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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Micah 4:1

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

For further study - Micah 4:1-13

As we come to the "prophecy" section, Micah 4-5, in our devotions today, we are reminded that when you mention the name Micah, an ancient Jewish prophet, one most likely thinks of the Christmas story and the birthplace of Jesus revealed in Micah 5:2, Bethlehem-Ephratah. However, as stated before, there is so much prophecy in Micah, which must be looked at as well.

What I am going to do is with each pass through this book, for our devotions, I will unlock more evidence of the Second Coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ from this great prophetic book.

The fact is that our extended reading for today has five different prophecies plus a prophecy that tells us of the exact location where Jesus Christ was born. Not the city, we know that was Bethlehem. I mean the exact spot of His birth.

But for today, we will look at only one of these five prophecies. Our key verse tells of a coming "temple" to be established on the spot known as, "the mountain of the house of the Lord".

I must remind you that during Micah's ministry, there was a Temple standing in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. This was the temple that King Solomon had built around 1000 B.C. Remember, that Temple, built by Israel’s third King, Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

Notice the first 5 words of Micah 4, "but in the last days". This designation of time reveals to us that the temple that Micah is referring to is the one that will be in Jerusalem when Jesus is "ruling and reigning". Verse 2 says that the people of the world will come up to the Temple to be taught by the Messiah, Jesus.

It will be a time when the "word of the Lord" shall go forth from Jerusalem. This prophecy will be fulfilled when Jesus has returned and we are living in the 1,000 year Kingdom that He sets up.

Jesus Christ, "the Branch", Zechariah 6:12, will build that Kingdom Temple and He will rule and reign from that Temple, Zechariah 6:13, through out the Kingdom that He sets up here on the Earth. This will be the Kingdom and Temple promised by the Davidic Covenant, 2 Samuel 7.

Speaking of the Temple in Jerusalem, there is a group of religious Jews who have everything ready to erect the next Jewish Temple. However, the next Temple will not be the one foretold by the prophet Micah but the one spoken of by Daniel in his prophecy, 9:27.

That Temple spoken of by Daniel will be the "Tribulation Temple" that the Antichrist shall desecrate. Everything is ready for that Temple to be built in Jerusalem. There is only one thing that must happen before that Temple, the Rapture.

The Rapture could happen today, keep looking up!

PRAYER THOT: Since the Rapture could happen today, help me to live "pure and productive" in light of that truth.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Micah 1:2

Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.

For further study – Micah 1:1-9

Let me remind you again that the name of the book, Micah, is basically the theme of the book. "Micah" translated means, "who is like Yahweh". "Yahweh" is the most important name for God used in the scriptures and the Jewish people won’t even write the name, instead they write "G-D". Yahweh is the "Creator" and "the One who controls history".

The outline I suggested for your study of Micah listed Micah 1-3 as the "proclamation" it is the "proclamation of judgment, in the future, based upon the past sins of the Jews". The Lord Himself, "Yahweh", is the one who will be the "witness" in what seems like a "global courtroom".

Micah 1:2-3 reveals the Lord coming from "His place", from His "holy temple", to make known to the entire Earth the sins of the Jewish people. Remember, the Lord had set in place a "special people", the Jewish people as a "kingdom of priest", to work among the other peoples of the world as a representative of the Lord.

These "chosen people" had been disobedient publicly, and now He is going to chastise them publicly. Verse two has the Lord saying to the world, "Hear, all ye people". Micah 3:1 also calls for the world to "Hear". The Lord is going to use the Jewish people to teach all the rest of humankind how He wants His people to live.

Though the Prophet Micah is a prophet to the two tribes in the south, Judah, he also has the ten northern tribes, Israel, in mind in some of his prophetic challenge. Both the north and the south are under judgment and the Lord will use human governments, the Assyrians with the ten tribes in the north and Babylon for the two tribes in the south, to bring about this judgment.

For our devotional reading today I have only had you to read the first nine verses of Micah 1 but if you have the time please read Micah 1-3, it will give you further insight into the sins of the Jews and the reason for God’s judgment upon them. The practical aspect of this is that we can see what displeases the Lord and make certain that we are not living that way ourselves.

By the way, these first three chapters in Micah are a perfect illustration of the principle found in Hebrews 12:6, "for whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth". We will all face His discipline if we are disobedient to Him.

As it relates prophetically to these days in which we live, the chastening of the Jewish people has been, and is today in progress. It will continue until the Jews turn to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In a later devotional we will look at Micah 7 where the Prophet prays to the Lord for "pardon" and it is granted to the Jews, when they repent and turn back to Him.

