From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/15:

Today Esther risks her life by entering the king’s chambers without being requested. “So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter. And the king said to her, ‘What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!’” 

Esther requests for the king and Haman to come to a banquet that she prepared for them that day. After the feast, she asks them to join her again the next night for a banquet where she will present her petition and request to the king.

Haman is elated that he has been asked to dine twice with the king and Esther so he goes home and brags to his wife and friends about his riches, his promotion, and his position in the kingdom. However, Haman can’t enjoy all of his success because his eye is still on that one person, Mordecai, who refuses to bow down to him. So although Haman is the second most successful man in the Persian empire, he says, “Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

“Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.’ And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made.”

However, Haman is unaware of the fact that King Ahasuerus is up late that same night reviewing the book of the records. This is when the king realizes that Mordecai was never rewarded for the time he saved his life. So the next day when Haman approaches the king to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he prepared for him, the king first asks Haman, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Haman, thinking the king was talking about him, suggests letting the man to be honored wear the royal robe and parade him around the city on the king’s horse. And as Haman suggested, Mordecai is paraded around the city in the king’s robe and on the king’s horse by…guess who??…yep, Haman! So instead of hanging Mordecai as planned, Haman is forced to publicly glorify Mordecai for his loyalty to the king.

Then that evening, at the banquet of wine, Esther tells the king of Haman’s evil plot to kill her and her people. When King Ahasuerus hears this he has Haman hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai and Mordecai is given Haman’s position in the kingdom. This is quite the turn of events in the lives of Haman and Mordecai. Haman, who had it all, destroyed his life by focusing on the one person who wouldn’t bow down to him. And Mordecai, who remained faithful and focused on the One who could save his life, the Lord, is honored and elevated.

Now that Mordecai is in power, he orchestrates a new decree that goes out permitting the Jews “to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them… And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.”

“Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them. The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people.”

Esther requests that the Jews have another day to fight against their enemies. With the king’s permission, the Jews are victorious over their enemies again. “Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.”

“And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor… So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur.”

Pur is the Persian name for “lot”. Casting lots was a traditional way to seek divine guidance. Remember when Haman sought to destroy the Jews because Mordecai refused to bow down to him so “they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar” (Esther 3:7). But we see that the Lord took what man intended for evil and turned it into good for His people by giving them victory and peace, as He always does! 

Tomorrow the rebuilding of Jerusalem is once again interrupted and Ezra leads the second wave of captives home to Jerusalem, so keep reading.

(Esther 5:1-10:3)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/14:

The reconstruction of the temple is complete. The people celebrate joyfully by offering sacrifices to the Lord and re-establishing the Levitical system as written in the Book of the Law. The people also observe the Passover and “they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”

Over in Persia, King Ahasuerus is having a massive seven day drunken party. On the seventh day of the festivities, when King Ahasuerus is all liquored up, he asks for the beautiful Queen Vashti to come to him so he can show her off to everyone. However, Queen Vashti refuses to come and partake in that nonsense, which infuriates King Ahasuerus. Therefore, he has her removed from the position of queen.

Now the hunt for a new queen is on! This is when we meet Mordecai, a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin, who was born in captivity in Babylon. Mordecai raised his uncle’s beautiful daughter, Esther, who was an orphan. Because of Esther’s beauty, she is taken to the king’s palace where she becomes the new queen. However, Mordecai asks her to keep her heritage a secret and she complies.

Mordecai is faithful to the king; so when he hears of a plot against the king’s life, he tells Esther “and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name,” resulting in the king being spared and the men plotting against him being killed.

Mordecai is also faithful to the Lord. Therefore, Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman, King Ahasuerus’s number one man, which fills proud Haman with wrath. So, for retaliation, Haman has the king sign a decree to totally annihilate all of the Jews, Mordecai’s and Esther’s people. 

The Jews go into great mourning and Mordecai sends a request to Esther to intercede for her people. Esther is hesitant because she could be killed if she approaches the king without the king requesting her. However, Mordecai responds saying, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

“Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’ ”

The Lord is never mentioned in the Book of Esther; however, we will see that He is clearly active. Keep reading to see how God works behind the scenes for the good of His people.

