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December 31

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“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” (Revelation 21:16 NLT).

From: December 31, 2019

JESUS SEALS HIS REVELATION WITH A FINAL “I AM” STATEMENT

Just as Jesus introduced Himself to John at the beginning of the book of Revelation with an “I AM” statement (See Rev. 1:8), so He brings the book to a close with a final one. What is an “I AM” statement? It is a testimony of Jesus that reveals something of His divine character or one of His divine titles. Its significance is rooted in its connection to the divine name of God revealed to Moses at the burning bush as, “I AM” (Ex. 3:14). In Hebrew, the name is “Yahweh” or as some have rendered it, “Jehovah.”
 
In John’s gospel, he reported Jesus as using seven “I AM” statements (I am… the bread of life, the light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the gate, the way the truth and the life, the resurrection and the life, and the true Vine). In every case, the Jews clearly recognized that Jesus was claiming God’s divine name, thus claiming divinity for Himself. In fact, in the Greek, it is rendered “ego eimi,” which is the emphatic use of “ego,” which might be translated, “I, I am.” This makes Christ’s claim of divinity unmistakeable.
 
So what of Christ is revealed in this His final “I AM” statement? First, one should note how Jesus put His seal and autograph on this final book of the Bible, stating “I, Jesus.” Isn’t this how one signs a will or attests to some other legal document? Jesus wanted John to know that He stood behind every word in the revelation He had given him for the churches, so He signed His name to it. Then after His signature, He gave His title, which revealed the authority by which He sealed the message.
 
This “I AM” statement revealed at least three of Christ’s titles. One, was that Jesus is the “source” or “root” of David. This is a revelation of Christ as Creator. He is the source not only of David, but of all creation. Second, was the title, “heir” of David’s throne. This reveals His title as King and Messiah. Finally, was that He is the “bright morning star.” What did this title reveal?
 
Today, we know that the planet Venus is that which the ancients called the “morning star.” The ancient Greeks and Egyptians thought that Venus was actually two separate objects, a morning star and an evening star. For depending on the season, it goes by either name. For since it moves on an orbit closer to the sun than the earth, it either precedes the sun or follows it from earth’s perspective. When it precedes the sun, it shines into the morning’s darkness a few hours before sunrise. Thus, it is called the morning star. When it follows the sun, it is called the evening star.
 
It should also be noted that there is another who claimed this title. He was called “Lucifer,” which means “morning star” (Isa. 14:12). This was the name of the devil before he was cast down from heaven. Yet even now he continues to “disguise himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).
 
But Satan was defeated at the cross. And as the book of Revelation reveals, he will one day be cast into the Lake of Fire to tempt and deceive humanity no more. The Lord Jesus has revealed this and has signed His name to it.
 
For Jesus is the bright morning star. He is the brightest of all things, for nothing outshines the Son. He is the morning star that shines into the dark night, preceding the Day when the sun rises on a new heaven and a new earth. As the apostle Peter wrote, “Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19).
 
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we are humbled by the revelation of Jesus Christ. We join with the Apostle John and fall down at Christ’s feet. We are not worthy. Yet, because of Jesus we have been made worthy. We have been called righteous and even children of God. Therefore, we look forward to the Day when Jesus, our Creator, our King and our Bright Morning Star does appear. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus, In Your name we pray. Amen.

“I am the Lord, and I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NLT).

From: December 31, 2018

THE GOD OF THE OLD IS THE GOD OF THE NEW
As the Old Testament closes with the writings of the prophet Malachi, the Lord reminded the descendants of Jacob of His immutability. People today often wonder at this. How can the God that judged the world with a devastating deluge be the same God who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten to save it?
 
The immutability of God is better understood when we see the Bible as a progressive revelation of God. Page by page, as we read from Genesis to Revelation, we learn more about God. Finally, the fullest revelation of God is seen in Jesus. As the author of Hebrews wrote, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son… The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” (Heb. 1:1-3). As Jesus told His disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
 
The new covenant of grace, which was introduced in the New Testament, is not evidence of any change in the God who gave Moses the Law. On the contrary, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets. God gave the law to reveal His holiness and our sinfulness that we might repent. God gave us Jesus to pay for our sins that we might believe in Him and be saved.
 
God’s immutability is better understood when we read the Bible from back to front, rather than front to back. Indeed, God and His Word are only rightly understood by reading through the lens of Jesus. For Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb.13:8).

“But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves” (Malachi 4:2 NKJV). “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7 NKJV). “Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!” (Psalm 150:2 NKJV). “Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:25 NKJV).

