Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14- Two Baskets of Figs

October 14, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Jeremiah 23:21- 25:38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17;
Psalm 84:1-12; Proverbs 25:15

Jeremiah 23:21-25:38

Apparently there have always been false prophets on the earth who claim to have a prophecy from the Lord.  Our readings in Jeremiah indicate that the Lord allows this to happen and yet He plans to punish the false prophets for leading the people astray.  How do you and I know if someone is a false prophet in our day?  It is relatively easy, if you know your Scriptures.  Any person claiming things that are not Biblical can be deemed a false prophet. The end of chapter 23 confirms that God intends to make false prophets objects of ridicule throughout the ages. 

In chapter 24 Jeremiah is given a vision that pertains to the Jews who have been exiled to Babylon.  In the vision, Jeremiah sees two baskets filled with figs.  One basket contains good figs.  The other is filled with rotten figs. God tells Jeremiah that the good figs represent the exiles sent to Babylon for their own good.  God intends to eventually send those people back to Jerusalem. He wants to eventually replant them in the land. The rotten figs represent King Zedekiah, who is acting as the Babylonian governor over Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who went down to Egypt to avoid the captivity. They will be punished.  This vision is a statement that although the captivity is a result of Israel's sin against God, God intends to use the captivity for a good purpose.  Chapter 25 will explain that purpose.

When God established the Mosaic law with regard to the land, He required that the land have a Sabbath rest every seven years.  For 490 years the Jews ignored God's law and did not honor the land's Sabbath rest.  For this reason, Jeremiah learns that the Jews will go into captivity for 70 years.  These represent the Sabbath rests that the land was denied in the peoples' rebellion against God.  God intended for the Sabbath to be a representation and illustration of Jesus Christ, who is our Sabbath rest. This picture was to be properly fulfilled in history.  The Babylonian Captivity meets God's requirements in that it punishes the people for their sins and allows the Promised Land to receive its rest from God.

After this Sabbath rest of the land is complete, the Babylonians will be punished for their harsh treatment of the Jews.  This prophecy really takes us into the future when God will judge the whole world for its sin. We see this illustrated with God's cup of wrath. The Lord will make every nation on earth drink from His cup of wrath over the sins of mankind at the Great Tribulation.  We see Jeremiah's progression of the nations who must drink from the cup.  It starts with Jerusalem and works outward to all people groups on earth. Remember that in the Bible God promises to save a remnant of people from every tribe, nation, and language on earth.  He will also punish people from every tribe, nation, and language on earth.  This prophecy from Jeremiah is about God's punishment of the peoples of the earth.

Verse 32 of chapter 25 indicates that disaster after disaster will befall nation upon nation.  If we fast forward to Chapter 14 of the book of Revelation, we get a glimpse of what Jeremiah was seeing.  There will be great slaughter and mayhem.  No one will wonder if they are part of the Great Tribulation.  There will be no doubt. We see that there will be evil shepherds on the earth who are misleading people in a false church system that has the trappings of religion, but no power from God. These leaders will be shattered like fragile pottery. Here is a picture of God as a fierce lion seeking His prey. This is the Lion of Judah. His anger will consume His enemies.

What do you think of God's spoiler alert about the future?  Do you realize that the Church has no need for this judgment and will not be present for the Great Tribulation?  What a comfort.  Those who love the Lord will be with Him during this mayhem. Do you love the Lord?  Will you be with Him?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

The Thessalonians are worried that they are stuck in the Great Tribulation.  This is because they are experiencing trials and tribulation due to persecution for their faith in Christ.  Today the Apostle Paul explains to them what the Great Tribulation/the Day of the Lord will be like and what must happen before this occurs.  Here is what Paul teaches:
  • The Church (true believers) will be gathered together to meet Jesus. Vs. 1 (This was explained in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians chapter 4).
  • The Day of the Lord (which starts with the Great Tribulation) has not come as of the writing of this second letter to the Thessalonians. Paul is reassuring them of this. Vs. 2
  • First, there will be a great rebellion against God.  The Greek word for this is apostasia.  This means departure or removal from.  This would indicate that the Rapture must occur before the man of lawlessness is revealed.  Vs. 3
  • After the Rapture and an apostasy, which occurs in the remaining false church on earth, a man of lawlessness will be revealed.  This man will bring destruction.  We know him as the Antichrist. Vs. 3
  • This man will exalt himself and defy God by tearing down all worship of any kind, other than worship of himself. Vs. 4
  • He will position himself in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself God. Vs. 4
  • He will be revealed when his time comes on earth. Vs. 6
  • Lawlessness that will culminate in the Antichrist is already at work in the world system.  Vs. 7
  • There is someone who holds back the rebellion of man and the Antichrist on earth.  It is the Holy Spirit, who is removed from the earth when the True Church of Jesus Christ is removed at the Rapture, prior to the Day of the Lord/Great Tribulation. Vs. 7
  • The Holy Spirit will step out of the way (at the Rapture) so that the man of lawlessness can be revealed. Vs. 7
  • When Jesus comes to earth at His Second Coming, He will consume the Antichrist with the breath of His mouth/the Word of God the sword that comes from His mouth to defeat His enemies (see Revelation). Vs. 8
  • The Antichrist does the work of Satan on earth through false miracles, signs, and power. Vs. 9
  • He uses wicked deception to fool the people on the earth, who were already doomed for destruction anyway because of the unbelief. Vs. 10
  • God sends the deception upon rebellious mankind through this lawless man. Vs. 11
  • God then condemns them for their unbelief. Vs. 12
Paul thanks God that the Thessalonians will not experience this because they are first in salvation.  Part of being saved by Christ is avoiding this judgment that comes upon the earth. 

Are you thanking God because you will avoid this judgment?  Grace is a powerful gift.  God's grace saves us from certain destruction.

This is a dramatic story.  We are all part of His story.  Where do you fit in the story?

Psalm 84:1-12

How happy are those who live in your courts. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!  Can I get an "Amen!" ?

Proverbs 25:15

Patience is a powerful tool.  Use it!

What did you notice as you read, today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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