(Ezra 6:14-22, Ezra 4:6, Esther 1:1-4:17)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/13:

Today Zechariah tells the people who have returned to Judah that their current situation is only temporary. He says the day will come when the Lord will destroy their oppressors and He will bring forth the promised King, the Messiah, who will rule Israel and the nations. Many commentators believe that the destruction of Israel’s enemies from the north occurred under the reign of Alexander the Great, the king of the ancient Greek kingdom. However, the Lord speaks of a coming King who is quite the opposite of the conqueror Alexander the Great. When King Jesus arrives on the scene, he isn’t going to ride into Jerusalem as a conquering general on a stallion. He is going to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey as a King of peace. Zechariah speaks of this triumphal entry -“Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.’”

Jesus will partly fulfill this prophecy when He triumphantly rides into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:1-11). A week later He will be crucified and three days later He will defeat death by His resurrection, providing salvation for those who put their trust in Him. Jesus isn’t coming as the conquering king the Jews are expecting, who would take down the Roman Empire. However, one day He is coming back as the conquering King who will defeat all evil for good. Jesus will fulfill this prophecy during His second coming when the entire world will be under His authority. 

Zechariah uses the image of shepherds to describe Judah’s unfaithful leaders. Since the leaders of Judah abused their power, the Lord is going to remove them and provide a new shepherd for His flock. The Lord will have compassion on His people who were once scattered like a sheep without a shepherd – “I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them.” The Lord is beginning this process of restoration during the Return Era as the Jews are returning to Judah from exile. However, the restoration will ultimately extend beyond Judah to include Northern Israel which was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. 

Zechariah pretends to be a shepherd tending to a flock doomed to the slaughter, representing how the Lord removed His protection over His people in the past and allowed their enemies to oppress them because of their rebellion. Eventually Zechariah becomes impatient with the flock and the flock begins to detest him, so he resigns from his position as shepherd. Zechariah receives a small payment of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, which he rejects by throwing it to a potter who works in the house of the Lord. Then the flock is handed over to worthless shepherds who will not care for them.

Zechariah’s acting as a shepherd is symbolic of what will happen when Jesus Christ arrives on the scene as the Good Shepherd. Jesus will be rejected and betrayed for the pitiful price of thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:3-10, John 10:25-27). However, the Lord promises to ultimately judge the worthless shepherds who lead the people astray – “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

The remaining chapters in the Book of Zechariah, chapters 12-14, focus on the hope for the house of David and the Lord’s future plans to lead them to repentance and to cleanse them from their sins – “The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

The Son of God, Jesus, is coming as the final Sacrifice. His head will be pierced with thorns, His hands and feet will be pierced with nails, and His side will be pierced with a spear. When the people realize that they crucified their Savior, they will mourn which will lead them to repentance. As Charles Spurgeon says, “A great mistake is very common among all classes of men – it is currently believed that we are first of all to mourn for our sins, and then to look by faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. Most persons who have any concern about their souls, but are not as yet enlightened by the Spirit of God, think that there is a degree of tenderness of conscience, and of hatred of sin, which they are to obtain somehow or other, and then they will be permitted and authorized to look to Jesus Christ. Now you will perceive that this is not according to the Scripture, for, according to the text before us men first look upon him whom they have pierced, and then, but not till then, they mourn for their sin.”

The Lord says He is going to strike the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, as the final atoning Sacrifice for the sins of His people; and when He does, the people will scatter. This will be a time of great tribulation and testing where many people will die. However, the end result is the Lord refining His people through the trials where they will be united as one – “They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

The Book of Zechariah ends with a warning that terrible days are ahead for Jerusalem but in the end the Lord will fight for His people. Then all the nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in the glory of the Messiah’s Kingdom during the millennium; and memorial sacrifices will be made as the people look back on the perfect work of salvation that Jesus Christ completed on the cross and by His resurrection.  

Tomorrow there is a dedication to the new temple and we meet a lady named Esther, so keep reading.

