Spiritual Rants: “A Whore Lot Of Shakin’ Going On” December 26 Daily Bible Readings in a year: Zechariah 9:1-17 Revelation 17:1-18 Psalm 145:1-21 Proverbs 30:32

Old Testament:   Zechariah 9:1-17

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Zechariah 9:1-17   Greek To Them

In Chapter 9, Zechariah sees into the future of the reign of Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C.  He marches through Syria (vv. 1-2a), Phoenicia (vv. 2b-4), and Philistia (vv. 5-8). Ultimately, Jerusalem is protected (“I will camp around my house,” v. 8).

In contrast to Alexander, Jesus, the King, will come as the Messiah riding on the colt of a donkey (v. 9).  This was quoted by Matthew in Matt. 21:4-5 to show its fulfillment at the Triumphal Entry.  Since Israel rejected her King at His first coming, the peace referenced in verse 10 awaits fulfillment in the Millennium (v. 10).

Verses 11-12 promise restoration to those still in Babylon at the time of Zechariah’s prophecy.  Verses 13-17 predict the victory of the Jews over the Grecian king, Antiochus Epiphanes, during the Maccabean era in the second century B.C.

New Testament:  Revelation 17:1-18

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Revelation 17:1-18   A Whore Lot Of Shakin’ Going On

After all of God’s judgments have been poured out on the world before the description of the Second Coming in chapter 19, there is a two chapter interlude describing the worldwide religious system Rev. 17 as well as the worldwide political system in Rev. 18.

One of the seven angels explains to John the judgment of religious Babylon, the religious system of the Seven Year Tribulation.  It is godless since the True Church has already been taken away in the Rapture (cf. 1 Thess. 4:16-17).  The kings of the world are part of this system.  They are portrayed as having relations with the “harlot” who represent this system (v. 2).  John sees this woman in the wilderness sitting on a scarlet beast with blasphemous names, seven heads and ten horns.  The scarlet beast is the Antichrist (cf. 13:1; 12:3) whose role in life is to blaspheme  and discredit God.  The seven heads are future rulers of the Roman alliance (BKC) and the ten horns are ten kings (cf. Rev. 17:12).

“The woman” dresses in royal garb, purple and scarlet (v. 4a).  She also is rich with precious stones and pearls (v. 4b).  She is full of “abominations” and “unclean things,” part of her religious system as God sees her (v. 4c).  Although all harlots represent an antichristic attitude, this lady is the “mother of harlots” (v. 5).  This religious system feasts itself on true believers (v. 6).  The angel promises to explain this woman to John (v. 7).

The power behind the beast or Antichrist is Satan (cf. 13:4) who comes up from the Abyss (cf. 11:7, the place where demons abide, 9:1-2, 11).  He will cause believers to fear (v. 8b).  He is the one who apparently had died and seemed to come back from the dead (v. 8a, c, “he was and is not and will come,” cf. Rev. 13:3).  He will arise in the second half of the Tribulation (cf. 11:7; 13:11).

The prostitute sits on seven mountains, presumably Rome which is known as the city built on seven hills (v. 9).  The seven mountains of the Antichrist are not only hills (of Rome) but are also seven heads or kings and kingdoms (v. 10a).  Five fall away but one has power at the middle of the Tribulation and one is still future at this point (v. 10b).  The five kingdoms that have passed away are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece.  The present kingdom is Rome and the future kingdom is the rule of the Antichrist (cf. Weirsbe).  Other interpretations have been offered for the seven kingdoms but the net result is that the Antichrist rules over a revived Roman Empire (cf. McGee).

The Antichrist himself counts as one of the seven kings as well as the eighth and final king.  He will will eventually be destroyed (v. 11).  It is difficult to determine how the Antichrist could count as both the seventh and an eight king.  Perhaps, his reign as a peaceful king counts as one kingdom and then, fully demon-possessed at the mid point of the Tribulation, he is so different as to count as an eighth king.  (Who knows?  If you’re there when it happens, let me know!).  One thing is certain:  he is the eighth and final ruler of the world who uses the world-wide religious system for his own ends.

