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Monday, September 30, 2013

Daniel 3:18

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

For further study - Daniel 3:1-30

For our extended reading today, I would like for you to read the entire chapter of Daniel 3This chapter, in the book of prophecy written by Daniel, is not a prophetic passage.

However, it is very practical and is one of the three very practical passages in Daniel, which also includes Daniel 4 and 6. We will use these chapters in another devotional, later on.

Daniel, the author of the book, is not mentioned in chapter 3 and there is not a definite reason that we can point you to scripturally on the subject. There have been suggestions that Daniel may have been traveling during this time.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had an "image of gold", verse 1, erected in Babylon, most likely an "image of a man", an image of himself that was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide at it's base.

Nebuchadnezzar's wise counselors set a trap for the three Hebrew companions of Daniel; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, which are their godly Hebrew names. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are the Chaldean names for these three Hebrew boys.

The trap for these three was the royal order for everyone to bow to the "image of gold" when they heard the sound of music. Failure to bow would be met with the punishment of being thrown into the "fiery furnace".

Please let me point out several real blessings from the many that you will notice as you read our extended reading for the devotional today.

The three Hebrew boys refused to bow and when brought before Nebuchadnezzar they told the King that "their God which they served was able to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace", verse 17.

That assurance was a real blessing for the three, as it is for us today, an assurance that He can deliver us from any "fiery trial". However, look at the next verse, verse 18, "but if not".

Please read our key verse several times, "But if not", if God decides not to deliver us, the boys said, "we will not serve thy gods or worship the golden image".

That is the attitude missing today. Often we want God to be "Johnny on the spot", to take care of us all the time. I love that phrase, "but if not". What God decides is best, whether I think so or not.

The three boys did not "bow" and they were thrown into the furnace where they did not "burn". They not only did not burn, even the smell of smoke was not upon their bodies nor their clothing, verse 27.

When the Lord does something, He does it right. It was Jesus Christ, in a "pre-incarnate" appearance, that came to rescue the three Hebrew boys, verse 25.

This is a great story that ended with the three Hebrew boys being promoted in the Babylonian Kingdom, verse 30. Though it's not actually a prophetic passage, it does have a prophetic spiritual application.

In the last days God will protect the Jewish people from the "fiery Tribulation", a period of time known as "Jacob's trouble", that seems to be coming very soon. Remember, the Lord will preserve the Jewish people, He has a special plan for them in the future.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for Your protection. Please give me that "but if not" attitude when You have a better plan for me.
Sunday, September 29, 2013

Daniel 2:44

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

For further study - Daniel 2:1-45

March 25, 2013 was the 56th anniversary of the signing of the "Treaty of Rome" signed by the European leaders 56 years ago in the city of Rome. More on the significance of this day in a moment, bur first, to our reading for today.

Daniel had been summoned by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to tell him his dream and to interpret the dream for the King. God gifted Daniel with the ability to reveal the dream to the Babylonian King, verse 28, and to interpret it for him.

The dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had was of an image of a man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, two legs of iron and ten toes of iron and clay mixed. There was a stone that hit the image of the man and broke it into pieces.

These broken pieces were like chaff of the summer threshing floors and the wind carried them away. The stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel's interpretation of the King's dream was actually the revelation of the "empires" of the coming Gentile world powers from the times of Daniel until the times of the return of Jesus Christ. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he was the "head of gold", verse 38, the first of the Gentile world powers.

The passages in Daniel 7 and 8 give us the understanding that the Medo-Persian Empire followed by the Grecian Empire and the Roman Empire would take Gentile history along the way of history, all the way to a time when the "ten toes" would appear. Let me tell you that the "ten toes" are the "Revived Roman Empire" of the future (see my study, "The Daniel Papers").

It was 56 years ago that a group of Europeans met to sign the "Treaty of Rome" in Rome, Italy, that set the stage for the Common Market, which is today the European Union. A close look at the European Union reveals that it is at least an "infrastructure" of the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy of the "ten toes" which will be ten nations, kings, or regions.

The key verse to notice about this prophecy is verse 44, "in the days of these kings". The God of heaven will destroy them and set up the kingdom that Jesus Christ will rule and reign over at His Return. This interpretation of these prophecies fits the prophecies of John the Revelator in his book of prophecy, Revelation 17.

