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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Matthew 24:34

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

For further study - Matthew 24:27-36

The passage for our devotional reading today is another portion of the "Olivet Discourse", the message Jesus gave to His disciples during "Passion Week".

After teaching all day, on Monday afternoon of "Passion Week", Jesus started back towards the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus where He was staying, the days before His crucifixion.

As He left the Temple Mount area He had told the disciples that Herod's Temple would be destroyed and there would not be "a stone upon a stone". The disciples questioned Jesus as to when this Temple destruction would take place and they wanted Him to give them some signs of His Second Coming.

In Matthew 24 the Lord does not give any information about the Temple, as to when it would be destroyed. Jesus, in the account of the Lord's message on the Mount of Olives, in Mark 13 and Luke 21 does respond to the first question from the disciples.

The Lord did answer the question, requesting signs of His Second Coming back to earth, Matthew 24:4-26. In the passage we are reading today Jesus tells of His Second Coming, verses 27-31.

Verse 29 reveals that the Second Coming takes place, after the Tribulation Period. Remember, the Rapture is not mentioned in Matthew 24. The Lord's return to earth when He steps on the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4, is what is in focus in this passage.

After telling of His return to earth, actually to the spot where He was seated teaching those gathered to listen to Him, then as He often did, the Lord used a parable to draw some conclusions.

At the peak of the Mount of Olives there are a number of fig trees. Remember, the time was the spring, since Passover was just two days away. As Jesus noticed the "fig trees" He would use them as an illustration.

Let me say Jesus is not referring to the "fig tree" as the nation of Israel. The "fig tree" is an example of how in the spring the new leaves will pop up on the bare limbs after the winter.

Jesus said that like the new leaves on the "fig tree", the signs, prophecies, that He gave that day would precede His Second Coming. Then Jesus said, "This generation, the ones seeing these things that He had talked about, verses 4 to 31, this generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled", verse 34.

In other words the people that see all the signs, Matthew 24:4-31, when they see these prophecies being fulfilled, look up because they will be the generation alive when Jesus Christ comes back.

Remember, the Rapture takes place at least seven years before the Second Coming. I believe "the generation" seeing the signs happening will be "the generation" that will see Jesus Christ come back.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to alert as many people as possible, alive in this generation, to be prepared for the Rapture, which happens before the Second Coming and could happen today.
Monday, April 29, 2019

Matthew 24:30

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
For further study - Matthew 24:15-31

Our devotional reading for today, the extended reading, is a continuation of the Olivet Discourse that Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives on Monday afternoon of "Passion Week", the week of the Lord's death, burial and resurrection.

Jesus was responding to the questions from His disciples about the "signs" that they could look for in the time leading up to His Second Coming. Remember, Matthew 24 is not referring to the Rapture, but the Second Coming of Jesus.

The Lord sat there on the Mount of Olives teaching His disciples, and mentioned deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes in different places around the earth, Matthew 24:4-7. All of these "signs" are events that lead up to the Lord's return to the earth.

Then in verse 15 of our extended reading the Lord refers to the prophecy of Daniel the Prophet that ministered 500 years before Jesus. Daniel had spoken of the Temple in Jerusalem being desecrated with the "Abomination of Desolation" during the seven-year period in advance of the Lord's return.

The "Abomination of Desolation" will be when "Antichrist" walks into the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and claims to be God, II Thessalonians 2:4. That's when the False Prophet erects a statue, an "image" of the Antichrist, in the Temple and makes all the world to worship this "image", Revelation 13:14-17.

The Satanic creatures, Antichrist and False Prophet, desecrate the Temple, the "Abomination of Desolation" which happens at the mid-way point of the seven year Tribulation Period, Daniel 9:27. Jesus warns the Jews that when they see those things happening to flee Jerusalem.

What this means for us today is that as we quickly approach the coming of the Lord we will see preparations for building a Temple in Jerusalem. All of the preparations have been made. The Temple can be erected in a manner of days. But before they start building the Temple the Lord must call His people, Christians, up to be with Him at the Rapture.

We are quickly approaching the time that Jesus was teaching about; however, please remember that the Rapture happens at least 3 1/2 years before the "Abomination of Desolation".

