Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Day of the Lord is coming

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"The day of the Lord is coming
like a thief in the night" - 2 Peter 3:10
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Zechariah 14:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "Behold the day of the Lord is coming…" Zechariah 14:1

What a heavy duty ending to the book of Zechariah! For a moment I thought I was reading Revelation. My Bible's study notes echo that sentiment, describing this chapter: "… it coincides with many of the events in Revelation. The nature of the language, like that in Revelation is apocalyptic (highly symbolic, prophetic language" - D. W. Shibley,  Zechariah study notes, New Spirit-Filled Life  Bible p. 1262.

Besides its similarity to Revelation, I am struck by the phrases and scenarios in Zechariah 14 that sound familiar. We find something very similar in other places in the Bible:

- The gathering of all nations: Zechariah 14:2 compare Joel 3:2.
- The return of Messiah - Zechariah 14:4 compare Acts 1:9-12.
- A battle in a valley - Zechariah 14:4,5 compare Joel 3:2.
- A time of terror and running away - Zechariah 14:5 compare Matthew 24:16-20.
- The Lord returns with His saints - Zechariah 14:5,6 compare 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.
- There will be unusual and untimely darkness - Zechariah 14:6-7 compare Matthew 24:29.
- A river flows from Jerusalem - Zechariah 14:8 compare Ezekiel 47:1-12.
- The Lord is king over all the earth - Zechariah 14:9 compare Revelation 11:15.
- Jerusalem survives - Zechariah 14:11 compare Jeremiah 31:40.
- A time of panic and confusion is coming - Zechariah 14:13 compare Matthew 24:10.

As we read these predictions of terrifying judgment that echo through the pages of the Bible, how should we respond?

One thought that keeps occurring to me is—we've been warned. When God gives prophetic visions with so many similar elements to different men across the ages, and Jesus Himself predicts them, it's only a matter of time before these things will come about. So we'd best be prepared.

How do we get ready? Jesus ended His prophecy about end times in Matthew with three parables about being ready.
  • We need to be like the five wise virgins of Matthew 25:1-13 by keeping our lamps full of oil, that is, our lives full of and available to the Holy Spirit.
  • We need to be like the good servants in Jesus' parable of the talents of Matthew 25:14-30 by faithfully stewarding what we've been given of gifts and opportunities.
  • We need to be like the sheep in the final judgments scenes recorded in Matthew 25:31-46, busy extending mercy to those whose plight breaks the heart of God.

PRAYER: Dear God, please burn into my consciousness the inevitability of the Day of the Lord. Help me to live today and each day with that day in mind. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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