Malachi 1-4, Revelation 22

Malachi 1:6-7
“’A son honors his father, and a servant his master.  If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?’ says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ You offer defiled food on My altar, but say,‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible. ’”

Through the prophetic promptings of Haggai and Zechariah the temple had been rebuilt, but the rebuilding of the temple did not usher in the Messiah as they had hoped.  This led to discouragement and ultimate sin.  People question why the Lord would be displeased with them, when in reality it is because they want to do things their way.  They wanted to offer sacrifices, and worship in the way they wanted.  With God it doesn’t work that way.

Malachi 2:7
For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

What a great and convicting verse this is.  Every pastor should guard knowledge, and that knowledge should be the knowledge of God.  People don’t need my opinion, they need God’s opinion.  I pray that I might always be a messenger of the Lord and that our people might be protected from hearing anything less.

Malachi 2:16
‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’

Why does God hate divorce?  Malachi says it very clearly.  It covers one’s garment with violence.  Divorce is a violent act that tears away flesh.  Marriage is the remarkable joining of two people to be one.  It is a picture of our relationship with Jesus.  When we give our hearts and our lives to Jesus, it is forever.  Marriage should be no different.  Jesus said about marriage, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:6).”

Malachi 3:6
“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

I have been thinking of late, of doing a message entitled, “Our God is a God of Change”.  We see this in so much of our world, in the seasons, in the transformation of souls, and any number of things that man cannot take credit for.  So, is this a contradiction to that?  Absolutely not. The change that Malachi speaks of is that of his eternal truths about our relationship with Him.  John 14:6 says, ‘Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Him.’  This is written in stone and thanks be to God can and will never change.

Malachi 3:10
‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’

I will never fully understand the principal of tithing but I believe it.  The Lord says, “Try me now in this.”  I have been praying to be more generous in a number of ways…and lo and behold just this morning, I get a totally unexpected check from the sale of our house two and a half months ago.  God’s word is amazing and perfect!

Malachi 3:14-15
“You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts? 15 So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; they even tempt God and go free.’”

We must never question God’s ways of doing things.  Sometimes it is hard.  We don’t understand why evil things happen, and then those who do the evil don’t seem to pay.  In fact, in many ways it can seem like they prosper.  We mustn’t be fooled.  God will judge the evil, in his timing, and it won’t be pretty.

Malachi 4:5
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

The prophet spoken of here is a reference to John the Baptist.  We know that from Matthew 11:14, where Jesus referring to John the Baptist says, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.”

Revelation 22:3-5
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

I love these verses.  I guess Jesus knew what He was talking about when He declared in John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  What a great and glorious day that will be…I can’t wait!

Revelation 22:9
Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

Heavenly beings always deflect worship to God.  We live in a day and age where so many things are being worshipped.  Every attempt to worship anything other than the Lord should be thwarted and redirected to the only one who is worthy of all our worship.

Revelation 22:18-19
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

There are scoffers who would say that this warning is a reference to the Book of Revelation only and not to the entire Bible.  Such people are looking for loopholes to live the lives they want to live.  God’s word says that all of Scripture is God breathed, and that His word is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  It would be foolish to take any part of God’s word any less than literal.

Zechariah 13-14, Revelation 21

Zechariah 13:2
“It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “ that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.

It is always a comforting thing to know that one day the Lord will cut off the names of those things that have been an abomination to Him.  He is holy, and the day is coming when everything contrary to God will be cut off.

Zechariah 13:6
And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’

What a beautiful picture we have here of Jesus.  I love the pictures of Him in the Old Testament.  Jesus said, “Greater love has not man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you to do.”

Zechariah 14:4
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.

In the Book of Acts we read that Jesus ascended into heaven.  When the apostles were looking up, an angel appeared and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”  This is a prophetic picture of Jesus’ return.  It will be a glorious day when the Lord returns.

Zechariah 14:9
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“The Lord is one,” and His name one.

Sometimes it can seem as though the Lord is not reigning over the earth at the present time.  Though He is still king, He has given Satan temporary dominion over the earth.  However, His day is coming.  Aren’t you looking forward to the day when the Lord reigns as King over all the earth?  I know that I am.

Revelation 21:3-4
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

There is a lot of pain and sickness in this world, such sorrow that brings many tears and much grief.  We mustn’t limit ourselves to a temporal understanding of things and look to the hope that is to come where all sickness, pain, and sorrow will be wiped away…once and for all.

Revelation 21:12-14
Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.  Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

It is apparent to the very end that the Lord has a place for the Jews.  What a wonderful sight it will be to see such a city with the names of the twelve tribes and the names of the twelve apostles on them.  What a testimony to the eternal plans of God beginning with Abraham, to Jesus, and then the apostles, leading to the end…which is actually just the beginning.

