All posts by mannycoronilla

December 24, 2021

Zechariah 6:1–7:14

Zechariah 6 resembles Zechariah 1:7-11 where we saw angels patrolling the earth. Here we see these blessed beings patrolling, protecting and providing peace in the north, a direction from where Israel had been invaded many times.

Zechariah then commanded Judah to receive the gifts and crown Joshua both priest and king. Priest and King? This was something unprecedented in Israel and no-doubt points to the coming Messiah who would be the only Priest-King they would ever have – it’s a prophecy of Jesus! 

The building of the Temple ultimately speaks of Jesus building the church (Matthew 16:18). Isn’t it wonderful that we’re also blessed to join in this building commission, by co-laboring with Him? (Zechariah 6:15; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Regarding the Branch (Zechariah 6:12), Warren Wiersbe shares something interesting: “The BRANCH is an important messianic title, signifying our Lord’s coming from the stock of David (Isaiah 11:1). As Branch, He is King (Jerermiah 23:5; 33:15), God’s Servant (Zechariah 3:8), “the Man whose name is the BRANCH” (Zecheriah 6:12), and “the Branch of the LORD” (Isaiah 4:2). Some see in these 4 titles a parallel to the 4 Gospels. Matthew presents the Branch of David, the King; Mark, the Servant; Luke, the Man; and John, “the Branch of the Lord” who is God come in human flesh (John 20:30–31).

In Zechariah 7 we find the Jews who had a practice and pattern of fasting in the 5th and 7th month during the captivity, approach the priests in Jerusalem and ask them if they should continue to fast as they had in the past. By this time (in the 4th year of Darius) the rebuilt temple is only half-way done (518 B.C.). 

The word of the LORD came to Zechariah, to question the question, to press the matter, to ask these men to search their hearts, “…during these 70 years, did you really fast for Me – for Me?” (Zechariah 7:5). It wasn’t a random accusation, for God went on to reveal that the things they did, they did for themselves (Zechariah 7:6). We must always check our hearts, check our motives in all things, as Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Obedience is always better than fasting. Zechariah goes on to explain to the people that DISobedience is the reason the people were carried away into captivity in the first place. It’s important for us (for me) to realize that a genuine walk and relationship with the LORD is not found in mere religion. Are we doing this for God? How do we treat the least?

Zechariah 7:9–10 (NKJV) “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.’”

Tragically, the people did not heed the message, they shrugged their shoulders, it was no big deal, they did not know (or care) that the prophets were speaking God’s Word to them. So God’s chastening hand fell hard and God dispersed them throughout the world.

Will we learn these lessons God lays before us, over and over again?

Revelation 15:1-8

The number 7 is found 32 times in the book of Revelation. It’s the number of completion. The Tribulation Period is 7 years long, John writes his letters to 7 churches, there were 7 seals, followed by 7 trumpets, and now 7 bowls that will be poured out by 7 angels with the 7 last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is “complete.”

This scene, in one sense, takes us to the heavenly temple, and before the temple there is this sea of glass mingled with fire. Some compare this to what was called the “brazen sea,” the large laver of water that stood outside the Jewish tabernacle and temple where the priests washed. Of course, there’s no washing taking place in heaven, but it may represent the fact that we are washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 1:5). Other’s simply see the sea as the mass of humanity from which the people rise. In either case these are people who have won the battle. Victory over the beast, over his image, over his mark, and over the number of his name!

They sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb; it’s a song where-in the people rejoice over the victory God has granted! We read in:

Exodus 15:1 (NKJV) “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!’” 

You’ll notice when you read Revelation 16 there is quite a parallel between the plagues of Exodus and the plagues of Revelation. God is clearly making that connection as He triumphs over the enemy.

This song gives praise to God for His ultimate victory, but it also emphasizes His justice. In Revelation 15:3b we read those words, “…just and true are Your ways O King of the saints!” There are those who question God’s ways, even His judgments; but it’s only because we are a sin-sick people who aren’t able to understand the severity of our sinfulness. When we get a glimpse of God’s majesty and holiness, when we’re home in heaven, we will all join in with that declaration, “…just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints.” The seals, the trumpets, the bowls of wrath – the non-believer sees it as only painful judgment…the believer sees it as pure justice.

There were those times in the Old Testament where the Jewish tabernacle or temple was filled with so much smoke, representing God’s glory, that no person was able to enter in –  we see the same thing here. This is not a man-thing, this is a God-thing, God Himself will judge the world and complete what He has started.

Although it’s bittersweet, I look forward to that day, when there’s no more sin, when evil is eradicated…when it’s time for God to go “bowling” with the final 7 bowls.

Psalm 143:1-12

Again David is down. Again David prays. That God would hear and answer and save, even though he’s not worthy. When we survey David’s situation with Saul, David was blameless – but still it’s true what he says, that in God’s sight, “…no one living is righteous.”

David was not just down, he was way down. Notice what he wrote:

Psalm 143:3–4 (NKJV) “For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead. 4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed.”

Depression, anxiety, suicide, and suicidal thoughts have been around for a long time. Even the “best,” and the “blessed,” suffer from it. Covid-19 seems to have amplified it. Our hearts go out to those in this state, crushed, in darkness, overwhelmed, and distressed. David was there – and somehow from that place he lifted his eyes, his voice and he prayed to God:

“Answer me…”

“Cause me to hear You…”

“Cause me to know,” what to do

“Teach me…”

“Lead me…”

Revive me…”

“In Your mercy LORD, cut off all my enemies, because I know who I am…”

“…I am Your servant.”

It helps to know who we are – created in His image. It helps to know who we are in Christ, we are children of God and servants of God – may we never forget, may we always look up to our Lord who loves us.

Proverbs 30:24-28

Proverbs 30:24-28 (NKJV) “There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; 26 The rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags; 27 The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks; 28 The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces.”

Agur magnifies the Maker in a brief observation of creatures that are small but both strong and wise.

Ants are wise in many ways, especially in the way they – together, prepare for the future. They are extremely strong for their size with necks able to hold 5,000 times their weight, that would be around 750,000 pounds for most of us in the human realm. Leafcutter ants are able to lift 50 times their body weight – with their jaws – that would be like us lifting a car with our teeth!

Rock Badgers, or hyraxes – make their homes in the rocks, they’re very durable animals still around today in Israel.

Locusts are able to advance because of their cooperation and teamwork. They don’t need someone pushing them, their work ethic is strong and inherent.

Spiders use little hairs called scopulae (millions and billions of them) on their legs to act like an adhesive. This scopulae combined with lighter body weight, make it is possible for them to climb the walls and ceilings without falling…and there they are in king’s palaces.

December 23, 2021

Zechariah 4:1–5:11

Zechariah was given another amazing vision, ultimately of a perpetual supply of oil – symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the vision was to communicate to Zerubbabel (the governor) and Joshua (the High Priest) that God would anoint them to finish the work of building the temple. It was a huge task, like moving a mountain, something that couldn’t be done by human resources, but it COULD be done by the Spirit and grace of God…and so we read:

Zechariah 4:6–7 (NKJV) “So he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.’ 7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’’”

Zerubbabel had laid the foundation and he would finish the work as well.

More details are offered by Holman Bible Dictionary, “According to Ezra 3, Zerubbabel and Jeshua (or Joshua, the high priest) rebuilt the altar and in their second year (538?) laid the foundation of the temple, but their work was halted by opposition from persons who had remained in Palestine during the exile (4:1–6, 24). Darius (Persian emperor, 522–486 B.C.) granted the Jews permission to continue rebuilding the temple (6:1–12). Under the urging of Haggai (1:1, 12–15; 2:1, 20) and Zechariah (4:6–10a), Zerubbabel, now governor (Hag. 1:1) in place of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 5:14), resumed the task (Ezra 5:1–2), completed in 515 B.C.”

Zechariah 4:6 has always been a foundational passage for the Calvary Chapel movement. Pastor Chuck Smith emphasized the fact that it’s not to be perspiration, but inspiration. Just as Jesus told the disciples in Luke 24:49 and Acs 1:8, wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. When we’re saved we have the Holy Spirit IN us, but as we serve we need the Holy Spirit UPON us. Something even seen, to a certain extent, in the Old Testament. As we now live in the last of the last days, let’s pray for a double-portion, of the Holy Spirit upon our lives (2 Kings 2:9; Luke 11:9-13).

Zechariah 5 begins with the vision of a flying scroll 30’ x 15’ – it was abnormally large and therefore easy to read. The fact that it was flying reveals the swift judgment it carried. The violations cited, ie swearing falsely in God’s name, and stealing are the two middle commandments on the two tablets of the law and therefore, most likely represent the entirety of the law. This vision is a warning of judgment upon those whose lives are summarized as a violation of God’s Word. No one escapes as we see the curse entering every house. All are guilty. We all need Jesus.

