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Friday, March 31, 2017

Acts 2:22

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
For further study - Acts 2:1-24

As we approach a very controversial passage of scripture for our devotional reading today I would like to share several thoughts with you that may help each of us to understand better what actually did happen on that "Day of Pentecost" almost 2,000 years ago.

"Pentecost" is one of the seven Jewish feast days that God gave the Jewish people, the last of the four spring feasts. It was the day that the promise of Jesus was fulfilled as He said it would be, the Holy Spirit would come to the new converts of Christ, those who would be called Christian, John 16:7-13.

I would like for you to think about several thoughts I have gleaned in my study of this portion of scripture. On this particular "Day of Pentecost" there were Jews from "every nation under heaven", verse 5, in Jerusalem.

Pentecost was a "pilgrim feast day" and the Jews were required to come to Jerusalem to observe the "feast". This meant that all twelve tribes were in Jerusalem, no "ten lost tribes" were missing.

Also, please notice that on Pentecost there was no such thing as people speaking in "unknown tongues or languages". The passage gives us a list of all the languages spoken that day, verses 6-11.

By the way, notice what they were speaking in the languages of the peoples gathered there that day, verse 11, "the wonderful works of God". That phrase is interpreted in verses 22-24 where Peter, the preacher on the "Day of Pentecost", gave the Jews gathered in Jerusalem, the "gospel", the death of Jesus Christ, verse 23, and the resurrection, verse 24.

On this day "about 3,000 souls", verse 41, were saved. There is one more controversial item to deal with, Peter's reference to the Prophet Joel's prophecy, found in Joel 2:29-32.

I want you to know that whatever Peter was saying, he was not saying that Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled that day. It's interesting to note that nowhere in Joel's prophecy does it call for "speaking in tongues".

It does, however, call for "marvelous signs in the heavens" to happen, verses 19-20, and none of those things happened that day. What did happen, as Joel said, was that those "who called upon the name of the Lord", verse 21, did get saved.

One other thought about Joel's prophecy, verses 15-21, it could not have been fulfilled on that "Day of Pentecost" because the ancient Jewish prophet Joel said that this prophecy would be fulfilled during the "Day of the Lord".

That period, "The Day of the Lord", does not begin until after the Rapture of the Church and takes place during the lead-up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, during the Tribulation Period. That's what Joel's prophecy is describing in Joel 2, "the Day of the Lord", this is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. (Please see my audio series on "Joel".)

The "Day of Pentecost" was a great day for me as a Gentile, it marked the beginning of the "Church Period", verse 47. From that day, until the Rapture, both Gentiles and Jews who come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour are part of the "body of Christ", the Church, His bride.

It is this "bride", the Church, which Jesus will shout for to join Him in the heavens at the Rapture of the Church. There is no prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture. All prophecy yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled after the Rapture. The Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for that special group, the Church, of which I am a part and whom You will call to be with You in heaven at the Rapture of the Church, which could happen today.
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Acts 1:11

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
For further study - Acts 1:8-14

This Scripture, the record of the ascension of Jesus back to heaven, has much to say about the events of that day recorded in Acts, but also about the future. This passage also lays out the plan Jesus had for spreading the Gospel to the world.

Jesus told them to "tarry" there until they had received the "power of the Holy Spirit" which He had promised, John 16, and then be "witnesses" of what He had done, around the world. This message was to go first to Jerusalem, then to Judea and Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth.

As soon as our Lord had given His disciples His method for spreading the Gospel, a cloud came and took Him up into heaven, Acts 1:9. The truth be known, on a clear day, I pray for clouds because the next verse says, "as He has gone, so shall He return in the clouds".

At that time, "two men in white apparel", Acts 1:10, standing there gave the confirmation that He would return in the same manner and to the same place, the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4.

But please notice the two men in white apparel that gave us this information. I have an idea as to the identity of these two men. Before I tell you, please notice another verse in the Gospel of Luke also written by the author of Acts, Dr. Luke. In Luke 24:4 it records "two men also in white apparel" who told the Mary’s that Jesus was not in the grave but had risen from the dead.

