Shofar Communications, Inc.. Powered by Blogger.
Monday, May 31, 2021

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.
Sunday, May 30, 2021

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.
Saturday, May 29, 2021

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.
Friday, May 28, 2021

Zephaniah 1:18

Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

For further study - Zephaniah 1:1-18

Zephaniah is a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, thus he would have exercised his ministry during the reign of Josiah, which would have been prior to the 70 years of Babylonian captivity.

During Josiah's reign, there had been somewhat of a revival among the Jewish people. A closer study of the time of this revival, which was a superficial revival, made it inevitable that the pending judgment of the Babylonian captivity would take place.

This is the situation in Zephaniah's day of ministry as God brings this Jewish prophet to His people to warn them. As we join Zephaniah, we see he is revealing to the Jews the approaching "Day of the Lord". This phrase, "the Day of the Lord", is a key phrase, and used often, in Bible prophecy.

The phrase, the "Day of the Lord", was first introduced by the ancient prophet Joel and is a phrase used by many of the prophets. The definition of the phrase is, "any time in history when God intercedes in the affairs of man personally on the earth". That definition certainly describes the approaching judgment for the Jews in Zephaniah's day.

Zephaniah, in this reading for today, will use the term 7 times. Indeed, the Lord will intercede in the affairs of the Jewish people and even though there was a revival, God's chastisement did come and it did happen in the "near future", as it relates to Zephaniah's day.

When God uses a prophet to tell the people the future, those prophecies will either have a short-term fulfillment or a long- term fulfillment. Sometimes the prophecy will have both a short-term and/or a long-term future fulfillment. Zephaniah's prophecies in our reading today are to warn the people of the coming of the Babylonian captivity, which was close at hand.

But as mentioned, there is also a long-term fulfillment in view here as well. The long-term fulfillment is to come about, I believe, in the not to distant future. Let me remind you that the Babylonians of Zephaniah's day are the Iraqis today.

Prophecy even tells us that the literal city of "Babylon" will be center stage as the final-days drama unfolds not too far down the prophetic pathway, Revelation 18.

As we look at current events in the Middle East, with a focus on Iraq, we see that the stage is being set, all the actors are moving onto the stage, and the curtain is about to go up on the last act in the drama for the "end times".

That being the case, we also are about to leave this earth and go up into the heavenlies, as soon as Jesus shouts to call us to join Him in His Father's house. That shout could come today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me this day to live as if it indeed will be the day Jesus will shout to call us to join Him in the heavens.
Thursday, May 27, 2021

Habakkuk 3:18-19

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

For further study - Habakkuk 3:1-19

Those of us who are using this third chapter of Habakkuk for our daily devotion most likely have difficulty even pronouncing the prophets name as we endeavor to understand what is taking place in this little prophetic book.

Before we look at our passage for today I think a quick look back at the entire prophecy would be good. Because of destruction, violence, strife, conflict, injustice and wickedness all around him, Habakkuk, as recorded in chapter one, was so depressed that he was about to go under when he started this book.

The prophet had a number of questions for God. All of his questions started with "Why". Habakkuk cried out to the Lord for some answers and his call did not go unheeded.

In the Lord's response, as revealed in chapter two, He not only answered the prophets demanding questions as to why "bad things happen to good people" but the Lord gave His prophet the confidence to lift him up from the "pits to the mountaintop".

In the third chapter God gives the prophet a "prayer of praise" that was the "song of joy" for a servant who began in a "valley of distress" and ends his journey on the "mountaintop of delight".
As you read our extended passage you can almost hear the music. It is a "hymn of praise", a "prayer of praise" put to music that glorifies the Lord, with who the prophet had been conversing and complaining.

Now Habakkuk will celebrate as he comes to the understanding of why Judah was being punished and the "who" that God had chosen to chastise the Jews, Babylon.

To make the song complete, God revealed the defeat of Babylon and that Judah would return to the Lord. The key verse of the entire book, 2:4, expresses the principle upon which we must develop our own lives in this time, similar to the times of Habakkuk.

