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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Zechariah 13:9

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

For further study - Zechariah 13:1-9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for this prophecy that warns the Jews and alerts me to the coming judgment for Your chosen people. Help me to witness to Jews of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Zechariah 12:1

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

For further study - Zechariah 12:1-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for prophecy that alerts me to the nearness of the Rapture. Help me to live in light of these precious truths.
Monday, March 19, 2018

Zechariah 8:23

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

For further study - Zechariah 8:13-23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for Your Word that reveals Your plan for the future and the people of the future.
Sunday, March 18, 2018

Zechariah 6:12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for all the Biblical evidence of Your soon coming, help me to live in light of this evidence and this soon coming.
Saturday, March 17, 2018

Zechariah 4:6

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

For further study - Zechariah 4:1-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for the potential of a soon coming Rapture of the Church. Help me to point the lost to You for salvation.
Friday, March 16, 2018

Zechariah 3:9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, dear Lord, for removing my sins and giving me eternal life. Help me to share this message with others that need this same salvation.
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Zechariah 2:8

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

For further study - Zechariah 2:1-13

This second chapter of Zechariah focuses on the city of Jerusalem. It is natural that Jerusalem should be mentioned again and again in this prophecy. It is a prophecy written by the Jewish prophet that was called to exhort the Jewish people to rebuild the temple after their return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile.

In our last devotional reading in Zechariah, we found out that the Lord is "aggressively possessive" of Jerusalem and "sore displeased" with those who are "arrogantly secure" with present-day control of the Temple Mount.

Also, Jesus will come one day to build His Temple in the heart of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. Now Zechariah reveals Jerusalem in the "kingdom age to come" in our reading for today.

The city of Jerusalem is mentioned 37 times in this prophetic book and here in the second chapter the prophet refers to the holy city as the "apple of his eye". That phrase is speaking of the "pupil" of the eye, the most sensitive spot on the entire body. This is a warning to those who might consider touching - attacking - the city of Jerusalem.

This reading for today is looking past the time of real controversy that will surround Jerusalem approaching the time of the Second Coming of Jesus, including the seven year period of great judgment called the Tribulation Period.

Our devotional is looking to the time that the Glory (Jesus Christ) will be in the midst of Jerusalem, verse 5. The Lord has promised to dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever in Jerusalem, verses 10-11. This chapter is depicting the "chosen city" in the "holy land" in the "kingdom to come".

However, remember as I mentioned earlier, the city of Jerusalem will be the center of controversy. In fact, it is the same prophet, Zechariah, that reveals this information to us in Zechariah 12:2. I will develop that prophecy in a future devotional.

Suffice to say, leading up to the coming of the Messiah back to Jerusalem, things will become very tense in the "holy city". This is becoming more evident with each passing day as we approach the Lord's return.

As you couple the vision of the future kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem, with the festering controversy surrounding Jerusalem today, we can know both are close at hand and thus so is His Second Coming.

Remember, the Rapture takes place seven years before His Second Coming, meaning that the Rapture could happen at any moment. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Jesus, as I watch Jerusalem, help me to recognize where we are in God's time for the last days, and help me to live according to that knowledge.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Zechariah 1:16

Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

For further study - Zechariah 1:12-17

As we come to the prophetic book of Zechariah, I have so much that I would like to use for our devotional. Zechariah was unique in that he was both a "prophet" and a "priest". The Lord selected three men who were Priest and made them Prophets, Zechariah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

As I mentioned in our look at Haggai - these two are contemporaries in their ministry after the return of a number of Jews from Babylon. Zechariah is a "prophet" but also a "priest", how appropriate that the Lord selected him to challenge the people to re-build the temple.

In the portion we're reading today there is a focus on the city of Jerusalem and our Lord's attitude about this "holy city" and it's inhabitants. The city of Jerusalem is mentioned 37 times in Zechariah and for its size that is a large number of times to focus on Jerusalem.

