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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nehemiah 10:39

For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.

For further study - Nehemiah 10:1-39

As we come to our devotional reading for today we must be reminded of some background information before we look at our passage for our extended reading.

Nehemiah had traveled back to Jerusalem to rebuild the streets of the city and the walls around the city. That job completed, the scribe, Ezra comes into the Temple with the "Torah", the five books of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament, Nehemiah 8:1.

The day Ezra arrived at the Temple, Nehemiah 8:2, the first day of the seventh month on the Jewish calendar, was the Jewish Holy Day of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, also known as the "feast of trumpets".

As Ezra stood behind a "wooden pulpit" , Nehemiah 8:4, the people stood up for the reading of the Word, Nehemiah 8:5. Then Ezra gave the people an understanding of the portion read to the congregation. As a result of the reading of the Word and a response to the Word there was "revival" among the Jewish worshipers.

In Nehemiah 9:3 we see that the Jewish worshipers would spend one-fourth of their day reading the Word of God and one-fourth of their day confessing their sins and worshiping the Lord their God.

It was because of what was happening among the Jewish people that leads us to the point in time of our reading for today. The last verse in Nehemiah 9, verse 38, states that they made a promise, a vow in writing, and sealed it.

Nehemiah 10:1
 points out the families that made this vow and verse 28 shows us that the Jews separated themselves from the other people and unto the "law of the Lord". They made a strong vow, an oath, to walk in Gods law and do all that they observed and to do all it commanded them to do.

Walking in the law of the Lord was made manifest in their giving of their wealth to the service of the Temple, verse 32Verse 35 also reveals that those who had come under the influence of this revival also gave the "first fruits" of the farm products they were harvesting for the activities at the Temple.

Then, in our key verse, verse 39, we see that they did all that was reported of them, and made a vow to forsake not the "house of their God". This last statement reminds me of the exhortation Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews, 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as we see the day approaching".

The "day approaching" is the day of the coming of the Lord at the Rapture of the Church. That day could be today, the day that Jesus shouts to have us join Him in the air. This behooves us to let the Word of God be that by which we live everyday of our life as we await His seemingly soon return to gather us to Him.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to join others as we assemble ourselves together to hear Your Word in preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Saturday, December 15, 2018

Nehemiah 8:8

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

For further study - Nehemiah 8:1-18

This chapter in Nehemiah is an exhortation for each of us to read the Word of God, come to an understanding of the Word, and then to obey the Word. Nehemiah 8:8 tells us how this can happen.

The verse explains the process that Ezra, the scribe, used in order for God's Word to be understood and obeyed.

First the people would "read" the Word. Notice how they would read from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The teacher, Ezra, would stand behind a pulpit, Nehemiah 8:4, and the people would stand as Ezra would read the "holy scriptures", Nehemiah 8:5.

When someone tells me, based upon Nehemiah 8:4 that I must stand behind a pulpit to preach, I remind them that they must then stand while I preach based on the next verse.

Notice after the Word was read, Nehemiah 8:8, that Ezra would "give the sense" of the Word. In other words, he would do a Bible study with the people so that they would understand what was being read.

It is interesting to note that the people had a respect for God's Word, as indicated by the fact that they stood as the Word was read. We must first respect God's Word before we can really understand what God is saying to us through it. When we respect and understand His Word, then we will obey His Word, as we see happening in this passage, Nehemiah 8:9-18.

Did you notice the time of the year that the passage takes place? It is in the fall of the year, Nehemiah 8:2, the first day of the seventh month. That is the day that the Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Notice also that as the people read and understood God's Word, they realized that they were to observe the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, Nehemiah 8:14-18. The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated by reading the Word each day, Nehemiah 8:18, in addition to living in their "thatched huts" for the seven days of the feast.

This chapter gives us an understanding of how we are to relate to God's Word. It also looks into the future with the mention of the two Jewish feast days, Trumpets and Tabernacles.

The first of these two Jewish Feasts foretell of the time of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the Earth. Christ will come back to the Mount of Olives on the Feast of Trumpets. This is not the Rapture, but the Second Coming. Jesus tells the angel to blow the trumpet and gather His elect from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other, Matthew 24:31 .

