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December 21

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“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you”‘ (Zechariah 1:3 NKJV).

From: December 21, 2020


The prophet Zechariah prophesied to the Jewish exiles, who had returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Yet, returning to Jerusalem wasn’t the same as returning to God. The Lord commanded Zechariah to “Say to them.” In other words, “Preach to them: Return to Me and I’ll return to you.”
Repentance always precedes revival. For just coming back to your spouse or family or church or Lord, doesn’t mean that you’ve repented of what caused the separation. To truly return, repentance is required. Otherwise, there can be no true revival of the love that you knew at first.
The Lord instructed Zechariah to tell the returning exiles that returning to Jerusalem wasn’t the same as returning to God. Yet, the Lord was ready and willing to return to them the minute they repented. Like the father of the prodigal son, he waited with open arms. After all, He had never left them. They had left Him.
PRAYER: Dear Father, we repent of our sins against You. We return to You in every area, not wanting even one aspect of our lives out of alignment with Your will. We know that You are faithful to forgive us and cleanse us through the blood of Jesus, Whom we have believed. Revive us, O Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

“She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5 NLT).

From: December 21, 2019


I’ve never seen Revelation 12:5 quoted on a Christmas card, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. When the apostle John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, the Lord pulled back the curtain between heaven and earth and invited old John to see things from a heavenly perspective. Among the events he saw, John saw the cosmic warfare surrounding Christ’s first advent.
In order to understand John’s vision, three figures must be identified: the woman, the son, and the dragon. The dragon’s identity is given to us by John, “This great dragon is the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan” (Rev. 12:9). But what of the woman and the child?
The woman is not Mary nor the Church as some maintain, but Israel. Notice John’s description of the woman: “I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Rev. 12:1). This is clearly a reference to Joseph’s dream found in Genesis 37:9. The sun and moon are his parents and the stars, his brothers. This describes Jacob/Israel and his wife and 12 sons/tribes. Those that would understand the book of Revelation, must recognize its Old Testament imagery.
The third figure, which John refers to variously as the “baby,” the “child,” and the “son,” is Christ Jesus. John’s description that he “was to rule all nations with an iron rod” is a clear reference to the Messianic prophecy found in Psalm 2:9. However, the time had not come for Jesus to take up the “iron rod,” for his first advent was as a Suffering Servant. John’s statement that the child was “snatched away” and “caught up to God and to his throne” is a summary of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension as seen from a spiritual perspective.
John’s revelation reminds us that the first Christmas was a cosmic event, filled with drama and spiritual warfare. His book pulls back the curtain of heaven and lets us see Christmas from God’s perspective.
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for pulling back the curtain so that we can see the profound spiritual importance of that first Christmas. Help us to see with fresh perspective and with spiritual eyes the wonder of the gift of Your Son this season. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child” (Revelation 12:13 NKJV).

From: December 21, 2017

Not your usual Christmas card verse, yet John’s revelation pulled back the curtain to show Christ’s coming from a heavenly perspective. The “dragon” represents Satan. The “woman” is Israel. And the “male child” is the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel has been under almost continuous persecution since Christ’s birth. Yet, in the last days there will be a season of relief (see v. 14 “she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent”). After this the persecution will worsen towards Israel and those who have come to faith in Jesus (v. 17 “her offspring”) because Satan will know his days are numbered.
There may be both good days and hard days ahead, but we can be confident that the Lord is with us and has a plan for us. At Christmas we celebrate Christ’s coming and the confidence we have that He is coming again to end Satan’s worldly reign.

“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 1:3 ESV)

From: December 21, 2016

The prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. Both of them wrote to encourage the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem from their 70 years of Babylonian exile. Zechariah began to prophesy during the reign of Darius, king of Persia (Zech. 1:1), under whose governance the Jews were allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem. He instructed them not only to return to Jerusalem, but to return to the Lord! This is a word to those who have gone astray. Return! Repent of your sins and return to the Lord of Hosts and He will surely return to you.

“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth” (Revelation 12:1-2 NKJV)

From: December 21, 2015

Here’s a passage that I’ve never seen on a Christmas card. Yet, when John the Revelator was caught up into heaven, he saw the birth of Christ from heaven’s perspective. Who is the woman? It’s not Mary nor the Church, but Israel (See Joseph’s dream in Gen. 37:9. The sun and moon are his parents and the stars, his brothers. This describes Jacob/Israel and his wife and 12 sons). Remember, those that would understand the book of Revelation, must first recognize its Old Testament imagery. Revelation is the last book of the Bible for a reason. We need to read and seek to understand the first 65 books before trying to grasp the last one. John’s revelation reminds us that the first Christmas was a cosmic event, filled with spiritual warfare and drama. His book pulls back the curtain of heaven and lets us see Christmas from God’s perspective.

“But everything I said through my servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what he said he would do.’” (Zechariah 1:6 NLT)

From: December 21, 2014

This is God’s Word. It is what it claims to be. It can do what it says it can do. The prophet Zechariah had the privilege of speaking to the returning exiles to Jerusalem. Their forefathers had been overthrown and taken captive 70 years before as the old prophets had predicted. Unlike their forefathers, the returning children were repentant and ready to believe. Along with the book of Daniel, this little book is filled with images that aren’t seen again until John takes them up again in his revelation of Jesus. Zechariah is filled with Messianic prophecy that Jesus fulfilled. What God revealed to and through Zechariah, He has done. Yet prophecy in the Scriptures tends to have a threefold fulfillment: Present (or immediate), ongoing and future. Our faith is built up by the fulfillment already seen, and our hearts are filled with hope by taking hold of those promises that we can apply now and look for in the future.

“She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Revelation 12:5)

From: December 21, 2013

John saw a “great sign” appear in heaven. There is much here to consider and a daily devotional thought offers not enough space. Yet consider this as we approach Christmas: Just as Satan through the paranoid earthly king Herod sought to murder the infant Jesus, so he continues to try and devour those born again into the body of Christ. As his time grows short, he becomes more furious in his pursuit because he knows his days are numbered. Therefore rejoice! For just as the Christ overcame, so we who are in Him will overcome.

“Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth” (Revelation 12:1-2)

From: December 21, 2012

John the Revelator saw the birth of Jesus from heaven’s perspective. I believe the woman represents Israel with the 12 stars being the 12 tribes (see Joseph’s dream in Gen. 37:9). John catches a glimpse behind the curtain of pre-history and of the spiritual warfare that preceded the Savior’s birth. Satan tried to stop Christmas, but failed.

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11)

From: December 21, 2011

How the evil one is overcome. Stand firm in the salvation which was purchased with Christ’s blood. Remember and proclaim the word of testimony of what the Lord has done for you. Christ has already won the victory. Remind the dragon of this and he will flee from you.