I believe I know who these two men are also. They are the same two men of Acts 1:10. You see, these two men witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension into heaven and said He would return. These are the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12. These two witnesses preach 3 1/2 years from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Their message will be that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and went to heaven but is coming again to the same spot where He departed. These two themes will be the message of these two witnesses, which will bring many to Christ during the coming Tribulation Period. I believe that time may well be in the near future.

Remember, before these "two witness" appear in Jerusalem the Rapture takes place. All current events seem to indicate that the prophetic scenario found in God’s Word for the end times is about to be fulfilled, right after the Rapture. Keep looking up…….. The Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, to be your witness to a lost and dying world where I am, in Jerusalem and then to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Acts 1:3

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

For further study - Acts 1:1-7

Dr. Luke, the author of the book of Acts, has given us the account of the "post resurrection" days of Jesus Christ, His departure for the heavens and the history of the early church with all of its problems and blessings as the followers of Christ move out to spread the message to all the world.

As a prophecy student and teacher, I especially like this first seven verses of Acts because it focuses us on what Jesus thought to be a priority for Him as He spent 40 days with His disciples. Verse 3 explains that Jesus showed Himself alive after His resurrection for the 40 days leading up to His departure.

Verse 3 also reveals to us the subject of the teaching that Jesus gave His disciples for that almost 6-week period. Jesus focused on the things pertaining to the "kingdom of God" to come.

In fact, when asked, Jesus said He could not tell His disciples that it was the time for Him to set up the kingdom. The Lord told these inquisitive young men that only His Father knew when that day would be.

It is very interesting to me that Jesus spent the last six months of His life on earth teaching prophecy to His disciples. Then, with only 40 days after His resurrection, He again focused on prophecy.

It is also interesting to note that the last book of the Bible, Revelation, includes the letters to the "seven churches" of Asia Minor and each of these letters contain prophetic truth that the Lord's people need to know. Jesus put an importance on knowing the "truth of prophecy" for all those who follow Him.

Over 30% of the Bible is prophecy and that seems to indicate to me the emphasis that the Lord puts on prophecy. Any individual Bible study should include a study of prophecy. The study of prophecy will help us to understand the current events of our day. The study of prophecy also gives us an assurance that the Lord is still in charge of world affairs.

Jesus understood this, of course, so He taught His followers what the future would hold and what would give evidence of the time of His return. With the understanding that the Lord could return at any time these disciples went forth to turn the world of their day "upside down", Acts 17:6.

The Lord’s men, with only a promise that He would return went to action. How much more evidence we have that His return is so much closer than two thousand years ago. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that the Rapture, the next prophetic event in God’s plan for the last days, could happen today. We must be like the first century Christians and get in the action for the Lord right now.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to understand the days that I live in could well be the time of Your return Lord and therefore, help me to go out and turn the world "upside down".
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

John 21:25

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

For further study - John 21:12-25

To me this is an exciting passage of scripture for a number of reasons. The time is after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the location is the shores of the Sea of Galilee, which is one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Israel.

The disciples had been out fishing, verses 3-11, while the risen Saviour, Jesus Christ was on the shore actually cooking, preparing a meal for His disciples. I love His invitation to the disciples, "Come and dine", verse 12.

The opportunity to sit and have a meal with Jesus, the Messiah, would be such a blessing. One day we will join Him at the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb", what a day that will be for all of us who love Him.

There is a very interesting conversation that goes on between Jesus and Peter that gives us instructions for our own lives, if we appropriate this exhortation found in verses 15-17.

As we eavesdrop on the conversation we hear Jesus ask Peter three times if he, as a disciple of Christ, really loved Him. Each time Peter responded with, "Thou knowest I love thee".

