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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB April 10

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Apr 09
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Deuteronomy

34:4 I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land. A reminder: even though it seems sad to us that Moses did not enter the PL in his age (OT), he will enter a far better PL of the Millennial Kingdom at the resurrection!

34:9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him (NASB). Here we see the picture of the exchange. Moses (a Christ-type) dies and transfers the Spirit of wisdom to guide the people through Joshua (also a Christ-type). Remember how Jesus died and sent back His Spirit at Pentecost to guide His followers. A beautiful picture of Moses as a Christ-type is in verses 10-12. How fascinating that these verses about Moses end the written Torah!

Joshua

1:2 Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. The Holy Spirit is our guide across the Jordan (death) into the Millennial Kingdom, or later, the final Kingdom (depending on our responses to God's work in our lives on this earth).

1:5 For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Think of this verse applied to us today, and let the words sink in: For I will be with you as I was with Jesus. I will not fail you or abandon you. These words are a picture of His unconditional, Un-failing love for His people.

1:6-9 Notice, three times God says, "Be strong and courageous." Do you think He's trying to tell us something?

1:11 In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you." I wonder if this is symbolic of the three days it took for Jesus to rise from the grave?

1:13 The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land. Symbolic of the Sabbath Millennium—an age of rest as Jesus provides for His people. Even though there will be "working the Harvest," it will not be toil for a couple reasons. The Bible indicates Jesus will provide the necessities of life, and those in their resurrected bodies are resurrected in power. We will not wear out like we do now. Check out 1 Cor. 15:42-44: So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

The story of Rahab is rich with meaning. Aside from the fact that she is in the lineage of Jesus (a Gentile prostitute—which has plenty of implications of its own), there is another complimentary picture. God sent Paul and Timothy to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were not only heathens and idol worshipers (hence spiritual prostitutes), but many people believe (myself included) that The Church of the final age before Jesus comes to reign (this age is described as "the last days" and is from the time of Christ until the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom) and what Revelation describes as "The Harlot," is "The Church." The Church has worn many hats since Christ—beginning with the Roman Catholic Church exclusively in the early church and in subsequent centuries since the Reformation, the Protestant Church as well (see Revelation 17:5). This does not mean that all the people belonging to these churches are evil or even that all teachings are evil. It is simply a fact that the majority of this Gentile church, much like the majority of people since the beginning of time, have not followed Jesus wholeheartedly. It is the nature of man. The Jews were no different either. So again, I am not "damning" everyone in church. But it has always been the mainstream religious institutions of any "Christian" or Jewish heritage that have historically led people astray.

So I believe the picture is that of a select few of the last days Church (after the death of Christ), whether Catholic or Protestant, that will receive the truth (Joshua and the spies) in their homes, and they will be saved from the coming destruction. After all, out of an entire city, Rahab and her family were the only ones who believed enough to stake their lives on it. Even though others were fearful of the power of God (vs. 10-11), they did not believe enough to follow Joshua safely out of the city. Rahab was the only one who acted upon it. She took risks and turned away from the masses, and was saved from the ensuing judgment.

On another level, this could also possibly be prophetic regarding Tribulation times when God protects believers and Jews during the terrible judgments in the latter half.

2:18 When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. There must be something significant to the scarlet rope. I pictured the scarlet cloth or rope tied to the Azazel goat (scapegoat), but I don't know. Any thoughts?

Luke

13:23-27 23 And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them,  24 "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, `Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, `I do not know where you are from.' 26 "Then you will begin to say, `We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets'; 27 and He will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.' 28 "In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. 29 "And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 30 "And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last." (NASB)

I printed this in NASB because there were "additions" and liberties in the NLT that just don't occur. Notice in verse 25, there is no mention of "it will be too late" like NLT throws in.

Greek definitions of two key words:

Saved: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

Depart: to make stand off (in separation), cause to withdraw, to remove

Weeping and gnashing of teeth: This has traditionally meant "hell," but listen to what well-known preacher Tony Evans has to say about this concept in his article "Rewards for Christians:"

But those Christians who are unfaithful (Matt. 25:28-30) will have their rewards taken from them and given to those who were faithful, and, and they will be cast into "outer darkness," the place where there shall be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." The "outer darkness" described in this passage is not a description of hell, but is likely a lesser status in God's kingdom.  Unfaithful Christians will see more diligent Christians rule and reign with Christ.  Seeing that they could have had much greater reward and prominence in God's kingdom, these unfaithful stewards will weep and gnash their teeth in deep remorse and regret."  (p 1234)

I believe this is a picture of the warning of Gehenna. Remember it was outside the city gates? I believe part of the refinement period (judgment) could include a time when the unfaithful servants are banished outside the city gates (Jerusalem) and not permitted entrance during a time of purging. This would be a terrible sentence. To know that the glorious Jesus, King of kings was sitting inside the city, but that you could not enter the city or approach Him until your time of judgment was complete, would be a time for weeping. Notice in verse 39 that the faithful were pictured inside the city, "reclining at the table." This concept can also be seen in Psalm 112:6-10, where the righteous is being rewarded for his faith, and the wicked person is gnashing his teeth as he watches his desires die.

Here's more on "weeping and gnashing of teeth," and "outer darkness from Wiki: In Christianity, the outer darkness is a place referred to three times in the Gospel of Matthew (8:12, 22:13, and 25:30) into which a person may be "cast out", and where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Generally, the outer darkness is thought to be hell; however, many Christians associate the outer darkness more generally as a place of separation from God or from the metaphorical "wedding banquet" that Jesus is expected to have upon his Second Coming. Translated literally, the Greek text of Matthew reads "into the darkness, the outer." The most detailed of the Biblical passages regarding the outer darkness is in Jesus' parable of the wedding feast (also known as the parable of the marriage of the king's son). In this parable, a king arranged a wedding for his son, but the normal guests did not come; therefore, the king sent his servants to gather guests from off the street. One of these guests, however, appeared without the proper wedding attire that the King had provided; When the King asked "Were you not given a gown that is required for the wedding?" The man refused to put on the gown; therefore, the King said: "Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 22:13-14, NASB.) 

13:32 Jesus replied, "Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. This could be a powerful prophetic word. Third day could mean two things. First, the reference to His rising at the end of the third day, accomplishing His power over death. Second, it could be a reference to the end of the third day (Millennial Kingdom occurs on the "third day" or third millennium after His appearance on earth the first time). Matthew 24:14 says, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." We don't really know which "end" He is speaking about. The end of this age? Or the end of the next age? If He's speaking the end of the next age (remember He and His chosen are working the Harvest for 1,000 years), perhaps this third day reference means His purpose of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth will be complete. Kind of deep, but worth mentioning. We're looking for hidden pearls, remember? Diving deep!

14:5 And He said to them, "Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?" There's a strong principle here.