"The just shall live by his faith" is the principle that must be applied in our day of wickedness, distress, violence, evil, conflict, injustice and destruction. God has a plan that is found in the pages of His prophetic passages that prepare us for His purpose in these days.

As we stop and listen to Him, by reading His Word daily, we can move from "distress to deliverance", as did Habakkuk. One very interesting thought before we conclude, the ultimate destruction of Babylon, modern-day Iraq, will take place after the Anti-christ sets up his worldwide political, economic, governmental kingdom in that "literal" city of Babylon (Revelation 18 and 16:17-21 ).

All that we see going on in Iraq today is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, seemingly in the near future. But remember, the total destruction of Babylon takes place just before Jesus comes back to Earth and steps down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

These events will take place at least seven years from today, and I say that because the next event on God’s calendar is the Rapture, which has not happened yet. However, it could happen today……….Keep looking up. 

PRAYER THOUGHTHelp me Lord, to live by faith, faith in You and Your plan for the future, which will be the very best for me.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Habakkuk 2:14

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

For further study - Habakkuk 2:1-14

In my teaching of prophecy, I always say that the prophetic word of God not only reveals what the future holds, but prophecy is very practical as well. Our reading today will be a perfect example of that fact.

Before we get into the "practical", let me take care of the "prophetic". Habakkuk was a prophet that had his ministry on the eve of the Babylonian captivity. Most likely he was foretelling the future events of the Jewish people during the latter years of Josiah.

There is not a lot known about Habakkuk except the fact that to him, the character of Jehovah God was revealed in terms of the highest spirituality. He alone of the prophets was most concerned that the "holiness of Jehovah" should be vindicated even to the extent that he would see that as a higher priority than Israel's escape from Jehovah's chastisement.

Habakkuk foretold the rise of the Chaldeans, chapter 1, verse 6 and that they would be the instrument that God would use to discipline the Jewish people. Habakkuk considered himself a "watchman", one who would stand upon the wall or the tower to watch and see, and then warn the people.

Habakkuk takes this "watchmen mentality" into the spiritual realm as well, watching for the Lord's message and then warning the people, verse 1 of our extended reading for today. As you read the 14 assigned verses for today you will get the flavor of the chastisement that the Jewish people will face because of their sin. Notice the "woes" in verses 6, 9 and 12.

Now, let’s take a look at the practical aspect of prophecy. Habakkuk is a perfect example of what our ministry should be - we also must be watchmen. I would imagine that if you are reading this devotional you have a great interest in prophecy and must have some knowledge of what the future holds. Therefore, as a watchman, you have "seen" - now "warn" the people.

Verse 4 relates to us how the Jewish people should have lived and Habakkuk exhorts them that they must "live by faith" - faith in God and His instructions and directions.

The last verse of our reading, verse 14, looks to the future time when the "glory of the Lord" will fill the earth. That is a future prophecy to be fulfilled during the Kingdom period when Christ "rules and reigns" from the Temple in Jerusalem.

However, Psalm 19 tells us we can witness "the glory of the Lord" today as we look into the heavens where His glory is declared. We can also observe His creation all around us. Prophecy is indeed so practical.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to be the watchman you want me to be, hearing the prophetic message from your Word and warning the people.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Habakkuk 1:5

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

For further study - Habakkuk 1:1-11

The ancient Jewish prophet Habakkuk is one of the "Minor Prophets" of which little is known. Most likely, he prophesied in the latter years of King Josiah making him a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. This prophecy is a warning to the Jewish people about coming chastisement, as they would be taken into the Babylonian captivity as a result of their sins.

As you read through this short warning message to the Jewish people you will notice that Habakkuk is more concerned that the "holiness of God" be vindicated than that Israel should escape judgment. In fact, Habakkuk sees the "holiness of God" as the reason He will have to judge those who He chose to represent Him here on the earth.

Jeremiah reveals to the Jews of his day that because they did not follow God's command to give the land a Sabbath every seven years, the Jews would be punished. The Jews were to rest the land, Leviticus 25:8-23. They would be judged for their neglect to obey the Lord.