The Lord's response to Peter was then for Him to "feed, My lambs", the ones that Jesus had given salvation. The exhortation from Jesus is, "If you love me, go work with those I have given eternal life". And as was the case with Peter, we will help them grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Another very interesting passage is the next part of the Lord's conversation with Peter, verses 18-24. In essence, Jesus says to Peter, that His trusted disciple, verse 18, would get old before he died.

Maybe at first glance you don't notice anything about this statement; however, as I thought about the fact that Jesus told Peter he would get old before he died meant that the Rapture could not have happened until after Peter's death.

A study of Acts reveals that Peter, along with the other disciples, believed that Jesus might come back to earth, after His ascension, at any moment. The truth be known, Jesus could not Rapture Peter out of this world, he was to die in old age.

What's exciting is that Peter worked as if the Lord could come at any moment and He went out with the other disciples and turned the world "upside down", Acts 17:6.

The personal application for us is that today, Jesus could call us at "any moment" to join Him in the air at the Rapture of the Church. We must follow Peter's example and go out and turn the world "right side up," it's already "upside down".

One more thought before we leave this passage, look at verse 25. All that Jesus did was not recorded for us to read in this book or any other book, only what He knew we needed to know.

The reason it was not written was that there is not a library, or even the world, that could contain all the books that should have been written about Jesus Christ. What a life Jesus lived.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to be faithful to read Your Word so I can "feed Your lambs" as I also feed myself and await Your shout to join You in the air.
Monday, March 27, 2017

John 17:24

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
For further study - John 17:1-26

Today's portion of scripture from the Gospel of John is the record of the "Lord's Prayer". But you may say, I thought the prayer, "Our Father which art in heaven", Matthew 6:9-13, was the "Lord's Prayer".

Actually the Matthew passage is the "Disciple's Prayer," the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. It's the model prayer for all of our prayers.

The extended reading for our devotional today, John 17, is the "Lord's Prayer". It is the prayer that Jesus made to the Father on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane, right after the "Last Supper", the evening before Jesus would be crucified in Jerusalem the next afternoon.

It is a prayer worth reading over and over again. There are so many Biblical truths that we can glean from these twenty-six verses. As is the case always, I can only point out a few of these blessed truths or principles that we can, and must, appropriate for ourselves.

Verses 1-3 tell us that Jesus is the "way", the only way to "life eternal", the One that God the Father sent to give us this "life eternal".

On the evening just before He would be crucified, the next day, Jesus told the Father that He, the Son, had come to the point of the "finished work," He had been sent to do in this world, verse 4.

We also get a glimpse of the Lord's "intercessory ministry" as He prays to God for those of us who are His children, through salvation, verses 6-10. The prayers of Jesus, to His Father, were for the Father to "keep us", in the world. This is a world we will live in until He calls us up to be with Him at the Rapture, or we die and go to be with Him, verses 11-12.

We are reminded that though "we are still in this world, we are not of this world", verses 15-16. The Lord's Prayer for us is that we be kept from evil, verse 15Verse 17 tells us how we can be "set apart", sanctified, in this word through His Word which is truth.

We see that as the Father sent Jesus into this world on a mission, we are also sent, by Jesus, into the world on a mission. I love verse 24. The Lord's Prayer to the Father is that those of us who are saved will be with Jesus, where He is, at this time.

This is a prayer that will be answered at the Rapture of the Church when we who are Christians will be caught up to be with Him in answer to the Lord's Prayer. I don't know about you but I can hardly wait for that to happen.

The Rapture could happen today, the Lord's Prayers could be answered today. Keep looking up, it could well be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your prayers on my behalf and for Your intercessory ministry today. I await the day that Your prayer for me to be where You are will be answered as well, maybe today.
Sunday, March 26, 2017

John 16:13

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
For further study - John 16:1-15

Today I have chosen a very practical portion of scripture for our devotional reading, a passage that is practical and prophetic.

John 16
 takes place at the end of the "Passover Seder" that Jesus and His disciples were observing the night before Jesus would be crucified the next afternoon at 3:00pm on the day of "Passover".