The Millennial Kingdom will begin on the Feast of Tabernacles, the last of the fall feast, fulfilling the prophecy of the Jewish feast day, as will be the case in all seven of the Jewish Feast days. That is what Peter was talking about when he wanted to set up three tabernacles in Matthew 17 on the Mount of transfiguration.

Nehemiah 8 is a great chapter that reminds us of the importance of "reading", "understanding", and "obeying" God's Word. But also it reminds us of things to come, Bible prophecy that will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to read Your Word, understand it and obey it.
Friday, December 14, 2018

Nehemiah 6:16

And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

For further study - Nehemiah 6:1-16

What a stamp of approval, the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval", when the world, in fact the enemy of the Jewish people, realized that "the work was wrought of our God". The work Nehemiah wrote about, of course, was the rebuilding of the "walls and the streets" of the city of Jerusalem.

God had worked in the heart of the King of Persia to allow Nehemiah, the King's cupbearer, to return to Jerusalem to reconstruct the walls around the city and repair the streets of the "holy city".

As we come to the sixth chapter of Nehemiah, we see that the job has been completed, verse 15. This was a very fine bit of civil engineering, to repair the walls and the streets of a war-torn city. Actually it had taken only 52 days to do all of this work in this devastated city, verse 15.

As the "foreman" on the job, Nehemiah had led the workers, as a man of God, with a purpose focused on service for the Lord and His chosen city. It was a matter of "focus" with Nehemiah.

Verses 2-4 indicate that the enemies of the Jewish city and its people wanted to stop the work of the Lord. They tried to divert Nehemiah away from his work. Notice Nehemiah's response to the invitation to walk away from his God-given mission, verse 3.

The focus, according to Nehemiah was, "I'm doing a great work, so that I can not come down". When doing a great work for the Lord, we must stay focused on the mission that God has given us and let nothing distract us from His will for our lives. It may be hard to focus but we must do so to get His work done.

As one reads through all of Nehemiah's account of this rebuilding of the walls and repairing the streets of Jerusalem we can find example after example of how God's man under God's leadership and provision, can do God's will much faster than previously thought.

This project was done as a testimony to the "heathen" around Jerusalem who were doing everything they could to cause Nehemiah and his team to fail. This event is one of the "milestones" along the way, in Jewish history.

The fact is that the Persian king Artaxerxes would make a decree that would mark the time in history to start the count that would lead up to the time when Jesus Christ would be hailed as the King of Kings, on the day of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:25-26.

The exactness of this pronouncement by the King sets in place the point of reference by which Jews, Gentiles and Christians can begin to count 173,880 days until Messiah Jesus Christ would show up in Jerusalem, Luke 19:40-45.

According to Jesus, in the Luke passage, He showed up in Jerusalem on the exact day He was to be there, not a day late or a day early, the exact day He was to be there. Jesus then told those there and the ones who would read this passage later that by reading the Word of God, and understanding what it's saying, we can know what time it is in His plan for the future.

The practical and the prophetic come together in this passage of scripture, our devotional reading for today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, to focus on the mission you have given me to complete for you as I await your call for me to join you in heaven.
Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nehemiah 4:17

They which build on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, everyone with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.

For further study - Nehemiah 4:10-23

What a great book is, Nehemiah, the one containing our reading for today. Nehemiah was still among the Jews that had not returned to the land of Israel. When he got word of the deplorable conditions of his beloved city of Jerusalem he immediately sought permission from the king to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the "walls" of the city and repair its "streets".

He would face much opposition to the task God had given him. In fact, there would be those who wanted the building stopped. Those who opposed the Jews would even resort to killing the workers. Nehemiah prepared his workers to both rebuild the walls and streets of the city and to protect themselves from the attacks.

As I read through the extended passage for today, I was impressed with what happened about 2,500 years ago and what has been going on in the modern-day Jewish state of Israel. Nehemiah's helpers would work with one hand and hold their weapon with the other as they worked.

That principle extended to the other workers with a portion of them at the work of refurbishing Jerusalem and the other portion of the Jews with shields and spears to protect the workers.

