20 minutes | Dec 31, 2022
NL-Day365 Malachi 4; Isaiah 66; Revelation 22
As I finish this podcast series, I am really thankful for this year-long experience. If you are one of the faithful ones who have listened through a year’s worth of daily podcasts— and no matter whether this has taken longer than a year, I say Way to go! I sincerely 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 study God’s Word. I started this project in the hope that my four grandchildren would— in some future year, listen to this series Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. of recordings. Now we have five grandchildren. If you are Luke Fields, Laura Fields, Ava Baughn, Joel Baughn, or Devan 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. I urge you to stay centered upon God’s Word. And to ALL of you in the family of Christ Jesus our Savior, I send warm greetings and love. May the Lord bless you as you continue your journey with Him! MALACHI 4: As people like Simeon and Anna (Luke 2) waited for the Messiah to come, I am sure that they were thinking of verses like Malachi 3:1: Mal. 3:1 NLT “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. Re-reading ISAIAH 66: Isaiah ends with blessings and promises that foreshadow Revelation, such as these: Is. 66:12 GNT The Lord says, “I will bring you lasting prosperity; the wealth of the nations will flow to you like a river that never goes dry. … 22 “Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure. In stark contrast to the promises and blessings, Isaiah also ends with vivid warnings against judgments and punishments that are like those in Revelation. Jesus himself quoted that final verse about the worms and the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:48) You can take that as Jesus’ stamp of approval on all that Isaiah said! REVELATION 22: 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. 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. 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. The probable reason that John included the story twice was to emphasize that angels should not be worshipped. Let’s beware of such heresy! Because such false teaching keeps on resurfacing and some forms of Gnosticism remain to the present day. Congratulations on finishing the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan! GNT Translation notes: Rev. 22:8 I, John, have heard and seen all these things. And when I finished hearing and seeing them, (as I told you before) I fell down at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things, and I was about to worship him. 14-15 [It makes better sense to me to include verses 14-15 in Jesus’ quote, which means I did not read those verse the way I would if they were John’s narration.] NLT Translation Notes: Rev. 22:1b 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
21 minutes | Dec 30, 2022
NL-Day364 Malachi 3; Isaiah 66; Revelation 21
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: Mal. 1:2 NLT “I have always loved you,” says the LORD. But you retort, “Really? Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.How have you loved us?” Topics for such exchanges included offering sacrifices that don’t 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. ISAIAH 66: I highlight verse 17 from chapter 65, as it foreshadows what we will read in Revelation today and tomorrow: Is. 65:17 NLT “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: Is. 65:13 GNT And so I tell you that those who worship and obey me will have plenty to eat and drink, but you will be hungry and thirsty. They will be happy, but you will be disgraced. 14 They will sing for joy, but you will cry with a broken heart. REVELATION 21: In chapter 20, we read about the millennium 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.
22 minutes | Dec 29, 2022
NL-Day363 Malachi 1-2; Isaiah 65; Revelation 20
MALACHI 1-2: We heard a very difficult conclusion to Zechariah yesterday. Chapter 14 started out with horrendous news for Jerusalem. But the Lord himself steps in: Zec. 14:3 NLT 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 … We will see the following from Zech 14 very soon in Revelation: Zec. 14:5c NLT “Then the LORD my God will come, and all his holy ones with him. 6 On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, 7 yet there will be continuous day! … 8 On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, 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 debate as to the date of the writing of this post exilic prophet, but generally speaking it is true that there is a 400 year gap between this last Old Testament prophet and New Testament. It could be that Malachi prophesied in Nehemiah’s day. 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).” Re-reading ISAIAH 65: Note that the chapter starts with a verse that Paul quotes in Romans 10. REVELATION 20: After the judgment wreaked against Babylon (chapter 18), we heard songs praising God’s justice in chapter 19. 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’. It is possible 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. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
20 minutes | Dec 28, 2022
NL-Day362 Zechariah 14; Isaiah 65; Revelation 19
ZECHARIAH 14: Unfortunately, we have not yet seen the fulfillment of this prophecy from the end of Zechariah 12: Zec. 12:10 NLT “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 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. (The podcast notes for the previous episode contain a translation note on this verse.) However, this part has been fulfilled from the beginning of chapter 13: Zec. 13:1 “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 Zechariah 13 was referred to by the Lord Jesus in Mark 14:27 in— or on the way to, the garden of Gethsemane: Zec. 13:7 NLT “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. ISAIAH 65: In chapter 64, there is a mixture of hope, regretful repentance, and supplication— including these verses: Is. 64:4 NLT For 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! 5 You 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? 6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. REVELATION 19: In Revelation 18 we heard the chapter of doom against the city of Babylon (or Rome, or the united evil world system based on immoral commerce). If chapter 18 sounded familiar, it is because you were remembering Ezek 27.
