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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Exodus 20:11

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.

For further study -Exodus 20:1-26

The passage of Scripture for our reading today is the account of the giving of the “law” to the Jewish people. The “torah”, Hebrew for “law”, does include the “ten commands” that God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai, but it also includes the additional commands found in the rest of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah.

The Ten Commands are the standard that God has set in place for all of humankind to match their life with as they take their journey through their short period here on Earth. The truth be known, there is not one person that has lived, or will live on this Earth that can keep even the ten, much less all the other commandments found in God’s Word.

This standard helps each of us to realize that we have “fallen short” of God’s standard and we must come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. The “law” is a “mirror” that shows each of us who we really are, a needy people that needs a Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I also want you to notice the statement made by God to Moses in the giving of the Law, verses 10-11. This is the commandment to the Jews that they must honor the seventh day, the “Sabbath”, as a day of rest. The Lord told the Jews that He created the “heavens and the earth” in six days and then rested the seventh.

God wants the Jews to work six days and then rest the seventh. By the way, He was not asking the Jews to rest for thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of years. The Lord wanted the Jews to rest the seventh, 24-hour day, of the seven-day week. All the days are 24-hour days.

My point is that when the Lord spoke of days He was talking about 24-hour days. Therefore, the Lord, by His own statement said He “created the heavens and earth” in six twenty-four hour days. We must take the account of the “Creation” in Genesis 1 as literal in our interpretation of the scriptures.

The truth in God’s prophetic Word is to be taken “literal” as we interpret the end of times scenario that God has set forth to be fulfilled, seemingly in the near future. If we do not approach these passages of scripture literally then there can be too many opinions as to how everything will end.

We must not be “subjective” in our interpretation of the text, but “objective” so that we understand exactly what the Lord is telling us about the last days. Our understanding of the times is key to our daily living before the Lord.

An “objective, literal” understanding of the scriptures will reveal that the next thing to happen on God’s calendar of activities is the Rapture, when Jesus calls us to join Him in the heavens, forever. That Rapture could happen at any moment, are you ready?

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the promise that you are coming and please help me to live daily so as to be ready for that “any moment” event. 
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Exodus 19:19-20

And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

For further study - Exodus 19:1-20

The passage of Scripture for our reading today is an illustration of the next main event in God's calendar of activities for the last days. I will get back to that but first let's learn from that which God was revealing to Moses and the Jewish people some 3,500 years ago.

The scene is at the foot of Mt. Sinai with all of Israel encamped awaiting word from the Lord. It is three months since the Exodus out of Egypt and the bondage that the Jews had been under for more than 400 years. It is just before the Lord would meet with Moses and give him the Ten Commandments. It was a significant time in the total history of the Jewish people.

Before the Lord gave His law to the Jews, He met with Moses to explain what He had planned for the Israelites, among the peoples of the world. In verse 5, God reminds Moses that “obedience” is essential for a right relationship with Him. If the Jews will obey Him then He will make them “a peculiar treasure, a people above all people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”.

When Moses returned to the Jewish people, he told them of his conversation with the Lord and they responded with, "all that the Lord hath spoken, we will do." The rest of the Old Testament and the Gospels will record the history of the Jewish people and reveal that the Jews spoke too quickly at Sinai. 

The truth is that they did not keep their commitment to the Lord. The Jewish people, as a whole, have not been obedient.

However, there has been a remnant, those who have been faithful and obedient. God has a plan for the Jewish people that included giving them the Scripture to preserve and transmit to the world, Romans 3:1-2. And of course, the Messiah was born of a young Jewish woman, Mary. God will use the Jews in the future, because He still has a plan for them.

Now, back to that thought I left you with at the beginning of this devotional. The next event on God's calendar of events for the end times is the “Rapture”. That is when Jesus will descend from the Third Heaven where He is seated on the right of God the Father.

Somewhere, "in the air, " He will shout, the archangel will shout and the trump of God will sound to call all Christians on earth to be with the Lord for evermore, I Thessalonians 4:13-17.

In our reading for today, the Rapture is depicted in how the Lord meets with Moses, verses 16-20. This event in the life of Moses is a foretaste of things to come. Remember, the Rapture could happen today, so keep looking up...Until!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you for making me a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nations, a peculiar people (I Peter 2:9) so that I can show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Exodus 17:14

And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

For further study - Exodus 17:8-16

This passage of scripture that I’ve selected for our devotional today is the record of a battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites that took place around 3,500 years ago as Moses was leading the Jewish people towards the “promised land”.

