Mo 12/25Tu 12/26We 12/27Th 12/28Fr 12/29Sa 12/30Su 12/31
2 Chron. 30
Rev. 16
2 Chron. 31
Rev. 17
2 Chron. 32
Rev. 18
2 Chron. 33
Rev. 19
2 Chron. 34
Rev. 20
2 Chron. 35
Rev. 21
2 Chron. 36
Rev. 22

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

This week we finish the first year of our two-year Bible reading plan. Congratulations! It’s okay if you didn’t get every last reading done. If the plan helped you spend more time in God’s Word than you would have without it, then consider it a success.

For most of the year we’ve been reading a daily selection from the Old Testament and one from the New. These two tracks set up an interesting parallel as we close out the year. In 2 Chronicles this week, we read of the disappointing decline of the kingdom of Judah as the Jews depart further and further from the LORD. Their rebellion results in severe discipline from their God. This discipline reaches its apex when Jerusalem is destroyed and the people are utterly put to shame by King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army (see 2 Chron. 36:17). Many of the Jews are taken away into captivity in Babylon.

And yet, the very end of 2 Chronicles provides an encouraging glimmer of hope. About fifty years after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, the Babylonian Empire was subdued by the Persians under the leadership of Cyrus the Great. Cyrus appears as a surprising type of Christ as he graciously proclaims liberty to the captive people of Judah, that they might return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of the LORD:

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, “The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!” (2 Chron. 36:23)

This proclamation is an Old Testament foreshadowing of that glorious proclamation from heaven we read last week in Revelation 11:15: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (These words are often sung at Christmastime because of their transcendent setting in the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Here is a beautiful, and very Western European, performance; but, to be honest, if Handel’s masterpiece makes it onto the set list in heaven, I imagine it being sung a little more like this.)

God had indeed given the kingdoms of the earth into the power of Cyrus the Great, but only for a time. Because Cyrus died, as all kings do. And the kingdom of Cyrus was given over to other kings, who in turn lost their kingdoms to other kings. Only one King has a dominion that lasts forever:

From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:15–16)

The earthly temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. The new heavenly Jerusalem that is ruled by the King of kings has no temple,

for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:22–27)

Don’t you want to be a part of that kingdom?

VERSE TO MEDITATE ON

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
—Revelation 22:17

HOW TO PRAY

  • Adoration – Worship the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  • Confession – “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” (Rev. 22:14–15)
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God over and over again this week as you enjoy food, family, fires, lights, fellowship, brisk weather, presents, games…
  • Supplication – Ask God to show you someone you can bless with an unexpected gift this Christmas season.

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Alex McNeilly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Recent Ask the Pastors answers . . .

Where can I find the poem you mentioned in your sermon on Sunday?

QUESTION Question for Pastor Joseph! What is the name of the ballad you mentioned on Sunday and where can I find a copy? I would love to read the whole thing. Thanks! ANSWER Here you go! https://www.fortressofdoors.com/st-halvor/ I had to look up what a "thrall" was...

Why does our church use the NASB95?

QUESTION Why did our church choose the NASB95 for our text of choice? Why this translation above, let’s say, the KJV? Is it the language? Is KJV considered a bad translation? Or is the KJV more tied to Catholicism? I use an ESV myself since I understand it better....

Why don’t we take down all the “Yes” signs?

QUESTION Why don’t we take down all the “Yes” signs? ANSWER My daughter Annabel recently said (with some heat), “I just want to go and tear the tops off all those ‘Yes’ signs!” Another child of the church asked his parents, “If we want people to vote no on...