~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Zechariah 12:1-13:9 ~ Revelation 19:1-21
Psalm 147:1-20 ~ Proverbs 31:1-7
Old Testament - Today in Zechariah chapter 12 we begin the second oracle in the book of Zechariah! It is interesting to note that the Hebrew term for "oracle" or "the word of the Lord" is only used 3 times in the Old Testament - here in 12:1, in Zechariah 9:1 and in Malachi 1:1. This indicates that Zechariah chapters 9 through 14 were likely written at about the same time as the book of Malachi - the last book of the Old Testament - which we'll be reading in a couple of days! :) This 2nd oracle in Zechariah consists of the final siege of Jerusalem and Jesus' return as Messiah to defeat Israel's enemies and establish his kingdom. Below is a Russian artist's icon of the prophet Zechariah from the 1400's:
Chapter 12 verse 10 is a powerful Messianic verse in today's readings: "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on all the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died." The first sentence indicates a pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In the second sentence it appears that Jesus is speaking in the first person - here in the Old Testament! The use of the word pierced here is similar to Psalm 22:16 - "they have pierced my hands and my feet" and John 19:34-37 - "Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”" Below is an oil painting from the year 1515 of the One they pierced by the German painter Matthias Grünewald:
Chapter 13 verse 7 is another powerful verse about Jesus: ""Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner, says the LORD Almighty. Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs." This last sentence is quoted by Jesus just before his arrest in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27. It is applied to the scattering of the apostles, but can also be considered for the dispersion of the Jews in A.D. 70 after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. And yet, even after the sheep were scattered, do you realize that Jesus is seeking after his lost sheep? Have you been found by Jesus?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Zechariah titled "Oracle Concerning Israel" is at this link.
New Testament - Revelation chapter 19 verses 7 through 9 discuss the wedding feast of the Lamb (Jesus) in powerful language: "Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She is permitted to wear the finest white linen." (Fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God.) And the angel said, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb." And he added, "These are true words that come from God." The wedding feast of the Lamb is the end of human history - the judgment of the wicked and the wedding of the Lamb and his bride, the church. Are you looking forward to the wedding feast of the lamb? Do you want to be there? Do you believe the words - blessed are those who are invited to the feast? Have you accepted the Invitation?
Revelation chapter 19 utilizes the Hebrew for Hallelujah! four times in the first six verses - but it is interesting to note that Hallelujah is not used anywhere else in the New Testament. Though, certainly we are reading Hallelujah frequently now in the Psalms! (such as today's Psalm 147). The Hallelujah's in this chapter, along with verse 16 in today's readings - "On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords." - reminded me of Handel's Messiah.
The rider on the white horse in chapter 19 is not the rider of the white horse from earlier in the book of Revelation, chapter 6 verse 2. The rider in this chapter is Jesus, returning as Warrior-Messiah-King. It's interesting to note that many of the Jewish faith in the 1st century were looking for their Messiah to come as Warrior-Messiah-King, and thus they rejected Jesus as Messiah, who came then as the Suffering Servant. However, it is powerful for us to keep in mind that Jesus is indeed coming again - and when he returns it won't be in his previous role as the Suffering Servant. That debt has been paid. Jesus will return as Warrior-Messiah-King!
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
Below is an image for verse 21 in today's readings that is well worth cheering about! "And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur."
Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Revelation chapter 19 titled "The Second Coming of Christ" is at this link and "Eater or Eaten?" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 147 was thought to have been written for Levitical singers on the happy occasion of the dedication of the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem - see Nehemiah 12:27-43. Psalm 147 was divided into two Psalms - verses 1 through 11 and 12 through 20 - in the Septuagint, the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament. However, the Hebrew text has the Psalm as one whole Psalm. Verses 10 and 11 are an incredible middle point of this Psalm that stood out to me today: "The strength of a horse does not impress him; how puny in his sight is the strength of a man. Rather, the LORD's delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love." These verses remind me that God really is not impressed with our shows of "strength" or "independence." God is much more impressed when we are dependent on Him. Are you honoring the Lord with your life today? Do you put his hope in his unfailing love? Or do you rely on your own strength?
Today in Psalm 147 I liked verse 15 a lot: "how swiftly his word flies!" Indeed, it is true! I pray God's Word, the Bible, is flying swiftly (and powerfully!) in your life this year!
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 31 and the preceding chapter 30 are thought to be essentially an "appendix" to the overall book of Proverbs, as they are non-Israelite in origin. Chapter 29 was the final chapter of the Proverbs of Solomon. Proverbs chapter 31 verses 1 through 9 consist of 3 sayings that King Lemuel's mother taught him. The entirety of Proverbs chapter 31 demonstrates the significance and role of wise women in the ancient Near East, where the queen mother was often an influential figure.
Comments from you: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Thanks Mike for your faithfulness in the ministry of this blog. You are such a blessing! I am looking forward to start the reading of the bible all over again in a few days, and I am committed to coming to this blog every single day from 1 Jan 2007.
It's my desire to learn from the wise woman from Proverbs chapter 31. Her qualities and characters are what I aspire to!
Posted by: Kitty | December 28, 2006 at 04:07 AM
I love Zechariah 12:10 "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem." Thank You Lord Jesus for pouring your spirit of prayer and grace not only on the family of David and Jerusalem but also on us Your New Covenant people. Help us to do as zechariah prophesied, "Look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son.' Although Easter is months away, had you not been born then you could not die. Thank You in advance for the sacrifice You made on our behalf. Amen.
