DBRP_Dec31_2014 Mal4 Is66b Rev22

As I finish this podcast, I am really thankful for this year-long experience. If you are one of the faithful ones who have listened through most of 2014— whether or not you are ending on December 31 or some days/weeks/months later, I want to congratulate you. Way to go! I hope these podcasts have been a blessing for you— as they have been for me. I hope that nothing that I have said has caused you to stumble or decreased your desire to read or listen to God’s Word. I started this project in the hope that my four grandchildren would— in some future year, listen to this series of recordings. If you are Luke Fields, Laura Fields, Ava Baughn, or Joel Baughn, know that Grampa loves you and that I desired to share spiritual treasures with you. I am proud of you and wish that we could have shared these readings in person. To all of you in the family of Christ Jesus our Savior, I send warm greetings and love. May the Lord bless you in 2015!

 

We turn for the second time to Isaiah 66. Isaiah ends with blessings and promises  that foreshadow Revelation, such as these:

12This is what the LORD says:

“I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity.

22“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain,

so will you always be my people,

with a name that will never disappear,”

says the LORD.

The wealth of the nations will flow to her.

In stark contrast to the promises and blessings, Isaiah also ends with vivid warnings against judgments and punishments that are like those in Revelation:

24And as they go out, they will see

the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me.

For the worms that devour them will never die,

and the fire that burns them will never go out.

All who pass by

will view them with utter horror.”

Jesus himself repeatedly quoted that verse about the worms and the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9)

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.66

We turn to Revelation 22, the last chapter in the Bible. In chapter 21 we heard the invitation to receive free life-giving water for anyone who is thirsty, and that invitation is repeated in today’s chapter. The culmination of everything promised and the healing of everything sick and broken occur here— from the Garden of Eden and the start of sin, the tower of Babel, and all the rest. God says, “Look, I am making all things new.” There is again symbolism in every aspect of the New Jerusalem— including even the shape of a huge cube. As noted above at the end of Isaiah, in stark contrast to the eternal blessings for God’s people are the vivid ending warnings of eternal judgment in the last two chapters of Revelation.

In Rev. 22:8-9, most translations make it sound that John made the same mistake twice—, bowing down again to the angel that was showing everything to him, as he did in chapter 19. But the Greek in those verse in chapter 22 can be understood to be retelling that event that happened in chapter 19, and I think that makes better sense. That’s how I will read it today. The probable reason that John included the story  twice was to emphasize that angels should not be worshipped. It is likely that he repeated the story in order  to combat a heresy that was current during his time and even can be seen in some forms to the present day.

Notes:

1b  On each side of the river grew [the/a] tree of life,

8b  And when I heard and saw them[— as I said before], I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.

16b  I am both the [founding] source of David

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.22

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DBRP_Dec30_2014 Mal3 Is66a Rev21

Just one more day after this one! What a year we have had. In my preparations for rebroadcasting the January podcasts, I noted how I can hear that I was struggling with sinus problems. I gave that out as a prayer request about that in one of the podcasts. The Lord really answered that one! I have had a very healthy year. Thanks to any of you who prayed for me in any way this year.

If you are listening to this, I hope you have made good plans for your next year’s Bible reading. I encourage you to change things up! And I invite you who have been with me in 2014 to listen to a different voice. For those who are listening to this and thinking of joining us to Dig Deeper in 2015, welcome!

We turn to Malachi 3. In chapters 1-2 yesterday, we heard how skeptical and sassy the Israelites had become. This came out in the way Malachi has the people of Israel talk back to God. The first is like this:

2“I have always loved you,” says the LORD.

But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”

Topics for such exchanges included offering sacrifices that show appropriate honor to God, breaking covenants of marriage through divorce, and not honoring God as the God of justice. Two more sassy exchanges happen in today’s reading.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mal.3.nlt

We turn for the first time to Isaiah 66. I highlight verse 17 from chapter 65, as it foreshadows what we will read in Revelation today and tomorrow:

17“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,

and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.

And I believe that these moving verses from that same chapter portray the torment of the lake of fire:

13Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“My servants will eat,

but you will starve.

My servants will drink,

but you will be thirsty.

My servants will rejoice,

but you will be sad and ashamed.

14My servants will sing for joy,

but you will cry in sorrow and despair.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.66

We turn to Revelation 21. In chapter 20, we read about the millenium or the thousand year reign of Christ, the defeat and imprisonment of Satan, his brief release following the 1,000 years, and his eventual eternal judgment in the lake of fire. Death and the Grave were also abolished in the lake of fire.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.21

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DBRP_Dec29_2014 Mal1-2 Is65b Rev20

We heard a very difficult conclusion to Zechariah yesterday. Chapter 14 started out with horrendous news for Jerusalem. But the Lord himself steps in:

3 Then the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. … 5 … Then the LORD my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.b

We will see the following from Zech 14 very soon in Revelation:

… Then the LORD my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.b

6On that day the sources of light will no longer shine,c7yet there will be continuous day! Only the LORD knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light.

