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Saturday, November 30, 2013
Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
For further study - Malachi 1:1-5
I have an audio series called "Malachi - A Middle East News Update" that deals with all four chapters of this the last book in the Old Testament. The last book of the Old Testament is indeed a "Middle East News Update" and today we look at the first installment of the "MENU".
This book comes just before the 400 years of silence from the heavens, before Jesus Christ comes to earth as the "God-man" to become our Saviour by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. The last two verses of chapter 4 set in place the bridge to the New Testament and the book of Matthew.
Today we look at the first five verses of Malachi and notice the Lord's attitude towards "Edom", the descendants of Esau, twin brother of Jacob. Verses 2 and 3 reveal to us that the Lord "loves Jacob" and "hates Esau".
This statement might cause you to question whether God is "unrighteous". Paul the Apostle answered that question in Romans 9. Paul quoted this passage in Malachi, Romans 9:13, and then spoke to the issues of the unrighteousness of God.
Paul says "God forbid, there is no unrighteousness in God". If you read Romans 9:10-14 you see the statement "Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated" has to do with "sovereign selection" and nothing to do with salvation.
Before their birth God’s "sovereign selection" chose Jacob, the second born over the first born, Esau. The "birthright", reserved for the first born, became Jacob’s. Jacob would also receive the "blessing", which was to be pronounced upon the eldest son at his Father's death. God chose the younger, Jacob over the elder, Esau, for His own purpose.
The passage in Romans comes from a passage, here in Malachi where the Lord speaks of the destruction of Esau's land and his legacy, verse 4. Edom, says that though he was destroyed, he will return and rebuild.
The Lord responded to Edom saying he could rebuild - but He would tear down and call Edom's borders "the borders of wickedness". Then the Lord said He would have indignation against the Edomites as long as He is God, that's forever!
In my audio series, "Esau and the Palestinians", I trace the descendants of Esau all the way through history to the Palestinian people of today. The Lord has pronounced judgment on the Edomites; they will be as if they have never been, as Sodom and Gomorrah, Jeremiah 49:16-18.
We are living in the days that Malachi wrote about, the days when the Edomites, the Palestinians, have returned, which they have done in the last 100 years. And at this time they are trying to rebuild. Ezekiel 35 and Obadiah 15-18 gives additional prophetic information of these two peoples, the Palestinians and the Jews.
There has never been a day like this in history and we're alive in it. The Lord's return is closer now than it has ever been. In fact, the Rapture could happen today, so keep looking up.
PRAYER THOT: Help me to live this day as if it would be the day of the Rapture.
Friday, November 29, 2013
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
For further study - Zechariah 14:1-5
Today for our devotional reading I have asked you to read only five verses in Zechariah 14 because it is so jam packed with events that will unfold in a short period of time.
Zechariah 14 is not a stand-alone chapter, but must be combined with Revelation 19:11-20 to help you realize how the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will actually take place.
However, allow me to only deal with these five verses in this devotional time. In verse 1 we see the phrase, the "Day of the Lord" which is used seventy-two times in the Old Testament and is that period in time when the Lord intercedes in the affairs of man, personally, right here on the earth.
The specific usage of this definition refers to the time just preceding, and the actual day, that Jesus returns to the earth, verse 4. Verse 2 reveals how the "campaign of Armageddon" begins with all the nations of the world gathering at Jerusalem.
This verse answers the question often asked about the United States in Bible prophecy. The United States is never mentioned by name, but if the United States is included at all in Bible prophecy, it is only referred to in this verse as one of the nations that will gather to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The scenario, prophetically, that leads up to this point, is the destruction of the literal city of Babylon in modern day Iraq, which will serve as the headquarters for the worldwide, governmental, economic, political system, headed up by Antichrist.
The Lord will destroy that system and the city in one hour, Revelation 18:10, 17 &19 and Revelation 16:17-21. Then the Satanic trio, Satan, Antichrist and the False Prophet rush to Jerusalem and bring the nations of the world together, with their armies, into Jerusalem by the means of signs, wonders and miracles, Revelation 16:13-16.
When the armies of the world are gathered in Jerusalem, under the leadership of Satan, Jesus will come from heaven to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, verse 4.
There will be some geographical changes in Jerusalem and those armies gathered to fight along side Satan and against Jesus will flee for the "Valley of the Mountains", verse 5.
