Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28: Zechariah 12 – 13; Psalm 147; Proverbs 31:1-7; Revelation 19


            Zechariah: This is word of the Lord about Israel. The Lord created the universe, earth, and makes each person with a spirit. The Lord is going make all the nation of the earth that bring war against Jerusalem and Judah stumble. He will make their horses and riders go crazy, panic, and go blind.
            Judah will recognize that Jerusalem’s strength is from the Lord. The Lord will make Judah be like a flame that devours all around them. Jerusalem will be inhabited again.
            The Lord will first save Judah from their enemies before David’s lineage and Jerusalem so that they will have equal honor. The Lord will make even the weakest in Jerusalem like David and David’s lineage will be like God, the angel of the Lord, as they lead against the nations.
            The Lord will also give them a spirit of grace as those in Jerusalem ask for mercy when they look on the Lord, whom they have pierced. They will weep bitterly. The whole land will mourn from individuals in each family and the tribe of Levi. There will be a fountain of cleansing from sin for David’s lineage and those in Jerusalem.
            On that day, the Lord will make everyone forget his idols. He will remove prophets from the land. If anyone prophecies, even his parents will tell him it is wrong and know they are liars. They will kill him. Prophets will be ashamed and will deny they are prophets. He will say his wounds from whipping will be from his friends.
            The Lord tells that the sword will come against his shepherd. The sheep will be scattered and two thirds of the people will be killed. The remaining third will be refined and tested and be like gold. They will call on the Lord and they will be his people.
            Psalm: It is good and fitting to praise the Lord. He builds up Jerusalem and gathers outcasts. He is powerful and his understanding is incomparable as evidenced by numbering the stars, yet he lifts the humble and breaks the wicked.
            Give thanks to him because he provides for rain and takes care of animals. He is pleased with those who fear him and hope in his love. Jerusalem is to praise him because he has blessed it with children, peace, and food. He controls the weather. He has given his word to Israel and not to other nations.
            Proverbs: King Lemuel tells what his mother taught him. What do you think you are doing when you divert your energy to fooling around with women who destroy kings? It is wrong for kings to get drunk and forget their own laws by perverting justice. Indulgence in much alcohol is for those who are perishing and bitter. They drink trying to forget all their problems.
            Revelation: After the announcement of the destruction of Babylon, a multitude of those in heaven shout out praise to God because salvation belongs to him. He has judged Babylon and avenged the blood of his servants. They praise him because Babylon’s punishment is forever. The 24 elders and four living creatures fell down and worshiped God agreeing with the multitude. A voice from the throne encouraged all God’s servants to praise him.
            The multitude again praises God and announces that the marriage of the Lamb has come and the Bride is ready, dressed in purity, the righteous acts of the saints. The angel told John to write that everyone invited to the marriage supper is blessed. John tried to worship the angel, but the angel stopped him. He said he was only a servant like John and his brothers who testify of Jesus. John is to worship God because testifying about Jesus is by the spirit of prophecy.
            John saw heaven opened and he saw Jesus coming on a white horse. He is called Faithful and True as he judges and makes war in righteousness. His description includes his eyes of flames, crowned with many crowns, and a name unknown except to him. His robe is dipped in blood and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven follow him on white horses dressed in white pure linen. From his mouth, he has a sword to defeat nations and then rule them with strictness. He will tread the winepress of God’s wrath. The name on his thigh is King of kings and Lord of Lords.
            An angel stood in the sun and called for birds to come and eat the supper of God, the flesh of the armies that have come out with the beast to make war against the Lord. The beast and his prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire. The sword of the Lord slew the rest.

What Stood Out

            Zechariah: “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zech 13:1).
            Psalm: “But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (Ps 147:11).
            Proverbs: “Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more” (Prov 31:6-7).
            Revelation: “And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God’” (Rev 19:9).


            Zechariah: Jesus came and was killed by his own people. They turned him over to the Romans who pierced him. Through his crucifixion, he became that fountain in Jerusalem, which  cleanses all of us from sin. It won’t be until he comes again that any significant number of Jews will recognize him as their Messiah. Even though the Lord gives his people victory over the nations, it will only be a third of the those who survive the final battle for Jerusalem and Judah. They are the ones that will call upon Jesus. They will recognize that Jesus is the one they pierced by turning him over to the Romans. They will understand that he is the Messiah and they will mourn. They will mourn for many reason. They will mourn for their own unbelief, but also because of the unbelief of their ancestors from Good Friday when they cried out for Jesus’ blood to be upon them and their children (Matt 27:25), and down through the centuries after that.
            Do you know anyone of Jewish descent? Pray for them that they will break this chain of unbelieve and turn to Jesus as their Messiah. The fountain of cleansing is already available for them and for everyone else who believes in Jesus. Truly, no one can reject Jesus and be saved, Jew or Gentile.
            Psalm: This Psalm says the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him and hope in his steadfast love (Ps 147:11). Does this in any way contradict that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ? Not at all. The only way to fear God is to know him and the only way to know him is through Jesus. Jesus came and showed us what God is like. The only way to hope in his steadfast love is to know his love that he expressed in Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, it was God showing us his love by letting Jesus die in our place. Real fear of God comes when we realize that we should all die for our sins. Real hope in his steadfast love is finding that hope in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (1 Peter 1:3) and knowing his resurrection proves that our faith in Jesus saves us. Then we know that the Lord takes pleasure in us.
            Proverbs: King Lemuel’s mother had some good advice for all of us. We shouldn’t divert our lives for things that will only destroy us. Sexual immorality is one of them. We’ve seen a few politicians and some other influential people get derailed lately because of their sexual misconduct. It is a real-life tragedy to lose your career over it, but it is even worse if it is your eternal life you lose.
            Alcohol is the other area that defeats people. She says only those who are in poverty and distress should drink their lives away. That’s pretty harsh attitude because they really can’t forget their situation. Drinking only makes it worse. It is better to be poor and know the Lord than it is to try to cover up all the sins and bitterness with booze.
            Revelation: This is it. This is the end of the tribulation. This chapter dove-tails with the end of chapter 14 and the two harvests. Revelation 19:15 tells us that it is Jesus who treads the winepress of God’s wrath. The second harvest of the earth is now complete. The beast and the prophet are in hell and everyone that came to battle Jesus are dead. We are commanded to praise God for his justice and judgement.
            Because we know Jesus treads the winepress, we can understand that the chapter 14 was a preview of the end and that chapters 15-17 were more details of what was to come and culminates in chapter 19. That means that the first harvest of chapter 14 is a harvest for those who have been invited to the wedding of the Lamb and are dressed correctly. This apparently occurs immediately before Jesus comes back on his horse with the armies of heaven.
            Who will be invited to the wedding? Jesus told us in parables who would be invited. Everyone is invited but some would not come. Indeed, some actually killed those who carried the invitation. They obviously don’t make it to the wedding. So, others are invited, both good and bad. But, only those who have wedding garments are allowed to stay because many are invited but only few are chosen (Matt 22:1-14).
            We’ve all been invited but not everyone comes, some think they are going to be in the party but have not put on the right attire. The only attire that will allow them in the wedding is the attire of the Bride, bright and pure, the righteous deed of the saints (Rev 19:8). This is given to us by Jesus and it isn’t something we earn or have a right to wear by any other means. But we have to put them on. Have you put on Jesus? Will you be with those in heaven celebrating or will you be like the one thrown out because he came with his own righteousness?


             I want the Lord to take pleasure in me. The only way to do that is to submit to Jesus’ lordship and humbly accept his forgiveness and his righteousness by repenting and obeying him. All who do will be dressed appropriately at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

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