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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Joshua 24:15b

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

For further study – Joshua 24:15-31

As I have already mentioned, the book of Joshua is the history of the children of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, as they come into the "promised land". It is also the story of conflicts that followed as the Jews conquered the land.

It is a record of one victory after another as the Lord gives the children of Israel the land that He promised to them as their possession, forever. In the book, this record of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises, we have seen many of the names of “hot spots” today in the land of the Jewish people.

The charge that Joshua gave to the children of Israel 3,500 years ago seems so appropriate for the Jewish people of today. That “charge” from Joshua is found in Joshua 23 and 24. It would be great for you to take the time to read both chapters to realize the work of the Lord in the past and His work in the future are the same.

In chapter 23 the phrase “Lord your God” is used 13 times. Joshua wants the Jews to know that the “Lord” is their “God”. It was then, and is today, good for the Jews to know “the Lord your God” is still in charge and fighting for the Jewish people, Joshua 23:3.

As you read Joshua 23 notice the rest of the passage around the phrase “the Lord your God”, it will be a blessing to you. At the same time realize that these promises are to the Jews then, and today.

Joshua 24:15b
, our key verse in today’s devotional, is the “heart” of the man Joshua, the leader of the Jews at that time in history, as it should be today. Sadly, that is not the case for the present-day Israeli leaders.

However, there is coming a day when the leader of the Jewish people, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, will set in place the chosen people, the Jewish people, the people who will be the people of God.

These people will then realize once again the “Lord your God” is the one that does the fighting for His people. The charge of Joshua then is still good for today, the Jews must believe that in order for His plan to be worked out in their lives.

There are many similarities between the return to the land 3,500 years ago and the Jewish people returning today. The only difference is that it is the “final return” today, an indication that Jesus is getting ready to return to Earth to fulfill His last promises to the Jewish people.

Just this reminder, seven years before He returns He will shout and have all Christians to join Him in the heavens at the Rapture. The Rapture could happen at any moment, even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, and my family to serve you until you do shout for us to join you in the heavens.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Joshua 14:14

Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.

For further study - Joshua 14:1-15

The book of Joshua is the history of the children of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, as they come into the "promised land". It is also the story of conflicts that followed as the Jews conquered the land. It is a record of one victory after another as the Lord gives the children of Israel what He told them He would give them 40 years before they arrive to claim His promise.

There is a great lesson in that thought. Sometimes, we ignore God's directives which brings upon us sorrow, heartache and distress. I do not understand why I do not learn His way, His way is the best way.

Our last devotional was from Joshua 6 and it detailed the first victory for the Jewish people as they moved forward to take the land that God had given them. Jericho, as I said, was only the first installment of God’s promise.

Before we come to our reading for today I want to give you several passages that are a record of God’s faithfulness. As you survey the entire book of Joshua please notice that the Lord was giving the Jews the locations that would be considered the “heritage sites” for the Jews of today.

The first mention of the city of Jerusalem, by name, is in Joshua 10:1. “Jerusalem” is mentioned 764 times in the Bible and this city plays a key role in the life of the Jewish people through out history and into the future, even “eternity future”.

Notice, the Lord had directed Joshua to give to the half tribe of Manasseh the location of “Bashan”, Joshua 13:29 to 31. You may not recognize that name but it is the area of what is today the “Golan Heights”. That means that God gave the Jewish people the Golan Heights 3,500 years ago. That should settle the debate between Israel and Syria over the Golan, but it hasn’t.

Our reading for today is a perfect example of my point. When Moses sent out the spies, Joshua and Caleb were the only two to return from their sojourn inside the “promised land” with a positive report.

Because the majority of the spies gave a negative, fearful report of the land and due to their unbelief, the children of Israel wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years before claiming their promise.

However, the Lord did not forget the faithfulness of the spy named Caleb. God instructed Joshua, the leader responsible for dividing the "promised land", to give Caleb the piece of real estate he wanted, the area around Hebron. Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb because this spy had "wholly followed the Lord God of Israel", verse 14.

This whole account is a great spiritual lesson for me and for you also. In our daily lives, we must do all that the Lord directs us to do, "wholly following the Lord."

Before I finish, let me remind you that this land and city that God gave Caleb 3,500 years ago is a center of controversy today. Hebron is the oldest Jewish community in the world founded by Abraham some 4,000 years ago, Genesis 13:18.

