12/31/19 The Last Recap!

Malachi 3: 1—4: 6

Yesterday we left off with the indictment of the people wearing out the Lord with their words.  Israel had decided that God was good with all evil deeds and they were tired of struggling to follow His commands.  Today we read the Lord’s warning to them.  He tells them that they will regret not following the Lord in the end.  The end will start with a messenger.  Guess who?  JTB!! (John the Baptist.)  JTB makes the way for the second messenger, Jesus.  Jesus brings about the purification that Israel needs because they refuse to listen to the Lord, in His Second coming.  (along with the Nations too.)  We read about that process in Revelation. 

The next indictments are centered around lack of trust in the Lord.  If the Lord tells you to tithe and you don’t you are showing the Lord that you don’t trust Him as your Good Father and Heavenly Provider.  If you look around at people who are evil but seem to be profiting and give up on God to follow them, you are showing God you don’t trust Him as Sovereign over all.  Showing your trust in God is the best form of worship and what He wants from us.  He is worthy and He can be trusted to take better care of us than we can for ourselves.

Fortunately for all of us, God loves us and saves us not because of our goodness but because of His.  So, He will regather the Israelites and follow through on the promises He made them. 

And the last words He speaks through the prophet are, “I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord arrives.”  Remember from the Gospels, Jesus says that JTB came in the “spirit” of Elijah, but also the disciples as Jesus if He is Elijah?  I can’t tell you which one of them actually fulfills this prophecy, and the just so you know the BKC entry on this verse is like 3 pages long, so I don’t think anyone really knows definitively.  My point is that this verse was fulfilled in the Gospels through the messages these men were giving.  And what this drives home for us is, true to His character, God, will do something huge and shocking to get our attention before the final judgement because He really does not want anyone to perish.  He will orchestrate huge visual aids, like His Son dying on a cross, to get people’s attention so they can put their faith in Him and be saved. 

Revelation 22

I hope you can sit at some point today and imagine what eternity will be like.  I thought about how amazing it will be to walk down Main street and watch the river of life flowing by.  No more hiding from God because of sin, we are healed and whole and can be in his presence and His light will shine on us.  It is incomprehensible but my soul knows that it is true, and I want to be there.  I want to be free of the curse I live under.  I want to be healed by the leaves on the trees.  I want to see the light coming from Jesus and know I will never have to experience night ever again.  And until I get to go there, I will do what He asks of me and tell people about Him and love my people.

Be warned.  Everything you have read is true.  Don’t add to it, don’t leave stuff out.  Do your best to be faithful to the end.  He is coming soon!

Psalm 150: 1-6

Proverbs 31: 25-31

So dear reader, I pray, as we finish this book that it has taken us a year to read from cover to cover, that you have washed your robes by putting on the robes of righteousness offered by Jesus, the son of God.  In Jesus you are never thirsty, and He holds out His hand to you saying, “Come, you are welcome and loved.”  Amen. 

The End

12/29&30/19 One Year Bible Recap

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. 

Psalm 148: 1-14 and 149: 1-9

Proverbs 31: 8-9 and 31: 10-24

12/28/19

Zechariah 12: 1—13: 9

It is sobering to realize that part of Israel’s restoration is coming to realization that they crucified their Messiah.  They have to come face to face with their sin and it’s a heartbreaking look at their actions.  12: 10-11 says they will look on the One they pierced and morn Him like their firstborn son.  But, as God always does, restoration comes after the heartbreak.  We have to understand the depth of our sin before we can really understand and enjoy the fountain opened up to us. 

Revelation 19: 1-21

The Second Coming of Christ.  It’s a real thing.  We wait for the time described in today’s reading because only then will we have peace.  The final battle ends with The Beast being thrown in the Lake of Fire for eternity.  The Second Coming of Christ causes all the heavens to worship at fever pitch because all the souls of Creation know that finally Christ will rule and we all will be restored to the perfection we lost all the way back in Genesis.  Christ finally crushed the head of the serpent like He promised in Genesis 3: 15. 