20 minutes | Dec 27, 2022
NL-Day361 Zechariah 12-13; Isaiah 64; Revelation 18
ZECHARIAH 12-13: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! ISAIAH 64:Yesterday in chapter 63, we heard the people of Israel ask a whole series of questions about the Lord, like: Is. 63:11b NLT “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd? And here is another verse: Is. 63:15 NLT LORD, look down from heaven;look from your holy, glorious home, and see us.Where is the passion and the mightyou used to show on our behalf?Where are your mercy and compassion now? The chapter ended with deep pathos: Is. 63:18 NLT 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. REVELATION 18:The part that puzzles me most in chapter 17 is this: Rev. 17:8 NLT The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit 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. While that is confusing, the important thing is clear: Satan is the sponsor of the beast. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in these podcasts are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
21 minutes | Dec 26, 2022
NL-Day360 Zechariah 10-11; Isaiah 63; Revelation 17
ZECHARIAH 10-11: As we have seen before, the Lord loves names and delights to give new names. In Zec. 8 He said, Zec. 8:3 NLT 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 read 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 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.heard this verse about the New Jerusalem: Zec. 9:16 NLT 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. ISAIAH 63: In chapter 62 we read promises like what I shared above about the Lord giving names: Is. 62:4 NLT Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.”Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”and “The Bride of God,”for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride. And similarly at the end of that chapter: Is. 62:11b NLT 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.” We will see the fulfillment of all this in the last chapters of Revelation. REVELATION 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. In our day Babylon pictures the united evil world system supported by immoral commerce.
22 minutes | Dec 25, 2022
NL-Day359 Zechariah 8-9; Isaiah 62; Revelation 16
ZECHARIAH 8-9:I hope that you have noticed [Joshua//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 we read that he was given a crown, and told: Zec. 6:13 NLT Yes, 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, 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 Joshua is a variant of Jeshua— 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. ISAIAH 62:Yesterday we heard another Messianic section of Isaiah— the part that Jesus spoke in his hometown synagogue in Luke 4. And Jesus alluded to the same passage when he sent John the Baptist’s disciples back to him in Luke 7. REVELATION 16:Note that we saw another view of the crystal sea in chapter 15, but this time it was mixed with fire. In chapter 4 it was clear as crystal. My theory is that the glassy sea is the same, but it changes in appearance based on God’s prevailing mood and the tenor of current events. 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 now 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! Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
17 minutes | Dec 24, 2022
NL-Day358 Zechariah 6-7; Isaiah 61; Revelation 15
ZECHARIAH 6-7: 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: Zec. 3:8 NLT “Listen to me, O [Joshua//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. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. 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. Joshua was called the ‘Branch’, or ‘Rod’, or ‘Shoot’— and in this age we can clearly see that both he and Zerubbabel are pictures of the Messiah. The Branch is also referred to in Jeremiah and Isaiah. Secondly, it is interesting that the stone has seven ‘facets’. The word for facets in Hebrew is literally ‘eyes’. And the Lamb in revelation has seven eyes. This insight given to Zerubbabel in chapter 4 is a principle for all of us to lay hold of: Zec. 4:6 NLT 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: Zec. 4:10 NLT Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” ISAIAH 61: Yesterday in chapter 60, we heard many wonderful promises about the New Jerusalem— especially verses 1-3 and 19-21. REVELATION 15: Note that in chapter 14 the victory over Babylon is proclaimed as already won. God’s holy people are again 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. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
22 minutes | Dec 23, 2022
NL-Day357 Zechariah 3-5; Isaiah 60; Revelation 14