Today, there are around 1,000 Jews living in Hebron with 150,000 Palestinians surrounding them and many of those Palestinians are self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists.

Hebron is the second most sacred piece of real estate in the world for the Jewish people. It was purchased by Abraham as a burial site, Genesis 23, and paid for in cash.

There is a great Jewish heritage in Hebron from the past, but the present situation is very controversial and will continue to be so until the Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns to deal with the enemies of the Jewish people.

The little prophetic book of Obadiah reveals the victory given to the Jews over the Palestinians, descendants of Esau, and that happens at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah. The stage is being set for that prophecy to be fulfilled.

It is good to reflect on the past as we look to the future, all under the watchful eye of our Lord. He is still in charge.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me this day Lord, to wholly follow You in all that I do, as You lead.
Monday, August 29, 2016

Joshua 6:2 and 21

And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

For further study - Joshua 6:1-27

It is worth the time you will spend to read our extended reading for today, which is the complete account of the conquering of Jericho. God told Joshua that as He had been with Moses He would be with the new leader of the Jewish people as they would enter the “promise land”.

This portion of God's word is the record of God's beginning phase of the fulfillment of His promises to Joshua. This is an amazing victory over the awesome enemy standing at the entrance of the conquest of the “promise land” for the children of Israel.

Any true military strategist would have warned Joshua against the plan given to him by God. It would have been considered a suicide mission by any evaluation to simply have your religious leaders lead your people in a walk around this well fortified city.

It would have been ridiculous to walk around the city for one day but to do so for seven days and then to shout and think that the walls would come down would be out of the question for any logical leader.

However, God did not set Joshua in place as the leader of the children of Israel to lead the conquest of the land He had promised them because he was a logical thinker but because Joshua was obedient to his Lord.

The rest of the book of Joshua, which records the leadership of God's man for this mission, is a record of obedience and victory. It is the evidence that we must look at and consider, even as we in our own journey through life follow His direction for all the conquests that are promised for each of us as we do follow His direction.

It is interesting that as the children of Israel entered the promise land, it is "Jericho first" on the agenda for God's plan for taking the land. I used that phrase "Jericho first" because this is the phrase used in 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed on the lawn at the White House in Washington.

The peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian people would give to the Palestinians, "Jericho first." For this last 23 years we have seen how that peace treaty has been negated and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people is deteriorating on a daily basis.

What got my attention is the fact that God gave “Jericho first” to the children of Israel and 3,500 years later the Jews gave “Jericho first” to their enemies. This scenario is in perfect alignment with Bible prophecy for these two peoples, the Jews and the Palestinians. (See my study on Esau and the Palestinians)

All the actors are in place and the curtain is about to go up on the final drama as described in Bible prophecy. Keep looking up. Jesus is coming and it could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to realize the time of Your return is drawing closer as the current events unfold that are in line with the end time scenario found in Bible prophecy.
Sunday, August 28, 2016

Joshua 5:10

And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

For further reading - Joshua 5:6-15

Today we read the account of the first several days of the children of Israel in the Promised Land. Joshua had been installed as leader after the death of Moses and given the responsibilities of leading the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the area just to the east of Jericho, out in the valley halfway between Jericho and the Jordan River and just north of the Dead Sea to a place that He would name Gilgal.

Even the name of the location where the children of Israel would first encamp, Gilgal, which in Hebrew means "rolling," was significant. It was here that God told Joshua He had rolled away the reproach of the Egyptian bondage, verse 9.

The first act that Joshua led the Jewish people into, once inside the Promised Land, was the “circumcision” of each of the males. The fact is that none of the men who entered the land God had given them had been circumcised, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. The oldest of all the men would have been 39 years of age and none of them had ever been given the mark of God's promise to the Jews, circumcision.

The next item on God's agenda, even before He would lead them to conquer the land, was to begin the “cycle of Jewish feast” that He had given Moses for His chosen people. The Lord had commanded that once they entered the land they were to start with the Passover, the first of the seven Jewish feasts, and complete the entire cycle on a yearly basis.

Through the Jewish feast God was giving the Jewish people a glimpse into the future. The seven feasts all have a historic significance and an agricultural factor to them as well as the prophetic aspect to each of the Jewish feasts.