(Zechariah 9:1-14:21)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/12:

Today we read the eighth vision that Zechariah received in one night. Zechariah sees four chariots roaming the earth, similar to what he saw in the first vision, bringing the series of visions together. The vision illustrates the judgment upon the enemies of God so His people will have rest.  

Then the Lord tells Zechariah to make an elaborate crown and place it on the head of Joshua, the high priest, and say, “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” 

It is unusual to crown a priest because priests are not kings and kings are not priests. However, the crowning of Joshua is a foreshadowing of the coming High Priest and King of all kings, Jesus Christ, that the Lord is sending to redeem His people.

Nothing will stop the Lord’s plans, although many try as we read about another attempt made to stop the rebuilding of the temple. Tattenai, “the governor of the region beyond the River,” and others ask the Jews, “‘Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?’ Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.” So Tattenai writes a letter to King Darius to verify their response. 

When King Darius receives the letter, he retrieves the decree issued by King Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem. Therefore, he responds to Tattenai by saying, “Keep yourselves far from there. Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.” King Darius also tells Tattenai to pay the cost of rebuilding the temple from taxes on the region beyond the River and to give the Jews anything else that they need day by day without fail. “Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent.”

We end the reading with the people asking if they should still fast now that the exile is over and the temple is almost complete. The Lord tells the people that fasting for show or self-pity accomplishes nothing. The purpose of fasting is to bring humility and repentance which leads to righteousness. God promises to restore His people and to turn their fast into “joy and gladness and cheerful feasts” which will result in the multiplication of His people – “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

The Lord is restoring His people through His plan of sending the Branch, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and give us new life. The Lord desires for us to walk in the newness of life so that our lives will draw others into the fellowship of Christ. How wonderful for someone to look at your life and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Zechariah speaks more about the coming Savior tomorrow, so keep reading!

(Zechariah 6:1-15, Ezra 5:3-6:13, Zechariah 7:1-8:23)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/11:

In October of 520 B.C., about sixty-six years after the original temple was destroyed, the Lord speaks to Haggai, telling him to encourage Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest to continue the rebuilding of the temple – “‘Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’”

The people were comparing the new temple with the splendor of the old temple. The Lord says, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former.” And the glory will be greater for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will one day preach in this new temple. The Lord promises that “in this place I will give peace.” There will be no greater peace than the peace available through a relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who restores us to His father and secures our eternal destiny.

God calls the people to consider their current situation since they resumed rebuilding the temple. Although it has been a rough road, the Lord says, “But from this day I will bless you.” The Lord promises an abundant harvest for His people who are now walking in obedience.

The Lord tells Zerubbabel, “I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant…and I will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you.” As a descendant of the last legitimate king of Judah, Jehoiachin, Zerubbabel is chosen by God to bring forth the Messiah through his lineage.

We also hear from Zechariah, a priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel. He works alongside Haggai, Zerubbabel, and Ezra, encouraging the people to complete the task they have begun with the rebuilding and warning them of the consequences for neglecting the work of the Lord. Zechariah urges the people to repent and draw near to the Lord for the Lord will draw near to them.

We read seven of eight visions that God gave Zechariah in one night. The visions reveal God’s plans for Jerusalem, the temple, and the coming Messiah:

  1. The horseman among the myrtle tree – The horseman explains that the Lord sent them to walk to and fro throughout the earth and they have found peace. The Lord promises to restore Jerusalem – “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the Lord will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.”
  2. The four horns and four craftsmen – The horns represent the four kingdoms that opposed Israel: Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Medo-Persia. The craftsmen are coming to “cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it”, revealing that the Lord will defeat the enemies of Israel.
  3. The surveyor – Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line who tells him he is going to measure the city of Jerusalem. The Lord promises that Jerusalem will be revived – “ ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ”
  4. Cleansing for the High Priest – Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Angel of the Lord in filthy clothes and Satan is there to oppose him. The Lord rebukes Satan and says to Joshua, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” The Lord goes on to say, “‘For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH. For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.’” This vision is symbolic for Israel being restored as a nation and predicts the arrival of the coming Messiah. Jesus Christ is the ultimate High Priest who is coming to die for us so that we too will be cleansed from our sins and washed white as snow before the Lord.
  5. The lampstand and two olive trees – The olive trees are symbolic for Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest; and the lampstand represents the temple of the Lord whose foundation is being laid once again by the people of God.
  6. A flying scroll – The scroll flying over the earth represents God’s judgment upon the unrepentant who walk in defiance to the Lord.
  7. A woman in a basket – A woman is sitting inside of a basket named Wickedness. The basket is sealed and two women carry the basket off to Babylon where the wickedness would be released and eventually destroyed. As illustrated in this vision, the Lord is restoring and cleanings His people from idolatry and evil so that they may faithfully serve Him. Through the cleansing by the blood of Jesus, our wickedness is also taken away; so when the Lord looks at those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, He doesn’t see our righteousness but the righteousness of His Son Jesus. The disciple of Jesus, John, will have a similar vision during the End Time Era where the religious Babylon, which represents all wordly and satanic idolatry, will be destroyed (Revelation 17).