The evidence is strong that we are living in those days. But remember, before the Lord's Second Coming, seven years before, the Rapture takes place and that could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you for Daniel's prophecy that helps me understand the Lord's time and that which proceeds His coming back to the Earth. Help me to realize the Rapture could be very close at hand and how then I should live in light of that realization.
Saturday, September 28, 2013

Daniel 1:17

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

For further study - Daniel 1:1-21

Today we begin the reading of the passages from the book of Daniel for our devotionals. This is a book that is basically a "timeline" of the "Gentile world powers" from the days of Daniel until, and including the Tribulation period, the seven years of judgment on the earth and earth-dwellers in the future. This time period is known as the "times of the Gentiles".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our study of some of these prophecies found in the book of Daniel will reveal to each student of God’s prophetic Word that the events foretold 2,500 years ago are about to be fulfilled in the near future. Remember, the very next event to happen is the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Allow me to be used by you Lord as I purpose in my heart to honor you.
Friday, September 27, 2013

Ezekiel 48:1

Now these are the names of the tribes.

For further study – Ezekiel 48:1-35

In the text that is in front of us today, Ezekiel 48, for our devotional we see the "faithfulness" of God in keeping His promises. The Lord made a promise to Abraham and to Moses about the "land" that He will give the Jewish people and this passage is the "title deed" for the Jews.

The entire chapter, as you read it, is sometimes difficult to understand. The Lord is telling the "twelve tribes" of Jacob that they will get a piece of real estate that will be theirs forever.

This list is only one of 38 different passages in the Bible that gives us information on the exact borders for each of the tribes. Space will not allow for all this information, so let me give you a summary of these passages.

God will be giving the Jews ten times what they have today. The actual borders start near the Nile River in Egypt extending north to the Euphrates River, taking in half of Egypt, all of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

The borders go south along the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf, which will take in half of Iraq and three quarters of Saudi Arabia. All of this real estate is promised to the Jewish people. Ezekiel starts to reveal only a portion of all that God will give the Jews.

The late President Assad of Syria said that the problem in the Middle East is the Jews believe that God has given them all of this land. It is true, God has given all this land to the Jews, to be in theirs during the Kingdom to come.

Until that time there will be "major conflicts" between the Jews and their "enemies" listed in the pages of God’s Words. These conflicts, the fight by these listed nations to keep the Jews from getting this land, will not negate God’s promises and plans for the Jews

The reason that He will follow through on these promises is found in Ezekiel 36, another passage on the "land" that will be given to the Jewish people, Ezekiel 36:22.

The Lord talks about the Jews returning to the "land" and He tells them the land will be producing for them all that they may need in the way of food, clothing and shelter. Then He tells them that what He is doing is not for them but for "His holy namesake".

This verse in Ezekiel, Ezekiel 36:22, is applicable to Ezekiel’s promise on the land in our devos for today. The Jews will get this land, for His holy namesake.

However, before this land will be given to the members of the twelve tribes, there will be seven years of judgment, the Tribulation, a time when the "conflicts" spoken of earlier will intensify. We can already see that beginning to happen.

In these days we can see the stage being set for all the prophetic passages in God’s Word, especially those prophecies written by the ancient Jewish Prophet Ezekiel in our devotional scripture for today. These prophecies will be fulfilled and seemingly in the near future. Remember, the Rapture is next, and that could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for making it so clear what will happen in the last days. Help me to pay closer attention to your plan so that I will be better prepared for the Rapture and to live pure and productive in light of this.
Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ezekiel 47:1

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward.

For further study – Ezekiel 47:1-23

This passage found here in the prophecy of Ezekiel deals with two subjects, the water flowing from the Temple in Jerusalem and the Biblical borders of Israel. Both of these subjects are intriguing and worth the time to study them.

Verses 1 to 12 in this passage detail the events of the Kingdom Period, or at least what happens in Jerusalem at the Temple Mount. After Jesus has built His Kingdom Temple, Zechariah 6:12, and begins to "rule and reign" from this building there will be water flowing from Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea.

This prophecy, referring to water flowing out from the Temple, was recorded by the Prophet, Ezekiel, who was also a Priest. He understands what happens at the Temple during the future Kingdom. The events seem almost unreal.