ZECHARIAH 3-5: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. His words and those events foreshadow what we read in Revelation about the new Jerusalem. Consider the last verses of Zech. 2: Zech. 2:10-13 NLT The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. 11 Many 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.12 The 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.13 Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling. ISAIAH 60: In Isaiah 59 we again read beautiful messages that harmonize with what we are reading in Revelation. The beginning verses contain foundational truths: Is. 59:1 NLT Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. 2 It’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 in 59:17 it is the Lord who wears it. The next-to-last verse of the chapter prophecies about the coming Redeemer. And the last verse says about those who are God’s redeemed people and enjoy a covenant with Him, “My spirit will not leave them.” REVELATION 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: Rev. 13:7 NLT And 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. 8 And 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. 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. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
23 minutes | Dec 22, 2022
NL-Day356 Zechariah 1-2; Isaiah 59; Revelation 13
ZECHARIAH 1-2:Yesterday we read both chapters of the little book of Haggai, 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— Zechariah. While there are at least 27 men named Zechariah in the Old Testament, we do know which one was the writer of this book. The biblestudytools.com site says that Zechariah “was born in Babylonia and was among those who returned to Judah in 538/537 b.c. under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua (his grandfather Iddo is named among the returnees in Ne 12:4). At a later time, when Joiakim was high priest (see note on Ne 12:12-21), Zechariah apparently succeeded Iddo (1:1,7) as head of that priestly family (Ne 12:10-16).” (See https://www.biblestudytools.com/csb/zechariah/ for a very helpful timeline showing where Zechariah’s prophecies fit in with the book of Ezra and Haggai’s prophecies.) The name Zechariah means ‘Yahweh remembers’, and his name is appropriate to the message of his book. The HCSB Study Bible gives this good overview of the book of Zechariah: Zechariah sought to encourage 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 reversal of God’s judgment and calling for a reversal of the people’s behavior. It is because of the surrealistic visions that people have called this book the ‘Apocalypse of the Old Testament’. Since we are also reading Revelation, you will get a double dose of the apocalyptic genre. Mears gives this interesting comment, and this is something I suggest we watch for as we read 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. 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. 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 a picture of 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 dragon’s seven heads and seven crowns. The dragon, as we will see will do his best to masquerade as God. He is doing that right now in our day! Look out, and don’t be fooled! An important foundational teaching in that chapter is to explain about the source of the spiritual battle we now see being played out in the world. NLT Translation Notes: Zec. 2:8 [The messiah speaks:] After a period of glory, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies sent me against the nations who plundered you. For he said, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession. 9 I 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. ==== Is. 59:15b The LORD looked and was displeased [when he saw that//to find] there was no justice. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
22 minutes | Dec 21, 2022
NL-Day355 Haggai 1-2; Isaiah 58; Revelation 12
HAGGAI 1-2:I hope you saw correlations to Revelation in the 3rd chapter of Zephaniah yesterday— in what God plans for the nations and for those who come to the new Jerusalem. And these verses are interesting because of correlations all over scripture: Zephaniah 3:11b NLT I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you.There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain.12 Those who are left will be the lowly and humble,for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord. Mears gives a helpful summary about the prophets: Of the 16 prophets, most of them— eleven, prophesied before the exile, just two prophesied during the exile (Ezekiel and Daniel), while three prophesied after the exile. We turn to the first of these now— Haggai. This book (with only two chapters) consists of four prophecies in four months— each dated and all in the second year of King Darius’ reign. In the modern calendar these dates would have been between August 29 and December 18, 520 B.C. This places Haggai’s messages two months before Zechariah started to prophesy. Haggai’s purpose was to move a discouraged nation to rise up again and rebuild the temple. ISAIAH 58: In chapter 57, we saw again that God considers idolatry to be a sin against him that is just like a wife being unfaithful to her husband. In such a context of explicit and harsh condemnation, these words stand out: Is. 57:18 NLT I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, 19 bringing words of praise to their lips. REVELATION 12: In chapter 11, John again took an active part in the vision he was seeing. He was given a rod (as a measuring stick) and told to measure the temple, the altar, and count the worshippers. What other prophet participated in measuring a temple in a vision? John was told not to measure the court of the Gentiles. I encourage you to dig for gold there. While you are at it, find out what ideas people have about the two witnesses. John is not the first prophet that saw olive trees on both sides of a lamp and lamp stand. Who was the prophet? And how is John’s vision different than the other prophet’s vision? At the end of the chapter, we heard ‘the last trumpet’. Say, is the same ‘last trumpet’ that Paul mentioned?! The words of praise by the 24 elders and the last verse in the chapter give a big clue as to what the seventh trumpet brings. NLT Translation note: Rev. 12:11 And they[— our brothers and sisters,] have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