I almost feel like I am reading out of the local Israeli newspaper reporting on a normal life in the Middle East. Today, the Jewish nation of just over six million people is building a nation with one hand working to build this Jewish nation and the other half of the nation protecting all Jews from total destruction.

A great statement is used as an exhortation to the Jewish people then - and now. "Our God shall fight for us", found in verse 20, is a reminder to the Jewish people of who they are and what the God of heaven will do for them. They are the "Sons of Jacob", the one who had his name changed to "Israel" which literally means, "my God will fight for you".

These six million Jews today have living around them at least 350 million Arabs and Muslims. They all claim to despise the Jews and want to rid the world of all of them. So what's new?

The only way the Jews will sustain existence is by God fighting for them, which He has done for about 4,000 years. That in and of itself is proof of the reality of a true, all- powerful, holy God who will indeed continue to fight for His "chosen people", the Jewish people.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for taking care of the Jewish people, which gives me comfort that You will also take care of me, fighting for me, as a member of Your body.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Nehemiah 2:6

And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him) For how long shall thy journey be? And when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

For further study - Nehemiah 1 and 2

Nehemiah was the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes during the early days of the Persian Empire. Word came from Jerusalem that the "holy city" was the laughing stock of the world because of its physical condition. The Temple had been rebuilt but the walls and the streets of the city were in shambles.

This news prompted Nehemiah to seek permission from the King to travel to Jerusalem and repair his beloved city, Nehemiah 2:5. In fact, the King gave Nehemiah a letter to take with him on his journey granting safe passage and the written permission to rebuild the walls and streets of the City of Jerusalem, Nehemiah 2:7-8.

The rest of the book of Nehemiah is a marvelous study of "Godly management" in the face of "opposition". It would be worth your time spent digging into this marvelous book. The book also records the giving of the decree mentioned by the ancient Jewish Prophet Daniel in Daniel 9:25.

Daniel is setting the timeframe by which we can determine the period in history when the "Jewish Messiah" would come to Earth. Daniel 9:25 states that from the "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah" would be 69 of the prophetic "70 weeks of Daniel" or in other words 483 of the 490 years that is revealed by Daniel's Prophecy.

The command or decree given by Artaxerxes was given in the year BC445. The presentation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah took place in AD30. This period of time, according to the Jewish calendar, would meet the requirements of Daniel's Prophecy and confirm that Jesus Christ was indeed the Jewish Messiah, as He had claimed.

By the way, the last seven years, Daniel 9:27, "the seventieth week", of that 490 year period, "Daniel’s Seventy Weeks", is the time described in Bible Prophecy as the "Tribulation Period", a terrible time of judgment yet in the future.

Daniel 9:27 says that period will be dominated by an Antichrist, a false peace in the Middle East and a Temple in Jerusalem. Though there is no Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem now, all preparations have been made for there to be one soon. And world leaders are hard at work to bring about peace in the Middle East.

The stage is being set for Bible Prophecy to be fulfilled. The next event to take place is the Rapture of the Church, which could happen at any moment.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to be a servant as Nehemiah was and be alert to the soon coming of the Messiah as I compare Bible Prophecy with current events.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ezra 8:35

Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

For further study - Ezra 8:24-36

After the Temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel and the almost fifty thousand Jews that he brought back from Babylon to raise up the Second Temple in Jerusalem, God called Ezra, the Scribe, to return from where he was living in Babylon back to Jerusalem, Ezra 7:6.

God had chosen Ezra to restart the Temple practices in this rebuilt Temple. By the way, it's interesting to note that Ezra was living in Babylon, the City, almost seventy-five years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

The Empire fell, but the City has never been destroyed which Bible prophecy calls for in the last days, Isaiah 13 & 14Jeremiah 50 & 51 and Revelation 16:17-21.

Now back to our devotional reading for today. Ezra was commissioned to return the implements of the Temple to this new Temple, for the sacrificial and worship activities, verses 24-30.

This that Ezra, and the priest did for the services at the Temple was a very important task. Each of the implements of the Temple was used to comply with the Lord's instructions for the Temple worship and sacrificial system.

