Shofar Communications, Inc.. Powered by Blogger.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Matthew 6:9-10

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

For further study - Matthew 6:5-13 

As you read the extended portion of our devotion for today you will recognize what is referred to as the "Lord's Prayer". It is not the "Lord's Prayer", technically, John 17 records the Lord's prayer.

This prayer is the one that Jesus taught those listening to His Sermon on the Mount along the slopes of the Sea of Galilee. It would be better to refer to this prayer as the "disciples prayer".

Our entire reading for today gives us great insight into how the Lord wants us to pray. His instruction begins with where we are to pray and where we are not supposed to pray. The Lord tells us that public prayer meetings are not the best place to pray, verse 5.

He tells us to pray in secret and the Father will see us praying in secret and reward us openly, verse 6. Jesus also points out that "vain repetition" is not the way to pray either, verse 7. He wants us to talk to Him as in a conversation with a fresh approach each time.

As we come to the actual prayer, we will notice several principles that must be applied each time we pray. We must start with adoration, "Our Father which art in heaven hollowed be Thy name". We must lift Him up and adore Him in each of our prayers.

In fact, adoration must be the first words in our prayers before even thanksgiving or supplication. Then, we should confess our sins, "forgive" us our debts (sins).

Supplication is an aspect of prayer included in the disciples' prayer. Supplication is specifically asking God for something. In this prayer there are several request, for our "daily bread", "lead us not into temptation", and "deliver us from evil". These are all requests, supplication.

Notice that the Lord teaches us to pray for His "kingdom to come", verse 10, so that "His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven". We need to pray for Jesus to come back and set up his kingdom.

Remember, we are not now in the kingdom. Jesus is not on his throne but instead seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavens. The Lord God, the Father, will one day give Jesus the Kingdom.

At that time Jesus will come to the earth to rule and reign as King over all of creation. This is key to understanding Bible prophecy for today.

We need daily to pray for Jesus to come back and set up his kingdom, "Thy kingdom come..."

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for teaching me how to pray, help me to do so without ceasing.
Monday, February 27, 2017

Matthew 11:14

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

For further study - Matthew 11:1-14

As we now move into the New Testament for our devotional readings we come to the book of Matthew and will realize that this is a very "prophetic" book of the Bible. You will also notice that I start with Matthew 11 for our first devotional because of the last couple verses of Malachi.

This text for our devotions today has a connection back to the last book of the Old Testament, the prophetic book of Malachi. In Malachi 4:5, the Old Testament prophet revealed that "Elijah" must come as the forerunner to "the great and dreadful day of the Lord". This will be the day when Jesus Christ comes back to earth.

Now, here in Matthew, we read what Jesus had to say to the Jewish people about John the Baptist. The Lord says that no greater man had been born of woman than John the Baptist. Then Jesus told the Jews that if they had accepted him, John the Baptist could have fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi.

John the Baptist could have been the fulfillment of Elijah who is to come. The Jewish people rejected the forerunner, John the Baptist, and they rejected the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as well.

This passage of scripture is the link between the Old and the New Testament. But it also reveals to us that Elijah is yet to come, to be the forerunner for Jesus, the Messiah. Revelation 11:3-12 predicts that there will be "two witnesses" that will have a powerful ministry during the first half of the 7-year Tribulation Period.

144,000 Jewish men will turn to Christ under the ministry of these "two witness", Revelation 7:4-8. Ultimately, the two witnesses will be killed and lay in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days, Revelation 11:8-12, before they are resurrected and taken to heaven.

One of those two witnesses must be Elijah who has never died. He was taken to heaven by a "chariot of fire" while he was still living, II Kings 2:11. Elijah will come back to do his ministry, be killed as called for by scripture, Hebrews 9:27, and then go back to heaven.

I can tell you, as the song says, we are living in the "days of Elijah". He has not arrived, but is on his way, to appear any day. But before Elijah’s arrival we depart for the heavens at the Rapture, and that event could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today as if it would be today that Jesus shouts for us to join Him in heaven.
Sunday, February 26, 2017

Malachi 4:5

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
For further study - Malachi 4:1-6

As we come today to the fourth chapter of Malachi, this last of the Old Testament books, we see the prophecy that will span the four hundred year period of silence from Malachi to the New Testament.