God then would raise up the Babylonians (the Chaldeans) to take the Jewish people out of the land to give the land the "seventy years" of rest required by God's law, II Chronicles 36.

Habakkuk had a message that confirmed the prophetic message of Jeremiah about the Babylonians taking the Jews into captivity. However, in his message of "retribution", Habakkuk had a message of "restoration".

This prophecy reveals the love that God has for His people and His greatness, one who will do a great work among the Jews even as they are under His judgment, verse 5.

Prophetic passages have a short-term fulfillment and/or a long-term fulfillment. Sometimes, a prophecy will be speaking of a short-term and a long-term fulfillment. This is the case in Habakkuk 1:5

As the book of Ezra records in chapters 1-6, the Lord raises up the leader of the Medo-Persian Empire - Cyrus, Ezra 1:2-4, to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to build the Temple. Thus you have the short-term fulfillment.

The Jews today are beginning to witness the Lord doing a great work among them as He has brought them from the four corners of the earth back to the land of their forefathers.

In a future tomorrow, His holiness will even do a greater work among the Jewish people. We are living in the days that Habakkuk was writing about.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to be holy as the Lord is holy.
Monday, May 24, 2021

Nahum 3:19

There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

For further study - Nahum 3:1-19

As we read today from the prophecy of Nahum 3, we must be reminded of how cruel the Ninevites had been to the nations and peoples surrounding them.

The Ninevites were a treacherous people. Verse 1 of our extended reading refers to Nineveh as the "city of blood". Nineveh was truly a "city of blood" - blood spilled by her uncontrolled lust and murder. She earned the title by her treacherous practices of cutting off hands and feet, ears and noses, gouging out eyes and lopping off heads.

These mutilated bodies would be impaled or flayed alive through a process in which their skin was gradually and completely removed.

God's judgment on Nineveh would bring relief to all of her neighbors. Reading through Nahum 3 is like reading the pre-written history of this treacherous land. There are a number of prophecies found in Nahum 3 that have already been fulfilled.

For example when the city was captured the people would be drunk, verse 11; the Assyrian fortresses surrounding the city would be easily captured, verse 12; and Nineveh would be destroyed by fire, verses 15.

There are other prophecies found in our reading for today and each of them have been documented, they have been fulfilled. The prophecies of Nahum 3 were all fulfilled between 612 and 609 BC. This empire, that for centuries had been invincible, was totally disintegrated.

Nahum revealed in his prophecy that the Lord would pour out His wrath on Nineveh, 1:2-3, 6 and demonstrate his care for those who trust in Him, 1:7.

We can learn from the book of Nahum that God's wrath will eventually fall on sinners and we can be comforted by knowing that those who turn to Him are safe.

A study of prophetic passages in God's Word that have not yet been fulfilled reveal that the seven year period of judgment yet to come will be very similar to the days of Nahum's prophecy. This will be true, especially in relation to the peoples and the geographical locations of past and future prophecies that have been and will be fulfilled.

By the way, Biblical Nineveh is modern day Mosul in Iraq. It is very interesting to know that both Nineveh and Babylon, two major fortressed cities 4,500 years ago were both built by Nimrod, Genesis 10:10-11.

The kingdoms that Nimrod established then are a prototype of what is to come in the future with a world headquarters for the Anti-christ to be located in the exact same geographical location as these two ancient cities, in what is now modern-day Iraq.

The prophetic scenario that includes Iraq, Biblical Babylon, will be fulfilled at the end of the seven year period known as the Tribulation, which means at least seven years from now because the Rapture must happen first, and it hasn’t happened yet. However, it could happen today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the record of prophecies fulfilled which gives me the assurance that all unfulfilled prophecies will be fulfilled by You, the One in control.
Sunday, May 23, 2021

Nahum 2:13

Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions: and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.