In addition to all of these implements being used in the activities of the operation of the Temple, each of these vessels had a "prophetic significance" as it related to the coming Messiah. Jesus Christ, of course was the fulfillment of all of these prophecies.

The "Table of Show Bread" was a prototype of Jesus, the "Bread of Life". The "Menorah", the seven branch candelabra, was the precursor of Jesus, the "Light of the World". The "Ark of the Covenant" was a "type" of Jesus, the Jewish "Messiah" to come.

This is why the act of Ezra and the priest bringing these vessels back to the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem was so important.

Our key verse for today, verse 35, reveals to us that "all twelve tribes" had returned to Jerusalem after  the Babylonian Captivity, during this time period as well. There are no "ten lost tribes". All twelve tribes are now, and have been in the land of Israel for over 2,500 years. This fact is essential for additional Bible prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled, in the future

Isaiah had prophesied that a man named Cyrus would allow the Jews to return to the land and rebuild their Temple. Our devotional reading for today is the concluding chapter of these Jewish people returning to the land and rebuilding the Temple, which was facilitated by Cyrus, the King of the Medo-Persian Empire.

Indeed, Bible Prophecy that remains to be fulfilled will be fulfilled, as Isaiah's prophecy relating to Cyrus and the return of the Jews to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem was fulfilled some 2,500 years ago.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for prophecy that has been fulfilled, which is evidence that prophecy yet to be fulfilled, will be fulfilled.
Monday, December 10, 2018

Ezra 7:10

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

For further study - Ezra 7:1-10

Ezra was the author of the book, by his name, and most likely the author of I and II Chronicles. He was a scribe and not only recorded the history of Israel but served at the Temple in Jerusalem.

In Ezra 1-6, we see the record of the rebuilding of the second temple by almost 50,000 Jews that came back from the Babylonian captivity when the Babylonian Empire fell. Zerubbabel led these Jews back to their homeland and was the "general contractor" in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

With the Temple up and operating God now calls Ezra the Scribe to journey back to Jerusalem and become the Scribe at the Temple to lead the study of the Word of God. Ezra was well studied, "a ready scribe", Ezra 7, verse 6, in the "law of Moses", the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament.

God opened the heart of the Persian king to allow Ezra to return to Jerusalem to do his "priestly duties". Verse 6 tells us that was the case because the "hand of the Lord his God was upon him" (Ezra).

Our key verse lays out for us Ezra's approach for teaching the Word of God which is also a great pattern for us to follow. Notice that in verse 10, Ezra "prepared his heart" first. Only a "prepared heart" will seek to know the Word of the Lord. Before Ezra would preach and teach the Word, he would "do it". Ezra knew he could not teach that which he was not willing to live by for his own life.

The final step in the process was the "teaching". Many times we put the cart ahead of the horse. We want to teach without first preparing our hearts. As we, I, seek to know the Word we must be living our lives by His Word before we venture out to teach it to anyone. What great principles we can appropriate for our own lives and ministries for today from the book of Ezra.

Before we leave our reading for today, I want you to notice a portion of two verses, verses 6 and 9. Ezra, before he returned to Jerusalem to be the scribe in the newly rebuilt Temple, was living in Babylon.

Ezra 7 is a record of events over 80 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire, Daniel 5, and the city of Babylon is still standing. Babylon the Empire fell in 539BC but Babylon the city did not fall. Babylon was a thriving city some 80 years after the downfall of the Babylonian Empire.

The significance of this information is that the prophecies of Isaiah 13 and 14Jeremiah 50 and 51Revelation 16 and 18 about the destruction of Babylon had not been fulfilled 80 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

The destruction of Babylon foretold in Revelation 16:17-21 is a yet future event that will be fulfilled at the end of the Tribulation period. In fact, the destruction of Babylon is the last thing the Lord Jesus Christ does before he comes back to the earth, Zechariah 14:4.

By the way, Biblical Babylon is located in Iraq on the shores of the Euphrates River today. It is the place where Antichrist will rule and reign over a "one world economic, political, governmental system" in the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period. The stage is being set for these Bible prophecies to be fulfilled.