All preparations have been made to build the Temple for this prophecy to be fulfilled. The only thing that must happen before the Temple is built is the Rapture, and that could happen today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the prophetic passages that describe the day of Your coming. Help me to look eagerly for your return in light of the evidence that the Rapture could happen today.
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Matthew 24:14

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
For further study - Matthew 24:1-14

Matthew 24
 is one of the most important prophetic passages in all of scripture. It is referred to as the "Olivet Discourse". It is the most "profound prophetic conference" ever held. The teacher at this conference is none other than the "Spirit of prophecy", Revelation 19:10, Jesus Christ, Himself.

The crowd at this conference is rather small with the Lord's twelve disciples in attendance and maybe several other followers of Jesus. It takes place on the slopes of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Kidron Valley and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It's Monday afternoon of "Passion Week", the week that Jesus will be crucified.

The message that Jesus delivers to His disciples is actually the climax of six months of teaching prophecy to His men. Jesus will have another forty days after His resurrection when He will also spend the whole time teaching His closest followers the prophetic truths they will need in the very difficult days ahead.

A closer look at the entire Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24 and 25, reveals the entire pattern of prophecy predicted in the book of Revelation written by the Apostle John in 95AD while a prisoner on the isle of Patmos.

John was actually sitting under the teaching of Jesus Christ there on the Mount of Olives when this prophetic conference was taking place some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem.

When Jesus was asked by His Jewish disciples for some "signs" of His coming back to earth to set up His Kingdom, Jesus gave them a number of indicators to look for that would be developing in the time period leading up to His return to Jerusalem.

Let me remind you that the Lord is giving "signs" for His Second Coming not the Rapture of the Church. There are no signs for the Rapture, and in fact, we're not looking for "signs" but listening for a "sound". The sound we're listening for will be the sound of the trumpet, the archangel's shout and the call by Jesus to join Him in the heavenlies.

Briefly, I can point out some "signs" that Jesus gave these Jewish believers. "Deception" is the first and foremost sign, verses 4-5, 11 and 24. There would be "false teachers" using "signs, wonders and miracles" to deceive the people, some who would be believers.

"Wars and rumors of wars", verses 6-7, will be another sign. They tell me that there are over 150 wars and/or conflicts going on right now in our world. The Middle East would be the center focus for most of these conflicts. However, there are rumors of wars all around the world.

Also in verse 7, "famines, pestilence (pandemic disease) and earthquakes" around the world will be taking place. Verse 14 also lists the "sign" of the "gospel of the Kingdom", being preached to everybody on earth and then Jesus Christ comes. This is not the "gospel of grace" that is being preached today.

The "gospel of the Kingdom" is preached during the seven-year Tribulation. When everyone on Earth has heard the "gospel of the Kingdom" through the ministry of the two witnesses, Revelation 11:3-12, and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, Revelation 7:4-9, then Jesus will come back.

The five signs found in verses 4-7 parallel the "sealed judgments" in Revelation 6 which are released on Earth right after the Rapture. These "signs" in Matthew 24 and the "seals" of Revelation 6 are today in the process of moving to fulfillment, seemingly in the near future.

Since the Rapture happens before the "signs" and "seals" are fulfilled, it seems that the Rapture could be very near, even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to not study Your prophetic Word for knowledge only but for that which helps me to see the urgency of the moment and then to live expecting You to shout today for me to join You in the heavenlies.
Saturday, April 27, 2019

Matthew 17:5

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

For further study - Matthew 16:28-17:13

To set the scene for this passage of scripture, I must remind you that in Matthew 16 Jesus and His disciples had traveled north through the upper Galilee to Caesarea Philippi.

It was in the foothills of Mt Hermon, in Caesarea Philippi, where Peter answered the Lord's question about "who" men said that He, the Lord, was. Peter's answer to that question was "thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God", Matthew 16:16.

In the last verse of Matthew 16, verse 28, Jesus gives His disciples a prophecy that there were those among His followers, with Him at that time, who would not die before they saw Jesus in His "Kingdom to come".

Now, six days later, the Lord Jesus Christ takes the "inner circle" of His disciples, Peter, James and John, up onto the slopes of Mt Hermon for what would be the "Transfiguration".

Matthew 17 records what happened there on Mt Hermon some six days after Jesus had told His disciples about "seeing Him in His Kingdom", Matthew 16:28.

