December 22

Zechariah 2:1–3:10

In Zechariah 2 he sees a man measuring Jerusalem, its width and its length, as a sign of ownership. He sees no need for walls in Jerusalem for the LORD Himself will be the wall of fiery protection all around her, the glory in her midst (Zechariah 2:4-5). What a beautiful picture.

God had disciplined and dispersed His people, but He had also regathered them, calling them back to the land, out of Babylon (Zechariah 2:7). Some of the Jews had settled in Babylon and were content to stay there…and yet judgment was on its way to Babylon.

 Zion is described as the “apple of His eye,” which carries a couple of connotations. First of all it points to the sensitive and vital part of God’s eye, His pupil, if anyone touches God’s pupil, it’s no small thing. Secondly, if one were to look into God’s eye, one would see the reflection of Jerusalem, His eyes are always upon Jerusalem, and it’s for that reason Babylon and all other nations who oppose Israel, will face God’s wrath.

And yet…even in wrath He remembers mercy, a mercy not only extended to Israel, but to any and all who would turn to God. Zechariah reveals that many nations would turn to God one day – especially during the Millennial Kingdom when He reigns in their midst.

Zechariah 2:11–12 (NKJV) “Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”

In Zechariah 3 we have a fascinating scene. Joshua the High Priest was standing before the Angel of the LORD who is none other than Jesus Christ. But there’s Satan at his right hand, accusing Joshua of sin and guilt. We read something similar in Revelation 12:10, where Satan is identified as the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them day and night!

But in this vision we see Jesus as our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Jesus stands up for Joshua and rebukes Satan – “No, Joshua is saved, he’s a brand (a piece of smoldering wood) taken from the fire. Yes Joshua has sinned, but Joshua is forgiven.” Even though Satan sees him as carnal and sinful, clothed in his own filthy flesh, God sees Joshua differently, he’s clean, covered, and clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 3:5, 18).

At this point the Angel of the LORD (Jesus) admonishes Joshua to walk in His ways and keep God’s judgments, in order to be faithful in his position as judge and as a spiritual leader in the nation of Israel. They were to be encouraged in the truth of their coming the Messiah, the Branch who would rule one day. Make no mistake about it, King Jesus is the only Branch of Government that will ever work, He’s all we ever need!

Zechariah 3:8 (NKJV) “Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; for behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.”

This lines up with other prophecies about the coming Christ and the Branch!

Isaiah 11:1 (NKJV) “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”

Jeremiah 23:5 (NKJV) “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The Lord next affirmed the point of the vision—that Joshua and his priestly companions were symbolic of things to come. In their official priestly cleansing from sin they prefigured the future cleansing of the nation Israel. This future cleansing was linked with the coming of the Sin-Remover who was given three messianic titles—My Servant, the Branch, and the Stone.”

The Servant does the will of the Father. The Stone crushes all opposition (7 eyes probably in reference to the fact that Jesus sees everything). And the Branch connects Him to King David – He’s in David’s family tree twice, as the root and offspring. When David reigned, Israel enjoyed its place of peace and prosperity wherein everyone had his own vine and fig tree. A picture of the Millennial Kingdom.

Revelation 13:1–13:18

The enemy always counterfeits the work of God and even God Himself. In this chapter we have the unholy trinity – the rise of the Antichrist, who is empowered by the Dragon, and promoted by the False Prophet.

The antichrist, or “beast” as he is called, rises from the sea, which symbolizes the mass of humanity. The reason he is called a beast is because he is not domesticated, he is not tame, he is a wild, savage, vicious monster (his true colors of hate, murder, and destruction will eventually be exposed). This is the fourth beast spoken of in Daniel 7 (it would be helpful to read that chapter). We read about this beast back in Revelation 11:7 and will find him mentioned 29 times in the book of Revelation.

As anti-christ, he opposes Christ, and claims to be the Christ. We see in verse 1 that he has 7 heads and 10 horns, something we read about the Dragon back in Revelation 12:3 (the Dragon gives him his power – see Matthew 4:8-9). The 7 heads are explained in Revelation 17. As the 7th and 8th head the Antichrist will follow after Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the Revived Roman Empire out of which the Anti-Christ will rise. The anti-christ will rise to power with the same evil spirit of the past who hungered to rule the world, many of those rulers elevating themselves as deities, explaining the blasphemies. As you read through Daniel 7 you’ll find these beasts mentioned there as well (leopard, bear, and lion). The 10 horns correspond to the 10 toes spoken of in Daniel 2:41-42 and refer to the organization of the world’s powers in the last days – some say specifically speaking of sections within the Revived Roman Empire, but it may even be the world.