Before these prophecies are fulfilled the Rapture will take place and we will leave this earth to go be with Jesus in the heavens. Current events that are taking place in Iraq, Biblical Babylon, are indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, and I believe in the near future.

PRAYER THOUGHT: As I understand current events in light of Biblical prophecy, help me, Lord, to live in light of Your soon return.
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ezra 6:15

And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

For further study - Ezra 6:15-22

The portion of scripture for today's devotional reading, and the extended reading is a record of the completion of the building of the Second Temple and the dedicatory service to follow. It also records the observance of the first of the seven Jewish feast days, the Passover.

This sixth chapter of Ezra is key to understanding how God fulfills prophecy and how He will fulfill prophecy.

In chapter one of Ezra we read about the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy about a leader named Cyrus who would come to power and allow the Jews to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple destroyed by the Babylonians, Isaiah 44:28 andEzra 1:2-3.

In chapter two of this book written by the scribe, Ezra, we see the record of the families from the twelve tribes of Israel who did return to Jerusalem to rebuild that temple.

Ezra three to five records how the Jewish people did not set as a priority the building of the temple but instead looked to their own needs.

Notice Ezra 5:1 where we see that the two Jewish prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, are used by God to preach to the Jews in Judah to be about the task of building the temple (At this point in a reading through the Bible one should read both Haggai and Zechariah).

The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah have both a short-term fulfillment and a long-term fulfillment. The Jewish returnees from Babylon were exhorted by these two prophets to rebuild the temple which they finally did as they had been directed.

Our key verse and the extended reading are the record of the temple being rebuilt and dedicated; however, this was done twenty-five years after the Jews returned to Jerusalem and only under pressure from Haggai and Zechariah.

This Temple was the Second Temple that was still standing in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount in the days of Jesus Christ. In 70 AD, this Temple was destroyed and another Temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount; in fact, two more temples will stand there in Jerusalem.

Zechariah 6:12 tells us that the "Branch", another name for Jesus, will build His temple where He will rule and reign, in the Kingdom to come.

However, there will be another temple in Jerusalem before Messiah builds His Temple. Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15II Thessalonians 2:4 & Revelation 11:2 reveal there will be a Temple in the Tribulation Period. That Tribulation Temple will be the location for the "image of the beast", a symbol of the Antichrist, Revelation 13:14-15.

All preparations have been made for the building of that temple. The Jews could start erecting that temple any day. Please remember that our reading today in Ezra 6 reveals the Temple of his day was rebuilt. These other two temples are yet future. The stage has been set for the next two Temples to be built in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount.

There is only one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Jewish people can start to build that Temple. That prophecy is the Rapture of the Church, with Jesus calling us to join Him in the "air", in the heavens, and to be with Him forever, I Thessalonians 4:13-18. The Rapture can happen at any moment, even today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for fulfilled prophecy that sets the stage for other prophecies to be fulfilled.
Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ezra 2:1

Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city

For further reading - Ezra 2:1-70

I know exactly what you are going to do for the extended reading today. You will skim quickly through the list of names of the heads of families and how many of each family will return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the Temple.

By the way, this will be the Second Temple to be built in Jerusalem. The first was the one Solomon built around BC 1000. This Temple will be erected around 500 years before the birth of Christ by the names on the list that is our reading for today.

The first chapter of Ezra records the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that God would raise up a Persian leader, Cyrus, who would allow a number of Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the Second Temple.

God raised up Zerubbabel to lead the almost 50,000 Jews back to the land of Israel, to Jerusalem to build the Temple. Ezra 2 records the heads of family, where they lived, and how many of their family would travel back to Jerusalem. This is a very important list that Ezra includes in his history book.

Let me answer your question not mentioned. Why read this passage? What can we learn from this information? That is a good question. Let me remind you that II Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is profitable.

Let me introduce you to that which helps us see that God was allowing for all the Jewish people to return to the land. However, a smaller number than the entire Jewish population will return to build the Temple. There are included in this list peoples from all twelve tribes of Israel, meaning all twelve tribes or their representatives would travel back into the land of Israel.

