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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Amos 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

For further study - Amos 3:1-8

Amos the Prophet is also Amos the herdman of Tekoa, Amos 1:1. This book, written by Amos, reveals that this prophet was also a cattle breeder and a farmer. Amos was a substantial, and respected man in his community, 10 miles south of Jerusalem in Tekoa.

I have been to Tekoa to visit the former mayor of the city who has also served with several Prime Ministers of the State of Israel. I bring this to your attention to show you that substantial and respected men today live in Tekoa, one of the Jewish communities, i.e. a Jewish settlement, in the “disputed territories” of modern-day Israel.

My friend and his family, along with a number of other families in Tekoa, have been told that the Israeli government is one day in the near future going to evacuate their community as part of the “Peace Process” and the return of the lands to the Palestinian people.

These Jewish families of Tekoa today, including my friend, believe they are living on land that the Lord promised to give them in the last days. They believe these are the days of the coming Messiah and they have claimed the land He said He would give them.

Writing about my friend and his personal experience goes right along with what the passage for our reading today is all about. God gives Amos a prophecy for the "whole family", the Jewish people, who He brought up from the land of Egypt, Amos 3:1.

God had “chosen” this people, Amos 3:2, for a special purpose but because of disobedience and unbelief, they would go through hard times before their coming Messiah would become their God, and they His people. This scenario has been written down by many of the ancient Jewish prophets, including Amos.

Remember, the Lord does nothing to the Jews before He warns them through their prophets, Amos 3:7. However, after the warning, the prophecy will come to pass, Amos 3:8.

In John 13:19, Jesus reminded His disciples that He had prophesied of His death and resurrection before that night in the Upper Room. There was a purpose for the Lord revealing this information to His disciples before it happened. He wanted them to know, "I am who I said I am and can do what I said I will do."

That is the theme of Amos, Amos 3:7. When you see these prophecies coming to pass you can know that the Lord is Who He said He is and will do what He tells us He will do. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you for fulfilled prophecy, proof that You are who You said You are.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joel 2:1

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand.

For further study - Joel 2:1-10

The prophet Joel introduces to the reader a phrase that is used throughout all of the prophetic passages in God's Word. That phrase, "the day of the Lord," is used to describe a special time in history.

First let me give you the meaning, or definition of the phrase, "the day of the Lord". It is any time in history when God intercedes in the affairs of man personally on the earth. That definition has either a “general usage” of the phrase or a “specific usage” of the phrase.

The “general usage” refers to a period of 1,007 years, the period of time between the Rapture and the Great White Throne Judgment. The word "day" used in this general usage to define the "day" as a period of time is not a 24 hour day.

The “specific usage” of the phrase is referring to “the day” that the Lord will step back on earth on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This usage of the phrase is found in Zechariah 14:1-4. You determine whether it's the general or specific usage of the phrase, the "day of the Lord" by the context of the passage.

In this second chapter of Joel, and through out the rest of Joel, the Prophet is using the “general usage” of the term, days that will be leading up to the day Jesus returns to the earth, the “specific usage”. Joel says, verse 1, “blow the trumpet in Zion (Jerusalem) and sound the alarm in my holy mountain”.

The term "my holy mountain" is referring to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The rest of the passage for today's reading begins to describe this awesome day leading up to the campaign of Armageddon, which by the way starts at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

There is much I could discuss with you in this passage that I will leave to another devotional. However, notice where we need to focus to determine where the Lord is in His timetable, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. As you do that today there is evidence that “the day of the Lord”, His return, is close at hand. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to sound the trumpet across the world of His soon return.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hosea 1:11

Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

For further study - Hosea 1:1-11

This opening section of the prophetic book of Hosea sets forth the major themes of the entire prophecy; Israel's unfaithfulness; the certainty of judgment; and the ultimate restoration of the Jewish nation in the last days.

At the outset of Hosea's ministry the Lord instructs him to marry an "adulterous woman." As was the case with the prophet Ezekiel, the "street preacher," the Lord wants to use the lives of these prophets to communicate these prophetic truths to the Jewish people.

Hosea's relationship, characterized by infidelity on his wife's part was to portray Israel's unfaithfulness through its covenants with the Lord.

