How precious is the Word of our God! We at St. Mark's and Immanuel are working on a challenge to read through our Bibles. The daily reading schedule is posted here each week. Please join us.
Reading Through The Bible — Week 104
November 21, Saturday. Read Revelation 19:1-21
· If time is short, focus on v.1-10
· Chapter 19 concludes the sixth vision which began with chapter 17 and begins the 7th and final vision with v.11.
· As with each vision, the sixth concludes in heaven as the marriage feast of the Lamb. We already have one foot in heaven when even now our attitude of life is giving God glory for all. Thus: Hallelujah! a Hebrew word meaning ”Praise Jaweh!”
November 22, Sunday. Read ahead the lessons for the 4th Sunday of End Time; Christ the King (How appropriate for what we are reading in Revelation!) Lord keep us joyful in Christ our King!
The Gospel Lesson, Matthew 27:27-31: Joyful? How can this make us rejoice? The scene would seem like bad satire if not for its sad reality. Petty little men in a tiny little fortress bully the One who created light from darkness and divided land from sea. He deserved the finest crown, but look what Man gave! He deserved the noblest scepter, but look what Man handed Him! He deserved the sincerest devotion, but look what man offered! He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. The King of heaven came to earth, and look at what Man gave Him! He could have swept them all away; He could have condemned us like He had the fallen angels. Man deserved nothing more—but look at what He gave! He gave His holiness for our sin and His death for our life. This scene is joyful because we know how it ends. The picture of our King wearing a crown of thorns is not tragic, but rather it is full of grace. We have a King in Christ who left His heavenly throne and “ reigned from the wood of the cross”, Justin Martyr; Augustine). Rejoice in Christ the King who came as our sacrifice!
The Old Testament Lesson, Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23,24: Since the time of David, Israel had called her kings “shepherds.” The men who followed in David’s line, however, did not shepherd Israel in the paths of God. So God made a promise: the Sovereign LORD would shepherd His people. Notice the first person pronouns in this lesson—we rejoice because we have a King who acts on behalf of His people, like a shepherd for sheep. God says, “I will guide them; I will guard them; I will seek them; I will find them.” Most importantly, God promised to raise up King David’s greater Son to be the prince of His people and their Good Shepherd. Rejoice in the Christ the King who shepherds His flock day by day!
The Epistle Lesson, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28: If the story of Christ ended on Good Friday, there could be no joy at all. Had Christ not
been raised, we should be pitied more than all men, as Paul says in the verse immediately preceding this lesson. But the story didn’t end on Friday—a whole new chapter started on Easter Sunday morning! Christ has indeed been raised, and that means He is the firstfruits of the dead. When the Israelites brought the firstfruit offering to the Lord, they confessed that the whole harvest belonged to God, and they rejoiced at the greater harvest that was coming. Through the resurrection of Jesus, God promised that a field full of souls will follow the Firstfruits from death to life. Until then, Christ will reign as king until the Great Day comes when He reverses everything Adam ruined and destroys every enemy that stands against the Church. Then our joy will be complete, and God will be all in all. Rejoice in Christ the King who will conquer all our enemies.
Reading Through The Bible — Week 105
November 23, Monday: Read Revelation 20:1-15
· If time is short focus on v.11-15
· The 1,000 years of Rev. 20 are not 1,000 literal years (millennialism), but as with all the numbers of Revelation are symbolic (the number of perfection times itself… and again). It is here clearly the New Testament times, during which Satan is in chains (is held back within bounds) (but what happens if you choose to enter the range of that vicious dog’s chain?). At the very end of that time he is loosed. It is also during this time that the first resurrection (coming to life spiritually or conversion) takes place for the believers which sets them free from the second death (judgment and hell.)
· When Satan is released he tries with one final desperate attempt to gather Christ’s enemies (God and Magog) to try to defeat Christ, but himself is defeated and thrown into the lake of burning sulfur (hell) permanently.
· All the dead are gathered before the great white throne for judgment. What a joy to find your name written in the Book of Life on that day!
November 24, Tuesday: Read Revelation 21:1-27
· If time is short focus on v.1-7
· Satan is defeated, judgment done, even death has been thrown into the fiery pit. What is left? An new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem. What will heaven be like? Pick out things that warm your heart in today’s reading. Here are just a couple that touched mine:
· No sea. That which is unpredictable and deadly does not exist there.
· 12,000 stadia square. Can you picture a city 1,400 miles high? Again it is not literal, but the point is: like the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle, it is a perfect square. The dwelling place of God filled with perfection and plenty big enough for you and me.
· No temple or sun or moon. Our Lord fulfills all needs. The swelling place of God is with man. That is the best thing of all!
November 25, Wednesday: Read Revelation 22:1-21
· If time is short focus on v.1-17
· We read today of the further glories of heaven, the river of Life, the Tree of Life. Remember we were kicked out of the garden so we would not eat of the tree of life and live forever in our sin. Now in the perfection of Jesus’ presence we will eat of the tree of life and live forever in perfect glory.
· Until Jesus comes the invitation is out to the world, “Whoever is thirsty, LET HIM COME; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” But the time will soon come when that invitation will be withdrawn. “Amen. COME, Lord Jesus.”
· The last three chapters of the Bible in many ways take us back to the first three chapters of the Bible. If you have time read back through these last glorious chapters of Revelation and see the interesting contrasts. (New heavens and earth… no sun or moon… tree of life, etc.)
Pastor’s note to reader
We have spent the past two years reading through our Bibles together. I trust you have established a well-worn pattern. Please don’t say, “Now I’ve done that,” and set your Bible back on the shelf. Continue your good habit.
There are one-year-reading schedules and three-year-reading schedules available (see “Forward in Christ” magazine for example). Or maybe, if you have saved these guides, you want to just go back and start again. (If you are missing one or two or so, just ask me and I will provide what you are missing). Maybe this time get out a diary and add to my brief thoughts some of your own as you read each day. Maybe you want to try a different translation this time. Maybe you will get out your old cassette tapes or DVD’s of the Bible and listen this time.
Daily Bible reading is a wonderful habit that you will want to continue.