Tomorrow another attempt is made to stop the rebuilding; however, no matter what man does, nothing can stop the plans and purposes of the Lord. Keep reading.

(Haggai 2:1-9, Zechariah 1:1-6, Haggai 2:10-19, Ezra 5:2, Haggai 2:20-23, Zechariah 1:7-5:11)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/10:

It has been two years since the first wave of exiles returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. The rebuilding has stopped because of opposition from the ones surrounding them. During this time, Daniel is over in Babylon mourning for God’s people. At the end of his three weeks of mourning he receives a vision – “Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’”

The angel tells Daniel about a spiritual warfare occurring in the heavenly realms. He says he would’ve been there sooner to encourage Daniel but he was held up for twenty-one days by the evil prince of Persia until Michael, one of the chief angels, arrived and helped him. Daniel knows that we not only face earthly battles that we can see but there is also much more going on behind the scenes that we can’t see. However, we can trust that the Lord is always fighting for His people and His ultimate victory will come in His perfect timing.

“Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’” After Daniel is strengthen by the Lord, the angel gives Daniel insight about future conflicts between the nations. Then the angel speaks of a final world dictator, the Antichrist – “he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done… yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

David Guzik from Enduring Word explains this passage – “The Jewish people have known many a time of trouble through their history. From the horrors at the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes, to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, to the persecutions from the church during the Dark Ages, to the pogroms of Europe, to the 20th Century Holocaust, it often seems that all Israel’s history has been a time of trouble. Yet this time of trouble will be different. This will be a worse time of trouble than Israel has ever seen before.” And although there is going to be a great time of trouble, deliverance is assured for those who trust in Christ as their Savior.

We end the Book of Daniel with the Lord instructing Daniel to seal the words that were given to him in this book. Daniel doesn’t understand all that was revealed to him, so the Lord tells him not to worry about trying to figure it all out. God simply says to Daniel, “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” And the same is true for me and you. We can’t begin to know all that the Lord is doing behind the scenes to accomplish His plans and purposes in His perfect timing. We must stay the course and focus on  what God has specifically called us to do until the end, looking forward to the day that we will receive our eternal inheritance. 

Over in Judah, the Lord sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to continue rebuilding the temple. The Lord says he has sent a drought on the land because the people have neglected rebuilding His house while they went to rebuild their own homes. “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.”

Tomorrow the people continue rebuilding the temple as they are called to return to the Lord. Keep reading.

(Daniel 10:1-12:13, Ezra 4:24-5:1, Haggai 1:1-15)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/9:

Just as the people went into captivity in three waves, they return from captivity in three waves. The first wave of people, led by Zerubbabel, a descendant of King Jehoiachin from King David’s bloodline, and Jeshua, the priest, return to rebuild the temple in 538 B.C. Ezra will lead the second wave and return Bible literacy to the people. The third wave will be led by Nehemiah when they will rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and establish a government with Nehemiah as governor.