19 minutes | Dec 20, 2022
NL-Day354 Zephaniah 3; Isaiah 57; Revelation 11
ZEPHANIAH 3: Today we read the last chapter of Zephaniah. In chapter 2, we heard words that were much like what we heard recently in Isaiah 49 and 55: Zep. 2:2 NLT Gather [together] before judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the LORD falls and the terrible day of the LORD’s anger begins. 3 Seek the LORD, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the LORD will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction. Note that God repeatedly says, “What you need to do to get right with me, do it NOW. Don’t put it off!” ISAIAH 57: In chapter 56, we heard how God’s plan includes even eunuchs and foreigners— which includes us. The chapter ended with a condemnation of Israel’s leaders which was filled with irony. The people who listened to Jesus when he said that he is the Good Shepherd, would likely have thought back to Isaiah’s words: Is. 56:11 NLT Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied. They are ignorant shepherds, all following their own path and intent on personal gain. 12 “Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party. Let’s all get drunk. Then tomorrow we’ll do it again and have an even bigger party!” REVELATION 11: We are still in the interlude before the 7th trumpet. In chapter 10 John saw a mighty angel come to earth holding a little and open scroll, the 7 thunders spoke. That— in prophetic language, indicates God’s voice, and John takes the scroll and as commanded eats it. This is not the first time a prophet has been told to eat a scroll. Do you remember the name of the other prophet? The mighty angel stood on the land and the sea. The sea symbolizes the kingdom of darkness, so his standing on land and sea indicates that the message the angel brings will impact the whole world even including Satan’s kingdom. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
23 minutes | Dec 19, 2022
Day 353 Phil's treasure map
Greetings everyone and welcome to this last extra podcast this year. Merry Christmas and may you have a very blessed new year. If you are one who started around January 1 listening to the DBRP and are about to finish the plan on December 31, congratulations to you! I hope you celebrate that achievement! As always, I invite you to come back some year in the future and listen again, but suggest that after a full year with me, it is time to find another Bible reader to listen to in the new year. Don’t forget your own voice. Reading Scripture out loud is tremendously helpful, even if the audience is just you alone. If you have listened to the NLT this year, for some future year remember that I have also recorded the GNT. One of my projects during 2022 was to critically listen to the NLT series and fix poor recording quality and mistakes. I re-recorded a few episodes entirely, and made smaller improvements to others. I am continuing to do the same thing now in the GNT series. For those not on our email list, Gale and I recently shared pictures from my recent trip to Indonesia. If you would like to see that letter and a few extra pictures, please click the link here in the episode notes. Before January 1st, I will revise the dailybiblereading.info website and the Read This First pages, which contain all my advice about Bible reading and listening to the DBRP. (The link to the Read This First pages is found in the banner of dailybiblerading.info.) If you have any question you would like me to answer in those pages, please use the Contact button at dailybiblereading.info. I would like to update the information I shared about podcast players. If you have a favorite podcast app that works well for managing your podcast listening, please tell me about it. I will need the app’s name, what platform it runs on, and why you recommend it. In my October extra podcast, I gave the second lesson in the series I call Buckling the Belt of Truth. That lesson gives my advice about how to understand spiritual realities found in the Bible, which are spiritual things about you that cannot be seen with human eyes. In particular, I dealt with the biblical teaching that you have been united with Christ in his death (being crucified with Him), you died and were buried, and now have been raised with Him to new life. Since you and I never actually experienced death, the Holy Spirit has been so kind as to give us multiple metaphors to help us grasp the reality of our spiritual resurrection. I think a key to grasping this concept is understanding our being one with Christ. At first I thought of giving you an allegorical treasure map, to walk you through the different ways Scripture repeats the same powerful idea. But in the end I had to recognize that I don’t have the literary gifts of John Bunyan. (But don’t miss reading his book, Pilgrim’s Progress.) I started that Buckling the Belt