The "Valley of the Mountains" is the Jezreel Valley that is 1,000 square miles in size, surrounded by different mountain ranges where the actual "Battle of Armageddon" will take place when Jesus goes there and speaks "death" to around one hundred million soldiers from the armies of the world.
This will not be a "nuclear battle", Jesus speaks and all the soldiers and animals that they might have used in the war effort will be killed at His spoken word, Revelation19:15.
Space will not allow for additional "prophetic truth" that would indicate how close we are to this prophetic scenario being fulfilled, Let me just say that everything is ready for these prophecies to be fulfilled.
Please remember, seven years before the Lord steps down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the Rapture happens, when the Archangel shouts, the trumpet sounds and Jesus shouts for us to join Him in the air where we will ever be with Him in the heavenlies. The Rapture could happen today.
PRAYER THOT: Help me, Lord, to warn as many people as I can of this coming time of great judgment upon the earth. And help me to show them how to be prepared for this event by coming to know You as Lord and Saviour.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
For further study - Zechariah 13:1-9
The book of Zechariah is a prophetic book that has a prophetic message to the Jews in the days of the Prophet, Jews that had just returned from the Babylonian Captivity.
Zechariah's prophetic book is full of prophetic passages for the First Coming of Jesus Christ as well as His Second Coming. One must be very careful how he interprets this outstanding book.
Zechariah was involved in a ministry of encouraging the Jews to rebuild their Temple, the Temple destroyed by the Babylonians. The Prophet also speaks of a Temple that Jesus will build at His Second Coming, Zechariah 6:12.
In our devotional passage for today, we find prophecy that pertains to the First Coming of Jesus and at the same time the Second Coming as well. Next to the prophetic book of Isaiah, Zechariah is the most prophetic book containing prophecy for the Lord's First Coming.
Verses 6 & 7 reveal a prophecy that looks to the Second Coming but describes what would happen to the Messiah at His First Coming. When Zechariah refers to "wounds in thy hands", it's a reference to the prophecy of Psalms 22:16, a Messianic Psalm and a prophecy fulfilled in the "crucifixion" of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.
Verse 7 reveals that Jesus, the "Shepherd", would be the one that they would "smite" and the "sheep would scatter", Matthew 26:31. There are a number of prophecies, over three hundred, in the Old Testament, about the First Coming of Christ.
Of course, Jesus fulfilled each and every one of those prophecies to prove He was truly the Son of God, the Messiah. In this chapter of Zechariah there is a very significant prophecy pertaining to the Second Coming of Christ.
Verse 8 speaks of the "slaughter" of many Jews during the coming time of judgment, the "time of Jacob's trouble". The number of Jews to be killed will number in the millions, in fact, the number will be around 8 million Jews killed during the coming days of judgment.
I arrive at this number by the number of Jews alive today, which is between 12-13 million around the world. Zechariah predicts that two out of every three of those Jews alive today will be killed. That's where I get the number 8 million, plus.
The worst "Holocaust" is yet to come. In Hitler's day only one-third of all Jews were killed that were alive during World War Two, some 18 million. This coming time of judgment will be the worst time in the history of the Jewish people.
The lesson that comes out of this terrible time in the future for the Jewish people is that one-third of the Jews that survive the coming Tribulation will be saved, verse 9. Those surviving Jews will call upon the Lord and say to Him that He is their God.
The Jewish people today need to hear and heed this warning. What a blessing if we could lead as many Jews as possible to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour before the coming "Holocaust".
PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for this prophecy that warns the Jews and alerts me to the coming judgment for Your chosen people. Help me to witness to Jews of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
Though we consider the book of Zechariah as one of the "minor prophets", I believe he is one of the "major Prophets", based upon his prophetic passages relative to the first coming of Jesus Christ, second only to Isaiah. In addition there is great prophetic significance in the book for the Second Coming.
As we begin our devotional reading for today, by reading the first verse of chapter 12, we are made aware of the foundation for the Lord's authority for giving prophetic truth to this ancient Jewish Prophet.
It's plain and simple, the Lord is not only a "giver of prophetic truth" but also the Creator, the One who "stretched forth the heavens and layeth the foundations of the earth and formeth the spirit of man within him".
Prophecy is unique to Christianity and the Bible for just that reason, the Creator of all things knows what will happen in the future. Creation and prophecy go hand in hand.
Remember, this is "apocalyptic" literature, using a "symbol" to communicate an absolute truth. The rule for interpretation of apocalyptic literature is that another scripture passage will give the interpretation.