For further study - Nahum 2:1-13

Nahum prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah, probably about 150 years after the Jewish Prophet Jonah. According to historians, the city of Nineveh was destroyed about a century later precisely as Nahum predicted. In fact, the book of Nahum has but one subject - the destruction of Nineveh.

Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, the peoples who captured the ten tribes of Israel, which had separated from Judah and Benjamin at the end of the reign of King Solomon, I Kings 11.
The Assyrians, in essence the people of Nineveh, were a fierce fighting machine and killed and destroyed many warriors and their sponsoring states.

The great ethical lesson of Nahum is that the character of God makes Him not only "slow to anger", and "a stronghold to them that trust Him", but also one who "will not at all acquit the wicked".

As you will notice when you read the extended portion of our devotional today, it is a prophecy that is one continuous story, which does not yield to analysis. I therefore will not analyze the reading for today but will only mention that as you read Nahum you will see the holiness of God, which must deal with "sin in judgment".

As an aside, I mention to you that Biblical Nineveh is located in Iraq in the north. What Nineveh was in yesteryear is modern-day Mosul, one of the key players in the ongoing drama in war-torn Iraq. This is the area of the Kurds, a people that want their own nation.

Someone has said, "what goes around, comes around". These Bible lands of yesterday are the battlefields of today and the future. As I mentioned, the Kurds, one of the three groups in Iraq that will form a national government, are a people who would rather break off from Iraq and become their own nation.

This area is an "oil-rich" section of Iraq which is one of the reasons that the late Saddam Hussein gave the orders to have so many of them killed during his reign as leader of Iraq. In fact, there were thousands of them that were "gassed" to death under Saddam’s leadership.

This political scenario that I have been discussing in this devotional helps us to see how the stage is being set for the prophetic scenario found in Revelation 18 and 16:17-21, along with Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51, to be fulfilled.

The only thing that must happen before all of the above prophecies are fulfilled is that the Rapture must happen. All that has been, and is going on in Iraq is strong evidence that the Rapture may be very close to being fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to learn that you're holiness, Lord, must deal with sin in judgment and also that events of today seem to be setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

Nahum 1:15

Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

For further study - Nahum 1:1-15

The Prophet Nahum prophesied about one hundred and fifty years after Jonah but was also focused on the city of Nineveh. However, Nahum has but one subject - the destruction of Nineveh - not it's salvation.

According to ancient historians, the city was destroyed nearly one hundred years after Nahum's prophecy, exactly as predicted in his prophetic book. As you read our passage for today, you will become very aware of the "holiness of God" which demands He deal with sin, with judgment.

The people of Nineveh had departed from their faithfulness to God, which had come about in the days that Jonah ministered in this Gentile city. During Jonah's ministry, the city and the King had turned to God. Now 150 years later they turn from God.

Into this scene comes the prophet Nahum with his message of the awesomeness and holiness of God. God is a jealous God, a Lord that has reserved wrath for His enemiesverse 2. The Lord is slow to anger - but has great power and will not acquit the wicked, verse 3.

This God, the God of the Jewish people, has control over His creation. In His judgment He comes as the "whirlwind", as a mighty storm who controls the seas, the rivers, the mountains and in fact, the entire earth, verses 3-5. Nahum asked the question of those who face judgment, "who can stand before His indignation". The answer is "no one".

The great lessons of Nahum are that God is slow to anger and a stronghold for those who trust Him, verse 7, but also "one who will not acquit the wicked",verse 3. Not only was Nahum's prophetic message given to the Gentile city of Nineveh, but also to Nahum's own people, the Jewish people.

Nahum reveals this awesome God as a "God that will judge the Jewish people". The Jewish Messiah comes to the "mountain" in Jerusalem to publish peace throughout the world. Jewish people are aware that their Messiah will come to bring peace and He will arrive on the mountain that He left fromActs 1:10-11, the Mt. of Olives across the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Notice that Nahum reminds the Jews to keep their "feast days" in light of what will happen during the Kingdom to come. At the Temple in Jerusalem, the "Jewish solemn feast" will once again be observed during the millennium, Ezekiel 45:7-25.