When the first wave returns, Zerubbabel and Jeshua rebuild the altar on the same ground where it once stood in Jerusalem. Then they gather the people as one in Jerusalem and worship the Lord with offerings and by keeping the feasts as written in the law. Zerubbabel and Jeshua lead the people in rebuilding the temple, with the Levites appointed to oversee the work of the house of the Lord. When the foundation is laid they sing praises to the Lord: “For He is good, for his mercy endures forever toward Israel.” There are mixed emotions in the crowd of people. The younger ones, who don’t remember the first temple or who were born in exile and never saw the first temple, are rejoicing with great joy. However, the older ones who remember the glory of the first temple and how the glory of the Lord departed are weeping because the new temple is not as magnificent as what they once remembered. 

While they are building, some men of the region come and try to discourage the people of Judah. “They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purposes all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.” “Therefore, the opposition continued over a period of about 20 years, up to the completion of the temple in 516 B.C. The discouragement apparently involved turning local officials against the project. Even though the project actually had the full authority of King Cyrus behind it, local enemies would exploit the distance of Jerusalem from the imperial center to their own advantage.” – (ESV Study Bible) 

The people weeping over the foundation of the new temple are being emotionally led by what they see instead of trusting the Lord and His plan that He is working behind the scenes. The people don’t know that one day the Messiah, who is coming as the final Sacrifice to take away the sins of the world, is going to preach in this very temple that they are building. The Lord will continue to urge the people to trust Him and walk with Him by faith until the work is complete, believing that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him. 

Tomorrow Daniel receives another vision over in Babylon, so keep reading.

(Ezra 2:1-4:5, 1 Chronicles 3:19-24)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/8:

Darius the Mede is now king of Babylon and he wants Daniel to be the governor over the whole realm, “because an excellent spirit was in him.” However, the other governors don’t want Daniel elevated so they scheme to bring a charge against Daniel concerning the law of his God. They have King Darius sign a decree that says anyone who worships any god or man besides King Darius for thirty days will be thrown in the den of lions.

When Daniel hears about the decree he goes to his room, kneels facing Jerusalem, and prays toward the temple three times a day as he always does, believing that God hears the prayers of His people just as Solomon said in his temple dedication prayer (1 Kings 8:28-30). When the governors see him praying they tell King Darius to throw him in the lion’s den. King Darius tries to protect Daniel but the decree is binding per the law of the Medes and the Persians.

So Daniel is thrown in the den of lions but the Lord sends an angel to shut the mouths of the lions and “no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.” Then the ones who plotted against Daniel are thrown in the lions’ den with their entire families and all are killed. Afterwards, King Darius makes a new decree “that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

“So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

The seventy years of captivity is coming to an end. Daniel “understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem.” So Daniel prays to God to restore His people “for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.” Then the Angel Gabriel appears before Daniel giving him a vision of seventy weeks which there are various interpretations, but by this vision we can know that God has a plan and a timing of His plan; therefore, we can trust that He is in control.

We end the reading with the Lord stirring King Cyrus’s heart to let His people return to Jerusalem to rebuild His temple. Cyrus sends off some captives from Babylon to Jerusalem with the articles that were taken from the original temple by King Nebuchadnezzar, bringing the Captivity Era to an end.

The Return Era starts tomorrow, so keep reading!

(Daniel 6:1-28, Daniel 9:1-27, 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-11, 1 Chronicles 3:17-18)

#bibleliteracymovement #chronologicalbibleteaching

14 Eras:

Creation Era (Genesis 1:1-11:26)✅

Patriarch Era (Genesis 11:27-50:26 and Job)✅

Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) ✅

Conquest Era (Joshua) ✅

Judges Era (Judges, Ruth) ✅

Kingdom Era (1,2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9, 1 Kings 1-11, various Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) ✅

Divided Kingdom Era (2 Chronicles 10-36, 1 Kings 11-22, 2 Kings, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and some of Jeremiah) ✅

Captivity Era (the rest of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) ✅

Return Era (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) is up next!

Eras to follow:

Silent, Gospel, Church, Missions, and End Time/New Beginning

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/7:

Today Daniel has two visions and then he interprets a message from the Lord to King Belshazzar.

In the first vision, Daniel sees four beasts representing four world empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Daniel says the fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, is different from the others – “It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.”

