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Monday, October 31, 2011

John 5:19

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
For further study - John 5:1-22

Today, in our extended reading, we will read a bit more Scripture to look at the life of Christ, His miracles and the responsibility the Father places on Him. This is a record of Jesus being obedient to the Old Testament Scriptures and going up to Jerusalem on one of the "pilgrim feast days".

The "pilgrim feast days" were three of the seven feast days that Jews were required to go "up to Jerusalem" and the Temple to worship the Lord. The feast day in this passage was the third of the Fall Jewish feast days, "Rosh Hashana", the Feast of Tabernacles.

The day that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem is the feast day which by the "law of the Lord" was designated as a "Sabbath Day", Leviticus 23:23-25. It was not a Saturday, the weekly Sabbath, but the Jewish holy day of the Feast of Tabernacles with the same requirements as a "Sabbath Day".

I give you this information because the Jews in Jerusalem used this day, a Sabbath Day and its requirements, to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. What those accusing Jews did not know was that Jesus brought into existence the Sabbath when after 6 days of much creative activity Jesus established the Sabbath, "the day of rest", Genesis 2:1-3.

When approached, Jesus said, verse 17, that He and the Father were the same and were both responsible for the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda. Then the Jews sought to kill Jesus for not only healing on the Sabbath, but making Himself equal with God.

There is another very profound announcement made by Jesus about what the Father assigned to Him. Verse 22 is the record of the Father designating Jesus, His Son, to be "Judge". In fact, God the Father commits all judgment to His son, Jesus.

This is the prophetic portion of this passage. Jesus will be the judge in the future. He will be the "judge" at the "Judgment Seat of Christ" when He will judge our works. It is not a time to judge lost or saved. The truth is that only saved people will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Jesus will also be the "judge" at the "Great White Throne Judgment", Revelation 20:11-15, when He sentences all of those to the "Lake of Fire" who have not been saved. Again, this judgment is not to decide if one is saved or lost. Only lost people will stand at this judgment.

Jesus is a God of love and mercy and our Savior, but also He is the coming "judge".

PRAYER THOT: Help me to live, Lord, in light of the fact that You will be the judge that I stand in front of at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Sunday, October 30, 2011

John 2:11

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

For further study - John 2:1-12

The portion for our reading today is the record of the very first miracle that Jesus Christ did during His three and a half years of ministry. He healed the lame, restored sight to the blind, cast demons out of people, and even raised the dead. However, the first miracle was the making of wine out of water for the wedding guests at a wedding that He and His disciples were attending.

There is much I want to share with you from this passage of Scripture. Notice the comment in John 2:1 that on the "third day of the wedding" Jesus came with His disciples to a gathering that His mother was attending. It is referring to the "7-day feast" that follows the marriage ceremony of a Jewish couple. Even today, Jewish families celebrate the new marriage of their loved ones or friends for this 7-day period.

That will also be the case at the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb", Revelation 19:7-9, when, for 7 years, Christians, the "Bride", married to Jesus Christ, the "Bridegroom", will celebrate in the heavens that wedding. By the way, that is the reason the wine had run out for the guests. There were more that showed up than the father of the bride had expected.

The text tells us that the mother of Jesus asked Him to make "wine out of water". The truth is, that what Jesus did was not for the convenience of the wedding guests. He did no miracle for convenience but, instead, to confirm His Messianic claims. This is the case here also. I will prove that from the text in a moment.

But first, look at what actually happened. Jesus told His disciples to fill the 6 water pots full of water - but notice that they were special water pots. John 2:6 says "they were for the purifying of the Jews".

In other words, these pots had water with "ashes of the red heifer" in them. This ashen water was for purifying the Jews, for making them pure after being desecrated.

As we look to the future from this point in history in John 2, we know that the "blood of Jesus" makes us pure, not ashes of a red heifer in water. Jesus, with this miracle, took back the "red heifer ordinance", Numbers 19, the purification process for all who come unto Him, thus, water to wine with the wine, as always, symbolic of "His blood".