The counterfeits continue in many lying signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9) even counterfeiting a resurrection from the dead, which leads the world to worship the beast, all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8). At this point John issues a warning, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” He wants us to stop and examine our lives, if a person’s name is not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that person will bow down to the beast.

John then mentions the false prophet (another beast) (he is called the false prophet in Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). He performs great signs with an agenda to woo the entire world to worship the first beast. The antichrist is a political figure, the false prophet is a spiritual figure, and together they figure out a way to convince the world that this is now a religious rule as the antichrist claims to be god (see 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

As his power grows, he causes everyone to receive a mark in the right hand or forehead, without which they cannot buy or sell. People must sell their soul to buy a loaf of bread. Some say this is in reference to a microchip that can easily be inserted under the skin. If you rewind 50 years ago, such technology would have been scoffed at, but now with the astronomical advances in technology, chips the size of a grain of rice (or smaller) can contain all the information necessary for such transactions. These chips are already used all over the world.

John challenges us to calculate the number of the beast – 666. Is this the numerical value of his name? Is it the pinnacle of man’s creation (the computer)? There will be some sort of calculaton revelation. 7 is the number of God, while 6 is the number of man

Psalm 141:1-10

Another Psalm (prayer, song) of David.

Our prayers rise as incense before the Lord. May they be a sweet smelling aroma to Him. Prayer is one of the weapons we have for the war we’re in (Ephesians 6:18) and here we see David once again “fighting on his knees.”

He not only prays that God would defeat his enemies, he even prays that God would help him with the words that he speaks (it’s one of my favorite prayers).

Psalm 141:3 (NKJV) “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

We often mess everything up by careless words spoken to others. How wonderful it would be if we only spoke those words approved by God – if we prayed this prayer and He answered…as the watchman of our words, as the guard of our gab, as the doorkeeper of our every dialogue and discussion.

David also prays something we might consider to be rather outlandish:

Psalm 141:5 (NKJV) “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.”

David is asking for it! He’s asking to be rebuked, even “struck” by the righteous. If there’s any area of his life that’s not right, he wants to know about it and he figures the godly and caring people in his life should have the freedom to point things out. It’s all part of winning the war against the wicked.

David (and Israel at that time) was going through it – he counsels us to stay focused. He shows us the power of prayer.

Psalm 141:8 (NKJV) “But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute.”

Are my eyes truly on the LORD?

Keep in mind this Psalm is a song.  May we pray and even sing these types of songs that bring victory in our lives.

Proverbs 30:18-20

Proverbs 30:18-19 (NKJV) “There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I do not understand: 19 The way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man with a virgin.”

Too wonderful…for me!

The way an eagle can fly up to a mile high during migration, at which time they seldom flap their wings. They use thermal updrafts to gain altitude, and can easily reach anywhere from 50 to 70 MPH (wow, too wonderful).

Snakes have 4 ways of moving. They can throw themselves forward, they can lift the middle of their body up and then push the rest along. They can use bumps or surfaces with friction to slither from, or they can use the scales of their body to grip the ground to move forward. Amazing!

The ship in the midst of the water is a vessel that’s man-made, but yielding and cooperating with the sea, which is God-made. In the big picture it turns out to be just a speck in the ocean, and yet is able to carry us to our desired haven.

The last thing that is too wonderful is the wonderful union between husband and wife. Such a lovely gift from God, and through such intimacy…children are conceived. If only the world would see, this intimacy is exclusively for marriage!

Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV) “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

Tragically, our society has taken something so beautiful, and stripped it of its wonder. I’ve read stories of young women auctioning off their virginity! May it never be among us!

Proverbs 30:20, “This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wickedness.’”

And of course this is true of both men and women – not adults, but adulterous, whose conscience is seared and hearts are hard. There are many wolves out there whose only desire is to increase the number of unfaithful men and women. They have no conscience or conviction.

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