In Zechariah 1:12 we see the phrase, "the angel of the Lord". That phrase is always a "theophany", a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Jesus will say to Zechariah three significant things about Jerusalem.

In verse 14 the Lord says He is "jealous for Jerusalem". The Hebrew flavor for "jealous" is "aggressively possessive". The Lord has chosen Jerusalem for His eternal abode, the place to dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever. Therefore, He is "aggressively possessive" of the city.

In verse 15 He says He is "sore displeased" with those who are "at ease" in Jerusalem. The Hebrew refers to those who are "arrogantly secure" in their control of Jerusalem. Those who have that control are the Palestinian Muslim people of today.

Verse 16 tells us that, one day, Jesus will return to Jerusalem and will build "His house" in it, His Temple. The city of Jerusalem is set aside for the Lord's program, which is the reason He is "aggressively possessive" of Jerusalem.

The city of Jerusalem, as the song says, is the "city of God". Therefore, as Zechariah tells us, Jerusalem will be the center of controversy, Zechariah 12:2-3, in the last days. Each and every controversy surrounding Jerusalem in our day brings us closer to the Lord's return.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to focus on Jerusalem so that I can determine God's timing for His return to Jerusalem.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Haggai 2:23

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
For further study - Haggai 2:20-23

Today, we are only going to read 4 verses in our extended reading, a short, quick read but full of information about God's plan for the last days. This prophecy is one of defeat for the Gentiles and deliverance for the Jews.

In the last days after the Rapture of the Church, when the Lord takes us, who are Christians, up to be with Him in "His Father's house", there will be a major time of judgment upon the earth.

God has several purposes for this time known as the "Tribulation Period". One purpose is to bring the Jewish people to the reality that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah and will be their Savior.

Now we come to the prophecy of Haggai. This Jewish prophet ministered to the Jewish people after the Babylonian Captivity, a ministry that would be manifested by his exhorting the returning Jews to get beyond their own needs and to the task of rebuilding the temple - the permanent dwelling place for the Lord, a permanent worship center.

With the last 4 verses of Haggai's prophecy, the Lord promises to "shake the heavens and the earth", verse 21. The Lord will use the seven years of judgment on this earth to not only evangelize the Jewish people but to also "overthrow the throne of kingdoms and destroy the strength of the kingdoms", the kingdoms of the heathen, the Gentile world powers.

Notice also in verse 22 that the "riders of the chariots and the horses", a military terminology, the Lord will bring them down. This is a prophecy of the defeat of the Gentile world powers as foretold by another ancient Jewish prophet, Daniel.

Jesus also mentioned this defeat in His Olivet Discourse as recorded in Luke 21. The phrase in Luke 21:24, "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled", is the same prophecy revealing that God will defeat the Antichrist, the dictator of the Gentile world powers in the end times and bring an end to the Gentile world leaders controlling the Jews and Jerusalem.

The Jews will be "God's chosen", verse 23, in the city He chose to dwell among His people, Jerusalem, forever. Thus saith the "Lord of Hosts". Today, the Gentiles control the world. One day soon, Jesus, "King of the Jews", will fulfill the promise of Haggai.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for fulfilling all of your promises to the Jewish people because then I can rest assured that You will fulfill all promises made to me about eternal life.
Monday, March 12, 2018

Haggai 2:19

Is the seed yet in the barn? Yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

For further study - Haggai 2:10-19

Please remember that Haggai is a contemporary of the prophet Zechariah. These two prophets were called of God to exhort the Jewish people to rebuild the temple after their return from the Babylonian captivity. Haggai was somewhat of an "in your face" type of prophet, more so than was Zechariah.

This older prophet was growing impatient with the Jews, his people, as they were taking so long to finish up the work of rebuilding the temple, the permanent worship center for the Jewish people. The Jews had been disobedient and the prophet had been led by the Lord to chastise them verbally and exhort them to finish up the building of the house of the Lord.

