge.” 

And that isn’t incorrect, but there is a nuance that we shouldn’t miss:  

The verb from the Hebrew word דן , means “to judge” or additionally, “to govern.”

So Daniel’s very name means “El/Elohim/God is my Governor” or “Governed by God.” “God rules over me.” “God governs.”

Daniel served as governor, but he never forgot that he himself was governed by God.

Names and Identity

Daniel 1:6 records that Daniel’s friends were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Hananiah’s name means “God is gracious.”

Mishael means “Who is what God is?”

Azariah means “The Lord has helped me.”

In the Hebrew world, a person’s name was very much associated with their identity. Even today, some of us have names that perhaps we don’t know the clear meaning of, but if someone gives us a degrading nickname or uses our name in an offensive manner, it rightly bothers us.

The ruling regime of the day did everything it could do to strip Daniel and his friends of their Judean world. Nebuchadnezzar hoped these youth would internalize the new names that the Babylonians forced upon them.

The chief eunuch began to call Daniel, Belteshazzar. This name refers to a goddess named Sarpanitu, the wife of the famed Babylonian deity, Marduk. Belteshazzar translates to “Lady Protect the King.” It has been posited that Belteshazzar appears to be a girl’s name. Gender confusion was a thing back then, too. The Babylonians wanted to offend and confuse Daniel so that he would lose his godly values and godly identity.

Hananiah became Shadrach which means “I am fearful of the God.” This is psychological warfare! Babylon wanted fear to be instilled in young Hananiah, to cause him to forget that the One True God is gracious and to cause him anxiety. The spirit of Babylon wants us to lose our faith and trust in God. If we begin to internalize fear, we will not turn to God in prayer as we should. We will either attempt to trust in ourselves or, worse yet, turn to false gods.

Mishael was renamed Meshach, meaning, ” I am of little account.” Again, Babylon sought to diminish the confidence of the Hebrew youth. The world always seeks to make people feel worthless and of no value.

Lastly, Azariah was given the name Abed-Nego meaning, “Servant of (the god) Nebo.” Babylon tried with all its might to convince Azariah that he was no longer servant of the Most High God of Israel. How often the devil tries to convince us that God has abandoned us.

When there is a situation like this, and the world wants to put something on you that isn’t yours to own, you have the power in Christ to reject that. The Babylonians could call Daniel and his friends anything they wanted to, but these faithful servants of the True God did not internalize and accept what the world was imposing upon them.

Three-year training program

Daniel and his friends were forcibly enrolled in a three year Babylonian training program. Daniel 1:5 says the end-goal of this training was that these special youth could serve in the king’s government.

Nebuchadnezzar appointed them to be given the king’s “delicacies” and the royal wine.

But here we arrive at a key memory verse:

Daniel 1:8

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8, emphasis added

Daniel 1:9

Favor in all seasons

“Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.” Daniel 1:9

Always seek the favor of God. Just as we are to be ready to preach in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), we must be ready at any time to serve God in any situation. When we have diligently prayed and fasted, He gives us the favor we need:

“You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:18

Daniel 1:10

“And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” Daniel 1:10

Daniel was not alone in requesting to abstain from the king’s food and drink. “Your food” is plural in Hebrew. Daniel’s friends agreed with him in refusing to eat the prescribed meals.

What was the issue with the food?

The Scriptures do not tell us exactly what was on King Nebuchadnezzar’s standard menu, but we do know that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were observant Jews.

Babylon’s food would have included

  1. nonKosher/unclean/forbidden food – food not prepared according to the Torah’s regulations
  2. meat dedicated to Babylonian idols

It would have been a violation of conscience for these Hebrew youth to eat nonKosher meals.

The chief of eunuchs, while kind to Daniel, expressed concerned that he would get beheaded over this!

So Daniel turns to a steward, rather than the chief. Did you ever notice that before?

Daniel 1:11-15

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever

“So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.” And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Daniel 1:11-15

Daniel trusted in God. He had the confidence that despite not eating any meat of any kind, he and his friends would be able to maintain their health and strength because God would be their portion.

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Daniel 1:16-17

The “wisdom” of Babylon

“Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Daniel 1:16-17

Like Moses before them, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were educated in the literature of the culture they found themselves in: “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” Acts 7:22. With God’s help, the four captive Judeans learned the Chaldean language and were educated in literature, science, and astrology: the “wisdom” of Babylon.

Daniel stood out – he could understand visions and dreams.

Being knowledgeable has its place. How valuable it is when a God-fearing, God-loving person uses their God-given gifts to acquire knowledge and to serve, even in secular roles. But even more valuable than that is a pure and contrite spirit, a Spirit-filled person who God entrusts with revelation through visions, dreams, and interpretations thereof. Daniel had this anointed combination and it granted him great favor.

Daniel 1:18-21

Results of the Interview

“Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.  And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.” Daniel 1:18-21

The Bible says that King Nebuchadnezzar interviewed the young men. They had to prove themselves prepared to serve him, and he surely was curious to know how they were faring on their vegetarian diet.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah proved themselves worthy of the tasks ahead, for “none was found like [them].” They served before King Nebuchadnezzar and the Hebrew youths were 10 times more accurate in their wisdom and understanding than Babylon’s own magicians and astrologers.

God is our Governor!

As Daniel’s name declares, God is our Governor. He rules over all of us in fairness, righteousness, and love.

We do not have to “prove” ourselves worthy. In fact, that would never be possible.

We are formidably unworthy of all that God has done for us. He has spoken throughout history and used faithful servants like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. He has made a way for our salvation from sin and death by sending His Son, Jesus, (Yeshua) to save us.

Allow the LORD Most High to rule and reign over your life today! Be inspired by Daniel’s great favor and seek the LORD with all your heart! Have confidence and faith, that no matter where life takes you or what is set before you, God will provide, intervene, bless, and help you if you will trust in Him today.

The Confidence of Christ in Prayer: an example from the account of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary

23 Shevat 5784

Jesus, the Anointed One, our Savior and Messiah demonstrated great confidence in prayer. Let’s learn how to pray with holy boldness, following His example.

The Final Inquiry

A movie came out many years ago called “The Final Inquiry.”  It is a moving story set in 35 AD about a Roman man sent on a mission to determine whether or not the resurrection of Jesus actually happened, or not.  

In one scene, the Roman, named Valerius Taurus, is out by the caves where people had been buried. By this point in the movie, the Pharisees have figured out that Tauro is on a quest to find out the truth, so they come up with a way to explain away the different miracles performed by Jesus, to influence his investigation so that Tauro would conclude that the resurrection was a fraud: only an illusion used to confuse people and cause them to think Jesus was divine.