Jesus was still teaching His disciples at the meal before His arrest, followed by the night of beating and Crucifixion the next day. He was also trying to comfort and encourage His disciples, these men who had traveled with Jesus for the last 3 1/2 years leading up to "Passion Week". These men were very anxious not knowing what would happen to them.

Jesus had told them that He was going to be crucified. For the last six months before the Lord's death the disciples were aware of what would happen to Jesus but fearful of what might befall them.

Jesus told them that it was actually expedient that He must die, "go away," verse 7, because if He did not depart the earth the "Comforter" would not come to them. Using the term "Comforter", Jesus was referring to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, verse 8, would "reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment". Verses 12-14 give us much insight into the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is somewhat different than what the world thinks that ministry is today.

Jesus said that He must depart so that then the Holy Spirit would be able to come. Don't misunderstand, the Holy Spirit is "omnipresent", He is always present, but the Lord was referring to the new, unique ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 13 says that the Holy Spirit "shall not speak of Himself ". Any activity that would attract attention to the Holy Spirit is not of God, according to Jesus. Verse 14 says that the Holy Spirit's ministry is to glorify Jesus, "He should glorify Me".

No one should ever praise the Holy Spirit for what He, the Holy Spirit, has done. The Holy Spirit should not speak of Himself but only "glorify Jesus". There is another ministry for the Holy Spirit according to Jesus. Jesus said, verse 12 that "He had many things to tell us but we may not be able to bare them".

Therefore, Jesus must go so He can send the Holy Spirit to "guide us into all truth", verse 13, and "to show us things to come".

I often tell those who hear me preach and say that I have given them so much information they don't know if they can assimilate it into their brain, I tell them that it's in their brain, having entered through their "ear gate" by listening to me, and that the Holy Spirit will teach them the prophetic truths of God's Word.

What a blessed thing that Jesus did for us, not only His death, burial and resurrection that gives us eternal life, but His sending of the Holy Spirit to teach us "things to come".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Jesus for sending us the Holy Spirit to teach us things to come.  Allow the knowledge of these prophetic truths to help us live our lives as we await Your soon return.
Saturday, March 25, 2017

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

For further study - John 14:1-31

As I was selecting the passage for our devotional reading today, I looked at John 14 and realized it was all so good, I decided to use the entire chapter for our extended reading.

There is such great truth in the whole chapter. In this devotional I'll share several highlights and I am sure you could add other great highlights, if you were writing the devotional.

Notice that our key verse and the first verse of John 14 both have the phrase, "Let not your heart be troubled". As you read these two verses you must remember the circumstances surrounding this chapter.

Jesus was with His disciples in an "upper room" and had been celebrating the "Passover Seder", the time when the Jews annually rehearse the story of the Exodus and would have a meal similar to the one their forefathers would have had on the first Passover Seder.

It was the meal of lamb, the "Passover Lamb", and "unleavened bread", along with "bitter herbs" the three ingredients called for in scripture. These foodstuffs were to remind the Jewish people of what took place some 1,500 years before that night recorded in John 14.

The next afternoon Jesus Christ would be crucified on Passover at 3:00 PM, in the last part of the Jewish day, which concluded at sundown. The disciples must have been having anxiety attacks not knowing what would, or could happen to them when Jesus was crucified.

The Lord comforts them with His words, "Let not your heart be troubled". Our key verse adds, "neither let it be afraid". This is, as well, the Lord's words of comfort for us even today when we face troublesome times.

The Lord also told them that when He went away, the Father would send the "Comforter", the Holy Spirit, verses 16 & 26. Jesus said the "Comforter" would not only comfort them but also teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance that He had taught them.

This is another very practical promise for us today. The Lord began His comforting exhortation with the promise that He was going into the heavenlies to prepare a place for those of us who are a "prepared people", believers in Christ, Christians.

This promise also contained the promise of His coming back to get them, and us, and then to go with Him to that "prepared place". By the way, this passage is not talking about the Second Coming but instead it's the first mention of the Rapture.

