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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB October 14

  • 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 Oct 14
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Jeremiah

23:24 (NASB) "Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?" declares the LORD "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the LORD. This is an amazing thought. God fills the heavens AND the earth. That means that, whether we know it or acknowledge it, every day we are "rubbing shoulders" with our Most High God.

23:25 "I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.' And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. I have heard people who claim to be prophets say this very thing! And they have prophesied lies. What I don't get is that, even when their prophecies prove false, people keep hanging onto these people in hope and belief! Talk about wanting to choose a lie for the sake of what you WANT to hear!

23:28 "Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Classic NLT says "there is a difference between wheat and chaff..." I knew that had to be wrong because that is an incorrect interpretation when people try to say that chaff is people. Chaff is the hard outer covering on the wheat that is inedible and must be threshed or "burned" away before the wheat is useful.

24:1-2 I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the Lord's Temple in Jerusalem. One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat. Coincidentally, this passage is straight out of the article we have been talking about, "Who is a Jew." It is so awesome to read this and know what it is talking about! A fig tree is the symbol for the nation of Judah. The good figs are the Jews (not Israelites) who submitted themselves to the captivity that God appointed for them as punishment:

24:5-7 "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.

The bad figs are those who did not submit to God's appointed captivity and instead remained in Jerusalem. According to what we read, these are the rebellious and faithless Jews:

24:8-10 "But the bad figs," the Lord said, "represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors."

This is insightful when you remember that Jesus cursed the fig tree and said it would never bear fruit again. Now what do you think He meant by that?

25:5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. In the "Who is a Jew" article, one point Dr. Stephen Jones makes is that God does not approve of or support the evil and unbelief characteristic of Israel today and their trying to take their land by force. In fact, Dr. Jones demonstrates that perhaps it is not the descendants of Judah at all that are trying to take over Israel today, based on historical events. God never condones the use of sin and wickedness, even if one believes they are fighting for His promises (in the flesh). Besides, the Israel of today does not claim Jesus as their King or Messiah, so they cannot be pursuing righteousness anyhow. You will just have to read the articles (posted the last couple days). I am not good at articulating, but Dr. Jones conclusions were eye-opening and surprising...and very biblical!

25:15 "Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. I have made this observation on the blog before, but it bears repeating. Check out the following verses:

But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" Matt. 20:22

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." Matt. 26:39

Jesus took God's cup of wrath for those who would believe at the Cross so that we might drink of God's cup of mercy in the New Covenant.

25:18 I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing. It appears that that Jerusalem and Judah have been under the judgment of God's wrath and desolation ever since (not His blessing), because of their unbelief and idolatry. Perhaps this is why the land there has been a place of conflict and contention unending since the days of old!

25:28 And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven's Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it. The only escape from this cup of wrath is through Jesus!

2 Thessalonians

2:3-4 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. In an article about entitled, "The Rapture in the Light of Tabernacles," by Dr. Stephen Jones, he speaks of a time in history when this very thing was happening (warning: the person who did not like my allusions to the RCC last week WILL find this commentary offensive):

In fact, [Reformers and early Bible scholars] saw that the Roman persecution of dissidents (later called Protestants) throughout the Church Age was the persecution of the saints portrayed in the book of Revelation. It was commonly believed that the Papal system itself was "Antichrist," the "little horn" coming out of the great iron (Roman) beast in Daniel 7:20.

The Roman Church was, of course, stung by this criticism. They could not deny their policy of burning dissidents at the stake, for this was openly discussed even by Roman bishops, cardinals, and the popes themselves. Their self-justification rang hollow when they insisted that dissidents deserved such torture.

Neither could they deny the fact that the Roman Church was an extension of the Roman Empire, for the Church assumed power when the old Roman government fell in 476 A.D. The Protestant reformers were quick to point out the Papal boast of having the power to overrule the precepts of the apostles and of Jesus Christ Himself. (See the quotation from my book, The Seven Churches, chapter 5, under the subheading, "Some 'Infallible' Papal Decrees." It is on pages 51 and 52 of the book.

These papal decrees were a perfect match with what Daniel wrote about the "little horn" in Dan. 7:20, " that horn [governmental power] which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts."

One thing I notice instantly in Thessalonians is the use of the word "temple" as in "he takes his seat in the temple of God." This has always confused me since there obviously isn't a temple today, and it seems like time is winding down. So I looked up this word for "temple" and made what I think is a profound discovery tonight. The word used for "temple" in this passage is the word, "naos."

The word "hieron" is always used in the NT when talking about the building temple, and the word "naos" is used when Jesus is referred to as the temple of God, or when referring to people as the temple of God. In fact, John (in the book of John) switches between hieron and naos when he is speaking of the temple building and Jesus as the temple! Also another interesting point to note is the book of Revelation. We have already covered that Revelation is a symbolic book through and through. Well guess what word Revelation uses for every instance of the word temple? Naos!

What does all this mean? Well, in my opinion, perhaps we have been waiting for a building temple for the antichrist to set himself up in, when all along the Scriptures were indicating that he merely claims to be a temple of God. Astounding!

Also in verse 3 it says that the day of the Lord will not come until the apostasy comes first. Apostasy means "falling away." With all that we've learned about the early Church and the lies that have been promoted throughout the centuries about the character of God and His plan for the ages, I personally would say the apostasy has come! But one sure way to know when Jesus returns to earth will be the RESURRECTION. This is our sure sign! Whether we are partakers of the first resurrection (see below for clarification) or not, we will surely see it happen if we are alive. How sad would it be to miss out!

I have noticed that there are many references to the two resurrections and by careful study, we can piece together what they are. Both resurrections include believers but only one has unbelievers. The first resurrection the "better resurrection" for the faithful overcomers (read Hebrews 11:32-39: "and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection") who will rule and reign with Christ in the MK. The second resurrection is for both unbelievers and (authentic) believers who have not been erased from the book of life or assigned a place with the unfaithful (per Jesus). These believers in the 2nd resurrection will miss the blessing of ruling and reigning with Christ, but they will not go through the judgment/lake of fire.

"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment (John 5:28-29). You see here that all who are dead come out of their tombs at the same time and either go to judgment or to life—two groups of people in one resurrection. This is the 2nd resurrection! By the way, did you notice that without our "new glasses," this passage makes no sense? It appears to say you are saved by works, but this passage can only be understood when you learn of God's plan for the ages, and that we are saved by grace through faith, but we are accountable for our lives here and could face a judgment unto correction! Salvation is grace; Kingdom is being made worthy through becoming like Christ.

This is the first resurrection ("The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed"). 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 (Rev. 20:5-6). Here there is a distinction--only one group of people in this resurrection--those who are blessed and holy (overcomers) who reign with Christ for a thousand years. No mention of those going to judgment because they are not a part of this resurrection. The resurrection in John of two groups (believers and unbelievers) is mentioned in the next passage:

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And IF anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:12-15 (selected) This shows that some are sentenced to life, some are sentenced to the lake of fire.

If you have been sitting in church your whole life, you have probably never once heard of two resurrections for believers! Now you have.


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