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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

For further study - John 14:1-31

As I was selecting the passage for our devotional reading today, I looked at John 14 and realized it was all so good, I decided to use the entire chapter for our extended reading.

There is such great truth in the whole chapter. In this devotional I'll share several highlights and I am sure you could add other great highlights, if you were writing the devotional.

Notice that our key verse and the first verse of John 14 both have the phrase, "Let not your heart be troubled". As you read these two verses you must remember the circumstances surrounding this chapter.

Jesus was with His disciples in an "upper room" and had been celebrating the "Passover Seder", the time when the Jews annually rehearse the story of the Exodus and would have a meal similar to the one their forefathers would have had on the first Passover Seder.

It was the meal of lamb, the "Passover Lamb", and "unleavened bread", along with "bitter herbs" the three ingredients called for in scripture. These foodstuffs were to remind the Jewish people of what took place some 1,500 years before that night recorded in John 14.

The next afternoon Jesus Christ would be crucified on Passover at 3:00 PM, in the last part of the Jewish day, which concluded at sundown. The disciples must have been having anxiety attacks not knowing what would, or could happen to them when Jesus was crucified.

The Lord comforts them with His words, "Let not your heart be troubled". Our key verse adds, "neither let it be afraid". This is, as well, the Lord's words of comfort for us even today when we face troublesome times.

The Lord also told them that when He went away, the Father would send the "Comforter", the Holy Spirit, verses 16 & 26. Jesus said the "Comforter" would not only comfort them but also teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance that He had taught them.

This is another very practical promise for us today. The Lord began His comforting exhortation with the promise that He was going into the heavenlies to prepare a place for those of us who are a "prepared people", believers in Christ, Christians.

This promise also contained the promise of His coming back to get them, and us, and then to go with Him to that "prepared place". By the way, this passage is not talking about the Second Coming but instead it's the first mention of the Rapture.

At the Second Coming we return to Earth with Jesus, riding white horses, Revelation 19 & Zechariah 14, to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This passage says, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself", verse 3. The passage is not describing the Second Coming, but is describing the Rapture, the time when we respond to His shout to enter the heavenlies to be with Him forevermore.

Remember, the disciples were very anxious that night, this new truth must have gone right over their heads. It would be around twenty-five years later before the Apostle Paul would make it very clear about the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

This is the first mention of the Rapture in scripture, and our Lord made the promise that it would happen, thus it will happen. The truth is that the Rapture could happen at any moment. There is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture. All prophecies remaining to be fulfilled happen after the rapture.

Keep looking up ... it could be today.

Prayer Thot: Thank you Lord for the promise of the rapture, help me to be prepared, pure and productive until I hear Your shout to join You in the heavenlies.
Monday, December 30, 2013

John 13:19

Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

For further study - John 13:1-20

John records the account of the "Passover Seder" that took place the evening before Christ would be crucified the next afternoon. The "Passover Seder" was an annual event, a Jewish feast day, that the Lord gave to the Jewish people.

In fact, it was the first of the seven Jewish feast days as recorded in Leviticus 23. The Passover was to be celebrated on an annual basis from the time of the very first Passover that took place the night of the "Exodus".

Exodus 12 records the first Passover and in that chapter the Lord tells, commands, the Jews to rehearse the story of the "Exodus" and to have the "Passover Seder" meal with the family every year, Exodus 12:14.

In this account of the "Passover Seder" the writer, John the Apostle, records the Lord washing the feet of the disciples. The Lord came to the Apostle Peter to wash His feet and Peter objected, verses 6-8.

There is a very interesting phrase used by Peter, verse 8. Peter tells the Lord that He, "shall never wash his feet". In essence Peter was saying, "not so Lord" which Peter would do three times in his life, Matthew 16:22, in this passage and when told to go to the Gentiles with the gospel message, Acts 10:14.

Peter said to the Lord three times, "Not so Lord". You know it is impossible to use that phrase, "Not so Lord". If indeed Jesus Christ is "Lord", you cannot say, "Not so". If you say, "Not so", then Jesus is not Lord.

Jesus was demonstrating to His disciples, who He had been training for three years, how to be humble and to lead, as a "servant". The best kind of leader in the world and in the church is one who leads by serving.

This passage describes a very special evening that would remind those Jewish disciples at the table of the time of the Passover, that very first Passover almost 1,500 years before the meal Jesus had with His disciples that night.

The lamb that they ate at the meal represented the "Passover lamb" whose blood had been used to paint the "doorpost" of the homes in Egypt on the night of the first "Passover".

The next afternoon, about eighteen hours later, Jesus would become our "Passover lamb" when He would be sacrificed to provide for our salvation.