Remember I said no miracle for "convenience" but for ''confirmation". The miracle in John 2:11 was the first He did to manifest His glory, so that His disciples believed on Him.

One final thought, the next temple does need a red heifer and its ashes because it is not Messiah's Temple but the temple of the Antichrist. There is now a red heifer ready to fulfill that need.

Please also remember, the building of the next temple will not begin until after the Rapture. With all the preparations made for that next temple and the Jews wanting to start construction on that temple right now, it seems very likely that the Rapture is about to happen. Keep looking up, it could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you, Lord, for Your word that records the events of Your life which confirm Your Messianic claims.
Saturday, October 29, 2011

John 1:14

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

For further study - John 1:1-14

These 14 verses in the first chapter of the Gospel of John are some of the most profound words written in the scriptures. This explanation of the characteristics of the God-head is as good as any to be found anywhere in the world.

The truth found in these verses could well be expanded into volumes on the subjects of God, the creation, the Son, His incarnation, His grace, His truth and so much more.

I hope as you read through these verses, and any portion of scripture we suggest you read for your devotions, that you will spend some time prayerfully considering the awesomeness of His word. So far in this devotional thought, I have used the word, "word" only once.

If you read the passage first and then my thoughts, you have already read "word" several times. The "Word" is the person of Jesus Christ who was with God in the very beginning and even before that, He has always been.

May I suggest that John 1:1 is the oldest verse in the Bible - even older than Genesis 1:1. Genesis 1:1 describes what Jesus did in the beginning - He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, verse 3. But, of course, before that first creative act of bringing the world into existence, there was the God-head, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son - the "Word".

The first prophetic passage that looks forward to the coming of a Messiah was given by the Lord to Adam and Eve and tells of a "saviour" to come, Genesis 3:15. That prophecy was fulfilled when the "Word" was made flesh and dwelt among man on the earth,verse 14.

As it relates to "prophecy", John 1:14 is the record of the fulfillment of that 6,000 year old "prophecy". The great truth of this passage is that we know who the Creator was, it was the "Word", verse 3, Jesus Christ. With that understanding, we can rest assured that the one who created all that there is can also tell us the future for all that is found in creation.

What a blessed assurance. Since this prophecy was fulfilled then we can rest assured any other prophecy He gives will also come to pass. Praise His name, the Word.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to understand His word for today and the future.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Luke 24:6

He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee.

For further study - Luke 24:1-12

This portion of Luke 24 that I have selected for today’s devotional reading is a record of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as recorded by Dr. Luke. This event in history is the cornerstone of our faith due to the fact that Jesus Christ had to raise from the dead to prove He was who He said He was.

His resurrection is also proof that He can do what He said He would do, at this time in history and in the future. Jesus Christ died to take away our sin and rose from the dead to prove He was the one qualified to do that.

I could write a lot about the resurrection from this passage but I want to point you to several verses and share with you what may be some new thoughts for you to consider. Verses 4 to 6 are the portion of the text that I’m referring to for your consideration.

When the "Mary’s" arrived at the grave sight, verses 1-3, they found the "stone rolled away from the sepulcher". They even entered the burial sight and did not see the body of Jesus. The body was gone.

These ladies, also saw "two men in shining garments" standing near the burial sight. As the women stood there "perplexed" the two men spoke to them saying, "He is not here, but is risen", verse 6.

These two "men" had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only "eye witnesses" to the resurrection. They then gave testimony of what had happened to these ladies that had come to minister at the grave sight of Jesus.

It is interesting to me that there were also "two men" watching Jesus ascend into heaven, as recorded in another book that Dr Luke wrote to reveal the activities of Jesus. The book of Acts records the events of that day when Jesus went to heaven as His disciples watched Him go to "His Father’s house".

