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Sunday: The Immanence of God — 20 Comments

  1. Just a quick lesson in metallurgy before we start thinking about Nebuchadnezzar's dream this week.

    Gold was perhaps the first metal that man discovered, mainly because gold is often found as a metal naturally. It is literally just lying around waiting to be used. If you paid attention to your high school science classes you would be familiar with the terms malleable and ductile, used to describe the fact that gold can be beaten into any shape and drawn out into thin wire without heating it. Its great value was that it could be made into ornaments.

    Silver was the next metal to be discovered. It does not lie around as a metal naturally and need to be reduced by fire. However, the reduction chemistry is simple and something that you could do in your own back yard if you had a heap of silver ore to spare. Like gold, it could be beaten into any shape fairly easily. Its big drawback is that it tarnishes (goes black) easily and although it makes good cups and plates, someone has to polish it to make it look nice.

    Copper was the next metal that was discovered. While there is some native metal around most of it has to be obtained using a reduction process on the ore. Copper ore tends to be rather easy to find because it is generally bright blue or green and stands out a bit when you are hunting among the rocks. The chemistry is a bit more complicated than reducing silver and requires the use of copious amounts of charcoal. Copper is a good conductor of electricity, which was not much use to the ancients because they had not been taught about it in school. However, it was soft and easily worked and made good pots and pans and were better for cooking in than clay pots. Someone made the discovery that when you mixed copper with tin, another easily refinable metal, you need up with bronze, an alloy that was easy to work with a bit of heat from a forge, but hard when it was cooled. You could make a sharp edge that easily cut flesh. It did not take long for them to realize that a bronze weapon was much better than a pointed stick for keeping the enemies at bay and controlling the masses who were thinking of revolting.

    Iron was the last of the important metals to be discovered. In spite of the abundance of the element, it took a fair bit of effort to convert the ore into metal. You need temperatures in excess of 1500C to do that and that requires a fairly sophisticated fire. It soon became apparent that iron was much harder than bronze and kept its edge a lot longer. When an iron sword came up against a bronze one on the battlefield, the iron weapon sliced the bronze one to pieces without even nicking its edge. A fair bit of effort went into acquiring and developing iron technology.

    At the time of Babylon, Iron was already well known and had been put to effective use in the battlefield.

    You may like to think about this as you read Daniel 2.

  2. Holy Spirit, the giver and interpreter of dreams. Guide your people in this new year.
    The Immanence of God.
    I believe that God is very active today as he was active at creation, during the time of Abraham journey, during the forty years journey of the children of Israel in the wilderness and all the Old and New Testament stories.
    Dreams and their interpretation is only one of the ways God communicate with man.
    Gen 28:10-15 Jacob had a dream. Joseph, hundreds of years before Daniel, he was able to interpret many dreams.
    1. Dreamt in his father house Gen 37: 5-11. He was young and innocent but his brothers and dad understood the meaning of the dreams.
    2. Interpret while in jail Gen 40: 5-20.
    3. Gen 41: 1-41. Pharaoh dreamt but remembered his dream.

    It is a proven/tested/research fact that not every human dream at night. But sometimes those who dreams either forget them, can’t recall the sequence or don’t know the meaning. Sometimes dreams are from God or Satan. Sometimes dreams are accurate or just inaccurate. Dreams can be very tricky.
    After my children were grown adults I was unable to instruct them as before, so I prayed to God asking him ways how I can still instruct them in the right way to live. One of the way the Lord choose for me is by dreams.
    Whenever I dream, depending on what, I will tell my family, or spouse or children alone. Sometimes I will dream about persons in the church, will let my spouse know as soon as I am awake, why?because at times people accused others of gossiping about others then says they had a dream. Depending on the dream my spouse will let me know not to say anything to the person involved lest they accused me of slander.
    God still speaks to people in dreams in 2020. Sometimes when I am about to face a certain circumstance at work the Lord already informed me in a dream so I can be prayed up.


    I come from a family of Adventist who believe in what they have dreamt. This gives me a hard time with them because I don't believe in their dreams.

