DECEMBER 29 – TODAY’S READING FROM THE ONE YEAR BIBLE- ZECHARIAH 14:1-21; REVELATION 20:1-15; PSALM 148:1-14; PROVERBS 31:8-9
TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- ZECHARIAH 14:1-21
Zechariah 14:1 1 Behold, a day is coming for the LORD…
‘The day of man’ is over, and ‘the day of the Lord’ begins. Christ shall return to reign upon the earth. But the day of His arrival will be preceded first by severe judgments during the Great Tribulation. It will be a particularly troubling time for Israel. Jeremiah describes the first part of the day of the Lord as ‘the time of Jacob’s distress’.
Jeremiah 30:7 7 ‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it.
Jerusalem will be besieged by the nations of the world. In the Book of Revelation, we learn that demonic spirits go abroad throughout the whole earth to assemble the nations to battle against Israel (Revelation 16:4). Yet in the Book of Zechariah, we learn that ultimately it is the Lord Who will gather all the nations against Jerusalem. He oversees these activities. He will be using schemes plotted by demons to accomplish His objectives.
Zechariah 14:2 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
Jerusalem, at first, will be captured. Israel will appear to be defeated. Yet a portion of the city will be marked for protection (Revelation 11:2). Apparently, God is separating out for Himself those who will believe Him. Some districts will be ransacked. Women will be abused. Many Jews will die. Half of the city will go into exile, and the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
At a critical moment, God intervenes in the Person of His Son. The Lord Jesus Christ descends from heaven to set His feet upon the Mount of Olives, fulfilling what was predicted by angels on the day of His ascension. Jesus arrives on the same mountain from which He departed, and in a similar manner.
Acts 1:10-11 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
The event of Christ’s return to the Mount of Olives is pictured in Zechariah 14:4.
Zechariah 14:4 4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
The earthquake described by Zechariah changes the topography of Israel so that water can flow from Jerusalem to both the Western and Eastern Seas (The Mediterranean and what was formerly the Dead Sea). The Book of Ezekiel tells us how the Dead Sea becomes alive with fish and plant life, most likely because it will have an outlet, reducing its mineral content (See Ezekiel 47).
A valley is opened up through which the believing remnant can make their escape. (This may be the Valley of Jehoshaphat, referred to by Joel, where God will judge the Gentile nations, Joel 3:2, 12).
The Lord will return in time to finish the battle. He is not alone. He is accompanied by ‘all his holy ones’ (Zech 14:5). This great entourage could possibly include angels, resurrected Old Testament saints, and the New Testament church. They will return with Christ as members of the armies of heaven (Rev 19:14). We know that when Christ returns, He will be returning “with all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Colossians 3:4). Other Scriptures support the view that believers will return with Christ.
Colossians 3:4 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 11 Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; 12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13 so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
When the Lord intervenes for the Last Battle, there are unusual climate conditions on the earth due to the Lord’s judgments (Isaiah 24). There shall be no light, cold, or frost. At this unique time, there is no day or night. Perhaps it will be like northern Scandinavia in the summer, the land of the midnight sun.
A freshwater supply will usher forth from the temple mount at Jerusalem that will consistently supply for the needs of God’s people. Best of all, Christ will reign there as king.
Zechariah 14:9 9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.
The ground between Geba and Rimmon will be leveled by an earthquake. The temple of the Lord will remain aloft on its site near the Gate of Benjamin. After the judgments upon the nations, Jerusalem shall dwell in security (v.11).
A plague of sudden death will strike people, causing instant rotting of the flesh while they stand on their feet. It will be something as quick and devastating as the nuclear bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There will be a similar plague set upon the animals (Zech 14:15).
Zechariah 14:12 12 Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.
Panic and confusion will cause warriors to attack one another.
When Christ is enthroned, He will rule with a rod of iron. Those who survive the Tribulation enter the Millennium and will be required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. By this time Jesus will have fulfilled the Feast of Passover (1 Cor 5:7), Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates God dwelling with us on the earth, and so it is fitting that this Feast be celebrated during the 1000-year earthly reign of Christ.
“In that day,” the inscription that was once upon the High Priest’s turban alone, will be engraved upon the bells of the horses. Every cooking pot will be like the vessels that were used before the altar. In other words, Christ’s presence will have a sanctifying effect upon everything in the city.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – REVELATION 20:1-15
The portion we read today in the Book of Revelation describes the same period that we were reading in the Book of Zechariah- the millennial reign of Christ.
The reign of Christ on the earth will be worldwide (Isaiah 2:2; 9:6-7). He will reign in righteousness in a peaceable kingdom. God will fulfill His promise to King David and his descendent, the God-man, Jesus Christ, will be on the throne forevermore (2 Samuel 7:16; Jer 23:5-6). He will serve as King, Law-giver, and Judge (Isaiah 33:22). His Word is law. The nations of the world will come to Jerusalem to worship.
Chapter 20 begins with Satan being bound for a thousand years. An angel comes down from heaven with the delegated authority to throw him in the pit so that he deceives the nations no longer.
After a thousand-year period, Satan is released from his prison for a short time (Rev. 20:7). He will be allowed to deceive the nations once again and war against Christ and His people. The Lord intervenes as the enemy surrounds God’s people. Fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
Believers are blessed and counted as holy. They have had a part in the first resurrection and are saved from the second death (i.e., being thrown into the lake of fire.)
We read of the devil coming to his end in Rev 20:10
Revelation 20:10 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The Chapter closes with a sobering reminder of what it will look like to be judged with no mercy due to people’s rejection of Jesus Christ. At the Great White Throne, no one will be able to come to the defense of those who are charged as being still in their sins.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALM 148:1-14
The Psalmist begins his song encouraging those in the third heaven who have the Lord in their sight to launch forth in praise (148:1). For our praise must be focused on the One Who sits on the Throne. Then he exhorts the angels and heavenly hosts (v.2). He encourages praise from the starry heavens (v.3). Then he solicits praise from the upper and lower atmosphere (v.4). It is only right that the Lord be praised, for He is the One who commanded their creation (v.5) and established their function (v.6).
All forms of weather and dangers are made to praise God also. He can use these factors redemptively.
Psalm 148:8 8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word.
The Psalmist concludes by extolling the unique glories of our God and Savior. He praises God for the fellowship of the saints and all that He has done on behalf of His people.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS – PROVERBS 31:8-9
Proverbs 31:8-9 8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Who will speak for those who cannot speak for themselves? As Christians, we need to speak up for the unborn children in the womb, whose voices cannot be heard when their lives are in jeopardy. We must speak for the handicapped, or any who are marginalized in our society to the degree that their voices are not heard.