The vision of the woman in the basket has to do with corrupt commercialism, revealed by the fact that the basket in question was used for weights and measurements. Apparently Israel had learned bad business practices in Babylon. They learned to make money, but often times it was done dishonestly, wickedly. The vision is given to remove such wicked idolatry out of the land of Israel, and transport it back to “Babylon”. Many Bible teachers see this as a rebuilt Babylon in the last of the last days…only to be destroyed by Jesus (see Revelation 17-18).

Warren Wiersbe, “Wickedness confined (Zechariah 5:5–11). In the end times, there will be a concentration of evil at Babylon, that last expression of the evil world system (Rev. 17–18). The word wickedness is feminine in Hebrew, which explains why a woman was used as the illustration.”

Revelation 14:1-20

The scene returns to the 144,000 Jews we saw back in chapter 7. There we read that they were sealed on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3), here we read that the seal consists of the Father’s name. During the Tribulation Period these “Jews for Jesus” witnessed to the world and as we read a description of their lives here in chapter 14, their love for the Lord overflows, it’s both unique and inspirational.

We should all have worship songs that resonate within us because they describe our individual experiences. Such is the case of this song the 144,000 sing – it consists of an expression of worship unique to their lives and love for the Lord. When we read of their virginity in v. 4, it’s not to be taken literally, this group was pure in that they did not commit spiritual adultery (Exodus 34:15; James 4:4). But I love the way they followed Jesus wherever He led them, they were redeemed as firstfruits to God, they spoke only the truth, blameless before Him.

After the 144,000, we have 3 messages from 3 angels. The first angel has a message of salvation as he flies throughout the whole world, to every nation, tribe, tongue and people – the message spoken in 6,500 languages is so simple, fear God, obey God, and give glory to God, the one who made you.

The second angel makes a proclamation about Babylon, which is representative of all the false religions of the world – the day has come for their fall. It all started with the tower of Babel (Genesis 11) when men tried to reach heaven in their own way and efforts – in doing so they caused the world to fall into idolatry and spiritual adultery, but the day will come when all manmade religion will be destroyed (see also Revelation 17).

The third angel warns the people, ever so clearly, not to take the mark of the beast; there is absolutely no hope for anyone who does so. This angel takes some time to describe the wrath of God, the cup of His indignation, the torment, fire, and brimstone, ascending forever and ever – there is no rest, no relief, in all eternity for those who worship the beast, by taking his mark. There will be that pressure to take the mark, but John gives that Godly counsel to those facing that temptation then, and really at any time:

Revelation 14:12 (NLT) “This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.” 

Many will be martyred for their faith in Christ. Revelation 14:13 reminds us that although the suffering of such death may be excruciating, it’s only temporary, the rest and reward are eternal.

Revelation 14:14-16 speaks of the harvest of grain and emphasizes the sifting in the harvest. As Jesus raptures His church and separates the sheep from the goat and the wheat from the tares – the Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19).

Revelation 14:17-20 speaks of the harvest grapes and emphasizes the severity of the harvest, culminating in the Battle of Armageddon, where the blood of rebellious man stretches 184 miles, 4-feet high. Our God is a Lamb, but He’s also a lion; He’s our loving Savior, but He’s also the righteous Judge – when you have a moment read Isaiah 63:1-6. How important it is to fear the Lord!

Psalm 142:1-7

Can you imagine living in a cave? That’s where David lived at the time of writing this Psalm, it’s a prayer when he was in the cave. He was on the run from King Saul and the army of Israel, and yet he’d done nothing wrong. So he prays.

He cried out. He made supplication. He poured out his complaint before the LORD. He made a declaration to God of all His troubles. It reminds me of what Peter wrote in:

1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV) “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

David was going through it…he was overwhelmed (understandably so). The good thing is, David knew that God knew all about it (Psalm 142:3), and God knew the path David should take (apparently for now, God wanted him to live in a cave).

Psalm 142:4 tells us that David had no one – other than God. He looked to the right, to the left, but no one acknowledged him, no one was willing to give him refuge, no one cared. Forgive me for saying it a million times, but, “Sometimes we don’t realize God is all we need, until He’s all we have.”

David ends the Psalm, as he does almost every Psalm, on a high note. He knows God will answer his prayer and deliver him from his persecutors. He knows that God will set his soul free from this prison he’s in – that one day he’d be surrounded by the righteous…that God would deal bountifully with him. And God did, he would one day be king, God heard his cry and blessed his life.

I hope we know the same is true for us. May we never give up…just keep looking up, continue to pray and do our best to obey. We’ll watch God work, even though it may take some quality quantity time.

Proverbs 30:21-23

Proverbs 30:21-23 (NKJV) “For three things the earth is perturbed, yes, for four it cannot bear up: 22 For a servant when he reigns, a fool when he is filled with food, 23 A hateful woman when she is married, and a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.”

These four things make the earth tremble – we can hardly endure it! 

1. A servant who’s not ready or equipped to lead, but has been placed in that position. An upstart, or one who has the mentality that others should serve him, rather than a servant-leader. This person is oppressive, success has gone to his head. (see also Proverbs 19:10; and Jesus’ words in Mark 10:35-45) 

2. A rich foolish glutton; such people are a harm to society, rather than a help, being both indulgent and ungrateful.

3. A contentious and hateful woman brings much grief to her husband and everyone around her.

4. The maidservant who succeeds her mistress – success has gone to her head. I don’t think it has to do with a lack of royal blood or nobility, it has to do with the a prideful heart, and a lack of humility.

December 22, 2021

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.

December 21, 2021

Zechariah 1:1-21

Zechariah’s name means, “Yahweh remembers.” Writing to the Jews who had returned from captivity, Zechariah reminds the people that God has not forgotten them. Zechariah who was both a priest and a prophet calls the people back to God, and encourages them to finish the Temple. He’s a contemporary of Haggai, but his book is not as simple and straightforward – Zechariah is filled with heavenly visions and prophecies not only about Israel, but about their Coming King.

He opens with an invitation to return:

Zechariah 1:2–3 (NLT) “I, the LORD, was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’”

It’s not complicated or sophisticated, it’s a simple message…simply return to God. Is He first in my life? Am I seeking Him? If we have that heart, God promises to return to us…He will bless our lives for good.

Unfortunately most people DON’T return – such was the case for the majority of Jews AND Gentiles.

Zechariah has a vision of angels on horses whose responsibility it was to patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:7-11). This may be Jesus whom Zechariah is speaking with in this section.

As the Father and Son have a discussion about Israel in the hearing of Zechariah, the words of her future are good and comforting. The LORD was zealous for Jerusalem and Zion (heavenly Jerusalem)…and their Temple would be rebuilt, fellowship would be restored.

Zechariah 1:16 (NKJV) “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.’”

God was angry and would therefore judge the nations who had scattered Israel (those nations are the 4 horns in Zechariah 1:18-21). 

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Some writers understand these four horns to be the four Gentile empires envisioned in Daniel 2 and 7 (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome).”

Others point to Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Medo-Persia, while there are those who simply see the number 4 as a number pointing to the entirety of the earth (north, south, east, and west).

Regardless of what view we take on these 4 horns, one thing we know, it is not wise to oppose Israel. It’s all rooted in and returns to Genesis 12:3.

Revelation 12:1-17

The first sign John sees at this point is the woman – who is representative of the nation of Israel. Some would say that the woman is the church, or even worse, that’s it’s Mary the mother of Jesus, but this is one of those cases where the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible, and back in:

Genesis 37:9-10, we read of Joseph’s dreams, “Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.’ So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?’”

Jacob, interpreted Joseph’s dream of the sun, the moon, and the stars to be his family, the nation of Israel. Here we see she’s pregnant and ready to give birth – the child is Jesus, the Messiah would come through Israel.

The second sign John sees at this point is Satan, this fiery red dragon with many crowns and horns, speaking of his political and spiritual power on earth. We read in Revelation 12:4 that his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven to earth. This is in reference to the fact that when Satan fell from heaven, he drew 1/3 of the angels with him – these angels are now demons.

This chapter speaks of the fact that Satan opposes the woman who represents Israel – but God protects her; God protects Israel to give birth to the Messiah, and we see in Revelation 12:5 that Jesus finished His work, ascended into heaven, and that Jesus will one day rule the world with a rod of iron.