From Malachi to Matthew is a four hundred year period that the Lord does not communicate with His chosen people, the Jewish people. However, He tells them what, or who to look for before the Messiah will appear on the earth.

Malachi reveals that Elijah the prophet who went to heaven in a "chariot of fire", II Kings 2:8-11, will once again appear in history to be the forerunner of the coming Messiah. Remember, Elijah has never died and Malachi says that Elijah will come back to the earth and do so, "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord", verse 5.

Let me explain this verse. "The great and dreadful day of the Lord" is the day that Jesus steps back onto earth on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:4. Elijah is the prophet that the Lord will send back to earth to call the people of the world to Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:11-14 records the words of Jesus that indicate John the Baptist could have fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi as it relates to Malachi 4:5, had the Jews believed. The Jews not only rejected the Messiah Jesus Christ but His forerunner, John the Baptist, the potential fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy.

Revelation 11:3-12 reveals the appearance of two witnesses during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation Period. These two will be stationed in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. They will direct the worldwide evangelism project to reach the entire population on earth with the gospel during the seven year Tribulation Period. Then Jesus Christ will come back, at His Second Coming, Matthew 24:14.

One of the two witnesses will be Elijah, as per our prophetic prospective on Malachi 4:5Hebrews 9:27 says, "it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment". Elijah will come as one of the witnesses, die and then will be resurrected and called up into heaven, Revelation 11:3-12.

The days of Elijah are quickly approaching. We need to live in light of these truths with a great expectancy of Jesus Christ returning to the earth.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for the prophetic scenario that You lay out in Your Word for the end times. Since we know that these prophecies will be fulfilled, seemingly in our days, help me to live in light of these truths.
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Malachi 3:6

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

For further study - Malachi 3:1-6

Remember, the prophet Malachi is the last prophet to have a ministry with a message from God before the 400 years of silence from the heavens and before the First Coming of Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 1 and 2. In our extended reading today we see in view both the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth.

"My messenger", in verse 1, is a prophecy of John the Baptist who would be the forerunner of Jesus. The extended passage also speaks of "two temples", the one standing in Jerusalem at His First Coming and the one that will be in Jerusalem at His Second Coming. The "Lord", in verse 1, is Jesus at His First Coming.

John the Baptist would go before the Lord to announce His presence. This verse alone should be all that is needed for the Jews today to recognize that Jesus, 2,000 years ago, was the One who came to the Temple as the Messiah.

In verse 2 we see "another temple" and "another coming", the Second Coming of Messiah Jesus Christ. When He comes the second time, He comes as the "judge" and the "refiner".

When Jesus comes, who will be able to stand up to His judgment? The answer is - no one. The focus of this prophecy is the Jewish people who will stand before the "refiner" for His purging.

At the First Coming of Jesus, the Jews rejected the One who gave numerous proofs of who He was. However, at the Second Coming, He comes as the "judge" and cleanses His people from open, public sin, verse 5. This judgment will be a very serious examination of the Jews and the purging of those lost ones from their ranks.

The prophet assures the Jewish people that he will not purge all of them, the Sons of Jacob "will not be consumed", verse 6. The reason, of course, is that the Lord is God and He changes not.

As I write this, I am reminded of the revelation of Jeremiah pertaining to the Jewish people. Jeremiah writes that the Lord's people, the Jewish people, will not cease to be a nation before Him forever, Jeremiah 31:35-36. The confirmation of that promise is that the sun, moon, and stars are shining in the heavens.

What an awesome God! By the way, what the Lord does for the Jews, He also does for each of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

We, too, shall live forever. We know that statement to be true because of the Lord's protection of the Jewish people over 4,000 years and His relationship with the Jewish people today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for being the Lord that changes not, One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Friday, February 24, 2017

Malachi 2:16

For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
For further reading - Malachi 2:10-16

Everywhere we turn in our devotional readings, we run into the "prophetic" (futuristic) and the "practical" characteristics of God's Word. Such is the case as we come to the writings of the last prophetic message of the Old Testament, Malachi.

We must first understand the context of our reading before we can see the prophecy revealed. We also need the historic background of this passage to be able to grasp the practical significance of our reading. Let's look at the historic first.

Malachi 2:11 refers to the Old Testament account of the tearing apart of the 12 tribes of Israel. This incident is recorded in I Kings 11. In that passage, it describes the conclusion of the 40 years of the reign of King Solomon over all of Israel.