When the Temple is standing in Jerusalem during the Kingdom there will be a steady flow of water that goes to the Dead Sea, via the Kidron Valley, for the purpose of making this large body of “salt” water a “fresh water lake”.

The water from the Temple will make this lake of "salt water" that is seven times saltier than any ocean in the world, fresh water. In fact, there will be "fishing" done by the local fisherman who will even dry their nets on the shores of the Dead Sea at En Gedi.

This event is similar to what happens in the "New Jerusalem" when water flows from the "throne of God", Revelation 22:1. The "Kingdom Period" is a foretaste of that which is to come in eternity future.

The last portion of our reading for today, verses 13 to 23, is the beginning of the dividing of the Land for the Jewish people during the Kingdom. God has promised the Jews a "piece of real estate" that is ten times larger than what they have today.

There are actually 38 locations in the scriptures that give all the details for the complete borders for this land. This passage in Ezekiel is only a small portion of that information. This "promise" will not be fulfilled until the Kingdom, but, this "land promise" will be fulfilled, by God.

These two prophecies are to be fulfilled in the Kingdom Period and will set the stage for the eternal state of this region of the world, even on the "new Earth", Revelation 21:1.

These prophecies are a comfort to the Jewish people and the realization of what the Lord has told them for almost 4,000 years is about to happen. Abraham was given the promise, Genesis 12, when he came into the land. It will be fulfilled to the Jews as the Lord keeps His promises. He Keeps His Promises to the Jews and to you and me, as Christians.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you dear Lord for being a "promise-keeping" God. I can rest in the fact that you will keep your promise to me of "eternal life" because you keep your promises to the Jewish people. I look forward to you keeping your promise to call me to be with you in the heavens, at the Rapture.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ezekiel 45:22

And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering.

For further study – Ezekiel 45:1-25

The passage that we will look at today for our devotional reading is a very troubling portion of scripture for many people. It is discussing the events that take place at the Temple in Jerusalem, the one that Jesus will build when He returns to the earth at the Second Coming, Zechariah 6:12.

As you read through the whole chapter in this portion of Ezekiel’s prophetic book we see that seven chapters, Ezekiel 40-46, are dedicated to dealing with the Temple that Jesus will "rule and reign" from, Zechariah 6:13, in the Kingdom to come.

In these chapters, we find that the Prophet, in 202 verses, lays out all that is needed, every detail, to construct the Messiah’s Temple and he describes all the activities that will take place at this Temple, which includes "animal sacrifices".

You read correctly, "animal sacrifices" will be performed at the Temple in Jerusalem during the 1,000 year Kingdom Period. Let me set that aside for a moment to look at several other details.

This passage, along with Ezekiel 42:20, defines the size and area of the city of Jerusalem, verses 1-6. It also describes the Temple Mount as well, Ezekiel 42:20. These are details that must be followed, in all instances in order for Bible Prophecy to be fulfilled.

These first six verses in Ezekiel 45 set the borders of the city of Jerusalem, and the size of the Holy City, in the Kingdom. Studying the details reveals that Jerusalem will be 2,500 square miles, 50 miles on each side. That is almost the width of the State of Israel.

The Temple Mount, Ezekiel 42:20, will be right at one square mile. This is almost three times its size today. Actually, the "Old City" is today almost one square mile. The Temple Mount, in the Kingdom will be where the Lord has chosen to "dwell among His people, forever", Psalm 132:13-14.

Now, back to the restoring of the "sacrificial system" in the Kingdom Period. In this devotional I am not going into full detail on this troubling passage and issue. Let me say that the "sacrifice of animals" in Old Testament times and in the Kingdom Period to come did not, and will not effect the "eternal salvation" of anyone.

Sacrifices were offered up in Old Testament times to restore fellowship of those who "sinned". In the Kingdom there will be Jews in human bodies, that will not only enter the Kingdom, but also will have "children", Isaiah 65:20.

As is the case during all dispensations, every one is "saved by grace, through faith", Ephesians 2:8-9. All Old Testament "saints" accepted what God told them to do, by faith, and thus "salvation", by faith. This salvation is a "gift" from the Lord, not because of offering sacrifices.