In an extreme act, the Pharisees offer Tauro a cup of spiked wine.  Tauro is drugged against his will and loses consciousness for several days, so they bury him.  When he wakes up, in graveclothes, the Pharisees use the experience to suggest that the raising of Lazarus, and of Jesus, could be logically explained, and that a true resurrection was nothing but a hoax.  Doubts were sown into Tauro’s heart, but by the end of the movie he experiences the healing power of Jesus (and falls in love with a beautiful Jewish girl – it’s a movie after all) and becomes a follower of the One who legitimately is “the Resurrection and the Life.”

The Example of Lazarus

When Jesus (Yeshua) says in John 11:11, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps,” He is not referring to a drug-induced coma or taking a nap. 

Believers in Jesus who die are often said in Scripture to be sleeping, not to be “dead.” 

The disciples do not understand, and say, “Well, Lord, if he’s sleeping, he will get well” (John 11:12). 

The LORD had to get through to them, so He says plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:14).

Our Savior wanted to make it very clear that without Him, Lazarus really was dead. 

Jesus could have gone immediately to heal His friend at the news of Lazarus’ sickness, but He stayed another 2 days where He was before venturing out. 

By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. 

There was to be no question that Lazarus had died.

This was all part of God’s plan to demonstrate His power, that He would be glorified.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”  (Luke 11:21).

We must recognize the extent of God’s miracle-working power

Martha recognized Jesus’ healing power, but she didn’t understand the extent of His power. 

Her faith was limited by her mindset and experience – Martha thought miracles could only happen to the living. 

As always, Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) is patient with Martha.  He says to her, “your brother will rise again” (Luke 11:23).  Martha is still unable to understand and she confesses her belief that Lazarus will have eternal life, but Jesus wants her to understand that in Him is life – even in this earthly life.

Mary comes along and says the same thing: “Lord, had you only been here” (Luke 11:32).  She is weeping and others with her were as well. 

Jesus wept

“Jesus wept” (Luke 11:35).

Jesus wept, too, but He doesn’t weep out of despair like the others. 

He wept for the people who just don’t understand.

For the people who haven’t placed their hope in Him.

The Almighty Lord resolved to demonstrate His power. He told the people to roll the stone away. 

Have an agreeable, teachable spirit

Despite Martha’s confession that she knows Jesus is the Anointed One, the Christ, the Son of God, and despite the fact Jesus had told her shortly before, “your brother will rise again,” she counters Him: convinced that rolling the stone away is a bad idea because of the stench of Lazarus’ dead body.

Jesus would be right to get upset at this point. 

I don’t know in what tone of voice He answered her, but Scripture records Him saying, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (Luke 11:40).

He must’ve been exasperated.

Some people just don’t listen!

If there is one time to be agreeable, it’s when Jesus is standing right in front of you with the full ability and willingness to raise your loved one from the dead!

The people roll the stone away to reveal the dead body of Lazarus. 

The onlookers probably wondered: where was the glory of God in this?

But Jesus’ illustration wasn’t done yet. Some of the people would have lacked a true teachable spirit. They were discouraged, incredulous, and lacking in hope and conviction.

Confronted with the finality of death

Confronted with the evidence of the finality of death, it is hard for anyone to think beyond it.

Have you ever had your hopes crushed? 

Have you ever put your head down on your pillow after a time of turmoil in your life and in the quietness of the night, all that you could wonder was, “why would God let this happen to me?” 


“Where is the glory of God in this?” 

No matter how faithful we are, we all go through times when we ask that question.

Yet Jesus always asks us to believe.  And then we will see the glory of God.

The Confidence of Christ in the face of death

As an example to us, Jesus lifted up His eyes and began to pray with confidence:

Luke 11:41 “And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

It is important to note the manner in which Jesus prayed.

There are occasions recorded in the Bible when Jesus knelt down to pray.

There is nothing wrong with folding your hands, closing your eyes, and humbly praying. 

But there are other occasions when prayer is different.

Jesus is standing before a dead man. 

Prayer that requires Conviction and Confidence

His prayer needed to be one of conviction and confidence. 

He lifted up His eyes to the Father, fully aware of the authority His Father has given Him, and He said,

“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” (Luke 11:41-42).

Jesus uses His prayer to teach the onlookers about having faith and confidence in who they can be as God’s children if they will only believe.  

Do you pray with this kind of confidence? 

Father, I thank You because I know You hear me. 

Father, I know I am Yours, and because of my faith in Jesus, I know that when I call to You, You will answer, and when I am in need of You, You are beside me. 

Do you pray only out of habit, or do you pray because you believe prayer has the power to change lives and to change circumstances? 

Are you able to approach the throne of your Father in heaven and have the absolute confidence that He cares about your requests?

Jesus did not meekly pray, “Father, if it is Your will, please do something about Lazarus.” 

He didn’t stand there as one with little hope and say, “Father, I think You’re up there.  I think You are interested in Me and my unattainable prayer request.” 

He did not mope and shake His head, “Father, I know it’s too late, nothing can be done.” 

Of course not!

Jesus thanked His Father for always hearing Him, and then He went right to work drawing upon that confidence. The Bible says that with a loud voice Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!” (Luke 11:43).

 And with that, a bound up dead man came walking out of the tomb.  

What needs to come forth in your life?

What is bound up inside of you that you need released to new life?

In what areas of your life do you need greater confidence?

The Lord says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed (that’s reallllllllllly small), we can say to the mountain ahead of us: move, and it will move.  

1 John 5:14-15 reaffirms this Truth: “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”  

Jesus challenges us to believe, and to follow His example.  By simply maintaining a real, living relationship with your Father in heaven, you can witness amazing things happen in your life and the lives of others, simply by praying with confidence. 

We can hold our heads up high because by the blood He shed at Calvary, we stand before the Father blameless.  Jesus was without sin, and He has made a way for us, so we too, are no longer dead, but living.

To be alive in Christ for all eternity is a privilege guaranteed to those sealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Have you encountered Jesus in such a way as to know that without a doubt, your life has been changed and your eternal destiny completely decided, that because of His touch upon your life, you will live with Him forever?  

And do you realize that in the middle of your normal days, you can approach the throne of grace with boldness and present your requests to God with great confidence as a son or daughter of the Most High God?

Repentance for New Life

I can recall each time when I was in the hospital with my newborn sons. It was such a joyful time when friends or family would visit and we would spend time together rejoicing.  And to know they took time out of their day just to be with me, my husband, and the baby.  

It is the same with our Heavenly Father.  He rejoices with gladness when one of His children takes time out of the day to spend with Him to open your heart to Him just for a few moments, and to let Him know how you are feeling and tell Him how wonderful He is.

Don’t ever say you can’t or are too old to seek God. 

I talked to one older fellow once who told me it would be hypocritical for him to start seeking God now that he lived 90 years without God. 

God can forgive a hypocrite who repents. 