With the demise of King Solomon, his kingdom will be divided, with 10 tribes moving to the north, and the 2 southern tribes remaining in Jerusalem, I Kings 11:9-40.

The ten tribes who went to the north kept the name "Israel", and the two southern tribes became known as "Judah". The division of the twelve tribes of Israel took place because of the "multiplicity of marriages" by King Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Malachi 2:11 reveals that Solomon’s many marriages to the "daughters of strange gods" were an abomination committed in Israel.

God had set the pattern for a "biblical marriage" in Genesis 2:24. Man and woman were to "leave" their parents and "cleave" to their spouse so that they would become "one flesh".

In the New Testament, Jesus added to this directive stating that what He had joined together in marriage, let no man tear asunder, Matthew 19:6. Malachi reinforces this philosophy by stating that God hated the "putting away" of the wife, a divorce.

Now, please don't get angry if you've experienced a divorce. Remember that it's not the "unpardonable sin", and, if you have accepted Christ as your Saviour, all sin is under the blood. However, we must lift high God's standard.

The prophetic aspect of today's reading is referring to the dividing once again of the nation of Israel, as foretold in Ezekiel 37:15-23. This prophetic passage predicted a future division of the 12 tribes of Israel into two Jewish states, Israel and Judah, during the coming Tribulation period. They will only come back together when the Messiah washes away all of their sin, Ezekiel 37:23.

It is possible that you have never heard that there will be two Jewish states in the future, (for more information, you can get the audio series "Ezekiel: Retribution or Restoration" from our bookstore). However, this future division is spoken of by Malachi and Ezekiel, as well as the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 3:18.

There are those who live in Judah and Samaria, (the "disputed territories"), today that are already making plans for a second Jewish state called "Judah". The stage is, at this time in history, being set for the "final drama" to be played out. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the "practical" and "prophetic" significance of Bible prophecy. Help me to live by Biblical principles in these prophetic times.
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Malachi 1:4

Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.

For further study - Malachi 1:1-5

I have an audio series called "Malachi - A Middle East News Update" that deals with all four chapters of this the last book in the Old Testament. The last book of the Old Testament is indeed a "Middle East News Update" and today we look at the first installment of the "MENU".

This book comes just before the 400 years of silence from the heavens, before Jesus Christ comes to earth as the "God-man" to become our Saviour by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. The last two verses of chapter 4 set in place the bridge to the New Testament and the book of Matthew.

Today we look at the first five verses of Malachi and notice the Lord's attitude towards "Edom", the descendants of Esau, twin brother of Jacob. Verses 2 and 3 reveal to us that the Lord "loves Jacob" and "hates Esau".

This statement might cause you to question whether God is "unrighteous". Paul the Apostle answered that question in Romans 9. Paul quoted this passage in Malachi, Romans 9:13, and then spoke to the issues of the unrighteousness of God.

Paul says "God forbid, there is no unrighteousness in God." If you read Romans 9:10-14 you see the statement "Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated" has to do with "sovereign selection" and nothing to do with salvation.

Before their birth God’s "sovereign selection" chose Jacob, the second born over the first born, Esau. The "birthright", reserved for the first born, became Jacob’s. Jacob would also receive the "blessing", which was to be pronounced upon the eldest son at his Father's death. God chose the younger, Jacob over the elder, Esau, for His own purpose.

The passage in Romans comes from a passage, here in Malachi where the Lord speaks of the destruction of Esau's land and his legacy, verse 4. Edom, says that though he was destroyed, he will return and rebuild.

The Lord responded to Edom saying he could rebuild - but He would tear down and call Edom's borders "the borders of wickedness". Then the Lord said He would have indignation against the Edomites as long as He is God, that's forever!

In my audio series, "Esau and the Palestinians", I trace the descendants of Esau all the way through history to the Palestinian people of today. The Lord has pronounced judgment on the Edomites; they will be as if they have never been, as Sodom and Gomorrah, Jeremiah 49:16-18.

We are living in the days that Malachi wrote about, the days when the Edomites, the Palestinians, have returned, which they have done in the last 100 years. And at this time they are trying to rebuild. Ezekiel 35 and Obadiah 15-18 gives additional prophetic information of these two peoples, the Palestinians and the Jews.