These almost 50,000 Jews were not just people from the two southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah, which was known as Judah. We will see that when the Babylonians captured the Assyrians who had taken the ten northern tribes into captivity all twelve tribes would be joined together once again. Some from all twelve tribes would return to Israel at this time.

Two examples. The men of Bethel in verse 28 who were of the tribe of Ephraim. Also verse 29 speaks of the children of Nebo, which is on the eastern side of the Jordan River and was given to the tribe of Reuben. There are other tribes mentioned in this list, which helps us know that members of all twelve tribes returned to the land under the Medes and the Persians.

This proves there are no "lost tribes" and also that a prophecy of two Jewish states in the future, Ezekiel 37:15-23, could be ready for fulfillment in the near future (see my study of Ezekiel). Verse 70, "all of Israel in their cities".

The stage is set for Ezekiel's "two Jewish states" prophecy to be fulfilled. Today Jews have returned to the land of Israel as one people in one Jewish state. Ezekiel reveals two Jewish states in the future and the stage is set for that to happen.

Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHTThank you Lord for Bible Prophecy that has been fulfilled in the past, which is a basis for me to believe that all unfulfilled Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.
Friday, December 7, 2018

Ezra 1:2

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

For further study - Ezra 1:1-11

One hundred and fifty years before the fact, the ancient Jewish Prophet Isaiah, inspired by God, pre-wrote history by recording the prophecy of a world leader named Cyrus who would come to power and allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple, Isaiah 44:28.

Cyrus was the King that God raised up as leader of the Medo-Persian Empire who defeated the Babylonian Empire. As he came to power, the command went forth from his palace to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem to re-build their Temple, verse 2.

In fact, Cyrus even helped raise the funds to re-build the Temple, verse 4, and he provided the vessels for the Temple, vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the Temple and carried to Babylon during the Jewish captivity, verse 7 (II Chronicles 36:18).

The book of Ezra is mainly a book of history. It records the events that happened as the Jews made their way out of the Babylonian captivity, after 70 years, back to their homeland with the opportunity to not only rebuild their Temple but their nation as well.

This record of a biblical prophecy being fulfilled is a basis upon which we can conclude that all additional biblical prophecy remaining to be fulfilled will in fact be fulfilled. There are a number of prophecies to be fulfilled before the return to earth by Jesus Christ will take place.

However, there is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture will happen, not one. All the prophecies, written by the Jewish Prophets of the events of the last days, are the prophecies that are almost at the point of fulfillment.

All prophecies yet to be fulfilled will only begin to come to pass after the Christians leave this world at the Rapture. The Rapture is an event that can happen at any moment. What we must do is keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: With the reality that the Rapture could happen at any moment, Lord help me to live pure and productive as I await His shout for me to join Him in the air.
Thursday, December 6, 2018

II Chronicles 36:21

To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.

For further study –II Chronicles 36:1-21

As we come to II Chronicles 36 we see the record of the third wave into Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army to destroy the Jewish Temple, devastate the city of Jerusalem and to take a number of Jews into the Babylonian captivity.

This is done to fulfill the prophecies of Jeremiah that I will deal with in a moment. I would have you notice the activities of this siege on Jerusalem. Verse 7 of our devotional reading sums it up in one verse. There are more details in verses 18 through 20.

All the vessels of the Temple, with the exception of the "ark of the covenant", II Chronicles 35:3, were taken into Babylon and placed in Nebuchadnezzar’s temples, verse 7. The Babylonian Army then burned the Temple down, broke down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces in Jerusalem, verse 19.

Verse 20
 states that those Jews still alive in Jerusalem will be taken back to Babylon, to remain there until 70 years had been accomplished. The purpose for this was to fulfill the prophecies of Jeremiah.

As mentioned earlier, these prophecies were given to illustrate God’s judgment on the Jews for not following His command as it relates to the land that He had given them. The command in question is found in Leviticus 25:4, the land of the Jewish people was to be given a rest, no crops grown on it, every seven years.

The Jews were disobedient to the Lord and did not give the land its Sabbaths and thus the Lord would do it for them, He would take the Jews out of their land and give the land its Sabbaths. Jeremiah would prophecy how this would happen.