People will always say it’s too late but it is not.  

I prayed that that man forgave himself and sought the true Forgiver who could give Him relief of his every burden.

Do you believe what Martha came to believe?

That Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life? 

Do you believe He is Lord and Savior?

Never allow a spirit of unbelief or negativity to dissuade you from following and obeying the Lord. Seek Him and trust in Him and follow Jesus’ example: have confidence even in the face of death because He has the ability to bring new life!

I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior today! You do not need to fear. He has provided for your salvation by His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. When this earthly body fails, you will be resurrected to new life in Christ, if you will only believe and pray sincerely with all your heart! Luke, who recorded this account of Lazarus and Mary and Martha was a doctor. He was an eyewitness to the miracles of Jesus and He recorded this for you and me to believe. If a doctor was convinced: surely we can also know without a doubt that what is written in Scripture is as true today as it was then!

Live in confidence: you can do all things through Christ who is your strength!

16 Fundamental Truths for Understanding the Bible and reaching the world with the Gospel

The Assemblies of God: 85 Million adherents strong

I love being a part of a movement of God that is so large and diverse.

The Assemblies of God (AG) has over 85 million (yes, MILLION) adherents worldwide and continues to grow and flourish because of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit through Jesus’ servants all over the world. 85 million is a glorious testimony of the wonderful work pastors and missionaries are doing to reach the lost for the sake of the Gospel.

The Assemblies of God operates under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and a firm understanding of 16 Fundamental Truths that are entirely Biblical based.

These 16 Fundamental Truths unite believers all around the world.

More on that in a moment. First, let me tell you a funny story.

The Assemblies of God and church planting (a humorous story!)

I had a humorous conversation the other day when I took my sons to their swimming lessons.

A fellow homeschool mom found out that I had graduated from Divinity School and eagerly asked me to consider planting a church in her area. She said there was only one evangelical church near her rural home and felt another was needed.

The humorous part of this occurred when she went on to describe that evangelical church:

“It’s Assembly of God.”

I chucked. “Oh, you’re not into the Assemblies of God?”

She looked at me with wide eyes and shook her head, vehemently, “no.”

“They are the crazy ones, right?”

She started to backpedal. “Well, um, yeah, kinda. Well, I don’t mean they are that bad…”

I smiled and told her very matter-of-factly, “I’m an Assembly of God pastor! Nice to meet you!”

I went on to gently tell her that not all of us are crazy:

Pentecostal churches can get a bad rap. So much so that even Pentecostals tend to describe themselves as simply, “Spirit-filled” to distance themselves from 1) the true crazies and 2) oneness sects. I am adamant that we need to reclaim the term because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being 100% Trinitarian Pentecostal.

There are healthy Pentecostal churches just as there are unhealthy ones.

I know plenty about it because I just spent a full year in a declining church that refuses to acknowledge its pending demise. It is like a hospice for churches, and that is just plain sad. Churches should be full of life, intergenerational, and reaching the community. Churches should be teaching sound doctrine (such as these 16 Fundamental Truths) and reminding people of why they believe as they do so that they will be encouraged and equipped to reach more people in the community with the Good News.

I encouraged this mom to try another AG church sometime. I also invited her to our church plant which is launching soon.

The Assemblies of God is very intentional about church planting because it is a Biblical model that works. People get excited about being part of something new.

16 Fundamental Truths based entirely on Biblical Principles

Many many years ago, the Spirit of the LORD inspired our forefathers and foremothers to write down 16 Fundamental Truths – quite nearly non-negotiables about the Scriptures. There are 4 Cardinal Doctrines which are absolutely non-negotiable. Those include Salvation, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Divine Healing, and the Second Coming of Christ because they are essential to the core of the Gospel and the church’s mission.

Anyone who learns these basic 16 fundamental principles will acquire at least a basic understanding of the overall picture of God’s plan for the salvation of humanity for those who will believe and trust in His Son Jesus (Messiah Yeshua).

The AG’s 16 Fundamental Truths are considered non-negotiable because each of them are completely and firmly rooted in Scriptural evidence, and Scriptural verses are provided with each one.

I caution seekers to always check an organization’s list of doctrine and ensure that it is entirely Scriptural because otherwise it is very easy for people to be taught incorrectly and led astray by the winds of false doctrine and heresy.

If a church (even an AG one!) falls into the “crazy” category, they may need to be reminded of the Biblical Fundamental Truths because the Bible will not lead us astray, but man’s emotions sure can. We must pray for all Christian churches (both AG and non-AG), that they will follow sound Biblical doctrine.

I invite you to read the Assemblies of God Statement of 16 Fundamental Truths for yourself.

Then you will see, we are not so crazy after all! 😉

And if you really love them, there’s even a song! (Hint: its extremely useful if you are studying for AG credential exams!)

I also have a free PDF printable for Bible memory verses for children based on these 16 Fundamental Truths. You can find that here.


16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God AG

The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of 16 Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1:10 [KJV/NIV]; Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]). The phraseology employed in this Statement is not inspired nor contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full-gospel ministry. No claim is made that it covers all Biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.

  1. The Scriptures Inspired
  2. The One True God
  3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
  4. The Fall of Man
  5. The Salvation of Man
  6. The Ordinances of the Church
  7. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
  8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
  9. Sanctification
  10. The Church and Its Mission
  11. The Ministry
  12. Divine Healing
  13. The Blessed Hope
  14. The Millennial Reign of Christ
  15. The Final Judgment
  16. The New Heavens and the New Earth


The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

#16 Fundamental Truths


The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

#16 Fundamental Truths


a. Terms Defined
The terms “Trinity” and “persons” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural.

b. Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead
Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained.

c. Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.

d. Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation.

The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship.

The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority.

The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others.

#16 Fundamental Truths

e. The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God.

f. The Lord Jesus Christ, God with Us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man is “Immanuel,” God with us.

g. The Title, Son of God
Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title, Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God, belongs to the order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time.

h. Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption.

Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

i. Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him.

And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all.

j. Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son,

it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee,

but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship

(see Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead, Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit , and Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.

#16 Fundamental Truths


The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:

His virgin birth,

His sinless life,

His miracles,

His substitutionary work on the cross,

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3 [KJV/NIV
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 [KJV/NIV

His bodily resurrection from the dead,

His exaltation to the right hand of God.

#16 Fundamental Truths


Man was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God.

#16 Fundamental Truths


Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Conditions to Salvation

Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life.

The Evidence of Salvation

The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit.

The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness.

#16 Fundamental Truths

16 Fundamental Truths:



The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Saviour and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life.


The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements –bread and the fruit of the vine– is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4 [KJV/NIV]), a memorial of his suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26 [KJV/NIV]), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26 [KJV/NIV]), and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

#16 Fundamental Truths


All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.

This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth.