So, all that is great, and it is our future hope, but what do we do until this happens.  Well check out what the angel told John.  “No, don’t worship me.  I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus.  Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.”  In the meantime, we study the prophecy so we can give a clear witness for Jesus.  There is nothing that you can do that is worth more than to worship the Lord and study the scripture.  If you do this, He will give you ample opportunity to give people who don’t know Jesus an account of what He has done in your life.  Believe God when He says that Tribulation will be horrible and there is no greater torment than being separated from God for eternity.  Use that belief to drive your study of the Bible, your worship of God and your drive to tell others about Jesus.  If you could see me right now, I am about two ticks away from jumping on my desk and starting yell, “Go tell it on the mountain!!!”  LOL, too much coffee maybe? 

Psalm 147: 1-20

Proverbs 31: 1-7

12/27/19 One Year Bible Recap

Zechariah 10: 1—11: 17

This first section of the reading today is a description of what the Good Shepherd will do for his flock at the end of the Tribulation.  In the second half of the section, The Lord asks Zechariah to play a game of heavenly charades, if you will.  First, he plays the Good Shepherd that saves the flock that is oppressed and marked for destruction.  He unifies them and shows them favor by making a Covenant with them.  But they do not love Him and only value Him at 30 pieces of silver. (hmm, where have we read that before?  I’m looking at you Judas.)  Zechariah then plays the worthless shepherd.  These are the leaders that lead people away from the Lord and into Idolatry.  And again, this is all so that we will know what will happen when Jesus comes.  The first time, they will reject him and sell him for 30 pieces of silver.  The second time Jesus comes (at the end of Revelation) they will be regathered and redeemed. 

Revelation 18

Today we see what happens to Babylon when here fake religion is exposed.  She has been allowed to flex her religious control and make people pay homage to her in the form of commerce based on their fear of upsetting the “gods.”  But that all ends when the deception is exposed.  There is no true power in her false religion, there is only immorality and lies. 

Psalm 146: 1-10

Proverbs 30: 33

12/26/19 One Year Bible Recap

Zechariah 9: 1-17

Up to verse 9 this section is talking about the destruction of the unbelieving nations.  At verse 9 we begin beautiful prophetic description of what Jesus will do when He as the Messiah.  This was predicted at least 400 years before Jesus was born in the manger.  God was so clear in His prophecies about Jesus.  That clarity is what caused the wise men to seek him and the shepherds to rejoice. 

Revelation 17: 1-18

While the chaos of the bowls is brewing below, the angel takes John aside to show him what happens to Babylon.  Chapter 17 and 18 are both about Babylon.  As we have discussed, whenever there is a super long entry in the BKC about a section it’s because there are several ways to interpret it.  I like to adhere to the literally interpretation of the scripture and choose to believe the angel when he tells John, “Hey let me show you what happens to the great prostitute.”  We know the angel is talking about Babylon because all the prophets have called her the “prostitute” as well.  I am sorry if that terminology offends you!  There was no sensitivity training in the Bible.  They just called it like they saw it. 

Ok, but I did read the super long entry because I want to be well informed and I will go ahead and tell you what it boils down to.  Chapter 17 is the destruction of the false religion of Babylon and all nations who followed her into idolatry and immorality.  Chapter 18 is the destruction of the political power of Babylon and her ability to get other nations to follow her.  The point is the angel is showing John what God considers as the fulfillment of His promise to destroy Babylon. 

The part that calls for understanding is describing all the kings that are represented by the scarlet beast the prostitute is riding on.  These people will all get together to stand against Jesus in the final battle but then, when they are defeated, they turn on the prostitute.  It all seems very gruesome.  Tomorrow we will read about what happens to Babylon when her false religion is exposed.  Spoiler: it’s not good. 

Psalm 146: 1-10

Proverbs 30: 33

12/24&25/19 One Year Bible Recap

Two days for the price of one because I know tomorrow will go by like a blink and I won’t have time to write the recap.  Merry Christmas!