Proverbs 23:31 speaks of the "juice of the vine and when it is red, when it giveth it's color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright", the liquid is intoxicating and the exhortation is "to not look upon the cup".
This Zechariah passage is speaking of Jerusalem, a "cup of trembling", as being intoxicating. Those who have control over Jerusalem, and in particular the Temple Mount, to them it will become "intoxicating".
Verse 3 is speaking of how that control of the Temple Mount becomes a "heavy burden", a heavy weight too burdensome to lift. Today, those who control the Temple Mount, the "Islamic Trust", have become intoxicated with that power.
As the Jews stand praying and mourning today at the "wailing wall", or better known as the "Western Wall", they are looking directly at the location where Christ was crucified, where His hands were pierced.
The Jews, not yet realizing it, are "mourning" today for the One they pierced. Notice in verses 11-14 that this "mourning" is done with the wives and husbands separated. That's the way the religious Jews worship and pray today at the Western Wall.
As the Jews today are "looking upon Him who they have pierced" it is evident that we are living in the time Zechariah wrote about, the end times. Remember, Zechariah 14 is the Lord's return but, seven years earlier the Rapture takes place, and it could happen today.
PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for prophecy that alerts me to the nearness of the Rapture. Help me to live in light of these precious truths.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
Zechariah, along with Haggai and Malachi, were the three prophets who had a ministry of foretelling the future, actually pre-writing history, about 2,500 years ago after the Babylonian Captivity .
You might remember that all of prophecy has either a short-term fulfillment and/or a long-term fulfillment. By that I mean that prophecy given by the ancient Jewish prophets would be fulfilled in the near future as compared to a last days prophecy that will be fulfilled near the time of the Second Coming of Christ.
This is the case with Zechariah, his prophetic ministry was effective in his day as he exhorted the Jews who had returned from the Babylonian Captivity to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
However, as in the case of our devotional reading for today, Zechariah was writing about a time yet future. This would be a time during his Kingdom period of 1,000 years, which indeed is yet future.
The Lord reveals to Zechariah that the Jews will be scattered among the heathen, the nations of this world, for a period of time. This has been the case since the Jews were scattered to the four corners of the earth, verse 13, because of their disobedience to the Lord.
This scattering of the Jews happened in 70AD. Verses 15-19 reveal to us that the Lord will gather these Jews back into Jerusalem, and Israel, for the purpose of becoming their Messiah. The Lord will be their God, and the Jews, His people.
Of course the Jews will lead these from among the nations, up to Jerusalem, where Jesus will be ruling and reigning from the Temple. Jerusalem has always been and always will be the center of the earth, Ezekiel 5:5.
God has a plan for the Jews in the future, He is not finished with His chosen people. The Church, Christians, have not replaced the "people of His plan", the Jewish people.
Everything that is happening among the Jewish people today is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for Your Word that reveals Your plan for the future and the people of the future.
Monday, November 25, 2013
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
Zechariah is a prophet that had a two-fold prophetic ministry. He had studied to be a "priest" while in the Babylonian Captivity when there was no Temple standing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Zechariah is one of three men who were qualified priest and men who also the Lord called to be "prophets". The other two, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, had unique ministries as well and wrote prophecy that focused on events unfolding here on earth in what seems to be the end times.
One aspect of Zechariah's ministry was encouraging the children of Israel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, after they returned from the Babylonian Captivity. In our extended reading for today, and in fact, in the key verse we see that the Temple referred to as "Messiah's Temple" is in focus rather than the Temple in Zechariah's day.
Messiah's Temple is the "House of Worship" that will stand in Jerusalem in the Kingdom, a physical Kingdom yet to come, in the 1,000 year period following the return of Jesus Christ back to earth.
Jesus, in a pre-incarnate appearance to Zechariah, Zechariah 1:14-16, states that He is "aggressively possessive" of Jerusalem, verse 14; He is displeased with those who in their "secure arrogance" control the Temple Mount, verse 15; and that He will come back to Jerusalem to build His Temple, verse 16.
Zechariah 6:13 confirms that Jesus Christ is the one who will build the Millennial Temple. This passage pre-writes the history of that Kingdom period to come. The verse states that Jesus will rule and reign as the "King of Kings" and also serve as the "High Priest" at this Temple.
These prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. There will be a Temple standing in Jerusalem in the future. However, let me remind you this Temple is in the Kingdom period on earth.
That "Tribulation Temple" could be in operation in the very near future. This is evidence that the shout for Christians to leave this earth at the Rapture of the Church is close, perhaps today.
