Today’s Bible Reading: Zechariah 9:1-17; Revelation 17:1-18; Psalm 145:1-21; Proverbs 30:32
Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 9:1-7 against the nations surrounding Jerusalem is remarkable in the fact that the cities are listed in the exact order they were subsequently conquered by Alexander the Great, thereby fulfilling this prophecy exactly. Even more remarkable is God’s promise in Zechariah 9:8 in which He says He will protect Jerusalem from the attackers. History shows that Alexander passed by Jerusalem after being shown a copy of the book of Daniel which prophesied that he (Alexander) would conquer all these lands. Alexander was so impressed with the Scriptures that he did lay a single finger on Jerusalem.
The remainder of Zechariah 9 predicts the future coming of Israel’s true king, Jesus who would make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). Riding on a donkey in ancient times was actually a symbol of royalty. The idea of a conquering military king riding a stallion is very much a modern and Western concept. Riding a donkey identified someone as a peaceful ruler.
Like much of prophecy, Zechariah’s comments bounce back and forth between near-future and far-future. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey circa 32 AD (Revelation 9:9) but will bring peace to the earth and will reign over it when He comes again in the future (Revelation 9:10).
Revelation 17 & 18 describe the downfall of future Babylon. In these chapters Babylon is representative of a world-wide religion (Revelation 17) and a political/economic system (Revelation 18). Whether this implies that the city of Babylon (about 50 miles south of Baghdad in Iraq) itself will once again exist is debatable. Its possible. Its also possible that these passages refer to the world during the Tribulation – a people united by evil against God just like Babylon of Genesis 11.
During the Tribulation a single, world-wide religion will be ushered in by the antichrist. This religion will denounce the true God of the Bible (Revelation 17:3). This world-wide religion of the antichrist will have the appearance of accuracy and truth (Revelation 17:4) and will be adopted by all the nations, presumably in the name of tolerance and unity.
We can certainly see this happening today with the “Coexist” movement and others like it. Many people believe that religion is divisive and they are correct. Religions are man-made inventions and as such each religion competes with all the others for idealogical supremacy. But biblical Christianity is not a religion – it is not man-made. It is God-made. Therefore it is 100% true which explains why all world religions hate it and will come together at the end of time in an effort to stomp it out of existence once and for all.
But Bible-believing born-again Christians will not give up their belief and join the antichrist’s one-world-religion movement. As a result they will be killed by people in the name of this religion (Revelation 17:6). Throughout history many atrocities have occurred in the name of religions. The Crusades. 9/11. Aztec sacrifices. Thugee sect killings. Burmese Buddhists killings. None of this is from God. Sadly, many people reject the idea of a God based on these terrible incidents. But anyone who does so is confusing religion with God. God did not invent religion. Religions are man-made attempts to justify ourselves before a god of our own invention. God hates religion (we’ve read this several times this year).
Exactly who the kings are who are mentioned in Revelation 17:10-12 is not clear. Some believe that at some point the planet will be divided into 5 or 10 administrative districts. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out on the world stage. But what is clear is the they will give all their power to the antichrist (Revelation 17:8) and will act in unison in an effort to defeat Jesus (Revelation 17:14).
One way to bring two enemies together is to unite them against a common enemy. After the Rapture there will be no more Christians on the planet and, hence, no one to speak out against the world removing Jesus from society (although we know a few will be born-again during the Tribulation). Perhaps the world leaders will see this as an opportunity to eradicate the Bible and the Jews from the planet once and for all based on the misguided notion that God is the source of all our problems and that man is the solution to all our problems. But as we’ve learned by reading the Bible this year, and can see from the last six decades of human history, the more we remove Jesus from our culture the more our culture collapses. Pride prevents people from admitting this. But no one who looks at recent history objectively can deny that this is happening. Apparently this false belief will continue, and intensify, until the end.
God is compassionate by nature. He is good to everyone, even those who hate Him (Psalms 145:8). Everything He does He does with our best interests in mind (Psalm 145:17) and will not ignore anyone who calls upon Him (Psalm 145:18). Sadly too many people don’t believe this today.
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