As we come to verse 10, and through 19, we see that the returning Jewish people were starting to become obedient and starting to get more serious about doing as the Lord had commanded. Haggai was revealing the word of the Lord directly to the people. They could see that the Lord had chastened them for not obeying, verse 17.

Haggai said, verses 18 and 19, "consider" that when you become obedient there will be "seed in the barn", the vine, fig tree, and pomegranate will bring forth fruit. From that day, the day of their obedience, from that day they would be blessed of the Lord.

Verses 20-23, as we will see in a future devotional, states that the ultimate fulfillment of Haggai's prophecy would be the destruction of the Gentile world powers and the building of the temple, Messiah's Temple, where Messiah Jesus will rule and reign forever.

Thus, our passage is also applicable to the end times as the Jewish people return to the land of their forefathers and become obedient to the Lord. The blessings will then be poured out on them.

As in the days of Haggai, the Jews are today coming back into the land and have allowed their own comforts to be of greater priority than the building of the temple for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Bible does call for a Temple in Jerusalem in the last days, and in fact, into the future and forever.

There is a remnant of Jews who are working towards a rebuilding of the temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, but the vast majority and especially the Israeli government have no desire to rebuild the temple. This subject is so controversial that the politicians of Israel never mention it and deny any efforts to rebuild the temple when confronted by the Moslem world.

This caveat, as we conclude our devotional. The preparations for the next temple are ready for the building of a temple right now in Jerusalem with one small problem. The ones preparing to build the next temple are not following the instructions for Messiah's Temple as found in Ezekiel 40-46.

The next temple to be built in Jerusalem will be the "Tribulation Temple" that will be desecrated by Antichrist, II Thessalonians 2:4. That temple is ready to be built on the Temple Mount right now, but the Rapture must happen before they start construction. Thus the Rapture could happen at any moment - keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, that we live in a day that seems to be near the time of the Rapture. Help me to live in light of that fact.
Sunday, March 11, 2018

Haggai 2:9

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
For further study - Haggai 2:1-9

The Prophet Haggai is a contemporary of Zechariah. These two prophets, along with Malachi, prophesied after the Babylonian captivity.

Both Haggai and Zechariah were exhorting the Jews that had returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem from Babylon to get busy in the rebuilding of the temple - to replace Solomon's temple, the first temple, that had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian King.

Haggai was concerned that those returning Jews were too busy building their own houses to take care of building the "house of the Lord". Haggai as a prophet was a bit more "crusty" than Zechariah who was also a priest. Haggai gives the Jews a stern warning of the Lord's displeasure with their disobedience and lack of priority in the building of His house.

It is in this context that Haggai looks down the corridor of time to a future temple to be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Actually, from Haggai's day until the time that the Lord Jesus will sit on His throne in the Temple at Jerusalem there will be three temples.

The temple built in Haggai's day was the 2nd temple, also known as Zerubbabel's Temple or Herod's Temple. Then there will be the temple to stand in Jerusalem during the Tribulation Period. And finally, the temple referred to as "Messiah's Temple" the one that Jesus will build, Zechariah 6:12following all the detailed instructions of Ezekiel 40-46.

The Messiah's Temple is the one Haggai is referring to in Haggai 2:9. When Jesus rules from that "latter house" the Lord will give peace to the whole world.

One final note: The next temple, the Tribulation Temple, is ready to be built right now. That would make us living in the days of that temple - meaning Jesus is coming and it could be soon. Remember, the Rapture takes place before the next temple is built in Jerusalem.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for allowing us to be alive in what could be the day of your return.
Saturday, March 10, 2018

Haggai 1:2

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built.
For further study - Haggai 1:1-15

We could well rehearse the words of a previous devotional when I wrote that prophecy is not only prophetic but practical as well. This you can discern as you read the extended portion of our devotional today.