Revelation 12:7 describes a war in heaven between the good angels, led by Michael, and the bad angels (demons) wherein Satan is completely kicked out of heaven and no longer has any type of access to God. Up to this point, Satan somehow is able to present himself before the Lord to oppose and accuse the brethren (see Job 1:6; Zechariah 3:1). Not anymore. The end is near – we’re starting to hear it more and more as we read through the Revelation, “…salvation and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of His Christ have come…” (Revelation 12:10). The accuser has been cast down.

Just as a quick side-note, the enemy doesn’t just accuse us to God, he lies and accuses us in our own minds, or to others, it’s his task and title. He’s the king of condemnation. But the Bible tells us there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Don’t allow the accuser to condemn you as a Christian, thank God for His grace and His blood that really does wash away all of our sins (Romans 5:20; Revelation 1:5).

It’s important for us to understand that the devil knows his time is short, so he will persecute us with a passion if we endeavor to keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Christ. We read in this chapter of God’s supernatural protection of the children of Israel, and the same is true for us (Psalm 91:1). God will do His part, but I also need to do my part. I love what we read in:

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” 

Revelation 2-3 speaks of overcomers in the church – how? Of course it all starts with the blood of Jesus and our salvation. But then it’s an issue of the words we speak – the witness – if it’s in our hearts it will be on our lips and we will share with others. And then our love. Do I love God more than my own life? This is the only way to overcome.

The enemy continues to attack God’s people, but now with even MORE intensity.

Warren Wiersbe, “The war may be over in heaven, but it it getting more intense here on earth. Satan is angry and seeks to destroy the Jews and make war with anyone who trusts the Lord.”

Psalm 140:1-13

David once again, prays for God to protect him from those (there were many) who rose up against him; they were evil men, violent men, men who planned evil things in their hearts. They apparently spoke the language of Lucifer – lies!

Many wars start and are waged with words, aren’t they? It’s demonic and does so much damage!

Psalm 140:3 (NKJV) “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.”

So David prayed:

Psalm 140:6-8 (NKJV) “I said to the LORD: ‘You are my God; hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. 7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.’”

There were many who wanted to kill David because of the lies that were spoken about him. Under the leadership of King Saul there was an entire army hunting David down – but David prayed – and God protected him.

We need to do the same thing. One of the most difficult realities of life (even as a Christian) is people will “talk.” They want us to worry, or get enter into the mud-sling ring. Don’t even go there. Go to God. Notice what we read in:

Psalms 109:4 (NKJV) “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”

Let’s give ourselves to prayer. Let’s trust the Lord. It can be “dangerous” as a true disciple of Christ, but as we pray and trust – we can know that God will maintain our cause; we will thank Him and dwell in His presence forever!

Psalm 140:12–13 (NKJV) “I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. 13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.”

Proverbs 30:17

Proverbs 30:17 (NKJV) “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Here we have another Proverbs emphasizing the importance of children honoring their parents. Keep in mind this is a commandment with promise – a long life. It may mean God will punish a scornful and disobedient child, but it also carries the idea that not heeding the loving wisdom of one’s parents, often leads to premature and violent death.

NET Notes, “The “eye” as the organ that exhibits the inner feelings most clearly, here represents a look of scorn or disdain that speaks volumes (a metonymy of cause or of adjunct). It is comparable to the “evil eye” which is stinginess (28:22).”

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “This saying may have been placed here to point to the fact that disrespect for one’s parents is as bad as the insatiable greed mentioned in verses 15–16. An arrogant child who scorns (bûz, “to hold in contempt or ridicule”; see comments on 1:7) his or her parents (cf. v. 11) will die, and his corpse will remain unburied and be food for the birds of prey.”

December 20, 2021

Haggai 1:1–2:23

Haggai now takes us to the final stretch of the Old Testament. He is a post-exilic prophet used by God to challenge the people to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.

I appreciate the way Warren Wiersbe summarized the book:

“In 538 B.C., about fifty thousand Jews left Babylon and returned to their homeland to rebuild the temple and restore the nation. In 536, they laid the foundation of the temple; but the work was stopped by their enemies and was not resumed until 520 under the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah. (Review Ezra 1–6.) The book is comprised of four messages that Haggai gave during a period of four months. His purpose was to get the workers back on the job and to keep them working until the temple was completed. His first message called them to be honest (Haggai 1:1–15) and put God’s house ahead of their own houses. Then he appealed to them to be strong (Haggai 2:1–9), be clean (Haggai 2:10–19), and be encouraged (Haggai 2:20–23). Whenever God’s work is being neglected, the preaching of the Word gets things going again.”

“The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not ‘What a lovely sermon!’ but, ‘I will do something!’” – Francis de Sales

Twice Haggai challenges the people to consider their ways (Haggai 1:5, 7). A good thing to do in every area of our lives, including the ways of our wealth. Are we giving to God what belongs to God? Are we obedient in tithes and offerings? Or are we spending it all on ourselves? That’s what the Jews of that day were doing – living in fancy paneled houses. God rebuked them through Haggai, but also stirred them up. The governor, the priest, and the remnant of the people were stirred up to be strong…to give, and to work.

If put side-by-side with the Temple of Solomon, there was no  comparison, but they were not to be discouraged. The LORD was with them (Haggai 2:4) and that’s all that matters? Not only that, one day this temple would be greater than Solomon’s because one day Jesus would be there. This temple would be expanded by Herod the Great to a glorious “house.” May we never despise the days of “small things.” (Zechariah 4:10)

Haggai was not afraid to faithfully deliver God’s message – even the indicting ones. In Haggai 2:10-14 he informs and warns the people that they were unclean. What good is the work, the worship, the sacrifice, and service if it’s unacceptable to God? I thought of Paul’s words to Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:21 (NKJV) “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

In Haggai 2:15 he transitions into a prophecy that has to do with a promised future blessing. If they carefully considered the way they did not prosper because of their mismanagement of God’s resources, pouring everything into themselves; if they carefully considered God’s chastening to bring them back to Him, how they didn’t return, but if they now returned, they were to “Consider from this day forward,” God’s blessing upon their lives because of a discovery of their priorities. It would now be God, first…notice the promise:

Haggai 2:19b (NKJV) “…but from this day I will bless you.’ ”

Haggai speaks of the blessings upon the people and the blessing upon Zerubbabel – the way God would used him in mighty ways, some teachers even saying that this final prophecy has to do with he Messiah-conquering King who would come as a descendant of Zerubbabel. Haggai’s contemporary, Zechariah, used the messianic title “Branch” to refer to Zerubbabel (Zechariah 3:8; 6:12).

Revelation 11:1-19

John was instructed to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. This reveals a few things to us. For one, “ownership” – any time something is measured in a context like this, it is an indication of ownership. Secondly, the temple will be rebuilt.

In Israel today there is a great push for the rebuilding of the temple – we have all the articles, furnishings, and even the clothing necessary; the red heifer, the crimson dye for the garments, and even the necessary training is taking place. The following words from an interesting article in the Jewish Voice, explain:

“The Sanhedrin and the Temple Movement also hold reenactments of Temple ceremonies for the training of those who are from the priestly class known as Kohanim. This training involves special schooling on the duties of the priests, and the use of ritual vessels created for use in the Third Temple…” 

More information on the rebuilding of the temple can be found at

The third thing we notice in the measuring of the temple is that John was instructed not to measure the court which is outside that has been given to the Gentiles. On the Temple Mount today there is the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, both considered to be sacred Muslim sites. We believe that the Antichrist will be able to make some sort of covenant to rebuild the temple, and the location may be just north of the Dome of the Rock. For that reason, John is instructed to leave that out of the measurement.

There may be some sort of connection with the two witnesses and the new temple. Eventually as these two witnesses prophesy, they will need to defend themselves and are instruments of God’s judgment as fire proceeds from their mouth, they shut the heavens to withhold rain, turn water to blood, and strike the earth with plagues at will. I believe that the two witnesses will be Moses and Elijah. A strong case can be made for Elijah by the simple fact that he never died and there are two prophecies of his return in the last of the last days (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:11). From there we remember that it was Moses and Elijah who appeared to Jesus in the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). Moses represents the law, and Elijah the prophets; and when we look at the nature of these miracles for ministry, it seems to fit the wonders done through the hands of Moses and Elijah.

Just as these men will be invincible – until they finish their testimony (Revelation 11:7) so are we. But then the Antichrist will be allowed to defeat them and the world will rejoice as their bodies lay in Jerusalem, which by this time has been reduced to a spiritual Sodom and Egypt (Sodom is known for homosexuality and Egypt is a “type” of the world).

As their dead bodies are on display for all the world to see through satellite television, after 3 ½ days God will raise them up and they will ascend (bodily) all the way to heaven. This will be followed by an earthquake; 7,000 people will die in Jerusalem and the others will be shaken up.

