“The World Of What’s Happenin’ Then” – One Year Bible Reading – November 22

Old Testament: Ezekiel 44:1-45:12

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Ezekiel 44:1-45:12   The World Of What’s Happenin’ Then

Chapter 44   Verses 1-3 do not refer to Jesus.  It is a man who offers a sin offering for himself (cf. Ezek. 45:22), has sons (Ezek. 46:16) but is a representative of the Messiah in the new government of the kingdom.

The duties of the Levitical priests are enumerated in vv. 10-31.  The Levites will be disciplined for not showing the righteous appropriately to the priests before the captivity.  They will still do the work around the Temple but not be allowed to offer sacrifices or other duties exclusive to the  priesthood.  As in Old Testament times, their inheritance will be the Lord, not any ownership of land as the other tribes.  They will, once again, live on the offerings given at the Temple (vv. 28-31; cf. Num. 18:20; Deut. 18:1–2; Josh. 13:33).

Chapter 45:1-12   The sectioning of the land is described in this chapter.  The Lord will be given a portion as will the ruler of the land, the Prince (not Messiah, see above).  The Prince will provide what is needed for the offerings at the Temple.

New Testament:  1 Peter 1:1-12

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1 Peter 1:1-12   For Turkeys

Just like some of us, Peter could trip over his own feet.  He was rebuked by the Lord (Matt. 16:23); denied the Lord at the crucifixion (Matt. 26:69-70) and even later got in trouble with Paul (cf. Gal. 2:11).  Some might think he was just a dumb fisherman but it is evident from his writing that he was educated.  Perhaps, because of his faults, he is one of the best apostles to teach on humility (cf. 1 Pet. 5:6) and suffering (mentioned at least 12 times in this book).  Tradition has it that he did not want to die in the same manner as his Lord so he was crucified upside down.  He is an amazing man as will be evident.

Peter is writing to the persecuted Christians scattered around the area of northern Turkey.  I once asked a prosperity preacher what he thought of the book of 1Peter since it contained so many references to suffering.  He said it was “irreverent.”  I think he meant “irrelevant.”  Of course, it is not irreverent or irrelevant.  Everyone suffers in this life, even people who hold to prosperity teaching.  They suffer, too.

Those who were scattered, possibly due to the persecution in Jerusalem, needed to know that God had chosen them (v. 1b).  God knew in advance that they were going to trust Him (v. 2a).  The purpose of their Christian lives was to represent Christ and be pure through Jesus’ sacrificial death (v. 2b).

Peter offers praise to God for the mercy that allowed us to know Him when we were converted by trusting Christ (v. 3).  It is because of being born again (cf. John 3:3) that we have hope of life into eternity which was exhibited to us by the resurrection of Christ from the dead (v. 3b).

Our “inheritance” is set apart for us and cannot become impure or rot (v. 4).  It is protected by God for us as a present at the end of days when Christ returns (v. 5).

This prospect is cause for rejoicing now though for now we have to endure persecution (v. 6).  God allows the suffering and trials because it shows their faith which is more valuable than any precious earthly metal (v. 7, v. 8b).  Peter’s readers (hey, that sounds funny, “Peter’s readers”) believe in Christ even though many of them had not seen Him like Peter had (v. 8a, cf. John 20:29).   They had reason to be happy.  Their faith was going to result in a life lived forever with God (v. 9).

The Old Testament prophets didn’t understand that God’s grace was going to result in salvation for everyone who trusted Christ.  Even though God had predicted through them the sufferings of Christ and the glories of the kingdom, they didn’t have enough information to put the whole picture together (vv. 10-11).  They were not speaking of just Jews but salvation for the entire world (v. 12a).  Angels could observe all that was going on but they couldn’t figure it all out either (v. 12b).

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