8On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean,d flowing continuously in both summer and winter.

We turn now to the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi. The name means, “my messenger.” There is some debate as to whether this is a name or a title. There is also debate as to the date of the writing of this post exilic prophet, but it is generally said that there is a 400 year gap between this last Old Testament prophet and New Testament. Constable states:

Since Malachi addressed many of the same matters that Nehemiah tried to reform, it is tempting to date Malachi during Nehemiah’s governorship. Both Malachi and Nehemiah dealt with priestly laxity (Mal. 1:6; Neh. 13:4-9), neglect of tithes (Mal. 3:7-12; Neh. 13:10-13), and intermarriage between Israelites and foreigners (Mal. 2:10-16; Neh. 13:23-28).

The book of Malachi prepared the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah.  Chapter 3 was especially significant:

1 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mal.1.nlt

We turn the second time to Isaiah 65. Note that the chapter starts with a verse that Paul quotes in Romans 10. Here is a little more than he quotes:

1The LORD says,

“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.

I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.

I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’

to a nation that did not call on my name.a

2All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.b

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.65

We turn to Revelation 20. After the judgment on the city code-named Babylon, in chapter 19 we heard songs of praise from heaven. Then we saw the appearing of Christ riding on a white horse. Typical of John’s reticence to name deity, Christ is not named, but is beautifully described. Note that even Jesus has a name written on his person which only He understands. And like in John 1:1, Christ’s title is the ‘Word of God’. Note also that this account of His appearing may not be in chronological order in its position following the destruction of Babylon. Although Christ’s army is mentioned, note how the victory is won by Christ alone.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.20

 

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DBRP_Dec28_2014 Zech14 Is65a Rev19

Unfortunately, we have not yet seen this fulfilled from the end of Zechariah 12:

10“Then I will pour out a spiritb of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.

This part has been fulfilled from the beginning of chapter 13:

“On that day a fountain will be opened for the dynasty of David and for the people of Jerusalem, a fountain to cleanse them from all their sins and impurity.

This from Zech 13 was referred to by the Lord Jesus in Mark 14:27 in or on the way to the garden of Gethsemane:

7“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,

the man who is my partner,”

says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

“Strike down the shepherd,

and the sheep will be scattered,

and I will turn against the lambs.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.14

We turn to Isaiah 65. In chapter 64, there is a mixture of hope, regretful repentance, and supplication— including these verses:

4For since the world began,

no ear has heard

and no eye has seen a God like you,

who works for those who wait for him!

5You welcome those who gladly do good,

who follow godly ways.

But you have been very angry with us,

for we are not godly.

We are constant sinners;

how can people like us be saved?

6We are all infected and impure with sin.

When we display our righteous deeds,

they are nothing but filthy rags.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.65

We turn now to Rev. 19. In Revelation 18 we heard the chapter of doom against the city of Babylon (or Rome, or this world’s evil system). If this sounded familiar, it is because you were remembering Ezek 27.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.19

 

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DBRP_Dec27_2014 Zech12-13 Is64 Rev18

Several times I have noted Zechariah and other prophets who use the figure of shepherding a flock— picturing God’s people. In chapter 11, there were puzzling verses where Zechariah evidently performed an outward demonstration involving two staffs. Other prophets did such demonstrations. In this one, evidently Zechariah stood in for the Messiah. The two staffs were named Favor and Union. Our Messiah, Jesus, came to restore us to God’s favor and give us unity as God’s people— no matter from what race. The 30 pieces of silver is spoken of with irony: “this magnificent sum at which they valued me.” Remember this shepherd picture!

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.12.nlt

We turn to Isaiah 64. Yesterday in chapter 63, we heard the people of Israel ask a whole series of questions about the Lord, like:

“Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd?

And here is another verse:

15 LORD, look down from heaven;

look from your holy, glorious home, and see us.

Where is the passion and the might

you used to show on our behalf?

Where are your mercy and compassion now?

The chapter ended with deep pathos:

18 How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place,

and now our enemies have destroyed it.

19 Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you,

as though we had never been known as your people.

However, don’t forget how the chapter started, with the Lord wearing blood-stained robes from trampling out the grapes (yes, ‘grapes of wrath’)— the nations who oppressed his people. This is a picture of the grape harvest that we saw so recently in Revelation 14. Note that in Isaiah the Lord does the trampling alone. And so we see also in Revelation, the final battle is won by the Lord acting alone.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.64

We turn to Rev 18. The part that puzzles me most in chapter 17 is this:

8 The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pitb and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.

Satan’s sponsorship of the beast is clear. But how will this ‘eighth king’ reveal himself as someone who previously died so that people actually believe it and are amazed?