With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as:

  • an overflowing fullness of the Spirit, John 7:37-39 [KJV/NIV], Acts 4:8 [KJV/NIV]
  • a deepened reverence for God, Acts 2:43 [KJV/NIV], Hebrews 12:28 [KJV/NIV]
  • an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work, Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]
  • and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost, Mark 16:20 [KJV/NIV]

#16 Fundamental Truths


The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues, but is different in purpose and use.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-10 [KJV/NIV
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28 [KJV/NIV]

#16 Fundamental Truths


Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God.

The Scriptures teach a life of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”

By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to obey the command: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by the faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.

#16 Fundamental Truths


The Church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven.

Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshipped by man, to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, and to demonstrate His love and compassion for all the world, the priority reason for being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:

  1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world.
  2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God.
  3. To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.
  4. To be a people who demonstrate God’s love and compassion for all the world.

The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason for being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience:

  1. Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs.
  2. Adds a necessary dimension to worshipful relationship with God.
  3. Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ and care for the poor and needy of the world.

#16 Fundamental Truths


A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the fourfold purpose of leading the Church in:

Evangelization of the world.

Worship of God.

Building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.

Meeting human need with ministries of love and compassion.

#16 Fundamental Truths


Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.

#16 Fundamental Truths


The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

#16 Fundamental Truths


The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years.

This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel,

and the establishment of universal peace.

#16 Fundamental Truths


There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

#16 Fundamental Truths


“We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

#16 Fundamental Truths

Praying for a continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit as missionaries and pastors reach people around the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ

If you are a follower of Jesus, we pray for you and ask that you would pray for us and the continued work that God is doing. We must pray with urgency in these last days, that many more would come into a saving relationship with our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMashiach), the King of Israel and the King of the Universe.

The 16 Fundamental Truths are one way that God has united the Pentecostal movement of the Assemblies of God fellowship. We are excited about the future and all God will continue to do using men and women who are willing to step out in faith and preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you will join us in this effort, to pray continually, please leave a comment!

We love to hear from you and pray for you!

The 5 R’s of Church Revitalization

20 Tevet 5784, B”H

The Need for Church Revitalization & Revival

Many churches today are in great need of spiritual revitalization.

Extensive programming, elegant building layouts, and cinematic lighting will never bring revival to the church.

Some churches have become like the Church at Sardis, spoken of in the book of Revelation:

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1 (NKJV) (emphasis added)

Is there hope for a church like this?

Can a church that believes it is alive, but is actually dead, experience spiritual renewal, revival, and revitalization?

The answer is: yes!

There is always hope in Jesus our Messiah!

Let’s examine some ways that established assemblies of believers can experience true church revitalization.

1. Revival Requires Repentance

Revival requires repentance – hungering hearts who long for a true, personal, and meaningful relationship with the Creator – with our Father who loves us and gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

I like the translation found in the NIV version of Habakkuk 3:2. Here, the Prophet Habakkuk expresses a longing for revival:

“LORD, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.”

Habakkuk 3:2 (NIV)

If a church genuinely wants to experience growth and a spiritual (and often, numerical!) turnaround, that entire congregation needs to get on its knees.

Remember all that God has done in the past! Give thanks for the history of that church!

I always remind church leaders that they must be cautious to entrust the future of their church to God’s Almighty plan, not to their own personal plans.

If we are sincere in our prayers that God will repeat in our day His awesome deeds, we must be willing to do things the way He leads us, not our own ways. When we are willing to obey Him and follow His leadership, we can experience a dramatic turnaround leading to noticeable church revitalization.

2. Revitalization is Restorative

Consider the etymology of the term, “revitalization.”

See the “vital” in there.

Have you checked your spiritual vitals? How is your spiritual pulse doing? Is your church or spiritual life’s heartbeat strong and life-giving?

To “re-vitalize” is “to give new life to” something again. Revitalization is life-giving.

Too many churches have settled in with their routine or their membership numbers. They are content because they make their budget every week, but is there truly “life?”

Life reproduces life. A healthy, life-giving church is full of people who have hearts for evangelism – reaching out to others in their community with the Gospel. Church revitalization occurs when a healthy church begins to see visitor numbers increase and overall enthusiasm increases among the church membership. This is very restorative and provides new hope across generations.

3. Recognition of what remains

Some churches will be beyond repair, in a sense.

Sometimes years of poor leadership, bad financial decisions, or a local crisis can cause a church to make the difficult decision to close its doors.

It can be quite the challenge to experience true church revitalization in a church that has become overly comfortable or unwilling to accept change. Nonetheless, restoration should always be the initial goal, with the acknowledgement/recognition that churches are imperfect human institutions that are not always ultimately viable despite our best efforts.

There are times when planting a new church altogether is a much better option.

The freshness of a new, exciting work led by the Holy Spirit can draw many new souls into a saving relationship with the LORD. Church planting can revitalize a community. If your church leadership is unsure whether or not to work toward church revitalization or scrap it and support the planting of a new church instead, there are church consultants who can help you discern some next steps.

Sometimes it seems we give up too soon on some of the established congregations. Seeking revival and revitalization in an already established church can also bring greater vitality to the surrounding community. However, this requires a great deal of patience and prayer so that the leadership as a whole will be open to the changes necessary to get back on track with outreach and ministry.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

Working toward church revitalization is a process that requires patience and endurance.

A closer look at the Church in Sardis

Consider the passage from Revelation 3:1-6:

 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 

You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ Revelation 3:1-6

The command here is to “be watchful” (v.2).

Observation and Caring Analysis

Sometimes the first step is to simply observe what is going on in a congregation that needs revival. What has caused the lackluster feeling that seems to abound? Did the congregation abandon key components of a healthy doctrine? Did a tragedy occur that damaged the health of the church or community?

Be watchful, in love.

Check out the next part of that same verse. “Strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die…” (Rev.3:2).

“Strengthen what remains.”

The Word of God doesn’t say, “abandon the things which remain” nor does it say “quit now.”

But the Word of God does acknowledge the life-cycle. That certain things are “ready to die.”

Maybe a devotion to certain carpet colors needs to die.

Maybe an obsession with certain music styles needs to die.

Maybe an overall mindset within the church that is hindering the work also needs to die.

Strengthening what remains

Strengthen what remains – make sure there is sound doctrine being preached and love being demonstrated. Make sure that what remains is so very strengthened that it has the capacity to receive newcomers and reach out to the community to invite them into the church.

“Remember therefore how you have received and heard . . .” Revelation 3:3

In order for a ministry to feel refreshed and truly become resurrected, that ministry needs to be standing on the firm foundation of the Word of God. Any deviation from that, and it will fall (and, in that case, probably should because any disinterest in sound doctrine is disinterest in remaining a truly Biblical work). Slick marketing campaigns can’t save a church, but God’s Word sure can.