Revelation 21:22-23
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

The temple meant everything to the Jews.  In fact, as I mentioned before, they are still grieving its destruction, waiting for, longing for it to be rebuilt.  There will be no temple in the end, for Jesus will be the temple and all the focus and worship will be on Him.  Praise be to God!

Zechariah 9-12, Revelation 20

Zechariah 9:9

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

I love verses like these which speak of the Lord Jesus hundreds of years before he was even born. This verse prophecies that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem, on His triumphal entry. We read about it in Matthew 21:1-5.

Zechariah 10:2
For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams;
They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there is no shepherd.

Jesus is our shepherd. He is the only one true shepherds, all others who fail to take to heart His words are false shepherds. For some reason we are drawn to such people. I supposed it is because they will tell us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear.

Zechariah 10:12
“So I will strengthen them in the Lord, And they shall walk up and down in His name,” Says the Lord.

Would be to God that we would always be so strong in the Lord that that we would always ‘walk up and down in His name’. No matter where we are or what circumstances we find ourselves in, may we walk strong in the Lord, relying on Him every step of the way.

Zechariah 11:3
There is the sound of wailing shepherds! For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions! For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins.

Ultimately every false shepherds knee will bow to Jesus and whatever glory they has will be left in ruins. In the end, the only one who will remain standing will be the Lord Jesus Christ and all who followed His word.

Zechariah 11:17
“Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

This is a warning against shepherds who desert their flock. I have seen this in my day, pastors who start a work and then leave the work without having raised up a good or better shepherd then they to care for the flock, in their absence. This must never be.

Zechariah 12:10
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

I love this prophecy of Jesus. Jesus is the epitome of the Spirit of grace, freely giving His life for us that we might inherit eternal life, receiving that which we clearly do not deserve. As months apostle was writing about the crucifixion of Jesus he wrote, John 19:35-37, And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

Revelation 20:2-3
He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

Chapter 20 can be broke down into five distinct sections. Here, in the first, we see that Satan is temporarily bound for a thousand years. This is the period we know as the millennium, the thousand year period where we will rule and reign with Jesus. Evil will still be present, but with Satan bound it will be greatly restrained. I am looking forward to this time and wonder where it is the Lord will have be serving.

Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

This first resurrection is a reference to those who have been born again. Those whom will rule and reign with Jesus during the millennium.

Revelation 20:9
They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

I love how short lived Satan’s final attempt to deceive is. And, I love how quickly the Lord gets the job done. The moral of the story, ‘don’t mess with God’!

Revelation 20:10
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

What a great and glorious day this will be!

Revelation 20:14-15
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

This is what is known as ‘The Great White Throne Judgment’. It is called the second death because unlike the first, passing from this life to the next, this death is eternal. The harsh reality is, that anyone who has not confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord will be cast into hell. This is a fact for which there is no explaining away.

Zechariah 5-8, Revelation 19

Zechariah 5:3

Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth:‘Every thief shall be expelled,’ according to this side of the scroll; and, ‘Every perjurer shall be expelled,’ according to that side of it.”

We don’t know a lot about this other than what we read here. What we do know is that this flying scroll, or flying saucer sort of thing is related to the judgment that comes.

Zechariah 6:11
Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.

Some believe that this is a symbolic crowning which speaks of the coming of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. The name Joshua means ‘the Lord is Salvation’, which is the same meaning for the Greek equivalent of Jesus.

Zechariah 7:4-5
Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests:‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?

We must be careful of doing things for the wrong reasons. We can fast and act religious on the outside, but the Lord looks at the hearts. It is what is going on in our hearts that is important. We would be better off not doing anything then to pretend to be spiritual. The bottom line is, that the Lord knows.

Zechariah 7:10
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother. ’

The widow and the fatherless and very near and dear to the Lord’s heart. James 1:27, Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Zechariah 8:14-15
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you When your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I would not relent, So again in these days I am determined to do good To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.

In the same manner there is judgment, there is forgiveness and mercy for God’s people. He loves His people so much that He promises to to good to them. God is so good and loving towards us!

Revelation 19:1
After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!

These last few chapters of Revelation are the most exciting of all of the Bible as they speak to the return of Jesus and the creation of the new heaven and new earth.

Revelation 19:7
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

What a glorious wedding feast this will be. The marriage supper of the Lamb, when we as Jesus’s bride will celebrate together.

Revelation 19:14
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

This is a picture of the saints, we the church, riding from heaven to earth along with the Lord. What a glorious experience this will be! I can’t wait.