You remember that in the gospel records of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events actually took place on the Jewish feast days. Jesus Christ was crucified on Passover, John 13:1, was buried on Unleavened Bread, John 19:31 and 42, and resurrected on Sunday, the day the Jews celebrate the Feast of First Fruits, John 20:1 and Leviticus 23:10-13.

Interestingly, Jesus, as He fulfilled the first three Jewish feast days in the proper day sequence, so also He will fulfill the last three Jewish feast days in the proper day sequence as well (See my study "The Feasts of God").

Year after year for the last 3,500 years, the Jews have been observing these Jewish feast days, a constant reminder of what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do for them in the future.

Remember, these feast days are given to the Jewish people. We as Christians can study these Jewish “holy days”, but they are to be observed by the Jews. Those three fall feast days, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles will be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, as were the three spring feast days almost 2,000 years ago.

But let me remind you that before the Lord does fulfill those feast days the Rapture takes place and it could happen any day now, maybe even today. Keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for being a consistent, faithful God who always keeps His promises.
Saturday, August 27, 2016

Joshua 4:18

And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

For further study - Joshua 4:1-24 

Before we come to our devotional reading for today I want us to glance at Joshua 2 and 3. In chapter 2 we find the record of the sending of the “spies” into Jericho to meet with Rahab and to determine their “plan of attack” as the Israelites enter the “promised land”.

Joshua 3 is the actual account of Joshua and the children of Israel making ready to walk through the Jordan River on “dry ground”. The details are here for you to study and to see how God would provide this entrance into the “land” even though it seemed impossible.

Joshua 4 is the record of the miraculous entry into the Promised Land by the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua. Those who were entering the "land", were those Jewish people who had not seen the parting of the Red Sea, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, the others had died during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.

All that would enter into the land that God had promised them had been born during the forty years of unbelief. The reason, of course, for the two exceptions, Joshua and Caleb, was that they, as spies, had reported back to Moses that the "land" was great and that they could enter in right away.

Joshua and Caleb believed God and thus they were given the privilege of entering into God's Promised Land.

Let me remind you that the time of the year when the Jordan River was parted was in the spring, the harvest time, Joshua 3:15-16. The waters of the Jordan River were overflowing their banks, more so than during the rest of the year.

God had directed Joshua to have the priest to bare the "ark of the covenant" to the western shore of the Jordan River and when the waters divided all of the children of Israel followed the priest with the "ark" as they crossed over into Israel on dry ground.

Joshua also had one man from each of the twelve tribes bare a stone from the center of the Jordan River, now dry, and take it to the place where they would "lodge that night", verse 3and lay all twelve of these stones at Gilgal, verse 19.

You'll remember Gilgal, located about two miles from the Jordan River, is the place where the Jews celebrated their first "Passover" in the Promised Land, Joshua 5:10.

Verse 6 of our extended reading says that the taking of the stones from the Jordan River would be a "sign" for the Israelites, an object lesson for the Jews so that they could tell their children of God's love, provision and protection for them.

However, it would not be done for the sake of only telling the children, verses 19-23, but it would be somewhat of a monument to have so that "all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that they might fear the Lord our God forever", verse 24.

Indeed, there are not many people on the earth that don't know the story of God's fulfilled promises to the Jews and His provision of the land as He had promised. Of course, the parting of the Jordan River, like the parting of the Red Sea, displayed the mighty hand of God.

3,500 years ago God took care of His chosen people, He is still doing so today, and will do so into the future, as He said He would. Praise His name!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your love, provision and protection for me as it has been for Your people, the Jewish people, over the last 4,000 years.
Friday, August 26, 2016

Joshua 1:5

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

For further study - Joshua1:1-9

Our devotional reading for today is the record of the Lord giving a command for Joshua to take the children of Israel into the “promised land”. This is the land that He had prepared for the Israelites. Joshua was now the leader of the Jewish people and would lead them during the first return by the Jewish people to the "promised land".

As the Israelites would enter the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, the Lord would promise Joshua that the Jewish people would receive all the land promised to Moses and his descendants, the land that would extend even to the River Euphrates, verse 4.

On this return to the land, the first of three returns after the Jewish nation would leave the land God had given the Jews, they would receive only a portion of the land that God promised. The complete fulfillment of the "land prophecy", Deuteronomy 30, will take place during the future 1000 year Kingdom period.