There has never been a day like this in history and we're alive in it. The Lord's return is closer now than it has ever been. In fact, the Rapture could happen today, so keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live this day as if it would be the day of the Rapture.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Zechariah 14:4

And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
For further study - Zechariah 14:1-5

Today for our devotional reading I have asked you to read only five verses in Zechariah 14 because it is so jam packed with events that will unfold in a short period of time.

Zechariah 14 is not a stand-alone chapter, but must be combined with Revelation 19:11-20 to help you realize how the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will actually take place.

However, allow me to only deal with these five verses in this devotional time. In verse 1 we see the phrase, the "Day of the Lord" which is used seventy-two times in the Old Testament and is that period in time when the Lord intercedes in the affairs of man, personally, right here on the earth.

The specific usage of this definition refers to the time just preceding, and the actual day, that Jesus returns to the earth, verse 4Verse 2 reveals how the "campaign of Armageddon" begins with all the nations of the world gathering at Jerusalem.

This verse answers the question often asked about the United States in Bible prophecy. The United States is never mentioned by name, but if the United States is included at all in Bible prophecy, it is only referred to in this verse as one of the nations that will gather to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The scenario, prophetically, that leads up to this point, is the destruction of the literal city of Babylon in modern day Iraq, which will serve as the headquarters for the worldwide, governmental, economic, political system, headed up by Antichrist.

The Lord will destroy that system and the city in one hour, Revelation 18:10, 17 &19 and Revelation 16:17-21. Then the Satanic trio, Satan, Antichrist and the False Prophet rush to Jerusalem and bring the nations of the world together, with their armies, into Jerusalem by the means of signs, wonders and miracles, Revelation 16:13-16.

When the armies of the world are gathered in Jerusalem, under the leadership of Satan, Jesus will come from heaven to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, verse 4.

There will be some geographical changes in Jerusalem and those armies gathered to fight along side Satan and against Jesus will flee for the "Valley of the Mountains", verse 5.

The "Valley of the Mountains" is the Jezreel Valley that is 1,000 square miles in size, surrounded by different mountain ranges where the actual "Battle of Armageddon" will take place when Jesus goes there and speaks "death" to around one hundred million soldiers from the armies of the world.

This will not be a "nuclear battle", Jesus speaks and all the soldiers and animals that they might have used in the war effort will be killed at His spoken word, Revelation19:15.

Space will not allow for additional "prophetic truth" that would indicate how close we are to this prophetic scenario being fulfilled, Let me just say that everything is ready for these prophecies to be fulfilled.

Please remember, seven years before the Lord steps down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the Rapture happens, when the Archangel shouts, the trumpet sounds and Jesus shouts for us to join Him in the air where we will ever be with Him in the heavenlies. The Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to warn as many people as I can of this coming time of great judgment upon the earth. And help me to show them how to be prepared for this event by coming to know You as Lord and Saviour.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

For further study - Zechariah 13:1-9

The book of Zechariah is a prophetic book that has a prophetic message to the Jews in the days of the Prophet, Jews that had just returned from the Babylonian Captivity.

Zechariah's prophetic book is full of prophetic passages for the First Coming of Jesus Christ as well as His Second Coming. One must be very careful how he interprets this outstanding book.

Zechariah was involved in a ministry of encouraging the Jews to rebuild their Temple, the Temple destroyed by the Babylonians. The Prophet also speaks of a Temple that Jesus will build at His Second Coming, Zechariah 6:12.

In our devotional passage for today, we find prophecy that pertains to the First Coming of Jesus and at the same time the Second Coming as well. Next to the prophetic book of Isaiah, Zechariah is the most prophetic book containing prophecy for the Lord's First Coming.

Verses 6 & 7 reveal a prophecy that looks to the Second Coming but describes what would happen to the Messiah at His First Coming. When Zechariah refers to "wounds in thy hands", it's a reference to the prophecy of Psalms 22:16, a Messianic Psalm and a prophecy fulfilled in the "crucifixion" of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

Verse 7 reveals that Jesus, the "Shepherd", would be the one that they would "smite" and the "sheep would scatter", Matthew 26:31. There are a number of prophecies, over three hundred, in the Old Testament, about the First Coming of Christ.