Revelation 19:17
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,

This is the Battle of Armageddon. This supper of the great God is not to be confused with the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 19:21
And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

I love this picture of how powerful Jesus is. The lake of fire is hell, the place of everlasting punishment. Eventually it is where Satan will end up and unfortunately anyone who rejects the Lord Jesus Christ.

Zechariah 1-4, Revelation 18

Zechariah 1:1

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

Zechariah and Haggai share the same historical background and setting. God had called both prophets into service sixteen years after the arrival of the original Jewish exiles returning from Babylon in 538 B. C. His message was one of encouragement after the building of the temple had ceased.

Zechariah 1:3
Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:“Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.

One of the glorious and loving things about the Lord is how eager He is to love and receive us when we return to Him. Every time I read about it, in the midst of or coming off of rebellion and disobedience, I think to myself, how can that be? It is then that I realize that it is because we have such a loving and forgiving God.

Zechariah 2:5
For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst. ’”

We must understand and walk in the truth that the Lord wants to be ‘a wall of fire around us’. This is a great picture of how He protects us. We can be greatly comforted by this truth.

Zechariah 3:4
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

What a glorious picture of salvation. When we accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the Lord removes our filthy garments and replaces them with rich robes of righteousness.

Zechariah 3:8
‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.

My Servant the BRANCH, is a direct reference to Jesus. We see this more clearly in Jeremiah 23:5, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

Zechariah 4:6
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.

We must be ever aware that it is not by any power of our own that anything is accomplished, but rather all is accomplished by the Spirit of God. We need to guard ourselves from doing things in our own strength, always relying on the Lord’s strength in us. Paul exhorted the churches in Galatia, Galatians 3:3, Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Zechariah 4:10
For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

Our plumb line, that by which we measure everything in our lives, must always be ‘the eyes of the Lord’. We must constantly be asking ourselves, how would the Lord view what is going on here and what is it that He would have me do. When we do this, we can never go wrong.

Revelation 18:5
For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

A verse like this may seem to contradict what we read in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” The author of Hebrews is quoting the prophet Jeremiah. It seems to me, that because God is omniscient, that He is all knowing, it would be impossible for Him to forget anything. So what is going on here? I believe that it is a reference to remembering in the sense that He holds our sins, our iniquities against us. This is what forgetting refers to, forgetting in the sense that I will not punish for those iniquities, or In other words, I will forgive your sins. Praise God we know that He is a forgiving God. Having said that, there is a day when He will remember the sins of the impenitent and punish them accordingly.

Revelation 18:17-18
For in one hour such great riches came to nothing. ’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city? ’

The time period that Chapter 18 is taking place is at the end of the Great Tribulation period and the second coming of Jesus Christ. We know that references to Babylon can either be references to the religious system in the Great Tribulation period, the political, economic and commercial system in the Great Tribulation period or the physical city of Babylon. Either way, the day is coming when this system that seems to be in its glory is going to come tumbling down. We mustn’t be misled by the false sense of security our economy or commerce system seems to bring. It is only temporary at best!

Haggai, Revelation 17

Haggai 1:6

“You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

Is seems to be the plight of American people today doesn’t it? Jesus changes it all, and not in the way that most people would think. Jesus changes us from the inside out, so that the things we once strived for are no longer our motivation. Serving and loving Him is all we are interested in. I used to pursue riches and now, through faith in Christ, I pursue a different type of riches which will never fade away.

Haggai 1:9
“You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

It is so sad how people ignore the things of God to do their own thing. The reality is, that many people’s houses are in disarray because they fail to be attentive the Lord. Jesus said, Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Haggai 2:8-9
‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

The latter temple is none other than Jesus Christ and He will be far grander than any temple that has ever been built…ever! Speaking of the New Jerusalem that would be established after the destruction of the earth, the apostle John wrote, But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (Jesus) are its temple.

Haggai 2:23
‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

This is a fascinating verse, speaking of Zerubbabel. When you look at the ancestry if Jesus in the line of Mary (the blood lineage of Jesus, Luke 3:27) and the line of Joseph (the legal lineage of Jesus through Joseph, Matthew 1:12), you see that Zerubbabel is the last person to stand in both of their lines.

Revelation 17:3
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

In Chapter 17 we read of the Apostate Church, the false church, the false religious system which came upon the scene during the Great Tribulation. At this point the church has been removed and the Antichrist and the false prophet have arrived on the scene and there is, what seems to be a perfect marriage between the political system and this false religious system, both of which will be destroyed.

Revelation 17:9
“Here is the mind which has wisdom:The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.