In our devotional readings in Micah 4-5 we will see the "prophetic" revealed to us and realize that we are living in the times spoken of by the Prophet. That means that the next event in God’s plan for the end of times, the Rapture, is upon us and indeed it could even happen today. Even so come Lord Jesus. 

PRAYER THOT: Since the Rapture could happen today, dear Lord, I need your power to live this day in obedience to your Word, realizing that disobedience will result in chastisement, and thats only because you love me.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Micah 1:2

Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple. 
For further study – Micah 1:1-5

When you mention the name Micah, an ancient Jewish prophet, one most likely thinks of the Christmas story and the birthplace of Jesus revealed in Micah 5:2, Bethlehem-Ephratah. However, there is so very much more prophecy in Micah, I don't know where to start.

The name of the book, Micah, is basically the theme of the book. "Micah" translated means, "who is like Yahweh". "Yahweh" is the most important name for God used in the scriptures over 6,800 times. Yahweh is the "Creator" and "the One who controls history".

As you approach your study of the book, and even a devotional reading of the book, it is always good to have some type of an outline of the book. I might suggest an outline but I also suggest that you look into developing your own if it fits your study better than mine.

I see a four-part outline in Micah:
1. Proclamation – Micah 1-3
2. Prophecy – Micah 4-5
3. Plea – Micah 6
4. Pardon – Micah 7

Micah 1-3 is a proclamation of "judgment" to come; 4-5 contains prophecy for the near future and the end of times events; 6 is the Lord pleading for the Jews to repent and 7 is the pardon that the Lord promises to the Jewish people. This is an excellent book to see how the Lord, "Yahweh" works to bring the Jewish people to Himself.

As we read this book for our devotions we will see that the theme is as I suggested, "who is like Yahweh", and that is restated in the last chapter of Micah, verse 18. If you couple verse 18 with verse 20 you will see that the Lord is so great that He not only forgives and pardons but keeps all of His promises, His covenants, that He made with the Jews.

I love the fact that Yahweh is a "promising-keeping God", as evidenced in His actions with the Jewish people, therefore I can know He will keep all of His promises that He has made to me as a Christian. His promise of "everlasting life", to me and to you, as a Christian is an absolute. Praise the Lord.

By the way, His promise that He is coming to call us to join Him in the heavens at the Rapture is also absolute. He will come to get us, I believe in the near future. As we read through Micah you will realize that the prophecies found in Micah 4-5 are at the point of being fulfilled, only the Rapture must happen first. Keep looking up, it could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Since the Rapture could happen today, dear Lord, please keep me focused on you and the way I must live in light of how close your shout might be, even today.
Monday, October 28, 2013

Jonah 4:11

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

For further study - Jonah 4:1-11

Jonah closes his prophetic book abruptly indicating that the prophet was angry, depressed, hot and faint. Jonah was left to contemplate God's words about his own lack of compassion and God's depth of compassion.

The truth be known, Jonah could not have written this book unless he had learned the point God was seeking to bring to the prophets attention. It is most likely that Jonah did come to an understanding of his error and then wrote this historical, biographical narrative to urge Israel to flee from disobedience and spiritual callousness.

Jonah ran the opposite direction from where God had sent him in chapter 1. In chapter 2 the prophet got his heart right after being resurrected from the dead. Chapter 3 reveals the record of the prophet doing what the Lord sent him to do, preach to the Gentile city of Nineveh. God's Word was effective and the city turned to the Lord.

When we come to Jonah 4 we see the Jewish prophet actually depressed that he had been used of God to reach these Gentiles. The narrative reveals Jonah's sorrow over the loss of his physical protection, provided by God, but totally void of any compassion for those who the Lord had displayed great compassion for, the people of Nineveh.

God worked in the heart of this Jewish preacher and then allowed him the ministry to his own people to show them the Lord's heart and compassion and their lack of compassion and failure to serve the Lord within His plan and power.

As I read this chapter I was reminded why the Lord has not come back to earth and in fact why He has not shouted for us to join Him in the air at the Rapture. II Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise (the promise to call us up to heaven) as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

That's His compassion for the lost, and it should be ours also. By the way, you and I can hasten the coming of the Lord, II Peter 3:12, by leading lost people to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

Prayer Thot: Help me Lord, to do what must be done to reach the lost and dying world before it's too late, as I await and hasten Your return.
Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jonah 3:10

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

For further study - Jonah 3:1-10 

This daily devotion is presented with a "prophetic perspective" each day for your consideration. Today as we read Jonah 3, the "prophetic perspective" is the underlying theme of this passage.