Hosea did follow the Lord's instructions and married a "woman of whoredom," Gomer. To many the command for Hosea to marry this adulterous woman, and I believe he literally married Gomer, would be over and above the call of duty.

In being obedient to the Lord Hosea would communicate a powerful message to the Jewish people that though they would be unfaithful and thus would be punished, restoration would be an absolute. In the end this unfaithful wife, Israel, the wife of God, would be restored to God, the husband.

The name of the firstborn son to Hosea and Gomer, "Jezreel", has an interesting significance to Bible prophecy and the Jewish people. The name "Jezreel" literally means "God sows". However, the significance of his name was not in its meaning but in its association with past and future events at the place, Jezreel.

The Jezreel Valley was the sight of Jehu's ruthless massacre of the house of Ahab, verse 4,(II Kings 9 and 10) This valley was the scene of victory and defeat. It was the scene of a great military victory under Gideon, Judges 6:33 &Judges 7 and a symbol of national defeat at the time of the death of Saul and his army, I Samuel 29:1,11 and 31.

Verse 5 speaks of the Lord breaking the "bow of Israel" in the Jezreel Valley. The fulfillment of this prophecy took place 734-722 BC when the Assyrians overran Israel, II Kings 15:29 and 17:25 . Our key verse also speaks of a "battle" in the Jezreel Valley.

The "day of Jezreel", verse 11, refers to the victory of Messiah Jesus Christ at the battle in the Jezreel when those opposed to the Lord's “theocratic rule” will be defeated and the establishment of His Kingdom will take place, fulfilling His promises to His people, the Jewish people.

When the Lord Jesus Christ came the first time and presented Himself as the King of Kings the Jewish people rejected Him. When He comes the second time He will set up His Kingdom, headquartered in the city of Jerusalem, as He sits upon the throne of King David. We as Christians will be with Jesus at this time and will rule and reign with Him forever.

The events of today seem more and more like the activities of the days described by not only Hosea but all the ancient Jewish Prophets. What we see today is the "stage setting" for these prophecies to be fulfilled in the very near future. We must live in light of His soon return, maybe today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for keeping your promises and the future relationship we will have with you.
Monday, January 28, 2008

Daniel 1:17

As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

For further study - Daniel 1:1-21

As the Babylonian Crown Prince Nebuchadnezzar was fighting in Egypt, he received the message that his father had died and he had been promoted to King of Babylon. On his journey back to Babylon he passed through Jerusalem and noticed a strange type of worship of a different God than his god. The worship of this new God was going on in a Temple like he had never seen.

Knowing that he was to become ruler of the known world, he was determined to know something about this new to him religion. Nebuchadnezzar decided to take some "hostages" from the “royal family” in Jerusalem back home with him to learn more about this religion.

Chapter one of Daniel is the sojourn of Daniel and three of his Hebrew friends to Babylon to learn the ways of the Chaldeans. They were to be trained to become a part of the group known as the "wise men" in Nebuchadnezzar's court.

As you read this account you learn how teenage boys (Daniel was 15 years old when taken to Babylon) could purpose in their hearts, verse 8, to honor the Lord with their obedience to His plan for their lives.

God would honor their obedience and give them "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom", verse 17. At the same time God was preparing young Daniel to minister to the King, Daniel 2. Daniel would not only win the King's favor but reveal through the interpretation of the Kings dream, God's plans for the future.

God would use this man Daniel to give us the prophetic truths that describe many current events today giving us evidence that we are quickly approaching the time of the return of the Lord (see my study on Daniel).

Because Daniel purposed in his heart to do right, God used him for His purposes, to explain to us His plan for the future. The twelve chapters of Daniel are prophecies of the unfolding of the historic events that will take place on the earth leading up to the time of His coming back to the earth.

PRAYER THOT: Allow me to be used by you Lord as I purpose in my heart to honor you.
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ezekiel 1: 28

As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

For further study - Ezekiel 1:1-28

Ezekiel, another man of God who had the dual ministry as Priest - Prophet as was the case with Jeremiah, has the most unique experience that one can have, he was honored with an appearance of the "glory of the Lord" coming from heaven to visit him.

Ezekiel had been taken into the Babylonian captivity in 597BC and was living in a location in the area of Babylon as a captive of the Babylon Empire. It was while Ezekiel was in Babylon that the Lord would give him a very important prophecy for that day and our day as well.