This is a story that many of us would have studied in Sunday school about when God would give the Israelites the victory as long as Moses held the “rod of God” above his head. Moses was able to get the victory with the help of Aaron and Hur as they helped Moses with the “rod”.

This battle in Rephidim was to be recorded by Moses, to be written down in a book for the Israelites to be able to read at a later date. This is the very first time that someone was told to record an event. The story would be brought to the attention of the Jews in I Samuel 15.

This attack on the Israelites, as they traveled towards the land of Israel, was done by the people known as the Amalekites, a people that the Lord said He would have “war with from generation to generation”, verse 16. The Amalekites are the people “fathered” by Amalek.

Amalek was a grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:12. The lineage of Esau through Amalek would ultimately lead to the Palestinians of today, (for more insight, see my study "Esau and the Palestinians"). The conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians of today actually dates back to this incident.

For more than 4,000 years, the Lord has watched over His people - the Jewish people - and fought along side the Jews against the descendants of Esau and his grandson Amalek. This war will continue throughout all generations until the Lord's Return, Obadiah 17-18.

God's protection of the Jews over 4,000 years is evidence of the reality of an “All-Powerful God”. But it is also evidence that His promises to us for daily watch-care and eternal salvation, will be kept as well. It is also evidence that Jesus will come again one day, maybe a day real soon, perhaps today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your protection and at the same time the alert to the times of the end that seemingly are approaching very quickly. 
Monday, August 28, 2017

Exodus 13:3

And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out of Egypt.

For further study – Exodus 13 to 16

As we consider the passages that I will cover in this devotional I am also reminded that our Lord was crucified on Passover and buried on Unleavened Bread, the first two of the seven Jewish Feast Days. This devotional will give us insight into the death and burial of Jesus Christ.

Remember, the lamb that was to be slaughtered on Passover was to be pure, perfect without spot. This is also the case with our “Passover”, Jesus Christ, I Corinthians 5:7.

The fact that the Jews must shed the “blood” of the lamb and paint their “doorpost” with this blood, Exodus 12:7, is symbolic of the “blood” that Jesus shed for us to take away our sin and give us eternal life. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin”, Hebrews 9:22.

As we scan the chapters of Exodus that we will cover today in this devotional, Exodus 13 to 16, I will bring to your attention some key points. Before we leave Exodus 12 please notice the total number of Jews who would exit the Egyptian bondage with Moses, the number was six hundred thousand men on foot, plus the women and the children, Exodus 12:37.

When Jacob brought his family into Egypt they were a total of seventy people. After almost 400 years the family had grown to almost two million. All of these people would have participated in the Passover, saving their first-born from each family from dying, those who believed God.

The last contest Moses had with the Pharaoh was the killing of the ”first born” if there was no blood on the doorpost of the house, the Egyptian homes and the Jewish homes. The night of the Passover God killed all the first born in the land of Egypt, Exodus 13:15.

Verse 19 of the same chapter Moses takes the bones of Joseph with him on his way to the “promised land”, there to be buried. The Lord lead the Jewish people by a “pillar of cloud” in the daytime, and at night, a “pillar of fire”, verse 21.

In chapter 14 we have the account of the “crossing of the Red Sea, and the death of the Egyptians soldiers trying to overtake the Jews. The Egyptians would meet their end in the midst of the Red Sea, verse 27.

Exodus 15 and 16 record the journey of the children of Israel in the first year after the Exodus, and how God provided for them on the journey. I love the story of the “manna” that God supplied for the Jews, a provision not necessarily appreciated by the Jews.

This record of God’s “provision” and “protection” for His chosen people is one more evidence of how the Lord “preserves” His people for the “plan” He has for them. He has done that for some 4,000 years and will do so until He has fulfilled the “promises” He made to them.

God is not finished with the Jews, and the way we can recognize where we are in God’s timeline is to focus on the Jews, today. What happened yesterday to the Jews only assures us that His plan for tomorrow will be fulfilled, as it was in the past.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for your protection, provision and plan for my life, as it has been for your chosen people over the years. Your faithfulness to them assures me that you will be faithful to me also in the fulfillment of promises made to me.
Sunday, August 27, 2017

Exodus 12:14

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.

