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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB December 29

  • 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 Dec 29
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Zechariah

14:4-5 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him. It's the earthquake again! Only this time we have the clue that right after the earthquake is when Jesus comes with all the holy ones (who have just been resurrected a few days earlier), and they will come to the Mount of Olives.

14:6-7 On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, yet there will be continuous day! Only the Lord knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light. NLT and NAS contradict each other:

(NAS) In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. Time for a third opinion:

(YLT) And it hath come to pass, in that day, The precious light is not, it is dense darkness, And there hath been one day, It is known to Jehovah, not day nor night, And it hath been at evening-time -- there is light. Sounds like NLT got it wrong! A day of darkness and gloom. I looked up "darkness and gloom" on studylight, and I got many references in the prophets that appear to be referring to this very day. We recently read Zephaniah 1:14-15:

Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness.

The descriptions fitting together all seem pretty terrible during those last days! Maybe martyrdom will be a good thing.

14:8-9 On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously in both summer and winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped. Again, we see that there will be these waters as a result of the earthquake that flow into the Dead Sea, bringing it back to life (we saw other prophecies to the same effect). Can you imagine ONE Lord and ruler for all the earth?

14:16-19 In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. Any nation in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, will have no rain. If the people of Egypt refuse to attend the festival, the Lord will punish them with the same plague that he sends on the other nations who refuse to go. Egypt and the other nations will all be punished if they don't go to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. We have talked about this before. The whole earth will be required to worship God at His appointed Feasts and Holy Days. That should answer the question for us today: should we be observing man-made holidays now, or God-established Holy Days? If it is required in the Kingdom, shouldn't it be something we choose to do now?

Revelation

20:4-6 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. So we see the first resurrection has taken place (beginning of MK). When is the second? It is after the MK for the White Throne Judgment. It will have both believers and unbelievers:

20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

We have talked about this at length throughout the year, so I'm just repeating for any recent visitors. But there is no judgment at the first resurrection. But the Bible clearly shows that the 2nd resurrection has the judgment of both believers and unbelievers. The first resurrection is for the overcomers! It is a reward.

Okay...only two more days! Keep pushing ahead!