    My mum died of cancer last year but the dreams said that our aunties had a hand in it. I didn't believe it.

    They post what they have dreamt and this has brought me to a point whereby I hate all dreams.

    How can we differentiate a dream from the Lord, from the devil and after having a heavy dinner?

    • It gets especially interesting when someone claims to have a message from God for us, based on a dream, doesn't it?
      However, as I understand it, most dreams are randomly generated by the brain from bits of memories (actual or imagined experiences, such as what was viewed on TV, thoughts, etc). This would mean that most of our dreams are without special significance.
      To judge whether or not a dream is from God we need to have a relationship with God. We need to understand how God usually acts. For instance is it usual for God to give persons specific instructions about the duties of another? Is it usual for God to micromanage the small decisions in our lives? Or does God give us intelligence and insight to make decisions based on the principles of His word?

  4. Tests:
    At the beginning of Daniels education they were tested ten days on their diet and found to be better then the other students. At the end of their three year degree they were tested by the king and found to be ten times better than all the established wise men.
    Why was Daniel not called with the other wise men to explain the dream? After all he been proven to be better? We can speculate but are not told why.
    But when he was told of the decree he had quick access to the king to ask for time.
    Why did the king allow him and not the others extra time?
    I believe it was because he promised to explain the dream and because he had passed the kings test with flying colours. Also Daniel had a good reputation with the kings men and treated them with respect Dan 1:9,11, Dan 2:14 and previously when he had asked for time to prove his point he had not got them into trouble.

    How does this apply to my life? Does my journey through life bring me to the right time and place with the relevant experience and/or contacts to be of service to the LORD?

  5. God knows everything. The dream was providential, with a clear purppose to bring Daniel closer to the king by attaining the king's trust. "God's knowledge is known by its results"! To Him all glory, honor and power are due!

  6. In thinking on today's lesson, what I found interesting is that God spared these Hebrew young men from death 3 times. Numbers are significant in God's word and when He does or says something more than once it alerts us to pay attention. He first spared them during the invasion of Jerusalem, then they were spared during today's incident and lastly in their individual tests of loyalty - Daniel with his commitment to prayer & his experience with the Lions, and the three worthies with the Image of Gold. We know Daniel was spared as well when Darius invaded Babylon, the King was not. What significance does this have for our life today? God has a job for us to do, He promises that those who honor Him, He will honor. 1 Samuel 2:30, John 12:26. We can trust that God will make a way no matter what situation we find ourselves in, or how many times our lives are threatened, when we put our trust in him we will shine forth as gold Job 23:10, just as Daniel did.

    • Your question is an important one to consider, mainly because different meanings are attached to the word depending on your theology.

      Firstly, there are two terms that should be considered together because they illuminate one another.

      Briefly immanence refers to God being present and shown in the world around us. This is in contrast to the idea of transcendence, that God is wholly separate from our universe and our universal laws.

      We need to be careful with the notion of immanence because pantheists use the term to express the idea that the whole of the natural universe is God or contains God. Obviously, as Seventh-day Adventists, we would disagree with that notion. But, how then can we use the term immanence?

      Perhaps one way of looking at this is to understand that God is not exclusively Immanent or transcendent but is both. He is revealed through his creation and at the same time is not limited to the natural universe and its laws. One way of expressing this is that immanence is a characteristic of a transcendent God.

      The Bible gives us two pictures of God, the hidden, and the revealed.

      For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa 55: 8,9

      But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
      Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 1Cor 2:7-12

      I hope that explains it for you.

    • “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

      Immanence = Immanuel = God with us...! (Maybe maybe not. Just a thought)

    • I believe that immanence of God is Him dwelling in us, if we have asked Him within daily, we have a daily relationship with Him, if we don't have a relationship with Him, He is not within us.

      That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
      Ephesians 3:16‭-‬17.

      No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
      1 John 4:12‭-‬13

      And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
      Ezekiel 11:19.

      I do believe a new heart takes place by God putting His heart within us, if we are willing and obedient. Isaiah 1:18-19.

