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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Isaiah 45:18

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

For further study - Isaiah 45:1-25

I hope you have some time to spend in this forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. This is an excellent chapter of God's prophetic Word that reveals prophetic events that will happen, some of them only 150 years after they were given.

Other prophecies contained within the verses of this chapter will be fulfilled in the future, certainly future from Isaiah's day but also future from today.

The chapter also confirms that God is the creator of all things, which gives Him the authority to reveal the future, the Creator can tell you what His creation will face at a future date.

There is no way I can point out everything I would like for you to see in this devotional reading for today. I'll hit some "high points" but please spend a good amount of time reaping a harvest of great truths from what I do not cover.

I must bring to your attention the name "Cyrus", verse 1. This is the man, Cyrus, the leader of the Medo-Persian Empire, that allowed Zerubabbel and fifty thousand Jews to return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity.

They returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple by permission of Cyrus and with funding from Cyrus as well.

Isaiah pre-wrote history that was fulfilled 150 years after he penned the prophecy, as found in Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1-4. The record of the fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Ezra 1 and 2.

Notice the verses that confirm that God created the heavens, the earth and all that in them is, verses 7-8, 12 and 18. The Lord gives testimony to "who He is" also in this chapter, verses 5-6 and 21-22.

This is a message from the one and only true God, through His spokesman, the Prophet Isaiah. God makes a commitment to save and give an everlasting salvation to the Jewish people, verses 17, 22 and 25. This is a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. Current events indicate we are in the process of moving toward the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Let me conclude my thoughts with verse 19, what a blessing this chapter is to the Jewish people, the "technical recipients" of these promises. It is also a blessing to us who are Christians who receive a "spiritual blessing" from these truths.

But you know, of course, that the entire book of Isaiah, in fact, the entire 66 books of the Bible are the spiritual "milk and meat" that we need on a daily basis. That's why the statement that God made about not speaking in "secret" is so good.

We all have His Word available to us so that we can receive the blessings from our time of reading and study of it. Dear Friend, join me as we "feast" on the "Word of God".

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord, for Your Word that You have spoken openly to me and all who will read it. It is a blessing Lord, to have the Creator of all things communicate with me daily.
Friday, August 30, 2013

Isaiah 14:1

For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

For further study - Isaiah 14:1-17

What a powerful passage of scripture this is that we will use as our extended reading for our devotions today. There are several directions we could go in this passage; thus let me take each pathway, for a moment, in each direction.

The Prophet Isaiah reveals the promise of the Lord for the Jewish people and assures them of a special time ahead. When the Lord refers to "Jacob" in verse 1, He is actually speaking about not only Jacob, but His twelve sons that became the twelve tribes of the Jewish people, the "twelve tribes of Israel".

The Lord promised to have "mercy" on Jacob, the nation of "Israel". The Lord had chosen these people in the past, Deuteronomy 7:6-8, and will "yet choose Israel" and "set them in their own land".

It really doesn't matter what the rest of the world may say about the land, God will set His chosen "Israel", the Jews of today, back in the land of their forefathers, the land He has given them for the future, as well. From the sidelines we today can see the Lord beginning that process, the process that will move to completion after the Rapture and culminate at His Second Coming.

Verses 4-6 reveal a prophecy that will focus on "Babylon", and the "King of Babylon". This prophecy, according to the context of the passage, is at a time yet to take place, in the future.

Notice that verse 7 speaks of a time when "the whole earth is at rest and is quiet and they will break forth with singing". This is describing the "Kingdom" that Jesus will set up at His Second Coming.

"Babylon" will be a major focus in our world, as will the "King of Babylon", who the Lord will deal with before He sets up His Kingdom. The "King of Babylon" in this text is referring to the "Antichrist" who rules the world the last three and one-half years of the "terrible Tribulation" yet to come, from Babylon, Revelation 18, which is modern-day Iraq.

We are seemingly living in the days that are quickly approaching this prophetic scenario. One final thought before we leave this passage, verses 12-14 reveal to the reader the five "I wills" of Lucifer, the most prominent of all angels created.

Lucifer became Satan when he exercised his "free will" and basically rebelled against the Lord, as you can tell by reading these verses. Please notice the last "I will" in verse 13, "I will sit also upon the Mount of the Congregation, in the sides of the North".