We’re getting closer. All the believers in heaven at this point will worship as we see the day drawing near, judgment and justice…King Jesus will reign forever and ever. What an answer to prayer! Revelation 11:19 mentions again the lightnings and thunder, similar to what we saw back in Revelation 8:1-5 – as prayer answered. Keep praying friend, it’s not in vain!

Psalm 139:1-24

This is one of most amazing Psalms of all! I almost feel bad trying to summarize it.

In this Psalm we see the Omniscience of God (He knows everything). He knows everything about us, individually, and personally. We read of God knowing my sitting down and rising up – in Hebrew poetry this is called a “merism.” It’s when the poet uses two extremes or opposites with the intention to include everything in between.

We also see God’s Omnipresence. There is nowhere we can go to escape the presence of God, even if we traveled the speed of light, and took the wings of the morning (186,000 miles per second), God would be right there – with us.

If I had to neatly outline this Psalm I would say it this way:

I. God knows you Perfectly

II. God’s with you Constantly

III. God made you Purposely

And that latter point is what we see in verses 13-18. God knit us together in our mother’s womb for a life He planned out for us even before we were born.

Psalm 139:16 (NKJV) “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

I wish the world could see this truth – that life begins at the moment of conception. That God Himself makes us all uniquely (there are no mistakes on His part). There are purposes for every child conceived and their lives should not be taken from them.

I’m in awe of the way that God loves us so much, that His thoughts toward us, are as the sand of the sea.

Apparently David (the writer of this Psalm) is going through some hard times, some fierce opposition. With all this understanding He prays for God’s intervention. He also prays for God to search his own heart. It’s a good prayer to pray, “Lord, if there’s anything wrong in me that I can’t see – please reveal it, that I might forsake it…and lead me in life.”

David also prayed for God to help him with his anxiety.

Psalm 139:23–24 (NKJV) “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

This is such a beautiful Psalm, making clear, God is near…working out this amazing plan for our lives.

Proverbs 30:15-16

Proverbs 30:15a (NKJV) “The leech has two daughters— Give and Give!”

Although leeches are very fascinating in nature, they are mostly known for being blood-sucking, selfish, takers.

They say a leech’s body is composed of 34 segments. They all have an anterior, or oral sucker attached to 6 other segments of their body which is used to connect a host for feeding, and also to release an anesthetic to prevent the host from feeling the leech. They use a combination of mucus and suction, caused by the concentration of those 6 segments, to stay attached and secrete an anti-clotting enzyme into the host’s blood stream.

In other words, they are equipped to selfishly get! Once the process begins an average leech would drink blood weighing as much as itself in as little as 15 minutes.

Tragically some people are like that, and so are their children – their prodigies are tragedies.

Proverbs 30:15b-16 (NKJV) “There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say, “Enough!”: 16 The grave, the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water— and the fire never says, “Enough!”

Four things that are never satisified:

1. The grave (Hebrew = sheol) refers to the underworld, hell, the abode of the dead. (we read the same truth in Proverbs 27:20)

2. The barren womb. In those days barrenness was seen as a curse from God. This made Sarah sin and Hannah weep. Nothing else on earth will satisfy (not Abraham, or Elkanah).

It can still be tough today, the barren womb, even with New Testament light that reveals more clearly that the righteous don’t always experience health, wealth, and prosperity; that the blessings are often invisible and more eternal. Contentment is challenging in such a place.

3. The 3rd thing mentioned is the earth, with it’s never ending water cycle.

4. The 4th thing mentioned is the fire – it never says no, it never says enough. Left to itself it will continue to burn as long as there’s fuel for the taking.

December 19, 2021

Zephaniah 1:1–3:20

Zephaniah was the great-grandson of Hezekiah and is the last of what we would call the “pre-exilic prophets.” He prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah, during the days of Josiah. Some say he may have been instrumental in bringing about the revival at that time, but tragically it was a revival that was short-lived.

Judah would be consumed, God would cut off the Israelites from the face of the land. His people needed to be purified from the Baals and other idols such as Milcom who was an Ammonite god. The people were deceived into thinking they could serve the LORD AND other gods – they were wrong. The people had turned away from following the LORD, from seeking or inquiring of Him. It didn’t matter if they were princes or money-handlers – judgment was looming. 

Zephaniah 1:12 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The LORD will not do good, Nor will He do evil.’”

Beware of complacency. Beware of thinking that God is indifferent, that God won’t get involved, that God doesn’t reward or judge – indeed, He does both. The Day of the Lord, the day God would judge was near.

In Zephaniah 2:3 the prophet invites the people to seek the LORD…perhaps God would show mercy, relent, or at least delay.

But it wasn’t just Judah who was in trouble. We see in Zephaniah 2 that God was also warning the Philistines, the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Ethiopians, and Assyrians. These nations felt secure in their sin…when they shouldn’t have.

Zephaniah 2:15 (NLT) “This is the boisterous city, once so secure. ‘I am the greatest!’ it boasted. ‘No other city can compare with me!’ But now, look how it has become an utter ruin, a haven for wild animals. Everyone passing by will laugh in derision and shake a defiant fist.”

It’s so sad to see the opening indictments against Jerusalem in Zephaniah 3, especially the fact that, “She has not drawn near to her God.” The leaders in prominent places were like roaring lions and wolves. The same was true for priests and prophets who did violence to the law (they didn’t heed it or teach it accurately).

God would judge Jerusalem…but as we’ve seen time and time again, God would show mercy.

There’s always a remnant of Israel, now and in the future. Today God has restored the Hebrew language, something that had been previously lost (Zephaniah 3:9). Eventually the day will come when Israel will be completely restored – in the Millennial Kingdom, King Jesus will rule from Jerusalem. Notice how beautifully it’s expressed:

Zephaniah 3:14–15 (NKJV) “Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.”

Can you imagine the day that God SINGS over His people?

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) “The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

All this is ultimately fulfilled in the Kingdom age.

Zephaniah 3:20 (NLT) “On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Revelation 10:1-11

You may have noticed a pattern by now. 7 seals and then an interlude; 7 trumpets and then this interlude. We’ll see it again later, after the 7 bowls of judgment, an interlude.

In the Greek language the words “mighty angel” are literally “strong messenger.” I believe that this messenger is none other than Jesus Christ. Now, we must remember that Jesus is not an angel in our classic sense of the word, He is God the Son, second Person of the Trinity; but Jesus is a messenger, He’s the Divine Angel of the Lord.

Notice His clothing – He’s clothed with a cloud. Clouds are often connected with the glory of God. We read in:

Exodus 16:10, (NKJV) “Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.” 

It’s interesting, when Lucifer fell in his foolish pride, we read his words in:

Isaiah 14:14, (NKJV) “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

Not only does He have the clothes of God, He has the crown of God, that of the rainbow, taking us back to John’s first vision of God and His throne in Revelation 4:3. His face like the sun, is similar to the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:16, and his feet take us back to Revelation 1:15. Most commentators believe the book He has in His hand is most likely the title deed to the earth, for this is a picture of Jesus’ literal, actual return to claim His property (He redeemed the world) which was purchased on Calvary.

Imagine the day when there’s no more delay.

The book is also somehow connected to the Scriptures, to prophecy, and even the book of Revelation itself, for John is commanded to take and eat the book. The voice from heaven tells him that the book will be bitter-sweet. So John took the book, ate it, and sure enough, it was bitter-sweet.

As John prophesied, he needed to take in the Word before he could distribute it; in many ways the message is bitter-sweet.

Warren Wiersbe put it this way, “…to share God’s message, we must take the Word, receive it inwardly like food, and let it become part of us (Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 3:1–11; 1 Thess. 2:13). The Word is sweet when you read it (Ps. 119:103) but bitter when it goes deeper and you digest it.”

On this side of time it’s hard to digest. We long for Jesus to come and claim His rightful throne, to reign from Jerusalem, to eradicate and end all evil. But many souls will suffer and perish forever and ever. On the other side of time we will have a better grasp of it all, and even now we know that God doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked. We read in:

Ezekiel 33:11 (NKJV) “Say to them: ‘AsI live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”

It’s bitter-sweet, there’s no way around it, but all of God’s messengers are required to eat and share God’s Word.

Psalm 138:1-8

This brief Psalm of David is packed with powerful truths to contemplate.

Do I praise God with my WHOLE HEART? (Psalm 138:1)

Do I praise Him for His love and truth?

Speaking of truth – do I realize that God has magnified His Word above His name? That speaks volumes! The Jews venerated the name of the LORD so much, that we don’t really know how to pronounce it because they were afraid to speak it, or even write it, and violate the third commandment which forbids us to take His name in vain. But here we read that God’s Word has been elevated above His name! Do I praise God for the Bible?

