Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26: Zechariah 9; Psalm 145; Proverbs 30:32; Revelation 17


            Zechariah: The Lord has a problem with Hadrach, Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, and Sidon. Tyre has heaped up its riches but the Lord will burn her. His judgement will also come on Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron. He will remove their blood sacrifices and abominations. When they become God’s people, the Lord will guard his temple and it will not be overthrown again.
            Zion and Jerusalem will shout for joy when their king come bringing righteousness and salvation. He be humble and ride on a donkey’s colt. The Lord will remove all war equipment and the king will rule with peace over all the earth. Through the Lord’s blood covenant, he will set prisoners free and restore them. Judah and Ephraim will be his warriors against Greece.
            The Lord will fight for them and go before them. He will protect them as they conquer. The Lord will save them and they will fill the land. God’s goodness will make them flourish.
            Psalm: This is David’s Psalm of praise. He will praise the Lord every day because God is his king. The Lord is great and no one can know how great. All generations will tell of his acts. He will mediate on his works. They will tell of his deeds. He will tell of his greatness. They will tell of his goodness and righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful. He is good to all and has mercy.
            All of the Lord’s works give thanks to him and his saints bless him. They speak of the glory and splendor of his kingdom, which is everlasting.
            The Lord upholds those who are weak and in trouble. He provides all creatures with food and their desires. He is righteous in all ways and near to those who call on him. He satisfies the desires of those who fear him and call on him for salvation. He saves those who love him but not the wicked, he destroys them.
            David will praise the Lord and asks for everyone to join him forever.
            Proverbs: If you have been a fool by boasting about how great you are or you have been planning evil, you better shut up and repent.
            Revelation: One of the seven angels with the bowls showed John the judgment of the great prostitute seated on many waters. He took John to a wilderness where the woman was sitting on a red beast full of blasphemous names, seven heads, and ten horns. She was luxuriously dressed and held a cup with abominations, impurities, and sexual immorality. The name on her forehead said she was Babylon, the mother of prostitutes and abominations. She was responsible for an enjoyed killing those who belonged to Jesus.
            John was shocked, but the angel told him not to be alarmed and explained the sign to him. The beast was active in the past but was put in the pit and he will come out of it soon and will then be destroyed. People on the earth who have not been written in the book of life before the earth was created will think this is wonderful.
            A wise person will understand what this means: the seven heads are seven mountains where the woman is seated; they also represent seven kings, five past, one current, and a future one. When the last shows up it will only be for a brief time. The beast is an eighth and will be destroyed. The ten horns are ten future kings who will rule along with the beast. They give their allegiance to the beast until God’s words are fulfilled. They will try to defeat the Lamb. The Lamb and his chosen and faithful ones will defeat the beast because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.
            The waters are people of the world. The ten kings and the beast hate the prostitute and will destroy her because God has put it in their mind to do it. The woman is the great city that rules over the kingdoms of the earth.

What Stood Out

            Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
 behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech 9:9).
            Psalm: “He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them” (Ps 145:19).
            Proverbs: “If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil,
 put your hand on your mouth” (Prov 30:32).
            Revelation: “For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled” (Rev 17:17).


            Zechariah: We sometimes forget that some of the exiles who returned from Babylon and their descendants were good Bible scholars. By the time Jesus arrived to fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, they had developed a pretty good theology about the Messiah. They had Daniel’s prophecies, some of which had already come true, proving that the Son of Man who appeared in these prophecies would be the Messiah. They knew a lot about his rule and that one day, he would rule the whole earth. They knew that one day, he would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. It was natural to believe that he would not just fulfil this one verse but the following ones making Israel a world-conquering nation. Their king would command their armies and God would go before them to ensure they would submit.
            When Zechariah 9:9 said the king would bring righteousness and salvation, they were not thinking of this applying personally but nationally. Living under corrupt religious leaders and foreign oppression, they naturally had a hunger for justice to rule in the land and to be saved from all of that. What they didn’t understand is that Jesus would first have to rule in people’s hearts before he would come to rule over nations.
            It’s the same today as people want Jesus to come back because of all the evil in the world. We all have a desire to see him set nations straight. We seldom stop and think about the need for us to live righteous lives. We are so concerned with our neighbor’s sinfulness that we don’t work on our own. Jesus said he will come back, but he also asked if he will he find faithfulness (Luke 18:8). He has warned us many times to be ready and waiting. Being ready doesn’t mean simply praying for his return, it means living godly lives and sharing the gospel with others.
            Psalm: This is a great reminder for us to praise the Lord. We can praise him for all his attributes, what he has done, for is provision for all out needs, and for his salvation. However, there is some conditions in that salvation. Psalm 145:19 says he fulfils the desires of those who fear him and saves those who cry out to him. This isn’t a blank check to get anything we want. If we truly fear the Lord, then our desires will line up with his desires for us. We will ask for the righteous and godly things he wants us to be doing and having. The very first thing on that list of desires is for salvation. Obviously, if we don’t fear the Lord, we don’t want salvation. Thankfully, he gives us the desire to want salvation or we would still be lost in our sins.
            Proverbs: 1 Corinthians 1:28-29 tells us that God has chosen people for salvation who are not considered anything by the world so the we can’t boast before him. If a person is boasting about how great he is or even thinks he is great, then he is not a likely candidate for salvation. A person like that is essentially boasting before the Lord that he is good enough for salvation or that he could even save himself. Proverbs 30:32 warns us that anyone doing that should think again. That is the grace of God. He has warned us; he has given us the ability and opportunity to repent of our pride as well as the evil we plan and do.
            Revelation: This scene that John sees does not come between the last bowl and Jesus’ return. It is a digression in the narrative to explain more about the evil in the world that will be manifested during the tribulation. The angel tells John that understanding this calls for wisdom. Many people have tried to decipher this ever since John wrote it down for us. The summary is that satanic evil will come from the pit and most of the world will be engulfed in abominations, impurities, and sexual immorality (Rev 17:2). There will be ten rulers over the world at that time and will give all their power and abilities to the beast. They will be deceived to think they can defeat Jesus, but Jesus will defeat them.
             There are things we must keep in mind, whether we are facing the trials of the tribulation or lesser difficulties. We must remember that Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. We must also remember that God even uses evil people to destroy and punish other evil people as these ten kings will destroy the city that perpetrated this evil (Rev 17:17). All glory will go to God.


             I don’t want to get bogged down by all the details of the end times. While they are interesting and intriguing, I don’t want to let those keep me from seeing the sovereignty of God and his provision for our salvation through Jesus Christ. It must not prevent me from being faithful and doing what he wants while we wait.

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