Old Testament: Zechariah 8:1-23
Zechariah 8:1-23 A Peace-a Me
In Chapter 8, Zechariah sees into the future into the Millennial kingdom. The most vulnerable people in society today may be the very young and the very old. Both will be safe in Messiah’s kingdom (vv. 4-5). Israel will be re-gathered from the nations to dwell in safety (v. 8).
In the second century B.C., the Maccabean period, there would be relative peace the ultimate fulfillment of verses is in the Millennium (vv. 9 – 13). Yahweh was disgusted with Israel and proposed to do them harm but now is going to prosper them (vv. 14-17). The fasts that had commemorated the destruction and siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar will be turned to feast days (vv. 18-19). Gentiles of many nations will seek blessings from the Jews in that day (vv. 20-23).
New Testament: Revelation 16:1-21
Revelation 16:1-21 Bowled Over
The seven seals (chapter 6, 8: 1) opened into the seven trumpets (chapter 8 and 9:14) which now open into the seven bowl judgments.
An voice commands the seven angels to pour out the bowls of judgment representing God’s wrath (v. 1).
Bowl One: Malignant sores on people who had taken the mark of the Antichrist and worshiped his image (v. 2).
Bowl Two: The sea was turned to blood and the sea creatures all died (v. 3)
Bowl Three: The rivers and springs also turned to blood. The angel in charge of the waters confesses that God was righteous in cursing the waters (vv. 4-7).
Bowl Four: The sun scorched mankind and cursed God because of it (vv. 8-9). They must have known that the judgment came from God but they still would not change their minds so that He would get the glory (v. 9b).
Bowl Five: The fifth angel caused the throne of the Antichrist to be darkened resulting in people gnawing off their tongues because of the pain (v. 10). They cursed God because they were so angry about their pains and sores. But they still would not change their minds and turn to Him (v. 11).
Bowl Six: The sixth angel poured his bowl out on the Euphrates River that separates Israel from Asia to the east (v. 12). It dried up, enabling kings from the east to easily transverse the river bed into Israel.
Three unclean spirits proceeded from the mouths of Satan, the Antichrist and his false prophet (v. 13). They were three demon spirits sent out to gather the nations of the world for the Battle of Armageddon (v. 14, 16). Jesus encourages people during this time to be on alert so they are not caught by surprise (v. 15, cf. Matt. 24:43:25:13; 1 Thess. 5:12).
Bowl Seven: The seventh angel poured the last bowl (“it is done,” v. 18). Thunder and lightning flashed across the sky signifying judgment. The largest earthquake in the history of mankind broke Jerusalem into three parts (vv. 18-19a). All of the other cites of the world crumbled into pieces (v. 19b). Babylon was singled out for special destruction because of its opposition to God’s people over the ages (v. 19c).
Islands were drowned due to the upheavals and mountains collapsed (v. 20). Things were capped off by the largest hailstorm in history with producing one hundred pound hail (v. 21a).
Though God in His mercy gives mankind every chance in the world to repent, they curse Him instead (v. 21b).
Psalm 144:1-15 A New Song A Royal Psalm By David
Proverbs 30:29-31 It’s Good To Be King
Agur seems to think about everything in four’s. I’ll bet he listens to only quartets. He probably drinks only from quarts. Again, he speaks of three or four things (v. 18, 21, 24) and again here in verse 29.
He associates lions, roosters, goats, and kings together. Huh? Think about it. Lions are stately and powerful. Roosters are the authority in the hen house. Goats are gruffy, grumpy, and craggy-looking. I wouldn’t want to tangle with one on a precipitous pathway.
The point is that the king is the king. Sometimes people give too much deference to animals. Animals are just animals. Humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation. Animals are a wonderful part of what God has created but only humans are made in God’s image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27).
God has given the most power to those that He has allowed in positions of leadership over those in their charge (cf. Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).
God has set everything in order.
He doesn’t expect that anyone should upset that organization whether animals or man (cf. “God is not a God of disorder” NIV HCSB NLT).
If you’re in charge, don’t mess anything up!
Follow God’s rules.
Choose Life: Scripture: Revelation 16:15 NASB “God’s Christmas Gift”
“(‘Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame’).” Revelation 16:15
I personally believe that the Church will be “raptured” and taken out of the world before the horrific time of the Seven Year Tribulation (cf. 1 Thess. 4:16-17, Rev. 4:1 representing the beginning of the Trib, John is taken to Heaven). I could be wrong but the point I’m making is the same whether we will be on earth or not during this time.
My point is that we need to walk as “children of the light” (cf. Eph. 5:8). Jesus told us we should be as perfect as God is (Matt. 5:48). I’m don’t believe He ever expected us to achieve that perfection or maturity but He did expect us to shoot for that as a goal.
Peter said that we should be “holy as [He] is holy” (1 Pet. 1:16 quoting Lev. 11:44).
Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. We commemorate the day that God Himself entered our world. Do we remember that that tiny infant was infinitely holy? Do we even think in terms of holiness anymore? God certainly still does. The book of Revelation proves it as we can see Him pouring out His wrath on a sinful world. As Christ-ians, we are spared that wrath because God sees us as perfect in Christ (see the blog, You Can’t Touch This!).
If you don’t believe that people don’t care about holiness these days, just think back to what you witnessed the past couple weeks. How many people did you actually observe celebrating the Savior’s birth? How many were just celebrating a religious Superbowl? How many were giving gifts to make themselves look good? Or how many were desecrating the holiday but refusing to call it Christmas? (I thought people at the mall were wishing each other a Merry Christmas when they were honking their horns. Then I realized they expressing hate for each other for taking a parking space they thought was theirs or cutting in front of them in traffic!)
Jesus says that we should be clothed when He comes. He has purchased us a nice set of clean clothes to wear (cf. Rev. 3:5; Zech. 3:4). They are His gift to us purchased by that little child in the manger. Why not put them on today?
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Here is God’s gift to you today. He has purchased new set of clothes for you to wear. They are clothes of righteousness, His righteousness in fact. You can put them on today.
Have you trusted Christ ever in your life? If not, today would be a most appropriate day to do that and celebrate Christ’s birth. Trust that He came into the world and died to pay for your sins. That’s all it takes. Nothing that you have to do except have faith. You don’t have to pray a prayer or walk an aisle. Just admit you are sinner with a debt you can’t pay and trust that Jesus paid it for you. Now just rejoice and say, “Thank you, Jesus!” (You don’t have to do that to be saved, but you just might feel like it.)
If you are already saved, here’s your gift. Realize Christ have already put on that clothing of righteousness. You don’t have to feel guilt to wear those clothes. If God brings a sin to mind that you are committing right now, confess it, and ask for God’s help to conquer it. You are now guilt free.
Merry Christmas! Celebrate the gift of Jesus to the world today!
You will be 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: Bowled Over