Today’s Bible Reading: Zechariah 12-13:9; Revelation 19:1-21; Psalm 147:1-20; Proverbs 31:1-7
Jerusalem is God’s holy city. Muslims claims that Jerusalem is their third holiest city but they didn’t start making this claim until the 1930s when the creation of a Jewish state began to become a possibility and Jews began moving into Israel in greater numbers. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran. Nor are there any Islamic/Muslim writings prior to 1930 which hold Jerusalem in high regard. The Muslim claim to Jerusalem is based solely on jealousy.
But the Bible has claimed Jerusalem for the Jews (and God) for thousands of years. As such God will protect it against anyone and everyone who tries to take it away from Him (Zechariah 12:2-3). Many peace plans have come and gone because Israel has rightfully refused to give up control of Jerusalem, thereby fulfilling this prophecy.
We’ve seen dozens of passages this year which equate Jesus with God and we see one more here in Zechariah 12:10. God is speaking in these verses and says (emphasis added) “They will look on me who they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son”. As Jesus’ body hung dead on the cross a Roman soldier pierced His side to ensure He was dead. It was God who was hanging on that cross (“they will look on me…”). These prophetic verses, written 500 years before Jesus, predict that God would come to earth in a human body and be killed.
But these verses also prophecy how Israel will some day look upon Jesus as their savior (Zechariah 12:10-12). At some point in the future, Jews will collectively come to the realization that Jesus is the Messiah they have been waiting for for so long.
When the Romans and Jews conspired to have Jesus killed they were actually doing what God wanted done (Zechariah 12:10, 13:7). It was always God’s plan to send His Son into the world to die for the sins of mankind. See also Isaiah 53. God uses the evil of people to bring about His plans.
In yesterday’s New Testament passage the world mourned for Babylon – the world’s political, economic, and spiritual system – after God had destroyed it. So often we get sad when things in life don’t go the way we want. But God always does the right thing (Revelation 19:2). When we were children we didn’t always understand our parent’s decisions until we grew up. Likewise, we don’t always understand the events God brings into our lives until we get to know Him, and ourself, better.
Someday there will be a wedding in heaven between Jesus, as the groom, and all believers, as the bride (Revelation 19:7). Marriage is not two people who are in love (or in lust) declaring that they will spend the rest of their lives together (only to break that promise more than 50% of the time). Earthly marriage is symbolic of the eternal, unbroken, relationship between Jesus (God) and believers. This is why same-sex marriage is not acceptable – it violates God’s extremely important design of and purpose for marriage.
No created being should be worshipped (Revelation 19:10). Angels and humans are created by God and are both servants of God. Compare this to Jesus who freely accepted worship – He never turned it down as the angel does here – because Jesus is not a creation of God. He is not a human being as Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim. See Hebrews 1:6, Matthew 8:2, Matthew 14:33, John 9:38, et. al. Jesus was God.
When Jesus first appeared on this earth He came to die a sacrificial death to atone for the sins of mankind. When He was nailed to a cross to die He was perceived as a loser because the world didn’t understand (and still doesn’t understand) that Jesus came to defeat sin. But when He comes the second time He will come to judge those who reject Him as their Savior (Revelation 19:11-16).
When the world’s armies join forces at Har Megiddo (Mount of Megiddo; “Armageddon” in English) at the end of the Tribulation in an ill-conceived effort to eradicate God from the planet, they will actually be gathering for their own destruction (Revelation 19:17-19). They will be killed en-masse in an instant by Jesus. Notice that there is no battle mentioned here nor is Jesus accompanied by an army of His own. A army of millions is no match for Jesus. This battle will be over before it even begins.
For all of human history, right up to the present, people have thought they were smarter than God, more powerful than God, more “correct” than God. We think we can outwit God, manipulate God, and even eradicate God. This is simply arrogance. For all of history God has been patient with human arrogance – to which there is no limit. During the Tribulation the hubris of man will be so out of control that people will think they can defeat Him and create a planet free from His sovereignty. They will find out they are wrong.
The antichrist and his false prophet will be captured and thrown – alive – into hell (Revelation 19:20) while their armies are killed (Revelation 19:21). Tomorrow we’ll read about the final judgement of mankind. But notice that the antichrist and the false prophet won’t even appear before Jesus to have their lives judged. Their guilt is so certain that God simply throws them directly into hell.
Its important to note that these men will be thrown “alive” into hell. People live forever. Even though our bodies may die, we will be given new, eternal, bodies and we will reside somewhere – heaven or hell – for all eternity. Earth is just a pit stop. Earth is a fork in the road where we can choose where we want to spend eternity. God invites everyone to join Him in heaven. But its up to each of us to accept His invitation.
We just read how God will obliterate the arrogant who defy Him. But He will support the humble (Psalm 147:6). The word “support” implies fragility or weakness. When we realize how frail and weak we are we become stronger than our pride could ever make us because God will give us His own strength.
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