Zechariah 6: 1—7: 14 and 8: 1-23

Look here, it is very on brand to have these 4 horses announce the rebuke and call to repentance for Israel.  Do you see how when you become comfortable with the End Times jargon you recognize what God is trying to do? 

The temple worship is being set up again too.  Jeshua gets the crown and sets up the temple worship system, there by typifying the “Branch” (Jesus) that will come and set up the Millennial Kingdom.  The peoples question to God is, “Would you like us to add our festivals that we created while we were in Exile to Your prescribed worship?  God’s response is, “Was it really for Me that you were fasting?”  Does this scare anyone else as we look around at how we are celebrating the birth of our Savior?  I know, I know, I am the grinch this year.  My friends have already told me to snap out of it, but I do worry about who we are really doing all this for?  Is it Jesus or ourselves? 

Chapter 8 is the prophetic messages about future restoration and rejoicing.  It was important for the returnees to know that God will do the work of restoration.  He will not do it by halves either.  They will be so restored that people for 10 different nations will clutch at the sleeve of a Jew and ask to walk with them. 

Revelation 15: 1-8 and 16: 1-21

The last scene before these horrific bowls of judgement are poured out is the Angels bringing the bowls out and the people who were martyred in the Tribulation singing a worship song of Moses to the Lord.  Catch this, as bad as what is in those bowls, the people in the presence of God accept the wrath that will be poured out and love God for it.  Why?  Because they are finally face to face with Glory of the Creator and they perfectly see how evil it is to rebel against Him.  That is hard to wrap our sin-soaked mind around.  But God tells us these things so we will understand that He is perfect love and perfect judgement all at the same time. 

The Bowls are poured out in chapter 16.  One after another; sores, death to the sea, rivers and springs of blood, sun blast that causes burns and fire, darkness, river dried up so the armies can march right across it, total natural order break down.  The evil demons blaspheme, and the Tribulation Saints are told to look to the sky because Christ is coming soon.  What a relief that will be for Christ to come and bring an end to this terror. 

Psalm 143: 1-12 and 144: 1-15

Proverbs 30: 24-31

12/23/19 One Year Bible Recap

Zechariah 4: 1—5: 11

Holy moly Zechariah spoke a word to my heart this morning.  “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plum line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”  As someone who wants the “things” to just happen without a process, I was so encouraged by this.  The small beginnings is the crux of what God has had to teach me since Bible School.  The process is what matters to God.  The starting in an organized thought out way, (you know, with a plumb line, instead of just eye balling things?)  to the completion of a project, all is worship of the Lord.  And, as well documented as it is here on the Blog, I really thought we would all be getting ready for my book to come out right now.  But I skipped the plumb line, and the small beginning because I despise it.  And you know what happens when you despise the small beginning?  You miss out on the process.  God has to take you through a process before He can use you to write a book, or whatever your project is. 

The basket with the woman in it is the sin incurred by Israel because of her idolatry.  This is just a reminder that God does not sweep sin away, He will have to deal with it.  Hence what we are about to read in Revelation.

Revelation 14: 1-20

The time for the harvest of unbelievers.  I think we can all agree that at this point in the story, meaning the end, God has given all the souls on earth ample time and opportunity to choose Jesus.  The 144,000 is the same remnant we met earlier in the story.  This is all happening before the final “Bowls of Divine Wrath” judgement.  With sickles the angels mow down those who have decided to follow Satan and they are put in the winepress of the Lord.  Their blood poured out will fill a riverbed up to a horse’s bridle.  And all God’s people said, YIKES! 

Psalm 142: 1-7

Proverbs 30: 21-23

12/21/19 One Year Bible Recap

Zechariah 1: 1-21

Zechariah was a comrade of Ezra and Nehemiah.  We can place this prophet because we know when he says, “the second year of King Darius’s reign,” that means after the Exile.  We also know that he and Haggai were prophesying at the same time.  Again, that shows us that God wanted the message out there because He used more than one person.  God wants to be known by us. 