It is quite likely that this is speaking of this false religious system coming out of Rome. Why do I say that? Because historically, Rome is know as ‘the city of seven mountains’.

Revelation 17:12-13
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

It is interesting to watch what is going on with the European Union. One cannot help but think that this union, of which Italy is a part of, will play a significant role in the end times. It could be that the Antichrist will come out of Rome or the European Union. It is fascinating to consider the possibilities.

Zephaniah, Revelation 16

Zephaniah 1:1

The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah and warned the people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah of the impending judgment and future hope of the nation. He repeatedly warned the people:“The Day of the Lord is at hand!” He used this expression more than any other prophet.

Zephaniah 1:12
“And it shall come to pass at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men Who are settled in complacency, Who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil. ’

People are kidding themselves if they think that God will not bring His judgement upon a nation that rebels against the Lord.

Zephaniah 1:17
“I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the Lord; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse.”

Judgment will come upon people for one reason and one reason only, ‘because the have sinned against the Lord’.

Zephaniah 2:3
Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.

What is the answer to escaping any sort of judgment or wrath from God? Seek the Lord! When we seek the Lord, we find Him. He promises that this will happen. In seeking the Lord, one will always find Jesus.

Zephaniah 3:9
“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one accord.

God’s desire is that people would come to Him and if they are walking in rebellion that they would return to Him. I don’t think we realize how much He loves us and how much He desires us to come to know Him. How wonderful it is to none that the creator of the heavens and the earth loves us in this way.

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

This is my favorite verse out of Zephaniah, it is the one I think about the most. To think that the Lord rejoices over us with singing is a delightful picture. I love knowing http at when a person gives their lives to Jesus that there is great rejoicing going on. Jesus said, Luke 15:10, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Revelation 16:1
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

The loud voice from the temple which John heard is no doubt God who would be the only one who could command such a thing. As we get into the seven bowls of judgment we see that they could be confused with the trumpets. One interpretation has been that the bowls are enhancements to the seven trumpets as to some extent they seem to correspond numerically with them. However, when you look at them carefully you see that there is a much greater intensity in both the type and the amount of destruction thereby seeming to render them different from one another.

Revelation 16:11
They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

It is hard to fathom that a heart can be so hard that through all of this a person would not repent of their deeds.

Revelation 16:13-14
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

How horrific this must have been for John to see. Praise the Lord that we will escape all of the horror of the Great Tribulation period because of Jesus. May He be glorified in every area of our lives.

Habakkuk, Revelation 15

Habakkuk 1:1-2

The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save.

Habakkuk was written between 615 and 605 BC at a time when the Assyrian powers were on the decline and the beginning of Babylonian domination. It was a message of questioning how long before the Lord was going to rescue His people. The Lord would indeed rescue them, but not until after 70 years of Babylonian captivity.

A lot of times the Lord does not show us the things He is going to do, for our own good. If He showed us, we wouldn’t believe Him anyways. I know that if the Lord always showed me what He was going to do in my life, I would either quit praying because of what I saw, or get discouraged. It is best to just wait on the Lord.

Habakkuk 2:2-3
Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Although this verse applies to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, we can apply the principal to our lives as well. And that is this, the Lord will give us vision that will be for an appointed time. We mustn’t get discouraged while waiting for it, “it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

Habakkuk 2:19
Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake! ’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all.

He is speaking of idols here, idols that cannot speak or teach or do anything. How sad to see the number of people who rely on idols who have absolutely no life in them.

Habakkuk 3:2
O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.

This is a good prayer, “in wrath remember mercy”. Remember, mercy is not getting what we deserve. The wrath of God is coming upon this world. Would be to God that people would turn to Jesus. Even in wrath, we must remember that God is merciful.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Crazy things going on today. People are just trying to make some sort of sense of it all. No matter what is going on around us, we can always rejoice in our salvation. Our salvation puts the proper perspective on our lives, no matter what is happening.

Revelation 15:5-6
After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

The word temple here, in vs 5, is a reference to the Holy of Holies, that Most Holy Place where the High Priest could enter but once a year. It is quite appropriate that as we look at this final outpouring of God’s wrath that these angels would come forth from out the Holy of Holies, speaking of this final wrath coming from the very heart of God.

Nahum, Revelation 14

Nahum 1:1-2

The burden against Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies;

It is true that Nineveh had repented, but unfortunately it wasn’t long lasting. A century after Nineveh had repented,they turned back to their evil ways. Nahum is the prophet that God used to speak judgment to the Ninevites.

Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

The Lord is quite aware of who trust Him and who don’t.