Prayer Thot: Thank You, Lord, for all the Biblical evidence of Your soon coming, help me to live in light of this evidence and this soon coming.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
This passage, in the fourth chapter of Zechariah's prophecy, is rich with truth pertaining to the days of Zechariah and to days in the future as well. Remember, Haggai and Zechariah were the two prophets the Lord raised up to encourage the 50,000 Jews who returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Captivity. These Jews, led by Joshua and Zerubbabel, on their trip back "home", were to rebuild the temple.
Nearly 20 years after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, from Babylon, they had not finished the work of the Second Temple, the one replacing Solomon's Temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians.
By the way, this temple, the Second Temple, would be the one in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, here on earth. During the days that Herod the Great reigned in Jerusalem, the people called it "Herod's Temple", only because Herod restored the Second Temple to its majesty.
Joshua and Zerubbabel were the two leaders that led the almost 50,000 Jews back to Jerusalem for the sole purpose of rebuilding the temple. The Jews were very negligent in following the Lord's direction on the "temple building project".
You might recall, I referred to Haggai as the prophet "in your face". Zechariah was the prophet who had the "gift of mercy". The Lord would use Zechariah to "love the people into rebuilding the temple".
Notice verse 6, our key verse, where Zechariah uses the truth about the "Spirit" of the Lord of Hosts as the power by which the temple would be built. We often need to be reminded that what we do, and accomplish for the Lord, is not done by our own power, but by His Spirit.
As Zerubbabel laid the foundations for the temple and continued to lead the project, they would finish the Lord's work as they had been directed. It was during this time that the prophet Zechariah got this prophecy of the "candlestick" and of the "two olive trees".
In Zechariah's day, the "two olive trees" were Joshua and Zerubbabel. The "candlestick" was the Temple, which housed the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra.
The prophecy given to Zechariah would be fulfilled in his day. However, this same "prophecy", would have a future fulfillment that would come to pass during the seven year Tribulation Period.
Revelation 11:3-12 reveals the "two witnesses" who minister from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the first three and a half years of the Tribulation.
Notice Revelation 11:4, "the two olive trees", these are the same as the "two olive trees" in Zechariah's prophecy. The two witnesses of Revelation 11 are Elijah and Enoch, the only two men who have never died. At the end of the three and a half years of ministry, they will be killed, as demanded in Hebrews 9:27. They will resurrect and enter into the heavens.
I believe, as the song says, "we are living in the days of Elijah". So much of Bible prophecy is coming together as foretold by the ancient Jewish prophets, including Zechariah. The Rapture could happen at any time - maybe today.
Prayer Thot: Thank You, Lord, for the potential of a soon coming Rapture of the Church. Help me to point the lost to You for salvation.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Zechariah 3 is a record of one of the visions the prophet received from the Lord. It is a prophecy of the Jewish people as a whole, not each individual, but as a whole turning to Christ as their Saviour.
This salvation will come to the Jews "in a day", verse 9. In addition to the central theme of the chapter there are a number of great truths that must be seen as we read through our devotions for today.
Joshua "the High Priest", verse 1, is the representative of the Jewish people to whom the prophecy is given. Remember the High Priest went as the representative of all Jews when he entered the "Holy of Holies" on the Day of Atonement to offer the sacrifice that would "cover" the sins of the Jewish people for one year.
The high priest, Joshua, representing the Jewish people, will stand before God and the vision reveals that Satan is there to accuse them; however, Jesus Christ is there as well. The "Angel of the Lord" is a "pre-incarnate" appearance of Jesus.
Joshua has on "filthy garments", representing sin, as he stands before God and Jesus tells him to take off his "filthy garment" and get dressed in "clean garments".
"Filthy garments" represent the sins of all humankind and "clean garments" the righteousness of God, verses 2-6.
By the way, notice who it is that can rebuke Satan, only the Lord Jesus Christ, , verse 2. We must never rebuke the devil, but submit to the Lord and the devil will flee from us, because of the rebuke of the Lord, James 4:7.
Verse 8 tells us that the Lord will bring Jesus Christ, "the BRANCH", to remove the sins of the people, not just cover them for a year. This will happen in "one day", verse 9.In the context of this apocalyptic passage the "high priest" Joshua is also representative of Jesus Christ the High Priest, Hebrews 8:1.