According to Psalm 48:2 this is describing the city of Jerusalem. Satan said he will be worshiped in Jerusalem, actually on the Temple Mount. II Thessalonians 2:4 is the prophecy of when the Antichrist, energized by Satan, claims to be God, from the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

There is Biblical evidence that the Antichrist is alive and on earth ready to appear. Remember, that all preparations have been made for the Temple to be rebuilt. There is only one thing that must happen before the Jews get all of the land God promised them, Babylon is dealt with and Satan, in the person of Antichrist will be worshiped in Jerusalem.

That one thing is the Rapture of the Church when Jesus Christ calls us all into the heavenlies to be with Him forevermore. That could happen at any moment, keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Lord, help me to live today as if today is when that Rapture will take place.
Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

For further study - Isaiah 9:1-7

Of the seventeen prophets whose writings are found in the Old Testament canon, "Isaiah" is known as the chief of the "writing prophets", and justly so.

Isaiah is writing about 750 years before the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The prophet reveals, predicting more than any other prophet, the activities and events in the life, on earth, of the coming Messiah.

In this prophetic book, the Messiah in his "person" and "sufferings", and the blessing of the Gentiles through Him, are in full view, or should I say "full vision".

The seventeen prophets have unique ministries during the times before the exile in Babylon, during the Babylonian Captivity, and after the exile. Isaiah was chosen to do his prophetic ministry during the time leading up to the exile.

Some aspects of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry would be focused on what would happen to the Jews before they were carried away into the Babylonian Captivity.

Isaiah would focus his prophecies on the people of Judah, two of the twelve tribes that stayed in the south of Israel, at Jerusalem, when the division of the twelve tribes of Israel took place, as recorded in I Kings 11.

The Assyrians had defeated the "ten tribes", in the north, known as Israel, and these enemies of the Jewish people were now considering advancing south into Judah to defeat the "two southern tribes", Judah and Benjamin.

It is in this context that we come to our devotional passage for today. Isaiah was warning the Jews that the Assyrians would advance to the south and bring to an end the Jewish people and any semblance of a Jewish nation.

Couched among these prophecies of impending danger, Isaiah writes two verses that bring "hope", verses 6 and 7. These are two very "power-packed" verses foretelling the birth of the One who would take on His shoulders the government of not only the Jewish people, but of all "humankind".

Jesus would come as a "son", born into this world to bring "true peace". In fact, the only time in history of "real peace" will be when the "Prince of Peace" comes to set up His everlasting Kingdom, as He rules and reigns from His Temple in Jerusalem.

To confirm the Lord's promise to King David, the "Davidic Covenant", Isaiah reports that the fulfillment of the "Davidic Covenant" is to be confirmed with this "newborn son". During any season of the year it is so refreshing to once again read these very special promises knowing that, "the zeal of the Lord of host will perform this", verse 7.

The Lord God did keep His absolute promise of a "Son to be born unto us", verse 6. Everybody is talking about peace these days, but the only "peace" we will ever have in this world is centered in the person of Jesus Christ who is the "Prince of Peace".

As we remember, and yearly celebrate the first coming of this "Prince of Peace", we now await His return to set up His long promised Kingdom and in truth take the government of this world upon His shoulders.

PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for the best "gift" ever, the "Prince of Peace" who was born unto us and will rule over us one day, forever.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Isaiah 6:8

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

For further study - Isaiah 6:1-13

This chapter from the prophecy of Isaiah introduces us to a type of the "angelic bodies" that the Lord created on the first day of Creation between the creation of the heavens and the earth, Job 38:4-7. These creatures are "Seraphim", different from the "Cherubim" of Ezekiel 1.

Angels play a key role in our daily lives that we may not realize. Hebrews 1:14 reveals they are "ministering spirits" to those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Matthew 18:10 says they protect the little children. Luke 16:22 says that angels will accompany us at death and take us into the presence of the Lord. Revelation 22:9 reveals to us that angels are "fellow servants" with us as we together serve the Lord.

There is much more we could write about angels, but we'll save that for another time. Notice how the angels honor the Lord as they cry out to the Lord saying, "holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts".

I love that next phrase, "the whole earth is full of His glory". This echoes the statement of Psalm 19 and extends the location of His glory also into the heavenlies.

Verse 5 reveals Isaiah the prophet as the man he really was, a man of unclean lips and undone. The reason he recognized who he was, was due to the fact that he had seen the King, the Lord of Hosts, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. The result of this face-to-face meeting with Jesus was that Isaiah was made to see who he was and what he must do.

When the Lord said, "Whom shall I send", Isaiah was ready to respond with the statement, "Here am I, send me". We'll look at the new commission given to Isaiah, verses 9-13 at another time. Let's think together of what happened in Isaiah's life that should happen in our lives.

First, Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. I don't believe we can see Jesus today; however, we can see His glory as I said, in the heavens and in His creation that is displayed throughout all of the earth, Psalm 19.

We must take time to "stop and smell the roses". On days off, holidays, or vacation time, go spend time in the midst of the creation of the Lord.

Second, the realization of the hand of God in creation and the manifestation of His glory should cause us to be willing to say as the prophet did, "here am I, send me".

Isaiah's message was that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was coming. The preaching of this message of the Lord's return should be our message. He is coming. Be prepared by trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

In this devotional, as is the case in all of the devotionals, we look at the passage with a prophetic prospective. To understand these passages "prophetically" is our aim, but not our only purpose. Once we have the understanding that Jesus is coming, and possibly very soon, we must endeavor to get that message to others that they might be prepared for His return also. It could be today, we need to get to work.

PRAYER THOT: As I see "Your glory" dear Lord, in the heavens and in other acts of Creation, help me to be ready to go, wherever You may send me.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Isaiah 4:5

And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense.

For further study - Isaiah 4:1-6

The passage chosen today for our devotional reading is actually a vision of the future kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This is a vision that God gave to the ancient Jewish prophet Isaiah.

I chose this passage to confront the philosophy that is spreading among many churches and Christians today that we are now living in the kingdom here on earth. This "kingdom now" idea is totally contradictory to God's Word and plan for the Jewish people of the future.

For one thing, most "kingdom now" thinkers believe that the promise of the "kingdom" for the Jews has been negated and those promises now apply to the Church, Christians. That is not only anti-Biblical but it is very anti-Semitic.

Any thinking which says the "kingdom" promised to the Jews when Jesus Christ returns is not literal is saying that all of the covenants that God made with the Jews have been broken and basically the Lord is a liar.

We all know that God cannot lie so thus His "kingdom" promise to the Jews must be kept. Notice in verse 2 that the "Branch", that's Jesus Christ, in His beauty and glory will be back on earth and ruling from Jerusalem from a Temple He himself will build, Zechariah 6:12-13.

Verse 3 reveals to us that the "kingdom" headquarters will be Mt Zion, Jerusalem. These two, Zion and Jerusalem, are synonymous terms, they are the same geographical location.

Verse 4 says the time of the Kingdom will be when Messiah, Jesus Christ, has cleansed the Jewish people. That is yet future, after the seven year Tribulation Period.

The word "tabernacle" used in verse 6 is "suca" in Hebrew which is actually a "thatched hut" used by the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before they entered the Promised Land.

Today during the "Feast of Tabernacles" Jewish people celebrate that "seven-day" Jewish feast by living, sleeping, eating and fellowshipping in a "suca" that they erect at their homes.

Remember Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, "suca's", on the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:4. Peter thought it was the "Kingdom" period and therefore the fulfillment of the Jewish "Feast of Tabernacles". Thus the three "suca's", would have been one each for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

The "Kingdom" is yet future, howbeit, the near future. The "Kingdom" is not in operation now. That is a very dangerous theology. When Hitler wanted to set up the "kingdom" he had to slaughter the Jews first.

The promise of the "Kingdom" for the Jews is yet to be fulfilled. Isaiah's "vision of the Kingdom" in our reading for today is a "promise" of that coming Kingdom, in a near by tomorrow.

PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for the Biblical basis for understanding the "end times".
Monday, August 26, 2013

Isaiah 2:2

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

For further study - Isaiah 2:1-5

Today we move into the prophetic books of the Old Testament, 17 of them in total, and we start with Isaiah. I did write that there are 17 Old Testament prophetic books, but I hasten to remind you that there are many prophetic passages in all 39 books of the Old Testament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice the "word" of the Lord will go out and around the world from Jerusalem. It is the "word" that goes out then; therefore, today we should cherish, love, honor and obey His word since that is what we will do forever.

The fact that you are reading this devotional is evidence that you place God’s Word, the Bible, as a priority in what you read and study. This is what will be happening during a thousand year period of time, the Kingdom Period to come, why not start reading and studying the Bible today.

A very practical aspect of reading the Bible is that thirty percent of His Word is "prophetic" and lays out the "last days" scenario that we see unfolding in our world right now. This knowledge of what will happen in the future will give us insight into making decisions presently.