For further study - Exodus 12:1-24

As we come to the devotional for today from Exodus 12 we will read of the very first Passover, the last of the contest that Moses had with the Pharaoh in order to get the Egyptian leader to "let the Jewish people go".

The seven chapters of Exodus since our last devotional in Exodus 4 reveal to the reader the confrontation between Moses and the Pharaoh. They started in Exodus 5:1 where Moses told the Pharaoh to "let his people go", and the Pharaoh refused to let the Jews go, verse 2.

It is an interesting read to study the way the Lord used Moses, a reluctant "prophet" to stand up to the Pharaoh and allow the Lord to use him in the contest that would finally make the Egyptian leader decide to let the Jewish people go to their "promised land". We have the account of this challenge for Moses in the seven chapters of Exodus 5-11.

In Exodus 12 we see that God told Moses how He would take the children of Israel out of the Egyptian bondage and into the Promised Land. The Israelites were to slaughter a lamb and paint their doorpost with the blood of the lamb, verses 1-7, so that the "destroyer", verse 23, would not take the life of the firstborn of the family, but would instead "pass over" their house.

The death of the firstborn of the families in Egypt was the final judgment on Egypt before the children of Israel would make their Exodus. Our key verse today is the command from God to the Jewish people to yearly rehearse the story of the Exodus at a Passover Seder, a special “feast” to observe as a “memorial” of the Passover.

From that day, until today, the Jews on a special night yearly gather as a family for the Seder. The father will tell the story once again to all in attendance. On this night the Jewish people around the world stop to remember what the Lord God did for them 3500 years ago.

What a joyous occasion it is at these Passover Seders. I have had the privilege to be in a Jewish home in Jerusalem for this holy Jewish feast day. Even the children are excited about the events of the evening.

Our church in Jerusalem hosts Jews from our area for a “Passover Seder” and in the course of the evening will present “Jesus” as the “Passover Lamb”, I Corinthians 5:7. It is a great way to give testimony to Jewish friends. However, as I write this devotional, I am reminded that there is an exception to observing the Passover.

The ancient Jewish prophet Jeremiah wrote of a day when the Jewish people would no longer only talk about the Exodus out of Egypt, Jeremiah 16:14. Notice the context of Jeremiah 16:13-15Verse 13 says the Jews will be cast out of their land to lands they do not know.

This dispersion of the Jewish people, a fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28, happened in 70 AD when General Titus and the Roman Army dispersed the Jewish people to the four corners of the Earth.

Verse 14 speaks of a time when the Jews will speak of something in addition to the Exodus out of Egypt. Verse 15 reveals that the Jews will talk about the Lord bringing Jews out of "the north and the lands whither He had driven them." That prophecy is being at least partially fulfilled today.

In the last 100 years, Jews have come back to Israel out of the nations of the world. Since the early 1990's, over 1.3 million Jews have come out of Russia, "the land of the north." The return of the Jewish people to the land of their forefathers is evidence that the prophecies for the Last Days are in the process of being fulfilled. These are prophetic passages that point to when the Messiah Jesus Christ will return.

Every Passover Seder I have attended during the time I have lived in Jerusalem has seen a larger number of Russian Jews in attendance. Each time we speak of this prophecy in Jeremiah as we observe the Passover as the Lord commanded the Jewish people thousands of years ago.

At Passover, stop to read this passage in Exodus and the one in Jeremiah again as you reflect on how close we are to the return of Jesus to Earth.

But remember, seven years before His Second Coming, the Rapture takes place and that could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: There is so much evidence present today to let us know how close we are to the Rapture. Help me to live in light of the truth that the Rapture could happen today.
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Exodus 4:11-12

And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shall say.

For further study – Exodus 4:1-31

God told Moses how He would take the children of Israel out of the Egyptian bondage and into the Promised Land. The response of Moses, verse 1, was that the Jewish people would not believe him and would not accept what he was telling them.

What an interesting illustration the Lord used to tell Moses that He would help him to do the task that He wanted him to do for his people. The “rod” in the hand of Moses would become a “serpent”, which it did, causing Moses to drop it. As Moses obeyed the Lord and picked up the serpent by the tail it returned the rod that had been in his hand.

There was another “sign” that the Lord would use on Moses, which Moses was to show to the Jewish people when he told them he was to lead them out of bondage and into the promise land. This sign was the “leprous” hand, verses 6-9.