Jesus as the High Priest will enter the "Holy of Holies" of the Temple He builds, Zechariah 6:12 on the Jewish Feast day of "Yom Kippur", Day of Atonement, in the future to remove the iniquity of the Jewish people, forever.
PRAYER THOT: Thank you, dear Lord, for removing my sins and giving me eternal life. Help me to share this message with others that need this same salvation.
PRAYER THOT: Thank you, dear Lord, for removing my sins and giving me eternal life. Help me to share this message with others that need this same salvation.
Friday, November 22, 2013
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
This second chapter of Zechariah focuses on the city of Jerusalem. It is natural that Jerusalem should be mentioned again and again in this prophecy. It is a prophecy written by the Jewish prophet that was called to exhort the Jewish people to rebuild the temple after their return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile.
In our last devotional reading in Zechariah, we found out that the Lord is "aggressively possessive" of Jerusalem and "sore displeased" with those who are "arrogantly secure" with present-day control of the Temple Mount.
Also, Jesus will come one day to build His Temple in the heart of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. Now Zechariah reveals Jerusalem in the "kingdom age to come" in our reading for today.
The city of Jerusalem is mentioned 37 times in this prophetic book and here in the second chapter the prophet refers to the holy city as the "apple of his eye". That phrase is speaking of the "pupil" of the eye, the most sensitive spot on the entire body. This is a warning to those who might consider touching - attacking - the city of Jerusalem.
This reading for today is looking past the time of real controversy that will surround Jerusalem approaching the time of the Second Coming of Jesus, including the seven year period of great judgment called the Tribulation Period.
Our devotional is looking to the time that the Glory (Jesus Christ) will be in the midst of Jerusalem, verse 5. The Lord has promised to dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever in Jerusalem, verses 10-11. This chapter is depicting the "chosen city" in the "holy land" in the "kingdom to come".
However, remember as I mentioned earlier, the city of Jerusalem will be the center of controversy. In fact, it is the same prophet, Zechariah, that reveals this information to us in Zechariah 12:2. I will develop that prophecy in a future devotional.
Suffice to say, leading up to the coming of the Messiah back to Jerusalem, things will become very tense in the "holy city". This is becoming more evident with each passing day as we approach the Lord's return.
As you couple the vision of the future kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem, with the festering controversy surrounding Jerusalem today, we can know both are close at hand and thus so is His Second Coming.
Remember, the Rapture takes place seven years before His Second Coming, meaning that the Rapture could happen at any moment. Keep looking up.
PRAYER THOT: Dear Jesus, as I watch Jerusalem, help me to recognize where we are in God's time for the last days, and help me to live according to that knowledge.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
As we come to the prophetic book of Zechariah, I have so much that I would like to use for our devotional. Zechariah was unique in that he was both a "prophet" and a "priest". The Lord selected three men who were Priest and made them Prophets, Zechariah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
As I mentioned in our look at Haggai - these two are contemporaries in their ministry after the return of a number of Jews from Babylon. Zechariah is a "prophet" but also a "priest", how appropriate that the Lord selected him to challenge the people to re-build the temple.
In the portion we're reading today there is a focus on the city of Jerusalem and our Lord's attitude about this "holy city" and it's inhabitants. The city of Jerusalem is mentioned 37 times in Zechariah and for its size that is a large number of times to focus on Jerusalem.
In Zechariah 1:12 we see the phrase, "the angel of the Lord". That phrase is always a "theophany", a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Jesus will say to Zechariah three significant things about Jerusalem.
In verse 14 the Lord says He is "jealous for Jerusalem". The Hebrew for "jealous" is "aggressively possessive". The Lord has chosen Jerusalem for His eternal abode, the place to dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever. Therefore, He is "aggressively possessive" of the city.
In verse 15 He says He is "sore displeased" with those who are "at ease" in Jerusalem. The Hebrew refers to those who are "arrogantly secure" in their control of Jerusalem. Those who have that control are the Palestinian Muslim people of today.
Verse 16 tells us that, one day, Jesus will return to Jerusalem and will build "His house" in it, His Temple. The city of Jerusalem is set aside for the Lord's program, which is the reason He is "aggressively possessive" of Jerusalem.
The city of Jerusalem, as the song says, is the "city of God". Therefore, as Zechariah tells us, Jerusalem will be the center of controversy, Zechariah 12:2-3, in the last days. Each and every controversy surrounding Jerusalem in our day brings us closer to the Lord's return.
PRAYER THOT: Help me to focus on Jerusalem so that I can determine God's timing for His return to Jerusalem.