At the Second Coming we return to Earth with Jesus, riding white horses, Revelation 19 & Zechariah 14, to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This passage says, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself", verse 3. The passage is not describing the Second Coming, but is describing the Rapture, the time when we respond to His shout to enter the heavenlies to be with Him forevermore.

Remember, the disciples were very anxious that night, this new truth must have gone right over their heads. It would be around twenty-five years later before the Apostle Paul would make it very clear about the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

This is the first mention of the Rapture in scripture, and our Lord made the promise that it would happen, thus it will happen. The truth is that the Rapture could happen at any moment. There is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture. All prophecies remaining to be fulfilled happen after the rapture.

Keep looking up... It could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the promise of the rapture, help me to be prepared, pure and productive until I hear Your shout to join You in the heavenlies.
Friday, March 24, 2017

John 13:19

Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

For further study - John 13:1-20

John records the account of the "Passover Seder" that took place the evening before Christ would be crucified the next afternoon. The "Passover Seder" was an annual event, a Jewish feast day, that the Lord gave to the Jewish people.

In fact, it was the first of the seven Jewish feast days as recorded in Leviticus 23. The Passover was to be celebrated on an annual basis from the time of the very first Passover that took place the night of the "Exodus".

Exodus 12 records the first Passover and in that chapter the Lord tells, commands, the Jews to rehearse the story of the "Exodus" and to have the "Passover Seder" meal with the family every year, Exodus 12:14.

In this account of the "Passover Seder" the writer, John the Apostle, records the Lord washing the feet of the disciples. The Lord came to the Apostle Peter to wash His feet and Peter objected, verses 6-8.

There is a very interesting phrase used by Peter, verse 8. Peter tells the Lord that He, "shall never wash his feet". In essence Peter was saying, "not so Lord" which Peter would do three times in his life, Matthew 16:22, in this passage and when told to go to the Gentiles with the gospel message, Acts 10:14.

Peter said to the Lord three times, "Not so Lord". You know it is impossible to use that phrase, "Not so Lord". If indeed Jesus Christ is "Lord", you cannot say, "Not so". If you say, "Not so", then Jesus is not Lord.

Jesus was demonstrating to His disciples, who He had been training for three years, how to be humble and to lead, as a "servant". The best kind of leader in the world and in the church is one who leads by serving.

This passage describes a very special evening that would remind those Jewish disciples at the table of the time of the Passover, that very first Passover almost 1,500 years before the meal Jesus had with His disciples that night.

The lamb that they ate at the meal represented the "Passover lamb" whose blood had been used to paint the "doorpost" of the homes in Egypt on the night of the first "Passover".

The next afternoon, about eighteen hours later, Jesus would become our "Passover lamb" when He would be sacrificed to provide for our salvation.

Please note one more item in this passage, verse 19. The Lord Jesus Christ tells His very worried disciples that He was telling them what was going to happen before it happened, so that when it did come to pass they would know, and believe, that He was who He said He was and would, and could do what He said He would do, as well.

This is the "essence of prophecy", we can rest assured that He is the Messiah because He has given us prophetic truth, and in fact, laid out a scenario of what will happen in the future. In current events we can see the "stage being set" for these prophecies to be fulfilled.

That's what Bible prophecy does, it gives us the evidence that He is the One who does what He says He can do, and will do, according to His prophetic Word. That also gives us assurance, a blessed assurance, of the reality of an all mighty, powerful, prophecy-fulfilling holy God.

Therefore, we should everyday be looking for Him to call us up into the heavenlies to be with Him forever more at the Rapture, which could happen today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for being who You said You are and doing what You said You would do. And we look forward to the future and Your promises to be fulfilled, as well.
Thursday, March 23, 2017

John 2:11

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
For further study - John 2:1-12

The portion for our reading today is the record of the very first miracle that Jesus Christ did during His three and a half years of ministry. He healed the lame, restored sight to the blind, cast demons out of people, and even raised the dead. However, the first miracle was the making of wine out of water for the wedding guests at a wedding that He and His disciples were attending.