From: December 31, 2017

It’s become my habit to highlight a verse from each of the four daily readings in the One Year Bible on the last day of the year. So, on this last day of 2017, I offer a prayer for all of us from each of the readings:
 
From Malachi, I pray that we will receive healing and the power to go out kicking up our feet like young calves.
 
From Revelation, I pray that we will look forward to Christ’s return and be blessed by the promises of His Word.
 
From Psalms, I pray that we grow in our awareness and acknowledgement of God’s “mighty acts” and “excellent greatness,” so that we are always praising the Lord.
 
From Proverbs, I pray that as members of His Bride, the Church, we would be be clothed in “strength and honor,” always “rejoicing in time to come.”
 
I pray these prayers over all of us, knowing that His Word is true, His promises sure, and His ear, always listening, ready to answer the prayers of His people.
 
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6 ESV) “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21 ESV) “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6 ESV) “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:31 ESV)

From: December 31, 2016

Since it’s the last day of the year, I thought I’d just post on the last verse in the OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs. Looking at them together, an encouraging word emerges. After all, even though the Bible is a collection of 66 books, it is actually one Book.

The last verses in Malachi and Proverbs speaks of God’s desire to bless both fatherhood and motherhood. May we let His Word instruct and encourage us to honor our parents and also to empower those of us who are parents ourselves. God cares about fathering and mothering. He is a relational God.

The last verses in Revelation and the Psalms encourages us to lift our voices up to our Lord Jesus! He is full of grace and has given us life and breath. Let us finish this year with gratitude and praise to Him, shouting “Praise the Lord! Amen!”

“For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13 NKJV). “Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!” (Psalm 150:2 NKJV). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” Proverbs 31:30 NKJV).

From: December 31, 2015

On this last day of 2015, it seems appropriate to quote from all four OYB readings. As I do, I am reminded that the Bible is primarily a book about God. Malachi speaks of God’s immutability. Revelation reveals Christ’s prominence, preexistence, and eternality. The Psalmist calls us to give praise for the Lord’s mighty works and excellent greatness. And Proverbs reminds us that real and lasting beauty comes from knowing and fearing the Lord. God has given us the Incarnate Word, Christ Jesus, so that we might be saved and know Him. And He has given us the written Word, so that through the help of the Spirit we might understand His character.

I hope you have been encouraged by this year’s “Bible bus” tour! Get ready. We’re pulling into the station and preparing for another tour in 2016!

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture” (Malachi 4:2 NLT) “And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5 NLT). “Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6 NLT). “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NLT)

From: December 31, 2014

As we finish up the OYB readings for 2014, here are verses from each reading from the last books of the Old and New Testaments and the last chapters of Psalms and Proverbs. As I’m sure others have noticed, even though the Bible is made up of sixty-six books, it has an amazing unity. Though it was written over a period of over fifteen hundred years, in three distinct languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) on three separate continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), by at least forty human writers from vastly differing fields, perspectives, and backgrounds, it still reads as one book. Why? Because they all wrote under the direction of the one Spirit of God.

Notice in the above four verses the unifying themes: Fear of God, praise of God, eternal life, the Lord as our light, eternal reward… Perhaps the Proverbs 31 reading seems a little out of place, until we consider that the bride is often a metaphor for the Church. Taken in this way, the Proverbs reading joins in the harmonious chorus of Christ and His Bride enjoying all of eternity together.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Malachi 4:5) “‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

From: December 31, 2013

As the year 2013 ends and so our readings from the OYB, it seems appropriate to quote verses from the last books of both Testaments. In the OT reading from Malachi we read of a coming “Day of the Lord” (Hebrew: Yom Yahweh) that will be preceded by a preparer of the way, Elijah. In the gospels, Jesus taught that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy, coming in the spirit of Elijah. This was the first “coming.” In the last book of the NT, the apostle John closes the Revelation with another “coming,” this one has yet to occur. I’m sure the contemporaries of Malachi wondered what year, what day would be the DAY. Perhaps they even doubted it would ever arrive. But it did. I wonder what 2014 holds for us?

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life” (Revelation 22:17)

From: December 31, 2012

God both sends and invites. First, He sends Jesus, and Jesus sends the Spirit and the Spirit sends the Bride, which is the Church. Then, the Spirit and the Bride together invite others to “come.” If you hear the Spirit’s voice calling, if you are spiritually dry and thirsty, if you desire real and fulfilling life, then “Come.” This is the last day of 2012, perhaps the Last Day is today or tomorrow, so why not “Come.”

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12)

From: December 31, 2011

What the Lord Jesus declares to John can reframe our thinking as we approach a new year. Ask yourself: Am I ready for Jesus to come in 2012? Where am I seeking reward- here or with Him? What will I do for Jesus in 2012 that will require great risk?