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.18

 

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DBRP_Dec26_2014 Zech10-11 Is63 Rev17

As we have seen before, the Lord loves names and delights to give new names. In Zec. 8 He said,

Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.

In Zec. 9 we heard the verse Matthew quotes in chapter 21 about Jesus coming riding on the foal of a donkey. The verse is also alluded to in John 12:15. And we heard this verse about the New Jerusalem:

16 On that day the LORD their God will rescue his people,

just as a shepherd rescues his sheep.

They will sparkle in his land

like jewels in a crown.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.10.nlt

We turn to Is. 63. In chapter 62 we heard like what I shared above about the Lord and giving names:

4 Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”a

or “The Desolate Land.”b

Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”c

and “The Bride of God,”d

for the LORD delights in you

and will claim you as his bride.

And at the end of that chapter:

‘Look, your Savior is coming.

See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’”

12 They will be called “The Holy People”

and “The People Redeemed by the LORD.”

And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place”

and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”

Note how we will soon see the fulfillment of all this in the last chapters of Revelation.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.63

We turn to Rev. 17. In chapter 16 we heard all 7 of the Bowl Judgments. At the time this judgment happens and the bowls are poured out on the earth, it seems that 100% of the people are opposed to God. No one repents when the judgments happen, but instead curse God. And there are preparations for a final battle of Armageddon with God. However God’s voice from the throne says that “It is finished.” This seems to refer to the punishment against Babylon. In John’s day, Babylon was a code word among Christians for the city of Rome— the capital city of the empire which was built on 7 hills. But in our day Babylon pictures the prevailing evil unified world system of commerce.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.17

 

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DBRP_Dec25_2014 Zech8-9 Is62 Rev16

I hope that you have noticed Jeshua the high priest. He was the one that Satan was not allowed to accuse. He was given clean clothes. He is a priest and was given a clean priestly turban. And the gem with seven facets (literally, seven eyes) was set before him. He is a picture of the Messiah, who is called the Lord’s righteous Branch. Then in chapter 6 yesterday we heard that he was given a crown, and told:

he will build the Temple of the LORD. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne,f and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’

As far as a normal man can do so, he is a picture of Jesus. And Jeshua is a variant of Joshua, which is the same name the Greeks pronounce Yesu, which is where we get our pronunciation of Jesus. From our place in history, how easy it is to see what God was picturing.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.8.nlt

We turn now to Is. 62. Yesterday we heard another Messianic section of Isaiah, the part that Jesus spoke in his hometown synagogue in Luke 4. And he alluded to the same passage when he sent John the Baptist’s disciples back to him in Luke 7:

Luke 7:22

“Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.23And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.c’”

Let us not turn away from Him!

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.62

We turn now to Rev.16. Note that we saw another view of the crystal sea in chapter 15, but in that view it was mixed with fire. My theory is that the glassy sea is the same, but it changes in appearance based on God’s prevailing mood. Note that the 144,000 (or all the people victorious over the beast) sang the song of Moses. Note that with just that little hint, the victory over the forces of Satan is pictured as victory over the army of Egypt and release from bondage. The angels are dressed like Jesus in chapter 1. The plagues come from the interiour of the heavenly sanctuary.

We turn from the interlude between the trumpets and the bowls. There is a difference here: You will see that before the plagues struck just a third of whatever object. Now they strike 100%. This is the end.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.16

 

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DBRP_Dec24_2014 Zech6-7 Is61 Rev15

There were so many correspondences to Revelation in the three chapters we read yesterday in Zechariah that I cannot even take time to list them. I single out this one from chapter 3 as especially interesting in the light of Isaiah and Revelation. And the terms, “Branch,” or “Rod,” or “Shoot,” referring to Messiah, are found in Jeremiah and Isaiah.

8“Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets.c I will engrave an inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.

This insight given to Zerubbabel in chapter 4 is a principle for all of us to lay hold of:

It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

This is one of Gale’s favorite verses. We have claimed this repeatedly in our lives:

10Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…”

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.7.nlt

We turn to Isaiah 61. Once again I sound like a broken record. Isaiah 60 contains these verses which are echoed in Revelation:

1“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.

For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you.

2Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,

but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.

3All nations will come to your light;

mighty kings will come to see your radiance. …

19“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,

nor the moon to give its light by night,

for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

20Your sun will never set;

your moon will not go down.

For the LORD will be your everlasting light.

Your days of mourning will come to an end.

21All your people will be righteous.