Jeremiah 25:11 and 29:10 would foretell that Jerusalem would be desolate for seventy years and thus giving the land its Sabbaths. The Jews had not rested the land for 490 years, 490 divided by seven is seventy, the amount of years that Jerusalem was desolate.

There is a very interesting Biblical principle found in this historic event. We must be obedient to the Lord or He may well do what He must to make us follow His command. I’ve found that the sooner I learned this lesson the easier it has been for me.

Verse 21 in our devotional says that all of these things happened so that the "word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah" would be fulfilled. All of the prophecies of God’s word will be fulfilled.

The very next prophecy to be fulfilled will be the Rapture. There are no prophecies that must be fulfilled before the Rapture. All other prophecies, yet to be fulfilled, will be fulfilled after the Rapture. That makes this a unique time in history for all alive today.

The Rapture could happen at any moment, even today. Even so come, Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the promise of the Rapture of the Church. Thank you Lord for fulfilled prophecy in the past that guarantees prophecy will be fulfilled in the future. Help me to live ready for the Rapture, as if it will be today.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

II Chronicles 35:3

And said unto the Levities that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the Lord, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build.

For further study – II Chronicles 35:1-19

As we come to II Chronicles 35 we have waded through 27 chapters of II Chronicles since our last devotional in chapter 7. These chapters contain the "Biblical history" of the activities of the leaders of the Jewish people including Hezekiah.

In this history we learn how the Lord takes care of His people protecting them from themselves as well as the Assyrians who when they attacked Judah "the angel of the Lord", a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and ran the Assyrian leader, back to his own land. In his homeland, the Assyrian leader, who tried to destroy Judah was killed by his own people, II Kings 19:35-37.

As you have time to read this very interesting "history lesson" you will see that the Lord raises up a great king for Judah, King Josiah. Josiah would bring reform to the religious element of Jewish life, repair the Temple and forewarn the Jews of the captivity that was coming.

With insight into the "times in which they were living" the king made preparations for the Passover and at the same time had the "ark of the covenant" removed from the "Holy of holies" and placed in a secure location, II Chronicles 35:3

I’ll get to that story in a moment, but first please notice that this was the time for the Passover. Josiah would prepare for a very large Passover, which would use 30,000 lambs and 3,000 bulls, verse 7 of our devotional for today.

The text tells us "neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a Passover as Josiah kept", verse 18. Remember, the Passover is one of the seven feast days that the Jewish people keep on an annual basis as commanded by the Lord.

Now back to the "ark of the covenant" and the fact that it was removed from the Holy of holies in the Temple. Josiah had the Levities to remove the Ark and to place it in the "house", verse 3. Remember, the "ark of the covenant" had been placed in the Temple, I Kings 8, when Solomon had finished building the Temple.

Josiah was having the Levities, the ones dedicated to moving the ark, to move it from the Holy of holies to the "house". This word for "house" is "bayith" in the Hebrew and it does mean "house".

However, there are additional meanings for this word, like, "secret secluded hiding place".
Josiah had the Levities place the ark underneath the Temple in a place that King Solomon had prepared to protect the "ark". The ark never left the area, going especially to Ethiopia, or any place else.

On one of my DVD’s, "Ready to Rebuild Revisited", I speak with two Jewish Rabbi’s that went to the location of the ark back in 1982, and they told me they know exactly where it is and it can be brought out and placed again in the Temple when the next Jewish temple stands in Jerusalem.

By the way, all preparations have been made to build the next temple with the training of the priest, the implements for the temple made and in storage and of course the ark ready to be put in the Temple. All that is left is to build the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

