Two days for the price of one because we can’t leave out what happened in yesterday’s reading. AND this is the second to the last Recap!
Zechariah 14: 1-21
We got a picture of what the Millennial Kingdom will be like in this section of the scripture. This is the 1000-year reign before the final battle called Gog and Magog. When Christ steps onto the Mount of Olives He leaves no doubt that He is there to rule the world. I can’t get over the fact that the sun and moon will no longer shine yet there will be continuous day? How is that even possible. Anyway, the thing to remember is that this reign of Jesus is marked by holiness. Everything is set apart for Him.
Malachi 1: 1-2: 17
This book was written sometime between 450-430 BC. We know that because Malachi references who is governing Jerusalem at the time. This book has huge significance because it was the last communication from God before 400-ish years of silence from God. The silence was broken by a wild man in the dessert who at locust and yelled about the Messiah coming. That’s right, JTB! (John the Baptist) This book is also written in a very personal way. There is a true statement by God, and a clap back from a His people. This structure allows for God to very clearly lay out His indictment of the Israelites.
In today’s section God attests to the fact that He has always loved them. Did you catch your breath like I did when you saw how the Israelites responded? It’s like a teenager who mouths off to their parent and you know that they are about to get smacked. But I love how God laid out the proof of His love. He chose Jacob, their ancestor, and rejected Jacobs brother. You may think, wait how is that showing love? Look at it this way, being singled out and chosen does communicate love. Knowing that you are being singled out to be God’s chosen people is a big deal. You could look to Esau’s descendants and clearly see that God did not single them out to be his chosen people. Their land was known as “The Land of Wickedness,” and the people were known as “The People with Whom the Lord is Forever Angry.” He did not take Esau’s descendants aside and teach them, by special revelation, who He is and How He loved them. And we can’t forget all the ways He took the “little nation that could” and blessed them beyond their wildest dreams. You know, like leaving Egypt with all that treasure and parting the red sea from them?
In return the Israelites showed contempt for God’s name and brought Him bum sacrifices from their flock. This just shows that their worship was as empty as Cain’s. They wanted to do it their way, not God’s way. Think of the heart behind the actions of the women who poured the bottle of perfume out on Jesus’s feet. That perfume cost a lot of money. It was probably the most valuable thing she had, and she loved Jesus so much that she wanted to pour it out on Him. Jesus was about to be killed and ascend to heaven. He had no need for the perfume. That poor women could have used that her whole life to smell good in a world that was probably really smelly because it was hot, and no one wore deodorant. But that is not what she chose to do with it. She took her most valuable possession and poured it out on the One she loved with all her heart. That was the heart God wanted to see in the sacrifices brought to Him. But that is not what He got from the Israelites. He got the reject animals that were going to die anyway. It did not cost the Israelites anything to sacrifice those animals.
Revelation 20: 1-15 and 21: 1-27
Christ is back to end Tribulation and start His Millennial reign. At the beginning of the 1000 year reign the beast, Satan, is thrown in the bottomless pit, but we have not seen the last of him yet. This 1000-year reign is where Jesus rules and brings about the first resurrection of Believers. These are the people who died in the Tribulation. At the end of the 1000-year reign, Satan is freed one more time for the final battle of Gog and Magog. Not to spoil anything but Jesus and His army win this battle, and, in the end, Satan is finally defeated and locked away for all eternity with all the souls that followed him. This is not a party; they are tormented for all time.
The Great White Throne of Judgement is something that every soul will go through. If you are not a believer in Jesus your life will be measured against God’s Holiness, you will be found a sinner and thrown into the Lake of Fire with Satan. This is the second death. The worst death if you ask me, because you have now been separated from God forever. Separation=death. No matter how good you think you are you will fail when measured against God’s Holiness. However, if you are believer in Jesus, it’s like you have received a “Heavenly Fast-Past” and get to skip the line at the Great White Throne because your sin was paid for on the Cross. THANK YOU, JESUS. (That Fast-Pass example was not meant to be sacrilege!) (See, I am a sinner, and needed Jesus to pay my debt.)
New Heaven and New Earth are established after the 1000-year reign and the Great White Throne. Everything is new and everything we lost in the garden with Adam and Eve is restored. We get to live in the presence of God. He will walk with us. It will be the most glorious thing. Perfection restored!!! And I don’t know why this blew my mind so much, but you know how we read in Zechariah that we lost the sun and moon when Jesus came back? Well guess what? In the New Heaven and New Earth, we don’t need them because everything is illuminated by God’s Glory and Jesus is pure light, and there is never any night. I don’t understand it, but I want to see it. And because my name is in the Book of Life because I believe in the Lamb, I am going to get to see it. I can’t wait.