series by saying how I struggled to find the promises that Peter mentioned in 2nd Peter 1, the promises needed for ‘living a godly life’, the ones “that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” I am thinking now that not all God’s promises need to be expressed in the future with statements like, “He who started a good work in you WILL …” (I’m referring there to a beautiful promise found in Phl. 1:6.) Promises can also be stated in the present, such as when Jesus utters 7-8 ‘I am’ statements in John, and when He proclaims ‘you are’. One of those ‘I am’ statements is found in John 15, where Jesus said, “I am the true grapevine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” The statement, “I am the vine; you are the branches,” is actually a promise. It is a right-now promise. It is true of you now. But like many promises, there are conditions to fulfill. Some of the conditions are stated with the word ‘will’, like we expect for promises: Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. As a Bible translator, I don’t like the way our being united to Christ is expressed with the word ‘in’, as in “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” Greek talked like that. But we English speakers don’t normally talk of branches ‘remaining in’ a tree. Instead, branches are simply part of the tree. I would translate “Remain in me,” as “Stay joined as one with me.” We are organically one with our Vine, Jesus. There is a constellation of ‘treasures’ found in staying joined to Jesus which He explains in John 15: 9 “I have loved you as the Father has loved me.” Then later he commands us to love one another. 13-15 This is the passage where Jesus calls us his ‘friends’. 16 Then Jesus tells us, “I chose you.” Those three are on my list of the things that most Christians find hard to believe. 11 “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my Joy.” What a wonderful promise! 7-8 Let me give you my paraphrase: Jesus is saying, “If you continue clinging to Me in oneness, and if you internalize my teachings, then I invite you to pray asking for anything you want, and it will be given to you. 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” This is another amazing promise: Answered prayers! Wow, how come we aren’t spending more time in prayer! Let’s keep on clinging to Christ. Meditate on being Jesus’ branch. Ask God to help you internalize this new identity. Because then you will be able to reach out and touch God’s other promises, like the harder one I mentioned: Being crucified with Christ and raised with Him. There is one more crowning jem of oneness with Christ in Ephesians that I didn’t mention in the last episode. Since we are joined as one with Christ Jesus, we ‘are seated with Him in the heavenly realms’ (Eph. 2:6). That verse doesn’t say that we ‘have a future position with Christ’, although promises to that effect are found elsewhere in the Bible. Instead Eph. 2:6 says we ‘are seated’ with Him right now. Where is Christ seated? At God’s right hand. (If you were standing directly in front of God, Jesus would be to your left.) The verse is a bit unclear as to how we could be seated with Christ. We might be seated circling God’s throne. I like to say, “There are no folding chairs in heaven.” None of heaven’s chairs are made of plastic. Your name is engraved at your place. There is a place reserved for you alone, and it is certain and permanent. But capitalizing on the picture of vine-and-branch oneness with Christ, let’s imagine sitting on Jesus’ lap, while He is sitting on his throne next to God. You are right there with the King of the Universe. Lean back and whisper in his ear! “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Mat. 7:7 John 15:7 “If you remain joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted.” Think of it: Jesus actually is inviting you to take advantage of your close position! From this place of acceptance and privilege, you are invited to tell the King what You need Him to do for you. But when you sit there, filled with reverence and awe, you will suddenly realize that some things you thought about asking Him are not really what is needed or important. However when the Holy Spirit helps you find your voice to ask, the things you wind up asking will be ‘for His glory’ (that is to say, ‘in his name’). Such prayers are powerful! Then our passage promised ‘you will be filled with joy.’ Why will we receive such joy? Because we will ask big things of God, and He will grant our requests, and God will be glorified. First of all, He will be glorified because we will sing his praises more thankfully. This is where I am right now. I am working to understand and internalize all that I just shared, because I am asking God to do some amazingly big things. Messages from my Think Cabinet:Our church remodeled the worship center a few years ago. A heavy black metal audio cabinet, six feet tall containing a big rack of amplifiers was left abandoned. Eventually I asked if I might take all the outdated stuff from that cabinet and use it for something in my office. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I would do with it. I have enjoyed it mainly as my Idea Incubation Box. It has light of seven colors seeping out of the cracks from the string of LED lights I installed. For a little more than a year I have been posting Bible verses inside the box that grabbed my attention. I’m going to share those verses with you now. (The verse references are given in the episode notes.) Quote from Dr. Bob Utley, Introduction to Habakkuk: “It is acceptable to question God. However, often it is God’s presence, not rational answers, that satisfy (as in Job’s case).” (This note is posted folded and very low. You have to kneel to open it and read it.) “Whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret.” Matt. 6:6 The LORD is near to all who cry out to Him to all who cry out to Him sincerely. Ps. 145:18 Keep on praying with the help of the Holy Spirit. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. (Two translations of Jude 20) Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. Prov. 16:3 A heart that turns from God becomes bored with its own ways. But a good person is satisfied with God’s ways. Prov. 14:14 This is how our translation of Eccl. 12:11 sounds when translated into English: Th
20 minutes | Dec 19, 2022
NL-Day353 Zephaniah 1-2; Isaiah 56; Revelation 10
ZEPHANIAH 1-2: The concluding words of Habakkuk are the most often quoted and memorized, because they are so encouraging. That quote begins like this: Hab. 3:17 NLT Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,and there are no grapes on the vines;even though the olive crop fails,and the fields lie empty and barren;even though the flocks die in the fields,and the cattle barns are empty,18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!He makes me as surefooted as a deer,able to tread upon the heights. Constable tells us that “Zephaniah” means “Yahweh hides [or has hidden],” “Yahweh’s watchman,” or “Yahweh treasured.” The uncertainty arises over the etymology of the prophet’s name, which scholars dispute. I prefer “Yahweh hides.” Zephaniah was very likely a descendent of king Hezekiah, and he was born sometime during the reign of the wicked king Manasseh, and was active as a prophet during the time of the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BC). Like Nahum, Zephaniah prophesied against Nineveh. He preached vehemently against idols. He also prophesied these important things: A faithful remnant will be delivered from captivity. The Gentile nations will be converted. One day people everywhere— not only in Jerusalem, will worship God (2:11; John 4:21). ISAIAH 56:Rather than commenting on the Bible translator’s favorite verse (Is. 55:11), I’m picking this section to remind you about of instead: Is. 55:8 NLT “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. How true it is that God’s thoughts are always counter-intuitive for humans! Take for instance what God says in this chapter: “Come to me. Seek me while I may be found. Come, I am offering eternal food and water for free. You don’t have to earn it.” Time and again, humans think they have to earn salvation. Another way we misunderstand what God offers is by saying that ‘free food and water’ mean that people don’t need to repent. Those who think that should read verses 6-7 of chapter 55 and the whole book or Revelation. REVELATION 10:Note that after some huge judgments in Revelation— such as at the end of chapter 6, the people on earth recognize God’s hand and react to the Almighty in some way, such as trying to hide from God. But in response to the plagues in chapter 9 the people close their eyes and refuse to repent of demon worship and all kinds of immorality. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
17 minutes | Dec 18, 2022
NL-Day352 Habakkuk 3; Isaiah 55; Revelation 9
HABAKKUK 3:Yesterday in this book we heard Habakkuk bring his complaints to God about God’s justice, and God answered, in effect, that after he uses the Babylonians, their time of judgment will come. In chapter 2 verse 3, God gives this assurance: Hab. 2:3b NLT If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,for it will surely take place.It will not be delayed. Then the next verse ends with a famous promise: Hab. 2:4 NLT “Look at the proud!They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. (This verse, as it is often quoted in the NT, is a little different from what we find in the OT. The OT is translated from the Hebrew, while the NT authors quoted from the Greek taken from the Septuagint.) Two more powerful and often quoted verses bear repeating: Hab. 2:20 NLT But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.” Hab. 2:14 For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord. Rereading ISAIAH 55:Note that in Revelation we have already read— and will read again, words like the beginning of Isaiah 55: Is. 55:1 NLT “Is anyone thirsty?Come and drink—even if you have no money! Remember also that Jesus in John chapters 4 and 7 offered living water and streams of water that would bubble from within. This chapter 55 is so rich! But we don’t have time for me to comment verse by verse. As a Bible translator, the promise we base our very lives upon is found in verse 11. REVELATION 9:In Rev. 8, we saw the results of the first four trumpet blasts. This, like the seals, is another vision of God’s justice finally being expressed in judgment. Note that the enactment of this punishment was preceded by the prayers of God’s holy people. (That’s is how NLT translates ‘saints’. And that word means us, we have been purified by Christ!) At last, the answers to prayers for God’s justice like heard from the martyrs in Rev. 6 and like in Habakkuk’s prayer will start to be answered. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