Doctrinal soundness and purpose

Remember therefore, how you have received and heard. The congregation must be reminded of all that is their legacy. They have received the inheritance of the Gospel and must once again find purpose in that. Intentional church revitalization is not only possible, but it is something that should be sought.

Reminder: repentance is key

Hold fast and repent.” Revelation 3:3

See, there it is. Repentance really is key. In a declining church, something happened at some point that caused the downward turn. Without repentance and a renewed vision, the work cannot be restored. But with repentance and obedience to God’s will and way, church revitalization is absolutely possible.

4. Reassurance for the Remnant

“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3:4-5

There often remains a remnant of faithful believers who find themselves attending a struggling church. These brothers and sisters in the LORD are charged with praying for church revitalization and remaining faithful wherever God has them.

God’s Word is ever filled with comforting reassurances for those who are truly a part of the remnant:

“They shall walk with Me in white.” Revelation 3:4

We shall walk with Jesus! Wearing white – blameless, for those who love the LORD have been declared worthy (Rev.3:4). Jesus (Yeshua) says that those who have been deemed faithful will not be blotted out from the Book of Life and He will confess our names before His Father and His angels (Rev.3:5).

Church leaders responsible to help an assembly in need of church revitalization should identify the true remnant in that place who have persisted faithfully. Establish consistent prayer meetings and pursue God for help in increasing the spiritual vitality of that local church body.

Signs of church revitalization

A church that is beginning to experience church revitalization will begin to reflect greater love toward one another and neighbors. It is important to pray against the spirit of spiritual apathy. A church that is making a positive turnaround will begin to truly love the community around them. You will notice greater warmth among the believers and heightened enthusiasm.

A healthy church is also multigenerational. If a church has become stagnant, this is often related to a lack of age diversity among the regular attendees. A sign that a church is experiencing revival or revitalization is the presence of many generations, worshipping together in unity. A vibrant church experiencing revival will naturally reach out to the wider community around them.

Churches experiencing revitalization will naturally grow. People will be attracted to the presence of the Spirit of the LORD among the people.

If your church is in need of restoration and revitalization, please let us know so we can be praying for you! Pray for the leaders involved with plans to revitalize ministries – for steadfastness and wisdom! It is exciting to walk with the LORD, and so rewarding as we see churches revitalized and restored!

But always remember – it is not we ourselves who can make these changes – we need the LORD who touches hearts and brings about the healing and restoration our churches need!

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?

5 Tevet, B”H

I love the question that the wise men asked when they arrived in Jerusalem: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” Matthew 2:2. Let’s ask that same question today.

The Coming of Messiah

The Gospel of Matthew begins with his account of the birth of Messiah. What has always stuck me the most is that the Son of God would be called Emmanuel: God with us:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25

The God of the entire universe humbled Himself and became flesh, to live among us and to die for our sins in order to save us. If you need some reassurance today, know this: God is with us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

The Bethlehem Star

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2

I heard an excellent sermon recently. The pastor invited the congregation to consider all the billions of stars and realize that Scripture reports that the magi knew “His” star. One specific star. God has named each of the stars, and there was one particular star that would be the heralding star of the coming of God Incarnate, Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah.

“He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4

Gentile Astronomers

The wise men were probably not ethnically Jewish. Scripture gives us clues to believe these seasoned astronomers were Gentiles.

First of all, the fact that they are looking for the King of “the Jews” suggests this was not “their” king. The wise men didn’t say, “Where is our King?”

This is nonetheless extraordinary because somehow these Gentile star-gazers knew that the Jewish Messiah would come and they wanted to be a part of the history God was writing.

A second reason that suggests that the wise men were not ethnically Jewish is because they did not identify Bethlehem as the place to find Jesus (Yeshua). If they had been deeply familiar with the Jewish Scriptures, the wise men would have been likely to discern that the promised Messiah would be found in Bethlehem, but instead, they ask where they can find Him.

The wise men were Gentile astronomers who fulfilled even this Messianic prophecy from Psalm 147:

“The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
Will bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba
Will offer gifts.
Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him.” Psalm 147:10-11

The Gentile nations would come before the Promised King of kings bringing their gifts, their treasures, foreshadowing that the glorious Gospel would be available to all – Jew and Gentile alike.

Relationship Evangelism

I had an interesting conversation with my dental hygienist during my most recent visit. My dental hygienist comes from a very open, liberal background and attends a Unitarian “church.”

She has expressed curiosity about Jesus and I try to minister to her gently when my mouth isn’t full of toothpaste or her dental instruments!

At one point during our conversation, I said something about how Jesus is still alive.

To which she replied, very innocently, “Yes, you mean He still lives on when we talk about Him or in how we live.”

I challenged her nebulous response a bit, by saying, “Well, more than that. Jesus is literally still alive and sitting on His throne at the right hand of God the Father.”

(The Unitarians believe that Jesus and Buddha and Muhammed should all receive equal respect.)

I continued, “Think about it carefully. Buddha is dead. Muhammed is also dead and buried. Ghandi, same fate. Jesus was dead and buried, too, but the difference is, Jesus rose up from the dead and is literally alive and well! He is still alive!”

Her eyes lit up. I know she felt the impact of Truth in that moment. Please pray for her, the LORD knows her name. She is spiritually hungry and is open to hearing the Truth, but is in a relationship with a man who also espouses Unitarianism.

When those who are from spiritually afar come to us wondering who is the King, and is this King alive, and where can they find Him, it is our Commission to openly share the Gospel with them! Be sure to build relationships so that you can help lead others to a saving relationship with our Messiah!

Where is He who was born King of the Jews?

He is in our hearts –

but so much more than that –

He is alive and will forever rule and reign!

He is our King – the King of all kings!

Jesus (Yeshua) our Messiah came to dwell among us, and now He invites us to choose our eternal dwelling place to be with Him.


Hanukkah in the New Testament – and why this might be the best year to join in the celebration!

20 Kislev 5784 B”H

With Israel in the news and the ongoing war against Hamas, the celebration of Hanukkah will be especially meaningful this year. If you and your family have never celebrated Hanukkah, may this be the year! Pray and stand in solidarity with the nation of Israel and celebrate the victory God has given us through His Son, Messiah Jesus!

Hanukkah is mentioned in the New Testament

Many Christians do not realize that Hanukkah is actually mentioned in the New Testament.

Yes, the New Testament!

The reference to Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication) is found just after Jesus (Yeshua) tells us that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for His sheep in John chapter 10.

Our Good Shepherd Jesus (Yeshua) was being criticized by some of the Jewish leaders about His amazing claim and His revelation that He would lay down His life for His sheep.

Jesus (Yeshua) knew how to deal with the spirits of criticism, contention, and unbelief: He focused simply on declaring Truth and revealing who He is.