David shares how God answers prayer (Psalm 138:3) and David knows that one day every knee will bow, even the kings of the earth…to the King of kings.

Psalm 138:6 (NKJV) “Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.”

Let’s humble ourselves. Let’s encourage ourselves in that God regards us, loves us, thinks of us, and is working out a wonderful plan for all of our lives. That’s what we read in v. 8

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

The Lord will finish what He’s started in all our lives. In His mercy He will not forsake us, the work of His hands…we know that and it’s just good to pray that…pray Bible.

Proverbs 30:11-14

Proverbs 30:11 (NKJV) “There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother.”

It is important to honor our parents. This is the 5th commandment of the 10, and it’s the first with promise.

Exodus 20:12 (NKJV) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Ephesians 6:1–3 (NKJV) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

This is so important to God that it carried the death penalty in Israel’s civil law!

Exodus 21:17 (NKJV) “And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”

Proverbs 30:12 (NKJV) “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness.”

Often we’re blinded to our own sins because we’re looking at ourselves through the lenses of this “lower” land. This “generation” might be moral, stable citizens, educated, sophisticated, and dedicated to their cause, but if they have refused God and His provision for pardon, they are NOT washed from their filthiness. Everyone needs Jesus (Revelation 1:5)

Proverbs 30:13 (NKJV) “There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.”

In Proverbs 6:16-17 we have a list of 7 things God hates, things that are an abomination to Him – the first on the list is a “Proud look.” That’s what lofty eyes are.

Isaiah 2:11–12 (NKJV) “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low.”

David prayed on this:

Psalm 131:1 (NKJV) “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.”

Proverbs 30:14 (NKJV) “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.”

According to the Scriptures, “cannibalism” is common, there is a generation that’ll eat you alive, that devours the poor.

We see it frequently in society, how the poor are swallowed up, treated like a piece of property , they’re denied justice, defrauded, undermined, and overtaxed.

December 18, 2021

Habakkuk 1:1–3:19

Habakkuk was an early contemporary of Jeremiah the prophet who ministered in the Southern Kingdom. Habakkuk was struggling with the sins of the people of Judah. He wondered how long God would sit idly by and allow His people to commit such wickedness. Habakkuk prayed for God to work, “How about a revival Lord?” (Habakkuk 1:1-4).

God responded by letting Habakkuk know, that judgment was on its way, and it would take place at the hands of the Babylonians. It was an astonishing response – – unbelievable! The Babylonians were a wicked nation fierce and violent, terrible and dreadful, “…ascribing power to his god.”

The prophet didn’t like God’s response. Habakkuk called a time-out. Wait, God, how can You allow this?

Habakkuk 1:13 (NKJV) “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?”

Habakkuk didn’t understand. In his eyes, the Jews were bad, but not as bad as the Babylonians! How could a holy God, who cannot look upon evil, allow such sinners to do such damage to people more righteous than they?

Again…the prophet waited for God’s answer, which came in Habakkuk 2:2-4. Habakkuk was to write it down, and messengers were to run and read it – judgment was coming, surely it was coming, but although physical suffering and death was probable, spiritual life and prosperity was possible; humble yourselves and place your faith in God and His provision of forgiveness. That’s where it starts. And then, let the just (the saved) trust God, keep the faith no matter what the circumstances may be, and no matter how deeply we don’t understand.

Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV) “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.”

This passage is such an important passage that it’s quoted three times in the New Testament, in very doctrinal books: Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38. It took three letters to describe one Old Testament passage. In Romans we learn about the just and justification. In Galatians we learn how the just LIVE, and in the book of Hebrews we learn about faith.

Habakkuk 2 goes on to elaborate on how GOD is a just God, we read 5 woes to the wicked. God was/is completely aware of the sins of the people, whether it be Judah or Babylon, and He will deal with them at the perfect time – and in the perfect way. God would chasten His people for change, and God will judge all those who refuse Him – forever.

One day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD (Habakkuk 2:14), and the futility of idolatry will be exposed (Habakkuk 2:18). 

Although this book is directed primarily to Judah, and applies to Babylon, it is definitely written that the whole world may know, and especially Habakkuk. Notice God’s Word to the prophet:

Habakkuk 2:20 (NKJV) “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “For Habakkuk, the message was clear. Stop complaining! Stop doubting! God is not indifferent to sin. He is not insensitive to suffering. The Lord is neither inactive nor impervious. He is in control. In His perfect time Yahweh will accomplish His divine purpose. Habakkuk was to stand in humble silence, a hushed expectancy of God’s intervention. The closing verse of this woeful dirge recorded by Habakkuk serves as a link to the song of worship that follows in Habakkuk 3.”

So Habakuk sings, the prophet prays. He longs for revival, but he now knows, that often times chastening is required for change, that a severe sentence and times of suffering are necessary for God’s people to surrender to Him. Habakkuk now knows what God is doing and He prays along those lines. Wrath was coming, but in that wrath he prayed for mercy. 

Habakkuk 3:2 (NLT) “I have heard all about You, LORD. I am filled with awe by Your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as You did in years gone by. And in Your anger, remember your mercy.”

Warren Wiersbe comments on Habakkuk 3:3-15, “Habakkuk reviewed God’s work in the past and recalled His greatness and power. In every era of Jewish history, God was there to work for His people; He would not fail them now. The Babylonian invasion and captivity would be painful experiences, but God would use them for His glory and the good of His people (Romans 8:28).”

Habakuk journeyed from the valley, to the watchtower, and now finds himself on the mountain top. “Faith always lifts us higher and makes us happier.” – Warren Wiersbe.

Habakkuk was comforted in knowing that God never forsakes His people. God will deal with us in order to bring us back to our first love. There would be much suffering for many seasons – but in the end there would be salvation for his people. 

Habakkuk 3:17-19 is an awesome expression of faith! No matter what things look like from our puny human perspective, no mater what the circumstances, we can certainly trust our Provider, rejoice in the LORD, and have joy in the God of our salvation!

Habakkuk 3:19 resembles Philippians 4:13, may we take it to heart!

Habakkuk 3:19a (NKJV) “The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”

Revelation 9:1-21

When the 5th trumpet is blown all hell breaks loose on planet earth. An angel is sent down with the key to the Abyss (bottomless pit) he opens it up and out come creatures whose sole calling is to torment the inhabitants of the earth for 5 months. Imagine wanting to die, trying to die but being unable to escape the prison of pain. The description of these creatures is fascinating, a combination of locusts, scorpions, horses, faces of men, hair like women, the teeth of lions, breastplates of iron, wings whose motion musters up the sound of chariots running into battle. The only ones they are unable to torment are those who were sealed with God’s mark – everyone else is open game.

Revelation 9:11 informs us that their general is none other than the Devil himself. When you translate his name into any language, or tongue, it always leads to his ultimate agenda, he is Abaddon and Apollyon, in Hebrew and Greek, in English he is the “Destroyer.”

Jesus said in: 

John 10:10 (NKJV) “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The Devil wants to steal us from God, kill us, and destroy us forever in the Lake of Fire – that’s his agenda as “Destroyer.”

When the 6th angel sounds the 6th trumpet, 4 angels are released (more than likely these are fallen angels – demons) who had been bound at the great River Euphrates. They’ve been prepared for this very “hour” (some say it all happens in 1 literal hour) and 1/3 of the world’s population is massacred by this army of 200 million. This means that at this point in the Tribulation Period half of the world’s population has perished. Again, these are horrific creatures, the heads of the horses were as lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone – but that’s not it. They have tails which end in serpent’s heads.

There will be death everywhere. But there will also be the offer of eternal life. The 144,000 will have been preaching the gospel, explaining to everyone that this is the end of the world, this is the wrath, justice, and judgment of God. No doubt there will be others who knew the Christian Word intellectually but weren’t saved and were left behind at the Rapture, who get saved during this time. They will be spreading the Word as well. 

One would figure that all this would bring everyone left to their knees – to real and radical repentance. But John tells us that – still – generally speaking, the world refuses to turn to God. They love their sin, their idols, their gold, silver, brass, stone and wood possessions; they hold to their hate, fury, and murder; they delight in their drugs (sorceries) and of course, their sexual immoralities.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The reason for the woe, woe, woe of God’s judgment, is because of the holy, holy, holiness of God Himself (see Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). The only way to avoid God’s just judgment is to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus paid the price of judgment we could never pay – as we saw in the beginning of this book – thank Your Lord. 

Revelation 1:5 (NKJV) “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,”

Psalm 137:1-9

Imagine being taken away to a foreign land, there in captivity because of your sin. It’s understandable that Israel wept, that they missed Zion (Jerusalem), but they should have also wept over their sins.

