Tuesday, October 31, 2017

eschatology, He is Coming (Ps.96)

In the psalms leading up to this one, an anguished king David is being very open and honest with God about how he is feeling, asking God WHY "He has forgotten about His people"?  And - WHEN - when will God "hear" the Israelite's cry?  And WHEN will God fulfill His covenants to them?  Etc.  Then we find that God has given David some answers - in this psalm (as well as Psalms 97-99, etc.) which very clearly lets us know that the Lord WILL BE COMING TO EARTH to judge the nations and all its people.  There is hope!  And there is and there will be justice!...

(Psalm 96:1-13)  Sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
Worship the Lord in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
13 Before the Lordfor He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.

We know that the above is speaking about Jesus' second coming at the end of the Tribulation for several reasons.  First of all, the Israelites did not recognize their Messiah when He came the first time.  They rejected Him and crucified Him.  As well, when Jesus came to earth (fully man and fully God) the first time, as the verses below says, Jesus came, NOT to judge, but to save...

(John 3:16-21)  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Today's takeaway:  God will judge unbelievers for every evil deed they commit.  For all believers, we do not have to fear, for God will judge and reward all good deeds done with pure motives, because when God forgives our sin, He chooses to remember our sins no more.  The following scripture explains it quite nicely, also reminding us of the Mosaic covenant - the laws and commandments given to us - which only shows us that we cannot earn our way into heaven, because there is no way we can be perfectly obedient.  This is why Jesus gave us the "new covenant."  This does not negate the "old (Mosaic) covenant" - it fulfills it.  This is why Jesus is the only way!  We need God's forgiveness and grace, and Jesus makes that possible...

(Hebrews 8:7-13)  For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says,
Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers
On the day when I took them by the hand
To lead them out of the land of Egypt;
For they did not continue in My covenant,
And I did not care for them, says the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
11 And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Monday, October 30, 2017

eschatology, Appointed Time (Ps.75)

I'm only picking the portions of scripture that are clearly talking about end times or doesn't just repeat what has already been covered several times, so I'm looking at this psalm next because of its uniqueness.  God is using David to speak for Him, explaining that God has appointed times, which are very specific and purposeful.  And one of the appointed times is when God will judge the earth - during the Tribulation...

(Psalm 75:1-5)  We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near;
Men declare Your wondrous works.
When I select an appointed time,
It is I who judge with equity.
The earth and all who dwell in it melt;
It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah.
“I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn;
Do not lift up your horn on high,
Do not speak with insolent pride.’”

Note the highlighted portion...
 (Psalm 75:6-8)  For not from the east, nor from the west,
Nor from the desert comes exaltation;
But God is the Judge;
He puts down one and exalts another.
For cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams;
It is well mixed, and He pours out of this;
Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.

In the Bible, there are several references to the cup of wrath.  The following is found in the book of Revelation, as it is describing just one of the judgments upon the earth during the Tribulation...

(Revelation 16:17-20)  Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”  18 And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found... 

Yes, the wicked will perish and the earth as we know it will "melt" - but "the righteous will be lifted up"...
(Psalm 75:9-10)  But as for me, I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off,
But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.

Today's takeaway:  Praise God for His amazing grace!!!...

(Romans 5:1-11)  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

eschatology, God of Jacob (Ps.46-)

This particular psalm is definitely written to and for the Israelites (and anyone else going through the Tribulation) for the biggest, most extreme changes to the earth will happen at that point...

(Psalm 46:1-3)  God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling prideSelah.

The Israelites are to know that God will protect and preserve the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob) - NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS - because God promises to fulfill their covenants, which will happen in the Millennium.  We can be confident that the psalmist's intent of this message was to the Israelites as the term "the God of Jacob" is used twice.  (FYI: remember that God changed Jacob's name to Israel.)  And "when morning dawns" - when Jesus comes again for the battle of Armageddon - all unbelievers will be removed from the earth, and all believers will enter into the Millennium, which will be a great time of peace and a time where God's name will be exalted...

(Psalm 46:4-11)  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Today's takeaway: we can depend on God right now, no matter what earth-shattering events happen...

(Philippians 4:5-7)  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Friday, October 27, 2017

eschatology, Wedding Song (Ps.45)

This psalm probably was written for the wedding of king Solomon, but it is definitely prophetic, so it is important to know that a Jewish wedding is made up of 3 stages (which nicely explains the order of the end times; the bride being all believers/the Church, the groom being Jesus, Rev.21):

1.  THE ENGAGEMENT (commitment, becoming a believer):  once a woman chose a husband, or the marriage was arranged, the bride's father and the groom would sign a legal contract called a ketubbah.  This created a marriage bond.  The couple was 100 percent married, but they did not have sex yet.

FYI:  there wasn't any "traditional wedding ceremonies" until hundreds of years after Christ's work on the cross.

2.  THE CONSUMMATION (the rapture of believers, and the tribulation/signs of the times for the rest):  the consummation would wait until both were of age, and/or until the groom raised the money/dowry as set out in the contract.  Then the groom notified the bride's father, who set a date to consummate the marriage at the bride's home.  The bride waited with her maidens for the arrival of the groom and his companions.  Once the groom arrived, the couple entered the chuppah room and consummated the marriage.  To prove the consummation, the groom would hand the bloodied "proof of virginity cloth" to the witnesses chosen by the bride's parents, who would then give it back to the bride for safekeeping.

Meanwhile, either in the next room or outside, the bride's maidens and the groom's companions waited and celebrated. They had to be ready or they would miss the celebration!  (In the tribulation, those becoming believers during this time period will be "ready" for the millennium.)

3.  THE WEDDING FEAST (the millennium, the 1000 year reign): when the couple was ready, the groom would lead the way in a procession to his house where there would be a long wedding feast and celebration.  At the conclusion of the wedding feast, the couple was completed the marriage ritual.  (This would describe the ending of the Millennium when ALL believers of all times enter heaven.)

Now, in the following psalm, note that the pronouns begin with caps to infer that this is actually speaking about Jesus...
(Psalm 45:1-17)  My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear:
Forget your people and your father’s house;
11 Then the King will desire your beauty.
Because He is your Lordbow down to Him.
12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift;
The rich among the people will seek your favor.
13 The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
14 She will be led to the King in embroidered work;
The virgins, her companions who follow her,
Will be brought to You.
15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing;
They will enter into the King’s palace.
16 In place of your fathers will be your sons;
You shall make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.

Today's takeaway: At some point, all believers will be caught up to be with Jesus/God in a oneness that we cannot even imagine right now.  And then in the Millennium, we will be able to celebrate!!!  And once that is done - heaven!!!  God uses something that we can all understand - the marriage - as an allegory of the oneness.  And still - what is to come will be much, much better than that!!!...

(Colossians 3:12-17)  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.