The scriptures give us the details on the total amount of land that God has promised His “chosen people”, the Jewish people. One day the Jewish people will receive 10 times the amount of land they have today, that happens at His Second Coming.

Our passage for today’s reading is one of thirty-eight Biblical references that detail all the land promised, which is much of what we know as the Middle East today. This helps us to understand why the Arab world is concerned about what happens to the Jewish State of Israel.

The Lord also assures Joshua of “good success”, verse 8, and that He would be with this one who replaced Moses, the great Jewish prophet and leader. God told Joshua that as He was with Moses, He would be with young Joshua.

That success would come from daily meditation in the Word of God, verse 8, and obedience to the Word. These are the promises that the Lord gives a young Jewish leader at the exact time that he needed to have this encouragement and direction.

This first, of three returns to the “Promised Land” by the Jews, is evidence that the Lord will be faithful to His promise of a “land” for a “people”, His chosen people, as a “nation”, a land that He gives them, forever. This land will be given at the Lord’s return to earth.

But until that time, God will be with His people, the Jewish people, verse 5. God's promise to Joshua is that He will give them good success, verse 8. The success for the Jews and for us as well is dependent on each of us allowing His word to direct our every step.

This “mode of operation” for the Christian today, in the days leading up to the terrible time of trouble followed by the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is essential as we await not only His return but the next event, the Rapture. The Rapture could happen at any moment, even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for being a “promise-keeping” God, not only for success but for Your promise of a return to the “land” to set up Your “Kingdom”.
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Deuteronomy 34:10

And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.

For further study - Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Deuteronomy 34, the last chapter of the fifth book of the Torah, the last book written by Moses, is the record of this great Jewish prophets death. In fact, our key verse states that there was never a greater prophet in all of Israel than Moses, verse 10.

Moses had a face-to-face conversation, not with God since no one can see God face-to-face and live, John 1:18 and Exodus 33:20-23. Moses stood face-to-face with Jesus Christ, actually a “pre-incarnate” appearance of Jesus.

God had chosen Moses to lead the children of Israel from the Egyptian bondage into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 34 has Moses in the plains of Moab, atop Mt Nebo. This was a great vantage point for Moses to be able to see into the "Promised Land".

Mt Nebo was due east of Jericho, which was in the "Promised Land". The Lord showed Moses all the land that He was going to give the Jewish people, forever. The Lord allowed Moses to see the land, verse 4b, but would not allow him to go into the "Promised Land",Deuteronomy 32:48-52.

It is so interesting to me that even though Moses was 120 years old, his eyes were "not dim",verse 7. However, Moses would die there near Mt Nebo and he is buried in the valley in Moab, where no one has ever found his burial site, verse 6.

Moses was a great man, an excellent leader and a prophet like none other in Israel's history but because he took the “glory” from the Lord, the Lord punished him. No one of us is out of reach of the Lord when He determines to punish us no matter how important we may think we are in service to the Lord.

Tucked within this passage is a great prophetic truth, once again stated, about the land that God promised the Jewish people. Verse 4 records God's promise of the land to the Jewish people.

He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that the land would be theirs forever. It would be theirs and their descendants forever. In our devotional passage there is only a portion of all the land, verses 1-2, that God has promised.

A compilation of all the passages on the borders of Israel includes what God will give the Jewish people, some ten times what they have today. The enemies of the Jewish people and their modern-day State will try to take the land that God has given them, away from them. This will be done through terrorism and all out war.

However this all plays out one thing is for sure, Bible prophecy will be fulfilled. God will give the land to the Jews. He promised to do so and He keeps all of His promises.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for being a “promise keeping” God not only to the Jews but to me as well as it relates to my salvation and eternal existence with You.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Deuteronomy 32:8

When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

For further study - Deuteronomy 32:1-10

Our reading today is the first portion of a song that the Lord directed Moses to write and then teach the children of Israel, Deuteronomy 31:19 and 21. The fact that God directs Moses to write a song, which we will discuss in a moment, is evidence that the Lord will and does use music to teach His way to His people. I have long said that music is so much more than entertainment. It is for edification and exhortation, for the people of God.