The 1st chapter of Ezekiel is a record of a "throne chariot" bringing the "glory of the Lord" to Earth. This throne chariot was powered by four “cherubim”, which are described in this sometimes difficult to understand passage of scripture. In fact, the entire book of Ezekiel has passages that take time to study for the proper understanding.

One such passage would be in Ezekiel 37:1-10, the prophecy of the “valley of dry bones”. In a later devotional, I will look at that passage and give an explanation. However, let me give you this much. Ezekiel was told to prophesy, or preach to the “dry bones”. That sounds like a strange directive from the Lord.

When we do study that passage more in depth we will see that the Prophet was obedient to the Lord’s directive. There is a reason that Ezekiel would obey the Lord, not only in the preaching to a valley of “dry bones”, but also be obedient to the Lord’s instruction to lay on his side in the streets, Ezekiel 4, and not mourn the death of his wife, in Ezekiel 24.

There is indeed a reason and Ezekiel 1 gives us the reason that Ezekiel was able to be obedient when told to do something that has no logic.

Our key verse, verse 28, tells us that Ezekiel saw the "glory of the Lord". When we see the "glory of the Lord" we will be obedient to His command also. You may say how can we see the glory of the Lord? That's a great question that is answered by the Psalmist.

In Psalm 19 the word says the “heavens declare the glory of the Lord”, Psalm 19:1. The passage also says “His creation declares His handiwork”. We do not have a problem in not being able to see the “glory of the Lord” in His creative acts. The problem is that we never stop long enough to observe His handiwork. We must slow down and learn of His greatness and His glory.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to "stop and smell the roses" - as I see His glory in His handiwork.
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lamentations 1:8

Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

For further study - Lamentations 1:1-22

The sorrow of Jeremiah expressed in Lamentations is from the loss of the City of Jerusalem to the mighty Babylonian army under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar. The chapter preceding Lamentations 1 is the 51st chapter of Jeremiah, which is a record of the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away into the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people.

In his third siege of Jerusalem, the Babylonian King killed the leadership of Judah, many of its Jewish residents, burned the city down and destroyed the Temple (read Jeremiah 52 and II Chronicles 36). The lost of all that was sacred to the Priest-Prophet Jeremiah was what motivated him to write Lamentations, of course under the “inspiration” of the Holy Spirit.

Once a year, even until today, the Jewish people will gather at the entrance to the Temple Mount to pray for the Temple to be rebuilt. They also mourn as they read through the book of Lamentations. This is their effort to have the Lord restore their Temple worship and sacrificial system to meet the needs for purification as they search for “redemption” outside the person and work of Jesus Christ.

According to Bible Prophecy, there will be another Temple in Jerusalem, in fact, two more Temples, but neither one will give them the “salvation” that only Jesus can give. By the way, all the preparations have been made for the next Temple to be erected in Jerusalem.

The next Temple in Jerusalem will be the one built during the Tribulation Period. All that must be done to build and operate a Temple has been done except for removing the gold-domed structure known as the “Dome of the Rock”.

When the Temple Mount is clear of any other religious building on this very sacred spot then the Jews will erect their Temple. Remember, this will happen sometime after the Rapture - which could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to live today as if the Rapture will happen today.
Friday, January 25, 2008

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

For further study - Jeremiah 1:1-21

I love this first chapter of Jeremiah. It is the record of Jeremiah's call to be a prophet to the nations of the world. It is God assuring Jeremiah that He can take one who is not a public speaker and give him the words to say. The Lord encourages Jeremiah to not be afraid, that He, the Lord, will deliver him and give him what to speak.

In fact, God set Jeremiah as a prophet among the nations, and a prophet to the nations. The truth is that God did this for Jeremiah before he was born. But wait, verse 5 says God set Jeremiah aside, not only before he was born but, before he was even formed in his mother's womb. Jeremiah was “chosen” in the mind of God in “eternity past”, verse 5.

Jeremiah 1:5 not only gives us background in the forming of the prophet but also is the evidence of when "life" begins, the big question today as it relates to abortion. Life does not begin at birth or even at conception. Life begins in the “mind of God” in eternity past. Now that settles the question.