The Babylonians asked the Jews to sing one of their Psalms, they were known for their joyful hymns…but how could they…while captive, in a foreign land?

I get mixed emotions on this. Some point to the fact that Paul and Silas were able to sing praises at midnight, but keep in mind, they were imprisoned for doing right. It’s much more challenging to praise God when we’ve done wrong and we’re suffering the consequences.

Psalms 137:4 (NKJV) “How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”

If we ever find ourselves there, “in a foreign land,” due to our sin, let us begin with songs of repentance.

It’s of utmost importance that the Jews (and us) never lose that heart for Jerusalem.

Psalms 137:5-6 (NKJV) “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

Jerusalem is God’s promise, both now and forever. May we never forget His promise of the city that we all as God’s people, will one day inhabit.

The Jews knew the prophecy, that Babylon would be defeated. Their imprecatory prayers, however, are without the full counsel of God (Matthew 5:44).

Proverbs 30:10

Proverbs 30:10 (NKJV) “Do not malign a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.”

To “malign” means to criticize someone in a spiteful, false, and misleading way. The KJV uses the word “accuse,” most other translations use the word “slander” – the act or offense of saying something malicious that would damage another’s reputation.

We’re not talking about valid communication that needs to take place, we’re talking about the dialogue of the devil. We’re not to do it! You malign your coworker – out of spite, or you think it’ll lead to a promotion, but it only ends in a demotion. As God’s people we now know better!

December 17, 2021

Nahum 1:1–3:19

We don’t know much about the prophet Nahum other than the fact that he prophesied against Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. He was from the city of Elkosh. Since there were several cities with that name, we’re not sure as to which one it was, but it is quite possible, he was from the Elkosh located IN Assyria, meaning that Nahum had been carried away captive from Israel. Another theory is that Nahum was from the area of Capernaum in Galilee for Capernaum means, “city of Nahum.”

150 years earlier Jonah was sent to Nineveh, and the city repented at his preaching. But that moral “revival” didn’t last long – the Assyrians were a cruel and vicious people. They would maim those they carried away captive. They would impale the leaders, behead the people and lay those heads in mounds in front of the city gates. The Assyrians had carried Israel away captive in 722 B.C., and it was now time for them to pay for their cruelties.

Nahum 1:2 (NKJV) “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.”

God is not only gentle, He is just. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind, He rebukes the sea, the mountains melt, the earth burns, what nation can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the fierceness of His anger, Nahum asks (Nahum 1:6).

Nahum presents to us the Biblical balance of our glorious God:

Nahum 1:7–8 (NKJV) “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. 8 But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, and darkness will pursue His enemies.”

For those who trust the LORD, He is working everything out for good (Romans 8:28) (that would be Israel) and prayerfully that’s us! Trust Him my friend, trust Him in the day of trouble, He will make it a day of Triumph!

But to His enemies, those who refuse to yield to God and His grace – justice will be served and rather than having Him as Savior, they will face Him as Judge. This was the case with Nineveh and the entire nation of Assyria.

Not only would God judge Assyria, He would restore Jacob (Nahum 1:15; 2:2).

Nahum 2:2 (NLT) “Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah, the LORD will restore its honor. Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches, but he will restore its splendor.”

The Babylonians would conquer Ninevah to such an extent that many critics of the Bible questioned the very existence of this city. It wasn’t until ruins were uncovered by British Archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard, that its existence was confirmed outside the Bible. It WAS at one time a great city, but it suffered great judgment!

Her valiant men would die, her nobles would be no more, the palace dissolved, it was now her turn to be led away captive. All her treasures would be taken, hearts would melt, knees would shake in immeasurable fear – the pain would pierce on every side.

I don’t understand why anyone would fight God, for who can win if God is against them, if God is their enemy? The Assyrians actually plotted evil agains the LORD (Nahum 1:11) and therefore had Him as their enemy!

Nahum 2:13 (NLT) “I am your enemy!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Your chariots will soon go up in smoke. Your young men will be killed in battle. Never again will you plunder conquered nations. The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more.”

The city would be filled with blood (Nahum 3:1) the noise of whips, galloping horses, clattering chariots – so many dead bodies they would stumble over the corpses. A complete collapse of Assyria who at one time was so dominant and powerful, that they actually sold families and nations (Nahum 3:4).

Every world power is deceived into thinking they’re different, that they’ll never be overthrown, but just like every other world power before her, Assyria’s day would come. The description of her judgment at the hands of the Babylonians is heartbreaking, but it resembles the very things Assyria would do whenever they conquered cities and nations. Children dashed to pieces, women’s skirts lifted and ravished, men killed, sold, and so fearful that it was as if there were only women left (Nahum 3:13).

In the end, this once brave and powerful nation was reduced to the status of grasshoppers who hopped away in hiding, not to be found. It was a fatal blow, and all the people who had been tortured by the Assyrians rejoiced at their judgment.

Nahum 3:19 (NLT) “There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal. All who hear of your destruction will clap their hands for joy. Where can anyone be found who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?”

Revelation 8:1-13

The judgments described during the Tribulation Period will increase in frequency and intensity. We’ve seen the 7 seal judgments, next is the 7 trumpet judgments which give way to the 7 bowl judgments. When He opened the 7th seal, there was silence in heaven for a half an hour (this is significant – see Psalm 78:6-8; Habakkuk 2:20; Zephaniah 1:7; 2:13). 

Warren Wiersbe comments, “The silence in heaven is the lull before the storm. Even the heavenly hosts stop their worship as they contemplate the awesome judgments about to fall.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the picture of prayer that is painted in Revelation 8:3-5. We visualize the prayers rising as incense before God, He takes every single one of them in. This is something seen in the tabernacle and later the temple at the altar of incense located in the Holy Place. Here we see the answer to prayer as fire from the altar thrown down to the earth from heaven…and there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. You might remember John’s first glimpse of God’s throne in:

Revelation 4:5a, (NKJV) “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.” 

God is about to answer one of the prayers we’ve been praying since Jesus gave us the model prayer, “…Thy Kingdom come…”

Some might look at these judgments and see them symbolically, but I think that for the most part, all this will happen literally. It’s interesting to note that five of these catastrophes were part of the plagues used by God to set Israel free in the great Exodus. In Exodus the water was turned to blood, and here, after the first angel sounded, the hail, is mixed and mingled with blood.

1/3 of the trees and all of the grass is gone; 1/3 perish in the ocean, of both man and sea creatures; 1/3 of the fresh water deposits are struck – many more die; then the sun, the moon, and the stars are struck, giving way to more and more darkness. Taken literally these appear to be some sort of meteor showers – that we might describe as heavenly “smart bombs.” Scientists tell us that meteors typically travel at 11,000 MPH and explode upon impact due to the fact that they carry kinetic energy equivalent to its mass in TNT. We have the prophecy of: 

Joel 2:30–31 (NKJV) “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”

During this time God will be wooing people to Himself and warning them of the judgment to come. We even read of angels flying throughout the first heaven (earth’s atmosphere), crying out for all to hear, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth.” There are only two times a word is “tri-peated” in the Bible, holy, holy, holy, and woe, woe, woe. This is a heavy, heavy, heavy warning! The book of Isaiah has an interesting prophecy about this time, and how God would protect His people during this period. We read in: 

Isaiah 26:20–21 (NKJV) “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. 21For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.”

Psalm 136:1-26

Gratitude and Mercy flow through this Psalm.

“Oh give thanks…” how we are to forever and always be grateful to God!

Grateful that His mercy endures forever. Grateful that He doesn’t give me what I deserve. I deserve Hell. I deserve death. I deserve punishment. I deserve the loss of all that is good, but – His mercy endures forever.

As we read through this Psalm, the history of the world, and the history of Israel – 4 things stand out. We should be grateful to God for His:

1. Creation

2. Redemption

3. Provision

4. Salvation

Psalms 136:23-24 (NKJV) “Who remembered us in our lowly state, for His mercy endures forever; and rescued us from our enemies, for His mercy endures forever.”

He remembered me in my lowly state, and saved me from my enemies (the world, the flesh, the devil – from the power and penalty of sin).

My life will forever therefore be summarized as a life of gratitude…why? His mercy endures forever.

Proverbs 30:7-9

Proverbs 30:7-9 (NKJV) “Two things I request of You (deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

Apparently these are prayer requests from Agur to God.

#1 That he would be distanced from deception; that any and all lies would be far, far away from finding a home in his heart. We’ve discussed many times how lies are the language of Lucifer, the dialect of the Devil, it’s all Satan has to say.