Sacrifices will not only restore fellowship, but the whole operation of the Temple will be to instruct the Jews in the Kingdom Period of how to worship the Lord. Look on my website for an article that will go more in-depth on this subject.

Before the Messiah’s Temple is erected in Jerusalem during the Kingdom Period, there will be a Temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation Period, Daniel 9:27Matthew 24:15 and Revelation 11:1-2. All preparations have been made for this next Temple to be up and operating in the very near future.

This Tribulation Temple will be where the Antichrist will receive "worship" from all on the earth that do not trust in the Messiah for eternal salvation. All preparations have been made for the Tribulation Temple to be put in place, but first the Rapture must take place, and that could happen today. Even so come, Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the promise of your return to earth, the preparations already made for that to happen and the prospect that it might begin, with the Rapture taking place, soon.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ezekiel 43:7

And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.

For further study – Ezekiel 43:1-7

This passage of the prophecy written by the ancient Jewish Prophet Ezekiel is the foretelling of the day that Jesus will return to Jerusalem with the Jews that He has retrieved from the safety of the unique city of Petra. This is the climax of the seven years of terrible judgment on the Earth.

Jesus will have returned to the Earth just days earlier and after building His Temple in Jerusalem, Zechariah 6:12, He will go to the Jezreel Valley for the Battle of Armageddon.

Then Jesus will make His way to Petra, Isaiah 63:1-6, to gather the Jews that will have been protected in a "place prepared by God", Revelation 12:6, for the last half of the seven year Tribulation Period.

They will make their way from Petra, verse 2, across the Jordan Valley, up the back side of the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley and then enter through the "Eastern Gate", verse 4, and up onto the Temple Mount.

In this passage the word "glory", used four times, is referring to the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. In the record found in the Old Testament of when the "ark of the covenant" was brought into the Temple, I Kings 8, the "glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord". This is what happens as this prophecy is fulfilled.

Verse 7 tells us that the Lord will walk into the Holy of Holies and be seated on this throne, where He will dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever. It is at this time that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills the Jewish Feast Day of Yom Kippur.

This passage that I selected for our devotional reading today is in the midst of six chapters,Ezekiel 40-46, that have the instruction for the Temple, the "Messiah’s Temple" to be built just prior to the Lord setting up His Kingdom.

This Temple will stand in Jerusalem forever, Ezekiel 37:26 and 28. It will be the location from which Jesus will rule and reign during the 1,000 year Kingdom, and on into eternity future.

This is information that we need to know since we will be ruling and reigning with Jesus forever, as well. What a day that will be. This all begins when we go to be with Jesus at the Rapture, which could happen at any time. Therefore, keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the promise that we will rule and reign with you during the Kingdom period, and into eternity future. Please help me to live in light of what you have in store for me, and all that know you as Lord and Saviour.
Monday, September 23, 2013

Ezekiel 38:18

And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.

For further study – Ezekiel 38:1-39:6

In the text that I have chosen for the devotional for today we see the names of the present-day nations, or at least a portion of the list of nations, that will align themselves against the Jewish State of Israel.

This passage is a "foretelling" of the military action that will happen in the Middle East in the first three months of the coming "Tribulation Period", the seven years of judgment on this Earth in the future.

The "battle of Gog and Magog" is what the prophet is discussing with us in this passage. It is an "alignment of nations" that will come to Israel to destroy the Jewish State. In this passage we not only see the "who" and the "when", but we also see the "what", that which happens during the coming seven-year period of judgment known as the "Tribulation".

In verse 2, "Magog" is modern-day Russia, "Meshech and Tubal" along with "Gomer and Togarmah", in verse 6 is present-day Turkey. "Persia" in verse 5 is Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The other two names, "Ethiopia and Libya", are also nations that will join the "alignment" to attack Israel.

These nations make up the "who" in this passage. The "when" is revealed to us in two verses, verses 8 and 11. These verses speak of the time when the Jewish people come back into the land in the last days and are "dwelling safely" in the land. They also will be living in "unwalled villages".

Both terms are referring to a time when there is "peace" in the land. It will not be the time when Jesus has brought "peace" but a time of a "pseudo-peace" one that will be a "short-lived" peace. This "peace" comes when the Antichrist has established a "peace" in the land, which is in the very beginning of the Tribulation.