Peter, James and John were privileged to be in the presence of Jesus Christ at the Transfiguration and to see Jesus in His glorified body, the fulfillment of the prophecy that Jesus had given them a few days earlier.

The "inner circle" not only saw Jesus, but they also saw Moses and Elijah at the same time in their glorified bodies and what they will be like in the "Kingdom to come".

During the Fall of the year, the season of the Jewish Fall Feasts, especially the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, which Peter pictured as happening, it is interesting to note that Peter wanted to put up three "tabernacle", verse 4.

Peter did not want to put up a "statue" for each of these three, Jesus, Elijah and Moses. Peter thought that the "Kingdom" had arrived so he wanted to put up three "succa's", a thatched hut, that the Jewish people build for the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles.

The "succa" is a reminder for the Jewish people of the "transportable living quarters" in their wanderings in the wilderness for their forty year long trip from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Prophetically, the "succa" and the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles is looking forward to the establishment of a physical, earthly Kingdom that Jesus will set up at the time of His Second Coming. Peter thought it was that time in history, thus the three "succa's", three tabernacles.

As the Jews in Jerusalem and around the world celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles every Fall, it is a reminder that Jesus is coming, and it could be soon.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your continuing reminder of Your Second Coming as You work among Your chosen people, the Jewish people, today.
Friday, April 26, 2019

Matthew 7:21

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
For further study - Matthew 7:15-23

Chapter 7 of Matthew's Gospel is the last of the "Sermon on the Mount", Matthew 5, 6 & 7, which is a sermon to the Jews who were expecting the Kingdom to be set up on the earth by the Messiah, Jews who reject the fact that Jesus Christ was the long awaited Messiah.

The Lord Jesus Christ was rejected by the Jews; however, His sermon given on the slopes of the mountains at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee was a warning that is applicable to the Jews during the time leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus and has "spiritual application" for all of us today.

Verse 15 is a warning for today and into the future, "be aware of false prophets". In the Gospels and the Epistles, in the New Testament, over and over again we are warned of false prophets, false teachers.

In fact, Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, a message given during "Passion Week", the week leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus said that "deception" was the most important indication of His Second Coming, Matthew 24:4,5,11 & 24.

In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord even warned that the "false prophets" could come disguised in "sheep's clothing". These "false teachers" would be posing as believers and even as ministers, II Corinthians 11:13-15.

Notice verse 22 where Jesus reveals that these "false teachers" will preach, prophesy, in His name and do miracles, cast out devils, demons, all in the Lord's name.

The truth be known, we see what Jesus warned us of, happening today. We have a proliferation of "false teachers" and "false prophets" doing "miracles" in the name of Jesus, many of them on so-called "Christian television".

Make sure what you listen to and see happening is truly the Lord's work. Jesus says, verse 23, that these "false prophets" and "miracle workers" He does not know and He tells them to depart from Him.

This portion of the Lord's Sermon on the Mount is so important for us today as we quickly approach the time of the return of the Messiah Jesus Christ.

What we see today, that which Jesus warned us would be the case before He returned, is evidence that the Rapture, Jesus calling Christians into the heavenlies, at least seven years before His Second Coming, could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me to use Your word of warning about "false prophets" to recognize the times in which we are living today.
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Matthew 6:9-10

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

For further study - Matthew 6:5-13 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for teaching me how to pray, help me to do so without ceasing.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Matthew 11:14

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

For further study - Matthew 11:1-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today as if it would be today that Jesus shouts for us to join Him in heaven.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Malachi 4:5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You, Lord, for the prophetic scenario that You lay out in Your Word for the end times. Since we know that these prophecies will be fulfilled, seemingly in our days, help me to live in light of these truths.
Monday, April 22, 2019

Malachi 3:6

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

For further study - Malachi 3:1-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for being the Lord that changes not, One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Sunday, April 21, 2019

Malachi 2:16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the "practical" and "prophetic" significance of Bible prophecy. Help me to live by Biblical principles in these prophetic times.
Saturday, April 20, 2019

Malachi 1:4

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

For further study - Malachi 1:1-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live this day as if it would be the day of the Rapture.
Friday, April 19, 2019

Zechariah 14:4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to warn as many people as I can of this coming time of great judgment upon the earth. And help me to show them how to be prepared for this event by coming to know You as Lord and Saviour.
Thursday, April 18, 2019

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.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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.