  7. Beautifully spoken and written. I needed this verse in the Sabbath Discussion of recent Prayer warriors about why the Sabbath & commandments were done away with or already have been fulfilled...therefore not necessary!
    I need proof texts as to WHY Jesus really meant all 10 commandments. I am 93 and will greatfully apreaciate these on line too. God bless you

  8. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
    Colossians 2:14.

    Mary the ordinances were the ceremonial laws that pointed to Christ and were no longer needed. The ordinances were not the Ten Commandments. Christ said, "I am come not to destroy the law but to fulfill it". Matthew 5:17.

  9. I just like the approach used by Daniel in whatever problem he faced! Especially the confidence in asking for time and allowing God to manifest himself! Let’s us use the approach as we solve daily conflicts in our search for what helps in overcoming the devil!

  10. The lesson uses the traditional understanding of verse 5 from the KJV. That is interesting since the quotes in the lesson are the NIV. Any more recent and better researched translation such as the NIV or NKJV to name but two clearly state the the phrase from the NJV “The thing is gone from me” to be more correctly stated: “My decision is firm” (NKJV) or “This is what I have firmly decided” (NIV). As Zdravko Stefanovic states in his commentary “Daniel, Wisdom to the Wise” pp 84-87 the dream was very disturbing and suggested an end to his kingdom. “The fact that Nebuchadnezzar demands his soothsayers to tell him the dream itself should not be taken to mean that he had forgotten it; rather, he uses this as a test in order to have assurance that they can give him reliable interpretation of it (v 9). He alone is in a position to judge their confabulations, sine he alone holds the key to the dream.”

    I only add this to again ask that we look at the text and what it says rather than what “we know it says”. Familiarity breeds contempt or put another way makes it hard to see beyond out bias.

    While this is not a major issue here except to illustrate the point as we get further into the book we might very well just assume everything to be as it always was taught to us. What is the purpose of SS if we come away every week and say “yes, it confirms what I already know”.

    Two of my favorite teachers Graham Maxwell and Jack Provonsha at Loma Linda in the late 1960’s and early 70’s had a saying something like this. “You must be enough convinced to have a solid basis for your belief, but not so convinced you can’t be changed as new information from God is discovered.”

    Always that was wise counsel or why study deeper and ask questions. God has promised that our knowledge will increase. I suggest we don’t let our understanding be limited to 1915. Much good Godly knowledge continues to be uncovered and we can’t fight against progressive truth because by its very nature truth unfolds as we stand on the shoulders of those who went before and we bring better understanding of ancient times and translations that were not available to them.

    All I ask of our church and our SS is to keep searching using all that we have available. The author had this availability because the quarterly uses more relevant translations and just blew right through them by going back to what we learned as young children in SS.

  11. Since humans are the creators of words as well as the ideas they convey, our words, truthfully and accurately used, are a window into the operation of our brains (Mt 12:34). I like the word "immanent", which conveys the concept that the Creator God indwells and is an inherent part of our humanity, as it appears to accord with Gen 1:27; 2:7 and Act 17:28. "Immanent" also conveys the concept of God being "within the limits of possible experience or knowledge" (Merriam Webster Dictionary online) of humans, since that too appears to accord with Jn 17:3 and Act 17:27, 29-30.

    However, in our (hopefully) constantly evolving knowledge of God, what new word might the world, perhaps with the help of Christendom, need to coin to describe the God revealed in Dan 2? "Sovereign" might not be strong enough, and "dictator" may have offensive overtones. But consider what this chapter reveals regarding the God whom Daniel so ardently worshiped. It reveals a God who knew and voluntarily responded to the thoughts of a pagan potentate. Daniel's God employs an interesting approach. He responds to the pagan's need by speaking into his UNCONSCIOUS, sleeping MIND (Dan 2:1). The dream is clearly an intentional act by God (Dan 2:28) in a voluntary response to the king's CONSCIOUS thoughts (Dan 2:29)! What word(s) describes a God who usurps the conscious thoughts of an individual(s)--dictator?...free-will violator? He not only does it with the pagan, but He also does it with the prophet (Dan 2:19)! Precisely, WHO IS THIS GOD of Daniel (Isaiah 46:3-13)?!


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