The "what" is the unfolding of the war to destroy the Jewish people and take the "land" that God has given the Jews. As these nations attack Israel, God intercedes, verses 18 to 23. Couple this with the verses found in Ezekiel 39, verses 1 to 6, and you come to an understanding that the Lord protects His "Chosen People".

Verse 2, of Ezekiel 39, indicates that 5 out of every 6 Muslims will be destroyed at this battle. This actually renders inoperative the entire Muslim world. This has to be done so that the "one world religion" can be set up in Rome, Italy. Islam will not co-exist with any other religion, thus it must be removed.

This passage in Ezekiel 38 and 39 helps us to understand why the nations of the Middle East and the Islamic world hate the Jews and want to destroy the Jewish State. These nations will continue to do what they can to eliminate Israel until this prophecy is fulfilled.

However, the "Battle of Gog and Magog" will not come to pass until after the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture happens just before the appearance of the Antichrist with his "peace treaty".

As we look at our world today it is evident that we are quickly approaching the days described in our devotional passage for today. That means that the Rapture must be very near, "perhaps today".

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the understanding of Bible prophecy for the last days. It helps me to recognize where I am on Your time clock. Help me to live expecting You to come today.
Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ezekiel 37:22

And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

For further study - Ezekiel 37:15-23

This passage of scripture, selected for today's reading, is a prophetic passage that many Bible prophecy students have either ignored or have not been able to understand.

It is a prophecy that seems to be saying that the "ten lost tribes" of Israel will in the last days be found and they will be reunited with the two tribes known as Judah. According to Jewish history there are no "ten lost tribes" of Israel.

The record found in Ezra speaks of "all twelve tribes" being back in the land some 2,500 years ago when Cyrus gave permission for Zerubabbel to take almost 50,000 Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, Ezra 1.

The list in Ezra 2 mentions a number of people from tribes other than Judah and Benjamin. Two examples are verses 28-29, Bethel and Ai are in the tribe of Ephraim, verse 28; and Nebo is in the tribe of Reuven, verse 29.

This means that the families of "all twelve tribes" were in the land. Notice Ezra 6 where it speaks of the "dedication service" of the Temple when they offered twelve "he goats" according to the number of the tribes of Israel, Ezra 6:17.

Even the fact that Ezra 6 uses the term "Israel" indicates that it's speaking of all twelve tribes back in the land at the time of the building of the Second Temple.

In Ezekiel 37:11 it states that the "bones", in the dry valley, are the "whole house of Israel". That means representatives of all twelve tribes have been coming back into the land of their forefathers, even though they are coming in unbelief, as the text states they should.

Therefore, the passage for our devotional reading for today is a prophecy of two "Jewish states" during the Tribulation Period that will become one state again at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when He will cleanse the Jews, and they will be His people, and He their God, verse 23.

The "two sticks" represent the two Jewish states, Israel and Judah. This prophecy is also revealed in Malachi 2Jeremiah 3:18 and Ezekiel 35:10, when it refers to "two nations". Now, that's the prophecy. (For more, see my audio series on Ezekiel, "Dry Bones and Two Sticks")

The current events that play into this scenario are many. For a number of years this prophetic concept has been discussed among the religious Jews. The former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told former US President George W Bush that Israel was on the verge of civil war, Jew against Jew.

With the disengagement of the Gaza, the Annapolis Middle East Peace Summit and pressure from the Unites States, the European Union and the United Nations, the Israeli government called for the removal of the Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria, several hundred thousand Jewish settlers.

This call has been met by calls for a "second" Jewish state. A campaign to come up with a "flag" for the second Jewish state, and an "anthem" as well. There are very serious Jewish scholars that are calling for this "second Jewish state", a prophecy that Ezekiel wrote about 2,500 years ago.

The stage is set and all the actors are getting into place, the curtain is about to go up on the final act in this prophetic drama for the last days. Only one thing must happen before all of these prophecies will be fulfilled, and that's the Rapture, which could happen, today. Keep looking up ... Until.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the understanding of Bible prophecy for the last days. It helps me to recognize where I am on Your time clock. Help me to live expecting You to come today.