Everyone should decide to be "prepared" for His call to have us join Him in the heavens by being "saved". If one is prepared then He must be "pure" in his daily living and "productive" until He does call us to be with Him in the heavens at the Rapture.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to study your word so I can walk in your paths of preparation, purity and being productive.
Sunday, August 25, 2013

Song of Solomon 4:16

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

For further study - Song of Solomon 4:1-16

As we come once again to the Song of Solomon or as the book is known in the Hebrew Bible, the Song of Songs, chapter four verse one, we see the Bridegroom speaking. Remember, we must study this book not as an allegory but as a "marriage manual" from the Lord.

Song 3:6-5:1 is a "manual" for the marriage ceremony, which is the second part of a Jewish wedding, following the "engagement" and preceding the "marriage celebration".

One aspect of the marriage ceremony is the "consummation" of the marriage when after being pronounced "husband and wife", the newly married couple have sexual intercourse, which consummates this marriage.

As we read through chapter 4, we see the bridegroom using all of his senses to make love to his new bride, sight, touch, smell and sound. Notice in Song 5:1 the bridegroom encourages the wedding guests, "O friends", to begin the marriage celebration, the marriage has been consummated.

Song 5:2-8:4 in this "marriage manual" is the "how to’s" for the marriage in the days ahead, the continuity of the marriage.

Please allow me to remind you that all Scripture has a "technical interpretation" and/or a "spiritual application". For the technical interpretation we must approach our study of the Bible from a "literal interpretation". Who is the passage speaking to? What is the historic and geographic background and what does the passage mean when taken literally?

A "spiritual application" can allow for us to approach our understanding of any passage from the point of view that we understand what the text is literally saying. However, how can the text be applied to my life and experience.

From the spiritual application of this passage we can see how the Lord Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom, since the "Church" is His bride, how He loves us and will do so forever.

Remember, Revelation 19:7-9 is the prophecy of our marriage to Jesus Christ and the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb", the marriage celebration after the marriage ceremony. The marriage ceremony takes place sometime soon after the Rapture.

By the way, the Rapture could take place at any moment, thus we must make certain we have our "marriage garment" ready for the marriage, Revelation 19:8. That "marriage garment" is our "righteous acts", those works we do in the power of the Lord and for His glory.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ, which takes place in the heavens, right after the Rapture, it is determined by Jesus which of our works, after salvation, are the "righteous acts" that will make up our "wedding garment" for our marriage to Jesus.

The events of today, according to the prophetic scenario found in Bible prophecy, are setting the stage for all of these prophecies to be fulfilled. Remember, the next event on God’s calendar of prophetic events is the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for the promise of marriage to You, forever. Please help me to prepare my "wedding garment" for the soon coming wedding.
Saturday, August 24, 2013

Song of Solomon 3:5

I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

For further study - Song of Solomon 3:1-5

Each time we come to the Song of Solomon I must remind you that to understand Scripture we must approach any portion of the Word using a "literal interpretation" of the text. Often, Bible teachers approach this book, the third book written by King Solomon, using the "allegorical method" of interpretation.

The "literal interpretation" of Song is the instruction from God for a successful courtship and marriage. It is the best marriage manual ever written. That mentioned, let me suggest that you allow yourself to put your thoughts in sync with the Jewish mind. The Jewish understanding of this great book is derived from an "allegorical method" of interpretation.

The Jews see the "bridegroom" as the "Messiah" and "themselves as the bride-to-be", the woman of this narrative. As you read all five verses of our extended portion of Song, you can see the desire the Jewish people have for the coming of their Messiah.

The narrative is that of the "bride-to-be" expressing her love for her "groom-to-be" and her eagerness for the marriage ceremony to take place.

I mentioned before that the religious Jews see Song of Songs as the "holy of holies" of their Bible. Thus the content of this book becomes the thinking of those who read it so often. There is a need, a desire for the Messiah to come among the religious Jewish people, which make up between 25 and 30 percent of all Jews.

About 25 percent of the remaining Jews are not religious but mostly "secular humanists". The remaining 45-50 percent of Jews are "God- conscious" and do have an anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.

This eagerness to see the Messiah is made manifest in the Jews' returning to the land of their forefathers. It also is made clear when the efforts to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem are on the minds of so many Jewish people.

What is ironic is that 2,000 years ago the Messiah came to the Jewish people and they rejected Him. However, that does not negate the "promises" of God to the Jewish people and His "program" for them.

As Christians, we can watch the increasing desire among the Jews for their Messiah to come and better understand how close His Second Coming may well be. That understanding will help us to realize how close the next event on God’s calendar of activities, the Rapture, is in our day. In fact, the Rapture could take place today.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, Lord, to have a real love for the appearance of You, my Messiah, made manifest in the life I live until You do come.