After Jonah is "vomited" upon the "dry land", Jonah 2:10, the reluctant Jewish prophet makes his way to Nineveh where he enters the city with the message that God had given him. Jonah cried out, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown", verse 4.

Let me remind you that Nineveh was a well-fortified city with two high and wide walls around the city. The scholars tell us that the walls were around 100 feet high and about 50 feet wide. This was a well-fortified Gentile city and to have a Jew come tell them of a coming destruction seems to be beyond what that lonely man could do.

Basically that is the case, this wasn't just a man, he was a man of God with God's message to sinful people. Our reading, verse 5 tells us that the people of Nineveh "believed God". There was a major "revival" that would follow and even the King, verse 6, repented and gave a decree for all the people to honor God.

The desire of all those people in Nineveh was that God might not bring judgment upon them,verse 9. Verse 10 tells us that God did stop His hand of destruction on the city and the people of Nineveh.

Let the record show however, that the people of Nineveh did go back to their sinful ways and God destroyed the city around 150 years after Jonah’s ministry there, (see Nahum).

Now, to that underlying theme for the "Last Days" found in our passage for today. The prophetic Scriptures reveal to us that God will raise-up Jewish evangelists in the Last Days to go to the Gentile world.

Revelation 11:3 and following tells us of "two witnesses" who will preach to the world from Jerusalem in the first half of the Tribulation Period and at least one of them will be Elijah, Micah 4:5, a Jewish man.

A result of these "two witnesses" preaching, 144,000 male virgin Jews, 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel, Revelation 7:4-9, will have an evangelistic ministry for all seven years of the Tribulation. The outcome of their ministry is a multitude of people being saved.

Jonah was only a prototype of these evangelists to come. The practical lesson for each of us today is that we can be a part of God's plan if we obey Him all along the way.

How can they be saved unless they hear and how can they hear unless we go with the message. It is a message of salvation to some and a warning to be prepared for the Rapture for others. By the way, that Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Help us Lord to do the ministry of reaching lost people with the message of salvation before it is eternally too late. 
Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jonah 2:10

And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

For further study - Jonah 2:1-10

The little book of Jonah is a very unique book of prophecy. It contains prophecy, miracles, repentance, revival, and even the account of Jewish-Gentile relations. Remember, Jonah was Jewish, the one God sent to a Gentile people there in Nineveh.

The last verse of Jonah 1 reveals to us that Jonah, having been cast overboard by the fishermen, would end up in the belly of a "great fish" for three days and three nights. That is where we catch Jonah, our rebellious Jewish prophet, in the belly of a great fish.

The narrative reveals that Jonah would suffer for his disobedience to the Lord. It makes it very clear that Jonah would actually die in the belly of this great fish. You might be thinking, "I've never heard that before". Okay then, let's look at the evidence for the death of Jonah while in rebellion.

In verse 2, Jonah says "out of the belly of hell" cried I. The Hebrew word for "hell" is "sheol". Sheol is, in the Old Testament, the place to which the dead go. Verse 4 says, "yet I will look again towards the Holy Temple". "The waters compassed me about even to the soul", verse 5It seems to indicate death had taken Jonah.

Notice verse 6, "yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption". Jonah had been brought up from the "corruption of death". I believe that Jonah died in the belly of that great fish and God resurrected the rebellious prophet to do the ministry the Lord had given him to do - go to Nineveh and preach, chapter 3:2.God did not preserve Jonah in the belly of the great fish, because Jonah died. The greater miracle than the preservation of Jonah in the great fish's belly, is the "resurrection from the dead". This scenario would fit what Jesus said in Matthew 12:40.

Jesus compared Jonah's three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The end result of Jesus in death in the earth is that He would resurrect from the dead. The parallel suggests that Jonah also was resurrected from the dead.

By the way, this passage helps us to understand the time of the crucifixion of Jesus as well. He had to be in the earth three days and three nights, not two days and two nights, which would indicate a Friday crucifixion. That discussion is for another time and another devotional.

If you ever wondered if Jonah was in the belly of a great fish, whale or not, for three days and three nights, Jesus confirms it with His statement in Matthew. The Bible is not made up of fairy tales but real literal events in history.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for an infallible, inerrant word from You, to me.
Friday, October 25, 2013

Jonah 1:1-2

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
For further study - Jonah 1:1-17

Someone has said the book of Jonah is the "greatest fish story they have ever read". It is true the prophet Jonah has an interesting relationship with a "great fish" but that is not the storyline that brings the meaning to this unique prophetic book among the books in Jewish history.

The prophet Jonah lived near the hometown of Jesus - Nazareth and in fact was referred to, and thus vouched for by a very famous neighbor, none other than Jesus Christ Himself, Matthew 12:39-41.