John records ” . . . many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” John 10:20 NKJV

Christians should not be uncomfortable with Hanukkah

Similarly with Hanukkah, you will find that some Christians get very uncomfortable with the topic of Hanukkah. I’ve heard it all:

“Hanukkah is a holiday only for Jews.”

“We live in the time of grace.”

“We aren’t bound to the Old Testament.”

“Hanukkah has nothing to do with us.”

It makes me terribly sad that Christians have sat under teachings that ultimately reflect a supercessionist viewpoint.

Like the pharisaical accusers of John 10, some Christians accuse other Christians of being “out of their mind” for sharing in the celebrations of Hanukkah and even Passover. Let us learn from our Master Teacher, Rabbi Jesus, who shows us by His example how not only to respond to questioning but also how to live.

Supercessionist teachings have unwittingly caused Christian antisemitism

“Supercessionism” (also known as “replacement theology”) is the teaching that Christianity has completely “replaced” Judaism and so the “religion” of Christianity is therefore superior. “Replacement theology” leads to antisemitism because Christians distance themselves from their Hebraic beginnings and unwittingly lose sight of the fact that it was the Jews who were waiting for their Messiah. And Jesus came and lived as a Jew among Jews.

On the contrary, Christians really ought in some ways to feel indebted (!) to Israel for being welcomed by the grace of the God of Israel and grafted in to the chosen nation!

While we know that our Savior Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilled the entirety of the Law’s requirements, Biblical Judaism provides the framework for our faith and we need to understand our Hebraic roots. The Scriptures come alive when we immerse ourselves in the culture that is ours both to the native and to the grafted in.

We also need to collectively repent for the antisemitism that does lurk in the church.

The antisemitic attack against Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023 was an attack against all of us – Jew and Gentile believer alike. We must show our support and love for Israel during such a time as this.

Jesus (Yeshua) is the King of Israel

Do you ever feel like you don’t belong?

In America, sometimes people feel like they don’t belong neither here nor there because they don’t know much about their family history or the countries from which their ancestors emigrated. I think these genealogy sites are helping like ancestry.com because people can start to piece back a bit of their story!

But what is so neat about the Gospel, if you really think about it, is that we see how united we really are. We might be from Europe or from Asia or Africa or Australia, but ultimately, heaven is our homeland:

“But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. By His power to rule all things, He will change our humble bodies and make them like His own glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 NCV, emphasis added

And while we are here on earth, our identity is found in Christ (our Messiah) – the King of Israel.

This time of year many churches celebrate the coming of our Emmanuel. O Come, O Come Emmanuel . . . . born is the King of Israel.

You absolutely belong and you are not without country. We have a King! Our Jesus is the King of Israel and the King of all.

By the way, you absolutely have the freedom and invitation to celebrate the miracles that God has done, right along with Israel. Some unbelieving orthodox Jews consider the participation of Christians in Jewish holidays as religious appropriation, but that is because they do not (yet!) understand the full picture of salvation. We pray for and with them. This really is not religious appropriation because the story of Israel is truly the story of God’s plan for the salvation of the entire world: Jew and Gentile alike.

As to those who are concerned that perhaps we are “binding” ourselves back to Old Testament Law. By no means! Instead, we see our place in history, celebrate all that God has done throughout history, and await the future reality when our King will return for us. We respect and value the entirety of Scripture and embrace the Biblical celebrations of our faith.

The King of Israel celebrated Hanukkah

Our LORD Jesus (Yeshua) revealed Himself as the Good Shepherd who would give His life, even for those who would oppose Him or act incredulously toward Him.

And since He was not always met by cheerful recipients of His message, He sometimes went away.

In this case though, Jesus (Yeshua) did not retreat to the wilderness or the mountains.

He decided to head over to the celebration of the Feast of Dedication!

“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” John 10:22-23

In Hebrew, “the Feast of Dedication” is “Hanukkah.”

So if we realize this, it is plain to see that Jesus (Yeshua) went up to the temple for Hanukkah.

Simply, He went for a winter walk.

He got away from his critics and chose to attempt to focus on the beauty of the holiday feast.

Sometimes we need to follow this exact example.

When you find yourself as an outsider or feeling attacked or burdened, step away for a while. Do something you enjoy and surround yourself with those who love you.

The enemy is always on the prowl

Despite His efforts to have some time to enjoy the Hanukkah celebration, Jesus (Yeshua) quickly had to deal with His critics all over again.

Have you ever tried to step away from something only to immediately be bombarded in another way? Maybe you went home to try to get some rest but the phone keeps ringing as your coworkers try to find you? Maybe you took a day off, but issues managed to arise and your hope for a quiet day turned into anything but? Maybe you even retired from a job only to find yourself back in the workforce?

Or maybe you cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner and wanted to enjoy it, but by the time you finally got to sit down, your portion of food was ice cold. You still loved the company, but you didn’t get to enjoy it quite as much as perhaps you wanted! And then after you are tired and worn out, one of your distant relatives has the nerve to insult you. Surely that has never happened!

Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) was present for the yearly celebration of the rededication of Solomon’s temple and there He was on Solomon’s porch, but He couldn’t just relax and enjoy.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

He found Himself surrounded by a mob of questioners. The Judean leaders insisted that He reveal whether or not He is the Promised Messiah.

“Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!” John 10:24, TLV

Our Savior would not have been surprised by any of this. The Feast of Dedication was about having overcome adversity. Solomon’s Temple had been attacked and desecrated, so Hanukkah was all about rededicating the sanctuary to the LORD and a miracle which occurred when a small amount of oil for the menorah (enough for one day) lasted for 8 days.

The Significance of the Temple

On the particular Hanukkah when Jesus was at Solomon’s porch, the mob took up stones as they accused Him of blasphemy. They attempted to stone Him, but His time had not yet come. The Temple would be destroyed and raised in three days – the Temple of His body. This Holy Temple, too, was attacked, but the enemy (again!) could not prevail.

“Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” John 2:19-22

There – together – Jesus and the Jewish leaders were at Solomon’s Temple to celebrate the purification of the temple from defilement, and yet the leaders were completely missing the point.

Jesus (Yeshua) is ultimately our Hanukkah miracle – our oil of gladness. He is the Anointed One and He pours out His Holy Spirit upon and into us so that we can shine bright for Him, just like the menorah that didn’t go out.

Hanukkah and the Light of the World

The Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, celebrates the victory of the Maccabees but also foreshadows the coming Light of the World who would give us everlasting victory.

When it seems that our victories are not long-lasting, we do not need to become discouraged. The Second Temple was ultimately destroyed by the Romans, but we do not cease celebrating the prior victory of the Jewish nation. Likewise in our world today, we have trouble, but we know that our Messiah and Savior has overcome the world.

