Monday, August 14, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - August 14, 2017

Today's Reading:

John 1:35-51

1 Chronicles 9

Haggai 1:1-2:23

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In Haggai, we read about a mysterious person named "Zerubabbel". According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, Zerubabbel was:

"...the son of Salathiel or Shealtiel (Haggai 1:1 ; Zorobabel, Matthew 1:12); called also the son of Pedaiah (1 Chronicles 3:17-19), i.e., according to a frequent usage of the word "son;" the grandson or the nephew of Salathiel. He is also known by the Persian name of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8 Ezra 1:11). In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360 (Ezra 2:64), exclusive of a large number of servants, who returned from captivity at the close of the seventy years. In the second year after the Return, he erected an altar and laid the foundation of the temple on the ruins of that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (3:8-13 ; ch. 4-6). All through the work he occupied a prominent place... as he was a descendant of the royal line of David."
The name "Zerubabbel" means "one who was born in Babel" or "born in Babylon". But in spite of being born in Babylon, Zerubabbel was a Torah-keeping, Yahweh-worshiping person.

All that is known certainly about Zerubbabel is found in the books of Zechariah, Haggai, Ezra, and Nehemiah. According to these he and Joshua, the high priest, led up a band of captives from Babylon to Jerusalem and began rebuilding the temple in the second year of Darius Hystaspis. 

They first constructed the altar of burnt offerings, and afterward built a temple, usually called the Second Temple, much inferior in beauty to that of Solomon. According to Josephus and the apocryphal Book of Ezra (1 Esdras 3, 4), Zerubbabel was a friend of Darius Hystaspis, having successfully competed before him in a contest whose object was to determine what was the strongest thing in the world-wine, kings, women, or truth. 

Zerubbabel, won the contest when he demonstrated that
truth was the mightiest of all, was called the king's "cousin," and was granted by him permission to go up to Jerusalem and to build the temple. Zerubbabel was also made a governor of Jerusalem.

As John McTernan explains, Zerubbabel has connections with Messiah, which the most significant thing about him.

Although Jeconiah’s descendants were cursed in that they could not sit on the throne of David as the king of Israel , clear messianic promises were made to Jeconiah’s grandson, Zerubbabel.  Zerubbabel returned from the Babylonian captivity and helped rebuild the temple.  Because he was a direct descendant of David, Solomon and Rehoboam, he was eligible to sit as king.  The Scriptures are clear, from Zerubbabel’s genealogy, that he is from King David through Rehoboam and Jeconiah.  Zerubbabel’s genealogy follows:
1 Chronicles 3:10 “And Solomon's son was Rehoboam, Abia his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, (11) Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son,(12)  Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son, 13  Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son, (14) Amon his son, Josiah his son.(15) And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. (16) And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. (17) And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, (18) Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. (19) And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah,”
However, the kingdom was taken away from the Jews, and Israel was under the authority of a foreign power.  Zerubbabel was recognized only as the governor and not the king of Israel.  The curse was in effect as Zerubbabel did not sit as the king of Israel .
Haggai 1:1 “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of Yahweh by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah,”
There is no Scripture in the Bible to indicate that the curse was lifted off Jeconiah’s descendants which would include his grandson, Zerubbabel.  Although the curse was not lifted off Jeconiah’s descendants, clear messianic promises were made to Zerubbabel by the prophet Haggai.  The prophet Haggai shows a direct link between Zerubbabel and the Messiah.  The Messiah is addressed and described by Haggai under the name of Zerubbabel.  By addressing the Messiah in the name of Zerubbabel, a clear messianic link was established from David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeconiah to Zerubbabel. The Scriptures by Haggai follow:
Haggai 2:21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
(22) And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
(23) In that day, saith the Yahweh of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, My servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith Yahweh, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith Yahweh of hosts.”
The above Scriptures could not have been about Zerubbabel, but have to be directly related to the Messiah.  There are several indicators in Haggai 2:21-23 which completely rule out Zerubbabel.  In Zerubbabel’s day, God did not shake the heavens and earth.  The kingdoms of the Gentiles were not overthrown.  Zerubbabel was never made as a signet as he never was the king of Israel but only a governor of Judah.  The Messiah is God’s signet. 

This promise by God was to show that although the kingdom was taken away, under the Messiah it would be restored.  All of this awaits for a time in the future and the rule of the Messiah.  The key is the Messiah is addressed as Zerubbabel.  This means the messianic line must continue through him.  

God will shake the heavens and the earth at the End of the World. The Bible refers to this time as the Day of Yahweh.

Isaiah 13:9 “Behold, the Day of Yahweh cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (10) For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (13) Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of Yahweh of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.” 
Three people in the Hebrew Scriptures foreshadow the Messiah: David, Solomon and Zerubbabel.  They are all of the kingly line and all become a type of the Messiah.  Zerubbabel was a type of the Messiah as it says in Haggai 2:23.  Solomon was a type of the Messiah as it says in Psalm 72, and David was a type of the Messiah as well, as we see in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 34:23 “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”
The genealogy of king David through Rehoboam was maintained until the close of the Old Testament, in about 400 BC.  Progenitors for Messiah, as recorded in the Bible, would come through Zerubbabel. The only genealogical line from David to Messiah, after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, is that of Zerubbabel. There are no others that are recorded.  God very carefully narrowed the Messianic line directly through Zerubbabel.  The Bible lists the descendants of Zerubbabel to the sixth generation after him. 