In a later devotional we will look at other prophetic texts in this awesome book. We will learn of judgments pronounced against the Jewish people and the enemies of the Jewish people. We will find out what will happen to the Jewish people in the last days, just prior to the Lord's return.

If you would like to read ahead, read Jeremiah 31 and 50-51 where you will read about the nation of Israel in the last days and the fate of the country of Iraq. I will have more on those prophetic passages at a later time (see my audio study on Jeremiah).

By the way, Daniel read Jeremiah and was able to determine where he was in God's time by the word of God, Daniel 9:2. You can read the word of God to know the times we're living in today. A study of God’s prophetic word will help us to know how close we are to the shout for Jesus to join Him “in the air” at the Rapture. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, help me to study Your Word and teach me to recognize in these last days how close we are to the Rapture. Help me to live in light of that knowledge.
Thursday, January 24, 2008

Isaiah 2:2

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
For further study - Isaiah 2:1-5

This passage of scripture is a glimpse into the “Kingdom to come”. This will be the time when Jesus is the “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords”. Jesus will be on His throne in Jerusalem, in the Temple. At that time there will be a “theocratic” government in place and all living on the earth will live under the Lord's rule.

It will be a time of no war, in fact, people won't ever learn of war, verse 4. The soldiers will return to farming, using the farm implements formed out of swords and spears. Finally, “peace” will have come to earth. The "Prince of Peace" will be on His throne in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem will be the central focus of the world. Not only will Jesus be there, He will teach us from there. Each of us will go and gather others to join us as we hurry to the "house of the Lord", the Temple, to hear Him teach.

The Lord will teach His ways from the "mountain of the Lord", another name for the Temple Mount which will be the location of the Messiah's Temple. As He teaches us, we will go forward to walk in His paths.

There are several applications in this passage, one, His “word” is what we need to learn, as He teaches us, so we can then walk in His paths. This will be a part of the lifestyle of the future, forever.

Another application is that today there will be wars, but one day no more need for military armament, we won't even learn of war anymore. Because the Lord is there, Jerusalem will be the focus of the world, the center of our teaching and thus learning.

Notice the "word" of the Lord will go out and around the world from Jerusalem. It is the “word” that goes out and we should cherish, love, honor and obey His word today.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to study your word so I can walk in your paths.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Song of Solomon 1:1

The song of songs, which is Solomon's.

For further study - Song of Solomon 1:1-17

It is very interesting that we come today to read from the Song of Solomon, or as the Jews refer to the book, The “Song of Songs”. It is interesting to note that on the Jewish Feast of Passover there will be Passover Seders in Jewish homes across the world. The book read during the Feast of Passover in Jewish families is the Song of Songs, which the Jewish people consider to be the "holy of holies" in Scripture.

A proper exegesis of the book reveals God's plan for marriage with input for the courtship, Song of Solomon 1:1-3:5; the ceremony, Song of Solomon 3:6-51;and the continuity, Song of Solomon 5:2-8:4.

There is also a secondary interpretation that is somewhat allegorical and it projects the “love” between Christ and His “bride”, the Church. Let me suggest that you first read the book with the proper interpretation, the Lord's instruction for the marriage process.

Then read the passage again and think of the Bridegroom and the Bride in their courtship, ceremony, and continuity. However, this time have Christ as the Bridegroom, the "Beloved" and the Church, the “lover”.

Truly we are in a marital pattern as we await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We are in the “engagement period”, the courtship period. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us in His Father's house, the heavens. He will come to get us and quickly go to the “ceremony” for the consummation of the marriage.

As you read, think, even meditate on the truth of the coming marriage between Christ, the “Groom” and the Church, His “Bride”. The reason the Jews read this book at Passover is because they consider Song of Songs an allegory. They believe it is describing the coming of the "Beloved", the Messiah and the woman, the "lover" as Israel.

I have suggested that you read the Song of Solomon with Jesus and the Church in mind. But remember, a proper interpretation of the book is that it's God's instructions for true, Godly romance and marriage.