Then Daniel gazes into the heavenly realm and he sees the Lord’s throne and the Lord Himself; and there is an encounter between the Lord and the beast – “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

This vision greatly troubles Daniel. Per the ESV Study Bible, “The beasts in general show the present world order as an ongoing state of violence and lust for power that will continue until the final coming of God’s kingdom. The fourth beast will be different from those before it in power and in duration… As for the ‘little’ horn who made war with the saints and prevailed over them and who shall wear out the saints, many take this to represent the Antichrist, whom they expect in the end times. Other interpreters think there is not enough precise data to identify the little horn. It is clear, however, that this king will blasphemy against God, oppress the saints, and try to abolish the calendar and the law which govern how God’s people worship. The saints will be handed over into his power for a time, times, and a half – totaling three and a half times, or half of a total period of seven times of judgment… The central point of the vision is that the time when the beastly kingdoms of the earth will oppress the saints is limited by God, and beyond it lies the scene of the heavenly court, where the beasts will finally be tamed and destroyed (cf. Rev. 20:1-4, 10).”

Daniel has another vision of a ram with two horns representing the kings of Medo-Persia, and a male goat with a notable horn representing the kingdom of Greece and Alexander the Great who will conquer the Persian empire,  – “And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.”

Alexander the Great will conquer the Persian Empire from 334-331 B.C. After his death, his empire will divide among his four generals: Cassander will rule over Greece and its region, Lysimachus will rule over Asia Minor, Selecus will rule over Syria and Israel, and Ptolemy will rule over Egypt.

Then Daniel saw a little horn grow out of one of the four horns which represented the four generals. Most scholars believe this little horn is the eight ruler of the Seleucid dynasty, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who will rule over Syria and Israel. Antiochus will persecute the people of the Lord, blasphemy God, command idolatrous worship of himself, end sacrifices at the temple, and desecrate the temple. However, Antiochus will only reign for a limited time before he is judged by the Lord and the temple is restored.

We end the reading with King Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, having a lavish drunken feast where they are praising their false gods while consuming wine from vessels that were taken from the house of the Lord. This displeases the Lord, so He writes Belshazzar a message on the wall. Daniel interprets the message for him, saying that because of Belshazzar’s pride and dishonor of the Lord, his kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and the Persians – “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.”

Tomorrow Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den and King Cyrus signs a decree allowing the exiles to return to Jerusalem, bringing an end to the Captivity Era. Keep reading.

(Daniel 7:1-8:27, Daniel 5:1-31)

#bibleliteracymovement #chronologicalbibleteaching

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/6:

Today in the new temple vision, Ezekiel sees a stream of water flowing from the temple and out the east gate. The stream turns into a great river. The Lord says when the water reaches the sea, it’s waters are healed. “And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever they may go, will live…Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” The healing waters indicate the regeneration that will occur during the time of the new temple. At the end of the story, the Lord will give the disciple John a similar vision – “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2).

Then the Lord shows Ezekiel the boundaries of the land that will be divided equally among the twelve tribes of Israel. The boundaries correspond with the land boundaries He gave Moses back in the wilderness (Numbers 34). The Lord not only provides land for the twelve tribes of Israel but also “for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you…they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.” The Lord allocates a memorial gate to the twelve sons of Jacob which surround the new city bringing unity to the once divided nation of Israel.  This is also similar to the vision that John will receive of the New Jerusalem which the Lord will establish when He makes a new heaven and a new earth – “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:10-14). And the best part of New Jerusalem is that the Lord is there – “and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”

We conclude the Book of Ezekiel by reading his last oracle which says that Nebuchadnezzar is going to conquer Egypt. According to the ESV Study Bible, this prophecy was given in 571 B.C. and Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt in 568 B.C.

Today’s reading ends with Evil-Merodach, king of Babylon, releasing Jehoiachin, former king of Judah and a descendant of King David, from prison after thirty-seven years. “And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life.” 

The Lord is faithful to His promise to King David and He is still working His plan of bringing the promised Savior through this bloodline. So keep reading! 

(Ezekiel 47:1-48:35, Ezekiel 28:17-30:19, 2 Kings 25:27-30, Jeremiah 52:31-34)

#bibleliteracymovement #chronologicalbibleteaching