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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Mark 9:7

And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
For further study - Mark 9:1-13

Mark's record of the transfiguration reveals a number of practical and prophetic truths that will benefit each of us as we read and realize these are for our everyday consumption.

Remember this event follows the story of Jesus and His disciples in Caesarea of Philippi where Peter pronounced Jesus the "Christ", the Messiah. It was then that Jesus told His disciples to stop telling men of Him and who He was. It was here also that Jesus first revealed His upcoming death, burial and resurrection.

Now, we come to the record of the transfiguration and the events surrounding the Lord's appearance in His "glorified body". Jesus told His men that there would be some of them who would not die before they saw Him in His "kingdom to come".

Then, six days later, the Lord takes the "inner circle" up the mountain, on the slopes of Mount Hermon and Peter, James and John personally witnessed Jesus in His glorified body. They would also see Moses and Elijah in their glorified bodies as well. The Lord was speaking prophetically and the prophecies were being fulfilled.

Peter's statement at the transfiguration reveals that he thought the "kingdom" had come. That's why Peter wanted to setup three "tabernacles". He wasn't talking about putting up three statues to honor Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted three "succas" to be built which is what the Jewish people do during the seven day Feast of Tabernacles.

A "succa" is a thatched hut similar to the ones the Jews used during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The Jewish people erect a "succa", tabernacle, and live in it during the Feast of Tabernacles today. The Feast of Tabernacles is a prophecy of the Kingdom Period yet to come.

Peter, seeing Jesus in His glorified body thought the "kingdom" had come, therefore the setting up of the three tabernacles. Of course, it was not the Kingdom Period beginning, but only a foretaste of things to come. What happened next is very significant.

God the Father interrupted the event and made a very profound statement, "This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him." What a statement, God the Father confirms Jesus as His Son and then the exhortation to all of us, "Hear ye Him." We must hear what the Lord says because He is the Son of God, the One with what we need to hear.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You Lord for Your words, the Word of God, the Bible. Help me to listen closely to what You say and then to do it.
Saturday, May 30, 2020

Mark 1:39

And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

For further reading - Mark 1:21-39

As we come to our devotional reading for today, I selected this portion of Mark because I was just at Capernaum and read from this passage. Our key verse records the Lord's ministry of casting out demons throughout the Galilee region.

Several thoughts come to mind as we read together this scripture. The New Testament Gospel writers reveal to us that "demonic activity" was prevalent during the time of the Lord's ministry on the earth.

This casting out of demons by the Lord was for the benefit of the one demon-possessed, of course, but it also demonstrated the authority of Jesus, verse 22, and that He had power over the "satanic world".

Remember that a "demon" is an "evil angel" that has taken up habitation in the body of a human and through this possession controls the person's every activity.

Jesus did have authority to cast out demons and He gave that authority to the apostles and no one else. The casting out of demons is not a ministry for today. In fact, if you confront someone that is demon-possessed, do not dare demand that the demon do anything. That would be dangerous and it is for the Lord to do that.

What we can do is lead the "demon-possessed” person to the Lord Jesus Christ. Once someone is saved, the Holy Spirit takes up habitation of the newly saved demon-possessed person. A demon and the Holy Spirit both cannot live in the same body and the Holy Spirit will take care of the demon by driving him out.

Another interesting insight from our reading would be included in the thought that the demons would talk to Jesus and the demon recognized who it was that he was dealing with, verse 24Did you notice, even the demons will confess that Jesus is the "Holy One of God"? Every tongue will confess Him as the One from God.

As at the first coming of Jesus Christ when there was much demonic activity, there will also be an intense struggle between the good angels of God and the evil angels of Satan at the Second Coming of Jesus. In fact, the closer we get to the time of the Lord's return, seven years after the Rapture, demon activity will increase ten fold.

Jesus confirmed this in His Olivet DiscourseMatthew 24, when in response to the questions from the disciples, Jesus said the first, most important sign of His Second Coming will be "signs, wonders and miracles with unhindered demonic activity", Matthew 24:4,5,11 and 24.

These Satanic attacks that happen near the Lord's return are one of the indicators that Jesus will soon shout for us to join Him in the air. In fact, that shout could come today for the Rapture. Keep looking up………….Until then.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you for the strength, Lord, to avoid the satanic attacks and in fact the ever increasing attacks, as we draw near to the Rapture of the Church.
Friday, May 29, 2020

Mark 1:38

And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

For further study - Mark 1:21-39

The events in the life of Jesus Christ, were written about in the Gospels, recorded by four men who spent much time with Him when He was here on earth. Mark wrote of the "servant" that Jesus became to all people He dealt with during His ministry.