Even with these signs Moses still resisted the Lord’s call for him to be the “deliverer” of the Jewish people. In fact, when Moses introduced the thought to the Lord that Aaron, his brother, could do the job, it angered the Lord, verse 14.

Aaron was an excellent speaker, but not the one the Lord wanted for the job. It is at this point that the Lord told Moses that He would be with both him and his brother Aaron as they would lead the children of Israel out of the Egyptian bondage, verses 14-17.

In the next seven chapters of Exodus we will see the contest that Moses would have with the Pharaoh before the leader of Egypt would “let the people of Moses go”. We will briefly look at those chapters, but this devotional for today is key in the liberation of the Jewish people from Egypt and the first of three returns to the real estate that God had given the Jewish people.

The focus of this narrative in Exodus is the departure of the Jews from the “land of bondage” to the “land of promise”. The focus of the Jews today is the return of the Jews to the land that God promised them through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This is the plan that God has for the Jewish people for the last days and as we witness this happening in our day we have the evidence that the Lord is working out His plan and the return of His son, Jesus Christ, must be very, very close, maybe even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Since the Lord is working out His plan for the end of days, today, among the Jewish people, we must realize how close we are to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and live out our everyday lives in light of that truth. Help me to do so Lord. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Exodus 3:6

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

For further study –Exodus 3:1-12

Our devotional for today is taken from the third chapter of the second book of the “Torah”, the “Law” to the Jewish people. Of course, it is the second book of the Old Testament to us who are Christians. However, before we look at this third chapter a quick review of Exodus 1 and 2.

Exodus 1 and 2 are the record of the “children of Israel” that came into the land of Egypt, the Egyptian bondage and the birth and early life of the “deliverer” of the Jewish people out of the “bondage”, Moses.

Exodus 1:1-6 is the record of the members of Jacob’s family, the ones who came with their father into Egypt. Verses 7 to 22 give the account of the bondage and the Pharaoh’s charge to cast the boy babies into the river and save the girl babies, verse 22.

Exodus 2 is the birth and protection of the baby boy Moses and then a brief account of the first two-thirds of his life. This is the transition to the third chapter of the very important book of Exodus and all that the narrative reveals about how the Lord would raise up a “man” to deliver the Jews out of the Egyptian bondage and send them toward the “promised land”.

Now we come to the devotional reading for today. I hope that you find time to read the first two chapters of Exodus to get the background of everything else we will discuss about this book. May I suggest that as we travel through the prophetic chapters and passages of the Bible you will be able to read the supplemental passages also.

Exodus 3
 is the record of the Lord calling Moses to be the “deliverer” of his own people, the Jews. Verse 2 tells us that “the angel of the Lord”, a phrase that introduces a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ, appears to Moses in a ”flame of fire, out of a bush”, a “burning bush”.

Jesus told Moses that he was on “holy ground”, to take off his shoes. Jesus then presented Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the “God of his father”. This introduction to Moses was to assure him that He was the God that could do all things, even deliver the Jews out of the bondage.

The Lord told Moses that he would lead his people out of the Egyptian bondage into freedom and into “a land flowing with milk and honey”, verse 8. We will see that two of the twelve spies sent into the “promised land” would return with a report that indeed the land was a land of “milk and honey”. We will have more on that event, later.

The events covered in these chapters played a key role in the return of the Jewish people to their land, a land that the Lord had promised the Jews, not only at this time in history, but in the future and into “eternity future” as well.

This account and what it records about the Jews is so significant to the end time prophecies in God’s Word that pertain to the Jews, the land and God’s relationship to His “chosen people”. This account gives us the evidence that God did, and will, bring the Jews from wherever they may be back into the land He has given them for an eternal possession.

God makes promises and then follows through in the fulfillment of those promises. That is a great assurance to each of us as it pertains to our future with God and Jesus, starting with the Rapture, the next event on God’s calendar of future events. The Rapture could happen today, remember, so keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live in light of the truth that the Rapture could happen today.
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Genesis 50:20

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.

For further study –Genesis 50:15-26

In the key verse for our daily devotional we see that Joseph explains how the Lord used what his brothers meant to be “evil” had been turned into good, not only for his brothers but for the people of Egypt as well. This is the same principle found in Romans 8:28.