Jonah was called to be a "missionary - prophet", a "Jewish missionary - prophet", to the very large Gentile city of Nineveh. As you read the narrative of Jonah's travels, at least the first of his journey, you will see that the prophet heads out in the opposite direction from where the Lord told Him to go.

Jonah went off to Joppa where he found a boat going to the west and he went on board, paid the fare and was on his way to Tarshish (most likely Spain of today). The problem was that Tarshish was southwest from his hometown and Nineveh, where God told him to go, is northeast from Jonah's home. Jonah went in the exact opposite direction from where God told him to go.

The shipmates of Jonah finally realized that the Hebrew prophet was the reason for the high winds and stormy conditions at sea which were about to destroy their boat. The only thing to do was have Jonah leave the boat. Now that is a real problem when you are out to sea.

They had the ship's crew throw Jonah overboard - to what they thought would be his certain death. However, since God had a plan for Jonah to reach out to the Gentiles of Nineveh, the Lord would provide a "great fish" to care for Jonah, along the way to take care of the Lord's mission.

There are many great prophetic and practical issues in the four chapters of Jonah, some of which we will look at together in a future prophetic devotional. Let me at this time bring the prophetic book of Jonah up to our time as we see it reveal some important truths.

Jonah helps us to learn we can run, but we can't hide, as we flee the direction God wants us to go. He has ways of bringing us back to the path we must follow. God can make us do exactly what He has commanded us to do.

One other thought is that God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, the biblical name of the area we know as Musul in northern Iraq today. God had a plan for Nineveh then and He has a plan for Nineveh and her sister city Babylon today.

These two biblical cities will both play a key role in Bible prophecy, evidence we are quickly approaching the end time scenario found in His word for modern day Iraq, which is where we find Biblical Babylon, a city that is the center of activity in the end times.

We are in what the Bible refers to as "the last days". These are the days when Jesus could shout and call us to join Him in the heavenlies. Today could be that day, so let's keep looking up.......Until.

PRAYER THOT: As I live in these last days, help me to be obedient to your call on my life and make sure I go in the right direction.            
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Obadiah 18

And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

For further study - Obadiah 15-21 

This little book, the smallest Old Testament book, of Obadiah is one of a number of prophetic passages focused on the Edomites, the descendants of Esau. The facts be known, there is more judgment pronounced against Esau and the Edomites than any other peoples in the Bible.

You'll notice that both Jacob and Esau are mentioned in our key verse, verse 18. These boys are twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebekah, Genesis 25. The boys started to struggle in the womb of their mother before birth, which actually set the theme of their lives, an ongoing struggle throughout their 4,000 years of history.

These two brothers will continue to fight, in fact, all the way to the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Though many political leaders, even on the international scene, have tried to bring peace and stability to the Middle East by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it will not happen until Jesus comes back.

Look back with us to the account of the early days of Jacob and Esau found in Genesis 25Genesis 25 is the record of their birth with Esau, the firstborn, howbeit by less than an entire body length, remember Esau came out of his mother's womb with Jacob holding onto his heel. Technically, Esau was the firstborn with all the privileges of being the firstborn, he received the "birth rite" and at the end of his father's life Esau would receive the "blessing".

You remember that Esau sold his birth rite to Jacob and Jacob manipulated his father Isaac to get Esau's blessing, Genesis 27. Please notice in Genesis 25:23 that the Lord told Rebekah, the mother of these two boys, that they would both become a "nation of peoples". The verse also tells us that the elder, Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob.

As you trace these two boys and their families as they became nations over the last 4,000 years, we come to the present-day and find the two nations, Israel and the Palestinian peoples.

The prophecy that God gave to Rebekah, Genesis 25:23, has been fulfilled. The prophecy found in our reading for today will be fulfilled also, possibly in the near future.

Verse 18, our key verse, says that Jacob, the Jewish state of Israel will be the "flame" and Esau, the Palestinian people the "stubble" and the "kindling wood". Obadiah's prophecy will be fulfilled at the coming of Jesus.

The Edomites, the Palestinians will be destroyed, "as if they had never been", verse 16b. That doesn't mean that individual Palestinians won't be saved, but as a people they will be destroyed.

The stage is being set for Obadiah's prophecy to be fulfilled. It will be fulfilled at the return of Jesus, but remember, before all of this happens, seven years before, the Rapture will happen. The Rapture could happen today, especially in light of all that is going on among the Jews and the Palestinians. Keep looking up. 

PRAYER THOT: Lord help me to reach out to the Palestinian people and others with the saving grace of Jesus Christ since I know the times in which we are living.