Haggai and Zechariah are two of the three prophets that had ministry after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity. Both of these men exhorted the Jews to rebuild the Temple. Remember, Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army had destroyed the first temple, Solomon's Temple.

Now, the Jews, around 50,000 of them, who had returned to Jerusalem with Zerubabbel, had done so for the purpose of rebuilding the Temple and once again offering sacrifice and worship in this "worship center" in Jerusalem.

Haggai challenged the people to not focus on their own homes, Haggai 1:3-9, but instead move quickly to rebuild the Temple, the place to worship the God of Israel. Haggai reminded the people of the Lord's chastisement on them for not rebuilding the Temple, Haggai 1:10-11.

There had been a major draught upon the land of Israel so that the needed foodstuffs were in much lesser supply, even the provision for the cattle. Under Haggai's ministry, the Jewish people got their hearts right by fearing the Lord, with a "reverential fear", and the Lord stirred the spirit of Zerubabbel to lead the people in the rebuilding of the Temple.

As in Haggai's day, there is need for a Temple in the city of Jerusalem today. The Jewish people who have returned to the land God promised them have been concerned about their own houses, their livelihood and not rebuilding the permanent worship center for the Lord.

Although that is the case with most Jews in modern-day Israel, there is a group of religious Jews that believe the Bible and believe that there needs to be a Temple in Jerusalem. In fact, the leaders of these dedicated Jews are preparing to rebuild the Temple.

All preparations have been made and they could start construction of the Temple at any time. However, the Bible teaches that the Rapture must take place first, Daniel 11:45, and then the next Temple will be built.

With all the activity surrounding the preparations to build the next Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, we have the evidence that the Rapture is close at hand, in fact it could happen today, keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to set my priorities in light of the fact that Jesus will soon call Christians to join Him in the air at the Rapture.
Friday, March 9, 2018

Zephaniah 3:20

At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.
For further study - Zephaniah 3:14-20

These verses, written by the ancient Jewish prophet Zephaniah for our reading today are a prophecy of a day yet future for the Jewish people. The prophecy will be fulfilled in the coming "kingdom period" promised to the Jewish people.

There was an interesting phrase used in verse 14, the word "daughters" before Zion and Jerusalem. The prophet used "daughter" because in Hebrew, the name of a city is in the feminine gender and "daughter" is referring to the residents of the city. The people of Jerusalem, Zion, which are synonymous, mean the same city and the daughters are the residents of that city.

These residents will rejoice in Jerusalem because God has given the Kingdom to Jesus, the Messiah King and has taken away the judgment of almost 2,000 years from the Jews, verse 15. The "King", King Jesus, the one who comes from the family of King David, will be in the midst of the Jews on His throne in the eternal undivided city of Jerusalem.

The Jewish people, because of disobedience, have been scattered around the world for almost 2,000 years. In this coming "kingdom period", the Lord will not only gather them "back home" but the nations from which these Jews have been gathered will praise the Jews as compared to today when they are dishonored, oppressed, and often persecuted.

This will be a new age for the Jewish people. Ironically, the world should be honoring the Jews today - they are the "chosen people" of God. God is not finished with the Jewish people.

Today, the world finds it difficult to honor the Jews and instead easy to mock them. This type of treatment focused on the Jews will continue until the Messiah Jesus comes. Then the world will realize that the Lord has another plan for His "chosen people".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Give me, dear Lord, a special love for the Jewish people and the Messiah of the Jewish people, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Zephaniah 3:9

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
For further study - Zephaniah 3:8-13 

As we read our selection of God's prophetic word in Zephaniah, we must realize that the Lord will one day, a day that seems not too far into the future, will one day pour out his indignation upon the nations of the world that have brought harm to the Jewish people, verse 8.

God through the prophet Zephaniah tells the Jews not to be proud. In fact, He tells them they will be no "more haughty" because of His "holy mountain". The "holy mountain of God" is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This is to be the location of the Lord's presence among His people forever, Psalm 132:13-14.