Our reading in Genesis 50 is the end of the life of Joseph after he had been allowed by the Pharaoh to return to the land of Israel and to bury his father in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron, the burial site of Abraham and Isaac and their wives, Genesis 50:13.

The burial follows Jacob “blessing” his sons and foretelling the history that would follow all of his sons, a history as recorded in Genesis 49. There is a special blessing given to two of the sons Judah, verses 8-12, and Joseph, verses 22-26.

Notice the blessing given to Judah, and the prophetic significance of this son of Jacob, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah is told that the “sceptre”, the “royal authority”, shall not depart from him until “Shiloh” come, verse 10. Shiloh is a term for Messiah Jesus Christ but also may be used to mean, “until He that is the one to be the saviour of the Jewish people has come.

It would be through the tribe of Judah that Jesus Christ would come to the earth. Genesis 49 concludes with the death of Jacob but not the end of the plan of God that would play out in the family of Jacob.

Now back in Genesis 50 we see that indeed the sons of Jacob did fulfill the desire of Jacob to have his body taken to Israel to be buried. It is after his death and burial that his sons get very fearful that now Joseph would turn on them in retaliation for how they had treated him.

That was not the way of Joseph and in fact then he made the statement to his brothers, which is our key verse for today, verse 20. Joseph’s statement about God’s plan for his brothers, found in our key verse, was followed by Joseph again providing for his brothers, verse 21.

It was not long after that, that Joseph would also die, but before that he would also get his brothers promise that they would take his bones into the “promise land” to be buried, verses 22 to 26.

It is interesting to note that both Jacob and Joseph wanted to be buried in Israel, the land that God has given to the Jews. It is in concert with the “blessings” that Jacob gave to his sons, the prophetic events of the last days for Israel.

God has a plan for the Jews and it will be carried out as we can witness even today. Again, the Lord is setting the foundation for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, in our day. This also sets the stage for the Rapture to take place at any moment, maybe even today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the Jewish people, who are evidence that Bible Prophecy is, and will be fulfilled. That reality must help me to be ready for these events to be fulfilled, help me to live expecting your return. 
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Genesis 48:4

And said unto me, Behold I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people: and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

For further study –Genesis 48:1-22

In the record of Jacob and his sons in the land of Egypt we see that when they came into this foreign land they were blessed. In fact they were exalted through Jacob’s son Joseph, who actually received the directive from Pharaoh for this to happen.

This is the narrative recorded in Genesis 47, where we also see that Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh, verse 20. This was not to make the Pharaoh the mean landowner, but instead to save the people of Egypt. God continued to bless Jacob’s son.

Verses 27 to 31 
deal with the last days of Jacob, as he nears death. This makes the transition into Genesis 48 and our devotional reading for today. Jacob wants to make sure that he will be carried back to Israel, the “promised land”, to be buried.

Jacob wants to be buried at the site where his Grandfather and Father, Abraham and Isaac, had been buried. The burial site is the one purchased by Abraham in Hebron, the Machpelah Cave, Genesis 23:16-20. This is the burial site of the Patriarchs. It is the second most sacred piece of real estate in all of creation to the Jewish people today.

Jacob made Joseph swear that the brothers would take him at his death to the land of Israel to be buried. The land was promised to Abraham, Isaac and in verse 4, our key verse, a re-confirmation of that promise to Jacob. This is the reason Jacob wanted to be buried in the land of Israel.

There is one other part of the record of Jacob’s family in Egypt I want you to notice and keep in your memory for later details as we continue our journey through the prophetic passages of God’s Word.

In verses 5 to 22 we see how Jacob blessed his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph that had been born in the land of Egypt. These two boys would take the place of their father in the tribes of Israel and also play a role later in history that plays into God’s prophetic scenario.

We will give more of the details in a later devotional reading, but let me just mention that half of the tribe of Manasseh would be given the Golan Heights when Joshua would lead the children of Israel into the “promised land” after the exodus from Egypt.

The tribe of Ephraim would be the tribe of Jeroboam, the leader of the rebellious ten tribes that separated from the two tribes at the breaking up of the twelve tribes as recorded in I Kings 11. These boys would play a major role in very important events in Bible prophecy.

This record in our devotional reading for today is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled in the future, a future that is getting closer and closer. We are living in the last days. Keep looking, Jesus is coming and it could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the reality that you are coming and it could be very soon now. My prayer is that of John, the writer of the book of Revelation, “even so come Lord Jesus”.