They will possess their land forever,

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.61

We turn to Rev 15. Note that in chapter 14 the victory over Babylon is proclaimed as already won. But God’s holy people are still warned against receiving the mark of the beast. At the end of the chapter are the two harvests, the wheat harvest of the righteous, and the grape harvest of those who will enter into eternal punishment. These are visions that give an overview, in a similar vein as the vision in chapter 12.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.15

 

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DBRP_Dec23_2014 Zech3,4,5 Is60 Rev14

In Zechariah 1-2 we heard how Zechariah’s dreams often included angels talking with him. There were horses and riders, horns and blacksmiths, and the measuring Jerusalem. Jerusalem will not be nearly big enough. God’s people will come out of captivity in Babylon. Note that by Zechariah’s time, this was already happening, and what is said there probably looks forward to the Babylon in Revelation and the new Jerusalem. Chapter ends like this:

10The LORD says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem,d for I am coming to live among you. 11Many nations will join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. 12The land of Judah will be the LORD’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. 13Be silent before the LORD, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling.”

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.3.nlt

We turn to Isaiah 60. In Isaiah 59 we again heard beautiful messages that harmonize with what we are reading in Revelation. The beginning verses contain foundational truths:

1Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you,

nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.

2It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.

Because of your sins, he has turned away

and will not listen anymore.

Ephesians 6 is not the only place we hear of spiritual armor, but this time it is the Lord who wears it.

Is. 59:17 17He put on righteousness as his body armor

and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.

The last verse of the chapter says, “My spirit will not leave them” (those who are God’s redeemed people and enjoy a covenant with Him). And the verse that before prophecies again of Christ:

20“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem

to buy back those in Israel

who have turned from their sins,”b

says the LORD.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.60

We turn to Rev 14. Note that the beast that comes up from the sea— which we heard about in chapter 13, is under the ancient dragon of chapter 12. It says this about the beast:

7And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. 8And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.b

Note that the Book of Life belongs to the Lamb, and note when the names were written in it. This should encourage us who are on the path of Life! God knew you from before the world was made!

Back in chapter 12 we heard how long all this would last: a time, times, and half a time = 3 ½ years, 42 months, or 1260 days. We heard those times in Daniel. But remember these are symbolic numbers, and God alone knows how to calculate them.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.14

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DBRP_Dec22_2014 Zech1-2 Is59 Rev13

 

We read both chapters of the little book of Haggai yesterday, and heard how Haggai motivated his discouraged audience to return to the task of rebuilding the temple. Haggai certainly must have known and worked with our next author.

We turn now to Zechariah 1. There are between 27-30 men named Zechariah in the Old Testament, and the name means ‘Yahweh remembers’. The HCSB Study Bible gives a good overview of Zechariah:

[Zechariah] sought to inspire those who had returned from captivity to rebuild the temple and rededicate their lives to the Lord. The message of encouragement involved surrealistic visions and vivid poetic images, focused on a reversal of God’s judgment, and called for a reversal of the people’s behavior.

That comment is right about the surreal visions! This book is called the ‘Apocalypse of the Old Testament’. (The Apocalypse is another name for the book of Revelation.) Since we are also reading Revelation, you will get a double dose of this genre and prepare to see interesting correspondences.

Mears gives this interesting comment, and this is something I want to watch for as we go through this book:

Someone has said that to correctly read the visions of this book, you must shine two lights on them— the light of the cross and the light of the crown. Otherwise, you will find that you don’t have the proper perspective or background to understand Zechariah’s visions. The prophet, looking far into the future, saw two aspects of the future Messiah— one Person, but two appearances. First, he saw Him in humiliation and suffering; then he saw Him in majesty and great glory. Jewish people who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah ignore the Christ of the cross. Christians too often ignore the Christ of the crown. Both are wrong.

Notes:

[The messiah speaks:] 8After a period of glory, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies sent meb against the nations who plundered you. For he said, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession.c9I will raise my fist to crush them, and their own slaves will plunder them.” Then you will know that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/zec.1.nlt

We turn to Isaiah 59. Although chapter 58 didn’t use the word ‘hypocrisy’, that is what God was preaching against. After telling us the kind of fasting that God desires most, God gave beautiful promises to those who live as He teaches.

Notes:

15b The LORD looked and was displeased

[when he saw that//to find] there was no justice.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/isa.59

We turn to Revelation 13. Following the 7th trumpet blast in chapter 11, the vision in chapter 12 is an overview. The woman who gives birth to ‘he who will rule the nations with a rod of iron’ is not just Mary. This is an overview. I encourage you to dig deeper to find out more about the picture of the glorious woman. I will give you my take about the dragons’s seven heads and seven crowns. The dragon, as we will see will do his best to masquerade as God. He is doing that still today. Look out, and don’t be fooled! An important teaching in that chapter is to explain about the source of the spiritual battle we now see being played out in the world.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/rev.13

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