19 minutes | Dec 17, 2022
NL-Day351 Habakkuk 1-2; Isaiah 55; Revelation 8
HABAKKUK 1-2: The book of Nahum ended with these words about Nineveh: Nam. 3:19 NLT There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal. All who hear of your destruction will clap their hands for joy. Where can anyone be found who has not suffered from your continual cruelty? And now we turn to the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk preached at the time when it was already clear— through the means of prophecy and conquest, that Babylon would defeat Judah. This was between 627 and 605 BC, which would have been at the same time as Jeremiah, Nahum, Zephaniah were living, and Daniel may have been a young boy. We often hear people questioning how God could be good and loving and allow various disasters or evil things to happen. And Habakkuk asks that question, and another: “Why do You, God, use a nation that is more sinful than we are to punish us?” Mears gives this neat outline of the three chapters of Habakkuk: Watch and see Stand and see Kneel and see ISAIAH 55: Perhaps you noticed that Isaiah 54:1 was quoted by Paul in Gal. 4:27. And did Isaiah 54:11-12 cause you to think of Revelation? In just a few days in our reading of Revelation we will hear about precious gems used in building the New Jerusalem. REVELATION 8: Remember that in Rev. 7 we saw first the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel. 144,000 = 12 x 12,000. Remember, numbers in Revelation have symbolic meanings! Now the question is whether the next group that John sees is the same group or a different one. He says that they were “a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language.” Look closer at God’s Word and you will always see that it is very deep. Look closely at the names of the 12 tribes! Notice that the list has been altered from the normal list repeated in the Old Testament. Which tribes are missing? Which tribe is doubled up? Note that the answers to this may hold a clue as to whether the 144,000 is made up only of ethnic Jews. There is gold to dig for here! Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
17 minutes | Dec 16, 2022
NL-Day350 Nahum 3; Isaiah 54; Revelation 7
NAHUM 3: Yesterday we heard just how Nineveh’s defenses would be breached. The description was detailed and vivid, including the scarlet color of the enemy uniforms and the way chariots would rumble recklessly in the city streets after the river gate was torn open. God justly judged this city for its cruelty to others. ISAIAH 54: In Isaiah 53:10 it says, Is. 53:10 NLT But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Often literal translations give a meaning that can hardly be conceived of— saying that the Lord was ‘pleased’. The pleasure of the Lord means that it was His will or decision— which is why Jesus received a No answer in the garden of Gethsemane. Seeing His Son suffer so much certainly caused great sorrow! Think how Abraham felt when he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac! Also Isaiah 53 ends with the idea that Jesus ‘intercedes for the rebels’— which is us. This is echoed in Hebrews 7 in the teaching that Jesus is our great High Priest. Heb. 7:24 NLT But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. REVELATION 7: In Revelation chapter 5 we heard what happened when Jesus opened 6 of the 7 seals on the scroll that had been in God’s hand. After the 6th seal was broken, Rev. 6:14 NLT The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. No one on earth will call that ‘climate change’. There will be no atheists by that time. Everyone still left on earth will be cowering in terror of God’s judgment. These judgements— set off when the seals are opened, are an overview. Remember that we will hear the same story from other perspectives. And this is not the only time in this book where there is an interlude between the 6th and 7th item. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
22 minutes | Dec 15, 2022
NL-Day349 Nahum 1-2; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Revelation 6
NAHUM 1-2: Micah certainly poured out his heart in chapter 7. Micah 7:7-9 matches the verse I highlighted in Isaiah 50:10. Those are verses that give comfort to people dealing with long-term suffering. Now turning to Nahum: Nahum’s name means ‘compassion’, ‘consolation’, or ‘comfort’. Nothing is known about Nahum except for what we can glean from his book. He must have written between the fall of the Egyptian city of Thebes in 663 B.C. and the fall of the Assyrian city of Nineveh in 612. Nineveh fell to a combined force of Medes, Babylonians, and Scythians. This book is a vivid prediction of the fall of Nineveh— which is the same city that Jonah preached against 150 years earlier. Assyria was an extremely violent and cruel oppressor. Rereading ISAIAH 52:13—53: Note the contrast between verses 8 and 10: Is. 538 NLT Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But just two verses later, we read: 10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. So we have the word ‘died’ (past tense) in verse 9, ‘buried like a criminal’ and ‘no descendants’ in 8, but the words ‘long life’ and ‘many descendants’ in verse 10. Looking back at Jesus, this makes perfect sense. In a similar way, mysteries in Revelation will one day be perfectly clear. REVELATION 6: In Revelation 5 we heard that only One was worthy to take the scroll that was in God’s hand. The scroll had seven seals, and it is the first of three big series of seven in this book. Christ is introduced as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. But when John sees him, he appears as a lamb that has been slain. (Remember quotes about the Lamb spoken by Isaiah, Micah, and John the Baptist!) The Lamb had seven horns. Horns are used in Scripture to portray kingly power to rule, so with 7, he is the perfect and divine King. And the Lamb had 7 eyes, which again, we are told, stand for the sevenfold Spirit of God. Through the Holy Spirit Christ has perfect eyesight— seeing in all places and in all hearts. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
20 minutes | Dec 14, 2022
NL-Day348 Micah 7; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Revelation 5
MICAH 7: The complete quote about the Messiah’s birthplace (Micah 5:2-5) quoted to Herod in Matthew 2:6 mentions Bethlehem, a woman in labor giving birth, and the Lord is pictured as our shepherd who will be ‘highly honored around the world’. Note that Herod would have had cause for concern about his reign if such a leader appeared. If Micah 6:8 sounded familiar, it is because Micah quoted from Deut. 10:12. ISAIAH 52:13—53: In our reading yesterday, Isaiah 52, we heard the passage that Paul quoted in Romans 10. Is. 52:7 NLT How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God. Note that God gave a special message (in 52:11-12) to those who would carry the temple treasures back to Jerusalem led by Ezra (Ezra 8). Those who carried those ‘sacred objects’ and who prayed and fasted with Ezra beside the river near Babylon had their prayer answered around 200 years before they prayed it! REVELATION 5: After acting as Jesus’ secretary to write down the seven letters to the seven churches, John was taken up to God’s throne in heaven. We can note a feature of Jewish custom in the writing of John in Revelation 4: In reverence he avoided saying, “I saw God sitting on his throne.” He went beyond custom and didn’t even say ‘the Lord/Kyrios’. Instead he said, ‘Someone’ or ‘the One sitting on the throne’. God was mentioned directly only in the quotes of the four living creatures and the 24 elders. Note that we have seen the living creatures with four faces before in Ezekiel. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames. And we are told, “This is the seven-fold Spirit of God.” The number seven has a symbolic meaning— indicating perfection, completeness, or attributes of God. (Compare Rev. 1:5, 3:1, 4:5 and 5:6.) Commentators also say that John could have thought about Isaiah 11:2-5— where Isaiah prophesied about the seven-fold spiritual characteristics of the Branch growing from David’s stump (Jesus). Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
19 minutes | Dec 13, 2022
NL-Day347 Micah 5-6; Isaiah 52; Revelation 4
MICAH 5-6: Remember that Isaiah and Micah were contemporaries. Yesterday we read very familiar sounding verses at the beginning of Micah 4 which start like this: Mic. 4:1 NLT In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. … That was so familiar sounding that I thought the passage must be quoted in the New Testament— but no! There are three verses there in Micah 4 that are almost exactly the same as verses found in Isaiah chapter 2. No wonder they sounded familiar! Note that God, as he speaks in Micah, frequently jumps from one time to another without warning. He can tell the people, “You will be exiled to Babylon” in one verse, but then very quickly, God says, “Rise and crush the nations, Jerusalem.” We just have to accept that this kind of unannounced time-switching is a feature of prophetic writings. ISAIAH 52: The chapter break between Isaiah 50 and 51 breaks up an important connection. For any of us who are “walking in the dark without a ray of light,” (like it says at chapter 50:10), there are encouraging words for you at the beginning of chapter 51. And our family will remember this verse from a song we used to sing: Is. 51:11 NLT Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. REVELATION 4: Yesterday we heard the last of the seven letters, the one to Laodicea, the spiritually indifferent church. If we were seeking to interpret the seven letters as seven church ages, we would have no difficulty in saying that that last letter fits us to a tee. Laodicea was a medical center and was known for making an eye salve. So this letter is full of irony that Christ finds them poor, wretched, blind and naked. And note that the Savior doesn’t tell them to fix the problems by their own effort. He tells them to buy the eye salve, white garments, and the gold FROM HIM. What an awesome word is this statement: Rev. 3:19 NLT “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.” Then the famous verse about Christ knocking is not spoken to unbelievers. In its first application, the famous promise is made to the members of the church who are willing to turn from spiritual indifference. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.