Prophecy does tell us of the ”marriage ceremony” that will take place soon after the Rapture of the Church, Revelation 19:7-9. Notice it tells us our wedding dress will be our “righteous acts” that will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As the “Bride” we must be preparing our wedding gown as we await the “Bridegroom”, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOT: Help me today to do righteous acts and prepare my wedding gown for a wedding ceremony in a near future tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ecclesiastes 1:1

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

For further study - Ecclesiastes 1:1-12

Our extended reading for today opens and closes with the same testimony of the writer, he is the "preacher" who was King of Israel in Jerusalem. I’ll have more on the significance of that testimony in a moment. But first, enjoy the poetic literature of the writer of Ecclesiastes, the “Preacher”.

Solomon sets the stage for the entire book in verse 2 when he explains that all in this world is vanity, not foolish pride, but the emptiness that will be the final results of life apart from God. The writer then reveals that our labor in this world is of no profit. Only what is done for Him has eternal value.

Notice how Solomon describes the sun that rises, goes down and then hastens to its place to rise again, verse 5. All the rivers run into the sea and the oceans are not filled up. In fact, those waters return to the rivers only to return to the sea once again.

In the theme that all is vanity, Solomon tells us that our eyes and ears will not be satisfied with our seeing and hearing, with what ever we see and hear.

Now back to our key verse and the last verse of our extended reading, verses 1 and 12. Notice the testimonies of the writer of this book, the “preacher” is King Solomon, the third King of Israel. King Solomon was the son of Israel's second king, King David. That is significant because of the covenant that God made with David.

The Davidic Covenant was the promise that there would be a “son of David” who would sit on his throne forever. Solomon, the first to sit on the throne, had to be the first so that the last, Jesus Christ, could one day be the King of Kings and set upon the throne of David.

The Davidic covenant also promised that David's son Solomon would build the first Temple, and he did build the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, some 3,000 years ago.

The testimony of the “Preacher”, King Solomon, is a benchmark in the fulfillment of God's covenant promise to King David and the Jewish people. The fulfillment of God’s promise to King David is an assurance to us who will be the “bride” to the coming King in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to see temporal things as vanity, eternal things as profitable.
Monday, January 21, 2008

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

For further study - Proverbs 1:1-29

The book of Proverbs written by King Solomon is packed with tidbits of spiritual refreshment. A daily dose of Proverbs is worth every minute spent reading and meditating upon its contents.

Our key verse, verse 7, speaks of "knowledge". We will look at the impact of "knowledge" in a moment. Before we do that, let’s take a look at the entire book of Proverbs. There is a goldmine of nuggets that will bring true riches to you as you read them each day.

Someone has said that a "Proverb a day will keep the devil away". I commend to you Proverbs as additional reading after our daily devotionals. What you will find is a number of sayings, a collection of sayings from Solomon that contain Divine wisdom applied to the earthly, everyday conditions of the people of God.

Notice in our key verse a definition of the beginning of "knowledge". "Knowledge" does not come with University training but by a "fear of the Lord". I don't mean that we are to "fear the Lord" like we fear someone who can bring harm upon us. The term "fear of the Lord" is a "reverential fear" that is also a "hatred of evil". This is the "fear" King Solomon is referring to in the verse.

The Word then states the source of "true knowledge" is that "hatred of evil" and the "reverential fear of the Lord" that is the beginning of “knowledge”. This world's thinking is focused on the wrong source for true "knowledge."

The Lord Jesus Christ was the "Creator" of the heavens and earth and all that is in it and on it. There is only one way you and I can know anything about our origins and that is by reading the account written by the only One that was there, "In the beginning".

The eyewitness to Creation was Jesus Himself and if we want to have knowledge of that time we must read the Lord's account of this time in history, as recorded in the first and second chapters of Genesis.

Then, through a "reverential fear" of the Lord that causes us to read His Word, we gain "knowledge" which contains wisdom and instruction. "Fear" is a great thing when focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOT: Give me, dear Lord, a "reverential fear" of You, which will bring me knowledge, wisdom and instruction for my everyday life.
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Psalm 2:6

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

For further study - Psalm 2:1-12

What a powerful passage of scripture the Psalmist gives to us, actually a very prophetic passage of Scripture. In essence we are reading for today the order of the establishment of the Kingdom to be set up in Jerusalem. This will be an eternal Kingdom to be ruled over by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

Let's take a journey through this Psalm, with the Kingdom in mind, and notice how it comes to pass. Verse one reveals that the heathen, Gentiles, will rise to power as the leaders of the world. These Gentile world powers will continue to gain power and control in the world all the way up to the Lord's return.

