December 23

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“Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand” (Revelation 14:14 NLT).

From: December 23, 2018

THIS IS ADVENT: CHRIST HAS COME AND IS COMING AGAIN
While exiled on the Isle of Patmos, the apostle John saw a vision of Christ’s second coming. His description of the Son of Man coming on the clouds was like what the prophet Daniel saw in his vision 600 years before Christ’s first coming (See Daniel 7:13).
 
What John saw is also how Jesus answered the high priest who asked whether he was the Messiah, the Son of God. To which Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). The high priest tore his clothes at Jesus’ reply and declared him guilty of blasphemy. The Jewish council rejected Jesus and sent him to Pilate to be crucified.
 
Yet, a day is coming when Christ will fulfill the vision of both Daniel and John. He will fulfill the answer he gave the high priest. When Christ returns, he will come as King with a “gold crown on his head” and as Judge with a “sharp sickle in his hand.” This is Advent: Christ has come and is coming again.

‘Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them'” (Revelation 14:13 NKJV).

From: December 23, 2017

John heard a “voice from heaven” describing the Lord’s perspective on the patient endurance of believers during the tribulation. From the world’s perspective they were being persecuted and killed for their faith in Jesus, but from the Lord’s…
1) They were “blessed” – Completely content and satisfied. Happy.
2) They had found “rest” – Both sabbath and shalom. No more striving. No more anxiety. Rest.
3) Their “works follow” – They say you can’t take it with you, yet the Lord says your works of faith will follow you to heaven. Nothing is wasted. Works of faith are remembered and recognized.
 
So, don’t give up. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people” (Revelation 14:6 ESV)

From: December 23, 2016

John saw an angel flying with the “eternal gospel” proclaiming it to everyone on earth during the time of tribulation. Even as the great majority of humanity had chosen to follow the antichrist, God still made sure the good news was heard, so that they were without excuse. This gospel is “eternal” because… (from Barnes Notes)
(1) “its great truths have always existed.”
(2) “it will forever remain unchanged.”
(3) “its effects will be everlasting” for those who believe.
It is this “eternal gospel” that God has given in order to rescue us from sin, separation and death.

“The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you” (Zechariah 4:9 NKJV)

From: December 23, 2015

Zerubbabel, whose name meant, “seed of Babylon,” was one of the Jews born in Babylon during their 70 years of captivity. Born a prince in the Davidic line, he was appointed governor over Jerusalem by the Persian king, Cyrus, and led the returning exiles to start rebuilding the Temple. Unfortunately, due to conflict with the locals and lack of both physical and financial support, the work had come to a halt after laying the foundation. The unfinished work sat atop the temple mount for over a decade, a constant and discouraging reminder to Zerubbabel, who had lost heart that it would ever be completed. It was during this time of despair that the prophet Zechariah encouraged him to take up the “plumb line” and go back to work because he would surely be able to finish it. And so, the prophecy that the temple that was started by Zerubbabel would be finished by him was fulfilled. Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple, the same one that King Herod later “supersized,” and the same one that Jesus, the true King, taught in during the His earthly ministry. Yet, this prophecy also has a spiritual fulfillment that is still pending. For Zerubbabel, the Davidic prince, is a christological type pointing to Christ’s work of salvation. The book of Hebrews explains saying that Jesus is both “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb.12:2). Jesus has laid the foundation and He will set the “capstone.”

“Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life” (Psalm 142:5 NLT)

From: December 23, 2014

When we pray to the Lord with understanding we eventually stop praying for what we want and find our wants met in Him. We stop praying for a place of peace and safety and we see that God Himself is our “refuge.” Let the prayers of David guide you on how to pray. Turn down the volume and busyness this Christmas to pray. Pray not until you feel inner peace, but until you are so stirred by God’s radiant glory that you are captured by the amazing light that still points to Christ.

“This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6)

From: December 23, 2012

God told Zerubbabel that neither the collective force of his people, nor his own individual effort would be able to rebuild the temple. He would have to rely on God’s Spirit for empowerment. God usually has to strip us of our own power and might, or let us come to the end of it, in order to teach us to rely on Him. Whatever God has called you to do, it will only be accomplished through His strength and not yours. Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).