The Bible is not a series of books about God. It is one book, penned by numerous human authors, and inspired by God. It is His story told through His continuing revelation of Himself to mankind. The more you read it, the more you see how the books, the prophesies, the stories, and the letters fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. In today’s O.T. reading Zechariah prophesied hundreds of years earlier about many of the things Jesus showed John in the book of Revelation.
And as we continue to read through the book of Revelation, today we learn about two final judgments. One day every person will stand before God at one of them: “the great white throne judgment” or “the judgment seat of Christ.” Where will you stand?
Zechariah 13 & 14
Well, we’re almost there. I pray that many of you have read more of God’s Word than you have in the past. Notice I said “more of God’s Word.” Though many of you finished the goal, I know some of you are weeks or even months behind or maybe you quit after a few months, or maybe it’s been in fits and starts. But did you read more of God’s Word in 2016 than you had before or did you get more out of your reading than you had previously? If so, it’s been a successful endeavor!
If you have a testimony about how reading God’s Word impacted your life this year, I’d love for you to share it in the comments section.
On to the Word …
The Bible, One Book, One Story
From Genesis to Revelation
Zechariah prophesied beginning about 520 B.C., but did you notice that he prophesied many of the same things Jesus revealed to the aging Apostle John toward the end of the first century A.D. and recorded in the book of Revelation?
We see the same picture of Jesus coming back the second time as the King of kings and Lord of lords, his feet touching down on the Mount of Olives followed by a great earthquake and the destruction of Satan’s armies.
We also see the description of Christ as the Shepherd (13.7) which David wrote about in Psalm 23 and Jesus called Himself in John 10. He is the Good Shepherd who gave up His life for the sheep (Jn. 10.11).
The more you read and study God’s Word, the more you see that it is not a series of books about God. It is one book, penned by numerous human authors, but inspired by God. Just as a writer controls his pen or writing instrument, God superimposed himself over the hearts and minds of his instruments, the human authors (2 Pet. 1.21).
It is His story told through His continuous revelation of Himself to mankind.
Today’s Other Readings:
Praise & a Sword
Verse 6, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”
This is how we fight life’s battles—by praising God and trusting in His sovereignty, and by speaking and living according to His Word.
A Mother’s Advice to the King
Verses 1-9 contain the first of two poems in this chapter. This one contains advice
to the King from a godly mother and the second is a description of an excellent wife. While the Bible doesn’t specify, tradition says King Lemuel was King Solomon.
The King’s mother warns him about several vices to which kings are often vulnerable: sexual immorality, drunkenness or overindulgence, ruling in a harsh or unfair manner, and lack of concern for the weak and less fortunate.
This isn’t just good advice for leaders, it’s important for anyone who wants to live a godly life and impact others through their testimony.
We see several future events in this chapter. First, we see the devil being locked up in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. At the end of that time he will be released again, briefly, so that those who have been born during those 1,000 years will have an opportunity to accept or reject Christ.
We also see, at the end of that time, what we call “the great white throne judgment” where those who rejected Christ’s offer of salvation will receive their final judgment.
Believers will not be judged there. Believers will stand before Christ at what Scripture calls “the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14.10). It will probably take place initially right after the Rapture, but may continue during the Tribulation for those who are martyred after the Rapture.
“The judgment seat of Christ” is also called “the rewards seat of Christ” because we will not be judged for our sin—Christ already paid the price for our sin. We will be judged for our works and our motives for doing those works (1 Cor. 5:9-10) and receive rewards accordingly.
While there will be different rewards for the saints of God, there will also be different degrees of punishment for those judged at “the great white throne judgment” (Rev. 20:12).
Well … one more day … tomorrow we will finish with the book of Malachi and the last two chapters of Revelation, as well as, completing Psalms and Proverbs!
And now … I hope you are ready to start again in 2017.
Getting ready for 2017
What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries. Sign up between now and December 31st and you may win a copy of one of my favorite books, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.
Start today so it can become a regular part of your day.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.