The ten horns are ten kings without a kingdom as yet but will receive power for a short time along with the Antichrist (v. 12).  They are part of a ten nation union (if based in Rome, presumably a ten nation European confederation). Their mutual goal is to support the power and authority of the Antichrist (v. 13).

All of the kings will war against Jesus and His followers (“the called and chosen and faithful,” v. 14).  The religious system of the whore will encompass many nations and peoples of the world (“waters” often designate “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.” v. 15).  The ten nation union will turn on the religious entity and roast her and eat her (v. 16).  All of this is part of God’s plan to subdue the woman (v. 17).  John reinforces the identity of the woman and the system as having its roots in Rome (“the great city which reigns of the kings of the earth,” v. 18).

Psalm 145:1-21  Good ‘Un  A Hymn By David


Proverbs 30:32   Muffle It!

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I’ve been watching some dramatic TV series and politics.  What I’ve been noticing is how often the characters keep boasting about what they’re going to do.  Too bad they don’t read Scripture.  But then I guess there wouldn’t be dramatic TV series.  The elections would certainly be different.

Here’s what the Bible says:

1 Cor. 1:31 “so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD’”  (also 2 Cor. 10:17).

James 4:13-15   “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”

Jer. 9:23   “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.”

If you find yourself blowing your own horn, push your hand down your throat.  Or, at least, put it on your mouth (cf. James 1:26; 3:5-8).

Or if you’ve been watching Christmas Story, you know where to put a bar of Lifebuoy to muffle your words.

Most of all, take Solomon’s advice to you so won’t embarrass yourself.  You might start celebrating and then God will reverse everything and you’ll look like a fool  (cf. Prov. 24:17-18, see No Wick For The Wicked).

Muffle it!

Choose Life: Scripture:  Zechariah 9:9   NASB    “A Colt Member”

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Zechariah 9:9

I read something the other day about how beginning the Christian life is plunging ourselves into a life of pain and suffering.  Suffering is how we mature so welcome to the Christian life!

That’s a bit pessimistic, don’t you think?  Certainly, the Christian life is often a life of suffering as we try to uphold God’s standards in a fallen world (cf. Rom. 5:1-3).  Jesus modeled a life that was full of suffering (cf. Isa. 53:3).  Even in triumph, He rode into Jerusalem, “humble and mounted on a  . . .  colt, the foal [baby son] of a donkey.”  This prophecy was given over five hundred years before Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem during Passion Week.  Of course, He will return riding triumph on a white horse (cf. Rev. 19:11).

Here is the rule, we humble ourselves and then we will be exalted, either here or in the future kingdom (James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6).  The model even held true for our Elder Brother (cf. Heb. 2:11, 17).

So rather than only focusing on the suffering we may endure as Christians, we should also keep in mind the joy we have as Christians.

Heb. 12:2 ” . . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

James 1:2   “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials . . .”

Gal. 5:22 ” . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .”

The day after Christmas can be a downer as we mourn over the presents we didn’t get, the traffic going back to the mall for exchanges, counting the extra calories we ate yesterday.

It can also be a great day to become a “colt member” and follow in the mold of Jesus.  Humble ourselves so that one day we will be exalted.

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

If you’re all into suffering all the time, there may be something wrong with you.  The writer of Ecclessiates, Solomon, said, “Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself” (Eccles. 7:16).  Don’t be overly righteous.  You’ll just wear yourself out.

Jesus promised us an abundant life (John 10:10).  By that, I take it He meant both the mountaintops and the valleys.  When God gives you a mountaintop, take it.  He does it for a reason, to give you a break.  You’ll hit a valley soon enough.  Take your time of rest.  Maybe you have a few days off at this time of year.  Enjoy it.  It’s OK.

It’s God’s gift.

Just enjoy all the great things God has given you and you’ll be truly blessed.

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   A Whore Lot Of Shakin’ Going On

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