Daily Reading: November 23

Read Rev 20:1–15
Rev 20:4-6 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Chapter 20 of Revelation is another depiction of the end of the word. It’s timeline begins with the ministry of Jesus. The first few verses are a repeat of what we saw in chapter twelve. It is also recorded in the gospels: Luk 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Now this thousand year reign of Christ is not a literal thousand years. It is symbolic of the fullness of time. A thousand is made of up of the number ten cubed. Ten is the number of completion. A cube is a perfect object. 10x10x10, completeness and perfection together is shown here. St. Paul tells us, Eph 1:7-10 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,… (9) making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ (10) as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
This first resurrection is our baptism. Rom 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” 1Pe 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…”
The reign of Christ is his ascension to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33, Rom. 8:34, Col. 3:1) and our rule is currently with Christ having Eph 2:6 “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…”
Rev 20:11-12 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, … before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” The dead are simply those who are raised on the last day who do not have faith in Christ. (Eph. 2:1) They reject the grace of God and seek to be judged according to what they have done. They will get their wish. The living are those who have faith in Christ and their names are written in the book of life. (John 11:25, 26). Believe in Jesus and you have eternal life.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for the gift of eternal life and seating us with you in the heavenly places. Do not blot our names from the book of life but ever keep us faithful to the end. Amen

Daily Reading: November 22

Read Rev 19:1–21
Rev 19:11-18 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war… (13) He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (14) And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. (15) From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (16) On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, (18) to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

In the book of Revelation, the end of the world is described seven times. Here in chapter 19 is one of them. Here Jesus is depicted coming in power and glory on the last day just as he has been described elsewhere in Scripture. David says, Psa 2:9 “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” This occurs on the Last Day when Jesus returns in judgment. Not so great a day for those who did not trust in him but a blessed day for those who do as David says, Psa 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Daniel saw this day and wrote, Dan 7:13-14 “… behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (14) And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Jesus tells us he is this son of man. Mat 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Jesus also speaks to this day in Revelation 19 when speaks to those who are taken (raptured), Luk 17:34-37 “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. (35) There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” (36) Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (37) And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

But we who are Christian need not fear that day. We have been promised, 1Th 4:16-18 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Lord Jesus Christ, may we be found faithful on the day of your return that we may be caught up with those who preceded us into your eternal glory and live with you forever. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 21

Read Rev. 18:1-24
Rev 18:7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’Rev 18:20-21 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” (21) Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;

Isa 47:8-11 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”: (9) These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. (10) You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” (11) But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.

Babylon the great! We see her first in Ninevah in Zephaniah and then of course in Babylonia. The center of world power and world commerce. And she changes from one place to another. Wherever power and commerce are centralized there her spirit is. She was once in Greece and then in Rome and wherever power is centralized.

The spirit of Babylon is that of a queen who thinks she is all there is. She is represented as mammon, worldly wealth. Whatever it takes to make wealth is all that matters to her and those who worship her. Though she has been brought down in the past yet she moves and regains a stronghold where she will find those who will serve her for a price. She never believes her day will ever end.

But God has warned us her day does come to an end, in a moment, very suddenly she will be brought down and the world commerce along with it. We as Christians are called to come out of her. You can love God or you can love mammon but you can’t love both. The world and its governments, its businesses trust in her. And you don’t have to go to some grove and burn an owl to worship her. You simply have to make her your everything or mostly everything.

God has called us to trust in him through Jesus Christ for our every need. We pray Our Father… give us this day our daily bread. We call God Father because having been baptized into the Son that is who he is for us. Look to him alone and put your trust in no one and nothing else and He promises to take care of you, even to fill the desires of your heart.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, give us such faith in you through your Son Jesus Christ, that we may trust no one and nothing but you alone. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 20

Read Matt 28:1–20
Mat 28:5-10 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” (8) So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (9) And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (10) Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

At least twice in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus had told his disciples that he was going to rise on the third day. Apparently the Jewish leaders thought his disciples might try to make this appear to come true so they placed guards at the tomb to prevent this. The disciples and the women didn’t quite get it as much as the Jewish leaders did. So the women came to the tomb on the third day to finish preparing his body for burial. But Good News! Jesus wasn’t there.

Instead the women were greeting by an angel and an empty opened tomb. The angel’s greeting is indeed good news for us today. Don’t be afraid. We no longer have to fear the devil. He has been defeated by Jesus’ death on the cross. His power to accuse us night and day before the throne of God has been taken away. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was accepted by the Father and his blood has taken away the charges that were laid against us by Satan.