Please note one more item in this passage, verse 19. The Lord Jesus Christ tells His very worried disciples that He was telling them what was going to happen before it happened, so that when it did come to pass they would know, and believe, that He was who He said He was and would, and could do what He said He would do, as well.

This is the "essence of prophecy", we can rest assured that He is the Messiah because He has given us prophetic truth, and in fact, laid out a scenario of what will happen in the future. In current events we can see the "stage being set" for these prophecies to be fulfilled.

That's what Bible prophecy does, it gives us the evidence that He is the One who does what He says He can do, and will do, according to His prophetic Word. That also gives us assurance, a blessed assurance, of the reality of an all mighty, powerful, prophecy-fulfilling holy God.

Therefore, we should everyday be looking for Him to call us up into the heavenlies to be with Him forever more at the Rapture, which could happen today. Keep looking up.

Prayer Thot: Thank you Lord for being who You said You are and doing what You said You would do. And we look forward to the future and Your promises to be fulfilled, as well.
Saturday, December 28, 2013

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.
Friday, December 27, 2013

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 1:1Genesis 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.
Thursday, December 26, 2013

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.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013

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.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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.
Monday, December 23, 2013

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 24Mark 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 24Mark 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.
Sunday, December 22, 2013

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".
Saturday, December 21, 2013

Luke 4:8

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

For further study - Luke 4:1-13

In each passage of Scripture I discuss with you in our daily devotion, I endeavor to point out some very practical principles that will help each of us in our Christian experience. This will be the case today as well.

I also will point out prophetic passages and help you to look to the future for the fulfillment of these passages. Today, we will do that before we finish our thoughts about this passage.

There are some great practical principles found in these 13 verses of our reading. Notice that the Devil comes to tempt Jesus in a time of seeming weakness. Our Lord was 40 days in the wilderness going without food. The Devil is right there beside Him to put the Lord to the test in three different approaches.

First, the Devil tries the physical. The Lord has not eaten and the Devil challenges Him to turn the stone into bread. Jesus said to the Devil, the Word of God is more important than eating. One cannot live by only satisfying the physical need for food.

Then the Devil offers Jesus the kingdoms of this world. At this point, the Lord tells Satan to get behind Him, a method of resisting the Devil, James 4:7.

The third challenge was for Jesus to jump from the high spot of the temple into the arms of the angels who were to protect Him, Psalm 91:11-12. Notice the Devil even used the Scriptures to tempt Jesus. The Lord responded and told the Devil he was not allowed to tempt the Lord,Deuteronomy 6:16.

The other great truth, a very practical truth found in this passage, is the fact that the Lord responded each time to the Devil by quoting Scripture, verse 4, verse 8, and verse 12. Our defense against the Devil is the Word of God. We need to have it in our hearts and minds so well that we can respond to the Devil's testing by quoting Scripture.

Now let’s look at the prophetic significance of the passage. Notice that the Devil said to Jesus that he had the "kingdoms of this world" and the power to give the kingdoms of this world to our Lord. Under the sovereignty of God, the Devil does have control of the "kingdoms of this world" at this time in history.

In reality, the Devil has had the "kingdoms of this world" since Genesis 3, the fall of man. He will have those kingdoms until the Lord returns and sets up His Kingdom given to Him by God the Father, Daniel 7:13-14.

From that point on, Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Satan will be bound for the first 1,000 years of the Lord's Kingdom reign, Revelation 21:3, and then thrown into the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:7-10 for eternity.

The "king of this present world", Satan, will be defeated and imprisoned by the King of all Kings, Jesus Christ. That time in history is drawing closer every day.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, dear Lord, to learn and know the Word of God so that I will be able to use it when the testing comes to me.
Friday, December 20, 2013

Luke 2:12

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

For further reading - Luke 2:1-20

Last time on our devotionals I mentioned how much I loved the Christmas story. I must also say that Christmas Day is my favorite holiday when we gather together with all the family, food and fellowship. This is always a great day to look at the events of that day, 2,000 years ago, from the scriptures, and to notice the insight God’s Word gives us.

Our key verse is an interesting statement, "and this shall be a sign unto you". Dr. Luke records what the angel said to the shepherds, that they would find the newborn babe, "God-man", Jesus Christ, "in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes".

For the longest time I could not understand why that would be a "sign" to the shepherds. Then one day I ran across a comment about the connection to the sign in a place in the Shepherd's Fields called the "Tower of the Flock".

In the Hebrew, the phrase is, "Migdal Edar". "Migdal" is Hebrew for "tower" and "Edar" is "flock" in the Hebrew language. The phrase is only used twice in the Bible - Genesis 35:21 and Micah 4:8.

In the Genesis passage, "Migdal Edar" is referring to the location where Jacob pitched his tent after he buried his wife Rachel who had died in childbirth. "Migdal Edar" is on the road between Bethlehem, where Rachel was buried, and the city of Jerusalem, which is only three miles away.