It will be these Gentile nations, who come against God and His chosen people with the intention of destroying them, Psalm 2:2-3. God's reaction is very interesting, He laughs, Psalm 2:4. This is laughter that comes from awareness that the Gentile world leaders are unable to do what they want to do, that is to destroy His people, the Jews, and His plan for the End Times.

However, it is at this time that the World leaders believe they are really what they think they are, when the Lord unleashes His wrath against them. He will do this from His "holy hill of Zion," which is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Notice that the Lord God gives this power and position to His Son, Jesus Christ, Psalm 2:7. God will give the heathen, the Gentile world to His Son, Psalm 2:8, and Jesus will break them in pieces, like a potters vessel.

The “Lord's Kingdom”, which is in perfect harmony with all prophetic passages that relate to this coming period of time, is yet in the future.

In the last three verses of our extended reading, Psalm 2:9-12, we see that the Lord, and prophecy are very practical. Since this is the way history will be played out in the future the Psalmist suggest that the readers must be wise. This is suggested to the kings and judges of the earth. Then he instructs the people of the world to serve the Lord with fear, which is the beginning of wisdom.

I love this next instruction, "Kiss the Son." Kiss Jesus Christ, in other words, honor, love, obey and serve the Son of God. Then the Psalmist tells of the blessings that will come to them that put their trust in Him.

This wonderful chapter is evidence that prophecy tells of the future and the Lord's rule and reign from Jerusalem. But it also reveals to us how practical prophecy is as well. It recommends the study of prophecy to you and me for the blessing we will receive and the motivation to live for Him and serve Him until He comes to call us up to be with Him at the Rapture, which precedes the establishment of His Kingdom by seven years.

The Rapture can take place at any time, and it could be today!

PRAYER THOT: Help me to understand prophecy so that it becomes practical in my daily life.
Saturday, January 19, 2008

Job 1:12

And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
For further study - Job 1:1-12

The narrative that we read today is from the record of a man that the Lord would allow Satan to test to the point of death. The book of Job was written some 500 years before Moses wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. This makes Job the oldest book in the Bible. It also places Job as a Biblical personality that dates back before Moses.

Most likely Job would have been a contemporary of the patriarchal age and most likely alive at a time before Moses. The main character of the book, Job, was known as a man who "feared God" with a reverential fear, a fear that is actually the beginning of real wisdom. The truth of the matter is that Job was a man greatly respected in his home region and known as a great man, one who detested evil.

In a later devotional we shall learn more about Job, but suffice to say Job was a man that God had a special relationship with and a man the Lord would allow to be put to the test of faithfulness to the God of creation. I mention creation because in a future look at Job in another devotional God will ask him where his servant was when the Lord brought the worlds into existence, Job 38:4-7.

Our extended reading reveals that the devil has access to God and even the “good angels”. The "sons of God", verse 6, would witness a meeting between God and Satan. This is of interest because since the fall of the angels, the ones who followed Lucifer in rebellion against the Lord of Heaven, the evil angels have not had access to the presence of God. Only Satan has daily access to God for a period of time that he spends accusing the brethren, Revelation 12:10.

Several things to notice about what God does with Satan. God allows Satan to be the instrument of affliction and to apply all the affliction he wanted on Job, short of taking his life, verse 12. This narrative also tells us that though Satan is the King of this present world, God still has the controlling power over him.

Job was a righteous man, but notice affliction came upon him, allowed by God. Many today get into this philosophy that God makes us healthy, wealthy and happy. In the end Job loses his health, wealth and happiness, but is still a righteous man who is in the perfect will of God. This truth is “in the face” of much of the preaching today.

A true study of Job will bring about a sobering understanding of the ways of God in our lives. By the way, Satan will have his power until Jesus Christ returns to defeat him and cast him into the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:7-10.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to love and obey You dear Lord, as Job did, even in the face of either physical, economic or spiritual troubles.
Friday, January 18, 2008

Esther 1:5

And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;

For further study - Esther 1:1-9

Our reading today is not only setting the stage for the flow of prophetic truth to be revealed, and in fact to keep this flow moving toward fulfillment, it is also the record of Bible prophecy being fulfilled.