There is only one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the process can begin to build the next Temple and that is the Rapture of the Church. Since the building of the Temple is so close, you have to know that the Rapture is very close also. It could even happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for allowing me to be alive in this day, just before the Rapture. Help me this day to live as if the Rapture will happen today.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
For further study - II Chronicles 7:1-22
As we come to II Chronicles 7 you will notice the similarities between this passage and the passages in I Kings 8 & 9. However there are some differences that we will look at in our devotional reading for today.
The chapter begins with the record of the end of King Solomon's prayer, the fire coming down from heaven and consuming the burnt offering and sacrifices. These events are the same as what is recorded in I Kings 8 , "the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord", verse 1.
The children of Israel witnessed this happening and when they did they bowed before the Lord to worship Him, giving testimony that His mercy "endureth forever". What a great promise that is for us, even today.
As I read through the record of King Solomon and the priest and all the people offering sacrifices before the Lord to honor Him, I am reminded of Romans 12:1 where Paul's exhortation is for each of us to offer our bodies as a "living sacrifice" unto the Lord. That's what we must do today.
In the Romans passage, notice the next verse, verse 2. Paul says "be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". That transformation takes place as we study His word and let it conform us to His image.
It's that same exhortation that Jesus Christ gives to King Solomon. In a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus unto the King, verse 12, Jesus warns the King that he and the people of his kingdom must honor, obey and praise the Lord or they will be disciplined, punished.
The punishment would be the Temple being destroyed, Solomon would lose his kingdom and the children of Israel would be taken out of the Land. Bible history tells us that all three of these things did happen.
King Solomon went after "other gods", the children of Israel were taken out of the land and the Temple was destroyed. However, there is a great promise to the Jewish people found in this passage, it's verse 14.
I know that American Christians have applied this verse to themselves and their nation but the technical interpretation of this passage is for the Jewish people.
The Jews must call upon the Lord, humble themselves and pray, seeking His face. They must turn from their wicked ways, then the Lord will hear in heaven and the Jews will hear from heaven as He forgives their sins and heals their land.
Though this promise and prophecy is in its beginning stages today, the Jews must follow through and the Lord will fulfill His promise and prophecy.
By the way, the Lord has chosen the place of Solomon's sacrifice and Temple for His own, verse 12, a dwelling place in the future where He will dwell among His people forever. That promise and prophecy will be fulfilled also, seemingly in the near future.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to humble myself, call upon You, seeking Your face and turn from wicked ways.
Monday, December 3, 2018

lI Chronicles 6:6

But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
For further study - II Chronicles 6:1-11

Our extended reading for today is found in II Chronicles 6. In the first 11 verses, the record of the sermon that King Solomon gave at the dedication of the first Jewish Temple. After 7 years, Solomon's men had finished building the Temple in Jerusalem and as we saw in our last devotional reading in II Chronicles, King Solomon had brought the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies and the "Glory of the Lord" had filled the "house of the Lord", II Chronicles 5:14.

As Solomon preached that "dedication day", he honored the Lord and his father, King David. King Solomon was so honored that he had been the one chosen by the Lord to build the temple. The king realized that the Temple would one day be the "house of habitation" for the Lord, forever, verse 2.

In addition to the Temple being where God would dwell among His people forever, the Temple must be in the city of Jerusalem, Psalm 132:13-14. Verse 4 of our reading reveals the partial fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, II Samuel 7.

In this passage the Lord promised King David that his son would build the Temple in Jerusalem and that one of David's sons would sit on the throne forever. That last promise in II Samuel 7, that one of David’s "sons" would sit on the throne of King David, in the future, will actually be fulfilled by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.

However, the first step in fulfilling the covenant given to David was being fulfilled on that day as testified to by King Solomon. The Lord, since the Exodus from Egypt, had not to that point chosen any city in the Promised Land to build a house, worship center, and had not chosen a man to be ruler over His people.

Solomon reveals in his sermon that the Lord had chosen Jerusalem for His permanent Temple and King David, Solomon's father, to be the "co-regent" with Christ at that Temple in Jerusalem, forever.

Almost 500 years after King Solomon's sermon, the prophet Ezekiel wrote that King David would rule from the Temple in Jerusalem, alongside Jesus, forever, Ezekiel 34:23-24 and Ezekiel 37:24-25.

The fulfillment of Solomon's prophecy revealed in his sermon and the prophecy of Ezekiel will take place during the 1,000 - year Millennial Kingdom, yet future. This fulfillment takes place after the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon and when Jesus rules and reigns from His Temple in Jerusalem, forever.

By the way, the Rapture could happen today, which would signal the time of fulfillment for the other prophecies spoken of and yet to be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Even so come Lord Jesus and help me to live in that expectancy today.