Orthodox Jewish Scholars today are preparing the Jewish people to look forward to that time when the Temple stands on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. At that time the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, will dwell among His people, the Jewish people foreverPsalm 132:13-14. The "sacrificial system" will be restored, it will be restored as a memorial and to restore fellowship for those who have sinned.

As predicted in the prophecy of Nahum, the Jewish people are beginning to long for their Temple to be rebuilt and the Messiah to come - we are living in that day, even so come Lord Jesus. Remember, before that Temple is built the Rapture will happen.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Let me see the awesomeness of God, our stronghold in a day of trouble, and eagerly await His return.
Friday, May 21, 2021

Micah 7:18

 Who is a God like unto thee?

For further study –Micah 7:7-20

What an outstanding question is asked in our key verse for our devotional reading today. The question goes along with the title of the book we have been looking at in our devotional readings. "Micah" actually means in the Hebrew, "Who is a God like Yahweh".

We have seen in Micah 1-3 that Yahweh "Proclaims" judgment on His chosen people because of their sin against Him. Chapters 4 and 5 give us the "Prophecies" for the Jews in the near future, in their day some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, and in these days as well.

Micah 6 is a "Plea" for the Jews to repent of their sins and become His people for the purpose that He brought them into existence in the first place. As we come to Micah 7 we see that He will "Pardon" the Jews for their sins when they turn to Him.

This brings us to our key verse, verse 18, that is the end result of Micah’s understanding of what Yahweh is and has been doing with the Jews. Starting in verse 7 we see the Prophet’s prayer for himself and his people to get their hearts right.

The prayer also reveals that the enemies of the Jews will pay a price when the Lord does pardon His chosen people and takes care of these enemies. Verse 16 even says that the enemies will be amazed at what the Lord is doing with the Jews and the judgment that comes upon them, as Israel’s enemies.

There is so much more here in our "extended reading" for you to study but let me point to the great promise that Yahweh makes to the Jews found in verse 20. He says He will perform all the truth that He gave in the promises to the Jews.

These promises are found in the four covenants that the Lord made with the Jewish people down through the years. The first was the "Abrahamic Covenant", Genesis 12, made to Abraham that Yahweh would make him a great nation through the "sons of promise", Isaac and Jacob.

The "Land Covenant", Deuteronomy 30, is the eternal promise for the Jews and the "land" that Yahweh will give them at the time of the Kingdom. Speaking of the Kingdom, it is to be an eternal Kingdom, headquartered in Jerusalem with the Messiah, Jesus Christ on the "throne" in a "Temple" on the Temple Mount, as promised by the "Davidic Covenant", 2 Samuel 7.

The "New Covenant" is given, not to the Church, but to the Jewish people, Jeremiah 31:31, and it will be fulfilled when the Lord puts His Word in the hearts of the Jews and they become His people and Yahweh becomes their God.

This is the answer to that awesome question found in our key verse for today, Micah 7:18, "Who is a God like unto thee?" Of course, the answer is found in the devotional readings from the great Old Testament Prophet Micah.

The prophecies of this book are at the point of being fulfilled, the stage is set, all the actors are in place and the curtain is about to go up for the last act. There is only one thing that must happen before this all happens and that’s the Rapture of the Church, which could happen today, keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, thank you for such a great book like Micah in which we can find the reality of a "promising keeping God" and the truth of where we are today, in your plan for the future in this world. Help me to live in light of these truths as I await the Rapture.
Thursday, May 20, 2021

Micah 5:2

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

For further study –Micah 5:1-4

The key verse for our devotional today is a very familiar Christmas passage, the prophecy of the actual town where the Messiah would be born, "the little town of Bethlehem".

What has been very interesting to me over the years that I have led tours through the "land of the Bible" and listened to my Israeli guides say over and over again that the "place" doesn’t matter, it’s the "person" that is important.

It is true that the "person", Jesus Christ, is what any trip to Israel and the rest of the land areas, spoken of in the Bible, is all about and the reason any one would want to visit this region of the world. People want to "walk in the footsteps of Jesus".