Part of the heritage of Christianity is the music it has produced over the centuries. I am thinking especially of the time of the Reformation when the reformers would use music to teach the body of Christ those truths that came out of the Reformation. Men like Luther, Knox, the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, and many others.

These men would write songs containing doctrine, and then teach the people to sing these "truths" as the Reformers would travel to another location to teach. The Lord, of course, was the originator of this concept, using music to teach the children of Israel great truths, knowing that Moses would soon depart from this world.

This brings to our attention how important music is in our Christian experience. It is essential that we use and listen to music that has the right doctrine and to make sure that the "medium carrying the message" is consistent with the message and the Master who sent the message.

Now to the song's content – this is the message that the Lord wanted the Israelites to have before He would bring them into the “promised land”. There is so much in this song we will have to visit it again in a future devotional but let's look at one phrase found in verse 8.

The Lord is teaching the Jewish people of the importance He places on these people that He chose to be a “special people” unto Himself, a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. He tells Israel that when He divided the peoples of the world into nations, Genesis 10 and 11, He set the bounds, the borders of the nations, according to the number of the children of Israel.

Ezekiel, an ancient Jewish prophet, reveals the centrality of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 5:5. The Lord placed Jerusalem in the center of the earth with all the nations around the “holy city”.

Notice that God did this according to the number of Jews there would be in the future because when God divided the peoples of the earth into nations there were no “children of Israel”. Based upon His foreknowledge, God set the bounds for the nations.

God had a plan for the Jewish people. He has a plan today for His chosen people. But most important, He has a plan for the children of Israel in the future that will be played out.

The plan the Lord has for the Jewish people is found in the prophetic passages of the Bible. In the last days God will deal with these Jews that have been scattered around the world for 2,000 years.

He will “re-gather” the Jews and bring them into the land of their forefathers. They will be “restored” as a nation among the nations of the world. Then there will be a “terrible time of testing” for the Jews, the Tribulation, before Jesus, the Jewish Messiah”, returns to Earth and to lead His “chosen people”.

If you want to know where God is in His plan for the end times, you focus on the Jewish people. This is such an easy formula for all to live by in the last days. We simply must know God’s plan for the Jews, stay abreast of what is happening with them and compare current events with Biblical prophecy to recognize where we are on His “time line” for the end of days.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to see Your plan for this world unfolding as I watch Your “chosen people” today.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deuteronomy 30:5

And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

For further study - Deuteronomy 30:1-10

The passage chosen for our devotional reading today is what is referred to as the "Land Covenant". Maybe in the margin of your Bible or possibly above the first verse of our reading you find, as I do in my King James Scofield Reference Bible, the title of the covenant to be the "Palestinian Covenant".

That is not the title of the covenant, the word "Palestinian" is a man-made word that is a negative word introduced to the Jewish and Christian world in the second century by a Roman Emperor who named the land of Israel, "Palestine".

The Bible never calls the land that God gave to the Jewish people, "Palestine". The land is called "Israel". There has never been a land that God called "Palestine", the Lord calls the land "Israel", Matthew 2:20-21. Please do not refer to the land of Israel as "Palestine" but by it's true Biblical name, "Israel".

By the way, there was never an Arab state of "Palestine" that must be returned to the Palestinian people. From around 1500 AD until 1917 AD the Ottoman Empire, the empire of the nation of Turkey, controlled what is today, the land of Israel. The Turks ruled this land for over 400 years.

Then, until the United Nations gave the Jews this land in 1948, as a nation called Israel, the land was under the sovereignty of the British Empire. There has never been a state, an official government, for the state of "Palestine".

The truth is our devotional reading for today promises to give the "land" to the Jewish people. This "land covenant" includes all of the land that God has promised to the Jewish people, some ten times the amount of land that the Jews now control.

The total amount of land that the Jews will receive according to this covenant will be given to the Jews during the Kingdom period when the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is ruling and reigning from his Temple in Jerusalem.

There will also be a time when the Jews will be brought back into the land of their forefathers, verse 5. The Jews will love the Lord with all of their heart, verse 6, at that time in history. This period of time in the future will be when the Lord Jesus Christ has returned to the Earth to set up His Kingdom.