There is much I want to share with you from this passage of Scripture. Notice the comment in John 2:1 that on the "third day of the wedding" Jesus came with His disciples to a gathering that His mother was attending. It is referring to the "7-day feast" that follows the marriage ceremony of a Jewish couple. Even today, Jewish families celebrate the new marriage of their loved ones or friends for this 7-day period.

That will also be the case at the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb", Revelation 19:7-9, when, for 7 years, Christians, the "Bride", married to Jesus Christ, the "Bridegroom", will celebrate in the heavens that wedding. By the way, that is the reason the wine had run out for the guests. There were more that showed up than the father of the bride had expected.

The text tells us that the mother of Jesus asked Him to make "wine out of water". The truth is, that what Jesus did was not for the convenience of the wedding guests. He did no miracle for convenience but, instead, to confirm His Messianic claims. This is the case here also. I will prove that from the text in a moment.

But first, look at what actually happened. Jesus told His disciples to fill the 6 water pots full of water - but notice that they were special water pots. John 2:6 says "they were for the purifying of the Jews".

In other words, these pots had water with "ashes of the red heifer" in them. This ashen water was for purifying the Jews, for making them pure after being desecrated.

As we look to the future from this point in history in John 2, we know that the "blood of Jesus" makes us pure, not ashes of a red heifer in water. Jesus, with this miracle, took back the "red heifer ordinance", Numbers 19, the purification process for all who come unto Him, thus, water to wine with the wine, as always, symbolic of "His blood".

Remember I said no miracle for "convenience" but for ''confirmation". The miracle in John 2:11 was the first He did to manifest His glory, so that His disciples believed on Him.

One final thought, the next temple does need a red heifer and its ashes because it is not Messiah's Temple but the temple of the Antichrist. There is now a red heifer ready to fulfill that need.

Please also remember, the building of the next temple will not begin until after the Rapture. With all the preparations made for that next temple and the Jews wanting to start construction on that temple right now, it seems very likely that the Rapture is about to happen. Keep looking up, it could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for Your word that records the events of Your life which confirm Your Messianic claims.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

John 1:14

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

For further study - John 1:1-14

These 14 verses in the first chapter of the Gospel of John are some of the most profound words written in the scriptures. This explanation of the characteristics of the God-head is as good as any to be found anywhere in the world.

The truth found in these verses could well be expanded into volumes on the subjects of God, the creation, the Son, His incarnation, His grace, His truth and so much more.

I hope as you read through these verses, and any portion of scripture we suggest you read for your devotions, that you will spend some time prayerfully considering the awesomeness of His word. So far in this devotional thought, I have used the word, "word" only once.

If you read the passage first and then my thoughts, you have already read "word" several times. The "Word" is the person of Jesus Christ who was with God in the very beginning and even before that, He has always been.

May I suggest that John 1:1 is the oldest verse in the Bible - even older than Genesis 1:1Genesis 1:1 describes what Jesus did in the beginning - He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, verse 3. But, of course, before that first creative act of bringing the world into existence, there was the God-head, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son - the "Word".

The first prophetic passage that looks forward to the coming of a Messiah was given by the Lord to Adam and Eve and tells of a "saviour" to come, Genesis 3:15. That prophecy was fulfilled when the "Word" was made flesh and dwelt among man on the earth, verse 14.

As it relates to "prophecy", John 1:14 is the record of the fulfillment of that 6,000 year old "prophecy". The great truth of this passage is that we know who the Creator was, it was the "Word", verse 3, Jesus Christ. With that understanding, we can rest assured that the one who created all that there is can also tell us the future for all that is found in creation.

What a blessed assurance. Since this prophecy was fulfilled then we can rest assured any other prophecy He gives will also come to pass. Praise His name, the Word.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to understand His word for today and the future.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Luke 24:6

He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee.

For further study - Luke 24:1-12

This portion of Luke 24 that I have selected for today’s devotional reading is a record of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as recorded by Dr. Luke. This event in history is the cornerstone of our faith due to the fact that Jesus Christ had to raise from the dead to prove He was who He said He was.