Jesus (Yeshua) again had to slip away from his enemies. They were intent on stoning Him that Hanukkah, but He escaped and went beyond the Jordan:

“Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.” John 10:39

Hanukkah during a time of war

Hanukkah commemorates the reality of war and the reality of victory if we trust in our LORD.

The Jewish people have dealt with diaspora and antisemitism and terrorism throughout their history. But they have not given up. God allowed Israel to become a modern nation in 1948 and it is not time to just give up on the dream of a sustained, safe Jewish homeland.

Israel is at war right now. Yet even so, menorahs have been erected in Gaza and all around the world menorahs will be lit outdoors and placed in prominent windows inside because the Jewish people refuse to cower to fear. Even the dreidels used on Hanukkah represent the toy tops that children would use when they were hiding in the caves during the Maccabean war. Israel is no stranger to war, but Israel will not be destroyed.

The battle is fierce, but history teaches an important lesson: if we trust in God, the flame ignited in our hearts by the Author of our Salvation can never be extinguished.

So if you have never celebrated Hanukkah before, this may be the best year to begin. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Celebrate that God has delivered His people on more than one occasion, and He will not abandon us now. Share online that you are celebrating so that people even in Israel can see how many believers support them and are praying for them. Pray for the salvation of the nation of Israel!

There is a saying among the Jewish people who say:

“The story of Hanukkah is they wanted to kill us, we didn’t let them, we won, and now, we eat!”

So grab yourself some filled donuts (sufganiyot!), make some potato pancakes (latkes), and decorate Hanukkah cookies with your children!

Am Y’israel Chai! Long live Israel! . . . and Have a very Happy Hanukkah!

If you are interested in learning more about origin and the purpose of the Feast of Dedication, you may well enjoy my post on “Hanukkah, Zerubbabel, and the Second Temple” found at this link.

Review: The New Testament for Everyone by N.T. Wright

I am a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2). As a #BibleGatewayPartner, I have received a copy of the The New Testament for Everyone published by Zondervan Bibles at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog. #BG2 #BGBG

The New Testament for Everyone (3rd edition) Book Review & Description

The New Testament for Everyone by N.T. Wright is a beautiful book with quality binding. The hardcover edition of the New Testament for Everyone by N.T. Wright comes with a sturdy book box sleeve and has the feel of a coffee table book. It is definitely a book worth leaving out for your houseguests to peruse!

N.T. Wright: A Reliable Scholar

Professor N.T. Wright has earned a solid reputation as one of the foremost Biblical scholars of our day. He serves on the faculty of theology and religion at Oxford University and has also taught at Cambridge.

I have long respected N.T. Wright’s ability to defend the historicity of Jesus against some of the popular resurrection deniers like Marcus Borg and John Spong. I was raised indoctrinated in the Borg/Jesus Seminar camp, but I was moved by Wright’s conviction that Jesus did indeed live, die, and rise again in power. I read many books by N.T. Wright before converting to Bible-believing Christianity.

The evangelical church as a whole has been blessed by N.T. Wright’s scholarship because he has been willing to engage in respectful debate concerning the Historical Jesus and provide a wealth of commentary and study materials on various New Testament topics. Wright’s dedication to searching the riches of Scripture proves that it is absolutely possible to remain a person of faith in the academy. Because of people like N.T. Wright, Bible-believing Christians need not become disproportionately distrustful of or shun academic pursuit. We may not agree on everything, but N.T. Wright definitely brings thoughtfulness and a wealth of knowledge to theological study and discussion.

N.T. Wright has chosen to work to help ordinary people understand deep theological concepts and he doesn’t just hide away in an ivory tower, but rather uses his scholastic aptitude for the sake of the Gospel.

Knowing that N.T. Wright values the Bible as the Word of God and is not a deconstructionist theologian trying to disprove or devalue the Word of God makes the New Testament for Everyone all the more appealing.

I never thought of this before, but Wright’s given name is Nicholas Thomas – he goes by his initials N.T. And he is a New Testament (N.T.) scholar! How providential! :). Next time you need a commentary on the New Testament, check out a book by Professor N.T.!

The New Testament for Everyone: A Fresh Translation

The title and tagline immediately grasped my attention: a New Testament translation completed by an eminent theologian who wants “everyone” to be able to understand it. Amazing!

I spent enough time in Divinity School to know that not every professor/theologian cared if the general public could understand their posturing and pontificating.

In contrast, Professor N.T. Wright is using his God-given intellectual abilities to share the Gospel in a way that modern readers can truly understand. This is a gift!

From the back of the book jacket: “If the Bible cannot be understood by everyone, then it is not good news. From the very first days of the church at Pentecost, the good news of Jesus was translated into languages of everyday people through the power of the Holy Spirit, spreading like wildfire to the ends of the earth.”

The Pentecostal minister in me says, “Amen!”

Also, “The language used in this translation seeks to convey the meaning of the original Greek while also being accessible to the modern reader, making it a valuable resources for scholars, pastors, and . . . everyone!”

I believe the New Testament for Everyone translation will become very useful for church Bible studies and pastoral sermon preparation.

Deity Pronouns

“Religious” words such as the “Holy Spirit” and deity pronouns such as “He” when referring to Jesus are traditionally capitalized in Bible translations. It is becoming more common for these words to be printed in lowercase, with academics citing no distinction in the original languages. The New Testament for Everyone follows this custom and I noticed it fairly quickly when I began reading through some of the first pages of the Gospel of Matthew.

This editorial practice concerns me; however, because we live in a day and age in which respect is lacking. The utilization of lowercase text for the third Person of the Trinity simply makes me uncomfortable, but that is just my personal preference.

But speaking of pronoun debates, at least we can all agree here that Jesus was a man. 😂😇

Translation, Updated Language, and the Power of Pentecost

The English language is malleable and has changed over time. Certainly, as a British scholar, N.T. Wright knows this because even his Canadian and American colleagues do not use the queen’s (now king’s!) English.

I was struck by the New Testament for Everyone translation’s rendering of the interaction between John the Baptist and Jesus in Matthew 3:

John tried to stop him. “I ought to be baptized by you,” he said, “and are you going to come to me?” This is how it’s got to be right now,” said Jesus, “This is the right way for us to complete God’s whole saving plan.”

Matthew 3:14-15, New Testament for Everyone by N.T. Wright

Upon reflection, it is so very true that this is the way most of us talk nowadays. It is quite different from the New King James Version’s:

And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

Matthew 3:14-15, NKJV

I really like how N.T. Wright communicates that “fulfilling all righteousness” is “completing God’s whole saving plan.” My only concern would be if this translation is veering far from a literal understanding/translation of the original Greek, but it seems that Wright (accomplished in Greek) is doing his best to express the original in terms we understand today. Indeed, in the preface, Wright shares that he does not intend to paraphrase, but instead to translate as closely as possible while recognizing that there are certain words or phrases that are virtually untranslatable from one language to another. He writes, “all translation is risky, but it’s a risk we have to take.” (Wright, vii).