It is in the midst of the warnings and promises that the Lord tells His people that He will return to them a "pure language", verse 9. This passage needs some explanation. The language of the Jewish people for the first 2,000 years of their existence was the Hebrew language.

With the destruction of the Temple, the devastation of the city of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews into the four corners of the earth in 70A.D, the Jews basically left off from speaking the Hebrew language.

Any linguist will confirm that Hebrew was a dead language for almost 2000 years. It was not used for daily conversation, for commerce, or for anything else except a rare reading of the Hebrew text in a place of Jewish worship.

In the late 1800's, a Jewish man named Eliezar Ben-Yahuda moved to Israel with his new bride and they started to learn Hebrew, develop new Hebrew words, develop a method of teaching Hebrew, and even put together a Hebrew dictionary with the new words in it.

The miracle of the restoration of the Hebrew language to the Jewish people of today is evidence that we are living in the days referred to by Zephaniah. Not only was the prophecy of the resurrection of the Hebrew language fulfilled, but all the other prophecies Zephaniah wrote down for us today will be fulfilled as well - and most likely in the near future.

Let's keep looking up - Jesus is coming!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for making clear in my mind that God's faithfulness to fulfilled prophecy is an assurance that He is the One He said He is and will do what He said He would do.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Zephaniah 2:3

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.

For further study - Zephaniah 2:1-15

As is the case in much of Bible prophecy in each prophecy there may well be a "short term" fulfillment and/or a "long term" fulfillment. Thus, the prophecy we are looking at may be fulfilled in the near future, sometime soon after the prophecy was given.

It may also have a long term fulfillment, in other words it will be fulfilled in the future, certainly in the future from Zephaniah's day, as well as future as it relates to our day.

Our devotional reading for today, the extended reading, has both a short-term fulfillment and a yet to be fulfilled aspect to the prophecy. Zephaniah was telling his people that there was judgment coming to Judah in his day, in the times of King Josiah.

Zephaniah was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah who also called for judgment upon Judah. The time period was around 630 - 625 BC before the capture and destruction of Judah in 586 BC. The Babylonians would come as God's agents in the punishment of Judea, at the time when they would be carried out of the land of Israel into Babylon for 70 years.

The often used phrase in this book, "the day of the Lord" , is evidence that the prophecy also pertains to the last days, the days when Messiah Jesus Christ comes to judge and then to rule and reign in Jerusalem.

Zephaniah is a prophet to Judah and the Jewish people, but also a prophet with a prophecy for our present day. Notice verse 1 as it relates to the gathering together of a people, the Jewish people, into a nation that is not desired by the world. This is certainly the case in our world today. The Jewish nation of Israel is a nation not wanted by many nations in the Middle East.

The phrase the "day of the Lord" is referring to the times leading up to the return of the Messiah, Jesus, which includes the seven-year Tribulation Period preceding the Second Coming.

It is very interesting to note the geographical areas referred to by Zephaniah found in verses 4-15. This is a prophecy focused by Zephaniah on the neighbors of the Jews in Israel. Look at verse 4 where it names the location of Gaza, a "hot-spot" today in the Middle East.

Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod, towns in Biblical times located in the lands of the Philistines, will come under judgment. By the way the Philistines are not the Palestinian people of today. The present-day Palestinians are descendants of Esau and the Edomites.

However, this geographical location and its inhabitants today are the ones who will face judgment. Obadiah 15-18 and Ezekiel 35 tell of the coming judgment on the people of Gaza today, the Palestinians.

These passages of prophecy indicate that the Palestinians will be as if they never were a people. This prophecy, the prophecies of Obadiah and Ezekiel, and the present-day situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focused on the Gaza and the Gaza Strip, reveal to us that the stage is being set for the final drama to begin. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, since I can know the times of Your return as described in Bible prophecy, help me to understand our present days and look and live for Your soon return.