Until the return of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the conflict over the ownership of the land will continue and intensify. Though God has promised the Land to the Jewish people they will return to the land of their forefathers only to be almost destroyed by their enemies. This persecution will be used by the Lord to turn the Jews to their Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Remember, seven years at least before Jesus comes back to give His Chosen people, the Jewish people, their land, our Lord will shout and call all Christians up to join Him in the heavenlies at the time of the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for keeping your promises to the Jews and to me as a Christian, especially your promise to call us up to be with you forever more.
Monday, August 22, 2016

Deuteronomy 28:64

And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
For further study - Deuteronomy 28:62-67

This portion of Scripture is a message that Moses gave to the Jewish people while traveling towards the “promised land”, however, it has a prophetic significance that would be played out during two different unique periods of history.

The passage follows the message that Moses had given explaining the “curses” and the “blessings” in the previous chapter, Deuteronomy 27Chapter 28 includes the conditions for receiving “blessings”, verses 1-14, when they come into the land God was to give them.

This chapter also lays out the conditions, which would bring chastisement after they arrive in the land, verses 15-62, and the world-wide dispersion, punishment for continued disobedience, verses 63-68.

Now God’s man to lead the Children of Israel to the land He had promised them, Moses, is given the responsibility to “warn” the Jews that they would face “tough times” ahead if they were disobedient to His directives.

Moses wrote of a “world-wide dispersion” for disobedience that would include a “terrible time” of loneliness as the Lord would withdraw His hand of protection from His “chosen people” because they refused to do as He told them. They had been set apart for a purpose and they rejected His plan for them.

This prophecy was actually fulfilled in 70 AD when General Titus, leader of the Roman army, destroyed the Jewish Temple, devastated the city of Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews to the four corners of the earth, verse 64.

In fact, the “Arch of Titus”, located in Rome, Italy, is a monument to this fulfilled prophecy. Remember, fulfilled prophecy is a reason to believe that all other prophecies yet to be fulfilled, will be fulfilled.

The fulfillment of this prophecy in Deuteronomy was fulfilled by the last departure of the Jews, as foretold in the Bible, when they were put out of the land of Israel in 70 AD. A close study of the “life of the Jewish people” over the almost 2,000 years of their dispersion, was described in our devotional reading for today also.

The promise of the return –the very last return spoken of in the Bible - is now under way and has been so for a number of years. It will culminate with the return of Jesus Christ to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:4.

Preceding our Lord's Second Coming by seven years will be the Lord's shout for us to join Him in the air at the Rapture of the Church, which could be today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, thank you for the reminder that there is a price to pay for disobedience. Help me to be obedient as I await Your return to gather me up to be with You, forever. 
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Deuteronomy 18:15

The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.

For further reading –Deuteronomy 18:9-22

As we make our way through Deuteronomy there are many chapters that we will skip over in our study and for devotional purposes as well. This does not mean that these passages are not worthy of your reading and study.

For our journey through the Bible we will be focused on any passage that may have a significant relationship with prophecy and the scenario that the Lord will unveil for us to study as we approach the fulfillment of these end of days prophecies.

Therefore, we come today for our devotional reading found in the 18th chapter that has a unique relationship with “prophecy” itself. The Lord had selected Moses as the “spokesman” to the Jewish people, thus Moses was the “prophet” that He had raised up for that day.

These verses in our devotional reading for today are the “standard” that the Lord sets for His “prophets”, Moses being the first and thus setting that standard for all the prophets to follow. The children of Israel were to listen to His prophets because these were the Lord’s representative to the Jews.

Verses 15 and 18 also speak of “the Prophet” to be raised up after the days of Moses. That Prophet would be Jesus Christ, the ultimate Prophet – the One who spoke God’s words and who provides deliverance for His people.

God gave Moses the “test” for a “true” Prophet of God, one who would speak the words of the Lord. This test was applicable in the days of Moses and it is the “test” today to be applied to all so-called prophets.

Verses 20-22 reveal the test of the prophet. Verse 22 is the final authority on a “true Prophet of God”. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken”.

The standard is so high that it required death for the prophet who was a “false prophet”, verse 20, “even that prophet shall die”. If this standard was to be applied today to some of the “false prophets” in our world there would be a number of “deaths” to report.

It is sad to say that there are a growing number of “false prophets” in our world today and there are even some of them in “pulpits” in our churches. This was foretold by one of the New Testament Prophets, Paul, II Corinthians 11:13-15.