Jesus’ words to the bulk of the religious leaders highlight this truth about the devil’s lies:

John 8:44 (NKJV) “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Agur words it in such a way, “Father, free me of falsehood before I die.” It tells me that he’s desperate, that’s he’s struggled with it, as we all do, that lies frequently, easily find their way into our minds and a home in our hearts – it’s a huge issue that the enemy uses to control our culture, to even rob Christians of our joy for the journey.

May God set us free from the Enemies’ web of lies!

#2 The second request of Agur, knowing all too well his own weakness and wickedness, was asking that he be neither poor nor rich. He gives noble reasons for his request in v. 9.

Agur knew the truth Jesus spoke in: 

Matthew 19:23 (NKJV) “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Agur knew the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches could choke the word and waste his life (Matthew 13:22). It’s fairly easy to forget God when you have everything else going for you. You might want to consider that before you buy your next lottery ticket or notice how green the grass is on the other side of the fence.

And don’t you also love the honesty of Agur? How he knew his own weakness/wickedness that if he couldn’t make ends meet, that if he didn’t have a job to put food on the table, he might end up stealing and dealing in dishonest ways? What a dishonor this would be to God considering the fact that everyone knew he was a believer.

“Isn’t that guy a Christian? Look at what he’s doing, what a shame, I knew there wasn’t any power in that name.”

Very practical wisdom for all of us! Great prayer requests!

December 16, 2021

Micah 5:1–7:20

Micah continues his word to the nation of Israel, but in the midst of it, He also prophecies of the coming of Christ, and mingles in messages to the whole wide world. 

The siege in Micah 5:1 is most likely a continuance of the Babylonian invasion, but it begins to morph into one of the clearest Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Micah identifies WHERE the Messiah would be born. 

Micah 5:2 (NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

Bethlehem wasn’t a big city, but it WAS the city of David. It would therefore be the ideal birthplace for Messiah-King whose rule would bring perfect and permanent peace. The ONLY one who could possibly bring this type of peace on earth would have to be the Maker of heaven and earth and it turns out to be true. He goes all the way back to the days of eternity. 

It’s not random that Bethlehem means “House of Bread,” for Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48), He’s the manna from heaven (John 6:31-33). He’s the only one who can satisfy our spiritual appetite and sustain us in the “wilderness.”

The prophecy of Christ speaks not only of His first coming but His Second Coming in verses 3-5a.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “As Micah had written earlier (Micah 4:9), Israel’s spiritual pain in being dispersed (abandoned) was like a woman’s physical pain in labor. But the time will come when the labor will end and birth will come. This refers not to Mary’s giving birth to Jesus, but to Israel’s national regathering (Micah 2:12; 4:6–7), likened here to a childbirth when His brothers (fellow Israelites; cf. Deuteronomy 17:15) will return and join other Israelites. Christ will be one of them. Micah 5:2–3 puts together the two Advents of Christ, much as is done in Isaiah 9:6–7; 61:1–2.”

Micah 5:5b-15 speak of the defeat of Assyria, the rise of Israel, and God’s judgment upon the nations of the world.

Micah 5:15 (NLT) “I will pour out my vengeance on all the nations that refuse to obey me.”

In Micah 6 God reasons and pleads with His people to get right in their relationship with Him, but their refusal to repent, led to the judgment of God.

When we look back at all God has done for us, the way He’s saved and sustained us, shouldn’t it bring us to love and obedience? Tragically that wasn’t the case for Israel. Although God had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt, protected them from the curses of Balaam and Moab they still refused to walk with God. I wonder if we’ve finally realized that it’s not about superficial sacrifice and routine religion, it’s all about walking with-and-like God.

Micah 6:8 (NKJV) “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Such a beautiful passage we would do well to memorize…and of course take to heart, and live out loud. Tragically the Israelites did not do what God had vividly shown them to do – they continued to practice abominable injustices and idolatry – the worship of Baal – which led to their downfall.

Times would get so bad, that the faithful men and women would be obsolete (Micah 7:2). It wouldn’t even matter if you were related, you’d be hunted down, turned in to the authorities, betrayed even by “friends.” This was no-doubt the case in the days of Israel’s Assyrian captivity, but it is also a prophecy of what would happen to the followers of Christ. Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 10:35-36.

In closing the book we are once again reminded that God gets the last word, and over the centuries the nations may come against God’s people, but His mercy towards those who have placed their faith in Him prevails. Israel will be exalted and all believers will be forgiven.

There really is no one like our God!

Micah 7:18–19 (NKJV) “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. 19 He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.”

Revelation 7:1-17

The next vision John had, was four angels standing at the four corners of the earth (North, South, East, and West) and they were holding the “winds” – speaking of the way the invisible God was working visibly on planet earth, in this case, judging the world. There’s now a pause, judgment is held back for a bit, in order for the angels of God to “seal” 144,000 Jewish servants.

I thought it was interesting how John is writing about the “seals” of judgment, and here God “seals” His servants. It shows us that even in times of Great Tribulation, there is opportunity for great service and salvation. 

Warren Wiersbe wrote along the same lines, “The day of the Lord will bring judgment and destruction, and it will also result in the saving of people. In wrath, God remembers mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). When you experience trials, ask God to use you to win others to the Savior even in the midst of troubles.”

Why did they seal them? David Jeremiah explains, “It was common in John’s day for masters to seal or brand their slaves on the forehead or hand to declare ownership. This mark also granted protection from those who would steal or misuse them.” Ephesians 1:13 speaks of the fact that all Christians are sealed with the Person of the Holy Spirit.

It’s puzzling how some people get confused as to who the 144,000 are! The Jehovah Witnesses even claim this as an elite group amongst themselves, but the Bible clearly states that these people are the children of Israel, and God gets even more specific by stating there would be 12,000 from each tribe. It’s important for us to remember that during this time, God will be dealing with, and drawing the nation of Israel back to Himself; He is not done with the Jews (Daniel 9:24-27; Romans 11).

You may have noticed that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim are not mentioned in this list. That doesn’t mean that descendants of these tribes won’t be saved, it just might mean that they won’t serve in the same sense during this period. Keep in mind that Ephraim was Joseph’s son and Dan is mentioned in the Millennial Kingdom in Ezekiel 48:32, which takes place after the Tribulation Period…so they’re still around.

In this chapter there is mention of those who are protected from harm (Revelation 7:1-8) and those who are martyred for their faith (Revelation 7:9-17). God in His perfect wisdom knows what’s best for everyone, and even in a Christian’s death, there is blessing beyond our wildest imagination!

I believe that these 144,000 Jews will be like 144,000 Paul the Apostles and people from every nation will be saved as a result of their witness. Here they are from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues in the wonderful worship of God and thanksgiving for their salvation. The angel identified them as Tribulation Saints who will forever serve God day and night. 

B. F. Westcott said, “We make a great mistake if we connect with our conception of heaven the thought of rest from work. Rest from toil, from weariness, from exhaustion—yes; but rest from work, from productiveness, from service—no. ‘They serve God day and night.’”

Being a tribulation saint meant much suffering on earth, hunger, thirst, unimaginable horror as the elements of the earth erode and the rule of the antichrist prevailed, but now they were led and comforted by Jesus Himself…forever.

Psalm 135:1-21

Hallelujah means “Praise the LORD,” and that is the thrust of this Psalm. Praise Him and sing to Him. When we gather together assembled as a congregation we should come ready to worship – for He is good!

We have reason to praise.

We’ve been chosen by God, we’re His special treasure (Matthew 13:44) – created and redeemed – those are some of the reasons the Psalmist calls us to praise the LORD.

Creation, Redemption, and then there’s Provision. He’s taken care of me all my life. All this has come from the hand of the LORD Himself. Unlike the statues and wanna-be gods that the world puts their trust in and prays to, our God is the living God, who speaks, and sees, and hears. 

Psalm 135:15–17 (NKJV) “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; 17 They have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths.”

The Psalmist reveals the fact that we become like whatever it is we worship. In this case all who worship lifeless idols, are spiritually lifeless!

Psalm 135:18 (NKJV) “Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”

Bless the LORD – Israel, Aaron (the high priest), Levi, and all who fear Him (Gentiles). All of God’s people have ample reaons to praise.

I believe this Psalm emphasizes that part of our lives where we SING praises to God. May we all cultivate that vital part of the celebration of salvation.

Proverbs 30:5-6

Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”

We are blessed by the Word of God…and according to this Proverb, every single Word of God is pure – it’s tried, true, and tested!

Psalm 12:6 (NKJV) “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Psalm 19:8 (NKJV) “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

Psalm 119:140 (NKJV) “Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it.”

Trust in God and His Word, provide power and protection, He Himself will surely be our shield.

