~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Zechariah 14:1-21 ~ Revelation 20:1-15
Psalm 148:1-14 ~ Proverbs 31:8-9
Old Testament - Today we finish the book of the prophet Zechariah! Only one more book in the Bible to go - Malachi, which we'll read over the next couple of days. In Zechariah chapter 14 today we read about the Lord's reign on earth - this reading fits in pretty nicely with the Revelation readings we have been going through recently.
Verses 6 through 8 gave my imagination a great workout today - "On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, yet there will be continuous day! Only the LORD knows how this could happen! There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light. On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously both in summer and in winter." How does this sound to you?? Not bad, eh. The light and the life-giving waters sound wonderful. Has anyone read the book Peace Like a River by Leif Enger? (good book) For some reason these verses made me think about the very end of that book where a couple of the characters goes into a heaven-like place. I like thinking about that place... :)
Verse 16 is interesting - "In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters." The phenomenal One Year Bible Companion book has a great Question of "Why will there still be an Old Testament Feast during the Messiah's Kingdom?" And an answer that basically says the Feast of the Tabernacles will still be appropriate because it is a festival of thanksgiving, celebrating those who love God with all their soul. The other feasts of the Old Testament won't be celebrated as they were all fulfilled - The Passover in Jesus' death - Day of Atonement in Jesus' Salvation - Feast of Firstfruits in Jesus' resurrection - and Pentecost with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
New Testament - In Revelation chapter 20 today we read about the Millennial Reign of Christ, Satan's Doom, and the Judgment of the Dead. There are 3 basic beliefs in the 1,000 years described in this chapter - 1. Amillennialism describes the present reign of Jesus in heaven, along with deceases believers and currently living believers - all of which will be followed by Jesus' return, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and Jesus' reign over the new earth eternally. 2. Premillennialism also believes in the present reign of Jesus that is moving toward a time when Jesus returns, the first resurrection occurs, and there will be a reign of Jesus in the current earth as we know it. Then will come the final general resurrection, the final judgment, and then the eternal kingdom on the new earth. 3. Postmillennialism believes that the entire world as we currently know it will be converted to Christianity and this will bring the millennium of peace - followed by Jesus' second coming, the general resurrection, final judgment, and the eternal kingdom. Hopefully I got these 3 kinda closely described... :)
Verses 11-12 get into Judgment, which is obviously quite a topic to attempt to cover in a daily blog... "And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the one who was sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to the things written in the books, according to what they had done." So... I am going to defer to someone much smarter than me on this one, and encourage you to read Lehman Strauss's article entitled "The Future Judgment of the Believer" at the epic bible.org at this link. I encourage you to check this link out if you'd like a glimpse toward what happens after we pass on from this life - including a very interesting look at 5 crowns that can be given / received!
Psalms - Psalm 148 is a call for all creation to praise God! I love it. As I was reading this Psalm a song that we sometimes sing in church that goes something like - "Let everything that. Let everything that. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" Amazing how the Psalms can stir up songs in our minds? :)
Verse 5 is powerful - "Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for he issued his command, and they came into being." Do you agree with this verse? That you came into being because the Lord commanded it? Do you give thanks to God frequently? And joyfully? Even in the midst of maybe some challenging times in life, can you still give praise to your creator?
Proverbs 31:8-9 jumped out at me today and of course reminded me of the victims and families and people suffering due to the earthquake and tsunami's - "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." Is God calling you to speak up in some way for the poor and helpless? (this question is not necessarily related to the tsunami's - maybe it's somewhere else in your city or neighborhood or home that this call is leading you to speak up...) Will you speak up?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!