Zechariah is the most quoted prophet in the NT because this book has the most references to the Messiah.  That makes sense because in order to muster their strength to rebuild the Temple the Postexilic Israelites would need to know that in the future they will be redeemed.  In a sense, you can work harder through suffering when you know that there is a point to it and the suffering is not the end of the story. 

This book starts with that familiar call to repentance, and the promise that the nations that have oppressed Israel will be punished.  And we can’t skip over the beautiful part that show’s God is in control of all the Earth and speaks kindly of His people. 

Revelation 12: 1-17

Remember, over the top Illustrations is what God uses so we won’t forget stuff.  Chapter 12 does not further the narrative it is just a snapshot of what happens with the 7th trumpet, and the beginning of the second half of Tribulation.  We know all these players because of the language used to describe them.  

Ok, rapid fire meanings, ready?  The women is Israel and she is pregnant with Jesus.  We know this because of her twelve crowns that represent the 12 tribes of Israel and that dragon is waiting to devour the baby.  The dragon is Satan.  We know this because he caused 1/3 of the angels to fall from heaven.  He was ready to devour Jesus but Jesus was called back to heaven.  The women running to the wilderness represents the remnant of Israel still on earth.  The heavenly war is what happens at the sounding of the 7 trumpets.  Satan is cast down to for one last stand.  And I think we can all agree that we understand the players and won’t forget that illustration!  It is to help us understand the enmity between Satan and God.  It also helps us understand how much Satan would like to take down God’s people. 

Psalm 140: 1-13

Proverbs 30: 17

12/20/19 One Year Bible Recap

Haggai

So, if we remember our Bible Timeline, King Darius was moved by God to let the Israelites go back and build the Temple after the Exile.  Our friend Haggai here, was the first prophet to speak to the former Exiles.  Upon hearing Haggai’s message, comrades such as Zerubbabel and Jeshua, had a spark of enthusiasm for the project.  The cool thing is this is still going on for us today.  Haven’t you every been sitting in church and heard a message that gave you the spark you needed to jump off and do the thing God was asking you to do?  Well there you go friend, you were sparked with enthusiasm from the Lord Himself.  Cool right? 

Revelation 11: 1-19

In preparation of the 7th trumpet, and the beginning of the last 3 ½ years of Tribulation, “The World” will rule the Temple area and defame it.  In the midst of that drama God sends to earth two Witnesses from heaven to let the people know they are in the wrong.  The World kills the Witnesses and then they come back to life and are called back to heaven.  This is how sad the scene is; The World is celebrating that the Witnesses have been killed, but they are clueless to the fact that God was trying to warn them of the coming “Woe.”  But with the final trumpet blow in Heaven, the party is over.  An earthquake, hail and the death of a tenth of the city sobers people up real fast.  And, someone needs to tell Indiana Jones that the Ark of the Covenant is in Heaven safely with God, not with the Nazi’s. 

Psalm 139: 1-24

Proverbs 30: 15-16

12/19/19 One Year Bible Recap

Zephaniah

Well, I am not really sure if I can come up with anything else to say about the coming judgement of the nations and Israel’s refusal to follow God alone.  I mean I think we can all agree that God has been extremely clear.  It was not just one Prophet standing on a street corner yelling like a lunatic.  God commissioned many prophets and gave them the same message but with unique angles in each one.  Today I loved how God says that He thought, “Surely they will have reverence for me now!  Surely they will listen to my warnings.”  I mean God is all knowing so He already knew that they would refuse, but I just like the idea that God is measuring the discipline He poured out and thought, “Haven’t they had enough?”  And furthermore, I don’t want God to every have to say that about my disobedience!  I would like to learn on the first infraction please Lord! 

