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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB November 18

  • 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 Nov 19
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Ezekiel

37:1-14 The Valley of Dry Bones. I have heard many an inspiring message/angle/application of this passage. But today I see it in light of the future of "spiritual Israel" or the overcomers (chosen). To my knowledge, after Israel (this is the audience, see verse 11) was sent into exile, they were never brought back home but were dispersed among the nations. I believe God is giving a prophecy here of the first resurrection of His spiritual Israel, and it is beautiful! NLT makes it sound as if these people will be resurrected and brought back to physical Israel, but in reading NASB, I didn't necessarily get that picture. Though I haven't studied it out yet, I am questioning the chosen reigning and ruling with Christ from a physical land, but think it will likely be something far better (perhaps the New Jerusalem being kept in another realm).

37:15-23 As we go on in this chapter, we see there is the reunion between Judah and Israel. Remember yesterday we discussed Judah as being given the scepter or the dominion mandate and Israel as being given the birthright or the fruitfulness mandate. These two mandates began in Genesis 1:26, 28. So as the kingdom divided, the house of Judah was given dominion or rule (through Jacob's son Judah) and Israel was given the fruitfulness mandate (through Joseph's son Ephraim). These two mandates eventually manifest in the Spirit (not in the flesh). Judah brought about the Messiah who will rule and reign into coming ages. Spiritual Israel is bringing about the manifestation of the "chosen" or the overcomers who will one day rule and reign with Christ and help bring about the fruitfulness fulfillment of the harvest of mankind. It is all very beautiful. And here we see these two "houses" or mandates coming together in the Millennial Kingdom!

37:24-28 Apparently David is going to be given authority once again in the coming age. While this is probably symbolic of Christ on one level, I can't help but think it is also going to be literal-that David is going to be ruling over spiritual Israel in the coming Kingdom. At the end of this passage, it says that the Lord will ALSO be dwelling in our midst.

38:1-23 This chapter is about "Gog and Magog." I believe this is a picture of times at the end of the 1,000-year Millennial Kingdom. Check out verses 8-9:

"After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."

God goes on to say in latter verses:

"It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," declares the Lord GOD, "that My fury will mount up in My anger. In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. "With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD."'

Why do I believe this is the end of the MK? Check out Revelation 20:6-9. It is a picture of the end of the MK when Satan is let out of his chains and he goes out to deceive the nations (mortals, not the immortals who are reigning with Christ) once again:

Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. Rev. 20:6-9

James

1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. How many times have we seen this theme?

2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? I love how God honors the poor! I only wish I had not shown favoritism to the wealthy at different times in my life. Hard not to do! The overcomers in this world will either be poor, or they will be poor in spirit! A lot of the spirit of this passage is that if overcomers are going to be the judge in a later age over mankind, they cannot be swayed by the things of the flesh.

2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. Pretty much indicts all of us.

2:13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. This is the heart of the kings and priests of God!