In fact, Jesus in His “Olivet Discourse”, Matthew 24, warned that just before His return to the earth at His Second Coming there would be “false prophets”, verses 11 and 24. This is the number one sign of the nearness of the Lord’s return.

Let me remind you that the Rapture precedes the Second Coming by seven years. If we are seemingly so close to His return, how close could the Rapture be? It could happen today, so keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHTThank you Lord for the “test” for the true Prophet’s that have spoken for you down through the years. Help me to study their prophecies in the Bible and make ready for the fulfillment of these prophecies, seemingly in our day.
Saturday, August 20, 2016

Deuteronomy 7:6

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

For further reading - Deuteronomy 7:1-9

Today we will begin our journey through Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Moses, and will look at the “prophetic passages” in this very important book. Before we spend time in this book let me reflect on the last chapters of Numbers.

Information found in Numbers 22 thru 36 will conclude the record of the “wanderings in the wilderness” by the Israelites, chapters 22-33, and the “closing instructions” to the Jewish people, chapters 34-36.

As we come to Deuteronomy we will see that this book is a summary of the history of Israel in the wilderness, a restatement of the “Law”, the prophecies of the Jewish Prophet Moses, the “Land Covenant” and the “Song of Moses” and his parting “blessings” on the Jewish people.

God tells the Jewish people through their leader Moses that He had ‘chosen’ them to be a “special people” and did thus chose the Jews, above everybody on earth.

Our extended reading actually tells the Jews, and we who are reading this passage of scripture for our devotional reading today, that they were not chosen because they were the largest number of people of any people around. Reality is that the “Jews were the fewest of all the people”.

Then, the Lord tells everyone why He chose the Jewish people, verse 8, “because He loved them”. Someone has suggested that we put the word "grace" around verse 8. It was by His "grace" that the “Jewish people were chosen”. The truth is, it was by His grace that I, or any of us, was chosen for salvation.

Verse 9 is a key verse, not only in the passage, but throughout the Bible. God is a “covenant keeping God”. He makes this statement through Moses to the Jews and it is true throughout 1,000 generations. That's a long time, however you number a generation.

The promise of God to the Jewish people is that He will keep His covenant. His promises, to the Jewish people, are key to understanding Bible prophecy and how history is going to play out in the future.

God has a plan for the Jewish people. He has made a number of covenants, promises to the Jews, promises that have not yet been fulfilled, but will be in the future.

God is not God if He can break any promise or covenant He made with His chosen people. Those who believe that the church has replaced the Jews must re-think that and accept these promises in scripture or otherwise their theology is wrong, actually heretical.

God's plan for the Jewish people includes a Jewish nation in the “land” of their forefathers, with a “temple” in Jerusalem and the Jewish people recognizing and accepting Jesus Christ as their “Messiah” and Lord and Savior.

Satan would like to negate God's promises to the Jews and he can do that through violence or violation of God's program for the Jews. Religion and even false doctrine found in Christian circles can make that happen. God's promises to the Jews, His chosen people, are true and forever.

Not only does the Lord keep His promises to the Jews, He keeps His promises to those of us who are Christians as well. Those promises effect our salvation, eternal home and that He will come in the sky to call us to meet Him in the heavens at the Rapture. What a promise.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for your faithfulness in keeping your promises to the Jews and to each of us that are Christians, also.
Friday, August 19, 2016

Numbers 21:8

And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

For further study - Numbers 21:1-35

I have just realized that more and more I am giving you a whole chapter in a book to read for our extended devotional. I hope that you agree, it should not hinder us in our devotional time to spend a bit more time in the "Book".

I will point out several tidbits in this chapter for today, but first to our key verse. Let me give you the background for our reading today. Moses was leading the children of Israel towards the Promised Land and at this time they had been wandering for almost forty years.

The Israelites were very discouraged at not being able to get to the Promised Land; howbeit, it was their own fault because of their disobedience and unbelief.

Verse 4 tells us that they were not able to continue along the "Kings Highway", 20:17, because the Edomites refused to allow them to pass that way. Therefore they had to travel by way of the Red Sea, towards Arabia, around Petra and Edom and then into Ammon before they would cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

The people once again spoke against Moses and his leadership, complaining also against God, verse 5. This then caused the Lord to send "fiery serpents" among the children of Israel. Many of the Jews were bitten and they died, verse 6.