Notice that in the account of the Lord’s return to heaven, after His resurrection, Acts 1:9-11, there were also "two men" standing by watching, verse 10. These men told those gathered there on the Mount of Olives that as He had gone to heaven, He would return to Earth someday.

I bring these two events, with "two men" in attendance at both, to your attention to have you consider that these "two men" are most likely the "Two Witnesses" of Revelation 11 who will have a three and one half year ministry from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Remember, a "witness" gives testimony of what he saw. During the Tribulation Period to come the "two witnesses" will be preaching and there will be many people that come to salvation through Jesus Christ, a result of His resurrection.

The message of the Two Witnesses during the Tribulation, at least the first of the seven years, will be that Jesus resurrected from the dead and He is coming again. That’s the "gospel of the kingdom" that will be preached to the whole world, Matthew 24:14, before Jesus comes back to Earth.

One of those witnesses will be Elijah, Malachi 4:5. I rejoice every time they sing at church the song, "We are living in the days of Elijah". I do believe that we are living in "those days". These "days" will be those that will follow the Rapture of the Church.

Remember, before the Tribulation, the time period of the ministry of the "Two Witnesses", Jesus will shout for us to join Him in the heavens and that day could be today….so keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord help me to realize that we are living in the "days of Elijah" and live, expecting Jesus to call us up to heaven at any moment.
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Luke 21:24

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

For further study - Luke 21:20-28

Once again we go to the "well" of the "Olivet Discourse" for a "prophetic prospective" that applies to our day as well as to the day Jesus spoke these words on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and Dr Luke recorded them for us so that we might be able to read and learn from this passage, today.

Verses 5 and 6 of Luke 21 are parallel verses to both Matthew 24:1-3 and Mark 13:1-3. Jesus, while teaching on the Temple Mount on Monday afternoon of "Passion Week", made an astounding statement as He walked from the Temple, through the Eastern Gate, across the Kidron Valley and onto the Mount of Olives.

Jesus looked back at the "twenty-one story" Temple shining brightly on the Jerusalem horizon, because of the gold on this worship center, and the Lord made a prediction that one day in the near future there would not be a stone standing upon a stone on this majestic Temple.

The disciples gathered quickly around Jesus to ask Him more about His statement concerning the Temple. In the record of the "Olivet Discourse" filed in Matthew 24 Jesus does not respond to the question of the disciples as to when His prophecy would be fulfilled.

However, in our devotional reading for today, Luke records what the Lord told the disciples about the destruction of this Temple. In Luke 21:5-28 you have Luke's version of the entire "Olivet Discourse".

In verses 20-24 you have the answer to the disciples question about when the Temple would be destroyed. Jesus said, verse 20, that when they saw "armies" gathered around Jerusalem that would be a "significant sign" as to when the Temple's destruction would take place.

Jesus told the disciples that when they did see the "warning signs" to "flee to the mountains",verse 21. In the context of historic fact about the Roman Army who surrounded Jerusalem and the Temple for three years we can see how things unfolded.

General Titus gave the order to destroy the Temple and this mighty Roman Army followed through on that infamous day in 70 AD. I believe the Jews in 70 AD fled to "Masada" a "fortress stronghold" built by Herod the Great at the southwestern corner of the Dead Sea.

I make this statement because of verse 24. This verse gives us information about what happened the day the Temple was destroyed and literally ripped apart, stone by stone with no stone remaining upon another as the Roman Army finished their destructive work.

By the way, the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled almost forty years to the day after the Lord gave this prophecy. Notice verse 24 again, it is detailing how when the Temple was destroyed the Jews were scattered to the nations of the world.

Then another prophecy about Jerusalem appears. The prophecy is that the Temple Mount will be "trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled". "Gentiles", the United States, European Union, the United Nations, Arab Nations and all Gentile nations of the world who play a role in having control of the city of Jerusalem today and in particular the Temple Mount.