Of course, Jesus fulfilled each and every one of those prophecies to prove He was truly the Son of God, the Messiah. In this chapter of Zechariah there is a very significant prophecy pertaining to the Second Coming of Christ.

Verse 8 speaks of the "slaughter" of many Jews during the coming time of judgment, the "time of Jacob's trouble". The number of Jews to be killed will number in the millions, in fact, the number will be around 8 million Jews killed during the coming days of judgment.

I arrive at this number by the number of Jews alive today, which is between 12-13 million around the world. Zechariah predicts that two out of every three of those Jews alive today will be killed. That's where I get the number 8 million, plus.

The worst "Holocaust" is yet to come. In Hitler's day only one-third of all Jews were killed that were alive during World War Two, some 18 million. This coming time of judgment will be the worst time in the history of the Jewish people.

The lesson that comes out of this terrible time in the future for the Jewish people is that one-third of the Jews that survive the coming Tribulation will be saved, verse 9. Those surviving Jews will call upon the Lord and say to Him that He is their God.

The Jewish people today need to hear and heed this warning. What a blessing if we could lead as many Jews as possible to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour before the coming "Holocaust".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for this prophecy that warns the Jews and alerts me to the coming judgment for Your chosen people. Help me to witness to Jews of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Monday, February 20, 2017

Zechariah 12:1

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

For further study - Zechariah 12:1-14

Though we consider the book of Zechariah as one of the "minor prophets", I believe he is one of the "major Prophets", based upon his prophetic passages relative to the first coming of Jesus Christ, second only to Isaiah. In addition there is great prophetic significance in the book for the Second Coming.

As we begin our devotional reading for today, by reading the first verse of chapter 12, we are made aware of the foundation for the Lord's authority for giving prophetic truth to this ancient Jewish Prophet.

It's plain and simple, the Lord is not only a "giver of prophetic truth" but also the Creator, the One who "stretched forth the heavens and layeth the foundations of the earth and formeth the spirit of man within him".

Prophecy is unique to Christianity and the Bible for just that reason, the Creator of all things knows what will happen in the future. Creation and prophecy go hand in hand.

Next, the prophet focuses on the city of Jerusalem in the end times, verses 2-3Verse 2 speaks of Jerusalem as a "cup of trembling".

Remember, this is "apocalyptic" literature, using a "symbol" to communicate an absolute truth. The rule for interpretation of apocalyptic literature is that another scripture passage will give the interpretation.

Proverbs 23:31 speaks of the "juice of the vine and when it is red, when it giveth it's color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright," the liquid is intoxicating and the exhortation is "to not look upon the cup".

This Zechariah passage is speaking of Jerusalem, a "cup of trembling", as being intoxicating. Those who have control over Jerusalem, and in particular the Temple Mount, to them it will become "intoxicating".

Verse 3 is speaking of how that control of the Temple Mount becomes a "heavy burden", a heavy weight too burdensome to lift. Today, those who control the Temple Mount, the "Islamic Trust", have become intoxicated with that power.

As usual I can only pick the "mountain peaks" of blessing in each passage. For example, look at verse 10, this verse has been misunderstood as it relates to its time frame. The verse does not happen after Jesus comes back, that's not until Zechariah 14:4, but instead it's happening today.

As the Jews stand praying and mourning today at the "wailing wall", or better known as the "Western Wall", they are looking directly at the location where Christ was crucified, where His hands were pierced.

The Jews, not yet realizing it, are "mourning" today for the One they pierced. Notice in verses 11-14 that this "mourning" is done with the wives and husbands separated. That's the way the religious Jews worship and pray today at the Western Wall.

As the Jews today are "looking upon Him who they have pierced" it is evident that we are living in the time Zechariah wrote about, the end times. Remember, Zechariah 14 is the Lord's return but, seven years earlier the Rapture takes place, and it could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for prophecy that alerts me to the nearness of the Rapture. Help me to live in light of these precious truths.
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Zechariah 8:23

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

For further study - Zechariah 8:13-23

Zechariah, along with Haggai and Malachi, were the three prophets who had a ministry of foretelling the future, actually pre-writing history, about 2,500 years ago after the Babylonian Captivity.

You might remember that all of prophecy has either a short-term fulfillment and/or a long-term fulfillment. By that I mean that prophecy given by the ancient Jewish prophets would be fulfilled in the near future as compared to a last days prophecy that will be fulfilled near the time of the Second Coming of Christ.