Psalm 18:30 (NKJV) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

They say Captain America has a pretty cool shield, but I have a hunch that ours is a bit better. What do you think?

Genesis 15:1 (NKJV) “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’”

God is our shield! This truth should eliminate our fears, knowing that nothing touches us unless God gives the green light. It should make us HAPPY!

Deuteronomy 33:29 (NKJV) “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, and you shall tread down their high places.”

The latter portion of verse 6 reminds us that we should never add, take away, or alter God’s Word in any way! Another warning is issued at the end of the Bible.

Revelation 22:18–19 (NKJV) “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Modern liberalism takes away portions of God’s Word. The serpent in the Garden of Eden added to the Word. Beware of either or.

December 15, 2021

Micah 1:1–4:13

Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos, who was given a message to deliver to both Israel and Judah.  If you’ve been reading through the prophets I’m sure you’ve noticed that the message doesn’t change too much. God’s people had sinned persistently and defiantly. BECAUSE they’re God’s children He must chasten them, but He will not fail to change them in the process…and in the end, they will be restored – even exalted in the kingdom to come.

Micah warns that God was on His way, coming out of His place to tread down the high places of the earth.

Micah 1:5 (NLT) “And why is this happening? Because of the rebellion of Israel— yes, the sins of the whole nation. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital!”

Micah loves the people and therefore mourns their judgment (Micah 1:8). He clearly prophecies the calamity of their captivity.

In Micah 2 he begins by describing people who actually plan out their wickedness. It’s one thing to stumble into sin, it’s quite another to strategize it. They seized lands, houses, and inheritances. Imagine the heartache, the injustice! 

And they wouldn’t listen to God who spoke through His prophets.

Micah 2:6 (NLT) “Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!”

Micah 2:7 (NLT) “Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the LORD’s Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting.”

The people wouldn’t listen to the true prophets, and were ripped-off by the false prophets – who took their robes, their garments, even evicting them from their homes. There was no other option but for God to judge, for the people were lobbying for their own message.

Micah 2:11 (NLT) “Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, ‘I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!’ That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!”

And yet…in spite of all this, God promised to regather and restore Israel (Micah 2:12-13). Yes, the day will come when King Jesus rules from Jerusalem.

We discover in Micah 3 that the rulers were rotten. After the nation was divided, the northern kingdom never had a good ruler; the southern kingdom  DID have good rulers at times, but the people vacillated. Society, like today had reached a point to where they actually hated good and loved evil (Micah 2:2). They were ripe for judgment.

The overall message of the prophets and priests was peace – “No need to listen to the likes of Micah – judgment is not on the horizon they said.” The people preferred the message of the false prophets, and the false prophets knew it, which is why they spoke it,  it was prophets for profit, a message for money – how tragic that ministries are sometimes run that way, “It’s all about the money.”

In Micah 3 he informs the people that in light of their sins, God would not hear their prayers, and He would not respond.

Micah 3:4 (NKJV) “Then they will cry to the LORD, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.”

Micah 3:7b (NKJV)  “…for there is no answer from God.”

But…even in wrath, God remembers mercy and we read in Micah 4 about the Lord’s reign in Zion. This is a prophecy regarding the Millennial Kingdom.

How we long for the day when the nations flock  to the mountain of the LORD to hear His ways. How we long for the days when swords are turned into plowshares, weapons and training for war are no longer necessary, there will be peace on earth when Jesus reigns.

God will gather His people, the remnant of Israel and lift her up for all people to see, and Jerusalem will be the capital of the world – the place where King Jesus sets up His throne.

Until that day there will be excruciating pain for Israel, like a woman in birth pangs. Micah prophecies not only the judgment of Israel, but the judgment of Judah, carried away captive  to Babylon – but God would redeem them (Micah 4:10).

In the last of the last days many nations will come against Israel, but these nation are greatly mistaken, now knowing the plans of God, nor the love that God has for His people. He will gather the enemies of Israel together to be beaten and trampled like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor (Micah 4:12).

May we never forget Genesis 12:3.

Revelation 6:1-17

Back in Revelation 5, no one was worthy to open or look at the seals with the exception of Jesus Christ, who prevailed and proved Himself worthy through His incarnation and redemption of mankind (John 5:27).

The seals are now opened in chapter 6.

When the first seal was opened the first of four horsemen were unleashed upon the earth. The first horse is white, and some might mistake the one riding the horse as Jesus, who at the end of the Tribulation Period returns on a white horse (Revelation 19:11), but this is actually the antichrist. He “conquers” the world, through a pseudo-peace. 

Warren Wiersbe summarizes it this way, “The world ruler (Antichrist) begins his conquest of the nations by peacefully taking control (Revelation 6:1–2). He has a weapon but no ammunition; and men are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ (1 Thessalonians 5:1–3). Satan usually declares peace before he declares war, so beware his offers.”

When the second seal is opened, the true colors of the antichrist come out – this horse is no longer white, but fiery red, and peace is taken from the earth, a world-wide-war begins, the enemy starts swinging a “great” sword.

When the third seal is opened, scarcity and famine hit hard at the arrival of a black horse, the scales are scandalous! Imagine paying a day’s wages for only one quart of wheat, or three quarts of barley – (barley was the poor man’s food). It’s interesting also how a declaration is made during this time, “…do not harm the oil and the wine.” This may be in reference to the luxuries still enjoyed by the rich.

When the fourth seal is opened, judgment arrives on a pale horse and the rider’s name is Death, followed by another rider named Hades. This is the agenda of the enemy, to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) – his goal is not simply death physically, but death spiritually, home in Hades which will eventually be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). The sentence of this seal allows death in many forms, through famine, violence, and even by the beast. One-fourth of the world perishes at this point.

The fifth seal reveals those who have been martyred for Christ, most likely during the tribulation period, and theirs is a cry for justice. Much like us today, we long for the time when evil will end, and justice is served, but we must “rest a little while longer” until all those who will be martyred and saved is completed.

The sixth seal brings many cosmic disturbances – the black sun, and red moon may refer to atmospheric changes that distort our view, but there’s no mistaking the “stars” that fall on the earth as meteor showers; the earthquakes begin to level mountains and cover islands. It doesn’t matter if one is rich or if one rules, they can run but they cannot hide, the wrath of the Lamb has arrived. The wrath of the Lamb sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Jesus offers His love but cannot violate His holiness. How do you want to face Jesus? As the Lamb, or as the Lion? As your Savior or as your Judge?

Psalm 134:1-3

This is the final Psalm of Ascents (pilgrim Psalms).

Here we have the pilgrim encourage the priests and Levites who kept watch at the Temple, to bless the LORD, to lift their hands to God.

As we lift our hands to the Lord we worship.

As we lift our hands to the Lord we surrender.

As we lift our hands to the Lord, we’re like children ready to receive from our Father, which is the final prayer of the pilgrim for the priests.

Psalm 134:3 (NKJV) “The LORD who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!”

Proverbs 30:1-4

Proverbs 30:1 (NKJV) “The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel and Ucal:”

The identity of Agur is unknown. All we know is his name literally means “gathered.” He’s the son of Jakeh, whose name means blameless, if that has any significance. Most would simply identify Agur as a man moved by the Holy Spirit to give us a great word of wisdom here in Proverbs 30…but that wisdom wasn’t of himself.

Proverbs 30:2 (NKJV) “Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. 3 I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One.”

Now, in all honesty this s-word (stupid) is not a word we use in our home…but, I must admit, apart from God, this is great description of what I am.

Apparently I’m in pretty good company, Agur, one of the authors in the Bible believes it about himself as well. This is all of us in our natural/fallen state.

He’s not talking academically, he’s speaking spiritually, honestly. Interestingly. Agur is not the only Bible author who saw himself like this. Asaph said the same thing in: 

Psalm 73:22 (NKJV) “I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.”

I believe this type of honest humility is a precedent to any type of spiritual maturity. If you’re a “know it all,” who’s arrived, why would you strive for more wisdom?

I have not mastered wisdom, nor do I know all there is to know about God. As a matter of fact, have you discovered that the more you know, the more you realize how much you DON’T know?

Agur had an awesome question about a certain Someone:

Proverbs 30:4 (NKJV) “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?”

This has always been an absolutely amazing section of Scripture to me. Who…descended from heaven? Who…ascended to heaven? Who made and holds the wind? Who sets all walls for the waters? Who made and established this earth we live on? What’s His name? What’s His SON’S name? 

How did Agur know He even had a Son? 

Here we have clear implications of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and agent of Creation. the Bible says this about Him in:

John 1:3 (NKJV) “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

The answer is Yahweh. His son’s name is Jesus.