By the way, just saw We are Marshall, the true story of the Marshall University football team of 70 players and coaches and family that were wiped out in a single plane accident on Nov 14, 1970. How many of us well remember that day!!! Somewhat 'hollywoodish' but nevertheless inspiring. In one sobering scene the verse from Job 2 is seen hanging on a billboard, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.' Well worth remembering as we head toward a new year.
Posted by: luciano Del Monte | December 28, 2006 at 07:16 AM
I like what you wrote " ... God really is not impressed with our shows of "strength" or "independence." God is much more impressed when we are dependent on Him". I told you about my 'friends', right? Those 'friends' that think I now join some 'weird community'. The 'friends' that probably think "Hmm ... Mae is passioned about what she does lately, so she must join a community ... because when you do things that you really don't want to do, then you join a church". LOL Yeah ... please forgive them.
Anyway, I now know who my real friends are, that means a lot to me. If I have to loose some people that were suppose to be my friends, well, so be it. I couldn't care less. I just hope and pray for them that some day they'll see the light. Well, I'm getting off track here ... What I was saying, I really like what you said about how God is not impressed with our shows of 'strength' or 'independence'. God is much more impressed when we are dependent on Him. That's just so true! Things are getting more clear to me every day! I realize that when I'm just doing the things I need to do as a Christian. Then God will see me, He'll hear me and He'll give to me. I can just do what I need to do and totally depend on Him and He'll give me what I need. For example: last Summer Rene and I hit rock bottom financially. Rene's former boss still owed us money and we really needed that badly! When it really hit us, I didn't have a job so I needed to just GET a job. No matter what it was. This all happened right before I was saved, a week or 2 ... I should say I was in the middle of everything. We hit rock bottom and then I started to go to the church.
Anyway ... I needed a job and with the lousy economy we have going on right here, it was pretty hard to get a job. I had to put my diploma's, workhistory and pride aside, I just HAD to take a job, no matter what it was. We needed money and right away! I just didn't have the time to go through serious and deep interviews and rounds blah blah blah. I just had to have a job, instantly. So I went to an employment-agency and they introduced me to HMS, where I work right now. I had an interview there and I was suppose to start as a parttime tele-marketeer. I was sad, but I realized we really needed the money. With all do respect for tele-marketeers, I don't think any less of them, honestly! But it's just that I always had managerfunctions, so this was a huge step back for me! But I just did it, I went to the interview and for some testings I did the tele-marketing-thing. Quite quickly the manager came up to me and told me they all thought I was too experienced to work as a telemarketeer and they wanted me to work as a Media Advisor. Which personally fit me more. Still not what I had in mind for myself to do, but again: we needed the money. I was happy though that I like the company and I really like the department I work in. When extra people were needed, I just went extra hours to the office, when other departments needed people I would just changed departements for a day or 2. Whenever there was something to do, I'd help out. I trusted the Lord that He'd shine through me and finally someone would notice me and opportunities would rise.
Everyday I go to work, with a smile on my face: I'm a child of God ... and I trust my Father! People started to call me "Mae with the big smile" and 3 weeks ago I had a talk with my boss and he said they would offer me a contract for a year. Which was great of course!!!! And last week ... I had another talk with my boss ... this one's even better ... He told me that 'whatever' I wanted to do within the company, they'd support me, all I have to do is let him know what I want to do. What ever manager position I want, they'll help me. I can choose a school that I want and they pay for the whole thing! So I'll start out soon as a teamleader, then I go to school and will be a Marketing Manager within a year or 2!!! So now, how is that? I depended on the Lord, I didn't complain, I just did what I had to do and He gave me this! Depend on the Lord, being patience ... it will all be allright.
So what I was going to say about my 'friends'. They don't understand how Christians can be in problems or like me having a job that is way underneath of what I can do. They think all Christians should have everything they want, because 'God can do everything, right?". I just smile when they talk like that!! I mean, I'm still Mae! Mae with her struggles, Mae the human being. I'm still the same person! I just found a way to live my life differently. I found Jesus ... But it all doesn't mean that I'm still in a learning process! But come on! The thing that happened with my job, that proves that eventually, when I just be me, when I just do what I need to do, do not complain and put a smile on my face ... I get what I deserve!
Posted by: Mae | December 28, 2006 at 10:39 AM
Lots of great stuff! We are so blessed when we finally see our need for God's strength and know ours is nothing. When we are solely dependant on Him! Our fallen nature wants to be independent and rely on oursleves, but God will show every believer how inadequate we are. Some ppl will have to go through trial after trial to get the message, some Christinas cling to their 'strength' for yrs. We have to know its all God. We have nothing of ourselves! Like Zech 12:5 says: "Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, 'The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God".
God will get the glory when others see HIm moving in our lives. Thats the goal...and how blessed we will be, its one of the best things in the world when i finally learned total dependence on Him. (not that I dont still sometimes try to do things on my own...but God reminds me lovingly). Plus, I'm miserable when I try to be independent! Thank God!
Psalms is beautiful. Rev is just the best thing ever. ha!!! I cant wait for that sucker to burn forever. the enemy is an evil liar murderer, mere words cant describe it...he will get his punishment and I will be in the front row cheering. slam dunk!
Posted by: Jenny | December 29, 2006 at 09:23 AM
you know when I was younger I thought that Relevation was the "no-no" book of the Bible..so i never read it..how silly is that?? why is it that children think that?
Posted by: Brandie | December 30, 2006 at 11:23 AM