This is the case with Zechariah, his prophetic ministry was effective in his day as he exhorted the Jews who had returned from the Babylonian Captivity to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

However, as in the case of our devotional reading for today, Zechariah was writing about a time yet future. This would be a time during his Kingdom period of 1,000 years, which indeed is yet future.

The Lord reveals to Zechariah that the Jews will be scattered among the heathen, the nations of this world, for a period of time. This has been the case since the Jews were scattered to the four corners of the earth, verse 13, because of their disobedience to the Lord.

This scattering of the Jews happened in 70AD. Verses 15-19 reveal to us that the Lord will gather these Jews back into Jerusalem, and Israel, for the purpose of becoming their Messiah. The Lord will be their God, and the Jews, His people.

In these verses, verses 15-19, the Lord reveals to the Jews how they will then live. By the way, we Christians might well benefit from the message to the Jews for daily living as we appropriate these instructions for our daily living as well, verses 16-17. This is prophecy made very practical.

Verses 20-23 tell us of the time when Jesus rules and reigns from His Temple in Jerusalem, Zechariah 6:12-13, and what will happen among the nations of the world at that time. People will actually search out Jews and go with them, because they will have heard that God is with them, verse 23.

Of course the Jews will lead these from among the nations, up to Jerusalem, where Jesus will be ruling and reigning from the Temple. Jerusalem has always been and always will be the center of the earth, Ezekiel 5:5.

God has a plan for the Jews in the future, He is not finished with His chosen people. The Church, Christians, have not replaced the "people of His plan", the Jewish people.

Everything that is happening among the Jewish people today is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for Your Word that reveals Your plan for the future and the people of the future.
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Zechariah 6:12

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
For further study - Zechariah 6:9-15

Zechariah is a prophet that had a two-fold prophetic ministry. He had studied to be a "priest" while in the Babylonian Captivity when there was no Temple standing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Zechariah is one of three men who were qualified priest and men who also the Lord called to be "prophets". The other two, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, had unique ministries as well and wrote prophecy that focused on events unfolding here on earth in what seems to be the end times.

One aspect of Zechariah's ministry was encouraging the children of Israel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, after they returned from the Babylonian Captivity. In our extended reading for today, and in fact, in the key verse we see that the Temple referred to as "Messiah's Temple" is in focus rather than the Temple in Zechariah's day.

Messiah's Temple is the "House of Worship" that will stand in Jerusalem in the Kingdom, a physical Kingdom yet to come, in the 1,000 year period following the return of Jesus Christ back to earth.
Verse 12 reveals that Jesus Christ, the "Branch", is the one who will build this Millennial Temple.

The "Branch" is the name for Jesus in the Old Testament, which can be found in Isaiah 4:2Jeremiah 33:15Zechariah 3:8 and here in our key verse for our devotional reading today, verse 12.

Jesus, in a pre-incarnate appearance to Zechariah, Zechariah 1:14-16, states that He is "aggressively possessive" of Jerusalem, verse 14; He is displeased with those who in their "secure arrogance" control the Temple Mount, verse 15; and that He will come back to Jerusalem to build His Temple, verse 16.

Zechariah 6:13
 confirms that Jesus Christ is the one who will build the Millennial Temple. This passage pre-writes the history of that Kingdom period to come. The verse states that Jesus will rule and reign as the "King of Kings" and also serve as the "High Priest" at this Temple.

These prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. There will be a Temple standing in Jerusalem in the future. However, let me remind you this Temple is in the Kingdom period on earth.

Daniel 9:27Matthew 24:15II Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:2 tell us there will be a Temple in Jerusalem during the seven year Tribulation Period. All the preparations have been made to erect that Temple and re-institute the Temple practices.

That "Tribulation Temple" could be in operation in the very near future. This is evidence that the shout for Christians to leave this earth at the Rapture of the Church is close, perhaps today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for all the Biblical evidence of Your soon coming, help me to live in light of this evidence and this soon coming.
Friday, February 17, 2017

Zechariah 4:6

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

For further study - Zechariah 4:1-14

This passage, in the fourth chapter of Zechariah's prophecy, is rich with truth pertaining to the days of Zechariah and to days in the future as well. Remember, Haggai and Zechariah were the two prophets the Lord raised up to encourage the 50,000 Jews who returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Captivity. These Jews, led by Joshua and Zerubbabel, on their trip back "home", were to rebuild the temple.