The other mention of "Migdal Edar" or "tower of the flock" in Micah 4:8 is a prophecy that the announcement of the Messiah would be at "Migdal Edar". This location, "Migdal Edar", has been known by the religious Jews for centuries, as the place where the announcement of the "Messiah" will take place.

I must tell you that "Migdal Edar" was a watchtower in the Shepherd's Fields of Bethlehem. It was a two-story stone structure out in the fields. On the top story, a shepherd, a "priestly shepherd" would stand watching over the flock to make certain that the sheep were not being harmed.

Remember, the sheep raised in the Shepherd's Fields of Bethlehem were destined for the "temple sacrifice" three miles away. Also, these sheep must be without blemish or spot, perfect in order to be sacrificed. Bethlehem’s "shepherd’s fields" was the "holding pen for the sacrificial lambs".

The bottom floor of "Migdal Edar" was for the "birthing" of these lambs. From the beginning, these lambs must be perfect. The "priestly shepherd" would take the newborn lamb and wrap it in "swaddling clothes" to keep it from harming its limbs. After wrapping the baby lamb, the shepherd would lay it in a "manger" until the newborn had calmed down.

These priestly shepherds knew this procedure and, when told it would be a sign, they re-called Micah 4:8 and with haste, Luke 2:16, ran to see the newborn Jesus, the Son of God.

By the way, read all of Micah 4. It tells of a coming Jewish temple, peace in the Middle East, a return of the Jews to the land and an alignment of nations against Israel. These are all prophecies that will be fulfilled as was the one of "Migdal Edar".

The fulfillment of Bible Prophecy, in the past, is assurance that the "yet-to-be-fulfilled" Bible prophecy will be fulfilled, and it could be soon. The next event is the Rapture, which could happen today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Thank You for prophecy that was fulfilled by Your first coming and those that tell of Your Second Coming, which will also be fulfilled. Help me to live ready for these prophecies to be fulfilled.
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Luke 1:37

Luke 1:1-38
Matthew 1-2Luke 1-2verse 37verse 34verse 37verse 32II Samuel 7Jeremiah 33:20-21
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mark 14:25

Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

For further study - Mark 14:12-25

This is Mark's record of what has been called the "Last Supper". It was actually the observance of the "Passover Seder" which is the "meal" where Jews celebrate the Exodus out of Egyptian bondage, which took place 3,500 years ago.

The "Passover Seder" is observed annually since the very first Passover, Exodus 12. It was at that time the Lord commanded the Jews to rehearse, at a special gathering, every year the Lord's provision and protection throughout these thousands of years.

The one-day "feast day" of "Passover", and the seven-day "feast" of "Unleavened Bread" are observed together, an eight- day celebration. The actual day of Passover was 24 hours, starting from the evening of Passover, during the time of Jesus Christ on Wednesday evening, until sundown on Thursday evening.

The disciples, Peter and John, had prepared the meal and they met together with Jesus and the other disciples in an "Upper Room", verse 15, in the city of Jerusalem for the actual meal and the other activities.

The ingredients of the meal were "roast lamb" that represented the "Passover lamb"; "unleavened bread" which represents the "separation between the bondage and freedom"; and "bitter herbs" which represents the bitter time in the Egyptian bondage for the Jewish people.

They would also have "bread and wine" in the meal. By the way, the wine was not an "intoxicating wine" because they weren't allowed to have "leaven" anywhere near the meal. Remember, grape juice can only ferment when leaven is added. That should settle an argument or two out there.

That night, Jesus and His disciples rehearsed the story of Passover and the sacrifice of the "sacrificial lamb". It would be at 3:00pm the next afternoon that Jesus Christ would be crucified on the cross to become our "sacrificial lamb".

Jesus became our "Passover lamb" by His death in Jerusalem, I Corinthians 5:7. Jesus actually fulfilled the Jewish feast day of Passover, for the Jewish people. We, as Christians, derive the spiritual benefits of our Lord's death, burial and resurrection which is our way to salvation, I Corinthians 15:1-5 and Romans 1:16.

After the "Passover Seder" Jesus instituted what we call the "Lord's Supper", the communion service, verses 22-24. Now, each time we celebrate the "Lord's Supper", the communion, we do it in remembrance of Him, I Corinthians 11:23-26.

Notice the last directive for the "Lord's Supper", "do this until I come". Each communion service should "look back" to what our Lord did for us; "look in" so we can get our hearts right with the Lord; and "look up" for Him to come.

As Jesus closed out the "Passover Seder", He said the next time He would join us for this sweet communion supper would be in the "Kingdom" that is yet to come.

What a heritage we receive from the Jews, and what prophetic truth in all that they are, and do today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord Jesus for being my "Passover", help me to tell others this great story.