The angel’s message is Good News! Jesus is risen from the dead even as he had foretold. Because Jesus is risen our sins have been atoned for. His blood through baptism into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit washes away our sin. God will no longer hold us accountable for them any more through faith in the blood of Jesus. Because sin can no longer accuse us Death itself is defeated. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus is risen from the dead. Death has lost its power over us and no longer can cause us fear. We know if our bodies die, we still possess eternal life and on the last day, just as Jesus is risen from the dead, we too will be raised to eternal life.

And now Jesus has sent the Church into the world to spread this good news. The Church sets apart men even as her Bridegroom has at the end of the chapter to preach the good news of the free gift of salvation. They teach us everything that Christ has taught us while he dwelt visibly among us. They baptize us into the name of God being the agents of adoption by the Father, making us children of the Living God. They wash us clean of sin, guilt and shame through the power of the water and the Word, the Name of God. They make us one with Jesus in his life, death and resurrection.

Lord Jesus Christ, ever send to us men with your Word and Name upon their lips, that we may receive the adoption as sons and receive the gift of eternal life and the resurrection of the righteous on the day of your return. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 19

Read Matt. 27:57-66
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’

Our God is a God of promises made and promises kept. We have a great set up here in Matthew. We have first a promise kept and then a recollection of a promise made.

First the promise kept. And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. (Isa 53:9) Jesus was laid in the tom of Joseph who was a rich man. I don’t know Joseph’s character but if we simply believe the scripture, “The soul that sins is the soul that dies,” then anyone in the grave is wicked. But wait! Jesus is in the grave. What is Jesus then? Well to all appearances he must be wicked by that standard.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
(Isa 53:5) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isa 53:6) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isa 53:10-12)

Jesus fulfills this in his death and burial for us. Now the Pharisees are worried his promise will come true or his disciples will make it appear this way. What is that? On the third day he will rise from the dead. What do we know happened? Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus keeps God’s promises. For all God’s promises are “Yes” in him. And so through him we can say “Amen,” to the glory of God. (2Co 1:20)

Here is a promise for you today: The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (1Ti 1:15) If you are a sinner this is good news for you.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for being the yes to all of the Father’s promises. Grant us faith to believe that you will keep all your promises given us in your Word. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 18

Read Matt 27:33–56
Mat 27:39-46 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads (40) and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (41) So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, (42) “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. (43) He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” (44) And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. (45) Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

As these things are happening what David had prophesied in Psalm 22 were coming to pass. That those who were engaging in this behavior may know what they were doing and what God was doing Jesus prays out loud the beginning of Psalm 22– Psa 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Indeed Jesus the Son of God is forsaken by God. Jesus has become a curse for us, Gal 3:13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”– (14) so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

David says, Psa 22:7-8 “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; (8) ‘He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’” and Psa 22:16-18 “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet– (17) I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me; (18) they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” It is as if David is right there, perhaps in a prophetic state he is.

But there is good news in Psalm 22 also, that we must see to know what Jesus is accomplishing there on the cross. David writes, Psa 22:27-31 “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. (28) For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. (29) All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. (30) Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; (31) they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.” Jesus shall rise from the dead and be seated at the right hand of God. His death brings people from every nation, language and tongue back to God that they may trust in him. He wins for himself an everlasting kingdom, you and I. We who trust in Jesus are his posterity. We are those who were a people yet unborn and we now sing his praise. Jesus’ curse and forsakenness brings us blessing and makes us unforsaken.

Lord Jesus Christ, by your agony and death you gained us to be your holy people. Grant us such faith in you that we too may endure all things that we may enter into your eternal kingdom when you return in glory. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 17

Read Matt 27:11–32
Mat 27:24-29 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” (25) And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (26) Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (27) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. (28) And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, (29) and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Jesus indeed was innocent of the false charges of the Jewish leadership. They stirred up the hatred of the Jewish people against Jesus. Yet this was the hand of God as Peter preached, Act 2:23 “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” I think sometimes God chose the Israelites because He knew they were a stiffnecked people who reject Him so that when He appeared in the flesh, they would crucify Him and kill Him as they wanted to do most of their history. The Jewish people call Jesus’ blood to be on them and on their children as a curse yet Jesus means it to be a blessing. For it is only through the blood of Christ Jesus that they, their children and all the people of the world would have their sins atoned for, forgiven, propitiated, wiped out and forgotten by God. In the next forty years thousands upon thousands Jews after Pentecost, would come to faith in Jesus, their messiah and be saved from the coming wrath of God.