At this point God told Moses to make a replica of the "fiery serpent" and put it atop a pole that was to stand up in the wilderness. God then said that if the Jewish people would look up to the "fiery serpent", they would live. This "look and live" action was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ on His cross.

The people of Israel would continue along the "Kings Highway" and be confronted by Sihon the King of the Amorites in the area of "Heshbon". If you've ever traveled on a tour with me thru the Land of the Bible and into Jordan, you have seen "Heshbon".

It was at "Heshbon" where God allowed the Israelites to defeat the Amorites. It was after that victory that the Lord told Moses to send a group up into Bashan to defeat Og, the King of Bashan. The children of Israel defeated the people of Bashan and later Joshua gave Bashan to the half tribe of Manasseh, even though it was on the eastern shore of the Jordan River.

By the way, Bashan is the name also known in the Bible, and today, as the "Golan," the Golan Heights. This event took place 3,500 years ago. That's how long ago that God gave the Golan Heights to the Jewish people.

One has to wonder why the Syrians lay claim to the Golan Heights. Even in recent days the leaders of Syria have said that they will take the Golan Heights back diplomatically or by force, militarily. This potential military action between Israel and Syria is very viable today.

The truth of the matter is, the enemies of Israel, the Jewish state today, don't want Jews anywhere in the Middle East. This “satanic influence” which directs the ways of the enemies of Israel today is setting the stage for the prophetic scenario found in Bible prophecy to be fulfilled seemingly in the near future.

How up-to-date our devotional readings are each and every day. We must realize that God’s plan for the end times will be played out. As we watch from the sidelines we have to understand that His shout for us to join Him in the air is about to be heard, maybe even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for being lifted up on the cross like the "fiery serpent" on the pole in the wilderness so that I could "look and live".
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Numbers 20:21

Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.

For further study - Numbers 20:14-29

The account we read for our devotional today, these 16 verses, record the travels of the children of Israel, led by Moses, toward the Promised Land. You will notice that they travel along the "King's Highway" which was the road of the merchants from Africa through Egypt along the lower section of Israel near the Red Sea and then into southern Jordan going north.

I have traveled many times along the King's Highway as was the case for the thousands of Jews near the end of their 40 years of wandering in the "wilderness" because of unbelief. They did not believe Joshua and Caleb who gave the positive report of the "Promised Land" after their "spy mission" into the land almost 40 years earlier.

What we read in our devotional today is the account of what happened right after Moses had been disobedient to the Lord when the Lord told the leader of the Jewish people to "speak" to the "rock" and instead, Moses "smote" the rock, Numbers 20:7-13. The Lord told Moses and Aaron that because of their lack of obedience they would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land, verse 12.

The last seven verses of our reading for today record the death of Aaron, the brother of Moses and the High Priest. The record shows that Aaron died atop Mount Hor that is near the headquarters of the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, a place called Petra. As I have visited Petra many times, I have often thought about the disobedience of Aaron and Moses and the penalty they both had to pay for not following the instructions that God gave them.

In verses 14-22, we see that the Edomites would not allow the children of Israel, their "brothers," verse 14, to travel along the King's Highway but instead they had to travel farther east towards Saudi Arabia and go around the land of Edom, Numbers 21:4.

You might remember the account of the Lord sending Esau and his family to Mount Seir, which is the same location of the Edomites in this passage. When Esau arrived in Petra the Lord changed the land area, so that it would be known as Edom, after the name that God had given Esau, Genesis 36:1.

Space will not allow for me to trace from Esau in Petra, the land of Edom, to the modern-day Palestinian people (see my audio series Esau and the Palestinians.)

Verse 18 reveals that Edom would not allow the children of Israel to travel the King's Highway towards the Promised Land even though Moses said he would pay for any damages made by his people and their animals, verse 17. This account is simply one chapter in the life and struggle of two brothers, Jacob and Esau.

Their mother was told by the Lord that these two boys struggling within her womb would become two nations - two manner of people, Genesis 25:23. The Scriptures tell us that they would continue this struggle until Jesus Christ returns to the earth to settle the battle between these two brothers, Obadiah 17 and 18.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict of today is evidence of the truth of God's word and the prophecy that will be fulfilled in the end times.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to obey You and follow Your instructions.