Returning to the example of Pentecost, N.T. Wright, powerfully points out, “The first thing that happened in the life of the church was translation. On the Day of Pentecost, God’s powerful wind swept through Jesus’ followers, filling them, like the sails of a great ocean-going sailing ship, so that they could take God’s good news to the ends of the earth. And they found themselves speaking other languages, so that everyone in the crowd could understand.” (Wright, vii).

Wright continues his preface in a highly accessible, attention-grabbing writing style. I am looking forward to reading through this entire translation this winter, snuggled under a blanket by the fireplace.

Book Contents

As promoted by the title, this book contains all of the writings of the New Testament Scriptures translated in a way that makes sense to English-speakers today. In the New Testament for Everyone, each of the books is named using the traditional names except for the letter of Jude: N.T. Wright helps readers understand that this letter was written by “Judah,” important for contextualizing the Hebraic nature of much of the writings even of the New Testament.

The New Testament for Everyone also contains maps and a glossary.

Jesus, Messiah

If you know me well, you will notice that I often prefer to write Jesus the Messiah as opposed to Jesus Christ. This is because I feel that “Christ” has become a title almost like a last name but one that, due again to our language, does not carry the original meaning of Messiah/Anointed One that Middle Eastern Jews would have recognized in their language. Using the terminology of “Christ” repeatedly cements the Greek mindset primordially into a text that was intended to reach the Jew first and then the Greek.

Jesus came to be our Messiah and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that linguistically N.T. Wright agrees with me! He has favored the term “Messiah” throughout the New Testament for Everyone which is fairly groundbreaking since this translation is intended for a wide audience!

A sample to give you the idea:

The well known verses from the New King James translation of Philippians 2:9-11:

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (emphasis added)

Notice how N.T. Wright has translated these same verses:

“And so God has greatly exalted him, and to him in his favor has given the name which is over all names: That now at the name of Jesus every knee within heaven shall bow – on earth, too, and under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus, Messiah, is Lord, to the glory of God, the father.” Philippians 2:9-11, New Testament for Everyone by N.T. Wright, emphasis added

This discovery has really convinced me that I am going to greatly enjoy this new resource and I believe you will, too!

My recommendation:


Rating: 5 out of 5.

The New Testament for Everyone deserves a 5 out of 5.

N.T. Wright exhibits remarkable humility and dedication to the furtherance of the Gospel mission in his New Testament for Everyone. His lifetime of study and teaching has inspired him to translate the New Testament in a fresh manner that will bless laity, students, scholars, pastors, and teachers all over the English-speaking world. I highly recommend this resource to everyone who loves the Word of God.

Rev. Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: The New Testament for Everyone
Author: N.T. Wright
Publisher: Zondervan Bibles
Release Date: 
Genre: BIBLES/Other English Translations/Text

ISBN-13: 978-0-7852-2771-7

PURCHASE LINKS:  Amazon | FaithGateway Store


Daniel’s 70 weeks Prophecy and the War in Israel

5784 B”H

The Prophet Daniel had much to say about the end times and the war in Israel has really brought some of the Biblical prophecies to light as we witness the ongoing conflict. I have received many questions regarding the Biblical timeline of the end of days, so I thought we should take a closer look at Daniel today.

End-times prophecy in Daniel 9

A key prophecy found in the book of Daniel: 70 weeks

Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.

Daniel 9:24

Daniel‘s prophecy describing the determined “seventy weeks” can be better understood as 70 “7’s.”

What is translated as “weeks” in most English Bibles is really describing groupings of 7 in Hebrew.

During the 70 “7’s, 6 important things will happen:

  1. To finish with transgression
  2. To put an end to sin
  3. To make reconciliation (atonement) for iniquity
  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness
  5. To seal up vision and prophecy
  6. To anoint the Most Holy (or the Most Holy Place)

Notice the first three are concerned with eradicating sin and transgression. The last three speak to the everlasting reign of our King.

In the Bible, 6 indicates lack of completion or total fulfillment. Therefore, we know to look more deeply, search God’s Word for more. Let’s move on to the next verse:

“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.” Daniel 9:25

We have certainly witnessed the troublesome times of today. In this verse, we see another reference to time: “seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.”

This is all a prelude to the revealing of the antichrist:

“And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.” Daniel 9:26-27

The antichrist is also known as the “little horn” of Daniel 7:

“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 

I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” Daniel 7:7-8

Daniel 9:27 clearly informs us that the antichrist (antimessiah) will make a covenant with Israel and then betray Israel. Daniel 7:8 so aptly describes this evil charismatic figure as the epitome of pompousness.

With the war in Israel, many Bible-believing Christians are starting to wonder:

Has the antichrist already been born? Is he walking the earth today?

Only prayer and discernment will answer those questions as history continues to unfold.

But for those who believe that the coming of our King is in the very distant future, consider all that is going on right now. If Iran and even Russia get involved in the current conflict (in a greater way than they already have by supporting Hamas and even Hezbollah) the violence will escalate to a level never seen before. The people of Israel will become desperate for hope and change, and many could quickly be swept away by the lies of a false messianic figure.

The final seven years begin with the covenant.

Are you prepared for the true end of days?

This is not intended to incite fear in you, but do you realize how very close we are to the true end of the age? We are nearing the end of the Biblical timeline of history. We must be prepared! We must know the Word and hide it in our hearts, we must have a living, ongoing relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMashiach), and we must do everything we can to share the Gospel to as many people as we can.

There is revival happening in pockets all around the world. It is not coincidental that we see so many falling away and so many also being rescued just in time. These are all signs that the end is near and soon, so very soon, our Righteous Redeemer will come again and reign!

Time to Forgive

Don’t worry if some of this seems overwhelming. Mathematics has never been one of my strengths so these prophetic words of Scripture make me scratch my head, too!

But there’s no escaping math, and even Jesus said we have to forgive 70 x 7 times!

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

The return of Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMashiach) is imminent

The imminent return of Christ should motivate each one of us to study the signs of the times and the signs in the heavens. Each of us should be diligently praying and fasting and studying the Word of God. There are so many parallels between the different concepts presented in the Bible and I believe this passage on forgiveness is one such parallel.

Redeeming the time

We know time is short. And so for that very same reason, we must be diligent to love and to forgive so that we can make the most of our time, redeeming our time:

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

I pray that you have taken to heart the importance of knowing the Word of God and where we stand in relation to the fulfillment of significant portions of Biblical prophecy.

I am praying for you today, dear reader, and your family – that you and your household may be saved. Please leave a comment below with any prayer requests, comments, or questions!