After you have read the extended reading for today, you will be aware of the history of King Ahasuerus, the Persian king, who is the fourth of the Persian Kings after the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire.

The Babylonian Empire had fallen and the Medo-Persian Empire had become a very powerful empire with King Ahasuerus controlling all the land, from India in the east, and all the way west to the African continent and the country of Ethiopia. The text tells us of 127 provinces in all.

King Ahasuerus was a very wealthy man, verse 4, in fact, richer than the three previous Persian kings together. The King brought all of his provincial leaders into his palace for a six month-long feast so that all the people could honor his riches and glorious kingdom.

This narrative in Esther 1 is a record of Bible prophecy being fulfilled. The ancient Jewish prophet Daniel had written a very detailed prophecy about King Ahasuerus, Daniel 11:1-2, without mentioning his name, but his riches and power. Daniel wrote his prophecy a number of years before Ahasuerus came to power thus this account is the record of prophecy fulfilled.

The significance of the flow of a prophetic scenario unfolding in the story line of this Biblical record is several fold. Verse 9 reveals that Vashti is the queen. Further reading of Esther 1 speaks of Vashti's refusal to obey the King and thus she was removed from her royal position.

In a future reading, we will write more about Vashti's replacement, Esther. Then we will see the hand of God as the “Protector” of all the Jewish people. This portion of our reading today is setting the stage for things to come.

We will see the villain of Esther, Haman, come to power and move to destroy the Jewish people. Once again as we journey through the Bible for our devotions, we will see prophecy, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the stage being set for future prophecies to be fulfilled.

The story in the book of Esther is of God using Gentile leaders to protect His “chosen people” so that He can fulfill the promises made to His people. As you read through all 10 chapters of Esther, you will notice that God is never mentioned in the book. However, His presence and protection is evident as He uses world leaders to fulfill His will, Revelation 17:17.

God, will in the last days, use “world leaders” to set the stage for the last drama to be played out on the world stage, as He did in the days of Esther.

The record in the book of Esther of prophecy being fulfilled is the basis upon which we can believe that prophecy yet to be fulfilled, will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you for your presence, your provision, and your protection for me on a daily basis.
Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nehemiah 2:6

And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

For further study - Nehemiah 1 and 2

Nehemiah was the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes during the early days of the Persian Empire. Word came from Jerusalem that the “holy city” was the laughing stock of the world because of its physical condition. The Temple had been rebuilt but the walls and the streets of the city were in shambles.

This news prompted Nehemiah to seek permission from the King to travel to Jerusalem and repair his beloved city, Nehemiah 2:5. In fact, the King gave Nehemiah a letter to take with him on his journey granting safe passage and the written permission to rebuild the walls and streets of the City of Jerusalem, Nehemiah 2:7-8.

The rest of the book of Nehemiah is a marvelous study of “Godly management” in the face of “opposition”. It would be worth your time spent digging into this marvelous book. The book also records the giving of the decree mentioned by the ancient Jewish Prophet Daniel in Daniel 9:25.

Daniel is setting the timeframe by which we can determine the period in history when the “Jewish Messiah” would come to Earth. Daniel 9:25 states that from the "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah" would be 69 of the prophetic "70 weeks of Daniel" or in other words 483 of the 490 years that is revealed by Daniel's Prophecy.

The command or decree given by Artaxerxes was given in the year BC445. The presentation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah took place in AD30. This period of time, according to the Jewish calendar, would meet the requirements of Daniel's Prophecy and confirm that Jesus Christ was indeed the Jewish Messiah, as He had claimed.

By the way, the last seven years, Daniel 9:27, ‘the seventh week”, of that 490 year period, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks”, is the time described in Bible Prophecy as the “Tribulation Period”, a terrible time of judgment yet in the future.

Daniel 9:27 says that period will be dominated by an Antichrist, a false peace in the Middle East and a Temple in Jerusalem. Though there is no Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem now, all preparations have been made for there to be one soon. And world leaders are hard at work to bring about peace in the Middle East.

The stage is being set for Bible Prophecy to be fulfilled. The next event to take place is the Rapture of the Church, which could happen at any moment.

Prayer Thot: Help me Lord to be a servant as Nehemiah was and be alert to the soon coming of the Messiah as I compare Bible Prophecy with current events.