These Gentiles will continue to do so until Jesus comes back to Jerusalem and destroys the "Gentile world powers". The stage is set for this prophecy to be fulfilled. Remember, the Rapture happens first and then these prophecies are fulfilled.

By the way, the Rapture could happen today!

PRAYER THOT: Help me to understand Your prophetic warnings and to then apply them to my life as I live expectantly awaiting Your return, even so come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Luke 19:42

Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

For further study - Luke 19:41-48

Our key verse has a relationship with the ancient Jewish prophet Daniel and his writings, which I will get to in a moment. Let me set the scene for you as you read the extended portion of our devotional.

The previous thirteen verses, verses 28-40, are a description of the Lord's "Triumphal Entry" into the city of Jerusalem and onto the Temple Mount. The people who had rejected the Lord now welcomed Him into the city as a ruling King.

It is interesting to note the response of the Pharisee, verse 39, and what Jesus had to say to them as they complained to the Lord of all the commotion by the His disciples, asking Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Jesus responded with, if He had shut up those who welcomed Him the "stones would have cried out for Him".

Verses 45 and 46 reveal the "priestly" attitude of Jesus against the money-changers in the Temple. He rebuked these money-changers and threw them out of the Temple. In verses 47 and 48 we see Jesus the "prophet", the teacher who taught in the Temple complex the people who were attentive to hearing Him.

But now back to our key, verse 42. Jesus was very moved when He stood atop the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. Luke wrote that "Jesus wept" over what He saw, a needy people who had rejected their Messiah.

Then Jesus said that on this day of His "Triumphal Entry" the people failed to receive the One described in Daniel's prophecy, Daniel 9:25-26. An in-depth study of this prophetic passage in Daniel would show that this day when Jesus entered Jerusalem, He was doing so on the day Daniel predicted it would happen.

Daniel's prophecy indicates that from the decree by Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 2, to allow Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the streets and walls of the city, which took place April of 445BC, until the day, Saturday, in April 30AD when Jesus made His Triumphal Entry, could be figured out to the exact day (see my audio series, "The Daniel Papers").

The day Jesus stood there was that day predicted, not the day before or the day after. Jesus got to Jerusalem on the exact day it was foretold for Him to be there. The people of Jerusalem had not read Daniel's prophecy. They did not recognize He was to be there in Jerusalem at that time.

This is also the case with us today. We can determine where we are in God's "prophetic time" by studying His "prophetic word". We must study the prophetic Word of God to recognize when Jesus is coming back. It could be today!

What is meant by, "it could be today", is not referring to the Second Coming but the Rapture, when Jesus calls us up to meet Him in the "air". Everything is ready for the Rapture to take place, right now. There is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture, all prophecy yet to be fulfilled will be after the Rapture. Indeed, it could be today.

Prayer Thot: Help me to understand, dear Lord, Your prophetic Word so that I can recognize the days I am living in and help me to live in light of that understanding.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Luke 17:28

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

For further study - Luke 17:22-37

This passage in Luke 17 is another of those conversations that Jesus had with His disciples and one of the times when He would be teaching them prophecy. In this message the Lord uses some of the same information as used either before, or that he would use later in His teachings.

Notice verse 26, where our Lord speaks of the "Days of Noah" as He will, chronologically, later, in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. By the way, the last of this chapter helps to explain about those who were "taken" in these prophetic passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

In verses 34-36 Dr Luke records the words of Jesus about those who would be "taken". If you don't understand that in this passage Jesus is speaking of His Second Coming, and not the Rapture, you will get mixed up eschatologically.

At the Rapture those who are Christians will be "taken" into the heavenlies to join Jesus, forever. However, when a passage is referring to the Second Coming the ones "taken" are the ones who go to "judgment" and the ones "left" will "rule and reign" with Christ in His Kingdom to come.