However, I must hasten to add that the "place" is as important as the "person" if one is really to come to a proper understanding of the record of Biblical history. There are many times in the record of "history", "His story", that the location is an absolute in order to know if what happened is truth.

The Christmas Story is a prime example that the "person" and the "place" are key to the validity of the account of what happened and it’s accuracy in the record of the "first coming" of Jesus Christ. Both must be correct in order for this event to be the fulfillment of the many prophecies that foretold of the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God.

There are two towns in Israel that are called "Bethlehem", and one of them is much closer to the community where Mary and Joseph lived than Bethlehem Ephratah where Jesus was born. The other Bethlehem is in the area of the land that was given to Zebulon and is not far from Nazareth.

It would have been much easier for Mary, who was "heavy with child" to travel the few miles from her home to the northern Bethlehem than to the one some ninety miles from Nazareth, near Jerusalem.

In fact, had Jesus been born on the way in any number of little towns, Jericho, Bethany or even Jerusalem, He would not have been the one spoken of by the ancient Jewish Prophets. In order for Jesus to be the true Messiah He had to fulfill all Bible prophecy in absolute detail.

Before we leave the Christmas Story that is prophesied in the book of Micah let’s take a look at a verse in Micah 4, verse 8. This verse mentions that the Messiah will come to a place called, in the Hebrew, "Migdal Edar", which in English is "tower of the flock".

This phrase is mentioned only one other time in the scriptures and that is in Genesis 35:21 when it refers to the location Jacob, "Israel", traveled to and pitched his tent after he had buried his wife Rachel. The location is on the road from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, which is just about four miles between the two.

"Migdal Edar", the "tower of the flock", refers to a two story stone structure that serves as the watchtower for the shepherds overseeing their sheep in the "shepherds fields" at Bethlehem. In the top story the chief shepherd looks out across the fields to make sure nothing is bothering his sheep.

The sheep in the Shepherds Fields are the ones that are taken to the Temple to be used in the sacrificial activities called for in the scriptures. By the way, they use the bottom floor of "Migdal Edar" to birth the new-born lambs.

When these lambs are born they are wrapped in "swaddling clothes" and then laid in a "manger" until it has calmed down so this lamb won’t be marred and not able to be sacrificed at the Temple.

This is what the Angel told those shepherds that night when Jesus was born, Luke 2:12, and Luke 2:16 said they "went with haste" to the birthplace of Jesus the Messiah. The "person" is important, but also the "place" is an absolute as well in order for prophecy to be fulfilled.

I remind you that Bible prophecy already fulfilled, in exact detail, as called for in the scripture, gives us the assurance that prophecies yet to be fulfilled will also be fulfilled in absolute detail as well.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, thank you for the assurance that all prophecies yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled as written in your Word. Help me to live in that reality and that these prophecies may well be fulfilled in the very near future.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Micah 4:10

And thou shall go even to Babylon; there shall thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.

For further study – Micah 4:1-13 

As is stated in a previous devotional this fourth chapter of Micah is packed full of prophetic passages that are precursors to the predicted events in the "last days" prophecies of this ancient Jewish prophet.

We have already looked at four trends that will be prevalent leading up to the time of the Second Coming of Christ. The first trend was the "Arrangements for the Temple" that would be very evident as we approach the return of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

"Anticipation of Peace", will cause the world, in particular the Middle East, to look for someone who will bring "peace" to the region. "Aliya of the Jews" returning to the land of their forefathers is another of the trends that indicate that the world is nearing the time described in Bible prophecy as the "last days".

The last trend that we looked at was "Alignment of the Nations", a group of Middle Eastern nations that form a coalition of states, made up of the Arab states and the Islamic states, who will come to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

Before we leave Micah 4 we must also take notice of verses nine and ten. These two verses describe what is referred to in hermeneutics as the "law of double reference". This is when the Lord will use one prophecy passage to reveal two different events in history.