His resurrection is also proof that He can do what He said He would do, at this time in history and in the future. Jesus Christ died to take away our sin and rose from the dead to prove He was the one qualified to do that.

I could write a lot about the resurrection from this passage but I want to point you to several verses and share with you what may be some new thoughts for you to consider. Verses 4 to 6 are the portion of the text that I’m referring to for your consideration.

When the "Mary’s" arrived at the grave sight, verses 1-3, they found the "stone rolled away from the sepulcher". They even entered the burial sight and did not see the body of Jesus. The body was gone.

These ladies, also saw "two men in shining garments" standing near the burial sight. As the women stood there "perplexed" the two men spoke to them saying, "He is not here, but is risen", verse 6.

These two "men" had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only "eye witnesses" to the resurrection. They then gave testimony of what had happened to these ladies that had come to minister at the grave site of Jesus.

It is interesting to me that there were also "two men" watching Jesus ascend into heaven, as recorded in another book that Dr Luke wrote to reveal the activities of Jesus. The book of Acts records the events of that day when Jesus went to heaven as His disciples watched Him go to "His Father’s house".

Notice that in the account of the Lord’s return to heaven, after His resurrection, Acts 1:9-11, there were also "two men" standing by watching, verse 10. These men told those gathered there on the Mount of Olives that as He had gone to heaven, He would return to Earth someday.

I bring these two events, with "two men" in attendance at both, to your attention to have you consider that these "two men" are most likely the "Two Witnesses" of Revelation 11 who will have a three and one half year ministry from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Remember, a "witness" gives testimony of what he saw. During the Tribulation Period to come the "two witnesses" will be preaching and there will be many people that come to salvation through Jesus Christ, a result of His resurrection.

The message of the Two Witnesses during the Tribulation, at least the first of the seven years, will be that Jesus resurrected from the dead and He is coming again. That’s the "gospel of the kingdom" that will be preached to the whole world, Matthew 24:14, before Jesus comes back to Earth.

One of those witnesses will be Elijah, Malachi 4:5. I rejoice every time they sing at church the song, "We are living in the days of Elijah". I do believe that we are living in "those days". These "days" will be those that will follow the Rapture of the Church.

Remember, before the Tribulation, the time period of the ministry of the "Two Witnesses", Jesus will shout for us to join Him in the heavens and that day could be today…. So keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord help me to realize that we are living in the "days of Elijah" and live, expecting Jesus to call us up to heaven at any moment.
Monday, March 20, 2017

Luke 21:24

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

For further study - Luke 21:20-28

Once again we go to the "well" of the "Olivet Discourse" for a "prophetic prospective" that applies to our day as well as to the day Jesus spoke these words on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and Dr Luke recorded them for us so that we might be able to read and learn from this passage, today.

Verses 5 and 6 of Luke 21 are parallel verses to both Matthew 24:1-3 and Mark 13:1-3. Jesus, while teaching on the Temple Mount on Monday afternoon of "Passion Week", made an astounding statement as He walked from the Temple, through the Eastern Gate, across the Kidron Valley and onto the Mount of Olives.

Jesus looked back at the "twenty-one story" Temple shining brightly on the Jerusalem horizon, because of the gold on this worship center, and the Lord made a prediction that one day in the near future there would not be a stone standing upon a stone on this majestic Temple.

The disciples gathered quickly around Jesus to ask Him more about His statement concerning the Temple. In the record of the "Olivet Discourse" filed in Matthew 24 Jesus does not respond to the question of the disciples as to when His prophecy would be fulfilled.

However, in our devotional reading for today, Luke records what the Lord told the disciples about the destruction of this Temple. In Luke 21:5-28 you have Luke's version of the entire "Olivet Discourse".

In verses 20-24 you have the answer to the disciples question about when the Temple would be destroyed. Jesus said, verse 20, that when they saw "armies" gathered around Jerusalem that would be a "significant sign" as to when the Temple's destruction would take place.