The Romans do no better. They represent the rest of the world who rejects God as their king and as the king of the Jews. The Israelites have always rejected God as their King; 1Sa 8:7 “And the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.’” The rest of the world is no better; Psa 2:2-3 “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, (3) ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” The Roman soldiers demonstrate this in their mocking Jesus as King of the Jews. Yet Jesus is the King of the Jews. He is the King of Israel from the time he brought them out of Egypt. Jesus is the ruler of nations since he himself is the founder of every nation, people, language and tongue from the foundation of the world.

Yet while the world and the Israelites have rejected him, he becomes one of us, to suffer and endure the penalty of sin, which is death, that he may conquer death and the one who has he power over death, the devil. He becomes one of us so he may shed his blood to redeem for himself a holy people. He desires that you would become one of his people, to trust in his death for the forgiveness of your sins and his resurrection that you may believe you are given the gift of eternal life. The time of ignorance is over. The time of faith has begun.

Lord Jesus Christ, may your blood be upon us that our sins may be forgiven and that we may trust you as the King of the universe and most especially our hearts. Make our hearts a fit place for you to rule and dwell and may we ever hail your rightly as our king. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 16

Read Matt 27:1–10
Mat 27:3-5 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, (4) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” (5) And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself… 7-10 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. (8) Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (9) Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, (10) and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

It is a horrible thing when those appointed to bring forgiveness in the stead and by the command of God throw our remorse to ourselves and tell us to deal with it. But that is the problem with sin. We cannot deal with it ourselves. We cannot forgive ourselves. That is a delusion. Only God can forgive sins. He only does it because of the blood shed for us by His only begotten son Jesus Christ shedding it for us on the cross. Jesus who has been given authority to judge and forgive sins has given this authority to his bride, the Church and she does this through those she calls, that is her pastors.

Judas’ repentance is not one though to repentance. Many people are sorry for their sins, that is, they regret what they are experiencing, the fruits of their sin but are not repentant towards God. They do not regret having transgressed against God’s law. They do not believe God can or will forgive them. They have no intention of quitting their sinful behavior. They do not seek forgiveness from the ones they harmed nor to God with whom all forgiveness lies. So Judas in his despair goes and hangs himself. But we should always remember we have a gracious, merciful, loving God who acts towards us and desires to be this way toward us on account of Jesus.

Secondly, we see here the Scriptures have been fulfilled concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. This should give us great comfort. For where we see the Scriptures fulfilled we can look to the rest of the promises of God and know our Father in heaven will fulfill all His promises He gives us in the Scriptures. Here is one promise you can take with you the rest of the day and every day-If you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins you have eternal life and on the last day you will be raised to everlasting life.

Lord Jesus Christ, ever grant unto us repentance and faith that we may not despair of our sins but believe and possess eternal life now and the resurrection of our bodies on the day of your return. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 15

Read Matt. 26:57-75
But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. (Mat 26:63-65)

If anyone ever tells you Jesus never claimed to be God, then this is the passage for you “if” they are willing to concede the gospel accounts are correct. The high priest says Jesus has committed blasphemy. Now there are two kinds of blasphemy. One is to claim you are God and the other is to speak ill of God. Jesus is not speaking ill of God here. He is claiming divinity. How so you may ask? Well Jesus is here quoting scripture. What scripture?

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Dan 7:13-14)

The high priest understood Jesus to be claiming he is the Son of Man here in Daniel. They understood this Son of Man to have equality with the Most High because what he is given here is the possession of the Most High.

Now what is the good news here? Jesus, the Son of Man is seated at the right hand of Power. Yeah and? When you are in Christ you are seated with him in the heavenly places. Eph. 2:6; Heb. 3:1 But not only that. We often hear people taking comfort that God is in charge. Well that’s no comfort at all if you think that He is against you. But “he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,…”(Eph 1:22)

You see Jesus is at the right hand of the Father (Power) on your behalf. He is working all things for good for those who are in Him. He is exercising that authority and power on your behalf, to bring you to faith and to keep you in the faith, to bring you through whatever it is that life and putting you through. So Jesus is in charge or in control but more importantly he is in charge/control on your behalf, despite yourself. Now that is good news.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of Man who has been seated at the right hand of Power, all glory and dominion is yours. Give us faith that we may be in you are participate in your glory as you have promise us who trust in you. Amen.