In Micah 4:9-10 we see that the Prophet refers to Babylon as a nation, or should I say an "empire" that will play a role in the life of the Jewish people. Remember, Micah was writing around 700BC and much of his focus was on the coming judgment of the two southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah, known as Judah after the dividing of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Babylonians would come to take the Jews into captivity, with the last wave of the Babylonian Army taking the Jews from Israel, after destroying the Temple and devastating the city of Jerusalem, into captivity. This happened in 586BC.

However, there will be a rise of the city of Babylon in the last days before Jesus returns to the Earth to set up His Kingdom, Revelation 18. The Antichrist will set up a world-wide "economic kingdom" in the literal city of Babylon, located 58 miles out of downtown Baghdad in modern-day Iraq.

Babylon the "city" has never been destroyed as is called for in Isaiah 13-14Jeremiah 50-51,Revelation 18 and Revelation 16:17-21. Micah mentions Babylon as a key player, both in 586BC and at the time of the end just before Jesus returns. In fact, the last thing Jesus does before He comes back to Earth is destroy Babylon.

This hermeneutic principle of "double reference" plays into the end time scenario that leads up to the fulfillment of a number of prophecies in the Bible, including this prophecy in Micah 4:9-10. With Iraq, Biblical Babylon, on stage as a major player in our world today we can see how these prophecies may well be fulfilled in the near future.

There is only one thing that must happen before the above prophetic scenario is played out on the world stage and that is the Rapture of the Church. This is when Jesus calls all true born-again believers into the heavens to be with Him, evermore. Remember, that could happen even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, world events seem to be setting the stage for the final drama to be played out in our world today. Please help me to understand the times we are living in today so that I can be prepared for the next event, the Rapture, when it does happen, living pure and productive until it actually happens.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Micah 4:13

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

For further study -Micah 4:1-13

This fourth chapter of Micah is packed full of prophetic passages that are precursors to the predicted events in the "last days" prophecies of this ancient Jewish prophet.

We have already looked at three trends that will be prevalent leading up to the time of the Second Coming of Christ. The first trend we discussed was found in verses 1 and 2. This passage alerted us to the "arrangements for the Temple" that would be very evident as we approach the return of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

"Anticipation of Peace," the focus of verses 3-5 will cause the world, in particular the Middle East, to look for someone who will bring "peace" to the region. "Aliya of the Jews" returning to the land of their forefathers is another of the trends that indicate that the world is nearing the time described in Bible prophecy as the "last days". Verses 6 and 7 foretell how this will happen as Jews make their way "back home". This actually has been happening for the last 100 years.

Today in our devotional reading, the extended portion, we see that the prophet Micah pre-wrote history some 2,500 years ago. Verses 11-13 reveal how, "many nations" will gather against the Jews in the last days.

The "alignment of nations" against Israel will happen at the beginning of the seven year period of time known as the "Tribulation" or also referred to as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble", Jeremiah 30:7.

Daniel 11:40-45Ezekiel 38, and Psalms 83 reveal the alignment of nations that try to destroy the Jewish state in the first of the seven years most likely the first six months of that time of judgment. The Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, will intercede and destroy most of those nations described by the prophets, Ezekiel 39:1-6.

There will also be a "gathering of many nations" at the end of the seven years. The "many nations gathering" against Israel at the end of the seven years takes place in the last six months with the "Kings of the East", Revelation 16:12, coming into Jerusalem for a major war.

China will be a part of the "Kings of the East". In fact, all of the nations of the world will join together to try to stop Jesus from returning to Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:1-4.

The revelation of these four major trends, "arrangements" for the temple, "anticipation" of peace, "aliyah" (immigration) of the Jews and "alignment" of the nations against Israel are all prevalent today – an indication that the Lord's return is getting closer and closer.

Remember, seven years before Jesus comes to earth, He comes in the clouds and calls Christians into the heavenlies to be with Him forever. That event, the Rapture, could happen today. Even so come Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, my prayer is, even so come Lord Jesus, and help me to live in light of Your answering that prayer, today.