At the same time, Mark brings to our attention the ministry of Jesus in the little village where He would be headquartered for 3 1/2 years of ministry, the fishing village of Capernaum.

This was also the town where Peter lived with his wife and mother-in-law, Mark 1:30. After a service on the Sabbath day, the Lord went to Peter's house and healed Peter's wife's mother. This event attracted attention to Jesus and His healing ministry and the people gathered to watch as Jesus healed those people brought to Him.

Early the next morning, Jesus went out to pray alone. But leave it to Peter to go out and find Jesus as He was praying. Peter told Jesus that all men were seeking Him. Notice what Jesus said to Peter, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also".

Then Jesus informed all those who gathered that He had come to preach, heal, cast out devils and serve the people. This is what the ancient Jewish prophet Isaiah had written that the "true Messiah" would do when He came to the earth, Isaiah 61:1-2a.

Even the demons could recognize who Jesus was. The demons that Jesus called out of the man in the synagogue in Capernaum told Jesus that even though he was a "demonic creature", he knew who Jesus was, "the Holy One of God".

The preaching, healing and casting out of demons ministry of Jesus not only drew the people in the Galilee to Him but these ministries also authenticated Jesus as the Son of God, the "holy one" of God, who came to be the Saviour of the world.

Jesus was, and is, the focus of Bible prophecy. The fact that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy is evidence that He will fulfill additional prophecy pertaining to Him. The "end time" prophecies related to the "second coming" of Jesus Christ are nearing their fulfillment.

What unique days we are living in today. This is a "day" when He could come in the clouds above us and "shout" to have us join Him in the air - let's keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live recognizing that Jesus is the "Holy One of God" and that He could call for us to join Him in the air, today.
Thursday, May 28, 2020

Matthew 24:37

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For further study - Matthew 24:37-51

In the devotional reading for today we take a look at the Olivet Discourse, a message that Jesus delivered to His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon of Passion Week.

The Lord had just told those there in attendance for this profound prophetic conference, with Jesus as the teacher, that the "generation" which saw the signs discussed in Matthew 24:4-15 would be the ones that would usher in the Kingdom, at the Second Coming of Jesus.

As the Lord was concluding this discourse He mentioned a very specific sign for people to look for as they awaited His Second Coming. Jesus mentioned in verse 37, "as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."

By the way, this passage is speaking of the Second Coming, not the Rapture of the Church in the context of future events, Matthew 24:3.

Remember, in the "Days of Noah" the "ones taken", verses 40-41, were those who were taken to judgment, they drown in the flood. It was Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, that were left.

The Lord also exhorted those awaiting the Second Coming to be working during the time before so that when the Lord does come back the Lord's servants would be blessed, verse 46.

This statement, "technically interpreted", is for those awaiting the Second Coming; however, it has a "spiritual application" for those of us who are Christians awaiting the Rapture. We need to be found faithful, working, in the Lord's work when the Rapture happens. There is a great significance to the Lord's statement about, the "Days of Noah".

Jesus had finished giving general "signs" and then He became very specific. The truth be known, there were three "Days of Noah"; the days before the flood, Genesis 4-6; the days during the flood, Genesis 6,7 and 8; and the days after the flood, Genesis 9, 10 and 11.

Verse 37 can be a stand-alone verse, because of the next verse, verse 38, which specifies the "days before the flood". The verse reads, "For as in the days that were before".

As we consider the "Days of Noah" after the flood, Genesis 10 and 11, describe Noah's great grandson, Nimrod, 10:8-10 and 11:4, as the world leader who went to Babel, today's Babylon or modern-day Iraq, to build a "great city" and a "great religion".

This was a rebellion against God's directive to Noah, Genesis 9:1, to "re-people" the earth after the worldwide flood. The "one world government", with a "one world leader", Nimrod, 4,500 years ago, and a "one world religion" in Nimrod's day, these are both prototypes of the one world religion and the one world government in Revelation 17 and 18, respectively.

The Lord's warning about the "Days of Noah" has present-day significance because in Noah's day the focus of the world was on Babylon and today the world's focus is also on Babylon, modern day Iraq.

The current world situation seems to be set for the Lord's return, His Second Coming. The Lord's exhortation, as revealed in verse 44, is to be "ready". There is also the exhortation in verse 42, to "watch". These both are pertaining to His Second Coming.

However, the "spiritual application" is excellent for us who are to "watch", and be "ready", for the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today, Lord, as if this is the day the Rapture will happen.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

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.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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.
Monday, May 25, 2020

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.
Sunday, May 24, 2020

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.
Saturday, May 23, 2020

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.
Friday, May 22, 2020

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.
Thursday, May 21, 2020

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.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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.
Monday, May 18, 2020

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.
Sunday, May 17, 2020

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.