Revelation 10: 1-11

So in-between the 6th and 7th trumpet blow, we meet the strong Angel.  This is probably Michael or the Archangel, not in fact Jesus.  And the eating of the scroll.  Look we know God is into visual aids for us.  Don’t feel like you have to start eating your bible.  The idea here is that John got to know stuff that we did not.  This helped John go forward and write down what God asked him to.  The sweetness is the fact that Israel will be redeemed, the sour is what has to happen to get to that redemption. 

Psalm 138: 1-8

Proverbs 30: 11-14

12/18/19 One Year Bible Recap

Habakkuk

God is not afraid of your questions.  The book of Habakkuk records the prophets desire for divine judgement and his questions as to what on earth God’s plan is.  I literally just journaled this morning, “Jesus, I don’t understand, I am do not get what you are doing.”  And I felt bad after writing that because it feels a bit like the pot looking up at the Potter saying, “What are you doing.”  But as I studied this book I realized God is not afraid of my questions.  And I was encouraged by the fact that God responded to Habakkuk with “If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently for it will surely take place.  It will not be delayed.”  Now, we can’t take that out of context, God is referring to the end times when the justice Habakkuk is pleading for will be exacted.  But it did remind me that as we have traveled through the Bible this year we have learned that God is Good and He is in the business of disciplining those He loves and Salvation comes from Him. 

Revelation 9: 1-21

With the 5th trumpet blow; Satan comes to earth armed with the key to the pits of hell.  What He unleashes is what causes us to have urgency in our hearts for the people of the World who are lost in their denial of God.  Heck, in Texas we would not wish for our enemies to have to go through a hot summer night with no bug spray to ward off the Texas-sized mosquitoes.  Can you imagine these locusts that are like horses, with people faces, hair and armor made of iron?  Those who put their faith in Jesus are saved from this nightmare.  Go tell people about Jesus because if they find out you knew how to be saved from this hell and you didn’t tell them they are going to be pissed at you. 

Demon Locust, no thank you!

After the locust army the sixth trumpet is blown and releases the demon army.  This seems crazy to me but there will still be people who side with Satan when they see the demon army coming. 

Psalm 137: 1-9

Proverbs 30: 10

12/17/19 One Year Bible Recap

Nahum

Not much is known about Nahum the Elkoshite.  It looks like, based on archeological evidence that Nahum wrote this about 150 years after Jonah visited and prophesied to Nineveh.  The purpose of this book was to encourage Judah that yes, it is true that God does not let any guilt go unpunished.  If you have ever been victimized by someone you know the weight of this attribute of God.  He will call the guilty to their punishment.  This frees the victim to live their life not exacting punishment from their violator.  If you try to sell people a God that is free of wrath, you hamstring the Power of God.  He is the God of Love and Wrath.  He loves His creation, but he also punishes guilt.  Victimizer and victim both find a home with Him.  He made a way to deal with your sin guilt and love you at the same time.  That is POWER! 

Revelation 8: 1-13

Alright tuck in.  The opening of the 7th seal starts the second half of the Tribulation.  You know this is a big deal because heaven is silent for 30 minutes.  Don’t for one second think that your prayers are not important.  Look here at what happens to the prayers of God’s Holy People.  They are aired out after that important 30 minutes of silence.  And then the trumpets begin.  The first 4 mark the destruction of the Earth.  Fire, implosion of the sea, meteor causes all water to be undrinkable, and then part of the sun, moon and stars fall.  It puts our best “end of world” movies to shame.  But also, some of those movies ring true.  It’s like this story is written in our imaginations.  The end is coming.  Faith in Jesus keeps us believers from having to live through these Trumpets.  When this all goes down, we will be in Heaven with Him.  But, for now we should care for the earth.  Reduce, reuse, recycle so that we are not buried by our trash, but also remember, there is no saving the Earth from these Trumpets.  God has decided that He is going to make a new Heaven and New Earth.  Tell people about Jesus so they can be saved from it too. 

Psalms 136: 1-26

Proverbs 30: 7-9