Nearly 20 years after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, from Babylon, they had not finished the work of the Second Temple, the one replacing Solomon's Temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians.

By the way, this temple, the Second Temple, would be the one in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, here on earth. During the days that Herod the Great reigned in Jerusalem, the people called it "Herod's Temple", only because Herod restored the Second Temple to its majesty.

Joshua and Zerubbabel were the two leaders that led the almost 50,000 Jews back to Jerusalem for the sole purpose of rebuilding the temple. The Jews were very negligent in following the Lord's direction on the "temple building project".

You might recall, I referred to Haggai as the prophet "in your face". Zechariah was the prophet who had the "gift of mercy". The Lord would use Zechariah to "love the people into rebuilding the temple".

Notice verse 6, our key verse, where Zechariah uses the truth about the "Spirit" of the Lord of Hosts as the power by which the temple would be built. We often need to be reminded that what we do, and accomplish for the Lord, is not done by our own power, but by His Spirit.

As Zerubbabel laid the foundations for the temple and continued to lead the project, they would finish the Lord's work as they had been directed. It was during this time that the prophet Zechariah got this prophecy of the "candlestick" and of the "two olive trees".

In Zechariah's day, the "two olive trees" were Joshua and Zerubbabel. The "candlestick" was the Temple, which housed the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra.

The prophecy given to Zechariah would be fulfilled in his day. However, this same "prophecy", would have a future fulfillment that would come to pass during the seven year Tribulation Period.
Revelation 11:3-12 reveals the "two witnesses" who minister from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the first three and a half years of the Tribulation.

Notice Revelation 11:4, "the two olive trees", these are the same as the "two olive trees" in Zechariah's prophecy. The two witnesses of Revelation 11 are Elijah and Enoch, the only two men who have never died. At the end of the three and a half years of ministry, they will be killed, as demanded in Hebrews 9:27. They will resurrect and enter into the heavens.

I believe, as the song says, "we are living in the days of Elijah". So much of Bible prophecy is coming together as foretold by the ancient Jewish prophets, including Zechariah. The Rapture could happen at any time - maybe today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for the potential of a soon coming Rapture of the Church. Help me to point the lost to You for salvation.
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Zechariah 3:9

For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
For further study - Zechariah 3:1-10

Zechariah 3 is a record of one of the visions the prophet received from the Lord. It is a prophecy of the Jewish people as a whole, not each individual, but as a whole turning to Christ as their Saviour.
This salvation will come to the Jews "in a day", verse 9. In addition to the central theme of the chapter there are a number of great truths that must be seen as we read through our devotions for today.

Joshua "the High Priest", verse 1, is the representative of the Jewish people to whom the prophecy is given. Remember the High Priest went as the representative of all Jews when he entered the "Holy of Holies" on the Day of Atonement to offer the sacrifice that would "cover" the sins of the Jewish people for one year.

The high priest, Joshua, representing the Jewish people, will stand before God and the vision reveals that Satan is there to accuse them; however, Jesus Christ is there as well. The "Angel of the Lord" is a "pre-incarnate" appearance of Jesus.

Joshua has on "filthy garments", representing sin, as he stands before God and Jesus tells him to take off his "filthy garment" and get dressed in "clean garments".

"Filthy garments" represent the sins of all humankind and "clean garments" the righteousness of God, verses 2-6.

By the way, notice who it is that can rebuke Satan, only the Lord Jesus Christ, verse 2. We must never rebuke the devil, but submit to the Lord and the devil will flee from us, because of the rebuke of the Lord, James 4:7.

Verse 8 tells us that the Lord will bring Jesus Christ, "the BRANCH", to remove the sins of the people, not just cover them for a year. This will happen in "one day", verse 9In the context of this apocalyptic passage the "high priest" Joshua is also representative of Jesus Christ the High Priest, Hebrews 8:1.

Jesus as the High Priest will enter the "Holy of Holies" of the Temple He builds, Zechariah 6:12 on the Jewish Feast day of "Yom Kippur", Day of Atonement, in the future to remove the iniquity of the Jewish people, forever.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, dear Lord, for removing my sins and giving me eternal life. Help me to share this message with others that need this same salvation.