There is no other descendant of king David whose genealogy is maintained after the captivity. Zerubbabel is the only progenitor in the Bible for Messiah. The Scriptures to show that Zerubbabel’s genealogy was maintained until the sixth generation follow:
“And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister:  And Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushabhesed, five.  And the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah, and Jesaiah: the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechaniah. And the sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah; Hattush, and Igeal, and Bariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six. And the sons of Neariah; Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azrikam, three.  And the sons of Elioenai were, Hodaiah, and Eliashib, and Pelaiah, and Akkub, and Johanan, and Dalaiah, and Anani, seven.” 1 Chronicles 3:19-24
The genealogy of Zerubbabel, as recorded in the Book of 1 Chronicles has a very unique factor.  This further shows the Bible’s special attention given to Zerubbabel and his descendants.  The Book of 2 Chronicles ends with Cyrus, the King of Persia, allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Zerubbabel was with the first group of Jews that returned. This event occurred in approximately 535 BC.  The last verse recorded in 2 Chronicles, as follows:
“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia , All the kingdoms of the earth hath Yahweh God of Heaven given me; and He hath charged me to build Him an House in Jerusalem , which is in Judah . Who is there among you of all His people? Yahweh his God be with him, and let him go up.” 2 Chronicles 36:23
The unique factor is that Zerubbabel’s genealogy was kept for six generations after the close of 2 Chronicles!  The genealogy of Zerubbabel was maintained by some person or persons for approximately 100-150 years after the completion of 2 Chronicles. God sent several prophets to Israel after the return from Babylon. These prophets included Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. It is entirely probable that the prophets were monitoring Zerubbabel’s genealogy because they were aware of the Messianic significance. 

Haggai was well aware of Zerubbabel as he prophesied of Messiah in the name of Zerubbabel, Haggai 2:21-23.  The last progenitor of Messiah’s line in the Bible was Zerubbabel. And of course, Yahshua, was of the seed of David and Zerubbabel. It is through Him that the Messianic Zerubbabel prophecies will be fulfilled.

For this reason, a look at Zerubbabel gives us a shadowy, prophetic glimpse of our Messiah - in both His past and future Roles.

Daily Bible Reading - August 13, 2017

Today's Reading:

John 1:19-34

1 Chronicles 7-8

Zephaniah 3

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In our Bible Reading today from John 1, we read about how
John the Baptist baptized Yahshua in the Jordan river. At first, when you read this account, it seems odd. Doesn't it? Why would Yahshua, Who was without sin and perfect in every way (2 Corinthians 5:20-21) need to be baptized, which is an ordinance given to wash away all sin (Acts 2:38)?

John the Baptist even wondered this! In fact, when Yahshua came to him, requesting baptism, John responded by asking how he could baptize Yahshua, when John recognized that he wasn't worthy to unlatch His shoes, let alone baptize Him!

So why was Yahshua baptized? As He explained to John, it was His purpose to be a perfect Example to us in all things. Everything that we need to do, He did, as our Pattern:
1 Peter 2:21-25  "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that ye should follow His Steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His Mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:  Who His own self bare our sins in His own Body on the Tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." 
This account of Yahshua's baptism certainly underscores the importance of it. How important is it for us to be baptized? Obviously its a vital step, considering the Saviour, Who didn't personally need it, was baptized as our Example.

Baptism is something that's definitely on my mind a lot after this past weekend. This last Sabbath was so special. We actually had two baptisms in the river this last Sabbath, following our Livestream broadcast. 

Every baptism is special. But this one was perhaps more so than most - for it seemed so impossible...  And because I have been so encouraged through this experience, I hope sharing it will also encourage you.

Two Sabbaths ago, a couple joined our Bible fellowship group having traveled a couple of hours to do so. After the worship time was concluded, we all gathered in our driveway as we were saying our goodbyes. This couple, who had traveled in for the day, were part of the conversation.  

Suddenly, the husband, whom I'll call Bob, turned to my husband Mark and said, "One of these days I've got to come down here and go for swim in the river with you." He was referring to being baptized.

A friend and member of our Bible fellowship group overheard this statement and interjected, "well next Sabbath (August 11) will be the perfect opportunity! Mark and Shauna already have a young man driving up from California to be baptized in the river! Why don't you come down and join him?" 

Bob grinned and nothing more was said on it.

To be honest,  I didn't think about it further. Bob was the impossible guy - the one you prayed for, but didn't really expect that he'd ever choose to go the full distance with God. Now, don't get me wrong, Bob is a really big-hearted and hard-working person. He has many good qualities. But, we had been praying for Bob's conversion for 10 years! And his wife had been praying for him longer than that. And Bob was still the same crusty, worldly person...  I didn't really think about it much, but I didn't have a lot of hope that Bob would ever be converted. 

Then, on the morning of August 12th,  Bob's wife called us up. "Are you still having that baptism today?" she asked. 

"Yes, the young man is here staying with us for the weekend. He's been anointed and he's going to be baptized after the Livestream broadcast this afternoon."

"Great! My husband wants to join him!"

You could have knocked us over with the feather!

Yahweh is amazing!!! 

So, after praying for Bob for 10 years, this last Sabbath found him down in the river, giving his life over to Christ and being cleansed from his sins! What a glorious day! (Glory to God!)

As Bob was coming up out of the water, he looked at Mark, who had baptized him and exclaimed, "they're all gone!" Bob was joyfully referring to his sins, of course. He was rejoicing in the lightness that is sensed by anyone who comes to God and is cleansed from his past.

Bob is 80 years old...  And, now, as of last Sabbath, Bob is finally God's man!

I have to say that I am so encouraged by what God has done in Bob's life - and in the life of the other man who was baptized. He can reach anyone! And we should never stop praying for the dear ones around us. God is working through those prayers, even when we can't see it.

What about you? Have you been to the river and have you been baptized? If not - its not too late! If so, are you praying for someone else to take that step? Keep praying. Don't quit!