Nahum 1:15
Behold, on the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, Perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; He is utterly cut off.

This is a beautiful picture of the Gospel, the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus, being proclaimed to people. Paul uses this verse in Romans 10:15. It is also found in Isaiah 52:7.

Nahum 2:10
She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; Much pain is in every side, And all their faces are drained of color.

No matter how good things may be on the surface, underneath it all, things will crumble apart from being grounded and rooted in Jesus Christ.

Nahum 3:1
Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery. Its victim never departs.

How tragic, that a city that once had so much promise, a city that had a broken heart for sin and repentance toward God, could return right back to what the Lord had delivered them from. We see much of the same in America today as well.

Nahum 3:12
All your strongholds are fig trees with ripened figs: If they are shaken, They fall into the mouth of the eater.

This is how easy they will fall, like shaking figs off of a ripened fig tree,right into the hands of the enemy.

Revelation 14:5
And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

As I read this, thought know it is speaking of the saved Jews during the Great Tribulation, I am reminded of this truth. Because we re on Christ Jesus, we are without fault before the throne of God. Wow! That is such an amazing thing. I never grow tired of thinking about it.

Revelation 14:9-10
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

It is sobering to think of what will come upon those who willingly choose to reject the Lord. Praise God that those who have trusted in Jesus, have the assurance that we will escape the wrath that is to come.

Revelation 14:14
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.

What we see here, in verses 14-20, is a preview to the Battle of Armeggedon.

Revelation 14:20
And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

Imagine such wrath and destruction that the blood would be up to the horses bridles and 1,600 furlongs long, or 200 miles (furlong = 1/8 of a mile). All this will take place most likely within a 200 mile radius of Jerusalem where the armies of the world will be gathered at the time of Jesus’ 2nd coming. We will read about this more in Chapter 19.

Micah 6-7, Revelation 13

Micah 6:3

“O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.”

Oh how easy it is for people to testify against God. They insist at how unfair He is and get upset about all of the things that He doesn’t do that people think He should do. All the time, they ignore His patience, His mercy and grace. I heard a leader say recently how we cry out to God and ask where He is during tragedies such as what happened recently in Newtown, Connecticut, However, we forget that we have kicked him out of our schools and our nation in so many ways, only to cry out to Him when tragedy strikes, only to set Him aside once all the dust settles.

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

This is one of the earliest verses I remember as a new believer, because we used to sing an old Maranatha song with these words. The Lord had shown us what is good, and all the Lord requires of us is that we seek to do justly, to love His mercy and to walk humble with our God. How do we do that? By walking with Jesus Christ. If He humbled Himself enough to come to earth and become a man for the purpose of taking the sins of the world upon Himself at the cross, then certainly we ought to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge Him as Lord.

Micah 7:5
Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; Guard the doors of your mouth From her who lies in your bosom.

When my father was a little boy, his dad put him on a high ledge and told him to jump onto his arms and that he would catch him. When my dad jumped, his dad stepped away and my dad fell to the ground. My grandfather told him, “Son, that will teach to to never trust anyone, not even your own father.” What a horrible thing to do, and yet, tragically much of what he said was true. The only one who can truly be trusted is the Lord our God and those who have truly put their trust in Him.

Micah 7:19
He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.

The forgiveness of God is incomprehensible. I marvel at how evil people can be and yet the Lord is always ready to forgive. What a great and glorious thing this is. It should always draw us to Him with a heart that acknowledges His unfailing love. Where would be be without His forgiveness. I think we all know the answer to that one.

Revelation 13:3
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

There is no question here, that this is a reference to the Beast, the Antichrist who will rise up in the last days, during the Great Tribulation.

Revelation 13:5
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty- two months.

The forty-two months here speaks of the first 3 1/2 years that the Antichrist will rule, creating a sense of peace and that all is well. The church has been raptured, removed from the earth, and then he comes on the scene bringing a great sense of order and calm, albeit just for a moment.

Revelation 13:12
And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

This second beast who comes up out of the earth is the false prophet who seeks to draw all people away from God to worship the beast. Ultimately, he along with the Antichrist will be thrown into the lake of fire, for all eternity.

Revelation 13:16-17
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

This technology is already in place. Just search the web for ‘VeriChip’ and here is one of the things you will find: “Once scanned at the proper frequency, the VeriChip responds with a unique 16 digit number which could be then linked with information about the user held on a database for identity verification, medical records access and other uses. The insertion procedure is performed under local anesthetic in a physician’s office. As an implanted device used for identification by a third party, it had generated controversy and debate. VeriChip’s merger in 2010 officially changed their name to ‘PositiveID.'” (Wikipedia)