Jesus told the disciples that when they did see the "warning signs" to "flee to the mountains",verse 21. In the context of historic fact about the Roman Army who surrounded Jerusalem and the Temple for three years we can see how things unfolded.

General Titus gave the order to destroy the Temple and this mighty Roman Army followed through on that infamous day in 70 AD. I believe the Jews in 70 AD fled to "Masada" a "fortress stronghold" built by Herod the Great at the southwestern corner of the Dead Sea.

I make this statement because of verse 24. This verse gives us information about what happened the day the Temple was destroyed and literally ripped apart, stone by stone with no stone remaining upon another as the Roman Army finished their destructive work.

By the way, the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled almost forty years to the day after the Lord gave this prophecy. Notice verse 24 again, it is detailing how when the Temple was destroyed the Jews were scattered to the nations of the world.

Then another prophecy about Jerusalem appears. The prophecy is that the Temple Mount will be "trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled". "Gentiles", the United States, European Union, the United Nations, Arab Nations and all Gentile nations of the world who play a role in having control of the city of Jerusalem today and in particular the Temple Mount.

These Gentiles will continue to do so until Jesus comes back to Jerusalem and destroys the "Gentile world powers". The stage is set for this prophecy to be fulfilled. Remember, the Rapture happens first and then these prophecies are fulfilled.

By the way, the Rapture could happen today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to understand Your prophetic warnings and to then apply them to my life as I live expectantly awaiting Your return, even so come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Luke 19:42

Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.

For further study - Luke 19:41-48

Our key verse has a relationship with the ancient Jewish prophet Daniel and his writings, which I will get to in a moment. Let me set the scene for you as you read the extended portion of our devotional.

The previous thirteen verses, verses 28-40, are a description of the Lord's "Triumphal Entry" into the city of Jerusalem and onto the Temple Mount. The people who had rejected the Lord now welcomed Him into the city as a ruling King.

It is interesting to note the response of the Pharisee, verse 39, and what Jesus had to say to them as they complained to the Lord of all the commotion by His disciples, asking Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Jesus responded with, if He had shut up those who welcomed Him the "stones would have cried out for Him".

Verses 45 and 46 reveal the "priestly" attitude of Jesus against the money-changers in the Temple. He rebuked these money-changers and threw them out of the Temple. In verses 47 and 48 we see Jesus the "prophet", the teacher who taught in the Temple complex the people who were attentive to hearing Him.

But now back to our key, verse 42. Jesus was very moved when He stood atop the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. Luke wrote that "Jesus wept" over what He saw, a needy people who had rejected their Messiah.

Then Jesus said that on this day of His "Triumphal Entry" the people failed to receive the One described in Daniel's prophecy, Daniel 9:25-26. An in-depth study of this prophetic passage in Daniel would show that this day when Jesus entered Jerusalem, He was doing so on the day Daniel predicted it would happen.

Daniel's prophecy indicates that from the decree by Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 2, to allow Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the streets and walls of the city, which took place April of 445BC, until the day, Saturday, in April 30AD when Jesus made His Triumphal Entry, could be figured out to the exact day (see my audio series, "The Daniel Papers").

The day Jesus stood there was that day predicted, not the day before or the day after. Jesus got to Jerusalem on the exact day it was foretold for Him to be there. The people of Jerusalem had not read Daniel's prophecy. They did not recognize He was to be there in Jerusalem at that time.

This is also the case with us today. We can determine where we are in God's "prophetic time" by studying His "prophetic word". We must study the prophetic Word of God to recognize when Jesus is coming back. It could be today!

What is meant by, "it could be today", is not referring to the Second Coming but the Rapture, when Jesus calls us up to meet Him in the "air". Everything is ready for the Rapture to take place, right now. There is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture, all prophecy yet to be fulfilled will be after the Rapture. Indeed, it could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to understand, dear Lord, Your prophetic Word so that I can recognize the days I am living in and help me to live in light of that understanding.