To better understand this principle Jesus gives us the last verse in Luke 17. When asked where the people would be "taken" the Lord said, to "where the eagles be gathered together", verse 37.

In that context, you may want to read Job 39:27-30 which explains that where the "eagles gather together is a place of judgment". Therefore, those "taken" in Matthew 24, Mark 13,Luke 17 and 21 are all taken to judgment.

The ones "left" are the ones who will join Jesus to rule and reign. At the Rapture, a different event from the Second Coming, separated by at least seven years, the ones "taken" are the Christians.

Before we leave this passage, notice verse 28. The Lord had mentioned the "Days of Noah" which took place 4,500 years ago. In His mention of the "Days of Lot", these days were 4,000 years ago, days after the worldwide flood.

Interestingly, the "Days of Noah" were days when angels, the "sons of God" had a sexual relationship with the "daughters of men", Genesis 6:1-4 and Jude 6 and 7 .

The "days of Lot" also referred to the Jude passage, which was a time when the people, "gave themselves over to fornication", at Sodom and Gomorrah. Today it is referred to as homosexuality. I prefer the Biblical terminology, "sodomy", men, sexually with men and woman sexually with woman.

Because of this "sodomy" God destroyed the civilization of Sodom and Gomorrah. Today "sodomy" is allowed throughout all of society by educational, governmental and even religious leaders.

God does not hate "sodomites", the person, but "sodomy", the act. Jesus said when you see this type of "un-Godly sexual behavior" and see it as very prevalent in our society, that is a time when He could return to the earth.

We are living in those days. Jesus is coming and it could be in the "days" like the "days of Lot". Keep looking up!

Prayer Thot: Lord, give me a Godly love for sodomites so that I can lead them to Jesus Christ as their Savior, and help me to be aware of the days of Your coming.
Monday, October 24, 2011

Luke 16:22

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

For further study - Luke 16:19-31

In the devotional passage found in the Gospel of Luke that we are reading for today, I chose verse 22 as our key verse because of the great truth it reveals for those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ, Christians.

Notice, at death, what happens to us as believers. God dispatches "angels" to come gather us up and take us into the presence of the Lord. We don't die "alone", angels are there to comfort us for the journey into His presence.

What a blessed thought for us as we face that time, that time we will all face unless the Rapture should come first. I must be honest, I would much rather the Rapture happen first, and may it happen today.

The rest of our reading for today details the characteristics of the eternal hell, the "lake of fire" that has been prepared for the devil and his angels, Matthew 25:41. I know this passage is referring to "hades" which is the place of departed human spirits between death and resurrection.

It is now the place for all lost ones until the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. However, "hades", hell, has the same conditions as the "lake of fire".

Verse 23 says it’s a place of "torment", "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched", Mark 9:44. It's also a place of "thirst", verse 24. One single drop of water, not a gallon jug, tea glass or spoonful, just one tiny drop of water would "cool the tongue".

Verse 25 reveals that there will be "thinking" in the eternal "lake of fire". Those who make the choice to reject Jesus Christ and follow the lie of Satan will "think" forever, of every sermon, song and solicitation of the gospel he or she has ever heard. The "thinking" will last forever.

Those are the "conditions" for "hades" and also the eternal "lake of fire". The "constraint" of this place is that all who end up going there will only be released to appear before Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:13, only to be cast into the "lake of fire", forever, Revelation 20:15.

Finally, notice the "compassion" of the rich man in "hades". He wanted to return to life, so that he could tell his brothers of the "judgment" to come if they rejected Jesus Christ. We need to understand the realities of hell and its eternal judgments, then we would have the compassion that we need for our loved ones, friends and the lost people of this world.

The times we live in today seem to indicate the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This urgency should motivate us to go forth to win the lost to Jesus so that they escape the "eternal fires" of hell.

Prayer Thot: Dear Lord, give me the compassion of the rich man in "hades", a compassion for the lost, as I come to better understand the conditions and constraints of the "lake of fire".