Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16 -A Clear Message

December 16, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Micah 5:1-7:20; Revelation 7:1-17;
Psalm 135:1-21; Proverbs 30:5-6

And we don't have full conversations on cell phones. You know? Usually the reception is so bad, but it's only bad on your side. The person talking to you has no clue...They're just rambling on and on. You've got your finger jammed in your ear, you're sushing people on the street so you can hear about your friend's new haircut.  "What about the bangs, are they shorter? Are the bangs shorter?!? THE BAANGS!!!"  ~Ellen DeGeneres

Micah 5:1-7:20

Every now and then, even with our modern technology I will get a really bad connection on my cell phone.  If you are having an important conversation, it is really frustrating to not be able to clearly hear the person who is trying to give you a message. The bad connection can be because you are not close enough to a reception tower.  In today's reading, God uses Micah as a reception tower to give a clear message to the world and especially to the nation of Israel about how He intends to bring the Messiah to earth and what the Messiah will do for the nation of Israel and the world.

As we approach the Christmas season, it is amazing to realize that seven hundred years before Christ's birth, Micah was given this detailed prophecy about where Christ would be born and what his role would be on earth for the nation of Israel.  Here are some details beginning with verse 2:
  • Bethlehem Ephrathah will produce a ruler of Israel whose origins are from the distant past.
  • Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the time that the woman gives birth to her son.
  • This fellow countryman will return exiles back to their land.
  • He will lead this flock with the Lord's strength, in the name of the Lord, his God.
  • His people will live in the land undisturbed and he will be highly honored around the world.
  • He will be the source of Israel's peace.
Wow.  So Israel and the world are told that a ruler is going to be born in Bethlehem. Christ's role for Israel is to eventually bring them back from their dispersion across the globe into Israel. From there, he will lead the nation of Israel and bring peace to the world. He will be highly honored throughout the world.  This is obviously talking about Jesus' millennial kingdom on earth.

Chapter 6

In this chapter we once again are reminded of King Balak and the greedy prophet Balaam, who Balak called upon to curse Israel.  Balaam was only able to bless Israel. God has Micah mention this story to remind all people that God intends to bless Israel because He is faithful to His promises. It is not based on their actions. It is based on His mercy and the honor of His name. He is going to do it because He promised that He would bless them.

The warning of punishment for Israel's sins is blended with the promise that one day God will restore a remnant to Himself from the nation of Israel.

Chapter 7

Micah expresses what many prophets experience in the Old Testament. He feels like there are no righteous people to be found in Israel. Micah provides a laundry list of sins committed by the godless.

We see hope as Micah confirms that after the punishment, the Lord will bring him out of the darkness and into the light. "In that day," which is the "Day of the Lord," the cities in Israel will be rebuilt. God will lead His people as their Shepherd. All the nations will be there to see and praise God for His eternal work to save.

Why does God do this?  Verse 18 states that God delights in showing mercy. God tramples sins under His feet and throws them into the depths of the ocean.  Oh my, what a promise!!  God is true to His promises. God is also holy and just.

Revelation 7:1-17

When we last read in this book the Lamb (Jesus) was opening the seals that sealed the scroll which was the title deed to the earth.  Six seals had been opened and we saw that the seals represented judgments that would come upon the earth to all the wicked.  But the question becomes are there no righteous people on the earth during the Great Tribulation period?  We are about to get a dramatic answer to that question prior to the seventh seal being opened.  Remember that seven represents completion in the Bible.  Before the judgments are complete, God is confirming to us what happens on the earth with regards to faith once the Church has been raptured and is no longer among the inhabitants of this fallen world.

The explanation begins in a dramatic fashion.  Four angels are standing in the North, South, East, and West across the earth. They are holding back the winds of God's judgment. Not even a leaf is rustling and the sea is smooth.  An angel cries out for the four angels of destruction to wait and not hurt the land. Why?  Because God is about to seal His servants who are on the earth at this time during the Great Tribulation. How many are sealed?  We learn from this passage that 144,000 Jews (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes) are sealed by the Holy Spirit on earth during the Tribulation.  These witnesses will be untouchable by the Antichrist. They will be sealed and protected by God and will make it through the tribulation period unscathed.

Next, we see that a vast multitude that is so big that no person can count the number from every nation, tribe, people, and language are sealed, also.  These Gentiles and Jews are given  white clothing and palm branches, which represent their righteousness through faith in Christ and their triumphant entry into God's Kingdom. These individuals are shouting that salvation comes from God the Father and from the Lamb (God's Son).

The elders (representing the Church in heaven), the four living beings, and the angels fall down at this vision of all the people who are sealed and saved and they praise God for His wisdom and power in doing this.

We see an elder come to John to ask who these people are. John does not know who they are. The elder explains that these are people who are saved during the Great Tribulation, who are saved just like the Church age believers by washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb who makes their robes white. These saints are saved the way all people are saved- through belief in Christ's atoning death and resurrection for their sins.

Please note that as far as history goes more people will come to Christ during the Great Tribulation on earth than in all of human history put together.  This is why heaven falls down to worship God at this sight.

In the midst of the great evil of this day and the great hardship of judgment on the earth, these saints will endure hunger, thirst, scorching heat, and many tears. Even in darkness, God provides light. Jesus promises to wipe all of their tears away when it is over. We learned from the fifth seal breaking that many of these Tribulation saints will be martyred for the name of Christ.  How will they have the strength to endure?  They are sealed by the Holy Spirit for this purpose.

You and I will not be part of this group. It is important to know these truths and receive God's clear message about the future. Are you getting good reception?

Psalm 135:1-21

Please note in this psalm that God calls Israel His own special possession.  Is this making more sense to you now? 

Proverbs 30:5-6

"Every word of God proves true."  There you have it, folks.

What are you noticing as you read?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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